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Side trek to Xin-Bakrakhan


Rise of the Runelords


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So, the party in my game has just finished with Runeforge and a beefed-up Arkrhyst (I jumped him up to Ancient, added 5 levels of fighter and gave him an amulet of mighty fists to deal with the shadowdancer's annoying incorporeal twin.) The six PCs are now 15th L, armed with newly minted runeforged weapons and psyching themselves up to go after Karzoug.

As their hired ship carries them past Hollow Mountain on the return trip, some of them are thinking that a side trek into Xin-Bakrakhan might provide them with additional insights into the kinds of things that may await them in another Thassalonian capital.

It's a good idea, especially as I am planning to change up the Eye of Avarice somewhat,

Spoiler:
making it a characteristic of the demiplane that any prepared (or simply known, for arcane spellcasting classes that do not prepare spells in advance) arcane spell may be cast as if quickened with no increase in spell level. This benefit will be available to the party's sorcerer, bard and spellblade as well as Karzoug, but they probably won't know that unless they've seen a similar arcane battle arena before. Xin-Bakrakhan offers an opportunity to put something like that in place.

There's also a secondary reason for the party to go there: the city of Magnimar has purchased several Thassalonian artifacts from the party over the course of the adventure, including the adamantium scrollcase containing the Emerald Codex. The city officials have decided to create the definitive Museum of Thassalonian Culture in Magnimar, using it as political capital to position their city ahead of Korvosa in the competition to become the official capital of Varisia. They'll want the party to investigate Xin-Bakrakhan and bring back more items suitable for display.

My problem is this: I don't want to create any significant portion of the Hollow Mountain's megadungeon to drop in between Books Five and Six of the adventure path. Easy enough to leave monsters out and treat the mountain as dead, but I'd rather not draw multiple large levels of maps to little purpose, either. How then to make the side trip interesting?


Damon Griffin wrote:

So, the party in my game has just finished with Runeforge and a beefed-up Arkrhyst (I jumped him up to Ancient, added 5 levels of fighter and gave him an amulet of mighty fists to deal with the shadowdancer's annoying incorporeal twin.) The six PCs are now 15th L, armed with newly minted runeforged weapons and psyching themselves up to go after Karzoug.

As their hired ship carries them past Hollow Mountain on the return trip, some of them are thinking that a side trek into Xin-Bakrakhan might provide them with additional insights into the kinds of things that may await them in another Thassalonian capital.

It's a good idea, especially as I am planning to change up the Eye of Avarice somewhat, ** spoiler omitted **

There's also a secondary reason for the party to go there: the city of Magnimar has purchased several Thassalonian artifacts from the party over the course of the adventure, including the adamantium scrollcase containing the Emerald Codex. The city officials have decided to create the definitive Museum of Thassalonian Culture in Magnimar, using it as political capital to position their city ahead of Korvosa in the competition to become the official capital of Varisia. They'll want the party to investigate Xin-Bakrakhan and bring back more items suitable for display.

My problem is this: I don't want to create any significant portion of the Hollow Mountain's megadungeon to drop in between Books Five and Six of the adventure path. Easy enough to leave monsters out and treat the mountain as...

In my campaign, the eldritch knight went on a side trek to "Hollow Mountain" while others were dealing with Ft Rannick for a few months not knowing what to expect. He brought his girlfriend Shalelu, as well as Jakardros and his cohort along for the ride.

I created some sections of creatures that built up just inside the entrance (the broken face of Alaznist as described in part 3), but it's all too low CR for your party to care about, so I won't describe in great detail (there were morlocks at war with sinspawn, dark folk peddling statues of old Thassilon that the morlocks worshipped as gods, etc). The crowning moment was when the Dark Stalker wearing a Cloaker disguised as an ordinary cloak managed to nearly TPK the party (they did kill the cohort). Also, I described a perfectly smooth cylindrical tunnel system on the periphery of Xin-Batrakhan proper, the result of a purple worm that the denizens of Wrath coerced into a construction tool via magic. The EK managed to accidentally awaken the beast, and his group barely managed to reseal it into its magic-induced slumber.

I could give more detail, but due to the timing IMC, the stuff I created is probably both too weak and not direct enough (I was tantalizing with hints about Thassilon since this was before the library at Jorgenfist, so info on Thassilon was much sparser).

That said, what was in there managed to scare the EK away, leaving more mysteries unexplored, and I think that may be the bottom line--once they get the clues you're looking for, just put some extremely scary stuff in there and your party might decide to leave it be for now, since they have a pressing engagement with Karzoug and no real direct incentive to keep up their tango with Alaznist's ruined capital.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My group just finished up Runelords and we may go to Hollow Mountain in a followup game at some point. Afraid I can't help you with your plight...because I actually plan to map out the juicier parts of the dungeon in some detail but I don't yet know what path it'll all take.

Be interested to hear what you come up with for your group.

For my part, the hook is that the PCs know the other Runelords may well be on the verge of awakening and they walked away from the Karzoug encounter with an artifact: one tine (greed) of the original Sihedron symbol, broken apart when the Runelords took over from Xin. And...I'm not sure what *that* will be either though I'm sure it's a Major Artifact. Hopefully The Shattered Star will give me some help on it...
M

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