Toban wrinkles his nose as he continues to concentrate on the detect magic spell.
Is the cloak magical?
"Are you holding a sneeze Toban or did you try the glowing mushroom?"
The cloak is, in fact, magical.
Sekell leaps the pit despite the slippery conditions, landing teetering on the edge for a second before collecting his balance and moving off to secure his rope. Once pulled taut and secured, he makes a workable rope bridge that the others can pull themselves across hand over hand. Lady Naysha is quickly across on the other side. There, around the corner, she spies a long 3' wide plank that his leaned against the side wall that can be lowered over the pit and traversed easily.
The fungus glows slightly but doesn't seem to have much scent or taste to it. Toban gathers some anyway, because you never know.
The tunnel continues past the pit trap, leading deeper beneath the Kortos Mounts. Here and there, crude petroglyphs are carved on the walls, becoming a little more frequent the deeper you enter. The glyphs mostly seem to be of spiral shapes or marine animals. The luminescent blue fungus seems to favor these carvings and grows heavier on them, giving the petroglyphs a slightly brighter glow than the surroundings.
The long tunnel eventually opens into a large cavern. What must once have been beautifully carved reliefs and inscriptions have weathered heavily, their features dulled and softened to the point that is hard to distinguish what each depicted. A wide tunnel exits the cavern on the far (south) side, and blue-burning torches line the passageway's walls, spilling light back over these carvings.
The carvings are in a different style from the tunnel petroglyphs. Deciphering anything from the images is difficult because of their eroded state.
Anyone who speaks Azlanti or Aquan gains a +2 on the checks above for each language known. The entire group may decipher up to 4 panels (the rest are unreadable) if they can succeed up to 4 times on the checks listed.
Note the new tactical map linked at top margin.
Knowing nothing about glyphs of ancient people, Fin scans the area. Thinking it's the best time to start learning more about cave ecology. Reminding himself he needs to ask Sekell about caving survival techniques, in a lowered voice to not echo off the cave walls, "Sekell, you wouldn't mind teaching some caving survival techniques for someone interested in exploring caves more?"
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Lady Naysha moves the plank across the pit so everyone else can come across easily.
"A magic cloak? Wow! I don't know what it does, but I want to wear it!" Lady Naysha puts on the magic cloak!
As she walks down the tunnel with the pictures of sea creatures, Lady Naysha looks at them all and smiles. "Cool! These are pretty! Oh, look! A fish! And a seal! Neat!"
Looking at Miss Whiskers she asks, "Do you think there's such a thing as rabbit-fish?"
in the room with the big carvings on the walls, Lady Naysha goes to look at some.
Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 5
"Look! These carvings all show... stuff! Neat! Isn't it pretty, Miss Whiskers?"
Lady Naysha makes Miss Whiskers nod her head.
Harkus is fascinated by the carvings and studies them a moment. He doesn't know much about history, so he can't tell what they might mean.
He decides to return to looking out for potential danger.
Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 6
I'll throw a roll down also
appraise: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Appraise: 1d20 ⇒ 7
Toban replies to Fin, ”Hmm. Ha! No sneeze from me! Those mushrooms are very tempting, however will need to research them first. Don’t want any surprises from mushrooms! That cloak is magical! Don’t know with what magic though.”
Toban crosses the plank.
“Thanks Lady Naysha. This plank sure helps!”
Knowledge History: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Knowledge Religion: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Linguistics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
“What interesting glyphs! That’s right Zaarah. Aroden, how very interesting!”
Toban pulls out some parchment and begins to sketch the glyphs with his inkpen.
As the group looks at the weathered panels, Toban and Sekell can make out more of the images. Sekell sees the story of Aroden as a fisherman, and Toban's panel shows the dead god sewing clothing for the people as the first tailor.
The stories here are all parts of the holyl text of Aroden called History and Future of Humanity but true students of religion understand that these stories are slightly different than the traditional tellings, suggesting these might be an earlier version of the work.
The image of Aroden as a craftsman shows the god creating soes, pots, jewelry and other moveable goods, referencing Aroden's delight at seeing people express their ingenuity in creating new products from raw materials
The Farmer panel depicts the god plowing four lines in a field retelling the parable that humankind would prepare the rocky earth for planting, and over generations wear the pebbles down into fertile soil.
The Fisherman is depicted hauling an enormous catch of small fish back to Absalom, illustrating Aroden's declaration that a great host of creatures could accomplish a great task, whether it be taming the wilds or feeding a nation.
The last panel is the Tailor which depicts sewing together a long cloth featuring many patterns that wraps around a city like a moat, referencing Aroden's proclamation that when the fate of all peoples is woven together, it shall be humanity's greatest strength.
The only way forward from the interesting panels is the path illuminated by the blue torchlight. Lady Naysha puts on the unknown magical cloak as the group moves through the passage into the large chamber beyond.
The soft light of the surrounding fungus mixes with the flickering glow of the nearby torches to reveal a grand chamber. A large pool of water along the chamber's southern edge reflects blue and green radiance to illuminate the massive stalactites that cling to the ceiling some 20-25' overhead. Two other tunnels branch off from this area, leading to the east and west.
Rising up from the pool is a column of rock with steeply sloped sides and a flat top, as if someone had sawn off the top of a massive stalagmite. A miniature city carved from this same stone occupies nearly the entire surface. Tiny trinkets such as ancient coins, polished semiprecious stones, and ornately braided loops of string are scattered throughout the diorama, and pale cave frogs clamber atop it. The smooth cavern floor is covered with gravel and pebbles, along the edge of the pool, and several foot-long centipedes prowl among the gravel in search of prey.
Kneeling in the water, slightly in front of the model of the city, is a lone gillman. Robed in a grey cloak similar to the one you found in the pit. He does not turn or seem to notice your presence so far, and seems to be engaged in some sort of prayer ritual.
While looking over the panels, Sekell motions in Finvarra's direction without looking away. "Why yes of course, i'm interested in teaching others the art of spelunking."
After leaving the panels behind and entering the new room, Sekell's eyes are drawn to the intricate miniature city.
know(eng): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Impressed by the model city of Absalom, Sekell moves forward to get a better view. He moves silently as to not disturb the gillman's prayers.
stealth: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
Making a squinched face upon seeing the giant centipedes, Fin is intrigued by the miniature city but also squats after seeing the praying Gillman.
Thinking to self, "Having no experience with Gillman, I wonder if he would strike a conversation with us after his prayers? Really hope he doesn't start doing a cultist scream whenever he notices us."
Know(Geo): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16
In a whisper, "Oh neat, it's Absalom."
Stealth: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Lady Naysha sees the model city and the pretty cavern and the Gillman. She smiles and walks right up to him. When she gets beside him she takes off her cloak and sticks it out in front of him.
"Hi! I'm Lady Naysha! I found this cloak that looks just like your cloak! Is it yours? It came from a pit!"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Fin's jaw drops, but his question about striking a conversation is about to be answered.
Harkus is intrigued by the miniature city, but he is more focused on the robed gillman. He is trying to determine if the creature might be a threat when Lady Naysha walks right up to it.
"Careful," he says as he steps closer.
Harkus puts his hand on his greatsword and moves towards the front of the group, should the gillman prove hostile.
Finvarra decides to follow the crowd and use Harkus as cover.
Am I still using my original stealth roll? Will I be able to do a spear strike between Harkus' legs? ^_^
“Well now! Look at these torches! Blue! How interesting!” Toban wiggles his fingers and cast detect magic on the torches.
”Wow! That is a beautiful tiny city!”
Knowledge History: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Knowledge Geography: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Knowledge Engineering: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
”That’s Absalom! Look! Look! The Starstone Cathedral!”
Toban hurries towards the diorama. ”This is fantastic!” Toban is clearly excited about the tiny city.
Strangely enough, the gillman seems to not notice the others immediately, even has Naysha approaches him calling out. Once she enters his field of vision, the gillman gives a little jump as if surprised. He then turns to see each of you. As the Lady offers the robe to the surprised gillman, a smile breaks out on his otherwise stoic face.
He nods his head, making a hand motion to indicate the cloaks are similar. When it's clear that Naysha means to give it to him, he speaks in a strange voice, with a heavy accent. "Thank you, little one. This is a cloak of my people. You are very kind to return to me."
He motions to the others examining the altar that holds the city model. "My people find this cave and the pool sacred. But you may worship here if you wish. Once this place was revered by those who follow the dead god of humanity, but his magic is slowly fading from here, soon to be gone completely. Gillmen do not revere Aroden, but we find the pure waters of this spring sacred. I have come to "listen" to the water."
"Ohhhh ... hello Mr.! You are very honest, are you?" Zaarah says with a little suspicion.
sense motive to see if he is hiding something: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
"Well, you have to know that we are on a mission! We are Pathfinders!" she then turns to you all " .... oh that is so cool to say, right!" she says giggling.
She continues with a sly smile "Our mission is also about you and your nice people! We know that you dream too! And we believe that it is no coincidence that each time you enter these caves it was a full moon! You understand?"
She steps forward and bows, then continues "We are ambassadors to your people and would very much like to know why these caves are important and what exactly you gillmen are doing in here?!?"
She scratches her head "So what does "listen" to the "water" mean???"
diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26
Harkus relaxes a little upon seeing that the gillman is not immediately hostile, though he is still a bit wary. He listens to the others conversing with the gillman and tries to determine if it is hiding something.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10
Harkus grins at Zaarah's words. Pathfinders. He then glances around the room to make sure he is not missing anything. He is a bit surprised to find that he is being used as cover, but tries not to give Finvarra away and returns his attention back to the gillman.
"Wow! That's neat! I'm Lady Naysha, and this is Miss Whiskers! What's your name?"
After the Gillman answers her (and Zaraah's) questions, Lady Naysha asks, "Do you want to see a magic trick?!"
Profession Magician: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
Fin steps out from behind Harkus and leans on his spear. Waiting for his turn to ask, concerned about the natural resource, "Would the fading magic be bad for the spring's water?"
After getting a good look at the miniature, Sekell decides to let the others talk with the gillman. Instead he continues to sneak around the cave looking for anything out of place or of interest. Traps, hidden doors, etc.
perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26
stealth: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (19) + 12 = 31
”Greetings! I am Toban Tangletop. This cave is amazing! Sacred water! Does the water sing?”
"My name is Uori." says the gillman simply. He does not seem impressed by Naysha's magic tricks. "The fading magic is Aroden's. The Azlanti like myself do not come here for that. It will not affec the purity of this pool, if we are careful, but other creatures have invaded these caves, and are not so careful. There are foul creatures to either side," he points to the passages that lead to the east and the west. "Ridding the caves of them would be a great benefit to the Azlanti."
While skulking around in the cave, Sekell sees the two passages that lead from this main cavern, but sees no traps or hidden doors etc.
"What creatures have invaded the cave? Perhaps we might be able to help."
Toban looks towards either passage.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
Zaarah looks at the gillman with more trust now. She looks at her companions "I trust him and if there is an evil necromancer here then I would like to see his brains ... ehh ... I mean his dreams of course." she says with a sly smile.
Then she looks at Uori again "Are you deaf young man and read our dreams right from our lips? I believe we should then face you when speaking! Now come ... let us find your necromancer."
Zaarah starts searching the area for any signs of undead or small humanoids.
survival: 1d20 ⇒ 5
"Is the necromancer in the east or west passage? What do the small humanoids look like?"
"He turned your family into undead?! That's horrible!" Lady Naysha exclaims. She looks back and forth. "I think we should visit the small humanoids first, though."
"Horrible! Indeed, very horrible!"
After watching Uori conversing with the others, Harkus trusts that the gillman is not a danger, though he may be deaf. He waits for an opportunity to formally introduce himself and steps closer.
”I am Harkus," he says before bowing his head. "Do you mind if we explore this cavern if we help deal with these other creatures? Also, what actions might affect the purity of this spring? I do not want to cause more harm than good.”
Sekell finishes up scouring the main cave looking for anything interesting. Coming up empty he moves back towards the group. Poking his head around a rock, he catches the conversation on the uninvited cave invaders. "Well as soon as we figure out which path we're going down, i can go scout it out for traps or hazards."
Uori tells Harkus, "It is my pleasure to meet you. I do not think the pool is jeopardy from your actions, unless you choose to leave the invaders undisturbed. Yes, I would be quite grateful if they were dealt with." He goes on to say that he believes the necromancer is operating to the right hand (western) path, while the small humanoids, which look like walking lizards to him, have infested the eastern caves. There is no sign of either in the bigger cavern.
Which way do you go first? I have seen a split decision so far.
"I agree with Zaarah on the necromancer. Uori, with you being more familiar with the caverns which do you think we should confront first?"
Harkus nods to Uori, ”Very well.” He then turns to the others.
”I also agree with Zaarah. I think this necromancer sounds like the biggest threat and should be dealt with first. Though I am open to other ideas.”
"Lots of dead things in caves. Bad place to find a necromancer, so best to take them out as quickly as possible. I'll scout ahead." As Sekell passes past Zaarah he bops her on the head. "No shouting. This is a cave, which means sound can echo and carry a long ways. Best not to alert potential threats with unnecessary noise." He then sneaks ahead of the group down the passage that leads to the necromancer, looking for anything dangerous.
stealth: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18
perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
The cave's damp air becomes increasingly stale as the initiates continue down through the tunnel. As they push on, the stench of decay grows steadily becoming more noisome with each step.
Soon enough, the passage turns to the east and opens into a small cavern littered with bits of broken glass, rotting pieces of paper and other unusable detritus. The body of a male humanoid lies facedown at the back of the cave.
The rotting corpses of three gillmen which have been restored from the dead wander in aimless circles in the room until they hear your approach, then they turn to attack the living.
Sekell: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
Harkus: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Fin: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Zaarah: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Naysha: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Tobin: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Red Zombie: 1d20 ⇒ 17
Blue Zombie: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Green Zombie: 1d20 ⇒ 15
Knowledge Religion: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 7 + 2 = 10
Monster Lore. The inquisitor adds his Wisdom modifier on Knowledge skill checks in addition to his Intelligence modifier, when making skill checks to identify the abilities and weaknesses of creatures. (+2)
Toban whispers "Eww. Ooh, that smells bad. Shhhh, do you hear that? Smells like trouble."
Toban sneaks forward into a nook. Once in the nook, Toban draws his glaive.
Stealth: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17