Rise of the Runelords

Session 22
A Ghastly Murder

Present Players:  Jaren, Aurelia, Vincent, Purrcival (Late), Feda, Eydan

 

Session Notes:

The heroes of Sandpoint survive the rest of Ameiko's party relatively unscathed. They pick up a number of contacts around town that they had not met previously and generally leave an overall good impression to the nobles and merchants that attended. Eydan loses his drinking buddy when Shalelu passes out from his Orcish rotgut, and Eydan manages to get her upstairs and leaves her a dose of alchemist's kindness to help with the hangover. Afterwards, Eydan speaks with Belvin Valdemar to see if he was interested in partnering up for any sort of business deals involving Thistletop. Belvin seemed willing, but wasn't able to commit to anything without some sort of idea (which the relatively inebriated Eydan wasn't able to provide at the time). Belvin did mention that the Valdemar family and the Deverin family are working on funding a watermill to help ease the monopoly that the Scarnetti family currently has on grain. He suggested the party may help finish the funding and reap some of the profits with the side benefit of reducing the Scarnetti's power in Sandpoint. Belvin promised more details if that was something the party was interested in before they parted ways. Purrcival spent a lot of the time being wooed by the owner of the local Theater. Cyrdrak, the owner, wanted him to perform his own comedy show at the theater. Purrcival wasn't able to commit to a particular date but seemed interested in the idea. The party wrapped up with the noble families all pledging to support the character's expansion of Thistletop, and even the Scarnettis agreed to commit some funds though they seemed to do mostly due to peer pressure.

 

The majority of the party went straight to bed after the party, but Eydan decided to visit the Pixie's Kitten before calling it a night. He had an enjoyable time with some lovely ladies and returned to the Rusty Dragon late in the night. As he approached the door he smelled something odd from his room, it reeked as if something had died and been left to rot in the sun. Drawing his bow he cautiously entered and found his room destroyed; the arrows he had been crafting were broken and spread around the room, the bedding was flipped onto the floor, and the whole room reeked. He carefully approached the open window but wasn't able to find anything in the near darkness. Deciding that this was something better left for  the morning he went down the hall to an unoccupied room and picked the lock. Thinking this was relatively safer, Eydan drifted off to sleep. In the morning he went back to his room and investigated again. On his second attempt he found some human sized bare footprints outside his door and around the frame he found what appeared to be dried mud. He explained the situation to Bethana and brought the rest of the party back to his room to help investigate. Even before he was in the room Purrcival was able to identify the smell as a ghast, similar to the smell of the one they fought on Rivenrake Island. The rest of the party gave their own attempts at searching and cast a few detection spells but they weren't able to learn anything else.

 

As they were finishing up their investigation Bethana told them Mick was waiting for them in the dining room with a message from the sheriff. They found Mick cleaning up some of their leftovers and after reminding him that he had a message he happily (and loudly) reported that there had been a gruesome murder at the limber mill.  The party shushed him as he started going into details of the scene like how one lady had been split lengthwise by the machinery when they saw some other patrons begin to grow pale at his tales. Heading to the scene of the crime they met with sheriff Hemlock who told them this was the second murder in as many days, and he desperately needed the party's help to figure out what the hell was going on. He provided the party with a note found at the scene of the murder with Eydan's name on it that proclaimed, "I do as you command, master!" He verified that someone could collaborate Eydan's whereabouts last night, but he trusted the party enough that he wasn't too concerned. After providing the note and deputizing the party he opened the murder scene to their investigation.

 

Inside the mill they found a gruesome scene, the sawdust covered floor was soaked in gore from a body that had been cut in half lengthwise by the log splitter. The party recognized the victim as Katrine Vinder and began investigating the murder. Purrcival was able to sniff out the ghast stench over the smell of blood, and when Eydan found a handaxe with a bit of bone and flesh on it he became nauseous from the overwhelming odor. Suffice to say the party decided whoever did this also visited Eydan's room the night before. Further investigation showed signs of struggle, and the party was able to backtrack some muddy footprints out to the mill's dock. It looked as if some creature had climbed out of the river and up into the second floor window. When the party went up to the second floor they found another terrible sight. A man had been hung by metal hooks onto the wall and thoroughly tortured. The corpse was in a terrible state missing its lower jaw completely, having the majority of its face ripped off, numerous small wounds across the body, and deeply engraved across the chest was a large Sihedron rune. Purrcival recognized the body thanks to a tattoo on the lower abdomen as Banny Harker, one of the two mill workers employed here by the Scarnettis.

 

After reviewing the murder scene at the mill they went back to the guard station to compare notes with the sheriff. He told them the murder at the mill was discovered by Ibor Thorn, the other mill manager, and there had been quite a crowd before the guards were able to lock the place down. Ibor was currently down in the holding cells recovering along with Vin Vender who had flown into a rage once he discovered his daughter had been killed. Belor went on to explain the other murder scene at an abandoned barn along the Lost Coast Road. He explained the guards found the scene when a raving lunatic attacked some guards on patrol near the barn, and after subduing the man they found three bodies strung up from the rafters. The three corpses were all in the same state as Mr. Harker (ripped off faces, missing jaw, and a large Sihedron rune carved into their chest), and at the scene they found a note. The note was addressed to three local conmen who the sheriff had ran into in the past. The fourth crazed man was later identified as Grayst Sevilla and he seemed like he had been forced to watch the torture of the three men. It had broken his mind completely and he was clearly deranged and feverish when he was captured. The sheriff thought it best if he was cared for by a professional so he had the guards escort him to the local sanitorium. The corpses were placed in cold storage beneath the guard station.

 

The party went down to investigate the corpses in storage and talked to Ibor about the murder scene. The corpses didn't provide any new information and were beginning to show signs of rot. Feda thinks the time of death fits the timeline of roughly two to three days. Ibor was a bit reluctant at first, but with some cajoling the party was able to hear how he discovered the body. Vincent sensed Ibor wasn't giving them everything and after a bit more pushing Mr. Thorn explained that Banny had been skimming funds from the mill for nearly a year. He didn't know how much he had taken during that time, but it had to be thousands of gold. He pleaded with the party not to sully the dead man's good name and to avenge Banny and Katrine whenever they found who, or what, did this to them. The party agreed on both counts and decided to head toward the barn and the sanitorium after a quick pitstop at the cathedral. They informed Father Zantus what was happening and discussed their suspicions  with him, but he wasn't able to offer any more information than the party already knew about ghasts. Feda went ahead and sent a messenger to Magnimar to make sure that no one had bothered Mersoolian or the eye of wrath on the off chance that the ghast cleric from Rivenrake wasn't as dead as they thought.

 

The investigation of the barn didn’t take long at all; the scene had long grown cold but Jaren was able to piece together how the scuffle happened and found a hiding spot behind some old rotten haybales where the killer crouched. Purrcival and his nose were able to confirm that it had the same rotten smell as the other two scenes. Vincent seemed almost offended that a ghast would loiter behind some haybales to ambush some conmen and as the party headed to the sanitorium there was much discussion on possible suspects and red herrings.

 

At the sanitorium the party met with the doctor that runs the place, Erin Habe. He insisted that he was too busy to show the party around the premises but Vincent expressed the urgency of the matter along with the note from the sheriff which finally convinced the man. He introduced the party to his two tiefling orderlies and showed them upstairs where the party was surprised to find multiple automaton guards standing about. Purrcival had told the party prior to arriving the squat three story stone structure had been a bit of a labor of love from Erin right after the "unpleasantness" and it had basically bankrupted Erin. Clearly for this place to still be running he must have some outside money coming into it. After a quick tour through where Erin explained the various patients currently in residence the party was shown to the top floor where the more dangerous prisoners are kept. He explained currently there was Pidget, a manic wererat, and Grayst who was still suffering badly and hardly coherent. On the way toward Grayst's room Feda was surprised to see an operating room with very invasive (and well used) tools on display.

 

{We decided to call it there as it was getting late, we will start next session with the interviewing of Grayst}

 

DM Notes:

  • The final bit of heavy RP for a bit. I expect the next couple of sessions to see the payoff of the murder mystery and some battles.
  • I had planned for Shalelu to cause s bit of a ruckus at the party but unintentionally or not Eydan put a cork in that by drinking her under the table with Orcish rotgut.
  • I think the investigation is going really well. The party has a number of theories and are doing a good job of using what clues they have available to find potential suspects. I don't want to give anything away, so I won't comment too much on their theories until after the mystery has been solved.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Agreements from the noble houses to help fund Thistletop. Details to be worked out later, but it will help fund improvements and hireling salaries.

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Found clues at the mill
  • Convinced Ibor Thorn to share Mr. Harker's shady dealings
  • Learned the background of the sanitorium

 

End Date: Desnus 11

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Session 21
Partay!

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

Will be Level 5 at the beginning of next session.

 

Session Notes:

The party left the temple with the bodies they found being desecrated by the wrathspawn. To their surprise as they left the large indentation in the earth that held the temple there was a massive rumble an what appeared to be a wave of earth filling it in. As the wave rushed toward them and the party ran for cover, Aurelia noticed pules of energy coming from the orb that the party found on the more tattooed body. The wave of earth stopped at the bowl's edge with a strange rippling of the earth. After the party determined it was safe they approached to investigate which caused a strange keening sound to emit from the orb. Unsure exactly what just happened the party returned to the camp for lack of better options. They convened with the expedition leaders and were informed they had found an "Eye of Wrath". It is an instrument used by agents of Alaznist to find, hide, and unlock caches spread throughout her realm and her enemies. The party determined the corpses' tattoos were Thassilonian in origin, but did not recognize what it signified. Mersoolian was able to tell the party he was sold the information by an adventurer from Magnimar, Rollo Sven, but he didn't know how to get in touch with the man after getting the temple's location. The expedition leaders were not as disappointed as the party expected about the now covered temple, instead focusing on the potential that the eye could represent for future endeavors. Before leaving the island, Eydan takes the night to go game hunting where he happens on a strange cat like beast that seemed to be able to summon mist from the ground. The two played cat and mouse for a bit, before Eydan gave the creature the slip. Purrcival recognized Eydan's tale as a Bodmin, a large cat able to both summon and see through mists. They're dangerous but prefer to ambush the unaware and Eydan had been skilled enough to spot the hunting beast before it could spring. The next day the expedition boards the Winking Wyvern back to Magnimar with little to show for the journey beyond what riches the orb could represent in the future.

 

The party takes the opportunity to Magnimar to buy a few sundries and magical items. Feda insists that the party return to Sandpoint for Ameiko's coronation, so a few of the party members decide to dress up for the coronation. Aurelia especially gets into the occasion and buys a monstrosity of a dress that billows with colors and doesn't make so much of a statement as exclaim it from the rooftops (though what it is exclaiming is a bit lost in the overall loudness, the dress is clearly very enthusiastic about it). Though the party is itching to find Rollo, they honor they prior engagement and head back to Sandpoint. On his return to the Rusty Dragon, Vincent is greeted by Skivver, the (ex)-familiar of the wizard from Nualia's band. Skivver seems particularly distracted by Vincent's pack and after a bit of digging retrieves a toy mouse seemingly fairly pleased. Bethana has a few words about Vincent leaving his cat around, but accepts it staying around as long as Vincent keeps it out of her kitchen. Jaren does some of his own investigating and determines it would be appropriate to invite a date to the festivities, but when he tries his luck wooing Sevah he is left disappointed. Purrcival gamely convinces the scholarly society of Sandpoint to investigate the tattoos that were found on the bodies and with their scholarly pride on the line they agree to show Mersoolian up by finding the root of the symbols. Feda and Jaren work together to get the promised Thassilonian guard statues from Thistletop back to Sandpoint, fulfilling their bargain with Ilsoari. Aurelia goes and sees her old mentor Risa who seems impressed by her continued growth in magic, and regals her with stories of Sandpoint's founding concerning the Scarnetti's double dealings with the native Varisians.

 

After a  few days of downtime in Sandpoint the party begins. Eydan heads directly to the booze and finds Shalelu already deep in her cups. He gladly dives into that swimming pool and contributes by bringing out some Orcish rotgut. Aurelia tries to woo the Scarnettis in the hopes of gaining funding for the party's eventually regarrisoning of Thistletop but even her charm offensive cannot get through to the prickly couple. Feda meets with the elder Valdemar, Ethram who asks her and the party to join him at his estate later for some discrete business. Vincent offers Leodak any assistance he may need for the party and chats with Ameiko a bit having not known her as long as the rest of the party. Purrcival admires Ilsoari's familiar, Pett's shiny baubles and greets Mayor Deverin who reminds him that the party should convince the nobles to help fund their expenses at restocking Thistletop. Jaren meets Sevah and is surprised to meet his date, the clothier's guild mistress Rynshynn. The two ladies chat with Jaren a bit and offer to set him up with Hayliss Korvaski, the owner of Sandpoint's Boutique.

 

DM Notes:

  • A solid session that mostly consisted of social play.
  • As a DM I view D&D / Pathfinder as a trifecta of social aspects (Roleplaying, story elements, etc.), exploration (adventuring, planning, dealing with natural hazards), and combat.
  • I think I'm best at running interesting combats and setting the right atmosphere with environment and creature descriptions (though, I'm not consistent at the latter as I'd prefer. I think I depend on "tribal" knowledge of what some creatures are which leaves the newer players with an unclear picture sometimes).
  •  My weakest aspect is definitely the social aspects especially making each NPC unique and memorable. I'm working on it, and Ameiko's ball is good (but scary) practice. I will say this group has made it easier than some of my past gaming groups by doing a good job being involved and paying attention to the game.
  • I appreciate the different reactions from the characters for the ball. Everyone seemed entirely consistent with how they've been played so far. The characters I expected to dress up did and Eydan disappointed no one by diving into the cups near instantly.

 

 

Rewards / Loot:

{None}

 

Challenges / Monsters:

{None}

 

End Date: Desnus 10

View
Session 20
Undead Under the Temple

Present Players:  Jaren, Aurelia, Vincent, Purrcival (Late), Feda, Eydan

 

Session Notes:

The search of the temple continues with the party electing to explore the lower levels before returning to the archeologist's camp. Eydan scouts out the ladder leading downward and notices scuff marks that appear recent on the iron ladder, and once he arrives at the bottom he finds a stone and clay wall broken outward into another hallway that appears relatively recent compared to the rest of the temple. The room he finds himself in has walls covered with horrible scenes of mutilation and torture with the ground beneath the figures feet filled with tentacles that all end with various vicious looking claws and talons. It is very reminiscent of the statue that the party found on the first floor of the temple. Eydan continues scouting as the rest of the party enters the room under the ladder, to the north of the broken door he says a number of humans who to be appear frozen and preserved in various torturous positions. He watches them a bit to make sure they won't spring to life before heading to the south. The southern hallway has a large mural showing a quaint village in a mountain valley, but over the mountains oozes a tentacled horror with a terrible maw looming toward the tranquil village. Further exploration finds the hallway ends in a roughhewn wall that closely resembles the broken one the party found earlier. The adventurers gather and Feda uses her blessings from Torag to tear it down. It is broken apart surprisingly easily and the party hears a loud crash down the hallway and from the destroyed wall oozes out a thick black goo. The black ooze churns with skeletal creatures reaching out of it and before the party can react to the new threat the ooze spews out nearly a dozen skeletons covered in the thick ooze's mucus. Feda finds herself surrounded by the skeletons that bludgeon her with ooze covered claws, but Vincent is able to channel the power of Saranrae and burn away the majority of the skeletons. After Vincent channels a couple of times the undead are pretty easily managed with the undead spawning ooze offering little resistance once the minions are killed. After the combat the party finds themselves trapped by a large stone block that has blocked off the passage they initially came through. Purrcival is able to solve the problem with his Wand of Detect Secret Doors with which he quickly finds a hidden doorway. Eydan checks it for traps and opens it to find a number of ghouls and a very insane ghast priest.

 

The cleric offers no words to the party as he and his allies charge. The cleric has clearly been preparing for the party as one of his ghoul allies appears to shimmer with magical effects. Undeterred Jaren charges into the room and begins to fend off a contingent of the ghouls. He does a good job of keeping them busy as the rest of his party moves into the room. Eydan is able to shoot down the magically enhanced ghoul with a few well-placed arrows which stops it from causing any significant havoc in the fight. The ghast tries to remove Jaren from the fight with a cause fear spell, but Purrcival is able to give him a saving finale to resist the spell. The fight continues with the ghast cleric finally joining the melee. He nearly eviscerates Vincent with some sort of abyssal power, but the stout cleric of Saranrae manages to stay on his feet. With Jaren continuing to cause issues, the ghast bestows a curse on him severely hampering his attempts at combat. Another flurry of attacks by the ghast and the remaining ghoul cause Vincent and Jaren to become paralyzed. The fight is looking pretty dire, but Aurelia comes through with a clutch grease spell which breaks the cleric's momentum. The melee party members close in and manage to put the creature on its last legs despite its attempt to channel negative energy for health. Weakened the ghast leans against the central pillar where it manages to survive an absolute barrage of attacks before finally being defeated by some expert shots by Eydan. The relieved party heals up after the fight and loots the room. Aurelia recovers another piece of the Acrimony Veil, now possessing 2/4 of the mask. They find the cleric was a devotee of Yamasoth (unsurprisingly) and the room is full of murals showing despicable acts of torture. Finding another secret door back to the initial hallway the party heads north to examine the torture victims frozen in place.

 

Though ominous the statues prove harmless and the party continues forward to find a large room of flayed bodies. Throughout the room there are skinned corpses along with piles of nearly intact skins. Eydan scouts the room as is usual, and is greatly disturbed when he hears a dry rustle from one of the skin piles. Like a sheet in the wind it and a number of other skin piles come to un-life and attempt to tighten themselves around the archer. He manages to react quickly enough to flee the disgusting creatures which the clerics are able to recognize as Skinwraiths. The creatures attempt to engulf living creatures and merge with their skin so that they are whole once more. Jaren suffering from the curse becomes entangled with one of the flying sheets of skin and it desperately tries to fit itself over him. The rest of the party manage to fend off the other Skinwraiths relatively easily though no one enjoys the encounter. After fending off the Skinwraiths, the party finds another room behind a clay wall. The room is dominated by numerous corpses hanging from the ceiling by spiked wires with their eyes sewn open and their mouths sewn shut. The party initially feel as if the corpses are tracking them with their eyes, but manage to shake off the effect. The adventurers carefully move under the bodies, and manage to pass by without being disturbed. Past the corpse room the party finds a deep pit with sharp looking spikes on the bottom. Eydan attempts to navigate over a narrow lip on the cave wall, and is surprised to hear a murmuring sound turn into a roar, almost as if a mob is coming. He feels a violent tug that attempts to rip him off the wall, but he manages to resist the effect. On the other side of the hole he finds another statue to Yamasoth and on it there is a part of the Acrimony Veil. The statue teleports Eydan back to the flayed room and he takes the opportunity to sneak up on Purrcival with a shout. Purrcival lets out a none to manly scream and floofs out like any surprised cat. The party still missing the last piece of the mask once again uses the wand of detect secret doors. Purrcival finally finds a secret door in the long hallway to the south. In the last room the party finds four wrathspawn playing with two fresh looking corpses. One of the bodies is carrying a strange metal orb that detects as divination magic, but has no obvious use. The same dead adventurer has an intricate blue tattoo all across his scalp. Aurelia finds the last piece of the veil on a statue in the room, and the party satisfied with their haul and relatively confident the temple is safe begin to head back to Mersoolian's camp.

 

 

DM Notes:

  • Undead make for fun descriptions, particularly the Skinwraiths were well received.
  • Not sure I feel about haunts, I need to do more reading so I can run them more smoothly.
  • I did some ad-hoc adjustments upward on combat difficulty, but I think I'm getting to the point where I have a pretty good feeling of what the characters can handle
  • My buffer of stuff is empty, I've got to do some work to get the next adventure into roll20
  • Aurelia now has a fancy intimidating mask

 

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Deathless Chainshirt
  • Onyx Gem (100 GP)
  • Surgical/Torture Tools (Rare materials) (2,000 GP)
  • Acrimony Veil
  • Potion of Cure Light Wounds
  • Random Coins
  • Strange Metal Orb (Magical)

 

Challenges / Monsters:

 

 

End Date: Desnus 4

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Session 19
Just People Bones

Present Players:  Jaren, Aurelia, Vincent, Purrcival

 

Session Notes:

The party spends a few days in Sandpoint crafting a few minor trinkets and mostly relaxing before heading out to the Hollow Mountain on Mersoolian's expedition. Mersoolian soon arrives on the Winking Wyvern helmed by Sheila Heidmarch. She strikes the party as a competent, no-nonsense captain, and she and her crew make for a swift comfortable voyage across the Varisian bay. The party soon arrives at Rivenrake Isle and to their surprise they find a fully functioning and completely decimated campsite. Mersoolian introduces the party to his two fellow venture-leaders of the Magnimar's Ruin Exploration Consortium. Halla Beusophis is a business minded archeologist who is equally interested in the knowledge available in ancient ruins as the profit that can be found within. She is originally from Korvosa but had a spat with her family that caused her to strike on her own with what the party gleans is a sizable nest egg. It becomes pretty clear she is bankrolling the majority of this operation when the party is introduced to the last venture-leader. Kovo Murse who seemed completely uninterested in the party or any of the conversation and is lost in a thick scroll seems to become a different person as Jaren shows the slightest interest in his work. Kovo enthusiastically describes his theory to Jaren. There is a moment where Jaren almost breaks the man's heart by admitting he isn't completely enthralled, but he lets the man continue. Kovo describes a theory that hasn't gotten him many friends in Magnimar's academic circles, he thinks that Lissala was once a goodly deity that was corrupted by the Runelords over the ages. Kovo describes the seven sins associated with Lissala were once the seven virtues. He makes sure that Jaren stays on the lookout for any supporting evidence. After Kovo finally stops rambling about his theories, Halla leads the party out to the temple site. The temple is in the very center of a smooth half mile wide bowl surrounded by the ruins of Xin-Bakrakhan. The party takes it slow investigating the edges of the indention but aren't able to determine how it came about. After some inconclusive investigations the party decides it seems pretty safe to head toward the temple. Feda sets up some ropes and the party begins to climb down the relatively steep and unnaturally smooth cliff. The party is slowly making their way down when a trio of harpies begin to circle the party. Jaren makes a swift, but luckily, controlled descent as the harpies swoop in to attack. Eydan, Aurelia, and Vincent find themselves on the top of the cliff face. Vincent shows off his fancy new magic boots as he leaps over the edge. The boot's enchantment stops him from taking much damage and he sticks the landing. Aurelia falls under sway to the captivating song of one of the harpies and tumbles off of the edge to the party below. Eydan manages to resist the song's allure and tries to fill the harpy singing with arrows. The rest of the party is protected by Purrcival's bard song, and Feda lands a blinding spell on the two harpies that have yet to join the battle. The blinding spell plus the not so disadvantaged party convinces the harpies that there are easier meals elsewhere. The party stays on the defensive for a while longer before continuing toward the temple. As they get near to the temple they find the ground covered in humanoid ivory bones all pushing toward the structure. The structure is protected by abjuration magic and shows no sign of the thousands of years it has stood undisturbed. The central chamber has a large mosiac of Lissala's holy symbol across the floor and a crushed statue of some unidentifiable form. Across the chamber leers a hulking 16-foot statue of a monstrous being consisting of toothy maws and dangerous looking tentacles. It stands in a five foot deep trough covered in dry red-brown stains that have long dried. Purrcival recognizes it as Yamasoth, a nascent qlippoth lord. He explains to the party that the qlippoth were the things that lived in the abyss before the demons moved in corrupting souls. The party finds a number of twisted stone statues leering with demonic looking visages spread across the bottom of the trough. High on the statue of Yamasoth hangs a gold and ivory mask held together by red silk. The party decides to explore a bit before tackling the statue dedicated to the qlippoth lord. In an adjacent antechamber they find a statue that appears to be suffering from torture wounds, but has a slight smile underneath. The statue is wearing a magical leather belt and a non-magical iron mask that the party recognizes as a replica of a Acrimony Veil. The Acrimony Veil is an ancient magic item Alaznist would grant to her favored servants. The party removes the replica mask with a mage hand, but as they tug it off the statue it crunches its teeth together shattering them across the room. Purrcival and Aurelia both try to dive out of the room as the statue unleashes super-heated steam, but only Aurelia makes it out in time. Seconds later a slightly singed Purrcival staggers out. They volunteer Eydan go retrieve the belt which proves to be an Heavyload Belt which the party hands over to Jaren so he can haul all the loot. After some debate the party decides to take the silk hanging from the statue and as Jaren lifts Aurelia up to grab the item hanging from the tentacle they hear skittering across the chamber. Eight strange spiders covered in runes scuttle down from the room's pillars. The party makes relatively quick work of the spiders and takes only minor damage from their claws and electric webbing.

 

 

DM Notes:

  • The players totally expected everyone to be dead. They aren't … Yet
  • I'm glad the harpies were able to lure someone over the edge. That's all I really wanted.
  • This party cannot roll perception checks to save their life…literally.
  • Jaren tried to go down the hole before looking at the statue. He was outvoted by an adventurous Aurelia swaying the party.
  • It was interesting to see how the party acted without the more experienced/decisive players of Feda and Eydan.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  •  Heavyload Belt
  • A piece of the Acrimony Veil (Brow and Nose Guard)

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • 8 Runespinners
  • 3 Harpies

 

End Date: Desnus 4

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Session 18
Adventurers in the Ghetto

Present Players: Eydan, Jaren, Aurelia, Vincent, Purrcival

 

Session Notes:

The game starts with the party still involved in a fairly major combat with the Gnolls that have moved into the Abinor estate. They hew through the last couple of creatures standing between them and the door and begin rushing upstairs to try to save Pellius Abinor's family. The pressure rackets up severely when they start hearing the children screaming and loud thunks. After a stressful few rounds of combat they manage to rush in and roll over the remaining hyenas and Gnolls. There are two young children badly wounded and near death, but a timely channel energy from Vincent makes sure they are alive. The rest of the party try to hunt down the strange pridespawn they saw, but Miverna, Abinor's wife, tells them it went invisible shortly before the party arrived and fled the scene. Its last command to the family's Gnoll captors was to murder them and escape. After everyone has recovered, Pellius tells the party that he was forced to craft a ceremonial dagger with the Pride rune engraved into it or his family would be murdered. Thankfully, he was able to delay long enough that the party arrived and saved the day. He gives them the strange looking dagger and once again thanks the party. Miverna asks the party to inspect the children and herself for magical effects as the creature, "Vistraag" told her that he had enchanted the family with a curse if they tried to escape. Aurelia determines the magic was an arcane mark of the Pride rune, but other than that there is no real magical effect. The party is unable to determine why the rune was placed on the family members. The whole Abinor family is extremely grateful that the party arrived when they did, and gladly accept the offer of an escort back to Magnimar. Before leaving, Abinor tells them to take the remaining weapons in his forge room which provides the party with a couple masterwork shields and masterwork weapons.

 

The journey to Magnimar is uneventful besides the thunderstorm finally arriving and drenching the travelers. The guards at Magnimar's gates offer a bit of resistance to the party at first, but when Pellius makes it known who he is and that the adventurers saved his life they are quickly allowed into the city. The Abinor family offers lodging at their estate, but the party lets them know they have business in town and a upcoming deadline with a ship in Sandpoint so they won't be staying long. Pellius insists at the very least that they visit his estate in the next few days to receive a proper reward for all of their help. With a few final hugs of gratitude the Abinors head toward the Alabaster District as the party heads towards the docks. It becomes immediately clear to the party that Vincent is back at home as he easily leads them about the city and explains some of the many monuments they pass on their way. Their first stop is to deliver the war horse Shadowmist to the Iron Wheel merchant company. The party is momentarily stymied by a wildly incompetent reception (who the party strongly suspects was either hired for looks or due to being an owner's relative), but she eventually realizes they are here to deliver the missing animal and heads off to find Master Merchant, Ernie Thordon. This name, of course, prompts Purrcival to ask if Burt is around also and the reception helpfully replies, "Of course, I'll get him from the docks" before heading off. Sometime later a relatively confused half-orc shows up and introduces himself as Burt. The party, besides Purrcival, are a bit abashed but Purrcival makes some chit chat and asks for a local tavern recommendation. Burt sort of shrugs and mentions Toothless' bar and is impressed when Vincent replies with the bar's name, "The Broke Bow Tavern". He gives a nod before going back to work slightly confused. Sometime later Master Ernie shows up and invites the party back to his office. They crowd in and offer to return the horse hoping for a  reward, but Master Ernie insists it makes no difference to him since he has already gotten the insurance money for the caravan. He goes on to say the creature is no good to him and the party might as well keep him so he can avoid any further paperwork. Jaren is very happy to hear this having grown relatively attached to the temperamental animal, and after a bit of haggling they get the horse's papers. They do a bit of work to rename the animal Shadowmere and 'resurrect' it according to the paperwork and head off to the Broken Bow. Orik says his goodbyes to the party as they head into the Underbridge, saying that he is a known man down there and wouldn't want to show his face anytime soon. He tells them he'll be tavern hopping in the docks if they need him.

 

The Broken Bow is in a very rough part of town known as the Underbridge. Vincent seems very comfortable while Purrcival tells the party of the various dangers that are known to be in the area: murderers, cultists, strange spider like creatures in the bridge stonework, and even Derro are said to roam the shadowy district. The party are all rightly concerned and Eydan especially tries to make sure Vincent isn't playing the long con and bringing them into some trap. However, nothing untoward happens to the party and they manage to make it to the Broken Bow tavern. Thorg the Toothless greets Vincent with a hug and after being introduced to the party makes sure to wrap them all in his large half-orc arms. Vincent hands him a few barrels of Goblin Pickles from Thistletop and slyly slips him a bag heavy with coin. Thorg lets the common room know that these people are under his protection and he won't accept anyone trying to con them in his establishment. The party spends the evening picking up a few magical supplies in Magnimar and getting to know Thorg and his establishment. The tavern is well cared for, if not the fanciest accommodations, and the party has a good night's rest. Early the next morning Vincent excuses himself and goes to check on an abandoned shrine next door to the tavern. It is an abandoned shrine of Sarenrae that was shut down after the owners were murdered after failing to pay protection money to the local gangs. Thorg and Vincent have taken it upon themselves to look after it until it can get properly established. The rest of the party eventually awakens and has a decent breakfast before setting off once more. They get one final hug from Thorg before heading to find Orik and Mersoolian.

 

The party safely leaves the Underbridge after Eydan yells at a halfling cutpurse that was scoping out Jaren. They go to Pellius' estate and receive a warm greeting with wine and fruit. He gladly rewards them with a bag of emeralds and he gifts Feda a special war hammer that was given to him by the Church of Torag for some past work. It is a Forgefather's Sledge, and represents a true friend to Torag. The hammer can be magically lit aflame with a command word and offers minor fire resistance to the wielder. She is very impressed and grateful for the gift. After a bit of small talk, the party tells him they are going to go back by his country home to ambush the Gnolls if they haven't already returned in the night. He  doesn't seem overly concerned about the estate and seems most focused on making sure his young girls recover from the harrowing experience. Vincent asks if Pellius to learn more about the abandoned shrine of Sarenrae in the Underbridge to see if it has any legal owners. Pellius thinks he has a few contacts that may could help in the endeavor and promises it is the least he can for the people that saved his family.

 

The party has a few more loose ends to tie up before leaving Magnimar. They manage to track down Orik again and recommend he talk to Pellius about a more stable job that doesn't involve goblins. He was deep into the cups when they found him, but they leave him a note for when he finally recovers. They also go by Mersoolian's shop and find it closed. After a bit of investigation Purrcival talks to the adjacent shop, a laundry mat with halfling workers, to let him in the backway. They surprise a very busy Mersoolian and tell him that they will definitely go to the Hollow Mountain, but they have to go back to the Abinor Country Estate first. He is disappointed and tries to get them to leave right this instant, but finally admits defeat and tells them he will be in Sandpoint in a few days. The party finally heads back out into the country side, but the Gnolls have already visited the estate. Eydan manages to follow their tracks south west toward the swamp before losing them due to the previous night's thunderstorm. Admitting defeat, the party relays the information back to Abinor before heading back to Sandpoint.

 

 

DM Notes:

  • I wish I had prepared better for Magnimar, but my computer giving me a BSOD before the game stopped a lot of preparation
  • Why is it whenever I plan on having a PC gain something cool, they are almost always not there for that game night?
  • The Gnolls overall were a decent challenge to the party I feel like.
  • I don't think I did a good job of stressing the captive family members early in the fight, but when I started describing 'thunks' screaming the party got motivated.
  • On that note, man Abinor's wife refused to go down against the Gnoll whelp assigned to kill her. The Gnoll could not roll above a 5 to save his life.
  • The party responds well to pictures of spiders. Noted.
  • Vincent went a cool direction with the Broken Bow and abandoned Shrine of Sarenrae. I'll have to make sure that thread stays available to pull.
  • The party seemed unprepared for people wanting to know what to call them.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  •  1200 Gold worth of Emeralds from Abinor
  • Forgefather's Sledge
  • Ceremonial "Pride magic" Dagger
  • Masterwork items from Abinor estate
  • Summon Monster 2 Scroll from Mersoolian as early payment

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  •  Dire Hyena
  • 3 Rageborn Gnolls (Barbarians)
  • 4 Gnolls
  • ~10 Gnoll Whelps
  • 2 Gnoll Warriors (Fighters w/ maneuvers)
  • 4 Hyenas
  • Vastriig the Pridespawn (escaped)
  • Halfling Pickpocket

 

End Date: Spring 27

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Session 17
A Pride of Gnolls

Present Players: Eydan, Jaren, Feda, Vincent, Purrcival (Late)

Session Notes:

The party meets with the town leaders (Father Zantus, mayor Deverin, and sheriff Hemlock) and explain the situation at Thistletop. They are relieved that it went pretty well and that the goblin threat, for now, is gone. Sheriff Hemlock updates the party that Tsuto has been taken back to Magnimar to face trial and he will likely be sent to the Hells. The mayor promises a reward to the group, but isn't ready to discuss it at the time of the meeting. She promises to discuss it when the party returns from their errands in Magnimar. The party goes to visit Ameiko and Shalelu to figure out why Shalelu went missing and never showed up at Thistletop. They find a rather bored but fully healed Shalelu at Ameiko's estate. Shalelu explains she was scouting for the goblins as agreed. She first went to Thistletop but was side tracked when she found a war band lead by Gordknot, the second in command of the Mosswood goblins heading east. She didn't follow too closely due to the danger of being caught but used her survival skills to stay on their trail. After following them for a couple of days she came upon their camp site in utter ruin. Going by the tracks the goblins were attacked by a band of Gnolls. In the center of their camp was a horrific display of Gordknot spread eagle with his ribs broken open. On his forehead was a dark twisting rune that Shalelu didn't recognize. Very concerned about this band of Gnolls she pursued it but she was ambushed while trailing them. She managed to outrun them and stay right ahead of them but it took her way out of her expected path. After a couple of near misses she managed to lose them without leading them toward Sandpoint. She had them heading South-East when she caused them to lose the trail. Shalelu yells for Ameiko who eventually shows up with a sigh at her house guest. Ameiko greets the party and shares the frustrations on being a noble. Shalelu shares a bit of gossip that the mayor is angling to offer Thistletop to the party, and Ameiko advises the party to use her upcoming party as a chance to lobby for support from the other noble houses. Shalelu offers to join the party to hunt down the Gnolls, but admits she is hoping to find some of Bruzathamus' stashes. The party heads to the headmaster of the academy and gets him to agree to make scrolls in exchange for the guardian statues at Thistletop. They then head to the Goblin Squash Stables and are impressed to find a pretty normal looking stable besides the hundreds of goblin ears nailed to the building. The owner admits he is a bit odd, but that he has a particular hatred for goblins. The party swaps some goblin hunting tales before renting a few horses for their trip to Magnimar.

 

On the way to Maginmar Eydan warns the group in two days a big thunderstorm is going to roll through the area. The partial day of travel from Sandpoint passes uneventfully and the party camps in one of the campsites set along the road between Magnimar and Sandpoint. The second day is grey and the air is heavy with the threat of rain. About 20 miles out of Magnimar the party's keen eyes spot fire from a country estate of a local noble. The party knows it belongs to a famous weapon smith that is based  out of Magnimar. The manor belongs to Pellius Abinor, Master Weaponsmith the cousin of the legendary Cheliaxian weaponsmith Henderthanes. He lives there with his family and manufactures beautiful (and functional weapons) for the nobles of Magnimar.  Concerned, the party heads toward the smoke following a nicely made cobble path about 3 miles into the wood. Eydan scouts out ahead and confirms the party's fears that the Gnolls have attacked the estate. Eydan manages to silently dispatch 3 Gnoll Whelps that were on guard around the manor. The party see a large number of Gnolls inside with the majority of them feasting on servant bodies. After a fair amount of planning and scouting, the party comes up with a very direct plan of attack. Purrcival and Eydan rush up to the window; Purrcival opens it with a magical spell and Eydan tosses in a gem from the fireball necklace. It explodes with a whoomf and causes the whole house to erupt in a chorus of hyena-like yelps and yells in Gnoll. The party's fireball has effectively ruined the Gnoll's diner and even manage to remove a few from the fight. Like a kicked over anthill, hyenas and Gnolls pour out of the house. The party is hard pressed as the Gnolls pepper them with arrows and some raging, almost feral Gnolls engage in melee. Dire Hyena mostly taken down by Aurelia. Feda attempts to reduce the incoming arrow fire by casting obscuring mist, but the mists are quickly ripped away as a fireball explodes from an upper window hitting the grouped party. The sudden appearance of the spell prompts the party to look toward the second floor in which they see a strange twisted creature with a lolling tongue between split mandibles. Purrcival recognizes the aberration as a Pridespawn, a creature spawned from the Thassilonian  Pride school of magic. They are vaguely related to the wrathspawn the party has fought in prior encounters. From inside the house Eydan hears a voice they recognize as Abinor, he tells the party to head upstairs and save his family. A couple of Gnoll Fighters jump out the window with a flourish which earns an applause from Vincent and a head shot (crit) from Eydan dropping one instantly. The other fighter pivots and rolls to Vincent leaving a massive bleeding gash across his chest. Purrcival drops the dire hyena that Aurelia has been peppering with magic missiles with a well-placed arrow. The session ends with the Gnoll forces continuing to surround the party near the manor's patio.

DM Notes:

  • Weapons with x3 crits are to be respected
  • I wasn't sure how the party was going to approach this combat, and with that in mind I should have added more area around the house to work with.
  • The party actually has a few friends in Sandpoint. This is a change of pace from my college games where it seems like the PCs had a very antagonistic relationship with  basically everyone.
  • Fireballs were flying from both sides this combat. Pretty good for a level 4 party.
  • I have no idea what challenge rating this whole fight is, but it certainly helps the party I can't roll above an 8 for the most part.
  • Eydan had some really nice stealth rolls around the house. Everyone else, not so much.
  • Everyone learned Jaren is a lot less dexterous than previously thought ("His AC is really that low?"), but man does he continue to hit like a truck.
  • I've played a lot of games where, as a PC, I would love to have a healer like Vincent

Rewards / Loot:

  • A promise of a reward from the Mayor

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Gnoll band. I'll break it down by monster in the next update.

End Date: Spring 25

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Session 16
Malfesh-no-more

Present Players: Eydan, Jaren, Feda, Vincent, Purrcival
 

Session Notes:

The party starts the session with a freshly greased Eydan in the claws of Malfeshnekor. Despite the magical grease covering the archer, Malfeshnekor manages to keep his grip and prepares to squeeze the life from Eydan. However, Feda is able to assist with a magical spell Liberating Command which allows him to slip free and safely out of the barghest's large clawed hands. Growling in rage Malfeshnekor unleashes a demoralizing spell down the corridor hitting most of the party and blocks the doorway trapping Eydan. Purrcival fights against the crushing despair with a rousing comedic routine that boosts the party's spirits. Aurelia once again summons magical grease and in a shocking turn of events (Natural 1) the creature smashes to the ground prone in front of Feda and Jaren who are well prepared to deliver some hurt. Vincent finishes his spell to summon a celestial distraction/Hyena. The creature actually manages to latch onto the barghest's arm before having its head ripped off by a set of immense jaws. While Malfeshnekor is distracted Eydan tries to slip by, but he also has  a large chunk taken out of him as he maneuvers about the small room. Jaren manages to slice into the barghest and the fiendish blood seems to awaken something within his blade. The marvelous blade is suddenly covered in blue and white electrical sparks as it slices into the beast. The over confident attempts to stand but immediately regrets his decision as Feda plants her war hammer solidly on the creature's skull and Jaren lands a solid blow. Eydan manages to get far enough away to pepper the creature with arrows. Vincent blesses Jaren's weapon to cause it to grow with divine flame, and Jaren uses the magical blade to deliver a critical strike removing Malfeshnekor's head from its shoulders. The body quickly disintegrates into lifeless ash leaving the party extremely pleased that such a strong foe was conquered with no deaths.

 

The rest of the session is spent cleaning up Thistletop's loose ends. They loot the barghest's room finding a couple of Thassilonian Guardian Statues, mostly of interest to collectors, and a magical ring that creates a pane of force in the shape of a Sihedron Rune. Purrcival goes on a hunt for secret doors and waves his wand of Detect Secret Doors across the complex, but mostly comes up empty on the hunt. Feda, Orik, and Purrcival go up and begin to repair the rope bridge. It takes a bit of effort, but thanks to Feda's spells and Purrcival's climbing ability they are able to safely secure the bridge once again. Jaren gets the warhorse to cooperate and enlists it in hauling loot from the fort. Eydan and Aurelia are able to finally find the chest associated with the iron key they found earlier, but are massively disappointed that it is in a secret door behind the disgusting privy. Jaren, Eydan, and Aurelia manage to get it out with no unfortunate accidents and find a random assortment of loot that looks mostly to be stolen from unfortunate travelers. While all of this is going on Vincent busies himself trying to find Kyrie's cat familiar, he recovers the cat's bedding and a few well-worn toys from the area. He spends a long time searching the fort before eventually searching outside the walls. During his search he finds a much larger and very angry Firepelt Cougar that belonged to the Goblin Druid. The party debates on how to handle it and after a few failed attempts to gain its trust decide that they should leave the creature under the bush they found it. The familiar, Skivver, is finally find in a tree on the edge of the island and with a lot of prompting deigns to come down to Vincent.  Eydan does a bit of tracking to see if they can follow the Chief and his gecko but he eventually loses the tracks due to the creature's climbing ability.

 

With Thistletop behind them the party heads back to Sandpoint. The party is relieved to see that the town is perfectly fine. They head to the Rusty Dragon and find Amieko missing due to her new busy life as an aristocrat. However, Bethana greets the party and makes them feel very welcome. The taproom lets out a cheer as they enter and the town seems to be in better spirits now that the threat of goblin attack seems dissipated. Bethana delivers a message that has come from Magnimar, Mersoolian's expedition will be launching soon and he should be in Sandpoint in roughly 8 days. He wants to head toward the Hollow Mountain in the Varisian Bay. Purrcival confidently lets the party know that the bay was once part of the Runelord Alaznist's domain before it was sunk into the sea by a rival. The next day is spent coordinating a meeting with the town's leaders (Father Zantus, sheriff Hemlock, and Mayor Deverin). The party also gets rid of some of their loot thanks to the local merchants and the Priestess of Abadar, Sister Arva.

 

DM Notes:

  • The barghest fight went surprisingly well for the party. Malfeshnekor is a well-known party killer for this campaign path, so I'm glad the party was able to handle him.
  • Critical hits from x3 weapons don't really care if you have damage reduction.
  • Jaren's sword gets a bit more powerful though it has already made a number of fights easily thanks to bypassing magic damage reduction pre-level 4.
  • I'm glad they sniffed out the goblin chest. It is a fair amount of loot at this level.
  •  

 

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Ring of Force Shield
  • Thassilonian Guardian Statues
  • 7,432 Coppers
  • 2,490 Silvers
  • 89 Gold
  • 3 Platinum
  • Leather Pouch with 34 badly flawed Malachites (1 GP each)
  • Medium Chain Shirt
  • Medium Masterwork Scimitar
  • Pair of Masterwork Manacles
  • Gold Holy Symbol of Sarenrae (100GP)
  • Jade Necklace (60GP)
  • Fine Blue Silk Gown with Silver Trim (150GP)

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Malfeshnekor
  • Tangletooth, Druid Companion
  • Skivver
  • Rope Bridge

 

End Date: Spring 24

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Session 15
Thistletop - Now Under New Ownership

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

Session Notes:

After a bit of waiting to see if the retreating goblins would rally for a second attack the party followed after them. They soon found the remnant of the goblin forces at the edge of the island's steep cliff where the rope bridge once stood. However, the goblins hadn't had time to repair since Jaren cut it down to save his allies from a watery death. That left them with a single strand of rope across the very wide ravine. As the heroes approached a few put up a token defense trying to slow the approaching heroes, and the goblin warchanter was able to slow them further with an illusionary stone wall. A few goblins and Kyrie tried their hands at balancing across the rope, but none of them managed to make it to safety across the rope besides Chief Ripnugget on his trusty gecko steed. He tried to rally his goblins from a safe distance, but was quickly discouraged once Eydan shot a few arrows his way.

 

With Thistletop cleared of enemy forces the party set about exploring the various rooms thoroughly using mundane and magical means. The party learned that goblins are generally disgusting and the keep was resounding filthy. They recovered various bits of loot that the goblins had squirreled away in the overall refuse. They also found two goblins in the western watchtower that skipped the fighting. Apparently, after pigging out on some purloined pickles from the pantry they passed out with full stomachs. Feda put a quick end to the goblins, brooking no interruption from Vincent's call to capture the creatures. During the party's exploration they were able to find the missing warhorse from the Iron Wheel merchant company. The horse was in a foul mood, but with some luck Vincent was able to calm it down while Eydan provided some food and water. However, they haven't determined how to get the very large warhorse off the island. The party also found a few cages full of rabbits that were destined to be goblin dog chow, but will now be safely released off the island once they figure out how they're getting things off the island. In the Goblin Chief's room the party found a large iron key but so far they've not found the door it goes with. In the eastern watchtower Aurelia laid claim to two queen of diamonds from a mish mash of playing cards the goblins were using. The grand looting tour continued on the lower floors of Thistletop. The party managed to recover the burned remains of Nualia's father, Ezakien Tobyn, from an altar to Lamashtu with the intent to rebury it at Sandpoint.

 

On the lowest levels of Thistletop the party quickly passed the point to which Nualia's group had explored. The first room contained a pillar of golden coins that radiated magic and a stone door depicting two skeletons holding a skull. The party opted for the door and found themselves in an ancient crypt with a statue of a robed man wielding a glaive. Before the party had time to explore much of the crypt they were assaulted by undead shadows. Jaren took the brunt of the shadow's strength draining touch but Vincent's divine magic was able to quickly destroy the undead haunting the crypt. Further exploration found a flooded treasure room in which stood a gigantic golden helmet. As the party was debating how to get the very valuable helmet out of the crypt they were startled for it to stand up and charge them. It turns out a very large (and surprisingly angry) hermit crab had long ago laid claim to the golden headpiece. After forcefully evicting the helm's current occupant the party found themselves with a very large helmet that they have no idea how to remove from the island's treasure room. Purrcival was able to identify a mural showing the ancient lost city of Xin-Shalast, which was rumored to have streets of gold and buildings crafted of diamonds. He didn’t know much of the mythical realm but there is debate amongst scholars to say if it ever existed. Returning back to the magical column they were able to determine the "gold coins" were in fact an illusion. A thorough investigation revealed two narrow slots on either side of the pillar, and once Eydan inserted a couple of golden coins from the treasury the illusion covered stone pillar sank into the floor revealing a way forward. The next room the party explored featured an illusionary image on a loop speaking in ancient Thassilonian: "…is upon us, but I command you remain. Witness my power, how Alaznist's petty wrath is but a flash compared to my strength. Take my final work to your graves, and let its memory be the last thing you…". Purrcival was able to translate but couldn't place the speaker. The next room had a faint glow of transmutation magic and the party found some beautifully crafted surgical implements arrayed on a number of tables with leather straps. On one of the tables the party found a large gold and silver seven pointed star with one side showing smooth polished metal and the other covered in strange nodules and blades. They were momentarily confused until they investigated the final door of the dungeon. It was an impressive one with a magical Arcane Lock spell on it stopping any sort of entry, however, there was a seven pointed indentation that the "key" the party found easily fit into. As the party opened the door they were greeted with a warm room that smelled of burning hair, as per normal protocol Eydan moved in to scout the room for traps and found himself firmly grasped by burly clawed hands as a large creature had its invisibility broken. The creature tightened his grip on Eydan before demanding to be freed to reap havoc on the material plane. Clearly, this did not go over well for the party and they debated what to do with the creature as it tightened its claws around Eydan.

 

DM Notes:

  • The cleanup of the remaining goblin forces was as uneventful as expected. Turns out goblins don't really "rally" after losing a fight so much as panic
  • I was super impressed on far out Kyrie and some of the goblins made it out onto the rope before slipping and crashing into the ocean below.
  • There's a lot of magical loot floating around that the party hasn't been able to identify yet. This is annoying because it means I've got to remember what I replaced the generic Cloak of Resistance / +1 Armor stuff with during the session.
  • The giant hermit crab would have been a lot more threatening if I could of rolled higher than a 5
  • Purrcival has heard a lot of weird ass trivia, he managed to make a very difficult History check and fail to make some relatively (for his skill level) simple ones
  • Woo boy, Eydan is in a rough spot. Maybe I should recommend getting a spare character ready in case the party just shuts the door?

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Pearl Daggers (Set of 6)
  • Silver Holy Symbol to Lamashtu
  • Iron Key
  • Masterwork Small Dogslicer
  • 3500 Silver
  • 630 Gold
  • 42 Precious Stones
  • Jade Amulet (Magic)
  • Giant's Gold Helmet
  • Surgical Tools
  • Sihedron Key

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Goblin Riff-Raff (~3 Goblin Commandos, 1 Goblin Bard, Lyrie, 1 Goblin Dog)
  • Two Pickle Thieving Goblins
  • 3 Shadows
  • 1 Giant Hermit Crab in a Helmet
  • 1 Greater Barghest (TBD)

 

End Date: Spring 23

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Session 14
Prepare for the Horde!

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

Session Notes:

A final session for the battle of Thistletop. The party spent the entire session dealing with the repercussions of aggro'ing the entire goblin force within Thistletop. The party effectively bottle necked the goblin forces in the beginning of the attack, but soon the vast numbers managed to find side entrances and ramp up the attack. The heroes pulled out all the stops using a couple of summon monster scrolls; including the one that they found in the Chopper's dungeon which summoned a fiendish winged python. It effectively barricaded the stairs along with Jaren. Gogmurt made a nuisance of himself by summoning creatures and sending them down the stairs to attack the party. Gogmurt grew a little too confident in throwing his flaming spheres and eventually Jaren was able to destroy him with a massive blow. The chief of the tribe continually prodded the goblins to attack and was rather successful at keeping them moving forward until the two Yeth Hounds that were trapped in the Temple of Lamashtu unleashed their terrifying howl. This caused the entire battle to go nuts with goblins fleeing in all directions (including the chief) and the party being split up by the panicking effect of the magical howl. Purrcival was able to save Jaren from fleeing due to his Saving Finale spell, but Orik and Vincent fled in terror back into the barracks. This scatter caused the fight to get much more intense with the remaining goblins and the two Yeth Hounds nearly ending the heroes' adventure permanently. However, thanks to some very lucky rolls the party pulled through and broke the remaining goblin's morale. The session ended with the party waiting to see if there was a round 2 coming or if they should now pursue the retreating goblins.

 

DM Notes:

  • Man, that was a tough fight. Feda was nearest to death (2 HP from dying) after being bitten from staggered into dying by a Yeth Hound. Could of easily been her end.
  • Aurelia was also knocked unconscious but was able to avoid getting too far into the negatives.
  • Overall, managing combat across maps was a huge pain in the ass on Roll20. I think just moving them into walls and having them appear is a good solution for future combats.
  • It really sucks to panic a PC for 6 rounds. It is just forever in combat and causes them to not have much to do.
  • Touch attacks from a wand did work on Jaren. It earned a lot of animosity towards the druid.
  • Purrcival's Bard Song having an additional +1 on the fear save + Saving Finale probably saved the entire fight for the party. It was the difference in 2 more PCs being panicked for 6 rounds, which would have had the remaining people overwhelmed.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Wand of Produce Flames (12 charges)
  • 2 Masterwork Small Leather Armor
  • Wand of Tree Shape (3 charges)
  • 182 gold (in assorted coins)
  • 4 Masterwork Small Horsechoppers
  • 4 Elf Bane Arrows
  • Masterwork Composite (+4) Longbow

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • A lot of goblins including a goblin warchanter and multiple goblin hunters
  • A whole pack of goblin dogs
  • Gogmurt the goblin druid
  • Two Yeth Hounds

End Date: Spring 22

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Session 13
…They're crazy, can we go?

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

Session Notes:

The party started the session trying to determine how much they trust Lyrie (not much) and how much info they can pull from the wizard. At first Jaren is sympathetic, but it isn't longer before he realizes Lyrie is very unstable and overall not a nice person. After Purrcival sniffs the little bag of artifacts (toenails, hair, etc.) he realizes that they belong to Tsuto. Once the party figures this out they manage to get some decent information from the wizard by showing them Tsuto's journal that talks very highly of Nualia. Once she begins to rage at Nualia the party is much more confident in her cooperation and Lyrie points out the secret door downstairs where Nualia is currently working.

 

Going further down into the bowels of Thistletop the party finds familiar Thassilonian stonework. Eydan scouts ahead to make sure there are no trapped areas. Unfortunately, the trap is well hidden and Eydan stumbles onto a pressure pad which causes two large gates to crash down on either side of him. After the gates crash down two within the narrow area begin to vigorously swing stone glaives. Eydan manages to ensare one with a tanglefoot arrow, but the other lands a couple of significant blows. The party works quickly to break down the grates with the help of Feda's divine touch (domain ability to break constructs / objects) and Jaren's rather large sword.

 

The trap delays the party a great deal and by the time they arrive at the next door they hear someone casting spells in preparation of a fight. By the time the party manages to bust into the room they find a fully buffed cleric of Lamashtu ready to throw down. The following fight is relatively contained with good front to back positioning with Jaren and the clerics holding down the front and the rest of the party throwing spells and arrows over their shoulders. The cleric manages to handle a few rounds hand to hand with Jaren, but soon his blows drop the Nualia with a brutal beheading. The two Yeth Hounds last a bit longer, but Feda is able to bless the party's weapons and negate their damage reduction.

 

After the fight the party heals up with  a channel from Vincent, and they begin to plan their next steps. They want to take out Bruzathamus the bugbear ranger that Lyrie confirmed lives in Thistletop. Lyrie once again helpfully points the party on the way, though mostly so she can go back to reading now that she is satisfied the party is going to take her to Tsuto. The party surprises Bruzathamus who is in his room with a harem of 5 goblins in heavy make up. The two parties quickly clash, but one of the dolled up goblins managed to slip past and run up the stairs screaming bloody murder. Eydan is able to drill Bruzathamus with enough arrows that the bugbear collapses in a bloody pile. However, the party hears the whole fort mobilizing against them, and as a nearby door slams open revealing a heavily armored human they prepare for a dire battle. They are all shocked when the armored human throws down his sword and declares, "the whole fortress as crazy and he just wants off this godforsaken island". He offers to help the party if they'll help him, and they gladly accept the offered sword.

 

DM Notes:

  • We've made it to nearly the end of Book One of Rise of the Runelords
  • After running it by the party, I've decided to drop the revised action economy. I like what it is trying to do, but currently it lacks the rule support and balance I'd prefer. It really breaks low level fighters (Jaren) as far as expected damage output.
  • I managed to end the session on just the right note. The party had just alerted the goblins and things were looking dire, and I was able to have a sudden shift in their hopes as Orik burst through a door and declared these cultists of Lamashtu nuts, can we work together?
  • I expect this will be a difficult fight, but the party has pretty good tactical location options. I expect a bit of a grindy fight, but one that I expect the party will slog through successfully.
  • Normally, goblins morale would probably break relatively quickly in such a fight, but the goblins have limited options given the rope bridge isn't fully repaired yet.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Sihedron Medallion
  • Masterwork Breastplate
  • Masterwork Bastard Sword
  • Masterwork Composite (+3) Longbow
  • Gold Holy Symbol to Lamashtu (100 gp)
  • 7 Platinum Pieces
  • 5 Gold Pieces

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Glaive Cage Trap
  • Nualia, Cleric of Lamashtu
  • 2x Yeth Hounds
  • Bruzathamus
  • Bruzathamus' Harem

 

 

End Date: Spring 22

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