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77658 No. 77658 edit
The cultist in the middle suddenly transforms--and a half-second later, the cultists have landed to the side of the carts, and have drawn weapons, and a huge black dragon stands tall in the middle.

"Tremble, for--"

"Enough! You face Valanor the Slayer, wretch!" interrupts the gold dragon, punctuating his threat with a roar.

This has quite an effect on the black dragon, which lets out a half-roar that might be the draconic equivilant of a yelp, and takes to the sky--heading west, away from the Well of Dragons.
126 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 77798 edit
"Yes, his name was Eskanious. Shortly prior to our arrival he spotted something in the distance and asked us to proceed ahead as he investigated. As for the robes, we had a minor encounter with some bandits, but dispatched them with ease."
>> No. 77799 edit
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77799
Bernkastel (Insight): He seems to be making a genuine inquiry. There is no trap that you can sense in his words. He is merely inquiring because it is his duty to do so, and to be suspicious in general.

"Aye, ah reckon a gold haul like tha's a tasty prize ta common bandits. Surprised tha mercenaries they 'ired doon'n Greenest didn't give ya more trouble over their share o' tha cut. Figures tha dragon bailed on ye like tha, Naergoth didn't think 'em too reliable either," the dwarf replies in an easy-going tone.

It's around this point that the dragonwing reemerges from the lava tube, flanked by two hulking dragonborn in purple-and-gold regalia. They carry enormous tower shields and thick-handled halberds, and wear helmets that resemble dragon skulls. "Arrite, tha honor guard's 'ere ta handle tha treasure. Yer gonna wanna head straight down tha tunnel an' dinnae take any turns until ye reach tha caldera. Once yer there, stay at the base level--don't try ta climb tha path leadin' up an' through tha center, tha higher-ups seem ta think there's somethin' nasty up there. But it doesn't come down, so just head ta the southwest tunnel out o' tha caldera. Once yer in tha tunnel, it's tha third room on yer right, ye can rest thar until they come ta give ye new orders."
>> No. 77800 edit
>>77799

"Understood. Let us proceed, then."

Myn motions the group to proceed down the tub.
>> No. 77801 edit
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77801
The group enters the lava tube, following Myn as the honor guard moves towards the two treasure carts. The lava tube is a hollowed circular tunnel into the mountain that houses the caldera of the Well of Dragons, and varies between fifteen to twenty-five feet in diameter. There is evidence to suggest that some effort has been recently made to widen the tunnel, as there are piles of loose rock on the sides of the tunnel.

The lighting herein is dim, and those without low-light vision cannot see very well. Torches and lamps hang from metal rungs hammered into the side of the tunnels at wide intervals, ranging from forty to fifty feet apart. The air is still and quiet, and you progress through the tunnel roughly four hundred feet to the east before the tunnel turns sharply to the south. Almost immediately after this southern turn, it splits into a path that continues to the south, and another heading further east.
>> No. 77802 edit
>>77801
"What should we do about Mr. Tormine's target? It seems like the treasure is too well-guarded for us to poke around," the shaman whispers.
>> No. 77803 edit
"Any clever plan?" the ranger asks, honestly bewildered.
>> No. 77804 edit
"We may as well head to the area the dwarf indicated and see what we can learn."
>> No. 77805 edit
>>77804
"At that point, backtracking to the treasure becomes very unlikely. Is that okay with Mr. Tormine?"
>> No. 77806 edit
>>77805
"If it comes down to choosing, the Fell King comes first."
>> No. 77807 edit
Trying to stay quiet, Reiyasu nods at Myn suggestion instead of adding more to the discussion.
>> No. 77808 edit
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77808
Ramuh looks thoughtful for a moment, then shrugs. "Follow 'orders' it is."
>> No. 77809 edit
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77809
As the party progresses further south down the tunnel, they pass another branching path to the west. It leads southwest about sixty feet and ends in a large, gilded door inscribed with a great many runes and what appear to be magic gemstones. Standing in the center of the door is a cultist wearing an elaborate mask similar to that worn by the cult manipulator back in Halvangh's tower, and he is flanked by two horrid constructs comprised of stitched-together dead flesh. These flesh golems look rather menacing and watch you as you pass, as if daring you to approach the elaborate door.

About two hundred feet further southeast down the wining passage, the lava tube opens into a massive, imposing chamber. The dim lighting has given way to open air, and the shining sun provides plenty of illumination here in the dead caldera. The ground is an uneven, black rock that is no doubt a cooled magma pool, and there are many dips and rises that cover the plane. In the center of the caldera is an enormous stone spire, hundreds of feet tall, jutting up and towards the sky. The spire is quite the sight to behold, as an enormous, serpentine form perhaps sixty feet in diameter coils around the whole of the spire. You cannot see a head or tail to this form, but it appears to coil up the spire for hundreds of feet up, perhaps all the way to the top, which is impossible to view from your current vantage. The path you could use to head upwards coils behind the spire and disappears, perhaps going into the spire or leading to a dead end--you can't tell from your current position.

In addition to this enormous, coiling form--which seems to be comprised of petrified flesh--dragon bones litter the caldera at random locations. They are along the path heading upwards, jutting out of the ground and the stone spire, and cluttered in piles that form makeshift paths through the uneven ground that forms the floor of the caldera. The dwarf instructed you to head to the south from here, and about four hundred feet to the south, you can see a raised path clinging to the side of the stone spire which leads into another lava tube. The lava tube is set into the stone spire rather than the caldera wall, but it's clearly where you were instructed to enter.

This petrified body seems to make the bones of the countless dragons that died here seem insignificant in comparison, and whatever it is, it seems to be coiling around whatever lies at the center of the Well of Dragons.

>> No. 77810 edit
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77810
"I know we are following the dwarf orders" Reiyasu whispers, "but that spire seems rather remarkable. Don't you agree?"
>> No. 77811 edit
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77811
Upon looking up at the gigantic coiling form around the stone spire, those party members that examine it closely notice something a bit odd. There's something small and yellow atop a portion of the serpent's coil, near the ramp leading upwards. It stands out quite a bit because of the bright color, and fixing your gaze upon that spot reveals that somehow, a canary has made its way inside the spire and is resting atop the petrified serpent monster.
>> No. 77812 edit
Torinn points out the canary and quietly adds, "I believe that this is the correct way to go for now."
>> No. 77813 edit
"The owlbear could use a snack."

"I have no objection."
>> No. 77814 edit
The caldera is brightly lit, so you have no problem navigating your way up the ramp to the southwest, circling around the enormous stone spire. As you approach the area where the canary is perched upon the serpentine monstrosity, it takes wing, flying up towards the top of the spire. It looks like it is heading towards the very top when you lose sight of it.

Getting a closer look at the coiling form around this spire, you can see clearly that the exterior is comprised of layered scales. They look nearly impenetrable, though in their current, petrified form, they are only a dull brown color and have lost whatever sheen they might have possessed in life. The feeling you get is definitely that this is an enormous creature that is dead, and for whatever reason, its remains have been preserved rather than left to decay. It's not like taxidermy, as the remains have clearly suffered somewhat from being exposed to the elements--some of the scales have dulled around the edges or have small fragments missing.

And even though it seems to possess no threat to you by all logical appearances, you can't help but feel some great power softly emanate from the creature's enormous form. You have no idea how big it is, but it you were to guess, it was several hundred feet from head to tail, though you have seen no sign of either--only its coiling body.

As for the path itself, it is fairly wide, about sixty feet across, and it slowly ramps upwards as it bends around the back of the spire from your previous perspective. Following it around the corner, you can see that it leads into a large hole in the back of the stone spire (relative to where you entered), but the interior of the spire is dark, and due to the position of the sun, the spire itself, and the lip of the caldera, light is not shining very far inside. Thus, you cannot see into the interior of the spire, but the path you are currently following seems to go inside, continuing to gradually ramp upward as well.
>> No. 77815 edit
Arcana:http://orokos.com/roll/331578
>> No. 77816 edit
Reiyasu looks a the scenery, kind of distracted.
Nature (20) http://orokos.com/roll/331577
>> No. 77817 edit
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77817
Reiyasu: This is not a natural creature. You know very little about it, but you know that much for certain. The best you can guess is that this creature might have power OVER nature, but it is not natural. You'd go as far as to say it is not of this world.

Myn: This creature emanates a power that is difficult to describe. It's not so much that you haven't encountered something like this before, but not on this scale, and it's intertwined with other forms of power. It's as if you're looking at two, three, or more different things when you try to comprehend the nature of the dormant power sleeping within its petrified form.

As for the nature of the creature itself, what you can tell is that it's definitely very much like a dragon, though its shape is different than what you would traditionally call a dragon, obviously. Perhaps if you could see its head, you could tell more, because you've never seen anything quite like this before, nor heard of anything like it described.

It is not currently a threat, but you would guess that it is not permanently dead. Its power lies dormant, it has not been extinguished. Your guess is that it has somehow been forced into an alternate state of consciousness: the creature sleeps, but it is not dead. Still, you would also guess that it could not be stirred from its slumber--not without access to magic of some unfathomable power.

>> No. 77818 edit
"It seems to be a sleeping alien snake."
>> No. 77819 edit
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77819
"We could awaken it with magic."

Arcana knowledge: http://orokos.com/roll/331745 (29)
>> No. 77820 edit
The shaman takes out an everburning lantern and holds it up the darkness.

Last edited at 15/10/07(Wed)23:10:13
>> No. 77821 edit
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77821
The shaman reaveals that, as far as you can see, the interior of this spire is hollow, with the exception of the ground upon which you stand. There is no ceiling visible for the twenty-five feet above you the torch illuminates. The utter emptiness of this enormous chamber is slightly chilling, and it'd be very easy to get turned around or lost within it, given how large it looks from the outside (about four hundred and forty feet in diameter, though the diameter is somewhat irregular). You can tell that the floor slopes gradually upwards, much like the path in the cavern wall that brought you in here.

You can't see an exit from your current vantage, just darkness beyond the edge of your light source. However, the path seems to slope upwards towards the north and east, so if your goal is to go upward, that would most likely be the way you wish to go.
>> No. 77822 edit
"Let's make haste, we have been blessed with a low profile security so far" the ranger remarks, as he moves with the group.
>> No. 77823 edit
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77823
As the group heads upwards and to the north and east, they manage to keep their bearings and are startled to find little of note in the interior of the spire. The terrain here is rough and uneven, and dragon bones seem embedded in the ground, but it does not seem like it was formed naturally from magma flows like the rest of the caldera. It was constructed, somehow, perhaps via a powerful stone-shaping ritual of some sort. However, it comes across as incomplete and barely half-formed, given its completely hollow nature and strange, convenient structure where the floor meets the passage leading inward.

Eventually, in the distance, you spot portion of the wall that is broken through. It was difficult to spot because the sun was not shining directly through it, but looking up you do spot several other portions of the spire where there are holes broken through the sides of it where sunlight manages to pierce into the darkness for varying distances, usually ending as it hits another wall. In any case, as you approach the section of the wall that is broken through, you notice that there is no more path to follow--until you spot a yellow canary that flies out of it, then skims the back of the enormous petrified serpent, which lies directly outside the hole in the side of the spire. Following it out and onto the enormous creature's back, you are able to continue your passage upward.

Working your way through the strange spire is confusing and decidedly odd--eventually there is simply no more floor to traverse and you have to move across the petrified serpent's back once more for a great distance, following yellow canaries until finally you re-enter into a small chamber near the top of the spire, some few hundred feet above the caldera's ground level. A steep ramp upwards deposits you atop the spire, and here things are strange indeed.

Stalagmite-like rock formations litter the edge of the spire--it would be quite a drop should you fall off, so it's probably a good idea to not hang around too close to the edge. There are dragon bones littering the floor, including several whole dragon skeletons. The bones and the rock formations form a twisting mess around a circular stone platform on the center of the spire's top. This platform stands out because the stone is of a different color than the dull brown of the surrounding cavern floor, it is a light gray and has a polished look to it. It raises roughly thirty feet above the ground, with a small, rocky ramp that appears to be a defaced portion of the stone platform forming a ramp that could be used to easily ascend it.

By far the most striking feature here is the enormous head of the petrified serpent, and two massive wings clinging to its body about two hundred feet away from the head, hugging the sides of the spire-top. The head is perched above the stone platform, and for lack of a better descriptive term, it is very dragon-like. Its mouth hangs open, as if frozen mid-roar, but it is clearly not alive. Or not animate, at any rate. Given its position hovering over the platform, it's almost as if this is some place to commune with the great serpent--if it were a living thing.

Also on the platform are two more oddities--they appear to be the corpses of two fell dragons. And four of you recognize these dragons; they look very similar to the two dragons that you fought in the Fell King's throne room, though those two dragons almost completely disintegrated after you defeated them, so how they could still be here is a mystery to you. They are also very clearly dead and unmoving. Perched atop the platform on the opposite side from your current position is a yellow canary, which chirps at you briefly, then flies up and over the head of the enormous serpent.
>> No. 77824 edit
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77824
"This is truly something..." the ranger says, wearing a content smile. "Was this training of yours really that important, son?" he mutters to himself.

Nature (25) Perception (31) http://orokos.com/roll/332211
>> No. 77825 edit
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77825
Reiyasu: (Nature) All you can tell about this creature is that it is not of the natural world in any way, shape, or form. Everything about it screams "unnatural" to you. You confirm that while it may share some similarities with dragons, it is not a mere mortal dragon; for dragons, while somewhat magical and majestic, are natural creatures. This is not a natural creature, it is not of Toril.

(Perception) Your eyes manage to closely track the canary as it flies away. As it crests over the petrified head of the dormant monstrosity, it seems to vanish. You should have been able to see it land or continue flying away with your incredibly keen senses, but instead it seems to have vanished into thin air.
>> No. 77826 edit
>>77823
"Is this really where Mr. Ragrim was seen? And why did we follow a canary?" the shaman asks the party.
>> No. 77827 edit
"This creature, even if it does look similar to dragons, it is most definitely not a creature from Toril, as Mr. Myn suggested" Reiyasu mentions, sounding intrigued.
>> No. 77828 edit
>>77826
"Did I not tell you that the Platinum Dragon has a host of canaries with him when he travels in human guise?"
>> No. 77829 edit
>>77828
"...Is he here somewhere, then?" The shaman looks around.
Perception to look around. (16) http://orokos.com/roll/332312
>> No. 77830 edit
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77830
"Maybe... he was leading us to this place?" Reiyasu says.

"Does anybody else has an idea of what this is?"
>> No. 77831 edit
"I believe it's a sleeping alien snake."

Arcana:http://orokos.com/roll/332328

Last edited at 15/10/09(Fri)15:23:44
>> No. 77832 edit
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77832
Myn (Arcana) Myn deduces no new information.

Bernkastel (Perception) Aside from obvious features described before, you do not see anything else out of the ordinary.
>> No. 77833 edit
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77833
"'An alien snake' is a most unflattering description," Ramuh interjects. "It is... hard to describe. There is a lot of power lying dormant in this creature, but it is as gazing at three different paintings and trying to describe them as one.

"It isn't awake, though. At least, not yet. For now, I don't believe there's much reason to fear. It is a dragon, and yet it is unlike a dragon."

I thought we needed to see the head for more information? D:
>> No. 77834 edit
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77834
Piecing together what they know, the party is able to combine the obvious facts about this creature, such as it being enormous and dragon-like, with the not-so-obvious, such as the sleeping power you can sense within it, to form certain conclusions. An enormous, ancient, and powerful dragon-like creature brings a few ancient legends to mind--and the unnatural sense that some of you have of it suggests that perhaps it is of another world... such as Abeir. The power you sense could be that of a primordial, one of extraordinary power, and dragon-like in appearance... one that is now dormant.
>> No. 77835 edit
Torinn isn't well informed about this.

History: http://orokos.com/roll/332418 (17)
>> No. 77836 edit
Myn is less than less informed about this.
History: http://orokos.com/roll/332420
>> No. 77837 edit
Ramuh has nothing.
http://orokos.com/roll/332529
>> No. 77838 edit
Seeing as everyone's calling the snake weird, the shaman trains her spirit senses on the creature for hints.

Speak with Spirits + taking ten on History, using Myn's check as an Aid. (10+10+5+2=27)
- Using any other Aid Anothers that crop up, too.

>> No. 77839 edit
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77839
Reiyasu was never an avid reader, but he tries to recall if he ever heard a story about a very long snake/dragon. Maybe he knew once of a story like that, something he used to scare and send to bed early his badly behaved son.
Take ten in history. Aid another Bern.

Last edited at 15/10/10(Sat)10:36:58
>> No. 77840 edit
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77840
History (Group): There is a legend of a primordial that took the form of a dragon, a primordial that cast down Toril-Abeir's ice moon in an event called the Tearfall, creating the Sea of Fallen Stars. This event eventually led to the creation of the twin realms of Abeir and Toril. This tale is told primarily among dragons, who hail Asgorath as "the World-Shaper", the creator of the universe itself. Some legends refer to Asgorath as male, some as female--some as evil, some as good. Some as a greater god, some as a primordial. It is not known which of these things Asgorath truly is, for it has not been known to interfere with the realms in any way since the Tearfall, though Torinn has heard rumors among his people that the dragons say that Asgorath was active on Abeir in the final days before the onset of the Spellplague.
>> No. 77841 edit
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77841
Once the discussion is over, and the group identifies the legendary creature, Reiyasu adds "The world-shaper... yes I might have heard of that once."

"Why do you think Bahamut lead us to this place, Mr. Torinn? Could this be related to the Fell King?"
>> No. 77842 edit
Torinn relates what little he knows.

>>77841
"I can't say for certain. Whatever it is, it must be important."
>> No. 77843 edit
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77843
"Well, the canary that brought us here just vanished a moment ago. It used to be resting over the giant head of our friend over there" he adds.
>> No. 77844 edit
>>77843
"If the canary really was guiding us, could the climby members of the party please investigate where it was? Maybe there's something there," the shaman suggests, hoping to find out what Asgorath is doing here, and how it ties into the current Well of Dragons situation.
>> No. 77845 edit
"Well, at this point I'd say our infiltration was a success" the ranger says, as he removes the cultist's clothes and mask and places it inside of the magic bag.

Then, he approaches the massive dragon head, and if nothing seems to be immediately dangerous, he climbs on it and looks around the place where the canary vanished.


Remove silly clothes, equip casque of tactics. Take ten on Athletics.
>> No. 77846 edit
Torinn tries climbing. He's no so good at it, though.

Athletics: http://orokos.com/roll/332641 (17)
>> No. 77848 edit
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77848
>>77847
Continued.
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