Cirri stands tall in the presence of the-
Will Save vs Fear: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
Riddywhipple's Will Save vs Fear: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
aaaaand she's gone. RIddywhipple is way ahead of her. Hopefully someone takes care of her staff, she dropped it in a panic.
AC drops by 1 because I don't have my magic staff.
Will: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Obtrivi is ready to stand and fight the terrible being... but the letter holder just ran off, and it was his job to keep her safe.
You know, that's the reason why he runs after her. No other reason at all.
|Alexander Divyr Incostas|
Alexander knows that the fear inspired by Hell's residents have an unearthy power to terrify even the bravest of warriors.
Save vs. Fear: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (1) + 13 = 14
Alexander stands firm against the devil. "Yes, great being, we are here on behalf of the most respected Lady Zarta."
Alexander switches to INFERNAL. "Vetrivides, while I understand your anger at not being met by Lady Zarta herself, DO UNDERSTAND THIS, myself and the Hellknight are not only currently aiding Zarta, but we are the mortal agents of Asmodeus himself...Lord of the Nine Hells... Bringer of Order out of Chaos...The Wrathful... The Bringer of the Good News... and Savior of Mankind." "These others might not be worth of your respect...that is true. But myself and the Hellknight will not tolerate your insolence! Blessed be those who faithfully serve Asmodeus!"
Will Save: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
Erlathan cares not for Vetrivides' fearful presence. The elf shrugs and combs through his spellbook. "Kill us? I don't think so, friend, even if this is Hell. You know why we're here. Thrune's soul. Please, let us know how we can come to an agreement on how to proceed. Surely you must want something." He doesn't look up from his spellbook at all.
This ornate gold ring is set with a single round sapphire and platinum stems. When worn, the ring of the sublime protects its wearer from fear effects as if constantly under the effects of remove fear. Wearers of rings of the sublime in Taldor often believe the ring’s ability to combat fear also removes social anxiety, making the wearer a more confident and self-assured member of high society.
Sense Motive 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
Grab Cirri? 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Good grief here comes all the low rolls again.
The Hellknight stands resolute against Vetrivides even as his arm reaches out to snag their letter holder....and misses by a wide Margin.
"My greetings to you High one." Alden begins.
"My Mistress is on a mission of her own and has thus entrusted us to meet you in her absence. We are told that the writs we carry bears your hand in it. Thus we are here. we are extensions of her will." his stance is firm and it is clear that he isn't affected by the Devil's presence.
Unseen by anyone, a ring glitters and shines beneath his gauntlet. He does glance at the fiery Alexander as he watches the man attempt to remonstrate with the devil.
|Penelope 'Nella' Tabor|
Will (DC 19): 1d20 + 11 - 4 ⇒ (4) + 11 - 4 = 11
The bony scorpion stinger is too much for Nella; she'd always had a fear of anything that could deliver a sting and scorpions were no exception.
She stumbles backward and then turns and bolts out the door behind Cirri and Obtrivi.
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Vetrivedes cracks an evil grin when Cirri, Riddywhipple, Nella, and Obtrivi flee from its frightful presence. It regards Erlathan with a cool gaze, and then it addresses Alexander and Alden with something bordering on respect, "Minions of Asmodeus take note. Dispater is the undisputed master of the Ninth Layer of Hell. Do not let arrogance misguide you."
Satisfied enough of you know your mortal limits after one round, Vetrivides relaxes its posture.
"You will suffice in this difficult moment. Rejoice in your... adequacy." The osyluth’s stinger settles and the devil rises to its full nine feet, claws clasped behind its back, echoing memories of a dozen venture-captain lectures.
"Phistophilus Leventi stands on the cusp of promotion, with only a final review remaining. My analysis into his work is part of that review, and I have found troubling indications of resources improperly allocated and also of clumsily executed language in his contracts. I am currently stationed here and unable to continue my work, however."
"You creatures will act as my agents in exchange for certain seized contraband, per my bargain with your mistress."
The devil gestures toward an ironbound collection of parchment. "Here are my notes, including a list of Leventi’s suspect contracts that warrant further examination. Also, his agents have made several forays to the Ghetto of Outcasts. I have recorded their route as far as my agent followed. Pick up the trail from there to learn more. Also—"
It flips musingly through a maze of text before settling a claw on a name. "Yes. Jarluxis. Seek out this other phistophilus here in the Fastness. She has lost several contracts to Leventi and has incentive to demonstrate her competence with a successful investigation of her coworker."
Closing the book, it refocuses its skeletal gaze. "Hasten in your work. When your writ expires, so does your usefulness." It pauses and glares. "Go. Now."
Vetrivides turns its back to you, declining to speak with you further until you have information to report.
To find Jarluxis, please make a Diplomacy check to gather information. Don't forget your various penalties and bonuses on the attempt.
"I hear your words and we'll back in fulfilment of the bargains." Alden responds.
With a quick about turn, he sets off in search of his wayward companions. He does retrieve the notes and a subtle tilt of his head to beckon his companions to follow.
"We should endeavor to find our wayward friends before we make our next move. I am glad to be standing amongst stalwarts like yourselves." he says proudly.
"Deep breath. Deep breath. Come on, it's like swimming. If the ocean was a malevolent bone monstrosity from the pits of hell."
Cirri calms down, realizes she's missing her lucky quarterstaff, and slowly returns to Alden and Alexander (or what's left of them...)
"Oh good. You're still alive." Cirri grabs her staff. Hopefully not cursed. "So, where to next?" She hears the instructions. "Riddywhipple, do you want to ask around?"
"Oh really, Cirri?" Riddywhipple seems curious. "Fine. I'm the brain, and you're the brawn. Let's ask around. Someone must know where Jarluxis is. Just warn me if I'm about to sell my soul away."
Diplomacy, but I'm CG: 1d20 + 8 - 4 ⇒ (1) + 8 - 4 = 5
"You got it, mister devil. Hey, look, I'm a little devilish myself!" Erlathan quickly darts his head from side to side, letting his chin tentacles dangle. "One of your vargouilles found me attractive and laid a wet one on me. Er, I should stop talking now. Apologies!"
The elf spins on a foot and ventures off to gather information from Hell's denizens.
Diplomacy (Gather Info), CG, Speak Infernal: 1d20 + 1 - 4 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 1 - 4 + 2 = 19
|Penelope 'Nella' Tabor|
Still looking rather pale, Nella clears her throat and attempts to regain her composure once the group is dismissed by Vetrivedes. "Well...at least we seem to be making some progress," she remarks a bit shakily. "So now we need to find Jarluxis before we leave the Fastness. If we approach respectfully then I don't think we'll have too much trouble...I hope."
Noting that some of her companions have already scattered out a bit to begin asking around, Nella does the same.
"Oh, we should meet back here in a few minutes, so we don't waste time trying to find each other again," she suggests over her shoulder.
Nella approaches the first being she comes across that doesn't look as though they're in the middle of anything too terribly important and coughs to get their attention.
Shelyn, give me strength...
"Ah, excuse me, I'm sorry to bother you. My companions and I are looking for one named Jarluxis. Would you happen to know where we can find her?"
Diplomacy (Gather Info; No Infernal): 1d20 + 12 - 4 ⇒ (10) + 12 - 4 = 18
Diplomacy 1d20 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 - 2 = 8
Alden attempts to get some information using Infernal the language taught to him in the academy.
However it seems that he couldn't get better results.
"I would ask if you would know of this Individual,Jarluxis and where one might find him."
Alden, Erlathan, Nella, and Riddywhipple accost any number of devils in the Fallen Fastness, but the fiends all either ignore them or snarl their displeasure at the interruption of their vital work, cataloguing the never-ending stream of incoming mortal sins.
(Do Alexander, Cirri, or Obtrivi want to try a Diplomacy check to gather information about where within the vast library you might find Jarluxis? If not, we'll move on... )
Are there negatives for trying? Cause uh... i don't think Obtrivi should try to help in that case. Alexander probably could hit it out of the park.
Obtrivi walks alongside Cirri, looking at the terrors and demons around him.
Obtrivi no like hell Pretty Cirri. Not even puppies or kitties... only Puppy Obtrivi see on fire, and it was not a happy puppy, it was a bitey puppy...
He frowns deeply at the implications.
"I know, Obtrivi. I don't like this place at all. So much knowledge, but so much temptation. The bad kind."
"You guys want me to ask around? Um, I can try, but..." She walks up to the first devil she can find and summons her courage. "Excuse me. I'm looking for... Jarluxis? She's in this library, right? Uh, sorry, excuse me. Looks like you're walking away from me. Oh yes, quiet in the library, I'm sorry."
Diplomacy, NG, no Infernal: 1d20 + 2 - 4 ⇒ (18) + 2 - 4 = 16
While not bad, it looks like other party members got better rolls but couldn't succeed. It's up to Alexander.
The party reassembles, no one the wiser as to the whereabouts of Jarluxis.
After two hours of searching, you find the contract devil on the 50th floor of the Fastness.
With skin the color of rust or dried blood, hair jet black, and a jutting crown of ridge-like horns, Jarluxis is a muscular devil, handsome and confident, with chiseled features housing a perpetually smug grin. Tipping the scales at some 350 pounds, she stands nearly 6-1/2 feet in height, not counting her horns, from which are draped innumerable lengthy contracts, like broad flowing ribbons.
Jarluxis is carefully wording a prospective contract for a mortal. The young Chelaxian nobleman can barely suppress the trembling of his hands, and he keeps licking his chapped, dry lips. "This states explicitly," intones the contract devil, "that you have entered freely and with no reservation into a Dark Bargain, the value of your soul being 15,000gp in the coin of your realm. From this moment forward, your soul belongs to Hell. If you die, you cannot be restored to life under any circumstances. If you have no further questions, sign the document, and the contract is final."
Jarluxis hands the man a quill, he gulps, Adam's apple bobbing, and signs the document, then shuffles away as fast as he can in his clattering hellknight armor.
With an impatient and imperious glare, the contract devil turns to you. "Well, mortals? What Dark Bargain would you enter into this day? I care not who you are or what brought you here. I care only that any Dark Bargain be entered into according to your free will and that the terms are binding. For all eternity."
Time elapsed: 4/48
Erlathan shudders as he thinks of the nobleman's fate. He takes a safe-looking spot behind Cirri and speaks from there. "Er, I don't think we'd like to enter into any such Bargain, please. No, no. We're looking for information on Leventi's contracts. We've heard he hasn't been acting as Hellish as he should be. If you will."
Diplomacy, Aiding whoever rolls main, Infernal but Good: 1d20 + 1 + 2 - 4 ⇒ (7) + 1 + 2 - 4 = 6
"The only thing I want is a cool bath." Riddywhipple shudders. "But as he said, we're looking for Leventi, or at least information on his contracts. We heard you were an expert on this."
Diplomacy(Aid) CG, no Infernal: 1d20 + 8 - 4 ⇒ (19) + 8 - 4 = 23
Alden glances with some interest at a fellow hellknight but snaps his attention to the being who does deserve his full attention.
"We are investigating Leventi. We understand that we have a mutual interest in this matter. In fact we understand that you stand to gain in the event of our success. We seek information on him, information you have." Alden speaks calmly not forcefully, a surprising thing for him. He's usually less circumspect.
Diplomacy 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6 Sigh. help?
"Leventi, eh?" Jarluxis says, and, after a brief pause, she asks, "Who gives a s#~$, and why do you care about that worthless piece of devil-flesh?"
Its seems a rhetorical question, borne of infernal impatience. "My time is too important to waste on unpaid labor, though I'd be willing to help for the right price."
She considers you and your options for a moment. "You wouldn't have to sell your Soul, you know. Dark Bargains can be made for any number of things. You could surrender some of your Powers for about the same price. Or for a lesser amount, you could just give up Hope or some relatively useless Emotions. Even surrendering your Fate can earn you a fair amount of coin. Of course, the choice of Dark Bargain is your own."
When none of you seems terribly keen, she's visibly disappointed.
"I tell you what. I'll help you, if you help me. Give me some professional assistance with my current project." She tears off a ream of paper from the ribbons streaming from her horns and draws up a quick formal agreement. "You agree to two hours of contract labor as my, em, paralegals, and I'll give you what you need. Just sign here."
[If someone can make a high enough Diplomacy check, you might convince Jarluxis to give you the information immediately for free. Already a couple of Aid Anothers rolled.
Or you can sign the contract and perform the work. To do so, please attempt a Lingustics or a Profession (barrister or merchant) check.]
Cirri takes a look at the contract. She's in no mood to sell her hope, or her soul, or her magical prowess.
Linguistics: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
"Maybe we could just get the information quickly, then? And then we're out of your hair."
Diplomacy(Aid): 1d20 + 3 - 4 ⇒ (16) + 3 - 4 = 15
|Alexander Divyr Incostas|
Alexander attempts to gather information, although his stern demeamor isn't normally the most amenable to winning people`s favor.
Diplomacy, Infernal: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
"There is no reason we shouldn't combine forces for the greater glory of Hell's leading powers."
Jarluxis raises one eyebrow at the inquisitor. "Nice try, big guy, but... No."
Then she blows on the contract, drying the ink from Cirri's signature. "Get to work. We'll talk after."
Two hours later, you're all feeling light-headed and your eyes are burning. Cirri's expertise succeeds in getting the job done.
Upholding her end of your infernal contract, Jarluxis waves you over to gather around her.
"Leventi’s agents recently transported Gellius Thrune’s imp Tholvinis to Widow’s Cry." Her nose wrinkles in disgust. "My 'colleague’s' sloppy binding of the imp after Gellius’ death, sheesh, anyone unable to control an imp shouldn’t be trusted to command mortals."
"Look," Jarluxis continues, "I'll be working here in the Fallen Fastness for the next day or two. As long as what you're doing is investigating Leventi, I'll help analyze any contracts or other legal documents you bring to me."
Effect: Grants the PCs a +5 bonus on their checks and allows them to attempt those checks untrained.
Outside the Fallen Fastness, Artylget flicks his cigarette on the ground and stubs it out with a callused heel. "Took you long enough. I know, lots of books with big words and no pictures, right? So, where to next?"
Widow's Cry, Ghetto of Outcasts, Market of Breaths? Link up with Zarta at one of those places and compare notes?
Time elapsed: 6/48
"We should head over to where our Lady is and report our findings. She can tell us what she knows and we head over to this Widow's Cry. Since that is where our next quarry would be. Even better if we can meet her there instead." the proud hellknight says displeased with himself over his recent failure........
Cirri's smart. Cirri knows her way around legalese. She doesn't like any of this soul trading nonsense, but it reminds her of her days in magic school. When she wasn't sneaking out to the martial training grounds.
"Well, that's a lot of research. And more sins than I want to read about in a lifetime. A human lifetime." Cirri is glad to get the information, but she's wasted time.
"I feel like we have to go everywhere to figure this out." Cirri taps her staff. "Let's find out what's going on with the imp. Let's go to Widow's Cry."
"I think you're right, Cirri," Erlathan grumbles. "And I was hoping we'd be able to get the hell out of here soon. Very well, let's be off to this Widow's Cry."
Alden and Cirri convince the rest of the team that Widow's Cry should be your next destination. You use one of the scrolls of sending to arrange a meeting there with Zarta.
"Widow's Cry? Yeah, I know the place. Eiseth runs the show there. Follow me," Artylget says.
Knowledge (planes): 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (16) + 15 = 31
With the fast-moving imp leading the way, it only takes an hour to get there.
Time elapsed: 7/48
A mountain of brass and iron blades rises on the outskirts of the city: this is the palace of Eiseth, the Erinyes Queen. Impaled bodies adorn the mountain, and screams of suffering echo for miles. A black cloud of erinyes circles above, while legions of devils train and clash in claustrophobic alleys and miles-wide plazas. Arenas line the fringes of Eiseth’s domain, and a steady flow of contenders rush to test themselves in the Queen of Night’s gladiatorial matches.
Zarta's waiting for you. "The Market of Breath is fascinating, you can find almost anything and anyone for sale there. I learned about the Tholvinis, Gellius Thrune's imp, and Widow’s Cry. You all must have found a similar lead. Oh, and I arranged for free rooms with the gnome Artinean Tecbright, a merchant who operates The Warm Welcome, an armory for an efreeti consortium."
"What did you all learn from Vetrivides at the Fallen Fastness?"
"Oh boy, another night in there?" Cirri shudders. "So I guess he didn't bind the imp properly and he couldn't control it? We need to figure out more about this imp."
|Alexander Divyr Incostas|
Alexander will share all of the information gained thus far with Zarta. He has no reason not to trust her and has been a loyal member of her faction for several years.
"My Lady, we have learned much..."
Zarta listens intently to Alexander report the team's findings at the Fallen Fastness. "Okay, so you're ready to see what you can learn from the imp Tholvinus, once you find him here in the Widow's Cry."
She looks around, "So the question is which lead I should follow, while you're busy here. I could return to the Market of Breaths, and see if I can learn more there. Or I could visit the Ghetto of Outcasts, following up on Vetrivides's lead there."
Where do you want Zarta to investigate? She will learn more each time she visits the same site. With the information she gathers at a location, the party gains a bonus at that location when it visits themselves. The bonus for the party is higher, if she's visited there twice.
Cirri scratches her head. "We'll look through Widow's Cry. Maybe we should cover our ground, then. Zarta could go to the Ghetto of Outcasts and follow the leads there."
"Tis a sound plan. I agree though of course if Milady Zarta wishes to return to Market of Breaths, I have no objection." Alden responds.
Zarta nods, "All right, I'll see what I can learn at the Ghetto of Outcasts, while you're following the leads here."
Before she vanishes in the crowd once more, she looks back over her shoulder. "Don't get yourselves killed."
I'll update things tomorrow morning.
|Alexander Divyr Incostas|
Alexander turns to Alden, "Our Lady Zarta wields emense powers, both magical and political... I am sure she will be just fine. We should make it our priority not to fail her... I don't think some of our companions are as motivated in supporting Hell's divine order as we are."
|Penelope 'Nella' Tabor|
Nella pulls her hood a little lower over her face, trying very hard to ignore the horrible sights that abound at the Widow's Cry. "Yeah, we might as well follow up on our leads here since we're already here. Hopefully we can move faster than we did at the Fastness."
"Not all of our companions will see things the way we do, Milord Alexander. Instead of telling them, let them experience the wonders of Hell itself. Even though this is the domain of Dispater, our lord is the one RULER." The proud knights checks his gear once more.
"We should make haste for we well know that time is against us."
"Hey, you said something I agree with." Cirri chirps quietly. "The less time we spend here, the better. Because of the writ, obviously." Everything about this realm disgusts her. She read about the Planes of Hell before, but viewing it with her own eyes made it all too real.
On Widow's Cry, devils guard the passes deeper into Eiseth’s domain, barring passage. However, the outer arenas are abuzz with activity and offer a host of minor prizes to successful gladiators.
It doesn't take long for you to figure out that Eiseth uses these gladiatorial matches to test her army against non-devil adversaries. The battles are to the death, after which victors choose their prizes but the bodies of the losers are forfeit.
Your curiosity leads you over to the gaudy displays at the prize table. Hellhounds and erinyes guard the cage of blades containing the prizes. Among the prizes is Tholvinus, the imp once bound to Gellius Thrune. There are numerous other prizes a gladiator can select after winning a bout, including a +2 good outsider bane longsword, black feathered wings of flying, an onyx gem that contains a soul worth 2,500 gp, or a diamond worth 10,000 gp.
An erinyes approaches you, "I'm Cerenthiel, and I manage this arena and arrange all the bouts. You lot interested? Entry's free, so long as you agree to fight to the death. If you're afraid, you can always opt for a nonlethal match." It's clear the devil thinks that's an act of supreme cowardice. "But you'll need to post collateral. It ain't cheap."
"The imp is the prize. Obviously we need to fight for him literally then." Alden tells his companions as he tells his companions.
"I say we enter it and show our prowess!"
"Yup, we're fighting the imp. We need it, pronto." Cirri tries not to look the erinyes in the face. "I'm pretty sure we can take out our opponent if we work together." She clutches her staff.
"Sounds like we're fighting" -gulp- "to the death then." She hesitates. "Uh, what is the collateral? And if we win, do we get it back?" I hate when she glares at me like that! Still one less devil is worth it.
Cerenthiel regards Cirri, a puzzled expression on his face. "Momma drop you on your head, lady? You don't fight the imp." He points to the bout underway in the arena. "You fight them."
Your eyes follow his finger. Seven frightened dwarves with battle-axes stand in a circle, hiding behind their shields, while two erinyes devils fly over them, pelting them with flaming arrows from their composite longbows. "Eiseth's warriors need some target practice."
He scratches his chin, watching the battle progress. The dwarves drop, one by one. "Won't be long now."
Another team of erinyes are getting ready to enter the arena next, conducting precombat checks of each other's gear, longbows, arrows, longswords, and 50ft coils of rope on their belts.
"Collateral?" Cerenthiel offers a wicked grin. "Any nonlethal match requires either a Dark Bargain or the 'adulation of your peers'. You lose, you forfeit the collateral. You win, no problem."
('Adulation of your peers' = 6PP)
|Penelope 'Nella' Tabor|
Nella's expression is grim and resigned as she considers the group's options. They would be entering the arena one way or another, but what would be the bargain?
"I assume that as a group it's either all or nothing when it comes to a wager? We all agree to wager our lives or we all agree to wager some sort of collateral?" she asks of Cerenthiel.
Once she has an answer, she turns to her companions. "Is this worth wagering our very lives for?" Nella hisses. "I have my doubts! But collateral...well, I think I've got enough 'adulation' to spare."
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Obtrivi stands tall and beats his chest.
OBTRIVI FIGHT! OBTRIVI WIN IMP!
He turns to the others.
OBTRIVI NOT AFRAID! OBTRIVI WILL KILL DEVILS!
He looks at the devils and seems to consider for a moment and nods head.
Potion with feather on it do trick. No can fight if no can fly.
He states solemnly before turning to the demon, pulling his massive weapon down over and grinning madly.
When you let Obtrivi CRUSH devils?!
"Of course I don't prepare Fly today. I can fly up there, but what about you guys?"
"I don't mind getting mocked for opting for a non-lethal option, so I'm willing to pay for the 'Adulation'." Cirri wants to clarify herself, but really that devil's eyes freak her out. Stop staring.
Can I make a knowledge check on the Erinyes to know their DR?
Knowledge(Planes): 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (17) + 17 = 34
|Penelope 'Nella' Tabor|
"I can't fly but I hopefully won't need to," Nella remarks. "Just keep them from firing on me and I'll do what I can from the ground."
"Hmph. Attacking from the air firing ranged weapons. The act of cowards indeed. We shall fight them and show them that their methods are poor for their namesakes." Alden adds in, his pride as a warrior showing.
"I mean, it is a valid strategy-"
"But I can fly up there on my own. Alden, you're good with a bow I assume? I should be able to harass one of them, at least."