The body, with its goreish caved in skull, moves without difficulty away from the entrance powered by vah shir sinews.
Jinx (56/141 hit points) relays that it was his full intent to abandon the group to their own devices, for he had been bitter to be a pawn of the idiotic dwarves, but it ate at him with each mile he traveled. He backtracked to find you crazy b+*!#es. Unable to find you, he climbed the mountain pass he had stumbled into this hide, which then had been an open hole with no plants covering the entrance, purely by accident while fighting the dead jack-o-lantern. That had been more than a day ago, and he had been slowly slipping into madness, due to rage and the jack-o-lantern's attack, (WIS damage); not to mention him bleeding to death.
His last cogent thought had been to cover the entrance.
The halfling takes a deep pull of the alcohol and then another to steady his nerves. "What in the name of all that's holy do you maniacs want with this place? It is a tad beyond potted plants, don't you think?"
Introductions are made between the warrior and cleric.
Nogglegrop (69/72 hit points with 7 nonlethal damage, 71/108 mana) summons a gallon of water for the beastlord to refill his waterskin. The gnome's eyes are beyond the present location as he speaks in a whisper, "Fizzlethorp's voice is so far away."
(all WIS casters find it difficult to focus their energies, roleplaying mechanic only)
"But it's still there, that's whats important," Sajeek says. Setting down the full skin, he reaches over and clasps the gnome's shoulder warmly. He would have squeezed, but that was rather pointless given that the gnome was wrapped in metal himself. He handed the flask to Noggy and grins.
"Well, Kwen mentioned some throw pillows, I think that might help," the vah shir chuckles. "Well, we are planning on finding the source of the curse and destroying it. Still working on the how part. It's not so much a plan as it is a "Thing". Respect the "Thing." The Beastlord says suddenly serious. "It works in mysterious ways." A broad smile cracks his serious facade.
"If we survive getting it all cleaned up, it's going to be the starting point for a new city. One were all are welcome, regardless of race, as long as they follow the basic rules of goodly naturedness. No murder, rape, looting, slavery, basically, don't run around being a flaming dick and your pretty much welcome." The vah shir's eyes go distant as he thinks about the city. Returning to the present, he grins at Jinx. "We still have a bit to hammer out, but, Khae, the dwarf price is on board and doing what lies within his own power to aid us where he can."
As the vah shir quietly talks, he fills his hand up so that Bast can lap up the water. He has to do this several times before the tiger is no longer thirsty. He looks at the waterskin.
"Hey Noggy, does holy water hurts undead right? Almost like acid? Khae gave us several waterskins each full of Dwarven holy water. Has that been divinely bless? And would it work as well, or does if have to be water?" The vah shir raises his waterskin slightly.
Jinx (125/141 hit points, symbol of transal +15 bonus hit points, 90 minutes) looks at everyone, person by person, as if seeking out one sane person in this group of maniacs. Having deduced that all are in agreement he shakes his head and says, "Well get me back into the game and I'll lead the charge."
Nogglegrop removes his helm to consider the question fully. His gauntleted hand rubs the chin that you imagine exists under the tangle of his beard. "I have never heard of 'Holy Water' being an actual weapon before, and always imagined it as nothing more than sanctified and ceremonial liquid. Evil undead shun holy things, so it might be of use. If so, this might be our most potent weapon, so let's stop drinking it."
Considering that Khae, a powerful cleric of his people, was working to subtlety help the group to the best of his ability this would be a great way of accomplishing the task.
(splashing a bit of this special: dwarven holy water onto an undead creature is 1d6 damage; each waterskin holds 7 splashes, spraying the entire contents of a waterskin is 7d6 damage, 10' range for both and each is a full round action ranged touch attack that incurs an AoO if used within melee range, each of the group, minus Jinx, has two full waterskins minute a few negligible sips from Sajeek's waterskin)
Nogglegrop (69/72 hit points with 7 nonlethal damage, 54/108 mana) drops a few spells of healing on the potent warrior.
Light Healing (Jinx): 4d6 ⇒ (6, 4, 3, 6) = 19
Light Healing (Jinx): 4d6 ⇒ (4, 4, 2, 4) = 14
Light Healing (Jinx): 4d6 ⇒ (6, 4, 6, 2) = 18
Light Healing (Jinx): 4d6 ⇒ (6, 5, 4, 4) = 19
The warrior is looking like a brand new halfling, despite the puddle of his own semi-coagulated blood he sits in. "What's the plan?"
"Oh, what's in the flask is something else completely," Sajeek grins wickedly after everyone had their shot. "and certainly not blessed." Screwing the lid to the flask back on, he puts it back in his pack. "I'm glad I haven't touched the contents of the skins then," the vah shir grins broadly. "I love that dwarf," he says to no one in particular.
The Beastlord looks back at the body of the barbarian woman and sighs.
"Well, that sucks. Ilina seemed like a decent person," Sajeek falls silent for a few moments. "At least she died doing what she seemed to love. Fighting." He pauses for a few minutes, and then sighs getting up and walking over to her body. "I feel like such a ghoul doing this, but, she is dead, and we are not." Sajeek looks down at the armored corpse.
"Sorry you had to die around here, Ilina. I hope your warrior spirit finds finds it's path," he says quietly. Carefully and, most importantly, quietly, he removes the fallen barbarians material good and sets them in a pile. Afterwards, he gives the other two formerly undead and now very dead bodies a once over and adds to the pile.
- 100 platinum pieces
- 3 gold pieces
- belt pouch
- flint and steel
- 10 days rations
- cold weather clothes
- masterwork spiked full plate
- masterwork falchion
- masterwork shadewood composite bow mighty +5
- 4 quivers with 117 combined arrows
- scalemail armour
"Hmm, well, rest up for a few and then make our way into the manor. Seems like the best place to start," Sajeek says, tugging on his right ear.
" Well at least that is settled for the moment. At least no one else died." Kwen says with a bit of a wince, as much as he would have normally loved to partake in the flask, the rogue decides that a clear head for the moment would be the best course of action.
Kwen picks up a quiver, added more arrows to his quiver, at least the quiver he got from the dervishs, had slots to add poison to the arrows, with out much risk at all to poison himself.
" Jinx, glad to see that you are here, besides the best stuff is always in the cursed places, everyone knows that." The rogue says with a smile, his eyes are lit up with mirth.
Revery sits on the ground, sighs, pulls out the waterskins and looks at them, "Smart Dwarf. He put a few extra, smaller flasks in my bag too. Hey Jinx, I'm glad to see you. How do you like our new digs?"
He considers giving the bloodied halfling a hug, but thinks better of it. Instead, he shakes his hand.
"Now we have a puzzle to solve. I suspect the obsidian flame is one of the keys to it. Somehow it, or something else, is drawing undead here from potentially vast distances. We need to find out how to stop that. Has anyone ever heard of this flame?" He points to the rock above him, with its silvery dancing threads.
Knowledge/mysticism for obsidian flame: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (14) + 21 = 35
Finally, he looks at the body of the barbarian woman. "Noggy, what happened to her? Did this place undo your divine magic?"
(HP: 61/63, Mana: 121/162)
Gwendalyn is glad when Nogglegrop is able to bring Jinx back to his senses, even if the warrior seems to think that they've lost theirs. Who knows? Maybe he's right. Following them sure wasn't a good idea for Ilina. She catches herself; time enough for grieving and self-recriminations later, after they're safe.
Once they have a moment to catch their breath, the shaman remembers something. "Before, when we were fighting that spiky skeleton, I sensed something. A presence behind the mansion. I think it's time to make sure everyone can see ghosts." She casts Spirit Sight on the two halfies and the two big cats, and considers.
"Revery, that shield that you put on Sajeek. Could you put it on everyone who doesn't have one? I got you and Kwen, but I'm running low; and the less healing we have to do from here on out, the better." She heals herself from the skeletons, and heals Kwen mostly from what Ilina did when he tried to throw that kukri (which she tactfully doesn't mention).
"And can you strengthen Jinx? I can't re-cast that talisman right now. There's something else I need to do..." She pulls out her spellbook and meditates for a few seconds, forgetting Spirit Strike and memorizing Spirit of Wolf instead. She casts it on Noggy. "It isn't much, but it should help."
Cast Light Healing (Gwendalyn): 4d6 ⇒ (5, 6, 1, 5) = 17
Cast Light Healing (Kwen): 4d6 ⇒ (1, 3, 2, 1) = 7
Cast Light Healing (Kwen): 4d6 ⇒ (6, 5, 5, 3) = 19
Cast Spirit of Wolf (Nogglegrop)
9/90 mana (incl. +2 from 40 minutes of strenuous activity)
Spirit of Wolf (base speed +50%): Nogglegrop (90 minutes from the hide)
Spirit Sight (see invisible plus spirits, even if insubstantial or in solid objects): Gwendalyn, Nogglegrop & Revery (52 minutes from the front fountain); Bast, Jinx, Kwen & Sajeek (90 minutes from the hide)
Talisman of the Beast (+3 buff Str): Bast, Gwendalyn, Kwen, Nogglegrop & Sajeek (indefinitely)
Turtle Skin (DR 5/–): Revery & Kwen (90 minutes from the front fountain)
Revery is looking at the obsidian flames when Gwen talks to him. At first it seems he doesn't hear, but then he looks at her and nods. "Of course. Good idea."
He then proceeds to cast Mist on Gwendalyn, Nogglegrop, Bast and Jinx (DR 4/- for 90 minutes). Then he pulls out his book and looks over Strengthen for a bit, and then casts it on Jinx and himself (+3 Strength for 90 minutes).
Finally, he looks over Pendril's Animation, takes out a miniature dagger, and casts it. "Attack me and face the wrath of my invisible friend!"
Mist (4x5 mana)
Strengthen (2x2 mana)
Pendril's Animation (2 mana)
Active Spells - On Others
Mist on Sajeek, Gwen, Noggy, Bast, Jinx for max 90 minutes.
Strength on Jinx for max 90 minutes.
Active Spells - On Revery
Minor Shielding (2AC 2HP) for max 90 minutes.
(Gwen) Turtle Skin (DR 5/-) for max 90 minutes.
(GWen) Spirit Sight for max 90 minutes.
Strength for max 90 minutes.
Pendril's Animation - indefinite.
(HP: 61/63, Mana: 95/162)
Knowledge (mysticism): 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
When she makes her request, Gwendalyn notices that Revery has to tear himself away from pondering the white flames dancing in the obsidian rock, which is admittedly strange. She considers it herself, between spellcastings.
" Hm, that is interesting to say the least, I never knew that rocks could hold something inside that would bring the undead in droves. Now I'm sure that if the spell caster spend time to regain their mana, a lot of the spells that were cast will expire. Or are we leaving shortly?" the rogue asks, something about this place is truly disturbing to say the least Kwen thinks to himself.
Jinx nods in response to Kwen's comment. They both had seen enough bones to know that there were items of great worth here, if only they could survive the experience. He offers his bloody armoured hand to Revery and nods to him. "I owe you each a life debt for saving my life, and I will protect you and yours until it is repaid in full."
Those that look closer at their waterskins of 50 proof dwarven holy water see sparkles within suggestive of diamond dust. It is more than a few prayers over a liquid that produces this potent libation, but an expensive ritual.
The erudite deduces that the flame is part of the rock, and the rock is nothing he has ever encountered in his magical or precious stones. Considering that an entire mountain failed to be on the map, he follows what everyone else is thinking: this is the work of the gods. Revery looks at the obsidian-like substance with the soft radiating light from the tendrils of white flame that calmly dance within. It all feels so strangely familiar, but he cannot quite place it at first. Giving his agile mind time to process he makes an unlikely connection. This place strangely reminds him of his goddess Quellious.
None of the others have any knowledge of the flame or stone.
Nogglegrop leans against a wall with his eyes closed, working to get his energies back (meditating), "The spell was cast and she returned to her body, but it appears the affliction within the undead bites, or the curse of the mountain, was more powerful. No one should die here until the curse is lifted and the undead are expunged, just to be safe." The spirit of the wolf surrounds the small gnome, and though he doesn't realize it, he is about to not be the plodding liability he has been to this point in their adventures together.
Ilina had died standing to fight when she should have run. The cleric had bought her a slight reprieve, with his resurrection magics, but it was only for a time. The barbarian had really died out on the plains, and likely would have risen again in time if left to her own devices.
Peeking out through the cover of the vines reveals the occasional movement as a wide assortment of undead creatures wander about the grounds of your future holdings. Looking past the death, decay and horror, this would be quite a lovely place.
Listening to his friends talk about the strange white flames, Sajeek takes a closer look at the walls. Not that he had to move far from where he was sitting against the wall. Looking at the ground, he picks up a few flicks of stone. He frown's slightly rolling the fragments of stone in his hands as he looks back at the unfinished obsidian walls.
"I think these chips of stone were once part of the obsidian. I think whatever made this place, when pieces of the obsidian are removed, they turning into stone," Sajeek pauses, eyes growing wide. "That must of giving whomever hollowed this place out, a ridiculous amount of stone to build with."
The vah shir falls silent for a few moments as he thinks.
"Perhaps this place was neven intended to be a bastion of the undead. Something might have gone wrong, or the wrong type of people could have heard about it and took it over," he shrugs. "Just thinking out loud," he says with a grin. "Is it just me, or is the white flame rather..., peaceful looking actually. At first, I was thinking it was captured souls, but, now..., I'm not so sure."
Clasping Jinx's forearm, Sajeek grins at the powerful halfling warrior.
"Glad to have you back onboard. Pravus Mortis needs more crazy," Sajeek says with a smile. The vah shir grins slightly when he realizes that everyone had been speaking in a whisper loud voice since they got in here. Which was a great thing, no one wanted to be attacked while they were trying to regain their strength and fine tune their plan.
Before he sinks back into mediation, Sajeek looks over at Noggy and sticks out his tongue at the gnome.
"I frequently try not to die," the wild vah shirs grins roguishly. "It's actually rather high on the list of my misadventures. Like first"
Looking back at the stone chips and then the obsidian wall, he turns his head to Jinx.
"Hey Jinx, do you think you could chip a little piece of the obsidian off?" Sajeek asks of the halfling. "We could wrap some cloth around the head of your hammer to muffle the noise a bit." the vah shir offers.
Everything you saw, though twisted, looks as if it was designed to fit in a refuge, with a proud manour, gardens, gazing pools, fountains, et cetera. Something horrific must have happened here to cause such a horrific curse.
The walls, floor and ceiling of the makeshift chamber you occupy all have soft white flame flowing through it. It is a warm glow, though it only gives off as much light as a candle might, but so out of place in such a dark locale.
Using his wrapped earthshaker Jinx easily finds a jagged section and slams the weapon into the surface hard enough to knock a few pieces free. What hits the ground is obsidian-like piece of stone without any flames inside. Of interest is that it is as hard as stone, rather than being glass-like as Revery expected.
What Jinx knocked free looks nothing like the stone pieces that bedeck the flooring.
(Jinx: Please include a DC 19 Will save in your next post, or be Shaken for your entire duration here. The Shaken condition conveys a -2 morale penalty on attack rolls, checks and saving throws. May make another Will save every 24 hours to shake off this effect, but there is a new Will save every day with a +1 per consecutive day spent here)
Kwen sees that Jinx looks like he is having as much trouble as he is dealing with this place.
Will Save (Jinx vs. DC 19+1): 1d20 ⇒ 7 (fail)
"Ooookay," Sajeek says, confusion etched upon his muzzled face as he looks at the new obsidian chips in his hand. "Uh, so much for my earlier thoughts." Sajeek passes the fragments around to the others. "That looked like it was pretty solid," he says to Jinx. "Good hit."
Quietly, Sajeek gets up and pads back to the covered open and peeks out to make sure they didn't draw any attention. Waiting and peeking for several very tense minutes, Sajeek returns back to the others.
"What do you guys think about this?" Sajeek asks of his friends. "Me, I kicking myself for not grabbing a big enough piece of this stuff to use as a club. Well, assuming I could have found a chunk that could have worked."
Gwendalyn nods at Kwen's concern. "I think that we should take no more than half an hour. That would leave about twenty minutes on the spells that I cast at the base of this mountain for me, Noggy and Revery to see spirits. I assume the ghost I'm sensing has something to do with the curse, and I figure that if it takes longer than that for us to get from here to the rear of the manor and deal with it, then we're probably dead anyway." She shrugs at the brutal efficiency of her reasoning that has little to do with math.
The mystic doesn't really have much to add on the subject of the stones that Sajeek is going on about. "Beats me. Since we don't know, hopefully it won't make a difference."
" Tis a shame at least, this place will have a nice tale when we clear it out." Kwen jokes, glad that no one had mentioned how back his Kurki throwing skills had fallen. Sheathing both of his blades, Kwen remembers what he was going to ask the gnome.
" Noggy I know now is not the time but I had a few ideas for sheathes and quickening how one could poison their blades, perhaps when we have time, we could discuss what you might be able to build with the right ingredients, or at least give me an idea to pass along to a weapon smith." Kwen says in a low voice when the Gnome gets done mediating.
"Sajeek, I had a club and got rid of it. But still, I think your magic weapon, even though not a club, was more effective against these things."
He continues to sit, and starts to meditate.
(HP: 61/63 + 7 subdual, Mana: 95/162)
Kwen picks up some of the stone, spending a few moments looking at it, hoping for that it didn't try to suck out his soul or start to damage him. Then sets it back onto the ground, wondering that if the cause of the undead being drawn here was the reason for the white flames in the stone.
None of the undead appear to have reacted to the group's presence, or the noise of the hammer strike. Noises are commonplace, though they seem to carry further, and hang in the air longer in this dark place.
Glancing at all of the structures of this place it looks as if it had been made with the same stone the that stone chips were made of. It is as if there was a time when all of the rock that surrounded this place had been made of stone, but then the raw stone became this strange obsidian-like material with white flames dancing within.
What might cause a god to raise such a strange mountain was not known.
Nogglegrop looks interested at the rogue's idea and throws a wink Kwen's way in reply.
Approximately 30 minutes later...
(please regain half of your meditation score in mana for the rest period)
Jinx is the first to his feet, having taken up the role of a tireless sentry during the entire time the group was enjoying a minor reprieve. He offers a hand to all of those that remained sitting. His words are a whisper, "Whoever is last, please replace the vines so we have a place to run back to if needed."
Nogglegrop (69/72 hit points with 7 nonlethal damage, 63/108 mana) groans tinnily as he stretches his joints and brings the blood from his nigh-numb rear to the rest of his body.
You wait until no undead are seen and can move again. Jinx parts the vines and steps out, then lets Kwen lead the way to wherever they hell they are going in this cursed place.
"The stone, or the place, I'm not sure which, reminds me of Quellious. Noggy, can you sense that at all?"
He finds a stone that is fist sized, which would be good for carving into something small. If they were going to be living here, there may be ample opportunity to use the flame obsidian, as he is now beginning to think of it. But in case they are driven away, he would like to have a piece of it with him.
Revery lifts up a worthless piece of stone that is much harder than obsidian, but contains no white flame within. As soon as it was ripped free from the natural stone it lost that characteristic. In order to maintain the flame one will need to carve it without it ever losing contact with the mountain itself.
Nogglegrop shakes his head, the last thing he felt here was the Goddess of Peace in this place. Pragmatically he grabs the platinum coins from Ilina's bloody belt pouch and doles them out to everyone 16 a piece. The extra 4 platinum pieces and 3 gold pieces he leaves for someone else to work out.
It is a loose marching order, only going single-file when needed as the group slowly picks their way across the grounds.
Marching Order: Kwen, Jinx, Nogglegrop, Revery, Gwendalyn, Sajeek, Bast
All they need is a heading.
Gwendalyn is a little confused at first when Nogglegrop begins doling out platinum pieces, then remembers how often things turn out that they end up running for their lives. Nodding knowingly, she accepts the plat and grabs Ilina's fine falchion and badass bow. Just in case. She looks longingly at her countrywoman's amazing armor, but if it came down to running, she would just have to drop it anyway.
When they get out of the abandoned tunnel, the tall shaman points to the left and whispers, "I want to get behind the manor, sticking to the wall as much as possible. Be careful going between those hedges and that pyramid thingie; I hate surprises." She pulls out both of her skins of dwarven holy spirits, offering one to Jinx.
Spirit of Wolf (base speed +50%): Nogglegrop (about 60 minutes)
Spirit Sight (see invisible plus spirits, even if insubstantial or in solid objects): Gwendalyn, Nogglegrop & Revery (about 20 minutes); Bast, Jinx, Kwen & Sajeek (about 59 minutes)
Talisman of the Beast (+3 buff Str): Bast, Gwendalyn, Kwen, Nogglegrop & Sajeek (indefinitely)
Turtle Skin (DR 5/–): Revery & Kwen (about 58 minutes)
Jinx leans against the vines, waiting for the rogue to lead the way and accepts the waterskin with a smile. He points to the two handed falchion that Gwendalyn holds and smiles. He was the only one present that was trained in such weaponry, but it was far too large for him to wield it.
Nogglegrop (69/72 hit points with 7 nonlethal damage, 57/108 mana) moves to the head of the group and prays to Bristlebane Fizzlethorp while his hand is splayed on Kwen's chest. The rogue feels the coldness of the tomb momentarily perfuse his entire body. Nogglegrop whispers that he is now immune to the sight of undead creatures, but that like Revery's invisibility spell, it will give only a short warning (2 rounds before it fades), and will drop the moment he makes an aggressive action. Your cleric moves back into his place in the marching order, working hard to move along the uneven ground without falling on his face time and again.
Random Duration (General): 1d4 ⇒ 3 (minutes)
Random Duration (Specific): 1d6 ⇒ 1 (10 minutes)
Kwen will still need to sneak, and move ahead of the others if he wishes to scout a bit ahead.
(Kwen: please include a sneak and hide roll in your next post, keeping in mind that rogues are the only class that can hide while moving at no penalty to their roll)
Following Gwendalyn's heading, and avoiding troubles via Kwen's keen eyes, one such close call had the rogue standing close enough to a zombie that its fetid stench watered the half elf's eyes before he was able to slip away, you slide southward until you near the building.
(All: please include a reflex save vs. DC 15 to see how well you navigate all of the tripping hazards, roleplaying mechanic only)
Kwen approaches the sturdy Hostelry (#12) first. In the southeast corner of the open area stands a single two-story building, which is made of stone and is a much rougher design than the manour. It is well-built and shows no sign of weakening, despite the entire area being overrun with weeds and monster.
Across from this building are the Ornamental Gardens (#7) in a large circular area that has long since been taken over by weeds. They have pushed up brick walkways, making them uneven, cracking the brick in several places, and they have throttled most of the regular flowers. Those few plants which still produce blooms are generally dangerous, using their pretty petals to entice and trap insects or even small animals. Vines twist from one plot to the next, wrapping around fence posts and creating thick tangles that even a stout axe would have difficult cleaving. Most of the fence posts have long since fallen or crumbled, or have been pulled out altogether, shards of wood littering the ground all about.
Within the gardens you hear a moan, which forces all to get low so as not to be seen by the zombie within, but it is too late. Luckily for them the creature is trapped in there, since it is too stupid to get out.
At the centre of the garden is a Gazebo (#8), but you only catch a glimpse of it, and would need to move closer to learn more.
It is here that you become aware that a fierce battle is taking place far west of your current position. All present cannot see any of the combatants, all they can hear is clash of arms, but they sense that the ghost is part of the battle.
Kwen moves as silently as he is able to he kept second guessing his steps, which was annoying to the rogue, for all his skills. The fear was making him question far too much, taking a deep breath he keeps moving; focusing on his breathing while moving.
sneak 1d20 + 17 - 2 ⇒ (13) + 17 - 2 = 28
Reflex save 1d20 + 12 - 2 ⇒ (3) + 12 - 2 = 13
hide 1d20 + 12 - 2 ⇒ (3) + 12 - 2 = 13
Sadly the rogue was quite able to sneak without a problem, the staying low was quite tricky to say the least, at least in this place. Pointing at the two story building the rogue asks a question with his head, nodding in that direction then cocking an eyebrow that asks " Shall we check that building out first?
Reflex vs. DC 15: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19 Success
Gwendalyn snerks at Jinx's silent comment, and she shrugs the sheathed falchion onto her back; it's just for selling, not using. Her eyebrows then rise in surprise at Kwen's silent question, and the mystic chops the air forward (west along the south wall), whispering, "Let's hit it while it's busy."
While no one was training in the use of the falchion it would make a wonderful machete to chop their way into the ornamental gardens if they choose to do so in the future.
They move chased by the frustrated zombie's moans, but it only mindlessly repeats the same failed pattern and remains as stuck as it was for the last 4 months, passing right past the exit numerous times.
Nogglegrop (69/72 hit points with 7 nonlethal damage, 57/108 mana) and Jinx (125/141 hit points, symbol of transal +15 bonus hit points, 90 minutes, shaken condition: -2 to attacks, checks and saving throughs) both dance through weeds, thorns and grasping vines without absolutely any room to spare.
Reflex Save (Nogglegrop vs. DC 15): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15 (success)
Reflex Save (Jinx vs. DC 15): 1d20 + 3 - 2 ⇒ (14) + 3 - 2 = 15 (success)
Kwen can feel that the fine edge of his trade is being stolen from him by his fear. He glides along, but then he falls, which is nigh unprecedented, as is nearly impaling ones own foot with their thrown kukri.
Continuing west brings you closer to the battle and the manour. You see a few things before you get close enough to see the battle:
At the centre of the south wall, a rectangular plot has been marked off with a low wooden fence, which now stands in terrible disrepair. The ground is thick with weeds, but no trees, and several misshapen mounds are visible beneath the plants. Imagining what might be waiting to come out of one of those mounds, considering what you have seen wandering the grounds, is something that would play the central figure of anyone's nightmares.
Herb Garden (#11)
On the east side of the graveyard is another enclosure about the same size as the former, and with a similar fence. This was not a graveyard, however. In this plot were once panted various herbs, neat rows of basil, thyme, mint, and other useful plants. Unfortunately, most herbs are fragile, and these have long since been trampled and overgrown. Except for a few stubborn mint plants hiding amongst the vines and weeds, nothing of the herb garden remains. An unexpected addition has grown in this area and it stands nearly 200' high. You had seen a scattering of mighty bloodtrees throughout the Loping Plains and shockingly one can be found here. Like every living thing here it is but a shadow of its previous glory and will fall soon enough if the curse fails to be lifted.
Immediately behind the manor, attached to its southeast corner, are the stables. The left front door is still intact, attached only by its top hinge, making the door hang at an odd angle. The right-hand door either fell apart or was removed, and only mouldy sawdust remains. This is a large square structure made from wood, with a heavy roof and thick beams supporting the second floor. One the first floor of the stables are the stalls, which once held mules, oxen, and other work animals. Hooks along the walls were used to hold harness and other tools. A sturdy ladder lies in pieces along the floor. Most of the interior stalls have long since rotted, a few walls stand, but most have either crumbled away or lean haphazardly. The second floor is still reasonably sound, but will be difficult to walk across if one is careful (balance DC 10), fi one can climb up there without the use of a ladder.
Next to the stable, and stretching between it and the manor's southern turret, is a rectangular area that has been stripped of grass and rock, so that nothing but dirt remains. Here you find the manor's back door, partially hanging open its rusted making an eerie screeching noise each time it moves. Considering the lack of hands moving it, and the complete lack of wind, the movement of the door is just unsettling.
Near the yard you get your first glimpse of the nightmarish battle raging not far enough west of your position. Among the combatants are a dwarf in heavy armour battling a ghost of a dwarf, both surrounded by all manner of skeletons, zombies, ghouls, vampires, jack-o-lanterns, et cetera. Even throwing all waterskins and Kwen's grenade, into this mass of tearing and ripping bodies will only likely anger some of the more powerful undead, which are far beyond you.
Once the curse is lifted the undead will shuffle off to be dispatched by adventurers who will get to deal with them in reasonable numbers, rather than this mass of horror.
Revery does his best to move with grace and quiet he does not possess.
Reflex save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
As he moves through the grounds, he notes the herbs, and the tree. That tree might be a useful strategic point. He also notes the battle, and wonders what that Dwarf might be doing here, fighting undead.
(HP: 61/63 + 7 subdual, Mana: 105/162)
Nodding that Bast and himself where ready to go, Sajeek glances back at their hidey spot. Briefly, he thinks about the obsidian chips he had tossed in a pouch. There was something ther were missing, he was pretty sure about it. He wasn't sure what it was, just a nagging feeling at the back of his mind.
Turning, the vah shir pads out carefully, ready to get back to the curse elimination. Otherwise, he doubted that they were getting out alive. Not to mention the dwarves that were marching on their way, expecting the curse to be lifted by the time they got here.
Startled at the sight of the zombie, he drops low, watching the undead to make sure it could see them. The vah shir relaxes as he realizes that it is trapped. Continuing on, he glances at the graveyard and just shudders. They all moved past the graveyard a little bit quicker, no one wanting to linger.
"What in the...?" Sajeek stares at the raging battle. The sight of the heavily armored dwarf fighting made his heart skip a beat. He hoped it wasn't Khae standing alone against the horde. Shaking his head, he looks at his friends, "I don't know what he is doing here, maybe a scout, but we should take advantage of the distraction," He glances at the battle and shudders. "Because we would be about as useful as t!!& on a bull in that fight." The vah shir eyes widen at the sight of so many powerful undead. He looks at the puny dirk in his hand and sighs.
"Let's get into the manor while we have a chance!" Sajeek whispers urgently, eyes looking at the manor's backdoor, hanging partially open and swinging in a nonexistent breeze. Keeping low to avoid being spotting, Sajeek heads towards the open door. Getting through what was left of the yard, Sajeek stands to the right of the doorway, back to the wall looking at the others.
Gwendalyn snaps shut the jaw that had dropped at the heart-stopping scene. All they could do for that poor dwarf was try and figure out the curse, and end it so that he won't rise when he falls. She nods and joins Sajeek at the manor's door, waiting for Kwen to go first.
Moving through the yard is simplicity itself, for it has no fence and is only an area that was once used for exercising animals, building furniture, split wood, or for any other chore best performed outside.
Screams of incomprehensible rage find your ears, and you get proximal enough to the battle feel like any seconds might be your last. Unknown to the group, their movements were noticed and two pairs of very dissimilar eyes track their progress into the manour.
The choice of whether to close the door or not is stolen from you as Nogglegrop grabs the portal and brings it shut behind him, muting the horrible noises of the meeting of the titanic forces. Hinges scream in protest, but hopefully that noise has simply blended in with all others. Either way you will not wish to spend much time in this room.
The room boasts two separate fire pits and three brick ovens, all of which are still usable. Damage, though still useable wooden tables against the outer walls were used for food preparation, and the cupboards beneath for storage. Utensils and cookware once hung from hooks all around, but most of these have been stolen or bent completely out of shape, and many of the hooks were pulled down. Naturally, any foodstuffs kept here have long since rotted away, so the kitchen contains nothing edible.
Doors to the east and west open onto the halls, while the door to the south lets out onto the yard. Two closets in the north wall held food and also larger cooking implements.
The eastern door has been blown off its hinges by some incredible force and lies slumped like pouting child against the wall opposite it.
Pinned to the wall is a faded piece of parchment with a map of this floor on it.
(map notes: top of map is north, each square is 5')
Kwen picks up the map, glad for the moment that the group was out of sight, figuring out where the group was wasn't too difficult for the rogue. He turns to the others then whispers " Okay, now we can do this one of many ways, I'd say one possibility is to search each room one by one, starting with the door on our left, that way we can hopefully avoid a bunch of undead creeping up our backside. That way we could find out if there is anything on the first floor that can give us some answers." The rogue pauses for a few moments his mind reflecting on what he had just seen.
The fact that there is a pitched battle just outside, worries Kwen greatly, for he knew not which side could be an ally or which one started the curse. Perhaps the ghost was fighting the dwarf that had killed him and brought about this curse. More than likely not, but in the last year Kwen had a seen a lot of strange and terrible things.
" Perhaps the clues might be in a basement lair, if this manor has one, or it could be at the top, what ever we decide; quiet might be the best choice.... all though one never knows if that will matter as we have a lot of moving armor." Kwen finishes; poking the gnome with little force.
Kwen points to the door to the west; trying to quietly open it and pokes his head out; Kwen is also crouching using the door for cover.
Kwen opens the door quicker than he is comfortable with, banging it into his foot (critical failure). Peeking out he sees about 8 zombies and 2 skeletons all come shuffling his way at their slow plodding speed. Closing the door becomes the order of the day, and he does it long before he can hear the first scratches or bangs on the other side as they seek to get through the portal.
His quick glance revealed exactly what he expected to find in terms of doors, hallway and floorplan.
Suddenly west is looking less like the place to be right now.
You stand in what looks like a war zone, and judging by the damage you imagine that this manour has been the site of multiple battles across many years. Windows are broken, and wood has been burned. Through one of these windows you see a flash of movement and all stand stock still as the flying/hovering creature you saw coming behind you when you approached the pass glides by. Its skeletal form is clad in thick, ragged robes. It does not have legs, instead it hovers in mid-air with its cloak trailing off into wispy, swirling tendrils of smoke. In fact this creature is mostly pure blackness beneath its cloak, with only skeletal arms and its skull connected to the undead darkness. The eyes of the spectre, and it is a spectre, always glow with a murky red light. It wields a scythe taller than Gwendalyn.
Like waiting for a shark to pass, you are all deathly silent as the apex undead predator continues on its way
Kwen's face first is flushed with embarrassment, then pales when the spectre passes by, once the spectre has moved past the rogue points to the other door that the undead are no longer waiting at, as if to say " Move it!" The rogue also puts his finger to his lips calling for silence while moving.
Glancing out the window from where the rogue is standing with the door that is now shut; the rogue almost wishes he was anywhere else.
The door behind you does not sound like it will last forever, under the onslaught of the nigh mindless, yet extremely hungry, undead that are pounding on it, which is a wonderful impetus to find anywhere else to quietly relocate to.
You open the east door and peek out, seeing nothing untoward north down the 5' wide hallway. 5 doors can be seen, all of which are open permitting you to peek in.
From your current position you can look into the Infirmary (#27). Most of the furniture has been apparently destroyed, as have the medical supplies.
Just ahead of you, on the west side is a stairwell that leads down further into the inky blackness of the manour's lowest level.
Jinx forms a rear guard, prepared to meet the onrush of undead from behind if need be.
Revery whispers very quietly, "We have no idea where to look, but my gut says the basement. Or upstairs. Helpful, I know." He nods and watches the others.
This place looks like it was once very comfortable, livable, and even lavish. Revery wonders if it was always here, with the mountain, or if the mountain sprung up around it; or if maybe the whole complex was 'moved' here from somewhere else. He looks at the decor and architecture, to see if he can match the style to a particular race and/or culture, hoping that such knowledge may contain a clue that will help their quest.
Knowledge/geography: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22
Knowledge/folklore: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (7) + 10 = 17
As they move he also keeps an eye out for anything that could possibly be used to block the outside kitchen door.
Sajeek looks back at his friends, emerald eyes wide and his ears folded flat. Looking around the infirmary for all of a few heartbeats, Sajeek peeks at the map in Kwen's hand. Eyes roving over the map, he glances back over his shoulder.
"I think we could get trapped in the basement. And that doesn't sound like a good time. Let's head up," he points at the stairs leading up. "if we do get followed, or bump into more, we can lead them back down stairs and trap them in some of the inner connecting rooms." The vah shir whispers, nodding at the map. "Hopefully, if we keep quiet and moving around, they'll forget about us." The vah shir doesn't feel very convinced that will be the cause, but it didn't hurt him to hope.
One thing was certain, he didn't to want to get stuck around here. Sajeek pads out of the infirmary, and heads to the nearby stairs, keeping an eye out for trouble and the others.
Revery gets that same impression that his goddess is represented, and that this place, while not being solely dedicated, has an intended reverence to it, which has long since been bespoiled. It falls just shy of lavish, but definitely is a place of wealth. If one was to link a race to the architecture it would appear to be very human, though there are touches of other racial influences as well.
Everything one would need to block the door sits in the kitchen, with many heavy wooden tables. Considering that the east door has been blown off its hinges, and "opening" it consists of simply pushing it away from its lean, so you can pass, the west door would be the easier one to barricade, though it would require getting closer to the onrush of undead and hoping the door lasts long enough to prepare a defence.
As you move into the infirmary, and wade through the debris, you see that each of the little rooms has both a small couch and a chair in it, likely for patients to rest upon while the priest examines them. Each room also has a cabinet in them with the basic medical supplies one might need to help a patient.
Each creaking ascent on the stairs makes one wonder if it will support their weight forcing Jinx to go up first and possibly hold off an onrush of creatures while the others move up one at a time.
The second floor of the rear wing is the surgery, where patients who needed active medical help would once have been taken. This floor is divided by a wide corridor, with two doors on either side, each leading into an operating room. These rooms each have a padded table, plus several high stools and two small wooden cabinets. This place has been ransacked.
A door leads out of the surgery, and another set of stairs continues up to the top floor. From both directions you hear the sounds of movement.
Kwen feels the coldness fade as he is no longer invisible to the undead.
Each step you move is a question of whether to move forward, or to rest and regain your energies. You have days and days before the dwarves arrive, which provides you with a great deal of time, but the battle outside has given you a massive reprieve from where those monsters normally reside. Considering the power of some of those creatures it would be a good idea to use that reprieve to its fullest.
Sajeek looks around. He had been trying to decide between going up a flight or out of the creepy surgery. The sounds of movement from both places, makes his head whirl about.
"We're gonna have company," he points at the stairs and the doorway. "I think we could throw something down the stairs we came up, and then hide in one of the operating rooms." the vah shir whispers, barely louder then an exhale. "Those stairs are two rickety for us to run back down, followed by a horde, big or small" he grins nervously, ears flickering at the noises.
"Screw it. I say we keep going up. This looks like a crappy place to hide," Sajeek whispers, glancing at the others. "Unless somebody else has a better plan, 'cause I'm fresh out."
"If the spirits have any love for us, the undead downstairs will go up the stairs and break them. Drawing more out to investigate that noise," Sajeek pauses and a ghost of a grin lights his muzzle. "We just might want to be out of sight when that happens."
" Well that is just lovely, let's see if we can find a place to hide or defend, let's not let them surround us, for that will spell our doom. If we can funnel them so they will bottle neck if they try to attack us; that would probably be for the best. Also I think that the undead can see me now." Kwen whispers to the others " Going up might not be a bad call, we can always rain death from above on the undead as they go up the stairs. Or if we can carry something up the steps and throw it down stairs to break them and see the undead milling about." The rogue suggests.
Thus far there has been no sign that the undead from the ground floor have given chase, or even know where you went.
You ascend the second set of stairs, which is much more sturdy when compared to your previous ascent, allowing everyone to mount the stairs at the same time without fear of a collapse.
Recovery Rooms (#29)
The top floor of the rear wing holds the recovery rooms, where patients would have rested after surgery, or after being given medicine requiring more than half a day to work. There are 11 of these "sickrooms" in all, which are not large, but each one once held a simple bed, a chest for clothes, a small bedside table, and a wooden chair. Like most others in the manour, these rooms have all been torn apart, and most of the furniture is mere kindling now. Of interest is that all of the recovery rooms have a small window, caked in grime, that a skinny house cat might fit through with the liberal application of great deal of butter.
No further stairs continue up, for you now stand on the top floor of the manour. A single door exits this location, and it looks to be locked from your side.
Outside of the door is a 5' wide hallway that runs to a dead end 15' south of the door and wends around to the north ~30' north of the door, arriving at a closed door in a strangely-shaped area.
Beyond this door is where the sounds you heard are emanating from.
This level will be interesting, since you saw a balcony from the ground floor.
" Hsst, we can wait for the undead or I can try to pick the lock and give us a more secure place to hold back the tide. Up to you all, at least with the stairwell we now have an option or two." Kwen whispers to the others already looking at the lock with a sly smile.
Nogglegrop (69/72 hit points with 7 nonlethal damage, 57/108 mana) looks at Kwen, cocking his head to the side, as he moves forward and turns the deadbolt, opening the door, since it locked from their side. He leans in and whispers, "Voila, I think I just became a scoundrel like you. Watch out for the integrity of my ears!"
The other closed door turns out to be locked (DC 30 to open via pick locks), which is a good thing considering that there are multiple zombies on the other side, judging by the moaning and shuffling. There is also another noise, which you find hard to place, like the tinkling of glasses.
Wind howls as well, suggestive that there is a rather large opening on the other side of the door, perhaps a window.
From below you there is the sound of collapse as the rotten stairs give way. From the sound of frustrated moaning you are positive that no undead made it to the top of the stairs.
This appears a good place to hold up for a bit, and even to whisper some plans, but you know not how long the fight will last outside...
Jinx (125/141 hit points, symbol of transal +15 bonus hit points, 75 minutes, shaken condition: -2 to attacks, checks and saving throughs) looks ready to charge through the door.
(15 minutes of light activity has passed)
"Well, we can rest or we can try for whatever's behind the door. Or undead first, then rest." says Revery. "Though it will probably be Jinx, with us throwing holy water over his head at the dead." He looks to see how narrow the hall and door are.
Active Spells - On Others
Mist on Sajeek, Gwen, Noggy, Bast, Jinx for about 40 minutes.
Strength on Jinx for about 40 minutes.
Active Spells - On Revery
Minor Shielding (2AC 2HP) for about 40 minutes.
(Gwen) Turtle Skin (DR 5/-) for about 40 minutes.
(Geen) Spirit Sight for about 40 minutes.
Strength for about 40 minutes.
Pendril's Animation - indefinite.
(HP: 61/63 + 7 subdual, Mana: 105/162)
Kwen taps Noggy on the back of his head lightly " Sorry I was focused on making sure you were going to be okay. Luckily there were no traps to be found." he whispers with a grin
Bluff check 1d20 + 6 - 2 ⇒ (9) + 6 - 2 = 13
Kwen can see that the next lock will need to be opened via lock picking, unless they want Jinx to kick it in. Jinx is more than ready to kick the door in.
Nogglegrop raises his finger, "Let's not try the holy water just yet. It might not work, but I would much rather use it when we are losing the fight and are desperate. There are far too many powerful creatures around, and that might be our only way to survive an encounter with them."
Gwendalyn nods at Noggy's suggestion, having had much the same thought as they ascended the ruined manor. She puts the skin away and draws her two-handed hammer.
Spirit of Wolf (base speed +50%): Nogglegrop (about 45 minutes)
Spirit Sight (see invisible plus spirits, even if insubstantial or in solid objects): Gwendalyn, Nogglegrop & Revery (about 5 minutes); Bast, Jinx, Kwen & Sajeek (about 44 minutes)
Talisman of the Beast (+3 buff Str): Bast, Gwendalyn, Kwen, Nogglegrop & Sajeek (indefinitely)
Turtle Skin (DR 5/–): Revery & Kwen (about 43 minutes)