The Abomination Arsenal: Part 4

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

GOBLIN DOWN!
The Black Powder Cadre took a hit in this marathon, and lost one of its founding members. Like we said in our last report, author Vanessa Hoskins will surprise you. No finger-pointing amongst the team here—we got surprised—plain and simple. Before we get to what happened, this daring all-gunslingers project has lasted longer than many of us expected, so get caught up if you need to:

The Order of the Amber Die all standing around the table The Order of the Amber Die Team all standing around the table


Summer marathons are usually grinders for us, and that’s exactly what we did for this one. It was too hot for any post-session fire pit gatherings, so we just kept playing until enough voices called it. The second day of this marathon saw an eighteen-hour run, and came within sight of our record for the longest session on the Paizo blog. We even had our friend Joe O’Brien—from the Glass Cannon Network—with us again, returning as Axayaca, the Beast Gunner from Arcadia. Joe wanted the full Order of the Amber Die (OAD) experience this time, so on the day he was here we decided to push until O’Brien threw in the towel. We’ll offer this to Glass Cannon fans: Joe can grind!

If you’ve read our reports from years past, you’ll know one of the main secrets to playing the longest sessions in the industry is actually our GM. It’s Adam who will drag you long into the wee hours of the morning, jumping around behind the screen at every natural 20 along the way. He’s just been this way since ’87, and we keep making the mistake of thinking he’ll slow down.

  • Adventure: Hands of the Devil
  • Marathon Length: 63 hours, 40 minutes
  • Session Hours: 44 hours, 30 minutes

It’s for extreme marathons like this one, that we keep a couple of critical care nurses in the Order—you probably think we’re kidding. Now we can officially welcome our newest member, who can roleplay all day, straight after a night shift: Theodora Marcantonis! We’re always on the lookout for hardcore gamers, and while vetting Theodora, we learned she possessed a platinum trophy in God of War: Ragnarök, and spent her precious time between shifts playing Pathfinder:Kingmaker and Pathfinder:Wrath of the Righteous on PlayStation. SOLD! Everyone in OAD gets the team jersey of their choice, and we’re proud to have pink as the newest color at our table. Tess Rajani, Way of the Drifter, has moved from a cameo in our project to a full-time gunslinger in the Black Powder Cadre!

Highlights from Hands of the Devil:

□ We finished out the last blog on level five, with the party having woken a massive amalgamation of discarded flesh and bone. The behemoth surged to life, possessing unexpected speed and maneuverability. We opened with a torrent of gunfire from the balcony, but it responded with a salvo of its own: shards of bone that tore through the Cadre, forcing us into a fighting retreat. We leapfrogged back through the level, managing to hold the monstrosity’s advance at a couple of key locations where it couldn’t afford to press into our firing line. When our options dwindled, we made our final stand on the staircase up to level four. It closed with the party, and Vlai plunged his scattergun into its gooey hide. Click – BOOM! The resulting explosion caused the behemoth to decompose into a necrotic gas that curdled the flesh of the closest gunslingers. You get one Hero Point for an entire day during a marathon, and we burned them all here.

□ The Laboratories level of this megadungeon means you’re really in it now, and level six did more than any level so far to put the “Abomination” into Abomination Vaults. Disgusting fleshwarps of varying sizes, seugathi researchers performing experiments best left off this blog, and even scientific viewing galleries were intermixed within the chambers we explored. We use our soundtrack to stay immersed, and there’s good reason why we chose Chevelle’s Peach as the song for this level.

□ You know that rule about not stepping into a portal by yourself? Yeah, well this is OAD and we’ve always said that there are few absolutes in Pathfinder. Tess strode right into a teleporter that landed her in some kind of testing grounds, complete with a seugathi taking notes on how quickly its destrachan subject would annihilate her. She decided the best course of action was to run like hell and lead the reptilian aberration toward our party; after all, we brought guns to this megadungeon. As it turned out though, the destrachan brought artillery. It let rip with 201 damage to the Cadre in a single area-of-effect blast from its Destructive Harmonics, creating a new pedestal of statistics among our enemies so far. For the record, you can go through a portal by yourself in this game and survive.

□ In case you needed more from our “Vanessa will surprise you” theme, here it is: there is a tavern in this megadungeon. Yup, full of morlocks and such, ready to kill you or crack a beer—your choice. Stay long enough, and you’ll end up in a battle of the bands versus Shadow Malice. Think of an all-star lineup that only the Darklands can produce: duergar on drums, xulgath on guitar, caligni on bass, and ratfolk on vocals. We survived the solo portion of the competition due to the adept acrobatics of gunslingers, but the group section was a major problem—made worse when Shadow Malice let it rip with “Shout at the Devil” at full volume, even out-of-game. It was daunting to try and show them up with just one roll and a +8 Performance modifier. That is, until Breen’s natural 20 made us the hottest new band of the Abomination Vaults! When the crowd yelled for our name, we looked to Zoric, the naming phenom who once accidentally coined us “The Blue Coat Adventurers.” This time, he looked right back at the party and made it clear: "hey, don’t look at me.” The bartender screamed out Zoric’s response in Undercommon. Then several other denizens screeched the name in unison: “DON’T LOOK AT ME!” It was too late; Zoric had done it again.

□ While confronting a seugathi and its latest fleshwarp creations known as dreshkhans, we once again met our match in the ballistics department. Dreshkhans have an ability known as Needle Spray, or “Death Blossom” as those of us who grew up watching The Last Starfighter call it. If it wasn’t for our Player Captain making Risky Reload a mandatory feat in this party, we might have needed more word count for the Character Death section.

An angled top down view of a square tiled dungeon map A top down view of a square tiled dungeon map


Character Deaths:

If you give our GM an assassin with free reign to target a single PC, murder will happen. Adam already proved it when he was given a carte blanche assassin during Strange Aeons. This time it was Maloika the Miserable, our ever-curious goblin, who squeezed through an arrow slit into a series of long-unused guardrooms. Inside, lingered Siora Fallowglade, the greater shadow and chief assassin of Belcorra herself—determined to slay again after 500 years. Adam claims that, because he acted out a kill emote from Assassin’s Creed, that’s why he rolled a critical hit to open combat against the goblin. At least it was quick.


The Arsenal:

Maloika is gone, and it sits hard with us, perhaps hardest with his Sniping Duo partner: Zoric. The goblin had grand plans to hang up his guns, then use his relationship with the market owner to open his own megadungeon collectibles store in Otari. We’re carrying on Maloika’s dream, by continuing to take advantage of the organization rules in the PathfinderGamemastery Guide. Our newest followers and lieutenants have overseen construction, which was built over the ruins of the Thirsty Alpaca. We’ve already named the store: Ayla’s Oddities & Collectibles. We even have plans to haul the giant gong out from the arena level, the same one the goblin shot with his harmona gun to wake the behemoth. We’ll make sure it rings every morning when the store opens—in honor of Maloika.


Best Quote from Marathon 4:

(after Vlai managed to hit three party members with one blast from the scattergun)

Axayaca: “Why do you shoot your friends? Do you derive some pleasure from it?”

Vlai: “It’s nothing personal.” (reloads)


Current Situation:

We blasted our way through levels five and six, and just set foot on level seven. It smells like soot. The temperature feels warmer here for some reason, and runes are carved on the walls. Lock and load…

A close up view of mini figures in a dungeon standing on a ledge overlooking a monster mini A close up of a large group of minis in a dungeon room


More Content:

Our table was brought to life with the help of Blue Table Painting for the miniatures, and Black Bard Studios for custom adventure-specific miniatures/terrain.

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Tags: Community Order of the Amber Die Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
Grand Lodge

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder LO Special Edition, PF Special Edition Subscriber

This has been delightful to read! I'm so happy you enjoyed the face-off against Shadow Malice.

Long live "DON'T LOOK AT ME!"


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Your maps are always so good looking. Well done!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Vanessa Hoskins wrote:

This has been delightful to read! I'm so happy you enjoyed the face-off against Shadow Malice.

Long live "DON'T LOOK AT ME!"

Hi Vanessa!!

I absolutely loved the bar in the middle of the dungeon. You did an amazing job with it. It was so unique. Things were initially a little precarious when we entered the bar as we tried to decide whether to fight or drink but the choice was made when Tess bellied up to the bar and a good time was had by all. That is until we got challenged to the battle of the bands. Unlike the rest of the cadre, I was excited by the challenge. Breen is a way of the pistolero gunslinger with a pistol phenom dedication. Because of this, one of her skills is performance and I had yet to use it during the campaign. That being said, it was late at night and we had no idea what would happen if we lost the battle. The bar could instantly turn on us. It was a tense moment and it felt like a lot was riding on my single role. Could I keep the party safe? I concentrated and let loose my die. Nat 20! The whole room erupted into cheers, the late hour forgotten as elation overtook us. We lived to fight another day! Thank you for such a memorable gaming moment!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm so jealous. I couldn't ever seem to kill anyone with that assassin in Thrushmoor, and here you go again... killing Maloika.

One day, players, one day I'll get you.

Great maps and recap as always!

Order of the Amber Die

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Fumarole wrote:
Your maps are always so good looking. Well done!

Fumarole, thank you! This was a joy to render on vinyl, many thanks to James Jacobs for such design variety among the levels in the Vaults. Level 6 was probably one of my longest draws in a while (c. 30 hours). I like to imagine the encounters in each room as I draw them, and even come up with dialogue or little scenes that play out when the PCs first see an area I've spent a lot of time on. I get to walk the halls before they do.

The game is in such a great place right now, I'm always amazed at the virtual options out there, but for me there's still something I can't duplicate about watching my players standing around a map that's 20sq ft, moving their miniatures, and slapping hands.

Glad we can help carry the tabletop torch as the game continues to evolve!

Paizo Employee Director of Game Development

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Truth about Adam's maps! They're amazing. I've never gotten to play on one, but I am the proud caretaker of Adam's Briarstone Asylum map from their Strange Aeons Experiment marathon. :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Mrs. Rajani here! I haven’t played as many adventures as some of the other members, but this path has been solidly AMAZING!

I too, miss Maloika. The curiosity of the goblin really did bite him in this past marathon! Yet we keep his memory alive as we push forward without him.

Of course, being the true romantic I am at heart, Tess has a love story unfolding in this world of such grotesque evil. She is loyal to her party but most loyal to her perfect man, Carman Rajani, and their bond has saved her from near death at least once already. Back around the table, some players can’t help but roll their eyes. I think they’re jealous but who knows? Tess is full blown in a rose-colored world!

Order of the Amber Die

1 person marked this as a favorite.
SilentInfinity wrote:

I'm so jealous. I couldn't ever seem to kill anyone with that assassin in Thrushmoor, and here you go again... killing Maloika.

One day, players, one day I'll get you.

Great maps and recap as always!

One thing about OAD, Adam isn’t afraid to kill off characters, and we aren’t afraid to lose them! Maloika joins a long line of our characters currently residing in OAD Valhalla. He will be welcomed there with open arms. Rest easy our goblin friend!

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder LO Special Edition, PF Special Edition Subscriber
Theodora M. wrote:

Mrs. Rajani here! I haven’t played as many adventures as some of the other members, but this path has been solidly AMAZING!

I too, miss Maloika. The curiosity of the goblin really did bite him in this past marathon! Yet we keep his memory alive as we push forward without him.

Of course, being the true romantic I am at heart, Tess has a love story unfolding in this world of such grotesque evil. She is loyal to her party but most loyal to her perfect man, Carman Rajani, and their bond has saved her from near death at least once already. Back around the table, some players can’t help but roll their eyes. I think they’re jealous but who knows? Tess is full blown in a rose-colored world!

The story of Mrs. Rajani is one of my favorites I've heard about people playing this adventure. I hope nothing but the best for you both, and look forward to hearing about how you saved Otari and Absalom, then had a long and glorious marriage.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Lady Sniper missed out on the action this past marathon, she was too busy sampling the drink menu in the Warped Brew! Can you find me in the picture?

However, I am excited to say that Lady Sniper will shoulder her rifle once again this coming marathon — which is next weekend!


Too bad we can't have video footage of this battle of the bands . . . .

Order of the Amber Die

2 people marked this as a favorite.
UnArcaneElection wrote:

Too bad we can't have video footage of this battle of the bands . . . .

Me too!

At the same time, it’s okay that there isn’t much video from that experience, because if we knew the camera was rolling I’m not sure we would have behaved the same way. At the end of the day, this is our actual game, so our own experience is where our focus goes first. To see video from this marathon though:

1. We just posted a video on YouTube of what it looked like in the studio on the day after this marathon. In fact, if you want to see what went into creating the arena shot and the Warped Brew photo above, that’s also in the video because we had just finished shooting those.

2. Our Patreon has about a dozen videos from this marathon that we posted a month ago. Our job is to play A LOT and we leave behind what we can as we prepare to marathon again. 5 days away baby!

Order of the Amber Die

Adam Daigle wrote:
Truth about Adam's maps! They're amazing. I've never gotten to play on one, but I am the proud caretaker of Adam's Briarstone Asylum map from their Strange Aeons Experiment marathon. :)

Thanks Adam! I was wondering if that map was still around, I'm so glad it's in good hands!

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