In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party traveled further across the land of Rin towards the Resistance outpost at Where-Waters-Meet, getting to know their rather naive companion Kivoda and the stalwart man-at-arms Galehaut. As they camped for the night under an ancient dolmen, the griffon Gloria spotted a distant green light; however, nothing came of it, and the night passed without further interruption. As they came to the bridge leading to Where-Waters-Meet, however, they were stopped by an animated suit of armor, who warned them that the lands beyond were ruled by a sorceress named Tascheter, and that they could cross if they sought misery and destruction. Heeding the warning, the party nevertheless pushed on and entered the village. They found it to be in ruins; where before there were proud warriors and vigilant sentinels, now there are nothing but blanks, their bodies riddled with snakebites and their veins pulsing with venom… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Gopal is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 >Gloria is at 6/5 >Galehaut is at 6/6 >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep, The Dreaming Spring >Old thread: >>646999
As you look around the ruined outpost, you hear a heavy sliding sound, like some great weight being dragged against the ground. Taking in the sight of the poison-ridden hollows and the eerie sound in the distance, Kivoda grows fearful, beginning to breathe heavily in panic. "There's nothing to see in this place," he urges. "We should leave. Now."
>>648438 "If I just killed these things they would just come back… it's best we figure out what else may be here with us other than some blanks." She says, looking around the area to spot what may be the source of the eerie sound. >Perception [1d10]
>>648438 ''We did not came this far to turn back mister Kivoda…You can stay behind me if you'd like, don't worry, We'll protect you from harm, and if any harm beffals you, I'll be here to heal you… Now calm down…We have to find out what have caused all…this…'' ''Also we should avoid killing the blanks up close if possible…They don't look like regular blanks… And I have a feeling they will definetly try to poison us…Or even better, just avoid them ENTIRELY…''
>>648438 "Well, damn," Abenad curses, drawing his longsword from the sheathe, "This was disappointing. We'd better get to decapitating the bodies and burying them, so they won't be any trouble for us when they resurrect."
>>648441 "I was going to ask how capable you are at healing poison, is that among your forte?"
>>648447 ''Well… In my tribe, the ones that were experienced enough could cleanse the venom from someone's else blood right away…But younger ones or the ones that didn't have much talent would suck off the poison…But it was mildly dangerous as they could end up swallowing it if they weren't careful…''
''I myself always had more talent for healing and purification spells, so I had no trouble learning it…I also spent a long time practising it on plants too!''
>>648448 ''Um…Not that kind of poisoning mister Galehaut…''
>>648452 ''I know how it feels…I mean I am happy to be as skilled as I am with healing…I Could be better though but still'' He pokes his necklace ''Sometimes I think about how grand it would be if I could be like a few others of my tribe…They could do truly amazing things!''
"We should deal with whatever creature did this," Timber muses. "It poses a massive threat to anyone in the kingdom as long as this curse exists. Plus, I would like to know if it's a new species that evolved under these new conditions, something old, or something magical."
"We should take care not to get bitten, though…"
Timber listens to see if the dragging sounds are getting closer and where they are in general. [1d10]
>>648455 "Maybe once we defeat another one of the soulbearers you'll be able to absorb their knowledge and be granted the wisdom capable of greater mastery of your magical realm." >>648456 "We probably should. I'll get to some higher ground so I'll be at less risk." >moving to higher ground- on top of a house, a rampart, something like that
>>648441 "Why does it matter what happened? They're blank, and if we stay here we will be too. I don't want to lose myself…"
>>648443 "I-I can fight," he says defiantly, although he seems unsure. "If we leave, you won't need to protect anyone. You lot said you knew where to find safety. Wouldn't the best option be to get out of here and come back with more resources?"
>>648460 You manage to reach higher ground by clambering on top of a stack of empty supply crates and onto a rooftop. A few poisoned blanks turn at the sound, but pay little attention.
>>648440 >>648456 >>648460 You see a colossal serpentine shape moving behind the buildings. It is easily as thick as a pony's torso and many times longer, although from your positions you cannot make out the details. Behind the great snake, you can see a pallid green light glowing faintly in the distance. It is identical to the light Gloria saw the night before while on guard duty.
>>648461 ''We need to know so we can report back to Doom…He would want to know why he have not been getting any responses.. Besides, we can not just return and say that we found blanks and running away without knowing what caused this…''
>>648461 "I can see a huge snake, along with a green light I saw the other night. Galehaut and I figured it was nothing… Looks like we may be wrong." She then points out the light to Maali, as well as the last place she saw the snake.
Timber stares in the direction of the serpent, torn between curiosity and apprehension. When Kivoda speaks of going to get more resources to deal with the snake, Timber nods.
"It's a solution we are falling back to perhaps a bit too frequently. But, it continues to be a wise one. Until we know of a specific way to counteract this poison, facing it now could easily mean a fate worse than death."
He turns to the rest of the party. "We should leave now. Let us go to the next meeting place."
>>648465 ''Ooh…Uum…By huge snake you mean just a big snake or did you mean…A reaaaally huge snake?'' >>648466 ''I uh…You don't have to worry about poison mister Timber…I can deal with that…'' He briefly raises his hoof
"I don't doubt that you are a skill healer, Maali. But, we are talking about a poison with properties never encountered before. There's never been such a thing that persists in the body past death. As such, it's a fair assumption that there may be other aspects of the poison that are new and different. If so, then it may slow your ability to make an antidote. And, judging by how fast these ponies have died and resurrected and died again, that's likely time we wouldn't have if bitten."
"I have faith that you COULD make an antidote, but we need safer and longer conditions for you to do so."
"I agree with that as well. Though, our current mission was just to find out WHAT happened. It's an excuse, yes. But it's a good enough one to put this off until we are more prepared. I doubt this beast is going anywhere. It's been here for weeks now."
>>648473 "So you're saying we should leave it here for now? I agree with that, actually, since we could go to Jevel and see if we can get our hands on some soulcrafting reading material, then we can come back and it'll be easier to kill the snake."
Timber looks over at one of the shambling ponies. "Actually, it may be useful to take some blood from them so you can use it to make an antivenom. Do you have anything to draw blood with? I'd rather not just… dismember the pony."
>>648476 ''I don't… But it might not even be needed…Let me try…'' He turns to the hollow and takes a deep breath, taking some silent steps closer to it but still maintaining a safe distance '1d10' >Natural Remedy: recharge 1, ranged; Use an unpredictable tincture to fully restore a target’s hits to full and restore one wound, or removes status effects. Crit on 9+ restores 2 wounds, but crit fail on 2- deals a wound of damage.
>>648462 "To who? Who's Doom?" He tilts his head in confusion.
>>648466 As you begin to leave, the enchanted armor on the bridge bars your progress with a rattling clank. "You have chosen," it intones. "The path is closed." The faint green light where its face should be flashes slightly brighter for a moment. "Tascheter awaits."
>>648468 Kivoda nods. "I'm sure we can take it on if we work together. I've got your back, sir."
>>648478 Your magic engulfs the blank, but it doesn't seem to cure the poison at all.
You see the snake begin to take a sudden interest in your group. It rears up, its squamous head poking out above the buildings. You can see that it is covered entirely in glittering green scales. Its great head is rounded, with pale white eyes like full moons. It opens its mouth and hisses loudly, revealing fangs the size of daggers. You can see that they are dripping with venom. Its eyes shine for a moment, and almost instantly six blanks turn and begin to shamble towards the party.
>>648480 Gloria waits for a moment until the blanks are close enough, afterwards she tries to unleash a powerful strike on one of them. >Talent: Autocrits undead with fire/holy damage. >Blast: AoE on crit >Greater/Single tagged weapon. [1d10]
he glares a bit as he sees he had no luck, feeling rather disapointed ''But…ugh…'' He shakes his head ''O-okay maybe I was wrong…'' Upon seeing the huge snaks and the hollows closing in however, he grows worried ''Am I the only one that thinks that snake is controlling the blanks?'' he says as he kicked and hitted the blank that walked close to him '1d10' ol' regular attack '1d10' antlers
>>648481 The snake hisses and flinches as the arrows fly. They merely glance off of its thick scales, however, reducing the force of the blow and preventing damage to its eyes.
>>648482 The blank remains surprisingly agile even after having lost its mind and soul. It dodges your swing and counters with a groping swipe of its hooves. >Gloria takes 1 hit >[1d10] Poison chance: if above 7, take 1 hit/turn for three turns
>>648483 Your blow fells the poisoned blank, caving in its skull. It crumples to the ground lifeless for now.
>>648484 There is no response from the snake, less so from the light that follows it.
>>648485 You charge to the front of the group, bracing yourself to protect them from harm. >5/6 blanks remaining
Two blanks move to attack Gloria, but they are bodyblocked by Galehaut, who takes the blow in her stead. >Blank 1: [1d10] [1d10] Poison >Blank 2: [1d10] [1d10] Poison
The other two move to attack Maali, but he too is saved by Galehaut. >Blank 3: [1d10] [1d10] Poison >Blank 4: [1d10] [1d10] Poison
The final blank goes after Kivoda, who tries to fend off the attacker with his staff. Kivoda: [1d10]
Blank 5: [1d10] [1d10] Poison
Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 8 = 8 / Roll #3 5 = 5 / Roll #4 9 = 9 / Roll #5 2 = 2 / Roll #6 4 = 4 /
>>648485 ''U-um yes…M-my name…'' He mutters ''M-My name is… M-Maali by the way… >>648487 ''I…I'll try…'' >>648488 He watches the hollow crumble down sadly, and as he sees Kivoda taking the blows for him he perks up and starts healing his friend ''Hang in there mister Kivoda!'' >nature elemental, life…On just kivoda for now…
>>648481 >>648488 >forgot it was an autocrit Your arrows meet their marks as you shoot the snake in the eyes. It thrashes around and hisses madly in pain, trying to slither away from the battle. The pale green light begins to descend, moving closer to the floor.
>>648498 You manage to fend off the blanks as you go to swing your shields at the snake. Your attack does little to injure the monster, however, and you are beset by two of the blanks in the process. In the fight, you manage to defeat the final two blanks, but your wounds have mounted and you fall to the ground. >Galehaut takes 7 hits, helpless >Retaliate used >0/6 Shells remaining
The green light begins to shine brighter, almost blinding you all. When it recedes, you see an incredibly tall pony standing beside the great serpent. Its body is covered from head to hoof in a black robe that seems to bulge and ripple strangely nea . Its face is obscured by a glittering green mask, under which no face can be seen. The snake lowers its great head, and the being places one hoof on it. The flesh around its eyes begins to melt and reform, and before long the creature is fully healed. The being turns to you and raises its hoof again. From under its robe slither dozens and dozens of snakes, hissing malevolently as they move towards the group.
>>648499 ''Oooh no…'' He takes a step back at the display of the masked pony ''That's nasty…'' >>648501 ''M-mister Galehaut, get up yo-oh…You're..B-but you're still wounded, let me help!'' He says, momentarily stunned after seeing the donkey getting up after that beating he took '1d10' natural remedy
>>648499 Gloria readies her blade, glaring at the creature before her. She charges at it, her blade ready to strike down on it. >Blast: Autocrits Dark Magic users + Talent autocrits undead. >Hits on DC5 [1d10]
>>648501 >>648503 With the help of Maali's magic, Galehaut stands up, almost fully healed and ready to keep fighting. >Galehaut is at 6/4
>>648502 You manage to shoot it again, the quarrels sinking into its underside and drawing blood. It recoils in pain.
>>648504 No response from the entity. The snake is too tall to be able to reach its head, but you manage to deliver a blow to its underside instead.
>>648505 You take your weapon and plunge it into the entity. You draw no blood, and when you remove the weapon the hole you left patches up instantly. It does flinch from the blow, however, and glides away from you.
>>648506 The being recoils at your attack as you smite it, responding by vanishing in a flash of green light and reappearing on a rooftop.
Kivoda panics, running and hiding inside a nearby building.
The horde of snakes lashes out at Tourmaline and Maali. [2d10] Attack and poison chance vs Tourmaline [2d10] As above vs Maali
The being points at Timber Hoof, conjuring a field of green energy that binds Timber in place. >roll to break out
The snake hisses and strikes at Gloria, fangs bared. [1d10] Autocrit
Roll #1 2, 10 = 12 / Roll #2 6, 8 = 14 / Roll #3 5 = 5
>>648504 >>648507 ''If we kill one, the other might be weakened…But there's so many snakes!'' He says as he tries to step away from them, but is ultimately bitten. he cries out at the sharp pain as he shakes the snakes off ''Oh no…I-I'm fine I'll be fine!'' He shouts ''J-just keep attacking'' He says as he started stomping and crushing the snakes below his stoned hoof '1d10' earthen strike '1d10' antlers
>>648507 >well this is a waste of a elemental turn…
Timber struggles to break free of the spell. [1d10]
As he does, he looks up at the snake. He makes a series of loud and annoying hissing sounds to get its attention. >[1d10] to get its attention if this can be counted as an instant action >I really hope either these both succeed or these both fail…
>>648508 Both your shots miss. The crossbow jams and is unusable for the time being.
>>648509 As you raise your shields to strike, a snake leaps up and bites at your face, causing you to miss your swing. >Galehaut takes 3 hits >[1d10] poison
>>648510 You manage to dodge its attack by a hair's breadth. You take the opportunity to strike at the roof of its mouth, cutting it and making it bleed.
>>648511 You manage to stamp a few snakes, but one weaves out of the way of your strike and bites you on the shoulder. You feel poison coursing through your veins almost instantly, making it feel like the inside of your body is on fire. >Maali takes 1 hit +1 from poison
As you go to gore another with your antlers, yet another snake lashes out at you, this time at your hoof. It draws heavy blood. >Maali takes 4 hits [1d10] poison chance, stacks with the already applied poison
>>648512 You fail to get free of the spell, and your attempts to draw the snake's attention prove ineffective.
>>648513 You manage to stomp a snake underhoof as you try to swing at the pony-like being. You manage to cut it in half, but as soon as this happens the thing simply reforms.
The being observes the ongoing struggle from its vantage point before raising its hooves. On its command, the horde of snakes turn and slither up the walls of the building and back under its robe. The great serpent moves toward the being, and the two suddenly vanish as quickly as they appeared in a flash of green light. You are left alone to assess the situation, surrounded by blanks and dead snakes. Kivoda tentatively pokes his head out of the doorway, looking around to make sure the coast is clear before rejoining the group. "What… What was that thing?"
>>648514 The poison from the snake's attack has left Galehaut ailing. However, Maali's magic still runs through him, and he is healed of some of his injuries. >Galehaut is at 5/5, losing 1 hit every turn for 3 turns
>>648514 that bite was deep, Maali cried, and loudly as the pain was almost making him go mad. biting his lip, he tried backing away from the snakes the best he could as he prayed to Gaia for help, the prayer also making his necklace shine as he heals himself '1d10'
>>648514 >>648520 Gloria lets out a sigh of relief after the snake and other being vanish. She looks around to the others to check on them. "Galehaut, you alright? Took quite a beating back there. As soon as you're feeling better we should report back to Doom about what happened… He should also be warned about this new threat in the area."
>>648518 The agony in your body begins to fade as your call upon Gaia's power to cleanse the poison from your body. >Maali is cured
>>648519 You are standing in the middle of what was once the village of Where-Waters-Meet, but was repurposed by Doom's men into an outpost. The buildings are mostly brick with thatched roofing, and many have fallen to time, being neglected by the resistance. There is little to be found here, save perhaps for some meager supplies.
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party explored the ruined Resistance outpost at Where-Waters-Meet, finding the former warriors turned blank with deadly poison coursing through their veins. They quickly discovered the apparent source of the poison; a mask-wearing being composed entirely of snakes and its titanic serpent companion. After engaging in a brief skirmish with the duo, the two seemingly lost interest and vanished into thin air, leaving the party to plot their next course of action… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Gopal is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 >Gloria is at 6/5 >Galehaut is at 6/6 >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep, The Dreaming Spring >World map: >>648529 >Old thread: >>648438
Kivoda clears his throat. "I don't mean to commandeer your group or anything," he comments as you linger about the outpost, "but I don't think it's wise to linger about here. We really should leave before that… thing comes back." He looks around nervously and grips his staff tightly.
>>648722 >>648723 "Yes, yes, let's get going," Abenad says, "With our luck we'll fight it again. I feel like we did quite well, we should be able to kill it next time with as much effort and better luck."
>>648722 Tourmaline looks around for remaining snakes. "Would any of you be open to trying some snake soup? I know of a recipe involving snakes I would like to try, though I've only ever done it with de-poisoned snakes."
"I see no reason to flee, our combatant beat us to it, but we should report the assailant and return you somewhere safe, yes. Forewarning, if you are a changeling once we reach camp, you will be subject to a three day quarantine. If you are thus and wish to keep your identity hidden, I suggest you leave the party discreetly to avoid prejudice."
"I didn't intend to pose any authority, I know not much of the changeling race, only what Doom had spoke about the quarantine time. I have no issue with them, but I thought it would be wise enough advice."
"I don't know, I've never seen a Changeling nor read much about them, only the fact that we quarantine for them. I don't want to say anything that would be offensive without first having a reason to be offensive, so hence I apologize."
>>648725 The animated armor does not budge from its position. "You have chosen," it says again. "The path is closed. Tascheter awaits."
>>648726 Kivoda's eyes brighten at the sound of that. "Oh, I'd like that, very much," he adds eagerly. "I haven't had snake soup in years." There are plenty of dead snakes left to gather all around the area. They could be easily cooked and eaten if not for their venom.
>>648727 "Not to worry sir, I'm no changeling," he replies. "Never even met one, that I know of."
>>648728 Kivoda nods. "I can't stand them either. Horrible things. Can't imagine why this place has them as a symbol."
>>648747 ''I don't thnk it will let us pass…Or I think maybe That Tascheter just vanished deeper in that place where we fought it and it's waiting for us…'' >>648748 ''Im…Im certain that would not work mister Galehaut…It would just attack us from both sides''
"I'm not sure if that thing IS Tascheter. It MAY be a place. If it's the creature, then one must wonder where it got the name. It doesn't seem sapient enough to give one to itself. So, someone else would have had to have given it the name. But, then that still leaves us with the implication that this armor is working for the creature which would imply it is giving orders. And, that still seems beyond its scope of capability. Though, I suppose I could be not giving it enough credit."
>>648753 "You know what we need is fire for that snakehorse. Just light it up and burn it to death." >>648754 Abenad puts his hands up and steps back. "My apologies," he says, putting some distance between him and the armor.
>>648761 >>648762 "Weren't you just giving me the business about there being danger everywhere, Timber?"
To Kivoda she explains "We're on a wild goose chase for some bossy nobody who has named himself after a dead person because he wants power for some reason. Because of this we were obligated to fight some snakes while spending time looking for nothing."
>>648761 He squints ''Can you tell us where their other children are?'' >>648762 ''Well…I'm certain this armor couldn't possibly be more powerful that Tascheter, or even its children'' >>648763 ''You are the only one among us who is capable of Flying miss Gloria, and… well…Carrying us one by one to the other side would be…sort of unlikely…'' He glances at Abenad
>>648762 >>648761 >>648763 >>648768 "How about instead of thinking about it here, we go to Jevel and see if there's a monolith there so we can just teleport past this bridge and straight back to the Dreaming Spring?"
>>648770 "Hey, that's not a half bad idea. You guys said you wanted to go to Jevel anyways, plus I could use a little break away from the base. What is it that you guys are looking for in there again?"
>>648776 >>648778 >>648779 >>648780 >>648782 >>648784 You leave the Resistance outpost behind you and begin to head south, towards Jevel. As always in this part of Rin, the landscape is almost completely barren, the occasional crumbling cottage or thorny brown bush the only sign of this having ever been a living place. Gloria is reminded of the Plague Lands surrounding her home in Sarnath. The day passes overhead, and soon enough the sun begins to set. By your reckoning, you still have an hour or two of daylight to find shelter for the night. You find yourselves overlooking a small dead gully up ahead, in which lies a cluster of roughly hewn menhirs in idiosyncratic patterns. It appears to have been some sort of ritual site for some long-dead clan. To your left off the road is what was once a forest, but is now a twisted cluster of skeletal husks of trees, completely devoid of life. Looking around you, you can also see hoofprints and wheel markings. Someone pulling a wagon must have passed through here. It seems they headed down into the ritual site, although it is impossible to tell how long ago they passed. There are similar hoofprints leading towards the forest, although it appears to have been multiple ponies and not just one.
"Yes, they appear to be some sort of ritual site. One all the way out here in the middle of nothing would imply to me that whoever used this place used to live here. So, if it was safe enough for them, it's safe enough for us."
>>648785 ''I…Give me a moment…I will catch up with you all…'' He walk to the roat to the left, saddened by the sight of all the dead trees as he looks for some hopeful ground fertile enough to plant his banana tree antlers
>>648788 The coast looks clear to you. The only living thing you can see is a crow perched in one of the dead trees, and the only sound is the wind through the dead trees. On second listens, however, you can hear the very faint sound of someone moving about in the ritual site.
>>648790 There is no response save for the wind in the trees.
>>648793 You enter the forest. It is difficult to see with all the branches blotting out the ailing sun, but you can tell that the soil is very much dead. No chance of planting anything here. As you go to leave, you see a distant green light, pallid and glimmering among the trees. You can hear something too, a faint voice whispering in the tongue of your people, although what it says is indistinct to you.
>>648786 >>648787 >>648789 >>648792 As you descend into the gully, you see a pony and a wagon that is very much familiar to many of the party. He is a green unicorn, with a peppered gray mane and a scruffy beard. The pony wears a floppy brown hat and a coat to match. He sits on the steps of his maroon and blue wagon, puffing away on his pipe. He blinks in surprise as he sees the lot of you, but is quick to give a friendly wave. "Hello there!" he says. "Nice to see a familiar face. I see your party's grown since last we met." He flashes a wide friendly grin, revealing a gold tooth. "As always, feel free to have a rummage through my wares. If you see anything you like, let me know." He hops off his wagon and doffs his hat. "The name's Clean Slate," he says as an aside to Gloria, Galehaut and Kivoda. "At your service." Kivoda merely nods in confusion.
>>648798 "Of course I do, my good man," he says with another toothy grin. "That's my profession, after all. Buy, sell, trade, it's all the same to me."
>>648799 >>648803 The stones in the area seem to have some recurring symbols engraved on them; namely, a curving six-pointed star. You recognize this star from your book; it is the symbol of the Sentinels of Ibergal, although how or why it has come to be here is anyone's guess. You also find what appears to be an open tomb surrounded by five equine statues kneeling to it in veneration. Inside the tomb is nothing but a skull covered in cobwebs.
>>648800 There is no response, save for it letting out a croak and flying off. Sometimes a crow is just a crow.
>>648801 As you draw nearer, the light begins to form into a distinct shape, one that you haven't seen in many years. It is the ghostly form of your mother, lying on the forest floor as if injured. She looks up at you with shining eyes and holds out her hooves in supplication. "Maali," she calls to you pleadingly in the old tongue. "Maali, my son… Help me…"
>>648804 "Right you are!" He takes your money and hands you the items you requested. "Always a pleasure to do business with you."
>>648805 "Just passing by," he replies offhandedly. "Traveling from place to place, making profit off of the needy, you know how it is. I don't know how much longer I'll be staying here, but I do miss Arineau."
Kivoda looks around at the group. "Hey, where's the deer? Maltese or whatever his name is. Shouldn't he be with us?"
>>648796 "My name's Gloria, it is a pleasure to meet you."
After checking out the five Curing balms, Gloria turns to look at the twenty meter rope and picks it up. "Well, we could use a bit of rope in the future… how much for it?" She asks, turning to Clean Slate.
>>648807 "Two gold pieces for the rope," he answers with another toothy grin as he passes you your purchase.
>>648808 "Cheers," he says as he takes your payment and passes you the Bag of Holding. "As for these daggers, I'll give you four silvers for them. Afraid they're not worth too much really, they're just ordinary weapons one could find just about anywhere."
>>648809 You systematically clean the inside of the tomb, leaving it devoid of spiderwebs and dust. You feel as though you've done someone a great service for doing so. As you go about this, Kivoda walks up to you. "You… You know of the Sentinels too?" he asks.
>>648810 You rush over to the apparition of your dead mother. As you do so, it ripples and fades, reforming into the terrible sight of the masked sorceress Tascheter. She looms over you, the empty eyes staring right into your very heart. With a wave of her arm, she conjures a field of green energy to bind you in place, along with a hissing green serpent that wraps around your mouth to act as a gag. >roll to break out From the corner of your eye, you see two bright yellow eyes watching you, moving to the witch's side like a faithful hound.
>>648811 "Who? You mean the self-proclaimed king?" He scoffs. "I come across their lot occasionally. Bunch of lunatics, most of them. I don't know what claim he thinks he has to be the king, but it's obviously enough to inspire quite a bit of devotion in his followers. Most of them are far off up north. I haven't been that way yet, but I'm making my way there eventually."
>>648812 >>648814 "Yes, he's gone and left you," says Kivoda. "I saw him go off into the forest before we all came down here, but he should be back from whatever it is he's doing by now."
>>648818 "Allow me to demonstrate," he says genially. He take the rope and slings it at a nearby menhir with a flick of his wrist. It coils itself tightly around the stone, and Clean Slate tugs on the rope firmly to demonstrate. With another flick, the rope unwraps and spirals to the ground at his hooves in a neat pile. He passes it back to you. "Enjoy!"
>>648819 "I've been examining these stones," he muses. "I'm assuming you know of the Sentinels, being Cael like me and all. I'm by no means an expert on ancient runes, but this place is probably a burial site for one such Sentinel. This tomb would be their grave… But why? Why was this one buried so far from home? And there's more. There's a great disk-shaped stone further on down that resembles a sundial, with markings at the 12:00 point. What's the connection between the two? I don't understand…" He touches his chin, wracking his brains trying to find an explanation. "Suffice, to say, I'm stumped. This is all very mysterious, I never expected to find traces of the Sentinels so far from home. I don't suppose you have any ideas?"
>>648820 >>648821 As you enter the forest, you hear the faint sound of someone struggling, along with a low hissing sound. Following this, you see Maali suspended in midair by a field of green energy, limbs splayed. Facing him is the sorceress Tascheter in all her unearthly might, hooves raised, about to cast some wicked spell.
>>648822 "Oh, don't get me wrong, I don't discriminate. I'm not on anyone's side, I sell to whoever has the coin. Shell of Light, Resistance, Lordless, Eclipse Knight, it makes no difference to me. As I said, I'm making my way north eventually. And you'd be surprised actually, there's quite a few ponies around these parts. Why, I traded with a few Disciples of Order earlier today. They went off into the forest, but I don't trust the looks of that place so I came down here. Found a good bit of loot to sell too." He grins again.
>>648823 The magic that binds you is too strong. You cannot break out, or indeed move at all.
>>648824 He nods. Is there anything else you'd like to trade?"
Tascheter lashes out her arm, sending a volley of snakes to bite at Galehaut's face. [1d10] [1d10] Poison
>>648825 "Yes, how odd it is that I am 'Cael like you'. It must be contagious, right?" she says, leery that he's getting so friendly and talkative with her and not acting inconsistently. "I'm sure they're mystical storybook heroes alright. I just came by to tidy up, is all."
>>648825 Gloria smiles at the demonstration. "Well, as long as it doesn't slither away during the night, then I'd say this may just be a good deal." She then hooks the rope to her armor's belt, making sure she can reach it anytime she wants.
>>648831 Gloria turns her head to the direction of the shout, not hestating to take off into the air and flying towards the danger to see what's wrong.
>>648827 "I'd say it ended years ago." He takes a puff of his pipe. "Now it's coming back to life."
>>648830 He has a dumbfounded look like he was just slapped in the face, but after a moment he goes back to investigating the ruins. "…Well, if you do have any ideas let me know." You rejoin the rest of the group and Clean Slate. In the distance, you hear Galehaut yelling something.
>>648831 You charge in front of your allies, ready to protect them at all costs. The snakes bite you in the face, and you immediately feel poison beginning to flow through your veins. >Galehaut takes 4 hits +1 from poison
>>648832 Your axe flashes, but you miss your swing.
>>648836 You join your companions in the dead forest. The sorceress Tascheter has ambushed Maali, who is currently prone to damage. Gopal and Galehaut are attacking the sorceress, and the fight has just begun.
>>648835 The energy field surrounding you fades away, allowing you to help your companions. >pausing
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party left the ruined outpost of Where-Waters-Meet and continued on south towards the city of Jevel, where they could find knowledge of the mysterious art known as Soulcrafting and a strange device requested to be retrieved from the Tower of Asclepius by the sorcerer Dreamcoat. As the day passed overhead, the party began to seek shelter to settle for the night. When exploring an ancient ritual site, they were reunited with an old acquaintance of theirs: the merchant Clean Slate, who they bartered with for many items including curing balms, food, fire beads, an unbreakable glass bottle, a bag of holding and a self-coiling rope. Meanwhile, the party's companion Kivoda discovered evidence of one of the legendary Sentinels of Ibergal being laid to rest in the ritual site, along with some sort of stone sundial with markings at the midday mark. He was, however, unable to make head or tail of it. As the party ventured into the ritual site, Maali explored a nearby dead forest and was ambushed by the sorceress Tascheter, who is now hounding the party for having injured her firstborn son Aldebaran. Gopal, Galehaut and Gloria swiftly came to his aid, and now face off against the dread witch… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Gopal is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 >Gloria is at 6/5 >Galehaut is at 1/6, poisoned for 2 rounds, protecting Maali and Gopal >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep, The Dreaming Spring >Old thread: >>648722
>>649057 >>649058 >>649059 From the gloom of the forest a second monstrous figure appears. It resembles some grotesque ape in structure, with powerful arms and short, stumpy legs. It is devoid of any fur or skin whatsoever, a flayed abomination towering over you all. Its fangs are like daggers, its eyes shine yellow like lamplights, and its head flops around limply on its shoulders as if its neck were broken. In its torso is a terrible gaping maw of a wound, in which is coiled a vivid green serpent in lieu of intestines. The creature turns to face the party and charges at Galehaut without so much as a roar. [1d10] Autocrit >Galehaut takes 1 hit from poison
The sorceress Tascheter sends a barrage of snakes towards Gloria. [1d10] [1d10] Poison
>>649056 >>649060 You hear a distant commotion from the direction of the dead forest. Clean Slate looks over with a slightly bemused expression. "I'm sure your friends can handle whatever's causing that ruckus," he says with another flash of his signature toothy grin. "Is there anything else I can do for you fine travelers?" His beady magenta eyes pass over you all wolfishly, focusing especially on the crossbows Abenad carries. "Bear in mind, I do trade and buy as well as sell." http://pastebin.com/vK8edAPb
>>649061 Abenad's ears prick up at the commotion. "Well, to be honest, this one you sold me is a bit of a disappointment," he says, holding up the double-shot crossbow, "It's just not strong enoug for me, you know?" >offering double-shot crossbow up for sale
>>649062 You dodge her barrage and swing at her, but she too dodges the blow and counters with a lash of snakes to the face. >Gloria takes 1 hit
>>649063 You manage to ram your shield into the beldam's mask, but you are blindsided by the gorilla-like creature as it rams into you, bowling you over from the impact. You manage to get back up, however. >Galehaut takes 1 wound +1 hit from poison
>>649064 He looks it over to ensure it's in good condition before taking it and ofering you a refund of 1 gold dillie. "I'm sorry that you are unhappy with your purchase. Please, accept your money back."
>>649065 You manage to heal Galehaut, but not to cure his poison.
>>649066 He puffs thoughtfully on his pipe. "I suppose I could exchange a favor for a favor, but it would depend on the favor, now, wouldn't it? Besides, there's no telling if we'll meet again."
>>649067 As you speak, you see Kivoda faintly in the distance. He is rummaging through the ruins, seemingly studying his surroundings. Every once in a while, he jots something down in a little notebook.
>>649071 You slice through some of the serpents at her feet. The axe flashes white as you do so, and the witch visibly recoils. You hear the axe's voice whisper in your ear. "Paragon," it hisses, then is silent once more.
The gorilla-like beast bends over backwards, and the serpent in its gut flies out to attack Gloria. [1d10] [1d10] Poison
Tascheter seemingly retreats into her robe and begins to glow green. [1d10]
>>649073 "Ehh, did I only pay 1 gold for it?" He asks, some surprise in his voice. "Well, I guess I got what I pair for, then." He gets up and straightens his clothes out. >>649070 >>649068 "I'm going to go see what the others are doing- sounds like they're up to some trouble. Care to join me?"
>>649073 Seeing the snake flying from the bald Gorilla to strike Gloria fills Maali with worry and Anger. That poison was absolutely going to sting "H-hang on miss Gloria!You too mister Galehaut!" he shouts as his body shifts and is filled with glowing flowers >nature elemental. Life. Gloria and Galehaut
>>649075 The serpent bites you right in the neck, drawing heavy blood. Almost instantaneously, your veins feel like they're on fire and your head begins to spin. In a poison-induced haze, you plummet to the forest floor. >Gloria takes 11 hits +1 from poison, helpless at 0/2 >poison active for 5 rounds
>>649076 You crush some of the conjured snakes between your shields before toppling over in exhaustion. >helpless at full wounds because of Maali's heal >end of Protect, Retaliate activates next round
>>649077 Your magic begins to work on your companions, healing their wounds. >Gloria is at 0/3 >Galehaut is at 0/6
>>649078 As you speak, Clean Slate notices your weapon loadout. "You wouldn't be willing to sell or trade for that sword there by any chance?" He gestures at the blade you took from Marshal Waymar. "It is of very fine craftsmanship. Arinese rippled steel. Sharp as they come."
>>649079 "If you say so." He grins again. "If or when we do meet, let me know if you see anything that tickles your fancy. I'm sure we can work something out, even if you are short on coin." He glances at your stony armor.
>>649080 You manage to take cover behind a particularly thick tree.
>>649082 The sound of fighting becomes louder and louder as you enter the dead forest. Soon enough, you see the majority of the party fighting the sorceress Tascheter along with a creature resembling a flayed gorilla with a broken neck. It hosts an emerald green snake in its gut.
Now glowing vivid green, Tascheter lashes out at Gopal with her snakes. [1d10+2]
The ape creature charges towards Maali, slamming into him with as much force as it can muster. [1d10] Autocrit
>>649083 "Weeee know." she says spookily, giving him a poke in the chest.
>>649084 "There is more to a sword than sharpness. One with no edge at all is just as good, if not better in some regards, than a sword with. Just a nibble of advice for appraisals. Don't buy a sword so sharp it cracks away in one strike."
picking myself off the ground, i turn my focus to the bizarre creature charging Maali down, rushing forward to strike in it's distraction. [1d10] Melee >>649077 "Look out, Maali! big monster thing out for blood!"
>>649085 The bolt sinks into the sorceress' robe and quickly vanishes, seemingly dealing no damage.
>>649086 You are too weak from the poison to be able to get back up. >Gloria takes 1 wound from poison damage
>>649087 He blinks, his grin fading slightly. "…So is that a no?"
>>649088 You spring to life, slamming your shields into Tascheter with as much force as you can muster, crushing snakes underhoof and sundering her emerald mask, revealing nothing behind but a mass of even more writhing snakes. She recoils and shies away from you in apparent pain. >Retaliate used The poison begins to abate. You no longer feel like your heart will burst.
>>649089 You swing the axe into the creature's back. It leaves a gaping wound, but no blood comes out. Indeed, it makes no sign of having felt the attack at all.
>>649091 You manage to channel healing magic into Gloria before the apelike creature rams into you, leaving you dazed from the impact. >Maali takes 1 wound >Gloria is at 6/3, no longer helpless >Galehaut is at 2/6
>>649087 >>649090 As Tourmaline and Timber Hoof speak, Kivoda approaches the site and clears his throat. "If it's okay with you two, I'd like for us all to stay here a while tomorrow. At least until midday. There's something I would like to try with this sundial I've found…"
Tascheter focuses on Galehaut now, attacking him with her snakes. [1d10+2] [1d10+2] Poison
The ape-beast lunges at Gopal, aiming to pin him down. [1d10]
Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #2 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #3 8 = 8
>>649092 Maali shouts in pain as he is thrown aside easily, however he stubbornly tries getting up, Taking a deep breath "TOURMALINE, TIMBER, HELP!" he shouts out loud, hoping his plead would reach their ears '1d10'
>>649093 "Well, I'm by no means an expert, but this sundial over here seems to be linked to whoever's laid to rest here. From the carvings in the stones and on the tomb, it looks to be one of the Sentinels of Ibergal. Legendary knights in my land and all. I find it odd that one would be laid to rest here, so far from home. The sundial has special engravings on the 12 mark, so maybe something important happens at midday. This has nothing to do with your own journey, of course, but I am curious to see what happens. If anything happens, that is. It's all very mysterious to me." You notice Clean Slate's ears perk up at the sound of him talking about the tomb, but he says nothing.
>>649094 You take a bite of potent venom on the shoulder, but you shrug it off and slam your shields into the witch with all your might. She shies away from you, leaving a trail of dead snakes. After a moment, however, you fall to the ground again, overcome by the poison. >Galehaut takes 1 hit +1 from poison, helpless >poison active for 5 rounds
>>649095 You shout as loud as you can. It is highly probable that they heard it.
>>649096 Your axe glows brightly as you hack away at the bloodless beast, leaving large craters in its body. Its head flops around limply as it pins you down with one huge arm. >roll to escape
>>649097 You leave a gaping dry wound in the creature's skull. It pays little notice to you, however, as it focuses on attacking Gopal.
>>649098 You pull your bow back too far, and the string strains and snaps under the effort. >Bow is unusable until you get it fixed or attempt to fix it yourself
>>649099 He nods. "I understand, madam. You take good care of that sword. It's worth more than you know."
Tascheter sends another volley of snakes at Galehaut. [1d10+2] [1d10+2] Poison, stacking
The ape monster wraps its free hand around Gopal's neck, strangling him. [1d10]
Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #3 4 = 4
Timber ponders. As he ponders, he hears the shouting of fighting. Of course, if people had just stayed put at the camp instead of running off to plant banana trees that were growing out of their head, none of this would be happening. So, Timber ignores it. He has thoughts to think.
"If the others don't particularly need to get going, then I don't mind staying for a few extra hours. It could prove to be profitable."
Timber then looks toward Clean Slate. "Which brings me to my next point: what I asked you originally. Why are you here? You seem strangely interested in some old tombs in the middle of some dead lands."
>>649102 Your shot rings true, emitting a faint hiss and a wisp of smoke as it fires into the mass of snakes.
>>649103 You miss your swing. The snake nested in its belly lashes out at you, grazing your own wrist. >Gloria takes 1 hit +1 from poison >currently at 3/4 from Elemental the previous turn
>>649104 The even stronger dose of poison has weakened you, preventing you from being able to get up. >Galehaut takes 2 wounds from poison >currently at 0/4 from Elemental the previous turn
>>649105 You fail to move the creature off of you. You may as well be hitting a stone wall. >Galehaut is at 0/5 >Gloria is at 5/4 >end of Elemental
>>649106 You swear you hear Maali calling your name, but it might just be the wind. Clean Slate tilts his head and shrugs. "As I said, I'm passing through this place as I make my way up north. This seemed as good a place as any to camp for the night, so I thought why not. I'm just a simple stallion trying to make my way in this land." He gives another wide grin.
Tascheter rushes towards Abenad. She has lost her equine form, being little more than a mass of snakes by now.
>>649110 You miss your attack. The creature counters with a lunge from the snake in its gut. >Gloria takes 2 hits
>>649112 With unprecedented strength, you manage to shove the monstrous thing off of you, following up with an axe blow to the creature's neck. You nearly sever its wretched head in one blow.
>>649113 >>649114 Kivoda nods. "I'll wait here and start setting up camp, then." As you leave, you hear him indistinctly ask Clean Slate something. As you enter the forest, you see the rest of the party engaged in fierce combat with Tascheter and a flayed apelike being with a snake in its gut. The battle rages on, but the party seem to be steadily gaining the upper hand.
Timber sizes up the scene. "Yes, you're typically the one who takes the brunt of the damage," Timber comments. "Here, take this as a bit of thanks."
Roots grow out of Timber's hooves. They travel over to Halehaut and (mostly) painlessly embed themselves into Galehaut momentarily. >Life Elemental >Healing Galehaut for a wound each turn unless I choose another target
>>649117 The poison is too much for your body to bear, and you fail to get up. Everything goes black…
>>649118 You deal a heavy blow to both foes, sending snakes and flesh alike flying with your blow.
>>649119 You dodge the blow and counter with one of your own, lunging into the heart of the abomination. There are few snakes left by now, Tascheter reduced to little more than a crawling mass. >Silence no longer in effect
>>649120 The creature swats your sword aside, knocking it out of your hands. It deals a heavy blow right to your face, knocking you over from the impact. >Gloria takes 5 hits +1 from poison, helpless
>>649121 You save Galehaut from imminent death, bringing him back from the grave. His thread winds on, for now. >Galehaut takes 2 wounds from poison, healed for 1
>>649122 You sever the already lifeless head of the creature. It falls to the floor with a blank expression. The rest of the monster follows, collapsing limply.
The snake in the monster's gut crawls out and joins the amalgamation that is Tascheter. The remaining snakes begin to glow, forming into a towering, writhing pillar. [1d10] Autocrit
>>649124 Despite your grievous injuries, you manage to stand back up. Your heart pumps strong, despite the poison corrupting it. Timber's magic prevents you from succumbing, for the time being. >Galehaut is at 5/2
>>649125 The poison has weakened you, preventing you from recovering. >Gloria takes 1 wound from poison
>>649128 >>649129 Through your combined efforts, you pull the griffon back up, ready to fight another day. >Gloria is at 6/2
Tascheter emits a blinding flash of bright green light. When it subsides, the witch has vanished, not leaving a single trace of it ever having been there. She has escaped again, for now.
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party continued to fight the sorceress Tascheter and her eldritch flayed minion. Although the duo fought hard against the party and brought Galehaut a hair's breadth from becoming unwound, the adventurers beat the squamous beldam into submission; however, in an act of cowardice, she fled before the party fully destroyed her, leaving her to fight another day. Meanwhile, down in the camp, the traveler Kivoda requested that the party stay in the ritual site until midday tomorrow because of a strange sundial he had found seemingly linked to an order of ancient Eastern knights called the Sentinels. Standing in the wake of their relative victory, the party are left to decide where to go from here… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/4 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Gopal is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 >Gloria is at 6/2 >Galehaut is at 5/2 >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep, The Dreaming Spring >Old thread: >>649061
As you stand about the dead forest, you hear distant voices coming from the abandoned ruins. It sounds as if Kivoda and Clean Slate are engaged in a discussion of some sort.
>>650169 "You're standing, are you? You look propped up, and that a stiff breeze could knock you down either way. In any case, we should go back, no telling what happens when a group is split." >going back to camp
>>650165 >>650166 He slumped down on the ground, letting out a heaved breath with his head hung low ''Yes…I am fine…But I can't say the same of the others…'' He turns to Galehaut and Gloria >>650169 He approaches the taller donkey, looking up at him with a look of guilt ''I'm sorry…If it were not by me…You wouldn't be in this state…Mister Galehaut…'' He necklace shone slightly ''Please let me treat you now, It's the least I can do…'' >taking 6 for natural remedy >>650174 ''Yes, I will get to you too miss Gloria, in a moment…I'm sorry to you s well for causing this…If I had not wandered alone, we would have fought them all together…And better prepared…Please forgive me''
>>650178 He makes an effort to smile back to her "Next time, I'll give a warning or ask for company when I decide to Wander off" >>650179 "B-but it was my fault in a way!.. If I were not so careless earlier… We could have prevented this… Tonight I will pray to Gaia to thank her for our safety… And my abilities to heal…" he says as Galehaut feels the deer's and natural energy flowing into him, giving him a relief from the pain and closing the wounds >>650180 "Yes… But from now on I'm not leaving your company anymore… Terrible things happen when one of us is not with the other… "
>>650176 You channel your healing magic into your protector, curing his more grievous wounds. >Galehaut is at 6/3
>>650171 >>650180 >>650181 >assuming everyone else is following You leave the dead forest behind you and move down into the gully where your other two allies are. As you approach, you see them facing off in what is clearly an argument over something. Kivoda looks indignant, while Clean Slate remains as relaxed as ever. "Now listen here," Kivoda barks, "you can't just go stealing from graves and selling it off for your own good. That's immoral!" "And why not? It's not like the dead will be needing it, will they? The living will make much more use of it than them. What harm could come?" "It's bad luck and poor form. Now give me that weapon or return it to its rightful owner." "You want it?" He grins sardonically. "45 gold pieces." "45? That's outrageous!" Kivoda blurts. "I could buy a whole new set of armor for that!" Clean Slate crosses his arms. "That's my price, take it or leave it." Kivoda pulls himself up to his full height, gripping his staff tightly. "Why, I've half a mind to take it by force now. You thief!" The grin drops from Clean Slate's face instantly. "Is that a threat?" "Maybe it is," Kivoda retorts. The pair look over to you as you approach. "Your friend here has quite the mouth on him," Clean Slate says coldly. "Tedious little man." "You trade with this man?" Kivoda points an accusing hoof at the merchant. "He's a villain! Nothing but a mangy cutpurse!" "I am not mangy," Clean Slate says, looking rather miffed.
>>650184 "I tend to try avoiding subjects such as this. He's just a simple merchant to me, I buy what I may need on my quest… Even if his methods of obtaining his goods is distasteful." She says, frowning a bit at the merchant.
>>650184 He watches the conversation unfold and decided to meekly voice his opinion "I Uh… He is right in a way… The dead will no longer need to use the weapon, so is it so bad that the living use it?…"
"But is he using it, or peddling it? If a necromancer uses your corpse to attack a village, is it right? You have no say in how it will be used, nor will it's previous owner will have say in how that weapon would be used."
>>650186 >>650187 "Not just any weapon," Kivoda replies. He marches up to the merchant's caravan and pulls back the curtain. Inside is a mighty polearm made of what appears to be bone, with dozens of tiny runes delicately carved into its haft. It boasts a tremendous spike where the blade would be, evidently designed to be able to break through solid objects. "That weapon belonged to one of the Sentinels of Ibergal. She is interred here, and now he has taken it away from the tomb. Absolutely disgraceful."
>>650188 "It'll do much more good in the hands of a capable warrior than it will gathering cobwebs in some musty old grave," Clean Slate says with a shrug. "If your friend here wants it, then he pays for it. The rules are the rules."
>>650189 "If the rest of your group are in assent. There must be something more to this place. But first, we have to deal with this slime." He glares at Clean Slate, who just rolls his eyes at his rather childish display.
>>650190 "Distasteful?" Clean Slate parrots. "Well, if the horseshoe fits… Look, I'm just trying to turn a profit here. Folks like him are bad for business. Tell him to step back. Or if any of you can afford it, pay up and I'll gladly give away the curio. I have better things to do than sit around arguing all day."
>>650191 Clean Slate grins, sincerely this time. "Finally, someone else who shares my point of view. You have a good head on your shoulders. You could have filled my boots, in another life."
>>650193 "No of course not! But a sword is much different than a weapon mister Galehaut… Those who passed away will have no benefit from it anymore, it might seem morally incorrect, but… F-for me… I believe it isn't… So much…" he lowers his gaze, not wanting to look at the donkey in the eyes
>>650195 "What are sentinels from Ibergal doing buried here?" Abenad asks, "Anyway, when it comes to taking something from a dead body, you're supposed to only do it when you killed them yourself, when your own weapons are broken, if it's significantly better than your own AND you beat them in combat, self-defense, or there's plenty of others like them and taking one would legitimately not be a hassle. Considering this is something of an Ibergalian descent, I'd consult Tourmaline, but I'm not sure if she'd care." >>650189 Abenad looks over at Tourmaline nonetheless.
>>650195 He purses his lips and glances away "Um… Sure… But what you said is right is all… Even if all you want from it is profit… A weapon like this will be much better used in the struggle against the blanks… Not decorating a tomb…I'm sorry mister Kivoda" he shakes his head
>>650195 >>650198 "It's just an object that didn't belong to a god. And for the last time I don't see how all Cael are mystically connected. Anyway I'm just along for the ride of errand-running for the freak pretending to be a clearly-dead person which I've been signed up for, so don't look at me."
"Well, I see no instruction that it should be passed down to another upon her death. No 'free polearm' sign, or rather 'for sale'. This is dishonoring a warrior, it's taking away a part of their body. I am not who I am with these shields, nor is that Sentinel without her weapon."
Galehaut looks away,
"I dust my hooves of this action, I won't have part in it."
>>650202 "Mister Galehaut… I understand your opinion and I… I will respect it… You saved me more than once now and I frustrating you with my way of life is not how I should be showing my thanks… " He bows "Forgive me…"
>>650204 "Nor is that correct either. You have your way of life, I have mine. I will not bend how I feel, but I have not given you anything for you to give thanks for, you merely continue to live just as I do. You're just as bad as the Kivoda one, you are lucky I am not some raping and pillaging bandit."
>>650198 "That I don't know," Kivoda admits. "Ibergal is months away from here. How or why did she come to be here? It's very strange, and I hope to find out soon enough."
>>650201 "Mystically connected?" Kivoda tilts his head in confusion. "What do you mean by that? I just thought you might be interested in this place seeing as we're from the same area is all."
>>650202 "Well, I don't see any sign seeing it shouldn't be taken. Finders keepers," the merchant replies.
>>650199 Clean Slate looks meaningfully at Kivoda and points at Maali. "Listen to your friend. He gets it. Just let it go, it's nothing to get hung up about." "Nothing to get hung up about? You defiling my heritage is nothing to get hung up about?" Kivoda growls. "You scum. You're no better than the Shells." "If you say so." He shrugs. "The Shells pay good money too. I don't pick and choose when it comes to sides, you know."
"Enough of this. Hang your price and your rules, bandit. I'm taking that artifact back where it belongs and you won't stop me." Kivoda grabs the polearm and strides off into the ruins. "Bring it back now or you lose the hoof," calls Clean Slate sternly, although he doesn't seem to be much perturbed by the traveler's spontaneous robbery. His horn lights up, and a hefty-looking zweihander floats out of his caravan and begins to hover near him. "I'm not joking, by the way," he comments to the party. "Try to talk some sense into him, would you? I'd hate for this to escalate even further. This whole situation is ridiculous, really."
>>650216 Gloria sighs and makes her way over to Kivoda. She stops and puts her claw out to stop him. "Kivoda, listen, I know what he's doing angers you to the very pit of your being… but for now we must forget about his actions of grave robbing so we can focus on our greater goal. If you do this for us, it will return the favor for helping you against the shells." >Persuasion [1d10]
>>650216 "Honestly, Clean Slate, it looks like a gaudy ceremonial piece instead of a proper weapon. I think you should put it back, no one worth their salt's going to want to buy it, it'll end up breaking or someone will kill them in their sleep for the shiny weapon." >using Show Them You Rock
>>650219 You finish healing Galehaut's injuries from the fight. >Galehaut is at 6/5
>>650220 You see the traveler heaving open the lid of a musty old tomb surrounded by five equine statues kneeling in veneration. Inside the tomb is nothing but a skull. He places the polearm inside and turns to you. "If no one will stand up to the lesser evils in this place, how can anyone stand up to the greatest evil of all? The little things matter just as much as the big things."
>>650221 "I suppose you're right," he grumbles. "It's more trouble than it's worth right now. Fine. Tell him I've changed my mind. He can keep it for all I care. I'm off." And just like that, he begins to pack away his wares. "I'll be off by daybreak. I don't much care for the company here. Meaning no offense."
>>650222 "I don't think that bauble would be worth as much as an ancient weapon. I would pay a pretty coin for it, though. It is very nice. Say, 25 gold pieces?"
>>650223 "If you say so," Kivoda replies. "I'm sorry if you took it the wrong way."
>>650225 "Yes, your cervine friend is right. That thing's nothing but trouble. Should have known better than to put it on display…"
>>650231 "If it makes you feel any better, I like you more than you like me," Abenad says with a grin, "You're the only one around here who appreciates the societal value of money."
>>650228 >>650227 >>650225 >>650223 "I'm going to my tent. I'll probably read a bit before going to sleep." With that said, Abenad goes to his tent, pulling off his shirts, cloak, and cape, settling his head on his folded shirts and using his cloak and cape as blankets, resuming reading the book on dragons.
>>650234 " Good night Abenad" he mutters, watching him retreat to his tent >>650236 "No no, I thank you once again for coming to the rescue, miss Gloria" >>650237 "Um.. By the way… Will there be a… A story tonight?"
>>650234 "Well, there's not much use for it among the residents, the whole place has gone to seed. For an outsider like myself though…" he shrugs and grins, trailing off without finishing his thought.
>>650235 "As you wish," says Clean Slate dismissively. Kivoda nods in approval. "Knowing him, he'll probably try to make off with it in the night. As long as one of us stays up on watch duty, he should get the message."
>>650233 >>650237 >>650240 You begin to set up camp near the tomb. Using some fire beads, you easily start a small campfire, and there's more than enough room for the tents to be pitched. Clean Slate does not join you around the campfire, staying inside his caravan the whole night. Kivoda takes special interest in a structure built into the ground. From a distance, it looks like some sort of disk, with a spike protruding from its center. This is presumably the sundial he mentioned before. Food is a rather dull affair, being mere loaves of bread expanded from the No-Bakes you bought from Clean Slate. The night is cloudless, and a thin crescent moon hangs over you, providing some additional illumination.
You get to sleep rather quickly, being exhausted after the day's events. The watch is uneventful, and Clean Slate leaves before daybreak without so much as a goodbye. Tourmaline reads a story to Maali from the faded blue book, this one about the Moonlight Knight Francois finding his famous sword in the depths of the earth and using it to smite a necromancer. As the sun rises, it casts a powerful orange light on the ruins. You hear no dawn chorus of birds, desolate as this part of Rin is. There are heavy clouds in the sky and a powerful wind, with lumps of grey on the horizon. Rain is coming soon. Kivoda is still asleep in his own tent, camping out near the sundial. As you begin to rise from your makeshift beds, you feel somewhat thirsty. There is no water source nearby that you know of.
>>650250 Maali feels expecially sad because of the lack of water, meaning no tea in the morning, getting him a little grumpy "Hmn… Morning everyone… I'll wake up Kivoda so we can leave already…" he says With a yawn
>>650250 When Gloria awakes she stretches out her back and wings, letting out a long yawn before standing back up on all fours again. "I'll go find us a nearby stream, whoever wants to refill any canteens just follow me." She says, taking off into the air to look around for a possibly nearby stream or waterfall.
>>650252 Seeing Galehaut already dealt with Kivoda, he joins Gloria instead "I can't believe I forgot to refill the water canteen… Ugh… Waking up without tea in the morning feels so incomplete" he says to her before watching as she flies off. He chases her
>>650252 >>650254 >>650255 >>650256 >>650258 Searching the area, you find that there was once a stream running through the forest, but it dried up long ago. You will have to go without water for the time being, although how long you will be able to do so you cannot tell.
>>650253 As you go to wake up the Cael, you get a closer look at the sundial. It has markings at each hour of the day, as is expected, but the 12:00 marking is especially emphasized. It is flanked by symbols depicting arrows, a snowflake and the sun. In the center of the sundial is a curving six-pointed star (see >>648806), with the central spike protruding from there. Kivoda stirs and blinks at the sunlight. "I'm coming, I'm coming," he grumbles. He rubs his eyes and looks around at the campsite. "You know, you really don't have to stay around and wait for me if you don't want to," he says to the party. "We can leave this place and move on to… wherever it is you're going. I'm in the dark about that. It's up to you."
>>650266 He lowers his head "Well… It would take a few days for the tree and the fruits to grow… And… The growth would be delayed… Without water… Sorry" "But I could try finding a fruit bearing tree somewhere… Maybe… But perhaps we should just move on and endure the thirst for a bit? Maybe we'll find water ahead… "
>>650261 "…Of course you were," Kivoda mumbles, nonplussed.
>>650263 "That's a bit of a tall order," he comments. "It's quite a hike from here back to that village, and I don't fancy going near that place again anytime soon."
>>650264 "Well, I'm no expert on sundials by any means, but it seems strange that there'd be so much emphasis on the 12 mark. And the glyphs around it, they seem to correlate to a rhyme related to the Sentinels. It's like a song of some sort. 'Symbols of the sun, symbols of the snow, for those who go beyond, and those who go below'. I've never known what it means, but it obviously has some bearing here." He shrugs. "To be honest, I'm just about as much in the dark as the rest of you. I don't suppose anything comes to mind for you?"
>>650267 "If that's what the rest of you wish. Like I said, I'd much prefer to stay here and try to crack this puzzle, if it is a puzzle at all. If your task is urgent, then it should take priority over this." He sits cross-legged, contemplating the sundial. "If I knew an astrologer, I'd sure have some questions for them…"
>>650271 Abenad takes a look at the sundial, now intrigued by it. He tries to turn the star, then looks over the whole thing, tapping on it, trying to turn the whole thing, turning the dial by itself, and pricking a finger on the spike to draw blood. [1d10+1]
>>650271 "Below would be, well below, which the trader already found interest in. Sun and snow both are star shapes, as is the sundial. Beyond is the only one I cannot guess."
"Could have something to do with heat I suppose, for those who live below are dead, and are cold like snow. Those who are living who wish to to go beyond must offer heat? At the very least, we know our enemies are cold blooded, pardon the pun."
>>650271 "Well… It was not extremely urgent… But I think Doom would appreciate it if we reported back soon…" >>650273 "Well… None I suppose… I just don't want to embarass myself trying to do something I barely know… This kind of spell is a bit advanced… But I'll try… " He closes his eyes and focuses, trying to sense some juicy fruit or hidden source of water '1d10' >>650275 " G-good to hear…"
>>650274 As you examine the sundial, you find that it is no mere stone slab; indeed, there is some sort of intricate mechanism built around the central star. It does not budge no matter what you do, but it is very clearly meant to turn somehow. Pricking your finger has no effect, but moving the central spike reveals it is meant to be removed, as you manage to lift it out of its indentation. Kivoda takes note of this, touching his chin in thought for a moment before trotting over to the tomb and gingerly lifting the polearm. He wiggles it into place in lieu of the spike, where it slides in with a soft click. "Aha! Now we're getting somewhere." He grins and rubs his hooves eagerly.
>>650276 "You might be onto something," he says as he returns from replacing the spike. "Maybe 'below' means an actual place, and not a metaphorical one? Perhaps this sundial is hiding something. There's so many pieces to this. The star, the sun, the noonday mark, the snow, the spike, this rotating mechanism… At least we have time before midday." >pausing
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party avoided further bloodshed by settling a dispute between the merchant Clean Slate and their companion Kivoda; the peddler had plundered a nearby tomb linked to an ancient order of knights called the Sentinels, and planned on selling the weapon for his own benefit. After convincing Clean Slate to return the weapon to its resting place and stopping to rest for the night, the group investigated a strange sundial in the ruins where they camped, supposedly linked to the aforementioned Sentinels. After some probing, they found that the sundial had some sort of rotating mechanism in place, along with the central spike (gnomon) being removable and the weapon fitting in its stead. In addition, the 12:00 marking on the sundial had engraved runes depicting snow and sun. According to Kivoda, this is a reference to an ancient rhyme linked to the Sentinels, although: "Symbols of the sun, symbols of the snow, for those who go beyond, and those who go below". Now the party are left to crack the mystery of the sundial, should they wish to investigate… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/4 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Gopal is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 >Gloria is at 6/2 >Galehaut is at 5/2 >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep, The Dreaming Spring >Old thread: >>650165
Kivoda sits on a nearby rock, slumping on his staff as he tries to think of some way to solve whatever puzzle the contraption holds. "I'm fairly lost as to how to do anything here, but I'd say we have to meet some conditions on this sundial and have it ready by midday," he says to the group. "If anyone has any ideas, please say so. We only have one shot at this, or else we'd have to wait a whole other day to try this." He drifts off into thought, touching his chin pensively. "Symbols of the sun… Symbols of the snow… Hm…"
>>650820 >>650822 "… Maybe it might be a sort of key to a passage in the tomb? It could have a spell that makes it only open at that time and it leads to something hidden deeper in that tomb?" he speaks up
"Well, it sounds to me that the symbol of the sun is for those who want to go beyond and the symbol of the snow is for those who want to go below. In other words, the two symbols represent two different locations. So, it's possible that there are two different ways to orient it to get two different results."
"As for how to orient it… I suppose we could try putting that lance into that spinning mechanism where the central spike is. But, I'm not sure what to do from there."
>>650822 "That would be my guess," Kivoda muses. "There must be something beneath us, since something must make this sundial rotate. The only question is, what? It couldn't be a tomb, since the tomb is right over there. Perhaps some sort of shrine?…"
>>650823 >>650826 >>650832 "There could very well be some link to the cardinal directions. I guess it's worth a try." With some effort, he angles the weapon to be pointing northeast instead of north. A faint click is heard as he does so, and it does not budge from this position. He grins. "Great! Looks like that did something. Not entirely sure what, though. Unless anyone else has any theories, I guess all we can do now is wait for midday."
>>650833 >>650835 He clops his hooves together "Grand! Good thinking there Abenad, it's good to know you have an intelligent mind carried by those big shoulders!" >>650838 "Oh… Do you need more help? I mean I thought I did everything I could… Miss Archie was the one with the potent magic that could heal what even I could not…"
>>650845 "I was an Ortaguen city guard before the curse. When the Alorian became unreasonable, I was drafted due to my job. If don't know what happened that day, it was a bloodbath, and not in our favor. That was the day Rin fell, and for some reason the gods did not allow me to fall with it, like my family and beloved."
"I was melancholic for a few weeks, and then the day I decided to end what the One Day War started, the gods intervened again, and brought upon me a group looking for a protector. I was a knight to them, in a city filled with looters and cursed beings, and I came to protect them."
He turns, looking to Gloria,
"Eventually, Doom's men came by the area, and agreed to take some of them in and the man said he'd return Ortague and Rin to it's former glory, so I agreed to help him. Not the man who wants to be king, but the idea of a rebuilt Rin."
He sighs, cleaning off one of his shields with a rag from his Bag of Minor Holding,
"Make sure the other generations do not have to live in this world of grief, it has taxed pony nature enough."
>>650846 "Hrmm, that's a tough life you've led, then," Abenad says from his reclining position on the ground, "I've been fortunate enough to not have to experience that, nor live in this current state of the world for very long."
>>650845 >>650846 Gloria listens to Galehaut's tale first. "You and I aren't too different, Galehaut. The Paladins of the Golden Claw saw what was happening to Rin and felt it was far more urgent than the problem that we have going on back home… We can at least contain the undead from spreading out, while Rin is ravaged by an undead curse…"
She takes a moment to sit on the ground next to the others. "A few other members of my order followed me here to assist Doom, not because we wish to see him king… But we need to end this war before we can cleanse the land of the curse and the remaining blanks."
>>650854 "I only brought what we needed, nothing past a group of five. But if you want to see them in their full glory, then you might want to take a trip to Light's Hope." She says, smiling with fond memories of her home.
>>650855 "Light's Hope is the only decent place to live in. The Plaguelands themselves looks just as you would expect from it's name. But the rest of the lands beyond it are actually quite the breathtaking sight."
>>650857 "Well, maybe not. I'd like to be a lord, at least, with some soldiers and servants. That's the thing that I want, and to do that I'll have to accumulate powers of all kind along the way- physical strength, charisma, loyalty, and money." >>650858 "I guess I'll have to get past the Plaguelands, then. I could probably set something up as a colonist."
>>650858 His ears fold back as he smiles, turning to the horizon as he imagines the sight in his mind "What a powerful name… Well, I would love to see it someday…" >>650859 "And… How many of those you think you have conquered yet?"
"You're telling me the curse SPREAD?" Timber asks, simultaneously confused, interested, and distressed. "It didn't just affect everything at once? I've been in the woods, and animals haven't been affected. So, by the time it was prevalent around the kingdom was the first time I had even witnessed its affects."
Timber shakes his head with concern. "This makes the Shells seem even more right. If the curse actually SPREADS… We should all be locked up."
He looks back up at Galehaut. "The curse doesn't care about what happened to your body. If you burnt a cursed corpse, a new body will be created from nothing. It doesn't matter how much you destroy the body. It simply cannot die."
>>650859 "Well I'm sure you can work something out with the Council, if you don't mind your lawn being constantly dead… aaand having to take the occasional pot shot at stay zombies from your 'castle tower'." She says jokingly.
>>650860 "Perhaps when we finish our duties here, you could assist us in cleansing Rin of the remaining undead. You could see Light's Hope then."
>>650861 "This is why we must find a way to get rid of this curse, then we'll cleanse the land."
>>650861 "It's still magical and not fully disease, the researchers at least discerned that much. Whether we're carriers or not, we still have a duty to find a cure. And as for the corpses of my fallen, they refused to take them with me, the cursed ones only came a week or two in after the One Day War."
>>650867 "J-j-jo-join?… Oh wow that… That is quite the offer miss Gloria… As much as I appreciate it… I know I cannot join your order if I have to leave behind the way of my tribe… And my way of life… " he hangs his head low
"I was thinking both of those things," Timber says with a nod. "And, if that's the case, ending the curse could be as easy as killing the original. Of course… the curse prevents it form dying. Thus, the immortal souls are necessary if nothing else than just to kill the original cursed individual."
>>650834 The sundial is made of solid stone. As a Diamond Dog, you probably could dig through it, but it would not be an easy task.
>>650835 >>650834 "I have to agree. Not that I don't trust your digging skills, but this mechanism is very likely to be delicate. I wouldn't risk it."
>>650835 You begin to read up on the different subraces of dragons while you wait. >The race known as lindworms are unlike any dragon you will ever encounter. Bulky and serpentine in nature, they lack eyes or wings of any sort. Instead, they burrow underground in search of prey, being able to sift through dirt and stone as if it were water. Certain glands in their mouths secrete a powerful acid to aid them in their burrowing, making their bite incredibly deadly. In addition, lindworms are incredibly resilient to pain, and virtually immune to most toxins.
>>650842 You heal Galehaut to the best of your abilities, curing his injuries and purging any remaining poison in his body. >Galehaut is at 6/6 >timeskip You wait together for midday. An hour or two passes, and Kivoda grows visibly more nervous and tense. Every now and again, he begins to pace back and forth, mumbling to himself, staying well away from the rest of you. Eventually, however, the time comes. Kivoda rushes to the sundial, waiting with bated breath for whatever happens next. As the sun reaches its zenith in the sky above, the sundial lights up with glowing white runes, first at the 12:00 mark then quickly spreading to the rest of the contraption. A soft chiming sound is heard as the central star shape begins to rotate before sinking deep into the ground. The outside of the sundial too begins to break into different pillars along the perimeter, rumbling as it effectively forms a staircase leading into the bowels. Kivoda breathes in sharply as he sees this. "By… By thunder!" he exclaims. "I don't know what I expected to happen, but it certainly wasn't this. I can't say I've ever seen anything quite like that. Can you?" He tentatively peers over the edge, but to no avail; all that can be seen is pitch blackness, with a small light source at the very bottom of the stairwell illuminating the sunken section of the sundial.
>>650879 Abenad watches with an expression of impression on his face, clapping softly. "Very nice work," he says, "I'm sure they worked hard on that." >>650880 "Wait, don't go down there, yet-" >>650871 "Galehaut, take the lead."
>>650889 "Not to worry, friend," Kivoda pipes up. "I have a lantern."
>>650880 >>650882 >>650883 >>650884 >>650886 >>650888 You walk down the nearly formed steps, Kivoda following in the rear holding a hoof-sized lantern that provides adequate light. As you reach the bottom, you find that the sundial has opened up into some sort of antechamber, decorated by torches of green flame that is presumably magical in nature. The floor of the area is formed by the star-shaped section of the sundial, and all along the walls are statues of ponies kneeling as if in worship, just like the ones you saw at the tomb above. In the center is a sort of podium with the polearm floating on top of it, while in front is an ornate stone archway with a star-shaped receptacle to its left. The way forward is barred by a heavy iron portcullis. Above the archway are several runes etched into the cold stone; none of you can read them save for Tourmaline and Kivoda, written as they are in the Cael tongue. Kivoda begins to read the inscription aloud. "Hence lies a proving ground of the Sentinels, built in the year 2 531 on behest of Tanari the Errant Sunderer. Only the worthy will survive the trials." He turns to the party. "Sounds like a gauntlet of sorts. Maybe there's a reward at the end. Shall we try?"
>>650891 "They were both mighty warriors and scholars," Kivoda explains. "They were formed to protect a great library of knowledge in Caelin - that's the capital of North Ibergal. According to legend, the library was burned down by marauders thousands of years ago, and the Sentinels were disbanded." He looks back at the inscriptions. "Seems like someone carried on their legacy."
>>650894 "Perhaps there's nothing to hide," he muses. "I imagine this place was used much more often in the Sentinels' time. Strange that no one recorded any mention of this Tanari in the annals. Perhaps we'll find out if we explore?"
>>650896 "I'd rather you didn't," Kivoda replies rather curtly. "Unless it's meant to be taken, in which case go ahead."
>>650892 >>650893 >>650897 "If you are all in assent, then let's try it. The only question is how to open this gate…" He looks at the star-shaped receptacle, then at the polearm floating quietly on the podium. "Perhaps…" He takes the polearm with some effort, inserts the pommel into the receptacle by the archway and twists firmly. With a shuddering clank, the portcullis rises to allow passageway. In the distance, you hear rattling and clattering as the proving ground comes to life. Kivoda smiles to himself. "Excellent! Let us move."
"For one who claims to have no real adventuring experience, you certainly have a large amount of knowledge and aptitude for it," Timber comments to Kivoda in a tone that sounds simultaneously congratulatory and suspicious.
>>650898 "Well, I am certain that I might not find anything that I would want… Magic weaponry, enchanted shields… I can survive without those… Perhaps you should take something too?" He says, making sure to stay close to Gopal and Galehaut
>>650902 "Did I say that?" Kivoda replies in confusion. "I must have misspoken. I've been traveling Rin for a while now, but never with a proper adventuring group. Besides, I read a lot when I can. You learn this sort of thing, you know."
>>650903 "Perhaps. We'll have to wait and see, I suppose."
>>650899 >>650900 >>650901 >>650905 As you move past the archway, the portcullis rapidly closes behind you with a crash, and you see the sundial begin to rotate back up to the surface. "No turning back now," Kivoda mutters warily. Creeping forward, you soon find yet another chamber. This one is circular and has many of the kneeling statues, but also features the six-pointed star motif that you've seen previously, the walls and floor being decorated with this insignia. In the center of the room is a large statue of a Cael mare in ornate armor, with what appears to be a scarf wrapped around her nose and mouth and draped over her shoulders. She wields the same spiked polearm that Kivoda found, rearing up on her hind legs in a rampant pose. In her other hoof she wields a large circular shield with blades along the edge. Groveling before the statue is a blank pegasus in tattered rags, mumbling to himself. "Shells… Shells… Lady Tanari, deliver us… Their wickedness… Their undoing… Shells…" Kivoda grows fearful at the sight of the blank, and skitters away from it nervously. On the right wall is yet another archway with a receptacle for the polearm. Above them are more Cael runes, which Kivoda reads out loud for you: "'Trial of the Body.' Sounds like the first of many." Strewn near it are old bones, presumably of a poor soul that could not complete the trial. At the very far end of the room is a large stone door embossed with a six-pointed star. It has a receptacle for a small spherical object, in lieu of a star-shaped one for the weapon. Kivoda looks around the room in contemplation. "Where to from here, comrades? Adventure awaits!"
>>650906 "Ugggh," Abenad moans, "What's the point of doing anything when anywhere we go we get associated with the biggest assholes in the world?" He whistles at the blank, "Hey, we're not with the Shells, we're with… Doom." >>650905 >>650900 "You know, it just occurred to me, do you think it strange working for a lord whose name is the word for 'condemnation to death?'"
"Well," Timber muses to Kivoda. "You have the polearm already," he says as he gestures toward the statue. "And, that seems to fit into the door to the Trial of the Body. So, we need to find that shield. That seems to be what fits into the other door. With any luck, the trial of the body holds the shield. So, I suggest we go there, first. Go ahead and put the polearm in there."
Timber walks up to the blank. "Do you understand me?" he asks. "What do you know about the Shells?"
>>650907 "Most likely. I can't imagine what else it would be." He shrugs.
>>650908 The blank just ignores you, repeating the same words as if in a mantra. "Shells… Shells… Lady Tanari, deliver us… Their wickedness… Their undoing…" "I don't think he's talking about us," Kivoda comments, looking at the blank uneasily. "I don't think he even knows we're here."
>>650909 "I'd say he's too far gone," says Kivoda. "We won't get much out of him."
>>650911 He nods and opens the archway, the portcullis heaving open with a cacophonous rattle. "Whenever you're ready."
>>650912 The blank just keeps repeating the same words. "I don't think a shield would fit in there," says Kivoda. "The receptacle is much too small. But perhaps you're right. We'll just have to wait and see, I suppose."
>>650915 >>650917 >>650918 >>650920 >>650921 Passing through the archway, you find yourselves overlooking an enormous stone chamber. There are seemingly two levels to this chamber, each one consisting primarily of a stone bridge leading over a black pit. Each bridge leads to a stairwell leading up to the level above. The bridge ahead of you is host to a multitude of tremendous crescent-shaped axes that swing across it rhythmically, sure to cleave an unwitting adventurer in twain. To your right is a statue depicting a kneeling pony; however, unlike the others that are knelt in prayer, this one's hooves are outstretched as if in supplication. Behind you, the portcullis rattles shut. "I think we might have made a mistake coming here," Kivoda mutters. "Too late to turn back now, though." >pausing
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party deduced the riddle of the sundial; at midday, the contraption became a circular staircase leading to what appears to be a proving ground built by a branch member of the Sentinels of Ibergal named Tanari. While exploring, they came across a blank seemingly revering a statue of the Sentinel, asking for her aid in destroying the Shells of Light. The statue depicts two weapons that seem to have replicas that act as keys hidden in the dungeon: a long warpick-like polearm (currently held by Kivoda) and a large serrated circular shield. Now the party have ventured forth to face the first challenge of the gauntlet: the Trial of the Body… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 >Timber Hoof is at 6/6 >Gopal is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 >Gloria is at 6/5 >Galehaut is at 6/6 >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep, The Dreaming Spring >Old thread: >>650820
You stand in an enormous stone chamber with two levels, each one consisting primarily of a stone bridge leading over a black pit. Each bridge leads to a stairwell leading up to the level above. The bridge ahead of you is host to a multitude of tremendous crescent-shaped axes that swing across it rhythmically, sure to cleave an unwitting adventurer in twain. To your right is a statue depicting a kneeling pony; however, unlike the others that are knelt in prayer, this one's hooves are outstretched as if in supplication. Behind you, the portcullis rattles shut. "I think we might have made a mistake coming here," Kivoda muses. "Too late to turn back now, though."
>>651313 "Really? Really? I never had to come with the two people that the guy-who-named-himself-Doom assigned to the group and who sidetracked our assignment for his ill-conceived conquest of Rin then had us wait several days exploring the wastes for this temple and some random nobody spellflinger? But rather than take the safe way around this gauntlet and come back and deal with it on regular terms when we're not doing this pretender's errands, let's just risk our unlives anyway."
>>651310 Maali, as usual, is the last one that tries to cross the trial ''I-I'll be right there, in a moment…'' He says before hopping through the axes quickly, praying his small size would be an advantage here '1d10'
>>651315 >>651319 You mistime your dashes and are grievously injured by the blades. You are almost knocked off the bridge as well, but manage to haul yourselves up. >Tourmaline and Maali take 5 hits
Kivoda is almost swept off his hooves and into the abyss below, but still manages to pass with only a close graze. He rapidly dashes over to join your group, breathing heavily from the exertion. "I'm alright," he breathes, leaning against a wall for a moment to catch his breath. "Shall… Shall we continue? Not like we have much of a choice…" He looks at Tourmaline and Maali's wounds, rummaging through his satchel for a moment before passing you two small jars containing some sort of dull green salve, seemingly made of medicinal herbs. "Here, patch yourselves up." In this area, you can see a stairwell leading to the upper bridge. The walls are decorated with six-pointed stars, except for the one opposite the stairwell, which is blank.
>>651320 Maali raises his hoof and shake his head, though with a bit of pain from his injuries ''T-that won't be needed mister Kivoda…but thank you…'' He says before he turns to Tourmaline and begins to heal her as they walk >taking 6 to heal, assumin gI can take 6 now
>>651320 Abenad pulls out his unbreakable wooden sword, then starts pushing down on the stairs with it, pressing the first five before starting to walk upwards, pressing the fifth one ahead of each one he stepped up onto.
>>651321 >>651323 "…Right. Well, they're there if you need them. I've got plenty of these in case of emergencies." Maali channels his healing energies to close Tourmaline's wounds. >Tourmaline is at 7/5
>>651322 You head up the stairs doing as you do. It doesn't seem to have much effect.
>>651324 You lead the way up the stairs, shielding your companion from harm.
Moving up the stairwell, you find yourselves standing at the second of two bridges. This one is noticeably thinner and bears no swinging pendulums, but instead boasts a dozen statues of ponies wielding longbows at the far side. As you draw near, the statues begin to come to life, conjuring magical arrows and firing them at the party in perfect synchronisation. [1d10] Abenad, prot. Galehaut [1d10] Galehaut [1d10] Gloria [1d10] Maali [1d10] Tourmaline
Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 3 = 3 / Roll #3 6 = 6 / Roll #4 10 = 10 / Roll #5 1 = 1
>>651328 Maali sees the arrow coming straight for his head and freezes, his mind shouting at him to dick but his body froze out of fear >>651329 Until he sees Gloria coming at his rescue, he shakes his head and jumps ahead, not wasting the time she got him as he runs '1d10'
>>651329 You manage to stop the worst of the volley, but not all of it. You take an arrow to the left arm in your valiant effort. >Gloria takes 2 hits
>>651330 You expertly dodge the incoming barrage of arrows, weaving through them with ease until you reach the other side without so much as a scratch.
>>651331 >>651332 You make it to the other end in one piece. You almost get shot more than once, but Galehaut's shields protect you.
>>651333 >>651335 Your shields protect you from the archers, but one arrow grazes your cheek and leaves a painful wound. In time, it will make for a large scar. >Galehaut takes 3 hits
>>651334 Your size and agility allows you to quickly cross the bridge, but you are injured in the shoulder by one of the arrows. >Maali takes 1 hit
You manage to survive the volley of arrows. Kivoda yelps in fear, shutting his eyes tight and running over as fast as his legs can carry him. He takes an arrow to the shoulder and winces at the pain, slumping against the wall and averting his eyes from the ugly wound. He pulls out one of the salve jars from his satchel and begins to treat the wound with ointment. It seems to numb the pain for him. Here, you see an old steel ladder leading to a trapdoor. What lies in the room above is unknown for now. The statues cease their assault as soon as you pass over to the other side, remaining as inert as before.
>>651339 >>651337 "These trials are awful! How are they even working after all these years?" he says while rubbing his shoulder "I'll be fine, but these trials are starting to slowly wear us down… I just hope we get to the end soon. I don't know if I can keep healing forever, and mister Kivoda only have so many salves…" >>651341 "Oh yes, and speaking of which, miss Gloria that was so amazing! You must have incredible reflexes to shatter an arrow mid-air like that!" he says excitedly while healing her >taking 6 again
>>651343 "God's sake we have two healers right the fuck here not to mention Kivoda's stack of healing potions, do you really think I'm going to let him just bleed to death? You choose now of all times to go off on a wild bitchfit about my treatment of injuries after not saying more than two words to me–
"And for goodness sake what the fuck is this 'man' word you keep bringing up?"
>>651339 He nods. "I'll… I'll be alright. For now."
>>651341 As you pull out the arrow, it glows blue and turns to ash in your claw.
>>651342 He yelps in surprise as you pull it out. It glows bright blue and disintegrates as you do so. "Thank you," he says with an appreciative nod.
>>651343 "And thank you too, sir." He smiles as you patch the wound, getting back up on his own. "I think I can walk it off."
>>651344 You heal Gloria with your magic again. >Gloria is at 6/5
>>651346 Kivoda blinks in surprise. "You've never heard it before? It's what other races use to describe sentient beings in general. Specifically male ones. Not really common in equine vernacular."
>>651340 >assuming everyone else is following Ascending the ladder, you arrive at what is presumably the final challenge of the Trial of the Body. It is a circular chamber with the six pointed star symbol of the Sentinels decorating the floor. Lining the walls are ten statues of ponies in armor, five a side, wielding long, thin greatswords. At the far end is a statue with its hooves out in supplication, much like the one you saw at the beginning. It holds a large, round shield with blades around its perimeter, identical to the one the Sentinel statue wielded save for a circular protrusion in the center. It looks like it fits the receptacle for the locked door in the starting chamber. "Careful," Kivoda warns as he looks at the statue. "This seems almost too easy. It's almost certain to be a trap."
>>651348 "it is no trap… It's just part of the trial, I'm sure that as soon as the shield is removed, the ten statues will come to life and attack… Even I can see that… We should prepare ourselves for the incoming battle…" he says as he heals himself >taking more 6
>>651348 Abenad walks over to the statue with the shield, then pulls out his fifteen foot length of rope and ties it around the shield.
>>651353 >>651352 >>651350 >>651349 "Alright, everything, I'm going to walk back with this rope in my hand, and then yank on this shield. I'm pretty sure there's a trap that'll go off, so when it does, I'll bolt down the hole and tow the shield down with me. But I need all of you to go back down, first, so I'll have room to move, okay?"
>>651355 "Yes, I think it's a good idea. These statues will probably either come to life or move forward slashing at whoever's in herrrre," he says, looking at Gloria, "But maybe they'll just move forward on a track…" Abenad looks down at the floor to see if there are any tracks or lines for the statues to move forward on on the ground. [1d10+1]
>>651354 He nods "that is a clever idea… But are you certain that we should cheat the trial like this? It might make things much worse… I remember my master hated it when I tried to outsmart her in training…"
>>651360 "Mm, nope, probably something with a rudimentary intelligence, like that knight at Where-Waters-Meet and those archer statues." >>651359 "Looks like I'll be taking it, but thanks anyway." >>651358 "That's the kind of thing that makes you dumb, don't feel like you're wrong for outsmarting someone."
"Alright, everyone down, I'll yank it out and we'll see what happens. Maali, prepare a healing spell in case I get hurt. You too, Kivoda, get something whipped up."
Once everyone is BACK DOWN THE TRAPDOOR, Abenad walks as far as he can, drawing the rope taut, then yanking on it to pull the shield out and get into the hole before whatever goes off does. [1d10]that agility roll
>>651361 Kivoda nods and reaches for his salves. "Whenever you're ready."
>>651366 As you pull it down, the trapdoor begins to close. Instead of coming to life as you'd expect, the statues' mouths begin to open and a sickly green mist begins to pour into the room. Kivoda makes a beeline for the trapdoor, and you along with everyone else make it to relative safety. The trapdoor closes with a resonant thud. "Good thing we listened to you," Kivoda says with a relieved smile, "else we'd be stuck in that deathtrap." He pokes his head outside to check the archers. "Looks like everything else is disabled," he comments as he looks down at the swinging axes, now inert. "Let's get going, shall we?"
>>651375 "Unless you're a goat," Kivoda adds as the party venture back.
>>651368 >>651369 >>651370 >>651372 You return to the main chamber without further interruptions. As you approach the portcullis, it opens of its own will, allowing you entry. As you return to the main hall, you see the blank pony still groveling before the Sentinel statue. It has abandoned its former mantra in favor of a different one. "Atone, atone, they must atone… The southern sinners will face the ancient wrath… No mercy for the fiends…" Cautiously sidestepping the madman, Kivoda looks at the sealed door, pointing out the circular receptacle. "This looks like it would fit the bump on the shield there, Mr Abenad. You should try it."
>>651381 He is in no state to respond coherently, continuing to repeat the words while making no effort to acknowledge your presence. It's as if he doesn't know you're there.
>>651380 Nothing happens. Kivoda purses his lips in disappointment. "Maybe if we turn it…" He walks up to it and turns it clockwise like a valve. With a click, the stone doors yawn open, with Cael runes flashing blue. Tourmaline can read this, and Kivoda does it out loud as the doors open, revealing a very small passageway leading to a dead end, with what appears to be a series of steel bars on it forming the number 3. "'Trial of the Mind'. Oh boy, here we go." >pausing
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party completed the first section of the ancient Sentinel proving ground, the Trial of the Body. Facing such challenges as swinging axes, archer battalions, and poisonous statues, the party retrieved a replica of an ancient shield which served as a key to the next section of the proving ground. Now they face another set of challenges, known as the Trial of the Mind… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 >Timber Hoof is at 6/6 >Gopal is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 >Gloria is at 6/5 >Galehaut is at 6/6 >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep, The Dreaming Spring >Old thread: >>651310
You stand before a very small passageway leading to a dead end, with an arrangement of dull steel bars attached to it forming the number 3. Kivoda frowns. "So what's the catch?" he muses out loud.
You find that they can be rearranged at will, but as soon as you let go of them they quickly move back to their starting position, presumably through some sort of enchantment.
>>652868 >>652869 "I was hoping we wouldn't have to sit through this either," Kivoda gripes. "I'm sure we'll find a solution if we're patient, though."
>>652871 "Probably not. You're welcome to try, though."
>>652874 >>652875 As you form the shape of a door, a faint blue outline appears on the dead end, revealing a hidden door. There doesn't seem to be a way to open it, however.
Suddenly, you hear a mechanical grinding from all around you. Looking about, you can see that the ceiling is rapidly descending on you, intent on crushing you against the floor. Kivoda yelps and begins to gallop back to the entrance, but the door rattles shut before you can make an escape. He begins to curse profusely in Cael as he dashes about trying to find another exit, to no apparent effect. The bars begin to rearrange with a faint whirring sound, forming the number 2. The outline of the door remains.
>>652876 >>652875 Abenad looks up at the ceiling with a grimace, getting down on his front to look at the outline of the door. "That was some clever thinking, hopefully you can be clever enough to keep us from getting killed in a deathtrap!"
>>652879 "Brace it with something!" Kivoda shouts in panic. He looks around wildly before using his staff to do so, but it quickly begins to buckle under the weight of the ceiling.
>>652877 As you do so, the ceiling stops in its tracks, slowly beginning to rise back to its starting position. The steel bars clatter to the floor. With the harsh dragging and scraping of stone on stone, the illusory door opens to grant entry to the next area. Kivoda seems to freeze in place for a moment, then exhales in relief. "That was a close one. Good thinking," he breathes, taking a moment to gather his thoughts. "Let's get moving, shall we?"
>>652884 Abenad gets up to his hooves, walking with the rest of the group to the next room. >>652885 Abenad pats Tourmaline on the head. "Thanks, that's some good thinking there. You're a lot better at quick stuff than I am."
>>652885 >>652886 >>652887 >>652888 >>652889 You pass through a small stone tunnel before reaching the next area. Before you lies an unnaturally dark room. The glow from Gopal's axe fades away and Kivoda's lantern is quickly snuffed out by some magical trickery, effectively making it impossible to see the area properly. However, even in the darkness you can see what appear to be a group of armed figures of different shapes and sizes waiting for you at the far end. They appear incredibly tall and spindly, unnatural in their physique. The finer details of their nature are unclear, due to the room's darkness. Kivoda grumbles as he fumbles with his lantern in the dark, evidently not noticing the shadowy figures. "I can barely see my hooves!"
>>652892 >>652894 As you begin to move forward, you see one of the spindly figures do so as well.
>>652895 Noticing how they mimic your actions, you come to a rational conclusion about their nature. Kivoda seems to do the same. "It's a concave mirror," he muses out loud, moving closer and waving his hoof around to prove his point. "Clever, but I don't see the point in it. What are we meant to do here?"
>>652901 Your strangely distorted reflection does the same. "They're quite common at carnivals," Kivoda says. "Can't think of any practical use for one myself."
>>652900 It would be impossible to see at first glance, but a thorough inspection of the mirror shows what looks like a small wooden lever on the wall to your left. No such lever is visible on your side of the mirror, however.
>>652902 "That sounds a bit strange," Kivoda says as he keeps trying to light his lantern in the dark. "There probably is something hidden in the mirror, but I can't see anything myself."
>>652903 >>652904 Galehaut soon finds that there is a lever on the wall after all, made invisible by a spell of some sort. The mirror ripples and melts away, dissolving into nothing. Beyond is a large hexagonal stone chamber with the ubiquitous six pointed star motif as well as the kneeling pony statues, with the far end of the room sporting large Cael runes which Tourmaline reads as translating to "Trial of Steel". The chamber is lit by an incredibly tall ceiling, opening up to the sun far above. In the middle of the room is a hulking, monstrous figure slumped over in slumber. Its powerful, leathery body is covered in thick bristles, and the monster's snout is tremendously long and crocodilian. It is fettered by manacles on its arms and legs attached to the walls, and next to it lies a gigantic weapon resembling a butcher's knife. Surrounding the creature are the mutilated corpses of 5 ponies in Shell of Light uniforms. Kivoda cowers at the sight of the beast, scuttling to the back of the group and gripping his staff tightly. "I have a bad feeling about this…"
>>652914 "Maybe the treasure was here all along." She says jokingly, poking her talon against Tourmaline's chest where her heart is. "Besides, I don't exactly like the idea of being a carriage for a party of six."
>>652914 "I'd wager there's another door somewhere around here that we can open once this thing's been defeated. Either we leave now or we take our chances with whatever this thing is. Personally I wouldn't risk it." He shrugs.
The creature begins to stir slightly, one squamous eyelid twitching and exhaling loudly in its sleep.
>>652920 Keeping as quiet as you can, you tiptoe past the monster and start trying to find a door. You quickly find a large crack in the wall, roughly the same size as the blade by the creature's side. Presumably the weapon is meant to act as a makeshift key, like the replicas Kivoda and Abenad found.
Kivoda pales as he sees the monster start to wake up, shifting in its sleep slightly.
>>652923 "Seriously, it's waking up now?" Tourmaline gripes. She grabs the weapon and takes it away from the creature, NOT because of any unavoidable meta-knowledge but because disarming it before it can attack is simply a good idea.
With a low growl, the monster awakens, slowly pulling itself up to its full height. It is massive, dwarfing even Abenad in height. Kivoda quakes as it flexes its powerful claws and looks at the party, letting out a bloodthirsty snarl. >BOSS FIGHT: Guillotine Demon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSbjIFx4Hxg
>>652936 She smashes into its other leg to break it. >Slam [1d10+2] >Technically the description of Impale makes this and all other attacks this turn Automatic. However, since I'm saying I want to break it, i figure I should roll anyway.
>>652936 ''I had a feeling something like this would happen…'' the deer mutters to himself as he went to circle the scaly monster, hoping it would be far too distracted with the others to notice him. He goes around it and bashes the back of it's leg with his body and antlers, aiming right at the back of the knee '1d10' earthen strike '1d10' antlers
>>652941 The creature grabs you by the rear leg as you do so, throwing you at one of the equine statues with enough force to shatter the ancient relic into rubble. >Galehaut takes 7 hits, helpless at 0/3
>>652942 You deal a heavy blow to the demon. It spins around and lets out a low snarl.
Lumbering over to its fallen weapon, it picks it up and swings it with terrible force at Maali and the fallen Galehaut. [1d10+1] Cleave
>>652943 >>652941 Seeing the slow, but devastating attack coming to him and Galehaut, Maali jumps and runs towards Galehaut and with all of his strenght, Pushes Galehaut out of the way of the swing of the monster '1d10'
Recovering from the shot to the chest, it fumbles to pull the bolt out. With its bloodstained left claw, it runs it across the surface of its gigantic cleaver. The weapon seems to absorb the blood, glowing red slightly. Facing the party again, it lets out another bellow of rage and agony as it beats its chest. >pausing