|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
I believe the point of Sirocco, or how I used it my first time, is more for high tier. She saves it for after the Div comes (who casts Waves of Fatigue on its first round to act) so if they then fail the Sirocco save they're exhausted.
I'm not sure of Sinuhotep being the MVP, the first time I saw this run it was Torch. The bard who hated him was suffocating, he pulled a scroll of dispel out of his backpack and rolled a 25 on the CL check to dispel, saving him.
The bard was not amused.
Voros, from what you can tell even without magical assistance these vials are filled with pure distilled magic in a shifting form. You wouldn't be surprised to find this stuff in the veins of Nethys himself, and it's quite likely the side effect of the disease. The magic being pulled out of people when they trigger the effect.
However, it's not a cure. You think with the lab here you might be able to make one, but you need more information about how to do it and how it works.
also note you can make a second check during movement to perform different maneuvers listed in the crb. Evasive is common as it boosts our AC by two, but there are a few others that come up sometimes as well. When I get a decent science roll I'll be able to learn about the ship for us to decide positioning better.
Magot and I talked in private and we're good, but he'd rather not continue with the game. Which I understand since he wasn't having fun. I did take some advice from him on setting this up for PbP and I'm going to make a few changes on how I run the final encounter to make sure it goes smoothly as a take away.
I'll give you your roll results tonight Voros when I'm not on my phone and have my prep on hand.
-I understood the hazard to act on your turns, and thought it best to simplify it by having it act at he start of the turn for pbp instead.
I won't be doing any further hidden rolls this scenario, it's something I do regularly locally as my players trust me as to when and why I do it to liven things up. I shouldn't have assumed that trust on here where I am not established and I apologize that you didn't appreciate that style of running. I'll keep that in mind in the future to be clear to players when running. If I made other mistakes I apologize as this is a complicated scenario and I've spent a lot of time prepping it.
So I've run this so far (Once at normal speed, and currently through PbP), and I'm planning to do it one more time live. I made the mistake of not warning players way ahead of time that this scenario breaks a lot of the rules.
I've also been rolling the initial save against Fading Light in secret, as I feel like it should be a surprise the first time it triggers and I wanted to avoid spoilers and ruining the thematic surprise of the horror of the disease.
I think in the future I need to preface the whole scenario with a warning that it does break the rules, bad things will happen, and that I do make some rolls in secret, because I've had a player feel he doesn't wish to continue the scenario because of the disease and the fact I made the roll for him.
And thanks Matt, I didn't do the flashing of each jewel previously or had it done when I played it, just that they all flash at the start of her turn. I think I'll change it up next time around to give the players a more clear idea of what's going on.
1d2 ⇒ 2
Qilfobber: I need a DC 27 fort save vs disease or take 2 negative levels. Your spell still complete.
Qilfobber begins to cast his spell and experiences the same gutwrenching pain Magor suffered earlier as something from the spell rips itself directly from his fingers. There is now a small presence in the room either way, and the unseen servant wanders into the laboratory shuffling through fallen papers, items, vials, and alchemical equipment.
It becomes obvious as it stirs up the room that there's enough supplies in here to work as an alchemy lab, and it used to be a very advanced one before equipment was damaged by time. Nothing jumps out or surprises the magical thing, nor are any unfortunate surprises triggered.
Qil, I will assume you direct it to search about, and there's no actual DC for this, so...
During its search you find notes written in Ancient Osiriani amongst all the dust.(Please see the Handout in the link),
Further searching reveals that in one of the cabinets the servant finds a vial containing a clear viscous fluid that spontaneously crystallizes into fractally complex formations before melting back to a liquid state. You also see that in addition to the vials being numbered #1-40, the metal cannister in the corner happens to be labeled #14.
I rolled the save for you, because you are not suppose to know immediately what's going on when you enter the room, and to be a bit more upfront the disease has variable DCs depending on each of you. You're not suppose to know you even have it until the first time you trigger it. It's one of the major threats of the scenario.
It's actually the entire point of the middle section of the scenario.
This scenario breaks a lot of the rules as well, the first combat is not the only time this happens. If you are not comfortable with that then this may not be the scenario for you because it does get a lot worse in that regard because it's written specifically to do so.
I understand if me rolling the save in secret isn't for you and if our styles just might clash, and I'm sorry I didn't meet your expectations. This is a common thing I will do, even in live games by checking player character sheets when there are saves or other checks that need to be made for things players are not suppose to be aware of the same as collecting perception modifiers to stealth and similar issues.
Roland takes a quick glance into the southern room, but you don't see too much else without stepping inside to search through the clutter. You do note that all the vials along the southern wall are numbered from 1 to 40. And Brutus, you see no overt signs of evil coming from either room using your paladin gaze.
Grandmaster Torch spends some time considering each room from the doorway, looking vaguely lost as he digs into his own mind to see what he knows. He eventually frowns while staring to the south. "There is where Tahari would create new diseases before taking them somewhere else to test them. From what I recall this was her primary laboratory."
As for the north, he seems somewhat hesitant to even enter the room, though he hides it well. "Tahari performed tests on memory and personality preservation in here. It's not surprise she'd think of something that... melodramatic. Though I can see the pragmatism of it. She bound subjects near the device and drained their minds, and I see her pausing to take notes and record the changes in their personas with each lost piece. I can almost hear the whining of their sad little spirits trapped in there, such a waste of potential."
Magor: I'm going to say that take at least 10 minutes. This place was build tough and to last, but all the shaking is weakening the stability so you can probably tear it up enough to count in that time.
Qil, you spend a little time tinkering with the enchantments on the room and think you've managed to shut down the safety protocols. Whenever someone decides test it out, maybe by shoving a friend in first, you don't immediately find yourselves being decontaminated.
You find on the other side of this chamber a split path with two options. I'm going to toss in the descriptions of both rooms, since you can see into either. Just let me know where you guys want to go as a party.
A soupy, viscous fluid covers the floor of this pillared chamber. Arcane runes form three distinct horizontal bands on each pillar, the first third glowing green, the second blue, and the top third red. Tattered, dusty remnants of clothing fill niches in the walls.
As Qilfobber kneels down to inspect the room he does find something similar to a trap. Based on the sign you found earlier this is likely the cleansing room as from what you can tell it runs through a decontamination sequence if anyone with a disease passes through. It casts increasingly drastic spells on them after magically closing the room off, but you can't determine what those spells are beyond the fact that if the earlier efforts fail it eventually becomes violent and simply attempts the clear the room. The entire effect takes approximately half a minute.
You'd start casting, I'd ask you to make a fort save as you did it, then if you failed you'd have a bad time. I'll let you try your re-roll if you like, since PbP is weird.
Torch looks at Roland a moment, the hums softly to himself and stares about. He seems completely unconcerned with what is happening to Magor, and maybe even rolled his eyes at the 'antics.'
"Not directly. This place is the entrance to a research lab, though. I see a lot of scared peasants in chains passing through this entryway. And based on what the pillar says, they were likely test subjects. It could have to do with that."
1d2 ⇒ 2
Magor begins to cast a spell to investigate the dust. As you do so something feels wrong, starting as a subtlety off sensation that quickly builds into a wrenching pain tearing throughout your body. It's as if the magic you're trying to form is ripped from your fingertips.
As the spell finishes you are left drained, as if a bit of you is lost.
You take 2 negative levels after you cast Detect Magic. Do you still want to try and cast Detect Poison? Meta-gaming you rolled a 20 so you'll be fine, but Magos might not want to risk it in character.
Torch bows with a small grin playing across his face and motions for the party to lead on after confirming plans with the other sages. Sinuhotep and Tahonikepsu disappearing down one path while Amenopheus and Dhiara move off on their own as well before your group departs.
"I must say, I'm quite delighted to have the chance to work with old friends again." The scarred sage offers offhandedly as you go.
6d20 ⇒ (13, 5, 9, 5, 17, 3) = 52
You approach a door leading further into the section you are to search, as you open it foul air rushes out, dousing you in a fine, dry collection of sand and dust. Beyond you find a hub. This small, circular chamber serves as an intersection, with hallways departing to the north, west, and east, and stairs leading upward to the south. A faintly glowing inscription of hieroglyphic writing spirals out from a round stone pillar carved with similar markings in an ancient script.
Ancient Orisiani on the pillar:
North - Doorway to Oblivion
East - South Archive, Waste Disposal, North Archive, Slave Pits, Incubation Chambers
South - Central Chambers
West - North to Cleansing Room and Memory Extraction, South to Plague Laboratory
To the west you see diverging paths, the southern leading to an observation port with a view into the next room. There is writing on the floor here.
“Within frail flesh lie ideas, and they can transform the world.”
Torch waves his hand in front of his face, brushing away the air in dust as he frowns in serious consideration. "I feel as though you tried your best, but perhaps be more careful. It's fine, I shall help you avoid any mistakes. I'm a bit worried about what you all just let out of there, though. You should really figure it out." Finished berating you, he then snaps his head to the side to stare at something in the room, wincing his eyes after several silent moments. There's a small shake of his head as he recovers. "Hmm, as I expected. Since we're drawing closer to the source of our problem I'm getting flashes and impressions of Tahari's memories."
"If you like, I believe I could try searching them for useful information on the different rooms as we visit them."
New map is up. All of you and Torch have been placed on it.
The first wand appears to be a Wand of Restoration with 4 charges, the second wand is a wand of Cure Moderate Wounds with 10 charges. The Khopesh is a +2 weapon named Fortune's Moon... or is it?
Going to leave this spoiler here in case anyone else wants to try and ID the blade. I'm posting the next transition, but please feel free to take any other actions you want for recovery now or in the next scene, there's no sudden rush. I am tracking time from this point on, but the timer doesn't start until you actually enter the next map.
Spellcraft Khopesh DC 32:
This weapon is actually a damaged Luckblade, and could be repaired to provide the full function of one.
As you descend the stairs and enter the tunnels you see that the walls are hewn stone. The ceilings are 15 feet high in corridors and 20 feet high in rooms you pass. The magical illumination failed long ago, leaving the rooms dark. The occasional flicker of energy or sputtering light from faded torches only serves to distract you.
The shifting and rising of the settlement has revealed hidden passages within the complex. The sages agree to split into teams to search for a site tied to the necromancer where they can best perform Amenopheus’ ritual. They again give you the choice to choose one of their own to travel with you as you explore the ruins.
Tahonikepsu assigns you to explore down one path with your chosen companion. The group prepares to separate when the structure rumbles as the ancient wards continue to shift the sunken town toward the surface. Amenopheus calls everyone’s attention before the groups part and states” I suspect we have only a few hours—perhaps as many as 6 but I would prefer to assume 4 to be safe—before this forced raising of these ruins causes irreparable damage and the facility collapses on itself. So no one dally, and don’t lose track of the time.”
Who is your sage of choice?
Liam (-5 NL)
2d20 ⇒ (12, 10) = 22
Brutus shuns the lich's reluctant aid and simply wraps his own hands around the undead's mouth, pinning it shut and in place as it struggles to get free and take another bite of the half-orc. All the struggling proves for not as a pair of arrows slam into one of the arms, ripping it free of the skeletal body before a pair of massive electrical surges collide into it.
Sparks fly from every piece of sinew before they begin burning away and the creature crumbled to the ground in a vile heap. Brutus and Magor stand over the defeated foe with every hair on their bodies standing on end from the electricity still dancing in the air.
Voros finds the air beneath his feet suddenly loses all solidity and drops to back in the sand nearby while the other collect themselves. The constant waves of hunger fade, but much of the party still feel utterly famished as you gather yourselves together.
Having defeated the undead here and disabled the monolith, the remaining undead disperse or crumble back to the ground. The other sages return, Torch and Dhiara are bearing some marks of battle but largely unharmed. Amenopheus's robes have been apparently scorched by his own fireballs, but while his face is serious you see the spark of excitement in his eyes. Finally, the dragon that is Tahonikepsu lumbers lazily back, looking pleased with herself as she shifts back down into her human form, where she continues to look rather content with the results of the fighting.
They give you some time to fix yourselves up from the fight while they discuss where to go next. After conferring briefly, they use the sage jewels to guide them to a hidden vault, revealing a stone staircase leading down into a dark, cold passage where they settle down to prepare themselves as well.
Heal Check DC 15:
Those who are fatigued with non-lethal damage need to eat something before the hunger fades and they can cure the fatigue or heal their injuries.
Heal Check DC 22:
Liam, Roland, and Magor have Ghoul Fever. Not an immediate threat, but it will have to be handled by the end of the adventure.
Perception DC 27 to Search:
Searching the area you manage to find a pair of wands and a khopesh free of any rust or wear.
Liam (-2, -10 NL, Fatigued, Diseased)
Gos B: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (8) + 22 = 30
Damage: 2d8 + 10 ⇒ (6, 7) + 10 = 23
Grab: 1d20 + 30 ⇒ (17) + 30 = 47
Claws: 2d20 ⇒ (3, 9) = 12
Reflex DC 27: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Aura DC 24: 2d6 ⇒ (3, 2) = 5
As the monstrosity clamps its jaw down upon Liam's arm he screams out the final arcane word and makes the beast regret its choice. A surge of electricity runs down the length of its body and it recoils with a thunderous roar of rage.
While it's distracted Magor slips through the earth, exploding up behind it with a shower of stone and dirt going in every direction. The blunt pieces of earth prove extremely effective against the brittle bones of the giant.
Brutus likewise manages to slip past the creature's attention and attempts to slam a fist into one of its joints, but his fist merely clips the creature and slides right past during the chaos. He doesn't quite manage to land a solid hit.
Despite Brutus being far from the most devastating to it, his sheer holy presence combined with the gall to try and punch it in the leg gets the undead's attention. Teeth and claw tear gaping wounds into the paladin monk, and even with his nimble movements it manages to clamp down firmly with its teeth, ready to devour him.
Sinuhotep continues to act quickly, casting a spell and dashing up behind Brutus to tap him on the shoulder. The powerful orc drops free of the undead jaws as his movements become unstoppable. "I'm not particularly fond of you either, but I intend for us to get along today."
I need another DC24 fort save from everyone, failure causes 5 non-lethal and the fatigue status.
Combat Round 4
Big Thing (-98)
Bolded characters may act!
Qil Save DC 20: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Liam Save DC 21: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Gos B: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (6) + 22 = 28
Qilfobber sends a massive jolt of electricity through the humongous skeleton, and in a scene out of a Michael Bay movie the reaction is excessive. The far side of it explodes outwards for no visible reason as sparks dance along it, and skeleton bits rain down across the sands.
Liam attempts to set up a second flashing strike of electricity, but the creature's long neck snaps out and it takes a bite out of him as he tries to finish his spell. How well can he focus under the onslaught?
I need a DC 25 concentration check for being hit while casting, Liam.
Voros has proven a master at using his bombs, but his gift with the bow is less impressive when his holy water doused arrow sails off into the distance. There's a faint sound of a burned sage yelping in surprise coming from far off.
Despite his greater practice with the bow, Roland doesn't fair much better. All but one of his arrows harmlessly bounce off its bony hide, but one finds purchase just barely, jangling within an eye socket. Sadly the sharpened edge of the arrow doesn't seem to be able to crack a single bone.
You didn't feel your favored bonus activating, Roland. It doesn't move like a construct to you.
Combat Round 3
Big Thing (-49)
Bolded characters may act!
Mon Plus: 6d6 ⇒ (5, 4, 6, 2, 6, 1) = 24
Gos B: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (3) + 22 = 25
Gos B: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (1) + 22 = 23
Aura DC 24: 2d6 ⇒ (6, 1) = 7
As Roland rushes to help bring down the monolith the large undead snaps out, its bizarrely long neck letting it take a bite out of the ranger in passing. It then advances on the poor, paralyzed dwarf, and manages to to sate its hunger again, teeth gaining enough purchase that it looks like it's going to eat him as a bite-sized snack. "This is beginning to become somewhat of a nuisance, but you all seem to be doing passably well." Sinuhotep mutters to himself before approaching Magos and touching him with another of his spells, which causes the dwarf to be able to move and slip right out of the huge undead's clutches.
Brutus and Roland quickly continue their powerful assault against the monolith, causing cracks to form down the center. It looks both ready to crumble and about to release yet another necrotic blast as its last sputtering gasp. However, small Qilfobber elbows aside their knees and gets his hands on the vile thing, and with quick fingers causes something to change. With a burst of positive energy the large crack splinters into finer and finer breaks until the whole thing collapses into dust.
With the destruction of the monolith the endless field hands lose their grip on Liam and fall limply to the earth. They no longer seem a threat, but the whole area looks like a twisted necromancer's farm.
The positive energy washes over the party, restoring much of your wounds. Those of you who are fatigued also feel horribly famished, starving even, and the cramping in your stomach is nearly overwhelming.
At the same time Voros acts quickly, doing what is becoming clear he does best as fire reigns down around the party. He notices these groups of undead are particularly weak to his attacks and the first two explosions immolate the pack crawling all over his teammates. His other two prove equally destructive and utterly demoralize the second group as well. Before anyone can do much else undead start scattering in every direction in a moment of sheer chaos.
The Lich has already acted for the previous round, and this round he's going to free Magor from his paralysis, since that's the bigger concern. As for the monolith questions, you guys have done the right thing!
Everyone needs to give me DC 24 Fort saves again or take another 7 non-lethal damage. You all remain fatigued either way if you already are, and you note the healing that you received has not touched your non-lethal damage from before.
Combat Round 2
Combat Round 3
Bolded characters may act!
Rotting, Grasping hands CMB: 4d20 ⇒ (17, 12, 10, 12) = 51
Ghasts: 6d6 ⇒ (2, 3, 6, 2, 1, 6) = 20 +4
Aura DC 24: 2d6 ⇒ (4, 1) = 5
Breath DC 24: 12d6 ⇒ (6, 3, 2, 2, 5, 4, 3, 1, 3, 3, 4, 4) = 40
The ground continues to reach and grab for all of you. Voros dances up ghostly steps to avoid claws reaching through sand and stone alike. Roland's remaining magic causes any rotten hands to slide off of him and Brutus simply muscles his way past any hold they may have. Liam, Magor, and Qilfobber prove far less lucky as their horrible grasp begins to drag them down once more.
Sinuhotep acts instantly, largely ignoring what's happening around him to reach out and touch Qilfobber with a quickly chanted spell, gaining him freedom of movement and releasing him from the hold of the arms.
Voros join in with brutalizing the monolith, but his explosive touch is not as effective as he'd like, waves of licking flame fading to show a scorched but standing stone structure. It continues to hum and the eery light builds upon it once more.
Some of the undead threatening your efforts to handle the monolith have slipped past the onslaught of the sages and are swarming towards you. Dhaira and Torch hold back larger undead, but groups of smaller ones leak through and congregate in masses heading for you. Amenopheus's raging fireballs decimate the south with a cadence of explosions, but something larger and more resistant makes its way through. To the north you hear the gleeful roars of a dragon amusing itself.
The two particularly large packs of the shambling dead surge forward not only along the ground, but appear to be scrambling across the ghostly apparitions of ancient buildings as they bear down upon you. They quickly overtake the group and begin biting and tearing at each of you in turn. Their teeth and bones simply snap when they try to bite your lich friend.
If those threats weren’t enough one last lumbering mass approaches, with the bones and skulls of countless smaller creatures dribbling from the joints and rib cage of a massive skeleton. As it approaches waves of unrelenting hunger ripple through your bodies and it lets out a vile breath of bones, ichor, and rotting flesh that slams into Magor, Voros, and Brutus.
Everyone except Voros needs to make a DC 24 Fort save or become fatigued and take 5 Non-lethal damage
Everyone except for Voros and Qilfobber needs to make a DC 20 Fort save or become paralyzed
And everyone except for Brutus needs to make a DC 19 Fort save vs disease
By every 5 you beat a knowledge check you may ask one question. Keep it vague (Defenses, special attacks, etc) unless you want something specific and you'll get more info.
Mass of Undead Knowledge Religion DC 22:
This is a Horde of Ghasts. You know it is a chaotic evil mass of medium sized undead. For every 5 you beat the DC you may ask additional questions.
Large, Drippy Skeleton Knowledge Religion DC 28:
This is a Gashudokuro, it is a neutral evil huge undead. They are known for their connection to hunger, both their own and for instilling it in those nearby. For every 5 you beat the DC you may ask additional questions.
Combat Round 2
Monolith and Ground (-61)
Bolded characters may act! Geeze this post took a while.
Yes, the damage from the monolith is negative energy.
With quick thinking Roland frees himself from the gripping hands while Qilfobber easily overcomes the nuisance to cast a spell that momentarily breaks everyone else loose of their predicament with a rush of arcane energy.
Magos rushes on, and is likely rather impressed with how quickly the others respond to his commands, most of the group suddenly in front of him rather than behind. In fact, by the time Liam finishes his spell they all seem to be rushing even -more- quickly.
Brutus finds that hitting big pieces of rock is easy to do, but every brutal punch is met with heavy resistance, his fists doing less damage than he'd hope.
Sinuhotep stays behind, getting some mental impression that he is the only one the group considered to help deal with the monolith. He quickly and easily casts a spell and moves through the field of hands unhindered. You notice the touch of the monolith's pulse seems to have invigorated him rather than wound him.
The other sages move off into the distance, heading in different directions. You see Amenopheus begin chanting before a ball of fire leaps into the massing threat, Tahonikepsu's disappearing form suddenly grow huge as a roar comes from her direction, Dhiara's quick feat have her in amongst the crowded figures before you can blink, and of course Torch is surprisingly full of gusto as he charges on with a hand reaching into that fabulous bag of his to hurl something that causes a distressingly loud explosion at a particularly large undead.
Combat Round 1
Monolith and Ground (-34)
Bolded characters may act!
Eventually, Tahonikepsu points out the village of Resa—now a flat stretch of desert, with a few scattered bricks the only sign of civilization. The wind whips up as a deep feminine voice telepathically announces, “Home again at last.” The ground shudders; then sand begins draining down unseen fissures and rising in plumes hundreds of feet high as buildings emerge from the desert. The sages realize the sage jewels are the source of the effect and hurriedly try to suppress it as the voice continues. “Young, old, war hero, or coward—all served the Plague, and the Plague served me.” In the village square, a basalt monolith suddenly looms amid an avalanche of humanoid bones. “Living flesh may rebel, but the dead are ever so obedient.” The bones twitch as a wave of unholy energy washes over the area. Sickly gray flame illuminates the bodies as the dead rise up.
Tahonikepsu cries out over rumbling earth, “Pathfinders, that monolith empowers the dead. One of us will aid you in disabling it while the others hold the creatures at bay.” The winds howl in response as spectral giants appear and disappear within the whirling sandstorm descending on the area. Those Sages you don't choose to aid you dash off into the sandstorm in different directions, ready to face off against the approaching horde.
Countless animate corpses lurk beneath the sands, grabbing at the living. And you all are very much alive. Roland, Voros, and Qilfobber find themselves too slow to dodge so many sticky fingers and feel the pain of digging nails as the hands start trying to pull them down into the sands.
There are arcane runes covering the basalt monolith. It emits waves of negative energy in regular pulses that wash over those who step too near. One of these pulses batters into all of you, ripping into your soul as effectively as the hands do your flesh.
Voros, you notice green tinted shapes beneath your feet behind the endless reaching arms. They seem to form the shapes of cobblestones and stairs, and the ground feels bizarrely solid to touch. You function as if you have air walk for the duration of this encounter. Fair warning on how high you go, it ends the moment this combat ends.
Welcome to initiative, the map has been updated and you are placed on it! You can pick a single sage to assist you as the others will rush off to deal with the monsters approaching.
Magor: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Voros: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
Roland: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
Liam: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Qilfobber: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
Brutus: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
Rotting, Grasping hands CMB: 6d20 ⇒ (6, 13, 14, 1, 13, 2) = 49
6d6 ⇒ (2, 3, 1, 5, 2, 2) = 15
Monolith Energy DC 20: 6d6 ⇒ (2, 1, 5, 6, 4, 3) = 21
Everyone - (21 Damage, DC 20 Will Save for half)
Monolith Knowledge Arcana DC 27:
This is an icon of undeath. It reacts to the presence of the living dead, healing them as it harms you.
Grasping Arms Knowledge Religion DC 19:
This is a grasping graves area. The arms attempt to grapple and drag down anything living they can get their clutches on.
Combat Round 1
Bolded characters may act!
If that's what you want, he'll just so happen to have expected you to forget to bring enough.
Brutus, as you eye up the Lich he seems to do so to you in return. Despite its relative blank expression you get less of the usual maniacal evil you'd expect from such a thing, and more a cold moroseness mixed with ancient guilt hiding behind the eyes before it turns to Qilfobber. "Everything I've been able to learn was already presented to Amenopheus to provide you with. Things have changed... much, since I last knew this area, it was a miracle we could find it." Dhiara adds apologetically, "Unfortunately, I'm relatively new to this role, so I haven't been able to offer much in preparation. Though I'll be helping every way I can to see it done, and not just for my own benefit." She displays some level of affection to everyone here, even the Lich and Torch.
Amenopheus holds up a hand to Voros. "You seem to be slightly confused, we are all going. All of the gems must be cleansed, which is why we agreed to bring Grandmaster Torch with us. Despite past grievances, he is a sage and has as much stake in seeing this done as the rest of us." He gives the former pathfinder a wry look with the difficulties already brewing, then sighs. "Do work together, or try to. That's my advice, we can all butt heads once this is done Mr. Roland. And just be careful, you're pathfinders, you know how to raid old ruins."
Torch tips an invisible hat towards Qilfobber. "Just a bit of fun with old friends, though I'm delighted you don't underestimate me." He makes a wave of the hand towards Voros and Brutus. "I'm glad that unlike them, you can let bygones be bygones, and I assure you that every bit of that devious manner is turned towards helping everyone here today. So yes, let us be off."
You proceed on foot toward the ruins of Resa. The sages travel alongside, many appearing lost in thought.
I am off to work, plot advancement towards fun times when I get home unless you have other things you wish to do with the sages.
Can you site where it says that for me Sebastian? I'm reading the combat rules and magic sections from the core rulebook, and all I'm seeing is that it takes 1 standard action to cast a spell, so it normally limits you to 1 spell a round.
If never explicitly states you can only cast 1 spell a round for any other reason besides that it takes a standard action, so if that limitation is broken I would operate on the assumption you can cast again.
I'm interpreting the intention to be that on the first round she chucks 3 spells at the party (Cloudkill, Glitterdust, Flaming Sphere), as being able to cast as a move action means she still have a standard to cast as well. Her tactics have her focusing on spells and avoiding her other abilities. I don't want to run this too hard or too easy, so I'd like to make sure I'm doing this fight right since it can be crazy and very complicated.
That would also mean certain abilities that provide extra standard actions such as the bard spell Heroic Finale wouldn't allow an extra spell casting, and the same with the Mystic Theurge Capstone ability.
Outside the pavilion, Tahonikepsu transforms into her true draconic form. She offers to transport Amenopheus and any you who wish a ride. Merab’s citizens shout and point in awe as the huge violet dragon launches into the air, soaring upward until the curvature of the world is visible and then down toward a long stretch of desert south of the Thuvian coast. As Tahonikepsu approaches over the sands, a small encampment comes into view along with a young elven woman and what appears to be an undead with a spark of intelligence in its eyes.
They introduce themselves after you land. The undead names itself as Sinuhotep, a lich and the amethyst sage. He appears stiff and distracted, rude by habit and lack of regular contact more than out of sheer arrogance. The elf names herself Dhiara the topaz sage. She seems lightly burdened, and though she has no weapons she states she is a paragon of the Osirian monastery of Tar-Kuata. Around her neck is a chain holding a holy symbol of Irori
Soon after, Grandmaster Torch arrives on a flying carpet to greet the other sages and the party. Hideous burns cover his body, and his wounds and eyes occasionally shimmer with a green hue in the light. He carries a handy haversack that holds 3,000 gold worth of potions, scrolls, and wands of the party’s choosing as an offer of… ‘good will’ he can pull things from at a moment’s notice. No matter what you ask for, he seems prepared for it. The former Pathfinder takes particular time greeting Voros, Qilfobber, and Magor. ”My dear friends, it’s been quite some time. It’s good to see you’ve continued to be so… ahem, active in assisting the sages.”
All of the three new sages offer you a chance to meet them and ask any pertinent questions you have.
Purchases are noted! Torch has a magical murder bag full of toys, think of it like a Pathfinder Agent's ability to just pull out whatever he needs that you can ask him to use whenever he is present.
Which brings us to our first mechanic. If you look at the handouts page I have revealed a section listing simplified stats for all the sages, as I will be giving you chances throughout the scenario to pick sages to assist you. This will give you an idea of what they are capable of, so you can choose who tags along when the time comes. I will be running them, if they have check boxes and cast spells, that's how many spells total they can cast during the adventure.
Amenopheus glances between each of you, and seeing as there seems to be no significant resistance to the idea of bringing Grandmaster Torch he puts away the letter and gives everyone a firm look. "I believe we all have similar sentiments about the man." His face turns understanding when he sets his eyes on Voros and Brutus. "But in this instance I expect we all shall temper our reactions, I don't want any 'accidents.' Don't attack the man unless he strikes first, we our allies and he is a sage for the duration of this mission." He nods to Magor's arrival and little addition to the briefing about Torch. Both sages politely let the dwarf have his moment.
Tahonikepsu then claps her hands together. "We shall be leaving shortly, and I shall carry everyone in my dragon form to our meeting site. From there we shall walk, since with the addition of the other sages I can't hold everyone even in my dragon form. So make any final preparations and we shall depart."
Now is your last chance to make any purchases you need to, and when I get off work tonight I shall push us on to the next part.
Amenopheus picks up the discussion again. "We need you for manpower to first search the sanctuary for the best place to perform the rites, as we expect the search area to be large. And to help us clear out any threats that might try to interrupt us."
"We will be performing the ritual ourselves as it will take the influence of the jewels to complete, but those of you with skills in the arcane could assist us and it will be appreciated." He pauses here, looking momentarily uncomfortable. "We have already asked the all other sages to meet us outside the city..." He sighs heavily. "And I do mean all of them."
Amenopheus produces a scroll sealed with purple wax stamped with a stylized swirl of smoke flame—one of the symbols associated with the Shadow Lodge. “Which brings us to the final matter. Grandmaster Torch, through disreputable means, now bears the emerald sage jewel. Torch requests the opportunity to contribute to our expedition in person and purify his jewel. He is untrustworthy, but allowing the gem to corrupt him holds its own dangers. He was an ally once; perhaps he could be again. As Pathfinders, you may know him best. Should we invite him to join our expedition?”
There's going to be love between Voros and Qilfobber!
Tahonikepsu will likewise nod to Voros, still faintly bemused by all the pleasantries most of the party is offering her. "I'm not the best person to answer that question, however..." She glances to the spirit of the dwarf.
Padrym frowns. “Aryana Tahari was a strange woman who spoke to unseen spectres more than to people. She had some involvement in developing of the Night Plague. Divs often accompanied her, as they did all the Usij. However, she treated them especially cruelly, and they despised her.” He pauses to mull a moment before continuing. "With that said, we could expect anything from spirits and undead to evil beings from other planes. Either way, her involvement in the Night Plague leads me to worry about the presence of disease anywhere she's been."
Additional information on the Night Plague
Knowledge History or Nobility DC 20:
The Pharaoh of Forgotten Plagues unleashed a terrible disease during his war with the Jistka Imperium that ravaged the Imperium’s leadership.
Knowledge History or Planes DC 25:
The Usij captured a Jistkan efreeti commander, transformed him into a ghul infected with the plague, and sent him back to his homeland. The disease specifically targeted the Imperium’s royal bloodline, causing a breakdown in society from which the Imperium never recovered.
Knowledge History or Planes DC 30:
There were unconfirmed reports of immunities to the Night Plague, and the pharaoh commanded the Usij to craft a second, more deadly disease.
The trio of sages seem slightly flustered by the sudden shifting of bodies, and watch the departure of Balooo with mixed expressions of chagrin on their faces. Amenopheus leans closer to Tahonikepsu and whispers loudly. "Did he just trick us into giving him a free teleport here?" The diamond sage glances to her peer and shrugs helplessly before addressing the party.
"Thank you for coming Roland and Liam... it seems some last minute needs had to be filled for the mission, and since you were both at the lodge we thought you'd both be as agreeable as you are to dealing with necromancers." Tahonikepsu then turns to Brutus to answer his question. "The Usij are a scattered group of cultists who worship Ahriman and the divs. They do not function as a unified organization, and members range from maniacs seeking destruction to the wicked and power-hungry. They were more widespread and acted openly in the past, serving in the courts of kings and pharaohs until the Sarenite faith drove them into hiding."
The spirited dwarf waits politely for the diamond sage to finish before picking up the conversation to respond to Qilfobber. "We believe that she was the one to originally devise how to construct the sage jewels, and somehow the process has left imprints of her souls within each jewel made with her techniques."
The sages glance at each other, and Amenopheus finally replies. “The spirit of each jewel offers its bearer wisdom and knowledge from the past, but her second voice whispers and drives darker impulses. A thoughtless action or response could nudge one toward more ruthless methods by giving her greater access to us through the jewels. So far the urges are easily quashed, but they’ve grown more insistent.”
Additional Information on the Usij
Knowledge History or Planes DC 25:
Usij often use their div-granted knowledge and power to infiltrate the halls of power as advisors and sages, earning sufficient trust to then undermine leaders from within, all to bring about death, misery, and destruction.
Knowledge History or Planes DC 30:
The Sarenites sanctified the remains of the Usij cultists they slew in order to keep their spirits at rest.
Sitting at a large table, Amenopheus looks over a book with a bemused smile as a blindfolded Tahonikepsu cautiously sniffs at several metal vials bearing the marks of local alchemists. She confidently names each alchemist by the scent of the vial before adding with a smile, “The scent of blood, oil, and old books... along with the discontent mumblings of a gnome, it could only be our Pathfinder friends.” Amenopheus closes his book and pushes an ancient Azlanti coin over to the Diamond Sage, remarking that he should know better than to wager with dragons and that these games are merely distractions to relieve the tension of a serious situation.
Tahonikepsu arches a eyebrow at Brutus as she rises, but offers little more than a bemused look for his compliment. She draws forth a small metal box, and opens it to reveal an onyx gem in the cushioned interior. “Our situation is actually quite fascinating, though I agree it presents some difficulties. Each of our order’s sage jewels houses the personality and knowledge of its creator. Through field tests and research, Amenopheus has made a remarkable discovery: each of the jewels contains a second and unidentified persona. Your comrades recovered this jewel, and its former bearer knew the source of this anomaly. He can best explain the situation.” Tahonikepsu intones a rite, and the morning light dims as the spectral image of a bronze-skinned dwarf manifests above the gem. He wears the simple garb of a warrior-monk, but his amulet bearing the ureaus over staff and scepter marks him as an advisor or guardian of the pharaohs.
“Greetings, stewards of knowledge. I am Padrym of Erekrus. I served the pharaohs of old and witnessed with sorrow the decline of a land of wonders. The Diamond Sage has asked me about a shadow within my sage jewel. I know this shadow as Aryana Tahari, an Usij necromancer who served at the court of the Pharaoh of Forgotten Plagues with me. Known to some as the Black Moon, her skill and wisdom were a dark reflection of the virtues of holy Thoth. She knew more of life and death than any living scholar of the time, and her enemies died horribly of exotic afflictions. She vanished from court for a time to her sanctuary beneath the village of Resa, set on a task the pharaoh personally assigned. I can sense her within the gemstone now, and casting back through memory, I feel her presence upon my every thought—perhaps even to my first acceptance into the order of Jeweled Sages.”
Amenopheus worriedly joins in. “The necromancer’s spirit has stirred recently. It may be that as more sages take up the sage jewels she grows in strength. The Usij are working to speed her awakening. With every passing year there is a growing chance she could seize control of us. While certain desperate measures—” Tahonikepsu frowns and Amenopheus hurriedly continues, “— may not be necessary yet, I have a plan to assemble the sage jewels in this necromancer’s sanctuary. There, in a place tied to her life, we can draw forth these fragments of her mind and safely destroy them with a ritual I have devised.”
Tahonikepsu nods excitedly. “We can safely remove this annoyance and perhaps discover some wonders this Tahari hid away. Regardless of her flaws, she seems a remarkable scholar. However, our numbers are too few to safely mount such an expedition. The Pathfinders have provided exemplary aid before; please assist us once more in preserving our legacy.” Tahonikepsu, Amenopheus, and the spirit of Padrym linger to answer any questions you have.
Please check in here, I will need the following.
Make certain I have the link to the maps and handouts working and fill in your initiative and perception for me. Be aware, this scenario has the potential to be very tough, but very rewarding. I hope you all have fun with it!
Once everyone is checked in I will review character sheets for some info I need to run the scenario, and we should get started rather shortly!
Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.