Fortitude (expert): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
AC 20 (22 with shield raised)
Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +8
Hero points: 2
Effects: 0, dying 1
Mithralline, victorious again, doesn't even notice the acid until it's too late. Then the blackness overwhelms her and she doesn't notice anything else.
Telvir sends Smoke to fetch Mithralline as the sprite falls. Caraid bolts up the stairs as the rest of the group makes it to them. The stairs have become a steep, slippery incline, making swallowing contractions that try to force you back down into the acidic basement. Meanwhile, on the cottage's main floor, massive teeth appear from the floor and ceiling! They gnash on Caraid before receding into the architecture. The exit door is a closed mouth, which will be difficult to escape from!
Acidic Assault: 2d8 + 4 ⇒ (5, 2) + 4 = 11
Gnashing Portal: 2d8 + 4 ⇒ (5, 4) + 4 = 13
Anybody touching the walls and floor of the basement (Smoke and Telvir) take 11 acid damage (DC 24 basic Fortitude).
Creatures on the cottage's main floor (Caraid) must attempt a DC 24 Reflex save against Gnashing Portal.
Success: The creature takes 6 bludgeoning damage and, if within 10 feet of an exit on the ground floor, can attempt to escape the cottage as the teeth retract by attempting a DC 24 Reflex save. On a success, the creature exits the cottage; on a critical failure, the creature falls prone.
Failure: The creature takes 13 bludgeoning damage and is knocked prone.
Critical Failure: The creature takes 26 bludgeoning damage, is knocked prone, and is stunned 1.
Creatures in the staircase (everybody else) must attempt a DC 24 Reflex save or be pushed 15 feet down the stairs (and across the basement floor with any excess forced movement if they’re pushed to the bottom of the stairs). Creatures who critically fail this Reflex save fall prone at the end of this forced movement.
In the throat: DC 23 Athletics (trained) to hold the throat open for one round, allowing all characters in the stairs to use a Reflex save result
one degree of success greater than their roll to avoid being pushed into the stomach, or DC 23 Nature or Survival as a 2-action activity to ease the throat’s contractions and provide the same effect for 1d4 rounds.
In the mouth: DC 22 Athletics to Force Open a window or a door and forcibly expel one creature that’s within 10 feet of an exit from the cottage, or DC 25 Athletics (expert) as a 2-action activity to jam furniture in place that prevents the teeth from gnashing for 1d4 rounds and allows anyone in the cottage to move from it during that time.
Athletics vs 23: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (12) + 12 = 24
Action 1) Hold 'open' the throat for others to go through | Actions 2+3 pending
"Stick together!" Ceceka barks the command at the others not out of leadership, but the knowledge that without healing from one of his companions, the house might very well claim his mortal coil.
reflex: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (1) + 12 = 13
use second hero point
reflex: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (9) + 12 = 21
The contracting walls nearly make the maid tumble back down the stairs into the walls of acid, but Ceceka's strength holds them steady just enough to get her through.
Mentally, she adds a line to her list of debts.
I think Telvir is on the stairs (took 2 move actions last turn) and Smoke is in the acid. I'll correct if I'm wrong.
Reflex: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Hero Point: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
Fortitude: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
Telvir runs up the stairs and commands Smoke to follow.
That's 2 more moves for both of us. Are we in the "mouth" now?
Reflex: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Caraid dodges back and worth, taking a mild beating but making it to the doorway. There he pauses for a moment and charges his hand with negative energy.
Diving through the mouth seems difficult, but he's fairly sure that if he shoves a hand full of magic that withers flesh and blood into it, the mouth will get out of the way!
Ceceka holds the walls of the staircase open long enough for everybody to make it to the main room of the cottage. The warrior follows behind them. Caraid channels negative energy into the gnashing mouth that the door has become. It roars and recoils, and while it is open, you all rush out into the safety of the courtyard!
The door roars at you one last time, and then the house transforms back into a perfectly normal cottage. If you go back in to investigate, though, you see that the stairs and the basement are gone, as is Iron Taviah's body.
Smirtlbin pops his head up from the grass nearby. “Well, I never!” The house spirit is a curious mixture of insulted, humiliated, and relieved. “A domovoi, kicked out of his own house! I’m not sure if I should keep this a secret or be glad to be separated from that cruel witch.” Tapping his chin, he decides, “Perhaps both. Both? Yes, both.”
The enraged warrior takes one step back towards the house and unleashes a firehose of expletives at the cursed residence. He almost jumps into the air when Smirtlbin pops up, the domovoi's sudden appearance forcing Ceceka to close his eyes and take a deep breath. "Your freedom from that place surely is a blessing. That house is no place for joy, for it only consumes it. You deserve better."
"The death of one's mistress is rarely so simple to be solved with a simple choice." the maid says as she attempts to make herself presentable. Acid, blood, and multiple tears in stockings and skirts make that fully possible, but she does what she can. Her dark eyes look to Ceceka, remembering. "Smirtlbin, we would welcome you in our manor, either as a guest until you decide or a permanent resident." her mistress is being held in the jaws of an animated dog and cannot disagree at the moment, and a debt must be acknowledged until it can be paid in full.
"I appreciate the offer, but I would prefer to find my own way for now," Smirtlbin says. "But you should track down the other members of Iron Taviah’s coven, lest their wicked poison plot bring sorrow and ruin to more homes and families. Sahni Bride-of-the-Sea dwells in Sallowshore, while Decrosia dwells in Pagked. I wish you luck and good fortune in your quest!"
Smirtlbin offers you six books that he grabbed on the way out of the cottage. Each details one of Taviah’s rituals: create undead (zombie), elemental sentinel, heartbond, inveigle, mystic carriage, and unseen custodian.
Everybody is now level 5! You can decide where to go next. Sallowshore is closer than Pagked, but the order of your investigations is up to you. If you take the time to learn the mystic carriage ritual, it will make your travel across Geb easier.
Oh boy, rituals! I'm very excited about those, haven't gotten to use them before.
"We best follow the housekeeper's advice. Iron Taviah is defeated, but we still don't know the motivation of her coven."
"Although Telvir and I will need some time to work on these." Caraid adds as he skims the books. "I think this one would be very useful." He holds a book out to Telvir, open to the mystic carriage ritual. "Let us find somewhere safe for a while so we can work on the magic and wait for that one to wake up."
He makes no effort to offer the vampire healing - she can wake up on her own!
Katria does eventually wake with the sunset, pleased that her minions have set up a camp and are getting things organized.
She stretches, trying to decide which community she will lead them too next. "How much treasure did we take from that hag? I wish to improve my armor and blade," she announces.
After spending a few days of downtime in Graydirge, you head north for about a hundred miles. The journey takes several days, but eventually you approach the town of Pagked.
A nest of towering brick smokestacks—most of which emit no smoke at all—rise from this rust-colored factory town. A slow-moving river winds its way through town, its water a rainbow of nauseating, unnatural hues. On one side of the river, several huge factory buildings still stand, weathered by time and age. Beyond them sprawls a cemetery, with its many gravestones standing over empty holes. Low, ramshackle homes crowd the other side of the river, connected to the factory side by three bridges, one of which has collapsed, and another that appears to be patched with iron girders and a lot of luck. Automatons lumber through the streets, pulling wagons and performing other manual labor.
The people of Pagked are all undead, largely human in their features but with a greenish tint to their skin. Without visible exception, everybody you see is the same kind of undead. You attract cold stares as you stroll through the town, and no one answers your questions. Finding Decrosia may not be so easy...
Pagked poses a unique challenge to the characters. Strangers, especially living strangers, are quick to attract attention, and no one intends to spill any information about Decrosia. The characters can’t just walk into town, ask questions, and find the hag they’re after. Instead, this chapter of “Graveclaw” is structured as an infiltration. It makes use of the Infiltration Rules.
You can pause on the outskirts of town and perform downtime activities to make your infiltration easier. The party can perform a maximum of three preparation activities and can attempt each activity once:
You plan to disguise all the characters as residents of Pagked. Attempt a Deception check. You gain a +1 circumstance bonus on this check for each other character who is trained or better in Deception who helps you (these circumstance bonuses are cumulative, up to +4).
You spend time watching Pagked from a safe and concealed distance. Attempt a Perception check.
WATCH THE ROADS
Looking for any traffic that might reveal useful information, you see a Carters Consortium wagon pulled by a large mechanical quadruped that resembles a gorilla. The wagon has a single driver: an undead man with greenish, sickly skin. You can let the wagon go on its way to not cause trouble for the Carters Consortium, or you can confront the driver, attempting a Deception, Diplomacy, or Intimidation check to question him.
... especially living strangers, are quick to attract attention." Heh.
Mithralline snarls at the impudent ghouls. She'd kill them for their insolence if they weren't already dead. She approaches the carter -- she's had little dealings with the consortium, so is not particularly concerned about it at the moment.
"Carter! I am interested in this town. Tell me what you know if it," she commands.
Intimidation (expert): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (15) + 12 = 27
The cart driver winces as Mithralline confronts him. "Of course, milady. I serve the Consortium's chief agent in town, who is known as the Shroud. I am carrying this load of alchemical supplies to the city of Yled. The Boss of Pagked is sending them to a woman there named Nathnelma. That is all that I know. May I be on my way?"
You gain 1 Edge Point.
Aily works on creating disguises for the group, making you up to appear as residents of Pagked. The disguises seem to be quite plausible.
Each character gains 1 Edge Point that can be used only to maintain a cover identity.
Telvir obesrves Pagked from a safe distance. He begins to recognize some of the town's inhabitants and schedules, which will help you in your infiltration.
You gain 1 Edge Point.
Once you are prepared, you head into the town and begin to seek out Decrosia's location.
Let me know how you wish to begin your investigation and I'll provide you with an appropriate obstacle to overcome to learn more.
Aily spends hours working on makeup and prosthetics for the group. Oddly the two she has the most trouble with are Mithrallinek and Caraid. Well in truth only one of those are odd. Her lady gets a massive rotting nose and sagging cheeks but still refuses to act in anyway other than haughty, and Caraid is a series of "Stop smiling" and "I do not believe your hand needs to be... there... for this procedure" she says with her own smile.
Once it is over the maid concentrates on her own disguise. No makeup, simple concentration, molding her face, altering her skin tone, inserting distress here and there.
"We should ask around for Decrosia. Discretely."
APPREHENSIVE TOWNSFOLK (OBSTACLE)
Infiltration Points 2 (group); Overcome DC 22 Deception, Diplomacy, Intimidation, or Society
The townsfolk recognize each other and don’t usually talk about Decrosia, so questions about the hag arouse suspicion. Soothing their concerns can produce information about “the Boss.”
deception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (10) + 14 = 24
Aily the Pagked villager grumbles coldly about newcomers to fit in with the general mood of the village.
Mithralline glares hag-ily at the villagers, making it clear she expects them to be as obedient to her as they are to their soon-to-be former Boss. "Yes, we don't have time, whippersnappers. We need to find Decrosia to speak with her as quickly as possible."
Intimidation (expert): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22 I do have Group Coercion if it matters.
The villagers grumble at Mithralline's aggressive approach. "You usually don't find the Boss. The Boss finds you. The rust hag rules the town with an iron fist. No pun intended. But you should know that, right?" They narrow their eyes suspiciously.
INTERROGATION GONE WRONG (OBSTACLE)
Infiltration Points 3 (group); Overcome DC 22 Deception, Diplomacy, or Intimidation
Questioning the people of Pagked not only doesn’t elicit any easy answers but can get you called out as intruders and raise suspicions across town. You must be careful in this questioning, both to overcome a townsperson’s reticence about talking to strangers and get them to stay quiet afterward.
"She knows she does, don't let her fool you none" the gross green Aily whispers with yellowed teeth, to the suspicious ones "Testing you she is, always testing, the horrid harpy" her milky eyes track the haggy Lady Cort.
deception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (6) + 14 = 20
use her edge for a reroll
deception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (12) + 14 = 26
Telvir observes these interactions, trying to pick up what he can about the town.
These checks would be pretty tough for me, so I'll leave them to Aily, Mithralline, and Caraid.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (15) + 13 = 28
Caraid is many things, and one of them is charming, even when disguised green. He listens to vast amounts of grumbling with sympathy and vaguely affirming comments until the villagers end up wandering away thinking about 'that nice chap'.
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Caught off-guard by the state of the town and its attitude towards the living, Ceceka makes it a habit to keep his mouth shut (a pre-acquired habit, really) and keep his head down. Still, Ceceka is a well-traveled man and he knows how to act and react when the locals start to bark and bite. "Sorry. Sometimes brains don't brain good."
Use 'Streetwise' to roll Society instead of Diplomacy to gather information. Since we're undercover and trying to gather info, I figured 'it might apply'. If you rule that doesn't work/apply here, ignore the roll.
Society vs DC 22: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
The undead villager narrows his eyes. "Hmph. Alright. Then you probably already know that Decrosia has been working at one of her factories for the past two months. Rumor is she's mass producing two specific alchemical ingredients, something called braingrit and tremor paste. You'll most likely find her over there."
As you head towards the factory, you see several patrols of clockwork soldiers armed with muskets. You'll need to watch their movements and mechanisms closely in order to get past them without drawing attention.
CLOCKWORK PATROL (OBSTACLE)
Infiltration Points 2 (group); Overcome DC 24 Crafting or DC 20 Stealth
stealth: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (18) + 13 = 31
Being unnoticed until needed is a key skill as a servant, and even more important to someone trying to get an obnoxious wee troll into a place of power. Meaning, Aily is pretty good at it. She is less good about leading the others stealthily without disparaging comments.
Following Aily's lead, you breeze past the patrols and draw near the factory in which Decrosia has ensconced herself. The factory is a hulking, rusted structure made primarily of metal and stone, with several small, thick windows high above the factory floor that are coated with grime. You are confident that the hag is inside. Now, the task before you is to infiltrate the factory and get to her without getting caught!
EXTERIOR GUARDS (OBSTACLE)
Infiltration Points 1 (individual); Overcome DC 24 Acrobatics, Athletics, or Deception, or DC 20 Society or Stealth
Clockwork riflers watch for trespassers at each corner of the enormous factory building. Anyone who can climb over or through the rusted machinery around the building, or who can blend in with occasional passersby, evades their notice.
Deception, Guidance: 1d20 + 13 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 13 + 1 = 24
Cariad takes a moment to cast a spell on himself, and then recasts it swiftly on each of his companions before shuffling off and joining a small group of zombies headed into the factory. He manages a reasonably convincing shuffle and passes the clockworks without drawing suspicion.
Telvir quickly analyzes the pattern of the workers' comings and goings and tries to slip in among them.
Society: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23
Athletics (expert): 1d20 + 14 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 14 + 1 = 17
Athletics (expert): 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 = 22
Athletics (expert): 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (15) + 14 = 29
Mithralline struggles at first to find hand and footholds -- clearly this was not built for someone her size -- but eventually makes it. I'm assuming that I can keep trying since I didn't crit fail. But obviously let me know if I'm mistaken. :D Should have just used athletic rush, not that it would have helped on that first roll.
stealth: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (13) + 13 = 26
Aily sees her lady climbing, or attempting to, and wonders once again while the gods gave wings to such a creature without granting the means to properly use them. Catching herself she realized she is lumping her mistress in with the rest of her race and promptly mentally apologizes to all sprites everywhere (save one).
Then she slips into the factory with a simple stroll from shadow to shadow.
Ha! I keep forgetting that in truth, but I did look it up before posting, but still let Aily comment on the wings, cause she hasn't been nearly as snarky as she needs to be lately :)
Mithralline's struggles on the gate start to attract attention from the clockwork guards, but she makes it over and quickly darts into the factory with the rest of you before they can investigate further.
Awareness Points: 2
MAZE OF MACHINERY (OBSTACLE)
Infiltration Points 1 (individual); Overcome DC 22 Acrobatics or Stealth, or DC 20 Athletics, Crafting, or Thievery
The factory is staffed by hard-working undead dwarves known as forge-spurned. Avoiding forge-spurned attention requires moving quickly across or above the factory floor, or engineering timely accidents to distract any observers.
Athletics vs 20: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (15) + 13 = 28
Not one to avoid physical challenges, Ceceka opts to traverse the athletic route forward. He keeps half an eye out on Mithralline, but he knows better than to offer her help outright.
thievery: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (9) + 13 = 22
While Aily does not truly understand the purpose of the machines, it is easy to figure out if you plug a hole bellow steam, sooner or later it might burst. Sooner by the look of the state of the thing.
This one's actually pretty easy for me. (I say, tempting dicebot...)
Athletics (expert): 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (2) + 14 = 16 Shouldn't have said anything...
Athletics (expert): 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 = 22
Mithralline is growing tired of all the skulking, but still manages to -- mostly -- avoid any attention.
Definitely more chancy for me.
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
SMOOTH THE PATH via stealth: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (20) + 13 = 33
After making a factory full of noise with shrieking tea kettle-like pipes, Aily doubles back to see Caraid about to get caught. Something skips in her near-dead heart, something that doesn't make any sense to her at all but forces hurry into her light steps.
Out of a shadow, two slim hands grab the insufferably handsome man, pulling him in the dark, just as two forge dwarf's lumber past. Lumbering along until just out of sight, but still too close for escape, they stop to grumble about something inane.
Pressed together in the dark, trapped into the enemy moves, with a pretty elf whose chest is hammering against his, her bright red eyes and soft lips a breath away... well we all can imagine that the oracle of life found something to occupy them both in those frozen minutes of time.
While Aily helps Caraid across the factory floor, Mithralline and Telvir struggle a bit to make it through the maze of machinery unnoticed.
Awareness Points: 5
FACTORY MUSCLE (COMPLICATION)
You are all almost through when a pair of forge-spurned workers corner you in an isolated area of the factory. "You aren't supposed to be here," one of them intones, gripping her spiked chain. It begins to glow red-hot in her hands.
"Supervisor Haka will be pleased that we've dealt with trespassers!" the second one says with a grin on his bearded face.
Caraid: 1d20 + 10 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 10 + 1 = 20
Ceceka: 1d20 + 10 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 10 + 1 = 27
Mithralline: 1d20 + 8 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 8 + 1 = 21
Telvir: 1d20 + 9 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 9 + 1 = 13
Enemies: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
Ceceka may act first!
Ceceka has reached the boiling point and explodes when the two undead goons try to apprehend the group. He strikes at the two workers before he's even aware of the fact he's attacking them. Anger has taken over.
Action 1) Rage | Actions 2+3) Strike on one & Brutish Shove the other to trigger Sweep
8 temporary HP / - 1 AC / +2 damage
Strike 1: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (2) + 16 = 18
Damage: 2d8 + 6 ⇒ (5, 5) + 6 = 16
Brutish Shove 2: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22
Damage: 2d8 + 6 ⇒ (5, 8) + 6 = 19
If Brutish Shove hits, the target is moved back 5ft - Ceceka won't follow, opting to use his reach weapon to possibly trigger some AoOs
Ceceka misses with his first swing, but manages to shove one of the forge-spurned away with his second hit. The undead dwarf snarls and steps back up to the fighter, then exhales a cloud of stinging soot, ash, and glowing embers!
The other forge-spurned moves through the cloud to flank Ceceka, scoring a critical hit!
Soul Chain: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (17) + 15 = 321d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19
Damage: 2d8 + 5 ⇒ (6, 7) + 5 = 181d6 ⇒ 1
36 slashing and 2 fire damage to Ceceka.
Forge Breath (divine, evocation, fire) The forge-spurned breathes a cloud of stinging soot, ash, and glowing embers. This affects or a 20-foot burst centered on the forge-spurned and persists for 1d4 rounds. Each creature that moves into or starts their turn in the area takes 6d6 fire damage, with a DC 21 basic Reflex save. A creature who fails its save is also blinded for 1 minute. Creatures within the cloud are concealed, though not from the forge-spurned.
Caraid sighs softly and plunges into the cloud to try and fix Ceceka up. Thankfully the cloud gives him the cover he needs to do something illegal but highly effective.
Ref: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 126d6 ⇒ (6, 2, 2, 2, 5, 6) = 23
Heal: 2d8 + 16 ⇒ (8, 7) + 16 = 31
reflex: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (1) + 13 = 14
While she would love to sit back and wait for the cloud to dissipate, she knows they cannot let them get away. The maid plunges in, but the cloud takes her eyesight instantly.
damage: 6d6 ⇒ (4, 4, 1, 1, 1, 4) = 15 I assume doubled
hidden: 1d20 ⇒ 7
Aily is so blind she can't find her target to hit.
Reflex vs 21: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
Fire dmg: 6d6 ⇒ (1, 6, 5, 4, 6, 6) = 28
66 damage minus 8 temp minus 31 from Caraid's heal = 57/84 hp
Blinded by rage and fire, Ceceka unleashes a storm of violence on his foe - and his immediate surrounding. The warrior's uncontrolled motions throw the fauchard's deadly blade to and fro.
Flat check 1 vs 11: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Flat check 2 vs 11: 1d20 ⇒ 19
Exacting Strike: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30
Damage: 2d8 + 6 ⇒ (2, 2) + 6 = 10
Deadly dmg If crit: 1d8 ⇒ 8
Flat check 3 vs 11: 1d20 ⇒ 9
Telvir shields his eyes from the embers and whirls sword-hard thoughts through the squares where the enemies were standing.
Reflex: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Reflex (Smoke): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
Fire: 6d6 ⇒ (5, 2, 4, 6, 4, 3) = 24
Amp Telekinetic Rend: DC 21 basic Fort. Stunned 1 on crit fail.
slashing: 2d6 ⇒ (6, 1) = 7 and bludgeoning: 2d6 ⇒ (3, 4) = 7
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AC 20 (22 with shield raised)
Fort +11, Ref +9, Will +10
Hero points: 1
Focus Points: 1/1
Effects: Blinded 1 minute
Mithralline snarls, dashing into the cloud -- only to be blinded and nearly burned to death. She immediately dashes back out, skin peeling and unable to see.
Reflex (trained): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13 pretty much have to Hero Point that
Reflex (trained): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14 Yup, that seems about right
6d6 ⇒ (6, 6, 6, 5, 6, 5) = 34 Are you F!ING kidding me?!