Kelevan continues to listen for the odd muttering, but decides he's better off attempting to disarm the last acolyte instead! Thorny vine time!
Disarm: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Kelevan - just read your tanglevine ability and realized it's got a 15 foot range, so I moved you up close enough to have used it on the lead cultist on the map.
Kelevan's magical vine knocks the morningstar from a startled cultist's hand!
Round 2/3 Initiative:
Lead cultist (Red: -3 hp, prone)
Acolytes (Yellow: -11 hp, bleeding, asleep; Blue: -5 hp, disarmed)
Bold can act!
Finding himself in a bit of trouble and hurting badly, Hansee nevertheless presses his attack on the cult leader. He then steps over the sleeping cultist, ready to smite him should he wake.
Shillelagh: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Damage: 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (3, 5) + 4 = 12
Mafisadi unleashes another flury of blows on the cultist in blue!
Bop to the right ear!: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Damage: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Bop to the left ear!: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Damage: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Having slumbered one of the guards, Emmylou shimmies in celebration in her pink cook's outfit.
Then feeling the weight of evil fall on her, Emmylou steadies herself and dabs her forehead with Rumball
Will Save vs Bane: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
Realizing that feeling of evil on her came from an invisible someone casting spells around the room, Emmylou narrows her eyes searching for this badly mannered miscreant. She whispers to Rumball to help her find this terrible so-and-so.
Emmylou moves to the doorway opposite mafisadi, and readies her slumber hex for when the invisible miscreant is targetable.
Mafisadi strikes the unarmed acolyte, cuffing each of the man's ears dropping him unconscious to the greasy floor! Emmylou is unable to spot the madly mumbling miscreant, though everyone can hear its mumbling as it seems to whirl about the foul chamber. In fact, the crazed ranting seems to have increased in volume, and Mafisadi and Hansee both think it seems to be heading towards the open door!
Okay, a few questions that will affect how this next bit plays out:
Emmylou - Does Rumball have the scent ability? You don't have a character sheet under your alias, so I can't check. Also, your last post says you moved away from the door you came in, so I’ve moved you on the map, since your position matters at this point.
Everyone else - do you have any ability to detect invisible things? I recognize it’s unlikely at this level, but if you do, now would be a good time to use it.
Kelevan: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
Mafisadi: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
Mogok: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Teehax: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Hansee: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Emmylou: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Sadly, I have no way to detect invisible things. Are we still in initiative? Can we run to block the door, since we heard it moving in that direction?
”Cousin, do you hear? Toward the door, block its exit!”
Of course Teehax rolls a 1, even if it's behind the GM's screen... ugh. Teehax has
no way to find/detect invisible things. None the less, I'll follow Kelevan's suggestion.
Teehax runs towards the open door, and attempts to block it daggers out such that if there's a collision, the rammer will get the point end of the bargan.
We are still in initiative, and unfortunately it's the invisible creature's turn to act. The most recent actions by the party, which took out the two remaining cultists, triggered the invisible creature's fleeing under its tactics. So I need to do a little thinking before anyone moves (I just moved Teehax back on the map). What I'm inclined to do is see if anyone can come up with a way to get the door closed in a single action. A person blocking the door probably isn't going to stop the thing - though a bunch of people piled up in the door might work...
So, any brilliant ideas?
I'm not clear whether any of us have a full round to act before the invisible cretin goes. Could you clarify?
You actually have no time to act, as the mumbler is next up in iniative. But I'm trying to work out a way to not have this plot point zip out the door.
I was actually thinking the same thing...make a roll.
With the cultists defeated, their ritual ends abruptly. A crescendo of frantic telepathic whispering spews from the gem in the center of the floor, for all to hear: “I am awake! I see you—all of you! My strength grows. Do not forget…” before fading away. In the same instant, Kelevan’s magical vine lashes out and slams the door, just as the mad, unintelligible muttering sound reaches it! The mumbled madness turns into a shriek of fury as whatever it is realizes it is trapped in the ritual chamber!
The mumbling goes quiet, and a horrid creature become visible, a disembodied and bestial head covered in lashing hair and curling horns, flying through the air before the closed door! It glares intensely at Mafisadi!
Target: 1d3 ⇒ 3
Please make a DC 15 Will save vs suggestion, as you hear a telepathic voice say ’Please do me the favor of opening one of these doors.’ If you fail, you need to act on the suggestion until you have completed it.
Round 3 Initiative:
Mafisadi needs to act on his spoiler above, then everyone is up. The creature is size tiny if that matters to anyone - and it has no hands, so it can't open doors! Knowledge (planes) to identify it, though based on other knowledge you’ve gained, you’re confident this is the doru div that has been causing trouble everywhere.
”No, I will absolutely not be so kind as to open the door for you! Despite your polite way of asking.” Mafisadi says to the voice in his head.
The RNG finally came through for me!
Hansee approaches the div and attempts to swat it out of the sky!
Shillelagh: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
2d6 + 4 ⇒ (2, 6) + 4 = 12
Mafisadi moves in to flank with his cousin.
”Are you the poor creature that was experiemented on? What are you searching for?”
Stunning Fist!: 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 5 + 2 = 19
Damage: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
DC 14 Will save or be stunned!
Mafisadi's fist connects with the disembodied, horned head, but he doesn't seem to affect it at all!
You didn't get through its DR, so the Stunning Fist effect doesn't apply.
Round 3 Initiative:
Doru (-2 hp)
Bold can act!
Kelevan's glob of acid runs down the creature's face, but it pays it no mind at all!
Just realized that Emmylou's readied action from last round would have gone off when it became visible:
The div manages to shake off the effects of Emmylou's sleepy hex!
Will: 1d20 ⇒ 17 That would have been nice.
Mogok, Kelevan, Teehax and Emmylou are up!
Emmylou looks disapprovingly at the creature that's causing so much trouble.
She gives it the Evil Eye (DC=15). She'll apply it to saving throws if it sticks.
Poohuahua isn't in the list of familiars. I guess fox would be the closest. I don't think it has the scent ability.
Teehax moves to slash or possibly hook with his sickle.
Hit (Sickle - Bane): 1d20 + 4 - 1 ⇒ (17) + 4 - 1 = 20
That's odd.. a roll that looks decent. Hopefully, the shape of the sickle will hook onto something in the case that this has bones or something, and help bring it down.
Well, just in case I hit...
Dmg: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
Teehax connects with his attack, but it doesn’t even scratch the strange creature’s skin. Mogok throws a bomb of burning fire, but the creature just laughs as it burns! Calming itself a bit, it attempts a bit of magic on Hansee!
Hansee, please make a DC 13 Will save vs charm person.
Target : 1d5 ⇒ 2
Okay, gang. This thing has pretty tough DR and various energy resistances. You might be able to very gradually chip away at it but, as I mentioned, it’s a little floating head that one of you could probably grapple without any difficulty.
Everyone is up!
Mafisadi tries to grab the angry, floating head!
”Don’t let it get away!”
Grapple: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Will + 5 in combat: 1d20 + 5 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 + 5 = 29
Hansee finally agrees with his cousin and continues playing smash-the-orange-headed-twit.
Shillelagh: 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 3 + 2 = 6
"Stop moving, you little %#€£¥. We’re gonna splat you all over this little %#£&$ hole however long it takes!" He moves out of flank with Mafisadi, gesturing for Teehax to take his place.
Hansee easily shakes off the effects of the doru’s spell, and Mafisadi – with a little assist from Kelevan – easily grabs hold of the flying head! The furious creature snarls, thrashes, and bites wildly, but is unable to break free!
After a moment of fierce struggle, the flying head stops its attempts to escape and actually adopts a bestial grin before saying, ”The master! She trapped me when the last pharaoh seemed not long for the world, stealing from me! Now she’s trapped like I was, stirring and dreaming, living and not living. You are servants of the new pharaohs, yes? Servants of servants? We are alike, you and I, and we can help each other. What is it you want? What can Veshtahz offer, and what can you provide in return?”
It seems that a creature with knowledge of ancient sites belonging to lost pharaohs would likely be of interest to the Pathfinder Society, as far as what you might ask it for.
Having succeeded at the Knowledge check, you can also attempt a Bluff or Diplomacy check to convince Veshtahz that you have greater secrets to offer, to tempt him to serve as a familiar or assistant.
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Sooooo, Mogok, set's it on fire, and .... the DM is telling us that we need to grapple a burning head... awesome. (Insert WWF rope leap mental-image here.)
Teehax looks disappointed at his sickle, as he was sure he got square blow on the creature. Teehax sees Mafisadi bring down the creature, and is momentarily intrigued at the creature's whiny words.
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Bluff Check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
Teehax takes a commanding stance, and looks the hurried Veshtahz in they eyes, "Veshtahz! I know what is that you seek, but you have been fooled by a weaker being. We are the victors here, thus we are superior. I know things that you can not imagine. Submit, and we shall spare you. Obey, and I will share my knowledge with you," Teehax pauses, and points a finger in the heads face, and viciously yells,"Submit!"
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Hansee fumes as the creature offers its service. Why didn't I think to bring a cold iron hatbox to put that thing in?
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Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Folio Reroll: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
Kelevan loosens his grip slightly as he listens to the creature's bargaining attempt and Teehax' impassioned response. Slowly he shakes his head, a faint smile on his lips. "It was unwise of Ilsandru to walk the Fael of Norvok, but it would be less wise to share secrets with one so recently counted 'foe'. And yet..." the elf trails off, the slight smile disappearing for a moment before returning as he continues, "Perhaps there is a way for you to gain the trust of those you have sought to harm..."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Veshtahz, his rather mad eyes alight with interest at Kelevan's suggestion, nods eagerly - which is an odd thing to see, a body-less head attempting to nod while being restrained by a monkey-like monk. He does not seem as interested in what the rest of the Pathfinders have to offer, but is willing to look at the notes they’ve taken in their investigation and explain some of what has transpired.
Looking around the ritual chamber a bit, and studying the gemstone that was the center of the ritual, reveals the following: The onyx gemstone is the onyx sage jewel, a minor artifact and one of the foundational relics of the Jeweled Sages organization. Like other such jewels, it contains the memories and knowledge of generations of scholars, though it currently seems unresponsive to any inquiries or attempts to use it. There is also a folded, faded, and threadbare banner that bears a charging leopard on a background of tan and black— which Veshtahz recognizes as the crest of one of the Tekritanin League city-states that occupied this region long before Thuvia’s unification. It is also magical - it is a knight’s pennon of battle.
Now what? Explore the rest of the temple or return with your findings?
Also, I still need chronicle info for Emmylou.
Explore the rest of the temple, of course!
Kelevan stows the gem away respectfully and studies the disembodied head for a moment before turning his attention to Mafisadi. "Well, Cousin, what do you think? Shall we release it on its word of honor to do us no harm?"
”Can we trust you to be on your best behavior?” Mafisadi asks Veshtahz.
So, is Veshtahz our friend now? What was he looking for? I vote to explore the rest of the temple and learn as much as we can. (But I also understand that this scenario has been long.) We need to take back the Onyx Sage Jewel for sure though.
Veshtahz is willing to work with Kelevan, as he sees some advantage to himself in it.
In reply to Mafisadi's question, the head struggles to nod again, then says, "Yes, yes, yes! I will work with this elf, as he has secrets I must learn! And perhaps I can find a way to get revenge on Tahari, my cruel, cruel master, who trapped me for so long!" His beady little eyes flick to the onyx gemstone, staring at it malevolently, as he continues, "She is in there, and I may find a way to reach her, to make her suffer as she made me!"
To be clear - a very long time ago, his master locked him in the original ruin you guys started in, where the master did her experiments with diseases. Once freed from there, he came here, which is another place his master did her awful necromantic experiments, hoping to find her and get revenge. But the master seems to be gone, though some or all of her self may be in the gemstone.
Exploring the temple further, the party finds that the two northernmost rooms are guardrooms, one of which has a mostly collapsed wall. The adjoining rooms, on either side of the central ritual chamber, are cell blocks, where simple cells contain very plain sleeping gear. In three of these cells, there is the body of a dead cultist, their throats slit. Kelevan is able to get the div to explain that he just might have sown chaos and distrust amongst the cultists, who were already paranoid to begin with, so that they begin killing each other – though Veshtahz’s goal was simply to spur them to act more quickly in completing the ritual with the gemstone.
Many of these simple cells also contain small idols and shrines, which the party is able to determine are dedicated to Ahriman, the Lord of All Divs and the patron divinity of the hateful cultists known as the Usij, whose temple this is.
The last room (with the yellow star) is firmly locked, but the slain cultist leader has a key that fits. The room contains a long table and sturdy chair, each with thick manacles dangling to the side. A smaller table in the corner hosts several surgical tools, including a deep basin, saws, scalpels, and needles. Wooden shelves support an open ledger and variety of other objects, and large, empty stone basins stand in the room’s other corners.
The ledger lists “Items Recovered” and “Items Requested”—apparently things that the Usij have gathered which once belonged to Tahari, and things that they have gleaned that she may desire. Some of the items on the list have check marks next to them, and others do not.
On the shelf labeled “Items Recovered,” there is a small stack of fragmented notes. There is a magical circlet as well, which can be identified as a lesser circlet of persuasion.
On the shelf labeled “Items Requested,” there are three flasks of alchemist’s fire and one potion of lesser restoration. Under “Items Requested” the ledger also lists “spellbooks— unknown quantity and whereabouts,” “Fading Light lab notes,” and “plague cloak,” but these items are not checked off.
That’s it for the temple, anything else you wish to do before returning to your venture-captain?
Kelevan reads through the notes twice, a thoughtful expression on his face.
DM, does Kelevan have any ideas as to how one might store another's memories in the creature's "fiendish essence"?
Not exactly, but you think it relates to the horns that were in the chest in the first ruin. As you'll recall, those horns contained memories related to a woman doing awful things to people in the pursuit of knowledge about disease, and ended with a vision of the same woman mockingly waving a horn and saying “What better material to preserve a memory than the horn of a creature fundamentally obsessed with knowledge? Perhaps I shall find others like you, take their essence, and perfect my magic. Pain? Yes. There will always be pain for you. I will leave you those memories.”
In case I didn't make it clear, this same unpleasant woman left the memory-laden horns (with both the horns and the memories belonging to Veshtahz) in an unlocked box, which Veshtahz couldn't open due to a lack of hands, just to torment him. Maybe if you gave him his horns back, he'd become all nice! (Or maybe he'd still be a div.)
Ahh, thanks, that's precisely the memory bump I needed.
Kelevan glances around at his companions. "I believe that we found something belonging to this creature," he observes. "Would one of you happen to have brought them along?"
I don't feel like Kelevan would have, but maybe someone else can decide that their character brought 'em? :)
Oh, my dears. Let's go back and get the horns, shall we? And, we can stop and get some tea and biscuits! That would be so lovely, wouldn't it, Rummy?