GM Tyranius (PF2) Gatewalkers

Game Master Tyranius

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The sun has just risen above the treeline as a small group of travelers make their way towards the city of Lepidstadt. The city was nestled at the edge of a dense forest, and the travelers can see the tall spires of the city's buildings rising up above the trees in the distance.

As you walk, the air grows thick with the smell of woodsmoke and the sound of birds singing in the forest. The ground beneath your feet was soft and spongy, covered in a thick layer of moss and fallen leaves.

As you drew closer to the city, the travelers can see the walls of Lepidstadt looming ahead of them. The walls are made of a dark, rough-hewn stone, and they were patrolled by guards armed with swords and crossbows.

The small caravan makes its way to the main gate, where you are met by a stern-looking guard. "Halt! Who goes there?" the guard barks.

"We are travelers, seeking refuge within your city," the leader of the group replies as he looks back at several blank-eyed stares and a few confused looks. "More Gatewalkers."

The guard looked you over for a moment, then nods. "Very well. Enter, and be welcome in Lepidstadt."

The group passes through the gates and into the city, the tall buildings towering above them as you make your way towards the center of the city. People were bustling all around them, going about their daily business, and you can't help but feel a sense of excitement and unease as you set foot in this new and mysterious place. Rumors have been circulating about strange occurrences happening in and around Lepidstadt.


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LG (he/him) Amurrun (Shemtej) Champion (paladin) 5 | HP 68(+10)/68 | AC <22> 22 (24) | Sh 4(6) hp 20 | F +11 R +11 W +11 | Perc +9 (darkvision) | Stealth +13 | 25 ft (40 ft) | Hero 1/3 | focus 2/2 | ◆ | ◇ | ↺ | Active Conditions: catfall, land on your feet, aura of courage, (wild shape, scent)

The catfolk warrior needed no assistance appearing exotic or mysterious. Firstly, he was a catfolk. That should have been enough to make him seem strange to the people of Avistan. His dark mane sometimes smoldered and glowed like the fading embers of a fire and released small tendrils of smoke. His cloak and tunic were woven with bold green and brown patterns, his javelins and sword were a foreign make.

The wooden mask that he wore at all times--a different one each day in some inscrutable pattern--added to that aura of mystery. He carried four of them with him, each of them carved and painted to resemble a different great cat: lion, leopard, tiger, and cheetah. However, after traveling alongside him on the way to Lepidstadt, it became clear that the masks were not an affectation but served a purpose in his foreign religion, which you gather has something to so with the sun, the moon, and spirits.

"Onye Dinta finds these lands colder than the lands of Onye Dinta's birth. More like the high places in the Terwa Uplands," he comments to the guard, who almost certainly does not care. He scratches at the back of his neck, briefly revealing the brand under his mane. You have seen it plenty of times during the journey, and it is the same shape as the other Gatewalkers in the caravan.

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Male Tiefling Investigator - HP 58 AC 22/ 23 with Buckler

Never been to the Terwa Uplands. These lands are also colder than where I had been the past couple years. But I'm betting a cake from Savory Sundries that Terwa is not anywhere near Cheliax.
He points a waggling finger at Onye, and with a sly smile continues.
I've done some hefty traveling with a circus around the Inner Sea and I haven't been able to peg one scrap of locations you've mentioned. All I have set in stone is that you are from lands I've never visited. You are a puzzle Onye. A cool puzzle to figure out.
He drops his waggling finger back to his well dressed side. The horns on his head are ornamented today with ringed jewelry, the kind that would normally wrap around a woman's upper bicep. Under his eyes are three dotted accents. His hair looks messy-sheik. Like it's messy on purpose. A look Nicholo has found attracts the women. For women love the bad guy, the rebel, the misfit, the one who will break their heart. All of which fit Nicholo's outward persona to a T.

picture of Nicky


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NG Human Thaumaturge 4 | HP 48/48| AC 21 | F: +9, R: +11, W: +7| Perc: +8| | Speed 25ft | Active conditions: None

Odioki tries to keep his reactions to himself as he passes through the gates of Lepidstadt. The dark eyed Erutaki man isn't quiet or shy, but he doesn't want anyone to mistake his unworldliness for stupidity. His unfashionable clothes, and thick accent are bad enough.

He's read about cities. He's seen drawings and heard the tales. He knows they're full of buildings and towers all crammed together. Everyone living on top of everyone else, like sea parrots nesting in the rocky cliffs. He's been to Ul-Angorn, not that anyone here would call that town a city, and he'd never seen so many huts and sheds. These cities in the south, though, they were something else.

When the caravan passes a tavern, Odioki is relieved, he was hoping for a place to rest and get a drink. When they pass a second, even larger tavern, he is even more relieved. A bookstore, a curio shop, he doesn't know where to go first. Then they pass a bakery, and he's beyond hungry. He's only heard about bakeries in fairytales, but of course Lepidsadt would have one, with a pink awning and cakes in the window. And then a second one across the street? What kind of place needed two bakeries across from each other? How does that work? Were they friends? And then a third tavern?!

Overwhelmed, Odioki turns his attention from the street to his hands. He rubs together the coins from Lung Wa his late grandfather gave him, and the sensation calms his nerves. He isn't sure about all this Gatewalker business. He isn't sure it's possible to understand what happened. But he is curious. He knows about magic. Know it's unreliable and unpredictable at best. Why should the gates be any different? But, if it wasn’t the spirit of his dead twin, Tonaro, who called him into the gate that fateful night, then who or what was it?


LG (he/him) Amurrun (Shemtej) Champion (paladin) 5 | HP 68(+10)/68 | AC <22> 22 (24) | Sh 4(6) hp 20 | F +11 R +11 W +11 | Perc +9 (darkvision) | Stealth +13 | 25 ft (40 ft) | Hero 1/3 | focus 2/2 | ◆ | ◇ | ↺ | Active Conditions: catfall, land on your feet, aura of courage, (wild shape, scent)

"Yes. The Terwa Uplands are far from Cheliax though much closer than the place where Onye Dinta was born. Onye Dinta has prowled far and wide across Garund," he answers the tiefling. "But Onye Dinta is no puzzle. The great puzzle is this new tribe of gatewalkers. How? Why? Very mysterious."


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Male Elf 5 | Perc +13 (E; Low-Light) | Speed: 35' | HP: 51 | AC: 21 (23) | Fort: +10 Ref: +12 Will: +13 (Resist Fire 2, Cold 2, elec 5, +1 circ vs Fire; +1 circ. emotion & S-> CS) | Spellbook | Exploration: Search | Status: | Hero Points: 1

Ezgara sways on his mule as they approach the gate. "A way in," he hisses, "…but is there a way out?" His sweaty hands pluck each other in some kind of nervous tic. When the guard halts the caravan the elf almost falls out of his saddle. He whispers to himself — an inner monologue just loud enough for most everyone to hear: "Rude greeting of city guests. Tyrannical. Subservient gestures very important to petty despots. Scrape. Fawn. Bow head. Submissive as a dog." He pushes his black cowl back, revealing a misshapen skull, filthy grey hair shoved over the bald spot atop his head, and pale blind right eye. His brows twitch and he grimaces at the guard, showing a row of perfectly white teeth. "Yes, so happy to be welcome. I am a gatewalker. That's all. One who knows the future. We'll see who's mewling soon enough, guard. Yes. None can outwit Ezgara!" He chuckles to himself as the mule trots past the bemused guard.

By now, most of you are used to Ezgara's constant monologue; hundreds of years alone in the cold mountains with no one but himself for company seems to have eroded the barriers between inner monologue and outer speech.

______

Ezgara listens to the conversation, sitting crosslegged on his mule. "Unforeseen gathering. Tribe?" He moves his eye once again over his traveling companions. "Our chances are slim. Likely, most will die."

"Onye Dinta's mind may be broken. Illeism, symptom of disintegrating sanity. Few experience the aiudara unscathed. So tragic. The Erutaki owes me a bottle of sour wine. Pledged for snowshoes in trade. Said he'd come back in Spring and never did. Lost in the trackless snow? Or perhaps deceit hangs heavy upon his shirt. See him rubbing his coins. How many hours must Nicholo devote to vanity? Every morning his hair, I've counted —

The mule suddenly brays and rears up; Ezgara squeals and thumps to the ground. He writhes there in the mud like an upended beetle and flings a handful of muck at the mule, agitating it further. "Oaf! He looked looks up at you. Help me!"


NG Human Thaumaturge 4 | HP 48/48| AC 21 | F: +9, R: +11, W: +7| Perc: +8| | Speed 25ft | Active conditions: None

Any fantasy Odioki had that the other Gatewalkers would be interesting or heroic was quickly dashed when he learned the old elf was one of them.

How had that happened? Had they walked through the same gate? Had Ezgara followed him for some reason?

”I’ll give you a snowshoe on the behind if you don’t get out of that mud.”

Odioki jumps from the wagon and gives the mangy elf a hand up.

Still, it was nice to have someone from home along, someone else who understood life at the top of the world. Even if it was Ezgara…


HP 61 | AC 23 (+1 vs. traps) | F: +9, R: +13, W: +10 (+1 vs. traps) | Perc: +10 | Speed 30 ft. Elf rogue 5

Daehalya smiles at Onye's comments.

"Cold? Compared with the Crown of the World, these lands are as warm as the Hells themself, I'd guess," she says. "But this is where the Guiding Hand has led us, so we'll endure."

The furs she wears gives clear evidence of her origins to the north, as she walks along, using a quarterstaff as a walking stick.

Her purple eyes -- like the arctic twilight -- cloud a little as she sees Ezgara fall, concerned that the poor older elf may not be well. She smiles as Odioko picks him up from the dirt.

"It is good to see the kindness of the frozen north has spread this far south," she says in Erutaki.

Dark Archive

Male Tiefling Investigator - HP 58 AC 22/ 23 with Buckler
Ezgara wrote:
"Rude greeting of city guests. Tyrannical. Subservient gestures very important to petty despots. Scrape. Fawn. Bow head. Submissive as a dog."

As they walk through the gates, Nicholo smiles upon hearing the words from Ezgara. He replies back in a sing-song voice. I spy with my little eye someone who has been to Cheliax!

Maybe the elf hasn't been there, as three of his traveling companions appear to be from much farther north, but Nicky just can't help but smile as Ezgara nailed the description of 9 out of 10 cities in the mighty nation of Cheliax. He thinks about Cheliax, says it's name and spits on the ground to accentuate his hate for the nation.

When Onye talks about not being a puzzle, Nicky replies, Oh, don't sell yourself short there. You are a mighty fine puzzle. If we go anywhere and they are choosing teams of Gatewalkers, any strategist with a discerning eye would select you with the number one pick for sure. *For Sure*.
Nicky lays it on a little thick, but he's building the groundwork for getting some grace from Onye when he plays a prank on him later. Nicky's thought process:
Make 'em like you, then have a little fun. Do a little ribbing. Be smart enough to not have the Catfolk maul you to death.
So, I've got three of you pegged for the upper, upper North. Did someone say Crown of the World? Dang. And Garund? Where is Garund?
Have any of you heard of the Circus of Wayward Wonders? I was a part of that.

When Ezgara falls in the mud, and asks for some help. He verbally offers to give Ezgara a hand. Then proceeds to clap his hands together in an ovation.
Just kidding, let's get you up and back on this unruly mule.
Nicky moves to assist the elf up, Odioki grabbing one of his hands, and Nicky grabbing the other.


LG (he/him) Amurrun (Shemtej) Champion (paladin) 5 | HP 68(+10)/68 | AC <22> 22 (24) | Sh 4(6) hp 20 | F +11 R +11 W +11 | Perc +9 (darkvision) | Stealth +13 | 25 ft (40 ft) | Hero 1/3 | focus 2/2 | ◆ | ◇ | ↺ | Active Conditions: catfall, land on your feet, aura of courage, (wild shape, scent)

"Onye Dinta's sanity is solid. Onye Dinta is reasonably confident," the amurrun replies just before the disfigured elf is bucked into the mud. Once the others move to help Ezgara, he turns to answer Nicholo's question. "Creation is much wider than Avistan. Garund is the land south of Avistan and is made of many tribes. Onye Dinta has not heard of your circus, though. Much still there is to see."


HP 61 | AC 23 (+1 vs. traps) | F: +9, R: +13, W: +10 (+1 vs. traps) | Perc: +10 | Speed 30 ft. Elf rogue 5

"No, I haven't heard of your circus. I've seen many wonders, some of them indeed wayward, but that's one hopefully I will find someday," Daehalya responds. "Why did you leave your circus for the gate?"


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Male Elf 5 | Perc +13 (E; Low-Light) | Speed: 35' | HP: 51 | AC: 21 (23) | Fort: +10 Ref: +12 Will: +13 (Resist Fire 2, Cold 2, elec 5, +1 circ vs Fire; +1 circ. emotion & S-> CS) | Spellbook | Exploration: Search | Status: | Hero Points: 1
Odioki wrote:

”I’ll give you a snowshoe on the behind if you don’t get out of that mud.”

Odioki jumps from the wagon and gives the mangy elf a hand up.

Ezgara gurgles in fearful anticipation as he's threatened with a snowshoe. His face twists with a host of emotions — fear, hatred, cunning, gratitude… false gratitude — as he's finally assisted. He hisses. "Mock an Ilverani druid, does he? Thinks he has Ezgara bested has he? Does the Erutaki even own a snowshoe? None is needed here in Ustalav. Why would he carry one?"

Nicholo Reiland wrote:
As they walk through the gates, Nicholo smiles upon hearing the words from Ezgara. He replies back in a sing-song voice. I spy with my little eye someone who has been to Cheliax!

"Outwitting petty bullies since Haliad I. None can discern my genius. Longevity bestows cunning."

Daehalya Shadowsun wrote:
"It is good to see the kindness of the frozen north has spread this far south," she says in Erutaki.

He croons in Erutaki: "The mountains are brutal, but I don't freeze. Ezgara is kind, oh yes, to those he likes. He shares his wisdom. He knows the secrets of snow. Hehehe."

Onye Dinta wrote:
"Onye Dinta's sanity is solid. Onye Dinta is reasonably confident,"

"Over-confident bluster is the banner of ignorance. Reasonable confidence is the path to wisdom. Perhaps this Onye is no circus clown. I am none either."

The mule brays as the old elf surmounts it again. He sits cross-legged, tottering as he listens to the conversation.


LG (he/him) Amurrun (Shemtej) Champion (paladin) 5 | HP 68(+10)/68 | AC <22> 22 (24) | Sh 4(6) hp 20 | F +11 R +11 W +11 | Perc +9 (darkvision) | Stealth +13 | 25 ft (40 ft) | Hero 1/3 | focus 2/2 | ◆ | ◇ | ↺ | Active Conditions: catfall, land on your feet, aura of courage, (wild shape, scent)

The amurrun's tail flicks sharply under his cloak and then resumes its idle swaying.

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Tyrant's Grasp | | Age of Ashes | | Dead Suns | | ◆ | ◆◆ | ◆◆◆ | ◇ ◈ | ↺ | ★

As you exit the caravan you are met by a stern looking man that you recognize as Dr. Etward Ritalson, your employer and the founder of
the paranormalist investigation group to which you belong, the Doctor’s Illuminated Consortium of Epopts. His deep purple eyes and strange purplish veins bore into you as he looks you over.

The months since the night of the Missing Moment haven’t been quiet. In the wake of their strange experience, gatewalkers the world over have manifested unexplainable supernatural powers such as telekinesis, levitation, and regeneration. In the Ustalavic town of Lepidstadt, a consortium of gatewalkers has gathered under the leadership of the venerable scientist and fellow gatewalker Etward Ritalson. Dr. Ritalson hopes to orchestrate his cadre of fellow paranormalists to solve the mystery of what happened on that fated summer night.

He opens Onye's mouth, giving a thorough examination while moving down each of you down the line. "Still don't remember much?" He frowns as he is met with blank stares. "Me, either but keep your packs on, I would like you to join me on a trip to Sevenarches. I think we have a lead into this missing moment and I'd like for you to investigate the area."

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Male Tiefling Investigator - HP 58 AC 22/ 23 with Buckler
Daehayla wrote:
"Why did you leave your circus for the gate?"

Nicky smiles as he *loves* reading people's reactions, and so he takes a moment to gage each person's take to his honest answer.

My leaving the circus was a year before The Gate. And not voluntary. See, I was arrested in Cheliax. By the Durotas.
Nicky takes a moment to spit on the ground again.
But, The circus probably doesn't exist anymore - the Ringmaster was terrible at business. The thing was going under. Poor management, but a great place to work and live.

************
As Ezgara rolls out his different diatribes to each person, Nicholo takes special notice. His mind is always working to figure things out, so references to stuff he doesn't know bugs him. So, he asks questions.
Nice reference to Haliad I. You know your history. I caught that. But let me go back a few minutes to your reference to being an Ilverani druid. Aren't all Druids alike? How is an Ilverani any different? Plus, your talk of mountains, and freezing, and snowshoes reminds me of a bard bit the Fortune Crone would say...

Song of the Ice Reaver:
Snow upon snow cancels the signals of ice. Over the snow, the sun bleeds whiteness.
In cold light forever unbearable.
The snow descends on the deeds of heroes
And their strength in my singing
Lies down in a core of frost rising no more.
No more as the lost breath crumbles
Seven they were from he hot lands
Riding three blades, they came to the tunnel
To the throat of the only castle
Down among the old guardians
Where their swordsmen carved hot air
Finding tendon, finding bone.
As the tunnels melted red.
Down upon minotaur, upon ice bear.
And the swords whistles again.
Bright on the corner of madness.


source/credit:
From Dragons of Winter Night by. Weiss and Hickman- Dragonlance

You three from a place like that? The tale goes on another three stanzas, but I think I spooked the mule by mentioning the word.. m-i-n-o-t-a-u-r.

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Male Tiefling Investigator - HP 58 AC 22/ 23 with Buckler

Dag nabit, ninja'd by the GM!


LG (he/him) Amurrun (Shemtej) Champion (paladin) 5 | HP 68(+10)/68 | AC <22> 22 (24) | Sh 4(6) hp 20 | F +11 R +11 W +11 | Perc +9 (darkvision) | Stealth +13 | 25 ft (40 ft) | Hero 1/3 | focus 2/2 | ◆ | ◇ | ↺ | Active Conditions: catfall, land on your feet, aura of courage, (wild shape, scent)

The catfolk runs his tongue along his teeth after the paranormalist's impromptu dental examination. Outwardly unbothered by the intimate greeting, he asks, "Where is Sevenarches? Is there time to resupply or is the intent to hunt along the way?"


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Male Elf 5 | Perc +13 (E; Low-Light) | Speed: 35' | HP: 51 | AC: 21 (23) | Fort: +10 Ref: +12 Will: +13 (Resist Fire 2, Cold 2, elec 5, +1 circ vs Fire; +1 circ. emotion & S-> CS) | Spellbook | Exploration: Search | Status: | Hero Points: 1

Then

The druid makes a warding gesture at Nicholo. "Halaid I!? Collapse of etiquette. The beringed tiefling has been eavesdropping on my thoughts!" Ezgara doesn't seem to realize he's been talking aloud… once again. "He'll see what a Storm druid can do, soon enough. Oh yes. Deadly cantrips! Fire, Lightning… Burn the enemies to a crisp! Hehehe."

He turns a grimace upon the tiefling; maybe it's supposed to be a smile. As he tries to answer the question his dead eye stares off at a bizarre angle. "A place like that? Yes. My beautiful hovel. My frozen rivers. Dark pines. The trees don't scream there. And I crawled off the Crown of the World. Left it behind. I saw home in the gate, and now I'm here. "Home" was no one there. No idiots yammering. Quiet at last. Alone."

______
Now

GM Tyranius wrote:

He opens Onye's mouth, giving a thorough examination while moving down each of you down the line.

"…but keep your packs on, I would like you to join me on a trip to Sevenarches. I think we have a lead into this missing moment and I'd like for you to investigate the area."

The druid inspects the doctor in kind, smelling his breath and prodding him with a crooked stick.

Medicine (T): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19

"Lucid? Is the doctor well?" he stares at the tip of the stick with his good eye before licking it. "I detect no abnormality, but I remain suspicious."

He asks a question relevant to himself and his fellow ice elf. "No unwelcome visitors permitted. Elves banished. No Ezgara, no Daehalya in Sevenarches. Can the devious doctor trick stalwart Oakstewards?"

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Onye wrote:
"Where is Sevenarches? Is there time to resupply or is the intent to hunt along the way?"

"Sevenarches is in the River Kingdoms roughly 600 miles away from here. It will take us a little over two weeks to reach where we are going. So take a little bit of time to gather what you need." The Doctor motions to a full wagon behind him. "I have food, water, and sleeping packs all set to last the trip, though we can do some light hunting on the way."

Ezgara wrote:
He asks a question relevant to himself and his fellow ice elf. "No unwelcome visitors permitted. Elves banished. No Ezgara, no Daehalya in Sevenarches. Can the devious doctor trick stalwart Oakstewards?"

Doctor Etward Ritalson smiles at Ezgara. "That is the wonderful part. Word is the a miracle happened around the same time as this missing moment. Rumor is the obnubilate curse has been lifted and we mean to go find out! This can't be purely coincidence."

GM Screen:

Odioki's Society (T): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Daehalya Shadowsun's Society (T): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23

Daehalya can confirm that she has heard similar rumors. Long ago, elves dwelled in the verdant forests of Sevenarches, and it’s believed they built the stone arches that give the region and its eponymous capital city their name. Now, Sevenarches is overseen by the Oakstewards—enigmatic druids who prohibit elves from even entering the kingdom’s borders. This ostensibly has to do with the obnubilate curse, a mysterious affliction that kills any elf who dares go near one of the Seven Arches. In the wake of the Missing Moment, however, rumor has it that the curse has been lifted.


LG (he/him) Amurrun (Shemtej) Champion (paladin) 5 | HP 68(+10)/68 | AC <22> 22 (24) | Sh 4(6) hp 20 | F +11 R +11 W +11 | Perc +9 (darkvision) | Stealth +13 | 25 ft (40 ft) | Hero 1/3 | focus 2/2 | ◆ | ◇ | ↺ | Active Conditions: catfall, land on your feet, aura of courage, (wild shape, scent)

"Onye Dinta hopes that the word and rumor are truth for the sake of others," the catfolk says as an apparently wayward zephyr ruffles his cloak and mane alone. "Onye Dinta will prepare for many eventualities. Where are honest merchants?"

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"You should be able to find the merchants you need around the outskirts of the University." The Doc explains giving you ample time to gather what you need.


NG Human Thaumaturge 4 | HP 48/48| AC 21 | F: +9, R: +11, W: +7| Perc: +8| | Speed 25ft | Active conditions: None

"Perhaps I'm slow, but are you saying these elves in Sevenarches know what happened to us?"

Odioki asks if anyone else wants to stop at a bakery on the way out of town.

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Male Tiefling Investigator - HP 58 AC 22/ 23 with Buckler
Odioki wrote:
Odioki asks if anyone else wants to stop at a bakery on the way out of town.

You know I am in. I bet I mentioned Sandpoint Savories (Sundries) earlier. Since then, I've had the munchies for a 'lil cake or a couple lemon tarts.

What kind of man are you Odioki? Cake man? Pie Man? Croissants? Our just straight up Sourdoughs?
Actually, now that I'm looking at you. I'm thinking you are a Ginger Bread man.
While Ezgara is all about the broken salty crackers.

With that last part, he gives a sarcastic smile.

Hey Professor. Like How many of us GateWalkers are in the fraternity anyway? Rough number? You look like you've spent way too many sleepless nights on the subject.


NG Human Thaumaturge 4 | HP 48/48| AC 21 | F: +9, R: +11, W: +7| Perc: +8| | Speed 25ft | Active conditions: None

"I'm a man who doesn't like to choose. Why not try them all?"

Odioki can't help wondering if his wallet will survive.


HP 61 | AC 23 (+1 vs. traps) | F: +9, R: +13, W: +10 (+1 vs. traps) | Perc: +10 | Speed 30 ft. Elf rogue 5

Earlier
Daehalya gives a small smile to Nicky.

"The Crown of the World is a place harsh enough to freeze our blood and kill the unwary, but safe enough to protect us when things were worse on Golarion. We were led there by our goddess, and still shelter there under her guiding hand. It is a land that is not at all welcoming to those who aren't familiar with it, but we welcome those who cross its threshold. "

Later
Daehalya is a bit concerned about the prospect of going to Sevenarches -- she doesn't care to die just yet -- but she has heard the rumors. Perhaps it is a safe place now. She needs to put her faith Findeladlara to not guide her to a place where certain death is sure to follow.

As the others scatter, she looks for a place to meditate and collect herself briefly.

"Will you join me, Ezgara?"


Male Elf 5 | Perc +13 (E; Low-Light) | Speed: 35' | HP: 51 | AC: 21 (23) | Fort: +10 Ref: +12 Will: +13 (Resist Fire 2, Cold 2, elec 5, +1 circ vs Fire; +1 circ. emotion & S-> CS) | Spellbook | Exploration: Search | Status: | Hero Points: 1

What value is meditation? I must think. Yes… at ease. Easygoing. Unmindful. Relaxed. Careless, even. A propitious picture for new friends. Such a nice old elf."

"…of course! Excellent idea, Daehalya.”

He sits down in the mud and hunches over like a haggard old buzzard, squirming now and then, eyebrows beetling about, peeking out from under his one good eye.

Dark Archive

Male Tiefling Investigator - HP 58 AC 22/ 23 with Buckler

Nicky chats casually with those he went shopping with- Odioki and Onye. Trading stories of a mundane nature. Getting to know them, at least a little.
As they walk back from the markets with their backpacks full of recently purchased supplies, Nicholo points out things that he observes.
See that shop? The proprietor is almost certainly a Gnome. You can tell by the window design and the valance they used on both the windows. Gnomes, only gnomes.
He states with confidence that his observation is spot on and accurate.

A few blocks later, Ah, this one is far more subtle. Let's stay away from this housing area. See the chimney stack atop the roof? The ash marks in a peculiar pattern? I don't have much knowledge about Ustalav, but I'd heard it's an intentional sign marking territory or something to do with vampires or the mystic. We do NOT want to be walking in this block of the city. Let's backtrack and make a right.
Even though it was daytime, Nicky does as he just recommended, and turns around and heads back and to the right to get back to the other Gatewalkers-- Daehalya and Ezgara.

Just flavor text. Wanting to show Nicky's always looking, always observing. Confident in his opinions, whether right or possibly wrong. I'm not meaning to already side adventure and derail GM's story!


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LG (he/him) Amurrun (Shemtej) Champion (paladin) 5 | HP 68(+10)/68 | AC <22> 22 (24) | Sh 4(6) hp 20 | F +11 R +11 W +11 | Perc +9 (darkvision) | Stealth +13 | 25 ft (40 ft) | Hero 1/3 | focus 2/2 | ◆ | ◇ | ↺ | Active Conditions: catfall, land on your feet, aura of courage, (wild shape, scent)

"Nicholo does not need to fear vampires, mystical forces, or the night when he is with Onye Dinta," the amurrun says with easy confidence. "The spirits who wove creation made the Ndi Mmadu to protect their creation from such unravellers. Now, on supplies: are the proper tools purchased for the ones skilled with their use? Medicinal supplies? Tools to repair broken things?"

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Tyrant's Grasp | | Age of Ashes | | Dead Suns | | ◆ | ◆◆ | ◆◆◆ | ◇ ◈ | ↺ | ★

Continue to make last moment purchases, I am just going to press onward.

Gathering your treats for the road you each gather back at the wagons to begin your journey. One by one you either climb on your own horses or hop in the back of the wagon for a brief respite. Either way it is going to be a long trip.

The first week is a bit uneventfull as you follow the main road out of Ustalav. It isn't until you begin to close in on the wilds of the River Kingdoms that your trip begins to slow a bit due to the thick forests and swamp area. Surrounded by Razmiran, Numeria, Ustalav and Galt the lands are under constant threat and often don't stay under ownership for very long.

Your peacefulness is immediatly cut short dealing with bandits at the border and avoiding swamp trolls lurking underneath the murky waters, waiting for an easy meal. It makes for a tesnse-filled week before you begin to see signs of the sevenarches region.

Just stepping into civilized Sevenarches eases the mind. The land is fairer, the grass softer, the weather milder, and the sky a brighter blue than only a few yards outside the territory. Sevenarches is possibly the largest River Kingdom in land area, although Gralton and Pitax have decent competing claims to this title. It also has a shocking stability compared to other River Kingdoms, thanks to its sizeable standing army and the hyper-vigilant oversight of the ruling druid sect known as the Oakstewards. Once an elven settlement, and continuously occupied for thousands of years, the territory is now primarily home to fey and the humans who have learned how to live with them.

At the border gate to Sevenarches—a low bridge across a stream just beyond a bustling caravanserai. Sighing, Dr. Ritalson uses a black handkerchief to mop the sweat from his age-spotted forehead. “I fear this is as far as I accompany you,” he says. “I have matters to attend to farther east.” He smiles fondly. “I’ve no doubt that you can handle this investigation yourselves. Of all my field researchers, you show the greatest promise for uncovering the secrets of the hidden world."

“I need not remind you of the importance of your mission.” He points to the mysterious rune emblazoned across his throat—the same mark that brought you together, the one you all share. “Three months ago, we embarked upon a mystery. All across the world, elven teleportation gates—aiudara—burst with light and lured people like us in with visions of our greatest desires. A subset of we so-called ‘gatewalkers’ returned from the sojourn— some, like you, bearing fascinating new abilities. We all, however, remain ignorant of what befell us on the other side of our doorway, how we came to be marked with this unknown sign, or what may have happened to those who did not return.”

He chuckles ruefully. “In every university and seminary, scholars are ransacking their libraries to understand this ‘Missing Moment.’ Yet I believe that we—that you—will succeed where they all fail. For our quest into the paranormal is not merely academic, but personal."

“Toward that end, I’ve given you my most promising lead: Sevenarches. For centuries, any elf who approached the city’s infamous Seven Arches has been subject to a terrible curse. Yet, on the night of the Missing Moment, the curse was somehow lifted. We need to know why. The city’s famed aiudara no doubt hold some of the answers we seek, and moreover represent a prime research opportunity to study the portals in person. That’s where you come in."

“To help, I’ve arranged for you to meet with an old associate of mine. Fianara Caralestri claims to have crucial information about the arches. Ah, and there she is now!”

An elven woman wearing traveling leathers and a backpack overflowing with scrolls waves from the caravanserai’s porch. Pic in the Map


NG Human Thaumaturge 4 | HP 48/48| AC 21 | F: +9, R: +11, W: +7| Perc: +8| | Speed 25ft | Active conditions: None

Odioki hops down from the wagon.

"Let's not keep her waiting." He returns Caralestri's wave with a nod.

Shall we go introduce ourselves?


Male Elf 5 | Perc +13 (E; Low-Light) | Speed: 35' | HP: 51 | AC: 21 (23) | Fort: +10 Ref: +12 Will: +13 (Resist Fire 2, Cold 2, elec 5, +1 circ vs Fire; +1 circ. emotion & S-> CS) | Spellbook | Exploration: Search | Status: | Hero Points: 1

Ezgara's constant muttering fades to a hypnotic background noise over the course of the journey; luckily he proves adept as a survivalist and spellcaster. His own symbol rune is hidden in plain sight: emblazoned in the pupil of his blind right eye.

As Sevenarches comes into view he squints fiercely at the city and then prods his own body with a stick, checking for plague lesions and necrotized tissue. "Still here?"

______

Ezgara stands on the road, dusts himself off, and sniffs under each armpit. "Putrid onion. Uncouth. Need a bath. Need a stew." He tries to shove his donkey toward Fianara, but the beast only brays. "Wretch! Who else, then? Who will introduce us?"

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Male Tiefling Investigator - HP 58 AC 22/ 23 with Buckler
Dr. Ritalson wrote:
Fianara Caralestri

Nicky falters a bit, as the name hits him like a ton of bricks. Fianara. That is far to close to the love of his life Fiametta. It's as if the Universe is shaking him and saying, 'wake up, you stupid Tiefling, play time is over'. This is where everything gets serious.

But Nicky, in his outward personality at least, just can't get serious. Inwardly, he's taking note that the Universe wants him paying close attention and giving this mission his all.

Hello "Unlocker of Mysteries". My name is Nicholo Reiland. But, you can call me Nicky. Let me guess, you often go by the nickname, "Fia" - don't you? Well, we are the troop of investigators and brainiacs that Dr. Ritalson has assigned to Seven Arches.
Let me introduce you to the cadre of specialists.
*The fearless Onye Dinta* Brave enough to face vampires in Ustalav*
*The thoughtful and prudent Odioki*. Man with a keen eye.
*The calm, cool, and collected Daehalya Shadowsun*. Survivor of the crown of the world.
*The living fireworks show - Ezgara*. Comedy incarnate.

Nicky smiles as he points to each of his companions.
He's going to have to make notes to come up with more crazy stuff to say when introducing these four. His goal, have something new and even more outlandish about each person, every time.
diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25


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LG (he/him) Amurrun (Shemtej) Champion (paladin) 5 | HP 68(+10)/68 | AC <22> 22 (24) | Sh 4(6) hp 20 | F +11 R +11 W +11 | Perc +9 (darkvision) | Stealth +13 | 25 ft (40 ft) | Hero 1/3 | focus 2/2 | ◆ | ◇ | ↺ | Active Conditions: catfall, land on your feet, aura of courage, (wild shape, scent)

Wearing the leopard mask today, the catfolk breaks away from the wagon and follows the others to meet their contact. He gives no sign of being bothered by Nicholo's impromptu introductions. "Onye Dinta is pleased to meet Fianara Caralestri. There were no vampires in Ustulav."

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Tyrant's Grasp | | Age of Ashes | | Dead Suns | | ◆ | ◆◆ | ◆◆◆ | ◇ ◈ | ↺ | ★

Fianara greets you warmly as she glides down the steps. “As I told Doc Etty,” Fianara says, “I have some information I think you’ll find useful—but if you want it, I need help with my own research first.”

She points across the bridge. “I’d like to test a theory, but the Oakstewards still aren’t letting elves into Sevenarches. To be honest, I’m not especially keen to test the rumor about the curse suddenly lifting, nor the uptick in attacks from gorgas—monstrous, shadow-eyed fey creatures, if you’re unfamiliar.” She shrugs. “What can I say? I’m a reader and writer, not an adventurer. So here’s what I need:"

“Sevenarches is supposedly named for the cluster of seven aiudara in the middle of the city. Well, I’ve been going through old records, and I’ve reason to believe those arches are fake—decoys to draw attention away from the real arches. But if I want to publish my findings, I need proof.”

From her bag, Fianara withdraws a foot-long glass tube with a cluster of hollow bulbs at one end like a mace. “This is an aura recorder I’ve keyed specifically to aiudara. When you pass it through an aiudara, it will record the gate’s magical signature. I’d like you to go to the town’s center then use this to read the aura of one of the gates there. If I’m right, this will prove that the aura of the supposed ‘Seven Arches’ is all wrong for true aiudara.”


NG Human Thaumaturge 4 | HP 48/48| AC 21 | F: +9, R: +11, W: +7| Perc: +8| | Speed 25ft | Active conditions: None

"Fakes? That's... not what I was expecting. Why would they set up fakes?"

Odioki, familiar with occult impliments to some degree, takes the glass aura recorder.

"Anything special we need to do with this?" He looks at the hollow bulbs someone dubiously.

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Tyrant's Grasp | | Age of Ashes | | Dead Suns | | ◆ | ◆◆ | ◆◆◆ | ◇ ◈ | ↺ | ★
Fianara wrote:
"Anything special we need to do with this?"

"Sevenarches is just a few miles down the road. Obviously I have never been there myself and I trust you will come up with your own plan on how you will get into the city." She glances up at Ezgara and Daehalya as she produces a disguise kit and five sets of replacement cosmetics. "Just in case."

"As for the device and Sevenarches itself." She taps her chin. "It is a popular attractionattraction, but people are kept at a safe distance by alarmed barriers and guards. so remain discreet. The Oakstewards don't take too kindly to troublemakers." She taps the recorder before handing it over. "To get the necessary data you will need to hold the recorder through one of the arches for roughly thirty seconds. Once complete it should light up."


LG (he/him) Amurrun (Shemtej) Champion (paladin) 5 | HP 68(+10)/68 | AC <22> 22 (24) | Sh 4(6) hp 20 | F +11 R +11 W +11 | Perc +9 (darkvision) | Stealth +13 | 25 ft (40 ft) | Hero 1/3 | focus 2/2 | ◆ | ◇ | ↺ | Active Conditions: catfall, land on your feet, aura of courage, (wild shape, scent)

"Onye Dinta has doubts about the tribe's ability to be discrete," he says with an amused purr.


Male Elf 5 | Perc +13 (E; Low-Light) | Speed: 35' | HP: 51 | AC: 21 (23) | Fort: +10 Ref: +12 Will: +13 (Resist Fire 2, Cold 2, elec 5, +1 circ vs Fire; +1 circ. emotion & S-> CS) | Spellbook | Exploration: Search | Status: | Hero Points: 1

Ezagara pads in circles around the mule. "Comedy? The circus has arrived in Sevenarches. None can plumb the maze of my genius."

"The druids laid false trail. The citizens here are idiots, but I am not. The shadow-mutts may be watching." Ezgara squints into the forest. Recall knowledge on Gorgas?

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Tyrant's Grasp | | Age of Ashes | | Dead Suns | | ◆ | ◆◆ | ◆◆◆ | ◇ ◈ | ↺ | ★

GM Screen:

Ezgara's Nature (T): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22

"It is not so much yourself I am worried about blending in Onye, but rather Ezgara and Daehalya. Elves are not allowed in the city and if caught they will be escorted to the border."

Ezgara knows that Gorgas are fey embodiments of diurnal creatures’ fear of the dark. Beings of shadow and hunger, they love to prey upon light-loving creatures. Many different kinds of gorgas exist, and each embodies a different facet of the night’s countless terrors.

Gorgas are common in the First World realm of Nighthold, where they once served the mysterious Count Ranalc. After Ranalc’s disappearance, the gorgas quickly lost what little compassion they had, scattered into small bands led by their strongest members, and began hunting any fey they could find. All gorgas carry shrouds of shadow within them, and most find daylight unpleasant, tending to remain within Nighthold’s perpetual gloom or hole up in caverns or deep forests until night falls. Their bizarre eyes—hollow pools of magical shadow—allow them to see even in magical darkness.


Male Elf 5 | Perc +13 (E; Low-Light) | Speed: 35' | HP: 51 | AC: 21 (23) | Fort: +10 Ref: +12 Will: +13 (Resist Fire 2, Cold 2, elec 5, +1 circ vs Fire; +1 circ. emotion & S-> CS) | Spellbook | Exploration: Search | Status: | Hero Points: 1

Exgara mutters to himself about Gorgas, unconsciously transmitting his knowledge in a hypnotic stream of words. ”Will I show them my genius? Will I share precious wisdom? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Only time will tell. Hee hee.”

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Male Tiefling Investigator - HP 58 AC 22/ 23 with Buckler
ezgara wrote:
The circus has arrived in Sevenarches
and
Onye wrote:
"Onye Dinta has doubts about the tribe's ability to be discrete.

Ezgara, you are a genius! Plus Onye is right too!

While the Circus hasn't yet come to town, *the Rah-Rah Rabblerousing advance team* IS in town. We can hide in plain sight! I used to apply the spirit gum to The Wolfman before each performance. He wasn't some werewolf, he was just a big dude named Orik. A bit of spirit gum and fake hair - total disguise. We can put the two elves in a persona they want and go through town announcing "The Circus is coming!". Do a couple teaser tricks and move on through town.
What do the rest of you think about Ezgara's incredible idea?

As he waits for answers, he comments aloud. I wonder what happened to Orik, he left Waywards and I heard he became a mercenary.

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Tyrant's Grasp | | Age of Ashes | | Dead Suns | | ◆ | ◆◆ | ◆◆◆ | ◇ ◈ | ↺ | ★

Let me know once you are ready to head into the city and how you plan on getting in / past the gates.


Male Elf 5 | Perc +13 (E; Low-Light) | Speed: 35' | HP: 51 | AC: 21 (23) | Fort: +10 Ref: +12 Will: +13 (Resist Fire 2, Cold 2, elec 5, +1 circ vs Fire; +1 circ. emotion & S-> CS) | Spellbook | Exploration: Search | Status: | Hero Points: 1

Circus Lore from Nicholo (if they have it) or disguise on an elf, Disguise from Odioki on any remaining elves, Perform from Ezgara, Society from Daehalya? Unsure what Onye Dinta is trained in.


LG (he/him) Amurrun (Shemtej) Champion (paladin) 5 | HP 68(+10)/68 | AC <22> 22 (24) | Sh 4(6) hp 20 | F +11 R +11 W +11 | Perc +9 (darkvision) | Stealth +13 | 25 ft (40 ft) | Hero 1/3 | focus 2/2 | ◆ | ◇ | ↺ | Active Conditions: catfall, land on your feet, aura of courage, (wild shape, scent)

"It may be better if Onye Dinta watches over the tribe from a distance," the amurrun suggests.


HP 61 | AC 23 (+1 vs. traps) | F: +9, R: +13, W: +10 (+1 vs. traps) | Perc: +10 | Speed 30 ft. Elf rogue 5

Daehalya hesitates. She's also not sure she's eager to enter Sevenarches, though she's putting her faith in her goddess. But pretending to be in a circus? She wouldn't even know where to start with such an idea.

Only she doesn't have any better ideas at the moment.

"I don't think any of us should wait alone," she murmurs. "That seems like it would only attract more attention. I am willing to ... pretend that I am in a circus, though I don't know if anyone will buy such a deception. Perhaps a religious pilgrimage?"


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NG Human Thaumaturge 4 | HP 48/48| AC 21 | F: +9, R: +11, W: +7| Perc: +8| | Speed 25ft | Active conditions: None

Odioki can't help but smile.

"You all know Ezgara is not all there, right?"

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Tyrant's Grasp | | Age of Ashes | | Dead Suns | | ◆ | ◆◆ | ◆◆◆ | ◇ ◈ | ↺ | ★

Doctor Ritalson claps his hands together and climbs back into the wagon. “Right then, I am off to a city called Uringen, famous for half of it disappearing and reappearing at random intervals. It’s been happening for decades, so it’s perhaps unrelated to our present matter, but worth investigating all the same.” He wipes his brow. "We will be in touch soon."

Heading a couple of miles down the road you arrive within sight of the main gate into the city. Crouching in the woods you wait a bit to see if something catches your eye on an easier method of getting in.

The citizen guards at the gate don't appear to be Oakstewards and they seem to be waving non-elves through the gates without issue or question at all.

Elves and half-elves with need to give me a deception check with the disguise kit to impersonate a different ancestry, or if you guys have another route by all means go with that.


Male Elf 5 | Perc +13 (E; Low-Light) | Speed: 35' | HP: 51 | AC: 21 (23) | Fort: +10 Ref: +12 Will: +13 (Resist Fire 2, Cold 2, elec 5, +1 circ vs Fire; +1 circ. emotion & S-> CS) | Spellbook | Exploration: Search | Status: | Hero Points: 1
Odioki wrote:

Odioki can't help but smile.

"You all know Ezgara is not all there, right?"

Ezgara points a one-eyed stare at Odioki and hisses: “Look upon he who carries a snowshoe to Lepidstadt, and you shall the meaning of absurdity.”

______

Ezgara disguises himself as a half-elf. Possibly a miserable mendicant or a crazed clown (or both). He totters on his donkey, giggling. "Heee heee! Idiots!"

Deception (U): 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (16) - 1 = 15

Hero point if that fails:
Deception (U): 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (18) - 1 = 17


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LG (he/him) Amurrun (Shemtej) Champion (paladin) 5 | HP 68(+10)/68 | AC <22> 22 (24) | Sh 4(6) hp 20 | F +11 R +11 W +11 | Perc +9 (darkvision) | Stealth +13 | 25 ft (40 ft) | Hero 1/3 | focus 2/2 | ◆ | ◇ | ↺ | Active Conditions: catfall, land on your feet, aura of courage, (wild shape, scent)

"Onye Dinta suggests Ezgara might want to disguise as a tiefling," the amurrun says to the life-worn elf.

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