Dungeon Master S's "Shattered Star"

Game Master Chris Marsh

The Runelords Trilogy Campaign
Dramatis Personae

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A place to make some in character chatter between sessions.

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Transcribed from email. Conversation takes place between Book II and III of Shattered Star.

This will be a conversation that we have on the road, once we meet up with Oryx.

Hank says, "OK boys...let's chat. First thing: Kaer Maga. The most important thing to know is the city's traditional...makeup. This place has been a refuge for, well, refugee-types since forever. It's got a very strong tradition of being a safe haven & hideout for any and every type of ne'er-do-well, villain, cutpurse, misfit, scumbag, rapscallion, and any other adjective you can think of for someone who engages in tomfoolery or causes a brouhaha or kerfuffle. What this means for us, and particularly for YOU, Abe, is that you're going to see things that I guarantee will affront your morals--all you'll have to do is look sideways. Look the other way, and you'll see something else to affront different morals. Now, I'm certainly NOT going to say 'you can't go in there all righteous and smitey and stuff!!' but I will warn you that if you (or we) DO go in there all righteous & smitey, our lives will be cut short and no one will give two whoops in hell about our fate. Personally, I WON'T go in righteous & smitey. I
leave that choice to each individual--but don't expect me to jump on top of a sword because you wanted to clean a city that doesn't want to be cleaned...are we agreed?"

"Second...things appear to be starting to happen. These shards are some powerful mojo. Those of us holding them have had minor visions, dreams, stuff like that. But at least one of us has started to have some much more serious & recurring dreams. Said dream includes a really really bad guy--an undead soul-reaper type known as a dullahan. This flavor of creature is usually created from the soul of an unusually cruel military-type leader. they tend to haunt their hometowns, and also tend to go after evil souls OR their descendants--but they are not averse to picking up good souls when they can. We don't yet know if this is a specific threat, but it's something we all need to be aware of. I'll leave it to the dreamer to reveal themselves if the so choose (it's not me), but I suggest that if anyone else has other wierdness sic, share it. We may get more clues as to what's going on."

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Makesh responds, "Well... I have no issue with people knowing I have been having horrific dreams the past few days. I only went to Henry because I believe him to be the most knowledgeable of us to ask for help in doing the research. I can only add that if the real Dullahan is in reality like it is in my dream, they are frightening."

"With respect to Kaer Maga... I can't say my motivation is as strong as Abe's to rectify evil, but I'm not sure I have the will power to stand by as evil is done. If I see suffering... even if it's legal there... I don't know that I can let suffering continue. I don't think I want to go to this place. I understand we'll need to for our task... but... well... Abe... if you can't hold back when you see evil... it's almost certain I'll be there right at your side."

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Abe adds, "This...will be a challenge for me; but if we've a great evil to destroy, I can likely curb my ... propensity to dispatch minor evils enough to deal with this...hive of the wretched refuse. Iomedae grant us all strength that we can push through"

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Makesh responds, "Hmm... minor evils... I'm not sure seeing a woman attacked in an ally is something I can stand by and let happen. Just an example of what I'm imagining we'll see."

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Hank adds, "Well, that's one thing, sure. And there's that in EVERY city--and I would be there to help for that. But stuff that's more consentual [sic]...like undead prostitutes. Very very icky, but it's apparently A Thing there. There's also all kinds of trade that would be illicit in other areas, but is commonplace--and accepted--at Kaer Maga. THAT'S the kind of thing that, if we were to get all Crusade-ey over, there might be problems."

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Makesh looks at Henry with an expression of disgust and disbelief. "Undead prostitutes... corpses. Are they rotting? Do they have intellect and free will? Did they choose this profession or were they forced into it? This is... I don't understand how this became a thing anywhere. But if the undead prostitutes made the choice themselves... I can't say I have a problem with it. Forced sexual labor is something I'd rail against... but... I don't know that I want to keep thinking about this."

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Hank sighs, "I know. It's awful. that's why I thought to bring it up before we get there--so you're not all surprised by it. I'm sure there will be stuff like it that'll be every bit as shocking. But there, it's the norm."

"Just warning ya."

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Oryx obviously wasn’t paying any attention to the “good vs evil” debate, but did perk up a little at the undead prostitute comment.

Talking mainly to himself, he starts to chew through the concept “... it would resolve many issues regarding trafficking, female oppression, and likely crime. If they are mindless, then would be no different that trying to copulate with a melon? Customer interest would fall off initially, but perhaps a new form of undead would be discovered. One without rot? Actually if one thinks clearly, a mindless simulacrum would be ideal. Nothing necrotic, no soul, no mind. Better yet, a clockwork imbedded in a simulacrum. Something that can move and respond yet have none of the social, economic, racial, or moral issues? Hmmmm, the final shape of a prostitute. Very complicated....”

He continue to walk on with the group, lost in thought or occasionally scowling at something that catches his displeasure.

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Makesh blinks a few times...

"huh... maybe Kaer Maga is championing the abused by offering this alternative. Now... back to not thinking about having sex with bodies that were previously other people..."

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Session XXI: 11-Oct-18

Our first session with Justin, and the first change in personal in more than the better half of a decade. Unfortunately, real life intervened, and Kevin missed the session. Being Justin's first, we spent the first part of the session getting Justin up to speed on the world of Pathfinder. We did some errands and quest gathering, but paused before the adventure's plot really got underway.

12 Desnus 4717
Sheila Heidmarch brings the Pathfinders together to discuss the trip to Kaer Maga. The stakes have been getting higher, so she calls in additional help. Oryx, an inquisitor of Brigh, joins the team as she goes over the next steps. This includes agreeing to do some favors in Kaer Maga for patrons here in Magnimar.

The big favor comes in the trip itself. A river trip form the City of Monuments to Kaer Maga will take two months, but an enterprising halfling named Othlo Jenke has a magical barge that he claims can make it in two weeks.

With only a bit of trouble from some boggards, the party makes it to the base of the Storval Plateau. There, it's a two hour hike up the Halflight Path, a dangerous series of twisting tunnels. Kaer Maga requires all who use it to hire a guide. In walks Abra Loparti. He's a gruff no-nonsense guide, but friendly. The party joins up with a fat merchant and his two sons, and begin the trip....

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Session XXII: 26-Oct-18

Full strength! No with a party of five, we start to dive into Book III of Shattered Star.

27 Desnus 4717
The party connects a bit more with Abra as they traverse the path up to Kaer Maga. Quick thinking and masterful use of magic foils the only major obstacle. Once in the city the party hires a streetwise and well-connected human teen named Gav Nahli.

He tells the party that if they're looking for something that's not easy to find, there are two options; The Therrasic Spire, and the Troll Augurs. Unfortunately, both are hard to engage right now; the Tower shut up tight a few days ago for unknown reasons and the trolls are on strike due to an errant member of a power family in town. Gav recommended entreating with the trolls.

The party headed to a dive called the "Sorry Excuse" where they met a matriarch named Vargun. She explained that Berkanin Ardoc kidnapped her brother Augustille with plans to experiment on him. She bartered their skills at augury for the party freeing him.

The session ended after a fight in the yard of the Hanging Manse.

XP Updated.

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Session XXIII: 6-Dec-18

Apparently it was No-play November. Back at it with full strength.

27 Desnus 4717

The party continues to work their way through the hanging manse. Oyrx becomes increasingly uncomfortable as it looks like the owner has no problems vivisecting Inevitables, creatures which the Inquisitor of Brigh considers sacred. That feeling ratchets up when they uncover a desecrated shrine to Brigh.

The exploration continues across an exterior walk way where a harpy and a catfolk fight to the death to protect the remaining floor of the house.

XP Updated.

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Session XXIV: 20-Dec-18
Io Saturnalia!

27-28 Desnus 4717

The party finally reaches the workshop of Berkanin Ardoc. Within is a horrible sight, blasphemous to Oryx. A curse from the inquisitor immolates Ardoc, and without the ability to cast spells, he is quickly defeated.

The party cuts down the troll Augur, Augustille. It takes some time to return him to coherence, but Henry does get him there.

With the trolls’ help, the party manages to get into the ancient library and discover that the resident librarians are themselves looking for the shard, and have made a deal with a race of monstrous scholars who live below the city— the caulborn. Unfortunately for the librarians, the group they assembled and sent off through a secret door into the dungeons below their library has failed to report back. After striking a deal with the librarians, the Pathfinders follow the doomed adventuring party down into a magical research facility...


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Session XXV: 3-Jan-19
Happy new year!

28 Desnus 4717

Rested and prepared, the party descends into the ancient Thassilonian laboratory, ready for whatever macabre experiments the Runelords performed. It doesn't take long to find a horror, a majestic Couatl named Tsikinal. Using skill, confidence, and a hefty dose of the magic which turned Hank into Sorshen, the party friend him and gained a powerful ally.

The next room contained an orrery enhanced by magic which would show Kaer Maga now, as it will be, and as it was. Unfortunately the magic and mechanics had weakened over the millennia, and it attracted the attention of a pair of beasts from beyond which nearly laid the party low. Pushing on they discovered a pair of the missing expedition in the room beyond.

The Sweettalker monk, Hasari had been driven insane, though she was alive. The unfortunate halfling trapspringer, Perotus had been killed. Worse, his body had become infested with a swarm of hellwasps. There was little the party could do. The fight was telling, as hellwasp venom nearly overcame them.

They retreated to the city and cashed in a few favors for restoration.

XP Updated

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Session XXVI: 17-Jan-19
1 man down as Kevin had a work obligation.

29 Desna 4717

After licking their wounds and stocking up for the fight ahead, the party returned to the Thassilonian laboratory. Their very first room was some kind of arena-like testing ground. A pair of gibbering mouthers and some kind of brain ooze rattled the senses, but the victory came at a much lower price than the previous.

Moving on the next room, some kind of centrifuge was Luonim the Vast. He too had been driven insane by the initial trap. Despite his attempt at using the spinning room to his advantage, he couldn't surmount the party's smart use of magic and items. Pinned and tied up, he was returned to the Therrasic Spire.

The party also encountered a grodair hooked up to some strange trap, but Hank easily disabled it. In the room beyond was the final member of the expedition, Silasni. Stymied by a runelocked door, she allowed the party to help her out. Unfortunately, once the door was opened, she turned on the Pathfinders, convinced they'd steal her glory. Makesh's rapid delivery of arrows stopped her though. Cowed, she returned to the Spire.

Finally, with their agreed upon mission complete, the party was free to pass on to the caulborn....

XP Updated

MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

Session XXVII: 31-Jan-19
Full strength and into the final dungeon

The party fights their way to a strange menhir, protected by the caulborn. There they agree to travel to the strange world of the Black Forest, where the Headless Horseman rules and the shard waits.

Once in his macabre land the party fights through disgusting swarms of rot grubs to enter the Black Keep. They fight all manner of undead horrors from this world and the next.

But what lies deeper in the keep? For there are other worlds than these.

XP Tracker Updated

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Session XXVIII: 14-Mar-19
A connection to Starfinder in an AP published before the game.

Wyverns are the least of the party's worries. Deeper into the Black Keep they find a pukwudgie and some wraiths. Abe's hubris leads to his death. Shocked at the outcome, they use half of their recently discovered treasure to raise him, but he's in no condition to fight, so he risks the return trip.

Beyond, the party finds Maligast of Eox. The bone sage is literally, alien to them. After a few hours of conversation, he reveals his orders to destroy all intruders. A perfectly timed spell by Oryx turns the fight into a slaughter as the party destroys him, only to discover that it was a simulacrum.

XP Tracker Updated

MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

Session XXIX: 29-Mar-19
Half way through the AP. Half way through the trilogy of APs.

The party presses further into the mysterious Black Keep. In the main dining hall is a macabre scene, though there is no time to take in the horrifying sights. The Black Rider himself and his shadow mastiff pack meets the Pathfinders in mortal combat.

After the harrowing fight, the party cleared out the rest of the Black Keep. In the final room was the most horrific sight yet, a column of machine and angels. Atop which floated the Shard of Gluttony. Hank entered the room and was instantly cursed. Nevertheless he managed to retrieve the shard.

Little did the party understand that the artifact was what was driving the finite plane of the Black Keep. Slowly reality began to melt around them as they retreated. As they approached the menhir the caulborn greeted them not as friends, but almost as minions returning from an assignment. The caulborn demanded the shard, and would not take no for an answer. The battle was fierce, but lopsided. In a matter of moments, the party stood with final victory in this plane.


Back in the Material plane; tired, diseased, and cursed, they make their way back through the Therassic Workshop. The librarians of the Therassic Spire are thrilled at even a brief chance to study the Shard of Gluttony, but they do not press you to grant them this luxury. They immediately set about sealing the secret door, this time walling it up permanently and setting magical wards over it—news of the caulborn betrayal disturbs the librarians greatly as they realize they may need to take steps to protect themselves from possible caulborn aggression in the future.

XP Tracker Updated

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You have all the time you need to conduct trade in Kaer Maga. There is a 75% chance that any item you seek up to 7,600 Gp. There are spellcasting services up to level 8. The standard rates apply, and you can feel free to roll the caster level checks here to determine if you've shaken the disease/curse. I'll assume you do this right away as you suspect the disease to be extremely debilitating. Henry MUST, however, remove the curse before he can remove the disease.

Dark Archive

M Elf Bard 1

(Jacob is close to Henry, right??)

Upon their return to the City of Monuments, the group (I think we need a proper name...) makes straight to Heidmarch Manor. Beaming with pride & accomplishment, Henry cuts right to the chase with the Venture Captain.

We did it. We've got the Shard of Gluttony! Took a little doing. I've got a medium-term project I'd like to complete before our next jaunt; are we pressed for time in any way, Captain?

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To most folks living in the Asylum Stone, the city is a world unto itself, and upon your departure it returns to its ever turbid state. Both the Augurs and the Duskwardens let the you know that your contributions have been appreciated, and Abra makes make one last attempt to secure a promise that some of you will return and join the guild. Before leaving, he breaks down. His late wife suffered at the hands of the Black Rider, and for that you brought him succor. He gifts you a singular item. He takes off his Greater Halflight Charm and swears an oath of appreciation to you all. For bringing peace to the widower, the party earns 12,800 XP.

The trip with Othlo is fast, quiet, and relaxing. The food is exquisite, and in the 7 days it takes, you have an opportunity to relax and recover from your ordeals. The only break in the solace occurs on the 4th day at exactly high noon. Ostarius passes out on the deck, just for a moment....


You have a vision of a seaside abbey notable for its tall lighthouse. The entire structure is in ruins.

Knowledge (Geography) DC 18:

Ostarius's description sounds a lot like Windsong Abbey. The description from the vision seems strange though, for the abbey is normally a small but thriving community!

Meanwhile, back in Magnimar, before even entering the city, you are met by an agent of Therhyn Raccas. He appears as a beggar, but is rather the opposite. He gives you a nod and small wooden box. Within are six vials of purple worm poison. For completing his gruesome task, the party earns 6,400 XP.

Once inside, you opt to deliver the scrap metal to Morgamer Pug. He gives you a lump sum payment of 6,000 gold pieces for your trouble. For completing some industrial espionage, the party earns 6,400 XP.

MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

Finally you arrive at Heidmarch Manor. A young aid writes down your entire report as you give it to Venture-Captain Heidmarch. She seems absolutely thrilled at everything you've learned and assures you that agents all over the Inner Sea Region, indeed all of Golarian will be reading it in an upcoming edition of the Pathfinder Chronicles.

Your fame within the Society grows tremendously. For your adventures in Kaer Maga, your Fame and Prestige grow. [ooc]Each character gains 12 Fame and Prestige.

After telling their tale to the Venture-Captain, Henry asks So, Cap, are we to immediately set off on our next little jaunt? Or can we take some time to finish up some personal projects first?

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"By all means, catch up, train, do research. 'Rushing in' is the mantra of people who have short careers as Pathfinders."

Roit! Then, I'm off to find a nice big block of clay, and a place to work it for several weeks! I'll catch up with you all later, and don't be too surprised at the handsome bloke who tags along with me.

Henry hunts down a HUUUUGE block of clay, suitable for a golem, and sets to work! Meanwhile, he also commissions the enchantment of his pistol to gain the quality Distance

Knowledge (History), Windsong Abbey: 1d20 + 1d6 + 17 ⇒ (14) + (6) + 17 = 37

MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

Henry knows a fair bit, even more than Makesh:

Windsong Abbey was built in 4081 AR (636 years ago) as a pacifist refuge for followers of all religions—good and evil—to come and resolve their doctrinal and political differences in a non-violent manner and to peacefully further their own goals. The building itself is quite dramatic, with countless arches and towers, tall stained glass windows which refract the light, and special tunnels in the walls and floors which produce sounds very like a pipe organ. All this is set against the dramatic cliffs and foam-flecked waters of the Varisian Gulf. The abbey is run by a woman known only as the Masked Abbess, and only she and a few close advisers are aware that the abbey was constructed on a much older structure.

Since the apparent death of the god Aroden in 4606 AR (111 years ago), many churches have withdrawn their representatives from the Abbey, leaving many of its halls abandoned, and contributing to the paranoia of those left behind.

MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

Session XXX: 11-Apr-19
Old school mayhem

Venture-Captain Heidmarch grants the party a dusty rose prism ioun stone and reveals that it seems the next shard is the Shard of Envy. Before heading out the party visits the Savored Sting and meets with Ayamyra who asked the party to recover a sliver of the chair of Calistria from Windsong abbey. She promised to make it worth the party’s while.

While in the lower city, they also visited Cynosure Tower, Magnimar's Temple of Desna. There Bevaluu Zimantiu spoke of having dreams of the Abbey's ruin. She asked them to clear any monsters who might have brought ill towards the ancient place.

The party wraps up preparations in Magnimar and heads out to Sandpoint. There after mixing with the locals, they meet a woman who claims to have seen the ruins of Windsong Abbey with her own eyes. Pilla Linuveshi described a ruin like it was "hit by and earthquake", as well as the presence of redcaps, bloodthirsty fey with an uncanny skill at violence.

Upon arriving at the abbey, Ostarius uses an arcane eye to scout the grounds. The description of the ruins seems accurate, and while no redcaps are spotted, a platoon of giants and ettins lounge in the area.

After a massive fight, heavy in magi, the party lays waste to a half dozen giants, and half again that number of ettins. What tragedy befell the 600 year old abbey?

XP Tracker Updated

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Session XXXI: 9-May-19
The end of the Abbey Road

The party pushes into the Abbey and takes a route towards the stained glass tower over the water. It requires a bloody slog through a quartet of ettins. After a trap-filled room the group makes their way to the second floor. A library at the top, while interesting in and of itself, holds a strange poem which puzzles the party for the moment.

Beyond they discover the storied Counsil Room. There, after a combat against a juju zombie and a trio of mummies, they take a sliver from the chair of the Savored Sting's chair.

On the bridge of stained glass were two vrocks who escaped to gods-know-where. What were they guarding and to where did they go?

XP Tracker Updated

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Session XXXII: 20-Jun-19
Where every foot counts...

The party pushed their way through into a room full of stained glass and death. Nearly undone by a medusa's gaze the party barely made it out with their lives. Ultimately though, the party prevailed. Once the medusa was killed, her stone salve was used to save Makesh, Abe, and Hank. Additionally it saved Koriah Azmeren whom the party had met the day they became agents for the Pathfinder Society.

Once rescued they agreed to looks for her father who had gone missing as the abbey fell. In addition to agreeing to help the party find him, she'd like to find the one responsible for the travesty which has befallen the abbey.

XP Tracker Updated

Behind the screen:

TPKs are real. I've seen them. If the threat of defeat is not real, then neither is honest victory. I really thought we had one. My self imposed rules on a TPK are thus:

. Check the math, make sure it's legitimate.
2. If it is, get out the "TPK Packet." I honestly keep one of these ready. In my games, ALL my private games, every campaign is canon in every other campaign*. Indeed, HERE is one example.

*There are NO exceptions. There have been crossovers connecting: Spirit of Kings, New Blood, Dead Suns, Giantslayer, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Shattered Star, Rise of the Runelords, and more.

MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

Session XXXIV: 15-Aug-19
Back at it (with corrected session numbering and special guests.)

With reinforcements from Sheila Heidmarch, the party sets up at the Doomsday Door, with the key in hand. Hank successfully unlocks the door, and down the party goes. The abbey apparently used this space to brew beer, but crazed cultists attacked out of nowhere. Large amounts of magic and daring laid them low.

Riding high on the victory the party pushed through various rooms tackling a quartet of ice golems and a second set of cultists. The mystery of what happened still lies unkown...

XP Tracker Updated

MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

Session XXXV: 29-Aug-19
Another guest at the table, another great gream

Before diving deeper into the structures beneath the abbey, an acquaintance joins the party. Koriah is still on the hunt for her father. She didn't find him above, so she caught up to the party below. With the extra help the party clears out the floor, and then descends even further. The second basement level proves to be much more ominous. Spirits and impossible beasts fill the rooms. After a particularly strange fight with a best beyond mortal ken, the Pathfinders find a cache of items in a statue of Desna. The cache has Koriah's initials on it. It's the first sign of her father in the abbey!

XP Tracker Updated

L11 hp: 1d8 ⇒ 4 <-meh

MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

Session XXXVI: 12-Sep-19
Back to normal, back to the dungeon

Leaving Koriah, for now, in the safe room, the party heads back out to search the area. While the floor above was full of cultists, the floor here is mostly creatures summoned from the Beyond; creatures beyond mortal ken. A variety of qlippoths roam the area (as well as a massive elder elemental.)

Searching the rooms, the party discovered a quartet of werebears, held prisoner for the sick games of the qlippoth. They told a tale of an elf in wicked armor wielding a fantastically sharp halberd. They also described a theurge cohort of his with a streak of cruel power the likes of which they had never seen. Given freedom, they fled the abbey.

XP Tracker Updated

MAP TEMPLATES | Giantslayer | Fall of Plaguestone | Skull & Shackles |

Session XXXVII: 26-Sep-19
As the stairs go down, the stakes go up.

On the fourth floor below Windsong Abbey, the air turned ever more sinister, ever more dangerous. The very doors proved to be nearly lethal. More of the qlippoths also crowded the path forward, but with determination the party persevered.

Pushing on the party uncovered a man being tortured by dreams made manifest. As they fought the incorporeal outsiders, a man prepared in the other room. Despite the time though, the party quickly overcame his defenses with a massive onslaught. While they hear him refer to himself as "Zolerim", he's dead before any conversation.

Finally, with all the violence finished, the party turns their attention to the tortured prisoner. He's dressed in the garb of a cleric of Zon-Kuthon, but his time at the hands of the animated dreams has left him able do little more than drool and gasp. Even healed of some of the wounds, the party recognizes that his mind has been shattered.

Heal check DC 15:

His Wisdom score has been drained to 0.

XP Tracker Updated

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