Orellie rolls her eyes at Eustoma. "You have never heard of the great Cyth V'sug? He is the demon lord of Parasites and Fungus! He is sire to the great and malevolent Treerazer! From his realm of Jeharlu, he seeks to draw all of the multiverse to become one with him in holy putrefaction! Glory to his name!"
The pech turns to Wulfram. "No! My work is not ready yet! I will not show her until I have perfected my craft!"
"I'm afraid not. He sounds very epic, and a wonderful Lord of Parasites. This ring, are you sure that it's helping you? Someone as brilliant as yourself should have already perfected your craft. Maybe this ring is slowing you down? Have you thought of that? Wulfram what do you think?"
Bluff? Aid: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (16) + 0 = 16
Wulfram replied, "Hmmm, can you show me this ring? Maybe it has a curse on it!"
Bluff (aid): 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (5) - 1 = 4
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Orellie reaches into her breastplate and pulls forth a silver chain, on which hangs the third ring of Dryad's Song. She rubs it in concern. "I have studied it extensively. I don't believe it's cursed, but I have learned all I can from its magic. Still... It has sentimental value to me. It is a symbol of Naphexi's incompetence, after all! It warms my heart to think of how I stole it out from under the dragon's nose!
"I may be willing to part with it. But you'll have to offer me something magical to protect me in return!"
The pech will trade the ring for any magic item or protective device worth 15,000 gp or more.
Do we have such an item? There is Karla's staff of fire. It's useful, but we have other ways of dealing massive damage, plus it's not Karla's style, so she wouldn't mind parting with it in exchange.
Karla shifts her gaze to detect eldritch energies, concentrating on the ring.
Knowledge arcana: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (12) + 17 = 29
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (7) + 19 = 26
Orielle's eyes widen when you offer her the robe of scintillating colors. "Ooh! Wowie-wow-wow! What a glorious rainbow of wonderment! And practical, too. I will gladly trade the ring to you." The pech offers you the ring!
When the third ring is attached to Dryad's Song, the bearer can also cast black tentacles 1/day, animating the fungal matter in the area in lieu of creating extradimensional tendrils.
When Orielle mentions that she might be willing to trade the ring:
Wulfram thought for a moment about what they might offer the fey in exchange, and then said, "We have a cloak with wondrous powers to protect you: a robe of scintillating colors! Rogar, I believe you have it in your backpack?"
When she accepted the deal, he replied, "It will serve you well. No-one will have such a beautiful cloak as you!"
He bid the pech farewell and prepared to continue on.
Is there a path ahead from here? There's no map displayed for this area.
Yes, there is one more chamber to explore on this level. Map to come later.
The acrid scent of organic decay hangs over this dead-end expanse like a thick fog. To the north, twisted wicker chairs and dirty bedrolls tumble haphazardly in front of a field of oversized mushrooms. To the south languish enormous rotting corpses with horns and pincer-tipped arms. The ceiling feels strangely low, though the midnight void above seems to stretch upward indefinitely.
Four hobgoblins spar in the chamber's center. They wear breastplates and wield shields emblazoned with the Ironfang Legion's insignia, and their longswords crackle with electricity. When they see you, they pause their sparring and watch you silently. After a few moments, one, a female, steps forward. “It is good to see any face not infested with fungus, even if it has to be as soft as yours. I am Afet, of the Ironfang Legion, and offer parley. We are trapped in this cursed place, unable to find an exit or confront its ruler. I’ll send my soldiers away if you’ll join me for a time and discuss some chance of alliance. I can probably stand the sight of you until we leave this wretched hole.”
Karla stays behind and invisible, studying the Hobgoblins, the rotting corpses. Along with her memory of past foes and the last feys they've traded with, she's thinking of some illusion that would allow them to proceed with more ease.
When the woman speaks of alliance, she pauses, wondering what the others will say.
Wulfram listened to the unusual request from one of his sworn enemies. Could it be a trick? Some sort of fey illusion?
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
He responded to the hobgoblin formally, "I am Wulfram... of Phaendar. My experiences with the Ironfang Legion have not been happy ones, but I am wiling to hear what you have to say."
As they spoke, he studied Afet for signs of physical interaction with her surroundings — anything that might reveal that she was not what she seemed.
Perception: 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (12) + 23 = 35
Rogar stays silent, his expression as still as stone, not trusting himself to not lash out if he does anything. The earth around him, though, reflects his internal mood, and begins shifting slightly in an unsteady manner.
Afet gestures, and then other three soldiers move off into the mushroom forest. The soldier sits in one of the wicker chairs and gestures for you to do likewise. "Phaendar. It has been a long time since our first victory. You are the survivors, then? The ones who have vexed our forces so? Interesting."
She pauses for several seconds in apparent reflection, then looks back up. "As I said, we have been unable to find our way out of this place, but I have uncovered a secret weakness of the one who rules here. What can you tell me about the layout of these caves?"
Wulfram finds it hard to get a read on the hobgoblin, but he does spy a few tendrils of mold poking out from gaps in her armor...
Wulfram's fears were partially confirmed when he saw the tendrils of mold; The hobgoblin woman was clearly infected in some way! Is her mind her own?
He replied, "This complex seems to be rather large. From what I understand, she who rules this realm has a palace some ways below here.
"But tell me, how is that you came to this place, and why can't you leave the same way? If we are to help you, we must understand your situation."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (14) + 20 = 34
Trying to allow for the off chance that she isn't just someone that we have to kill.
Eustoma takes a seat next to Wulfram. She touches her scar to see if it's reacting to the hobgoblin. She listens to the creatures words as she waits for her response to Wulfram.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Afet is silent for a few moments, then she heaves a heavy sigh. "It was desperation that drove us here. General Azaersi has been short of allies as the forces you have mustered foil her plans and nip at her heels. She sent us as an honor guard for her spymaster, Taurgreth, to seek an alliance with these blighted fey. Normally, we would never dream of working with these embodiments of 'elf magic,' but the general was counting on the unexpected alliance to throw you off. But the leader of these unscrupulous faeries rejected the offer and is now holding Taurgreth prisoner in her throne room below. We managed to avoid capture, for all the good it has done us."
Eustoma notices Afet acting strangely. Her words are clipped and her movements stiff, and her long pauses are likely due to her receiving some sort of mental communication. The hobgoblin appears to be under a domination effect!
Afet's words didn't seem to match what Wulfram was observing with his own eyes. "Would your difficulty leaving have something to do with your fungal infection?", he asked bluntly.
Afet abruptly gets to her feet, brandishing her sword. Lightning plays along the length of the blade as the three soldiers she sent away start to return.
Karla: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Rogar: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Wulfram: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Hobgoblins: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Karla and Rogar may act before the enemies. Afet is 10 feet away. The other hobgoblins are 60 feet away.
Rogar wastes no time, sending a blast of metal at Afet, waiting to see its result, and then either blasting her again or, if she fell, shooting the farther hobgoblins.
Maximized Empowered Metal Blast, Hatred, v. flat-footed: 1d20 + 26 ⇒ (8) + 26 = 3492 + 38 + 19 + 27 = 176
Damage: 14d6 + 1d8 ⇒ (6, 1, 4, 3, 5, 3, 2, 4, 3, 4, 2, 6, 6, 4) + (1) = 54
If that killed her, Extending instead of Empowering the next blast.
Extended Quickened Earth Blast, v. flat-footed: 1d20 + 25 ⇒ (16) + 25 = 417d6 + 1d8 + 28 - 1 ⇒ (5, 5, 6, 3, 3, 2, 5) + (4) + 28 - 1 = 60
+1 to hit and +31 to damage if the second blast is directed at Afet.
Karla stays where she is. She pulls a wand out of her bag and reappears as a yellow-green pellet flies off her wand and lands in the midst of the Hobgoblins on the other side of the room. The pellet explodes in a thick cloud of yellow and green fumes.
Stinking Cloud, Fortitude, DC 14.
Nik'o stays and guards her mistress.
Fortitude: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (8) + 18 = 261d20 + 18 ⇒ (5) + 18 = 231d20 + 18 ⇒ (19) + 18 = 37
Longswords, Charge, Combat Expertise: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (5) + 17 = 221d20 + 17 ⇒ (10) + 17 = 271d20 + 17 ⇒ (7) + 17 = 24
The hobgoblins are unaffected by the stinking cloud. They charge across the cave to get to Wulfram, but his armor wards off each of their attacks!
Everybody may act. Wulfram may take AoOs against them.
AoO #1: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (14) + 22 = 36
Damage: 1d8 + 15 ⇒ (7) + 15 = 22fire: 1d6 ⇒ 4 acid: 1d6 ⇒ 5 electrical: 1d6 ⇒ 5
AoO #2: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (20) + 22 = 42
Damage: 1d8 + 15 ⇒ (4) + 15 = 19fire: 1d6 ⇒ 2 acid: 1d6 ⇒ 4 electrical: 1d6 ⇒ 4
Crit confirm: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (15) + 22 = 37
Extra crit damage: 2d8 + 30 ⇒ (5, 7) + 30 = 42
AoO #3: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (15) + 22 = 37
Damage: 1d8 + 15 ⇒ (4) + 15 = 19fire: 1d6 ⇒ 4 acid: 1d6 ⇒ 1 electrical: 1d6 ⇒ 2
Wulfram stabbed the treacherous charging enemies, then stepped back and stabbed some more!
Attacking the most wounded one first.
+3 Cold Iron Longspear, Power Attack, Furious Focus: 1d20 + 22 - 3 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 22 - 3 + 3 = 32
Damage (Power Attack): 1d8 + 24 ⇒ (5) + 24 = 29fire: 1d6 ⇒ 5 acid: 1d6 ⇒ 2 electrical: 1d6 ⇒ 3
+3 Cold Iron Longspear, Power Attack, Itererative1: 1d20 + 22 - 3 - 5 ⇒ (14) + 22 - 3 - 5 = 28
Damage (Power Attack): 1d8 + 24 ⇒ (1) + 24 = 25fire: 1d6 ⇒ 4 acid: 1d6 ⇒ 3 electrical: 1d6 ⇒ 1
+3 Cold Iron Longspear, Power Attack, Itererative2: 1d20 + 22 - 3 - 10 ⇒ (8) + 22 - 3 - 10 = 17
Damage (Power Attack): 1d8 + 24 ⇒ (6) + 24 = 30fire: 1d6 ⇒ 2 acid: 1d6 ⇒ 4 electrical: 1d6 ⇒ 1
"Look ou, Wulfram!" Rogar warns his ally, then disrupts the stone beneath the feet of their enemies, roiling and turning to hinder and harm them.
Using Maximized Deadly Earth. The enemies take 19 damage now, and anyone who ends their turn within that 20-foot radius area, or enter it take 39 damage (no save). Also, it's all difficult terrain.
With the enemies hindered, Rogar turns his attention to the healthiest one. They do, however, stay that way, despite his best efforts.
Empowered Quickened Earth Blast: 1d20 + 25 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 25 + 1 = 277d6 + 1d8 + 28 + 25 ⇒ (2, 4, 1, 1, 5, 2, 5) + (2) + 28 + 25 = 75
Eustoma calls for Sia to attack, and scrambles away from any close quarter fighting. She lets her arrows fly and the least injured looking enemy.
+2 Adaptive Longbow: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (10) + 16 = 26
Damage: 1d6 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17
+2 Adaptive Longbow: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (16) + 16 = 32
Damage: 1d6 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17
+2 Adaptive Longbow: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24
Damage: 1d6 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18
+2 Adaptive Longbow: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Damage: 1d6 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
Sia bounds up and bites at one of the least injured enemies.
Bite: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (1) + 18 = 19
Damage: 2d6 + 13 ⇒ (1, 5) + 13 = 19
Karla gives a pout as the Hobgoblins make like case of her spell. Resolved to impede their success, she showers them with blinding sparkles. Then she releases Nik'o to jump at them.
Glitterdust to as many of them as possible. Cast as level 3 with Heightened spell: no SR, Will DC 20 or blinded.
Nik'o springs forward with a deep growl and leaps on the nearest Hobgoblin.
Assuming I can't pounce here.
Bite and Grab, PA: 1d20 + 21 - 3 ⇒ (3) + 21 - 3 = 212d6 + 12 + 6 ⇒ (5, 5) + 12 + 6 = 281d20 + 25 - 3 ⇒ (13) + 25 - 3 = 35
Will: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 91d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 121d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
Wulfram stabs each of the hobgoblins as they approach before fending off their strikes. Eustoma shoots the least wounded one and lands one good hit, but Sia fails to bite him. Wulfram stabs the most wounded one once, leaving him severely injured. Rogar causes the stone to roil beneath the enemies' feet, wounding each, but his blast goes wide. Karla is able to blind all three hobgoblins, but their armor keeps them safe from Nik'o's bite.
The warriors lash out blindly with their blades, but they all miss! Two of them recover from the blindness. The deadly earth continues to crush and tear at them.
Longsword: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (5) + 19 = 241d20 + 14 ⇒ (10) + 14 = 241d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
Longsword: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (18) + 19 = 371d20 + 14 ⇒ (15) + 14 = 291d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
Miss Chance: 1d100 ⇒ 48
Longsword: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (9) + 19 = 281d20 + 14 ⇒ (12) + 14 = 261d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
Will: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 261d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 271d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
Everybody may act!
Nik'o continues on the Hobgoblin.
Bite and Grab, PA: 1d20 + 21 - 3 ⇒ (5) + 21 - 3 = 232d6 + 12 + 6 ⇒ (3, 4) + 12 + 6 = 251d20 + 25 - 3 ⇒ (10) + 25 - 3 = 32
Claw: 1d20 + 21 - 3 ⇒ (14) + 21 - 3 = 321d8 + 12 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 12 + 6 = 25
Claw: 1d20 + 21 - 3 ⇒ (18) + 21 - 3 = 361d8 + 12 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 12 + 6 = 25
Karla, worried the Hobgoblins may injure her companions, continues to blind them
Glitterdust again. Will DC 19.
Is Wulfram in the Deadly Earth radius? Even if he is, the Cinder Dance hex allows him to 5ft step in difficult terrain.
Wulfram continued to defend himself against the Ironfang soldiers, slowly retreating and thrusting with his spear.
5 ft step, full attack.
+3 Cold Iron Longspear, Power Attack, Furious Focus: 1d20 + 22 - 3 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 22 - 3 + 3 = 42
Damage (Power Attack): 1d8 + 24 ⇒ (1) + 24 = 25fire: 1d6 ⇒ 4 acid: 1d6 ⇒ 6 electrical: 1d6 ⇒ 5
Crit confirm: 1d20 + 22 - 3 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 22 - 3 + 3 = 35
Extra crit damage: 2d8 + 48 ⇒ (3, 8) + 48 = 59
+3 Cold Iron Longspear, Power Attack, Itererative1: 1d20 + 22 - 3 - 5 ⇒ (10) + 22 - 3 - 5 = 24
Damage (Power Attack): 1d8 + 24 ⇒ (3) + 24 = 27fire: 1d6 ⇒ 5 acid: 1d6 ⇒ 1 electrical: 1d6 ⇒ 6
+3 Cold Iron Longspear, Power Attack, Itererative2: 1d20 + 22 - 3 - 10 ⇒ (9) + 22 - 3 - 10 = 18
Damage (Power Attack): 1d8 + 24 ⇒ (6) + 24 = 30fire: 1d6 ⇒ 2 acid: 1d6 ⇒ 5 electrical: 1d6 ⇒ 2
Wulfram- Rogar would have tried to exclude you from the area if at all possible
Rogar decides to finish things quickly, and starts off with his weaker blast aimed at whichever hob looks most injured.
Empowered Quickened Earth Blast: 1d20 + 25 ⇒ (11) + 25 = 367d6 + 1d8 + 28 + 31 ⇒ (4, 6, 6, 3, 3, 5, 1) + (6) + 28 + 31 = 93
If it's still standing, he sends another blast its way. Otherwise, he aims at whichever looks the healthiest.
Maximized Empowered Metal Blast: 1d20 + 25 ⇒ (10) + 25 = 3592 + 38 + 19 + 24 = 173
Damage: 14d6 + 1d8 ⇒ (6, 2, 2, 4, 6, 1, 3, 2, 6, 3, 5, 3, 2, 1) + (3) = 49
Deadly Earth is still active, so another 39 damage to anyone in it at the end of the round.
Sia bites at the hobgoblin she missed last time.
Bite: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (10) + 18 = 28
Damage: 2d6 + 13 ⇒ (4, 5) + 13 = 22
Bite: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (5) + 13 = 18
Damage: 2d6 + 13 ⇒ (1, 1) + 13 = 15
Trip: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (18) + 20 = 38
Eustoma lets an barrage of arrows fly at the goblin Sia is biting at.
+2 Adaptive Longbow: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (2) + 16 = 18
Damage: 1d6 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
+2 Adaptive Longbow: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (6) + 16 = 22
Damage: 1d6 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17
+2 Adaptive Longbow: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21
Damage: 1d6 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17
+2 Adaptive Longbow: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Damage: 1d6 + 12 ⇒ (3) + 12 = 15
With a barrage of deadly attacks, you manage to finish off all three remaining infested hobgoblins.
Each of the four hobgoblins has a potion of bear's endurance, potion of cure serious wounds (2), +2 breastplate, +1 light steel shield, +1 shocking burst longsword, mwk cold iron daggers (3), amulet of natural armor +2, cloak of resistance +2, ring of protection +3.
Searching their camp reveals a metallic glint coming from a carefully arranged bed of moss. Under the moss is a sturdy bronze lockbox that contains a bag of holding (type IV), a gem of seeing, and a single ring gate. It seems this ring gate is a match for the one you found earlier, but both are currently still nonfunctional.
There is also a note: "The entrance to Arlantia's throne room is hidden. There’s some damnable nursery rhyme to reveal it, but Hadregash knows what sing-song fey nonsense it may be."
Tucked in Afet's belt pouch is the fourth and final ring of Dryad's Song! Inscribed around the ring are the words "'Til all hands bear the sin they've earned."
Once assembled, the final poem reads as follows: "Princess of the Blasted Heath/ Shall stand proud to station earned/ Moss and rot shall grow unchecked/ 'Til all hands bear the sin they've earned"
With all four rings, the bearer can recite the full poem on the scepter as a full-round action to purge a single creature within 60 feet of the Darkblight’s taint, as if she had successfully cast remove curse and remove disease—even removing the blighted fey template from a target creature (unwilling fey can resist this effect with a successful DC 28 Will save).
Karla places the ring with the others and says: "Wow, we have all four rings. I can feel the power resting with these verses, but I'm not sure when they should be used..."
Wulfram replied to Karla, "Perhaps we will find someone that we will want to cleanse of the Darkblight."
Reading the note, he said, "It talks about a rhyme to reveal the entrance to Arlantia's throne room. We'll have to try to find some sort of clue. Shall we press on?"
He examined the path forward and prepared to move that way.
How long has it been now since we moved through the throne in the woods to enter the tree?
It's been about 2 hours.
Looking around, it appears there are no more passages to explore down here. This cavern and the one where Orellie dwells both end in dead-ends. The only place you haven't examined is the hill at the center of the depths with the fetid pool and the dryad reclining by its side.
Map finally updated. Sorry for the delay!
"I guess we're off to the mound and the dryad we haven't visited yet. We could try to release all the fey from the blight." Eustoma suggests.
She snaps her fingers. "Wait that tree. The one by the bird. It had a space that would fit Dryad's Song. Maybe that's the door to get where we need to go."
"A pool is often a mirror between worlds, but that pool did not inspire me much. Perhaps this is to be expected... Let's go see her then." Karla offers.
There's also a path behinf spider web that has not been cleared, but the pool seems like the place.
Wulfram agreed, "Yes, lets go and see if we can talk to the dryad."
Next to the spider web chamber is the locked barricade, with a sign saying something like "Danger - do not release!" Presumably there's some sort of monster confined there.
A hill of twisted wicker and gore rises above the canopy here, presenting an oasis-like pool surrounded by fetid plant life. A stream of greenish liquid rhythmically drips from the ceiling into the roiling pool at the center, releasing a caustic smell. Beside the pool, patches of ridge-like mushrooms tower ten feet tall. The flickering glow of phosphorescent insects occasionally illuminates ominous shapes.
The dryad who lounges by the pool seems just as infested with the Darkblight as the other fey you have encountered here, but her eyes widen as you approach. "Oh, dear! Dear, dear, dear! Please, mighty heroes, have mercy upon me. I have no wish to fight you. I am Erado."
Karla notices the infestation plaguing the Dryad and whispers to Wulfram: "We could offer to rid her of the Blight... No?"
Wulfram greeted the blighted fey, "Hello Erado, I am Wulfram. We do not come to fight, but to talk with you. We are visitors to this realm, and are looking for the way to Arlantia's palace."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (9) + 20 = 29
As he talked to Erado, he tried to figure out what type of dryad she was.
Knowledge Nature: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (5) + 19 = 24
Erado appears to be a standard dryad, though one infested with the Darkblight.
"Well, you are in Arlantia's palace, are you not? Perhaps you are looking for the way to her throne of Arhlantu? Yes, you are close now, very close. This very pool conceals the passage down. You need but stand at the edge and stare into its depths. If you are deemed worthy, then the passage will open for you."
Wulfram considered this new information; he wanted to have a fresh complement of spells memorized before confronting the dark fey ruler. He replied to Erado, "Yes, that is what we are looking for, thank you."
He consulted with his comrades, "It's been a long day. Perhaps we should rest first, and prepare ourselves for our audience with Arlantia."
Karla looks puzzled: "You trust her words? Is she not corrupted by the Blight? It may affect what she says. She might be setting up a trap for us."
"Can' ye jus' cleanse her or summat? Ye have tha rod fer it now, then we coul' trust her fer sure." Rogar asks.
"I would only try it if we all agree to do so, and we should also decide whether she should accept as well, or if we're happy to force it on her..."
"Ye never had a problem when we woul' jus blast em. Bu' ta cleanse them o' tha blight now needs 'em ta want it?" Rogar asks, slightly incredulously, "Besides, dinnae ye say they coul' resist it if they tried anyway?"