Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

The Nine Hells are no place for the mortal soul. Those who willingly walk into the most infamous dens of iniquity and horror are sure to return home with stories, treasures, and... more
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Vardaen
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Chapter 1: From The Highway to Hell

Post by Vardaen » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:15 pm

Tome pauses outside the ring, he doesn't trust, but he also will not risk himself. "The outer stones are each a conduit for a school of magic. The center is channeling it. Have you attempted to cast either a spell of the same school at each outer stone, or its opposite school? Have you enough magic to cast from each of the primary schools of magic?" He seems to not care about her mental plight or answering about coming to save her.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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RorytheRomulan
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Chapter 1: From The Highway to Hell

Post by RorytheRomulan » Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:37 am

Good thing the tiefling woman said something. If they were going to kill her, Ryld would have instinctively sought to close the gap between them.

"Who are you?"

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Chapter 1: From The Highway to Hell

Post by Othniel » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:45 pm

Still expecting a trick, Morneth loosens her chain weapon as the others speak.

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Chapter 1: From The Highway to Hell

Post by Shurijo » Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:57 pm

She turns to answer the warforged questions. She nods in agreement with Tome's assessment. "Strange. I have never seen one of your kind. An intelligent construct adept in the schools of magic... I have tried every spell I know, multiple ways, and multiple times over the months or years I've spent here. The only thing that I have not tried is to touch each of the eight stones at the same time. However, the effect is unknown and every attempt that I've tried has resulted in failure. I fear this is not a puzzle but a trap for those who felt its calling. My companions could not feel the magic. I forced them to investigate, which resulted in my entrapment. I believe this trap was sent specifically for those with the knowledge and skills of arcane magic."

"I am..." She pauses for a moment as if she's forgotten her own name. Looking down and then to the side, she responds. "Jez Malvius, of ... well, not of here. It has been so long, I feel like I am forgetting my past."

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Chapter 1: From The Highway to Hell

Post by ManWithDoor » Sun Apr 12, 2020 2:36 am

Log'thar assumes that the name Jez is short for his master's allies, Jezipra. He doesn't trust much his eyes or ears are telling him, given that is after all, you know, Hell. Deception to gain advantage is a tradition around here. "Indeed, you surmise correctly. My Lord has missed his ally, especially since you disappeared and failed to return as promised." He adds a touch of menace to the sentence, as he is short on forgiveness in most circumstances. "Do you still have your wayfinder?"
Rule Number 12: "A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head."

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Chapter 1: From The Highway to Hell

Post by RorytheRomulan » Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:37 pm

"You have been away from the Mortal Plane for quite some time if you don't recognize a Warforged," Ryld coos, adding some warmth to the party's interactions. "They're living constructs that were created to wage war on their creators' behalf. I find their, uh, 'people' if you will, to be adaptable, versatile, and yet rigid after a fashion." He flashes a brief half smile at Tome.

He sidesteps outside the ring of stones towards the one glowing green (near the violet stones), trying to casually play his movements off as natural in front of the tiefling, far enough to raise his voice somewhat, forcing Jez to divide her attention between him and the rest of the group.

He examines the green stone, stopping only to look Jez up and down, and he likes what he sees. "I'd give you my full name, but honestly it's just embarrassing and a mouthful. Call me 'Ryld'."
Persuasion +2
Ryld attempts to empathize with Jez. He also tries to hit on her (separate).

Insight +6
I'm going to play as lie detector for our interactions and weigh her information about how to solve the puzzle, or how to free her.

Deception +8 or Sleight of Hand +12 (whichever applicable)
Ryld continues to hide his weapon from Jez.

Perception +6
Apart from what we already know, what can I learn from the green stone just by looking at it?

I wonder how her allies screwed up. We should avoid their mistakes.

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Chapter 1: From The Highway to Hell

Post by Vardaen » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:01 pm

Tome corrects Ryd, "My people are not found in all the realms. We came from Eberron, and are found in other realms, but we are not common. I am quite uncommon among my people." He says the word people with a hesitation each time, but uses the vernacular comfortable for the soft skins.

"I feel its pull as well." He looks at the less arcane among the group, "Perhaps those who suffer the indignity of a lack of magic might be better suited to shutting down the trap. Perhaps one of you could strike a stone from the outside of the ring? Something as simple as smashing a rock could break the barrier."
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Chapter 1: From The Highway to Hell

Post by Shurijo » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:52 pm

Jez stare at Log'thar. "Wayfinder?" She muses. "I do. I did not give it over to those fools and I will not give it over to you..." She idles for a bit before continuing, "unless you find the means to free me from this trap. This I will swear to you. You tell me how to escape, then I will provide the wayfinder."

As Ryld looks her over, she catches his eyes and smirks at his comments. "Do not fear, Ryld. I have lived long enough to have heard-and seen-both embarrassments and mouthfuls."
-hidden dice rolls- (any rolls that if you knew if they failed or pass would influence seeing the result, I hide - like these)
You believe she is telling the truth, at least you have found no reason to doubt her yet

For stones, let's go by the school of magic names rather than colors just to make it easier to track:
abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, evocation, illusion, necromancy, and transmutation
Ryld carefully approaches one of the stones. The waist high rock appears native to the hellscape. The rune is carved smoothly, as if by magic, into the rough stone's texture. The runes have a slight glow about them and the barrier has a slight shimmer allowing you to see the dome covering the woman.

As he approaches a rock, Jez walks closer to him and places one foot upon the rock, allowing her skirt to slide down revealing more of her leg and thigh. Smiling at him, she continues "I would not touch those, unless you are ready and willing to accept it's gift. When they touched a rock, a spell related to the stone was cast upon them. Some beneficial--and some not so much. The effects only seem to last a few hours and only once per day. While trapped by the barrier, I can touch each stone once per day and not suffer the individual stone's spell. However, a missile or lightning usually strikes me down a few seconds after I touch all of the stones each day. I believe there is a sequence to unlock the trap, but there are too many combinations."

A moment later, she puts her foot back down and walks towards the warforged. "The other fools could not damage the rocks by physical means. Their weapons and spells had no effect upon the barrier." Laughing a bit, she mentions "The druid even called upon a subterranean animal to dig under the barrier and discovered the barrier is actually a sphere rather than a dome. It was a hideous creature, but I believe the druid grew found of it."

"After a week or so they grew frustrated, abandoned me, and continued on without me. I assumed they died either searching for a way to release me or they gave up and died upon their task to find the tower."
The Docent of Forbidden Knowledge recalls the following which may be of some use:

Mephistopheles - The Keeper of Arcane Souls, Ruler of the 8th Layer of Hell (known as Cania)

The foremost wizard in the Hells, Mephistopheles suffers nothing that would compromise his intellectual focus.... Mephistopheles and his followers specialize in luring wizards and sages into making compacts with the Nine Hells. Of all the Lords of the Nine, he has the lowest quotas but the highest standards.... Mephistopheles harvests the souls of skilled wizards and cunning sages. Curiosity and ambition are motivating factors that entice such souls into his service.

The 8th level of hell, Cania, is a bitterly cold realm of glaciers and howling ice storms.

The docent believes that the trap, built to trap curious wizards and sages of considerable power and ambition (otherwise why would anyone be in hell by choice), could be related to Mephistopheles.

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Chapter 1: From The Highway to Hell

Post by RorytheRomulan » Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:35 am

Ryld laughs at Jez's comment. "What a relief, thank you."

Jez certainly knows how to motivate a man to spring her out of a magical trap. While silently appreciating the lewd posture she takes when she addresses him, Ryld gently rests one hand on his pocket, where the locket currently resides.

"Relax Jez, we'll have you out of there in no time," he jokes. On Avernus, you never know how much time has really passed.
Maybe Log'thar's soul coin could help. There's one or more orc souls here. Could they be trapped? If they are, maybe we could try to form a line of communication.

Arcane/Investigation
I'll aid Tome with his skill checks - with modifiers of 0, but every bit of random chance helps.

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Chapter 1: From The Highway to Hell

Post by Vardaen » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:43 pm

"Mephistopheles."

At first that is all Tome says as he studies the stones, "What do we know of Mephistopheles beyond his desire for souls from skilled wizards? This trap is related to him and Cania, the cold 8th layer of Hell."

Tome circles the entire trap, noting each stone, its placement and the runes carved on it attempting to see any pattern that may relate to the Keeper of Arcane Souls.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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