"That sounds reasonable but I have a question. What do I need to show your people in order for them to accept that the dragon is a fraud? I saw enough when I was in the cavern but obviously there are some among you that still believe the priest. Would I have your support should things get messy or are we on our own as if we never talked?"
What does Shalina know about the kobold culture - such as them keeping their word, making above-board deals, etc? Not sure what knowledge roll to make for that. Provided there's nothing surprising in his answer or that Tekk doesn't step in and disagree...
Shalina holds out her hand and shakes the offered hand. "Agreed. When do we start and what were you all arguing about before I arrived?"
Kobolds are nasty beings who believe everyone not a kobold is less then worthy and worthless compared to their supposed vaunted dragon stock. Vain and easy to betray they are not very good at upholding bargains. That said, they are very good at self-interest. You can probably trust him until he gets what he wants. Have a backup plan if you go with it. Still going to do it or do you have another plan?
sense motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
I don't suppose I get the one noble kobold in the land?
Shalina holds out her hand and shakes the offered hand. "Agreed. When do we start and what were you all arguing about before I arrived?"
Shalina looks at him somewhat skeptically. "It is true that this bargain would benefit us both. If I help you, what are the chances that we end up in conflict once the priest issue is fixed? To agree to this, we not only get the amulet but we also get to leave here unharmed."
Assuming he agrees and hopefully her sense motive will give her more info as well
Getting down to business, she asks a few more questions. "What were you all arguing about before I arrived? How many of the kobolds support the priest and how many support you?"
She'll work with him but totally expects him to turn on her. Don't really have a plan as of yet but it'll work out, right?
Shalina can tell the kobold is crafty but he is desperate.
The kobold smiles sharply, "Of course, I will let you escape. What use do I have for an outside in my home?"
"We were arguing about the dragon. For many months, we have not seen the dragon or heard his voice. We doubted him, some of us still doubt even after today. The tribe is divided into 3/4ths on my side, the rest for the priests. But the priests hold power and influence, I cannot simply bite them in the night."
The kobold spreads his hand, "I need you to disprove the dragon. Enter his lair and come out through the Holy Door you saw today. Do that and live, and the myth of the dragon shall be destroyed."
Shalina still had her doubts but she'd cross that bridge when she had to."Have you ever seen or spoken to the dragon yourself? Or does the priest always relate messages from the dragon?"
"I assume that entering the dragon's lair isn't as easy as you say considering you haven't tried doing it yourself? Where is the entrance to his lair if not through the Holy Door?
"I have seen him many times, and my fathers and forefathers before me. Massive, strong, blue as the desert sky. He has ruled my people for generations, through the priests."
"There are two other entrances. One is outside, the Great Gate, from where the dragon came and went. None of us would dare go that way. What if the dragon merely sleeps or testing us? The Great Gate is outside, a huge rift in the rock leading to the great hoard beyond the door, or so the stories claim."
The kobold pauses then says, 'There is another way. A tiny passage, leading from the pyramid to the great hoard of the dragon. It has been whispered of for many generations but none have taken it. Some say it was built by rebels long ago to spy on the dragons, other saying the dragon built it as a test. In either case, it is rumored to be a great...challenge to pass. Traps and beasts dwell within."
Aah, the classics. They never get old.
They're called classics for a reason :)
Shalina smiled and tried not to roll her eyes. "Of course it is a dangerous path filled with traps and beasts. I wouldn't expect anything less. You will show me the entrance to this path, yes? Would the priest have sensed your intent and sent any supporters to block this path?"
The archaeologist definitely sounded more sure of her success than she was feeling. She'd never been tested in such a way and she had her doubts. But she is also excited to truly test her abilities and hopefully see a dragon up close. "Out of curiosity, where did you see the dragon and was any reason given by the priests when you were no longer seeing him?"
"We used to meet the dragon int he open desert, hunting or feeding. He was the master of this whole area of the desert." The kobold spits and says, "No reason was given. We just stopped seeing the lord and eventually became worried then sure he was gone. Recently we have started saying so and the priests claimed it was a test. A lie, but we need to prove it."
The kobold leads Tekk and Shalina back to the door. "I can show you the way. Will you follow me?"
Shalina looks at Tekk to see if there is any direct opposition to them going. Of course she hoped that he would come with her but knew that he was under no obligation to follow her into possible folly.
"I guess the sooner I do this then the sooner you're free of me. Lead the way."
Tekk places a worn hand on her shoulder, 'I've never seen a dragon. I'm with you." He drops his voice, 'At the least to keep these kobolds from getting any ideas."
Nice way of making sure Tekk has agency
The kobolds lead the pair through the tomb with ease and practice, jumping pits and pushing open doors. They seem to climb upwards a bit, over the chamber the kobolds were gathered in.
Soon they come to an old door, obviously of kobold make. On it says one simple word in Draconic, Beware.
The kobold grabs the handle with a clawed hand and yanks it open. Inside is nothing but pure blackness.
"No one in my generation has ever passed the door. Who knows what my ancestors built here, to test anyone who dared venture the door." he sighs, "If only we were as brave and cunning as them."
He stands back and allows them to pass through.
Shalina swallows nervously. "So any last minute stories about those whispers you've heard about this passage during your lifetime? For example, any idea how long the passage is? Just trying to be prepared."
She pulls a crossbow bolt out and hums over it, causing it to glow with light. She then loads it into her crossbow and keeps it at the ready to use it as a light source in the pure blackness that faced her.
As Shalina goes, she'll be looking for traps so it'll probably be slow going. I figured I would try using the crossbow for light this time because I can always drop it and it still stay attached to Shalina.
"The old myths say there are three main challenges, but who knows what truely lies within? Only that our best mages worked on it, although again,w hat magics still exist? It has been a long time..."
Shalina leads the way, her light beating back the darkness. The passage is small and carved from the rock. Built for kobolds, they must both squeeze and push through some spots. Tekk, in particular, seems to have a dislike for the close space.
Finally they come to a broad place, but not a better one. The floor gives way to a shadowy pit. The pit is 15 feet wide, then it resumes the winding, tight course.
If there was something Shalina knew, it was that magic lasted for a long while. She totally expected the challenges to still exist.
When she comes to the edge of the pit, she looks over the edge using her light to illuminate what she can. She then moves the light upwards to see what lies above her.
She uncoils her whip as she sees a couple sturdy formations overhead that she could tie her whip off on. Humming over the whip, she animates it with magic and tells it to tie off above. "Now we should be able to swing across rather than trying to jump. I don't think we'd be able to get a good enough running start."
What kind of roll is she looking at to swing across? Acrobatics? Climb?
I keep forgetting that animate rope spell. Useful! Anyway, I think it would be acrobatics.
Tekk nods, peering down into the pit. At least, I don't hear anything down there."[/b] Then he looks up and his sun beaten face smiles, "Probably means it is poison spikes."
Then he freezes and looks down, "Look!" At the edge of the pit, carved very old and fine are draconic characters.
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13,
What comes next?
Then, along the edge are a variety of numbers, also in Draconic, at the very edge of the pit with arrows pointing over the chasm.
"What do you make of it? Tekk asks, scratching his head.
Just so you know, there is no magic here...
Shalina looks at the numbers. She determines that the next number is 21. She then looks at the numbers along the edge of the pit, looking for the number 21.
"Maybe it's a clue to how to get over the pit without jumping. The next number in the series is 21 but I'm not sure yet how that is supposed to help us."
Will cast and use animate rope if the numbers don't yield anything helpful. Are the arrows carved into the rock at the edge of the chasm as well or are they physically arrows that you would shoot from a bow?
Shalina has an idea but isn't about to trust it completely. Kneeling before the number 21 she says, "I know this'll sound like a weird request but can you hold my ankles or waist to keep me from falling in case I'm wrong?" Once Tekk had a secure grip on her, she leans out into the darkness to see if there's something solid before the arrow - even though it looks like there's nothing there.
Thinking she could be wrong because you already said there was no magic detected but thought I'd give it a try. It worked for Indiana Jones after all :)
Shalina gets back to her feet after Tekk pulls her back. "Many thanks, Tekk." She then catches the look at his face. Her laugh fills the cavern. "Was that really so terrible? Or maybe I was too heavy?" When Tekk begins looking like a cornered animal, she laughs again. "Relax, I'm just kidding. It's nice to know that I finally met an honorable man. I had to go hundreds of miles to the middle of nowhere but it's nice to know you still exist."
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. I was really hoping that I'd find something."
Shalina looks closer at the numbers on the floor.
Are there more numbers carved with the arrows than were on the wall or are only the numbers on the wall on the floor? Also, are the numbers/arrows carved somewhat deeply into the stone or is it more like shallow scratches?
So the numbers on the floor are the 1,2,3,5,8,13...? I thought I read wall but I must just be hallucinating again. Are the carved arrows deep enough to pour liquid into?
Do the raised arrows look like you could push them down?
"Then they've never spent time with you in harrowing situations. Or they're just idiots."
As Tekk broods, Shalina muses over the numbers. "I wonder if you have to maybe push down the arrows in sequence to the numbers. Or maybe it's all about the number 21..."
Ok, back to original plan...animate rope to tie off above and swing across.
"Not really confusion but curiosity. Why go to so much trouble to carve the numbers and raise these arrows if it wasn't for a reason? But time is ticking away so we'll swing across like I originally planned."
Not being able to resist just giving it a try, Shalina finds the numbers in the sequence and touches the arrows in succession until she ends with 21.
Assuming nothing happens...
She uncoils her whip as she sees a couple sturdy formations overhead that she could tie her whip off on. She sticks to the side of the pit having the number 21. Humming over the whip, she animates it with magic and tells it to tie off above where she stands.
Shalina tugs on the whip to make sure it's secure. Afraid to ask for a push based on how she'd made Tekk uncomfortable only moments before, she builds up a little bit of momentum and swings across.
acrobatics: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22
Bring on the ooze...
No, you solved it!
Shalina swings across the pit with ease, even finding the rush of wind refreshing after the dull must of the pyramid.
As she reaches the other side, she sees the air...bend and then then lands. From her new angle, on the other side it becomes apparent. The 'other' side of the pit, where she stands is covered in a sheet of thick, but crystal clear quartz.
Only a small, kobold size hole is cut into it, directly across from the number 21. Without swinging across at that spot, she'd have slammed into the clear wall and fell down into the pit.
Woot! Phew :)
Shalina swings the whip back towards Tekk so that he can get across. "It'll be a tight landing for you since this opening was made for kobolds. Make sure your aim is true." With a smile she says, "Don't worry, I'll catch you."
Assuming Tekk gets across alright.
Once they are both across, Shalina retrieves her whip by giving it the order to untie. She recoils it at her side and then raises her crossbow again to provide light for the next part of their journey.
Tekk makes the leap without Shalina's grace or ease, and he manages to smack the crystal wall rather hard, but he manages well enough.
'very clever." he says, "One down, eh?"
Together they duck in and proceed down the tunnel. Only a short distance before they are confronted with a new room.
The floor is broken into clearly made squares, carved into the floor. Ont he first tile, nearest the door a soft number one In Draconic glows.
There is nothing else written.
Shalina winces when Tekk hits the wall. "Yes, hopefully that counts as one and not just a prologue."
Shalina takes in everything she can see in this new room. Since the floor tile is glowing softly, Shalina expects there to be magic but she hums to herself in order to reveal magical auras.
Will cast detect magic, then use spellcraft to try and determine what spell may be in place.
spellcraft: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
I don't suppose they would have used the numbers as in the first cavern, would they?"
perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22 To see if there's anything else to be seen...anything else on the tiles, walls, etc.
"There appears to be some sort of illusion present. Can you sense anything? Maybe together we can figure out what's real and what isn't."
Would it be a will save to see through any illusion or some other saving throw? It's so tempting to just step on the number 1 tile and see what happens :)
In the end there was nothing else to do but step on the floor tile. "Alright then." Like a moth to a flame, Shalina is drawn to the glowing square. Taking a deep breath in anticipation, she steps on to the tile with the 1.
tekk is standing close be, reassuringly strong and sure as Shalina steps onto the square. There is a vast silence as her foot touches the slightly rough stone.
Her foot touches, making a tiny scraping sound. And then....
"What?" Tekk says, craning his neck. 'Do you feel any different?'
"I...don't...think so. I feel the same. How could nothing happen?"
Is the scraping sound a normal foot on stone scraping sound or does it sound like a trap was just armed?
No other numbers appear on the other tiles when she steps on the square?
Thinking out loud she says, "Maybe I need to say something and not just step on the square."
Hoping that it would work, Shalina speaks in draconic and says the number one. She watches intently to see if anything happens when she speaks in the language of the kobolds.
Very. Can I buy a vowel? I mean, intelligence roll for a hint? Or is silence my hint?
Was leaning towards that but considering I'm enjoying myself, I didn't want to accidentally kill Shalina...
Taking out her rope, Shalina ties it securely around herself. "Don't worry Tekk," she teased. "I'll have the rope hold me this time." Her expression turns serious as she then hands the other end to the paladin. "But I'm trusting you to pull me to safety is something goes wrong."
Thinking that the tile in front of the one she was on would be the next obvious choice because it was a direct line to the exit, she decides to step on the one diagonal to where she was. She raises her foot and tentatively places it down on to the next square. She half expects it to not be solid and so gradually puts her weight down on to the new tile.
Going for H4...you sank my battleship!
Tekk's grip on the rope is firm and solid, reassuring. 'I will stay strong, whatever happens." The paladin adds, "May Toth share his wisdom with us." His voice sounds small and lost in the echoing room.
As Shalina steps onto the next tile, a new symbol appears. Not a Draocnic number, but a stylized X, in red. 'That can't be good." Tekk says.
Shalina feels a rush of magic and the air next to her glows. Out of thin air a shape appears, and it is not a pleasant one.
A humanoid head floats silently and ominously, bits of flesh still hanging from its face and graying teeth clattering slightly as it bobs in the air.
Shalina Initiative: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Tekk: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6
Horrid Floating Head Thing the GM found in an old Bestiary: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
The head screeches loudly and zooms at Tekk, wailing. The Paldin, holding the rope, doesn't have his sword or shield out.
The head tries to bite him, teeth snapping.
Bite: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
Luckily it miss, and Tekk has time to pull his sword. In desperation he steps onto the floating number one, still there. Nothing happens and he brandishes his blade at the creature.
"What is that thing?'
You are up
At least my face isn't melting off. You give a description as fabulous as Horrid Floating Head Thing and don't supply a picture? I'm slightly disappointed :)
Shalina swings her crossbow around and takes a shot at the floating head.
She had loaded it earlier so I'm hoping you'll allow that it's still pre-loaded.
+1crossbow: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9 Point Blank Shot
As Shalina takes her shot, she wracks her brain for anything that may answer Tekk's question...but she's at a loss.
knowledge,Horrid Floating Head Thing: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
"I don't know what that thing is but it's not pleasant."
So tempted to go back to square 1 and see if it disappears.
spellcraft: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23 To see if it's kept 'alive' by me standing on square or if once generated it stays until killed.
This site doesn't host images...Also, I can't wait until you can deal more damage. Will make encounters more fun. Tekk can train you! That would be fun RP? Assuming he sticks around.
Shalina's arrow hits squarely, sending the head spinning.
The bard has no idea what it is, but she thinks back to the spell. It was summoned here, and is probably here to stay. Stepping on X's seems like a bad move.
The head, wailing, strikes at Tekk again.
Bite: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
The teeth again miss, but this time the paladin strikes back.
Longsword: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
His sword slashes the floating creatures, but it still remains alive, floating in sickening fashion.
Tekk training Shalina would be interesting. Whether he sticks around or not is completely up to you :)
As soon as Shalina fired, she was already loading another bolt into her weapon. She quickly aims and fires at the head.
+1crossbow: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5 Point Blank Shot
Kind of doubt that hits. It'll be nice when she can do more damage.
I am playing a druid in a solo game. Lvl 2. I feel useless...
Shalina misses, the heavy bolt spattering against the stone walls. The head shrieks and goes after Tekk.
Bite: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Tekk has got the measure of the creature now and nimbly dodges, without hitting another tile. Instead his silver sword lashes out, slaying the head. It lands on the floor, looking too much like a shattered melon.
The paladin sheathes his sword, and looks at Shalina. 'Shall we not do that again? I really don't think I would have liked it if it had bitten me."
It really could have got nasty there...
The room is again silent, just the two floating signs.
Two floating signs?
"Noted. I won't do that again. But there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to which tiles to step on. Any suggestions as to where to go next?"