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How many character deaths in your Adventure Path?

Shackled City Adventure Path

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the first actual death. And this one requires more than just resurrection.

Orbius was not pleased to see that the group he despised, came walking into his lair just when he had bonded himself with a shator. He was not at all pleased to learn (over several rounds) that they came inside an anti-magic field, but he adapted. Using his spitting attack to full effect, he just tried to knock everyone out. The feeble attempts of the group to slip out of the anti-magic protection and back in before he could react worked for a few rounds, but then he had adjusted his tactics and shot his rays whenever someone dared to leave the safety of the sphere. Finally the group ran out of "drama dice" and started failing saves. The first disintegrate was sucked up by the dwarven cleric tank, taking about 100 hp dmg in the process, restoring them with a heal spell, but the same dwarf got petrified after he attempted to cast a holy word from outside the anti-magic field at the beholder. Unfortunate for the player, but well within the strategy of Orbius was the later disintegration of the stone statue, causing the first ever extremely severe death of a party member. The petrification of the wizard on Occipitus previously was much easier to revert than resurrecting the remains of said cleric this time. The fact that later, the bard got petrified as well (just when the anti-magic sphere was dropped to dish out as much damage as possible) didn't matter much as Orbius only had a choice of using as many deadly eye-rays as possible or keeping them under his anti-magic cone. Dur to RL issues, he opted to chose the "a TPK is the best exit strategy" route and faced a spider climbing rogue, who managed to deal the last few points of damage that did him in.

End result of a 30+ round combat:

Orbius - Party :

2 - 166

(2 petrified, 1 also disintegrated) vs 166 points of damage.


Well, I'm running Shackled City using 4E rules, so my experience varies depending on how well I can convert these monsters. In addition, I am playing with a group that hates dying. As in, they don't even want to play in a campaign where they can die. Prior to this I hadn't played with them in 3 years due in large part to this issue. The whole experience just feels lame when there's no real risk.

Life's Bazaar:
1. The party ranger died in the battle against the hobgoblins on the elevator. He failed his checks, and the paladin went out of her way not to save him (he uhh had done something very very controversial and this was her revenge). Once he was dead, she stabbed him again and flung his corpse down the 500 foot elevator shaft. She's unaligned...

2. The Grell nearly dealt out a TPK. Three of the four party members dropped, and I "forgot" to have them roll some saves while the ranger heroically slew the beast. This encounter was not balanced correctly by yours truly. I believe it was 5 levels above them... I used the grell right out of the MM.

Flood Season:
I got the hang of converting encounters. A few times a PC went down, but nothing too deadly. The most memorable part of the whole adventure was when they encountered Triel taking a bath. She fought them naked, as suggested in the module.

I'm just starting Zenith Trajectory this week. They're 5th level, so it should be interesting to see how they fare against Gottrod the 7th level dragon (right out of the MM).

Update from Elite Recovery: two deaths to Hookface. His first target was our urban druid/fighter holding Alakast, but he survived the 100 foot drop. The knight with a Fly spell was next, and he got grappeld and crunched. The third target was the warmage (already died twice, and KO'd often) and the dragon landed to chomp her. Grappled with two hp left, she cast Shout as a defiant last-gasp. The scout/cleric zipped in and cast DimDoor to get them out of his teeth. The dragon breathed on the rest of the party as a parting shot, and the rogue blew her evasion roll.
Dead and raised: Leofire the knight
Dead, raised and turning in her notice: Tircora the rogue, cohort to the urban druid/fighter.
Would have been dead, except for Mass Fire Resistance: Solaryn the sorceror-Loremaster.

Still no deaths in my campaign. We are nearly at the end of Drakthar's Way. I have knocked the PC's into negative HP's 13 times in 12 sessions but no-one has died yet. The closest has been one player having his PC taken to -8 on 2 separate occasions.

There was nearly a TPK last session though. 2 PC's were unconscious and the remaining 3 PC's were low on spells and HP's. The managed to get the 2 unconscious PC's back to positive HP's and flee just before the 5 Bat Swarms reached them (who were slowed by a PC's spell). If the Bats had caught them I think there would have been a couple of deaths.

Olaf the Stout

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

We've just had another death in my Shackled City campaign (which makes 5 now).

At the end of "Test of the Smoking Eye", Snip, the ferret familiar of Snipe the Scout/Diviner, met his end. After driving Kaurophon off from the site of the Test of Sacrifice, and faced with the plasma geyser, Lordem the Paladin of Lydia was prepared to sacrifice himself so that some other character would be able to claim rulership of Occipitus. Rather than lose his best friend and long-time comrade, Snipe took the drastic step of sacrificing his familiar to the test and thus gained the Smoking Eye.

Oh, Snip. We hardly knew ye...

10 months after my last post, and we have managed to get from Flood Season to Secrets of the Soul Pillars. I'll try to remember them all, but I'm not quite sure if I will . . .

I said last time that Raenef was ready to be Raised, well I lied. She decided that she wanted to just make a new character . . . Cue Reynaldo Andre Espinosa Nemesio Ezequies Fernando the Third (Acronym: RAENEF).
As well, Kai was not Raised, rather he was Reincarnated. He turned into an elf from a human.

Well, Reynaldo's first encounter was against Triel, and he got caught in the door trap leading into her room. Triel then bashed his head in.
Reynaldo was since raised, and hasn't died again since.

Zenith Trajectory's first death was marked when they were crossing the lake into Bhal Humatugn. Our boatkeeper tipped the boat, and then drowned Demek. The body could not be found, and Demek was not raised.

The next death was in the room leading into Zenith's throne room, with the Assassin on the roof. I don't remember the name of the character, but it was the same player as Demek. Anywho, very simple this time . . . the Assassin jumped down from the roof, Death Attacked, and killed her.

Demonskar Legacy saw Wode retire.

As well, the first death there was in the Demonskar, when Kai got bashed into a wall by a Hill Giant. He was not raised again after this.

Myrtle (Wode's replacement) was the next death, during Nabthatoron. I believe it was an Unholy Blight, although I am not quite sure . . . same attack that killed Alek.

Test of the Smoking Eye's first death was Jormund (Myrtle's replacement). He was killed by a Slaad in a random encounter. Who knew that one fireball was all it took? As well, Drusila's familiar died in the same battle, and was later reincarnated as a human (from a ferret).

The next death was technically Mahtan, when he willingly threw himself into the Gusher. Of course, he came back with the Smoking Eye, though.

Finally, in our last encounter with the Assassins in the Tipped Tankard, Valarthis died to a head wound, when he was smacked down by the Half-Orc.

I'm sure I'll be back in a year with more . . .

Hrmm... not sure that I have posted to this thread previously... so I will give a rundown of my campaigns deaths to date.

In the fight with Kazmojen, prickles takes down the sorceress when everyone leaves the pooch along and she starts unloading magic missiles on it with no one in between them. She was reincarnated as she "didn't really care about her race" as a dwarf, only to reveal that she only liked elves and spent a good chunk of party treasure on getting her polymorphed back into an elf. We still have great fun mentioning the dwarf in the party... which drives her mad.

Some very close calls after that but no deaths for a while.

The next was the same sorceress in Bhal-Hamatugn with the assassin dropping down and performing the death attack. The group then had a large discussion about save vs. death attacks and whether they are actually fun. I told them I don't care what the rules they want to use are but they will need to be consistent for all sides from here on out. We decided that death attacks put the victim at -7 hp and bleeding. This takes them out of the fight, but gives a little time to save them before they bleed out. So... no death here.

The next death was actually with a random encounter on Occipitus. The wizard moved ahead of the party to use his spell that turns his arms into fire whips with 15 ft. reach and did some good damage. It also opened him up for a charge and then an area affect spell that didn't do all that much damage combined with a failed save finished him off. It was a great little side trip to Sasserine to get him raised.

And finally, in our last session, Vitriss Bale's paralyzing gaze attack just decimated the party and basically turned the thing into a repeated series of players trying to take the dragon one at a time rather than leave a paralyzed comrade in danger. After ten rounds with the dragon not even taking a single hit of damage the dragon crit'd on lone paladin who was charging in. The critical hit deck card pulled (only used by PCs and "big bad guys" in the adventure) indicated that he took her eye out and did 3x normal damage. Since this was enough to put her at exactly -10 hp I ruled he bit her head off. She was raised shortly after the party rested in the Wizards new magnificent mansion.

Anyway... good times... but not too deadly. I really do pull a lot of punches for this party... or it would be easy to TPK them. I just see my job as making sure things are tough for them, they don't feel like I won't kill them and that they are acheiving things.

To be fair they really have improved from abysmal tactics or just no tactics at all to now working somewhat as a group with mediocre tactics (with the occasional bad tactic). They have a come a long way from the hack-n-slashers (not min/maxers though... that would be too tactical) who had DMs who would never kill a player.

Sean Mahoney

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ully wrote:
FWIW, it's only good-aligned summoned creatures that must make a Will save to enter an area with an active unhallow or magic circle against good spell.

Yes yes I know this, I became suspicious after the first run in and did some research and discovered this typo and/or author error

however, at this point the party had already wiped once because of it and I didn't think it would be wise to suddenly change the room's capabilities and draw wide spread complaints from the players

(our house rule, to prevent massive in game backtracking and wasted time in game, is to never go back and "Redo" combats and events that take place no matter the reason. A go-with-the-flow style of rules management you might say)

now our rules lawyer quickly noticed the discrepancy and I tried to have him quickly silenced but he persisted

and honestly, tho fairly powerful and prohibitive in its printed incarnation - I do not see it as being an insurmountable obstacle for 7th level PCs

However, tonight their newly created party after the TPK came back and once again they battered their heads blindly against the temple sanctum again

Once again they were soundly defeated and this time tried to run much earlier than last time and this time they only lost two - the Rogue and Druid

but for my players this was the last straw, they gave up and decided to quit this campaign

so tomorrow we begin the Newest pathfinder adventure path! Second Darkness!!!

did anyone else feel that the Shackled City AP was wildly broken in encounter strengths at many different points?

Yes, I know a good DM will adjust on the fly as needed for the situation - but im a particularly cruel and uncaring DM who rolls all dice openly and lets them fall where they may... MUHAHAHAHA

"oh, you only had 5 hps left? yeah, that critical hit from Kazmojen's axe just split you in two and showered your nearby companions in your blood and gore. Here's a brand new character sheet, get to it."

I just wanted to offer some comments on the unhallow/magic circle against good ruling. I am not being critical; I hope to offer some suggestions that will help other DMs who find themselves in a similar position.

Cohlrox wrote:
Ully wrote:
FWIW, it's only good-aligned summoned creatures that must make a Will save to enter an area with an active unhallow or magic circle against good spell.

Yes yes I know this, I became suspicious after the first run in and did some research and discovered this typo and/or author error

however, at this point the party had already wiped once because of it and I didn't think it would be wise to suddenly change the room's capabilities and draw wide spread complaints from the players

(our house rule, to prevent massive in game backtracking and wasted time in game, is to never go back and "Redo" combats and events that take place no matter the reason. A go-with-the-flow style of rules management you might say)

I agree that playing an encounter over again is not always the best course of action when a misunderstanding of the rules is discovered, especially if the PCs have continued on a ways through the story or additional encounters. Still, a TPK is a fairly extreme experience, and it provides an opportunity to revisit the issue.

Cohlrox wrote:
now our rules lawyer quickly noticed the discrepancy and I tried to have him quickly silenced but he persisted

This should serve as a good indicator that at least one player was unhappy with the outcome, and perhaps a group discussion was warranted.

Cohlrox wrote:

and honestly, tho fairly powerful and prohibitive in its printed incarnation - I do not see it as being an insurmountable obstacle for 7th level PCs

However, tonight their newly created party after the TPK came back and once again they battered their heads blindly against the temple sanctum again

So the augmented unhallow caused the same outcome as the first time around, but this time after the players put time and effort into creating a new party. The magical effect from the statue was indeed an insurmountable obstacle for the group...

Cohlrox wrote:

Once again they were soundly defeated and this time tried to run much earlier than last time and this time they only lost two - the Rogue and Druid

but for my players this was the last straw, they gave up and decided to quit this campaign

Yes, I'd probably feel the same way. As DMs' we must put ourselves in our players shoes to reassess the fun-level of the game from their perspective.

In your case, Cohlrox, you were presented with a perfect opportunity to try the encounter differently the second time around. I certainly would have given my players the opportunity (though with their original characters, since the TPK was due to the DM's misinterpretation of the rules) to take another shot at the shrine room encounter. Doing so gives the DM the opportunity to make it clear that the game is about the players having fun.

Cohlrox wrote:

so tomorrow we begin the Newest pathfinder adventure path! Second Darkness!!!

did anyone else feel that the Shackled City AP was wildly broken in encounter strengths at many different points?

Yes, I know a good DM will adjust on the fly as needed for the situation - but im a particularly cruel and uncaring DM who rolls all dice openly and lets them fall where they may... MUHAHAHAHA

"oh, you only had 5 hps left? yeah, that critical hit from Kazmojen's axe just split you in two and showered your nearby companions in your blood and gore. Here's a brand new character sheet, get to it."

While that's funny, and I'm sure you're kidding a bit, I think a DM can roll dice in the open and be a caring DM at the same time. I've played in games where the players couldn't affect the outcome of events, where the game was all about this beautiful creation (or adopted creation) of the DM, and where house rules impacted the fun. None of those amounted to good experiences, and I eventually came to learn that it wasn't the adventure path we had chosen to play, it was the DM's lack of player focus that was causing the problem.

That's why, when I decided to don the DM's hat after nearly 20 years of not DMing, I'd do everything I could to become the best DM I could be. That requires ongoing evaluation of my performance, strengths, weaknesses, etc., and then seeking to improve upon the areas where I can do better, while doing more of what I do well.

Part of my ongoing self-improvement program is reading the experiences of other DMs who blog or post helpful nuggets of wisdom in public forums. One of the most concise pieces I've read about being a better DM was Jeff Rients' How to Awesome-Up Your Players article on Jeff's Gameblog. One of the subheadings in the post really sums up the whole thing about being a DM: "Your NPCs suck and they are all going to die."

I think that's advice that every DM should keep in mind to help remember that role-playing should be about the players and their characters, not the rules or the printed word of a published adventure. If it's not fun, it's up to the DM to fix it.

<steps off soapbox>

I apologize if my reply comes off as overly critical. I believe strongly that it's important for us, as DMs, to continually ask ourselves how we can be better and then do what it takes. Handing a group of players two painful defeats in a row through no fault of their own just doesn't make for a fun game. If your players are giving you another opportunity to make things fun with a new adventure path, do your best for them and question yourself when they're not enjoying the game, for whatever reason.

I hope this post is helpful in some way.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ully wrote:
Teemuu wrote:
Party now consists of dwarf cleric 6, human beguiler 5, tiefling rogue 1 paragon 2, half orc mercenary fighter 4 (replaced dwarf fighter) and drow commoner 1 dragon shaman 3 (replaced goliath dragon shaman). Npc's are elf favored soul 5 , halfling warmage 1

I would think that your players with the level adjusted races are going to have a difficult time with this adventure path, more so as time goes on. They can be a big help with low CR encounters, but it gets tougher as they fall behind. That's why I limited my players to LA +1 races.

Maybe this topic deserves its own thread. I'd be interested to hear what others' experiences are.

This campaign is deadly regardless . . . but I use the LA buy-off option found on Unearthed Arcana, p 18. A hit on the experience now to save later. Plus, by being lower level (after the XP adjustment) they earn more XP than their higher-level counterparts. So, they have to pay the devil, but not that bad overall.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I described the Noble Salamander as a "lizardy thing that seems to be on fire without getting burned" (yeah, I know, not my finest descriptive hour). During the fight, he cast a wall of fire, a fireball, and summoned a huge fire elemental. Somewhere in there, the fighter said, "Hey, this thing's a salamander, right?" I confirmed his diagnosis, so later when he charged the thing, did some damage, then got spanked by the longspear and tail combo he complained that if I had described it as deadly as it suddenly appeared to be, he probably wouldn't have charged it.

He had a point.

A critter that casts all of those things, is size Large, and has a longspear casting all of those things and he didn't realize it was tough? I don't know about the point . .

Ully wrote:
did anyone else feel that the Shackled City AP was wildly broken in encounter strengths at many different points?

There have been a few spots that i thought were very, very tough.

My players have just completed the first portion of the Test.

I have 6 players, all built with rules from ONLY the three core rulebooks. This probably makes them weaker than most parties, since they couldn't cherry-pick the most powerful combos from tons of different rulebooks.

My only exception to the standard rules is that all my spellcasters are spontaneous (they have a set number of spell slots, but can use them to cast any spells they know on the fly). This makes them stronger than most parties, since they always have the right spells for a given situation (unless they're all tapped out).

I level the characters up at set intervals within the campaign so that they are always the proper level, not ahead or behind where they should be.

That said, here are my deadliest moments:

Kazmojen & Prickles (Fellian & Fario had to help on that one, since the party was only 4 strong at the time).

The Shrine at Bhal-Hamatugn (if your players end up facing all the kuo-toas, Aushanna, and Mangh-Mictho over the course of one large battle, they'd better be terribly powerful. My players were lucky enough to face these groups separately, and it was still touch and go in places).

Dugobras (my players peeked around the corner and then ran in with guns blazing. Dugobras made short work of their summoned elementals and then told them he had too much work to waste time smashing them all to pulp. Luckily, they took the hint and talked with him instead).

Nabthatoron (killed Alek Tercival in one round and most probably could have waxed the party one character at a time, although i didn't have him stick around long enough to find out. He did his dirty deed and split).

My single character death:

Triel hit the barbarian with a 'full points into power attack' critical, killing him instantly (I attribute this to bad luck, rather than an unbalanced encounter).

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What macabre intentions lie at these steps to proudly post Death in her glory against the good?

Schadenfreude, that's what! And I love it!

Sooo, I will make my meager additions to this post. There were lots of close calls (neg. hp's and stuff, but I will not list them). The campaign started in mid-to-late June of 2007. Not a single hero is an "original," and all notes of those that followed are kept in the original style of the late Kshatriya Undirra, the original chronicler of rotten things afoot in Cauldron.


Patchwall 10, 588 CY - Two pairs of disparate heroes save Rufus Laro, meet a fifth character and Jenya Urikas, and are hired to find the orphans. The original heroes are as followed:
* Lord Katan Sachor: an impoverished noble scholar of Cauldron, and was first in his class at Bluecrater Academy, just beating out Annah Taskerhill (which set up bad blood for later). Male LN gnome rogue 1, with lots of cross-class knowledge skills. He was going to switch off to bard later and then take the (Society of) Sensate prestige class later.
* Tzofer Kazakh: Male LN (LG tend) dwarf ranger-1 w/ Dream-Haunted trait. Interestingly, the Kazakh family of dwarves always provided a life-long bodyguard and major domo to the current Lord Sachor due to some ancient arrangement.
* Mel'kar (the Sly): Human m CN sorcerer-1. Foreigner with strong Suel features. Desired to be an archmage.
* Calis Horson: Human m CN rogue-1. Foreigner. Twitchy, crafty fellow. Likes to talk trash and is quite an acrobat.
* Kshatriya Jundage Undirra, 9th Son of the Rajah of Llissiriya, Knight of the Church of Pelor: NPC. Male h LG Knight 1 w/ Scarred Soul trait. Had a misspent youth and grew up in Lantern Street orphanage, but was adopted by the late high priest of Pelor. Had Good Domain feat, and most people assumed he was a paladin.

Patchwall 4: After a few days of investigation at the orphanage, the party return to check the locks. They note they are spied on from across the street and assault the spy (Fario Ellegoth). The town guard is quick on the scene, and with witnesses arrest Calis and Tzof for assault. Fario leaves during the chaos. This is the first major blow for PC's, because most of us know that being imprisoned is nearly as bad as being killed. They are both bailed out that day.

Patchwall 5: Fario Ellegoth & Fellian Shard appear, make amends, and join party. First foray into Jzadirune.

Patchwall 7: The grell nearly kills Tzof & Jundage, but the party prevails.

Patchwall 9: 5th foray, and the party gets brutalized. Tzof chases a skulk into one of the dug out tunnels, comes up into another room, and is knocked unconscious and taken prisoner. Party doesn't know what happened to him, and he is transferred to the Malachite Fortress and placed in the prison there. The similarity of him being imprisoned opens up a part of his Dream-Haunted mind to Adimarchus and the dwarf goes barking mad. Aidon, a PC elf m duskblade 1, is first true casualty when he is killed by a pulverizer. The party didn't have a healer, and while the rest of the party were fighting the pulverizer, the sorcerer (Wis 10) desperately tried to stabilize the dying elf. Not even knowing if the elf was alive or dead (by this time - dead), Mel'kar feeds Aidon the universal solvent. Aidon (the PC didn't want to re-run what turned out to be a weak character) turns into a primordial ooze puddle at the bottom of the stairs. Rayne, a human cleric 2 of Fharlanghn, joins the group. First PC death.

Patchwall 10: Having read the module like a book before running it, I placed a powerful NPC in town. A tall, beggar with double-hunched back and pure heart with a longspear named simply The Mendicant. He and Tzof used to meet daily in the evenings when Tzof would give a few odd coins to the poor. The ("Empyreal") Mendicant, a monk with the vow of poverty, hearing about his missing "friend," plumbs Jzadirune himself and meets up with the party. Because he is too powerful for the module at this time . . . he is used only in a support role with one of the skills he does best: non-magical healing (monk with high healing skill) and academic knowledge. Xukasus killed.

Patchwall 11: Party apprehends Zarkad and other hobgoblins. Party against ropes, so The Mendicant helps out when there is no other recourse, and not enough to truly tip his hand. The party has to deal with the fact that after a battle, he will stabilize and bandage EVERYONE (Jundage, a knight of Pelor, of course doesn't mind). Prisoners sent topside and remanded to government - who of course hold a quick trial and execute them.

Patchwall 12: Kazmojen defeated. Mendicant waited until the last second before thrusting his longspear through Kaz' chest. The party fought heroically and well, but Kaz would have killed a character outright with one stroke, and easily, with the next hit and still had hit points to spare. Pyllrak Shyraat escapes unseen. Vhalantru (as a beholder) and Thifirane (the gnome heard a female voice - "teleport" spell) grab Terrem and teleport away. The Mendicant later warns of how very powerful a beholder is, and will leave the party to investigate the matter, hopefully gleaning information from his charges: the poor. Tzof is rescued, and takes a few days to be right in the head. The party goes topside to heal with some freed prisoners.

Patchwall 13: Malachite Fortress closed out. Party concludes business with Jenya Urikas. Fario and Fellian bid goodbye since as many orphans and missing are rescued as possible. All remaining prisoners not found in the prison are killed by remaining forces of the MalFort before they run into the Underdark themselves.

Patchwall 14: The Undercity Liberators, as they now call themselves, make their last major foray into Jzadirune to rescue Starbrow. The party members refuse to cooperate and Starbrow (and the cage) is squished flat. Tough fight, but the party kills the mimic. Mission considered complete.

Patchwall 15: Rayne, now an NPC, is killed by bandits as he was traveling a day outside Cauldron on the way to visit his fellow Fharlangnite, Shensen Tesseril at the Lucky Monkey. His body is never found, and his true disposition is unknown.

Flood Festival Final tally: 1 PC, 1 NPC, 1 NPC familiar. The latter will not be included in further tallies, as it was merely a plot device.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Here we are again, immediately in fact. I will try to keep from this being a "historical entry" of all that happened, but I get caught up in things. As you can see, I keep a meticulous calendar of events.


Patchwall 19-20, 588 CY: The Empyreal Mendicant clears out Jzadirune and the Malachite Fortress and destroys all remaining traps. He brings beggars down to clear out the wealth, and distributes that wealth to the poor among the city. (The party had no intention of returning, but unbeknownst to Mendicant, Tzof had handed the keys to the Malachite Fortress to the elders of the dwarven community in Cauldron.)

Patchwall 20: Kshatriya Undirra (not part of the Undercity Liberators, technically) and Lord Sachor are each hired separately by CPT Terseon Skellerang to deal with goblin infestation in town.

Patchwall 21: For all of his past endeavors, for such a vast tribute to the poor over the years (exceeding 30,000 gp), and for saving a homestead in the mountains around Cauldron from 6 dire apes at great peril to himself, the skies broke open and shine upon The Mendicant, a worshiper of Ayailla (in this campaign, a different Goddess of the Sun, moreso of its celestial radiance, and oft seen as a feminine aspect of Pelor). The homestead family is witness to this, and now call him "Saint" Mendicant, Cauldron's own saint (a misnomer, since he arrived in Cauldron only a month or two before).

Patchwall 25: Party kills the 4 wererats outside Orak's Bathhouse, and Mel'kar and Lord Sachor (unwittingly) contract lycanthropy. Jenya heals them of the filth fever.

Patchwall 28: Party barely drives off a massive wolf that flanked them while they were fighting a swarm of goblins.

Ready'reat 3, 588 CY: This was the first big bloodbath against the characters. Drakthar meets the characters in the first entrance corridor after they check out the area of rubble. Using rat swarms and excellent tactics, Katan Sachor is knocked unconscious and Mel'kar lucks out with a healing check to stabilize him at the far end of the hall. Calis Horson is trying (futilely) to kill rats. Tzof is at the "back" meaning he is there to see Drakthar. Tzof is killed after fighting valiantly. Jundage drives him off, but lay dying; were it not for lucky healing checks by Mel'kar, he would have died as well. The party leaves in grief.

Ready'reat 6: Undercity Liberators (UL) meet Kohain Khazakh (mountain dwarf m LG cleric of Moradin 3) at Tzof's wake. They later also get Atar (human m CN barbarian 4) to join the group.

Ready'reat 9: Atar is badly wounded, but singlehandedly defeats both the Silent Wolf goblin and its worg.

Ready'reat 14: First night of the full moon. Lord Sachor and Mel'kar begin their first night of transformation, turn into wererats at their respective homes, and go on a killing spree.

Ready'reat 15: Hearing the stories of murderous rats, and seeing clues at home, Lord Sachor has himself, Mel'kar, and Calis Horson (the latter two unenthused about this plan) locked in Town Hall for observation. That evening, it is seen that Calis is unafflicted.

Ready'reat 16: Jenya attempts to heal the two wererats of their affliction. Lord Sachor is healed, but Mel'kar is not. Lord Sachor convinces CPT Skellerang that Mel'kar is only a danger during the full moon.

Ready'reat 17: Mel'kar, suffering wounds in battle, instinctively turns into a wererat, and is unable to cast his spells.

Ready'reat 19: UL enters the ambush area with the mercs. Mel'kar taken out of the fight quickly as he cannot control turning into a dire rat when damaged. Katan nearly dies. Kohain turns Drakthar.

Ready'reat 20: The party meets Sir Cyrus of the Kingdom of Furyondy, a duke's son sent to entice the crown prince of that place (The Mendicant, who is Aaroniel, younger brother to the late Prince Thrommel and son to Belvor IV; abdicated position to follow religious goals). Sir Cyrus - human m LG paladin 4.

Ready'reat 21: Party kills two mercs and captures a dwarf. Atar and Jundage (the latter having recently picked up the Sun Domain feat) chase down Drakthar. Drakthar easily jumps off the balcony and lands on his feet. Atar does a leaping tackle onto the vampire from 30' above, but manages to catch the vampire. Jundage also throws himself down the balcony to get his now sun-glowing sword in range of the vampire. Atar just barely is able to keep the vampire in the light long enough for it to turn to dust, but suffers energy drain in the process. Orak Stonehaven is no longer dominated, and is freed from gaol.

Ready'reat 22: Xoden Nightshield is remanded to Cauldron. Atar fights off the lingering effects of Drakthar's energy drain.

Ready'reat 23: Xoden questioned and reveals info re "Blue Duke" and cabalists.

Ready'reat 25: Party finds exit at bottom of slope of Cauldron's mountain, alerts CPT Skellerang, and entryway is sealed. Atar, a chaotic in a predominantly lawful party (Mel'kar is now neutral, and Calis and Mel'kar are loyal to Lord Sachor) chafes and leaves the group to go into the wilderness.

Ready'reat 28: Xoden Nightshield, the last of the mercs, is given a quiet execution by beheading.

Sunsebb 14, 588 CY: Jenya successfully heals Mel'kar of his lycanthropy. Drakthar's Way closed out.

Ch 2,Drakthar Way, death total: 1 PC.
SCAP Death total = 2 PC, 1 NPC.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And yet again . . . some people are just meant to be institutionalized. If not a lot of deaths (thus far), Calis Horson really seems to enjoy life behind bars.

---Roster of Undercity Liberators (UL) ---
1) Lord Katan Sachor: LN (LG tend) male gnome rog 2/ brd 2
2) Sir Cyrus of Furyondy: LG male human paladin 4 (future Adamantine Knight)
3) Kshatriya Jundage Undirra: LG male human knight 4
4) Journeyman Soulsmith Kohain Khazakh: LG male mtn dwarf cleric (of Moradin) 4 (future Thaumaturgist)
5) Calis Horson: CN male human rog 2/ ftr 2, makes good use of tumbling feints
6) Mel'kar the Sly: N (CN tend) male human sor 4

Sunsebb 24, 588 CY: Kohain beats Sir Cyrus in drinking bout to represent UL in Flood Festival. Katan had returned to his poetry from the academy, and is now doing quite well orating in several low-end venues.

Sunsebb 26: Lord Sachor and Sir Cyrus not present when the Stormblades harass UL at the Coy Nixie. Calis responds after several minutes of goading from Annah Taskerhill, by showing her his . . . "member" . . . and spends the first of several nights in jail. The recently polished reputation of the UL is now tarnished.

Needfest 3, 589 CY: Katan had written a satire about how an eccentric paladin would go off to ostensibly fight monsters, but actually had trysts with a mistress in town. He performs this at the Street Performances, most see it as a hysterical barb against the absent paladin Alek Tercival, and the latter becomes a laughing stock in absentia. Katan is invited to the Lathenmire house that evening, and gains a patron. Sadly (see below), he will never finish writing his commissioned work.

Needfest 4: Calis is called the "Longest Leaper in Cauldron." Jundage wins first place in the strongman competition, and Atar bitterly wins second.

Needfest 5: Kohain beats Atar in Drink Down the Flood! this day.

Needfest 6: Kohain wins the Drink Down the Flood! tournament.

Needfest 7: Kohain goes 21 rounds with the celebrity lush Lord Vhalantru before the former finally passes out. The Undercity Liberators are honorifically called the Undercity Libators now, and the group happily accepts the honor. That night, at the Demonskar Ball, UL is interrupted and asked to see Jenya ASAP. Katan, who had invited Skie Aldersun as his escort, promises that he won't be long and that he will see her later the next morning. Jenya informs the party of her sending and Sarcem Delasharn's unknown fate. UL leaves on horses (and a pony for Lord Sachor) that very night.

Fireseek 1: Lord Sachor and Calis Horson seek to recon the Lucky Monkey and come in through the jungle side in the rear where they encounter two deinonychi eating from a pile of bodies stuck back there like cordwood. It is a tough fight, but both are killed. The party, fearing the worst for their friends, go to the Lucky Monkey. After an initial first strike, they are pressed out of the LM by Tongueater, Alleybashers, and hillfolk. Jundage Undirra is decapitated by Tongueater. Sir Cyrus lies at death's door. Kohain finds the body pile, including Calis and Katan, in the rear during the battle. The party finally kills Tongueater and the minions that followed outside. They can't tote the large, armored body of Jundage, and barely that of Sir Cyrus, so Kohain and Mel'kar decide to make a redoubt in the room above the kitchen. They are all ridiculously wounded and fearful that their lives will now, too, end.

Fireseek 2: Party saved by Dabar (NPC N male half-elf druid 5/ nature's warrior 2 and his animal companion, a massive wolf named . . . "Wolfe") and healed. Party saves Shensen Tesseril and kills or routes the rest of the bandits. They study the Ebon Triad symbol, recognize it (with NPC help), and are alarmed.

Fireseek 4: Party arrives in Cauldron and updates Jenya, delivering Sarcem's body.

Fireseek 11: Jundage's funeral (after Calis and Katan earlier that week). The Empyreal Mendicant, Saint of the Poor of Cauldron, is the eulogist. There, the party meets a dark and intense woman in her late 20s named Klxzy Klennet Klesh - NPC LG female sanctified rog 5, former rog 5/ assassin 4 but was turned to the path of good by Mendicant after 3 failed attempts on his life and turned over to a very high-level priest of St. Cuthbert for "rehabilitation" (sanctification) and had forgone all of her assassin levels. The party doesn't know of her past. She is now the party thief, though as she continues through the adventure, she seems more like a paladin with a rogue's suite of abilities and mighty holy abilities. She later goes to Sasserine and is trained to be a Slayer of Domiel in the service of the Church of St. Cuthbert to deliver final judgment against the wicked. Not counting The Mendicant (more of an enigma than an adventurer), she is the longest-running character in the campaign to the present day. She joins the party at Mendicant's behest (for being a beggar, he is incredibly charismatic). The party also meets and adopts an NPC male tibbit (seems like a halfling) rogue 5 named Fatfoot.

Fireseek 12: Another bloody day. The transport cage in the Kopru ruins, seemingly sturdy, is filled with PCs when it is sent across (with Klxzy in the winch room since she is best at climbing hand-over-hand when they get there). A third of the way across, 90' above the water, the rope snaps and the cage plummets to the phosphorescent waters below. Sir Cyrus, unable to swim in his heavy armor, strives mightily but sinks into the depths; Klxzy gives him a kiss underwater to say goodbye to him before she heads up to help Kohain. Kohain is also in peril, and not nearly as strong as Cyrus, but Klxzy had thrown him the end of the rope that had snapped and was still securely connected to the pulleys above after tying her own rope to it. Kohain has to tie himself off, and then ends up having to take off his full plate armor as no one can lift him upwards. Meanwhile, Shensen is able to reach the shore by herself decently enough, but Mel'kar and Fatfoot are harried by the skulvyn in addition to being terrible swimmers. Fatfoot falls unconscious and is carried away to be snacked upon by the water demon. Tragically, Mel'kar dies 10' from the shore, in sight of Shensen, due to accumulated wounds suffered from the skulvyn's slashing tails. His death marked the last of the original characters.

Ch 3 death total: 5 PCs, 2 NPCs.

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Fireseek 12 (Cont'd), 589 CY: Party manages to head back to far side of ruins, amble back up the rope, and retreat to Cauldron.

Fireseek 13: UL, under leadership of Kohain Khazakh, meet Atar again (now barbarian 5) and plead for his swordarm, citing the treasure they are likely to find in the ancient ruins. The party also meets a man from a place called the "Ivory Kingdoms." Wanderer - LN male human monk 5, user of a strange and capable defensive art known as Sainika. He is a master at battlefield control, and forcing enemies to target him with AOOs and yet he rarely is harmed. Klxzy is trapped by Skaven Umbermead's sepia snake sigil that was left in the hidden cubby behind the bookshelf. The last survivor of the Lucky Monkey counterattack, Journeyman Soulsmith Kohain Khazakh, is killed when he is harpooned by a harpoon spider and unable to free himself from the beast or fight back effectively. The third member is a male half-elf/ half-vampire rgr 3 with both the Wyrm-Blooded AND Mark of the Beast traits named Opeth (archery specialist).

Ch 3 death total: 6 PCs, 2 NPCs.

Fireseek 15: Atar has the combat day of his life, plowing easily and handily through the alerted bandits. Wounded, he recklessly sallies forth and opens the door to Triel's room. She was alerted, so is in full armor and buffed to the max (despite not being IN the buff). The party has an amazing combat, but Atar's head is crushed by a maxed-out Power Attack critical to his skull by Triel's flail. Ironically, he was 20 XP away from gaining his first level as a fist of the forest. Wanderer stuns Triel, who drops her flail, and the characters pound her . . . still with difficulty, but take her out.

Fireseek 16: While UL rests and is leaderless and in disarray, the remains of a crack mercenary squad, run like a military unit, enters the ruins. They consist of . . .

1) The Captain, who is a no-nonsense, dashing, heroic, middle-aged man. He does not discuss his past, but it is known by his men that he was a captain in the army of Veluna and that he is likely some noble. He is actually Prince Theron Grinish, heir-apparent to the Duchy of Grinish in Veluna. He was with the small joint-task force of Furyondians and Velunans, led by Crown Prince Thrommel of Furyondy, many years prior that was sent to flush out Iuz worshippers. Thrommel's hubris had them fight against overwhelming odds when it wasn't necessary, and Prince Grinish was one of the few survivors. On Fireseek 15, entering town, he meets and recognizes The Mendicant for his true ID, but says nothing. He is an NPC LN male human warmage 5/ elemental savant of air 3, and all spells he casts with energy desciptors are (without choice) given the electricity descriptor instead. Worshiper of St. Cuthbert.

2) Sergeant Achilles MacAvemeth. A local boy from Hollowsky, returned two years later. He is long-shadowed. PC LN (LG) male human fighter 6, though in later adventures he becomes good over time. He specializes with the mercurial greatsword and sundering weapons.

3) Lieutenant Tac'tilliminianaire. A noble N githyanki ftr 5 PC, but his player drops out after three sessions when he moves and Tact (as he is called for his name and his apparent lack of tact) becomes an NPC.

This group enters the ruins, finds the remains of the Undercity Libators, and absorbs them into the Shattered Swords Mercenary Company [SSMC], which itself lost a few members days ago on the way into Cauldron by saving a village that was being attacked by a force of ogre bandits. This marks the end of the Undercity Libators. The SSMC continues on, smashes Tarkilar and his skeleton, find the wands, and save the city over the next two days.

Vigil is held, and Klxzy is finally freed from the sepia snake sigil days later.

Ch 3 death total: 6 PCs, 3 NPCs. Truly a bloody chapter.
SCAP Death Total: 8 PCs, 4 NPCs.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber


Lots of downtime for characters, including a trip to Sasserine for Klxzy and Achilles. The former to train and pick up the Slayer of Domiel prestige class, the latter to learn forge secrets for weaponsmithing. Three others also join the group at this time.

---Shattered Swords Mercenary Company [SSMC] Party Roster---
1) The Captain, NPC LN human m warmage 5/ elemental savant of air 3.
2) LT Tact, NPC (former PC) N githyani m ftr 5.
3) LT Karen, Wayfinder of Fharlanghn, NPC NG human f clr 7. (Instantly promoted to LT as the group's chaplain.)
4) SGT Achilles MacAvemeth, LN (LG) human m ftr 6.
5) CPL Kamoro of No House, NPC LG exalted human m samurai 1/ kensai 5/ iaijutsu master 1.
6) PVT Klxzy Klennet Klesh, NPC LG sanctified human f rog 5/ slayer of Domiel 1.
7) PVT Opeth, N half-elf/ half-vampire m rgr 5, archery specialist.
8) PVT Wanderer, LN human m mnk 6 - mobility & Sainika specialist.
9) PVT Sperrax, CG centaur m scout 2.

Coldeven 15, 589 CY: Karen, Achilles, Kamoro, Klxzy, and Sperrax defeat a rampaging fiendish umber hulk.

Coldeven 19: SSMC accepts Davked's offer to save his son from Bhal-Hamatugn. LT Tact & CPL Kamoro left in the newly purchased/ renovated 10-room grand house that SSMC uses as a base of ops, to see after house, staff, and affairs in town.

Coldeven 21: SSMC saves Crazy Jared Gottrod. Seeing that Achilles (given a fly spell by Karen) will kill him before he can escape, Gottrod hovers and commits a full-round attack against Achilles with everything he has, harpooning the sergeant through the chest on the very last strike - killing him instantly. A combined electrical attack and a holy eye ray from Klxzy obliterate Gottrod (he had taken much damage previously) who falls from the sky without any chance of inertia giving him forward momentum. When asked via speak with dead if he wanted to return to life, Achilles spirit flatly mentioned: "The Captain needs me."

Ch 4 Deaths: 1 PC.

Coldeven 22: Sperrax sent back to Cauldron, carrying Achilles's body, and is attacked that night by 6 ogres, barely escaping with less than 20 hp.

Coldeven 23: Sperrax hobbles back into Cauldron with Achilles. LT Tact uses the ample party treasury to raise Achilles, the latter who is to remain in Cauldron to heal. Kamoro's recruiting efforts bring the following 2 members ...
1) PVT Pytril, CG elf m warblade 6, proponent of the double-sword in the Iron Heart tradition.
2) PVT Gadol, LN half-giant m psychic warrior 5, with Huge crystal greatsword.

Coldeven 25: Gadol killed by a random hill giant. Closed range instead of running away, and was killed quickly.

Ch 4 Deaths: 2 PCs.

Coldeven 26: SSMC enters the Pit of Seven Jaws. Opeth and Karen are flash-frozen, and Pytril falls in mighty battle against the monstrosity. The rest of SSMC has trouble, though sneak attacks by Klxzy and massive electrical damage by The Captain, with wolf pack tactics used to force the cryhohydra to split its attacks, barely win the day. The dead are buried.

Ch 4 Deaths: 3 PCs, 2 NPCs.

Coldeven 27: On the way back to base camp to heal, the party saves Denzeneous Pride from a pack of dire apes. He then accompanies the party: Denzeneous Pride - N human m cleric of Wee Jas 6, with Mind and Planning Domains . . . and his undead cohort shadow, Max [Undead Leadership]. One of the dire apes is turned into a dire ape shadow, and Denzeneous commands it through Max as well. Klxzy is not happy about two shadows in the party. Party reaches base camp.

Growfest 2, 589 CY: SSMC returns to Cauldron and Pride joins as a Sergeant, while Max (and the dire ape shadow) are commanded to stay outside Cauldron. He doesn't realize that Max clevely uses the dire ape and himself to conduct random attacks on the odd traveller, turning them into shadows.

Growfest 3: SSMC heads north, and SGT Pride manages to contact Max for the shadows to join them. Max was already waiting, but he and the dire ape shadow moved away from their progeny to meet Pride. Pride never knew what happened.

Growfest 4: Shadow infestation gets worse. The Empyreal Mendicant (off camera, if you will), with the help of the Striders of Fharlanghn and CPL Kamoro PVT Klennet (both of whom stayed behind), manage to hunt down and destroy the Shadow Menace, but it takes a few days.

Growfest 5: Party is not harmed by Aabhaca, and camp outside the main entrance to Bhal-Hamatugn. Denzeneous Pride receives a vision that a great minotaur is "Death's Champion" and that he is its "Divine Guardian" and to follow the wisdom of an undead creature that has been sent to replace Max...SGT Pride didn't know there was a need to replace him. Thrakka Nuur, an albino, immature minotaur (only 6th ECL) was trekking through the underdark when he came across Bhal-Hamtugn's far shores. He is attacked by a Large-size shadow and a man-sized one, and barely dispatches the former before he can barely crawl (STR somewhere around 3 or 4 by now) to the rowboat and the kuo-toa ferryman waiting to take him across to BH (Max retreats to Pride across the water). The party helps the minotaur, though suspicious, but Klxzy and Pride assure them he is not evil.

Growfest 6: Mendobarl, a human (former male) skeletal creature ninja 2/ clr 3 of Wee Jas reaches the party and quietly vows allegiance to serve Pride. He has a written parchment which says that he succumbed to a poison after liberating an important Jasidian magical artifact - a scythe named Caput Mortuum. Mendobarl walks up to Max and strikes it down in two blows, and writes that Pride's poor choice of a companion had dire effects for the city of Cauldron.

Ch 4 Deaths: 3 PCs, 2 NPCs, 1 undead cohort NPC.

The party faces not only a bloodbath, but a potential TPK once they reach the great hall. They defeat the kuo-toa handily enough, despite some interesting derring-do and falls off the ledge. In fact, Mangh-Mictho never got finished wearing his armor before Thrakka Nuur blasted open the door (Power Attack and uber-strength) before the party swarmed the whip and killed it.

Then came Aushanna, and it was a massive running battle. SSMC stayed in the back three rooms, but judicious use of teleport and Flyby Attack and the party was constantly getting strafed and trying to assemble in defensible position. She was wounded badly, but Mendorbarl was destroyed when she threw out a an unholy blight. Tact (who had returned with the Captain and reduced in rank to PVT due to mismanagement of funds, aka embezzlement) was finished off by unholy blight of all things. The Captain, whom SSMC desperately tried to defend, was taken out by flaming arrows; he disappeared with his equipment (a contingency took him back to his homeland). Wanderer lay self-stabilized on the balcony outside the Mangh-Mictho's inner sanctum. Aushanna, out of reach of the minotaur, charmed it with the knowledge that she will allow it to live and will get all of his friends' wealth if he just kills that pesky cleric. In two strokes (including a crit), SGT Denzeneous Pride was bifurcated. Aushanna disappeared. Thrakka found Wanderer and noticed he still lived, and too ashamed and wounded to loot his own friends, quit the fortress and left Bhal-Hamatugn.

Ch 4 Deaths: 4 PCs, 4 NPCs (1 resurrected, but elsewhere), 2 undead cohort NPCs. More to come ...

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber


Planting 3-10, 589 CY: Achilles left Kamoro in charge, and travels north to give what aid he can to the Captain. He intercepts Thrakka Nuur and Wanderer at base camp and learns of the death of so many. Brokenhearted that he could not return to the Captain in time, he leads the two survivors back to Cauldron and abdicates to Klxzy, who seems to be an inspiring lady with a keen intellect and able to move people. Klxzy becomes the new Captain of the Shattered Swords, and it is learned that the Captain had a contingency upon him, but he figured that when he "dies" he would be sent home to be raised and use that event as the impetus to help his parents with the Duchy of Falsridge.

Planting 11: SSMC leaves in full. This time, their ranks also include the holy beggar, The Empyreal Mendicant himself, who vows to help them in the battle against the erinyes but not their mercenary mission dealing with Zenith Splintershield.

Planting 17: SSMC captures Aabhaca, but later let him go. The party takes the time to pound at the 80 ft. lobster statute when Aushanna returns. This is when The Mendicant reveals that his double-hunched-back is actually a pair of painfully bound wings. He is a LG half-celestial human saint, monk 5/ dawn spear adept 3, and practitioner of Sebun-Do (a healing-based martial art) with the Vow of Poverty. Aushanna didn't have a chance with this group. Mendicant was able to outmaneuver Aushanna in the air and totally overcome her DR with his normal longspear as he strikes as both good- and magic weapons; Klxzy blasted her repeatedly with holy rays of light from her eyes, and Achilles, who became good-aligned after his death experience, got the killing blow (and several before that) with his bow and is now known as Achilles "Devil-Bane." The Mendicant, exposed for what he is and complete with his mission, returns to Cauldron. A few days later, the group finds the robes he thought to wear again lying on the ground, understanding that the Mendicant will no longer hide his presence in the world.

Planting 18: Zenith Splintershield is captured, but Wanderer is killed by the invisible stalker, and is buried outside the Pit of Seven Jaws the following day.

Planting 21: While the group was resting at Crazy Jared's pavilion (rod of splendor) a roc attacks. Crazy Jared is killed, and Achilles is carried off but winks out of view. (A contingency that The Captain ensured Tact would carry out had Achilles sent to Veluna to be raised and to continue to serve The Captain, where he does so to this day.)

Planting 23: The same roc, angry that the meal it had disappeared, and now healed of its burn scars (Achilles earned Aushanna's bow), follows and attacks SSMC in sight of Cauldron's North Gate. The party is able to drive off the roc with The Mendicant's help. Zenith Splintershield is covered in blue paint when a limner accidentally drops his bucket on him, thus completing the first of the four prophecies that Zenith leveled against the party. (Wanderer would be killed by someone in blue, which is true, albeit Zenith became "blue" after Wanderer died.) End of Chapter Four.

Ch 4 Deaths: 5 PCs (1 resurrected but out of campaign), 5 NPCs (1 resurrected, but out of campaign), 2 undead cohort NPCs.

Total SCAP Deaths: 13 PCs (1 resurrected & out of campaign), 9 NPCs (1 resurrected & out of campaign), 2 undead cohort NPCs.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber


---Shattered Swords Mercenary Company [SSMC] Party Roster---
1) CPT Klxzy Klennet Klesh, NPC LG sanctified human f rog 5/ slayer of Domiel 2.
2) LT Kamoro of No House, NPC LG exalted human m samurai 1/ kensai 5/ iaijutsu master 2.
3) SGT Oskar Strakeln, NG mountain dwarf m cleric of Pelor 7 - forgotten item is that he was in the group that defeated Aushanna.
4) PVT Solvin of the Burning Wood, CG high elf m warlock 5/ enlightened spirit 2
5) PVT Thrakka Nuur, minotaur, wielder of Caput Mortuum.
6) Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Dumarov, half-human/ half-amethyst dragon psion (telepath) 4. Not a member of SSMC, but an associate.

PVT Sperrax, CG centaur m scout 2, feels penned in by the strictures of town and company, and is released from his contract by CAPT Klesh. He later befriends Dabar, who is investigating deaths of powerful creatures that are consumed and drained.

Klxzy, Kamoro, Oskar, and Solvin travel to Sasserine for better equipment, specialized training, and camaraderie.

Thrakka Nuur caused discord in the party when it was discovered that only someone with "unholy" power (manipulates negative energy) can learn to unlock the secrets of the scythe, Caput Mortuum. Thrakka remands custody of his scythe to the Cathedral of Wee Jas until such time as he is worthy of its use, and becomes a pupil of the church with Calmus Vel as his primary teacher.

Yevgeniy, a fantastically brilliant scholar, seeks to study directly under The Empyreal Mendicant in a variety of scholarly fields, and stays with him at Mendicant's Mount.

Flocktime 4, 589 CY: Mendicant's Mount is attacked by a bestial-looking, yet intelligent, giant named Ghoroshuz. He is easily repelled by The Mendicant. Ghoroshuz vows his revenge, and that night finds and consumes 10 out of 15 orcs he finds.

Ghoroshuz waylays a hill giant with his orcs, and devours giant and orcs all ... all the while continuing to grow. This starts a massive feeding frenzy wherein Ghoroshuz kills and consumes stone giants, rocs (including the one that killed Crazy Jared and Achilles), apes, a spawn of Dhorlot, and the roc's mate over the next several weeks. He finds a helm of brilliance in the lair of the larger female roc, and with his immense size, strength, and this powerful item, he returns for revenge. Dabar and Sperrax, having noticed that something large is getting dramatically larger and killing mighty creatures, goes to discuss this problem with The Mendicant. Yevgeniy, on the other hand, is sent to Cauldron to get supplies for himself.

Flocktime 15-28: Ghoroshuz, now tremendously huge, storms Mendicant's mount. Dabar, Wolfe, and Sperrax are all killed by the power of the helm of brilliance (which Ghoroshuz does not conserve) and prismatic sprays. The Mendicant himself is blinded and poisoned, and he only escapes by flying straight upwards at all possible haste. The blindness wears off, but he is weakened by the poison flies to Cauldron to seek help from his colleague, Kristof Jurgenson, staying there for fear of the giant.

Side Trek Deaths: 2 NPCs, 1 animal companion.

Yevgeniy researches and learns, with Mendicant's descriptions, that Ghoroshuz is a dusk giant, a creature whose size and strength wax and wane based on how much life force it has consumed in a day. The Mendicant is fearful for what this may mean for the future, but feels powerless to do anything about it at this time.

Yev sets himself up as a sage at the Drunken Morkoth, and drinking and discussing wise subjects with Tyro Amberhelm. Seeing the taxes increase in town and believing them unjust, he begins to sow discord at some of the middle class and poor establishments among merchants, caravan guards, and the like. He finds a ready audience.

Wealsun 9: Klxzy is killed by a pair of vrocks that attack SSMC that evening as they journey home from Sasserine. Two new characters show up to help the party ...
1) Urdarumaedin, NPC NG exalted forest gnome rog 2/ brd 6/ skirmisher druid 1 w/ the Words of Creation feat, seeking to one day be a Sublime Chord AND Fochlucan Lyrist.
2) Rillian Stonepuddle, NG deep halfling rog 7/ shadowdancer 2, with intention to become a duelist at next level.

Side Trek Deaths: 3 NPCs, 1 animal companion.

Everyone is covered in ivy growths by battle's end, and find that cutting them off doesn't quite help.

Wealsun 10: Oskar informs Mendicant (via sending) of Klxzy's death, the latter whom sends Thrakka and Yev to procure horses and go north with all possible haste. Oskar then casts summon lesser planar ally and asks Pelor for help. Seconds later Gnayah, an equinal guardinal, appears.

Wealsun 11: Yev & Thrakka receive sending and are diverted to the main road informing them that Gnayah is on his way with Klxzy's body.

Wealsun 12: Yev & Thrakka are attacked at camp by four deinonychi, with Yev nearly getting killed and Thrakka badly wounded. Gnayah intercepts them and hurries them to Cauldron. The Mendicant meets up with the main party, having "force-flown."

Wealsun 14: SSMC attacked by four babaus in the early morning and kill two, route the other two.

Wealsun 15: Thrakka pays to have Klxzy raised by his own priests with his own cash, though she now drops to level 1 Slayer of Domiel. Gnayah's task done, he disappears to run the plains of Elysium once more.

Wealsun 16: The two routed babaus find two more babaus and ambush the party, but not before each one successfully summons another babau (8 total!) Solvin and Urdarumaedin are killed. Urdarumaedin, an incarnated star-shard from another world, turns to bright blue dust (along with his equipment) and disappears.

Wealsun 17: SSMC reaches Kingfisher Hollow by late morning after burying Solvin.

Wealsun 18: SSMC meets a newly "risen" commoner who has just crawled out of a grave that appears to be greater than a hundred years old (weathered granite tombstone). The Mendicant determines that he is not undead, but given a blessed second life of sorts directly by the gods: Tommy Toper, NG m human deathless fighter 8/ risen martyr 0 with the vow of poverty. SSMC arrives in Cauldron, and Tommy and Rillian join the group. Meeting held, and ranks are dropped and decision to be a force for good, rather than just a mercenary company, is made.

Total Side Trek Deaths: 1 PC, 5 NPCs (1 raised), 1 animal companion.

Total SCAP Deaths: 14 PCs (1 raised and current, 1 resurrected & out of campaign), 14 NPCs (1 resurrected & out of campaign), 1 animal companion, 2 undead cohort NPCs.

Well the party has nearly made it to the end of Drakthar's Way (just need to find Drakthar's coffin and destroy him before he regens). There still haven't been any PC deaths but there have been some close calls.

We're up to 17 trips to negative hit point territory in 15 sessions (yep, 15 sessions in and we still haven't finished the second adventure!). There have been 6 KO's in the last 4 sessions.

Last night's session featured an unexpectedly difficult encounter against the half-orc mercenaries. My DM dice were on a hot streak with 17's, 18's and 19's coming up with alarming regularity.

The best/worst attack of the night was a Halberd critical hit (natural 20 which I confirmed with a natural 19!) by a Half-Orc Merc on the 4th level Dwarven Fighter. The half-orc had downed a potion of Bull's Strength before the battle, making the damage from the attack 3d10 + 18! This was also the PC who had unfortunately been the victim of the Green Slime just minutes earlier (for 5 Con damage!).

Fortunately for him I managed to roll a total of only 7 on 3d10. Even still, this took him from full hit points to only 2. With a couple of slightly above average d10 rolls he would have been dead in one hit.

The player of the PC does seem to be awfully unlucky when it comes to dice though. In Jzadirune the same PC went from full hit points to -5 after taking a Sneak Attack from a Dark Creeper and a Rapier Critical from a Skulk in the surprise round!

Olaf the Stout

Liberty's Edge

hmm... let's see...

the gnome warmage was put to negetives by the party's own scout when the scout tried to shoot at the grell that had the gnome entangled and hit the gnome instead.

the warlock and aforementioned gnome warmage were both killed by aushana the erinyes.

but the best was again the gnome warmage being swallowed whole by the forest sloth in the old ogre cave.

and i can't even count how many lives were saved by action points.

the most disappointing death was when the pc's fought kookface. after a few rounds they were all very damaged and the warmage and warlock were the only ranged attackers (the scout left the group by this time) so hookface was barely hurt and was quite content to hover above them all and bring the flame. his primary target was the warlock who kept blasting him with touch attacks. the warlock was in the single digits when he had to make a very important choice. he was a double move away from the cleric and thus her healing but the problem was hookface's turn was right after his and just before hers. so if he ran to her for healing, hookface would light them both up before any chance of healing. so, he decided to use his last maximized eldritch blast.......and rolled a 20.......and confirmed the touch attack.....and probably saved the party from a tpk.

Rusty Flounders wrote:

---Shattered Swords Mercenary Company [SSMC] Party Roster---

1) CPT Klxzy Klennet Klesh, NPC LG sanctified human f rog 5/ slayer of Domiel 2.

Am I the only one who read this as "sanctified human frog"?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
hogarth wrote:
Rusty Flounders wrote:

---Shattered Swords Mercenary Company [SSMC] Party Roster---

1) CPT Klxzy Klennet Klesh, NPC LG sanctified human f rog 5/ slayer of Domiel 2.
Am I the only one who read this as "sanctified human frog"?

ROFL! Well, she is good at jumping! Of course, I haven't fleshed out what she can do with her tongue . . . but I don't run that kind of campaign! ;oÞ

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber


---Shattered Swords Mercenary Company [SSMC] Party Roster---
1) Klxzy Klennet Klesh, Leader of SSMC, NPC LG sanctified human female rog 5/ slayer of Domiel 2.
2) Kamoro of No House (formerly Kakita Kamoro), NPC LG exalted Crane human m samurai 1/ kensai 5/ iaijutsu master 3.
3) Rillian Stonepuddle, deep halfling m rog 7/ shadowdancer 2 - working towards duelist.
4) Oskar Strakeln, NG mountain dwarf m cleric of Pelor 8.
5) Thrakka Nuur, minotaur, LN wielder of Caput Mortuum, studying to be a cleric of Wee Jas.
6) Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Dumarov, LN half-human/ half-amethyst dragon psion (telepath) 4. Not a member of SSMC, but an associate.

Wealsun 20, 589 CY: Cauldron tax riot! Heroes save both the watch sergeant and Skylar Krewis. Thrakka Nuur, who was on the parapets with the archers to aid the Town Guard and shot at Maavu, quits his post when Lady Rhiavadi breaks open a magic item (not unlike the one he remembered Zenith Splintershield use) and believes that the creature is evil (which it is). He is later rebuked by Calmus Vel and Thrakka vows to take Caput Mortuum with him and leave, but Ike Iverson himself manages to calm Thrakka and show him that the Ruby Sorceress is best served in devotion to law, without regard to morality. Thrakka writes a long letter to Klxzy to tell her that he will continue working with SSMC only if it is understood that he will no longer carry out his duties with a mind to good or evil, but the service of the Lady's portfolio, to honor, and to law. Ike Iverson's first beautiful seeds at sowing dissent in the party, and possibly subverting the volatile-yet-honorable minotaur, is now in full swing!

Later that evening, SSMC combats the 2 huge fire elementals. They aren't evil, so Klxzy can't hurt them with her light rays. The DR is powerful enough that Kamoro can only get in an average 4 hp's damage above its DR each swing (despite being able to swing three times a round with his Rain of Blows ability), and Rillian realized that these things "don't appear to have weak spots." Yev had made significant stride in the battle with judicious use of his cerebral phantasm power, but the fire elementals seemed far more adaptable and impervious to later uses of that or his mind thrust; he gets hit and taken down to 4 hp and he runs away. Tommy, ever the hero, runs inside the burning building to investigate screaming that he hears. Oskar Strakeln, priest of Pelor, and Kamoro of No House, descended directly from Kakita Kamoro, both fall in combat and their bodies burn to a crisp. Oskar had a "DNR" since before play his backstory was he had already died and been raised some six times in the service of Pelor, and Kamoro died honorably and this death was a "good death" which gave him back his honor. Rillian and Klxzy run into the burning building so these burning juggernauts won't target them and to save the scullery boy . . . which takes them some time since Klxzy is the strongest (with STR 15).

Wealsun 22: After the memorial cremation and burial, Jenya contacts SSMC and begs them to find Alek Tercival. Klxzy, a worshiper of St. Cuthbert agrees and tells the group that it is their choice if they want to help her retrieve an important member of her church. SSMC agrees. A new member joins the party:
* Amdusaes (Dork) von Clave - N half-ogre/ half-Hillfolk human m ftr 8, a spiked chain specialist with Improved Trip, high STR and Dex, and Combat Reflexes.

Wealsun 23: SSMC travels to Redgorge and meets with The Chisel (incl Maavu).

Wealsun 24: Shensen Tesseril joins the party; by now she is a 4th-level druid (7th ECL) with her new animal companion, Evya, a jaguar.
Yev nearly dies twice trying to use psionics against the gnoll snipers, but Klxzy had invested in a ton of healing wands, scrolls, and potions before leaving . . . with no cleric and a UMD modifier of +15 she is the de facto party healer. Yev is fine. Once the party hit shore, the gnolls that weren't entangled (Shensen) are killed or routed. One gnoll survived (barely) by self-stabilizing and Tommy binds its wounds, starting a firestorm of philosophical debate. Tommy, as a NG worshiper of Pelor believes that the gnoll should not be killed out of hand now that it is no longer a threat. Thrakka believes that a kill has been stolen from Wee Jas. Klxzy, despite being a form of paladin-rogue is a more grim form of holy slayer in the service of St. Cuthbert . . . and the gnoll is an evil creature that should be destroyed. Shensen disagrees with Tommy that the gnoll should be a prisoner, since no creature (yeah, Fharlanghanites) should be imprisoned if it is felt that it should not be killed. Tommy decides at this point to develop the Vow of Nonviolence feat for next level. After defeating a very weak band of gnolls (most of them routed) on the trail, the party comes to the Old Ogre's Cave. Rillian goes to scout, but manages to keep the forest sloth from pinpointing his position. The sloth roars out of the cave to attack the party, but is actually killed relatively easily. Nidrama visits the party.

Wealsun 25: SSMC dispatches 4 dire boars as if they were prepping for a Texas pig roast, and make it to the Round Cave.

Wealsun 26: SSMC just reached Vaprak's Voice . . . the hags should be interesting, and Nabthatoron downright deadly. Though the party do have a deus ex machina in reserve if things go really wrong.

Total Deaths Ch 5 thus far: 1 PC, 1 NPC

Total SCAP Deaths: 15 PCs (1 raised and current, 1 resurrected & out of campaign), 15 NPCs (1 resurrected & out of campaign), 1 animal companion, 2 undead cohort NPCs.

Dark Archive

Second death this afternoon, bringing my count up to two. In the Kopru Ruins in Flood Season, Triel Eldurast claimed the life of Pyron Pendragon, our Wizard 2/Warmage 1/Fighter 1. After he and another party member were pinned by her door trap, Pyron managed to escape into the room and score first blood on Triel with an Acid Splash. He paid for it with his life, as Triel laid him low with a shot from her heavy flail and his lifeblood ebbed out onto the floor while his comrades (barely) managed to take her out thanks to a very timely crit from the party ranger.

wizard2/warmage1/fighter1.....thats a combination you don't see that often. Just curious , what prestige class was he aiming for? Ultimate magus eldritch knight?

A second character death has befallen my group. It happened last Thursday, during one of the all-day marathon sessions that we try to hold once every year or so.

The session culminated in an epic battle as the PCs stormed Vaprak's Voice. The alarm was raised, and the PCs managed to gain entry through the portcullis while the giants and ettins were moving into their defensive positions. When a curious pixie PC who managed to open the door to the forge during the battle was followed one round later by a confused ettin who fled to the forge and attacked the rather large smithy, the big guy just had to come investigate...

It was the paladin-monk of Heironeous who fell. The heroes had vanquished the giants and ettins and were battling the smithy. The enlarged paladin had given chase to the wounded, retreating smithy and failed her grapple check, which left her in a position unfortunate enough to receive a full volley from the brute's hammer. The remaining PCs took the big guy out two rounds later, but there was nothing they could do to save their friend.

I've received some awesome emails from my players, describing how their characters reacted to their comrade falling in battle, including the cleric of Pelor casting lesser planar ally and asking for Nidrama by name.

Perhaps the most haunting mention of the paladin's death was in the session notes, which are meticulously taken every time we meet by the player of the paladin. The entry in the notes reads simply: "The giant turns around and kills her with three ugly blows."

It was a spectacular session, and I am now planning how to respond to the lesser planar ally spell, which, though it isn't powerful enough to call Nidrama, will accomplish something.

Dark Archive

Teemuu wrote:
wizard2/warmage1/fighter1.....thats a combination you don't see that often. Just curious , what prestige class was he aiming for? Ultimate magus eldritch knight?

I think it was just a case of poor planning on the player's part - he was trying to create an effective gish and keep his hit points high, but I'm not sure why he took levels in two different spellcasting classes to do that.

Basically, he realized that the character wasn't coming out too well and offered himself up to save the rest of the party in order to bring in a straight wizard character.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber


Wealsun 26, 589 CY: Virtual TPK, that's what I call it.

The PC's killed Muggo handily, though the big brute damaged the minotaur's magical greataxe badly with a sunder attempt (but it was still together). The little steam mephit was hidden at the ceiling and only a few characters noticed it. It caused a rain of boiling water that was more annoyance than anything. It took some hits and flew north to warn the hill giants, allow its fast healing to catch up, and then fly to the throne room to make its stand with its mistresses, the fey-hags. The PC's didn't give chase, figuring (rightly) that the fleeing mephit would try to take them through a dangerous route, so they chose to take the Western passageway where they fought the five ettins that moved to this room once the area was alerted.

After mopping up the ettins, the three trumpet archons appeared . . . and the entire party was fooled. The half-ogre was getting upset as to why he wasn't being "honored" as he needs his strength even more than the ridiculously strong minotaur. Klxzy did not feel the effects of the dark reaver poison. The archons left, wishing the heroes luck on their mission, disappearing from sight.

The party next found the room of the elixir. Everyone except for the psionicist (who felt that the elixir would be pointless for him) and Shensen took the elixir and felt strong. (I withheld the effects on Wisdom until later when they needed their Wisdom, since the euphoria that comes with the elixir doesn't make you think you "lost Wisdom.") That is when Shensen remarked "beware the three false sisters," quoting Nidrama. She had forgotten. The party knew there would be a price to pay, but did not know what it was.

Then came the pain ...

Thrakka, Tommy, and Klxzy burst into the throne room ... but the covey cast a 20-foot cube forcecage on the remainder of the party in the corridor to the south. Thrakka was fighting Kymzo with Tommy, when Klxzy was next trapped in a full-forcecage. Tommy and Thrakka "kill" the mephit and then Thrakka is trapped in a full-forcecage. This isolated Tommy. Meanwhile, a hag dominated the halfling.

Tommy Toper fought bravely and dropped Olorasta, but she stabilized. Tommy scored considerable damage against Sminelpa as well. But alas, he was reduced to 0 hp's and was instantly "destroyed" as he was a risen martyr ... moving on to his afterlife with his few simple weapons behind but no trace of his body.

Thrakka tried to break out of his forcecage with a full power attack and finished what the giant started ... by breaking his magical greataxe. He took out his greatclub and waited, and topped off his hit points with a simple potion.

Inside the corridor forcecage with the bars, the real horror show began. Rillian (the shadowdancer) ran to the back of the group and hid in plain sight using his ability as a shadowdancer, but his teammates did not yet know he was dominated and figured he was being cautious. He then appeared next the the half-amethyst dragon telepath and stuck him through the ribs with his Amaranth-enhanced strength, magic rapier of wounding, and 4d6 sneak attack . . . collapsing the psion's lung and nicking his heart. The psion went down and - since he had everyone mindlinked - pretended to be dead but let everyone know what was happening mentally. Unfortunately, once a mindlink is open its a party channel . . . and Rillian knew what was happening. He finished the psion off. What followed was a cat-and-mouse game in which Rillian was temporarily stunned by Shensen and knocked around twice by the big half-ogre, but Rillian's slippers of spider climbing and insane Hide modifier allowed him to snipe almost with impunity. Meanwhile, a hag (not using magic) allowed the half-ogre fighter to make a choice to join them. He attacked Shensen with his spiked chain for nonlethal damage and her jaguar, not knowing better, attacked Amdusaes, the latter who had to kill the jaguar. The ruse was seen through, and he had to knock out Shensen with normal damage (exceeding her nonlethal damage). When he refused to rip her head off, Rillian (who could have been taken out with one more hit) finished off the badly wounded half-ogre with a downwards, ceiling-launched strike to the skull.

Rillian coup de grased Shensen. The slaughter in the forcecage was complete. Rillian was dominated to show them what healing potions were available, and the half-ogre had scrunches of them. The hags healed their fallen sister, then Sminelpa, and finally their new and very dangerous thrall.

The hags and Rillian surrounded Thrakka's forcecage and dismissed it. Before Thrakka had an action, the Amaranth-ed minotaur was confused and stood babbling incoherently for several rounds while he was taken from an augmented 32 Strength down to 4 Strength, and with a couple of claw attacks (but mainly Rillian's flank-sneak attacks and rapier of wounding) Thrakka fell with only his last round of life getting a single hit on Sminelpa. Long live the memory of the honorable albino minotaur.

Same thing, healing potions nearly depleted and every baddy topped off again. Klxzy's forcecage is surrounded and dismissed. The baddies didn't realize that she has a permanent magic circle vs. evil effect, and when the forcecage dropped mental control over Rillian was lost. Horrified at his actions (he still remembers his actions), the two rogues began to knock the hags silly with Rillian always staying within 10 feet of Klxzy. Olomasta falls (again, but stabilizes again). Sminelpa (again) is a hair's breadth from death, when Tribata gets off a whopper of a spell on Klxzy . . . eyebite, and she fails her save despite her high Con, divine grace, and bonuses against evil spells. She is sickened, and runs screaming up the stairs (the only way that wouldn't provide an AOO and was randomly rolled) and continues down the corridor that happens to have the Starry Mirror.

Now out of range, Tribata's control is reestablished on Rillian and he is told to stand fast. Tribata pursues Klxzy to keep her panicked. She runs into the room where an ersatz Alek Tercval sits. She is so panicked that she doesn't even register him, notes something funny about the mirror, and "crashes" through only to find she didn't crash though at all. The kalareem nerra can't pursue her in the in-between phase, and Tribata believes her to be "lost forever."

Many minutes later, after she regains her wits and overcomes her sickness, she begins to put her brilliant mind to use. She happened to have the hegemonic plate with her (as well as the party treasury) and after awhile is able to reason out the combination using the key.

She appears later in the ancient vault with Alek Tercival and quickly manages to talk him out of his stupor. So you have a traditional paladin of St. Cuthbert, and a paladin-like rogue/ slayer of Domiel of the Church of St. Cuthbert hanging out together. Realizing that the elixir (and her 23 Str) probably has a limited amount of time, she borrows Alek Tercival's sword and systematically rends the great iron door. She puts her faith in St. Cuthbert, and with lots of food and water that Mikimax provided and is stored in her Heward's Handy Haversack (along with party treasury) she is going to wait things out first before trundling out into the great, bright, confusingly sudden apparition of a desert beyond. Nabthatoron won't come until the "new party" comes along since Klxzy waits for the "a holy warrior will come to offer aid" as promised by Nidrama makes an appearance, if at all. And so she and Alek hold a prayer vigil to the Saint and wait.

Rillian is now a total thrall to Tribata . . . for now. But the power of the Shattered Swords Mercenary Company is itself shattered.

Total Deaths Ch 5 thus far: 1 PC, 2 NPCs, 1 animal companion.

Total SCAP Deaths: 19 PCs (1 raised and current, 1 resurrected & out of campaign), 16 NPCs (1 resurrected & out of campaign), 2 animal companions, 2 undead cohort NPCs.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rusty Flounders wrote:


Then came the pain ...

I screwed that up, total deaths in Chapter 5 thus far: 4 PCs, 2 NPCs, 1 animal companion.

The full-SCAP totals are correct.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wealsun 26, 589 CY: Not yet knowing the group's fate, Nidrama convinces The Empyreal Mendicant that it is time for him to step up to his destiny and purpose as a demon-slayer, and to catch up with the Shattered Swords Mercenary Company (SSMC) and lend what aid he can against the Lord of the Demonskar. The Mendicant contacts several academic adventurers he knows from Bluecrater Academy philosophy discussions and convinces them to join him on his quest.

Current Roster:
(1) The Empyreal Mendicant, male half-celestial/ half-human saint, monk 5/ dawn spear adept 3 (ECL 11th) with vow of poverty.
(2) Master Chin Deng-Niu (Lantern Ox), male Kara-Turi human monk 6/ shintao monk 1/ acolyte of the fist 2; practitioner of several martial styles (mainly Kaze-Do), and wielder of the legacy item Scales of Balance (a quarterstaff).
(3) San-Chow Pan-Zhan, the Zhanshi Zuihandi (Drunken Warrior), commonly called "Zhan"; servant, henchmen, major domo, and master cook for Master Chin; male Kara-Turi human monk 6/ drunken master 1, and practitioner of Drunken Mantis style.
(4) Jalanar "the Jovial" la Fontaine III, male human antimagic domain wizard 7 with vow of nonviolence and vow of peace and devotee of Lashtai, sort of like a hippie that believes in peace and love, but likes the good life.
(5) Skeefosefer, femal musteval (type of celestial/ equinal) familiar to Jalanar. Usually poses as a particularly small and petite halfling.

Party gets to Redgorge, where they are invited to a meeting with the Foremen of the Chisel, and is given the same information as their forebears. Also present are Fario Ellegoth and Fellian Shard. Both of these half-elves (now ECL 7th) are in direct contact with their "handler" and have been directed to find Shensen and retrieve her body and to help save Alek Tercival to keep the area from being destabilized with war between Cauldron and Redgorge. Since Shensen was in telepathic contact right up to the moment of her unconsciousness, the half-elves have paper copies of the hegemonic plate and have a very thorough intelligence of what was faced by SSMC in Vaprak's Voice.

Over the next few days, the party defeats a new band of gnolls that have taken up guarding the area of the Headless Demon (competing tribe with the ones which were killed by SSMC) and they are sent running for their lives. That night at the Old Ogre's cave, a dire tiger attacks. Zhan is too headstrong and is killed. Nidrama appears and gives the new party what information they need, repeating to Mendicant what he needs as well. She raises Zhan, and because of a DM flub, he comes back exactly at the experience and level he was when he died, with the bonus in XP gained for the party's defeat of the dire tiger. Death is still death, so chalk up another one (though raised) for this chapter.

Two days later, they make their first foray into Vaprak's Voice. They are met by the grizzly scene of the bodies of the fallen SSMC members - beheaded with heads stacked on the ground, and strung up together, their bodies having had chunks ripped out to serve as meat; one group on each person is a "small chunk".

Rillian Stonepuddle was the guardian of the entrance, and his second sneak attack (the first arrows shattered against Jalanar's skin) scores a solid hit and Rillian (on the ceiling) runs off. The Mendicant follows, and once in his protective aura, the domination no longer affects Rillian and he finally succumbs to the horror of not only nearly single-handedly killing his entire party, but then being dominated to eat from the remains of each one. Party withdraws, and Rillian tells all he knows, numbed somewhat by Jalanar's calming aura (or, "aura of stoned" as we call it). The Amaranth Elixir stops affecting him that evening.

The next day, with careful planning and preparation, the party storms Vaprak's Voice. Mendicant and Rillian stay behind to deal with the three giants, though Mendicant's longspear is broken quickly in battle, all of whom carry armor or items taken from fallen SSMC members. Meanwhile, the rest sneak by invisibly to ambush the hags in their lair. None notice that the bodies of the fallen are missing.

They meet and do battle with the hags in the throne room, but find that all of the fallen SSMC have been animated as zombies with the exception of the minotaur, who appears to be a skeleton in nasty hide armor. The minotaur in battle explains that the hags control him explicitly, but if they kill Olomasta (the one with the hag's eye) he might be freed but is powerless til then; he nearly crushes the life out of Fario. It seems that the Goddess of Death gifted her Harbinger with the bone creature template instead of him being a mindless skeleton. Master Chin destroys the zombie half-ogre Amdusaes but gets caught in a 10-foot cube forcecage. Fellian turns the half-dragon, half-drow, and jaguar zombies.

Thinks look dire for the group as Jalanar and Fellian end up getting immobilized by the hags weakness touches, Fario wriggles free of Thrakka (the minotaur) but is nearly killed, Zhan is fighting too defensive a battle to be very effective . . . when Mendicant flies in with Rillian and helps save the day. Mendicant grapples an already loopy Olomasta (good use of mass whelm by Jalanar) into unconsciousness, Thrakka is freed and drops Tribata, and Sminelpa is taken out in short order. Thrakka finishes off Sminelpa, while Rillian finishes off Tribata (the one that dominated him in the first place).

The party adjourns to the Fountain room to give the elixir to the two fallen spellcasters when the zombies return. Mendicant holy smites them all - blasting zombie Shensen and Zombie Yevgeniy - and wounding both Thrakka and the zombie jaguar. Thrakka takes it stoically, and the party dispatches of the zombie jaguar, but not before a powerful headbutt from it nearly kills Fario.

The party adjourns to the throne room for focused healing and stripping of bodies (anyone left alive were killed by Rillian when he snuck off to deliver his vengeance on the remaining alive hag and all three unconscious giants) and recover some gear. Next day they get a ton of stuff from the hag's lair, including a lot of weapons, magic, and capital taken from SSMC. Alakast is recovered, and Zhan now wields it, though it is not known exactly what it does.

Thrakka is now a 1st-level cleric, Zhan a 2nd-level drunken master, and Jalanar an 8th-level antimagic domain wizard.

Total Deaths Ch 5 thus far: 5 PCs (1 raised and current, another animated currently as undead), 2 NPCs, 1 animal companion.

Total SCAP Deaths: 20 PCs (2 raised and current, 1 resurrected & out of campaign), 16 NPCs (2 resurrected & out of campaign), 2 animal companions, 2 undead cohort NPCs.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber


Richfest 4, 589 CY: Klxzy is dead.

Several days before, while under the effects of the Amaranth Elixir, Klxzy Klennet Klesh used Alek Tercival's sword to rend the great iron door sealing the vault. Day after day, wandering monsters would investigate. She and Alek Tercival handily destroyed a slaymate servant and routed a necromancer. The next day, a githyanki captain and gish mercenary, paid for by Nabthatoron after his scrying revealed the open vault, killed Alek Tercival but were defeated by Klxzy. Several days of lesser creatures later (including a necrocarnum zombie palrethnee), Nabthatoron sent in a powerful zovvut named Bahorusoaz to flush out the "unseen guardian" (Klxzy had a ring of mind shielding) and retrieve proof of Tercival's death.

Though Klxzy surprised the demon with a 9d6 sneak attack (4d6 from her light ray, 5d6 from her rogue and slayer of domiel levels), the zovvut quickly turned the tables. She didn't happen to be looking at the zovvut's third eye the first round, but succumbed to its effects in the next two rounds while getting torn apart by his powerful claws. Klxzy managed to tumble out of the way, draw a scroll of dispel evil, and read it in the next round, but the round later she failed to touch Bahorusoaz and he finished her off.

He desecrated her body, took all of her and Alek's valuables and Alek's head to Nabthatoron (and some valuables, of course, to his own lair), and left Klxzy's mauled body (too mauled for a raise dead spell) and Tercival's headless corpse to rot in the ancient vault.

Only if someone comes poking around the vault to remove Tercival's body will Nabthatoron show himself . . . such as designed in the module. It is now going to be tough for the players to stop Skellerang from marching on Redgorge.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Just had our group's third death earlier tonight.

PC Name: Audric Macalevan (Male Human Fighter 2, Psychic Warrior 2, Swordsage 4, Noble Trait)

Adventure: Zenith Trajectory

Location of Death: The Main Shrine at Bhal-Hamatugn

Catalyst: Mangh Mictho the CoDzilla rampages over the party's frontliner

Long Description:

The infiltration of Bhal-Hamatugn started out poorly for the party and didn't improve. After a Comprehend Languages spell and some creative use of a Hat of Disguise allowed the party to converse with the Kuo Toa ferryman, Audric informed him that the party was there to rescue Zenith. The Canoe was tipped, and the party had to attempt an amphibious landing under crossbow fire from the temple. They did well against the perimeter guards, but the combat plus the subsequent squealing of the portcullis leading to the Kuo Toa prison pretty much eliminated any chance of surprise the party might have had.

After defeating the Mummy with relative ease, the party burst into the main shrine from the secret door under the main platform. Again, instead of trying to approach subtly to see what they were up against and maybe make some kind of plan, they just walked in and looked around. They were fairly lucky, however, in that they took 10 minutes to thoroughly smash up the torture chamber, which gave Mangh-Mictho's numerous buff spells time to expire.

Unfortunately, he had saved the 1 Round/Level spells for actual contact with the enemy, and Divine Favor, Divine Power, and the aura of the statue all combined to make a very very powerful melee monster. Audric charged right in as he is usually wont to do, but it quickly became evident that he was outmatched. He tried Enlarging himself and tripping his foes to even the odds, and even managed to do a good 50 hp of damage to Mangh Mictho in a single round, but the Kuo Toa hung in there like a bulldog, and eventually a full attack ending with a Critical Hit brought Audric down, his head neatly removed by the Cleric's Pincer Staff.

The party managed to take out the rest of the enemy Kuo Toa over the next couple rounds when the party's Archivist noticed that the statue seemed to be gathering quite a lot of energy and deduced that something nasty was on its way. The party grabbed the body of their deceased comrade AND that of Mangh Mictho (in the hopes that he had a scroll of Raise Dead) and retreated to the secret tunnel, closing the secret door behind them. They now plan to sneak out of the temple, row back across the lake, and return to Town to recover and resupply.

Audric's player has not yet decided whether he will allow Audric to be raised, or whether he wants to try out a new character.

Eric "Critic of the Dawn"

Just finished our second session last night.

Our halfling rogue had the run of Ghelve's while a couple of the other characters distracted Ghelve with the prospect of a big sale.

His interaction with the Skulk watching the secret door (including the scary looking photo and eventually a thunderstone) had the party convinced this opponent was the Silver Surfer.

Later, they were SHOCKED! when the Fey Sorcerer was ambushed by TWO such nightmares as she squeezed through a partially open gear-door. Lucky rolls and 9 points of damage put her into the negatives.

Her stalwart companions chose this opportunity to leap into in inaction - lots of looking from a distance was done. On their next action the unseen and unthreatened Skulks really stepped up and delivered a coup de grace to the dying Sorcerer before skipping off to warn the entire population of Jzadirune.

Cut to wild running down passages leading to a fantastically satisfying victory over a pulverizer automaton.

Apparently my Age of Worms hardened players didn't realize they should be bringing their A-game.

Anyway, the death count is at 1. Thanks for indulging me.

We are now 19 sessions in and I still haven't killed a single PC. I have knocked a PC into negative HP's 23 times (including 5 times during the combats at the Lucky Monkey) but they just won't die! :-P

The most recent session ended with the party at the entrance to the Kopru Ruins. There looks like there could be a couple of encounters which could kill. Knowing my party though they'll have the most trouble just trying to get across the lake! :-D (The thing my party has had the most trouble with so far is the Tilt-a-Pit Traps in Jzadirune.)

The fight against Tongue-eater, which I was expecting to be really challenging, was a real anti-climax. The Hexblade scored 2 crits with his Greatsword out of his first 3 attacks. On top of that the Dwarf Fighter scored a crit with his GreatAxe. I tried to get one of the Alleybasher reinforcements to give him a potion to get him back on his feet but they were cut down before they could.

It's hilarious, this is the first campaign that I've taken the kiddy gloves off and let the dice fall where they may. In previous campaigns I've fudged rolls to let PC's live. This time I told the players this wouldn't be the case and that we were playing a very deadly campaign. Goes to show what I know! :-)

Olaf the Stout

Olaf the Stout wrote:
We are now 19 sessions in and I still haven't killed a single PC.

Take heart! Keep at it and I'm sure your critters will prevail. In fact, I believe there may be just such an opportunity waiting in yon Kuo-toan temple...

Schmoe wrote:
Olaf the Stout wrote:
We are now 19 sessions in and I still haven't killed a single PC.
Take heart! Keep at it and I'm sure your critters will prevail. In fact, I believe there may be just such an opportunity waiting in yon Kuo-toan temple...

While my comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek, it's funny that since I have decided to let the dice fall where they may I haven't killed a single PC in a campaign regarded as a meat-grinder!

The big fight at the Kuo-Toan temple definitely looks tough. Having read all the adventures I would consider that combat to be close to the hardest fight in the campaign. It definitely has the potential to be a TPK. Having said that, I bet the PC's will find an easy way around it.

One of the biggest battle-changers so far has been the Cloud of Bewilderment spell (from Spell Compendium). It is basically a level 2 version of Stinking Cloud. On a failed Fort save a creature becomes nauseated and can only take Move actions. So far I have failed my Fort save for this spell for every main baddie. I really need to improve my dice rolling! :)

Olaf the Stout

And the devastation finally begins...

After a first set of very successful chapters, Zenith Trajectory did most of them in... but not where you'd think.

Though they struggled with Aushanna (by just hanging around the central temple room, those twits) they killed her with only one loss out of six party members, and then right after beat up Mang-Mictho without any further losses. They then quickly sneak off to a quiet uninhabited area and rope trick for 24 hours while some surviving patrols look around and find nothing. Not too shabby at all.

Instead, they get wiped out by leaving the Whips and guards from the spawning room (just before Dhorlot) alive after a quick skirmish, and rope trick immediately after for a second 24 hours a couple of rooms away. Needless to say, the 3 Whips and 1 surviving guard from the skirmish regroup in the main temple room, and let the PCs pass on their (unknowing) way to Dhorlot.

A pincer attack between the Whips and Dhorlot does them in, with only the group's sorceress escaping, thanks to invisibility, a dimension door scroll, and liberal use of her rope trick in the wilds of the Underdark.

Good times, good times.

Two deaths to report from Elite Recovery, under the city as we hunt down Cagewrights late in "Thirteen Cages."

After safe-ing the Tree last session, we sought to mop up the Cagewrights that we had bypassed. (/Find the Path/ is your friend!) Frieja and Dechrini went down easy. Shebeleth was another matter. Our two melee guys, with good weapons, set to on him and the demodand. He was able to use /Time Stop/ to good effect, and the hezrou he summoned tied up our warmage for a few rounds. Shebeleth stepped away from the fight and cut loose with /Destruction/ on our Knight. He needed to roll anything but a 1 to save.... He rolled a 1. Our support-caster tried to dispel-counter the Destruction, but he rolled a 2.
The warmage, who had been dating the Knight, was distraught. The other fighter, now alone between the two demons, wet himself. This did not last long, as the warmage hit both the hezrou and Shebeleth with an /Arc of Lightning/ that ended up hitting Shebeleth with 11x the hit points he had remaining. The rest was just mopping up.
After we picked out the magic items left on the remains of Shebeleth's corpse, we then picked up the knight's empty suit of armor and our warmage, still sobbing and holding the abandoned sword. We teleported ourselves out, as we were short on spells and down our #1 line-fighter.
There was another casualty-- the campaign. See other thread.

R.I.P. Sir Leofire.
Seven PC/cohort deaths, two permanent.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

I'll post this now, even if no deaths were involved. We finally finished our campaign, wrapping up in a movie-style scene to scene session in Thirteen Cages. And honestly, they should have been dead thrice over.

They wasted their resources on Nulin and Ardeth, and the swarm of minions. TEN rounds of mulching the small fries before they got around to the actual villians spring attacking them to death. Lucky for them they had uncanny dodge.

Then the fight with Moltenwing. They blundered their chance to negotiate and got into battle right proper. It was then I noticed that not one of his attacks could miss them. And the monk was lucky to get out of that lava before he burned to a crisp. Lucky for the cleric his god nudged him into remembering that charm to summon Celeste.

At least in the Tree room they held their own. But the monk was in trouble thanks to Harm, and would have been done if he hadn't taken Shebeleth out that turn.

I pulled back on this session, because I really didn't want to end the campaign with a TPK. And it wasn't their fault. Only three of the players stayed with me to the end, so they were hurting as it was.

But Moltenwing should have eaten their faces.

Dark Archive

Third overall fatality in our last session, which was the opening session of Zenith Trajectory. The party arrived at Crazy Jared's hut in a nice convenient cluster, and only the ranger was able to get out of the group before everyone else was hit with the breath weapon. No one died from that blast, though the cleric was knocked unconscious and the wizard went to zero HP.

Gottrod swung around to let his breath weapon recharge, and the others spread out, but not far enough. Two rounds later, he caught the paladin, the cleric, and the warlock all within the radius, knocking the paladin out and killing the warlock, Ferret, outright. If it wasn't for a high damage roll on a desperation Searing Light from the cleric, there very well could have been a TPK, as Gottrod had dropped the ranger and the paladin (again) when he finally went down.

Not to worry, though. Ferret was raised by the new high priest of St. Cuthbert, Shebeleth Regidin...

Well I very nearly had my first PC death in my SCAP campaign last night. I also came very close to my first ever TPK.

Last session the party went into the Kopru ruins. They managed to defeat all of the spiders but Skaven Umbermean KO'd 3 of the PC's with a well placed Shout spell before using Gaseous Form to escape? Where did he flee to? Triel's room. This would make the fight a bit more difficult but I thought that they could handle it. I was nearly very wrong.

The party managed to stumble across Triel's room but the Rogue rolled low for his Disable Device check on Triel's door and got pinned in place and knocked unconscious by the door blades. While the PC's were healing him up and getting him out it gave Triel time to buff up, casting Divine Favour, Shield of Faith and Bull's Strength on herself. Meanwhile Skaven made himself invisible.

After doing that Triel confidently opened the door to face the PC's. She missed the Rogue on her opening attack but hit the Hexblade twice with her Full Attack in the 2nd round, taking him down to -10. In my campaign I made a house rule that death occurs at -10 plus your Con modifer (well minus your Con modifier technically speaking). This meant that he would die at -11 instead. Luckily he had the flaw that meant he automatically stabilised. However I gave Triel a weapon crystal that does 1 fire damage the round after a successful attack, so without healing he would be dead the next round.

At the same time Skaven Umbermead cast Phantasmal Killer on the Fighter. In the previous combat with Skaven the Fighter had succumb to Skaven's Fear spell so Skaven knew that there was a good chance of the Phantasmal Killer succeeding. The player of the Fighter wasn't able to make the session and I felt a bit mean trying to kill off his player while he wasn't there but it made great sense from an in-game perspective.

From memory the Will save was DC 16 (automatic death on a failed save) and the Fighter had a pretty low Will save. The player running the Fighter for the session managed to roll a 14 (which would still fail) and then used an action point to boost the roll. Thankfully he rolled a 4 on the D6 action point roll and managed to just make the save.

Before the Hexblade could push up the daisies, the Cleric rushed over and healed him, succeeding in Casting Defensively. The Conjurer and Rogue moved over to help the Cleric's Spiritual Weapon deal with Skaven while the Fighter and Cleric fought Triel, assisted by the Conjurer's Haste spell which was cast earlier.

Skaven took the Rogue out of the fight with a Ghoul Touch but the Cleric's Spiritual Weapon, combined with the Conjurer's Acidic Breath took him down before he could cause any other problems. Triel was cutting in to the Fighter's hit points but he was giving back as good as he gave.

A Grease spell placed underneath Triel by the Conjurer was enough to tip the combat in the favour of the PC's. She failed her save, dropping her prone and making her a much easier target. She was able to heal herself a little with a potion but it wasn't enough as the party killed her before she could escape or kill any of them.

Overall it was a very tough fight. If the Fighter hadn't made his save against Phantasmal Killer I think the combat could have easily been a TPK. Triel being able to buff up made her a very tough opponent. Bull's Strength and Divine Favour meant she was doing 1d10 + 11 damage per hit and was able to hit most of the time on both attacks. In the end the failed save vs the Grease spell probably saved the party's bacon.

So in the end I increased the number of KO's in the campaign to 29 in 20 sessions but I am still to kill any of the PC's.

Olaf the Stout

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ully wrote:
So the augmented unhallow caused the same outcome as the first time around, but this time after the players put time and effort into creating a new party. The magical effect from the statue was indeed an insurmountable obstacle for the group...

no, the augmented unhallow is not an insurmountable obstacle. Especially not for a 7th level party. Dispel magic would be capable of nullifying the powers of the statue. As a matter of fact the party wizard specifically asked questions about the capabilities of dispel magic weeks before the second group even got on their way. The party specifically researched the Kuo-Toans with the library in the temple of Wee Jas at Cauldron and confirmed their findings with Crazy Jared. They prepared potions and scrolls. However when it came down to it. The party wizard failed to memorize Dispel Magic and/or prepare any scrolls of Dispel Magic.

They scryed on Zenith himself before leaving Cauldron and seeing the Splintershield Clan banners in their scrying they even used locate object on the banners to approximate his position within the temple when they got closer. Using Flying they even managed to get ontop of the giant fish shaped temple undetected by all the Kuo-Toans and learned that he was located on the upper floor of the temple near the roof.

Their Druid had access to Stone Shape and Soften Earth/Stone and Meld into Stone.

Then you know what they did? They decided to march right in through the front door again. Once again they set off the very loud screeching groaning portcullis and simply stared blankly at me as I once again described the sound by wailing at the top of my lungs to imitate the sound for them. Which of course, alerted the entire complex.

Honestly, I was absolutely dumbfounded at their utter failure to take advantage of all the advanced information that the second party had gathered. Even after I had been asked about Dispel Magic being capable of knocking out almost any source of magic the Wizard failed to prepare even a single casting. Even after they learned that Zenith was located on an upper floor of the temple near the roof and the party even landed on the roof of the temple they failed to utilize their druid to burrow through the roof made of stone to access Zenith's chamber directly. Even after they had learned of the Kuo-Toan's capabilities and propensity for lightning they utterly failed to prepare protection against electricity attacks. The only spell that they actually prepared against the Kuo-Toans was a single Daylight spell.

Could they have done anything else to make it all go any more horribly wrong for them? They quite literally marched right up to area 5 and battered themselves against the barrier. No plan, no dispel magic, no protection from electricity, nothing...

Ully wrote:
since the TPK was due to the DM's misinterpretation of the rules)

I beg to differ. The TPK was not a misinterpretation of the rules. The TPK was due to the fact that I use pre-written modules since I do not have the time to write up my own adventures and generally trust that these modules though not perfect are pretty well written and free of gross errors. If you note on Page 50 and 51 of Dungeon issue 102 it clearly states there that the PCs must succeed on a DC 17 Will save to enter area 5. I took it for granted that these spell effects were being applied correctly by the author in the best published module magazine in the gaming industry. Do I memorize the spell effects of Unhallow? I do my best. I spend my reading time reading the PHB and DMG cover to cover over and over if Im not reading up on the next adventure, really I do. Did I make a mistake? I sure did, I failed to notice the discrepancy between the Unhallow of the PHB and one being used in the published module. Do I have time to double check the all NPCs and spell effects of all the published modules that I run? No, its why I spend my money on this stuff in the first place.

I also resent the fact that you make assumptions about my campaign and players. Are they not having fun? Why would they want to keep playing in my campaign?

Ully wrote:
In your case, Cohlrox, you were presented with a perfect opportunity to try the encounter differently the second time around. I certainly would have given my players the opportunity (though with their original characters,

so break the verisimilitude and go back in time and try it again? with some types of players this is OK (your players perhaps). With some of the players that I have, this is not OK. If this is what was demanded by the players why would I not be OK with it? I DM at their pleasure after all don't I? These are not the kinds of things that they ask for nor would they be happy about if I did as DM.

The question in their minds would be? Why did the barrier suddenly change from one encounter to another? Did the DM fiddle with it to make it easier on us? then they would feel robbed of their "ability to affect the outcome of events". It would become "we only succeeded because that is what is supposed to happen in the module."

Ully wrote:
I've played in games where the players couldn't affect the outcome of events, where the game was all about this beautiful creation (or adopted creation) of the DM, and where house rules impacted the fun.

And I have also played in such campaigns. Knowing what you know now about their approach to Bhal-Hamatgun the second time the outcome of the events was almost entirely, and always is, in their hands. At least in the games that I run. You are making erroneous assumptions about the campaign that I run.

Ully wrote:
I apologize if my reply comes off as overly critical. I believe strongly that it's important for us, as DMs, to continually ask ourselves how we can be better and then do what it takes. Handing a group of players two painful defeats in a row through no fault of their own just doesn't make for a fun game. If your players are giving you another opportunity to make things fun with a new adventure path, do your best for them and question yourself when they're not enjoying the game, for whatever reason.

I appreciate feed back about my DMing. I also enjoy the art of D&D and have been playing now for a little over 21 years both as a player and DM. You are obviously assuming too much about my campaign and the feelings of my players.

Dark Archive

We just had our third session of Zenith Trajectory, and I racked up my fourth kill of the campaign. I probably could have pushed it to a TPK, but morale was getting low, so I took it easy on them.

We left off last session with the party just having decimated the kuo-toa in the temple to Blibdoolpoolp. Their hit points were high, but the wizard was almost completely out of spells. As they were stripping the corpses of the kuo-toa whips, Aushanna appeared above them, hate in her eyes.

When this session opened, they dropped what they had been doing and ran for it, realizing that they were outmatched. Ferret, the warlock, momentarily stood his ground and fired off an eldtritch blast in her direction, missing her entirely. She smirked, and with her first attack she put an arrow through his throat (I critted with her first attack after appearing). She also managed to take the paladin and the cleric into the negatives as they ran for their lives, but the ranger was able to pull them to safety.

Ironically, Ferret decided to be reincarnated to save money and wound up coming back as a halfling, which dramatically increased his combat capabilities as a warlock.

The party tangled with Aushanna once more and did much better against her when they started off at full strength, but she was able to teleport away before they could finish her off.

At this point, my tally is as follows:

Desmond, Cleric of St. Cuthbert 3 - Stabbed by Silent Wolf Goblin - resurrected
Pyron, Wizard 2/Fighter 1/Warmage 1 - Killed by Triel Eldurast
Ferret, Warlock 6 - Killed by Gottrod's breath weapon - resurrected
Ferret, Warlock 6 - Shot to death by Aushanna - reincarnated

I killed Ricros, the party's rogue/spell thief for the 4th time on Sunday.

It was during the big meeting to determine the new government of Cauldron. Ricros and Boulder the Barbarian decided that they were unsuited to politics, didn't care who ruled Cauldron, and would spend the day on a pub crawl instead. These two have become somewhat friends, ever since Ricros infiltrated House Rhiavadi and Boulder kept watch (of course Boulder was easily distracted, started harassing some passing clerics of Pelor, and eventually ended up at the temple of Kord breaking things to honor the God. Luckily, Ricros was okay.)

So the entire diplomacy meeting and subsequent attack happened with one of my players playing his DS and the other texting his wife. I felt bad for both their missing out on XP, and wasting about 2 hours of their time with an encounter they weren't part of.

So the next session I put together another encounter for them, of a similar nature. Since the party was down their fighter and rogue I only sent 2 berserkers in with the sorcerer, so the other 2 berserkers took part in a simultaneous strike on the rogue and barbarian. For teleportation duties and magical backup, I sent a leveled Skaven Umbermead along.

It shouldn't have been a big problem, but Ricros blew his save on a Finger of Death thrown his way. Boulder took down the berserkers, but Skaven got away again, shouting, "This is the third time I have escaped you, Aleslingers! Bwahahaha!"

Boulder showed up at the town hall in tears, carrying his li'l buddy, a la Superman carrying Supergirl.

The entire party now thinks they have an evil nemesis that they never even noticed (and they do, Skaven was always invisible or something when they faced him, they've never actually seen him.)

Well I had my first PC death last night in the most odd way. The party faced Tarkilar and took him down in about 3 rounds. He cast Desecrate and Hold Person (just failed on the Fighter) before the Fighter Improved Overrun him to the ground. The Hexblade took advantage of his prone position, laying into him with a Silvered Longsword. Finally, Tarkilar tried to stand back up and died from 2 AoO's, one from the Fighter and another from the Hexblade.

I don't think that the Fighter or Hexblade missed with any of their attacks. They even rolled a couple of crits, which didn't count due to Tarkilar being undead. Meanwhile, I don't think I rolled over a 4 for any of Tarkilars attacks. He didn't do a single point of damage to anyone. Amusingly, the cave-in that the party crawled over to get to Tarkilar's room did damage them but he didn't!

The PC death came in the very next encounter, fighting 2 Ogre Zombies. This is an EL5 encounter and everyone except the Hexblade was 6th level. For some reason, before the encounter the Hexblade didn't get healed back up to full health, despite the party having the time and resources to do so.

The PC's wandered into the cavern where the Ogre Zombies were. They shambled across to the party and attacked. The party took one of the Ogre Zombies down with ease. The other one got a hit on the Hexblade and took him down to 3 hit points.

The Hexblade got a hit in return on the Ogre Zombie but surprising decided not to use his 5-foot step to move behind the Fighter. The Cleric used his Touch of Healing Reserve Feat on the Hexblade. However, as the Hexblade has the Long Shadowed trait he only gained 1 hit point back.

The Ogre Zombie got hit twice by the Fighter but he still had 10 hit points left. When his turn came up he hit the Hexblade again and did 22 points damage, taking him down to -16.

It was a very odd and anti-climactic death. The encounter was probably one of the least dangerous encounters in the whole adventure. It's an EL5 but no-one should really die from it. I think the player of the Hexblade made a couple of mistakes.

Firstly, he didn't get himself healed back to full health after the Tarkilar enounter. Secondly, I don't know why he didn't take a 5-foot step back from the Ogre Zombie after he had attacked him. If he really wanted to he could have just made a full withdrawal action instead of hitting the Ogre Zombie. By stepping behind the Fighter with his first move he could have avoided any AoO's and avoided dying.

The party decided to get him raised by the Temple of Wee Jas (the only church in Cauldron powerful enough to cast the spell) and he is now alive again. It did cost them 5,500gp though.

Now that the first death has occurred, I wonder if the floodgates will open. :)

Olaf the Stout

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

See, I hate deaths like that. I would have pulled those punches and said it missed. XP

TriOmegaZero wrote:
See, I hate deaths like that. I would have pulled those punches and said it missed. XP

Normally I'm the type of DM that would try to avoid killing PC's.

I decided at the start of the campaign that I would pull no punches and just let the dice fall where they may. I told the players that, as well as the fact that the SCAP was a bit of a meat grinder. They understood and were still happy to go ahead.

It was an anti-climactic death but it could have been easily avoided. Hopefully all the players learnt from the death and next time they will move away from the enemy when down to 3 hit points.

Olaf the Stout

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Fair enough. My group was all fresh faced newbies, so I felt obliged to handle them carefully. Especially after Aushanna zapped two of them without even a chance to respond. Didn't help that only three stuck with the game consistently.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Fair enough. My group was all fresh faced newbies, so I felt obliged to handle them carefully. Especially after Aushanna zapped two of them without even a chance to respond. Didn't help that only three stuck with the game consistently.

My current group is a bit of a mix. I have 2 players that have played D&D for over 10 years, if not longer. 2 other players, including the Hexblade's player (who died) have only been playing for a year or two but have played in multiple campaigns already and know the rules quite well. The remaining player has roleplayed before but this is his first time playing any edition of D&D. We've been playing for almost a year now and he's got the hang of most of the rules.

The Ogre Zombie fight was surprising, considering they took down the Tyrannosaurus Skeleton the previous session without much trouble at all. That thing is basically the same as the Ogre Zombies (high HP's, high damage, low AC) but worse. Yet I barely scratched them with that beast. Dice rolls can be funny sometimes I guess.

I am interested in seeing how the Aushanna fight goes. I think that is one of the most difficult fights in the whole campaign and I am expecting a couple of deaths there. Having said that, most of the fights that I have expected to be difficult ones so far have been cakewalks for the PC's.

Olaf the Stout

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