GM Euan's Rise of the Runelords

Game Master Euan

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Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

You check the old dwarf’s armor and discover that while it may be merely padded, it’s quite magical! It’s a suit of Padded Armor, +4 with improved cold resistance. It’s worth a whopping 58,155gp!

It's complicated Human with a level 15 pig | Character Sheet

The boy's eyes open wide "Yes Seamus, I think this is quite worthy, and also helps to resist the coldness of this snowy environment"

Pachemu and him will look for a calm place to rest, hopefully with a small bed or something, expending the early hours of the next day to prepare spells.

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

You spend a couple days in the cabin refreshing the spells that keep you warm and breathing comfortably (though you’re not so high up that that is critical yet). You’re able to spend a bit more time with the Vekker brothers books and learn they found a few thin gold mines up here until, quite by chance, they discovered the way to Xin-Shalast. There they plucked gemstones from the very buildings and thought to gather even more wealth - all ripe for the taking! Alas, a lack of food for the enterprise, a recurring motif with them, left them wanting and open to the wendigo who sent them all to their maddened dooms.

On the third day you rise early and prepare your daily adventuring spells, plus a wind walk. The blizzard has long since died down, leaving just a light snow, and a slight flurrying in the gusts that sweep through these tall mountains. Hunger gnaws at you as you prepare your journey.

You fly speedily up the Kazaron River until you reach the second tributary whereupon you head more westerly - though the course of the river is such you end up traveling east anyway by the end. The winding route however is treacherous indeed! There are no banks to walk along for most of it, and the river itself often rises in cataracts of up to 300’ in height as it climbed ever higher into the mountains.

As you follow the river upstream, the air grows thin, and the sky a deeper blue than you’ve ever experienced before. It’s really quite beautiful - almost spectral. Over the course of the day, you will climb thousands of feet, and are well above the 15,000’ range. Thankfully you have magics to keep you breathing, comfortable, and flying - or this would be a grueling trip indeed. You’re amazed the Vekker's bothered - but greed was surely in their hearts.

Eventually, you reach the rivers current source - a frozen swampland shrouded in glittering clouds of ice crystals known as the Fen of the Icemists. Even then, you find no indication of the ruined spires of Xin-Shalast. Here, the ledger tells you, you must wait for a night with a full moon (in just a few hours). The remainder of the route will be made clear to those who are pure of heart, and stomach.

You are all a little uncomfortable here, like something unnatural is rubbing up against the reality you hold dear. Pachemu is wild with anxiety, and it’s only the strong ties she has with Izomandakus that prevent her from fleeing back down the mountain to safety. You all feel a somewhat nameless dread and worry, and have the dim feeling of being watched, but perhaps not by anything… natural.

It is Kuthana 25 and about 6pm in the evening with moonrise at 11pm. Let me know what precautions you take as you solidify in the marshland, if any. Also let me know what you plan to do during the few hours you have to wait.

Male Human
AC 33/25/22 ; Perc +0; Dip +19; Heal +5,Arc+23,Dung+18,Eng/Geog+13,Hist/Local+17,Nat+23,Planes+23,Rel+23,SpllCr+ 20

"Oh, that's nice armor, 'Mus. But not sure the fasting is going to help you fit into easily after it's been dwarf worn for ages," Kast says, trying to be supportive.

Even though he's barely started the fast, he's a bit on edge, a bit grumpy, and definitely hangry.

* * *

"So...this is the Fen of the Icemists," Kast grumps hangrily. "I've seen better Icemists before."

Kast waits until the path is revealed, waiting for them to find the true entrance so he can eat his fill.

I'm going to eat cheese and bread first. Then more cheese, and probably some fruit. Then more cheese. Yeah, that will be great.

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Male Half Elf Rogue 14/ ranger 2 HP 129/147| AC41/T24/FF41 | F+17/R+25/W+16 | CMB +13 CMD 31 | Init + 14 | sneak attack@7d6 | Perc +31/38 Dis. Dev. + 33/40 Acro +26/31 | Boots 5/10

Hearing the armor was really nice, Seamus considered his own armor. He really liked that his armor matched everyone elses, and he'd gotten the ioun stone to deal with 'environments.' He chuckled at Kast's observation, aggreeing with him. "Yeah, not many tailors here to take it in. But that's ok, I like wearing armor like my friends."
Spending the next two days trying not to think about food, Seamus spent a lot of time sleeping and playing his lute. Occasionally inviting the others to go out in the snow for snowball fights or to make 'snow Aasimars.
Having grown accustomed to the 'wind walking' Seamus enjoys the view of the sky, mountains and river. As they land in the frozen swampland he admires the ice crystals, even though the area feels wrong. He chuckles at Kast's comment about Icemists and resist the urge to ask if it from Pottersmoots glare. Deciding it was the hunger making him sarcastic, he sits down on a rock, taking his lute out of his pack the passes the time playing a song he'd heard in Magnimar.

It's complicated Human with a level 15 pig | Character Sheet

While they rest, and fast, in the refugee, Izomandakus starts to prepare himself, storing new magic missiles into the commanding club of greed. Also, he prepares a contingency spell "If I snap my left hand fingers, the dimension door will happen, you understand Pachemu?"

Spells prepared for the day:

Stored spell
magic missile
Cantrips (4/day)
acid splash
detect magic
ghost sound (Will 15)
Level 1 (7+2/day)
heightened awareness^
detect secret doors
feather fall
liberating command^
*mage armor
magic missile
pearl of power I (x2)
Level 2 (11+1/day)
tears to wine^ (+10)
glitterdust (Will 17)
2x mirror image
resist energy
scorching ray
see invisibility
shatter (Will 17)
spider climb^
suppress charms and compulsions
whispering wind^
pearl of power II
Level 3 (6/day)
*greater magic weapon^ (+3)
dispel magic
Level 4 (6/day)
obsidian flow^ (Ref 21)
dimension door
greater invisibility
reduce person, mass^ (Will 21)
wave form^ (Ref 21)
Level 5 (6/day)
telekinesis^ (Will 22)
dismissal | fickle winds^
*greater reversion
Level 6 (4/day)
disintegrate^ (Fort 23)
emblem of greed^
greater dispel magic | tar pool^ (Ref 23)
greater heroism
Level 7 (3/day)
form of the dragon II^ (Ref 24)
limited wish (1500 gp diamond) | mass fly^
grasping hand
Level 8 (2/day)
polymorph any object^ (Fort 23)
greater prying eyes


Izomandakus looks a clear space to solidify, one without apparent menaces, and some meters away from the rest of the group. As he takes sight of the place he whistles "Woah, so little people nowadays has seen this landscape. We are so fortunate. What a pity the legends of the Icemists are lost in the veil of time..."

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

The River Avah leads through a partially frozen wetland - the Fen of the Icemists. Once a lake, this region was clogged with silt by several volcanic eruptions around the time of Thassilon’s fall, creating this treacherous and unique high-altitude fen.

The waters of the Icemists are in a constant state of freezing and thawing, with the mix of high altitude and latent volcanism creating a mist-shrouded frozen region of water and swaths of icy mud. No plants exist in the Icemists apart from the ever-present stalks of strange pale fungi and clots of floating lichens that cover and hide deep tarns of freezing water. It is riddled with hummocks of solid ground and protruding rocks upon one of which you stand.

You spend some time resting and preparing yourselves in the Icemists. It really must be dreadfully cold if the air itself forms icicles. Makes you wonder what would be going on in your lungs if you were not so magically protected. As it is, scarves and masks are suggested against the ice…

Still, Seamus breaks out the lute and plays a fun little tune! You all enjoy his fine performance (33!) forgetting just how memorable each work truly is. Seamus is an artist for the ages, though he fritters his artistic talents away on the likes of you on the roof of the world.

… and someone else.

An icy nymph drifts into the clearing from the fungi, attracted by the music. For a time, she doesn’t even realize she’s exposed (in more ways than one for she is, as are most nymphs, nude). She appears as a beautiful elven woman with long flowing dark hair, pale purple skin, and exaggerated ears and limbs.

She listens enraptured to the music until it fades.

Knowledge Planes DC 26:
She is an icy nymph, CG Outsider (augmented fey, cold, elemental, extraplanar, water). One question for each five you beat the DC
- - -

Male Half Elf Rogue 14/ ranger 2 HP 129/147| AC41/T24/FF41 | F+17/R+25/W+16 | CMB +13 CMD 31 | Init + 14 | sneak attack@7d6 | Perc +31/38 Dis. Dev. + 33/40 Acro +26/31 | Boots 5/10

Looking up from his lute, Seamus Sees the nude nymph. Having grown up in the 'Kitten' her appearance is interesting, but not enough to make him blush. 'She looks like she could almost be part elf.' Nodding he smiles. "High, I'm Seamus and these are my friends. Are you from around here?"

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

”I am Svevenka, and this is my fen. That was… beautiful. You say you’re Seamus? That’s a fine name.” She smiles a little wistfully.

”I don’t get visitors here, let alone those with such gifts. The last was some years ago, a pair of dwarves. Greedy little things. Oh and the giants, but they now know to pass through without harm.”

Male Human
AC 33/25/22 ; Perc +0; Dip +19; Heal +5,Arc+23,Dung+18,Eng/Geog+13,Hist/Local+17,Nat+23,Planes+23,Rel+23,SpllCr+ 20

Are still fasting? Have we eaten yet?

1d20 + 22 ⇒ (12) + 22 = 34 Know (Planes)

”Hello, Svevenka,” Kast says shyly, but keeps his distance so he doesn’t harsh ‘Mus’ moves with the fae. If there were multiple fey around, Kast might be more supportive (a wing man with literal celestial wings no less) he would step up, but he’s quite that Seamus doesn’t need his help…he has his hand piano.

DRs? Resistances? Favored love songs that ‘Mus might play to inspire joy?

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Male Half Elf Rogue 14/ ranger 2 HP 129/147| AC41/T24/FF41 | F+17/R+25/W+16 | CMB +13 CMD 31 | Init + 14 | sneak attack@7d6 | Perc +31/38 Dis. Dev. + 33/40 Acro +26/31 | Boots 5/10

As Svevenka introduces herself, Seamus places his lute in the magical rucksack. His smile widens as Kast greets the woman, expecting his friend to impress the beautiful fey with his charismatic personality and wit. Blinking when Kast only give a perfunctory greeting, he remembers that Kast, for some unknown reason (Maybe a bad experience as a child) is shy around women, apparently, especially naked women. Shrugging, convinced that Val (who seemed completely comfortable with naked women) would step in and pick up any slack. He responds, "Oh thank you, I've been practicing." When she speaks of visitors, he adds. "Yes, we've met the dwarves. Well, sort of, we met their ghosts, their dead now." Raising an eyebrow at the mention of giants, he remembers the giants from there own mountains. "Giants? Where do they come from?"

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

You are still fasting.

DR 10/cold iron
- - -

”They’re dead now? That was sudden.” For of course to her a decade is a short time indeed.

”Giants? Oh, mostly from the accursed north. Frost and cloud giants. Tall, brutish things, but not without at least a little understanding. You carry the same mark they bear. Usually in their flesh.” She points to the sihedron symbol on Kast. (Am I remembering right? You do have an open sihedron, right?)

”And you? What brings you to my fen?” she turns back to Seamus and smiles.

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Male Half Elf Rogue 14/ ranger 2 HP 129/147| AC41/T24/FF41 | F+17/R+25/W+16 | CMB +13 CMD 31 | Init + 14 | sneak attack@7d6 | Perc +31/38 Dis. Dev. + 33/40 Acro +26/31 | Boots 5/10

Nodding as Svevenka, says their death was sudden, Seamus had assumed they died of starvation, which was anything but sudden. But maybe she knew somthing he didn't. When she responds about the giants, he looks from the nymph towards where she was pointing. Not wanting her to associate them with the giants, Seamus was trying to figure out how to work it into the conversation when she asked what 'brought them to her Fen.'

Smiling, "There's this old wizard named Karzoug. He sent some of his minions to attack our town." He gestured at the necklace, "Some of them were giants, we fought off a bunch of them. If I remember right, my friend kept the symbol as 'spoils of war.' It's magical." Turning back to the lovely elfish girl, "This Karzoug fellow is hold up in a place called Xin-Shalast apparently the only way to get there is through your fen." He smiles, "I hope that's ok. We're not going to cause you any trouble, we're just waiting on the moon to rise over the River."

Male Human
AC 33/25/22 ; Perc +0; Dip +19; Heal +5,Arc+23,Dung+18,Eng/Geog+13,Hist/Local+17,Nat+23,Planes+23,Rel+23,SpllCr+ 20

Kast looks down at his shield and shrugs, hoping that Seamus can smooth things over.

Yes, Kast’s sihedron shield would probably be active. It’s near weightless and so hard to imagine not having it up when he’s lumbering about.

Kast continues to let ‘Mus have the icy floor.

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

”Oh, you seek the passage into Leng… the path to Xin-Shalast and the peaks of Mhar Massif.” She nods as you stare. ”Yes, I know the region in which I live. It is a dangerous country!”

Knowledge Planes DC 30:
Knowledge of Leng on Golarion is sketchy at best, limited to glimpses in nightmares and drug-fueled visions and its origin is unknown. Some believe it to exist physically on the Material Plane or another dimension. Others claim it is a surviving piece of a dead plane from before the current multiverse. Yet others believe that Leng is the nightmares of mortal dreamers shaped into a physical place.
- - -

”The dwarves sought only the lower city, believing they could fulfill their greed sufficiently from there. You seek higher I think.”

”Mhar Massif is said to serve as a bridge to strange realms beyond Golarion - notably, to the nightmare dimension of Leng. The connections with the nightmare realm of Leng were said to have infused the region around the peak of Mhar Massif with dangerous eldritch and otherworldly energies. In fact, without strong magics, you cannot pierce the peaks at all. Magics created by the ancient Thassilonians.”

”But surely, you are prepared for the Occluding Field.” She seems to be looking at your hands and necks.

It's complicated Human with a level 15 pig | Character Sheet

K. planes: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (12) + 18 = 30
Pachemu: K. planes: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (2) + 11 = 13
"Another nymph..." Izomandakus muses letting Seamus conduct the talk, only adding by the end "You better be careful with those giants Svevenka, they killed another nymph nearby the Storval Lake just about a month ago"

K. planes: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (19) + 18 = 37
Pachemu: K. planes: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22
"Leng again... this is getting dangerous, some say Leng is a surviving piece of a dead plane from before the current multiverse..." the boy echoes his thoughts for everyone to hear but he is returned to reality by the citation of the Occluding Field "Oh, we have heard of that field before. But how do we break through? It seems we will need to do it to find Karzoug"

He then looks at the hands and necks the nymph is looking to.
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19

Pachemu sniffs trying to scent this Svevenka.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14

Male Human
AC 33/25/22 ; Perc +0; Dip +19; Heal +5,Arc+23,Dung+18,Eng/Geog+13,Hist/Local+17,Nat+23,Planes+23,Rel+23,SpllCr+ 20
GM Euan - Rise wrote:

”Oh, you seek the passage into Leng… the path to Xin-Shalast and the peaks of Mhar Massif.”

”But surely, you are prepared for the Occluding Field.”

Kast stay silent for a moment, trying to listen and think. He lets Izomandakus explain and listens more. There is a interesting woman present, and his tongue feels tied.

1d20 + 22 ⇒ (2) + 22 = 24 Know (Planes) - Leng
1d20 + 22 + 20 ⇒ (16) + 22 + 20 = 58 Know (Arcana/Planes) - Occluding Field? I think it's come up, but Kast *really* wants to think about it.

Ah! Found some talk about the 'occlusion field', but we didn't focus too much on it. Here.

Key Passage, maybe:
As I suspected, the occlusion field around Karzoug’s fortress in Xin-Shalast has a flaw. His lack of knowledge of the intricacies of Sorshen’s and my own lord Xanderghul’s powers have left an opening. My agents must use components infused with our lords’ virtues, extract the latent magic within these components, and then anoint their chosen weapons with this raw power. The runeforged pool seems to have enough reserves to enhance no more than half a dozen or so runeforged weapons, but those enhanced with enchantment and illusion magic will be most potent against Karzoug’s defenses. They may even be pivotal in his defeat. For my own part, fragments of any of the mirrors in the Peacock’s Hall should suffice for a component. Delvahine’s... equipment... should suffice for enchantment, although one might be wise to cleanse them before they are handled.

Male Half Elf Rogue 14/ ranger 2 HP 129/147| AC41/T24/FF41 | F+17/R+25/W+16 | CMB +13 CMD 31 | Init + 14 | sneak attack@7d6 | Perc +31/38 Dis. Dev. + 33/40 Acro +26/31 | Boots 5/10

'At least Izomandakus isn't intimidated by pretty women.' Turning towards his friend as Izomandakus warns her about the giants.

Upon hearing the word 'Leng' Seamus nodded and smiled, looking towards Kast and Izomandakus hoping that one of them had the slightest idea what she was talking about. His smile widened, he'd said they'd met the dwarves ghosts, but he ha no idea where or what the 'lower city' was, assuming it was part of Xin-Shalast. Not surprised that Izomandakus had heard of this 'Leng' place, Seamus was glad that he'd heard of the Occluding Field, Desna knew Seamus didn't have a clue.

Seeing Svevenka look at his hands and neck, Seamus notices Izomandakus looking as well. Holding his hands up, he asks, "What are we looking for?"

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

Pachemu seems to think Svevenka is fine, though she giggles as his snout tickles her toes.

According to the Dead Mage, your rune forged weapons should get you through the Occluding Field. However, Svevenka is saying you require something different. Who is correct? It’s hard to know. They could both be right.

”There are special devices, rings and amulets with the Sihedron Rune, that bypass the occluding field.” She goes on to describe what she means, so you know it when you see it. She adds, ”I don’t know anything about rune forged weapons. I don’t have much use for things as a rule.” and she shrugs.

Between what she knows (a little) and what Kast knows (apparently quite a lot) you learn that the occlusion field is a planar/magical barrier that protects the spires of Mhar Massif. It is in many ways in its own world.

The field itself makes scrying impossible, and even protects against divination. Furthermore, the occluding field sheds a powerful effect like an invisible force that seems to push against intruders. This force pulses every minute, forcing a Fort save and a Will save to prevent damage and wisdom drain respectively. ”It’s very painful.” she says reliving the experience with a brief frown. It also blocks extra-dimensional travel, though something like plane shift might get you past the barrier. If you had the right tuning fork.

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (19) + 20 = 39
To see if she is telling us the truth

Val runs her finger along her chin, wondering at how her life has become the sort in which a nymph might casually explain giant magical fields to her. ”So perhaps there are multiple methods to get past it? It was not exactly easy to get these—“ She pats the pommel of her sheathed rapier. ”And I doubt Karzie would only let people in with items that can kill him, so maybe those other things are just an easier method of getting past?”

Male Human
AC 33/25/22 ; Perc +0; Dip +19; Heal +5,Arc+23,Dung+18,Eng/Geog+13,Hist/Local+17,Nat+23,Planes+23,Rel+23,SpllCr+ 20

Kast pulls out his Sihedron Medallion.

”Like this, you mean?” Kast asks, holding up the medallion, jangling it out from under his beflowered mummy’s hand.

It's complicated Human with a level 15 pig | Character Sheet

Izomandakus raises the staff and shows it to the nymph "This is the Commanding Club. It once pertained to Mokmurian, but we since have gone through a planar adventure to reforge it in the Runeforge. It alone shall break through the Occlusion Field" the boy announces with solemnity and confidence.

"When is the new moon expected? It shall reveal the path to Shin-Xalast. It is time to take from Karzoug what has not been his for a long time already"

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

Valena confirms Pachemu’s grunts - Svevenka seems to be telling the truth, at least as far as she knows it.

Valena Dalloway Versade wrote:
Val runs her finger along her chin, wondering at how her life has become the sort in which a nymph might casually explain giant magical fields to her. ”So perhaps there are multiple methods to get past it? It was not exactly easy to get these—“ She pats the pommel of her sheathed rapier. ”And I doubt Karzie would only let people in with items that can kill him, so maybe those other things are just an easier method of getting past?”

She shrugs, unknowing.

When Kast holds up the medallion, she shakes her head. ”No, it’s missing a flange, here…” and she again describes what she saw, which is slightly different from what you’ve seen before on medallions. But it’s close - basically the same thing, just not quite.

Izomandakus wrote:
"When is the new moon expected? It shall reveal the path to Shin-Xalast. It is time to take from Karzoug what has not been his for a long time already"

”The full moon you mean? Just a few hours now.”

Having given what advice she can, and warned you of the dangers, she stays around until you are ready to depart. She asks Seamus to play a little something more though, while you wait.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Male Half Elf Rogue 14/ ranger 2 HP 129/147| AC41/T24/FF41 | F+17/R+25/W+16 | CMB +13 CMD 31 | Init + 14 | sneak attack@7d6 | Perc +31/38 Dis. Dev. + 33/40 Acro +26/31 | Boots 5/10

Pleased to do as the Nymph asked, Seamus pulls his lute out, and played a number he'd been working on.

perform: 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (5) + 23 = 28

Male Human
AC 33/25/22 ; Perc +0; Dip +19; Heal +5,Arc+23,Dung+18,Eng/Geog+13,Hist/Local+17,Nat+23,Planes+23,Rel+23,SpllCr+ 20

Kast wonders if he can modify his own to fit in, or craft new ones that might work...or is there some eldritch magics that need to exist as well?

"Really? This isn't good enough?" Kast grumbles hangrily.

1d20 + 22 + 20 ⇒ (13) + 22 + 20 = 55 Know (Arcana/Planes)

"But maybe we don't have enough time. This might not work after all. But maybe we can try again next month."

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

Though frustrated by his performance, Svevenka thoroughly enjoys it, not getting much music up here. As Seamus plays, Kast grows ever frustrated, until he realizes - it’s two different things. Svevenka is talking about the peak, not the lower city. The moonlight path of starvation doesn’t require anything more than what you have already done. And continue to do.

But once you reach Xin-Shalast, you’ll need to either find these keys, or confirm that your weapons will protect you, before you can reach the summit.

I'll push us on tomorrow, need to write it up.

Silver Crusade

M Half Orc Cleric 16/Init +1/ HP 130/ 131 // AC: 29/ 22/T:14/FF:21 - Percep: +15/ F 16/R 13/W 21 /CMB 14 - CMD 25

Guess we should get going.

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It's complicated Human with a level 15 pig | Character Sheet

Pachemu sits and listens the song with Svevenka.

Izomandakus holds the staff and studies the magic on it, trying to focus on something other than the desire to eat "Do you think a couple of cookies will count as breaking the fast?"

Other than that, they wait for the moon to reveal the path, or the dwarven lies...

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

You are chatting away with Svevenka, and wondering if cookies count as food, when the moon begins to rise. It takes a little while for its light to pierce the valley, but when it does, you find what you seek. You see what appears to be a ghostly afterimage of the River Avah in the west - continuing up into the mountains to the north.

New map up with the path to the lower city revealed.

Do you follow it now, or wait until morning? You still can’t eat quite yet if that helps your decision. Also, your wind walks are still going. The only real hazard is a lack of light, but the full moon is out and there are nary any clouds up this high, so it’s pretty well lit for all that.

It's complicated Human with a level 15 pig | Character Sheet

"I am either fainting out of hungriness and seeing shadows or that there is the path we were looking for" Izomandakus points to what he thinks he sees.

"Thanks for everything Svevenka. Maybe soon you can come visit us in Xin-Shalast, once we make out its current occupants" and with that said, he and Pachemu transform into wind, and just fly to the north, trying to follow the Moon's path and not lose themselves.
Survival: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (8) + 15 = 23

Silver Crusade

M Half Orc Cleric 16/Init +1/ HP 130/ 131 // AC: 29/ 22/T:14/FF:21 - Percep: +15/ F 16/R 13/W 21 /CMB 14 - CMD 25

The cleric bows and says, Thank you, Svevenka. Peace and prosperity to you, friend.

He then joins Izo and the amazingly capable pig in the wind.

Male Human
AC 33/25/22 ; Perc +0; Dip +19; Heal +5,Arc+23,Dung+18,Eng/Geog+13,Hist/Local+17,Nat+23,Planes+23,Rel+23,SpllCr+ 20
Izomandakus wrote:
"I am either fainting out of hungriness and seeing shadows or that there is the path we were looking for"

Kast agrees hangrily, anxious to get inside so that they might end their fasting. He does not like it.

"Yes, indeed. Thank you Svevenka," Kast echoes, finding some good words to say.

"I don't about you all, but I could eat. I would eat food right now if I could."

He follows Izo on.

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Val hates nothing more than wanting to do something but being unable to do anything about it. She has always been a creature of impulse and instinct, not of patience. And intentional starvation requires a great deal of patience. Gone is her playful amusement, replaces by an irritable disdain. She just follows the others along, glaring at any false steps, muttering to herself.

”Let’s get this bloody mess done with. Karz is getting a new hole when I see him. Right through his bloody neck so he can’t swallow anything. See how much the bastard likes that. Him and his bloody razor widow’s peak. I’ll show him how sharp a widow can be.”

Male Half Elf Rogue 14/ ranger 2 HP 129/147| AC41/T24/FF41 | F+17/R+25/W+16 | CMB +13 CMD 31 | Init + 14 | sneak attack@7d6 | Perc +31/38 Dis. Dev. + 33/40 Acro +26/31 | Boots 5/10

Realizing the others had started getting ready to leave, Seamus quickly put his lute in his rucksack, nodding to Svevenka, "If you ever get down to Sandpoint look us up." Tipping his grey felt hat to the Nymph he hustled and caught up with the others.

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

Svevenka walks with you a little ways, but peels off when you leave the Fen proper to remain in her domain. She wishes you luck as she departs.

You travel onward! As you’re starving (remember you are fatigued during this time) you’re grumbly and annoyed, though you make good time. The path is twisty and sometimes goes right through solid rock, but as wind, you’re able to rise above. Picking up the path on the far side, you eventually, after an hour or so (and you move fast) reach something other than bare rock.

At this point along the ghostly river’s route, the phantom waters are joined by an ancient road paved with flat stones that have a faint sheen of gold to them. This road continues north to Xin-Shalast, passing through a narrow chasm ahead.

Guarding that chasm, and so far unaware of your presence, is a small group of cloud giants (four) and one frost giant. They are relaxed, but seemingly on guard to this southern entrance to the city.

As it’s extremely unlikely that they’ll notice you unless you solidify and hack them to pieces. So you may, if you wish, bypass these oafs and proceed into the city. Or attack. Let me know the plan.

Male Human
AC 33/25/22 ; Perc +0; Dip +19; Heal +5,Arc+23,Dung+18,Eng/Geog+13,Hist/Local+17,Nat+23,Planes+23,Rel+23,SpllCr+ 20

Kast is hungry enough to want to bypass the oafs, in lieu of getting inside and getting to the loafs. Bread loafs. In his mouth.

And unless someone foolishly needs to pick a fight, he will fly though.

Loaves, I know, but it doesn’t fit here.

Male Half Elf Rogue 14/ ranger 2 HP 129/147| AC41/T24/FF41 | F+17/R+25/W+16 | CMB +13 CMD 31 | Init + 14 | sneak attack@7d6 | Perc +31/38 Dis. Dev. + 33/40 Acro +26/31 | Boots 5/10

Waiving goodby to Svevenka, Seamus wonders if they will see her again. Wanting to forget about the hunger he begins to consider what songs he would play for the nymph if they cross through her Fen again.

Realizing they were 'cloud walking' near actual cloud giants, Seamus at least knows which weapon to use if they pick a fight with the large 'oaves.' Resting his hand on his giant-bane mithril long knife, watching to see if anyone turns towards the giants.

Seems like it works just fine :)

It's complicated Human with a level 15 pig | Character Sheet

Izomandakus will follow the others in bypassing this group of giants.

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Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

You leave the giants behind and proceed into the city!

Time and legend have a way of making such distortions seem like fact, yet Xin-Shalast is indeed a place of wonder, mystery, and danger. Once the crown jewel of the nation of Shalast, and arguably the greatest of all Thassilon’s capitals, Xin-Shalast has remained hidden from prying eyes for ages, standing strong against the steady march of decay due to its proximity to other worlds, where the very rules of existence are twisted and wrong.

Despite its legendary status among explorers and scholars (most of whom argue that, if indeed the place ever existed, it is certainly gone now), Xin-Shalast is a very real place. The former capital of Shalast, Domain of Greed, and one of the seven rune cities of Thassilon, the city actually comprises two distinct entities. Xin-Shalast Major, known more commonly by its inhabitants as the Lower City, occupies a long valley at the foot of the great mountain of Mhar Massif. Xin-Shalast Proper, also known as the fabled Spires of Xin-Shalast, sits high upon the southern slope of Mhar Massif, just below its demon-haunted summit in the far north. This was the personal palace and fortified citadel of the Runelords of Greed, a line of eight archmagi that ended in the reign of Karzoug the Claimer. From this perch, the current runelord could survey his city in the valley below.

Research known about the original denizens of Xin-Shalast:
The population of Xin-Shalast at its height consisted of a varied mix of races. The bulk of the legendary city’s citizens were humans, yet they could not be called the movers and shakers of the metropolis.

At the top of the city’s hierarchy were the bestial lamia-kin, Karzoug’s favored servants, valued for their ability to erode the will of dissenters and magically compel their victims. As with the other six runelords, giants of all types answered the Runelord of Greed’s call as well, serving as shock troops and enforcing his will across the length and breadth of Shalast. The giantkind were controlled by a relatively small tribe of rune giants, unnatural creations whose sole purpose was to dominate the lesser giant races in the runelord’s service.

Below these groups came the various humanoid races who composed the majority of the city’s population and filled the provider caste, performing the roles of artisans, entertainers, and merchants to keep the economy and infrastructure of the empire alive. Beneath all of these was the slave caste, almost always humanoids from neighboring nations (particularly from Bakrakhan to the west), segregated into a fortified district of the city when not going about their daily labors. Upon their backs lay the task of maintaining the empire, and their lot in life was a hard one indeed, rarely allowing survival past middle age.

Apart from all of these groups within the city were the many dragons who owed allegiance to Karzoug. These great beasts laired mainly in the Teeth of Karzoug’s mountain citadel or in caves along the slopes of the mountain. Some few chose to dwell in the Lower City itself. The dragons answered to none save Karzoug and the most highly placed Harridans of the Mountain, as well as the occasional rune giant assigned to oversee a flight of (usually young) dragons.

Finally, there were the strange monstrosities and alien entities the lords of Xin-Shalast called upon to serve strange tasks - denizens from Leng, the eerie shining children, the horrific scarlet walkers, and other monsters used as guardians, advisors, or both - depending upon their individual and monstrous natures.
- - -

The tableau defies belief. A narrow mountain pass opens into a glacial valley extending north and then turning to the west at the base of the vast mountain at the far end. Filling this valley is an ice- capped city of enormous proportions.

The near end is mostly blocked by a huge fortress of smooth black stone, with multiple towers rising from its high walls. Exiting the bailey of this fortress is a massive causeway of gold that dominates the city as it travels down the center of the vale. Enormous towers and spires of many-colored stone pack both sides of the central thoroughfare, rising to prodigious heights and giving the illusion that the road itself is a valley.

The eastern slope of the valley has been partially subsumed by an ancient volcanic flow - nearly a quarter of the city appears to have been so buried. That section is now little more than a great mass of ice, with the jagged angles and peaks of ruined structures poking through its topmost layer here and there. Where the valley curves slightly to the west, the structures, if anything, grow even larger, becoming truly gigantic as they climb up and over the rocky spur.

At the far end of the valley, the city abuts the lower slope of a truly massive peak. Yet the city builders appear to have taken no heed of this change in slope, for the great causeway merely elevates at a steep angle and continues to climb the incline in a nearly straight line, transforming into an immense stairway. Additional buildings cling precariously to the mountain face alongside the causeway, growing even larger and more impressive as they ascend.

The gigantic buildings finally give way a few thousand feet higher, but the mighty road continues to wend its treacherous way to just below the mountain’s peak. There, a spired citadel looms, its size and proportions truly magnificent. It, too, fails to summit the mountain - instead, its topmost spires end just below the dominant face of a stern man, carved into the peak of the mountain and surveying the city below.

The otherworldly quality of this strange panorama is further reinforced by the sound of the cold winds slicing across the high peaks, making strange cries and shrieks in the thin mountain air.

Welcome to Xin-Shalast. City of Greed.

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Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

What was once a vibrant, cosmopolitan city built miraculously well above the 15,000 foot mark is now a desolate ruin of cyclopean proportions. Still mind boggling in its scope and grandeur at first glance, on closer inspection it is a mere shadow of its original glory - a sterile, forsaken shell. Only with recent events have the ruins of Xin-Shalast begun to come to life once again. With the stirring of its former master in the spires upon the northernmost mountain above, this haven of evil has begun to attract the descendants of those who once owed him fealty. Though the city is still vastly underpopulated and largely deserted, new dangers roam its echoing streets and forgotten passages in addition to the natural hazards to be found in this bleak locale at the edge of the world.

Even today, the most striking aspect of the Lower City is its epic size. Everything about Xin-Shalast is massive, designed as it was to house hundreds of thousands of citizens in close quarters, a sizable portion of them giants. Buildings tower to great heights, byways are wide and lined by massive columns, doorways are cavernous openings, and building interiors are composed of great hollow chambers like the naves of primeval cathedrals. When first viewed from the entrance pass into the valley, the city seems much smaller than it really is. Only when the viewer realizes the distances and scale involved do they grasp the true scope of this monstrous place.

The structures are universally of massive proportion with multiple levels, usually in the form of towers of various shapes, and are mostly covered in a thin rime of hoarfrost. Strong winds and the lurking presence of Leng work to prevent much in the way of actual snowfall in Xin-Shalast, but here and there small drifts lie against buildings or mounds of stone.

Built as they were by giants, the buildings are incredibly durable, with thick walls and roofs, and have largely remained intact through the ages. Many have holed roofs or crumbled sections but remain structurally sound. The structures of the Lower City are reminiscent of the ancient architecture of vast proportions that can still be found in other parts of Varisia, such as the Storval Stair or the Irespan of Magnimar.

Other than these similarities and a propensity for multi balconied spires, the actual buildings of Xin-Shalast are extremely dissimilar, built in a great variety of exotic styles reflecting the various giant races, multiple cultures of the subjugated peoples, and magnificent architectural skill and magic once available to the empire of Thassilon.

You solidly and look upon the city (image) in wonder.

The ruined road branches here, a narrower route leading around to the west while the main thoroughfare passes through a looming stone wall flanked by glossy black towers. It seems to be some sort of ancient gateway to the city proper. A dark mass of gritty, rocky ice presses up against the fortress’s northern face, the ancient lava flow apparently stopped, barely, by the stone walls.

You hear some shuffling from within, even at this distance. Perception checks please.

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

Oh, and you feel you can safely eat now. In case you're hungry...

Male Half Elf Rogue 14/ ranger 2 HP 129/147| AC41/T24/FF41 | F+17/R+25/W+16 | CMB +13 CMD 31 | Init + 14 | sneak attack@7d6 | Perc +31/38 Dis. Dev. + 33/40 Acro +26/31 | Boots 5/10

Admiring the abandoned city from the air, Seamus wonders if anyone still lives there. Intrigued that it still stands empty after all this time, reminding him a little of the old light house back in Sandpoint. He realizes it's not the similarity in structure but in size. Everything here seemed to be big built to last. As they landed, he looked towards Kast and Izomandakus, he smiled knowing that his friend probably saw so much more than he did. He knew they were really smart and knew a lot and could explain almost everything. He paused as he became aware of the things around. Smiling, he knew they saw things he didn't, but he also knew he' saw things they didn't or at least heard things they didn't.

yeah, this is where Seamus will take 10(40) on perception

It's complicated Human with a level 15 pig | Character Sheet

Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
Pachemu: Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18

"The City of Greed at last" Izomandakus states solidly sitting his staff against the freezing ground and taking a deep breath of air as he contemplates the impressive landscape.

"Seems the Earthfall took its toll over the city. I wonder what remains inside the many buildings. In any case, it is time to have some well deserved lunch" Pachemu, by the boy, assents excitedly.

"But while we eat..." the boy picks up a few marble pieces from the ruins and says magic words. 1d4 + 15 ⇒ (4) + 15 = 19 of them get animated and start to float around Izomandakus' hand "Go and explore the buildings and alleys, avoid any hazard or creature, then come back to report" and then one by one he gives a direction and a different area of buildings to explore to each of the prying eyes in order to make a good idea of what is there in the city and who is still living there, if anyone.

Izomandakus sends like that 15 of the eyes and reserves 4 to use later if necessary.

With that done, he takes sit comfortable and opens his rations "Nyam! Good think with the fasting I still have some Ameiko's specialties left!"

Male Human
AC 33/25/22 ; Perc +0; Dip +19; Heal +5,Arc+23,Dung+18,Eng/Geog+13,Hist/Local+17,Nat+23,Planes+23,Rel+23,SpllCr+ 20

1d20 ⇒ 9 Perception

Kast looks and looks, and mostly sees the pretty neat city that he feels he should have been able to easily find from the air...unless magics were involved.

"Look at the size of those things. Big. Giants big. We're gunna see giants," Kast says as he makes sure his usual magical protections are in place.

"But before we do that, maybe we should eat. You food and drink drink. It's been a while. Let's find a quiet place to gnosh. I'm starving. Literally."

Kast will look for a safe spot for a picnic before heading straight into danger.

Silver Crusade

M Half Orc Cleric 16/Init +1/ HP 130/ 131 // AC: 29/ 22/T:14/FF:21 - Percep: +15/ F 16/R 13/W 21 /CMB 14 - CMD 25

perception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (3) + 14 = 17
Allow me, Rastaf says, pulling out a scroll.

It will take an hour to eat, but this Heroes' Feast will sate our hunger and give us some long-lasting benefits.

If we stay hidden and quiet, I think we have time for it.

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Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

Seamus hears the undeniable snort of a hoved food animal - likely a large herd - from beyond the black walls. He suspects aurochs.

I’ll keep the eyes in mind as you get closer to various areas. To avoid a bombardment of information now that you can’t find later (or gets repeated over and over again) I’ll give you information on each section from the eyes as you reach those sections. That said, a surprisingly large number of eyes do not return…

The fortress guards the entrance to the valley of Xin-Shalast (area ‘E’ on the Xin-Shalast Map (link). Its walls are 50 feet thick and rise to a height of 75 feet. The square towers extend as high as 200 feet. It is composed of volcanic glass harvested from the caldera east of the valley. Its roof and edges once gilt in gold now only retain splashes of color. Its joint seams are very fine and almost invisible in the dark stone.

The gates fell long ago, leaving an empty gatehouse to provide entry to its bailey. The former garrison blockhouse has partially collapsed, as has much of the northeastern wall. The ancient volcanic eruption did significant damage to these structures, but not enough to completely destroy them. A smaller gate to the east of the ruined blockhouse once opened into the Slave District, but this is now blocked by a mass of ice.

Filling the bailey is a substantial herd of mountain aurochs - clearly acclimated to the height. Their herders are vaguely humanoid creatures with a vulture’s head and wings for arms, and wielding enormous bows in their taloned feet.

It’s likely food for the hundreds of giants just a little further in (area ‘G’ on the map). New arrivals to Xin-Shalast generally congregate here, in a large swath cleared of rubble. The giants dwell in the yurts, tents, and surrounding ruins, awaiting assignments and getting used to the harsh environment. The giants living here longer spend long hours toiling at rebuilding the northern section of Xin-Shalast, returning here only to grab a few hours of sleep and food.

You suspect there are more than 500 hill, frost, and stone giants camped in that area - according to the eyes.

What’s most remarkable though is the Golden Road (area F and onward). This elevated stone causeway is 75 feet wide and runs nearly a hundred feet off the ground in places. This elevation is not immediately obvious, though, as huge buildings and towering structures constructed along the road’s entire length give the illusion that the causeway remains at ground level. This illusion is broken somewhat where small “feeder alleys” branch off from the main course of the causeway to descend into the various districts of the city below. Though the bricks of the road are of basalt, they do in many places retain gold plating that might once have covered the entire run.

The Golden Road remains sound, though here and there stretches of up to 200 feet in length have collapsed into rubble. In areas abutting the Slave District, the Golden Road is often bordered to the east by the lava f low and in many places has been destroyed or overflowed by it.

The Golden Road is so named for its course that leads through the center of the city and up the side of the mountain, supposedly directly to the feet of Mhar Massif. It was indeed plated in sheets of gold for its length at Xin-Shalast’s height, but time has not been so kind to this gold and much has worn away.

You tuck in to a very late supper, but at least the fatigue from lack of food fades away to memory.

New map up of Xin-Shalast. I shall note your progress with Pachemu - though anyone can move him to where you want to go.

Note that it’s very late, and the moon is beginning to sink in the sky so visibility is going to be an issue. There are any number of buildings nearby where you might try to lay low until morning and get some rest however. Let me know your plans. (you might want to save the heroes feast for breakfast to get the full effect.)

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Male Human
AC 33/25/22 ; Perc +0; Dip +19; Heal +5,Arc+23,Dung+18,Eng/Geog+13,Hist/Local+17,Nat+23,Planes+23,Rel+23,SpllCr+ 20

”That’s a LOT of giants. Oh man. Not sure we can handle that many. Oh wow…and are those…Vrocks? Are those Vrocks? The vulture things?”

1d20 + 23 ⇒ (15) + 23 = 38 Know (Planes)

”I can’t recall ever seeing a vrock before. I hear that they also served the Whispering Tyrant until Arnisant shield-slapped him into his prison,” Kast mentions, wishing he had a few dozen companies of the Knights of Ozem right now.

Kast waits for others to opine on what to do going forward, even as he begins to stuff his mouth with food (from the feast or from his rations).

Xin-Shalast - Roll20 Map - Tracking Sheet

Ah yes, I knew I forgot something. Kast you can keep your roll if you wish. What’s your Knowledge Nature look like?

Knowledge Nature DC 23:
They are in fact Kuchrima. CE Medium monstrous humanoid. You've heard of them before, obviously, but only vaguely and in a sort of 'these have been extinct for thousands of years' sort of way.

One question for each five you beat the DC.
- - -

Male Half Elf Rogue 14/ ranger 2 HP 129/147| AC41/T24/FF41 | F+17/R+25/W+16 | CMB +13 CMD 31 | Init + 14 | sneak attack@7d6 | Perc +31/38 Dis. Dev. + 33/40 Acro +26/31 | Boots 5/10

Raising an eyebrow as Izomandakus picks up stones and turns them into floating eyes, Seamus, hearing Kasts observation about giants chuckles, "At least I know what long knife to use." Patting his mithril blade. Turning as Rastaf creates a feast Seamus smiles, realizing how hungry he was. "That will go nicely with Ameiko's leftovers." Looking for someplace to sit down and enjoy the food, wanting to add something helpful, he blurts out, "I hear Aurochs!"

Helping himself to the food as some of Izomandakus floaty eye things come back and report, Seamus knows Izomandakus and Kast will tell them what they need to know. As Kast talks about the giants and the 'vrocks' Seamus tucks a mouthful of food into his cheek and asks, "What metal do I use to kill one of the big buzzards?"

Male Human
AC 33/25/22 ; Perc +0; Dip +19; Heal +5,Arc+23,Dung+18,Eng/Geog+13,Hist/Local+17,Nat+23,Planes+23,Rel+23,SpllCr+ 20

SRs? Special attacks? Resistances? Favorite way to cook fresh minstrel?

Kast realizes that he might have misspoken about the creatures and corrects himself perfectly.

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