Adu's foul mood is cheered by the sight of the beetle turning back into dust. "Great job Glor! Maybe it's a good thing the beetle didn't drop you after all."
Remembering that Hezekh had taken quite the beating, she heads over to him first. "Here, this should help."
CLW: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Then she goes to Glor to offer the same service.
CLW: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Healing provided and once again out of spells, she looks curiously at Urist. "So, what was in the sarcophagus? I hope it was worth fighting that thing!"
Urist strokes his beard, "Funny you should ask," he says, "Probably best you all see for yourselves."
Peering into the sarcophagus, you see, well, nothing. Actually, nothing but a well. Not only is the sarcophagus empty, but it's bottomless. A deep pit quickly descends into inky darkness, well beyond the range of any darkvision. Two shallow grooves run along the short ends of the rectangular pit, other than that, it is featureless.
"A grim sight.", Goggeck says, peering into and thinking upon the significance of such a pit.
Craft (Sculpture): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Knowledge Dungeoneering: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Knowledge Engineering: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Knowledge History: 1d20 + 6 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 6 + 2 = 17
Knowledge Religion: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Survival: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
Glor accepts Goggeck’s hand up and adds Aye. We are made of the stuff of mountains.
Minor correction - only 1 point of burn total. Until I level up some one point is all I can benefit from.
Nay. My power is not up ta that yet. If steps were there I could dust them quickly for ya, but little more. Someday I hope ta command such power.
Adu peers down the dark hole. "I've got rope, if that helps. We probably all do. Let's just climb down!"
She's excited by the prospect of whatever secrets might be hidden in the pit, and by now has all but forgotten about the beetle. Why would they hide a well underneath a fake sarcophagus? What were they hoping to accomplish? Ooooh, I bet there's something amazing down there. Maybe books detailing the history of this place? Or awesome treasure!
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Just to let you know, at this point, I am happy to consider The Theocrat’s Vault CLEARED and this leg of the campaign complete. It’s up to you how to proceed from here, but keep in mind your charter with the King. Your primary mission is still to get to Droskar’s Crag.
Goggeck pieces together everything he knows and all that he has seen in these forsaken halls.
The Vault is the last known residence of the Theocrat Ordrik Talhrik during the fall of Droskar’s Theocracy at the end of the Forge War. From the looks of it, none of Ordrik’s followers survived this place, and, more than likely, all were used as sacrifice to power some great necromantic undertaking. But, that’s all in the past now.
But, if the emperor’s corpse is not here, then where? And what of the Osiron priests? And all the evidence, the storage rooms full of preservative spices, the canoptic jars, all that onyx, it all points to one thing, mummies. But, where?
The grooves in the shaft hint at a way down. Ordrik’s mummified remains must have been lowered deeper into the earth, but for what reason? The Droskarites believed in an eternity of pain and toil. Does the evil emperor still persist as an undead terror in the deep below?
Hezekh reasons that the grooves mean some sort of platform was lowered down below, whether by mechanical or magical means is unclear. Climbing down ropes may be the only option now, but how far down the shaft descends is anyone’s guess at this point.
Might be better ta seal this hole up and put a large rock o'top of it. Glor suggests. We've 'splored this vault. but are a bit short of havin it secure we are. I say lets do what we can ta secure our gains and then have us a look around both above and below ground.
Brunhild nodded. ”Let’s get to it then. Suppose there is no reason for us to pretend to be halflings by shimmying down ropes like sneak-thieves.”
"We surely have enough engineering expertise between us to seal it securely and well. Enough stone will do the trick."
"Really? You're not at all curious about what's down there?" Adu most definitely is curious, but she's not the one in charge.
"Okay...I guess we'll just seal it up then." She looks with disappointment at the hole. They find an awesome new mystery and want to just ignore it. Dwarves are strange.
"We have a duty to secure this area first for the sake of the colonists. We can engage in exploration further once we have achieved that."
Toulbe looks at the coffin a bit forlorn. He can tell that his cousin is in the same boat as him. It seems an awful waste to ignore a mystery. There could all manner of things unknown down there. Why maybe they'd find out the that man had hidden his private cookbook down there.
He sighed "First the wolves and now a giant hole..." he said glumly but as hidden under his breath as he could.
He stretched a bit. "I'm not real strong so I think I'm gonna have to let you guys do the heavy lifting. Though if you need help I could always ask Bistro"" he offered trying to be helpful.
Urist gets lost staring into the inky darkness of the well. "Reminds me of the time at the old fort. Ol' Gem the miner was following a vein of silver one day and accidentally broke through the top of a large cavern. Fell 300 feet to his death, he did. Had to leave his body down there for years before we could clear out all the Forgotten Beasts roaming around down there. Had a right good feast once his body was recovered and his ghost put to rest. Haha, that was the night the Duchess and I..."
"Enough Urist," the Commander impatiently interjects.
"Right, right. As I was saying. These folks here are in need of some good leadership. The Commander and I will stay behind, whip their little militia into shape, get a right honorable military force going."
"You folks continue on without us. We'll watch over Gunnar, and Boomer, and this little hole here, keep 'em safe until you return. If you return! Hahaha! Reminds me of this time in the old fort..."
"Urist, Commander, may the gods guide you and watch you."
No need for the long face Toulbe. We will be 'sploring out of doors, and doin so first, if I have my way. We've a back door and I've a mind ta go and meet the neighbors and have a look-see about out where your wolves were lurking.
Adu perks up at the thought of the wolves. "Oh yes! I wanted to meet your wolves, see what stories they might have. Maybe they know something about the history of this area?" Not that wolves probably concern themselves overly much with history, but Adu can dream.
She hasn't known Urist and the Commander long enough to really feel sad at their decision to stay, so instead she simply shakes their hands solemnly. "It was very nice to meet you both. Take care of Girtul, will you? He grumbles a lot, but I don't think he means it."
Having decided to seal up the bottomless well, The Sharp End ascends back out of the now fully exercised tomb. But, not before collecting everything they can find from their fallen enemies, I'm sure. Sankist Barrelbottom left with his merchant cart and returned to Taggoret, but Girtul is happy to purchase what arms and armor were recovered from the tomb below.
I'll update your inventory soon(tm)
Having reported to Girtul that the Theocrat's Vault is now cleared of all evil, the migrant leader prepares his caravan to move in. Over the course of a week, the dwarven caravan takes up residence in the Theocrats' Vault, clearing out the old to make room for the new.
Quickly, the dwarves put the workshops to use, using lumber from their wagons to craft new beds for the dormitories. All skeletal remains are relocated back to their proper place in the catacombs, to appease any remaining restless spirits. Toulbe helps to get the kitchen in tip-top shape, and Boomer takes over the brewery. Before you know it, the dining hall is a lively place of good food, good drink, and good cheer.
Girtul takes over Ordrik's office, and Glor is sure to show him how to work the levers. However, he turns the throne room into a public meeting chamber. "I'm no king," he grumbles, "Ain't fit for no throne." The four magic gems are removed from the statues and placed in Girtul's care, leaving the tomb below inaccessible for the time being. Girtul claims that as soon as they can get a quarry established, he'll order a slab cut to properly seal up the well.
The Image of Droskar hoots and hollers at the sudden influx of people. He seems very pleased to see the long empty halls alive and bustling with the sound of work and labor. Although, he seems displeased with the joy and mirth of these dwarven settlers. No one seems willing to correct him in his daily proclamations of Droskar's greatness, and his relationship with the people settles into a sort of uneasy acceptance of one another's existence. Still, he's always happy to help whenever heavy lifting is needed, and he keeps the place tidy. Anytime an errant dwarven child drops a sock, he's there to pick it up.
In the end, Girtul proclaims that The Theocrats' Vault will now and forever be known as Akil Lushon, after the brave dwarves (and gnomes) who cleared these halls of evil and helped close a shameful chapter in dwarven history. Using the Dwarven Language of Dwarf Fortress Akil Lushon means "Pointy End". Surprisingly, the dwarves of that universe lack a word for "Sharp".
When all preparations are complete, the doors to Akil Lushon are opened to the outside world, and The Sharp End continues their journey to reclaim Droskar's Crag.
Brunhild was quite pleased with the fruits of their labor. There was no better way to remove the taint of Droskar than to work hard with joy in your heart and a smile on your face.
For her part she spent her downtime working on cutting a gem. It was a golden-orange citrine that was about the size of a halfling’s eye. She planned to set it on her bow, so that every time she loosed an arrow, it would fly by said jewel.
Semi-precious quality, so need a 11+ to get +2 focus in transmutation. 50 gold spent
Bedazzler DC21: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24
It wasn’t the most precious of gems, but she was happy with the result. Her bow, already carved with runes, now truly felt like it was hers. And it just felt right to celebrate the cleansing of the Vault with Torag’s work.
Things I'm Pretty Sure You'd Want To Sell Off:
From Skeletal Champs:
4x MW Dwarven Waraxe
4x MW Heavy Wooden Shield
4x Scale Mail
From Cairn Wight:
1x Studded Leather Armor
4x Sets of Ornamental Gold and Silver Jewelry
1x Lavish Violet Garnet Ring
Found in Tomb:
Iron and Gold Ingots
3x Luxurious Spidersilk Robes
Things I'm Pretty Sure You'd Want To Keep:
48x Platinum Pieces
Found in Tomb:
1x MW Silver Dagger
1x MW Cold Iron Dagger
1x MW Silver Light Mace
From Tomb Protector:
1x Earth Elemental Gem
If these assumptions are correct, let me know and I'll get a total for you soon.
Id personally sell off the 1x MW Silver Dagger 1x MW Cold Iron Dagger 1x MW Silver Light Mace, unless someone wants one. Also thanks for doing all the math! Loot tracking is work
Goggeck states his thoughts on the acquired loot.
"I believe that the gems, luxury goods, and more mundane gear can easily be sold off. We should keep the earth elemental gem and coin. If none object, I would like that silver dagger. Some monster die more easily by silver and I would be prepared."
@GM: Also, cheers for handling the loot tracking.
Girtul, The dwarves what were here afore were wise in that they split up them 4 gems needed ta get below. What say ya ta sendin one of them with us? No good will come of some treasure seeker trying to delve into that pit. And I'd sleep better knowin that it can't happen due to the fact that one o' them gems is tucked into me pillow.
When loot is discussed Glor asks Being that I belong ta the earth and it belongs ta me, what say ya all ta me carrying that stone what summons the servant o' earth?
"You are the prime candidate, Glor. I advocate that you hold onto both the elemental gem and one of the four keystones to below."
Adu looks over the loot with a critical eye. "That's true, rarer materials often come in handy. I'll swap out my light mace for the silver one. Hopefully I won't need it, but if we need silver for some reason it will be available."
She shrugs noncommittally when the dwarves discuss sending off one of the keystones with them. "If Glor wants to hang onto the elemental gem and a keystone, that only makes sense. The keystone isn't cursed or anything, is it?"
I agree with the GM's original division of sell vs keep.
Brunhild embeds a masterfully cut citrine into her hornbow, and she seems to be quite happy with it. Adding 50gp to the value of the hornbow, which is now a bedazzled hornbow! Also deducting 50gp from cash wealth.
Girtul offers a sum of 2074gp for the goods returned from Ordrik’s Tomb. "Just ‘bout empties me coffers, but we’ll outfit a new guard an’ put the ingots ta good use."
He also agrees to let the party take one of the green gem keystones for safe keeping. "Best ta keep the place sealed an’ secured for the time bein’."
The Inventory Sheet is updated. Your wealth is skewed at the moment, due to Boomer and Urist’s inventory still being there. Please take a moment to review what you might want to keep from them before moving on.
Goggeck will ask Urist about whether he can take hold of the cure potions, as the Sharp End will have greater need of them.
Cheers, GM. They're also the only items marked as being from loot as opposed to Urist's own gear.
Toulbe doesn't worry so much on any of the gear. He wasn't that good at all the fighting and such anyways. He busied himself in his wagon once the Dwarves were set up with the best kitchen they could have. Making sure that all the barrels were tied down, supplies were good, none of the food needed to be discarded or left behind.
Once he felt pretty sure that everything was in order to get the band marching again, Toulbe made his way back to the group. "I got the wagons all nice and ready. All the animals seem happy too to see the stars again. Did you guys figure out what all we're keeping? Do I need to make room for anything?" he asked as he spun on his toe tips all excited to see what lies beyond the door outside and if the wolves would maybe meet them again and perhaps even welcome them to the dinner table.
Glor tucks both stones into his armor, one more handy and one so deep that no one could get to it less they wanted to be quite familiar with the earthy dwarf. He nods grimly, accepting the responsibility of both stones.
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Chapter 4: The Oppressively Open Sky
The new denizens of Akil Lushon stand in The Image of Droskar’s grand entry hall, surrounding the living statue, to see the Sharp End off on their journey. The now group of six are heroes to these folks, and many a diorite figurine, embroidered leather sack, and wall engraving will depict their accomplishments for ages to come. Unless something just awful happens.
The large iron double doors open and the hall is filled with sickening sunlight. A few onlookers are suddenly struck with nausea and vomit, and most everyone has to cover their eyes for a long moment.
A cool morning breeze blows through all the beards. Before anyone can process the sheer alieness of the outside world, Toulbe sprints forward with a slab of salt pork in his hand. His heart drops when he finds his supposed coyote friends aren’t waiting for him. Standing there, head low, he hears a whimpering sound. Not sure if it came from within or without, Toulbe glances around. There it is again, a pitiful whimper.
On the third whimper, Toulbe spots a tiny coyote pup, injured, hungry, and cowering behind a rock.
”Well that’s a pathetic wee beastie. Wouldn’t even be worth cooking.” Brunhild said, thinking practically about the situation. With the wind in her hair and the sun on her face...she was already regretting coming to the surface.
Toulbe quickly recovers from his disappointment and does his best to contain his happiness at seeing one. He holds up a hand to ask them all to stay back and then signals to be quiet for a moment before he starts walking very softly up to the poor pup.
He whispers quietly to himself before summoning up his innate magic from within and then calmly starts speaking the coyote pup.
Casting Speaks with Animals
"Hey little one, did you get hurt? Separated from your family? We won't hurt you, I have some food if you like and my cousin can heal your wounds...and if you don't know were you family is, you can ride in my wagon with us and we'll protect you till you find them." he said gently.
Glor stands in the doorway and is torn. Duty is ahead but the sky is too large. Comfort and the caress of earth is behind. He teeters on the brink. Finally he says Ya say there be orcs what need killin out here, aye? and steps out into the sun.
Adu happily dances outside. Ah, this is better. A breeze, the sun...I may spend a lot of time underground, but it's always nice to see green things again.
She pauses as Toulbe holds up his hand, looking curiously over to see what has his attention. Then has to resist the urge to squeal in delight. This must be one of the wolves he mentioned! It's tiny though. And...hurt? She practically vibrates in place as she waits for Toulbe to give her the go-ahead to approach.
Adu and Glor witness Toulbe and the coyote pup exchanging yips and whimpers.
"They took my mom! They took my cousins! The big hairy people! I'm alone and scared!"
The pup steps out from behind the rock, Toulbe can see it isn't putting any pressure on its right fore leg, a bloody gash has matted up its fluffy grey fur. The pup holds its head low to the ground and its tail between its legs. Its nose actively sniffs out the meat in Toulbe's hand as it cautiously approaches.
Meanwhile, Girtul approaches the rest of the party at the wagons. "Out there's the Flatiron Hills. Used ta be a right profitable mining area. Send word if ye find any abandoned mines. Would be nice ta fill our coffers again." You have a new Location: Abandoned Mine, and gain 1 Discovery Point for the Flatiron Hills territory.
"Aye, yer goin' to the Broken Tower, are ye? Used ta be called the Kingtower, ye know, built by King Sidrik III under the watchful eye of King Taggun carved into the slopes o' Mt. Gustus. Filled with orcs now I heard. Torag's blessings upon ye lads." You have gained 1 Discovery Point for the Mt. Gustus territory.
Glor watches the gnomes interact with the pup and allowed a rare smile. Onlookers might believe he was smiling at the gnomes and pup but images of dead orcs dance in his vision. Ever since he read that book that showed him how bad orcs really were he really really hated them.
”Orcs.” She spat the word, with distaste. ”Of course they would squat in the ruins of their betters. Any idea how many we are talking about here?”
Toulbe places the meat on the ground and scoots back a bit to allow the pup to gain a bit more confidence.
He stops trying to think who might take a bunch of wolves that were hairy.
"Go ahead and ear the food first. Big hairy people...bug like me?" he asks as he slowly stands up and pats his rather thick stomach. "Or big like them? Hairy like them?[b]" he asks pointing to Glor.
Handle Animal: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
Toulbe reaches out slowly and inspects the paw. "Can my cousin have a look and try to take care of your wound?" he asks pointing at Adu now.
Survival: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
His eyes start to roam around the ground looking for signs of footprints that might help him identify what the culprits are.
Goggeck glares at the outside.
But duty calls.
He takes a step forward. Then another. He keeps moving though decides to halt within charging distance of the gnomes, their animal, and anyone who may threaten them.
He tries to adjust his eyes to the brightness, and what horrors that it may conceal.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
"Enough that the King needs ta send ye folks out there ta handle 'em," Girtul laughs and gives Brunhild a good-natured slap on the back.
The coyote pup hungrily attacks the piece of meat Toulbe offered it. In between gnawing bites it looks around and answers Toulbe, "Not like you. Not like them. Bigger. Furry all over, like me." Toulbe gets the sense that the pup is at ease with him, and willing to stick around. Toulbe gains a Coyote Pup follower! Stats below.
Coyote Pup CR 1/4
N Tiny animal
Init +1; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +8
AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 11 (+3 Dex, +0 natural, +2 size)
Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +1
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +1 (1d3-1)
Str 9, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +0; CMB -3; CMD 10 (14 vs. trip)
Feats Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Acrobatics +3 (+11 jumping), Perception +8, Survival +1 (+5 scent tracking); Racial Modifiers +4 Acrobatics when jumping, +4 Survival when tracking by scent
Some of the party has been here before, but as a refresher to those who haven't, or those who have forgotten:
The double iron doors open up into the sandy bottom ravine of a steep slot canyon. A dry riverbed runs along the bottom of the red rocked canyon in a more or less north-south direction. Could be a dangerous flash-flood situation in a heavy rain.
Looking around in the carved out area immediately beyond the doors, it is apparent that some animals likely the coyote pack and some humanoids medium sized, goblinoid have recently had a struggle here. Some drag marks, blood trails, and humanoid footprints leave the area and follow the dry, sandy riverbed to the south.
You are entering into the territory known as the Flatiron Hills, a high, arid plateau intercut with steep channels formed by millennia of snowmelt and heavy summer thunderstorms running west toward the Anvilhead Gorge. The earth here is ruddish, evidence of the abundant iron veins running through the hills. Vegetation is sparse, mostly sagebrush, bushy juniper and pinon, cactus, and yucca, with taller ponderosa pine and cottonwood trees lining the more established creek beds.
It is early morning. There isn't a cloud in the sky.