|F. Wesley Schneider Editor-in-Chief|
|F. Wesley Schneider Editor-in-Chief|
I've been doing something similar: the Ouija board the players find in part one is a twin of the one in the ghostly necromancers’ room in part 6. They function like walkie talkies, but the players think it is divination. So every question the PCs have asked of the Ouija board since part 1 has been answered by the necromancers in part 6 using their board. They just found this out last night!
Care to post your version? I'm really intrested to see it, since mine was really brutal and had to pull a few punches in order not to decimate the party. :D Also, what are the PCs in the party?
Ghost wizard sounds really cool. Wish I thought of that.
Because I thought scrying was detectable.
The perception DC to notice a scrying sensor is 20 + spell level. So 24 if it's being done with a crystal ball.
A creature can notice the sensor by making a Perception check with a DC 20 + the spell level. The sensor can be dispelled as if it were an active spell.
So there is the issue that if anyone in the party is any good at perception, sooner or later (and if they're good, probably the very first time) they're going to notice the scrying sensor and wonder what's going on. Now, finding out who's on the other end of that sensor is much harder than noticing it.
Cibet, that's an awesome use of the spirit planchette. Sadly, my group has never, ever used the thing and probably doesn't remember that they have it.
In my game AA is keeping tabs on what the party is doing through the simple expedient that they think he's a friend and ally. It helps that the one PC who's actually good at sense motive does not directly interact with AA; the interactions have generally been through the party's alchemist, an elf who's known the Professor and AA for decades and trusts AA.
It'll have to wait until tomorrow, I got to go to work in 20 minutes and I don't think ( after only sleeping like 5 hours, due to seeing Prometheus last night in the cinema ) that I'll be up to doing much brain-work this evening, even if it is just formatting. ^^
As for the PCs, we really didn't get much into their post-CC careers. Though one thing is to get the Fighter back from whatever higher plane he ended up after eating ray seven from a Prismatic Spray ( and that is after ketting shish-kebapped by Adivion via a Dimensional Dervish full-attack and getting brought back from -40 HP with a Breath of Life ). Also, trying to get the halflings eyes back to normal, which would be an epic quest for a god of good, if I were to continue the campaign. But as I plan to start Jade Regent this Monday, it will have to happen in the imagination of my players. :)
Here goes the statblock. I wouldn't put much trust into the second or third statblock, I was pretty much eyeballing it on some accounts. The attributes are fantasy ones, not really bound by any point buy restrictions. As I said, I had to make him work for the power level of group. :)
Adivion Adrissant Phase 1
Tactics: 1st: Horrid Wilting, Soul Lash ; 2nd Gallowdead, Adivion Dimensional Full Attack, 3rd: Horrid Chain Lightning, Soul Lash, 4th: Dimensional Full Attack: 5th: Prismatic Spray, Soul Lash,
Adivion Adrissant Phase 2
Tactics: 1st: Fly to 40 ft height, use Ray of Hate, 2nd: Stay at 40ft, cast spells until destroyed
Adivion Adrissant Phase 3 – Tar Baphons Thrall
Tactics: Melee Attack until destroyed
Yeah, I was thinking to myself "that kinda is against the norm, that phase two and three have the boss being weaker than his initial form" when writing down the stat blocks... but then again the group becomes more and more depleted off their resources, too, so it fits the Pathfinder paradigm better than in MMOs ( where I took my inspiration from for a multi-phase boss fight ), where resources stay the same or replenish during a fight.
It was a good final encounter, some ten rounds of combat or so, with both sides getting in good shots. After only five full campaigns, I'm finally getting the hang of it ( don't ask for some of my worse final encounters in other campaigns... ). ^^ Well, CotCT also was okay, but this one went much better.
( where I took my inspiration from for a multi-phase boss fight )
Agree completely that's the way it should be done, otherwise the fights end up being waaaaay short. Some minions must also be present, to serve as distractions or as targets for those who can't, for some reason, engage the villain (ie. he's flying and some PCs don't have ranged capabilities).
Just wanted to say, magnuskin, that I love your take on Adivion. The multi-stage aspect is just genius!
Well, months after his defeat (during which time, my players were split into three groups taking care of tasks not related to Carrion Crown), they finally managed to locate Kendra. The dhampir sorcerer in particular was glad this occured, as his player was looking to finally get some payback for her betrayal which resulted in that character being replaced in the party with a clone that was under Adivion's control throughout the first third of the Gallowspire adventure.
However, imagine the group's surprise (and the sorcerer's dismay) when they discovered that Kendra was possessed by Adivion's undead spirit and that attacking her would only result in the death of an innocent and not him. And to prove it, he "allowed" Kendra's true personality to surface for just a moment, an act that really did not sit well with the sorcerer's player as the first thing Kendra did was start crying and pleading for them to end her nightmare. Kendra told them what she had been doing all of this time: tracking down (with the aid of Tar-Baphon's generals in the Whispering Way) the hidden seals and disabling them. At that point, Adivion took back control and informed them that only the Great Seal within Gallowspire itself remained and that once it was brought down, the Tyrant would once again be free. The group was forced to allow his escape (for fear of bringing about about Kendra's undeserved death if they attacked him) and raced back to Caliphas. After some research, they traveled to Lastwall to seek use of a fragment of the Shield of Aroden. The Knights of Ozem vouched for their honor and through use of a secret and powerful ritual, the party pierced the Great Seal's barrier to confront Adivion for the final time within Gallowspire with the understanding that it was a one way trip.
That epic battle takes place tomorrow and I can't wait to see how it plays out. Adivion will have plenty of Gallowdead for them to chew through as well as a certain graveknight general before the players have the pleasure of dealing with Adrissant himself.
Well, the battle is done, the campaign over. It was fun for everyone involved.
As the ritual was being prepared, the group was allowed the opportunity to gear up one last time while in Vigil. The overall mood was somber as each realized that this could be the final fight. Some reminiscing over past exploits was engaged in by the characters, the usual 'why does it always fall to us to fix things?' was asked (which was answered with 'who else do you trust to fix this problem?').
The time came for the ritual to be done and once again, Watcher-Lord Ulthun II reminded them that the trip they were about the to undertake was one-way. He then said that if the burden was too great to bear, there would be no shame, no disgrace, no dishonor in backing out. None of the players wanted to walk away. And so Ulthun informed them that they had an ally within in the form of the guardian of the Seal. Adivion would have to face him if he wanted to destroy the seal and free Tar-Baphon.
The ritual began and in a bright flash....
....the players found themselves in a dimly lit chamber, the air filled with the murmurs and cries of the dying. However, over that din, the bleachling rogue was able to make out the sound of combat. The PCs use that to make their way through the complex until they came upon the prone (and obviously defeated) form of Shadnusaptera surrounded by the numerous remains of fallen gallowdead. The blind sphinx oracle was in a healing trance (thanks to the power of the Great Seal) and was in no condition to assist them in their battle.
The PCs were on their own.
They tracked Adivion to the Seal's location and were met with gallowdead and General Sey'lok, the graveknight of death acting as a barrier to prevent them reaching their enemy. The rogues used the dim lighting to their advantage and took to the shadows to await an opening that would allow them a shot at Adivion. The oathbound paladin called upon the power of justice to grant his allies the power to smite evil, the sorcerer readied his spells, while the wolf shifter and hellknight prepared to wade through a sea of undead.
The battle that took place was brutal. The paladin, wolf shifter, and the hellknight cleared the way for the rogues to get in and attack Adivion while the sorcerer played clean up, dealing with the gallowdead that threatened the heavy hitters as they engaged Sey'lok.
Adivion dropped one rogue (unconscious), causing the bleachling to back off. A spell (maze) from the sorcerer prevented the coup de grace that was about to come. Adivion returned two rounds later, but was facing not only the PCs, but the sphinx as well (he returned and doled out what healing it could). Adivion merely shrugged and went to work, focusing first on the sorcerer by using forceful hand. The heavy hitters found his AC tough to hit even for them, while Corpselight was having little problem hitting them as he forced them to provoke AoO's. The rogues worked together and finally managed to get him flanked, which helped the trip-build hellknight to no end.
Then, to their horror, they watched as Kendra turned to ash. Adivion had activated his malevolence ability and tried to possess the sphinx. The bleachling then revealed to the others an item that she had been holding in reserve: a ring of wishes. The gnome used it first to restore Kendra's body, then to restore her to life. With one wish left, the rogue smiled as she asked for whether or not they still had one of the phylacteries from Renchurch (this drew a bunch of stares from the other players). The hellknight gave it to her and she made her final wish, one that bound Adivion to said phylactery.
The other players mouths were agape; I merely smiled and complimented the rogue on her ingenuity. The ghostly form of Adivion disappeared even as a wretched corpse appeared near the gnome. Adivion was not only just a normal lich, but his previous circumstance meant that he was now in regenerative mode. The group knew they had to act to take advantage of this, but what to do?
The sorcerer turned to the sphinx and asked if there was a way to get out of Gallowspire. The oracle told him that only a shard of the Shield of Aroden could bypass the power of the Seal. The guardian possessed such a shard but could only give it to the one who would take on his role. The sorcerer nodded and informed the others that he wouldn't be going back with them. The sphinx transferred the shard it possessed (worn in its headdress) to the dhampir and with it the role of guardian. The years caught up to the creature and it turned to dust. The new guardian used greater teleport to evacuate the others back to Vigil even as Tar-Baphon, who sensed the change, tried to escape as well, only to have the dhampir shut the 'door' on that notion.
The PCs handed Ulthun II and the Knights of Ozem over both Adivion's corpse and phylactery to dispose of. The young paladin saw to their needs after having them checked for any undue influences.
The aftermath pretty much had the remaining PCs go their separate ways: the paladin went back to the Land of the Linnorm Kings to claim a kingdom; the hellknight resumed his duties; the male rogue decided to 'make like Caine from Kung-Fu' and walk the earth; the bleachling went to Vieland and took up residence with the Count and the Beast at Schloss Caromarc; and the wolf shifter set up shop in Lepidstadt at the Chymic Works, which he renovated and turned into a bakery.
All of this was watched from Gallowspire by the Great Seal's guardian.
Thanks! Definitely one of the more satisfying endings we as a group have had in a while and the only one where the BBEG was not destroyed.
Given how things go in the future, I could totally have Adivion come back to be a pain to other characters they make. Right now, we're focusing on starting up Skull and Shackles this weekend, with an evil-focused Rise of the Runelords after that. We'll see...
I always enjoy reading these kinds of write-ups. I've never been in or run a game that has concluded due to story; they end either because we want to do something else, the GM runs out of ideas, or some one moves.
Current party is just starting book 3 and I worry that they will begin to chafe at the undead; they seem to have one heck of a dislike for undead. Maybe if one of the characters die, I can convince a few paladins to suddenly show up, heh.
Introduced my PCs to Adivion saturday at a ball held by Countess Cmilla Calipvaso. He was escorting Kendra, his fiancee and the party was not happy about it one bit. But they were there investigating the new drug being used by the nobility in town at the behest of the Church of Pharasma (who raised a PC from the dead & restored his insanity). I dropped Hetnis Dublesse behind the scenes (the ninja overheard her mention progress on a project and more drugs from the Abbey when required) and used the Dullahan to draw them out of the ball and away from Adivion as Bask was going after Raven's Head (which was stashed on the Cavalier's Auroch mount outside).
--Vrock the Casbah!
Just a tiny but of flavour and for shadowing I added near the end of Trial of the Beast:
Letter from Advion to Caromarc found in the Living Museum wrote:
Note the post script is one of the idioms of the Order of the Palantine Eye, it means ask and you shall receive, an open offer of help, or support. Advion of course means it ironically, planning on leveraging his friendship with Alphon to gain information about how he controls the beast and later directing Vroon to go their and take control of the beast.
The point being to tie Alphon, Petros and Advion as close, or at least collegial. I've had Advion attend the funeral so they PCs should know the name.
My current plan to introduce AA to my players will happen at the end of Broken Moon since this is when they start to really catch up to the Whispering Way. I really liked the idea of a Starling and Lector dichotomy that was teased in SoG, so that's what I plan to engineer between them. After the group successfully deals with Vrood, they'll find a sealed letter addressed to them in addition to the poem. AA will great them cordially, congratulate them for slaying Vrood, and taunt them to catch up. I plan to leave a few more letters along the way but I haven't figured out exactly where in the adventure just yet.
I know lots of people talk about Adivion and Lorrimor being friends, I went one further and added Alphon Cormarc. This felt natural as I used Cormarcs research on the storm caller as the means to how Adivion managed to open the maelstrom of undead that usually surrounds Gallowspire. I know the storm at Gallowspire suggests people can pass through it usually, but it was something I added, with Alphon replicated his friends device to open Gallowspire. Adivion felt like to me a man whom would discard his friendships for power using both Alphon and Lorrimor to further his own ambitions. It also made more sense as to why the whispering way used the beast of Lepidstadt to steal the Seasage Effigy when they had a lv10 or lv 17 magnus whom could steal the artifac, as Cormarc knew stuff about Adivion he wished to remain a secret. Furthermore I added all three of the professors had a grudge against Esoteric Order of the Palantine eye. Lorrimor lost his position at the university, as the order destroyed his name and research forcing him into exile at Ravensgro. Alphon his title. Adivion his wealth.
I have also included Adibion as contacting the PCs through a journey book. A journey book is a book that when one scribes in blood it appears in its sister book. This way Adivion has been taunting the PCs from a distance or keeping tabs on them.
I also am using the Night Harrows, a Whispering Way rival adventuring party whom has been monitoring the PCs. I intend to drop them as a battle in the last module. The Night Harrows from the pathfinder rivals guide also like to animate fallen heroes and bend them to ones will, making them chasing the chasers. If you use them, for Adgrief the insane serial killer whom is alchemically invisible if you use Carrion Hill in the adventure path drop info about the insane serial killer as a test subject of the insane asylum. Especially since the boss in the module is also something that causes insanity and is also alchemically invisible.
Vessnic the vamp I will drop hints about in the fifth module.
The harrower is working for Alphon to become the whispering tyrants wife and the mummy to destroy the palantine eye.
Similar to what Magnuskn is doing with the finale, I was thinking of run Adivion as a Ghost (minus the Forsaken Lich template). Normally, with the ghost template, it adds a +2 to the build. I was wondering though, like the Splatterman, which is a CR 6 encounter but with a CR 9 build, I what Adivion would have to lose to lessen his own Creature Rating.
Deanoth, "stillborn lich" was my original name for the "forsaken lich" template, but cut a little close to the quick for Paizo's taste, so we published it as the latter. I think I mentioned it on a podcast or a messageboard post at some point, and the original name spread a bit here on the boards.
Soooo...same thing as forsaken lich!
And inkwell...subtract the forsaken lich template and you'll get Adivion's base form...then apply the ghost template.
I like the idea of changing AA to some type of sword magus, probably a kensai, and giving him Corpselight as an end-of-campaign reward/continued adventure hook, so here's my take on the lost blade. It takes inspiration from Raven's Head and the Corpselight Rapier from the Prince of Wolves chronicle sheet. I'm new to designing artifacts, so any advice would be welcome.
Some of the ideas here are really good, I enjoyed reading them, and may use them in case I ever DM Carrion Crown for another group.
However, my current group is composed of hack-n-slashers. No in-character talk. No love of plot. No interest in background or character development. Sigh.
On the other hand, all I have to do is mention gp and xp, and they go for it. Plus, I don't have to build up the BBEG too much.
I decided to include AA by creating an alter ego that all the WW minions refer to simply called "the Gebbite". Geb is a great false origin for the main villain. It's so full of necromancy people almost expect it. AA is supposed to be well traveled, so when he appears to people he appears in costume, all black and gold Pharoah's funeral garb style and with a Gebbite accent.
All the while AA is rolling with the party helping then and spying on them while they are looking for villains with foreign origins.
My party ended book 5 last night, and it was time for things to get real.
I've made adjustments, especially after how the combats in Book 5 went, to significantly raise the danger of book 6, including making the Friar 15th level, making Lucimar 17th level, making Adiviion himself 20th level, and using Blayde MacRonen's version of Marrowgrath that he posted in the DM resources thread.
After the party came back from the Abbey, the received a note from Ramoska stating that the elixir was to facilitate the rebirth of the Whispering Tyrant. He indicated that his research had pointed at Count Galdana, but that wasn't actually right; the elixir was intended for a distant relative instead. He'd update the party in a few more days.
The party, which includes Kendra as now a 12th level diviner, spent the new few days selling, relaxing, etc.
So this doesn't cause confusion later, the party's current NPC allies are:
After a few days, the party received two notes - one from Adivion, who was a longtime friend of Petros Lorrimar, who they had met at the funeral and who had helped them get into the Book 5 Palatine Eye meeting, advising he needed to meet with Kendra and anyone she brought with her. The second was from Ramoska, advising he'd left but he'd determined that the elixir, which should now be in Renchurch, had been intended for a man who had died months ago - the good professor Lorrimar.
The party immediately got super paranoid about protecting Kendra and asked Adivion to come to them instead. He agreed and advised he was bringing an ally.
The party set up in their rented house, with a rope trick containing Kendra and the ranger, and mental networks between everyone.
Adivion arrived with his wizard ally, "Eldarran," who he had introduced to the party at the Palatine Eye meeting. "Eldarran" used a screen spell on the house, and Adivion, after asking where Kendra was (though he could see the Rope Trick opening due to permanenced Arcane Sight and See Invisibility) and confirming she could hear him, began to speak.
He explained that one of his greatest projects, with the aid of Petros Lorrimar, had been to successfully map out Tar-Baphon's family tree. The Galdanas were the highest noble family that had survived, but there were a number of illegitimate lines that had branched off. That was when they determined that the Lorrimars had been one such branch. Kendra had been maybe two years old at the time. Petros had decided the knowledge was a dangerous oddity, and wanted to keep it from getting out. Adivion had wondered why the Tyrant had even left any living relatives alive, and researched what that had meant - shouldn't they have represented a possible threat to him, much like Arazni's still-living organs represent a theoretical threat to her.
The truth, of course, was that the Tyrant had meant to challenge a god, and he had made contingency plans. Adivion then explained that the carrion crown elixir had represented one of a number of possible elixirs, for the formula is different for every single person. Even used on a blood relative, the elixir would result in a failed lich. Yet Gallowspire's energies would sustain such a creature.
The cleric Miranda (and her player) had picked up by then that something was very, very wrong but someone else in the party asked why the Whispering Way had killed Petros if he was the intended target. Adivion responded that Vrood's thoroughness at Ravengro was most unfortunate, but the Professor was supposed to be out of town on a trip at that time. The Professor was never intended to encounter Vrood.
While the rest of the party began discussing what that could mean, Miranda's player stared at me and then announced to room "I am telling Rhakis over the mental network, because he's the only other person here with bluff skill and able to not give himself away, that Avidion shouldn't know about any of that, and the fact that he does is scary." Rhakis sent back to Miranda "Yes; something is incredibly wrong here."
And then Miranda asked if Petros had an illegitimate child, which Adivion answered he did not. Miranda asked if the Whispering Way had captured some other relative of Lorrimar, and was preparing him or her for the ritual. Adivion smiled, answered "they're about to" and dispelled the rope trick containing Kendra. Since talking is a free action, Miranda asked him why he was doing this. Adivion replied that he had hoped to remake Petros into the greatest wizard in the world alive. With that no longer an option, he'll settle for just meeting Tar-Barphon. When told he was insane, he amiably responded "probably, yes, and I have gone through so many elixirs of glibness in the past few days."
We then rolled for initiative, and Adivion and "Eldarren" through the benefit of Battlemind Link (neat spell, btw) and Anticipate Peril just barely beat the party in initiative.
"Eldarren" dropped his magical disguise, revealing Lucimar the Lich-worg (who from the Vrood visions at the end of book 3 had been shown to be Vrood's teacher), who snarled at the party "I regret that I have to take one of you alive" and using a greater rod of merciful spell blasted the party with Wail of the Banshee. 170 subdual damage later, only Kvalca, the party's ranger, Oz, and the party's fighter, Aelthyphine (all of whom passed their saves) were still conscious. Lucimar then walked over to the unconscious Miranda and Kendra and whisked Kendra away with a quickened teleport.
Raven's Head, being on Miranda's person and intelligent, refused the teleport, keeping itself and its bearer out of the trip.
Adivion then pulled an incredibly old and ornate staff (actually a staff of the magi, looted from an Osirian tomb) out of a glove of storing, and then smiled at the PCs who were still conscious and asked if they had any questions.
He then advised that he's been enjoying this game, and that Petros had picked his champions well. The ritual would take time, so the party could attempt to rescue Kendra if they hurried. He looked forward to finding out how they'd perform at Renchurch. He then dispelled his own astral body (that came from Lucimar's spell cast well in advance) and disappeared.
And so, as Ice Titan phrased so well, "it is on."
I explained afterwards that I figured Adivion and Lucimar's mind-blanks kept people from seeing the silver cords (Kendra had permanancied See Invis and Arcane Sight).
I plan to have Adivion use the Clarion Call spell out of Knights of the Inner Sea when the party makes it to Gallowspire. That'll let him talk at them as though they were right next to him pretty much as soon as they enter the tower.
I'll need to write up the villainous monologue, with Adivion's lines around the time he chugs the elixir being along the lines of "Petros chose well indeed. I appear to have lost this game. So what to do? Surrender? No. Die? Inevitably. But at your hands? No. I have lost, but perhaps this way all will be lost."
My group has been doing PbP as a run-up to our next session, where we'll begin Broken Moon. I've been adding in more bits about Adivion and tying him into the story line.
One PC decided to stay behind at Schloss Caromarc while the others returned to Lepidstadt to prepare for their journey into the Shudderwood and help the Count clean up some of the mess that the Whispering Way made. I decided to give the PC some information directly from Count Alpon to sweeten the backstory:
"More interestingly, Alpon Caromarc also reveals that in his youth, he studied and traveled with Professor Lorrimor, Judge Daramid, and another gentleman from the former capital of Ardis named Adivion Adrissant. Adivion and Petros were both brilliant scholars in multiple fields of study, and they were quite close back then. Like Caromarc, Adrissant was also a member of the aristocracy, and toward the end of their adventuring career a falling out occurred between the party members. Daramid, an accomplished agent of the law and a common-born woman, was appointed by the Palatinate Council to oversee the dispensation of excess tax funds to Ardis, and one of her rulings in those proceedings deprived Adivion of a rather large sum of money - money he intended to dedicate toward a highly ambitious research project he and Petros Lorrimor had worked on in secret for several years. The romantic relationship between Petros and Embreth only served to sour the pot, and Adivion accused his research partner of betraying their work for love and personal gain. The four adventurers parted ways after that, going back to their respective lives and ambitions, never to see each other again."
I'm also dropping hints about the Order of the Palatine Eye, which the PCs haven't discovered very much about so far, and trying to paint an ambiguous picture of its members and goals. I want to present them as adversaries initially, much like the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword in "Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade" were during the catacombs sequence. Since 'Word of God' is that the Order was largely responsible for engineering the defeat of Kazavon, I threw this into the mix for the same PC when she did research at the University of Lepidstadt (thus planting a seed for the possible injection of "Skeletons of Scarwall" in the future in case I decide to axe "Ashes At Dawn", which I'm still on the fence about running):
"To give your brain a break after deciphering the archaic Taldan texts, you choose to leaf through some recent periodicals published by a printer in Lepidstadt. Most of them are dreadfully boring accounts of council meetings and judicial hearings on matters of commerce, but a few articles do catch your eye - a series of investigative reports detailing mysterious connections between select members of Lepidstadt's elite. The writer claimed to have documentation showing that each official named in the report had secretly bankrolled a large treasure hunting expedition - a dive into the waters between the city of Westcrown and the nation of Rahadoum. Attempts to interview any of the people hired to go on this treasure hunt were thwarted; even those who initially agreed to talk about their work withdrew their offers to speak with the journalist before giving any information. Interestingly, one such elite member of society mentioned in the report is Judge Embreth Daramid. Several issues later, a note from the paper's editor states that the author of the investigative pieces has retired from writing and moved to Absalom."
I'm also thinking of making Kendra Lorrimor the last remaining descendant of Tar-Baphon, and thus the target of Adivion's attentions in the near future. An alternative would be to make one of the PCs themselves descendants, though that could become complicated if one of them dies. Still mulling it over at this point - but I like the idea of providing a more visceral connection than "go save this random noble you don't know from Aroden" at the end of Book 5.
I think I'm a bit late to the party with this one, but thought I'd share anyway.
I'm currently on Trial, and introduced Adivion (we're calling him Adrien) with the noble (name forgotten, as his named became Gaston instead) who is The Whispering Tyrant's descendant. Adivion is a friend or acquaintance with much of the upper nobility of Ustalav and is traveling with Gaston to determine whether or not he is the descendant of the Tyrant, as he has (in my mind) done with several others. They were far off still when word of Lorrimar's death reached them so they arrived long after the funeral, on the final night the PCs were in Ravengro, and stayed for a small celebratory feast with Kendra, the PCs, and several members of the Ravengro populace. The PCs immediately took to Gaston as a gregarious and pleasant man, while most developed a quick distaste for Adivion, despite the fact that he helped them. They asked for aid in understanding the runes around Harrowstone, he agreed to help, and lied as to the meaning.
Currently Gaston and Adivion are in Leipstadt for the Trial of the Beast, or at least to see the Punishing Man used (I intend to have it used to execute other criminals, even if the Beast is acquitted), where upon Gaston will drag Adivion to the Lodge in chapter 3 against Adivion's wishes, as he wishes to hunt. I'm intending these two characters to maintain some contact with the PCs in almost every chapter. I may also up Kendra's role a bit.
My party completed Book 6 last Thursday. Due to the NPC support my party had, and to make Gallowspire a lot more imposing, I gave Marrowgarth (again, using Blayde MacRonen's version) and every single monster in Gallowspire my group's houseruled "boss" template - +2 CR, all bonuses of the advanced simple template, an additional +5 to all saves, double maximum HP, and arbitrary bonus abilties (like Marrowgarth's spells were all auto-quickened).
This made the climb up the tower a brutal, brutal trip.
Adivion spoke to them as they climbed, eventually downing the Carrion Crown elixer -
Villainous Monologue, with notes as to when pieces were spoken:
(after defeating the devourers outside the front gates)
As you stand before the gates, a voice begins speaking – that of the traitor Adivion. It sounds as though he’s by your shoulder, though he’s nowhere nearby.
“So. Vrood. The Dark Riders. Giovanni. The witches. The Gray Friar. Lucimar. Even Marrowgarth and the Mother’s Maw. You have vanquished everything the Whispering Way could throw in your path, and now you are here for me. Fair enough.”
(once the party enters the Gates)
“Vrood’s star was rising in the Way. If I hadn’t diverted him towards collecting the components of the elixir, he would have attained lichdom and been well on his way to surpassing Lucimar. It was a shame that he and Petros crossed paths, as Petros never stood a chance.”
(after the death of the nightwalker general)
“I had invited Petros to come visit me in Caliphas. Once I had sent notice of his acceptance, I had arranged for Vrood to visit Ravengro during the Professor’s trip. Such is the way of things – a sudden snow had delayed Petros’s trip, and Vrood arrived early. Petros was diligent and noticed the necromancer’s activity. And here we are today.”
(the room of bladed webs)
“Petros always had an eye for talent, even as his own magic abilities were so unjustly stymied. He was one of the best men I’d ever known, and yet he lacked the raw power to back up his dedication and his pursuits. To remake him into the greatest wizard in the world would’ve been my homage to my mentor and the crowning moment of my life’s work.”
(after the death of the spider)
“Petros was always the kingmaker and never the king. He’d recognized my own talent, and he saw all of yours. He even predicted that Kendra would surpass him, and he was quite right.”
“I was furious after Petros’s death, but even then I had planned contingencies, for Petros was getting on in his years and the grave could have taken him at any time. I was curious as what his hand-picked chess pieces, and his daughter, would be able to accomplish. And so I spared you, and watched, and waited.”
(after the elementals are dead)
“I did not mind that you were hunting Vrood. Vrood completed his tasks, and Vrood’s death at your hands was most satisfying. A final sacrifice to the memory of a dear friend. And I continued to watch, because Kendra’s own ascendancy would cement her appropriateness as a replacement vessel.”
(the bone stair)
“And yet, I underestimated you, and overestimated Lucimar and the residents of Renchurch. And so the ritual is ruined. Petros chose well indeed. I appear to have lost this game. So what to do? Surrender? No. Die? Inevitably. But at your hands? No. I have lost, but perhaps this way all will be lost.”
You hear the sound of something being imbibed. Moments later, the air is shattered with a horrible scream that keeps going. And going. And becoming hollower all the while. A few moments after that the scream is joined by a cacophony of howling – many voices in many languages, yet all somehow the same.
(the upper sheath)
The scream comes to an end, as does the cacophony. Then a legion of voices speaking as one snarl: “What is the meaning of this? You are not the vessel. You are… unworthy.” Adivion replies, his voice now carrying an unearthly hollowness “Perhaps I am. But you… you are weak, and I am all you have. If you hope to ever really be free, you must work with me.”
The speaking spell ends, but you can feels intense magical power radiating from the top of the tower.
h7. The Pinnacle
Once the party made it to the top, they faced Adivion and the Tyrant's Echo, a very, very special haunt...
Adivion as a L20 Boss magus - stat block has some errors, I'm sure:
Adivion Adrissant CR 23 - 819,200 (307,200 for while human)
BOSS!!!! Male human forsaken lich magus (staff magus) 20 (Pathfinder
RPG Ultimate Magic 9, 49, and page 82)
NE Medium undead (augmented humanoid)
Init +11; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +26; permanent See Invisibility
Aura delusory aura (100 ft., DC 23)
The Tyrant's Echo, being the spirit and image of Tar-Baphon, had an arbitrary amount of HP (I set it at 1,000), and on initiative 10 would heal Adivion for 250 HP, restore all his spells, pool points, and daily arcanas, and then use Wish to dupe a spell to throw at the party. It started off with mazing the Elder Storm Elemental the party had summoned with a scroll of greater planar binding.
The party took the Echo very, very seriously after it took its first action.
When the Echo took enough positive energy damage (heal spells, mass heal scrolls, people throwing cure serious potions at it, etc.), I had it temporarily fracture and a worn and tattered soul, who looked very similar to a statue over at Ravengro, step out. The Warden draw his sword and immediately engaged the Echo, who easily held the ravaged ghost at bay with one clawed hand. The Warden would hamper the Echo's actions for one round and then be destroyed unless the party took appropriate action.
The party figured it out and tossed to the Warden an old reward from the beginning of the campaign - his badge, blessed with his wife Vesorianna's hope, love, and devotion. The badge was immediately consumed in a flash of smoky blue light, and Warden Hawkren stood tall, strong, whole, and armored as a member of the Shining Crusade's Vanguard, and tore into the Echo. This severely hampered the Echo and made it vulnerable to physical attack.
Meanwhile, Adivion, reveling in his own powers and in the powers granted by the Tyrant, gave the party what-for, thrashing people with a brilliant energy staff, blasting out 1/round free action soul lashes, and dropping a quickened spell and a maximized spell every round until the Echo was shut down by the Warden. The party had some pretty good breaks with their luck though - the opening maximized chain lightning immediately fizzled (I roll a 1 to beat SR against Holy Aura), and the PCs passed all of their dispel checks vs. Adivion. Adivion killed the party's ranger, and wound up dueling the party's 2-weapon fighter, who showed herself to (a) be the only person who could hit him consistently and (b) the only person who could actually be a missed by a L20 magus with +5 brilliant energy weapon.
The cleric Miranda gets bonus points for managing to disarm Adivion's staff of the magi (quickened true strike + using a miracle to use a ramped up Pilfering Hand), and having a summoned Vanth psychopomp teleport away with it.
Once the Echo had taken over 1,000 damage, the Warden lifted up the spirit of Tar-Baphon and cast it down through the mitril seal at the Pinnacle, re-sealing the Tyrant's essence within Gallowspire. When Adivion himself fell two rounds later, his contaminated soul was also bound and cast into the tower, to remain with the horror he had tried to unleash.
And so the party completed The Shadow of Gallowspire.
I'll be continuing the game further with the mini-scenarios, Doom Comes to Thrushmoor, the Garden of Lead, Ghasterhall, and hopefully ending it all with the Vampire War. Malyas will be given the mythic vampire template. Castle Kronquist will bear an uncanny resemblance to a certain castle that has been raided by the Belmonts many times. It should be good.