Rise of the Rune Lords
GM So, after visiting Veznutt Parooh, Aubrey has a functional map of the woods surrounding Sandpoint. The map features directions to a specific white oak in the forest, under which the gnomes (who died in the late unpleasantness) are buried. What does Aubrey do next?
Denis: I didn’t realize that Veznutt had given Aubrey a tangible map. I figured it was entirely illusionary. Though I suppose a quick sketch would be helpful. It’s only a few hundred yards outside the north wall right?
GM: You made an illusional map. Being a mapmaker, however, Veznutt can gladly mark one of his existing maps of Sandpoint and give you a copy. And yes, the location is fairly close to town.
Denis: Good gnome. I’m going to want to talk to him further about some maps of the area and of Varisia in general later if he has some good ones for sale. Don’t know how much they might cost.
GM: “I would much rather trade for the map. You could, for example, update my knowledge as to the location of the gnome enclaves in the area.”
Denis: “You know that’s not allowed. Besides, they’re moved seasonally. And a map would hardly help anyone find one of the enclaves even if they were clearly marked.”
GM: “It would help me, were I so inclined to visit. And it would help other gnomes who come calling, ... like your friend there…”
Denis: “The enclaves can be found by any gnome traveling through the Sanos forest if he knows to recognize and follow the way markers. I can help you with those, but it’s all word of mouth. Those are the rules. No records. We can’t risk outsiders finding the secret glens and raths. Maps are for the outside world my friend. There aren’t any maps of the faerie lands.”
GM: Veznutt will harrumph, but nod. “I like maps too much. I’d be willing to spend several lifetimes mapping the faerie lands.” He chuckles softly. “But then my love of maps is no secret. I’d appreciate the help.”
Denis: Aubrey smiles. “A few lifetimes wouldn’t be enough I’m afraid. Best stick to the mortal world with your maps Veznutt. You don’t want the Elders coming to find you. But I’ll help update your maps with my own travels as much as I can whenever I’m passing by. That is, once I go elsewhere…”
GM: Veznutt smiles. “Welcome.” he gestures grandly, “to the library!”
Denis: “I thought this was the library…”
GM: Veznutt smiles and pats you gently on the shoulder. “Yes. But now, my friend. you’re a member.”
Denis: “Uh. Alright… So what do you have for maps of Varisia?”
GM: Veznutt chuckles. “Several. Topographical, trade routes, trade guides, ...”
Denis: “I’ve nothing to trade. Do you have the common ley lines mapped out?”
GM: “Several, but I’m not sure of the accuracy of any of them—as they contradict mightily.”
Denis: Aubrey laughs loudly. “Hardly surprising!”
GM: “I have two that I … um … drew from gnome travel logs. And several from human journals.”
Denis: OOC: I assume that “ley lines” to gnomes represent both the mystical streams of magical energy that crisscross the world, but also the intangible highways that gnomes frequently travel along; they being faerie beings. I figure that gnomes are naturally drawn to follow the mystical lines of power around. It’s also a secret path that they can follow that mortals aren’t necessarily aware of. Staying off common highways helps keep them safe and gives them a better chance of running into each other. At least that’s my take on it.
GM: The lay lines are intangible highways, yes; but they have their own dangers. Ancient places of power tend to create… knots in the lay lines that gnomes avoid because of the types of monsters such knots call. The ancient places of power could be good, evil or undecided. But they are all dangerous.
Denis: “I’m just looking for one or more maps that detail as thoroughly as possible the various regions of Varisia. I figure I’ll need them as I travel around. I suppose we could start with the coastline surrounding Sandpoint. I might as well get to know this place.”
GM: “There are … blank spots… in pretty much all my maps. I could draw several into one map; but due to their inaccuracies, it might make the resulting map unusable.”
Denis: “Well, you’re the mapmaker. I’m a gnome out on the road for the first time. You tell me; what do I need?”
GM: Veznutt walks into a nearby room, and pulls a rather large map out of a pigeon hole. “This is a good place to start.” he says calmly as he turns and walks back to the sitting room. Once there he makes himself comfortable and unwinds the map onto the table, using four different colored stones to keep the map in place.
OOC: See http://plothook.net/RPG/gallery/albums/maps/pathfinder/hinterlands.jpg for the map.
Denis: “This is very good for hereabouts. Do you know any scribing glamour or do you work by hand? How can I get a copy?”
GM: I prefer to make hand-copies, but if time is of the essence, I have a scroll here somewhere that should do the trick…
Denis: “It’s as you prefer; I’ll be hereabouts for at least a few days. The mayor and the sheriff asked me to help keep an eye on the place for awhile. You can take your time. I have some gold I can share with you if you’d like.”
GM: OOC: Are you trying to barter with him, or would Aubrey realize the price of such a map?
Denis: OOC: Aubrey has led a somewhat sheltered life in the faerie lands; he’s not entirely cognizant of the worth of money but knows that it’s customary to trade it with strangers for goods and services in the outside world. He’s not trying to barter so much as to figure out what Veznutt might want for his help. It’s the same tack he took with the mayor. She was asking for his service and he was somewhat surprised that she wasn’t offering any money for it. But the fact that she didn’t offer him any gold didn’t really bother him overmuch so he accepted anyway.GM: “On the open market, this map should be worth several hundred gold. For a gnome willing to teach me the common way points and trail markers used near here
25 gold and a promise of an interesting visit the next time you pass through here.”
Denis: “Several hundred?” Really? I had no it would be so much. Even 25 gold would be a fair part of the gold that I do have. I guess my hope to get maps for all of Varisia is rather outlandish then…” The gnome wayfarer seems a little crestfallen.
Denis: “I’m surprised you don’t know the Sanos forest way markers already. Where were you raised again?”
GM: “I hadn’t said. Have you ever heard of the Mierani Forest?”
Denis: “Well sure. But I didn’t know there were any gnomish enclaves way out there. I heard that the whole forest was claimed by the elves and that they don’t care for anyone else.”
GM: “There aren’t. I was born among the elves. Stayed there a few years, and then my parents headed east. I don’t think I saw an enclave until I was 8 or 9.”
Denis: OOC: FYI, 8-9 is still infant-age for gnomes.
Denis: “Eight or nine? Do you remember anything about it?”
GM: “I got my love of books from my father. He journaled all his travels; so it’s as much his writings as bits of my own memory that I rely on to fill in the details of my early days. My mother said the elves were… most un-gnome-like.”
Denis: “I imagine that the elves come to be rather… colourless over time.”
Denis: OOC: As an aside, I was wondering whether you have any objection to my taking Auran as one of Aubrey’s starting bonus languages. The elemental tongues aren’t normally languages that a character can start with without putting points into the Linguistics skill. But since I’m to have an air elemental familiar I figured it might be permissible.
GM: OOC: Sorry, no. Can you spare the skill point for Linquistics?
Denis: OOC: Eh. I can probably sacrifice something…
You and Denis: OOC: Or take it next level. There … might … be an in-game source to learn the language. : ) Depends how it goes.
Denis: OOC: Well, my familiar speaks it, but that’s all it speaks so we don’t share a language in common. It’d probably make more sense to sacrifice some other skill and then buy that skill back next level. There are a few skills I got on back order like that; stuff I imagine Aubrey knows but can’t afford to buy yet. It’s all a matter of prioritizing…
Denis: “So which enclave did you end up visiting after you left the elf wood? As for the map, go ahead and start work on it; I’m sure we can come to an agreement for it.”
OOC: Should I just move on with going to the grave site?
GM: Yes; when would Aubrey leave for the grave site?
Denis: OOC: It’s secretive faerie doings, so he’d wait till after nightfall. He’ll fly out over the wall secretly, move through the canopy to the white oak and alight in it’s branches. He’ll then turn the same glamour he was using to fly to instead begin excavating a hole in the appropriate spot. The spell can scoop up approximately 40 lbs of earth per round or 400 lbs per minute. Which day did Aubrey meet Veznutt incidentally?
GM: Eh.. the Swallowtale festival was on Rova 1st 4707 (that’s a Sunday); and you met the Mayor on the following Toilday (Rova 3rd). BTW - we’re picking up the game on Rova 3rd, 4707.
Denis: OOC: IIRC, Aubrey went to meet Veznutt right after the sheriff told him about the gnome. So this would be… shortly after the raid?
So this is the evening of the 1st.
Denis: OOC: Okay. Thanks.
GM: It only takes one scoop to uncover a well made wooden box, about 5” long and maybe 3” wide and deep. It has a pattern on the top and is made with brass nails. It’s hinge is leather, as is the simple closure.
Denis: Aubrey cringes at the sight of the box. He fears for the cards supposedly inside and for the four cold winters and damp springs they’ve weathered in such a delicate little box. The gnome gently draws the box up to his level in the tree and then magically manipulates the box into opening.
GM: The leather is surprisingly subtle, and the box is dirty, it appears hale. The clasp opens easily. Inside is a brightly colored silk cloth wrapping a bundle, a line of stones that seem stuck together and a gnome sized ring. Nothing within the box appears to have been damaged by its time in the ground.
Denis: Aubrey, astride his branch, sighs with relief at not seeing a sodden mess inside the box. Taking ahold of the box, he allows his glamour to, one by one, pull out the contents so that he might examine them more closely.
GM: The ring is brass. It has a thick band, but is decorated with four columns separated by an inch of rougher brass. In the center of this band are two letters in an offset oval. The letters are O and P.
The stones. There are 13 stones of varying size, all but one are silver in color. That one bears the colors of a tiger’s eye. 12 of the stones (including the oddly colored one) stick together as if a string tied them together. The 13th (silver colored) seems to have a weaker connection than the others.
The bundle. The cloth is red rimmed with a blue band and a white middle. Detailed pictures of perfume bottles decorate the center in golds and blues and greens. The bottles are linked by golden ropes and chains.
Denis: Does the inscription on the ring or the collection of (magnetic?) stones mean anything to Aubrey?
GM: OOC: I don’t know. You’ve never given me a copy of Aubrey’s sheet and I don’t remember his knowledge skills.
Denis: OOC: I thought it might be a familiar family thing. Aubrey has Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (nature) +7.
GM: OOC: Aubrey can figure out that they are magnet stones, but very well polished. The oddly colored one, however is a mystery. The one that’s weak is probably hematite. A healing stone. The ring (other than nice craftsmanship) has no family-related meaning to him.
Denis: Aubrey allows his concentration to wane on his active glamour so that he might look at the collection of objects with his second sight.
GM: The contents of the bundle are blinding.
Denis: Blinding? Wow. Is Aubrey overwhelmed by the aura (I think that’s a possibility). The stones and the ring have no aura then?
GM: The magnets don’t. The hematite does (conjuration), as does the tiger eye (transmutation)...
Denis: Check your post describing the stones. How many are there exactly?
GM: 13. 11 magnets, 1 hematite, 1 tiger eye.
Denis: And all stick together?
GM: Yes, although the hematite seems to have a weak link to the rest.
Denis: And the cards’ aura; is it merely strong or truly overwhelming?
GM: Strong. But it’s… not constant. It fades as you look at the other things, and becomes slowly weaker until it matches the other items in the box. It radiates Divination, but you’d initially have called it … amusement? Brief happiness.
And what colour is/was happiness?
GM: Being a gnome, greens and blues? With a bit of purple around the edges.
Denis: Octarine? Heh. An overwhelming aura would indicate artifact/god-like power. Why do I feel like Aubrey just broke/depowered the cards somehow?... Oh dear…
Denis: Now your opinion; is reclaiming/moving the bones culturally appropriate? Would it be desirable to relocate them to faerie lands or simply leave them to rest where they are?
GM: Probably the latter.
Denis: Hm. Since there’s no sign of the holy symbol of Desna that Veznutt mentioned, I imagine it’s hurried with the body rather than with the box. That’s good. So, if Gwydion is to remain here, perhaps this little grove of oaks should be claimed as faerie land… Tell me, are there any knotholes in the white oak tree?
GM: No, but there is an old woodpecker hole. (More on white oaks here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_oak .)
Denis: Pretty. How big is the hole?
GM: Slightly smaller than your fist. The tree is around 60 ft tall.
Denis: Aubrey will conjure up some will-o-wisps to encircle and light the tree faintly so that he might examine it better. He’s looking for any hollows or knotholes or a recessed fork. If he can’t find anything better than the woodpecker hole he’ll see whether he can tuck his hat inside it or not.
GM: The tree is in good health. You find a few recessed forks, but no knotholes. There’s something inside the woodpecker’s hole.
GM: A smooth green river stone (with lines of white in it) and a foot of twine, three strands thick, bearing three knots at different points along its length. The stone is nestled inside the twine. With care you can pick it up and the stone will swing inside the twine.
Denis: Aubrey have any clue what this odd thing is?
GM: You’ve heard of lay line mappers that work similarly. The stone is said to spin faster when you approach a lay line; and fall from the twine when you approach a knot.
Denis: Is this one a gnomish device then?
GM: It probably is, but it’s hard to say for certain.
Denis: Aubrey will have to ask Veznutt later if he knows anything about it or how it came to be here. So can Aubrey tuck his liripoop inside the hole?
Denis: How high up is the hole?
GM: 14 ft.
Denis: Not too bad then. Is the pendulum stone magical?
GM: Yes. Divinational, but barely.
Denis: Heh. This is certainly a mystical tree it seems…
...or at least it’s about to become so. ;)
Denis: Aubrey once more weaves glamour around himself while incanting mystically: “Winds enfold with a touch most soft
Take up this burden and carry aloft.”
Denis: Aubrey uses the glamour to refill the hole he’d made earlier at the base of the tree. He takes his time and collects the loose bits of earth and then replaces the scattered leaves and debris overtop of it so as to obscure any signs of his evening’s magical labors. That was his fourth and final spell of the day.
Denis: The lone gnome then directs the glamour to pick himself up and carry him up into the air above the canopy of the forest. He’ll hover up there for a little while, basking in the moonlight, watching the stars spins overhead while he silently beseeches Desna to bless this little grove where an immortal has been laid to rest in her name. Aubrey will dance in the starlight before eventually descending back down into the tree. The wayfarer will gently remove his liripoop from his disheveled head and tuck it into the hole in the white oak. He’ll then take up the wooden box and climb inside the liripoop himself.
GM: During the dance, and later as you bed down, you notice a slightly larger number of swallowtail butterflies in the wood than when you first arrived.
Denis: Ah. Perfect. Aubrey will thank them in sylvan for attending and bow to the lot of them. This is now a faerie tree, in which both the living dwell and the dead rest eternally by Desna’s grace.
Denis: Once inside he’ll make himself comfortable, get ready for bed and wrap himself up in the cozy blanket he keeps inside there. He’ll conjure up some light to see by and take out the odd assortment of stones, cards and examine them carefully with his second sight in hopes of uncovering their eldritch secrets. (i.e. using spellcraft to identify). The sleepy gnome munches on the provision of honeyed nuts and nectar he keeps in his hat.
GM: It takes a bit of time, the hematite seems to contain a small amount of healing power that waxes and wanes with the sun.
The tiger eye glows slightly as it is examined. It seems to make the food you are munching somehow … sweeter. You then realize the nuts had gone off… but they no longer taste as foul as they should
The green river stone spins freely in the twine. It tends to pull slightly to the north, but the spinning is lazy and constant.
OOC: Cure light wounds 1xday, Purify food & water 1xday, ... know direction (constant—pulls north), spins faster near lay lines.
The magnets are a fascinating toy and very shiny.
Denis: OOC: You know identifying isn’t automatic right? It normally requires a successful roll. Or are you just hand-waving that part?
GM: I rolled. I know your bonus – and kept rolling 19s. My dice might be broken.
Denis: Awesome. Lucky me. Go Aubrey! I’ll buy that die off of you. =)
Denis: And the cards? Any clue?
GM: Rolled a 4. Divination; but no clue why it comes and goes. Are you just looking at the cards, or starting a reading?
Denis: Probably best to familiarize myself with the cards before asking them questions. Aubrey will go through the deck, studying the images of each card. What are they made off perchance?
Aubrey can try to identify them once per day so he’ll keep on attempting to do so each night before bedtime.
GM: Medieval cards were typically thin pieces of wood or layered bark. So, lets say white oak bark. : )
Denis: Sounds good. =)
So you want to roll for the next few identification attempts?
GM: To what, better identify the cards?
Denis: Yeah. He didn’t succeed on his first attempt. He might on the following nights.
GM: Next night. .... Success (I’m assuming you have a least a +3 from your stat?)
Denis: Spellcraft +7.
GM: Yup, The cards are touched by Desna. It’s not so much that they’re magical in themselves—but that they’ve been used as a divine conduit.
Denis: Seeing as how Desna has fey servants I think it’d be cool to have her be regarded as the patron of the fey; they’d likely revere her as a faerie queen of sorts. What do you think?
GM: Sure. Sounds like a great idea. And on that note, I must go to bed.
Denis: Aubrey too. He’ll turn in and dream some faerie dreams.