A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #961
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    ClericGuy

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    Professor Drake Shardstone

    During the interlude with the Ambassador, Drake was polite and engaging when spoken to, but otherwise was quiet as he contemplated his current situation. The orrery was gone, in the hands of the Argentum. The only saving grace was possibly his securing an opportunity for his University colleagues to study the artifact. Still, it felt like a failure, centered in his lack of proper planning and inability to outmaneuver his opponents. While there were a few complicating factors, they did not serve to ease his frustrations.

    Kasimir was dead, and they had been forced to give up their only real chance to identify their hidden foe. His companions seemed agreed on the fact that the Codex was too dangerous to remain in existence, but whether those sentiments would survive first viewing of the artifact remained to be seen. Everyone of them had secrets - obviously, given they were a) all living mortals, and b) living in Throneport. The trick to ensuring any chance of continued collaboration was to ensure those secrets didn’t jeopardize the mission. His included ...

    With the pleasantries completed, it was time to leave the ambassador and Layla to their evening. He bowed low as they said their farewells. ”My appreciation for your generosity and patience with everything aonce your daughter’s birthday. At your convenience it may serve all of us to have a conversation regarding those responsible for Lady Layla’s abduction ... but now is a time for your family to enjoy a hard earned reunion. By your leave, Lord ir'Sencriss.”


    At the Reprieve

    Drake listened to the exchange between Gryphon and Kett, considering both of their comments. The offhand claim on the necklace and activation word wasn’t lost on the academician; if anything, it gave weight to Kett’s response. Of course, the inference from the deadly woman was this wasn’t a request, but an inevitable truth. One that the subtle shifts from both she and her husband confirmed in silent volumes.

    If the situation wasn’t so dire, and the group so dour and serious, he would have laughed out loud. Children ... always measuring others by the only stick they have ... whether it’s knowledge, power, or a blade. You would think this group had developed more trust, but it’s like sitting in a den of snakes. Or worse, politicians...

    Aloud, he spoke quietly, adding his opinion to the mix. ”Master Gryphon, you raise several valid concerns, even if some of your concerns remain to be verified. Lady Kett, you have a keen eye for matters of security - you would make a Kundarak guild master proud. If I may offer a few considerations. First and foremost, before we speak further, we either adjourn to below or take steps to avoid scrying. I know it has been several hours, but we are already well aware the entire building is not secure from divine or arcane sight.”

    Drake will wait for the group to resolve scrying concerns before continuing.

    "Obviously there are some concerns here, and there is likely very little we can do to change perceptions. Like the intro to a bad joke, we have a Magistrate representative, an ambassador, an academic, a shop keeper, and two security specialists here. We also seem to have what amounts to executioners, a spies, assassins, agents or anything else you can imagine. As motley of an assemblage as one could imagine, but there it is. We seem to have trust issues, compounded by individual, and perhaps counterproductive, agendas. That presents a challenge to working together effectively and efficiently.

    But hard truth of the matter is that we have to. You are the ones charged with figuring out the disappearance of your infamous prisoner. We have been tasked with unraveling the mystery surrounding the attack on Thronehold. And we are the ones who stand between a possible eradication of o e or two Houses, the end of spy craft as we know it ... and perhaps the end of ALL the Dragonmarked Houses. So perhaps we can find a common ground before this blows up in our individual faces."


    He paused for a moment as he collected his thoughts. ”I think my main concern with checking the necklace now is to know for certain we have it our possession. If opened in Master Kleris’ special room, the same protections that stop scrying should stop anyone who is looking for the most object. I don’t want to take it, or hold it, or have much of a time in managing it. I certainly do not think we need to spend the rest of the Dawn studying it without a chance to test. I just want to know we didn’t come up empty-handed.

    If the price for Lady Kett’s peace of mind is to sleep as a group, I am not opposed. Just know that I am old and snore.”


    With his points made, Drake leaned back in his chair, one hand absently rubbing his hip.

    OOC - My addition to the conversation...
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    AC: 14 HP: 19/52 Init +2 Move 30’
    Saves: Str +0 Dex +2 Con +2 Int +2 Wis +6 Cha +0
    Skills: Arcana/Religion +8; Insight +5; Perception +9;
    Warder’s inspiration (+1d4): Investigate, History, Thieves tools
    Weapons: shortsword (+5 / 1d8+2); shortbow (+5 / 1d8+2)
    Channel divinity 3/3 (Turn undead, destroy CR 1/2, Knowledge o/t Ages, Read thoughts)
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    Prepare 9 spells, DC 15, 4-1st / 3-2nd / 3-3rd
    0: guidance, thaumaturgy, toll the dead, mending
    1st (x3): command, identity, alarm, armor of Agnatha, cure light wounds, healing word, guiding bolt
    2nd (x2): augury, arcane lock, knock, suggestion, silence, enhance ability, locate object
    3rd (x1): non-detection, speak with dead, glyph of warding, magic circle, clairvoyance, meld into stone, dispel magic
    Wards & seals (1/long): alarm, arcane lock, mage armor

    Effects: 60’ darkvision
    Life is ... life. As always bot/cut as necessary.
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."


    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!y

  2. - Top - End - #962
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Frankly bored by the endless chain of suspiciousness, the paladin is quite relieved to hear some sense from professor Drake, thinking that he may be indeed a fine addition to their team.

    "I concur with professor Drake, we need to concentrate on our task, which is quiter complicated enough, without the unnecessary inclusion of constant suspects. For what we know right now, the only people who knows about the codex and know how to put their hands on it are in this room, and until now we were able to work together in every situation..." he turns briefly, glancing at Arano, "Well, almost every situation. I'm a bit tired, and most of us took a beating, therefore I believe that resting to recuperate our energies is important. But I do find the argumentation made by the professor compelling: having it in our hands now rather than tomorrow can be an advantage. It depends on our 'security measures', can we count on them?"
    Does this poster have a sign?

  3. - Top - End - #963
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    "It's a good compromise," Arano says, his hand coming to rest on Kett's shoulder as he sidles up behind her. "We check to make sure we didn't get swindled now, and then we take shifts to make sure the wizard gets his beauty sleep. I might step out of the room when you take out the Codex, just in case it somehow activates with my mark close by. Once we're sure we don't need to worry about it, we can set out our shifts?"

    Finally, Arano looks quizzically at Kleris. "Out of curiosity, what kinds of security measures have the two of you set up here? It might be helpful for us to be aware of any wards or traps we might accidentally trigger."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeno Desaqqara View Post
    You divine bastard.
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    "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."

  4. - Top - End - #964
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    Kleris nods at the ambassador with a small smile. "It was no problem Danilos, we all would have gone regardless when we heard about little Layla. You have a good one there. Thank you for the very gracious gift and I hope i can put it to good use, maybe my exploits with it can provide another entry into the famed Sencriss archives. I will most likely be stopping by to check on you in a day or two, as I promised after the birthday."




    Kleris sighs as the group turns to power struggling again, the two agents just couldn't let anything lie. You can take the stripes off a tiger but it doesn't make it a house cat. "Well I don't feel any need to pull out the artifact tonight. It has been safe in there for weeks it should last a night. I suggest we all head downstairs to the private room we were in last night and sleep there. Its the safest room in the inn and as far as traps there aren't any you will stumble across unless you go poking around in private rooms you have no business being in."
    "Facilis Descensus Averni." - Virgil, The Aeneid

    “Why would I want to win anything other than a beautiful game?” - Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man's Fear


  5. - Top - End - #965
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    ClericGuy

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    Professor Drake Shardstone

    Where Arimart and Arano both seemed to agree with Drake in principle, Kleris remained unconvinced. At his comment regarding the safety of the necklace, the dwarf actually frowned. And it was not the first time this evening someone had alluded to the relatively safety of the Codex.

    ”That is at least the second time one of you has mentioned the artifact being safe. Perhaps I have not communicated effectively, or we have different perspectives, but I do not think the object is safe. First, we know that Dox was monitoring us via divination. While it seems fairly obvious she doesn't have a complete picture, nor understand the role Layla played in this drama, she certainly suspects an important enough situation to force her to obtain the orrery and use it as a bargaining chip to bring Lady Velencor into the mix.

    Second, the book we used to garner Lady Layla's freedom was fairly clear - the last few pages contain several notes from Kasimir and from Master Arano, to include the specifics of what the artifact is, a detailed sketch, an alias for the project lead ... and how Layla was a key to hiding it.

    Suffice to say, I believe the item in question is in grave danger, by an act as simple as Dox reading the last few pages. I do not disagree that rest is required, but perhaps you can better appreciate my desire to confirm we actually have the object in question, with our own eyes.”


    The dwarf paused for a long moment, then sighed and removed his glasses, rubbing the bridge of his nose before putting them back on. "All of that being said, I am relatively knew to your group, and likely many of you have as many trust issues with me as you do with each other ... even if you are far too polite to say so aloud. I am more than willing to wait to view the item tomorrow morning, presuming we follow Lady Kett's suggestion that we remain together tonight ... for mutual protection. If there are no furthur objections, perhaps we should prepare for bed so that we may get our beauty sleep. Some of us need more than others."

    Presuming the group agrees, Drake will help collect anything necessary for getting some rest. When the door is closed, he will walk over and cast a spell on it, smiling to the others.
    "That should ensure we are notified if anyone opens the door, least we are surprised by the mundane magic of a blade in the dark ..." Then he'll find a spot to settle in to sleep, closing his eyes. His breathing slows and quickly turns into something between a rumble and a purr ... almost soothing for those that appreciate some level of noise in the background.

    OOC - EDIT: added some narrative to facilitate moving the scene ahead. Casting Alarm on the entrance (presuming there's only one).
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    AC: 14 HP: 19/52 Init +2 Move 30’
    Saves: Str +0 Dex +2 Con +2 Int +2 Wis +6 Cha +0
    Skills: Arcana/Religion +8; Insight +5; Perception +9;
    Warder’s inspiration (+1d4): Investigate, History, Thieves tools
    Weapons: shortsword (+5 / 1d8+2); shortbow (+5 / 1d8+2)
    Channel divinity 3/3 (Turn undead, destroy CR 1/2, Knowledge o/t Ages, Read thoughts)
    Spoiler: Spells
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    Prepare 9 spells, DC 15, 4-1st / 3-2nd / 3-3rd
    0: guidance, thaumaturgy, toll the dead, mending
    1st (x2): command, identity, alarm, armor of Agnatha, cure light wounds, healing word, guiding bolt
    2nd (x2): augury, arcane lock, knock, suggestion, silence, enhance ability, locate object
    3rd (x1): non-detection, speak with dead, glyph of warding, magic circle, clairvoyance, meld into stone, dispel magic
    Wards & seals (1/long): alarm, arcane lock, mage armor

    Effects: alarm (8 hours); 60’ darkvision
    Last edited by Starbin; 2021-09-28 at 10:21 AM.
    Life is ... life. As always bot/cut as necessary.
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."


    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!y

  6. - Top - End - #966
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    Volta

    Your choice made for the evening, you all settle at last into your arrangement of shifts and watches over the secure basement of the Reprieve; Kleris and Gryphon first, followed by Arimart and Kett and ending with Drake and Arano. As you are all well past midnight, sleep finds you all rather quickly, entering Dal Quor and leaving this plane behind. As there are no windows in the safe room, there is no way to mark the forward march of the hours aside from your heartbeats and the growing sense of hunger in your bellies.

    That said, night turns to dawn and finally day without any struggle from outside the walls of the inn. There are no footsteps on the floorboards above you, no hint of breath or rasp of a blade drawn in the dark. Dox and House Thuranni may remain a problem, but your blessed rest is largely uninterrupted. The dangers of the city lie beyond your doorstep for the time being.

    You emerge from the stairs to yet another overcast late spring morning. The flat glow from Scions Sound leeches nearly all the blue from the sky, and try as you might you get no sense of the sun's position beyond the veil of cloud. The usual peddlers go about their day in the perennial fashion, and by all appearances, the morning is yours to do with as you will. Arano offers to go around the corner in disguise to fetch some fresh fruit or Karrnathi vedbread - a baked treat with ved cheese and onion butter - and mugs of blackroot tal with honey from some of the market vendors, suggesting once more that you open the bag while he's out just in case anything strange happens. Before opening the door, he drinks a small vial and suddenly shrinks into a dark-skinned man of advanced age with callused hands, adopting a mismatched gait and dabbing himself with fish oil.

    "Let me know how it goes!" the 'fisherman' exclaims with a smile, blowing a kiss to his wife before disappearing.


    Kleris

    Moments after you close your eyes, you stand atop a lonely promontory and look upon the shattered vestige of an empire.

    The cliff on which you stand falls away from your sight to reveal grandeur, forgotten. Below spans an extended and elaborate array of ruined edifices on a glittering plain; all magnificent though unclassified architecture, and in various stages of preservation. Most appear to be of marble, basking in the rays of some pale light that pulses far away, and as your mind adjusts to the view you note the general plan is of a large city at the bottom of a wide valley, with numerous isolated temples and villas spread out on the slopes around. Roofs have fallen and columns lie broken, but there still remains an air of immemorially ancient splendour which nothing can quite efface.

    There is no sky above you. At least, none that you can perceive. Instead, coils of inky void twist and turn overhead. These vast currents are dragged slowly inward in a rough spiral to a point of pure darkness, from which nothing escapes. It resembles nothing so much as a great maw, slowly devouring all that it surveys.

    The ground lurches beneath your feet, and you find yourself walking unbidden. Each stride you take moves you forward a dozen. All around you the city rises, its pillars cast as ivory fingers outstretched in supplication to a silent god. The streets are utterly devoid of life or sound, and you are all too aware of the faint crunch of your own tread as you press onwards. Every few minutes - or perhaps days? - you pass some half-crumbled façade and wonder at its original purpose. A cluster of close buildings that half emerge from the claiven earth could have been a market, long ago. A low-lying wall might have been the edge of a barracks or some other garrison. Perhaps that two storey building was a school, once?

    For all your speculation, there can be no mistaking what lies at the city's heart. A great temple, whose flanks are carved with scenes of object depravity, looms ahead of you. Some of its high stone buttresses have fallen, and several delicate finials lie half lost among the brown, neglected weeds and grasses. The sooty windows are largely unbroken, though many of the stone mullions are missing. There may have been doors once; now no object bars your path save the faint whisper in the back of your head that tells you to stop.

    The colossal nave into which you emerge is an almost eldritch place with its drifts and mountains of dust over eroded stone pews, altar, hour-glass pulpit, and sounding-board and its titanic ropes of cobweb stretching among the pointed arches of the gallery and entwining the clustered columns. Over all this hushed desolation plays a hideous leaden light - THE LIGHT - which burns alone as though in effigy.

    It's close enough to touch now, but its description fails you. The borders of the dream begin to crack and blur all at once, and you're suddenly aware of the beating of a drum, except you realize its your heartbeat. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. How can it be here, ever-present and yet out of reach? You stare deep into its core, and images sear over your retinas. Dusk. A thousand sunsets, happening all at once. They are all the same, but none are alike. The sun vanishes, its LIGHT captured each time and folded like steel, moments of change forged into something lasting. It has edges, and a point so fine as to vanish -

    A paradox.

    Then, a voice made up of multitudes, a soothing song, a scream:

    < FIND ME >

    You wake only to the racing of your heart.
    Last edited by 3SecondCultist; 2021-09-30 at 09:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeno Desaqqara View Post
    You divine bastard.
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    Loser of Total War: The Final Hanrui (Elda Hafnar)


    "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."

  7. - Top - End - #967
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    Kett Collier
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    Conditions: Darkvision (8 hours remaining), 6/6 Ki Remaining
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    The morning brings refreshment and works the kinks out of her back. It wasn't exactly how she'd have liked to spend a night with her husband - not actually getting to be 'together' properly - but needs must, and it was better than the alternative. She waves him off, quietly and invisibly concerned that he wouldn't be with them for this moment. It made sense, of course, his logic was sound, but it did leave her with a less potent arguing position. Hopefully it didn't need any of that and they could just carve up the damn book, torch the remains and see it all done.

    "Well then, I'd say we've waited long enough, shall we?"
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  8. - Top - End - #968
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    Sask wakes up with a gasp, sitting bolt upright as he gropes at his chest for his amulet. Sweat pours off of him as he looks around. Images of the city swirl through his mind as he struggles to remember the dream. The light… ITBURNSTHELIGHTBRINGSCONFLICTSTRIFEALWAYSCHANGINGC HAOS

    Mercuria The Dusk Silver. She had called to him, the echoes of the voice were still in his head, pushing the boundaries of his mind. Sask doesn’t know what to think and where to… find her? This would require more than a brief look around and he didn’t want to spread it too far around.

    It had been a long, long, looong day yesterday and with this on top of it he was still exhausted. His head was throbbing but he didn’t think that he drank that much the night before, only a cider or two for relaxing before bed. He rolls out of bed to splash his face with water, slowly pulls his hair back, and prepares for another day of walking the tightrope that is life in Throneport.

    The changeling wanders out into the common room of the inn to find Elise tidying up the common room of the inn. There was another worker in the kitchen and a last one handling the wood pile in the common room and doing a bit of cleaning and repair in the fireplace. He had to wait a second to compose himself and fall back into the persona.

    Kleris wanders up to Elise cleaning behind the bar and sits down in front of her. “You get everything cleaned up in here… and make sure you leave the special meeting room alone for now?”

    Elise smiles, she had been the only staff member informed of the renovations downstairs and given the access to it. “Yes sir, everythings been cleared out and it seems like your new renovations have finally been used successfully.”

    Kleris rubs his temples and gives the young women a thumbs up “Thanks Elise, this place would fall apart without you. I don’t suppose you have anything for headaches?”

    Elise pauses for a second before holding her hand up for Kleris to wait one second. She heads to the kitchen and comes back with a cup of steaming water and some dried leaves, “My ma always said a little willow tea was the cure for pains small and large.”

    Kleris shrugs and starts to sip at the tea as he lounges in his seat, it seems to help a little bit and he enjoys watching the staff slowly start to wake his inn up. It was a new sensation taking a sort of proprietary feeling regarding a location. He had travelled so far in his early life and then the rest had been either driven by a mission for revenge or working as an agent so this feeling was new.

    He takes another sip of the tea and smiles as it soothes the pains in his head, he gives Elise a nod and a small “Thanks.”

    ‘Thanks Elise! You should pay her more Kleris’

    Elise gives a smile with a bit of a laugh and Kleris ignores the voice of good ol’ Kleros adding his two copper bits. While he had gotten a lot better at blocking out the voices in his head for some reason the telepathy from the Coatyl and the dream last night had riled them all up again.

    ‘Hey don’t stack them that way! The wood is going to tip over the second someone grabs that top log.’

    The staff member that was stacking the wood curses and flinches as a piece falls down and Kleris turns around, seems like Istren was right. “Hey man you want to stack that like a rectangle not like a triangle its gonna fall over like that otherwise.”

    It was sad that all of the inns staff couldn’t be as competent as Elise this early in the morning but who was he to judge when he was barely able to sit at the bar and drink his tea. The headache was still pounding but the tea seemed to help even as it spiked again.

    ‘Elise should get you another cup of tea. This ones getting a bit low.’

    Maybe Kleros had a point, the tea was helping and he needed all the help he could get. He took a few more sips of tea and just as he was going to call out to Elise she came back with a new one, much to his appreciation. “That’s good service Elise, I should really pay you more.”

    She just laughs and takes away the empty cup “Don’t worry about it sir, I know you were joking earlier but I’m paid fine. Besides I heard you ask me from the kitchen for another cup of tea”

    She smiles even as the changeling gets confused. “It's no big deal.”

    Kleris looks at the tea and then to her as she walks back to the kitchen.

    ‘She heard… me ask for tea?'

    Kleris jumps and the multi minded changeling swears somehow his various consciousnesses jumped as well when Elise calls back to me. “Of course I did, I’m not that far away from the bar you know.”

    Kleris gets up a bit stunned, downing the hot tea in one go and massaging his temples. Were people hearing him. Was he finally snapping under the pressure, his mind gone the way of the old warlocks. The burgeoning telepath feels something building until it finally starts to push out. Suddenly he can sense something he has only done once in his life before.

    The night of the burning birthday he took a potion that felt exactly like this but he hadn’t taken anything like that before. Thoughts not his own burn through his mind but that isn’t anything new, he has two extra residents in his head every day tossing him thoughts.

    It's different when its… natural.

    He stumbles back to his room and is holding his head trying to process, trying not to let slip any of his thoughts or his other personalities thoughts through. As he is struggling with all the changes he feels a whisper of attention come his way, it isn’t like the thoughts he senses but something deeper and more personal.

    ‘Change strengthens’




    Kleris locks himself in the room. There was too much at this point, things were getting even more chaotic then they had been. The Dusk Sliver has seemingly reappeared which is a lot of things but calming is not one of them. The Book of Shadows was going to be revealed to the world once more. Conspiracies and plots were being revealed by the day in the city without an end to them in sight.

    The Cabinet needed to know what was going on. At the very least he had cultivated some personas and contacts in the city that would be useful to them. The changeling sheds his persona once more as he pulls out his pen and paper, everything he would be writing was going to be dropped into a dropbox with multiple fail safes and eventually delivered to the local cell leader in the closest country.

    Sask writes it all down, leaving no detail unturned from his personas. He starts with Orlan the Thug and his contacts in Izars Daughters and then Shemran and the growing list of acquaintances and friends she has made among the highborn. Finally he writes out everything Kleris has done, including a full detailed report starting from the inception of the persona. Actions, personality, quirks, conversations, intimate details. No stone is left unturned so that another changeling could theoretically study and learn how to become Kleris.

    Sask may die but it was possible Kleris could return to the city.

    Finally a letter asking for instructions regarding the Cabinets stance on what is happening in the city and possibly reinforcements.




    Kleris is still a little shaken up from the morning but after a brief time alone he at least a rough handle on what was going on. He rejoins the group in the secret room, bringing down some breakfast from the inn starting up. "Ya that should be fine. Does anyone have any protections they want to put up first?

    His mind is only half on the book at this point though. The rest was on the dispassionate break down of Kleris in the report and the dream from the night before. Kleris looks around at his colleagues wondering which if any could help him find the Dusk Sliver.
    "Facilis Descensus Averni." - Virgil, The Aeneid

    “Why would I want to win anything other than a beautiful game?” - Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man's Fear


  9. - Top - End - #969
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    Gryphon yawned, rubbed his face and stretched to work as much of the sleepiness out of his body as possible. He had slept terribly the previous night. Trying to rest surrounded by so many violent thugs was old hat to the Droaamite magician, but trying to relax with someone as impulsive and reckless as Arano, while holding onto the bauble he covets like a magpie, was in the room did not provide any serenity. Trying to sleep without Spritz's presence didn't help matters either and the young Khorovar was only just able to gather enough hours in Dal Quor to renew himself magically.

    He looked down at his fire-damaged clothes from the previous day in which he had slept, and Tsks his forked tongue. I really need to take a day a prepare Mending to fix up several of my outfits. I think this is literally the third tunic that's been fire-damaged in the past two weeks. This city's preoccupation with Fireball is going to be the death of my wardrobe.

    The wizard walks over to the supply closet that Kleris and he had set into the dungeon and retrieves a change of clothing he had left for just such a sartorial emergency. Being the clothes he wore while actually constructing the basement they were in, the ensemble was possibly his least ostentatious. They consisted of a loose burgundy cotton shirt, black denim pants, and soft canvas shoes. With a wave of his hand, casting Move Earth, Gryphon draws the dust from the flooring up into a thin privacy curtain around himself as he changes clothes.

    Ahhh Sir Kleris, you never fail to be the convivial host upon which we've all come to depend. I don't suppose your breakfast array includes sardines with tomato jam, or perhaps some coffee from one of those gnomish press-filters? While attempting to gather energy from the food and coffee, the occidental wizard considered how best to transition into activating the Lemomund Chest. To begin the conversation he brings out the toy-sized chest that Layla gave him the night before.

    With this material component I should be able to summon the book back to this plane of existence. Now that young Master Arano is out of our hair, there are three questions I want us all to consider, however, before I proceed.

    First, what exactly do we do with the codex once it is physically in our hands? I'm sure we're all familiar with the legend of the two halflings who were forced to trek to Argonessen to plunge the ancient Dhakaani weapon into the heart of a volcano to destroy it. You can't just burn or smash an artifact to destroy it; does anyone here know how to break the Umbral Codex? If we can't figure out how then what do we do with the little shadowy publication?

    Second, once we destroy or deal with the book, how do we protect those we care about that have been victimized due to its existence? Madam Kett's offspring and young Lady Layla. Say that it is destroyed, how do we know our enemies won't crush the children out of revenge or even just spite?

    Finally, how do we know that we won't be attacked the moment I draw the book to the material plane. Sir Kleris and I weren't able to install the lead sheets I wanted for our little cellar here. If anyone has a divination alert for the tome then they can scry-and-fry us the second I conjure it.

    I have a potential solution to all three problems but it will be... controversial to some of you, so I'd like to hear any other options any of you can think of that solve all three problems before I offer my own. Professor Shardstone, Prosecutor Kaessel, Madam Kett, Sir Kleris; we are all in this thing together. I don't want any children hurt because of our impetuousness. I also don't want to be tyrannical with this chest. So as long as we consider the points I brought up:


    He beckons to the floor with two fingers and a short desk forms up out of the dirt and dust along the floor. He sets the tiny chest upon the desk, looks to his companions, and utters single word.

    "Crya"
    Last edited by (Un)Inspired; 2021-10-07 at 05:00 PM.
    amazing avatar of my favorite character, Gheera, by Pesimismrocks

  10. - Top - End - #970
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    ClericGuy

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    Professor Drake Shardstone

    Drake drifted off to sleep, but his own dreams were benign compared to what others might be experiencing. His dreams were of the Host, speaking to him in one voice, but he could not make out the words. However, he was filled with a sense of satisfaction, as if the Nine were pleased with him. There were others there ... he couldn't see them, but felt them. Perhaps the Six? Or something else? However, before he could focus on it, a silent ping rang in his mind, bringing him fully awake. He opened his eyes to see Master Kleris rising slowly, then trudging towards the exit, likely in search of kaf or some other stimulant. He moved only quietly enough to avoid waking the others, but didn't seem up to anything nefarious.

    Drake shifted his gaze to the others, checking to see who noticed. They all seemed asleep ... except the couple. Of course. Kett appeared to be focused on the door her eyes strangely bright even in the near absolute darkness of the room. Arana was looking ... well, at him. For a moment, they stared at one another in silence. Then the assassin gave him a wink and rolled back towards his wife. For all the appearances of sleeping, Drake was certain there were never two more alert people, outside of the Dark Lanterns or Royal Eyes themselves. With an inward smirk, Drake closed his own eyes and let his mind wander for a moment, mentally preparing the day.


    By the time Kleris came back with breakfast, the group was up and ready for the day ... physically if not mentally. Drake nodded his thanks, seconding the request for kaf, and turned to listen to the ensuing discussions regarding the Codex. Once he had a drink in hand, he sipped it cautiously, considering Gryphon's comments. After a few sips, an perhaps an unsolicited grunt of contentedness, he finally spoke.

    ”I completely agree we need a plan to deal with the artifact. Hopefully we can avoid repeating the sins of the past - no offense, but it is just like a halfling to seek out the furthest volcano when dragon's fire would do the trick. Regardless, I do not think we can make any significant plans on how to accomplish the task without studying the item first. The few notes I was able to take from the book provided some context to the creator, but nothing in terms of how to unmake the item. That being said, perhaps there is a lesson from our two young halflings. If the rumors of the Argonessen volcano being the original forge for the Dhakaani weapon are true, then mayhap the best place to undo the work would be the workshop where the book found life.

    And I have an idea on where that might be ..."



    OOC - Ready to press ... just adding my perspective
    Spoiler: Status
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    AC: 14 HP: 19/52 Init +2 Move 30’
    Saves: Str +0 Dex +2 Con +2 Int +2 Wis +6 Cha +0
    Skills: Arcana/Religion +8; Insight +5; Perception +9;
    Warder’s inspiration (+1d4): Investigate, History, Thieves tools
    Weapons: shortsword (+5 / 1d8+2); shortbow (+5 / 1d8+2)
    Channel divinity 3/3 (Turn undead, destroy CR 1/2, Knowledge o/t Ages, Read thoughts)
    Spoiler: Spells
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    Prepare 10 spells, DC 15, 4-1st / 3-2nd / 3-3rd
    0: guidance, thaumaturgy, toll the dead, mending
    1st (x4): command, identity, alarm, armor of Agnatha, cure light wounds, healing word, guiding bolt
    2nd (x3): augury, arcane lock, knock, suggestion, silence, enhance ability, locate object
    3rd (x3): non-detection, speak with dead, glyph of warding, magic circle, clairvoyance, meld into stone, dispel magic
    4th (x1): arcane eye, confusion, Leomund's secret chest, Mordenkainen's faithful hound divination, locate creature
    Wards & seals (1/long): alarm, arcane lock, mage armor

    Effects: alarm (8 hours); 60’ darkvision
    Life is ... life. As always bot/cut as necessary.
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."


    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!y

  11. - Top - End - #971
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    Kett Collier
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    AC: 19 HP: 59/59
    PP: 19 PIv: 13 PIs: 13
    Conditions: Darkvision (8 hours remaining), 6/6 Ki Remaining
    Concentrating: --

    "I'm not going to police your tone when it comes to my husband but he and I have far more riding on this book's destruction than anyone else in this room. Don't for a second doubt his commitment to that." Kett replies, her tone ice cold. She could only put up with so much, and it was a poor partner who wouldn't stand up for her spouse even when he didn't require it. "He's not 'out of our hair', as you so glibly put it, he is doing his job. Considering your own lackluster performance in locating him in the first place at Layla's party perhaps you might like to take some cues from his work ethic?" She didn't want to hear what suggestion he had for dealing with the book. 'Hand it over to the hags', 'Give it to Throneport for safekeeping', 'trust him and only him with it', or other such nonsense. Zero chance of any of those. If they couldn't destroy it immediately, it wasn't leaving her side. Let their enemies focus on her. Let them come one after another so she could deal with them, until they'd found a solution. The only alternative was one that they'd never agree to. Arano would. The rest wouldn't. Last resort.

    "Stabbing the book seems like a good start. Then we can move on to fire and acid and go from there. Leave the legends to bards to embellish later, if it requires experimentation on what works then so be it. The sooner we start the better."
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  12. - Top - End - #972
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    The instant that the replica is produced and the chosen word spoken aloud, a sharp crack retorts through the basement room of Jhory's Reprieve. The source of the noise is obvious, as you see that a fissure has appeared on the left flank of the miniature, through which spills a torrent of silvery fog. The brume envelops the table, spilling over and out like some ethereal tide. It's cold on your skin, and when it fades you are confronted with the sight of the chest.

    The wood does not look like any you are familiar. It is not oak, teak, ash, pine, or born of any other common tree. Whorls of blood and chestnut dance artfully across the open roof and sides, and the entire thing is bound in filigree that resembles nothing so much as pure gold. Anyone with a mercantile motivation could surely sell such a piece for a small fortune, yet it falls utterly short of its contents.

    The Umbral Codex cuts the exact figure illustrated first in Kasimir's journal and then by Arano's illusion. The tome is bound in plates of smoky crystal that seem to absorb the light around them. Indeed, the moment that the chest opens, the glow from the magical lanterns affixed to the walls begins to diminish and warmth and colour are leeched out the very air.

    Stamped into the artifact is the scene you were expecting: the hydra and displaced beast, locked in a death grip. The figures seem sharper face to face, deadlier and with darker intent. And across the top are the same words in the tongue of dragons: "So passes the curse of knowledge."

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Anyone with an eye to money will know that the chest must be worth at least 4000 galifars (closer to 5k) and could be sold for half that price easily.

    Oh, and you have the Umbral Codex now!
    Last edited by 3SecondCultist; 2021-10-07 at 06:20 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeno Desaqqara View Post
    You divine bastard.
    Currently Running:
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    Winner of Total War: Rise of Kingdoms (Ironfang Republic)

    Loser of Total War: The Final Hanrui (Elda Hafnar)


    "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."

  13. - Top - End - #973
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    Yes, yes Madam. Gryphon says, waving away both the silvery fog and Kett’s concerns. We’re all well acquainted with how you enjoy being defensive over your husband, and how your fear of emotional honesty prevents you from appreciating our help, but perhaps we ought to heed Professor Shardstone’s advice. Particularly if he has some notion of where the book was bound.

    He nods his head to Drake.

    And if you’ll permit me to begin the investigation, Professor Shardstone, I think I know how we should proceed.

    Gryphon Shapes a length of water, out of his water skin, into a pointer, before freezing it solid. Using his new investigatory implement he flips back the cover and checks the first few pages to check the acknowledgements, publication date, and to check if there’s a preface explaining what he should expect from reading the codex (the proper mindset to begin reading it, how to activate it, etc.).

    He then flips to the end to check if there’s a troubleshooting section, or perhaps a glossary (to give him better context for the terms he’ll find when he reads the body of the book).

    Finally, he actually touches the book with his hands and tries to get a read on the magic of the book itself.
    amazing avatar of my favorite character, Gheera, by Pesimismrocks

  14. - Top - End - #974
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    Gryphon's investigation is thorough, measured, and well thought out. The conjured fingers of ice manage to after some prying get the clasp to open, laboriously pulling open the front cover of the Codex to start leafing through its contents in the hope of uncovering some clues to answer your many questions.

    Fortunately, there is no immediate eruption of power, no mystic backlash from triggering any hidden mechanism of the artifact. The wizard's prodding leaves you all well enough alive. However, as Gryphon pulls apart the pages - which you note are not made of paper, but some kind of stretched vellum - reveals no recognizable letters or characters of any kind. The pages are bare of any writing at all. As you look closer, you do note spectral skeins of ink playing just beneath the surface of each page, but even to the bare touch of skin they remain frustratingly out of reach.
    Last edited by 3SecondCultist; 2021-10-15 at 04:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeno Desaqqara View Post
    You divine bastard.
    Currently Running:
    - Tales of Neutral Ground

    Winner of Total War: Rise of Kingdoms (Ironfang Republic)

    Loser of Total War: The Final Hanrui (Elda Hafnar)


    "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."

  15. - Top - End - #975
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    After a night (or half a night) of uneasy rest, Arimart wakes up after hearing a door, and feeling unexpectedly well, as if something in him changed, for the best. The encounter with a Couatl, and the subsequent mark he received, was something he'd have to ponder way more than he was able to; but later.

    As he opens his eyes, he looks around the room, noticing that Kleris is missing. He probably went up to prepare something to eat, since he usually doesn't forget his obligations toward his guests. Much can be said about the fellow Khoravar, but he is no second to any Ghallanda.
    When he gets on his feet, the paladin looks for a reflective surface, and observes his new "mark". It's still there. And something in it reminds him about some ancient song of the Flamist he can't quite catch right now. He will need to concentrate on it more; but later.

    As the others recollect their strenght and Kleris comes back with something to eat, Arimart idly takes a coffee, and prepares for what they need to do.
    "While you work on it, I will try to concentrate on the power given to me by the flame, and try to see if I can recognize any magic behind this... codex"

    After saying this, the paladin chooses a corner in the room, sits down and starts praying to the Flame.

    "Host of thousands nuances of silver, open the eyes of my mind, and let me see with clearness the manyfold foundations of the magic in this world, as the sacred Couatl can see the rainbow in the Brightest Flame."

    ______________________________


    The paladin looks with interest as Gryphon works his magic to conjure the chest and in opening both it and the codex, towering behind his shoulder with curious eyes, concentrating on whatever aura he can see and recognize. "He is indeed a competent magician and a formidable investigator!" He thinks, while the young wizard opens the book.
    Does this poster have a sign?

  16. - Top - End - #976
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    Professor Drake Shardstone

    Drake nodded to Gryphon's offer to begin the investigation, then immediately covered his face, coughing abruptly to hide the snort. The way the mage gingerly lifted the book lid open with his improvised ice pointer was comical. but the way he looked at the front and back, as if checking for a title page or bibliography, was comedy gold. When he finished with his hands laid upon the book, eyes closed for a moment, Drake turned away, biting his tongue. After a minute, he turned back and nodded sagely, stroking his beard slowly. "So did you find anything of note, Master Gryphon? Perhaps, if I may join you to lend my meager talents ..."

    Adjusting his glasses, Drake limped closer to peer at the pages, frowning at the way something seemed to lurk just out of sight. Frowning, he wondered about whether this book had extra-planar ties, or if the foundational magic was woven into the very fibers of the book, vice written upon them. Scratching his chin, Drake considered what he might be able to do to assist in discovering this tome's mystic secrets. After a moment, whispered a word and gestured towards himself before studying the book closer. As he studied it, he mentioned absently to the others, "If someone has a well-crafted pearl, I may be able to discern more secrets via divination."

    OOC - Casting guidance, then investigating / arcana-ing the book again ... or history ... or whatever works! Key lines of thought - the strange lack of standard ink, the cover art, the phrase, any other associations with dragonmarks. Also, Drake is offering to cast an identify, if we've got any 100gp pearls around :D

    Arcana - (1d20+8)[26], History - (1d20+2)[3], Investigation - (1d20+5)[7]+Warder's Inspiration - (1d4)[4] =11
    Add Guidance - (1d4)[4] for whichever roll makes the most sense to do first.

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    AC: 14 HP: 19/52 Init +2 Move 30’
    Saves: Str +0 Dex +2 Con +2 Int +2 Wis +6 Cha +0
    Skills: Arcana/Religion +8; Insight +5; Perception +9;
    Warder’s inspiration (+1d4): Investigate, History, Thieves tools
    Weapons: shortsword (+5 / 1d8+2); shortbow (+5 / 1d8+2)
    Channel divinity 3/3 (Turn undead, destroy CR 1/2, Knowledge o/t Ages, Read thoughts)
    Spoiler: Spells
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    Prepare 10 spells, DC 15, 4-1st / 3-2nd / 3-3rd
    0: guidance, thaumaturgy, toll the dead, mending
    1st (x4): command, identity, alarm, armor of Agnatha, cure light wounds, healing word, guiding bolt
    2nd (x3): augury, arcane lock, knock, suggestion, silence, enhance ability, locate object
    3rd (x3): non-detection, speak with dead, glyph of warding, magic circle, clairvoyance, meld into stone, dispel magic
    4th (x1): arcane eye, confusion, Leomund's secret chest, Mordenkainen's faithful hound divination, locate creature
    Wards & seals (1/long): alarm, arcane lock, mage armor

    Effects: alarm (8 hours); 60’ darkvision
    Last edited by Starbin; 2021-10-15 at 02:20 PM.
    Life is ... life. As always bot/cut as necessary.
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."


    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!y

  17. - Top - End - #977
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    Gryphon nodded his head along to Drake's investigation. Yes... a well-crafted pearl. So our dear professor plans on Identifying the book. Smart. Better to start small and work up to the higher divinations.

    Sterling suggestion, Professor. It may behoove us to try a few spells before we reach for the torches, the stilettos, and the brine when it comes to grimoire management. Sir Kleris, if we put forth the funds, would you be so kind as to send one of your staff to the market to collect a hundred galifar-pearl and thirty-five galifars worth of incense for several experiments? We'll soon have at least a few more answers regarding the codex's nature.
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  18. - Top - End - #978
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    Kett Collier
    Human Shadow Monk/Rogue
    AC: 19 HP: 59/59
    PP: 19 PIv: 13 PIs: 13
    Conditions: Darkvision (8 hours remaining), 6/6 Ki Remaining
    Concentrating: --

    It was an investment in having the book dealt with. Though she'd rather jump to stabbing, it was ill-advised if it had a connection to Arano and Lia both. The more they understood, the better chance they had of solving the problem. Kett quietly counts out 20 gold coins and stacks them on the table, but she has no real input otherwise, leaving in other's hands.
    DMing:
    Iron Crisis IC | OOC
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    Playing:
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  19. - Top - End - #979
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    Arimart takes a pouch from one of his pockets, counts the remaining one-hundred and fifteen coins needed after Kett put hers on the table and add them.

    "Here you are, let's get this over with as soon as possible!"
    Does this poster have a sign?

  20. - Top - End - #980
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    Professor Drake Shardstone

    Drake leaned back after his study, his eyes narrowing as he stared at the book. He barely registered the others gathering gold and placing it down on the table. Or Kleris sending one of his servants to fetch a pearl. But once the room was secured again, he cleared his throat and spoke. "I think identifying further specifics will certainly be worthwhile. The book is dormant, and yet still hums with veritable power. It seems to possess a link with bearers of the Mark of Shadow, obviously - something that both calls to them and tracks them. Perhaps a blending of clairvoyance and locating persons? But it is currently quiescent ... however, we might be able to wake it up."

    Reaching for one of his journals, Drake flipped through one of the books scanning until he found the entry he wanted, tapping the page. "Here ... Kasimir wrote 'Today, V showed me the full power of the Umbral Codex. It’s so much more than just an item for focusing the dragonmark: when activated by someone with the Mark of Shadow, it projects a map of the entire continent… and everyone who bears the mark appears on it!'

    If this is to be taken at face value, it simply needs a bearer to unlock it. Hopefully the spell will give us more information, but we may need Arano to help unlock further mysteries. Presuming both he and Lady Kett agree ..."


    Drake looked up expectantly.

    OOC - Drake will cast the spell, presuming we are fast-forwarding to that :)
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    AC: 14 HP: 19/52 Init +2 Move 30’
    Saves: Str +0 Dex +2 Con +2 Int +2 Wis +6 Cha +0
    Skills: Arcana/Religion +8; Insight +5; Perception +9;
    Warder’s inspiration (+1d4): Investigate, History, Thieves tools
    Weapons: shortsword (+5 / 1d8+2); shortbow (+5 / 1d8+2)
    Channel divinity 3/3 (Turn undead, destroy CR 1/2, Knowledge o/t Ages, Read thoughts)
    Spoiler: Spells
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    Prepare 10 spells, DC 15, 4-1st / 3-2nd / 3-3rd
    0: guidance, thaumaturgy, toll the dead, mending
    1st (x4): command, identity, alarm, armor of Agnatha, cure light wounds, healing word, guiding bolt
    2nd (x3): augury, arcane lock, knock, suggestion, silence, enhance ability, locate object
    3rd (x3): non-detection, speak with dead, glyph of warding, magic circle, clairvoyance, meld into stone, dispel magic
    4th (x1): arcane eye, confusion, Leomund's secret chest, Mordenkainen's faithful hound divination, locate creature
    Wards & seals (1/long): alarm, arcane lock, mage armor

    Effects: alarm (8 hours); 60’ darkvision
    Life is ... life. As always bot/cut as necessary.
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."


    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!y

  21. - Top - End - #981
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    The required reagents procured, Drake now takes his turn to lean over the Codex. Placing the pearl and owl feather nearby, the dwarf begins his incantation: a series of low prayers to the invisible Host. Though the rest of you hear nothing in particular, there is the barely audible sound of distant wings, a thrumming celestial heartbeat that answers the call of the devout.

    As Drake closes his eyes and presses his hands to the surface of the book, his mind is flooded by a sudden rush of understanding. The pieces fall into place. He sees images of endless night, where dawn never breaks. There is malice in these pages, a deep well of spite that seems to know no bottom. The hatred burns through him - but it's cold, and unrelenting, and sharp all the way down.


    Kleris

    While the others are busy fussing over the eldritch artifact of death, you feel a strange vibration from inside your clothes. Fumbling around for the source, you retrieve a familiar pearl wrapped in black and gold. From the stone, a voice can be heard:

    "Sia danthe Shemran, wux tepoha naktada ve itheikir. Si drong ekess widegoa hesi... ukris. Tafiaf ve thurkear, sva Harmony, leirith Aubricia persvek wer Aundairan Zone."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    After casting Identify on the Umbral Codex, the following information is revealed:

    The Umbral Codex, forged in midnight's fire and bound by patient hateful hands, is a potent artifact with an overwhelming aura of divination. It requires attunement from someone bearing the Mark of Shadow.

    When attuned, the bearer of the Codex can, as an action, conjure from its pages a living map of Khorvaire that displays the real-time location of every individual who bears the Dragonmark of Shadow. The map is visible to anyone nearby, not just the bearer of the book. This effect bypasses protections from divination magic through spells such as Nondetection or mundane magic items such as a Ring of Mind Shielding.

    Additionally, the holder of the book has advantage on all saves and attack rolls against others who bear the Mark of Shadow for as long as they are attuned to the Codex.

    Spoiler: Draconic
    Show
    "My dear Shemran, you have kept me waiting. I long to continue our... conversation. Meet me tomorrow night, at Harmony, near Aubricia in the Aundairan Zone."
    Last edited by 3SecondCultist; 2021-10-19 at 09:26 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeno Desaqqara View Post
    You divine bastard.
    Currently Running:
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    Winner of Total War: Rise of Kingdoms (Ironfang Republic)

    Loser of Total War: The Final Hanrui (Elda Hafnar)


    "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."

  22. - Top - End - #982
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    Kett Collier
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    AC: 19 HP: 59/59
    PP: 19 PIv: 13 PIs: 13
    Conditions: Darkvision (8 hours remaining), 6/6 Ki Remaining
    Concentrating: --

    "If that's the next step, so be it." Kett shrugs apparently nonchalantly, but quietly happy to get her husband back into the room. "If someone could go fetch him, that'd be appreciated. Not that I don't trust you all," And not that she does trust them. In this case the trust position was irrelevant either way. "but as I said before: I don't want the book out of my sight until it's destroyed."
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  23. - Top - End - #983
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    As Drake casts his spell over the artifact, Gryphon lights some of the purchased incense and breathes in the vapors. He rolls the information the Professor provides over once or twice in his mind. Why on earth would someone make a weapon against a specific group, that is only capable of being used by a member of said group? So little of what these humanoids do makes sense.

    He considers Kett's position, and responds: Allow me just a moment, Madam. I'm already in the process of summoning someone capable of luring your peripatetic husband back to us. With the limited venting that Kleris and he fitted into the dungeon, the room the companions are situated in began to darken with the thick cloud of churning incense smoke.

    As the occidental wizard continues with the conjuration he began by lighting the magical incense, the true volume of the room becomes masked by the almost fog-like rich, black, velvety smoke. The otherworldly feeling that something extra-dimensional could step out of the gloom settles around the party. Gryphon closes his eyes tightly in concentration and a vortex coalesces in the fumes.

    Suddenly, a sound, like a thunderclap, booms through the chamber, the vortex collapses in on itself and the acute feeling that someone, or something, has entered the room becomes palpable. Something intangible echos across everyone's skin and the impression that everyone is being watched, even through the smoke, is uncanny.

    With a burst, a jet-black taloned wing cuts through the haze like a sail! An eardrum-piercing shriek tears through the dungeon, and a long muzzle the color of dried blood becomes finally visible through the gloom.

    Quiver in fear mortals, for I have returned to the world of the living! My spirit has ripped asunder the many hosts of hell that wished to imprison me. My presence shall once more echo through Eberron. I am vengeance, I am the night!

    With great flaps of his wings, the creature launches itself into the air, flying great swooping laps around the chamber. The awe and majesty of Spritz's return marred only slightly by the fact that his new body was that of an adorable bat with a wingspan of fewer than 2 feet.

    Spoiler: Spritz's New Form
    Show


    It's good to have you back, Spritz. I'm glad you're enjoying your new form, but I need your help already.

    Spritz flies down and perches on Gryphon's shoulder. The Khorovar wizard retrieves a small bit of parchment from his bag and Prestidigitates a pen into his hand, scrawling out a quick note explaining that the party needed Arano to return, rolling it up and placing it in Spritz's little talon.

    Arano is out in the marketplace, use your new senses, find him, and bring him back here, please.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Gryphon ritual casts Find Familiar, this time he conjures Spritz as a bat!
    Last edited by (Un)Inspired; 2021-10-21 at 07:05 PM.
    amazing avatar of my favorite character, Gheera, by Pesimismrocks

  24. - Top - End - #984
    Titan in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Tales of Neutral Ground IC

    Professor Drake Shardstone

    Drake took his hands off, a little quicker than intended, as he stared at the book for long moments. Blinking, he shook his head slightly and turned back to the others, the mask of an old man once again on his face.

    "The Codex ... it needs someone with the Mark of Shadow to access its abilities. It is as powerful of a divination dweomer as I've ever seen ... which I feel is a significant for a priest who has stood in the presence of a celestial serpent. Once activated, this will display an image, a map of the world with every bearer of the aforementioned dragonmark ... in real time. The connection is so ... strong ... it defies mortal magic to hide from it, such as the spells many of us are operating under right now. The map is visible to everyone around, not just the holder of the artifact. This might explain why the mysterious Lady V was able to show Kasimir the results of her labors. The holder of the book will also possess certain advantages against the dragonmarked."

    Drake paused for a moment, rubbing his eyes. He watched silently through Kleris' theatrics, following the bat as it flew out to find Arano. Letting the smoke dissipate, Drake finally spoke again, his voice low with gravity and trouble.

    "I fear we have been burdened with unenviable purpose. As we surmised, the Codex is no mere magical bauble - it is an Artifact of the highest order.
    It was ... forged in the fire's of shade and shadow, by those with tenacious perseverance and dark intent. Nay, malevolence. The ones who made it filled it with hate ... I do not believe this item was created to aid defeating Phiarlan or Thuranni efforts. I think it was created for the expressed of generating chaos amongst the nations ... and the eventual eradication of the Mark of Shadow. Whoever crafted this holds no love for those Houses ... or for Dragonmarks, perhaps.

    Which brings me to a further conjectures, if you will allow me ... It is possible this may be the first step of a major field test, if you will. One to determine the efficacy of terminating an entire line of Dragonmarks ... which could even lead to using a modified version on ALL Dragonmarks. As we consider who the patron is that masterminded this entire affair, we cannot leave out viable candidates from any number of origins. The Blood of Vol ... the Valenar ... hell, even someone from Vathirond. "


    He stared at the others for a moment, then slumped back in his chair, shaking his head. "Bah, this is all pointless speculation and the paranoia of an old man ... likely fueld from recent events. We wait for Arano, I suppose.

    But as we consider our next move, perhaps the real question we should ask the higher powers is if we should activate the book at all ..."


    OOC - Okay, I said that and more ...
    Spoiler: Status
    Show
    AC: 14 HP: 19/52 Init +2 Move 30’
    Saves: Str +0 Dex +2 Con +2 Int +2 Wis +6 Cha +0
    Skills: Arcana/Religion +8; Insight +5; Perception +9;
    Warder’s inspiration (+1d4): Investigate, History, Thieves tools
    Weapons: shortsword (+5 / 1d8+2); shortbow (+5 / 1d8+2)
    Channel divinity 3/3 (Turn undead, destroy CR 1/2, Knowledge o/t Ages, Read thoughts)
    Spoiler: Spells
    Show
    Prepare 10 spells, DC 15, 4-1st / 3-2nd / 3-3rd
    0: guidance, thaumaturgy, toll the dead, mending
    1st (x4): command, identity, alarm, armor of Agnatha, cure light wounds, healing word, guiding bolt
    2nd (x3): augury, arcane lock, knock, suggestion, silence, enhance ability, locate object
    3rd (x3): non-detection, speak with dead, glyph of warding, magic circle, clairvoyance, meld into stone, dispel magic
    4th (x1): arcane eye, confusion, Leomund's secret chest, Mordenkainen's faithful hound divination, locate creature
    Wards & seals (1/long): alarm, arcane lock, mage armor

    Effects: alarm (8 hours); 60’ darkvision
    Last edited by Starbin; 2021-10-21 at 03:50 PM.
    Life is ... life. As always bot/cut as necessary.
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."


    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!y

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