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IC The Thirteenth Moon: Night of the Blood Moon

Moon_Goddess

Have I really been on this site for over 20 years!
"By the Host, he killed himself!

Alise tries to catch her breath.

"What do we do, I never thought things would go this way."
 

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Herobizkit

Adventurer
"Celebrate," Vigil says as he stows his morningstar and shield, "Once the veracity of the Light's work is confirmed."

Vigil begins to check the cultists for signs of life, binding they who yet live.
 
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pneumatik

The 8th Evil Sage
Berrent, Human Rogue

Berrent looks around the room. "What in Xoriat were they doing here? I guess it's good that they're dead. This would be a pretty creepy room if they were still walking around in it. Though I suppose being a bunch of dead bodies instead doesn't improve it much."

He begins to search through the room. "I wonder what they have in here ..."
 

airwalkrr

Adventurer
OOC: Much of this is a repost from #78. I included it here to save you the time of looking for it.

[MENTION=21087]pneumatik[/MENTION] since you have time, Berrent would be free to take 20 on a Search check.

[MENTION=36150]Herobizkit[/MENTION] a Heal spoiler block is below to check the conditions of the cultists.

To all: you need not make all Knowledge checks on the spot. With some notes and possibly taking a few "souvenirs" you can research the information in other ways, such as bringing them to an expert, possibly a mentor or asking a mentor to guide you to an expert.
There is a circle drawn on the floor in brown smudges. Strange sigils are drawn at four equidistant points on the circle. Atop each sigil is a smoking black candle. The red moonlight coming from the window is the only source of light in the room, and it casts haunting reddish shadows upon the walls. However, even it is obscured by the rising fog and the room is darker now than when you first entered. The bodies of four cultists lie strewn about the floor in various conditions of injury and quite likely some are dead (see Heal below).

Lining the walls are several bookcases with various strange artifacts that barely reflect the soft red glow of the moonlight. You see a few books on the shelves, some parchment and gilded scrolls, a decanter, several flasks, and more than a few bones, including a humanoid skull. A few tables and chairs also line the walls, as well as a couple of cots and a chest of drawers.

Apparently having noticed the sudden quiet, the landlord pokes his head through the passageway into the room. "Sovereigns! What has happened in here? It looks like a butchery!"[sblock=Heal DC 10 NEW]Two of the cultists remain alive. The first passed out, likely from shock (0 hp), and will probably survive without any special care. The second is grievously wounded (-5 hp) and is unlikely to survive being moved without the aid of magic or very attentive care by a skilled healer.[sblock=Heal DC 15]The grievously wounded cultist can be stabilized and moved elsewhere.[/sblock][/sblock][sblock=Religion DC 15]The circle upon the floor is a circle of some sort of divine magic.[sblock=Religion DC 20]The sigils are symbols associated with the Blood of Vol and represent "death," "blood," "power," and "favor" respectively.[/sblock][/sblock][sblock=Arcana or Bardic Knowledge DC 15]The sigils are arranged in lunar cardinal directions which appear to associate with the blood moon.[sblock=If you also succeeded on Religion DC 20]The "blood" sigil is facing lunar north, the "death" sigil is facing lunar south, while the "power" and "favor" sigils face lunar east and lunar west respectively.[/sblock][/sblock][sblock=Spellcraft DC 21]The circle is part of a ritual which grants the recipient of the ritual the benefits of a divine favor spell for 24 hours.[sblock=Spellcraft DC 24]As above, but you notice that the ritual also grants the recipient the benefits of a divine power spell for 24 hours as well.[sblock=Spellcraft DC 25]This is perhaps the most horrifying revelation. The recipient of the spell is the subject of a contingent slay living spell. The terms of the contingency are not immediately apparent.[sblock=Spellcraft DC 26]You determine that if the recipient is attacked in melee at any time in the next 24 hours, it will trigger the contingency, targeting the attacker with a slay living spell.[/sblock][/sblock][/sblock][/sblock][sblock=detect magic round 1]You detect the presence of magical auras in this room.[sblock=round 2]There are four magical auras in this room, the strongest being moderate power.[sblock=round 3]The circle radiates several dim magical auras indicating recent magic has been discharged from it. In the corner is a short figure shrouded in the magic of four magical auras, one faint, three moderate.[sblock=Spellcraft DC 16]The weakest magical aura upon the figure in the corner is divine favor.[sblock=Spellcraft DC 19]The second magical aura upon the figure is divine power.[sblock=Spellcraft DC 20]The third magical aura upon the figure is slay living. This spell does not appear to have been discharged.[sblock=Spellcraft DC 21]The fourth spell is contingency. If the recipient is attacked in melee at any time in the next 24 hours, it will trigger the contingency, targeting the attacker with a slay living spell.[/sblock][/sblock][/sblock][/sblock][/sblock][/sblock][/sblock][sblock=Search DC 10 NEW]Each of the cultists is dressed in crimson red robes embroidered with the symbol of a dragon's maw engulfing a spherical shape that bears resemblance to an egg or a perhaps a moon. Underneath the robes, each wears a suit of reinforced leather armor. Each cultist also carries a club or similar blunt instrument. One of the cultists has a curved dagger, now drenched in blood.[/sblock][sblock=Search DC 12]The smeared substance around the circle appears to be dried blood.[sblock=Search DC 15]The candles are of an unusual make. They are not wax, but some other sticky substance.[sblock=Search DC 20]There are a pair of elongated fangs in the center of the circle. They are not very large, and probably come from a humanoid of some type.[sblock=Local DC 12 or Bardic Knowledge DC 15]These fangs do not come from any normal humanoid.[sblock=Local or Bardic Knowledge DC 20 or Religion DC 15]These fangs come from a vampire![/sblock][/sblock][/sblock][/sblock][/sblock][sblock=Hero Point!]You may expend a Hero Point to automatically gain a sudden insight which allows you to automatically open one spoiler block, but not sub-blocks beneath it. This choice may be made either before or after you have rolled any relevant skill checks.[/sblock]
 

Herobizkit

Adventurer
Vigil administers his healing arts to the unworthy heathens.

Once the Volites are properly secured, Vigil chants a litany to the Silver Flame and uses his healing power on the grievously wounded cultist.

Satisfied that no prisoners are in immediate danger, Vigil announces, "The prisoners are secure. The flesh stands ready to be judged, though the souls are forfeit."
 
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airwalkrr

Adventurer
"There are two dead people in my private room!" the landlord exclaims. "How can you be so calm about this? And what is this! Implements of ritual strewn all about, and... is that BLOOD on the floor? Who is going to pay for this? I thought you were officers of the law, not murderers!"

The landlord is obviously quite dismayed at the whole incident.[sblock=Sense Motive DC 20]The landlord is genuinely shocked at what has happened. You get a hunch he had no idea what was really going on here.[/sblock]Now would be a good time to turn in the cultists you have captured to the proper authorities at Warden Towers and make a report of the incident. A mortician will need to be contacted as well to take care of the two dead bodies, but it is likely the officials at Warden Towers will take care of that. There is also the injured elf waiting at the Golden Horn. He may have regained consciousness by now and know something about the motive or nature of his attacker.
 

pneumatik

The 8th Evil Sage
Berrent, Human Rogue

"We are duly deputized law enforcement officers," Berrent says to the landlord. "We had permission to enter the premises. We showed you all the appropriate paperwork earlier. While carrying out our official duties we ambushed by these men. One died in the fighting and another killed himself in a fit of crazy.

"We were pretty hurried when we came in here and didn't have much time to talk to you about what was going on up here. Now that things are calmer, is there anything else you can remember about your cultists up here? I really don't want to have to take you down to the Station to answer questions. It's just easier to answer them here. Less paperwork and all that. Dorius, would you mind writing down what the man says? I have evidence to collect."

Berrent begins gathering up as much of the cultist paraphernalia as he can manage. "Let's see here. Some of the dried blood on the floor, one of these absurd and sticky candles, these bizarre fangs that don't come from any humanoid I know of ..."
 
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kinem

Adventurer
"There are two dead people in my private room!" the landlord exclaims. "How can you be so calm about this? And what is this! Implements of ritual strewn all about, and... is that BLOOD on the floor? Who is going to pay for this? I thought you were officers of the law, not murderers!"

"I am sorry, sir. This did not go as well as we hoped" Brad says, sighing. The paperwork this will cause!

"Hold on a minute, Berrent! I don't know what significance this junk had, but it must have had some to the cultists. We should make a sketch of the arrangement before disturbing anything, or we should leave it as is and bring in some expert on crazy religions. Just because they're crazy doesn't mean their magic won't do anything. We should find out what it's for."
 

Herobizkit

Adventurer
"As previously explained," Vigil offers, "The symbols on the floor are used exclusively by Vol priests. The symbols represent death, blood, power and favor. The arrangement of the candles is powerless without prayers, though no less offensive."

Vigil advances on the landlord. He pauses directly in front of him and deadpans, "Consideration into the background of future tenants is recommended."
 
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airwalkrr

Adventurer
"We are duly deputized law enforcement officers," Berrent says to the landlord. "We had permission to enter the premises. We showed you all the appropriate paperwork earlier. While carrying out our official duties we ambushed by these men. One died in the fighting and another killed himself in a fit of crazy.

"We were pretty hurried when we came in here and didn't have much time to talk to you about what was going on up here. Now that things are calmer, is there anything else you can remember about your cultists up here? I really don't want to have to take you down to the Station to answer questions. It's just easier to answer them here. Less paperwork and all that. Dorius, would you mind writing down what the man says? I have evidence to collect."
The landlord grumbles under his breath something about Watch brutality before responding. "I honestly had no idea this kind of thing was going on. Had I known, I would have reported it to the Watch myself. Cultists conducting blood rituals on my own property! I am a dedicated follower of the Sovereign Host. I would never abide such blasphemy. As I already told you downstairs, a short elf paid me a considerable sum for this room and asked to remain anonymous. He never really gave me his true name, said to call him 'Shorty.' He first visited me back in Vult (the last month of the year), said he was looking for a very private room and that he would pay handsomely for the utmost discretion. And as I said, he and his companions would show up every Wir and Sar evening over the last month for secret meetings. I never saw those crimson robes or any of these strange ritual objects. They must have brought them in satchels or something and stored them in the room. They always arrived and left in plain clothes. That's really all I can tell you."

Berrent begins gathering up as much of the cultist paraphernalia as he can manage. "Let's see here. Some of the dried blood on the floor, one of these absurd and sticky candles, these bizarre fangs that don't come from any humanoid I know of ..."
Berrent manages to take a sample of the dried blood, provided he has an empty flask or at the very least a piece of parchment to wrap it in. Aside from that, there are four used black candles on the floor as well as the items on the shelves. In total there are four books, one written in Common called On The Blood, the other three in different languages. There are five scrolls, each of which appear to be copies of various figures and passages from the books. The scrolls have some handwritten notes in Elven in the margins. The chest of drawers contains some personal effects such as some purses and a couple of satchels. You find a combined total of 15 sp and 87 cp in the purses. There are also identification papers for all four of the cultists in the room. Three are human, one is half-elf. One of the humans was female and the rest of the cultists were male. Their names were Garrent Bock-human male, Dilvesh Saranthan-human male, Davia Menthis-human female, and Elrodar Feho-half-elf male. Their places of residence are also listed. They appear to come from all different parts of the city.

Then, of course, there are the fangs...[sblock=On The Blood]For anyone who takes the time to peruse its pages, this tome is fairly short, comprising only 64 pages of vellum and hand-written in Galifaran script. Its author is a Karnnathi named Drago Zecklin, who describes in brief detail a variety of rituals sacred to the Seekers of the Blood of Vol.[sblock=Bardic Knowledge, History or Religion DC 20]Drago Zecklin was a religious scholar in Karrnathi during the Last War who was a strong advocate of the use of undead forces in the armies of Karrnath. He was a respected individual in the Blood of Vol, but was executed for blasphemy and high treason when the religion fell out of favor in Karrnath in the later years of the war. Some whisper his corpse was recovered and he was reanimated to serve Vol in undeath, but there is no official corroboration of this story.[/sblock]Most of the rituals seem to be relatively benign rituals of observance for Seekers, including details of common Vol holy days. The one that draws your attention has several notes written in the margins and is described as the Rite of Kharesk. In passing, this rite seems as innocuous as the others. It uses an antiquated calendar which includes a month known as either Kharesk or Crya, depending on whom you ask (there is a note in the margin that the Giants of Xen'Drik called this month Crya), and that there was once a moon of the same name. According to the text, this rite is celebrated on a different day every year, and every thirteenth year it gets skipped entirely. This is because the ancient calendar uses the same number of days in each month as the Galifaran calendar and adds a thirteenth month. Apparently the rite of Kharesk is supposedly symbolic most years. But every thirteenth year, it is supposed to be particularly potent. The text declines to go into detail about this potency but references another text called Iejir Welun.[/sblock][sblock=Book 2, in Draconic]This text is titled Iejir Welun, or Blood Moon. It is longer than the first book, comprising 121 pages, but slimmer because its pages are made from paper. This is obviously a fairly recent tome and has been manufactured on a printing press. The book is claimed by no author, but whoever published it included a foreward which notes the text is a reproduction of a series of texts "borrowed" from ancient Seren scrolls.[sblock=Bardic Knowledge or Geography DC 15]The Seren are a barbarian tribe who live on an island of the same name in Argonesson, the continent of the Dragons.[/sblock]The Seren apparently still honor the thirteenth month as well, citing ancient dragon stories which tell of a blood-red moon which used to exist in ancient days. However the Seren remember the month not with reverence, but as a means of reminding themselves of the dangers of cross-breeding between dragons and humanoids. The foreward references a war between dragons and elves which occurred centuries ago after a faction of elves were discovered to be breeding with a faction of dragons. The mainstream dragons united with the mainstream elves to destroy these factions and slew all existing half-dragons. After this point, the blood moon disappeared. The text itself discusses many Seren rituals which are said to have particular potency every thirteen years. These are quite clearly rituals which are looked down upon even in Seren society for they attempt to invoke draconic powers that might produce a half-dragon. There are other rituals within that describe the means of becoming a Dragon Disciple, Dragon Shaman, and Dragonfire Adept.[/sblock][sblock=Book 3, in Infernal]This book, entitled Dryndaar Zyyrk, or Thirteen Moons, is positively ancient, and inscribed in what is most likely blood on parchment. The pages are very dry and delicate and have many notes scribbled in many different languages. The book is about 90 pages long and has thirteen sections, each describing one moon of Eberron in their ancient state as well as blood rituals that are associated with each. Each section is resplendent with dark symbols and diagrams of magic circles, ritual athames (one of which closely resembles the curved dagger possessed by the cultists), and other implements. The thirteenth moon, called "Rnio" in Infernal, is described as being blood red and the most important moon of Eberron to the Infernal armies of Shavarath. Apparently the devils from this plane associated the moon with death and believed that the most important war campaigns on the Material Plane should be conducted during this month.[/sblock][sblock=Book 4, in Orc]This text, entitled Hanhahg u Phuut, or Rituals of Blood, appears to bear some significance to druidism, as many of the rituals described within are nature-oriented. It is about 110 pages long and written by an orc named Kuruush Mar.[sblock=Bardic Knowledge, History, Local, or Nature DC 20]Kuruush Mar was an orc druid belonging to the Children of Winter who lived some 1200 years ago. He was quite a controversial figure even among the Children of Winter, and advocated the use of blood in many druidic rituals. It was even said that he used blood as his focus for casting druidic spells, as opposed to the traditional holly and mistletoe.[/sblock]Based on the contents, the writer seems to hold vampires in particular esteem, noting "They use the purist form of Blood Magic, that of ingestion. It is a marvel how they transform this vital fluid into raw negative energy." A section is earmarked which discusses a sacrifice to the Blood Moon, called "Zh'ha" in the Orc tongue. It requires the blood of an elf bearing the Mark of Shadow, though not specifically the elf's death. The blood must be taken from an unwilling subject through an act of violence and preferably subterfuge. It is said to imbue the subject with "immense strength" and "considerable foresight."[/sblock][sblock=Elven Notes on Scrolls]Most of these notes are references to one or more of the four books. You gather from the notes that the writer was attempting some sort of synthesis of rituals. The exact purpose and ultimate end of this synthesized ritual is still unclear from the notes alone.[/sblock]
 

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