Rise of the Runelords

Session 2

Present Players: Eydan, Jaren, Purrcival, Feda, Mick (player joined Late)

Session Notes:

The session started with the party officially meeting Mersoolian and Lucinda. The couple was grateful for the rescue and offered the loot from the ruins as payment. He also told Purrcival to hang onto the wand he dropped while escaping from the goblinsnake. The party and the rescued expedition went back through the Raven Roost hills with no disturbances and arrived back at Sandpoint with nothing of note happening. Mick and Herk, the guard that was rescued, headed off to report to Sherriff Hemlock, while Mersoolian and Lucinda excused themselves to see her grandfather. Lucinda invited everyone over to tea tomorrow. The party wanting to divide up the loot visits the Red Dog Smithy and sells off the masterwork items they found in the pit of the ruins. Purrcival warns the party Das is a bit of an ill-tempered man who the local children mock with a cruel song about his murdered wife and child. Feda who has done a bit of business with the man agrees on the ill-tempered part at least. While Das appraises the gear he puts Jaren on the spot by asking if he was the "monster hunter" of the group. He then mentions that the Sandpoint Devil allegedly lands on Chopper's Isle every full moon. He backhandedly suggests that the party investigate the area and let him know if they find the remains of his son who the guards never did find after the murder of Jervas Stoot (The artist turned serial killer who used to live on Chopper's Isle). The party (minus Nick) knowing the full moon just passed agrees to go and scout out the area the next day to see if they can find any sign of the Devil.

The group reconvenes (Nick is off being a guard / sleeping off a hangover) and agree they could scout out the relatively small island (2 acres or so) before tea time. On the way they meet Gorvi, the half-orc dungsweep of the town at Junker's Edge and have a brief conversation. Junker's Edge is basically a cliff face that overlooks a sandy beach; during low tide the beach is exposed and people dump refuse over the edge then when high tide comes in the junk is (mostly) swept off to sea. Gorvi was busy dropping a load from his red wheelbarrow when the party arrives. At first he is a bit suspicious but warms up to the party when he confirms they aren't guards after him for peeking at the Pixie's Kitten. Gorvi suggests a path down to the beach to reach Chopper's Isle after telling the party they wouldn't catch him dead on the Isle. He lets them know it is haunted and anytime he hears something going on out that way he hides himself under his pillow. Ignoring the flabby half-orc's warning they proceed to cross the beach where the town's refuse is thrown and find themselves at the bottom of a 120 foot cliff. The party finds the remnants of old stairs that were built into the rock face and discuss a strategy to climb when they noticed they've gained an audience who are watching from Junker's Edge. Soon they see Mick coming to meet them, he was sent by Sherriff Hemlock to discourage them but quickly forgot and joined in on the fun. The party manages to scale the cliff without too much effort using a combination of ropes and Purrcival's climbing abilities.

The party follows a short path to a ruined cabin where Jervas used to live and investigate the area. Mick is the first to find the basement via a rotten floor that collapses under him which drops him heavily 20 feet or so down into the earth. The party is able to quickly join after finding a staircase downwards and help him with his wounds. They find themselves deep in an ancient looking room. Feda uses her Dwarven stone cunning to estimate the room is from the Thassilonian time though slightly different than the previous Thassilonian ruin the party found themselves in.  The room is dominated by a looming, man-shaped wooden statue, with legs and talons of a giant eagle, two sets of eagle wings, a twisted, gem-studded avian head, and a snake in place of genitals. On the two stone doors leaving the room the party finds seven-pointed stars which Feda and Purrcival are able to identify as symbols of Lissala, an ancient deity who was worshipped by the Runelords of old. No one is able to put a finger on what the statue is beyond very intimidating and likely demonic in nature. As the party explores the room they hear a child's laughter and retreating steps from the northern door. They investigate the room and find a tome on a pedestal and the room strewn with old, mildewy papers.  Built into the walls of the room are alcoves and each alcove sits eyeballs and a tongue that still look moist as if someone has only recently ripped them out of a victim. The tome and papers are the work of a diseased mind overflowing with hellish avian figures, Sihedron runes, and what appears to be the Sandpoint Devil. Seeing the tome the party is able to finally piece together the hideous statue, recognizing it as Puzuzu a lord of the Abyss associated with fiendish avian creatures. Purrcival retells a few stories about Puzuzu granting a wish at the cost of the wisher's innocence. The party again hears the giggle of a child and retreat to the main chamber to investigate the other door. They open it to find a spiral staircase heading down deeper into the depths. Eydan leads the way and sees a strange figure bludgeoning his head bloody against the wall while wearing a feathered cape and holding a small carving dagger. The figure turns on Eydan and has bloody pits where his eyeballs would be and blood leaking from his month. As the creature lunges onto  Eydan cutting bloody, bird shaped wounds into him Eydan recognizes it as Jervas Stoot, the Chopper. The party only sees Eydan thrashing about but not the creature he says is attacking him. After a short time the figure disappears just leaving a bloody Eydan behind. The party cautiously searches the stair only to find a rusty carving knife laying nearby. Continuing downward the party finds a steel grate with a small room beyond it. The room is littered with small animal bones, each carved with small hellish avian figures. In one corner a pile of moldy blankets sit undisturbed. The party investigates and finds the stones underneath show some signs of being moved, Jeran volunteers to move the cobblestones and as soon as he does so a ghoulish child sized arm lunges upward. From the whole crawls an undead monstrosity in the shape of a child. Around the beast a whisper of childish giggles, cries of anguish, and childish rhymes swirl as it stares at the party with bloody eye sockets and a tongue-less mouth. After a brief skirmish where Purrcival is able to dispel the whispered aura with his countersong the party defeats the creature. Further unearthing the stonework shows a small child's bones and a reddish, moldy red doll in the shape of a dog. The party suspecting they've found Simon Korvut decide to leave the Chopper's dungeon but not before destroying the statue of Puzuzu.

A search around the island reveals a cache of bones and a relatively fresh boar corpse. The party finds a few scratches in the stone and Purrcival is able to make a plaster cast of one of the claw prints. Feda grabs a femur that has been chewed as further evidence. The party returns to the cathedral and meet Brother Walter. He is a monk of Saranrae (Deity of Healing and the Sun) who has a burn scar across his right eye and scars around his wrists. Feda has met him a couple of times and knows him as a silent man with some interest in demonic creatures. He listens to the party's tale and is a bit surprised they recognized Puzuzu. He confirms that none of the items are currently detecting as evil and makes a comment about the priests of the cathedral discouraging anyone from visiting Chopper's Isle due to it being haunted. He is a bit surprised a guard such as Mick was participating in such an expedition, but he is ultimately thankful they were able to find Simon's remains. He places Simon's bones in the family crypt as the party goes to let Das know. He also lets the party know that the isle is technically for sale and if they were interested they should talk to Sister Avra, priestess of Abadar.

The party goes to let Das know what they found and he breaks down at the sight of the stuffed doll. In a bit of a madness he runs to the cathedral and collapses at the sight of his son's bones. The party is politely discouraged from hovering and is eventually greeted by Brother Walter who explains that Das needs some time right now but they should visit the smith in the coming days. Afterwards the party makes it to tea time with the Quinks. There is a bit of an awkward back and forth between Brodert and Mersoolian (while Lucinda mostly just appears exasperated) about the lore of the town's ruined lighthouse. The party quickly gets the idea that there is no love lost between Mersoolian and Brodert. Mersoolian does invite the party to an upcoming expedition to an island in the Varisian Gulf and tells them to visit his curio shop if they ever find themselves in Magnimar. The party agrees, pending what's going on at the time, to both of his suggestions. Mersoolian also gives Jeran a Snakefolk Amulet that kept the Iron Cobras from attacking in the ruin as thanks for rushing to his rescue though he isn't sure the trinket will prove much use anywhere else. The group discusses a bit of the runes and notes found in Jervas' cabin and they witness another argument over Thassilonian lore before finishing teatime. The next session will start with them heading off to the general store as Purrcival is convinced he knows a password to get some quality Orcish Rotgut from Vin Vender.

 

DM Notes:

  • It is a bit of a cheap trick, but I've resorted to providing pictures for all the NPCs as I'm no good at giving distinct voices. On the plus side, most of them provide the correct name spelling and for the town NPCs their roles.
  • There wasn't a whole lot of combat this session, I'm curious how the players felt about that. We spent a lot more time on exploration. I don't really mind this as I generally try to aim for a mix of combat / roleplaying / exploration.
  • There's a lot of lore in this adventure path, but a couple of the characters are either dumb or not interested. Hopefully I can find some more interesting hooks for them as we continue.
  • The Chopper's Dungeon went well. Sawcy/Purrcival did a good job of helping the mood by reacting to the general creepiness and let's be real, child ghosts/undead are always creepy.
  • The NPC name dropping barrage continues, but I think everyone is coping pretty well. I need to do a better job of describing the NPCs as I introduce them, oftentimes I assume I know their traits so clearly the PCs should which is … sort of dumb on my part.
  • I should probably include the map of Sandpoint on the "default" Sandpoint Roll20 map. I feel it will give people more idea of where things are located. I should also make some "default" maps for the surrounding areas.
  • I lowered the challenge rating of the child spirit a bit, but I'm not convinced I needed to do so. It went down quicker than expected, though I did expect it to be an "easier" fight given the action economy advantage a full party has versus a single creature.
  • The Jervas Stoot "haunt" went pretty well, though the party had no clue how to "defeat" it. I feel like the rules for haunts are neat, but this party is not particularly well suited to handle them at the moment.
  • We started a bit later than I would of liked. Next week I should give everyone a 30 minute warning so they can wrap up tasks / get food before the game.

Treasure / Loot:

  • A handful of Onyx Gems worth 30 GP
  • A Summon Monster III Scroll (Keyed to only summon a winged fiendish constrictor snake)
  • Ramblings of Jarvis Stoot
  • Plaster Cast of a Clawed Footprint from Chopper's Isle

Challenges / Monsters:

  • A concealed Pit Trap (Mike found it)
  • A "haunt" of Jarvis Stoot
  • A Whispering Spirit of Simon Korvut

End Date: Spring 3

 

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Session 1

Present Players: Eydan, Jaren, Purrcival, Feda, Mick (player was a bit late)

Session Overview:

I spent a bit of time describing Sandpoint and the 'late unpleasantness'. Due to some well-educated Knowledge(Local) users the party has a pretty good idea of all the shenanigans that happened during the late unpleasantness  roughly five years ago.

  • A local woodcarver went mad and after the course of a few weeks murdered a large number of people before being mortally wounded by the old sheriff.
  • A local noble woman threw herself off her balcony and onto the rocky coast below.
  • A fire broke out in the cathedral burning it to the ground and killing the previous head priest of Desna and his adopted pregnant daughter.

After that bit of "great" news, we spent a bit of time on why each character was in Sandpoint.

  • Eydan is a trapper who is in the area earning some cash while awaiting the coming Cathedral festival
  • Purrcival is mostly lazing about town until the festival
  • Jeran is hoping to earn some renown and become better known in the area
  • Feda is in the town as a representative of Torag for the upcoming Cathedral christening
  • Mick is in town being a terrible guard and doing whatever Sherriff Hemlock tells him to do

Eydan, Purrcival, and Jeran actually meet before the first adventure even begins. Jeran finds himself at the Hagfish tavern trying to learn more about the area and see if there are any particular well known creatures to kill for renown. He hears a few tales from the local fish monger, Turch Sterglus, about a monstrous red snapper called "Murdermaw". Turch tried to convince him to come out on his boat with him for the chance at glory, but Jeran refused concerned with boats + armor being a bad combination. Jeran also heard rumors of the creature called the Sandpoint Devil, but no one has a real clear idea of what the creature actually could be. To earn a bit of prestige around town Jeran took the Hagfish's challenge of drinking a large glass of water from Norah the Hagfish's tank. Jeran didn't show any concern as Jargie Quinn got a large glass of water from the tank and slid it across the bar. Jeran took it down in a single swallow with nary a grimace. He won a large pouch of silver and got added as the 29th name to survive the Hagfish's challenge. Afterwards Purrcival and Eydan introduced themselves impressed by his constitution if nothing else.

The next day Feda is met by Father Zantus who is concerned that Lucinda Quink has not returned from an expedition with her fiance, Mersoolian Threce, to a recently found Thassilonian ruin. Father Zantus suggests the trapper Eydan might be knowledgeable of the area and after a quick visit to the tavern she meets Purrcival, Eydan, and Jeran who all agree to go explore the ruins and see if the couple needs assistance.

Just as they are leaving the gate a very bedraggled Mick runs up. He quickly tries to explain he is here to help on the behalf of Sherriff Hemlock, but mostly fails to do anything other than confuse the party. Eventually he remembers he has a note and hands it off. With that last bit of confusion cleared up they set off to find the ruins just as a moderate rain starts coming down.

Eydan takes them over the Ravenroost hills making a point to stay away from an old prison that he now suspects is being used as a bandit hideout. Without too much trouble they find the campsite and see it is overrun by goblins. After a brief battle the adventurers defeat the majority of the creatures with the rest escaping into the ruins. They give chase and come upon a goblin snake called Tethiqqa. It is a cunning creatures and uses a combination of hypnotism and obscuring mist to escape the party before causing too much trouble. With the goblins defeated the party returns to help out Herk Bristol, a local guard who was hired to protect the couple. He explains he was hypnotized then mobbed by a number of goblins. He's ok but exhausted and has a badly burned foot from the goblin's attention. The party leaves him to guard the entrance before heading deeper in the ruin.

They explore the room finding a secret door that leads them to find a well of some sort that has sporadic flashes of evocation magic. They scour their brains to see if they know what it could be but come up blank. Feda makes a copy of the runes etched along the cusp of the well before moving onward. As the party crosses a bridge, Feda steps on a trap that causes filaments to strike from a nearby snake statue's mouth tugging her into a pit. It isn't a long fall, but the pit if full of snakes! After a quick battle which mostly consists of Mick jumping into the pit and bashing snakes around with his fists the party regroups. They find an old library recovering some magical scrolls and a mysterious book, "Dream Journal of the Pallid Seer". They don't really detect any magic on it but feel they should hang onto the strange tome. No one can really makes heads or tails of the rest of the books so the party moves on.

In the last room they find Mersoolian and Lucinda surrounded by three skeletal warriors who turn and charge the party as soon as the door is opened. The party enters the fray with Jeran getting into the havoc first. Mersoolian yells something about an amulet and gestures to the one on his neck, but Jeran has no clue what he is talking about "snake amulets" and "iron cobras". It becomes quickly apparent as two mechanical cobras spring to life with a hiss. The party has a rough fight, but with the combination of powerful blows and a bit of additional healing magic from Mersoolian they manage to vanquish the creatures.

Fin

DM Notes:

  • I felt like the town introduction went really well. The party didn't have a whole lot of time to explore but they did manage to meet a number of NPCs.
  • I'm never a fan of trying to get parties to group up for the first time, and I was a bit stymied by the PCs I'd initially wanted to hook not being present but it worked out relatively well. This was also in no small part due to players following the "unofficial contract" and linking up with little arm bending needed on my part.
  • The session did go longer than expected. I think this was partly to some fun encounters at the Hagfish that I didn't expect (but I'm glad they happened!) and a bit of slowness in fighting. It also didn't help the last encounter involved 3 creatures with relatively high AC and damage reduction. That's not a great combination for first level combats, so I should probably be more aware of that in the future when planning encounters.
  • Combat at level one is real swingy, if a creature connects twice it can easily drop someone. I look forward to when PCs have at least some HP to make it a bit safer for everyone involved. At the moment at least Jeran and Mick are particularly dangerous, if a single blow lands their strength modifiers allow them to generally incapacitate a foe.
  • I still need to work on making my NPCs a bit more recognizable. It is a bit harder than running a game in real life since I can use physical quirks as easily. I'll need to rely on more description of their actions as they talk and try to give them verbal quirks.
  • For future sessions I'll also go ahead and pre-open my NPC notes whenever they're in town. That'll make it a lot easier to describe people from the beginning.

Treasure:

  • 4 Potions of Cure Light Wounds
  • Wand of Detect Secret Doors (21Charges)
  • Masterwork Hide Armor (165 GP)
  • Masterwork Buckler (155 GP)
  • Wand of Alarm (34 Charges) (650 GP)
  • Potion of Keen Senses (50 GP)
  • Scroll of Inflict Moderate Wounds (150 GP)
  • Scroll of Sleep (25 GP)
  • Scroll of Mirror Image (150 GP)
  • Scroll of Confusion, Lesser & Compassionate Ally (225 GP)
  • Dream Journal of the Pallid Seer
  • 2x Topaz Gems 500 GP each
  • 18 GP, 61 SP, 220 CP
  • Handful of small gems (200 GP)
  • Masterwork Longsword

Creatures Defeated:

  • 6 Goblins
  • 1 Goblin Warchanter
  • 1 Goblinsnake (Tethiqqa Sleekscale)
  • 1 Snake Swarm
  • 2 Iron Cobras
  • 2 Medium Skeletons
  • 1 Skeletal Champion

 

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Game Info & Characters

Your characters are going to be heading to the city of Sandport to help with the 'recent unpleasantness' in the past few months (Knowledge(Local) or a decent Diplomacy check would let you know more). You've basically been put on retainer by Sheriff Hemlock as an extra precaution against any more bad news, but are welcome to pursue other opportunities as long as you report back to him anything that would concern the town or surrounding areas. 

Your characters could have been helping the sheriff for a few weeks to less than a week so let me know if you want more info on any of the locations in the Sandpoint Handout to represent friends / acquaintances you've made in that time.

The sheriff has made it clear he wants you present for the Swallowtail Festival when Sandport's newly reconstructed temple is going to be consecrated, but you won't have any official duties besides generally keeping an eye on things and are welcome to enjoy the festivities. 

Motivations:
The why of your characters helping the town is completely up to you, but characters are expected to be generally of a good alignment and open to helping the townspeople plus surrounding areas. Other motivations to be in the area are welcome and we can work out possible hooks to pursue throughout the campaign. 

Character Creation Rules:
Level 1 / max HP 
Alignment: LG/NG/CG
20 point buy

Choose 2 traits. You can pick one from the Player's guide if you'd like.

Medium Experience Progression. The module expects 'fast' progression, so we should have plenty of room (so to speak) for side quests. The module does have downtime so feel free to pick up crafting feats or skills. 

Unchained Rules:
Automatic Bonus Progression. Rules here

Unchained Action Economy. Rules here

Background Skills. Rules here

House rule:
You can take one of the following feats for free once you meet the BAB requirements:
Power Attack
Point Blank Shot
Weapon Finesse

Schedule:
Wednesdays 6:00 – 9:30 Pacific (8:30 – 11:30 Central). I'm hoping we have 5-6 players and will likely skip a session if we don't have at least 4 players. I'm guessing our first session is still 2-5 weeks out but wanted to let y'all get the setting / character creation rules in advance.

Other Notes:
If you are new to Pathfinder I strongly recommend Hero Lab. It should help a lot with character creation. Otherwise you can find the rules on the SRD.

We'll be playing with roll20 and using a voice program. 

I don't expect this to be an issue since we've all played before, but please don't multi-task / watch TV / play other games while we play. Please respect the work that everyone puts into a good RPG (players and DM) and don't mentally check-out during the game.

And to germinate some ideas:

http://whothefuckismydndcharac<wbr />ter.com/ 

Characters:

  • Mick Dempsey (Human Brawler) – A noble's son, though one wouldn't know from how he acts, who got in some trouble due to numerous failed fights in the arena. He is in Sandpoint trying to make things right for the trouble he has caused his family.
  • Eydan (Slayer Slyph) – A trapper who prefers to be on the move and out of the city. He is mostly in the area restocking and figured he might as well see the Swallowtail Festival while he was in the area.
  • Purrcival Pawlick (Bard Catfolk) – A catfolk who is out to see the world. He flunked out of a mage's academy and decided that he would let the world be his teacher. He specializes in comedy and likes to be "punny".
  • Jaren Morn (Human Samurai) – A samurai who no longer had a calling in his home and now sells his services as a monster hunter.
  • Feyda Rudas (Dwarf Cleric) – A cleric of Torag who is in Sandpoint as a representative of the church during the Sandpoint Festival.
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