Technically this is a flashback, since the adventure assumes you all meet on location. I'd like you to introduce yourselves first, though, and this seems a nice spot to do it. I'll flash back to the "present" when everyone's submitted an introduction and / or set of chronicle sheets.
It is a fine Spring morning as you all find yourselves relaxing at the Grand Lodge. The late afternoon sun sends spears of light through the shutters on the western side of the building, occasionally sparkling through your refreshments. You are seated separately, most likely having never met one another before, but each of you is tended by the same waitress.
Sheeba tends tables with more grace than almost any other waitress in the Lodge. She is quick and efficient, gliding through the tables on her long, lithe legs. Her black velvety fur brushes flirtatiously against some patrons' arms as she serves their orders. When she laughs, her whiskers wave alluringly up and down and her ears twitch ever so slightly after each mirthful outburst.
It is from her slim paws that you each receive the following note:
"You may meet in the Sable Rrroom," Sheeba purrs, "Venture Captain Valsin rrregrrrets that he will not be able to join you. Once yourrr fellow pathfinderrrs have arrrrived, you arrre to make yourrr prrreparrrations and leave no laterrr than the day afterrr tomorrrrow."
The Sable Room is more of a partitioned booth at the lodge. A thin divider decorated with scenes from the Society's adventures separates the large, horseshoe shaped booth from the general lodge area. Sheeba will show each of you to the Sable Room when you are ready, and continue to serve you food and drinks while you are there.
The note is repeated below for ease of access:
Id￼le Pathfinders are Pathfinders needing work. Having a bit of downtime is no excuse to sit around and let our skills lapse! So I have come up with a training exercise for you and a few others waiting around the Grand Lodge for a job. I trust you are familiar with the Red Redoubt? If not, for shame! It’s an important part of Absalom’s history. You might want to spend a few minutes researching it before heading out. While it is technically a “cleared” ruin, it’s a perfect location to test your skills.
Another team has spent the last few days practicing their own dungeoneering skills by establishing an obstacle course in the Redoubt’s upper levels. Now it’s up to you to go and see how well they’ve done. The course follows a specific path—if you come across a symbol of three red dots inside a triangle, that means “do not enter.” Don’t go wandering—I do not want to send a third team to find you if you get lost. Otherwise, your response to the challenge is up to you. Bring your own gear, make your own plans, solve the puzzles, and bypass the traps. You’ll know when you reach the finish line. I’d wish you good luck, but skilled Pathfinders don’t need luck.
I trust you’ll impress us,
Venture-Captain Ambrus Valsin
For this scenario, don't worry about rations. The adventure assumes you start on location, so I've assumed that the lodge provides you with enough rations to make it there and back.
You are also assumed to be "well prepared" so you can buy whatever you like now or after you've entered the first room. Nothing changes then, so if you want stuff now please just PM me or email me with your choices for the inventory tracking sheet. If you'd like to discuss items with your fellow pathfinders, talking about equipment here is fine (of course).
To find out about the Red Redoubt, you may each attempt the following checks. Results in spoilers below. Please make the appropriate rolls in your posts and use the information appropriately. You may reveal spoilers up to and including your roll. I trust you not to use player knowledge (even if the spoilers are so tempting.
Diplomacy (gather information) or Knowledge (local) (if you have both, roll both and use the highest result)
Finarin Arcana check 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
Amaranti is clueless to the ways of the world, so his just dotting in. Hopefully someone else knows more.
A Varisian man stumbles in, wearing Banded Mail, with a shield strapped to his back, and a rapier at his side. A pair of tankards accompany the rapier on his belt, and a small, silver tankard hangs on a chain around his neck. He smiles at Sheeba, and takes a quick bow, "Gunari Maximoff, at your service. Lass, a round for my friends here... and one for yourself if you are so inclined! May the Drunken Hero smile upon your fine establishment."
Gunari reads over the note, drinking his ale, and nibbling at the food provided.
Kn: Local: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Gather Information: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
"So, the Red Redoubt is it? I've heard its a place for bandits and other ne'er-do-wells. Lately, it seems, a band called the Blood-Red Raiders has taken up residence near there... a bunch of bandits who prey on lone travelers. As I recall, there is a rumor they've recently been joined by some guy, all tattoos and pale skin, who had gotten himself kicked out of the Clockwork Cathedral recently."
Gunari looks into his tankard, and realizes that it is empty. "Who said that? What's the Clockwork Cathedral? And who drank all my beer?"
The grizzled half-orc slings a nasty bear trap off his back as he sits down, propping his earthbreaker beside him.
"Bandits do not concern me," Mors says. "I am called Mors. Trapper Mors, but Mors is fine."
Sheeba picks up Gunari's empty tankard, "I believe it was you who drrrank it all. But I'm surrre a big devotee of Cayden Cailean like yourrrself doesn't need me to rrrefill it!"
The catwoman puts some food on the table to better cater for what she assumes are Mors' appetites (more meat), and turns back to Gunari, "Didn't I see you in herrre last week with a differrrent half-orc? Seems like such a long time ago now... as I rrrecall, yourrr venturrre captain that time was rrratherrr late - and he rrrefused to allow us to serrrve you until he'd arrrrived."
A tall Garundi man sits in the table, his lips moving as he slowly reads the note. "I am Amaranti!" the man bellows, when he realizes people around him are introducing themselves."Amaranti has many missions behind him. Why captain sends me to another test? I am ready for real missions!", he shouts throwing the piece of paper on the table.
He turns to Gunari. "You talk strange, man of Varisia. Maybe you have wound in your head. Maybe you better seek healing-man? But I thank you for your beer, and I toast for your god!"
Gunari gives a big, toothy grin to the exotic hostess. "My dear, as a true devotee to the Lucky Drunk, one knows that it is impolite to not purchase the wares of the tavern keeper. But, as this is perhaps not a true tavern, but part of the Grand Lodge, I don't think that he'd mind to much." Gunari says a few words over his tankard, waggling his fingers, and it magically refills. "Ah, yes, that'll do!" he says, as he tastes the brew the god has granted him.
"Yes, I seem to be collecting the tales of half-orcs these days. Fine fellows... can always down a tankard or two. Trapper Mors, I hope you are as good with that earthbreaker as my previous friend was with his greatsword.
"Amaranti,I am in no need of healing, I am quite fine. Well, not as fine as I'll be after a couple more of these tankards, but fine for now. In fact, I am a healing-man! Oh, perhaps not as strong as some, but Cayden Cailean has granted me many gifts. Such as this one" He incants again, and Amaranti's tankard is refilled as well.
In walks a tall, lithe elf. His long blonde hair tied in a ponytail, his exquisitely detailed leathers barely squeaking, he pulls a chair, wipes it off with a silken rag he produces from a sleeve, and gracefully sits down."Greeting gentlemen. As you might have heard I am here to join this ... grand ... adventure with this .. society ... you all have formed. I am called Margrave Finarin Moonsteep. You might call me Finarin though, as we will soon become much more familiar with each other."
Finarin takes a tankard, looks at its contents, swishes it around, and puts it back on the table. "I overheard you, Gunari, talking about these Blood-Red Raiders, and this Clockwork Cathedral. I am afraid that news of these organizations have not made into the esteemed libraries of the Kyonin Elves. Um, Sheeba, might you have an Chelish Red?"
"Why thank you young lady" Finarin swirls the dark red around the goblet, brings the rim to his nose, and inhales deeply. "Nice bouquet, hints of grass, and cat piss. This will do nicely, although I won't need the whole bottle." Finarin takes a shallow sip, swirls the wine around, and swallows. He then tips the goblet generously into his mouth draining the glass to almost empty before refilling to the brim.
"Gentlemen, shall we discuss the business at hand that has brought us together in this fine ... establishment?"
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16
Knowledge Arcana: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Knowledge History: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
Knowledge Dungeoneering: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
A short, grinning Halfling walks up to the larger people sitting at the table. His blond hair is unkempt, his green eyes mischievous, his manner relaxed and easy. He holds a note, shaking it emphatically as he slides into an empty seat. "I see you have one of these, too! I wonder what kind of things we can expect..."
He holds his hand up, signaling for Sheeba to bring him a tankard of ale.
The extraordinarily attentive waitress brings Miro the tankard he requested, empty. Smiling, she indicates Gunari, "He'll fill you up. The beverrrages Gunarrri prrrovides arrre heavenly."
"As forrr you," Sheeba slowly caresses Finarin's arm with her tail, "If it's cat's piss you like, I get off at nine." Without indicating whether she is serious or not, Sheeba leaves the group to their own devices and whatever drinks and food remain.
Miro takes a long pull of the tankard, sighing as he sets the mug down on the table. He smirks at the waitress's comment to the elf, taking his time with the mug. He is sure Gunari's beverages are just fine, but this one tasted quite good.
Gunari laughs at the halfling, who was taking a long pull from an empty tankard. "Miro, my friend, let The Drunken Hero fill your tankard! Don't forget to spill the first bit in thanks!" Gunari fills the halfling's mug, far to over-flowing.
"Hic! I heard what you did there... Sheeba. Heavenly... well, it is! Right from Cayden's Bottomless Keg, I tell you!"
"I love you all, you know that, don't you?"
Miro spills a bit of beer on the floor in homage to his patron, then takes a sip of the magically filled mug. The beverage is quite delicious, so he helps himself to a bit more. Placing his cup on the table, grin on his face, he addresses his cohorts. "So what do you all think about this?" Again he waves that slip of paper.
"Sounds like a good test of skills, good test of teamwork."
Mors absent-mindedly grabs another hunk of roast boat from the platter and chows his way through.
"Test is a test. Hope it will be good fun." Amaranti says while admiring his refilled tankard. "You good man to travel with!" the Garundi laughs and slaps Gunari on the back. "We go do the test now? Or get really drunk first?"
"Unlike Gunari, I for one wish to have a clear head on my shoulders, and I can only assume that Sheeba was making a jest at me so this is my only engagement this evening. I forget the subtleties of finer living is often missed by those less accustomed to ... refinement." Finarin signs in resignation. "Need we procure any additional supplies to tackle this daunting challenge? I for one like to travel lightly and have little room."
Sheeba returns to the room, her scent filtering through the smells of cured meats, spilled beverages and broiled poop deck.
"Venturrre-Captain Valsin has left you a furrrther note. Sounds like you'll need morrre food and beverrrages." Sheeba leaves the parchment on the table for all to read.
It appears as though one Cyrus the Flea is less idle than I had anticipated. Venture-Captain Sheila Heidmarch is still monopolizing his time. Needless to say, I will be sending you a new recruit in his place. He (or she) should be joining you soon - once he is born, undergoes a series of life-critical decisions and registers for the Pathfinder Society.
In the meantime, please continue to enjoy yourselves on my tab.
Venture-Captain Ambrus Vaslin.
Miro shrugs at the news, enjoying his conjured libations as they await the last arrival. He takes it slowly now, wanting to keep a clear head in case his companions, in their eagerness, decide to strike out immediately.
[b]"Sweet Barleybrew! Venture-Captain Valsin never delays like this, nor is he known for his generosity. in Cayden's Name, I cannot let this rare opportunity pass me by!"[b]. Gunari takes a closer look at the foods that have been provided, making sure to pick the ones he knows will temper the consumption of alcohol, or things that are a little more exotic.
"Sheeba's invitation aside, I don't completely understand your ... humor. But methinks that something is amiss in the letter. What you you think the venute captain means by this: 'he (or she) should be joining you soon - once he is born, undergoes a series of life-critical decisions and registers for the Pathfinder Society.'. "Is this another jest? We can't really be expected to sit here idle while the challenge awaits."
"I think that perhaps our Venture-Captain has been talking to Master Shane, and has gotten himself confused. Or perhaps he has received a missive from Venture-Captain Drandle Dreng, and is still deciphering it, in regards to our final companion. I'd say if that is the case, we might be waiting until the wee hours!
"But I shan't let it bother me. If it is a test that we are to take, then it will wait for our leaders to supply us with our orders as well as teammates. Until then, rejoice!"
Miro shrugs in apathy. Going now, going later, it made no difference. He was excited to proceed, but an opportunity to savor the libations of the Drunken God, his patron, was always welcome. He continues to sip at his drink, watching for the final member of their group.
|Jaender the Black|
As the companions sit and drink idly around the table, waiting for... someone...
Suddenly there is a loud bang as the door to the tavern slams open and a flurry of activity attracts the attention of anyone not already passed out.
A small creature, about the same size as a gnome or halfling, dressed in black robes scurries in, looking frantically from table to table. As he peers at one group, he shakes his head and begins to move quickly on to the next.
No no no no, not you, not there... Late late late. In his bumbling, a large tome drops from his oversized backpack. As he turns to bend over and pick it up, a whole host of other various things fall and scatter around the floor from the now opened pack.
Well this doesn't help at all. not at all. He mutters to himself, dropping to his knees and quickly gathering the items up and stuffing them haphazardly into his pack. He stops for a moment, looks at the pile of things jammed into the backpack, and huffs, hands on his hips.
He mumbles a couple of unintelligble things and claps his hands suddenly and loudly. The instant his hands clap the bag zips itself shut, contents confined inside.
He presently finds himself standing at a table with a Half-orc, two humans, an elf, and a halfling.
Yes yes yes, this appears to be the one. He pauses for a second when he realizes that his short stature doesn't allow the seated men to see him below the table. He grabs a chair, drops his pack on the ground, and quickly climbs up so as to look his new companions in the eye.
I am Jaender. Jaender the black. I am also late. My name is not late, but I am in fact, late. My sincerest apologies. On the bright side, you will all be pleased to know that the Journal of historical Kooru expansion and migration has a positively riveting conclusion. So what did I miss? What dire tragedy are we being asked to avert?
After pleasantries are exchanged, Jaender will scurry through the library of his mind in search of the things he might know about the Red Redoubt
Know (Arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
Know (Local): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
**Edit**Indeed, I do not seem to recall anything more that what you all have already discussed. Shall we move forward? I've caused us all to be late enough as it is...
Miro's eyes widen slightly at the curious new arrival. He chuckles in amusement at the rambling speech of the small man, tossing back the remainder of his drink before gently laying his mug on the table. It would be an affront to Cayden Cailean to leave the mug with drink in it.
"I agree, my new companions, let us be off. Or rather, let us make last-minute purchases! Any ideas on what else we might need before we depart?"
As I have less than 1 pound before I am medium encumbered, I drop my trail rations and pick up a torch
"Well met Jaender. Methinks you will be a worhty addition to these fine group of ... adventures." Finarin pushes back gracefully from the table and rises. "Sheeba, many thanks for the ... fine ... wine, and more thanks for the quick ... wit. You have earned a place towards the top of my list of barmaids." Finarin places a silver on the table by his half-filled goblet and turns to leave.
Mors finishes off his ale and roast boaR, wipes his mouth, and stands up, picking up his trap and earthbreaker. He raises an eyebrow at the flitting about of the small guy, but shrugs and heads for the door, silently waiting for the others to follow.
Miro also joins the others outside. He is a small guy, so he would not be the one carrying around the folding ladders and battering rams, at any rate. He just smiles affably at them all, thinking of what kind of devious traps might have been left for them to find.
Gunari finishes his beer, and gets up. He tests his balance a little, just in case, and determines that he is still ok. He then follows the half-Orc out gage door, like it was a habit he picked up somewhere.
|Jaender the Black|
Jaender nods to the elf and smiles. Thank you kind sir! It looks like we won't be saving any damsels or cementing any powerful alliances for the society, but a training exercise should still be worth the effort, if just to discover first hand what curiosities lie in that place.
At the signs the party is ready to move out, the little wizard hops down off the chair and hefts his pack onto his shoulders. the group can clearly see his shadow heritage on his face, deep black skin decorated with small white specks of discoloration, not unlike a living representation of stars in the night sky. His black robe is full length, which still might only go to the waist line of the humans at the table, and has a large hood. When the hood is worn, it is almost as if the little creature, not any taller than the halfling, seems to pass in and out of shadows that don't even exist. As they walk, his bubbly attitude and constant humming bely what on the surface, would appear to be rather dark personality. His humming is punctuated by brief spurts of a hurried jog as he constantly falls behind the group, and rushes to catch back up.
Bless the shadows, you would think in the evening at least my legs would be longer... He chuckles quietly at his own, awful joke.
"Such hurry. Is not many times one has open tab from the captain..." Amaranti mutters while stuffing food into his mouth.
The brave pathfinders all elect to stay in the tavern to eat some more, and drink to the captain's health. The next day sees hangovers for those with less self control than Finarin seems to display, but it is nevertheless a fine day for travel.
The journey to the Red Redoubt of Karamoss is a short one, and everyone arrives just in time to eat lunch.
The noonday sun shines brightly in a cloudless sky, but the rugged landscape diffuses the light as if through a stained glass window composed entirely of crimson panes. Deep red metal walls, broken but mostly untouched by rust even a millennium, form an obstacle course through the landscape. Clearly, when the Red Redoubt of Karamoss was named, it was not done ironically.
The marked path through the siege castle’s ruins leads to a large central chamber open to the sky above. Aside from the metallic flooring, walls, and rubble, nothing remains of the so-called “machine mage” Karamoss or his lost armies. Refuse, old campfire rings, and other signs of life attest to the place being a haven for scavengers and vagabonds.
The chamber is filled with a large, circular shaft in the metal floor, with smoothly rolled edges that demonstrate superbly uniform craftsmanship. A rope ladder descends into the pit, anchored by pitons hammered into the floor panels.
The deviously laid test for this group of pathfinders begins. Failure or acclaim awaits!
The shaft is 30 ft in diameter and also 30 ft deep. The well-anchored rope ladder means that you do not need a climb check to descend. Proceed.
Miro peers down into the shaft, then shrugs, shouldering his gear and swinging over. He takes his time, carefully descending to the chamber below.
"Hang on!" Mors says to Miro.
He checks this end of the ladder for traps, frayed ropes, etc.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25
"Traps and other mechanical devices are my specialty. Let me check any doors, hallways, and other things that might be booby-trapped."
Once he thinks it's safe, Mors makes sure his bear trap is secure, then motions for the halfling to proceed.
|Jaender the Black|
Jaender claps his hands and rubs them together. Excellent! I hope to lean on your expertise in this intriguing place Mr. Mors. There has got to be some incredible contraptions that we could learn something valuable from in here. The little shadow mage smiles as Mors inspects the ladder.
Assuming Mors has cleared the ladder as safe, Jaender watches the halfling and the half-orc descend, tightens the straps on his pack to make sure it doesn't separate from his body on the way down, and carefully descends behind them.
Upon reaching the bottom, he begins walking around the room, meticulously searching the walls, floors and ceilings for anything out of the ordinary.
Take 20 on a perception check for a total of 23. If taking 20 is not possible, then Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Miro nods to Mors, letting him perform his inspection before heading down. Once at the bottom (assuming it is safe) he also looks around.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
The room above and the ladder down are both untrapped. With Mors' confident declaration of safety, the pathfinders descend the rope one by one - Miro eagerly leading the way.
The entrance shaft opens into the center of a red steel chamber. The floor beneath the shaft is canted at a slight angle; it seems to have originally been a circular platform that fit flush with the rest of the room but at some point unevenly sank a foot or so. The floors around the room’s perimeter are solid and even, with a textured surface to give better footing on the smooth metal. The walls are riveted metal plates, fallen or torn off in places to reveal solid rock behind. Recessed slabs of metal with adjacent panels, presumably exits, are centered on each wall. The northern panel glows dimly, illuminating scorch marks and glistening red stains around it.
Mors and Jaender easily notice that there are five exits to the chamber. They also notice that four of the exits have been sealed off and marked with the "do not exit" sign that Venture-Captain Valsin told you about in his note (three red dots inside a triangle). The last remaining exit (with the glowing panel) appears to be the only way out of the entrance chamber.
The red stains are wet to the touch, and the coloration suggests that they are caused by dye and not blood. Shards of glass can be found scattered throughout the room, along with a bent metal serving tray.
Mors survival check: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Trapper Mors notices a set tracks leading northwards out of the chamber, beginning at the red stains and accented by the same red dye that caused the stains. The red dye is a very different hue to the red metal that dominates the surfaces of the Red Redoubt. The tracks were made by six humanoids and Mors believes that, now that he's noticed the tracks, he could easily follow them wherever they have gone (unless whoever made them washes off the dye).
I'm not sure why it's a survival check to notice the tracks, sorry Miro, but it's what is written down in the adventure. Nothing further can be found in the room.
Finarin watches his new teammates descend the rope ladder. He notices their sure, easy shimmy down the rope and thinks to himself that these companions are more talented than he originally assumed. He glances around the picturesque landscape, admiring the strong red monoliths that make up the Red Redoubt. He stares once more at the clear blue sky, closes his eyes to burn the image into his mind, and begins to gracefully descend the rope into the chamber below. Once there, he readies his bow guarding the end of the rope to wait for the rest of the party to join him.
"Jaender" Finarin whispers."All clear?"
"Clear," Mors whispers back. He moves to examine the glowing panel and door.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
|Jaender the Black|
Hrmm.... Interesting Jaender mumbles to himself staring at the glowing panel. He mumbles something incoherent and waggles his fingers.
Cast Detect magic
Jaender turns his body ever so slightly towards the slender elf, without taking his eyes off of the panel, I concur with Mors, it appears to be clear...
Assuming detect magic doesn't reveal anything, Jaender picks up the bent serving tray to give it a closer look. This is an odd thing to be in an ancient siege castle... as are those tracks you have found Mors. Do you suppose we should follow them? All part of the fun right?
Just before they leave the room, he takes a deep breath as if to speak, but pauses for a second, watching the half-orc work. Screwing up his courage, he decides to speak.
Mors, I would like to offer assistance to you if you ever feel you need it. You seem to do a masterful job of making sure things are safe before we venture forth, but should you ever feel an unlocked door might be trapped and you can't disarm it, I could try to open it with some arcane assistance. Should there be any traps, they would likely set off with us at a safe distance... Just want to let you know that option is available to you.
How wide is the corridor that leads out of the chamber?
Having found nothing else of note, Miro will move over to the passage with the glowing panel. Nodding to himself suddenly, he will draw his shield and don it, grinning at any who might watch. Who knew what devious traps were waiting for them, and this shield might be the difference between a close call and a dead halfling.
No magical auras are present, save for whatever magical items are carried by the fellow pathfinders.
Inspecting the panel reveals little, save that it is the mechanism by which the door may be opened and closed (anyone pressing their hand to the panel causes the door to either slide open or shut with a whir of gears and a loud clank as it slides into its final position).
The passageway leading out is 10ft wide.
There is no tactical map for this room, but I may experiment with a generic one tomorrow so that we can get some practice with Google Drawings in prior to a combat. Feel free to leave the room before then, though! It definitely seems safe to do so.