Rise of the Runelords

Session Forty-Seven
Daggers are Sharp

Present Players:  Vincent, Purrcival, Urtar, Aurelia, Jaren, Feda

 

Session Notes:

The cave proved no difficulty as the party uses some Monkeyfish to let those not so talented at climbing the skills of a monkey. The Thistles and their ranger allies quickly come upon some shocker lizards who have wandered away from their colony. The creatures put up an aggressive front, but Purrcival uses his bardic magic to calm the creatures long enough for the party to pass with no violence. The party heads downward deeper into the Shocker Lizard's habitat in the hopes that the secret entrance to the inner keep is still undiscovered. The shocker lizards give some intimidating hisses and sparks from atop their nests, but allow the party to pass unmolested with the help of some thrown sausages.

 

Arriving at the secret entrance the party finds it locked with some sort of arcane magic that the party quickly realizes is an Arcane Lock spell. Listening at the sealed door the party hears casting from inside, but that doesn't deter them as they successfully dispel the magic using their Chime of Opening. A regal pale skinned woman with bright auburn hair greets the party as if they were expected. In particular, she is delighted to see Kaven who she thanks for getting the ranger's out of the way and giving her vital intelligence on the fort. Kaven panics at this pronouncement as the other two rangers round on him with hate in their eyes. Kaven panics and flees to the woman's side hotly pursued by Vale. The chase is enough of a reason for Urtar to charge into the fight against the woman. The party suddenly finds themselves fighting two invisible creatures that they recognize as invisible stalkers. The two new combatants further split the party as Urtar and Vale are on one side of the room and the rest of the party are bottlenecked by the creatures. Purrcival is able to reveal one of the strange humanoids with a glitterdust. Urtar finds himself unable to connect with the spry woman. Vale manages a number of solid blows on the retreating Kaven who seems determined to just get out of the room and away from the man's two dangerous axes. As Aurelia drops another spell into Lucrecia she realizes the party has been tricked, and lets everyone know they're facing an illusion.

 

The party is shocked as the Lamia Matriarch drops her invisibility and lays into Vale and Urtar with a flurry of dagger blows. She is able to drop both of the fighters in a massive series of blows with her enchanted daggers. Vale is killed on the spot and Urtar is left on death's door bleeding to death. The party panics as they plot a scheme to save Urtar. Purrcival is able to jaunt Vincent over to Urtar (who passes away in the meantime). Vincent is able to pull their emergency scroll of Breath of Life to bring the monk back from the dead. Lucrecia drops a silence onto the bard and other spellcasters stopping him from providing his magical song for a moment. Jaren begins to tangle with the dangerous Lamia but refuses to stand toe to toe and darts in and out of the fight. He isn't able to land a decisive blow, but keeps the Lamia from eviscerating him. Feda is able to dispel Lucrecia's stoneskin, but pays for it with a cascade of dagger stabs. Feda survives but only thanks to her dwarven fortitude and stout armor. Aurelia hastes the party as the Lamia continues to wade through the fight. The party attempts to grease her daggers to lower the threat of the dangerous snake lady, but she keeps a firm grasp. The fight balances on a knife's edge for a few more seconds until the Lamia feels she is being cornered and dimension doors away from the fight.

 

DM Notes:

  • A tough fight for the heroes. Lucrecia was given a few rounds to buff thanks to her alarm spell and arcane lock.
  • I had some really lucky/unlucky (depending on the perspective) for the party's will saves vs. Lucrecia's Major Image.
  • That was definitely the most dangerous full attacker the party has fought, good thing the party was prepared with a Breath of Life scroll.
  • RIP Vale. I didn't do a good job of fleshing out the rangers so his death fell a bit flat.
  • The party retreated, but it's unclear if they're going to press their luck while (presumably) some sort of alarm is being raised

 

Rewards / Loot:

-

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Shocker Lizard Caves
  • Lucrecia, Lamia Matriarch
  • 2 Invisible Stalkers

 

End Date: Sarenith 24

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Session Forty-Six
A Fortified Position

Present Players:  Vincent, Urtar, Jaren, Feda

 

Session Notes:

The party reconvenes with the Black Arrows after looting the Graul house. Reviewing the map drawn by the rangers they talk over the various features of Fort Rannick.

  • Caves -
  • Sluice Gates
  • Gates – One was knocked off its hinges when the rangers mounted their attack. The other appeared mostly undamaged. They aren't sure if the ogres would have repaired it.
  • Aery – Some allied giant eagles lived here. It overlooks the fort, but the surviving Black Arrows expect the eagles have all been killed during the attack.
  • "New Barracks" – These were built years ago, but never used as they're basically a poorly designed fire hazard. There is only one exit and the whole building is basically a tinder box.
  • Kitchen – It was still in use by the rangers. The remaining Black Arrows predicted it would be a hotbed of activity given the number of horses and humans likely killed by the ogres.
  • Old Guard Post – This building was due to be cleared when the weather got better. It is near collapse and a danger for anyone inside.

 

The party gets a feel for the ranger's morale. Vale and Jakardros seem like solid fellows, but the party has some doubts about Kaven. He seems very nervous about heading back to the fort, and Vincent makes a point to keep an eye on him in case he tries to run off. Vincent also asks the more observant Thistles if they've seen any Sihedron runes tattooed on the rangers, but none have been sighted much to the party's relief.

 

After a brief bit of discussion and the party weighing their options, they decide to try to enter the inner keep via the caves under the fort. They aren't too concerned about the potential shocker lizards nesting below, and they hope it will let them avoid the majority of the ogres. Putting their plan into action they see the old battered fortress and start following the rangers who are more familiar with the area. On their way to the fort they surprise a scouting group of ogres, but after a relatively quick melee the party triumphs without any of the scouts getting away to warn the fort. After hiding the bodies, the party manages to make it to the edge of the waterfall and see their entrance into the fort behind the cascading sheets of water.

 

DM Notes:

  • I was recovering from a cold, so we didn't play a full session.
  • I'm interested to see what the party does with their assault plan, as this is one of the few times they are able to get intelligence and plan a siege beforehand.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Ogre scouts carried some weird stuff in the pockets that were promptly left behind

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • 3 Kreeg Ogre Scouts

 

End Date: Sarenith 24

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Session Forty-Five
What a barn burner!

Present Players:  Vincent, Urtar, Aurelia, Jaren, Feda

Session Notes:

The Thistles head to the barn and find themselves facing down Mammy once again with six of her malformed children. Urtar reacts in a split second to brutally take one of the Grauls down, but that doesn't deter the rest of the family from charging the party. Jaren and Feda manage to take another down, but Mammy responds with a suffocating spell on Jaren who falls unconscious as the air magic works to keep him from breathing. Vincent unable to heal Jaren from the insidious magic opts to bash an Ogrekin about the face with his mace while Aurelia tries to overcome Mammy's magic with a dispel magic. The obese Ogrekin matriarch's magic proves the stronger and Jaren nears the verge of death from the lack of air. Purrcival puts a stop to Mammy's magic with a surprisingly successful glitterdust (Natural One!). Urtar continues to rampage through the Ogrekin teaching them to fear the monk's fists and feet. Mammy unable to assist without sight blinks out of existence much to the confusion of the party who were unable to determine the spell she used. With their mother abandoning them the remaining Ogrekin struggle briefly against the party before being defeated.

 

Seeing another double door deeper in the barn the party charges forth with gusto. Opening the door they find a room absolutely layered with spider webs. As Feda begins to push her way through an elephant sized spider charges out of a hole in the ground. Aurelia interrupts its charge with a fireball which clears the room of webbing and singes the gigantic spider. Jaren charges in swiping at the spider's limbs, but is paid back in turn as it sinks fangs dripping with venom into the warder. Purrcival nopes out and retreats toward the front of the barn while singing. Vincent does likewise attempting to get to the upper level of the barn where he can see some unconscious prisoners, however, he is interrupted from his rescue mission as another Graul shows up. This ogrekin as backward facing knees and makes a massive sneak attack against Vincent. Urtar jumps on Biggin' the spider and somehow manages to trip the massive creature (Natural Twenty!). Leaving the prone spider to Feda and Jaren, he charges back toward the entrance to help Vincent. Crowfood the last remaining ogrekin manages to hold his own briefly before being dropped by the Thistles.

 

Feda and Vincent see to the humans in the cage at the back of the barn. They introduce themselves as Black Arrows who were captured after a failed attack on Fort Rannick. They explain their home has been taken over by an Ogre clan known as the Kreeg's and they are the last living Black Arrows that they know of in the valley. The party helps heal them up and everyone agrees to rest at the barn before deciding on their next moves. Before resting the Thistles scout out the rest of the macabre house to pick up any loot they missed on their first expedition. They find a number of disturbing things in their search but also manage to reclaim a fair amount of loot including the Black Arrows' personal gear which they return. The Black Arrow Rangers all agree to help the reclaiming of the fort and sketch out a quick map for the party to use for planning.

DM Notes:

  • The party wraps up the Graul farm, but Mammy escapes. I'm sure this will be the turning point in her life and she certainly won't be after the Thistles for revenge later.
  • Some pretty nice rolls tonight. Blinding Mammy was a good turn stopping her from dropping her remaining spells on the party, and tripping the spider was entertaining if nothing else.
  • I'm looking forward to the Ogre fights in Fort Rannick, but I think they will suffer the same as the Ogrekin. They don't have huge attack bonuses but hit like trucks when they connect.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Assorted Coinage, Gems, and Jewelry
  • 3 Masterwork Cleavers (Hand axes)
  • Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds
  • Gloves of Arrow Snaring
  • Masterwork Ogre Hook
  • Masterwork Hide Armor

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • 6 Generic Graul Fighters
  • Mammy Graul (Part 2)
  • Crowfood
  • Biggin' the Ogre Spider
  • Various Graul Farm Traps

 

End Date: Sarenith 23

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Session Forty-Four
Death by Dire Capybaras

Present Players:  Vincent, Purrcival, Urtar, Aurelia, Jaren, Feda

Level 8!

Session Notes:

With the party having opened a new entrance into her room, Mammy resorts to casting another of her Black Tentacles spells in the new opening but the spell seems to lack the oomph of the previous spell. The spell fails to grab anyone and it leaves Mammy pretty open to the incoming melee fighters. Aurelia finally out of the initial tentacles throws a fireball into the group of ogre zombies and singes Mammy. With a combination of attacks from Feda, Jaren, and Urtar the rest of the zombies are killed leaving just Mammy to face down the very angry Thistles. She instead opts to dimension door away before getting into melee with the party. The threat removed Purrcival tries to assist with the poison still coursing through Vincent's body from the spiked pit trap. He manages to overcome the poison without suffering too much, and the party begins to explore the rest of the house. The attic doesn't seem to contain any threats so the party heads down into the basement.

The first room in the basement is a disgusting room full of butchery. There are numerous flayed human skins laying under a prominently placed skull-less face. The next door appears to be a junk room, and inside is a Hucker Graul with a veritable horde of donkey rats (dire capybaras). Jaren is the first to get into the room and gets tangled up with the donkey rats before he is surprised as the ogrekin nearly cuts him in half with vicious sneak attack from his spiked chain. His very life flashes before his eyes and he realizes he's seen this before in the Dream Journal. Knowing what is to come, he dodges in just the right way to avoid his imminent death. He is left badly wounded but alive. The rest of the party begin to file into the room and start tangling with the surprisingly tough capybaras. Feda is able to negate Hucker's rage with a calm emotions spell that significantly reduces the ogrekin's threat. Vincent summons his own (slightly less impressive) celestial rodents to tank some blows, and Jaren manages to tactical withdraw away from the sneak attacking ogre. Urtar manages to get in past the donkey rats and trip Hucker. Hucker doesn't manage to get back to his feet before Urtar brutally curb stomps the ogrekin. The rest of the fight is a relatively quick clean-up of the donkey rats who can tank blows pretty well, but fail to pierce the party's armor.

After some quick healing the party continues exploring the dank basement. The next room is a junk filled room that looks like has been routinely salvaged for parts for the various traps in the house. The junk room leads into a swampy plant filled room that reeks of mildew and mold, and the party is surprised to find the last Graul son has been turned into some hideous plant creature. Muck Graul is a humongous plant create writhing with lashing tentacles. Aurelia promptly uses her last fireball to discourage the creature and the large creature is a bit too slow to avoid death at the pounding fists of Urtar. Past the muck and grime the party finds a large treasure chest stuffed with loot that the party promptly stuffs into the bag of holding before heading toward the Graul's decrepit barn.

DM Notes:

  • Woo, we remembered the dream journal. Jaren was very surprised at the damage from the ogrekin, but a full attacking barbarian/rogue can lay down the hurt. The re-roll saved him by Hucker rolling a 1
  • Dire Capybaras!
  • The party dings Level 8, finally unlocking 4th level arcane spells for the party but we aren't going to unlock the goodies from eighth until after the next rest
  • Urtar hits really hard, but is surprisingly squishy. The trick is hitting him which so far the monsters have mostly failed to do. We'll see if his luck continues!

Rewards / Loot:

  • Still running smash and grabs, buffs wait for no man

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Poison Spike Pit Trap
  • Mammy Graul (retreated via dimension door)
  • 4 Former Mammy husbands (Ogre Zombies)
  • 6 Donkey Rats (Dire Capybaras)
  • Hucker Graul
  • Muck Graul (Tendriculous)

End Date: Sarenith 23

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Session Forty-Three
Tentacles with Mammy

Present Players:  Vincent, Purrcival, Urtar, Aurelia, Jaren, Feda

Session Notes:

The Thistles facing down a group of seemingly grown Ogrekin who were busy playing with skulls and large rusty ogre hooks. They seemed much less developed mentally than the previous Ogrekin Rukkus, which is really quite impressive. The slow witted creatures all scream seeing some new toys to play with and charge the group with their toys ready for killing blows. The party is able to effectively coral the Ogrekin in the play room for the most part, and are able to pretty effectively defeat their opponents.

 

Feda spends no time trying to loot the room due to her numerous blessings running on relatively short durations. They assess a number of rooms for threats before Feda barges into a room at the end of a long hallway where she is suddenly blocked off by two tree trunk sized rotting legs belonging to a large Ogre zombie. Behind the Ogre floats a hideously obese Ogrekin woman who is surrounded by macabre painting supplies made of humanoid bones and paint made of various bodily fluids. Mammy Graul cackles at the party and sets her numerous ogre zombies onto the party then immediately falls into spellcasting. As she completes the spell rubbery black tentacles fill the hallway trapping the party in their crushing embrace. Urtar is able to use his expertise in grappling to fend off the rubbery doom, but he is unable to get by the crush of undead bodies blocking the doorway. Seeing no alternatives, he begins to smash his way through a nearby wall in hopes of making an alternate route to the spellcaster. The zombies mechanically swing heavy arms at Feda as she struggles in the tentacles, and the rest of the party are all pretty much trapped to ineffectualness due to the spacing and grapple of the tentacles. Feda is forced to tank the zombies and the spells from the floating spellcaster, and while doing so eats an enervation draining her life force. Urtar succeeds in breaking open the wall and finds himself in the house's living room. Urtar immediately jumps through the hole and finds the floor giving away beneath him as the couch and surrounding area collapsed into a spiked pit trap. He is reflexive enough to dodge the fall, but finds it difficult to swing through the hole. Meanwhile, Vincent manages to break free and enters the living room through the doorway. Urtar finally swings past the hole and begins breaking another entrance into the spellcaster's room. Purrcival uses his magical Boots of Escape to teleport into the open living room, and Aurelia and Jaren finally manage to escape the tentacle's grasp putting everyone but Feda in the living room.

 

Feda isn't able to push her way through the tentacles plus the ogres, but they're likewise unable to move the hardy dwarf warrior. Urtar finally breaks open the wall with the help of Jaren and Vincent, but the ogre on the other side of the wall promptly shoulder rushes Vincent backwards into the spiked pit. He lands hard catching a number of poisoned spikes in the back as he lands. The zombies continue frustrating the party's advance but through sheer number of hits they begin to wear down their opponents. The session ends with two of the five zombies down and the rest looking rough, but Feda is also beginning to feel the accumulated hits from the spellcaster and undead.

DM Notes:

  • The playpen fight didn't really accomplish much as far as taking HP resources, but it did force out a few spells from the party. I think this "dungeon" will be the first time the party has been nearly tapped out by the end of it.
  • Black tentacles is a really mean spell for the non-martials
  • The loudness of the party worked to Mammy's advantage as she was very well buffed for the party's arrival. Sadly, her only legit target was the dwarf with great fortitude and will saves so she wasn't able to bring a whole lot of pain.
  • I was really pleased with punting Vincent into the hole.

Rewards / Loot:

  • No time for loot, got buffs running

Challenges / Monsters:

  • 6 Graul Fighters

 

End Date: Sarenith 23

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Session Forty-Two
Soap

Present Players:  Vincent, {Late}Purrcival, Urtar, Aurelia, Jaren, Feda

 

Session Notes:

The Thistles next destination is the far flung village of Turtleback Ferry. It is the furthest holding owned by Magnimar and involves a long journey from Sandpoint. After some debate the party decides to take a relaxing ferry ride to the small village. During the voyage Aurelia and Feda work on various items using their crafting skills. Urtar, however, tries his best to be useful on the voyage by constantly badgering the crew on how he can be helpful. This constant pestering does not earn him any friends and he mostly ends up with simple tasks like mopping the deck which Urtar does with Vigor. Vincent makes a point of sampling all of the local cuisine at the various village stops along the way. He manages to get through the trip without food poisoning and is treated to some very unique cuisine.

 

Once in Turtleback Ferry the party is treated to a very small village and begin trying to learn the local lay of the land. They spend a day talking to villagers and learning about local rumors. They hear a variety of tales ranging from the giant Albino Gar known as Pinkeye sinking a pleasure cruise to the horrendous sounding Black Magga that lives in the Storval Deep, the massive lack held behind an ancient Thassilonian dam known as Skull's Crossing. There were also some rumors that the Leader of the Black Arrows is known to visit the nearby Shimmergleans for some unknown purpose.  Urtar spends some of his day shopping at Turtle's Candles and Soaps Shop, and buys a variety of soaps for the party. While shopping he notes a villager sporting a Sihedron Rune tattoo and tails the suspect throughout the day. He stalks the man to his home eventually and lets the party know what he has seen. Later that night Urtar also presents Aurelia with some nice smelling soap with rose petals in it because she is a lady and likes pretty things. For Feda, he presents her with a "manly" mineral based soap because she is not lady like.  He also presents Purrcival with a bar of the same soap because he is dainty and also likes pretty things.

 

The next day the party heads toward Fort Rannick, but on the way Purrcival hears the sound of a distressed animal. Investigating they find a firepelt cougar trapped in a large bear trap. The animal is clearly in great pain as they approach but reacts relatively calmly. Jaren easily recognizes it as a trained companion and the party begins working to free the creature. However, shortly after they begin breaking the trap the rest of the party hears a loud singing and the barking of hunting dogs. The singer turns out to be an ogrekin and is intent on murdering the trapped cat. The party heard that there was an ogrekin family in these woods known as the Graul who are known to be cruel, and this creature introduces itself as Rukus Graul demanding they let him murder the kitteh. The ogrekin sets his dogs on the party but it proves a quick fight as a well-placed fireball by Aurelia leaves the majority of the hounds staggered on their feet. Rukus does a few tenative thrusts with his spear before fleeing the fight as his dogs all fall to the party's fighting skills. Urtar and Aurelia (enchanted with expeditious retreat) manage to catch and defeat the fleeing ogrekin. The party continues following Rukus' trail and after passing some strange humanoid shaped fetishesand end up on the edge of a decrepit looking farmhouse and barn. The crops are all large but wrong looking — moldy and festering. The party following the firepelt's lead sneak over toward the farmhouse. The cougar stays crouched on the edge of the clearing while the rest of the party sneaks toward the house. They find the front porch adorned with numerous hanging bone windchimes. After seeing some very large bugs on the porch (a moth the size of a shovel head!) the party opts to use a side door instead of braving the porch. The side door opens into an absolutely sickening kitchen that smells of days old meat. The table has a veritable buffet for some large rodents that appear to be human fingers and thumbs in a bowl with the (relatively) freshly de-fingered hands in a bucket nearby. Feda veritably charges through the house (buffs have durations!) and eats a few traps in the adjacent dining room. The final room she charges into appears to be some sort of playpen with not so clean skulls and horrible finger paintings across the walls. Inside they find a collection of ogrekin who all look in attention at the dwarf that stumbled into their room.

 

DM Notes:

  • Rukus didn't really bring much Rukus
  • I'm using a new scaled rebalancing of the encounters. I'm curious to see how much it is going to be felt by the party.
  • Jaren finally got to let his maxed Handle Animal shine.

 

 

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Acid Large Spear
  • Quilt made of Blackarrow patches

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Rukus Graul
  • 6 Graul Hounds

 

End Date: Sarenith 23

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Session Forty-One
Vampires Found-ry

Present Players:  Vincent, {Late}Purrcival, Urtar, Aurelia, Jaren, Feda

 

Session Notes:

The fight gets quickly under the control of the Thistles after some well-placed crowd control. Urtar grapples the vampire sorceress and forces her to use gaseous form to escape. Aurelia blows away the remaining vampire spawn with an empowered magic missile. Vincent uses the last bit of channel energy to deliver another massive wave of positive energy against the undead forces. Purrcival pretty well negates Charito the vampire rogue by dropping a glitter dust to blind her. Celestial Fury is a mithral blade which easily cuts through the rogue's damage reduction sending her back to her coffin. Upon reforming the sorceress is quickly pounced upon by a combination of Feda and Urtar. The last vampire makes a valiant last stand, but the channel energy and pounding of Urtar's first prove too much. They search the foundry and recover the documents that the Pathfinder Society were looking for behind a golden statue of Lissala. The party is disappointed to see that it is only plaster covered in a thin film of gold. Vincent takes care of the surviving members of the other initiates. Eliza Tarus, ex(?)-acolyte of Calistria, and Henrim Tirlea, a farmer who recently lost his family and fell into deep depression, both survive and seem to be clinging to each other after their near death experience. Nora, the other remaining initiate seems disappointed by the cult's destruction as she hoped to use it to cause a noble to fall in love with her. Ultimately using the noble's wealth to lift herself out of relative poverty. Vincent escorts them out of the forge only to be greeted by a group of black cloaked figures discussing what just happened. Apparently, the robed figures in the front of the foundry were all under the domination of the vampires and greatly confused after their destruction. Vincent helps get them all to safety as the rest of the party wakes up Tomasz. Jaren and Urtar give him a pep talk to the addled, confused young man. Jaren convinces him to make his own choices and not just try to live up to his mother's expectations. Urtar assists by convincing him that he must make his mind strong, then his body, then follow his own path. They eventually decide to take him to Habe's Sanitorium despite Vincent's misgivings about the sanitarium. Vincent invites Henrim and Eliza back to Sandpoint since Palin's Cove wasn't really working out for either of them. After reviewing the notes they remember the cult was looking for the Eye of Wrath, and once they pull it out of the bag of holding it makes a small chirping noise that leads them back to the foundry. It opens a secret door that leads to an ancient temple to Lissala. There they find a holy symbol that seems to take the shape of the deity the holder worships. The symbol allows the wielder to shape their channel energy which Vincent happily takes. The Thistles leave the Church of Abadar to handle the clean-up from murdering a (vampire) noble and the totenmaskes at the asylum. On the trip back to Magnimar, Vincent makes a light pitch to Eliza on the idea of worshipping Sarenrae as she and Henrim enter a new stage of their life. Jyronn gladly takes the documents for insight into the cults trying to get a Runelord back to life and promise to relay any important findings to the party.

 

The party makes their way back to Sandpoint and gives Henrim and Eliza a round of introductions. Vincent makes sure they have a nice nest egg to get started and makes a point of introducing them to Mayor Deverin. The party is happy to meet Lettie and Horann Guffmin again, and accepts an invitation for dinner. They are served a surprisingly tasty deep gnome dish that Lettie has been working on, and spend a night catching up with their friends and introducing the two couples. Tomasz tries his best to not be too awkward, and mostly takes cues from Urtar and Jaren during the meal. He mostly succeeds and the next day they head to Habe's sanitarium to "help improve Tomasz's mind". There Urtar and Jaren take Tomasz up to the Sanitarium. There they find a very nervous Erin Habe who seems intent on getting the two of them to leave as soon as possible. However, Urtar is not easily moved and when a voice from the other room demands his "servant" come and serve him Urtar investigates. Urtar opens the door and is confused by an angry wizened looking old man who vows to destroy him with his magic unless Urtar leaves. Urtar listens to a few threats and after the old man begins stomping and threatening that the beast from below will crush him, Urtar jumps into action springing across tables and patients to absolutely waylay the old man. There is a brief brutal combat and the old man lies dead and Erin explains everything. The old man was a necromancer who stole a lot of sczarni loot and basically blackmailed Erin to be his manservant and threatened his patients. The man lived in his basement and did untold experiments on deceased patients and whatever bodies he could buy or steal. Erin was very happy for the assist and agreed to help Tomasz.

 

DM Notes:

  • The vampires folded pretty quick once Urtar and Vincent got moving.
  • I sort of hoped the Eye of Wrath connection would have been more obvious, I imagine it will get used more going forward
  • I'm glad the party is still shepherding around their favorite NPCs. In the past I've had parties be purely antagonistic to NPCs.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Malleable Holy Symbol
  • Evil Whip
  • Gold Unholy Symbol
  • Fangtide Scale Mail
  • Masterwork Rapier
  • Platinum Locket
  • Coins and Gems
  • Masterwork Dagger

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • 8 Vampire Spawn
  • 2 Totenmaskes
  • Milena Talich – Vampire Sorceress
  • Ilan Kosta – Vampire Oracle
  • Charito Menas – Vampire Rogue

 

End Date: Sarenith 15

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Session Forty
Sali continues to Struggle

Present Players:  Vincent, {Late}Purrcival, Urtar, Aurelia, Jaren, Feda

 

Session Notes:

Jaren gets split off the group as he volunteered to be the weakest in the group along with Tomasz who eagerly volunteered as the strongest. Jaren and the rest of the party suspected that whoever was the weakest was not going to get out alive, and they were nearly proven correct as Tomasz is told to cut out Jaren's heart and feast on it. Jaren manages to dodge the initial stabbing but after he rips off the canvas bag from his face he finds himself in dire straits surrounded by three vampires and an overly eager Tomasz. Roughly at the same time, the rest of the party is huddled into another room with similar bags obscuring their view. As they hear the ruckus in the other room, the party surges into action and realize that they have their own set of vampires to deal with. Vincent and Urtar almost immediately fall under the sway of the vampire spawn's dominate power. However, Feda responds with a magic circle vs evil that stops the effect. Urtar does his party by bringing a flying lunge at the nearest vampire easily pulping the creature's face with his iron like fists. Aurelia is in her own struggle as one of the vampire spawn attempts to grapple her to begin draining her blood. It manages to get her in a grapple and it foils her initial spellcasting attempts.  Eliza, one of the commoners met at the standing stone tries her best to assist using some simple clerical magic to keep the drunk farmer from dying. The other two people appear to be under the domination of the vampire spawn. Urtar absolutely obliterates the stern faced Nora with a kick to the face dropping her like a sack of rocks. Sali attempts to apprehend the monk, but it is a laughable attempt. Feda uses her divine reliquary weapon to anchor a consecration effect on the battlefield, setting Vincent up for a chance for a massive channel energy. He does so on the next turn channeling positive energy into the room and following by a quickened positive energy that absolutely obliterates the vampire spawn in the room. He easily renders 5 of them into their gaseous forms. Jaren makes pretty quick work of the vampire spawn in his room and knocks out Tomasz who Jaren considers more of a victim than an attacker. The Chelaxian vampire manages to escape Celestial Fury's wrath by transforming into gas herself.

 

Following the gaseous vampires the Thistles open the door to the next room and are greeted by a volley of spells. The party finds themselves covered in webs, which entangles the majority of the party. The vampire sorceress uses her next few rounds to drop lightning bolts across the party, nearly dropping the two clerics. Aurelia tries to counter with her own magic, but the entangling webs cause her huge difficulties. Charito, the Chelaxian vampire, sneaks back in and gives Jaren a stab in the back before hiding in the webs. Sali, the last dominated commoner, is also caught in the webs but continues to try to execute the commands to stop the party. However, he was not excluded from the web and mostly spends the next five round struggling. He is then unceremoniously destroyed by a stray lightning bolt. The other vampire caster in the room continues to throw divine spells at the party, but his repeated blindness spells fail to land due to Purrcival's saving finales. Purrcival manages to throw a kink into the enemy caster's plans by teleporting Urtar into the middle of them, but the sorceress surprises the party by dodging the flurry of blows.

 

DM Notes:

  • The party absolutely managed to wreck the vampire spawn by using consecrate and channel energy. The next part of the fight is going to be more difficult without that burst. The web also managed to bottleneck their main melee power, so I expect the second half to be a bit rougher.
  • I'm not surprised Jaren didn't murder Tomasz. Tomasz probably got off lucky that it wasn't a different party member.
  • Nora getting absolutely trampled by Urtar was hilarious.
  • Sali turned into basically comic relief, and then got melted by a lightning bolt to pretty much everyone's enjoyment

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Nothing yet

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • A number of Vampire Spawn. Expect the exact count after the next session notes.

 

End Date: Sarenith 9

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Session Thirty-Nine
It was the Foundry *shocking*

Present Players:  Vincent, {Late}Purrcival, Urtar, Aurelia, Jaren, Feda

 

Session Notes:

The Thistles regroup and decide they need to talk to the patient Tomasz alone so they can learn what he knows. The party waits until midnight before making the attempt. The compound is not well guarded and under the cover of invisibility Urtar and Aurelia are easily able to infiltrate asylum. They recover a ring of keys from the Nivolo's office and use it to unlock the gate barring access to the patient's cells. Once they arrive at the cell Tomasz tells them that the he won't tell the adventurers anything until they help him escape, and that he wants to be taken out of the asylum so he can help his mother who he claims is a high priestess of the Feasters of the Heart. Urtar and Aurelia consider the offer briefly before deciding they'll break the man out of the asylum. Using another invisibility spell they guide Tomasz out of the asylum. Urtar threatens him with a stunning blow if he makes even the slightest noise, but Tomasz stays well behaved as the adventurers help him escape.

 

Once outside the rest of the party is a bit shocked at three people returning from the asylum, but they adapt quickly and head back to Gerhart's home to learn more what Tomasz knows. Once the party is back at Gerhat's home they examine Tomasz for wounds and Vincent realizes the man is a dhampir, effectively a half-human and half-vampire. He also realizes the wounds on his face appear to almost as if someone has turned the skin around his eyes to putty and smeared it about. After conferring with Feda they realize with a simple surgery they could cure his blindness. When asked what did this to his eyes, Tomasz tells them that two of the orderlies turned into spindly green skinned humanoids with moldy flesh and tortured him in the asylum. Tomasz says the Thistles should kill all the orderlies and remove the monstrosities from town. Tomasz also tells the party how to be recruited to the cult, they must wear black robes and be at a large Menhir about half a mile down the coast at midnight during a new moon. The party realizes that Tomasz is really unstable, but that he truly believes everything he has told the party. Deciding that it is the best source of information they have, the party buys robes and prepares for the quick journey to the Menhir.

 

When they arrive there are already four other people waiting who are clearly not from the cult. The four of them huddle nervously in the dark night under the Menhir. Each introduces themselves and all seem to hope the cult can offer some sort of solution for their individual problems. One is a haughty noble who seems excited to be involved with whatever debauchery the cult offers, which causes Jaren and Vincent to instantly start throwing snark at him. Aurelia, disguised as Avisa, quickly apologizes for her rude courtiers. Soon thereafter another man wearing dark robes and carrying a lantern comes to the Menhir and bids the group to follow him to prove their devotion to the feasters of the heart. The party returns to the forge, which shocks no one since the Thistles were already eyeing it as the likely cult location due to the nefarious rumors. As they enter the forge Feda realizes that the room they're in only covers about half the size of the building. The group of initiates are encircled by black robed figures and asked to swear their devotion to Lissala. Each of their group is asked to receive the brand of Lissala which is delivered by a white hot glowing brand pulled from the foundry's trough of melted metal. Tomasz quickly volunteers and before the party can stop him he they hear a searing hiss as the hot metal is pressed into his flesh. Despite the smell of burning flesh, Tomasz doesn't let out any cries of pain and seems jubilant to finally be getting nearer to his mother's cult. Everyone else in the group of the initiates refuses the brand except for the noble Sali and another human female named Eliza. Both of them receive the brand and claim to feel stronger after receiving a writhing brand in the shape of a Sihedron rune.

 

Next, the group is bid to walk in to the forge after proclaiming their devotion to Lissala. Tomasz again leaps to volunteer proclaiming his devotion to his mother and Lissala before charging into the forge. The door clangs shut and the party quickly hears screams, but not of pain instead it sounds like he is joyously singing praises to Lissala. Other members of the initiates slowly file through and stand in the forge after proclaiming their devotion to Lissala. Aurelia notices that there are runes around the doorway that seem to cast a protection from fire spell as soon as you enter. She suspects it is keyed to someone proclaiming their devotion to Lissala before entering. Feda also proclaims her devotion to Lissala, but instantly feels the sacred connection she has as an exalted of Torag fade. However, when she enters the forge she is protected from the flame. She does however take the time to cast a number of buffs on herself using her silent rod to escape detection. Vincent is the last to enter and tells the hooded figures that they know who he truly serves in his heart and then promptly walks into the inferno of the furnace. The runes do no protect him, and he suffers in the blistering forge for the 30 seconds. He resorts to using Sarenrae's magic to heal himself and walks out a secret door in the back of the forge mostly uninjured.

 

He joins the rest of the initiates in a small 20 × 20 room where he is greeted by a different robed figure. The figure applauds them all for pledging their devotion and showing their faith by walking through the flame. He then gives them five minutes to pick the weakest and strongest amongst them before joining the Feasters of the Heart. Tomasz instantly proclaims himself as the strongest and most devoted. Nora, one of the four townspeople from the Menhir, volunteers to be the weakest but the Thistles outvote her and Jaren volunteers. The party strongly suspects whoever is the weakest is going to be sacrificed so they feel more comfortable sending Jaren who can watch after himself. Feda uses the final charge of her silent rod to cast a resist energy communal on the party in case they have to head back through the furnace. The session ends with the feaster returning and having the party put thick canvas bags over their heads. They are escorted to another room with Tomasz and Jaren being split off on their own.

 

DM Notes:

  • I wasn't as prepared as I'd prefer for this adventure. I thought I'd already had the foundry fully setup with NPCs, but forgot to setup the tokens. Luckily, we ended right before that would have been a problem.
  • I was proud of Vincent's player for not bowing to the peer pressure and staying devoted to Sarenrae. Feda's player really wanted to do so also, but decided that Feda would of tried to stay undercover.

 

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • -

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Rescue Tomasz from the Asylum
  • Walking into the Forge

 

 

End Date: Sarenith 9

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Session Thirty-Eight
We're mad for asylums

Present Players:  Vincent, {Late}Purrcival, Eydan, Aurelia, Jaren

 

Session Notes:

During their recovery week the Thistles spend some time around Magnimar and Sandpoint healing from their wounds and taking a break from their recent life of adventure. Vincent heads back to Sandpoint to check how Ameiko and her new cat are getting along. He brings a gift, a mechanical songbird from Pug's Contraptions. Skivver seems to have claimed the home and seems happy with the new situation. Vincent catches up with small town life, and is happy to hear that nothing of particular note has been happening after the recent spate of murders. After spending only a day in Sandpoint he heads back to Magnimar. The rest of the Thistles stay back in Magnimar and get more familiar with the city. Jaren takes the opportunity to retrain some of his combat styles and finally gets the appointment with the curator of the Museum of Ages. Sharwith, the half-elf intern, that Jaren and Vincent initially meet when visiting the museum is happy to claim credit for the appointment. Jaren and Vincent get the feeling that Sharwith doesn't get much credit for his work around the museum and is a bit attention starved. They are shown to an impressive office that may have once have had the hectic look of a true academic, but now more closely resembles the office of an elected official. However, when  Doctor Landis does finally return to his office Jaren is impressed by the man's knowledge. He recognizes the sword as the ancient blade, Celestial Fury. He gives Jaren a brief history on the sword, and he is able to recommend a few further avenues of research that may prove fruitful. Specifically he wonders if more information could be found from researching the Marilith the demon statue represented or if the dragon that imbued the blade with power is perhaps still around though it would be a truly ancient creature by now. After giving them a bit more info Doctor Landis is excited to offer Jaren the chance to donate the blade to the museum, but Jaren decides to hold onto the blade since he still has some use for it. Doctor Landis insists that he could easily write it into his will that the museum gets the blade in the event of his untimely death but Jaren insists that's not necessary. Doctor Landis settles for getting sketches of the blade and sketching Jaren posing with the blade. He is excited to write a report detailing how the blade was recovered and its current owner for other academics who have interest in ancient artifacts. Aurelia takes her week a bit more slowly by spending time around town at various shops and investigating the monuments around the city. She is very pleased to find one that seems to stave off any seasickness for the duration of a voyage expecting it might prove very useful for the upcoming trip to Palin's Cove. Eydan spends some nights in debauchery around Magnimar but eventually decides to stay in Sandpoint to look after Thistletop rather than investigating the cult in Palin's Cove. Feda spends her downtime crafting a beautiful suit of full plate armor. Jyronn agrees to provide any sending spells needed if anything happens in Thistletop, and the rest of the party plans to use their wondrous figurine to send messages back to Eydan. 

 

At the end of their down week the party has a lavish feast with Lord-Mayor Grobaras. He promptly faints when he hears that the Brotherhood of the Seven was looking to assassinate, but once he recovers the Lord-Mayor grants the party individual bags of gold (though he is a bit lost when he realizes that Eydan is missing, and with a shrug sends it over to "Sir" Purrcival). Purrcival is understandably excited by his new title, but a rather stern looking man quickly assures him that it was a term of endearment and he is in no way a knight of the realm. The trip to Palin's Cove is surprisingly easy for the party as the Cathedral of Abadar uses its vast number of contacts among the merchant ships to get them passage. Once they arrive at Palin's Cove it quickly meets their expectations of a full own industrial town who's most notable features are a constant haze in the air and a hacking cough among the majority of the residents. The Thistles head over to the Church of Abadar where they meet the Pathfinder that Jyronn mentioned prior to leaving Magnimar. They find a very large man who is nearly bald besides a long white ponytail, and the man loudly introduces himself Urtar, a servant of Irori. After a brief round of introductions the party heads off to meet their contact Gerhart. Gerhart meets them at the Baited Hook Inn, and he is a grizzled old Pathfinder missing his right arm. He explains the party's cover story for the party. Avisa Dmitrov is a daughter of a minor noble house with a reputation of being rich, amoral, and none too bright. Aurelia agrees to play the part of Avisa and the rest of the party will be her bodyguards and various court members trying to gain favor. The party spends the next couple of days gathering rumors around town and hears a number of concerning rumors. There are rumors to a secret shrine devoted to an ancient goddess of love, but when the old maid is pressed for more information she doesn’t know if that is a deity of true love or something closer to lust. There are a couple of very concerning rumors about a woman gone missing, but the party quickly guesses that this could be the Pathfinder that went missing prior to the arrival. Other rumors consist of bodies being found drained of blood and people disappearing or going to the town's foundry and hardly leaving work. Finally, there are a number of rumors swirling around the town's asylum and the fact that a noble lady Milena Talich supposedly visits regularly. When they arrive the party is met by a clammy, creepy man who introduces himself as Nivolo Belodia, the resident alienist. He guides Aurelia by the hand to his office (his hand is cold and vaguely damp), and is eventually convinced by the party to give a tour of the facilities. When he insists they can't bring weapons or holy symbols the party agree to just Aurelia and Urtar for the tour. The asylum is not nearly as well maintained as the one near Sandpoint, and the patients look as if they are barely being taken care of. The tour eventually arrives at the cell of Tomasz Kosta who's eyes are completely scabbed over with layers of scars. The madman insists that he is visited at night by his mother who is a high priestess of the moon, and he claims that she will soon reach her full power and free him from this asylum. He seems scared of Nivolo who insists that they should continue and quickly ends the tour after the encounter. With a final clammy kiss to the back of Aurelia's hand, Nivolo insists that the party should go as he has to get back to caring for his patients.

 

Celestial Fury History:

"Celestial Fury was crafted long ago, before even the Runelords ruled the lands. The blade's initial purpose was to slay a silver dragon that roamed the skies calling down lightning and thunder on the wicked, but when the warlord attempted to slay the creature the dragon proved the stronger. It added the beautiful blade to its horde and the sword stayed there for centuries. In what the dragon considered an amusing twist of fate it fed the blade with its own power to enable the righteous to more effectively battle against evil. Eventually the silver dragon fell in love with a human warrior. The dragon bequeathed the blade to the warrior and it once again entered the realm's history. "

 

 

DM Notes:

  • Eydan's character took me up on the character swap offer and came in with an Oread Monk, Urtar.
  • The party is getting real distrustful of asylums.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • 750 Gold Each

 

End Date: Sarenith 8

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