After gently brushing away luminescent fungi and careful study of the carvings, you are able to make sense of four sections that seem less thoroughly eroded than the rest. They depict parables about Aroden, in four of the twelve guises he takes on in History and Future of Humanity, the principal holy text of Arodenites. Those of you that have knowledge of that text find these parables to be slightly different than the ones you are used to, and you suspect this may be an earlier version of that work.
The four guises of Aroden you can decipher are:
The soft light of the surrounding fungus mixes with the flickering glow of the nearby torches to reveal a grand chamber. A large pool of water along the chamber’s southern edge reflects the blue and green radiance to illuminate the massive stalactites that cling to the ceiling overhead. Two other tunnels branch off from this area, leading to the east and west. Kneeling in the water facing away from you is lone man (picture in the slide deck). He makes no indication that he noticed your arrival.
Rising up from the pool is a column of rock with steeply sloped sides and a flat top, as if someone had sawn off the top of a massive stalagmite. A miniature city carved from this same stone occupies nearly the entire surface. Tiny trinkets such as ancient coins, polished semiprecious stones, and ornately braided loops of string are scattered throughout the diorama, and pale cave frogs clamber atop it. The smooth cavern floor is covered in gravel and pebbles along the edge of the pool, and several foot-long centipedes prowl among the gravel in their
Victory! You all cross the hole, without any further issues. Stuu easily carries Figg out of the hole. You do recover the purple clothe bundle, which, when opened up, turns out to be a cloak.
The tunnels continue on, leading deeper beneath the Kortos Mounts until they eventually open into a large cavern. What must have once been beautifully carved reliefs and inscriptions have since weathered heavily, their features dulled and softened to the point that it is hard to distinguish what each once depicted. A wide tunnel exits the cavern on its far side, and blue-burning torches line the passageway’s walls.
Four of the reliefs are not completely washed away by water damage.
Deciphering the images and writing is difficult because of their eroded state; a successful DC 15 Knowledge (history or religion) or Linguistics check is needed to understand one carved section. Alternatively, a PC can use Appraise or Perception with a –2 penalty. The writing combines Aquan and Azlanti, and you receive a +2 bonus on your skill check for each of these languages you can understand.
You see the minotaur chasing after Janira through the trees, fighting its way through the dense undergrowth. Soon the cacophony of the chase fades and the sounds of the forest slowly return to normal.
The narrow tunnel twists and turns for several hundred feet before slowly opening to a wider passage.All of the tunnels in this area are between 3 and 10 feet wide and vary equally in height, though most are a comfortable 7 or more feet wide in each dimension. The caves are damp, which increases the DC of all Acrobatics checks by 2. Water dripping from stalactites and the distant rushing of underground streams creates an eerie backdrop as you explore. The caves’ walls are patterned with blue-green luminescent fungi that provide dim light.
Petroglyphs—most depicting marine animals or spiral shapes—periodically decorate the tunnels’ walls, becoming increasingly frequent as you go down the tunnel.
A large hole spans the cave’s width and stretches ten feet down the path. At the bottom of the pit lies a small bundle of cloth. The tunnel here is 10 feet wide and 10 feet tall with a ceiling mostly devoid of stalactites.
You can give me a Knowledge (dungeoneering) or Survival check about this hole.
In The Bag
What do you want to do?
The small, white, horse-like thing flies over to you and bites at Muckbud.
Oliver Initiative (+3): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Oliver, GAB!, Stuu, Figg may go
Ahead of you, slightly off your path, a large tree falls. The loud booming noise as it strikes the ground causes animals all around to scatter and run. As you look at the tree, it appears that there was a nest of some sort. As you watch, a large, white, horse-like creature that has a hawk’s wings, talons, and hooked beak emerges from the remains of the nest, followed by a smaller, slightly pink one. The smaller one begins making a pitiful mewling sound.
They seem to zero on you as the center of their woes.
Your first day of travel is interesting, if uneventful. Janira points out broken siege towers as you pass through the Cairnlands, explaining what she learned from Master Shaine about the many times Absalom has been unsuccessfully assaulted. You make camp in a pleasant, sheltered hollow in some low hills, taking turn at watch without incident. You have time to prepare new spells, if you would like.
Janira wakes you up early the next morning and you press on towards your destination. As you progress deeper into the forest, the trees towering overhead begin to shield most of what remains of the day’s sun and the vegetation beneath grows denser.
You have a moment to ask Janira questions before she begins briefing you on the specifics of the mission.
You may know things about the Isle of Kortos and the Kortos Mounts:
Knowledge (Geography) 10+:
At the center of the Isle of Kortos stand the Kortos Mounts, the highest points on the island.
Knowledge (Geography) 15+:
Entire tribes of centaurs, harpies, and minotaurs constantly vie for territory up and around the Mounts, with harpies being the most common at higher altitudes and centaurs controlling the lower slopes and foothills.
You may have read about the origins of the gillmen in the libraries of the Grand Lodge:
Knowledge (History) 15+:
Also known as the Low Azlanti, the gillmen are an amphibious humanoid race believed to be the last descendants of the ancient Azlanti people.
Knowledge (History) 20+:
During Earthfall, the Starstone struck Golarion and destroyed the human empires of Thassilon and Azlant. It is said that gillmen’s ancestors survived the cataclysmic event because they received the blessing of an aquatic entity that allowed them to breathe underwater.
Knowledge (History) 25+:
Most scholars believe the terrifying aboleths were responsible for the gillmen’s transformation. Any alliance between them appears to have fallen apart over the millennia, however, and the gillmen are now an independent people.
The invitation delivered last night was remarkably simple, especially given the importance of the occasion: “Start where it all began. Meet us at the Pig’s Paunch one hour before dawn.” Now here it is, the Eastern sky beginning to glow as you stand before a run-down building with a faded sign of a large pig standing on its hind legs, arms folded above a corpulent belly. Inside, the air is thick with the scents of human sweat, stale tobacco, and leftover food. In the center of the room, surrounded by inebriates sleeping off their revelries, a familiar elven man stands high upon top of a large round table.