Rise of the Runelords

Session Thirty-Six
Danger o' Clock

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

 

Session Notes:

Out of the hay charges a large golem seemingly sewn together of various human parts with thick wire and rope. It lays into Eydan staggering him with heavy blows. Purrcival realizes it is some strange sort of flesh golem and tells the party to use fire to slow the creature down. With the knowledge fire slows the creature Aurelia and Feda make it sluggish while the rest of the party whales on it with their blows. The creature's tough hide stops some of the damage, but they soon batter it down despite its bulk. Rather than searching the first floor they decide to continue upward to preserve the most time they can from  their buff spells. Eydan is turned invisible by Aurelia, and he scouts the stairs that lead up into the tower. The stairs wrap around the inside of the tower but are poorly constructed and have not aged well over the Shadow Clock's lifespan. Eydan quickly moves upward but soon finds a 20 foot gap of stairs missing. He lets the party know and then manages to nimbly leap the gap with the help of his magic ring of jumping. Feda not fancying a jump searches the first floor, but comes up empty besides a moldy leather pouch from the flesh golem's haystack.

 

Continuing upward Eydan manages to find an area where the stairs have completely collapsed. While he investigates this a large snap is heard from the top of the tower and one of the four large bells that were at the top of the clocktower plummets toward the party. It luckily misses the squishy party members, but Jaren takes it on the chin and then falls some seventy feet to the ground as the large bell collapses the stairs beneath the fighter. After the dust settles Jaren manages to brush himself off not that much worse for wear, but he recommends the others take the stairs instead of the fast trip down. The rest of the party heads back down, but Eydan does manage to snap a shot off at the silhouette that dropped the bell. It lets out a strangle whistling shriek as the arrow hits home and the party recognizes it as another one of the faceless stalkers. The party regroup downstairs and debate their next steps. Eventually they vote against leaving the tower to get outside help because they are worried whoever is at the top of the tower may escape. They eventually agree to turn Jaren and Eydan invisible and smuggle the rest of the party in a bag of holding. With the benefits of the monkey fish wand the two of them manage to easily scale the tower's crumbling limestone walls and at the top they find a very bored looking faceless stalker slowly running his fingers through the whirls and whorls that makeup the creature's face. Jaren has a quick internal debate about kicking it off the tower but decides that getting the party out is more important and bypass the creature. The next level of the tower is accessed by using a rough stairwell built into the upper levels of the tower. The level appears to be part rookery and part machinery, and inside Jaren hears more of the strange faceless stalkers talking. Eydan and Jaren again bypass the fight and head to the top of the tower. At the top they search but don't find anything besides the pillows and silk behind an angelic statue that has a more malicious tint to it with the age and moss that grows on it.

 

Eventually Jaren decides it is safe and begins pulling out party members from the bag of holding. It is a long process since the bag is overfilled with weight. He first draws Aurelia is still invisible from earlier, she silently crawls out seeing that her party members are still hidden. Next is Purrcival who is not invisible and when he hits the floor and sees himself on alone on the tower he is given pause which quickly turns to panic as a strange half snake half human woman appears out of nowhere. It reveals itself just as the spell it was casting finishes and Aurelia (invisibly) falls into a deep slumber next to her party. Jaren itches to join the fight but continues slowly drawing the rest of the party as Eydan breaks his invisibility with a volley of arrows. Purrcival gets away from the dangerous snake lady and begins his comedy routine. Finally, Jaren gets the two clerics out of the bag and prepares to join the fight about the time when the faceless stalkers from below show up to the battle. The lamia tries to turn Purrcival to stone using her magical mask, but the cat resists the effects with an effort of fortitude. Surrounded, the faceless stalkers manage to knock Eydan unconscious while the rest of the party groups up to facedown the Lamia.

 

DM Notes:

  • I intentionally delayed the party from having easy flight to see how they'd figure out the tower. They managed to do so pretty well, but them staying invisibility to so long made the fight on the roof harder.
  • The Lamia was invisible waiting after the bell drop and neither group could perceive the other which made for an awkward few moments as Jaren and Eydan scoped it out.
  • I didn't even get to use the Major Image the book suggests the Lamia use to distract the party, but that's good because illusions in combat can be awkward.
  • This fight is going to be pretty tough, the Lamia got a few more rounds than expected since the party had to slowly extract from the bag of holding

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Coins from the moldy leather sack (128 Gold Pieces, 309 Silver Pieces)
  • A tarnished silver ring (75 Gold)
  • A silver mirror (50 Gold)

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Scarecrow, Awakened Flesh Golem
  • Falling Bell Trap
  • Shadow Clock Climb

 

End Date: Desnus 26

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Session Thirty-Five
Temple Panic

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

 

Session Notes:

After the battle, the Thistles gather the defeated foes (dead and unconscious alike) and try to determine their next steps. Vincent and Feda make it a priority to investigate the unconscious man upstairs and they're mostly able to determine that the man is alive and suffering from … something. A few spells later they are able to restore some consciousness with a lesser restoration spell, and a follow up spell to delay curses seems to bring the man fully conscious. He introduces himself as Xyn and explains he was just coming out of the Mermaid's Tit with some big winnings when he got jumped by some strangely dressed people. When the party presents a Skinsaw Mask to him he nods enthusiastically that they were the culprits. He doesn't remember much and once he realizes what the party had to fight through to get him he agrees to agree to whatever story the party wants. The Thistles quickly realize that this guy is not the best of witnesses but beggars can't be choosers. They loot the rest of the Lumber Mill finding an iron box that they open with the key from Justice Ironbriar's corpse. Inside there are a number of books and a coded combination journal and ledger. As a whole the party recognizes the letters making up the journal, but it will take some serious study to learn anything of value from it. Xyn is very concerned about his winnings from the Mermaid's Tit, but there is no sign of the "large" sum of gold he assures he had won. The party puts their collective brains to work and eventually decide all the victims have shared some sort of greedy nature, and they decide that there must be a Runelord of Greed just like there has been Runelords of Wrath and Pride. They don't know how the Runelord may be involved, but they at least have a prime suspect/motive around why the murders have been happening in Sandpoint and Magnimar.

 

Feda, Vincent, and Xyn head to the Church of Abadar to involve a more "lawful" authority, but when they are greeted by a balding cleric of the temple and ask for Paladin Garen they get the sense that he is suddenly very nervous. The cleric explains Paladin Garen hasn't been seen since early this week when he escorted a group of adventurers banished by Justice Ironbriar out of the city. The cleric tells them to wait right here while he goes to see if anyone has heard from Garen, but wise clerics quickly see through this ruse and scamper before guards are called. Eydan is extremely disappointed by this turn of events and decides to go with them to the next temple. The party decides Desna may be a good choice and head over a couple of districts. However, when they arrive at the Temple of Desna they quickly realize that the acting head priest is in way over her head. Priestess Vanis is very excited to help (after some convincing) but admits she doesn't really know what she is doing as the current head priest is on pilgrimage (It is the month of Desnus, holy to Desna after all). Eventually, the party escalates it to the current leader of the Cathedral of Abadar. Proctor Jyronn shows up and hears the party's tale. He believes them and comes to investigate the Lumber Mill. He agrees the issue is serious and pledges whatever aid he can offer. He gets a number of guards from the Cathedral to keep the scene from being tampered with by anyone, and locks the still living cult members in the Cathedral's prison for later. He lets the party stay at the Cathedral with his blessings and the next day creates them an enchanted meal to gird them for battle. He also enchants the party's non-clerics with a  status spell so he can know there whereabouts throughout the day.

 

The party heads back to the Lumber Mill after the meal and release one of the ravens to determine their destination. They see it fly under the Irespan and land at the Shadow Clock. Vincent and Purrcival tell the party what they know of the decrepit clock. It is allegedly haunted and the city has banned anyone from entering after numerous deaths from people trying to explore the structure (allegedly from falling). They head over to the Shadow Clock and investigate the area. Eydan manages to hear something inside that sounds like a rock being crushed under something huge, but when they get the door open he doesn't see anything looming. He tells the party he saw some hay at the lumber mill that shows signs of a large creature resting under it and suspects it now lives here but is unable to spot it. The creature quickly reveals itself as Eydan gets further in the room, a large golem with a scythe charges from cover!

 

DM Notes:

  • I'm glad the party didn't jump right towards the next encounter. I prefer to balance the sessions so that we don't have full sessions of combat back to back.
  • The party has started the process of earning a valuable ally in Proctor Jyronn, not so much with Vanis.
  • Eydan and the golem playing hide and seek was a near thing. That golem was lucky it invested in a Cloak of Elvenkind.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Books of a historical nature, sea charts, rock etchings, maps (Useful for Knowledge Geography / History in some cases)
  • "Forgotten" Schools of magic Alchymyc (Aurelia and Purrcival quickly debunk it as drivel)
  • Fine painting depicting a city carved from a vast frozen waterfall with towering ice cathedrals and domes (200 GP)
  • Wizard's Spellbook
  • The Syrpents Tane: Fairy Tales of the Eldest (500 GP)
  • Ironbriar's Journal

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Social Challenges: Cathedral of Abadar

 

End Date: Desnus 26

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Session Thirty-Four
Rumble in the Lumber Mill

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

 

Session Notes:

After dropping a fireball and fleeing via gravity, Aurelia regroups with Eydan on the first floor of the lumber mill. The cultists take a moment to recover and take the much slower route of actually using the stairs, and during that time Eydan and Aurelia ready themselves. The rest of the party hearing the commotion begin running down the street to join the brawl. Eventually the cultists make it downstairs to be greeted by another empowered fireball from Aurelia and a volley of arrows from Eydan. The two of them are hard pressed as the cultists push into the room with almost all of them showing a duplicate image weaving in and out making targeting tricky. From the second floor Aurelia hears chanting and soon two lemures join the battle on the side of the cultists. As the rest of the party arrives Feda makes an opening in the mill wall using a wood shape spell so they can assist more quickly. Aurelia gets extremely low but manages to survive a volley of attacks thanks to her mirror image spell. She is split off from the rest of her allies throughout the fight,  but eventually manages to cast an invisibility on herself to escape. Eydan gets abused by a few of the cultists spell making him drop his bow, and then Justice Ironbriar himself drops a suggestion spell on Eydan urging him to flee to the city. Feda attempts to dispel the suggestion, but Ironbriar's magic is too strong. She does however manage to suppress it with another of her divine blessings. Tsuto manages to pepper the Thistles with arrows, but is quickly removed from the fight when Feda summons her ancestral spirits to harry him off the battle. The two spiritual dwarves quickly render the archer unconscious. Purrcival manages to keep the party's spirits buoyed by his bardic magic but his tune takes an odd turn as Ironbriar drops a confusion on the party using the inherent magic of his mask. When the first confusion doesn't take hold on everyone he uses the same item again which manages to confuse Jaren. However, he also tags a number of his own minions causing them to battle with themselves and babble incoherently. Jaren during his confusion smashes his sword into Feda, threatening a critical hit but she manages to interpose her armor to avert the majority of the damage. With his minions mostly destroyed Justice Ironbriar attempts to make an escape using the river and a potion of water breathing, but the party is not ready to let him escape so easily. Feda casts an air bubble spell on Aurelia and Aurelia uses her wand of monkeyfish to follow the fleeing cleric. However, her plans are interrupted a bit when Ironbriar dispels the air bubble spell. Jaren tries to stop the fleeing cleric, but falls victim to a hold person spell while in the water. The party reacts quickly to save the sinking warder, but he manages to resist the spell on the following round. Vincent summons an electric eel to chase the slow moving cleric of Norgerbor. While the rest of the party is chasing Ironbriar, Purrcival is left fending off a few of the remaining cultists. He is harried back and forth across the docks but manages to survive despite his own confusion thanks to the cultists babbling and his own mirror image spell. Once Ironbriar is too far underwater to pincushion, Eydan turns to assist the catfolk ducking and dodging under the war razors. Ironbriar does eventually fall to the combination of Aurelia, Jaren, and a persistent electric eel. Jaren lands the final blow with a critical hit on the river's muddy floor killing Ironbriar despite the difficulty of the swing.

 

DM Notes:

  • This was a really long fight. The clerics being able to make user of their trickery domain hampered the weapon users, and the spellcasters weren't able to get great angles beyond the first couple if fireballs Aurelia dropped
  • Aurelia got really low, and I think her player got to appreciate the wonders of Mirror Image.
  • Eydan also got really low and fell victim to a couple of will saving throws, but he got over to the rest of the party a little easier than Aurelia.
  • Confusion AoE was pretty great, Purrcival's saving finale stopped it from going real bad for the party but it worked well enough to get the party nervous.
  • Ironbriar was so close to escape but the party was really persistent and got some really good perception rolls. Feda's player expected the fight might get towards the river so she came prepared for that prospect much to the party's benefit.
  • The dice were not totally on Jaren's side this session so the mooks got to survive a lot longer than usual

 

Rewards / Loot:

Masterwork War Razor

Lumber Mill

Hand Crossbow

Lumber Mill

Leather Armor

Lumber Mill

Skinsaw Mask

Lumber Mill

Mithral Chain Shirt

Lumber Mill

Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds

Lumber Mill

Masterwork Buckler

Lumber Mill

Masterwork Short Sword

Lumber Mill

Masterwork Hand Crossbow

Lumber Mill

Bolts (poisoned with… something?)

Lumber Mill

Reaper's Mask

Lumber Mill

Masterwork Composite Longbow (+1)

Lumber Mill

Iron Key (D7)

Lumber Mill

Various Coin Purses and Pouches

Lumber Mill

Masterwork Padded Armor

Lumber Mill

Holy Symbol to Norgorber

Lumber Mill

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Tsuto
  • 13 Skinsaw Cultists
  • 1 Cleric of Norgorber
  • 1 Justice Ironbriar

 

End Date: Desnus 25 (Oathday)

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Session Thirty-Three
Boom goes the Sorceress

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

 

Session Notes:

Outside of Magnimar the party regroups and decides to send everyone except Eydan back to Sandpoint. Eydan is going to lay low and scout out the lumber mill until the next Oathday to see if he can learn anything more from the comings and goings. Using his skills at stealth and the magical hat of disguise he loiters around the mill for a few days. During that time it seems to operate pretty normally for a mill of its size, there are two main shifts that change at morning and dusk. He does notice a rookery at the top of the mill that sometimes sends out ravens, but he hasn't been able to track their location beyond somewhere to the northwest. After a number of boring days staking the place, Eydan notices a familiar face behind a well done disguise. He recognizes the half-elf Tsuto that the party last fought below the Glassworks at Sandpoint. He was supposed to be spending the remainder of his life in Hell (Magnimar's prison), but it looks after being taken from Sandpoint by Elthon, Justice Ironbriar's lieutenant, he was released for some reason. At this point Eydan is pretty convinced that Justice Ironbriar is guilty of something, but still lacks evidence. He trails Tsuto to a tavern but Tsuto is able to see through his disguise. Eydan and Tsuto try to avoid making a scene, and Tsuto manages to leave the tavern first. He quickly heads back to the lumber mill, and when the next shift change happens at dusk no one comes out but all the normal workers go in. Concerned, Eydan regroups with the party and they prepare their next plan.

 

By this point the rest of the party has returned to Magnimar from a quick excursion to Sandpoint. Feda brings Eydan his newly improved bow, now enchanted with a seeking enchantment. Eydan updates the group with what is happening and they go to survey the now lumber mill. The party begins to stake out the mill hoping to see what they do now that they know Eydan is in the area and to see if the meeting happens at midnight as predicted by the note from Foxglove Manor. Eventually they hear the mill machinery spin down (not off, but clearly not in use) which Eydan notes is unusual. Midnight comes and goes, but there is no new activity at the mill. The party confers, and they decide to have Eydan and Aurelia scout it out. Aurelia casts her invisibility spell and Eydan uses his natural stealth talents to search the mill. It is bizarrely empty until Aurelia checks the very top floor. There she finds a large group of cultists listening to Justice Ironbriar giving a speech on the glory of Father Skinsaw and talking of how the murders they commit will change the path of the city. The two Thistles retreat and inform the party. They debate storming the sawmill, but hold off to see if they can gather more evidence. Aurelia heads back in and as she returns to the top floor she sees Justice Ironbriar about to plunge a dagger into an unconscious man on a table. She tosses an empowered fireball blowing up a group of the cultists to stop the murder, then jumps down the stairs (taking a hefty fall in the progress). The session ends with initiative being rolled.

 

DM Notes:

  •  The session slowed down a lot midway which I prefer to avoid. It didn't help the party was split up so it became focused on Eydan for most the session and left the other players a bit bored.
  • Aurelia got a high note in using her magic to sneak in and then (hopefully) save the bound man from  a group of cultists.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Nothing of note, Eydan paid Feda to get his bow enchanted with Seeking

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Stakeout Rolls

 

End Date: Desnus 25 (Oathday)

 

 

 

 

 

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Session Thirty-Two
We do this by the Book

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

 

Session Notes:

The party wraps up the combat at the house by securing the two human cultists. The one dressed in a strange ritualistic costume is outraged and demands that the guards be summoned loudly and repeatedly. He claims that he was here with the permission of Aldern and that the two faceless stalkers were hired to impersonate the Foxgloves so as to deter thieves. The party is quickly annoyed by the loudly yelling cultist and after a brief interrogation attempt knock him unconscious. Purrcival and Vincent head over to the church of Abadar to bring them in to help the situation while Eydan searches the house. Eydan is able to procure a few documents that point to some strange dealings in a local lumbermill owned by the Brotherhood of Seven organization and finds a deed that claims Foxglove Manor was partly funded by the organization and the manor's ownership would revert to them in 100 years after construction.

 

At the church of Abadar, Vincent and Purrcival wave down a middle aged balding cleric and explain that they've captured two cult members related to the recent murders and want to bring in the church's investigators. He seems a bit concerned by their apparent breaking and entering, and he quickly scurries off to find a ranking member of the church. Before too long has passed a well armored man comes over and introduces himself as Paladin Garen. He has been serving the Church of Abadar as a liaison to the city guards and has helped with the church's own investigation of the murders. Once again Vincent and Purrcival explain what happened, and once Garen has heard the story he becomes concerned about the party breaking the law and attacking nobles, even if they knew them to be dead. Garen insists on getting the city guard involved. They wait a bit and are soon escorted to the house with eight city guard where they recover the prisoners and escort the Thistles back to the Cathedral of Abadar to await the arrival of the city justice in charge of the investigation. While they wait Garen takes Feda and Vincent aside and professes respect for their deities, but he admits he has some concerns about this whole situation. The party quickly gets the feeling Garen is a strictly lawful type and doesn't believe in coloring outside the lines.

 

Justice Ironbriar arrives roughly half an hour after being summoned and interviews the two cultists. Vincent has heard of the Justice while working as  barrister and mentions he gives harsh sentences but doesn't have a reputation of being corrupt. Justice Ironbriar deems they had some legitimate rights as members of the Brotherhood, which he explains is a semi-secret cabal of merchants who try to use their collective bargaining for better prices. He has heard of the Thistles and the good work they've done in Thistletop, so rather than throw them into prison he suggests that they leave the city and stay away while the murders are ongoing. The party tries to explain their suspicions about Aldern, even going so far as to show the note they found in Foxglove Manor, but he is not swayed by their argument. Vincent and Jaren get a read on the man, and they don't think he is telling them the full truth especially about this Xanesha character mentioned in the note. They don't press the issue and Ironbriar rather abruptly leaves afterwards. Paladin Garen takes responsibility for the party and says he will escort them outside the city tomorrow, but they might as well rest for the night.

 

The party plots at their inn trying to determine what to do next, especially now that they know Aldern was sending payments on Oathday to the Seven's lumbermill. They eventually decide to play along and leave the city in the morning so as not to damage Paladin Garen's honor, then return on Oathday to investigate the mill. Not worrying too much about the paladin's honor, that night Eydan slips out and enjoys a visit to one of the more exclusive brothels, but is unmolested thanks to the hat of disguise allowing him to disguise as a pampered noble type. In the morning, while Feda does some ritual forging for Torag the party stands around discussing the oddities of religion. Vincent begs off leave to go purchase a singing Nightingale from Pug's Contraptions and Paladin Garen gives him leave to do so as long as he is waiting by the gates afterwards. It is not too much longer before Feda finishes up and the party meets Vincent at the gate as promised. The party is escorted out the gates, and they try to give Garen a warning to keep an eye on Justice Ironbriar but they aren't sure it got through to the man. The session ends with them debating when to infiltrate the city and investigate the lumber mill.

 

DM Notes:

  • The module doesn't explicitly lay out what happens between the combat encounters, but I felt like the temple / (re-)Introduction to Justice Ironbriar was a good bridge
  • The party vaguely remembered having one of Ironbriar's men picking up Tsuto from  Sandpoint after their exploits in the ruins underneath the town. It sort of surprised me, the group isn't the best with names and NPCs all the time.
  • Not much combat this session, but I expect the next couple to make up for that as we head into the climax of Book 2.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Bag of Platinum at Foxglove Manor
  • Sundry Loot from Cultists (Few masterwork items, healer's kit, some unidentified herbs (OOC: poison))

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Social Challenge at the Church of Abadar
  • End of fight with 2 Cultists and 3 Faceless Stalkers

 

 

End Date: Desnus 20 (Saturday)

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Session Thirty-One
The City of Monuments

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

Session Notes:

The party takes the Manticore statue back to Thistletop to set it up as an intimidating lobby ornament. After much direction from Purrcival, Jaren finally manages to position it to satisfy the cat's design. The journey to Magnimar takes a couple of days, but nothing bothers the travelers on the way. The party has a busy day of selling the bits of loot they'd managed to acquire over the past few days of adventure.  While shopping they hear a number of rumors, Jaren hears about their own exploits of saving Sandpoint from ghouls and solving the murders. Vincent and Purrcival hear tell that there have been some similar murders here in Magnimar. It seems like the murderers have mostly been targeting nobles, merchants, bankers, and lawyers. The bodies are likewise marked with the Sihedron rune and the corpse's jaws removed. Aurelia does not hear tell of such heavy rumors and instead focuses on the monuments around the city. She learns that the variety of monuments around the city can offer various magical effects if one takes the time to meditate at their bases. The Thistles take the time to visit Mersoolian and take back the Eye of Wrath from their earlier adventures on Rivenrake Isle. Mersoolian tells them that he was able to track down Rollo Sven to Palin's Cove near Korvosa but he isn't sure why the man was going that way. They ask if Mersoolian has any leads on why the murders have started happening here, but Mersoolian admits that he doesn't have any real knowledge. He seemed surprised that the party doesn't have a better idea of the killer's motives after dealing with Sandpoint. Feda tries to learn more about the murders happening in the city, but a combination of the temples busily making sure their own are well guarded and Feda being relatively unknown stops her from gaining much useful intel. She does learn that more of the victims have come from the faithful of Abadar than Iomedae but otherwise turns up no new leads. Feda does at least provide all the knowledge they've gained from Sandpoint back to the Temple of Abadar. While this is going on Eydan hears tell of a new drug that is sweeping the streets of Magnimar known as Dream Milk. He manages to track down a brutally honest dealer in the Underbridge district that goes by the name of Shady Pete. Pete lays it down straight and offers Eydan a wide selection of stuff (after warning him off the really bad stuff). The drug is supposed to grant amazing dreams and a full night's rest even if you only sleep a single hour. Pete does warn it is a bit addictive, but not nearly as harmful as some of his stuff. Aurelia heads to the Grand Arch district and does some shopping around the district. She tries her hand meditating at the Founder's Flame monument but doesn't seem to get much out of it. Jaren and Vincent head to the Founder's Archive and Museum of Ages to learn more about his sword. He is rebuffed from meeting the museum curator though the half-elf scribe, Sharwith, he does talk with promises that he'll be added to the schedule. Eydan signs up to be a member of the Hunter's Guild and tells them about his idea of setting up Thistletop as a sort of hunting resort. They seem enthusiastically interested and promise to assist in whatever way he needs (provided the guild gets its proper share of the revenue).

 

The party reconvenes at the Rag and Garter, which is basically a hipster bar where nobles dress down and go 'slumming' in a nice safe environment. The workers all dress down like vagrants and the food is all appropriately themed as 'poor people' food. Feda and Eydan loathe the bar (though for different reasons). Eydan eventually has to be shushed by the staff for making fun of the young nobles. The party debate their plans for investigating the Foxglove Estate here in the Grand Arch district. They decide to head to Pug's Contraptions and arrive just as he is closing up shop. They manage to convince him to tell them where he sent the cages they found in Foxglove Manor after a bit of prodding. Morgamer Pug is not very enthusiastic about the party being there and is a bit offended at claiming his goods were involved in something sinister. Things get a bit more tense when Feda on her way out hears the party debating if Morgamer could craft them things and she points out she can do it cheaper and faster. While true, it doesn't really make Morgamer very happy to hear. Feda tries to make some amends by buying Purrcival a singing clockwork bird, but Mr. Pug is happy to see the party leave his shop. Heading back from the shop Feda and Vincent pray at the Our Lady of Blessed Waters and receive a blessing that strengthens their divine spells. Eydan takes advantage of their delay to scout the estate and inside he hears some strange voices talking in a language he doesn't recognize. The party manages to sneak into the alley behind the estate and cast a few buff spells before getting into the walled in garden behind the house. They make use of a silence spell on a rock to ensure their silence, but when Feda is going to identify the language she makes a bit too much noise and the voices inside stop. They open the door and are surprised to see Aldern and Iesha Foxglove staring at them seemingly in perfect health (no undead here!). In a very tense, exchange the two parties make some small talk before Eydan shoots at Aldern. This causes Iesha to revert to a strange rubbery bodied creature with a face covered in strange whirls and swirls. Purrcival recognizes them as faceless stalkers and battle quickly follows. The party has the advantage on numbers and the combat quickly becomes a rout. It turns out the stalkers weren't alone and two humans attempt to escape, one out a window and one fleeing through the front door. Feda nearly grabs a faceless stalker, but it compresses itself into a ridiculous shape and fits into a sewer drain. However, the party is able to stay pretty well in step with the humans and is working on securing them as the session ends.

DM Notes:

  • Ankheg Chitin would use these rules (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/equipment/special-materials/#TOC-Coral-Chitin-and-Sea-Shells ). They'd also receive a discount when enchanting for Acid Resistance (see Dragon Armor).
  • The party can buy loot in the down time between sessions to represent the Magnimar shopping trip.
  • I think the party has all the clues to figure out the murders, but they haven't put it together yet. I expect they'll figure it out eventually.
  • I sort of wish some of these combats were more difficult, buy Eydan and Jaren are able to hit so consistently against these weaker monsters it seems like the monsters rarely get to do much damage. Oh well, I expect the next module to be a bit better on the challenge scale.

Rewards / Loot:

  •  Eye of Wrath from Mersoolian
  • {Goods bought}

Challenges / Monsters:

  • 3 Faceless Stalkers

End Date: Desnus 19

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Session Thirty
Cleaning Up

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

 

Session Notes:

The party's first order of business is to let Horran meet his wife in her new form. He is extremely nervous but after some kind words from Feda and Vincent they re-introduce the two of them. The two are happy to once again be reunited after some initial awkwardness. Lettie Guffmin insists on the party coming over for a home cooked meal at some point and they both promise to help the party anyway they can. After a bit more plotting the party decides there are a lot of loose ends that they should handle before following up on the investigation from the manor. After a stern talking to from Bethana, Vincent decides he needs to find a new owner for his adopted cat Skivver. He heads off to find a new owner while the rest of the party split up to follow up some tasks at Thistletop. Eydan and Aurelia goes to the carpenter's guild and gives a tour of Thistletop to the guild master and start to plan out some improvements. Feda, Purrcival, and Jaren busy themselves recovering the giant golden helmets from the treasury in the lower levels of Thistletop. With the help of Jaren's Heavyload Belt the party manages to get it back to Sandpoint. Though they know they'll need to get it to Magnimar to be able to sale it. Vincent manages to convince Ameiko to adopt the cat, though she isn't thrilled with the idea.

 

Afterwards, the party takes a rest at the Rusty Dragon and then decides to clean up some loose ends around the Sanitorium and Foxglove Manor. They first head to the Sanitorium but send Eydan to scout it out sense last time Feda visited she was turned away. He manages to sneak around the place without being seen. Inside the asylum he sees the tiefling nurses tending patients and he sees Erin interacting with the patients a bit. However, Erin keeps giving nervous glances over to a man that Eydan doesn't recognize. The man is older and is flanked by two of the clockwork guardians while he eats a small breakfast. Eydan wracks his brain to see if he could recognize the man, but fails to figure him out. Eydan sees a chance to search Erin's office and does so by silently unlocking the window. Eydan finds notes on all the current patients with nearly daily updates, however, the patient Grayst that had been infected with ghoul fever only has a few entries that end shortly after Feda managed to cure the man. Eydan manages to hear Erin approaching and dives out the window without being spotted, but Erin is left suspicious and looks around to see if anything has been taken. Once Eydan returns the party debates heading over to the Sanitorium to confront the Erin and the old man (whom they surmise is the sanitorium's financial backer), but ultimately decide it would be too suspicious even if they end up missing the chance to confront him.

 

The party heads back to the Foxglove Manor and finishes searching the place. Purrcival uses the new bag of holding to purloin the stuffed Manticore statue. They receive the last haunt of the mansion showing Vorel's final attempt at transforming into a lich. In that same room they find some relatively new looking cages with symbols that Purrcival (somehow) recognizes as Pug's Contraptions from Magnimar. They finish up searching after finding the clue, heading down into the Sandstone caverns below. Jaren stumbles into some yellow mold, but manages to resist the debilitating effects. Feda finds an undead Dire Bat (known as a Skaveling), but manages to fend the creature off by herself. The creature vows vengeance and wings out the well shaft open in the back room. They find a couple of items that were missed the first time, and they also finally to manage to identify the strange metal book. It is a Sorcerer's Spellbook which allows a spontaneous caster to add a random known spell once a day.

 

DM Notes:

  • Solid wrap up session of a lot of the loose ends from the adventure path so far.
  • The party is heading to Magnimar next, where I believe they'll be chasing down the main plot thread and a couple of side quests.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Breaking Pickaxe
  • Gems

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Carrying a large helmet
  • Skaveling

 

End Date: Desnus 17

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Session Twenty-Nine
Hail Mary Arrow

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

 

Session Notes:

The session kicks off with the party in the midst of combat with a handful of wyverns and the half-dragon scrag, Black Maw. Jaren is in the thick of it surrounded by a couple of wyverns and Vile Maw. He manages to weather the first charge of the creatures and giving them a few painful slices with his blade as he lunges forward to meet charges. The wyverns are largely ineffectual, but Vile Maw is able to land a number of painful hits. He summons the spirits from his haunted boots to cover himself in twisting ghostlike fog. The concealment makes it more difficult for his enemies to tie him up. Feda is able to blind a few of the enemies with divine radiance allowing Jaren more time to recover, and Purrcival piles on the crowd control effects by causing Vile Maw to go wild with laughter. The hideous laughter spell doesn't last long but effectively removes the troll from the fight as the party continues to rush toward the melee. Aurelia lends plenty of artillery by throwing a combination of fireballs and magic missiles, further enhancing her own power with her magic mask's ability. Jaren is not to be outdone and lands a number of critical strikes on his foes. When Vile Maw tries to rush for the nearby river to active his regenerative abilities he stumbles to the ground due to blindness. The scrag uses his draconic heritage to further his life a bit a longer by casting shields of force with his minor arcane talent. It isn't enough and soon he falls which causes the wyverns to send one of their members back to the nest as the rest battle to the death. Eydan stands strong as one of the creatures attempts to pin him down, but he is nimbly able to weave around and continue to pepper his enemies with piercing arrows. The fleeing wyvern is able to get into the air quickly, but a combination of long range spells from Vincent and Aurelia and the wyvern's poor flying ability manages to slow the creature. The spells delay the creature long enough for Eydan to get down to the docks where he is faced with a shot at the extreme range of his bow. The wyvern is roughly 520 feet offshore of the island when Eydan gets one final chance to drop it before the creature escapes the parties range. He lobs three arcing arrows out across the water and the first strikes true dropping the creature into the sea and stopping the wyvern's master from learning their fate.

 

By this time the rest of the party has gathered at the docks and the villagers surround the party. The villagers have vastly different opinions on the Thistles killing the envoy of the dragons. Some of them are relieved that they will no longer be paying tribute to creatures that have never provided much. However, there is roughly an equal number enraged by the party stepping in and killing the village's guardians. Loby leads this faction and seems to be trying to convince the villagers to mob the adventurers for vengeance, but Jaren is able to deliver a speech explaining the adventurer's reasoning and proclaiming they are now free to live their lives without the threat of this protection racket. With the help of Vincent and Purrcival he is able to sway enough of the villagers that Loby can't convince them to act. She continues to rant but is further shut down by Eydan suggesting she may have been working with the dragons and getting kickbacks. That is the final straw and she leaves outraged. Mesym and Vare seem much calmer about their new situation and the people go back to The Foolish Pilgrim to discuss their new situation. Feda discusses setting up a trade agreement between Thistletop and Batun since Sandpoint has such a dim view of the thorp. They are both open to the ideal and discuss it to some depth with the dwarven cleric. The next morning the party heads to Malia's hut to deal with the business of the reincarnation.

 

Malia is pleased by the Thistles dealing with the dragon's envoy, and doesn't seem concerned about any repercussions from the dragons themselves. She is very familiar with the dragon's hierarchy and explains it to the party. The Dragon's Punchbowl is the lair of an ancient black dragon by the name of Scarhorn. Scarhorn has lived at the punchbowl for at least five hundred years, but makes a point to not attract attention to her lair. She doesn't raid any villages or ships within a day's flight of her home and generally tries to keep a low profile to avoid dragon hunters. However, her younger brother Black Fang was much more rambunctious and continually attempting to make a name for himself. Black Fang was the sire of Black Maw, and would likely be very angry about his murder. However, he has recently been kicked out of the Dragon's Punchbowl because he attacked a merchant ship near Sandpoint recently. His sister Scarhorn forced him to find a new lair and he is busily trying to set himself up in a new location. Malia was unsure where his new lair was, but she doubts he is going to be interacting with Batun in the near future. Black Maw was planning to continue living at the Dragon's Punchbowl by offering the tribute to Scarhorn rather than Black Fang, but Malia doubts Scarhorn would have been very pleased with the attention that entailed. As long as the party doesn't make a point of bragging about murdering Scarhorn's kin they are likely safe from her attention.

 

The reincarnation ritual goes well afterwards. Lettie is brought back in the form of a Deep Gnome and seems to be tickled to just be alive. She spends some time getting used to her new form, seeming to be particularly amazed by her new short height and minor magical talents the form inherited. After giving her some time to get used to the form the party heads back to Sandpoint via water walk with hopes of letting Horren see his wife's new body.

 

DM Notes:

  • The party was able to effectively neuter Black Maw's DPS. He would of probably been able to kill someone if he had been able to full attack for a couple of rounds unimpeded.
  • The wyvern flight was a nice epic wrap-up, though I did find out later the wyvern should of lost altitude but not straight fallen. I think the falling made for a better story so not too concerned that we misplayed a rule.
  • The party kept a lot of the loot but returned the rest to the village not feeling right about taking it.
  • I'm glad Lettie got a decent form and not something truly weird on the reincarnation table
  • The party has yet to revisit the main plot, but really in game not much time has passed so that's probably fine. As a DM I actually enjoy side quests since it gives me a chance to be a bit more creative, but I have to be aware of the main plot thread and make sure it doesn't "pause" unrealistically while the party is distracted. 

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Bag of Holding III
  • Silver Raven Figurine of Wondrous Power
  • (Strong Divination) Magic Metal Book

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Half Dragon Scrag, Black Maw
  • 6 Wyverns
  • Loby's Potential Mob
  • Reincarnation Ritual

 

End Date: Desnus 15

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Session Twenty-Eight
Wyvern uses Discern. It is Super Effective!

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

 

Session Notes:

The party prepares their spells to talk to the corpse of Lettie Guffmin the next morning at Sandpoint. The party speaks to Horran and allows him to observe the ceremony. They go into the vault that has been storing the gentle reposed corpse of Lettie and Feda casts the spell to speak with the dead. The corpse animates to answer her questions as Feda finishes the spells. Lettie comes back with a dusty gasp and Horran begins to quietly panic in the back clutching at Vincent. Lettie confirms that she does want to return to the realm of the living to once again be with her beloved husband. When asked if she would prefer to be reincarnated now or raised at some future point Lettie seems more interested in coming back immediately. With one final call to her husband that she will soon be reunited with him the corpse once again falls back to the stone bier.

 

The party then heads back over to Batun hoping to oversee this tribute and determine if they should become involved now or deal with the strange village at some future date. When they arrive the party finds a tribute setup in the small garden around the large cedar tree in the center of the village. It is being guarded by four men who huddle a bit closer to protect the treasure when the party shows up. The party stops to interrogate the men a bit, Jaren asking if they have any tales of the great protection that the dragons provide the village. The men insist of course they do, but when pressed fail to relay any convincing stories. One claims that the village's ships never get attacked by sea creatures and storms never seem to hit the island. Purrcival points out that the village is in a relatively temperate area for storms so that sounds sensible, and one of the four men seem to be a bit unsure when the leader claims ships aren't attacked. Jaren and Vincent press him a bit and he asks about the Sanderson's boat that was recently attacked. The leader assures them that they were only attacked because they were not in an area the dragons blessed. The leader of the guards doesn't really have much of a response to these comments and the party scoffs and heads over to the Foolish Pilgrim.

 

The party talks with Vare a bit deciding to split up. Eydan and Feda take Lettie's wrapped corpse to Malia's hut. The sea witch isn't present, so Feda entombs the corpse in a boulder using stone shape. Knowing the corpse is protected they once again return to the village. In the meantime Purrcival is set to guard duty in the garden around the cedar tree, but the sun is warm and he mostly naps on a comfortable stone bench. Eydan and Jaren continue their expedition to rouse the villagers to riot against the dragons. They meet with the last elder of the village, Mesym, who turns out to be the son of Malia. He agrees that the dragons are running a protection racket, but the village doesn't really have the strength of arm to throw them out. He talks a bit about his mother's past with the village, and how his father was killed when one such attempt failed. Ever since then his mother has washed her hand of the village preferring to stay on the far end of the island. They talk a bit longer before heading over to the Foolish Pilgrim for drinks. The party spends a night with Vare sleeping in the inn.

 

The next morning Vare cooks the party up a nice breakfast and it isn't long before a hubbub is heard in the street. The wyverns that signify the arrival of the dragon's scions have arrived and perch in the tree high above the village. Soon afterwards an extravagantly dressed Loby shows up to receive Vare's tributes. She is wearing a ridiculous helm that is easily 8 inches tall with a scaly covering topped off by two drift wood horns carved into curving horns. Eydan having not met Loby before scoffs at her outfit and does his usual job of charming the woman. She takes Vare's tribute and leaves in a huff.

 

Soon after the majority of the village is waiting around the tribute. Eydan hides in the crowd and as far as the party can tell the Wyverns don't seem to track his movements, but as soon as the rest of the party leaves the inn the creatures track them visually and begin to converse in some hissing language. Purrcival notices which causes Feda and him to retreat back to the inn to converse with Vincent who is staying back (due to his golden arms and armor). Jaren decides to stay out by the tribute near the front of the crowd to get a read on this Black Maw character who usually comes to take the treasure. Before long another wyvern shows up and appears to converse with the two creatures in the tree, and then it leaves shortly after a brief conversation. The crowd tenses (besides Loby who near the tribute pile seems to be ecstatic) as a large black scaled scrag comes around the corner. It has huge muscular arms and surveys the crowd with dull eyes before giving an ugly grin at the tribute pile. The creature notes Jaren as it approaches and gives him a stare down which he returns without flinching. Loby proceeds to take each piece of treasure over to the creature who slips it into a small bag at his belt. The bag seems to take in whatever treasure it is stretched over and the party recognizes it as a high level bag of holding. The creature shows some rudimentary spellcasting and detects magic on a piece of the treasure then glances at Jaren which causes Black Maw to salivate with greed. He demands that Jaren offer some tribute rather rudely, but Jaren is able to convince the slow witted creature that he may could get it more loot by talking to his employer. The dumb creature agrees to let him go off and talk to his boss, but the larger wyvern behind Black Maw lets out an angry yell in draconic telling Black Maw to not let Jaren leave (It seems that wyvern at least is smarter than Black Maw). Black Maw lets out a roar and charges at Jaren.

 

DM Notes:

  • I'm not too surprised the party is coming to blows with Black Maw. Jaren was really not approving of the racket that they were running.  Jaren very nearly convinced Black Maw to isolate himself into a more vulnerable position but the wyverns have a much better sense motive (and intelligence seemingly?) than the scrag which ruined the attempt.
  • Jaren rolled really good initiative and began to book it out of town at the start of combat, so it doesn't seem like the village will be damaged so the party did at least accomplish that goal.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Minus one Lettie Guffmin corpse

 

Challenges / Monsters:

 

End Date: Desnus 14

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Session Twenty Seven
The Hut of the Sea Witch

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

 

Session Notes:

The party heads back to Sandpoint having cleared the farmlands with the body of Lettie Guffmin, the very sick Horran Guffmin, and Maester Grump. The first order of business is for the party to drop off the ailing at the Cathedral. They explain what happened to Father Zantus and vow to make what happened to Lettie right by giving Lettie the chance to come back to life. The only hitch in the plan is that they can only afford a reincarnation, and they don't currently know of anyone who can perform such a spell. They begin planning and take a night's rest. In the morning, the majority of the party are showing various rashes and signs of disease which the two clerics promptly heal up. They also make sure that Horran is well on his way to recovery and explain their plan. He is a bit dubious at first, but agrees once the party tells him they can speak with Lettie via magic and determine her own wishes. While the rest of the party is trying to get a contact to the local druids, Feda heads to the sanitarium to make good on her promise to cure Grayst Sevilla. She is very abruptly turned away with a nervous Erin Habe telling her it is no longer necessary and no she cannot see the patient.

 

The rest of the party go and visit Niska Mvashti who has a number of contacts with the local druids. She tells them of the "Sea Witch" Malia who lives on Grubber's Hermitage. As far as she knows, Malia has been there at least as long as Sandpoint has been around. She explains that Malia is not a member of the local druid circle but she knows her through some of the more public gathering. Niska confirms that the reincarnation magic is within Malia's power, but that the party will have to convince the witch to use it. The next step is hiring a boat so the party goes to visit Turch Sterglus. It takes some convincing to visit Grubber's Hermitage; the small thorp of Batun on the island has a foul reputation around Sandpoint and Turch is worried about the witch that allegedly lives on the island. Finally Turch relents and agrees to take the short boat journey over to the island. Vincent splits from the party to do a quick delivery of a mackerel to Bethana at the Rusty Dragon asking her to feed his cat. She insists that is his cat, and she is not interested in owning one but is convinced by the charming cleric. It probably helps that Vincent offers the rest of the mackerel for Bethana's own use.

 

The party makes the short trip over to the island of Grubber's Hermitage. It is a small island roughly 7 miles by 4 miles and is hilly terrain covered in forests. As they round the island a gigantic cedar (nearly 300 feet tall) comes into view and as they get closer a small village comes into view. The little village huddles around the cedar as a scatter of buildings. The whole of the thing couldn't account for more than 80 people if all the buildings are for full families. As the party docks no one comes out to greet the party and the few people on the dirt paths that serve as roads in the village go out of their way to avoid the party. They eventually find the town's sole tavern, The Foolish Pilgrim. The building is a long low structure and as they enter the only occupants are a large brown bear and an elf standing behind the bar daydreaming. Both snap to attention as the party enters and the elf introduces himself as Vare and the bear as Telta. The party ask him about the empty streets and what's going on, but he is reluctant to explain too much. He suggests they talk to Malia about it and agrees to show them a rarely used trail heading toward the witch's hut.

 

The party follows the rough trail to the other side of the island and are greeted by a small stone hut set onto a rocky shore. The hut appears to have been shaped from a large boulder and the furniture near it appears to be driftwood that has been warped to make comfortable chairs and serviceable tables. The party is greeted by a elven lady who introduces herself jokingly as the Sea Witch. As the party explains their plight she agrees to help them, but it will be at least two days before she can prepare the ritual for reincarnation. Once that has been agreed on the party quiz her on the strange behavior of Vare and the townsfolk. She explains that the town pays a monthly tribute to some black dragon kin that enter the town. They signal the tribute is due by sending a silver metallic raven and then arrive a couple of days afterwards. The raven arrived the day prior and the village is currently on edge as they prepare the tribute for the incoming band. She is no great fan of this practice but her attempts at getting the village to stop have fallen on deaf ears. She's given up on convincing the humans of the village to stop it and now watches in disgust and keeps her own side of the island clear of the dragon's minions. The villagers situation bothers the majority of the party, but particularly gets under the skin of Jaren who wants to free them from this protection racket (as Vincent describes it). The party heads back to Batun and interview Vare about the practice. He agrees it is absurd but saw no need to rock the boat when he moved to the small village. The party pries a bit and determine he is avoiding some people in his past living in this remote thorp and is happy to deal with their eccentrics ways as long as he can avoid trouble. He tells them that the village is roughly governed by him, Loby Finnell, and Mesyrm Erwer. Before leaving the village for Sandpoint  the party visits Loby's home to see the silver raven, and while there they see her staring at them from the window. After speaking to the party through a cracked door, she eventually comes out onto her stoop and defends the villages practice saying that so far the village has seen no bad effects so clearly it is working well. She is obstinate in her argument and it drives Jaren to great frustrations before the party leaves in disgust.


Back in Sandpoint the session wraps with Vincent and Jaren visiting Niska to gripe about the village's strange practices. She isn't willing to give them her blessings on their belief to do something about the village's strange practices, but says nothing when Jaren plots a way to proof the villagers wrong by enacting a fake attack on the village. He hopes to prove that the village has been wasting their time and money with such an effort. Vincent heartily approves and the two of them race off to explain their cunning plan to the rest of the party.

 

DM Notes:

  • I wasn't really sure how to use Grubber's Hermitage, so I decided to throw an ambiguous situation at the party. I'm really enjoying how they're working through how to handle it.
  • I'm also curious on what this reincarnation roll is going to be

 

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • A sense of frustration for the habits of country bumpkins

 

Challenges / Monsters:

 

End Date: Desnus 14

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