“The Last Map of the Cartomancer” presents a series of magical maps introduced through the escapades of Lan Su’Vavock and Kai Geyser, two sages on the trail of interconnected clues left behind by an ancient cartographer of legend.
[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]
“Oh, this I do not like at all.”
“Ah, I am elated to see that you too, Kai, know exactly where this is going.”
The two sages each looked up at the 9-ft. statue on the temple dais. Carved from a dark blue stone, the depicted figure was every bit that of an ancient samurai. With a razor-sharp katana in each hand, the lone sentinel’s arms were crossed securely over its chest…
“I do indeed see what’s on your mind Lan, and I vote nay.”
“A tie then—and the ayes have it.”
“What?! Since when do the ayes have it in the case of a tie?”
“I’m sure that’s in the rules somewhere Kai. We’ll be sure look it up when we get back home. The memory map brought us all the way to this temple. And I do not intend to give up now.” With that, Su’Vavock took his walking stick, wound up, and smashed it squarely across the statue’s right knee.
The animation was as immediate as it was expected. The statue’s arms shot out in a downward arc, slashing towards Su’Vavock’s head. It cost Lan his tri-cornered hat, but for the moment, Su’Vavock’s head remained on his shoulders.
With its next motion, the statue executed a surprisingly graceful jump forward, descending from the dais—its soft landing belying its great mass. The stone warrior divided its attention between each of the two temple raiders, slowly turning its head from side to side, as its arms once again quickly crossed across its chest.
“There!” Lan exclaimed. “Did you see it?” Lan took a dozen steps back and unshouldered his map case, hastily rolling out an empty piece of parchment.
Geyser too was backpedalling, never taking his eyes off the statute’s twin swords. “The only thing I see is the exit doors behind us. Let’s go.”
Lan shook his head, never taking his eyes off of the golem. “You know very well the Cartomancer’s next map is etched into the golem’s chest. Now distract it while I sketch it out.”
“Distract it? Sketch it out!?”
“Well if you can get it to hold still with its arms open long enough for me to make a rubbing that would be better.” Lan’s charcoal stick had found his hand.
“Please, please do not tell me it is my turn.”
“Look Kai, you simply need to call upon your killer instincts here.”
“Killer instincts!? Lan, need I remind you—we’re men of letters. I don’t think we have instincts, let alone killer ones.”
The golem advanced, slowly, almost cat-like. But still guarding its chest
“Well that’s a problem Kai,” said Lan. “Because in about 5 seconds we’re going to need our survival ones…”
“Uh, I saw a lengthy spear back in the atrium on the weapons rack at the mouth of the under-palace—maybe its shaft is long enough to harass it and get it to stretch out its arms. But you’d better draw your sketch fast Su’Vavock!”
“Of course Geyser! I’m a professional. But I’d be grateful if you’d hurry as well. I don’t think it intends to simply wait for us…”
Kai raced out of the temple chamber. He turned left at the intersection, returning to the atrium. There he eyed the ancient weapons arrayed on the stone racks, looking for whichever one might be the longest, holding out hope it would provide the greatest distance between himself and the stone samurai. But then, opportunity suddenly presented him with a better idea. Kai slowly turned and faced the empty hall leading to the palace exit to Casparan’s Cove.
“You and your men can come out now Commandron, “ Kai said, slowly finding his confidence. “I know you’re there.”
“We know you’ve followed us here. Master Su’Vavock and I have decided it’s time for you to earn your keep.”
“Look Gharen, in the next few moments Su’Vavock will either have sketched the next map or he’ll be dead and the map will be lost. If you expect this journey to continue, as I believe you do, you need to come back with me and help keep him alive.”
From the shadows stepped Commandron Gharen together with three members of the Abacane Guard. “Very well Geyser. Tell us what you need done. But don’t make the mistake of thinking I don’t intend to haul you back to Diasine City in chains.”
Moments later, an accord was reached and Kai’s impromptu party of five raced back to the inner temple, each with a long spear of his own. For the time being, Lan was still alive, but his situation was precarious. His scroll paper now slashed in two, Su’Vavock was racing between the temple columns while the golem alternated between covering its chest map and lunging at the sage with a combination of razored swords.
Upon seeing Gharen and his men, Lan’s panic only increased. “The Commandron! Kai! What have you done!?”
“I trusted my instincts.”
Map Golem (CR 11)
hp 107 (see Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary)
Concealed Map (Ex) A map golem bears a map etched upon its chest. The golem keeps its arms folded across its breast concealing the map. It reveals the map only to its creator or to those to whom its master has provided a pre-set password. Should the golem strike with a single slam attack, the map is briefly uncovered and its opponents can spot the map (Perception DC 30). If the golem attacks with both slam attacks in a single round, the DC drops to 20. A total of ten Perception checks are sufficient to glean the full map.
Exploding Map (Ex) If the golem’s hp are reduced to 0, its chest plate explodes in a spray of shards, erasing the map. The resulting blast deals 3d10+12 damage to all creatures within 30 ft. (Reflex DC 17 for half damage).
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