Prologue: Registration Eve
Our group of young friends prepare with excitement (and some trepidation) for tomorrow, Registration Day at the School of Scales. Now 15 years old, they have officially graduated from underschool and must now choose a career to study for the rest of their lives. As can be expected, some anticipate the event more eagerly than others.
You will be beginning your characters’ grand journeys today. Roll a level-1 character, choose its race, and use ONLY one level of “Humanoid*” (or whatever subtype is applicable) for its class. (More information can be found here.) After Registration Day, your character will have a better idea of what path it wants to pursue, and will begin gaining classes normally.
In addition, you will have appropriate skill points for 1st level [(4 x INT bonus)+4]. Unfortunately, as you’ve never trained a specific skill set, all skills will be cross-class. However, you can attempt all skills untrained.
A humanoid usually has two arms, two legs, and one head, or a humanlike torso, arms, and a head. Humanoids have few or no supernatural or extraordinary abilities, but most can speak and usually have well-developed societies. They usually are Small or Medium. Every humanoid creature also has a subtype.
Humanoids with 1 Hit Die exchange the features of their humanoid Hit Die for the class features of a PC or NPC class. Humanoids of this sort are presented as 1st-level warriors, which means that they have average combat ability and poor saving throws. Humanoids with more than 1 Hit Die are the only humanoids who make use of the features of the humanoid type.
A humanoid has the following features (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).
- 8-sided Hit Dice, or by character class.
- Base attack bonus equal to ¾ total Hit Dice (as cleric). [+0]
- Good Reflex saves (usually; a humanoid’s good save varies). [CON +0, REF +2, WILL +0]
- Skill points equal to (2 + Int modifier, minimum 1) per Hit Die, with quadruple skill points for the first Hit Die, or by character class.
A humanoid possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).
- Proficient with all simple weapons, or by character class.
- Proficient with whatever type of armor (light, medium, or heavy) it is described as wearing, or by character class. If a humanoid does not have a class and wears armor, it is proficient with that type of armor and all lighter types. Humanoids not indicated as wearing armor are not proficient with armor. Humanoids are proficient with shields if they are proficient with any form of armor.
- Humanoids breathe, eat, and sleep.
Session Record (September 29, 2012)
Vhenkor, Tialka, and Damash had been friends since nearly their births. Each had their own specific personality–Damash was introverted and philosophical, Vhankor was intensely curious and dangerously impulsive, and Tialka was open and friendly, particularly to animals.
Their Registration Eve day began with a casual swim from the “Warrens”–the coral reef they called their home, to the School of Scales university a little farther away downstream from the overhead current. Native fungi and plant life were responding to the rising temperature of the water by shining more brightly, and Yaneth’lei’s version of “dawn” was breaking.
A twinkling in the eddies above caught the eyes of both Vhankor and Tialka, who raced each other to snatch it first. However, neither were strong enough to brave the powerful currents, and Vhenkor was flung like a doll several hundred feet downstream, which he seemed to enjoy. The sparkling object, whatever it was, eventually passed out of sight in the ravines at the far end of the Cradle.
The three friends then showed at the office of Professor Kee-Blup, who wish to speak about their impending Registration Day, when they would choose their professions for the rest of their lives.
Professor Kee-Blup knows how to build character.
Their Professor was not amused at their individuals choices, thinking them either too impulsive, too uninformed, or too poorly justified. For Damash, who wished to become a fighting monk, he arranged for an apprenticeship in a nearby dojo. For Tialka, who wished to train animals, he scheduled courses in basic botany. And for Vhenkor, who had disturbing wishes to study sorcery merely for curiosity’s sake, he prescribed a station in the local temple to Tabor, which would help teach discipline and patience. Although the three would still be able to socialize after hours, their schooling would keep them separate during most of the day.
It was not until Damash and Tialka had returned to their favorite after-hours haunts that they realized Vhenkor was no longer with them. A little asking around revealed he had left towards the direction of the university, though he had not actually entered the school grounds. (The party also learned that janitorial bottom-feeders, despite their appearance, do not actually eat dirt.)
There seemed to be only one logical place to search for Vhenkor at this point, and the two cautiously searched for their friend near the treacherous ravines at the far end of the Cradle. Thanks to their care, a sudden gust of current only forced them into the nearest crevasse, without actually harming them. Within they found the unconscious form of Vhenkor, who, upon awaking, admitted he had been tinkering with a new “kite” contraption rigged to ride the strong currents. Apparently, the device had “exceeded expectations.”
Although they were able to successfully free him and his contraption, their efforts caused a cave-in that trapped them within the earth. There was only one direction left for them to travel. Further down.
Within the subterranean crevasses, the three adventurers found the equivalent of the Cradle’s sewer system. Refuse, bones, and discarded equipment littered the corners of the spaces, funneled here by the currents flowing over the city. Careful searches revealed a few useful items. The party garnered a coral club with a handle wrapped in cloth, a javelin, a crude hemp armor, and the sparkling shape seen earlier–a magical rod with two cubical bones etched into its shaft. Random tampering discovered the rod caused a number of different effects, including a powerful blast of sound, a painful discharge of electricity, and an overwhelming flare of light that left the adventurers’ skin painful and flaking.
The adventurers also discovered a Giant Isopod–a carrion eater that decided to create its own meals. The party managed to bumble their way to success (despite Tialka becoming absolutely convinced she could befriend the crustacean) and along the way discovered that magical rods sometimes make a better dagger than anything else.
Giant Isopod wants yummy face!
The three friends continued their forays into the crevasses, hoping to find any way back to the Cradle. Along the way, there was no shortage of good-natured ribbing between Vhenkor and Tialka, including pocket picking and arm twisting. Damash remained in the rear and shook his head quietly at the two, as per par the course.
The spaces the party explored eventually opened down into a series of long-forgotten stone tunnels, hewn from the rock walls and adorned with forebodying carvings of giant octopuses and speared humanoids. Although their knowledge of stonework was limited, the passageways seemed ancient indeed. And cold too–several of the party members began to shiver in the new ambient temperature.
This, with more evisceration of random humanoids.
Wisely following the current back up towards its source, the adventurers eventually found themselves on the outside of a partly-collapsed doorway into another chamber. Vhenkor, his usual impetuous self, used his lithe frame to dart through an opening into the next chamber. Where he was immediately set upon by a hungry crab.
Somebody give this crab a hug!
This battle proved more challenging for our party, as they began their combat already separated. Tialka’s magical rod merely turned her temporarily invisible, Vhenkor’s javelin softly landed on top of the crab, and Damash became pinned when the rest of the door collapsed on him. Still, persistence prevailed, and the three were able to down the crab with a combination of pointy objects and fist strikes. Though not without their own share of blood in the water; even the robust Vhenkor wavered unsteadily at the end.
The adventurers’ final challenge revealed itself when they realized they were in a room with no other doors or exits. It seemed to be for some religious function, as the eight-sided room held eight pillars, each wrapped by a tentacle of a giant octopus engraved on the tile below. Although there were no apparent altars or shrines, a broken pedestal stood at the far end. The lower hem of a flowing garment was all that was left of the statue, and a mere four words remained from a much longer inscription: “…the heart of Rila…” Although written in old Kuo-Toan, the ancestral language of Yaneth’lei, these words and images sparked no recognition with the three friends.
It was Vhenkor who solved the mystery of the room, as his ears picked up a dim chanting murmur from beyond the ceiling, which was composed of a much different type of stone and cut than the walls and floors. Jury-rigging his kite harness, he was able to pull down one of the broken pillars supporting the ceiling, opening a space into what happened to be the main chamber of Cradle’s temple to Tabor.
The high priest of Tabor
The three friends were quickly found by the clergy and hastily escorted from the premises. No questions were answered, then, or in the years to come, about anything they had seen. A new floor was hastily laid in the temple, and a layer of thick resin excreted over it to protect it from any further damage.
The following seven years passed uneventfully (save for periodic mischief and tomfoolery), and the three excelled in the studies they were assigned. Nothing more might have come of the three’s adventure in the ravines…if it were not for the day the lights went out.