The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Default Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Mummy's Mask


    Chapter 3 - Shifting Sands



    Moonday, 20 Abadius, 4716 AR

    "Just upriver from the city of An stands its sister city Tephu: City of the Reed People and home to the Great Library of Tephu, the greatest repository of knowledge in Osirion. Tephu is an enigma, with secrets shrouded behind an innocent facade. The gently waving reeds hide the black-scaled hetkoshu, just as the smiling face of the Outer Sanctum conceals an empire of knowledge with lurking secrets and outrages. Some say the library is a living thing that winds through the city, ever-shifting and loath to give up its secrets. In truth, the full extent of the Great Library is a mystery known only to a handful blessed enough to walk its stacks and pluck knowledge from its branches."
    —Excerpt from Along the Sphinx


    Tephu lies downstream from Wati to the northwest, just a short boat ride across the River Sphinx. Ferries regularly ply the river, conveying people, goods, and livestock across the water, and their pilots cram the docks in the Veins and Bargetown. The Relic Knights, Heroes of the City, don't need to wait long for passage - in fact, several of Wati’s ferrymen get involved in a forceful dispute to know which of them is going to win the honor of carrying them downriver. The loudest of these, a towering Garundi man by the name of Djau, seems to be about to win the contest by sheer force of will, and the companions, rather than enduring another ten-minute argument, settle the matter by simply getting on board his barge. The fare for passage to Tephu is waved as a matter of course, and the journey, in the company of farmers, heaped piles of goods, and a good number of chickens, cows, and even camels, makes for a noisy and smelly, but thankfully short, trip. After only a few uneventful hours, they arrive safely in Tephu.

    Surrounded by tall, swaying papyrus reeds and towering orchards of date palms, the ochre city teems with movement, its famous papyrus merchants busily filling the latest shipments for Sothis and beyond. Vershab and Calathon, having visited the place before, can explain how the papyrus of Tephu is said to not keep secrets; the secrets return home like fish returning to spawn. All knowledge eventually returns to the Great Library of Tephu, sitting among millions of words of recorded history and academic texts carefully shelved into the stacks, for the library to either boast about or hide.

    Even more so than peacetime Wati, Tephu is hot, dusty, and busy. The group finds the streets full of hawkers and peddlers - Calathon recalls how they are well known for their stubbornness, sham charm, and inability to hear the word no. The group is immersed in this world as soon as they step off the ferry. They're offered everything from savory minced lamb, limes, olives, mint tea, and water to carpets (some of which the sellers claim to be "magic" carpets), camel hide leather goods, hookah pipes, pesh, pots and pans, and even camels and dancing girls and boys.
    Last edited by Gwynfrid; 2019-07-15 at 07:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Vershab gathers his robes about him and looks out at the throng with a mixture of concern and excitement. "I am looking forward to visiting the library again, but there are always so many people here...someone always ends up touching me..." he trails off as he tries to shrink further into himself. "Perhaps someone can go in front and help clear the way? Please...?"

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Turi doesn't seem to even hear his companion. Impressed as he is with the apparent finery gathered about- and all of it for sale!- he's already got two handfuls of minced lamb, and is engaging in discussion with a man apparently selling an attractive young lady. He seems almost ready to let his companions march off without him before realizing that he'll shortly be left alone amidst the hustle and completely unaware of the location of the library. With an unforced sigh, he turns away from the girl and hurries to catch up to the rest of his party.

    "'Zkin, gotta try 'is," he mumbles through a mouthful of meat, thrusting the bundle in his left hand towards his younger brother. He swallows, with some apparent difficulty. "Loads better'n that stuff at the Hookah!"

    He notices Vershab between the Lehasti and Azkin, looking decidedly uncomfortable. "What tick bit his backside?" he mutters conspiratorially to his brother.

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    "Good day, Glorious Lady of the Dawnflower!" It is a young boy, seemingly of an age similar to Azkin's, who addresses Lehasti with a deep bow. "What would the lady like to enjoy, on her first and no doubt marvelous day in the City of Reeds? I can guide you to the most welcoming coffee houses! Or would you like to take a deserved bath in a hammam? Or perhaps to taste the universe's greatest dates? Olives? Green lemons, or green tea? Acquire a fabulous carpet? Oh, what am I thinking! Of course, of course, it has to be Tephu's papyrus, best in Osirion, famous in Katapesh, renowned all the way to Absalom and beyond in the great frozen north! Copied in Qadira, but these scoundrels will never succeed in imitating us! Come with me, come with me! I am friends with all the best traders in Tephu! For a modest fee I will even give you a tour of our great city!" Dressed in a light, reddish shirt and a bright blue fez, his jet black hair framing a comely face, he speaks at an insanely fast speed as he vies for the paladin's attention.
    Last edited by Gwynfrid; 2018-04-21 at 05:26 PM.

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    Vershab shrinks back from the boy, retreating even further into his robes. With the magic of his enchanted sleeves disguising him as a veiled desert nomad it isn't hard to avoid the sun, but it is clear that he is supremely uncomfortable with the press of people. "If he can lead us to the library, I would like to begin our research." he says, quietly to Lehasti. "I may come out to see the city, but only after the crowds have cleared out somewhat..."

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    Turi eyes the boy distrustfully. He doesn't make any effort to respond verbally, though the force with which he tears another bite of lamb suggests he considers the prospect less than inspiring...

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkOne7141981 View Post
    "Perhaps someone can go in front and help clear the way? Please...?"
    Lehasti raises an eyebrow in a mixture of amusement and irritation at the scholar's reaction to the press of the throng. With a few bold steps and a deliberate shift in posture to emphasize her imposing stature, the paladin steps more firmly to the fore. The bustling crowd seems to respond in the manner of people accustomed to the move-or-be-moved dynamic of a busy street, and within a few steps the party seems to be making easier progress.

    Azkin
    accepts the proffered bundle from his brother with the beginnings of an amused grin tugging the corner of his mouth upward. He opens his mouth to speak, but is forestalled by the sudden interjection of the boy addressing his mistress. He turns an appraising look on the boy.

    Meanwhile, Lehasti addresses the bold young man with a congenial smile. "A good day to you as well, my young friend. Your offer is tempting, but pleasure is not the errand that brings us to your fair city. No, my friends and I must make use of what daylight remains to escort my friend here," she gestures to Vershab, "to the Great Library to seek knowledge to aid us in our quest. However," the paladin strokes her chin with her thumb and forefinger in a theatrically thoughtful manner, "I possess neither the skill nor the desire for such pursuits, and the day warms. Perhaps some refreshments will be in order..."

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Sense Motive checks for Lehasti: (1d20+3)[10]
    And Azkin: (1d20+9)[18]
    Lehasti Gesmeha and Azkin for Mummy's Mask
    Morevek for Wrath of the Righteous
    Gundwolf for Carrion Crown

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    The boy glances at Turi, notices his reaction, and responds with a lighthearted wink. "Naturally, Masters! I shall endeavor to make your stay in Tephu a gloriously pleasant one! After all, this is the most hospitable place in all of Osirion!" He bows deeply, not for the first or the last time. "My name is Sabef, and it will be my honor to help you with all your needs!" The boy's speech continues unabated as he guides the group into the busy streets of the city. If anything, his presence makes the Relic Knights' stroll though the New City (the quarter closest to the Sphinx's bank) faster, as he pushes away the innumerable merchants and peddlers trying to entice the travelers to look at their wares. Sabef is visibly mindful of Vershab's reticence, and goes out of his way to make sure the anxious scholar is left alone - some beggars and hawkers get pushed away, with a few well-placed kicks when necessary.

    "Indeed, the Great Library is our city's pride and greatest claim to fame, and I will be sure to show you there most promptly. But first, refreshments for the honored Lady and her companions, certainly, are in order. If you are among us for several days, you will need a room to rest, too! Fortunately, I know just the place. The Inn of the Desert Winds is a friendly and comfortable one, just right for visitors of your station! And they have this pomegranate liqueur, the likes of which you will never find anywhere else! Quite famous actually..." Speaking continuously even as he deftly navigates Tephu's bustling alleyways, Sabef continues to vaunt the marvels of his home town to his charges all along the way to the promised inn.

    Spoiler
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    Lehasti feels that Sabef is just a friendly person, eager to help. Azkin judges he's making a living off travelers. This is nothing out of the ordinary, and it might even be a honest occupation.
    Last edited by Gwynfrid; 2018-05-12 at 07:30 AM.

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    As their guide clears the way and helps to ensure that Vershab is comfortably separated from the bustling crowd the arcanist seems to relax, even smiling on occasion at the boy's speech. At the mention of an inn he slips forward and shyly asks, "Is this inn close to the library? And does it have private rooms where one can study and work without threat of distractions?"

    After the boy responds Vershab nods his thanks and slips back into the middle of the party, shading his face behind the disguised Mask and looking around him with a mixture of excitement and fear. With his allies surrounding him he seems to steadily feel better after the initial shock of the crowd and merchants. "This 'liqueur' the boy mentioned - do you think it is strong? I might try it if it isn't too biting..." he says to the others, quietly.

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkOne7141981 View Post
    "This 'liqueur' the boy mentioned - do you think it is strong? I might try it if it isn't too biting..." he says to the others, quietly.
    Lehasti raises her eyebrows in surprise for a moment before grinning broadly. Quickly regaining control of her features, she turns to Vershab, her expression one of theatrically exaggerated shock. "Friend Vershab- has the day's heat overcome your better judgment, or has some other madness seized you? Next you'll be abandoning your studies to listen to a storyteller by the fireplace, and might even enjoy yourself!" The paladin's gaze lingers on the arcanist for a few heartbeats, and she gives him a friendly wink before turning to address their young guide once more.

    "Now that you have piqued our resident scholar's academic interest in such a libation, how could we refuse such an invitation? What other comforts might await travel-weary souls such as ourselves?" The paladin's warm, welcoming smile returns to the talkative boy.
    Lehasti Gesmeha and Azkin for Mummy's Mask
    Morevek for Wrath of the Righteous
    Gundwolf for Carrion Crown

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    Turi continues to plod along, sullenly trailing a few steps behind Vershab. He eyes their guide distrustfully, without acknowledging either the arcanist's unusual behavior or Lehasti's playful banter. Focused with apparent single-mindedness on the meat pie still in his hand, it vanishes down his gullet in what might be an impressive display of consumption, were it not for the hoopla providing more than sufficient distraction.

    His hands, now freed of their savory occupants, disappear beneath the folds of his robe. His eyes scan the crowds, perhaps lingering more on their guide than is strictly necessary.

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Sabef continues his enthusiastic description of his home city along the way as he continues to push various beggars and shopkeepers aside, and soon enough the group leaves Tephu's Medina and its complex maze of shops. Everything from brass lamps, herbs, and spices to linen and cotton fabric, enormous clay pots, copperware, and more is on sale here, but the companions and especially Vershab are more at ease once the din of the crowds and the bustle of aggressive salesmen is behind them. The boy shares a broad description of the city and its main areas.

    Spoiler: Map of Tephu
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    The Inn of the Desert Inn turns out to be as advertised, a comfortable and well-furnished place to rest. In a spacious tavern, a few of patrons are enjoying an afternoon drink, under the attentive eye of a middle-aged, friendly and smiling woman bartender.

    "Esteemed travellers! I can see you found a most excellent guide, and you're in the right place!" A good-humoured wink at Sabef accompanies her words. "What can I serve you at this hour?"

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    "Young master Sabef tells me that a particular pomegranate liqueur is a specialty of the house, and from his description it will do all but revive the dead! I imagine that dampening a travel-dry tongue is well within its restorative powers. " The paladin's eyes twinkle, and a playful, lopsided grin dances about her tanned cheeks. "If it is not so strong as to separate my friend here from his wits," she gestures at Vershab, "we may have need of more than one!"

    As the barwoman bustles off to retrieve a few refreshments, Lehasti reaches into her belt pouch and retrieves a silver coin. "A little thanks, my friend, for the warmth of your welcome and for guiding us to this fine establishment. If you can lead us as swiftly to the Great Library after this reprieve from the day's heat, you may become acquainted with this one's brother." She winks conspiratorially at Sabef.

    Spoiler: Diplomacy
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    To influence Sabef's attitude: (1d20+15)[28]
    Might as well throw one in for the barkeep: (1d20+15)[24]


    Azkin's calm but watchful gaze passes across the inhabitants of the common area, and he reaches one elbow out gently to his brother. "They seem to be friendly enough to me, Turi. Maybe you can relax a little, least 'til we're back out on the road?"
    Lehasti Gesmeha and Azkin for Mummy's Mask
    Morevek for Wrath of the Righteous
    Gundwolf for Carrion Crown

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Too shocked to respond, Vershab hides deeper in his robe, uncomfortable at Lehasti's jostling. "The drink sounded tasty...why would she criticize me?" he mutters before shaking his head and following the others. It is clear the arcanist doesn't understand the unspoken hints, but isn't upset - just confused.

    Once at the inn, the hood of the man's cloak down, Vershab sighs at the less crowded space. "Ah, that's much better. Now I can see about something to clear the dust out of my mouth," he says as he begins to approach the bar. When Lehasti speaks up again he watches and then shyly nods as the matron looks his way. "One, please," he says simply, holding up a finger as if to clarify how many drinks he would like. Then, sitting at the bar he waits and watches, his face emotionless as ever.
    Last edited by DarkOne7141981; 2018-07-25 at 12:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Turi's expression visibly softens as they leave the worst of the masses behind. Still, he maintains a carefully guarded expression until he shuffles through the open door of the inn. More protected from the dust than the oppressive heat by the building's walls, he nonetheless offers a begrudged nod of acceptance and greeting towards their unlikely host. "I'll be happy for anything to wash the grit away and banish the heat," he adds, hoping for something cool and relatively weak on the alcohol spectrum.

    Before long, he slumps into one of the well-cushioned seats, travel having made for an unusually weary youngster despite the early hour. He reclines, arms folded behind his head with a contented expression as he waits for the bartender's return.

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Sabef makes a little bow as he accepts Lehasti's coin, and promptly pockets it. "The Great Library... but certainly, this shall be our next stop. The pride of the city, I am sure you will be most impressed..." He's interrupted by the bartender coming with a large copper tray, carrying delicate-looking glasses full with a fragrant purple liquid, which she deftly places in front of her thirsty customers.

    "Good morning, Thabat! I hope the day is bringing you as brisk a business as this delicious smell deserves!" Sabef's easy-going manner brings a smile to the face of the woman. "You scoundrel! You know that flattery is your best chance to get a taste of what's in the oven right now, don't you!" Thus addressed, the grinning lad retorts, "Ah, but I deserve it in other ways as well! Look, I just guided these noble visitors from Wati to your esteemed establishment! Surely, such a good deed to both you and them cannot come without some sort of reward, am I right?"

    The woman brushes the youngster away, to address her new patrons. "Don't listen to him, my lady, and gentlemen! He fancies himself a business broker, but he's just a tourist guide! Not a bad one, I must admit... Notice how he brought you here just in time for lunch? But if it is lodging that you seek, my comfortable rooms are ready to welcome visitors of your rank... My name is Thabat Pehta, owner of this place, I daresay one of the finest in town!" The smile is endearing, even as it is businesslike. And, to judge by the mouth-watering scents that billow from the kitchen throughout the common room, the place does feel like a welcoming one indeed. As for the pomegranate liqueur, it is downright delicious, with a careful balance of fruit and acidity, tempered with a mild alcoholic degree.

    Spoiler
    Show
    This is very good inn, and prices are in keeping with its station, although well within the party's means at 3gp a night with breakfast, 6sp lunch, 8sp dinner, or 4gp for full board. I'll hand-wave the costs of drinks, unless the group makes this a big party.

    Having enjoyed an excellent lunch consisting of a choice of roasted waterfowl, roasted vegetables, grilled fish, baking bread, and bean or barley stew with sliced eggs, the group feels ready for the afternoon ahead.

    Spoiler
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    Let me know if you'd like to do something else before heading to the library.

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Vershab sips his drink carefully at first before his eyes go wide. "This is very good. I can see how one could become inebriated drinking something this tasty" he says woodenly as he sits back and seems to enjoy it. His appearance is nearly relaxed, if you could ignore the stiffness of his back and neck as he looks forward. "Do they allow food in the Great Library? I would assume not - out of concern for pests and dirtying the shelves - but if so, I would like to order some food to bring with us."

    When it becomes clear that the party will eat before leaving, the Arcanist shrugs and digs into his meal with singular focus. Once done eating he waits silently, muttering quietly to himself as he stares into the in-between spaces between himself and others.
    Last edited by DarkOne7141981; 2018-07-07 at 05:04 AM.

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Having enjoyed the best, most leisurely lunch they've had in a long time, the Relic Knights eventually make for the Old City. "The library opens at mid-morning and remains open until the sun sets," the volubile Sabef explains along the way. "If it is knowledge you seek, surely there is no better place!"

    Looming over the Great Plaza, the high blue dome of Tephu's Great Library, topped with shining gold pinnacles, towers over the surrounding buildings. Huge columns rise from immense footings along the edifice's sheer walls. Enormous bronze doors, etched with the images of rampant sphinxes, lead into the library's interior. Four bored-looking library guards stand watch in front of the doors, letting the visitors enter without comment.

    Once inside, the companions find themselves in a cavernous entrance hall. Statues of enigmatic sphinxes sit in each corner of the room, their gazes an impossible mixture of pleasure and defiance. Archways in three walls open into larger spaces, the chambers beyond drowning in books, ledgers, librams, scrolls, clay tablets, tomes, and other more obscure forms of record, held in countless shelves and cabinets. The smell of old books is almost overpowering...

    Two library curators sit behind a large, ornate desk, lit by a magnificent lantern seemingly made of water, in the center of the hall.

    Spoiler: Library curator
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    Last edited by Gwynfrid; 2018-06-29 at 10:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Suddenly back in his element, Vershab immediately takes initiative and approaches one of the curators. "Good day, oh keeper of knowledge! My companions and I wish to peruse the records of our great nation's history, specifically the great pharaohs of old and antiquity. Where can we find such tomes? Our cause is just and our needs urgent..." he says as he gestures grandly, his entire demeanor animated and confident, if still a bit off.

    Spoiler: OoC
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    So, this is where we being investigating the Forgotton Pharoah, right? If I am off, let me know, but otherwise Vershab is going to try to dive right into the research. I would give you a Knowledge check, but I cannot remember the modifiers and cannot access my character sheet right now. Anyone else able to help?

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    "Good day to you, honored visitor. As one who seeks knowledge, you headed to the right place", the curator answers the inquiring scholar. His tone is welcoming, if a little on the stern side, a seriousness that befits a devotee of Nethys the All-Seeing Eye.

    "You are here in the Outer Sanctum of the Great Library, where you will find enough records to last several lifetimes of research. I will recommend you begin with the Outer Stacks, which are free to access for any and all, even though it is customary to make a small donation - to honor Nethys as much as to help support our conservation and indexing work. My colleague and myself are here to guide you through our collections."

    In rooms on either side of the entrance, quiet, smaller rooms with work tables allow visitors to study their findings in a quiet place. Behind the desk, a huge chambrer, its walls at least twenty fee in height, holds an incredible mass of books, scrolls, tablets and records of every possible description, by far the largest library Vershab has ever seen in his life.

    Spoiler: map
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    The curator guides the group inside, and points to a set of shelves expanding all the way up to the high ceiling. "Now, dynasties of the more distant past... You will find that kind of material in this section, I believe."

    Spoiler: Library research rules
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    Each library or collection of the Great Library has two statistics: a Complexity rating, which reflects the confusion of the library’s contents, and knowledge points (kp), which are an abstract representation of the amount of information a given collection contains. A library’s Complexity rating acts as the DC for a Research check to unravel that library’s clues. A Research check is essentially a Knowledge skill check, though each library details the specific Knowledge skills that may be used for Research checks based on the nature of that library’s specific collection. A PC can attempt one Research check for each full day of research (from dawn to dusk). A character cannot take 10 or take 20 on a Research check, but Research checks can be made untrained due to the Great Library’s extensive collections. Each library grants a bonus on specific Knowledge checks (including Research checks) made within that library, and each full day of research (dawn to dusk) in a library grants a cumulative +1 bonus on Research checks in that library. In addition, up to two additional characters can aid another in research; if an assisting character rolls a 10 or higher on a Research check, the characters gain a +2 bonus on the primary Research check.

    Succeeding at a Research check reduces a library’s knowledge points, similar to dealing damage to a creature’s hit points. As the knowledge points decrease, a library reveals its secrets. How much a library’s knowledge points decrease depends on the character’s class: Int modifier +1d12 for Bards, +1d8 for particularly scholastic characters like alchemists and wizards, +1d4 for others. For every 5 by which a Research check exceeds the library’s Complexity rating, the library’s knowledge points are reduced by 1 additional point. Rolling a natural 20 or 1 on a Research check acts like a critical threat or failure. When a library’s knowledge points reach 0, the PCs have learned everything they can from that library.

    The Outer Sanctum has a Complexity of 15. In it, it is possible to conduct the following types of research : Knowledge (local), Knowledge (history), or Knowledge (nobility); it provides a Knowledge bonus of +2.

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Vershab follows the curator into the library with a wide smile on his face. "It doesn't matter how often I visit, I am always impressed by this wonderful place," he says quietly. Then he turns to the guide and asks, "How much is customary for a donation to peruse this portion of the stacks?"

    After receiving an answer and paying the donation, Vershab looks at his allies and says, "Your help will be very valuable - there are simply too many books for one person to read them all at once outside of high magics slowing the passage of time. If you will collect books likely to contain the information we seek and bring them to me, I will see if the books contain clues to our riddle. Shall we begin?"

    Spoiler: Mechanics
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    These rolls do NOT include modifiers (including that from the library itself or from allies assisting). Please check out my character sheet.

    Knowledge (Nobility): (1d20)[20]
    Research "Damage" dealt: (1d8)[5]

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Turi follows their guide to the library, his face an odd mixture at relief to be getting on with their task and irritation for all the fun-looking shops they're passing on the way to a library. Ugh.

    He steps past the bored guards, a smirk on his lips- They look even more excited to be here than Lehasti.- and his jaw drops. If the entry hall weren't enough, with its huge sphinxes about, the rooms beyond are, they're huge! "How..." Eyes like dinner plates, he turns about to try and take it all in, clearly overwhelmed. "How is there so much to know?" he asks, unable to comprehend the depth of knowledge stored in such a place. He follows Vershab in a daze, completely unable to master himself in a place seemingly designed to make mere mortals seem even smaller than they already are.

    Turi doesn't even register the curator's words, lost as he is in the shelves, the books, the scrolls and tablets. A tug on his sleeve from Azkin keeps him from getting left behind as the group wanders into a side room with worktables. At Vershab's request, the youngster looks to the arcanist. "You want me to what?" he asks, having honestly not internalized the question. He blinks twice as Vershab impatiently repeats himself, and nods slowly. "Uhh... Yeah," he mumbles lamely. "I can..." he looks around the room, still clearly unsure about himself. "Uh. I can try."

    Without any more words, he wanders towards the shelves and begins scanning their contents for... something.
    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Do we *have* to use the same research check as Vershab, or can we use any of the aforementioned skills?
    If he's allowed to use other skills, know (local) has a +5 mod, and (nobility) a +4. History is a +0.
    (1d20)[6] research to assist Vershab.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Lehasti grins good-naturedly at the friendly banter between Sabef and Thabat, but as the mingled aromas of the liqueur and the kitchen reach her nostrils, the paladin's eyebrows rise involuntarily.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwynfrid View Post
    "My name is Thabat Pehta, owner of this place, I daresay one of the finest in town!"
    "Judging by the scents of your wares, I am quite prepared to be convinced!" A note of feigned surprise enters the paladin's voice. "But, alas! Where are my manners. I am Lehasti Gesmeha," the paladin rises to give a brief, but courteous bow to the barwoman, "and it is both my duty and pleasure to represent the Relic Knights, who stand before you. I am relieved to find that a comfortable rest awaits us each day upon the conclusion of the business that gives rise to our errand in your fine city."

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkOne7141981 View Post
    Vershab sips his drink carefully at first before his eyes go wide. "This is very good. I can see how one could become inebriated drinking something this tasty," he says woodenly as he sits back and seems to enjoy it. His appearance is nearly relaxed, if you could ignore the stiffness of his back and neck as he looks forward. "Do they allow food in the Great Library? I would assume not - out of concern for pests and dirtying the shelves - but if so, I would like to order some food to bring with us."
    Lehasti's eyes twinkle merrily at Vershab's dry observations. Adopting a theatrically sermonizing tone, the paladin says, "Not all who imbibe do so for drunkenness' sake... but broad is the way that leads to temptation, and so sweet a libation as this? A seductive signpost on the road indeed!" Brows risen in feigned indignation, the paladin swirls her glass before lifting it to her lips and sipping gently from it. "A horrible thing, this temptation..." she seems to muse thoughtfully.




    Her hunger and thirst amply sated, Lehasti joins Sabef at the fore of their progression, listening to the young man's continuous stream with equal parts interest and amusement. Her perfunctory glances at the landmarks and architectural features that they pass gives away that her amusement is founded more on his manner and delivery than any great desire to acquaint herself with the city's buildings. As they approach the Great Library, however, even the paladin is moved to release a low whistle at the grandeur and sheer magnitude.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkOne7141981 View Post
    "Your help will be very valuable - there are simply too many books for one person to read them all at once outside of high magics slowing the passage of time. If you will collect books likely to contain the information we seek and bring them to me, I will see if the books contain clues to our riddle. Shall we begin?"
    Lehasti pauses visibly at Vershab's question. For a moment, the friendly, outgoing warrior woman seems to be at a loss for words. Recovering herself, she stands to her full height, subconsciously adopting a nearly military stance of attention, and answers the scholar with a tone much like a junior soldier responding to an officer, "Indeed we shall. The day wanes apace." With a meaningful look at Azkin (who nods grudgingly), the paladin and her young protege break from the group to begin their own searches.

    Spoiler: Actions
    Show
    Lehasti's Knowledge (Nobility) Check: (1d20+4)[12] and "damage": (1d4)[4]
    Azkin's Knowledge (Locak) Check: (1d20+1)[8] and "damage": (1d4)[1]
    Lehasti Gesmeha and Azkin for Mummy's Mask
    Morevek for Wrath of the Righteous
    Gundwolf for Carrion Crown

  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Calathon looks at his godson's excitement with gentle fondness. "I take it you'll be compiling a full list of the dynasties' succession rolls for the past six millennia without breaking a sweat... All right, I'll go check for the record of Djederet II's reign, that will give us a good start." The two scholars get to work, with Turi's help, while Lehasti's and Azkin's attempt to browse the library scrolls more or less at random is met with an expected lack of success. After a few hours of perusing the well-kept, well-organized records, the group gathers again, and the two experts compare notes.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Calathon, Knowledge(History) rolled 29 in OOC (incl +2 bonus from the library) for 7 "damage".

    Outcome: DC exceeded by more than 10, for a +2 in effectiveness for a total of 9.

    Turi needed to use Knowledge(Nobility), the same skill as the one he's trying to help with. He just succeeds! This brings Vershab's total bonus to +9+2+2=+13 for a total of 33, more than 15 over the DC for a +3 additional "damage". He also confirms (in OOC) for double "damage". He rolled 5 then 6, plus his Int bonus doubled, plus the extra +3 doubled, for a total of... 27. That's as good as it gets. Unfortunately, there's a limit to this success.


    They come to a clear, joint conclusion: Not only does the Outer Sanctum seem to be missing quite a lot of knowledge, but some of the more interesting and secretive works appear to have been deliberately removed. They come to inquire with the curators.

    "Indeed, our own research shows that there are missing records for several pharaohs. In addition, we've always taken good care to sort the documents in such a way that the more commonly used be the easiest to access. Those tend to be the most recent. If you're looking for some of the less well-known dynasties and older families, such will be found in the Upper Stacks, in the Great Chamber of Knowledge.

    Entry to that portion of the Great Libray is more controlled, I'm afraid. By order of the haty-a of Tephu, we are mandated to ask for a donation of no less than fifty pharaohs per day of research."


    Spoiler
    Show
    1 pharaoh = 1 gp.
    Last edited by Gwynfrid; 2018-07-05 at 09:46 PM.

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    The day passes in pleasurable work for Vershab, as he seems entirely in his natural element in the museum. However, as the disappointing results of their research become apparent he gets distraught, somewhat visibly. He can be heard mumbling, "This is not complete! Why can't I finish this? Where is it...?" throughout the last hour as it become clear that in spite of the collected books they aren't finding what they need.

    Allowing others to speak with the curators (due to being so obviously upset) Vershab exclaims, "What?!? Why didn't someone say so earlier! Now we won't be able to finish today - I need to finish this!" Looking at the others and appearing to forget the curator's presence for a moment, Vershab says, "We must get access to these 'Upper Stacks' tomorrow! Perhaps we can perform a service for the haty-a or pay their donation? Please!"

    Spoiler: OoC
    Show
    I intend this to portray something like an OCD or autism-scale emotional reaction for Vershab. As a player, I am fine with paying either the donation or performing some task for the folks here - whichever progresses the story better. I suspect we will need to start making more money soon, but that is easier as we get to be higher level...Vershab could even sell his spellcasting services for a couple of days and make the money, if needed.

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Turi manages to comport himself decently well. Surprisingly, as the day wanes, he finds that he's recognizing more and more of the pharaohs names, and starting to piece together some ideas of what Vershab might be looking for. He's totally unprepared for the man's outburst however, and his sudden reticence shows it. Each delivered resource seems only to heighten Vershab's distress and it doesn't take long for the unease to spread to the youngster.

    Oddly, it comes as some relief to Turi that they've just been looking in the wrong place. "It's not a waste," he offers in an attempt to be helpful. "Look how much we've learned today! We'll just have to keep working at it! Here, I can make the donation." Without much preamble, Turi retrieves a pouch from his pack and counts out the coin to one of the curators. The bag jingles perhaps a bit conspicuously as he shoulders it, prepared to venture deeper into the library.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Vershab's reaction to Turi's efforts is hardly noticeable at first, but when the librarians open up the Upper Stacks immediately after his donation the scholar's relief is palpable. "Whew! Thank you, Turi - that will surely help. Now, let's focus on these names and dynasties..."

    Spoiler: Mechanics
    Show
    Knowledge (Nobility) (1d20)[2] - not counting any modifiers
    Research "damage" (1d8)[7] - not counting any modifiers

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Gwynfrid's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Having politely accepted Turi's gold in Nethys' name, the curator brings the group to the Great Chamber of Knowledge, beyond the archway at the end of the Processional of Learning. The Great Chamber is breathtaking to behold, a vast, pillared hall soaring upward to a great dome overhead, an airy vastness appropriately painted with stars and clouds. A ring of columns runs around the perimeter, supporting a gallery at the base of the dome. Countless shelves divide the chamber, rising so high that ladders are needed to climb them. These shelves are in turn separated by a bewildering variety of boxes, cabinets, cases, and chests. Littered among these towers of knowledge are benches, reading tables, huge desks for spreading maps, and elaborate displays. The flickering light of lamps and lanterns mingle throughout the space.

    At the far end of the Great Chamber of Knowledge, it is impossible to miss an immense, circular bronze door that rises amid a wall of huge limestone blocks. A single hieroglyph of an eye engraved in the center is the door’s only feature. A dozen paces in front of it stands an effigy made out of iron, some nine feet tall, vaguely resembling an obese pharaoh.

    Looking upwards, the companions note the vaulted dome of the library, rising like the heavens above the floor of the main chamber. A broad balcony circles the base of the dome, lined with shelves and piles of books that loom like cliffs on the brink of collapse. A jumbling array of ladders climb to these teetering shelves, propped against the stacks, hung from ledges, dangling from wires overhanging the library far below, or fashioned from spikes hammered into the walls.

    "What you're looking for is likely somewhere in the Outer Stacks", the curator says. "Beware the ladders, they are quite unstable."

    Spoiler
    Show


    Following up research in the Upper Stacks requires a DC10 Climb check.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    Vershab audibly gulps. "We have to climb up there?" he asks. "I would much rather fly up there - is there any reason I cannot use magic to fly up to the stacks?" he continues, looking at the librarian.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: Mummy's Mask - Shifting Sands [IC]

    "Of course, Sir, we have no objection to your using magic for that purpose, if you so prefer." The curator's nod and quick response hints that Vershab isn't the first practitioner of the arcane to come up with the idea.
    Last edited by Gwynfrid; 2018-07-12 at 03:57 PM.

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