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The black smoke streaming from Samirah forms Ernie above the drop. As the incorporeal demon moves away from Samirah she strikes out with her blade - the flames once again a clear burning light. The cut pulls away some of the demon's black essence, but not enough.
Chancre gestures with his hands like he is conducting an orchestra. Or possibly giving Ernie a rude gesture. Or both. In response all three of the magical force-ful blades turn from menacing Samirah to violently striking at the incorporeal demon but only a single of the slashing, stabbing weapons manages to touch smoke.
Konstantin's forearm frosts over and he reveals one of his ubiquitous snowballs, which he hurls at the demon. The demon, zipping across the false floor zigs at an opportune moment to avoid the hurling ice - the smoke steaming into Chancre's mouth and nose.
A pause, a single step towards the trapped square that would send Chancre's body tumbling into the spiked pit - then a waft of blue flame and the smoke streams right back out.
[ooc]Had you not used that shiny +8 bonus, Chancre would be a meatsuit.
Ernie additional damage -12, -27
Samirah darts around the pit whose depths are hidden by the illusory false floor.
Chancre's glowing force weapons follow easily - one attack even managing to overcome Samirah's dodging defense to strike for blood. (Samirah takes 26 hit points from a confirmed critical.)
Then the heavily armored man starts to follow in her footsteps, pulling himself up onto the ledge behind the bullrush trap, only to slip as he jumps down landing on his behind and having to drag himself back to his feet.
Konstantin moves just outside the double doors, to where he can see the quickly moving Samirah bolting for the exit. A simple spellcasting, which it looks like Samirah would try to disrupt if she were not so far away.
A pop and a gush of smokey demon erupting from Samirah.
"Damn. I liked that body it was quick." Ernie says with a smirk.
In addition to whatever you got while Ernie was in your body (besides knowing he is not actually called Ernie. You *know* beyond a shadow of a doubt (eh, shadow demon causing shadow doubt...) that the Sword of Valor was painful to him.
DC 10 Acrobatics to drop down without falling: 1d20 + 1 - 3 ⇒ (1) + 1 - 3 = -1 *+1 dex modifer, -3 AC penalty
Chancre is able to get up and around the first trap with his first move action - but he falls the acrobatics check to jump down without falling. So he is prone at the end of his first move. Standing is normally a move action which provokes an AoO. Second move action used to stand. So Samirah gained some ground, but is still in a double move for chasing after.
Tumble DC 18+5: 1d20 + 17 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 17 + 1 = 38 +1 dexterity boost from possession
Confirm Crit: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (4) + 20 = 24
Samirah's weapon flares - first with its normal golden light then darkens to a deep purple. (Chancre takes 44 points of damage from the single deep cut.)
"I never tire of conversation. That's my strength and my weakness. I told you that I was dangerous."
The rapier "sings" as it slices through the air. Without even looking Samirah dodges both of the attacks from the glowing force blade.
Chancre defensively casts, forming a second force blade - not as reflective as the first. But it does manage to tag Samirah from behind. Samirah takes 15 points of damage.
Although Sosiel had knelt by Aron as Konstantin settled the body to the floor, he looks sharply at the door casting a spell of seeing. "I have another dispel magic. It wouldn't work as well as a dispel chaos or evil to eject a possessing spirit... but it may work." He looks up at Konstantin. A pause, "I know we were lucky..." Shakes his head, "Samirah, Chancre or Anevia. Any of them could do a great deal of damage..."
Aravashnial, blinks twice - forcefullying pulling his attention from the crystal. "A number of the chronicles from before the fall of Drezen said the Sword of Valor warded the city against demons locking many of their abilities while in the city."
Anevia moves forward a bit snagging the edge of the banner.
At the doorway, Anevia smiles nervously, "I know you aren't a fan of the lugging and carrying. Want me to carry the banner?"
Even as she is saying it though, Chancre's spell finishes and a corkscrewed rapier of force appears near Samirah. It reflects light differently than usual. It splits the light into distinct factions. The glowing sword attacks Samirah, just managing to draw blood (with her hands full of the banner keeping her from her own sword to parry).
Sense Motive or Perception DC 20:
Samirah is very fast. Her dodge of the glowing sword is just a tinge faster than normal.
Chancre teleports to the far side of Samirah. Just in front of her, blocking the easy means of movement through the circular, trapped room.
"Stop running, Ern. Take your medicine like a man-demon."
Meanwhile Konstantin moves a bit to the side of the room and lays Aron's body down.
I have you holding with a standard action remaining for the moment - if you don't act until Chancre goes again then you have a full round action.
Chancre is blocking the way. Since he considers Samirah an enemy she would have to tumble to get through his square.
While possessed Samirah has a +2 racial bonus to her Dexterity, Intelligence and Charisma.
Samirah, who had been striding gracefully to the door, just gets to the entrance when Chancre's casting starts.
Anevia is a few steps behind, looking a bit confused. Whereas Sosiel is next to Konstantin (carrying Aron's unconscious form) with Aravashnial examining the crystals with a scholar's interest - likely only vaguely listening to the conversation.
Not dispel so Ernie is not as concerned about this.
.... If anything he is amused by the idea of Chancre killing of someone 'important'. Although it does interfere with the mission of keeping the Sword out of the crusaders possession.
Your spellcraft check indicates Chancre is casting a mythically enhanced spiritual weapon.
If you would react to Chancre's casting, please roll initiative and give me an action.
Chancre seems to be staring intently at the banner (which is the Sword) even as Samirah starts to pack it back up. And at each person in the room in turn. This doesn't take long, but it is quite apparent.
The banner detects as a void in the world to your alignment senses. Konstantin as lawful and good. Samirah as the mass of chaotic good and evil as she was just a minute ago. Aron as chaotic. Sosiel as a becon of shiny happy good. Anevia as a mild background chaos with a center fire of goodness. Aravashnial as a steady and solid good.
Detecting magic the banner seems non-magical to your senses. Samirah has magical sword, magical belt, magical headband, magical cloak and as some active spells. Konstantin has a magical belt, magical gloves, magical headband, magical amulet, magical rings, magical cloak and has some active spells. Anevia has currently magical and holy sword, magical armor. Aron has some magical gear (i think a sword and armor). Sosiel has magical armor, some potions, some scrolls and a currently magical and holy glaive. Aravashnial has a spellbook, some spells, and a magical cloak.
The banner which was more jumbled than rolled flaps open to reveal a sanguine field emblazoned with the holy symbol of Iomeadae - a longsword highlighted by a sunburst.
Which is the same image as the illusory fake in the 'temple' room a few doors away and the fake banner held by the mimics upstairs in the armory.
After a long pause in which every twitch of sound causes the more jumpy amid the group of stalwart to turn, Sosiel moves carefully up to Aron, checking for a pulse.
Anevia's attention, for the moment, is drawn to the red banner heaped carelessly on the profane altar. "Do you think it is another fake? Or that they have twisted it?" Her eyes traveling first to Konstantin then to Chancre. Settling on the second as the better expert in holy relics.
Chancre walks (or stumbles drunkenly in the pitch blackness) over to a crystal, and attacks it directly with his corkscrapier. The weapon hits the crystalline surface and after a moment of resistance, there is a boom and the tinkle of falling crystals.
There is a whoosh of fire as Samirah brings fire to her blade, letting out another cry of frustration when it does nothing to illuminate her surroundings.
Aravashnial starts a familiar chant, calling on the powers of the light relams.
Swinging high, Anevia tries to connect with the incorporeal demon...
"Well, f$## this noise." Ernie voice, "I've never been a babysitter, and that high and mighty b@*!~ can talk to the boss if this gets her snaky pants in a bunch." There is a pop and seconds later the darkness whooshes from the room, leaving the room well-lit by Samiarh's fiery blade.
Chancre Cailean wrote:
From the darkness a chuckle that echos of the walls, the demon's true voice being a soft tenor that soothes after the rasp of Aron's vocal chords. "I told you all about the five elxirs my master gifted to Zuhra."
"You never asked about the sixth of the elxirs I mentioned." A heavy sigh, "And if you had let me leave then you never would have needed to know about it. Now it seems silly to withhold."
Kon Init: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Anevia, Sosiel, Aravashnial: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 151d20 - 1 ⇒ (10) - 1 = 91d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16
Ernie/Aron: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 131d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Anevia attack with flanking, non-lethal: 1d20 + 12 + 2 - 4 ⇒ (16) + 12 + 2 - 4 = 261d6 + 4d6 ⇒ (1) + (1, 2, 3, 6) = 13
Ernie1: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (12) + 16 = 281d8 + 1d6 ⇒ (2) + (6) = 81d20 + 16 ⇒ (4) + 16 = 201d6 + 1d6 ⇒ (2) + (4) = 61d20 + 16 ⇒ (9) + 16 = 251d6 + 1d6 ⇒ (5) + (2) = 7
Sosiel SR: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 111d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 227d6 ⇒ (3, 2, 6, 1, 1, 4, 6) = 23
Before the demon has a chance to move, to blink, or for the shadows gathering about the room to respond, Chancre casts a spell. All around weapons start to glow with a pure silvery light - Samirah's, Chancre's, Anevia's, and Sosiel's.
"The crystals are more evil than Ernie," Chancre says.
Samirah darts towards Ernie, graceful as always, but very carefully choosing where she strikes. At the last moment her blade turns to strike with the flat rather than the razor edge - the weapon barely grazing as Aron/Ernie dodges to the side, a dark shadow trying to deflect the blade.
I went with non-lethal damage this round, on the grounds Samirah would be testing defenses with a style she is better with. Demon-possessed Aron is much faster than normal Aron.
nonlethal damage: 1d6 + 20 ⇒ (5) + 20 = 25
Aravashnial casts a spell, his hand glowing with energy even as he watches Samirah dart away. He turns to Anevia touching her arm, "I suggest that you ensure her soft heart doesn't get her killed."
With a nod, Anevia rushes up to flank the demon-possessed with Samirah. Using the pommel she just barely manages a strike (and only because she was aided by Aravashnial's spell), she lands a solid blow which doesn't break skin but does cause the crack of bone.
Ernie voice, despite the injuries is calm, conversational, "I'm almost tempted to just keep letting you hit him and do nothing. It's pleasant being able to feel." A shrug, "Granted Aron is screaming in pain, but for me it is a lovely hot glow." A stretch, the left arm Anevia hit at an odd angle, then shadowy claws rip out of the end of the human fingers, a pause as he smiles at Samirah. "But I bet this will hurt more." With that the shadowy claws lay into Anevia, seeming to slip right past her armor to rend flesh - and freeze it. With a smile he licks a talon, "Plus I don't normally get to taste anything either."
"Ms. Tirablade," Aravashnial's voice, "I also recommend that you not get yourself killed."
Sosiel closes his eyes in a small prayer, his entire body glowing with light, then is almost a whisper to Konstantin, "If you can get him out of Aron's body, I have a spell that is supposed to work very well against shadows."
Konstantin casts a spell that's been on his lips since the beginning. Icy stalagmites burst from the ground, one through Aron's leg. The ice then spreads, crackling as it immobilizes the possessed body. Aron's eyes go blank and the lids start to flutter closed. Then pop back open filled with black.
The body jerks trying to pull free of the ice, the movements puppet-like. "Well... that won't do."
Smoke starts to streak from Aron's nose, mouth, ears, eyes....
As it starts to take form a ray of sunlight directed by Sosiel hits it.
And there is no searing, just a hollow, deep laugh. "That would have worked. Once upon a time."
A flash of very white teeth in the deep smoke of the 'body', "before I ascended."
And the room goes pitch black.
[ooc]Anevia has heroism. Anevia, Samirah, Chancre and Sosiel have Weapons Against Evil.
Aron -39 nonlethal, unconscious.
"While I appreciate spirits and food for the purpose of lubricating and learning social situations, I personally get no personal enjoyment from it."
He smiles, then turns to Konstantin. "I would consider leaving the body in exchange for escorted safe passage out of Drezen."
A) Sense Motive DC 20:
The smirk hiding under the demon smile would be an indication that does not think that you all would go for such a deal.
B) Perception DC 30:
During the conversation the room has been getting darker, very slowly but steadily. You only really noticed it when shadows moved in the darkness - one seeming to almost caress the purple stone.
C) Detect Magic:
The lack of a magically aura on Aron's body would suggest a possession by an incorporeal creature.
D) C and K:Planar DC 20:
The most likely demon would be a shadow demon. Standard shadow demon rely on using possessed bodies for protecting but are unable to use the skills of the person. In their natural incorporeal form they rely on evocative spells.
E) Detect Evil:
While Ernie/Aron is evil, the crystals are far more evil than the demon-possessed.
Ernie/Aron raises one eyebrow, "I'm only looking to understand you all." He shrugs, "Elements of true change come along so rarely, plus when you've lived so long, you need hobbies. Information is mine."
"Anyway, at long last, Zuhra only had one last elixir left, which had killed over a quarter of those who tried it. She's always been a glory of murder and majesty, but now she is" he shakes his head in wonder, "more. All of what she was distilled and amplified."
"Do you actual have any conversational gambits that won't unduly upset your companions?"
Ernie inclines his head towards Chancre, although the no-longer-black eyes continue to watch Samirah for a moment. "The fourth elixir she gave to her best mole agent." The cruel grin doesn't look right on Aron's face, "A dwarf who sacrificed everything to be on the right side. Of course, now Staunton is dead too."
"Please elaborate for this question."
"The question was exactly what it sounded inquisitor. Which of you three," finger rudely pointing to Konstantin, Samirah, and Chancre in turn. "The question is yours to answer as truthfully as you are able."
Samirah Basri wrote:
She spreads her hands. "Who does Aron perceive is the most dangerous?"
Ernie in his Aron suit laughs, "For Aron the most dangerous is that one," gesturing to Sosiel with a chin. "But his reasons are tied up with love and trust and all that crap."
Now looking carefully at Samirah, "What is your greatest fear?"
"No. But that is such a trite answer. That is what makes you feel inferior not what you fear." The demon raises a hand, "But I accept it as a truthful answer, just that you don't actually know yourself."
"The third of the elixirs she gave to her favorite," Aron's eyes move over to watch Konstantin as he finishes, "dragon pet. After all they serve so well once you teach them their place."
A shrug, as his eyes return to Chancre, "Sadly for Zuhra, he was torn apart by darkness when he consumed the elixir. Soltengrabbe was the weakest of her pets here and the last one she tried the potion on."
"Which of the three of you is the most dangerous?"
One brow goes up, "That is either five questions or six. Five for the elixirs Zuhra was given and one for the one she was not."
"The second of her elixir's she gave to Takzon, a pet xacarba she had guarding this chamber." Ernie/Aron looks around, sighs, points to a scorch mark on the ceiling, "That smudge is just about all that is left of the poor beastie."
"What is your greatest fear, inquisitor?"
K: planar DC 25:
A xacarba is a serpent-like outsider with three tails and six eyess. They are fiends hailing from the darkest reaches of the Abyss, xacarbas are manipulation and destruction intertwined. With their infamous ability to redirect spells, these serpentine goliaths wreak havoc on the mind as well as the body, turning allies against one another and reveling in the destruction doing so produces.
Let me know if you want any of the mechanics of the creature.
"Ah, yes. That item has a most interesting tale. Were it not for that and mortal weakness, Zuhra wouldn't have had this neat fortress. If it had been my responsibility, I'd have used the corruption forge to infuse it with abyssal energy."
He hops easily off of the marble slab, "And no. If you truly have no more questions than it would seem our tet-a-tet is at an end."
He smiles, "I like having a body. I earned with one with blood and have no desire to give it up without recompense," he holds up a staying hand, "which you all have indicated you are not willing to offer something of commensurate value."
He smiles, "The three of you are heroes, I'm guessing even death wouldn't keep you from fighting on. Remember that I'm wearing the skin of a coward. Heroes fight back from death, cowards just go on to their final rewards."
"More questions. Or I will attempt to leave." Reaching one hand back towards the dusty red cloth on the slab.
Aron's eyes go all black for a brief moment, the face serious. Then Aron's mouth smiles, "Zuhra was gifted with six of seven elixirs. She feed one to her pet chimera, Soltengrabbe. After a... painful... transition period, the beast of Drezen was reborn. Stronger, faster and with a breath weapon that called on the true fury of a ice storm rather than just cold wind."
"Why were you sent to Drezen rather than confronting Zuhra or Khorramzadeh?"
One eyebrow goes up, "I always thought Chourssina was a lyrical name. I suspect that her parents gave it to her before her abyssal heritage became apparent."
A shrug, "Maybe that's one of the reason why she found solace amid my kind. Mortals are infinitely cruel."
"Not first hand knowledge to be fair since I don't work for that prick," vaguely gesturing with Aron's chin to the insectoid statue in the southern alcove. "The abyssal rifts are his baby." Aron's face goes serious, "End of the day that one wants more. More food for his mindless hordes, more power, more everything."
"The stalemate has been good for my boss, we are all about bringing you around to our way of thinking. Now that you all put an end to the cage that kept us locked into this itty-bitty land, all the plans are changing. Slow attrition will turn into outright devastation soon."
He pauses, "And just so you don't think I'm trying to obfuscate the answer, if you don't die before he gets his ducks in a row, the Lord of the Locust Host is what you are up against."
He looks around the room considering, "There should be four of you that reek of power. Where is the half-elf?"
"Information is always a good coin." Ernie smiles widely with Aron's mouth. "How about a question for question? First one to lie or attempt to mislead breaks the parley."
He laces his fingers beneath his chin, "Then your cold-blooded hot-head can try to kill me."
"First question is to you."
He raises an eyebrow, "My motives? Are you certain you want your first question to be so pointless?"
Chancre Cailean wrote:
"I was also going to offer him a drink. I'm not entirely sure that I believe Ernie has any knowledge of Aponavicius' shenanigans."
Ernie wearing Aron chuckles, "I love that I gave you the benefit of skill and intelligence but you think to have me blab my bargaining chips to prove I have them."
He tilts his head to one side, "I can be a very good actor. This one came quite willingly before you killed off Staunton and captured Chourssina. I could have just wandered up to your campsite."
He nods, "Yes, you all would have figured out the druggie was just along for the ride, but I could have done some nice damage and slipped into the Worldwound before it all went south."
"If I was an idiot I could have pulled the 'oh you found me' ploy but I have respect for your skills. A little reciprocity would be damn well appreciated. Otherwise it is just you all trying to kill me and hurting yourself in the process."
He raises one hand, "But on the grounds that I'm not as much of a dick as some of you - Soltengrabbe. Had we a monster like that around for years, wouldn't Zuhra have used the creature in offense. The poor thing could have frozen villages solid."
He smiles, "Wouldn't you like to know how she did it?"
Chancre Cailean wrote:
"The answers are yes to all of your questions," Chancre says. "But asking us for offers is useless when we don't know who we're dealing with. We know who you're wearing. Who are you?"
"I wouldn't mind trading body for body, but I'm old enough to know that isn't going to be a deal you'll stick with. How about the body for a pint of blood from each of you?"
He smiles, "I'm willing to entertain other offers, but its about worth for worth."
Chancre Cailean wrote:
"We know who you're wearing. Who are you?"
Aron chuckles, "I'm the shadow that slips through the cracks of righteousness and finds the dissent that brews. I fuel that."
"Obviously not my real name, but if you need to call me something, you can call me Ernie."
"Awww..." Aron's voice is all saccharine sweetness, "you just want the little f@&~ buddies to get back together."
He motions with the knife, "It isn't a bad goal, persay, although honestly, the little f+wad is messed up. Really not sure if the dingy grey remains of his soul are even worth saving."
He hands up, "But at least you understand the whole dynamics of negotiation. You want the idiot's body back, so now what will you give me for it?" All of the fake sweetness gone, Aron's voice is now quite serious.
Aron laughs, the sound reflecting off of the cavern walls, "I'm sure you wouldn't even mind if I were killed."
He pulls out a knife, laying it against the pulse point of his right arm, "I bet you wouldn't even care if you killed this body, cold-hearted bastard that you are."
"But" he says, "the real question is, what is really in your best interest?"
"If I wish to leave, you'd be impuissant, dragon-boy." A little smile, "After all, your kind doesn't have the best track record of keeping what you hold dear safe."
A fake shiver, "Even when you lock it in ice."
"So the question is three-fold - do you want to know what you are really up against, do you want the rag, and do you want the loser who came when I called?"
"Stop." The jovial attitude breaking to reveal a more serious demeanor.
Shaking his head, "I've been doing this a long time and I'm not a f#$&ing idiot. If you want the information and are willing to trade for it, then you can tell me the price you are willing to pay." His head moves, a tight smile distorting his face, "But if you take another oh-so-conciliatory step or any more of this b$$*#!, I'll just take what I already have and call it quits."
As Chancre starts to move, Aron bounces easily to his feet onto of the marble slab, pacing back and forth, barely avoiding treading on the dusty yet not -faded red fabric. With one foot he motions to the object, "Worse than garbage," he says with a cocksure grin, "Iomeadae's rag."
He cracks his knuckles, "And I know what shenanigans Aponavicius had been up to in her little fortress."
"So I guess it depends on what you are interested in and what you are willing to give on. "
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
Aloha Kind and Busy Customer Service People,
I got my subscriptions today (woot!) but the box is lacking in Pathfinder AP #100 (which the shipping notice says should have been in there).
Help please :)
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