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Low Cost of Enlightenment | High Cost of Enlightenment

Official start date isn't till August 26th, so you should have time to make your alchemist.

Current party roster:

Golthwur (wiz2)
Byron (wiz3)
Yagajimoro (pal2)
Jeskit (bldrgr3)
not-gronkh (alc3)
angela (inv3)

Sedoriku hasn't checked in yet with Angela. This party looks like it might be doing a lot of book-sharing ;)

The module is written for 4 PCs, so you're looking OK I think.


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All good.

Should any of your future GMs want verification of your discounted purchase they can alway pm me on the forum.

I'll mark this thread inactive in another 12-24 hours.


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I’m happy for you guys to write in your purchases on a printed chronicle, but if you prefer that I do you a new sheet I can do that for you.


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The druid's prohibition of metal armour only applies to the druid themself. Pets are fine. My animal companions often use masterwork studded leather.

ETA: the difficult thing with heavy armours for pets is the cost - in feats to avoid big non-proficiency penalties on attack rolls and skill checks, and in gold, especially since the FAQ that 'clarified' how to calculate armour costs for non-humanoids when using special materials.


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Chronicles are here!

Let me know if you spot any errors or omissions.


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I almost forgot boon rolls! Since this game is reported and recruited to under the Onlne Support Program each player has a 10% chance to win a boon (roll a 1 or a 20). GM rolls off in alphabetical order (PC name).

Aulurius: 1d20 ⇒ 5
Bahram: 1d20 ⇒ 16
Etna: 1d20 ⇒ 10
GM supervillan: 1d20 ⇒ 17
Sayuki: 1d20 ⇒ 11
Sulana: 1d20 ⇒ 16
Zeta: 1d20 ⇒ 1

Boon for Zeta! - you'll need to send me your email address so I can report it to Campaign Leadership who will send you your boon. You also need to tell me which boon you want - see details here.

Chronicle sheets will be ready this weekend.


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Rerolls can definitely be given via campaign service coins - but I don't know of any other way.


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Chronicles are up!

Yndra I have left the High Priestess' Patronage boon available to you, in case you should ever return to play, because you did technically qualify for it along with the rest of the party.

Anyone who drank the waters of enlightenment receives the "Visions of the Void" boon.

Let me know if anything needs changing or fixing.

Thanks for the game!


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That's a wrap folks! Feel free to continue RP in the gameplay thread. Chronicles should be done by the end of the weekend.

I've enjoyed playing with you all. Feedback is always welcome, here or via pm.

Success conditions

Primary success is achieved if at least one of you drinks the waters of enlightenment and reports back to High Priestess al-Sahba.

The secondary success condition is met by achieving a high level of 'clout' (a hidden measurement of influence) with the high priestess, or by viewing at least four visions at the pool. You achieved the secondary success, so you get full PP.

Sayuki, I hope you get well soon and I look forward to your GM run in Gameday!


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"So you think the White Feather harmless? The satrap does not agree. But that is a matter of politics, rather than theology.

Thank you for your service. You have aided my city and brought succour to those who needed it. Please keep my signet rings, as a token of my esteem. I have a few additional gifts for you in recognition of your efforts."

Al-Sahba presents you with a number of magic items, all of which appear on the chronicle sheet.

"Please, stay end enjoy dinner with us this evening. In the morning you can return to your venture captain, where you will no doubt have further reports to make.

The Dawn Brings New Light."


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"So it does seem that Roidira abandoned her followers then; that may be what turned them from a harmless fringe cult into unpredictable nihilistic dissidents.

This white feather imagery is troubling though, Bahram. The satrap asked me to find a way to discredit both the Roidiran cult and the White Feather. I am uneasy about treating both in the same way - but are they in fact the same? How would you have me use the knowledge that you have brought?" al-Sahba asks you all.


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I don't want to put you off playing your chosen characters :)

When I played this module we had a lvl 3 swashigator, my lvl 3 divine verminous hunter with mantis companion, my wife's lvl 3 monk (basically a Sajan pregen clone, very slightly tweaked), a level 2 switch-hitter ranger, and a level 1 pregen warpriest. The latter was a bit of a screw-up, because the player brought an illegal character but he was brand new, and the mistake wasn't spotted till we were several hours in; I think he brought his PC from his home game. He should have been given a level 4 pregen, not the level 1. This party survived and was successful. With 4 level 3s and 2 level 2s you should be OK, but the level 2s will naturally find it slightly more dangerous.


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I tend to lean away from playing a pathfinder module at the bottom end of the sanctioned tier range - most modules assume a level up (or more than one) between the start and the final encounter, but you don't get to do that in PFS - so if you do play at level 2 the risk is greater.

Gronkh looks pretty tough for a level 2, but it's up to you in the end.


Gameday VIII calling notice for Feast of Ravenmoor!

Would the following players please check in here

Abraham Z (Gronkh)
GM-MG (Byron)
Uktar (Yagajimoro)
Lysle (tbd)
OG3 (Jeskit Thersis)
Sedoriku (Angela Isafira)

Gameplay thread is also open for dotting and deleting.


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Al-Sahba pauses and reflects before she continues:

"What unspeakable cruelty. I have no love for the Roidiran faith, but surely her followers deserved better than losing their goddess among a sea of riddles. Questions of divine philosophy can be the most challenging questions we face. It is not surprising that a divinity known for cloaking herself in secrets would make such questions even more unapproachable. Yet, I believe there is much to consider with what you have said.
Perhaps the paradox of Roidira’s nature could be understood through the lens of other absences that we tend to give names. It could be, in that sense, that as cold is the absence of heat, ignorance is the absence of knowledge, and darkness is the absence of light, Roidira represents the absence of something else. While I have studied theology extensively, you have seen more of Roidira’s nature than I have. No matter the faith, she who experiences the touch of the divine becomes an authority the wise should heed. What are your interpretations of what you have witnessed?”


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It's the Online Support Program. Very similar to the RSP but for online play.

Reviewing the Guide, I see that an ex-inquisitor doesn't have to be marked as dead if they don't immediately switch deities or Atone: it's one of those "conditions" that is allowed to carry over. An Atonement to restore Inquisitor powers cost 8PP.


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Please post your PFS details here:

Player name
Character name
Character PFS number
Faction
Day job roll
Slow or normal xp track

This is a tier 2-4 module granting 3XP and 4PP upon successful completion. If you're still deciding which character to bring I recommend favouring a lvl 3 over a lvl 2.


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Please dot and delete - we'll be starting August 26th.


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Bahram and Etna are able to persuade most of the Roidirans to leave the shrine, and head back to Qaharid with you. For some reason, the cultists avoid Sulana studiously.

You set out the next morning, leaving early to avoid some of the desert heat. The phantoms have returned, but they do not attempt to stop you leaving. They merely stare, conveying at once their despair and a sense of kinship as they meet your gaze.

The heat is punishing for those without magical protection meaning the cultists, and I think one or two of your companion critters. However the oasis proves a safe place to rest on the way.

Back at Qaharid the sarenrite paladins welcome you back, and tell you that you are expected by the High Priestess back at the Grand Temple. "Don't keep her Holiness waiting!"

Taking the paladin's advice, you find al-Sahba taking dinner with her wife. She makes introductions and invites you to join them, before asking eagerly: "Well, what did you learn?"


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I think Irori-Roidira would work; but I agree it's a stretch. I've read the wiki entry as "Roidira = White Feather (?)" + "White Feather = Irori (?)" therefore "Roidria = Irori (?)"

Retirement as the Prophet of The Everlasting Road is a great story to tell though :)


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"Qadiran society is corrupt, dogmatic. Roidira offered a different, better way of life, free of the shackles of hierarchy and status. But we've lost her - if we ever really had her at all. What - what do you believe?"

You can persuade the lost cultists to return to Qaharid if you wish, with a Diplomacy OR Knowledge (religion) check.


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That's a wrap folks - if you want to post any additional RP or epilogues in gameplay please feel free.

Success conditions: your primary mission is achieved as long as at least one of you experiences Roidira's visions by drinking the waters of enlightenment, and making a report back to the high priestess. Your second prestige point is earned by achieving a 'clout' threshold with the high priestess, or experiencing at least 4 visions in total. You did this. (Clout is a 'hidden' measure of influence, which you accrue by succeeding at the theatre challenge and by how you conduct your conversation with the high priestess. For skill-light parties there is an alternative combat encounter that offers less influence, but you didn't need that.)

Everyone not dead or retired earns the "High Priestess' Patronage" boon - this gives you a one time 10% discount on a purchase which you have to use during the scenario or when you receive the chronicle sheet. The purchase gets entered on the chronicle. I am happy to leave this blank if you want some time to think about it, but you'll have to use this part of the boon before your next adventure.

Everyone who drank the Waters of Enlightenment gets a one use boon that adds a random number to a skill check (which could be -1 or zero).

The phantom boon is as follows - this is what Poe rejected:

Roidiran Phantom:
You chose to replace your existing phantom with the tormented spirit of Zarisha al-Sakawi. Zarisha is a despair phantom (Pathfinder RPG Occult Adventures 81) with the following modifications: her starting Intelligence score is 11, and her emotional focus skills are Intimidate and Knowledge (religion) instead of Intimidate and Stealth.
- a normal phantom has INT 7, so Zarisha is getting an extra 2 skill ranks per HD.

I'll aim to get chronicles done by the end of the week - it'll probably be sooner.

Sorry that UJ died to that stupid lizard; and kudos to Yndra for a cool retirement story; she'll be marked dead in reporting (becoming an inquisitor with no deity is an "effect that is intended to mechanically affect your character in a negative way." (Guide p.19).

Boons are potentially available - on a roll of 1 or 20. Rolling in alphabetical order (character names)

fate: 1d20 ⇒ 11
poe: 1d20 ⇒ 16
GM supervillan: 1d20 ⇒ 11
mr graves: 1d20 ⇒ 20
tsschas: 1d20 ⇒ 18
uncle j: 1d20 ⇒ 18
Yndra: 1d20 ⇒ 4

Boon for Mr Graves - choose from boons listed here - if you let me have your email address the powers will be will sort that out for you.


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Coda

Several nights later, a young archeologist is drinking in the Flaming Scimitar tavern. He remarks to his drinking companion, a certain foreman named Adar al-Zareef, that his girlfriend, a priest of Sarenrae at the Grand Temple, had to prepare a peculiar gnome's remains for transport after an incident with a giant lizard in the desert.

"What?! Not Uncle J?" exclaims the miner. "That bastard lizard! I hope he choked to death! Lads, a toast! Let's all drink to our dear departed friend Uncle Julius!

♫♫Let's all get drunk and go naked, and lie in a great big pile! ♫♫"


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"Very well" answers the high priestess. 'Pathfinders, I am grateful for the service you have rendered to me and to my city. Please keep the signet rings I have given to you, as a token of my esteem.

Yndra, I must insist that you return my ring; I cannot have a prophet of Roidira be seen to be sponsored by Sarenrae's representative on Golarion, nor could I allow this as a Peerless.

I will tell the satrap that Roidira's cult poses no threat. However, there are conditions, Yndra. You will submit to questioning under the gaze of my paladins, who will employ such divinations as they deem appropriate to confirm that you are under no magical compulsion and that you intend weal rather than woe. You will also accept being bound by a Mark of Justice to prevent you organising or partaking in acts of sedition. Subject to your acceptance of these conditions I grant you the freedom to act as shepherd to your lost sheep; grant them succour, and see that they no longer disrupt the affairs of my citizens. When I am satisfied that there is no longer a risk to civil order, I shall send a detachment of paladins to the pilgrimage site in the jungle to ensure that any lingering spirits are permanently banished, and to close the site."

She looks again to the rest of you. "I am truly sorry for your loss. I much enjoyed Julius' peformance as Sarenrae!" Al-Sahba allows herself a smile at the thought on Uncle Julius' dance. "But if a soul does not wish to return from the Beyond, then it cannot be compelled by resurrection magic. I will ensure his remains receive a Gentle Repose spell and help you transport them home. I also a have a few gifts for you, small treasures that cannot compensate for the grief you must feel, but you should have them nonetheless."

Al-Sahba presents you with several gifts magic items that appear on the chronicle sheet.
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Later, back at the lodge in Katheer, Venture Captain Esmayl ibn Qaradi takes your reports. He arranges for Uncle Julius' name to be added to the Wall of Names in the grand lodge:

Uncle Julius: he danced, he sang, he looked for knowledge where a gnome ought not.


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Drinking or not drinking does affect the outcome - but unless you all decide not to drink it's not a mission fail, you're affecting your own outcome, and that's a totally valid character choice.

Roidira fades away completely. As she does so the glow of the pool also disappears; the water merely smells stale now.

Sulana:
You hear Roidira, even as she disappears. "Foolish, ignorant Sulana. Where I go now not even gods may follow."

Those pathfinders who drank of the waters come to their senses, as do the Roidirans who were knelt in prayer around the pool. The pains and injuries that you suffered are gone - as though they never happened. Everyone is healed of any damage taken in this room. Sayuki also returns from wherever it was that her consciousness visited.

"So now you know" says one of the cultists, with tears in his eyes. "She does not exist. How are we to contemplate existence without even the solace of emptiness?”


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Zeta:
You drink of the waters. The water is redolent of mulled wine and the sting of narcotics.

Fort save: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8damage: 2d6 ⇒ (2, 3) = 5

You clutch your stomach in agony as water goes down.

A horse carrying a rider gallops across a desert landscape with sand of gleaming gold grains. Many days pass, and eventually the horse dies. The rider continues the journey on foot. As the rider grows older, his pace slows, until he ultimately collapses upon the sand and sinks. Winds blow the sand over the fallen form, and a horse emerges from the golden grains, galloping away.

Zeta drinks, and gasps in pain. She stares blankly at the pool...

Sulana:
All of your companions (except for the various animals) are gazing into the pool, or into the far distance. Roidira is slowly fading away.


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Aulurius:
You drink of the waters. The water is redolent of mulled wine and the sting of narcotics.

Fort save: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 4 + 2 = 21

Your dwarven constitution is unaffected.

Roidira speaks, “You are not Roidirans. Did you all really think to take me for a fool? No matter. Hear me now, for no one, least of all my wretched faithful, shall ever believe you: I have no use for followers. Where I now walk is beyond your imagining, beyond the realm of your comprehension. So-called “Roidirans” became what I despised: inflexible dogmatists who put posturing performance before the pursuit of truth. Instead of walking Roidira’s Road as a way of life, they thought of it as a road with a destination. So, I gave them one: this place, where I could crush their stupidity in one fell swoop. They think signs with childish drawings that mock other divinities are my way? They think my path is one of street brawls and shouting evangelism? They are worse than you, lower than you, for they know less than nothing. Emptiness was not to be an end in itself, but a beginning. These fools,” she gestures to the mute Roidirans, “never understood that. Thus, I took from them the one thing they loved most. Myself. What I do now is beyond their comprehension, as it is beyond yours. Farewell.”

Bahram:
You drink of the waters. The water is redolent of mulled wine and the sting of narcotics.

Fort save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11damage: 2d6 ⇒ (5, 2) = 7

You crease up in pain as the water reaches your gut, but you do not pass out. You see Roidira, fully corporeal, standing before this very pool in some lost age when the shrine was better maintained, polished and swept with reverence. Standing in the pool, she produces a long, curved sword. Leaning her head back, strong arms skillfully manoeuvre the sword until its point presses into her starry robes. With a single breath and thrust, she runs herself through and dissolves into the pool, a shower of white feathers fluttering down before all fades to black.

Aulurius and Bahram drink the waters. Aulurius grunts once. Bahram cries out and clutches his stomach. Both of them stare blankly into the pool...


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Al-Sahba is visibly distraught at the news of Uncle Julius' death. "He gave his life for the sake of knowledge, in the service of others. Blessed Sarenrae has bestowed upon me the power to return the dead to life; but I regret I cannot waive the cost. The funds that we raise via taxation and subscription are marked for the use of the city and its citizens. If you can provide the necessary diamond component, I shall return Uncle Julius to you tomorrow. If you cannot, then we will honour his memory and I shall have his remains preserved and assist in returning them to wherever you think he would wish."

The high priestess remains serious and pensive when she learns of Yndra's new status. "You have turned from Nethys in favour of Roidira?" She pauses a moment, lips pursed. "I doubted any connection to the divine was at play, but such a conversion suggests that I was wrong on that count. No matter the faith, she who experiences the touch of the divine becomes an authority the wise should heed.

I will be frank with you Yndra. The satrap wished for me to find a way to discredit both the White Feather and the Roidiran cult. In truth, I am uneasy about treating both in the same way. I am minded to give you some time to resolve the situation with your new followers. How would you have me use the knowledge you uncovered at the shrine? What would you wish me to say to the satrap? And most importantly of all, are you confident that you can end the threat to our security posed by the Roidirans?"

Al-Sahba looks to all of you expectantly.


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I'll wait a while for Zeta to see if she wants to drink...


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Sayuki does a little dance. Roidira seems to be slowly fading away....


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Etna does not respond to Bahram's question. She stares into the water; like Sayuki, it is as if her mind is elsewhere.


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Mr. Graves wrote:

You know... this is an awsome bit of IC backstory here for Yndra. Be shame to let it die by retiring! =)

I wonder if there's a inquisitor equivalent to the separatist cleric archetype.
You sure Roidira is not PFS legal?

You know, there just might be an option available.

Yndra:
Whilst there is no legal entry for Roidira as a PFS deity, pathfinder wiki says that some consider her to be an aspect of Irori. It cites the sourcebook "Qadira: Gateway to the East." I suppose you could worship Roidira as Irori. It's not precisely canon, you might get some GMs grumble, but I've occasionally seen other PCs take some licence in the name of character development and the story justifies it imho.

The Inquisitor class gets the Heretic archetype; however Additional Resources says that an ex-inquisitor cannot replace class abilities with the Heretic's abilities. This means that you'd have to retrain into the archetype, and you still need a legal deity.


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Sayuki:
You feel yourself shrug, and hear yourself speak. Alas, no fountain of sake appears. You do not hear anybody else, nor do you feel your body being jostled.

It is clear that Sayuki does not hear Sulana's pleas, nor does Sayuki respond to being jostled. It is as if her mind is someplace else.

"Sayuki has closed herself off from the possibility of Enlightenment" says Roidira. "But if she accepts that she dwells in the darkness of ignorance, she will see her way back to you."

Sayuki:
You hear Roidira speak these words.

Bahram:
You detect no magic except what the party has brought with them.

Bahram, Sulana, Aulurius and Etna kneel at the water's edge. Zeta stands back. Etna is the first to drink.

Etna:
Fort save: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8damage: 2d6 ⇒ (5, 1) = 6
The water is redolent of mulled wine and the sting of narcotics. You feel a sharp pain as the water goes down. And then, you are floating in a dark and silent void. In this silence, a telepathic presence presses itself upon your mind, “I am not, and I have never been. Lesser minds construct reality from ephemeral illusion, forcing the trappings of existence upon that which has never worn them. All the void can grant are echoes.”

The rest of you see Etna clutch her stomach and cry out in pain. But she remains kneeling at the water's edge, looking into the pool.


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"A prophet! A prophet! Roidira has sent us a prophet! She of the Everlasting Road! We are saved!" The Roidirans gravitate towards their new teacher, Yndra.

But not all of them are convinced by Yndra's message. Some prefer to keep their own company; others, as they recover from their malaise, turn out to be quite friendly, and are glad to return to civilisation with you. They tell you how they came to reject the rigid hierarchy of Qadiri society, with its reliance on established knowledge and dogma, and thus sought a new way of life in Roidira's faith.

You spend the rest of the night at the shrine. The cultists have a supply of food, and clean drinking water - enough to see you back to Qaharid. As you break camp in the morning several phantoms emerge from the aether, but they know better than to attack you. The phantoms remain behind haunting the old mine.

You return to Qaharid with a train of dozen or so Roidirans, now split into two groups: those who regard their quest as a foolish mistake, and those who embrace Yndra's Everlasting Road. Along the way you exhume Uncle Julius' remains. The Roidirans (including the new Everlasting Road cultists) are saddened to learn that their misadventures in the jungle led to the death of the jolly gnome.

When you arrive back at the gates of Qaharid the guards at the gate are wary, reluctant to allow the remnants of the Roidiran pilgrimage back into the city. Your signet rings are enough to convince them though. A paladin-at-arms recognises you and requests that you attend the Grand Temple and report to the High Priestess at once.
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At the Grand Temple of Sarenrae, High Priestess Amal al-Sahba is enjoying a late dinner with her wife. She greets you warmly, and asks for your report.


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One of the Roidirans replies to Yndra: "You - you believe? You drank of the waters of Enlightenment, and your faith is stronger. What - what did we do wrong? What test did we fail?"

Another speaks to Fate: "Nothing of value. Yes, there is nothing here. Nothing here."

The other five cultists, from the rooms you have passed by, come and join you. Whilst they are confused, they at least seem to be aware of their surroundings. Some of them gather around Yndra. The others seem to be waiting, uncertain.

You can persuade the cultists of the merits of any particular course of action with a Knowledge (Religion) OR Diplomacy check. The Knowledge check is easier. Yndra you don't need to make a check (unless you want to counter any other PC's suggestion, in which case it'll be an opposed check) - at least some of the Roidirans now look to you for answers, and if nobody else gives them any other idea they'll follow you.


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Roidira smiles and exhales, as if a burden had been lifted.

"Good. You begin to understand, at last. Now let us test the deepest rafters of your minds."

“Now, you may drink from this fountain of enlightenment,” she says, as she gestures to the pool beneath her feet. “Sup on the knowledge that shall shatter all you hold dear,” she says, with a strange edge of intensity. “All of you who would seek enlightenment, step forth.”

Roidira invites you to drink of the waters. Do you do so? Sayuki does not hear Roidira's invitation.


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Hey, that’s a great excuse! Congratulations!


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The Roidirans seem dazed, their eyes teary. One of them manages to respond to Yndra.

"I....I drank of the waters. I had a vision. I was lost in a void and a voice said to me I am not, and never was. Don't you see? She never existed."

"I drank too" says another of the four. "I sailed through the Void without direction. I saw nothing, I heard nothing."


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When Sayuki speaks, you all hear her. She is present, and yet absent. That is, she is physically present with you but she is unaware of anything going on around her.

I'll give Etna a little more time.


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Tsschas follows Fate's lead and applies bolstering magics to his companions.

Yndra:
You feel Roidira's presence recede.... you are dressed in scholar's robes, standing in a grassy field gazing up at a field of stars, a quill in hand. You stab at a star with your quill, causing the star to pop like a bubble and vanish. A cluster of new stars appears elsewhere in the sky. The more you try to destroy the stars, the more appear. You snap your quill in frustration, and you vanish. As you disappear, the stars vanish also.

After no more than a minute, Poe, Tem and Yndra recover. Their injuries are healed, as if they never happened. Roidira is gone. The pool no longer glows, and merely smells stale.

The four Roidirans around the pool stand up. "So now you know. She does not exist. How are we to contemplate existence without even the solace of emptiness?”

Yndra again:
That's a cool plan - a pretty unique way to retire a character. Sadly no Roidira worship option is available.


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Roidira's having none of it though :o


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"Then let those whose minds are closed to the possibility of Enlightenment be closed."

Roidira gestures dismissively at Sayuki.

Sayuki:
Everything is gone. You exist, alone, in the Void. You perceive only yourself - all else is blackness, silent but for the sound of your own breath and heartbeat.

Roidira smiles at Aulurius.

“Now for my final question: is true knowledge even possible?”

There are no hints and no skill checks for this question.


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Not unreasonable at all. I also thought that the way the dialogue was presented in the scenario text was odd, so you helped me find a way to present the encounter better. If I ever run this again I think I'll give the explanation above at the start of this encounter.


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Yndra:
That looks like you're wanting to change deities. Are you? As an Inquisitor your class abilities (most of them anyway) are dependent on your worship of Nethys. Sadly, Roidira is not a PFS-legal deity for worship. "Veneration" is fine though, but I'm not sure veneration of another deity is something Nethys would be happy with. (See p.44 of Season 10 guide for rules distinction between venerate and worship, if you're not already aware). What are you going for?

Mr Graves:
You kneel, as if to swallow the water. You cup it in your hands, but only study it. You are able to determine that the water is laced with a potent foreign substance; whether that substance alters reality, or only the drinker's perception of reality, you cannot say for certain. The distinctive smell is already fading, as is the light. You look up, and Roidira almost isn't there.

Mr. Graves examines the 'Waters of Enlightenment' as Fate relieves Tem's suffering.

Tsschas do you wish to do anything other than observe? Do any of you who have not yet drunk the waters wish to do so?


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There's a hint behind the spoiler if you pass the skill check; aside from that, see Discussion thread.

Knowledge (Religion) DC16:
You recall your meeting with Amal al-Sahba. If she were to answer this question, she’d say unequivocally that Roidirans are functionally faithless. But as the White Feather Vashti al-Amiyyah hinted, there’s more to the story. A central tension of the Roidiran faith is to reject most meaning structures and pursue what is left in their absence. Such a practice, however, becomes a positive expression of meaning. In other words, giving up on all other beliefs is itself a kind of belief. Faith in any deity is, by definition, belief in something.


Low Cost of Enlightenment | High Cost of Enlightenment

I was just thinking about that earlier, and you're right Sulana. It's fairer to give skill checks upfront when there are consequences for failure.

The scenario is trying to get players to answer questions free-form, but then also asking for skill checks in some places. Although it does grant substantial circumstance bonuses, it still means that (for the first question anyway) success depends on the dice roll more than your answer. I've never liked that about d20 systems - or any rpg game system really.

I've got a little bit of leeway within the 'run as written' rule; enough that I can explain here how the encounter should run mechanically according to the scenario.

Roidira asks three key questions. You've already dealt with the first one, and she's put the second question. This one does not have a skill check that determines success; success depends on what you actually say. There is a skill check for remembering a 'clue' if it's needed. I'll post that in gameplay.

The third question also asks for a free-form answer from you, and success depends on what you say, not an a skill check.

So really it's the first question demanding a skill roll that diverges from a more reasonable and flexible challenge; the remaining questions do not demand skill rolls for success.


Low Cost of Enlightenment | High Cost of Enlightenment

Not every question Roidira asks will require Diplomacy or Knowledge (religion) checks. In fact, if you come up with appropriate answers skill checks may not be necessary at all. There are still consequences for your answers though.


Low Cost of Enlightenment | High Cost of Enlightenment

Tem, Poe and Yndra drink from the pool, whilst Mr Graves, Tsschas and Fate look on...

Tem:
The water is redolent of mulled wine, and the sting of narcotics. You drink, and are wracked with pain. Your head swims.

Fort save: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7damage: 4d6 ⇒ (2, 6, 5, 6) = 19

You collapse to the floor. All of your senses fade, leaving you floating in a dark and silent void. In this silence, a telepathic presence presses itself upon your mind, I am not, and I have never been. Lesser minds construct reality from ephemeral illusion, forcing the trappings of existence upon that which has never worn them. All the void can grant are echoes.

Poe:
The water is redolent of mulled wine, and the sting of narcotics. You drink, and are wracked with pain. Your head swims.

Fort save: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8damage: 4d6 ⇒ (2, 1, 6, 5) = 14

You clutch your stomach in agony. But the pain passes quickly. You look up. Roidira, fully corporeal, stands before this very pool in some age when the shrine was better maintained, polished and swept with reverence. Standing in the pool, she produces a long, curved sword. Leaning her head back, strong arms skillfully manoeuvre the sword until its point presses into her starry robes. With a single breath and thrust, she runs herself through and dissolves into the pool, a shower of white feathers fluttering down before all fades to black.

Yndra:
The water is redolent of mulled wine, and the sting of narcotics. You drink, and are wracked with pain. Your head swims.

Fort save: 1d20 + 8 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 8 + 3 = 14damage: 4d6 ⇒ (3, 4, 2, 6) = 15

The pain is severe, though it passes quickly. Roidira speaks, “You are not Roidirans. Did you all really think to take me for a fool? No matter. Hear me now, for no one, least of all my wretched faithful, shall ever believe you: I have no use for followers. Where I now walk is beyond your imagining, beyond the realm of your comprehension. So-called “Roidirans” became what I despised: inflexible dogmatists who put posturing performance before the pursuit of truth. Instead of walking Roidira’s Road as a way of life, they thought of it as a road with a destination. So, I gave them one: this place, where I could crush their stupidity in one fell swoop. They think signs with childish drawings that mock other divinities are my way? They think my path is one of street brawls and shouting evangelism? They are worse than you, lower than you, for they know less than nothing. Emptiness was not to be an end in itself, but a beginning. These fools,” she gestures to the mute Roidirans, “never understood that. Thus, I took from them the one thing they loved most. Myself. What I do now is beyond their comprehension, as it is beyond yours. Farewell.”

Mr Graves, Tsschas and Fate:
You witness the others drink. Each of them clutches their stomach, or head, and cries out. Tem falls to the ground, but is still conscious. However, none of the three responds to any call or even to being jostled. Will you wait and see what happens, drink the water too, or do something else?


Low Cost of Enlightenment | High Cost of Enlightenment

Tsschas, how about you?


Low Cost of Enlightenment | High Cost of Enlightenment

Roidira sighs and waves her hand. All but Bahram and Zeta (who has not answered) fall to their knees, shuddering.

damage to all but Bahram and Zeta: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5 DC12 Fort save for half/

“This is basic; essential! How can you be open to Enlightenment if you cannot even grasp this? Do not let it be said that I am unmerciful, however. Empty yourselves of what you have learned!"

At Bahram's words, Roidira smiles and claps softly.

“Better. Thus you have learned the true significance of emptiness. Tell me, as good Roidirans, then, do you believe in nothing?”

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