Seven years ago, the Pathfinder Society acquired the Hao Jin Tapestry, a powerful artifact and gateway to a wondrous yet slowly disintegrating museum-like demiplane. Despite the sacrifices made to preserve the Hao-Jin Tapestry by one of the Pathfinder Society's most influential members, the realm's collapse seems inevitable. The Society has dispatched teams to high-value sites to salvage what they can of the historical treasures and knowledge, and the PCs are one of these first groups. However, their study of an ancient Tian site becomes far more complex thanks to not one but two burgeoning religions. It's up to the PCs to navigate this landscape riddled with hazards both extraplanar and political.
Several hundred Pathfinders stand together in a long stone chamber of the Grand Lodge, following an urgent but mysterious summons. Murmurs of speculation and rumor spread out across the room until, at the precise second of the hour, the doors fly open. Silence falls as two cloaked figures enter, marching in sync, their steps echoing through the hushed room. Ornate masks obscure their faces. One mask is woven from spreading branches, while the other is a black domino mask studded with crystal tears. The silent room buzzes with anticipation, as the assembled agents wait to hear why these masked figures, two of the shadowy Decemvirate that leads the Pathfinder Society, have summoned them. The figure in the branch mask steps forward and speaks, their voice crisp but slightly distorted.
Pathfinders, they say from behind their mask, many of you have already undertaken missions into the demiplane within the Hao Jin Tapestry. Numerous expeditions have gone inside that artifact since the Society acquired it seven years ago, each mission yielding some handful of the near infinite treasures hidden inside it. Our last mission found the tapestry crumbling and Aram Zey lost. You will be recovering what you can from tapestry before it is too late for any to enter—or too late for what’s inside to leave. The venture-captains will give you more specific directions in the coming days. If you wish to be part of a salvage team, prepare as best you can and remain in Absalom. May fortune smile upon you all. As swiftly as they entered, the masked figures depart, and the crowd’s excited conversations rise into a dull roar.
As the room descends into speculation a hand grips you shoulder. As aid stands behind you. Placing a finger to their lips they beckon you to follow them. Leaving the room and descending stairs you arrive in a small room on a lower level which contains the fraying Hoa Jin Tapestry. Already waiting for you there is Master of Spells Sorrina Westyr.
I have personally selected each of you to undertake a task for me in the tapestry. It would not normally fall to me to do this, but with the loss of Aram Zey we all must undertake additional tasks. Her voice takes on a sombre note as she mentions Zey, the former Master of Scrolls.
I know each of you have extensive experience with the Pathfinder Society, but you have not worked together much, if at all. Please take a moment to quickly introduce yourselves before I brief you.
Well met all of you. Here’s hoping that I have selected the correct combination of skills to succeed in this. Speaking of which I should tell you what I require. She takes a breath before pressing on.
Earlier in the year, a group of Pathfinders exploring the demiplane within the tapestry discovered a village that serves as the home for an ethnic group from the Chang Liao Jungle, the Sunsu Godae. On Golarion, centuries of clashes between the insular Sunsu Godae and their neighbors have made the tribe particularly hostile to outsiders. As a result, the Hao Jin Tapestry may be the only place where the Sunsu Godae’s culture and language are still accessible.
What I need from you is to enter the tapestry and learn everything they can about the Sunsu Godae’s culture. According to legend, the Sunsu Godae lands are home to a rare purple flower with great magical powers, said to bloom only once every 144 years. I suspect that the recent fluctuations and surges of magic in the tapestry may have triggered the flower to bloom out of cycle. If you can please check in on this flower and obtain a sample of its pollen, but your primary mission is anthropological so please prioritize the learning about the culture and maintaining good relations with the Sunsu Godae and don’t jeopardize that for some plant material.
Now, are there any questions, queries or areas of clarification before you embark?
A stout halfling stands up on his tiptoes, following the graceful master of spells with his eyes as she speaks. His armored helm is tucked under his left arm, and each time he moves even slightly, the full plate armor clanks and tinks as the metal plates rub on each other. His tunic displays the heraldry of the Liberty's Edge.
Perhaps more prominent though, is the massive, silver-furred dog that lays on the ground at his feet. The chain barding she wears lays in bunches with the bulk of her body on the floor. She leans her back onto Pooka's greaves and breaths the contented sigh of a very good dog taking a short snoozer.
"So from your description, I take it the Sunsu Godae inside the tapestry are still amenable to visitors? Do you know what language they speak? I might need to grab some magical assistance to help with that barrier." the eager halfling breaks the silence after Sorrina's briefing.
"Hello everyone by the way, my name is Pooka. This here is Luna, the finest steed in the northern reaches. I'm pleased to be working with each of you."
A well dressed human listens carefully as Sorrina briefs them. He carrys a small knife at his side, but more prominent are an assortment of wands. He looks to be in a bit of a state of shock for much of the briefing.
Kenath addresses the assembled group " Hello everyone. I'm Kenath, a wizard of the society who trained extensively under Zey.... What happened to him?
Resplendent in multicolored clothing and hair, a small gnome bounces between his heels and the the balls of his feet as all the 'important' people come to talk to him.
Barely able to contain his energy, he immediately starts talking as soon as the Master of Spells ends. "Hell again, Sorrina Westyr! Do you remember me? Nugats? You sent me to that place to do that thing and I did it! Remember?!" Not waiting for an answer he moves to each of his new companions tell them his name, and asking if they have anything interesting to show him.
Once he reaches Kenath Corvilianus, he pauses and looks at the man intently. "Wait. Kenath you say. I knew a Kenath once. At the Acadame in Korvosa. Got this sweet tattoo there. Are you THAT Kenath?"
Finally he moves toward Pooka and Luna, doggo besto. "So good to see you my friend." he wraps the halfling up in a gnome hug. "And to you, best dog, this." he hands Luna a handful of treats before scratching the girl on the hind quarters. "Oooooh I know you like it there, good girl."
Introductions finished, he turns slightly more serious. "Though they are a reclusive tribe, what can you tell us of their demeanor? What do they value so we may present a gift, and possible a bribe to aid us in our mission?
A dour looking elf listens to the Master of Spells as she lays out her orders. He nods and jots down some information as she speaks. His wickedly curved blade juts out from behind his head. When he moves to introduce himself to the others, he makes almost no sound, not even from his armour.
I am Rallas. As much as I had hoped to forego another mission into the Tapestry, duty calls. I might need to get a few items of import before we head out. Firstly being a far or vial to keep the pollen in. An alchemist would be the best place for that, I reckon.
going to buy a +1 comp longbow too....undecided as for other gear. other than that, ready to step off...
There is a hitch in their voice as they explain. During the last mission into the Hao Jin Tapestry, Zey sacrificed himself and became one with the tapestry’s Ruby Phoenix Guardian to prevent its collapse. I truly do not know how much of the man Zey once was might still live within Hao Jin’s guardian.
The Sunsu Godae speak a dialect of the Hwan language. I can cast Tongues on you and it will last 100 minutes, and I can supply a scroll of Tongues also, but beyond that you may want to prepare your own methods. Now, make your preparations and meet me here tomorrow morning to depart.
Kenath has a short sigh and then resumes a more neutral stance, “ That is a shame to hear that Zey won’t be around the grand lodge anymore, but such a transformation is a rare honor. There is balance in all things.”
“ I don’t remember you being at the Acadamae for long Nugats, which is probably for the best. If I recall you were skilled in evocations magics? They say that 20% of our incoming class ends of dying in the process, but it felt like more than that. Glad to see that you dropped out and didn’t befall a worse fate. I learned much at the Acadamae and I survived, so I should be thankful. Here at the Grand Lodge Zey showed me the utility of bringing a few evocation spells to a fight and set me on a path towards balance that eventually led me to becoming an Envoy of Balance. I summon not just devils these day, but I call upon whatever best serves the needs of the team I’m on at that time.”
" Were you a student of Zey’s as well Sorrina? Are you a wizard like Zey, Nugats, and myself, or a different type master of spells? It is great to meet you, despite the circumstances and I’m sure the ten made a wise choice in you. I'm glad our chronicles have inspired such faith in us."
"That is most unfortunate. We will make sure not to waste his efforts." Dressed in mithral armor decorated with rose etchings, the half-orc woman accents the martial poise of her outfit with rainbow feathered earrings that match the holy symbol around her neck. "I shall ask Shelyn for a blessing of speech as well to aid in our negotiation." Turning to the rest of the party, she smiles with a toothy but well maintained grin. "I am Grisaia, servant of the Eternal Rose. If you have requests for prayers to aid us within the tapestry, I am glad to hear them."
So excited to meet so many new friends, Nugats smiles broadly. "Kenneth was a common name there, but I do remember you. I have had many masters since then, none more than a short time. They all say that 'INugats you are doing very well. There is nothing more to teach you. I suggest you find a new master.' then they give me a small bag of gold and slap the rump of the mount they give me. They are even so nice as to weep tears of joy as I leave, already remember the fun we had together."
He moves over to Grisaia eying her earnings. "Those are beautiful. Are there from a rare bird?" before the half orc had time to answer he moves to Rallas shaking the half-elf's hand vigorously. "I have vials. Here, want to see" and he dumps out a small bag filled of glass vials, stone vials, colored vials, in all shapes and sizes. "Bit of an alchemist myself. Best not to touch that one, poisonous blood in there."
"Well, I'm ready. Did you understand that? I said it in Celestial. Want me to try a different language?" Nugats chuckles as he benefits from the Tongues spell.
I assume we’re getting tongues tomorrow when we head out, as wel as the scroll. I will prepare one casting of tongues.
Kenath discusses tactics,” I’ll prepare a tongues tomorrow morning before we head out. Any requests for other spells? Who among us is best suited as a negotiator?
"BACON!!! I. SMELL. BACON!!" Luna bounds around the room, occasionally stopping to crouch down with her hindquarters high in the air, tail wagging and nearly knocking the exuberant gnome over as it *thwack* *thwack* *thwack* thumps into his shoulder.
"Hey, dude, I know tongues!" Pooka imitates his best southie accent, smiling and scratching Luna behind her ears when he hears words instead of her normal borks. He relents to her excitement, handing her a few more treats to add to the ones Nugats gave her.
"Nugats, it is good to see you to my excitable friend." The ever upbeat halfling is continually amazed at the non-stop energy that comes from his short-statured wizard friend.
"Have you seen Boros lately? I thought I heard someone talking at the tavern about him and Glarifyur having a fallout of some kind. Must be dreadful stuff if that is the case." Pooka shudders at the though.
"Back to the matter at hand I suppose. Kenath, I just recently traveled with a wonderful trickster named Not-Trixie, and she cast a spell of stoneskin on me. It was a spectacular defense. If you are taking requests, that would be mine." Pooka asks with a polite bow.
"One more question if you dont mind Madame Westyr, What climate are we about to enter? Is it jungle, mountains, chill northern snows? I would just like to make sure I dress appropriately."
I can't think of any other questions. I'm always terrible at this part of the adventure...
Kenath apologizes,” Stoneskin has a rather expensive component, and is not a spell in my book yet, unfortunately.”
Pooka shrugs his shoulders and smiles. "No worries my friend. I'm sure we will be fine. We are just going to talk to some friendly people and document their culture. What could go wrong?"
There is another spell....called barkskin I believe...has protective magicks....a colleague used that in a orevious mission. Might be worth it to look into. I can use some magical devices...just not reliably. I use some wands....
The climate is quite similar to here. There is no extreme heat or cold
I wont be imposing climate penalties and there is no need for cold/hot weather clothing
You spend the evening whiling away the time, preparing or doing whatever it is you do during your down time. The following morning you go to teh Grand Lodge and prepare to embark on your expedition. A scroll of Tongues (CL10th) is passed to you by and aid and you have Tongues cast on you (duration 100 minutes). before you are ushered into the portal that leads into the tapestry.
You arrive in the Hao Jin Tapestry on a cliff overlooking the village of Onhae. The jungle that contains Onhae is small, measuring only a few miles across and close to circular in shape. The land around the jungle is a primarily a mixture of rocky cliffs and steppes, but a swamp is barely visible in the distance.
Before departing, Nugats looks seriously at Pooka. "Why yes, Boros and I have returned recently from this very Tapestry. Once again he was my guardian angel, always looking out for me. As for the fall out with Glarifyur, well he mentioned it in passing but we were too preoccupied with saving our lives at the time. I hear Vorathan is up north. I laugh every time I picture him shivering in the frigid cold."
Back to the task at hand, Nugats is momentarily silent as the magics of the Tapestry transport him to another realm. He takes in the sights and sounds of this new place. "What an odd place to call home, rocky steppes, a swamp and a jungle. Amazing. Shall we head out?"
On the way to the village, Nugats answers an unanswered question, "So once we get there, I would be happy to do all the talking. My mother told me I am very good at talking at people."
Mechanically I am a +0
Pooka rests his hand on Luna's neck, standing beside his dog as they come through the tapestry. He pats her on the head before double checking her straps and the stirrup length on his saddle before hopping up into place. "We shall!" he says, inviting the others to begin the trek towards the village.
"Interesting observation Nugats." Pooka responds to his similarly statured companion, noting the different terrains as well. He raises an eyebrow at the gnome's continued remarks on his perception other people's perception of him, and it brings a smile to his face.
"Good at talking indeed!" Pooka chuckles. "I'm not to shabby myself. We should all get plenty of opportunity I would guess. I can't wait to meet these people!"
" I'm not terrible, although I've been told my philisophical approach of persuading others to my arguements it not always appreciated. Agreed we'll all probably get plenty of opportunities to talk to them." Kenath says as they make their way to the village.
Alas, talking is not one of my strong points. I learned many things over my years, but the gift of gab is not one if them. I defer to you guys....Rallas says, leading the way. He focuses on making sure there are no surprises on the way.
"Friends, do you think that it might be beneficial to approach these people a bit more stealth - a - lee? What a weird word. Doesn't really roll off the tongue, now does it?
"Since they are unaccustomed to visitors, it might be beneficial to befriend a member of their tribe before we parade down the middle of their town, or at least gather some intel. A circumspect approach would be wise, I think at least.
"Who knows, we might be able to save one of their own from some savage beast so they could champion us to their tribal chief, or maybe they are at war with a rival village and we can show them our technologically advanced weapons and they will think we are the second coming of Aroden." Nugats continues to hypothesize as he moves cloaser to the village.
"The demiplane is as much a patchwork as I have heard." Looking around in quiet wonder, Grisaia plants her glaive on the ground for balance as she leans out to look down the cliff edge. "I don't feel we will gain much from hiding outselves. Much better to be open and straightforward about our purposes here. I also have some skill in negotiation that should see us forward."
Grisaia has the ability to roll twice and take the better on Diplomacy a few times per day, so she can try to mediate the crucial rolls.
Looks like you are heading to teh village. We'll go with that
Onhae is a picturesque village of about fifty single-story buildings interspersed with tall, flowering trees and tropical ferns. The buildings are made from wood, stone, and clay, and their exterior walls are decorated with colorful red and blue tiles and feature wooden double doors and slim, grated windows. Curved tile roofs extend over the entrances to cover small wooden decks. Tian-Hwan people move about the village, dressed in long-sleeved brocade jackets, wrapped tops, and high-waisted pants and skirts. They glance at you suspiciously as they continue their daily tasks.
Your Tongues spell is going to last for 100 minutes. We're going to handle this by breaking your investigation up into 20-minute phases. You can spend a phase checking out any of the buildings in the village, making a Diplomacy check to Gather Information, making a Perception check to search the village, etc, whatever you want to do. You can split up and check out multiple buildings at once, or you can stick together to aid each other on skill checks. After each phase, you can meet up again to debrief, share what you've discovered, and plan out your next course of action. You can spend a maximum of 5 phases in the village before your Tongues spell wears off and you'll need to secure an alternative method of communication.
There is a map of the village on the slides with locations listed for the purposes of your investigations.
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"What a quaint town, I don't see any militaristic fortifications, any signs of diabolism - did I tell you the time when I was in a Corentyn broth - later? Good idea."
Nugats whistles and skips down the road, nodding politely to the inhabitants. "That large building there, seems a town center or an inn of sorts. Shall we start there?" The gnome looks to the others before progressing.
"Hey Rallas, do we need to go to the Inn with the others?" Pooka says, surreptitiously smelling the air as a breeze brings the faint smell of bread and cookies to the group. Luna, likewise, can be seen with her nose in the air, waving her head back and forth and sniffing the wonderful scent. "It's only right across the street here, I believe that smells like a bakery. What say you and I go check that out." The halfling grins, catching himself patting his belly through his plate armor before realizing he has perhaps given away his ulterior motives.
"Rorf!" Pooka barks excitedly as she realizes where they are headed. She hops once in the air, nearly bucking Pooka from his position in the saddle strapped to her back. She quickly realizes her mistake and walks more evenly, though her powerful tail still wags back and forth so hard it shakes her whole body.
Fair enough...wouldn't hurt to get some new snacks for the road... the elf says, scanning the town for any information.
perc: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (16) + 14 = 30
The inn is fine. That is where I'd assume they'd direct expect travelers to go. Kenath concurs.
You enter the inn to find the innkeeper moving about the room cleaning down a table and giving it a wipe over. He looks up at the sound of your feet on the floorboards. Oh, hello there. I am Gao Lai Wam and this is my inn. Are you travelers? You must be travelers because I do not recognize you. What part of the tapestry are you from? Here, sit, sit. We have a policy here that all new visitors get a free meal. Without giving you a chance to speak he bustles off to the kitchens, emerging a few minutes later with plates of smoked trout served with rice bread. He stands and makes small talk with you.
Through a doorway off the main tap room can be seen shelves containing books, lots of books.
The windows of this house stand open and the smell of bread and spices waft out into the breeze. An elderly man moves around this house. The floor is covered with rice flour and the man's hair and cloths have not escaped a light dusting also. He gives you a nod as you enter. A moment. Loaves in the oven. He leaves and returns a couple of minutes later. Now, what would you like?
"Well met, Gao Lai Wam. I am called Grisaia, servant of Shelyn, the Eternal Rose." Offering a warm smile, she gestures to the side. "My companion is called Nugats. We have traveled from outside of the tapestry to learn more of its peoples. Has memory of Shelyn been kept here or lost to time?" The cleric makes herself comfortable, careful not to damage the inns furniture with the sharp thorns on the roses of her armor.
Diplomacy to Gather Information: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (7) + 15 = 22
Diplomacy (Blessed Correction): 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (20) + 15 = 35
Rallas bows respectfully to the baker.
I am Rallas, and my friend here is Pooka. Oh, and Luna, Pooka's faithful companion. We are here to learn as much as we can about your culture. We figured one of the best ways is learning about the cuisine. That, and we are a bit hungry...can't hurt to get a few treats for the road, right? he says, eyeing some rolls and pastries, as well as the shop in general.
perc: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (1) + 14 = 15
Can knowledge local be used to gather info in inn or does it have to be diplomacy?
I will allow knowledge local
We know nothing of the Shelyn of which you speak. We follow Aram Zey the Ruby Phoenix.
The baker offers to sell you a few loaves, fresh from the oven. You think that there is a chance to learn about the baking traditions if you had experience in baking, cooking or a similar profession.
Aram Zey, the Ruby Phoenix you say. How long have your people venerated him? Kenath askes as he samples the trout and rice bread.
I doubt it matters with our existing roll but, here is my local
local: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (13) + 18 = 31
Glancing at Nugats, Grisaia works to keep the surprise off of her face. "I would be glad to hear more of this Ruby Phoenix. Shelyn is a goddess of art and beauty, while our society is one of explorers. Learning of new religions and cultures is part of our mission here." She busies herself with her plate of food as she listens to the innkeeper.
"Oh!" Pooka admires all of the baked goods. "If only I could bake..." he laments. "But I have a very experienced palate!" he perks back up.
"I would love to sample some of your goods, can you give me one of those, maybe two of those, and... well... What is your favorite?" Pooka asks. Once he has a few of the delectible treats, he hands a few to Luna, which disappear rather quickly.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (2) + 13 = 15
"Thith ith amathing..." Pooka says, crumbs spilling out of his mouth. He finishes his bite with a big swallow before continuing, "I just have to know what your recipe is, what would it take to copy it down? I know a baker back where we are from, and he would give his left arm to have it." Pooka asks, hoping the request isn't insulting to the man.
This bread woukd go nicely with an elven mead. I agree with Pooka...could you share your recipe with us? My elders would appreciate the sharing of knowledge.aid diplomacy: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10
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"Greetings, Gao Lai Wam. If I may." The gnome pulls a rolled parchment from his pack, unfurls it, and begins to read it.
"Nugats, you are a good friend and we love you, but you don't know how to act around important people. Read this before you talk to them.
'Hello, I am Nugats, a gnome of the Pathfinder Society. I am a good person, but I don't know the right things to say. Please excuse me if I am ill-behaved or do something I shouldn't do. I have the best of intentions.'
Smiling, he replaces the scroll and he looks up at Gao Lai Wam and Grisaia. "You worship the Ruby-Phoenix. That is amazing. Does he fly here often?
"Oh and we are looking for a flower, a rare purple flower, do you know where we could find one?"
Dip aid: 1d20 ⇒ 13
Kn Local: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (15) + 12 = 27
He flies by here periodically. It is a great blessing when he does. If you would like to know more you could visit the shrine here in town.
The sacred flower normally blooms only once every six generations, but
that the recent cataclysm caused it to bloom early. The flower does not communicate with just anyone, only the high priest. The current hierophant, Lin Fen Hai, has been receiving visions and insights from the flower.
The baker invites you into his workroom and shows you through teh process of making the rice bread.
Rallas takes notes as the baker goes through the recipe, asking pertinent questions where needed about weights and measurements and other minutiae.
I cannot wait for my cousin to try this recipe out. He's always lamenting the lack of variety in elven bread.
"Ah the shrine. Does it burn down and then you rebuild it?" Nugats jokes with Gao Lai Wam. "But seriously, if there is anything that we can do for you, we would be happy to. If not, what do you think about heading to the temple, Grisaia? I am always interested in what people believe in." the gnome drones on.
" I believe we should visit the shrine Nugats, but first we should meet up with our friends who went to the bakery. Before we do that however, I am interested in investigating the shelves containing numerous books."
Kenath asks the hosts if he can peruse the collection and then assuming permission is granted, casually does so.
The shelves contain several examples of Sunsu Godae’s traditional written language, which differs substantially from that of most Hwan speakers.
You can attempt a Linguistics check to decipher some of the characteristics of the written language.
Kenath peruses the books, attempting to decipher them.
Take 10 for 27 linguistics
Did I get anything useful out of the book?
Kenath meets back up with his fellow pathfinders and presents his findings ,” The locals were very hospitable, and had an extensive library in the inn. They venerate the Ruby Phoenix, aka Aram Zey, and we can go to the shrine to talk to their priests about it. I’m very interested in learning more about Zey, but we should probably still split up as to cover the village while still under tongues .”