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Gluttony's RotRL Campaign

Rise of the Runelords

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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Chilling. The intrigue in this is intense. Again, looking forward to the next post.

It is fun seeing how different campaigns utilize the NPCs.

Congrats on the 100th post, and having written exams behind you. ;)

I'm starting to fall too far behind in what's been posted compared to what I've got written up, so I'm going to be posting more frequently for a bit, until I catch up to be near to where the game currently is.

Considering winter break just started and we now have full days available for game time, catching up may take a while.

Part 26: The Sacrifice

The Skinsaw cult held their meetings every Oathday at midnight at a place called the Seven’s Sawmill, so Ameiko would have to wait to be initiated properly, but Tsuto suggested she meet Ironbriar as soon as possible, which she readily agreed to. Tsuto and Lyrie immediately led Ameiko to a sawmill, The Seven’s Sawmill in the southern half of town, Sandpoint’s Heroes trailing them in secret and wondering about the name of the place, and any connection it might indicate between the Skinsaw cult and the Brothers of the Seven.

Ameiko was led past rooms filled with innocent-seeming workers, all of them Tsuto explained, murderous cultists of Father Skinsaw, and in the end was brought to a room on the upper floors of the mill. Atali and Uriel slipped in after her, doing their best to avoid making noise or bumping into anything while invisible, and Lulu and Zaru flew and climbed respectively to the rookery at the top of the building.

Tsuto and Lyrie entered Ironbriar’s office as Ameiko waited in the adjacent room with her invisible allies. Lulu and Zaru meanwhile listened in at the rookery trapdoor, hearing as Ironbriar, in hushed tones berated Tsuto and Lyrie as fools for so easily giving up the secrets of the Skinsaw cult. There was a moment of wordless rustling noises from the room before Ironbriar’s voice could be heard again. He claimed that Tsuto’s sister might have made a suitable member of the cult had Ironbriar himself recruited her, but that it was not Tsuto’s place to bring in new members. He asked, to the confusion of those eavesdropping, how greedy Ameiko was. Tsuto shakily responded that her parents were nobles, she was a successful business owner, and that she’d been an adventurer in the past. Ironbriar responded that she would do. They heard Lyrie chuckle as Ironbriar ordered them to take Ameiko alive, injuring her as much as necessary to ensure she couldn’t flee. She would be their sacrifice for Xanesha on the upcoming Oathday.

In the other room, Ameiko didn’t even notice two robed cultists, wearing hideous masks of human skin move silently behind her. When Ironbriar’s door opened and the elven justice himself emerged, wearing a mask of dead skin spiraling over his face, and accompanied by Tsuto and Lyrie, each wearing skin-faced masks of their own, Ameiko had to deliberately fight the urge to flee the room in panic.

There was only a moment of silence before Ironbriar nodded to the two cultists behind Ameiko, speaking the words “Do it”.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Leave me in suspense will you. ;)

You may exit suspense now. :P

Part 27: Vs. The Skinsaw Cult

The cultists raised their war razors high only to be tackled backwards as Uriel and Atali suddenly emerged from their invisibility! Uriel’s targeted cultist just barely managed to retain his balance after being thrown halfway across the room, and Atali’s was thrown backwards over the railing of the nearby stairs, falling to the ground below with a hard impact and a scream on his way down that no-doubt alerted the entire mill to the group’s presence!

Ironbriar sneered behind his mask of faces and stepped backwards, vanishing from sight as he cast a spell of invisibility. Atali quickly moved to the cultist Uriel had shoved back, saying she would handle the man and then bottleneck the stairs while Uriel and Ameiko (and hopefully Lulu and Zaru, though she didn’t mention aloud that they had other allies nearby) fought Ironbriar, Tsuto, and Lyrie.

Ameiko agreed with Atali’s plan and moved forwards to engage her brother with furious determination, while Uriel advanced and slashed Lyrie hard. Tsuto countered the thrusts of Ameiko’s rapier with pummeling blows of his fists, and in seconds cultists were pouring up the stairs, responding to their falling ally’s scream!

In the rookery above Zaru was about to attempt to pick the trapdoor’s lock when Lulu bluntly informed him that they had no time for that, flew directly above the trapdoor, and told him to move as her fingertips began to spark with electricity. Zaru just barely had time to step aside before Lulu ripped straight through the trapdoor with a massive bolt of lightning! With the way down open, Zaru then leapt through the hole to the floor below, landing near Lyrie, whom he engaged alongside Uriel, catching her in the jaw with a stunning strike!

As the larger group concentrated on Tsuto and Lyrie, Atali found herself attacked from behind by Ironbriar himself, not to mention she was quickly surrounded by more cultists than she had weapons! The cultists quickly had the group outnumbered by a large amount, and things looked to be going the same way their fight against the goblin chief Ripnugget back in Thistletop had gone.

Fortunately, Lulu entered the fray just as the cultists did, and she and Pix disrupted almost half a dozen cultists, as well as Ironbriar himself, in seconds with blasts of rainbow light and raging storms of colourful glitter rendering the cultists blind and unable to respond! At that the battle began to turn around as Lyrie confronted Lulu and was knocked out by a flurry of Zaru’s punches from behind, one of the few still-focused cultists was cut down by two quick slashes from Atali, and Ameiko proved her skill in defeating her brother. Uriel then began cleaving through swaths of cultists with his sword, and in the seconds it took for Ironbriar to recover from Pix’s magic, the battle was turned around, and the cultists lost their numerical advantage!

No sooner did Ironbriar recover and move to turn the fight back to his advantage however, did the elven justice find himself struck by one of Zaru’s punches and sent reeling once more, the force of the blow stunning him as it had stunned Lyrie. The fight from there was long and difficult, and Ironbriar proved exceedingly difficult to harm, but slowly but surely he and the number of cultists in the mill were whittled away. Finally, just when it seemed as though Ameiko was about to pass out from the negative energy Ironbriar was filling the room with, Uriel cut through the final three cultists in one great cleaving motion, and Zaru’s fists found their mark, striking for more than Ironbriar could take, and knocking him unconscious!

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

I'm sorry, but this is just a plain awesome take on the whole story!

I was worried you were going to lead the party to... er... somewhere else... and suffer a TPK!

I'm just plain *loving* this...

This one could have been a TPK. Atali's decision to knock the first cultist over the balcony was a good way to take out an enemy, but also a good way to alert every cultist in the mill to the battle.

As the book says, "A battle with 13 Skinsaw cultists and Justice Ironbriar at the same time is a CR 10 encounter--very difficult, but not impossible for a group of 7th level characters".

I'm proud that they managed to win a massive battle against Ironbriar, 13 cultists, Tsuto, and Lyrie (even if they did have slight help from Ameiko), but they were definitely really lucky with this win. Had Ironbriar and so many of the cultists not failed their saves against Lulu and Pix's Glitterdust and Color Spray spells, the battle likely would have gone very differently.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Thanks for relieving me of the suspense.

It sounded like an epic encounter, and an exciting session. Our party's encounter with Ironbriar was far from it. Paizo did improved it some in the AE. Plus having Lyrie and Tsuto in league with Ironbriar raised the bar a notch or two.

I look forward to reading what your party does with Lyrie, Tsuto and Ironbriar.

Part 28: Criminals

The group held a worried discussion among the unconscious and slain bodies of the skinsaw cult, wondering now how they were supposed to respond. They realized the risk of leaving Ironbriar alive, and the problem with expecting him to stand a fair trial in his own corrupt courts, but they also realized the trouble that would come to them if they killed a justice of Magnimar while still in the city.

As the others debated, Lulu and Ameiko went to examine Ironbriar’s office. There, faces of flayed skin covered the walls in grim expressions of pain, and a chest contained an unusual selection of tomes, including one that Lulu asked to keep for herself, detailing abominations from the First World known as the Tane. Most interesting however was Ironbriar’s diary, which was unfortunately written in a maddening multi-language cypher that the group could not immediately decipher, but which they assumed must contain useful information to be encoded so thoroughly.

In the end they finished off the unconscious cultists, Lyrie, and Ironbriar, leaving Tsuto’s fate up to Ameiko. Still clinging to the hope that Tsuto could be redeemed, Ameiko requested he be imprisoned instead of killed. The group agreed, but suggested that it would be best if Ameiko returned him to Sandpoint. Magnimar’s courts had already proven to be faulty.

Taking her horse, Ameiko transported Tsuto out of the city through its Ordellia district, the area of the city home to foreigners and nonhumans, so as not to draw attention. The sight of an unconscious Tsuto, somewhat-disguised beneath a cloak and hood, slumping against his sister’s back as Ameiko did her best to keep him from falling off her horse while also looking natural, as though her riding partner was simply sleeping, was already difficult to present as “innocent”. In any other district of the city, Ameiko’s Tian-Min heritage and Tsuto’s half-elven nature likely would have pushed their suspicion over the edge, but fortunately Ordellia awarded them just enough normalcy to pass unhindered.

The rest of the group quickly cleaned the scene of their battle, using magic to hide the evidence. While they hoped to someday prove their own innocence and Ironbriar’s guilt, they knew that for now they would be hunted by the law, and that they didn’t have time to deal with Magnimar’s finest while Xanesha was still out there somewhere.

Sneaking away from the scene of their “crime”, the group travelled to Magnimar’s Underbridge. The seedy slum was dangerous and crime-ridden, but they knew it was also the best place for them to establish a base of operations in Magnimar where they could work with minimal harassment from the law.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Poor Lyrie! She doesn't make it through many campaigns. At least Tsuto has survived. He died pointlessly in our campaign. I look forward to what happens next with him and Ameiko. Of course, I also look forward to any happenings under the Irespan.

Lyrie just doesn't have quite the same personal touch as Tsuto I think. There was nothing that made them want to take pity on her. (It didn't help that I played her as rather abrasive for the duration of what little time they saw her.)


Part 29: Blood Rage

The group spent several days living in Magnimar’s slums, doing the slow work of deciphering Ironbriar’s diary, but unfortunately as time went on they realized that the third of three languages the diary made use of was the language Draconic, and despite the language-comprehending magic of Lulu’s spells allowing her to read it for short periods, the cypher proved too difficult. The group debated whether to search for and hire a professional, or at the very least a member of one of Magnimar’s Sczarni gangs, after all such gangs must have at least someone with some skill in codebreaking, to decipher the text. Eventually however, they decided that it was not worth the risk of leaking the diary’s contents to a stranger, potentially a member of the Sczarni, before they knew what it contained, and so they sought assistance from a different source. Atali, accompanied by Pix and disguised as a nondescript townswoman as best as a group with no skill whatsoever in making disguises could manage to disguise her, set out into the streets in search of a scroll, or even a written guide to codebreaking that might give Lulu the advantage she needed to crack Ironbriar’s cypher.

Atali made it halfway out of the Underbridge before being ambushed by a lumbering monstrosity of misshapen human and animal body parts that crashed out of an ally towards her wielding a wicked scythe! Atali had no clue what the monster was, but she assumed undead and decided she didn’t care either way as the hilt of her axe found her hand and the folds of her cloak hit the street. What few bystanders were nearby were torn between the urges to flee from the horrible misshapen monstrosity, and to stay and watch the spectacle of the naked barbarian who faced the monster with a manic grin that mixed bloodlust and elation.

Atali began the battle by jumping back out of the reach of the wide swing of the monster’s scythe and raising a hand as her infernal magic flowed through her, channeling into her axe-wielding arm and focusing her aim. The monster responded with two horribly powerful slashes of its weapon and was met with the blade of Atali’s axe ripping it upwards from its naval to its neck! Atali hissed to Pix to get Lulu, ignore the others unless they could join Lulu in seconds. The witch could teleport herself and arrive immediately; bringing Uriel or Zaru would only serve to delay her arrival as they gathered. Atali was cut again, this time across her chest as Pix darted away at top speed, but she only grinned as her blood splattered, and responded by soaking herself in gore as she flayed the thing in a flurry of blades and parried its attempted counterattack.

Both combatants raged onwards, painting the streets with blood as Atali’s axe found a key chunk of flesh that held much of the monster’s misshapen body together, ripping it open and causing the creature’s body to partly collapse, transforming the monster into an even more nightmarish mass of blood, gore, and swinging limbs that seemed barely attached at the joints! In return the abomination ripped open Atali’s stomach with its blade; injuring her to such a degree that only her raw fury was enough to let her cling to the life that was quickly slipping away!

It was then that shouting emanated from the streets to the south as Magnimar’s city guard appeared; rushing towards the battle in a hoard of dozens of soldiers, while Lulu simultaneously appeared in a flash several feet away from Atali! The monstrosity and Atali leapt apart, with the injured monster lunging into the maze of dark alleyways that made up the Underbridge, and Atali hissing a command of three simple and direct words to Lulu. “Heal, vanish, run!”

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Let me see. If I was under the Irespan when a naked Barbarian battled with some kind of Flesh construct, I think I would be more tempted to watch. With a little, "That is something you don't see everyday." Of course no one in the Pub will believe me.

Always a pleasure.

Part 30: The Shadow of Time

A flesh golem. Atali may not have known the identity of the monster, but Lulu had. They recalled the faceless stalker that had come in the dark on their first night in Magnimar. Could this encounter have been another monstrous assassin sent by Xanesha? While Atali sulked about having been evenly matched by a mere construct, and having required all of Lulu, Uriel, and Zaru’s daily healing magic to recover from the battle, and while Lulu continued to examine Ironbriar’s diary, Uriel and Zaru sought information in the back alleys and seediest bars and taverns, all the while taking care to avoid the city guard, who still sought them for the murder of justice Ironbriar.

Their assailant was popular. It took almost no effort to learn of the feared monster known as the Scarecrow that kept the streets of the Underbridge deserted after dark, terrorizing the lower class citizens on foggy nights while the rich and powerful in Magnimar’s Alabaster district and Capital district did nothing to help. The Scarecrow had long been thought to lurk within an ancient abandoned tower in the Underbridge known as the Shadow Clock, though nobody knew of any who had dared to enter the tower to confirm such rumors. Now though, the Underbridge was already abuzz with talk of the Scarecrow’s first daylight appearance, and of the mysterious naked woman who had traded blows with the monster and lived!

They also learned that the Shadow Clock itself was not without its ghost stories. There were supposed sightings, from great distances, of a serpentine figure leaving the tower through the openings in its roof and flying off into the Underbridge, and perhaps into the rest of Magnimar beyond. Whatever the case, it seemed likely that the Scarecrow was not the only monster to call the Shadow Clock home. Uriel and Zaru wondered if the rumored flying serpentine creature was also one of Xanesha’s monstrous assassins. They wouldn’t give her time to send it though. The two knew even before they regrouped that they would be entering the Shadow Clock tomorrow.

When they returned home Lulu revealed that she’d finally done it! Ironbriar’s code had been broken and his secrets revealed! Ironbriar’s journal contained enough evidence of the corrupt justice as being responsible for the murders plaguing Magnimar that the group were fairly certain they’d be forgiven for killing him, under the circumstances they’d faced at the time. For now though there was a more pressing concern. Ironbriar’s journal also spoke of “lovely Xanesha”, and mentioned visiting her in the same location Uriel and Zaru had uncovered, the Shadow Clock, so many times that they could hardly deny the obvious conclusion. Xanesha herself awaited them somewhere in that tower. Knowing what they would face the next day, the four settled down to an uncomfortable sleep.

The following morning the group stood together in the dark streets of the Underbridge. The sun had not yet risen, and the Shadow Clock loomed over them.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

OK. I'm just squee-ing in anticipation here...

(I know, I know, "You guys played on the 22nd! Get your post done, you!", but it was a LOONG session, and Gluttony's right in the thick of one of the best parts... I'll be trolling the obits for days...)

Part 31: For Magnimar the Bell Tolls

The interior of the Shadow Clock was dark, and left foreboding shadows around the edges of the main room, moonlight filtering down from the openings above to just barely illuminate the center of the area. Fortunately Lulu and Uriel could see in the dark, and alerted the others to the presence of Atali’s monstrous opponent lurking in the far corner.

Atali sent forth bubbles of glowing light to illuminate the darkness and reveal the beast. It had been stitched back together, from the looks of things with a combination of magic and a great deal of cord. Its face twisted and leering and its limbs still hanging somewhat loose on the cords that held it together. Atali smirked and addressed it with a chilling whispered greeting: “Hello Flopsy. Ready for round two?”

The Scarecrow roared and charged her, scythe digging into Atali’s flesh, but the barbarian didn’t budge or stumble back, she simply ripped the blade out of her wound as Uriel noted her intense focus and decided to use his bardic magic to strengthen Atali in the fight, rather than immediately intervene directly, and Lulu wrapped the barbarian in her arcane power, forming a layer of magical armor around her. With Zaru acting third, uttering a quick prayer for his deity to bless the group, Atali was ready.

Atali’s blades shredded through the golem’s patched up wounds and the monster responded in turn by tearing open her flesh! When the others began to truly join the battle however, Uriel moving around the monster to hit it from its flank, Lulu delivering curative magic to Atali through Pix while keeping herself far out of the Scarecrow’s reach, and Zaru firing a volley of crossbow bolts, invoking Sun Wukong’s divine power to rain destruction upon his enemy, the Scarecrow changed. The monster threw down its scythe and entered a berserk rage, losing all regard for its own personal safety as it thrashed at the nearest targets, Atali and Uriel.

Uriel slashed the beast once more as Lulu healed Atali and Zaru took notice of the faceless stalkers observing them from the upper levels above, sending a volley of bolts up towards the new monsters, but accidentally striking the tower’s massive bells instead. As the stalkers rushed to begin some plan of retaliation, Atali bisected the scarecrow and the beast fell still.

The stalkers were far above them and it was clear that the Shadow Clock’s famous ‘terrible stair’ would not allow them to ascend the tower on foot. Knowing that they, aside from Zaru who could scale the crumbling walls effortlessly, would need another way up, Uriel and Atali rushed to Lulu’s side and the three linked hands.

The bell fell with the loudest clanging crash they’d ever heard, and smashed its way down the interior of the tower, which somehow managed to not crumble and collapse from the massive collateral damage. Zaru was struck and sent toppling from the wall that he’d began to ascend, slamming hard into the ground as the bell crashed down beside him! The other three would have been hit as well had Lulu’s spell not taken effect at the last second and teleported them instantly to the tower’s upper level, where the faceless stalkers had cut loose the bell.

The stalkers turned upon the heroes in shock and anger as they suddenly appeared beside them, but were severely outmatched by Uriel and Atali. The two on relatively solid footing were quickly beset by the more powerful warriors, while the third stalker, who had climbed out onto the narrow railings which supported the bells in order to cut one down, was subjected to a blast of rainbow light from Pix and a fall to the main room below them as he toppled and plummeted over a hundred feet before hitting the ground! Seemingly approving of the tactic, Uriel and Atali shoved their opponents out through the opening in the tower’s wall, sending the other two stalkers falling along the tower’s outer wall to hit the ground outside, where the impact of the fall combined with their injuries from Uriel and Atali’s initial strikes was enough to kill them outright!

Zaru reached them, somewhat in pain from having been struck by the falling bell, at the upper level where the group expended their healing magic and prepared to move onwards through the smashed opening in the wall that the stalkers had been shoved through, where a wooden walkway wound towards the final few rooms above them. Below, a confused crowd was gathering, citizens of the Underbridge slum who had been drawn by the ringing of the bell, a sound many had never heard from the Shadow Clock. They watched in awe as the mysterious adventurers high above them ascended the spire of terror that had haunted Underbridge for years.


(Atali's reunion one-liner towards the Scarecrow sounded a lot more badass when it was spoken aloud than it does now that it's in written form...)

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
Gluttony wrote:
(Atali's reunion one-liner towards the Scarecrow sounded a lot more badass when it was spoken aloud than it does now that it's in written form...)

No; it sounded badass all right.

And yeah, I'm about 2/3 through my writeup, but I have Shiro's player printing out full-size maps of Sandpoint for tonight's game, and all you GMs know what that means...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Go read. I am looking forward to the next part for sure.

Part 32: Mistress of the Seven

They reached the top of the tower; the stone angel at its tip stood above them and ahead stood the circular window which opened into the highest room. Uriel walked at the front along the narrow planks that spiraled their way up the tower, towards that opening. Behind Uriel was Atali, and behind her, Zaru. Lulu and Pix flew beside them, opting not to use the ramp of planks at all.

In an explosion of filthy spores and black feathers, a demonic being appeared in the air above the stone angel! The group identified it as a vrock demon. A summoned creature? They realized that their battle with Xanesha must be at hand, and if she were capable of calling such a monster they would be in for a difficult fight.

Lulu relayed details of vrock abilities to the group, speaking at a dizzying pace. Resistant or immune to most varieties of spells and energy, requiring a force of pure good to pierce its fiendish hide, capable of teleporting at will, infecting others with their demonic spores, emitting dizzying screeches, and worst of all able to unleash a ruinous explosion of electricity in a radius that would likely set fire to the roofs of every building adjacent to the Shadow clock! The best Lulu could suggest against such a foe was to take to the air, hit it hard, and bring it down fast, and of them all Uriel was the one most capable of doing such a thing. Lulu empowered him with flight magic, and Uriel took off in an aerial charge, driving his sword towards the demon… And passing straight through it!

It was an illusion, they realized too late, and worse, it was one which had tricked Uriel into expending his most useful holy power! The danger of the vrock may have turned out to be a non-issue, but because they had been tricked, they would no longer be able to make use of Iomedae’s smiting power against Xanesha herself!

It was then that the masked snake woman appeared, suddenly leaping forwards, breaking the invisibility that had let her move up right beside them! With a strike of the shaft of her spear, Atali was sent the way of the faceless stalkers, shoved backwards over the edge of the tower and toppling to the ground below! Reflexively, Atali let her magic surge up inside of her. She couldn’t fly, but she could slow her descent, and she hit the ground standing and without a scratch.

This was Xanesha, they realized it now from the confidence the snake woman carried herself with and the quality of the mask she wore, the weapon she wielded, and the tactics she utilized. The group cursed at having not made the connection between the rumors of a serpentine shape, and the monstrous creatures known as Lamia Matriarchs, serpentine queens of a race cursed by the gods into half-bestial forms.

Xanesha had sacrificed her invisibility, but she was still shrouded in illusion. There appeared to be a half-dozen copies of her wavering in the moonlight, spear ready. Leaping down from where he’d struck at the illusory vrock demon, Uriel struck at them, but succeeded only in tearing through one of the copies, destroying it, but still leaving five Xaneshas remaining. Lulu and Pix were able to further thin the numbers, the witch dissipating one copy with the force of a magically-focused scream, and the sprite striking another with a tiny arrow, which tore through the illusory Xanesha despite the lack of damage that the tiny projectile would have been inflicted had it hit the real thing.

The group’s luck proved to be terrible as Zaru stepped to the front of the ramp of planks, striking Xanesha with a flurry of punches from his position now adjacent to Uriel. Despite his good aim, the vanara managed to have selected the two images among the three remaining Xaneshas, destroying them and finally revealing which mistress of the seven was the real one, but failing to land any of his strikes on her!

Xanesha targeted Zaru with the full force of her rapidly-stabbing spear, but the Vanara somehow managed to avoid every attack. It was at that point that Lulu emitted a different sort of magial screech, this one unfocused and jarring which caused Xanesha to stumble and drop her guard. Uriel and Zaru immediately took the opportunity to tear into her with blade and fist. Pix meanwhile darted downwards to see if Atali was okay. The group knew however that with Lulu’s flight magic already having been cast upon both Uriel and Lulu herself they had no way of getting Atali back into the fight.

Atali turned on the gathered crowd. A scroll, a potion, a spell, wings. She demanded that anyone among the onlookers who had the power to get her back into the battle above do so, but the crowd merely gaped at her. Atali cursed and told Pix to return to Lulu, he would do more good up there than down here.

Uriel, Zaru, and Xanesha continued to trade blows above. Xanesha was supplemented by waves of despair which emanated from her weapon, but she was matched by Uriel calling upon his bardic magic to redirect failed attacks so that they would strike her, and by Zaru who struck her with dizzying punches. Above them, Lulu and Pix flitted to and fro flinging blasts of lightning and other spells from both Lulu’s innate magic, and from her reserve of scrolls. Soon the tower roof itself was ablaze around them as they fought!


I'm rather proud of myself for tricking them into smiting an illusion. >:)

Part 33: Bring Down the Shadow

Combat on the open roof of the tower quickly proved too much to bear for Xanesha, and she retreated back slightly, moving through the window into the room below the angel as the eyes of her mask began to glow with green light. Lulu caught sight of the glow and felt her skin crackle and rip as her flesh erupted into lesions of stone! The statue Lulu plummeted only to be caught at the last moment as Atali caught her in the same spell she’d used to slow her own descent, but there was no doubt that she’d now been effectively removed from the battle just as Atali had.

Above, Uriel and Zaru fought Xanesha in her lair, striking her with sword and fist as she retreated into the ring-shaped room that was her lair. Xanesha alternated her attacks with a surge of healing magic, and a spell to dispel any beneficial magic Uriel had upon him, removing his ability to fly in doing so! Although she wore the adventurers down however, they were clearly doing the same to her. Uriel circled the burning room so as to regain his flank with Zaru and pin down Xanesha, and it was soon clear that their enemy was at her limit. Just when it looked as though she would be defeated however, Xanesha impaled Zaru on her spear! Shaking loose the now-unconscious vanara, Xanesha made a mad dash for the exit and leapt over the edge!

Xanesha slowed her fall just before reaching the ground with the same sort of magic Atali had used, and landed among the citizens below, triggering screams of panic as the crowd scattered away from her. Xanesha had already turned to dash into the maze of alleyways and escape when Atali collided with her, axe-first at full force, her weapon tearing a gash into the lamia matriarch`s skull!

Xanesha slithered back, clearly caught off guard by the force of the blow, and attempted to make one last mad dash towards the alley. Realizing that the snake woman was faster than her and that she’d have no chance of catching up on foot, Atali closed slightly less than half the distance, dropping her sword as she did, before raising her palm and firing a devastating ray of fire at Xanesha, the tattoos lacing her body flaring with crimson light as the spell surged forth! The ray struck its fleeing target in the back, and the lamia matriarch toppled forwards, dead.

Above, Uriel did his best to stop Zaru’s bleeding before hefting his ally’s unconscious body onto his shoulder. The Shadow Clock was burning and its timbers were creaking alarmingly in the blaze. Uriel was about to flee the room and back out onto the rooftop when a scrap of paper, a letter to Xanesha, caught his eye. The first line bore the greeting: “My sister—”. Uriel grabbed the paper, ignoring the rest of Xanesha’s treasure, and dashed outside. From the rooftop he saw Atali’s spell deal the finishing blow to Xanesha, and he felt the crack as the ground lurched sharply beneath him.

Everyone on the street below turned their heads upwards as the tower began to topple, Uriel and the unconscious Zaru still on its roof. Atali screamed the loudest, her voice carrying a single word to Uriel’s ears over the panic of the crowd: “Jump!” The masonry, smashed by the tower’s bell, crumbled, and the supports, which had been burned and blasted away by Lulu’s fire and lightning, gave way at last. Uriel, Zaru on his back, leapt over the edge!

After years of standing over the Underbridge as a monument of terror, the Shadow Clock finally came crashing down!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Epic! Congrats to your party for surviving Xanesha. It is interesting that the tower collapsed in our campaign too. This is actually what saved our party from a TPK. This was the book #2 version of Xanesha and not the AE. In fact this was the last monster the party fought in the AP before we switched to the AE.

Good read as always! Thanks.

Part 34: Heroes

It was in one large mob that the group and the gathered citizens of the Underbridge marched to the Capital district and faced the most powerful lawman in Magnimar, lord justice Bayl Argentine himself. The group stood trial for the murders of justice Ironbriar, Lyrie Akenja, thirteen workers at the Seven’s Sawmill, and of course Xanesha herself. The support and evidence in their favour was enormous however, and even Argentine was eventually forced to concede that they had acted as adventurers do, eliminating the nearest threat without first obtaining legal right to do so, and in this case, considering how Ironbriar’s clear corruption had seeped into the courts, taking matters into their own hands in such a way was forgiven. Argentine excused the group for assuming the courts could not be trusted while Ironbriar’s boss Xanesha was still around. In a roar of thunderous applause from the citizens of the Underbridge, the group were found guilty of the charges against them, but were also found deserving of no punishment.

Ironbriar’s diary and Xanesha’s letter, the latter of which appeared to be from a sister with the same murderous intent as her, drew the attention of Magnimar’s lord-mayor Haldmeer Grobaras, who fainted upon reading Xanesha’s letter! The letter made note of Magnimar’s lord-mayor as the greediest person in the city, but it was the clear implications of a planned assassination that had caused the mayor to pass out in shock.

Somewhat unimpressed, the group helped Grobaras to his feet and were invited back to his home, Defiant’s Garden, for a feast of celebration. The ruins of the Shadow Clock were searched and several chests of Xanesha’s treasures were found and given to the heroes who had defeated her. In addition, Grobaras showered rewards on the group as thanks for saving his life, and quickly picked up on the threads of Xanesha’s schemes as they retold their story, starting all the way back at Nualia’s first goblin raid on Sandpoint. Grobaras knew of the mention of a place in Xanesha’s letter called Turtleback Ferry, and he was able to explain that it was a small backwater community nestled in the wilds of central Varisia. Turtleback Ferry had long been plagued by ogres, and so Magnimar had established fort Rannick, which Xanesha’s sister had suggested in her letter would soon be under new ownership, to combat the ogres. He suggested that the impact of a schemer in such an unimportant place was surely not worth the time of Magnimar’s heroes, and that the rangers of fort Rannick could handle a simple ogre threat, but he was cut off as Lulu bluntly pointed out that they were already Sandpoint’s heroes.

Grobaras did his best to maintain appearances, and declared the group to be the heroes of the Lost Coast, encompassing both communities. Lulu opened her mouth again but was silenced by a jab of Zaru’s foot. The vanara pointed out that people were people, and no account of people in danger could ever be ‘not worth their time’. Grobaras, seeming somewhat disappointed, admitted that Magnimar hadn’t heard from the Black Arrows, the rangers of fort Rannick, in a long time. He wished them the best in what lay ahead.

Following the feast, Uriel took Grobaras aside and held Xanesha’s letter in front of the lord-mayor’s face. He thanked Grobaras for his hospitality, and commended him for his show of generosity in rewarding them, but was unwilling to overlook the letter’s rather believable claim of the lord-mayor being the greediest citizen of Magnimar, which his opulent home had only further confirmed. Uriel declared simply that he wouldn’t stand for someone in Grobaras’ position to be an epitome of sin in Magnimar, and though he made no threat to the lord-mayor, Uriel’s warning that there would be consequences if Grobaras had failed to improve himself by the next time they saw each other was enough to make the corpulent lord-mayor sweat.

Their goals in Magnimar finally complete, the group did some shopping which included buying powerful magical boots, a magical belt, and a magical glove for Atali, all of which had to meet her strict standards on what covered too much of her body in battle (she was able to agree that the boons provided by magical equipment were worth being technically clothed, but refused to use anything that would cover too much of her skin).

After shopping they went to find Orik, unsurprisingly in a tavern, and then set off back towards Sandpoint.

For Atali, the group purchased:

- A Belt of Giant's Strength (+6)
- A Glove of Storing
- Boots of Speed

Lulu also researched several new spells.

This is a party that is thorough in finding treasure, stockpiles it for big purchases, and is not afraid to combine their individual funds for use in buying extremely powerful equipment for single members of the group.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Oooh. Nice magic.

Onward toward the Hook. Look forward to it.

Just wondering if Atali appears as a classical fantasty version of what you have presented,(Beautiful, yet muscular. Like Frank Frazetta's Connn art) or a more realistic version where she is sunburnt, scarred horribly, etc? ;)

I just kid because one person has their pirate character go all Belit style and got ribbed about being 'A raisin.' :)

She's not particularly sunburnt; her skin is naturally tan-coloured, and darker skin tends to resist sunburn a fair bit better than pale skin (also due to Uriel's influence she keeps her cloak on most of the time, and the most common place for it to come off is in dungeons, which are indoors).

Aside from that, she's definitely a beautiful and muscular lady, but close examination reveals a LOT of scars. Her excessive tattoos do a bit towards distracting attention away from those, but of course they can't do it completely, especially since their purpose was to hide other tattoos, and not scars.

Short post in which little happened, save for a road trip, but with players (and myself) getting back to university I've got to slow the pace at which I updated over the holidays.

Part 35: River Run

The group’s return to Sandpoint was brief but comforting, allowing them to catch up with friends there and rest, if only for a short while. Ameiko had returned home safely from Magnimar, and Tsuto was now being held in Sandpoint’s jail, where Orik asked to be locked as well. The sellsword seemed to have taken to heart the idea that he needed to repent for his actions while working alongside Nualia, and sheriff Hemlock agreed to imprison him as he requested, suggesting that Orik would make a capable member of the Sandpoint guard if he was interested in doing so. Orik seemed pleased with the idea, but opted to confine himself to prison first, suggesting that if Hemlock would take him he would begin training to become a defender of the city as soon as he felt he had served time appropriate for his crimes.

Setting out on the road again, this time all four mounted on real horses, the group set out towards Turtleback Ferry, traveling along the shore of the Yondabakari river. On their way they passed through three other settlements on the river; Wartle, Whistledown, and Ilsurian. It was in Ilsurian where their old ally Shalelu Andosana caught up with them.

Shalelu had gotten word of the heroes’ planned journey to Turtleback Ferry following their leaving, and had raced along after them in hopes of catching up. She requested to accompany them on their journey to fort Rannick, being a ranger herself and, according to her, acquainted with one of the rangers of the Black Arrows. Considering she was one of their most powerful allies, the heroes were happy to accept Shalelu into their group, and after a comfortable night in Ilsurian, where they left their horses in the care of local stables, they hired a barge to take them upriver the rest of the way towards Turtleback Ferry.

It wasn’t long before the docks of the tiny village came into sight.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Guarding Sandpoint is a good place for Orik. Maybe he will find someone nice like Shayliss, and spend even more time in jail. ;)

I'm just going to say this now; The entirety of Hook Mountain Massacre was NOT this party's finest moments. The hillbilly horror threat that ogres would present set them on edge from the moment they first heard mention of the ogres all the way up to the final moments of the book, and it had a very obvious detrimental effect on how they handled certain situations.

Part 36: Paradise Lost

The arrival of strangers in Turtleback ferry brought excitement and intrigue as the village people pressed to learn who these strangers were. The village itself was gloomy and the rain never stopped, but the people seemed delighted to hear that the group had come from Magnimar to investigate the silence of Fort Rannick. Upon asking if anyone could tell them anything more, the group found themselves directed to the town’s church of Erastil, which also served as a town hall, situated on the waterfront. There, they met with Turtleback Ferry’s mayor and priest of Erastil, a friendly but clueless man named Maelin Shreed, in hopes that he could tell them more. Unfortunately Shreed could offer them little more information about Rannick than what they already knew, that the rangers of the Black Arrows had stopped coming to town. The villagers had apparently organized a group the week earlier to travel to the fort and investigate, but that group had not been heard from since. The best Shreed could offer was to sheepishly suggest that they travel to Rannick themselves, and to promise them safe rest within Erastil’s church if they needed it.

Uriel and Zaru, both religious men themselves, got along well with the friendly priest and were soon engaged in conversations that bored the three female members of the group. Lulu politely excused herself and slipped outside, and Shalelu and Atali followed. Once outside again, something in the air caught Lulu’s nose, and she turned to the lake quizzically. The three questioned some nearby villagers about the lake and any happenings recently and learned about Paradise, a pleasure barge which had sunk into the lake in the night about a month ago. The villagers were clearly saddened by talk of the barge, and their mood was not improved when Shalelu asked one of them to tell her more about the tattoo on his neck. The accused villager quickly grew defensive and hid his neck from view, claiming to have no tattoos. To this Shalelu bluntly explained that the seven pointed Sihedron rune was a symbol Sandpoint had once come to fear as marking the murdered victims of a serial killing undead monster.

Calming the situation and convincing Shalelu to back off a bit, Lulu attempted to convince the man to open up to her. When that led nowhere, Atali grew frustrated and pulled a weapon on him, holding the hapless villager at swordpoint and demanding he reveal what Shalelu had seen on his neck! Fearfully, the man complied and revealed a small tattoo of the Sihedron. He shakily explained that he’d paid a small amount for the tattoo, which secretly marked him as a VIP member of the now-sunken pleasure barge, Paradise. The barge’s owner lady Lucrecia had told the man to keep his tattoo secret so that the other townspeople would not grow jealous of the special privileges it granted him, but he was aware of a number of other people in town with the same tattoo. Inquiry about Lucrecia revealed that the extravagant woman had died with the sinking of her barge, along with several of her customers, a month ago.

When Atali lowered her sword, the man added that perhaps Lulu hadn’t been interested in the lake at all. He claimed that the Sanos Forest was out that way, and considering that Lulu was one of “those freaks from the forest”, she had probably smelled home on the air. Atali began to raise her weapon again and Shalelu was clearly unimpressed about the man choosing to insult Lulu, but the witch ended the conversation abruptly at that, turning and walking away without a word. After a moment of hesitation, the man stormed away as well.

Lulu stood silently at the lake’s edge, staring at the far bank. Atali asked her what was special about the Sanos Forest and received no reply. Eventually the three women returned to the church, where Lulu explained to Uriel, Zaru, and Shreed, in simple terms, exactly how their reputation in Turtleback Ferry had been severely damaged while the men had been inside talking. Uriel and Zaru were exasperated, and Shreed couldn’t seem to decide between whether to be horrified by Atali’s actions or to attempt to be forgiving, and he eventually settled on simply apologizing to Lulu for how she’d been treated. Lulu accepted the apology, stated the Shreed really hadn’t needed to make one, and asked if they could still take up his offer of safe rest in Erastil’s church. Shreed complied.

Just before laying down to sleep, the five sat down in the room Shreed had provided them with so that they could discuss Turtleback Ferry and their goals. While fort Rannick was high-priority considering the potential of ogres, and the implication in Xanesha’s letter of her sister having taken control of the fort, learning of Paradise had complicated things. There were people in Turtleback Ferry who bore Sihedrons on their skin, and it was the fault of the barge’s owner, lady Lucrecia, that they were marked as such. A coincidence was unlikely, the fact that lady Lucrecia was dead seemed unlikely too, and the possibility of lady Lucrecia being Xanesha’s sister... Well, it would have been hard to further convince the heroes that that was the case, as they’d already decided it was. Lulu suggested they descend into Claybottom Lake the next morning to explore the wreckage of Paradise. She said she would prepare magic to assist their underwater breathing.

When asked why she had chosen to research the ability of breathe underwater, Lulu simply shrugged and pointed out that they’d known since leaving Magnimar that they would be coming to a rain-drenched backwater on the edge of a small lake. Spells that would allow one to breathe beneath the surface would potentially be a huge boon for the group, and not one Lulu wanted to simply ignore for being an extremely situational magic.

The next morning, Pix was forced to remain with Shreed, as Lulu could only muster enough magic for five. Above the surface no obvious effect occurred, but once they descended below they found that the lake’s water refused to collapse around their faces, leaving their heads encased in bubbles of air, an effect which Lulu warned wouldn’t last forever. The group located the wreckage of Paradise and were confronted there by a local legend, a vicious albino giant gar known most commonly as Pinkeye.

The group had chosen to forgo their normal weapons for spears while underwater, and fortunately found the motion of stabbing to be relatively unhindered by their environment. Pinkeye proved to be a terrifying foe, but the heroes’ superior numbers and Lulu’s foresight to prepare spells that could drain the life of an enemy with a touch, rather than her usual offense of lightning, which seemed like a poor choice underwater, eventually saw the huge fish go belly-up.

The investigation of the wreckage of Paradise afterwards brought forth two very notable conclusions: first of all, the skeletons of the wreck were rather nondescript, and none wore the sort of clothing they would have expected to find on a woman who ran a successful pleasure barge, and supposedly died along with it. Second, Paradise appeared to have been broken apart not from damage to the outside of the hull, but from damage that came from within. The implications that somebody had sunk the raft from on-board it were obvious, and considering what had been written in Xanesha’s letter, the group had a good idea of where they would find the missing ‘remains’ of lady Lucrecia.

Fort Rannick.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
Gluttony wrote:
I'm just going to say this now; The entirety of Hook Mountain Massacre was NOT this party's finest moments. The hillbilly horror threat that ogres would present set them on edge from the moment they first heard mention of the ogres all the way up to the final moments of the book, and it had a very obvious detrimental effect on how they handled certain situations.

I'm sorry to hear that; I know that Hook Mountain Massacre has ended more than one RotRL campaign; glad your party persevered. I was fortunate in that I got to really play up the ogrekin and ogres, and every female received a grapple attack instead of an ogre hook. Got to skeeve them out while making the ogrekin and ogres slightly less lethal...

Gluttony wrote:
The arrival of strangers in Turtleback ferry brought excitement and intrigue as the village people pressed to learn who these strangers were.

Let me guess: The cop questioned them while the construction worker and the Indian looked on...

...sorry! Sorry! Going to my room now...

Seriously, though, excellent read! It's nice to hear that someone actually went to the wreck and met Pinkeye. My group had no interest in getting wet, and Pinkeye met Black Magga and did not ever meet the party...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Agree! Our party didn't go to the wreck or meet Pinkeye. It sounds like they actually collected some useful information from the wreck, and a fun and different kind of encounter too. Win! Win!

I also thought it was interesting that your party forced some poor sad sack to reveal his tattoo at sword point. It may not have made the party any friends in town, but it did provide some useful information.

What level was your party at this point? 7th?

Good read!

There are many disturbing elements in Hook Mountain Massacre. Seeing how different parties react to them, good or bad, is what makes reading these campaign journals so interesting. Look forward again to your next chapter.

Mazra wrote:
Guarding Sandpoint is a good place for Orik. Maybe he will find someone nice like Shayliss, and spend even more time in jail. ;)

Or get an axe in the face from Atali.

Mazra wrote:
What level was your party at this point? 7th?

6th, and close to 7th. Very very close. Close enough that their next encounter after Pinkeye was just barely enough to push them over the border to 7th level.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Andrea1 wrote:
Mazra wrote:
Guarding Sandpoint is a good place for Orik. Maybe he will find someone nice like Shayliss, and spend even more time in jail. ;)
Or get an axe in the face from Atali.

When the Cat is away......... ;)

Gluttony wrote:
Mazra wrote:
What level was your party at this point? 7th?
6th, and close to 7th. Very very close. Close enough that their next encounter after Pinkeye was just barely enough to push them over the border to 7th level.

Mistake on my part in the answer there: I should have said 7th and very close to 8th.

Part 37: Kitty Cat

It was Zaru who stopped the others as they plodded along the muddy trail to Fort Rannick, commenting at having heard an unusual sound, something like a cat in pain. Offering that it didn’t seem to have come from far away and surely wouldn’t take long, the others agreed to accompany the vanara off the path to investigate it. It wasn’t far into the woods that they found a beautiful firepelt mountain lion which dashed towards them excitedly as they came into view, only to stumble and fall at the tug of the bear trap on its leg, likely the source of the cry of pain Zaru had heard earlier. Lulu cautiously approached the animal and petted his fur, calming him as Zaru worked to pop open the trap clamped on his leg and Shalelu noted that the firepelt seemed somewhat trained, likely by a ranger, considering the current circumstances at Fort Rannick.

Lulu’s job of calming the lion grew more difficult as the sound of barking dogs, and a rather off-putting and poorly-sung song about eating kittens grew closer and closer, and Zaru managed to break the trap open at the very last second as nearly a half-dozen hunting dogs spilled into the clearing, drawing fire from the already-tense Shalelu, and a sword slash from Uriel who cut down the dog that lunged closest to Lulu, Zaru, and the cat. Atali wordlessly spoke what the rest of the group were thinking as a hideous young half-ogre, or “ogrekin”, man barged into the clearing seconds later, screaming about hunting kitty cat. Her cloak hit the ground; it was clear where this turn of events would take them.

The half-ogre bellowed as the second of his dogs fell, turned into a pin cushion by Shalelu’s arrows, and he charged the elven archer, goring into her with his spear! Uriel and Atali quickly moved on the remaining dogs, cutting through one each and leaving only a single mutt remaining, and Zaru whipped out his crossbow to shoot at Shalelu’s opponent, the half-ogre. The one remaining dog attempted to lunge at the firepelt lion, but now-rescued, the lion wrestled back formidably and quickly began tearing into the dog’s neck! Seeing his hunting dogs fall, the half-ogre blubbered horribly and attempted to flee, only to trip and go barreling into a tree as he was struck blind by Lulu’s magic!

There was some debate on what to do with the half-ogre, who blubbered stupidly, tied tightly to the tree he’d crashed into, as the group deliberated over what to do with him. Uriel’s magic alone left little doubt that he was a bad person, but the paladin was reluctant to kill a man, even a monstrous one, who they’d not seen doing anything worse than hunting a lion and attacking a woman who’d shot one of his dogs first. Atali’s suggestion of interrogation was also frowned upon, considering she flicked her short sword in flaying motions at the mention of it.

It was a surprising trickery which eventually fooled the half-ogre, Rukus Graul into revealing his secrets, as the group feigned wandering off and leaving him alone for a while before mimicking the noise of another person approaching. Coaxing him with magic, honeyed words of freedom and a cure for his blindness, and a disguised voice, Lulu played the part of a benevolent hag who’d stumbled across the blind and helpless ogrekin and promised to free and heal him. Easily fooled, and overjoyed as his turn of fortune, Rukus revealed far more information than was necessary, including a very long and rambling description of his favourite blanket, which “Mammy” had sewn for him. He also mentioned three captives that he, his mother, and his many brothers currently held prisoner back at their farmstead. Satisfied, the group gagged him and set off in the direction the firepelt lion tugged them towards, no doubt the direction of the farmstead, having to stop only momentarily when the disgusting ogrekin began to eat his gag. After replacing their original choice of a simple rag gag with a gag made of the monster’s own blanket, which they warned him not to eat lest he destroy his own prized possession, the group went on their way.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Interesting way to handle Rukus. I look forward to discovering what your party does with him next.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

I appreciate Uriel's similarity to Raesh (the paladin in my campaign) in his hesitation to kill any creature outright just because it's evil.

I look forward to Uriel's reaction to Rukus *after* visiting the homestead...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I don't mean to threadjack Gluttony's awesome thread, but NobodysHome comment about the similarity in Paladins is interesting. It seems there has been a shift in how a Paladin is played. Almost every Paladin that has been in my campaigns over the years were blood thirsty "if it's evil kill it" types. This gentler, more respectful to life, most are redeemable type is both refreshing and somewhat problematic. Refreshing in their humanity, and problematic in the situations that could arise when the party is dealing with a truly horrible enemy. The Ogres and Kreegs are truly horrible. It should be interesting to see how this goes.

Rukus and his doggies were just enough for the party to level up, and upon hitting the farmstead, my two roommates took control of Shalelu and Kibb.

Uriel - Male LG Aasimar Paladin (of Iomedae) 2/Bard (Arcane Duelist) 6

Lulu - Female CN Gnomeborn Changeling Witch 8

Atali "Inkskin" Saar - Female CN Human Barbarian (Titan Mauler) 2/Sorcerer (Wildblooded Tattooed Sorcerer, Pit-Touched Bloodline) 6

Zaru - Male CG Vanara Inquisitor (of Sun Wukong)(Sin Eater) 4/Monk (Martial Artist) 1/Fighter 1/Ninja 2

Shalelu Andosana - Female CG Elven Fighter 2/Ranger 4 (Guest PC played by roommate #1)

Kibb - Firepelt Mountain Lion Animal Compantion (Played by roommate #2)

Part 38: Arrows to Arrows

The homestead of the Graul family was small and sickly, packed into a small clearing along with a rotting corn field and a sagging barn. Despite the group’s best efforts to approach stealthily, they were spotted and attacked by a surprisingly stealthier-than-them opponent, another ogrekin. The swollen-headed half-ogre that lunged out at them from the cover of the cornfields was massive for something relatively human-sized, but had managed to sneak up on them entirely unnoticed! The group was taken by surprise as Uriel was grabbed and dragged into the cornfield and out of sight, and rushed after their ally when they heard the yells and bellowing of battle from somewhere in the tangled field.

Pushing through the corn in a fan formation so that at least one of them would not miss Uriel, it was Shalelu who stumbled upon him first, the paladin locked in what was less a battle with the half-ogre, and more an attempt to see which of them could strangle the other first. The cornfield was too dense for her preferred method of combat, and so Shalelu whipped out a blade and charged, stabbing into the Graul and forcing him to release his grip!

Uriel, Shalelu, and the half-ogre continued to battle for a few moments more before the sounds of their other allies approaching prompted the ogrekin to withdraw further into the cornfield and begin to initiate a series of hit and run attacks, springing out to strike at unsuspecting targets before retreating just as fast into the cover of rotting plants. It wasn’t until Atali bombarded the field with an explosion of magical fire that the half-ogre was forced to retreat, and those members of the group who’d fled the field saw him exit it from its north side, fleeing burnt and blistered into the barn.

Lulu and the firepelt exited the field looking somewhat disgruntled at having had a fireball explode on them, as they had been the ogrekin’s targets at the moment of Atali’s retaliation. Lulu seemed to be entirely unharmed, as if her innate magic had somehow warped the fire to move around her without touching her, but the firepelt had been injured. Staring scathingly at Atali, Lulu raised a hand pulsating with healing magic and touched it to the cat, repairing the animal’s burn wounds and patches of bare skin where the fire had burned fur, before turning towards the barn.

The group’s Graul opponent had joined three of his brothers in the barn, and the pair of empty potion bottles on the floor indicated that he’d healed some of his wounds as well. Each of the half-ogres was hideous in his own way, but the group had little time to pause and look them over, as the one they’d encountered first bellowed a battle cry and charged, seemingly open to direct combat now that he had the aid of his brothers. Atali suffered the worst in that combat, being the target of their original swollen-headed opponent, who seemed to be the strongest of the four and was assisted by one of his brothers, who had bulging milky eyes and porcelain skin. One by one as the battle raged on however, the ogrekin fell, beginning with the smallest, who was shot to death by Shalelu and Zaru, and continuing through the three-armed one, who was cut apart by Uriel and the milky-eyed one who was pounced upon and torn to pieces by the group’s firepelt ally. Finally, their big original opponent collapsed into sleep at a snap of Lulu’s fingers and was beheaded by Atali’s axe.

The firepelt sniffed the air as the group paused to focus healing magic on those who’d been the most heavily injured, and it paced eagerly at the far door, which led deeper into the barn. According to the information they’d gleaned from Rukus Graul, this was where the Grauls were holding prisoners, but when they tried the door, it wouldn’t budge. Fortunately, the doors on the catwalks proved less resistant.

The northern catwalk led the group into a room choked with webs. Three unconscious humans lay in a cage upon the catwalk in the far corner of the room, but vision of those humans was obscured by distance and the distraction provided by the massive ogre spider nesting on the barn’s ground level below them. The group froze as the spider turned its many beady eyes upwards at them, and rose to its full height, easily standing level with them despite their positions on the catwalk and its position on the floor. The spider stared at them briefly for a moment of tense silence, neither party moving a muscle for what felt like hours, but was actually a mere dozen or two seconds. Eventually though, the beast seemed fed up with watching and waiting for the unresponsive intruders in its lair to make a move, and reared back, preparing to strike!

Atali didn’t give it time, roaring a battle cry and blasting the creature with two searing gouts of flame before enduring its piercing mandibles digging into either side of her torso, injecting poison into her belly! From there the battle was short and harrowing as Atali and Shalelu suffered nasty bite wounds that left the group fearful that the spider would easily finish any of them off should it deign to bite the same target more than once. Fortunately such an outcome was not meant to be, and the monster was finished off by Uriel leaping onto its back, driving his sword into its abdomen, and slicing the massive spider open!

From there, Lulu took Shalelu and Atali back into the main room to heal while Uriel and Zaru navigated the webs and walls of the spider’s lair to reach the far cage, where they freed the trapped prisoners within and revived them using Uriel’s healing magic, learning from the leader of the three men, Jakardros Sovark, that these were in fact the rangers of the Black Arrows; Jakardros Sovark, Vale Temeros, and Kaven Windstrike being all that remained of the once proud company of rangers!

Upon returning to the barn’s main room, the group faced an unanticipated threat however, as Shalelu turned from Lulu’s healing of her to witness the arrival of the three newcomers, and none of the group recognized the look of seething anger that the crossed her face quickly enough. Before any of them could react, Shalelu had leapt upon the lead Black Arrow, knocking him to the ground where she pinned him, boot on his chest and arrow at his throat!

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

Awesome... just awesome!

Well done with Crowfood! Wish I'd seen your earlier post on him and done that. Too coo1!

This is really interesting reading. Thanks for your work in posting it!

Uriel - Male LG Aasimar Paladin (of Iomedae) 2/Bard (Arcane Duelist) 6

Lulu - Female CN Gnomeborn Changeling Witch 8

Atali "Inkskin" Saar - Female CN Human Barbarian (Titan Mauler) 2/Sorcerer (Wildblooded Tattooed Sorcerer, Pit-Touched Bloodline) 6

Zaru - Male CG Vanara Inquisitor (of Sun Wukong)(Sin Eater) 4/Monk (Martial Artist) 1/Fighter 1/Ninja 2

Shalelu Andosana - Female CG Elven Fighter 2/Ranger 4 (Played by roommate #1)

Jakardros Sovark (and Kibb) - Male CG Human Ranger 8 (Played by roommate #2)

Kaven Windstrike - Male CN Human Ranger 2/Rogue 5 (Played by roommate #1)

Vale Temeros - Male NG Human Fighter 4/Ranger 2 (Played by roommate #2)

So... Many... Guest party members...

Part 39: Tears of a Little Leaf

Left without enough time to think, the group let their actions take over as Uriel leapt into the path of the charging Vale Temeros and parried his axe, and Zaru tackled Jakardros’ firepelt lion companion mid-pouce, launching the animal to the side before it could land on Shalelu. Atali moved to deflect the advance of Kaven Windstrike but faced none, as the confused young ranger stared in bewilderment, edging backwards away from the scene unfolding before him.

For a moment it looked as though the group would be fighting against their own ally Shalelu, and against the rangers they had come to rescue! Lulu frantically tried to calm the group to no avail as Uriel traded blows with Vale, Zaru wrestled the firepelt, and Shalelu’s bowstring drew back tighter and tighter, and it wasn’t long before the little witch grew frustrated with her words of reason being ignored, and summoned magic to her lips.

Everyone froze as Lulu screamed with such magically augmented force that the entire farm might have heard her loud and clear. Satisfied that she had their attention, Lulu marched up to Shalelu, snapped her fingers to knock the elf unconscious into sleep, shoved her off of the startled Jakardros Sovark, and then calmly berated the entire group for fighting amongst themselves in enemy territory. Once she was done, Lulu shook Shalelu awake and asked her to explain, calmly, what had provoked her attack against the man they’d just rescued.

Atali stood between Jakardros and Shalelu as the story of their elven friend’s past, of the human hero who’d slain a dragon as it assailed the small elven town of Crying Leaf and who had then had fallen in love with Shalelu’s mother. Shalelu told of the man who’d left her and her brother to bury their parent and raise themselves after their mother was killed by the very same resurrected dragon that the human had provoked into returning with his presence. In short, Shalelu told of her stepfather Jakardros Sovark, and how he’d brought a dragon on her mother and abandoned Shalelu and her brother to be orphans!

Jakardros earned precisely one slap for, as Atali put it, having been a jerk. Aside from that, the main group were in agreement that now was not the time for fighting over past misdeeds, and the rangers consented. To Shalelu, it was explained quite simply that they were going to remove the threat of the Grauls before proceeding to Fort Rannick, and that the remaining Black Arrows had agreed to help. If Shalelu was incapable of being an adult and reserving her issues for more appropriate times, well, she was reminded that she knew which road to take to go back to Turtleback Ferry. Shalelu grudgingly denied the suggestion that she might wish to turn around and go back to town, and promised she would keep her feelings in line until their job was done.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Well played the tension between Jakardos and Shalelu. Always a good read. Look forward to the next part.

Thanks for this great journal Gluttony. It's a great read and easy to see you have a great gamer group who eagerly contribute to the story!

Are these players the same as your 1st group of Jade Regent players you reported on over in the Jade Regent forums?

Nope, different group. These players were all entirely new to Pathfinder at the start of the campaign. Occasional visiting players (such as the one who controlled Orik, and the one who played Ameiko for a while in Magnimar) have been ones from the first Jade Regent group though.

Glad to hear you're enjoying things.

Part 40: Mammy

Kavin led the way up the Graul family’s porch though no by his own choice, but rather because his commander had cited him as someone with an eye for traps. Sure enough the young ranger was able to spot and tiptoe around the pressure mechanisms for devices which would run spinning saw blades through the floor, jamming them along with a contraption which would launch a spike at anyone who attempted to open the door. The young ranger bragged proudly at these successes as they made their way into the house, and searched the living room foyer, but his arrogance cost him as he failed to spot a concealed pit trap near the room’s couch, and plummeted into the pit!

Kavin cried out in pain as the spike-lined walls of the pit tore into him, and as he hit the ground in the basement below, and then screamed in terror, shouting desperately for help at something the others couldn’t see in the room below. Hesitantly, both Shalelu and Jakardros moved to the edge of the pit and aimed their bows down it, in case whatever Kaven was screaming about moved beneath the opening.

It did.

The two archers opened fire as vine-like tendrils lunged into the light beneath the pit and towards Kaven, sending the young ranger crashing back against a wall, and Uriel cursed and leapt into the pit after their shots, landing on the back of a massive fungal abomination and stabbing his sword into it without missing a beat! Atali rushed to the pit as well, but hesitated, unsure of exactly what she was seeing Uriel on the back of, and Zaru moved to the room’s other door, bracing his shoulder against it in case something tried to get in while they were occupied. Lulu petted Jakardros’ firepelt, Kibb, nervously and attempted to detect any magic on the floor below. She noticed none, which worried her further.

Kaven scrambled to his feet in the darkness and spotted Uriel riding the monster, barely staying atop it, but holding on thanks to his grip on the sword that impaled the creature’s back. Kavin pressed against the wall momentarily before realizing with a gulp that the only exit was on the other side of the giant monster! Shakily holding his sword, the young ranger dashed forward to stab the preoccupied enemy’s flank before retreating as far back into a corner as possible while Shalelu and Jakardros’ arrows rained down.

Despite their efforts, Uriel found himself grabbed by a tentacle vine and shoved into the monster’s mouth while a second vine constricted Kaven, lifting him out of the corner and into the air! Just when all seemed lost though, those above saw the tip of Uriel’s sword jab up through the creature’s flesh from the inside and swing in a full circle, and moments later the monster collapsed into a squishy mass as its huge ravenous mouth fell off, cut free from its connection to the monster’s body! With a grimace, Uriel landed in the center of the fallen ring of mouth flesh and tugged his sword free.

With the monster dead, Lulu navigated her way carefully down the spike-walled pit via flight and teleported herself, Uriel, and Kaven back up into the room above, unable to muster the energy to bring herself, three humans, a vanara, and a large cat into the room below with a single spell. Once they were all back on the ground floor, the group pushed onwards, well aware that everything in the house knew they were inside, and would be preparing for battle, perhaps converging closer and closer upon them with each passing second!

With two directions in the adjoining hall to choose from, the group went left, taking the path with fewer doors in the hopes that if any half-ogres came looking for them, they’d all have to come along the same path and could be bottlenecked.

The room at the end of the hall was sickening to the point that Kaven pushed his way out of it upon laying eyes on the place and vomited in the hallway, leaving Uriel, Atali, and Vale to enter first. The place was a mass of blood and gore, body parts disguised behind a poorly-constructed layer of finery. Vale looked immediately to the bed, while the experienced-with-undead Uriel and Atali turned their attention to three ogrekin corpses which dominated the opposite wall.

From behind the bed curtains, a cruel female voice disguised with a layer of faux sweetness beckoned her ‘boys’ to come greet the company. Atali and Uriel didn’t give them time to. As the three corpses shifted, stirring to lurch forwards, two were bisected! Atali smirked as Uriel cleaved through his opponents with ease and turned her attention on the final one, commenting that its swinging mass of trampled flesh probably couldn’t compare to Flopsy, her old flesh golem foe back in Magnimar. Then, as if to punctuate her statement, Atali split the fleshy zombie down the middle with a clean stroke of her axe, turning back towards the bed as the two pieces of mashed zombie hit the floor beside Uriel’s.

Along with a scream of profanity, a large, ghostly magical hand shot forth from behind the bed’s curtains, slapping into Vale, who staggered back and gasped that he felt weak. Lulu strode past the large ranger, unimpressed by their mystery opponent’s spell, and commented that she’d fix him up easily as soon as they had time to rest and prepare the necessary magic. Nodding to the back of the group, she commented that he could move back there if he felt too weak for the front lines, before immediately firing a massive bolt of lightning at whoever was on the other side of that curtain, a spellcaster being enough of a priority target to warrant one of her more powerful spells.

The lightning shredded through what turned out to be illusory bed curtains, as well as the very solid wall behind the bed, setting fire to a rather large swath of forest beyond the house. Uriel sighed, but Shalelu commented that the region’s seemingly endless rain would almost certainly handle the blaze before it could spread. Between wall and illusory curtain, a grotesquely obese ogrekin woman gasped for breath, holding a hand to her exposed breast for a moment. Lulu grimaced at the sight and Uriel gripped his sword while Atali quietly made a comment that she had never expected she’d address to anybody, an urge for the woman to put some clothes on.

The half-ogre woman screamed more vulgarities and directed blame towards the failure of her sons at allowing intruders to reach her room, and she lifted her arms into the air as her bulbous body floated up off the mattress, propelled by magic! The entire group felt the effects of another of her spells wash over them as they seemed to descend into slow motion, and Lulu scoffed, commenting that the others could go clear the rest of the house while she handled things here. Uriel barely had time to tell her she couldn’t handle a powerful ogrekin necromancer on her own before Lulu snapped her fingers and the woman came crashing back to earth, smashing through the frame of her bed and landing on the mattress, snoring, her mouth lolling open.

This half-ogre, likely Mammy Graul, was rather clearly a moron Lulu pointed out, guarding her room with ridiculously feeble monsters and trapping herself, as a spellcaster, in a dead-end room. To expect that someone like her would actually manage to resist the witch’s sleep-inducing hex magic was practically an insult, or so Lulu claimed as she nodded to Atali and the half-ogre was swiftly beheaded.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

LOL. Just rolling on the floor laughing.

Mammy Graul, menace to... no one, apparently!

And yeah, those ogrekin zombies were so hopelessly outclassed I didn't even bother with them in my campaign.

Very nice read, and I'm glad to hear Muck Graul got to have a bit of fun.

I'm amazed the three Black Arrows are coming along. Isn't their gear 'elsewhere'?

(Yeah, In this session: Lulu proves that she understands how to do primary-caster strategy better than pretty much all of the primary casters they have encountered so far, and will encounter in the future. Special K might actually make a competent opponent for her, but I'm not seeing anybody else as likely to put up a significant threat.)

The party was carrying enough backup-gear to equip the Black Arrows. They've not got their normal magical equipment, but Atali's backup greataxe and backup shortsword (in fact the same to weapons she carried at the start of the campaign) are currently serving just fine as temporary replacement weapons for Vale and Kaven.

Likewise, though it left Uriel without a ranged weapon, Jakardros was given Uriel's composite longbow to use (not that Uriel uses that bow much anyways). It's not as good as Jakardros' normal bow, but it works as a placeholder.

The party unfortunately had no backup armor to give any of the rangers, but they made do without it through these encounters.

Part 41: New Prisoners

The next, and final Graul they truly “fought” that day lurked in the basement below, and while the man went primarily unseen, hidden in and fighting from within a magical darkness, he telegraphed his movements and attacks enough that Atali was able to fill his corner of the room—which is to say she filled the entire room—with consecutive fireballs. From there a blaze kindled in the filth and shelter of the basement and by the time the fire had spread up through the house to meet with the downpour outside, the inferno was too big. The group rushed from the house as their opponent in the basement burned alive behind them, and they circled the place once outside, just in case any other Grauls would come out.

Zaru went hand-to-hand with an ogrekin who vaulted out through a window and attacked him. The man’s limbs bent in strange directions, and the vanara described it as an extremely awkward, but not incredibly difficult fight. In addition to Zaru’s ogrekin opponent, Uriel himself charged back into the blaze to save the life of a half-ogre who had near-useless legs from what appeared to be a birth defect, pulling him from the burning building before he would up incinerated, or with a roof caved in on him. Despite the others’ protesting, the paladin held back their advances and refused to murder a crippled man who’d just crawled from his burning house, a house which they’d been responsible for burning in the first place.

Leaving the fire to the rain, which put it out despite the house caving in on itself from ruined interior walls and supports, the group took their new ‘guest’ Maulgro Graul with them to where they’d left Rukus. Together, the blind and crippled brothers were brought back to Turtleback Ferry in captivity…

Awesome story so far! Thank so much for sharing your adventure with us. I look forward to reading more of their tale.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My group's only up to Thistletop - they captured Nualia and Lyrie alive and are heading back into town to rest up before checking out the rest of the place. Thing is? They left Ripnugget alive but unconscious and in the care of a warchanter who negotiated their surrender. So I'm not sure if Ripnugget will try to hold the fort or if he's more likely to try and spring Nualia.

Be rather funny for the crew to hear that their three prisoners (Tsuto also got taken alive - his bluffing skills are superior to his hand-to-hand against a half-orc barbarian, even if said half-orc wears spectacles and prefers to read ancient tomes to fighting!) were sprung while in Magnimar by a raiding party of goblins. ^^ Though your method of freeing them also works quite well.

But yeah. Both the Barbarian and the Cleric have gained Mercy points. Go figure. (My group consists of a Ranger/Transmuter who is planning on building a magical suit he rides around inside which does his fighting for him - sort of a magical Iron Man wannabe, a half-orc barbarian scholar who is really into the old Thassilion legends, a halfling failed bard and priestess, and an NPC sylph rogue/air wizard to round out the group. Rather a bit of fun, especially as we play over Skype.)

I must admit though, reading the adventures of your four here? Is inspirational. The players might not appreciate it though... heh heh heh.

Shameless plug as my group gets into Reign of Winter: [link]

The Rise of the Runelords will continue as well. We were just all excited about the new AP and couldn't wait to dive into it as soon as we got it. For anyone who takes a look at that thread, it's the same group and the short version of the who's who is as follows:

Lulu's player is playing Korrigren "Ironpaw" Vel

Zaru's player is playing Mei Kellis

Atali's player is playing Mado Kellis

Uriel's player is playing Vynn Sammit

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