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NobodysHome's RotRL Campaign


Campaign Journals

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@Detect Magic,

You can eat a whole elephant if you take small bites....you just need to read one 'day' at a time, especially in the long posts! Then you make your sanity checks.

Don't stop! It's a great story!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

@CaroRose -- I love being part of your Campaign journal addiction! Your enthusiasm is unbounded!

We'll see how you feel about the next session (should be up tonight -- just waiting for Raesh to make her final edits). 6.5 hours of gaming. Not a single attack roll. No combats. No monsters. Just life in and around Sandpoint.

And yeah, it's going to be just as long as the rest. I have to practice brevity in all of my writing at work (a curriculum developer), so I get to go nuts writing when I play.


This is great stuff, NobodysHome. It's refreshing to see such stellar role-playing and story-telling. Do you record your sessions, or just recall them?


Ah, finally caught up with my reading. I've been putting it off because of laziness.

Loved that Shiro/Ameiko exchange. "How do Kitsune kiss?" and "I'll show you". I'm almost finding myself wishing that I was as suave as you player's character is! XD


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

@mittean -- I mainly do it from memory, and then send it out for review by the three players before posting it. For the last couple of sessions I've tried to note important events on the day they happened, because I'm great at remembering events, and terrible at remembering which day they happened on.

@Gluttony -- Sorry! Here's the next post, making you officially 'not caught up' any more. And Shiro takes some lumps in the next episode...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

07-Sep-2012 Game

It is with great regret that I award NO Silver Tsuto Award at all for the session, but my group chose to roleplay out all of their downtime in Sandpoint, so there wasn't a single encounter, much less a combat. (My favorite line of the night: 4 hours in, Shiro's player asked, "So how long have we been going now? A week?", and I looked over my notes and said, "It's been 2 days.")

If you're looking for anything remotely related to the actual AP, check the final paragraphs, as the players learn that yet again, something is not quite right in Sandpoint. (To paraphrase "The Incredibles", "Why can't the town just stay saved!?!!?!?")

=====

05-Lamasht-4707 (continued from last session)
Just for continuity, I gave the group the opportunity to do anything else that night, and recapped the events, but they were all good with just going to bed.

=====

06-Lamasht-4707
Raesh awoke and headed for the courtyard, only to find Halek already there, exercising with his earthbreaker. He was far more adept with the earthbreaker than he was with the shortsword (rolls notwithstanding), but still quiet and introspective, very unusual for their normally loud barbarian. Raesh decided to intervene. "Halek. I have noticed that since you met Madame Mvashti yesterday, you have been very unhappy. Would you care to enlighten me as to what happened?"
"I thought my work here was done. I was ready to return to my clan in glory and triumph, the murderer of Tolmar-Kai's head on my belt, and the goblin tribe of Thistletop wiped out. I went to Madame Mvashti for a Harrowing, as is tradition and courtesy. And the Harrowing told us that Sandpoint is in grave danger, and I am destined to perform great deeds... in Sandpoint. And so the Harrowing traps me. I cannot return to my people when it has been foretold that I must be here. I yearn for the open skies. For the heat of the summer, the rain and mud of winter, and to ride with my people again against the orc raiders. But it is not to be. I am trapped in this city, with walls and buildings and people who know nothing of freedom. And it makes me sad."
"But Halek, surely it is a good thing to have a great destiny!"
"Not if it is here, where they know nothing of the joys of riding across the open plains."
Raesh suggested that perhaps Sandpoint might be more acceptable to him if he found something to do that made him feel more at home. She suggested that he help her train the Varisians and that he might enjoy assisting at the stables as well.
They breakfasted together, but Shiro did not come down. The food was a bit off, but Halek's 'custom barbarian breakfast' was fine, and if Raesh noticed, she did not comment. Ameiko seemed sad and introspective. Perhaps it was catching?
Hi arrived around 9:30 am, and asked Raesh and Halek whether they had any plans for the day. Raesh wanted to meet with Shalelu in the morning to ask for lessons in Elvish, and planned on training the Varisians in the afternoon. She invited Halek, and he thought that perhaps playing with the children would cheer him up. Since neither of them had any plans, Hi decided that he'd spend the day helping Rilka with her work. But where was Shiro? Hi went up and banged on Shiro's door. "Shiro, are you awake?"
"Yes." Shiro sounded exceedingly depressed, but Hi, being a gnome, was completely unfamiliar with taking a hint.
"Are you getting up."
"No."
"....?"
"I'm not feeling very well today. I think I'm just going to stay in bed."
"Whatever."
Hi came downstairs and informed the party that Shiro wasn't going to come down and was going to stay in bed all day. Ameiko overheard, sighed, took off her apron, and headed upstairs. She knocked on Shiro's door. "Shiro, you can't do this. Please don't do this to yourself. I understand. It wasn't your fault. Please come down and have some breakfast."
(Even more depressed voice): "No. I don't think so."
Exasperated, Ameiko threw up her hands. "Fine," and stormed back down the stairs and into the kitchen.
The party agreed to reconvene at lunch. Halek went to Madame Mvashti's, Hi to Rilka's, and Raesh to the cathedral, where she flew the banner. Shalelu arrived within 5 minutes. Shalelu was curious; why had Raesh flown the flag, and why was she alone?

Raesh explained that, although she was a drow, she had been raised in a temple almost exclusively populated by humans and knew nothing of drow, or even of elves. She was hoping that Shalelu would be willing to teach her something of Elven language and culture. Shalelu thought for a moment, and decided, "I would be honored to do so. However, you must learn in the woods, and you cannot wear that heavy armor if you are going to travel with me through the woods. Also, once we have become used to traveling together by day, I would have you come out at night so I can use your eyes." Raesh agreed to return in an hour. First, she returned to the Rusty Dragon to find that Shiro still hadn't come down from his room, but she didn't have time to deal with it at the moment so she went to her room, removed her armor, strapped on her scimitar, and headed for Larz Rovanky's. Larz himself attended her, and she explained that she wanted form-fitting black leather armor that would provide her with protection while still allowing her to move easily through the woods, and possibly *shudder* climb trees. She also wanted good thigh-high leather boots to protect her legs from the brambles and thorns so common in the woods.
Larz gave her a rare half-smile. "It will be beautiful, and you will look perfect in it!"
He took her measurements, and insisted that no person less than Rynshinn Povalli, whose competence he somewhat trusted, do the sewing. It would take at least 2 days to complete, and would cost three times as much as regular leather armor, without being masterwork. Raesh agreed and paid. She met Shalelu just outside of town, and explained that she had promised to meet the rest of the party for lunch, and train the Varisians in the afternoon, so her time today would be short. Shalelu wasn't particularly concerned. "The weather is moving in. By the time we are done, it will be misting. By late this afternoon, it will be pouring. Tonight there will be a thunderstorm. You should come out to see it. It will be beautiful."
Raesh's shoulders sagged. Rain? Water falling on her head from the sky? And what was a thunderstorm? She reluctantly agreed to return in the evening to see the thunderstorm.

Shalelu took Raesh into the woods and told her of the elves; their affinity for nature, their cities, and their culture. She told her what she knew of the fallen drow, and how many, if not most, elves would attack a drow on sight, though she had learned patience, amusingly enough, by interacting with the short-lived humans of the area. She taught her of the elves' religions, and told her particularly of Calistria, for many elves were of the opinion that physical intimacy was just one more facet of nature; something to be enjoyed at the moment, and forgotten the next day. She warned Raesh that elves of Calistria were likely to proposition her, but reassured her that there was no offense whatsoever taken in saying, "No," but no shame or emotional attachments associated with saying, "Yes." She told her of her own love of Desna, and freedom, and sleeping under the night sky. As they walked, she pointed out the trees, the rocks, and the bushes and taught Raesh their names in Elven. Raesh was a quick study, and the Elven flowed easily off her tongue. (GM Note: Raesh's player took a level of Linguistics, took Elven, but wanted justification for it, so here we are...).

Shalelu returned Raesh to town just as the mist started falling from the sky. Raesh's ears drooped. She looked up distastefully. Really? Water from the sky? What was wrong with the world!?!?

Raesh and Hi met at the Rusty Dragon, Shiro hadn't yet come down. The food was sub-par, even for a standard tavern, but absolutely appalling for the Rusty Dragon. Ameiko continued to mope around the kitchen, looking down and depressed. Finally, Shiro emerged, in full fox form. He plodded down the stairs, tail dragging behind him so heavily it thumped loudly on each and every step. He ate his lunch indifferently, barely answering questions. Raesh asked, "Shiro, is something bothering you? Would you like to talk to me about it?"
Shiro looked dejected. "No."
Raesh shrugged, finished her lunch, and announced, "Well, I am going to train the Varisians. You are welcome to help me, if you want."
Hi said that it was high time that he go down and disarm the bomb at the end of the smuggler's tunnel and check on Brodert, but Shiro mumbled, "OK," and followed Raesh. As they stepped outside, the rain began in earnest. Raesh sighed. Shiro shifted to his human form and muttered, "At least it's good for something."
While they walked, Shiro asked Raesh whether she knew why Halek was so depressed.
"He apparently received something called a Harrowing from Madame Mvashti."
"Do you know what a Harrowing is?"
"No."
"Oh. With Madame Mvashti? I think I'd find that depressing, too. I think I might have had a Harrowing with Ameiko."

As they approached Madame Mvashti's house, they heard screaming. They drew their weapons and rushed in, only to see Nick on Halek's shoulders, awkwardly 'wielding' Halek's earthbreaker while Halek chased Nictiana around the yard. The parents were screaming in a mixture of terror and delight; the game was hilarious, but if Nick dropped the earthbreaker, it could seriously hurt Nictiana. Raesh barked, "Halek!"
He turned around. "You have 10 minutes. At that point we will start training."
"OK."
Nictiana scrambled up Halek's leg, and Halek walked to the corner to put away his earthbreaker and gather his short sword and shield, Nick on his shoulders, and Nictiana clinging precariously to his thigh. He pretended to exert great effort trying to remove the girl from his thigh, but she wouldn't come loose. Raesh walked over. "Nictiana. Do you want to play with Halek, or do you want to learn to fight so you can help defend your clan from being killed by goblins?"
Nictiana gave Raesh her best, cutest, big-eyed look and said, "Both!"
Raesh would have none of it, and made Nictiana climb down.

Antonio approached Shiro. "Well, my friend, have you been practicing your lute? Let me hear you play!"
Shiro sighed and obligingly played fairly poorly (a 14, which is pretty bad for a 5th-level bard), and Antonio asked him what was the matter. Shiro responded that he was kind of sad, and didn't feel like playing all that much. Antonio responded, "But Shiro, that is when you can make the most incredible music! Take your sadness, and let it pour forth in your music. Make the people around you weep! Listen!"
And he played the flute Shiro had given him, and (thanks to a lucky roll) got a 21 Performance. Shiro shrugged and said he'd try it. Halek and Raesh trained the Varisians as Shiro watched and moped.

In the meantime, Hi came to the glassworks. Workers were just finishing the repairs and the cleanup. They greeted him and told him the glassworks would be back in operation in 1-2 more days. He asked whether Brodert was below, but they didn't know. In fact, they hadn't seen him in at least 2 days. Hi sighed and went down. The floral experiment next to the bomb was unchanged. He carefully removed the fuse from the bomb and rolled it back to the stairs so that someone bigger could carry it up and they could go detonate it someplace safe. Then with a sigh, he went and searched for Brodert. He didn't find him at the statue, in the temple, near the runewell, or in the levitation room. With growing alarm, he suddenly thought of the zombie pits! Sure enough he got there, and Brodert was at the bottom of a pit, carefully slicing bits off of a zombie and putting them into glass vials. "Brodert! What are you doing down there? How long have you been down there?"
"I'm collecting samples! These zombies have been animate since Thassilonian times! Think of what they've seen! Think of what they've lived through!! And I've been here for about 10 minutes."
"Well, here, let me help you get out..."
"Just one more minute.... there!"
It was at that point that Hi finally realized that Brodert had had a ladder the whole time, and Brodert clambered up the ladder, pulled it out of the hole, and dropped it into the next hole. Hi sighed yet again.

At Madame Mvashti's, a runner arrived. "The sheriff is coming! The sheriff is coming!!"

The party (minus Hi) met at the town entrance. Within a minute or two, they spotted Sheriff Hemlock riding alongside a chainmail-clad soldier wearing a red tabard with a golden griffon emblazoned on it, leading several dozen men-at-arms. Shiro did not recognize the coat, and concluded that the man must be a minor noble from Magnimar. As the group approached, Raesh crit her Sense Motive. While the soldier narrowed his eyes and put his hand on the pommel of his sword when he saw her, his face was transfigured into sheer loathing when he saw Halek. As they arrived at the entrance to Sandpoint he announced, "I am Captain Corwin. As of this moment, by authority of the Council of Ushers and the Office of the Lord-Mayor of Magnimar, I declare this city under martial law until I have determined the current situation."
Sheriff Hemlock looked sheepish. Captain Corwin continued. "You... adventurers! You will meet me at the mayor's office and debrief me as to the current situation. I hereby revoke your deputyship! Men, fall in!"
The soldiers were clearly professionals; some quickly dispersed in groups towards Sandpoint's entrances, while others headed for the garrison to rest until nightfall, and some went to check the rest of the city's boundaries for weaknesses. Sheriff Hemlock and Captain Corwin rode ahead to the mayor's office. The party set off to find Hi. Raesh sent Halek to check at Rilka's, while Shiro was to go to the glassworks, and she would check the Rusty Dragon. To the party's surprise, Shiro turned into a small white fox and darted off towards the glassworks. As Shiro arrived, he returned to his human form, went downstairs, and eventually found Hi. To the party's even greater surprise, Raesh was the first one at City Hall.
The mayor's secretary greeted her, and asked her to have a seat until the rest of the party arrived. He offered her a towel for the rain. She demurred and dried her face with her favorite black silk hankie. As Halek, Shiro, and Hi arrived, the secretary did his best to be political, without out-and-out lying. "Uh, the Captain said...no, he wanted... er, no... he indicated that the barbarian should wait downstairs."
Upon further questioning, the party learned that the Captain's exact words were more along the lines of, "Tell them to leave their dog outside." They were not impressed with the Captain's diplomacy. Halek indicated that he would wait downstairs, and the party went up to meet with the mayor, Sheriff Hemlock, and Captain Corwin. Both Mayor Deverin and Sheriff Hemlock appeared strained, and it was clear that there was no love lost between the sheriff and the captain. He asked for a report. Raesh answered. "We found a traitor under the glassworks and executed him. We went to Thistletop and killed the goblins there. Their leader Ripnugget is dead.Their organizer Nualia is dead. The barghest Malfeshnekor is dead. You may go home."
Captain Corwin did not appreciate such a brief summary, and asked Shiro to fill in the details. Shiro did. In horrific detail. Using Prestidigitation to create small figures to reenact every fight, encounter, or conversation. The debriefing went on for 6 hours. Once it was done, the captain indicated that if it was all true, he had no more business in Sandpoint and would depart, but he would not believe any of it until he saw it with his own eyes. He would accompany the party (without Halek) to Thistletop to confirm their story. Raesh refused, indicating that, as Halek was part of the party, he would be coming with them. Corwin agreed to send some of his men instead, and he would manage the town's defenses. This was acceptable to both sides. They came downstairs. The secretary had gone home for the night, but Halek remained, motionless in his chair, as if he had spent many days waiting for others in exactly such a manner. They went outside...
...Into a pouring thunderstorm. The lightning was blinding to Raesh. The thunder deafening. But she had made a promise, and told the group that she had to head out and meet Shalelu. Shiro loaned her his cloak. The rest of the party decided to check out the Hagfish, since it was very likely that many soldiers would be there, and they might hear some gossip. Raesh headed out of town, stopping by Rilka's long enough to tell her that Hi was going to be at the Hagfish for a while, and once she got out of town was quickly intercepted by Shalelu, who laughed at the sodden drow. "I can't believe you came out! Come! Let us get you into some shelter!"
Shalelu led her to a small shelter of ferns and branches she'd built. There was a small fire inside, making it slightly warmer than outside. It was a tight fit, but both of them curled up together inside and watched the lightning from afar. Now that she was warm and out of the rain, Raesh could see the forks of lightning shooting down from the sky, and felt the earth shake as the thunder rolled over them. She was unable to find the charm in the lightning, as the brightness was fairly painful to her eyes. After a while, she thanked Shalelu for the experience and excused herself to return to town.

As the rest of the party arrived at the Hagfish, they could see that the place was full to bursting.with off-duty soldiers. Similarly, Norah's purse was filled to bursting with silver. Hi explained the challenge to Halek, who wondered what the issue was; he'd drunk far worse things just to survive in the Cinderlands. What could be so bad about drinking fish water? Hi announced to the tavern that he and Halek would be drinking from Norah's tank. There were hearty cheers from all the patrons. There were fewer cheers for Halek, most noticeably because the Magnimaran soldiers did not cheer for him. Hi tried first. A natural 20! The tiny gnome drained the tankard! Cheers erupted, and patrons lifted him high so he could burn his name in the ceiling. A worried Shiro ran off to get Rilka so she could take care of Hi in his uncertain state. After much celebration, Hi pulled down the purse and collected 166 silver pieces. He gave half to Halek, and half to Rilka. She hugged him, but when he tried to kiss her she said, "Don't you dare kiss me with that mouth!"
 
In spite of the fact that there was no bounty left, Halek put in a silver and tried. His 23 Fortitude roll was enough to keep him from getting sick, but not enough to win the purse. He made it to near the bottom of the tankard, but then had to spit out a huge mouthful, announcing, "Ugh, this is undrinkable!"
Hi laughed. "It's OK Halek, I'll give you some pointers on drinking one of these days."
The evening wore on, and Raesh returned. As the sight of Hi's name in the ceiling and the empty purse above Norah's tank, one side of her mouth curved up in what might have been a smile. At this point Hi freaked out because no one had warned him the water from Nora's tank was a hallucinogenic. There was no way he had just seen Raesh smirk. Raesh noticed immediately that the soldiers had dispersed around the tavern except around Halek. He was surrounded only by locals. She was getting very tired of this prejudice.

The Hagfish finally closed, and the party made their way back to the Rusty Dragon. They heard rumors that dinner had been extremely sub-par, but most people blamed Bethana for it. They all went to bed.

=====
07-Lamasht-4707

The party awoke early this morning; first Raesh and Halek for her morning rituals and his exercise, then Shiro, then Hi and Rilka. Breakfast was poor, Ameiko still seemed sad, and Shiro was still droopy-eared. They didn't have much time to socialize, however, as a contingent of 10 men-at-arms were waiting for them for their trip to Thistletop. They briefly discussed the idea of bringing Brodert along, but decided against it, figuring he would probably cause trouble. As they left Sandpoint, Raesh spotted Shalelu (crit Perception) trying to signal her, but couldn't make out what she was trying to say (Fumbled Sense Motive. Awesomeness.) Frustrated, Raesh walked into the woods to Shalelu, who had thought that the party had been taken prisoner, and was waiting for a signal to start the rescue. Raesh reassured her that they were simply taking the soldiers to see Thistletop, and Shalelu asked whether she could accompany them. The party agreed, and she started walking alongside Raesh, talking to her in very basic Elven, while Halek took point, Hi and Shiro followed Raesh and Shalelu, and the men-at-arms followed. A man-at-arms called out, "Hey, babe! Are you a worshipper of Calistria?"
Raesh whirled around, scimitar suddenly in her hand. Shiro pulled out his sword, and a ball of fire appeared in Hi's hand. GM Note: At this point I seriously believed I had just slaughtered 10 innocent soldiers. Raesh narrowed her eyes.
"Uh, nothing! Nothing, m'lady! I think the sun just made me stupid, ma'am!"
Raesh turned to Shalelu. "Is his apology acceptable?"
"Oh, sure. I've heard worse."
Halek finally turned around and noticed that the party had stopped. Gotta love barbarians and their Perception rolls.
Shalelu smiled and wrapped one arm around Raesh and the other around Shiro. "You know, the more I travel with you, the fonder I am of you."
Both Raesh and Shiro could feel her hips swiveling wildly as she walked, putting on quite the show for the men-at-arms behind her. Raesh was concerned. "Shalelu, are you sure that is wise?"
Shalelu replied, "They wanted to meet a worshipper of Calistria. She is not only a goddess of lust, but of vengeance. Have you seen how tightly their boiled leather trousers are tailored? I assure you, the entire group of them is in quite some pain at the moment..."
Raesh was speechless. Amused. Shocked. And speechless. Shiro concluded that he didn't mind Shalelu's behavior at all. Hi just laughed.

They arrived at Thistletop. They showed the soldiers through the thistle tunnels, and pointed out Yippy, insisting that Yippy not be harmed. Raesh asked Shalelu if she wouldn't mind, if she killed any goblins in the area, if she would please feed them to Yippy. Shalelu was delighted. "I would be happy to feed such a fine creature, if his tastes truly run to goblins!"
Although the fortress was deserted, both Shalelu and Halek spotted signs that a goblin search party had been in the previous night. They proceeded cautiously, showing the men-at-arms all of Thistletop, including the fortress, Ripnugget's room, the downstairs, and the lower level. They even pointed out the crypt, and warned the soldiers against going in. Finally, they headed up, re-sealing the secret door to the second level: No telling how many shadows would be born if the goblins found them and tried to attack!
The return trip to Sandpoint was uneventful. Once again, they went to the mayor's office, and once again Halek was made to wait downstairs. Raesh had had enough. "What is your problem with Halek? He has fought bravely by our side! He has personally killed many goblins, and many things worse than goblins! What is your issue with him?"
"You aren't from Magnimar. You don't know what the Shoanti are capable of. Gutless scum! Travel in packs and murder the innocent! They should all be rounded up and killed!"
"Halek did none of these things. And what have the Shoanti done to you?"
"They killed my brother, for one thing! And every man in my troop can attest to another atrocity by the Shoanti dogs! There are no good Shoanti!"
Raesh maintained a slightly disgusted silence.

They finally discussed the disposition of the prisoners: Captain Corwin would take them to Magnimar for investigation, and, if necessary, trial. As Orik was a mercenary, both Sheriff Hemlock and Captain Corwin felt the party should feel free to confiscate Orik's gear.

Before they left the mayor’s office, Shrio hugged Halek and told him that he had had a harrowing too, and it was all because he wasn’t able to be himself. Halek responded that that was indeed a serious omen, but as Shiro was a shaman, such omens were to be expected. Shiro was confused.

First, they visited the garrison to check on Orik and Lyrie. Orik admitted that he was a merc who'd made some bad choices in life, including killing an alchemist who had sold him a fake love potion. Raesh and Orik went back and forth on that point. "But if you could do it over again, would you kill him again?" "Absolutely. He wronged me. He deserved to die." Unable to find an ounce of repentance in the man, or even gain a promise of better behavior in the future, Raesh gave up. If the man would continue to turn to murderous vigilantism to solve his problems, then he deserved to lose his items. But they did not want the 'blood money' on their hands, so they chose to sell his gear and donate all of the proceeds to Father Zantus and the cathedral, to start a fund for families that had lost loved ones in the goblin attacks. They let him keep his shield, as he said it was a family heirloom (and the party found it ugly). The party did not bother talking to Lyrie; they handed over the letter from the Pathfinder Society to Captain Corwin and told him, "Watch out. She's a wizard."

Hi went off to see Rilka. Halek, Raesh, and Shiro headed to the Rusty Dragon. As they walked in, Ameiko sighed. Shiro drooped. They all went upstairs early that night, and yet again, Shiro knocked on Raesh's door. He told Raesh that he was ready to talk to her about why he was so depressed. "Well, you know the night I invited Ameiko up to help me with my bath? Well, we tried to do a bit more than that, but it turns out that she doesn't like my fox form. Well, maybe not my whole fox form, but just my muzzle. Well, maybe not my muzzle, but my teeth. Well, maybe I got excited and nipped her a little bit, but that's not that big a deal, right? I mean, you wouldn't mind if someone nipped you a little, would you?"
Raesh thought long and honestly. "No, Shiro, I do not think it would bother me. But what bothers me and what bothers Ameiko are two different things. And I cannot tell you that it wouldn't bother Ameiko."
"OK. thanks."
Shiro shuffled back to his room, and the party went to bed, except Raesh, who stayed up a bit later than usual working on some toys.

=====
08-Lamasht-4707

In the morning, the party first gratefully watched the backs of Captain Corwin, his men-at-arms, Orik, and Lyrie as they set off for Magnimar. Raesh found that the composite bow and +1 shield she'd ordered from Magnimar had arrived, as well as her leather armor from Larz. She put in an additional order for +1 banded mail to Magnimar, and the party set about selling their loot. When Hi arrived at the Feathered Serpent and spotted the Necklace of Fireballs, he drooled, but even he knew that wearing it wouldn't be a particularly bright idea. They kept a few items, such as Lyrie's spellbook, hoping to bring it to the wizard's academy in Magnimar. Hi spent the day helping Rilka, Raesh did her usual morning stint with Shalelu, afternoon with the Varisians, and early evening working with Shadowmist. Halek (on Raesh's suggestion) was helping around the Goblin Squash stables (avoiding Shadowmist), playing with Nick and Nictiana over lunch, and then training with Raesh and the Varisians in the afternoon. Only Shiro was up to anything unusual.
Shiro went to Vernah's and asked whether she happened to have Ameiko's measurements. Considering that Ameiko was a member of one of the four noble houses, Rynshinn knew her measurements by heart. Shiro ordered a 50 g.p. red-and-black dress for her. He suggested that she contact Larz for Raesh's measurements, and ordered, "Something in Sarenrae's colors, but that won't clash with her purple skin." Rynshinn suggested a very light lavender instead of white, and Shiro told her to go for it. He paid another 50 g.p., and seemed a bit brighter. Finally, he went to Ven Vinder's and got 50' of silk rope. Another sub-par dinner from the Rusty Dragon, but it was beginning to improve again. Raesh continued her work.
GM Note: As you can tell, we finally hit the point where people wanted to move the days a bit faster.

=====
09-Lamasht-4707

I have no notes for the day; everyone seems to have fallen into a rut waiting for orders to come in.

In the evening, Shiro asked Ameiko whether she would be willing to try another play with him. She smiled, agreed, and they saw The Three Fiddlers of Harse, a comedy.

=====
10-Lamasht-4707

The party noticed that Shiro was more cheerful today. In fact, he went out, went to the theater, and helped the production of the history of Minkai get the props more accurate. The food that evening at the Rusty Dragon was vastly improved. Raesh presented each party member with a gift: Shiro received a small disc that expanded into a tree with two foxes underneath; one white and one red. You could wind the foxes and they would chase each other around the tree. Hi received a small cannon with a string attached. When one pulled the string back, the cannon fired a small carved gnome figurine. Halek got a small pull-string firepelt with articulated limbs. Raesh did not at first mention her prize: She had made herself a small bunyip bath toy, mouth slightly agape, so you could fit a carefully-carved goblin arm in its mouth as it bobbed around the bath.

=====
11-Lamasht-4707

Shiro went out with Raesh, met with Shalelu, and told her he was planning on a big celebration the next evening, and he was hoping she would come. She agreed.

=====
12-Lamasht-4707

Shiro came down the stairs grinning like a maniac. Everyone asked him what had happened, and he replied, "Tonight's the big play!"
Breakfast was spectacular.
Shiro picked up the dresses, brought them back to the Rusty Dragon, and carefully crafted a note to Raesh, matching her handwriting and verbal style as closely as possible. "I hope you like my gift, and hope you will wear it to the play."
He presented Ameiko with her dress, and she laughed. "For you, for one night, I'll wear a dress."
Raesh found the dress at lunch, examined it, and promptly brought it back to Vernah's. She had a long slit put in the side to give her freedom of movement. As soon as Hi found out about the dresses, he rushed and bought the most expensive off-the-rack dress available for a halfling (40 g.p.).

That evening, they all gathered for the play: Ameiko and Raesh descended the stairs, dazzling everyone in their dresses, in spite of the fact that Raesh was still wearing her scimitar, and had thigh-high black boots on under the dress. Rilka trailed them by a step, done up as beautifully as she and Bethana could manage, AND beaming, charming everyone below. Shiro was in his full fox form, in his best bard's outfit. Hi wore clothes, which was more than could be said for Halek. He descended in little more than a loincloth, his body decorated in painted totems of the moon clan. Everyone shrugged and figured the audience could deal. As the women got to the bottom of the stairs, Shiro first took Raesh's hand and kissed it, lightly dragging his fangs across it. He switched to his human form and kissed Ameiko’s hand. He wasn't going to be a total cad and kiss Rilka (as she had a date!) but Hi motioned that it was ok... so Shiro also kissed Rilka's hand, causing her to giggle. Shalelu arrived in her woodland gear. Compared to Halek, she looked magnificent. They strolled to the play in style, and found that Ameiko's box was only big enough for 6, even with the two high chairs for the gnome and the halfling. As soon as Ameiko sat, Shiro took the form of a small fox and jumped into Ameiko's lap to watch the play. This allowed the rest of the party to fit, and Ameiko absent-mindedly skritched Shiro behind the ears throughout the play.

The play itself was a magnificent musical about tropical islands, girls in hula skirts, and tiki bars (inside joke). 

After the play, the party returned in good spirits to the Rusty Dragon. Shalelu headed back to the woods. Halek headed upstairs to sleep, and Hi and Rilka excused themselves to their room. Raesh, Shiro, and Ameiko chatted for a bit, and then Raesh went to her room. A crit Perception roll immediately told her that something was amiss; her bed covers were slightly wrinkled and her toy kit had been moved. She cast Detect Magic but sensed nothing, activated her Ring of Force Shield, and, irritated at being caught in such a situation without her armor, went downstairs to get Ameiko and Shiro. Shiro Sifted the room but found nothing. Cautiously, they entered. Shiro turned to his fox form and smelled the bedcovers. Rotting flesh. Raesh checked her toy kit. The second-largest chisel was missing. The window was unlocked. They locked the window and moved to check the other rooms.
 
Shiro's room was even more startling; his dagger had been plunged into the center of his pillow. It, too, smelled of rotting flesh. His window was likewise unlocked. Bethana indicated that they always opened the windows during the day to air out the rooms, and rarely locked them because crime was so rare in Sandpoint. They woke Halek, but there were no signs nor smells of intrusion in his room. They disturbed Hi and Rilka, but again, nothing had been disturbed there, either.

Raesh refused to sleep on her bed, nor Shiro on his, so they moved into Halek's room. Halek and Raesh argued over which of them would take the floor. They finally settled with each of them on the floor on either side of the bed, Shiro shrugged and took the bed for himself. Hi was sure he could take care of himself and Rilka. Ameiko curled up holding Bethana in her room.
 
It was a fitful night...

Next Scheduled Session: Friday, September 21?? Probably earlier, but we'll see


I want to commend the player of Rae'Sheleth. I might be stealing this character concept sometime in the future. Just one question, are you using traits in your campaign? If so (and I know this constitutes a second question), does Rae'Sheleth have the Blade of Mercy trait? Seems a perfect fit for a "redeemed" character (especially a paladin).


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Detect Magic wrote:
I want to commend the player of Rae'Sheleth. I might be stealing this character concept sometime in the future. Just one question, are you using traits in your campaign? If so (and I know this constitutes a second question), does Rae'Sheleth have the Blade of Mercy trait? Seems a perfect fit for a "redeemed" character (especially a paladin).

Raesh's player will be overjoyed to hear that!

We're not using traits, mainly because we've only been doing PF for a year now, and adding more and more "complications" to characters just makes them harder to roleplay.

But (and I'll let her pipe up if she disagrees) I think she'd be flattered if you took the idea and ran with it...

EDIT: Now you've done it. She's seen the post, and she wants me to allow everyone to add a trait so she can take it. And now, I must ponder...


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh now that is positively creepy! Something Rotten rolled in her sheets!? Yick! Awesome foreshadow, by the way.

I also like Raesh. And Shiro.

Good roleplay session, I love it when players want to do more than just advance the plot and kill stuff.


They don't add very much power. They are used mostly to grant minor bonuses based upon a character's backstory. They are also useful for tying characters into the adventure you're running. There are some traits specifically designed for ROTRL.

My favorite traits are those which grant additional class skills. For example, a player of mine is playing a Chelish noble, but as a rogue he lacks Knowledge (Nobility). Through traits he not only gained it as a class skill, but also got some extra starting gold (he bought a masterwork rapier).


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CaroRose wrote:

Oh now that is positively creepy! Something Rotten rolled in her sheets!? Yick! Awesome foreshadow, by the way.

I also like Raesh. And Shiro.

Good roleplay session, I love it when players want to do more than just advance the plot and kill stuff.

Yeah, I *loved* that she refused to sleep in ANY of the beds once she realized something nasty had rolled in hers... my real issue is avoiding too much foreshadowing. There's soooooo much chewy stuff to learn, and I want to drop hint after hint after hint, but I'd kind of miss the whole AP if I went that direction...


NobodysHome wrote:
But (and I'll let her pipe up if she disagrees) I think she'd be flattered if you took the idea and ran with it...

I've been tinkering with a build the last couple hours. The only problem I've run into has been with the drow's "Poison Use" ability. Doesn't really fit a drow character that has been raised amongst another race (let alone Sarenrae worshipers). Been trying to come up with something to replace it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
Detect Magic wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
But (and I'll let her pipe up if she disagrees) I think she'd be flattered if you took the idea and ran with it...
I've been tinkering with a build the last couple hours. The only problem I've run into has been with the drow's "Poison Use" ability. Doesn't really fit a drow character that has been raised amongst another race (let alone Sarenrae worshipers). Been trying to come up with something to replace it.

Raesh's character just dropped it, or maybe I gave her the toymaking for free. As you can tell, we're not too worried about balanced builds. May hurt us later in the harder fights, but for now it's a lot of, "OK, that doesn't make sense, so I'm just not going to use it."

She avoids reminding me of her Spell Resistance because she's embarrassed by it.

No one will ever use the term 'power gamer' with our group...


SR might prove to be as much a hassle as it is a boon, as it works against friendly spells as well as hostile spells. Thus, there's a chance that she will resist healing spells and the like (unless she spends a standard action to voluntarily lower her SR).

It's for this reason I don't consider it overpowered. Besides, dwarves can trade their "Hardy" racial trait for SR.

Alternative Dwarf Racial Trait:
Magic Resistant: Some of the older dwarven clans are particularly resistant to magic. Dwarves with this racial trait gain spell resistance equal to 5 + their character level. This resistance can be lowered for 1 round as a standard action. Dwarves with this racial trait take a –2 penalty on all concentration checks made in relation to arcane spells. This racial trait replaces hardy.


Someone said wrote:

NobodysHome wrote:

But (and I'll let her pipe up if she disagrees) I think she'd be flattered if you took the idea and ran with it...

I've been tinkering with a build the last couple hours. The only problem I've run into has been with the drow's "Poison Use" ability. Doesn't really fit a drow character that has been raised amongst another race (let alone Sarenrae worshipers). Been trying to come up with something to replace it.

So glad you like Rae'Sheleth! I'm having a blast playing her! :)

When I created her, I didn't take Poison Use specifically because I figured that was cultural rather than an inborn talent. Drow seem to get enough racial bonuses anyway, so I didn't feel like I needed a replacement trait. Maybe your GM would let you take Blade of Mercy instead of Poison Use? Seems like a reasonable trade to me... I gave her Common and Celestial rather than Elven and Undercommon as starting languages to reflect her having been raised by humans in a temple setting (hence her having to learn Elven from Shalelu now). I should also mention that, as NobodysHome mentioned, we are not powergamers, so my build is for maximized roleplaying rather than combat advantage.

Good luck! I hope you have as much fun as I have been! Oh, and if you need more inspiration, check out some of the paladin threads, especially the ones involving babies of evil races... that's where I got the idea for Raesh in the first place -- what *does* happen to one of those babies if you save it? ;)


GothBard wrote:
So glad you like Rae'Sheleth! I'm having a blast playing her! :)

Of course, she's awesome!

GothBard wrote:
Good luck! I hope you have as much fun as I have been!

Thanks, I'll definitely shelf this character for use sometime (I'm not playing in any games at the moment, so she'll have to wait).

GothBard wrote:
[Oh, and if you need more inspiration, check out some of the paladin threads, especially the ones involving babies of evil races... that's where I got the idea for Raesh in the first place -- what *does* happen to one of those babies if you save it? ;)

Mikaze's thread? I rather liked her "monster" orphanage idea.


Gah. Bad thought and far too late, but were Raesh and company unable to subdue Nulia and haul her back? Combat is the worst place to attempt to reason and a Restoration/Heal spell might of made things easier on the redemption part.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
Andrea1 wrote:
Gah. Bad thought and far too late, but were Raesh and company unable to subdue Nulia and haul her back? Combat is the worst place to attempt to reason and a Restoration/Heal spell might of made things easier on the redemption part.

They had her subdued, but Raesh felt that the fact that she had already converted part of her body to demon form meant she was already too far gone to save, so she did a mercy killing.

The speech was epic -- there wasn't a dry eye at the table -- so Sarenrae didn't object.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Thanks for posting. Loving this!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
mln84 wrote:
Thanks for posting. Loving this!

Thanks. I got the original idea from Mikaze's Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign log, but (as you can tell) I like to type, and my players are loving the recaps almost as much as the game, so even though it's time-consuming, it's fun as well. (I was originally going to do just the e-mails, but I figured Paizo might just let me post the recaps publicly, and they haven't erased my thread yet.)

And people like you post such nice things! ;-)


So do you. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

15-Sep-2012 Game
I regret to inform everyone that, for the second session in a row, there is no Silver Tsuto Award. We had a big fight, but not a single combatant fumbled, and none of the non-combat fumbles were entertaining enough to merit the award. Better luck next session, players!

SPOILER: At the end of this session, the characters deduced the identity of the murderer, as detailed at the end (without a spoiler tag).

Note 1: In this summary I tried to include a lot of my players' hypotheses and theories, because it was absolutely fascinating to watch them work their way to the conclusion. They weren't entirely comfortable with my inclusion of this, because they felt some readers would say, "Ha ha! Look at them! Look how far off-base they were," but if you see when they figure certain things out, it was really pretty impressive detective work, especially in terms of the overall plot threads.

Note 2:: The experience track through Module 1 was perfect, with the characters leveling at exactly the right point. The players finished the Sanatorium last night, and it's clear they're not going to hit 6th level at the expected point, and they're unlikely to hit 7th level in this module at all unless I add some stuff. Not a big issue; the module is rich with link-ins, but something to note as a GM.

Note 3:: I *really* wanted to add more creepy visits to the Rusty Dragon, but my cursed players were waaaay too clever to let their bedrooms get visited a second time. If you're GM'ing and your players are ultra-careful, you might want to be sure they have 2-3 'special' places in town so you can defile one while they're watching another. The villain only got one "roll in the sheets" before they blocked his access entirely.

Anyway, on with the story:

=====
13-Lamasht-4707

Raesh and Halek awoke at dawn, as usual, and quietly headed downstairs (which was unusual for Halek), meeting Ameiko and Bethana on the stairs down. Ameiko and Bethana started breakfast, while Raesh and Halek headed outside to perform their morning exercises. It was raining. Again. Raesh's ears drooped. Halek strode to his usual spot in the yard and started his workout, apparently completely oblivious to the rain, but Raesh chose to perform her devotions under a bit more shelter. Once they were done, they headed inside for a bit of tea and breakfast. A few minutes later, Shiro came down, popped into the kitchen to kiss Ameiko good morning, and joined them at the table. Moments later, they heard the sounds of several wagons pulling up outside the Rusty Dragon. Antonio strode in. "Ah, friends! It is good to see you! The season is growing late, the news from Korvosa is poor, and I feel we must take our leave and move on!"
Antonio explained that with winter coming, the roads were becoming less and less passable, and they had received news from Korvosa that King Eodred was quite ill. Antonio worried for the safety of his relatives at Trail's End in Korvosa if Eodred should die and Ileosa should become queen; everyone knew she held non-Chelaxians in great disdain, so there might come a time that the Varisians in Trail's End would need to leave Korvosa quickly. Furthermore, with the troop movements between Sandpoint and Magnimar, the road to Magnimar would be quite safe right now, and they could meet other Varisians headed for winter in Korvosa and travel in safety. The noise awoke Hi, who came down, and many tearful farewells were had. Raesh took Nick and Nictiana aside and gave them motherly advice: "Remember. When you are killing goblins, drive your swords into their bellies and then thrust upwards under their rib cage."
"Yes, Miss Rae'Sheleth."
The wagons rolled off through the mud into the driving rain, giving the players (if not the characters) shuddering flashbacks of other campaigns with wagons in the mud. The party saw no reason to get themselves wet, so sat and enjoyed tea and conversation with Bethana, Rosette, and Ameiko for a while. Finally, Hi decided he should check on Rilka to see whether she needed anything, while Raesh decided she should report the theft of her chisel to Sheriff Hemlock. She took the larger and smaller chisel from her toy kit and headed out. Shiro and Halek decided to come along with Raesh, though the warm fire, hot tea, and excellent company was clearly on Shiro's mind as they stepped into the downpour. Hi found that Rilka's business was almost completely stopped; no one was coming in in the downpour, but she reassured him that the post-rain mud would ensure a boom in business soon enough. "But I do believe there's something you can help me with in the bedroom," as she grabbed his scarf and pulled him along, grinning wryly.

Raesh, Shiro, and Halek arrived at Sheriff Hemlock's, and he was there to welcome them in. At first, he didn't understand why Raesh would report such a petty crime. She explained that she felt it possible, if not outright probable, that someone would use the chisel in a crime soon, and she wanted a record that it wasn't in her possession. Realization dawned on Sheriff Hemlock, and he promptly called over an artist to sketch the larger and smaller chisels and draw a rough sketch of the missing chisel. He signed and dated the paper, had Raesh sign and date it, and filed it away. Sheriff Hemlock also sent a pair of men to investigate Raesh's room for her, but warned her that they were fairly green. Sure enough, on returning to the room and checking it for clues, the men rolled a 3 and a 2 on their Perception checks, proving that Hemlock knew his men all too well. The group went back with Hemlock's men to the garrison, and decided that the next obvious step was to check the graveyard. This wasn't met with great enthusiasm; even though the morning was growing later, the sky was growing darker, and it might possibly have been raining even harder. However, whatever had rolled in Raesh's bed was obviously some kind of undead creature (the party initially assumed a zombie controlled by a necromancer), so they wanted to see whether there had been any recent activity in the graveyard.
They arrived at the cathedral to find Father Zantus and Naffer Vosk there, taking shelter from the downpour. They explained their concerns, and Naffer admitted he hadn't been out to maintain the yard today, and would be happy to escort them to check things. They slogged into the mud and the pouring rain. Raesh turned to Shiro. "Shiro, turn into a fox and smell around the graveyard to see whether you can find that smell."

GM Note: If there has ever been a reason to videotape gaming sessions, Shiro's player's reaction and subsequent pantomiming was it. It was epic. It was awesome. He stretched out his arms and bugged out his eyes, like a poor drenched fox trying to keep its belly out of the mud. He shivered. He whimpered. He was just plain incredible. Later in the evening he declared it the "best feat ever". I don't think Shiro felt that way at that moment.

Shiro looked aghast. "Do I have to? I mean, I really don't want to, but if you really want me to, I will."
Raesh was adamant. "Yes."
Shiro transformed into a small white fox. He was immediately drenched and up to his belly in mud. He slunk miserably through the mud, sniffing for clues as Naffer, Raesh, and Halek checked the graves and the crypts. At first Naffer stomped on each grave to make sure the ground was solid. When Raesh expressed displeasure at this method, Naffer shrugged, got a pole, and poked each grave in turn. After a filthy, miserable, cold, wet couple of hours, the party found no sign of any disturbances in the graveyard.
Disappointed, they returned towards the Rusty Dragon to wait out the rain. On their way, they stopped by the Goblin Squash stables to ask Daviren Hosk whether he or any of his stable boys had noticed anything unusual the night before. Sure enough, one of the stable boys had reported that right around midnight, all the horses in the stable became very agitated, and nothing he did calmed them down. It lasted around 45 minutes. They thanked Daviren for the information and, after visiting Shadowmist with scratches behind the ears and apples, returned to the Rusty Dragon. Before going in, they checked the area under their windows for signs of anyone climbing the wall, holes from ladders, or any other indication that someone or something had been down here. Unfortunately, a fumbled Survival roll meant that the rain had been blowing towards that wall, so any evidence that might once have been there had long since been washed away.
Raesh personally washed the mud out of Shiro's fur, and then set to work on her own armor. Hi arrived with Rilka in the mid-afternoon, and they spent a pleasant time in front of the fire, sipping tea and talking with Bethana. Hi pressed them for local news, hoping to hear about an eccentric stranger with a smelly crate or some such, but instead got an absolute data dump of all of the trysting that was happening around Sandpoint. Cyrdak and Jasper. Banny and Katrine. Willem and Frederica. Shayliss and just about anyone who asked. Hi's head swam as he heard the intimate details of at least a dozen affairs. Who would have thought such a small town would have such and active night life?

Halek vanished into his room until dinner. After dinner, the party borrowed a ladder from Ameiko and climbed to the roof. The rain was letting up, but still hard enough to be cold and unpleasant. They kept a vigil all night, and the wicked GM asked them to roll Perception three times: First, to hear the murder that was happening in the sawmill hundreds of feet away (all failed). Second, to smell the stench approaching the Rusty Dragon (Shiro succeeded and pointed). Third, to spot the shambling creature approaching the Rusty Dragon (it spotted Raesh well before she spotted it and fled). The party stayed awake almost the entire night, with Shiro and Hi turning in at dawn to get some sleep, whie Raesh and Halek stayed up and had to save against fatigue.

=====
14-Lamasht-4707

As Raesh and Halek performed their morning exercises in a light drizzle, planning on letting Hi and Shiro sleep in as late as they needed to, they were surprised to see Sheriff Hemlock approaching, looking grim. He asked to speak with the party. Raesh asked Halek to wake up Hi and Shiro while she finished her devotions. Halek headed up and banged loudly on Shiro's door, bellowing, "Time to get up, Shiro!" Shiro groaned so Halek moved on and banged on Hi's door. Hi complained bitterly that he was ALREADY awake because of Halek’s banging on Shiro’s door, noting that his fist banging was like an earthquake, and Halek roared with laughter and thanked Hi for the compliment. The other guests complained, and Ameiko reminded Halek about his "inside voice". Halek went downstairs and passed on the message that Shiro and Hi would be ready in an hour. Sheriff Hemlock agreed to wait, so he and Halek breakfasted as Raesh completed her devotions.
Once the party was gathered, Sheriff Hemlock asked for a private place they could meet. They went to Raesh's room, and Hemlock explained: There had been a brutal murder at the sawmill last night; Katrine Vinder and Banny Harker were slain in a very bloody manner. Worse, these were the second such brutal murders this week; three men were found slain two days ago, and the sole witness to that killing was sick and insane, and was currently incarcerated at Habe's Sanatorium to the south. Worst of all, the killer seemed to know Raesh, as Sheriff Hemlock handed her a note addressed to "Rae'Sheleth" that read, "You will learn to love me, desire me in time as she did. Give yourself to the pack and it shall all end. Your Lordship." Raesh scowled and rolled her eyes. (Again, a hard trick for a drow.) Shiro examined the note carefully, rolling his Linguistics to recognize the handwriting. He didn't. They asked Sheriff Hemlock how he had learned about the murders, and he told them that another worker at the sawmill, Ibor Thorn, had arrived very late to his shift, only to find his partner and poor Katrine murdered. He was currently in protective custody at the garrison, as was Ven Vinder, who'd attacked the guards who told him of his daughter's death. Sheriff Hemlock was hoping that the party would help him investigate the murders. Finally, he stood up. "Oh, and since Captain Corwin has taken his leave, you're now officially deputized, you're deputized, you're deputized, and you're deputized." He handed them back their badges and paperwork, and made them official deputies of Sandpoint once again.

The party first went with Sheriff Hemlock to the lumber mill. There was a crowd of people around the mill, but the guards were keeping them out. The party recognized some of the guards from their goblin patrols, but others were unfamiliar to them; clearly the "most-trusted men" that Hemlock had taken with him to Magnimar. They stepped aside for the party, and they stepped into a horror scene. Blood was strewn about the sawmill. Katrine's body was in two pieces at the log splitter. Banny's body was hung from tool hooks in the wall and horribly mutilated: His face and lower jaw were cut away, and a seven-pointed pattern was inscribed in his chest. The party immediately recognized the Sihedron Rune, compared the pattern to Hi's necklace that they had taken from Nualia, and there was a clear match. Shiro wondered what Katrine had been doing at the sawmill. He took a drop of her blood and cast his newly-learned spell, "Blood Biography". On the wall, writing appeared:
My name is Katrine Vinder.
I am a female human.
I was thrown through a log splitter.
I died last night.

A thorough search of the downstairs area revealed several clues: An axe that had been used to attack something rotten near Katrine's body. Barefoot footprints that reeked of rotting flesh. Muddy, bloody footprints on the pier leading into the river, so fresh that the rain hadn't had time to wash them away. Raesh examined Banny's body for any marks indicating how he had died (other than the hooks and carving), but found none (low Heal check). The party asked Hemlock who had turned off the log splitter, and he told them that Ibor Thorn had said he'd done it. Their initial theory was that Katrine was having an affair with Banny (confirmed by Hi), something was murdering Banny, Katrine walked in, hit it with an axe, and it killed her. There were some inconsistencies (why had she run upstairs instead of out the door?), but that could be attributed to incompetent GM'ing rather than poor strategy (yeah, I put Banny on the first floor by accident, kind of screwing up continuity, but my players gracefully rolled with it). They checked upstairs, and sure enough found a rolled-up bedroll and meal among Banny's possessions. Shiro collected a bit of Banny's blood for later analysis; he didn't want to use up all of his 2nd-level spells so early in the morning. (I loved the way he RPed it, though, "Yeah, that spell takes a lot out of me, so I don't want to cast two of them so close together.") Finally, he took a bit of blood from the axe. The smell was so sickening that he had to make a Fortitude save not to become ill, but he succeeded, and got the blood. He decided to try "Blood Biography" on the blood from the axe.
My name is (illegible).
I do not know what I am. I serve Her.
I was struck by an axe.
Last night.

A high Linguistics roll showed that the name was actually three names written on top of each other (and yes, I really did write down all three names on top of each other to give the players a chance to read them). Shiro could make out "The Skinsaw" as part of one of the names, but couldn't make out the others.

Done with the sawmill, the party decided to proceed with the investigation. They asked about the previous murders, and Hemlock explained that three well-known con men, Mortwell, Hask, and Tabe, had been found slain in a barn two days ago, their bodies mutilated in a similar manner. A fourth man, Grayst Sevilla, had been found at that scene (in fact, they found the bodies because he attacked some passing guards), but he was deathly ill and completely insane and of no use the Sheriff Hemlock's investigation, so he'd sent him off to the Sanatorium. Sheriff Hemlock showed them the note ("Messrs. Mortwell, Hask, and Tabe - A deal has come about that I need capital for. It involves property and gold, and though I am not at liberty to tell you the exact details, it will make us all rich. Come to Bradley's barn on Cougar Creek tonight. We can meet there to discuss our futures. Your Lordship."), and Shiro used his Linguistics to confirm that the handwriting was the same on both notes. They headed for the garrison.
Once there, they first examined the bodies. Once again, the faces and jaws were cut away, and once again the Sihedron Rune was carved in each victim's chest. Another low Heal check, and once again Raesh saw no clear indication as to how these men had been overpowered. The party began to suspect some kind of mental compulsion that forced the victims to stand still as they were sacrificed; anyone who successfully resisted was killed by force, and anyone who succumbed had the ritual performed. They asked Sheriff Hemlock about the men's backgrounds, and Hemlock explained that they were con men and swindlers well-known to Hemlock, and he'd only recently driven them out of town. It didn't surprise him at all that they'd been murdered; only the brutality of it had given him pause, and now that Banny was dead he was far more concerned. They asked Hemlock about strangers in town, and he identified eight visitors: Four merchants from Magnimar, and a group of four 'performers' who claimed to be Varisians from Korvosa, but who were clearly Chelaxian.
Next on the list was an interview with Ibor Thorn. Shiro aced his Diplomacy rolls (hello? Bard!) and quickly turned Ibor friendly. From Ibor they learned the true course of events: Katrine and Banny had been trysting for some time. Ibor would take his break at midnight and go for a walk through town while Banny and Katrine were otherwise engaged. He'd come back in an hour, they'd be done, and he and Banny would resume work. He didn't mind at all, because Banny would make up the work he missed. Last night, he'd stopped by Risa's Place for a pint and to warm himself by the fire, and hadn't returned until 1:30 am. He was horrified, but he'd thought he could save Katrine, so he'd run over and turned off the log splitter. At that point, she'd fallen in half, and he'd run to get the sheriff. They asked Ibor whether Banny had any enemies. Ibor admitted that Banny was good with numbers, and had been cooking the books to skim some money from the Scarnettis. Banny had even offered to pay him for his silence, but he wouldn't take Scarnetti money, as everyone knew that bad things happened to people who crossed the Scarnettis. He also insisted that it couldn't have been Ven; the man had a temper, no doubt about it, but he loved his daughters dearly and would never have done that to poor Katrine. A crit Sense Motive by Shiro convinced the party that Ibor was being absolutely honest with them, so they moved on.
Their next stop was Bradley's barn. Although the barn looked like it was still in use (there was hay in it, and isn't that all a barn is used for, after all?), the scene was undisturbed since Sheriff Hemlock's men had been there. Inside were four sets of ropes nailed into the wall. Shiro, exposing a strange knowledgeability about being tied up, pointed out to the party that three of the sets of ropes were clearly designed to hold a body or person about whom the tie-er didn't care; the fourth set was clearly tied with holding a person without causing them significant harm in mind. Halek confirmed the barefoot footprints, even among the multitude of prints from the con men and the sheriff's men. They quickly concluded that the creature had tied up Grayst and made him watch the mutilation of the other three bodies, explaining his insanity. But why? Why not just kill him, as the creature had killed Katrine? Shiro took blood samples from all three sets of ropes and the party returned to Sandpoint.
Their final bit of investigation was to have Shiro take fox form and sniff along the river for the rotten smell. Going along the entire river bank on both sides, they found two places the creature had come ashore: Once at the sawmill, and once on the shore near the Rusty Dragon, though it had only proceeded 5-10 feet ashore before stopping and turning back. They immediately concluded that it had spotted them on the roof and retreated. They were still having trouble deciding on the nature of the undead, but Raesh's Knowledge: Religion suggested that ghouls could paralyze people, and might have a stench associated with them.

Exhausted from a night without sleep and a day of investigation, the party returned to the Rusty Dragon to an excellent meal. Unfortunately, the group of four Chelaxian 'Varisians' were performing there that night. Their bard was awful (a 3 Performance roll), and the other three seemed to be doing some kind of pantomime in red and white polka dot pajamas. It was truly bizarre. Baths were suggested all around, but Halek declined a bath, choosing to simply turn in early. The party agreed to wake each other up at 10:00 pm to keep watch on the roof again. Shiro asked Ameiko whether she would mind helping him with his bath, and she smiled and agreed. She handed Raesh a bowl of fresh truffles. Hi and Rilka retired to the bath in their room. Shiro and Ameiko retired to Shiro's room, but found no bath. "Oh, I forgot to draw a bath. What ever shall we do?" Ameiko purred. She smiled wickedly and closed the door. Raesh left the truffles on the table and went to her bath, putting the goblin arm in her bath bunyip's mouth and pushing it along so that it bobbed merrily in the waves. An impressive set of Fortitude saves later (not a single party member rolled over a 6) and the party had slept through the night with no one on watch. Fortunately, no one woke up dead.

=====
15-Lamasht-4707

The weather was clearing up, and it looked like today would be partly cloudy. Once everyone was awake, the party's first order of business was to cast Blood Biography on Banny's blood. The GM carefully took the paper, appeared to be writing something, but handed Shiro a blank sheet. Confused, Shiro used his bardic ability to take 20 on his Knowledge: Arcana: What would cause Blood Biography to fail? The only obvious answer that came to mind would be if the soul of the departed were unavailable, either trapped or destroyed. Now they knew what the ritual was for, and it did not comfort them: There was a necromancer in the area sending his undead minions to capture people and perform rituals that stole or destroyed their souls. Not Good.
Their first step in the morning was to have Shiro take on fox form and walk all along the bank of the river, searching for the smell. There was no sign that the creature had come ashore the previous night. As they headed for the White Deer, where the four visiting merchants were staying, Shiro stayed in fox form and jumped into Raesh's arms, obviously expecting to be carried all over town. Raesh grudgingly complied, though there was some muttering about foxes growing as fat as bunyips. Halek spoke with Garridan in Shoanti for a bit, but explained that, although the merchants were off at the market, and although they were duly deputized deputies, Garridan would not allow them to enter the merchants' rooms, as that would be a violation of the trust they had put in the White Deer. The party accepted this decision, but did send Shiro up to sniff at their doors. He did not smell anything rotten.
Next, they stopped at the cathedral to talk to Father Zantus and to fly the banner for Shalelu. Zantus agreed with them that the helpless prisoners definitely made it sound like ghouls, although Zantus was also familiar with the more-powerful ghasts that also exuded a powerful stench that helped disable their victims. The party believed they had identified their creature. Shalelu arrived, and Shiro cheerfully jumped into her arms. She smiled, turned him over, and started skritching his belly, causing one leg to go wild with delight. The party warned Shalelu that there might be a ghoul prowling Sandpoint and its environs. Shalelu was concerned, as she hadn't seen any increased activity around the Pauper's Graves, and Sandpoint was a bit far for a lone rogue ghoul to be wandering. She offered to stand watch with Raesh that night on the river across from the Rusty Dragon, as both of them were immune to ghoul venom. Raesh said nothing, but her eyebrows went up. She had not known she was immune to ghoul poison. Shiro's eyes goggled, as if to say, "Is there anything ELSE I should know about you, Raesh? See in the dark? Levitate people? Immune to ghoul venom? Can you fly, and you just didn't want to make us feel bad?"
Shalelu put Shiro down and headed back for the woods, and he hopped back into Raesh's arms. They checked in at the garrison, examined the five bodies (Banny, Katrine, Mortwell, Hask, and Tabe), and, sure enough, found the telltale claw marks on Banny, Mortwell, Hask, and Tabe. Now they had a good idea of what they were up against: A ghast that paralyzed its victims, then performed a ritual that devoured their souls. But ghasts weren't that organized or intelligent, were they? They still needed to find the necromancer responsible. And they needed to get the to Sanatorium as soon as possible as well; there was no telling when Greyst would fully convert and turn the Sanatorium into a bloodbath. They decided the necromancer was the greater threat, and headed for the marketplace to check on the visiting merchants.

At the marketplace, the merchants were easy enough to spot; their Magnimaran clothing was brighter and better-made than most local wear. Raesh put Shiro down and she, Halek, and Hi approached the merchants as Shiro ran among their feet, sniffing at them and catching their attention. Once again, their distaste for Halek was obvious, but they were at least polite with Raesh. As she started asking them questions, they first asked to see her papers. Once they were sure that they were in order, they were perfectly willing to answer the questions, though they didn't think much of Sheriff Hemlock for having them questioned twice. They were 'kitsch merchants' from Magnimar. They traveled through Magnimar's provinces for locally-made goods not generally available in Magnimar that could be sold for a decent profit. In Sandpoint's case, the glassworks produced a large amount of scrap glass that wasn't good enough to pass the factory's diligent inspection process, but that quickly made it into the hands of local artists, who turned it into wind chimes, mosaics, mirror backings, and the like. A finely-crafted wind chime that might cost 2.5 g.p. in Sandpoint could be sold to a Magnimar noble for 10 g.p. or more, making the trip well worth the while. Neither Sense Motive nor Detect Evil (nor even Shiro's sense of smell) found anything amiss, so they let the merchants go on their way. However, the damage was done; many market-goers spotted the adorable white fox trotting about in the marketplace, and came to ask Raesh about him. Shiro pranced and preened, and Raesh took the opportunity to spread some pro-fox propaganda, thereby dissuading some of the locals from the foxhunting that had so alarmed the party.
Once they had completed their fox propaganda mission, ensuring Aldern Foxglove would receive a cool reception next time he tried to sell fox pelts there, Shiro jumped back into Raesh's arms and pointed her towards a stall selling small bells. He convinced her to buy him a small bronze bell.
Next on their list was Aliver Podiker, in prison at the garrison on suspicion of aiding and abetting a murder, on the strength of Tsuto's journal entry. Aliver was perfectly happy to see them, explaining that he had already admitted to selling poison, and selling poison wasn't a crime in Sandpoint. In fact, he pointed out, his complaint to Tsuto clearly indicated that he had not intended the poison to cause any harm, and the Sczarni had misjudged the dosage, indicating that Aliver had meant no one any harm. He expected a pleasant trip to Magnimar, a short trial, and a quick release back to Sandpoint. When the party told him that a murderer was loose in Sandpoint, he expressed gratitude that they had ensured his safety by shipping him out of the town during these troubled times, and if they perchance caught the murderer and brought him to justice, perhaps he would harbor no ill will towards them. They asked him whether anyone had purchased necromantic potion ingredients from him, and he admitted no one had, but perhaps that idiot Nisk Tander might well be such an unwitting agent. When they asked him more about Nisk, he assured them, "You have had me arrested, destroyed my reputation, and stolen several weeks from my life. You know that I am a poisoner. Yet if you were to ask me to answer honestly, I believe you would be safer accepting a potion from me than one from Nisk Tander. The man is an idiot."
They thanked him for his time and Hi offered him a marshmallow as a parting gift, but for some reason the poisoner did not accept a food gift from the group that had had him arrested. They asked Sheriff Hemlock about his men questioning the merchants (true, and it provided no additional information) and about the Chelaxian quartet (performing at the Fatman's Feedbag this evening, and almost certain to be in protective custody before midnight). Hemlock recommended wearing full armor and weapons to the Feedbag.
Their next stop was at the Feathered Serpent. They asked about the necromantic scrolls that had been captured, and the adventurer who had captured them. Vorvashali was more than willing to cooperate, telling them about Kethel Pardell, a Magnimaran adventurer who had tracked down and slain a necromancer, then sold the items here in Sandpoint. He let Shiro examine the scrolls, and Shiro could immediately tell that the scrolls had not been written by the mysterious 'Your Lordship'. No one had inquired about the scrolls, and no one had bought anything all that interesting.
Their final stop for the day was at Bottled Solutions, but that was a quick dead end as Nisk identified Hi as the only person who had ordered custom ingredients from him in the last two weeks.
They returned to the Rusty Dragon around 5:00 pm, had an early dinner, armored up, and headed for the Feedbag. They waited in the street about 10 yards from the entrance, and sure enough, at 6:00 pm sharp the group started performing. Sometimes, as a GM, the gods smile on you. A '1' Performance check was enough to ensure the boos and rotting vegetables started immediately, and by 6:05 pm the quartet was fleeing for its life out the front door, pursued by an unruly crowd. The crowd didn't pursue. The party intercepted the quartet. The 'bard' was bemoaning the loss of his lute (snapped in half during their flight), and the others were checking on the state of their polka-dot costumes. Shiro asked them about their performance, and they insisted that it was all the rage in Cheliax. Shiro decided against suggesting that perhaps that was where the performance belonged as well. Unable to believe that any member of the group could be a plotting necromancer in disguise, they let them go their way and returned to the Rusty Dragon.
After the fiasco of the previous evening, they strung the bell on a thin thread across the approach from the river to the Rusty Dragon, and positioned themselves tactically around the Rusty Dragon: Raesh and Shalelu directly across the river, Shiro (in fox form) and Halek on the roof of the Rusty Dragon, and Hi on the roof of the stables. They asked the sheriff to increase his patrols around the rest of town, checking for the telltale odor. It was a long, cold night, punctuated only slightly when around 1:30 am, Shiro thought he caught a whiff of something, but nothing came of it. The party went to bed around 2:00 am.

=====
16-Lamasht-4707

The morning started pleasantly enough; it looked like it was going to be a bright, sunny day, and Raesh and Halek were well into breakfast when Sheriff Hemlock arrived, grim-faced. Sure enough, there had been another pair of murders: Maver and Pennae Kesk, the jewelers. Ironically enough, they had given their guards leave to help with the sheriff's patrols, so it was just the two of them when the (supposed) ghast struck.
GM Note: As part of your prep work, prepare 2-3 'extra' notes. They had Note 1, Note 2 is in a specific location, and Note 3 gives away too much. So I didn't have a note to pin to the Kesks. Not a huge deal overall, but not nearly as creepy as if I'd had one.
They went with Hemlock to the jewelers, and were no longer surprised at what they saw: Pennae pinned to the wall, face and jaw removed and Sihedron Rune in her chest, and Maver, skull crushed, lying on the floor. Shiro used Blood Biography.
My name is Maver Kesk
I was a male human jeweler
My skull was crushed by a rock
Last night at midnight
.

The party decided that some legwork was in order; the first four sacrifices had been con men and embezzlers; what could Pennae possibly have in common with them? Another high Knowledge: Local roll revealed that she had been known to add a gold piece or two to the prices of items while Maver wasn't looking, just to 'fund her nest egg'. Raesh had the first of her two great revelations:
"There are many Runelords, one of them is Greed. They are sacrificing greedy souls, probably in an attempt to re-activate the Runewell of Greed. Those whose souls do not possess enough greed are merely slain, but cannot be sacrificed. The Skinsaw cult that helped Nualia must be working toward bringing the Runewell back to power!"
"Greed! They are sacrificing souls to power the Runewell of Greed! Every single one of these people compromised a principle for love of money! Remember the pile of coins and the secret door near where Nualia was at Thistletop? That was obviously somewhere close to it! Maybe Brodert knows where it is!"

They raced to find Brodert. The glassworks were fully-operational again, but the workers were happy to let the party downstairs to find Brodert. They found him, buck naked, floating in the middle of the meditation room. "Thank goodness you're here! Someone please throw me a rope!"
They quickly determined that Brodert had floated into the room, lost his grip on his safety rope, and ended up trapped, floating helplessly in the center of the room. He'd thrown his clothes in one direction in the hopes of pushing himself to a wall, but he'd bounced off the wall and ended up right back in the center of the room, this time naked. They retrieved Brodert and his clothes, allowed him to dress, and asked him about the Sihedron Rune. He explained that the Thassilonian empire of 10,000 years ago (he disagreed with other experts, but the characters were inclined to believe him) was founded on seven virtues: wealth, fertility, honest pride, abundance, eager striving, righteous anger, and rest, as well as the seven schools of magic (minus Divination). Those virtues quickly degraded to the seven sins of greed, lust, pride, gluttony, envy, wrath, and sloth. They described the Sihedron Rune carved on the chests of the victims, and asked whether it might be related to Hi's amulet, but Brodert could not think of a connection, and was sorely distracted by wanting to get his hands on the amulet. They asked Brodert whether he knew where the Runewell of Greed might be located, and he suspected that it would have resided in Xin-Shalast, legendary capital of Shalast. Unfortunately, all he knew about Xin-Shalast was that it was 'magically hidden in some mountains', that didn't do the party any good at all. (As Hi pointed out, after 10,000 years, mountains could have crumbled to plains.)

Raesh had her second revelation: "We first saw that the Skinsaw Cult was helping Nualia and the goblins to power a Runewell of Wrath! Now they are helping a necromancer power the Runewell of Greed! They are trying to activate the ancient Runewells one by one! Their purposes cannot be good!"
The party quickly realized that if each sin was associated with a particular type of magic, the undead would be readily explained: Shiro immediately hypothesized that Greed was associated with Necromancy. It was time to visit Grayst. They first visited Father Zantus to try to borrow his wand of Cure Disease, but he explained that it was the only one the cathedral had, and they couldn't afford a replacement. If they could bring Grayst to the cathedral, Father Zantus could try to cure him there. Raesh was becoming more and more disappointed in Father Zantus. The party warned of the dangers of sins, and recommended that he might want to warn those with a tendency towards sins to reconsider. If she thought of Shayliss, she didn't say anything...

Raesh saddled up Shadowmist, Hi got his pony, and Shiro loaned Halek his horse while he took on fox form and rode in Raesh's lap. They made their way to the Sanatorium, dismounted, Shiro turned human and dressed, and they approached. When no one greeted them, they tested the front door, found it unlocked, and went in carefully. A sign in the reception room read, "Ring bell for service", so they rung. And waited. A few minutes later, Dr. Erin Habe opened the inner door a crack. "What do you want?"
Raesh spoke up. "We understand that you have a very sick man here named Grayst. We believe you may be in danger. We would like to come in and ask him some questions in regard to a recent murder."
"I'm in the middle of a very important experiment. I cannot be disturbed right now. I don't have the time to show any strangers who show up at my door any patient they please any time they please!"
Raesh grew impatient. "We are deputies of Sandpoint, and we must see him, question him and make sure you and the other patients are all safe."
The conversation grew heated enough that I judged an Intimidation roll was in order, so Raesh rolled. Poorly. Dr. Habe became angry, told the party to go away, and closed and locked the inner door. They left, but started working their way around the perimeter to check for footprints or odors. Within a minute, they heard the clicking of crossbows behind them. Two tieflings had them covered. "The doctor told you to be off. So be off!"
The party didn't want to precipitate a combat with innocent guards, so they headed back to the horses. They rode a few hundred yards off, then returned about 15 minutes later, Shiro leading the way. The front door was locked, so Shiro knocked. One of the tieflings answered, "I thought we told you to get lost!"
Shiro put on his ultimate charm, explaining that they were only concerned with the well being of those inside. A friggin' 30 Diplomacy check made the tiefling hesitate and keep talking, and a 24 after that and the tiefling was off to get Dr. Habe. Shiro used his charms on Dr. Habe as well (Hello? Bard!), even managing to figure out that Dr. Habe was terrified of something, and Dr. Habe agreed to let them meet Grayst for exactly 2 minutes. No more. They climbed to the 3rd floor and Dr. Habe said, "Now now, Grayst. You have visitors. You'll be good, won't you? That's a boy..."
He led Grayst out of his cell, but as soon as Grast saw Raesh he gasped. "He said. He said you would visit me. His Lordship. The one that unmade me said so. He has a place for you. A precious place. I'm so jealous. He has a message for you. He made me remember it. I hope I haven't forgotten. The master wouldn't approve if I forgot. Let me see... let... me... see... He said that if you came to his Misgivings, that if you joined his Pack, he would end his harvest in your honor." Raesh greeted these revelations with her customary stoney face.

Grayst then let out a gutteral scream, burst his straitjacket, and screamed, "Nooooo! He cannot love you more than me! He cannot! You must die!" A short combat ensued as Dr. Habe fled down the stairs,
Grayst punched Raesh, Raesh slashed Grayst with her scimitar, Shiro stepped aside, and Halek hit Grayst with his earthbreaker. The tieflings moved forward to re wrap Grayst, and seemed a bit more appreciative of the adventurers.
Raesh grilled Dr. Habe. What was to become of Grayst? Couldn't he be cured? What would happen after he became a ghoul? Dr. Habe insisted that Grayst was too far gone to save, but observing the transformation would be extremely valuable to his research. At this point, he claimed he would destroy Grayst when his observation was complete, Raesh settled down to wait and said that if he was truly researching a cure for such things, that she would remain and help destroy the abomination when he was fully turned so as to make sure that everyone in the Sanatorium remained safe. Dr. Habe claimed to need something from his notes, and he told them they were in his study downstairs. He went down to get it and they waited. And waited. And waited.
The tieflings were the first to realize that something was wrong when the doctor didn't return after more than 10 minutes, so they raced downstairs, the party following. They led the party towards the study and right into the ambush.
As the party ran across the open sewing room, a door behind them opened and out poured four zombies, a wizard, and Dr. Habe. The tieflings stopped in their tracks, and the party was surprised and surrounded. Unfortunately, at that exact moment my die decided that it was mad at me. Tieflings, zombies, a necromancer, and Dr. Habe. And not a single Initiative roll over 6.
The zombies moved into a protective formation around the necromancer. The necromancer hit Halek with an acid arrow, melting through his armor and into his back. The tieflings turned around and drew on Shiro and Raesh. Halek raged, rushed forward, and crushed a zombie in a single blow. Hi tried to cast Spontaneous Combustion on the necromancer, but the zombie next to him used its attack of opportunity to critical him for 20, he failed his concentration check, and the spell failed. Shiro stabbed one of the tieflings for 8, Raesh stabbed him for 10, and he dropped. The other tiefling hit Raesh for a double critical. Everyone winced until I rolled damage. 15 points. Raesh laughed at the poor tiefling, "For a moment there, I thought that was going to hurt!"
Next round Halek missed. Hi chose to take the attack of opportunity to cast Burning Hands. Everyone told him he was foolish, as a single hit would drop him. But the zombie missed, he rolled 15 on 5d4, and every single zombie failed its reflex save and dropped. Raesh and Shiro dropped the other tiefling, so the ambush was officially a rout. Dr. Habe ran downstairs. The necromancer, not one to be pushed around, cast Blindness on Halek. For a moment it looked like he'd failed his save, but Shiro's Gallant Inspiration was enough to save Halek from permanent blindness.
Halek raced forward and introduced the necromancer to his earthbreaker. Necromancer Did Not Like. The other party members moved forward to help, but the necromancer decided to pull a Hi and hit Halek with Blindness at point blank range. The attack of opportunity did not miss, and the necromancer dropped.

Shiro called down and told Dr. Habe that it was OK, he was safe now. I had him roll his Bluff, just in case Dr. Habe was an idiot. I rolled a 1. Dr. Habe was indeed an idiot, and came back upstairs. They tied up the surviving tiefling (one bled to death while the combat was still in doubt), Dr. Habe, and the necromancer and threw them on the horses (This in spite of Hi's entreaties that Raesh explore the fine, yet rustic architecture). They searched the basement and found the necromancer's lab, looting his spellbook, wands, and other things. Shiro confirmed that the necromancer's handwriting did not match either that of the scrolls in town or of the notes to Raesh. Raesh went upstairs and killed Grayst in a mercy killing. He begged to know how the master could love her more the whole time she was killing him. The most interesting development was the map tracking ghoul activity in the area: Over the last two weeks, there had been a sudden and dramatic increase in ghoul activity in the area along Foxglove river. Raesh winced. Shiro suggested, "Maybe that one's named after the flower..."

They returned to town, turned the prisoners over to Sheriff Hemlock, informed him that there were patients who needed to be fed at the Sanatorium, and asked Bethana and Rilka about "The Misgivings".

"Oh, that's Foxglove Manor."

Raesh went stoney-faced. Hi and Shiro's players were laughing way too hard to tell how their characters actually felt.

"Oh, c'mon Raesh! That's good news! You don't have TWO rotten cupcakes! You just have one REALLY rotten cupcake!"

--- end of session ---


Ah, it's neat seeing your sanitorum encounter, it seems so different from how mine went (for a minute there, I almost thought the tieflings were going to become unexpected allies).

Come to think of it, I haven't posted mine yet... I guess I'll update tonight, but I've still got one more post between there, and where my campaign log currently is.


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The tieflings nearly DID become allies -- the party was really good to them. But there wasn't quite the chance. The ambush happened, the tieflings had to choose, and they chose... poorly.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm getting more and more excited to finish up Crimson Throne and follow you into playing Runelords here next. Then I think of schedules and realize that it will be maybe 5+ months from now! Gah!

But I'm really enjoying reading the campaign logs from you and Gluttony and Randomname. I really like getting the setting and background in my head way before the story starts. Also to see all the different ways the story may go so I can be better prepared for anything my smarty players throw at me.


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CaroRose wrote:

I'm getting more and more excited to finish up Crimson Throne and follow you into playing Runelords here next. Then I think of schedules and realize that it will be maybe 5+ months from now! Gah!

But I'm really enjoying reading the campaign logs from you and Gluttony and Randomname. I really like getting the setting and background in my head way before the story starts. Also to see all the different ways the story may go so I can be better prepared for anything my smarty players throw at me.

I still blame Mikaze entirely because of his epic Laori Vaos thread. One of these days we all have to get together, show up at his house, and demand he GM for us! ;-)

But yeah, I am fairly sad that we didn't finish CotCT (yet), but Crown of Fangs is such a slog -- Scarwall may have been a classic dungeon crawl, but it was one with personality, atmosphere, and enough backstory that you could really play around with it. It was my wife's favorite module by far. Crown of Fangs is just, "OK. All the forces of evil are lined up against you. Now slog through them." Complete with the classic (and utterly inane) "You arrive just in time to interrupt the ceremony, no matter how long it took you to get there" tripe. Not exactly epic roleplaying opportunities. So even the kids aren't all that interested. But my wife and I talked about it this morning (Mittean just resurrected the thread), and we're going to try to talk the kids into playing it at least a couple of times a month to finish it off...time will tell...


Lol, you expected me to do anything else? Lol. I actually had a conversation along those lines ("One of these days we all have to get together, show up at his house, and demand he GM for us!") with my friend, and even mentioned your campaign to Mr. Baker when I spoke with him last. Great stories, in great campaigns, with great characters, is what this is all about. It's why I've been playing for all editions. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

LOL -- my life will be complete when James Jacobs pipes up on this thread. ;-)

(Kind of a perverse inside joke -- I asked him on the "Ask James Jacobs" thread how many threads he read, because he responds on EVERY GM thread I'm on, so I imagine him having no life beyond trolling the threads and dealing out Pathfinder canon from on high...)


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Here's a shout-out to you, James Jacobs! ;-)


Lol. Here here.


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Lol, its probably going to take days to see him post here, since he'll likely get stuck reading the thread...and there's a lot to go through!


Solid point...


Just a quick note... excellent writing! This is almost as much fun to read as it is to play. :)


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Torath wrote:
Just a quick note... excellent writing! This is almost as much fun to read as it is to play. :)

Now you've gone and done it -- Player #3 is going to go ahead and set up a Paizo account, too, and they'll never shut us up! ;-)


I really got into reading this after you posted on my thread, I found the length daunting at first. But I've read as far as my players have gotten so far and love the detail you used so I can compare to my players actions. It really makes me want to kidnap an 11 year old to play the goblins next week. Or I could just use one of my player's kid. I can't wait till I have more free time to finish this whole thing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

Awesome! Thanks for that! The next post should come along soon (the players are reviewing it now) and it was only a 4-hour session, so it should be easily digestible.

But yeah, the whole reason I started this (as I mentioned) was because several Curse of the Crimson Throne GMs were comparing notes on a thread, and all of us got great ideas as to what we could do. So I read all the other threads, and I'm very happy people read mine.

Now if only CaroRose would finish up that darned Scarwall and jump into RotRL! ;-)

Edit: Yes. If you can, get an 11-year-old boy. If any of your players even have a nearby nephew who would be game to try it, it's well worth it!


Scarwallllll!!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

21-Sep-2012 Game

What's this? No Silver Tsuto Award for a third week in a row? What's wrong with you people (and monsters)? Tsuto's getting lonely! (I *almost* awarded it for Hi's epic torching of the Hambley barn, but considering it was intentional *and* it forced him to walk all the way home (near-)nekkid, I figure it was just a 'gnome thing'.)

And did I say I was worried about my party's non-optimization? Last night I had to give them bonus experience for taking out 5 goblins, 19 ghouls, and a ghast, and suffering one overall attack from the entire set. Not hit. Not critical. The entire mass-o-monsters got off one *attack* in the entire night. Tactics, much?

=====
16-Lamasht-4707 (continued from last session)

Having just returned from the Sanatorium, the party digested the news that Aldern Foxglove might have something to do with the murders. Ameiko gave them a table and fed them. Shiro tried to take Ameiko aside to share their suspicions with her, but felt a bump on his leg. Looking down, he noticed Bethana gazing raptly up at him, waiting to hear the 'news'. He decided that he'd tell Ameiko later. The party was only about 20 minutes into their meal when a grim-faced Sheriff Hemlock strode in, trailed by a filthy farmer. "I hate to interrupt you at dinner, but I have grave news we need to discuss in private."
The party dutifully picked up their plates, went up to Raesh's room, and listened to the news. Sheriff Hemlock introduced Maester Grump, a farmer from the southwestern part of the farmlands south of Sandpoint. His farm was just north of the Soggy River. He reeked of moonshine and worse, and was hesitant to speak. Raesh assured him that they were there to help, and Maester Grump haltingly told his story: A few days ago, rumors started circling among the farms that some of the scarecrows were coming alive at night and attacking people. At first, the farmers didn't pay attention to the rumors, as it was harvest season, and moonshine was plentiful. Then they started noticing that people were missing, and farms were going silent. They thought they could take care of their own, so again, they didn't come to town for help. Soon, farmers were locking and barring their doors and windows at night, and locking the livestock in the barn, and still people were disappearing. The scarecrows seemed to be coming from south of the Soggy River, towards the old Hambley place. Maester Grump had had enough. He gathered what men he could (he reckoned about a dozen) and marched on the Hambley farm, determined to find out what was going on. "We got there, and the scarecrows started coming at us. Only, they weren't no scarecrows! They were like people, but they ate like animals! They tore the men apart and started eating them right in front of us! They even ate the dogs!"
At that point, Maester Grump burst into tears, and it was nearly impossible to get another word out of him. Sheriff Hemlock apologized, but he thought this would be beyond his men's ability. Raesh assured him that they would investigate. Sheriff Hemlock thanked them; although Grump was well into the bottle, Hemlock had never known him to lie on matters of importance, and perhaps the bottle had saved his mind this time. As the sheriff escorted Grump to the garrison to sleep it off, Hi suggested that perhaps Grump might benefit from another bottle. Grump thanked him profusely.

The party quickly checked their dates: The murderer had struck last night, and had never struck two nights in a row, so they probably had an evening to recover before heading to the farms in the morning. They all took baths, alone this time, except for Shiro, who seemed to have particular difficulty reaching his back without Ameiko's help. Raesh had her bath bunyip, and was content.

=====
17-Lamasht-4707

Raesh and Halek arose at dawn. After Raesh completed her devotions, they woke Shiro and Hi. Shiro wondered aloud at the burning ball on the horizon: It looked like the sun, but it was far too low in the sky to be so. After a quick breakfast at far too early an hour, the party gathered Shadowmist, Hi's pony, and Shiro's horse, and headed south, once again with Shiro in fox form riding on Raesh's lap. Rather than following the Lost Coast Road all the way to the Soggy River, they took the farm roads to check in on the farms on the way to Hambley's. As they approached the first farm, Shiro reverted to human form, got dressed, and called out, "Hail the farm!"
A severe-looking middle-aged woman in a dress and apron, hair tied back in a tight bun, opened the door brandishing a pitchfork. "T'aint nothin' here for you, strangers! Move along!'
Shiro explained that they were only concerned about the welfare of the local farms, and were checking in, and got the terse reply, "We're fine. Don't need ya. Move along!'
The party moved along to the next farm (this time Shiro stayed in human form and walked), but when the second farm revealed a nearly-identical woman with a nearly-identical attitude, a Sense Motive check by Shiro revealed that the woman was terrified. Shiro became suspicious. He checked the fields for men actually out working, and was relieved to see that it looked like these northern farms were operating normally, if a bit anti-socially.

They turned off the Ashen Moor and headed back for the Lost Coast road to get around the Ashen Rise. As they approached the intersection with the Lost Coast road, Hi spotted a group of goblins (crit Perception, as usual) waiting in ambush along the main road. At the intersection the road came alarmingly close to the Brinestump Marsh, and hence the road was raised about 2' above the surrounding wetland. The goblins were dressed in reeds, leaves, and mud, and would not be easily perceived by travelers along the road. Since the party didn't recognize them, and they were near the Brinestump Marsh, they assumed that these were the Licktoad goblins Shalelu had told them about. After a brief discussion, the party approached to within roughly 100' of the goblins, dismounted (except Halek), and Raesh called out, "Attention, goblins! Ambushes along this road will not be tolerated! Surrender now or be cut down!"
Fortunately, one of the goblins spoke Common. Unfortunately, his response was, "Up yours, Longshanks!" with an obscene gesture as the goblins fled for the safety of the swamp a mere 100 yards away.

It was not a good decision.

Halek rode forward, composite bow at the ready, and started mowing down goblins. Hi and Shiro let loose with their crossbows. Raesh joined in the fun with her newly-purchased composite bow. By the time there were only two (of the seven) goblins still running, Halek was the only one in easy range of them, and he called back to Raesh, "Pursue?"
Raesh responded, "No, let them return with this news to their tribe. They will be more useful that way."
They checked the fallen goblins, and two of them were still alive. This presented the party with a quandary; as far as they knew, these goblins had not been part of the planned genocide of Sandpoint, so their only crime was banditry. Raesh asked whether anyone knew what Sandpoint's punishment for banditry was. Hi suggested that it was being sent to Magnimar for trial. The one goblin that spoke common eagerly agreed. "Yes! Trial! Trial! It's what you longshanks do! Take me to trial!" Shiro was absolutely convinced that the punishment for banditry was drawing and quartering and being fed to a bunyip, but he wasn't sure of the order (have I mentioned how much I love Shiro's die and its predilection for fumbling at amusing times?).
Raesh decided that since they were only an hour or so out of Sandpoint, their best action was to take them back there and turn them over to Sheriff Hemlock. She bundled them together and placed them on the back of Shadowmist's saddle. Unfortunately, Shadowmist had other plans, and immediately turned around to bite the goblins on his back. The goblins squealed in terror and started twitching to avoid being bitten. Like a dog chasing its tail, Shadowmist spun around trying to bite the goblins on his back. Hi, Shiro, and Halek fell over laughing. Raesh sighed. It took her a few seconds to calm Shadowmist (because the GM couldn't hear her over the laughter of the other players). She took the goblins down and decided that a lashing and then letting them go was the best action. Shiro asked them, "Do you know what she is?"
The goblin who spoke common crit his Knowledge roll (go figure) and said, "She is a drow noble! She will enslave us and beat us and... er..."
Shiro then reverted to his fox form and asked, "And do you know what I am?"
The goblin nearly wet himself. Shiro proceeded, "If you ambush anyone else along this road, we will find you!"
The goblin wept.
Raesh gave each goblin 20 lashes with the flat of her scimitar, declared, "Tell your tribe that ambushes on the Lost Coast road will no longer be tolerated, and any more goblins we find will forfeit their lives," and shooed them back to their swamp. The goblins didn't even look back as they fled for home in terror.

Their next stop was the farm just south of the Ashen Rise; the southwesternmost farm not across the Soggy River. This farm had no one working it, and no one answered their hail. When Shiro approached and knocked, a woman's voice called out, "Go away! You have already taken everything that I have! My husband and son went with you last night, and only you returned! My life is over! Leave to to die in peace and dignity!"
Raesh responded that they probably weren't who she thought they were, and made a miraculous Diplomacy roll. The woman unbarred the door, let them in, and made them tea as she first related how all of the farms south of the Soggy River seemed to have been abandoned in haste, and then described the events of the previous afternoon and evening, when Maester Grump had come to all the local farms, gathering men to "sort out tha' mess at the Hambley place." A few hours later she had seen Grump running northwards, babbling incoherently about scarecrows eating the dogs, but her husband and son had never returned. Raesh swore to her that they would investigate the Hambley farm, and do what they could to resolve the issue.
They took their leave and crossed the Soggy River.
The farms south of the Soggy River grew corn, making visibility much more difficult. They approached the first farm carefully, watching for scarecrows. While a few scarecrows dotted the fields, none were close to the road, and none detected as Evil or Magic. The farm itself was a maze of roads through the maize (sorry); it was almost impossible to figure out how to get to the farmhouse from the entrance. The players wondered aloud who would design such an idiotic farm. They rode their horses directly through the corn, making Riding rolls to force the horses to move blind, while they could see the farmhouse ahead while mounted. They got to the farmhouse without incident, knocked, and got no answer. Going in, it was clear that a bloody struggle had taken place in the farmhouse. There were bits of bone, rotting flesh, and splattered blood everywhere, several days old, but no sign of bodies or people. Raesh was grim. "We must move on to Hambley farm."
As they exited the farm house, they saw that the road out led in a curve *almost* to the entrance; people leaving the farm would have no trouble getting out, while people entering would be lost in a maze of corn for quite some time. It finally dawned on them: These farmers lived in goblin territory. Goblins would get hopelessly lost trying to navigate the multiple curving roads and intersections, and could be picked off a few at a time, while local farmers would know the roads well, and would have little trouble navigating them. Now they understood why the farms had such odd layouts. They proceeded to the Hambley farm.

As soon as they approached the Hambley farm, they knew something odd was afoot: Instead of scarecrows in the middle of the fields as at the other farms, there was a cluster of scarecrows right at the entrance; one up front, two more about 30' behind it, and more visible in the distance beyond that. From their mounts, they could see many more scarecrows than had been at the other farms. They dismounted, ground tied their horses, and approached within 60' of the first scarecrow, just close enough for Raesh to detect evil and Shiro to detect magic. They detected neither. Hi suggested simply burning all the fields, all the scarecrows, the barn, and the house, as it would expedite things. Raesh pointed out that they had to be thorough and check for still-living victims. They approached the first scarecrow to cut it down. As soon as they were within 60', Raesh detected evil on the next two scarecrows. This time, she detected a faint evil aura. The party drew their weapons and approached the first (non-evil) scarecrow to cut it down. The two evil scarecrows screamed and tore at the bonds holding them to their posts. In a magnificent display of ludicrous random number generation, my die rolled a 1 for the first scarecrow's escape attempt, and a 20 for the second. The second scarecrow charged, ripping a burlap sack off its head to reveal its ghoulish visage, and bit at Halek, scraping its teeth across his armor (missed by 1). The party quickly dispatched the first ghoul while I rolled Perception for the house and barn. A 4 and a 2. Oh, good, it was going to be one of THOSE days. Halek raced forward and dispatched the second ghoul, and the party could proceed, not having raised the alarm. The next two scarecrows turned out to be plain straw, but the sixth scarecrow they came across turned out to be a still-living farmer named Horran Guffman. He was near-delirious, but he could tell them to beware the barn, and could they please search for 'Lettie'. They promised they would, and a quick Heal check by Raesh revealed that he would probably make it to tonight, but not much longer. They carried him to the horses and made him as comfortable as possible.

From that point on, it was absolute ghoul annihilation. They realized that Raesh's Detect Evil worked at a greater distance than the ghoul's senses. So Halek raised Hi high above the cornfields, Hi would direct them to the next scarecrow, they would get to just within 60', and if the scarecrow detected as evil all four party members unleashed a barrage of arrows (Raesh and Halek with composite longbows, Hi and Shiro with crossbows). Single ghouls are simply not a match for getting hit by two composite bows (Halek never rolled under a 13, and Raesh came close, missing only once or twice), and Hi just started criticalling like mad; I think he criticalled 3 of 4 ghouls, including a double critical on one of them. Raesh commented, "Well-done, Hi. You have been practicing!" They finished off all the isolated scarecrows east of the house, then went for the cluster of 4. Once all four detected as evil, Shiro dropped Silence dead in the center of them and the party got 5 rounds of arrows into them. None survived to raise an alarm. They carefully took out the two just east of the house, again managing to kill both in a single round each. Finally, they worked their way around the back of the house. After destroying 13 ghouls and 4 regular scarecrows, they approached the final scarecrow. It did not detect as evil, and they found Lettie. The party was elated. Even Raesh allowed herself a small smile as they cut her down and raced her to Horran's side. They would both survive the day if the party could get them back to Sandpoint. All that remained was the barn (Lettie also warned them not to go in) and the house. Hi rescinded his request to burn it all to the ground until AFTER they had found all the survivors. THEN they should burn it to give the dead a 'proper' send-off.

Shiro stealthed up to the house, and heard movement inside. The party agreed that it must be ghouls, so they stealthed (as best as possible when you've got a paladin and a barbarian in your party) to the front door. Needless to say, the resident of the house heard them and came rushing towards the front door. Shiro, being Shiro, rolled a MUCH higher Perception, knew trouble was coming, and dropped Silence on the house.
Rogors Craesby, ghast extraordinaire, opened the door right into a barbarian's power attack. Halek one-shot him. Then threw up on him. The party wondered whether this was some kind of barbarian cleansing ceremony when facing undead until the ghast stench hit them as well. Of course, all of them made their saves, so they were left to wonder why Halek was throwing up all over the defeated ghast. They pulled him and the unconscious ghast into the house before the Silence spell wore off, killed the ghast, and set Halek retching in a corner.
Within the house, they found signs of a bloody struggle, and found a rotting maggot-ridden corpse in the kitchen. Even in its state of decay, they could see the removed face and jawbone, and the Sihedron Rune carved into its chest. It had a note pinned to it: "Take the fever into you, my love - it shall be but the first of my gifts to you. Your Lordship." Raesh marveled at just how stupid Foxglove was; the notion of a paladin willingly becoming undead was so laughable that only a madman would conceive of such a thing.

They started searching the house for clues. The ghast had a key with the Foxglove family emblem on it ("Maybe he could STILL be innocent," Hi murmured, but didn't sound at all convinced.) They also found a smaller key in the ghast's pocket. Under a loose floorboard in the bedroom, they found a stout wooden coffer. The pocket key from the ghast opened the chest, and they found obsessively-sorted silver. Every stack was 100 s.p., all the coins were heads-up, and the bundles were so neat that someone must have obsessively tied them. As the party looked at the 3400 s.p., they all muttered, "Greed."
They decided to donate the money to Father Zantus to pay for the Cure Disease he was going to need to use on Horran and Lettie, and possibly get him a new wand. It was time for the barn.

Shiro used his final Silence to walk up and tie the main doors shut, leaving nothing but the side door, where Raesh and Halek waited, weapons ready and Hi between them, ready to cast. Raesh pushed the door open a crack, the ghouls got up and charged, and all hell broke loose. Literally. Halek obliterated the first ghoul to reach the door. Hi used the open space this created to drop Burning Hands into the barn. As the ghouls raced through the inferno, Raesh channeled positive energy. Before the ghouls got a second action, Hi dropped another Burning Hands on them, and the ghouls were little more than smoldering barbecue. Raesh snapped at Hi, "What about the prisoners?"
Hi threw off Rilka's scarf and his jacket and raced in. The smoke was so thick that visibility was difficult, but beyond the burning ghouls, there were no complete bodies, just scattered gnawed-on limbs and bones strewn about the now-burning straw. Hi raced out, naked yet again as his clothes had all burned off, stood back a bit, and admired his handywork. "Now THERE'S a fire!"
The barn collapsed, sending plumes of smoke hundreds of feet into the air. Whoever or whatever awaited them at Foxglove Manor had just been served notice: They were coming.

The utter destruction of the ghouls at Hambley farm complete, the party loaded Horran and Lettie onto Shadowmist and Shiro's horse. Raesh gave each of them a Lesser Restoration to comfort them as they heade back to Sandpoint. They rode home, Hi's naked cheeks bouncing cheerfully in the crisp Lamasht breeze.

Once they were in town, Maester Grump was overwhelmed with joy to see Horran and Lettie alive, but the party insisted on hurrying them straight to Father Zantus. Shiro inspired competence, and Zantus cured them both on his first try. They would recover! They stopped by Rilka's and got her and yet more clothes for Hi. If Rilka was irritated at Hi's tendency to show up naked on her doorstep, she didn't mention it. They reported everything they had learned to Sheriff Hemlock, and warned him that if the murderer were true to form, he would strike again tonight. Hemlock agreed to put every available man on patrol, and the entire party agreed to wake up at 11:30 pm and help patrol until 2:00 am.

Raesh retired to her room at 9:00 pm, and spent an hour in prayer to Sarenrae. She prayed for forgiveness that she was not strong enough to face Foxglove Manor weakened (having used up her spells and healing powers) and at night, when the enemies would be strongest. She begged forgiveness further for necessitating a wait through another night when a murder was expected. She prayed that Sarenrae would protect the remaining farmers and the townsfolk of Sandpoint as Raesh herself had proven unable to do so. Finally, she went to sleep, having asked to be awakened at 11:30 to stand watch over the town, feeling wretched at being forced to spend another night granting the murderer free reign for his atrocities. (Again, I should record her speeches -- she did this one post-game so even Hi and Shiro missed it, but it was awesome! Trust me...) At precisely 11:15 pm, she awoke. There was a pressure in the back of her skull; an 'otherness' in her mind that was 'not her'. It did not seem friendly nor unfriendly. Not damaging but not docile. Just... a presence. She focused her attention on it and it withered under the full force of her attention. She searched the room, found nothing and no one, and decided that since she was up anyway, she would start her patrols.

Whether because of the massive guard that night, the destruction of the Hambley farm, or some more sinister purpose, there were no murders in Sandpoint that night.

--- End of Session ---

Next Scheduled Game: Looks like it may be Saturday, September 29. Our schedules are booking up for the holiday season, but we still all want to get in a session a week.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you want to track my party's progress, you can go to this Community Thread and the link to my Obsidian Portal site is currently the last entry. Sorry for the link chain but I can't open the OP site from my work computer. XD

We're currently about halfway through Scarwall. ;-)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is great stuff, I can't wait for your next session!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
CaroRose wrote:
This is great stuff, I can't wait for your next session!

Neither can we! ;-)

This Saturday we'll start in on Foxglove Manor, but it looks like the session will be interrupted after a few hours because we all have to run off to a tiki bar and drink fru-fru drinks. Just the way it is, I'm afraid...

But expect an update on Monday or Tuesday.

(And yes, CaroRose, if you're ever in the San Francisco Bay Area, you're welcome to come by and be an 'honorary NPC for a day' and then run off tiki barring with us... though I can't guarantee we're nearly as charming in person)

P.S. Shiro's player just invited us to start Carrion Crown with his players, so I'm actually going to get to be a *player* in a Pathfinder AP instead of the GM! I look forward to seeing my name in the obits many times... my very first character is a fighter with a CON of 12 and a CHA of 14. Optimization? What's that?


Hehe, I've also got a fighter in one of the few campaigns I play rather than run. She's got a STR and CON of 12 and an INT of 18! (And she's lasted as far as 6th level without death so far, and went one on one with our first villain.)

Big dumb fighter? I'm sorry, you must be looking for someone else. :P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
Gluttony wrote:

Hehe, I've also got a fighter in one of the few campaigns I play rather than run. She's got a STR and CON of 12 and an INT of 18! (And she's lasted as far as 6th level without death so far, and went one on one with our first villain.)

Big dumb fighter? I'm sorry, you must be looking for someone else. :P

I nearly fell over laughing when the GM told me that the two power gamers in the group looked at his stats and said, "Wow! That's a pretty good build!"

I think that:
(a) They're not familiar with Pathfinder, and
(b) They must have mistaken CHA for CON

And I'd invite you tiki barring, Gluttony, but I seem to remember that you live in the desert somewhere...

EDIT: Why yes, I did learn my geography from U.S. public schools. Why do you ask?


NobodysHome wrote:

I nearly fell over laughing when the GM told me that the two power gamers in the group looked at his stats and said, "Wow! That's a pretty good build!"

I think that:
(a) They're not familiar with Pathfinder, and
(b) They must have mistaken CHA for CON

And I'd invite you tiki barring, Gluttony, but I seem to remember that you live in the desert somewhere...

EDIT: Why yes, I did learn my geography from U.S. public schools. Why do you ask?

Desert? Not at all. I'm too far north for most deserts, but not far enough north for tundra. (Canadian girl)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
Gluttony wrote:
Desert? Not at all. I'm too far north for most deserts, but not far enough north for tundra. (Canadian girl)

I know. Checked your profile. Hence the edit. ;-)


I've decided to abandon my antisocial secret personal messaging and join in on the public chats, but don't want to post to much and get people excited when they come in and see that (1 New) next to the post. Then totally disappointed when they check to see what was written but find out it is just me and not an actual post from Nobodyshome.

As Nobodyshome already knows really love reading the game and can't wait to run it for my group in a few months. They seem to be ok with a little more RP than usual so I hope that we can get some nice stories going like you guys and I will try to write out something like this. I got 1 backstory to work with so far and it was so perfect that I cant wait to play with it. He wants to play a half-elf ninja that is the bastard son on the Kaijitsu family. So I think I will make him and Tsuto twins seperated at birth or something... thoughts? PM me don't want to have posts on this in Nobodyshome's post.

I am currently playing in the Carrion Crown game and am just curious if you will be posting a journal of those games? I hope so I would love to see how different our game was from yours. We are about halfway thru the 2nd book. Anyways... keep doing what you doing we all enjoying it!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
SycoSurfer wrote:

I've decided to abandon my antisocial secret personal messaging and join in on the public chats, but don't want to post to much and get people excited when they come in and see that (1 New) next to the post. Then totally disappointed when they check to see what was written but find out it is just me and not an actual post from Nobodyshome.

As Nobodyshome already knows really love reading the game and can't wait to run it for my group in a few months. They seem to be ok with a little more RP than usual so I hope that we can get some nice stories going like you guys and I will try to write out something like this. I got 1 backstory to work with so far and it was so perfect that I cant wait to play with it. He wants to play a half-elf ninja that is the bastard son on the Kaijitsu family. So I think I will make him and Tsuto twins seperated at birth or something... thoughts? PM me don't want to have posts on this in Nobodyshome's post.

I am currently playing in the Carrion Crown game and am just curious if you will be posting a journal of those games? I hope so I would love to see how different our game was from yours. We are about halfway thru the 2nd book. Anyways... keep doing what you doing we all enjoying it!

Welcome to less-than-anonymity! Glad to see you on board!

I personally won't be doing the Carrion Crown writeups, mainly because we're doing RotRL on Saturdays and Carrion Crown on Sundays, and I'd have to take all of Monday off just to catch up. On the other hand, the GM (Shiro's player) is quite a good writer, so if you beg and plead at him a lot, there's a remote chance he'll post to the CC thread. I'm not going to speak for him, especially because of the time these things take, but he loves my write-ups, so I'm hoping he'll do some kind of summaries for us.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

29-Sep-2012 Game

While no one technically earned the Silver Tsuto Award this session, I'm going to award it to Aldern Foxglove anyway, for longstanding gross incompetence at anything remotely akin to seduction, and for an epic death apparently caused by Shiro's subconscious hatred of all things Raesh. (Yeah, you've got to see how Shiro really feels in this session.) You've already read about Aldern's hopelessly incompetent attempts to seduce Raesh while alive. Once he was dead, the party found the revenant, thought, "Wow, we need to introduce her to Aldern," and let her track him down for them. Once the Skinsaw Man did away with the revenant, he put on his mask to look just like Raesh, and Shiro promptly double-crit him with a crossbow, rolling three 8's in a row to kill him instantly. Nice job, Shiro!

GM Note: When I first read the section on Foxglove Manor, I thought, "Wow! This is one of the coolest-written sections of any of the AP's I've seen so far! Three tragic tales across three generations, and the party gets to learn about all of them through haunts! What a fantastic idea!"
Unfortunately, as I thought about it a bit more, I thought, "Wow, the players are going to get REALLY tired of this really fast! A haunt in virtually every room? Really?"
Sure enough, my roleplaying-heavy group got sick and tired of the haunts by the time they were in the attic, and just started avoiding them. They no longer cared enough about the story that they were willing to risk all the save-or-suck moments of the house. As Raesh and Shiro's players put it, it's OK if a big bad monster bashes your head in, because then it's the monster's fault. If you die because you keep failing saving throws, you just feel like an idiot. If I were to retcon this, I would make at least half of the haunts harmless; just tale-telling haunts to add to the story. Yes, the characters would get less experience, but considering my RP-rich party gave up on them, I don't think any party other than the die-hard, "Hey, we get experience for every one of these we trigger!" groups are going to ever learn the whole story. I just related it over tiki drinks later in the evening.

=====
17-Lamasht-4707

After checking in with the sheriff and preparing as best they could for the evening, the party asked around as subtly as possible about Foxglove Manor. Unfortunately, apparently the Foxgloves hadn't been the most popular family near Sandpoint, or else Shiro rolled very poorly yet again, so all they learned was that Foxglove Manor was built over 80 years ago, some sort of tragedy occurred there decades ago, and it was now haunted. People in town believed that Aldern lived in Magnimar, not in Foxglove Manor. Hi suggested that if the house were truly abandoned, it would make it all the easier to just burn it to the ground and be done with it.
The rest of the evening progressed as in the last write-up.
=====
18-Lamasht-4707

Raesh and Halek awoke at dawn, Raesh performing her devotions and Halek exercising. After an hour, they woke up Hi and Shiro. Hi yet again wondered about the strange burning ball on the horizon, and how it would manage to get to a more reasonable point in the sky in just a few hours. They had Ameiko make them lunches, packed up, and set off on foot for Foxglove Manor. They were pleased to note far fewer goblin tracks on the Lost Coast road; apparently their threats had had some impact on the goblins, but who knew how long it would last? They stopped by the farm with the nice lady who had made them tea. She welcomed them in again, but even she knew nothing of Foxglove Manor; the Foxgloves had apparently not interacted much with the farmers around them, or Shiro's die hated him. One or the other.

They arrived at Foxglove Manor just before lunchtime. It was an ancient, mouldering manor on the edge of a cliff, looking like a suicidal building determined to end its miserable existence. In front of the manor was the burnt-out shell of a second building; a few sickly-looking ravens sat on the ruins, but flew away as the characters approached. The party performed a cursory examination of the ruins, and then Hi approached the well to take a look. "What's in the well?"

GM Note: Why I love my kids: My older son was sitting quietly, listening to my description of the manor and its environs. As soon as he heard, "What's in the well?" he piped up with, "Little Timmy's skeleton!"
We lost it completely, and it took several minutes of 'moldy collie skeleton' jokes before we could resume.

Hi sent Dancing Lights down the well, but still saw nothing of interest (thank heavens for bad Perception rolls from gnome sorcerers!), so the party headed for the manor. Seeing two obvious entrances, they stopped in front of the manor to discuss how they were going to go about exploring it. They used Detect Evil and got a strong response from the house itself. Detect Magic revealed strong necromantic magic on the house. They discussed what this could mean. As they talked, Shiro finally made a decent roll and noticed that where there had been perhaps half a dozen ravens on the ruined building before, there were now forty or fifty, and the number was increasing steadily. The party discussed whether or not to disperse the ravens immediately. Raesh approached closely enough to Detect Evil on them, and they detected faintly as evil. In fact, they were evil undead ravens. (The party had a good laugh, as they had just been joking about undead ravens.) After more discussion, since the ravens did not seem to be attacking them, just watching, they decided to enter the house, and deal with the ravens later.

They chose to enter the house by the left double doors. The doors were locked, so Shiro pulled out his thieves' tools. Hi walked up and tried to hand Shiro the key with the Foxglove crest on it. Shiro ignored him and continued to prepare to pick the lock. Hi poked him with the key. Finally, Shiro noticed the key and said, "Oh, fine! If you're going to be that way, we'll use the key!"
The key fit the lock perfectly, and they opened the door to see a small dancing parlor, complete with a decrepit piano. The piano detected as evil and magical, with a necromantic aura. The party sighed. It was going to be one of THOSE houses. They spent some time pulling moldy curtains from the window and damping the piano wires, ensuring the piano could not play (Shiro nailed a 28 on his Disable Device check for the piano). They moved on through a hallway and into the main entrance hall, where in addition to various stuffed creatures (a boar, a bear, a firepelt cougar, and a stag), the centerpiece was an enormous stuffed manticore. It detected as evil and magical. In order to soothe the fears of her companions, Raesh went in alone and valiantly cut off its tail. It did not fight back, so she knocked the stuffing out of it. The rest of the party entered the room to unlock and open the front door. As it swung open, Hi smelled burning hair and flesh. No one else noticed anything, so Hi dismissed it as his imagination. Unfortunately, they could not dismiss the hundreds, if not thousands, of undead ravens that now swarmed the ruins of the other building. They didn't want to waste any resources before they had to, but at some point they were going to have to deal with the birds. They continued their circuitous route around the house by going through a door into a drawing room. Mysteriously, the curtain on this particular window was closed; they had noticed that the other curtains were open, though the windows were too dirty to see anything through them. Shiro went over and opened the window, briefly catching a glimpse of a dark-haired woman's face before it vanished. She looked sad, but nothing they did could bring her back to the window.
The next door led into a library. Two chairs faced the fireplace, though one was overturned. A broken bookend lay on the floor next to a face-down book, and a bright red-and-yellow scarf lay draped over the fallen chair. As the party moved in to explore the room, no one noticed the scarf move until it was already wending its way among the party, straight at Hi's neck! Hi suddenly felt that he was a Varisian woman named Iesha Foxglove, and Aldern was her dear husband, but there he was, in front of her, throttling the life out of her! Aldern looked exactly as he had when the party met him in Sandpoint. She was terrified at the rage twisting his face as she slipped into unconsciousness. And as she fell, so did Hi (failed Fort save), straight to -1 hit points. Raesh quickly stabilized him, and Shiro used up several charges of the want of Cure Light Wounds to bring Hi back from the brink of death, but the party was shaken: What could they do to prevent another such near-death experience? And how much did they actually know about Aldern Foxglove? This house looked like it had been abandoned for decades, yet the Aldern in the vision had been no younger than the one they met. Was he immortal, or was the house's decay unnaturally accelerated? On the bright side, neither the bookend nor the book detected as evil. Apparently there were some things that weren't evil in the house! Shiro took the scarf and tied it into a large knot and placed it into his belt pouch to keep it from throttling anyone else.

They moved on to the dining room, where the only unusual feature was the set of four stained-glass windows blocking the ocean view. Who would block such a magnificent view of the ocean? And with such arcane pictures! The windows depicted a gnarled tree with an enraged face, an immense hook-beaked bird, a lamia, and a blue squidlike creature, each one emerging from a seven-sided box. Hi and Shiro dutifully blew their Knowledge: Arcana rolls, and so could make neither heads nor tails of the pictures. They noticed the stain on the floor between the entry hall and the dining room, used Mage Hand to move the carpet that was partially obscuring it, but then dutifully blew their Perception rolls so all they could tell was that the stain seemed like a series of concentric circles. There was a monkey head with a bell pull in its mouth hanging from the wall over the stain, but they were not particularly eager to pull the cord. Not wanting to move near the stain, they continued their circumnavigation. The next room was a lounge. The dust near the fireplace was clearly moving. Again, it detected as evil and magical. There was no evil aura at human or gnome level; only near the floor where the dust was moving. After some discussion (much of it involving capturing evil dust bunnies and keeping them as pets), the party sent Raesh to stand by the fireplace. Memories flooded in. She was Kasanda Foxglove, dressed in clothes that had been fashionable in Absalom during Raesh's childhood nearly a century ago. She was wondering what her husband Vorel did downstairs so late into the night, and why he would never let her enter his lab. She thought of her daughter Lorey, and how she must be in danger. Raesh had the oddest sensation as the haunt tried to overwhelm her with worry and fear, but Sarenrae's protection rendered her totally immune to the fear portion of it. She glanced over at the other party members, and was a bit taken aback to see Hi transformed into a small human girl in antique clothing. The urge to pick up Hi and race out of the house with him was easy for Raesh to ignore, and very quickly the haunt passed and Raesh's vision returned to normal.
The party heard scrabbling in the next room, and found a small washroom with a hopelessly-diseased rat trapped in the bathtub. Raesh quickly dispatched it. No one had the urge to eat the dead rat.
GM Note: OK, I love the author's writing, but why was it necessary to list the effects of eating everything in the house? What kind of gamers does this guy GM for? Seriously. "I eat the rat." Yeah. None of my players said that. Ever.
Having completed the first floor and found that Raesh had some immunity to the haunts, the party returned to the piano, re-enabled it, and Raesh tried to play it. The piano immediately sprang to life, playing a discordant Varisian tune Shiro recognized as having been popular in Varisia last year (don't ask me how he knew that after immigrating from Minkai, but he rolled a natural 20 on his Perform check to identify the music, so apparently he's great at learning music; it's just playing it that causes trouble). I notified the party that the haunt would not affect Raesh, but a random PC instead, and rolled Raesh anyway. Raesh watched as the beautiful and unharmed Iesha danced around her. As she danced, black marks appeared on her throat, her tongue lolled out, and her eyes bugged, as if some invisible person were strangling her. Raesh looked around but saw no assailant. As the music reached its climax and Raesh continued not to dance, the spectre screamed a horrific wail. Shiro instantly countersonged, and prevented anyone in the party from taking any ill effects from the shriek. Nice job, Shiro!

The party went upstairs. As they got to the top of the stairs, Shiro faintly heard a sobbing woman, but could not tell from exactly where. They started checking the upstairs room. The first door led to a flight of stairs going back down. Shiro and Hi mused about the stairmaker's union ripping off the Foxgloves. The next room was clearly a child's bedroom, complete with toy chest, child's bed, and a huge fireplace. Raesh went in, ears drooping slightly with sorrow at the prospect of experiencing a child's tragedy, and now she was Aldern Foxglove, watching her mommy and daddy fight. Mommy had a terrified look on her face, and was wielding a torch to fend off daddy. Daddy's face was diseased and covered in tumors, and he had a mad look in his eye. Again, the fear tried to engulf Raesh, and again, Sarenrae's blessing protected her so she could focus. She asked, "Who is my daddy?" and got the answer, "Traver Foxglove". She did not manage to learn her mother's name. However, she knew that poor Aldern felt that whichever parent lived would return to kill him. For the first time in their entire relationship, Raesh felt a twinge of pity towards the poor, deluded creature that was Aldern. Just as quickly, she quashed it. He was a murderer farming innocent victims to create a pack of ghouls. He must die. The next room was a musician's gallery facing east; again five stained glass windows blocked the view to the ocean. This time Hi could identify the windows: Five classic spell components for necromantic magic. This didn't surprise the party, but didn't bring them any closer to solving the mystery of the house. The next room was a guest bedroom completely encrusted in thick, spongy mold. No one entered. Shiro Sifted the room from outside but found nothing. Next was a bathroom with a rotten floor. Again, they avoided that room. At the end of the hall, they found the master bedroom. This room was far different from the others they had seen so far; it was completely destroyed. Someone had smashed the bed, torn the mattress apart, gouged the walls, broken the chairs, and ripped apart all of the paintings except one, hanging backwards so they could not see the subject. Raesh wanted to move on, but Shiro just HAD to see the picture! It might be something important! Halek and Hi waited outside of the room as Raesh and Shiro went in. Raesh pulled the picture back from the wall and recognized Iesha Foxglove from the haunts. Unfortunately, she wasn't paying attention to Shiro.
A few moments after he and Raesh entered the room, Shiro's mind collapsed. He was Vorel Foxglove, and his meddling wife was slowing down his research, and might ruin everything! Why did women have to be so nosy! Why couldn't they mind the children, keep the house, and leave him to his all-important research? Filled with rage beyond containing, Shiro drew his rapier and stabbed Raesh from behind. For all the grief I constantly give Shiro, getting a critical threat on your first stab at a paladin isn't bad at all! Shiro confirmed the critical, sliding his rapier through a weak spot in Raesh's armor and causing her considerable pain. I had everyone roll initiative, and Shiro continued his high-rolling tear, going first in the next round as well. Unfortunately, his luck didn't last, and with Raesh giving him her undivided attention, he missed by a mile. Halek delayed, not being sure what to do, and not wanting to risk going into the room. Hi hit Shiro with a Flare, hoping to blind him, but Shiro made his save. Raesh slammed the painting onto Shiro's head, doing a vicious 3 points of nonlethal damage and trapping his arms.
Just as quickly as he had been possessed, he was free. "What happened?"
Raesh stormed out of the room, cursing in Elvish and healing herself, muttering, "I don't need your damned healing!"
Shiro collapsed in the corner in tears. Halek stood near Raesh, making sure nothing else would come at her, while Hi went over to comfort Shiro. After a few moments, Shiro darted out, hugged Raesh, said, "I'm so sorry I'm so sorry I didn't mean to!"
Raesh seemed unimpressed. "Let's move on."

The next door was locked, so they decided to save it until later. The next room was a picture gallery, though the pictures were covered with cobwebs. Shiro gazed longingly at them, obviously wanting to see them, but said nothing, sniffling slightly. Raesh stormed through the room and into the next room. The final room on the second floor was another bedroom, curiously unmarred by the passage of time except for a dark stain on the desk. Hi made his Perception roll to spot the dagger that had mysteriously appeared on the desk, but his initiative was too low; Halek rushed forward, picked up the dagger, and pointed it at his own eye. I apologized in advance to the group. "This one sucks."
I rolled across the table in everyone's view. Halek's life-or-death Will save came up a natural 17, and Halek dropped the dagger before plunging it into his own eye. The dagger reverted to a piece of wood. Halek dropped to the floor shaking. He told the group that he had been Traver Foxglove, and had just murdered his wife, and was killing himself to be free of the house's control. Raesh comforted him, stood up, and made another patented soliloquy, only partially marred by being interrupted by one of the kids and by the obnoxious GM.
"That is enough. This house is evil. It is controlling you. It is not your fault you are not protected by the light of Sarenrae. Halek, it is not your fault that you nearly took your own life. Shiro, it is not your fault that you attacked me. We must find the source of evil in this house and destroy it. We must find Aldern Foxglove and destroy him and destroy this house. That is our duty. And we will not hold anything that happens in this house against each other." She looked pointedly at Shiro. If he felt better, he didn't show it much at all.

They returned to the locked door. Shiro couldn't pick the lock, so Halek rendered the door into splinters. They took the stairs up to the attic. The sounds of a woman sobbing were clear to everyone now. The first four rooms were storerooms. As they approached the fifth, they heard a shriek from a door at the end of the hall. They continued their methodical exploration, figuring the shrieking, sobbing woman could wait a few more minutes. The next room was a converted bedroom, but a quick Sift revealed nothing of interest. Next was an observatory. As they entered, Hi had a fleeting urge to jump out the window, but, being a gnome, had such urges all the time and had no trouble at all ignoring it. But he did have the distinct feeling that for a moment he was Cyralie Foxglove, fleeing from her husband Traver for some reason. The two stained-glass windows depicted two people no one recognized, so they moved on. They skipped over the room with the sobbing woman and checked the final room. This was a private study, filled with curios and trinkets from around the globe. Halek's mind began to swim with visions of far-off lands, places he would never go, people he would never meet, exotic alcohols he would never drink. Halek dropped to the ground, a near-vegetable. (Rolled a 6 on the WIS drain and he only had 8 to begin with.) Raesh used Lesser Restoration to get him up to 4 WIS, but he was still very impressionable, and not very good at self-control. They decided to watch him carefully. As they started searching the room, Halek walked over to a painting of a bullfight, moved it aside, and revealed a loose brick. Obviously, the memories included some memory of this niche (a natural 20 perception check. I figured even with the bad Wisdom I'd give it to him). Within the niche were 20 platinum pieces and a small key. In the rest of the room they found scrolls of lightning bolt and keen edge. The GM apologized profusely for giving a gnome a scroll of lightning bolt, while Hi’s player giggled maniacally.

It was time to meet the sobbing woman. Neither the key nor Shiro's lockpicking skills worked, so Halek removed the door. Other than a small armoire in one corner, a full-length mirror blocked off one corner. Raesh spoke quietly, saying, "We're here to help," and peeked around the mirror. There was Iesha Foxglove, risen as a revenant, but trapped by the mirror. Raesh knew a remarkable amount about revenants: They were undead risen to avenge their murders, and would unerringly track down their murderers. The party quickly agreed that turning her loose and following her would be a good idea. They hung her scarf from a doorknob, figuring she would want it back, and Raesh moved the mirror slowly, talking softly to the poor creature the entire time. Iesha howled, "Aldern! I can smell your fear! You'll be in my arms soon!"
She set off at a brisk walk down the hall, and the party fell in behind her. She paused at her scarf, and then, very carefully, bit by bit, tore it into tiny pieces before proceeding. She headed down the stairs, through the main hall, and across the stain to another flight of stairs down. As the party moved through the main hall, the manticore shot a fireball that unerringly tracked Hi as it turned into an angry woman's face and hit him square in the chest. With his fire resistance and a huge reflex save, it merely tickled him slightly and ruined yet another shirt. His save was high enough I even allowed him to get Rilka’s scarf out of harm’s way. They slowed down to carefully step around the stain, and Iesha gained ground on them. They followed her downstairs into a basement, through a kitchen, and down a hallway to a locked iron door. Iesha started screaming and pounding at the door, yelling, "No, after all this time! I will have my vengeance!"
Shiro stepped carefully up, gave her a sheepish smile, and showed her the key. She gazed at him for a moment and stepped back away from the door. He stepped up, unlocked the door, and opened it for her. She reached out, caressed her cold dead hand down Shiro's cheek, smiled, and headed in. Shiro shuddered. The party followed Iesha. As they entered Vorel's workshop, they recognized it as a necromancer's shop, and saw the stained glass windows of the man drinking the potion, dissolving, and being sucked into the seven-sided box in triumph, everything suddenly clicked for Shiro. (At last, a natural 20 on Knowledge: Arcana!) The top windows were the two wizards who provided the guidance as to how to become a lich. The second-floor windows were the five poisons he would mix to destroy his body; the first-floor windows were the essences of four long-lived creatures he would bind in his seven-sided phylactery, and this basement depicted his ultimate transformation. But who was the lich? Vorel? Traver? Aldern? They didn't have time to ponder; Shiro saw the stained-glass windows come to life to pursue him, but a high Will save allowed him to keep up with the rest of the party as they raced into the last room in the basement. There, the floor was dug up, and yet another staircase led even further down. As they passed through that room, Raesh had a vision of Aldern Foxglove, shirtless, digging up the floor with a pickaxe, repeating, "For you! For you! For you!" as ghouls erupted through the floor and pulled him down. She rolled her eyes.

It was pitch black down below, so Shiro had to fire up a sunrod as they pursued Iesha. Unfortunately, four ghouls rushed forward to block their path. Even more unfortunately, my younger son decided he was going to play the ghouls. They carefully avoided the grease Shiro put in their path, and one tried to flank the party by taking a secondary passage, and the others ran around the paladin to attack the bard and the sorcerer. Unfortunately for them, with a wisdom of 4, Halek couldn't really help but rage and started one-shotting ghouls left and right. Raesh prevented Halek from getting himself into too much trouble, and the ghouls learned just how irritating Windy Escape could be as Shiro kept turning to mist as they attacked him. One did manage to paralyze Hi, but decided to try to coup de grace Hi while right between Shiro and Raesh and never got off the attack. As soon as the first four ghouls fell, another three took their place, so by the time all seven ghouls were dispatched, Iesha was long gone.

They hurried forward to find Iesha, only to spot her above what they dubbed "the toilet bowl" -- a steep slope with a narrow ledge around it leading down to a pool of water. Four goblins were watching Iesha pound at a stone door across the toilet bowl from the party. Halek identified them as ghasts as soon as he smelled them. They came rushing around the bowl to defend their territory. Unfortunately, Shiro greased one side of the bowl, while Raesh started peppering anyone coming the other way with arrows. One ghast fumbled its reflex save on the grease and tumbled the entire way into the water. The second thought it would be clever to try the slip-n-slide approach, so took a step back, dove forward, and tried to slide into the party head-first. I thought it was really clever, but a poor roll tumbled the poor ghast off the lip of the toilet. The fight was short and brutal. The ghasts hit Raesh several times, but she made every save. She and Halek whacked ghasts, while Shiro provided inspiration and Hi took pot shots from the back. Once the ghasts were dispatched, they explored the side caves and found a way to work around most of the toilet bowl, leaving around ten feet of climbing to make it around. Shiro went first, trailing a rope, and met Iesha. She smiled at him eagerly. He tested the key, and sure enough, it opened the door. Iesha smiled eagerly at him and rushed into the room beyond. Shiro heard a horrifically-distorted version of Aldern's voice say, "My love! You have returned to life for me! Please forgive me for what I have done!" After a few moments, Iesha laughed hideously and the sounds of pitched battle began. Shiro braced himself with the rope and helped the rest of the party get across, but not before losing precious rounds. They raced in to see Aldern, transformed into a ghast, wickedly ripping into Iesha with a razor, as she tore into him with her claws. Chunks of undead flesh were flying. Aldern spotted Raesh, paused a moment, and said, "My two loves! Come to me at last! Join me and be by my side OW!" as Iesha ripped into his flesh.
Aldern struck Iesha down. Raesh rushed in, but he was too fast for her to hit. Halek joined her, but he couldn't hit either. Aldern smiled a wicked smile and said, "Now you and I will be one!"
He put on an evil helm that looked like it was made of human skin, and suddenly looked just like Raesh. If the combat continued, they would be stuck with a Captain Kirk moment. Hi, being Hi, wasn't about to let that happen. "Just hit the burning one!" he yelled, and cast Spontaneous Immolation on Aldern.
Needless to say, Aldern blew his save and burst into flames, making it easy to tell the two Raeshes apart.

Then came Shiro. Shiro felt that he would do his very best to kill Foxglove for Raesh to try and make amends and Shiro's player was SERIOUSLY worried about rolling a fumble, especially with the -4 for firing into melee. In an absolutely classic moment of irony, Shiro's player whined, "Why do I have to keep shooting Raesh?" and let fly with his crossbow. And crit. And crit the confirmation roll. And confirmed a second time for a double crit (triple damage). I said, "Wow, you really DO hate Raesh, don't you?"

Then he got to roll damage. An 8 (on 1d8). A second 8. A third 8. Thirty points of damage later, Foxglove's undead brains were spattered all over the room. Raesh gave Shiro a smile and he smiled back weakly, feeling marginally better as until then he was quite disappointed in himself for stabbing her earlier.

Note from Raesh’s player: At this point, before certain disparaging comments from other people around the table, Raesh felt that Foxglove's demise was something of a thoughtful gift to her from Shiro! It's a Drow thing....

They searched the room. First they found his 'collection' of Raesh's stuff. Her chisel. Bits of leather from the leather used to make her armor. Uneaten truffles. Anything she had discarded that he could get his hands on. Shiro spotted a large stack of Raesh erotica drawn by Foxglove that lay on one corner of the table. He used Mage Hand to turn it face down and then Raesh took the time to go through it, finding a note from "Xanesha" indicating that, if Aldern did not understand his instructions, he was to contact her people at his townhouse in Magnimar. She had Hi burn the erotica, which he did without even asking what it was or why he was burning it. Aldern himself had magical armor, two rings, a magical war razor, the mask, extremely nice clothing, and a cameo with Raesh's picture in it (she destroyed the picture). They also found two keys and a magical chime.

While searching the room, they saw a human-shaped pile of fungus on a chair, a shattered seven-sided box beneath it. Unfortunately, as a final gift to the party, Shiro failed his save and ate some of the fungus, promptly acquiring Vorel's phage. Hi burned the rest of the fungus. Raesh crit her Knowledge: Religion roll and knew that the only way to permanently destroy the fungus would be to bring a high-level cleric in and Dispel Evil. As Shiro appeared to be incredibly sick, they raced for the exit. In the basement, Raesh wanted to do a thorough job and checked the wine cellar and the pantry. They found incredibly fine silverware in the kitchen (Shiro estimated it at 1000 g.p.). Unfortunately, when they checked on the pantry, tens of thousands of diseased rats poured forth, only to have Raesh close the door. They tried to come in through the ceiling, but Hi nailed them with Burning Hands, and Halek pounded on the burning, screaming rats as they fell. So much for those swarms. The carrion storms did little better; Raesh channeled positive energy through them as Hi hit them with Burning Hands, and they managed one whole attack before all being obliterated.

They raced back to Sandpoint and to Father Zantus, asking for a cure for Shiro's disease. Father Zantus made a Heal check and tsked; this was far worse than anything he'd ever seen. Even two tries with Shiro's Gallant Inspiration didn't cure it. 9 tries later, Zantus finally rolled high enough to cure Shiro, but had depleted his wand of Cure Disease to fewer than 10 remaining charges. The party donated the silverware to Zantus in the hopes he'd be able to buy a new wand for the town. The party reported to Sheriff Hemlock, told him they believed the town was safe, but that they had to go to Magnimar to follow up on some leads, and Sheriff Hemlock was worried. Was the town really safe? Raesh replied that, quite honestly, she wasn’t sure. They returned to the Rusty Dragon, and everyone took baths to scrub the ghast stink out of their skin, their clothes, their armor, and their hair. Ameiko helped Shiro, and Bethana volunteered to help Raesh. Raesh gratefully accepted. Rilka helped Hi. Halek bathed alone.

After his bath Shiro went to Raesh's room to talk about his shortcomings that ended with a rapier stuck in her side. He asked her what he could do to atone for his mistake. Though she tried to explain that everyone wasn't necessarily as stalwart as a paladin and she held no ill will towards him, he still insisted she set a task for him. Knowing that Shiro was a follower of Shelyn she told him to pray for three hours. He left for the temple and did so that very evening.
Raesh also went to the temple and gave thanks to Sarenrae for watching over the town and supporting them in the Foxglove affair. Another great speech, and another moment where the GM was thinking, “I really HAVE to get to Fry’s and get a recorder...”

As Shiro finished his prayers, feeling somewhat better about himself he ran into Raesh, who had just finished her prayers to Sarenrae. They walked back to the Rusty Dragon together and retired to their rooms for the night.

Once again, that night at 11:15 pm, Raesh felt the mysterious pushing in her head. Alone in bed, and needing to make a split-second decision, she decided she could not risk the party's safety, and pushed back, dispelling whatever it was for another night.

-- end of session --


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

05-Oct-2012 Game

Hooray! We finally have a Silver Tsuto Award winner again!! In one of the most bizarre swings of luck I've seen in at least 20 years, I suddenly rolled seven 1's in twelve rolls! A poor nameless Skinsaw cultist was the recipient of our first triple fumble (managing to stun himself, fall down, and break a tooth). Not to be outdone, the faceless stalker playing Iesha fumbled and fell prone. The Skinsaw cultists won out when one of them fumbled his Reflex save on Shiro's Grease spell and managed to damage himself. The fight had been going fairly poorly for the party until then, so let's hear it for a triple-fumble turning the tables!

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19-Lamasht-4707 through 24-Lamasht 4707

As both Sheriff Hemlock and Mayor Deverin expressed concern as to whether or not the town's problems were really over, the party decided to stay in Sandpoint for a week to make sure there were no further murders or other incidents. Rather than play through day-by-day, I had the party give me their general intentions for the week. Shiro had by far and away the busiest week: By day, he decided that he wanted to start training in Weapons Finesse, so he asked Raesh to train him, and she obliged, with occasional help from Halek. In the evenings, he performed at the Sandpoint Theater, rolling so well that he earned himself 81 g.p. for the week (Shiro's player quipped, "This is way more than I make adventuring! Why am I doing that dangerous stuff again?") While Raesh wasn't looking, he sent a special order to Magnimar for "the best toy 13 platinum pieces will buy", but the price had to be for workmanship and skilled design, not for gold or jewels. When he finally received the package a few days later, it was an unbelievably complex, fully-functional miniature goblin band. Every instrument really functioned; the drummer drummed, the piper piped, the organist organed, and so forth. The paint job was exquisite; even the goblin's teeth were lovingly individually hand-painted. One day after training Shiro snuck the device into Raesh's room, put it on her pillow, and started it playing. Raesh found it, was utterly delighted, and immediately set to taking it apart to see how it worked. Shiro also picked up a new wand of Cure Light Wounds to replace the old one that was nearly used up.
Hi spent the first two days crafting a wand of Burning Hands (3d4), then the rest of the week helping Rilka with her washing. Raesh trained Shiro and spent her evenings either watching Shiro perform, taking long baths in her room, or working on her toys. Halek spent the week training horses for Daviren Hosk, and seemed much happier now that he was able to ride alone for long distances out of town.

Their respite was finally interrupted when a messenger from the garrison arrived the evening of the 24th. Bethana received word that Percy Buttonwillow, a gentleman halfling from Magnimar, would be arriving on the 26th to stay in town on business for 3-4 days, and was hoping she would prepare his usual accommodations. Bethana was beside herself with glee! She couldn't stop talking about how wonderful and generous Mr. Buttonwillow was, and how most halflings were very timid around the big folk, and hence worked as servants or butlers or messengers, but Mr. Buttonwillow would have none of that, and was a self-made gentleman! When Hi arrived with Rilka, Bethana squeed over and the two halfings started dancing in circles, holding hands and screaming, "He's coming! He's coming!"
Ameiko was nonplussed, and ordered Bethana back to work. She explained that Mr. Buttonwillow came to town once every few months, and lavished attention on all the single halfing women in town, causing quite the sensation. But this didn't extend to paying his tab; he was well known as a tight-fisted merchant, and would argue every bill down to the last copper. Ameiko wasn't looking forward to having to deal with him again. After a few more questions about Mr. Buttonwillow, and after Rilka reassured Hi that he was the only gnome for her, the party decided that they would prefer to be out of town before Mr. Buttonwillow arrived.

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25-Lamasht-4707

The party made preparations for their departure to Magnimar, and notified the sheriff and Mayor Deverin of their plans. As nothing untoward had happened in almost a week, the mayor and sheriff were happy to bid them a safe journey.

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26-Lamasht-4707

Raesh and Halek woke the rest of the party a bit after sunrise, and they gathered their horses and pony, had Ameiko pack them a picnic lunch, and set off. As usual, they didn't bother with a fourth horse, but instead Halek rode Shiro's horse and Shiro rode in fox form in Raesh's lap. The day was cool and misty, but not unpleasant, and they made good time. As they settled down for lunch, Shiro heard horses approaching. The party was not particularly alarmed, as goblins didn't ride horses, but they stood up to meet their visitor. Around the corner rode a splendidly-dressed halfling on a palomino pony. He wore a long green velvet doublet with gold buttons, khaki riding pants, and a gold-pommeled riding crop. A well-polished short sword hung at his side. Behind him rode two well-armored human pikemen on warhorses. As he approached the party, he bid them good day and asked about the way to Sandpoint. They informed him that the way was clear, he was only a few hours out, and the entire town was preparing to receive a halfling gentleman by the name of Percy Buttonwillow. "Why, that's me!" the halfing exclaimed.
"You don't say," Shiro deadpanned.
They engaged in a few more minutes of conversation; the road to Magnimar was clear of danger, and Percy hadn't heard of any undue happenings in Magnimar. With that, Percy was on his way to Sandpoint, and the party saddled up and headed for Magnimar. They arrived at the inn at the midway point a couple of hours before sunset. The owner recognized Shiro and Raesh from "Nemar's" exceeding generosity the last time they stayed there, and asked as to his health. He was truly disappointed to learn that Nemar had perished. After they had settled in, Shiro learned that no bard was performing there that night, so he set up in the common room, and Raesh, Halek, and Hi sat down to a simple dinner to listen to him.

GM Note: My kids begged me to run them in their own campaign, so I let them roll up characters, and every week I roll a random plotline from the GM Guide for them. I rolled up "Framed", and they'd been begging to do a crossover with the grownups, so they got framed for a Skinsaw murder in Magnimar and fled towards Sandpoint. In other words, I take absolutely no responsibility whatsoever for the behavior of these 'NPCs'.

Suddenly, there was a disturbance at the door. A strange snake-man (a Nagaji) burst in, only to have two elves burst in behind him, grapple him, and drag him back outside. Raesh, concerned, looked out the window. The strange trio crossed the road and set up camp right there, in plain sight across the road from the inn. Shiro identified the nagaji for Raesh, and the party headed across the street to find out what was afoot. The nagaji explained that first, some animals had escaped from the Lord-Mayor's menagerie and they had helped round them up. Once the zookeeper deemed them trustworthy, he had asked them to investigate the murder of one of his employees. A local guardsman joined them. He led them to the basement of the zoo house, where they found a man who'd been murdered, a seven-pointed shape carved in his chest, his face removed, and his jawbone missing. They also found a red thread, apparently from some clothing. The elven ranger noticed a sewer grating, so the three intrepid adventurers went into the sewer in pursuit of their quarry. Unfortunately, when they returned empty-handed, a new set of guards had taken over the zoo house, and they were under arrest for murder. They dropped into the sewers, fled the city, and headed for Sandpoint. (But not before spending a night 100' from the walls of Magnimar, setting traps and catching a squirrel for their troubles. Then fumbling the Survival roll to skin it.) Raesh saw that all three of them were injured, so she channeled positive energy and healed them all. The nagaji offered her his crushed, half-rotten squirrel in payment, but Raesh declined.

GM Note: I have no idea how to interpret the fact that the Magnimar: City of Monuments explicitly calls out the gate between Keystone and Lowcleft as being tax-free, but doesn't mention the others. Since the Lost Coast road leads directly to a gate that leads straight into the heart of the Alabaster District, I figured that had to be a "noble's gate", because no city in its right mind would let strangers waltz right into the heart of the aristocracy's residences. So yeah, the party had trouble at the gate.

=====
27-Lamasht-4707

The party had an uneventful trip the rest of the way to Magnimar. Shiro recognized the surrounding countryside, thought of Nemar and his ‘outstanding generosity’, and was a bit sad. They arrived at the gate in the late afternoon, only to find it closed and blocked by pikemen. Fortunately, the pikemen were perfectly at ease informing them that the 'regular' gate to Magnimar was down a short path, so they could choose to pay the 100 g.p. "Noble's fee" to use this gate, or they could take a somewhat-pleasant 20-minute ride to the 'correct' gate. This gate was open to all, and they passed unrestricted into Magnimar. The first thing they noticed was that virtually all of the buildings were of stone and slate construction; they hadn't thought about it much before, but after a month in Sandpoint, paved streets and stone buildings were remarkable. Similarly, the huge number of fantastic monuments stunned their eyes, from Founder's Honor just past the gates to the Arvensoar to the east, vast stone monuments were everywhere. The streets in this area were well-patrolled, so they had little trouble asking for directions. Even though it had been more than a month, most of the guard still remembered that a drow paladin had passed through, so Raesh encountered no trouble. Halek was a different story; pedestrians went out of their way to avoid him, and guardsmen kept a watchful eye on him. On occasion, a glowering band of 6-12 Shoanti seemed like they might want to approach the party, but clearly thought better of it after taking a closer look at the party. Their first stop was the Dockway, where they quickly turned Foxglove's belongings into cash. Feeling truly rich for the first time (over 600 platinum!), the next stop was the temple of Iomedae in the Naos district. They headed up the long paths to the Summit and were welcomed to the temple. Raesh asked them to perform a Sending for her to send word of her current situation back to her temple in Absalom. They agreed to send a message to a cleric in the temple of Iomedae in Absalom, and the cleric would pass the message to the clerics of Sarenrae. If those clerics wanted to contact Raesh, it would be up to them.
Raesh pondered her message carefully. "To Sarenrae Temple: Investigating previously-reported events at request of Sandpoint sheriff. Please send communications or further instructions through Iomedae temple, Magnimar. Rae'Sheleth. Hi, Olytrius!"

While they waited for a response, they asked the acolytes whether they could recommend a good place to stay. As they started listing local establishments (in alphabetical order, no less), the very first one they listed was the Blue Bunyip inn. The party simply could not resist. The response took just over an hour. "Rae'Sheleth: His holiness High Cleric Gregory bids you continue your investigation and contact us when done. Olytrius is no longer a paladin here. Please acknowledge." For a moment, Raesh was too stunned to speak. Then she responded, "I understand."

What had happened to Olytrius? Was he no longer a paladin? Was he no longer there? Why the strange wording? When she had left Absalom, Gregory had "punished" Olytrius by assigning him to a year of temple duty there. What was going on in Absalom?

Pushing those thoughts from her mind, the party headed for the Blue Bunyip, a high-class establishment catering to nobles and visiting merchants and emissaries. The concierge stopped them at the door and told them in no uncertain terms that the Blue Bunyip was a high-class establishment, and they wouldn't be able to afford the rates, nor did he want a barbarian wrecking the place. Shiro asked, "How much is it?"
The concierge replied that it was 5 g.p. per person per night. Shiro pulled out a handful of platinum from their sales, handed the concierge 10 of them, and said, "Here, we might be here a few nights."
The concierge's face melted into an obsequious smile, and he showed his "fine guests" into his establishment. They were placed in luxury suites on the top floor, each room with color-coded decor. Halek took the burgundy room, Raesh took black, Hi took lavender, and Shiro took crimson. Upon entering his room, Hi did a running jump and did a mid-air somersault onto the bed, sinking deep into the soft mattress. He heard a giggle. It turned out that each room had a beautiful maidservant ready to assist the guest with his bath. Shiro accepted assistance with his bath, but politely declined any other services. Raesh allowed the maidservant to wash her hair, but declined further assistance. Hi told the attractive gnome in his room that he had a girl back in Sandpoint, then asked her to draw a bath for him before she left and tipped her 5 g.p. She asked, "Can we at least jump on the bed?" Hi couldn't argue with this logic, so the two gnomes ran amok, jumping wildly on the bed.
They had a good dinner at the Blue Bunyip and turned in early, planning on a busy day the next day. Shiro took the concierge aside and mentioned that Raesh might appreciate some truffles, and some appeared in her room shortly thereafter.

=====
28-Lamasht-4707

For the first time in her life, Raesh had trouble getting out of bed at sunrise. The bed was SO deep, and so comfortable, and the room SO dark, that only her innate sense of dawn got her up. She looked for a good place to perform her morning devotions, realized the temple of Iomedae was a short walk away, and went to join them in their prayers and training. It felt good to be among paladins again. Even if they weren't "her" paladins, they were welcoming, they were good company, and they made her feel more at home than she had in weeks. An hour after sunrise, she felt the pressure in her mind again. She turned to the paladin next to her. "I do not have time to explain, but please take my sword and prevent me from doing anything untoward."
The paladin nodded, took her sword, and took a guarded stance next to her. A second paladin joined him so she was well-protected, and they seemed competent enough to prevent her from running amok. She allowed the feeling to creep into her mind. It swelled and swelled and swelled, and then... nothing! Raesh nearly screamed with frustration, yet maintained her customary stony-faced demeanor. After a few minutes, she thanked the paladins for their assistance, and went in to talk to a cleric about her experience. He recognized the symptoms immediately (a natural 20 on his Spellcraft, of course): She had just been scried. A quick Detect Magic was all it took to determine that she wasn't being scried any more. Unfortunately, a friendly scrier would almost certainly have had Message ready in order to communicate with the scryree, so the scryer was more than likely unfriendly. Raesh cursed. She had to tell the party.
She returned to the Blue Bunyip and took some effort getting the party out of bed. She dragged them all back to the temple and asked for a private place to speak. They allowed her the use of a cell. The four party members squoze into the tiny cell, and Raesh revealed that someone had been scrying her, and she'd given away the fact that they were now in Magnimar.
Shiro didn't see an issue. "So someone now knows that you're at the temple of Iomedae in Magnimar, surrounded by over a dozen paladins of Iomedae? What are they going to do, attack?"
Hi added his reassurances. Raesh was still angry at herself for compromising the party's location, but was quite touched by her friends' forgiveness and generosity of spirit.

They returned to the Blue Bunyip, had breakfast, and asked around about Foxglove's townhouse. It turned out that it, too, was only a short walk from the temple, so they headed over mid-morning. To their surprise, the lowest floor of the three-story building was boarded up, with only the front door left open as an entrance. They walked around the entire house, but the story was the same; boards covered every entry except the front door or the second- or third-story windows. Again, Shiro asked around, and again he learned that the building had been boarded up only a few days ago; perhaps two days after Aldern's death, by his estimate. As they continued investigating the house, they noticed two men watching them from about a block away; the men made no move towards them, and were doing their best to remain unnoticed, but Shiro's die was on a roll. They decided that a midday assault on the house would call too much attention to themselves, so moved on. They spent the rest of the day doing very little, mainly because the GM was so sleepy that there was very little to do in Magnimar (this was a LATE session, wrapping up around 1:30 am).

At around 8:00 pm, the party returned to the townhouse. They quickly noticed that the two men were still watching, so they moved around back. Even more mysteriously, there were lights on in the bottom (boarded up) floor. (Another natural 20 Perception roll from Shiro, which also revealed the scent of other Kitsune in the area.) Halek boosted Shiro over the wall, Shiro lowered a rope, and Raesh and Hi clambered over the wall. Halek managed to fall off the wall while trying a very simple Climb roll, which should have warned me of what my die had in store. They moved into the courtyard, explored thoroughly, and decided they would go through the patio doors. Shiro cast Silence and the party quickly set to tearing off the boards. No one could tell who was more surprised; Iesha and Aldern Foxglove sitting at their dining room table staring out at them, or the party on seeing Aldern and Iesha staring back. As they finished removing the boards, Iesha pushed the door open. "My friends! Aldern has told me SO much about you! Please! Come in! Join us for dinner!"
A quick Sense Motive check (and a natural 2 from the GM's die... another warning) revealed that both Aldern and Iesha were both nervous and excited, and desperately wanted the party inside the house for some reason. After some back-and-forth, the party joined the Foxgloves around the table. Shiro questioned Aldern about what he had been doing over the last few weeks, and Aldern insisted that he'd been living in Magnimar all this time. They were having work done on the bottom floor, and the boarded-up doors and windows were to prevent undue dust from getting into the home. The front door was unlocked because obviously he and Iesha needed to be able to get in and out of the house. Raesh wondered aloud why the neighbors were so convinced that Iesha was visiting Absalom, to which Aldern replied that he had no idea why the neighbors should be under such a misconception. Then, Shiro let the other shoe drop. "It is time to end this charade. I know you are not Aldern Foxglove, because I put a crossbow bolt through his head 10 days ago."

Shiro was expecting them to react violently. What he didn't expect was for their arms to suddenly extend 10' across the room and slam him into the wall. He took a massive amount of damage (19 points) but stayed standing. Unfortunately, looking around the table, while Halek was next to Iesha, poor Hi was standing next to Aldern! The two creatures revealed themselves to be faceless stalkers! Aldern pummeled Hi mercilessly, wrapping one tentacle around him so he could pound him with the other. Iesha tried to pound Halek, but his armor was too thick for her tentacles. The front door opened and two men in outlandish red outfits wielding war razors joined the fray. Raesh couldn't reach the combat because Hi, Halek, and the table were in the way. Since no enemies had been hurt yet, she channeled positive energy, bolstering Hi's hit points. Shiro performed. The first hooded cultist pointed at Halek and ordered, “Fall down!” Halek complied. The second cultist ordered Shiro to fall down, but by miracle Shiro made his Will save. The next round saw further trouble; Aldern pummeled Hi, Iesha only managed to hit Halek once in spite of his being prone, Halek chose to fight from the ground, and Hi’s attempt to cast a spell resulted in another blow from Aldern. Then came my die. The first Skinsaw cultist took a shot with a hand crossbow and missed. The second rolled 1, 1, 1, 3, for the first triple-fumble in our session. With the cards I drew, I determined that he’d pointed his hand crossbow at Shiro, Aldern had hit his arm, knocking the crossbow into his face and stunning him, then he fell to the ground face-first, chipping a tooth. Iesha decided she wanted to be in on the action and fumbled as well, stunning herself. Even after that, it looked bad for the party (at least Hi). Then, of course, Shiro cast Grease. Down went Iesha. Down went the Skinsaw cultists, including a fumbled Reflex save so one managed to damage himself falling on the Grease. The Skinsaw cultists decided they were going to do comedy instead of tragedy (the aforementioned seven 1's in twelve rolls). Every round, it seemed like one fell over in the grease. Iesha and Halek were slapping each other from the ground. Only Aldern remained a threat, holding Hi and pummeling him, this time rolling a crit and sending Hi deep into negative hit points. He let go of Hi to focus on Raesh as Shiro pulled Hi to safety and healed him. Then, Raesh got pissed. A 5' step forward, Smite Evil on Aldern, and it was ON. Aldern took 'only' around 15 points of damage the first round, but his tentacles were useless against her enhanced AC. The next round she crit him, just to show him what she thought of people pounding on her gnome, doing another 31 points and slicing Aldern clean in two. Halek finished off Iesha and nailed a Skinsaw cultist for max damage (27), crushing his abdomen. The remaining Skinsaw cultist was quickly reduced to 0 h.p., and just like that, the fight was over.

They first searched the house, and Shiro easily found a hidden cache in a carved lion's head on the 3rd floor. They found another 200 p.p. (the party was beginning to consider itself quite wealthy), along with many legal documents, including the deed to Foxglove Manor, indicating that the Brothers of the Seven would take ownership of the mansion in 4716, and they were to be found at the Sevens Sawmill. Even more incriminating, they found a ledger indicating that Foxglove had been paying 200 g.p. a week for "Iesha's trip to Absalom" to b7, with the gold being delivered to... the Sevens Sawmill. They questioned the captive Skinsaw cultist, and although he wasn't quite sane, Shiro rolled quite well, so they learned that the cultists held weekly rituals in... the Sevens Sawmill where 13 cultists and their priest would pray to Skinsaw. They stowed the bodies of the faceless stalkers in the garden shed, and placed the body of the dead cultist in their newly-acquired bag of holding for transport. Then they dragged their live captive back to the temple of Iomedae, reported on all they'd learned, and returned to the Blue Bunyip for some well-earned healing and rest.

-- end of session --

Next Session: Saturday, October 13


I love how you handled scrying. I always have trouble making that spell work. My players always end up knowing either too little, or too much when I try it.

So... Well done. ^_^

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