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Organized Play Member. 325 posts (411 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character. 2 aliases.

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Well it was a boring show to be really honest. Within thirty seconds she had been killed with Oona taking out unknown frustrations on her face parts. Soon after Vex turned her into a bone pile which frustrated Lugh immensely. With our deed done, the group crawled back into the portable hole and I shifted into an the shape of an immense bat and flew up to the gate area I had originally arrived at after jumping through the portal in Magnimar. Letting everyone back out we watched the light show put on by Emma and Nina.

Other than the chaos created by the girls, remind me never to piss them off, the army was fighting itself. I assume because of the power vacuum we again created. It got a little interesting when an enormous amount of kellid barbarians "arrived" somehow and laid into us all. We have no idea where they came from, but it wasn't from the gate we were standing near. We killed quite a few of them and they routed running back towards the army.

Grand Lodge

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I will admit there is a giant difference between group compositions.

I have a Paladin (Oathbound[corruption I believe]), Cleric/Rogue, Swashbuckler/Occultist and a Druid in this group. Hopefully they will get here soon and introduce themselves.

It wouldn't be a Useplanb post without your input there NobodysHome. :)

Grand Lodge

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Phntm888 wrote:
Out of curiosity, would Thinculous Arclight be the same player as Moxie?

It would be! He has a definitive ... style. :)

Grand Lodge

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Thinculous Arclight wrote:
Color spray me surprised!

This is going to become one of my favorite sayings already!

Grand Lodge

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I am getting two different groups put together to play the Strange Aeons Adventure Path. This post will be for the players to first post their characters and then to eventually post their journals.

Some of those that may be interested in reading these posts may be familiar with my other campaigns. (Sadly most have run out of steam and probably wont be completed. The successful one was my first one, Rise of the Runelords which took 2-years to complete for a party of 8-9 players.)

I was heavily influenced from work done by Order of the Amber Die. I read a quote that I really fell in love with, "...it took years of playing optimized characters to realize that even though it made our PCs better--it didn't make our games better." So after reading through a lot of their posts I have blatantly stole a few of their ideas for this campaign.

My rules for their character creation are core rules only for race. 20-point build, natural characteristic maximum is 20, no evil alignments, and must take one of the campaign traits.

During the campaign I am encouraging each player to post a journal (their first post will be their characters). Journals will give the player a d20 reroll that can be used by them to reroll a d20 or to force me to reroll a d20 that was used against them.

I will intend to deal with character death in the same manner as the Order of the Amber Die in that any starting character will be level 1.

I will occasionally make posts updating certain facts or to share entertaining results from the game. Hope you will enjoy this, I am positive I will as well.

Grand Lodge

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Sadly I have to admit this is the first I have seen of any of your reports, but I am loving this! I am currently gearing up to run this for several groups, just not marathon style. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information with the rest of us.

Grand Lodge

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Couple of questions I have that other GMs or Adam may be able to answer for me.

pg 51 (map)G6: I am assuming the grey tear drop image in the SW area of the room is the "cave." If so, how are all of the "creatures" going to fit in that space? There are 8 of them. Other than just making the room itself bigger am I missing something?

pg 82 Byakhee stat block. It lists under Special Attacks blood drain (1D2 Constitution), bloodlust. I get the bloodlust but where is the blood drain coming from? Is this a typo from a copy/paste of the star vampire?

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By the time I was able to react to the situation one of the librarians was down and Kelyn had moved into another room and began fighting more of them. On my way down the hall I did a minor cure to heal some of the massive damage I took from the ice spell and then turned my body into living iron before stepping into the room.

I then almost fell under the mad assault of spells cast through their weapons. If it wasn't for my stalwart little buddy Atz I would have. His massive curative magics kept me on my feet. I did what I could but for librarians there were difficult to hit and I found myself having difficulty hitting them. I did what I could but to be brutally honest, I didn't do much. In the end, they both fell but it took all of us to do so.

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In the process of looking behind a few of the giant frilly silk curtains along the wall I found a secret door. Turns out the ability of earth elementals to move through earth makes finding those rather easy. I let the others know what I had found and then moved into the hall to "literally poke my head around in." I found a winding passage that looked to reveal a massive looking trap so I figured it was best to get Vex and Kelyn to confirm that suspicion.

It took a while for Kelyn to figure out how to open the door even with Vex's help so I spent that time healing Oona and checking up on everyone's overall health. Looked to me like Atz was keeping everyone on their feet well enough. Vex even brought Ignis out from the hole. Once through we made our way to what in fact wasn't a trap but an old ladder that had been removed from a wall.

We eventually came to a large arching bridge where the middle section was missing from the bridge. As the group decided to mount up on the multiple magical carpets I was limited in my elemental form so I decided to move to the bottom of the room and move across and then back up to the others. When I reached the bottom I found a large ziggurat with some sort of massive semi-glowing rod. Thats when I heard a voice, she sounded ... lovely. She said her name was Sorshen and we talked. For some reason any hostility I had towards her, even though I wasn't sure I had any, went away leaving only someone I could like.

She asked about someone name Artemus Hindersett who immediately made sense somehow to be lich we killed and sent to his factory. She also mentioned a Lugdog who didn't sound familiar to me. Sorshen mentioned that Delvahine only allowed her to talk with those two as a means of protection. She thanked me for my time and asked me who I thought was beautiful. I don't think she meant in the motherly sense and I have to admit Ignis quickly flashed into my mind. Not sure why, but maybe because I was in my elemental form. I even tried to break the tube after she asked but I couldn't harm it. I did notice that a small hairline crack had formed from the falling bridge but I couldn't expand that crack any. With that done I began my trek back to the others. Some would say talking with her and breaking her out wasn't wise but it seemed like a plausible thing to do.

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Vex made a comment that a few hundred feet was a cave where we could bottle neck the cyclopean giants that were forming up. Grabbing Atz and Lugh I began moving in the direction Vex was pointing to. We moved into the tunnel setting up for a nice defensive fight and the half-orc we picked up and Macer made short work of the front ranks after eating magical balls of fire from, I assume, Nina.

So with that under control, I moved down the hall making sure nothing was going to sneak up behind us. Atz followed along and thats when the winged woman showed back up - BEHIND ATZ! As I spun to face her I realized where I remember her from. She's the woman that we had been fighting that would run when getting bested and spawning the creatures that resembled her that we have killed all over Golarion. She's not getting away this time and I began swinging. Her magical images of her were no defense from my true sight. So what happened? She bloddy ran! Gods how I hate her.

Vex yelled that she could be down in the room beyond the hallway. So, like the others, I ran on into the room. The room was covered in silk curtains with multiple cubes of something in silk. Vex pointed in one corner of the room so headed in that direction only to see her fly up into the room beyond my reach. In my anger I tried to launch a rock at her but missed of course. Vex apparently opened the magical hole because a sudden wash of pure elemental fire or lava spewed from what I assume was Ignis into her. That seemed to seal the deal because she teleported away...again.

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I flew down and noticed Oona had landed and was sneaking up on this monstrous looking cyclops creature. I circled overhead for a moment and Oona definitely got the drop on the creature. The grounds were covered in humans wandering around, I assume the darkness meant they couldn't see anything. The creatures seemed to be herding them in a direction farther than I could see.

So I decided to shift into the large elemental form and dropped onto the creatures that were now moving towards Oona. I landed on one of them doing substantial damage and surprising it. But it only took a few seconds before I was quickly surrounded and beat into unconsciousness. I don't think I gave as good as I received that was for sure. Means I need to train harder.

When my eyes opened I realized that it had only been a few seconds. I could see that Atz was nearby and had probably healed my many wounds. I could see several of the creatures had converged on the group and some winged woman that awfully familiar was flying a few feet away. I dimensionally hopped behind the one Oona was fighting and laid into it pretty good but it was still standing. I could see that Atz drew the attention of another creature and I was going to have to move over to save him. Of course he unleashed some spell that really messed it up so maybe he doesn't need my help. I rolled over it anyway knocking it to the ground.

The winged woman said to "have fun with my minions" and then teleported away. Gah!

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Ogg’s luck at gambling was nowhere near as good as Poe’s. In the end he lost roughly two hundred gold in the golden goblin while staying in Riddleport. Since Ogg didn’t have the money when he entered Riddleport he wasn’t to worried about having lost it while he was there. Money comes and goes, which is something he had learned in his time in Kaer Maga. Having seen the mistakes people made when money was concerned had taught Ogg that money, as a driving force was detrimental to your health.

The next morning they set out to track down the bowman. Their directions from Greda led them to a tenement that in turn led them to a bar across the street. Instead of bloody violence, which Ogg had intended to instigate, they left learning only that she had been ensorcelled much like the fisherman back in Sandpoint. Someone had beat them to Riddleport by a day and set up the ambush but no one they questioned knew who that person was.

On the following day the group and their large hairy friends left for the two and a half week voyage north. Ogg had decided to spend his time rowing and learning what he could from the sailors. For Ogg they were an interesting people since there were no preconceived notions or apprehension at his orcish heritage. He learned that one of the rulers of their lands, a woman, even set up an island for those of his kind and it wasn’t a prison. Perhaps living there and working for such a woman would be a job he could enjoy once this business with the group was over. Only time would tell.

Less than a week before they were to reach land Ogg was rowing during the evening with some of the crew during a great storm. The longship spent more time rowing upwards and then downwards because of the deep swells caused from the storm. During some of the lightning strikes off in the distance there appeared to be a great monster with many tentacles battling some sort of other equally as large sea creature. The crew would only grunt in acknowledgment to Ogg’s query and replied with, kraken.

The following day another longship could be seen on the horizon and it was on an intercept. Their captain told them it was raiders and to prepare for a fight. Ogg was ready, the days of exercise had helped his stamina and he was ready for a scrap. The only rule was to not kill them if they surrendered. Families paid for their kin that failed in a raid, which made coming to live here, even more of a prospect for Ogg.

When the other ship got close, rope and grapnels brought the ships close enough to move across. There were Ulfen everywhere, stabbing and chopping. Ogg leaped across from their longship to the raiders and cut one of their crew in half with a mighty swing from his sword. While dodging attacks and maintaining his feet Ogg made his way to the raider captain where they fought for a few seconds before the captain dropped his weapon and surrendered. With their captain admitting defeat his raiders soon followed.

A few days later they arrived at a large island called Battlewall and the captain gave them a small skiff to use to search out their clue while the longship continued on to Halgrim. They found an old lava tube behind a waterfall near the shoreline. The reduced flow of water because of the cold the only reason they spotted the landmark. Rowing into the tube they continued a good distance before pulling the skiff ashore and making sure it was pulled far enough so that high tide would not wash the boat away.

They journeyed up the tube for a few hours before finally reaching the island proper. With the constant updates to direction from Poe and the wayfinder they eventually came across three very large women of varying ages. They spoke of a forge, a weapon and a curse. With that they disappeared leaving a stairwell that led up into the mountains. Each step roughly eight feet in height. The journey was taxing and difficult but Ogg’s newfound stamina paid off. They eventually reached a set of giant doors where Poe pointed out the number 6 carved above the doors.

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Well it didn’t take long before Riddleport showed its underbelly to Ogg and his companions. They had arrived mid-morning and were told they were going to stay there for two days before sailing north. For the captain, this was the last spot where his crew could get away with some “proper violence” and not have to worry about the city watch doing anything about it. He informed them that the ship was available for Ogg and his friends to stay on if they wanted, he was going to keep a few guards standing by to watch over things, but he didn’t expect any problems.

The group opted for an inn, they just didn’t know where. Staying as a group they crossed the town on their way over to one of the end points of the large glyph covered arch. The rat and Poe were very interested in seeing it, the rat being beyond excited. Along the way they came upon an inn that was on the better side of town, at least according to the locals as the only ones not allowed inside were sighfer mages. Since no one in their group fit that description, at least as far as every one knew, Ogg picked up rooms for them all and they continued their trek about town.

They hadn’t gotten to far around town, other than being in the “bad side of town,” when the attack happened. Up ahead of the group was a small street brawl that had spilled out from one of the taverns and as they slowed to watch several sneak thieves leaped out throwing bags over some of the group and using cudgels to knock them out. Ogg on the other had been hit multiple times by a magical arrow from a woman on top of the building they were next to. The arrow was designed to magically induce sleep but all it managed to do was stagger Ogg for a few moments.

When the staggering effect wore off Ogg he realized that once again the healer of their group was doing her best to keep people up and having trouble doing so. Nar’ion was attempting to work over the thieves with his wispy blade and the dwarf was trying his best to keep them back and off the elf. So Ogg drew his sword and began laying into anyone that wasn’t known to him. He managed to bisect one man almost in half and killing a few more before they lost heart and ran off. Ogg attempted to give chase to the woman on the roof but by the time he had scaled the buildings wall she was gone.

As Ogg returned to the street level to join the others a large ulfen, who was not part of the crew, stepped out of a nearby tavern and motioned for them to come inside. After they did so, warily, they met a woman from Irrisen named Greda, who explained what had happened. The group had a bounty put out on them by someone to be taken alive. The description matched the group, which isn’t hard to spot with a ratling and giant bird, and Greda also knew their names. The woman on the roof was named Day-the and Greda offered her services to track her down in exchange for a ride north. Riddleport was not a place that she was happy staying in and the Linnorm lands were much closer to home.

Once the group confirmed this with the captain at a gambling house called the Golden Goblin, they left to find the archer.

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While they stood in the empty room looking at the broken wayfinder a pair of creatures moved into the room bringing Poe out of his puzzle solving phase to shout a warning. Ogg, seeing them move closer to the healer, entered into a rage and charged forward to hopefully prevent her from being attacked. The creatures seemed to recognize what Ogg had done and changed their focus to him instead. Other than having two arms, two legs and a head, the creatures were unknown to Ogg. Their faces made Ogg think back to the Devil they had killed the day before, but it was only because they had an oddly shaped mouth as well. Ogg learned later that they were called wrath spawn and it was probably why they became interested in him instead of the healer. Thankfully she was there to heal wounds because the spawn opened several gashes on Ogg’s flesh in a few seconds of combat. In the end, they fell under the combined might of everyone there.

With the deed done the group retreated back to the Rusty Dragon to talk of what they had found. The short pink-skin owner called Moxie became interested in their tale and offered to purchase the key to ensure that the catacomb remained sealed and as a way of thanking everyone. Ogg had only been in town a few days and had already earned more coin than a year in Kaer Maga. No matter what happened, Ogg had decided to remain with the group until the sweet embrace of death.

Moxie had suggested that the group head to Magnimar if they were going to try and get a ship. The city was a port city and there were several ships they could arrange passage on. So the next morning the group headed out for the two day trek to Magnimar. Just before leaving town a fisherman approached the group and knew all their names, he gave a warning that they should abandon their quest for the forces against them were powerful. Before Ogg could question him, the fisherman blinked his eyes and then looked at everyone as if for the first time. He professed to not knowing what had happened, or who had told him to threaten us, but apologized and returned back to the docks. Someone or something was on to the group but for Ogg, unless it was right in front him, there was nothing to do but continue forward.

Everything was going well until the morning of the second day when Ogg heard a deep, gravely voice shout out his full name. When Ogg turned he saw another full blood orc step out from behind a tree. Thankfully he only spoke orcish so only Ogg knew what was being said. With several smaller green-skins, called goblins, he told Ogg that he wasn’t there to take him back, just part of him. Speaking in the common tongue Ogg told the others that none of the green skins could live, or they were all in danger. In the end, the pure blood and his minions were dead faster than the conversation had lasted. Once again the healer was there to bind his wounds so Ogg decided he was going to have to do something for her to show his appreciation.

Later that day they arrived at Magnimar and for Ogg, he was once again rewarded with seeing something new. The city was huge, unlike Kaer Maga where everyone was packed in, one on top of the other. When they crested the upper city to see the lower section he was amazed to see so many brightly colored sails in the harbor. Even the monument that looked to have once been a might bridge was impressive. The healer had made arrangements to meet with someone in the city who might be able to help with the languages and possibly to give advice on where they might need to go. It was almost early evening when they made it down the ramp to the lower parts of the city and set up rooms in the Old Fang inn. While some stayed there the rest moved on to sell items retrieved from the earlier fight as well as to look for something new.

The person that the healer met with, a pink-skin named Gal-Agin was interested in our tale and agreed to have us meet with his organization in the upper part of the city called the Pathfinder Lodge. He said their skills should be able to aid us on our quest and would be highly interested in the tale as well. So an arrangement was set for dinner the next day.

Until then the group decided to wait it out in the Old Fang where Ogg purchased a round of ale for everyone. The ale was Ogg’s way of thanking everyone for their aid in the fight earlier that day although he never told anyone why. While drinking, Ogg was given some advice from an old man about any trips to the north having to be done soon as the waters there would be frozen or just plain impossible to sail upon. The black sand beach that the poem talked about could be any of the beaches on the Lyn-Norm lands since a lot of the islands in the north were volcanic. He directed Ogg’s gaze to a man mountain of hair and muscle and told him that he was one of their kind, an Ulfen. Ogg spent the rest of the night just watching the man talk and drink from a distance. It’s hard to be intimidating when you are almost a foot shorter than the pink-skin, and to think they all looked like that man boggled Ogg’s mind.

The dinner the next day was nice, there as plenty of food and the Lodge was a large building ran by an older pink-skin woman named She-lah Hyde March. She had a lot of interesting things in their Lodge; the most confusing to Ogg was the map that was put on a ball. She agreed to look at their writings to see if they could be transcribed and offered to purchase any odd artifacts they found for safe keeping should they be dangerous, as well as pay to hear their tale. She looked at their wayfinder and agreed that it wasn’t broken, but was pointing somewhere specific. She knew of a ship captain that could take them north, his long ship the only one in Magnimar still remaining. His name was Be-yorn Iron Heart and Ogg was impressed with the name. As it would turn out, the captain was the man Ogg had spent the evening prior watching.

He agreed to take them north to a city called Holgrom or to sail them directly where their wayfinder pointed them. The price was very reasonable and the only requirement was for them to purchase their own food for the journey. Their only detour was a short stop in a city called Riddleport, which excited Poe to no end, before sailing north. The journey, Iron Heart claimed, would take a little less than a month. So Ogg went to the bazaar to purchase a month worth of food and some cold weather gear. As Ogg purchased his gear, it was hard not to be excited. Once again, Ogg was going to see something new.

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After a good nights rest Ogg joined the others in the common room the next day where he learned either he had been drinking to much or more than likely was punched in the head one to many times to realize that the pink-skin using divine magics to keep him standing was a woman and not a man. For Ogg, he just chalked it up to the fact she was kind of manly looking, for a pink-skin.

The group sat around and talked about what to do with their scribbles of paper and what information was on them. They learned who the “Scribbler” was and that he was, in fact, dead. They learned from an elven woman, even though she acted like a man, named Shay’Lee-Loo that the Sandpoint Devil was an unknown creature. In all her years of tracking in the areas around Sandpoint all she learned was that the creature was smart enough to try and cover its own tracks. Not enough to hide its passing, just enough so that no one knew what it really was. Local legend pointed the creature’s lair to be on a outcropping of rocky volcanic rock to the north east of Sandpoint in something called ‘The Pit.’ Once the group began expressing interest in the finding the lair she gave them a dire warning. Years ago a group of adventurers decided to go and kill the creature and were never heard from again. That same year, the number of livestock that were taken increased. There was rumor that even a child had been taken, but there was no proof the Sandpoint Devil was responsible.

So the next hour or so the various members of the group gathered supplies since they may have to camp in the hinterlands or the nearby forest depending on how long it took to find and kill the devil. Once that was completed they decided to go to a sanitarium afterwards to speak with the woman who always seemed disinterested in what was happening around her. Before they had left town the dwarf of the group had told everyone that he believed she knew more than she was letting on when it came to the statues construction. So for whatever reason she had for including the silvery writing the group hoped to learn from her why she had done so. Nar’ion was a little worried about that confrontation for some reason.

By early afternoon they found the opening in the rocky ground on the plateau that was called the Pit. The opening in the rock was directly above a large cave and that climbing down into the cave would be difficult since the cave floor was easily a hundred feet down and no one had that much rope or a desire to climb down it even if they had. So they set about looking for the entrance that the creature used and after another few hours of looking found a cave on the northern side of the cliffs hidden by overgrown brush.

Once inside the group moved in different teams. A majority of them could either see in the dark or see in dim light. So the silent ones that could see in the dark went first with Ogg and the dwarf going in the next team. Those that required light brought up the rear. Not far into the tunnel they disturbed a mess of bats that began pouring down the tunnel to the entrance. Ogg dropped to the ground quickly knowing that the frightened bats would probably bite anything they came across. After they passed overhead Ogg came across the ratling who was receiving divine aid from the wounds he took from the bats. Ogg had to laugh at the idea of vermin biting vermin.

They continued a little further when Ogg noticed a cat like creature with six legs attempting to sneak up and pounce on Poe. The creature wasn’t terribly big, but was easily the size of Poe. Ogg shouted a warning and charged forward cutting the beast down. Nar’ion had buried one arrow into its hide but the creature was obviously dead. For a devil the creature didn’t put up much of a fight. The larger version of the same creature that rushed forward, knocking Poe unconscious, caused Ogg to shake after it let loose a supernatural roar. The real Sandpoint Devil had arrived.

Ogg rushed forward bringing the great sword down into its hide biting deeply and was repaid in kind when the creature picked him up in its mouth and raked Ogg’s belly. If it weren’t for the woman’s divine healing Ogg would have died that day, but when he awoke a few moments later he learned that the combined might of the group felled the creature.

For the next hour the group either searched the sea of bones that littered the caverns floor or worked at the devils hide for proof of its demise or for trophies. Ogg assisted Nar’ion with the hide after having taken a large tooth as a trophy. The others found the remains of the three adventurers as well as some of their gear, which was passed around to those that could use it. They also managed to find a very odd looking silver key, which was given to Poe.

Using a rough map given to the group by the elf woman, they found the sanatorium an hour after the sunset. It was then that they also met a frantic looking demon that was rambling about creatures with wings and Corry’el still being inside. It was at that time that the sanatorium erupted in multiple balls of magical fire. By the time the group had made their way to the building proper it was an inferno. For the next few hours the group ran a bucket brigade to prevent the fire from taking the hinterlands along with the sanatorium. No trace of this woman was found but the creature, a tiefling as Ogg later learned, was sure she was dead. Something was hunting the remaining ‘Heroes of Sandpoint’ out of vengeance. Looks like a new statue was going to have to be made.

It was early in the morning hours before the group returned to Sandpoint and after a few celebratory drinks over the death of the devil they went to bed. The next day, the guard captain presented everyone responsible for the death of the devil a sizable amount of gold as compensation for their deeds. For Ogg, Sandpoint was beginning to look like a wonderful place to live.

The group decided that during the evening hours later that day, they would see what the key they had found would unlock. Later that evening, after the guard had left, the group positioned themselves in spots around the statue while Poe and the ratling climbed up to see if a lock could be found. Poe discovered a depression in the stone of the dragon’s chest and placed the key into it, which caused the ground directly below Ogg to open up, revealing a stairwell that Ogg slowly tumbled down.

When Ogg finished his tumble, with only his pride being hurt in the acrobatic display, he stood to find himself in an old tunnel. The group then began searching the complex but found it completely empty of anything of importance. That was until they passed into a great chamber that contained some sort of reflecting pool of brackish and smelly water. Sitting on a small dais was a wayfinder with the number seven etched onto its surface. When the group opened the wayfinder up, they discovered that it didn’t point in the direction of north, something the dwarf was adamant that it wasn’t doing, but instead was point to the northwest. One of the other writings Quink had translated spoke of a voyage and it was starting to look like the group would have to leave Sandpoint to follow these clues.

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Not knowing how the town would react to his presence, Ogg had learned that any orc was barely tolerated outside of Kaer Maga, he chose the first inn he came to for lodging called the Rusty Dragon. The owners, a short pink skin with brightly colored lips and a human with equally brightly colored socks, didn’t seem to balk at his presence. So he got a room and spent the rest of the evening in a corner of the inn listening to the people and enjoying the food. The meats were flavored beyond anything Ogg had ever had. Apparently the animals in this area tasted better than back in Belkzen. In time, Ogg learned that the festival was called the swallowtail festival and was based around one of the pink skin religions. Whatever the reason, everyone was agreeable and the food and drink were amazing.

The next day Ogg followed the crowd to the northern part of town in the morning. Ogg was given a few looks for his attire. Having lived his life where combat was a daily occurance, or at least almost a daily occurance, Ogg always wore his armor and weapons. None of the town guard seemed to care and the extent of his gear was sideways glances at best, so he ignored the stares.

The crowd gathered around a structure that was hidden by white canvas and a small platform where a few people were seated. Among them was the human with the brightly colored socks, a senior guard looking man, some holy man and a couple of women. One of which seemed to be looking off in the distance at nothing in particular. The guard spoke about the festival being safe and whatnot and the woman that wasn’t so disinterested spoke about the fallen heroes of Sandpoint. With that done a team of dwarves tore down the canvas, its stucture, packed up and left in a matter of minutes. In the process they unveiled a massive statue of what Ogg assumed were pink skins since they were all white, the color of the stone. There were different races, each doing some sort of activity or fighting at the point of a star. The center showed some man fighting a giant winged serpent, probably a dragon. It was impressive looking but nothing beat the large dragon statue that Ogg saw on his westward journey out of Belkzen. With that done everyone broke off to attend the multitude of games that were all over the town.

Ogg did stop where he watched a very animated man screaming at the people to toss the goblins into the fire. The goblins were little bags of beans or rocks in the shapes of goblins. The fire was a board with holes cut out and red strips of cloth made to look like fire. The children were having a wonderful time much to the amusement of the man who hosted the event. Ogg chuckled at the event but he realized that the pink skins were just as brutal as orcs when it came to training their children. Burning goblins alive? That was cruel.

Ogg did participate in one event, a strong-arm event where you would try and pin a mans arm to the table with your arm while leaving your elbow on the table. Seemed simple enough but as it turns out the shorter armed folk were hard to pin as Ogg lost to a dwarf. What Ogg was really waiting for was the food event. Each of the inns were preparing meals that everyone could try and a winner would be chosen based on votes from the town. The Rusty Dragon was slow cooking a great boar on a spit covered in some brown sauce that smelled of smoke and sweetness. Kicking off that event the holy man Ogg saw earlier spoke of the god Desna and when he was finished, pulled back a tarp from a small hand cart releasing thousands of butterflies. They each took to the air in their haphazard way of flight flying through the townsfolk who had gathered to watch. It wasn’t but a minute after that that several of the insects landed on Ogg, each opening their wings to their fullest and almost hidding him from view behind their tiny wings. This apparently was a great omen and the crowd began cheering so Ogg thought it wise not to start batting the insects off his person. As it turned out, several people were “touched by Desna” in the same way and each person was offered a seat at the table with the holy man and the people from the platform.

From there Ogg was questioned by the holy man called Zantus as to how he had come to Sandpoint. Not wanting to release that information Ogg just replied with, “from a long way off.” It was during these questions and answers from those at the table that Ogg learned that Desna was a god of travel and that the butterflies were known to be agents of the god. Butterflies didn’t seem to be a very intimidating creature, but I suppose someone could choke to death on them if enough flew down a man’s throat. Again, Ogg thought it wise to keep that particular thought to himself, but he did mention that butterflies were not a very intimidating creature.

The others that were touched included the dwarf that Ogg had lost to in the strong-arm contest; an elf that wore robes and Ogg was unsure if it was a female or not; a pink-skin male whose ears had some point to them; a ratling, which was the first one of these Ogg had ever seen; a really damn big crow that could talk, he heard the word ‘tengoo’ but wasn’t sure what that was; and finally a pink skin male that had been the one to explain who Desna was.

During their discussions the woman who looked to be disinterested in everything only seemed to take notice when the crow, called Poe, began talking about the statue and the oddities that it contained. Poe had noticed small silvery writing in the stone as well as that it was oddly constructed; nine sides, a seven pointed star, the number 8 carved in the archway. This seemed to interest the ratling to no end as he wanted to go and look at the statue right then. After a few minutes of convincing the others at the table to go, those of us who were ‘touched’ decided look.

The ratling trying to scurry up the side to look closer at the statue of the warrior and the dragon but was having difficulty with the smooth stone so Ogg gave him a boost. This, as it turned out, made the guard upset with Ogg and the ratling. They didn’t want anyone climbing on the statue, especially on the first day. Poe showed the others that were interested in such things; Ogg looked but didn’t see the writing. Poe wrote down what he found and the pink skin called Nar’ion, the one with the slightly pointed ears, suggested talking with a man called Brodert Quink. He was sort of a legend in the town on being a historian and could possibly read the writing.

It took a while but by mid-afternoon the group found him and he indeed was able to read the writing. One of the passages said, “pass the test, find the key where the devil sleeps.” Unsure as to what that meant, the next thing the old man read was his last. Ogg was pretty sure he said ‘scribbler’ before grabbing his chest and falling over dead. For Ogg, dying while doing what you love doing is the way to go.

It was during this trek to find Quink that Ogg learned of a bare-knuckle fight event happening at a place called the Hagfish that evening. The fight was something that Ogg was eager to try and maybe even earn some coin doing so. Before the fight was set to take place the group returned to the statue as one of the passages pointed to some sort of event that would take place when the sun set. Ogg didn’t see or understand what happened but the ratling was rather animated when it happened.

When the event passed the group went down to the Hagfish where they learned that fight was against a rather large pink skin. None of the locals was willing to try but Ogg dropped his gear and armor and stepped into the ring. The pink skin was large but also very skilled as Ogg was punched as he moved in to swing. In orc lands, fights like this typically end as quickly as their fight did but were generally more fatal in nature. In less than a minute the large man hit the floor unconscious from just two blows from Ogg. A few seconds later, Ogg joined the man on the floor. This of course started a brawl from those that had bet and not being able to decide if it was a draw or not. During the brawl, the human that explained of Desna used his divine magics to revive Ogg and keep others conscious. In the end, Ogg went to bed five gold richer than when he entered the Hagfish. A festival indeed.

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His arms and feet were flailing for purchase, anything that would get his head above water. Suddenly his head broke the surface and as he gasped for air he looked around to make sure where the shore was. The screams of people and horses on the sinking river ship were quickly replaced by the sound of his own heart in his ears as he once again slipped under the water’s surface. Swimming was not something he knew how to do and the thought of dying in such a way angered him to no end. Suddenly his hand found purchase on something sticking out of the mud at the bottom of the river and he used it to push himself closer to the shore. Luckily the object ripped free of the mud and he was able to use this to assist him as he scrambled to the shore. As he pulled himself from the waters edge he looked down at his savior, a wooden pole with the tattered and muddy rags of what was once brightly colored cloth affixed to one end in the manner of the tools that pink-skins use to keep the rain off their head. How it ended up at the bottom of this river was irrelevant but the object was ruined now and so he tossed it back into the river as he pulled himself through the mud and onto the northern shore.

Whatever the creature was that had attacked the vessel was huge, obviously some sort of giant. It had grey green skin with a lighter colored belly; the eyes were solid black and looked of death. The mouth was disturbing and looked like a giant pink-rimmed sucker with sharp teeth inside and if that weren’t enough, it wielded a giant hooked club. Turning to look across the river he saw the giant staring back it him, a horse under one arm held fast as it tried to escape the giants grasp. Using the hook on the club the giant disemboweled the horse, the entrails dropping all around its feet and along the shore. As the screams of the dying horse faded the giant began feasting on its meal. All that went through Muh-Ogg’s mind was, “how did I get here?”

The answer to that question started twenty years ago. Being a half-breed orc in Belkzen to one of the innumerable tribes meant slavery. A slave given to one of the smaller tribes that swore blood oaths of fealty to the Empty Hand tribe. He was given to the shaman of the tribe for training and given the name Muh-Ogg that meant Promised One in orcish. His name held no real benefit as he was treated with scorn and ridicule for more than fifteen years. The tutelage given by his master was as brutal and harsh as his treatment by the rest of the full bloods. Still though, being a half-breed meant that he was generally smarter than the average orc and he used that to his advantage as much as possible.

There were twelve apprentices to the shaman; a few were even full bloods. Muh-Ogg had learned that the apprentice that showed the most promise was beaten as harshly as the one that showed the least. So Muh-Ogg did what he could to continually ensure he was in the middle of the pack. The problem was that for more than fifteen years, a lot of the apprentices died. Most died from ‘natural’ causes, anything that was at the hands of another orc. Eventually Muh-Ogg was the only apprentice remaining and he had to endure the hardships alone.

Throughout his life, warriors of the Empty Hand tribe would come to collect tribute from their tribe. It was always after these visits that Muh-Ogg would suffer the most from the full bloods. Members of the tribe hated giving away their plunder for the protection the Empty Hand offered. Since the tribe couldn’t take out their frustration against the warriors of the Empty Hand they took it out on the half-breeds instead.

It was during one of these attacks that Muh-Ogg fought back, something that was not allowed by any slave. The penalty was death for any half-breed to strike a full blood. Muh-Ogg had given up; his death was preferential to the continual treatment he suffered. The orc was surprised at Muh-Ogg and quickly devolved into brutal hand-to-hand combat. The orc had a weapon and all Muh-Ogg had was his fists and his rage. Using a small rock to wrap his hand around, Muh-Ogg repeatedly punched the orc in the head to great effect. When the orc fell over Muh-Ogg picked up a much larger rock, something easily the size of an orcs head and sat on his chest repeatedly bashing the rock down into the thick skull of the orc. He only stopped when there was nothing left to destroy and stood back up looking down at the now headless orc. When Muh-Ogg turned around he saw the shaman looking at carnage with a wicked grin. No one came for Muh-Ogg’s head because the shaman wouldn’t allow it.

It had only been a week since the ‘incident,’ and Muh-Ogg could hear the whispers of those in the tribe. They wanted his head but no one was willing to go against the shaman out of fear. Muh-Ogg had lived long enough to know it was only a matter of time before he was killed and decided to leave before that happened. One evening on the night of a new moon Muh-Ogg crept towards the sleeping shaman with only a half burned log clutched in his grasp. Just as Muh-Ogg placed his off hand on his shaman’s chest to keep him pinned down he stabbed at the open mouthed shaman with his burning log. The log fit nicely and prevented the shaman from screaming and alerting the tribe. Muh-Ogg took his first breath as a free man. The smell of burnt flesh and blood filled the yurt but the odor was lost on the wind, as it always smelled of burnt flesh and blood. With the deed complete Muh-Ogg quietly stepped out into the cool night air.

It took three days before he made it from Urgir to the mountains in the west, a combination of walking and running for the entire time. Muh-Ogg had chosen west because to the east, he was told, were undead. The walking abominations were dangerous and best left alone. Something he had learned from his shaman master. The south contained the people that would attack him on sight, the people his kind had been at war with for all their lives. The north wasn’t much better off, as beyond the orcish borders were wild men that would do the same as those in the south, but he would have to survive getting through the orc lands which he doubt he would be able to do. That left only the west, an area known to be a wild frontier.

He eventually came to a great walled city known as Kaer Maga and lived there for a year. The city was unlike Urgir as everything walked within its walls. So many races that Muh-Ogg never knew existed. He had seen pink-skins before in Urgir, but never so many and they were all different sizes also. He earned coin in fighting pits, jobs as enforcers or as bodyguards for its many visitors. The coin was good and Muh-Ogg had decided to live the rest of his life in this paradise until one day he saw two full bloods of the Empty Hand tribe walking about in an area Muh-Ogg was known to frequent. Unsure if they were in fact looking for him, he decided that fate had dealt him a good hand it was time to move on.

Stealing his way into a group heading down the Halflight Path, Muh-Ogg signed on as a bodyguard for a merchant that was heading to a city on the western coast called Magnimar. He had planned on hiring a river ship captain to take him and his wares to this city and for the promise of protection Muh-Ogg would be paid well. Sadly, the giant ended that contract prematurely. Perhaps fate had helped him again as with the death of the merchant no one would know of his name or his destination. Should the orcs from Kaer Maga actually be hunting him this detour might help him elude his pursuers.

Looking about, Muh-Ogg decided that continuing down river to this city was probably not a good idea. Going back looked about as good as trying to cross the river to where the giant was feasting on the horse so that left north. After a few days of hiking north through the swamp and then farmlands he came to a road that led to a small town. Just outside of town a small sign said, “Welcome to Sandpoint. Please stop to see yourself as we see you.” Attached to the sign was a small mirror hanging by a bent nail. His only thought as he crossed the bridge into the town that appeared to be gearing up for some sort of festival was to go by the name of Ogg.

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We continued to follow the gaseous form of the dead vampire down a long hall while I healed those that I could. As the group was following the mist they encountered another three vampires and made quick work of them. As that encounter was happening another group was coming down the hall from behind so I fell back into the entry room to wait for them to pass and ambush them. Before I was able to take advantage of my hidden spot a large ball of magical fire exploded among the group, so before I decided to follow out after swinging at one of the vampires when he ran by I cast a spell to resist fire. The group managed to take the remaining one done rather quickly so I saved myself from taking needless damage from a ball of fire wielding caster and cast another spell that would allow me to move through difficult terrain easier in the meantime.

Once that was done I moved up to the forward group with a quick spell and found the room the gaseous forms were heading and we set up shop to kill them off as they arrived. In the meantime I used a few more spells and used the wand I still had that was capable of healing. We left there and moved onto another room where we found the lich's workshop. Inside I found the bits left over from the elemental woman we encountered, Ignis, as well as another fragment of the meteorite. We gathered what we could, me the chunk of meteorite that went into Vex's magical hole of storage and Vex taking all the tools he could grab.

We found other highly disturbing things and reasons to clear this nest out so I changed into the form of a large earth elemental and my new found height put my head about four feet from the ceiling. We moved into the throne room and suddenly Macer was hit by some necrotic spell that looked to drain him of all fluids. Amazingly though he was still standing. Right after that the room was filled with a poisonous cloud followed by an incendiary blast that singed my rock hide. Seeing that the cloud was going to move into Lugh shortly I cast my fast movement spell and with the speed of the worlds largest cheetah I ran forward and up the stairs grabbing Lugh along the way. Because of my long arm span I was able to hold him outside of the cloud, which I was immune to, and eventually deposit him opposite of me next to the lich. Things were going to get real interesting.

Grand Lodge

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Yeah, Im way behind on updating my end of the story and GM rules.

First let me say that doing the everyone roll Perception at the end of a conflict is a great way to go to speed up play. Rather than yell, super loot and heal me, there is a chance for everyone to discover something while patching wounds, checking gear, checking loot, general information gathering etc. It also allows the party to find those random bits that are somewhat hidden in room descriptions that I would feel guilty not giving out because no one said they were investigating "there."

Last week we got back into the game after almost a two-month hiatus for the holidays and family obligations.

We lost our gunslinger as the player wasn't having much fun with the class so he introduced the new sorcerer/wizard (arcanist I believe).

I had him be our first introduction to the rumors of a giant robot in the area as he stumbled upon a witness to its actions. I set the story with him riding a caravan from Hajoth Hakados (he's also an elf and very distantly related to the rogue). Along the way north they come across a Kellid carrying an enormous amount of gear. Essentially everything the guy could retrieve from the ripped apart caravan he came across. The description of all the pack animals being riddled with bullets, as well as the ground and a few of the caravaners. The rest of the caravan was just "missing."

All of this was a set up to how I was going to run a small XP encounter to give the group some XP as the second book said they should be 4th at the start. They are part way through 3rd right now.

The size of the annihilator robot weakened the ground in an area that the group traveled over on their way to Scrapwall. So I set up a trap with a 30 ft fall centered on the group as they walked in a line. The Reflex DC was 12 for the outer members (#1 and 6 in the line), DC 14 for the next inner group (#2 and 5 in the line) and DC 16 for the middle members (#3 and 4 in the line) to avoid the collapsing roof. I used the underground map from the Tech flip mats as the area for these encounters.

I called it the Halls of Fen the Despicable. Where Fen is a NPC codex rebuild of the Battle Mage to a Necromancer with the Fiendish template applied. The area was a mix of various types of Zombies (plague, fast and normal) and Rust Risen (different types here as well). There was also a Yellow Musk Creeper and a few zombie creepers as well. The idea was that Fen was being blocked from getting more test subjects by the Creeper and was building up her group to kill it and clear a path for her to find more Kellids to necro-tize.

So I set up a total of 4 encounters for the group which is an APL of 4. The first two encounters were Challenging CR5, the third being Hard CR6 and the final being Average CR4.

Encounter 1 was 5 Zombies and 1 Rust Risen (metal jaw, steel clad).
Encounter 2 was 2 Fast Zombies and 2 Rust Risen (both arm drill and metal jaw)
Encounter 3 was 2 Rust Risen (arm drill and steel clad), 1 Plague Zombie, 2 Fast Zombies and Fen.
Encounter 3 was a Yellow Musk Creeper and 3 Musk Creepers.

They went through it pretty well. The dice got a little cold on me for the night and we had a few crits from the group that just outright murdered what they hit. I enjoyed the fight and the creation of the BBEG as I never make wizards.

I know of one more random encounter I have rolled up before they reach Scrapwall with the possibility of 1 or 2 more before they make it but haven't rolled yet.

I will try and keep up to date again as my time allows. Real life sucks.

Grand Lodge

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Fresh faced and ready to go the group completed the repair on the power coupling. In this case I had Khonnir make the roll with up to two assists being allowed. Since the cleric has Craft: Mechanics I allowed him to add an assist (assuming he made the DC 10 check) and they paid another smith, someone that Khonnir recommended, to being the second helper. This meant that the group was going to head down into Black Hill the next morning. That's when they did something somewhat unexpected. The dwarf decided to try drinking the fluids from the top of Black Hill.

I will admit that I had mentioned it as a joke to the player (dwarf cleric) who will ALWAYS play with a Deck of Many Things that I was surprised he had left it alone. So he marched up the hill and drank a pint. He failed the addiction roll AND rolled poorly on the Side Effects chart taking 4 CON drain. The player was not amused. That's when another player (elf rogue) decided to do the same as a joke to prove that elves were better than dwarves. He succeeded on his addiction roll and was only nauseated for a few hours but otherwise unharmed. They also, now with the level, have the ability to pick the white access card lock on the box they had discovered in C1a. They managed to figure out some of the grenades, but not all of them. Which is when I explained that the fighters offer to open the box with his earthbreaker would have been "interesting" and they understood.

So the group had a late start getting into Black Hill but eventually made it there. Before taking the elevator ride to the Engineering deck, they poked their head into C11, the last room on the Science deck they had not entered. They easily dispatched the medical drone and moved on with only the rogue having taken any damage. (Honestly, I have no idea why, but I can hit his player ALL NIGHT LONG, and he can see my dice rolls. So all I can do is shrug.)

From here we moved to the Engineering deck, the group opting not to try and check the other levels first. I also moved over to 'correctly' using surprise rules and the encounter with the dogs in D1 went well, but rather easy. Again, I used the mini-advance rules on them as well as give them max health. We were 5 players strong at that point with the swashbuckler/investigator arriving at the end of the fight. The 'ding' the elevator making when the door opened explaining to the group why the dogs were alerted to their presence.

They did a quick scout of the long tunnel to the north but stopped after a few minutes to return. From here they went D3/D4 south in order of rooms. In this case they encountered the same number of Fanatics and Scrappers as the AP lists, albeit mini-advanced with max health. It was at this point the dice went ice cold for me. I couldn't even hit the elf, that's how bad they went. Still the Fanatics surprised the group when they didn't fall when they should have. Of course, I did another error here and should have had them fall when their negative HP hit their CON. In the end it didn't matter they were never really a threat with my dice rolls. They enacted 'super-loot' rules, ie me giving them everything on the corpses and the player with the highest Perception roll the room Treasure. In the case of multiple treasures, I will split that loot up among the players with the high rolls so as to include everyone.

Instead of pushing further east, they moved south as I mentioned earlier. Checking the hallway just to the south of D4 then moving to D2 and successfully disabling the "trap." (Great roll by the rogue there.) Then moved down to the next hall before returning to D2 and then moving into D8.

As a GM I was a little torn here as to how this should play out but it worked out rather well in the end. We used the surprise rules since the door opening was obvious to Gruethur although he didn't see anyone. In this case the rogue scouting was working as was his awesome stealth roll. He spotted Gruethur because he is painfully obvious but as far as the rogue could tell he was just another statue, except made of stone. The rogue motioned for the group to follow but kept his eye on the statue since it was so out of place. At that point Gruethur sees the group enter and attacks. I had him speaking in Terran the whole time using words such as "unworthy" since the Terran language is slow to speak. This fight though turned out to be a TOUGH fight. Mostly because the fighter went down early. I had Gruethar spread his attacks out and only focus all his attacks when a character injured him, ie. more than 5 points after DR. This had the rogue down, the fighter down and had almost dropped the cleric. I believe I had chewed a bit into the Bard and Gunslinger, but had ignored the swashbucker/investigator since he wasn't causing any real damage. The humorous part of the evening was Gruethur making a snide remark to the cleric about his god not being worthy here, and then the cleric had a critical hit with his magical hammer (from the original Brigh adventurers) and doing an obscene amount of damage when he only had 3 HP left.

We ended the night there with the group having healed everyone and engaging 'super-loot' phase.

Grand Lodge

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Okay, slight delay in my posts. We played one night, had a week off and then took it back up this past weekend. So I apologize for that.

That being said, our game from a few weeks back was almost a TPK and campaign TPK. There was a lot of frustration at the table, even I was pissed. At the time, we spent a majority of the evening after the game talking about everything and nothing. The evening was a comedy of errors that compounded into the worst night of RP in a long time. We only cleared two rooms. C8 and C12 respectfully.

Two of the harder hitters on the entire level. Error #1 (really just bad luck on the party's part). The group was also really banged up when they entered into C8 and hadn't topped people off (multiple player errors there). Error #2. I misplayed the sneak and initial round of combat. Error #3. Fight ended and then they moved into C12. Error #4, which becomes apparent a few rounds into the combat. No Knowledge check made on encountering the two new robots, Medical drone and Collector robot. Error #5. Semi-good dice rolls on my part and poor dice rolls on players parts. Error #6 (but like #1, just bad luck). Half-way through encounter group learns they have 0 channels and no spells from Cleric or Bard, only the wand of cure light wounds. Error #7 (this was their seventh encounter in a row I think one of the players said). Collector robot Hardness. Error #8. No one was able to *really* hurt the robot. In the end it was the bard who was two-handing his longsword that did a majority of the damage before the fighter finished it off. Almost every player had been in the negatives, multiple times. It was at that point that fingers were pointed (not really) and a lot of bad blood began to boil.

In the end we discussed a great MANY things. From how I introduced character creation, to suggestions on what to do in these types of encounters (i.e., aid another actions). Point here is we spent a lot of time on this.

As a GM I would HIGHLY suggest other GMs running this keep a close eye on party gear to know if they can handle the encounter. If you even think they may not be able to handle the encounter I would suggest removing the Collector robot from the Science deck and replace it with another Medical drone. Maybe just do the mini advance like I talk about in my previous post if you think the encounter would be to easy for your group.

We took a week off the following week for a birthday party game weekend for the player of Moxie in my RotRL campaign and came back refreshed for this past week.

We did a minor critical shift to a few things we had done the last week with the group returning to Torch. Namely it was my error on not being able to find the actual rules on figuring out tech (Kn. Engineering). So with the Cleric making some awesome rolls was able to figure out a majority of what they had found. Sanvil Trett had showed up at the same time as Dolga with their reward for the return of Khonnir. He offered to explain the rest which he *almost* did. Turns out his skill level was similar to the Cleric. So the group paid him for his services and he got to see everything they had found.

In order to do the Torch Event 3 since the group had only just met Trett, I decided to have him sneak in and get caught. We did this in a narrative mechanic as I am trying to push a story and not just mindless dice rolling. The humorous part for this was that the inn was rigged with bear traps. One of the player characters had some for some reason and once Val saw them, she asked if they could use them to keep an eye on the repair drone corpse to make sure it didn't activate again and used the remaining one at the back door to the inn. Which is where Sanvil was caught on his way out with a few of the really expensive items the group had found. In the end they found the note in his pocket as they made sure he hadn't stolen anything else but didn't know what it meant.

Trett was thrown in jail, which was a great RP session and very humorous. A TRUE comedy of errors. The next day the group split their reward and tried to figure out what to do. I suggested they purchase one adamantine weapon, another wand of cure light wounds and split the remaining 250g among the group. It was decided that was a good idea should they encounter another Collector robot. I *think* we convinced the gunslinger to purchase a few adamantine shots as well. But the 66g cost per shot was to expensive. I plan on saying that as long as you can recover the corpse and take a few minutes you can retrieve the adamantine shot and then remake it into a new alchemical charge. This way you can have 10 or so rounds on you for emergencies and only need time to replenish your capabilities rather than gold. Not sure if the player went that route or not.

We spent a majority of the evening in this phase, i.e., maintenance. The great time killer.

When we picked it back up we had a lively RP session with the group interrogating Sanvil and learning what they could. The investigator/swashbuckler was able to smooth talk out some info with some help from Dolga (essentially a written copy of his release should his information pan out, AFTER a hefty fine was paid for his transgression and the required tax for the Technic League). This meant the group would get his monetary wealth and Sanvil would keep his "gear and merchandise." Which in turn meant he would have to sell his merchandise to have some cash. His fear of failure meant that he wouldn't be telling the Technic League what happened but you never know what villains will do in the end. Right now he will be locked up until the end of book 1 at the minimum to ensure the group isn't interrupted. I also seeded the 'anyone could be a Technic League spy.' Not for any particular reason but just to remind the group of how they operate.

With this done the group scouted out the warehouse and then threw me a curve ball. I expected sneaking in and subduing the catwalk guards and then the main altercation with Garmen. They did sneak in and did a great job, but then they pulled out the Bluff card. The investigator/swashbuckler tried to con the two ropefists to leave as he had orders from Garmen. What the player didn't know was that Garmen was in the warehouse. They did the assault/scout during the early afternoon. I figured there would be a 50/50 chance he would be there if they had gone at night.

Well the Bluff was amazing but the fact Garmen was there had them pensive. It also didn't help that more and more of the party slowly walked in. Suddenly the two ropefists were outnumbered and unsure what was happening. The player then stepped into the stairwell in the office area and then started a new bluff trying to convince Garmen that his character was an unscrupulous technic league spy offering to keep silent on his dealings if he turns over all his "tech." This roll wasn't as good and we roll played a fair amount before it turned into a fight.

All I did was mini advance the four ropefist thugs and Garmen, As well as give them max hit points. The fight went rather well with a few sneak attacks from the thugs, and the fact they punch rather hard made it interesting. The only player that went down was the investigator/swashbuckler when Garmen feint attacked him twice, one of them a critical. He almost died to be honest. The Bard and Cleric were able to immediately take care of the damage the thugs caused when they hit. Garmin was pretty bad assed but they got him when the fighters dice woke up. That player has a rotten time with luck and dice.

So when we pick up this weekend we will be starting with the group completing the repairs on the power coupling and then returning to the tunnels under Black Hill.

Also the group was around 400 xp away from 3rd level so I had them level their characters then but the characters were still down the 400 from level but this way it wouldn't slow down the next week and we could get going with little delay.

Grand Lodge

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So this week started Part IV and the Science deck.

A small amendment to my last post. Seems two weeks of downtime muddles the brain. I had forgot that after the near TPK with the advanced Kasatha skeleton the group pulled back to Torch to rest for the night and exhausting their spells for the day. They had gone back in the next morning encountering the last Kasatha skeleton along the path about 24 hours after the last encounter with one of the Kasatha skeletons. Key word here being "24 hours." Then their encounter with Hetuath with which healing was done with wands. Not a huge change but important none-the-less.

As a GM I made a minor error here, and the best advice I can give any GM is to always read every sidebar in the AP before the start of every session. I don't know what it is about sidebars but I always forget that info and it always bites me in the ass down the road. Even though the doors require a black key-card on the science deck level they are not, in fact, all locked. Something I forgot to mention to my players and as such we played the whole night assuming everything was locked. It wasn't until the encounters in C6/C7 that I realized this when I wondered how the vegepygmy's got around. So I did a minor ret/con with the players later on for their journal entries and we will alter how we deal with doors from now on.

I also introduced a new rule I am trying out. In order to manage the super-loot (as we call it) phase of the game, I have every player roll a perception check at the end of the encounter. Then as the next few minutes of non-combat play out the characters will discover or find those "room only items." Looking over the dead is always going to happen so that loot is almost always going to be found. Other players may be tending the wounded or investigating something important to their character. In the course of those actions they may then discover those "treasures" that are in the rooms beyond whatever the BBEG was carrying. I will run this for the rest of the first book and try to report how this worked out at the wrap up of the last encounter of book.

The group entered into C1 and began poking about. Turns out the bloody northern doors creeped them out the most and was the driving force to make them follow the path of blood.

The length of C2 just added to the horror and as a GM there was a perverse sense of pleasure in describing somewhat clean areas marred by bloody violence. The feel of those two rooms for an entering party was well done by Paizo and I would encourage any GM to really play up fear of what caused the violence and how it looks to have ended.

The group continued on into C4 and I admit I enjoyed this encounter as well. The description of the curiously cleaned floor leading from one door to the next made the encounter with Fungus creepy cool. It also helped when the creature is described as a child asking questions. Then you are just playing up the horror movie stereotypes. I left the creature alone, opting not to increase the difficulty of the encounter any and leaving it instead at maximum health. It did its damage and the group only had to use minor resources to continue. They did find the box with the 3 timeworn flare guns, but are not sure exactly what they are. Other than single shot weapons of some sort the group has decided to bank them and their first real discovery that might lead them to Sanvil Trett.

I thought the group was going to go directly into C11 when they decided to clear out behind them, "just in case." So they entered into C5 and I enjoyed reading off random bits of goo tube food ideas, settling on Teriyaki Grablaw (since it may taste like chicken but isn't an actual chicken). I'd love to see a list of goo tube flavors somewhere to use as a percentile chart. I allowed the cleric who has the technologist feat a chance to figure out how to turn off the stove and he did so, slowly lowering the heat of the room. Everyone took some, mostly I think to sell as they might bring in a fair amount of cash, but I think some of the more adventurous players might keep them to eat. The humorous thing here is that I could in fact make a few goo tubes toothpaste and they would probably still eat it not knowing exactly what it is, other than minty.

From there they entered into C3 and instead of two CR1 boilborns I made them two CR2 plagueborns with maximum hit points. I also really played up the goopy, slimy nature of the creatures and their sounds and effects of damage caused to them. Much hilarity ensued when the fighter crushed one with his earthbreaker sending a massive pile of diseased acid everywhere. A note here for GMs, diseases are not able to be treated until the affliction becomes apparent (onset). The group made their knowledge check and knew that they carried disease but they really have no way of knowing that anyone is afflicted until someone becomes sick. Having a 3 month calendar available will help you plan out when the affliction manifests. Since the Golarion calendar mirrors our own with different words for days and months its easy to print these out to have on hand. I started our campaign on the day we actually started playing in real life.

From here the went into C9 and a few horrible rolls later by both the cleric and rogue at attempting to remove the coupling for repairs, they decided to leave it and return to C1 where they entered into the side room finding its contents but being unable to open the white pass-card box. The fighter offered to open it with his earth breaker but the group declined his offer of assistance. That would have been very interesting to play out. They returned to the "lift" and finally succeeded in removing the coupling for repairs before continuing on.

From here they took the side passage into C7 and I altered to room somewhat so that the weedwhip would be able to use its camouflage ability. No one made the DC 15 check and everyone moved into the room before it attacked leaving the rogue, fighter and swashbuckler/investigator sickened and poisoned. I did the half advance I mentioned in my last post to the creature with max health. So instead of a flat +2 to all rolls its only +1 and instead of the +4 AC/CMD its +2 (For XP rewards I just put it the halfway point between the rewards for CR. So if it was CR2, 600 XP and I half advanced it I would give 700 XP as CR 3 is 800 XP). I expected the encounter to be a little more difficult but at max health of 28, the cleric ran in hitting it with his warhammer for 2 reducing it to 26 and the gunslinger moved in and fired rolling a natural 20 and backing the threat up. He caused 27 damage. Sooo, I described the shot shattering the central stalk and the round ricocheting off the back wall and back into the weedwhip effectively cutting it in half. That was round 1. /blink blink

Soapbox moment
I told the group when we started that as a GM I wanted to make sure that the game was always about the story and it was never going to be GM versus the players. So I made sure to congratulate the player on a lucky shot and move along. All too often I think GMs might feel that its an 'us vs. them' game and it sours the game as a whole. That statement is a two-way street as well. The players might be thinking the same. As a gamer I think we need to try and get back to the story and should enforce that play at any table we sit at in some way.

The vegepygmies showed up in round 4 while the group was still working out the poisons and sickness and after a quick but lively scrum the group succeeded in killing them off. Again I did a half advance with max health on all the vegepygmies. We ended the night with the group gathering the loot from the rooms and the now dead followers of Brigh.

Grand Lodge

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Sorry for the late post we took a small hiatus from the game to test out Monte Cook's new game The Strange and because of that I took a break from updating my post.

We began the evening with the Torch Event and the meeting of Garmen Ulreth. I enjoyed the initial role play of the messenger and his being nervous. I am unsure as to why the Adventure Path listed him as being such but I assume it was either a) being sent by Garmen to do a task, b) having to meet a hard group that came back out from the tunnels or c) the guy was just useless. Either way the group took their time before going up and were each surprised to get a 100 gold voucher.

I decided to use the Dungeon Masters Guidebook for the gambling test and we did the Roll the Bones. In theory the players win 48% of the time. In reality they win every time. Whats the saying thirty percent of the time it works every time? In order to not bog the night down with rolls I allowed only a few rolls for each player. What I erred in was allowing there to be a one hundred gold per roll table. That aside, you would still think I wouldn't fail at rolling higher than a 6 on a d20. On the plus side it worked in the players favor. They used the excess winnings to purchase a lot of bullets for the gunslinger and a wand of cure light wounds since healing was an issue. More on that later.

They once again returned into the tunnels and other than the feeling of being watched by the Skulks they knew to be in the area but never seeing they entered into the Habitat Dome unmolested. What is interesting to me is the insane ability for our player who is running the rogue to continually get the wrong end of the stick. It happened when they encountered the repair drone in B2. They determined that it wasn't a threat as it wasn't attacking them but were wary of it. None of them made the connection with the card opening the door and when the rogue attempted to pick the lock the drone activated and walloped him something fierce. A quick fight later they progressed into B3 and only searched through B4 and the cages in B3. B5 was simple and it wasn't until we did the encounter at B6 that I may have made some errors.

Understanding the timing of the Ghelarn is key for a GM to make this encounter work. I made a few errors at the beginning of the encounter but what ended up happening is everyone failing their check to be entangled and then making their escape artist check to get out ended their turn. It made the fight drag on and made the encounter a little hard to stomach for the players. Part of that was my fault and I will have to double check the timing of the encounter again in case they encounter any more in the course of the campaign. They ended up destroying the creature with combined ranged fire from the gunslinger after the fighter sundered the shell.

So the group entered into the dome itself and began their search opting to follow the footprints of the previous expeditions. I decided to advance the kasatha skeletons and was surprised that the group essentially one-shotted the first two with out them ever swinging back. I ran the encounter by general initiative as there was no surprise as the skeleton would pull itself from the sand when they approached within 10 ft. The first two encounters was a player beating its initiative and proceeding to crit the creature and one shot it. Even with max advanced health they only had 10 hp. Although on the first creature I forgot their DR when the swashbuckler attacked. The third one though almost wiped out the party. As a GM I would strongly advise any GM from not advancing these. As a first level party will have a difficult time hitting it for one, getting past its DR, and weathering its four attacks. I would suggest maybe doing a half advance if you have a party size above 5 players and give the creature a flat +2 to CMD/AC and a +1 hit and damage. Increase the XP from 200 per to 300 instead of the advanced 400. The next fight I left them as is and they went down rather easily but the players were a little off put as we discussed the advancing rules for a good portion of the night.

The "illusion" of B10 was an enjoyable RP part of the game when we got back on track and the rogue lucked out and disabled the malfunctioning "trap" in B11. He waited for the pulse, ran in, and began attempting to fix the trap. He rolled his d4 for the number of rounds it would take and I rolled my pulse timer. I rolled max both times and he made it out successfully before the trap hit him. It took two attempts but they got passed the trap.

They proceeded into B12 where the player of the bard ran in and pushed a random flashing button on the console much to the dismay of the cleric. The chart at the beginning of the AP was used and we had some fun RP but no one was willing to touch anything after the threat of violence from the cleric if that was done again.

So they entered into B13 and I was worried about this encounter after reading some of the forum posts and his ability to TK parties. After having done Rise of the Runelords and watching that possibility almost happen to our group from an early boss fight below Thistletop I decided to leave Hetuath alone. He did some damage but in the end the fight went quickly and although he did some scary things, the swashbuckler's ability to reposte his attacks slowed his damage output. I think in retrospect a half advance would have been good. Definitely DO NOT full advance him.

Once he was dead, looted and the room searched they used the newly acquired card to open the doors to B14 and proceed to the lower levels. I did a semi GM intervention here for two reasons. I wanted to call it a night as it was late and I was tired, I wanted them to figure out the habitat dome to gain the XP rewards so they could level to 2 and because I wasn't fully ready to run the next part of the adventure.

The did figure out the controls and activated the power but ended the evening there. The group has decided to camp in the dome rather than move back and forth from the tunnels to Torch. That was an interesting decision by the group, we will have to see how that will play out.

Grand Lodge

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Kallidos wrote:
After receiving the healing touch of Bligh....

I sense a disturbance in the dwarven world as if a thousand automatons screamed out in agony! Brigh is the name you were looking for. But then again you were getting off a 100°+ fever so...

Grand Lodge

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Well, we got a lot further along with the game tonight than we did on the starting night.

We started the day following after their altercation with the advanced repair drone. Looking back I believe that I should not have had the encounter be against the advanced version. That aside, they did succeed. Knowing that it was going to be the last encounter for the session was my main reason for leaving it in. All the player resources, granted only three character, could be used to succeed.

So we started with the group getting their Water Breathing by Joram. Having six players meant that even with the Rod of Metamagic (Extended) each player only had four hours of water breathing. From there they made a quick stop off at the general store where they purchased multiple waterproof sacks and then they made their way to the Weeping Pond.

As a description for the pond, I gave the imagery of the multicolored hue of oil on water. Something that is really only seen if the light hits the water correctly. We then formed a party order for entering the pond and making their way down the underwater tunnel. The first two players failed their DC check to advance and I gave the description that between the sensation of being able to breathe in an environment that until now was impossible to do gave their character pause. The third in line made their check and I described that this player, the kellid fighter, sank like a stone to the bottom of the pond where he made his way along the bottom of the tunnel and arriving first ahead of the others. The cleric also had issues and even though he also sank like a stone, he couldn't find his way. I was somewhat worried that constant dice rolls just to make their way down the tunnel would bog down the game with needless rolls and so I only had their first success dictate who arrived on the shore first.

The bard and rogue both failed their constitution checks for contact with the contaminated waters and were at a small disadvantage when the fire beetles attacks. For this fight I did make all three beetles advanced and with max hit points. The group managed to remove the threat rather quickly but my dice were not kind to the rogue who was rather quickly reduced to zero hit points and was staggered for the fight. Regardless of the advanced template the beetles would have hit, just not as hard. The combat was also interesting because it meant the gunslinger could not use his weapon as it was wrapped tightly up in a waterproof sack. Sadly for that player, his dice were not as kind as they typically are and he spent a majority of the evening missing. Spending seven gold per shot at 1st level meant he chose those shots carefully.

They then took the tunnel through A3 and discovered the body of the dead half-orc. A few of the players recognized the corpse and decided to leave it alone. Not wanting to metagame the fact that I had a large print-out of the entire map printed out they moved into A4 with the intention of moving back through A2 to make sure they did not miss Khonnir's body should it be there.

As the attack from the Blindhelm started, the Swashbuckler yelled out not to kill it as he wanted a pet. It was made in jest and I made it part of the game considering the creatures past. I also had it initially attack him. Looking the creature over I had initially decided to make it advanced but decided against this when I realized how difficult it would be to hit and how easily it would shred the party with its massive amount of attacks. The only modification was to make it full health. Once again, the rogue found himself on the mean end of my dice and only the bard was blinded by the creature. He was also the only one to have a chance to know what it was. I gave him a chance to know with a higher DC check after the encounter as he did see it right before he was blinded and since he was working from memory. He made the roll and knew that the blindness was not permanent. They did discover the brand and the cleric was the only one of the group that spoke Undercommon. Even though the Blindhelm doesn't have a language per se, the use of the word 'pet' was something it knew, at least in inflection.

After heals the group pressed on with the rogue stealthing into A2 with the fighter following along. The slime molds moved forward into them after they moved further into the room. Once again, I kept the encounter at three molds and advanced them with full HP. Again the rogue had a bad dice day by me. The boons the players had, of which there were three, were almost all used by this point. Regardless the party managed to kill them and top everyone off mostly. The rogue decided to hang back for a while and allow the other members of the party to scout ahead.

As a GM, I failed here. Massively. One of the rules I have adopted from another campaign I play in is to have the rogue give one roll for stealth. It only resets after a combat encounter. This way we don't bog the night down with constant rolls and detract from the story. My failure was forgetting the nature of stealth and forgetting to allow him to scout ahead possibly not being seen. In the case of the molds they did move forward but it was because of the obvious fighter in heavy armor sloshing along behind the rogue. The stealth roll didn't make the rogue invisible but I did have two of the molds attack the fighter while only one of the molds attacked the rogue. The attack was also made after the rogue had stabbed at it. So even if he was unseen, he was obvious at that point. Regardless, it is an area I will have to manage better as a GM.

They then moved on into A5 where they poked around a little and discovered nothing but the drawings on the walls. The rogue did get a fairly high Perception check while watching the SE tunnel but not high enough to realize that a skulk was there and moving slowly away from them to warn the others. So I just explained that he felt as if he was being watched but didn't know why or from where.

They then pushed on into A6 and the group didn't push on into the room. The fighter was leading the way and made a Knowledge: Dungeoneering roll recognizing the brown mold and how dangerous it was. They also used rope that the rogue had to fashion a noose and succeeded in recovering Gerrol's corpse. They discovered the odd markings and again the fighter made a Dungeoneering roll recognizing the russet mold. They took what they could off the body and left him in the room knowing they needed to research more about russet mold before removing the body.

Backing out of the room they made their way through A5 into A7 and made contact with the skulk tribe. The elected group that went was the gunslinger who did the negotiation, the cleric and swashbuckler. The others remained behind and minded their manners.

All dialog that I did, first with Luepel and then with Sef was done in a broken common, although I did make Sef a little more competent with the language. They agreed to Sef's terms and made their way into the gremlin caves.

Again I messed up, it was a little late, and I had them attacked by all three gremlins after the fighter triggered the trap in the first room. I had them all dimension door in and begin their attack. Again I was going to make them advanced until I realized that would make them damn near impossible to hit. Even deadlier with their DR, so they only had max health. Their low damage meant that they only could do 1 point of damage as they never got a flank with the small confines of the room. In fact the rogue moved through the caves to get behind them and was able to get past the DR with the additional back stab damage.

Throughout the encounters the bards Inspire Courage ability really helped the group get past difficult combats so his ability was invaluable. They eventually made it to A11 and Jazvit. His advanced nature was giving them problems to hit even with the dog pile the combat became. The gunslinger finally gave up and just did a grapple check and succeeded at holding him down. He was 1 player away from dimension dooring it out of there when the swashbuckler got a critical hit killing him.

We finished the evening with the group collecting their end of the bargain in silverdisks and the brown colored cards, as well as returning to Torch to rest for the night after speaking with people in town with what they found (Dolga/Emelia/Joram). In my campaign I have decided to alter the weight of silverdisks. I was not a big fan of each disk being one pound, so they are .25 lbs per disk instead. I believe this still implies its technological nature and uniqueness to standard coinage. I am also trying to decide on what I am going to do with them for actual loot. As tech they are valued at 10 gold each. So I either make them that in trade or as something that needs to be sold for 5 gold only.

I was a bit rusty on the running of the game but I hope to make up for my mistakes the next week. No one died and the encounters were all epic in small but memorable ways, and the players all agreed they had fun. Lets hope next week is better and their journal entries are enjoyable to read.

EDIT: I forgot to add, that after a critical hit is confirmed I play this from my laptop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA0erM_B3CA

Grand Lodge

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Tangent101 wrote:
I love that backstory. I hope you got something extra for that work :)

Work? Extra? Hell's no he didn't. He gets the pleasure of my company. :)

That aside, I've asked them to come up with a backstory, ie. their motivation for coming to Torch, and reveal that during the game to their new found friends. Its also why they are using the /spoiler tag. I've asked that the other players not read that part as it will spoil their roleplay throughout the campaign.

I really need to get Kallidos to post his 'actual' backstory as its equally as long and well written. Then I have to teach these guys about using a character alias for their posts like Morgrym did. He is the half-orc ranger from my Rise of the Runelords game with the other group.

I should mention that when I get a chance I am going to work on some simple rules for gambling games that I will introduce here for those times spent in Silverdisk Hall. The Dungeon Masters Guide, or whatever its actually called, talks about some things to do but I wasn't sold and think I can generate a few things on my own.

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Only one player is a carry over from the Tuesday group. This is another group of friends. They are all young and full of hope, soon to be squashed. /snicker Which is funny because I am one of the youngest of the 10 man group on Tuesdays. Of course they are only about ten years younger than me but I have to lord something over them. :)

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I should note that I was also not allowing certain races, android specifically. (Which surprised some of the players as they didn't know the race existed.) I will allow for the android race to be played in the game should a character die and are more experienced with the setting. Hopefully this won't need to happen but dice are dice.

Grand Lodge

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I am currently running a Iron Gods campaign for a group of friends and have set this up for their journals and my GM notes for other GMs to read for information and ideas.

When I started up the campaign, I initially didn't give the players any information as to what the campaign was going to be or where. I only asked them to answer one long question. Do you want your characters to be from the town the campaign will begin in, the country the campaign is set in, or from outside the country? I told them not to think about races or classes and instead think of a background ideal. Where is your character's investment in the campaign?

The next week we all got together and I explained that we would build the characters in one setting. Otherwise they have a tendency to waffle around and when the game officially starts everyone is something other than what they had started as.

In order to help curb the power creep that I have noticed in the latter part of campaigns, where the term 'rocket tag' begins to take effect, I put limitations on character building. I have a group of six players which already sets the party number to two higher than the campaign is designed for. (Personally I would love to see Paizo start including CR upgrades in their campaigns for larger party sizes. I think that would be a HUGE boon for any GM and a nice feather in the cap for Paizo's customer service.)

The first thing was character maximums and minimums. We went with a 20-point build. The only stipulation I put on this was that AFTER character racials were applied, the maximum a stat could be was 18 and the minimum a stat could be was 8. The other change that was made will not come into play until level 8 and beyond. I am giving a flat stat maximum of 20 to any stat. (I am not worried about the Aging rules, as they aren't going to come up.) This forces the players to put points in those 'dump stats' or at least bring up their shortfalls. I tried to enforce the idea that the players shouldn't be looking at building a character to solve a puzzle, but instead build a character that will interact within a story.

All to often at character creation people will build, me included, a character that is the best at what they can do. Every trait, feat, stat and to some extent skill, is created to make that character the best at what they do. I feel that this detracts from the other characters in some way and limits character growth. Characters in stories don't develop along an idea of what they want to be, but are shaped around the story as well. In the case of Iron Gods, the Technologist feat and introduction of technology as a whole should vastly change a characters growth.

So I asked the players to keep this in mind during character creation. Whether they actually did this is entirely up to them, but one-trick ponies get boring real quick for the player and I want them to be invested in the game so that everyone, including me, has a great time.

The other thing I did was create my own Players Guide. Using my design tools as a graphic designer I was able to cut/paste a lot of the information that I wanted the players to know about Numeria as a whole. So a general timeline was included, monthly temperature averages, etc. I included a lot of my own write-ups as well. I also set a few limits on the actual Campaign Traits.

All the characters that were from Torch and Numeria were able to pick any of the campaign traits. Those that were from outside Numeria were only allowed to pick Against the Technic League and Stargazer. This gave the characters outside Numeria specific traits that would lure them to Numeria for some reason. Hopefully as the players include their player info and stories you will see those individual choices.

The campaign started for me with all those not from Torch starting in Hajoth Hakados and joining a caravan of smiths and merchants traveling north to Torch. Its on that journey of six days that the players find 'kindred spirits' of a sort and become quick friends. They actually arrived in Torch four days before the torch goes out. When using the timeline provided in Fires of Creation that gives the characters ten days to become acquainted with the players from Torch.

Right now I am going to give every creature the Advanced Template with maximum hit points and not increase their numbers. (My Rise of the Runelords campaign with nine players was nuts enough with advanced everything and increased numbers, larger maps to accomodate everything...ugh.)

First encounter:
So far the only encounter was with the malfunctioning repair drone. Also the great PC monkeywrench had only three PCs fight it as the others had gone off to make preparations for going to the tunnels. In the end the unchained rogue killed it with a flanking buddy, the gunslinger was a hit point speed bump and knocked unconscious, while the bard dished out some bonuses and revived the gunslinger for the flank.

The player list is currently a dwarven cleric of Brigh, a human gunslinger, and elven unchained rogue, a human swashbuckler(/soon to be investigator), a variant multiclassing Bard with clerical tendencies, and a human two-hand fighter archetype.

I am giving all players a boon if they write their stories here like I did with my Rise of the Runelords campaign. A free d20 reroll that they can use for themselves, another player or to make me reroll a d20.

Hopefully other GMs will enjoy the read, and Pathfinder lovers will enjoy the stories. I encourage anyone to post within the thread to ask questions to me or the players. I ask that we keep the spoilers of future events limited to PMs. Thanks and enjoy! o/

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These doomsday cults were becoming more rampant on the streets as well as strange disappearances and murders of people in Magnimar. It was becoming enough of a problem that we felt it would be a good idea to look into them and see if there was a connection.

Lugh and I moved about the city listening to the street corner doom sayers and determined that a couple of them were nothing more than religions or followers that used the comet as a way to extract coins from those that were weak of mind. Although Lugh was concerned about these predators, I felt they were nothing more than a nuisance and not worth my time. “Leave them for the town guard to deal with, there are bigger fish to fry as my cousin would say.”

It would appear that the other two religions definitely led me to believe they were responsible for the murders and/or disappearances of Magnimars unwanted people. The street preachers were real predators. Their eyes gave that away as they looked over the people that listened to their speeches. It was a look I am very familiar with as every meat eating predator in the wilds looks at prey in the same manner. “These are the ones to watch closer and to track back to their dens. Make sure they are together and end their threat with true violence.”

Lugh and I shared our findings with the others and learned that the others learned the same. On our way to one of the street preachers we decided to stop off at the old clock tower in Underbridge. Rumors when we were kids spoke of the Scarecrow killing people in Underbridge and it wouldn’t hurt to look about. The clock tower having been where we had found a giant arm as kids.

Much was the same on the exterior of the tower, and the inside looked much the same as well except for one of the large bells having fallen at some point in the past. The skeleton of some small canine the clock towers victim. Moving in first I switched my sight over to see better in the darkness and found something large hiding in a pile of debris in the corner. “I can see you, there isn’t much reason to continue hiding.” It stood at my challenge and the creature was some sort of magical golem, the arm back in its proper place. I immediately thought of the lich we had just driven off as a possible reason this was even here. Regardless of its creator, there were several heads hanging from its belt, having been tied there by their hair. I rushed the creature and took a mighty chunk from its hide. It returned the blow twice over causing me to stagger. As the others rushed in the creature fell under the added arms of my companions.

I planted the sword in the ground and began to heal myself when a dark shadow seeped from the golems carcass and coalesced into a creature half and again the golems height. Well now, this looks to have been a very promising encounter indeed.

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It didn’t ‘look up’ for long.

I reached the bottom of the stairwell and was given two options, right or left and chose left. After moving five feet I was given another option and chose right only to be stabbed multiple times in the back from something hiding just to my left. This was also the first time I experienced a palpable aura of evil emanating from what was a vampire. It chilled me to my bones and froze me in a state of fear. By the time I had regained control of myself, the vampire that had attacked me and another one were reduced to their gaseous state. After a few quick heals from the others while I had been frozen in terror we moved on.

We didn’t have to move far before another four of the creatures jumped us from varying areas. There were sever small hidden alcoves they sprang from hidden in the walls. I managed an impressive charging attack on one that had engaged Lugh and reduced it to gaseous form. Hearing shouts of alarm and requests for aid from my erstwhile tattooing brother Sam, I moved in his direction. By the time I rounded that corner the two there were reduced to gaseous form. The last one was remaining in her alcove but I could easily see enough room behind her and with a very well timed overrun shoved her against the wall and moved past her setting up flanking attacks with Oona and Lugh. The fight did not last long.

The only area left was a central room where the gaseous form had moved to and found ourselves outside a locked door. While waiting for Kelyn to pick the lock I dimensionally stepped beyond the door and opened it from my side. The others came in to find a wall containing twelve coffins in alcoves and a grand coffin towards the rear of the room. The others made short work of the six vampires as they attempted to regenerate and we found the grand coffin empty. This left us the master and six more vampires to be killed and I spent a large amount of time in the outer room looking for more secret alcoves while the others destroyed everything in the room. This only left returning to the mausoleum proper and I wasn’t surprised when I found the lid back on the coffin that hid the stairs.

Shoving it aside I was immediately attacked by the head vampire and was savagely torn asunder. I am not sure if it was the sudden blood loss or the fact I was mentally prepared for more fear but I managed to brush aside her aura. I only wish my armor had done the same to her claws. I felt her attempt to drain my life but the magics on my armor held strong and prevented this from happening which only infuriated her more. I knew I was not going to withstand another attack from her so I shifted into the form of the small earth elementals and sand into the earth. I had hoped to heal myself there but found that the others had followed up and were pinned in the stairwell. Even though Vex had managed to tumble past the others were stuck and so I stepped up behind her to assist Lugh in gutting her like a pig.

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I hadn’t remarked to the others that over the last few months I had been having dreams of the primal forces of earth. Nothing was ever specific, such as dreams rarely ever are, but I was always left with images, lingering traces of the smell of fresh tilled earth, and the weight of the world. I assumed this was a sign of Gorum and his affinity with iron having come from the earth. So I began summoning the lesser earth elementals and began to slowly learn their language. The language itself has a different structure to one I was used to and slow, very slow. Which makes learning the language extremely difficult as the magics required to summon an elemental lasts for a shortened time. I know a lot of languages, one I attribute to my mother, who bent my ear literally multiple times while teaching me them. Others I have picked up over the years, Dwarven when I was in the Linnorm lands in the north, and the secretive Druidic taught to me by Arypp. During this time I began to notice subtle differences in the appearances of the elementals and in time whenever I summoned one it appeared to be the same one. Which helped to speed me along at learning the language because it was aware of where we would leave off.

In time I learned how to shift into their form, and in todays case it was important. While waiting for Lugh to return to our group I prepared by meditating on the glories of Gorum and the battles I have fought to date. I had just finished my meditations when Lugh arrived back. The spells he had used were over and all that he managed to say was that he found the tomb where the vampire had fled to. He also clarified that he would no longer rise. He said that the key that he recovered was similar to a key that the vampire carried and it went to a storage vault inside the larger vault. He opened it and produced a bar of platinum as proof. That’s when many of us began to smile. Lugh then cautioned that the building was vast and the number of vaults was uncountable but it extended deep below the earth. The spells we had available were limited and getting in and out, much less loot the vault of this vampire, was going to be difficult.

In the end Lugh took both of my potions and I transformed into the small elemental that I had been visiting with over the weeks and took Kelyn’s cloth hole. Before we left Lugh gave detailed, yet approximate, distances to me for entering. I would be able to see his gaseous form but it would be difficult. On the other hand both of us would be visible to the rest of the inhabitants should we be seen so Atz shielded us with an invisibility to the undead.

With this done I moved through the earth like air moved about. The sensation was frightening and addicting in equal measure. It took a lot of self-control to not loose sight of the goal here, especially when I wasn’t the only one in danger. It took only a few seconds but I did find Lugh and we quickly found the tomb vault. With the key retrieved from the hole I opened the vault and moved the substantial amount of wealth into the hole. Kelyn had taken the time to install shelving and had vastly organized everything contained within. Time being of a factor I did not take an equal amount of time placing items within the hole as Kelyn did. Looking at the large pile at the end of the transfer made me believe that Kelyn would not mind organizing it all. After closing the hole I looked about for Lugh. He was already on the second potion and time was limited so we only searched for the Malick vault for a few minutes before he left. I continued on as I could maintain the form for most of the afternoon and early evening.

As I continued my search there was a sudden rise of activity. Multiple voices could be heard, all shouting and several mists floated by. I did what I could to stay hidden but Atz told me the spell would only last a little longer than an hour and I was coming close to an hour within the complex. Just as I was about to abandon my search I found the Malick crest and the number which matched the key we had. So I slowly poked my head into the room. What I found was a vampire hiding and waiting for someone to enter. The creature was expecting this to happen and I was confused as to why he would be here unless it was just a coincidence. Erring to the side of caution I decided to leave and return at a later date. I was able to make a straight exit from the building and was confident that I would be able to enter again and find the vault.

When I returned to the others I found out why the sudden commotion inside the vault caused me to leave early. Sam and Felu had been taken prisoner at the Tasty Hagfish for their part in the death of the vampire. Nina and Kelyn were sure they could break them out with a few spells and so we made our way to the jails. Within a few minutes they succeeded and we decided to leave town. I still had a great number of things at the Tasty Hagfish and told them I would go and retrieve not only my gear but theirs. Most were hesitant since Sam and Felu had been arrested but I wasn’t there for the fight so I should be safe. We agreed to meet a few miles west of town off the road.

When I arrived at the Hagfish there were still a lot of guards on station and they drew immediate attention to me since I was a foreigner. They asked why I was here and I just gave them a blank look, told them I was staying there and it was full of “entertainers.” They scrutinized me for several seconds before letting me pass. I was unsure if they were using magics or not to determine if I was truthful, but in the end everything I said was true. Knowing that leaving shortly after entering may cause suspicion I decided to knock boots with one of the girls before gathering our gear and leaving town.

I know the others think I am unaware of the attentions of Kiara and the looks given to me by Shalelu, but I am not. Knocking boots is one thing but a relationship, even a short one, is not something I was interested in. My life is devoted to Gorum, my family and my friends in that order. A relationship would only complicate my life and besides, what could I offer either of the two women? I wish to spend my life in the wilds of Golarion, be it Varisia or the Linnorm lands. I may call Magnimar my home, but only because that is where my direct family lives. The others have a lifestyle that keeps them together because we are always together. In time who knows what Sam and Felu will do, or Nina and Kelyn for that matter. Settle down? Who really knows. I know I don’t plan on settling down.

Regardless, I found the others a hour or so after I left the Hagfish and I took my time to ensure I wasn’t being followed. We spent the evening with Kelyn organizing and cataloging what we had found, and I was correct in his not being offended at having to do so. Vex helped, but mostly just stood there and grinned. When he was done and told Vex he needed to leave, Vex just smiled and said it was okay. When Kelyn countered with, “you’ll suffocate” Vex just smiled and said, “I can hold my breath for a really long time,” and that gave me an idea. Especially after Vex told us just how long he could hold his breath.

The next day we moved farther down the road about a half-days march and set up a new camp off in the woods. Vex crawled inside the hole and I shifted into an eagle and flew back to Ardis. I then shifted into my elemental form and sneaked back in. The only flaw was there was no way to ensure my not being seen by the undead. So I took it slow and cautious. I returned to the Malick tomb vault and found no ambush so I quickly opened the hole and let Vex out. Within a matter of minutes we had cleared out the Malick vault and made our way back out unnoticed. Then it was just a long hike back to the others.

We spent the next few weeks sailing down several rivers in Kelyn’s magical folding boat until we reached Caliphas, the new capital of Ustalev. From here we booked passage on a larger vessel for the long trip back to Magnimar. Along the way both Kelyn and Nina had run into some foul ruffians but escaped and Vex also managed to find trouble in one the towns we stopped off at but came out slightly better off than Kelyn and Nina had. This journey was the most relaxing for me and one I took knowing that I was as close to the wild as I could get while still traveling at a quickened pace for home. On the plus side, the trip was definitely worth it and there was a lot of treasure gained.

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We had a long trek in front of us if we were to return home and our best option was to go south to Vigil and catch a caravan there back to Magnimar. The trek to Vigil on the other hand was going to be lengthy and I was rather happy knowing how long we would be in the wilds. Along the way we were going to stop off in Ardis and see if we can figure anything out about the key we had discovered in the coffin of the vampire we had slain in Fort Donnar.

For two weeks we journeyed south to Ardis. We sailed down the Moutray and Lesser Moutray rivers arriving in the small town of Courtaud. From there we trekked over land to the small town of Tamrivena and caught another river barge to sail down the Lamand and Vistear rivers arriving in Chastel. There we booked passage on another barge down the Vhatsuntide river to Ardis.

I remembered a few things about Ardis on the voyage down from small notes that had been left with the maps I had looked over all those years ago and remembered the name of docks that were listed as “safe” as well as a tavern called the Tasty Hagfish. As the town of Ardis came in sight I told our river captain that I wanted to dock at these docks and he seemed to look at me in a new light, as if he knew this as well. He nodded and suggested that I stay at the Tasty Hagfish and to tell the proprietor, Len Vargus, that Captain Ebon vouched for us. I had learned from my family that finding a ship captain that you could trust was difficult and it would seem this river captain was one of these individuals.

The group seemed pleased to be in “civilized” lands again as the journey wasn’t something they had enjoyed as much as I did. Ardis was the original capital of Ustalav and as such, was rather large. The estates though and the city itself had the appearance of a drowned rat. The buildings and even the people looked unhappy and sour. Even though the dress of the common people, even the poor, looked impressive, the aura of depression was strong. The Tasty Hagfish when we entered looked like a poor gentlemen’s club, lots of red velvet, cigar smoke, curtained booths and “entertainment.”

One of the waitresses confirmed my suspicions as to who Vargus was and as I approached he gave the appearance of a man who was all business with little interest of what was happening around him. His demeanor did not change when I mentioned captain Ebon and after leaving five platinum for our groups lodgings for the next three days I left Vargus to return to the others. They had already found a large table to seat us all and were beginning the first round of drinks which Sam had ordered up. The bitter stout matched my mood as I was already longing to return to the wilds and our journey home. Using my special sight I looked about the room to see if there was anything surprising and discovered more than a couple of creatures that were familiars to someone hidden with invisibility. A large majority of the well off individuals attending the Hagfish were running glamors of one kind or another.

Vex, Atz and Sam left to go about the city in an attempt to sell off our loot and returned in the early evening with a large purse for everyone full of precious gems. After a quick dinner I left the others to get some sleep. Admittedly the bed was more comfortable than the pine needles outside so sleep came quickly. I spent the next day spending my time moving about the city and looking for private animal collections or vendors attempting to sell exotic beasts to the rich. I did find one estate that had a tall iron fence surrounding what appeared to be a small garden or forest. After a few minutes I saw why the fence was so tall as a panther came out of the foliage and moved along the fence line, rubbing its side along the bars. It was jet black in color with bright green eyes and I could easily imagine the creature leaping from some branch onto its prey. The paws were massive and I would bet the cat weighed in around a hundred and fifty pounds. I spent a while studying the creature before moving on as my loitering had caught the attention of the displeased home owner.

The rest of the group had spent the day lounging about and hadn’t really done anything to discover who the crest belonged to. So I decided on the morrow I would go to the local cemetery and look for the crest there. In the morning Atz tagged along as he was keen to figure this out as well. We walked for hours around the graveyard, both Atz and I finding several crests that were similar but not an exact match to the key. Eventually though my sight allowed me to see Atz’s grandfather sitting on a head stone and pointing down with a smirk on his face. I made an unflattering comment to Atz about his grandfather and he laughed. Apparently he was a prankster in real life as well. The name on the headstone was Malick and that was it. No dates, no other names, nothing. I was just a marker for an end that wouldn’t come for a vampire. Though in this case it did probably happen, but the body would never be laid to rest here. We returned to the others with our news and spent the remainder of the day relaxing in the Hagfish drinking. I even produced the owlbear claw I had taken and began working on a scrimshaw during that evening.

The next day Sam and some of the others used our newly discovered name and went about the city looking to find their estate. They returned mid afternoon having discovered the estate on Shadowbend road, southwest of the cemetery across a small bay in the northeastern part of the city. I advised the others that kicking down the door of their estate and murdering everyone inside would likely cause our arrest at worse or run out of the city by a mob at best. I suggested we attempt to meet with them as a noble house attempting to open trade negotiations. Oona’s family name might carry some weight here and Vex admitted he could draw up some faux papers to get us in the door. So Sam and Atz cleaned themselves up a bit and took the letter of introduction that Vex drew up over to the Malick estate.

They returned a few hours later with news that we had a luncheon appointment with Lena Mandiss the day after tomorrow. Now we just needed to kill some time until the meeting. I spent it in bird form on the iron fence watching the black cat within its pen. Most of its time was spent sleeping on the branch of a great tree in the pen. I found that it could climb the tree rather quickly and its claws were long and sharp. That evening the owners released a goat into the pen and I got to watch as the panther stalked the goat, leaping from a branch of the tree and quickly killing the goat. The cat was strong enough to carry the carcass into the tree where it fed. Truly a magnificent creature.

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I did some quick healing on my wounds and moved to cover the portal. If anything stepped through it was going to get hit. Kelyn decided to move up as well while Nina and Sam started trying to figure out what needed to be done. This Ichyrot had fled through the portal and I was concerned that he might try and push reinforcements through so I stood there with my sword raised ready to swing. It didn’t take long.

I had stood there for less than a minute and the portal began to shimmer and I began my swing. By the time the large bird like demon stepped through my sword struck home, as did Kelyn’s. The creature floundered for a second and dove back through my sword again connecting in its haste to retreat. Before it had left though the creature released some sort of spore from its tattered feathers and within a few seconds vines began pushing through my flesh to painful effect. I was not alone with the affliction as Kelyn and Oona also were effected. The others had stayed back far enough that they avoided the spores. Sam said that we had no way to counter the spores and were going to have to suffer until they ran their course. Nature loving aside, the vines were rather painful and not enjoyed.

Just as Sam and Nina said they figured it out another shimmer began and again I swung. This time a large horned creature covered in spines and wielding a barbed chain stepped through. Again the sword bit deep as the group took it by surprise. Then a wave of fear washed over me, the same soul wrenching fear as before. But before I could run the creature hit me with its chain and the room began to spin. By the time the spinning stopped and I could once again see what was happening the portal had closed and the creature was gone.

We spent the next few hours using our size, strength and tools to physically dismantle the stone arches that made up the portal. I even spent time with a hammer and piton doing what I could to destroy, or at least deface the summoning circle in the room. From there we returned to our little nook we had discovered the day earlier and rested for the evening using all the healing magics we could muster.

The next morning we returned to find that the ice walls were still in place and retrieved the people we had left on the ledge. Treyvor appeared in an altered state looking like a person but completely black in color. He thanked us for what we had done and hoped to see us again in Magnimar but that he couldn’t send us back. I smiled at this news since that meant a lengthly trek through the wilderness home. We escorted the people back to Fort Donnar over the next few days and once we accomplished this task we tried to decide what to do next. We had the key that we had discovered in the coffin that led to a noble house in the town of Ardis as our only reason for staying in Ustalev when we learned that a local temple of Desna was having troubles.

The description from the local clergy sounded eerily similar to what had happened to the temple of Sarenrae in Magnimar so I began looking for a hidden entrance that would lead under the temple. It didn’t take long before I found one. Once again we moved down under a temple expecting to find more cultists to this Thassilonian leader named Sorshen.

Along the way I led with my sword out and a daylight spell lighting the way. Vex was not to pleased at the sudden increase in brightness from my light spell but the others couldn’t see in the dark like he did. In fact, I could see in the dark now for some reason. The ability that allowed me to see things as they truly were allowed me to see in darkness as well. But the constant concentration to do so made the ability unwieldy. Along the way we eventually set off a fire trap of some kind. I was unable to avoid the worst of it but once the fire subsided I could hear voices further on having been alerted to our presence. Moving on we came to a pair of double doors that appeared to be locked, barricaded or both and as the group fanned out before them they set of two more fire traps. I attempted to dimensionally hop past the door but was prevented from doing so, so I increased the distance and suddenly found myself in a room with three bestial looking men wielding ranseurs and another of the winged woman demons flying in front of a large statue of the Sorshen ruler made of gold.

They attacked immediately, with the winged creature trying to pierce my will by suggesting I remove my clothing and armor so she could get a better look at me. I was rather rude with my response which prompted a malign pout from the winged demon. I heard the group battering down the door so I shifted into the form of an eagle and again dimensionally moved near the demon and attacked with claw and beak. This shift surprised her but the fire traps and attacks from her bestial minions had done a significant amount of damage. It wasn’t long before I was knocked unconscious. I awoke to the healing spells of Lugh and found that the demon had fled and the three bestial minions were dead.

Another success tinged with failure.

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We paused only long enough to do as much healing as was possible. The new wand I had purchased had grown warm to the touch because of the amount of use. The bone devils were still conversing with Sam while Kelyn and Nina were trying to figure out how to remove a group of people from another pit that were being kept as sacrifices for the portal. I moved around to the ice creature/elemental to ask it some questions. Again all the responses were in my mind instead of verbally, so the group could only hear a one sided conversation. The giant we had fought was called an oni and there were cambion demons as well as hell swords within the complex. The creature, for whatever it is, was free with the information. Although its appetites led me to believe we would have to confront the creature it agreed to wall off the pit with the corpses with an ice wall so we could move past without becoming sick.

The bone devils were not going to give up their charge of keeping the people in the pit no matter what Sam said to them. Most of the people in the pit looked to be guards from the Fort and what would probably be local rangers. I mentioned to Vex that we were going to have to kill the bone devils to get these people out in my native tongue, to which he nodded. It was then that I noticed that one person was standing alone in the pit with a few dead bodies around her. Two of the bone devils appeared next to the woman and nothing seemed to happen. Then after a few seconds they both fell over dead. Seeing this as a chance to remove ourselves the trouble of having to kill the bone devils ourselves I mentioned to the one talking with Sam that he might need to send in more. Three more of the bone devils went into the pit this time leaving only two near the group. Again the devils seemed frozen in time when one of them disappeared and the woman changed into a much bigger shape that resembled the newly transformed Treyvor. I then began to realize that we might be in trouble. Reading a spell to allow my to acrobatically leap into the pit while in my enlarged form I leapt from the lip of the pit and landed next to the creature. A few of the guards were attempting to subdue the bone devils, not realizing the danger they were in from this ... demon. As it absorbed another of the bone devils and grew even larger they got the idea and ran. By this time Kelyn had lowered a ladder into the pit and the people were climbing up and out. I proceeded to attack the creature and felt the sword bite deep. Vex had joined me in the pit and had maneuvered behind the creature flanking it. Suddenly it teleported behind me and absorbed a group of the escaping humans. I could hear Felu and Sam yelling for us to hit it but I wasn’t as fast as the demon. I did another massive hit with the greatsword and with a spell from above the creature dissipated into a liquid like goop and dissolved into smoke. I began to look at the remaining bone devil in the pit and could see that Vex was also maneuvering to do the same when they just teleported away. I doubt it was to warn anyone, and they themselves realized the danger they were in so I think escape was their only plan. We moved the people up onto one of the dependable landings, gave them food and water and told them to wait there for our return. When we completed our task of shutting down the portal we would return to escort them back to the Fort.

We knew that we had a few hours before more creatures were to arrive for more sacrifices so we began our climb further into the complex. We must have hiked for another few hours because we still hadn’t reached any more rooms and we were all beginning to tire. Finding a suitable ledge to hide on we rested for the night. On the first watch while Atz and I were keeping guard, two creatures walked by. I learned from Sam later on that one of the creatures was a demon, and the other a devil. Both were considered minions of greater powers but the idea that both were working together was highly disturbing. I don’t pretend to understand the rivalry, but Sam simply said that you could make arrangements with devils although it was a last resort. Demons could only be killed as there was no negotiation. Regardless they never returned back up the hall with sacrifices. I would imagine that this ice creature killed them.

After getting a good rest we continued for another hour or so before arriving in a huge room with multiple groups of demons standing about with smaller winged imps using their fire magics to melt away large areas of ice. I get the idea that the creature in the first room wasn’t keen on following his summoner and filled the area with ice and wandered off. Sort of a ‘screw you’ answer to this Ichyrot demon we were told is running the place. The Ichyrot was standing near a large portal behind a large group of more demons or devils and was safe from our approach. He also appeared to be covered in chains, similar to the creature we had fought ... a month or a week ago, depending on how you look at it. I wasn’t keen on loosing my eye site early on in the battle and decided to use a spell that would increase my speed to big cat speeds and leapt across the room landing next to two demons and leaving a nasty gash in one of them from my greatsword. Within moments, the room was chaos and I fought tooth and nail with the two demons. They were getting the upper hand as their speed was to great for me to keep up with. At one point I felt the enchantment on my armor trigger again to keep me alive. By then Vex had made his way over and we managed to drop the two demons in short order.

I then hopped through space to flank the demon/devil that was on Lugh. It quickly fell to Lugh’s spear and shield fighting style. As I was getting ready to move to engage Ichyrot the demon succubus from the temple in Magnimar arrived on the opposite side of the room from Ichyrot. She said something in an unknown and foul sounding language to Ichyrot who immediately looked like he was in trouble and began begging. As much as I wanted to drop this guy, I had made a promise to the succubus and instead charged her. Right before I made my first step towards her, Sam enlarged me and once again my sword bit deep into the hide of the succubus who screamed out in pain. She locked rage filled eyes with me and I returned her glare with a smile. But before I could swing again she teleported away. Spinning around, I caught sight of Ichyrot as he dove through the portal and the two minions he had summoned stood there unsure of what to do. So I charged one of them. He moved away from my strike like water flowing over a rock. In the next instant he was gone having teleported away. Will no one stay and fight?

Now to figure out this portal.

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We spent the next few minutes patching up our wounds before resting a short time to meditate. Even though I knew I no longer was in contact with Gorum I still found it difficult to center myself and asking for assistance from this being known as Noculous was disturbing. Regardless of my feelings, I felt my divine powers grow and in time finished my meditations ready to move on.

We traveled in the tunnels for a rather long time, all the while heading generally upwards. Eventually we could see the corridor widening into a larger chamber so Kelyn, Vex and Atz moved ahead of the main group to scout while I moved ahead of the group but behind our scout to provide some support should they need it. Macer had hung back to deal with Oona who was having problems in this ... area. Her sanity, which has become suspect lately, is even worse here.

As Vex slipped into the room I could see three of the bow armed cultists that had nearly killed me in the cabin on the mountain. As I drew my sword, Kelyn turned around motioning that three more were to the left and gave me a questioning look. I just pointed to my sword, then to the three I could see and quietly worded, “now.” My face had already contorted into a snarl as I was NOT going to allow them to fill me or my companions with arrows a second time. As Kelyn slipped around the corner and I heard a surprised death rattle from one of the cultists I bolted forward. Except I didn’t run to the cultists, I just appeared in a small puff of purple smoke. I imagine that I didn’t present much of a war face, and it probably looked as surprised as the three cultists faces looked to me as I attacked.

As we began our assault the remaining forces in the room decided to enter into the fray. In the end there were twelve cultists spread around the room or on balconies, at least eight bone devils similar to what we fought in the apothecary’s home and some sort of odd looking giant. The initial part of the assault went well and most of the cultists fell quickly to the combined might of the group. I was even enlarged by the magics of Sam which helped. The assault began to falter when the bone devils moved in using their unnatural auras. I had moved away from the main group to take on the remaining group of cultists and the giant while everyone else dealt with the devils. I was doing rather well against the giant and cultists, mostly because I could reach them in melee because of Sam’s magic. Even Atz had used magics that had enforced my resolve and attack prowess which helped greatly. Then the devils appeared next to me.

I have felt fear before. Generally its just a natural way of your body to let you know there is danger and to be careful. Sometimes its more intense, an unknown and unnatural fear that you feel in the pit of your stomach. The first time I felt that was when I was a child in the Irespan piling and the heavy footfalls below our group was moving up the stairwell towards us. This fear was something all to alien. It pierced the soul. The feeling was indescribable other than to say that to flee was paramount. Dropping my greatsword to the ground I ran as fast as I could further into the room and down a corridor. Along the way I ran into a stench that made my stomach roil and caused me to dry heave. I ran past the stench and far down the hall before the fear wore off and I found myself alone. The wounds I had suffered were severe and I knew that I would have to move as quickly back as I could healing myself as best I could.

Just as I was close enough to see the room at the end of the corridor I saw two more of the odd giants move out of the room to my left and yell something in an unknown language to someone in the room. Nodding at the response they turned and went back into their room. It was then that I noticed another creature sitting on a small terrace to my right. I had run past it in terror earlier and hadn’t noticed it. The creature looked elemental in nature but was unknown to me. It was looking at me and turned its head to the side and in my head I heard it ask me if I could speak with my god. As I responded that I couldn’t I once again stepped within the area of the foul stench. Before I could quickly move out of the area I began vomiting, my stomach no longer able to keep down the mornings rations.

The stench was so vile even my eyes began to water and vision became blurry. I could see to my right a pit that was full of flesh and was obviously the source of the stench. I moved as quickly as I could through the area but my stomach continued to expel, or try to expel, all the food I had eaten even after I had left the odorous area. I slowly made my way back to my sword seeing that the group was fine but in wary stances as Sam was speaking that foul language again and the devils were listening. As I retrieved my sword the giant and the two bowman realized that I was back and began attacking me again. I weathered the blows as it was all that I could do, my strength depleted because of the nausea. The others seeing me under assault came to my aid and we quickly finished them off. With that done, I fell to the floor and sat there with my back to the wall as Atz and Nina did what they could to close off my wounds.

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As we move into the room I spy several of the small demonic parasites further in the room behind the ... owlbear. Everyone is looking at me when we first saw the creature and all I could do was shrug. “Whatever THAT is, its not natural.” As it turns out, that’s what they’re called, but who in the nine hells thought that was a great idea to create.

Regardless the creature dropped its meal and began snorting and backing into the cave which sent the parasites scattering. So Lugh, Oona, and I moved forward following after the creature. When we rounded the large pile of leftover bones from its meals the thing charged Lugh. Just then a gout of flame erupted from the wall to my left and washed over the three of us. When the flame stopped only I was left on fire and in pain. Well, how intimidating could an on fire Ulfen be? Turns out, that answer is a lot. With a war cry for the ages I screamed at the creature and moved in to swing with the greatsword. The creature started at my cry and had a nervous way of trying to keep me in front of it throughout the fight. In the end it wasn’t much of a contest of skill, the creature fell to the tactics of Lugh and I maintaining a flanking position on the creature. Even Vex had joined in as well. The problem was the magical trap that had continued to coat us in fire and burning. Just as I had killed the owlbear than several more of the parasites converged on the body and suddenly began growing larger and more formed. They quickly fell and I was able to douse myself in water and put out the fire. I then spent some time healing my wounds with spell and wand alike.

I wasn’t finished healing when Kelyn returned from a magically fog filled hall and said there were more ogre warhulks ahead. I had missed out on most of that fight and quickly pushed past the others to get involved. Boy did I get involved. Just after I had passed through the fog I felt the immediate absence of Gorum but didn't have much time to ruminate on that as the hulks were ready for me and attacked. I forgot that the bastards could hit so hard that they would knock you prone. The initially volley of flail attacks did a number on not only me but my armor as well. Once I was able to breathe again I began to chuckle as the rest of the group filed in and Lugh lent a healing hand to me. I crawled out of their reach and stood back up smiling at Lugh. “I forgot they hit that hard. That was painfully fun.”

He just shook his head and moved up to attack. I followed suit and learned that the enchantment put on my armor worked beautifully as another blow broke a rib and once again knocked me prone and gasping for air. But as my vision began to blur and go black I could feel the magical healing kick in and mend the wounds. I roared out in laughter at how the armor had saved my life and the possibilities of what I could take swam in mind. It was then that Macer moved forward and with a few tactical shouts, I was able to stand up without the creature taking advantage of my position. From there it was short work as the combined power of the group killed the two war hulks.

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The next morning after the party we rode with Treyvor back to Fort Donnor. Along the way he wasn’t as talkative as he had been in the past, or the evening prior during the party. He eventually told us that he was going to die on the journey, or more specifically, that his time was over but he would be back and would meet us later. Along the journey a blackness moved under his skin, that or his veins were darkening enough to the point of being seen. Soon after we noticed the marks on his arm and neck he disappeared. I can’t imagine what happened but Felu seemed a little tense.

We arrived outside of town as we had before and since it was early morning decided to push through town quickly and make our way up the mountain towards the prophets cabin and past to the lair and this portal. When we arrived at the cabin we made a quick cursory look around and the general body decomposition told us we had only been gone a week, no more. Whatever that travel was, it was beyond my general understanding of time.

We pushed on until nightfall where I found a suitable place for us to rest for the evening. There was a small cave that could hold four of us comfortably for the night while I took my customary location under a pine tree with wide branches for cover and concealment. Atz and I took our customary first watch and I pulled a small military style saddle from the magical hole that Kelyn carries. I then transformed into a large breed of dog that could, and generally is, ridden by the smaller folk and had Atz ready the saddle. In this form I could see much further in the night, as long as there was a moon and stars out. It also guaranteed that Atz and I were together should anything attack our group while they rested. The night was uneventful for me, though Atz complained of someone or something dropping pine cones on him from somewhere. No one would own up to the prank, but there was talk of something large that had flown overhead during the night.

After my morning meditations on Gorum, I cast a spell that would let me know of the natural weather in the area and if there would be anything to worry about. The rest of the day would be pleasant travel but severe storms would roll into the mountains the following afternoon. With that accomplished we began our trek higher into the mountains. As night began to fall I once again found a suitable place for us to rest. This time I managed to locate a larger overhang that would allow for four of the group to rest comfortably while I again opted for the tree. Again I shifted into the form of the dog and Atz again resumed a saddled position on my back. I also noticed that Kelyn was awake. When I looked at him quizzically he just showed me a ring he now wore. During our shift we heard the loud flapping noise of something moving high overhead but nothing came of it. We also began hearing a foul tongued language being yelled in the darkness far from the camp. It sounded like two creatures were trying to locate a third while yelling at one another. I was unsure of the language but it sounded like demon speak to me. Kelyn thought we should go out and look about and I low growled at that idea. Fighting in the dark against an unknown foe was not a tactically smart decision. If they made it to the campsite and threatened us then we would deal with it. Otherwise it sounded like they were busy with each other to notice us.

In the morning the clouds began to roll in and a grey haze seemed to hold the noise in and made everything cold and wet. I thoroughly enjoyed being out in the mountain air while quiet grumblings from some of the others pointed to their desire to return to Magnimar or Sandpoint. While moving higher into the mountains a few of us spied a Otyugh trying to find shelter in a draw further down the mountain below us. I knew of the creatures being a carrier of foul diseases and dangerous if cornered but relatively harmless if left alone to wallow in their filth. A few asked if we should deal with it but the decision to move back down the mountain and deal with something that wasn’t a threat was folly, especially when we knew storms were moving in. Oddly though something drove it out of its lair, and that may be the real problem.

Just as we saw the cave mouth higher up the mountain we came under attack by large flying demonic creatures with some sort of rider directing their movements. Knowing I had a few moments before they arrived I hardened my skin in iron and prepared a spell that would guide my attack when it came time. The first creature landed in front of Lugh and I charged forward, overrunning the mount and its rider before they knew what was happening. I shouldered the large creature aside knocking it prone and in turn dislodged the rider to fall unceremoniously to the ground. They didn’t stand a chance. As they scrambled to stand back up, Lugh, Vex, Kelyn, Nina and I dispatched them. The others were having difficulties from the others of the group and strange looking creature that attacked them with zeal and the smell of sulfur and brimstone. In less than a minute the creatures were all dead and the others were taking up a defensive position around the ... creature. It spoke in a rough common to Sam and told us that its summoned task was over and that he was leaving. I don’t know what it was, but Sam seemed confident enough to talk with it while Lugh’s knuckles remained white as he gripped his spear. Whatever it was, it didn’t pose a threat to us and I quickly lost interest and moved around to help with the healing to those that needed it. After a few minutes the creature disappeared, leaving behind a strong odor of sulfur.

When we arrived at the caves mouth we found it led into a lair of an owlbear, but as I learned from the others it was infected with something akin to what had infected Hobart. I didn’t have much time to digest this information as the creature noticed our arrived and turned to attack.

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I managed to find a key inside the coffin after Lugh had driven a heavy wooden stake through the creatures heart and before he took its head off. When I gave him the questioning look as to why he felt it necessary to defile the corpse further he explained it was the only way to ensure it stayed dead. Looking back at the vampire I couldn’t imagine it surviving anything after the stake but Lugh is the expert here.

As I looked over the key I noticed three numbers, probably a street address, and a crest. The crest immediately struck a chord in my memory. Needing to focus I sat on the dock for a few minutes thinking before it came to me. This was a crest for a family in the city of Ardis in the Ardeal province of Ustalav. The extensive map collection of my family that I had spent evenings looking over was coming of use. Satisfied with that knowledge I gave the key to Kelyn since he has always been our resident locksmith, whether he wanted to be one or not.

We retired back to the White Dragon Inn after the evenings fracas and I slept like a log. The next morning over a hearty breakfast the group talked about what was next and it was decided that the dwarven crone who was spreading the rumors needed to be dealt with. Killing an old woman wasn’t something I was willing to do, but intimidating the dwarf to turn her neck beard hairs white was something I could do easily enough.

Using the crude map we had found on the succubus and the information gained by some of the others when talking with those in the town that would talk with us, we knew we had a pretty good hike in front of us. So I went up and woke Sam and Felu up since they loved to sleep in and told them to get ready as the group was leaving for a long hike. I heard Sam mumble something but Felu said they’d be down soon. By mid-morning we were heading out of town and into the foothills.

We arrived at a rather large stone and wood cabin in the lower mountains near the old dragon lair. Not that I saw some cave, it was just rumored to be somewhere in the area around here as far as I knew. There was only a animal skin covering the door into the cabin and there were no windows. Bringing up a light spell on the pommel of my greatsword I pulled aside the skin and moved inside after announcing myself.

A grating old voice beckoned me inside and the rest of the group followed me in to see an old dwarven woman sitting in a rocking chair. In a very stern and outraged voice I yelled, “Are you the old woman that is spreading the rumors of our arrival?” She visibly blanched a little and had some sort of seizure and began wailing. After a few seconds it stopped and she apologized for saying what she had foretold but asked me to come in the back room to see why she had said what she said.

She moved further into the cabin disappearing behind another animal skin flap in the only other doorway in the room. When I moved it aside to follow I didn’t see an old woman anywhere, instead I saw two men with bows drawn. Before I could issue a warning and move I was hit with multiple arrows. The hallway had several rooms off of it and arrows came from behind skins that were momentarily drawn aside. I staggered back a few steps, the multiple arrows that pierced my body was all the warning the group needed as they ran past to engage the archers.

My vision began to swim and I knew that I had to get out of the hallway if more arrows were to come. Kelyn had moved past me and pulled aside one of the skins and stabbed at one of the men who had fired an arrow at me. I lowered my shoulder and pushed past Kelyn overrunning the surprised man in the doorway and knocking him down. There was only one other man in the room and much like the man on the floor was surprised to see me. As Kelyn finished the man on the floor I cast a quick curative spell on myself so that I wouldn’t collapse. Thats when the other man stepped back and fired another arrow into my chest.

“You son of a b&+**! Now you die!” I screamed as I drew my greatsword and cut the man in half from shoulder to groin. The shower of blood from that wound covered not only me but the ceiling and floor of the room. Once that was done I moved out into the hall just in time for a loud concussive thunderclap which knocked me unconscious. I awoke a few seconds later with Atz’s face once again looking down on me. A quick thanks and I stood to see that the others were engaged with an ogre and the old crone who looked rather pleased that her spell had almost killed me. Well, NOW killing an old woman was worth my time and I stepped up and took her head from her shoulders with one great swing of the sword. The ogre screamed in anger at what I had done and I screamed back, “You’re next!”

Stepping forward I once again delivered a massive strike with my greatsword but the ogre was just to thick or in a blood haze himself because he didn’t fall and instead hit me harder than anything ever has. I awoke to Atz once again looking down on me. “Seriously, you gotta stop doing this.” Atz said. I grinned at that statement. I imagine the stark contrast of my white teeth and my blood soaked body was a interesting sight. “I’ll try.” I replied.

We then spent the next few minutes looking over the place. Turns out the back of the cabin had a secret panel that moved aside and led into the mountain. Thats where we had fought the ogre. In the cave were the remains of several dead adventurers. Others who had probably come up to find out why there was a crone offering a prophecy of their actions. We also found some information about a portal being opened in the old dragons lair and a map to get there. It would seem this is what Treyvor had sent us here to solve. We spent the remainder of the evening burying the dead after having healed ourselves.

Lugh returned from his dawn walk prayers to inform us that he had been given a vision from Sarenrae. This portal or where we would go would mean we would be leaving our gods behind and instead have to pull from the chaotic nature of Treyvor’s god. Magic would also not work in the same way as Nina would expect which would cause her to have problems. Well, I’m always up for a good fight and I imagine that Gorum wouldn’t mind my pulling from a different god as long as I was in fact fighting. Regardless, I would pray on that the following morning as I had already done my morning meditations in the forest.

With this rumination we decided to call upon Treyvor and see if he would help us return to Magnimar. We had been gone a long time and were wanting to sell a lot of the gear we had found and use its money to purchase gear we wanted. With that done we could return and complete our task of helping Treyvor. He agreed and once again we used the phantasmal coach to return in short time to Magnimar. As it turns out, we had only been gone less than a week. Which was wrong since we had been gone much longer. Chaos magic is...chaotic.

Sam, Felu, Vex and Macer took all our loot to the Bazaar of Sails and moved the gear into capital that they then gave out in equal shares to everyone later that evening. I spent the day spinning the yarn of a tale to not only my mother and sister, but to my father, uncle and cousin. They had arrived a few days earlier and had planned on staying the month for business and to visit. My family laughed at the stories and seemed to discount the ideas until Sam had arrived with a chest of gold, platinum, and gems as ‘my share’ of the loot.

Kriger the White, my cousin, gave me that mischievous smile and said, “You know, I’ve raided a lot for a lot less wealth.” To which my mother said, “Not in this house you don’t Kriger,” and smacked his hand with a large wooden spoon. I then took the family out for a nice dinner and was forced to pay for it all since I had the obvious wealth.

The next day in my meditations to Gorum I suddenly became awash with the sensation of earth and heat. As if I was suddenly in a natural cave with a forge. When I opened my eyes I was unable to tell if that was true. I could have been standing in a giant iron box for all I could tell as my vision was blurred. I could see fine but if I tried to focus on any one thing it would only become more blurry. Thats when I heard what could only be The Lord in Iron’s voice. It rang as loud as a giant iron bell with the sharpness of a thousand thousand swords as it pierced my thoughts and ears. In the end I don’t know what it said as the pain was to great but I was left with an impression that I was sent by Gorum to complete this task for someone or something. Gorum was unsure as to this beings motivations but would enjoy the retribution He would give should the being cross Him. I came out of my morning prayers in a cold sweat with Kriger looking on.

“Didn’t want to bother you while you ‘talked’ with your god.” Kriger said. “Is it me or is it always this warm in Magnimar?”

I suppressed a smile and asked him to come along with me as I went shopping. “I have a favor to ask of you Kriger. I need to train with you for as long as you are here or as long as I can, which ever comes first. The journey I am about to take is not going to be easy. It will on the other hand, be fun.” Kriger understood the importance of my request and agreed to help however he could, after all we are family.

I grabbed my armor and greatsword and returned once again to the magic shop I had frequented. The cat was waiting for me at the door when I entered and immediately began following me inside. The old wizard never looked up when I entered, instead laughing and saying “I knew it would be you Birgun, the cat had been standing at the door awaiting your arrival. What do you need from me this time?”

I explained that I needed for his assistance in magically enhancing the greatsword further and enchanting the spikes on the armor as well. As for the armor I asked for an enchantment that could help me should I fall in battle. After spending an hour pouring over tomes and explaining what he could do I gave him the required gold for his services without bartering. Half the contents of the chest were given to him as payment for the enchantments on the armor and weapons. I trusted his magics and our professional relationship had shown the trust I gave his talents, so to haggle would be rude.

With that done I took Kriger down to the Bazaar of Sails and found a belt that would enhance my natural strength even further and found a wand of curative magics as well. I also picked up a few potions to keep around for emergency situations as they would help against the mind control. With that done we stopped off at a bar and began laying out the plans for my training. It would involve several days of running, general strength and conditioning exercises as well as swimming and wrestling. I left word with Lugh and Macer at how long I would have to remain in Magnimar as my gear was being enchanted and told them to come by the house whenever they needed to get hold of me. The next day I began my training and for the next three weeks I went through calisthenic hell with Kriger as my personal coach and motivator.

I learned that Treyvor would return every four days until we were ready and would take us by coach once again to Ustalav. During this time Kiara also showed up. As it turns out she had been trying to track us down. She learned of our leaving of Sandpoint to find the lost children of the logging camp and had followed that lead to its conclusion with our disappearance after leaving the logging camp. Once again I had to tell the story and unlike my family Kiara believed every word, that or she was really good at hiding her amusement. Kiara even joined in on the training. I don’t think she expected the training to be that intensive since it relied heavily on strength and conditioning. Still it was enjoyable to have her along to share in the pain. Kriger definitely enjoyed watching her. We were almost done with the training when I remembered that we had to retrieve Hobart from Sandpoint and escort him home. Looks like a small pre-adventure was in the works.

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Thankfully between Atz’s wand and a few of my spells I was able to fix a majority of the cuts inflicted on my body by controlled captain and the other creatures. With that done, Vex was preparing his illustration book and was prepping the body of the succubus for an intimate dissection. While the others questioned the captain who doesn’t recall much since the arrival of the “sole survivor,” I decided to wander town and use my talent at seeing what was truly there. The towns folk continued their behavior of closing doors and peeking out from behind curtains at my approach. At first I thought it was because of this witches prophecy but then I realized that wasn’t wholly the problem when I caught my reflection in a pane of glass. I was still covered in blood from the fight. With that realization I returned to the White Dragon Inn and took a bath. Then spent the next few hours cleaning my armor while discussing our next move with the others.

The captain had come with us and Lugh had kept him in manacles until he was sure of innocence. As a sign of respect he kept the manacles hidden under a cloak. We decided to follow up with a lead that Macer had gotten when the guard lieutenant he met with offered to tell him everything this evening on the road outside of town. Once the captain confirmed there was no lieutenant with that name or description he could remember it was apparent that the ruse was to get Macer out of town to remove him quietly.

We decided to go in force with a majority of the others sneaking out earlier and finding places of hiding along the road while Macer, Sam, the captain and I would walk up the main road. More than likely word about the arrival of strangers would have made the fictional lieutenants ears so we used Macer and the captain as bait. Lugh had removed his manacles but asked that we not put any curative magics on the captain yet. Atz and I agreed not to do so, although on my end, I didn’t have much left to give. Sam walked with us but was invisible and I went shifted into the form of one of the mastiffs I had seen some of families in Magnimar use as guard dogs.

Using a sunrod as our source of light we walked about a mile or so out of town when we came upon several crates and barrels scattered on the road. A cursory look at them showed them to contain supplies from the guardhouse. Weapons, armors and the like. Even the captain muttered quietly under his breath that they were supplies from the garrison.

As we moved further down the road I heard a voice yell out “I didn’t think you were going to bring a friend and your dog.” Looking down the road we saw a half elf dressed in the uniform of the guards.

Macer replied, “He’s my squire and well . . . its my dog.”

“Well, someone has been stealing our supplies and had left them on the road here. I was hiding back here hoping to catch them when they came to pick them up. You should come back here and hide with me.” the lieutenant said.

I knew that idea was folly and to help make sure we didn’t wander back into what was obviously an ambush I moved forward a small ways and jumped up on top of one of the large crates and laid down. Trying to act disinterested in the half elf while looking for the others. I could only hope they were there since I had no idea what sort of ambush this man had planned. Looking back I shifted my sight so that I could see if he was a demon and was surprised when instead I saw a gaunt looking man with intensely blue eyes. I shudder ran down my spine and I was left thinking he closely resembled Oona’s father.

By this time Macer had moved back and was moving to hide behind some barrels near me when the lieutenant forcefully asked for Macer to move back and hide with him. I growled at the idea, but Macer paused then said he was good where he was.

“Too bad,” the lieutenant said. “We’ll have to do it the hard way.”

Then two humans and four dwarves stepped out from behind barrels near the lieutenant and fired their heavy crossbows. All of them were directed at Macer and only one bypassed his armor, sticking into his shoulder. Thats also when I heard movement in the grass off the road and saw Lugh leap up from his hiding spot and begin sprinting to the side of the road. As I shifted into my normal form I yelled out to the others that I could now see moving up in support that the lieutenant wasn’t what he appeared to be. Also because I wasn’t exactly sure what he was.

As I strode forward I prepared by transforming my skin into iron and greatly enhanced my strength. At the same time Sam once again increased my size through his magics and I moved up to engage all the archers. Before I could reach them a web seemed to encase them all and prevented me from getting to them. Which was fine as the real challenge would be the lieutenant that was now attacking Lugh. Using a tactic Lugh and I had been practicing when sparring I maneuvered myself to guarantee one of us was always in his blind spot making it difficult for his escape and making our attacks more deadly. With Vex diving in and around the dancing form of Lugh and I we made short work of him. Even Lugh was given the magics that increased his size, although he didn’t look as comfortable in that form as Macer and I did.

When the killing blow landed from my greatsword he turned into a fine green vapor and began to float away, against the breeze. Vex and I gave chase while the others finished off the dwarves and humans. There were even a pair of dire boars hidden in the supplies and were being used by the humans as a rather dangerous mount. I was surprised to see them as I had only ever seen a normal boar. I may practice shifting into that form in the future. I imagine Atz would love riding on my back in that form letting loose that staff sling of his.

Vex and I followed him back to and through the town. The vapor moved to a dockside warehouse near the river where it disappeared under the floorboards. Using my crowbar, I pulled the boards free and waited for Lugh to arrive before we pulled the lid off the coffin and permanently ended the lieutenants existence. Today had been a very interesting, informative and enjoyable day.

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We returned the halfling back to the logging camp and rested one more night before our return trip to Sandpoint. I was rather happy that we had decided to stay the evening since it meant one more day in the wilds. I enjoy the quiet of Sandpoint compared to the noise and crowds of Magnimar. Magnimar will always be home for me and I would consider staying in Sandpoint but at this time I prefer the wilds of Varisia to it all.

The next day we began our trek back to Sandpoint and I was surprised to notice an oddity near the entrance to the kobold warren as we passed by. Sitting on a rock was what appeared to be, in all ghost story description, an actual ghost. Everyone passed it by without noticing it and the ghost looked at me when it realized that I was the only one staring at it. I wasn’t fearful of the creature, in fact it was the opposite. There was a sort of calm that the ghost emanated. Then it bowed its head and greeted me by my name and with a smile said it was amazed that in all things I was always with the same people no matter the time. I got the impression he wasn’t being literal with that statement but was offering a more profound observation that I didn’t quite understand.

“How do you know my name?” I replied.

“I have always known you Birgun, and I have always known your friends. You have had many names and I know them all. Throughout time you and your friends are always drawn together and seem to overcome whatever the cosmos can throw at you.” And with a quick look at Vex, “Except him, he’s ... new.”

By now the others had stopped and were trying to figure out who I was talking to. I could hear Kelyn mutter something about getting hit on the head again. Lugh asked if anyone knew if I had slept under another tree and had woken suddenly. Nina though confirmed that I was talking with ... something.

“I am Treyvor Lee and I think it best that I should reveal myself to the others.”

I turned my head slightly in the direction of the others and told them to not be alarmed but someone was going to appear.

Slowly fading into existence, Treyvor appeared on the rock as I had been seeing him the whole time. Along with a rather large coach wagon pulled by several steeds. There were even two steeds tied to the rear of the wagon and all of them, including the wagon, had that same shadowy appearance.

Treyvor greeted everyone by their names and by their “other” name. A name he described as being a name we had all used in a prior time. The oddity was that the name sounded correct and comfortable. If a name could be comfortable.

He said that he needed our assistance far in the north and that he would give a more accurate and detailed description on the way. When we hesitated he explained that an evil was growing in the north and it was important for us to correct the problem. No matter how much I tried I could sense no lie or malice in his words. Because of the distance it was important for us to either ride on or in the coach or to ride one of the two steeds. Kelyn and Nina were the first to board the coach and eventually everyone got in. While Macer mounted one of the steeds I moved up to the drivers seat of the coach. I was somewhat surprised when it began to move without any direction from a driver. I also noticed that the scenery was rapidly becoming a blur and even though the ride on the wagon wasn’t terribly long, exhaustion seemed to come on rapidly and I found myself drifting off to sleep at times.

When I and the others were awake he explained of a town in the north called Fort Donner and that it had been a town that saw repeated attacks from a great white dragon whenever the populace of the town grew to a certain size. A few years ago a group of adventurers had arrived and slain the dragon prompting the town to gain a level of prosperity it had never known. Then an evil in the woods near the town began to grow and reports of attacks on those that used the forest for timber or resources. There was even a prophet telling the local people that a group of adventurers would arrive with intentions to destroy the evil but would end up releasing an even greater evil upon the town. Treyvor could say no more but described the situation as dire and that we were needed. He also spent time talking with each of us in turn and told fantastic tales of our “other selfs” and the deeds we had done. I couldn’t decide if the stories were just that, stories, or if they were true. The idea of it was beyond my ability to reason but at no time did I shake my head and roll my eyes. The felt ... genuine.

We eventually arrived in a field just outside a small town and Treyvor informed us that we had arrived at our destination. As we disembarked he smiled and wished us luck and then disappeared. Looking around I could see a mountain range far to the west which ran north and south. It was then that I realized I was looking at the Tusk mountains which I had seen to my east when I had met with Arypp on my return trek to Magnimar after having left Kalsgard. “I think we are in the Shudderwood, which is in northern Ustalev. We are more than 800 miles from Sandpoint!” My family had a very extensive map collection and I spent a great many evenings looking over the maps when I lived in Kalsgard. I would imagine all the great and wonderful places I wanted to travel to and see. Everyone just stood there looking about with their mouths agape. Kelyn was the first to break the silence by proclaiming, “Now THAT is how you travel!” Which brought about laughter from the rest of us.

When we arrived in the town, most of the population seemed fearful of us. Many of them would enter into their homes and close the doors behind them. They would shutter the windows and the obvious signs of bars sliding into place behind doors was prevalent. I had heard that Ustalavites were wary of outsiders but this prophet definitely had them fearful of us as a whole. The only person that would initially talk with us was an innkeeper where we decided to get rooms. He let us know that this prophet or oracle was an old dwarf woman that was rumored to be a witch. He shrugged when we pressed the validity of the statement. “Shes an old dwarf, all I know.”

At this point we all split up to wander the town and look for anything odd, beyond the townsfolk being rather shy. The only thing I noted was that the walls of the fort didn’t have enough men and the gate had none. For a military structure of this size there should be more. Thats when I heard the terrified screams of some man running down the street. All I could understand was “Demons in my alchemy shop!” So I told him to head to the inn and get the newcomers and I ran down the street towards the alchemists store. Along the way I issued a few spells of empowerment, one of which gave me a more bear like face and allowed for me to knock people aside easier. As I entered into the shop I caught another of the female winged demons, Vex, some warrior and three smaller demons walking towards what appeared to be a cave wall.

I yelled out a challenge fearing they had captured Vex and was surprised when they walked right through the wall. Some sort of magic concealed a passage and so I charged through hoping to not meet an actual cave wall. Thankfully I didn’t but they had prepared for my arrival and I soon found myself beset by all of them. Except the succubus. Instead she ordered Vex to show her the contents of his pockets and pouches. So he did. Some sort of magic had controlled Vex and I could tell he was covered in deep wounds. The cause of those wounds became apparent when the warrior turned his attention on me and hit me with his sword with incredible strength. As I rallied my wits to engage the man he seemed to turn my blows to the side or parry them with his sword and shield. I also noticed at this time that he was dressed in a heraldry that mirrored the flags outside. I could only imagine that he too was controlled by the succubus. I only managed to hit the man once with my greatsword and he weathered that attack well.

It was then I heard the others arriving so the shopkeeper succeeded in getting the others. Using this distraction, I overran the man catching him off-guard and knocking him on his ass. Even on his back he managed another telling blow but not before Kelyn stepped up and knocked the man unconscious. As I turned around only the succubus remained and she began to run and I tried to cut off her escape, missing by inches as she avoided the clumsy attack made by me through blood soaked eyes. The other though took out their vengeance on her and managed to kill her a few seconds later.

No sooner had her corpse hit the floor than Vex seemed to shake off the magics keeping him in a fog. So I quickly cast a small curative magic spell on the warrior after kicking his sword to the side. Groggily his eyes opened up and he looked as confused as Vex did angry.

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We rested for only as long as we dared allow to use some curative magics before moving on. A few suggested that we wait until our vision returned, but the lives of the remaining children was more important. I was beginning to see more than just darkness. There were even flashes of light and movement that led me to believe my vision was returning even quicker than we had thought. No, the children had to be saved and if that meant moving slowly forward because of our poor vision than so be it, at least it was forward.

We moved to the room where the well to the lower levels was located and it appeared that I was the only one that used it to lower myself safely to the room below. The others used magics of all kinds to get there and I could hear a fierce battle below. I then heard Kelyn yell for me to watch my step when I arrived at the bottom as the room was covered in a magical web. I could barely make out the few remaining kobolds that were left in the room, but the amount of dead kobolds far exceeded the live ones, no glory here and it wouldn’t take the others more than a few seconds to finish them off so I pushed forward into one of the halls.

I came into another room after following the hand carved tunnel and found even more of the little bastards. As I moved to engage them a few made their way in my direction but these were not warriors beyond a creature that carried a tool and used it as a weapon. These were the miners that had carved the tunnels. Other than a few nicks and cuts, mainly in my feet, they posed no threat and died as quickly as they rushed forward. I heard cries of a gargoyle but I could not see it in the darkness of the room and my generally fading vision. As I pushed further into the room and heard someone yell that the gargoyle was down. I found another tunnel further into the room and began moving in its direction when I heard the sound of combat break out behind us. Kelyn had found a small group of kobolds lying in wait and had engaged them. I could hear a few of the others rush off to assist him, only Nina being the one I know would have gone. I was surprised to find Sam behind me as I entered into the tunnel which eventually led into a crossroads. Sam was not comfortable leaving the others but I was relatively well off, the damage was all superficial and the children were paramount. I initially chose the tunnel to my right and using my off-hand to help guide me, as well as the light coming off the pommel of my greatsword I could tell that the room it led to was empty or at least not full of the little ankle biters. Turning around I continued forward and took the first passage to my right, which was opposite of the way I had entered into the crossroads.

I soon found myself waist deep in the little bastards as a flurry of small spears either impacted and bounced harmlessly off my armor or found a week spot and struck true. The bastards were using poison but my Ulfen constitution fended off most of it. Their leaders charged forward and swung their small blades but the damage had been done. My small moment of blindness had left me open to attack and I was now in serious trouble. I even heard Sam wheezing from wounds he had sustained. I told Sam to fall back a small ways and that I would provide the cover he needed until the others arrived. I would use the narrow hall to my advantage and with a blessing from my Lord of Iron I hardened my flesh as Sam once again increased my size with his arcane magics. One of the leaders tried to rush me, assuming the small retreat was a sign of weakness. He paid for that mistake when I cut him in half and buried the sword into the earthen floor. I quick tug pulled the blade free and for a small moment I saw fear in the eyes of the kobolds. I also heard the arrival of the others. Time to press the advantage and cut these bastards down.

Grand Lodge

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Well, our stats have been tweaked by the GM for his game. (He's notorious for doing so.) Which is also why I worked on the Druid of Gorum (class/archetype?). Other than making one other tweak to the class as I had posted, right now he's been holding his own next to the others. So my fears that the class might be broken have so far not been true. The further along we go I will have to see.

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When I finally came out of the chaos in my mind I heard the others saying they could hear kids screaming in terror. Turns out the room they were in was designed to pick up on the voices depending on where they sat. From a map they found in the room they knew where to head and so we took off at a breakneck speed.

Rounding a corner before the room we wanted to reach we could see a dwarven spirit slowly moving towards us, axe raised to strike us down and floating a foot off of the floor. I yelled at the others to save the children while I took care of the specter. I charged, timing my great swing with the dwarf and was surprised when I met resistance before the sword struck the dwarf. I soon felt a burning sensation all over my body as I realized that I was in some sort of devilish kobold trap. No sooner had I impacted into this trap than I felt Macer also become entangled in the acidic ooze. For a brief moment I began to panic when I realized that I could no longer move or hear anything. The only sensation was the burning of my skin. Suddenly the trap exploded in a wash of acidic goo and I landed on the ground.

Ahead I could see kobolds pouring into a room from an opposite hallway and the screams of kids filled the corridor. I charged a particularly large looking kobold and cut him in half with one swing of my sword. A quick look of the room showed a halfling and a young girl no younger than my sister trying to defend two smaller children from the kobolds. The halfling and the young girl both took viscous cuts as the rest of the group ran into the room. I also felt the continued sting of acid on my flesh as whatever the trap was still lingered. Knowing that the halfling and young girl would not last much longer I left myself open for attack as I moved through the kobolds to kill one of the creatures that threatened the children. The little bastards were using poison as I could feel my body fighting against its effects when a couple of them found openings in my armor.

I heard Nina speak a few words of arcane magic and fire shot from her hands as she roasted a great number of the little beasts. Many of the others moved up to assist the defense of the children and within a matter of seconds the kobolds were almost all dead and the children safe. Then the screams and howls of more kobolds came from the hall where they had initially poured from and everyone set up a hasty defense. Moving up to help them, smoke rising from my body were my flesh was burning from the acid, I managed to cut another of the bastards in half before another wash of magical fire from Nina’s outstretched hands claimed the lives of several more of the kobolds, one of which was the coward that led us into the trap and had escaped earlier.

I also noticed another group of kobolds, one of which was blue in color instead of the black like the ones we were killing. The only reason I noticed them, other than the color, was because he and his group were stabbing the other kobolds in the back. When the last one fell this small group dropped their weapons and began speaking in a language that only Vex understood. Vex translated that they wished to be spared and that they never hurt any of the “pinkskins” as they called them. The hypocrisy of that lie was given light by the finger bones made into earings jangling as he begged for mercy. I spit on him and turned to move back to the others as I could see that all of them had the acid on them in some way. I quickly doused Nina, Kelyn and myself with water granted by a blessing of Gorum. This helped remove the acid from our bodies but in the end I had to drink a potion of healing to fix the damage done to my skin. Lugh had taken care of the others in a similar manner. They had also let the blue kobold and his group leave. As much as I wanted to cut the bastard down, doing so provided no glory and they were cowards as well.

Talking with the children we learned that there were at least three other children within the complex. A couple that had been taken and one that was missing because he had run off. Moving deeper into the complex we found one of the children hiding behind a great anvil at the back of what appeared to be some sort of burial chamber. Several skeletons lined the floor of the room and Lugh suggested having a blunt weapon ready should they rise. I was able to talk the child out of his hiding spot. He was so scared all he could talk about was that a skeleton had cut him. Since none of the skeletons were giving us any trouble I can only assume that the child had disturbed them in some way. Regardless, we were able to get him to the others after tending his wounds.

Moving even further into the complex the group had decided to bypass one room to head into another. Making sure we were not surprised I continued on into the room they bypassed. Looking in the room I found nothing but a doorway on the far side that was opened. Then I heard Macer yell a cry of alarm and knowing the layout after Vex had shown me a map he had drawn of the complex I moved through to the doorway. This room had some sort of shaft or stairwell leading down, a hewn out passage that smelled of smoke and another doorway that led into the room the others had entered. Drawing my weapon I moved into the room and found several dead kobolds and the living dead tearing into their flesh. The creatures rounded on all of us but where brought down in short order.

We decided to move into the smoke filled room as a group and hadn’t gone to far before gouts of flame from two directions washed over all of us. I managed to avoid most of the fire but after a quick spell from Nina the smoke was blown away by a strong wind and what was left were two hounds from hell, one of which wore a suit of armored barding. I quickly stepped up the armored hound and brought down my sword with all my strength. The beast took the blow and retaliated by almost killing me with a vice-like bite from its maw as well as fire. The wound was savage enough to cause my next swing to go wide but thankfully Lugh and Macer had moved in to help after having killed the hound near them. The creature didn’t know where to bite and thankfully bit one of the others as I was sure that if it connected again I would have died. Before long we brought this creature down and had to spend several minutes taking care of our wounds. I drained all of my remaining potions and used the curative magics taught to me by Arypp with the aid of Gorum on the others. Battered and bruised we pushed on.

In the next room we found a curiously dressed dwarf wrapped from head to toe in chains. Hooks and bits of iron also wrapped around the dwarf and one of the chains led to a small boy who was bound in the chains. Lugh leapt forward quickly yelling at the rest of us to stop the ritual. We all followed suit and rushed in, hacking into the dwarf but the chains seemed to absorb a lot of the damage. He then inhaled and released a cloud of burning embers that covered us all, my eyes being burned into blindness immediately. Knowing that some ritual was going to claim the life of the child I couldn’t abandon my attack, even blinded. Praying to Gorum for guidance I stepped up and swung and was rewarded with the sound of the dwarfs corpse hitting the ground. The cloud though had done its damage and several of us were blinded from the embers. Looking at all of us in time Lugh mentioned that we should recover our eyesight in time. Meanwhile Kelyn had used the hammer the dwarf wielded to break the chains that bound the young boy. He also used it to destroy the chains that wrapped the dwarf. Lugh mentioned that the links contained souls of people that it had used to bind into the chains. Whatever foul magics this dwarf used would now be over thanks to our intervention and Kelyn’s tireless arm.

Now I had to wait to see how long before my vision would return.

Grand Lodge

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captain yesterday wrote:

I'm catching up, still got a lot i've missed:-)

its fun to see the stats and such, quite the burly Druid Useplanb:-)
fun stuff! keep at it:-)

Glad you are enjoying the read. Also, I'm the small one. Macer and Lugh are stronger. :)

That being said I have an Ulfgaght cousin in the wings should I die that is bigger.

Grand Lodge

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I should post that we jokingly invented a new Swallowtail Festival event in the aftermath of the Rise of the Runelord campaign.

We called it "The Paladin's Path." Its a race for kids to follow the path taken by Rikert the day the giants attacked Sandpoint. The first to follow the long route from The Rusty Dragon Inn up to the north gate and back down through and crossing the bridge wins. The prize is a small stuffed animal of a warhorse.

The idea came about as we gave the player that played Rikert in the RotRL game a hard time about getting back to his horse Hickory who had been stabled in Sandpoint for multiple weeks in our new campaign.

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The morning walk was incredibly relaxing for me. The morning air was still brisk enough to see your breath but the weather promised to warm up into a wonderful day. I woke up a town guard when I left through the wicket of the north gate and told him that I was going to the north into the tickwoods to hunt boar. His expression at that statement surprised him, but after he gave me the one over he wished me luck and probably nodded back off to sleep before I made it out of view from the wall.

The tickwoods were rumored to be full of boars and it didn’t take long for me to find a small group of them foraging around for truffles or whatever else they wanted to eat. I took my time and quietly moved to single one of the boar out. The creature noticed my presence to late and with a war cry rushed forward and droved the spear straight into the boar’s heart killing it instantly. I probably stood to long surprised at the clean kill because I didn’t hear the other boar charging me until it was almost to late. I quickly set the spear for the charge and was rewarded with the boar impaling itself on its end. Before I could pull the spear back and make a second attack a tree fell on the boar crushing it instantly in a gore of blood, as well as break my spear. Then I realized that it wasn’t a tree but a club, somehow a hill giant had snuck up behind me.

Spinning around realizing that I was in trouble I grabbed for my greatsword. Thats when I began smelling the pungent odor of alcohol and it was coming from the breath of the giant. It’s also when the giant surprised me for the second time when it began blubbering in a broken Taldane asking for help. The giant had lost his ring and needed help finding the ring or he couldn’t go home. Between its slurred speech and broken Taldane it was difficult to understand what it was saying. There was something about his interest in an ogress which is why he took off his ring, and some ogres that made fun of him so he killed them. If this was a trap, it was an interesting one and I had to admit my curiosity was piqued. Keeping the sword out I motioned for the giant to lead on and followed him a short distance into a small clearing.

The clearing did in fact contain three dead ogres, their skulls having been crushed by the club the giant carried. As I began giving a cursory look over the area I could tell that it was an ancient ruin of some kind. I also noticed a discarded shoe. Small enough to be either a child’s shoe or possibly one of the smaller folk, gnomes or halflings maybe. Looking closer there was no blood or obvious signs of a struggle so I continued my look for the ring. It didn’t take long but I eventually found a misshapen lump of metal in the crude form of a ring. Using the tip of my greatsword I picked the ring up and showed it to the giant. His eyes told me that it was his ring but before he could grab it off my sword I swung it over to the discarded shoe. Pointing the sword at the shoe and looking closely at the giants face I asked if he had anything to do with that.

In his drunken stupor the giant slowly focused on the shoe and said that he didn’t because it was to small. I couldn’t really tell if he was lying but somehow I doubt it, he was to drunk to purposefully lie. So I flicked the ring to him and told him to get going. He stood there for a second looking about, confused as to where he was to go. So I pointed to the north east and said, “That way.” After a few seconds he began stumbling away in that direction and when he was gone I looked over the area after having picked up the shoe. I eventually found a small opening that led underground. As much as I wanted to go in and look I knew I would get into trouble by myself and decided to get back to town to tell the others.

I quickly made my way back to the boar and spent the next hour dressing the boar for transport back to town. While it bled out I worked on building a sled I could use to drag the carcass back to Sandpoint. The trip back was uneventful but I was kept from enjoying it as I mulled over why a child’s shoe would be found this far out into the woods. Before long I found myself in front of the Rusty Dragon Inn dragging in the evenings dinner. Once inside I told the incredulous story to the others who looked at me like I was the one that was drunk. None of the group had met with the local authorities in Sandpoint but Ameiko pointed me to their sheriff Hemlock. Though he had no reports of anyone missing from the area. He did point me to the Scarnetti family as they have extensive logging operations in the tickwood and he might know something. Titus Scarnetti didn’t know of any problems but did confirm he had a small group that lived up in that region and would be glad if I looked into the situation. The rest of the group confirmed their interest in going although Sam was less than pleased at the early departure.

Along the way, while following the obvious trail from the drag marks of my sled, we were attacked by a plant creature that I had no idea even existed. Whatever it was, the creature looked a lot like my entangle spell that I have cast except that the vines constricted around you. While everyone fought their way free, Sam and I stayed and fought the creature. Eventually it quivered and died and I then healed up both Sam and I. I tried to tell him he looked taller, but he didn’t see the humor in it. I think I heard a snort from Vex though.

We made it to the entrance and moved within cautiously. The stairs led into a large chamber full of kobolds like Vex. They didn’t offer much of a threat and in the process of chasing one of them down Lugh ran into another room with a tentacle like worm that attacked him. It didn’t last long though once it made itself known. The complex was covered in runes and images showing dwarves working and mining. The room that we found that contained the worm had what looked like a pool of boiling blood. I told Lugh that I had seen a few dwarven forges and none of them contained boiling blood. He shrugged and I ended up kicking the corpse of the worm into the pool and moved on.

Vex had convinced one of the kobolds to surrender and two other kobolds, who were slaves, agreed to help. Talk about a weird little group. The captured kobold agreed to take us to its leader as we learned there was a group of pink skins that they had captured and were going to sacrifice. As he led us through the complex we found the corpse of a headless man, his body being gnawed upon by dire rats. Moving past the corpse we entered into a room that had some sort of obelisk of strange stone. The kobold told us to watch our step and considering that the room contained several skeletons littering the floor I followed his steps. When Lugh decided to ignore that advice and stepped off our ‘path’ the obelisk activated and all the metal objects on my person suddenly ripped free, slamming into and sticking to the stone. I barely managed to keep my greatsword in my hands and was having troubles maintaining my position in the room because my armor was also dragging me to the center of the room. If that wasn’t bad enough, the doors we were heading to, where the kobold had already passed, and the doors we came from slammed shut. The other two sets of doors opened and four creatures that looked like flying heads came out. One of them let out a shriek that reminded me of being near Felu’s bangstick but they died quickly enough. In time we learned that the trap would reset and as long as no one left the correct path through the room we were able to move through it easily enough.

Moving on we discovered that our captured kobold had run off. No real surprise there but it still angered me. We came to a room that contained the corpse of a dwarf on some sort of anvil while a winged imp told us to leave him alone. The corpse had been there long enough to become a skeleton and it was obvious that his head was smashed in, and it looked like it was done by the contraption that was fixed above the anvil. Lugh entered into the room and the creature attacked him. Needless to say, it didn’t last much after that. I was about to wander off when Kelyn found a secret corridor in the room. By the time I had followed up behind the others he had opened another secret door and all I could hear was babbling in my head. I awoke five minutes later oblivious to the fight that had occurred.

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I awoke the next morning to the group discussing the purchasing of new equipment over breakfast. The need for silver weapons or blanches that would achieve the same result, or herbs to help prevent the disease should the creatures bite us. As most of the group left to find these weapons or herbs I decided to ignore the need for a new weapon. I was given the image of a dog chasing its tail as I pondered on it after eating. I have already taken a sword I was very fond of and placed it in a place of honor in my room and was now carrying a new sword designed to combat these demons. Lycanthropy be damned, I’ll just carve my way through them without the need to carry another sword. As for the disease, I was more confident in my robust constitution than I was at taking some herb to help.

I spent the remainder of the morning sitting in Kelyn’s room with my feet up on the open window watching the Kaijitsu estate and the harbor in the distance. The morning went by slowly. Eventually it was time for lunch and Hobart had his servants prepare a rather large spread of spiced meats, cheeses and breads. It was during lunch that Hobart said he would like to go to Sandpoint to visit his niece (PLAYER COMMENT—I thought it was her father earlier, my bad.) and wanted to hire us to help ensure his safety. I jumped at the chance to do so because it meant getting back out on the road, in the wilds, which is where I preferred being anymore. He said that he could offer up his advice on what it would cost to renovate and repair the obvious issues with the Kaijitsu family home but again warned against upsetting Ameiko’s great grandfather, Fumiko. To my relief the rest of the group agreed to do so. The decision was to leave in the morning a few days away.

This meant I spent the next few days at home with my mother and sister. My sister was excited at my leaving because that meant I would have fantastic tales to tell when I returned home. Hopefully that would be true, because the journey to Sandpoint was quiet and dull. Even though I worked more on different forms, the eagle and wolf were the most enjoyable to spend my time in. I might have to purchase a saddle of some sort to keep in Kelyn’s magical hole so that I could give Atz a ride. It would help to increase our overall land speed should we not have to worry about escorting a wagon train.

After arriving later in the afternoon on the third day, I immediately made way to the Rusty Dragon Inn. Again the atmosphere was everything an adventurer would want upon entering. Boisterous laughter, cold mead and ale, wonderful food and a clean room. Although the clean room wasn’t something I was overly interested in. With spring arriving, the idea of camping in the woods near Sandpoint help more desire than a dry bed in a inn. The night went by as expected and I mentioned to Ameiko that I might head out in the morning to land a boar for a great evening meal. She agreed and even laughed saying that boar hunting was popular among heroes. I didn’t get the reference. So I retired early and on my way out of town I stopped by the local general store and a somewhat large man named Vin sold me a boar spear. The day is already looking better.

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Along with the missive from Ameiko to look in on her estate, was a query from the mayor of Sandpoint. Kendra Deverin wanted us to also look in on her father, who coincidentally enough, lived next door to the Kaijitsu estate. I found it odd that the mayor of Sandpoint was now interested in our motley group but it would appear that Ameiko and Shalelu have her ear, and our reputation for assistance is growing. Hobart Deverin was purported to be a retired adventurer and suffering some sort of illness, which has kept him from leaving Magnimar to visit his daughter. Kendra described the estate as being large enough to offer rooms for those of us that would like to stay there, but I suspect that I will pass on the offer. Others of the group will probably accept as their relations with their families is rocky at best.

I figured we had some time before we would inspect the Kaijitsu estate and meet with Mr. Deverin so I spent the next few days purchasing new gear. Once again I returned to the old wizard who had enchanted my armor earlier in the week. After explaining at length the problems that I had faced while fighting the demon woman, and his consultation of several musty tomes we learned that she used what was referred to as negative energy to steal my life essence to fuel her own. He suggested an enchantment that would reduce or outright deny that ability in the future. We sat in the comfortable chairs in the front of his shop for several hours talking about the fight and his surprise that such a creature was found within Magnimar. He offered to do some research on the creatures should I encounter more of them in the future, or at least the one that had fled, to which I agreed. With that done, he informed me that it would be several days before the enchantment was done as it was extensive work to weave the threads of magic into already existing magic without all of it unraveling. I nodded in understanding, even though I had no idea what he was talking about. He smiled as if he knew and I departed.

From there I made it down to Dockway and the Bazaar of Sails. The amount of barking and hawking of wares in such a riot of color was always a treat to walk through. The amount of people in such a small place reminded me of Kalsgard. Having grown up in Magnimar I thought that it was the largest place in all of Golarion. Having arrived in Kalsgard I learned what a true city was. The population there was immeasurable. The only place in Magnimar to rival the amount of people in one place was the Bazaar, and yet it was better. Only because the area was patrolled heavily by a local woman and her gang. The city guard never patrolled the tightly contested walkways, only men and women with red sashes. There was the occasional pick pocket, the amount of people guaranteed that, but if they were caught by any of the red sashed people the punishment was swift. Usually it was the loss of a finger or two, on other occasions the whole hand. I had never seen that happen, but the rumors kept crime here to a minimum, and that is what brings in the vendors.

In time I found a dwarven blacksmith hailing from someplace called the Five Kings Mountains who worked with the steel I was looking for. Cold iron was one of the few metals that could bypass the defenses of demons and even though I had carried a morning star made of the metal I was unaware of that property. To me, it was a finely crafted dwarven morningstar I had purchased in Kalsgard before my year long journey of enlightenment. The merchant did in fact have a greatsword crafted from the material and it was also enchanted which, he explained, is difficult to do. It would seem that cold iron is also resistant to magics and this made any enchanting difficult to do. Wary that it was a ploy to fleece me of more coin, I agreed to purchase the expensive blade. The scowl I gave him as I slowly handed over the money was returned with a sincere smile. I was going to check with the mage when I returned back to the up city, and woe this merchant my wrath if he did in fact haggle gold away from me with a lie. As it turned out he was correct and I would have to apologize to him should I ever encounter him again. The blade was not as extravagant as the blade I was given by the dwarves in Kalsgard, but was still of a master quality. The balance of the blade was perfect and it cut the air just fine, but then again all blades cut air equally as well. Hopefully that demonic wench would learn to fear this blade at our next meeting.

A few days later the group gathered up to meet Mr. Deverin and I handed Sam the missive penned by Hobart’s daughter. Sam was much better at conversation than I was, mostly because I tended to be blunt but then again my size tended to set me at a disadvantage from the start. Only when I was in Kalsgard did my size not hinder me when it came to talking with others. It helps when you can look them in the eye.

The Deverin estate was massive as compared to my family’s grounds. The grounds contained green grass that was kept short, the spring flowers were already in bloom. Well manicured trees were being tended to by an old Tian man on top of a ladder. He offered a friendly wave and nodded in my direction when I returned his greeting but didn’t understand what he said. There were a fair number of Tian in Kalsgard since the city was one of the final resting spots before the long trek over the mountains to reach their lands. I never picked up on the language, but it seemed harsh and almost guttural. It seemed ironic that the Tians were much smaller than the Ulfen and their language was harsh to the ears where Skald had a soft, almost poetic tone to it. The Deverin home was three stories tall, windows on all the floors and almost as wide as one of the city blocks. There would be no way my mother, sister and I could ever keep a home this big clean, the chores would be endless. In fact, the Deverin estate employed a great number of servants. He was known to pay his staff very well and in turn he was treated well. Although there were rumors that some of his staff were only here to collect a large amount of coin and would walk off with the family silver if given the chance.

Sam presented the letter to a doorman and after a small amount of time we met a very gregarious man after waiting in a grand foyer who thanked us for bringing the letter. Hobart was a large man, one who had let himself go after retiring from adventuring. I didn’t for one minute believe that strength couldn’t be found quickly enough should the need arise, he still moved as if he was in shape. He took us to a game room that contained a billiard table, and several comfortable chairs. Where the mages chairs looked warm and old, these just looked new. It would seem that the Deverin’s are not hurting for money and it was spent on everything. Chairs, tables, rugs and tapestries. Even animals that had been stuffed lined his halls and rooms. Placards, trophies and awards were found everywhere there wasn’t a painting of some kind. We spent several hours playing games of chance, talking and just relaxing. It had grown boring for me rather quickly.

“Forgive me for saying this master Deverin, but we were told you were a sick man. You seem to be in remarkably good health for someone that is supposed to be sick.” I asked as I rolled an ivory castle piece from the siege game in my hand. Damnable Atz even understood the end game and beat me four times.

Perhaps all my time had inured myself to my friends that no one seemed shocked that I had asked that question.

Even Hobart didn’t seem to mind, he responded “No. It’s true. I do have a sickness that comes and goes. At times I feel fine, other times I grow weak and tired and need to rest. It all started a few years ago when I went across into the Kaijitsu estate. You know its haunted don’t you? Fumiko is still there and just wishes to be left alone in his library reading his books. Hes been dead for a hundred years I believe. I had gone over to check the estate when a wild dog bit me. That was a few years back.”

That revelation made me focus my thoughts and scrutinize him more closely. Thats when I could see the darkened shadow that seemed to be joined with him in some way. I visible started in the chair, not expecting to see that. Felu took notice of my minor start but didn’t say anything.

After a few minutes he stood up and said that he was going to retire for a nap, but he had enjoyed our company and asked for us to return for dinner. He also offered up rooms for any who wanted them, especially since we were going to be investigating the Kaijitsu estate. Our close proximity to their estate would greatly aid our investigations. When he left the room I brought up what I had seen and Felu confirmed it. Felu was positive that it was a low level demon of some sort but why he hadn’t been killed by it already she wasn’t sure. Nina thought that it was acting as a parasite, and slowly feeding of its host like a tick does to a deer.

Half of the group decided to take up his offer of room and board, and most of them agreed to staying for dinner. I on the other hand could not miss dinner with the family. So I agreed to gather my belongings and return once my family obligations were met with.

Kiara wished to tag along with me on the return trip and even brought her gear with her. I imagine that a life inside an estate was finally beginning to bore her as well and I welcomed her company. She looked a little lost when I gave her the room that was set aside for me and moved my belongings in with Atz.

We decided to move into the room where Kelyn and Nina were staying as it somewhat directly overlooked the Kaijitsu estate. We began discussing how to look about when I went ahead and made it known that I could do so without really being seen. When they pressed I told them of the forms that I have begun manifesting through sheer will. I explained that I seemed to only be able to take the form once per day and I wasn’t sure on how long I could maintain the form. Once I explained the forms I had tried I then took the time to put on my armor with Lugh’s help. I told them that when I changed, the armor changed with me but would return if I changed back into my human form. Just in case something went wrong I wanted to at least be geared up. Then, much to their astonishment, I turned into a great horned owl. I had thought I would try the eagle again, a form I had experimented with on a previous day, but thought I would see if I could do an owl.

Once the form was done I turned and showed them the full form and said, “see?” Which came out as an owls shriek. That’s when Nina turned to the others and repeated what I had said, except without the shrieking. Turning my head in a quizzical nature, as owls tend to do, I asked out loud if she understood what I said. Wincing at all the squawks and shrieks she held up her hand for me to stop and said out loud that she could read my thoughts. That was a disturbing thought and I immediately began thinking of all the things I would never think about which made her blush somewhat.

“Right, lets test how far you can get this to work. I’ll count out in my head until I return. Let me know how far we get to.”

She nodded and so I leapt into the air and out the window. I have to admit that flying is one of my favorite forms. It reminded me of all those years ago on the Irespan bridge when we would look over the edge to the ships far below. I began my count and went to about 60 making a slow and horrible circle of the estate. I could see two men working on the grounds of the Kaijitsu estate, and it seemed odd for multiple reasons. One, because there was someone there when there shouldn’t be and two, because it was night out. I decided to try and land in a nearby tree to where the men were working and observe them for a while. My skills are not as well gifted as a true owl and I made a bit of noise as I landed on a branch. I think I must have hit every leaf and branch on the way in. Once I had landed and settled in to watch I noticed one of the men looking up in my direction. For a moment I panicked and so I tried to hoot like an owl does by saying, “who.” Turns out, when an owl says who, it comes out as another shriek. I could hear the man turn back to what he was doing saying, “stupid owl.” Breathing a heavy sigh of relief I watched them for several minutes before I realized they were setting traps of sorts. Unsure if they were trying to catch this ‘wild dog’ we heard about or for anyone trying to enter the estate. So once again I shifted my vision into what I was calling true sight. The men shifted into bipedal forms of upright wolves. The men were huge and I must have made another noise as again the man turned to look in my direction. Fearing discovery, I took off and made a long circuitous route back to the Deverin estate.

I found the others waiting in the room still for my arrival and I found purchase on the back of one of the many chairs in the room. Nina said that the last number she heard me say was thirty and so we figured that sixty feet was the limit to her range. So I explained what I saw and told them I had heard of such creatures before, they were called werewolves. Lugh asked if I was one, and through Nina I told him no. It was a sort of blood disease that was contracted through bites. Thats when the group pieced together that Hobart had lycanthropy but the demon was preventing it from taking over. The demon was a pseudo-beneficial parasite. We would have to cure Hobart of both and it looked to start at the Kaijitsu estate. I decided to maintain my form to see how long it would last and ended up falling asleep while still sitting on the back of the chair. I awoke to the crashing of my armored body as it hit the floor and tipping the chair over. It looked like five hours was how long I could maintain the form.

Grand Lodge

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Sam Sedou wrote:
I looked closely (though surreptitiously) at her teeth, just to make sure that her own "family curse" hadn't chosen to manifest itself now...

Now I just realized why Lint likes Oona so much. She's like family. :D

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