You are summoned aboard the Grinning Pixie, Venture-Captain Calisro Benarry's ship and traveling Pathfinder Lodge, for a mission, of the utmost import, to the Gloomspires. As you arrive, you are assigned quarters below deck and are informed that Captain Benarry will brief you on the details of said mission once the ship gets closer to its destination. This will give you time to get acquainted with your fellow party members; the ship casts off shortly after the last of you boards...
If you need any gear, the Grinning Pixie's quartermaster can sell you nearly any mundane or alchemical gear in addition to magic items worth 2,500 gp or less.
Those characters that have played In the Halls of the Flesh Eaters (Kahwen and Boftil, I think) may make the following Knowledge checks untrained and add +10 to their rolls in addition to any other applicable mods...
Based on what you may have previously read or perhaps experienced, here's what you already might now about the Gloomspires:
Based on what you may have previously read, heard, or perhaps experienced, here's what you might already know about the Gloomspires most infamous resident, Sempet Sevenfingers:
I'll assume everyone will share information so once someone passes the DC, the entire party may read the spoiler...
The wayang in bright silver armor has not enjoyed the Grinning Pixie's constant rocking. Though the breastplate doesn't look to slow him down, he often leaves it off in favor of Taldan noble's regalia and retreats to his cabin. Still, he smiles and seems sociable enough. "Hello there! Arnold Perlstein here, Pathfinder and scrapper extraordinaire."
The massive wallaby doesn't look to be having fun either, but isn't vocal about it. "That's the Friz," Arnold says. "She always has my back. So what'd you all do to get sent here?"
|Jahz the Wanderer|
Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
"Hail, friends!" A cheerful half-orc waves at the wayang before stumbling slightly as the ship rocks in the waves. "Whoops! This is my first time on a ship - I wonder if I'll get seasick?" He ponders the question for a few seconds before continuing. "Well, I suppose we'll have plenty of time to find out since the Gloomspires are so far away. But the chance to see an unexplained wonder of the world? Hollow stone columns rising out of the ocean and filled to the brim with curses, monsters, and probably cursed monsters - and where's there's monsters, there are bound to be treasures! Maybe even something from before the Ghol-Gan empire!" His eyes shine wide with excitement.
"Oh, and you can call me Jahz. Ambrus said my last report was, well, 'unsatisfactory' and 'missing rather large details' and 'full of logic leaps', so he, uh, 'asked' me to accompany some more experienced agents to 'see how it's really done'. I'll be trying to stay out of your way and mostly taking notes to compare against everyone else's, but perhaps I can be of some help even from the back." He grins unashamedly.
Abruptly, a tengu lands lightly in front of Jahz. Anyone who looks up will note that the crow's nest is, appropriately enough, above them...about 50' above them.
The tengu is dressed more like an admiral than a sailor, but in nautical garb for all that. He seems perfectly comfortable on the ship, shifting reflexively and without thought with the swaying motions of the vessel.
He moves with quick, yet deft, assured motions, his gaze darting back and forth. A bit of dull fine chain mail peeks out of his collar and a bow and a curved sword almost as long as he is tall are strapped to his back. A pair of new, short boots bedeck his feet, each with a curved check mark emblazoned on the side.
He pulls out a well used journal and peruses it quickly. "You must be...Jahz. Venture Captain Dreng asked me to look out for you and give you a few tips on this trip. I'm glad to see you have one of these. They're very useful for keeping notes on missions. I got my first one after Janira chided me for not having one on my Confirmation."
"I like you're attitude, Jahz. You've got the right outlook for this sort of trip. You have to keep looking on the bright side."
"Now, for this trip, I can help you with some advice. What should we focus on? Do you want to be more accurate? Harder to hit? Learn how to take some hits?"
His gaze darts around the deck before Jahz can answer. "Have you seen another newer agent? A Raelene? I'm supposed to help her out, too."
He rubs his beak thoughtfully. "Now, I've been here before so let me see what I can remember that might be useful for us all. And that's what I did to get sent back," he says, by way of explanation to Arnold.
He gives them both a low bow, his torso parallel to the deck, his right hand placed over his chest and his left held out perpendicular to his body.
"I'm Kahwen, by the way."
Knowledge (Local) plus I Been Here Bonus: 1d20 + 5 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 5 + 10 = 29
Knowledge (History plus I Been Here Bonus: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
I did those knowledge checks in the wrong order. The second one applies to the first set of entries and the second to the first set, since I rolled my local check first.
A small, quiet, young woman with rich turquoise hair and pale turquoise skin leans against the rail of the Grinning Pixie catching as much of the salt spray as she can.
As the other Pathfinders begin to introduce themselves she turns, smiling at them, and joins in the conversation. The symbol of Sarenrae is obvious, the subtle webbing between fingers is less so. Two wands are tucked in her belt, kept in easy reach. A backpack sits on the deck near her feet.
"Greetings. I am Raelene. I have been sent to support you through Sarenrae's blessings and to learn from more experienced Pathfinders so that I may better serve. For those of you who are unhappy with the ship's motion, I can brew some herbal tea that should help."
The other member of the group is black-bearded dwarf. He is bare-armed and lightly armoured with a chain vest, but heavily armed with a longhammer, a sword and a bow slung across his broad back. "Boftil's the name! I can't believe they've sent me out on another bloody ship again...and back to the blasted Gloomspires no less! Seems that ever since I told this tale about bein' a 'Sea Dwarf' (total load a rot it was but it was part of a mission), it seems every second adventure I go on is water-logged! Only type of liquid I can can actually abide is amber coloured and poured out of a tap or sealed away in a bottle marked 'rum'!"
The dwarf leans over the edge of the ship and spits out into the water. "Last time I was sent to this forsaken place we had to carve our way through a swathe of undead nasties. Can't imagine this time it will be much more pleasant!"
After several days travel, getting acquainted with each other as well as the crew, you are summoned to the main deck...
On the Grinning Pixie’s deck, Venture-Captain Calisro Benarry stands defiantly amid the howling wind and driving rain. The powerfully built half-orc’s voice carries over the storm. “There!” she yells, pointing to the northwest. “We’ve reached the Gloomspires.” As if on cue, numerous impossibly narrow fingers of black rock suddenly appear in the distance. The unnatural structures exude a sensation of unnatural and profound dread. Benarry laughs deeply as the sensation descends.
Looking at Kahwen and Boftil, Captain Benarry says, “I bet you’re glad to be back to these gods-accursed spires! I sent in another team to continue the good work you started, and things didn’t go so well. You’re the closest thing to an expert on this rock we have, so I’m trusting you to bring the team through this mission safely.”
The venture-captain leans in closer and continues. “Let’s review some of the details of your mission.” Her eyebrows furrow. “Two months ago, I sent another team of Pathfinders to Old Sevenfingers’s tomb aboard a Thuvian caravel called the Pride of Aspenthar. The Pride and the Pathfinders never returned to Drenchport. Divinations confirmed that the ship was lost. It apparently sank after transporting the Pathfinders to the tomb, but no Pathfinders were on board. I sent the team into the second level of the tomb—a place called the Labyrinth of Hungry Ghosts. I put a veteran explorer named Jaohd Ilzinian in charge of the team. He’s a paladin of Shelyn known for his skill at fighting against things that should be dead.
“Ilzinian’s team carried the Orb of Stars with them. It’s a powerful magic item that freezes the Gloomspires in place so they can be explored safely. As you can see,” she says, gesturing to the spires, “the orb isn’t working. In the last few minutes, those columns have shifted twice. Without the orb, the spires only stand still on the solstice.”
Benarry allows her words to sink in before continuing. “The solstice begins in a few hours, so you’ll be able to make your way to the tomb just fine. I need you to climb up to Sevenfingers’s tomb, find out what happened to the Pathfinders, and recover the Orb of Stars. Also, I let Jaohd borrow Old Flotsam, my folding boat. She’s precious to me, and I’d really like her back.”
A sudden flash of lighting and the roar of distant thunder punctuate the captain’s words, and she smirks. ”Sounds simple enough, don’t it? The spires will stay in place for three days. If you find the orb, you’ll get two weeks. If you stay longer than that, you lubbers might run into trouble sailing back out. I’ll circle the Pixie around the spires for three weeks just in case. Any questions before you jump in the rowboat?”
before heading outA man of Taldan stock cones up from the mess deck below. He has a mug of steaming coffee in hand. His dress and equipment show him to be a swordsman specializing in the falcata, which glints in the sun. He steps as light as a cat.
Ahh, good day all. Sorry, woukd have met you earlier...caught a nap...was here early. Delighted to meet you all. I am Mykel, of the Cassomir Therinors. He looks at the wayang.
Hmm...I think you might have gone on a mission with my younger brother, Conal. I hope he wasn't acting young and rash...very headstrong, that one...i cant beat those rolls...not even trying
Sounds clear to me, Captain. Mykel says, checking his gear yet again.
Kahwen bows to each of the other Pathfinders as they appear on deck and the Captain. He looks at his book again, squinting and looking at Raelene a couple times before approaching her.
"Greetings, Student Raelene. Venture Captain Dreng asked me to off you some advice on this mission, you and Student Jahz. If you have any questions, just ask. We all look forward to working with you. I can give you some advice on striking more true, avoiding dangers and being able to take some hits. Just let me know what you want to focus on," he says.
He nods to Boftil. "That was my experience, as well. Lots of undead. One particularly nasty...," he shivers at the memory.
He glares at the spires as they move. "Just getting to the right one was one of the hardest things. I was really hoping we weren't going to have to do that, again," he says with a groan.
"No questions, Captain," he says, giving her a salute. "Though I'd like to visit the quartermaster first and pick up some holy water."
Assuming there is no reason not to, he goes to the heavily packed room and purchases 3 flasks of holy water.
"These are good against undead. You just throw it at them and it burns them like acid," he says on his return, tucking one into his belt and offering one to Jahz and one to Raelene. "Good in a jam."
[ooc]There's a wayang in the party, so I just figured you were actually talking to Arnold...[/b]
"Oh, yes! Friend Conal! He was actually with me when I first visited this place."
He looks a bit ashamed. "I don't remember him being particularly brash but then, I'm often accused of the same thing so it is possible we were both being too rash and I simply didn't notice it."
"Knowing he is your brother, I know that I can count on you as I did on him."
Raelene responds to Kahwen, "It is very nice to meet you, Kahwen. My main mentor is the wonderful Kayla. It is she who inspired me not only to become a devotee and eventually a cleric of Sarenrae but also to join the Pathfinder Society. Unfortunately, recently her missions have kept her too busy for us to meet. I would be grateful for any advice you offer. In particular, avoiding dangers sounds like an excellent path for me. I am not much of a fighter though I will swing my trusty scimitar when needed."
Taking the proffered Holy Water, Raelene smiles, "That is most generous of you, friend Kahwen. I am happy to accept such a thoughtful gift, though I must admit that I do have a couple of my own and would not wish to leave you short in your own supplies."
Later, to the Captain...
"This sounds most challenging indeed. How are we to recognize this Jaohd Ilzinian? And possibly as important, what does Old Flotsam look like? I have never seen a folding boat before."
Almost as an afterthought, "Is there anything more you can share with us about these Gloomspires or what we should expect? The more informed we are the more likely we are to succeed and survive."
Yeah, I thought it was me and I didn't remember any such thing!
"Why would Sevenfingers have such a loathsome tomb for himself?" Arnold wonders before entering the smaller boat. "I assume much of this place is still a mystery, but have you any ideas? Other than that, I'm good to go."
"And it's full of undead? Okay. But I hope to see no mummies!"
Captain Benarry nods to Raelene. "Jaohd is a Taldan paladin who worships Shelyn. He's tall and scrawny, with gray eyes and red hair. He joined the Society thirteen years ago and become an expert on spirits and haunts. His longsword, a fine blade he calls Ether's Kiss, can hurt creatures with no real body of their own. Jaohd went into the Gloomspires with four other agents: the Taldan twins Alrasus and Naphinia, known for their quick fingers and quicker wits; Zumek, a Kellid warrior who could wrestle a crocodile and win; and Yetisiel, an elf with the power of storms in her blood.
"As for the folding boat Jaohd was given, it looks like a small wooden box about 12 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 6 inches deep when it is inactive. In this mode, it can be used to store items just like any other box. It only turns into a boat/ship when the proper command word is given."
She pauses a second before continuing. "As for the Gloomspires, they are a cluster of columns that rises out of the sea, about a hundred miles west of the Eye of Abendego. The columns are 500 feet tall and all look the same on the outside. On the inside, they're hollow and full of chambers and passages, which they say are home to monsters, traps, and worse. Some say there are twenty columns, others say fifty. The fog never blows away, so it's damn near impossible to count them properly."
Turning to Arnold, she answers with an amused grin. "As for why such a tomb, you'd have to ask Sevenfingers himself. After a very long and successful career full of killing and looting, he buried himself alive in one of the Gloomspires. His legendary tomb has lured pirates, explorers, and treasure-hunters to their doom ever since. And, as it's a tomb, yes you're highly likely to face undead, although I can't say for certain if you'll see any mummies..."
With a glance that takes in the entire party, the venture captain says, "Those were good questions...do you have any more before you depart? I'll not have it be said that Calisro Benarry sends in her charges ill prepared."
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"Any advice on how to find the tower with Sevenfingers tomb? I'm not sure if I could get us back to the place where it was last time and even if I could, it might not be there, now," Kahwen comments.
He bobs his head mirthfully at Arnold's question. "What better place for a tomb for a pirate? Right by the biggest storm on the planet and in a place that doesn't stay in the same place? It's like a treasure hunt where the X keeps moving. Someday I hope I'm worthy of such an epic resting place."
|Jahz the Wanderer|
Jahz furiously scribbles down notes. "Taldan... red hair...Alrasus and Naphinia, Zumek... wrestle crocodiles... I wonder if I could wrestle a crocodile? I heard their jaws are very good at closing, but not anywhere near as strong opening... hmm..." His pen slows in time with his words as he trails off, staring at some hypothetical situation in the distance only he can see.
The Captain nods as she answers Kahwen's query. "We are tendered near yonder spire that leads to Sevenfingers's tomb," pointing to the nearest tower, "to which you will row when ready. At the base of the tower landing, there be a staircase you will climb...once topside, I think you and Boftil will recall the entrance when you see it...I have heard it resembles a cleft or fissure atop the tower..."
"By any chance, dear Captain, are you willing to share that command word, in case we find your treasured craft but need to utilize it to bring it back to you?"
Before the team finally departs she will consult with them, "I have a few wands that I can use less reliably than some. If any of you are easily able to use wands of Burning Hands, Gust of Wind, or Mage Armor, I would be happy to put them in your care. Though I plan to have Mage Armor active much of the time."
Benarry nods. ”Aye, the command word be ‘pixie’...but be ye careful when, and where, ye be a saying it as it opens quickly and needs a bit of space to fully open...”
She takes a deep breath. ”Be there any last questions for me? Or purchases from my quartermaster? If not, ye can gather your gear and leave within the hour...”
Conal just used to charge headlong in his younger days...I just hope he doesn't let it get hi in trouble...we had a huge fight with this other set of brothers back home...something about one of us got involved with their sister. Conal threw the first punch...but our cousin Doran; huge fellow; threw the last...fun times.
Mykel then gets serious as he thinks over his gear.
Raelene, if I get a protective wand, could you cast it for me? I have less than zero magical talents...will purchase a wand of shield of faith. can you cat shield other if I get the wand? also, you can use my curing wand...use it freely...just keep track of the charges.
"Mykel, I would be happy to cast Shield of Faith for you ... as long as you are on a similar path to redeem those who may be redeemed and strike down evil." (The last is added with a smile and with a slightly jocular lilt to her voice.)
"A bit grandiose, but he seems the type. I think I'd settle for a humble plot of land as my resting place. Preferably on another planet."
Regardless, Arnold is for action. He takes a seat alongside his many weapons in the wallaby's armored pouch.
Boftil makes a visit to the quartermaster. "G'day mate! I've been tryin' ta control me anger for years now, but I think it's about time I try and channel it into even more smashin' and bashin'. Can you make ol' Regret here a bit angrier for me?" Boftil places the big dwarven longhammer down on the bench to get enchanted.
Looking to upgrade Boftil's +1 Longhammer with Furious enchantment.
"Also, while I'm 'ere might upgrade me cloak as well. Can't be too careful!"
Upgrading Cloak of Resistance to +2
When you are ready to depart via rowboat, Captain Benarry gives you a gift or two. "Here are some items you might find useful with your mission..."
She gives the party two pouches of grave salt and a wand of ghostbane dirge wrapped in a shroud. The wand has 6 charges remaining.
She explains, “That ratty scrap of cloth is connected to Sevenfingers himself. A mystic old sea dog performed a ritual to connect it to the wand. He said it should make the magic item more effective in the Gloomspires, as long as you don’t unwrap it. You let me know if he was trying to pull something on me, and I’ll go get my coin back.”
The ritual was successful—as long as you don’t remove the wand from the shroud, the Will save DC to resist the wand’s effects within the Gloomspires is 17.
The venture captain speaks one last time as you board the rowboat. "Fare thee well, brave Pathfinders, your chariot awaits...I hope to see you back within three days time..."
|Jahz the Wanderer|
Jahz accepts the wand, holding it very carefully to keep the cloth wrapped around it. ”This should help if we find any ghosts,” he comments cheerfully. ”Cheerio, captain! We’ll see you again shortly!”
Saying your farewells, you cast off. Following Captain Benarry's directions, you row the boat for a short time, coming to a rocky landing with long, narrow, winding steps leading to the top of Sevenfinger's tomb. After a long and treacherous climb of about two hours, you reach the summit, to find it covered with thick tropical foliage. An ever-present mist limits visibility atop Sevenfingers's tomb to 15 feet...
A lush canopy of tropical trees, flowering vines, and thick undergrowth forms a dark green wall around this small clearing. To the west is the edge of the column, and a sheer 500-foot drop.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (2) + 9 = 11
"Wouldn't have expected such foliage on this barren rock. But there's obviously magic at play to improve his tomb."
"Remind me to always be on the Therinor side," Kahwen says to Mykel as he talks about his family. His mouth isn't capable of smiling but that is clearly the expression on his face.
In the time they have, Kahwen goes below decks and changes out of his fancy clothes and into something much more comfortable and functional, though with the same gear overlaid.
He watches as Jahz carefully takes the wand and others are exchanged. He joins in handing a wand over, giving one with the traditional symbol for Cure Light Wounds to Raelene.
"Use this as needed. You will very likely need to use it on me...a lot," he says, rather too cheerily for someone talking about taking bodily harm.
"Oooh! Another world! That would be great!" he says to Arnold.
As they row away in the longboat, he stands in the stern, giving a low bow to Benisarry and the Pixie in general before sitting down and helping with the oars. "Three days Captain! Or less!"
He is careful with the stairs. They're safe, and even if he fell, he would likely not be hurt but there is still something unsettling about climbing for 2 hours with no railing. Just as unsettling as standing near the edge at the top of the spire.
"Holy OSHA would not approve of this design...though I feel like mighty Otha has taken a particular interest in our quest," Kahwen says, proving once again, he has his own pantheon of gods in addition to the ones everyone else knows.
"Now, the first time I was here, there were primitive savages living up here who assaulted us," he continues, looking around.
Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (8) + 13 = 21
"Hmmm...I don't think they had boots like the ones that made these prints, though...on your guard, everyone, I suspect we are not the only ones here exploring," he says, pointing out the tracks...then following them South.
|Jahz the Wanderer|
Perception vs DC 15: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
”Alright, details.” Jahz begins furiously drawing leaves and whatever other vegetation he can see at eye-level.
Following the tracks south, even though the jungle canopy over this clearing is exceptionally thick, you see a small campfire set in its center illuminating the area significantly. The clearing contains a makeshift camp, with a handful of improvised beds made from old sails and numerous stools and tables scavenged and repurposed from flotsam.
Upon your approach, Arnold and Kahwen see a couple of sailors close to the campfire; they are not looking in your direction and the mist may also give you slight cover from their eyes. All can hear a shrill female voice to the southwest, but can't see the source of that voice from your current position. "Tell me the boat's location, Pathfinder...NOW! I'll cut off body pieces until you do...starting with your TOES!!!"
Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
Raelene is looking around, trying to work out what she should be paying attention to when Kahwen points out the boot marks. She gives one longing look back to the see then proceeds to follow the others.
When they hear the woman yelling, Raelene looks at Kahwen, "Should I sneak in there and then try to broker a peace?" she asks in an eager yet trepidatious voice.
"This sounds like it'll be a problem before you can show them any reason," Arnold mutters. He brings his lance to bear. "I can rush them, get things started. I'll defer to you Gloomspire veterans, and anyone else, on the decision. Is it sound, have you met people here? Were they reasonable? These ones don't sound the part."
I think blitz them, take them down quickly. Kahwen, can you get closer and get in a shot with a bow? Soften them up a bit...then the three of us rush them...Raelene and Jahz support...
"They were not reasonable. But these are not the same people," Kahwen whispers in reply to Arnold's question.
"He's right. These seem like cut before talk kind of people," he tells Raelene.
He looks around. "Stay here but be ready for trouble. I'll go see what I can see...can any of you magic folks cast message?"
He'll wait for an answer and a casting if one is available, then slips into the underbrush toward the sound of voices.
Stealth: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (8) + 17 = 25
"Right!" Arnold is very quiet too, but he waits with the back line for an opportunity to surge forward.
Before Kahwen departs, Raelene responds quietly, "No, I'm afraid that is not a spell I am blessed with."
I noticed Jahz has ‘message’ as a cantrip so I assume he wouldn’t mind casting it here...
?: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (13) - 1 = 12
Jahz casts message and Kahwen attempts to sneak through the foliage to get a better idea of what they face...
Upon getting to the edge of the foliage, he sees another sailor; one adorned much as the first two, and human as well. The tengu also spies the source of the shrill female voice, a halfling who appears to be their captain. She's standing by a bound prisoner, a human male who appears to be a warrior of some sort.
The captain draws a sharp dagger and flashes it before her captive. "I'll start with a big toe...now spill it or I start cutting!"
|Jahz the Wanderer|
Don’t mind at all!
”He hasn’t called for backup yet,” Jahz whispers to the other Pathfinders. ”So he’s fine, right? Or do you think something terrible happened and he couldn’t call out in time? Maybe we should check in with him - oh, but what if we’re too loud and it ruins his cover and they capture him and start cutting off his toes!? What do we do?”
Boftil edges forward behind Arnold, drawing his hammer, trying his best to restrain himself from just rushing forward and getting stuck into these toe-hating bastards.
He leans forward and whispers in a deep tone into the wayang's ear. "Just say the word and let's go split some 'eads. Whaddya say?"
"Honestly, I've been a mite too cautious. This is a fighting situation, we shouldn't dignify it with different treatment," Arnold replies to Jahz and Boftil. "Let's make our move as a group."
Arnold suggests the half-orc notify Kahwen via message. Once the others are ready, the wayang and wallaby assume a Jade Ogre pose. They then tear ahead, Arnold grasping his lance in both hands.
Hope no one minds my running in/triggering a surprise round, I figured this is happening one way or another.
+1 Lance vs. Blue: 1d20 + 16 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 16 + 2 = 26
Damage: 3d6 + 36 ⇒ (3, 6, 2) + 36 = 47
AC is 18/11/16 for the round.
Honestly, Arnold just beats Kahwen to the punch by a few seconds. He sends back his confirmation of their plan. Even as the Wayang bowls into the other pirates, the Tengu steps out of the underbrush and slashes at the unpleasant little halfling with the knife and will to use it.
In the middle of the enemy as he is, though, he is careful to keep his defenses up.
(Fighting Defensively. AC is 26.)
+1 elven curve blade minus Fighting Defensively: 1d20 + 11 - 4 ⇒ (4) + 11 - 4 = 11
Slashing plus Sneak Attack: 1d10 + 10 + 3d6 ⇒ (1) + 10 + (2, 5, 1) = 19
In the unlikely event that is a hit, he uses his disoriented debilitating strike, giving her a -2 to attacks for 1 round and a -4 to attacks against him.
Mykel boinds forward, stopping just short to set up a defensive posture. He points at the nearest bandit.
Come get some, fool!on phone...please move me beside Arnold...rolling a parry/ropiste uf attacked