Hmmm, well suddenly I find myself in a similar situation to Zanos. Addressing some things in RL, and find myself needing to step back my involvement in PbPs... I won't be disappearing completely, but my attention to this has been lagging lately and I can't really keep it up.
So, I'll leave it up to you guys whether you'd like me to close this thread down, or if you'd like to try and find a new GM... If so I could maybe handle running Illec as fourth PC.
The legionairre looks startled as the wrapped ration packs hit him. He seems about to say something before changing his mind, picking the packs up and then straightening up, a little stiffly. "A waterskin?" he asks, his expression wooden.
Illec gestures to one of the bearers who bring one of the empty waterskins to Shine, before passing it on to the legionairre. Then he turns and barks orders at the rest, the bearers and soldiers quickly packing the camp.
"Thank you for your kindness..." the legionairre says softly, before turning and starting to march north without a backwards glance.
"No, I only looked back once; one of the others was down, and the creature was savaging another, the other three might have gotten away." he says, clearing his throat, and sipping some more water. "I ran as far from it as I could before passing out... when I woke it was night, I saw the light from your fire but I could only crawl, and then not even that. The dunes are so tall..."
The rescued legionnaire remains silent for several moments at Rameth's question, before his gratitude wins out at least for now. "The Paracount had sent us out to find you and... delay your progress. We were waiting, scouting around for your group when we were set upon by an enormous creature, part bird, part cat. It took us by surprise, scattered us... I barely got away..." he hangs his head.
After Shine's tender care and powerful healing magic the legionnaire looks back to almost full health, though still badly dehydrated. He is still disheveled and weaponless, but as Zanos witnessed previously weapons are not really needed for these men, assuming he has had the same training as he fellows...
"Thank you... yes." he answers, climbing to his feet a little unsteadily, accompanying you back to camp. The other guards appear tense when you return, and that does not fade when they recognize the person accompanying you. Illec's hand remains on his sword as he escorts the 'prisoner' back.
DC 15 Sense Motive:
He clearly recognizes you now that his wounds are healed, and he appears somewhat conflicted; his stance is tense but he does not appear aggressive.
Nothing leaps out to attack the man or the party as they approach. Halistar administers healing, and it is only as Shine is starting to bathe his wounds, washing off the layer of bloody sand that clings to him, that you are able to recognize the regalia of the Chellish Legionnaires you have encountered previously. He sips weakly when water is provided, rousing after Halistar's spell.
You can tell that he has been badly injured and lost a dangerous amount of blood, he is also badly dehydrated. The wounds seem to have been caused by claws and beak, and are less than a day old, closer to 12 hours.
Shine: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
Rameth: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (2) + 13 = 15
Shine hears it as well this time, it sounds if anything weaker to Zanos, no much more than a whisper. Illec quickly puts away his pen, ink and book, and makes sure his guards are awake, they rouse and quickly start putting on their armor.
Cautiously cresting the rise, the guards and bearers left behind at the camp the party find a single dying man. He appears to have been savaged by some sort of wild animal, pink sand caking most of his wounds. A wide intermittent trail of similar blood-stained sand has been left behind him where he appears to have dragged himself up the side of the dune. He looks up in a mixture of trepidation and desperation as the group crests the peak, before giving a heavy sigh as he slumps face-first into the sand.
KH's Reflex save: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
KH's Fly 1: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
KH's Fly 2: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
KH's Fly 3: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Shine's fireball arcs through the air towards the creature and catches it straight on, enveloping the creature in a flaming sphere. When it clears the creature remains intact and still flying, though charred now. When Shine tries to stumble her way to safety she finds the still settling sand to provide difficult footing and makes little progress
Illec looks to the slowing slide of sand, and quickly takes aim at the creature again, loosing another arrow, which again goes wide of the creature. He stows the bow then, turning towards Willem.
Illec's Composite Shortbow: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Halistar casts his spell and dances across the surface of the sand, but finds digging in the loose sand difficult, every scoop he makes being half filled up by the time he is ready to make another one, his progress slow.
Zanos casts his spell to speed his allies, and Rameth makes good use of it as he slogs through the sand to stand beneath the Sphinx and fire a stone into it's belly.
Blinded, blasted and bombarded by the party the Sphinx does the only intelligent thing under the circumstances, it leaves, flying as quickly as it's wings can carry it into the air, away from the scene of the avalanche.
Combat over, unless anyone would like to chase the Sphinx? Remembering you have 3 people (and two camels) buried.
KH's Fort Save: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
KH's Will Save: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Once again the creature shrugs off Halistar's spell almost unharmed, while Zanos hustles to a safer position and prepares himself for the creature's arrival.
Zanos can confirm that this is indeed a Heiracosphinx, but doesn't know much more than that. Large, Magical Beast, speaks Sphinx
I'm assuming that's Glitterdust Rameth is casting? If you could identify when you're casting a spell and what spell in future that's appreciated, thanks :)
Rameth meanwhile goes on the offensive, hurling a spell at the rapidly approaching Sphinx, whose flight becomes... a little more erratic.
It's struggles to halt it's dive, managing to pull out of it a short distance from the party. As it does so it lets out an enraged, deafening shriek, while beneath it the sand starts to slow, though not before it rolls over Shine and Willem, and buffets Halistar. Halistar manages to dodge safely out of the way, and Shine hunkers down, letting her armor take the brunt of the blast before clawing her way onto the top of the settling sand. Willem however is not so fortunate, disappearing beneath the flow of sand.
PC Saves (Sand, Reflex):
Shine: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Willem: 1d20 ⇒ 9
Halistar: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Damage: 3d6 ⇒ (1, 5, 4) = 10
PC Saves (Shriek, Fort):
Shine: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
Rameth: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Halistar: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Zanos: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
Illec: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Soldiers: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Duration: 2d4 ⇒ (4, 3) = 7
After the shriek only Halistar and Illec feeling their hearing returning to normal, the others experiencing an unpleasant ringing in their ears.
Initiative, Round 3: Shine, Illec, Halistar, Zanos, Rameth, Keten Hamu, Soldiers
Halistar, Zanos and Rameth leg it after Illec, Rameth calling out the creature's name, but more of what he says is lost amidst the noise of the sand bearing down on the caravan. The Bearers hurry to follow as well, the wall of sand chasing on their heels.
The soldiers are not so fortunate, the rear two being engulfed before they can react to Illec's command and are engulfed along with their camels.
Soldier 3 Reflex: 1d20 ⇒ 12
Camel: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Soldier 4 Reflex: 1d20 ⇒ 7
Camel: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
damage: 6d6 ⇒ (2, 4, 4, 2, 6, 3) = 21
Willem and the other solider further down the dune are more fortunate, the two hurrying after Illec and the others, though as the Heiracosphinx comes rapidly screeching down the dune, diving towards the caravan--though maintaining a 50 foot height above the wave of sand--Willem stops and draws his bow, braving the oncoming edge of the slide to take aim at the creature, his arrow falling a foot too low.
Willem's Shortbow: 1d20 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 - 2 = 17
Illec curses as he glances back at Willem, and hurries up the dune towards him, drawing his own shortbow as he does so. His own shot going completely wide.
Illec's Shortbow: 1d20 + 5 - 2 ⇒ (3) + 5 - 2 = 6
Initiative, Round 2: Illec, Halistar, Zanos, Rameth, Bearers, Keten Hamu, Soldiers, Shine
You can keep the Arcana. Not the roll :p
You recognise this creature as a Hieracosphinx. Unlike their more noble, or at least more rational kindred, the Heiracosphinx are known for cowardice, territoriality, and brutality. Their aggression can be assuaged by convincing shows of force and information on easier targets, or the females of the 'species' the Gynosphinx, for which they hold a twisted mix of lust and hate.
Though clumsy fliers they are nevertheless adept at attacking from the air with deadly results.
Halistar is able to identify the creature as some sort of Magical Beast, a Large winged quadruped with a falcon's head and a leonine body; beyond that he's unable to recall anything about this creature.
Fort save: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
The beast hardly seems to flinch as Halistar's spell hits it. It unfurls it's wings fully and starts to beat them rapidly, sending stinging sand down the dune at the caravan. After a moment it lets out a shriek and charges into and through the top of the dune into the air, setting off a large fall of sand as it does so, which quickly gathers more beneath it, until soon half the dune begins rushing towards the caravan in a growing, sibilant roar.
The rear of the caravan (top of this map, sorry about the size) is approximately 230 feet from the top of the dune (and the now flying creature). The avalanche will reach it on the creature's turn. Sorry Shine.
Survival: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
Illec turns at Halistar's spell, and the shriek that rapidly follows it. With a glance he takes in the oncoming wall of sand and waves his arm, calling over the top of the growing noise. "This way! We have to clear the slide area!" he yells, picking up his pace on the sandy dune.
Bearer's Initiative: 1d20 ⇒ 12
Initiative, Round 1: Illec, Halistar, Zanos, Rameth, Bearers, Keten Hamu, Soldiers, Shine
Soldier's Perception: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (2) - 1 = 1
Illec's Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
Stealth: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (14) + 9 = 23
Strength: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
1d6 ⇒ 3
Halistar, as the party is descending the distant side of the dune notices a small slide of sand from above, and other soft noises from above. When he looks back he spots a large, winged creature just over the crest of the dune, it's wings spreading wide.
Keten Hamu's Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Illec's Initiative: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Halistar's Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Rameth's Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13
Shine's Initiative: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Zanos's Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
Soldier's Initiative: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Initiative, Surprise round: Illec, Halistar, Zanos, Rameth, Keten Hamu, Soldiers, Shine.
Halistar is the only one who can act in the surprise round, both Zanos and Illec failed by one :p
Illec's survival check: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Illec's Fort: 1d20 + 6 - 4 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 6 - 4 + 4 = 11
Non-lethal damage: 1d4 ⇒ 3
While the members of the Pathfinder expedition take the mid-day heat easily, Illec and his men do not fare so well. Even without their armor the rank and file soldiers stumble and slide as the caravan crests the hill and starts down the other side, Illec not faring much better in his breastplate.
Perception checks please as you start down the other side of the dune.
Pay no attention to the rolls behind the spoiler tags:
1d4 ⇒ 2
Illec Fort: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
Guard's Fort: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
???: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Rameth and Shine huddle together, talking in low voices as the heat held in by the sand slowly dissipates, a chill breeze seeming to blow right through them all. Towards the end of their watch Illec stirs and rises from his bedding clear eyes and rested, rousing the other guard who is to serve watch with him, who seems more reluctant to be woken.
After they're relieved Shine falls straight to sleep, but Rameth finds it more elusive; every time he starts to nods off a breeze seems to ruffle his blankets, chilling him and startling him awake. He finally manages to drift off but his sleep remains fitful.
Halistar's sleep is likewise troubled, the chill of the desert penetrating his blankets, and he finds himself waking amidst the last half of the third shift, unable to get back to sleep. When he finally climbs from his blankets his eyes feel full of sand, and his joints achey.
Halistar and Zanos:
"I believe that something was watching us during the night..." Illec informs Halistar and Zanos upon their awakening. "We heard the wingbeats of a large, winged creature overheard several times, though it did not approach close enough for me to spot it."
He has no more information, but remains awake despite his watches having finished, and as the sun starts to rise above the horizon he ranges out from the camp a short ways, returning after some time, remainig silent.
Illec's Survival roll: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
"We were visited by something during the night. We heard it's wings, and there are tracks of the creature on nearby dunes... Large, four legs, I believe it came from the south." he informs everyone after they awake
Rameth pokes at the tattoo with his tools for the better part of a minute, and... absolutely nothing happens. Rameth realizes belatedly, that the glyph needs to be placed upon the ground to function, and that this 'tattoo' form is likely some sort of dormant state. He is also aware of the command word cleverly hidden in the Thassilonian runes that would allow him to control the item: 'majaderías'
Halistar and Zanos put their heads together over the tattoo, trying to puzzle out it's properties. Thankfully Halistar's attempt to blindly activate it fails as they manage to decipher what it actually is.
Aura moderate abjuration and evocation; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 7,750 gp; Weight --
This glyph is a coruscating pattern of ancient Thassilonian runes stretching across a flat surface in a tight 5-foot-radius circle. It is also a mobile trap with a speed of 20 feet that responds to your commands. After it rests in place for a full round, it blends with the floor and becomes a creeping glyph trap.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, animate objects, glyph of warding; Cost 3,875 gp
Creeping Glyph Trap CR 2
The tattoo is of moderate size, and unusual design. As to moving... well if you Zanos weren't staring at it so intently he never would have noticed it, but it does indeed seem to twitch and shift.
The tattoo is indeed magical, but it's aura is as tiny and discrete as the tattoo itself. It's properties elude the bard, the only thing he is able to determine about it is that it radiates Moderate Abjuration and Evocation magic.
Illec remains impatient to be off, but says nothing further to Halistar's reply, riding back with him to the others who chose to remain behind at the Crimson Oasis. On the halfling, as you strip him in the inn's courtyard, laying him unconcious besides the likewise stripped Half-Orc you find...
Shine's Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16
Rameth's Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (20) + 13 = 33
Shine finds only a few magical auras on the Halfling; one which she quickly identifies as another curing potion (though this one not labelled), and two on the flasks of water which she recognizes as a divine blessing.
As the halfling is laid out, Rameth notices a strange tattoo on the halfling's leg. He is not quite sure what it is that drew his attention to it at first, before he realizes it is subtly changing, shifting both where it rests on the halfling's leg, as well as the design of the tattoo itself, which slowly twitches beneath his gaze.
In future can we keep entirely out of character questions to the discussion thread please. That is what it is there for :)
DC 28 Arcana:
You are able to recognize the image on one of the empty containers as that of a creature known as a 'purple worm', a terrifying subterranean creature of enormous size.
Efforts to identify the empty containers prove fruitless. He does however find one bolt in the Half-Orc's quiver with different fletching than the others that seems to have been coated with a portion of what he recognizes as Scorpion Venom.
Halistar mounts up and rides off with the Crook Bearer's guards, leaving Shine, Rameth and Zanos behind discussing their plans. It doesn't take long for the group to reach the alley where they had cornered the halfling, and as Algharud seems to have failed to shut the secret door behind him it is relatively easy to locate.
Despite Halistar's aprehensions he finds the Halfling exactly where Algharud had left him, in a crumble heap by the small attic window. Illec helps carry him back downstairs and loads him onto the back of Halistars camel.
"We will be leaving now?" asks Illec impatiently.