Ekaym Smallcask

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Organized Play Member. 4,709 posts (20,773 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 2 Organized Play characters. 81 aliases.


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Your Humble Narrator

Hi all,

First of new update cycle will begin on Monday the 18th of March :)


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Your Humble Narrator

General Recap-

Trials of Grallus:

In the year 4711AR, having been drafted into a group of highly talented individuals, the majority of the party presently delving a recently discovered, mysterious ziggurat participated in the highly publicised Trials of Grallus. The trials were devised and named by Sargava's ruler, Grand Custodian Utilinus, and named after his predecessor, the famous Baron Grallus who in 4643AR prevented invasion by Cheliax through a deal with the Shackles Pirates, a tributary deal that has persisted to this day.

This rather gaudy event pitted the party, the eventual victors, against a diverse mix of other teams in a variety of events, many of which were rather more dangerous and vicious than was perhaps expected; a result of the rather loose and lax rules in place for the competitions themselves. The tests included talent, athletic, martial and teamwork trials, and the party won the majority of them, netting the highest points total for the Trials and not losing any members of the team.

Many of the trials were themed around patriotism for Sargava and casting Cheliax as the grand enemy, for example the Trial of Endurance featured summoned Gaavs (devils) to chase down the stragglers while the trial of brawn featured model boats that were accurate to the original fleet that had sailed from Cheliax to subjugate the colony. In general, there was a feeling that the Trials were as much a public spectacle and fundraiser as it was a selection process; and there was a certain feeling of blood sports to the whole affair.

The final trial was a rather strange one though, which was disrupted by none other than a Shackles Pirate vessel, working in cahoots with one of the teams in the trial. It quickly became apparent that this galley was not a scheduled part of the trials when it destroyed one of the other team's small vessels with a catapult, attacking the rest and capturing several members of the other teams! The political ramifications of this were quite troubling and it was clear the Shackles pirates were sending a message for some reason; although as far as public knowledge goes, the tribute to them remains in place. It is noteworthy that the Grand Custodian insisted, during his public oratory, that the vessel was a rogue captain and had no such affiliation to the Shackles Pirates. The group has no knowledge of what happened to the ship's captain, crew or the ship itself...

In addition, during and just before the public event at the city's palace the group were introduced to General Morvius; a no-nonsense career soldier who was quite a renowned figure in Sargava (particularly as a Mwangi man), as well as the Grand Custodian Utilinus himself. Clearly a cunning man with more plans and schemes than he would carelessly divulge, he proved to be more than a match for Ansha's charms and political savvy. He also proved to be a charismatic speaker and shrewd talker, winning over the crowd effortlessly. At the event toasts were made and the winners of the Trials were lauded for their successes and merits.

The evening of celebration was briefly interrupted when Jakob returned, sailing the pirate vessel into port with a J emblazoned upon its new flag..... Against all odds the man of obscure talents had managed to single-handedly infiltrate the Shackles vessel, take the captain hostage, rally the prisoners taken and sail the captured vessel back into the harbour, the ships original crew his prisoners, and the vessel sporting a Sargavan flag! The Grand Custodian was quick to seize upon this odd turn of events as a triumph and awarded Jakob the country's highest honour - the Badge of Esteemed Distinction. In addition, the man was awarded the title of Lord; and a small estate.

Immediate business post-Trials of Grallus:

The evening included much merrymaking, mingling and dancing of various sorts, but the next morning was all business. However, Jakob's rather foolhardy heroics and co-operative attitude to the other teams had put an early wedge into the group, angering the Bas'o warrior Qhude in particular. Tensions ran high.

General Morvius gave a small briefing that morning, informing the group they were to enter the Laughing Jungle, armed with new equipment financed by the government.

General Morvius Briefing:
Eventually, all of you arrive at breakfast; a grand looking circular table has been set into the centre of the room, looking rather small in comparison to the empty room around it. A platter of fine food, particularly breads and fruits, has been laid out for you. General Morvius sits at the north side of the table, calmly cutting into a melon with a sharp knife, eating chunks of it and apparently lost in thought.

Some of you arrive earlier than others, but General Morvius is merely courteous in his greetings and brooks no questions, stating if pressed that he prefers to wait for all of you to arrive. He invites you to sit and enjoy the fine food and drink- glasses of cold water, cups of tea offered to you by the servants and a separate tray of ice cold juices.

Once you have all arrived, he clears his throat and begins to speak. Hes not nearly as good at oratory as Utilinus but hes passable.

You have all done well, so well, to come this far. The mission you have won the glory of undertaking may be critical in Sargava's future, a small piece of the greatness our Grand Custodian envisages for us. In two weeks time, we will be taking you into the Laughing Jungle and your task will be explained to you in greater detail. The expedition is being prepared even now; we'll be ready in two weeks. You, need to be ready too.

Morvius beckons a small, scholarly looking man forward, gesturing at him lazily with a piece of melon stuck on the end of his knife. The small Vudrani bows deeply.

This is Arkus- you may use him as your quartermaster for the duration of your stay in the palace. He has instructions from Utilinus to acquire for each of you no less than two thousand gold pieces worth of equipment, be it magical or mundane. This generous sum is subsidised by the treasury but is also partly based off the goodwill of shopkeepers who had much to gain from the Trials themselves; thus you cannot claim it in coin. Arkus and his underlings are skilled procurers; theres little they won't be able to find and as you will be busy within these walls and grounds, they will use our formidable contacts to find what you need. A bonus has been included thanks to the personal efforts of Jakob- a galley is a most valuable prize and he has earnt you all an extra twenty percent or so, already included in this sum.

Waving Arkus away, Morvius gives each of you a basic map of the palace; or at least the sections you are permitted in. Highlighted are several areas including a 'Sparring Chamber', 'Archery Range', 'Library', 'Meditation Chamber' and 'Athletics Hall'.

You will be mostly left to your own devices over the next two weeks, but there will always be servants nearby assigned specifically to you. They will assist you in any capacity you wish of them and inform you of mealtimes. We expect you to train and study hard, for your skills and teamwork will be sorely tested by what is to come. Any queries before I leave?

After some persuasive arguments, Morvius did expand on the briefing further than he had originally intended to at this stage.

General Morvius Further Information:

Morvius sighs but does not interrupt Jakob's monologue, the whole speech apparently compelling him to hear him out. He thinks for a while then replies-

Do not think of yourself as our "partner" yet; none of you have earned that right- not even you Jakob. With that said, you do make several good points. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to give you some more information so you can prepare accordingly- but bear in mind that even with the money the Trials brought in, we are not a rich or even a powerful government. The money we have bequeathed to each of you is a huge sum and we see it as an investment in you- trust works both ways and if you do not yet trust our motives, trust that we would not spend such gold on you if we don't expect a great future together. If you would suspect the worst of us, think of yourselves as an expensive investment Utilinus hopes will pay off.

Morvius cracks his knuckles on the table as he finishes the sentence, perhaps for emphasis.

You will be going to the Laughing Jungle to explore an ancient ruin, a pyramid shaped structure of stone. The on-site historians we have are not certain of its origins; some claim its Azlant, some say it was built by a wizard-king, there is no consensus yet. The Grand Custodian suspects something of great power lies inside that could potentially aid Sargava in these desperate times; but I do not know how he has acquired that information- I am one of his most trusted advisers, but he alone is at the topof the hierarchy. What I do know is that i've lost dozens of good men trying to get someone inside to investigate, but no one has gotten lower than the top level of the structure; you enter it from the top you see. The structure has been hidden for hundreds of years, perhaps thousands...

A traveller stumbled upon it, a lucky twist of fate as he fled from the indigenous Elves in the area- his mind was somehow not fooled by no less than two powerful illusionary auras shielding the structure from sight; it appeared as a dangerous looking swamp to the casual eye. At great expense we have dispelled the illusion, but I truthfully don't know whats waiting for you. We have no way of knowing for sure how long it has been undiscovered. Whatever took the time to ensure this structure was this well shielded and defended evidently put defences in place to act as another layer of protection; and we've never had a man go inside and come back. We want you to get inside, survive and report back. If your able to disable these defences and get to the next level, we'll set up camp a level above you and so on. I don't know how deep it goes, but the opportunities for glory, discovery, wealth and power could be magnificent.

Morvius looks a little parched, apparently not used to speaking so much. He drinks deeply from a gourd of orange juice.

As well as their new source of funding, the group underwent two weeks of intense training, practice, sparring and studying to ready themselves for the challenges ahead.

The Caravan Journey to Freehold:

Rested, equipped and trained the group set out in a convoy of five wagons, accompanied by six elite soldiers (Albert (Officer), Mengak, and Stephanie (all colonials) and Nolwazi, Thenjiwee and Unwe) and various hands, retainers and aides. The intended destination of the strange structure was due directly south of the ranch town known as Freehold and the intention was to rest and resupply there before heading south.

A few days into the journey, a raid attacked the convoy on a stormy night, but proved no match for the convoy's might, with Qhude grappling the leader and terrifying him into a panicked attempt to escape the warrior's iron grip, to no avail as the Bas'o snapped his neck. Other noteworthy moments in the battle included animal faeces, urine and other foul elements being poured all over Ansha, the infamous Kaava musk used to attract the attention of the young lions the attackers had brought with them! Managing to slay the attackers, who fought to the last, it turned out they bore the symbology of the Freeman Brotherhood; ex-slaves and freedom fighters who aim to abolish slavery. Of late, with the Grand Custodian's lenient rulership and tendency to discourage slavery their actions have been more reminiscent of terrorists.

A few days after entering the infamous Bandu territory, the group ere forced to stop by a roadblock, complete with hundreds of caltrops. The ambush being sprung upon Qhude and Jakob. The bandu assaulted the caravan with slings and much of the group were drawn forward to meet them; only for a secondary attack to take advantage of the move to assault the heart of the formation, using smokesticks to sow confusion and disrupt vision for their raid. Although many were wounded and the officer Albert brought within an inch of death, the day was won with Qhude adding another brutal kill to his list. However, the Bandu escaped with their sole prize, a woman named Bethany.

Deciding to give chase, the party split while a war-painted Qhude, accompanied by the archer N'Bellocq boldly approached the camp, challenging them. The old shaman who led the tribe was loathe to lose more warriors and offered the pair a duel; which they won in short order, securing Bethany's release while at the same time allowing the shaman to save face, their opponents being upstarts who were giving him some trouble. Qhude and N'Bellocq were declared "Champions of Anghazhan", a troubling title...

Meanwhile, Ansha led the others to flank them but alas, the flanking group fell into an Ankheg sinkhole. Said Ankheg was swiftly dispatched by a powerful braced longspear and Kieran's swordplay and while the group extricated themselves from the sinkhole, Jakob slew another with a single mighty lunge.

The Town of Freehold:

Reaching Freehold in a matter of days, the group were afforded another two weeks of downtime while the caravan master traded and the wagons were resupplied. Much had been promised of the town, which had grown around the ranch that was the centre of it. Mwangi had been living with equal rights here for far longer than the idea had been popular in Eleder and Sargava as a whole, drawing the same wages as the Chelish settlers who founded it.

Initial Description of Freehold:

At a glance as you begin to stroll into Freehold, the small town looks rather idyllic. Freehold is situated on a very shallow hillock, not steep enough to give it any real advantage in defence were it to come under attack but it certainly makes the place look rather appealing. Whether it is due to the slightly uneven ground in various places or perhaps by design, the buildings of the small town are well spaced out; feeling more like an overgrown village than a town with clear streets and alleys. Freehold appears to be loosely circular in shape, with a large clearing in the centre that is currently coming into view. It looks like the local market is situated in said clearing, with stalls selling groceries and preservatives in particular, although you imagine the market will be beginning to wind down now as the evening settles in. The clearing is also a place of beauty, with planted trees looming over rows of carefully maintained flowers, herbal gardens and hedge rows.

There doesn't seem to be any particular commercial district with the exception of the market. Buildings marked by signs as shops and tradesmen are scattered almost randomly throughout the town; and the paint on many signs is bold and vibrant; a sign of a recent growth spurt perhaps. The settlement seems extremely clean and tidy compared to the dirty streets of Eleder and although most buildings are made of wood, none of them appear to be especially old. The older buildings in Freehold seem to be made of stone, in particular the large structure clearly marked as the Lion's Maw; made of red brick with a slated, tiled roof. The wooden buildings themselves look similar in design; they are usually close to circular in shape and have generous sized doors and windows- as well as a decent amount of interior space and a degree of space around the buildings themselves. The whole town feels very open and the design gives it a sense of welcoming community.

From your position walking into the town, Freehold Ranch is also clearly visible at the north end of town. A somewhat out of place wooden building on your right as your entering is painted a bright red with a vibrant sign, the graceful, flowing letters of the sign above the door reading Cruthoniax's Curios. Qhude has not yet spotted a tannery or leatherworker but the sounds of an anvil being hammered on from inside the Curious shop makes him wonder if someone inside might have such skill.

The people here seem relaxed and friendly. Children play and laugh freely throughout the wide and open paths. Locals stop to chat and gossip with one another and your presence, although noted, seems to cause very little concern or alarm. The air is clean, and the smell of freshly picked flowers reaches your nostrils as you spot a brightly clad Chelish woman with a basket of them, offering you a single flower for a copper piece or a bouquet for five with a smile and a wave as you pass. As far as the racial breakdown goes, you mostly see Mwangi and Colonial humans, although you spot a couple of Half-Elf citizens, a Gnome porter, a Halfling stall-keeper and a Half-Orc town guard as you walk.

However, although the group did make some new friends including the Gnome craftsman Cruthoniax who subsequently joined the caravan and Ntisi the Erastil shamaness. The group also met various council members and majority shareholders of the ranch itself at a hosted banquet, including Mindra and Salgarth Macini (descendants of the ranch's original founders), the innkeeper Bellis Mara, the Mauxi warrior Mitabu, the head rancher Zenj Tabansi and the reclusive Elven Wizard Zesaste Telath. After some light conversation, it transpired that some kind of large animal had been attacking the ranch's oxen and the council sought to hire the adventurers to dispose of it. Tabansi swore that it seemed like the animal had been targeting him personally. Bizarrely, it seemed the man had a point; Ansha detected magic upon him but kept this information to herself, at least initially. With the help of the Elven Wizard Zesaste, it was deduced that Tabansi was suffering from a transmutation spell called Nature's Exile - which made him a target for all kinds of flora and fauna.

The beast turned out to be a 4,000lb Anklyosaurus, not yet fully grown. Although its fierce rage took down Qhude and Kieran, it eventually fell to the combined assault. However, the curse on Tabansi was not nearly such a simple affair, especially when the man was accused of stealing from the Church of Erastil; Kieran being duped into planting the evidence himself! After some investigation and speaking to various people in Freehold, the group uncovered a plot involving many of the council members to dramatically change the shareholdings via Tabansi's murder; and for Salgarth Macini to turn the ranch into an exploitative, low-wage area with the ideals of equality and fairness abandoned.

While the plot was uncovered, Tabansi's death prevented and the miscreants apprehended, the smaller portion of the group sent to apprehend the wizard Zesaste Talathel failed; the Elf having kenned what was happening and prepared himself with various spells of transmutation. Knocking out Kieran with one deft maneuver with the hilt of his enchanted blade, the Wizard traded the rake's lie for his escape.

With the main plotters stopped, the group had clearly done Freehold a great service; but the whole affair left a bitter taste in their mouths, somewhat tainting the so-called idyllic place they had been promised so much about. Ultimately, much of what Freehold offered was found wanting, with far more going on than initially met the eye in the treacherous place.

Arrival at the Base Camp:

On the 22nd of Erastus, the caravan finally reached its destination around a month since setting out from Eleder.

Base Camp Arrival Description:
After a little under a week of travel, the caravan had ventured into the Laughing Jungle and a day later, the front scouts spotted the Sargavan base camp in the middle of the day. The jungle was incredibly humid and those in armour felt at the very least, uncomfortable. The first thing the group spotted is the pyramid General Morvius spoke of. It is difficult to believe that the massive structure could ever have been hidden, even by magic. Well over a hundred feet high and with its base sides measuring about a few hundred feet, the structure dominated the camp built around it, its peak level sat well above the tree line of the jungle. It was an ancient, imposing structure built of stone and apparently having weathered the ages immaculately. On the north side, steps led up to the top layer of the structure and a doorway was visible.

Around the pyramid itself, the Sargavan forces had set up a base camp. A circular wall of sharpened stakes served as the camp's defence with three watchtowers placed on the south, west and east sides. A wooden gatehouse had been erected on the north side and as far as you could ascertain, it was the only way in or out of the complex. The caravan announced itself and after some security checks, it began to pass through into the base camp itself. Inside, the complex seemed to consist primarily of three to four man sized tents, although four large pavilion tents had also been set up, scattered around the camp.

General Morvius stood waiting with the quartermaster Arkus beside him as the caravan rolled into the camp. It was clear that all was not well here, despite the General's welcoming smile. Some of the soldiers the group spotted were sporting bandages and signs of treated wounds and although the camp seemed well organised here and there were small, tell-tale signs that this place had seen fighting.

The group were re-united with General Morvius and introduced to Arturus, a scholar in the employ of the Sargavan government. The Sargavans had fortified the camp hastily and had a sizable garrison, which was apparently already being tested with attacks from local Mwangi. After some initial investigation and tentative use of rope and goat, the Umkhaya entered the pyramid at its highest level.

Ancient Pyramid, Level 1 (Entrance Chamber)

This seemed to have been an entrance chamber of some kind; one that had slain all of Morvius' men who had entered it. Having determined the room was utterly teeming with magical auras of various sorts, the group survived an assault by a pair of durable wax golems, strong and durable, shaped as young Azlant warriors. Powerful adversaries, the two nevertheless fell after inflicting some wounds. Some kind of images flashed upon the walls, telling a story as the fight ensued; however much of it was missed due to the melee.

Full Room Description:

The next morning, the group acquired mundane supplies, including two weeks of rations. Qhude bore most of these without complaint and by midday, General Morvius, Arturus and Albert's squad watched nervously as the group entered the corridor leading inside the structure! Just as the corridor began to fill with the same darkness that had heralded the disappearance of the goat, the group saw something that was not apparent to them when the goat was in their place; a stone door slammed down behind them while, simultaneously, the wall with the purple sickle and star symbol slid up into the ceiling; acting something like an ancient airlock which would clearly limit the number of people who could enter at any one time. Before their eyes was a square room, which they entered nervously; noting that the door that had shut behind them bore the same symbols on this side, suggesting it opened to the outside in a similar manner as to the inside.

The putrid smell of death permeated the air and commanded attention long before the group's spellcaster's conjured enough light to see the room properly; mixed in with musty, ancient dust, stale, dry air and the distinct, faint smell of candle wax added into the strange mix, of all things. The overall effect was quite discomforting and made the inhaler feel ill at ease. The only pre-existing source of light in the room seemed to be coming from some apparatus that included a candle in one corner of the room; the apparent source of the smell of wax.

Even as the light was conjured, a faint thrumming sound, like a low-pitched humming, seemed to be audible from the walls and floors of the interior of the structure. Other than this faint humming, the only sound that radiated through the chamber was the footfalls of the adventurer's that had entered here, particularly Qhude's heavy steps, laden as he was.

The eyes of the Umkhaya took in a variety of different things as they became visible. The fate of at least some, if not all, of Sargava's military forces that had entered was laid bare upon the smooth stone floor of the square room the group had wandered into; as well as the fate of the goat the Umkhaya had sent to its death. Dried blood splattered the walls of the rooms, spilt from over a dozen bodies scattered around the centre of the room which had been left to rot. The four walls of the room appeared to be thick, superior masonry walls that did not appear even the slightest bit blemished over the ages. The ceiling however, was entirely smooth and seemed to be made of square panels of metal rather than stone. Other than the blood splattered over them, the walls of the room were bare and unadorned. However, the south end of the room, opposite the north where the Umkhaya entered, boasted five statues, two pairs and a single, huge statue that seemed to lord over the whole room.

The statues were arranged in a line of five, neatly and symmetrically flanking the largest. The two outer statues were carved of white marble and were sculpted into formidable-looking, fully-armoured figures, each stood in a stoic pose as though blocking access or protecting something with the long, stone swords they held. Both carvings depicted the warriors with full helmets of a fashion that none among the group recognised; with a horizontal, arced slit that would seem quite quaint to today's armourers. Tall and imposing, the statues radiated stability and strength.

Beside these two stalwart carvings, directly flanking the largest statue, were two archers that bore a striking resemblance to N'bellocq; wiry, muscular individuals with unstrung bows held out, eyes scanning the horizon. While the race and ethnicity of the two armoured warriors would forever remain a mystery, the two scouts (or perhaps light infantry) were clearly Mwangi in nature; racial features as well as a darker shade of Marble had been used to make this clear.

The final statue was made of an extremely dark shade of some unknown stone, rendering the sculpture almost ebony black in colour. Humanoid in nature, the figure depicted was clearly not quite Human in any modern sense of the word. The unusually prominent forehead, sharply declined nose and especially thick neck all suggested that this figure was in fact, an Azlant. This insinuation was strengthened by the strange jewellery he was depicted as wearing, along with three small stones that appeared as though floating around his head, cunningly carved and held in place by the faintest of joiners to look like Ioun Stones. He was depicted as an ageing figure, with a receding hairline; in flowing robes that seemed to flare with the wind; the sculpting here was exquisite and almost impossible, it would surely seem. With one hand extended forward and eyes narrowed in focus, it seemed as though the figure depicted was straining against a mighty force or a great wind. The other hand clutched a sceptre almost as large as Qhude himself; made of pure gold and with hundreds of gemstones embedded into it! The middle-aged figure seemed carved as though to radiate nobility and strength of purpose. This largest statue stood leaning over a small well of water, accessible at his midriff level by a small marble stairway that allowed access from two sides. A plaque was engraved onto the figure's chest, just above the well, with small, neat script.

The final feature of the room that immediately struck the Umkhaya was a set of spiral stairs, which was walled off on every side by a waist high, stone wall except from the southern, just in front of the statue...

The room boasted a sinister looking candle, dripping wax and radiating necromantic magic. It was speculated later that this candle allowed the Azlant-looking wax golems to repair their wounds and create new golems to replenish their numbers.

The room also featured five carefully carved statues; a large figure in the centre which turned out to be depicting an Azlant leader named Arioch, two armoured and helmed warriors flanking him with two Mwangi archers on the edges of the arranged formation. Qhude felt a strange urge to drink from the water at the base of the largest statue; finding himself refreshed upon doing so and bizarrely, suddenly able to fluently read and speak in Azlant.

Deducing that the webbing blocking the stairs was likely part of a trap, the group remotely burnt the webbing away. Their prudence was rewarded; as they descended a hidden trigger detonated a magical spark within the air- though with no webbing to light, this trap was rendered impotent. The spiders conjured though, were very real. Between alchemists fire and Shimye-Magalla's gust of wind, the swarm was splattered and burnt to insignificant numbers. They pressed on down to the second level of the pyramid.

Ancient Pyramid, Level 2 (Defence Gauntlet/Tests)

This level of the pyramid had a familiar feature throughout; thin veins of magic in red lines running along the walls, almost as if they were pulsating like veins, pumped by some ghastly heart. These faint lines moved to what looked like a heartbeat, changing from a dull rouge to a glowing, sickening blood red. It was unsettling.

Much of this floor, especially the main corridor that let one progress deeper into the pyramid, appeared to be some kind of defence gauntlet, including a bound Daemon (who Qhude released by repeating the Azlant he had read in the room above), a corridor chokepoint, manned by galleries of motionless, animated archers. Having managed to dismiss the Daemon without fighting it, it seemed likely the group did not trigger the level's timeless defences.

A strange test involving gemstones enchanted like Ioun stones and trials of Fire, Acid and Lightning was passed; with Qhude standing in the centre of an elemental maelstrom. The correct gemstones were selected and he survived an onslaught that would surely have destroyed any unprotected candidate. This intricate process revealed first a section of mud in the cracked stone beneath his feet and then, animated a small beetle statue to the size of a cat; the creature promptly digging up a cog for the group in the revealed earth. This revealed another room, where strange metallic orbs (later deduced to be of the Inevitable type, specifically Arbiters). The orbs insisted on an "inspection" to check if the group were "Anghazhanites", which apparently they passed.

Proceeding to the other side of the chamber, they found four bodies held in Temporal Statis; a Lizardfolk, a White Ape, a Winged Ape and a Great Ape. They seemed to be held much like a zoo, each with a placard as well as a booming voice declaring that these were among the greatest enemies of the order.

Solving another puzzle involving Azlant letters to spell out Vigilance, they activated another highly complex door; using hundreds of animated ropes to intricately tie together a mechanism. Pulling the rope, three orrery's flew towards them. Angelic beings of the lowest order, they spoke to the very souls of the group in order to communicate.

Progressing on, they battled a diabolical trio of a Cherub-like Demon, Winged Demon and horned Demon. Their prize was to advance; through the magically bound soors into a large stone door that seemed stuck or jammed. Qhude's might managing to open it a little, it was clear that the boulders and debris blocking the stairway was intentional, rather than any kind of cave-in. For now, the Umkhaya had advanced as far as they could.

Returning unimpeded to the surface, there was a debrief which some very frank admissions from General Morvius.

Return/Full Debrief:
Albert looked on in awe at the trophy Qhude had claimed from the ancient structure; and he was not the only one. Soldiers whistled and gossiped in awe at the clearly incredibly valuable treasure haul. What was going through your minds seemed rather obvious- perhaps there was more inside, missed by the initial explorers...

Reporting back to General Morvius and Arturus, you detail your exploits. Both the General and the sage Arturus in a private debriefing, in the largest of tents. Having seen Qhude drag the magnificent scepter back into camp, Arkus the quartermaster asked politely for permission to inspect and appraise it and did so in the background of the briefing. Cruthoniax was also clearly very interested but was not permitted to enter the debrief.

The pair listened intently to the recounting of the delve, but this did not stop them from interjecting at various points- Arturus was keen to learn as much as he could about the strange veins of magic flowing through the structure and the strange thrumming sound that could be heard inside it. Morvius wanted to know if the candle apparatus had the potential to be weaponized. Both were suitably intrigued by the strange objects and Outsiders the group had encountered and they were both disappointed to find that progress had been blocked. Morvius summed up his thoughts at the end of the briefing.

You have exceeded my expectations- even to enter and return is more than my trained soldiers were able to do. I am sorry to hear of their fate. It does seem strange that they did not strike down even one of these wax men you mention; and strange that they are fashioned as Azlant, judging from your description. Much about this place is strange, but it is clear that we are likely to find greater wonders and power inside; power that Sargava direly needs. I feel you have deserved some frankness from myself and the Grand Custodian...

Arkus stopped his appraisal to scowl at Morvius. The scowl was noted but ignored. Passion entered Morvius' voice as he continued, near imploring in his tone.

And this frankness is thus; Sargava's very existence may hinge on whatever we are able to find and utilise within this place. Despite the lower tribute the Custodian was able to negotiate with the Hurricane King, Sargava's financial ruin is upon us. We can take no more credit, The coffers are near-empty. Do not mistake this for a simple economic disaster however... he grimly warned, raising a hand as he paced back and forth in the tent, as though giving a lecture.

We are barely holding Kalabuto in the east against the Mzali; and pirates are flocking to our coasts to raid; sponsored by the Hurricane King because we are behind on our payments. The Bandu are becoming even more of a menace. Perhaps even worse; we've recently began to receive reports of a force of the Gorilla King's forces pushing west towards us. Without more wealth to maintain and expand our forces; or enough power as a substitute for it - Sargava will soon collapse in on itself. Colonial or tribesman, it won't matter once the vultures descend... Sargava will be picked clean and neither the cities nor the tribes have the unity or power necessary to thrive. A time of great strife will encompass this land. Utilinis would like to avoid this; as would I. We would make Sargava strong again; worthy of the independence our ancestors, both Mwangi and Chelish, worked so hard for.

The passion left Morvius' voice as he assumed the role of taskmaster again, hands clasped behind his straight-arched back as he addressed the group after a brief and quiet conversation with his quartermaster. During the conversation, the group were invited to sit, eat and drink while camp followers brought sundry in for them.

Arkus has appraised the scepter. He will be travelling to Eleder to make contact with some intermediaries, who as I understand it will travel to Absalom and sell it there; under his supervision. He will be able to acquire near-anything you desire within your price limit. We are, quite naturally, re-investing much of the profit on this item back into equipment for you, while some shall be used for critical replenishment of Sargava's coffers. Your share each comes to nine thousand and five hundred gold pieces or equivalent, so I have been told. Arkus will provide coinage if you do not spend all of your share. I hope that this scepter is a mere bauble compared to what you will find deeper; a collector's item though it surely is.

Now, to matters at hand. Obviously your delve must continue at its earliest opportunity. We'll be moving some of our operation into the upper level of the structure and we shall send work crews down from there. I have sent for a master architect to ensure that the process of removing the debris you have mentioned is as safe and efficient as possible; and perhaps the man will have other insights as to the structure and its purpose. Nevertheless, the process could take weeks... We'll soon discuss what you could do to keep yourselves busy here; there's plenty of work to be done. I'd certainly be keen to see if you could discover the source of these native attacks that have been harassing us- but I digress. My first question for you is thus-

Do you have any recommendations or inclinations as to what to do with these skeletons you mentioned? I am likely to destroy them or seal them in... they will make the workers uneasy. And who knows what might set them off, or how powerful they might be, if they are animated! I would pose the same question as to the frozen apes you mentioned...

Arturus spoke up next, waving a piece of parchment he had been scrawling on.

I will study these creatures and the plaques you speak of Ansha. I have been making some mathematical calculations and- based on the height of both of the levels you explored; I have concluded that the structure likely has six levels in total, each larger in terms of volume than the last; unless the walls become thicker lower at the base of course... It is also possible that there are further floors if the structure extends underground.

With some time on their hands, the group assisted where they could. The camp became a bustling hive of activity.

Post-delve Description:
The camp became a whirlwind of activity as more supplies and manpower were brought in, as several processes were kicked into motion. The camp was a hustle bustle of invigorated movement and the successful delving of two levels of the structure seemed to boost the somewhat flagging morale of the soldiers; as well the excellent food prepared by the handsome Zenj Kamishah- who was quickly becoming one of the camp's most popular individuals. N'bellocq was hailed as a masterful recruiter for having found him and often shared toasts made to the master of his craft. The cook seemed to have little fear of any of the dangers of the Laughing Jungle, frequently leaving the safety of the walls to scout for exotic ingredients.

The simple palisade surrounding the camp and the ancient structure was in the process of being upgraded to a more substantial wooden stockade, soldiers assisting construction workers when not on patrol or performing drills; and in light of the recent attack on the camp by an unknown force, General Morvius had apparently negotiated with a force of mercenaries to provide additional force in defending it. They were due to arrive within two weeks. The upper-most floor of the pyramid was now fully inhabited by work crews and soldiers, as well as scholars and architects, working under Arturus' permission.

The experiences within the structure seemed to have hardened the group and their talents. Shimye-Magalla's blessings upon Tebati were definitely increasing in power and potency. Jakob's strange bond with nature seemed to only deepen as his mistrust for civilisation seemed to grow. Qhude, Kieran and N'bellocq's prowess as warriors continued to develop, having been frequently put to the test over the past few weeks. Ansha's knowledge of both spell formulae and more mundane lore had also grown; and the enchantress had also had Arturus teach her to speak Azlant...

As well as training and awaiting the completion of the excavation in order to explore the third floor of the ancient structure, there were plenty of other activities that competed to occupy their attention...

The wonders already discovered within the pyramid and the trials faced seemed to sharpen minds and hone bodies. The weeks rolled steadily by as the camp became larger in more ways than one; in the amount of tents pitched, the manpower available there and in the slowly-growing sense of permanency as the base camp was expanded. A couple of weeks rolled by as an excavation team cleared the debris.

Full Downtime Description:

The stockade was now complete, with a watchtower in all four corners of the square fortification. There were plans being drawn up to dig a pit around the structure and fill them with stakes, but they had not yet been implemented. Colonials and Mwangi alike toiled, although it could not be denied that there were more of the former. A large section of jungle had been painstakingly cleared by workers and soldiers, so that the camp now resided in a large clearing surrounding the ancient structure, with thirty feet of dense jungle having been cleared to provide a killing ground between the walls and recently erected watchtowers and the dense jungle. General Morvius was keen to expand this zone yet further, but the sheer density and dampness of the jungle made this exhausting work; particularly in the summer heat of Arodus. The camp itself had several heat shelters built as well as the tents, and the jungle shade kept the worst of the heat away from the workers. However, the sheer humidity trapped by the jungle meant that those working there frequently showed signs of contracting mosquito fever. Tebati and Unwe were frequently called away from their activities in order to administer healing, even though anyone sleeping in the open air had a mosquito net. Most workers preferred the excavation inside the structure as a result of the potential of sickness and heat exhaustion.

The inventor Cruthoniax was working on a new kind of mosquito net but thus far his efforts had been disastrous; one particular prototype sought to deter them with a repellent but had actually attracted additional mosquito's instead... He seemed glad of Qhude's company, the Bas'O having been offered an open invitation to utilise Cruthoniax's tools and workbench.

While the Laughing Jungle was hardly a particularly hospitable environment, supplies were in short supply locally and had to be regularly brought in. In addition, supply wagons had begun to stop arriving a week ago; so far four of them had failed to arrive. With the attacks on the base camp itself having stopped, Morvius suspected the Mwangi who had been accosting it were responsible. The mercenaries General Morvius had hired to protect the camp were re-assigned in early Arodus to seek out the fate of the caravans and protect the next few supply runs. For now, the camp's soldiers were on half-rations; although they did not openly protest at this state of affairs, they were clearly grumbling in private amongst themselves. Envoys had been sent deeper into the Laughing Jungle to seek out the reclusive Song'O native Halflings with the hope of trading with them, but thus far they had met with no success in even finding them.

In total, the camp now consisted of a little over a hundred and twenty humanoids, primarily humans. Approximately forty of that number were soldiers, including Albert's squad. Another ten were scholars, reporting directly to Arturus. The remaining sixty-five were workers, labourers and support staff. The winners of the Trials of Grallus met in the evenings with General Morvius and Arturus on a weekly basis and were treated as his de facto lieutenants by the rest of the camp's inhabitants. Each of them had roughly completed the task they had set out for themselves over the course of three weeks and had a full report to make on their progress, or lack thereof...

Qhude Downtime Resolution (Limited Success):

The awakened ape's were far more formidable than you and the soldiers had ever expected. Even fighting them one at a time proved to be a near-deadly affair. Their sheer prowess and formidability prevented you from taking the risk to subdue one for study; the lethality of each encounter was such that that option would likely have seen you or one of the soldiers slain. While you bore the worst of the wounds from each fight, the soldiers fared little better. It was when preparing to fight these creatures that you realised that you could no longer read Azlant...
The lizardfolk was obviously a great warrior in his time. Weaponless, he used his claws to deadly effect before being brought down by a hail of crossbow bolts and spear thrusts.

The Great Ape proved a less deadly battle. A very strong and primordial animal with a simple mind, it simply leapt into action with little or no provocation, tearing with claws and teeth. You suffered a bite and claw before the animal was slain.

The flying ape known as a Derhii was a surprisingly difficult fight. Just when you thought you had the ape handled, it knocked you down with surprising swiftness and fell upon Albert; who was nearly slain by its fury before you managed another desperate pin and it was slain in turn.

The four-armed ape the plaques called a Girallon was the deadliest predator amongst those awakened. Standing at a towering 8 foot tall and weighing over 800 pounds, the magical beast endured dozens of crossbow bolts, tore itself free of the net and was brought down only in an ugly melee where half a dozen of soldiers were downed. Many soldiers earnt their scars that day although miraculously, your efforts (and Tebati's healing) were enough to prevent any deaths.

Although they took the worst of the brief fights, you noted that Albert's squad were clearly a cut above the other, mostly untested soldiers at the camp. They were likely a match for a dozen of General Morvius' rank and file.

Ansha's Downtime Resolution (Success):

Your efforts were extremely frustrating but brought you many insights into the creation and magic behind the creation of golems. You were forced to re-sculpt your wax golem multiple times as they continually collapsed before being animated; but eventually the magic operating the slightly sinister equipment seemed to flare with power at your intent, rather than with any particular cantrip or spell you attempted.
Strangely, although the wax exuded seemed to be the component for the wax golems you encountered- once you managed to animate your own wax golem, the wax stopped being produced by the apparatus. You suspect that should your golem be destroyed, it will begin to exude wax once more; although you are not certain you could easily replicate the difficult process. This means that the apparatus' utility as a war factory is very limited.

You are aware that your efforts were imperfect; and in the process you learnt a lot about wax golems. They stand a good chance of gaining sentience- and should this golem do so, it will undoubtedly attempt to slay and impersonate you... You are worried that the imperfect nature of your creation will make this outcome far more likely. You are also aware that this wax golem, whilst bearing a striking resemblance to you, is likely to be less powerful than one created by a true master of the art of golem-craft. Nevertheless; it is an eerie, functional wax golem that follows your commands; provided they are given in Azlant.

You realise it is likely that the wax golems encountered in the first floor of the building almost certainly believed they were true Azlant; for them to not have gained sentience over the countless years was mathematically improbable.

Ansha's Wax Golem CR 2
XP 600
N Medium construct
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 13, touch 9, flat-footed 13 (–1 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 31 (2d10+20)
Fort +0, Ref -1, Will +0
Immune cold, construct traits, magic
Weaknesses vulnerable to fire

OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft.
Melee slam +4 (1d6+3)

STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 9, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 1
Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 13
SQ conditional sentience

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Conditional Sentience (Su)

A wax golem constructed to look like a humanoid (whether a particular individual or not) has a small chance of gaining sentience and genuinely believing it is a living creature. Ansha is unaware of the conditions or likelihood of her wax golem gaining sentience...

Immunity to Magic (Ex)

A wax golem is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance, with the exception of spells and spell-like abilities that have the fire descriptor. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature, as noted below.

A magical attack that deals fire damage slows a wax golem (as the slow spell) for 2d6 rounds (no save). In addition, for 3 rounds after taking fire damage, every time a wax golem uses its slam attack, it deals an additional 1d4 points of fire damage due to its molten wax.
A magical attack that deals cold damage breaks any slow effect on the golem and heals 1 point of damage for each 3 points of damage the attack would otherwise deal. If the amount of healing would cause the golem to exceed its full normal hit points, it gains any excess as temporary hit points. A wax golem gains no saving throw against cold effects.

N'bellocq Downtime Resolution (Epic Success):

Your travels to the gorge led you to not only discover the location of the camp, but also make some interesting discoveries.
The only obvious entrance to the gorge was blocked by a natural rockfall. While it did not fully block passage, the terrain was difficult and it could easily become a killing field if the camp below was attacked. Worse, the cliffs on the sides of the gorge hung over the enemies camp somewhat; and large rocks littered the small gorge and the stream that ran through it. There was ample cover and raining down arrows and projectiles from atop the gorge was likely to have limited effect. You spotted over a dozen large tents and estimate the enemy's force to be less than 30; all Mwangi you think.

You make two additional discoveries. Firstly, there is a extremely well hidden natural pass down into the gorge on the other side which, it seems, the enemy are unaware of. It would be an ideal place for a small group to launch a surprise attack or a distraction from.

Your second discovery is more disturbing; and you made it only in the past week. You had a strange sense that someone was often following a similar route to you from the camp and avoiding your proximity. On a hunch, you began to cover your own tracks. Returning from your discovery of the gorge, you saw extremely faint tracks; a single pair of them that led directly into the base camp itself...

In addition, you feel you can confirm General Morvius' theory. Over a dozen tracks recently led north-west, away from the base camp and towards the supply lines.

Kieran Downtime Resolution (Epic Success):

Your efforts in this endeavour were crucial. After spending the first couple of weeks unsuccessfully seeking some form of proximity detector that had been triggered upon the group entering the structure, you correctly deduced that the imagery that displayed upon the walls of this chamber was tied to the trapdoors that released the wax golems. Disabling a fairly deadly blade trap tied into both trapdoors to prevent tampering with them, you were able to inspect these niches carefully.
Some kind of metal device was set into both of these trapdoors, apparently being powered somehow by the structure itself. You determine that it was responsible for maintaining and healing the golems that resided there. You also noted a thin lining of lead in the trapdoor; likely there to prevent successful use of detection spells. Eventually, you rigged up a rope mechanism that would display the images whenever it was pulled; the rope tied directly to the opening mechanism of the two trapdoors.

The scholars have been utilising this mechanic to view the images over and over again, noting any detail and scrutinising it in great detail. Arturus was absolutely delighted with your efforts.

The programmed images showed the following acts sequentially, with images swirling and flashing to portray different scenes-

Act 1: The first scene shifted several times to show seven separate battles. Hundreds of Azlant soldiers faced off against hordes of apes and ape-like demons. One particularly large and majestic looking-ape was always present, often in the thick of the fighting. His martial prowess was clearly respected and/or feared by the image's creator. Thousands of smaller monkeys and even some demons were also present in the enemy ranks. In each battle, it seemed the Azlant were able to hold the enemy at bay; but never truly routed them. Interestingly, Arturus managed to spot and identify the Bandu Hills in the background of one of the battles, suggesting Sargava was once under Azlant control. In addition, a few of the battle scenes showed Mwangi warriors being used to support the fighting where it was less thick. The impression given was certainly that the Azlant were defending territory.

Act 2: A figure that closely resembled the central statue in the room, perhaps known as Arioch, led a well-armed and diverse group of Azlant's past mighty walls and defensive formations, moving stealthily towards the distant and ancient jungles of the Mwangi Expanse. The group bore a distinct resemblance to a band of adventurers and included a muscular, heavily armoured Mwangi warrior who seemed to be the leader's bodyguard.

Act 3: The small band were engaged in many fierce battles and skirmishes with Ape's and Charau-Ka; often vastly outnumbered, as they seemed to go deeper and deeper into the jungle. The leader seemed to be a powerful magic-user and was often depicted slaying multiple foes. Nevertheless, their numbers dwindled as the members of the company were slain or left surrounded, buying time for the unknown mission. Eventually, only the leader and Mwangi bodyguard were left, as they gazed from hiding upon a monolithic city infested by Gorilla's.

Act 4: Apparently having entered the city, this scene depicts the leader, apparently having just placed an object from some kind of pedestal into his (clearly magical) bag in some kind of treasure vault. Surrounded by wealth, coins and jewels to make even a dragon jealous, the leader teleported away with tears in his eyes as his Mwangi bodyguard was slain, utterly surrounded by four-armed, white apes. Dozens of dead ape-like humanoids surrounded the brave warrior.

Act 5: The lone survivor of the mission, the leader, was seen holding his magical bag aloft in triumph to much older-looking Azlant; stood in a semi-circle around him like some kind of council. Although the image did not produce sound, the wizard seemed to talk the council around after furious debate.

Act 6: These scenes portrayed dozens of Azlant's marching into a newly built structure, clearly this very one, accompanied by hundreds of Mwangi servants. The wizard was with them, at the very front; but he seemed at least a few years older. Once inside, the wizard seemed to be testing the Azlant's skills and abilities, teaching them and training them.

Act 7: A far, far older man, the wizard was seen here speaking with five lieutenants, two of which seemed to be Mwangi rather than Azlant. They seemed to be imploring him not to leave, but his face and gestures were grave. Garbed for adventuring once more, he teleported away. Appearing just outside of the monolithic city once more, he was seen entering it as the scene faded to blackness.

Act 8: This scene seemed to only be present to show the vast passing of time. Hundreds of years flashed by in mere moments, with great battles and Azlant accomplishments visible for the briefest of moments. A new scene seemed to zoom inside the structure once more; and showed a magical gateway of some kind being created and completed. Men, supplies, weapons and animals were continually escorted through the portal. As time passed, the volume of people passing through diminished to a halt.

Act 9: This act depicted a scene of bloody battle inside corridors and grand, ornate rooms; Azlant and Mwangi fighting side by side against other Azlant and Mwangi; some kind of civil war, judging from the similar appearance of both of the sides. The scene came to a halt as the demon-summoning Azlant leader of one side was finally slain.

Act 10: In the aftermath of the battle, those living inside the ancient structure seemed demoralised and near-broken; leaving in some kind of organised exodus. Mages could be seen placing powerful spells upon the structure and surrounding it, while in stark contrast to the exodus from the pyramid, a single Azlant man was displayed being put into what could only be described as some kind of petrification effect, inside one of the rooms of the structure. Frozen like a statue for unknown reasons while his fellows left the structure, his was the last image to be displayed before the walls; and the room's persistent humming- fell silent.

Jakob Downtime Resolution (Epic Success):

Much of the information you find is piecemeal. However, you do manage to locate a written account of ancient folk tales told by a now non-extinct Zenj tribe in eastern Sargava. They speak of the "Ariochites" as the mortal enemies of Angazhan, claiming that their leader and founder, Arioch, struck the greatest blow the Demon Lord Angazhan and the Gorilla Kings had ever felt on the material plane- by "entering the heart of their power and tearing away their greatest treasure and artifact. While the Demon Lord made multiple copies of this mighty prize, all of them paled in power compared to the first of them. The great hero Arioch then sought to destroy this heinous and thoroughly profane instrument of evil, but was never heard from again and was presumed to have fallen".
There is also written evidence that many Mwangi in the past two centuries have alluded to leaving their tribes and joining the Order of Arioch, but these accounts are frustratingly vague. The sheer number of them, however, seems to imply that an organised presence claiming the name is still active in Sargava...

Tebati Downtime Resolution (Success):

Tebati found the answers given to her by the Archons she was able to commune with frustratingly vague. However, one of them seemed to have blessed her with a holy aura of sorts, promising that it would help to protect her from those she sought to combat.
From what she was able to piece together, the term "Angazhanites" was first coined by the Order of Arioch in the Azlant language. Rather than referring merely to worshippers of the Demon Lord, it alluded specifically to those amongst them who had either been subverted by the Demon Lord's promises of true strength and power or used to refer to those among the Ariochites who privately held a differing philosophy than that set out by the Order's founder. The latter often became the former, twisted by the power they sought.

The heart of this philosophical difference was thus- the Order was created to protect something of great power and importance to the Demon Lord. However, there were many within the Order that were subtly manipulated by this something, or simply wished to use its power to further the interests of the Order and of the Azlant. The most vocal proponents of using its power against the Demon Lord often began with the best of intentions; but this divide amongst its members led to civil war; and nearly the dissolution of the Order entirely.

She was assured that the structure was built with the express intent to keep this something locked away from the world. However, Tebati was not certain whether the archons she spoke with were not pushing their own agenda in some way. It felt like they were trying to manipulate her, but she could not put her finger on exactly how.

In a weekly meeting after various activities were completed, the group each made a report on their progress; Ansha causing something of a stir with her new wax golem attending the meeting nude. Kieran having created a means to re-trigger the programmed images in the entrance chamber, the scholar Arturus and his team presented their interpretations of them also-

Arturus Presentation:

Happy to be in his area of expertise and leaving General Morvius to settle the remaining issues surrounding the golem, Arturus explained how he and his scholars had segmented the swirling images into ten separate "acts" and went on to describe them in great detail, adding his team's comments and speculation as he lectured-

The programmed images showed the following acts sequentially, with images swirling and flashing to portray different scenes-

What we appeared to have triggered was a classic Journey story. The scene is set, the protagonist embarks and faces a great deal of danger; returning triumphant. Acts 6 and 7 convinced us we were actually seeing a loose life story of this protagonist- almost certainly the Azlant depicted on the largest statue, in a place of honor in the entrance chamber.

Act 1: The first scene shifted several times to show seven separate battles. Hundreds of Azlant soldiers faced off against hordes of apes and ape-like demons. One particularly large and majestic looking-ape was always present, often in the thick of the fighting. His martial prowess was clearly respected and/or feared by the image's creator. Thousands of smaller monkeys and even some demons were also present in the enemy ranks. In each battle, it seemed the Azlant were able to hold the enemy at bay; but never truly routed them. Interestingly, Arturus managed to spot and identify the Bandu Hills in the background of one of the battles, suggesting Sargava was once under Azlant control. In addition, a few of the battle scenes showed Mwangi warriors being used to support the fighting where it was less thick. The impression given was certainly that the Azlant were defending territory.

From what we've gathered, it seems the Azlant had themselves a sizeable colony in Sargava, at the very least the eastern edge of it. Quite unexpected- there has been, to date, no other archaeological dig site to support this find... The large ape must, of course, be the Gorilla King of that time. He is significantly larger than reports of other Gorilla Kings; likely the illustrator exaggerated his stature.

Act 2: A figure that closely resembled the central statue in the room, perhaps known as Arioch, led a well-armed and diverse group of Azlant's past mighty walls and defensive formations, moving stealthily towards the distant and ancient jungles of the Mwangi Expanse. The group bore a distinct resemblance to a band of adventurers and included a muscular, heavily armoured Mwangi warrior who seemed to be the leader's bodyguard.

Act 3: The small band were engaged in many fierce battles and skirmishes with Ape's and Charau-Ka; often vastly outnumbered, as they seemed to go deeper and deeper into the jungle. The leader seemed to be a powerful magic-user and was often depicted slaying multiple foes. Nevertheless, their numbers dwindled as the members of the company were slain or left surrounded, buying time for the unknown mission. Eventually, only the leader and Mwangi bodyguard were left, as they gazed from hiding upon a monolithic city infested by Gorilla's.

This city is almost certainly the ancient Usaro; domain of the Gorilla King. Records date Usaro as having been founded sometime around six or seven hundred years ago- a gross inaccuracy, according to this story. It must have pre-dated Earthfall... Perhaps protected by powerful magic, as this structure must have been.

Act 4: Apparently having entered the city, this scene depicts the leader, apparently having just placed an object from some kind of pedestal into his (clearly magical) bag in some kind of treasure vault. Surrounded by wealth, coins and jewels to make even a dragon jealous, the leader teleported away with tears in his eyes as his Mwangi bodyguard was slain, utterly surrounded by four-armed, white apes. Dozens of dead ape-like humanoids surrounded the brave warrior.

The treasure vaults of Usaro are legendary even today.

Act 5: The lone survivor of the mission, the leader, was seen holding his magical bag aloft in triumph to much older-looking Azlant; stood in a semi-circle around him like some kind of council. Although the image did not produce sound, the wizard seemed to talk the council around after furious debate.

The protagonist explains his actions to the elder council of his people. A common theme. It seems as though they heard him out and acted upon his words, but thats just our guess. The images are very carefully created so that the contents of this bag are never seen.

Act 6: These scenes portrayed dozens of Azlant's marching into a newly built structure, clearly this very one, accompanied by hundreds of Mwangi servants. The wizard was with them, at the very front; but he seemed at least a few years older. Once inside, the wizard seemed to be testing the Azlant's skills and abilities, teaching them and training them.

We've not been able to establish much about the structure's layout from these scenes unfortunately. They flash through at an extreme speed.

Act 7: A far, far older man, the wizard was seen here speaking with five lieutenants, two of which seemed to be Mwangi rather than Azlant. They seemed to be imploring him not to leave, but his face and gestures were grave. Garbed for adventuring once more, he teleported away. Appearing just outside of the monolithic city once more, he was seen entering it as the scene faded to blackness.

We have come to the conclusion that the Mwangi who lived inside this structure were eventually fully integrated into whatever it was they were doing here. Equality arisen from decades of close proximity, I am sure.

Act 8: This scene seemed to only be present to show the vast passing of time. Hundreds of years flashed by in mere moments, with great battles and Azlant accomplishments visible for the briefest of moments. A new scene seemed to zoom inside the structure once more; and showed a magical gateway of some kind being created and completed. Men, supplies, weapons and animals were continually escorted through the portal. As time passed, the volume of people passing through diminished to a halt.

We... were baffled as to both the inclusion of this scene and of the portal's presence. Perhaps it was a mechanism to another bolt-hole, should this one fall?

Act 9: This act depicted a scene of bloody battle inside corridors and grand, ornate rooms; Azlant and Mwangi fighting side by side against other Azlant and Mwangi; some kind of civil war, judging from the similar appearance of both of the sides. The scene came to a halt as the demon-summoning Azlant leader of one side was finally slain.

As Tebati mentioned- civil war of some kind. It seems these Angazhanites rose up.

Act 10: In the aftermath of the battle, those living inside the ancient structure seemed demoralised and near-broken; leaving in some kind of organised exodus. Mages could be seen placing powerful spells upon the structure and surrounding it, while in stark contrast to the exodus from the pyramid, a single man was displayed being put into what could only be described as some kind of petrification effect, inside one of the rooms of the structure. Frozen like a statue for unknown reasons while his fellows left the structure, his was the last image to be displayed before the walls; and the room's persistent humming- fell silent.

This... Arturus said, his excitement completely apparent. This may be the power that the Grand Custodian spoke of! Perhaps this Azlant still resides in this very room, with much of the knowledge of the First Humans!

A day or so from re-delving, Qhude witnessed a strange sight; an gorilla emerging from the kitchen tents. Stalking it with intention to strike, the ape noticed him too and met him in battle, Qhude charging it and alerting the camp as four more apes emerged from the tents! A full on battle ensued as it quickly transpired that the apes emerging were summoned and a distraction from the Mwangi assault upon the complex. The two pronged attack wounded many and was very close to being a success. Individual feats of heroism, magic and might turned the tide, including Morvius himself joining the fight in his smallclothes, Ansha's golem buying time with its destruction, Jakob charming an ape to turn on its allies, one brave soldier holding a ramp against an entire squad of Mwangi attackers. The bulk of Morvius' forces eventually had the time to form a firing line and devastate the blowdart and javelin reliant Mwangi in ranged combat.

However, unlike many of the encounters on the road, in the Trials and in Freehold men did lose their lives to the cruel attackers, who took the time to slay those they downed rather than focus on the living. Three survivors were taken and seemed to be members of an "Order", reporting to a man called "Chausiku"; apparently hidden amongst the camp and wearing "different skin" to hide himself. Ansha in particular was very suspicious of the oddly charming, self-assured cook Kamishah that N'Bellocq had met outside Freehold. But the man assured the camp of his innocence, allowing his possessions to be searched and making several logical arguments.

Despite numerous tensions in the group that had, at times, almost led to blows, Qhude helped to bond the team together by virtue of a totem, interlocking several items close to the Umkhaya's hearts and minds.

Ancient Pyramid, Level 3 (Mosaic-floored, stylish decor, mixed purpose):

Initial Description, Level 3:

Descending down the stairs, the third level of the structure seemed somehow, less hostile than the second level had been. The second level was clearly a kind of defence gauntlet, repurposed into protective tests for those who would once find the structure again. The third level boasted smoother, polished walls and fine stone mosaic flooring that was colorful and elegant rather than fit for purpose. The corridors were wider and ever burning torches lit the walls, reducing the gloom and darkness that pervaded the apparently abandoned facility. The group had entered a long corridor that led south, with four doors running along it- two on either wall and spaced quite far apart from one another. Metal plaques, their writing having been erased or perhaps long faded, were neatly positioned to the right of every door.

Despite the more welcoming nature of the level though, the veins of red, pulsing magic were still visible; although it seemed they were simultaneously both better concealed (for example, in the corners of the walls or subtly creeping along the upper section of a wall rather than running straight through it) and thicker than before; like veins pumping with blood a little closer to a heart.

Entering the finely decorated third floor, the group immediately discovered four rooms filled with strange apparatus; and doors that apparently could only be opened from the outside.

Rooms Descriptions:

The room itself was bare and unadorned save its one, strange table, with the structure's trademark thick stone walls and featuring a grey, completely metallic floor. It seemed as though it had been designed to be completely uninspiring to the mind. The vein-like lines of magic seemed to all have been focused so as to run discretely underneath the table itself; but unlike in every other place the group had seen them they seemed weak; grey and black and apparently drained of magic in the areas closest to the table, while the veins running further away also seemed diminished.

The table was both extremely interesting and also quite eerie. Also made of metal, it had various inscriptions and runes placed upon its surface; and from one end, a metal apparatus of some kind extended from it like an umbrella, curving away from the table and then pointing back towards it like some threatening weapon. On the same end that the apparatus extended from, a smooth face of metal bore small, neat labels with tiny script written in Azlant alongside levers and buttons.

Apparently, the devices had begun to fail over the centuries. One skeleton was found propped up against the steel reinforced doors, another rose up as an angry spirit after taking his own life. In one of the chambers, the group were surprised to see that the odd table apparatus bore a living Mwangi atop it! Ansha awoke him by flipping a switch, helpfully labelled in Azlant "Awaken". This awoke the confused Akirra, who had limited memories of the time before he awoke.

Akirra Room Description:

Inside, an identical copy of the room formerly explored was revealed by the opening door, with a few noteable changes. One such change was that the veins of magic running through the room did not seem as decayed as the former room. Another was that the metallic device emanated a faint, low-pitched humming sound and vibrated slightly. The especially keen-eyed could even note that the tiny script in Azlant beside the levers and buttons on one end of the sinister looking device bore slightly different words and runes.

But only the blind could miss the room's most obvious change.

Rather than a skeleton propped up against the door- a humanoid being of flesh lay upon the metal table. A faint shield of magical force came out of both sides of the table, surrounding the male's lithe frame. The man's eyes were shut and he appeared completely motionless. He was fairly stocky and his height was a couple of inches over six foot. He looked to be in his mid twenties.

He was garbed in full combat gear and appeared to be an elite scout of sorts, judging from his fine weaponry and armour.

Apparently the exit to this level was self-sealing; with some kind of wall of force preventing any passage back up. Exploring further, the group found a botanical paradise of sorts. They saw what had clearly once been a well maintained, if extremely exotic, garden. Crushed fences and restraints had been thoroughly broken over time by vines, roots and vegetation. The internal walls of the large room were near-covered in different varieties of moss, vine and fungus. The floor was coated in rich, thick soil that served as a home for hundreds of different kinds of plants and trees, of various sizes. It was not immediately obvious how these plants were provided water, or how the soil was kept full of nutrients.

It was clear that this room was once well segregated, with space used efficiently to keep the various plants contained and separated from one another. However, it seemed that it had now been shaped to the designs of something else; a pair of Plantoids; extra-planar creatures not native to the material plane. Hostile, the group were forced to destroy the strange creatures. The room was teeming with magical auras and incredibly, Jakob seemed to be able to will plant life into growth with nothing but concentration in this strange place.

They also found a "Relaxation Chamber", which consisted of nice wooden decking and a swimming pool; essentially a bathhouse of a kind. Just to the north of it, a barracks which boasted freshly washed towels. It also, unfortunately, boasted a tripwire trap and summoned constrictor snakes. Moving swiftly, the creatures near-overwhelmed the group, although Akirra acquitted himself well by slaying two of them. Investigation indicated that an unseen force had triggered the trap via a wall panel; likely the same unseen force that maintained the bedchambers- some kind of Unseen Servant spell perhaps.

A short while later, they stumbled across a traditional classroom. The bookshelves were bare, but desks remained. Everything was neat, orderly and clean; the unseen servants apparently also dusted this room and cleaned it.

Another strange room awaited the explorers on the other side.

Initial Room Description:

Upon opening the door, the group gathered around to look in at the strange, fairly small room within. Entirely metal cast, the cold and alien looking room seemed to be home to two metal tanks full of water, with an open window at the very top of the devices; with a chair affixed between the two devices. These devices seemed to lead to a large, block-like metal device in the corner of the room; which itself was slightly cylindrical in shape and seemed to have a small chute feeding into it from the top. This in turn was also connected to another metal device; akin to a large bathtub and containing water. This water seemed to, somehow, be holding an image- likely a map although it wasn't easy to tell from here. The water was clearly depicting geography of some kind; and littered across the green and brown segments which must surely represent land, bright beacons of light seemed to glisten like stars. On the same bathtub-like device, several levers were affixed to the end closest to the chair. In addition, a single lever of solid metal was affixed close to the door.

It seemed to be an advanced map room of sorts, with Qhude recognising some of the mountains and hills shown on the terrain to be in Sargava. Akirra experimented with levers for a time, forcing the watery images to show another land entirely, but ascertaining little else.

A much larger, grander chamber seemed to be a hall of honours, with just over a dozen statues in all, crafted in exquisite detail. The names and deeds meant little to anyone other than Akirra; who recognised his own father depicted among the honoured dead.

Having had no luck finding the Third Treatise of Arioch, the group tackled the final room barring passage down with more mundane means, triggering a deadly blade trap that they subsequently used to turn two more ambushing wax golems into blended wax. Surviving both the golems and the construct spheres that assaulted them with fire and magical rays from the other side of the room. Kieran in particular helped to foil the ambush, darting nimbly between the spinning blades and swiftly destroying the construct spheres.

Back to the Present-
Progressing further down the stairs, the group found themselves in the level below, apparently penned into a small room with four solid, stone walls on all sides. They were currently debating if they had missed something, or if perhaps the missing "Third Treatise of Arioch" unlocked a further exit. Ansha was unsure if she was dealing with illusionary magic and was inspecting the walls more closely.


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Your Humble Narrator

Rules on drag are a little murky. I'm inclined to go with this but I do note that to perform this from the proposed square Jakob is (albeit briefly) thrusting his spear into the mechanical version of a blade barrier spell. Thus I am going to rule Jakob is performing this from -C,55.

DM Only:

15d6 ⇒ (2, 1, 4, 6, 3, 6, 2, 1, 4, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 2) = 46
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8

Hooking one of the Golems with his spear, Jakob heaved with all of his might and sent the wax Azlant into the dense thicket of whirling blades. The effect was utterly devastating; the density of the blades was such that the Golem, for all of its arcane-bolstered endurance, was torn to shreds in a mere instant; sending globs of wax all over the room and plastering the walls, as well as the room's combatants. The other wax golem frowned in worry at his comrade's fate, apparently possessing emotions or some semblance of them.

Akirra felt a sense of satisfaction as his second arrow struck true despite the cover of the blades, the force of the impact shedding a layer of the sphere's armour and staggering it for a moment.

Ansha's ray unfortunately veered wide, the difficulty of aiming the glob of acid through a wall of blades apparent to her.

Automated Defence

Round 2-

Ordered Initiative-

Kieran- 24
Qhude- 22
Wax Golem- 15
Tebati- 11
Spheres- 9
Jakob- 8
Akirra- 5
Ansha- 2

Active Effects-

Map-

Map (Init 22)

Notes-

The path I mention in narrative is marked out in yellow. It would require a successful acrobatics check to pass through unharmed, failure would invoke a reflex save for half damage (Evasion applies).

The red squares are the denser areas where the blades are too dense to even hope to pass through (and will clearly deal high damage). These areas are dense enough to provide cover though.

Narrative-

Despite his injuries; or perhaps because of them; Kieran's swordsmanship had never felt more on the mark than it had been in this encounter, a wall of blades perilously close and three unfeeling objects seeking his death. Continuously weaving and dodging to avoid deadly rays, Kieran combined the evasive maneuver of a backwards somersault with a deadly outstretched sword; making contact in exactly the spot he had already sabotaged on the construct. Slicing through the bulk of the construct in a clean blow with his upward momentum behind it, by the time Kieran landed neatly the two halves of the marble device had already crashed to the ground, hissing softly as whatever energies powered the contraption failed.

CR4 enemy right there with 43 starting HP. Nice work :).

Qhude is up!


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Your Humble Narrator

The spheres seemed capable of swift movement, moving from their pedestals but not shifting their positions much. Two small flaps opened on each of the constructs, revealing glows underneath that seemed to be their source of vision. Lacking the tactics to avoid the melee combatant or, perhaps, unwilling to give up their position to the swordsman; the three spheres each faced Kieran.

The two bronze spheres briefly lit up with an orange glow before releasing gouts of flame at the Half-Elf, while the marble construct pulsated an dark green before firing a third ray that matched the colour. Deciding to capitalise on the blow already struck and focus on the more unique construct, Kieran swayed in swift motions as he did his best to evade the bolts and strike; twisting with fine agility as his blade lashed out to strike the already exposed internal workings, cogs and rune-etched machinery. His blade ripped through the other end of the sphere with a hissing sound left in its wake, but it survived the sword blow nevertheless. While the simultaneously fired green bolt struck Kieran square in the chest, it seemed to have no effect upon the man; other than to briefly distract him long enough for the two gouts of flame to be directed at the nimble warrior, who was sorely burnt by both rays striking and melting through his clothing and flesh.

Kieran AOO (Base, Critical Threat): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
Kieran AOO (Luck Re-Roll, Ignored): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25
Kieran Critical Confirm (Base, Confirmed): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
Kieran Critical Confirm (Luck Re-Roll, Ignored): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Damage: 2d8 + 6 ⇒ (7, 7) + 6 = 20

Kieran is cutting through AC20 like a hot knife through butter.

Marble Sphere Ranged Touch Attack (Hit): 1d20 + 10 - 4 ⇒ (18) + 10 - 4 = 24
Kieran Fortitude Save (Base): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
Kieran Fortitude Save (Luck Re-Roll): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22

Bronze Sphere Ranged Touch Attack (Hit): 1d20 + 8 - 4 ⇒ (12) + 8 - 4 = 16
Damage (Fire): 1d6 ⇒ 5

Bronze Sphere Ranged Touch Attack (Hit): 1d20 + 8 - 4 ⇒ (11) + 8 - 4 = 15
Damage (Fire): 1d6 ⇒ 4

Kieran takes 9 points of fire damage.

Kieran:

The green ray fired at you by the marble construct confirmed your suspicions that it is the deadliest of the threats here. The ray had attempted to lock your muscles in place, to utterly paralyze you. It would have been a simple matter for the spheres to shunt you into certain death at the hands of the trap's blade-dense sections.

No change in positions from the last map. Jakob, Akirra and Ansha are up.

Sovereign Court

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GM Olmek wrote:

Stupid computer. Second time writing this post. Here goes nothing. :P

Paizo Forums Insurance Policy

No, seriously. Get it. Never lose a post again.

Sovereign Court

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Tacticslion wrote:


Okay, but it'll be terrible, and I'm blaming you! :D

EDIT: There. It's done. You monster.

"The darkest of hearts love nothing more than to corrupt the greatest of good people."

Bwahahahaha......

Sovereign Court

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Just post in the IC man :).

Sovereign Court

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You'll need to dot the IC to get it on your campaigns list.


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Your Humble Narrator

DM Only:

1d20 ⇒ 15

Qhude and Jakob both recognized that the dense garden contained vegetation sufficient to stock a town market; or feed a small army. The variety of plants that grew here seemed to utterly defy the soil that served as the base of the room. Many of them, quite simply, were utterly in the wrong climate to grow, especially without sunlight or water. Swamp and wetland plants flourished alongside vegetables that grew in warm, open fields. The garden was obviously magical and clearly was designed to make the structure quite self-sufficient if needed. This notion was only reinforced further by the pair both noting that plants cut and trampled during the skirmish were already rapidly healing, growing new leaves and vines to replace those cut away. Cutting away some berries from an inexplicable hedge row growing straight out of the north wall, Qhude could see more beginning to form to replace that which he took almost immediately.

Jakob's understanding of this place bordered on the miraculous, however. He saw beyond the basic miracle of what appeared to be a renewable source of food that might yet feed hundreds. He noted not only the dozens of exceedingly rare plants, many of which he had only heard whispers of or seen mentioned in ancient lore, but also understood that rare reagents grew here that made it a herbalist's paradise. A skilled potion brewer could likely make a small fortune here, the gathering of exquisitely rare herbs such as Mandrake and Ravenseern made simple by having them all in a single place.

Some instinct deep within him compelled him that this room held yet one more secret from him though. With no learned knowledge or Lore guiding him at this point, Jakob leant down and simply thought of the plant he had in mind; willing it to grow in the soil he ran his fingers through on some strange, intuitive hunch. He gasped out loud as he felt some strange force pass through him and immediately felt short of breath, as though he had just sprinted half a mile. Staggering back upon the soil, fatigued somehow, he saw that where his hands had been in the soil, a Wolfsbane sprig had already begun to rise up from the soil, willed to grow from the soil by his own thoughts.

Sovereign Court

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That encounter has nothing to do with KM and everything to do with your GM.


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Your Humble Narrator

Hi all. Started the update routine on Friday but then spent the weekend getting my gf back here with me. Should be posting tomorrow, if work isn't too brutal. Sorry for the delay.


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Your Humble Narrator

Ahem... sorry its taking so long. Getting Maptools sorted on new laptop taking far longer than anticipated! I've finally got it sorted... on it now.


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Your Humble Narrator

Posting from phone so forgive the double post. It's not just been a matter of laptop problems. There's been a lot of personal stuff going on as well as a very, very intense period at work. I should have checked in more, definitely. I would actually have already updated this weekend, were it not for a pre-booked weekend trip. New laptop is up and running with files on it: just need to get the maptools working.

It's been difficult to find the mental energy to start updating again, partly because I have so many games on I need to be sure I can maintain pace with all of them.

I'll be updating within 48 hours and should be moving to regularity again. That enough to keep you here Tel?


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Your Humble Narrator

Have every intention of picking this up again this week but if you've lost faith at this point I understand.


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Your Humble Narrator

Ansha's stirring had very little effect on the water. It acted just as water should, with the water splashing and rippling, but the image portrayed upon on it always swiftly reforming itself upon the surface.

Even Qhude struggled to identify the locations of the three points of light within Sargava. One was somewhere near what was now the west coast and another somewhere in the mountains in north-east Sargava. The third lay somewhere to the east, possibly beyond the borders of modern day Sargava. It was difficult to tell as the landscape and geography had obviously changed drastically since then.


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Your Humble Narrator

The Guardians continued to discuss and plan their next move.

Just getting my daily update in.

Sovereign Court

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The black raven wrote:

We all saw the ruckus raised by Dervish Dance because of its focus on a specific weapon (scimitar) and they plan to do it again with the rapier ?

Just make a single feat that covers all light weapons (with appropriate prerequisites and restrictions - i.e., no natural weapons -) and get done with this forever.

This. Seriously, this. I loathe the scimitar and its dominance for finesse combatants.


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Your Humble Narrator

I can't help but imagine a group of some worn-out, rather elderly adventurers, addicted to the effects of the Haste spell after years of over-use and performing tasks for payment in scrolls of Haste.

Sovereign Court

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Graduating today. Posting will be sparse if not non-existent until Saturday.

Sovereign Court

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Looking sleek and sexy, Aeternus.

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Suppose getting 3 spam private messages was always going to happen with my amount of aliases.

Sovereign Court

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ZanThrax wrote:
Is there not a way to disallow, or at least to limit the frequency of new threads being created by new accounts? These bots would be much less disruptive to the boards if they could only create a new thread every six hours or something.

Having read through this whole topic, this seems to be the most sensible suggestion.


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Clearly, the hidden villain of the camp is I, Grand Custodian Utilinus. My nefariousness knows no bounds, the intricacies of my scheming are seamlessly subtle. My crippling weakness for explanatory monologues is the only way you will ever learn the truth!

Sovereign Court

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I do this kind of thing quite a lot in a Kingmaker Play-By-Post. I tend to just use the mass combat system while simultaneously providing an especially deadly group of foes for the PC's to home in on. The last time this happened their army of 50 Hellknights held a bridge against an Undead horde while they flew overhead to engage the undead cyclops' at the centre of the formation. Naturally, the PC's who landed were also subject to many attack rolls and got to slay dozens of foe's with iterative attacks, AOO's and spells if they wished; but the focus was on removing the "elites" that could potentially decimate the regular army in conjunction with a large force.


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Your Humble Narrator

From west to east.

Four of the Mwangi squad upon the west wall fired darts from their blowguns at the two soldiers, seeking to soften them up and perhaps inflict unconsciousness via their poison if the heavily armoured soldiers were difficult to overcome in melee. Two of the darts were excellent shots and managed to strike exposed flesh on both of the men despite the shield wall. The wounds inflicted were minor but did leave both men bleeding. The other two Mwangi yelled out a warcry and ran at the men recklessly with their syringe spears. Their zeal was not matched by their prowess though, and both attackers met with no success against the heavily armoured soldiers.

Blow Gun VS AC20: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Blow Gun VS AC20 (Hit): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Damage: 1d2 ⇒ 2
Fortitude (Fail): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Blow Gun VS AC20: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Blow Gun VS AC20: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
Damage: 1d2 ⇒ 2
Fortitude (Success): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18

Charge Spear: 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 3 + 2 = 7
Charge Spear: 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 3 + 2 = 12

Severely outranged by the soldier's longbows, the two squads of tribal Mwangi attackers were forced to begin descending from the wall, hurling javelins into the throng of soldiers as they came on. The western squad wounded two soldiers with impressively long throws, whilst the eastern squad was closer to the soldiers and their volley was far more deadly by comparison- almost all of their javelins finding their mark and causing damage to the Sargavan ranks. The Sargavan soldiers were generally a tough lot, but several of their number now bore wounds.

Volley (Hit): 1d20 + 4 - 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 - 4 = 16
Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Volley: 1d20 + 4 - 6 ⇒ (14) + 4 - 6 = 12
Volley: 1d20 + 4 - 6 ⇒ (11) + 4 - 6 = 9
Volley: 1d20 + 4 - 6 ⇒ (2) + 4 - 6 = 0
Volley (Hit, Crit Threat): 1d20 + 4 - 6 ⇒ (20) + 4 - 6 = 18
Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Volley (Crit Unconfirmed): 1d20 + 4 - 6 ⇒ (3) + 4 - 6 = 1
Volley: 1d20 + 4 - 6 ⇒ (6) + 4 - 6 = 4

Volley (Hit): 1d20 + 4 - 2 ⇒ (13) + 4 - 2 = 15
Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Volley (Hit): 1d20 + 4 - 2 ⇒ (19) + 4 - 2 = 21
Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Volley (Hit): 1d20 + 4 - 2 ⇒ (14) + 4 - 2 = 16
Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Volley: 1d20 + 4 - 2 ⇒ (3) + 4 - 2 = 5
Volley (Hit): 1d20 + 4 - 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 - 4 = 17
Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2

The stalwart soldier's desperate defence of the other ramp seemed doomed to fail. Parrying one spear and swaying aside from another, a third spear was aggressively jabbed into the man's armpit, darting inside the scale mail and drawing blood- while injecting toxin via the syringe. The man staggered back, but continued to hold his ground, bleeding profusely.

Attack VS AC20: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
Attack VS AC20: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Attack VS AC20 (Hit): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Fortitude (Fail): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9

One of the attackers pursued the soldier at the south-east watch tower- but the soldier there was more than prepared to defend his high ground. He hacked at the attacker as he reached the top rungs of the ladder, stabbing him once and slashing him across the chest. The Mwangi fell back from the ladder in a bloody heap.

Readied Action Attack: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 4 + 1 = 20
Damage: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8

Attack of Opportunity: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 4 + 1 = 23
Damage: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10

Mirroring the tactics of their comrades on the western wall, two of the Mwangi squad upon the east wall fired darts from their blowguns at the two soldiers, seeking to soften them up and perhaps inflict unconsciousness via their poison if the heavily armoured soldiers proved difficult to overcome in melee. One of the darts struck a soldier in the neck while the other hit the very edge of his comrade's scale mail, mere millimetres from the skin of his hand.

The tactic proved more successful on this side of the wall; with one of the spear-armed warriors managing to get his longer weapon past the soldier's sword and shield, stabbing him in the thigh.

Blow Gun VS AC20 (Hit): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Damage: 1d2 ⇒ 1
Fortitude (Fail): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
Blow Gun VS AC20: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19

Charge Spear (Hit): 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 3 + 2 = 20
Damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Fortitude: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Charge Spear (Miss): 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 3 + 2 = 7

Tebati and others are up.


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Your Humble Narrator

Seeing Jakob holding his spear out to ward himself against the ape Qhude was fighting, his own friendly Gorilla struck the ape Qhude fought in the back of the skull with another nasty blow from behind. Another ape fell to the onslaught of Jakob's over-protective monkey.

Jakob Gorilla Attack: 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 5 + 2 = 25
Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8

Tebati's own foe was just as brutal. Her trident batted aside by the badly wounded gorilla, the irrepressible Shamaness had at least one of her ribs cracked by a nasty punch and her face bloodied by another that followed it up.

Attack #1 on Tebati: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Attack #2 on Tebati: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7

Those Inside the Kitchen Tent:

Will: 1d20 + 2 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 2 + 4 = 19

Ansha's humour did not translate well- and the summoned animal resisted her enchantment as a result. Stood just behind the frozen Kieran, Ansha realised that the ape might simply take the time to snap Kieran's neck, as he was completely unable to defend himself.

Advancing on him with Ansha stood just behind his shoulder, Ansha witnessed Kieran's paralyzed body take a brutal smash across the face. While his body did not budge from the blow, the blow left an impressive bruise and seemed to have come close to breaking his neck.

Ansha was sure that the ape was even sentient enough to realise the compulsion placed on it was from her. With no weapon in hand and no especial physical threat coming from her stance, the ape would likely ignore her in favor of slaying Kieran...

Attack on Kieran (Standard Action, Critical Threat): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Attack on Kieran (Standard Action, Critical Confirmed): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Damage: 2d6 + 8 ⇒ (4, 5) + 8 = 17

From the other side of the tent, the horse's panicked whinnies continued to ring out as two more were left in a bloody heap by the incredibly strong apes attacks.

Narrating the actions of the soldiers NOT on the wall first. Then west to east.

The barracks tent flap suddenly burst open as another dozen soldiers, clad in hastily donned chain shirts and clutching their bows, moved into position on the line formation. The volley that came from the massed soldiers was less impressive, as almost all of the men were maneuvering, but their next volley of twenty four arrows would surely take its toll. The six soldiers who did take shots took orders from their officer and focused their fire on the squad at the walls centre, who were exposed after finishing off the soldier defending that entry point. The small volley claimed the life of one of the attackers- the same man that had struck down the Sargavan soldier. The men in the camp seemed keen to avenge their own.

Volley: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Volley (Hit): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Damage: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Volley: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Volley: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
Volley (Hit): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Damage: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Volley: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12

The two soldiers on the west wall blocked the ramp leading down to the camp, having donned their longswords and shields instead of their bows. They formed a two man shield wall, clearly intending to fight back to back if they had to.

The beleaguered soldier took heart from N'bellocq's supporting volley; and also realised that to disengage from melee would likely expose him to missile fire he could not afford to weather. The man continued to fight defensively in his bottleneck, but he could do little more than keep himself from harm as he fought desperately against multiple opponents.

Attack (Defensive Fighting): 1d20 + 4 - 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 - 4 = 4

I swear this particular soldier is a metaphor for Sargava.

The soldier in the south-east watchtower simply took cover, crouching low and ready to stab any attacker brave enough to climb the ladder to reach him. His two allies below formed another shield brotherhood.

The two soldiers running from the north-east and north-west watchtowers respectively continued to maintain their running pace. Far more heavily armoured than the fresh reinforcements in hastily donned chain shirts, the two men realised that their presence could help to turn the tide; even if that very same heavy armour was slowing their running speed significantly.

Conflict in the Camp

Round 7-

Ordered Initiative-

Jakob- 23
Qhude- 22
Attackers- 21
Tebati- 15
N'bellocq- 8
Morvius- 6
Kieran- 5a
Ansha- 5b
Gorillas & Mwangi in Kitchen Tent- 4
Soldiers & Albert's Squad- 4

Active Effects-

Shield of Faith on Kieran
Charm Animal on Jakob's Ape
Longstrider on Tebati
Barkskin on Jakob
N'bellocq 2 perfect strikes used.
Bless on party

Maps-

Link (Camp Overview)

Link (PC Focus)

Link (PC Focus with Token Names (Messy))

Notes-

Its fairly apparent to everyone at this point that the apes have been summoned.

Action-

With two downed soldiers and three downed attackers, along with the reinforcements that had just poured out of the barracks, the early stages of the fight seemed to swing in favor of the camp. However, tt seemed likely that the two isolated shield walls and the lone soldier on the ramp would fall soon though, as well as the man trapped in the watchtower. But on the other hand, Albert's hardened squad had yet to emerge from the barracks as well.


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Male Taldan Bard (Dirge, Sound Striker) 2, HP 15/15, AC 16/15/11, CMD 10, F: +2, R: +4, W: +3, SR7; Init: +1, Perception: +5, Sense Motive: +0, 2/11 BP used, 2/4 Lvl 1 Spells Use

Professor Ahkenaten Unsu Aristedes was a middle-aged, respected professor at the Kitharodian Academy in Oppara; he taught young students about the history of the lower inner sea region; the continent known as Garund. His particular focus was on Osirion and he spoke the language; both modern and ancient. He was also known to be quite a dilettante enchanter; he only had a few spells mastered but there were few among his students who could resist the darkly charismatic professor's tricks. Well liked and making a tidy income in the capital, the Professor sported a proud beard and was known to be a member of a proud and old family; the Aristedes. The fact that the Aristedes had once, long ago, made their fortune in expeditions to Osirion plundering tombs was well concealed and known only to the family and those who pried hard enough into the family's background- usually quietly paid off by Ahkenaten's family.

What was not known, even to those who questioned the family's sudden source of wealth those hundreds of years ago and their rapid acceptance into nobility, was that the whole family still suffered from a mummy's curse; a powerful one that had endured through the centuries, albeit weakening just a little in power every few generations. Always, it was the males of the family that were affected. It was the family's dark secret, and the reason that past middle age, the men of the family were usually seldom seen in public; if at all. They became akin to Spymaster's; acting only through agents or remotely, if not quietly phased out of the family's activities.

The nature of the curse was quite debilitating- and once a male of the family had succumbed to it, it would resurge rapidly, even if magic was used to remove it. It usually started in the late twenties- tiny patches of flesh would necrotize, while not killing the sufferer it would be visually displeasing as it spread. Symptoms varied; as did the speed of the curse's spread. Ahkenaten's great grandfather was said to have lived for over thirty years with the curse; although he had also squandered much of the family's riches on desperate attempts to cure it through magical means. Nothing worked for long. It seemed the bloodline was tainted. The end result was always the same; a full transformation into a foul Ghoul upon a painful death.

Ahkenaten was the first of the bloodline in which the curse had manifested itself in a different way entirely. While his flesh had been left unmarked, the curse seemed to act as some kind of crude defence against magic; any magic at all, in fact. His own body had fought off the undead transformation; but still the curse lingered in the very blood flowing through his veins. It would resist curative magic in the same manner as it would try to resist evocation, transmutation; essentially any school of magic at all.

Ahkenaten's relief as he progressed into his thirties was palpable- the curse showed no signs of ever emerging in him and he sought himself some independence from his overbearing, controlling family. What he earnt as a Professor paled to his brothers and cousins going into the family business (imports and exports of rare antiquities) but he was content and satisfied with the way his life was going as he neared 40.

Like with so many adventurer's, fate suddenly dealt him a cruel hand.

A servant of the family witnessed a foul transformation after Ahkenaten's uncle fell down the stairs in the family home; his demise was sudden compared to the usual process and the family had no time to cover up what the servant saw; a scion of the house of Aristedes transforming into an undead before his very eyes. The servant fled- was followed into a crowded street; and was devoured in plain sight of hundreds of witnesses.

Somewhat detached from his family, Ahkenaten had enough warning upon hearing of the incident to swiftly flee the city; but he did not leave before a messenger from his father found him. This messenger first informed Ahkenaten of what had become of the rest of his family.

The Grand Prince Stavian the 3rd had declared the entire Aristedes family accursed and they were quarantined inside their grand mansion. The family had once been popular and were favored by many before the shocking incident- so the Grand Prince was quietly persuaded to be merciful. Servants were assigned to quietly provide small comforts to the family inside the sealed mansion that was once their favored family home. They had food and drink brought to them through a small delivery hole, as well as newspapers and other small items; but this comfort was clearly meant to simply let them eventually wallow in quarantine until all within had succumbed to the curse; or been slain by one of the family who had. Once they had lived out their natural lifespan, the sealed house would be purged of the Undead and then be reassigned to the state.

The messenger relayed his father's wishes- and warned that more would follow; whether by magical sending or by more mundane means. The Aristedes had no intention of dying quietly in their grand home- and Ahkenaten was obligated, as their only family member not in custody, to attempt to break the ancient curse. His father was convinced the origins of the curse; and thus the key to truly breaking it forever- had its roots in Ancient Osirion. The half-dead city of Wati was the first place that held any promise for tomb exploration and Ahkenaten's notes on his family's past led him to believe that clues might lie there, if not the cure itself.

Ahkenaten has no access to his family's resources, but his family will no doubt continue to make requests of him. He sold his possessions swiftly and garbed himself as an adventurer; armour, shield, a crossbow. Never an especially strong individual, Ahkenaten struggled with the physical weight of his possessions but persevered. His motivation to break the curse stems from his sense of family ties, obligation, guilt that he is the only one to not be sentenced to a horrific death; as well as a latent, grim fascination with the workings of an undead mind that he has only just begun to develop. Very incapable physically, the astute Professor soon realised he would need others to accompany him in these tomb raids; their skills to complement his own. His grasp of enchantment was extremely circumstantial, until he could find a way to apply his magic to the undead somehow. He knew the affinity of his curse had allowed others of his bloodline to do so, decades ago. His father always said that he reminded him of his own grandfather, a powerful enchanter.

I am quite happy for the Professor's keenness to delve one of the tomb's be a "hook" for other party members. He would have been quite charming and flattering to individuals he had approached and very keen to co-operate for mutual gain. He would definitely be one of the founders of a tomb raiding company. Unless people object his invitation to become one of his party could be a default hook.


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Your Humble Narrator

Greg Vaughn pays me one dollar for every PC I kill. Its my cut of his share- he gets 5 dollars for every PC slain in this saga of his.

Hes not paid per page or for word count, or even sales.


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Your Humble Narrator

Wouldn't hurt if Telurion had forayed with at least Arachiel before, if not the others too. We've kind of assumed the group are quite well established and have various members drifting in and out of their troupe. Makes it easier to have replacements when I kill characters (Not an if. This campaign is pretty brutal especially down the line).


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Alexander Kilcoyne's Oread Monk submission. Got inspired by the Stolen Fury campaign trait, which is a very large part of this character's history and motivations.

Andanan Sumna-

Background Story/Appearance-

Bala Sumna was a devout, happy Vudran. A strong, tall young man with ebony black hair, and an especially extravagant beard. Bala took a great deal of pride in his hair; which only made the complete loss of it more painful.

Born into the middle of society, Bala had just exited his teenage years. A little slower than average in his studies, Bala was more devout than scholarly. His relatively simple mind took great pleasure in learning the mantra's of the many hundreds of Vudrani deities, and his family was pleased to see that he would likely be born into a higher caste in his next rebirth. He had, of course, heard of the Inner Sea Region, but he never expected to visit it. He was more than content to live out his life in one of the smaller Impossible Kingdoms- he used his prodigious strength to work as a labourer and split his time between that job and serving in the temple. While he dabbled in martial arts as many Vudran did, he never truly committed to it despite a certain aptitude. At the age of nineteen, Bala could truly say what many in the chaotic continents of Avistan and Garund could not; he was genuinely content with his lot.

Enter Stolen Fury, Andanan's campaign trait.

Alas, it was not to be. His strength and general heartiness of body, combined with a low caste and a simple mind, made him a near-perfect candidate for the demonic-worshipping cultists, whose influence had spread as far as the Impossible Kingdoms. Deceived and kidnapped, Bala had been chosen for a nefarious ritual.

Bala did not truly understand what happened that day in the ritual chamber. His memories of it are somewhat foggy, but he distinctly recalls being tortured with acid upon a stone table. He remembers the howls of frustration, near-drowned out by his own screams of pain- as something clearly went awry. Somehow, the acid and the magic Bala was subjected to did not have the desired effect. Whatever the cultists were hoping for did not come to pass. Bala's swarthy Vudrani skin hardened as his frame grew, enhancing his already potent muscles. His soft, almost curved features gained a hard, chiselled edge to them. Bala literally crystallised, granite rocks spontaneously forming upon his twisted body. His eyes became glazed over with a thin layer of gemstone and he lost his hair in the transformation; his new "skin" now an earthy-grey colour.

His new form at least gave him the strength to break his bonds, and Bala escaped, his rock-like fists shattering many bones in the panicked fight that followed. His hands and forearms left small shards of rock and crystal lodged in his foes bodies, causing tearing and bleeding beyond the mere bludgeoning of his fists.

Re-fluffing Belier's Bite feat essentially, so that Andanan's own rocky texture is what causes the bleed damage.

Although Bala escaped, he was barely able to come to terms with his new form, one he considered, quite frankly, hideous. He instinctively knew he would have no place in the caste-dominated Vudrani society which he was so fond of; he would be treated like a beggar by his own family, cursed or worse. His travels began the very same day he escaped the ritual.

A few years have passed since that day. Bala, now styling himself with an Oread name, Andanan (given to him at a remote monastery in Jalmeray by a reclusive order of those rare earth-touched people); passed the gruelling physical and mental trials they set before him before training him. He has embraced his new life with a calmer, more enlightened outlook, although he kept his last name as an honorific to his Vudrani people. Deeply connected to the natural world, Andanan has become very intuitive and has learnt to channel the elements into his fists; although it takes great concentration on his part. He finds that he has a particular affinity with acid; something common to the Oread's; the human off-shoot race he now seems to have unwillingly joined.

Andanan has taken vows of Truth, Cleanliness, Fasting and Celibacy in order to live a pure life and be rewarded in his next. He is driven and serious in his intent; which has now become clear in his travels. He is not sure what the cultists tried to do to him, but he knows first-hand the evil demon's and their ilk can inflict on unwilling victims. Thus, Andanan has travelled to Mendev; seeking to join the Crusades and serve as best he is able. He gladly pledges himself to a life of service and justice, fighting demons and the chaos they leave behind them in their wake at every opportunity.

Andanan prefers to fight with what Fate gave him; two hardened, stony fists; but he often uses his new-found Oread heritage to enchant pebbles he keeps in a pouch on his person, to be used either with his trusty sling or simply hurled at foes. He carries two Kama upon his belt as well, used more often for helping with harvest's when volunteering as a farm hand to work his way to Mendev than on living foes. He also favours a quarterstaff, having grown accustomed to the traveller's favoured tool during his long journey. A firm believer in being ready for whatever life might throw at him, Andanan carries a surprisingly large array of tools and mundane items in his hefty backpack.

While people do not generally discriminate against Andanan based on his form (as frankly, it is not nearly as unseemly as say a Tiefling's), he nevertheless is still very much uncomfortable in his own skin and a little ashamed.

Refluffing-

As mentioned, both his trait choice (Stolen Fury) and feat choice (Belier's Bite) have been re-fluffed somewhat, but mechanically are untouched. I've tried to leave Stolen Fury reasonably vague in case it has repercussions later in the game.

Crunch/Mechanics-

Andanan's statblock is listed in the following spoiler, as well as fully visible on this profile. Average gold was taken.

Andanan Sumna:

Andanan Sumna
Oread Monk (Monk of the Four Winds, Monk of the Sacred Mountain) 1
LG Medium outsider (native)
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +8
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Defense
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AC 17, touch 16, flat-footed 15 (+1 Dex, +1 natural, +1 dodge, +4 untyped)
hp 10 (1d8+2)
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +6
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Offense
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Speed 20 ft.
Melee dagger +4 (1d4+4/19-20) and
. . kama +4 (1d6+4) and
. . kama +4 (1d6+4) and
. . quarterstaff +4 (1d6+6) and
. . unarmed strike +4 (1d6+4+1d4 bleed)
Ranged sling +1 (1d4+4)
Special Attacks flurry of blows
Spell-Like Abilities
. . 1/day—magic stone
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Statistics
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Str 18, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 5
Base Atk +0; CMB +4; CMD 20
Feats Belier's Bite, Dodge, Elemental Fist, Improved Unarmed Strike
Traits martial manuscript, stolen fury, wisdom in the flesh
Skills Acrobatics +8 (+4 jump), Knowledge (religion) +4, Perception +8, Sense Motive +8
Languages Common, Terran
SQ ac bonus, crystalline form, doubt, monk vows (vow of celibacy, vow of cleanliness, vow of fasting, vow of truth), unarmed strike
Other Gear dagger, kama, kama, quarterstaff, sling, sling bullets (30), backpack, bedroll, belt pouch, blanket, bucket, cooking kit, flask (6), flint and steel, folding chair, grappling hook, rope, sack, sewing needle, shovel, trail rations (6), waterskin, whetstone, 11 GP, 8 SP
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Special Abilities
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AC Bonus +4 The Monk adds his Wisdom bonus to AC and CMD, more at higher levels.
Belier's Bite When you damage an opponent with an unarmed strike, you deal an extra 1d4 bleed damage.
Crystalline Form (1/day) +2 AC against rays. Can deflect a ray 1/day.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Doubt -4 for an hour on any skill or ability check after you fail that type of check
Elemental Fist (1d6) (1/day) You can add 1d6 energy damage to an attack.
Flurry of Blows -1/-1 (Ex) Make Flurry of Blows attack as a full rd action.
Improved Unarmed Strike Unarmed strikes don't cause attacks of opportunity, and can be lethal.
Martial Manuscript +2 to confirm critical hits with Unarmed Strike and Monk weapons.
Stolen Fury +2 trait bonus to CMB vs. Demons
Unarmed Strike (1d6) The Monk does lethal damage with his unarmed strikes.
Vow of Celibacy (+1 Ki) The monk must abstain from all sexual and intimate physical activity. A monk with this vow takes it to an extreme, refusing to even share a room with another person, or sleeping on the opposite side of a camp from other people in a group. A celibate
Vow of Cleanliness (+1 Ki) A monk undertaking this vow must wash daily. He must change into fresh clothes daily or shortly after his robes become dirty. His appearance must be kept immaculate, including either neatly braiding or shaving off his hair (and, for male monks, maint
Vow of Fasting (+1 Ki) The monk eats nothing but rice (or a similar bland, staple food) and drinks nothing but water. On certain days (usually once per month or on a religious holiday), he may eat a small portion of other simple, bland food to maintain proper nutrition. Th
Vow of Truth (+1 Ki) The monk is not allowed to deliberately speak any lies, including bluffing, stating half-truths with the intent to deceive, exaggerating, telling white lies, and so on. This applies to all forms of communication. If presented with circumstances where
Wisdom in the Flesh (Acrobatics) Acrobatics becomes a Wisdom-based, class skill.

Player Details-

I've been active on Paizo forums for about 4/5 years now, running three of my own games. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon :). Timezone is GMT+0 but I keep strange hours so that is not much of a guide.

Mythic Path-

Andanan will go down the Champion mythic path.


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Jakob Mulle wrote:
"An old story from my days in Aroden."

Aha, caught your slip of the tongue! So Aroden had himself reincarnated as a Sargavan... didn't see that coming.

Kieran Markavien wrote:

The half-elf then proceeds to describe the images on the walls as best he can, although he prefers to let the old scholar do most of the talking, seeing as how such things are a little more his area of expertise.

Happy to be in his area of expertise and leaving General Morvius to settle the remaining issues surrounding the golem, Arturus explained how he and his scholars had segmented the swirling images into ten separate "acts" and went on to describe them in great detail, adding his team's comments and speculation as he lectured-

The programmed images showed the following acts sequentially, with images swirling and flashing to portray different scenes-

What we appeared to have triggered was a classic Journey story. The scene is set, the protagonist embarks and faces a great deal of danger; returning triumphant. Acts 6 and 7 convinced us we were actually seeing a loose life story of this protagonist- almost certainly the Azlant depicted on the largest statue, in a place of honor in the entrance chamber.

Act 1: The first scene shifted several times to show seven separate battles. Hundreds of Azlant soldiers faced off against hordes of apes and ape-like demons. One particularly large and majestic looking-ape was always present, often in the thick of the fighting. His martial prowess was clearly respected and/or feared by the image's creator. Thousands of smaller monkeys and even some demons were also present in the enemy ranks. In each battle, it seemed the Azlant were able to hold the enemy at bay; but never truly routed them. Interestingly, Arturus managed to spot and identify the Bandu Hills in the background of one of the battles, suggesting Sargava was once under Azlant control. In addition, a few of the battle scenes showed Mwangi warriors being used to support the fighting where it was less thick. The impression given was certainly that the Azlant were defending territory.

From what we've gathered, it seems the Azlant had themselves a sizeable colony in Sargava, at the very least the eastern edge of it. Quite unexpected- there has been, to date, no other archaeological dig site to support this find... The large ape must, of course, be the Gorilla King of that time. He is significantly larger than reports of other Gorilla Kings; likely the illustrator exaggerated his stature.

Act 2: A figure that closely resembled the central statue in the room, perhaps known as Arioch, led a well-armed and diverse group of Azlant's past mighty walls and defensive formations, moving stealthily towards the distant and ancient jungles of the Mwangi Expanse. The group bore a distinct resemblance to a band of adventurers and included a muscular, heavily armoured Mwangi warrior who seemed to be the leader's bodyguard.

Act 3: The small band were engaged in many fierce battles and skirmishes with Ape's and Charau-Ka; often vastly outnumbered, as they seemed to go deeper and deeper into the jungle. The leader seemed to be a powerful magic-user and was often depicted slaying multiple foes. Nevertheless, their numbers dwindled as the members of the company were slain or left surrounded, buying time for the unknown mission. Eventually, only the leader and Mwangi bodyguard were left, as they gazed from hiding upon a monolithic city infested by Gorilla's.

This city is almost certainly the ancient Usaro; domain of the Gorilla King. Records date Usaro as having been founded sometime around six or seven hundred years ago- a gross inaccuracy, according to this story. It must have pre-dated Earthfall... Perhaps protected by powerful magic, as this structure must have been.

Act 4: Apparently having entered the city, this scene depicts the leader, apparently having just placed an object from some kind of pedestal into his (clearly magical) bag in some kind of treasure vault. Surrounded by wealth, coins and jewels to make even a dragon jealous, the leader teleported away with tears in his eyes as his Mwangi bodyguard was slain, utterly surrounded by four-armed, white apes. Dozens of dead ape-like humanoids surrounded the brave warrior.

The treasure vaults of Usaro are legendary even today.

Act 5: The lone survivor of the mission, the leader, was seen holding his magical bag aloft in triumph to much older-looking Azlant; stood in a semi-circle around him like some kind of council. Although the image did not produce sound, the wizard seemed to talk the council around after furious debate.

The protagonist explains his actions to the elder council of his people. A common theme. It seems as though they heard him out and acted upon his words, but thats just our guess. The images are very carefully created so that the contents of this bag are never seen.

Act 6: These scenes portrayed dozens of Azlant's marching into a newly built structure, clearly this very one, accompanied by hundreds of Mwangi servants. The wizard was with them, at the very front; but he seemed at least a few years older. Once inside, the wizard seemed to be testing the Azlant's skills and abilities, teaching them and training them.

We've not been able to establish much about the structure's layout from these scenes unfortunately. They flash through at an extreme speed.

Act 7: A far, far older man, the wizard was seen here speaking with five lieutenants, two of which seemed to be Mwangi rather than Azlant. They seemed to be imploring him not to leave, but his face and gestures were grave. Garbed for adventuring once more, he teleported away. Appearing just outside of the monolithic city once more, he was seen entering it as the scene faded to blackness.

We have come to the conclusion that the Mwangi who lived inside this structure were eventually fully integrated into whatever it was they were doing here. Equality arisen from decades of close proximity, I am sure.

Act 8: This scene seemed to only be present to show the vast passing of time. Hundreds of years flashed by in mere moments, with great battles and Azlant accomplishments visible for the briefest of moments. A new scene seemed to zoom inside the structure once more; and showed a magical gateway of some kind being created and completed. Men, supplies, weapons and animals were continually escorted through the portal. As time passed, the volume of people passing through diminished to a halt.

We... were baffled as to both the inclusion of this scene and of the portal's presence. Perhaps it was a mechanism to another bolt-hole, should this one fall?

Act 9: This act depicted a scene of bloody battle inside corridors and grand, ornate rooms; Azlant and Mwangi fighting side by side against other Azlant and Mwangi; some kind of civil war, judging from the similar appearance of both of the sides. The scene came to a halt as the demon-summoning Azlant leader of one side was finally slain.

As Tebati mentioned- civil war of some kind. It seems these Angazhanites rose up.

Act 10: In the aftermath of the battle, those living inside the ancient structure seemed demoralised and near-broken; leaving in some kind of organised exodus. Mages could be seen placing powerful spells upon the structure and surrounding it, while in stark contrast to the exodus from the pyramid, a single Azlant man was displayed being put into what could only be described as some kind of petrification effect, inside one of the rooms of the structure. Frozen like a statue for unknown reasons while his fellows left the structure, his was the last image to be displayed before the walls; and the room's persistent humming- fell silent.

This... Arturus said, his excitement completely apparent. This may be the power that the Grand Custodian spoke of! Perhaps this Azlant still resides in this very room, with much of the knowledge of the First Humans!

Jakob Mulle wrote:

After Kieran speaks:
"So that is what you were doing.. It fits with what I was able to patch together. I found some old stories from an eastern Zenj tribe that spoke of "Ariochites" as a tribe opposing the demon lord. The tales say that Arioch, the great hero of the tribe, slipped into '...the heart of their power' and stole Angazan's greatest treasure.
The tales are none too clear about what this treasure was but they say that while the Gorilla kings were able to replace it the copies could not hold a candle to the original."

Indeed, the story told upon the walls of this place seem to match these stories exactly... Perhaps a powerful beast of some kind, maybe even the original ancestor of the High Girallon? It would fit the Ravener King to have an answer to Rovagug's spawn... the scholar speculated.

Jakob Mulle wrote:

"More importantly I kept finding references to Mwangi leaving their tribes to join the 'Order of Arioch'. I cannot be sure if these folks are joining an actual functioning order or if 'joining the order' has become a kind of slang for walking into the bush when life at home gets difficult."

Jakob clears his throat self-consciously.

"Nothing is clear but the written references alone span over two hundred years so something is keeping the phrase alive."

"If the order is still functional then I would expect a visit before too long."

Arturus thought for a moment and then proposed-

Is it at all possible this hostile force of Mwangi who have attacked our camp are the last vestiges of this Order?

Sovereign Court

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Definitely Mirror Image. Without any feat investment at all, you can have a defence far more potent than Crane Wing.

Sovereign Court

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Hayato Ken wrote:

So, after Jason Buhlmans comment i changed my mind.

The feat is perfectly fine after the errata.

Sorry I haven't found this. Link please?

Sovereign Court

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Favourite Your Vote-

3. Change was needed, it's now balanced and acceptable.

Sovereign Court

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Favourite Your Vote-

2. Change was needed, but the feat is now too weak and needs revision.

Sovereign Court

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Favourite Your Vote-

1. Change wasn't needed, it was balanced and acceptable.

Sovereign Court

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No. Trait bonuses don't stack. The latter simply overlaps the former. This character is good at combat maneuvers and particularly good at trip.


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Albert looked on in awe at the trophy Qhude had claimed from the ancient structure; and he was not the only one. Soldiers whistled and gossiped in awe at the clearly incredibly valuable treasure haul. What was going through your minds seemed rather obvious- perhaps there was more inside, missed by the initial explorers...

Reporting back to General Morvius and Arturus, you detail your exploits. Both the General and the sage Arturus in a private debriefing, in the largest of tents. Having seen Qhude drag the magnificent scepter back into camp, Arkus the quartermaster asked politely for permission to inspect and appraise it and did so in the background of the briefing. Cruthoniax was also clearly very interested but was not permitted to enter the debrief.

The pair listened intently to the recounting of the delve, but this did not stop them from interjecting at various points- Arturus was keen to learn as much as he could about the strange veins of magic flowing through the structure and the strange thrumming sound that could be heard inside it. Morvius wanted to know if the candle apparatus had the potential to be weaponized. Both were suitably intrigued by the strange objects and Outsiders the group had encountered and they were both disappointed to find that progress had been blocked. Morvius summed up his thoughts at the end of the briefing.

You have exceeded my expectations- even to enter and return is more than my trained soldiers were able to do. I am sorry to hear of their fate. It does seem strange that they did not strike down even one of these wax men you mention; and strange that they are fashioned as Azlant, judging from your description. Much about this place is strange, but it is clear that we are likely to find greater wonders and power inside; power that Sargava direly needs. I feel you have deserved some frankness from myself and the Grand Custodian...

Arkus stopped his appraisal to scowl at Morvius. The scowl was noted but ignored. Passion entered Morvius' voice as he continued, near imploring in his tone.

And this frankness is thus; Sargava's very existence may hinge on whatever we are able to find and utilise within this place. Despite the lower tribute the Custodian was able to negotiate with the Hurricane King, Sargava's financial ruin is upon us. We can take no more credit, The coffers are near-empty. Do not mistake this for a simple economic disaster however... he grimly warned, raising a hand as he paced back and forth in the tent, as though giving a lecture.

We are barely holding Kalabuto in the east against the Mzali; and pirates are flocking to our coasts to raid; sponsored by the Hurricane King because we are behind on our payments. The Bandu are becoming even more of a menace. Perhaps even worse; we've recently began to receive reports of a force of the Gorilla King's forces pushing west towards us. Without more wealth to maintain and expand our forces; or enough power as a substitute for it- Sargava will soon collapse in on itself. Colonial or tribesman, it won't matter once the vultures descend... Sargava will be picked clean and neither the cities nor the tribes have the unity or power necessary to thrive. A time of great strife will encompass this land. Utilinis would like to avoid this; as would I. We would make Sargava strong again; worthy of the independence our ancestors, both Mwangi and Chelish, worked so hard for.

The passion left Morvius' voice as he assumed the role of taskmaster again, hands clasped behind his straight-arched back as he addressed the group after a brief and quiet conversation with his quartermaster. During the conversation, the group were invited to sit, eat and drink while camp followers brought sundry in for them.

Arkus has appraised the scepter. He will be travelling to Eleder to make contact with some intermediaries, who as I understand it will travel to Absalom and sell it there; under his supervision. He will be able to acquire near-anything you desire within your price limit. We are, quite naturally, re-investing much of the profit on this item back into equipment for you, while some shall be used for critical replenishment of Sargava's coffers. Your share each comes to nine thousand and five hundred gold pieces or equivalent, so I have been told. Arkus will provide coinage if you do not spend all of your share. I hope that this scepter is a mere bauble compared to what you will find deeper; a collector's item though it surely is.

Now, to matters at hand. Obviously your delve must continue at its earliest opportunity. We'll be moving some of our operation into the upper level of the structure and we shall send work crews down from there. I have sent for a master architect to ensure that the process of removing the debris you have mentioned is as safe and efficient as possible; and perhaps the man will have other insights as to the structure and its purpose. Nevertheless, the process could take weeks... We'll soon discuss what you could do to keep yourselves busy here; theres plenty of work to be done. I'd certainly be keen to see if you could discover the source of these native attacks that have been harassing us- but I digress. My first question for you is thus-

Do you have any recommendations or inclinations as to what to do with these skeletons you mentioned? I am likely to destroy them or seal them in... they will make the workers uneasy. And who knows what might set them off, or how powerful they might be, if they are animated! I would pose the same question as to the frozen apes you mentioned...

Sovereign Court

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My personal house rule is to give them a better trade-off for Deadly Aim. -1/+3 rather than -1/+2 as per other ranged weapons.


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Male Hobgoblin Cavalier 1 (Fell Rider)

Lol... This damn frog again! Would you believe it, this bloody animal put down my rogue as well (also left Branderscar with no hp damage, the frog critted him into heavy negatives in surprise round). Looks like this time I get to be swallowed...


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Male Hobgoblin Cavalier 1 (Fell Rider)

DM:

I can roll with it if your uncomfortable with the retcon though. Just want it clarified, at the least for future :).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

AK's Oread Monk submission. Got inspired by the Stolen Fury campaign trait, which is a very large part of this character's history and motivations.

Andanan Sumna-

Background Story/Appearance-

Bala Sumna was a devout, happy Vudran. A strong, tall young man with ebony black hair, and an especially extravagant beard. Bala took a great deal of pride in his hair; which only made the complete loss of it more painful.

Born into the middle of society, Bala had just exited his teenage years. A little slower than average in his studies, Bala was more devout than scholarly. His relatively simple mind took great pleasure in learning the mantra's of the many hundreds of Vudrani deities, and his family was pleased to see that he would likely be born into a higher caste in his next rebirth. He had, of course, heard of the Inner Sea Region, but he never expected to visit it. He was more than content to live out his life in one of the smaller Impossible Kingdoms- he used his prodigious strength to work as a labourer and split his time between that job and serving in the temple. While he dabbled in martial arts as many Vudran did, he never truly committed to it despite a certain aptitude. At the age of nineteen, Bala could truly say what many in the chaotic continents of Avistan and Garund could not; he was genuinely content with his lot.

Enter Stolen Fury, Andanan's campaign trait.

Alas, it was not to be. His strength and general heartiness of body, combined with a low caste and a simple mind, made him a near-perfect candidate for the demonic-worshipping cultists, whose influence had spread as far as the Impossible Kingdoms. Deceived and kidnapped, Bala had been chosen for a nefarious ritual.

Bala did not truly understand what happened that day in the ritual chamber. His memories of it are somewhat foggy, but he distinctly recalls being tortured with acid upon a stone table. He remembers the howls of frustration, near-drowned out by his own screams of pain- as something clearly went awry. Somehow, the acid and the magic Bala was subjected to did not have the desired effect. Whatever the cultists were hoping for did not come to pass. Bala's swarthy Vudrani skin hardened as his frame grew, enhancing his already potent muscles. His soft, almost curved features gained a hard, chiselled edge to them. Bala literally crystallised, granite rocks spontaneously forming upon his twisted body. His eyes became glazed over with a thin layer of gemstone and he lost his hair in the transformation; his new "skin" now an earthy-grey colour.

His new form at least gave him the strength to break his bonds, and Bala escaped, his rock-like fists shattering many bones in the panicked fight that followed. His hands and forearms left small shards of rock and crystal lodged in his foes bodies, causing tearing and bleeding beyond the mere bludgeoning of his fists.

Re-fluffing Belier's Bite essentially, so that Andanan's own rocky texture is what causes the bleed damage.

Although Bala escaped, he was barely able to come to terms with his new form, one he considered, quite frankly, hideous. He instinctively knew he would have no place in the caste-dominated Vudrani society which he was so fond of; he would be treated like a beggar by his own family, cursed or worse. His travels began the very same day he escaped the ritual.

A few years have passed since that day. Bala, now styling himself with an Oread name, Andanan (given to him at a remote monastery in Jalmeray by a reclusive order of those rare earth-touched people); passed the gruelling physical and mental trials they set before him before training him. He has embraced his new life with a calmer, more enlightened outlook, although he kept his last name as an honorific to his Vudrani people. Deeply connected to the natural world, Andanan has become very intuitive and has learnt to channel the elements into his fists; although it takes great concentration on his part. He finds that he has a particular affinity with acid; something common to the Oread's; the human off-shoot race he now seems to have unwillingly joined.

Andanan has taken vows of Truth, Cleanliness, Fasting and Celibacy in order to live a pure life and be rewarded in his next. He is driven and serious in his intent; which has now become clear in his travels. He is not sure what the cultists tried to do to him, but he knows first-hand the evil demon's and their ilk can inflict on unwilling victims. Thus, Andanan has travelled to Mendev; seeking to join the Crusades and serve as best he is able. He gladly pledges himself to a life of service and justice, fighting demons and the chaos they leave behind them in their wake at every opportunity.

Andanan prefers to fight with what Fate gave him; two hardened, stony fists; but he often uses his new-found Oread heritage to enchant pebbles he keeps in a pouch on his person, to be used either with his trusty sling or simply hurled at foes. He carries two Kama upon his belt as well, used more often for helping with harvest's when volunteering as a farm hand to work his way to Mendev than on living foes. He also favours a quarterstaff, having grown accustomed to the traveller's favoured tool during his long journey. A firm believer in being ready for whatever life might throw at him, Andanan carries a surprisingly large array of tools and mundane items in his hefty backpack.

While people do not generally discriminate against Andanan based on his form (as frankly, it is not nearly as unseemly as say a Tiefling's), he nevertheless is still very much uncomfortable in his own skin and a little ashamed.

Refluffing-

As mentioned, both his trait choice (Stolen Fury) and feat choice (Belier's Bite) have been re-fluffed somewhat, but mechanically are untouched. I've tried to leave Stolen Fury reasonably vague in case it has repercussions later in the game.

Crunch/Mechanics-

Andanan's statblock is listed in the following spoiler, as well as fully visible on this profile.

Andanan Sumna:

Andanan Sumna
Oread Monk (Monk of the Four Winds, Monk of the Sacred Mountain) 1
LG Medium outsider (native)
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +8
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 17, touch 16, flat-footed 15 (+1 Dex, +1 natural, +1 dodge, +4 untyped)
hp 10 (1d8+2)
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +6
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 20 ft.
Melee dagger +4 (1d4+4/19-20/×2) and
. . kama +4 (1d6+4/×2) and
. . kama +4 (1d6+4/×2) and
. . quarterstaff +4 (1d6+6/×2) and
. . unarmed strike +4 (1d6+4/×2+1d4 bleed)
Ranged sling +1 (1d4+4/×2)
Special Attacks flurry of blows
Spell-Like Abilities
. . 1/day—magic stone
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 5
Base Atk +0; CMB +4; CMD 20
Feats Belier's Bite, Dodge, Elemental Fist, Improved Unarmed Strike
Traits stolen fury, wisdom in the flesh
Skills Acrobatics +8 (+4 jump), Knowledge (religion) +4, Perception +8, Sense Motive +8
Languages Common, Terran
SQ ac bonus, crystalline form, monk vows (vow of celibacy [+1 ki], vow of cleanliness [+1 ki], vow of fasting [+1 ki], vow of truth [+1 ki]), unarmed strike
Other Gear Dagger, Kama, Kama, Quarterstaff, Sling, Sling bullets (30), Backpack (19 @ 43.5 lbs), Bedroll, Belt pouch (36 @ 31 lbs), Blanket, Bucket (empty), Cooking kit, Flask (6), Flint and steel, Folding chair, Grappling hook, Rope, Sack (empty), Sewing needle, Shovel, Trail rations (6), Waterskin, Whetstone, 11 GP, 8 SP
--------------------
Special Abilities
--------------------
AC Bonus +4 The Monk adds his Wisdom bonus to AC and CMD, more at higher levels.
Belier's Bite When you damage an opponent with an unarmed strike, you deal an extra 1d4 bleed damage.
Crystalline Form (1/day) +2 AC against rays. Can deflect a ray 1/day.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Elemental Fist (1d6) (1/day) You can add 1d6 energy damage to an attack.
Flurry of Blows -1/-1 (Ex) Make Flurry of Blows attack as a full rd action.
Improved Unarmed Strike Unarmed strikes don't cause attacks of opportunity, and can be lethal.
Stolen Fury +2 trait bonus to CMB vs. Demons
Unarmed Strike (1d6) The Monk does lethal damage with his unarmed strikes.
Vow of Celibacy (+1 Ki) The monk must abstain from all sexual and intimate physical activity. A monk with this vow takes it to an extreme, refusing to even share a room with another person, or sleeping on the opposite side of a camp from other people in a group. A celibate
Vow of Cleanliness (+1 Ki) A monk undertaking this vow must wash daily. He must change into fresh clothes daily or shortly after his robes become dirty. His appearance must be kept immaculate, including either neatly braiding or shaving off his hair (and, for male monks, maint
Vow of Fasting (+1 Ki) The monk eats nothing but rice (or a similar bland, staple food) and drinks nothing but water. On certain days (usually once per month or on a religious holiday), he may eat a small portion of other simple, bland food to maintain proper nutrition. Th
Vow of Truth (+1 Ki) The monk is not allowed to deliberately speak any lies, including bluffing, stating half-truths with the intent to deceive, exaggerating, telling white lies, and so on. This applies to all forms of communication. If presented with circumstances where
Wisdom in the Flesh (Acrobatics) Acrobatics becomes a Wisdom-based, class skill.

Player Details-

I've been active on Paizo forums for about 3/4 years now, running three of my own games. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon :). Timezone is GMT+0 but I keep strange hours so that is not much of a guide.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

AK's Oread Monk submission. Note I'd love to be able to give him the Sacred Mountain archetype in addition to Four Winds as it fits the character nicely. Got inspired by the Stolen Fury campaign trait, which is a very large part of this character's history and motivations.

Andanan Sumna-

Background Story/Appearance-

Bala Sumna was a devout, happy Vudran. A strong, tall young man with ebony black hair, and an especially extravagant beard. Bala took a great deal of pride in his hair; which only made the complete loss of it more painful.

Born into the middle of society, Bala had just exited his teenage years. A little slower than average in his studies, Bala was more devout than scholarly. His relatively simple mind took great pleasure in learning the mantra's of the many hundreds of Vudrani deities, and his family was pleased to see that he would likely be born into a higher caste in his next rebirth. He had, of course, heard of the Inner Sea Region, but he never expected to visit it. He was more than content to live out his life in one of the smaller Impossible Kingdoms- he used his prodigious strength to work as a labourer and split his time between that job and serving in the temple. While he dabbled in martial arts as many Vudran did, he never truly committed to it despite a certain aptitude. At the age of nineteen, Bala could truly say what many in the chaotic continents of Avistan and Garund could not; he was genuinely content with his lot.

Enter Stolen Fury, Andanan's campaign trait.

Alas, it was not to be. His strength and general heartiness of body, combined with a low caste and a simple mind, made him a near-perfect candidate for the demonic-worshipping cultists, whose influence had spread as far as the Impossible Kingdoms. Deceived and kidnapped, Bala had been chosen for a nefarious ritual.

Bala did not truly understand what happened that day in the ritual chamber. His memories of it are somewhat foggy, but he distinctly recalls being tortured with acid upon a stone table. He remembers the howls of frustration, near-drowned out by his own screams of pain- as something clearly went awry. Somehow, the acid and the magic Bala was subjected to did not have the desired effect. Whatever the cultists were hoping for did not come to pass. Bala's swarthy Vudrani skin hardened as his frame grew, enhancing his already potent muscles. His soft, almost curved features gained a hard, chiselled edge to them. Bala literally crystallised, granite rocks spontaneously forming upon his twisted body. His eyes became glazed over with a thin layer of gemstone and he lost his hair in the transformation; his new "skin" now an earthy-grey colour.

His new form at least gave him the strength to break his bonds, and Bala escaped, his rock-like fists shattering many bones in the panicked fight that followed. His hands and forearms left small shards of rock and crystal lodged in his foes bodies, causing tearing and bleeding beyond the mere bludgeoning of his fists.

Re-fluffing Belier's Bite essentially, so that Andanan's own rocky texture is what causes the bleed damage.

Although Bala escaped, he was barely able to come to terms with his new form, one he considered, quite frankly, hideous. He instinctively knew he would have no place in the caste-dominated Vudrani society which he was so fond of; he would be treated like a beggar by his own family, cursed or worse. His travels began the very same day he escaped the ritual.

A few years have passed since that day. Bala, now styling himself with an Oread name, Andaran (given to him at a remote monastery in Jalmeray by a reclusive order of those rare earth-touched people); passed the gruelling physical and mental trials they set before him before training him. He has embraced his new life with a calmer, more enlightened outlook, although he kept his last name as an honorific to his Vudrani people. Deeply connected to the natural world, Andaran has become very intuitive and has learnt to channel the elements into his fists; although it takes great concentration on his part. He finds that he has a particular affinity with acid; something common to the Oread's; the human off-shoot race he now seems to have unwillingly joined.

Andaran has taken vows of Truth, Cleanliness, Fasting and Celibacy in order to live a pure life and be rewarded in his next. He is driven and serious in his intent; which has now become clear in his travels. He is not sure what the cultists tried to do to him, but he knows first-hand the evil demon's and their ilk can inflict on unwilling victims. Thus, Andaran has travelled to Mendev; seeking to join the Crusades and serve as best he is able. He gladly pledges himself to a life of service and justice, fighting demons and the chaos they leave behind them in their wake at every opportunity.

Andaran prefers to fight with what Fate gave him; two hardened, stony fists; but he often uses his new-found Oread heritage to enchant pebbles he keeps in a pouch on his person, to be used either with his trusty sling or simply hurled at foes. He carries two Kama upon his belt as well, used more often for helping with harvest's when volunteering as a farm hand to work his way to Mendev than on living foes. He also favours a quarterstaff, having grown accustomed to the traveller's favoured tool during his long journey. A firm believer in being ready for whatever life might throw at him, Andaran carries a surprisingly large array of tools and mundane items in his hefty backpack.

Refluffing-

As mentioned, both his trait choice (Stolen Fury) and feat choice (Belier's Bite) have been re-fluffed somewhat, but mechanically are untouched. I've tried to leave Stolen Fury reasonably vague in case it has repercussions later in the game.

Second Archetype Request-

Its not a deal breaker for me by any means, but i'd love to be able to use the Monk of the Sacred Mountain archetype as well as Four Winds (they stack with no problems). It primarily replaces evasion with rather more stoic abilities such as Toughness feat, a natural armour bonus and DR. I think these abilities are far more fitting fluff-wise for a living hunk of rock than imagining him leaping away from fireballs. At level 1 there is absolutely no difference between the two archetypes anyway.

Crunch/Mechanics-

Andaran's statblock is listed in the following spoiler, as well as fully visible on this profile.

Andaran Sumna:

Andaran Sumna
Oread Monk (Monk of the Four Winds) 1
LN Medium outsider (native)
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +8
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 17, touch 16, flat-footed 15 (+1 Dex, +1 natural, +1 dodge, +4 untyped)
hp 11 (1d8+3)
Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +6
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 20 ft.
Melee dagger +4 (1d4+4/19-20/×2) and
. . kama +4 (1d6+4/×2) and
. . kama +4 (1d6+4/×2) and
. . quarterstaff +4 (1d6+6/×2) and
. . unarmed strike +4 (1d6+4/×2+1d4 bleed)
Ranged sling +1 (1d4+4/×2)
Special Attacks flurry of blows
Spell-Like Abilities
. . 1/day—magic stone
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 18, Cha 8
Base Atk +0; CMB +4; CMD 20
Feats Belier's Bite, Dodge, Elemental Fist, Improved Unarmed Strike
Traits stolen fury, wisdom in the flesh
Skills Acrobatics +8 (+4 jump), Perception +8, Sense Motive +8
Languages Common, Terran
SQ ac bonus, crystalline form, monk vows (vow of celibacy [+1 ki], vow of cleanliness [+1 ki], vow of fasting [+1 ki], vow of truth [+1 ki]), unarmed strike
Other Gear Dagger, Kama, Kama, Quarterstaff, Sling, Sling bullets (30), Backpack (19 @ 43.5 lbs), Bedroll, Belt pouch (36 @ 31 lbs), Blanket, Bucket (empty), Cooking kit, Flask (6), Flint and steel, Folding chair, Grappling hook, Rope, Sack (empty), Sewing needle, Shovel, Trail rations (6), Waterskin, Whetstone, 11 GP, 8 SP
--------------------
Special Abilities
--------------------
AC Bonus +4 The Monk adds his Wisdom bonus to AC and CMD, more at higher levels.
Belier's Bite When you damage an opponent with an unarmed strike, you deal an extra 1d4 bleed damage.
Crystalline Form (1/day) +2 AC against rays. Can deflect a ray 1/day.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Elemental Fist (1d6) (1/day) You can add 1d6 energy damage to an attack.
Flurry of Blows -1/-1 (Ex) Make Flurry of Blows attack as a full rd action.
Improved Unarmed Strike Unarmed strikes don't cause attacks of opportunity, and can be lethal.
Stolen Fury +2 trait bonus to CMB vs. Demons
Unarmed Strike (1d6) The Monk does lethal damage with his unarmed strikes.
Vow of Celibacy (+1 Ki) The monk must abstain from all sexual and intimate physical activity. A monk with this vow takes it to an extreme, refusing to even share a room with another person, or sleeping on the opposite side of a camp from other people in a group. A celibate
Vow of Cleanliness (+1 Ki) A monk undertaking this vow must wash daily. He must change into fresh clothes daily or shortly after his robes become dirty. His appearance must be kept immaculate, including either neatly braiding or shaving off his hair (and, for male monks, maint
Vow of Fasting (+1 Ki) The monk eats nothing but rice (or a similar bland, staple food) and drinks nothing but water. On certain days (usually once per month or on a religious holiday), he may eat a small portion of other simple, bland food to maintain proper nutrition. Th
Vow of Truth (+1 Ki) The monk is not allowed to deliberately speak any lies, including bluffing, stating half-truths with the intent to deceive, exaggerating, telling white lies, and so on. This applies to all forms of communication. If presented with circumstances where
Wisdom in the Flesh (Acrobatics) Acrobatics becomes a Wisdom-based, class skill.

Player Details-

I've been active on Paizo forums for about 3/4 years now, running three of my own games. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon :). Timezone is GMT+0 but I keep strange hours so that is not much of a guide.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Your Humble Narrator

I am going to get much more aggressive with the botting of players soon. This round i've been a lot more lenient because my router broke and i'm waiting on it to be repaired. Managing to use my iPad as a wifi hotspot but thats only going to last until tomorrow.

I've said it before, i'm really sold on this campaign. If your not feeling it, I do completely understand (and will accept both critiscism and the fact that perhaps its not well suited to PbP format) but I am going to try to push on and keep momentum going. I recall the excitement I had playing Legacy of Fire under Dan E and I think a lot of it was to do with the continual momentum of the game.

Lack of momentum is a game killer, frankly. If we can't manage 1 post a day even for a combat round with 5 people waiting, we're doing this wrong. I (router problems notwithstanding) have the time to make frequent updates but I can't really do so when i'm waiting on players so often.

Of course, RL happens; and i'm especially sympathetic with illness, travel etc- but do try and let me know you'll need botting in this period.

I recently read Painlord's Building a Better Doomed Hero topic, which is a guide to PbP built off the truly excellent topic made by Doomed Hero (Link). His anecdote Always be Pushing strikes particularly true; its not purely down to the DM to be giving the game momentum. We're all in this together :).

Edit: Please forgive me if i'm being too pushy on this but after having to pretty much drag it kicking and screaming out of Aron (aka Overfiend/Lord Vincent) that he was not enjoying the game I feel the need to make things clear... If someone is not having fun they are under no obligation to keep playing- i'm having a great time DMing for everyone and i'd rather lose a player who is not enjoying themselves than make them feel obliged to continue to play. I feel PbP is the richest role-playing format there is and when it goes well it is incredibly rewarding.

Sovereign Court

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Personally I just have my campaigns page bookmarked for convenience.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Your Humble Narrator

With expert marksmanship, N'bellocq's arrow cut the top of the candle off and it fell quietly to the floor, the flame sputtering out as it landed.

Meanwhile, Qhude heaved the extremely heavy, valuable scepter from the statue; near-staggering under its weight.

Sovereign Court

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Presenting "Gruurk", the savage Half-Orc Barbarian from Belkzen.

Stat Rolls-

4d6 Stat Roll #1: 4d6 ⇒ (2, 3, 4, 2) = 11= 9
4d6 Stat Roll #2: 4d6 ⇒ (1, 5, 1, 2) = 9= 8
4d6 Stat Roll #3: 4d6 ⇒ (5, 5, 2, 6) = 18= 16
4d6 Stat Roll #4: 4d6 ⇒ (2, 3, 4, 5) = 14= 13
4d6 Stat Roll #5: 4d6 ⇒ (2, 6, 6, 3) = 17= 14
4d6 Stat Roll #6: 4d6 ⇒ (6, 5, 4, 4) = 19= 15

HP Rolls-

Level #2: 1d12 ⇒ 2
Level #3: 1d12 ⇒ 5
Level #4: 1d12 ⇒ 12
Level #5: 1d12 ⇒ 8
Level #6: 1d12 ⇒ 10
Level #7: 1d12 ⇒ 9

While Raging:

Gruurk
Half-Orc Barbarian (Invulnerable Rager) 7
CG Medium Humanoid (human, orc)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 16 (+8 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 128 (7d12+70)
Fort +14 (+4 vs. hot or cold environments and to resist damage from suffocation), Ref +5, Will +6
DR 3/—, 6/lethal; Resist fire 1, extreme endurance (fire)
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 Furious Spiked chain +16/+11 (2d4+12/x2) and
. . Bite (Tusked) +8 (1d4+3/x2) and
. . Masterwork Dagger +14/+9 (1d4+6/19-20/x2)
Special Attacks rage (21 rounds/day)
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 22, Dex 14, Con 26, Int 9, Wis 13, Cha 8
Base Atk +7; CMB +13; CMD 23
Feats Born Alone, Diehard, Endurance (Shaman's Apprentice), Raging Vitality, Toughness +7
Traits Linebreaker (Belkzen), Tusked
Skills Acrobatics -1, Climb +13, Escape Artist -1, Fly -1, Perception +11, Ride -1, Stealth -1, Swim +13 (+17 to resist nonlethal damage from exhaustion)
Languages Common, Orc
SQ fast movement +10, rage powers (guarded life, guarded life, greater, guarded stance +2 [8 rds])
Other Gear +2 Breastplate, +1 Furious Spiked chain, Masterwork Dagger, Belt of physical might (Str & Con +2), Backpack, masterwork (empty), Bedroll, Blanket, winter, Crowbar, Skeleton key, Tent, small, Waterskin, Wrist sheath, spring loaded (1 @ 1 lbs), 369 GP, 4 SP
--------------------
Special Abilities
--------------------
Born Alone Gain temporary HP equal to Con bonus until next turn when you drop an opponent.
Damage Reduction (3/-) You have Damage Reduction against all attacks.
Damage Reduction (6/lethal) You have Damage Reduction against non-lethal damage
Damage Resistance, Fire (1) You have the specified Damage Resistance against Fire attacks.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Diehard You are stable and can choose how to act when at negative Hp.
Endurance (Shaman's Apprentice) +4 to a variety of skill checks. Sleep in L/M armor with no fatigue.
Extreme Endurance (Fire) (Ex) At 3rd level, the invulnerable rager is inured to either hot or cold climate effects (choose one) as if using endure elements. In addition, the barbarian gains 1 point of fire or cold resistance for every three levels beyond 3rd. This ability
Fast Movement +10 (Ex) +10 feet to speed, unless heavily loaded.
Guarded Life (14 hp) (Ex) If reduced below 0 hp, convert some damage to non-lethal and auto-stabilize.
Guarded Stance +2 (8 rds) (Ex) Gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC vs. melee attacks while raging.
Linebreaker (Belkzen) When charging, add 10 feet to your base speed.
Rage (21 rounds/day) (Ex) +4 Str, +4 Con, +2 to Will saves, -2 to AC when enraged.
Raging Vitality +2 CON while raging, Rage does not end if you become unconscious.
Skeleton key Use a +10 Disable Device for one try to open a lock.

While Not Raging:

Gruurk
Half-Orc Barbarian (Invulnerable Rager) 7
CG Medium Humanoid (human, orc)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18 (+8 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 107 (7d12+49)
Fort +11 (+4 vs. hot or cold environments and to resist damage from suffocation), Ref +5, Will +4
DR 3/—, 6/lethal; Resist fire 1, extreme endurance (fire)
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 Furious Spiked chain +12/+7 (2d4+7/x2) and
. . Bite (Tusked) +6 (1d4+2/x2) and
. . Masterwork Dagger +12/+7 (1d4+4/19-20/x2)
Special Attacks rage (21 rounds/day)
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 18, Dex 14, Con 20, Int 9, Wis 13, Cha 8
Base Atk +7; CMB +11; CMD 23
Feats Born Alone, Diehard, Endurance (Shaman's Apprentice), Raging Vitality, Toughness +7
Traits Linebreaker (Belkzen), Tusked
Skills Acrobatics -1, Climb +11, Escape Artist -1, Fly -1, Perception +11, Ride -1, Stealth -1, Swim +11 (+15 to resist nonlethal damage from exhaustion)
Languages Common, Orc
SQ fast movement +10, rage powers (guarded life, guarded life, greater, guarded stance +2 [5 rds])
Other Gear +2 Breastplate, +1 Furious Spiked chain, Masterwork Dagger, Belt of physical might (Str & Con +2), Backpack, masterwork (empty), Bedroll, Blanket, winter, Crowbar, Skeleton key, Tent, small, Waterskin, Wrist sheath, spring loaded (1 @ 1 lbs), 369 GP, 4 SP
--------------------
Special Abilities
--------------------
Born Alone Gain temporary HP equal to Con bonus until next turn when you drop an opponent.
Damage Reduction (3/-) You have Damage Reduction against all attacks.
Damage Reduction (6/lethal) You have Damage Reduction against non-lethal damage
Damage Resistance, Fire (1) You have the specified Damage Resistance against Fire attacks.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Diehard You are stable and can choose how to act when at negative Hp.
Endurance (Shaman's Apprentice) +4 to a variety of skill checks. Sleep in L/M armor with no fatigue.
Extreme Endurance (Fire) (Ex) At 3rd level, the invulnerable rager is inured to either hot or cold climate effects (choose one) as if using endure elements. In addition, the barbarian gains 1 point of fire or cold resistance for every three levels beyond 3rd. This ability
Fast Movement +10 (Ex) +10 feet to speed, unless heavily loaded.
Guarded Life (14 hp) (Ex) If reduced below 0 hp, convert some damage to non-lethal and auto-stabilize.
Guarded Stance +2 (5 rds) (Ex) Gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC vs. melee attacks while raging.
Linebreaker (Belkzen) When charging, add 10 feet to your base speed.
Rage (21 rounds/day) (Ex) +4 Str, +4 Con, +2 to Will saves, -2 to AC when enraged.
Raging Vitality +2 CON while raging, Rage does not end if you become unconscious.
Skeleton key Use a +10 Disable Device for one try to open a lock.

Comments and rationale to follow later once i've slept. Basic concept is continually topping up HP (8 points at a time) with temporary HP by dropping foes, while simultaneously soaking hits with decent DR and making use of Guarded Life to take advantage of DR6 for non-lethal damage. AC is a little low but mitigated by a very long duration Guarded Stance. Skill points used for tricky situations (Perception, Swim, Climb). Character is very tough, his huge HP pool combined with DR makes him very forgiving and hes fairly simple (only a couple of things to track).

Sovereign Court

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