Wilen spends the voyage holed up in his cabin, tweaking his bomb recipes. Near the end he excitedly explains to his teammates that he's determined ways to pack twice the explosive power into them.
Juis wanders around the ship while they are on their voyage. Talking to some of the sailors to learn more about their craft, the navigator and the ship's cook. Learning as much as he can.
After you've been roused from sleep and herded aboard the Winking Wyvern, the party sails urgently for Rivenrake Island and the ruins of Xin-Bakrakhan, ancient capital of the Thassilonian Runelord of Wrath.
A note from Venture-Captain Sheila Heidmarch informs the group that a Society-funded dig team has uncovered a totally intact temple that appears to be associated with the goddess Lissala, buried for 10,000 years. Given the fresh revelations that this long-thought-dead cult is thriving and allied with the Aspis Consortium, it’s a truly wonderful find, providing an unprecedented opportunity to gain knowledge of this forgotten faith. Even if the site turns out to not be dedicated to Lissala, learning more about the faiths and practices of ancient Thassilon always provides an abundance of knowledge. Often the items they use in their rituals lead to clues about the cults.
By now the work crew has finished clearing the site—the time to explore its secrets is at hand. The Society has no exclusive contract to the site, and Aspis Consortium agents scour the countryside seeking such ripe targets, so time is of the essence. Archaeologists Halla Beusophis and Kovo Murse can answer questions when the group arrives, and a fellow Pathfinder ranger, Riemme Batelle, is already on the island, ready to join in this exciting endeavor. Sheila Heidmarch has given the party a charge: eliminate the ancient temple’s dangers so that Society scholars can study the ruins safely, and bring back whatever knowledge lies within.
Additionally, during the voyage each of you are approached by some anonymous sailor who surreptitiously hands over a leather pouch containing additional instructions.
NB: As with most Faction Missions, these no longer play a key role in your rewards, but they can often encourage you to look deeper into the scenario, or just be fun! So here they are.
Don’t ask me why, but the market for all things Thassilonian, especially stone carvings and keepsakes, is booming here in Riddleport. Other Sczarni families are representing the simplest trinkets and rocks with a splash of faux ancient paint as true artifacts of the dead empire, and they are making a good bit of coin with the local rubes. However, it’s my belief that if we had more authentic items we could sell, we might have more success in showing our strength and uniting the scattered Sczarni here in Varisia. Since you are headed to a genuine Thassilonian ruin, see if you can “acquire” a small stone idol or the like. No one’s going to miss some little trinket that’s been buried for a hundred centuries anyway.
Best Luck be yours,
Your task on Rivenrake Island puts you in close proximity to an errant servant of mine who appears to have forgotten her commitments. Halla Beusophis is a Pathfinder archaeologist of some skill working at the Xin- Bakrakhan dig site. She has failed to follow through on a contract signed with me. I require that you firmly remind her of her legal obligations which seems to have slipped her mind—doubtlessly the fault lies in my sweet and indulgent nature. Persuade dear Halla that wisdom lies in abiding by the terms of our contract regarding “the Egorian business”—use those words, and also inform her that I will soon pay a visit to Egorian myself. Remind her that I upheld my end of the bargain, and she has yet to do the same.
My Most Tender Regards,
Paracountess Zarta Dralneen"
It has been brought to my attention that your mission calls you into the ruins of Bakrakhan—a place known for depravity and violence. Our prayers go with you in that dark place, where I hope you can bring some light. Cults in Bakrakhan were said to have appalling practices such as sacrificing unwilling victims, malforming their bones and bodies into inhuman forms, and displaying the preserved bodies in their temples like trophies. If you should come across such unfortunates, anoint their remains with the holy oil I provide with this note. We believe this simple act releases souls suffering unspeakable torment."
May Right Prevail,
It is my understanding that the excavation on Rivenrake Isle has been a long and most grueling effort for the workers hired by the Society. The Aspis Consortium spreads rumors that we treat people in our employ with brutality. As we wish to maintain a reputation as a fair and humane employer, see to it that any of the workers who may have sustained injury in the course of their labors receives appropriate care. The archaeologists and agents can see after themselves (they’re loyal Pathfinders, after all), but effort must be exerted to prove that the Society has a proper concern for even our laborers.
Venture-Captain Ambrus Valsin"
We are most interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the faiths of the ancient Thassilonians, since the curse that has befallen the Ruby Prince came from that ancient place. Your trip to the Rivenrake dig offers the perfect opportunity. Should you come upon any priestly vestments, shrine engravings, or other religious accoutrements, please examine them for inscriptions or interesting designs, making precise copies for our further investigation. Your efforts to expand our comprehension of antiquity are most appreciated, and it may be the key to healing the Ruby Prince—blessings be upon his exalted name.
With Duty to Our Ancestors,
Amenopheus, the Sapphire Sage"
Re: Thassilonian matters
Re: The Lissalan faith
Feel free to have shopped for any appropriate supplies before setting sale, but try to have those purchases wrapped up shortly.
The sea journey itself is mercifully uneventful, and the sloop’s crew gives the Pathfinders a wide berth, partially out of respect, partially out of superstitious dread at the destination. Only the captain, Haerla Skolet, is open to speaking with you beyond a few mumbled acknowledgements. So she'd be a reasonable person to ask any questions you've got before arrival ;-)
Knowledge (History): 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (18) + 13 = 31
Knowledge (Religion): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12
"Hmmm...We might find Alaznist, the Runelord of Wrath buried there. Or at least one of her minions. She also gifted a lot of powerful magic items to her minions. This ruin might give some truly interesting discoveries."
Know Religion, Free Inspiration: 1d20 + 7 + 1d6 ⇒ (8) + 7 + (6) = 21
And did you know that Alaznist came to power after Lissala? Being in league with demonic gods, Alaznist ruthlessly transformed the old temples of Lissala to the worshipping of demons. This slowly put the influence of the goddess down to the ground, so to speak.
Wilen listens to the interesting tidbits about the ruins. It doesn't really make him feel better about delving there.
Indeed, potentially very interesting discoveries. However, I'm guessing runelords left behind formidable dangers to protect their secrets and treasures as well. All the same, it promises to be interesting.
The harbor closest to the Xin-Bakrakhan dig silted over hundreds of years ago, so the Winking Wyvern drops anchor and sends you ashore in a pair of launches.
Greeting your arrival are a half-dozen bedraggled souls living in rugged tents sufficient for four times their number. They're led by a grim-looking woman in work clothes, with signs of emotional strain and fatigue lining her face.
"I'm Halla Beusophis, lead archaeologist on this dig. Thank goodness you've arrived," begins the careworn Pathfinder. "Two days ago workers at the dig site were attacked, by what or whom I don't know. I was here at camp when it happened. Only a single worker escaped - Shadaq, who
crawled back here, bleeding from a dozen terrible injuries. The wounds were mortal and none of us here possessed the skill to aid him. Before he died we got little information. He told us of the attack, said that everyone had been, 'gutted like game birds.' His last words - as his eyes violently rolled back in his head - were 'Lissala is angry, but so am I.'
"The six of us are all that's left - myself and these five hired excavators. They've refused to go back to the site, and I didn't dare go alone. We've been huddled in these damned tents since Wealday, waiting for your arrival. I'll take you to the dig myself, but I don't know what we'll find. If Shadaq's words are true, it won't be pretty. Only the gods know whether those same attackers lie in wait.
The business-like halfling takes on a rare sympathetic demeanor with Halla.
You've been through a lot, are you sure you want to come with us? Perhaps just give us directions and we can go look into the threat while you rest with your crew.
"It is probably best if she comes with us. We would want someone with some knowledge about the site."
"That is true, but have some empathy for this tragedy." Declan says to Juis before turning to Halla. "If you don't wish to come with us, we will make our way as best we can."
Wilen considers this response momentarily and then decides that there is no use to arguing further.
This is fair. So, is this the first such attack that has been experienced at this site?
Marianna stayed quiet and out of the way during the trip from Korvosa to Magnimar, then onboard the Wyvern, spending most of her time on the first leg thoroughly scrubbing down her armor. So, by the time the ship drops anchor off the shore, she's already fully armored and ready to go onshore.
After listening to Halla's description of what's transpired, the Maiden speaks up. "How big and how far away from is this site? Likewise, can you tell us anything more about the place?" Then, she looks around and asks, "Was Kovo at the site during the attack, and have you seen Riemme since then either?"
"Well, you can see the ruins from here, but the dig site itself is a couple miles from here. It's a single temple, free-standing but not too gigantic. It's remarkably well preserved - unnaturally well preserved, honestly. There are two possible entrances, both of which were still bricked over. There's also a circular opening at the peak of the dome, but we stayed clear of it so far. The rest of it... Well, Xin-Bakrakhan was Alaznist's capital city. We've only really scratched the surface of these ruins, and we expect to find much more before our work is done."
She nods somberly, "They were both at the dig site when the attack occurred. According to Shadaq they must be dead, or holed up somewhere in the ruins."
Halla still insists on accompanying you to the dig site itself. Hulking mounds of the long-dead city are still all around you, and the presence of Hollow Mountain and Alaznist's hateful visage glower high above you.
The area surrounding the temple, is littered with rocks, loose soil, and bits of excavation debris, making reaching the site slow and tricky, and allowing plenty of time to look upon the temple itself.
The breathtaking edifice is constructed of tightly fitted blocks of brown stone covered with intricate engravings depicting humans engaged in acts of terrible self-mutilation. A pillared portico girds the eastern fron of the great temple, the carved columns resemble fat, coiled serpents. The structure stands about 20 feet tall, though a great dome rises out of the center another 20 feet. How this place could be more than 10,000 years old defies logic - some sorcery must have preserved the stone.
The stench of blood is the only greeting upon arrival at the excavated temple. Before an imposing stone structure lie a few stripped an eviscerated bodies bearing terrible wounds that go far beyond the marks of battle in their viciousness, and furrows in the fresh dirt indicating that others have been dragged inside. Halla covers her mouth to stifle a cry, then rushes to the side of one of the bodies, falling to her knees.
"Kovo! Oh, Kovo, look how they butchered you!"
Sorry. I thought we were there already.
Declan does not know Halla, but he goes up with her and puts his body in her sight line to remind her that the danger probably still remains.
Juis frowns at the sight of the bodies and gives a silent prayer over their remains.
"It is clear now that something inhabits the ruins."
Earlier, before the bodies are spotted...
The preservation of this stonework is too good... like this whole temple is out of time.
Upon seeing the bodies, Marianna immediately goes into a defensive mindset. With helmet on, the former Grey Maiden follows Halla, and scans the area for threats, as sword and shield come out to protect the archaeologist.
After a few moments of mourning over her colleague’s battered and bloody body, Halla rallies and aids in examining the gruesome scene.
She reports that others are missing: Pathfinder Riemme Batelle, two dig workers named Pel and Saala, and four laborers. A check of the surrounding area doesn’t turn them up, though you do find a masterwork longsword coated with dried blood, a half-full quiver of arrows, and a broken longbow. "Those were Riemme's. Are Riemme's, I hope."
Approaching the portico, it’s visible that the northeastern wall has been breached. "I was here just yesterday and all the exterior surfaces were still intact. This demolition must have been recent. Kovo and Riemme would have never allowed this to happen, especially without me being here. We'd all agreed that we were going to wait for your arrival before removing the barrier."
An intact version of the broken wall is on the portico’s southeastern face—irregularly shaped stones, much paler than the other stones of which the structure was built, mortared in place with dried clay.
If you're heading inside there's the hole, or if you fancy a climb there's a hole on top of the dome instead. Or feel free to further muck about the courtyard here.
Knowledge (Dungeoneering) DC 26: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28
Upon closer look at the temple, "Something broke out of the temple."
So, something is outside that we need to deal with first? I'd hate to be trapped between it returning and whatever we find in there. Any sign of what it was, Juis?
Duncan is too surprised about the death of Kovo to notice anything of interest about the body. He nods sagely at Juis assertion that something broke out of the temple. Then he looks around to see if there are signs or tracks of any such person or thing.
Heal DC 10 or 15: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Perception for tracks1: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Aside from the marks of the slaughtered archaeologists, Duncan does notice some less human tracks mixed in among them. The feet are long, two toed, and judging from the trailing gouges that accompany their tracks, well clawed.
He also sees that the tracks seem to lead back inside the temple...
welp, I guess that takes care of that hypothetical problem :)
Agreed, but I need duncan to state his findings out loud. Or....
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
Declan uses his Arcane Sight (detect magic) as he investigates the area. If he doesn't see anything more of interest, Declan goes inside the hole.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
Stealth: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
Healing, free inspiration: 1d20 + 6 + 1d6 ⇒ (18) + 6 + (6) = 30
Calmly, slowly, methodically, Lebreario looks at Kovo's corpse, inspecting it, or him.
This one was killed mostly by blades, and maybe some claws. And I'm sorry to add to your loss, milady, but these informations might help us later. My apologies. Then something bited him, but only after his death. Small teeth, not human.
To be clear, the bites are all bigger than human teeth, but there are two different sizes
Declan's elven heritage helps him pierce the gloom of the temple, only slightly illuminated by the light sneaking in through the hole in the dome. Great pillars, larger versions of the serpentine columns found at the pillared portico, encircle an enormous mosaic on the floor. The tiles of fading greens, reds, and yellows form a seven-pointed star. The dome peaks about forty feet overhead, its center pierced by an oculus five feet across. Near the front of the temple are the remains of a marble statue, smashed to bits. What it once was is unclear, as the vandal did a rather thorough job destroying the ancient work of art.
Duncan explains to the others about the tracks. 'Those are definitely not human. Like nothing I've ever seen." He points out the best, clearest print to anyone who might be able to recognize them, then sets to work seeing if he can track the critter that made them.
Survival to track: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
The stone of the temple doesn't hold clear prints, but that's the only direction they could have gone... Cantrips and wayfinders light the way as the Pathfinders press on into the temple's atrium.
More of the columns unveil themselves from the gloom, as the sheer scale of the chamber gradually unfurls. Toward the back of the wide open space, a long, five-foot- deep pool lies in this western alcove, empty now, though the irregular red-brown stains on its surfaces leave little doubt as to what once filled the basin.
Standing at the center of the pool is an eighteen-foot-tall marble statue of a strange being. Its body is a tangle of tentacles and eyes surrounding a circular maw filled with jagged teeth and barbed stinging tongues. Each of the thing’s tentacles ends in a claw, pincer, hook, or some other implement of pain. Ancient paint flakes from the grand effigy, but glittering in the light are dozens of onyx gemstones adorning the statue where the being’s eyes are carved.
It appears that something is strapped to one of the writhing appendages with red silk ribbons. On the floor of the pool itself are dozens of small stone figurines.
As you examine the room a single matted feather drifts down from atop one of the pillars. The source reveals itself a moment later as two feral women with tattered wings and taloned feet poke their heads querulously out at you from their perches. They snatch up ugly looking morningstars before springing to the attack!
Duncan: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
Juis: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Lebraerio: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Marianna: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
Wilen: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
Bad Guys: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Pillars are DC 15 to climb
The Bold may go!
Lebraerio - Illuminated
Marianna - Illuminated
Feral Bird Women - on top of 25'pillars
Knowledge (Nature) DC 14: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
Juis yells out, "Harpies!"
Duncan also recognizes the harpies. Knowing their evil nature, he drawa a bead on the southern most flying danger, and takes the first good shot he can, unleashing a pair of arrows.
Know Nature DC 14: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
Duncan bow, rapid shot: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Duncan bow, rapid shot: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Dmg 1 if hit: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Dmg 2 if hit: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Not sure if higher Knowledges grant more IC knowledge but Duncan would share anything he knew.
I'm assuming that by illuminated, you mean that I have my ioun torch out, right?
Stepping back among her allies, Marianna drops into a low defensive stance while eyeing her foes wearily.
Swift action - activate Sisterhood style. Designating Precise strike for use.
Ready to attack either harpy if it enters reach.
The instant one of the harpies is in range, Marianna lashes out at it, stabbing at it as it comes close.
Attack: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19For: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
As if by instinct and muscle memory, Marianna shoves her shield in the way of the attack, further fouling it.
Aid other for AC: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
That adds +3 AC to whomever is attacked.
Declan pulls out his shortbow and fires at the same one that Duncan shot at.
To Hit: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21 To Hurt: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Sneak Attack: 1d6 ⇒ 1
@Marianna: Bingo. I basically checked for the light cantrip or wayfinders... and happened to spot your ioun torch as I was doing so :-)
Lebraerio, Declan and Duncan unleash a hail of arrows that leave the southern harpy bleeding, startled, and re-feathered!
Pillars are DC 15 to climb
The Bold may go!
Lebraerio - Illuminated
Marianna - Illuminated (Action Readied)
Feral Bird Women - on top of 25' pillars (Blue -27)
Wilen sprints out to the side to get a good view of the creatures.
20' N, move action
Bomb attack vs. red touch AC: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Fire damage: 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (6, 2) + 4 = 12
Um, I'm not sure how splash damage and bomb missing works if I throw it in the air at one of them.
Since this is PFS I'm not going to improvise some complicated house rule to deal with it, so we'll just assume that the bomb is fuse based, so it'll still go off on the correct plane. I'll come up with some other explanation for why that still happens if you throw some acid or something ;-)
The unwounded harpy begins to sing in an ugly grating voice... at first. As you listen, the harsh notes somehow become beautiful, soothing, captivating...
The other harpy is less musically inclined, and swoops down from her perch to bludgeon Duncan before winging her way back behind a pillar once more.
Morningstar: 1d20 + 8 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 8 + 1 = 21
Damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Everyone must make a DC 16 Will save [sonic, mind affecting, charm] or be Entranced, spending your turn doing nothing but approaching Red
Pillars are DC 15 to climb
The Bold may go!
Lebraerio - Illuminated
Marianna - Illuminated
Duncan -5 (Please update your alias when you've got the time)
Feral Bird Women - (Red - On top of 25' pillars; Blue -27, 10' up)
Looks like my readied action didn't get triggered, so no bomb used.
Wilen listens to the odd bird-woman's singing, waiting for something to happen...
Will, DC16: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
When nothing does happen he begins to become irritatated.
Stop it mad woman! You're not singing your chicks to sleep!
He begins to move towards the other one, that looks at a more targetable height to him.
40', double move
Will Save DC 16: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Juis suddenly can't keep his eyes off the harpy sitting on the pillar and starts walking toward her.
Will save, DC 16(SHS): 1d20 + 3 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 3 + 1 = 8 Bloody birds...
Like Juis, Marianna is captivated by the song, and follows.