The Order of the Amber Die is back with another marathon run through an Adventure Path, and this time they've picked the Ruins of Azlant Adventure Path. I'm not going to spend too much time introducing this blog, but I do want to warn readers that there are some spoilers in here. If you're a player or just want to be surprised when you read The Lost Outpost, read at your own risk!
In case you're new to our projects or what Order of the Amber Die is all about, here's a quick summary: We play the longest sessions in the industry, we've been through a couple of lifetime's worth of published adventures, and we like to push the envelope of gaming as far as it can go—and then some.
During the Adventure Path seminar at Gen Con 50, Managing Developer Adam Daigle said Paizo had waited ten long years to release an Azlant-themed AP, and despite not having much of a break after The Strange Aeons Experiment, we couldn't resist the call to play it. Further, if Paizo waited this long to unveil Azlant, we needed to match the significance with something equally monumental: We would take our game on-location. Just as we started off “The Lost Outpost” with our characters approaching a beach, we put nine members of the Order from different parts of the country into a New Jersey beach house for many days of straight gaming. With this much immersion, the long weekend was bound to end up like an episode of Survivor or Jersey Shore-gone-Pathfinder, so we filmed portions of the escapade—and yes, we even did confessionals.
- Adventure: Pathfinder Adventure Path #121: The Lost Outpost
- Marathon Length: 113 hours
- Session Hours: 51hrs, 15min
We like to give each of our projects a spin or focus, and for The Azlant Odyssey we'll be highlighting the setting and atmosphere throughout. Submerged ruins, forgotten islands, lore lost for millennia—it's too exciting not to detail it as we explore. To prepare for the launch of this project, the four core players were assigned homework: to study the Pathfinder comics and master their iconic characters. Finally, with such a large number of colonists available for role-playing opportunities, our GM tapped four additional members of the Order for live-NPC roles throughout the marathon.
Highlights From The Lost Outpost
- Our characters arrived on the beach to find the colony of Talmandor's Bounty deserted and the first wave of colonists missing. During our subsequent search, a distressed poltergeist sent our characters sprinting for the water quite a few times. Our GM ruled that since our characters were running from the grass to the waterline, we should leave our dice and make the mad dash across the sand ourselves. Harder than it seemed!
- Intermingling with the colonists and their elaborate backgrounds kept us right on track with reality TV, as we had two separate love triangles running: Anya Sandstrider the stoic Shoanti ranger with a crush on Harcourt Carrolby, the arrogant well-to-do, who was in turn the enemy of Leutin Calewick, the hefty blacksmith with a thing for Anya. That's all aside from the usual Kyra and Merisiel flame, where Ramona Avandth, the expedition's capable facilitator, added in some tension with Kyra while refuting the advances of Antona Sedgewick—one of the colony's most prominent soldiers. Can you follow all that drama?
- A self-controlled defense mechanism of ancient Azlant stalked the island, leaving ominous tracks that built fear in us until the confrontation finally occurred. It consisted of thousands of tiny spheres that could emit spikes and even knock you to the ground. Merisiel, our relic raider, had studied its path on the island carefully, and enabled us to exploit its weakness: it couldn't climb most objects.
- During an incident involving quicksand, Valeros the aquanaut pulled off his best rendition of Baywatch as he ran to the rescue and dove in with his swim speed, while we sweated round-by-round watching the drowning colonist. Even Merisiel was impressed.
- Author Jim Groves never let us get comfortable with the island or our mission, as this adventure tested a wide array of tabletop RPG skills: social combat from Ultimate Intrigue, roleplaying, investigation, traditional combat, underwater combat, linguistics, and even a player's ability to adapt to a new mechanic: "soft initiative." If the rest of the Adventure Path is anything like The Lost Outpost in this regard, we're going to find out what we're made of.
- Class was in session when we came across two celedons who wanted nothing more than to teach us about their goddess, Acavna. The academics in our group grabbed a bench and started taking notes, until our teachers casually mentioned that instruction would take years to complete—and that we couldn't leave until it was over. We brainstormed ways to cut class, but we were terrified about getting disciplined by the eternal guardians.
Sand, seagulls, and the smell of salt water completely immersed us in even the most nominal role-playing encounters. We also wanted to emphasize the role of sunlight in island survival, so as a group we decided to get up before dawn every day and begin playing with the sun's rays streaming in. So far, Ruins of Azlant is clearly more than just "the underwater AP." Survival has been the most important skill—used more often than swim—and both the exploration and discovery aspects of our Odyssey left our lore-delvers with plenty of knowledge checks throughout.
None! We'll leave the credit to the preparatory underwater grid-training sessions run by our Player Captain.
Best Quote From Marathon 1
Valeros (needlessly shouting): Madam, your colony is clear!
Ramona Avandth: How much has this man had to drink?
Valeros: I've been drinking all day.
Ramona (to the party): Is this true?
Ezren: Yes, he has been drinking all day, but he can be trusted.
We managed to scout some of the island, but many questions remain about why the former colonists disappeared. We did rescue and return the original expedition leader, Rayland Arkley, and another colonist that we hope can provide more answers in the coming days. Between adventures, we'll be taking the author's suggestion of utilizing the downtime rules from Ultimate Campaign as we attempt to rebuild the colony of Talmandor's Bounty.
For character builds, questions about The Azlant Odyssey, additional content and more, see our thread [Link: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2unce?The-Azlant-Odyssey] on the Paizo messageboards.