DM Brainiac's War for the Crown: Table 1

Game Master Brainiac

Current Date: 21 Kuthona, 4718 AR

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Game Concluded

So what do we do with this guy?" Zhi says as she sticks him yet again in frustration that he's still alive. "Zilesak? Any ideas? Any way to divine how to actually kill him? 'cause this isn't working," she asks as she stabs him again to emphasize her point.


Female Half-Elf Cleric 17 | HP 82/105 | AC 21 T 14 FF 19 | Fort +12 Ref +9 Will +17 | Initiative +2 | Perception +8 | Channel Energy 5/6 | Dazing Touch 8/8 | Bit of Luck 8/8 | Good Fortune 2/2

"Traditionally a lich has a receptacle in which its soul is stored. Find and destroy the receptacle to finish the job," suggests Zileska. "I, however, have very little in the way of magical miracles to call upon at this point, until we get a chance to rest up, clean up, and have some real food and perhaps a roll in the hay."


Game Concluded

"So he just comes back?" Zhi asks incredulously. "I don't think so." She switches to her shortsword and, for the second time today, proceeds to remove someone's head from their body.

She wraps the head in a piece of cloth and then shoves it into her magic bag.

"I'd like to see the bastard come back without his head," she says when her grisly task is completed. "If he was the boss then let's at least see what he was guarding before we get out of here."

Zhi checks the single other door in the room for traps before opening it.


Female Half-Elf Cleric 17 | HP 82/105 | AC 21 T 14 FF 19 | Fort +12 Ref +9 Will +17 | Initiative +2 | Perception +8 | Channel Energy 5/6 | Dazing Touch 8/8 | Bit of Luck 8/8 | Good Fortune 2/2

"Do you have an extradimensional space to put that head in? Otherwise he might give us running commentary."


Panivar’s head twitches slightly, indicating that the wizard is still alive despite the decapitation.

A bizarre device of shining, white stone is the sole focus of this room. A deep vessel, large enough for an adult human to sit within, balances atop three stone pillars fitted with lenses and alien instruments. A tub below ripples with a milky, opalescent fluid whose earthy, sweet scent fills the room.

The rest of this almost temple-like chamber consists of shelves lining the walls, though they are largely devoid of books. Instead, only a single journal rests among the empty, stained jars and flasks.

The journal sitting alone on the shelf details Panivar Lotheed’s weeks of careful grafting, surgery, and examination as he carefully nursed Carrius’s shredded soul into a stable state using legends stolen from the Astral Plane—a grisly and painful subject to even read about. Later entries detail his frustrations with how quickly the legends seem to be growing to overwhelm Carrius himself. The final entry reads:

I have crafted a ring with which I can enter the boy’s mind and take these delinquent emperors to task with my own hand. They are arrogant automatons—more like clever and willful pets than the emperors I had hoped for, but they’ve done their work. Now I need only prune them back hard, but not so much that my discipline destroys them; there is precious little holding the lad together save their ghostly egos. Another session or two and they should be permanently cowed, but if not, the ring will allow me to re-enter and establish dominance whenever I care to.

As you approach the device, the necklace containing Eutropia’s soul begins to get warm. A flickering emanation of the princess appears above the vessel. The closer the magic jar necklace gets to the vessel, the stronger and clearer her image becomes.


Female NG Changeling Mesmerist (Vox) 17 RETIRED | HP:71/93 | AC: 25 (17 Tch, 21 Fl) | CMB: 11, CMD: 25 | F: +8, R: +17, W: +17 | Init: +8 | Perc/SM +23, Bluff +44(49), Dip +38, I +34, Dis +34, UMD +22, Spcft + 18, KnwA +16| Speed 30ft | Spells: 1: 7/8, 2: 6/7, 3: 5/7, 4: 4/6, 5: 6/6, 6: 1/3 | Tricks: Alac, Curse (M), Free (M), Gift, Visions (M) 10/17+1; Words: 10/12 | Mask: DT (DC20) 9/9, TS 1/1 | Active: See Invisbility, Echolocation

Melodie scans the items, calling out each items properties until she comes to the unusual Ring. After examining it intently for a minute or so while the rest of the group mutilates the wizards body she moves to the journal and begins to read.

Melodie has always been a swift reader, but this time she turns the pages slowly, shuddering as the sheer enormity and horror of Panivar's scheme comes together in her mind.

"By the gods! The... hubris! I could never... we need to find Carrius and soon. He's not a person any more - just a vessel. They've filled him with six astral legends to replace his own soul... This Ring can get us into a mindscape where we can contain the legends, and banish them... I hope."


Game Concluded

Zhi grins back at Zileska and pats her bag that's been through so much with them. "Not a problem," she says with confidence.

~~~~

When the emanation of the princess appears, Zhi's eyes widen. "What is this thing?" she questions in awe, turning to her wife and then to Zileska. "What does this have to do with Eutropia?"


Game Concluded

Knowledge (arcana)?: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11

Nope. Not a clue.


Female Half-Elf Cleric 17 | HP 82/105 | AC 21 T 14 FF 19 | Fort +12 Ref +9 Will +17 | Initiative +2 | Perception +8 | Channel Energy 5/6 | Dazing Touch 8/8 | Bit of Luck 8/8 | Good Fortune 2/2

Zileska purses her lips and says, "How stupid. Going to all this trouble to make a fake Carrius. There are plenty of easier ways to steal the Imperial Throne."

"Also makes me feel a bit bad for the poor boy, but it certainly explains why he 'feels off'."

The priestess wrings her hands and says, "I'm guessing this is the device by which Panivar constructed the soul for Carrius. Now that Carrius is no longer here, the device is resonating with Eutropia's stored soul, since she's the closes one that's not currently in a body."

"This does raise some interesting ideas about what we could do with Panivar's soul if we found his receptacle," she adds wryly.


Game Concluded

"Sadly enough, it doesn't sound like the prince is fake, just ... damaged. I pity him," Zhi says with a shake of her head.

"Could this ... contraption ... bring the princess back?" She asks after a moment. She holds out her hand for the pendant holding Eutropia's soul and brings it even closer to the device. Testing to find out where the image of the princess is strongest.


Female Half-Elf Cleric 17 | HP 82/105 | AC 21 T 14 FF 19 | Fort +12 Ref +9 Will +17 | Initiative +2 | Perception +8 | Channel Energy 5/6 | Dazing Touch 8/8 | Bit of Luck 8/8 | Good Fortune 2/2

"Perhaps. Remember that when she spoke to us before she said she wasn't ready to have her soul restored to a body yet," says Zileska.


The image of Eutropia the closer Zhi brings it to the vessel. She thinks placing the pendant inside will activate the device.


Game Concluded

"Not until we'd uncovered who was responsible for her assassination," Zhi responds. She pats her backpack meaningfully. "I think we've dealt with them. They were tough bastards, but they're defeated if not dead."

Holding her breath, she places the pendant inside.


When the necklace is so placed, the stones below the crucible flare white-hot, and ghostly steam issues from the vessel. The winch must then be turned, tipping the vessel over and “pouring out” the soul essence into the arcane fluid below.

Images pour forth from the crucible, a flickering parade of childhood memories. Princess Eutropia’s memories spill over the vessel’s lip, each heartbreak and victory, each friendship and loss that shaped the princess’s spirit into the woman you know. You catch glimpses of young Eutropia and her brother playing at knights and dragons, reading together in the Imperial Palace, and other such innocent memories. You also see the grief and resolve on Eutropia’s face as she stands next to her brother’s body at his funeral, a memory that defines her so strongly it glows with a light that overshadows all other facets of her soul.

When the Soul Crucible finishes its work, the vessel slowly rights itself. The collected soul-energy of Eutropia coalesces into the form of the princess, naked, pale and exhausted. Eutropia wraps her arms around her shoulders to stop the shivering, musters a smile, and says with a beaming grin, ”You’ve restored me, exactly as I knew you could! That wasn’t so hard now, was it?”

Knowledge (arcana) DC 30:
The magical jewel from the pendant has absorbed some vital essence from Eutropia’s soul as it was resurrected. Anyone in possession of the gem can cast raise dead or resurrection on the princess should she die again, regardless of how long she has been dead, and even if the body is missing or destroyed. The soul gem also helps armor the resurrected figure against death magic. This stored soul energy may have other uses as well.


Game Concluded

Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13

Zhi pulls her cloak off and wraps it around the restored woman. "Your Highness," she says with a tip of her head. "I would offer you clothes, but nothing I have would fit you." she says with a slight grin.

"It's wonderful to have you back. We've eliminated the leadership of the Immaculate Circle," she continues. "With one exception. Their leader doesn't seem to want to die, but I think he'll have a hard time being a nuisance without his head." She pats her backpack meaningfully. "If you'd like, we'll return you to birdsong palace and with the mantle of kings, we should be able to end this conflict."


Eutropia nods gratefully at Zhi's effort to preserve her modesty. "I am ready to return when you are. I would suggest first, though, to fully explore the Circle's stronghold if you haven't already. We cannot afford to leave any enemies behind to oppose us."


Female NG Changeling Mesmerist (Vox) 17 RETIRED | HP:71/93 | AC: 25 (17 Tch, 21 Fl) | CMB: 11, CMD: 25 | F: +8, R: +17, W: +17 | Init: +8 | Perc/SM +23, Bluff +44(49), Dip +38, I +34, Dis +34, UMD +22, Spcft + 18, KnwA +16| Speed 30ft | Spells: 1: 7/8, 2: 6/7, 3: 5/7, 4: 4/6, 5: 6/6, 6: 1/3 | Tricks: Alac, Curse (M), Free (M), Gift, Visions (M) 10/17+1; Words: 10/12 | Mask: DT (DC20) 9/9, TS 1/1 | Active: See Invisbility, Echolocation

Knw Arc: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (9) + 15 = 24 Looks like its on Maria!

"Take this, Your Highness." Melodie suggests, holding out her fine black weapon. "You should stay here, but if something comes for you then concentrate on us and the dagger will bring us here to help you." Lend Eutropia the Scion's Dagger, just in case.

"The Princess is right," She adds to the rest of the group. "We should check that we have dealt with the whole circle before we leave."

She pulls off the wide over-shirt she wears for 'adventuring' and offers it to the Princess with a gentle hand, brushing her skin and implanting a fraction of psychic power at the same moment. Mesmeric Mirror :)


Game Concluded

Zhi frowns, but then nods at Melodie's words. "If you feel that's best, Princess," she says. Her face reddens slightly. "I meant my Princess, your Highness." Her face reddens further. "I don't mean that you're not my princess. I just meant ..." She closes her eyes and takes a breath.

Melodie:
{"I'm just digging further in, aren't I?"}

"My apologies, your Highness. I was talking to my wife. I call her ... No disrespect to your station intended. We should head back to the other secret door."


Female Rakshasa-spawn Tiefling Investigator 17 | HP 103/105 | AC 34 T 17 FF 29 | Fort +11 Ref +20 Will +16 | Initiative +9 | Perception +20 (free Insp) | Sense Motive +23 (free Insp)

Maria's physically incapable of rolling that arcana check - she has zero ranks in Know Arcana. She can make it untrained thanks to a class feature but that's only +5 and I'd have to spend Inspiration. Then again, I barely spend any inspiration anyway so...

Know Arcana, Untrained: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Inspiration, add higher roll to above: 2d8 ⇒ (2, 1) = 3
No surprise there, a total of only 10.

Maria couldn't help but smile at Zhi tripping over her pet names and titles.

"We'll be back as soon as possible, your Highness."


Eutropia reverently accepts the legendary dagger, but smirks irreverently at Zhi’s awkwardness. ”Relax, Zhi. You’ve seen me naked now. I think you’ve earned the right to just call me Eutropia.”

Zhi leads the way to the other secret door. A dozen tomes with an eclectic mix of bindings, from snakeskin to blood-red leather, bob lazily in midair. Glass cases line the walls, filled with mounted skeletons of strange humanoids and birds. A circular desk stands almost in the center of the room.

Knowledge (planes) DC 25:
You identify the skeletons not as mortal creatures, but magically preserved and dissected psychopomps, ranging from tiny nosois to vanths, morrignas, and even a moth-winged olethros.

An open tome on the desk contains Panivar’s personal research notes regarding the Soul Crucible, the device you used to resurrect Eutropia, detailing his discovery and subsequent modifications to the vessel. The first entry dates from 4607 and reads:

It’s rare Thassritoum provides me an insight without a price or puzzle, but perhaps this one was too precious to serve as a toy. He called it the Soul Crucible, and I see why he kept the knowledge of it hidden until now; it appears the Last Azlanti himself tucked it away from the world, and the locks and wards lost their sting without their master.

The vessel seems designed to store and refine immortal souls, constructed, I would wager, by a civilization predating even Azlant. A wily user can imprison his foes and study their secrets from their living essence, but I believe it could be improved upon, with what the Mewling Storm has taught me. This Soul Crucible could live up to its moniker, burning souls down to their most essential traits. Imagine brewing the sword arm of Arnisant? Or the cunning of Razmir? Splicing the greatest living talents together into a perfect whole!

I can master this device. With Thassritoum shielding my soul from Pharasma’s gaze, I have all the time in the world.

The journals also contain notes on the Soul Crucible and how it works. You can examine these sections of the journals to learn the Soul Crucible is a powerful artifact that can store, examine, dissect, and restore souls. More recent entries describe modifications to the artifact’s original function, and the most recent pages discuss how to use powerful motes of psychic energy in place of soul-stuff.

Several of the books here are spellbooks. The books contain all wizard spells from levels 1 through 7, as well as dimensional lock, etherealness, gate, greater create demiplane, and greater planar binding. The library’s other tomes contain enough material to study for a year.


Female NG Changeling Mesmerist (Vox) 17 RETIRED | HP:71/93 | AC: 25 (17 Tch, 21 Fl) | CMB: 11, CMD: 25 | F: +8, R: +17, W: +17 | Init: +8 | Perc/SM +23, Bluff +44(49), Dip +38, I +34, Dis +34, UMD +22, Spcft + 18, KnwA +16| Speed 30ft | Spells: 1: 7/8, 2: 6/7, 3: 5/7, 4: 4/6, 5: 6/6, 6: 1/3 | Tricks: Alac, Curse (M), Free (M), Gift, Visions (M) 10/17+1; Words: 10/12 | Mask: DT (DC20) 9/9, TS 1/1 | Active: See Invisbility, Echolocation

Melodie collects the choicest books, drafting Maria in to help her with the spellbooks, and then nods firmly. "If that's everything then we should collect the Princess and get out of here."


Game Concluded
DM Brainiac wrote:
Eutropia reverently accepts the legendary dagger, but smirks irreverently at Zhi’s awkwardness. ”Relax, Zhi. You’ve seen me naked now. I think you’ve earned the right to just call me Eutropia.”

Zhi's face reddens and she looks down at her feet. "Yes, your High ... Yes, Eutropia," she stammers out.

~~~~~

Melodie d'Valois wrote:
Melodie collects the choicest books, drafting Maria in to help her with the spellbooks, and then nods firmly. "If that's everything then we should collect the Princess and get out of here."

"Wait, you're telling me that we're not even going to look behind those big double doors?" Zhi questions, pointing towards the doors to the north. She blinks puppy-dog eyes at her wife.


Female NG Changeling Mesmerist (Vox) 17 RETIRED | HP:71/93 | AC: 25 (17 Tch, 21 Fl) | CMB: 11, CMD: 25 | F: +8, R: +17, W: +17 | Init: +8 | Perc/SM +23, Bluff +44(49), Dip +38, I +34, Dis +34, UMD +22, Spcft + 18, KnwA +16| Speed 30ft | Spells: 1: 7/8, 2: 6/7, 3: 5/7, 4: 4/6, 5: 6/6, 6: 1/3 | Tricks: Alac, Curse (M), Free (M), Gift, Visions (M) 10/17+1; Words: 10/12 | Mask: DT (DC20) 9/9, TS 1/1 | Active: See Invisbility, Echolocation
d'Valois Mai Zhi wrote:
"Wait, you're telling me that we're not even going to look behind those big double doors?" Zhi questions, pointing towards the doors to the north. She blinks puppy-dog eyes at her wife.

"Fine. Quickly!" Melodie replies, although a smile creeps onto her face and ruins any stern effect.

Zhi:
{"You're very cute when you blush."}


Game Concluded

Zhi moves to check the large doors for traps, her face reddening even further as she avoids looking at Melodie.

Take 10 for 35 Find Traps.


This chamber has the look of a museum. Nooks in the walls, illuminated from above with magical light, showcase busts, sculptures, and other pieces of art. Heavy-framed paintings hang between the nooks, and statues of heroic men in armor or long robes stand in the corners. From the ceiling hangs a massive crystal chandelier swarming with magical lights.

The collected artworks in this room, treasures of Taldor’s history, are all but priceless. Many are stolen, though, and unless the you go through illegal channels to fence them for a fraction of their price, most will have to be returned to their rightful owners. Whether you fence the art or return it (which will garner you a modest reward from each grateful owner), you will earn 16,000 gp for the art pieces.

With a thorough search, you recognize one of the statues (that of a general from the Sixth Army of Exploration) as a fake. The statue’s base is hollow, concealing a hidden panel. Inside the statue’s base is a bag containing six small diamonds, each one worth 2,500 gp. Next to the bag are three ring boxes. One holds a jailer’s dungeon ring and the other two each contain a prisoner’s dungeon ring.

The adjoining room serve as bedrooms for Nenareen Adella and Panivar Lotheed. Panivar keeps an erratic journal in his bedroom, with many of the entries mundane accountings of vapid political secrets and debts owed. The most recent entry is from months ago and reads:

The soul is shredded. Thassritoum tells me it was unavoidable given the haste and difficulty of the task, but I suspect his cruelty got the better of his practicality once again. He does love presenting me with a challenge. I doubt what’s left of the boy could survive more than a few hours outside the crucible. I’ve debated sending an imposter, or transferring my own soul into the vessel Adella prepared, but the return of Prince Carrius will be perhaps the most closely scrutinized miracle in Taldor’s history.

The boy must remain pure, and his destiny must be to become emperor. I simply need some means of patching the damage done. Gods are not the only ones who live forever, so certainly they cannot be the only ones to make a soul. I simply need a powerful source of psychic energy.


Female NG Changeling Mesmerist (Vox) 17 RETIRED | HP:71/93 | AC: 25 (17 Tch, 21 Fl) | CMB: 11, CMD: 25 | F: +8, R: +17, W: +17 | Init: +8 | Perc/SM +23, Bluff +44(49), Dip +38, I +34, Dis +34, UMD +22, Spcft + 18, KnwA +16| Speed 30ft | Spells: 1: 7/8, 2: 6/7, 3: 5/7, 4: 4/6, 5: 6/6, 6: 1/3 | Tricks: Alac, Curse (M), Free (M), Gift, Visions (M) 10/17+1; Words: 10/12 | Mask: DT (DC20) 9/9, TS 1/1 | Active: See Invisbility, Echolocation

Confronted with yet more evidence of Pannivar's madness Melodie shakes her head sadly. "He was utterly insane." She says quietly. "Brilliant beyond reason and completely insane. I don't think we ever want to meet Thassritoum though."

Assuming we really have seen everything now...

"I'll show Eutropia these later." She says. "This is something to digest in comfort, not somewhere like this!"


Game Concluded

"Maybe he knows how to kill our tag-along," Zhi wonders aloud as she pats her backpack. "In any case, let's check the other doors."

Again, Find Traps with Take 10 for 35.


The floor of this chamber is covered in trapezoidal marble tiles. Gold bars cordon off the eastern and western alcoves flanking the stairs, shading curved alcoves beyond. The ceiling is a carved relief of a ferocious lion, large as a building, crushing armies beneath its paws. Stairs ascend at the far end of the room.

Two huge cages contain a pair of massive lions the size of elephants. Their fur and skin shimmer with a golden sheen. The beasts growl at you but seem unable to escape their cages.

Knowledge (arcana) DC 24:
Taldan legends tell of the grogrisant, a golden-furred leonine beast that First Emperor Taldaris killed in the early days of the empire. The grogrisant has reappeared throughout history to test great Taldan heroes, and scholars disagree as to whether this is the same ageless mythic beast or a rare race of creatures. In either case, the mighty grogrisant has sired powerful offspring among the dire lions of the Whistling Plains north of the World’s Edge Mountains. Their legendary heritage evident in their great size, lustrous hide, and rending claws, grisantian lions stalk the plains and mountains of northern Taldor. Haughty and powerful, grisantian lions seek easy meals but cannot resist an opportunity for a challenging fight, hurling themselves against large foes such as mammoths and giants to demonstrate their formidable attacks and supernatural resilience.


Game Concluded

Keeping a suspicious eye out for a trigger to release the lions, Zhi leads the others towards the stairs.


The stairs wind up to a secret door that opens onto the winding tunnel on the level above. You head down to its end, where you find a pair of false double doors opening on blank stone. The passage is little more than a means to confuse intruders.

However, there are more secret doors leading away. The nearest one opens onto a hall with several bedchambers where the other members of the Immaculate Circle slept. One belonged to Barenby Ghoom, and it contains his weather-beaten journal tracking his past expeditions to collect rare components, chart the movements of animals and unusual beasts in the area, and maps of impossible locations. The last dozen pages detail his expeditions into the Astral Plane with a trio of night hags in search of “legends”— constellations of psychic energy created by the public perception of great figures. His journal specifically names the six legends he helped track: Beldam I, Cyricas, Daronlyr XII, Gennaris III, Stavian I, and Taldaris—six of Taldor’s most famous former grand princes.

There is also a prison in the end of this hall, but it is currently empty.

The last secret door opens onto a large chamber. Four silver braziers, one in each corner of the room, continuously overflow with pale blue mist that fills the room.

There is a growl from the mist, and a creature rushes towards you! This one-eyed, wolf-headed creature walks upright on two hoofed feet. It bares metal fangs while a thin, ratlike tail twitches behind it.

Initiative:
Mai Zhi: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
Maria: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Melodie: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Sara: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
Zileska: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Safina: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Creature: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16

Sara Dirty Trick: 1d20 + 26 ⇒ (1) + 26 = 27

Sara rushes towards the creature, but fails to hit it. The thing takes the time to defend itself, its form blurring and its movements increasing significantly!

Everybody may act! The creature has a 20% miss chance due to the blur and the mist.

Knowledge (nature) DC 23:
This monstrous humanoid is a psoglav. Horrific, ravenous creatures that dwell underground but are all too eager to venture forth to the world above, psoglavs terrorize the living and desecrate the dead, all to sate their hunger for flesh. hough they feed on any humanoids they can find, they prefer to hunt humans, whose flesh grants them a dark boon when they eat it. Victims of a psoglav attack may survive the ordeal, but they can suffer the effects of the creature’s cursed bite for months or even years. They resist weapons that are not cold iron and piercing.


Game Concluded

With a roll of her eyes, Zhi races forward to flank with Sara, vanishing as she does so.

Rapier Attack: 1d20 + 20 + 2 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 20 + 2 + 4 = 29 invisible - ignore target's Dex bonus, outflank
Rapier Damage: 1d6 + 10 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 10 + 3 = 19 arcane strike
Sneak Attack Damage: 6d6 ⇒ (4, 5, 2, 3, 2, 5) = 21

Concealment 20% miss chance: 1d100 ⇒ 49

Melodie:
{"Tell it what to do, Princess,"} Zhi's mental voice says with a grin.

Current Effects: mage armor, Arcane Strike, greater invisibility
Koriana's Blade: +4 AC, +1 AC to Sara
Current AC: 28 - 50% miss chance for sighted opponents

Opponent is -6 to Will saves for rounds equal to number of hits.


Female NG Changeling Mesmerist (Vox) 17 RETIRED | HP:71/93 | AC: 25 (17 Tch, 21 Fl) | CMB: 11, CMD: 25 | F: +8, R: +17, W: +17 | Init: +8 | Perc/SM +23, Bluff +44(49), Dip +38, I +34, Dis +34, UMD +22, Spcft + 18, KnwA +16| Speed 30ft | Spells: 1: 7/8, 2: 6/7, 3: 5/7, 4: 4/6, 5: 6/6, 6: 1/3 | Tricks: Alac, Curse (M), Free (M), Gift, Visions (M) 10/17+1; Words: 10/12 | Mask: DT (DC20) 9/9, TS 1/1 | Active: See Invisbility, Echolocation

"Sit down you horrid thing!" Melodie commands firmly, a complete contrast to her reaction to the lions in the previous room which had been more along the lines of 'my goodness, theyre adorable!'.

Hold Monster. Dc26. -4 on will etc etc.


Will: 1d20 + 11 - 4 ⇒ (15) + 11 - 4 = 22

Zhi stabs the monster, then Melodie's spell causes it to promptly freeze in place. Sara is in the perfect position to drive her heel through the beast's throat and kill it without a fight.

The doors to the west open onto the final chamber in this complex. In the south of this room, two pink marble statues of giant bees with enormous sparkling jewels for eyes face each other. A hexagonal plinth two feet tall sits between them. Against the north wall hang three oblong nets of silver silk, resembling large cocoons or hammocks. The remaining walls are lined with inset stone bookshelves supporting heavy, metal-bound tomes.

A single creature stands in this room. Lithe and beautiful, this half-bee, half-woman creature wears elaborate makeup and wields an ornate staff. "I knew you would find me here. I have been watching you from afar for some time. My name is Drinae. Are you here to kill me, or do you come in peace?"


Game Concluded

"Are you a member of the Immaculate Circle?" Zhi asks, noncommittally with a glance at Zileska.


Drinae cocks her head. ”No. I was more of an unwilling guest. Magic compelled my loyalty, and thus I performed divinations on the Circle’s behalf. Your group had been a favored subject for them of late. I foretold when you would return to the palace so that the Circle could execute their plan of assassinating Princess Eutropia. I was also responsible for the Circle learning that Stavian III murdered his son 20 years ago, which prompted their increasing focus on the imperial family.” The bee-woman says all of this calmly and dispassionately.

”You have destroyed the Circle, and thus the compulsions keeping me here have faded. For the first time in 30 years, I am free to return to my home. But before I leave, I recognize that you are the new owners of the Circle’s property, including the library. I would like to negotiate with you for continued access to those rare texts. There is quite a bit more I can learn from them.”


Game Concluded

"You've been ... been watching us?" Zhi asks, growing uncomfortable. She avoids looking at her wife as her face colors again.

Melodie:
{"First thing we do when we get home is to get anti-divination magic established on the manor. The thought of someone peeping in while we ... just no."}

"The property should rightly belong to the Princess and the throne. If you'd like to continue researching here you'll have to negotiate with her."

Something the woman said just now sinks in.

"Wait! Did you say that Stavian murdered Prince Carrius?!"


”Yes,” Drinae replies calmly. ”It was not deliberate, but it was murder all the same. He shoved him down a flight of stairs in a fit of rage during an argument. He concocted the riding accident story to cover things up, and his shame prevented him from ever attempting to resurrect his son.”


Game Concluded

Zhi's face hardens.

"I'm glad the bastard was executed then. Hope he's burning for his final judgement," she says in a cold voice.

The rogue turns to the others. "It looks like we're done here. We should retrieve the princess and return her to Birdsong Palace," she says. Her eyes meet Melodie's. "Then on to home." She spares a look at their guide from the Brotherhood. "You get to come with us and remain in our custody for now."


Female Half-Elf Cleric 17 | HP 82/105 | AC 21 T 14 FF 19 | Fort +12 Ref +9 Will +17 | Initiative +2 | Perception +8 | Channel Energy 5/6 | Dazing Touch 8/8 | Bit of Luck 8/8 | Good Fortune 2/2

"I like the decor," says Zileska idly as she sizes up the bee statues.

"Sooo... where are you going to that is 'home'? Utopia?"


Female NG Changeling Mesmerist (Vox) 17 RETIRED | HP:71/93 | AC: 25 (17 Tch, 21 Fl) | CMB: 11, CMD: 25 | F: +8, R: +17, W: +17 | Init: +8 | Perc/SM +23, Bluff +44(49), Dip +38, I +34, Dis +34, UMD +22, Spcft + 18, KnwA +16| Speed 30ft | Spells: 1: 7/8, 2: 6/7, 3: 5/7, 4: 4/6, 5: 6/6, 6: 1/3 | Tricks: Alac, Curse (M), Free (M), Gift, Visions (M) 10/17+1; Words: 10/12 | Mask: DT (DC20) 9/9, TS 1/1 | Active: See Invisbility, Echolocation

"Before we go." Melodie says, and promptly heads back down to the two lions in their cage. She speaks soothingly to both animals, weaving magic into her words and easing the angry animals.

"I'm going to release these two outside." She says, once the creatures are firmly under her spell. "Zhi, sweetheart, take everyone back. I'll walk back to the rest of you once I've let the lions go. Would you mind unlocking the cages for me?"

Zhi:
{"They're just so lovely. I can't leave them to starve here."} Mel's fascination with lions is almost as strong as her delight in fine jewelry and crowns and Zhi can tell there's no way that she can dissuade her wife.


"I am a native of this plane of existence. My hive is located on the Whistling Plains east of here," Drinae says.


Game Concluded

Melodie:
{"Fine. Just remember that I'm not cleaning a stupid litter box,"} is the rogue's reply.


Female Half-Elf Cleric 17 | HP 82/105 | AC 21 T 14 FF 19 | Fort +12 Ref +9 Will +17 | Initiative +2 | Perception +8 | Channel Energy 5/6 | Dazing Touch 8/8 | Bit of Luck 8/8 | Good Fortune 2/2

"You seem remarkably placid about having been a captive for thirty years," says Zileska to the apian. "Though I suppose everyone involved is, for the most part, dead."


The bee-lady shrugs. ”I must confess, my personal investment in the organization had slowly increased over the course of my imprisonment despite my resentment. I even carried on an affair with the rakshasa Milon Jeroth for several years. With the Circle’s destruction, though, I find myself with no lingering attachment to them. I am ready to move on.”

The Masked Marquis, who has been silently trailing behind you this whole time, merely nods, still under the effects of the charm spell. So, too, do the grisantian lions succumb to Melodie’s magic, purring and rubbing against her like enormous kittens.

Princess Eutropia looks askance at your newfound menagerie, but shrugs and accompanies you back to the surface. When you emerge from the building, you find a falcon waiting for you with a scroll:

Something is gravely wrong with Carrius. His demeanor has changed radically, from kind boy to power-obsessed tyrant. He’s seizing the throne, arranging a quickly approaching coronation, and has blamed YOU LOT for Eutropia’s assassination. You’re possibly the most wanted figures in all of Taldor. He’s like a man possessed, with magic greater than anything even my brother or father could wield, and skill with a sword that would rival Gennaris himself!

I’m sheltering in the Grandbridge Vagabond Camp, on Barrier Island just outside Oppara. The crowds and running water seem to help block the most reliable of Carrius’s divinations. But the city crawls with investigators and paid informants, not to mention an angry citizenry eager to rally behind their “grieving” prince.

For now, Carrius seems untouchable. The Ulfen Guard have welcomed the heir into the Imperial Palace, and so he now commands an army of Ulfen warriors and the royal guard, along with the building’s unmatched magical protections. Much of my support network has been wiped out, and even now he targets your own supporters. You must be swift if you hope to act, or else flee Taldor and do not look back! If you return to the city, do so with utmost caution, or else do what you can to operate from a distance. I will try to arrange whatever I can on your behalf; you have only but to ask.

Yours in spirit and blade,
Martella


Game Concluded

Once Melodie finishes reading the letter from Martella, Zhi stands in silence for a moment as she absorbs the contents. She then begins planning.

"We can't return the Princess to Birdsong. Nor can we return to Stachys. If they're looking for us, those are the first places they'll check. I don't think they're aware that we claimed the manor in Zimar, though. That's where we'll have to hole up for the moment to rest and figure out our next step."

She looks at Melodie.

"I'll take the rest of the group and Eutropia there. That place also has facilities to hold someone like our guest," she adds with a head nod towards the Masked Marquis. "I think it has room for your cats as well."

She leans in to give the woman a quick kiss.

"I'll meet you there. Don't take too long."


Female Half-Elf Cleric 17 | HP 82/105 | AC 21 T 14 FF 19 | Fort +12 Ref +9 Will +17 | Initiative +2 | Perception +8 | Channel Energy 5/6 | Dazing Touch 8/8 | Bit of Luck 8/8 | Good Fortune 2/2

"Well we have a perfect defense for the charges of assassinating Eutropia, namely that she is alive and fine and right here," says Zileska.

"It sounds like they're using powerful divination magic to try to find us. We should expect foes to show up in short order. If we go to the manor in Zimar, we'll need to fortify it somehow, because a commune or similar spell will give up our location easily. If we plane shift somewhere else, though, we could be out of reach of their divination magic. We should at least consider that as a backup."


Game Concluded

"If they could do that then wouldn't they already be here?" Zhi asks. "They also wouldn't need informants and investigators."

She thinks for a moment.

"You're right, though. We shouldn't take any chances with the Princess. Their goal may be to assassinate her again - to finish the job. Can you take us back to Axis?"


Female Half-Elf Cleric 17 | HP 82/105 | AC 21 T 14 FF 19 | Fort +12 Ref +9 Will +17 | Initiative +2 | Perception +8 | Channel Energy 5/6 | Dazing Touch 8/8 | Bit of Luck 8/8 | Good Fortune 2/2

"I strongly suspect that the fortress we were just inside is shielded against divinations," says Zileska. "But now that we're outside, anyone can find us. We have to find some place safe to lie low for a day so that I can prepare a plane shift. Then we can return to Axis."

"That's assuming we need a day to strategize," she adds. "If you all have an idea for a go-plan right now, we don't need to go lie low. But I have exhausted most of the powerful gifts of Calistria for the moment."


Game Concluded

"I have magic that can protect against divination, but it would preclude teleporting. If this place is secure against divinations then let's use it. It'll probably be as safe as anywhere else."

mask from divination


Female NG Changeling Mesmerist (Vox) 17 RETIRED | HP:71/93 | AC: 25 (17 Tch, 21 Fl) | CMB: 11, CMD: 25 | F: +8, R: +17, W: +17 | Init: +8 | Perc/SM +23, Bluff +44(49), Dip +38, I +34, Dis +34, UMD +22, Spcft + 18, KnwA +16| Speed 30ft | Spells: 1: 7/8, 2: 6/7, 3: 5/7, 4: 4/6, 5: 6/6, 6: 1/3 | Tricks: Alac, Curse (M), Free (M), Gift, Visions (M) 10/17+1; Words: 10/12 | Mask: DT (DC20) 9/9, TS 1/1 | Active: See Invisbility, Echolocation

"Hiding isn't going to help us here." Melodie counters. "This is a matter of perception rather than right or wrong. If we're going to survive then we need to counter Carrius's narrative. But I don't think this is him. The increases in skill, the political edge... this is the legends talking. We need to take the fight to them - get inside the palace. Then I can use this ring to take us inside Carrius's mind and we can deal with the legends there. Besides, the best place to lose yoyrself is a crowd, ans the best place to whip up support is in the city. We can rest here, but i think we need to go to Oppara, not flee to Axis."

She pauses and the grins. "They have a reborn Prince. We have a reborn Princess, accompanied by great Half an lions and bearing the Mantle of Kings. I'd like to see them top that symbolism!"

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