And we're off!
You are gathered at the office of Chamberlain of the Grand Lodge, Venture Captain Ambrus Valsin, in Skyreach.
Valsin looks up from a thick sheaf of notes, his steely gaze taking you all in.
“Pathfinders, I’ve called you here to talk about the Hao Jin Tapestry. Most of you appear unfamiliar with the artifact. The tapestry is a gateway to a private demiplane created hundreds of years ago by the Tian sorcerer Hao Jin. She shared the spirit of discovery with us Pathfinders, and curated a vast collection of objects, places, and even people, many of them stored within her tapestry. Hao Jin was known as the Ruby Phoenix, an appellation referring to her red hair, which was said to grow a more brilliant shade every time her resurrection magic returned her to life. She vanished without a trace over four hundred years ago. The Society won the tapestry in a martial arts tournament in 4712, as stipulated in Hao Jin’s will, and we’ve been exploring it since. Recently, however, the tapestry has become dangerously unstable.”
“I’m asking you to enter the Hao Jin Tapestry. I’m sure you understand both the risk and potential rewards implied in such a mission. Our planar experts have reviewed Aram Zey’s notes and the tapestry’s recent behaviour. We’ve concluded that each new expedition into the tapestry weakens its fabric, bringing it closer to unraveling. The Society must balance our desire to salvage as much of Hao Jin’s collection as possible with limiting our intrusions into the demiplane. With that in mind, we’ve been doing some research into Tian historical documents, in search of significant locations that Hao Jin may have transported into her tapestry. We think we’ve found an important one: the Shen Province Imperial Archive. An ancient letter sent by one of the librarians mentions that Hao Jin was visiting to study their collection. Shortly after that letter was sent, the Shu Empire began to collapse, plunging the provinces into war. The library disappeared entirely, and visitors found only a round hole where its grounds used to be. These reports are consistent with other locations that Hao Jin transported into her tapestry. One of our scouting missions spotted a lone building in a remote area of the tapestry that matches the library’s description, and I want you to go in and explore it. You have two goals on this mission; the first is to search the library’s archives and return with a selection of documents most valuable to the Society; this could contain rare Shu documents many centuries old! The second, which may turn out even more rewarding, is to search for any clues about what happened to Hao Jin, or at least what she was studying at this library. I’ve requisitioned a bag of holding for transporting any potentially valuable books you find. It will hold a thousand pounds, but put some thought into what you choose. If my guess is right, you’ll find far more than you can carry away even in such a generous amount of space. Remember as you go that the tapestry is far from stable. Our experts agree the magic that it uses to repair itself is reacting poorly to our intrusions. It will be important to get in and out again as quickly as possible, so try not to stay more than 24 hours. If you have to leave before you’ve finished searching the library, we may not be able to get you back in for a second try.”
You may already know something of Hao Jin or and the Imperial Archive:
Please introduce yourselves to each other, including a brief physical description.
Know (Local): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
"Good day to all of you!" You can see a strong man in O-yoroi armor with katana. He is not a pretty one, and not even smart.
"Are you guys ready for this!?"
Since he has no shot at DC30, Daedîn will take 10 for the Knowledge (Local) check...
An Elf in a dark green cloak steps forward ffom the dark corner in which he presided and bows to the Venture-Captain. Since Valsin has already reiterated the limited information the Elf already knew about Hao Jin and her tapestry, he has just one question to ask...
"Daedîn, at your service, sir. How are we to leave the tapestry once we accomplish our mission?"
|Kett, Raptorscale Scholar|
A towering kellid man with a bare, hairy chest, leans forward. The oversized hammer slung across his back drags across the floor leaving a scuff and then a chip in the mortar.
Knowledge (history); +1 vs ancient sites or +2 vs ancient osirion sites, +2 vs ancient cultures and elementals: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Reading from some notes he had been taking, he asks slowly; "The unraveling, will it present new hazards the early field teams never encountered? I've seen ice chasms swallow an entire mammoth in the northern glaciers." Kett looks to the the other agents uncertainly, "What if we get swallowed in a tapesty chasm?"
"'Tien', 'Shen', 'Imperial'... Are these libraries going to be in Tien?" Ketts begins to scratch down a reminder; find wand of comprehend language...
A not very charismatic tiefling sits in the corner with a wolf. They appear to be mumbling to each other in a wolf language. They both also look like they might bite you if provoked.
"Since we've never been to this place you talk about, Murphy wants to know if there is food and prey for hunting there. Is it safe to eat the stuff we find and kill there?"
Orst sits back and listens to the mission brief. it occurs to him that he has never worked with any of these agents before now. He laments again that he really should be heading towards the crusades, battles with glory, but again he feels that his calling is more here working with the society.
"Hoa Jin, Sir? Wouldn't she be almost 500 years old now?" "Magic being what it is, I am sure there are ways, but none of them good that I know of." "And do you have anything to help with the language barrier? Tien is not one language I know."
"This will be my first time through the tapestry. Are there any particular cautions or problems with magic once through the tapestry and on the demiplane? Do spells work differently for instance?" Any do's and don'ts?"
He shifts in his full plate armor to a more comfortable position and shifts the position of his bastard sword so the hilt will stop poking him in his ear.
Taking a closer look he appears to be an early twenty something human, close cropped hair and beard, somewhere just past 6' in height with an athletic build. His sir coat has a symbol of Iomedae centered over the right breast.
The Chamberlain addresses your questions:
"Hao Jin had lived several human lifetimes by the time she disappeared over four centuries ago. She practiced some kind of potent resurrection magic - one of the things that gave rise to her title of Ruby Phoenix.
For all you first-time Tapestry travellers, here are the basics:
We know that the Tapestry landscape is just like the Material Plane - Hao Jin literally translocated whole swathes of Golarion to the Tapestry demiplane. The laws of magic are just as they are here. What we don't yet fully understand is how and why the Tapestry is unravelling, when it appeared that the very point of the demiplane was to preserve that which Hao Jin transferred there. But that's a question we have other agents working on; as of now, we have no idea if the Tapestry will tear itself apart with you inside it, nor what would happen to you in that eventuality Kett.
Food and hunting will be in accordance with the terrain. The Shu Archive itself was taken from what is now known as Lingshen, in northwest Tian Xia; a province featuring forests and mountains.
We believe that the Shu Archive was a highly regarded centre of learning before the fall of the Shu Empire, but it seems very likely that a large majority of the texts therein will be written in the Tien language, or one of the languages local to the continent.
As for your exit from the Tapestry, our means of entrance also provides an exit. A command word causes a traveller to be drawn into the Tapestry at the point he touches. His entrance creates a sort of 'wake', visible to the traveller as a dimly glowing sphere that trails him. The traveller need only touch the sphere to be expelled from the Tapestry. Be warned, however, that the magic of the Tapestry is such that re-entry will not necessarily deposit you close to your prior entrance point. Given the unraveling, we do not intend to attempt re-entry for this mission. You've got one shot at this."
Valsin goes back to his notes.
"Anything else? I have several other briefings to attend to urgently."
|Kett, Raptorscale Scholar|
Deldri, Kett will purchase a wand of comprehend languages for your use as you have a good selection of skills, and can cast it. Are you ok with that?
Kett packs away his journal and hefts his hammer to his shoulder. "That sounds swell. I just need to run down to the quartermaster to turn in a few IOUs from the Scarab Sages, do I have time?" 'Maybe the quartermaster will have a Tien traveler's dictionary!'
If time permits Kett will make those purchases, if not, then not.
|Kett, Raptorscale Scholar|
Having made his purchases Kett locks the hammer within his gauntlet and meets the team at the tapestry.
Wand of Comprehend Languages, 2PP
Tien-Taldan Travelers Dictionary, 50g This is useless with Naruhito here and I know it... Kett doesn't.
Valsin leads you directly to a secured vault, wherein the Tapestry is laid out on a low square table. He directs you to touch a specific point in a corner of the Tapestry and gives you a command word. As the word is spoken, the Grand Lodge vault disappears and your surroundings change...
...though it was morning when you spoke with Valsin seemingly just a moment ago, now a bright galaxy stretches across the night sky above you as you find yourselves in a small valley. The library building is visible less than a mile ahead, but a wooden bridge crossing a small river stands in the way.
We are on Slide 2 - feel free to rearrange yourselves into a different marching order if you wish.
Deldri, you have a riding dog on your character sheet. Are you mounted on this animal?
|Kett, Raptorscale Scholar|
Kett stairs up at the night stars in wonder, "Oh, look at those stars! What sky are we under? Can anyone spot The Dancer, or The Wyrm? Maybe these are south stars? Anyone see The Key of Abadar?"
Wonderstruck Kett follows the group while distracted, trying to recognize constellations.
Orst mumbles something about 'not in Lastwall anymore' and falls into line of march.
"That bridge is a perfect choke point for an ambush. Let us hope no one is expecting us."
He loosens his sword and shield for better access and scans the area for potential threats. I am a little jumpy and paranoid about bridges. Nothing good ever happens on them.
|Murphy the Wolf|
"This looks like a nice place. I always enjoyed the outdoors. I wonder where we are?"
I cast Know Direction to see if North exists on this plane so I can get my bearings.
Being night time, do I see anything in the dark (See in darkness + 120' Darkvision)? Does Murphy smell any opponent within 30' (scent)?
The Key of Abadar is prominent in the night sky, but strangely the other constellations are not familiar at all.
There is no North in the Tapestry. Spell gives no result.
Dresden sees further than any of his fellows in the darkness, and notes that the way ahead is well screened by large rocks and trees. He also notes that the river lies some 50 feet below the bridge, though the water appears shallow and slow moving there are many sharp rocks below.
Dresden also sees that the banks of the river below, beneath the bridge, are slick with thick mud that a person could easily become mired in.
Murphy's nose picks up nothing of special interest.
"Is there anyone among us who can check this bridge? Is it okay or is broken?"
Naruhito checks the bridge.
perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
"It is kind of disconcerting to not be able to know where we are on this plane. Guess we'll have to do this the old fashioned way."
I take a look up at the stars and try to remember the orientation of The Key.
I relay to the team that it looks like the river is pretty far down there with some dangerous rocks. And to keep off the banks as they look a little too muddy.
Nodding in agreement with Orst about an ambush, Daedîn will draw his bow as he scouts the bridge and the surrounding area for traps and foes, taking cover from the rocks and trees when possible...he'll also check for tracks and signs as he moves...
Perception: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (19) + 17 = 36
Stealth: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (11) + 20 = 31
Using rogue trick (Follow Clues) to use Perception for tracking instead of Survival
Tracking (via Perception): 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (8) + 17 = 25
|Kett, Raptorscale Scholar|
Tearing his eyes away from the fascinating sky, Ketts attention briefly returns to the present; "A bridge? Is it of ancient design and craftsmanship?"
knowledge (engineering): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
To Kett's trained eye the bridge appears quite new - not more than 5 years old.
Dresden cannot place any of the constellations except for the Key of Abadar.
Naruhito finds the bridge to be sturdy and boldly takes a step onto it, when the quiet elf Daedîn places a hand on his shoulder to halt him, and makes a gesture for silence.
Daedîn slowly moves across the bridge, and notices that it is rigged to collapse at the centre! It would take only the weight of a halfling to cause the collapse. Daedîn notices no recent tracks before or on the bridge.
Daedîn believes that it wouldn't take much work to disable this trap and make the bridge safe to cross.
Disable Device check, which I'll roll in order to move us along.
disable device: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (14) + 17 = 31
Daedîn works to disable the trap by binding the collapsing section with new rope and twine; as he does so, a voice calls out from the other side of the bridge:
"Halt strangers! You in Scalebreaker territory now! What you want here?"
Daedin: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (9) + 17 = 26
Deldri: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (14) + 15 = 29
Dresden: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (17) + 11 = 28
The voice comes from behind a rock. As you look, Daedin, Deldri and Dresden see a small reptilian head pokes out. The head belongs to a kobold, and it is the kobold that spoke to you. The rest of you can't see far enough in the dark / starlight to spot the creature.
Perception: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (5) + 15 = 20
Deldri turns to the kobold.
"WHAT are you doing in the Tapestry? We're hear to search the library! You aren't causing trouble are you? Cause my uncle Baldwin knew a lot of kobolds that caused trouble. Why there was one time..." He rambles on.
knowledge local: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21
Kobolds? Here? His hand on his bow, Daedîn answers back, "At the moment, we just want to cross the bridge. We'll not harm you if you'll do likewise..."
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Orst mumbles something kobalds and traps going together like tea and snaps.
Orst volunteering "it sounds like common tongue. I could try an negotiate with their leader?" "Is the bridge sound enough to cross yet?" "Can I come closer?"
If he gets the 'okay', Orst will advance.
Addressing the rock as near as the others can tell him, "We are travellers and seek passage through your territory, We do not mean you any harm and wish none from you. Come forth and let us disgust a truce."
diplomacy to get them talking: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16
Deldri stops rambling and moves next to Orst and whispers to him "No harm?!!? Don't you mean no harm YET!"
I SO BET they ambush us...I wonder if the bridge is OK
He looks at the bridge.
|Kett, Raptorscale Scholar|
Kett looks dejected, sad that there is no ancient Shu bridge.
'Huh? traps? No, now talking?... No one running or stabbing, seems fine.' Ketts takes a few steps forward while waiting for the fuss to resolve itself.
Orst whispers back, "They are not our mission. We are traveling through. I don't want to waste our 24 hours looking at every twig and branch between here and the library for traps. Perhaps they will even guide us through. I might even pay myself."
"What do you say? We wish only to pass through the Scalebreaker territory to the library." "Let us talk about it." "Just for listening to my offer, I will give you 2 gold coins." "I can make it worth your while..."
He pulls out 2 gold and puts it on the ground near the bridge termination. Hopefully this gives my terrible diplomacy roll a boost.
"Oh, the Library? You here for Rite of Passage then! Pilgrims, making offerings. This good!"
The little kobold darts out of her hiding place and onto the bridge. You notice that she is wearing armour covered in mud, and what clothes she has that are not muddy are haphazard and askew. One side of her face is also covered in a black grease. She scoops up the offered coins, then frowns slightly before giving the golden discs a good coating of mud from her armour and putting them in a pouch.
The little kobold looks at Daedîn's work. "Not bad, but you miss easy way." She reaches under the bridge and pulls a hidden switch. A cunningly positioned log moves in response to the switch, creating a block for the trap-fall and rendering the bridge safe.
"This good. Now we join party at camp instead of guard border! Very fun!"
Several more kobolds emerge from their hiding places and greet you. Like the first, all of them are covered in mud or grease and wear haphazard, asymmetric outfits. "Pilgirms! Come! Come!"
They lead you towards the library. A squeaky yapping song echoes through the valley, and soon you reach its source. Hides and woven blankets have been laid out on the grass in front of the library. Several campfires are burning, some with simmering cook pots. Around a dozen kobolds, attired like your escorts, are gathered in some kind of celebration.
They show you to their elder. "I am Bridge-and-Logs. Welcome pilgrims! You have come to visit the Hall of Trials and become adults, like Whirling-Teeth, Ants-and-Clay, and Burning-Badger?" Bridge-and-Logs indicates three of the Scalebreaker tribe who appear to be the centre of the celebration.
We are on Slide 3, where you can see a portrait of kobold elder Bridge-and-Logs
|Kett, Raptorscale Scholar|
"Hall of Trials? Is this library the Hall of Trails?" Kett asks as he unlocks his locked gauntlet and returns the hammer to his back.
"I'm an adult... but can I become twice an adult? I like that." Again Kett gets lost in his thoughts as he imagines being twice as adult, and twice as big!
Daedîn shakes his head wondering what they've got themselves into. Maybe we should've just shot first and asked questions later...
He bows curtly, saying, "Apparently so...what do we have to do?"
"You adult?" a nearby kobold asks Kett in somewhat broken Common. "You not face trials in Hall of Trials though! What your adult name? I am Exploding-Kitten!"
Bridge-and-Logs responds to Daedîn: “Evil spirits haunt the sacred trial ground. Each generation of Scalebreakers sneaks in to lay new traps and keep them trapped inside! Now, you must pass the rites inside the library yourself. You will be adults when you leave though, so that’s good. Too few real adults amongst those who are not kobolds.”
"Bridge-and-logs, can you explain a little more about this trial of adulthood?" "What exactly is this trial and do we get to go into the library?"
Orst asks patiently. "If so, we are in." "Soaring-hawk will be my adult name."
"Whirling-Teeth, Ants-and-Clay, and Burning-Badger are you joining us on our trial? There are many new traps to be laid and we could use your expertise."
|Kett, Raptorscale Scholar|
Kett smiles, happy to make new friends; "My adult name is Scholar! Do you think the elder will let me become an adult again? ...Why is your adult name Exploding-Kitten? Why is his adult name Bridge-and-logs...?
"Can you tell us more about those spirits?"
"I hate spirits and swarms. Oh I just realized I had forgotten to buy equipment to fight them."
"Do you have something to fight spirits and swarms for sell. I will pay with gold?" asks Naruhito kobolds.
"Soaring-Hawk? Scholar? You pilgrims not understand." Bridge-and-Logs explains. "Scalebreakers earn their adult names in the library. Whatever trap you set inside the library, that’s your name. Pick a good trap when you go in. Unbalanced-Bottle has been asking for a second chance for the last decade.”
"The evil spirits look like us, but you can tell them apart because the spirits are always backwards. They stare into your soul and make you fight yourself as a test. If you fail, they eat you.”
Several of the younger kobolds crowd around you. "You want fight spirits and swarms? You need Dragon Breath! Yes-yes! Dragon Breath! We sell!"
It turns out that the kobolds do have several items they can sell you. They have the following: 3 dragon breath elixirs (blue), 3 potions of cure moderate wounds, 4 doses of antitoxin, and a somewhat battered but otherwise fully stocked and functional healer’s kit. All for sale at the normal prices.
Then, Whirling-Teeth, Ants-and-Clay, and Burning-Badger approach. "We not going back in! We just got out!" says Burning-Badger. "But we can make map for you, for only 50 gold pieces!" says Ants-and-Clay. The other two nod.
Orst whispers to Deldri, "I think you are forgetting that these particular Kobolds set lots of traps in there. If we all pay 9 gold, we can bypass most of the trouble." "Not a bad economic trade, considering a healing draft cost 50 gold.
Orst pulls out his purse and counts out 9 pieces of gold. "Here is my share. A map would be swell."
Orst holds out his hand to the others taking coins where they come and makes up any remaining outstanding balance himself. Hopefully the map has traps marked.
If the map is not marked for traps, he will ask as my kobolds as time allows to point out where their particular trap is located and he marks them down. "We need to know where your trap is so we don't disturb it."
|Kett, Raptorscale Scholar|
Deldri whispers to Orst "Yeah..I bet they rigged the traps to get all the GNOMES" He reaches into his pocket and grits his teeth. He whispers to himself out loud. "Damm..igging kobolds want my..We're NOT adults" He hands 9 gold to the kobolds.
They better not double cross us. THAT's for SURE