Now I lay me down to sleep
Pray to Aroden my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
Pray to Aroden my soul to take
If I should live for other days,
I pray to Aroden to guide my ways.
~A Child's Bedtime Prayer
“Dragon Plague? Is that what they are calling it now? Sounds like bunch of nonsense to raise taxes again pay for that damnable the Silver Crusade. Putting a fancy title on an army is still an army. Taldor is big enough as is. Am I right, Brevon?”
“You have a point, Master Belhaim. But I think the dragon attacks are true. There have been over a dozen reports so far.”
“Bah, tavern tales. Most likely Asmodean cults creating chaos. If there were so many dragons, there would be more patrols on the road. Or there would be armies raised to fight the dragons here instead of undead armies in the north. I think both are poppy-cock keep the folk in line”
“These are tough times Master Belhaim. Well there you go, all loaded up.”
“Good. Have you seen Tula, my daugher?”
“I think she's playing with Sweet-tooth near the forest's edge. I'm sure Iulia watching them as she sews. An artist with needle and thread, that one.”
“Calli, would you be a dear and let the two of them know we are road ready.”
“Come on, Xylas let's get the horses hitched up.”
“What was that? Did you feel that?”
“Felt like a land tremor but I've never heard anything like that.”
“It sounded like thunder, but there are no clouds in the sky.”
“We have rooms still available if you want to stay another night, Master Behlaim. I would hate for to get stuck out in the rain.”
“Always quick to the coin, eh Brevon? No, I have to return to Nazilli by day's end. Supplies from the west have been sparse.
“Sparse because of the dragon attacks?”
“Not you too. Aroden, why did you make so many so dim. Crazy Eights, scout out the roads ahead 20 minutes. Guilly, could you talk to the winds and see what the weather will be for the day. Now where is Tula?
“My, it sure got dark fast. I thought you said there were no clouds Master Bel-...”
“Death on wings... the stories are true. No Kale, its not worth it. We can't fight it. Run! Everybody Run! Tula, TULA! My baby girl, I lo-...”
In the beginning was the Void.
All life born from it;
all life returns to it.
Seeing into darkness is clarity.
Knowing how to yield is strength.
Use your own light
and return to the source.
This is called practicing eternity.
~Tao Te Ch'ing
Your eyes flicker open.. which seems impossible because you remember dying. Your senses return slowly. Your fingers are numb and stiff. They slowly crawl up the cold stone sides of the sarcophagus you lie in. A fuzzy world focuses on a bald man in a monk's habit. He is leaning in close, jaundiced eyes strained from malicious fear. His teeth are long and cracked, partially shielding the acrid breath he exhales. He inspects each of you by torchlight, his mouth moving but you are unable to understand him. His troubled voice slowly being to fill your ear. It joins the muffled curses of others nearby. The mumbles slowly return to clarity as you are able to decipher the first phrase the monk says as he stares deep into your reborn soul.
Iulia frowns at the harsh messenger. She feigns confidence against the creeping press of the fell sounds and images. You can almost see her mind work, conjuring images to press against the dread: birds and spring days, the smiles of strangers. She scolds the haggled man while looking around at the dreamlike world.
"Of course we are going to die. Everyone dies, what matters is how you live. Who are you? Why are you here? Why are we here?"
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
Haruf tries to fight the numbness of his body and scolds himself for allowing this vulnerability. As his consciousness of the Monk grows, so does his hatred for that man. He tries to remember who could have betrayed him, but the image of the dragon fills his mind and he quickly dissipates that thought.
As he hears Iulia's voice, he relaxes and gives himself time to gather strength while the conversation takes place.
As a reflex, he reaches for his daggers.
I don't like the smell of this place.
"'Course we're all gonna die," Calli groans. The feeling in her bones reminded her of the last time she'd been in Absalom...which was pretty strange considering that she didn't remember having anything to drink. No, this was something different...as she blinks up at the crazed-looking monk, she begins to remember...
That's right...we were packing up to go and everything turned upside down.
Familiar voices sound out from close by, her fellow guards and caravan workers. Well wherever she was, at least she was in good company.
"But more m'portantly, mah friend over there has some good questions. Who're you 'an what are we doin' here? Always thought tha Boneyard'd have a bit more pizzazz to it than this."
A groan leaves Kale's lips as she forces herself to sit up. She could hear the voices of those she had worked with before all around her as she got to her knees.
All going to die huh? Though we did die...
"Alright sound off, who's not dead?" Kale calls as those around her could hear the popping of her shoulders as she tries to alleviate the stiffness of her body.
"Aye and I have one more question to add." Kale says as Calli comments on the good questions. "Where are we?"
Guillaume's brow furrows, confused. What is this place? Pharasma's boneyard? No, it can't be... He leverages himself up, where he can peer over the lip of the stone box. So we're not dead? Well, I suppose that's probably a plus.. Not joining you just yet mom, dad. Glancing around, he tried to see anything that would tell him something about this place.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
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Looking around to gather your bearings, it appears you are in a small cubiculum with doorways on opposite ends. Each of your sarcophagi sit within arches recesses decorated with painted scenes of heroic triumphs. Each of you are dressed in tattered funerary clothes accompanied with items you are not familiar with:
Guillaume has a mace which the head fades in and out of reality.
Haruf has on a simple silk vest studded with pockets within the lining.
Iulia has an untarnished ring that has half a taijitu carved on it.
Calli has a halberd which has jade axe blade in the shape of a snarling dragon with its mouth stretched wide.
Kale dressed in sterling full plate armor.
Xylas has an amulet that has a sparkly, oversized rainbow colored butterfly as a center charm.
Dust falls from the stone ceiling along with the sounds of rocks cracking.
Spread throughout the room are four dwarven monks, all visibly wounded. One is cinching a leather belt at the end of a blood stump where the wrist and hand should be of his companion. Another pacing back and forth, always lingering at one of the entry ways. The final one is the man the greeted you and continues to talk to himself aloud.
"Damn it! Hunclay said these were the right sarcophagi! By the gods, that one is supposed to be Sir Echtyr Thelmarden. And that one was supposed to be Arturic, Ghost Hunter of the Illmarsh. And you! That's Dragon's Doom. How dare you touch Lady Tu-"
"It's coming! I...we.. have to get out of here. Out of here," the pacing man interrupts in terrified tones.
"Oh just sit down, Janik. We're all going to die. Might as well starting drinking. Sonyek, you want some?" The one armed dwarf pull out a flask and tries to unstop it with his one good bloody hand.
Sonyek refuses the offer with scorn. He wipes blood away from a fresh wound that runs from scalp to cheek, bleeding his left eye. "Really, Cord? Shale and stone, these are supposed to be the Slayers! I checked the date of death, 3670. Three-six-seven-zero. It's written down. Look Tromas."
Tromas finishes bandaging amputation and hobbles over to Sonyek, unable to fully bare weight on his right leg. The wizened dwawf snatches the paper out of his hand and brings it closer to his eyes. He then brings the torch down for more light. "Three-six-nine-zero. Its a 9, not a 7. See, the loop. And the Slayers did not all pass in the same year. These six did. You just wasted the last of the Phoenix Down on this group of ... well I don't know who they are."
Sonyek curses again and stomps over to Cord for a final drink. The elder dwarf, Tromas, proceeds to help each of the party members out of their sarcophagi like an old friend. Once everybody is out, he makes a gentle suggestion.
"There is still hope. Listen, I will answer all your questions as best as I can but then you have to help us. After all, you owe us your lives, no matter how brief they may be."
The stones crack again followed by the halls rumbling. Something wicked this way comes.
I'll continue in the morning. I'm heading to bed and I don't want to slam you with walls o'text.
Xylas gives the gaudy gizmo a dubious look, but recalls that Pa always did say to not count a gift horse's teeth. He pockets the amulet and looks alarmed at crumbling halls. Turning his attention back to the mad monks, he asks, "I don't particular fancy being entombed again. Shouldn't we leave?"
Thromas proceeds to tell you that the four of them are holy brothers of Iomedae (you've never heard of her) of the Crucible of Dark Souls. It is here that the monastery researches how to destroy evil artifacts.
"This bit of trouble started, like most problems, with a halfling. The halfling was transporting an item called The Tear of Menxyr. It was believed that the Tear can bring a creature back from the dead and then be possessed by a malevolent spirit.
"As the halfling was transporting the Tear, he began to juggling it. I yelled at him to stop it. Unfortunately, I distracted him causing him to drop the gem. The Tear of Menxyr fell and cracked open by the bones of Kwislingyr.
"Kwislingyr is brought back to life and is immediately possessed by the demon within. He proceeds to slaughter everybody within the monastery. We tried to fight as best we could. Near death and out of spells we sought to bring back the Slayers of Nazilli from the Bonekeep. But instead we have you.
"We have to stop Kwislingyr. He cannot get out of the monastery and he cannot get a hold of the Possessor's Necklace. This artifact when worn leaves the wearer open to all forms of possessions. With it, the amount of evil and chaos this demon can perform is limitless. So let me tell you what we have to work with."
Thromas proceeds to tell you the powers of each of the items.
Guillaume has a mace which the head fades in and out of reality: Soulsplitter, +2 ghost touch heavy mace
Haruf has on a simple silk vest studded with pockets within the lining. Vest of Escape
Iulia has an untarnished ring that has half a taijitu carved on it. Ring of Friend Shield
Calli has a halberd which has jade axe blade in the shape of a snarling dragon with its mouth stretched wide. Dragon's Doom: +2 dragonbane halberd
Kale dressed in sterling full plate armor. +3 full plate
Xylas has an amulet that has a sparkly, oversized rainbow colored butterfly as a center charm. Holy symbol of Delayed Nightmares. (functions as a wand of remove fear).
Even though there's no hangover, Calli begins to feel a pounding in her head just the same. She eyes the one-armed dwarf's flask.
"Iffin' yer friend don't want none, I'd take ya up on that offer of a drink," she responds, still looking around. "Now what's this 'bout a K-wis-linger comin' back and causin' trouble? Who's he?"
As if to answer her question, the jade dragon head of Calli's pole arm begins to glow an iridescent green. Unearthly shadows creep across the catacomb. The roof, walls and floor tremble violently now causing Sonyek to drop his torch. Rumbling down the hallway are echos of a sound all too familiar. The last sound any of you heard before awaking in this tomb.
"A gold dragon of legend," Thromas answers in a whisper.
Kale listened to the dwarves before them, some what in shock. They where the wrong people? If that was so then... what happened to the bodies of those they sought after?
The echos sound in Kale's very being as the familiar sounds reach the group.
Gold dragon?... aren't they normally good? Oh.. possession... Right.
"Well, it seems you wanted heroes but got us. Now, these things are wonderful but on their own and split up like they are they don't really do us much good. Those of us who have weapons can't take a hit and those of us with the armor to take the hit have nothing to fight back with. So please tell me you all have some other form of weapons?" Kale asked as she quietly tried to hush the dwarves. "Also this, what was it, Possessor's Necklace... Can you call a spirit to it? Or is it just random chance?" She shifted a bit uncomfortable in the armor that adorned her, after all it had been made for another.
Am I right in guessing Kale is in Sir Echtyr's armor?
"Oh, those are lovely questions - wish I had thought of them myself! She's got the right spirit, too: sitting here waiting to be flambéed does no one any good." Iulia stares at her singular Ring of Friend Shield, admiring the craftsmanship in spite of the lack of functionality. "I have a few questions of my own. Is there a way out of this tunnel, at least some where we can retreat to temporarily?" She pauses to dust off her shift. "What of magic to expel the demon? I know some wards exist that can help free an unfortunate's mind. Do we have anything of that sort about? And what of the Tear? Does it still exist, broken or not?"
"I think they said the Tear bauble brought the entire dragon back, not just its bones. Rather a more exciting happening, I fear, given that a living, breathing specimen is quiate a daunting prospect."
Rising out of the sarcophagus, Guillaume took a few experimental swings with the mace, a growing furrow marring his brow. "So, where did these weapons and garments come from?" he asked the nearest monk. "I'm quite certain that in all my decades I've never wielded a weapon like this one before. The closest thing I've used is likely a simple wooden cudgel. That's not to say this isn't an exquisite piece of weaponry, but it's terribly unfamiliar to me, not at all like my usual choices. Not to mention these robes." he looked around, trying to recall if he knew any of the others to be mace wielders. "Can anyone else make better use of this than I can?"
"Could ask the same question 'bout this thing," Calli chimes in, raising the halberd to emphasize her point. "Looks beautiful an' I'm sure it's a fine weapon but I ain't never learnt to use anythin' like it. Mebbe I could iffin' I had the time, but it sounds like time's somethin' we're a bit short on at the moment."
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
"You might be able to use some of the artifacts founds in the Crucible," mummers to himself while tapping his lips.
Janik stops near the doorway and turns to yell at Thromas, "They can't use those items, they are all-"
A blast of flame burst the door into splintering spears. One impales Jaink and sends him flying across the room. He slams into stone wall turning his head and guts into dwarf jelly.
The ancient tapestries and rugs in the room catch fire as a wagon-sized head of a golden dragon snakes its way through the cindered doorway. Its eyes are dead and white as low growl rumbles from its gullet.
"No time. Down the hall, find away to stop this beast. We'll hold it off. Become the heroes you were born to be," Thromas commands.
2d20 ⇒ (9, 10) = 19
So we are in "rounds" right now. There is a bit of a count down to events. I'll try to simulate this as best I can over PbP to maintain pressure but also to be fair. So give an actions as if you are in rounds. Good luck.
Sonyek leaps at Calli and tries to take the Dragon Bane from her.
If you let him have it, so be it. Otherwise CMB vs Calli CMD: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Cordemar and Thromas search out pieces of splintered wood that they can use as either a club or spear.
Jaru hops out of the sarcophagus taking cover behind it. He offers a quick prayer for his God's blessing.
"Forest Father, to you I pray,
May your blessing come our way.
Let our aim be straight and true,
this my Lord, I pray to you."
Round 1- cast bless- +1 to hit and vs fear.
Calli's Round 1
Okay, guessing this guy doesn't provoke any AoOs for the disarm and that beats Calli's CMD so he's got the weapon or she drops it, whichever is the case.
"What the-hey!" Calli bellows as the dwarf Sonyek manages to knock the halberd out of her hands. "Are ya nuts!? A dragon comes callin' and ya wanna fight over weapons?"
However, she's not inclined to quibble over the specifics when there's a greater threat. She too ducks behind a sarcophagus, calling out, "Gotta run, can't fight it like we are!"
Move action to move behind a sarcophagus for cover. Unless someone else really wants it, Calli's more than willing to let that guy have the halberd if he wants it so badly.
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
Haruf curses loudly. He is clearly afraid.
Damn you monks with your possession magic!
He goes to the unobstructed exit and takes a look before stepping further to see if it's safe. If it is dark in there, he thanks his Orc ancestry for Darkvision.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
"No time to pray, Xylas! Move that cute butt of yours now, now, now!" She tugs at the nearest dwarf as she runs towards the far door. "Show us to the crucible! Hurry!"
Xylas Blesses the party as if he is preparing for battle.
Calli is caught flat footed as Sonyek snags the halberd from her. "Sorry Miss. I'll give it back if I live, otherwise you can take it off my dead body. Now get!"
Iulia tries to pull Tromas, but dwarven stability and stubbornness keeps him in place. "End of the hall. You and Hunclay should be able to figure out something. We'll buy you time."
Haruf looks down the passage to see a torchlit hallway, no more then 10' across running 120'. The hallway widens at the end with an illuminated room. There are two 20' high and wide iron doors between the hallway and the room. One door is closed, the other door is closing ...
Gully & Kale to act.
Consternation turning to distress, what with an undead dragon's head sticking through where the door had been moments before, Guillaume glances around rapidly, taking in the monk prying the halberd from Calli's hands, the others searching for any weapon to use against the monster, the open hallway Thromas was ordering them down. With a shake of his head, he drops the mace "If you can use it, take it." he says to no one in particular, before turning and sprinting down the hallway.
Free action to drop the mace, full-round action to run at 4x speed down the hallway, making for the doors.
Oh this is going to end badly..
Kale gave a respectable nod to dwarves she was sure she wouldn't see alive again. "Don't do anything too rash." She told them before she turned and ran after her allies. "Keep moving, no matter what do you all understand?" Kale called to her friends.
Using run as well. But she can only move 80 with the heavy armor.
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
As soon as he can, Haruf sprints through the corridor to the door. Should he be the first to get there, he doesn't step in, but instead stands so as to not block the entrance and gives a cautious look inside.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
As Guillaume, Iulia? and Kale run down the hall, the light at end of the tunnel slowly wanes to darkness as the other iron door closes shut followed by a KLANG! Only a thin bar of light creeps out from under the door.
"No no no. This can't be happening. Can't be happening. Now there are ghosts. Ghosts and dragons. You can't be the legends of old. Can't be. But you must. Must! Who else can save us?"
The dragon shoulders the door frame again, cracking the stone, widening the passage so that it may enter. Its frothing muzzle opens and sword-length teeth are bared. If such a visage isn't scary enough, the dragon's eyes glow and a wave of Fear wash over everybody.
You drop what is in your hands and flee down the open hallway. You'll then cower at large closed door
The dwarven monks remain stalwart in the face of fear and death. Without having to speak they slowly start to surround the dragon, edging in closer. Their fighting style consits more of defensive feints from three different directions then trying to actually harm the dragon.
Haruf not requiring any more motivation from the dragon, runs down the hallway.
Everybody but Haruf may act
Oh sinnerman, where you gonna run to?
Sinnerman, where you gonna run to?
Where you gonna run to?
All along dem day
Well I run to the rock, please hide me
I run to the rock, please hide me
I run to the rock, please hide me, lord
All along dem day
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
Will (DC 18; Bless): 1d20 + 7 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 7 + 1 = 17
Perhaps it's the lack of liquid courage in her system or maybe it's just the fact that dragons are pretty terrifying creatures, even when they would have once been good. Either way, the glowing eyes of the dragon fill Calli with the overwhelming urge to flee - which she does with remarkable speed.
"He's gonna eat us all! AIIIEEEE!"
Calli will go all-out until she reaches the closed door at the end of the hallway. How long does the fear effect last?
*Edit* Even though it doesn't change the result, accounted for Bless with my roll.
Will: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
Funny, that's...exactly what I was doing anyway.
Sprinting for the door, Guillaume shouts"RUN!!!" As he passes the others.
Actually Guillaume, you are already at the door and not affected by the Fear spell. Guilly, Kale and Iulia are not affected by the Fear spell.
Guillame: At Door, redo action
Calli: Running this round
Xylas: Running this round
Haraf: Running this round
Kale: At Door, hasn't acted yet
Iulia: At Door, hasn't acted yet
"Sir... Mister Hunclay... you've got to be strong and brave right now. Thomas and Sonyek are giving their all right now, buying us precious time with their lives, so that we can figure how to set things right. We've got to get to the Crucible of Dark Souls; there has to be something there we can use against that monster. But if you don't let us in right now and help us..." Iulia voices becomes stern for a moment, then softens, "...Thomas and Sonyek will have died in vein. But that won't matter for very long, because the dragon will eat you next. Please open the door."
diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11 (no nearby pig...)
All of the heroes congregate at the large iron door either voluntarily or by enchanted means.
Another tremor shakes throughout the catacombs, most likely from the dragon trying to push its way into the burial chamber.
Screams from the dwarves in the room can be heard down the hall.
"Spiders? Really spiders? I'm going to die fighting a dragon not death by a hundred pricks."
Hunclay on the other side of the large, safe iron door isn't conveinced yet to open it up.
"But aren't you great heroes? Only the Slayers are allowed in. Otherwise you might be talking mummies or revenants. Even worse vampires! How do I know you are not vampires?"
Everybody is at the door.
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
Haruf takes a look back to the dragon and breathes heavily.
We ARE the Slayers, without our weapons! Four brothers decided to DIE so we can arm ourselves. What do you decide? To let your only hope die?
Bluff: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
As he speaks, Haruf searches for a lock he could pick.
This is why I don't rely on people
As Xylas' magic takes effect Calli ceases cowering by the door and looks around, rather embarrassed that no one else had been screaming in terror. "Ahhh, right, right! If ya'll ain't scairt then there's no reason for me to be scairt either!"
Turning her attention back to the large iron door, she thinks for a moment before the ridiculousness of the situation proves too much for her. "Vampires!? If we were vampires we'd have broke through that door already an' we wouldn't even be havin' this conversation now would we!?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8 Argh!
You can use Diplomacy untrained, right? Here goes nothing
Growing worry creeping relentlessly into his mind, Guillaume sighed. I'm no good at dealing with sentients, but I guess I should give it a shot "Listen, father Hunclay. If you do nothing, that dragon will smash his way down the hall and kill every one of us, you included. If we were undead, which we aren't, we wouldn't do any worse than that dragon, and it'd even be over quicker. But we aren't undead, and letting us in is the one way any of us will have a fighting chance of getting out of this alive. Now please, give us all a chance to survive this. Open the door, and let us help you."
Diplomacy: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (3) - 1 = 2
Iulia takes a deep breath. "You, dear, are tempting fate and trying these heroes patience. If we were vampires we wouldn't be having this conversation. Now come here"
Xylas channels good will through the amulet. Rainbow colored sparkles flitter down over Calli and she feels a sense of calm for a time being.
Haruf doesn't sound too convincing as he searches the door. He does fine a keyhole, but breaking a lock of this size may take some time...
Calli's functions return and she is more at easy. Sober, but at easy. Unfortunately both her and Guilly's voices seem to strain from under use for so many years.
Kale still up
"Oh that is it!! Listen up!" Kale screamed as she slammed her fist on the door. "Either you can let us in there to get weapons to fight off this dragon, or so help me, when we all die, and you will die, I will be waiting for you in the boneyard!! These doors may stop us, but they will not stop a dragon!! You will die alone and a coward! Unless you let us in!!" She shouted at dwarf behind the door.
Intimidate: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Please let that work! XD It's a shot in the dark but I had to try!