Selgaer ensures the other ogre remains too overwhelmed with pain to retaliate. Between the faun, Uruuna, Sera, and Joy's witch fire, the ogre goes down rather swiftly!
Combat over! After healing and such is administered, you have a choice where to go. West leads to the turret that had a dark chasm. East leads to the turret where the pile of bodies lies. The doors ahead lead deeper into the stronghold.
Bonus Damage: 1d6 ⇒ 1
Imedren's spell wracks one of the horned ogres with great pain. When Uruuna shoots it, it doubles over and howls in agony, momentarily dazed! Joy's witch fire misses the other ogre.
That monster charges forward, weapons raised. Shen rushes forward to intercept the giant, slicing its legs with his knife. The ogre bellows and swings its hammer into the old man's chest, cracking several ribs and leaving him staggered! It follows up with a slice of its blade that rips open Shen's stomach, spilling entrails on the floor and causing him to fall!
Boons: 2d6 ⇒ (6, 6) = 12
The dazed ogre stumbles back to the far corner of the room, trying to regain its composure.
Selgaer dashes in to attack the ogre that felled Shen, stabbing it and leaping away. Dramm moves to get clear of his companions and rends the ogre's flesh. Imedren's fireball engulfs the same ogre, burning it badly!
Rend vs Agility: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Banes: 3d6 ⇒ (4, 4, 5) = 13
The ogre wavers on its feet, barely standing, but it suddenly vomits, spewing an enormous amount of semidigested food over everybody! Seraphina hides behind the door and studies the further ogre, attempting to get a hold of her fear.
44 damage to Shen! He is incapacitated and must make a Fate roll.
Everybody but Shen must make an Agility challenge roll to avoid the vomit. A creature takes 3d6 damage and becomes impaired for 1 round on a failure, or just takes half the damage on a success.
Everybody may act!
Red -98, bleeding 1 rd; Orange -12, pain
Remember you take the lower of the two rolls, so it's probably best to take the success and move on. :)
Allandir and Pril prove competent hunters, successfully tracking and taking down several hogs and bucks. Akosa grunts in acknowledgment of their skills. "Not bad," he says.
You have gained 2 influence points! Akosa's attitude has increased to indifferent!
Fortitude: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (1) + 9 = 10
Vaddrigan cries out in alarm as Maya's spell robs him of his sight! Katria bolsters Doritan's weapon moments before the vigilante rushes in to battle. He pushes past the cult leader, but as he swings his sword, three identical duplicates of Pol appear! The momentary confusion causes his first attack to miss, and his second one cleaves apart one of the illusory doubles.
Mirror Image: 1d4 ⇒ 2
Amelia's attack likewise destroys a mirror image, leaving Vaddrigan with a single duplicate remaining.
Mirror Image: 1d3 ⇒ 3
Vaddrigan tries to concentrate on casting a spell defensively, but he snarls as he loses his focus.
Concentration (Cast Defensively) DC 19: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (2) + 15 = 17
As the other aasimar begins to cast a spell, Liam blasts him with rays of force, knocking him against the wall and causing him to crumple to the floor!
Which Door (West, North)?: 1d2 ⇒ 1
Vaddrigan begins shouting for help, but at least for the moment, nobody arrives...
Everybody may act!
Ring of counterspells (fireball); dagger, mwk light crossbow with 10 bolts, amulet of natural armor +2, cloak of resistance +2, headband of alluring charisma +4, ring of protection +1, white dragon tooth necklace (400 gp); potions of cure serious wounds (2), potion of fly, potion of haste, scrolls of neutralize poison (2), wand of cure moderate wounds (20 charges); +2 chain shirt, +2 light wooden shield, +1 scimitar, masterwork composite longbow (+5 Str) with 20 arrows, belt of giant strength +2, cloak of resistance +2, ring of protection +2, 981 gp.
Three sets of: +1 human–bane shuriken (5), +1 shuriken (20), adamantine shuriken (10), cold iron shuriken (10), masterwork quarterstaff, belt of physical might +2 (Str, Dex), bracers of armor +2, cloak of resistance +1, ring of protection +1, shock amulet of mighty fists, 235 gp
You continue your campaign of influence for three more days, ignoring the investigators to instead focus your efforts on the palace defenders. The Ulfen Guard proves rather obstinate, but Sara is at least able to convince them to soften their opinions of you a bit.
Zhi completely gains the trust of the arcanists' guild. The mages reveal that the Carrius who sits on the Lion Throne at almost all times is a sophisticated illusion created at Carrius’s request, as he claims to fear an assassination like the one that took his sister. They offer the sorceress a greater maximize metamagic rod in an attempt to entice her to join their ranks after the current unpleasantness concludes!
Melodie, Maria, and Zileska meanwhile fully ingratiate themselves with the royal guard. The guard that Zileska has been sharing a bed with agrees to leave one of the palace gates intentionally unguarded at a prearranged time to allow you easy entry.
At last, the time has come to infiltrate the Royal Palace and deal with the legendary emperors controlling Carrius. This will likely be your greatest challenge yet. You should be sure you are fully prepared before you begin...
The Imperial Palace:
The Imperial Palace is a huge complex, covering nearly one million square feet, with 3,000 rooms, and standing up to four stories tall in the main palace. In addition to serving as the primary residence for the royal family, the palace hosts several vital government offices, a wing of the Taldan Phalanx, the Ulfen Guard, stables, extensive ballrooms, archives of all relevant government documents, libraries, chapels, gardens, multiple dining rooms and kitchens, servants’ quarters, art galleries, and a private opera house nearly as large as any available in the city. Like the nearby senate building, the palace has been rebuilt, renovated, and added to continuously for millennia, creating a hive of underlevels and sealed rooms unseen by any living soul for centuries.
The Imperial Palace is surrounded by 30-foot-high stone walls that are reinforced with magic and lined with continual flame spells every 60 feet to provide the palace grounds with at least dim illumination at all times. Each of the five gates bears both an iron door and an iron portcullis, which are kept open by day but sealed every night. Most of the palace interior doors are strong wood with superior locks, while exterior doors are iron with superior locks.
Imperial Palace sentries patrol the grounds in pairs every 15 minutes, and two sentries stand at attention at each of the complex’s gates. The entirety of the palace grounds are blanketed with a permanent dimensional lock effect, preventing the use of teleportation or summoning magic; specific individuals (often members of the royal family, or special guardians) can be attuned to the effect, allowing them to teleport or summon normally. Thin lead sheeting in the walls shields most of the palace interior from divination effects.
Almost all doors and gates are protected with audible alarm spells, maintained by a small army of on-duty magi who respond to assist sentries. All five gates are likewise warded with a unique effect that causes anyone affected by an illusion spell to glow bright blue when passing through the gates and for several minutes after—a seldom-discussed feature that has embarrassed countless nobles who arrive for social functions while benefiting from “mild” illusory beauty treatments. Many doors—especially those leading to servants’ areas or guard rooms—are concealed behind illusory walls, while secure areas are sealed with arcane lock in addition to their mundane locks. Many areas are also warded with symbol of sleep or symbol of stunning spells, while the palace vault is protected by several symbols of death.
Since the Arcanists' Guild is helpful, you can bribe the mages to attune you to the palace's dimensional lock for a price of 5,000 gp per person.
Later that night, Vox returns to All the World's Meat, slipping into the abandoned building to thoroughly search it. She pries up the sewer grate in the slaughterhouse's killing floor, dropping down into the sewer tunnel below. There, she finds a trio of reefclaws luring within, but the monsters prove quite slow out of the water. The drow leads them back to the grate and dispatches them at a distance with her bow.
Investigating the sewer results in a disturbing discovery: a human finger wedged in a crack between two stones just above the waterline. The reefclaws haven’t yet gotten to the finger, which still wears a mithral ring set with tiny slivers of obsidian. The ring is worth 500 gp.
Searching through the holding pens, Vox also discovers a small hole that has been dug under a water trough. Within is a hidden stash that consists of several bags, which contain a total of 450 gp and 740 sp, as well as 800 gp worth of assorted pieces of jewelry and gemstones.
Antona smiles broadly. "Good! I'm glad that we agree on that." She kisses Victrix on the cheek.
"Is there anything else you want to ask me?"
Carver shakes Valentin's hand. "Good to meet you. I think you'll fit in nicely around here." The Pathfinder looks to Simon. "I think we can be ready to depart in a few hours if necessary. We'll meet you down by the docks."
Later that day, Kip hops up to Ema and Victrix. "Hey! You guys heading back to Zanas-Tahn?" Seeing their blank expressions, the grippli blinks. "Oh! Sorry, I saw Carver and Simon loading up the ship's boat down at the docks. I thought he would have invited you guys along as well!"
Rudrik Attack: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (5) + 21 = 26
Rudrik moves in to attack the clockwork, but it narrowly twists away from the half-orc's sword! It retaliates with a flurry of rapier strikes, but only one pierces his armor.
Rapier: 1d20 + 25 ⇒ (14) + 25 = 391d20 + 20 ⇒ (5) + 20 = 251d20 + 15 ⇒ (5) + 15 = 201d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
10 damage to Rudrik after DR. Everybody is up!
"Mulberry milk! One of the Accresiel Court's secret recipes!" Gossamer says with a giggle.
When Pele drinks the liquor, the fiery fox feels the irresistible urge to dance! She stands up on her hind legs and capers around for a short while before the drunkenness takes full effect and she passes out.
"So, yeah, this is what we're going to be doing today," Gossamer continues. "You've already got my princess's support for your little war, so why don't you go back and keep working on the others?"
Daq grins at Wulfram. "You've got quite the fortitude, friend. I'll keep the wee one company. I promise we'll talk more tomorrow."
You have gained 1 success towards influencing Daq. Gossamer and Daq will be unavailable the rest of the day, but you all may still try to influence Weslen and Santila.
You escort Verik back to Citadel Volshyenek, where his former fellow guardsmen slap him in irons and lock him up to await his trial for desertion. Field Marshal Kroft gratefully rewards you with the promised 500 gp. "Well done, friends. Go ahead and get some rest. I'm sure I'll have another task for you soon."
While Ervan and Lucius elect to remain behind, Allandir and Pril accompany Akosa into the jungle to hunt for dinner.
Allandir and Pril will need to make skill checks as described below. They may make the rolls or use the Aid action, as detailed in the discussion thread.
SEEK THE ANIMALS
You help the elven hunters look for signs of animals. Attempt a DC 17 Nature or Perception check.
Critical Success You make an impressive and potentially dangerous find, such as a large pack of particularly healthy (and thus cranky) red river boars or a large waterbuck with razor-sharp horns. You also find signs of animals that are safer to hunt than your impressive and delicious find.
Success You discover signs of animals that are safe to hunt.
Failure Your efforts have scared away the best game, and the hunting party must set their sights on river turtles and bats.
Critical Failure Your efforts have scared away too many animals, leaving the hunting party with a sparse amount of game to catch. The party loses 2 IP.
POSITION THE HUNTERS
HUNT THE ANIMALS
In Akrivel, the wizard and cleric are left to their own devices for a few hours. Eventually, though, Nketiah seeks them out. "The rulers of the Leopard Clan have instructed me to escort you to them for a meeting. Please, follow me."
The rulers are identical twins. They have no fancy throne room for this audience, simply occupying an empty platform made from woven tree branches. “We are Ose Panin and Ose Atsu of the Leopard Clan. Our mother is of the Heart Clan,” they say. Ose Panin wears a patterned green dress and copper jewelry studded with uncut gems, while Ose Atsu wears a dark blue tunic covered with amulets wrapped in copper and green cloth. Both twins wear black leather sandals decorated with copper amulets and have long hair arranged in thick locks.
"We wish to know more about our honored guests. What are your occupations? Do you have many friends and family members? What are you most proud of about yourselves?"
”For power. For glory,” Verik says. ”The Guard could only take me so far before my ambition was stymied. When the riots started, I saw an opportunity. Food has quickly become a source of contention in in the city, with shipments of meat and produce from outlying farms cut off. Controlling the food means controlling the people. Already, we had gathered a sizable following throughout Northgate. It would have only gotten larger had you not intervened.”
Aurelia and Iolaire get the sense that Verik isn’t telling you the whole truth. He is holding something back.
The only other item of worth here is the silver dagger on the desk. The hilt is made of ivory and the blade has carvings of tigers along its length.
The vulture Selgaer befriends reports the same sights that Joy saw from above. It agrees to accompany the faun, albeit reluctantly.
Despite Sel’s misgivings, the doors are neither cursed nor trapped. The iron doors open onto an enormous room, 20 yards long and 10 yards wide. Staircases climb to collapsed chambers above, while archways lead to adjoining chambers on either side. In the center of the room is a giant pentagram that glows red and leaves the area obscured by shadows. Behind it is a ledge reached by stairs and flanked by two iron braziers filled with smoldering dung. The ledge holds a pair of iron doors. On the wall flanking the landing is an ornate bas-relief depicting hideous demonic matrons pulling demons from their wombs. Two hulking horned ogres stand before the stairs, clutching enormous hammers and long blades. They bellow with fury as they move to stop you from progressing any further, red eyes burning with demonic rage!
The ogres are frightening. Everybody must succeed on a Will challenge or be frightened for 1d3 rounds plus your current Insanity score. Everybody may act! Map updated.
Roz Attacks: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 111d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
You pummel and stab Verik as he lies laughing on the floor. He is terribly injured by the time he recovers, and he holds up his hands in surrender. ”Enough! I yield.”
Verik has potions of cure light wounds (3); mwk chainmail, mwk composite longbow (+3 Str) with 20 +1 arrows, mwk spear, 28 gp.
Asking around, Wulfram eventually discovers the pair in a quiet retreat in one of Longshadow's parks. Both the atomie and the paladin are drinking heavily. Gossamer looks up at the shaman with a scowl. "You want to join us, you gotta drink some of this." She offers him a potent-smelling purple drink.
A DC 24 Fortitude save is required to drink the beverage without succumbing to its deleterious effects.
"I appreciate the offer, but now is not an appropriate time. We still have much to work out between us," Weslen tells Eustoma, eyeing Sebine warily.
Karla finds Santila particularly ornery today, resisting her attempts to convince the avaricious Prophet to part with her hard-earned wealth. Rogar has little luck relating to Daq, but Wulfram makes some inroads with the Knight of Ozem.
One success for Daq today. More are needed to fully convince him.
Despite the tension in the summit chambers, no further incidents occur, and by the end of the night you notice the forest marshal chatting and laughing with the Molthuni leader. It seems the leaders of both rival nations are beginning to find some common ground, after all.
When the council reconvenes on the fourth day, Gossamer takes flight and booms in a shockingly powerful voice, “This is inane! We waste precious time sitting around arguing over petty details! While you quarrel over every fraction of silver, the fey of the Fangwood have learned of an onyx tower within our realm! Everyone should be ashamed that while we talk, the Accressiel Court alone takes action to push back against the Legion!”
When Gossamer finishes her rant, she storms out of the hall. The knight Daq Sontine follows her in an effort to console her, and following his exit, Weslen emits a heavy sigh. He simply states, “Let’s retire for an hour or so. It seems some members have more important items to attend to.”
If you wish to follow Gossamer and Daq, you can track them down with a successful DC 20 Diplomacy check to gather information or a successful DC 20 Survival check.
Iolaire's blade scrapes against Verik's armor. Cursing, the former guard drops his bow and swiftly draws his spear before stabbing at the elf.
Spear: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Nicoleta moves to Verik's side, trapping him in the corner behind his desk. She kicks, but the nimble guard narrowly dodges the strike.
Will: 1d20 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 - 2 = 12
As Aurelia casts her spell, Verik suddenly bursts out in laughter! He falls to the floor, cackling hysterically. Rozalia tries to entangle him by causing his pants to fall down, but once more her whimsical tricks don't work.
Dirty Trick: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Iolaire is up again!
Simon finds Carver at the town hall, studying maps of the island of Ancorato. He looks up as Simon and Valentin enter. "Good morning, Simon. Who's your new friend?"
"Neither one of us is in the army any more," Antona says. "We've seen our fair share of battles here, but we're far away from Andoran's wars. Out here, we have time for real relationships. We can form a life together."
After a few moments, she looks at Victrix again. "What are your thoughts on children?"
Grimetongue burbles happily, and the sound is echoed from several spots within the cave--likely from more otyughs lurking about. "They live! This is good. They will find their way back here."
The otyugh coats one of its tentacles with raw sewage and paints a rough map of the sewers on the wall of the cave. "You are passing through the Undercity. It is a long-forgotten series of ruins deep below the bluff the human city is built upon. The path to the black-armors' lair leads through the territory of Old Leatherback, a reptilian beast known to swim in the waters of the sewer, and ends at a place called the Deep Door. We have not been down there in several years, so unfortunately we cannot give you more details."
The otyugh steps aside, and an even larger one emerges from its hiding spot. "Well met," it burbles. "I am Grimetongue. My cluster and I have lived in these sewers peacefully for many years, but for the past few years, the people in black armor have been passing through between their lair deeper below and the city above. We have learned to stay out of their way, but they recently captured two of our soothsayers and drove them to the surface. We have not seen our kin since and assume that they are dead.
"We desire vengeance for our brethren. If you are enemies of the black-armors, we will tell you where to find them."
You continue on through the sewers for just a few more minutes. Ahead, the walkway ends at a ramshackle wooden bridge spanning the sluggish wastewater. At the far end is a partially collapsed wall revealing a large, refuse-filled cave. A brutally savaged humanoid corpse wearing black armor sprawls atop the rubble of the collapsed wall. The corpse’s arms and legs have been twisted nearly out of their sockets.
After a few moments, the refuse shifts and a reeking otyugh emerges with its three tentacles held high in the air. "Talk, talk!" it gasps in Common.
The hunt will take 3 hours, so anybody participating won't be able to engage in other activities in Akrivel. Success in the hunt depends on either Nature or Perception checks, followed by a Stealth check and a Survival check. If more than one PC joins the hunt, a PC decides whether to roll or help another PC with their roll. If multiple PCs roll, use the worst roll to determine the result of the activity. Any PC who chooses to help instead rolls against the same DC, using the Aid action.
It seems Allandir and Pril are going to hunt. Ervan and Lucius, let me know if you want to participate or remain behind.
Rozalia puts her hands on her hips and glares at Aurelia. "No way! I'm not mucking around in blood and s!#+. You can't pay enough for that!"
"Well, it won't make you smell any worse!" quips a fairy!
This is the encounter associated with the Peacock! Nicoleta gains a +2 bonus on all Dexterity-based checks and a +1 dodge bonus to her Armor Class for the duration.
Aurelia: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Nicoleta: 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 3 + 2 = 19
Rozalia: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (3) - 2 = 1
Iolaire: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Verik: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Iolaire may act before Verik. Aurelia's and Nicoleta's actions will resolve after he takes his actions.
Good hope is still ongoing.
Vaddrigan backs into the corner of the room and stares intently at Amelia, disorienting her and sapping her willpower. He focuses on a psychic spell, but Liam counters it with a successful dispel magic!
The other cultist moves near the altar and tries to compel Amelia to feel unadulterated loathing towards Vaddrigan, hoping to make his presence sickening to her.
Amelia takes a -3 penalty on attack rolls, Will saves, and the DCs of any of her spells or spell-like abilities. She must make a DC 18 Will save or be affected by unadulterated loathing towards Vaddrigan. This is a mind-affecting compulsion effect. Everybody may act!
Holg leads the way into the animal research lab. A foul, musky smell fills this room. The room is crammed with hundreds of metal cages and boxes strewn about haphazardly. Much of the metal in this room is twisted and gnawed, and the remains of several dismantled metal automatons lie in pieces on the floor.
Powerful muscles ripple beneath the golden fur of a small yet fearsome eight-legged beast. It is currently crunching on metallic parts from a destroyed robot, but it growls with fury as you enter and moves to attack you!
Coen: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Fireday: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
Holg: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Kaska: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Viv: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Beast: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
The creature rushes Holg, leaping upon him. Its teeth tear through his armor as it grabs a hold of him with its many claws!
Bite: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (19) + 18 = 37
11 damage to Holg and he is grappled. Everybody may act!
Elka Attacks: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (15) + 15 = 301d20 + 15 ⇒ (2) + 15 = 17
Gabby manages to score one hit against the knight, then Elka finishes him off with a savage claw strike to the neck.
Each knight has the following: +1 full plate, +1 light steel shield, +1 longsword, javelins (4), lesser talisman of arrow protection, silver unholy symbol of Groetus, wooden holy symbol of Arazni.