The Slave and Her Sovereign


PA'AVU steps back to allow Chanvati to enter the Oracle's cave to "handle things," smiling a little as she does so. His silver tongued words are good at "handling things."

She is therefore at first puzzled, then concerned, as she observes the carvings he begins to chisel into the stone wall: a strange design of zigzagging and curved intersecting lines, resembling nothing so much as a crude rendering of the storm-wracked surface of a body of water. And were those figures hewn in the center of the maelstrom sea monsters? Boats? One head bobbing on the surface somewhat resembled a goliath, a hand from the waves wrapped around an arm, pulling it under? What?? She watches as the clanmother's hand "reads" the etched scene, the old woman's frown mirroring her own.

Suddenly, Chanvati gasps in horror and steps away from the old woman's humble figure, colliding with the body of his sahtree, who instinctively draws up her hands to catch him by the shoulders. In this warm, damp room his skin feels strangely cold and dry, papery almost, subtly shifting. Pa'avu immediately swings her gosb'tar around and stares into his face. His mouth is contorted in a silent scream, and his eyes glow with an alien purple fire, the same hue she'd witnessed emanating from the now-destroyed meteorite. Even the tears beginning to fall from his eyes hold a faintly lavender light in the firelight's reflection.

Resolutely, Pa'avu reaches down into her l'pahb'gin for healing strength to reach him, shaking him gently and calling out, "wake up, gosb'tar: come out of your fevered dreams and return to this place." After a long, anxious moment, the purple fire is extinguished, and Pa'avu's eyes are once again staring down into the pale eyes of her merchant prince.

* Secondary Skill Insight to understand the consternation on the Oracle's face and the sound of Chanvati's gasp: r(8) + 4 = 12 vs. 11 Easy DC) to gain a +2 bonus

* Primary Skill Heal check to shake Chanvati's out of his diseased hallucination: r(17) + 9 + 2 (SS) = 28 vs. 15 Medium DC Success!

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5 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/1 Failures/1 Secondary Skills Available/0 Advantages Available)

In the midst of all of this, the clan has gathered in full, beholding the event.

The pair of hunters who led you here from the ritual cave at Stoneroot's Perch step forth. The male points his spear at the pair of you. Everyone in the clan leans in and listens.

"We followed you believing you would defeat the sick rock. You did.

We would follow you again. We would, mustering his best Common Tongue intonation, 'repay our debt.' But now you are sick. Do your magics not contain it? Is the sick now in your hands (pointing at Pa'avu)? Will you spread it?

I will not let my people die a terrible death, afoul of their earthen flesh and wits, in some strange land."



Shaken to his senses by the grounding voice of his sahtree, CHANVATI observes sanity return to the world. No lava pours forth from the old woman's orifices. His skin does not writhe with cilia, alive and wriggling their own volition. The strong hands of Pa'avu grasp his shoulders, releasing only when it seems she is sure of his condition.

He hears N'gauthak's words, considers carefully.

"Mighty N'gauthak. Wise Or'lia. Proud warriors of the Iron Gorgon, beset through no fault of your own by an alien madness from the stars. It comforts me to hear your desire to serve, to repay your debt. What I propose to you, joining under my command to travel to the great city of Bantouk, and from there to face the terrible horde known as the Legion of Ruth, is not without danger. There is grave danger, I admit. But this is not the bloodless subversion of your minds by an alien creature from the stars but the danger of the battlefield! Battle against your ancient enemies, no less, who drove your ancestors from the once-fertile steppes into the mountains to eke out an existence in these harsh conditions.

You worry about my health, ask if I am infected with some alien contagion. Whether my very being is a threat to your people, much like the Herald of Caiphon was until my succor. But you witnessed just now as brave Pa'avu helped return me from the visions I was beset by. They are an aftereffect of my duel with the Herald, and fade even now. No, my health should be of no concern to you, nor is it of any concern to me. Certainly it was not so when I took on the Herald in a magical duel to free your people.

Instead, turn your thoughts to dreams of glory and battle, of ancient foes vanquished and knowledge that the tribe of the Iron Gorgon never again need scratch a meager life from this barren place, should that be its wish."

I'm making a Primary Skill Bluff check to hide the signs of Chanvati's illness from the Goliaths and refocus the debate on debts repaid, war, and glory. r(19) +13 = 32 vs 15 Moderate DC. Success.
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Alien meteorite sundered, malicious entity exorcised from the Goliath tribe, Primordial Vezzuvu momentarily thwarted, Stoneroot's Perch turned into a remote but fortified bastion, we leave the gathered collective in good spirits, agreement, and in tribal communion...

@darkbard and @Nephis , make either a Chanvati Endurance check or Pa'avu Heal check during this next Extended Rest for Chanvati's recovery from the magical disease (see table listed in disease entry for recovery info). Note, if Pa'avu is caring for Chanvati (and you're using Heal), on a failure, she contracts the magical affliction.

* You may spend the Advantage you earned for Stoneroot's Perch Bastion in this for best of 2d20.

SKILL CHALLENGE SUCCESSFUL: Convince the leadership of the tribe to repay their debt


* 500/2 = 250 apiece.

* Gain Elite Swarm for Goliath Clan of the Iron Gorgon for the coming conflicts (pending @darkbard creating it).

* 290 Gold.

Cutting back to level 4 Skill Challenge with Ibhea and Arunny...

Goal: Get the slave girl to the Sect of Omthala: her role in life is not as an enslaved person to a merchant but to be in service to the Sect.

Level 4, Complexity 2 (DCs will be for level 4 so 10, 14, 21 while ATK vs AC is 18/20 and vs NAD is 16/17)

5 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/1 Secondary Skills Available

The final obstacle will be a nested combat as we smash-cut to Ibhea and Arunny to the high-rise building where the merchant owns a flat; merchant (standard), his security (minions), and the slave girl (minion). This will be an underbudget combat (of-level) given that its only a level 4 SC (but with level 6 NPCs). The goal will be to get the slave girl (Minion) out alive.

I'll get that map up and relevant stuff tomorrow!


After Chanvati's moving speech, the Goliaths pledge their fealty and spend the remainder of the day and evening in celebration of their freedom from the depredations against their autonomy by the alien presence and the prospect of facing a hated ancient foe in physical combat. All take their fill of spit-roasted game and fermented goat milk.

Bita-Bousseh had initially seemed distant, but at Chanvati's assurances that he seeks to root out and defeat whatever fell influence works itself on the Empress, turning her against the barrister, she warms somewhat, though she still seems miffed at the Merchant Prince's recklessness and seeming-neglect of her safety in the midst of his scheming.

Chanvati spends a fevered, disturbed night, haunted by chills and visions. Pa'avu herself barely sleeps, ministering to her gosb'tar's alien infection by pulling him from the twisting tendrils of his own mind, horrific hallucinations and fearful emotions, back into the real world, safe under her protection.

Extended Rest: all daily and encounter resources refresh. Pa'avu makes a Heal check to cure Chanvati of the Distortion of Caiphon Disease, r(13) +9 = 22: Chanvati progresses to Stage 0 (disease ends).

Below are the statistics for the Elite Swarm, the Clan of the Iron Gorgon

Iron Gorgon Tribe Level 7 Elite Brute​

Huge natural humanoid (swarm) XP 600​

HP 192; Bloodied 96Initiative +6
AC 19, Fortitude 21, Reflex 19, Will 17Perception+7
Speed 6
Resist half damage from melee and
ranged attacks; Vulnerable 5 to close and area attacks
Saving Throws +2; Action Points 1


Swarm AttackAura 1
Any enemy that ends its turn in the aura takes 4 damage.
The iron gorgon tribe can occupy the same space as another creature, and an enemy can enter its space, which is difficult terrain. The iron gorgon tribe cannot be pulled, pushed, or slid by melee or ranged attacks. It can squeeze through any opening that is large enough for a medium creature.

Standard Actions​

(⚔) Greatclub (weapon) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +12 vs. AC
Hit: 2d10 +4 damage.
Barrage of Blows (weapon) ✦ Recharge ⚄ ⚅
Effect: The iron gorgon tribe shifts up to its speed. When the mob moves adjacent to an enemy for the first time during the move, the mob can use greatclub on that enemy. If the attack hits a Large or smaller creature, the creature must succeed on a saving throw or fall prone.

Minor Actions​

Stone's EnduranceEncounter
Effect: The iron gorgon tribe gains resist 5 to all damage until the end of its next turn.

Triggered Actions​

Last Ones StandingEncounter
Trigger: The iron gorgon tribe becomes bloodied.
Effect (No Action): The iron gorgon tribe splits into four Iron Gorgon Clan Member Minions (N’gauthak, Or’lia, Kav’oko, and Il’rust). Effects on the iron gorgon tribe do not apply to the iron gorgon clan member minions.
Skills Athletics +13, Intimidate +9
Str 20 (+10) Dex 17 (+8) Wis 15 (+7)
Con 15 (+7) Int 11 (+3) Cha 12 (+4)
Alignment Unaligned Languages Common, Giant
Equipment: greatclub, hide armor.

Iron Gorgon Clan Member Level 7 Minion Brute​

Medium natural humanoid (goliath) XP 75​

HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.Initiative +6
AC 19, Fortitude 20, Reflex 19, Will 18Perception+7
Speed 6

Standard Actions​

(⚔) Greatclub (weapon) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +12 vs. AC
Hit: 7 damage.

Minor Actions​

Stone's EnduranceEncounter
Effect: The goliath takes no damage from the next attack that hits it before the end of its next turn.

Triggered Actions​

Vengeful Clout (weapon) ✦ Encounter
Trigger: The goliath drops to 0 hit points.
Attack (Immediate Interrupt): Melee 1 (one creature); +10 vs. Fortitude
Hit: 7 damage, and the target falls prone.
Skills Athletics +13, Intimidate +9
Str 20 (+10) Dex 17 (+8) Wis 15 (+7)
Con 15 (+7) Int 11 (+3) Cha 12 (+4)
Alignment Unaligned Languages Common, Giant
Equipment: greatclub, hide armor.

And the stats for Ibhea and Arunny, built as PCs:
Arunny, level 6
Half-Elf, Cleric|Invoker
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Constitution
Hybrid Cleric: Battle Cleric's Lore
Covenant Manifestation: Manifestation of Preservation
Hybrid Invoker: Hybrid Invoker Fortitude
Hybrid Talent: Channel Divinity (Hybrid Cleric)
Half-Elf Power Selection: Dilettante
Background: Missing Master, Divinely Inspired, Missionary Life (Missing Master Benefit)
Theme: Seer

Str 13, Con 19, Dex 8, Int 11, Wis 19, Cha 10.

Str 13, Con 16, Dex 8, Int 11, Wis 16, Cha 10.

AC: 23 Fort: 20 Reflex: 15 Will: 20
HP: 50 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 12

Perception +15, Insight +19, Heal +12, Endurance +12

Acrobatics +2, Arcana +3, Bluff +5, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +7, History +3, Intimidate +3, Nature +7, Religion +3, Stealth +2, Streetwise +3, Thievery +2, Athletics +4

Level 1: Battle Awareness
Level 2: Hybrid Talent
Level 4: Wary Fighter
Level 6: Mighty Crusader Expertise

Channel Divinity (Hybrid Cleric): Favor of the Gods
Dilettante: Eldritch Strike
Hybrid at-will 1: Brand of the Sun
Hybrid at-will 1: Hand of Radiance
Hybrid encounter 1: Thunder of Judgment
Hybrid daily 1: Moment of Glory
Seer Utility: Cast Fortune*
Hybrid utility 2: Divine Call
Hybrid encounter 3: Death Surge
Hybrid daily 5: Silent Malediction
Hybrid utility 6: Stream of Life

Amulet of Protection +2, Supporting Scale Armor +1, Adventurer's Kit, Casque of Tactics (heroic tier), Onatar's Forge +2, Morningstar

*We are using this variant of the canonical theme power:

Cast Fortune Seer Utility​

Omthala’s gaze extends across time, giving you a glimpse of future events.

Daily Divine
Standard Action
: You must use this power during an extended rest.
Effect: Roll a d20 when you use this power, and note the result. Before your next extended rest, as a Free Action, you can replace any one attack roll, saving throw, or skill check made by you, an ally, or an enemy with this result.

Ibhea, level 6
Human, Warlock
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Charisma
Eldritch Pact: Sorcerer-King Pact
Human Power Selection: Heroic Effort
Background: Fugitive from a Vengeful Rival, Heretic, Street Urchin (Fugitive from a Vengeful Rival Benefit)
Theme: Ordained Priest

Str 8, Con 12, Dex 12, Int 17, Wis 10, Cha 19.

Str 8, Con 12, Dex 12, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 16.

AC: 21 Fort: 16 Reflex: 19 Will: 20
HP: 49 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 12

Stealth +10, Streetwise +14, Thievery +9, Bluff +13, Religion +15, Arcana +11

Acrobatics +4, Diplomacy +7, Dungeoneering +3, Endurance +4, Heal +5, History +6, Insight +5, Intimidate +7, Nature +3, Perception +3, Athletics +2

Human: Mindbite Scorn
Level 1: Blade Initiate
Level 2: Cunning Stalker
Level 4: Superior Implement Training (Accurate dagger)
Level 6: Tyrian Bureaucrat

Eldritch Blast: Eldritch Strike
Level 1 Ordained Priest Feature: Shining Symbol
Warlock encounter 1: Grasp of the Iron Tower
Ordained Priest encounter 1: Shining Symbol
Warlock daily 1: Crown of Stars
Warlock utility 2: Beguiling Tongue
Warlock encounter 3: Delban's Deadly Attention
Warlock daily 5: Deathly Conduit
Warlock utility 6: Deliverance of Faith

Adventurer's Kit, Thieves' Tools, Necklace of Keys +1, Phylactery of Divinity (heroic tier), Holy Symbol, Veteran's Leather Armor +2, Shielding Blade Accurate dagger +1, Bottle of Wine, Doctrinal book
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Arunny and Ibhea locate the slave girl in the Burning Row apartment building, work their way past building security, and arrive at the apartment of the merchant and his security personnel. When the pair abruptly force the door open, all hell breaks loose! They know the spiteful merchant would rather see his "rightful property" perish than be taken forcibly from him!

There isn't a moment to spare to get the girl and get out of the building before the security apparatus of the Burning Row high rise descends upon them!

* Hearthfire (A4/5): A square of hearthfire is difficult terrain. In addition, any creature that enters a square of hearthfire takes 5 fire damage and grants combat advantage (save ends).

* Doors: Minor Action to open. Bedroom door is locked and requires a Standard Action to either unlock or break down (Medium DC).

* Furniture/Firewood: Challenging Terrain DC 11.

* Building Security: At the beginning of round 3 and every round thereafter, security personnel for the apartments will show up; 1 Standard, 1 Minion.

* Win Con: Get girl to windows (north wall), open (Minor Action), and rappel down (Standard Action Athletics vs Medium DC) or front door and quietly egress (Standard Action Stealth or Bluff vs Medium DC). Failure on this action leads to Skill Challenge w/ 1 Failure.

* Loss Con: Slave Girl perishes.

* Merchant (Controller, Leader): 72 HP, AC 20, Fortitude 16, Reflex 18, Will 19

* Merchant Security Goons (Soldiers x 4): 1 HP, AC 22, Fortitude 20, Reflex 17, Will 17

* Slave Girl
Medium natural humanoid, human
Level 6 Minion
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion. Initiative +7
AC 20, Fortitude 17, Reflex 19, Will 19 Perception+7
Speed 6

Immediate Actions

Pacifying Touch (charm) ✦ Recharge 6
Immediate Reaction
Trigger: An enemy moves adjacent or starts its turn adjacent to the slave girl.
Attack: Melee 1 (triggering creature); +9 vs. Will
Hit: The target is stunned UtEoIT.

Omthala's Will Be Done (Encounter)
Immediate Interrupt
Trigger: You are hit by an attack.
Effect: The attacker must reroll the attack and use the second roll, even if it is lower.

Acrobatics +5, Thievery +10
Str 10 (+3) Dex 15 (+5) Wis 17 (+6)
Con 12 (+4) Int 16 (+6) Cha 14 (+5)


Merchant (M) 25
Arunny (A) 24
Ibhea (I) 21
Merchant Security Goons (G1-4) 13
Slave Girl (S) 8



I, Omthala's Searing Voice (ARUNNY), start the day having Cast Fortune and rolling an 8.

The MERCHANT howls in protest as the door splinters from its framing. "Do your job! Attack damnit! Don't let them seize property for their religious nonsense!"

The GOON near the door to the back bedroom rushes Ibhea with a small blade as his ally uses the opening to engage the heroes in melee!

* Move Action: F4 to G6

* Standard Action: Attack Damnit vs Ibhea Will: r(19) +9 = 28. Hit. Ibhea gains vulnerable 5 all damage (save ends). G1 charges from D7 to D2 and uses Teamwork Strike vs Ibhea Ref: r(18) +9 +1 (charge) = 28. Hit. 11 damage and G3 shifts to E2.

➶ Attack Damnit! ✦ Recharge ⚄ ⚅
Attack: Ranged 5 (one creature); +9 vs. Will
Hit: The target gains vulnerable 5 all damage (save ends).
Effect: One of the merchant's allies can charge the target or make a melee basic attack against the target as a free action.

(⚔) Teamwork Strike (weapon) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +9 vs. Ref
Hit: 6 damage and an ally within 5 squares shifts 1 square.


Immediate Interrupt Close burst 4
Trigger: An enemy hits you with a melee attack
Target: The triggering enemy in the burst
Attack: Charisma vs. Will
Hit: 1d8 + Charisma modifier necrotic damage. The target chooses either to deal half damage to you with its melee attack or to take 1d8 extra necrotic damage.

r(17) +9 = 26 vs 19 (17 +2 Security Tactics) Will. Hit for r(5) +5 = 10 damage. Minion KO'd, negating attack, subsequent damage, and G3's movement.

[I'm choosing to render enemies reduced to 0 HP unconscious rather than killed outright for this encounter, unless otherwise specified. These are fellow humans simply following orders, after all, and defending their territory and "property." We are the aggressors here!]

As the goon rushes IBHEA, their entrance unfolding precisely as Arunny had foretold it would, the whisky priest is ready for the onrush. As the one goon slashes at him with a blade, instead of connecting with a shallow slice across Ibhea's raised forearm and his ally stepping forward in aid, Ibhea reacts with fractionally quicker reflexes.

A bolt of frigid starlight shines down and bathes his foe, causing the goon to suffer a spasm of agony just as it attacks him. The goon yields consciousness under the assault.

"Feel the wrath of the Shadowed Sun!" Ibhea whispers harshly.

Immediate Reaction Close burst 3
Trigger: A creature within 3 squares of you drops to 0 hit points
Target: Each enemy in the burst
Attack: Wisdom vs. Fortitude
Hit: 1d8 + Wisdom modifier psychic damage.
Effect: You and each ally in the burst gain a +2 power bonus to attack rolls until the end of your next turn, and gain 5 temporary hit points.
Additional Effects: Manifestation of Preservation (slide ally 1)

vs. G2: r(17) + 10 = 27 vs. 20 Fort (no line of effect from G4 = no security tactics) = HIT; vs. G3: r(13) + 10 = 23 vs. 20 Fort = HIT; vs. M: r(5) + 10 = 15 vs. 16 Fort = Miss.

Hit G2 & G3 for r(2) +6 pscyh + 4 fire = 12 damage. Minions KO'd

Slide Ibhea from D1 to D2

I'm ALSO choosing to render enemies reduced to 0 HP unconscious rather than killed outright for this encounter, unless otherwise specified. These are fellow humans simply following orders, after all, and defending their territory and "property." HOWEVER, should the little girl die, the merchant is dead. End of story.

ARUNNY is quick to follow Ibhea's counterattack with one of her own: as the charging goon faints at the feet of Omthala's Lucent Messenger, Her Searing Voice holds her hands before her as if parting a curtain. As her hands separate, the other two goons in the room collapse as well, but the merchant remains upright and sneering.

LOCATION: Ibhea in D2. M in G6.
CONDITION TO ENEMIES: Ibhea vulnerable 5 all damage (save ends).

Staring at the merchant with the brilliance of Omthala's wrath, ARUNNY slams her morningstar on the hardwood floor several times, each strike sending thunderous echoes throughout the room, each sending shockwaves into the merchant's body, the final slam causing his qaba to catch fire. Arunny steps close to the shuddering merchant and declares in a loud, clear tone: "Hear Omthala's truth and feel Her fiery reprimand!"

* begin turn with +2att (UEoANT) and 5THP

* Standard Action: Thunder of Judgment (enc.): r(20) + 10 + 2 (DS) = Crit vs. 16 Fort: Hit! Damage: 12 + 6 (Thunder) + r(2) + r(3) (Fire) = 23 Damage, and M is dazed (UEoANT); Manifestation of Preservation: slide I to D3

* Move Action: 2 squares to E3

LOCATION: E3; Ibhea D3
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: G2, G3: 0 HP (Unconscious); M: 23 Damage

As Arunny tends to the merchant's goons as planned, IBHEA dashes to the door and gives the lock a good poke with the tip of his blade, just as he learned on the mean streets of the lower city as a desperate urchin. The lock does not yield, just as Arunny foretold, and so he twists his dagger to the left as the Searing Voice of Omthala instructed. This time the lock yields.

He flings the door inward, exposing the scene of the bedchamber: richly appointed furnishings, the cowering slavegirl, another of the merchant's goons with a blade at the ready.

With barely a moment's thought, Ibhea materializes in his free hand a crackling black sphere, an incarnation of the Shadowed Sun, and flings it at the tough, hitting him square in the face in an explosion of sizzling energy.

"Quick, come with me, girl!" he urges. "We are here to rescue you, to return you to your rightful place in Omthala's blazing embrace."

* Start of turn: +2 ATK (Death Surge) already expired, +5 THP, begins in D3.

* Move Action: D3 to D8 (triggers Shadow Walk, +2 defenses UEoINT)

* Standard Action: Thievery Check to unlock the door, r(2) TRIGGERS ARUNNY'S CAST FORTUNE (FREE ACTION): substitute r(8) +9 = 17 vs 15 DC. Success.

* Minor Action: Open door.

* Action Point for Standard Action: Hand of Blight vs G4, r(15) +9 = 24 vs 17 Will. Hit for r(2) +5 = 7 necrotic and psychic damage. KO'd.

DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: 7 necrotic and psychic damage to G4, KO'd.

* Well, that was a route! The combat is effectively over at this point with the girl safe and the security personnel routed.

The merchant is going to flee out of the apartment and into the corridor. Make some kind of a move to get us out of this scene. There is no immediate duress present so its player's choice where this goes. If its a threat to the merchant to facilitate your passage, then its just a single Intimidate. If its bluffing your way past the building security regime or just greasing their palms, then Bluff or 1/10th magic item level 6 to grease palms. If its sneaking through the building or carefully rappelling out the window or navigating a precarious ledge that skirts around to the fire escape, then Group (Stealth/Ath/Acro). There isn’t something pressing in upon you right now so your choice!

If you fail, we'll go to a Skill Challenge w/ 1 accrued failure for egress back to where you're attempting to get to and I’ll frame an obstacle. If you succeed, then transition us to where you were egressing to @darkbard @Nephis


* 250 + 63 * 4 = 502/2 = 251 apiece.


* Child secured (we'll sort her out later).
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The slave girl warily steps over the fallen form of the merchant's goon and towards IBHEA. Then when she sees Arunny through the doorway, her form swathed in lily white robes and wimple, steel scales of her armor shining in the lamplight, the girl rushes past him and wraps her arms around Arunny's waist.

"A vision of the Goddess, you are," the girl proclaims in her Issyc Sehari outlander accent.

Ibhea calmly steps back into the room, retrieves a coin purse from his belt pouch, and tosses it at the merchant's feet.

"You've been more than adequately compensated for your loss here," the whisky priest snarls. "The girl now returns to her rightful place."

The merchant seems ready to protest, but the fiery stare cast upon him by Arunny, one arm protectively around the girl, the other raising her weapon slightly in menace, is enough to quell his objection into a sputter.

"That's right. Don't give me a reason," Arunny threatens.

Omthala's Lucent Messenger and Searing Voice exit the Burning Row highrise tower, girl in tow, and make their way back to the Sanctuary of Light, to provide succor and ministrations as they are able. And to learn what they can from her of the raids upon Omthala's faithful in the outlands.

Ibhea pays off the merchant with 180 gps (1/10th L6 magic item value) to cover his loss and ensure a safe retreat from the building.
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Upon arriving back at the Sanctuary of Light, it is clear that the poor girl is in some level of distress. She recoils momentarily as you step through the threshold to the temple, her skin blanching and her stomach heaving as if she is going to be ill. She attempts to recover, assuring you both:

"...its must be the heat of the day coupled with the long journey to the temple..."

She is neither underfed nor does she bear bruises or marks of mistreatment.

At the threshold to the temple, she attempts to gather herself, step through, and answer the question you have posed regarding the raids in the outlands. That is when the distress she is suffering reveals itself to be far beyond mundane matters.

Her head flings back at a terrible angle. With herculean strength, she tears her hand away from whomever was helping her. Her linens tear and rip at seams as her body contorts. Stigmata appears on her hands and crawls disturbingly up her forearms. Her bright eyes turn black. A cascade of wretching and necrotic vomit. Something...stirs in the supernatural byproduct...

Her tiny voice quivers from seemingly far away and then trails off:


The entity is powerful. You can tell that much immediately. And it explains why the young girl's great power that Pa'avu intrinsically felt in the market is suppressed.

What do you think this is and what do you do?

Depending upon your answers here and your declared action, we'll formulate a Skill Challenge.
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Arunny recoils at the splash and stench of the black sick, then is overwhelmed by a pulsating sensation of purple in the odor, a bizarre aspect of the synesthesia that often accompanies her visions. But this violet sensation has a recent antecedent—her assault and brief possession by the agents called by the wicked Warlock Hakhaman on this very site weeks before!

She staggers and reaches out a hand to steady herself against the spare form of her companion.

IBHEA senses his colleague’s disorientation, steps in in her stead. He raises Omthala’s symbol—suddenly radiant in the black night—from the golden chain around his neck and intones, “By the holy power of Omthala, light-giver, mistress of time, … and her Shadowed Son, Delban, king of suffering and restraint [this latter under his breath], I banish you, foul presence, from this mortal realm, to beset this poor innocent no longer!”

Ibhea uses Shining Symbol (Encounter Power) for a +2 circumstance bonus to his Primary Skill Religion check, r(11) +15 +2 = 28 vs ??, succeeding against a Hard DC up to L12. I’m hoping this first obstacle is set at a Hard DC for the ensuing SC!

Having talked over the scenario with @Nephis, we believe the slave girl has been infected by the mind seed of some alien entity, that Hakhaman, or those aligned with him, succeeded with the slave girl, at least in part, whereas he was foiled in his attempt to infect Arunny. It may be that Tarquin/Amna/Hakhaman (deceased) are, or are in league with, the dark forces that (1) beset the Empress and (2) seek to divert suspicion of their activity to the Legion of Ruth; that the Inquisition is a legitimate attempt by the Empress to escape from the control of those who close in on her and ferret out this conspiracy.

As to the nature of the entity spewed forth from the slave girl: something like a xenomorph, something utterly alien to this realm.

Complexity 2, Level +2 Skill Challenge (level 8 so DCs 12/16/24 and 20/21 NAD or 22/24 vs AC). 2 Secondary Skills (Complexity 2).

This first move above will be against the Hard DC so only Medium DC remains.

The goal will be adjure the malign, alien entity from the child.

* On 6 successes with 0 failures, you outright banish it from the mortal realm and she is freed.

* On a Success w/ 1 failure, you adjure it only but are facing a weakened, physical version of it in the mortal realm (Encounter Budget of Level +2), but the child retreats to the temple and is safe.

* On a Success w/ 2 failures, you adjure it only and are facing its full, physical version of it in the mortal realm (Encounter Budget of Level +3), but the child retreats to the temple and is safe.

* On a Failure, you adjure it, but you are facing its full, physical version of it in the mortal realm (Encounter Budget of Level +3), and the child (same stats) is in peril (safety is the square across the threshold of the temple door).

1 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/2 Secondary Skills Available

The entity within the child briefly recoils from the divinity-infused words as the form of the child backpedals from the threshold of Omthala’s temple.

Abruptly, the child’s face screws up in feigned horror, a gasp with hands then clasping around mouth. Muffled:

“…he has a secret…”

Hands release and an expression of creepy glee and spasmodic movement toward Ibhea.

(1) “You have a secret! We have a secret too! Tell your secret and we’ll tell ours!” Ibhea can feel the power of suggestion tugging at him.

(2) A crowd slowly begins to gather outside as the footsteps of a temple steward echo nearer (putting themselves in danger…or perhaps hearing terrible truths they should not hear…).

Deal with (1) or (2) or both.



IBHEA begins to wilt under the possessing entity's threat, the power of its suggestion. Must he proclaim his devotion to Delban, the Shadowed Sun, dark son to Omthala, here before a gathering crowd, a populace unprepared for these truths unearthed from ancient coffers of the east? If speak he must, then speak truth he will! Whatever to cast forth this foul being from an innocent.

But then, just as he is beginning to admit his secret heterodoxy, Arunny mildly admonishes, "Ibhea, do not fall for this creature's tricks. Its compulsion is magic, not some ethical test. Even now I see its purple tendrils like a rope dragging you into its dark embrace. Show it your own strength and power!"

The whisky priest can almost see the bindings himself now. His anger rises. Almost to have been tricked into releasing truths upon those not ready for them!

"You sicken me, creature! You hold no power here in the mortal realm, where agents of the divine stand as bastions protecting the innocent from your weak deceptions. You hold no sway here, I say! Release the girl and retreat to your alien realm, safe from the power of the Light Mistress to sear and wither your impotent form!"

Arunny makes a Secondary Skill Insight check to read what forces are at work in the compulsion acting upon her fellow priest, +19 vs 12 Easy DC, so autosuccess for +2 bonus to Ibhea's Primary Skill Intimidate check to threaten the possessing creature with the full force of divine opposition, r(9) +7 +2 = 18 vs 16 Moderate DC. Success.

We're engaging with your (1) above, though I imagine that's clear.

2 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/1 Secondary Skills Available

Ibhea's mind clears, his mental and physical fortitude doubled as consternation spreads across the face of the possession mask of the "creature-child."

"What's wrong with the child" comes a call from the crowd. The throng of people presses in.

Another; "that child is needs the hands of a healer and medicinal tea, not a tongue-lashing!"

Consternation slowly turns to wicked smile as the face rises to meet the pair of priests. Capriciously, its face changes to melodramatic sentiment as it whispers mockingly to them "what's wrong with the child...what's wrong with the child?" Its eyes go from black to that of the child's again and the voice of the child is summoned forth as it faces the concerned folk gathering...reaching out to them with a desperate hand:

"Please...please help me!"

A mother and father with swaddled infant move forward with reflexive purpose, bent on intervening...



IBHEA groans as the crowd gathers and the new parents step forward to intervene. Then, fully registering the heckling, he casts his eyes to Arunny, perched close by, on the first step to the Sanctuary of Light.

"You are right, the girl does need a healer," he begins. "She is sick unto madness, hence her fear and disorientation. And the Searing Voice of Omthala before you is the very healer to deliver her. Yet we know not if this madness spreads as ill humors on the wind. Safeguard yourselves and your families, and leave the workings of Omthala's will to her rightful agents, those protected by Her radiant immanence. Return to your homes, all of you, with the blessings of the Mistress of Light upon you."

Ibhea uses Beguiling Tongue (Encounter, Arcane; Minor Action, Personal; Effect: You gain a +5 power bonus to your next Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check during this encounter) as a bonus to his Primary Skill Diplomacy check r(14) +7 +1 (Half-elf Group Diplomacy (within 10 squares of Arunny)) +5 = 27 vs 16 Moderate DC. Success.

3 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/1 Secondary Skills Available

The crowd genuflects in near unison at the priest's earnest petition to disperse and then does as asked.

<sigh> "...then we do it the hard way" whispers the not-child.

Eyes burn with purple flame. Actual heat radiates in waves of increasing temperature. Feet tremble and then are liberated from earth as form levitates. Spine curls back on itself. Hair separates in strands and hangs in the air.

Mouth goes agape. One TWO voices emanate from within...each whispering a different language, overlapping, entangling.


Clearly an AoE w/ psychic and fire keyword born of two different sources from within. Both PCs lose a Healing Surge on a failure here and if the whole Skill Challenge turns into a failure (therefore the girl is in peril), the girl suffers a -2 to Initiative in the combat to come.


Without hesitation, ARUNNY swiftly steps closer to the still-a-child, ignoring the waves of heat and the strange multi-voiced whisperings. The Searing Voice of Omthala reaches one arm around the girl's waist and pulls her downward, the other hand cupping the back of the girl's head, gently forcing it upright to face her.

"Look into my eyes, child, look deep
into them. I will lead you back to us: follow my Voice and borrow my strength." For several long moments the purple flame continues to burn in the girl's eyes. Then, slowly, the purple gives way to warm topaz, the expression absolutely terrified. "Keep following my Voice, do not hesitate: Omthala is strong enough to bring you home."

At first Arunny senses only the quiver of the child's fear. Finally, as her arms begin to tire, she feels her lifeforce begin to enter the girl's body, centering the child and anchoring her to this realm. As the woman begins to slump, still holding tightly to the girl, Ibhea comes forward to support them both.


5 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/1 Secondary Skills Available

A disembodied female voice (channeling "If you build it, they will come" here) whispers from the heavens:

"If you steward the child across my threshold, the malign entities will depart..."

The child must have heard it as well as she reaches out with an exhausted hand toward the steps and the awaiting bosom of the temple's grace. She tries to raise a weak, trembling foot, but she can barely muster the strength...and its clear that the parasitic influence within is fighting her with desperate ferocity.

She clenches her teeth...furrows her brow...scrunches her nose...and attempts to inch forward with your supporting hands. (1)

A roiling voice like two tempests rises from within her tiny form; "WE WILL NOT ALLOW IT!"

The horrific vomit shifts as if alive and gloops toward her (and you). (2)


Deal with either (1) or (2) to cinch it. If you fail at either, I'm activating 2 and we're in a combat.


Continuing to channel her life's energy into the child's body, ARUNNY wraps one of her arms firmly around the girl's body, attempting to shield them both from the dreadful sight of the strange, animate vomit. The priestess quickly revises her plan as the body of her charge begins to thrash and scratch and snarl and even to bite. Both arms now enfold the slight body which Arunny desperately drags forward, ignoring the pain and murmuring calming words with what breath she can spare.

The temple stairs never seemed higher than they do right now. One step ... snarl, snap ... another step ... writhe, squirm ... one more step ... stumble, wrench. Arunny almost loses her grip several times, but she - Omthala's Searing Voice - continues to follow Her Voice and to bear the burden of this helpless child.

Finally, they both stumble over the threshold, Arunny pulling the frail girl through an almost solid, gelatinous, wall of purple ... discordance? There are times that the priestess's synesthesia is strange even to herself. She looks down at their waif with a smile. "So, what is your name, dear child?"

Arunny uses Primary Skill Endurance to muster herself and the little girl, Qamra, over the threshold: r(9) + 12 = 21 vs 16 Moderate DC: 6 Successes!!
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- 700/2 = 350 xp apiece

- Companion Character Qamra (your call on the build)

- 370 gold (donations by passers-by for the miracle witnessed)

Take Milestone

An hour later after clean-up, ministrations, and finding quarters for the child, the conversation has drifted purposefully or incidentally toward Qamra's background.

"I...I...struggle to remember. There is burning fire. There is cold purple all through the landscape of my mind...burning to cinders and choking my memories."

She sits down on her newly acquired cot and rubs her fingers across the material of the mundane bedding.

"This is familiar to me. I slept in a bed much like this...

...hmmmm...there were many of us. Ten?...I think?

On dry nights...most nights were dry...the open sky was a welcome sight...why was the sky open? Why was it so looking up from the bottom of a well?"

She scrunches her hands full of bedding material in frustration.

"This doesn't make sense!"

Goal: Help Her Remember

Complexity 1, Of-level Skill Challenge (DCs 11, 15, vs NAD 18, vs AC 20)

1 Secondary Skill, all DCs Medium


IBHEA ejaculates, "Qamra, sweet child, you are mistaken! What you say now makes all the sense in the mortal world ... and beyond! A nearly-forgotten holy book of our faith, The Shadowed Sun, contains a long section, the Decateuch, describing ten cosmic vessels who serve as a bulwark against the alien incursion of Caiphon, the Dream Whisperer.

From what you describe, you either experienced or dreamed yourself among these glorified souls. Reading your mystic emanations now, I can sense the great power within. I believe Caiphon, too, or its agents, marked you and your fellows, infected you with a mind-fogging madness to dull your shielding puissance and divert you from the inevitable cosmic clash.

Do you recall details about your fellows? Who they were? If you were physically assembled, or if this transpired in the dream realm?"

Ibhea makes an Arcana check to elucidate details from Qamra's story analogically to his heretical scripture, r(13) +11 = 24 vs 15 Moderate DC. Success.

1 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/1 Secondary Skills Available

Looking at no one with a thousand yard stare...

"I...I think it was real. Though it seems as you say. We were...many...taken from the temples and our missions in the hinterlands. They said they were priests and they bore the vestments of our Goddess. Into the earth they cast us...down into a great column of sheer walls. So far. They said that if The Mistress of Light did bless us, then she would deliver us.

By the fifth day, some of us did manifest our powers...but She did not give us wings to fly. Our priest-captors did not throw down ropes. When deliverance did not come, we fell into despair. From the earth came a burning voice of fire and destruction. In the night, when the sun retreated, came a celestial orb of blazing purple in the sky. They each promised deliverance..."

She turns away, shame and tears taking her.

Shaking, she will say no more.

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