DMDM's Fingerprints of the Fiend

Game Master Douglas Muir 406


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NOW.

Your ship is approaching one of the Pillars of Anferita, a sea stack off the coast of Cheliax.

The magnificent Pillars of Anferita are located just west of the foot of the craggy Eismonts and south of Cape Kraken, says the guidebook, on the southwestern Chelaxian coastline. These majestic formations are beautiful but perilous. First, they provide a twisting labyrinth that have been used by pirates to hide from her Magestrix’s Imperial Navy. Second, there have been intermittent reports of monsters, including sea dragons and evil fey that use enchanting songs to lure sailors onto the many reefs that weave among the stacks. Legend says that the Jistkan Imperium had a fortress or base in the Pillars, but if so, no trace remains...

You don't hear any singing, enchanted or otherwise. The base of the central pillar is a haven for gulls, seals, and other wildlife that chirp and bark in the distance. Salty air assaults the senses, burning the nostrils on each deep inhalation. The wet surface of the pillar offers many nooks and crannies creating a dimpled appearance suitable for climbing up the pillar’s edge. High above, the top of the pillar can be seen cresting to what must be a great plateau.

There is a rope hanging down to the water's edge. It looks like you can climb up to a narrow path that zig-zags up the side of the sea stack.


The setup is, you're sailing to the base of a sea stack -- a small island that's surrounded by cliffs on all sides, basically a sheer rock rising out of the see -- off the coast of Cheliax. Details about what you're doing here will follow shortly.


You're in a dinghy -- the captain's gig of the sloop Grace to Glory. The Grace is anchored half a league away, just barely visible in the distance; the captain has no desire to bring his ship any closer to the Pillars and the notorious reefs that surround them. Waves crash and break around the base of the pillar, but fortunately the sea is calm today.

Anyone with Profession [sailor] can try a DC 14 check to bring the gig close enough to the sea stack for everyone to step up and grab the rope. Failing the check by 5 or more means the ship takes damage. If you can't make the check or don't want to try, then you have to anchor 50' off and then it's a bunch of DC 14 Swim checks to swim over to the stack. There are a lot of handholds, so going up the rope is a DC 5 Climb check.

Note: you don't have to start by climbing the rope. If you want to sail around the base of the stack, it'll take about 15-20 minutes. You can also send a flying scout (fly spell or familiar). It's up to you.


ONE WEEK AGO

Sir Joseph's office is full of bugs.

Dead ones, hundreds of them. Neatly pinned and displayed in frames. They cover the walls. Sir Joseph is a minor wizard, an enthusiastic natural scientist and possibly Andoran's greatest amateur entomologist. He is an aristocratic eccentric who dabbles in all sorts of knowledge. This is true. It is also an excellent deep cover. Sir Joseph is actually the deputy director of Andoran's intelligence service.

"Halidur Karn." Sir Joseph waves a hand. He's not much of a wizard, but he can conjure minor images. A man's face appears, translucent and faintly glowing, floating over the dark wood table. It is a gaunt face, hollow of cheek and long of nose. "Formally, he's a contract auditor of the High Temple of Asmodeus with a side interest in antiquities. In fact, he's a high-level liaison between the Asmodean Church and the Aspis Consortium. We've crossed paths with him several times in the last few years. It has," Sir Joseph frowns, "not always ended well."

"Several months ago, we successfully infiltrated an agent into Karn's service." A new face: a younger man with a sunny expression. "Eldis Grone. I believe several of you know him. He was posing as Karn's deputy. We believe Karn had no reason to suspect him. Certainly Grone provided a steady stream of useful information on the activities of the Consortium... until recently.

"Eldis' last report was of an astonishing discovery here." He points to the map on the table. The map is held flat by several sealed jars, each of which contains one or more dead insects. "The Pillars of Anferita. A set of uninhabited rocks, off the Chelish coast. Claimed by them, but that claim is not recognized by treaty, and has not been enforced. Worthless, no resources, haunted by monsters. Nobody's even bothered to put up a lighthouse..."


Okay, gameplay is open. You can either ask Sir Joseph questions in the flashback (it's ongoing, there's more to come, I'm just pausing for questions) or tell me what you're doing in the present (the dinghy, the rope).


Male Human Vigilante 6 I HP 34/46 I AC 23(24) [T 12 FF 21] I CMD 22+ I F +5 R +8 W +6 I Init +2 I Percep +9 I Sense Motive +13 I

ONE WEEK AGO

Morvius smiles with recognition as Eldis Grone's visage appears - the man recruited him into the service, but he's not heard from him since the two worked some missions against Cheliax a while back. He didn't know Grone had been reassigned to infiltration work - which is, he supposes, exactly how it's supposed to be.

His eyes narrow as he considers what Sir Joseph's words. "What can you tell us of Karn's capabilities?" He waves one hand airily, dismissively. "I don't mean morally, of course - we all know what the Chels are capable of in that regard. But what are his capabilities and resources from a tactical perspective? And are there standing orders regarding his fate?"

Morvius has survived several years now in the service and has gained in confidence and ability; but he's still well aware that certain foes are well beyond his pay-grade.

He looks again at the map. "What was Eldis able to tell you of the nature of this astonishing discovery?"

NOW

Profession (sailor): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20

Morvius winces as the salt spray lands on his jacket, irreparably damaging the fine velvet. Still, such are the sacrifices he makes for his country, and all that. He effortlessly guides their small craft through the water, doing his best to keep clear of the larger waves.

"What do we think, chaps? And chappesses, of course. Straight in towards the rope, or take a more scenic route? Neither's without risk of course, but I can't help feeling that we're better off getting onto dry land sooner rather than later." He shivers, and not just from the cold water. "We're a little exposed out here."


Morvius Zaan wrote:
"What can you tell us of Karn's capabilities?" He waves one hand airily, dismissively. "I don't mean morally, of course - we all know what the Chels are capable of in that regard. But what are his capabilities and resources from a tactical perspective? And are there standing orders regarding his fate?"

"He's killed at least two of our agents. He's... tricky." Sir Joseph sighs. "The Aspis are cunning evil bastards, so it's not really surprising that the devils would send a cunning evil bastard to deal with them.

"His background was as a street urchin in Egorian. He's sensitive about it. He joined the Church young, and then rose quickly through intelligence, diligence, and sheer viciousness. Beyond that... he's a caster, but the details aren't consistent. We have reports of him healing, deploying undead, summoning monsters, casting illusions, you name it. And he keeps coming up with nasty surprises. About the only tactic we've seen repeated is that he'll always have a devil or two around, and he likes turning out the lights. Otherwise... watch out for everything, is all I can tell you. He's clever.

"As to his fate, we would dearly love to interrogate an agent of his seniority. If by some chance you're able to capture him, by all means do so. However, if capture should not be practical -- and with an agent of his seniority, quite possibly it will not be..." Sir Joseph purses his lips. "As you know, the current government does not condone assassination. However," (and here his voice assumes a slightly sing-song quality, as if reciting from a text) "self-defense, or the defense of others, is legitimate cause for using extreme force. And events occurring outside the territory of the Republic of Andoran are not normally within the jurisdiction of the Republic's courts unless a complaint is formally sworn before the Ombudsman for Foreign Disputes. If an event should occur that might give rise to such a complaint, please be sure to include all relevant details in your final report."

You haven't been working for Sir Joseph long, but you're pretty sure this is his way of saying "Capture him if you possibly can, but otherwise kill him, of course." Also, note that one or more of you might have a connection with Karn as part of your backstory. Up to you.

Quote:
"What was Eldis able to tell you of the nature of this astonishing discovery?"

"Ah, yes. As to that..."


Morvius Zaan wrote:


NOW
[dice=Profession (sailor)]d20+9

Okay, good roll. You can go up the rope if you like. Who (if anyone) can automatically succeed at a DC 5 Climb check?

Quote:

Morvius winces as the salt spray lands on his jacket, irreparably damaging the fine velvet. Still, such are the sacrifices he makes for his country, and all that.

Chin up, old chap.


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Human Slayer (Cleaner) 6 | HP 33/46 | AC 20 t 14 ff 16 | CMD 22 | F+7 R+9 W +5 | Init +5 | Perc +9 Know(Dungeon, Local, Geog) +4 SenseMot +6

ONE WEEK AGO

Callinda's eyes skim over the display cases as Morvius talks, noting with silent satisfaction that Sir Joseph has already mounted the scarlet swallowtailed moth she brought back as a souvenir from her last mission.

"How long has it been since Grone's last report?" she adds, picking up on the ominous finality of Sir Joseph's words. "Do you anticipate this is a scouting mission, or an extraction?"

NOW

"Agreed, let's get off the water straightaway. Joyriding around would just ensure we're seen--and we're not going to be swimming in unless our spiritual advisor here--" the young woman quirks an eyebrow at Brother Attero's heavily armored bulk, "plans to walk along the bottom."

She leans over the bow, her dark hood up to cut out the sun's glare as she scans the route ahead for hazards either in the water or along the climb, in order to guide Morivus in. Percep +7, Prof(Sailor) +5, if needed


Human Slayer (Cleaner) 6 | HP 33/46 | AC 20 t 14 ff 16 | CMD 22 | F+7 R+9 W +5 | Init +5 | Perc +9 Know(Dungeon, Local, Geog) +4 SenseMot +6

ah, I see you snuck in a post! I don't want to get too far ahead of folks, but Callinda can certainly lead the way at a +9 climb / +10 stealth if she sees no traps along the climbing route.


Callinda Swan wrote:

ONE WEEK AGO

Callinda's eyes skim over the display cases as Morvius talks, noting with silent satisfaction that Sir Joseph has already mounted the scarlet swallowtailed moth she brought back as a souvenir from her last mission.

Oh, he was filled with childlike delight. The entomology thing is a good cover, but it's also sincere.

Quote:
"How long has it been since Grone's last report?" she adds, picking up on the ominous finality of Sir Joseph's words. "Do you anticipate this is a scouting mission, or an extraction?"

"Grone's last report was just over a month ago. He said that they'd found something, out in the Pillars: an archeological site. A former base of the Jistka."

Does anyone have Knowledge [History]? If yes, make a roll. If not, no worries. Well, few worries.


Male Human Vigilante 6 I HP 34/46 I AC 23(24) [T 12 FF 21] I CMD 22+ I F +5 R +8 W +6 I Init +2 I Percep +9 I Sense Motive +13 I

ONE WEEK AGO

"Hmmm." Morvius keeps his tone noncommittal as he considers the information - as well as what hasn't been said.

"Do we have time to find an expert on the Jistka? I assume you're sending us in post-haste but more information rarely hurts... And that brings me to the awkward question of available resources." Morvius has worked long enough with the intelligence services to know that the next sentence will likely include the phrases "budget," "shoestring," and "regrettably," but hope springs eternal.

NOW

Morvius will automatically pass a DC 5 Climb check

Morvius nods, pleased to know that he and Callinda are on the same page, and brings the small boat alongside the rope, mooring the craft securely.

His eyes scan the cliffside, looking for trouble.

Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18

Bleh. Too much saltwater in his eyes


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Morvius Zaan wrote:

ONE WEEK AGO

Morvius has worked long enough with the intelligence services to know that the next sentence will likely include the phrases "budget," "shoestring," and "regrettably," but hope springs eternal.

Sir Joseph picks up a pinned beetle, squints at it, and sighs heavily. "Regrettably, as you know, our last budget request was..." Your mind wanders.


Your mind wanders back.

"...and so Karn, Grone and an expedition appear to have left Ostenso just over a month ago to investigate the suspected Jistka site. They were accompanied by several Aspis Consortium mercenaries and approximately twenty slaves. Grone has not reported in since, though he was equipped with a method of communication.

"Last week, Karn returned, along with one of the mercenary officers, but without Grone. They proceeded immediately to the Aspis Consortium headquarters in Ostenso. We were unable to do anything but observe. However, the officer spent several gold coins, and we were able to obtain one of them." Sir Joseph slides a small, gleaming object across the table. It is a gold piece, but smaller and thinner than an Andoran crown, and with a curious abstract design on it.

"Jistkan. And fresh as the day it was minted... nearly six thousand years ago."


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"Your mission, then." Sir Joseph raises three fingers. "One: if Grone is alive, extract him. Two: whatever Karn is doing, stop him. And three, find out what they've found there, and whether it could be used to threaten the Republic. If it can, then you are authorized to use extreme force to neutralize the threat.

"Are there any questions?"


NOW

So Morvius and Grinceroy can auto-succeed the check, no problem. That leaves Janessa, Callinda, and Father Dominatus.

Note that under the rules, you don't fall unless you fail by 5 or more; failure by 4 or less just means you "fail to progress". Don't forget that armor check penalties apply to Climb checks. (Also, apparently no Knowledge [History]? That's fine.)

Silver Crusade

Per: +5 | Init +4 |Twin Fists!: +8/d8+7 |F:+7 R:+5 W: +9| |DF +3 BS +2 Warpriest 6 AC 21 HP 38/54| Blessings: 2/6| F: 2/6| 1st: 1/5 (1/2) 2nd: 1/4 (1/2) |

ONE WEEK AGO

"All souls cry out for salvation," Attero states asymmetrically, or, at least it would seem out of place for any but as WarPriest of Gorum. "I would put those priorities in reverse order, as it seems stopping a threat to the very Republic would be the alpha priority. If killing Karn is the only way to do that, then so be it.

As for Grone, as the only representative of the Order of the White Angel, I would put his odds of survival as...low. We can not jeopardize the mission for the sake of one man. But," Attero flexes his spiked gauntlets, as if already anticipating the battle to come, "If we can save his life, we shall."

NOW

A low, guttural chuckles emits from Attero's helmet of STEEL at Callinda's jest. "You have the right of it, lass," he says, in his voice a smile. "As your...spiritual adviser...I concur that we should put our feet on firm terrain as soon as we are able. I can only smite the enemy," he clenches his fists, "if I can reach them."

That said he mutters a prayer to Gorum to grant him strength and his powerful arms pull him up the rope.

Even a one gives me a 5 on a climb check, with the armor check penalty, so tally ho!


Male Human Vigilante 6 I HP 34/46 I AC 23(24) [T 12 FF 21] I CMD 22+ I F +5 R +8 W +6 I Init +2 I Percep +9 I Sense Motive +13 I

ONE WEEK AGO

DM_DM wrote:

"Your mission, then." Sir Joseph raises three fingers. "One: if Grone is alive, extract him. Two: whatever Karn is doing, stop him. And three, find out what they've found there, and whether it could be used to threaten the Republic. If it can, then you are authorized to use extreme force to neutralize the threat.

"Are there any questions?"

Morvius raises one eyebrow as Attero suggests an alternative ordering of the priorities. For all that Sir Joseph presents a low-key profile, he suspects that the man takes a dim view of being countermanded by subordinates.

He coughs. "When all is said and done, Eldis is my friend. Please rest assured that if he remains alive, I will do my utmost to extract him safely. Putting that to one side, for now, what are you able to tell us about the Jistkan Empire and the site we are about to visit?"

Hoping Sir Joseph has access to enough Knowledge [History] to spare us all


Brother Attero Dominatus wrote:

ONE WEEK AGO

"All souls cry out for salvation," Attero states asymmetrically, or, at least it would seem out of place for any but as WarPriest of Gorum. "I would put those priorities in reverse order, as it seems stopping a threat to the very Republic would be the alpha priority.

Sir Joseph continues his careful examination of the beetle. He speaks softly, so that you have to lean in a little to hear.

"Agent Grone knew the risks... as do you. And needs must, when the devil drives. But," his pale eyes gleam over the top of his small half-moon glasses, "we do not abandon our own."


"The Jistkans were contemporaries of the Osirian Old Kingdom. However, unlike the brilliant Osirians, they seem to have been completely uninterested in entomology. There's nothing that remotely resembles the gorgeous carvings of the Second Dynasty, anatomically accurate to the last leg-spine, the scarab-catalogue of Toth-Set-Ra, the glories of the Beetle Pharaoh..."

"Yes, well. What did interest the Jistkans was... golems. They achieved a mastery of binding elemental spirits into constructs that may not be matched even today. According to my colleagues, they used techniques that are still imperfectly understood. Hence our concern. A Jistkan base might be nothing but broken old stones. Or... golems can last for millenia. And the secrets of their creation could be more valuable still."


Female Human 30/30 HP; AC 18/13/16; Init +5; Fort +5, Refl +3, Will +8; Per +3

ONE WEEK AGO

DM_DM wrote:
"Your mission, then." Sir Joseph raises three fingers. "One: if Grone is alive, extract him. Two: whatever Karn is doing, stop him. And three, find out what they've found there, and whether it could be used to threaten the Republic. If it can, then you are authorized to use extreme force to neutralize the threat.

"We shall see him freed, be he alive, or I shall die trying."

NOW

Callinda Swan wrote:


"Agreed, let's get off the water straightaway.

"You need not tell me twice. I may vomit. The rolling waters be no friend to me."

Climb. Why did it have to be climb?

1d20 + 0 ⇒ (3) + 0 = 3

Well, that was a fun campaign!

Silver Crusade

Per: +5 | Init +4 |Twin Fists!: +8/d8+7 |F:+7 R:+5 W: +9| |DF +3 BS +2 Warpriest 6 AC 21 HP 38/54| Blessings: 2/6| F: 2/6| 1st: 1/5 (1/2) 2nd: 1/4 (1/2) |

"Take pause a moment, Janeesa!" Attero calls down from his perch as he sees the pretty Cleric balk at the rope.

"If someone will assist me, this will go faster," he says to those already at the top as he begins removing his armor.

Once doffed, he takes a wide stance at the top of the pillar, grasping the rope strongly, biceps rippling.

"Go ahead and try now!" he calls down. "I will pull you up as you go!"

Climb: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14

Assist with Climb(?). I only don't get a 10 on a 1. Mind you, with a DC of 5, there's no penalty for failure, since she can't roll a zero. So if we just let her Take 10, she won't need help?


Female Human 30/30 HP; AC 18/13/16; Init +5; Fort +5, Refl +3, Will +8; Per +3

If the GM allows...

Takes 10

With Brother Dominatus' hand up, Janeesa manages to brace her legs against the rock and climb the rope to safety, though her boots are now a soggy mess.

"Thanks," the woman says harshly; it hardly sounds like gratitude at all. Then "Damnable sea."

If the GM doesn't allow a recheck after Dominatus' assist, we can retcon this post.


You can't take 10 (otherwise there'd be no point to a DC 5 check) but you can receive assistance.

(Does that mean there's some danger here? Mmmaybe.)


The rope takes you about 150 feet up -- maybe halfway to the top. The view is spectacular, if a little alarming. You can see the other sea stacks sticking marching away in a line, surf breaking around their bases, birds wheeling and screaming in the distance. You wouldn't want to slip and fall.

The rope ends at a ledge. A few yards to the left, there's another rope, and then the ledge ends. To the right, the ledge curves out of sight. It is narrow -- single file only -- and counts as difficult terrain.

Something foul cuts across the clean sharp smell of the sea: a nostril-curling reek, like rotting flesh mixed with garbage. It's coming from around that curve.

Check out what stinks, or ignore it and keep climbing?


Female Human 30/30 HP; AC 18/13/16; Init +5; Fort +5, Refl +3, Will +8; Per +3
DM_DM wrote:
You can't take 10 (otherwise there'd be no point to a DC 5 check) but you can receive assistance.)

Yeah, I misread a section on creatures with a climb speed as applying to the skill in general. my bad.


Male Half-elf Phytokineticist (Elemental Ascetic) VMC Monk 6 | HP 40/40 | AC 20 FF 19 Touch 16 | CMB +4 CMD 21 | F +7 R +10 W+6 (+2 vs Enchantment) | Init +5 | Perc +14 | Speed 30 ft. |

ONE WEEK AGO

Grinceroy smiles wide and gives a low, showy bow. "Of course we'll bring Eldis home, stop Karn and his program and maybe destroy the Chelaxian navy as a chaser." He laughs pleasantly and gives a wink. Still the nerves, after all these years. Well it's like Kira always said. Stage fright will never leave you alone, so may as well use it. Little did she know how much that would help in the army. His smile softens a bit as he looks around the room and stretches, trying to harness the nervous energy running through him.

NOW

Grinceroy walks easily to the end of the ship, rolling with the deck, and leaps up onto the railing where he begins to quickly climb his way up the rope, his bare feet slapping against the rock. Once at the top he begins to look around, immediately looking for danger and slipping his way behind the nearest bush or tree as he does.

Doing an accelerated climb. There's still no chance of failure.

Perception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (14) + 14 = 28
Stealth: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (8) + 16 = 24


Da-ang. Okay, Grinceroy just zips up the rope. In fact, he hardly bothers with the rope -- he more or less just scampers up the cliff. And... a 28 Perception? Whoof. Grinceroy is very alert!

Now I'm rolling a d20. Pay no attention! 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (20) + 15 = 35 Ah ha, okay. Well then.

Silver Crusade

Per: +5 | Init +4 |Twin Fists!: +8/d8+7 |F:+7 R:+5 W: +9| |DF +3 BS +2 Warpriest 6 AC 21 HP 38/54| Blessings: 2/6| F: 2/6| 1st: 1/5 (1/2) 2nd: 1/4 (1/2) |

Wait, so there is a rope going up to a small perch, and then there's another top going to the top, yeah? And we're all at the perch, pondering if we keep going up to the top, or stop and investigate the Bad Smell, yeah? I also am in favor of investigating the smelly place.


Female Human 30/30 HP; AC 18/13/16; Init +5; Fort +5, Refl +3, Will +8; Per +3

Janeesa is less concerned by the unwholesome scent, as it probably indicates death, and the dead have already been freed. She will leave it to the others to decide if they wish to investigate.


Okay, looks like a consensus on investigating the smell. As noted, the perch is narrow -- single file, and difficult terrain. So no double moves or charges or even 5' steps. (Possible exception: I believe Janeesa's Freedom domain power lets her ignore difficult terrain for rounds/level?) Also, stealth halfway up a cliff in broad daylight on a narrow ledge will be, not impossible, but there'll definitely be a negative modifier.

So, who's going?


Human Slayer (Cleaner) 6 | HP 33/46 | AC 20 t 14 ff 16 | CMD 22 | F+7 R+9 W +5 | Init +5 | Perc +9 Know(Dungeon, Local, Geog) +4 SenseMot +6

The ledge may just be a convenient place for a rest and have no greater significance -- it likely peters out just around the corner. But then, it might also be something more. Best to make thorough investigation if we're to understand this place. After all, until we're detected, we're under no time pressure to speak of.

Callinda silently indicates the ledge's curve around the rock's horizon, drawing her scimitar while keeping the other hand free for a third point of contact on the rock. She pauses to give the others time to contradict her intention, then picks her way along the ledge.

stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28

Callinda's "nimble moves" feet lets her ignore the first 5 ft of difficult terrain each round, and does explicitly allow 5-foot-steps, in case it comes up.


Callinda moves very quietly! You don't even disturb the flies.

The brisk sea breeze keeps the flies down, so there aren't as many as there might be. But there are quite a few. At the end of the ledge, two corpses have been staked to the rock wall by iron spikes. They're in an advanced state of decay -- liquefying, actually. The stench is astonishing.

Knowledge check 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13 The corpses are winged humanoids with birdlike feet and claws: they are -- or were -- harpies. Two of them. It's hard to say how long they've been there. Do harpies decay faster than normal creatures? You're not sure.

Callinda only:
I think your talent as a Cleaner specialist will help a little here. [rolls offscreen] Oooh, good roll. Okay, three things. One, some of those spikes couldn't be reached unless someone was flying or a really good climber. Two, this stretch of cliff is extremely visible from above; any flying creature approaching the stack from this side would certainly see the gruesome display. And three, the decaying flesh and muscles around some of the spikes are torn: struggle marks. The harpies were nailed up there alive -- crucified.

The ledge ends. There doesn't appear to be anything else of interest or value, but if you want to examine the bodies closely, you can; make a DC 15 Climb check and then a DC 13 Fortitude save.

Silver Crusade

Per: +5 | Init +4 |Twin Fists!: +8/d8+7 |F:+7 R:+5 W: +9| |DF +3 BS +2 Warpriest 6 AC 21 HP 38/54| Blessings: 2/6| F: 2/6| 1st: 1/5 (1/2) 2nd: 1/4 (1/2) |

Brother Attero begins to intercede, indicating he should go first, but his astonishment at how quietly Callinda can walk on the debris-strewn ground holds his hand.

"Acknowledged. Holler if you need anything."

He'll wait an appropriate time before (loudly) following her.


Male Half-elf Phytokineticist (Elemental Ascetic) VMC Monk 6 | HP 40/40 | AC 20 FF 19 Touch 16 | CMB +4 CMD 21 | F +7 R +10 W+6 (+2 vs Enchantment) | Init +5 | Perc +14 | Speed 30 ft. |

Oops. Sorry. My bad, in my haste to catch up, I missed that we were on the ledge first. Do you want a new stealth for me, or should we just use the one from above - circumstance penalty?

Climb-Accelerated: 1d20 + 9 - 2 ⇒ (18) + 9 - 2 = 25
Fortitude: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Perception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (17) + 14 = 31

Grinceroy follows along behind Callinda. "Just like old times," he says quietly to himself as his smile grows impossibly wide. Then as they round the corner, Grinceroy stops, horrified for a moment. Then he turns to the wall, and begins to climb up and over to where they are to inspect the bodies. The stench hits Grinceroy hard, but he is able to keep it together long enough to inspect the bodies.


Grinceroy wrote:
Then he turns to the wall, and begins to climb up and over to where they are to inspect the bodies. The stench hits Grinceroy hard, but he is able to keep it together long enough to inspect the bodies.

Grinceroy's agility is remarkable, as is his intestinal fortitude. You do your best to hold your breath, but even so it's just revolting.

The corpses were stripped and there's nothing here of interest or value.


Human Slayer (Cleaner) 6 | HP 33/46 | AC 20 t 14 ff 16 | CMD 22 | F+7 R+9 W +5 | Init +5 | Perc +9 Know(Dungeon, Local, Geog) +4 SenseMot +6

Callinda holds her position as Grinceroy climbs up an over her, scanning the rock face around them for any hint of unwanted company -- and breathing as shallowly as possible -- as the half-elf inspects the bodies.

Backing around the ledge to the others afterwards, she describes the scene to the others --

the spoiler wrote:
I think your talent as a Cleaner specialist will help a little here. [rolls offscreen] Oooh, good roll. Okay, three things. One, some of those spikes couldn't be reached unless someone was flying or a really good climber. Two, this stretch of cliff is extremely visible from above; any flying creature approaching the stack from this side would certainly see the gruesome display. And three, the decaying flesh and muscles around some of the spikes are torn: struggle marks. The harpies were nailed up there alive -- crucified.

"A warning, or punishment, or both? I wonder if we wouldn't have found more...'displays' had we sailed around the stone before approaching." She smiles thinly - "At least we know we're in the right place, if someone's going to pains to keep folk away!"


Okay, the next rope climb looks like it takes you all the way to the top. It's another DC 5 Climb check. If Grinceroy (or anyone else) wants to go alongside the rope, that would be DC 10 -- the cliff-side is steep, almost sheer, but there are handholds, shrubs and other plants growing out of it, etc.

Note that this second leg is from ~150 to ~300 feet up. If you fall, the remainder of your adventuring career will be interesting, but brief.


Male Half-elf Phytokineticist (Elemental Ascetic) VMC Monk 6 | HP 40/40 | AC 20 FF 19 Touch 16 | CMB +4 CMD 21 | F +7 R +10 W+6 (+2 vs Enchantment) | Init +5 | Perc +14 | Speed 30 ft. |

Grinceroy clambers back over to the ledge, then heads back to the rope with the others. He looks back at Callinda, "Shall we scout out the top of the cliff as well? I could take the wall if you want the rope and we could go up together, better to have two of us should there be problems up there." Whether Callinda agrees or not, Grinceroy goes ahead and climbs up the wall with whoever is first on the rope. He goes slower this time around, making sure to take his time. At the top, Grinceroy begins by peaking over the edge, then, if there is no immediate danger, quickly pulls himself onto the ledge where he moves to hide behind the nearest cover and searches the clifftops for danger.

I'm going to go slow this time. Even with a 1 that gives me a 10, so I could climb the wall no problem, unless 1 is an autofail.

Stealth: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (14) + 16 = 30
Perception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (17) + 14 = 31


"Whether Callinda agrees or not, Grinceroy goes ahead and climbs up the wall with whoever is first on the rope."

Okay. Who would that be? If I don't hear otherwise, I'll assume it's Callinda.

[sound of dice rolling offscreen, dum de dum dum]


Human Slayer (Cleaner) 6 | HP 33/46 | AC 20 t 14 ff 16 | CMD 22 | F+7 R+9 W +5 | Init +5 | Perc +9 Know(Dungeon, Local, Geog) +4 SenseMot +6

Agreeing with Grinceroy's plan, Callinda hauls herself up the rope alongside him, pausing just below the cliff rim to listen for any sign of life above.

perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12

Silver Crusade

Per: +5 | Init +4 |Twin Fists!: +8/d8+7 |F:+7 R:+5 W: +9| |DF +3 BS +2 Warpriest 6 AC 21 HP 38/54| Blessings: 2/6| F: 2/6| 1st: 1/5 (1/2) 2nd: 1/4 (1/2) |

Brother Attero nods, letting the light infantry go up first. He will follow after, all the better to assist Janeesa.


Female Human 30/30 HP; AC 18/13/16; Init +5; Fort +5, Refl +3, Will +8; Per +3

Janeesa is a little nervous about the height here, given her troubles earlier. A failure here, while unlikely, seems more critical. As a result, she ties her own rope around her waist, and periodically attaches her grappliing hook every 30' or so, pausing to pull it loose and up to her once she reaches solid foodholds.

I have no idea how one would adjudicate that or if it would even matter, but it seems wise

1d20 + 0 ⇒ (8) + 0 = 8

Well, it still sucks, but 8 beats DC 5


There's a little trickle of water running down the cliffside, parallel to the rope and about 15' off to one side. As Grinceroy and Callinda approach a point around 50' above the ledge -- 100' below the top -- suddenly the little stream bulges. A globe of water about the size of your head floats free. Or nearly; it's still connected to the trickle by two thin tendrils of water.

The globe of water hovers in the air. Sunlight reflects off one side, and you can see currents flowing within it. Water seems to be flowing into it through one tendril, then out again through the other.

Grinceroy is climbing off to one side, so he's 1d2 ⇒ 2 on the side further from the rivulet (makes sense, it's safer, no point slipping on wet rock). So Callinda is 15' away and Grinceroy is 20'.


Male Half-elf Phytokineticist (Elemental Ascetic) VMC Monk 6 | HP 40/40 | AC 20 FF 19 Touch 16 | CMB +4 CMD 21 | F +7 R +10 W+6 (+2 vs Enchantment) | Init +5 | Perc +14 | Speed 30 ft. |

Grinceroy curses. "Lookout Callinda."

Grinceroy pulls a piece of rock free to throw it at the globule.

Attack-Improvised Weapon: 1d20 + 8 - 4 ⇒ (15) + 8 - 4 = 19 Possibly -2 for range?
Damage(Best Guess): 1d2 ⇒ 2


The rock hits it.

Splash!

1d20 ⇒ 14


With a faint rushing sound, the globule pours itself back into the little rivulet. For a moment it's visible as a bulge in the stream. Then it's gone.

You can climb over and poke at, try to attack, or otherwise interact with the little rivulet of water. Or you can continue climbing upwards.


Male Half-elf Phytokineticist (Elemental Ascetic) VMC Monk 6 | HP 40/40 | AC 20 FF 19 Touch 16 | CMB +4 CMD 21 | F +7 R +10 W+6 (+2 vs Enchantment) | Init +5 | Perc +14 | Speed 30 ft. |

Grinceroy considers for a moment before shaking his head. "Something's wrong here." He begins to look around to searching for further danger, but it's hard from this vantage.

Perception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (7) + 14 = 21

"We need to get off the cliff." He looks down at the others, "Something's coming. I don't know what, but we've definitely been spotted. Unless you can fight from that ledge, it's time to go up or down, but do it quick." Grinceroy begins climbing again, but faster than before. For the first time on this mission, there's no smile on his face.

Accelerated Climb: 1d20 + 9 - 2 ⇒ (15) + 9 - 2 = 22


Human Slayer (Cleaner) 6 | HP 33/46 | AC 20 t 14 ff 16 | CMD 22 | F+7 R+9 W +5 | Init +5 | Perc +9 Know(Dungeon, Local, Geog) +4 SenseMot +6

Similarly mystified but troubled by the unnatural bubble, Callinda concurs with Grinceroy's evaluation and climbs after him -- easier to deal with anything, or at least provide some cover to their allies, with both feet on solid ground than get caught dangling on the rope.

accelerated climb: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25

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