I'm probably overthinking again but bear with me. Roughly how big is the room? Is there anything in the room? Does the door have any handle or anything or just the dwarf head?
perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
"So there's a puzzle involved to get you to open? How is it trivial?"
The room is bare of anything, save the door and the inscription overhead.
"Yes, a bit of a logic thing, I suppose." The dwarf says agreeably. "Simple really though. Compared to a real Dwarven riddle-master, it is rather simple, elementary really."
The face grows canny, 'Have any ideas?"
Tekk looks a bit confused and asks Shalina. 'Do we?"
"I'm working on it. I still find it odd that the kobolds would use a dwarf as their third challenge. The password cunning also seems like a different choice when their is no riddle to answer." The words dwarf and cunning seemed to tickle something in her memory but she wasn't sure if she could extract the information.
Can she do and knowledge roll combined with an intelligence roll to see if stonecunning has anything to do with this? I think she would know about this considering she adventured with two different dwarves in the Mummy's Mask campaign. Just thinking that maybe the door isn't where it's appearing to be. Or I may be waaaaay off in left field.
Shalina tries to grasp hold of her thought but it is fleeting and it escapes her. Sighing she says, "I thought I had something there but I guess not."
Addressing the dwarf she asks, "So when someone walks into your room and wakes you up, [b]"What is the first thing you're supposed to tell them?"
'Oh, it depended on the kobold. Sometimes they were poltie and made small-talk, some were very business like." the dwarf laughs, "A few even threatened to smash me unless I told them the answer."
"It has a certain appeal." Tekk growls.
'Oh, trust me, you wouldn't want to do that. And that is a clue." The door says turning to Shalina. 'If you smash me, it is impossible for the door to be opened."
"I can understand that. I mean, if someone smashes you, isn't that like killing you?"
"But is there anything specific that you say to everyone who wants to go through?"
Shalina smiles at Tekk's outward expression of the frustration she feels internally. "Does that mean that your name is Cunning? Is that the challenge? To figure out your name?"
"No, I have no name. Just a door, made in the image of my maker. Yongar Hardfist. I'm not the password.."
The door says, helpfully, 'Just think The password is above. You have said it, and nothing happens. What other options are left? Don't overthink it, lass. I have seen many a kobold puzzle his brain out."
I won't torture you forever, but you seemed to be close
Shalina reads the whole phrase written above the door aloud in draconic just in case she's missing something. The last time she had just said the one word, maybe she needed to say all of them.
"The password is 'Cunning.'" In Draconic
I know I'm dancing all around it but can't figure out what I'm missing :)
"The only one left is the door. The door has to say it." She tried to sound confident but she still had her doubts. "Correct?"
The door grins broadly. 'Exactly. You figured it rather quickly actually. I've had some others..." he shakes his head, with only the slight sound of grinding stone.
"Cunning!" The door cries and the door swings open, revealing a short dark passage.
"It leads right into the old dragon chamber, although who knows if anything else has moved in if the dragon is gone. I wish you the best of luck." The dwarf says cheerily.
"I thank you for being such a pleasant challenge. It definitely took some thinking but at least you were good company while we waited. Yongar Hardfist was a master craftsman, indeed."
Shalina pulls another bolt and casts light over it by humming before loading it into her crossbow. To Tekk she says, "Shall we?"
Huzzah! My brain finally did it :)
It was tough, I didn't give you much to work with!
Tekk nods and follows Shalina's dancing light into the tunnel.
Behind them the door thanks them and mutters, 'Now, time for a nice long sleep. Such a nice woman..." and it swings shut behind them, closing to total darkness.
Soon however, the tunnel ends in a vast chamber, built and hewn out of the rock by mighty talons. It rests a hundred feet above them, a solid ceiling of rock.
Statues, some knocked ashew, lie here and there, piled as tribute, along with decaying art and rotting books. Chests and boxes lie piled, broken open and shattered, and sand is creeping in. Sword hilts and spear shafts lie about, tossed in random patterns.
At one end is the massive entrance to the outside, and blinding sunlight pour in, revealing the desert at high noon. At the other lies the small door Shalina has sought.
There is no trace of the dragon OR of the gold that should be hoarded and piled here.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25
Shalina hears something snuffling somewhere among the piled refuse and rocks however.
Shalina holds up a hand to stop Tekk. She points to where she hears the snuffling and says in a whisper, "It sounds like something else has moved in like the door said."
Since sunlight is pouring in the cave entrance, if Shalina extinguishes her light source, can she still see?
Moving quietly in her unfamiliar surroundings, Shalina creeps forward to get a better look at what has invaded the dragon's cave.
stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
Yeah, although it would be 'dim' light
Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (9) + 12 = 21
Shalina sneaks around some piles of debris, shield handles, the broken lids of wooden chests, a few odd jewels.
Tekk follows behind her, sword in his hand, glinting in the soft light. His step is quiet, and his eyes watchful. Back in his element, Shalina is glad to have him.
Suddenly there is a flurry of movement out of the corner of her eye and a large shape jumps at Tekk. Turning, it is a large insect of some type, with four legs, a strange propeller-shaped protrusion at the end of its tail, and two long, feathery antennae which reach toward the paladin's sword.
Attenta: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
Tekk reflex: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Luckily he twists and the heirloom sword evades the touch of the creeping antennae.
Frustrated it bites at Tekk, mandibles flashing
Bite: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
Bite Crit: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Damage: 1d3 ⇒ 2
Damage: 1d3 ⇒ 2
The bite hits, but the creature simply isn't that good at biting.
Having her crossbow loaded, Shalina lets it loose at the disgustingly large insect.
+1crossbow,pointblank shot: 1d20 + 7 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 7 + 1 = 27
damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3 Pointblank shot
crit confirm: 1d20 + 7 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 7 + 1 = 22
crit damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Shalina's bolt does real damage, wedging into the thick carapace of the creature. Using the bard, Tekk is able to flank the insect, slicing with his blade.
Tekk: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
Tekk Crit Confirm: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Tekk slices off two legs and reddish, rust colored blood splatters the rocky floor. Shrieking, the creature runs off, diving among the rocks and piles of ruined treasure, vanishing out of sight.
'What was that thing?" Tekk asks, peering after it. 'And do they travel in packs?"
Shalina searches the recesses of her mind to see if she read about such an insect at one time or another.
knowledge,nature: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
She totally know what that thing is! But I don't :)
Shalina easily knows it is a rust monster, a strange magical aberration that feeds on metals. Preferring metals made by intelligent beings they often dwell in abandoned areas full of old tools or weapons. A single touch from a rust monster can turn a sword into red powder. In addition they can smell metals making evading them very difficult indeed.
They often live in groups.
"Um, that thing not only feeds on metals but it can also smell it. It may not bode well for your sword. To make matters worse, they often live in groups. It may return with more of those things."
Shalina recasts light on a crossbow bolt and loads it. "I guess stealth is no longer a concern. We need to quickly sweep the area and get through the holy door. Is it just me, or should we be seeing the dragon by now?"
How large are the groups they live in?
"Exactly. Dragons are very particular about their hoard and would not allow themselves to be so insulted as to let some lowly rust monsters into their lair. I'm sure there would have been quite the angry outburst which our friend, the door, would have heard."
"There could be as many as ten of those things." She saw Tekk's face pale as he clutched his sword tighter. "Hopefully that's not the case. If we move quickly, maybe we can reach the door before the wounded one alerts the others...or before the smell of our weapons do." She gave him a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, I'll sacrifice my rapier for your sword if it comes to that."
How far away is the door? Would the rust monsters pick any specific location for their nest? If so, we'd avoid that area.
"Really and truly, we just need to get through that holy door. It really doesn't matter what else is going on in here otherwise. Shall we just make a run for it? Trying to go stealthy and slowly won't work if they can 'smell' your sword."
Can Shalina tell from where they are whether the holy door is locked or not? Last thing she wants is to run for the door while being chased and then having to pick a lock to get out.
Impossible to tell from this distance. It looks too solid to break down though.
Tekk nods, and sheathes his sword. "I think you are right. What other option do we have? Running into the open desert? Without the camel or supplies, we'd just die out there anyway."
Cut to Hijen eating grass around the oasis
Love the inclusion of Hijen! Great that he's safe back at the oasis. Sucks for us that he's back at the oasis :)
Before taking off towards the door Shalina makes sure that her lock picks are within easy reach and she makes sure her crossbow is loaded with a lit bolt. "Try to follow my footing. I'll pick out the best path I can. If you sense one going after your sword, yell and I'll try to scare it off with my crossbow. And..." she grins at the paladin, "Try to keep up."
acrobatics: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (9) + 11 = 20
Moving quickly for the door but she won't abandon Tekk just to get there as fast as she can. But she also wants to get there in case she does need to pick a lock. Although it would be weird for the door to be locked on this side.
Tekk and Shalina run across the floor of the once great dragon hoard. They kick up sand, old coins and broken chests in their mad sprint. As they run two more rust monsters appear, attentena waving madly.
It is a dead sprint, with the rust monsters close behind. "Just keep moving!" Tekk shouts, and another rust monster appears, skittering after them.
Shalina didn't look behind but kept focused on the door before her and listened to Tekk. It was difficult not to look considering she could hear the pattering of numerous feet on the rocks behind her but slowing down would prove detrimental. "I hope the kobolds will be ok with some company. I'm not sure we can get through the door and slam it before one of these rust monsters follows us through."
"Let's hope they aren't wearing plate." Tekk says, running behind her.
They soon arrive at the closed door. It is sturdy and metal but apparently unharmed by the rust monsters. There is a grease applied to it, making it gleam but ti is not slippery or sticky when Shalina grabs the handle.
Behind her a rust monster rears up but Tekk smashes it down with a fist. He roars defiance, breaking through his usual calm demeanor. With kicks and punches he pushes the beasts back but it is only a moment respite. There are four of the things now, snapping and poking at him.
Is the door locked or can she open it? Would love to check for traps but I doubt the timing allows for that :)
"Working on it!"
Since there doesn't seem to be a physical reason for the door not opening, the archaeologist tries to determine if there's a magical one. Shalina hums to reveal any magical auras and tries to determine which spell, if any, is preventing her from opening the door.
Will cast detect magic in conjunction with spellcraft.
spellcraft: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
Shalina, with magic, finds the hidden latch activating the Hold Portal spell. She flips it and the door opens instantly under her touch.
As she does so a rolling boom of thunder fills the chamber, echoing off the rock walls like the end of the world. Dust and dirt sift down onto them and Tekk blinks it out of his eyes.
Gouts of flames shoot out of the door into where, presumably, the kobolds lie waiting, towering pillars, green, red, blue. The heat fills very real and not illusionary at all.
"The dragon, the dragon!" Shalina hears, through her battered ears, from the other side. Turning she sees the rust monsters headed, at top speed, for the rocks. Tekk slumps to the ground, bloodied and missing most of his armor. He is breathing heavily, but sits upright.
Shalina is stunned slightly, distracted by the ringing in her ears. Rushing over to Tekk, she tries to help him up. As she touches him, she sings softly and uses magic to close some of his wounds. "I'm not about to face the kobolds by myself. Up you get. We have a triumphal entry to make through that door."
Before passing through the holy door, although really it should be called the fire door, Shalina makes sure it will be safe for her and Tekk.
I assumed that the rust monsters were retreating and no longer a threat.
The archaeologist thought it odd that the door would trigger flames into the kobolds' chamber. "Shall we see what carnage those flames exerted on the other side?"
"Y...yes." Tekk says, still shaking a bit from his exertion. Shalina detects no more traps or other issues with the door. She walks though and Tekk follows close behind, sword ready at his side.
On the other side waits the whole kobold nation, kneeling with heads bowed to the ground. "All hail the dragon!" they are chanting. Even the dissenters are there, feverishly praying. At the head, close to Shalina's feet lies the priest.
No one has yet looked up.
Shalina's laugh once again fills the cavern before she addresses them in draconic. "I've been called many things before but never a dragon. Although it has a nice ring to it."
Will wait to see who tries to attack me before continuing with the bad news that their dragon is gone. She still has her crossbow loaded to deter any attacks but she's not counting on the priest going quietly into that good night.
Beside her, Tekk draws his sword, just about the only surviving bit of metal. The sound is harsh and rasping in the cave, and it adds weight to Shalina's words.
Kobolds look up in utter shock. The priest stammers'Who..but...what?"
Others start to stand, shouting and waving their arms. Things are starting to turn into a riot scene. Rocks are thrown, swords drawn, from a side corner the hellhound roars a gout of flame. The priest fixes an eye on Shalina with utter hatred and he cries, 'She has slain our god. Kill her!"
Chaos has gripped his tribe too greatly though and no one listens, too intent on fighting and arguing with each other.
Shalina projects her voice above the rising din and levels her crossbow at the priest so that he didn't get any ideas. "I haven't slain your god but if I had, do you really think it wise to challenge me? Your god is gone. Send in your supporters to look for yourselves."
As she addressed the priest, she scanned the crowd to see if she could find the kobold she had struck a bargain with earlier. She couldn't help but wonder if they'd been double-crossed or abandoned by him.
She spots her 'ally' kobold moving up, speaking to others, forming his own group of armed kobolds staying out of the ruckus.
The priest points a bony finger at Shalina and curses. A bigger kobold tries to them but Tekk smashes him back with the flat of his sword. After that the other kobolds cry, 'The priests are liars! Down with the food wasters!"
With her ally at the head, a mob forms around the priests and drags them down, biting, kicking and screaming. It gets quite bloody and savage and Tekk turns a bit green.
"What now?" he says, his voice covered by the sound of rending flesh and savage cries of triumph.
"Hopefully we get our amulet and we go. Unless there's something else here that you'd like to explore?"
"No hardly." The paladin says, 'I meant more, what if this doesn't go so well? I don't want to have to run that gauntlet back there again." he holds his sword protectively.
After a few minutes, the priests are gone ripped to bloody shreds. The hellhound vanishes with a mournful howl and soon the 'ally' kobold is striding forward with the amulet clutched in a taloned fist.
He holds it up to the others, "Behold the symbol of the dragon slayer!" he tosses it to Shalina.
Then the kobold grins, 'Kill the dragon slayer!"
To be fair he DID give you the amulet
Leaning towards Tekk she says quietly, "They don't know what's in the 'gauntlet'. I say I lead them in there and you retrace our route through the pyramid. Just follow my chalk marks."
There was an exit from the dragon's cavern right? What weapons are the kobolds using? Thinking the rust monsters will swarm them and Shalina can run for the exit. She doesn't really have much metal. Although Tekk wouldn't be able to come with her but if the kobolds come after her then they should leave Tekk alone...how many kobolds are there now?
Shalina catches the amulet and hums in order to see if the amulet was magical.
Casting detect magic.
"How many times do I have to tell you kobolds...I didn't slay any dragon."
Probably only about 15 or so. They have spears, slings, rusty old axes. Plenty of metal stuff. More then you anyway. And yes, the far end of the treasure hoard was a big empty hole leading outside, remember Tekk mentioned it?
Tekk says, 'But how do we meet up?"
The kobolds are advancing quickly now, weapons raised, bloodlust in their eyes.
The amulet, which has jagged edges except for one smooth, round side, hums with magic, thick and strong. Nearly every aura is present! It is the most powerful object Shalina has ever held.
But nothing happens as she handles it.
"I could always circle back after making sure to lead them close to the rocks and then we don't have to meet up. Can you handle those that don't follow me? You may need to fight your way out anyways. Then I'll catch up."
She doesn't want to lose the amulet so she'll put it around her neck for now. Hopefully it won't do anything unnatural :)