Eventually, the party is able to defeat Nualia and her remaining allies. Nualia fights to the death, the bugbear manages to escape with grievous injuries, and no creature appears to aid them. When you look in the room this creature was supposed to be in, you find an empty plain room with a message written in thassollion cursing those who dared to hold such a powerful creature as the prisoner. Nothing else of particular interest remains in the ruins, and you depart back to town, exhausted, battered, and bruised from your adventures.
Sorry about the length of the battle. I really did intend to wrap this up sooner, but life got in the way. At any rate, thank you to those who stuck around. I hope you enjoyed the adventure even though it ended after the first module.
As Aressa and Vors struggle to take down the last yeth hound, the rest of the party continues to duke it out with the bugbear, who despite being outnumbered, holds his own surprisingly well. Thandion is able to get on stage and start doing some noticeable damage, but otherwise, the bugbear remains as strong as ever, and snarls at the attempts to kill him. There is no noticeable sign of Nualia in all of this.
The party is up.
Pavro casts grease under Nualia, who manages to stay standing, as Aressa moves forward to engage the hound like creatures. Vors' arrow manages to bury itself in Nualia's skin, which seems to irritate her even if it doesn't give a mortal wound.
Nualia just smiles a grim smile at Severus' words. "You are too late to stop me; soon I shall have another ally, and Sandpoint shall meet it's end." She quickly casts another spell as she watches you with her cold smile, and the entire alcove fills with cloud. Meanwhile, the bugbear tracks the elf with an evil grin, though his arrow to hit the elf still misses easily. The hound on Aressa tries to bite her back, but misses.
Spellcraft DC 14:
Nualia 11 damage (minor wounds)
The party is up. The yellow circle is the obscuring mist; the blue space is grease.
Nothing immediately comes to mind to Severus as the party heads downstairs. This second level is clearly far more ancient than the structure above, and damage is visible almost everywhere you look. Debris lies everywhere as you first walk into a room lined with time worn and battered statues that Severus thinks might be depictions of Karzoug, one of the ancient Thassillion Runelords. You quickly find yourself at the entrance to a large common room, and hear the sound of chanting coming from within.
I'll give you a round or two to prepare before you charge in and commence battle.
The interrogation is fairly quick, as the man is willing enough to talk about what little he knows. His name is Orik, and he's a hired merc. The leader of their group is Nualia; Bruthazmus, the bugbear you saw disappear down the stairs, has a special penchant for hating elves, something you already suspected based on the information you got from Shalelu; Tsuto, the annoying half-elf, was sent to Sandpoint on business there; the last party member, a female wizard/scholar, is currently in Magnimar on business. Waiting down below is Nualia, Bruthazmus, 2 strange hound like creatures given to Nualia from Lamashtu, and depending on if Nualia has succeeded in opening the prison door, some creature named Malfeshnekor.
You decide to first deal with the remaining door, and after a brief encounter with a crazed, starved warhorse, your hauling concerns vanish. The next floor down is probably where the bulk of the tribe lived, but it clearly has been taken over of late by a group of 5 larger folk. Based on the evidence you find in one of the 5 bedrooms, one of them was Tsuto, and therefore, not someone you need to worry about. You catch a bugbear returning to his quarters, who promptly curses you (especially Thandion, who he singles out immediately), and flees down some stairs going down even further, which are interesting in and of themselves. The human merc is less lucky as you find him asleep in his quarters, and he is promptly dumped in one of the prison cells you find in the prison area. Other areas of interest include a very disturbing chapel dedicated to Lamashtu, clearly of recent origin (on the altar you find a slightly singed holy symbol of Desna amidst some remains of bones and ash), a secondary entrance via the sea, and a small complex of rooms containing a war room (this contains plans detailing the recent raid on Sandpoint, and an even bigger raid intended for the near future; you also find references to the "beast below" that Nualia is trying to free), and a work room containing a lot of digging equipment, and a not so hidden door at this point due to all the recent activity of traffic going up and down the stairs leading farther down. Lighting is not a problem in any area of this floor save the secondary cave entrance where the human party did not seem to spend any time.
Do you want to interrogate the prisoner or head down the stairs? There is a bit of treasure scattered about as well. The only stuff of potential immediate concern is the gear taken from the merc's room: +1 banded mail, potion of cure moderate wounds, masterwork heavy steel shield, composite longbow, masterwork bastard sword, everburning torch
Scholar as a long term choice was a good choice. Unfortunately, this first part didn't really give it a good opportunity to shine, and the pbp format didn't really help much either, as a lot of the exploration ended up having to be streamlined. That is one big reason that I decided to stop after Nualia's defeat; a big draw to me with this AP, and indeed any AP, is the exploration and deep story, and I do not have the time and energy required to give either their proper attention in a pbp format.
At this point, I have to ask a question. Is there still enough people out that we can play out the final battle with Nualia, or do people just want one or two summary posts that they can rp with to wrap up this dungeon? I am perfectly willing to play out the last fight, but only if enough people are still around and interested in doing so. Otherwise, I would prefer to give those who want to a chance to rp with the final outcome and returning to town before closing shop on this.
The rest of this floor is pretty mundane. You find another stairs going down, a latrine behind which the goblins hid their treasure horde in a secret room, the chief's bedroom, the armory, a very basic meeting room, and a few more basic storage rooms for dry goods. Almost all of the stuff in the armory is of very poor quality, save one single masterwork dogslicer, small of course. The chief's bedroom yields one or two valuable art objects and the key to the chest found behind the latrine, which even with the key is still a dangerous chest to open. The chest contains lots and lots of coins, gems, and jewelry/fancy clothing, a medium sized chain shirt, a medium sized masterwork scimitar, and a pair of masterwork manacles.
You have two stairs going down and you still have the one barred door with the dead goblins in front of it.
The room contains a fair bit of what you would expect from a goblin throne room. The guards all have somewhat better than average studded leather armor, though the stench is deep enough that it would take some serious cleaning to remove it. The caster has a coin pouch with 20 grubby gold coins in it and has a well used wand of silent image (7 charges remaining), but none of his other equipment is particularly notable. The chief, however, is a different story. Not only is his breastplate masterwork and his shortsword magical (+1), the crown on his head is worth about 20 gp, even with the dents in it, and he has three potions on him (barkskin +2, and 2 cure moderate wounds). He also has a large key ring hanging from his belt.
As anti-climatic as jumping to the end of this combat it, DMPCing over half the party is equally so, so I'm going to go ahead and skip to the aftermath. Don't worry about damage taken or resources used, as this is the final battle in here.
After a bitter struggle in which both Bruthazmus and Nualia inflicted a fair deal of damage of their own before finally going down, the room falls silent. The door that Nualia had been working so hard on is now completely covered in Thassilion runes that indicate it's supposed to be a holding cell for some kind of planar beast, and undoubtedly Nualia was hoping to free said beast for her own purposes. However, when you open the door, all you find is a message carved onto the wall, written in Thassilion calling it's captor's fools for trying to hold something well beyond their power prisoner; whoever or whatever the prisoner may have been at one time, it's clear that it shook loose it's bonds a long time ago, as not even a hint of magical auras remain in this spartan room. The remaining hallway is equally dull, at least now, containing a few arcane workshops filled with debris, and a few ruined, empty rooms. It is obvious that this floor dates back to Thassillion times and did not fare all that well overall in the events that caused that empire to fall.
Nualia is completely dead, but Bruthazmus could be stabilized and taken prisoner if the party desired it.
The earth elemental finally takes down the chief, breaking just about every bone in the poor goblin's body in the process. In retaliation, and probably out of a healthy fear for his own well being, the guard beside now dead leader takes down the elemental. Thandion mops up his opponent before the party dogpiles the remaining guards, taking them down with no further damage to themselves taken in return. The party shortly finds themselves alone in the throne room with a lot of dead bodies and a gecko that seems quite content to simply stare off in space in the absence of any specific orders.
It's a round of largely ineffective attacks all around. On the party's side, only Avian shot on one of the uninjured guards lands solidly enough to deal damage, and on the goblin's side, the goblin on Severus manages to land a decent blow on the scholar. Otherwise, everyone, including the usually effective chief, fails to cause any significant harm to their foe.
map same as posted with Avian in K16
Chief 20 damage (moderately to seriously hurt); bane
The party is up.
Vor's shot bounces off the chief's breastplate, but the earth elemental successfully lands a solid blow, and the chief scowls mightily, clearly not happy with the hit. Thandion is unable to finish off the goblin on him as Marcoul goes on the offensive, summoning a mystical weapon beside the chief that is unable to connect on it's first swing, but sticks around to harass the chief later on.
On the goblin side, the chief swings at the elemental and lands a solid, though not death dealing blow. Of the other goblins, only the one on Thandion is able to land a blow, which Thandion notices as it's blade finds a weak spot in the armor and slips through to deal 10 points of damage.
updated map is posted above
Chief 20 damage (moderately to seriously hurt); bane
The party is up.
Remarkably enough, Krojun is just able to unbalance one of the hounds to the point it can't remain standing, and it falls to the ground with a surprised howl. As Rohan moves in, Talon heads to the far stairs of the dais, using the raised stage as cover from the bugbear. Elton moves to a corner and uses another charge of his wand to launch a magic bolt at crazed priestess, dealing some minor damage. Pimpernell follows that attack up by summoning a mystical weapon by Nualia that attacks her. Zelladanyia starts to sing, providing everyone with a boost to their morale.
In response, Nualia just smiles as she seems to activate an amulet around her neck before casting a spell which has no immediate visible effect. The bugbear releases an arrow toward Krojun, but it goes wide, and bounces off the wall a good 10 feet above the Shoanti. The tripped hound gets up, but otherwise, neither do anything and stay at their post.
Spellcraft DC 16:
She seems to have cast divine favor.
Nualia 12 damage
The party is up. I put together a quick google map so you have some kind of visual.
The party manages to take out a couple of the guards and the warchanter as the chief and several of the others struggle against Marcoul's spell (Daze has no effect on the chief as he has 5 HD). The chief sets himself up to charge the group in the doorway, still certain of victory against what he sees as mere rabble. The one remaining crossbowman shoots again at Marcoul but misses. The remaining guard on the elemental swings and does a measly 3 damage. The final guard leaps down at Severus succeeding on both the landing and his strike on Severus, dealing 5 points of damage to the scholar.
updated map is posted above
Chief 8 damage; bane
The party is up.
Moving forward, you soon find yourself in what was probably once the main gathering space for those who built this level. Once probably filled with tables and benches, debris now fills the room, though it has been cleaned up enough that it doesn't hinder your movement. To the west is a raised dais, and you can see the bugbear in a defensive position behind a larger piece of debris watching the scene to the north. On the north wall there is an alcove with a set of double doors. In this alcove, you can see wide stone ledges of red marble, covered with old books, scrolls, teeth, bones, scrimshaw artwork, jars of deformed creatures soaking in brine, taxidermied animals and limbs, and other strange objects. In the center of this space, a large round fountain filled with frothy blue water fills the room with the gentle sound of bubbling. Two burning skulls sit on either side of a large set of plain double stone doors, where a amazing beautiful, and yet somewhat deformed, female aasimar seems to be chanting something. Guarding over her are two hound like creatures. There is also an opening to a hallway on the south wall. None of the individuals seem to notice you when you first appear as the aasimar finishes chanting, and you see a change come over the stone doors, which have carvings starting to appear on them. The aasimar turns and sees you, smiling as she speaks in a beautiful, and chilling, voice, "Ah good, you are just in time to give our friend a bit of practice before we let him loose on Sandpoint."
There is no map for this right now; I can make one if need be, but the idea to avoid that need. The room is a rectangular 30' east to west and 40' north to south. The dais on the west wall as stairs on either end and is 10' higher than the rest of the room. The ceiling is 25' high (15' from the dais). Bruthazmus is on the dais about half way between the door you entered through on the east wall and the northern alcove, which is a 15' diameter hemisphere and a 15' ceiling. The fountain sits where the room just inside the alcove in the center, and the yeth hounds flank it, making it difficult to reach Nualia, who is standing just in front of the double stone doors. The hallway to the south is 10' wide. You entered from the east through a door centered on the eastern wall, and are clustered around that entrance.
We are essentially in combat, as it is clear that they intend to fight, and the party is up first.
The summoned elemental's attack on the warchief bounces off the well made breastplate the goblin leader is wearing, as does Avian's pistol whip attack. Thandion's first attack fails to get through the chief's defenses as well, but his second strike does manage to get through and deal some damage, though the goblin seems rather unimpressed, "You'll have to do better than that, you pathetic longshanks." Vors attempt to take down the warchanter hits, but lacks the oomph needed to break through the caster's studded leather.
On the enemy side, the chief decides to back off, though his precise reasons are unclear, avoiding further melee contact with any of your party as he withdraws. The prone goblin stands up and swings at the elemental and misses horribly. Another goblin warrior tries to jump down on the elemental, and though he manages to land on his feet, he fails to do anything else, much to his dismay as he finds himself face to face with a living rock. The archers take aim at Marcoul and Thandion; Marcoul takes a whole 2 points of damage, as the arrow going toward Thandion misses wildly as the archer is trying to avoid it flying into the melee. The warchanter starts a low "chant" that to your ears is entirely unintelligable, but it seems to inspire the other goblins.
updated map is posted above
Chief 8 damage
Vors drops the advisor to it's knees, and the advisor is forced to expend spell power to heal himself, casting cure light wounds and restoring at least a bit of his health, though he still looks very hurt. Thandion is able to get his weapon past the guard's shield and land a solid blow, but does not drop it, leaving him on the verge of death similar to the warchanter. Neither Avian nor Severus are successful in their shots as Marcoul and Pavro both set themselves up for the next round.
On the enemy side, the chief just smiles as he charges forward toward Avian, and he lands a solid blow that almost sends the Tengu to his grave, dealing 20 points of damage with his blade. The guard that Thandion swung at swings back and lands a blow for a whopping 3 damage as the other known guard tries to quite unsuccessfully to shoot Severus. Another guard tries unsuccessfully to jump onto the elf, but misses completely, and ends up doing a face plant onto his own sword.
updated map is posted above
Aressa Will Save 1d20 + 0 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 0 + 4 = 11
bow 1 attack 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
bow 1 damage 1d4 ⇒ 1
bow 2 attack 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
bow 2 damage 2d4 ⇒ (4, 1) = 5
bow 1 crit confirmation 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
bow 1 crit damage 1d4 ⇒ 2
??? 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (6) + 13 = 19
??? 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (13) + 13 = 26
??? 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (14) + 13 = 27
As Aressa starts to charge, the advisor looks straight at her and says something that she starts to shrug off before falling to the ground laughing hard suddenly as the full force of the spell hits her. Meanwhile the two guards fire their shortbows at Pavro despite being a bit shaken, and one of them manages to land a shot, though it lacks the force to do too much damage. The chief just draws his horsechopper and waits patiently.
combat round 1:
updated map is posted above
Combat order (bold still to go)
The party is up.
Based on your experiences and knowledge learned since arriving at Sandpoint, along with the obvious differences between this floor and the structure above, Krojun figures the statues probably represent one of the runelords, but his limited knowledge, and the extensive damage done to the room prevent him from being able to say that with absolute certainty or pin down any other actual facts about the statues or this complex as a whole.
The advisor and the guards are definitely not happy the response, but the chief doesn't seem overly bothered as he ponders your party for a bit before responding. "Raids are part of life. If you can't handle it, man up and fight back; cowards will always be the first to die. As for the longshanks, they are here as long as they prove useful to me; when their usefulness ends, they will be asked to leave or be killed. If you can give me a good reason to let you through to bother them in their work, I will consider it; otherwise, I will have to ask you to leave, immediately."
A stone door just around the corner from the steps hangs slightly ajar, the detailed carvings that once covered its surface defaced by chisel marks and hammer blows to the extent that only a few remnants of images (mostly of gemstones and crowns) remain. The floor here is slanted downward toward the west. In the room beyond, two pillars support the ceiling. In many places the stone walls, floor, and ceiling are caked with ancient grime and soot. Alcoves in the north and south walls contain partially damaged statues of a man in robes clutching a book and a glaive. The entire room is canted toward the west, and whatever ancient upheaval caused the complex to tilt knocked the statues from their bases so that now they lean against the western walls of their alcoves. A hallway on the eastern wall is the only other exit to this chamber. There are also scorch marks, scratches, and other signs of battle through the room.
You open the doors to find a large open room. This large throne room is decorated with hanging furs along its walls, mostly black-and-red striped
"I wouldn't say just Nualia and the bugbear. The bugbear has survived in these lands against a decidedly determined foe for some time now, and is not likely to go down without a fight, and Nualia is rather strong in her own right, even before you count her pets. As for me, I have little left here to interest me or hold my allegiance. Perhaps I'll track down Lyrie and see about making a permanent partnership for hire."
Marcoul drops the dazed goblin with a crossbow bolt as the goblin crossbowmen prepare another volley of bolts to send toward Aressa, and this time, one of them even gets lucky and hits, causing a minor scratch. Aressa retaliates by taking a short step towards the nearest one, and killing it with one of her claws. Another volley of arrows and a flurry of sphinx attacks later and the remaining goblins are dead. A quick search of the bodies reveals nothing of interest on them, as the weapons and armor are at best average, and at worst, ready to fall apart. You now have your choice of doors to explore. One door leads to the courtyard. The double doors open up to a short hallway that ends in another set of double doors, which are locked. The other doors open up to the other tower, a stairwell going down, and a barracks. The other tower also has a door going north.
The man seems more or less unimpressed by the glare, having already accepted defeat and simply waiting to find out his fate with the calm acceptance of someone long used to a difficult life. "Nualia's downstairs looking for some way to unlock "the beast within" or something like that. I suspect that Bruthamuz, the bugbear you mentioned, is down there with her, begging for healing like a child asking a parent for an allowance. Lyrie was a merc for hire, like myself; don't really know much about her, save that she had a giant crush on that stupid half elf, who was in turn smitten with Nualia. I doubt you'll see her again; she's isn't foolish enough to get killed over a few gold coins."
To sum up the rest of this floor, which you are able to mop up without any further difficulties:
You have a prisoner, he has a potion of cure moderate wounds, +1 banded mail, masterwork heavy steel shield, composite longbow with 20 arrows, masterwork bastard sword, everburning torch, and 2 pp, 95 gp in coins.
5 sleeping chambers: one was clearly Tsuto's, containing papers detailing his efforts to blackmail his father and use the Glassworks as a point of attack. One is clearly the bugbear's, bearing a has a faint musty odor. The bed is covered with matted gray and black hair, and bloodstains mar the stone floor, while a morbid stack of birds’ feet lies heaped on the floor by the side of the bed. One is probably the room of the prisoner, bearing a few half-eaten meals and some dirty clothes, but nothing else of interest. One is clean and brightly lit by an everburning torch lying on the nightstand, its spartan decor making it unclear whether it’s actually lived in; only a close inspection reveals recent, but sparse, activity. These four line a hallway that leads to the 5th one, which seems to be a combined bedroom and study, though it does not appear to have been used much of late either.
A chapel dedicated to Lamashtu that is, to put it mildly, very disturbing. On the altar you find ash and bone along with a burnt holy symbol of Desna.
A prison area, along with a side room that served as the bedroom and office/torture chamber for the resident warden, who is not around, though his keys are, should you feel a need to use the prison cells.
Just beyond the war room, you find another similar room with a large worktable covered with tablets, scrolls, and books written in what you can guess is probably Thassallion. Off to the side are shelves, picks, shovels, brushes, and other archeological site equipment. There is also a not so secret hidden door built into the wall that opens up to stairs going down and that has obviously been well used of late.