Our first project of Pathfinder 2nd Edition—The Slithering Salve—is complete! That's right, last month we assembled the Order for another marathon session of Ron Lundeen's module, The Slithering. The August humidity in New Jersey was enough to curl even the sturdiest character sheet, but we embraced it as part of our Mwangi experience and came out alive (mostly, see below).
Once again, we pushed the envelope of gaming immersion and paid homage to an adventure that boldly featured so many oozes. Our five-gallon bucket of slime was ready at the table for anyone who suffered a hit from an ooze; for each hit a character received, that player had to stick their hand into the bucket and retrieve one of the dice that could be found at the bottom. This is OAD after all, so this time we made it tougher by cutting back on the number of dice in the bucket. How long it took you to find one was what really defined the experience!
- Module: The Slithering
- Marathon Length: 60 hours, 15 minutes
- Session Hours: 37 hours, 45 minutes
The Order has between 10 and 15 active members at any given time, and every roster is unique to each project. As we mentioned before, the team for The Slithering Salve differed from our other projects in that we had ages ranging from 47 to 14, and experience varying from veterans with over 30 years' experience to a complete newcomer to Pathfinder. We also ate well during this marathon, since cookies are a meal when you're in the Order, and we had none other than Karee Vogrin of Critical Hit Cookies returning as Lini! Finally, our GM tapped three additional members for live NPC roles throughout the adventure.
Highlights From The Slithering:
□ The journey to Holy Xatramba was more Mwangi than we expected from this adventure—a welcome surprise. Our favorite encounter of the trek was a 300-foot-long rope bridge that disappeared into the dense foliage, and we didn't notice the trio of jungle drakes until one of them slammed down behind Fumbus. It should probably be noted that the goblin was a couple hundred feet ahead of the party. Time to burn those Hero Points, kid.
□ Kibwe had become a mess by the time we returned to try to rid the city of the slithering curse. We watched as the owner of a semi-domesticated triceratops melted into ooze, which slid down the side of the now-angry beast. As the dinosaur rampaged toward the party, Lini and Korakai stood their ground, putting our hopes on Wild Empathy and a calm emotions spell. The result of its Will save vs. spell? Natural 1.
□ The Order always embraces a hearty PvP bout when it's forced upon us. Heck, we even see it as a great opportunity for some trash-talking around the table! When an encounter with two specters resulted in our first PF 2.0 showdown between Jirelle and Zithembe (fighter), the bets were placed and both players' best dice came out. Out of game, this was Auralee's (Jirelle) first time playing Pathfinder, and she was up against Erick, a sixteen-year veteran with more notches on his belt from dropping other players than anyone in the Order. They went solid for seven rounds and it came down to the last hit, but Erick defended his title.
□ Juno Reactor's "Conga Fury" blasted away on the stereo during a couple of heated battles in this adventure, but it wasn't louder than our GM when the Amber Die dropped yet another signature 20-20-20. Adam always says afterwards: Still got it.
□ We continued to use the Critical Hit Deck and Critical Fumble Deck, with the deadly variant applied, causing a card to be drawn on any crits (not just natural 20s). In total, we saw a whopping 108 critical hits and 70 fumbles throughout the entire module. A few of our favorites from the decks included Jirelle losing a thumb, suffering 3d6+2 persistent bleed damage in another battle, and also being stupefied, frightened, and restrained from a set of nasty fumbles in a later fight. It went both ways though, and we watched a jungle drake kill itself with its own stinger!
We went into this adventure with the notion that it would be about things that slithered; however, what made this project such a unique experience was not the plethora of oozes we faced, but the epidemic-like experience that involved the spread of the slithering curse itself. The curse was transmitted through contact between creatures, and despite attempts to gather additional information, we didn't know as much as we wanted to know about it. The only way to be truly safe (until our heroes could end the curse) was to isolate and distance from others. It was surreal returning to Kibwe near the end of the adventure to find the population avoiding each other on the street, hiding in their homes, and wearing masks. You can see where this is going; playing this module in 2020–2021 was an experience we'll never forget—one that bonded us even more tightly as a gaming group. While the Order has played over 150 modules, we can't understate what it felt like to roleplay through this one. We found solace in our ability to end the spreading curse, and just like the real-life events that surrounded this project, decades from now the Order will still be talking about that time we played The Slithering.
The Slithering by the Numbers
Note: All data has been compiled across one full module of play.
Total marathon hours: 121 hours, 15 minutes
Actual session hours: 67 hours, 25 minutes
Longest single session: 14 hours, 15 minutes
Miles trekked in the Mwangi Expanse: about 280 miles
Group consensus on most valuable skill: Medicine
Cookies consumed: 19 pounds
□ Successful uses of minor curse: 6
□ Successful uses of major curse: 4
□ Uses of Continual Recovery: 107
□ Total damage dealt by Droogami: 205
□ Direct bomb kills: 2
□ Total splash damage: 104
□ Friendly fire splash damage: 68
□ Attempted panache: 35
□ Achieved panache: 26
Ron Lundeen has put plenty of our characters in the ground over the years, and he did it again here with a double-babau ambush that caught us off guard. Skuulkush, our party's lizardfolk guide, bravely allowed himself to be flanked in an effort to buy time. At least it was quick.
Best Quote from Marathon 2:
(Fumbus returns out of breath after two characters were lost scouting the ruins)
Lini: "What happened? What did you find?"
Fumbus: "Through those doors there is... a magical... mind-controlling... DINOSAUR that takes your hands!"
Escorting the ancient Pillar-Watcher known as Cursebreaker back to the city of Kibwe (or simply chasing after it) was a mechanic that compounded the sense of urgency we already felt throughout the adventure. We struggled to keep up with the construct, driven by powerful magic, as it smashed its way through the Aspis Consortium agents who tried to block its destination. We were fortunate to have front-row seats when an alchemical golem also tried to stand in its way, and the resulting melee was a fantastic primer for the final battle to come. In the end, we managed to get the heavily damaged Pillar-Watcher back to the dais where it belonged so that we could perform the ritual required to end the curse. A win for Kibwe and the Order!
Our table was brought to life with the help of Vibrant Gaming Terrain for jungle setups, Blue Table Painting for the iconic miniatures, and Black Bard Studios for custom adventure-specific miniatures and terrain.
Follow Order of the Amber Die:
Order of the Amber Die: The Slithering Salve: Part 2
Tuesday, September 21, 2020