Rise of the Runelords

Session Thirty-Nine
It was the Foundry *shocking*

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

 

Session Notes:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

DM Notes:

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

 

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • -

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Rescue Tomasz from the Asylum
  • Walking into the Forge

 

 

End Date: Sarenith 9

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Session Thirty-Eight
We're mad for asylums

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

 

Session Notes:

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

 

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

 

Celestial Fury History:

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

 

 

DM Notes:

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

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • 750 Gold Each

 

End Date: Sarenith 8

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Session Thirty-Seven
Leaping Lamias

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

 

Party reaches Level 7

 

Session Notes:

After being surprised by a Lamia appearing out of nowhere and the party finally getting out of the bag the battle joins in earnest. The gods were not with the party as they were sullied by relatively weak healing magics which allowed Xanesha to keep the upper hand at first with Jaren being nauseated by Xanesha's enchanted spear and Feda being left with crushing despair in the aftermath of the magic. However, luck quickly turned on the lamia as Jaren repeatedly ignored her five mirror images and hit with devastating blow after devastating blow. Vincent manages to skirt the edges of the battle and bring Eydan back to consciousness before death could snatch him. Vincent even managed to protect the archer from Xanesha's attack using his shield to block any errant spearing. With Eydan rejoined in the battle and making good use of his seeking bow to also ignore the mirror images Xanesha is forced to retreat by jumping off of the tower. As she is falling she casts feather fall, but is unable to turn invisible thanks to an earlier glitter dust form Purrcival. The range is no issue for Eydan and Aurelia who continue to rain pain down on the fleeing snake but Jaren is frustrated with his inability to follow. Feda comes to the rescue by tossing Jaren her snapleaf which turns him invisible and enables him to also benefit from a feather fall spell. She tries to prolong her life with a sanctuary spell which stymies Eydan's arrow storm, but Aurelia and Jaren pay it no heed and continue to blast and slash at the monster. This assault proves too much for the Lamia and she is vanquished with a final slash from Jaren's enchanted blade.

 

After the excitement is over and the party heals up they spend some time looting. In an impressive display, Vincent joins Jaren down at the base of the tower using his magical boots to leap from the tower. Jaren manages the gathering crowd while Vincent fetches some support from the Cathedral of Abadar. The cathedral brings in support and helps manage the scene while the rest of the party carefully escape the top of the tower. They reconvene with Jyronn at the temple to discuss what went down and the party's next steps. From Xanesha's stash they managed to recover a few different burned notes from a brazier, and with the help of some divine magic are able to fully repair the notes. One describes a cult in Palin's Cove known as the Feasters of the Heart that seems to be applauding the Lamia's efforts in Magnimar, and the cult is seemingly in the process of bringing a second Runelord back to life. The other note is from someone calling Xanesha sister, and is bragging about their own efforts in the small town of Turtleback Ferry. The note also makes mention that there was a plot to murder Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras, but that has seemingly been put to rest with the destruction of the Brotherhood of the Seven and Xanesha.

 

The party spends the next few days taking a break from their recent hectic life of adventure to do some training and to continue to decipher the notes from Judge Ironbriar's ledger. They eventually do get it translated and it confirms that he has been a guilty party leading the Brotherhood of the Seven his entire tenure as a judge. It goes on to say that he was involved with the Vorel Foxglove and recently made a tidy sum of gold by selling something known as 'Vorel's Legacy' to the Red Mantis Assassins though the purpose is unknown. The session ends with the party having a meeting with the Lord-Mayor and a trip to Palin's Cove in their future

 

DM Notes:

  • The book's climatic battle went pretty well. The dice were definitely helping the players a bit with some real unlucky mirror image rolls and Xanesha spending at least a couple of rounds being completely useless with a spear, but sometimes the dice gods can be fickle beasts.
  • I offered everyone a chance to swap characters and retrain a bit between books just in case someone was growing bored with a character. In my experience, it is a lot easier to swap a character between adventures rather than having someone suddenly become suicidal in the middle of a book.

 

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • 33,000 Copper
  • 8,100 Silver
  • 900 Gold
  • 100 Platinum
  • Assorted Jewelry (Mostly Silver and Emerald) 4,200 Gold
  • Four Potions of Cure Moderate Wounds
  • Ring of the Osprey
  • Golembane Scarab
  • Enduring Bloom Morningstar
  • Boots of Escape
  • Medusa Mask
  • Impaler of Thorns
  • Snakeskin Tunic
  • Partially burned notes in small brazier

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Xanesha and 4 Faceless Stalkers

 

End Date: Desnus 31~

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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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