Chapter 03:

Previous · Next

Session Number: 159
Date: Friday 4 January 2013
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Ariel Sor12 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd12 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA5 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal12 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz12 (Densial) (kills: none)
Violet Drd12 (Tammi) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

Happy New Year!

Koryn's question hangs in the air for moments as the party decides who will answer. Koryn turns to ari. kor Good day, madam, how may I be of service? (ari has tongues going). ari Hello sir my name is Ariel. (introduces others). We have never been here before and we're very curious about this amazing pyramid. My companion suggested we come to you because of your knowledge about your craft and also this area and we were wondering if you could tell us the story of this pyramid and how it came to be. kor I am very grateful and am humbled by your words I do not pretend to be any kind of expert in anything at all and I apologise for my limitations I am sure I will let you down and won't be able to do anything… I will do my best for you. ari We sit at your feet, grateful for anything that you can give us. kor bows really low and grovels I will do my best for you I humbly apologise for my limited knowledge in this area. he touches ari's foot. ari I am honoured by your respect and would be gratefully receptive to anything that you can tell us. kor terribly sorry… he is very distraught and a little scared. ari reaches down takes kor's hands. ari Good sir you have nothing to fear from me or my friends. Please be assured that I do not expect you to move the heavens. I would be grateful for anything you can tell us. kor turns into a blubbering wreck. ro vio, what's going on here? vio (to ro alone) This society is based on hierarchy. People who are lower are meant to be humble and those higher are supposed to just say what they want. Koryn is fearful for his life. ro Maybe you should do the talking. vio What do you want to know?

ari I don't understand why you are so afraid you have nothing to fear from me. this is not helping, the man continues his grovelling. ari to others I don't understand what is happening here. ro I think I do. In this society, it is unheard of for someone of a higher caste to treat someone of a lower caste with respect and pity. It is making him very nervous. He thinks he is on the verge of death. ari So what shall I do? ro I wonder whether vio should speak. ari He doesn't normally speak to people of a higher caste? ro When those of a higher caste treats him with respect, that makes him very nervous. ari so I could talk to him without respect. ro You could… ari I can do that. Stand up, man! On your feet now! kor gets up. ari We need information and we need it now. kor Of course. (to ro who is looking a bit startled) He likes these games. Stop this snivelling right now, tidy yourself up and present yourself properly! That's much better. Now we require information about the pyramid. Do you know its story and how it came to be? Start speaking boy! kor Of course of course. Many years ago the gods came to this area… ari And the gods are? kor Ra, Anubis, Horus, Set… They saw that the people needed water and a place to live, so they built this great pyramid which produces coolness and water. It allows us to live here. ari I understand that the different classes live here on different levels on the pyramid, is that correct? kor Well, if you are richer then you can afford to live higher up the pyramid. Most of the sites on the pyramid are passed down through the generations. ari Are there any entrances to the pyramid? kor No no. You can't get in. ari Do you know anything about how it produces this cold and water? kor It is a blessing of the gods. Water just appears on its surface. Sometimes, if the surfaces are covered, water stops appearing there. Sometimes… ari Yes, yes, that's enough about that. Is there anyone that knows more about this pyramid? kor Some of the oracles that live further up. ari Names and locations? kor It is not my place to speak the names of the oracles. ari You are refusing me? kor No, it is not my place to speak their names. ari Can you write them down? kor I can show you where they are. I can take you there right now. vio I know where they are. ari I will certainly use her services rather than yours. kor Thank you very much I really appreciate you coming to see me. ari Is there anything else that you can volunteer? kor No. ari You have not completely displeased me, here is a gold piece for your services. It will not be said that I or my house are stingy. kor Thank you you are the most generous person that I have met for many years and I shall spread your name… ari Enough! I have had enough of you drivelling. Go about your business. leave.

ro That was despicable. ari It was what he wanted. He is much happier now than when I was being kind. You would prefer me to leave him scared for his life? ro What was despicable was your enjoyment of it. ari How do you know me so well to know what I enjoy and what I do not? ro thinks. ro So am I wrong? ari Most certainly! ro Then my apologies. ari I appreciate that.

vio Ro, you need to tell your friends to be careful. If you get the class system wrong, you could get your head chopped off. ro passes this on to ari. ari How is one to know the position of one you speak to? vio Position is communicated primarily by possessions: clothing, number of slaves, bearing, what you can do, where your house is, what you can afford to give away. the richest people in this city give away the most. giving is a status symbol.

ro Who is on the top of this pyramid? vio There are four families. They don't rule, they are just the richest and have the most influence. ro This place is so foreign and fraught with pitfalls. vio, you know these people and their ways better than any other here. Will you speak for us? vio accepts the proposition.

go now? tr By the way, I've been thinking about letting elo know what we're up to, before we go off and do something that gets us all killed. ro Good idea. Let's check in first.

tr gives vio a sum of money to buy a large tent (larger communicates higher status, plus ari's cottage can fit inside). also get her to hire labourers to erect the tent outside the city's walls and hire guards to stand outside. tr and ari memorise the inside as a teleport destination.

The tent takes two hours to pitch. once done, tr teleports ro back to the building with the stone blocks before she realises that har is not available until tomorrow.

early afternoon. ask vio to lead to the oracles. vio leads. cal is a bird sitting on ro's shoulder. ari comes up behind and gently strokes cal. cal ducks head down to avoid. ari (fails a knowledge nature check dc10) misunderstands the movement as delight and continues. cal tries to avoid the ari's fingers. ari (fails a second check dc6) this bird likes her!

vio tells ro on the way that the oracles are a religious sect that worship the gods that built this pyramid. because of that they have a lot of power. there are seven, and lots of ministers that minister to the seven's needs. the oracles are deformed, becoming more so over time in their worship of the gods. decide to tell the truth: that they are travellers from a distant land, seeking knowledge regarding the pyramid.

what is the party line? tr Well, I could just tell them that I am one of the gods. ro tries to hide a smile. ro I'm not sure they're going to believe that.

3/4 of the way up the pyramid vio indicates a group of orange tents. vio says there are similar groups of tents on the other three sides.

go to tent. minister outside How may I help you? vio Hello. here to speak with the oracle if possible. We are travellers and these people are seeking knowledge about the pyramid. Is there a possibility of speaking with the oracle? min I suppose so. he looks expectantly. vio Oh, yes, she says to ro. You must give a sacrifice of yourself. vio gives one of her wands. Her offer is accepted, the minister pulls aside the curtained doorway and the group are allowed to enter. sitting on ground cross legged is woman dressed in robes looks a bit crooked. ora Greetings. What seek you and why? vio my master wishes to find knowledge about these pyramids. She has travelled far and is interested. ora I dare say. What do you wish to know? ari casts Tongues on herself and ro. ora starts moving things around in front of her, almost like she cannot control her right arm. ro I am able to treat ailments, is there something I might do for you? ora Your magic cannot heal what ails us, great one. ro What ails you? ora A sickness of knowledge. All must sacrifice something to the gods; we oracles, being closest to the gods, sacrifice the most. ro Very well. What can you tell us of the origins of Saju? ora What can you tell me of the origins of Saju? ro We have heard that it is a place built by the gods a long time ago. The gods, for reasons we have not heard, are no longer here. ora Oh, they come back sometimes. ro Visibly? ora Less often than you might think, but sooner than we anticipated. ro When was the last visitation? ora I dare say fairly recently. ro …Now? ora I believe so. ro Do you sense something now? ora The gods speak to me, they send their voices down to their blessed ones. They speak to all of us in their own way. Riddles are difficult but with time we can sometimes and sometimes not… It is difficult. To listen to them is painful. To know the pain they are in and live part of that pain. But the gods speak to us. Sometimes they visit. I daresay there may be some here today. But they are always with us, really. In fact it is said that they are always with us, sometimes. ro tr, don't choke. ro turns back to the ora and says one word. ro Roulae.

"Roulae," thinks ari. "I have heard that name before, and recently."

ora It is an old word, not often used these days. I dare say you have come in search of the gods, or what they made. ro That would be true. ora Many times the gods say you have arrived and many times the gods say you have left. Many times they have not left. I did not think I would be one to see you but be that as it may… Go to the top of the pyramid at the break of day and pray. I hope this is one occasion that you return but the gods will do as they will. ro Thank you. Is there anything you would ask of us? ora As you have visited here so many times and you shall visit so many times it is good to have the opportunity to meet you. ro Thank you. ari How do you speak with the gods? ora I do not speak with the gods, they speak with me. ari Does that happen on a daily basis? ora All the time and no times. ro What do they say? ora All things and nothing. ari How did you become an oracle? ora The gods spoke to me and from then on they continued to speak. I listen to them and they give me their blessings in their own way. ari May your gods continue to bless you. ari I will be interested to know how long that will last now. Sometimes it will last for a long time and sometimes it won't. ari Which would you prefer? ari It is not up to me. Sometimes I prefer less and sometimes I prefer more. It is difficult to explain.

ora looks like a local: dark skin, hair and eyes. skinny. looks to be mid 20s.

ora Thank you for coming to see me. It was, has been and will be a great honour.

exit tent.

how to get to top of pyramid? the last few levels of the path are guarded, family property. secure an invitation of one of the top families? ari to minister How would we secure the possibility of going to the top? min I don't know.. wealth, power, war, any one of these will get you to the top. But those at the top are not always those who are spiritually enlightened. It is not somewhere that I would aspire to be. ari Thank you.

vio We could tell them that the ora told us to go. ro That is not as silly as it sounds. The oracles have some clout around here, right? min, there are four families? Which is the most religious? min The Devs.

The four top families each occupy a face of the pyramid. The Devs are on the eastern face - the one that sees the morning sun, happily.

talk about flying. ro Is the top flat? I would think that it would be wildly prestigious to own the very top of the pyramid. Maybe it is a common space, or unoccupied. Dare we have a look?

cannot see the top from the sides, it is obscured by tents. there are birds in the sky. cal circles up in bird form. top is flat, 20' square area white and glistening. tents start on the terraces of all four sides but their highest points are lower than the pyramid top. flies over the top, 15' above feel a very cold blast of air, even through his Endure Elements. Hoar frost begins to form on his wings. top of pyramid is covered in ice and snow. no bird poo on platform. repeats at 40': still cold but not as bad as before. goes again at 15' but flies over top tents, avoiding the platform. cooler than the ambient desert heat. people in tents dressed richly. returns, back to human, tells others. ro I wonder whether your endure elements is enough. Can you get closer? Are you comfortable trying? cal I can do that. ro Keep an eye out, see if anyone is watching you. vio I can go with you. cal explains that he intends to land on one of the top tents and inch towards the platform.

they go up - vio as another sort of eagle.

cal lands on the Dev's tent while vio keeps a circling lookout. she flies through the centre at about 40'-50'. nippy. cal feels a bit cool. walks towards the platform. gets colder. edge of the tent encrusted in ice. bearable at this point. takes off and swoops into centre at 10'. caught in a blast of cold, spiralling wind. escapes. is it bearable? goes back in and rides the air currents. starts feeling quite cold. after 6 seconds he is so cold as to start taking damage. cal collects vio and the two return. vio hasn't wild shaped in a while, she enjoys it a bit.

cal tells others his experience. ro maybe it's different right in the centre? I'm not asking you to go again. vio see another oracle? ari Let's just go. ro go through the middle, on har? vio Perhaps at daybreak there is no wind? Perhaps that is the time you can go? ro Possible. It could be a test of endurance, a test of faith. So do we try and walk and talk to people, explaining our crazy plan, or do we just go and do it tomorrow morning? ari and lio express preference to walk and talk first.

walk up east side. get to an area with a tent with a guard outside.

vio Excuse me good sir, we would like to see the Devs please. nothing from guard. vio We need to get through because the oracle has told us we need to go through here. We need to speak with one of the families now. Please? guard nothing. he is about 7' tall. vio Can we please see your master? cha check guard Wait. He goes in. A servant comes out dressed in very fine clothes. serv How may we be of assistance? vio Who is your master? serv Who is your mistress? vio My mistress wishes to speak with the master of the house. serv Come this way.

vio ro, it would be best if you went first to show your authority. serv Your other slaves may stay here. tent flaps held open for ro. She goes first. three levels down from the top. offered a seat in a room. A cool breeze flows through. ro leaves axe by door. servant offers ro iced water. platter placed in front of her with things that she cannot identify but they are probably food. vio knows them as sweets and fruits, expensive ones. ro Is it appropriate for us to eat these? vio It is intended for you. ro takes a nibble of something. She finds it foul.

Two minutes later a woman in her late teens enters with a servant. ro Greetings. wom I am Suri, of the house of Dev. ro I am ro, of the house of Kharag. This is my companion, vio. Suri hardly looks at her. ro I do thank you for your hospitality and time. I am here to speak to the house of Dev of a matter of a spiritual nature. I have been told that the house of Dev is a religious one. sur We are a devout family, as are all families. All are followers of the gods. ro I have had the great pleasure of speaking to one of your oracles this afternoon. She invited me to travel to the top of the pyramid at the break of dawn and say my prayers. I wish to do this in a noble way and would ask your permission to travel further up. sur This is interesting. You are not from our lands, I take it? ro I am not. sur Only the gods may travel above. ro I can only say what the oracle told me, although I can tell you that I am no god. I guess it is up to whether you trust me, or whether you trust your oracle. sur Forgive me, I did not mean that you would not be allowed, it is just not right; only the gods are allowed above these houses. We are blessed, living so close to the home of the gods; it is not our place to protect the area from people but we do see it as a privilege that we protect others from the gods. The wrath of the gods can be great. It is a difficult thing to have this requested of us. A heavy burden. But one that we are happy to have placed upon us and we thank you for bringing this to us. I must confer with some of our family on this matter. I will have more fruits brought to your table. You may stay as long as it takes us. ro Again, thank you. You are most hospitable. sur It is the least we can do for honoured guests. She stands up and leaves. Her servant returns with a caraffe of pink liquid. vio recognises it as very expensive alcoholic beverage. servant still here. one glass. fruit and iced water. ro vio I don't wish to insult our host. What is the protocol? vio You are not required to partake of any of this, but trying something would be expected. ro takes a piece of unidentified fruit and pours a glass of water. vio identifies some of the foodstuffs as seafood - a very expensive, lavish decadence.

Fifteen minutes later, Suri returns. sur I hope you have been keeping well? ro Yes, the delicacies are exquisite. sur I humbly offer what little we have. We would be honoured if you would accept our invitation to visit the platform of the gods. ro Thank you. You have my heartfelt appreciation. sur We are humbled by your request. ro Shall I return before morning's light? sur That is your choice, whatever you deem necessary. ro I do not wish to impose upon you. sur It would be no imposition at all, you are welcome to stay here if you wish. ro My thanks. If it pleases you, I will take my leave and return before the morning. I think it best. but I do thank you for your hospitality and your open home. I will see you an hour before the dawn.

leave and go back to tent. have dinner, food from food stalls. sleep with watch. wake up 90 minutes before the dawn.

all head up. just before they arrive, ari casts Tongues on herself and ro. servant is outside. looks at group and beckons ro in. ro I would wish for my entire retinue to go with me. all are allowed in. led to steps that are icy. goes up and opens a flap in the tent roof and steps keep going up. still about an hour before dawn. ro pops her head up. cold up there. at edge of top. wait.

ari Mind if I have a look? ro Not at all. ari goes up, fires up a sunrod and has a look. casts Detect Magic. Cannot see magic here. makes a move to go up. ro Don't go up yet. ari hears in time. ari Why not? ro This is somebody's holy place. I feel a sense of awe. ari goes back down. servant looks inquiring. ro In case your mistress wishes to know, we will be waiting here until just before dawn.

ro thinking about what they are about to do. ro We were told to go up and pray. vio, have you witnessed religious ceremonies here? What do they look and sound like? vio This place has many gods and there are lots of different ways to pray to them. ro Any other preparations or precautions? tr Some warm clothing wouldn't have hurt. lio Can you draw some, tr? tr I can draw clothes.

tr sets to work and creates five sets of cold weather gear (ari declines). ro I am figuring my armour isn't going to help me. servant offers ro another room in which to get changed.

the hour passes. ro asks lio to give her a heads-up when there are only a few minutes until sunrise. when the time comes, he does so. ro Let's head up.

ari walks up onto the platform first. She is immediately buffetted by winds. takes a point of cold damage. ro Bitterly cold? ari Yes, even through my magical protection! tr, how long are you going to last up there? tr I dunno. A minute or two? ro casts Protection from Energy on tr, keyed to cold, giving him 72 points of protection. ari takes another point of cold damage. tr heads up, followed by ro. she heads to the centre, assumes kneeling position and sings a hymn to Moradin. vio takes form of desert eagle and takes to the skies, circling. ari stays beside ro, looking around and being as quiet as she can. tr prays.

Half a minute passes and the cold bites. frost on the tips of noses. ro The rest of you, go down and save your strength. I will tell you when something happens. tr and ro stay up, the others retreat.

Another 90 seconds pass. ro I think it's coming. cal flutters onto ro's shoulder and the others head up the stairs onto the platform. ro has taken 29hp damage when she finally sees the sun peek over the horizon. the vortex of freezing air slows and stops. look down and are standing on snow and ice. It does not seem as cold as it was. look around. ro tr, spellcraft! cal cannot see any magic. ro cannot see any evil. lio searches. tr cannot offer any insight besides that it is easier to come here at sunrise. ro It seems we have a small window of time to figure out what's going on. cal hops down, assumes human form and begins scooping snow off the top with his hands. lio pokes an arrow into the snow; it hits something solid a couple of inches in. ro digs. she goes deeper than two inches. cal sees and moves over to assist ro. ro draws dagger and scratches at the ice with that. the wind starts up again - it was absent for one minute.

cal Do we want to keep digging? ari moves off the top onto the stairs. the others start taking damage again. cal continues to dig next to ro. ari returns to the top and casts Resist Energy on ro (she gains resist cold 20). it works. ari casts another on herself. ari I don't have too many of these spells. ro Those who are not protected, leave now. We can tell you if we find something. they do, cal by way of wild shape, assuming eagle form, restoring some hit points and taking to the air.

ari and ro keep digging. find that there is a large, snow-filled rectangular area below with steps leading down. ro Maybe it is time to use magic. tr, what about a Fiery Burst? Will it damage anything? tr I cannot guarantee that it will not. ari We can dig for two hours. ro The winds left for but a minute. Surely there is a faster way?

Previous · Next

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License