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  #1  
Unread 17th of February, 2008, 15:18
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Jiangu!, Chapter 6, Scene 4: Beneath The Palace

Jiangu!, Chapter 6, Scene 4: Beneath The Palace

The heroes creep down the broad stairs into the dungeon. The corridors are more narrow than the spacious galleries of the palace above, and the sound echoes eerily. They may have expected the dungeon to be at least as dark as the palace above, but in fact it is lit by enchanted torches spaced periodically throughout. The torche sconces are far apart, leaving most of the area in dark shadows, but it is enough to get by.

The dungeon is uninhabited by any living thing. Some cells in the dungeon are filled with the decomposing corpses of those slain by the spirits on the first night of the haunting. Others have corpses that are shrunken and died more recently- apparently of starvation. Other cells have open doors, indicating that those prisoners were freed after the haunting.

Kierna can see many footprints in the dust, indicating a frequently-used path through the dungeon levels. The group they are following apparently does not have a tracker, because Kierna can see where they took wrong turns and departed the more common route, only to backtrack and rejoin it.

The heroes continue to advance very slowly for the sake of caution, concentrating on stealth and vigilance. The group they are following by contrast appears to have favored speed. Their tracks indicate they were jogging through the dungeon.

After finding their way through both levels of the dungeon, the heroes come to the staircase that leads down into the crypt. A doorway from the lower dungeon level opens onto the crypt stairwell. The stairwell descends and also ascends, passing through the upper dungeon level and apparently providing access directly to the crypt from a higher level.

The prints they are following indicate that the group of 6 slowed down at this point, and stopped jogging to move forward cautiously as they descended the steps into the crypt.

Last edited by crueldespot; 18th of February, 2008 at 18:34.
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Unread 18th of February, 2008, 02:08
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Another difference...

Taking out two bags of caltrops, Fugen spreads them on the last few stairs above the door in front of them, creating a basic obstacle for anyone descending from above. That done, he nods to Kierna and Nimdor to lead the way downwards.
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Unread 18th of February, 2008, 19:28
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4:1 The Crypt

Jiangu!, Chapter 6, Scene 4:1 The Crypt

The stairs down to the crypt are large and not steep. The stairwell is square, with a landing at each corner and a flight of stairs on each side, descending around an open space in the middle. This is the route by which members of the Imperial family would descend to commune with their ancestors. The shrouded bodies of deceased emperors would be lowered down the open space in the middle of the stairwell down to the crypt. The heroes are aware that they are descending steps that have been trod by every emperor.

They descend the stairwell to the bottom, ten meters below. At the base of the stairwell there is a large and impressive doorway. The door itself is solid bronze, surrounded by a wide frame of stone. The door and frame are covered with ancient runes and heiroglyphs. The door also features a large locking bolt, requiring a key to open. However, the door has already been opened and braced with a wedge to keep it from closing. It is easy to see from scratches on the keyhole that it was picked.

The crypt within is also lit by magical torches. The passageways nearest the entrance are bare, that space being reserved for the tombs of future emperors. There is a central passage with branches to the right at regular intervals. The central passage curves around counter-clockwise, sloping downward. As they follow it, they descend as the passage gradually curves around below itself. The passage allows them to see far ahead to the point where it curves out of sight, but they are vigilant for the possibility of being ambushed from one of the branching passages.

Each of the branching passages leads to the tomb of several emperors. Each tomb has a uniquely carved door, and carvings, paintings, or frescoes on the wall that commemorate the reign of the occupant. There is no lock on the doors of the tombs. The doors were closed and sealed permanently once their occupants were interred.

As the passage continues to spiral downward, the heroes descend past the tombs of earlier and earlier emperors, and can see differences in the styles of the tomb decorations. After the third time that the passage has curved around under itself, those with knowledge of history can determine that they are nearing the bottom, because they are passing the tombs of the most ancient and legendary emperors.

Ahead they see a large mass on the floor of the passage. At the same time, they detect a strange and foul odor. As they approach the man-sized lump on the floor, they see it is a demonic corpse and it is the source of the stench. Termix is able to determine that this must be the babau demon they were told haunted the crypt.

The demon's body is riddled with arrows. It appears that it was dispatched with missile weapons and spells. Nearby they find two discarded wands and two discarded scrolls. The runes on one wand are familiar: it is clearly a wand of healing. The other is not familiar. Termix studies the scrolls and determines that both held blade barrier spells, now expended. This also explains the rings of scratches and scrapes along the walls, floor, and ceiling near the demon's body. There is one such ring on either side of the demon. It appears that the demon slayers trapped the demon between two blade barriers and shot it to death. On the other side of one ring of scratches, there is quite a lot of blood and signs of a scuffle. A hand to hand battle took place here as well, but the victim is not in evidence.
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Unread 19th of February, 2008, 03:34
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Well prepared, and probably in posession of detailed knowledge of what to expect, much like us.

His curiosity finally getting the better of his desire for stealth, Fugen suggests that the party increase their pace a bit. With the magical torches lighting the way, they need not use the lantern and thus give away their position. Moving quicker might allow them to catch a glimpse of this strange party at the next barrier, the glyph that guarded the way from the crypt to the chambers beneath.
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Unread 19th of February, 2008, 09:07
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"Sorry Fugen, it also makes it more likely that they will notice us. And based upon what we've seen, if they aren't friendly, I don't want to be noticed by them. We should take the safer route."
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Unread 19th of February, 2008, 10:32
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Takeshi's concern grows as he sees the disrespect shown to the remains of the deceased Emperors.

"I've got a funny feeling about this. The spirits seem to be warning me, and I am growing quite concerned for the Emperor's wellfare should this other group find him before us. I think the time for stealth is passed, we must make haste!"

As Fugen puts away the lantern, Takesi urges Daisuke forward.
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Unread 19th of February, 2008, 11:18
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4:2 Beyond the Crypt

Jiangu!, Chapter 6, Scene 4:2 Beyond the Crypt

As they continue around the spiraling crypt passage, they find that the lower passage is not as even or symetrical as that above, owing perhaps to the less sophisticated engineering of the early empire. Eventually the passage opens into a large natural cavern. In the middle of the cavern is erected a stone crypt. It is relatively small and simple, but the heroes are nevertheless awestruck to realize that this must be the resting place of the first emperor.

The cavern has a number of smaller nooks and crannies. Beyond the crypt, one corner narrows into a tunnel, and it is in this direction that the tracks lead. The tunnel is about 3 meters in diameter at the narrowest, widening in some areas. It continues for about a hundred feet before terminating in a door. The door has recently been carefully opened. Nimdor can see that the lock was picked, and the trigger for a trap was carefully dismantled. It would have released a block of stone above to crush anyone in the passage, but now it is harmless. Deep scratches have been carved above the door. Examination reveals that a magical glyph was obscured by the scratches and rendered harmless. All of this work is fresh.

Beyond the door there is a great seal of mortar. The barrier has been broken through, however- and not recently. It seems that someone broke through with hammer and pick, though the dust has since settled and people have entered and exited numerous times after this was done. The tracks continue through the breach.

There were everburning torches around the first emperor's tomb, but down the tunnel there were no sources of light, and beyond the breach there is no light other than what the heroes bring with them.

With the light provided by Fugen's lantern, they proceed through the tunnel beyond the breach. It is rough, with an uneven floor and many jagged rocks. They reach a point where it abruptly descends with a steep slope.

Nimdor and Kierna reach the precipice and look down into the darkness. They cannot see to descend until Fugen catches up and shines his lantern down the slope. Before he has reached them, Kierna hears something. Down below in the darkness, she hears faint breathing and the grinding of dirt, as if someone were moving their foot. She realizes that more than one creature is lying in wait down below, and that she and Nimdor are highlighted by the lantern behind them.




OOC
6,4:2 (1d20=15, 1d20=18, 1d20=3, 1d20=9, 1d20=16, 1d20=5, 1d20=5, 1d20=14, 1d20=20, 1d20=3, 1d20=6, 1d20=14, 1d20=6, 1d20=3, 1d20=16, 1d20=2, 1d20=7, 1d20=16, 1d20=7, 1d20=8, 1d20=18, 1d20=13, 1d20=17, 1d20=12, 1d20=12, 1d20=3, 1d20=12, 1d20=7, 1d20=17, 1d20=19)
Move silenty rolls: 15,18,3,9,16,5. Defenders get +4 mod for not moving. Nimdor rolls 5+mods and Kierna gets 14+mods inc distance
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Unread 19th of February, 2008, 14:46
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Nimdor leaps back to get out of the way of possible harm, as quickly as possible.

Dammit! Why do I keep getting myself into these messes? I'm no warrior. I should be back home, helping my old thieving buddies rob a noble blind or something....
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Unread 19th of February, 2008, 16:14
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Flarrgj is unimpressed by his surroundings. Without the cultural significance, it's just another old, ornate building. This group though, this fascinates him. They are doing all their work for them. Perhaps they should simply let them continue on, and take care of all the challenges? Flarrgj is about to suggest as much when Nimdor leaps back violently.
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Unread 19th of February, 2008, 19:39
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Jiangu!, Chapter 6, Scene 4:3 Hail! Henchmen of Golock

Jiangu!, Chapter 6, Scene 4:3 Hail! Henchmen of Golock

Kierna leaps back from the precipice, and Nimdor follows her lead. The other henchmen see the two scouts retreat from the precipice.

From the darkness down below comes a whisper "Hail, henchmen of Golock!"

The beam of a bullseye lantern is uncovered to shine up the slope from below.

"We had to be careful until we knew it was you. Come up here so we can talk, but keep quiet! The lamias and guards are just ahead."
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Unread 20th of February, 2008, 07:58
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Not sure about this development, Fugen shuts the shutter on his lantern and nudges Gizerak.

"Then I'm afraid you have us at a disadvantage," Gizerak whispers back, "You know who we are, but we don't know who you are. Though from the looks of your trail you've been quite busy."
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Unread 20th of February, 2008, 10:24
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4:4 Relatives and Followers of the General

Jiangu!, Chapter 6, Scene 4:4 Relatives and Followers of the General

"I am Major Ling Dao Ren of the 3rd Imperial Regiment, loyal to General Cuanwei Biaoxiong. Our group consists of clan members and other followers of the General, the loyal Uncle of the Emperor. We are here to secure the Emperor’s freedom. We timed our mission to coincide with yours."

"To be straightforward, we owe you revenge for the murder of our friends and relatives, Captain Renge and the bard Canzan. However, we will defer this debt to some future time. Since you have the blessing of the Five Martyrs, we believe that you are sincere in your purpose to serve the emperor, and so we are willing to make common cause with you for now. Once the Emperor is free, we will arrange to settle our past disagreement wth you."

Last edited by crueldespot; 20th of February, 2008 at 10:37.
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Unread 20th of February, 2008, 10:33
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As Takeshi hears Ling Dao Ren's words, alarm bells ring out in his mind. He hears the words of his chipmunk spirit guide again as if they are being spoken at the moment.

"New events are altering the course of fate. You must not delay. Distrust the others that say they intend to save the emperor."


He quietly speaks up, ensuring that each of Golock's henchmen can hear him, but keeping his voice low so as not to be heard by the other group.

"I gather that you have had a run in with these men before. At all costs, we cannot trust them. Just today my totem spirit warned me that we would find a group of men who would claim to be trying to save the emperor before turning traitor. It may be useful to pretend to be decieved, but even as we turn an eye toward saving the Emperor, may his name ever be praised, we must keep our other eye on them."
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Unread 20th of February, 2008, 11:40
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God dammit, they were telling the truth! They would have had to force the issue. I hate my luck sometimes. Oh well, time to make my own.

Nimdor sighs, and then heads down to talk with them.

"Well, I guess we should introduce ourselves then. I am Lanrel Foust, this is Kierna, Fugen, Takeshi, Termix, Gizerak, and Flarrgj."
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Unread 20th of February, 2008, 13:03
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Flarrgj stays towards the rear of the group, hand on his sword distrustfully. He is ready to trust these persons, but he trust his companions more, and if they say to be suspicious, then he shall be. That they are obviously powerful and have a grudge against him and his companions only makes caution all the more prudent.
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Unread 21st of February, 2008, 06:58
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"A regrettable incident," Gizerak replies, "but one which we did not provoke. In any event, that matter can wait. I would, however, know how you knew we were going to be here in the palace now? While we have not tried to keep our plans secret, I was under the impression that the General and his followers were in the south, near FanRong."


Meanwhile, Fugen carefully reopens the shutter on his lantern and shines it over the group before them so that they can get a good look at them.

Bloodline faction. The wish to see the emperor free, but I wonder as to their planned methods for this. Killing the Emperor who is trapped below would open the throne for their general, and thus "secure the Emperor's freedom" in a manner of speaking. We must be careful here...
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Unread 21st of February, 2008, 12:37
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4:5 All The Glory

Jiangu!, Chapter 6, Scene 4:5 All The Glory

Nimdor descends the slope to mingle with the other group. In the light from the lantern, he sees a knight in heavy armor, who was the one doing the talking. There is also an older man in scholarly robes, an archer, a priest of Orthodox Pantheonist Church (a conservative sect popular in the lower valley that includes Fan Rong), and two monks of the Serpent School. Nimdor recognizes Brother Cobra, who escaped from them after the battle in which Renge was killed.

The knight whispers up to Gizerak. "We heard about your blessing from the Five Martyrs. That taught us that a spell of protecting against evil would ward off the haunting spirits. When we heard about your mission from friends in Ichiba, we knew we must act quickly to free the emperor, so the bureaucratic faction does not get all the glory."




OOC
Jiangu 6,4:5 (1d20=7, 1d20=7, 1d20=3, 1d20=6, 1d20=8, 1d20=19, 1d20=14, 1d20=1, 1d20=8, 1d20=20, 1d20=5, 1d20=18, 1d20=20, 1d20=10, 1d20=16, 1d20=16, 1d20=7, 1d20=1, 1d20=20, 1d20=5, 1d20=9, 1d20=9, 1d20=7, 1d20=3, 1d20=10, 1d20=2, 1d20=20, 1d20=4, 1d20=2, 1d20=19)

Knight CR 6, Scholar CR 7, Priest CR 5, Archer CR 5, Brother Cobra CR 5, Other monk CR 3

Last edited by crueldespot; 21st of February, 2008 at 12:43.
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Unread 23rd of February, 2008, 04:34
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There is no glory here. Only duty.

Not really satisfied with their answers, Fugen isn't willing to make a scene of it given the current conditions.

Gizerak, however, decides to press one more question, "You've come well prepared from what we've seen. How did you know what to expect here in the palace and what do you have prepared for the lamias?"
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Unread 23rd of February, 2008, 13:31
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Major Ling Dao Ren whispers his simple answer: "Our network of spies told us about the defenses. They do not reveal their sources. For the lamias, we have no trick. We will strike them fast and hard. Are you with us?"
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Unread 25th of February, 2008, 04:50
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Flarrgj looks to the others and shrugs, indicating the question, 'what choice do we have?'
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Unread 25th of February, 2008, 05:44
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"Very well then."
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Unread 26th of February, 2008, 01:51
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"I see nothing wrong with using them as they intend to use us. Let us cooperate while we stand to gain from doing so, but let us not blindly trust them."
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Unread 27th of February, 2008, 07:09
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Do we really have any choice given the circumstances?

Nodding his reluctant agreement, Fugen takes out and drinks another of his potions of mage armor to prepare for the task ahead.

Gizerak and Kierna draw their respective weapons, and Gizerak says to the other party, "Lead on."
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Unread 28th of February, 2008, 12:21
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4:6 The Pit

Jiangu!, Chapter 6, Scene 4:6 The Pit

Their new uncertain allies lead the group down through the passage. They keep a close eye on the heroes behind them, to such a degree that they are almost walking backwards. Nimdor, up ahead among them, sees a faint light ahead. Major Ling Dao Ren signals for all lights to be extinguished. In the darkness they creep ahead.

The passage opens into a large cavern. The outer edges are rough, but a large oval-shaped area is smooth. In the center is a broad pit, surrounded by several poles, each holding a torch. The three lamias, wicked looking creatures like feline centaurs, lie around the pit. The pit is too deep for them to see the bottom from this angle.

As soon as they reach the entrance to the cavern, the Cuanwei faction group launches into battle. Major Ling Dao Ren charges the nearest lamia with a battle cry. He strikes it and draws blood. The priest runs south towards another lamia. The archer makes a left turn and moves off clockwise around the room. the man in scholarly robes begins casting a spell. Brother Cobra and the other monk spread out on either side of the entrance and prepare to fire their crossbows.




OOC
Map notes: The shaded area outside of the oval is rough terrain. The jagged grey circle in the middle is the pit. The object at 1010E/990N is a raised dias with a giant throne. The yellow-shaded areas are brightly lit. The rest of the map is considered ďshadowy illuminationĒ

Lamias CR 6.

6,4:6 (1d20=12, 1d20=12, 1d20=16, 1d20=5, 1d20=17, 1d20=6, 1d20=3, 1d20=18, 1d20=18, 1d20=10, 1d20=6, 1d20=5, 1d20=6, 1d20=15, 1d20=16, 1d20=20, 1d20=19, 1d20=14, 1d20=19, 1d20=18, 1d20=20, 1d20=8, 1d20=16, 1d20=15, 1d20=10, 1d20=1, 1d20=11, 1d20=3, 1d20=2, 1d20=11)

Surprise round due to lamias being asleep.

Surprise round
Major Ling Dao Ren (985E/1095N) charges Lamia 12+mods hits for 6 pts of damage.
Cuanwei Scholar (985E/1110N): begins casting. Termix (spellcraft 12+mods) identifies the spell as summon monster 4.
Cuanwei Priest: (975E/1095N): Moves south.
Cuanwei Archer (1010E/1115N) moves clockwise.
Brother Cobra (970E/1100N) Moves and draws weapon.
Serpent Monk #2 (995E/1110N) Moves and draws weapon.

The characters can now act in the surprise round.





(close-up of groupís area)
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Unread 29th of February, 2008, 01:07
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Flarrgj, seeing such opponents, goes into a rage. Hs eye's go read and his muscles bulge as he charges out to the nearest centurian creature, swinging with his greatsword.
 

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