Giantslayer Marathon: Part 5!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I just got back into the office mid-week from crazy whirlwind of GenCon, and one of my highlights was getting to meet the Order of the Amber Die in person at the show. I first met the guys outside of the dealer hall on the day the show opened and then they sat in the front row of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Q&A panel we had on Friday. Later that day, I spent one of my breaks from the booth talking with them in a quiet environment outside of the bustle of the convention center. They shared some more stories about their Giantslayer project and we talked a bit about what they want to do for their next big endeavor. I even got a chance to game with Sterling on Saturday night! They are truly enthusiastic about the game and great ambassadors of fun.

Enough about my stories from last weekend, let's get into the meat of this thing. What follows is the fifth report from the Order of the Amber Die as they took on Pathfinder Adventure Path #95: Anvil of Fire. As always, this blog is going to contain some spoilers, so proceed with caution if that kind of thing affects you.

Order of the Amber Die is back with the fifth update on our ambitious endeavor to complete the Giantslayer Adventure Path in just 6 months.

Coming off of our enormous success in marathon 4, there was a bit of nostalgia knowing that we were entering the last third of our journey. With this in mind, we wanted to make sure and set the right mood for delving the fire giant stronghold and dormant volcano known as Ashpeak. We set up a few lava lamps around our play area and decided they would remain our only lights during the nighttime hours of this 75-hour marathon. We also tapped two additional members of our Order to play the live-NPC roles of Thoon the doppleganger and Jagrin Grath during this adventure, with one flying from Maine to NJ for the chance to fight a fire giant king.

Strong builds with our ACG classes helped us put on a display of high-level power to be etched into the annals of Pathfinder lore. Zadim delivered an incredible 316 points of damage with a full attack. Quinn put up a DC 59 perception check. Oloch tripped 4 giants with Gorum's Thorn overall, and managed to dish out 190 points of damage in one round. Crowe reached a new high with 143 points of damage in a single hit. Should we mention that we were one level underpowered for the adventure?

Highlights From our Experience With Anvil of Fire

  • The giants played a sturdy defense and used better tactics than we have seen so far. Our foes set ambushes, employed hell hounds to scent through invisibility, and grouped up to try and overwhelm us. It didn't matter. We carved through more than 60 of the big folk as we pushed into the steaming caverns of Ashpeak.
  • We faced our first Gargantuan foe: an extraplanar giant known as a gigas, born from the footsteps of titans. The gigas also faced our slayer, and it fell like the rest.
  • We kicked so much butt in this adventure that we even had several giants cowering from Oloch's Dazzling Display and Disheartening Display combined with fear and aura of doom spells to escalate their conditions.
  • Our GM gave the Amber Die a rest after throwing down 16 natural 20s with it, but we shook the house when not long afterwards he tossed a 20-20-20 for the second time in this Adventure Path.
  • It's only fair to note that Pathfinder still has ways of putting the overconfident party in its place. We found out that even though we slay giants very well, we still run from dragons—especially a rookery of them.
  • Thanks to author Sean K Reynolds, we got to shake hands with a fire giant queen as she offered us an ending that we never saw coming: single combat against King Tytarian and his retinue—one for one. We held a team meeting at the same time that our GM prepared his strategy, and tensions peaked when we found out that we would fight the monarch in front of a court that included some of Golarion's most infamous giants. Crowe took on the fire giant king himself, and Tytarian landed a blow that should have finished the bloodrager—were it not for his defy death bloodline ability. With only one round to down the king and secure the win, the Shoanti made it happen.

Character Deaths

  • Skirkatla the graveknight queen from "Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen" made a deadly return in the beginning of this marathon. She was accompanied by her most powerful lieutenant, a unique svathurim dullahan known as the Decapitant Lord. Kurst Grath tried to slow the charge of the undead, but fell at the end of a lance powered by eight hooves.
  • As the fight against Skirkatla dragged on, the graveknight cornered Zadim and swung down with a full attack that packed more than enough damage to avenge her first loss against the party.

Current Situation

The Champions of Trunau proved the stronger team time and time again in this adventure, and we are now headed into the finals of this AP. Despite the excitement, anxious thoughts of confronting Volstus the Storm Tyrant are in the back of everyone's mind. We are still under-level, but our equipment has held up well, and we are now in possession of the most powerful artifact discovered thus far: the Hammer of Thunderbolts. It's time to write some stories around it.

Best Quote From Marathon 5

Louisa (Thoon): "Do you think it would confuse the giant if I dopplegang into Crowe? I just want to dopplegang something!"

More Content

Read through the entirety of The Giantslayer Endeavor. For more pictures, campaigns, and information on the Order of the Amber Die, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram. The miniatures used are again painted by Blue Table Painting.

Stay tuned for the the conclusion of the Order of the Amber Die's Giantslayer conclusion in "Shadow of the Storm Tyrant."

Adam Daigle
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Community Giantslayer Pathfinder Adventure Path
Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

3 people marked this as a favorite.
The Blog wrote:

Skirkatla the graveknight queen from "Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen" made a deadly return in the beginning of this marathon. She was accompanied by her most powerful lieutenant, a unique svathurim dullahan known as the Decapitant Lord. Kurst Grath tried to slow the charge of the undead, but fell at the end of a lance powered by eight hooves.

As the fight against Skirkatla dragged on, the graveknight cornered Zadim and swung down with a full attack that packed more than enough damage to avenge her first loss against the party.

Nothing warms my heart to a black cinder than a returning villain!

Go, go, graveknights!

Paizo Employee Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Jim Groves wrote:
The Blog wrote:

Skirkatla the graveknight queen from "Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen" made a deadly return in the beginning of this marathon. She was accompanied by her most powerful lieutenant, a unique svathurim dullahan known as the Decapitant Lord. Kurst Grath tried to slow the charge of the undead, but fell at the end of a lance powered by eight hooves.

As the fight against Skirkatla dragged on, the graveknight cornered Zadim and swung down with a full attack that packed more than enough damage to avenge her first loss against the party.

Nothing warms my heart to a black cinder than a returning villain!

Go, go, graveknights!

These guys are chewing the meat, crunching the bones, and sucking the marrow out of this adventure path!

Order of the Amber Die

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Jim Groves wrote:
The Blog wrote:

Skirkatla the graveknight queen from "Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen" made a deadly return in the beginning of this marathon. She was accompanied by her most powerful lieutenant, a unique svathurim dullahan known as the Decapitant Lord. Kurst Grath tried to slow the charge of the undead, but fell at the end of a lance powered by eight hooves.

As the fight against Skirkatla dragged on, the graveknight cornered Zadim and swung down with a full attack that packed more than enough damage to avenge her first loss against the party.

Nothing warms my heart to a black cinder than a returning villain!

Go, go, graveknights!

Thanks Jim, I was just as happy to have my favorite ice queen return! I hope she appeased the fans with her performance--two more PCs face down--though she did have to split the kills with her trusted lieutenant. We just put photos of the confrontation on our Facebook. It took some trusty PC-lures, but I managed to work the encounter onto the new Giant Lairs Flip-Mat!

It should be noted that after 4 deaths, Kurst Grath will not be back for part 6 of The Giantslayer Endeavor, as the players are tired of raising him from the dead when the gods obviously want something different.

Adam
GM

Order of the Amber Die

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adam Daigle wrote:
These guys are chewing the meat, crunching the bones, and sucking the marrow out of this adventure path!

Thanks for the compliment Adam! We work hard to utilize the material Paizo and the authors provide since you guys work just as hard to deliver the continuity that has made Giantslayer so amazing. And thanks for the shout out. Gaming with you on Saturday was awesome and getting to sit down outside of the Con and connect was unanimously our favorite part of the weekend. Very much looking forward to doing it again. Gearing up for Marathon 6.

Storm clouds are on the horizon...

- Sterling, Order of the Amber Die (playing as Crowe, iconic bloodrager)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Admirable stuff Adam (DM OotAD as opposed to Adam (Developer)!).

Running one really long session with such an abundance of creativity and immersion to support the story is quite outstanding. To maintain this, over what will be 6 sessions in as many months, without a drop in GM or Player enthusiasm, commitment and quality of work is really quite impressive.

I note your namesake did its work again. In 28 hours of continuous play last weekend, I think we managed about 3 confirmed criticals (2 DM & 1 Player). There were plenty of 20s, but they all seemed to be followed by a 4 or the like. Thanks again for inspiring us to undertake something similar, though on a much smaller scale (both in terms of ambition and opponents!). Really looking forward to seeing the outcome of the Giantslayer Endeavour and your notes as you look back on what you've achieved.

I imagine it will all be a bit emotional when the last encounter is done at the end of module 6 :-)

Jim
DM of ACCoA

Order of the Amber Die

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Zirlock wrote:

Admirable stuff Adam (DM OotAD as opposed to Adam (Developer)!).

Running one really long session with such an abundance of creativity and immersion to support the story is quite outstanding. To maintain this, over what will be 6 sessions in as many months, without a drop in GM or Player enthusiasm, commitment and quality of work is really quite impressive.

I note your namesake did its work again. In 28 hours of continuous play last weekend, I think we managed about 3 confirmed criticals (2 DM & 1 Player). There were plenty of 20s, but they all seemed to be followed by a 4 or the like. Thanks again for inspiring us to undertake something similar, though on a much smaller scale (both in terms of ambition and opponents!). Really looking forward to seeing the outcome of the Giantslayer Endeavour and your notes as you look back on what you've achieved.

I imagine it will all be a bit emotional when the last encounter is done at the end of module 6 :-)

Jim
DM of ACCoA

Thanks for the kind words, Jim! We've all checked out your ACCoA work as well, and it was great to see all the nice stuff your group has done to bring Rise of the Runelords to life. Keep up the great work over there!

The Endeavor has been an incredible ride and has completely taken over our lives, yet we'll miss it when it's gone. It will be really strange not to be gearing up for another marathon after we've done it 6 times. It can sometimes be hard from an outside perspective to imagine just how many hours really went into the organizing, preparing, and hosting of these sessions beyond just the hours it took to play them. Motivation is definitely an issue when taking on something this massive; in the wee hours of the morning when we just can't handle any more coffee or Monster, it's our Giantslayer soundtrack and the Amber Die's antics that keeps us pumped up and pushing on.

As far as GM reflections, a lot of my notes will be released in the weeks following the conclusion of the endeavor. Marathons 5-6 really stacked up pretty fast and I was unable to get the document updated as much as I would have liked.

You are absolutely right about being emotional when the last encounter is over--win or lose--even making it this far is still standing on Everest as far as gaming is concerned. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that we all seized upon, and will probably not attempt again until...(no spoilers here!)

Adam
GM

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