|Valrar Altimari II|
"I'll do it. What risks does it entail?"
|Gaius Plinius Secundus|
|Gaius Plinius Secundus|
Umm... It wasn't more than one round - you were killed, and on my next action (which was immediately prior to the action of the person who killed you, so *just* before the end of your '1 round of grace'), I cast Breath of Life, bringing you back.
Wynn raises his hand to where the helm as well.
Yep, Gaius got you in time. This scenario is far more challenging for good aligned PCs
The group of you pass the Helm between you, as the last person places it on their head it cracks and crumbles away into dust.
This is where it ends, Torch announces, while removing several rings and tossing them onto the ground. So many years ago, I joined the Society and did the Decemvirate’s bidding, only to be betrayed and abandoned rather than have the leaders admit wrongdoing. He unclasps his cloak and unbuckles a bandolier of potions, adding them to the pile. I worked independently after that, as you know, trying to change the Society through the Shadow Lodge. He grunts derisively while upending a belt pouch containing spell components, a half-dozen tub-shaped feather tokens, and an ivory statue of himself. Lost control of those rebels, I admit, but the new Shadow Lodge that resulted? What a magnificent thing that was! Together, we stood to reform the Society from within! He punctuates this point by dropping his quiver and discarding a leather case brimming with scrolls. Until I realized that all the progress we seemed to make ceased the moment the Decemvirate took an interest. He unceremoniously adds his sword to the growing hoard of magic items.
I’m a suspicious man, and I admit I jumped too swiftly to blaming the Decemvirate. Yet, when the opportunity came to discover their identities, I took it. My old nemesis Dorianna Ouidda had secured the names, yet even she had yet to piece together Vahlo’s motivations. But I recognized him from the tales, recognized what his presence might mean, and knew what he would do to anyone who stood a chance of knowing his true identity. I killed Dorianna, I publicly betrayed the Society, and I no doubt disappointed many of you. It was the only way I saw in the moment to deflect blame from the Pathfinder agents and take it on myself, becoming in the Decemvirate’s eyes the villain they always assumed I would become. And to be fair, it worked for those agents; instead of an inquisition, the Grand Lodge reached out with an olive branch and special training. I couldn’t bear to see Vahlo wipe out the agents who placed their faith in me, even if I had to break their faith to save them from that fate.
Torch sheds the last of his equipment except for armor and his amulet, plus a candle and tindertwig held in his hands. For old time’s sake, he notes with a wry chuckle as he lights the candle and balances it on the ground before concluding. Since then, I’ve done everything I can to unmask Vahlo in a way that the Decemvirate couldn’t laugh off. I’ve stolen, spied, and even warmongered to that end, but at last the worst of the Ten has fallen. And by now my agents have finished carrying off enough evidence implicating two of the other Decemvirate that I suspect they’ll flee the Society once those documents come to light. I’ve done what I came to do. I’ve finished what I set out to accomplish. What I’ve done, I’ve always done for the Pathfinder Society and its agents. But that’s not for me to judge. I’ll answer any of your questions, and I’ll submit to your judgment. If I am to live or die, let it be the decision of true Pathfinders, not the Ten.
OK, at this point you can ask Torch any questions you might have, you also get to decide his fate, live or die.
|Gaius Plinius Secundus|
Gaius nods thoughtfully.
"The facelessness of the Ten was supposed to be a way to shield them from potential influence and bribery, but it only worked so long as they themselves lived the ideals that they were supposed to represent. Vahlo was a cancer that tainted the Society, one that has now been surgically excised, and kicked screaming into the light."
He then sighs.
"If your goal was to set yourself up as some kind of scapegoat or lightning rod for blame, then you have certainly been successful; I am not sure if even the most masochistic of sin eaters could have done a better job! And yet... some of your methods over the years have been at the level of state-level war-crimes. For example, why did you ally with Koth-Vaul and his puppet, Thurl, in their attack upon Absalom? Tens of thousands of innocents were in peril!"
Gaius pinches the bridge of his nose.
"Despite that... I know something of your history, Ven, and specifically some of what happened to you and the other Scarab Seekers in Osirion. I can get a sense of what drove you to become the man that you are. I can't condone your methods, but I appreciate that you were, legitimately, trying to get things done, for the greater good...
Tell me, how did you recognise Vahlo for what he truly was?"
Torch sighs, The attack on Absalom was…fraught. The Society had built an impressive list of enemies, and it was my hope that by facilitating these villains’ private revenge fantasies, I might provoke the Decemvirate into open action and draw out Vahlo, all the while exposing these villains so you could defeat them before they got too dangerous. It didn’t work as intended. Certainly Muhlia managed to implicate Skyreach in coordinating the invasion, which nearly drove the First Guard to investigate the Grand Lodge. Thurl, on the other hand, was too unpredictable. I had hoped he might create a few golems and let them loose in the Grand Lodge; instead he turned up with an army bent on utter conquest! In the chaos, though, I infiltrated Skyreach and identified Vahlo’s sinister plans for the construct known as Gulgamodh.
I sent my agents to disable the giant construct, but the Pathfinders managed to beat us to it and use Gulgamodh in the city’s defense—far better than Vahlo’s plan to unleash it on Eastgate. It seemed to have worked as far as flushing out the other enemies as well.
Their resources sapped, they fell to you easily after that. In fact, I am almost certain that time and resources spent on the siege of Absalom were the only thing that stopped Koth’Vaul from focusing on Deskari before the Society could defeat him.
Thurl and Koth’Vaul both had big plans with or without me. The attack on Absalom was a major waste of their resources for little return that ultimately ruined them. I regret the lives lost that day, but far more would have suffered if they hadn’t spent that energy attacking such a well-defended target.
As for Vahlo, his name was on Dorianna Ouidda’s list, and I knew it from some of the Shining Crusade texts I had to study as an initiate. He was a bold paladin of Chaldira Zuzaristan who perished during a rescue, and those who died near the Whispering Tyrant became undead themselves. He chuckles. History lessons came in handy. Who knew?
Alie wasn’t sure what to do exactly. ”Well, I appreciate you helping us against that graveknight. Your arrow certainly hit him where he wasn’t expecting. You are clearly just an icky guy, however and you have to be punished somehow. I’m not sure that it has to be with your life, though. Maybe we could come up with some other way for you to make up for what you’ve done over the years.”
Torch breathes in and sighs heavily. Almost every day I’ve questioned whether the Society might have known peace if I hadn’t become a Pathfinder, hadn’t gone to Osirion, hadn’t started the Shadow Lodge, hadn’t investigated the Decemvirate, or hadn’t antagonized the Society. I’ve done so many regrettable things. But no matter what, Vahlo would have been ready to betray Absalom today, and my decisions allowed me to be here to help stop him.
My contingencies are done, my safeguards are disabled, and I even ordered that the two clones I commissioned be destroyed. I am the one, only, and potentially last Grandmaster Torch. If you choose that I should die it will be the end.
If you let me go, well, I’ve spent years on the run and planning for today. I rarely gave what would follow any thought. It’s tempting to just retire somewhere warm and relax for once.
I leave my fate in your hands
I am going to give people until wednesday to see if you have a concensus on what should happen to Torch. Nothing hangs on it for you, it only affects my reporting conditions.
Also, for those who are interetsed, Vahlo was a Rogue2/Antipaladin15 with a starting AC of 38. His smite raised his AC to 45 against such targets and he has 5 of them a day. His sword absorbs spells directed at him and then casts them on people he hits with it. It also can affect people he crits with Song of Discord and his crits also disarm. He made the save for the astradaemon with his Lucky Halfling feat. His weapon was also conductive, so he channels his touch of corruption through it. It is just as well you kept making the fort saves as that would have stunned the target for 3 rounds
|Valrar Altimari II|
"How did Ouidda first come upon the names? And what crimes are those other two members of the Ten accused of?" Regardless of the answer, Valrar seems set on his. "Nothing much to be gained from your death. You were helping, or at least trying in your own way."
Ouidda, Torch leans back, I dont know where she got the names from but she knew Vahlo’s name, even if she hadn’t determined its significance. But she would talk, and if Vahlo’s identity got out, far more people could have died. Killing her seemed the right move to keep Pathfinders safe. And I admit I had a chip on my shoulder. Dorianna usurped and corrupted the original Shadow Lodge, which only lent the Decemvirate more authority and led to countless deaths. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate the moment of revenge.
As for the other two members, their identity doesnt reallly matter. My agents have the evidence of their crimes, and I honestly don’t know where they are going with it. That’s the point. Each has scattered in a different direction with instructions to employ the evidence as they deem proper. I could probably track them down eventually, but not before they will have done their damage.
The scenario doesn't tell me who they are or what they did, it was the first question I had after "arent you a bloody war criminal!"
”So, he did root out truly awful evil in the Society and it’s leaders, but he did some awful things. He also helped us in the fight today. I’m a bit ashamed, but I think I vote to let him go. If he leaves his dangerous magic items here, that might control any furniture harm he might get up to...”
Wynn looks over Torch, then speaks, "I'm glad you realize how many people you have gotten killed in all of your dealings and wicked ways. Nothing you do now can or will ever bring them back."
Turning to Alie, "You know how connected he is. He can easily replenish what he leaves here tonight. I would rather end him right here and now and be sure there is no way for him to spread his vile ways."
|Gaius Plinius Secundus|
Gaius looks thoughtfully at Wynn.
"Unsavoury and frequently unethical, true, but vile may be stretching it, slightly. Would not murdering an unarmed man, in some respects make you no better than he is? Far better to keep him in isolated exile, or even as an indentured servant of the Lodge... That would theoretically give him more time to reflect upon what he has done, since souls usually forget their former lives upon death."
Gaius then frowns.
"Moreover, killing him won't necessary be an ending... After all, look at what happened to Thurl..."
|Valrar Altimari II|
"If he becomes a problem later, we can kill him later. Protections stronger than his have been foiled today. And perhaps he's even telling the truth about a vacation," Valrar muses, with no idea of Torch's current motive. He simply doesn't see much reason for the man to die now.
Shump turns to Torch. "It seems that you've worked to end a great evil affecting the Society. I've no doubt the assassination order was given by a servant of the Whispering Tyrant. So you're free to go"
Thanks everyone for the multiple saves LOL. I thought I was dead
OK, it looks like you are letting him go.
With a tip of his hat Torch nods his thanks to you all, Well, I had better be off before things become more complicated he says, glancing over to the Gates where a number of Pathfinders are making their way back into the Lodge. He quickly disappears into the trees, never to be seen again, perhaps.
With the agents come two Decemvirate members, one is Shemis, wearing the heavily decorated ivory mask. The second wears a mask of whorled black mesh which wraps their head like a tangle of thorns.
The Decemvirate member in the mask of whorled black mesh steps forward,With Vahlo’s destruction comes the destruction of his helm, an irreplaceable artifact. And with it, the Ten would become Nine. So much has changed in the Decemvirate in just a decade—in spirit and in composition. It seems fitting that its organization should change as well to reflect its purged evils and a new era with new leadership.
She takes her helm in both hands and removes it, her features resolving into those of Venture-Captain Eliza Petulengro. It was the bravery of Pathfinders like you who convinced the Decemvirate to accept me as one of their own. It’s past time I honor their courage by serving the Society as an open member of the Decemvirate.
It is a bold move to become Unmasked, observes the ivory masked Decemvirate member. You are weaker without the artifact, and we are already weakened by becoming nine.
You’re missing the point, Eliza remarks. What the Decemvirate needs most is new talent, courage, insight, and initiative. She nods to the gathered Pathfinders and holds out her helm. I know that someone will rise to the challenge.
The ivory-masked figure chuckles warmly. I doubt you’ll ever cease to surprise me, Eliza. She turns toward the assembled Pathfinders. Any one of you would be worthy of joining our ranks and helping us ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. What say you?
And with that we are at an end. Congratulations on completing both parts of Passing The Torch. Each of you may choose whether or not to accept the Decemvirate Helm. Please post your decision in the Discussion Thread. In tier gold is 20,000gp, out of tier is 30,000gp.
You have also earned all rewards and completed the primary and secondary success conditions. I will release your chronicles once I know your day job (if you have one) and boon decision. If you want to know any of the other background info on what was goin on feel free to ask and I am happy to fill you in.
|Valrar Altimari II|
Valrar chuckles, though he looks a mite annoyed as well. "I always figured the Ten were figures we'd have never heard of even if we knew their names," he says. "I don't know how I didn't consider someone we knew, hidden in plain sight. Everyone knows me going in, I suppose, and I'm not sure how much I bring to this sort of table. But if you'll have me, I'll try my best."