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Bag of Holding

Our Mysterious Benefactor's page

4,263 posts. Alias of James Martin (RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32).


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The plant man takes his final sample, which fills another small pustule on his back. He bows deeply and in his piping voice says "This way please!"

He leads you through a vine-choked passage. Decaying vines carpet the walls and ceiling of this room. The floor is riddled with narrow cracks and fissures, extending several feet below.

"The vine chamber is currently dormant, but I anticipate bringing it back to full bloom soon!" Pip states as the corridor turns, and opens into a longer passage. A collapsed sign near the door lists the exhibit that was on display in this gallery at the time of the earthquake: “Flowering Shrubs of Eastern Taldor”. Plants once grew in the large, ceramic planters that still hug the southern wall. Dozens of branches clinging to decaying leaves emerge from the wooden door to the north. To the east, a room with healthy trees and shrubs is visible through a glass door set in a wrought iron frame.

"But this is my masterwork! Voila!" He takes you into a small room off the passageway. Dozens of healthy plants with vibrant and colorful leaves, fruit, and flowers emerge from the decay in this small greenhouse, spilling out of the pots and berths that once contained them.

He begins pointing to plants, enumerating their names and uses. Among the plants in this room are pair of walnuts that each provides the effects of a potion of shield of faith, a tough length of ivy that functions as a potion of spider climb when chewed, two cherries that function as potions of reduce person, and two watermelons that each produce the effects of potions of enlarge person on the first person to eat a bite of them. Eating any of these unusual potions takes a standard action. In Subtier 4–5, the garden also contains a snapleaf (Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Equipment 319) still on the vine.

J steps up and donates, grimacing at the sudden pain, but otherwise unharmed.


Moving into the Thrall, Caesare realizes the following. While controlling the Beast, a combat character (such as a fighter) can grant the use of one of her feats to the Beast for 1 round. A character with sneak attack (such as a rogue) can grant the Beast her sneak attack ability for 1 round. An arcane caster can channel arcane energy through the Bondslave Thrall to grant the Beast a deflection bonus to its AC equal to the caster level of the character for 1 round. A divine caster can likewise channel divine energy through the Bondslave Thrall to grant the Beast fast healing equal to the caster level of the character for 1 round. A character can only grant these abilities to the Beast while actively controlling the Beast, so the Beast can only use one of these abilities per round.

Majordomo Pip nods his head. "Wonders! Why the next room contains plants of extreme medicinal value. The magical energies here have contributed to a very interesting selection of effects!" Torrag feels a slight pinch, then the blood is siphoned into the tub and fills a small pustule on the plant-man's back. Similarly Inira's blood is taken.

Take 1 point of damage for the blood loss.

I'm afraid we're fine now. Sorry!

The Majordomo makes a tsking noise. "I am afraid the tour, and access to the Garden, is only for those who wish to pay the entrance fee. It would grieve me greatly, but ... duties must be done. Last chance: will you pay the fee?"

Caesare: You believe that with the parchment you found and the scribbling on the wall with the homunculus, you believe that if a single person stood in the Bondslave Thrall, that person could add their power to the Beast's power. Beyond that, you don't know exactly what might happen.

There is a sudden sound of crashing, as the folks atop the tower peer over the side to see the Beast crawling up the side of the tower like a great spider! In a moment he is beside the group atop the tower, panting and gasping. "Beast come to help Father! Help Beast help Father!"

Inside the Iron Maiden the faint voice can be heard, "Use the Thrall. Help my son fight the Aberrant. You can make him stronger with the Thrall."

Beast Init: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (2) - 1 = 1

Round 2:
21 Zanu
19 Caesare
16 Xerice
12 Augustus
11 Risbeth
8 Sonny
5 Aberrant
1 Beast

The party is up for round 2!

Risbeth pounds a fist at the Aberrant, but its thick hide turns aside the force of her blow without causing any damage.

It howls in anger and its pincers flash! Slam: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (17) + 21 = 38 for 4d6 + 9 ⇒ (2, 1, 6, 5) + 9 = 23 damage and Slam: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (5) + 21 = 26 for 4d6 + 9 ⇒ (4, 2, 2, 6) + 9 = 23 damage! If either hits, then it gets a grab attempt! Grab: 1d20 + 29 ⇒ (4) + 29 = 33 and Grab: 1d20 + 29 ⇒ (16) + 29 = 45

It's hard to determine the motives of an animate plant, but you don't sense any ill intent with the blood collection, Manius.

"Carnivorous plants, my good man! Their seeds require a small amount of blood to entice them to root and grow." Hearing Inira, Pip holds up a single hand and one of his fingers seems to lengthen and grow translucent with a hollow, sharp point. "Here. Allow me?"

The small plant-man inclines his head at Cornelia. "I will require a sample of each of your blood. A small pain, I assure you, but it will aid my work in breeding certain plants immeasurably."

Caesare grabs the Professor and hauls him up the ladder, followed by Zanu whose magic missiles seem to do nothing to the strange beast!

Sonny moves toward the iron maiden, which he can see now is bound in adamantine strips. However, he can discern no information about the Aberrant!

Round 1:
21 Zanu
19 Caesare
16 Xerice
12 Augustus
11 Risbeth
8 Sonny
5 Aberrant

The Aberrant watches the fleeing party with hateful eyes, but is distracted by Risbeth's taunts and cheers. It leaps forward, its pincers coming toward Risbeth!

Risbeth, I assume you were waiting for this moment. Go ahead and act!

Peering carefully into the gloom, Corbyn sees no traps, but he can see five sleeping forms of boggards, much like the one that ambushed them in the entrance. They're snoring loudly and don't seem to have noticed your approach.

You begin to move into the room with the large tree when suddenly a small man made of what appears to be a root steps from among the roots of the tree. He executes an exceedingly formal bow, snapping to attention after.

"I am Majordomo Pip, greeter of the gardens and aide-de-camp to the Master Gardener! It is my duty to inform you that I must exact a toll from you should you wish to venture beyond this point!" He cries in a high pipping voice with perfect diction in Common.

Knowledge Nature! Also, the slides have been updated with Pip's portrait.

Knowledge Nature DC 14:
This is a mandragora, a plant creature that arises when a mandrake root draws life from a demon's blood or ichor.

That's fine, Cornelia.

Go ahead and enter. We have another player who will be coming up behind as well. You both were tagged and grabbed by Dreng to aid the party.

The snoring frogs seem to be coming from the room to the east. Are you heading that way?

Xerice flees to the iron ladder and shimmies up as fast as she can. The ladder opens on the top of the tower. The tower opens onto a flat platform high above the raging waters. A spire of twisted iron rises from the tower’s roof in a series of three triangular iron platforms. Perched at the very top stands a huge lightning conductor and numerous lightning rods. It's another 30 feet up to the device, which matches the scattered descriptions of the Bondslave Thrall.

Professor, you recognize the Aberrant as a flesh golem, but of a more experimental and dangerous form than you've seen. It also seems to be moving much faster than a creature of its size ought to be...

Zanu, Caesare and Sonny are up!

You're welcome to join! I'll need your PFS# and you're good to go. Go ahead and post in the discussion thread. The idea is you and Torrag were grabbed by Dreng and sent down to help out in the Drownyards. You spotted the party heading into the Arboretum Arcanis and will just catch up with them as they enter.

J shakes her head. "He says he feels like this is the place, but not this place? Like maybe he hid them further in? Sorry, I guess dying is bad for your memory."

The idea is you're going to pop in just as they're about to enter the Arboretum Arcanis, having been grabbed and sent by Dreng.

Welcome! I'll need your PFS number.

Nice translation there!

We have just begun a game and our players seem to have fled! We need 1-2 players. Right now we have a 4th level Sorcerer, a 3rd level Cavalier and a 2nd level Zen Archer.

Who wants to explore the Drownyards?

Okay, I sent Augos a PM a while back, but no go. We need a fourth. I am going to recruit!

Grishan recalls some things dimly, but he remembers the intelligence he hid was somewhere in the Arboretum Arcanis. Navigating the now broken land, J leads you there.

The foyer of the Arboretum Arcanis is in shambles. Debris and dead or dying plant matter cover the mosaic-tiled floor. A gnarled black thorn tree still clings to life in a giant masonry planter. Two massive skylights in the ceiling afford a view of low-hanging, purple and black clouds above; the crystal dome is completely obscured. Piles of rubble obscure most of what once may have been doorways, but a door to the west is free from debris.

Grishan has been returned to Junia, but J stops and looks around. "Grishan says this looks familiar to him."

For maps I'm going to use Google Slides. It's new to me, so we'll take it as we go. The link is here.

J looks surprised, but Grishan speaks. "I don't know. I didn't encounter her spirit while we were down there, but..." He shrugs, looking lost.

Will post more later!

The voice whispers back in a ragged tongue that is obviously weak from disuse. "Open this thing. Let me out." He swallows. "The Aberrant. I created it, but it was unfinished. The necromancers completed it too soon. It is mad. And powerful. You need the Thrall. Call my son. Call the Beast. On top of the tower. Hurry. Hurry!" The last word explodes into a shriek as something huge moves in the spider webs, dropping to the floor below as Risbeth calls out a warning!

A stitched abomination made from the parts of at least half a dozen creatures, the Aberrant Promethean is primarily a mixture of choker, chuul, cloaker, and ettercap, blended together into a disgusting mass of
unlife. It is huge, with the lower body of a chuul, tentacles erupting from its humanoid top half and two huge arms ending in pincers. It is definitely unnatural and irredeemably insane. It throws its head back and shrieks a great hunting call.

Augustus: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13
Zanu: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21
Xerice: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16
Cesare: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
Sonny: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Risbeth: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Aberrant: 1d20 ⇒ 5

Round 1:
21 Zanu
19 Caesare
16 Xerice
12 Augustus
11 Risbeth
8 Sonny
5 Aberrant

The party is up!

A whisper announces the return of the invisible party. It seems everyone is here now.

The eyes visible through the mask widen as you approach. A weak male voice whispers, barely audible "Please. Be very quiet, the Aberrant is above and it is angry."

The whimpering seems to be coming from the iron maiden, but another sound, like deep breathing is coming from the webs. It doesn't sound like a spider...

J starts to say something, but Grishan interrupts suddenly. "It was I who pushed Juni to go back. I feel like there's something there she needs to see or do, something that will allow her to finally move past that dark place. But there's something else..."

The spirit looks embarassed and reluctant to speak, but seems to summon his courage and tells you his tale. Grishan grew up in the shadow of his older brother Colson Maldris. Grishan idolized his brother, and wanted more than anything to become an Eagle Knight just like him. When Colson approached Grishan and asked his brother to spy on the families of his classmates at the Tri-Towers Yard in order to gather intelligence for the Eagle Knights, Grishan immediately accepted. Colson promised Grishan that the information he collected would be put to use to defend and promote the egalitarian ideals of Andoran. Grishan began accepting invitations to all of his classmates’ parties, and snooping around in their parents’ offices and studies. After a few months, Grishan had collected enough secrets that he felt he could finally take them to his brother’s contact in the Eagle Knights; sadly, fate intervened.

"I need to finish this mission, to finally let go of it for once and all. Please, will you help me?"

This tower room, clearly once a laboratory, is choked with huge webs. Two curious objects—a large iron idol and a glass bell jar of the same size—stand against the eastern wall. The jar is filled with fluid and contains a human woman, while the idol has only two openings for eyeholes, through which blink a pair of terrified human eyes.

There is a large prominent lever and a ladder leading up into the webs above. The lever is connected to a heavy mechanism that looks as if it opens the ceiling onto something above, perhaps the odd mechanism you could see as you approached the tower.

Risbeth, something is slowly moving in the webs above...

The drunken marine blinks, but even in his drunken state he can't refute the logic of Miltwyne and Manius' words! He shakes his head as if to clear it and mumbles something about crazy people in alleys and staggers back to his friends. Without looking back they double step out of the alley and are gone.

Looking back, J stands and is brushing herself off without meeting anyone's eyes. Finally she takes a steeling breath and looks up. “I guess I should tell you, considering who you are and where we are going. I’ve been keeping him a secret for far too long in any case.”

“Grishan, can you come out, please. These people would like to meet you.”

'Grishan' steps out of J.’s body, revealing himself to be a green-tinted apparition that resembles an emaciated 14-year-old boy with sunken cheeks and hollow eyes. He is still wearing his school uniform consisting of a blouse covered by a vest. His legs end just below the knees, trailing off into nothingness and he floats above the ground at the same height he stood in life.

In a slightly echoing voice that sounds as if it comes from far away, the spirit speaks. "My name is Grishan Maldris. I was Juni's classmate before the... before the earthquake. When it happened we were playing in the necropolis. We weren't supposed to be there, but it saved us. Well, for a while anyway. The tombs didn't collapse, but the entrances did and it trapped three of us: me, Juni and Cass. We had no food, no water. Cass and me got hungrier and thirstier. Juni didn't, cause she had put on a weird ring."

J looks stricken. "But I didn't know then..."

Grishan smiles fondly at her. "It's not your fault, Juni. Anyway, Cass died first. She just sorta faded away, hungry and thirsty. Then I died. But I didn't wanna leave Juni, so I guess I became a ghost?"

J looks close to sobs. "I didn't die. I crawled into a coffin and the Pathfinders found me, 10 years later. Grishan watched over me and made sure nothing got me while I was in a daze. When I got older, he came back and appeared to me. He can hide inside me... and live like he ... never had a chance to..." J breaks into tears and begins sobbing.

Grishan smiles sadly at her and hugs her. "It's not your fault, Juni. I could never blame you. It was me who wanted to play down there and if we hadn't, you'd just be dead, too."

Knowledge Arcana!

Knowledge Arcana DC 15:
You're pretty sure you've heard of such bonds before. It's clear that Junia is a spiritualist and Grishan is her phantom, a spirit she can summon who can protect and guide her. They are linked in an almost intimate manner: two souls sharing the same existence.

From above the whimpering sound comes again!

The drunken Marine looks at the halfling with a sneer. "Doncha try to talk ta me, slip! I'm gonna break yer face!" The drunken marine suddenly abandons his attempts to draw his sword and instead lunges at J, shoving her hard to the ground. She hits the ground and as she does, a strange sight greets you: a small boy, blue and glowing with hollow eyes erupts from her and runs at the Marine, his face enraged. He disappears just as he's about to barrel into the Marine, whose face has gone white and slack with fear!

"Whaazat? Wha kinda demons are you?!?" He resumed trying to draw his sword!

The water gets deeper and deeper until Ruperta is swimming! She turns the corner and peers northward. The northeast corner of this chamber is fitted with a wooden platform that seems to float on the water’s surface. A few barrels sit on the platform.

The square shaft goes up about 30 feet and opens into another room above. However, Ruperta can't hear or see anything from up there...

In the gloom Ruperta can just make out a room ahead. The northwestern portion of the sloping flagstone floor of this chamber has been fitted with a crude horizontal wooden platform. On the platform are nine filthy straw mats, leather bags, and fishing rods. A deep musty smell of swamp is coming from there, along with the froggy snores.

A couple of the Marines look cowed by the sudden display of strength, but one looks drunker than the others, judging by his shambling gait and slurred words. "Oy, girl! I was talkin' to ya! Wanna see what I think of yer Eagle Knights, eh?" He starts to move toward J, when suddenly a clod of mud from the ground near J's feet rises into the air and strikes him on the temple! He stumbles and fumbles for his sword belt. "'At's it! If you wanna fight, I'll fight ya! I'll fight ya all!"

Corbyn slips ahead while Pai invisibilizes the rest. The passage opens into a small chamber to the north, while continuing onward to the east and then north. In the chamber: A soft, purplish light illuminates the northern part of this flooded chamber, where a large, square shaft opens in the ceiling. The shaft appears to be smooth and continues upward 30 feet.

You decide to head down to the Docks to avoid the crowds cramming the Coin. You slip through wet alleyways, cramped passages and across docks, but finally you find yourselves in a narrow alleyway. At the far end of the alleyway four young Chelish marines are drunkenly staggering out of the back door of a bar. They spot J's Eagle Knight outfit and nudge each other, spitting in your direction.

"Oy! Andoran scum! Why doncha come over 'ere and I'll show what a real Chelish man looks like, eh?" This is accompanied by peels of laughter and catcalls as the drunks stagger toward you. J tenses up, looking worried.

And Slumper's final bash sends the twitching bloody boggard to the ground, dead.

Now that you're standing in the cave entrance, you can see that the passage continues inward, then splits, with one fork going north and one east. The eastern one is tilted downward, so a deepening pool of water inhabits it. From the north comes the sounds of loud, froggy snores.

J shrugs. "Toward the Drownyards, I guess." There are two ways to go: Through the Coins district, then along the Merchant Quarter or through the Foreign Quarter, then along the Docks. Knowledge Local, please!

Knowledge Local DC 10:
Today is a market day, which means that the Coins are packed with shoppers and merchants. On the other hand, even though there will be less traffic in the Docks, going through that neighborhood is not without its risks, as it is one of the city’s rougher districts.

Which way?

Lady Dacilane smiles tightly and rings a bell. When her halfling servant arrives, she sends her to fetch her daughter.

Lady Dacilane’s daughter comes bounding down the stairs and into the sitting room a few moments after he mother calls her. She has her mother’s height, black hair, and fine facial features, but that’s where the similarities end. Unlike her mother’s carefully coiffed hair, Junia’s is short and practical, and she carries herself with a confident and unladylike swagger. She is dressed in grey breeches, knee-high leather boots, a white cotton shirt, and an azure blue riding coat with tails with a golden eagle pin on the lapel. Beneath her coat, it is clear that she is wearing a mithral chain shirt.

Any PC from Andoran or a member of the Liberty’s Edge faction immediately recognizes that Junia is attempting to look like a member of the Andoran Eagle Knights.

Upon arriving in the drawing room, Junia clicks her heels in a military manner and greets her mother with a mischievous grin. Lady Dacilane immediately turns bright red with embarrassment, reprimanding her daughter for appearing in such a “ridiculous outfit in front of our guests”, and then throws up her hands and storms out of the room without another word. Junia introduces herself to each of the PCs as not Junia but “J., like the letter”, and shakes everyone’s hand. If the PCs ask about her outfit, she claims that it is just something she threw together, but gives away her true intention with a conspiratorial wink.

Dreng excuses himself at this point, claiming that he is needed back at the Grand Lodge. Before he leaves, he hands over a large, iron key to you lot, telling you that it opens the wrought iron gates to the Tri-Towers Yard. He warns you that although the necropolis below has been cleared of undead, the partially restored surface structure still holds a dangerous haunt. “Try to stay away from there,” he mutters, “we’ve tried to eliminate it several times, but it keep coming back. If you do need to go in there, take a look in the supply closet, you may find it useful.”

Once the Venture Captain leaves, J. picks up a backpack from a stool in the corner and pulls out a kukri, which she sheathes at her hip. She then straps on the backpack and looks expectantly at the PCs. “Well, shall we go? I’m ready when you are.”

Thrak rips into the boggard, leaving it swaying on its feet, blood pouring from many wounds.

Between Caesare and the Professor, you are able to figure out most of the scratches. A crude chalk diagram depicts the iron spire atop of the tower, and two strange apparatuses at its pinnacle. An arrow points to the larger of the two devices, next to the words “The Storm Caller must be activated to energize the Bondslave Thrall.”

The scratches seem to be faint words and diagrams, but they've been wiped, if not clean, at least less than they were. You'll need a Linguistics check to read them.

A whimpering sound from above comes in response to Xerice's jape. It seems to be coming from the floor above.

The homunculus seems to calm, but it refuses to leave, trying to drag you toward the scratches on the wall.

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