The Slave and Her Sovereign


Before the High Cleric seals the doors to the Sanctuary of Light, Lucent Messenger Arunny briefly pulls Chanvati and Pa’avu aside. “These gauntlets (Gauntlets of Blood) belonged to my brother, a noted warrior who was slain fighting the Bladeling Horde upon the steppes. Take them, half-giant, with my thanks for exorcising the demon that sought to take hold of me. And for you, mystic, a draught to heal your wounds (Potion of Healing), should you be so unfortunate as to be in danger’s way again.”

The next morning is a flurry of activity in the familiar Audaseie estate, as Chanvati scribes a missive for Inquisitor Eyo-uth-shala, informing her of his certainty that the Scrolls of Xanthar are located in Amna’s private chambers. He suggests meeting there at dusk to bring Tarquin and Amna to justice for their crimes.

He sends a second letter to Bita-Bousseh, informing her of the previous day’s successes and arranging to meet with her at a later date to discuss, in heavily couched and indirect terms, the goals and activities of the 2nd Nation.

Chanvati dispatches the slave Neari with his letters.

In the intervening time, Chanvati and Pa’avu visit The Genie’s Lamp, a luxury consignment shop in Bantouk’s upscale merchant district, to pawn some of their trophies in return for a grisly but potent ward to Pa’avu’s mobility in combat (Badge of the Berserker +1).

I rolled a 5 +3 = 8 on my Streetwise check to acquire the Badge of the Berserker +1 vs DC 19 (Uncommon at-level item), so that introduces a complication of some sort. The cost of the item is normally 520 gp, which we would pay with the head of our enemy slain encased in gold (250 gp), the two gemstones (100 gp each), and 70 gold coins. Out of sentimentality, Chanvati wishes to reserve the jade hairpin from Bita-Bousseh (250 gp) from inclusion in the transaction, but if you want to include that in the complication….

Once whatever complication arises is dealt with, we intend the next scene to be the bringing to justice of Tarquin and Amna, as we coincide our arrival at their estate with that of Eyo-urth-shala and the might of the Inquisition. Should Hakhaman die in the process, all the better.

Outstanding/New Quests:

Chanvati Major Quest: Depose Tarquin as Prince of the family and bring rightful vengeance down upon Tarquin and Amna.

Chanvati Minor Quest: Discover the goals of the 2nd Nation.

Chanvati Minor Quest: See Hakhaman die.

Pa’avu Major Quest: To access the mythical aspects of my heritage, I will travel to Stoneroot’s Perch to commune with the venerable K’mniich’ himself.

Pa’avu Minor Quest: Redeem Hakhaman’s remaining hound. (Pa’avu has become increasingly dismayed at the death of innocent work animals, slaves, in truth, working only to serve the wicked deeds of cruel masters and paying the price on their behalf.)

Extended Rest: All Daily & Encounter Powers are refreshed. Reset to 1 AP each. Both PCs are at 2044/2250 XP for L3.
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Perched near about the middling point of a considerable elevation, as you exit The Genie's Lamp, you're spat out onto endlessly descending and ascending stone stairwell that can comfortably fit a pair of rickshaws side by side. Posh shops and high-end food-carts carve out the scene with unharnessed bleating goats accompanying string and wind instrument players as the musical track.

When you're out of the shop and affixing the bone & leather magical badge to Pa'avu's garb, a pair of gaunt but cleanly kids rush you with an array of excited obscenities. They flood you with marveling words at the newly acquired magical badge, replete with the typical refrains of "I wish I had the money for a fancy trinket from The Genie's Lamp...must be niiiiiiiiice" and the sort.



The beguiling and preoccupying pair do their "mark-distraction" long enough (a moment) for their pickpocket to do a "fly-by", unclasp one of Chanvati's pouches (or satchel) and relieve him of the contents inside; the Jade Hairpin!

It happens so fast, but Pa'avu sees the blur of activity that is the swipe as the light of the sun catches the green gemstone. Two "bounds away" in the densely packed stair, the kid rears to fling it like a frisbee to a fourth kid on a nearby tile rooftop as all the children prepare for a mad runner from the scene, eager to disappear in storm drains, through establishments, or into the tiniest of alley crevices between these hill-built structures.

Though you can fit two rickshaws "abreast" here, its still rather cramped for a large person like Pa'avu. There is no shortage of street-vendors and animals on these stairs so, along with passing rickshaws, each momentarily open space on the cramped stair is brief.

A misstep or abrupt move could lead to a precarious collision and a daisy chain avalanche of people, food-laden carts, animals, rickshaws!

What are you doing @Nephis ? Medium DC of Level +2 (14) whatever it is you do.
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PA'AVU smirks down at the urchin who threw the hairpin and murmurs to her, "Really, Padma? You thought to get past me, again?" before grabbing a handy bit of scaffolding to swing herself up to the nearby roof. Landing softly on the tiles, the goliath draws herself up to her full height and stares down at the dumbfounded girl gazing fearfully up at her. Holding out an immense hand, Pa'avu says sternly but not unkindly, "Sophea, I believe you have something that belongs to my gosb'tar."

After making her careful way back to her gosb'tar (e.g. not by climbing or by jumping), Pa'avu hands both the hairpin and the flyer to Chanvati. "These are yours, I think," she intones without expression.

Skill Check (Athetics) to jump (vault) onto roof (Goliath: Roll twice for climb & jump checks): b(20, 20) + 11 = 31, 31 Success

Pa'avu's updated NADs: Fort 18, Ref 15, Will 14
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Sophea scowls and then it abruptly softens into a playful smile. She immediately turns to "roof run" as she tosses the jade hairpin over her shoulder into Pa'avu's waiting hands. "Oh man" she laments to the other kids, "I didn't even get to say the cool tag-line!" "Say it anyway(!)" another urchin challenges her. Sophea's words rebound over her shoulder "The Second Nation thanks you for your charity!"

As she and the rest of the urchins separate and disappear into the district's eclectic architecture, a folded flyer flits from her pocket and unravels at Pa'avu's feet. <MISSING YOUR DOG?! COME CHECK OUR KENNEL AT RUFFLY GELDED!>

Jade Hairpin recovered.

Alright, presumably your next scene is about @darkbard 's Major Quest and newly scribed Minor Quest w/ Hakhaman. You can go ahead and frame your next scene at the estate of Tarquin with he and Amna. I'll give you the Complexity and Level of the Skill Challenge and the first obstacle/DC via Discord after you debrief me on how you're seeing the opening of this upcoming scene.


"Ruffly Gelded," Chanvati muses. "Perhaps I best watch my step--and other parts--more closely around Bita-Bousseh and her fellow conspirators."

* * *

Hours after the episode with the urchins along the Centipede Steps, a pair of moons in their third quarter crests the city’s hills and tiled roofs on the horizon. As arranged, Eyo-urth-shala, Inquisitor of Bas-Billan the Justiciar, and her force of Knights Speculative arrive to meet Chanvati and the goliath at the approach to the double doors to Tarquin’s sprawling estate.

“Inquisitor,” Chanvati bows his head slightly. “The eyes I have had watching my treacherous family have done their duty well. I was informed that the materials stolen from the Dome of Illumination are stored away in my cousin Amna’s private chambers atop that petrified wing thither. Hidden there, I might add, at Tarquin’s direction to avoid any prying eyes among visitors to the central chambers from taking note.

“There is one … minor complication. Earlier today we had a bit of a dustup with my uncle’s Steward, a twisted Warlock of no small power, barely even human any longer after his trafficking with aberrant powers from beyond. I fear he may have some foreknowledge of our intentions this night. But if the Inquisitor leave dealing with that monstrous entity to us, the path to bringing Tarquin and Amna to justice should be clear.”

Our Goal: Locate, isolate, defeat the Warlock so the Inquisitor can carry out the necessaries of their duties/arrests.

Per @Manbearcat :

Your first obstacle will be to mask your efforts from the prying eyes of Hakhaman’s agents and his divinations or otherwise defeat them.

The moment you have that exchange with Inquisitor Eyo-urth-shala, the wind suddenly picks up and blows in a sudden gust toward the estate, carrying your words, revealing your intentions, aloft. You can hear your whispers echo audibly as they move away from you.

HARD DC (22)

Level +3, Complexity 2 (DCs will be for level 5 so 10, 15, 22 while ATK vs AC is 19/21 and vs NAD is 17/18)

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

Failure in the SC = I’m raising the combat encounter budget by 1 Standard worth of xp as Hakhaman will be prepared for you.
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CHANVATI witnesses in horror as his words eddy and echo in the wind, almost visible as they are captured by the ectoplasmic trap laid by Hakhaman and carried away. His mind flashes back to cosmological lessons at Xerxes's School for Gifted Psicrafters, reaching desperately for an antidote to the Warlock's invocation!

Scholars opined that Dread Caiphon, that star that wanders across the night sky with its putrid purple cast, facilitated the bleed of aberrant power from beyond to those who submitted their will to its fell service. That was it! If he were to disrupt the local influence of Caiphon by augmenting the psionic pathways in countervalence to the ectoplasmic field, the interaction should short-circuit Hakhaman's magic!

Chanvati gathers his reserves, touches both forefingers to his shaved forehead, and emits a wave of pure psionic force.

I'm using one of those Secondary Skills to make a Dungeoneering Skill Check r(4) +2 = 6 vs 10 Easy DC, yields -1 forward to

Primary Skill Check Arcana r(11) +10 -1 = 20 vs 22 Hard DC. Fail.

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

Whether its some foul collision of harnessing the latent psionic energy of the immediate environment with the wake of The Dread Star's magical influence or Caiphon's intervention alone, it doesn't matter. The "earth" at Chanvati's feet wobbles and heaves...but only in The Ethereal Plane. But it matters not, because that wave trough undulates to crest suddenly and violently as it washes over Chanvati....taking him...elsewhere.

It happens so fast that its unclear if Pa'avu reaches for him or he reaches for her. Nonetheless, the two instantly shift out of this world as the wave washes over them.

They're falling.

Their fall is suddenly arrested by a splash-down in pulsing, amoebic sea of purple. Actual waves of extreme color and viscosity threaten to consume drag them down into the hungry maw of The Dread Star. The sea does not turn them into their constituent molecular beginnings (as the sea of a star should) does not scald...instead it is freezing beyond words (2).

Reaching one of the black-green "ectoplasmic bergs" that are bobbing in this terrible sea would be nice...finding an Ethereal Rift to return home would be nicer...but the first order of business is not being drawn down into the ravenous purple depths (1)!


Level +6, Complexity 1 (DCs will be for level 8 so 12, 16)

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

* Any Micro-Failure here = 2 x Healing Surge lost

* Failure in the SC = you're spat back into the prime world but you suffer a Disease Attack of a Level 8 Disease.
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The first thing CHANVATI'S senses take in is the absolute cold, his whole body on fire and an acute pain in his extremities, as if his fingers and ears are being crushed and ground in a mortar and pestle. He gasps, inhaling a viscous mouthful of ... something gelid ... and feels himself sinking, sinking below.

But then Pa'avu's powerful grasp closes on his brocaded jubba as he descends, and he feels her legs kick upward, dragging him along. He emerges, sputtering, in a purple expanse of liquid, colder than any ice.

Group Athletics Primary Skill Check to swim with sufficient proficiency in the alien fluid to maintain their momentary equilibrium: Pa'avu Athletics check r(10) +11 = 21 vs 16 Moderate DC. Pass. Chanvati Athletics check r(3) +0 = 3 vs 16 Moderate DC. Fail. 1/2 Succeed in Group Check = Success.
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PA'AVU gasps for breath as she bobs in the purple ocean and twists this way and that to try to glimpse a berg of some sort to which they can swim and on which they can pull out of this viscous liquid. All of this happens as she assures that Chanvati's face is above the surface. Usually her gosb'tar's nearby presence seems to aide her visual acuity, but now it distracts her in her worry ... or is it interference from the purple "water" which sends wave upon wave directly at her, each one crashing over her head and blurring her vision still more.

Perception Primary Skill Check to find somewhere they can swim to: Pa'avu Perception check r(2) + 7 + 2(w/in 10sq of Chanvati) = 11 vs 16 Moderate DC. Fail. Lose 2 healing surges.

Pa'avu's surges: 9/11 remaining.

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

Limbs and senses are growing ever colder...ever distant...

Pa'avu is thrown wildly this way and that in the volatile, thick stew of this alien sea. She slams brutally against the underside of a berg, fighting to retain consciousness and not get dragged under the massive bummock (underside) of the formation by the flow dynamics.

Chanvati is spiraling omnidirectionally by the grasp of the powerful near-giant and the angry, that intends to batter and suffocate them (best case scenario). A stray gasp for air quickly shuttered by yet another plunge. Something "not-water" with them...right next to them. A massive eye. A beak. A bulbous head. A vast array of long, powerful tentacles. The beast collects and coils itself for an explosive vertical stroke, preparing to breach and...who knows...liberate itself from the Dread Star's plasma?

What are you guys doing?
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CHANVATI instinctively lashes out with psionic force, jumbling and fragmenting space around the beaked, tentacled horror and shunting it as far away as possible. He knows such dimensional interferences can be dangerous when interacting with cosmological nexes--witness the rift torn by Hakhaman outside the Sanctuary of Light earlier--but desperate times require desperate measures!

I'm using Dimensional Scramble to teleport the horror away from us in order to buy some respite for our next move: r(2) +7 = 9 vs ??? 16 Moderate DC? Fail.

Chanvati loses 2 Surges 5/7.
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1 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/2 Failures/1 Secondary Skills Available/0 Advantages Available)

Though it may yet only be an Astral experience, when the Caiphon Kraken’s tentacles grasp Chanvati and Pa’avu, the feeling of squeeze and the flooding of horrifying imagery tells the brain “this_is_very_real.”

Your perspective instantly shifts to being back on your home world. A compelled look skyward reveals the purple-hued Dread Star closing…becoming impossibly huge. The tidal forces pull and twist destructively; trees snap, basins of water climb and yaw, glass breaks and walls collapse. Horrors, unimpressed by the laws of gravity, fall happily from the sky…

Pa’avu’s grip on both her companion’s coat and the spongey-yet-rocky berg begins to fail as the creature threatens to pull them skyward with terrible velocity.

What are you guys doing?

Group or Single Escape (= DC 16)? Or do you “let it” pull you out of Caiphon’s plasma?
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PA'AVU senses her body's density suddenly increase and grow heavier as her l'pahb'gin seeks to protect her. Feeling more solidly in place as her feet melt into and become one with the spongey-yet-rocky-berg-now-part-goliath, she is now able to regain a firm grasp on her gosb'tar, wrenching him downward with both arms. Deciding to think later about her transformation - when there's time, perhaps - she thinks to herself that at least they are no longer in danger of drowning.

* use Stone's Endurance (to increase body density) as a buff (+2)

* Primary Skill Check Endurance (to keep from being pulled upward): r(15) + 8 +2 = 25 Success!


CHANVATI'S mind reels as his consciousness experiences these multiple perspectives at once: both inside the nucleus of Dread Caiphon, with its gelid, purple ichor, its grasping kraken tentacles threatening to squeeze life from him, and outside, watching as the Wandering Star draws close to the real world, pulling all within its ravenous, twisted gravity.

And that's when he notices it: the tentacles of this aberrant kraken phase into and out of existence in brief, sporadic pulses, one then another. Did he not read, back in his days of study at Xerxes's,
The Fables of Genga, that purported journal of the deranged alienist and her dreamscape planar travels? Had she not "surfed" the tale of the Limpid Leviathan as it undulated languidly through the Astral Seas, using its capacity to phase between realities to escape her plight and return home? Scholars doubted the Fables's veracity, but does not the existence of the grells, and gricks, and tembos, and id fiends that corrupt the steppelands west of Bantouk suggest that such planar phasing was possible?

I'm using the one available Secondary Skill Perception r(19) +4 = 23 vs 12 Easy DC to yield +2 buff to

Primary Skill History r(17) +10 +2 = 29 vs 16 Moderate DC = Success. I hope that this sets up my ability to use Arcana (with Adept's Insight) to navigate phasing between planes against the final obstacle in this SC and thus avoid overall Failure. This would mean I need to roll no higher than a 4 (pending outcome of Adept's Insight d4, possibly even an autosuccess) to succeed at the Moderate DC for Arcana.

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

The memory firms up the (un)reality before them.

The silvery strands of their Astral forms, the "connective tissue" of their "bodies" in this place and their corporeal twins in the material world, float "skyward" with a reach unfathomable. They intertwine with each other, with the Astral cosmos, with the phasing Kraken's tentacles, and all other facets of this planar excursion.

It is an extreme risk to attempt this for it brings about the prospect of The Dread Star's Doom; a terrible, psychic affliction of the mind. But the unfortunate reality is, the payload of those tentacles is the same that persists within Caiphon's plasma and they may already have endured too much exposure. There is little time to do more than merely consider the consequences...


CHANVATI sees their chance and grasps it! As their Astral forms, their silver cords twist and phase with the tentacles of the kraken, he opens his mind, dissolving all sensible boundaries between ego and what lies beyond. Both his form and Pa'avu's become wave functions as they fluctuate between realities. And then it happens. As if by a great vacuum, but whose inevitable effect transcends the vastness of time and space, their projections and bodies occupy the same form once again.

Primary Skill Check Arcana r(8) +10 +r(4)+1 = 23 vs 16 Moderate DC. Success. Overall Skill Challenge Failure averted from the precipice. Whew.

Nested SC complete. 1 Success in the macro-SC:

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


* 350/2 = 175 apiece


* Residuum worth 100 GP

The words of Eyo-urth-shala, not speaking through her herald, ring out from somewhere that seems far away, but growing nearer as the pair reacclimate to their worldly bodies.

"I said...I bid you good luck in your hunt."

Shunted back into their bodies, their senses accept that their world is not sundered. The trees remain. The water washes correctly downward from mountain tributaries into lowland reservoirs. The integrity of structures persists. The Dread Star is not actually imposing upon their world. Perhaps a brief glimpse of a dark future?...or an alternative one?...or perhaps a promise by the celestial alien entity?

Pa'avu feels something in her hand. Residuum torn from the "Caiphon-berg" that somehow managed the journey from Astral to Material? As she looks at it, she's forced to reflexively snap her hand shut to protect it. The winds that carried the divination to Hakhaman have suddenly shifted...and violently.

An unthinkable cosmic secret is screamed at the gathering, riding this galeforce wind. Determined to convince them via force or force of will, a telekinetic, psychic assailant made of deranged word and raw fear demands they, flee...from their course.

Medium DC


PA'AVU quickly stuffs the strange substance into her pouch, knowing that her gosb'tar will find it useful later. As vibrations from the cosmic scream shake the goliath's body, her l'pahb'gin feels the challenge issued and digs deep to bring forth not stone this time but iron - the iron wolf of her warrior forebearers.

* Primary Skill Check Intimidate: r(1) + 10 = 11 vs 15 Moderate DC = Fail.

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

In a battle of fearsome forces of will, Hakhaman’s sponsored magic rarely loses out.

Pa’avu takes the brunt of the spell with steely determination, but the test leaves her rattled even if her stoney visage doesn’t betray as much.

Pick your consequence for Round 1 of the coming combat with the Warlock @Nephis :

* -2 to Hit UtEoYNT.

* Down 1 Healing Surge worth of HP.

The entrance to the subterranean complex beneath Tarquin’s estate is profane as it cuts through the heart of the family cemetery and dredges the bowels of the crypt.

The chain is slack and the wrought-iron gates are narrowly open, swinging subtly in a chill breeze. The mausoleum stares at you, well downrange of the long avenue that bisects the grave plots. Vultures look on like sentinels in the trees (1). The stench of carrion does not hang in the air. Hunger does not direct them. They are in service to another master.

The litanies required (2) to circumvent the main avenue by walking the perimeter that is the ancient family plots are inscribed on the gravestones in “the old tongue.” Either deeds of the family or the sacred rites and hymns must be delivered unbroken, lest the spectral guardians of this place will cast you as grave robbers and defilers whether it be true or not.

Chart your course.

1 = Hard DC.

2 = Medium DC but failure is a combat encounter with the spectral guardians.

Regardless, if you fail here, you lose the SC and we cut to Hakhaman’s lair where he’s prepared for you (+1 Standard worth of Encounter Budget).


CHANVATI has visited the family crypt on several occasions in the past, for no death of a significant relative has gone unmarked by the rites and hymns passed down among House Audaseie in maintenance of the family deeds and achievements. But though he knows the old tongue, he is no Custodian of the Annals. Is his reading true, and does his pleasant tenor carry the proper nuance?

Using his knowledge of Draconic (should that warrant +2 buff, like an Encounter Power?) Primary Skill Check History r(15) +10 (+2?) = 25 (or 27) vs. 15 Moderate DC. Success, regardless.

@Nephis says Pa'avu will start the next combat down a Surge's worth of HP.
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