GM Euan's Mummy's Mask

Game Master Euan

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Female Halfling Cavalier/16

Stelle shrugs, and goes with the flow. The World's second best song.

Perform: 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 3 + 2 = 14 Good Hope, +4 to Nidhi's Perform if successful


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Male Pharaoh Hound, Animal Companion, Lvl 16

Annie hangs his tongue off of his jaw and grins stupidly, drooling a little.

Everyone's so happy! I'm so happy! HAPPY!

He wags his tail three times.


Roll20 Map - Treasure Sheet

The great creature smiles, in its own way, and hums along with the tune. When the song is over, it adds, "As I have promised, so I will do. You may pass through my territory unmolested."

It begins to turn back to its hole. "There is no water for many miles, do be careful." it adds almost politely as it slithers away back to the depths.

We are out of combat. The behir is leaving, and you are free to continue on if you wish, back onto the cool carriage pulled by mystical steeds.


HP: 117/117 l AC: 12 (16 w/Mage Armor), T 12, FF 10 (14 w/Mage Armor) l CMD 21 l F +14, R +11, W +14 l Remedies (8/8) l L1: 4/6, L2: 5/6, L3: 3/5, L4: 3/5, L5: 5/5, L6: 4/4, L7: 3/3, L8: 2/2 l Init +6 l Senses: Perception +8
Skills:
Craft: Alchemy +22, Diplomacy +13, Fly +15, Heal +17, Kn. Arcana/History +25, Kn. Local/Nature/Planes +22, Kn. Religion +13, Spellcraft +25, Swim +7, UMD +14
Female Human l Active Conditions: Blink, Mage Armor / Bynx: AC 22, HP: 47/47

"Well...that was unexpected," Florence remarks once the behir has departed, perhaps making one of the biggest understatements of the year. "Good thing he - or she - has an ear for music!"

"Anyway, magical protections or not, it's really hot out here under this sun," Florence continues, wiping a bit of sweat from her face. "I say we should get out of here before our friend has time to change his mind." She gives Ben and his many summoned creatures a sympathetic look.

"Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get plenty of chances to send them into battle, knowing our luck."


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Zilchus looks really confused as the creature retreats rather than listen to any more caterwauling.

”What?! Did you truly defeat that monster using only your voice!?” Zilchus solemnly drops to one knee in front of Nidhi. ”I have never ever seen or heard of such a thing in all my life! Nidhi, I confess...I had never considered the power of your song to be *that* persuasive...but clearly, I am wrong. I hope that you will forgive me. I shall attempt to tell the tale of your lyrical deed in ever tavern and inn we come across in this desert. This tale *must* be known!!” Zilchus remains kneeling in front of Nidhi for several moments (or until bade to rise).

”I cannot believe this! Ben!! BEN!!?!!” Zilchus looks frantically for Ben, then gestures to the chariot. ”Make haste to the nearest tavern! This tale needs to be told!”

Zilchus returns to the chariot, pulling out his parasol and indicates he will hold it over Nidhi as the chariot continues on.


Female Halfling Cavalier/16
Zilchus wrote:
"I had never considered the power of your song to be *that* persuasive...but clearly, I am wrong. I hope that you will forgive me."

Stelle turns to Nidhi, but not before politely nodding to the genuflecting Zilchus. "Yes, thank you Nidhi!" She has Anubis curtsy. "That was great!" Still facing Nidhi, she gestures with her head toward the nearly prostrate Zilchus and winks before turning away to guide Anubis to the Chariot.

Let him up! I think he's been making googly eyes at you!


NG male human (Garundi) diviner 10 | HP: 62/62 | AC: 14 [17] (13 Tch, 11 [14] FF) | CMB: +5, CMD: 18 | F: +5, R: +7, W: +10 | Init: +16 | Perc: +14 (+16), SM: +1 (+3) | Speed 30 ft | Special abilities: prescience 10/10 | foretell 10/10 | Active Conditions:

"My compliments," agrees Benedictus, smiling at Nidhi. "I thought the behir would eventually attack us, and that's the reason why I kept summoning monsters around it, just in case...But your idea turned out to be excellent, Nidhi!"

The scholar reacts with a perplexed expression to Zilchus' sudden burst of appreciation for Nidhi, giving him a skeptical look. When he's asked by Zilchus himself about the whole matter, Ben casts a nervous glance at Florence, and winces a bit. "I...yeah, of course. Nidhi was great. But let's be cautious, other dangers may be lurking ahead."


HP: 117/117 l AC: 12 (16 w/Mage Armor), T 12, FF 10 (14 w/Mage Armor) l CMD 21 l F +14, R +11, W +14 l Remedies (8/8) l L1: 4/6, L2: 5/6, L3: 3/5, L4: 3/5, L5: 5/5, L6: 4/4, L7: 3/3, L8: 2/2 l Init +6 l Senses: Perception +8
Skills:
Craft: Alchemy +22, Diplomacy +13, Fly +15, Heal +17, Kn. Arcana/History +25, Kn. Local/Nature/Planes +22, Kn. Religion +13, Spellcraft +25, Swim +7, UMD +14
Female Human l Active Conditions: Blink, Mage Armor / Bynx: AC 22, HP: 47/47

Florence's jaw drops as Zilchus' attitude towards Nidhi seems to do a complete about-face. Not that she didn't agree with the sentiment, but to hear it from Zilchus of all people...

Maybe the heat is getting to us all?

"Um, probably not any taverns out here but if we find one, we'll definitely stop - how's that work?" Florence offers, trying to keep a straight face.


Stats:
HP 73/73 | AC 14 Tch 14 FF 10 | Fort +7 Ref +18 Will +14 | Init +3 | Bardic Perf 39/day | Never Fear RING | Perc +19 | Dis Dvce +22 +5 | Diplo +23 | Sense Motive +19 | Perform +27
Neutral Human Bard/14
Gm Euan wrote:
It begins to turn back to its hole. "There is no water for many miles, do be careful." it adds almost politely as it slithers away back to the depths.

Nidhi flashes one of her bardic smiles, and places a hand on her hip. She watches as the giant lizard slithers back down into it's nest. Although, not a dragon, Nidhi doesn't know that. Her last through as the creature disappears is: I love dragons.

Nidhi relishes in the praises given by her companions. "Oh, yes. It was nothing, really. Please, you're making me embarrassed!" Nidhi doesn't look embarrassed. She lifts a hand, fingers together, and does a "queen wave." "I would like to give thinks to my supporters: Stelle, Florence, Bynx. I couldn't have done it without you!"

Zilchus Lyghtlode wrote:
Zilchus returns to the chariot, pulling out his parasol and indicates he will hold it over Nidhi as the chariot continues on.

Nidhi takes passage under the protection of the parasol and puts an arm around Zilchus. The two "intellectuals" of the party head towards the chariot: "Ahh, Zilchus. I'm glad I, too, can be great. Your battle with the mutant, planes-jumping crocodiles and me with the giant, blue lizard from the world's core. Yes. Both conquers of fantastical beasts. Truly legends to behold." If anyone tries to correct Nidhi and say it was a behir, Nidhi will insist it was as previously described.

Nidhi puts her bow away. "I don't want to go to a tavern. I want to help Ben find a Sphinx... and whatever else we need to do in this gods-forsaken landscape." Nidhi places a hand on her hip and tilts her head, looking at the others for direction.


Roll20 Map - Treasure Sheet

GM Rolls:
1d20 ⇒ 13

The party climbs back on the cool chariot and you wheel around to the northwest to continue along Zilchus’ track. Eventually evening comes, and with it the loss of your conveyance. You find a decent spot between two dunes for a little cover and make camp for the night. I assume in this desolate place, you’ll have a fire to keep the overnight chill at bay and to cook by.

The watches are set, and you all bed down at your appointed times. Refreshed, unlike last night, you find the early sun rising hot and steady as you break camp and proceed onward.

There are some suggestions from Stelle that I’ll go ahead and follow for starters.

The next morning (Moonday, Erastus 7, 4714) you continue to travel along the rocky plateaus heading SW and search another sandy hex. In the afternoon, the sand gives way to rock and you begin to climb into the canyons and plateaus of the western reaches. The evening sun sets quickly among the tall rocky spires surrounding you.

Come the morning of Toilday, Erastus 8, 4714, you head N deeper into the badlands and, after lunch, head to the SE (well, mostly E). The rocky terrain would be tough to manage normally, but your steeds do a fine job and the damage wrought to the caravan by the terrain is inconsequential and the spell fades in the evening.

You spend another calm night in the deep desert and manage, with magic, to do so in some comfort. You do not find the architect's tomb, or anything else really, among the badlands - though they are more beautiful and full of vistas unlike the parched dunes you left so the days here pass quickly.

The morning of Wealday, Erastus 9, 4714 brings options - you must decide where to head next. You can head N, or NE - assuming you don’t want to retrace your steps. S & SE will be problematic as there are high ridges in your path, but it could be managed with difficulty (half move for the day - so you’d just get one hex out).

Where do you go from here?


Female Halfling Cavalier/16

Stelle looks at the map. "Oooooh, this looks interesting. Why don't we go past these dunes, then these -- to see what this flat area is all about?"

Stelle is pointing to an area on the map marked by the greenish "X".


HP: 117/117 l AC: 12 (16 w/Mage Armor), T 12, FF 10 (14 w/Mage Armor) l CMD 21 l F +14, R +11, W +14 l Remedies (8/8) l L1: 4/6, L2: 5/6, L3: 3/5, L4: 3/5, L5: 5/5, L6: 4/4, L7: 3/3, L8: 2/2 l Init +6 l Senses: Perception +8
Skills:
Craft: Alchemy +22, Diplomacy +13, Fly +15, Heal +17, Kn. Arcana/History +25, Kn. Local/Nature/Planes +22, Kn. Religion +13, Spellcraft +25, Swim +7, UMD +14
Female Human l Active Conditions: Blink, Mage Armor / Bynx: AC 22, HP: 47/47

"Sounds like a good enough plan to me," Florence remarks peering over Stelle's shoulder at the map. "I'm happy to leave the navigation to you and Zilchus since you both seem to know more about it."


Zilchus, who continues to hold his parasol over Nidhi, still wants to return to town. They finally have a tale that is worth telling.

"I mean, if we die out here, no one will know of this! We should go back for a few nights, tell the true tale around, get some drinks in us, you know?"

Stelle's plottings are fine with me. To the 'X'!


Roll20 Map - Treasure Sheet

Heading NE you travel among the broken stones. These rocky badlands are riddled with twisting valleys, jagged rubble, and drifts of loose sand. The hills here are higher, the climbs more strenuous. A high finger of rock thrusts out of the desert, its sides scoured smooth from wind and sand. A vast nest perches atop the massive tor, an incongruous aerie constructed around what appears to be a small, but seagoing, galley.

The spire is over 300’ high and composed of smooth weathered sandstone. Unfortunately, the valley you’re in goes right past the spire, unless you want to lose hours trying to find a way around, and possibly getting lost.

Perception DC 25:
You think you saw what looked like an eagles head poking out of the top… but at this distance, that head must have been huge to see it at all!
- - -


1d20 + 18 ⇒ (20) + 18 = 38 Perception

"Eagle's nest...and probably a *huge* eagle. I just glimpsed the head," Zilchus points to the aerie with his free hand, lest the sun touch Nidhi. "We should be careful here."

As the party gets closer, he will put away the parasol and re-attach his weapon cord to his wrist.

"Might be that I proceed on foot when we get closer. Don't want to be cramped in this chariot if we have to fight."

At about 100 yards away, Zilchus will get out and walk alongside the chariot.


HP: 117/117 l AC: 12 (16 w/Mage Armor), T 12, FF 10 (14 w/Mage Armor) l CMD 21 l F +14, R +11, W +14 l Remedies (8/8) l L1: 4/6, L2: 5/6, L3: 3/5, L4: 3/5, L5: 5/5, L6: 4/4, L7: 3/3, L8: 2/2 l Init +6 l Senses: Perception +8
Skills:
Craft: Alchemy +22, Diplomacy +13, Fly +15, Heal +17, Kn. Arcana/History +25, Kn. Local/Nature/Planes +22, Kn. Religion +13, Spellcraft +25, Swim +7, UMD +14
Female Human l Active Conditions: Blink, Mage Armor / Bynx: AC 22, HP: 47/47

Perception: 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 5 + 2 = 22

"Really?" Florence squints against the sun. "I can't see anything in this glare. But I'll take your word for it."

Once the group gets close enough to the spire that Zilchus feels the need to hop out of the chariot, Florence will apply her usual protective spells to him and to herself - just in case.

Greater False Life: 2d10 + 9 ⇒ (10, 8) + 9 = 27
________

For the time being I'm going to say that SOP for Florence while we're combing the desert is to hit Zilchus with an extended Heroism and herself with GFL when/if we get out to investigate something. Stelle, do you want Flo to start hitting you with Heroism as well?


Female Halfling Cavalier/16

Yes, please! Stelle would most graciously accept a Heroism if you have any to spare!

Stelle, Lance, Shield and Anubis ride by the side of the cart as they near the nest.

PerceptDC25: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (2) + 13 = 15 She looks toward the nest but like Florence, is also blinded by the angle of the sun.

Zilchus wrote:
"Eagle's nest...and probably a *huge* eagle. I just glimpsed the head."

"Really?! Are you sure it's an Eagle?! I heard of this magnificent giant bird once. When it died, it would explode in flames," she says, her voice suddenly infused with mystery and intrigue, "only to rise again from the ash. Oh! You don't suppose it could be one of those, do you?!" She excitedly asks in a hushed tone, looking wistfully up at the nest.


HP: 117/117 l AC: 12 (16 w/Mage Armor), T 12, FF 10 (14 w/Mage Armor) l CMD 21 l F +14, R +11, W +14 l Remedies (8/8) l L1: 4/6, L2: 5/6, L3: 3/5, L4: 3/5, L5: 5/5, L6: 4/4, L7: 3/3, L8: 2/2 l Init +6 l Senses: Perception +8
Skills:
Craft: Alchemy +22, Diplomacy +13, Fly +15, Heal +17, Kn. Arcana/History +25, Kn. Local/Nature/Planes +22, Kn. Religion +13, Spellcraft +25, Swim +7, UMD +14
Female Human l Active Conditions: Blink, Mage Armor / Bynx: AC 22, HP: 47/47

Will do, Stelle!

"That's a strange story," Florence remarks to Stelle. "So it just kept cycling through life and death? Why? What did it do with all that endless time?"


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Female Halfling Cavalier/16

"Well, you know," Stelle says, looking up searching for the right words. "Like Good and Evil, Chaos and Law, Drought and Flood. They each peak as like waves in the ocean, and take turns obscuring each other in a cyclical manner."

"This great giant bird is a symbol of that Eternal Cycle, and it is the dominating Spirit within the present Cycle." She pauses a moment, looking up at the nest. " If that is this great bird, this could be the dawn of a new Era!"

~
Noticing she has tarried, and possibly lost her audience, she nudges Anubis to catch up with the party.

"But Zilchus is likely right," she sighs. "It's probaby just a great big Eagle. What do we know about great big Eagles?"


NG male human (Garundi) diviner 10 | HP: 62/62 | AC: 14 [17] (13 Tch, 11 [14] FF) | CMB: +5, CMD: 18 | F: +5, R: +7, W: +10 | Init: +16 | Perc: +14 (+16), SM: +1 (+3) | Speed 30 ft | Special abilities: prescience 10/10 | foretell 10/10 | Active Conditions:

Perception check: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (1) + 15 = 16

"I can't see this nest either. Are you sure the sun is not hitting you too hard Zil? Perhaps you should stay within the chariot a bit and rest for a while...," comments Ben.

If Zilchus insists and seems lucid in doing so, Ben ends up believing to him. He shrughs and says: "I guess you are likely right, my friend, although I cannot see what you are talking about. So, we have an eagle's nest right ahead of us..."

Knowledge (arcana) check on giant eagles: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (2) + 17 = 19

Ben scratches his chin, thoughtfully. Then, when Stelle speaks up, he is quick to answer. "As far as I know, giant eagles are magical beasts...meaning, they are far more than animals. They possess a supernatural intellect, and view themselves as guardian and protectors of their territories, which very often are mountains." Ben stares at the spire, repairing his eyes with his arm. "They are known to form lasting friendships with those who respect them and their mountaintop domains. So if Zilchus is right, this may actually be our chance to forge a new alliance or make a new friend, rather than to have a fight. But I haven't seen this eagle, so these are just general information about giant eagles, in case Zilchus was right."

Knowledge (arcana) check on phoenix: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (14) + 17 = 31

"Oh, and Stelle. I guess what you're talking about it a phoenix. Another magical beast, but way larger than a giant eagle. And of course, entirely made of blazing flames. That would be great to see one, although I think this is not the case...," Ben says with a voice full of hope. "The phoenix is a legendary bird of fire that dwells in the most remote parts of the desert. As the birds are known to be great scholars, many seekers of rare lore search out particular phoenixes for advice. Yet it is the phoenix’s ability to rebirth itself from its own dead body for which the creature is best known, as you just testified, Stelle. The phoenix is a benevolent creature, however, aiding those who do good and actively harming those who do evil. So we would have nothing to fear even if you were right, Stelle."
__________________________
During the travel, I would like Ben to scribe a scroll of black tentacles, if possible.


Roll20 Map - Treasure Sheet

GM Rolls:
1d20 ⇒ 3

The party travels closer and closer to the great spire, until you’re passing beneath it. You hear nothing, and see nothing further as you pass unmolested through whatever bird’s territory this may be. Perhaps if you had real horses or camels, you might be a juicier target…

Eventually, you move beyond the broken stone and back out into the dry and dusty desert. As the heat really is unbearable, those walking along the chariot quickly rejoin the others and ride along in the relative comfort provided by Stelle’s banner and Benedictus’ conveyance.

The open desert hides no secrets from you as you search the area and slowly drift to the north - toward the dunes. The blinding hot sun eventually sets on another dusty day and you make camp in the open desert.

The next morning, Oathday, Erastus 10, 4714, you begin to climb the tall dunes to the north. Thankfully your magical steeds do not founder in the sliding sand and you gain some altitude. Heat fueled mirages abound as the party looks out from the height of the first dunes - seeing far to the east and south in particular. Dunes continue to the north, and low rolling hills to the west.

It’s lunch when you finish searching the immediate area. Where do you head from here?

Benedictus - you won’t be able to scribe scrolls while actively traveling. There’s entirely too much lurching about, sand gets into absolutely everything, and you’ve no ‘fairly quiet, comfortable, and well-lit place’ to work. If the party stops to rest a day you may do it then I suppose - though you really should have a writing table of some kind. Scribing is precision work - you can’t just sort of drape it over your knee and hope not to pierce the paper with your quill as you write the powerful arcane sigils.


After negotiating the aerie, Zilchus shrugs and climbs back into the chariot. "I swear I saw something. But if it's nothing, it's good that we get to move along. C'mon, let's get going."

Zilchus points in a direction that he feels might be the best way to go.

Drew some yellow squiggles on the map for 2 more hexes.


HP: 117/117 l AC: 12 (16 w/Mage Armor), T 12, FF 10 (14 w/Mage Armor) l CMD 21 l F +14, R +11, W +14 l Remedies (8/8) l L1: 4/6, L2: 5/6, L3: 3/5, L4: 3/5, L5: 5/5, L6: 4/4, L7: 3/3, L8: 2/2 l Init +6 l Senses: Perception +8
Skills:
Craft: Alchemy +22, Diplomacy +13, Fly +15, Heal +17, Kn. Arcana/History +25, Kn. Local/Nature/Planes +22, Kn. Religion +13, Spellcraft +25, Swim +7, UMD +14
Female Human l Active Conditions: Blink, Mage Armor / Bynx: AC 22, HP: 47/47

"Yeah - if it was nothing, that's great and if it was something that decided to leave us alone, that's great too," Florence agrees. "It's nice to have at least a few days go by where we're unmolested by monsters and creepy cultists that explode."


Stats:
HP 73/73 | AC 14 Tch 14 FF 10 | Fort +7 Ref +18 Will +14 | Init +3 | Bardic Perf 39/day | Never Fear RING | Perc +19 | Dis Dvce +22 +5 | Diplo +23 | Sense Motive +19 | Perform +27
Neutral Human Bard/14

Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (17) + 12 = 29

Knowledge (Nature) Eagle?: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13

"I saw it too. A big bird." Nidhi tries to shake sand out of her clothes as they travel but it seems like a impossible task. She thinks she actually got more sand in her fabrics from the motion. She's thankful for the parasol's cover because she's sure the mask would cook her face like an egg.

Nidhi tilts her head, "...the eternal cycle. Like... the wheel? " PoE XD "If I die, I want to be reborn as a bird. I've always wanted to fly."

The ride is uncomfortable, but Nidhi is happier riding across the sands than being stuck in a tomb deep beneath the earth. Because it's a long day of just travel, as some point in the trip, Nidhi suggests: "Guys. We should sing a song." Nidhi proceeds to lead:

"Oh,
99 bottles of rum on the wall, 99 bottles of rum.
Take one down, pass it around! 98 bottles of rum on the wall!
98 bottles of rum on the wall, 98 bottles of rum.
Take one down, pass it around! 97 bottles of rum on the wall!"

When Nidhi finishes, she realizes less than 15 minutes have passed. She runs a hand down her dark braid, hot to the touch. "Yeah, it's nice Florence.... I wish we could have a nice encounter. You know, a giant pool of water or genie that grants wishes."


Roll20 Map - Treasure Sheet

GM Rolls:
1d20 ⇒ 8

The group moves down into he hill country from the tall dunes in the afternoon. The terrain grows somewhat difficult and your travel is a bit more winding as you move between and over the hills. You find some scrub here and there, but little in the way of water as you continue your journey into the deep desert. Without magic, you can’t imagine surviving out here for long.

Part of the difficulty of this area is the large number of hidden valleys you stumble into as you travel. You imagine you must have missed some in your journey, and wonder if you’ll need to backtrack the areas here to be sure of your coverage. Time will tell. The evening descends and the carriage disappears into the magical ether as you make camp once again.

I’ve moved Stelle’s ‘X’ to show where you’re starting off in the morning (according to Zilchus’ recommendation). Where do you want to go in the afternoon? Map hexes that are visible 50% or less do not need to be searched.


Female Halfling Cavalier/16
Benedictus wrote:
"[Giant Eagles] are known to form lasting friendships with those who respect them [ ... ] The phoenix is a benevolent creature, [ ... ] aiding those who do good and actively harming those who do evil [ ... ] "

Stelle's eyes grow wide. Either way, I should scale that spire right here and now! We need allies in a place like this! She shakes her head. Either way, we should respect their space!

"I hope either myself or Zilchus is right Ben, and if so -- I hope that we come back this way sometime." She looks again, wistfully at the nest. "Wouldn't it be grand to have an Eagle or a 'Phoenix' for a friend?!"

She curtsies to Ben most sincerely. "Thank you for the lesson in exotic birds and beings."

~~~

GM Euan wrote:
I’ve moved Stelle’s ‘X’ to show where you’re starting off in the morning (according to Zilchus’ recommendation). Where do you want to go in the afternoon? Map hexes that are visible 50% or less do not need to be searched.

What did I learn from my Survival training? If you're looking for food in the desert, find the nearest watering hole.

"If we find nothing here, what do you say we head south and check out the last bit of Canyon we haven't searched, then cut east past the Eagle/Phoenix nest -- careful not to disturb it -- then making a wide berth around the 'Lizard With Impeccable Taste in Music' -- and head toward -- is that a river?"

Stelle is pointing to the red X on the map. I think it's a river. GM Euan, is it a river? If not, scratch this.

Just a suggestion. Totally open to more.


Roll20 Map - Treasure Sheet

Stelle - that is a dried river bed. You followed along it, roughly, as you entered the desert though it's true you have not searched those hexes. It hasn't had water in it for a long, long time however, so I'm not sure it fits with your desire to find the nearest watering hole.

The party is unfamiliar with this part of the world, but there may be an oasis or two out here somewhere - but you do not know where.


NG male human (Garundi) diviner 10 | HP: 62/62 | AC: 14 [17] (13 Tch, 11 [14] FF) | CMB: +5, CMD: 18 | F: +5, R: +7, W: +10 | Init: +16 | Perc: +14 (+16), SM: +1 (+3) | Speed 30 ft | Special abilities: prescience 10/10 | foretell 10/10 | Active Conditions:

"You are welcome, Stelle. Actually, I would have loved to see a phoenix or a giant eagle with my own eyes, rather than reading about it in books, but I guess we were not lucky this time."

Later, when the group is deciding where to go next, Ben is happy to do some reading while the rest of the party decides where to go next, a choice he is happy to leave to them, for the moment.


Zilchus seems inclined to go on the path suggested by Stelle. He returns to holding his parasol above Nidhi, anxious to see how she might sing her way out of other fights.


Roll20 Map - Treasure Sheet

After an uneventful night, you spend the morning of Fireday, Erastus 11, 4714 searching fruitlessly through the hill country. In the afternoon, the party abruptly changes direction and heads back south. Not long after you re-enter the rocky highlands, you encounter a large, vaguely hexagonal mound standing atop a stone outcrop jutting out of the badlands. Below, winding gullies and steep ravines carve through the harsh landscape and you wonder how you’re going to cross the depths to the other side.

As you close with the interesting structure, two giant bees fly out, followed by maybe a half dozen thriae - creatures with the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a bee. They wield composite longbows and fan out in military formation as they approach. The leader among them stops some distance away, and hails the party angrily buzzing, ”Where are your masks?”

The other thriae draw their bowstrings taught, but hold their fire for the moment...

Please keep to single rounds as combat may start at any moment depending on your actions.


Zilchus pauses, jumping out of the chariot (coverside), and dropping the parasol to the ground.

Masks?

1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15 Sense Motive - would masks seem to be a good or bad thing to them?


Stats:
HP 73/73 | AC 14 Tch 14 FF 10 | Fort +7 Ref +18 Will +14 | Init +3 | Bardic Perf 39/day | Never Fear RING | Perc +19 | Dis Dvce +22 +5 | Diplo +23 | Sense Motive +19 | Perform +27
Neutral Human Bard/14

Nidhi stares at the creatures for a moment, dumbstruck. Like... cultist masks? ...I'm wearing a mask right now.

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 = 22


Roll20 Map - Treasure Sheet

Zilchus isn't certain, but he thinks maybe masks are bad... Nidhi however is sure of it. They do not like masked folk, and seem to be eyeing Nidhi more then the others in the group.

In fact, on closer examination, all their arrows are pointed at Nidhi rather than the party as a whole. Their buzzing seems to be increasing in pitch, making a most annoyingly loud sound. Or maybe there's more of them coming...


Stats:
HP 73/73 | AC 14 Tch 14 FF 10 | Fort +7 Ref +18 Will +14 | Init +3 | Bardic Perf 39/day | Never Fear RING | Perc +19 | Dis Dvce +22 +5 | Diplo +23 | Sense Motive +19 | Perform +27
Neutral Human Bard/14

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (14) + 14 = 28

"Ahh, friends! We are not those masked people. We're trying to avoid them. In fact, we are trying to destroy *this* mask." Nidhi points to the one she wears. "Those masked people are evil! They tried to kill us!" Nidhi slowly moves to remove her mask, her fingers reach for the leather straps. Nidhi tries to move her fingers quickly and dexterously.

Slight of Hand: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18


NG male human (Garundi) diviner 10 | HP: 62/62 | AC: 14 [17] (13 Tch, 11 [14] FF) | CMB: +5, CMD: 18 | F: +5, R: +7, W: +10 | Init: +16 | Perc: +14 (+16), SM: +1 (+3) | Speed 30 ft | Special abilities: prescience 10/10 | foretell 10/10 | Active Conditions:

Ben keeps his distance, for the moment, trying to brainstorm all of his knowledge on thriae.

Knowledge (nature) check on thriae: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (7) + 13 = 20


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Female Halfling Cavalier/16

"Ooohh, dear" says Stelle nervously to the bee people from the back of Anubis, trying to work out how to hold up her hands in surrender while holding a Lance. "We have no masks but the ... one. Do those guys with the fake masks harass you? We are out to disrupt them as well. Would you happen to know where they might, uh -- " she struggles for a word or phrase to substitute for 'be' --"camp out?"

Nest? Hive-out? ...

AidDiplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18 +4 to Nidhi's Diplo check if successful.


Roll20 Map - Treasure Sheet

Benedictus:
Thriae are LN Medium monstrous humanoids. Their soldiers have two special abilities:

Merope Consumption (Su) Once per day as a standard action, a thriae soldier can consume a dose of merope in order to enhance her combat abilities for 1d6+3 rounds. Starting on the round after the merope is consumed, the thriae soldier gains a +2 insight bonus on attack rolls and saving throws, and gains fast healing 3.

Poison (Ex) Sting or arrow—injury; save Fort DC 15; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Str; cure 1 save. As a free action, a thriae soldier can apply her venom to an arrow as she fires the shot. The save DC is Constitution-based.
- - -

They raise their bows as Nidhi skillfully unbuckles the mask, but they do not shoot. When she speaks and tries to calm them, with Stelle's aid, their leader gestures and they lower their bows. Though they still have them at the ready, they're at least not pointing at you for the moment.

"You're not with the mask wearers?" They seem a little slow perhaps, or simply require confirmation. Assuming she gets an affirmative, she continues on, "They have come through here, and killed our queen! Why, even now, they hold our larva hostage!"

There's a general buzzing of outrage at what she says among the troops. She motions to one of the soldiers, who peels off, flying back to the hive. She disappears behind the structure.


Zilchus seems annoyed by this. The mask jerks were truly jerks by choice, while Nidhi was a jerk by nature, which was completely different. And beenapping was a step too far for Zilchus.

”Stole your larva? Really!?” Zilchus roils with incredulity.

1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24 Sense Motive

”Tell us where they are. I will bring my sword to them, laying waste to their entire tribe clan, uh, hive,” Zilch offers, looking for direction. ”We seek them even now. Point the way.”


HP: 117/117 l AC: 12 (16 w/Mage Armor), T 12, FF 10 (14 w/Mage Armor) l CMD 21 l F +14, R +11, W +14 l Remedies (8/8) l L1: 4/6, L2: 5/6, L3: 3/5, L4: 3/5, L5: 5/5, L6: 4/4, L7: 3/3, L8: 2/2 l Init +6 l Senses: Perception +8
Skills:
Craft: Alchemy +22, Diplomacy +13, Fly +15, Heal +17, Kn. Arcana/History +25, Kn. Local/Nature/Planes +22, Kn. Religion +13, Spellcraft +25, Swim +7, UMD +14
Female Human l Active Conditions: Blink, Mage Armor / Bynx: AC 22, HP: 47/47

"Why would they kill your Queen and take your larva? Did they offer any demands?" Florence asks, also incredulous and rather incensed by the whole thing. "I'm pretty sure that Zilchus speaks for all of us - the masked people are no friends of ours so if we can help you get your larva back then we'll do it."


Stats:
HP 73/73 | AC 14 Tch 14 FF 10 | Fort +7 Ref +18 Will +14 | Init +3 | Bardic Perf 39/day | Never Fear RING | Perc +19 | Dis Dvce +22 +5 | Diplo +23 | Sense Motive +19 | Perform +27
Neutral Human Bard/14

Nidhi places a hand on her hip and tilts her head. "Yeah. We'll help you get your larva back. I'd love the chance to kill more of those masked villains." Nidhi seconds - thirds her companions - "where is their lair?"

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (9) + 14 = 23


Female Halfling Cavalier/16
Bee Generaless wrote:
"You're not with the mask wearers? ... Why, even now, they hold our larva hostage!"

Stelle looks to Ben and shrugs as if to say, So, what do you think about these?!

...
Zilchus wrote:
”Stole your larva? Really!?” Zilchus roils with incredulity.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21

Stelle has Anubis take a single step forward, and without breaking eye contact with the SpokesBeePerson, Stelle addresses Zilchus in a hushed tone, but loud enough for the nearest circle of Thriae to hear.

"Now Zilchus, hostages to be taken do not necessarily need to be relocated." Or did you actually just say that? She rolls her eyes. With you, Zlichus, it's sometimes difficult to tell." Apply this to Nidhi's Diplomacy roll, please?

She urges Annie forward if given an affirmative nod from the Lead Thriae, then wordlessly follows to where the Soldier disappeared.


NG male human (Garundi) diviner 10 | HP: 62/62 | AC: 14 [17] (13 Tch, 11 [14] FF) | CMB: +5, CMD: 18 | F: +5, R: +7, W: +10 | Init: +16 | Perc: +14 (+16), SM: +1 (+3) | Speed 30 ft | Special abilities: prescience 10/10 | foretell 10/10 | Active Conditions:

Ben meets Stelle's look with a nod, and whispers something her ears "Their queen is a divine soothsayer, a provider of life, and a destroyer of those who would seek to disrupt the order of the colony. Her children view her as a benevolent matriarch rather than a mother. She is the only fertile member of the colony, and thus the sole reproducer should the colony's population meet a devastating blow."

Then, when Zilchus mentions the larva, Benedictus clears his throat and provides a quick explanation for the benefit of all, trying at the same time to win the sympathy of the thriae by showing his knowledge of them.

"A thriae queen lays fertilized eggs in one of the waxy, golden cells of her chamber walls. Thriae eggs go through several stages of growth before becoming fully formed thriae—the longest stage of development is the larval stage, which is a crucial point in determining the formation of a thriae. Most larvae are fed merope while they grow, but in the height of her power, a thriae queen selects a single larva to be her successor, and she feeds that individual a special substance secreted from her merope gland called royal merope. This thick, jellylike substance strengthens the larva and causes it to grow greatly in size, and when it pupates and hatches, it does so as a fully grown thriae queen."

The lesson ended, Ben addresses the thriae directly. "So, I assume this larve you just told us about was your next queen, isn't it? So the masked men left you with no queen, and no heir. That's sad, and me and my friends would like to help you, if we can. We share an enemy."

Diplomacy check (aid Nidhi): 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (4) + 16 = 20

"There is something I want to ask in return, though. And no, it is not your merope. That's the deal: we free your larva, and return her in safety to you. But when we do, one of your seers travels with us for a few weeks. As a guest, of course. I want to study your divinatory powers, they are incredibly fascinating."


Roll20 Map - Treasure Sheet

GM Rolls:
1d20 ⇒ 10

Zilchus:
She appears to be telling the truth - just another evil act on the part of the cultists…
- - -

Zilchus Lyghtlode wrote:
”Tell us where they are. I will bring my sword to them, laying waste to their entire tribe clan, uh, hive,” Zilch offers, looking for direction. ”We seek them even now. Point the way.”
Florence Corvina wrote:
"Why would they kill your Queen and take your larva? Did they offer any demands?" Florence asks, also incredulous and rather incensed by the whole thing. "I'm pretty sure that Zilchus speaks for all of us - the masked people are no friends of ours so if we can help you get your larva back then we'll do it."
Nidhi Aashirya wrote:
Nidhi places a hand on her hip and tilts her head. "Yeah. We'll help you get your larva back. I'd love the chance to kill more of those masked villains." Nidhi seconds - thirds her companions - "where is their lair?"
Prof. Benedictus Dickens wrote:
The lesson ended, Ben addresses the thriae directly. "So, I assume this larve you just told us about was your next queen, isn't it? So the masked men left you with no queen, and no heir. That's sad, and me and my friends would like to help you, if we can. We share an enemy."

”It is good you would help us. You will speak with Zizzira, who will perhaps decide to tell you more. I do not know why they would kill, but with the larva, they could presumably form a new hive… one under their thumb, under their control.”

Stelle looks for a nod to follow the soldier but none comes. It seems clear you are to wait for this Zizzira to come to you - and I’ll proceed assuming you wait. If you wish to proceed however, we can backtrack. Just let me know.

Prof. Benedictus Dickens wrote:
"There is something I want to ask in return, though. And no, it is not your merope. That's the deal: we free your larva, and return her in safety to you. But when we do, one of your seers travels with us for a few weeks. As a guest, of course. I want to study your divinatory powers, they are incredibly fascinating."

”You will have to take that up with Zizzira, but I doubt she will be able to leave her new queen for a duration of weeks - particularly so soon after her return. She is not due to hatch for some time yet.”

A more impressive looking thriae, with a staff (link) joins the group from around the hive, along with a handful of additional soldiers. She and the previous leader buzz around each other a moment before she steps up and says, ”So you are the enemies of our enemy? I am Zizzira, and we will pay you handsomely for the return of our brood - and the knowledge that justice has been done upon the mask wearers.”


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Stats:
HP 73/73 | AC 14 Tch 14 FF 10 | Fort +7 Ref +18 Will +14 | Init +3 | Bardic Perf 39/day | Never Fear RING | Perc +19 | Dis Dvce +22 +5 | Diplo +23 | Sense Motive +19 | Perform +27
Neutral Human Bard/14

How does Ben know so much about these insect things? I'm glad they look humanoid. She shivers involuntarily.

Nidhi continues to stand with her head tilted and a hand resting comfortable on her hip. "So how many mask-wearers were there? And what kind of fighters were they? Magic? Bow and arrow? Swords? Anything you can tell us helps."

Rewards? Her eyes widen, "ahh! Please excuse my lack of knowledge but, do you all produce... honey?" The bard looks suddenly eager.


Nidhi Aashirya wrote:
"ahh! Please excuse my lack of knowledge but, do you all produce... honey?"

More importantly, do you produce MEAD!?! Zilchus' eyes widen as if he eagerly awaits the answer to Nidhi's question as if he might follow up with one of his own.

That would be *sweet*.


Female Halfling Cavalier/16

Stelle nods in understanding as Ben whispers to her. When the nod of approval from the Soldier is not forthwith, Stelle patiently awaits the arrival of Zizzira.

Well, good. At least the masked jerks aren't still here in the hive.

Ben wrote:

"But when we do, one of your seers travels with us for a few weeks."

Soldier wrote:
"You will have to take that up with Zizzira, but I doubt she will be able to leave her new queen for a duration of weeks - particularly so soon after her return. She is not due to hatch for some time yet.”

Stelle turns to the Soldier. "Of course, we understand. The Queen is far more important!"

Zizzira wrote:
”So you are the enemies of our enemy? I am Zizzira, and we will pay you handsomely for the return of our brood - and the knowledge that justice has been done upon the mask wearers.”

"See that?! Everything is worked out already!" Stelle smiles as she has Annie curtsy to Zizzira. "I am Sopdet -- er, just call me Stelle. Where did the mask wearers take the Your Brood? Where did they head?"


HP: 117/117 l AC: 12 (16 w/Mage Armor), T 12, FF 10 (14 w/Mage Armor) l CMD 21 l F +14, R +11, W +14 l Remedies (8/8) l L1: 4/6, L2: 5/6, L3: 3/5, L4: 3/5, L5: 5/5, L6: 4/4, L7: 3/3, L8: 2/2 l Init +6 l Senses: Perception +8
Skills:
Craft: Alchemy +22, Diplomacy +13, Fly +15, Heal +17, Kn. Arcana/History +25, Kn. Local/Nature/Planes +22, Kn. Religion +13, Spellcraft +25, Swim +7, UMD +14
Female Human l Active Conditions: Blink, Mage Armor / Bynx: AC 22, HP: 47/47

"I'm Florence and the little cat is Bynx," Florence chimes in as introductions are made. "Like Nidhi and Stelle said, anything you can tell us about them when they attacked or which way they went will help. It's uh...a pretty big desert out there, after all."


Roll20 Map - Treasure Sheet

The leader of the soldiers, mentioned previously, stands at attention while Zizzira responds to the party. She is watching you carefully, but respectfully. Oh, and there’s an image (link) which I failed to share earlier.

"Nidhi Aashirya"Nidhi continues to stand with her head tilted and a hand resting comfortable on her hip. [b wrote:

"So how many mask-wearers were there? And what kind of fighters were they? Magic? Bow and arrow? Swords? Anything you can tell us helps." [/b]

Rewards? Her eyes widen, "ahh! Please excuse my lack of knowledge but, do you all produce... honey?" The bard looks suddenly eager.

Zizzira responds, ”There was a desert giant, a pair of lamias and their leader, who had the appearance of a snake like creature I'm unfamiliar with. The cultists, of which there were many, seemed to favor their falchions, though several did use heavy crossbows when they couldn’t reach us. Tough they were - and they cast some spells as well, though nothing major.” (Her description of the cultists matches the ones you’ve battled before.)

”We do have honey, as well as a special mixture called Merope, which aids in battle. We can produce… a little… for you as part of the reward.”

Knowledge Local DC 19 (Desert Giant):
They are enormous warriors typically welding two scimitars, each the size of a human. LN Large humanoid (giant)
- - -

Knowledge Nature DC 16 (Lamia):
This creature's upper torso is that of a comely woman with cat's eyes and sharp fangs, while her lower body is that of a lion. CE Large monstrous humanoid
- - -

One question for each 5 you make the respective rolls.

Sopdet-Ka "Stelle" wrote:
"See that?! Everything is worked out already!" Stelle smiles as she has Annie curtsy to Zizzira. "I am Sopdet -- er, just call me Stelle. Where did the mask wearers take the Your Brood? Where did they head?"
Florence Corvina wrote:
"I'm Florence and the little cat is Bynx," Florence chimes in as introductions are made. "Like Nidhi and Stelle said, anything you can tell us about them when they attacked or which way they went will help. It's uh...a pretty big desert out there, after all."

”Greetings Stelle, Florence…” she bends down and eyes the cat equally, ”…Bynx.” she straightens up and continues, ”They travelled north-northeast into the hill country. My divinations suggest they are in some hidden valley there, but behind which hillock I cannot say. We have searched the nearby lands without success.” (To be clear, they have searched the two hexes you also have searched, and found nothing.)


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Male Pharaoh Hound, Animal Companion, Lvl 16

What's all the buzz about... Bees? Those aren't bees, but I hear bees. Where are the bees?! Oh, oh! Don't go up my nose, bees!

Anubis shifts his stance under Stelle uneasily.


Stats:
HP 73/73 | AC 14 Tch 14 FF 10 | Fort +7 Ref +18 Will +14 | Init +3 | Bardic Perf 39/day | Never Fear RING | Perc +19 | Dis Dvce +22 +5 | Diplo +23 | Sense Motive +19 | Perform +27
Neutral Human Bard/14
GM Euan wrote:
"We do have honey"

Nidhi nods, her assumptions met. Well, now we *have* to help them. For the sake of delicious honey.

Knowledge (Local) DC19: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25 Can they be affected my mind effects? i.e Charm, Fear

Knowledge (Nature) DC16: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20

Nidhi shares her creature knowledge with her companions and the bee people. "They sound like the masked people who attacked us before.... So how much honey are we talking about? A few crates?"

Nidhi is ready to venture forth.

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