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Dearie me... I don't want to say anything mean, but you know my 17th grandson's wife, Bobbijo? Well, it's her biscuits again. She just works and works that dough, and her biscuits come out hard as rocks, just like this feller here. If you add a lot of gravy, they can soften up a little... Here maybe try this...
Emmylou rummages through her purse and throws a flask of acid at the statue.
throw flask: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (2) + 0 = 21d6 + 0 ⇒ (1) + 0 = 1
Emmylou seems more than a little distracted by thoughts of biscuits, even rock-hard ones, and her attack misses by a country mile! The flask of acid falls far short of its intended target, landing behind Hansee!
Miss direction: 1d8 ⇒ 1
Hansee takes 1 point of splash damage from the acid.
Awesomely enough, with cover, 2 range increments and attacking into melee, the final result of that attack roll was a -10!
Mogok, Mafisadi, Teehax and Kelevan are up!
Mafisadi attempts to tumble around the statue to get into a flank with Hansee.
”Let me explain to you dear cousin, this is just like sparring with my practice dummy,” Mafisadi says. ”Only it never fights back!”
Not-a-practice punch!: 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 5 + 2 = 25
Damage: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Mafisadi - I'm not sure if you moved in a way that avoided AoO's or if you were actually using Acrobatics. If the latter, please give me an Acrobatics check.
The statue is easily the hardest thing Mafisadi has ever punched. He adds a few cracks to the damage inflicted on it so far, but his less than he had hoped, and his little monkey-knuckles may never be the same.
Round 1/2 Initiative:
Statue (-12 hp)
Bold are up!
Sorry, forgot to roll!
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23
Mafisadi, that's more than good enough to tumble past. And yay, more alchemical weapon misses!
Mogok's throw goes off target, missing by almost as much as Emmylou's flask of acid! The goblin still cackles with glee, however, as several large gobs of flaming alchemical goo land on the statue, scorching and cracking its surface!
Miss direction: 1d8 ⇒ 2
Round 1/2 Initiative:
Statue (-16 hp)
Teehax and Kelevan are up!
TeeHax knocks an arrow into his short bow, and moves to the top of the stairs.
Next round, I'll shoot from an elevated position with a +1 bonus
Kelevan pauses to review the situation, then flings a tiny glob of acid at the statue-thing.
Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
Ranged Touch: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Acidy Splash!: 1d3 ⇒ 1
Kelevan’s blob of acid hits the target, in spite of Hansee being in the way and the elf having to land the spell in the middle of a melee! Subtle way of saying Oladon is a cheater for not including cover or the penalty for ranged attacks into melee. ;)
Teehax moves into position, nocking and arrow and lining up a shot on the statue! Teehax, the +1 for higher ground applies to melee attacks, but not to ranged attacks.
The animate statue switches targets, bringing a stone fist smashing down on Hansee's head!
Target: 1d2 ⇒ 2
Slam vs Hansee: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Round 2/3 Initiative:
Statue (-17 hp)
Pathfinders are go!
Kelevan - In addition to getting to look at the spoiler many posts ago, you get three questions about the caryatid column based on your Knowledge check.
1. Are caryatid columns cheaters?
2. What are their vulnerabilities?
3. What are their special attacks?
4. What are their special defenses?
Kelevan prepares to fling a bit more goo, but his newfound awareness of his allies' proximity to the enemy completely throws off his aim, and the acid flies harmlessly backwards to splatter against the wall behind him.
Ranged Touch (not a cheater, not a cheater): 1d20 + 3 - 4 - 4 ⇒ (2) + 3 - 4 - 4 = -3
1. Are caryatid columns cheaters? Only insofar as I forgot to include the fact that they’re not recognizable as animate until they move, so they usually get to go first.
2. What are their vulnerabilities? Spells that affect rock, such as transmute rock to mud, harm them.
3. What are their special attacks? None.
4. What are their special defenses? They are normally immune to any magic that allows SR, and their hard structure can usually shatter weapons that strike them. This one, however, does not have those special defenses. Its only special defense is damage resistance to all weapon attacks.
”Don’t you clobber my cousin! Believe you me, you won’t be able to knock any sense into him anyway.”
Mafisadi unleashes a flury of blows on the statue, painful as it might be.
Kick!: 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 5 + 2 = 16
Damage: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
Kick with the other foot!: 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 5 + 2 = 14
Damage: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Oh my dear, Hansee. I'm so sorry, dearie. Here let me help you out.
Emmylou casts guidance on Hansee.
Though it hurts to deliver it, Mafisadi’s kick creates a huge crack running diagonally across the statue’s chest and gut! The top portion of the statue slides to the floor and shatters, while the lower part topples over and breaks into large chunks!
Combat over, post about next room will probably not be until tonight.
Mafisadi shakes out his hands and hops from one foot to the other, grimacing in pain.
”The journey to self-perfection isn’t without some agony, am I right cousin? But at least we’re not the ones broken in two.”
With little of interest in the caryatid column’s chamber, the party follows the passage the construct once guarded, to another chamber beyond. The walls, ceiling, and floor of this room are covered in elaborate patterns of countless tiny tiles. The tiles also form three images on the west wall: one depicts a woman in a cloak hovering above a pile of skulls; another depicts the same woman kneeling before a massive fiend; the third shows her in the company of a godlike figure standing before a massive pyramid.
Scattered about the room are many items of value, or that once held value, for they are heavily damaged. The items include gold-plated idols of the pharaoh, which are heavily dented; a lacquered box of stale incense, covered in tooth marks but unopened; a ceremonial platinum dagger, snapped in half; dozens of pieces of pottery, all smashed to bits; and half a dozen scrolls, now illegible because they have been chewed up, formed into spitballs and stuck to the ceiling; and numerous objects of gold and silver, all dented, battered, and broken a dozen times over.
”If my eyes are to believe what I am seeing, it looks like there was quite the fight here,” Mafisadi says, surveying the room. And then upon noticing the spitballs: ”Please tell me no, but could this be the handiwork of goblins?”
Appraise: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
"Some of these items are as old as the reign of the Pharaoh of Forgotten Plagues." observes Kelevan with interest, adding wryly, "I cannot, unfortunately, recall the specifics of said plagues at the moment..."
”Does any of it detect as magical?” Mafisadi asks his more magically skilled friends. ”And what are we to make of these images? Who is this woman?”
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Teehax sighs having sidelined himself for the second time, puts his bow away, and sarcastically claps the dust off his hands. Grinning, "Well, I wanted you guys to get crack at that thing, before I finished it off," rolling his eyes, "I'm glad my cohorts are more efficient than I. Seriously guys, leave some for me."
TeeHax looks at the wall markings, "Either this pharaoh was so named to be the 'cause of' or 'blamed for' plagues. I'm hoping for the latter, but the poor tortured skeletons in the previous chamber suggest otherwise."
Teehax shakes his head and mutters under his breath to himself, "Be an adventurer they said... It'll be fun they said... you'll be rich they said. Someone conveniently," Teehax air quotes to himself, "left out the plagues."
After determining that none of the battered items are magical, the Pathfinders move east down the wide hallway. A well-preserved wooden chest sits atop a platform against the south wall of the next room. A series of arcane glyphs burnt into the top of the chest forms a spiral. Iron bindings reinforce the chest, and it has no apparent lock or key. A series of heavy latches keep the lid tightly shut.
You can still make the Knowledge (religion) check from the previous room if you wish.
Does the spiral on the chest match at all what we saw on the floor when we first entered?
Teehax's eyes brighten and his eyebrows rise, "Oh, a chest! I like ches... er... this one does not have a lock, aaannndd it has glowing runes on top. I do not like lockless chests, I fear they are protected by something *else*." A serious frown erases Teehax's initial reaction, he quietly mutters, "Oh yes, let's ask the rogue to open the box of plagues.... hooo-feaking-ray!"
Teehax clears his throat, "What do the runes say? I'm happy to try to disable any traps on this chest, but it may not be of any clockwork that I can affect. If magic, then I best yield."
I have an image from the Raiders of the Lost Ark in my head right now where Teehax's face is melting after setting his eyes upon the contents.
The spiral on the chest is similar to the other one, but only because they're both spirals made of characters. They're not exactly the same. No one's going to be able to read these runes, so don't invest a bunch of time in that.
Emmylou's search for magic reveals nothing of interest in the chamber with the battered treasures. Her spell does show that the chest is not magical, but that there are three faint auras within the chest, all of illusion magic.
Teehax's face slumps a little as he considers opening a rune-covered chest in this ancient abode of plagues, but it does not melt off his head.
Hansee walks up to the chest after rubbing his burnt flesh with a stick tipped by a fur ball (CLW). "Cousin, you always travel with such scaredy cats?" He attempts to throw the chest open after a cursory glance.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
Just a small suggestion to help things move at a good pace: Whenever possible it's good for each post to have your character taking an action that propels the narrative forward. Something like, "Valorus looks the door over for traps and throws it open if he doesn't see any."
Another helpful rule of thumb I've seen is the seconding rule — if one character proposes an action and a second agrees, the party moves forward.
Good suggestions, Hansee. And, as always, nothing beats regular posting to keep a game going.
Hansee is easily able to flip the latches and open the chest, and is relieved to confirm his suspicion that there were no traps on it. Inside are three curved horns, lying on a bed of silk that has faded to an indeterminate grey with age.
As Hansee touches one of the horns, a rush of images flood his mind, as if someone else’s memory is playing itself out in his smallish head! In this vision, he senses that he’s a disembodied, floating being, in the presence of a woman dressed in Ancient Osiriani garb. Frustratingly, any distinguishing features of the woman blur and shift, as if either magically obscured or remembered poorly.
The woman stands surrounded by the aftermath of a great battle in the desert. She examines the wounded and dying with interest, ignoring their cries for help. She kneels by a dying man, places her hand on his forehead, and says, “Were you one of ours? One of theirs? It matters not. The Plague loves all of you the same. Do you feel it? As your body dies, does your mind cling to life? Yes—I sense it. Wonderful! I must try again. Soon even the Lady of Graves will have no hold over my fate.” When she speaks, Hansee recognizes that this is the same voice that addressed the party when they first entered the ruin, and also realizes that she is speaking Ancient Osiriani, and he can somehow understand her though he does not speak the language.
Two more horns lie in the chest.
Mafisadi, ever seeking enlightenment, and not wanting to be out done by his cousin, picks up a horn too.
As Mafisadi’s hand touches the second horn, his mind fills with another vision, as of a memory replayed, of the same woman! Screams echo around the dark halls of this very same ruin as the woman snarls. “They die too quickly! There is no time. I need healthier subjects.” She looks up, but her features remain obscured. “Go to the training grounds. Tell the captain I require another full squad of his most able-bodied guards for the Dungeons of the Ever-Dying. Perhaps they can survive long enough to further my studies. No—not one squad. A dozen fresh recruits each week.”
Further attempts to touch the horns have no effect, they are now merely the horns of some unknown creature.
Does the woman in the visions match the woman in the murals?
Mafisadi explains the woman and the vision he saw.
”She was creating a terrible plague, I’m telling you, this poor horned creature suffered terribly. If this ghost we’re looking for is the ghost of this creature, it has a right to be so angry.”
Is this the last room? If so, should we head back to the front?
Yes, it appears to be the same woman. And also yes, this is the last room, going to move us along. Believe it or not, there's a lot more to this scenario still.
Finding nowhere else to explore within the plague-haunted ruin, the party heads back the way they came. When they return to the light of day, Obahar greets them excitedly, asking for a full report, ”What did you see inside? Is everyone all right?”
Once the Pathfinders have recounted what they saw in the ruin, Obahar suggests that he return to his study to research these findings while the party follows up on the other leads, and then return to him so all the pieces can be put together. ”The Dungeons of the Ever-Dying, is that what the woman in the vision said? I have never heard of them. Perhaps the Thrice-Shrouded Necropolis is worth a visit, in case the spirals and other references to the Lady of Graves are significant. In any case, let us reconvene tomorrow, so I have sufficient time for my research and you have an opportunity to rest.”
As a reminder, the other leads are here
”Shall we go to the temple first and speak to the woman? Can any of us speak ancient Osirian?”
It just seems easiest to do them in order, but I’ve no real preference.
The party heads off to pursue the other leads, starting with the Temple of the Redeeming Sun. This temple is the largest in the city, and boasts a massive courtyard where the faithful congregate to pray under the open sun. The gold plating on the surrounding buildings focuses the rays of the sun inward on a tremendous altar at the center of the courtyard—Teehax has heard that the heat at the apex is so intense that the priests require protective magic to survive giving their sermons.
One of the side buildings that provide shelter from the sun is the hospice wing, where the Pathfinders can find Mauta, the woman mentioned in their briefing. When they arrive, a priest named Herhut escorts them to meet her. Mauta lies in a small room separate from the other patients, and her mad screams echo through the halls. The priest explains that Mauta started rambling in garbled Ancient Osiriani shortly after arriving at the temple. They are doing their best to care for her, but they are unable to ease her wild ramblings and hallucinations.
Linguistics: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
Kelevan moves quietly to the woman's bedside, standing over her with eyes closed as he listens intently to her ramblings. A few minutes later, he places one hand softly upon her sweaty brow and speaks a few words to her in the Elven tongue. "Sídh na cin, firen hén. Sídh."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
Unfortunately, it appears the woman doesn't speak Elven...
Mafisadi puts a hand to Mauta’s cheek, but is unable to calm her.
Heal: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Perhaps, we can try comforting her enough so that she can collect herself enough to say something coherent.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Teehax takes a cool moist towel, and presses it to her head. No change.
Heal: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Know Religion: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
Oh my dear, I imagine that you are seeing just the most horrible visions... Like that terrible owlbear birthday cake that 4th Cousin Lulu brought to the family reunion. It was so dry and tough you could wipe your sweat with it!
Here, my dear, let little Rumball give you puppy kisses.
Emmylou pulls her Poohuahua spirit animal out of her purse. Rumball enthusiastically licks Mauta.
Hey gang, I’m back. Sorry for the quick disappearance, but I had quite a week, managed to lead a team that put out a fire 800’ up a mine tunnel that had huge pools of acid on the floor. So there’s that. Going to make a few rolls for folks to move us to the next scene.
Mogok and Hansee recognize Mauta’s talk of the “spiral of death” as reminiscent of Pharasma, the Lady of Graves, whose holy symbol is a spiraling comet. The party is able to get no more sense out of Mauta, who lies back in exhaustion. A Sarenite acolyte dips Teehax’s cloth in cool water again and applies it to the woman’s forehead as the party leaves, heading off to speak to the alchemist suspected of poisoning his clients.
Arriving at the shop, a fairly humble, single-room establishment with a painted sign saying “Sokari’s Elixirs” and another that says “Closed”, the Pathfinders pause out front to consider how to proceed. In just a moment, however, a youngish man opens the door enough to stick his head out and asks, ”What do you want? I’m closed! “
Please make Diplomacy or Intimidate checks, depending on the approach you take, along with your post when you speak to him.
Knowledge (religion), Kelevan: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Knowledge (religion), Mafisadi: 1d20 ⇒ 7
Knowledge (religion), Mogok: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Knowledge (religion), Teehax: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Knowledge (religion), Hansee: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
Welcome back! Sounds like you were on quite the dungeon crawl yourself!
Mafisadi greets the young man with a nod, both palms pressed together at the center of his chest. ”Peace and light, I am Mafiasadi. My colleagues and I are investigating a spirit that is causing problems across Merab. Have you by any chance encountered such a thing as it?”
Diplomacy: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (7) - 2 = 5 Boo