With Garidan's help, Niyut drains the orc's blood and cleans his skull. They pack what they can on Tacal's back and take a final look at the location of their first failure since they came together two months ago.
Led away quickly by the druid, the group moves back south several miles from the ruined Gathering Stone. Tired and bruised, they make camp and go about setting a watch.
Garidan (88/88, Fatigued, Cursed)
Technically, our second since we fled Haemil driven out by Ice Giants. But I prefer to think of it as a mixed victory. We did save the Dreaming.
Normal Watch sounds good to me.
With a few moments to herself and with her reference books, Niyut tries to learn more about cursed items and what happens when you extract essences from them.
Knowledge: Arcana: 1d20 + 24 ⇒ (3) + 24 = 27
Spell Craft: 1d20 + 24 ⇒ (11) + 24 = 35
Do her various books add a bonus to this check?
After her investigations, she will take her watch and then her rest.
“Well that could have gone better.”
Niyut gives Eszira a stony look. “I did not see you emerge from the Dreaming to do battle with the hag. She is proof against most magics and shielded from killing frost. There was not much I could do directly to thwart her. Truk was like a hero of old upon the battlefield, but when Garidan fled we never reclaimed the momentum. But enough of that, what do you have to teach me?”
The ancient Hazard gives her a smile tight and prim. “Only that which you are willing to learn.”
Niyut digs into the food her grandmother provides as Eszira goes over the first of two incantations.
“Geugal, mortuus est autem sacerdos de comedenti: audirent sermones meos. Tu sis humilis. Essentia tua dispersæ fuerant in aethere accipimus. Ecce tua! Sicut pluviam redeunt ad mare: et essentia tua refert etiam ad cerebrum eius.”
The spirit guide repeats the incantation until Eszira is satisfied. “You must hold out his skull like this, while standing in the ritual circle.” The Hazard holds out Geugal’s skull raised above her head.
“This invocation summons slivers of the priest’s ruined soul to inhabit his skull. Once enough pieces are called to this skull like iron fillings to a lodestone begin the next invocation: Geugal, mortuus est autem sacerdos de comedenti: audirent sermones meos. Nunc tua dispersae essentia figura. Non consurgant somno servite. Et essentia tua figura in vasculo elargiri.”
She waits until Niyut has repeated it back to her three times with no flaw her enunciation. “It is important to get this part right. You do not want him conscious. You aren’t trying to create a guardian spirit enslaved to your will. Now, run through the runes and circles we have discussed and tell me which parts connect to the incantations you just learned.”
As much as Niyut finds Eszira’s pride and highhandedness obnoxious, internally she acknowledges that the woman is an excellent teacher. Each part of her lesson builds on the last and she is eager to answer questions of theory.
And so Niyut sleeps and dreams new lore and more occult secrets.
Technically, our second since we fled Haemil driven out by Ice Giants. But I prefer to think of it as a mixed victory. We did save the Dreaming.
Hey, any fight that ends with us still alive is always a win, no matter how else things turned out :D.
Valjoen: What was the saving throw that I need for the curse? Because I'm assuming that this rest period will trigger a check on that (which, per my critical success, should be the last one I need to overcome it if successful).
Normal watches sounds good.
Truk’tosh works in dutiful silence as the party prepares to rest and recover from the day’s ordeals. For most travelers, making camp was a series of time consuming tedious tasks. For the Firebird druid, it was a welcome distraction from his dark thoughts. Verthag’s death and his mother’s near rescue were two more failures that weighed on his heart. He had absolute trust is his sister’s craft, despite their darker turn of late, but that did keep despair’s cold grip from seizing him – Will we get another chance to save her?
Suddenly, a crack of thunder pierces the air briefly silencing the ambient wildlife. A moment later, the sour scent of blood and coppery tang of blood is on the wind. All were phenomenon that Truk’tosh was growing familiar with – the presence of the great spirit Mylesar was upon him. What do you want from me? I cannot be the champion you need. I will never be strong enough.
@Garidan - Will DC21. You can roll after the rest. I'll give you the go ahead to roll when the time has come.
Another crack of thunder was preceded slightly by the flash of lightning. The sky was illuminated and the clouds that gathered above glowed with violent energy. Truk'tosh looked up at the sky. The wind rushed above and the clouds billowed. Out of the darkness, a shape formed in the grey skies. A skull with horns and shaped like a hideous beast. The jaw opened, and its icy breath wash over the druid. Truk'tosh threw his arms about himself pulling his cloak tight. But the frigid air refreshed him and gave him strength where he thought it would chill him to his core. He remembered bathing in the cold waters that spilled from the portal to the Plane of Water.
The voice echoed deep within his soul. Truk'tosh felt Morgrym cower and withdraw.
I want nothing from you.
Truk'tosh felt himself grow as the dwarf shrunk. He felt every fiber of his being. He became aware of every muscle. Every bone. He felt his blood coursing through his veins. It too was cold. Not since he stepped into the still waters of the Great River at Leontil's beckoning, had he felt himself. He had changed. He felt as though the flame of life had departed from him.
The vengeful waters of Talahm’füar flow within you... the kiss of Aêyss. You claimed a power you cannot fathom.
The dark clouds erupt in flames. The fires flicker and lash out into the dark sky, forming a towering goblin that raises a clawed hand. It glowers at the half-orc ready to strike when its eyes lift and its expression twists in pain.
There are more.
With a crack, a bolt of lightning strikes the cloud and the goblin dissipates into a boiling mass of crimson blood. Rolling through the sky, the blood cools and turns grey and porous, forming an expanse of skulls.
You can choose to claim them all.
The cloud continues to morph before Truk's eyes until it grows black and turns to dust. Once again the winds increase and the dust becomes a vortex sucking out the life of the world until a shape emerges from its center and calms the storm.
I favor those with the passion to triumph in battle and claim their spoils, not those that subject themselves before any being, be they god or mortal...not even the Warrior.
The dust settles into earth and a lone figure stands amidst the flora.
Strength. Conviction. Passion. It is your choice to have them or not.
A hand reaches out towards Truk'tosh from the evergreen clouds as the figure's face sharpens. It is his mother and she smiles upon him.
Beneath the shadows of Kahae Edhekal, the Blood flows and the Fire sleeps. And the one who feeds upon the Arisen may fall before your might... if you claim it.
As the others prepare for rest, Truk'tosh looks up to the darkened skies and stares into the void. His face grimaces. His hands wring the shaft of Morgrym's axe. At last, his shoulders relax and he comes back to the present.
Does Niyut learn whether essences from cursed items can be safely extracted?
Gruskorb squats near the fire and watches his companions. None of us are dealing well. Take the twins. Niyut cannot stop. You would think that she is afraid to take a moment with herself. So she spends every moment she can doing. Truk'tosh, meanwhile, cannot get out of his own head. I overheard him complaining to his sister that he is weak. An unstoppable juggernaut in battle lowing like Tacal, no bleating like that goat.
The hobgoblin's inner monologue is interrupted by a pang of sadness concerning the devoured goat. For all his gruff exterior, he does care deeply about the natural world, especially the animals starving to death in a ruined world. Though he would never admit it, this care is not a simple byproduct of housing a wayward druid soul.
His gaze flits to Malthazir before quickly moving on. Gods, what an ass. Maybe the stick up it petrified when the world ended.
He looks at Garidan's unseeing eyes. Shame about his eyes. He would be a good guy if he could keep his f@##ing mouth shut once and a while.
Gruskorb considers silence between the companions. Huh. Nobody is talking to each other. It's almost as if after all our trials, we still don't like each other very much.
Finally, he looks at Raektov. Not a bad boy. Certainly not as dour as this lot.
He gets up and goes to squat near the inexperienced wizard. "Fancy a few rounds of dice?"
His eyes settle on a few pinecones. "We can bet these unless you care to make it more interesting?"
The hobgoblin's smile is positively wicked.
The task of settling into camp is one so familiar to Garidan that even his changed sense of sight doesn't interfere with the flow of his actions. Tent, fire, a pass of his sister's minor magic to keep himself, his companions, and their equipment clean--though a bit of mending is also required in some instances, thanks to flying bits of stone--it all passes quickly and smoothly between thought and deed. Soon enough, Garidan's alchemical apparatus is shifted from its travel bundle into something suitable for working with, and he's cheerfully puttering about as he inspects the progress of his current product. Incredibly, in spite of his current condition, Garidan's efforts are the smoothest and most problem-free that they've ever been, and the batch of wild blood coming together makes a noteworthy step toward completion.
Craft (alchemy) Check): 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (17) + 18 = 35
Oooo, very nice result there! That's five times the normal daily progress made on that one, which puts me just a bit past 1/3 of the way to being finished.
His required inspection done, the young man carefully repacks everything for travel and then settles in to wait upon Truk'tosh, who is clearly deep in thought about something. Only once the half-orc's expression settles does the swashbuckler approach him. "Truk'tosh, if you've got a few moments, I'd like to ask for help with something," Garidan begins as he offers his buckler to his companion. "The magic of this shield is similar to that of my armor, so I believe it'll be possible to add a spell to it that I can make use of myself. And I further believe that it'll be most receptive to the sort of magic that you and Gruskorb wield. As such, I'd be quite appreciative if you'd be willing grant me the use of whatever magic you feel we'd most benefit from in the future."
@Truk'tosh: If you deign to grant Garidan's request, the shield will accept any spell up to 3rd level, and you won't need a feat or materials to inscribe it. Just a bit of charcoal and the druid's secret language for the formula (you could add a cleric spell, but that'd require the Scribe Scroll feat, which I don't believe you have).
Does Niyut learn whether essences from cursed items can be safely extracted?
Yes, but the curses must be lifted first. The ritual is simple and known to Niyut, but it requires an component specific to the cursed item that must be discovered.
Awesome! What's the level of this ritual, and the skill checks required? Are these components rare and rough cost in GP? Niyut will probably end up using Blood Sacrifice to substitute in for the component once her spells refresh and "rare" components can increase the difficulty to attune the blood ruby to Ritual in question.
Ha! Yes, I see. Curses leave a stain or a shadow on the essences which can be removed. My grandmother used a hoop of willow bound together by blessed beads and yarn spun under moonlight to capture curses. But here in The Collecting of Parts, Living and Dead there is mention of 'inimical substances the counter-resonate with the curse.' That must mean that it is possible to perform a simple purification ritual with these inimical substances. Unfortunately, I don't know which substances matter to each item, but with blood magic I have alternative methods of recourse . . .
Truk’tosh blinks rapidly as he tries to acclimate himself to the physical realm again. The wisest parts of his subconscious begin to chide him for the bargain he’d struck, even unintentionally, with the Great Spirit of War. His waking thoughts turn to the warning given him by Mylesar. Kahae Edhekal? Did we leave some dark power intact when we left East Gate? Niyut will want to hear about this.
"Truk'tosh, if you've got a few moments, I'd like to ask for help with something," Garidan begins as he offers his buckler to his companion. "The magic of this shield is similar to that of my armor, so I believe it'll be possible to add a spell to it that I can make use of myself. And I further believe that it'll be most receptive to the sort of magic that you and Gruskorb wield. As such, I'd be quite appreciative if you'd be willing grant me the use of whatever magic you feel we'd most benefit from in the future."
The druid inspects Garidan’s shield closely. As he runs his calloused digits across its smooth surface, the extent of the swashbuckler’s claim begins to take shape. ”Yes, a spirit could be bound to it for a time. When I commune with the elements tonight, I will ask for one suitable to the task. Be warned: Spirits are proud, sometimes capricious, things. There will be limits.”
You already have some decent on-hand healing via your flask. How do you feel about cloak of winds or wind wall? They’re both nice utility spells to have on hand for dealing with archers, swarms, and cloud/gas spells.
Not wind wall, that would interfere with Garidan's own ranged attacks. But cloak of winds would be nifty, as would barkskin.
1d12 ⇒ 5
1d12 ⇒ 2
1d12 ⇒ 1
The camp is edgy and restless, but everyone is able to get sufficient sleep to feel refreshed and somewhat alert. After a bit of breakfast, Raektov spends some time huddled over his spellbook muttering to himself. Satisfied he's as prepared as possible, he saunters over by Niyut who studies one of the cursed items. "Oh, I'd be careful with Aśadva's Gloves. They'd slip off those orc hands and bound up your magic real quick if they get the chance... chomp," the young wizard says between bites of stale jerky before walking off towards Garidan.
Healing after she wakes up.
Cure Light Wounds: 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
She still has a few bruises from the last battle.
Though Niyut wouldn't blink at blood or viscera, curses make her far more squeamish. After the battle she had cut off the orcs hands and wrapped them in a waxy paper. She had been looking at them while the others ate.
"Aśadva? Who is she? These wicked Nightblood have had a surprising amount of contact with the lowlands."
She pulls a strand of prayer beads from somewhere in her robe. "Do these beads seem familiar to you?"
We’ll go with Cloak of Winds for now.
I wanted to finish up some things from the night before still.
Once the business with Garidan’s shield is sorted out, Truk’tosh visits his sister. For now, his melancholy was delayed in favor of understanding the Great Spirit’s visit and the mystery behind his warning. He knew none more driven to unravel a puzzle than his canny twin.
”Sister?” he asks in a quiet voice during a lapse in his twin’s studies. ”I have need your council. The great spirit favored by the dwarf bound to me visited moments ago. In a vision he showed me blood and darkness. The darkness gave way to a terrible storm that threatened to consume all life until it was tamed by... our mother. It ended with a warning, ‘Beneath the shadows of Kahae Edhekal, the Blood flows and the Fire sleeps. And the one feeds upon the Arisen may fall before your might... if you claim it.’”
The druid hesitates, as if struggling to come to terms with the tale as he shares it.
”What are your thoughts?”
The Previous Night
When Truk approaches his sister, he finds that she has constructed something like a make-shift curse-catcher from tent stakes and twine. Beneath this make-shift fetish lies a far more gruesome fetish of tangled hair and fangs.
She looks up sheepishly at her twin. "It's probably not as effective as the ones made by the mother of our mother, but something is hopefully better than nothing."
Niyut listens intently to what her brother has to say. When he is finished she reaches out one of her small, delicate hands to rest on top of one of his mighty paws. "Two things, I must say before speaking of your vision. First, please never tell any of our people that the great spirit of war and vengeance speaks to you. They would not understand. I do not say this to shame you. You have done nothing shameful. Too well I know that the spirits who seek us out are not of our own choosing. And in this never-ending night, we need as many allies as we can find, no matter how strange. Be wary of him, but I would not disdain the gifts he offers. Second . . ."
His sister chokes back a sob and he can see that tears stream down her face. "Second, I'm sorry that I failed you and mother. The only shield I have ever been able to offer you is my cunning, and at the Gathering Stones it was a shield of reeds. I could sense that the Soul-Bleed could scourge us and retreat in the Ether. I had an essence remaining before the battle. I shaped it to be able to hurt her even in the Ether, but my plans went awry. I should have shaped the essence more defensively. Had I had the wisdom to do so, she wouldn't have been able to twice drive me from the battle. I could have helped you defeat the traitor witch. You could have saved mother from that fell hag. You were glorious. No hero of old could match your wrath. It was I who was not your equal. I'm sorry. I will not make the same mistake again."
Though she is no longer wracked by sobs, tears still stream like crystal rivers down her olive visage. "As for your vision, please tell me what the great spirit said exactly as you remember. What images did he show you? 'Beneath the shadows of Kahae Edhekal, I take to be beneath the ruined undercity at East Gate. What are ruins if not the shadows of the past? The Arisen is likely the spirit, Täshera. Garidan could tell you that the grape oil needed for the most common lowlander recipe for alchemist's fire comes from grapes named for her. Of the lesser spirits, she is likely the most potent one associated with flame. Long have I suspected that she was trapped beneath those mountains. Grandmother came to me in a vision and told me that it was from her blood that the profane Blood of Fire was created."
Gariden receives the imbued shield with a grateful nod toward the half-orc and spends the remainder of his time awake alternately studying it and a scroll that Malthazir has tossed him. Though he'll never be the sort of magical threat that others in the party are, the swashbuckler's penchant for poking and prodding has turned into a tangible benefit of late, and with the help of his allies, Garidan intends to use for all of the advantage that he can wring from it.
"Huh? Aśadva? Oh, she... or he, we don't know for sure, was a powerful usurper of the ether, neither trained nor blessed but rather bound to the ether through her flesh. A sorcerer of sorts, though the name had not been coined during the Godling Wars, when she lived. She was hunted down and destroyed. Her pelt... oh, uh... she was said to be a primal beast with fangs and claws, and a scarred, hideous pelt of fur. So, anyway, she was killed then skinned... some say she was flayed from her skin while still living. A student of Lorrynor took her pelt and used it to craft several curios. With the Ether still bound in it, her flesh was powerful, but, or so the legends go, Aśadva cursed her own skin as it was peeled from her body," Raektov says without missing a beat. With that final revelation, he nods with a look of disgust upon his face and an eyebrow raised in speculation.
"A pair of gloves, boots, a belt... a cloak, oh, and pouch... all claimed to have come from that cursed pelt. Li'luraant was said to have possessed the gloves, using them to entice pugilists to her cause during her lifetime... well, her first lifetime. I'd certainly say she has a new lease on life these days." The wizard drones on speculating how the Souldbleed may have come upon the gloves during her first reign of terror. But, as that was ages ago, he admits that most theories are just that, theories.
Turning his attention to the beads. "Hmm... don't know much about items that originate from the orcs of southern Haemil," he continues with an inquisitive look. "They're distant relatives to the Nightblood for sure. Perhaps, they've made contact."
"Skinned alive? She must have made someone very angry. If I were of the mind to do something like that, I would at least kill my enemy first. It is an interesting feat to cure a hide while binding her still living power to it. I prefer to work in bone because it is longer lasting and stable. Chiromancy offers great power, and can energize many workings, but it is not as stable as magic worked in bone. To live is to change. On a different matter, how do lowlanders know of the Soulbleed? It seems like she was a plague on more than just the First Lands."
Niyut is more than willing to listen to Raektov. Ever since he had mended her mother's staff, she was willing to teach him whatever he could learn from watching her craft. But it strikes her that if one desires to teach one must also be willing to learn.
When he speaks about the beads, she has but one question. "What part of the construction or iconography of these beads signify their origins from the orcs of the southern mountains?"
4th of Dasyris, 7995 E.C.
"Well, I'm not as versed in Manevykian Folklore as I should be. History really isn't my passion. But Li'luraant, the Soulbleed, originally came from the Voigrymm Forest to the east of Manevyk. The hag was driven from the Northern Coasts by the old Vallens in the mid-seventh millennium... their records are not that thorough," Raektov begins in a flurry of information.
The wizard starts again as though reciting the lore from a book he was, at that moment, reading. "She made her way into the northern range of the Iron Mountains, after fifty or sixty years she ended up The Downs of Haemil, where she once again clashed with humans. This time, it was the Aertens... a less violent people than the Vallens, but certainly with more resolve. They followed her over the mountains and into the Savage... er, sorry, The First Lands. The Grave of Tüflsatym joined forces with the Firebird Clan to find and destroy Li'luraant, trapping her in the Dream realm of those lands." He looked at Niyut and smiled. "That's your clan, right?"
Niyut smiles back although it looks contorted and uncomfortable. When asked of the iconography of the prayer beads, he nods and takes another bite of jerky. Raktov points to a large, slightly deformed knucklebone, "Well, the oversized knuckle between the first metacarpal and the proximal phalange... um, the second knuckle on the thumb... it's huge. That's a warrior's hand, deformed from constant use of an oversized weapon, like the massive flails of the southern orc tribes. And see that hole through the bone? It has a groove running lateral to the hole that appears worn smooth. But, if you look close, there are thin metal shavings embedded in the groove. That is from the grip pins that those orcs use to ensure their warrior's don't drop their weapons... a cruel device installed in all adolescent males... oh, and females that take arms." He takes another bite of jerky. "Pretty obvious, actually."
@Garidan - You can make your Will Save
If anyone has things to buff that save, I'd appreciate it before making the check.
I can give you a protection from evil, but I don't know if the curse still counts for that. But don't look to Malthazir for help. I told him in game and out that Dream will break your curse.
Niyut laughs. "They might have driven her from those woods . . . the Voigrymm Forest? But, she is not from there. No, she was born in these woods. She was born Gnepia of the Nightblood, before she was reborn as a daughter of Zamaz.
Long ago, but centuries after the Binding of Simur, Vash of the Blood drained Zamaz of her blood and performed a ritual to bind it and her power to him. That did not work out well for him in the end, but that is another story. Their struggle marked these woods. Where her blood fell, it seeped into pools, transforming them.
Cunning men and women discovered that these pools possessed great power. They drank of these pools and became the first hags. Immortal, mighty yet changed by the dead Promigenitor's power. They warred with each other. They warred with the First Living Ancestors. Once they discovered that they could bind spirits of this world to them, they warred with Nerat and Chana. Some are good, but not most. Though these days most abide by the rules of hospitality. The laws of salt.
Over time the queens of winter, of thorn, of wisdom, had daughters of their own and those daughters had daughters. Most hags you might encounter, though immortal, are not these first queens.
Gnepia was one of the last to find an undisturbed pool of witchblood. This was thousands of winters ago, but thousands of winters after Zamaz was murdered.
She renamed herself the queen of nightmares, though we know her as the Soul-Bleed. She clashed with the queens of the four seasons, who are the mightiest of the kindly daughters of Zamaz. It is a battle she ultimately lost. The cursed her as the "uncrowned one," though the tales do not elaborate on what that means. They slew the cunning men and woman who had learned her craft. Though the craft of nightmares was never totally lost.
I guess that she fled the First Lands after that, taking her craft with her, but perhaps not her crown. Perhaps this is why she seeks a coven to reclaim the crown placed upon her head by the spirits of fear and dread night."
She gives the apprentice a serious look. "Always be courteous to strange women you might meet in the woods or the high mountains or in deep hidden valleys. Praise their charity. Call them 'mother,' 'baba,' or 'nana.' Shared you food and your fire. You never know who is eating with you. Far better to share your pot then end up in it."
She listens attentively to Raektov before tisking the apprentice, though he is several years her elder. "Things are only obvious when one has the knowledge to understand what you see. Never be ashamed to ask a question, but never think that your vantage point is the only one from which to see. Thank you for sharing what you know."
Valjoen, would the curse be subject to protection from evil? Because that, a guidance cantrip, and Garidan's own Charmed Life ability will add some useful stacked buffs to my otherwise pathetic Will save (which needs the help, since the curse already hits me with -1 penalty >_<).
Else-when that "Morning."
Niyut lays a hand on Garidan's forehead. "Evocantes te malum." Protection from Evil
And if Truk'tosh will permit the liberty, I'll assume he adds a guidance as well.
Will Save: 1d20 + 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 = 20
For f!%*'s sake, missed it by one...
Using the held bonus from Garidan's ampoule.
Will Save: 1d20 + 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 = 13
Of course. Well, lay the pain upon me. Would I wrong in assuming that it rots my Wisdom further still, making future saves that much harder?
Garidan triggers his armor's magic to feed the lot of them again, though he barely manages to get his own meal down. While the physical effects of the dream's touch have mercifully faded, it seems that its mental effect is still afflicting the swashbuckler, and even help from the half-orc twins in the form of warding and bolstering magics don't seem to help any. In desperation, the young man clutches at the blood-filled vial around his neck, but it does little that he can discern.
Effects: Protection from Evil (+2 deflection to AC, +2 resistsance to saves); -2 Wis. Weapon Cord (left): Yes.
It looks like it didn't matter terribly but Truk'tosh doesn't prep guidance.
Niyut's warning about how their people would respond to his dealings with Mylesar is wise but not one he is surprised to hear. The Firebird were a pragmatic resourceful people but they had little trust in outsiders and little patience for new ideas. Some part of him wondered if he'd still feel the same way if the Storm hadn't spiritually bound him to a dwarven servant of the great spirit of war.
His twin's painful regret on the other hand surprises and shames him further. He had always believed it his responsibility to protect his sister. In addition to again failing to shield her from physical danger, her heart suffered under his watch.
"Do not feel that you bear this burden alone. Both of us failed our mother. If I had been swifter, stronger, surer with my axe, I would have defeated the Nightblood in her thrall and struck down the Soul-Bleed before they could escape. I am no hero worthy of glory", Truk'tosh adds after a long pause. "Perhaps there are no heroes left."
When the discussion returns to Mylesar's omen, Truk'tosh closes his eyes. He tries to remember the scent of sweat and blood and the vision that followed. He recalls it all as closely as he can.
If you haven't already go ahead and read the spoiler.
Huh, that's weird, I could have sworn someone in the party had guidance, but I've just checked and it appears not. How very odd, I hate when my brain does that sort of thing to me :).
Besides Guidance is a Resistance bonus and I don't think they stack.
After Garidan's Mind is Ravaged by the Curse Again
Niyut stalks to where Malthazir is sitting reading his spell books. "Why do you let him suffer!? Do you want him to die!?"
Not that it matters at this point (:D), but guidance is a competence bonus. Resistance is, appropriately enough, a resistance bonus. Since those two spells are the most spammed by Kayin over in the other Talanor campaign, I've reason to be passingly familiar with both by now :).
Niyut gives her twin a rueful look. "It is kind of you to say so, but there is a difference. You did everything you could. It is not shameful that they escaped your ax. You are a hero. Heroes are known not by their successes, but by their hearts and wisdom. I, on the other hand, had a failure of judgment. There is shame in that. One I will overcome."
She listens intently to the story of his vision. "To my ear it sounds like the gate of fire is beneath East Gate just as a gate of water and the gate of air were in the high Iron Mountains. Remember the goblins we fought in the crypt? Their orders came from a matron. Perhaps it is her that you saw in your vision. As for the other names: 'Aêyss' is the godling of ice, it was her breath that cooled the divine ax you carry;'Talahm’füar' must be the primal plane of water."
\After Garidan's Mind is Ravaged by the Curse Again
Niyut stalks to where Malthazir is sitting reading his spell books. "Why do you let him suffer!? Do you want him to die!?"
Because my damnable player was on a business trip, and it's so hard to get good wifi on a plane! :P
Although in all seriousness I would like to take a crack at dreaming to get rid of the curse the previous night, if you would allow that GM.
No (good) wifi on the plane? Should have sprung for first class instead of cattle class, you cheapskate :p!
Unlike his intricate spells, and Niyut's complex rituals, there is little preparation for Malthazir entering Garidan's dreams. He has Raektov make some tea infused with lavender, but otherwise does little else except keep Niyut and Raektov close at hand in case something unexpected happens. As Garidan slips into the world of the dreaming, Malz begins weaving his spell, relying not on his education but on his innate mastery and closeness with the dreaming world. In a minute his arcane words cease, and he sits cross legged, silently, as if in a deep meditation.
Dream cast. Let's see what we have going on in here.
Garidan struggles to relax as the thought of Malthazir entering his dreams is a little more than upsetting. Listening to his sister's voice inside of him, he takes a few deep breaths and eventually falls asleep. With Niyut and the young wizard watching over him, Malthazir takes a few draughts of tea and relaxes himself into a deep reverie.
Garidan opens his eyes and smiles. His vision is still gone, albeit aided by 'Ruza, but the dark thoughts have subsided. The curse has faded. Moments later, Malthazir awakens. He sits up and looks at Garidan and then Niyut.
Niyut rests her hand against Garidan's forehead questing out wither her senses into the spirit world. "The damage to your mind will linger until I have the skill to fix it, but thankfully Malthazir has broken the curse."
Woo, my brains isn't rotting anymore (or any further, at least :D)! Also, no expended spells or daily uses of abilities, innate or otherwise.
After Breaking Camp
Niyut and Gruskorb consult. He sniffs her mother's hair, which Truk found, while she consults the staff.
Do both lead in the same direction? Or is the Nightblood goblin-snatcher closer at hand?
Malz opens his eyes, sagging to the side and holding himself up with one arm. "Good...good." Malz says in response to Niyut, as if he himself had no idea how successful his spell had been. He gets to his feet, moving off to his sleeping area without another word.
An orc witch of the Nightblood...in his dreams, but not one we have met? Ah, to stare into the void is to invite madness, but there is meaning here...
With the curse halted before it can wither him further, Garidan is visibly improved the following morning, even though the existing effects still linger. He proceeds through the morning provisioning of his companions, again with the leftovers kept out for scavengers to take advantage of while the magic lasts. And that bit of consideration sparks a thought in the young man's mind that has him seeking out Truk'tosh. "I just had a thought," Garidan begins without preamble. Pointing to the remaining food provided by his armor's magic, he explains. "Those leftovers aren't going draw anything into following us in the hopes of future meals, are they? Or, at least, nothing too troublesome?"
Before Setting Out
With everyone ready to carry on, Garidan takes a last bit of time for himself to further prepare for trouble. He begins simply enough by digging through the supplies for a length of cloth suitable for use as a covering over his eyes. The sightless staring would be a certain giveaway that something's off about the swashbuckler, especially if it doesn't seem to impeded him in battle. And Garidan and 'Ruza both would rather no enemies start considering reasons for that lack of impairment.
That matter taken care of, which he might have to make believable with a fair bit of deceit if anyone seems doubtful, the swashbuckler extracts the last of the dream thing's essences from his possessions and, with barely a wince, presses against his forehead until the thing is gone. Though he doesn't know if it'll have any effect on what the essence does, Garidan spends the absorption process focused intently on being able to better withstand or avoid the effects of anything that would impair his body and mind. While not sure if that worked--and with no real way to test it before it becomes necessary--the young man does notice that he can now pick out details of his surroundings, both by sound and via his sister's sight, with a bit more ease.
Follow the "trail" and when the staff's pull strengthens to where it was when they neared the stones (but where not in visual distance) stop to do a bit off buffing.
Garidan will move up a bit toward the head of the procession, with 'Ruza's Blindsight active to try avoiding potential ambushes. With a range of 30 feet, that's a good bit of coverage, and a well-positioned Malthazir with his wee dragon summoned can do likewise for anything that maybe creeps up from behind or the sides after Garidan passes.
Garidan will also drop 'Ruza's light output down to its absolutely minimum. If there is an ambush, Garidan will--as an immediate action during the turn of who/whatever goes first--use perfect placement from 'Ruza to grant a +1 insight bonus to Reflex saves and AC (+3 AC against AoO) to himself, Niyut, Truk'tosh, Malthazir, Gruskorb, Raektov, and Tacal; the spell only affects a named target if it's no more than 30 feet from another target of the spell. It lasts for 7 rounds.
What were Verthag's magic items again? The armor? The weapon? and the Ampoule?
Before Breaking Camp
Spell Craft (Armor): 1d20 + 26 ⇒ (14) + 26 = 40
Spell Craft (Weapon): 1d20 + 26 ⇒ (2) + 26 = 28
Spell Craft (Ampoule): 1d20 + 26 ⇒ (4) + 26 = 30
CLW (Nethuns, the familiar): 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
CLW (Nethuns, the familiar): 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
GM: Please be sure to update your macros for Gruskorb's initiative and Perception.
As they move forward, Niyut pays attention to the staff as well as keeping an ear out for threats. She knows that her senses are the keenest in the party. She also shapes the shadows into a medium nightmare dragon, which works with Malthazir's Forest Dragon to double the range of their reconnaissance.
I edited in some healing for the familiar.
1d100 ⇒ 86
1d12 ⇒ 11
Garidan: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (1) + 15 = 16
Gruskorb: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (8) + 13 = 21
Malthazir: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (6) + 16 = 22
MalDracAlly: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Niyut: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (5) + 22 = 27
Owl: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (14) + 17 = 31
Raektov: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
Truk'tosh: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (7) + 15 = 22
Garidan: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
Gruskorb: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
Malthazir: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
MalDracAlly: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Niyut: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Owl: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Raektov: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Truk'tosh: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Truk'tosh: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5 Domain power use.
OwlStealth: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
OwlTargetChoice: 1d8 ⇒ 6
OwlClawGrab: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (8) + 13 = 21
+1 Keen Impact Falchion
+1 Agile BP
The Ampoule of BatûlUnknown Rage Effects
The weather turns bad as the party breaks camp. The wind is vicious and biting. A chill has settled upon the forest. The group trudges along in silence as Malthazir's pseudodragon flies patrol. For hours, the trip is uneventful and attention to their surroundings wanes. Suddenly, movement above catches Niyut's eye. But, before she can utter a word, a huge owl descends upon them snatching Raektov in its claws.
A Feeding Frenzy - Round 1
Malthazir (62/62) <-- UP
Garidan (88/88) <-- UP
Gruskorb (90/90) <-- UP
Owl, Giant (0)
Mal's Draconic Ally (17/17)
Status Effects: None
Niyut had a draconic ally (Nightmare) summoned too. Our draconic scouts should know shame for their laxity!