Braggi, Filnefillan, Kaavo and Naghbakh notice that Zokama and Musami have disappeared from their midst. One moment they were standing beside them, the next they were missing. A strange keening sound begins to emanate from the misty south, the call being taken up by the shadowy forms floating nearby.
As you reach out and take hold of the fruit you suddenly find yourself at the middle most point of a perfectly spherical room of black walls with purple veins. No light is present, but you find that you can still “see” within the darkness here. A rumbling voice echoes about you in low, hollow sounding tones. Ah my herald nothing is hidden from me, for from my prison I may yet see all, hear all, and in the darkness know all. I was feared, I was envied, and I was betrayed. But still I remain, here as I always was, true to my purpose. That which has been made shall be undone. Again I say herald, eat of my bounty and be forever blessed.
Do you still take a bite of the fruit?
Worry not for your friends, they too have a part to play in the drama of my release. As my herald announces my way so must my warden care for the avatar of my salvation. My champion will carry forth my banner, while my inquisitor shall shape the conscience of my will. For now, eat of my bounty and be forever blessed.
You may act or question now, including, if you wish, taking a bite of the fruit.
The orb appears to be a dark red apple, luscious, juicy, and ripe. A voice whispers in the back of your mind, Welcome my herald, to the first alcove of my prison. The bar before you is but one of many which must be removed to free me. Seek the quartet of my forgotten moons. Together shall they sunder the walls of my prison. For now, eat of my bounty and be forever blessed. But beware, another seeks to usurp you, one not so pure of heart, clear of mind, nor wholesome in their deeds. Should they supplant your place as herald, know your secret desire to stop what must be may well be ended before it begins...
I cannot comment nor reply until the next round.
The four sided pillar is three feet tall, two feet wide on each side and narrows to an obelisk like point near the top. It was a simple matter to reach out and grab the diamond.
You suddenly find yourself at the middle most point of a perfectly spherical room of black walls with purple veins. No light is present, but you find that you can still “see” within the darkness here. A rumbling voice echoes about you in low, hollow sounding tones. My faithful servant seek the hearts of four forgotten moons. Together they can sunder the walls of my prison. For now, eat of my bounty and be forever blessed.
After the voice speaks, a lustrous black fruit suddenly appears in the your hand, smelling sweet, like a cherry plum at the height of the season.
I have Musami's action for a round, I need everyone else's so we can continue.
Will Check: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9 Failure
You realize the orb is not an orb at all, but rather a fist sized black diamond of rare beauty and clarity. It would easily pay for a forge and several pounds of rare minerals and rare ores to start your crafting career, easily giving you the chance to craft the goal of a lifetime, a true master craftsman's pinnacle project, one which would surely win you a place at the side of Fortubo the forgemaster. All you need do is take it before the others realize what it is.
The laughter to the south grows quiet, replaced by a whispered mumbling and a soft gurgling, like tar bubbling as it is heated, or hot air and gases escaping a warm, muddy pool.
The strange shadowy figures continue to circle your group, floating above the floor, but do not seem ready to approach any closer. The platform lays on the floor behind you, to the right of the stone from which you descended.
You stand gathered near the short pillar, south of it, above which incredulously seems to rigidly hover the large stone monolith across which you recently traipsed, while between that stone and the pillar a small black orb rests, balanced on the tip of that short four sided obelisk. The orb is smooth, black, and pulses with occasional ripples of purple or greenish energies.
Zokama please make a Will Save.
What do you do?
While the group slowly floats twenty feet to the ground below Naghbakh and the platform crash heavily to the ground with a resounding crash. Naghbakh may make an Acrobatics check to reduce the severity of the fall
The platform cracks along the banding from the fall, the pulley clattering to the ground, the rope pulling clear of the device. The mist billows out and away from the impact, momentarily clearing the area.
A quick glance shows that the enormous pillar stands atop a small obelisk, each ending in a point resting an inch above or below a small black sphere hovering between the two.
Shadows in the mist begin circling the group, while another off towards the end of the cavern begins cackling ominously...
Braggi and Zokama:
On what appears to be the true bottom of the colossal cavern the black stone is worked and smooth, hidden at times by a wispy cold fog. Between patches of clear air two symbols appear to be carved into the floor on the western side of the cave. The first is a two-tiered, inverted ziggurat, purplish in color, the second a flaming sun,
a deeper and darker black than the regular stone. Rising from the middle of the cave, a small thin pillar, three by two feet, fashioned of purple stone supports the black-and-violet mass of the enormous obelisk on whose surface you recently stood. On the other side of the cave, water spilling from above collects into a pool. Shadows move among the fog, one in the far corner, two closer, circling the pillar.
There is no damage from falling prone, aside from needing to stand up and regain balance next round.
Naghbakh's non-lethal damage is basically rope burn and muscle strain, it will recover as per normal non-lethal injuries.
To be clear the platform is resting nearly twenty feet above the cavern floor. The misty fog is about ten feet below the platform and slowly shifts and billows about the area. Occassional patches open and close as a result of unseen currents or factors.
Lunging out Naghbakh grabs hold of the strange pulley apparatus and mauling it tightly arrests the free fall of the platform, jerking it to a stop a mere 20 feet from the floor of the cavern. As an eidolon Naghbakh burns his summoner's action and hero points if spent, he has none of his own.
DC 20 Reflex Saves please, except for Naghbakh. Failure results in falling prone on the platform, requiring an action to stand up and rebalance.
The eidolon takes non lethal damage: 1d6 ⇒ 1 in the rescue attempt but is otherwise focused on straining to hold the platform alone.
Anyone who successfully saves against Reflex above may make a Perception Check to observe the lower area of the cavern, resting just above the cold misty floor.
Guys sorry I have been MIA recently, I've had two coronary events recently complicated by my CF. I have been barely holding to a work schedule and sleeping more hours to attempt to ease my recovery.
I leave it to you if you wish to continue with the campaign or retire it, I will try to post more regularly but cannot guarantee it for the next few weeks or so.
Looks like Naghbakh may have a chance to be the hero here and lunge at the line, to attempt to save the day as the boys lose their grip on the cold damp rope of this second platform. Strength Check if you wish. While not possessing Hero Points itself, I would allow a summoner to burn one as part of the check, if desired.
Due to the spacing limitations on the platform only two "persons" may operate the pulley system at the same time, a primary and an assistant. The group can decide who those are, I just assumed the same as before, then switched it to avoid the near fumble above that would have resulted in a rapid descent with a sudden deceleration at the end.
As to eidolon hit points they are no different than animal companions, half hit dice per level, including first level.
In taking positions on the platform it seems Braggi and Musami switched roles, with the dwarf providing the lift and Braggi supporting his line. The platform lowers thirty some feet down the side of the pillar, into the dark cavern below.
The air is cold and frosty near the pillar, the thing acting like a large chunk of glacial ice chilling the air around it. Near the bottom a thin cloud of cold vapor pools like fog, obscuring things around the narrowing base.
Within the pillar the veins of purple seem to follow you, twisting and roiling but not able to pierce the sides of the stone to reach out at you.
Rolls again please gentlemen, positions reversed, Musami being aided by Braggi. Anyone else may attempt a Perception check to mark details of the cavern as you descend.
One round is short term exposure, no effect. There and back constituted two rounds or repeated immediate exposure, save vs effect required, and 21 did not beat the DC. The veins are throughout the pillar, top, sides, bottom, so any contact with it will result in cumulative contact effects. Yes he can rest between trips but it will take longer than one round to descend or ascend the pillar and carrying anyone would further slow the transit time.
There is an Unhallowed Protection from Good field in effect for the cavern which adds to Naghbakh's discomfort. While he is not blocked like a normal summoned creature he is still a summoned entity and feels the field failing to repel him, like ants crawling over his skin, hives, or mild nausea the closer he comes to the source, thematic effect only.
The cold air persists throughout the cavern but is magnified in effect while in physical contact with the pillar, hence why the cultists use the platforms, and as well the special robes.
If you run across or limit your exposure to short periods and allow the pillar to settle you will not be affected by the pillar. Repeated or extended exposure causes harmful effects. If you use the eidolon as a beast of burden expect it to be repeatedly afflicted by the pillar due to the multiple trips and extended contact time with the pillar. Braggi and Zokama were unaffected, except for the intense feeling of cold and pre-tingling warning of possible frostbite from longer exposures.
No mistress, the short trip did not harm me. Uncomfortable, painfully cold, like ants under my skin yes, but no lasting harm.
As Nagbakh begins to move back to Kaaro's platform the pulsating veins beneath the surface of the pillar bulge up and flash a sickly violet light. Wispy tendrils of energy drain from the creature into the surface of the pillar, more tendrils forming even as the fungi grow larger, the effect Fort Save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20, sapping a bit of the eidolon's strength, Strength Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 2.
Knowledge Check: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16 Filnefillan observes It seems prolonged exposure has a deleterious effect. Short term exposure does not give the pillar time to affect transference, or so I imagine.
As Naghbakh moves across the surface of the pillar to the other platform he comments the surface is icily cold, and slightly burns to the touch. He feels as though a heavy weight is pressing upon him from all sides and his skin is itchy, with tiny hives breaking out all over him. This place is warded, it does not like me. It tries to stop me, to send me away. I am stronger.
As he reaches the other platform he confirms it is currently tied off like the other, and can be lowered to the cavern floor below. Behind him, at every point upon which his alien passage tread small Green Glowing Mushrooms erupt from the stone of the pillar, seemingly feeding off the trace energies left by his presence, becoming full sized, roughly six inches tall, in a matter of seconds. No growths occurred when or where Braggi fell, nor are any present on either platform.
Darkvision is not hampered by the sinister nature of the cavern, but is still blocked by the strange dark clouds above and the cold mist from the falling water below, which forms a pale fog wafting about, covering and uncovering the small green clumps of glowing lichen like tiny stars. The distance to the floor, mists and interfering fungal growths limits what you can discern about the cavern floor with Darkvision, at least from this height.
There is only one pillar, you are currently on top of it, to the side, and the other platform is next to the same pillar, albeit on the side farthest from you. It would be roughly a thirty to forty foot stretch across the convex floor to reach the other platform.
No Zokama, you would need to proceed to the edge of the pillar and look down to discern more information about the pillar, which was not something you did with your previous check. It was that check which gave you information about the other platform, how it was anchored, and a gauge of what you know about the pillar thus far.
Braggi and Zokama are able to climb back aboard the first platform. The ice is not thick, and a little strain would likely break it free of the pillar. Braggi suffered no lasting harm from the cold, but prolonged exposure could potentially cause hypothermia or frostbite, barring other protections or cold weather gear.
The veins seem to give up the chase once everyone has broken contact, returning to their original positions and again laying dormant. At no point did the things actually break the surface of the stone, rather they bulged and bowed it out, as though the stone itself was a strong yet pliable barrier.
The other platform is attached to the ceiling above, or would seem so, the thick and shifting darkness above giving only shadowy indications that the arrangement matches your current situation. Indeed it is hard to discern much about the cavern's ceiling as though heavy black clouds were rolling slowly over it, thinning, dispersing, then reforming at uneven intervals.
The second platform appears to lower from beside the top of the pillar down to the cavern floor below, roughly sixty to seventy feet deep, with a length of rope suitable to that end. Assessing the rope you have remaining on your platform it would only descend another forty five feet, maybe less, and would have to be maneuvered at an angle to be able to lower past the top of the pillar.
Oddly it should be noted the pillar is strangely shaped, the base here is rounded but subtly shifts down it's length into a three sided triangular formation towards what would be perceived as the tip as it reaches the cavern floor. Imagine if you will a cone, point down, with a round and convex wide end twisting into a three sided point at the narrow end. The beginnings of each of the three sides starts at a different point along the cone, and staring at the edges seems to bring about a slight sense of vertigo.
Perception DC 25 check to discern anything else about the structure. You do not have to attempt this check if you desire not to do so.
Also who has what in the way of light sources, and remember the duration of magical light are halved currently.
Before she has the chance to begin drying herself her boots frost over from contact with the cold surface of the "floor." She manages to remove it alongside the remaining dampness, noticing her breath coming in frosty puffs while in contact with the black surface below her. The veins of purple seem to flare brighter where they gather below her and Braggi, with more tendrils rising and twisting in their shared directions. The surface of the floor seems to rise and fall elastically as the veins move beneath it, some starting to thump and push noticeably, as though trying to break through to reach the pair of you.
You may only act again after everyone else's actions are resolved.
GM Roll: 1d20 ⇒ 6 Filnefillan barely manages to stay on his feet from the blast of water and subsequent sudden drop. He manages to grab hold of a guideline and steady himself.
Braggi Nonlethal Damage: 2d6 ⇒ (2, 2) = 4
The deluge of water knocks Braggi to his knees, causing him to lose his hold on the rope. Musami struggles to maintain the line on his own, the thick hempen strands tearing at his skin as he manages to keep the platform steady enough to fall straight down, slamming into the ground thirty feet below.
The hard impact bounces Braggi onto his knees then rolls him off the platform onto the cold stone of the "floor" beneath it. Zokama realizes this is not in fact the floor of the cavern but rather the top of a tall, inverted, rounded pillar forty feet in diameter. It slowly narrows from this thick base down into the darkness below.
The "floor" resembles black marble but has no luster, while the veins of purple are thick and jagged. The entire surface appears to be slightly convex, with sides lower than the center. The floor does not extend to the cave walls around it, as though it were merely a large platform itself. It is about forty feet across—the cave is much larger than that in every direction, extending beyond what your limited sight can measure. Beyond the floor edge, the cave walls plummet farther down into darkness. At the western rim of the black floor, another circular wooden platform hangs suspended over the darkness, with another rope and pulley system pounded into the rock above it.
The stone is immensely cold to BRaggi's touch, reminding him of some of the winter bear games where at he and his brother sailors would have to compete in ice diving competitions. Worse still, the veins of purplish hue begin to wiggle and twist in his direction beneath the surface of the glassy black stone.
The wet deck of the platform you descended upon begins to ice over from contact with the pillar, a thin sheet coating the planks as thicker ice begins to form underneath, holding the disk in place upon the "floor."
Still waiting on Kaaro's checks, though everyone else may if desired indicate their next rounds actions.
Braggi and Musami lower the platform slowly, taking half a minute to descend thirty feet down into the chamber below.
Roughly 15 feet from the top of the shaft indications exist that a stone plug was once placed here, seated upon a three inch squared lip inside the shaft, with evidence of recent broken mortar sealing it. Just above that point, the previously mentioned four foot wide tunnel sprays water from an underground geyser to now empty into the shaft, it's cold and salty waters spilling down into the darkness below. A 2-foot-wide opening was visible just below the top of the shaft.
You drop through the water's torrent, nearly soaking to the bone in the deluge, even as the cascade pours down beside the descending platform to create a thick mist below, deepening the chill you feel as you go deeper. Through that mist you can see that the floor below is just over sixty feet from the top of the shaft. It appears very smooth and black, with veins of deep violet throughout. The shaft walls spread out into the darkness, opening onto a vast dim cavern illuminated in small pinpoints of pale green glows, scattered here and there.
Dropping another thirty feet you hover roughly the same distance from the floor, your lights dimming considerably the lower you go. Magical illumination is reduced in range by one half.
I will need a DC 13 Reflex or Acrobatics check from everyone to avoid being knocked off balance by the rushing water. I will then need Strength Checks by Braggi and Musami (assuming neither lost control during the deluge) as before to lower the remaining thirty feet to the barely glimpsed floor. Anyone not involved in hoisting the platform may make a Perception check to further discern information about the chamber.
There appears to be no other exit from this room, except by the strange platform and shaft, which acts like a crude elevation disk similar to what Musami has experienced in some newer mines. The platform, rope, and pulley all look new. The stonework is well worn and ancient looking. There appears to be maybe four score feet of rope piled on the rim of the shaft and running up through the iron anchored pulley ring and split to tie at four corners of the disk.
The platform can be easily raised or lowered by someone either beside the shaft or on the platform itself. An odd loop and hook rig, similar to a sailing ship, is set along the side of the platform, such that at any point an operator can tie off the rope to the platform so that it no longer moves down.
Using the pulley, a rider can lift or lower the rig down the shaft. Six adults could easily fit on the platform; ten perhaps if tightly crowded aboard. The pulley likely magnifies the user's strength in such endeavors, more lifters enabling heavier loads and vice versa.
Not having a more elaborate breaking mechanism, Musami sees that if the rope is released, the platform would likely fall along with everything
The platform is not mechanically balanced, so anyone taking violent or reckless actions on the platform might cause it to tip and plunge loose objects or riders from it's wooden surface.
The shaft appears to extend from the floor of the chamber roughly down fifteen to twenty feet, the exact length partly blocked by a spray of water pouring from a rounded aperture inside at four feet below the southern surface of the shaft. It creates a cold mist inside the tunnel as it falls away into the darkness, greatly obscuring vision.
The corpse is not magical. It appears to have some resemblance to a lobster, though the large pincers are missing, removed postmortem. It gives you a vague, uneasy feeling, like it does not belong in this world. Amidst the rot and bloat you detect a faint whiff of sulfur. Added, the size of the thing being as large as a man may contribute to the unwholesomeness of the scene.
Filnefillan suggests leaving it for now, It's sat here for who knows how long, it's not easily transportable, so should be okay a few more hours, while we finish of these cultists, nodding at Braggi.
The elf then goes back to examining the strange Lobster-like corpse shoved into the far corner of the chamber.
Knowledge Check: 1d20 ⇒ 4 Fascinating, that something so massive, so wrong, could thrive in what must have been a very small enclosure.
The statue and surrounding digging implements do not detect as magical. The statuette is actually a rectangular block 3 feet high and 2 feet on a side. Each side has a distinct figure carved into it.
The first side depicts a tall, muscular, bearded man in full plate with unfamiliar flanges and fluting. He wears a cape and holds a wavy-bladed sword. His helmet has a jagged visor resembling a bolt of lightning.
The second side shows a humanoid figure swathed in a flowing robe with long sleeves and a high collar. Covering it's face is a curved featureless plain mask.
The third side presents a thin youth in high boots, doublet, and strange gauntlets of twisting and interlocked design. A hood is drawn tight over the face, covering its head.
The last side of the statuette is of a elderly figure, clothed in a many-pleated robe with a sash. The sash or mantle is covered in strange tiny runes impossible to decipher. The figure's head is cowled, protruding an inch or so from the surface. The shape cradles a scepter in its bony hands.
From a distance the statue appears to be a miniature and thus perhaps portable version of the four sided pillar you found in the ghoul warrens.
Each side appears to be carved in bas-relief with figures facing outwards, like the other column, though this piece appears easily a third of the size of the other, and likewise carved wholly from a similar piece of stone.
From the position of the stone it would seem this was hauled up from below rather than brought here by the priests you previously killed. Unlike the rest of the chamber it does not appear to be damp or moist but rather is coated in a thin layer of frost.
Gathering everyone together you proceed to leave the narrow warrens the ghouls inhabited and back to the stone crypts where you first encountered them. Around the corner from the secret shaft you found in the gaol you find the passageway which led to the other areas of the dungeon you previously explored. It is a few minutes passage until you find yourselves at the intersection whereat you fought and slew a human priest and his reptilian companion.
Like the ghouls and other areas, this passage has succumb to the depredations of the strange mold blossom, the bodies now little more than decomposed waste piles of pale and pasty tubules and slightly iridescent toadstools or garish puffballs in purples and greens. The passage to the south however seems strangely devoid of any mold, pollen, or mildew.
Proceeding in the direction the ghoul priest said would lead below you find a set of stairs going south, down into darkness, from which a new and different foul stench arises. Braggi is immediately reminded of the old fishing wharves and icing houses of his former seaside home. The smell of death mingled with the dampness of the sea.
The stairs descend only a few dozen feet before landing in a rougher passage, not worked as extensively or as well as above. A short passage turns a corner into a larger room, unusual and unexpected.
This new chamber is very cold, and even the most insensitive can tell that the unnatural chill is more from a corruption in the air itself. No mold or fungi appears anywhere about the room. A wide pit in the center dominates the room, its sides slick with moisture. A pulley has been affixed to the ceiling, and a rope descends from it, connected to four more ropes. These in turn are tied to the edge of a 10-foot-wide wooden platform, circular in shape, in four different places to provide stability. A lantern sitting atop a stool in the southwestern corner illuminates the chamber. Scattered about the pit edge are picks and shovels, and a strange four sided statue rests in the corner farthest from the entrance. Against the north wall stands a large, round, flat stone about the diameter of the pit.
Shoved off to the side, clearly dead for sometime yet strangely preserved by the cold and moisture, is a large shelled creature, a deformed and demonic looking lobster like thing, battered, broken, and in places burnt some time ago.