|d'Valois Mai Zhi|
Fairly confident that the Arcanists Guild is the only group left that she has any real chance with, Zhi continues her pestering demonstrations.
Influence Arcanists Guild - DD: 1d20 + 36 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 36 + 2 + 2 = 60
Melodie too keeps working on the guard, she knows she is making inroads, a few guards at a time.
Perform Sing: 1d20 + 27 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 27 + 2 = 48
Doesn't matter: 1d20 ⇒ 8
Doesn't matter: 1d20 ⇒ 7
Doesn't matter: 1d20 ⇒ 1
Doesn't matter: 1d20 ⇒ 1
Zhi and Melodie continue to excel at their tasks. Zileska manages to make a few inroads among the royal guard before hitting a wall. Fortunately, Sara is on hand to help the process along, the brawler charming some of the men (and even more of the women) to your cause.
Both the arcanists' guild and the royal guard are now indifferent! Maria can still make her checks for the day, and then this happens:
On the morning of the fourth day of your campaign against Carrius, no sooner have you set foot in Oppara then a band of mercenaries confronts you! A white-robed sorceress with pale skin and dark hair leads the band, surrounded by a shield of crackling blue flames. She is defended by a half-orc in a chain shirt who wields a scimitar and shield. A trio of wiry monks complete the group, cracking their knuckles as they approach. "There they are!" the sorceress shouts. "We are Cullver's Cold Steel, and we've come for the bounty on your heads!"
Maria: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Melodie: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Sara: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
Zileska: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Safina: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Enemies: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Everybody may act before the enemies!
|d'Valois Mai Zhi|
"You'll have to come and get 'em ," Zhi snarls as she raises a hand and with arcane words, sends a ray of blackness towards the woman in the white robes. She then vanishes from sight.
Sneaky Disintegrate - Touch Attack: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (18) + 17 = 35
DC 20 Fortitude Save
Failed Save Damage: 28d6 + 8d6 ⇒ (5, 5, 1, 2, 5, 5, 4, 5, 5, 1, 4, 3, 4, 5, 3, 4, 2, 4, 4, 1, 2, 6, 5, 5, 3, 5, 4, 3) + (2, 5, 5, 4, 6, 3, 5, 5) = 140
Successful Save Damage: 5d6 ⇒ (3, 1, 1, 5, 3) = 13
Current Effects: mage armor, greater invisibility
Koriana's Blade: +4 AC, +1 AC to Sara
Current AC: 30 - 50% miss chance for sighted foes
White robes is -8 to Will saves for rounds equal to number of hits.
"Kneel!" Melodie intones, somewhere between stern and contemptuous. She focuses her own power on the half orc after seeing her wife strike the sorceress.
Overwhelming Presence. Let's see if this fight ends in one round...
|d'Valois Mai Zhi|
That would be nice, but not probable with three monks bouncing around.
I was going to use Knowledge (nobility) because I was under the impression that only that skill or Perform (singing) could be used on the royal guard, based on the discovery check made previously.
Zileska starts to go for her whip, but the situation is well in hand in a flash. She settles for checking her nails to make sure they're still intact - the short trim being a necessity in her usual day-to-day activities.
|d'Valois Mai Zhi|
Not remembering how long the effect lasts, Zhi wastes no time in approaching the white-robed woman and removing her as a threat in the most expeditious manner.
Diplomacy is almost always an option for influence checks, though usually not the best option as the DC is generally higher than that of other skills.
Zhi executes the sorceress without mercy. You can either kill or capture the others at your leisure.
I will post their gear tomorrow. You may make all your checks for the fourth day now.
Maria co-ordinated with the others to direct her efforts where they would be best suited.
Roll 1: 1d20 ⇒ 9
Roll 2: 1d20 ⇒ 13
Roll 3: 1d20 ⇒ 15
Roll 4: 1d20 ⇒ 10
Roll 5: 1d20 ⇒ 1
Roll 6: 1d20 ⇒ 10
Roll 7: 1d20 ⇒ 10
Roll 8: 1d20 ⇒ 7
Roll 9: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Roll 10: 1d20 ⇒ 9
Roll 11: 1d20 ⇒ 19
Roll 12: 1d20 ⇒ 4
Three sets of: +1 human–bane shuriken (5), +1 shuriken (20), adamantine shuriken (10), cold iron shuriken (10), masterwork quarterstaff, belt of physical might +2 (Str, Dex), bracers of armor +2, cloak of resistance +1, ring of protection +1, shock amulet of mighty fists, 235 gp
You continue your campaign of influence for three more days, ignoring the investigators to instead focus your efforts on the palace defenders. The Ulfen Guard proves rather obstinate, but Sara is at least able to convince them to soften their opinions of you a bit.
Zhi completely gains the trust of the arcanists' guild. The mages reveal that the Carrius who sits on the Lion Throne at almost all times is a sophisticated illusion created at Carrius’s request, as he claims to fear an assassination like the one that took his sister. They offer the sorceress a greater maximize metamagic rod in an attempt to entice her to join their ranks after the current unpleasantness concludes!
Melodie, Maria, and Zileska meanwhile fully ingratiate themselves with the royal guard. The guard that Zileska has been sharing a bed with agrees to leave one of the palace gates intentionally unguarded at a prearranged time to allow you easy entry.
At last, the time has come to infiltrate the Royal Palace and deal with the legendary emperors controlling Carrius. This will likely be your greatest challenge yet. You should be sure you are fully prepared before you begin...
The Imperial Palace is surrounded by 30-foot-high stone walls that are reinforced with magic and lined with continual flame spells every 60 feet to provide the palace grounds with at least dim illumination at all times. Each of the five gates bears both an iron door and an iron portcullis, which are kept open by day but sealed every night. Most of the palace interior doors are strong wood with superior locks, while exterior doors are iron with superior locks.
Imperial Palace sentries patrol the grounds in pairs every 15 minutes, and two sentries stand at attention at each of the complex’s gates. The entirety of the palace grounds are blanketed with a permanent dimensional lock effect, preventing the use of teleportation or summoning magic; specific individuals (often members of the royal family, or special guardians) can be attuned to the effect, allowing them to teleport or summon normally. Thin lead sheeting in the walls shields most of the palace interior from divination effects.
Almost all doors and gates are protected with audible alarm spells, maintained by a small army of on-duty magi who respond to assist sentries. All five gates are likewise warded with a unique effect that causes anyone affected by an illusion spell to glow bright blue when passing through the gates and for several minutes after—a seldom-discussed feature that has embarrassed countless nobles who arrive for social functions while benefiting from “mild” illusory beauty treatments. Many doors—especially those leading to servants’ areas or guard rooms—are concealed behind illusory walls, while secure areas are sealed with arcane lock in addition to their mundane locks. Many areas are also warded with symbol of sleep or symbol of stunning spells, while the palace vault is protected by several symbols of death.
Since the Arcanists' Guild is helpful, you can bribe the mages to attune you to the palace's dimensional lock for a price of 5,000 gp per person.
After a hefty dose of funds to the Imperial Arcanists ensure that the group can teleport in, Melodie spends a long time cloistered with her wife, Martella Lotheed and Princess Eutropia attempting to determine the best place to teleport into. Their eventual conclusion is that the viewing gallery of the great hall is the best place, likely to be u guarded but hopefully.close enough to the Prince for Lotheeds ring to access his mindscape.
"We don't want to hurt anyone if we can avoid it." She says by way of summarising the plan. Hopefully this way we'll get in unnoticed and be able to save the Prince. Anyone have additions to make?"
|d'Valois Mai Zhi|
Zhi doesn't have anything to add, but she does have eyeless masks for both her and Melodie to wear.
mask from divination
|d'Valois Mai Zhi|
When Zileska mentions using magic on everyone to bypass all illusion and concealment magic, Zhi looks a little nervous.
"Umm... when you do that, uh, could everyone take into account that being four months pregnant isn't ... umm ... It's not as easy as it might seem to make one's self ... presentable," she stammers out, her face turning a shade pink. Her eyes move heavenward and she reaches up to brush at them. "No judging, ok?"
Anyone looking her over after the spells are cast see that her clothes don't fit her anywhere near as well as they appeared. In fact, she looks quite frumpy. There are a lot of loose strands of hair escaping the previously neat braid down her back and blemishes cover part of her face.
|d'Valois Mai Zhi|
Zhi's face whips around to her wife. "Don't even ...!" she begins, but the rest of the sharp words are left unuttered as her lip begins to tremble and her expression crumbles. "I'm sorry," she says as the tears begin to flood her eyes. "I've been such a b*#~# to you lately." She steps close and wraps her arms around Melodie. "You've been so good to me and I'm just a mess."
The round of tears only lasts for a minute or so before the current wave of emotional craziness passes. Zhi wipes her eyes as she gathers herself together. "Sorry about that, everyone. Let's do this."
Teleport: 1d100 ⇒ 7
Once everybody is fully prepared, Zhi teleports you into the Imperial Palace. You arrive right on target, concealed within the rows of seats in the gallery overlooking the throne room. The semicircular auditorium below reflects the grandeur of old Taldor: a sunburst pattern in blue and green is worked into the marble walls, radiating out from a gilded throne atop a dais. The crest of Taldor, painted on an enormous shield, hangs proudly above the throne. Gilded chairs with red velvet cushions fill most of the room, and a red velvet carpet leads up the center of the room to the base of the throne. The domed ceiling reaches 50 feet overhead.
A trio of hulking Ulfen Guards stand watch here, two wielding greatswords while Carrius's personal guard, a burly woman named Vorr, clutches a gleaming greataxe. None of them have noticed your arrival yet.
It would appear the Prince Carrius himself sits upon the Lion Throne, but the true seeing spells Zileska provided reveals him to be illusory. The wall behind the throne itself is also illusory, and there seems to be another room beyond it--perhaps the private sanctum where the true Carrius lurks.
Melodie just holds her wife, well used to the emotional waves now, and lets the feelings pass before leaning over to press a kiss to her wife's wet cheek.
With that done she slips Lotheed's Ring of the Recalled Soul on and stiffens as she detects the presence of several powerful minds jumbled together at the edge of her perceptions.
"Right." She says quietly. "Stay close." She weaves magic to bend light around the group and then concentrates as a thin line of light appears in the air in front of them and twists into a doorway.
"So." Melodie manages a small smile. "Who wants to go first?"
Sara volunteers to remain outside the mindscape to protect your bodies as you work to rescue Carrius. As you step through the doorway, the physical world fades away into a white mist. When the mist clears, the view has changed. Instead of a landscape of marble and plush velvet carpet, six doors lead out from this crack-riven circular chamber. In the center of the room, a human-sized rag doll sits on a wooden throne, his body and clothes stitched together from several sources and bound together with six distinct chains.
Each of the six unlocked doors is slightly different:
Fire Door: This red marble door glows from within and is warm to the touch. On its surface is engraved a vista of leaping flames. Tormented faces hidden within the flames stare out from the door with despairing eyes.
Sword Door: This iron door is dull and marked with countless slices and nicks. A curved scimitar embedded in the door drips a constant stream of red blood.
Harbor Door: This narrow, rectangular door is cut from blue variegated marble. The top of the door is very pale, almost white, darkening to deep azure blue near the floor. Engraved into the door is an image of a three-masted ship
Whisper Door: This white marble door is covered with a shifting silver film of mist. Engraved into the marble is the image of a hooded figure, its hand covering its face as it whispers into the ear of another man.
Crown Door: This polished steel door is inset with an inverted golden crown. A single, teardrop-shaped ruby sits embedded in the crown, like a drop of blood
Lion Door: This arched door seems worked from solid gold. In the center of the door, the image of a lion rears on its hind legs, its mouth open in a silent roar.
As you get your bearings, the mindscape door that you entered through suddenly slams shut and vanishes! It would seem that exiting Carrius's mindscape will not be easy...
Knw Arc: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (19) + 16 = 35
"That's Carrius." Melodie says in a hushed tone. "Or how he perceives himself, which is the same thing in here." She pauses for a moment and examines the doors. "A door for each Emperor... without knowing which emperors Lotheed harvested I can't guess, except for that one." She points to the golden door with the rampant lion. "That must be Taldaris. Let's try him first, perhaps we can reason with him and get his help with the others." Despite her optimistic tone she doesn't seem entirely certain of success...