His deft hands skillfully deactivate the hidden switch. Next he eyes the gaping mouth of the azer, and finds inside a gem. His expertise tells him it must be turned, in the right sequence of rotations. Not guided by sound, but by the cut of the gem and the glint of the light, he determines the correct operation.
Jerrid already rolled the aid another.
With the traps discovered this unremarkable passageway takes on a new and menacing air. It seems clear now that the treasure vault of Eralion lies beyond the door, promising riches and hopefully a clue to the location of the forge where the Shard of Corruption was created and where it can in turn be destroyed.
True, I did basically make a ruling on this last friday here in this thread when I said "Taking 20 on perception is risky because you might set off traps." In fact, it was for this very room, and that is exactly why Damien went to get Sam and Jerrid. However, I never have a problem with you guys bringing me a different perspective. Posting a reasoned argument politely here in the discussion thread like Janna has is a perfect way of handling it, and much appreciated :)
My default is to run things the way I have been at home for years but I am also interested in learning what the standard interpretations are. I love learning from these discussions. I grew up in the years when it was pretty much all rulings, and I missed a decade of 3.x before coming to PF in 2010. At home, my group seems to prefer things a little fast and loose but for PbP I have been trying to learn more RAW. I like the way the complexity of the rules helps players know what to expect, it can make their decisions more meaningful. However, I still think the GM is there to make sure the RAW doesn't create outcomes that make no sense.
If there was a trigger that would have been set off by Sam as he "take 20"'d the room, it would have been set off. But because the trigger was opening the door, and he didn't open the door, the trap didn't go off.
See it goes both ways. I'm never going to have a trap go off because someone looked at it wrong, because that just doesn't make sense. If one of those tiles was a pressure plate though and you search the whole room taking 20...
That sounds very reasonable Janna. Some of the traps in my modules mention a consequence for failure on perception but most by far don't.
It seems to me like the thing to watch out for is the trigger though. Some triggers such as location and proximity could get triggered by a PC while he goes through taking 20.
The section on traps says:
Creatures that succeed on a Perception check detect a trap before it is triggered.
I always read that as meaning the inverse is also true. "Creatures that fail on a perception check do not detect a trap before it is triggered." Since taking 20 involves a series of failures leading up to a success, it's risky business because depending what that trigger is, you might trigger it.
Edit: You guys ninja'd me! But the part that makes it a grey area for me is not under perception or disable device, it is under traps.
I'll allow it and we can investigate the rules together over in discussion
Sam finds a number of suspicious features about the room. The flagstone tiles seem to have a little wiggle room. The tiles are superficial, only about a half-inch thick. They rest above a different surface. Looking in the seems between tiles, there is a metal plate underneath. The metal seems to be a single sheet, with the same dimensions as the hall.
The unlocked door seems untrustworthy as well. Probing with his tools, Sam finds a thin wire in the door gap, connecting the door to a hook set in the stone frame. His expertise tells him this assembly is the trigger for the metal plate beneath the false flagstone floortiles. Had the door been pulled open, or the wire not noticed on time while probing the gap, the plate would have been activated. Sam suspects it is a heating plate.
As if this wasn't enough, there is likely a magical ward as well. With Janna's warnings in mind, Sam reasons that the carving of the Azer's head is linked magically to the torches in the sconces. The key to bypassing the effect likely lies inside the cavity of the Azer's gaping maw.
Sam also detects soot on the walls where flames must have licked the stone long ago.
Janna's detect magic reveals an aura from the door and also from the torches, but she can not tell what school of magic is at work.
Even from here, you think there is more to those torches in the sconces than just a permanent magical light source. They have extra glyphs. Not simply ever burning torches, these. You can't tell from here what triggers them, after all Sam has already passed them in the hall and nothing happened yet. You notice a cavity in the mouth of the carved Azer.
Knowledge Arcana in conjunction with detect magic to ID the aura's.
Ley-lines are mana lines... paths of magic energy running through the land... where they criss-cross you can open a portal to other planes more easily. Eralion's notes say he did this somewhere in the foothills of the stoneheart mountains, but there is no map in the library to show the location. This is how he accessed the brass anvil to forge the shard.
It seems the cult was here to take the shard and use it to poison the water near a major city like Bard's Gate or Endhome. The crypt thing is guarding the shard.
The cultists are doing a ritual far away in the mountains, and that has something to do with the earthquake. It might be making the shard stronger, or releasing souls that the shard has trapped. It seems when the earthquake started, that is when the water turned foul.
Damien leads the way to the secret stair. At the bottom of the cramped stair the 10' wide hall leads to the Azer door bathed in flickering light from the magical torches.
Janna, Leo and Jerrid can all read the knowledge spoilers, call it a group effort. One or more of you should fill in the rest of the group I would think.
Everyone let me know what you're doing.
I seem to have just stopped giving out XP completely since the last level up. Lol.
Nazalgub - 400 XP
That should do it. Gave full xp for the sleeping ogre and tavik who was actually killed by the ogre so it should be about fair. If I missed anything important let me know.
The trio studying the books will eventually turn up the following facts:
a journal entry in Eralion's log:
".... The shard has not been activated by their ritual yet and already I have observed it's power. I sacrificed the servants lives.... It was nothing compared to my first sacrifice... I did it without a second thought. The shard drew their spirits out of them when they died. They flew into shadow as the cult promised. I thought it was only poetry or riddles but they actually fly in the shadows. Walls do not contain them. Only the glyphs on the great door confine them to my crypt. They harm me not, though I know they are hungry. They sleep now inside the shard.. The cult promises a great trembling of the earth that shall awaken them. It could be generations from now. Next I must create guardians, to protect the shard, until the time is right for the ritual. Then the cult will come to retrieve it. I will send my key, my amulet, to Feriblan for safekeeping. He is mad. He will give it to them when they come to call."
Knowledge Arcana DC 20:
-the shard can only be destroyed by being returned to the site where it was forged, the location of the brass anvil.
Knowledge Religion DC 20:
-the shard will act as a beacon for the priests of orcus, attuned to their holy symbols.
Knowledge Planes DC 20:
-to access the brass anvil from the material plane you would need a location where strong ley lines intersect, probably a cave in a mountain or at least foothills.
Janna finds a reference to a treasure vault, somewhere in this keep, behind "The Azer door".
BTW, my dice rolls will always betray anything my character probably should know. I don't think I made any knowledge checks this entire adventure
Janna at least you carry it off with good RP :) FWIW there will be knowledge checks in the future that aren't monster ID's so you can use your take ten on those until your bad dice luck runs out :)
I tried to get the library post done but I need to be at home with my notes to get it right and spoilered with knowledge dc's.
I'm going to use the football game as a chance to take a pause here and get organized because I'm also prepping my fey game and running the recruitment.
I would not ignore you though Nicos haha.
Be back to normal monday.
While Damien and Vhilish are sweeping the donjon, Leoven is searching the library for more info about the shard of corruption. He finds out that the shard can corrupt water, and any soul that perishes while in contact with the water, or having drunk the water, is absorbed into the shard, to be released as a shadow.
The heart of innocence is a reference found in the books, but it is never fully explained. It seems it has something to do with a sacrifice made by a mortal arcanist in order for the shard to be forged. The cult can not make the shard themself. They need to tempt a follower of the light who also has arcane knowledge.
Jerrid finds the volume on the Brass Anvil. It seems whatever the heart of innocence was, it had to be smelted on an anvil from the elemental plane of fire to make it sturdy enough to contain the dark magics to become the shard of corruption.
posting this from mobile, more to come soon
When the secret door creeks open, Damien and Vhillish are peering into a small hidden room, 5' x 10'. The light spills in from behind them to show a very narrow stair spiraling downwards into darkness. Thick dust cloaks the ground and thin spider webs hang down from the low ceiling.
The stairwell is steep and 3' wide. Not too small for a human to use, but very restrictive.
Survival DC 15:
Nothing has come this way in decades, from the thickness of the dust.
Calendar & Planets:
Days of the Week:
Moonday, Volsday, Wolfsday, Torsday, Marksday, Ceresday, and Khorsday. These names are common from the Northlands to the Middle Sea and the Crossroads to the Wastes.
Among the Mharoti of the Dragon Empire, they are called Pazar, Nazartesi, Sali, Charsamba, Pehrsembe, Juma, and Umartesi.
Among the elves, they are Larasday, Elothsday, Orielsday, Bowsday, Freyasday, Yarisday, and Leafsday.
Months and Festivals:
Asaph, the Green Planet: A planet that shines white and green, Asaph is rumored to hold powerful influence over the seas and air, and alchemists associate it with elemental air, mithral, and spirits.
Ermaon, the Jumping Planet: Fastest and strangest of the planets, this one is small and difficult to see. Some believe it is not a planet at all, but a comet trapped in a circle. It is represented as silver or mercury by alchemists and astrologers.
Melgros, the Dark Wanderer: Not visible to the naked eye, this planet is a dark and mysterious home of malevolent forces, including nightshades, demons, and devils of all sorts. Stories dating to Ankeshelian times claim it is the source of both a soul-consuming fire and all black magic. Seeing it is widely considered unlucky among humans. Elves refer to it as “Idelitan” or “the Archer’s Planet” because those who see it happen to be the best archers. Alchemists associate the planet with adamant.
Temperos the Giant: This is a yellow planet, easy to see in the night sky and commonly associated with the giants of the Haunted Lands, who held it to be the home of the gods. Alchemists associate it with copper, tin, and bronze.
Tiomoutiri, the Golden Planet: This bright and shining planet is most visible around sunrise and is widely associated with Khors the sun god and with Lada the Golden. Astronomers of Nuria Natal believe it governs the health and sexual aspects of life. Priests of Khors and Lada perform their high rituals when Tiomoutiri is in the sky. Alchemists associate the planet with gold and orichalcum.
Zuhal, the Dragon: The elves claim that this red, distant planet has rings. Though it is a powerful symbol in the heavens, living dragons consider its name a bit of a misnomer, associating it with blood and life force instead. Alchemists associate it with platinum, earth and minerals, and Zuhal is widely considered the planet that controls aspects of magic and the arcane.
Correct! D7 is the Kitchen with the chimney that goes up to the roof.
Was that the priest or the acolyte you just killed? They were both stabile and unconscious.
Who is going with Damien to cruise the donjon? This whole level was cleared previously he is just looking for clues.
Downstairs Leoven and Jerrid begin the long job of going through books. Jerrid remembers the words the crypt thing said.
Eralion leaves you this message. He swears fealty to prince Orcus. He looks forward to an eternity of unlife for his service. The Shard of Corruption is installed. It was smelted from the Heart of Innocence on the Brass Anvil. The water is spoiled. The dead drink, and soar in the shadows. Let no one living or dead disturb this great work.
As Janna enters, the surroundings do indeed remind her somewhat of Feriblan the Mad in Reme. But Feriblan was scatterbrained and eccentric. This is the room of someone with a purpose. A wizard who loved Thyr, but wanted to live forever so badly he became consumed.
Jerrid finds the volumes on Orcus and Necromancy outweigh the other schools of magic, and have been more recently used. It seems before turning to necromancy Eralion was an elementalist. The rumors of demons helping him build his keep were obviously false, it would have been elementals he summoned to do that work.
Searching under "B", Jerrid finds many references to brass, some relating to the elemental plane of fire. He seems to be getting somewhere.
Damien "Wet" Winters wrote:
Jerrid has had time to get downstairs and start going through books, so a few more minutes have passed. The buffs will expire soon but nothing is attacking you now.
If Jerrid remembers to bring the amulet to open the door, or if Sam follows him with it:
Down in the crypt level Jerrid finds the caryatid columns standing guard. The southern passage to the yet unexplored area catches his attention for a moment but ahead of him are the books. Eralion's resting place is a library and a laboratory in one. It doesn't look like a proper tomb. His body lies there, amidst books and vials. The unfinished Caryatid Columns occupy their alcove. It is as if Eralion expected to get up off the dais and return to his work.
Yet he is wrapped in gauze. Prepared for an eternity of unlife. A broken vessel lies on the floor beside the dais, a highly ornamental thing. It appears it fell from his hand when he drank from it. The stories must have been partly true. He bargained with Orcus for Lichdom but he did not get his wish. He lies as unmoving as the crypt thing barring the door to the chamber beyond.
The faint smell of smoldering scrolls and book pages lingers in the stale air. All is quiet.
The cultists carry only their weapons and armor and holy symbols. A mace and a morningstar, A chain shirt and a suit of chain mail. They have no special keys or clues to the crypt. Maybe they knew a way of commanding the crypt keeper, but it seems like they were as stymied as everyone else by Eralion's door.
Vortigern has several burned up scrolls stolen from Feriblan, his master.
Some examination with the skill of spellcraft will reveal deep slumber, charm monster, alter self and permanency among the used up scrolls.. A scroll with disguise self is in the unused scroll tube, as well as a scroll with two instances of acid arrow, and another with protection from arrows.
On his finger is the ring that protected him from the alchemist fire. Ring of Fire Resistance.
The ogre is on top of the watchtower but he's very dead. Sam slit his throat in his sleep. Barelli had used a sleep spell after the charm wore off so the ogre couldn't turn on the bandits again.
No sign of the crucible. It is a good sized bowl, too big to conceal on ones person.
The horde of undead in the corridor are bumping into the double doors, following their last order to come this way. They don't seem to be even trying to bash the door down. Just bump. Bump. Bump.
Only undeads that you know of. Skeleton archers on the roof, skeleton zombies in the courtyard. In the under crypt there are the caryatid columns and the crypt thing guarding the door. You have not checked the other room in the under-crypt, with the pillars. There is nothing attacking you at the moment though.