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Taishaku's page

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber. 115 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Redneckdevil wrote:
The thing is morality changes over time. What is considered wrong or right can change over the years so at this time because over time what is good has changed hands so many times that no we cannot find a nation that is "good" right now due to our standards, but years ago imsure u could pick a few countries at a time that would be considered "good" by the morality of that time.

I would agree that certain things are deemed evil or bad in one place or time and not bad or even good or valued at other places and times - marijuana, gay marriage and other such issues show that society can change over time its views. However, I do think there are some baselines of morality that do seem to have stood the test of time and have been independently arrived at in different societies. For instance 2,500 years ago in India the Buddha taught that there are ten courses of wholesome conduct (and I am pretty sure these predated him):

1. Not to Kill
2. Not to Steal (or specifically "take what is not given")
3. Not to engage in sexual misconduct (usually explained as involving minors, incest, violence, deceit, unfaithfulness, etc.. - but yes, here there is room for debate about several matters)
4. Not to lie
5. Not to use abusive speech
6. Not to use speech to divide people against one another
7. Not to speak irresponsibly (yes, this is rather vague)
8. Not to give in to greed
9. Not to give in to hatred
10. Not to give in to delusion (also a matter of interpretation I guess)

So, yeah, there are areas there that are debatable but even in those I think most people would agree that irresponsible speech, delusion, and sexual misconduct (at the very least rape and incest and such) are not things we want to see done.

It also comes down to the Golden Rule that has also been independently spoken of in different cultures at different times.

So I am wary of the argument that morality is totally relative. I do think there are baselines even though peripheral issues are arguable and changeable.


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Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
HotLanta wrote:

I'm playing the Shattered Star AP with a monk in a party of 7. At level 8, We have: Sorcerer; Rogue/SD; Ranger/Sorc/AA; Cleric; Paladin; Barbarian. We've not all been in at the same time since the first few sessions, but we've got 5-6 players in a session consistently, between the 8 of us.

Spoiler:
In our last session, while ascending a staircase to the top of a broken tower, we were attacked by three wyverns. I jumped from the staircase and grappled one of the wyverns, which then (to my surprise), flew up and out of the tower, and out over the wilderness we had barely explored, taking full-round move actions each round, going higher and further from the party. I maintained my grapple check, but my GM wouldn't allow me to even attempt a second grapple check to try and pin one of its wings, or even attack it (which wouldn't under normal circumstances require a grapple check). He said, when I asked:

1) Because it's a large flying creature, it could move even after I grappled it (I didn't expect it to be able to, looking at grapple RAW, but I'll take it).

2) Because it was flying at 120 ft/round (whatever that equates to in normal speed), I couldn't do anything but hold on for dear life. - I expected to at least be able to make another grapple check to do something (pin a wing, make an attack; effectively grapple my way around the creature). I'm also somewhat curious as to why 120 ft/round would be so debilitating when my monk has a 50 ft base speed, for 200 ft/round at a flat out run.

I haven't seen anything in the mechanics (and I am fairly familiar with the rules for grappling) that deal with this situation, and I'm curious about what you all think about how the situation was handled.

I guess it depends on the type of game your GM is running and how he/she envisions it. If this were to happen in my game I'd take the cinematic route and allow the PC to grapple, fight, or even use handle animal or ride to try to take control of the beast. I would probably also make the PC roll against relatively high DC climb or dexterity checks to see if they are able to hold on and not fall off while doing those things.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
EldonG wrote:

There are a wide variety of tastes and styles, and it's only wrong if it doesn't work for you and your group.

Do you run more toward Game of Thrones, or My Little Pathfinder?

Politically?

Regarding sexual matters?

Grittiness/mortality?

Any other aspects?

I run a PG-13 perhaps bordering on R game.

Politically I treat the various gods as representative of different views and attitudes found in the real world and try to explore what it would mean to worship a god of commerce or a goddess of lust and revenge. We even got into children being sold into slavery by poor families as being permitted by Abadar's indifference to the morality of economics (because this kind of thing did happen in some places in history). I am pretty harsh actually in condemning a lot of ugly things that happen or happened in our world. I don't try to get too graphic however.

Sexual matters do come in and we had a long sequence centered at a brothel, but when things start to get intimate I prefer that we fade out on the scene.

Grittiness - we get pretty gritty and sometimes even gory. Recently in a fight an evil cultist tried to sacrifice a child bound to an altar. The half-orc barbarian did a ton of damage and so I ruled he cut her in half and that the halves flew back into the wind wall the main villain was using to protect himself from arrows, thus causing blood and gore to fountain over everyone. Perhaps that was excessive and over the top but kind of played for gross out laughs.

But yeah on the whole PG-13 with some goriness, horror, and adult themes addressed that might push our campaign into an R rating.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Having been bitten in the battle against Lisette's parents and not yet being a paladin of sufficient level to be immune, there is now a danger that Toshio may be infected with lycanthropy. This leads to Toshio the paladin being left alone with the werewolf Lisette tied up in a wagon as the full moon rises. Yes, somehow, that seemed to be the logical thing to do…

I should also mention that there are some nice scenes in here that deal with the developing relationships between Keng and Shalelu and Toshio and Ameiko.

As GM I also had another problem. A natural werewolf (with a DR 10 against all but silver weapons) was too powerful an NPC to have permanently attached to the party. I had to get rid of her but how?

Moonstruck


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

I had not thought that the PCs would do so well against the wolf pack. In fact I had Eiliff and Shalelu waiting in the wings (so to speak) to swoop in and save them once they really started getting in trouble but as it turned out I only needed to bring them in after the initial phase of the battle so that the PCs could hunt down the wolf pack.

The Watcher and the Hunter

The line, “That Toshio! He’s trying to save all the people of Golarion – one beautiful young girl at a time," was something I said OOC in regard to Toshio but I thought it should be included in the narrative and so I had Jethrik overheard Ameiko say it to Sandru. This also revealed once more that Ameiko and Sandru have history together though no one yet knows what it is about.

Spoiler:
As they ride off, leaving the gnome behind, coughing from the dust left in their wake, he overhears Ameiko ruefully saying, “That Toshio! He’s trying to save all the people of Golarion – one beautiful young girl at a time. He’s going to get himself killed.” Jethrik looks over to the fire ring and sees Sandru approach Ameiko and put a hand on her shoulder. They exchange a look filled with some shared sorrow and then part once more.

This following scene is really the climax of the whole Wolf's Ear drama. I had worried that Eilif and Shalelu would just wipe out the werewolves and wolves and leave the PC's feeling as though they were just observers and not the main characters but ultimately and ironically, Toshio has to take a stand agains the LG cleric of Erastil in order to protect Lisette and keep her from slipping back into evil. This also forces the other PC's to decided where they stand, which puts the dramatic resolution back on the PCs and not the uber-powerful (relatively) NPCs. Shalelu then resolves the stand-off in a very unexpected way that reveals her own differences from those who follow LG gods.

Spoiler:
Lisette wails when she sees her father struck down. She succeeds in willing the transformation just as he did and then barks at the wolf pack. They stop menacing her and as a pack run off into a copse of trees away from the riverbank.

Even as the riders led by Shalelu draw near, Lisette approaches first her father, who has reverted back to human form, and then her mother who was already in human form when Shalelu killed her. She sniffs at them howling mournfully and glares defiantly at the elf huntress with crimson eyes aglow with grief and rage.

Shalelu pulls back the arrow, but does not yet let it fly. Eilif reins in his horse at Shalelu’s side and says, “Well, what are you waiting for? Kill the beast.”

Shalelu looks over at Toshio and says, “Toshio says we should spare her. I would like to know why before I do something I cannot take back.”

Eilif scoffs and says to Toshio, “You see what she is and what she came from. These are not natural beasts. They have never been anything but a blight and a curse. They are evil to the core and bringers of chaos and ruin. Don’t let a pretty face or sentiment stay your hand. I will not let it stay mine.”

In response to Eilif’s scoff Jharad says, “Apparently power is not wisdom Eilief. Toshio believes her to have turned away from evil and I trust his view with this more than I do yours regardless of his sometimes questionable reasoning. Please stay your hand and let him approach the girl fist.”

Keng snarls, “Kill her or I will. The paladin has lost his mind and has become a danger to us all.”

“Wait!” shouts Zeyala. ”Spare Lisette, at least for now,” she pleads. “It was something Koya said during her reading. She thought a card was about you, Shalelu, but I think it was foretelling Lisette’s presence and perhaps this encounter with her parents. I believe our fate may be linked to hers and I think we should take her back to Koya. Surely you can hold until then.”

Toshio finds himself annoyed that everyone thinks he’s such a sucker for a pretty face – even when they don’t know him. But this is not the time for that, so he keeps silent about it. Aloud, he says, “This one, her name is Lisette, is not evil. I know this through Iomedae’s power. When we met she was tainted by evil, but no longer. She’s worked out of that and now Lisette seeks a better life than those you’ve just slain would have given her. She’s made great progress on that path. She can go further on it, if we help her surround herself with good, caring people.”

As he edges his horse past Shalelu and Eilif to get closer to Lisette, Toshio senses the presence of evil impulses on the verge of flickering into life once more like hidden embers beneath the ashes of a fire that appeared to be dead. Left alone they would have extinguished on their own, but the traumatic events of the evening have uncovered them so that they threaten to flare up once more. He realizes that he must find a way to extinguish them for good. Lisette’s attention is now upon him, but with apprehension and not the defiance directed at Eilif and Shalelu.

“Stand aside,” says Eilif to Toshio waving his spear as though to dismiss a recalcitrant schoolboy. “Even the orc savage denounces you. And I am hardly going to stay my hand because some Varisian fortune-teller, a priestess of a goddess of chaos and whimsy, may have seen some portent in the bottom of her teacup! I think not! Stand aside I say!”

Shalelu nudges her horse a few steps so that she can keep Lisette in a clear line of fire, with no danger of hitting Toshio. She does not loose her arrow, however, and her eyes are now on Toshio awaiting his response.

Toshio rides to position himself between Eilif and Lisette. “She’s done nothing wrong – none of us have seen her do anything worth condemning her for! She’s been abused and seen her parents killed. She’s had a hard, hard life and wants something better. As protectors of Good, we need to help her with her goal, not kill her!”

Toshio addresses this to everyone, but focuses mostly on Eilif. As he tries to keep Shalelu and Keng in sight, he feels quite outnumbered and fears for the outcome. He knows it is unlikely he can do this himself. “Iomedae, help them see, please! Help Lisette to a good life,” he prays aloud.

“Please, Keng,” says Zeyala. “You trust Shalelu. And Shalelu, I hope you put faith in Koya. I beg you stay your hand for now.”

Keng snorts, and then shrugs his shoulders. ”It ain’t for me to decide her fate. I am just a caravan guard. It’s up to Sandru. If pretty boy wants an evening toy to play with on the journey then her actions are on his head.”

Finally Shalelu speaks, “For my part I have pledged to fight evil and defend the people of this land – all the people of this land. That includes the Varisians and Shoanti savages who were here long before the Chelaxians. Also, you should know that we elves also revere Desna, the goddess of chaos and whimsy.” She then releases her arrow at Toshio, deliberately hitting him in the meaty part of his upper left shoulder.

Toshio is shocked! But he manages to hold in his cry of surprise. Face set grimly, he glares at Shalelu.

Lisette yelps in surprise and seems about to leap past Toshio to get at Shalelu.

Eiliff is speechless. He backs his horse away from Shalelu and seems about to cast another spell, but is not sure what or at who.

Zeyala shouts in outrage at Shalelu, “Yet you willingly attack a man who is truly good!? Your pledge is meaningless. If you intend to strike down Lisette, be done with it. I will not hinder you further. Toshio, how badly are you injured?” she asks.

Keng catches Jharad’s eye and raises his eyebrow in question.

Jharad barks a startled laugh and jumps down off of his horse, placing himself between Shalelu and Lisette. Holding up a hand to Lisette, motioning for her not to attack he says, “You see, look at her intentions. She is not bolting at Shalelu’s sudden attack on our paladin, or taking advantage of the confusion to flee. She is preparing to defend him. This is not from misplaced love or affection but true friendship. Lisette’s first reaction is to protect a friend at the cost of her own life. Is that a common act of an evil being?”

“Lisette,” Toshio calls over his shoulder, while still trying to keep the assailants in view, “Remember that there are those of us who care for you and want to help you. Now run! I’ll try to hold them off!” As he says this he charges Shalelu’s horse. It is his intent to disable the horse so she cannot pursue Lisette. Eilif will have to wait.

Before he reaches Shalelu, the horse disappears out from under her, dropping her in a heap. Toshio’s horse disappears as well, and he ends up falling and rolling towards the elf huntress. The others are also dropped, except for Jharad who had already dismounted, as all the horses vanish, though Eilif dismounted his own steed beforehand as it was he who dismissed the Horses of Erastil with a gesture.

Lisette, who was about to charge alongside Toshio despite his admonition, stumbles in mid-stride. Succumbing once more to the lack of moonlight she transforms once more into a naked tavern wench. Mercilessly exposed by the glare of Eilif’s spell of daylight shining from the point of his spear, she crouches down and covers herself with her hands. She gasps out, “I will not leave you, Sir Toshio.”

Eilif looks over the assembled group and with disgust dripping from his voice says, “You asked me, Shalelu, to come out here and rescue your friends. I will admit I have failed in my duty to ensure the extinction of the werewolves of Wolf’s Ear. How could I not come out and fulfill that duty? But we are not in Wolf’s Ear. And now I see that your friends wish to preserve the evil among them, and you yourself shoot one of the comrades you came out here to save.” Eilif turns to Toshio and points his spear at him, “You are naïve young paladin. This girl is a wild creature, who will revert to her instinctive ways and will turn on you as soon as you disappoint her or try to thwart her. Go your way, and do not return to Wolf’s Ear until you have purged yourselves of chaos and evil! Now I will leave you, all of you, to your folly!” Eilif calls once more upon Erastil, transforms into a hawk and flies away to the south, leaving them in the deep darkness of a moonless night.

Shalelu gazes at Eilif as he flies away. Then she looks down and mutters, “Damn, he took my quiver with him. Now all I have are his silver arrows.”

Still standing in front of Shalelu, Jharad invokes with the command word ‘Comrir’ and a rough blanket of warm fur appears and wraps itself around Lisette’s nakedness. Smiling warmly to those around him he says, “Well, I sure am glad he left. I never did like showoffs.”

Keng picks himself up and snarls, “Good thing he left before I could kick the snot out of him for calling me a savage. Who does he think he is anyways? And what a double speaker! He turns into a animal too! I fracking hate wizards.”

Laughing Jharad replies, “He is no wizard. That one serves Erastil of the hunt; a cleric tied in service to his deity much like our poor paladin here is.” With that he offers a hand to help Toshio stand up.

Toshio accepts the help, but once up he again moves to keep himself between Shalelu and Lisette, all too aware of Shalelu’s skill and suspecting she’s got more silver arrows.

“Keng, guide me to Toshio so I can tend to his wound,” says Zeyala.

Keng gently takes her arm at the elbow and says, “This way Zeyala,” as he walks towards Toshio, “but why you bother with his pansy-ass is beyond my ken.”

Toshio, understandably upset at the whole episode (with an arrow in his shoulder and battered by the fall when the horse disappeared), carefully cuts off his response to Keng before it can leave his mouth. Aside from an annoyed looked toward him (which is becoming the norm), none would know anything even might have been said.

“I bother because it’s my duty,” says Zeyala. She leans into Keng and giggles as she faintly whispers to him, “I’ll agree that he can be a bit of stick… sometimes I just wish he’d pull that wakizashi out of his ass.” She giggles quietly and Keng chuckles as well.

Zeyala places one hand on Toshio’s wound and with the other, takes hold of the arrow. She chants words of healing as she extracts the arrow.

His wound healed, Toshio asks everybody, but especially directs the question to Shalelu, “Now what? I think you all know where I stand in this matter.”

Shalelu bows to her knee with her right hand on her heart to Toshio in the manner of the Chelish people. “You have nothing more to fear from me, and in truth never did. I am willing to give this girl the benefit of the doubt if you are. I may have my differences with paladins of Chelish gods, but I respect that they are generally good judges of character. I pray that you may accept my sincere apology for striking you. I wished to test your resolve to protect the girl.” Shalelu looks up at Toshio with a serious and searching look.

Jharad quips, “He accepts your apology but it will cost you this arrow.” Smiling he stands back to compare it with his own, and to give them space to talk.

Toshio carefully sheaths Whispering Shrike. “I certainly did have something to fear as that arrow sped to my shoulder” Toshio counters. Still upset, he really doesn’t know what to do about being deliberately shot, apology or no. “I’d say we should have a chat about your methods of testing anyone’s resolve, but I’m at a loss for words just now so I’ll just accept your apology,” he says (not entirely convincingly). Without making anything more of it, he walks off to check on Lisette.

Once more I have to express surprise that much contrary to my expectations it ended up being Toshio who championed Lisette and Keng who wished to kill her.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

I had not thought that the PCs would do so well against the wolf pack. In fact I had Eiliff and Shalelu waiting in the wings (so to speak) to swoop in and save them once they really started getting in trouble but as it turned out I only needed to bring them in after the initial phase of the battle so that the PCs could hunt down the wolf pack.

The Watcher and the Hunter

The line, “That Toshio! He’s trying to save all the people of Golarion – one beautiful young girl at a time," was something I said OOC in regard to Toshio but I thought it should be included in the narrative and so I had Jethrik overheard Ameiko say it to Sandru. This also revealed once more that Ameiko and Sandru have history together though no one yet knows what it is about.

Spoiler:
As they ride off, leaving the gnome behind, coughing from the dust left in their wake, he overhears Ameiko ruefully saying, “That Toshio! He’s trying to save all the people of Golarion – one beautiful young girl at a time. He’s going to get himself killed.” Jethrik looks over to the fire ring and sees Sandru approach Ameiko and put a hand on her shoulder. They exchange a look filled with some shared sorrow and then part once more.

This following scene is really the climax of the whole Wolf's Ear drama. I had worried that Eilif and Shalelu would just wipe out the werewolves and wolves and leave the PC's feeling as though they were just observers and not the main characters but ultimately and ironically, Toshio has to take a stand agains the LG cleric of Erastil in order to protect Lisette and keep her from slipping back into evil. This also forces the other PC's to decided where they stand, which puts the dramatic resolution back on the PCs and not the uber-powerful (relatively) NPCs. Shalelu then resolves the stand-off in a very unexpected way that reveals her own differences from those who follow LG gods.

Spoiler:
Lisette wails when she sees her father struck down. She succeeds in willing the transformation just as he did and then barks at the wolf pack. They stop menacing her and as a pack run off into a copse of trees away from the riverbank.

Even as the riders led by Shalelu draw near, Lisette approaches first her father, who has reverted back to human form, and then her mother who was already in human form when Shalelu killed her. She sniffs at them howling mournfully and glares defiantly at the elf huntress with crimson eyes aglow with grief and rage.

Shalelu pulls back the arrow, but does not yet let it fly. Eilif reins in his horse at Shalelu’s side and says, “Well, what are you waiting for? Kill the beast.”

Shalelu looks over at Toshio and says, “Toshio says we should spare her. I would like to know why before I do something I cannot take back.”

Eilif scoffs and says to Toshio, “You see what she is and what she came from. These are not natural beasts. They have never been anything but a blight and a curse. They are evil to the core and bringers of chaos and ruin. Don’t let a pretty face or sentiment stay your hand. I will not let it stay mine.”

In response to Eilif’s scoff Jharad says, “Apparently power is not wisdom Eilief. Toshio believes her to have turned away from evil and I trust his view with this more than I do yours regardless of his sometimes questionable reasoning. Please stay your hand and let him approach the girl fist.”

Keng snarls, “Kill her or I will. The paladin has lost his mind and has become a danger to us all.”

“Wait!” shouts Zeyala. ”Spare Lisette, at least for now,” she pleads. “It was something Koya said during her reading. She thought a card was about you, Shalelu, but I think it was foretelling Lisette’s presence and perhaps this encounter with her parents. I believe our fate may be linked to hers and I think we should take her back to Koya. Surely you can hold until then.”

Toshio finds himself annoyed that everyone thinks he’s such a sucker for a pretty face – even when they don’t know him. But this is not the time for that, so he keeps silent about it. Aloud, he says, “This one, her name is Lisette, is not evil. I know this through Iomedae’s power. When we met she was tainted by evil, but no longer. She’s worked out of that and now Lisette seeks a better life than those you’ve just slain would have given her. She’s made great progress on that path. She can go further on it, if we help her surround herself with good, caring people.”

As he edges his horse past Shalelu and Eilif to get closer to Lisette, Toshio senses the presence of evil impulses on the verge of flickering into life once more like hidden embers beneath the ashes of a fire that appeared to be dead. Left alone they would have extinguished on their own, but the traumatic events of the evening have uncovered them so that they threaten to flare up once more. He realizes that he must find a way to extinguish them for good. Lisette’s attention is now upon him, but with apprehension and not the defiance directed at Eilif and Shalelu.

“Stand aside,” says Eilif to Toshio waving his spear as though to dismiss a recalcitrant schoolboy. “Even the orc savage denounces you. And I am hardly going to stay my hand because some Varisian fortune-teller, a priestess of a goddess of chaos and whimsy, may have seen some portent in the bottom of her teacup! I think not! Stand aside I say!”

Shalelu nudges her horse a few steps so that she can keep Lisette in a clear line of fire, with no danger of hitting Toshio. She does not loose her arrow, however, and her eyes are now on Toshio awaiting his response.

Toshio rides to position himself between Eilif and Lisette. “She’s done nothing wrong – none of us have seen her do anything worth condemning her for! She’s been abused and seen her parents killed. She’s had a hard, hard life and wants something better. As protectors of Good, we need to help her with her goal, not kill her!”

Toshio addresses this to everyone, but focuses mostly on Eilif. As he tries to keep Shalelu and Keng in sight, he feels quite outnumbered and fears for the outcome. He knows it is unlikely he can do this himself. “Iomedae, help them see, please! Help Lisette to a good life,” he prays aloud.

“Please, Keng,” says Zeyala. “You trust Shalelu. And Shalelu, I hope you put faith in Koya. I beg you stay your hand for now.”

Keng snorts, and then shrugs his shoulders. ”It ain’t for me to decide her fate. I am just a caravan guard. It’s up to Sandru. If pretty boy wants an evening toy to play with on the journey then her actions are on his head.”

Finally Shalelu speaks, “For my part I have pledged to fight evil and defend the people of this land – all the people of this land. That includes the Varisians and Shoanti savages who were here long before the Chelaxians. Also, you should know that we elves also revere Desna, the goddess of chaos and whimsy.” She then releases her arrow at Toshio, deliberately hitting him in the meaty part of his upper left shoulder.

Toshio is shocked! But he manages to hold in his cry of surprise. Face set grimly, he glares at Shalelu.

Lisette yelps in surprise and seems about to leap past Toshio to get at Shalelu.

Eiliff is speechless. He backs his horse away from Shalelu and seems about to cast another spell, but is not sure what or at who.

Zeyala shouts in outrage at Shalelu, “Yet you willingly attack a man who is truly good!? Your pledge is meaningless. If you intend to strike down Lisette, be done with it. I will not hinder you further. Toshio, how badly are you injured?” she asks.

Keng catches Jharad’s eye and raises his eyebrow in question.

Jharad barks a startled laugh and jumps down off of his horse, placing himself between Shalelu and Lisette. Holding up a hand to Lisette, motioning for her not to attack he says, “You see, look at her intentions. She is not bolting at Shalelu’s sudden attack on our paladin, or taking advantage of the confusion to flee. She is preparing to defend him. This is not from misplaced love or affection but true friendship. Lisette’s first reaction is to protect a friend at the cost of her own life. Is that a common act of an evil being?”

“Lisette,” Toshio calls over his shoulder, while still trying to keep the assailants in view, “Remember that there are those of us who care for you and want to help you. Now run! I’ll try to hold them off!” As he says this he charges Shalelu’s horse. It is his intent to disable the horse so she cannot pursue Lisette. Eilif will have to wait.

Before he reaches Shalelu, the horse disappears out from under her, dropping her in a heap. Toshio’s horse disappears as well, and he ends up falling and rolling towards the elf huntress. The others are also dropped, except for Jharad who had already dismounted, as all the horses vanish, though Eilif dismounted his own steed beforehand as it was he who dismissed the Horses of Erastil with a gesture.

Lisette, who was about to charge alongside Toshio despite his admonition, stumbles in mid-stride. Succumbing once more to the lack of moonlight she transforms once more into a naked tavern wench. Mercilessly exposed by the glare of Eilif’s spell of daylight shining from the point of his spear, she crouches down and covers herself with her hands. She gasps out, “I will not leave you, Sir Toshio.”

Eilif looks over the assembled group and with disgust dripping from his voice says, “You asked me, Shalelu, to come out here and rescue your friends. I will admit I have failed in my duty to ensure the extinction of the werewolves of Wolf’s Ear. How could I not come out and fulfill that duty? But we are not in Wolf’s Ear. And now I see that your friends wish to preserve the evil among them, and you yourself shoot one of the comrades you came out here to save.” Eilif turns to Toshio and points his spear at him, “You are naïve young paladin. This girl is a wild creature, who will revert to her instinctive ways and will turn on you as soon as you disappoint her or try to thwart her. Go your way, and do not return to Wolf’s Ear until you have purged yourselves of chaos and evil! Now I will leave you, all of you, to your folly!” Eilif calls once more upon Erastil, transforms into a hawk and flies away to the south, leaving them in the deep darkness of a moonless night.

Shalelu gazes at Eilif as he flies away. Then she looks down and mutters, “Damn, he took my quiver with him. Now all I have are his silver arrows.”

Still standing in front of Shalelu, Jharad invokes with the command word ‘Comrir’ and a rough blanket of warm fur appears and wraps itself around Lisette’s nakedness. Smiling warmly to those around him he says, “Well, I sure am glad he left. I never did like showoffs.”

Keng picks himself up and snarls, “Good thing he left before I could kick the snot out of him for calling me a savage. Who does he think he is anyways? And what a double speaker! He turns into a animal too! I fracking hate wizards.”

Laughing Jharad replies, “He is no wizard. That one serves Erastil of the hunt; a cleric tied in service to his deity much like our poor paladin here is.” With that he offers a hand to help Toshio stand up.

Toshio accepts the help, but once up he again moves to keep himself between Shalelu and Lisette, all too aware of Shalelu’s skill and suspecting she’s got more silver arrows.

“Keng, guide me to Toshio so I can tend to his wound,” says Zeyala.

Keng gently takes her arm at the elbow and says, “This way Zeyala,” as he walks towards Toshio, “but why you bother with his pansy-ass is beyond my ken.”

Toshio, understandably upset at the whole episode (with an arrow in his shoulder and battered by the fall when the horse disappeared), carefully cuts off his response to Keng before it can leave his mouth. Aside from an annoyed looked toward him (which is becoming the norm), none would know anything even might have been said.

“I bother because it’s my duty,” says Zeyala. She leans into Keng and giggles as she faintly whispers to him, “I’ll agree that he can be a bit of stick… sometimes I just wish he’d pull that wakizashi out of his ass.” She giggles quietly and Keng chuckles as well.

Zeyala places one hand on Toshio’s wound and with the other, takes hold of the arrow. She chants words of healing as she extracts the arrow.

His wound healed, Toshio asks everybody, but especially directs the question to Shalelu, “Now what? I think you all know where I stand in this matter.”

Shalelu bows to her knee with her right hand on her heart to Toshio in the manner of the Chelish people. “You have nothing more to fear from me, and in truth never did. I am willing to give this girl the benefit of the doubt if you are. I may have my differences with paladins of Chelish gods, but I respect that they are generally good judges of character. I pray that you may accept my sincere apology for striking you. I wished to test your resolve to protect the girl.” Shalelu looks up at Toshio with a serious and searching look.

Jharad quips, “He accepts your apology but it will cost you this arrow.” Smiling he stands back to compare it with his own, and to give them space to talk.

Toshio carefully sheaths Whispering Shrike. “I certainly did have something to fear as that arrow sped to my shoulder” Toshio counters. Still upset, he really doesn’t know what to do about being deliberately shot, apology or no. “I’d say we should have a chat about your methods of testing anyone’s resolve, but I’m at a loss for words just now so I’ll just accept your apology,” he says (not entirely convincingly). Without making anything more of it, he walks off to check on Lisette.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

And here the literal battle for Lisette's soul begins and once more the PC's find themselves up against an epic challenge. They also discover that the silver arrows they had bought in Galduria were not worth their weight in silver (as the werewolves have long since made sure only counterfeit silver weapons are sold in and around Wolf's Ear).

Wolf Pack

What kind of song would a bard sing to inspire courage during a fight with werewolves and their wolf pack? I figured “Cold is the Blade” by Jag Panzer would do the trick.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

But of course the party has indeed gotten in over their heads because the weather does not hold, and suddenly it matters very much if the full moon catches them out in the wilderness while Lisette is with them.

Flood Waters

Amazingly the paladin promises not to reveal that Lisette is indeed what the others fear as he has won her confidence and is making progress in her rehabilitation (for which I used the rules for redeeming evil from the Book of Exalted Deeds.

Spoiler:
With perhaps a fortnight, Toshio is more concerned about Lisette’s possible lycanthropy. Later that morning he broaches the subject with her, careful to stay away from the others’ hearing. While sitting together in one of the supply wagons he asks, “Lisette, Sandru says we may be a fortnight before we reach Roderick’s Cove. I need to ask you, is there any chance at all that a full moon may affect you?”

Lisette has come to trust Toshio, though she also tries to sit uncomfortably close to him, and gazes into his eyes with perhaps more adoration than he might wish as he tells her about the mercy of Iomedae and the path of virtue. Upon being asked this question, however, she looks away and her oft’ straying hands return to her lap, clenched together. “Milord, here are family secrets that once betrayed mean the death of the betrayer – and not a pretty death either. With what I am about to tell you I am putting my life in your hands. Please understand this.” She swallows, stares into the curtains of rain beyond which lie the forest before continuing. Gathering her courage once more, she looks to Toshio and says, “There are families still living in the Churlwood near Wolf’s Ear who continue to breed true as weres. I am from one of those families. I am, as your friends feared, a werewolf. But I can control it. It is not a curse with our kind. We are not forced to make the change. The full moon may rise, but I can keep myself from changing. I would not hurt any of you for my life. You are giving me my freedom.” She backs away, very anxious and agitated, “You’re not going to send me away now are you? Or kill me?” She looks to the hilt of Toshio’s katana.

“I’m not going to kill you for trusting me. But at least one of the others suspects what you’ve just told me. To allay their concerns, would you agree to being confined to a wagon during the full moon? It would help the others feel safer, especially because you would control yourself and not change. And I wouldn’t let anyone attack you while inside.”

Lisette’s face darkens. For a moment it looks as though she were going to bolt, but then she deflates. She looks down at the ground and mumbles, “I guess not.” She looks up again at Toshio and anxiously asks, “But do we even need to tell them? I think it would be better if only you know about my family and I.”

“For now I agree. Let their suspicions be only suspicions. I won’t lie about it if asked directly, but I won’t bring it up, either.”

“Thank you Sir Toshio.” Appearing much relieved, she embraces Toshio and attempts to kiss him.

Toshio turns his head to take the kiss on his cheek. “I’m no lord, or even a knight. I’m just trying to help.” Keeping from being entangled, he adds “Let’s get back before the others start making inappropriate jokes at our expense.”

As Lisette walks away, Toshio senses that the evil aura around her is in fact breaking apart and fading. He is greatly relieved to see this change.

But things get even more complicated when the caravan, stuck on a hillside during the flood and running out of provisions, discovers they are being stalked by a wolf pack as Lisette finds that her past is not so easy to leave behind.

Spoiler:
That night the sky is finally clear and a half-moon shines down upon the muddy flood waters surrounding the hill. To the south, the howling of starving wolves can be heard. Lisette tenses up when she hears this, and then hides herself away in one of the supply wagons.

Sandru watches Lisette go and says to the others, “Is she afraid of wolves generally, or afraid of those wolves in particular?”

“Does it matter, Sandru?” asks Zeyala. ”My answer is, ‘Yes’ to both.”

On Toilday, the Lampblack is once more peacefully flowing within its usual course, and by noon the roadway, or what is left of it, is dry enough to attempt to continue on, though it is covered in fallen trees, dead branches, rocks, and other debris. Towards the late afternoon, members of the wolf pack can be seen trailing them. They keep their distance and whenever they can they hide among the trees, rocks, and underbrush. It is difficult to count them, but it appears there may be up to a dozen of them. The only other animal life they see is a hawk that flies overheard, circles around them several times, and then flies back towards the direction of Wolf’s Ear.

Keng mutters to Jharad, “Those wolves are still ghosting us. I think they want one of their own back.”


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

But of course I couldn't let them get away with having no trouble at all in Wolf's Ear and also to get them worrying that maybe there are still werewolves around:

Lisette

The thing is that the whole "Lisette" sub-plot was directed at Keng the half-orc barbarian. I figured that Toshio had been given the central mission back in Magnimar, Jharad the elf magus had his solo adventure when captured by the Licktoads and so I would now focus on Keng (and in the future Jethrik and Zeyala). Keng was supposed to get in a brawl with the trappers and thus win Lisette's sympathy and/or admiration. She was to see him as her ticket out of town and he in turn was supposed to be infatuated with this wild and beautiful young woman. However the half-orc barbarian who had previously wandered Magnimar just to get in a brawl literally side-steps this whole sub-plot by walking away rather than fighting. PCs - so unpredictable!

Spoiler:
As Keng exits the tavern he sees Jharad heading for the bridge. In the dim light of the stars it would be next to impossible to make out the elf, but Keng’s orcish heritage enables him to see for a short distance even in the pitch black of night. He also sees four shaggy young trappers in buckskins round the corner of the tavern. They are chatting and laughing and not really paying attention to Keng. In fact the leader shoves his way past Keng as he enters the tavern growling, “Don’t block the door ya moron.” The others snicker as they brush past Keng.

Keng snarls at the backs of the four trappers and starts to turn towards them, but he stops before he acts, thinking there would be no sport in clipping their ears. He is far more interested in what has the elf curious and he thinks the colored fish might be interesting. He shrugs his great plate armor with a slight shoulder roll and heads off towards Jharad who is standing on the bridge looking out over Lake Ember.

Back at the encampment Zeyala speaks to Koya and I indulge once more in using the Harrow cards to foreshadow events and also as a chance to provide Shalelu's backstory and why she is not yet with them:

Spoiler:
Zeyala glances about in the dimming light. “Day or night matters not. My limited vision senses nothing in the darkness and it seems quiet now. Koya, perhaps there is time to do a reading,” suggests Zeyala.

“Yes, I think it may be. I was just thinking of the reading I did, or rather that came to me, back at the Rusty Dragon in Sandpoint. There were cards for each of us, and yet one of them, the Survivor who I felt must be Shalelu, is not yet among us. I wonder why not. I wonder where she could be. Remember that the survivor is one who has lost many of those close to her but is reborn by discovering someone or something thought lost. Perhaps you do not know about this, but Shalelu’s mother died in the elven village of Crying Leaf in the Mierani Forest when a dragon attacked it. She had a human stepfather named Jakardros at the time. He killed the dragon but was so saddened by his wife’s murder that he left the village forever. A few years ago, just before the stone giants raided Sandpoint, Shalelu found out that in the decades since she had last seen him Jakardros had joined the Order of the Black Arrows, rangers who had been charged by the city of Magnimar to garrison Fort Rannick. Fort Rannick was established to protect the town of Turtleback Ferry from the ogres of Hook Mountain. Unfortunately the ogres had taken the fort and massacred the rangers so Shalelu was asked by the Lord-Mayor of Magnimar to lead an expedition to discover what happened to them. Shalelu found that Jakardros had survived the attack, though she had to rescue him from ogrekin. Together they took back the fort, and both of them later helped defend Sandpoint from the stone giants. I suppose that her reconciliation with Jakardros is the rebirth that the card indicates. She has, in a sense, had her family restored to her. She has probably been spending time at Fort Rannick that is due east of here. Maybe we will be meeting her soon if she is coming from that way.” Koya begins laying down the Harrow cards in a spread.

“This column of three on the left indicates what has gone before. See, here the Publican is on top, but now I don’t think it indicates me but rather all of us. Comradeship and fellowship have been established and that is at work in the present. Below that is the Big Sky, which here I believe indicates throwing off old ruts and taking up the freedom of the open road. Desna would approve I think. Below that is the Tangled Briar. Hmm… That came up before and I believe it is something we must face in the future. It indicated some awful tragedy in the past and here it is setting things in motion. I suspect that when we meet it again we will know what that event was. Now, let’s see what is going on now, the middle column will tell us. Here at the top is the Joke. Apparently Jethrik’s good humor is very important at this particular moment for I believe it is the next card down that shows who he has encountered, the Mountain Man. Below that, is the Beating which shows what will happen if he fails or does not rise to the occasion.” Koya looks to the direction of the tavern with concern, and then looks back to the cards. “Let’s see what lies ahead in our immediate future. Ah, here at the top is the Survivor. I think Shalelu may appear very soon. Below that is the Marriage. That’s curious. It’s a meeting or merger between people or forces that could be ruinous or advantageous, but this position indicates it could go either way. Below that are the Crows, a gang of evildoers. That card came up back in Sandpoint, the first of six of which the Tangled Briar was the fourth. I think we may meet up with this gang very soon. We must be careful.”

In the tavern though I am confounded once again because while I expected it would be Jethrik who would make a joke or otherwise keep a fight from breaking out it was Toshio who actually stepped up to the task of deescalation:

Spoiler:
While Toshio and Jethrik are speaking about this, Lisette has gone over to the trapper’s table with a handful of mugs and a pitcher of ale. As she sets these down, Vioric reaches out and grabs her around the waist. He pulls her down into a tight embrace and kisses her hard on the lips as his friends laugh and clap. As he does this he glares over Lisette’s shoulder at Toshio and Jethrik as if to say, ‘See she is mine!’ Lisette squirms against him and finally breaks his hold and pushes him back, almost causing him to fall over in his chair.

“I told you I’m at work Vioric!” she hisses venomously.

“Hey you, enough of that!” shouts Kronug. “Keep your hands to yourself Vioric. Maul your betrothed somewhere else. This isn’t a bawdy house but a respectable tavern.”

Vioric waves his hand dismissively at Kronug. “I’m just giving my girl a little kiss in greeting. Don’t be such a prude.”

“I’m not yours yet,” growls Lisette as she clenches her hands into fists at her sides in anger, “and maybe I never will be unless you give me some respect.”

Vioric’s friends raise their eyebrow and whistle at this. Realizing he’s been challenged, Vioric rises from his seat and snarls, “I’ll give you something all right. I saw you making eyes at this outlander and acting the tavern wench. Then you don’t even want to give me, your betrothed, a little kiss? Maybe I need to teach you a little respect?”

Vioric and Lisette commence staring each other down, and is clear that they are both on the verge of saying or doing something regretful. Kronug is clearly concerned and comes around from behind the bar but two of Vioric’s cronies get up from their seats and bar his way to keep him from interfering. As Kronug and the two trappers are confronting each other right behind her, Ameiko quickly gets up and backs off. She has seen these kinds of scenes too many times back at the Rusty Dragon and doesn’t want to be sitting right in the middle of a brawl. The three teamsters also get up from their seats, ready to jump in to protect Ameiko or perhaps to defend Lisette or even Kronug. Jethrik hops off his chair and moves to Ameiko’s side in case things get out of hand.

Speaking to the trappers blocking Kronug, Toshio says, “It’s never a good idea to get on the bad side of the only tavern owner in town. It doesn’t look like your friend needs any help with Lisette, and I’m sure they’ll work it out peacefully.”

Kronug grins, “He’s got a good point there.” The two trappers duck their heads and back off muttering apologies. Kronug walks past them and grabs Lisette by the arm even as she cast her eyes down, unable to hold Vioric’s stare. Kronug pulls her away saying, “Get upstairs girl. We’ll send supper up to you. And you, Vioric, I’ve had enough of your foolishness. When you’re properly married you can run your home the way you like, but this is my business and my home and if you want to eat and drink here you’ll follow my rules. Do you understand?”

Vioric looks away and mutters, “Sorry Kronug. Won’t happen again.” He sits back down and his three friends also take their seats.

“Very good then. Enjoy your ale.” Kronug returns to the bar. Lisette heads upstairs. Aula, who had remained by the hearth stirring the stew, visibly relaxes.

Toshio raises his mug to the trappers, pleased that they made a good choice. He finishes his ale and stays just a bit longer

Jethrik raises his mug to Toshio. “Well done sir knight.” He toasts discretely.

Seeing that there was no brawl I decided to have Lisette seek out those who were skinny dipping to see if she could induce them to take her with them out of town and that of course meant that I could get Ameiko to make things even more awkward by having her join them all for a swim.

Lisette laughs. “You all really are silly. There are no more werewolves or any other type of shape-shifters in Wolf’s Ear. The followers of Old Deadeye killed or drove them out long ago.” She shrugs. “Besides, it’s a new moon.” She swims up closer to Toshio. “You really have nothing to fear from me.”

Spoiler:
Toshio swims casually toward the dock, putting himself between it and Lisette. “Jharad, there may be more here than meets the eye.” The others look to Toshio and realize that the last time there was “more to meet the eye” concerning a girl – the girl in question was a blood-sucking fiend.

Suddenly they all hear the sound of a throat being cleared. It is Ameiko, politely letting everyone know of her approach as she walks onto the pier. She stands next to Keng and looks down at Toshio, Lisette, Jethrik, and Jharad skinny dipping in the illuminated waters. “Why is it that you guys always seem to find yourselves in the company of scantily clad young girls in questionable circumstances?”

“Because the odds favor it?” Jethrik quips. “Although this circumstance is even more frustrating than most. She tantalized us with a little mystery and now she is dancing around the answer. It really is most unfair!” The gnome pouts. “I’m not sure I like our little playmate anymore. And here I was going to argue her side with you and Sandru and she won’t be nice to me.”

“Us who? We are just catching a nice swim with Toshio and his new girlfriend,” Jharad replies with a deep grin to Jethrik.

“Ah…” Toshio says lamely, then remains quiet. He tries to swim somewhere out of sight from Ameiko, but stops when he realizes how silly he’s being. “Um, hi Ameiko. Care for a dip?” He cringes inwardly following his weak answer and really tries to keep quiet this time.

“Care to join us?” Jharad asks Ameiko.

“Yes, I would,” says Ameiko. She quickly starts throwing off her clothes in full view of the others without a hint of self-consciousness.

Keng finds all this frivolity shameful given they could be attacked at anytime and he continues to maintain his vigil on the pier.

“Oh!” says Lisette. She’s not Toshio’s girlfriend is she?” She asks Jharad and Jethrik. Her eyes narrow at the woman she now perceives to be her rival.

“Ha!” Jethrik snorts trying to hide a bit of real annoyance “He wouldn’t know how to love a woman like her.”

Ameiko pauses in her strip down and arches her eyebrow at Jethrik, as if to say, ‘That was a rather bold statement to make.’

“What do you know? Promiscuity isn’t the same thing as love,” quips Toshio.

Jethrik laughs.

Trouble does ensue when Lisette's fiancee shows up but the end result much contrary to my expectations is that Toshio decides Lisette is redeemable and convinces Sandru to take her along. I had expected that it would be Keng who argued for it and Toshio who would be dead set against it. I let Sandru express my surprise at this ironic situation:

Spoiler:
Once inside the wagon, Toshio says, ”Is there room in the caravan for one more? Lisette would like to travel with us, and I think it will be good if she does.” He goes on to relay his concerns for her if she stays, his concerns about her taint (of evil), and why he thinks it will be good if she comes along. “She says she can work and make herself useful. If it’s a matter of her wages, I’ll pay them. This may really help her better her life.”

“Whoa! Bring Lisette with us?!” Sandru can’t help but smirk at this. “Let me see if I have this right. You, a paladin of Iomedae, are saying that we should bring this village girl with us, effectively helping her to ‘run off and join the circus’ as it were. In addition, this village girl is actually a tavern wench of very loose morals who you have just stated is tainted with evil and who Keng, at least, believes will turn into a ravenous beast on the nights of the full moon. But you think it would be a good idea to bring her along. Do I have that right?”

“In a nutshell, yes…although I didn’t know that Keng suspects her of being a shapeshifter.” Toshio rubs his chin in thought. He continues, almost to himself, as if this only added a minor consideration, “Hmmm… We’ll have to talk to her about that, and take steps during the full moon – just in case.” Looking up at Sandru again, he says “But yes, that’s about the size of it. What do you think?”

Sandru sighs. “I think it’s a bad idea, but I do have a soft spot for strays myself. Anyway, its only four days up to Roderic’s Cove if the good weather holds. Plenty of time to get there before the next full moon. Once we are there, I think I have some contacts who might be able to find her a respectable job. You are responsible for her though. If she transforms before then and eats one or more of us, it will come out of your share. So go ahead and tell her to pack her things and be ready to leave in the morning.”


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Then they come to...

Wolf's Ear

I started thinking about Wolf's Ear and how others mentioned it would be a great place to have a werewolf encounter but then I thought about how many times Sandru and his caravan have had to come through Wolf's Ear and not just him but other caravans and that if werewolf encounters were at all common there they would hardly keep going there and Magnimar would send troops to clean the place out (again). So I thought some more and realized that the whole werewolf thing would be in the past and that Wolf's Ear would probably trade on its reputation as follows in this excerpt of Sandru's talk to the others about what to expect there:

Spoiler:
Anyway, there isn’t much more to the town than its one tavern, one stable, one general store, and that shrine of Erastil. It’s a pretty quiet place and due to the efforts of Eilif there’s been no sign of werewolves or anything else like that in all the time I’ve been traveling this route. They’re either truly gone or they known better than to show themselves. Still, the town does trade upon its reputation. They still sell silver arrows and daggers to travelers, amulets of Erastil for protection from were-beasts, and also wolf pelts, wolf-eared cloaks, werewolf dolls, werewolf masks and claws, and even tunics with wolf emblems or the symbol of Erastil embroidered upon them. It’s a little strange but it does bring in the pilgrims of Erastil and the curious from all over Varisia. They’re very proud of their history and its certain they’re making a profit off it. So that’s what you can expect in Wolf’s Ear.

And much to my surprise, the PC's want to go skinny dipping at night in the once werewolf infested town:

Spoiler:
“Sandru, is it safe to swim in the lake?” Toshio asks. “I’m thinking of taking a walk and may end up with a swim if there are no beasties to worry about.”

“Sure its safe and warm too. Hot springs feed the lake and they keep it pretty warm year round. That’s why it steams at night. In fact, I might join you for a swim. You should see it up close at night though. There are schools of little salamander like things called charigs that glow in depths. They swim about at night in large schools and some sages say the patterns they make are expressions of great secrets.” He chuckles. “Probably things man was not meant to know. But anyway, the charigs are harmless and it’s a treat to see them.”

The description of the nighttime swim sounds really tempting to Jethrik! He eagerly takes up the idea, begging Amekio to come and play for everyone. “And I will recite something appropriate while you take breaks!” He breathlessly offers.

Ameiko laughs. “Wait a minute, you want me to be stuck playing my samisen while you all get to swim. Oh no, I will be swimming too.”

Also the paladin Toshio (with my input as GM) gives some thought to love and marriage and the restrictive life of a paladin:

Spoiler:
This line of thinking brings him back to Ameiko – seldom far from his mind in any case. He briefly glances over at the other table where she is eating and talking quietly with the Varisian teamsters. She’s a topic he both loves and hates to contemplate. Given his commitment to the ideals of his order, he’s not sure a romantic relationship with anyone will be okay, no matter how committed. After all, in the Acts of Iomedae, it is explained that as a mortal paladin, Iomedae was too committed to leading the Knights of Ozem in their crusade against the lich king known as the Whispering Tyrant to marry or allow anyone to court her. The paladins of Iomedae likewise refrain from marriage until it is time for them to retire (should they live so long). They are not forbidden to marry, but marriage and especially having children are certainly discouraged, for how can one go on crusade and raise a family? And of course the forces of evil would be more than happy to use loved ones against a paladin. So it is viewed as exemplary and wise to follow Iomedae’s example. So where does that leave him? Celibate and frustrated, but in a good position to be a superb servant and friend? Not sure he wants to give up on his romantic dreams, he lets go of the topic for now and turns his attention back to the conversations taking place around him.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

And finally they get on the road and a good time is had in

Galduria


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

In this chapter the Jade Regent AP plot resumes:

Oathday

I love the paladin's internal comment re his three Chaotic companions here:

Spoiler:
Back in the common room, Jharad nonchalantly hands a leather tied scroll to Koya. “I thought of you while we were in the city,” he says with a mischievousness grin. “I know you are fond of maps; this one depicts our exploits in Magnimar. I hope you enjoy it.”

Although it depicts the streets and buildings they visited in Magnimar, it is less a map and more an artful caricature with small footprints showing their path from inn to bar to brothel with plentiful notations describing their colorful events.

“Oh how thoughtful of you. Thank you Jharad. I may even be able to forgive the many years you were away and didn’t write.” She grins and kisses him on the cheek, though she has to stand up from her chair to do so. She sits again and peruses the map. “Tsk, tsk. I see you’ve all been very naughty in the big city.”

Jharad says with a deadpan tone, “Keng started it all,” and takes a drink of ale.

Keng snorts.

Jethrik looks hurt. “I helped!” he whines and stifles a smirk.

Toshio says nothing in reply to their words, but tries to conceal his amazement – 'They’re actually proud that they started trouble and are trying to get credit for it!'

Then there is the drinking contest between the paladin and the half-orc barbarian egged on by the gnome bard and adjudicated using another system of house rule for drinking:

Spoiler:
Tohsio… looks over at Kang and thinks, He’s still alive – awake. So he lifts another shot and tosses it back, daring Keng to match him.

Bleary eyed and drooling Keng takes another shot slams the glass down on the table breaking it and cutting his hand, but he feels nothing, he slurs out, “Thas all yoof got?”

Another round follows this one. At that point, after 14 shots each, both Toshio and Keng fall off their chairs, landing on the floor heavily whereupon they both commence to snore noisily. Ameiko rolls her eyes and asks Sandru to help Jorgi carry them to their rooms.

Jethrik looks over the rim of the table first at one heap of drunkard and then at the other. He picks up his shot glass and the bottle. After finding a comfortable spot by the fire and lighting his pipe he pours himself a shot. “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” And with that he savors the remainder of the bottle in slow sips.

Keng makes his saves and so suffers no effects the next day, the paladin however learns that his goddess did not approve (but this time he retains his power):

Spoiler:
The next day finds Keng whistling a jaunty tune as he comes down into the common room for breakfast. Toshio, meanwhile, has to duck out the back door as he awakens to find himself violently ill. Throughout the morning he also notices that his armaments seem oddly tarnished – a sign that he has incurred the displeasure of Iomedae, for her servants must be ever ready to battle the forces of evil and not be passed out in their cups or suffering from hangovers.

The worst of Toshio’s hangover fortunately wears off by around noon, and he is able to seek out Sheriff Belor Hemlock so that he can request another leave of absence. Sheriff Hemlock is sorry to see Toshio go. He wishes him luck and warns him, with a chuckle, against engaging in any more drinking contests with the likes of Keng.

In this chapter a contact is made and signed stipulating shares and suchlike modeled on pirate contracts and the one used in the Hackmaster game:

Spoiler:
When Toshio returns to the inn, he finds that Sandru has brought back Sir Jasper Korvaski and that they have written up the contract and are ready to gather the member’s of Ameiko’s expedition to Brinewall together in the backroom of the inn to put their marks on the document and give their oaths.

Once everyone is gathered, Sir Korvaski presents them all with the contract for the expedition. He reads this aloud and passes it around to be signed (or marked as the case may be). He then leads them all in the swearing of a sacred oath in the name of Abadar, Master of the First Vault, who oversees such contracts. The contract stipulates:

Each investor will receive one share for each 100 golden sail or equivalent in value in goods, equipment, or livestock invested in this expedition.
Ameiko has invested 2,000 gold people and so shall receive 20 shares.
Sandru contributes his covered wagon and supply wagon that are together worth 800 gold so shall receive 8 shares.
Koya contributes her wagon so she receives 5 shares.
Jethrik receives 2 shares for his contribution of 200 sails.
Toshio receives 2 shares for his contribution of 200 sails.
Zeyala receives 3 shares for her contribution of 300 sails.
Keng receives 5 shares for his contribution of 500 sails.
Jharad receives 5 shares for his contribution of 500 sails
Ameiko, as the leader of this expedition, will receive an additional 1.5 shares.
All others who are involved in the search for and recovery of treasure will receive an additional share in anything recovered.
Another share will be given to anyone wounded, or two shares to anyone who loses a limb or who is blinded.
The mapper will get an additional one and a quarter share.
An additional half share will go to those who find hidden treasure or who disarm one or more traps.
Five shares will go to a general treasury for the caravan as an emergency fund.
Anyone who attacks a fellow member of the caravan intentionally and while in their right minds will be banished from the group and forfeit all shares.
Anyone who steals from another member of the caravan must make restitution and will be banished.
Anyone who shirks a task shall be fined one share.
Each member of the caravan will get one day off per week, unless they are ill or wounded and need to recuperate.
Anyone found hoarding food or drink shall be fined one share.
Everyone must agree to perform their allotted tasks. Most importantly, every member of the expedition will swear in the name of Abadar to obey the party leader, Ameiko, and not to knowingly or intentionally bring harm to the party either directly or indirectly.
Toshio steps up to be the first to sign his name (in Tien) and take the oath. Not expecting anyone to back out, he still watches as everyone signs and swears.

Jharad shakes his head and smirks at the uselessness of such a thing as written contracts but signs it anyway.

Keng also signs it.

Jethrik signs his name with a large and flourished signature.

Zeyala, Koya, Sandru, and Ameiko all follow with their own signatures.

Once the signing and swearing of oaths is done, Sir Korvaski informs them that before they leave he will be happy, for a small fee, to help them write up their wills, or to draft a liability waiver or any other business papers or agreements they feel might need to be made. As he is speaking, the barmaid Mirelinda has been filling everyone’s goblets with Corentyn wine, a sweet yet tart wine favored by Chelaxian nobles and those aspiring to such elegance in the city states of Varisia.

Jharad laughs out loud and says, “Hey Keng, if you die I get your stuff. If I die you can have mine. There done, that was easy!”

Kengs growls his acceptance.

“Thank you Sir Korvaski,” says Ameiko, “but I think that will do for now. Of course, if any of you feel the need to write up your wills please feel free to do so. For now, I would like to propose a toast.” She lifts her goblet. “To new and old companions, the successful retrieval of my family’s legacy, and the recovery of whatever treasures have lain lost and forgotten in Brinewall.”


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The denouement of the Magnimar scenario:

Silver Fangs

In the following section the Hellknight invites the PCs for a drink and lets his opinions be known about law and chaos, civilization and barbarism. I had to find a way to make sure that his outlook would make sense - at least to some. Jethrik, really, has the final word on that:

Spoiler:
As they are walking out Toshio pauses to say, “On second thought, perhaps I should join you somewhat later. I should see Iolana to safer lodgings first.” To the Hellknight he says, “She won’t leave town, my lord, as you’ve directed.”

Caelinus asks, “Where are these safe lodgings?”

Although he’s not eager to divulge his connection with the Temple of Iomedae (his instructions were to avoid doing so), Toshio feels that evasion would be inappropriate. “Her friend is lodged at the Temple of Iomedae. I expect that Iolana will stay with her there.”

“The Haven? Huh. I should have known you were from there. Make sure she stays there in case the magistrates have any further questions.” Caelinus starts to turn away from Toshio and Iolana but then turns back again to say, “The followers of Iomedae strike me as idealists who shrink from doing what must be done, but I will allow that you are brave, loyal, trustworthy, and honorable. I salute you.” He in fact does salute, right fist over heart, and then turns back with the others towards the tavern.

Toshio doesn’t argue, but graciously accepts the complimentary portions of the Hellknight’s statement. “Thank you, sir,” he says and returns the salute with his own.

Keng catches Jharad’s eye and rolls his eyes.

Jethrik leans over to Jharad and sniffles. “This is so sweet,” he whispers.

Zeyala is momentarily lost in thought, but a smile quickly breaks across her face as she exits with the others.

As the others leave, Toshio turns to Iolana. “It’s been a busy night, hasn’t it? I think you won’t need to worry about buying your freedom now. Still, you’ll be safer in the Haven. If you will gather your things I’ll escort you there. Besides,” he adds with a wry smile, “I think it’s the only place the Hellknight has authorized for you.”

Toshio considers Caelinus’ words as he waits for Iolana. Idealists? Certainly. And what could be wrong with that? Many of his words were quite complimentary. But shrinking from what must be done? Toshio can only wonder what Caelinus had witnessed to give him that unfortunate impression. He notes that he’ll have to learn more about the Hellknights’ order, but there seems to be no chance he’ll be able to return swiftly enough to join the others tonight.

When Iolana is ready, he offers his arm, saying, “Shall we?” and they set off for the Haven.

In the tavern, Caelinus buys a round for Keng, Jharad, Jethrik, Zeyala, and Ealisaid. In response to Keng’s query he explains that the Hellknights are not a single order of knights but an umbrella term for several orders that were founded in the neighboring Chelaxian Empire.

Jharad nods his thanks when offered a drink, and then sits back and enjoys the conversation between Keng and Caelinus.

“We were founded to establish law and order. We provide a bulwark against the forces of chaos and barbarism that surround Cheliax and the islands of civilization established outside its borders such as Korvosa and here in Magnimar. We are called the Hellknights because we take as our model the iron discipline of the legions of the Nine Hells. Those legions accept no weakness or excuses and the punishments they bring to law-breakers and the unrighteous are dire indeed. Each Hellknight, in fact, must prove himself in combat against a devil summoned forth from those very legions for the very purpose of testing his mettle and worthiness to be numbered among us. Only a select few are able to bear the discipline, responsibility, and strength-of-arms that is demanded of the Hellknights.”

“Proof in combat! I like that,” Keng says as he swallows a drought of ale and wipes his chin. ”That is my kind of order! But I must ask, why do you call me a force of chaos?”

“Because he’s met you.” Jethrik smirks.

Caelinus ignored Jethrik’s comment and says to Keng, “I can sense it in you. It is common amongst the Shoanti and the orcs as well, and I can see you are of both. Among them there is no proper hierarchy or rule of law, only primitive traditions and the whims of the chieftains and shamans who do as they please until someone stronger comes along. Don’t you follow only your own interests with no greater loyalties than to your own will?” He shakes his head. “Perhaps I should not blame you, as you probably have not known anything else until now. Am I right in guessing you have just come down into civilized lands? There is much you may learn here that will be of great benefit to you. I hope you have the patience and determination to do so. You may find that you will become greater when you become part of something greater.”

Keng starts to anger and begins to push his chair back, then thinks twice looking at the fully armored Hellknight. He sits back down and takes another pull of ale. He then says, “Yes, I have just come down from the from the Cinderlands, but I am no bumpkin. I follow my heart and life, because that is what’s true. Laws are things made by man and as such are flawed. Even the gods are fickle.”

“Well, certainly goddesses like Calistria are fickle. There are more reliable gods, however – like Abadar, Master of the First Vault. Now there is a god who represents progress, hard work, and the blessings that come from it.”

“All gods serve their own interests and it rarely matches ours,” Keng retorts.

“That is just it,” Caelinus replies, “Our own interests are often selfish and shortsighted. If we align ourselves with the gods of Law their interests and ours will coincide. Then we will be on the side of gods who can be relied on. But enough of such talk, I can tell it does not sit well with you. I offered to buy you all a drink to show my gratitude for your assistance and not to convert you. However you may feel about it, on this day you have served the city of Magnimar well. The gods of Law are sure to be pleased that the forces of Chaos have been quelled once more.”

Ealisaid breaks in to say, “Certainly the Pharasma will be pleased, for she sees the undead as an abomination against the natural order. I too thank all of you for ridding this world of that vampire and the madam who harbored it and even went so far as to create mindless undead to fight for her.”

Jethrik lift his mug, “Here’s to keeping whorehouses safe for all!”


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

And the climax of the Magnimar scenario:

Agents of Chaos

I find it amusing that the three Chaotics (the half-orc barbarian, elf magus, and gnome bard) all end up assisting Lawful Evil Hellknights to take down a Chaotic priestess of Calistria.

Also, note that once again the gnome takes down a foe.

Also, I wish Paths of Prestige had been available so I could have portrayed the Hellknight Signifer more accurately.


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In this chapter the paladin abandons his friends to an evil cleric of Calistria, or is he just allowing them to distract her while he fulfills her primary mission to rescue Twilight Blossom? Depends on which PC you ask.

Rescuing Twilight Blossom


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Narcizia

And in the above chapter I have to congratulate my group for facing down and driving off a threat way above their level and doing so unarmored and armed only with daggers. They also succeeded in preventing a murderous riot.


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And the PCs (or some of them anyway) finally get the brawl they were looking for:

Brawl in the Brothel


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And in this chapter the plot really gets going:

The Enchanted Hellknight

I have to admit to being a bit influenced here by Commedia dell'arte insofar as I was going for zany and farcical but on the other hand there are some serious things going on as well and a truly dire threat (way above the CR of the group even if they were fully armed and armored).

Also glad to have gotten a chance to fit in a little foreshadowing of things further on in the Jade Regent AP in regard to the Dragon Empires and the Land of the Linnorn Kings.


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And here all the players are gathered together in one place (more or less) and so everything is set for hilarity to ensue!

Into the Blissful Garden


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How hard can it be to deliberately start a barroom brawl? Not so easy when a Hellknight shows up:

Looking for a Fight

I couldn't resist portraying the Hellknight as a moustache twirling villain (esp. since he is not the main villain of the scenario but an implicit threat and the dark side of law and order):

Then the double doors of the tavern swing open and a tall dark haired man walks in. He is dressed from head to toe in black leather garments. His boots are so shiny they actually reflect the tavern’s torchlights like small mirrors. A small insignia of thick nails forming a sunburst can be seen on his black felt cap. He shrugs his black cloak back over his shoulders to reveal a wickedly long dagger at his side. With steely gray eyes he surveys the scene as he twirls his black handlebar moustache. “Is there a problem here?” he asks quietly.

And at the end these three are also on their way to the Blissful Garden.


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In this chapter Zeyala (who isn't about to join the debauch of her more Chaotic companions) visits a shrine of Pharasma and I explore a bit what a religion devoted to a goddess of birth and death would be like (as in Buddhism "birth and death" are the problem and not something to devote oneself to). Pharasma is also interesting in that she is a goddess of prophecy in an age where prophecy supposedly no longer works. Also, like others here perhaps, I can't help thinking of her as a more solemn version of Neil Gaiman's character.

Zeyala is Invited to Tea

And of course this chapter sets Zeyala on her way to the Blissful Garden and the murder mystery surrounding it that Toshio has been sent on.


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And in this chapter the paladin's superior sends him on an undercover mission into a brothel managed by a priestess of Calistria:

[Toshio Sent on a Mission of Mercy

In the following part of the chapter I provide an in-game explanation for why clerics can be one alignment step away from their patron deities but paladins have to be Lawful Good, an an explanation as to the ultimate source of paladinhood beyond Iomedae inspired in part by the Apostle Paul's preaching to the Athenians about an unknown god and the Buddhist view that the gods are themselves upholders of the Dharma and not in themselves ultimate.

Spoiler:
Toshio smiles in return, happy to see her despite the reason for his visit. “Chaplain, thank you for seeing me. It’s good to be here, but I wish I were here only for the celebrations.” His smile fades as he describes the situation. “I am indeed troubled. Not long ago, I used abusive words when one of my companions acted foolishly. Injured and angry, my tongue lashed out, speaking a slur against his race. I knew my error immediately, and a black cloud has come between Iomedae and myself. I have come to ask for your guidance in atoning for my mistake. I have apologized to Keng – he’s the one I insulted – but the cloud remains. What can I do?”

Chaplain Tira nods in understanding. “The sins of bodily action are obvious and fairly easy to curb. The sins of the mouth are much harder to catch. Sins of the mind and heart are the most subtle and insidious. Any of them, however, will block the light that we are given to share with the world. Toshio, have you ever wondered why paladins are held to a stricter standard than clerics? Have you ever wondered about the source of our power? If our goddess Iomedae set the standard, then whose standard did she follow before she ascended?”

“I hadn’t realized paladins are held to a higher standard than clerics. It doesn’t make sense to me. Clerics wield such power through their divine spells. Paladins have so little power by comparison. Just strength of arms.” Toshio finds he isn’t able to puzzle out an answer to this question.

Tira then asks, “Consider this as well: from whom did Iomedae get her power? It could not have been Aroden, for he was not an especially benevolent or kindly god. What do you think of this?”

Toshio ponders this for a moment. “If Iomedae didn’t get her power from Aroden, then she didn’t get it from any god. Could her power be from Good itself? Or Law? If that is the case, should those be our focus, rather than Iomedae herself? That would make sense, at least to my mind. But it also means our example is greater even than Iomedae – and our required path even narrower and harder to follow.” He looks to the Chaplain, hoping for confirmation of these concepts, or at least some additional guidance if his ideas are going in the wrong direction.

Chaplain Tira nods, “Yes, you are on the right track I think. Many philosophers and theologians have debated these ideas for centuries. It is still unknown who among the gods or beings that inhabit the great beyond are actually the eldest. Some of them may have even come from a universe beyond ours. Many claim there is a multiverse. Was Chaos the origin of all things? Or is there something, or someone who existed before or who even made the Maelstrom in order to house all the many worlds that this unknown god intended to make. No one knows for sure, and neither Aroden nor Iomedae have seen fit to tell us, if even they know – for they were both mortals who ascended to what we call godhood. The older gods like Pharasma are of course silent – as they are about so many things. They may not know either. I agree, however, with those who say that there is a Divine Law or an Unknown Lord who takes precedence over all else both in terms of time and power, and that within the created order only Heaven, the realm of law and good presided over by the good deities and the archons, truly reflects this principle that is beyond and yet behind all things. Heaven is the ideal that all are bid to follow and emulate.

“Now when it comes to paladins and clerics, I am both so I know within myself the difference. Clerics are agents of the gods. As long as they do the will of the god to whom they worship and as long as they bring others to that god to direct worship to them, which may in fact empower them, then all is well. The gods will tolerate a bit of straying, and do not demand perfect conformity to their own principles as long as their will generally is done. One may say they are forgiving, others may say they are negligent. I suppose it depends upon the god in question. Paladins, however, are not simply agents of the gods they serve and in some cases hold values that are superior to the gods they serve, such as the paladins of Abadar the god of merchants. It is rumored that even some of the Hellknights are paladins, but I think that is an old wive’s tale. It is always a friend of a friend of a second cousin who knew of one. Anyway, paladins certainly serve in the priesthood’s of those gods who have them, but the principle they serve are those of Heaven alone, and this principle may be the Divine Law of the philosophers or the will of the Unknown Lord. We know not. What we do know is that as paladins advance in skill and determination they, or we I should say, become greater and greater vessels of grace. However, we must maintain a perfect conformity with that principle that transcends even the gods. It is almost inevitable that we misstep from time to time, but the gods have provided us with means of atonement. I imagine it is atonement that you seek, to bring your heart back into alignment with the principle that grants us our power.”

Toshio is comforted that the Chaplain added “we” and “us” to her statements. He immediately feels less an outsider, and that he can return to the company of paladins. “That is a large order, aspiring beyond the gods. But it’s encouraging to me that we can at least recognize that goal and strive for it.” He pauses a bit, listening, then responds, “Yes. I do seek that realignment. Atonement.”

Chaplain Tira leads him back into the main temple hall. “I will perform the rite of atonement, so that you may be fully restored as a paladin in the service of Iomedae. May you cleave ever closer to her example even as the goddess embodies the light of Law and Good. Before I begin, it is usual for the penitent to present a gift to the goddess, as this rite is not casually given. The worth of the gift corresponds to the severity of the sin. In your case, in anger you used hurtful words directed at a companion. So, I think it is not a monetary gift that will be asked but a task I would like to set you that can restore the balance by perhaps helping or even saving another. Would that be acceptable to you?”

“Yes, that is very acceptable.” Toshio is intrigued by the possibilities. How will he be of aid to another, and what circumstances might lead to saving another? Although simply paying for the spell would certainly have been easier, Toshio feels that this task – whatever it may be – will be more worthwhile. “What is the task?”

“There is a young girl whose welfare is of concern to us and of concern to one who has taken refuge with us. I want you to check on her. I will tell you more after you have been restored.” Chaplain Tira then begins lighting candles and incense. She bids Toshio to kneel and clasp his hands in prayer. Chaplain Tira brings forth her prayer beads and kneels at Toshio’s side though slightly in front of him. Both face the image of the sword and sunburst enshrined in the main hall. It is a large silver sword, easily a dozen feet tall, standing on its tip and centered on the cross guard is a halo of golden rays. After an hour of prayer and meditation, Toshio feels a lightness of body, soul, and spirit, as though a burden he did not even fully realize he had been carrying has been lifted. He even feels a deepening of the grace he had known before – a sense of being further protected and of being imbued with healing power. Is this from Iomedae? The Divine Law or Unknown Lord? He does not know, but the grace, protection, and healing power are there and will remain for as long as he resist the temptations of craving, ill-will, or cowardice in the face of evil.

Chaplain Tira rises and smiles at the newly restored paladin of Iomedae. “Welcome back, fully restored to our ranks, Toshio. Now I would like you to walk with me to the Haven. I want you to meet a young woman named Piousa. She is a devotee of Iomedae and in time may become a priestess herself.”

Here I show my personal contempt for the concept people worshipping a god of commerce:

Spoiler:
Turning back to Toshio, Chaplain Tira continues, “If we could, we would lift all the peasants out of poverty and redeem all their daughters and sons from the wretched lives they are forced into by the greedy and ruthless. Alas, we do not have those kinds of resources, and it is perfectly legal for families to sell their children to the stews and bawdy houses. Unfortunately, it is not Iomedae who rules the hearts of the leaders of this city, but Abadar the Master of the First Vault, whose concern is commerce and moneymaking and not the fate of families or children. Anyway, Piousa visited us as often as she could and when she saved enough to buy her freedom she came here. She is now a postulant in our order. I have asked you to come here, Toshio, because I believe you can help a friend of hers. Piousa, why don’t you tell us about your friend?”

And here I show my contempt for Calistria, aptly nicknamed the "Goddess of the Jersey Shore" by some wags on the messageboards:

Spoiler:
Piousa begins her story. “It is hard to make any real friends at the Blissful Garden. There were too many rivalries and too much jealousy. Some of the girls were just resentful and bitter. They hated themselves for being there and everyone else. I think Madame Anyanka even enjoyed these conflicts and stirred them up on occasion. I think she thought that our competitions with each other for the handsomest and richest clients would make the whole place more popular as we would all be more willing to do things we otherwise would not.”

Toshio wonders what these ‘things’ could be, but doesn’t engage his imagination too deeply – he realizes he probably doesn’t really want to know.

“Also, if we were too busy fighting with each other we wouldn’t have any time or energy to give her any problems, at least not directly. On the other hand, she is a priestess of Calistria, the goddess of lust and revenge, so of course degradation and petty vengeance was a form of worship to her.”

What a horrible goddess to follow! How can people do that and live with their consciences? wonders Toshio silently.

There's also a bit of a group in-joke here in that Toshio learns of a woman who can take on the appearance of others. The player of Toshio actually played a doppelganger (and a very sympathetic and good-hearted one at that) in our previous campaign so Toshio's reaction in light of that is amusing:

Before leaving his room he reviews the names he’ll need to remember, so he won’t need to do so on the way there and become an easy mark. Madame Anyanka; Twighlight Blossom, whose actual name is Iolana – a head shorter than me, slim, blue eyes, brunette hair down her back; and Moon Flower, who can take on the appearances of others (he shudders a bit at this thought).


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This next part is an interlude that has nothing to do with the Jade Regent AP. It was necessitated because to restore his powers Toshio had to seek out a high enough level cleric to have atonement cast and I determined that he would have to go to Magnimar. So of course all the other PCs had to tag along as well. This enabled me to do a whole scenario based on Magnimar. Unfortunately the Magnimar book from Paizo had not yet come out, so I just went by what was in Pathfinder #2 and extrapolated from there.

The first chapter was just to cover the logistics of travel, describing Magnimar, getting them settled, and also describing the stories and teachings of Iomedae to provide further background for everyone esp. in regard to Toshio's divine mission.

To Magnimar and the Telling of the Acts of Iomedae

I am of course indebted to Pathfinder #26, the Inner Sea World Guide, and also Faiths of Purity for info on Iomedae. I really liked the half-orc barbarians reaction to her story:

Keng is rapt with the story. He blurts out, “I like this Iomedae! ‘…I am the first into battle and the last to leave it…’ What a fine mate she would make! Where can I find such maidens?”

I also explain why people don't walk around fully armed and armored on city adventures:

Spoiler:
Toshio finds the view of the city remarkable, just as it had been on his few earlier visits. He leads his companions from the Lost Coast Road to the Marches’ Castlegate, the entrance for common traders and travelers. At the Castlegate, the bored watchmen on duty subject them to a cursory inspection and collect a copper a person as an entrance toll. They are also warned to put away their weapons and armor as soon as they find lodging, with the exception of swords and daggers for personal protection. Exceptions are also made for those belonging to priesthoods and knightly orders in good standing with the Office of the Lord-Mayor and the Council of Ushers, such as the priesthood of Iomedae and the Hellknight’s Order of the Nail.

But some people, like half-orc barbarians, sometimes need more convincing:

Spoiler:
Keng stowes his pack but keeps his armor, axe and dagger with him.

After their accommodations are taken care of the five have supper together at the inn. That night at the Empty Hat the featured dish is Magnimarian Stewed Pigeons, as well as plenty of black bread and honeyed butter. And of course there is ale to wash it down. After supper, discussion turns to which taverns to check out.

Seeing that Keng is still fully armed and armored, Toshio suggests, “Keng, except for the local guardsmen, going around town fully armed and armored is a bit like shouting ‘I’m here to make trouble!’ and will earn you no friends. You should consider changing your attire.”

“So?” Keng truculently responds.

“So nothing. I’m just trying to help you avoid trouble except that which you choose for yourself.”

Jharad laughs at Toshio’s attempt to persuade Keng. “No tavern will let you in dressed for war. Stow your armor and axe in my room with Toshio’s gear. Take a dagger if you want but I am sure those meaty hands of yours will do fine in a brawl. Simply put, leave the heavy stuff or you can’t go drinking with us.”

“Listen to the elf. He knows this place, too,” says Toshio.

“That’s low blow,” says Jethrik. “Hitting a man in his thirst!”

“Well when you put it that way!” Keng continues, “Can I leave my gear in your room?” Once this is done they talk again about where to go first.


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In this chapter Part Two of The Brinewall Legacy, Legacy's Lure, begins:

Rokuro's Letter

I did a few things here I'd like to note. One is that I had Koya provide an in-game explanation for how she uses the Harrow. I did this because she is not a Harrower, does not have the spell for Harrowing, and yet uses the cards anyway and can use them for the augury spell. I also took the opportunity to share some of my own past experiences using the Tarot:

Spoiler:
As Koya listens her hands repeatedly cut the Harrow deck in her hands. She even does a one-handed cut, which Jharad remembers her attempting to learn when she was a young girl. Now her hands are quite deft as she cuts, riffles, and waterfalls the deck. Laying them out face down on the small silk covered table in front of her and scooping them up again. Her eyes never leave Jharad’s. “Well, it may be that we will get a chance to travel if there was any truth in my earlier premonitions. But whither to, and whether the journey will be one of good or ill, I cannot say. People believe these cards are magic.” She stops shuffling, having stacked all the cards together again. She frowns at them. “They are not. They may focus the spellcasting of the wielder, and sometimes they may channel messages to us from the spirits or the gods or fate. Most times, however, my readings are just based on my ability to read people and guess their true desires and fears. My fortunes are simply the telling of tales that the images suggest to me that may be relevant to the inquirer, but they are tales of the usual cycles of ordinary life played out more times than perhaps even the gods can count infused with just a bit of drama to make things interesting but enough hope to allay people’s fears and allow them to make the right choice. I don’t presume to tell the future but only of what can be if people will only dream larger dreams but also keep their wits about them. Still, on occasion I can perceive the immediate outcome of certain choices, and by immediate I mean within the span of time it takes to burn a stick of incense from Tian Xia. Maybe Desna will grant me greater foresight in response to my prayers in days to come. Still, what I felt back at the inn the other night seemed like a true seeing. Something is about to be discovered and we may all get our wishes. And you know what they say about wishes…” She grins, reminding Jharad of the little girl and beautiful young woman she was not so long ago by his reckoning. “Be careful of what you wish for,” she finishes and cackles melodramatically. She swiftly pockets the cards and stands. “Why don’t we go to the inn brother of my heart? I am thirsty and maybe your new friends are waiting for you.”

I provided an in-game explanation to close the plot hole re why the local authorities didn't and don't just send a patrol into the swamp:

Spoiler:
Toshio and Zeyala, in the meantime, go to the sheriff and report on what was done in the marsh. In addition to the basic facts, Toshio notes, “The halfling, Proudstump, noted that just because the caves had been cleared in part the day before didn’t mean something else dangerous hadn’t moved in. Sandpoint could apply that lesson to the whole marsh. I think it would be wise of us to send patrols through the marsh from time to time, so no monsters get the idea it’s a safe place for them. We could even do similar patrols in the areas surrounding the town. I know it would mean more time and effort, and especially more training, but it would be good training for the guard in the first place. And I’m sure it would be worthwhile.”

Sheriff Hemlock chuckles good-naturedly at this suggestion. “That would be a wonderful idea, Toshio, if we had the man power. You know we only have about a dozen full time watchmen, and of those only three or four of you are ever on shift at a time. The rest of the milita are only three score and some, and they are just farmers and fishermen with spears who we can only call away from their work during an imminent crises. Why do you think we had to put out a bounty just to call in adventurers like that half-orc and Jharad just to get rid of the goblins? As for the marsh, frankly, I think you all got lucky. You could just as easily have all been wiped out and never heard from again. It’s a good thing you did take Zeyala or it sounds like you would have been. My thanks, good lady,” he bows in her direction. “Most days the fishermen follow their trail and are never harassed. I have no doubt that sending patrols along those trails will not come up with much either – during the day when the dark things are hiding in their holes. And if they go in at night – well, I doubt they would come back at all. Sorry, Toshio. Now that the Licktoads are taken care of and you’ve destroyed their skeletal guardians that the goblins disturbed, I think the marshes are best left alone.”

I describe Ameiko as a bartender in order to show off her abilities. I extrapolated from my own experience of being a bartender for about a year and a half:

Spoiler:
It takes a few minutes to get Ameiko’s attention as the Rusty Dragon has been steadily filling with townsfolk. The atmosphere is far lighter than it was, now that the Licktoads have met their end and no further threats on Sandpoint seem imminent. More than a few farmers and townies offer toasts to the good health of Toshio, Keng, Jharad, Zeyala, and Jethrik. Ameiko is a whirlwind of constant motion. She practically juggles and spins her many cups, mugs, glasses, and even whole bottles. At times it is almost certain that she must be using mage hand as she hurtles a bottle in the air and it hovers long enough to pour its contents into the row of glasses she slides beneath it. At times her concoctions actually glow and sparkle, and for the ladies in the room who request white wines or more delicate fruity drinks she throws in flowers that actually bloom as the drinks are presented. Clearly Jharad and Jethrik are not the only masters of prestidigitation. Ameiko is not only quick and precise in her movements, but seemingly tireless and has evidently memorized a repertoire of exotic mixtures worthy of an alchemists’ formulary originating from Cheliax to Qadira and perhaps beyond. She does require help lifting a new and very full keg into place, but Jorgi is right at her side to help. There are moments when a customer is overlooked for a bit too long or she forgets which drink goes to whom, but her charm and wit bring quick forgiveness and it is clear that everyone present is quite mesmerized by her performance and eager to be in her good graces. In short, she is the consummate hostess and tavern keeper, the life of the party that is held every evening at the Rusty Dragon. During a brief lull, Ameiko sees that Toshio and the others are ready and as soon as she is able she breaks away to lead them to the private room prepared for them.


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In the following three chapters the first part of the Brinewall Legacy is completed:

The Kaijitsu Blossom

First Foray into the Brinestump Caverns

In the above chapter the half-orc Keng has a Leroy Jenkins moment (by no means the first in this campaign but certainly the worst so far) which almost results in a TPK. The consequence of this is that the paladin makes a malicious and abusive remark about the half-orc's heritage that results in him losing his paladin powers for a time. This is because in my campaign we carefully track any alignment drift using an alignment infraction system inspired in part by Hackmaster and in part by Buddhist teachings on wholesome and unwholesome actions and so any evil drift on the part of paladins will result in the need for an atonement spell to get themselves back in good standing as paladins. I have, btw, also house ruled how that spell works so that it need not always be gold but missions that are demanded for the casting of the spell. Here is the scene in question:

Spoiler:
The passage going off to their left in the southeast direction seems to empty into the main tunnel of the cave network but on the far side of the section completely blocked by the pools of water. In this section the tunnel slopes down at a slight angle to the east but only a third of it is full of standing water. The floor is slippery but they are able to move along without any problems though they do have to step with care. After 40 or 50 feet the tunnel opens up into a cavern about 35’ at its widest and 70’ long. The whole southern rim of the cavern and particular the southeast part of it lies underwater, and that part seems to curve around to the north. Passages also lead out from the north and far western ends. Scattered throughout the cavern, Keng can see four inert skeletons sprawled upon the floor. They are all wearing the same kind of armor as the skeleton that attacked them at the wreck of the Kaijitsu Blossom.

Jharad whispers to Toshio. “We should assume these things will rise. I suggest we get ourselves in a good position to receive them, then Jethrik and I can wake them up with arrows: you and Keng in front, Jethrik and I in the middle slightly behind, Zey behind us. What do you think?”

“Good plan.” Jethrik whispers. “I’ll take the one on the left. You get the one on the right.”

“Good idea, but let’s smash all of them before they can rise, rather than letting them start after us,” Toshio says. “I don’t like skeletons. They don’t rest as they should. Take up positions to smash these on my signal. We can each smash one, with Zeyala standing back.”

Meanwhile, Keng, not stopping to listen to the others, walks over to the nearest of the skeletons and with his great axe smashes it to bits. He turns back to Toshio and says, “Just to be sure.” Right at that moment the three other skeletons in the cave begin to rise up, and even from the waters of the flooded parts of the cavern two more skeletons arise. Unlike the other skeletal samurai, these ones are unarmed and reach out with grasping bony fingers to claw at those who have intruded upon their uneasy rest.

One of them immediately rips into Keng with both claws. The other four skeletons converge on the rest of the team, and within moments Toshio and Jharad are lying on the cavern floor bleeding to death. Only Jethrik’s quickness and the fact that he is a smaller target spares him from any bloody wounds, while Zeyala’s position at the rear gives her a moment’s respite.

“By Pharasma’s divine light, return to slumber!” shouts Zeyala. As the flare of Zeyala’s radiant light touches them all of the skeletons in the cavern collapse and rise no more.

There is no time to be relieved however, for Zeyala sees that Jharad and Toshio are dying at her feet, and Keng’s bloody wounds make it evident that even he is in no shape for another fight should any more skeletons come lurching out of the darkness.

Zeyala stands next to where Toshio and Jharad are laying and calls Keng over. “Power of the divine, heal and awaken my friends.”

Jharad sits up, feeling like Keng sat on him. Focusing on the half-orc he says calmly, “It never hurts to spend a little time preparing before rushing into battle. Next time lets do some of that. What do you think?”

“Yeah. Maybe. But it worked out!” Keng replies. “Where’s the treasures?”

Toshio groans as he sits up. “Of all the stupid… How do you live long enough to breed?” Immediately Toshio regrets his words. He can feel that the poison of his anger and the abusive words erupting from it has a created a cloud of evil, blocking the divine light that he normally feels shining from within.

Second Foray into the Brinestump Caverns

I have to note that curiously several times in this campaign the paladin gets clobbered but the gnome manages to get in the killing blow.


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And here is the last chapter of the goblin mini-campaign, in which all the creatures they angered in the previous chapters come to get their revenge.

The Hunter

Frankly, it was my thought that all the goblin PCs would be killed off but it didn't turn out that way. Those little guys are quite the survivors.

I also got a lot of mileage from the chase cards in this scenario. I figured though that the goblins would surround their home with lots of obstacles and getaway routes.

Our gaming group was filled with glee when they learned that there will be a sequel to We Be Goblins and so will get a chance to revisit these characters again.


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More goblin hijinx. This time the goblins find out why raiding the human farms north of the road is a bad idea:

The Longshank Farm

To whoever is reading this - see if you can guess who the three farmers are modeled after. Here's a hint - the farm belongs to the Gale family.

I did wonder how farmers could ever survive incursions from all those monsters from the Brinestump Marsh. This little scenario made it clear that between vicious guard dogs and the solidarity of the human farmers, they probably could fight off most incursions. With torches they could probably even fend off the troll the goblins ran into earlier.


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In this chapter the question is answered as to why the goblin's don't simply live in the caves found in the cliffs to the south of the marsh:

The Troll Cave

Two things to note -

1. The croaking of the boggards are actually the words of a Japanese children song about frogs.

2. The troll is singing Trollhammer by a Finnish black/folk metal band. Here are the original lyrics in English (though in the story I swapped out "Christian" for "Iomeden":

"The Troll-Hammer"

Among shadows rides a beast
Like a black tree.
Grips tightly on a mighty hammer,
Out for weak Christian blood.

TROLL-HAMMER!
TROLL-HAMMER!

The Troll-Hammer sweeps again!
Cut down, brother again!
Hear the last shout -
The Troll-Hammer is here!

TROLL-HAMMER!

He is not a human
Not fragile and weak like you.
You will be powerless,
No eyes see your end.

TROLL-HAMMER!
TROLL-HAMMER!

Since the darkness overtook
It is afraid of the frost's cold fingers
That take hold and kill
Under the coming winter night.

TROLL-HAMMER!
TROLL-HAMMER!
TROLL-HAMMER!


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In this chapter the PCs return to Brinestump Marsh and once more visit the halfling, Walthus Proudstump. This time things get a little weird.

Saving Mr. Proudfoot


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More goblin shenanigans as the goblin heroes continue their quest to find food and shelter for their tribe, and in the process conduct a raid on their boggard neighbors.

Don't Boggard That Flayleaf My Friend


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In this chapter the PCs return to Sandpoint with their new goblin captive to do several important things:

1. Divvy up the loot
2. Get new equipment
3. Bit of character development
4. Find out more about what happened to the Licktoads so they'll return to the marsh

Tales Are Told

One other thing that we did here was that I used the The Improbable Saga of Jinsen Tayago and His Astonishing War with the Oni, or more simply, the Tayagama mentioned in the article on the Oni in Pathfinder #49 as something that Toshio, as an immigrant from Minkai, would have been familiar with. This accomplished two things - one, it helped establish his ties to the culture of Minkai that he shares with Ameiko, and two, it allowed for some foreshadowing of the rest of the Jade Regent AP.


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In the Brinewall Legacy it is assumed the goblin heroes from We Be Goblins perish before the PC's arrive at the Licktoad village. In our campaign the heroes raided Sandpoint that night in order to get back Slorb (also assumed to perish before the PCs can find the village). So the next adventure for the goblins was to figure out exactly what they did do the night before the PCs find their village and whether or not they survive.

Also, this goblin characters get a chance to fight the encounter that they missed from We Be Goblins and also one of the swamp encounters from Brinewall Legacy that the main PCs never got around to.

This chapter also shows how tough it is to be a goblin without a lair.

Homless


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These three chapters all deal with the extended battle in the goblin village that is the main feature of the first part of The Brinewall Legacy so I'll put them all here:

Licktoad Village

I must confess that as GM I inadvertently glossed over the instruction that says the goblins don't have any ranged weapons other than some fireworks. Consequently the battle against the goblins was a lot deadlier than it should have been as I gave them all shortbows. Ah well. It made for a more exciting and challenging battle.

Sweeping the Licktoad Village

This sequence is particularly funny and memorable - even elves can epic fail an acrobatic roll when jumping from rooftop to rooftop during a running battle:

Spoiler:
Jharad also attempts to leap the gap but slips due to Toshio’s blood that had gotten onto his boots. Unable to catch himself on the edge of the next hut’s roof, he falls back onto the ladder, breaking it, and heavily into the mud beneath the elevated village.

“So, how are we doing?” Toshio asks as he starts to get up and picks up his katana. Hearing the crash of Jharad in answer to his question, he merely shakes his head and says quietly, “That bad, huh?”

The Razing of Licktoad Village


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This chapter recounts what is really a more or less a random encounter, but I am glad that it went in such a way that it allowed for a bit of character development on Keng's part and allowed the elf magus to show off his combat prowess:

The Soggy River Monster


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In this chapter the PCs finally enter the marsh and start their search by seeking out the halfling warden of the swamp to get more info. Here again I used the British dialectizer Whoohoo. I also got some great usage from Bits of the Wilderness: Into the Swamp - a product I highly recommend for anyone holding any adventures in a swamp or marsh. I had a copy because our previous pbp campaign was set in a very large swamp.

Visit to Proudfoot


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And just a bit more exposition and clues to get them on their way as well as an appearance by Mayor Kendra:

Mapping the Way


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In this chapter the issue is raised in-game, and rather rudely by the Charisma impaired elf magus, about whether it would make sense for the other adventurers to take along a blind woman (the human oracle) on their expedition to find the goblin village. This leads to a duel between the elf magus and the oracle:

Duel in the Dark

I'll note that once again I was able to draw upon Sandpoint lore to liven this up with an appearance by Jubrayl and the Sczarni.


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As I said, my players had so much fun they wanted to continue playing their goblin characters. As it turned out, because one of their main PCs (the elf magus) ended up kidnapping Slorb and possibly ruining the first part of the Brinewall Legacy it seemed obvious what the next mission of the goblin "heroes" should be as recounted here:

The Not So Heroic Rescue


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In this chapter the goblins do something about the kidnapping of their advisor. This was necessary because having Slorb in the hands of the PCs meant that he could just lead them straight to the Licktoad village and that would have spoiled the whole wandering about the marsh trying to find them bit of the first part of the AP. And so the goblin heroes from We Be Goblins were sent to take care of that:

Fire Over Sandpoint

Some notable things:

Goblins can sure create a lot of havok in a town with just a few fireworks!

Those chase cards really came in handy and allowed for a really fun sequence wherein the elf magus is chased through town by a pack of goblin dogs.

I love how the half-orc becomes the new hero of Sandpoint.


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And here is chapter wherein the PCs and NPCs fill each other in on what has been going on. Here the gnome and elf both show the extent to which I'll allow prestidigitation in my campaign. They do this kind of thing throughout and I must say it goes a long way in showing how magical gnomes and elves would appear to be - even though the magic is pretty inconsequential - just window dressing really. Also, I didn't say it before but I should mention now that I was impressed by how useful a cantrip like mage hand can be when, for instance, being held captive in a goblin village.

Now the other thing about this chapter is the Harrowing. Since I own some Harrow cards I couldn't resist using them to find matches for all the PC's and major NPC's and to foreshadow each of the six parts of the AP. Now Koya is not a Harrower, so they got no bonuses from any of this but I thought her use of the cards (or perhaps their use of her) a neat kind of mystical overture to the campaign.

A Harrowing Premonition


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In this chapter all the PCs and most of the major NPCs (except for Shalelu) meet up:

The Roadside Meeting

One of the things I love about our campaign (but really almost all D&D/Pathfinder campaigns are like this) are the moments of lighthearted humor. Here are some of the ones that make me chuckle:

The gnome joking about mistaking the half-orc for an enemy when he is the one who shot Keng in the previous chapter:

Spoiler:
Jethrik greets the guards from the town, “Hello, gentlemen! We are ever so glad to see you. The immediate horror has been dispelled thanks to our gargantuan rescuer,” he nods towards Keng. “Please don’t mistake him for an enemy and shoot him with arrows, that has happened all too often in the past.”

A line I had to steal from the first Star Wars movie:

Spoiler:
A horse gallops up the road and comes to a sudden halt beside them. Its rider, Ameiko, leaps off and flings herself into Sandru’s arms. “Oh Sandru!” She hugs him tightly and then backs off to look him in the eye. “I feared the worst.”

Sandru grins back at her and says, “So did we.”

The love triangle (or is it a quadrangle if Sandru is included) between Ameiko, the gnome bard Jethrik, and the human paladin Toshio after Jethrik reacts badly to Ameiko first running to Sandru.

Spoiler:
Zeyala says, “Koya, I can hear their voices, but I’ll need you to guide me to them. How does Sandru look? And what of Jethrik?”

“Thank you for your concern, Zeyala” Jethrik bows. “The enemy had only the power to scratch. Those we love cut us to the bone.” He glances at Ameiko with a sour look, as she had not yet shown any concern about him.

‘What a strange thing to say… aloud anyway,’ muses Toshio. ‘Though true enough in some ways, I suppose.’

“Jethrik! Sweet Jethrik!” Ameiko bends down to embrace the gnome and give him a light kiss on the cheek. “I was no less worried for you.” Jethrik stands on his tiptoes and gratefully turns his cheek to receive the kiss.

‘Lucky little gnome!’ thinks Toshio. Smiling at himself as much as at Ameiko’s relief, he composes a haiku in his head.

Gnome and arrow meet

Ameiko’s kisses given

Makes all right for him

‘There’s a reason you’re not a poet’, Toshio. ‘You can’t compete with a bard with haiku like that. Now get your mind back on your work!’ he chastises himself.

Then there is their first strange and humorous meeting with the elf magus Jharad and his unlikely companion (captive really):

Spoiler:
Walking into the torchlight appears what is very obviously an elf. It is the ears they notice first, long and pointed though shorter than most elves, peeking out through long stringy white hair. Large almond shaped eyes colored vibrant purple with pupils so large the whites surrounding them are scarcely visible. Tall and lean, yet well muscled, with a smile on his face he walks towards them nonchalantly with the grace of ages though he looks to be no older than 17. The symbol of Calistria (a circular emblem with three concentric wasp stingers) is clearly visible on his left shoulder. In his left hand he carries a goblin dogslicer and a book shaped item wrapped in a soiled cloth in the crook of his arm, and with his right he is dragging a scared and reluctant but well dressed goblin. Besides these items and the goblin, the elf is completely barefoot and naked from head to toe as he quietly walks up to the gathering.

Ameiko sees him first and takes notice, tilting her head slightly and raising her brows. “So it’s not true about elves being like twigs,” she murmurs.

“Grotesquely tall though…” Jethrik mumbles.

“Well, that’s certainly not something you see every day!” says Toshio with a chuckle at Ameiko’s comment. “I mean… I didn’t mean… I… Oh, skip it! An elf and a goblin on a walk together - that’s what I was talking about. That’s all!” Toshio is grateful it’s dark so they can’t see how much he must be blushing.

Koya walks hesitantly towards the elf to see him better and then gasps. Her face turns beet red and she turns away. “Jharad! It’s good to see you again; though I must confess, I didn’t ever hope to see quite so much of you.”

In this chapter Keng asserts himself to be of the Spire clan. I hadn't then realized how much the Shoanti hated orcs and half-orcs according to Paizo canon, so I will have this changed into a kind of self-delusion on Keng's part in the future. I will attribute Sheriff Hemlock's lack or repudiation of Keng's assertion to good manners and is more cosmopolitan nature.

Shalelu I decided to hold in reserve for quite a while in this campaign. Reason being that she is too powerful and if she appeared now there would be no good reason for her not to accompany the PCs into the marsh to hunt the goblins and she would have totally stolen their thunder at this point. In fact, I do have a goblin hunting sequence with her alone in a future chapter which shows how she could probably have taken them all on by herself. I also wanted there to be a build-up in Keng's quest to find her.


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In this chapter two of the main PCs, the half-orc barbarian and gnome bard, finally meet in combat against the fireworks armed goblins:

Skrimish on the Roadside

I really have to thank the other contributors to the Paizo boards for making up so many great goblins songs. Particularly the one by Balabar used in this chapter.

Also, I used the Chase Cards here (not that the wagon got far) and will find more great uses for them in a later chapter.


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Finally the last member of the group is introduced here, Toshio the human paladin of Minkai ancestry. I also introduce Ameiko here and a lot of the original exposition from the Brinewall Legacy. However, instead of having all the PC's meet in a tavern, I have one have to gather a posse together in a tavern and ride out to the rescue of the other PCs.

Toshio Rides to the Rescue

A couple of things to note here. I got a lot of use in this campaign from The Dialectizer and in later chapters from {URL=http://www.whoohoo.co.uk/]Whoohoo[/URL]. I have to caution people however that while this is great for more humorous NPC's, it can be a bit much for PC's or NPC's that you need taken seriously. Some of the British dialects are also very difficult to understand.

I'd also like to note that I found Pathfinder #1 Burn Offerings an invaluable resource for bringing Sandpoint to life - esp. since I was using more than just a simple meeting at the Rusty Dragon to get things started but instead a goblin raid and the gathering of a posse. As our campaign continued I saw how helpful it was to the start of the adventure to have a really fleshed out and detailed Sandpoint.


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The next chapter introduces Jethrik the gnome bard (prankster), and Zeyala the human oracle (life mystery) who are traveling with Sandru and Koya as part of Sandru's caravan. It was my thought that if the Jade Regent campaign opens with goblin attacks on travelers on the Lost Coast Road and that Sandru's caravan is a prominent part of the campaign then why shouldn't a goblin attack on Sandru's caravan (which some PC's would be part of already due to campaign links to Sandru and Koya) begin the story rather than hearsay in a tavern that goblin's are attacking travelers? This also makes the goblin threat much more personal. It was also a chance to put the half-orc barbarian into a position where he unwittingly made himself appear to be chief ambusher.

Ambush on the Lost Coast Road


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The next chapter introduces Keng, the half-orc barbarian (invulnerable rager) who thinks of himself as a Shoanti warrior and regards Shalelu as his mentor and god-mother.

Keng Comes Down from the Cinderlands


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The first chapter of our campaign actually deals with only one of the PCs - Jharalion Aeirandi, the elf magus, or Jharad for short. The player actually wanted him to appear naked on the road, robbed of everything but his spellbook, when the other PC's met him - inspired by or in homage to the appearance of Geoffry Chaucer in "A Knight's Tale." I thought this would dovetail nicely with the idea that goblins were attacking travelers on the Lost Coast road and so this sequence happened:

The Misadventures of Jharalion Aeirandi

One of the things about this chapter is that backstories for elves are really long in span of time and so because this character was a Forlorn elf tied in with Koya (as per the campaign trait chosen) we really had to think about what that long life span would mean in terms of Jharad's relationship with Koya, Koya's mother, and in fact the history of Sandpoint that this elf character was around for in the beginning. This would mean later that the elf would have known personally (at least as passing acquaintances) the founders of Sandpoint including the Ameiko's father.

Also, the end result of this chapter resulted in a kidnapping (or goblin-napping) that kind of put a complication into the first part of the Brinestump Marsh expedition. This had to be resolved and that led to further complications that will appear in later chapters.


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Gutwrenchingrpg.org - Jade Regent campaign journal

My group had a blast with this. It is our way to transform the pbp logs into coherent narratives so the above is the link to what happened when we played through. One of the things is that it gave my players a chance to really do the three stooges bit (are in their case five stooges):

Spoiler:
When the chief finishes his speech, he reaches behind him and digs around for a bit. Then he produces the map and flings it down at them all. “Take the map,” Chief Gutwad bellows. “Now get out! Slorb and I have a feast to plan!”

Chuffy slinks back a few steps. A wide grin breaks across his face, his large eyes squinting to yellow slits. He stands there rocking on his heels. Poog eyes the map greedily and sticks his foot out to trip Mogmurch after the latter jabs him in the side. Unfortunately for Poog, he only ends up losing his own balance as Mogmurch leaps over Poog’s foot and dives on top of the map. Drubbus joins in the general dive for the map, landing hard atop Mogmurch. Mogmurch gasps as Drubbus lands on him. Reta pushes aside Chuffy, almost nicking herself on the dogslicer he has drawn, and piles on trying to grab the map away from Mogmurch. Trying to throw off his competitors, Mogmurch bares his teeth and hisses viciously at Drubbus and Reta, trying to scare them off.

Chuffy steps back, watching eagerly, dogslicer at the ready, to see who emerges from the tussle with the map. Slorb waves at Chuffy to put away his dogslicer and starts kicking at the goblins on the ground, yelling at them to get up and be on their way. Chuffy continues to grin, but his eyes go wide. He turns the dogslicer over and scans the edge. As quickly as it was drawn, the sword is sheathed. Looking at Slorb, Chuffy shrugs with an upturned palm, and then whispers into the cage held in his other hand.

I also had to address in-game the stupidity of making the goblins take these dares to get magic items they would need to complete their quest:

Spoiler:
A little goblin girl, fresh out of the baby cages hesitantly asks, “If it could help them get the fireworks, why not just give them what they’ll need?”

All the goblins fall silent at such audacious stupidity. Chief Gutwad glowers and even Slorb seems speechless. Finally a nearby goblin smacks the goblin girl hard on the back of the head, almost causing her to fall into the bonfire. “Don’t be stupid!” says the smacker. “That’s just not how things are done in the Licktoad tribe. You wanna prize, you gotta take a dare!”

As we have five players we had to add a fifth goblin, Drubbus the goblin druid. So we had to add a fifth dare so he could have a chance to get a magic item from Goblins of Golarion. For those needing an additional dare try this (inspired by the Flash Gordon movie):

Spoiler:
Slorb announces one more dare: Grab the Stone. Chief Gutwad hands Slorb a jagged egg-shaped stone that shines with a faint red glow. Slorb drops it inside a large rotten stump with several holes in it that had been set before him by a team of goblins.

“There are many holes in this log,” Slorb leers at them all as he states the obvious. “All you must do is reach in and grab the Stone of Fixing Broken Stuff. But first…” Slorb is handed a leather sack bound at the top with a rope. He thumps it about a bit and then unties the sack and dumps an angry water moccasin into the top of the stump. “Now I believe we have a snake bite cure somewhere. We’ll send someone to see if it can be found if we need to. But it would be better if you just grab the stone and not the snake. Heh heh.”

Poog sticks out his tongue and makes a raspberry noise, “No wayz.”

Reta watches and waits for any of the others to step up.

Chuffy is still massaging his wound from the Rusty Earbiter. “Nope, that’s one dare you can’t get me to take,” has says and steps back.

“Snake! Rake! Eat the cake! I’m not afraid of that little slithery worm!” Mogmurch steps up to reach in for the stone but comes up with nothing.

Drubbus steps up to the stump, he says some words in the secret Druid tongue and scatters some mistletoe leaves.

Mogmuch shouts “Frack!!” in disappointment, and reaches into another hole but comes up with more nothing.

Drubbus spits on Mogmurch for luck. Then he shoves his hand into a hole to find still more nothing.

Drubbus tries yet another hole – nothing.

“Mog, you really wanna get snake bit? You just as like to grab a snake as a stone, an’ I can’t helps you if’n ya do.”

“Slinky snake won’t get me! I’ll get the stone!” Mogmurch tries the tenth hole.

Drubbus reaches in again but again comes up with nothing. He turns to Mogmuch and says, “I can tell you what hole the snake is in, so’z ya don’t get bit. What’s that worth to ya?”

Reta belts out laughing at the increased agitation of both Drubbus and Mogmurch, very happy that she is not thrusting anything into those nasty holes.

“Which hole? Tell me!” screams Mogmurch as he thrusts his hand into another hole. Then his eyes go wide and he pulls it out again triumphantly, shrieking “I win! I win!”

I must say that for first level goblins the final fight was certainly apocalyptic and weird.

In fact, my group enjoyed it so much that they continued playing the goblins in a way that further impacted our Jade Regent campaign. More on that later.


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Bosyx wrote:

I'm working on a sci-fi version of the pathfinder rules for my group, due to a personal dislike of the class/occupation system of D20 Modern/Future, and wanted to see if anyone would be interested in assisting me in this project.

The setting that I'm making this for is a pre-First Contact one so humans only, but there are four "races" to choose from based on what kind of world you grew up in. There's one each for heavy (+2 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Int), normal (unchanged), and low gravity (-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Wis) worlds and then a fourth for characters who've lived on starships their entire lives (no ability score modifiers but the free bonus feat has been replaced with the Zero-G Training feat and +2 Repair).

The classes is where I'm having trouble. Fighter and Rogue are obviously in with minor modifications (adjusting the class skill list and weapon proficiencies), the Barbarian I'm modifying to be enhanced with cybernetics (temporarily calling it the Cyber-Rager). The Expert NPC class would work well for those who want to be more tech-oriented (hackers, engineers, etc.) but I'm currently out of ideas on what to do for the rest.

The setting is fairly hard science, no psionics, no mystical powers, nothing like that. Hypothetically I'd be able to fit in the Wizard as a tech character if it had something like an omni-tool from Mass Effect, but unfortunately the setting that I'm using doesn't have anything like those.

Could I also get some advice on equipment? Specifically power-armor, guns (no lasers, still projectile based), cybernetics, etc.

You might want to pick up a copy of Traveller for d20 (aka T20)

http://www.amazon.com/Travellers-Handbook-Traveller-T20-D20/dp/1558782176


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Mazlith wrote:
HOW DO YOU RUN A BROTHEL WHEN YOUR A PALADIN?

In our Jade Regent campaign a paladin of Iomedae was sent into a brothel in Magnimar and came into conflict with a priestess of Calistria. Also a Hellknight was involved as a looming threat and then an ally. If anyone is interested here is the link to the campaign journal:

http://gutwrenchingrpg.org/jr/narrative/jade-regent-book-i/

The relevant chapters are the Interlude: Magnimar section.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

I am so happy about this. In our Jade Regent campaign we continued to run the goblins as a side adventure beyond what was in the first We Be Goblins. The goblin PC's all survived with the exception of Chuffy and escaped into the Bleaklow Moor after they were hunted down by Shalelu (who killed off all the other Licktoads that survived the events of Jade Regent in our campaign). This module sounds like it will be the perfect follow-up.

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