The Shackled City Adventure Path by GM Rutseg

Game Master Balacertar

Chapter 8 - LORDS OF OBLIVION

Cauldron map
Redgorge map
Current map

Campaign Index / Campaign diary
Loot sheet
Old loot sheet (Maxim)

Group Stealth (passive): -5 (Kikinnin)
Group Stealth (active): 5 (Kikinnin)
Group Perception: 27 (Marigold)
Group Sense motives: 30 (Marigold)
Group Spellcraft: 24 (Maxim)
Group Appraise: 23 (Maxim)


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Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

"The Darklands are huge indeed young man. I am obviously not coming at you with an impossible task" answers Davked "The divinations reported Zenith is being held prisoner in a kuo-toan shrine in the Darklands north of the Malachite Fortress. The shrine is called Bhal-Hamatugn"

"There's a complication" intervenes Celeste "The exact route to reach that shrine is unknown to us. There is though a hermit named Crazy Jared that mentioned the shrine to Davked's clansmen in the past, he survives alone in the Darklands at four days from the Malachite, am I saying it good Davked?" Celeste turns to the elder dwarf.

Davked nods to Celeste "Indeed."

"He lives past the Demon Doors." continues Celeste awkwardly knowledgeable of the Malachite Fortress details "Thus, you would need the four black demon keys that laid protected by the dwarfs of the Malachite"

"Perhaps you can by some darkvision scrolls" suggests Celeste to JJ "I might provide a daylight oil as well"


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

"Black demon keys?" says JJ - his face showing he doesn't like the sound of that at all. "Why is there a Demon Door in the Malachite fortress, Kikinnin?" he inquires.

Turning to gaze at the beauty next to him, he asks "Who is Kuo-Toa? I don't think I have heard of that god before. Though surely if it is in the darklands, it must be some fell power."


Male CN Human : Fighter 1 (Archer) / Eldritch Knight 2 / Dragon Disciple 1 / Sorcerer 9 (Crossblooded) - Level 13, CR 12 | HP: 52/76 | AC: 24 (16 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +9, CMD: 23 | F: +9, R: +6, W: +9 | Init: +2 | Perc: +15, SM: +7 | Speed 30ft | Acid Ray (1D6+4): 7/7 | Magic Claws 1d6+1+1d6 acid 7/7 | Spells: 1st 4/7, 2nd 2/7, 3rd 7/7, 4th 5/6, 5th (3/3) | Active conditions: (blessing of fervour, greater invisibility), Hero Points: 1

GM Rusteg (Tyro):
Got all that. Pretty straight forward.

Juraan will let Meerthan know about Maavu reportedly leaving Cauldron before the umberhulk attack.
And will let Meerthan know our group will be making a foray into the Darklands to rescue someone.

For the meeting at the Cusp of Sunrise:
knowledge (dungeoneering): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Juraan is clueless about the Darklands. For now.

Juraan listens to the exchanges about going to rescue Zenith.

"The terms of payment are indeed generous", he says at last, after things calm down slightly.

"I have not been to Malachite before, so it will be interesting."
"Is there anything else we need to know about the Darklands?"
"Apart from being dangerous. And dark."


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

Still unconvinced about Celeste's sudden integral part in all of this Maxim, listen to the rest of the group chime in.

He eyes the ancient dwarf as Kikinnin drives his words home like a war mattock.

Ouch. Rouradont wields words like a urgosh...

At the mention of where the diviners narrowed the search for Zenith to, the gun-mage's brow furrows as he puffs on his stogie thoughfully;

Bhal-Hamatugn? Kuo-Toa... What in Hell's Teeth are they..

Knowledge (Dungeoneering) - What is known of Kuo-Toa?: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22

"Any scrolls will be useful. An perhaps an open tab at Zanathor’s Provisions will be required. We'll need to be outfitted for spelunking an such..."

Note to self: Visit Westkey’s Map Emporium - may be some sideline coin to be had in the Darklands... ;)


Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision
JJ wrote:
"Why is there a Demon Door in the Malachite fortress, Kikinnin?"

Kikinnin eyeballs Celeste in a wary fashion, as the woman speaks on knowledge of Malachite that he himself has trouble recalling.

Lore(Malachite): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19

Kikinnin shares what little he knows regarding the Demon Doors, while looking back and forth between Celeste and Dakved, expecting them to fill in the blanks for the boy's question, when he is unable to explain it, himself. His eyebrow raising should be indication enough, as he doesn't come right out to ask the two to elaborate.

"6000 gold in arms and armor is generous, Dakved, but you're talking about the Darklands. Zenith lost men. I'll not do the same in pursuit of him, so you tell me what you're truly willing to spend to see us safely into and back from the Darklands, with your son, dead or alive." Kikinnin's voice is steady and unyielding.


M HP 101/101 | AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22 | Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +15 | Init +1, Perception +7, Stealth -2 | speed 30' | Channel Positive Energy 7/7 (6d6 ) | Inspiring Word 8/8 (+2 / 6 round) | Agile Feet 8/8 |Cleric Spells (0 -4/4, 1st -7/7, 2nd-6/6, 3rd-6/6, 4th-5/5, 5th-5/5, 6th-3/3)

Ryan listens to the back and forth in the conversation aware there are tensions in Dwarves seeking help from others before their own kin, even if only in appearances not the fact. The feeling of clan before the world had allowed their folk to survive overwhelming odds throughout their history. Turning his own thoughts to the biggest issue affecting the non-dark vision members of their party.

"Celeste, Dakved, it has been put forth that members of out party are unable to see in the dark and lanterns and light spells would stand out like warning beacons to any who dwell there.
Alas, I can petition Abadar for spells to create darkness, or to create light, but not see in the darkness itself. Both Maxim and Jaraan, have the ability to cast the spell to see in the darkness as a wizard or sorcerer. We have not yet achieved the point that we can create a wand, could you pair us with an individual who could if a wand is not available within town?"

Darkvision is a level 2 wizard/sorcerer spell so a wand would be 4500gp if available. Definitely more cost effective than a wand or potion.


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Kikinnin remembers nothing about a Demon Door, but he does remember some keys in demon shape you found in the Malachite Fortress.
Look under Treasure spoiler

"The Demon Door... I fear your mission may take you pass that place... I fear that was the way Zenith took on his crusade..." comments Davked while he starts drawing a map in a piece of paper "Use this map, it will help you find Crazy Jared, he should know were the kuo-toa shrine is exactly located"

"I can provide lore about that door" comments Celeste "There was a time during the early days of Cauldron that an army commanded by a Demon Lord called Dagon used to attack from the deeps. The dwarfs sealed that way to the deepest and darkest waters of the Darklands and created that door and then the Malachite Fortress to make sure such a thing will never happen again" she smiles wide "Luckily for you Dagon has been long time ago driven out of this plane of existence and there is no danger for you in that sense, but... there might be some reminiscence of his host left"

Lore Darklands, Kuo-Toa or similar topics are applicable to the following spoilers too:

About Kuo-toa: K. nature or Dungeoneering DC 16:

Neither quite fish nor frog, reptile nor human, kuo-toas are degenerate ichthyoids that inhabit the deep places of the world.

The kuo-toas are an ancient race whose history stretches back before the memory of the surface races. Their primeval empire, coexistent with the prehistoric cultures of the serpentfolk and troglodytes, was once powerful and sophisticated, but due to external pressures and internal conflicts, the kuo-toas have been reduced to scattered tribes wallowing in brutality and insanity.

To the kuo-toas, all other races are inferior and exist only as potential slaves. The sole exception are the drow, with whom the kuo-toa have a lucrative slave trade, though they will enslave lone dark elves without hesitation. Svirfneblin, duergar, orcs, mongrelmen, and vegepygmies are common targets for kuo-toa slave raids. The only race they never enslave are the skum, whom they destroy on sight.

<- Maxim got this one already

K. nature or religion DC 20:

Kuo-toa settlements function as city-sized temples to their alien goddess and her merciless priests, known as whips, are absolute rulers. Enforcing the whips’ edicts are orders of monks known as monitors who act as secret police, punishing the insufficiently servile and corralling the insane into gibbering mobs. Squads of elite fighters protect the settlement’s outskirts and raid other subterranean races for slaves. Kuo-toas must live near water to lay their eggs, but most of their settlements are above ground to house their air-breathing slaves, with only the hatcheries and central shrine fully submerged.

The Kuo-toa revere a god they call Blibdoolpoolp, The Drowning Godess.

K. nature or history DC 24:
Kuo-toas originated in the Sightless Sea of darkest Orv, but driven out in a genocidal war by the monstrous aboleths, they spread throughout Golarion’s Darklands, and even into the deepest crevices of the surface oceans. The aboleths cursed the kuo-toas with near-contagious insanity that has prevented them from rebuilding their ancient empire.

Furthermore, the aboleths are thought to have bred kuo-toas with humans to create their slave race, the ulat-kini, known on the surface as skum. Kuo-toas despise skum above all other enemies and will not suffer the deep ones to live.

"Indeed this is a task I want done without chance to failure" Davked places a bag of coin in front of you then turns to Celeste "She has spoken good about you, and I have known myself, but these 6000 gp upfront should help you to equip, it should be enough to get that darkvision wand you so much desire"


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

Maxim will impart what is contained within the Knowledge: Dungeoneering spoiler to the rest of the group.

Maxim eyes his fellow black beard with a wry smile;

"Hell's Teeth bror... Ye drive a hard bargain! I heartily approve!"

He nods at Davked's offer of 6000 gold upfront.

"6000 Suns to fund the operation old timer. That will suffice... But we'll hold ye to a full share each as offered... when we bring your precious Zenith back..."

The gun-mage, gestures with his stogie to both the ancient dwarf and his glamorous benefactor;

"Neither o' ye better get cheap on us when we come back neither. I still ain't sold on what you're angle in this is blondie... Ye seem to champion us when we's already heroes o' the Malachite. Somethin' don't sit right in all this an' I got a nose fer such..."

Maxim restores the cigar and maintains a hard look at the pair.


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

JJ watches the byplay of the dwarves with a mixture of amusement and concern. However the intoxicating presence of Celeste soothes any worries from his mind.

He smiles happily at her. "How do you know so much about Dagon and early Cauldron?" he asks dreamily.


Male CN Human : Fighter 1 (Archer) / Eldritch Knight 2 / Dragon Disciple 1 / Sorcerer 9 (Crossblooded) - Level 13, CR 12 | HP: 52/76 | AC: 24 (16 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +9, CMD: 23 | F: +9, R: +6, W: +9 | Init: +2 | Perc: +15, SM: +7 | Speed 30ft | Acid Ray (1D6+4): 7/7 | Magic Claws 1d6+1+1d6 acid 7/7 | Spells: 1st 4/7, 2nd 2/7, 3rd 7/7, 4th 5/6, 5th (3/3) | Active conditions: (blessing of fervour, greater invisibility), Hero Points: 1

Knowledge (history, nature & religion) are easy; NADA!
I don't have any of those as yet. :P

"At this rate we'll all be minted!" Juraan tells himself.

"When do we set off, then?"


Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision

Kikinnin watches as Dakved brings out a decent amount more to see their mission funded. He looks to Maxim, raising a single eyebrow. Is this good enough? Looks a mite better than moments ago.

Maxim wrote:
"Hell's Teeth bror... Ye drive a hard bargain! I heartily approve!"

Kikinnin nods along with Maxim. He takes a bit of heart hearing the blond-beard approve, knowing that the two of them take an ogre's share of the responsibility for seeing the others safely through the Darklands, restricted in sight though they may be.

When JJ inquires with Celeste regarding the ancient lore and how she knows it, Kikinnin's full attention swings away from Dakved and onto Celeste.

"The boy asks a very right question, Celeste. It would put my mind at ease to hear you answer it properly."


M HP 101/101 | AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22 | Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +15 | Init +1, Perception +7, Stealth -2 | speed 30' | Channel Positive Energy 7/7 (6d6 ) | Inspiring Word 8/8 (+2 / 6 round) | Agile Feet 8/8 |Cleric Spells (0 -4/4, 1st -7/7, 2nd-6/6, 3rd-6/6, 4th-5/5, 5th-5/5, 6th-3/3)

kn:religion: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11 the darklands and the kou-toa where not a part of Ryans studies beyond a cursory introduction - "Bad place -don't go!"

"Thank you Master Davked, that sold go well towards provisioning this trip" seeming that the trip will proceed Ryan request the map and a moment of Maxim's time, attempting to put some time frame to this trip based upon the map. Those without the means of Darkvision would of needs necessarily spend time without the benefit of the wand. Other means would need to be employed.


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Celeste looks at Davked "One thing after the other. We first should help here good Splintershield clan"

Sense motives DC 20:

You feel Celeste is trying to avoid answering questions here at the moment.

Davked looks to answer Juraan "The soon­er the better, obviously. I
don't kn'ow how long I've got, and I don't want to face the af­terlife with a curse hanging over my head from this world.
"

Ryan and Maxim assess it will take between 2 and 4 days to reach Crazy Jared's place from the Malachite.


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

"I don't think that wands or scrolls are going to last for days..." sighs JJ.

"So we had best be prepared for folk to be jumping out at us from all over the place. It is a pity there is no way to mask our light from further out that thirty or forty feet. I don't suppose.."

He looks to Juran and Maxim, and then to Marigold "Any of you know magical ways to do that?"

SM: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5 +2 if Celeste is human, which I'm guessing she isn't.


Male CN Human : Fighter 1 (Archer) / Eldritch Knight 2 / Dragon Disciple 1 / Sorcerer 9 (Crossblooded) - Level 13, CR 12 | HP: 52/76 | AC: 24 (16 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +9, CMD: 23 | F: +9, R: +6, W: +9 | Init: +2 | Perc: +15, SM: +7 | Speed 30ft | Acid Ray (1D6+4): 7/7 | Magic Claws 1d6+1+1d6 acid 7/7 | Spells: 1st 4/7, 2nd 2/7, 3rd 7/7, 4th 5/6, 5th (3/3) | Active conditions: (blessing of fervour, greater invisibility), Hero Points: 1

sense motive: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20 . . woooooo!

"You are probably right.", says Juraan to Dakved and Celeste.

But he then Juraan gives Celeste a knowing look and whispers to her:
"When next we talk, though, don't be so coy and evasive."
"I find it easier to trust people who are more forthright."


M HP 101/101 | AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22 | Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +15 | Init +1, Perception +7, Stealth -2 | speed 30' | Channel Positive Energy 7/7 (6d6 ) | Inspiring Word 8/8 (+2 / 6 round) | Agile Feet 8/8 |Cleric Spells (0 -4/4, 1st -7/7, 2nd-6/6, 3rd-6/6, 4th-5/5, 5th-5/5, 6th-3/3)

"No they wouldn't, but a hooded lantern would allow those of us in the group to have visibility to move about without being completely in the dark. JJ, for the most part you act as our scout, so at least 4 charges per day will need to be expended from the wand on you. We're looking at 2-4 days to reach Crazy Jared's place, so worst case scenario, you need 32 charges to reach Jared's place and return back to Malachite. That leaves 4 days worth to reach the camp and return afterwards; but all this is with no light below in the Darklands. To our dwarven companions and benefactor, is there no light within the Darklands?"

Ryan runs some numbers while Maxim, Kikinnin, and Davked ponder his question. Hooded Lantern - 7gp, 4pt oil/day 4sp, at 12 days is 48pt of oil - gonna need to store that within the a bag of holding or something, so 12gp for oil and lantern.

"The core group could be covered by the lantern, tunnels would help block it from others view, granted your scouting and Kikinnin's vision as rearguard, Kikinnin is the less squishy of our dwarven brethren, sorry Maxim, would be needed for to scout ahead and watch our backs."

I wouldn't be so mathmatical, except we're looking at 12 days and roughly 50lbs of oil to run the lanterns. although a hooded lantern to supplement times we need to be hidden and the remainder of the time Ryan's ioun stone can provide the main group visibility while traveling withing tunnels; at far less oil needed. Cost isn't an issue here it is the weight of it, a mule would be beneficial, anyone good with animules :)

reading up on the hooded lantern in Pathfinder leaves something unsaid about the lantern, why is it called a hooded lantern but does not mention being able to 'hood' the light. This RPG exchange post caught my eye and made sense for a hooded lantern

Someone please tell me if I'm reading way too much into this


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

"Can't you make one of those ever burning torches Ryan?" asks JJ.

"Or maybe use that magic on the inside of a hooded lantern? That way you could shut it off quickly if you needed, and no need for so much oil."


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

At Ryan's words the gun-mage smiles wryly as he stogie glows;

"Best if I walk near the front at least Taskerhill. Any traps an such might need my attention. An' I ain't as easy a nut to crack as ye might think..."

He mulls the supplies required for the expedition, then taps the magical bag at his hip.

"Bearer o' supplies can carry 'em in this bag o' magical holding. I plan to buy that Haversack in Skie's... so will carry my own gear with that."

Maxim was mulling the Handy Haversack @ Skie's anyway. So he'll grab that and give up the Bag of Holding to whomever wants to carry the lighting items. Beside's before we head off Maxim has a bunch of things to do.

As Celeste fails to answer the question put to her, the dwur's brow once again furrows;

DC20 Sense Motive: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10

He warily eyes the whispered exchange between Juraan and the blonde woman;

Huh. Wonderin' what that's all about...

The gun-mage taps the bag of holding again;

"Get or make the everburnin' torches an' store 'em in the bag. Couple that with a wand o' dark-vision an' you lot would be covered in the Deep."

The dwur, takes a puff of his cigar, then angles toward the door. He halts momentarily addressing his companions...

"Reckon we've done enough jawin' an' times a wasting. We've much to prepare folks."

...then shoots a final hard word toward Davked and Celeste;

"An you two. I still ain't sold on your partnership... so when we return, there better be no backsteppin' on this deal. Consequences wouldn't be pretty."


M HP 101/101 | AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22 | Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +15 | Init +1, Perception +7, Stealth -2 | speed 30' | Channel Positive Energy 7/7 (6d6 ) | Inspiring Word 8/8 (+2 / 6 round) | Agile Feet 8/8 |Cleric Spells (0 -4/4, 1st -7/7, 2nd-6/6, 3rd-6/6, 4th-5/5, 5th-5/5, 6th-3/3)
Maxim wrote:
An' I ain't as easy a nut to crack as ye might think

"Not saying your easy Maxim, just would hate for the sneaks arrow catch you as that magical shielding you use wears off." Ryan says with a smile, patting Maxim on the back

"The ioun stone of mine, and perhaps Marigold could use yours JJ, would suffice while we're in confined areas. Magic the lantern? Actually that sounds like a great idea with a bit of effort we could magic the wick and proceed. Then hood it against prying eyes...." Ryan trails off thinking if the possibilities

with GM approval that is. The ever burning torch still would be a good idea as well and some oil as magiking the wick every few minutes might get a bit tedious


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

"Good Maxim, rest assured next time we see each other things should be much clear" Celeste makes a pause before completing "It is just Cauldron has many veiled eyes and ears and not all of them play on our side" she smiles wide and starts to say good bye.

To JJ she gives a hug "Do not be afraid to accept your blood. Let it be if you feel the call"

The blond woman starts to kiss everyone else then, when the turn for Marigold arrives, she reaches her front with a hand, but an invisible spark of electricity makes her away and also surprises Marigold. Celeste frowns but says nothing.

After a night's rest you spend the next day doing preparations. Some of you buy spelunking stuff, others arrange an agreement with Westkey's Map Emporium, that follows with visits to family and friends. With the help of JJ and Maxim, Ryan prepares an everburning hooded lamp with ruby dust worth 50 gp.

By the evening you are all ready and descend to the deep of the caldera reaching a couple hours afterwards the Malachite Fortress.

On the old dwarven hold people is happy to see you back and to know about Davked and that you have been sent by him. There is plenty of activity in the forges these days and the Fortress has been properly rebuild in just a few months. It seems impressive but coin and other richness seem to flow with ease.

After a good meal with products all over Cauldron you are assigned a place on Splintershield's clan rooms. The night is fair and easy for all of you but for Marigold who seems to have bad dreams the whole night.

Marigold's dream*:

The landscape around you is beautiful - white cloud-like hills, a sparkling twilight lake, and a gold and ivory cathedral. A sweet gentle wind carries the song of heaven through the air. Looking upwards you see the sky above you is a heartbreaking blue, spotted with silver lined clouds.

Part of your heart swells with peace and joy, but another part feels increasingly sickened by your surroundings.

Suddenly the peace is broken.

A tangible wave of deafening noise strikes you, the echoes of an epic battle ringing loudly in your ears. You follow the noise and fly towards the edge of the cliff face and gaze down into the valley below.

Two great armies fight below you with spectacular magic and with awesome might.

One army is breathtakingly beautiful. White winged angels sound mighty horns, balls of light dart above the battle firing rays of power, majestic hound headed soldiers wield great swords while beautiful blue skinned angels lay waste to their enemies with a wave of their hands.

The other army is as horrifically ugly as the first army is beautiful. Skeletal demons fight with flaming scythes and scorpion tails, huge boar-like demons barrel through their enemies ripping with bloody mauls, snake tailed women with six whirling weapons cut a path through the angel ranks while great horned demons strike out from above the battle with flaming whips and dark swords.

Standing at the rear of the demonic army is Mharah - a creature of colossal proportions. The howling demons at his feet seem like rats compared to his epic size. Dark smoke and flame pour from the demonic general's eyes and four gigantic white feathery snake-like appendages writhe from his back as he roars in anger at the angel army before it.

As you watch, Mharah holds one hand open, creating a massive black smoking ball of flame, and hurls it into the celestial army ranks, consuming hundreds of the screaming angels.

You mentally command your reserve forces to attack and complete the conquest.

Howls of horror echo down from high above the valley heralding the approach of thousands more demons. The new demons pours down either side of the valley walls, screaming with bloodlust, keen to taste victory.

You watch as the angelic army valiantly fights on with a sense of pity, only prolonging their inevitable destruction.

A horned demon approaches you "The trap is done. Your vengeance is close. What are the orders my Prince?" You look breathless without understanding.

You are interrupted by a single horn sound high in the sky, a perfect note piercing the terror and calming the tide of panic. You turn your attention upwards and see the clouds part and a great column of light pour down onto the battlefield. Diving from the clouds and through the light, a golden angel, the most beautiful view you have ever seen flies downwards towards the conflict. A name comes to your lips, Haloen. Your heart trembles and you feel your mind going dizzy.

As a single man the angelic army drops to their knees ensamble, oblivious to their demonic enemies. The demons stand confused and look upwards.

High above the golden angel slowly places a crystal trumpet to his lips.

You quickly take to the air, desperate to get to the golden angel before he can sound the horn and make the ultimate sacrifice, but you know you are already too late.

A note of sorrow softly sounds at first, then the note begins to escalate and an immense wave of light blasts outwards from the trumpet, completely consuming Haloen in an instant and blasting the battlefield with terrifying holy power.

The ground itself violently shakes as the note and light continues, and the cloud-like ground behind you begins to tear and rip, quickly forming an expanding crack.

Mharah roars in disbelief and pain before tumbling dead to the ground.

You watch helplessly as the crack turns into a chasm and the chunk of land where the battle has raged cracks and breaks apart. The large piece of land drifts and starts to move towards the chasm. As the chunk is torn away from the heavens you, your army and multiple angels are swallowed by the powerful gravity generated by the open chasm.

Everything is taken by the light, then, you see the chasm closes above your head. The land suddenly drops and you feel yourself falling from heaven... falling into the depths of hell.

You do wake up full of sweat and with everybody staring at you worried. Your face is full of tears and you do have a great feeling of loss.

You all are waked up by Marigold's dream who screams and hits the bed while her eyes cry.


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

GMR (Prior to Leaving Cauldron):

As mentioned in the OOC thread Maxim has a few appointments prior to leaving:

Ghelve

He merely wishes to let him know the group head toward the Darklands; this time seeking the missing dwur Zenith Splintershield. However he reassures Keygen that he will also seek news or sign of his wife. "Rest assured my friend I ain't given up - an neither should you!"

He also seeks to copy another of Ghelve's cantrips - Dancing Lights figuring it may be handy to utilise in the Darklands. DC15 Spellcraft to copy - Cost 25SP: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20

His Uncle

Maxim visits with his Uncle - letting him know (if he did not already) that Davked and Celeste have pilloried their aide in seeking out the missing Zenith deep in the Darklands. He raises his concerns on the enigmatic woman, not clear on her motivations in this matter.

"Couldn't read her Uncle. Ain't sure what her angle is... but figured you might know more 'bout her?"

He also looks to stock up on some exotic cigars - "Likely they'll be in short supply in the Deep"

Skie's Treasury

Maxim once again pays a visit to the worldly gnome, to both pick her brains and purchase from her wares.

He collects the Handy Haversack originally set aside (2000GP). He also selects two scrolls: Dispel Magic (375GP) and Levitation (150GP).

Maxim also brings up her coming across a hermit gnomiz named Hackbus in the past. He hopes she can draw a basic map of the rough whereabouts of his concealed hut. He's keen to locate the potential whereabouts of his old mentor, so anything she can remember would be rewarded on his return. The dwur also picks her thoughts on adventuring in the Darklands.

"Anything ye can remember Mistress Skie on Ol' Hackbus an' his shack... Likewise in yer experience anything we need to ware down in the Deep? Rumours have it Zenith is a captor o' fish men - Kuo-Toa..."

Did the visit to Westkey's Map's throw up anything useful GM-R?


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

Maxim remains impassive at Celeste's promise and her allusion to foes unseen;

"Time will tell Mistress... on which side we all sit..."

He notes her backing away from Marigold, but says nothing.

After preparing for their upcoming expedition and journeying to the familiar Hold of Malachite, Maxim settles in with preparing of magics and his own gear.

He plans to speak to Kikinnin, but will delay pending resolution of the spoiler above...


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Maxim:

Skie's Treasury
"Hackbus... he was great to my group. There is not much I can say, but I still remember his hut was concealed behind a waterfall, and that waterfall was pouring its waters into a large lake of violet waters. The fungus there was lighting the great cavern" the gnome sells every piece of equipment Maxim asks about "As about my counsel... have hundred eyes, the place is treacherous no matter what you do prepare... And yes, orientation should be difficult there, be prepared to lost yourself at times. Map and compass should be of great help. Take the notes of what crossings you chose at the least.

Garthûn
"[b]She came the city a month ago. Her manners and style have likely impressed the great families and she has gotten a place in the high society quickly enough...
" Maxim's uncle smells one of the cigars as he passes them to him "...I do not like her neither. She posses way too much questions and answers back too few"

Ghelve
Keygan listens Maxim with hope but you can see the pain in his face "I was trying to forget, I hope all this does not end even worst than that... I do not know if I could resist a second hit..."

Westkey's Map
"Aye! A map of the Darklands! That is no little thing m'lord!" the man shrugs "I would pay a good sum of money for a piece well written and designed" the man looks at Maxim's hands trying to assess his skills "Are you ready for that? Anyway I can serve a good piece of paper, case and good tools for mapping"
Westkey's offer works as a masterwork tool for scribing maps (+2 for the task) and costs 100 gp


Male CN Human : Fighter 1 (Archer) / Eldritch Knight 2 / Dragon Disciple 1 / Sorcerer 9 (Crossblooded) - Level 13, CR 12 | HP: 52/76 | AC: 24 (16 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +9, CMD: 23 | F: +9, R: +6, W: +9 | Init: +2 | Perc: +15, SM: +7 | Speed 30ft | Acid Ray (1D6+4): 7/7 | Magic Claws 1d6+1+1d6 acid 7/7 | Spells: 1st 4/7, 2nd 2/7, 3rd 7/7, 4th 5/6, 5th (3/3) | Active conditions: (blessing of fervour, greater invisibility), Hero Points: 1

GM Rusteg (before we set out):

Per Maxim's suggestion, Juraan will try to research everything he can, in the time he has, on the Darklands and Kuo-Toa.
And anything else relating to them and the Malachite Fortress.

Knowledge rolls, as needeWhich is probably d:
knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
knowledge (dungeoneering): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
knowledge (engineering): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
knowledge (geography): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
knowledge (planes): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23

Juraan will also let Shensen know what we're undertaking.
And ask if she knows anything helpful about the Darklands.
I'm assuming she knows more than most, since she appears to be half-drow and all that.


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Juraan:

You spend some time in Bluecrater Academy before leaving Cauldron. Despite you have much time for an extended research you do find some information about the kuo-toa.
Feel free to open the dungeonering spoiler here

"Juraan, take care. I've heard that is a dangerous place" explains Shensen "Please, bring this with you, it will protect you" The half-woman gives the professor a chain with a small token carved with the shape of a star.


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

GM-R:

@Skie's

2525GP spent

Maxim pays for the items and nods in thanks, in addition to the coin he adds a Carnelian gemstone worth at least 50 Suns.

"My thanks as always Mistress. Warnings duly noted. While yer experience can't be bought, but hope this gem shows my appreciation. If I find Hackbus I'll pass on your regards..."

@Garthûn's

The gun-mage nods in appreciation at both the cigars and his Uncle's assessment of Celeste.

"Aye Uncle, she seems to have bedazzled some in our company but myself and Rouradont ware her... Until I return then."

With a nod he takes his leave.

@Ghelve's

Maxim clasp's his friend's shoulder.

"Hopefully these are not wounds reopened, but ones healed. I'll not return without some news of her my friend. That I promise."

@Westkey's

Maxim mulls the proposition, then shakes his head.

"Alas no, was looking to acquire a map rather than turn to cartography. My skills lie in other qualities... However if I come across any such papers I'll bring them back to you."

In the Malachite, Maxim pauses in Kikinnin in a quiet moment, bidding he take a moment to speak quietly of things...

"Bror, jeg ville tale med dig. Inden jeg forlod Cauldron, lavede jeg nogle henvendelser om denne mystiske kvinde. Andre varetager sin hurtige stigning i samfundet og siger, at hun stiller flere spørgsmål, end forsyningerne svarer..."

Dwarven in Quiet Tones:

"Brother I would speak with you. Before I left Cauldron I made some enquires about this mysterious woman. Others ware her rapid rise in society, and cite she poses more questions than supplies answers..."

The gun-mage looks to his burly comrade with a concerned look as he passes Kikinnin his flask of strong liquor;

"Jeg ved ikke, hvad de andre tænker på hende, men jeg stoler ikke på hendes involvering, og heller ikke hvorfor gamle Davked søgte hende at fungere som et mellemliggende med allierede, han allerede havde. Surabar måner over sin skønhed, og Juraan deler stille ord. Hun recolied fra vores lille frøken - som også får mig til at spørge hende. Marigold er kompleks, men hun er en god sjæl."

"Jeg er bange for, at strings usynlige bliver subtilt trukket, men jeg har ikke sin rolle i det hele, undtagen jeg var involveret. Jeg værdsætter dit råd min bror - dit moralske kompas er mere fastholdig end min. Hvad siger du til denne Celeste?"

Dwarven:

"I know not what the others think of her, but I do not trust her involvement, nor why old Davked sought her out to act as an intermediate with allies he already had. Surabar moons over her beauty, and Juraan shares quiet words. She recolied from our Little Miss - which also makes me question her. Marigold is complex, but she is a good soul."

"I fear strings unseen are being subtly pulled but I no not her role in it all, save I ware her involvement. I value your council my brother - your moral compass is more steadfast than mine. What say you to this Celeste?"


Male CN Human : Fighter 1 (Archer) / Eldritch Knight 2 / Dragon Disciple 1 / Sorcerer 9 (Crossblooded) - Level 13, CR 12 | HP: 52/76 | AC: 24 (16 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +9, CMD: 23 | F: +9, R: +6, W: +9 | Init: +2 | Perc: +15, SM: +7 | Speed 30ft | Acid Ray (1D6+4): 7/7 | Magic Claws 1d6+1+1d6 acid 7/7 | Spells: 1st 4/7, 2nd 2/7, 3rd 7/7, 4th 5/6, 5th (3/3) | Active conditions: (blessing of fervour, greater invisibility), Hero Points: 1

GM Rusteg (before we left Cauldron):

Okay, got all that about the Kuo-Toa!
Short Version: they're fishy, nasty, and just plain nuts :o

Speaking to Shensen about her: "I'll keep this with me gladly!"

"Try to keep an eye on Celeste. JJ seems smitten by her."
"But I don't much trust her. Very evasive, her."

Is the token Shensen gives Juraan an amulet?
If it is, he will wear that and hip his Amulet of Natural Armour in his belt pouch instead.

Once at Malachite, Juraan will share what he quickly dug up about about the Kuo-Toa before we set out (in case anyone missed Maxim telling us):

Kuo-Toa stuff:
"Neither quite fish nor frog, reptile nor human, kuo-toas are degenerate
ichthyoids that inhabit the deep places of the world.

"The kuo-toas are an ancient race whose history stretches back before the memory
of the surface races. Their primeval empire, coexistent with the prehistoric
cultures of the serpentfolk and troglodytes, was once powerful and
sophisticated, but due to external pressures and internal conflicts, the
kuo-toas have been reduced to scattered tribes wallowing in brutality and
insanity.

"To the kuo-toas, all other races are inferior and exist only as potential
slaves. The sole exception are the drow, with whom the kuo-toa have a lucrative
slave trade, though they will enslave lone dark elves without hesitation.
Svirfneblin, duergar, orcs, mongrelmen, and vegepygmies are common targets for
kuo-toa slave raids. The only race they never enslave are the skum, whom they
destroy on sight."

[color=blue]Therefore: they smell of fish, they're nasty, they're nuts, and they hate everybody.[/color]

--------------------

Later, at Malachite:
(When they're together, and before Marigold's disturbing dream)

"First of all, JJ, this is something I have to say, so let me say my piece."
"The thing is, I have some doubts about Celeste."
"I don't think she's conspiring against us, but she was evasive at our meeting."
"Especially when asked how she knew about some of Malachite's secrets."
"I told her I was not happy about her lack of frankness."
"I might be over-thinking this, but I thought I'd let you all know."


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

She hugged me! the thought echoes through the boys mind. His eyes full of adoration his mind flees to a happy place where he sits with the lovely lady. Golden beaches, palm fronds and the warm sun overhead. Crystal waters lap on the beach as they cavort in the silky waters. Indeed is mind is miles away.

And then she kisses everyone else.

What? Huh? Why did they get kisses?

He sighs, brought back to reality with a jolt.

-=-=-=-=--=- Later, at the Malachite, with Juran -=-=-=-=-

"Oh she has some secrets. I'm pretty sure I know one or two of them even. But you know what they say, a lady is entitled to a secret or two."

He does listen to Juran's words.

"Fair point. I'm not sure how she knows more about the hold that Kikinnin. Maybe she reads history in her spare time? She certainly seems to know a lot about the past of Cauldron. "

-=-=-=- And stil later, with Marigold -=-=-=-=-
JJ rushes into Marigolds room, weapons out, half expecting to find someone attacking his little sister.

"Marigold, Marigold... what happened?" he asks.

Sheathing his swords he sits down on the bed next to her and offers her a hug. "There there, it was just a dream. I'm a bit worried about going into the Darklands too..." he offers.


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Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision
Ryan wrote:
"To our dwarven companions and benefactor, is there no light within the Darklands?

Kikinnin snorts a small snort. "It's called the 'Darklands' for a reason, Ryan. Sure, you'll find light where those who live within the Dark bring it, while caves have their fungus glows and the like, but you should be preparing for complete and utter darkness, most of the time. Your light sources will give you a little space to clear the way ahead, when can assess if it's safe enough to avoid attracting unwanted attentions. I will admit, it's been awhile since I've set foot in the Darklands, and the way we go, I've never been."

Maxim wrote:
"Best if I walk near the front at least Taskerhill. Any traps an such might need my attention. An' I ain't as easy a nut to crack as ye might think..."

"That's reassuring, bror. That you're a nut. That's a start."

Maxim wrote:
"An you two. I still ain't sold on your partnership... so when we return, there better be no backsteppin' on this deal. Consequences wouldn't be pretty."
GM Rutseg wrote:
The blond woman starts to kiss everyone else then, when the turn for Marigold arrives, she reaches her front with a hand, but an invisible spark of electricity makes her away and also surprises Marigold. Celeste frowns but says nothing.

Kikinnin starts as he sees the electricity pass between the women, though he can't quite sense the meaning of it. That, combined with Maxim's cautious words, provokes him into bringing his Look around, to bear upon everyone present. Detect Evil, held long enough to understand any auras specific to every individual.

Celeste wrote:
"It is just Cauldron has many veiled eyes and ears and not all of them play on our side."

"All due respect, miss Celeste, but why'd you invite us here, if you knew you weren't free to speak plain? This place, of all places I've been, seems the best place to find a room, and use it to quiet purpose, away from those veiled ears."

For all his suspicion, he throws one last question at Dakved. "So, who should I expect to see holding the urgrosh, elder Splintershield? Where do they have Spike posting guard these days?"

...

Kikinnin takes in Malachite in all its waking, and his mind finds an ease. He finds time, at the recommendation of Maxim, to inquire about having his Axe magicked, while they're here. Looking to acquire a +1 enhancement.

Maxim wrote:
""Bror, jeg ville tale med dig. Inden jeg forlod Cauldron, lavede jeg nogle henvendelser om denne mystiske kvinde. Andre varetager sin hurtige stigning i samfundet og siger, at hun stiller flere spørgsmål, end forsyningerne svarer... Jeg ved ikke, hvad de andre tænker på hende, men jeg stoler ikke på hendes involvering, og heller ikke hvorfor gamle Davked søgte hende at fungere som et mellemliggende med allierede, han allerede havde. Surabar måner over sin skønhed, og Juraan deler stille ord. Hun recolied fra vores lille frøken - som også får mig til at spørge hende. Marigold er kompleks, men hun er en god sjæl. Jeg er bange for, at strings usynlige bliver subtilt trukket, men jeg har ikke sin rolle i det hele, undtagen jeg var involveret. Jeg værdsætter dit råd min bror - dit moralske kompas er mere fastholdig end min. Hvad siger du til denne Celeste?"

Kikinnin easily acquires the dark liquor, finding talkin' and sippin' to be synergistic activities. He listens, guilty after a piece to let the blond-beard do the talking, which means more liquor for himself in the present moment. He takes a moment longer, finishing his pull, to give thought to Maxim's words. For their Dwarven inflections, he takes the words more seriously.

"Jeg er heller ikke tilfreds med hende. Hun taler om viden, der kunne have undslapet vores fædre, hvilket betyder, at hun virkelig studerede, eller virkelig gammel, og hun ser ikke gammel ud. JJ er ikke dommer af karakter, for alle benene har han været mellem. Jurans forsøg på at engagere sig stille, hvilket betyder, at han stoler på hende nok til at søge en fælles intimitet og beskytte hende. Ikke sikker på, hvad der skal gøres af det chok, der bragte rynket. Jeg vil hellere stole på Marigold over Celeste, for al den helbredelse, den lille halvdel har givet os. Ryan ser ikke ud til at bryde sig, da hans hoved er fyldt med planlægning og indkøb."

Quiet Dwarven:

"I am not satisfied with her, as well. She speaks knowledge that might have escaped our Fathers, which means she's really studied, or really old, and she doesn't look old. JJ's no judge of character, for all the legs he's been between. Juraan's trying to engage quietly, which means he trusts her enough to seek a shared intimacy and protect her. Not sure what to make of the shock that brought the frown. Something might come from that Detect Evil, not sure. I'd sooner trust Marigold over Celeste, for all the healing the little halfling has provided us. Ryan doesn't seem to care, as his head is filled with planning and purchasing."

Kikinnin stretches a little, allowing himself a look about, before continuing.

"Jeg værdsætter ikke Zeniths liv, hvis jeg er ærlig. Visst er det nødvendigt nu at vove frem i håbet om at bringe Dakved en vis grad af komfort, før han dør af alder, men den forbandelse ser rigtig nok ud, hvilket betyder, at han måske bare fortjener straffen, og han er uegnet til at rejse ind i Darklands. Så, vi gør dette for ham ... det føles forkert. Vi er på hans] pilgrimsrejse for at se hans veje rettet. Føles som om han skulle gøre dette, ikke os. Føler at han skal rejse med os, i det mindste at sone ved marts, i marts og finde Zenith, levende eller ej. Undskyld, jeg er vandret. Celeste, godt ... Jeg vil sige, at vi bliver brugt, men så længe vi jeg ved det, kan det tjene os til at vokse stærkere til vores formål her i Cauldron. Hun har dukket op for os før, hvilket betyder, at enten Cauldron og Hendes omgiver er en lille verden, eller Celeste er ikke tilfældigt, og vores designs og hendes måske væver sammen af ​​en eller anden grund. Ikke sikker på at besvare dit spørgsmål. Jeg tror ikke, at hun betyder, at vi gør skade, men det betyder ikke, at samvær med hende er en harmløs ting."

Quiet Dwarven:

"I don't value Zenith's life, if I'm to be honest. Sure, it's necessary now to venture forth, in the hopes for bringing Dakved some measure of comfort before he dies of age, but that curse looks real enough, which means he might just deserve the punishment, and he's unfit for travel into the Darklands. So, us doing this for him... it feels wrong. We're on his pilgrimage to see his ways righted. Feels like he should be doing this, not us. Feels like he should be traveling with us, at least, to atone by the march, on the march, and find Zenith, alive or not. Sorry, I'm rambling. Celeste, well... I'd say we're being used, but as long as we know it, it may serve us to grow stronger for our purpose here in Cauldron. She's appeared to us before, which means that either Cauldron and Her surrounds is a small world, or Celeste is no coincidence, and our designs and hers might weave together, for some reason. Not sure that answers your question. I don't think she means us harm, but that doesn't mean that partnering with her is a harmless thing."

Kikinnin listens to Juraan's qualms about Celeste, giving Maxim a lazy look of acknowledgment, before listening further to JJ admit to knowing secrets, and not fessing up.

"If you know something about Celeste that would ease our minds about her, JJ, you should bring that information forward."


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Juraan:

"This is a symbol of Desna, it should not interfere with your other magics but it might protect you, I hope, out there" explains Shensen.

Celeste frowns as Kikinnin uses his power gaze over her "Oh! That's disgusting! Stop it immediately!"
Does Kikinnin respect Celeste's request?

Davked stretches his eyes while looking at Celeste suspiciously. When Kikinnin asks his question he looks back at the dwarf and answers firmly "I would hope to know too. Since I left the Fortress I had to leave the urgrosh to one of the soldiers and I have no damn idea where Spike is. Why is that important now?" he looks back at Celeste suspicious again, perhaps trying to identify the relation between the question and Celeste.

-------------------------

Clerics of Torag take Kikinnin's axe and work on it for the whole night in order to have it readily enchanted for him "It is a pleasure to work for one of the Malachite heros Sir. Please while you are out there, make sure to cut down one of those duergars with this prettiness" They kindly accept a 2000 gp fund to help the rebuild effort.


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Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision

Kikinnin takes Celeste's reaction as reason to maintain his study. Kikinnin politely declines to stop his Detection.


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Kikinnin:

You find no taint of evil in Celeste. As you continue your room scan you do find out a moderate evil aura on Davked.


Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision

GM Rutseg:

Wha...? Alright, then. For clarification, because this is not the time to be confused as a player... A curse doesn't necessarily come up as 'evil' on the person, correct?

Dakved wrote:
"I would hope to know too. Since I left the Fortress I had to leave the urgrosh to one of the soldiers and I have no damn idea where Spike is. Why is that important now?"

Kikinnin's gaze falls full on Dakved, for a different reason than he initially anticipated.

"When I arrive in Malachite, I'd like to be informed, as I'll share with our brothers our conversation and purpose here with you. They're sure to ask me how you're doing, since you aren't there, of course."

More to come, pending GM response.


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Kikinnin:

The curse might or might not be related with the aura. Definetely curses do not give evil auras by rules

Previously with Celeste and Davked
"Yeah, of course. They might be worried as I have been most criptic about my reasons to visit Cauldron" answers Davked "I have my pride as a dwarf and do not like to talk about these problems with everyone. As you would understand it was enough pain for me having to ask for help"

"I know how the left dwarves feel abandoned and deceived by my son and do not want to make a buzz of this business" concludes the elder dwarf.

--------------------


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Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

Maxim takes back the flask, sipping then listening.

He nods in agreement, sharing hard stares with his fellow dwur as they reflect and converse on matters of kith and kin, old and new;

"Som altid bror din vurdering af vores ledsagere og deres motivationer ringe sande som en hammer i smeden. Godt at vide, at du føler det samme om denne Celeste. Mange øjne ser ofte, hvad kun ét sæt vil savne. Vi vil se, høre og spørge. Om nødvendigt vil vi handle."

Dwarven:

"As always brother your assessment of our companions and their motivations ring true like a hammer in the forge. Good to know you feel the same about this Celeste. Many eyes oft see what only one set will miss. We will watch, listen and question. If required we will act."

As talk turns to the task ahead, and the journey into the Darklands. The gun-mage maintains a grim visage, interspersing nods with sips of the strong liquor;

"Jeg heller ikke. Mine forældre blev fanget i hans korstog, og det var den nat, de marcherede, da jeg forlod Holdet, for at falde ind med kabinen, som lærte mig stavens og pistolens måder. Jeg har ingen kærlighed til hvad engang var, kun hvad kunne være. Jeg er bange for, om vi finder Zenith, vil han vende tilbage, kun forsøge at lede malachitten tilbage i mørket, for at forfalske hans gale korstog. At vi ikke kan tillade ... vil ikke tillade."

Machiavellian Dwarven:

"Nor I. My parents were caught up in his crusade and it was that night they marched when I left the Hold, to fall in with the gnome, who taught me the ways of the spell and the gun. I have no love for what once was, only what could be. I fear if we find Zenith he will return only seek to lead the Malachite back into the Dark, to fufil his mad crusade. That we cannot allow... will not allow."

Maxim lingers on the last words, claps Kikinnin's shoulder and shares a hard look to the black beard of a harder decision that may have to be made...


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Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

JJ offers a grin to the dark dwarf.

"Perhaps I misspoke. I suspect I know one of Celeste's secrets. I'm not sure of it, and it would not change your feelings about trusting her or not." he manages.

More concerning though is Marigold.

And the site reliability


Male CN Human : Fighter 1 (Archer) / Eldritch Knight 2 / Dragon Disciple 1 / Sorcerer 9 (Crossblooded) - Level 13, CR 12 | HP: 52/76 | AC: 24 (16 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +9, CMD: 23 | F: +9, R: +6, W: +9 | Init: +2 | Perc: +15, SM: +7 | Speed 30ft | Acid Ray (1D6+4): 7/7 | Magic Claws 1d6+1+1d6 acid 7/7 | Spells: 1st 4/7, 2nd 2/7, 3rd 7/7, 4th 5/6, 5th (3/3) | Active conditions: (blessing of fervour, greater invisibility), Hero Points: 1

GM Rusteg:
Juraan will wear the necklace.
"Many thanks Shensen. I'm sure this will help keep me safe."

Quick update for the rest of the party:
Juraan is now wearing a necklace with Desna Symbol.
"It's a gift from Shensen to help keep me safe", he'll explain.

Moving forward a bit:
Marigold's screaming also wakes Juraan with a bit of a fright.
"Does this happen often?" he says with concern for his friend.


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Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision

Kikinnin listens to his companion-brother dwarf, no longer nodding his head, but staring with a new resolution. He claps Maxim on the shoulder, pointing to the liquor, and silently thanking him for the several drams. When he's a mind to speak again, he keeps his voice low, and his words few.

"Dakved er draperet i onde glider, og ikke bare lidt. Jeg forventede ikke at være ham, men hende. Hun er ren. Han er det ikke."

Quiet Dwarven:

"Dakved is draped in evil glisten, and not just a little. I didn't expect it to be him, but her. She's clean. He's not."

JJ wrote:
"Perhaps I misspoke. I suspect I know one of Celeste's secrets. I'm not sure of it, and it would not change your feelings about trusting her or not."

Kikinnin looks JJ and his grin over a moment, pursing his lips as he hears more cryptic words from the boy. "You should learn to speak better, then. You want to keep someone's secrets, you probably want to keep it to yourself that you have their secrets in the first place."

When the group is readying to depart the Cusp, Kikinnin asks for a moment alone with Celeste.

If she allows it...:

Kikinnin pauses to collect his thoughts, then brings his concerns to light.

"I apologize for offending you with my Look, but you didn't help matters with the others, who still doubt your intentions. As do I. But I doubt Dakved's more than yours now. My Look revealed a stronger-than-weak aura of evil about him, and I'm not so sure it's his curse that cloaks him in such a shimmer. You brought us to him, so you're responsible for knowing the man as he is now. He was not cursed when I handed him the Urgrosh of Malachite, and I had no reason to doubt his sincerity then. Now, I do. I'm telling you, here and now, that there is evil on Dakved. What will you do with this information?"

...

Maxim wrote:
"...At vi ikke kan tillade ... vil ikke tillade."

Kikinnin has the full measure of Maxim's meaning, and he only nods grimly, letting his mind play over the possibilities, if and when they find the rogue dwarf.

"Vil ikke tillade."

...

Kikinnin thanks his crafters heartily, glad to see his weapon's sheen so refined. "I will gladly see this put to good use. My hand might guide it, and Abadar guides me. Let's hope both of us know what we're doing."


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Celeste and Kikinnin:

Celeste softly attempts to close Kikinnin's lips with a finger "You should not risk telling me this" she turns around "I see he is not what he wants us to see. But in order to know what they are plotting we must discover why do they want Zenith rescued now"

"I am sorry to involve you on this, but I fear you are already involved, more so after this approach" the blond woman attempts to quickly finish the conversation and mingle with the party again with smiles and conversation of normality.

Waiting for reactions to Marigold's dream and last preparations before departing into the Darklands


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Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision

Celeste and Kikinnin Sidebar:

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25

Kikinnin raises his eyebrows, then lowers them, then nods, starting to understand, and willing to not argue with the woman who seems to know much, much more about the goings-on than he does. He realizes that he may bull in pottery shop, and might have already broken something real.

He chokes a little in his response, as he feels one is necessary. "I... I, uh... I didn't... think... I hope it's..."

He catches himself dropping useless words, as his silence would have been sufficient to indicate his understanding, so too late he quiets himself, and firmly nods once. He understands.

...

As the others gather their strength and planning for what is to come, Kikinnin watches Marigold from a distance, wondering if the halfling girl will come forth with any explanations for her startled screams in the night. He doesn't pressure for words, figuring they'll come unbidden at the right time.

For their quarters in the Splintershield wing, Kikinnin rests, uneasily. He finds himself uncomfortable keeping to himself things that might be important from the others, and now that they're away from Cauldron, away from Dakved and the Cusp, he chooses to gather his friends, and share what he knows.

Kikinnin makes sure that they are not listened in on, while he concentrates on the area with his Look, a Look that would touch upon Marigold as well, for the frown of Celeste. When he's sure they're reasonably guarded against listeners-in, he speaks, but briefly.

"We're tasked with retrieving Zenith Splintershield, but I have reason to believe Dakved, or something that wants us to think of it as Dakved, has been corrupted, and seeks Zenith for something other than relieving a curse. I almost said too much in the Cusp, but here and now, I at least want to speak the doubt, so you may share it, and refine it for purpose. Celeste is using us to understand something darker afoot, and I am willing to be used."


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Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

"wait... you mean that is not Dakved?"

Well, I mean I know all dwarves look alike...apart from Kikinnin and Maxim, blonde and dark beards are easy to tell apart..

JJ looks confused.

"So we might be going into some type of a trap?"


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Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision

Kikinnin shrugs his shoulders. "The Dakved I knew wasn't evil. He was hard-headed, to be sure, but not an evil man. So, what spoke to us might have been Dakved with a twisted mind, or someone evil using his face. Either way, we're carts on the mining rails, pushed to see what lies at the end of the line. I get the sense that the desire is real, to bring back Zenith, and so is the danger. Not sure I'd call it a trap, as much as I'd think it just entering a really bad part of town where you don't know your way. If you're prepared enough, you'll make it out safely enough."


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HP 127/127 l AC 22, T 13, FF 22 l CMD 18 l F +13, R +9, W +15; +2 bonus vs. illusions l Lucky Halfling (1/1), Spray of Shooting Stars (2/3), L1: 8/8, L2: 7/7, L3: 2/7, L4: 7/7, L5: 5/7, L6: 4/4 l Init +7 l Senses: Perception +18, Concentration +19 | Female Halfling Oracle (Heavens) 13 l Active Conditions: l Hero Points 1/3

Kn. Religion: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Kn. History: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15

During the rest of the meeting with Celeste and Davked, Marigold sits quietly but listens intently as she sips her ridiculously expensive beverage. Her brow furrows as she tries to recall if she's read anything on the kuo-toa but if she has, then it must not have struck her as very important or interesting at the time. And though she finds herself a bit puzzled by Kikinnin and Maxim's odd behavior, she's come to trust their instincts and doesn't openly question it.

If there's anything going on, one or both will tell us when the time's right.

When they go to part ways with Celeste, Marigold is just as surprised as the rest by the spark of electricity that seems to ward the woman away from her. "I...I...I'm s-sorry! M-my m-magic is...is d-different from a m-mage's or a p-priest's. It b-behaves oddly at times, when I l-least exp-p-pect it," she stammers, feeling a bit unnerved despite her explanation.
______

Over the course of the following day, Marigold buzzes about the city making sure her equipment and supplies are in order as well as making sure to stop in to visit Anafa and the others at the orphanage, as well as her friends at Bluecrater. This was to be their most dangerous task yet and she knew full well that it was one that they might not return from.

Later, after the group makes its way down to Malachite once more she is happy to spend what little free time they have looking around at how the repairs are coming along as well as mingling with the citizens they'd liberated those months ago. She enjoys herself, though when she meets up with her companions again she looks troubled as some doubts are raised as to Celeste and Davked's sincerity regarding their mission.

"She s-seems so nice," Marigold frowns. "I hate t-to think that there's s-something s-sinister about her. Are you s-sure? M-maybe she j-just wasn't expecting it to g-get so tense b-between Davked and Kikinnin and M-Maxim," she suggests.
______

As she bolts awake from her dream, it's all that Marigold can do to stifle the sobs that shake her tiny frame with their intensity. "I...I d-dreamt about a b-battle, a b-big b-battle b-between angels and d-demons! B-but I was a d-demon!" she sobs to JJ and any others that come to check on her. "And I led s-some of the others...b-but then an angel...oh, he was s-so b-beautiful...he c-came down and s-sounded his t-trumpet. Th-then m-me and all the other d-demons were s-surrounded by light and we f-fell...down, down from heaven, d-down into the earth, d-down to hell!"

And as she cries, it's apparent to anyone listening that her tears are not born of terror but instead from a crushing, suffocating sense of loss.


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

Somewhat at a loss of what to do, JJ just sits there giving Marigold a hug.

It's just like back at the orphanage, when the little kids woke up with nightmares

"It's just a bad dream. All the tension with the demon ball, and now going back into the Darklands. It's a wonder we aren't all having nightmares." sooths JJ.


Male CN Human : Fighter 1 (Archer) / Eldritch Knight 2 / Dragon Disciple 1 / Sorcerer 9 (Crossblooded) - Level 13, CR 12 | HP: 52/76 | AC: 24 (16 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +9, CMD: 23 | F: +9, R: +6, W: +9 | Init: +2 | Perc: +15, SM: +7 | Speed 30ft | Acid Ray (1D6+4): 7/7 | Magic Claws 1d6+1+1d6 acid 7/7 | Spells: 1st 4/7, 2nd 2/7, 3rd 7/7, 4th 5/6, 5th (3/3) | Active conditions: (blessing of fervour, greater invisibility), Hero Points: 1

After Marigold's description of her dream, Juraan tries to help JJ calm her:
"A strange ordeal of a dream, to be sure, Marigold."
"But you're safe, with friends right now."

"The timing of Marigold having a dream like that right here and right now is a bit worrying."
"Was it a warning? A demon's memory from the distant past? Or both?"
"We can always talk to her about it after she's calmed down."
"If I have dreams about my own draconic ancestry, I hope they aren't as crushing as poor Marigold's!"


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

Talk of Davked

As Kikinnin details his thoughts and findings to the group, Maxim nods in agreement, keen to hear what the others think.

He chips in where necessary, adding his own foreboding to the coming expedition;

"Skie told me them Darklands are treacherous in terrain an' inhabitants. With the prospect o' this being a trap or an attempt to further a cause that could damage Cauldron an' The Malachite we best step careful like."

He shrugs as talk turns to what might corrupt Davked or the true intent of Celeste;

"Like Kikinnin says - she ain't evil, but she's got her own play in all this an' we ain't seen her hand... yet. As fer Old Davked... there's plenty o' magicks out there that can control or corrupt. Could be mad, could be he ain't who he says he is. We knocked heads with skulkers from the Deep, could be creatures that wear the skins o' others too... Either way we'll deal with that when we know more."

Marigold's Dream

At the screams, Maxim snaps awake and rises - cursing and grabbing his pistol and belt from the bedside.

Still dressed in his woolen long-johns the gun-mage rushes through to where the commotion comes from... And finds a sobbing and distressed Marigold being held by a concerned JJ;

"Hells Teeth! What ails ye Lil' Miss? We got visitors unwelcome?!"


HP 127/127 l AC 22, T 13, FF 22 l CMD 18 l F +13, R +9, W +15; +2 bonus vs. illusions l Lucky Halfling (1/1), Spray of Shooting Stars (2/3), L1: 8/8, L2: 7/7, L3: 2/7, L4: 7/7, L5: 5/7, L6: 4/4 l Init +7 l Senses: Perception +18, Concentration +19 | Female Halfling Oracle (Heavens) 13 l Active Conditions: l Hero Points 1/3

"A d-dream..." Marigold snuffles, finally beginning to regain control of herself. "Angels and d-demons...this isn't the f-first time, b-but they've never b-been like that one..."


Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision

Kikinnin gives Marigold the time to explain her erupting in alarm from sleep, standing in the doorway.

"Dreams that thump your heart so hard, might be a deeper truth comes to the surface unexpectedly. You're getting stronger, so are your dreams, eh? You fancy a try at explaining why you think it cast you demonic instead of angelic?"


HP 127/127 l AC 22, T 13, FF 22 l CMD 18 l F +13, R +9, W +15; +2 bonus vs. illusions l Lucky Halfling (1/1), Spray of Shooting Stars (2/3), L1: 8/8, L2: 7/7, L3: 2/7, L4: 7/7, L5: 5/7, L6: 4/4 l Init +7 l Senses: Perception +18, Concentration +19 | Female Halfling Oracle (Heavens) 13 l Active Conditions: l Hero Points 1/3

"I d-don't know...m-my family's not like JJ's, there's n-no special history t-to us that I kn-know of," Marigold replies softly. "M-maybe it's some s-sort of omen? I r-remember t-two names...the angel with the t-trumpet was Haloen. One of the d-demon leaders was Mharah."

She looks up at the others, even as her own mind begins to race through memories of tomes and lessons past. "D-does any of that s-sound familiar?"

Kn. History: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Kn. Planes: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

JJ wracks his mind, trying to think of the names and what he has read.

know(planes): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15

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