Number of drones lost 1d25 ⇒ 16
Gift snaps back what few drones are left.
16d20 ⇒ (4, 20, 16, 7, 4, 5, 9, 6, 20, 2, 5, 7, 5, 12, 9, 3) = 134
+6 for each rolld
3 come out the others are all lost.
::[/b]"Well we leaned something new""[/b]::
Survival: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (1) + 14 = 15 Toric gets lost.
Survival (leaving the path): 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (12) + 14 = 26
|Azzim bin Farouq|
"::Not sure that's a good idea Toric...::" sent Palomedes over the hive mind.
To the others he said, "Well this rain is unpleasant, I'm getting soaked to the bone."
The first creature sends back telepathically ::"We see something trying to pierce the deluge every week or two, usually its fine sport guessing the outcome. But your group is strange now that we've looked at you - no others speak the mind-speech for example. Perhaps we could come to an understanding. Sacrifice a lesser member of your group and we could give you a bit of crystal orichalcum which we are gambling for. I hope understand, as all civilized creatures must, that once a gamble has begun it can't be ended without a result, there must be an outcome..."
None of us are lesser! Terexaltherin snaps angrily. He is all too familiar with that kind of thinking, and he hates it. There might be something else we could agree to trading, but not a member of our group.
He takes a moment to compose himself, then asks <Shimmer> Can you feel out how they're remaining in touch? They must have some planar abilities, normally I couldn't maintain a connection like this with them popping in and out of the plane.
The little dragon turns his thoughts to Azzim's comment. They mentioned a deluge--this might just be the prelude to it. What could we do about a flood and torrential rain?
Terex gets back the message "Really, a barbarian? We must consider. You wouldn't understand an honor dual either, I suppose. What a pickle..." It occurs to Terex that there are certain types of magical being who hold gambling, duels, jokes and similar things are their highest values...
Meanwhile, Toric on a whim wanders beyond path and finds himself in winding, chaotic zone, still jungle-like but with things slightly shifting with every step. However, with his mastery of nature, he's able to return to the path area fairly easily. A mortal would be terrified by the experience and it makes even Toric a bit nervous even though he doesn't show it.
Eruander has been quite quiet lately - and he is naturally quiet and unobtrusive. With Azzim's comment, he says "While I enjoy it, I can help you with the wetness" and forms his leaves and branches into a series of bubbles that deflect the steady rain as well as somehow providing warmth.
<Shimmer> confirms that these creatures seem to be able to "surf" in the planer "foam" the party is moving through...
Gift held out her hand and more drones formed from her black crystal clothing. She downloaded into them the Psionic AI backups.
Rollo is unfortunately not an outdoors--dhampir, so he stays on the path.
Concerning the gambling question, the Sage just thinks for a solution, but he does seem a bit stumped....
Terex darts in under Eruander's shelter with a wordless thanks to him. While rain didn't feel bad on his scales, it was getting heavy enough to trouble his flight. One of the downsides of his small size... but he'd grown. It didn't bother him, really. He was the perfect size for himself, and he'd take the bad with the good.
He doesn't respond to the strange creatures' latest message. Traveling across the multiverse, he'd seen a great many different cultures and civilizations... and a lot of them viewed any other cultures as barbarians. Sometimes there was even a mutual kind of disdain. It was funny and sad at the same time.
Well, I guess we keep pressing forward and see about this deluge? he says to the others in the group.
|Azzim bin Farouq|
Azzim thanked Eruander for the shelter before speculating that, "If the planar environment becomes more extreme we may need to take precautions, spells like planar adaption, unfortunately I'm not prepared for that today."
Leander says "It sounds challenging but I believe it should be possible - the Curucai described a challenge, not an impossibility and you are quite able as defenders go, I am glad to have aligned with you. Perhaps these creatures are here merely to intimidate us. Let us proceed my friends..."
So the party goes on, the creatures appear very briefly a couple more times. As the rain increases Eruander provides a safety bubble as well as vines for the party cling to or tie to waists and as you go forward, the rain gladly increases until even with Eruander's bubble everyone is getting heavy spray and Eruander is proceeding slowly, attaching into the ground one root-like-foot and then the next... and it seems you have several hours more to go until the "crystal forest". (Remember the jungle is hot so you aren't being chilled by the rain but without Eruander, you could easily swept past the path...)
Just let me know if you take any special precautions or do other things...
gift Metamorphosises and gains a mermaid-like tail, flys/swims in the rain , she has a flight speed of 40' x2 on now Metamorphosis gives her a swim speed of 40 x2, she can also port 45'
Toric seems to be luxuriating in the warm torrental rains, massaging his long dark hair in the rain.
"Nice tail, GIFT!" The smiling satyr gives a thumbs-up as the psionist swims past.
|Azzim bin Farouq|
Azzim smiled at that too, "Ah I should think about memorising Alter Self." To Leander he replied softly, "So far with the exception of that snake things have been strange rather than concerning, and if push had come to shove I expect we could have dealt with it. I wonder what excitement this crystal forest shall bring..."
Instead however he cast a spell which focused his senses, as he had the feeling they where walking towards something, and gladly accepted the relief offered by the dhampir sorcerer's wand.
Casting Heightened Awareness.
"Nice tail, GIFT!" The smiling satyr gives a thumbs-up as the psionist swims past.
::"Don't think I don't know that was a double-tandra you old goat!"::
She says across the hivemind.
::"Mind on the task at hand, not your pants."::
Drenched, swimming and wading, the party makes it's way through the winding jungle path, after about an hour of intense rain, the path turns between two rocks that form something like a waterfall and pushing through the falls, you emerge to a clear, dry day where the path continues. After some moment of rest and drying, the march continues. Then, after ten more minutes, with another turn of the trail, you see two creatures, similar to those you saw earlier but both having jet black fur, directly ahead in the center of the path. Each speaks telepathically - ::I am Venu and I am Heathmu. We foolishly bet on your destruction and with no outcomes, we are obliged to challenge you to a duel to the death..
Leander whispers telepathically ::Couldn't they accept a game of Olio...sigh Olio is a local game similar to Parcheesi
Terexaltherin asks Eruander if it's okay if he just... perches in his 'branches'. He does his best to assist with the group's progress by using his telekinesis to support Eruander, and gives him a heartfelt thanks when they finally emerge.
He telepathically sighs when Venu and Heathmu challenge them. No outcomes, really? Why don't you tell us the exact terms of your bet. I would think there would be a way of determining losers and winners you just haven't realized yet.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (19) + 16 = 35
:Yeah! I know we get our lives if we win, but you're gonna have to 'sweeten the pot' if you want to fight us, Toric demands over the hivemind. Jewels, gold, magic weapons. Stuff like that. Otherwise we can just go around you.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 43 ⇒ (13) + 43 = 56 Intimidate: 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (19) + 23 = 42
Gift glides along, now back in Elan form she studies the two.
::"Before we talk ways of resolving this and sweetening of pots, let's all be absolutely clear on what you just said. Clarity is everything. You say you, Venu and Heathmu acted foolishly. That in doing such a foolish act you feel this then now gives you the right to threaten our lives. Take them even, That your bet, a foolish one was on our destruction. You say there was no outcome and that this means you must seek our destruction. But here is the thing, you fellows are beings who hold bets most highly, the rules of the game Sacrosanct. Once a bet is made the game must be played to the full. No rule breaking no changing the bet. So I say to you both this, you're breaking the rules of the wager. The wager was on us surviving the deluge. Which we did, and now you want to force an outcome, the outcome is done changing it is changing the out come is changing the wager. SO I SAY NO, No, no, no, for the game is still on, And the bet is still in play. No breaking the rules now. I claim winner's right but offer you the sportsperson's wager. I offer you the best of three. Yes, that's right the most sacred of all rules. BEST OF THREE. And it's our turn to set the wager, So in game two, I say this, you must come with us and face the next obstacle on the path. When we get to it you may choose if we or you face it. But note this, if we beast it then that is two to nothing to us and we win, But if you best it. Then one each and you set the last bet. So are you gamblers or not"::
She waist to see what they say.
|Azzim bin Farouq|
Sense Motive DC 20: 1d20 + 27 ⇒ (9) + 27 = 36
Palamedes raised one eyebrow when they offered a duel and another at Gift's audacity. He smiled, who knows perhaps it could work...
Assuming they could read his thoughts, Palamedes sent "::A duel? A bit risky that! There's no telling who might win and who might die, it could be you... Besides Morgana's counter offer is good, one that keeps you in the game!"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (18) + 21 = 39
The strange creatures first appear astounded by points raised by the group and then look at Gift and says "Very well, we will continue and face the next obstacle of this path, whatever it might be, none will hinder the other... we will continue until one group fails... and we can settle debts at that point" at which point they trot forward ahead of you...
You can estimate the "Crystalline Forrest is only an hour ahead of you...
To the group
::"Gamblers, it's like an addition"::
Sense Motive (Wis) DC 20: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 = 22
Rollo smiles in admiration at Gift.
The Sage then frowns.
So, this bet is your group versus our group to see which falters first. And with whom did you wager?
Diplomacy (Cha): 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (8) + 20 = 28
As they start to move down the path once more Gift releases her drones which make up a Patton around her.
Then they play music.
Like her own little sound system
Well... that works, I suppose, Terexaltherin comments.
He turns his thoughts to Rollo. I think the bet was with each other, over how many of us would die. Since neither of them bet 'none' there wasn't a winner by their bet.
The party discusses the development.
Eruander adds: "These creatures' thoughts are weird and unnatural. I resist trying to understand but I must try. I believe we will encounter entities of greater strangeness as we move forward..." And Leander: "I'd agree with Gift, it may be that they cannot change their fixation on a gamble, like a powerful dream..." and the group continues on the path, not seeing Venu and Heathmu again for the next two hour march through the warm, shady jungle path, although you occasionally see stray tracks of the creatures.
At the end of this, the jungle suddenly transitions to a "crystalline" form - the plants suddenly seemingly made of fine crystal that sways fluidly yet seems somewhat fragile as well. The crystal creates a dazzling effect limiting vision and the area radiates magic... The party stops to analyze this situation. Venu and Heathmu are nowhere to be seen.
Everyone roll stealth to simply enter carefully or describe an alternative strategy...
Considering where we're going, we should get more used to thinking in terms of 'dream logic', Terexaltherin agrees. This place is... on the border of reality and unreality, somehow, so we should expect its denizens to be the same.
The little dragon considers the crystal forest.
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (10) + 21 = 31
Well... we're going to need to move slowly and carefully here, he reports. There's a kind of... mirror-magic to the crystals, that will make angry copies of us if we disturb things too much. I can almost certainly move carefully enough to be safe--my species usually survives by being stealthy in forests--but for the rest of you it might be hard. We *could* have the least stealthy members of the group just hide in my library... but the forest might have its own dangerous forms of life beyond the trees, so it might be best to have all of us available.
He pauses, thoughtfully. I wonder if invisibility would work? Then you wouldn't have a reflection... but that would require a lot of invisibility spells if this forest is large.
A sudden thought about reflections strikes him. He'd seen three of himself in his dream... Terecho was probably one of the extra two, but the third...
He turns his thoughts towards <Shimmer> Do you think we could use some of the crystal wood from here to make creating another copy of me easier? It seems like the magics should be compatible... though we'd have to make sure it wouldn't also make a copy that wanted to murder me...
Gift walks up to Nexqil,
::"Take over hivemind, carry on to the end, you'er a Crystal this is your world. Ping me when you thought. Door please"::
A round portal comes into being showing a large space inside. She septs through and it closes. Gift is gone from the mind hive. Just Nexqil is left. he hovers along the path moving with the party.
Planes shift, she has gone to her personal demi plane until the end of this part
|Azzim bin Farouq|
Considering where we're going, we should get more used to thinking in terms of 'dream logic'[i]
Palamedes replied through the link, [i]"::Oh you might be on to something there. Most of the time you have no control over your dreams.::" He glanced at the Satyr, "::But sometimes you have a lucid dream, where you are in control and anything can happen. I'm told with practice it's possible to have lucid dreams upon demand. Surely by now we are part way into the dimension of dreams, I expect things to get stranger the further we go and perhaps it will be come possible to wrest control at least over a pocket around us.::"
Palamedes considered what he knew of planar phenomina associated with the demi-plane of dreams and whether it was possible to exert some level of control.
Kn: Planes with Heightened Awareness: 1d20 + 20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 20 + 2 = 27
Kn: Arcarna with Heightened Awareness: 1d20 + 17 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 17 + 2 = 28
"I wonder if invisibility would work? Then you wouldn't have a reflection... but that would require a lot of invisibility spells if this forest is large."
Palamedes suggested, "::Another experiment would be a Mirage Arcarna spell, make the forest seem to be something else entirely - something that's not reflective.::"
When Gift vanished, he sighed inwardly although he could see the logic behind the move.
Rollo nods in agreement with Azim.
You may be on to something there. I could attempt that if we think it may counter the phenomenon.
Knowledge Arcana: 1d20 + 38 ⇒ (2) + 38 = 40
Knowledge Planes: 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (14) + 23 = 37
Knowledge Arcana: 1d20 + 38 ⇒ (2) + 38 = 40
Knowledge Planes: 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (18) + 23 = 41
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16
"Eh. I'll be fine." Toric says aloud.
Stealth: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (5) + 17 = 22
As the party stops and Terex, Rollo, Azzim and Leander begin studying the area, Toric wanders into the crystalline forest...
Feeling the area's magical, the party's magic experts get the feeling that both mirage arcana, invisibility and other illusions could counter the area's magic. The forest's effect is itself something like a powerful, permanent illusion - though like shadow magic, it can have real effects. Naturally any attempt to use magic to counter the area would need to overcome the forest's own magic. Roll a caster-level checks
Analyzing the crystalline wood, Terex see that it might well be used as a powerful magical ingredient for a variety of things - but detaching one piece from the entire forest would be quite difficult. Taking one piece might bring the entire forest's effects onto the taker unless it's qualities are neutralized.
Meanwhile, as Toric carefully saunters forward he notices a couple images of himself moving forwards as well, one to his left 50' and one to his right 50'. Neither is bothering him at the moment.
Well, illusions might work. Does anybody have an illusion that would last... hey, what are you doing? Terexaltherin 'shouts' as he notices Toric going off on his own.
The little dragon carefully follows.
Stealth: 1d20 + 36 ⇒ (16) + 36 = 52
Are you trying to get everyone killed? Slow down! Don't make any sudden movements!
I may have something...
Rollo begins casting Mirage Arcana.
This image everything made of paper and wood for no reflection
Caster level check: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (15) + 13 = 28
Rollo is a able to create a sort-of tunnel of non-reflective wood and paper 20' around the path and stretching out a few hundred feet, well past where Toric is walking. Now to figure out how to move it (since you believe the "forest" goes on several mile).
Roll spellcraft to make the spell area move with you for period of time (you'll find out roughly how much with the roll). FYI, I am allowing spellcraft rolls to move, stretch and extend spells beyond the ordinary "melee scale" that Pathfinder usually specifies, 'cause it's annoying the rules put magic users in the position that they can only problems with spells at this "melee scale".
Terexaltherin keeps watch for fallen wood that might be grabable as they move forward. So you're just 'coating' what's here with an illusion, right? So anything we see that looks like wood is actually crystal wood?
Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (17) + 21 = 38
Terexaltherin decides to wait until they're to the other edge of the forest to try something.
So by Rollo gradually moving the magical mirage, the party is able to traverse the several miles of Crystal Forest area and then finds it's way along a fairly clear jungle path for the rest of the afternoon. The weather is pleasant, warm but no longer sweltering. <Shimmer> reports that the area of planar stability around the path has expanded to 500' as you've traveled.
At night, things are quiet (whether the mansion is used or not. Camping under the tree is fine). In the morning, things continue as they were for several hours. However, towards midday you begin to smell a rather foul, rotten egg odor and ten minutes later you emerge into a sandy area, several square miles in size, covered by large and small pools -- of water and what appears to be crude petroleum. The smell of this is almost overwhelming and your eyes sting slightly. Leander's instructions describe in the detail a path to follow through this area and looking out, it seems like this could indeed take you through the area and you can vaguely estimate where the intended way out of the area is - six miles away, nearly out of sight. Also, on scanning the area, you can see what looks like a couple small groups of shacks with bundled humanoid figures moving around them - seeming two villages.
Looking skeptically ahead, Leander says "So far my instructions haven't guarantee that we won't face danger, so it seems we should move through this area with extreme caution."
It's obvious you'll want some kind of masks against the smell but let me know what other measure you'll take, what investigation you'll do of the area, etc.
Gift had come out that night and greeted the others, she got a report on the track and decided to carry on with them the next day.
The oil did not bother her at all, other than when it got onto her, which she just force ejected off her clothing.
Seeing the village she sent out two drones to scout it.
Persption 30 each
Coming out into the oil fields, Toric squints hard from the smell. "Lovely", the satyr said in a flat tone.
Survival: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (4) + 14 = 18
The bard transform his red comb (actually a hat of disguise) into a red headwrap, which Toric uses as a mash over his mouth and nose.
"Oh! People!" Toric says as he notices the bundled up humanoids. "Let's hope they like music."
The satyr takes out his panpipes and begins to play a light and welcoming tune.
Perform (wind): 1d20 + 38 ⇒ (12) + 38 = 50 Toric loves rolling those 50s.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 43 ⇒ (14) + 43 = 57
Rollo inhales deeply.
I just love the smell of petroleum in the morning! This may be a good time to quit smoking.
Necklace of Adaptation
The dhampir continues to float just above the ground, as the group continues on toward the village.
|Azzim bin Farouq|
The journey thorough the crystal forest had been a bit nerve wracking, it was one thing to come up with a magical theory and another thing for your life to rely upon it.
When they reached the other side he breathed a sigh of relief and complemented the dhampir sorcerer, saying "Deftly done. I have to admit I didn't expect a mirage arcarna to have been worth memorising this morning, I'm glad you had us covered."
Sniffing the air Azzim wrinkled his nose, "Smells like a rotten egg and tarpit. I hope it isn't flammable... I agree caution is required!"
There wasn't much he could do about the smell beyond wrap a scarf over his face.
Terexaltherin asks for the group to halt as they reach the edge of the crystalline forest. Rollo, can you keep up the illusion for a bit? I think I can harvest a bit of deadwood, I have an idea for later for what to do with it.
He selects a likely piece of fallen crystal wood, positions himself at the edge of his telekinesis range so less of him is reflected in the rest of the wood, and then starts to slowly draw it towards him.
Disable Device: 1d20 + 26 ⇒ (15) + 26 = 41
Slowly, cautiously, he slides it into his enchanted pack, the large branch vanishing into the much smaller bag.
When the group reaches the oil, the little dragon wrinkles his snout. Ugh, I'm going to see if I can get above the fumes, he informs the others, spreading his wings and flying up to about 150' above the group.
Oh, yeah, <Shimmer> says this area is more stable. We can get a few hundred feet from the path safely.
He pauses a moment. I wouldn't touch the stuff with my hands, but maybe we should get a sample of the oil? Anyone have an empty vial or two I could use my telekinesis on?