DM Brainiac's Fists of the Ruby Phoenix: Victorious Secret!

Game Master Brainiac

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Fists of the Ruby Phoenix!

No sorcerer on Golarion can boast more fame than Hao Jin, the Ruby Phoenix. Renowned for her interplanar travels and phoenix-like powers of self-resurrection—the source of her sobriquet—perhaps the only thing that can rival Hao Jin’s fame is her vast collection of relics and artifacts. She accumulated these treasures over centuries in honor of her deity Abadar’s reliquary of wonders, the First Vault. Her ultimate goal in seeking such treasures was to achieve true immortality, but this destiny ever eludes her.

When Hao Jin finally resigned herself to the fact that she would someday die, she set about devising contingencies to prevent her priceless relics from disappearing into the annals of history upon her death. She left the Gokan Temple of Abadar detailed instructions for how to handle her estate in the event of her disappearance. Such a contingency came to pass in 6891 IC (Imperial Calendar; 4391 AR), when Hao Jin failed to appear at the temple as she had said she would. The Abadarans could only presume her dead and, in keeping with Hao Jin’s wishes, organized the first Ruby Phoenix Tournament—a grand fighting spectacle that would draw athletes from around the world. Every 10 years, the winner of this glorious competition gets to claim one item from Hao Jin’s magnificent vault as their prize. In this way, many of her relics were released back into the world, one by one, for over 300 years.

This year’s Ruby Phoenix Tournament promises to be unlike any before it—because the Ruby Phoenix herself will be there! In 4719 AR, as the church of Abadar continued their usual preparations for the 32nd Ruby Phoenix Tournament, the unexpected occurred: Hao Jin returned to Goka. The church scrambled to determine its next steps as the contract with the sorcerer assumed her death, which was obviously not the case. Hao Jin recognized the importance of the tournament and was content with continuing the tradition, so long as she had her share of input into the process. The church agreed, and Hao Jin immediately began making changes to the tournament’s format.

Rather than permit several dozens or even hundreds of entrants, Hao Jin hand-selected and approved just 32 teams of fighters. The teams included competitors from other major tournaments around Golarion, famous and up-and-coming martial artists, and even notable adventuring groups. Hao Jin chose these contestants with consideration not only for their martial prowess, but also for their anticipated entertainment value.

After picking the teams, Hao Jin made one more significant change to the tournament process: rather than simply setting the teams against each other in a tournament bracket, the Ruby Phoenix created a large preliminary qualifying round. In this round, all teams will compete against each other in a multi-day freefor-all that tests their survival skills, teamwork, and mental fortitude. Only the top eight teams from this preliminary round will qualify to enter the Ruby Phoenix Tournament’s main event. So, Hao Jin’s 32 teams have traveled to the remote island of Bonmu, where they will compete against one another for three grueling days until the pool is whittled down to just eight finalists.

It took many days to journey across the waves from the city of Goka, but at long last, the island of Bonmu is in sight...

During the Age of Legends, the magnificent empire of Taumata spanned most of what is now modern-day Minata. The Taumatans used their great knowledge in the arcane arts and engineering to maintain an empire spanning thousands of miles. During the Earthfall disaster, great floods, storms, and tsunamis wiped out Taumata, an event that most Minatan folklore assigns to vengeful gods angered by the country’s blasphemy. Most of Taumata was lost, with only a handful of structures and relics surviving the cataclysm. The land itself shattered into countless islands that constitute the archipelago now called Minata. Among this vast archipelago lies the small island of Bonmu, once the location of one of Taumata’s capital cities and featuring one of the most complete collections of ancient Taumatan architecture and artifacts.

Several millennia after the Taumatan empire’s destruction, a large number of Tian-Sings discovered Bonmu and took residence among the abandoned structures. They made the island a center of religious worship, repurposing many of the temples to forgotten Taumatan gods into temples of Tian-Sing deities like Gozreh, Hei Feng, and Irori. The new Bonmuans enjoyed peace and prosperity for decades.

This peace met an abrupt end in 4606 AR. A massive tsunami struck the western Arcadian coast and pulled much of the ocean away, creating temporary land bridges between Minata’s islands that lasted for days. Terrifying creatures from the nearby Valashmai Jungle—including Mogaru, a massive saurian kaiju—used these new bridges to make their way to the Minatan isles, including Bonmu. The Bonmuans watched in horror as Mogaru rampaged across neighboring islands and smaller monstrosities overran their home. They ultimately fled to avoid obliteration and never looked back, believing the again-abandoned island to be cursed. Since that time, Bonmu has had an ill reputation, though most pragmatists—including Hao Jin and her fellow tournament organizers—disregard these rumors as nothing more than superstition.

HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

"Well," Chkirri says looking around, hand eagerly grasping the ship's rails as Bonmu comes into sight. "Is everyone ready? We're going to take that island like we were a kaiju!"

CN male (he/him) suli gnoll oracle 18 HP 224/224 | AC 37 | F +27 R +24 W +30, Resolve | Perc +25 | 9: 3/3 8: 3/3 7: 3/3, 6: 3/3, 5: 3/3, 4: 3/3, 3: 3/3, 2: 3/3, 1: 3/3 Speed 30 ft | focus 3/3| Hero 2 | Curse Level: None| Active Conditions:

"There's little glory to be found in such a place, but I'm looking forward to eliminating our opponents, and testing ourselves as a team."

Storm Adder turns his face into the wind, sniffing for any signs of enemies or foul weather.

Human Swashbuckler 16 | HP 232/232 | AC 35 | F +25 R +30 W +25 | Perc +26 (+2 Initiative)| Speed 40 ft (65ft w/panache) | Hero Points 4 | Active Conditions: None

"Born ready." Xin is leaning against the railing, casually tossing her starknife into the air and catching it at the last possible second before it slips into the sea. Not that it would matter if it did, given the returning rune carved into its surface, but it looks cool. "Think there are going to be any spectators on the island? Or maybe scrying the place? Not much of a tournament without an audience."

Xin will have spent the time on the ship making friends and Gathering Information about the other teams.

Three other teams have journeyed with you on the same ship. The Lightning Callers are a pair of expert archers from Osirion. They are rather stoic and don't open up much to Chou Xin. The Nightmares are a trio of horse riders from the Xopatl region of Arcadia. Named after the fiendish horses of death—which they’ve outfitted their mounts to resemble—the Nightmares dress in black robes and have polearms strapped to their backs. Finally, the eight fighters who call themselves Golarion’s Finest met at a previous worldwide tournament many years ago. They all enjoyed their time together so much that they formed their own team. Since then, they’ve entered multiple tournaments, traveling around Golarion in search of their next fight. Their incredible winning record earned them a place among Hao Jin’s chosen pre-qualifiers for the Ruby Phoenix Tournament.

At last, the ship reaches the island. As you disembark on the docks, you can see all of the entrants to this year's Ruby Phoenix Tournament lining up, stretching, practicing their techniques, and sparring with each other. The air buzzes with anticipation.

After a few minutes, a cloister of red-and-gold-outfitted monks arrives at the docks and calls the assembly to order. One monk meets with each team and introduces themself as the team’s attendant and guide for the duration of their time on Bonmu. Eventually, an old man wearing brilliant robes arrives by boat at the docks. All the monks bow to the man before he begins his speech.

A hush falls over the crowd as the wizened man steps onto one of the docks and clears his throat. Even the ocean’s waves seem to cease their crashing for a dramatic moment, and then the man speaks in a loud and clear voice.

“I am Sifu Xho Nuo—Emissary of the Ruby Phoenix Tournament and guardian of the legacy of Hao Jin, the immortal sorcerer in whose name you are gathered here. Know that in simply receiving an invitation to qualify for the tournament, you have already earned a place among the greatest fighters Golarion has ever known. However, only eight teams may continue on to the tournament proper, and that is why you are here today. Welcome to the island of Bonmu, or, as dubbed by Lady Hao Jin, ‘Danger Island.’ This will be your home for the next few days, and it is here where you will earn the right to enter the tournament.

“Bonmu is vast. It is a place of ancient ruins and sites left untouched by the centuries. Lady Hao Jin has reclaimed this place and picked out a suitable location for each team to reside during their stay. Of course, nothing is given freely at the Ruby Phoenix Tournament. Each team has been assigned a specific location somewhere on this island, but many of these sites are filled with dangerous creatures or worse. It falls to you to make your site safe. Within your residence you will find the phoenix necklace and three silver feathers. Your mission here is to acquire and keep seven more such silver feathers.

“Without further delay, I leave you to the whims of Bonmu. The pre-qualifier begins at sunrise tomorrow. May the worthiest win!” At that, the teams burst into excited conversations with their escorts and rush toward their residences. Danger Island awaits!

Your escort turns towards you again. "I am Ingdani," she says as she bows. "As your team's escort, I will accompany you during your stay on the island and answer any questions you have. Your residence will be at a temple to Irori roughly a third of a mile away from the docks. When you are ready, I will take you there. In the meantime, there are several ground rules to follow during this round of the tournament. They are provided for you here, along with a map of the island.” The monk hands you a scroll.

Danger Island Rules:
Basic Rules
• The commands of the emissary and his agents are to be obeyed at all times, and the emissary’s word is final. None shall take violent action against the emissary or his agents.
• The emissary employs a number of enforcers to maintain order on the island. The enforcers are agents of the emissary and so have the authority to declare unique challenges and matches.

• To qualify for the Ruby Phoenix Tournament, a team must collect a total of 10 silver feathers. A team can attempt to earn feathers by challenging another team to a match and wagering feathers.

• All teams must be able to readily present their phoenix necklace and at least 1 silver feather to the emissary or his enforcers. Failure to do so will result in immediate disqualification.

• No contestant may leave Bonmu, for any reason, until the conclusion of the qualifying round, unless they are disqualified or lose all of their silver feathers.

• The qualifying round lasts a total of 3 days. On the third day, any team with a complete set of silver feathers can visit Mount Haminabu to confirm their entry into the tournament by presenting their necklace and 10 feathers. Once eight teams have qualified for the tournament, the qualifying round is over, and all remaining teams are immediately disqualified.

To earn silver feathers, teams must engage other teams in official fighting matches. Teams can challenge one another to a match at any time once the qualifying round begins except for designated safe hours (every night from midnight to sunrise). A team must challenge another team in the presence of an enforcer. A challenged team must accept the challenge or be disqualified.

Once a match has been declared, the challengers must wager between one and three feathers. The defenders must then match the wager; if a defending team can’t match the wager, they must wager their remaining feathers. Once the wagers are placed, the feathers are handed to the enforcer, who takes both teams to the nearest designated fighting site. Teams can also agree to fight one another without making a wager, in which case they are free to fight anywhere on the island, and the defending team isn’t required to accept the challenge.

Once at the fighting area, the challenge begins. Only the two teams are allowed to participate in the challenge. Neither team can accept aid from anyone not participating in the challenge. The challenge is a free-for-all between both teams. The last team standing is the winner. A team can choose to yield and forfeit at any time during the challenge. Failing to honor the forfeit results in a disqualification. The slaying of an entrant during a challenge is entirely possible and permitted, but if an agent of the emissary catches any team attempting to lethally harm an entrant outside of a challenge, that team is disqualified.

Once one side has fallen or forfeited, the enforcer declares a winner and provides the winning team all of the wagered feathers. If the transfer of feathers would grant a team more than 10 total feathers, any excess feathers go to the enforcers and are taken out of play from the qualifying round. There are no ties in challenges and in the rare case where a winner is not immediately obvious, the enforcer has final say on declaring the winner. In addition to earning the feathers, the winning team also earns a bonus of 500 gp for winning a challenge. The enforcers are free to add to the winnings as they see fit in cases of particularly spectacular or memorable matches. Looting of defeated teams is permissible only if all members of the losing team have been killed.

After a match, the winning team can’t challenge the losing team again for the duration of the event. The losing team doesn’t have this restriction, however, and can challenge a team that has beaten them to rematches until the losing team either runs out of feathers or wins. Finally, any team with 10 or more feathers is prohibited from issuing challenges to other teams, though other teams are still allowed to challenge them.

Rather than send in their own priests, the church of Abadar has recruited capable fighters to help maintain order on Bonmu and act as judges. These enforcers have the power to oversee challenges and directly interfere when any team breaks the rules.

In addition to acting as referees, the enforcers are a type of rival team themselves. An enforcer or group of enforcers can challenge any contending team on the island to a match. The enforcers are not required to wager any feather tokens, though they may require the defending team to wager up to 3 feathers. This process is intended to thin the pool of available feathers and make it more difficult for some of the teams to acquire the 10 feathers they need to qualify. If a challenged team defeats the enforcers, the winners earn 500 gp instead of silver feathers. Of course, no lethal action may be taken against the enforcers.

The enforcers also have the power to declare unique challenges that don’t involve a fighting match. These challenges are designed to encourage the teams to travel the island and overcome the environment. To entice teams to participate in these challenges, the enforcers possess a number of additional silver feathers that they can give out as rewards to the challenge winners.

Though the emissary is ultimately in charge of all the tournament agents on the island, including the enforcers, he has delegated command of the enforcers to an onidoshi named Koto Zekora. Koto Zekora is considered the final arbiter of any enforcer decisions, and her authority is second only to that of the emissary.

CN male (he/him) suli gnoll oracle 18 HP 224/224 | AC 37 | F +27 R +24 W +30, Resolve | Perc +25 | 9: 3/3 8: 3/3 7: 3/3, 6: 3/3, 5: 3/3, 4: 3/3, 3: 3/3, 2: 3/3, 1: 3/3 Speed 30 ft | focus 3/3| Hero 2 | Curse Level: None| Active Conditions:

"Let us see what challenges await us in our temporary home."

Storm Adder eagerly looks to his teammates for agreement and heads off the docks.

Human Swashbuckler 16 | HP 232/232 | AC 35 | F +25 R +30 W +25 | Perc +26 (+2 Initiative)| Speed 40 ft (65ft w/panache) | Hero Points 4 | Active Conditions: None

Xin takes the scroll and quickly skims through the rules. Most of them seem sensible enough. 'Don't leave the island.' 'Don't deliberately kill anyone.' 'Don't attack the judges.' Although given the judges can also be competitors...

"Nice to meet you Ingdani. I'm Chou Xin." Xin matches Ingdani's bow with one of her own. "I do have a question about one of these rules. It says the enforcers can also challenge us to fights, but that no 'lethal actions' may be taken against them. What qualifies as a lethal action?" She hefts her starknife in demonstration. "This thing is pretty sharp. Now, I've never killed anyone in a match before, but throwing this thing at someone could still be considered a lethal action. I don't want to accidentally disqualify myself over a misunderstanding."

(There's always the possibility this is a 'Gotcha!' rule meant to winnow out the careless. She doubts it, but no harm in asking to be sure.)

"Otherwise, it all seems logical." She smiles, hoping she didn't just leave Ingdani with the impression she wants to kill anyone. "I'm ready to see our new base of operations. With any luck we'll be able to clear it out before the pre-qualifier officially starts."

”Any action resulting in death is a lethal one,” Ingdani says, somewhat glibly. ”Just attacking somebody doesn’t count. Only if you use your weapon to kill would it result in disqualification. When you find the phoenix necklace, you will find it enchanted to help you avoid causing any unintentional deaths.”

She turns to Storm Adder as the boll starts forward. ”Before we go, let me show you a few sites of interest nearby. The nearest fighting site to the temple of Irori is to the south, in the forest over there. You are free to accept challenges at the temple, once you have claimed the residence, but you can also move any challenges to that arena if you wish.

"North of that is the Stone Market." The monk points to a set of small stone shacks to the southeast of the docks. "Each of these buildings is magically connected to a tournament-operated stall in the Neverending Market in Goka, allowing competitors to purchase any common goods and equipment during their time on Bonmu.

"Finally, there is a transport tower over there." She notes a stone tower looming over the treetops half a mile north of the temple of Irori. "The tower is one of five located around Bonmu. These towers are all connected by teleportation magic and allow for quick transport around the island. The towers are considered safe sites; any attempts to fight or declare a match within them results in instant disqualification.

"Any other questions before we proceed?"

Map of Danger Island

You are in the hex towards the southwest part of the island with A (the temple), B1 (docks), C (forest arena), and E (Stone Market) in it. I'll reveal what the other letters mean later on when it becomes more relevant.

HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

"Are there rules against stealing the feathers?" Chkirri asks after a moment. "Do we need to make sure our home is safe against a challenger who's trying to rustle our feathers without a fight?"

Wow, there are a lot of sites on that map!

CG Human Second Chance Campion, Sorcerer 11 | HP 90/116| F +18, R +20, W +19 | Spd 30ft. | Perc +19 | Focus 3/3| AC 30 | Spells: 1st - 3/4, 2nd - 4/4, 3rd 4/4, 4th - 4/4, 5th 4/4, 6th 2/3| conditions: mage armour, sickened 1,

Matsu knows she's coming across as aloof but within, she is a maelstrom. Coming back to danger island is bringing it all back and she can barely bring herself to say a word to her teammates.

As trite as it is, Matsu is avoiding the connections with these people. What if she were to care for them and then lose them? Has she the strength to live through this again?

”Attempting to steal another team’s feathers is dishonorable. Any stolen feathers will not be counted. Only those gained through legitimate means are acceptable.”

HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

"Oh, well, that's good then!" Chkirri says, pleased that they probably don't need to worry about those attempts to lose their feathers.

"I'm ready," he declares, then intones: "And so the brave adventurers head to their first challenge, securing their home for a few days!"

CG Human Second Chance Campion, Sorcerer 11 | HP 90/116| F +18, R +20, W +19 | Spd 30ft. | Perc +19 | Focus 3/3| AC 30 | Spells: 1st - 3/4, 2nd - 4/4, 3rd 4/4, 4th - 4/4, 5th 4/4, 6th 2/3| conditions: mage armour, sickened 1,

Matsu nods, a haunted look on her face.

As soon as you start your trip toward the temple of Irori (but before you make it very far), another team runs up and hails you. They seem a motley bunch at first glance--a middle-aged Tian-Shu man with a fashionable tattoo of Irori's Master's Rebus on his chest, a coy and aloof kitsune woman in black garb, a scarred tengu in armor and with matching fan-shaped swords at their belt, and a nagaji in robes with a curling tattoo of a dragon over his face.

"Greetings to you," the Tian man says, bowing. "I am Tino Tung, and these are my teammates Ji-yook, Takatorra, and Yabin the Just." He indicates the kitsune, tengu, and nagaji in order. "Together, we are Tino's Toughest! I overheard that you are headed to the temple of Irori. We are going to be staying in the library of Gruhastha, half a mile from the temple, and we are all eager to meet our island neighbors!"

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HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

Chkirri relaxes at their seeming friendliness, sure they'd been about to be challenged even before they got settled in.

"It is nice to meet you. I am Chkirri the Storied, hailing from Goka, the greatest city in Golarion! We are Victorious Secret!"

He introduces the others, quickly sketching out their story.

"And this is the ancestral inheritor of this competition, third generation to vie for Hao Jin's favor, winner of The Renowned Rumble, the Cataclysm Coliseum, Battleblock Amphitheater: This is Chou Xin!

"With us too is the Canine Conquerer of Katapesh, suffused with the power of the western genies and the favor of Hei Feng, master of swords and storms, Storm Adder!

"Lastly we have the Silent Sorceress, the Baroness of Blood Magic, who will amaze and astonish with her natural power, Maito Matsu!"

He smiles again, pleased with his first showing, and hoping the two groups will not come to blows -- unless, of course, they decide to do just that.

Hope you're all OK with some liberties there.

"It's a pleasure to meet you," Tino says. "Our group has been together for a long time. We’ve met a lot of people on our adventures, but there’s always more to learn. When we got word we were invited to take part in the Ruby Phoenix Tournament, we leapt at the chance to travel to a new place and test our strength against worthy opponents. It would be quite a thing to earn one of Hao Jin’s great treasures... but as long as we’re having fun and making memories, I don’t think any of us would regret losing the tournament!

“Would you be up for a sparring match before you head to the temple? All in good fun, of course!”

CN male (he/him) suli gnoll oracle 18 HP 224/224 | AC 37 | F +27 R +24 W +30, Resolve | Perc +25 | 9: 3/3 8: 3/3 7: 3/3, 6: 3/3, 5: 3/3, 4: 3/3, 3: 3/3, 2: 3/3, 1: 3/3 Speed 30 ft | focus 3/3| Hero 2 | Curse Level: None| Active Conditions:

Great introduction of us!

Storm Adder speaks softly to his teammates, "I'm always up for a challenge, but maybe we should save our energy for combats that earn feathers." Storm Adder scratches his chin. "It wouldn't be bad to have some practice coordinating our attacks, however."

HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

"Yes, also we should be careful in case we need to fight anything to claim our temple," Chikirri agrees. "But as long as it's a simple sparring match, to surrender."

There's no real way to say in character, but I'm thinking we fight until someone reaches half Hit Points, then surrender.

Human Swashbuckler 16 | HP 232/232 | AC 35 | F +25 R +30 W +25 | Perc +26 (+2 Initiative)| Speed 40 ft (65ft w/panache) | Hero Points 4 | Active Conditions: None

Concealing her actions behind Ingdani's back, Xin gives Chkirri a wink and nod. This is exactly why she's happy to have him on her team; she tries but doesn't have his flair for improv.

"Nice to meet you as well." A good friendly rivalry is a real crowd-pleaser, and this group seems like the perfect candidates. Four versus four, people more interested in testing their strength than taking out opponents, what looks like a fairly decent mix of skills on both sides...yep. Absolutely perfect.

"I'd definitely be interested in a friendly bout." She casually folds her arms behind her head, stretching out her shoulders. "But Storm Adder has a point; we don't want anyone getting too beat up before the competition officially starts! Does everyone here have enough practice sparring to tap out if they start getting really hurt?" She glances towards Ingdani. "Also, what's the policy on healing after bouts? Is that something the enforcers provide, or are we on our own?"

I think a practice bout would give us a good idea of how each other's characters work without the pressure of possibly losing feathers.

Somewhat ninjaed by Chkirri, but half HP goes well with Xin's 'tap out when seriously hurt' suggestion.

Tino and his teammates nod. ”That sounds fine. We will tap out once our wounds become serious.”

“You will have to rely on your own resources for healing,” Ingdani says, but Tino speaks up again.

”I would be happy to beseech Irori to heal your injuries after our match. Shall we adjourn to the nearby forest arena then?” he asks eagerly.

CG Human Second Chance Campion, Sorcerer 11 | HP 90/116| F +18, R +20, W +19 | Spd 30ft. | Perc +19 | Focus 3/3| AC 30 | Spells: 1st - 3/4, 2nd - 4/4, 3rd 4/4, 4th - 4/4, 5th 4/4, 6th 2/3| conditions: mage armour, sickened 1,

Matsu swallows and nods quickly. Maybe seeing her new frien... teammates sparring will give her a sense of what they can do. Maybe that will quiet the storm of anxiety within.


HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

Chkirri nods, happy to get going. He starts patting his equipment, making sure he has everything. Guess I need to finalize my purchases today! :)

CN male (he/him) suli gnoll oracle 18 HP 224/224 | AC 37 | F +27 R +24 W +30, Resolve | Perc +25 | 9: 3/3 8: 3/3 7: 3/3, 6: 3/3, 5: 3/3, 4: 3/3, 3: 3/3, 2: 3/3, 1: 3/3 Speed 30 ft | focus 3/3| Hero 2 | Curse Level: None| Active Conditions:

Storm Adder limbers up and adds, eagerly, "Let's fight!"

It is only a short walk to the forest arena. You and Tino’s Toughest take up your positions as Ingdani and the other team’s escort observe. ”This is a friendly sparring match,” Ingdani says. ”Tino’s Toughest versus Victorious Secret. Ready? Fight!”

Chkirri: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (18) + 18 = 36
Chou Xin: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (11) + 20 = 31
Maito Matsu: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (8) + 20 = 28
Storm Adder: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (19) + 17 = 36
Tino’s Toughest: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (10) + 19 = 29

Everybody but Matsu may act! There is now a link to the battle map at the top of the campaign page.

The lava rock walls around the arena rise to a height of 10 feet and can be Climbed with a successful DC 25 Athletics check. The half-rotted foliage of a fallen breadfruit tree functions as difficult terrain; the tree’s trunk is not difficult terrain, but it is a narrow surface that requires a successful DC 15 Acrobatics check to Balance. The stagnant pool of water in the arena’s northwestern corner is deceptively deep, sinking to a depth of 3 feet. The water is difficult terrain for Medium creatures; smaller creatures must Swim through the water.

HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

Moving almost preternaturally quickly, Chkirri puts some distance between himself and his teammates as he begins intoning the details of the match.

"And they're off, and Victorious Secret is ready to get the drop on their opponents today in this friendly bout!" he calls out. "They're likely to be careful for this initial feeling-out period."

He fires an arrow, that slams into Tino with a loud thunderclap. "Oooh, hit him right in the lower occipital proturbance!"

Action 1: Stride (moved on the map
Free action: Cast Inspire heroics Performance (master, +2 to oratory): 1d20 + 24 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 24 + 2 = 29 Failure! Your inspire courage or inspire defense provides only its normal bonus, but you don't spend the Focus Point for casting this spell.
Action 2: Inspire defense (You and all allies in the area (60-foot emanation) gain a +1 status bonus to AC and saving throws, as well as resistance equal to half the spell's level to physical damage, so resistance 5
Action 3: Strike!
+1 striking thundering shortbow (range 60 feet): 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (19) + 20 = 39
Piercing: 2d6 ⇒ (5, 2) = 7
Sonic: 1d6 ⇒ 4
Crit? (deadly d10): 1d10 ⇒ 7 If the target of the critical hit is adjacent to a surface, it gets stuck to that surface by the missile. The target is immobilized and must spend an Interact action to attempt a DC 10 Athletics check to pull the missile free; it can’t move from its space until it succeeds.

CN male (he/him) suli gnoll oracle 18 HP 224/224 | AC 37 | F +27 R +24 W +30, Resolve | Perc +25 | 9: 3/3 8: 3/3 7: 3/3, 6: 3/3, 5: 3/3, 4: 3/3, 3: 3/3, 2: 3/3, 1: 3/3 Speed 30 ft | focus 3/3| Hero 2 | Curse Level: None| Active Conditions:

Storm Adder strides forward, wish blade in hand. With a mighty swing, he charges the weapon with magic, then swipes it across the field. A wave of swords shimmers through the air, tearing into the opposing team.

Cast weapon storm (L6)
Slashing: 6d10 ⇒ (2, 6, 6, 5, 9, 9) = 37

Reflex DC 30
Critical Success The creature is unaffected.
Success The target takes half damage.
Failure The target takes full damage.
Critical Failure The target takes double damage and is subject to the weapon's critical specialization effect.

Human Swashbuckler 16 | HP 232/232 | AC 35 | F +25 R +30 W +25 | Perc +26 (+2 Initiative)| Speed 40 ft (65ft w/panache) | Hero Points 4 | Active Conditions: None

Xin grins, appreciating the chance to test everyone's skills. "Good luck Tino's Toughest! You'll need it against Victorious Secret."

She circles around, eying the competition. Tino does seem to be the leader, and taking him down first will be a huge morale boost as well as a good tactical move. She just needs to distract him somehow...

"You know, I'd give you guys advice if I could. But unfortunately, when it comes to monks, I'm afraid I've got Nun."

Being the person who makes bad puns isn't always the best crowd pleaser, but it's certainly memorable. More importantly, it usually distracts your opponents. Bad puns illicit terrible groans. Sometimes even facepalms. That's more than enough to give Victorious Secret the edge. Hurling her starknife at Tino, she calls over her shoulder to Storm Adder.

"Focus one at a time! Protect Maito!"

Bon Mot: 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (5) + 23 = 28
+2 Starknife vs Tino: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (7) + 22 = 29 S. Damage, Bleeding Finisher: 2d4 + 2 + 4d6 ⇒ (2, 1) + 2 + (6, 1, 5, 5) = 22 + Persistent Bleed: 4d6 ⇒ (2, 4, 3, 4) = 13
One For All, Storm Adder: 1d20 + 23 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 23 + 4 = 36

Xin is using the Aid reaction to give Storm Adder +1 to his next attack roll

First time swashbuckler, first time high level character so I apologize for any mistakes. Given Xin's ridiculously high Diplomacy for Bon Mot and even higher Aid for One For All, I'm going to write posts assuming she succeeds on these checks unless she rolls a nat one. Let me know if you'd like me to handle it some other way.

Bon Mot: Choose a foe within 30 feet and roll a Diplomacy check against the target's Will DC. On a success, gain Panache.
Critical Success: The target is distracted and takes a –3 status penalty to Perception and Will saves for 1 minute. The target can end the effect early with a retort to your Bon Mot. This can either be a single action that has the concentrate trait or an appropriate skill action to frame their retort. The GM determines which skill actions qualify, though they must take at least 1 action. Typically, the retort needs to use a linguistic Charisma-based skill action.
Success: As critical success, but the penalty is –2.
Critical Failure: Your quip is atrocious. You take the same penalty an enemy would take had you succeeded. This ends after 1 minute or if you issue another Bon Mot and succeed.

One For All: Designate an ally within 30 feet; this action counts as sufficient preparation to Aid that ally. When you use the Aid reaction to help that ally, you can roll Diplomacy in place of the usual check. If your swashbuckler's style is wit and your Diplomacy check to Aid meets or exceeds the very hard DC for your level, you gain panache.

Reflex: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (15) + 19 = 341d20 + 19 ⇒ (7) + 19 = 261d20 + 17 ⇒ (18) + 17 = 351d20 + 16 ⇒ (5) + 16 = 21

Tino and Takatorra avoid some of Storm Adder’s Weapon storm, but Ji-yook and Yabin catch the full force of it! Chkirri lands a critical hit on Tino, eliciting a yelp of pain. Then Xin distracts him with a terrible pun before hurling her starknife into him, leaving behind a bleeding wound.

”Argh! Not a bad opening salvo,” Tino says with clenched teeth. ”Time to get tough!” He lays hands on himself, healing some of his wounds, then he rushes at Storm Adder and attacks the grill with a flurry of punches.

Flurry Of Blows: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (3) + 20 = 231d20 + 16 ⇒ (19) + 16 = 35
Damage: 2d8 + 9 ⇒ (5, 6) + 9 = 20
Persistent Damage: 1d20 ⇒ 10

Takatorra moves to flank with Tino, assaulting Storm Adder with a barrage of blade strikes!

Blade Barrage: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (12) + 22 = 341d20 + 18 ⇒ (18) + 18 = 361d20 + 14 ⇒ (14) + 14 = 28
Damage: 2d6 + 10 ⇒ (6, 2) + 10 = 182d6 + 10 ⇒ (5, 2) + 10 = 172d6 + 10 ⇒ (1, 6) + 10 = 17

Ji-yook dashes across the battlefield, throwing a pair of darts at Chkirri. One embeds itself in the tengu’s chest!

Darts: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (20) + 20 = 401d20 + 16 ⇒ (5) + 16 = 21
Damage: 2d4 + 4 ⇒ (3, 3) + 4 = 10

Yabin casts a spell, protecting Tino with a swirling cloak of colors.

72 total damage to Storm Adder, 20 damage to Chkirri. Storm Adder is taking 1d6 persistent bleed damage. Everybody may act.

Tino is protected by a cloak of colors (Will DC 27).

HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

Doesn't look like inspire defense was accounted for, so that's 3 physical resistance.

Also, with that crit, I think Tino should have been stuck to the ground and needed an action to free himself (unless you read that as only referring to a vertical object).


HP 111/128
AC 28 (31, plus physical resistance 5, when inspired)
Fort +19, Ref +20, Will +19 (+1 to all with inspire defense)
Hero points: 2
Spells: 1st [][][]; 2nd [][][]; 3rd [][][]; 4th [][][]; 5th [][][]; 6th [][]
Effects: inspired (defense)

"Ooh, they went right after the canine competitor," Chkirri calls out, "but doesn't look like they hurt him too badly. He's still on his feet and able to take care of himself and dish out a little more damage! I think they'll be lucky to get another blow like that in!"

His words again inspire his companions and he gestures and casts another spell, this time sending a chunk of rock hurtling toward Tino.

Free Action: Inspire heroics Performance to inspire heroics vs. DC 33 (very hard level 11): 1d20 + 24 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 24 + 2 = 46 Critical success!
Action 1: Inspire defense: +3 to defense instead of +1 from the heroics
Actions 2-3: Telekinetic projectile
TK projectile: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (14) + 20 = 34
6d6 + 5 ⇒ (6, 6, 6, 4, 3, 6) + 5 = 36

Sorry I did forget inspire defense. The spell level is 6th, though, so half of that would be resistance 3. So only 60 damage to Storm Adder and 17 damage to Chkirri. I think the arrow Crit has to rely on a vertical object, but if not, that’s 18 less damage to Storm Adder as Tino wouldn’t be able to attack. It’s a tutorial encounter for me, too!

CN male (he/him) suli gnoll oracle 18 HP 224/224 | AC 37 | F +27 R +24 W +30, Resolve | Perc +25 | 9: 3/3 8: 3/3 7: 3/3, 6: 3/3, 5: 3/3, 4: 3/3, 3: 3/3, 2: 3/3, 1: 3/3 Speed 30 ft | focus 3/3| Hero 2 | Curse Level: None| Active Conditions:

Storm Adder laughs with excitement at the combat. He channels some healing energy into himself, then runs the necromatic energy through his sword.

◆◆ heal (L4): 4d8 + 32 ⇒ (8, 1, 4, 7) + 32 = 52
◇Bespell Weapon

◆Strike vs. Tino
+2 Striking Conducting Wish Blade: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (6) + 21 = 27 for slashing: 2d10 + 4 ⇒ (6, 8) + 4 = 18 and negative: 1d6 ⇒ 4
Concealment (dc 5): 1d20 ⇒ 14

Will (Cloak of Colors: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (1) + 20 = 21 (Resolve)

If that was a hit, I'll use a Hero Point
Will (Cloak of Colors: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (18) + 20 = 38 (Resolve)

CG Human Second Chance Campion, Sorcerer 11 | HP 90/116| F +18, R +20, W +19 | Spd 30ft. | Perc +19 | Focus 3/3| AC 30 | Spells: 1st - 3/4, 2nd - 4/4, 3rd 4/4, 4th - 4/4, 5th 4/4, 6th 2/3| conditions: mage armour, sickened 1,

Matsu flinches as the melee begins.

silly girl!, she thinks to herself. They're on your side!

Impressive so far, she has to admit. She feels a sliver of hope come alive. But the others, before, they were capable too...

Human Swashbuckler 16 | HP 232/232 | AC 35 | F +25 R +30 W +25 | Perc +26 (+2 Initiative)| Speed 40 ft (65ft w/panache) | Hero Points 4 | Active Conditions: None

Xin eyes Maito with some concern, noting that she doesn't seem to be taking part in the fight. "Maito? Some spells wouldn't go amiss here." Four on four was great. Four on three less so.

Although to be fair it seems to be going well enough regardless. Hurling her starknife at Yabin this time, she catches it on the rebound and laughs. "Nice colors! Very flashy. Of course, at that close of a range, he didn't really need to see to hit him."

Not particularly wanting to be hit herself, she holds her starknife in a parrying position while she waits for her next opportunity.

+2 Starknife vs Yabin: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (11) + 22 = 33 S. Damage, Bleeding Finisher: 2d4 + 2 + 4d6 ⇒ (4, 2) + 2 + (6, 2, 6, 4) = 26 + Persistent Bleed: 4d6 ⇒ (5, 2, 1, 6) = 14
One For All, Storm Adder: 1d20 + 23 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 23 + 4 = 40
◆ Dueling Parry (+2 to AC)

Exemplary Finisher means Tino has a -2 penalty to attacks against Xin this round.

Storm Adder: Xin got a critical success with One For All, so you get +3 to your next attack roll.

Chkirri bonks Tino with a hurled projectile, then Storm Adder heals himself and strikes the monk with his bespelled blade! Tino grunts as he staggers back, falling to his knees and raising his hands in surrender.

Xin hurls her starknife at Yabin, hitting the nagaji and leaving a bleeding wound behind.

Takatorra slices at Storm Adder again with their fan blades, scoring three hits. Ji-yook continues to harry Chkirri with her darts, but the tengu avoids them all, bolstered by his own chant. Yabin uses his magic to try to confuse Xin, then casts another quick spell to raise a magical shield!

Blade Barrage, Strike: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (13) + 22 = 351d20 + 18 ⇒ (19) + 18 = 371d20 + 14 ⇒ (16) + 14 = 301d20 + 14 ⇒ (13) + 14 = 27
Damage: 2d6 + 10 ⇒ (2, 6) + 10 = 182d6 + 10 ⇒ (2, 1) + 10 = 132d6 + 10 ⇒ (1, 6) + 10 = 17
Darts: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (4) + 20 = 241d20 + 16 ⇒ (1) + 16 = 171d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28
Persistent Bleed: 1d20 ⇒ 14

45 damage to Storm Adder after resitance and 1d6 persistent bleed. Xin must attempt a DC 27 Will save against confusion. Everybody may act.

Human Swashbuckler 16 | HP 232/232 | AC 35 | F +25 R +30 W +25 | Perc +26 (+2 Initiative)| Speed 40 ft (65ft w/panache) | Hero Points 4 | Active Conditions: None

Will Save: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (9) + 18 = 27

"What the...ooh, those colors really are pretty..." Xin shakes her head for a second, then glares at Yabin. "Neat trick. Personally, my favorite trick is 'hit them 'til they surrender.'"

She hurls her starknife at Yabin again, then nimbly dodges through and behind Takatorra. "Hey Storm Adder, need a hand here? I've got two."

+2 Starknife vs Yabin: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (9) + 22 = 31 S. Damage, Bleeding Finisher: 2d4 + 2 + 4d6 ⇒ (2, 1) + 2 + (3, 3, 2, 5) = 18 + Persistent Bleed: 4d6 ⇒ (1, 1, 1, 4) = 7
Tumble Through: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (19) + 22 = 41

If an opponent in melee critically fails to Strike Xin:

Opportune Riposte (Reaction):
+2 Starknife, Melee: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (12) + 22 = 34 S. Damage: 2d4 + 6 ⇒ (4, 1) + 6 = 11

CG Human Second Chance Campion, Sorcerer 11 | HP 90/116| F +18, R +20, W +19 | Spd 30ft. | Perc +19 | Focus 3/3| AC 30 | Spells: 1st - 3/4, 2nd - 4/4, 3rd 4/4, 4th - 4/4, 5th 4/4, 6th 2/3| conditions: mage armour, sickened 1,

"The simplest spells first," says Matsu to the other casters, as she steps forward. "save one's resources for critical moments,"

Matsu takes a step and then casts telekinetic projectile at ji-yook

spell attack: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (17) + 20 = 37
damage: 6d6 ⇒ (4, 2, 6, 6, 6, 5) = 29

HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

Quick stats:

HP 111/128
AC 28 (29, plus physical resistance 5, when inspired)
Fort +19, Ref +20, Will +19 (+1 to all with inspire defense)
Hero points: 2
Focus Points: 2/3
Spells: 1st [][][]; 2nd [][][]; 3rd [][][]; 4th [][][]; 5th [][][]; 6th [][]
Effects: inspired (courage)

"Yes, that's it. And Matsu joins the fight! She was holding back, perhaps trying to assess her new companions, but sometimes the best defense is a good offense!"

He keeps up a steady stream of commentary, exhorting his companions on to greater heights, then again casts a quick spell to send a rock hurtling into Yabin's chest.

"Oh, that's gonna leave a mark!" he exults.

This time we're going to go with inspire courage, but with a dash of lingering composition mixed in.
Free action: lingering composition. Performance for lingering composition vs. DC 28 (standard level 11): 1d20 + 24 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 24 + 2 = 29 Success (barely)
Action 1: inspire courage (+1/+1); lasts three rounds
TK projectile: 1d20 + 20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 20 + 1 = 39
6d6 + 5 + 1 ⇒ (6, 4, 4, 5, 3, 3) + 5 + 1 = 31

Matsu batters Ji-yook with a hurled branch, then Xin lobs her starknife at Yabin again before nimbly tumbling over and past Takatorra. Chkirri cracks Yabin on the head with a large rock, leaving the nagaji dazed and bleeding. The sorcerer stumbles to his knees and raises his arms in surrender.

Ji-yook and Takatorra share a look, then the tengu nods. The kitsune scowls and raises her arms, while Takatorra kneels and puts their blades down. "It would seem the outcome of this battle has already been decided, and we'd be better served saving our energy towards clearing out our own home base," Takatorra says. "You've won. Well done. Care for some candy?" They reach into their pocket and hold forth several sweet treats for you to take.

Tino dusts himself off and bows to you. "It was an enjoyable bout. Thank you! It seems we've got more training to do before we next meet." He offers you a gift of thanks as well--a wand of death ward.

"Here, take these as well." The monk holds forth two ghost touch weapon runes. "I’ve heard this island is covered in undead. I’d hate for ghosts to get the better of you before we have a chance to fight again in the tournament." As promised, he also lays his hands on Storm Adder and Chkirri to bring both up to full health.

Due to the compressed timeline of the tournament, I'll allow you to immediately attach the runes to your weapons instead of taking the downtime it would usually require.

CN male (he/him) suli gnoll oracle 18 HP 224/224 | AC 37 | F +27 R +24 W +30, Resolve | Perc +25 | 9: 3/3 8: 3/3 7: 3/3, 6: 3/3, 5: 3/3, 4: 3/3, 3: 3/3, 2: 3/3, 1: 3/3 Speed 30 ft | focus 3/3| Hero 2 | Curse Level: None| Active Conditions:

Storm Adder rumbles, "Yes! An exhilarating fight. Thank you for offerings to spar with us."

"And thank you for the candy."

Definitely a ghost touch rune for Xin. Should Storm Adder take the other one? Chkirri, want to take that wand?

Human Swashbuckler 16 | HP 232/232 | AC 35 | F +25 R +30 W +25 | Perc +26 (+2 Initiative)| Speed 40 ft (65ft w/panache) | Hero Points 4 | Active Conditions: None

Xin also happily accepts the candy. "That was a good match. Thank you for suggesting it." She grins. "I think the real difference maker was that we got in the first blows. We might not be that lucky next time."

She raises her eyebrows in surprise at Tino's offerings. "A ghost touch rune? I didn't think to get one since pretty much all my opponents have been alive. If you're right about all the undead here, that could have been a fatal mistake. Thank you." She has no idea where he could have picked up enough extra equipment to just give it away, but they did say they were adventurers. Maybe they'd run through an old tomb that had fifty runes laying around.

She wants to reciprocate but doesn't have anything to offer, which makes things tricky. "The rules only say teams can't help each other during challenges. If you run into anything nasty while clearing out your area, swing by and I can give you a hand." She twirls her starknife. "All the more effectively with a ghost touch rune added on."

If there are going to be a lot of undead swapping the Fearsome Rune for a Ghost Touch makes sense. Are you waiving the crafting requirements as well as the time taken or do I need to roll?

HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

Sure, I can take the wand of death ward. And I think Storm Adder makes sense for the other rune.

Chkirri needs, beak dropping open in a tengu smile.

"That is certainly kind of you," he says with a smile. "It was a fun bout, and I think we learned more about how we need to work together too! I wish I had something to offer back as thanks, but as Xin says; if you need help, let us know!"

He glances at Matsu, concerned that she's been quiet for much of their time together. Perhaps he can draw her out.

"Have you ever fought undead before, Matsu?"

No roll is necessary, you can automatically apply it.

"Thank you, my friends. Until our next meeting!" Tino's Toughest smile and wave as they depart.


Without further ado, you make your way to the temple of Irori. The path to the temple begins at the bottom of a hill, several hundred feet from the door. Thin stone pillars carved with representations of the Master’s Rebus line the path on both sides. A small metal brazier rests atop each pillar. The braziers are currently unlit and empty.

A simple dirt path leads up to a large pair of wooden doors bearing numerous intricate carvings. Two statues, each of an androgynous human, stand to either side of the doors, though the southern statue has been knocked over and now lies in pieces in the grass. Large webs cover the temple door and the exterior walls to the northwest and southwest. Something massive writhes in the thick webs that cover the northwest wall.

A small footpath leads around the north side of the temple, where a smaller side door offers an alternate (web-free) means of ingress.

Map updated.

CG Human Second Chance Campion, Sorcerer 11 | HP 90/116| F +18, R +20, W +19 | Spd 30ft. | Perc +19 | Focus 3/3| AC 30 | Spells: 1st - 3/4, 2nd - 4/4, 3rd 4/4, 4th - 4/4, 5th 4/4, 6th 2/3| conditions: mage armour, sickened 1,

Matsu smiles the smallest smile at Chkirri's foray into small-talk.

"Once or twice," she answers. "The best spells for contending with evil come from the Divine tradition. If the unliving come for us our most valuable player will be the Storm Adder, I think,"

hen they reach the temple Matsu notes the webs. Filthy things. She never learned how to generate them through magic. Why anyone would want to was beyond her.

I know you're all an eager adventurous lot," she began. "But I would rather take the path not covered in sticky secretions,"

CN male (he/him) suli gnoll oracle 18 HP 224/224 | AC 37 | F +27 R +24 W +30, Resolve | Perc +25 | 9: 3/3 8: 3/3 7: 3/3, 6: 3/3, 5: 3/3, 4: 3/3, 3: 3/3, 2: 3/3, 1: 3/3 Speed 30 ft | focus 3/3| Hero 2 | Curse Level: None| Active Conditions:

"I can't imagine we are facing spectral spiders, but give me a moment to apply this run to my blade."

Storm Adder suits word to deed, and admires the newly augmented weapon.

"I agree with your plan of attack, Matsu. Avoid cutting our way through cobwebs unless we must."

HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

"Don't you see there's something in there?" Chkirri points out. "Do we just want to leave it in there to bother us when we're inside?"

CN male (he/him) suli gnoll oracle 18 HP 224/224 | AC 37 | F +27 R +24 W +30, Resolve | Perc +25 | 9: 3/3 8: 3/3 7: 3/3, 6: 3/3, 5: 3/3, 4: 3/3, 3: 3/3, 2: 3/3, 1: 3/3 Speed 30 ft | focus 3/3| Hero 2 | Curse Level: None| Active Conditions:

"You have sharp eyes! I had overlooked that. We should burn it out before we venture inside, so it can't sneak up on us."

Human Swashbuckler 16 | HP 232/232 | AC 35 | F +25 R +30 W +25 | Perc +26 (+2 Initiative)| Speed 40 ft (65ft w/panache) | Hero Points 4 | Active Conditions: None

Xin looks at the webbing with dismay, having a similar opinion to Matsu when it comes to sticky secretions. "I suppose it is a bad idea to leave something wriggling and potentially dangerous at our backs. We'll just have to do our best to keep the webbing out of our hair." She's very grateful to be human; she can't imagine how long it will take to clean that stuff out of Storm Adder's fur or Chkirri's feathers. Hair is going to be bad enough.

She joins Storm Adder in quickly affixing her new rune to her weapon, even if spiders are most likely going to be corporeal. "Now that I've got a ghost-busting weapon, I probably don't need my backup." Reaching into her bag, she pulls out a Horn of Blasting. "Chkirri, want to hang onto it? You could use it to amplify your voice when performing."

CG Human Second Chance Campion, Sorcerer 11 | HP 90/116| F +18, R +20, W +19 | Spd 30ft. | Perc +19 | Focus 3/3| AC 30 | Spells: 1st - 3/4, 2nd - 4/4, 3rd 4/4, 4th - 4/4, 5th 4/4, 6th 2/3| conditions: mage armour, sickened 1,

Matsu casts Mage armor granting a +1 item bonus to AC

HP 222, AC 38*, F27/R27/W28 Male tengu bard 18

"Oh, I have a trick for that already!" Chkirri says with a tengu grin as noted, I think you should hold on to it for now, but we can hand it over later if we think that works best. "If everyone's ready, maybe we can put it to use. Perhaps this spider doesn't want to fight ... though even I wouldn't bet on that!"

Once everyone's ready, he turns the ring on his finger a quarter turn, and when he next speaks, his voice comes from not far from the creature in the webs.

Once everyone's cast any buffs they might want, I'll use my ring to cast a 2nd-level ventriloquism spell. For myself, I'll cast fly, which lasts 5 minutes.

"Hello, oh webbed wonder! We've been told we're supposed to stay here, but aren't sure if you're up for sharing."

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