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The bow dives downward as the ship hits the edge tossing Amir, Karethas and Varkata up toward the misty twilight of winking stars and roiling clouds above. As they reach the zenith of their parabola and begin to fall, Karethas casts a spell to halt your acceleration and you descend at a rate that barely ruffles your clothes. Meanwhile, the ship plummets with the cataract and quickly disappears into the obscuring fog below taking Kzrira with it. The archer is last seen somehow still standing on the deck with bow at the ready and eyes darting about for less obvious threats than being dashed to smithereens somewhere below.
As your ship plunges into the void, you notice the cascade of falling water, once a raging torrent, begins to thin and dissolve into clinging mist, and within moments you feel the ship’s fall seem to slow as the clinging mists grow thicker and almost solid wall of featureless, washed-out colors. The ship finally comes to a shuddering stop, settling into a gelid substance with a muffled thud, splintering with the impact. Aside from the creaking rigging of your battered vessel, all is silent and still. You can see nothing beyond your extended bow in the solid fog.
As you slowly descend into the void, you notice the cascade of falling water, once a raging torrent, begins to thin and dissolve into clinging mist, and within moments you feel yourself slow as the clinging mists grow thicker and almost solid. It gathers around you blocking all vision beyond arm's reach. Finally, the fog around you thickens to the point that it becomes a soupy morass that threatens to pull you down and drown you!
Varkata launches into the air carrying her unconscious companion and lands on the galley's deck just as a gust of wind beats against the cracked wooden hull. Indeed, the magical ship does have sails though they haven't been employed so far. Apparently, whatever is animating it know can chose the mode of movement however as a rippling force moves up the mast and the sails are suddenly hoisted and tied to take advantage of the wind. Varkata revives Amir just as the ship begins to move again.
The brass galley drifts away from the great carcass and just as Karethas predicted, the tentacled monster does not follow. The ship picks up speed no longer propelled by the still and shattered oars but pushed before a freshening breeze. The light around you has dissolved into a misty twilight of winking stars and roiling clouds above a roaring sea. In a moment, the mists seem to part and you can see with terrible clarity beneath the fumaroles above that the sea below seems to end as if sliced off with a razor. Directly ahead, the water falls away into the void dragging your ship with it!
OH! The SUSPENSE!
Kzrira begins firing at the interloping tentacles though it isn't clear that anything short of hacking them apart will do much. Varkata reaches Amir grabbing the old rogue from the jaws of the dead cachalot as a pair of writhing tentacles reach for her. Just as it looks like her luck has run out, Gen darts in releasing the spell charged her by her master. One of the great sucker-lined tentacles strikes the priestess like a fleshy wave and clutches at her threatening to drag her into the dark sea, but Varkata slips from the slimy grasp like a greased pig.
Varkata casts fly and glides over to the dead whale's corpse. Just as she touches down, a half dozen tentacles as wide as the powerfully built half-orc's thigh whip over the edges of the floating whale grabbing at the dead mass and anything else in the vicinity!
long camping weekend, I'll be back Mon.
The Accidental God's luck shines for Varkata and Amir as the continued barrage of divine blade and deadly arrows finally take their toll; spouting red foam, the cachalot dies leaving Amir to hang limply from its jaws. The great sea monster flats a short distance from the galley though and will require a leap of faith so to speak for the priestess to reach her dying companion.
jump or fly or something to reach Amir~approx 10 ft. .
huh, don't think i realized that spirit weapons get expanded crit modifiers. doesn't seem fair to priests that get some stupid weapon like a mace...
Varkata rushes to the galley's railing to try and aid her companion, but the great beast jerks just beyond her black flame wreathed blade. The glittering sword of her Lord however, drives into the mad whale's head obviously causing it some pain. Kzrira continues shooting arrow after arrow into the animal. Still it lives bleeding from near a dozen nicks and wounds. Karathas calls his genie ally as he locates a spell on the golden fleece cloak he wears.
Amir gets intimately familiar with the cachalot's dentition: the long cone-shaped teeth only occur on the lower jaw interestingly and fit into sockets in the upper jaw when they aren't lodged in old rogue flesh. The luckless prince of thieves gets further masticated while he struggles not to slide down the monster's gullet.
Karethas sends another flurry of force bolts against the great whale which barely seems perturbed by the continuous pecking by its minuscule prey. The oars on the undamaged side of the galley continue pulling causing the ship to start spinning. Only waving rows of splintered poles remain on the damaged side.
The whale now turns its great head back toward the ship and lunges over the side catching up Amir in a long toothy jaw! Amir-35 bite, grappled
Varkata is knocked off her feet, but quickly recovers and sends a shard of force shaped like a rapier to jab at the great behemoth. Kzrira and Amir keep their balance and maintain their assault. Half a dozen arrows now stick out of various parts of the blubbery flesh, most deep enough to pain the creature. Amir's short blades have a harder time cutting deep enough. Golnar cuts a bit deeper though it no longer burns or feels as powerful as it was just a few days before.
Yes, Amir. I did set this up before with the spiero encounter in the mausoleum...
Sheik Voodoo wrote:
Bow always at hand, Kzrira immediately begins firing at the great whale. Two arrows seem to plunge deep enough to injure it. Amir leaps forward as the sea monster scrapes down the hull of the ship. Drawing Sholeh and Golnar, he is momentarily confused when Sholeh is engulfed in flame rather than the bronze sword, but quickly stabs at the beast's eye which rolls madly as it gazes over the rail.
Karethas grabs the mast to steady himself as the ship bucks and with a flick of his hand sends a volley of flashing missiles into the colossal creature. The cachalot turns and smashes its heavy tail into the side of the galley once again sending a shudder through the vessel as oars are shattered and boards crack.
DC 15 acrobatic check or fall prone.
There is no chance that the lost helmsman would be able to move apace with the speeding ship. Of more concern is the approaching darkness. Kzrira orders the others to prepare for a gale though there is little to tie down other than themselves. The gray now fills the horizon, but strangely, no wind is felt. The danger instead comes from below.
The sea next to the ship suddenly rises in a frothing surge as an enormous blunt-headed whale breaches the surface. With a bellow, it hurls its glistening gray and white mass against the side of your ship with a shuddering crash!
Amir 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
Karethas 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Kzrira 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Varkata 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
foe 1d20 ⇒ 15
Actually, 3rd Ed brought me back. I drifted away from AD&D in the 90's- 2nd Ed just seemed to be getting more and more baroque. D&D 3 was fantastic until Hasbro's corporate greed scrooed it up. PF is basically 3rd Ed with a lot of stuff that I had already house ruled and even more brilliant stuff I would have never thought of :)
Varkata Steeleye wrote:
It's what's called "clever use of spells". Besides, really, how scared should we be of an encounter that could have been ended with a hydraulic push? ;)
at least hydraulic push respects CMD. That's my main prob- the ongoing reflex saves seem really off. As written, a stone golem with a CMB +24 and pitiful +3 ref save doesn't stand a chance against a ball of water... that's just goofy. It really should allow a break grapple, though I'd allow the caster a +5 bonus or something to the DC. AqOrb is prob better than grasping hand which is a L7 spell.
In a couple of hours, any trace of land has disappeared behind the fleet galley and all is open water around you. The only indication of direction is the gathering darkness to the south which the galley is speeding towards. Kzrira, having had a little experience with ships as a child, recalls that galleys are not particularly built for rough water and open seas.
Kzrira reacts quickly drawing her bow and aiming an arrow at the giant though it is likely it will do little against a being of magical brass. Nonetheless, she never finds out as the clever wizard conjures a rolling wave that grabs up the Helmsman and tosses it overboard.
The galley speeds on southward around the desert island of Khandawal and heading out into the open sea.
Karethas ibn Faradin wrote:
Once everyone is healed, Karethas carefully cracks the egg on one of the ship's railing.
I've got Karethas down 9? Doesn't look like spells cast are crossed off either... sure, blame the baby ; )
Color slowly returns to the world while the adventurers talk and Varkata cures most of their injuries. Somewhat better prepared for whatever may come next, Karethas takes the strange shifting egg and taps it against the rail.
The egg breaks and the air around it ripples like a mirage over hot desert ground. A glowing green protoplasm drips down, stretching and elongating like a serpent it writhes and then sinks into the deck. The ship suddenly jerks forward as the long oars pull accelerating the living galley away from the Isle of the Dead.
Not all is well however, the big brass helmsman seems the struggle with the rudder as if the ship is no longer under its control. Suddenly, it gives up and the ram-headed construct silently moves toward you with its heavy metal hands clenched into fists.
Amir 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Karethas 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
Kzrira 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Varkata 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
foe 1d20 ⇒ 10
Kzrira disembarks onto the monochrome pier and approaches the object left by the bird. It's a large white egg. It doesn't look dangerous, but as Kzrira picks it up, it begins shifting through shades of gray and though its size remains the same, its weight keeps changing.
Only the message inscribed upon it remains the same- The Isles of Not do not lie in any Sea, but are islands nonetheless. They are long forgotten, yet they can be found by any who look within.
Amir's query is cut off by a strange occurrence; suddenly all color fades from the world around you. Sky, sea, grass and golden galley become shades of black and white. An albatross in its usual black and white though its beak is now only gray, soars down and then clumsily lands on the pier. It whistles and clatters its beak as if to get your attention before it runs all the way down the pier before finally getting enough wind under its wings to get aloft and soar high into the sky once again. You note that it has left something behind.
The skull laughs again. "Ah, you're listening better young wizard, but missing the true meaning. The Isle of Not is Not an Isle or even a place, at least in Kakishon. You can command the galley to take you there, but I doubt it will work. I suspect that the Proteans are already aware of you and will let you know how to reach them when they are ready."
With that, the great brass doors of the tomb swing shut once again. You move back down the hill through the monuments and dead trees to the pier where your shining galley awaits. As predicted, the ram-headed helmsman does not respond to the commanded destination of 'Isles of Not'.
The floating dragon skull nods. "I will wish you good luck then. Before you go, I have some things that may be of use. I certainly do not need them. They are offerings left from long ago." The horned skull drifts down toward the dais and a hidden door opens and a chest floats out to settle once again in front of you. Within are two wands: one of marble and one fashioned from gold and lapis lazuli. There is also a small jade box filled with sticks of rare incense, an opal pendant, and 100 platinum coins from ancient Nex.
"The wands hold spells of stone shape and restoration respectively. They are the most valuable objects in my little hoard. Keep them close. They may save your life. Now good luck once again. I have quite enjoyed your company."
I'm not the jealous type.
Varkata Steeleye wrote:
Though considering the pounding we've been taking, I think I almost have to go Vindicator just in self-defense... and certainly wouldn't mind a few levels to take the PrC for a real test spin, as it were.
Holy Vindicator? As in the "I'm going to bleed all over you" PrC? Ah, it warms a DMs heart to hear that you feel the fights have been challenging : )
TO be fair, you're at about APL+2 now... but there is a level up drawing nigh. Those skeletons were really vague in description and the OGC site had them as skeleton warriors = the old FF lich warriors with that gold circlet thing. I don't think that was right and I had to balance them out on the fly.
I'm just waiting to see if Karethas has anything... and then do we have a definite destination?
The voice takes a weary tone. "What you do is your own decision. I offer no counsel. I died long ago and the wait for Nex has been tiresome, but I was created here and cannot leave. I would honestly welcome the bliss of oblivion should the Proteans win out and destroy what they have made. If Nex should one day return and I have gone, I trust he can remake me to serve him again."
"A nice sentiment, but you've already seen all that remains of Andrathi; he is that dark stain upon the doors of the mausoleum. Jhavhul and his soldiers finally caught up with the wizard here. Andrathi put up a good fight, but finally fell to the efreeti warlord's fury. At least he did not suffer. I suppose that cat is all that remains of him now."
The dragon falls quiet for a long moment as it considers Kzrira's question. "I don't know for sure. I have heard it said that some cats may have ties to the world of dreams. Former familiars often lose most of their special powers when their wizard dies, but the Well of Tears was meant to serve as a point of contact to whomever is buried on this island. I suppose it is possible that Spooky retains a connection to his lost master through it and contacted you on his behalf."
The skull moves back and forth in something approximating a shaking head. "Ah, is that the reward they have promised? Not by themselves, but shaitan are great inventors. If they captured a Protean, it certainly might be possible. I doubt the shaitan want to leave Kakishon honestly. From what you have said, they are focused on contesting who will rule it."
Karethas begins to feel that he really should have stayed in school...
"Good questions," the big skull says enthusiastically. "I really am enjoying this conversation."
"This grand tomb was to be the mausoleum of Nex the archwizard. As you can see, he is not interred here. The true fate of Nex after his final confrontation with Geb is unknown even to this day, but if dead he is, his resting place is far from here."
"While it is true that Nex hated Geb the Necromancer, it is not quite true that he hated that science itself. I, unfortunately fell in battle with the great Eater of Magic. Nex was distraught at my death for we were close companions. He returned me to the semblance of life as a wyrmskull guardian to watch and await until the time that he might return to rest."
"They are bound here more than any other by their contracts, but I expect they could simply unmake the part of Kakishon around you and free you from this place. They likely would not stop there though... They would seek to destroy it all and begin again."
"The Proteans exist in the mist-realm beyond the edge of the world, a place, if you could call it that, known as the Isles of Not."
The flames in the skull's eye sockets twinkle with amusement. "Invited perhaps, though that changed quickly. Nex cannot take full credit for Kakishon. Even Nex’s magical might was not sufficient to the task of world-shaping such as this. A tiny demiplane might be created by any of a handful of archwizards, but this was to be something more. Not just a world within the palm of his hand, but one that could be reshaped and reformed at a whim, to be anything and everything he desired."
"To create this malleable reality, he enlisted the aid of one of the ancient creator races, the Proteans, the embodiment of pure chaos. Only they could create and sustain the mutable universe he desired. The Proteans were intrigued by the project and readily agreed, relishing the chance to test their skills and the extent of their powers, to create and shape and form and destroy and recreate yet again, over and over, and their creations delighted Nex, successively approximating his grand vision."
"Finally, the archwizard was satisfied and the Proteans made ready to leave, only to discover they could not. They were trapped within the world they had created. They sought to tear down the world they had made to find it would not unravel. Nex had bound their services with the aid of shaitan genies, the most devious legalists throughout the planes. The proteans happily signed the agreements, with no intention of honoring them any further than they wished; in their mind, the foolishness was that of anyone who expected them to abide by such agreements. They did not know that those genie-wrought contracts had been reinforced with Nex’s magic, and every creation and recreation of the mapworld of Kakishon had only bound them more and more tightly to the will of Nex."
"They remain inside and outside the map, but I would be very cautious dealing with them. They are not evil, no. It is something else- wild and unpredictable. They won't recognize any alliance long and you must be forewarned that Creation and Destruction are one and the same to them."
Kzrira Maiwith wrote:
"Exactly! Rigged the scroll to become a one-way portal after a major disruption that snared Jhavhul and most of his efreet army. I don't think Andrathi expected to be caught as well or maybe he did and sacrificed himself for his love."
Kzrira Maiwith wrote:
The skull laughs again. "Oh no. No devils. Efreet are bad enough! There are other outsiders here, but they're about as different from devils as you can get."
Kzrira Maiwith wrote:
You knew Andrathi? Is this kitten truly the familiar of Andrathi? It seems to have taken a bit of a liking to me, and I likewise to it.
"Yes, Spooky. The cat's name is Spooky and he's not a kitten anymore. Andrathi was very interesting. I quite enjoyed our talks. It is unfortunate that they were cut short by Jhavhul's aggression. I frankly see little difference between efreet and devils- both are cruel and vindictive. I did NOT appreciate their presence here though to give Andrathi credit, it was a brilliant plan to get rid of them had not he fallen afoul of his own trap."
Fire flashes in the sockets of the great skull as it laughs again. "Dilix and Obherak. Yes, I know them: mere house servants and they bicker over who will rule Kakishon? I don't know if I'd call either evil. Conniving at worse. And what have they offered you in exchange for your service?"
The cat returns to rub against Kzrira's legs.
The skull drifts lower though yet hovers some ten feet over the bone dust upon the floor. "By 'former inhabitants', I assume you mean that the efreet have been freed. Good riddance. I have very little experience with them other than their assault on my friend, Andrathi. He was the only interesting visitor I had to interrupt my long internment. *sigh* Good riddance! I will gladly offer what counsel I may though you will have to be more specific."
The damaged skeletons are no match for another volley of blunted arrows. It takes two shots to finish one of them, but in the end all fall before they can reach Amir.
The tomb is filled with the sound of ghostly applause. "Outstanding!" cheers the dragon skull. "I have no more tests. I am Venema Shodair, dragonfriend of the might Nex. Congratulations on your victory. Only one lost, that is unfortunate, but you overcame the Speiro. I am pleased. Tell your tale and tell your needs, friends. What counsel or assistance can I give?”
I believe it is ER 5 fire. You should put it in your defense stats. Also dragon skull is hovering 20-some feet up in the dome above.
Amir 'flips' out and tumbles past the bone guards to leap upon the now empty dais and yell random threats. The burning brass dragon skull chuckles above. "Well now, you are doing fine! You have evened the odds and then some. You are not quite as intellectually interesting as my last guest, but quite the combatants. You may do well against the efreet scum."
The three remaining skeleton continue assailing Varkata who is tiring before the unflagging undead. Two strike, one a grievous wound. Varkata-11,5+ 5,2 fire. I think she may be down now?
EDIT:Actually, I think Varkata is at -1 after the first hit. If so, the skeletons turn to chase Amir.
Another skeleton corroded by holy energy shatters under Kzrira's barrage. Hanging between wyrmskull and tooth warriors, Karethas casts a hastening spell which rallies the troops. Varkata releases another radiant wave that further blackens and pits the shining brass covered bones of the three metal-plated myrmidons.