”If I cannot dissuade you from Calistra’s path, might I at least ask you, why is your vengeance of greater importance than others? As the founders are not here, you have killed innocent people within the town whose only crime was being in your way. If your loss gives you the right to vengeance, then does their loss not give them the right to vengeance against you? That is the problem with vengeance. It only ends when an aggrieved side lacks the strength to see it out. I...do not think you to be evil. But I do not think you to be good either. You stand between the two, and might fall to either side. I would rather help you than fight you.”
Indeed, you're quite right on his intended current outlook on life. From a young LG man to TN from grievance and a deep grudge.
"Killed innocents, have i truly? True, i did place a spy, orchestrated discreet disappearances, but by no means did i give any orders for killing."
He looks over at his maids,
"If you were done with the guest lounge, you're dismissed for the night."
Both nod, and head upstairs, though Lord Kemnon keeps his eyes matching yours.
"As to your question why my revenge is greater than the tranquil life of townsfolk? Answer me this, what if the soul of the one most dear to you was at risk of being taken by a dark realm? The day she died, i also discovered a symbol carved into her arm. Her captor intended her to be a sacrifice, which -while not completely a success- , did work to some extend. Were she to have survived that day, all would have been well. But no, her soul is in a scale between our world and damnation. I must prevent it at all cost, which is why the misery of the ones responsible for this is the perfect offering to get her free."
"There is no other way.", he says with a stern...yet slightly regretful, look in his eyes.
Can i get Kn. [Religion/Planes] checks?
With sacrifices varying from offerings to blood rituals, the act of offering up a sentient soul is a most evil act.
If a soul is sentenced to damnation, via the official channels or forced, it has a very good chance of ending up in the abyss, ruled by demon lords.
In regards to a tribute of misery, whatever form this may take, a few demon lords hold that as their domains and sub domains.
Nocticula, F demon lord of darkness and lust.
Shivaska, F demon lord of prisons and captivity.
Sifkesh, F demon lord of heresy and suicide.
Of which Sifkesh takes most satisfaction in people falling from grace and committing suicide, damning themselves to the abyss.
With the impasse at hand, what will the approach be?
From what i gather, no side seeks conflict.
But Lord Kemnon is not releasing his bait/leverage until he can appease whatever sinister presence holds the other end of the rope on his wife's soul.
Now, his manor is still with a 2nd floor and roof. There may or may not be dangers still ahead. After all, he was preparing for a confrontation with the object of his grudge. But this manor is the final area of the story.
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"Seems to me that you have your priorities all wrong. Your loved one's soul is in peril, and a fiend has it snared. You put all of your resources into vengeance. And what does that do? Make you feel better? Much better to pour the time and resources into identifying which servant has the soul, summoning it, and giving it a righteous beating. And that is a task that I would be most willing to aid in. It is also a task, which I think it is fitting, for the founders to make recompense for assisting in. I think freeing the soul is much better than vengeance, don't you agree?"
Diplomacy...wish I was trained in this and that it was a class skill!: 1d20 ⇒ 16
And Thandir is proving to be much more eloquent than I thought. Apparently he is very sincere when trying to spread Korada's message of redemption
"My priorities lay with what i could do, 1/2-orc. In taking revenge, i would gather the energy of loss and misery of them and transfer it into a container for my own devices in getting my wife's soul free. Though true, saving my beloved greatly outweighs any revenge, if there is another way."
Lord Kemnon stands silent, thinking things through.
"You bring a reasonable point, if you truly wish to fight for her soul on my behalf. I alone am no match for a creature of such power.
Though summoning it onto our plane would be ill advised. Such means involve dire rituals and sacrifices. The stronger the creature, the more costly a sacrifice."
"It may be better to send you over, if possible, to the place where my wife's soul is at. Though i'll need to consult my library for that."
As having gone the diplomatic route will circumvent much of his planned surprises, we're going straight to the library.
The maids still peering at you going with lord Kemnon, you make your way to the library. Lord Kemnon's manor is well maintained, a place perfect for renting to VIPs at any large city.
Looking out of a window, Belegar sees a slight shimmer, the same as the exit had. With the words of Lord Kemnon still in memory about enering but not leaving easily, it dawns upon Belegar that this manor itself could well be a private demi-plane!
While such feats are generally only for the very powerful among arcane casters, private funding for arcane services may well have had a hand in this case.
The library is a room of about 30 by 20 ft, with cases reaching 10ft high to the ceiling. Even a scholared person like Jurgan, would have a busy afternoon with that many books.
"Help me search. We'll be looking for anything related to planar gates, catalogued demons, and summoning rituals."
Through some quick wits, Belegar picks out some books that, despite titles such as [Horrible things and You], [Down there...].... would have useful information in them.
These checks were to help hasten his progress, since....
In an alcove of the library, stands a globe. Not just any globe with a map of Golarion's continents, but one of ominous dark colors, ever shifting. Faint cries sometimes come from it.
The globe suddenly pulses an audible vibe, which resonates through your bodies. Kemnon turns nervous, "No no no no, what is it this time?"
The humming air around the globe seems to form an image of a limited landscape, with the transparent form of a young woman held in a sphere. She's not the only one there.
In heavy accent, common is spoken from a disembodied, yet heavy and ominous, voice.
"Mortal. Your tribute of misery is not here. My mistress is most displeased. In her wisdom, (evil chuckling) she has decided yours will make up for it, by doing what pleases the mistress most."
A gut wrenching feeling forms in everyone, as the subconscious hint of malice and dreaded events forms in the back of your minds.
The bubble with the wife's soul starts glowing reddish purple, and you hear a bone chilling scream. Kemnon bashes his fist on a table nearby.
"No! There was still time!"
(voice): "My mistress takes great interest in fallen souls and new servants. As of recent, a position is vacant. We'll leech from you your despair and misery, and all that is virtuous and pure from your woman's soul. Those make the best of demons, after all."
The voice booms with malicious laughter, and Kemnon looks at you with an urgent face, drops of sweat starting to appear on his forehead.
Rest to come later on.
"You have 48 hours, mortal. The longer you wait with the tribute, the more both you and your woman shall suffer. Enjoy your final days, for we certainly shall."
All goes silent, except for the wife's soul smacking her hands against the spherical prison in despair and panic, then the image fading again.
Kemnon: "By the gods, please, help me save my wife. We've to find some way to get an arcane portal to that place."
The time frame is divided in 4 parts of 12 hours each. Each time a time frame has passed, an increasingly dire effect occurs upon Kemnon's wife's soul, the less time it takes you to prepare 3 things, the less dire the effects on her.
The 3 things:
1) A light protective ward on your person.
2) The creation of a portal.
3) A security safe-guard for the portal, to prevent things from coming through uninvited into the material plane.
Searching for the right books in Kemnon's 'modest sized' library, takes 1d4+4 hours (1d4+2 if passing a Kn. Planes check for that specific task) for each topic.
No problems there, given Belegar's solid rolls.
Finding the right books for a task, you must then succeed at a spellcraft check and caster level check, which represents 2 hours of studying the books and executing the procedure therein. Not passing a check, involves a 1d4+2 hours delay, as you are fine tuning your work for another attempt on a task.
DCs for the topics:
1) Light ward: DC 15
2) Portal creation: DC 20
3) Portal safe-guard: DC 25
Circumstantial, take 10 is unavailable.
Take into account you'll have to sleep, or you'd face fatigue and the lack of spell recovery.
Thandir has none of that trained. Can he use Aid by hitting the 10dc, or is this something he can do untrained?
Not unless you're either trained in spellcraft or the arcane.
The one making the CL check can add +1 to it for every other arcane caster in the team, representing their assisting.
This should be right up Jurgan's alley.
And so, the team set out to do the research to aid lord Kemnon.
Belegar spends 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4 hours, searching the western shelves and picking a select number of books to do research from.
This involved the personal ward.
Jurgan auto-passes the spellcraft check, but he'll need the DC 15 CL check to successfully complete the first task.
On the other hand, Thandir, if a CL check on the latter 2 fails by 5 or more, you may or may not have to flex those muscles.
I'm here apologies
Spellcraft: Light ward vs DC 15: 1d20 + 15 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 15 + 1 = 30
Spellcraft: Portal creation vs DC 20: 1d20 + 15 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 15 + 1 = 34
Spellcraft: Portal safe-guard vs DC 25: 1d20 + 15 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 15 + 1 = 21
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I'll take that spellcraft for the ward as your CL check, since you'd auto-pass the spellcraft requirement.
Belegar deploys the books on a table in the middle of the library, where he and Jurgan sit down at and start browsing their contents. Jurgan soon has two books opened before him, skimming through their content and cross referencing their pages.
Stroking his beard, he looks up with a resolute face, and muttes, ever modestly, "Child's play for one such as i."
He deciphers a procedure to fabricate a scroll that emulates a protection from evil, but based upon arcane foundations.
In effect, a communal protection from evil, but the bonuses are +1 instead of +2. Additionally, each of these protective layers (AC & saves respectively) can be dismissed by one who's affected, once to grant a +1 to an attack roll, concentration check, or CL check vs Spell Resistance.
On to the next point of research, Belegar searches the longer shelves at the north wall for planar portals, taking 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6 hours for a selection he reckons useful.
12 hours passed, the globe shimmers forth the image back,
The woman's soul slowly takes back a more solid form, and her veins are an unhealthy color, pulsing purple, her face an expression as if experiencing serious fever.
Uke carries the previous books to another table, while Belegar displays his new selection, this one with some more books, and the two sit down to study. After two hours of reading about portals to other planes, at specific locations, Jurgan makes his 1st attempt, assisted by Belegar.
Runes have been drawn on sheets of paper, and chanting the incantation, Jurgan starts opening a dark red portal.
Unfortunately, the portal was not the color it was supposed to be, and its size expands and shrinks continuously. Skreeching can be heard from the other side. This portal may well have connected to a different, more generic, location.
Thandir and Uke grab for their weapons and cautiously approach to a 15ft distance, rightfully so, as two small but hideous creatures, resembling children with a shortsword, jump through.
Thandir: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Uke: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Lord Kemnon: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Demon 1: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Demon 2: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Thandir, here's your first target for righteous fury.
Give me 3 rounds worth of rolls for you and Uke. Lord Kemnon will assist you as well.
Lord Kemnon's cane turns into a weapon, a blade clicking from the lower end, and the top starting to hum slightly.
"No time to waste, let us kill these things."
He casts a spell, his cane's blade eminating an acidic green shine.
Demon 1 & 2
Belegar starts looking for more books, taking 1d2 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4 hours to compile additions to the previous selection.
Jurgan, a new CL check for the portal please.
Divine Favor, and good aligned damage
Hit: 2d20 ⇒ (18, 19) = 37 19 + 13 = 32
Damage: 2d12 + 16 ⇒ (1, 12) + 16 = 29
Hit: 2d20 ⇒ (14, 5) = 19 14 + 13 = 27
Damage: 2d12 + 16 ⇒ (9, 10) + 16 = 35
Hit: 2d20 ⇒ (18, 1) = 19 18 + 13 = 31
Damage: 2d12 + 16 ⇒ (5, 8) + 16 = 29
His axe softly glowing with holy energy, Thandir went to work with enthusiasm.
Can Belegar aid another on the spellcraft checks?
spellcraft aid another: ward: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
spellcraft aid another: portal: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
spellcraft aid another: safeguard: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
The fight takes off quickly, Thandir rushing forth with his axe.
Thandir, can you roll another three attacks, since Uke's BaB i +6, getting him 2 attacks per round.
Demon 1 (-29) retaliates upon Thandir.
Sword: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (16) + 10 = 26 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6 Bleed: 1d4 ⇒ 2
Sword: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Bite: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16 1d3 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Demon 2 attacks Uke.
Sword: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16 1d4 + 2 + 1d6 ⇒ (3) + 2 + (6) = 11
Sword: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16 1d4 + 2 + 1d6 ⇒ (2) + 2 + (1) = 5
Bite: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18 1d3 + 1 + 1d6 ⇒ (3) + 1 + (6) = 10
Uke deals 31 dmg to his target.
Kemnon's blade: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26 Dmg, acid: 1d6 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (4) + 4 + (3) = 11
Kemnon's blade: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10 Dmg, acid: 1d6 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (3) + 4 + (4) = 11
Lord Kemnon injures Uke's target further, both monsters now near collapsing. In their current state, they try escaping, but get cut down by the three.
Jurgan makes the 2nd attempt, and while the additional information was useful, something in the current incantation must be a mismatch, this portal being a different color, and spinning around in place like a coin flipped into the air.
Belegar searches for some extra books to supplement the previous.
Search time: 1d2 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Jurgan, could you roll about 8 CL checks please. It'll speed things up. :)
CL check1: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
CL check2: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
CL check3: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
CL check4: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
CL check5: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
CL check6: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
CL check7: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
CL check8: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
As Belegar is busy searching for books, the globe lights up once more.
The human form of the now almost completely physical wife's body, now shows features seen in tieflings.
Tiny horns protrude from her fore head, and her irises are faintly glowing yellow. Her previously white skin has taken a light shade of orange, her fingernails slightly longer.
Lord Kemnon looks with worry, as his wife has changed.
The voice mocks him,
"You may not see it, but your emotional energy of despair takes the shape of a nice gemstone over here. Even better, you wife has some elegant features, but not nearly enough.... HA-HA-HAH!!!"
Belegar hastes himself and places the books before Jurgan, who reads them and makes a third attempt, which sadly bears no fruit.
1d100 ⇒ 76, nothing bad happens, but no progress yet.
Time until attempt 4, books & CL check: 1d2 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 + 2 = 5
5 hours later, Jurgan makes a new attempt, rolling up his sleeves and carefully chanting the incantation.
This time, he nails it!
A stable portal forms in the library.
Lord Kemnon: "Calistria be praised, you completed the 2nd phase, all left now is the safe-guard on it."
Jurgan, would you like to make a new set of CL rolls, as the previous were meant for the portal only. Surely a new bunch will be better than these prior results. ;)
Given the dire time pressure the task has for the team, Jurgan
commands requests everyone to join Belegar in searching the library (minus himself....)
And so, Belegar, Uke, and Thandir search the shelves, following key words given by Jurgan.
Book search!: 1d2 ⇒ 1
The first stack of books, placed before our wizard with a quick (BAM), is eagerly dug into by Jurgan.
2 hours of research later, Jurgan is prepared as can be for his 1st attempt at the delicate ward enchantments for the portal.
It bears no fruit, sadly, as some words are not quite right for starters. Accursed writers of those books, misspelling for sure.
Elapsed time 34 hours.
Lord Kemnon suggests improvising with Jurgan's own arcane instincts, exchanging time for risky execution of the incantation. Likewise, the searching for books could be rushed, though it holds a chance of some books not being useful at all.
In effect, while researching & doing the magic took 2 hours of time, it can cost 1 hour, with a 20% chance of failing, from trying a casting in a hasty pace. Rushing the search can likewise reduce to 1 hour (teamwork!), adding 10% fail chance on a CL check that might work.
2 hours into the search, the globe activates again, though the image is most unsettling, as the woman is no longer a tiefling appearance, but that of a half-fiend woman, her skin reddened, and eyes now clearly giving off a yellow-orange glow. Nails looking sharp, and her horns are larger now. Her timid demeanor from earlier seems almost gone, as she grits her teeth in discomfort, a groan of discomfort escaping her throat.
"Damn, what is taking you so long, Mortimer? Look what they done to me. You and me are going to have words about this...."
The image fades away.
6x Books search, rushed doing magic: 6 + 6 = 12
Elapsed time: 46 hours.
Thandir, there -is- something you can do now. After 48 hours, she'll be a full fledged demoness servant. Roll me a concentration check, for a fervent prayer to Korada.
d20 + CL + ability modifier, DC 12
Ow...i was hoping it'd go well. Ah well, not all dramatic movies have happy endings.
Jurgan almost gets the magical security system right, but on the last few minutes, his focus upon establishing a permanent hold on the portal falters briefly, just enough for the safe-guard to be left 1/2 measured.
It's not a complete failure, it will hold off lesser demons, but the stronger ones may well get through with some effort.
It is then, that Belegar notices a tome, titled [Warding off the Evil], that provides the final information Jurgan needs to make the safe-guard a solid success.
As he completes it, at last, the shimmering view reappears, and the malicious voice speaks again.
"Mortal, your 48 hours are over. Your woman's transformation will be complete any moment now. BEHOLD!"
With a groan and chilling cry, the woman's hair turns a dark crimson, and her eyes are now a fiery yellow-orange glow. Her horns grow larger, and two demonic wings sprout from her back. The gown she was initially wearing, turns to a black leather outfit.
Her voice resonating malicious glee, she looks up.
"Mortimer...darling. Why'd you forsake me?
But i feel so....powerful now, so wicked. Come darling, if you want me back so badly, descend into the abyss." (evil chuckling ensues)
Lord Kemnon falls to his knees, his face pale at the outcome, sorrow written all over.
"Too late, we were too late."
Despite his sorrow, he looks up at the four of you.
"The portal is there. If she is beyond salvation, all that's left is to put her out of her misery. If not, i, feel i may break down."
Uke looks over to you three.
"That would be a risk. If Lord Kemnon falls deeply into a depression, who knows what he'll do in an unstable mood."
He makes a flashy swinging with his katana.
"I am prepared for a fight. If not to save the woman's soul, then for Kemnon's soul and his hostages. Perhaps even deprive a demon lord of their faithful servant. What say you?"
Jurgan looks at the portal and then at Lord Kemnon and starts to move to the portal. As he reaches it he stops his face still gazing at the open portal. Without turning around, "Well? What are you waiting for?"
Jurgan steps into the portal...
Lord Kemnon nods, and walks with the heroes towards the abyss.
A cold sensation washes over you, which then turns to a moderate temperature with a touch of humidity.
Your surroundings is a vast cavern, dimly lit by some glowing vegetation on the walls and ground, the ceiling is beyond sight without magical means.
The landscape is rough, and completely alien to whatever you have seen before. Thick pillars, some the width of a firm tree, are scattered across the landscape.
Begrudgingly Jurgan says, "Kemnon your skill is greater than mine, at this time, what can you tell us of where we are? And can you provide us any aid that will put your wife to rest?"
Kemnon looks grim.
"These sort of surroundings, i've only read about them. I believe, sir dwarf, that we are in a subterranean realm of the Abyss, realm of demons.
A plane of rough wasteland at some, cavernous and unpleasantly humid at other times."
"I can only imagine we have to kill her. On the plane of demons, the creatures are made of their very soul. I may only vainly hope a death here could allow for rebirth in the greater cycle."
Kemnon had, while Jurgan did research, fabricated 2 scrolls of the communal wards.
"May as well use these. My gut says we'll run into something soon enough."
Suddenly, mischievous laughter is heard, seemingly from all around. Sensual, malicious...
Lord Kemnon folds out the 1st scroll, "Let's see if the work paid off."
He activates it, upon which a soft blue-ish glow envelopes everyone.
Communal PfE for 8 minutes. +1 to everything, with the option of giving up the +1 to either saves or AC in exchange for a +1 to an attack roll, skill check or CL check. In effect you can do this twice before your ward is gone.
The beating of wings is audible above you from the dark, then suddenly..... a fiendish red figure swoops down above you, barely missing you.
Lord Kemnon's wife, now a crimson she-demon, stands a mere 40ft away.
"Well well. You actually came. What a pleasant surprise.
More so, with the mistress bidding me to practice discovering my new self."
Her eyes narrow slightly, as she beckons with a finger.
"If you don't make a move, i will.", as she opens the palm of her other hand, you see a fiendish wolf appear next to her.
Kemnon frowns and mutters...
"By Calistria, Alice i will set you free and -kill- that thing that took you."
The Abyss is a chaotic evil plane. On every mismatch on the Law/alignment scale, one takes a -2 penalty on wis and Cha related skills. Spells with the good or lawful descriptor, require a DC 20 + spell lvl concentration check. Chaotic or evil descriptor spells work at a +2 CL.
Belegar: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Jurgan: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Thandir: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14
Uke: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Lord Kemnon: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Alice Kemnon: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Fiendish wolf: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Lady Kemnon, round 1
The wolf rushes at you in an eerie burst of speed, going for 1d2 ⇒ 2 Uke's leg.
Charge Bite: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 7 + 2 = 17 Dmg + trip: 1d8 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Uke is quick to react, thankfully.
Thandir (someone bot him if you please)
Lord Kemnon, Uke
Thandir, seeing his comrade in arms attacked by a fiendish looking wolf, raises his greataxe.
"In Korada's name, i will end this beast!"
Attack rolls: 2d20 ⇒ (9, 8) = 17
Dmg, PA, vital strike: 2d12 + 13 ⇒ (8, 12) + 13 = 33
The damage from the brutal attack is almost enough to outright defeat the beast, but not quite yet.
Alice Kemnon scoffs, "Che...."
She motions with her sharp nails and whispers in abyssal, a faint shimmer briefly showing up before her.
She then flies 15 feet up and 20 feet closer.
Lord Kemnon, Uke
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (9) + 15 = 24
knowledge (planes): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18 Can I know resistances/special defenses on this creature? Specifically how will fire affect it?
"Tricky but whatever has been done to you has removed whatever was left of your soul I would wager. So only your death would make sense."
You recall that demons, in general, have some degree of spell resistance the stronger they are, as well as a moderate resistance to acid, cold, and fire.
You estimate her spell resistance, as a recent convert, is still within acceptable limits for your powers to overcome.
In other words, it's below 20, but above 15.