The folks from Order of the Amber Die are back again! Get ready to dive into adventure with a new report from their latest marathon session running through Pathfinder Adventure Path #124: City in the Deep! Be forewarned, though! There are spoilers aplenty in this report. (Maybe just look at the awesome pictures if you're playing through this.)
Going into volume four of the Ruins of Azlant Adventure Path, we had a couple of pieces of information about what lay ahead; these included following a lead about a veiled master, and knowing that we were headed to the underwater city of Talasantri. We originally scheduled our usual four-day run, but during play we endeared ourselves to the city and adjusted our schedules to make this a slow-burning marathon of nearly a week, culminating with fireworks and food on the 4th of July!
To create immersion for our visit to an underwater city, we surrounded our play area with a 360-degree panorama of undersea scenes matching the coral streets of Talasantri (including a merfolk evocative of many we'd encounter). To capture the effect of jellyfish lanterns lighting the city, we employed string lights of appropriate colors, along with sparkling underwater lighting effects from our local Halloween store. As we toured establishments in the city, we were enraptured by music from Aquasonic, played completely underwater. Lastly, our tabletop itself glimmered with the craftsmanship of both Blue Table Painting and Black Bard Studios, who helped bring Talasantri to life for us.
- Adventure: Pathfinder Adventure Path #124: City in the Deep
- Marathon Length: 125 hours, 50min
- Session Hours: 60hrs, 15min
Highlights From "City in the Deep"
- Our biggest concern was how it was going to play out being underwater for so long. Matt, a veteran of the Order and our "Player Captain Emeritus," supervised the party's toolkit for underwater adventuring. He made it so that we were able to enjoy our time in the deep without having to stress too much about the lack of air, cold temperatures, and pressure damage. Spells like endure elements, water breathing, waterproof, and ride the waves (combined with a rod of metamagic extend) were easy enough to keep track of. At the same time, certain items ensured that we had backup measures: pearl of the sirens, necklace of adaptation, apparatus of the crab, and pressure pills (from the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Aquatic Adventures sourcebook.
- Our list of friends and alliances continued to grow. Nieran Codali, a Mordant Spire elf rescued from the bottom of The Flooded Cathedral, considered it essential to accompany us after he saw that three of our four iconics were human; since, as he explained to Merisiel openly, the humans were certain to fail. Though he sometimes refers to us as "the bastards of Azlant" and talks about our humans in the third person, we wouldn't have survived the final battle without him.
- While exploring the island of Blood Lily Cay in search of an ancient weapon, we spotted a ruined temple through the foliage. Facing its divine guardian/broken soul coatl turned into a 26-round combat worthy of any World Cup elimination match. Unfortunately, our first "own goal" of the campaign also occurred, when Kyra cast a mass cure light wounds in an attempt to damage the creature she assumed was undead (without successfully identifying it). Instead, she healed the coatl at a crucial moment, ensuring we'd have to retreat in defeat.
- Some BIG creatures live under the waves, and we're starting to meet them. The best God of War boss fights couldn't hold a candle to watching Valeros go into melee alone against a gargantuan dire shark, and later a colossal shipwrecker crab. The aquanaut beat them both.
Talasantri looked unlike anywhere we'd ever been, and yet much of the city functioned like plenty of places we had been. We shopped, got invited to parties, became caught up in local intrigues, and the relationships we built ended up being more important to our success than any treasure we found. We had to pick our friends wisely though, and there were certainly options: aristocratic merfolk, proud aquatic elves, shady cecaelias, and plenty more. Kyra's ability to hit a DC 52 Diplomacy check certainly came in useful, but most citizens were indifferent to surface folk, so Dan still had to roleplay his way into positions to use it. Ezren even fell for a merfolk who styled herself as the "Arcanic Researcher" of the city, and was invited to view her collection of rare magic items (a visit he wouldn't discuss with us). We're keeping the large map we printed of Talasantri, and we'll be going back in this campaign—or another.
- Merisiel was able to corner a deep merfolk sorcerer after minutes of chasing his multiple castings of dimension door. Facing only the elf, the merfolk cast defensively and gambled on a disintegrate. From just a foot away, he reached out a finger toward the rogue—natural 20. The critical hit was almost inevitable, and Merisiel's saving throw was a tragic natural 1. So 26d6 became 52d6, and our GM wanted to roll it all at once. We scoured the house for d6s, and everyone pitched in some of their own. Total damage? 192. The single highest amount of damage ever delivered by a spell in OAD history.
- When draugr are protecting a shrine of Dagon with keen greataxes, Power Attack, and times 3 critical multipliers, some PCs are going to wind up face down. Kyra took 57 points of damage in three hits, and Merisiel took 106 points of damage in two hits. At least they went out together.
- An out-of-water excursion threw off some adventuring routines we had established, and we stumbled into two ambushes by the aptly named Blood Lilies. Koloshkora and Ezren found out through experience that the plants were highly poisonous, too.
Best Quote From Marathon 4
(While crossing the ocean floor at 20 ft. speed.)
Valeros: "Can't this thing go any faster?"
Merisiel: "Not with the old man driving."
Ezren: "This is maximum speed, thank you."
We've discovered that our quarry, the veiled master named Ochymua, seeks a weapon with the power to devastate Golarion. For assistance, it seems Ochymua contacted an ancient lich named Auberon the Drowned—which means now we seek this same lich. Armed with two aberration bane weapons and a ranger with a +6 favored enemy bonus, we're locked and loaded as we head into part five of this Adventure Path. We have three words for all alghollthu who oppose us: BRING IT ON.
For character builds, questions about The Azlant Odyssey, additional content and more, see our thread on the Paizo messageboards.
Keep your eyes peeled for part five once the group gets some rest. If you've missed the first three installments, check them out here: