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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber. Organized Play Member. 94 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character.


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NobodysHome wrote:

*SIGH*. It continues.

OK. Book 5 is well-written; I really LIKE the NPCs, the monsters, the motivations, and so forth. It's nothing like Book 4.

Book 5: You have to travel 250 miles across a barren, hostile, desert environment, you need preparations, plans...
Hans: I cast Wind Walk. We're there in a little over 4 hours...
Book 5: Well, I guess I'll just tear up and throw out the first 10 pages of the book,then...

It was Shadow Walk for us, but yeah... heh.

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Session 5 - Now I remember, this was the one that we were looking for….

Hes (Goblin Champion Liberator 1)
Grunyar ‘the Spear-Catcher’ (Dwarf Cleric of Cayden Cailean 1)
Kat (Human Fighter 1)
Tick Tock (Goblin Alchemist 1)

The battle with the giant serpent was over almost as quickly as it began. Kat advanced on the snake with shield raised, but from behind her in a commanding voice, Grunyar ordered the creature to flee. Briefly its eyes glazed over and it seemed unable to resist Grunyar’s words. It disappeared back beneath the surface of the pool.

As they continued down the tunnel the group noticed that the walls became more natural and less as if sculpted by human hands. After a ten minute walk, they came upon a small cavern that had light piercing in through the wall at the end. The entire wall was actually the root structure of the giant willow above. On a stump near the wall stood Hallod, the thug that they had been chasing down. A cage sat to his left, and within it was an emaciated robed figure. Near the entrance to the cavern were two dog cages that snapped open as Hallod barked that he had been expecting the group and the dogs leapt forward to attack.

Hallod got the drop on them and fired off a bolt from his massive crossbow, missing. Grunyar stepped up cast daze on Hallod, fogging his mind over for a brief instant. Kat raised her shield and moved forward, carefully avoiding a tripwire, to attack one of the dogs. The dog sprung forward but smashed its teeth on Kat’s raised shield, unable to break through it or get around it.

Hes fired off a sling bolt at Hallod and Tick Tock missed with a crossbow shot, both trying to stay at range as they were wary of possible traps, considering what they had already faced in Hallod’s home. Less reluctant however, was Grunyar, who charged forward - and again heard the thunk of a spear being launched from a hole in the wall. Grunyar cursed, almost going down, truly earning his new name - Spear-Catcher. He healed himself up and raised his shield.

Kat and Tick Tock worked on the dogs, killing them both, as Hes focused his sling shots on Hallod, landing a powerful shot right off Hallod’s thick skull. Already past the first tripwire Grunyar narrowly avoided tripping another one, as he advanced on Hallod, lunging but missing with his rapier.

Hallod showed his confidence with his Kukri’s tearing into Grunyar, leaving him in a puddle of blood on the floor with his third brutal hack. Seeing her friend in a great deal of trauma, Kat advanced warily at Hallod. Hes also stepped in to Lay on Hands and return Grunyar to the land of the conscious. Kat nicked Hallod, and he turned on her, slashing away and hacking chunks of wood off her shield, with one slice getting though and biting into her arm.

Grunyar rose and healed himself as Tick Tock snuck up the side of the room carefully looking for the second trap that Grunyar had called out to warn the party about earlier. He found it, and managed to point the spear launcher at Hallod, triggering it and catching him in the side with a his own deadly missile. That staggered Hallod and he found himself under assault from all sides at Kat landed a power attack and Grunyar, now recovered, stabbed away with the pointy end of his rapier.

Finally Kat landed a telling blow, cleaving into the top of Hallod’s head, killing him instantly.

Looking around the room they found a few empty vials - telltale signs of Hallod’s possible addiction to some kind of alchemical substance. They also saw the thin figure in the cage move slightly. It was Noala, the elven Pathfinder agent, that they had been tasked to find weeks earlier by Gorm Greathammer. A quick perusal of the crates showed that they had once been filled with alchemical agents as well, but now only residue remained. They also found a book dictating the delivery of some reagents by Bort, with entries matching up to those that they had found in Bort’s own ledger as well as a map of the area.

Kat savagely chopped off Hallod’s head as proof of their efforts, as Grunyar gathered up the frail Elven Ranger ready to carry her back to town. A short trip saw them back at the edge of Plaguestone. The first stop was to see Rolthe, who greeted them, but looking a little nauseated, told them that he didn’t want anything further to do with the situation (just please return my badge when you go, Tick Tock).

They also found Tamli, the Half-orc who was newly enstated caravan master of Bort’s entourage. She thanked them for their efforts and gave them a bit of gold for their troubles. She also asked, knowing that two of the band were supposedly devout followers of Cayden Cailean if one of them could say a few words at Borts funeral.

Grunyar, the Spear-Catcher, stepped up. He gave a moving speech about a Dwarf who was a master of caravans, who drove caravans…

The party levelled to level 2 and the session ended there.

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Session 4 - Sheriff Tick Tock and the Case of the Duplicated Ladder

Hes (Goblin Champion Liberator 1)
Grunyar (Dwarf Cleric of Cayden Cailean 1)
Kat (Human Fighter 1)
Tick Tock (Goblin Alchemist 1)

Before visiting Hallod’s residence the group thought they would check in with the person who passed for the sheriff in Plaguestone, Rolthe. After a bit of back and forth Rolthe eventually acquiesed and deputized Tick Tock. He even gave him his badge, though he expressed his hope that he would get it back someday.

Hallod’s residence, a dead home, in the shadow of an old willow tree, was in shambles, with the second floor having mostly collapsed into the centre of the main level. Seeing that the front door was left slightly ajar, everyone but Grunyar immediately became wary. Hes’ sharp instincts enabled him to spot tracks leading not to the front door, but rather to a back window. Kat quickly inspected the window as Grunyar stood guard at the front so Hallod might not escape. Kat was able to unscrew the shutter from the window leaving an opening big enough for a person to pass through.

As Kat pried open the window Hes heard Gruyar’s voice in his head asking if he was ready to go in. Hes confirmed that they were on the way in and the three passed through the window as Grunyar kicked the door open only to hear a loud thunk sound and find a spear buried in his side. Hearing Grunyar call out in pain Kat quickly ran back around to help him. She found him tending to his own wounds, and quickly checked over the rest of the inside of that side of the house while she was there - finding nothing but rubble and rubbish.

Gathering again at the back of the house the party all entered through the window again. Tick tock found a trap door leading down into a chute, and volunteered to lead the way into the tunnel. Being careful he sidestepped a metal trigger plate, and called back to the rest of the group to make sure not to trigger it as well.

At the end of the tunnel was a ladder descending into the depths of the earth, which Tick Tock led the way down. At the bottom of the ladder was a short corridor at the end of which appeared to be another ladder but was actually just a door :) As he dropped to the floor Tick Tock heard the sound of metal scrapping. Tick Tock stepped forward as the door at the end of the corridor sprung open and three enraged dogs jumped out at him, as another pair waited with jaws drooling saliva madly behind.

Thinking quickly Hes cast liberating step on Tick Tock and he was able to survive 3 vicious bites from dogs that found themselves surprised at how ineffective their jaws were at bringing down this little goblin. Grunyar dazed a dog from behind Tick Tock, but the group found themselves crowded up in a small area, unable to get past.

It still seemed like a perfect time for a fire bomb and Tick Tock tossed one right into the middle of the swarming pile of dog flesh, injuring some and lighting one on fire. Finally able to get around Tick Tock, Kat chopped one down, and Grunyar got off a solid daze on one, before killing it and charging over its corpse.

Tick Tock ran in farther, and seeing her friend in trouble Kat tossed some chunks of meat that she had thought to bring along in order to distract the dogs. The distraction worked, on one dog at least, and that took a bit of pressure off of Tick Tock, who was still surrounded, though greatly helped by the resistance from Hes’ Liberating Step.

Finally Hes managed to make his way through the mass of bodies at the door and broke in to poke one of the dogs dead. Gruynar stabby stabbed another, killing it, as Tick Tock drank one of his healing vials, just trying to stay alive while the dogs leapt at him as he clambered up onto a box. Once the group got out of the bottleneck the remaining dogs went down fairly quickly.

They found some alchemist fire and a murky brown substance in the area, and pushed through into the next room. The second room was a living quarters. Deciding that they had taken enough time, and didn’t want to give Hallod more time to set up anything nefarious, they forged on into a tunnel that went east from the living quarters.

After a 5 minute walk they found that the tunnel curved around. A glimmering blue light shone from around the corner. Following it around, the party found a pool of water with a blue light emanating from something in its depths. A large snake burst forth from the water with its tail arcing electricity, and they all gritted their teeth ready to face it down.

The session ended there.

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Session 3 - Some Fleas and a Bear

Hes (Goblin Champion Liberator 1)
Grunyar (Dwarf Cleric of Cayden Cailean 1)
Kat (Human Fighter 1)
Tick Tock (Goblin Alchemist 1)

The mosquito like creatures were Bloodseekers. As Targen Fulst pulled his cart over on himself, the party quickly set into action with Grunyar taking one out with a divine lance and Hes and Tick Tock making short work of others with a sling and some bombs.

Kat spun around and hacked away chopping down two, while another made its way past her shield and drove its stinger into her arm, only to end up in a bloody mess all over Kat’s armour as Tick Tock popped it with a well placed bomb. Another bit deeply into Grunyar, but that was all the damage they would do, as the group downed the rest of them and Grunyar gathered them around to group heal, putting an end to the few wounds that had continued to bleed on out.

They pushed the mayor around the rest of his usual route, and he told them the story of how Etran’s Folly had come by its name. Apparently it was well earned as the town originator had built a house on a hill far from the water supply only to have it later claimed by a fire. Shortly after telling that story the mayor nodded off and they dropped him off back at Delma’s house.

On returning to town the party were approached by Glunda - the gnome druid who had travelled with the caravan and taken care of the horses. The horses had been infested with fleas and she required some rosemary to rid them of it. Fortunately she knew of a source - a clearing a few hours away from town.

Everyone agreed to help, feeling that they might have need of horses later on. Within sight of the clearing the party saw a rather enormous Brown Bear had fallen asleep in the middle of it. They all attempted to approach stealthily, though Hes scraped up against a tree, waking the Bear.

The Bear instantly charged and reared over Hes. It took his arm in its powerful jaws. Kat hacked into the back of it with a mighty chop drawing its attention, as Grunyar healed up his goblin friend. Tick Tock hurled some bombs at it and the creature caught on fire, angering it even further.

Kat’s flurry of slashes left her open to the bear’s claws and it pulled her into a bear hug, though Hes quickly used Liberating Step to ensure that she could slip out of the things grasp. Grunyar gave it a command to run away, but the bear shrugged it off, before Hes poked up through the animals brain with his rapier, ending its life. They collected some rosemary and returned to town, finding a relieved Glunda, who thanked them and quickly ran off to bathe the horses.

Making their way back to the Feedmill Grunyar caught a flash of green out of the corner of his eye. Turning he saw Phinick, the goblin server, making his way rather stealthily to the Feedmill. As their eyes met Phinick bolted and, tired after their long trek and recent fight with the bear, the group decided not to pursue.

At the Feedmill they talked to Delma and she revealed that Phinick had been missing since the day before - when Bort had died. Thinking it unusual the party asked around to see if they could dig out Phinick’s hidey hole. They all agreed that it might be better if the two goblins, Hes and Tick Tock, approached Phinick alone so as not to scare him off. After checking out a few isolated barns around town they chanced upon him in the third one.

Phinick looked like he was going to run, but Hes and Tick Tock managed to calm him down. After he professed his admiration for their fighting skills - (apparently he’d seen a bit of the bar brawl before he ran out), he admitted that he had put something in Bort’s food after being threaten by Hallod, the town thug and bully. Finding it unlikely that Phinick would have the courage to lie to them, the goblins got the location of Hallod’s home from Phinick, and headed back to the Feedmill to rest before going to pay Hallod a visit.

The session ended there.

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Session 2 - You ok, Bort? Bort?

Hes (Goblin Champion Liberator 1)
Grunyar (Dwarf Cleric of Cayden Cailean 1)
Kat (Human Fighter 1)
Tick Tock (Goblin Alchemist 1)

The next morning the party got up late. They hit up the few patrons in the inn as to the location of their missing Pathfinder Ranger early on while awaiting the luxurious lunch as promised by Bort Bargaith, the caravan master. Bort proved as true to his word as possible in a crappy little town like Etran’s Folly, and the group chowed down on meal of turnip this and turnip that, with a side of venison, while listening to Bort’s rather ridiculous stories from his adventuring days.

During the meal a fight broke out, with a server (Kolnral) being taken to task by a drunken farmer (Farmer Eallom) for spilling a drink on him. Apparently Eallom had a bit of an inferiority complex about living in the dead homes in the northern part of town. A fight broke out - and an extra mug seemed to be tossed at Hes,a goblin, while some local tried to get in a shot at Tick Tock, the other goblin, hoping that no one would notice. Tick Tock saw exactly what happened though and he threw a corrosive bomb at the farmer - causing him to writhe in agony on the floor. The sheriff looked a down at Tick Tock, who shrugged him off, though it did seem like the near death of the farmer did take a bit of the air out of the room. Grunyar healed up the farmer and managed to quell the hostilities.

The group got back into their feast, and Bort started up another of his stories, only to almost immediately start choking and turning purple. Despite ministrations Grunyar was unable to do anything to save Bort - though his medical expertise enabled him to be fairly certain that Bort was poisoned and hadn’t just suffered some kind of unlikely coronary.

The sheriff, Rolth, seemed fairly inept, and looked to the party as to what to do. Delma, the innkeeper had Bort’s body put in the cellar, while the party took up investigating Bort’s death at Rolth’s request. Kat thought that Bort’s death may have had something to do with his foray out into the darkness when they had arrived the night previous.

During the fight, the party noticed that Delma the innkeeper, Phinick the goblin, Sir Lawren (the PTSD-ridden knight), and Trin (a female server) had left the scene. Other possible suspects - the hapless bard Flonk, Amora the cook, Kolnral the server, Olf & Ulf the Ulfen caravan guards, Farmer Eallom and a few others were eventually let loose and told to remain in town but to go home.

The group met up with Flonk, but other than seeing that he had his strings replaced, were not able to glean much from him. Talking with Amora revealed that Phinick plated Bort’s dinner and Trin served it. She didn’t see anyone else in the kitchen. Amora seemed quite concerned about her reputation, and less distraught over Bort’s death, but she didn’t come off as malicious. Delma wasn’t able to reveal too much more - just that she didn’t think that anyone in her employ had any motive to harm Bort. She did tell the party that her father, Targen Fulst (the de facto mayor) might be able to tell them more about the town and its people though.

Before heading to meet Delma’s father, the group dug through Bort’s books. Tamli, Bort’s Half-orc second revealed that Bort kept excellent books, and also let slip that she would probably be inheriting the caravan and continuing on their business in Bort’s name. Bort’s caravan had many oddities, perhaps lending some merit to some of Bort’s tall tales, and true to Tamli’s word the accounting books were in excellent order. It seemed like Bort had visited Etran’s Folly 22 times in the last decade making deliveries labelled ‘reagents’ to a buyer known only as ‘H’ for rather large sums of gold. The deliveries all happened on the nights when the caravan arrived in town.

The mayor turned out to be fairly elderly, and he asked them to pull him around on his makeshift wheelchair-cart as he gave them a mini-tour of the town. The Plaguestone - the party already knew somewhat about; though he added a story about a local witch named Silwyth and her daughter Vilree who everyone suspected of starting the plague, and a Father Bolgrist (a local priest) who died during it. The Feedmill turned out to be a business started by himself over 50 years ago (before the Goblinblood wars) and taken over by his daughter Delma.

As the party neared a small local shrine to Gozreh, the god of nature and storms, a swarm of foot long mosquito like creatures dove down at them buzzing angrily.

End Session 2.

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Session 1 - Plaguestone, the town? Not to be confused with Plaguestone, the resort.

Hes (Goblin Champion Liberator 1)
Grunyar (Dwarf Cleric of Cayden Cailean 1)
Kat (Human Fighter 1)
Tick Tock (Goblin Alchemist 1)

Low on resources, the Pathfinder Society contacted 4 prospective members to look into some reports of a missing member of the Society, Noala Kesrir - an Elven Ranger. Her usually timely reports from the small nation of Isger (a vassal state of the empire of Cheliax), had stopped arriving at the Pathfinder Grand Lodge in Absalom.

The group set out the next day on a merchant caravan run by Bort Bargaith, a Dwarf merchant that had been plying the route between Almas, the capital of Andoran and Elidir, the most prominent city in Isger for many years. They were tasked to defend the caravan in exchange for the ride North.

The first few days of the journey were uneventful. Nearing the town of Etran’s Folly, the group heard howls penetrate the darkness of the night and were beset upon by 5 rather mangy looking wolves. Other wolves attacked farther down the caravan. Three approached from the west and were met by Kat and Grunyar. The other two approached from the East and leapt onto the bed of the caravan to attack Hes, while Tick Tock peered out from behind him.

Kat and Grunyar held off their wolf attackers with their blades and raised shields; Kat hewing at them with her powerful Hand and a Half sword while Grunyar yelled En Garde and assumed a duellists stance with his rapier. Each managed to bring down a wolf - while the Hes also fended off the other two wolves that had leapt to attack him, with Tick Tock firing away with his crossbow, reluctant to hurl his alchemical concoctions, thinking that the horses would probably panic from the noise. One pretty smart gobbo.

Suddenly a loud howl emanated from the forest to the north and was echoed by the remaining scrawny predators in combat with the party. Shaken slightly, Grunyar and Tick Tock stayed in the fray. Emerging from the forest was a much larger wolf, one that dripped a greenish bile from its mouth, breathing loudly and raggedly. It glared at Hes and Tick Tock before unleashing a stream of greenish vomit at Hes. He weathered the stream, while Tick Tock was fortunate to be just out of range of the attack. The wolf charged in to leap upon one of the horses backs.

Seeing a greater threat Kat turned to help her companions, taking the brunt of the Caustic Wolf’s attention and some severe injuries. The creature, grabbing her, tried to pull her to the ground, but Hes’ Liberating step prevented it from getting a grip on her. She did fall seconds later though, while the group desperately turned their attacks towards the larger wolf.

Seeing his companion fall, Grunyar pierced the brain of his foe, while raising his other hand to bring some healing life to his friend Kat, who teetered on the brink of consciousness. Together they focused their attacks on the beast, and the combination of rapier thrusts and crossbow bolts managed to bring it down.

After digging the horses out of a bit of mud, the crew arrived in Etran’s Folly about an hour later (passing the Plaguestone itself - a stone where medicine was exchanged with plague victims according to Grunyar), long after dark. Bort promised them a few stories and a good meal on him the next morning since he had a few tasks that he had to run that night.

The group were welcomed into town by the Bartender Delma with some drink and leftover food. Grunyar tried to make friendly with the sole patron of the bar, a bit of a thuggish looking man named Hallod, before being warned off by the help - a rather eccentrically dressed goblin named Phinick. They had a few more drinks before calling it a night.

End Session 1.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

We definitely had a very different experience (I have journals on this site for the Strange Aeons campaign that I ran). We had an Oracle, Sorcerer, Barbarian and Investigator.

They really enjoyed book 3, I'd probably say that it ended up being their favorite. All the little vignette adventures appealed to them, and they really went with and got into each, except for possibly the redundant gugs one. Putting all the PCs in the middle of the ball, where they could joke around and wreak havoc turned out to be fairly inspired imho.

For book 4 they started Mun's house with the idea of respecting the house owner, but once they found the horror of what was going on upstairs (and they had been somewhat warned of what to expect by the bleaching gnome), they basically treated it like a corrupt lab that needed to be purified. The thing in the attic was turned out to be a fun encounter too.

The Mysterium turned out to be a bit more challenging, but we still only had a single death - to the Exscinder Archon in the final vault, before that I don't remember them being too sorely tested by anything they faced.

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Once they go upstairs they may be a little less reluctant to just to take whatever isn't nailed down :)

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I think my group had the most fun in books 1, 3, and 4.

One for the atmosphere. Three for the fun, quick, in and out little mini-scenarios. Four again for the cool locations. I found the later books a bit more of a slog, with encounters in there seemingly just to pad out the xp required.

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I dont think the melee types ever got near the point of uselessness in my running, though they were definitely whiffing a lot by the end. The cavalier had the vital strike chain though, and he was almost exclusively using it by then. He also absorbed a massive amount of damage in some of the last fights.

I'm not sure exactly what wealth they were at by the end (it was definitely well under) though either since we were using roll20 and didn't have the characters in hero labs. That plus I guess there were a good number of fatalities along the way, so that may say something as well.

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Don't you guys find that normally the characters are quite overpowered by the time they reach higher levels anyway (assuming wealth per level)? Part of the charm of the AP for me was the fact that the characters didn't have 'perfect' gear by the end.

The players that I took through were not absolute min-maxers but they all played their characters well, so I found that even at the very end of book 6 most of the combats were still interesting, though if they got their rest in some were fairly easy, but much more tactically interesting to me anyway, because they didn't have absurd ACs and weapons.

I'd almost prefer if Pathfinder had some kind of limit to attunement like the other game, which really keeps these things from becoming issues, and forces the players to make hard choices sometimes.

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Strange Aeons Final stats - started January 2017 - wrapped up April 2019

47 sessions - each about 1.5 - 2.5 hours long
Book 1 - In Search of Sanity - 6 sessions
Book 2 - The Thrushmoor Terror - 7 sessions
Book 3 - Dreams of the Yellow King - 10 sessions
Book 4 - The Whisper Out of Time - 9 sessions
Book 5 - What Grows Within - 7 sessions
Book 6 - Black Stars Beckon - 8 sessions

Deaths (12 total)

Book 1
Vorlin, Human Rogue, Eldritch Scoundrel to ghouls

Book 2
Connor Human Oracle, Lore to living topiaries

Book 3
Khalaban Human Sorcerer, Aberrant to Formless Spawn (dream death)
Zolash Dwarf Barbarian, to Captain Vadrack (dream death)
Zolash Dwarf Barbarian, to Nightmare Dragon (dream death)

Book 4
Connor Human Oracle, Lore to Broken Soul Exscinder Archon

Book 5
Zolash Dwarf Barbarian, to Lowls Mercs
Kallista Tiefling Investigator to Lowls Mercs

Book 6
Khalaban Human Sorcerer, Aberrant to Lord Avaric’s guards
Zolash Dwarf Barbarian, to Armel
Zolash Dwarf Barbarian, to Count Lowls
Sir Toph, Aasimar Cavalier, Castellan to Ariadnah the Briarstone Witch

Notes -

I liked the AP, though there are a few things that I wish that I’d done differently. I wasn’t too familiar with the Cthulhu lore until later in the campaign, so I should have read a few of the stories earlier. We also started using the Fear and Sanity rules from Horror Adventures, but that dropped by the wayside very early and I never brought it back, though it does seem a bit like trying to fit a peg into a square hole in Pathfinder.

I pretty much ran it with zero random encounters since if I had included those we never would have finished the AP. Anyway we are on to Waterdeep Dragon Heist after this. I find that the crunch heavy rules of Pathfinder are becoming less enjoyable for our group, and we have been making the switch to 5e over time - even though we are all experienced rpers. Pathfinder 2e may pull us back, and I hope we will give it a try at some point, but six book APs are just too much of a time commitment to run even if they are definitely epic and I do love the stories.

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Characters: Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 16)
Sir Toph (Aasimar Cavalier 16 (Castellan))

Adventure: Black Stars Beckon, Thrushmoor Nexus

Cause of Death: Zolash and SIr Toph stood valiantly; weathering a barrage of slams from Count Lowls as the Oracle and Sorcerer in the party pounded Lowls with spells. Eventually though Zolash went down, despite Sir Toph using an ability to step in and take attacks that were meant for him.

Ultimately after being healed from near zero three times, Sir Toph fell to a Cloudkill spell from Ariadnah, though not before cleaving down Lowls with a final vital strike with his Frost Longsword.

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Session 47 - Strange Aeons End Game

Connor (Human Oracle 16 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 16 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 16)
Sir Toph (Aasimar Cavalier 16 (Castellan))

A glowing light emanating from the area that was formerly Count Lowls mansion immediately attracted the adventurers attention. They quickly healed up and headed towards it
In the swirling storm the group could see a black tower in place of where the mansion should have been. The tower had arcane symbols scrawled on it, and they could see some activity on the roof as one larger figure was casting some kind of spell or ritual and another smaller one flew quickly around over top.

The party buffed with fly spells, freedom of movement, and Khalaban took on improved invisibility.

The enemy seemed ready for them as they dimension doored to the top of the tower though. Immediately all four of them gasped for breath as the moisture got sucked out of their skins with a horrid wilting. Zolash got blasted by Lowls with a Destruction spell, but he managed to shrug off most of it off.

Khalaban quickly thrust the witch into a maze so the group could focus on Lowls. Zolash closed on Lowls though he was hit by a mossy tentacle on the way in. He felt it attempting to drain him, but he resisted.

Connor unleashed a Destruction spell on Lowls which wounded him. Sir Toph then stepped in and planted his banner, though his attacks seemed to largely bounce off Lowls grassy hide.

Hearing a commotion above, Hilda a cleric of Hastur, came up the stairs from the room below in the tower. She immediately hit Zolash with an Insanity spell, but he heroically fought it off. Sensing her power Khalaban attempted to possess her, but she resisted.

Connor unleashed some more vicious spells - a Stormbolt this time, and he again managed to damage both Lowls and his cleric, despite Lowls great innate resistance.
Getting frustrated with the insects attacking him Lowls reached down and touched the Symbol of Insanity that he had drawn on the top of the tower earlier, imbuing it with energy. Both Zolash and Sir Toph found themselves overcome and fighting off confusion.

Meanwhile Ariadnah the witch returned from the Maze and her little familiar ran to Lowls and cast some kind of rejuvenating spell on him.

Zolash stood babbling while Connor unleashed a game changer - a massive Destruction spell on Lowls (that landed for 160 points of damage). Lowls thrashed around in anger and pain. He still managed to connect with Zolash though, wounding him greatly.

The Witch Lich dropped a retribution hex on Lowls and watched with amusement as Sir Toph overcame his confusion momentarily to hack away at Lowls and damage himself in the process. Another series of slams by Lowls on Zolash was interrupted by Sir Toph as he interposed his shield in place of Zolash and took some hits for the team.

Khalaban failed to shunt the Witch into a maze, only to be targeted by the Witch with a Greater Possession spell. Luckily Khalaban resisted the Witches probings. Confused Zolash lashed out at himself catching his own chest with a glancing blow.

Sir Toph then let loose with another flurry of misses at Lowls tough hide.

Connor unloaded yet another Destruction spell into Lowls - again hitting and causing Lowls great stress. In pure rage Lowls focused on Zolash and smashed him to the ground killing him outright with four powerful slams.

Another maze spell from Khalaban failed to send Lowls to the aether.
The Witch responded with a Hold Person on Sir Toph setting him up to be smashed by Lowls, only to have Connor step in and heal Sir Toph to near full health.

Lowls responded by pounding on Sir Toph, though finding the shield warriors defences hard to break down.

The Witch dispelled the annoying sword off her, while Lowls continued his relentless assault on the angelic Sir Toph. Apparently the angelic aura of Sir Toph had offended his senses. Sir Toph again stood stalwart with one foot in the grave, unrelenting.
Ariadnah thrust out some magic and blinded Khalaban.

Again the cycle of Lowls pounding on Sir Toph and Sir Toph standing firm with the help of Connor’s Heal repeated itself.

Khalaban then got off a chain lightning that hit both the familiar and Lowls, though seemed not to affect the Witch. The familiar shrieked its last and fell in a tiny charred pile at Lowls feet.

The Witch then threw out a Cloudkill around Sir Toph and Connor. Standing firm in the noxious Cloud, Sir Toph hacked away, but again missed a vital strike.

Connor blasted Lowls with a Flamestrike and moved out of the cloud. The witch, sensing Sir Toph was nearly down blasted him with a piercing shriek. Still Sir Toph stood, though battered and nearly down, amidst the foggy fumes (he had 1 hp left).

Fighting off the fumes Sir Toph drew back his frost blade and hacked into Lowls, carving through root and sinewy branch, and he watched in satisfaction as a quizzical expression overcame Lowls face, and the giant fungal tree creature collapsed to the floor. The gasses then overcame him and Sir Toph breathed his last, dropping to the stone roof.

Khalaban took the time to disintegrate the sign on the floor, and then braced himself for the Witches next attack. The next attack was on Connor however, bringing him low though not down. Connor fought through it, and reached up to touch his friend Khalaban, healing him and removing the blindness that was affecting him (and his aim).

Seeing the devastation on the roof, with two of his friends down, Khalaban lashed out with a disintegrate spell, which caught the Witch and hurt her. She screamed again at Connor trying to bring him down, but Connor stood firm. Khalaban then motioned with his hand and brought back Mordenkainens blade. The blade slid through the air and chopped through Ariadnah’s stomach. She screamed. Her robes fell to the roof in a pile. The robes squirmed though, and underneath a repulsive pile of maggots and entrails spread out over the area of where her body fell.

Hastur had been repulsed. Lowls had fallen and slowly Thrushmoor was to return to normalcy.

Zolash did not return when the party attempted to resurrect him. One can only assume that his warrior soul had worn out after so many times returning from the grave. He deserved the peace given to him with eternal rest.

The Angels came to claim the body of Sir Toph as well as the Necronomicon, which Connor readily handed over, happy to get rid of it and return to his daughter and her mother.

Khalaban returned to Thrushmoor briefly, though his heroics were mostly unknown since the battle for the soul of Thrushmoor had taken place largely away from most villagers prying eyes. What happened to Khalaban after that is unknown.

The session ended there and so did Strange Aeons Black Stars Beckon.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 46 - The Experiments of Thing A and Thing B

Connor (Human Oracle 16 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 16 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 16)
Sir Toph (Aasimar Cavalier 16 (Castellan))

The lab of the Elder things turned out to be a rather sterile structure of black and green marble. The inner walls glowed with some kind of strange patterns of lights - almost as if it were some kind of circuitry.

Breaching the inner lab, the stasis field surrounding the area dropped, and Toph lead the group down the corridor. The passage ended in a room with a walkway surrounding a large deep pit that went deeper into the structure. Immediately though Sir Toph was surprised by a blackened rotting version of the researchers that were with group. Some kind of explosion went off in his face and he was momentarily confused. Zolash rushed around the corner eager to get his licks in and he slipped off the ledge falling into the pit. Khalaban motioned with his hand and a glowing red sword appeared in the air above the researcher and began to threaten it.

Down in the pit Zolash got up off his sore ass, and was confronted by another of the fallen researchers and he leapt in to attack it. Meanwhile Khalaban noticed the creature concentrating on something, and soon a giant black mass of eyes and tentacles appeared from a passage down in the pit - the Mutate - the leader of the Shoggoths.

Zolash hacked away at the zombie in front of him and cleaved off its head with a swing from his vorpal great axe. Meanwhile Sir Toph stood toe to toe with the Mutate, weathering its slam attacks against his shield, though the final attack manage to wrap around his leg and grab ahold of him.

Connor was quick with the freedom of movement though, and Sir Toph slipped the Mutate’s grasp to the floor. Khalaban then conjured up a Wall of Force between the Mutate and the group - putting the Mutate on the same side as the Elder thing researchers that the party came with, it quickly turned on them as the group healed up. It managed to kill one and the got the other to flee before Khalaban brought the wall down.

Khalaban then summoned a Mordenkainen’s Sword on the creature, while Zolash scaled the wall of the pit to deliver a series of vicious blows. Connor burst in with a Searing light and Khalaban maintained his attacks with the sword, while attempting and ultimately getting off a disintegrate on the Mutate.

Eventually the attacks from all sides took their toll and the experimental Shoggoth leader dropped to the ground in a black mess of viscous fluids.

Exploring around the group found a mostly uninteresting lab, though one area certainly contained the pit that the Mutate housed itself in. They also found more pink chips which had numbers on the backs written in a strange language. Connor, being an Oracle of Lore, was able to decipher the chips. The chips looked like they slotted into the door at the end of the south corridor. After some time the party figured out the right configuration and the door slid back to reveal the final Star Stelae, though it had mechanical contraptions on either side set up to harness the cosmic energy to further aid in their experiments.

After severing the Stelae’s connection an image of Cassilda appeared to the group. She urged them to come quickly, as the man from their plane, Lowls, had been almost completely subsumed by Xhamen-dor and was now a nexus unto himself that would need to be severed in order to save the town where the group came from; Thrushmoor.

After a mandatory rest to regain some health and spells, Cassilda teleported the party to the Thrushmoor nexus. Something seemed off though, and the nexus seemed disjointed. Cassilda immediately screamed and disappeared only to be replaced by the Pallid Mask, who gave the group some kind of confusing speech about how they should have been killed, but they somehow had managed to create an alternative timeline, but that Hastur had sent something towards them to solve that little problem.

The party quickly found out what that something was - a Bythos Aeon, what is known as a Chronological Corrector - a being that exists to eat or destroy errant timelines.

Recognizing the threat of being erased from existence the party fought for their lives. Khalaban again summoned Mordenkainen’s sword and set it to attack the Aeon. Sir Toph again stood tall and planted his banner and slashed away at the thing. Trying to preserve spells Connor and Khalaban held back a bit, but Sir Toph and Zolash proved up to the task, hacking the creature to pieces as it battered against the wall that was Sir Toph’s Shield, and finding itself unable to bring down stalwart Sir Toph before it fell victim to Zolash’s giant vorpal blade.

The Aeon died, spiralling back into the aether, cementing the current timeline into existence. A bright light flashed and the party found itself back on the shore in Thrushmoor, this time in synch with the zone as the wind and storm danced all around them.

The session ended there.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 45 - Let the ruling classes tremble at a Shoggoth revolution

Connor (Human Oracle 16 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 16 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 16)
Sir Toph (Aasimar Cavalier 16 (Castellan))

Fortunately for the party, they had enough reagents left for 2 more kicks at the cauldron of resurrection. Zolash woke up in the confines of the cauldron shivering with a new claustrophobia intact. Get him the hell out of there!

Sensing that all was quiet in the Cabaret, the initial ghouls that had helped the group navigate Paris reappeared. They told the party that they had found the Stelae at something called the Eiffel Tower, and that it was surrounded by flying creatures called Shantaks. The ghouls had found a means to tame the Shantaks though, and had cleared a path for them to approach the tower unmolested.

At the tower the party airwalked and flew up to the Observation deck where the Stelae was found. The tower itself was broken in half, and in a state of complete disrepair. The party watched as Connor began to sever the Stelae from Golarion.

As the ritual was being cast, Khalaban and Zolash heard a giant creaking sound. Looking over the edge Khalaban saw a massive worm - forty feet in width and hundreds of feet long - with massive serrated teeth - rapidly wending it's way up the tower.

Having a bit of time to prepare, Connor threw up a blade barrier around the tower. Khalaban hurled a maze spell at the creature, but it resisted. The creature then reached the top of the tower and smashed down on the entire top level, trampling Zolash and Sir Toph, though the sharp edges of the blade barrier cut into it. Another maze spell was resisted from Khalaban as the fight continued, and Zolash and Sir Toph tried to find ways to slash at the enormous monstrosity, as it writhed around striking out at them, Fortunately for the party, Khalaban's third maze spell sent the creature spiralling into the netherworld. Connor quickly returned to casting the severing ritual and succeeded.

Fearing the slipping sense of time the party quickly made the trek back to the Bohlvariai nexus. They immediately felt all the effects of high altitude pressure and the cold bite of winter, but Connor’s Life Bubble spell mitigated all of that, giving them at least 8 hours of relief, with the ability to cast it again if required.

Seeing the expansive alien architecture and also the effects of some otherworldly force that had seemingly smashed many of these buildings down to rubble, the party decided to make haste to find the remaining Star Stelae. Connor cast a Vision spell which allowed them to locate something related to the Stelae, and they headed in that direction.

They trekked for a time before coming near their destination which lay across a wide open courtyard. A chittering sound erupted from all around them “Tekeli-li Tekeli-li Tekeli-li”. Quickly glancing around Khalaban and Sir Toph noticed a massive black amorphous cloud of temporary eyes and appendages. Connor immediate cast Obscuring Mist to hide them, but recognizing the Shoggoth with a Knowledge check they all wisely broke into a run towards the building that was their Vision destination. They managed to make it, and as the entrance was fairly small, the Shoggoth was unable to penetrate the building, leaving them some time to explore.

The building turned out to be an alien archive with strange metallic scrolls lying in rest on the walls, and a ramp leading up to a second level of the building. A statute of a strange barrel bodied creature with wings dominated the centre of the room. Being an oracle of Lore Connor had no difficulty making out what knowledge the scrolls contained. Most of them were treatise on advanced knowledge of ’science’ though quite a few also told a story of a race of Elder Things which seemed to have quite an advanced culture over present day Golarion. Coming from another world entirely, they were surprised when their city was absorbed into Carcosa wholesale. Being cut off from the rest of the world, the worker race of Shoggoth soon found themselves with little to do, and even less reason to do it. They rebelled against their masters, even though they were ‘well treated’, hence the rather smashed state of the architecture outside the archive.

The group also found more knowledge of the location of the Stelae in a diorama of the city near a wall. Connor was able to pinpoint the location of the Stelae with an out of the park knowledge check.

Exploring upstairs the group came upon a somewhat similar scene with scrolls on the walls, but also two containment chambers that were opaque to view, containing a blue liquid that hid what lay within. Khalaban rubbed the glass clean on one, and was surprised when the chamber drained of fluid and expelled the creature contained within.

The creature turned out to be an Elder Thing researcher. The party cast comprehend languages and telepathic bond and was able to glean some further information from the thing (which also awakened its fellow researcher). Apparently everything they had read in the room below was true. The city had been pulled from another world, and the servitor race of Shoggoth had rebelled. Filling in some of the gaps though, it seemed that the researchers had found the Star Stelae on their world and had found a way to harness its energy. Experimenting on their Shoggoth ‘workers’ with the energy from the Stelae had increased their intelligence and hence usefulness, but also led to the creation of a smarter breed of Shoggoth. One that had enough intelligence to hide it, and to communicate with the others effectively enough to lead a rebellion against their masters. Shoggoths of the world cast off your chains! Khalaban pointed out how stupid an action that this seemed to be and the researchers could only agree.

To combat this threat the researchers threw up a temporal stasis field around the laboratory that the experiments were performed in. The smarter Shoggoth leader was trapped within, but so was the Stelae. The remaining Shoggoths reverted back to their former intelligence, but kept their new attitude and they proceeded to go around smashing everything in sight. Hoping that time would solve their problem the researchers put themselves into stasis for a long period - only to be reawakened by the party.

As they talked the inky black creature outside passed by a window on the scene and its giant eye peered in. Seeing them it stopped in its tracks and began to smash away at the top of the building outside. Getting directions to the lab as well as some curious pink tokens from the things, Khalaban grabbed hold of the entire group as well as the two researchers (who appeared to grab some form of weaponry from nearby), and cast dimension door. Hoping the Shoggoth would take some time to notice where they had disappeared to, the group made their way towards the lab that was frozen in time.

The session ended there.

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Session 44 - Off wis zere headz

Connor (Human Oracle 16 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 16 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 16)
Sir Toph (Aasimar Cavalier 16 (Castellan))

Making their way through the disordered streets of faux Paris the group tried to be as stealthy as possible. Unfortunately stealth isn’t exactly this groups strong suit… Despite the presence of a few gendarmes scouting ahead for them the group pushed through thin yellow fog into a square with 5 ghoulish soldiers in it.

“Vive le revolution!” yelled Connor, only to have two Leng Ghouls pull out their pistols and another three unsheath their claws and immediately attack.

Connor threw out a searing light as three Ghouls sat back peppered Zolash and Sir Toph with shots. Zolash got his rage on and ripped into one of the ghouls in front of him - trying out his new elemental stance and ripping through one with an electrical charge on top of his already sharp axe.

Sir Toph planted his banner and began to absorb punishment from three ghouls all shooting and lashing out at him. Despite the scratches, both Sir Toph and Zolash kept resisting the paralyzing froth of the ghouls saliva.

Eventually though the party tore through the ghouls - with a combination of Khalaban’s lower level spells and Zolash’s fury.

Though the nexus appeared large at first glance most of the roads faded off into yellow mist and seeming nothingness. A few humans walked around in a mental fog reciting lines from what Connor recognized was a play named the King in Yellow. Connor attempted a Locate Object but was unable to find the Star Stelae within his range. Continuing on the group came across a building that appeared to have a number of ghouls outside it. Two ghouls guarded the door, though they seemed to be taking their jobs fairly casually - leaning back against the wall - joking around. As the group approached Khalaban threatened the guards - asking if Armel was inside and insisting to be let in. To prove his point he unleashed a disintegrate at one of the ghouls, blasting a hole in his guts, though not ending its existence, The ghouls mumbled something about not liking the a$%~#~& anyway - be sure to take the bastard out, and stepped aside to let the group in.

The group walked into the Cabaret du Oubli - admiring the homages to death and disease up in its dark shadowy interior. Even the candles were shaped like tiny skulls though the music from a piano in the northeast corner was upbeat and loud.
The party immediately spotted Armel, who was as described - a large wide ghoul with a massive two handed axe that gave off a glint of danger. Connor recognized it immediately as a vorpal weapon, capable of severing heads if used with sufficient skill.

Armel asked the group if they’d like to work for him, that they looked capable, and they could start in the lower ranks of his organization and work their way up. He laughed with the surrounding soldiers. Seeing that diplomacy was going nowhere Connor led with Stormbolts lashing lightning at several ghouls before they could throw tables over in defence.

Armel chopped at Sir Toph doing some damage before Khalaban shunted him into a maze spell. Taking advantage of the enemy leader being missing Zolash ripped into some ghouls with his axe, while Connor raised a blade barrier around the group - with some ghouls on either side of the barrier.

The blade barrier plus spells were effective in taking a few ghouls out of the fight - though the remaining ones scored some nice hits on Sir Toph blasting away with their firearms, with a couple up in his face - though again Sir Toph proved resistant to their paralysis. Armel managed to wend his way out of the maze only to be immediately shunted back in by Khalaban.

That gave the group time to clean out the remaining ghouls before Armel popped back into the Cabaret enraged. He immediately unleashed a full attack on Zolash and caught him just right - slicing the Barbarians head from his shoulders - and watching it roll next to one of the piles of skulls on floor, leaving a gruesome trail of blood.

Seeing his friend decapitated brought out the warriors clarity in Sir Toph - who hacked away with surgical precision at Armel and slashed across his body before bringing his ice sword back through Armel’s neck, dropping him, and sending his head across the room to rest next to the head of his Barbarian friend.

The session ended there.

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Character: Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 16)

Adventure: Black Stars Beckon, Cabaret du Oubli

Cause of Death: A fight broke out between the group and Armel and his goons. The sorcerer, Khalaban, shunted Armel twice into a Maze spell, which Armel returned from the very next round both times. The second time he returned he unleashed a full attack on Zolash with his +1 Vorpal Greataxe, and got a crit with the first (+29) attack. Crit confirmed and Zolash’s head joined the rest of the decorative skulls in a pile on the floor.... only to have Armel’s join him a round later as Sir Toph got some revenge for poor Zolash.

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Session 43 - And then the Albino Penguins Showed up

Connor (Human Oracle 16 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 16 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 16)
Sir Toph (Aasimar Cavalier 16 (Castellan))

After severing the Aevan-Vhor Star Stelae from Golarion, the group decided to head past the Bohlvarai nexus toward the Paris nexus. First though they would have to make their way through some mountainous peaks and extreme altitudes.

Following a cavernous trail the group saw a strange shattered statue ahead, though none of them could discern anything from it. Around the other side of the statue they encountered the odd sight of two giant albino penguins sliding and playing about in the snow as it continued to fall. Stepping up towards the Penguins most members of the party were surprised when the images dissolved and two massive spiders strode out - one on the ceiling and the other walking up a wall.

The first spider scored some bites on Zolash, but the main venomous thrust of its attack failed to penetrate the Dwarfs tough bloodstream. Khalaban immediately hurled a chain lightning and Connor followed up throwing bolts from his body in a stream as well - with his newly learned Stormbolts spell. Both spiders resisted the secondary effects and came in to attack.

First Sir Toph got strung up in the webs from one creature and the other leapt in to attack Zolash. Connor tried to bring the Searing Light but his spell was disrupted as a spider leg lashed across his arm.

Sir Toph managed to break free of the webbing and launched a challenge and some attacks of his own, as Zolash went into a rage and unleashed a full attack on the same creature. The creature proved unable to withstand too much of the two adventurers pounding on it, and Sir Toph finished it off - ripping it open with a huge gash to its stomach.

The other spider suffered an empowered Vampiric Touch from Khalaban and a Searing Light from Connor. It scrambled back through the illusionary wall and froze, hoping that the adventures couldn’t see it up on the wall.

Connor again brought out True Seeing and was able to pinpoint the hiding spider for the rest of the group. Sir Toph darted in front of Connor to protect him, while Zolash launched himself at the arachnid, cleaving it down with a massive chop from FlameHawk.

From there the group made their way to the Paris nexus, slowly coming up upon the outskirts of the city. They saw some strange creatures wandering around - what looked like undead, but all dressed up in odd looking clothing. Finally they spotted a group of soldiers standing against the wall of what looked like a pub. With telepathic bond and tongues on, they approached the group, at first seeing what they could learn by listening.

The group of undead were dressed up in blue uniforms, though their mannerisms gave off the look of a dejected and beaten group. Approaching the group Toph was able make some conversation; the ghouls did not hide the fact that they were currently leaderless and were unsure how to proceed. Their leader Zann, had disappeared weeks ago and a new leader, Armel, had stepped in to fill the void. This Armel had proven to be a harsh leader, bending citizens to his will and conscripting many able bodied ghouls into his army. The ghouls had agreed that he had to be brought down, but felt they were not abled to fight back at this time.

Sir Toph recognized the Leader’s name Zann as the one who was held in Lord Avaric’s dungeon, and told the ghouls so. They immediately set about creating a small force to go free their leader. This group split left only a small number of troops to withstand the pressure from Armel, and maybe even to push the attack back on him. The adventurers agreed to go with the small infiltrating group in the hopes that they would find out more about the second Star Stelae that linked Golarion and Carcosa along the way.

The session ended there.

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The Eldritch Scoundrel in the party that I'm running through it threw a thunderstone down the hole. I was so tempted have the Bhole chew its way up and surprise the hell out of them :) (but I didn't)...

It will be fun when ..

Later on:
it shows up again later in Book 6 :)

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 42 - Welcome to my Nightmare

Connor (Human Oracle 15 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 15 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 15)
Sir Toph (Aasimar Cavalier 15 (Castellan))

The party decided that the best way to approach Lord Avaric’s manor was to walk straight in (especially since they had been invited) … with Khalaban under the Veil spell dressed as Lord Eldarius and the rest as his retinue of servants.

The guards at the front door accepted the invitation without a word of protest and showed them in. Khalaban greeted Lord Avaric in the lobby and they exchanged a few barbs, but they were allowed past as Avaric moved on to greet other guests.

Connor wisely cast True Seeing and was able to quickly differentiate between the cursed vampires and the regular human guests. With this knowledge they were able to navigate up towards Eldarius daughter with little trouble. They stopped to meet the sayona twins Ovonda and Ultor, but quickly pierced their naive partygoer act and Khalaban stepped up to threaten them and told them off, to which they retreated to their respective rooms; suitably cowed.

They were able to find out that Delmaria, Eldarius’ daughter, was on the top floor by questioning some vampire guests who gave up the information willingly, apparently seeing little harm in it.

The party headed straight up only to be accosted on the top floor by a pair of guards. The guards quickly stood down when they saw that it was the father of Delmaria, who had come to spend a moment with his beloved daughter.

Even Delmaria was fooled, though she hadn’t been expecting her father to show up at the party. When Khalaban entered the room he was able to convince her that it might be in her best interest to leave and that he had changed his mind and was no longer giving her permission to be here. Khalaban then exited the room and re-entered as Lord Avaric, perhaps to ask Delmaria to step outside, or to give her permission to leave. Unfortunately for him his bluff failed spectacularly, and Delmaria let out a loud shriek when she saw through his Veil spell.

The shriek brought the cursed guards from the hallway and the party immediately stepped up to contain them. Khalaban threw up a wall of force to block the stairwell, but a guard dodged in to let loose a flurry of attacks at him, wounding him greviously.

The other guard gazed into Sir Toph’s eyes and dominated him, causing him to turn and attack Khalaban. Khalaban quickly realized the mental state of his companion and dispelled the domination. This dispel left him open to the guard’s reprisal though and the guard took advantage of it, slashing Khalaban down with three wicked chops of his sword.

The rest of the party rallied then with Connor bringing Searing Light to bear on the guard, and Sir Toph and Zolash intervening with a challenge and a blur of attacks from Flame Hawk. Their combined attacks managed to bring down both vampire guards.

Seeing that he had little time Connor pulled the Cauldron of Resurrection out of his pack and gently placed Khalaban in it. Watching with anxiety as the wall started to flicker the party ended up relieved as Khalaban awoke from the dead before the wall finally collapsed. Sensing the urgency, Connor went back into Delmaria’s room and grabbed ahold of her while Sir Toph smashed the window. Stepping outside to the balcony the newly revived Khalaban was able to get his mind together enough to teleport the group away from the manor and back to Eldarius house.

The real Eldarius was only too happy to see his beloved daughter, and he and his daughter provided the group with the location of the Star Stelae as promised.

The Stelae was exactly where Delmaria had told them, though as they neared the field it was in, they encountered a wall of vegetation. Hacking through it they were surprised as the plant came to life, thrashing around with its branches.

Toph firmly slammed his banner down into the ground rallying the party, though he and Zolash were quickly caught up in the trees branches as they thrashed around aggressively. Khalaban, pissed at this point, hurled an empowered lightning bolt which sizzled the tree. Connor was able to cast freedom of movement successively on Zolash and Sir Toph and they took to chopping at the deciduous beast, slowly hacking through its tendrils towards the centre where the Star Stelae lay, surrounded in foliage. Eventually with a mighty chop Zolash burst through the woody branches killing the mighty plant. The group took to clearing the area around the Star Stelae, as Connor prepared and cast the ritual severing the Stelae from Golarion.

The party levelled up and the session ended there.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Character: Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 15 (Aberrant Bloodline))

Adventure: Black Stars Beckon, Lord Avaric's Manor

Cause of Death: The group made it to the top floor with Khalaban nailing every bluff check to pass himself off as Lord Eldarius with a Veil spell, even on meeting Eldarius Daughter! Unfortunately this gave him the confidence to think that he could fake being Lord Avaric, to possibly ask the lady out to the balcony for a talk - and teleport away. Going back in the room, the bluff failed spectacularly (natty 1), and Delmaria saw right through the disguise.

She shrieked and called the guards in, whereupon Khalaban conjured up a wall of force, blocking the stairwell. One of the guards stepped in and unleashed a full attack on him, doing massive damage. The party stepped in to fight the guards, but the guard ended up getting a second round of full attack on Khalaban in the confined space on the third floor and Khalaban went down (later to be resurrected by the Cauldron of resurrection the group had acquired earlier).

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Session 41 - Leaving Neruzavin

Connor (Human Oracle 15 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 15 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 15)
Sir Toph (Aasimar Cavalier 15 (Castellan))

As the group prepared to rest Sir Toph caught some movement out of the corner of his eye. An enormous bat-like creature made from darkness itself swooped in on the group. Toph threw up a challenge, while the rest of the party ducked. The creature raked some claws through Khalaban’s cloak doing some minimal damage, but the entire party quickly jumped into action, tearing the thing apart with their remaining spells and full attacks. The poor Nightwing never had a chance.

The group rested, with Cassilda watching over them, before continuing on. The edge of the Neruzavin nexus was near. The cavern continued on towards what looked like some kind of exit, where the cavernous terrain rapidly transitioned to forest, just beyond a giant, ancient tree.

As they tried to bypass the tree, it emitted a horrible squealing sound that surprised Sir Toph, and muddled his brain. Zolash charged up and unleashed some more attacks with FlameHawk, and Khalaban threw some magic, though it was resisted.

The tree pounded on Zolash with its tendril like boughs raking him over and over. Regaining his senses Sir Toph firmly planted his banner into the arid soil and charged the tree. Spells like Connors searing light seemed to be getting through, but Sir Toph and Zolash were taking a lot of hits in the process. With Zolash near going down, Connor cast Heal to keep him up,

Frustrated Sir Toph used his Luckblade to wish that the tree was vulnerable to fire. Working well with the Aasimar warrior Khalaban dropped a Wall of Fire on it, doing massive damage. It screamed though it had no discernible mouth, catching all but Zolash in its confusion effect. The weakness to fire did it in though, as the fire damage from the Wall of Fire and Zolash’s FlameHawk proved too much, and the tree was left a smoldering heap before it was able to do anything more.

Cassilda wished the party well, as they headed out of the nexus into the Aevan-Vhor nexus. With her explicit directions the group soon found a small town. They observed many ghost like entities going through the motions of a daily existence, and attempted to talk to a few of them, to find that they inhabitants didn’t even seem to be aware of their condition, and weren’t able to help much.

They soon found signs pointing to Eldarius manor, the noble that Cassilda had told them could possibly help out. The manor house was quite broken down, and the family seemed to be afflicted by the same curse that the rest of the townsfolk had. When Lord Eldarius came down to greet them though, they could immediately see that he seemed aware of his ghostly condition.

Eldarius told them a story of how a curse affected everyone, and that most ‘people’ in the nexus did not know what had happened to them. Eldarius himself had seen how the curse affected them though, forcing them into meaningless routines, unaware of their true condition. His daughter was one, unfortunately. A musician from another nexus had come and performed some ritual on his daughter in an attempt to get her to regain her senses. Unfortunately the ritual misfired and the lady was turned into a vampire, like many others in the nexus. Eldarius met with other local nobles and in his anger he cast out the musician, who went to die in the dungeons of Lord Avaric’s manor house.

Soon the incident was forgotten, but Eldarius daughter came of age where she was to be accepted into Vampire society. Eldarius knew that being accepted meant succumbing to base vampire instincts and slowly but inexorably becoming a feral creature. Not wishing that fate on his beloved daughter, Eldarius asked the group to save her from Avaric’s manor. There was a party tonight to celebrate the coming Bleeding moon, where all creatures regained their senses again for a day (causing the vampires to go insane with self loathing). If the group could rescue her from the manor, Eldarius knew she would be able to help them find the Star Stelae that they wished to disconnect from their home world. They accepted the invitation to the party from Lord Eldarius and prepared to head to the manor house.

The session ended there.

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Session 40 - The Other Neruzavin

Connor (Human Oracle 15 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 15 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 15)
Sir Toph (Aasimar Cavalier 15 (Castellan))

Soon after arriving in Carcosa the party saw an elegant figure floating toward them slowly. As the figure got closer it appeared to be a woman with many doll-like features and a lustrous alabaster skin. The woman made no move to attack but asked them their business in Carcosa. She told them that she meant no harm, and that she was one of the earliest inhabitants of this dimension. That her entire city (of which she was the queen) - named Yhtill had been subsumed by Carcosa. She had hosted a party in which her successor, her daughter, was to be named. They had feared of a prophecy of the Yellow Sign - some event that was supposed to somehow summon the King In Yellow, the mysterious ruler of Carcosa. A stranger offered to help her avoid this fate. The stranger, the Pallid Mask, turned out to be an agent of the King in Yellow and he turned on them - tricking the party into looking on the Yellow sign and triggering a reaction that started Yhtill on the path towards absorption into Carcosa. The Queen was able to open her mind to the souls in her city and absorb many of them into herself, preserving their essences, in the hope that the city, and her daughter, might one day be restored. Every so often adventurers came to Carcosa and she hoped to group with them to destroy the Yellow King’s Avatar in Carcosa, and to prevent the Yellow King from gaining further power and ascending to Elder God status.

Queen Cassilda told the group that the King in Yellow had two different means to gaining power. One was to infiltrate peoples minds with the words of the King in Yellow Play, which would spread like a virus and cause those afflicted to be absorbed. The other - more direct - means was the Star Stelae, which acted like vampiric fangs - connecting Carcosa to other worlds which could then have their identity slowly absorbed and recreated back on Carcosa, increasing the Yellow Kings power. The group would have to disconnect the three Star Stelae from their world in order to cut off the Yellow Kings power source. She also told that that she had the means to find the Star Stelae here on Carcosa, by absorbing the power from local entities, but that she would have to be close to do so.

The party headed further into Neruzavin, with the Queen in tow. In the next large plaza over, they encountered another floating entity. This one was dressed in yellow robes, wearing an organic mask that seemed to move as the entity talked. The man introduced himself as the Pallid Mask, and taunted the group - saying that they had already descended so far into the Yellow Kings grasp by their activities for Lowls - excepting Sir Toph, who wasn’t there. Immediately he launched into an attack on them.

The Pallid mask started with by revealing the Yellow Sign to Zolash who was overcome, though Khalaban quickly dispelled it. He also cast Horrific Revelation on Sir Top who failed and became overwhelmed with confusion.

Khalaban hurled a disintegrate at him but wasn’t able to penetrate his resistances. Next the Mask hit Sir Toph with a Reality leech (for 5 Charisma drain). Connor responded with a Flamestrike, and Khalaban with Empowered Magic Missiles.

Bursting out of his reverie, Sir Toph launched into an attack on the Mask, hitting with a few blows. The Mask hurled a Hold Person at Khalaban which froze him in place, though Connor quickly negated it with a Freedom of Movement.

Soon though, Sir Toph and Zolash were able to flank the Mask and unload full attacks on him. Zolash landed a devastating critical and ended up tearing the Mask in half.

The Queen came toward the group revealing that she had been able to use the Masks death to power a spell to find the locations of the Star Stelae that they would have to disconnect. The three lay in three different nexuses that she was able to give them directions to (Aevan-Vhor, Bohlvarai, and Paris). She also found out that an entity was being held in the Aevan-Vhor nexus, some kind of leader of another Nexus, that might help them make their path to the Yellow King easier.

Continuing forward the group entered another large plaza, this one with a large chasm in the middle. Some screams pierced the air, and the group felt themselves pulled into the area towards the centre. A larger version of a Polyp was there and it launched into an attack.

Connor threw up a Blade Barrier and Khalaban hit it with a devastating disintegrate right away. The creature grappled Zolash and started flailing away at him, almost knocking him out with some powerful blows. Khalaban hurled electricity at the thing, having found that worked well earlier, but the spell was resisted.

Sir Toph stepped in to challenge the creature and unloaded some nice hits, but not before Zolash was knocked unconscious. Connor then stepped forward to Stabilize him, and heal Sir Toph. Sir Toph again unleashed some devastating challenging blows and another burst of empowered lightning from Khalaban, this one not resisted, put an end to the creature.

The session ended there.

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Session 39 - Found Carcosa

Connor (Human Oracle 14 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 14 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 14)
Sir Toph (Aasimar Cavalier 14 (Castellan))

The smaller creatures were plant-like in nature. Sir Toph jumped to defend the group and Khalaban unleashed a chain lightning that charred all three that they faced. With Zolash also crashing in to attack the plant creatures did not last long. As they fought the Crab creature they heard a pulsing sound - and all felt a force pulling at them - except for Connor, with his freedom of movement active. The force slowed them, and they all turned to face not one, but two grotesque flying polyps.

One picked up Sir Toph in its tentacle and the other flew and grappled Khalaban. With his movement slowed Toph tried to chop away at the mass that was holding him, but was unable to do much damage. It slowly started to crush him to death, though it was barely able to penetrate his magically armoured angelic hide.

Khalaban’s father leapt in to attack one doing some damage with his great sword.
Khalaban dimension doored to a far rock and started to hurl disintegrates at the creatures, but they had some kind of innate resistance that prevented the spells from hurting them. One of the creatures attempted to bring Sir Toph to its mouth, and started to gnaw at his leg plate with some serrated teeth managing to get through finally.

Zolash was taking a ton of punishment at this point, and Connor was able to bring him back from the brink with a timely heal spell.

Connor was also able to cast air walk on Sir Toph, and seconds later followed up with a freedom of movement.

Toph dropped to the ground slipping out of the creatures grasp. Meanwhile Khalaban’s father continued to pound the other polyp and Zolash leapt up the wall to jump on the creatures back, and drive his Flame hawk into the things flesh over and over, before being thrown off.

Connor followed up with a Holy Smite and caught the creatures for some damage, while Khalaban followed up with another disintegrate that took one of them down. After that Zolash was able to leap up its back again and attack as Khalaban’s father finally dropped unconscious from tendril whips. A final disintegrate from Khalaban sent it spiralling down crashing to the ground again; throwing Zolash off its back and into the nearby water.

After the fight Aeptolinu stood clapping with no expression on his face. The group then took the time to attune the final star stelae.

Zolash caught a glimpse of a glint of steel out in the water as he swam back to shore and was able to retrieve a sword - which from its description sounded like the ancestral heirloom that the ghost Upianshe (from the tower) had been looking for.
The group returned quickly to Upianshe and she told them a sad story of her family and her mercenary group from times long gone and then seemed to gain a peaceful countenance, before fading into a mist which surrounded the sword, eventually merging into it somehow. Zolash picked up the sword and immediately felt its great aberration hating power.

From the top of the tower the group felt it was time to get on with the Path to the Black Stars ritual, which they had learned from the Necronomicon. The casting went as expected with an Oracle of Lore in the group, and an hour later the party opened their eyes to a very different world. A world with two dark suns, and a yellow pallor to it. They had finally made it to Carcosa.

The group levelled up and the session and Book 5 What Grows Within ended there. We are back to book 6 starting after next week.

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Byron Zibeck wrote:
While I really like a lot of the new components of the game and the general direction things are headed and am overall optimistic that the final product will be great, I am very concerned about the amount of testing that will be done on the final version of the game. It sounds like there are significant changes being done to the system, right down to the core math of the game. As an engineer, I cannot fathom making this amount of changes without doing another large-scale test on the final product. I know that you will be doing internal testing, but that is a significantly more limited scope that an open playtest. I really want Paizo and Pathfinder 2E to succeed.

This isn't a car or some physical thing that will crash and harm people though. If they use the massive amounts of data and make a few changes towards what seems to be popular then that should be enough no?

You'd think that this new system has already been tested far more than the original Pathfinder was, and we still love that system despite its warts - none of them ended up stopping us from playing it, and it seems like the new system has already fixed quite a few of those niggling issues from the past.

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Killer_GM wrote:
We just started CoC Masks of Nyarlothep. I don't know if Turin is up for a campaign journal. I may post some stuff on it, though I fear I won't do it justice. We'll see.

We started that as well for 7e, doing a month on and off with Strange Aeons. PH Dungeon is running it, we're back to it next week after finishing off Strange Aeons book 5 this week. It's been great so far.

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Session 38 - Who’s your Daddy?

Connor (Human Oracle 14 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 14 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 14)
Sir Toph (Aasimar Cavalier 14 (Castellan))

After a period of wandering through Neruzavin’s bizarre architecture the group came upon the Oraculum, a structure with two distinct parts - a bottom base and a circular top that pointed towards the heavens. The party also detected a magical barrier keeping them out - which Connor with his deep lore was able to identify as a Forbiddance effect.

Outside the Oraculum sat a massive blue skinned giant (with a nose-ring) peering up at the structure. When the group approached he acknowledged them - asking them their business there, appearing to be fairly suspicious about their motivations. After some discussion the Giant revealed to them that an important astrological event was happening and that he needed to regain access to the building. Three vile creatures had evicted him, starsworn Nagas, and he had no means of getting back in.

The party picked up on his underlying anger and were able to persuade him that they only needed the structure for a short period, and he eventually gave up the password to the forbiddance barrier. Approaching from the top it seemed like the Nagas were ready, but Khalaban still led with a devastating chain lightning attack that arched between the Nagas, singeing all of them. Toph, who had been given moon walk, strode in and raised his shield interposing himself between Khalaban and the Nagas. The Nagas responded with a Lightning bolt, charring Zolash a bit. Connor and Zolash both moon walked in - and piled on the physical attacks.

The Nagas threw everything they had at the group, but found themselves wasting spells, unable to penetrate Khalaban’s alien spell resistance. Another Naga ended up feebleminded while Toph mercilessly hacked the third down.

With the Oraculum open again the group allowed the Giant back in, and he agreed to watch them as they slept to recover spells. After a rest, with the Giant guarding them, they attuned the second Stelae with the Beckon the Stars ritual (Connor’s skills as an Oracle of Lore made the checks fairly easy).

Another period of exploration led the group to the Snarl, where they were immediately approached by a rather regal looking man. The man introduced himself as Aeptolinu. From general discussion the group were able to discern that he had been around for a long, long time, that he had something to do with Azlant, and the birth of humanity, and that he hinted that he knew something of Carcosa, and was disappointed that humanity would fall under its spell.

Aeptolinu led the group through an area with words scrawled all over the walls. As they walked the words began to become meaningful to them, it seemed to be a list of the sins of mankind, and even later on included some of the sins of the group members themselves. Zolash saw the murder of the man that turned into a revenant in Thrushmoor. Others saw activities that they had performed under Lowls. All felt drained by the experience.

Eventually Aeptolinu led them to a corner alcove, the middle of which was a large stone throne. Sitting upon the stone was a horrific creature, with massive wings and a dark red robe, introduced to them as the Saffron Prince. Snakes writhed under the folds of his robe. He seemed distracted, though he acknowledged Aeptolinu, with a few questions. Suddenly his gaze focused on Khalaban, and he appeared shaken (while Aeptolinu appeared to be watching with something like glee). He asked a number of personal questions to Khalaban, before asking after his mother - someone that this creature apparently knew. Satisfied, but in disbelief the creature claimed to be Khalaban's father. He had learned of the Yellow King many years previous and had left before he infected his family with the violent dreams of the Yellow King. He had instructed Khalaban’s mother to ensure that their son was never involved in the battle between the Yithians and the Elder Gods, but it seemed like destiny had taken over, and it was indeed his son here before him.

Vowing to help them as much as he could, and after hearing their story, the Saffron Prince led them to a different area in the Snarl; before them sat the third and final Star Stelae. Before they could collect their thoughts about performing the Beckon the Stars ritual again they detected some movement from the water behind the monument. A massive crab like creature emerged from the depths, with two other smaller creatures at its side. They leapt from the water to attack.

The session ended there.

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Session 37 - Raising Zolash

Connor (Human Oracle 14 (Lore)) 

Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 14 (Aberrant Bloodline)) 

Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 14) (deceased)

Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 14) (deceased);

Connor and Khalaban quickly searched the camp, then beat a hasty retreat back to the Ash Giants village with the bodies of Zolash and Kallista.

Mother Grim Moon met them at the camp and listened to their story solemnly and admitted that she could bring the souls back, though it would tax her greatly, with two conditions - they had to want to return and she would require some payment otherwise she would seem weak to her tribe. The bodies were placed on stone slabs near where the entrance to the area where Old Obsidian, the colossal scorpion, had made havoc many days before. As they walked, two giants bumped up against Connor, warning him that should anything happen to Mother Grim Moon that there would be hell to pay.

The ritual took hours, and the body of Zolash stirred back to life, though he immediately vomited and keeled over, alive but needing some rest. Mother Grim Moon looked fairly spent, but she still proceeded with the ritual to bring Kallista back. The chanting continued on longer than it had with Zolash, and Mother Grim Moon began to sprout more corruptive growths from her repulsive body, but still she continued, until at last - feeling no response from Kallista (apparently happy to be off with her wife in the afterlife), she collapsed to the ground and shuddered; dead.

Mass confusion overtook the camp, as giants raced to try to revive their fallen leader. As the realization came upon them that she may not revive, they slowly turned on the party, filled with anger. Khalaban tried to calm them with words, but the giants were too riled up. Eventually, just as tensions were about to boil over, two radiant archons Aumensilakos & Yrisolma (the ones that they originally met outside the tower in Neruzavin) arrived - floating in from the sky. Ignoring what was going on they demanded the Necronomicon, as they could feel its vile presence from a long distance away. Connor using his depth of Lore, explained to them how the book was required to thwart great evil in Hastur and Xhamen-Dor. Once those threats were over, he would return the book. The Archons were won over, but demanded that one of their own accompany the group to oversee the fate of the book. From behind them stepped out a beautiful Aasimar man, well fortified in Heavy Full Plate armour. He gave his name as Sir Toph, and it looked like he would take his new task seriously.

After some time to recuperate the party headed back to Neruzavin, finding it easier this time to navigate the obscure architecture and returned back to Lowls mercenary camp. Above they felt the hum of power and detect magic gave off a strong aura as well. Ascending the staircase they saw a Star Stelae similar to the ones they had seen in Thrushmoor as well as some kind of apparition floating nearby, wearing a traditional garb that Connor was able to identify as being from Ninshabur, a region in Casmeron that had a tragic history of having once been torn apart by a horrible entity known as a Tarrasque.

They approached the ghost, who immediately turned on them and wailed in their faces, diving in to attack. Even with her incorporeal nature, the party were able to thrash her down quickly with a series of spells and attacks from Sir Toph’s Frost enchanted longsword, and Zolash’s axe. Having been humbled, her rage left her momentarily, and she was able to recount her story of having been with an expedition many years before and bringing them to Neruzavin (which she named) only to have them transform into seeded fungus creatures in front of her eyes, and finally having them turn on her, killing her. She asked them if they had seen her ancestral sword, but obviously the party had never heard of it previous to listening to her story. She also promised to guard them and allow them to rest there, near the Stelae should they require it.

Using the Necronomicon, Connor was able to cast the Beckon the Stars ritual and attune the Stelae. Only two more attunements were required before they could follow Lowls to wherever he went.

After the attunement they headed back into the curved streets of Neruzavin, looking for the next Star Stelae. Before they found it though they stumbled into a an encounter with an ugly creature with tentacles with eyes on the ends of them and a freaky three-legged body (an Otyugh). The creature carefully attempted to converse with them though, and introduced itself as a collector of fine magic items and especially books and scrolls; it loved those. Khalaban negotiated for a nice ring, while the other members of the party held onto their items. No one wanted to see what would happen if the creature took a bite out of the Necronomicon.

The session ended there.

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Euan wrote:

hehehe, I agree with you there cigarret. Some are taking it a little harder than others. I am taking it pretty seriously, but likely only because of the other failures of Paizo of late if I'm to be honest.

They can't seem to manage any technology. I worry for the Kingmaker game about to come out, and what it'll be like almost as much as I'm looking forward to it.

I do so want Paizo to be a successful company, but they keep failing at what I see as basic customer service, let alone basic technology. Site down for weeks at a time with no real explanation that I can find. Their support for online games is feeble, and getting worse with every so-called update. Bugs mentioned online with delays of days, weeks, and even months before fixes occur - if they ever do.

It is a free resource, but one they've offered and made integral to their friendly demeanor. More and more that friendliness is disappearing to be replaced by coldness. I can get that from other game makers easily enough.

Pretty soon it'll be 2E Pathfinder vs 5E D&D and the only thing keeping me here now is the loyalty of the DMs I play under, and the very excellent APs they continue to produce. But I'm asking myself regularly now, 'how good is the 5E material?'

I never asked that question before. Paizo's repeated failures on multiple fronts have me there, and many others I suspect. And there's no indication Paizo is listening which saddens me.

If you enjoy the complexity & tactics & builds of Pathfinder, like most of us here do you might get a little boost of enjoyment from 5e, but it might not last long.

My group plays both 5e and Pathfinder - we've completed Age of Worms (to Level 20) with some Mythic thrown in, and I'm DMing a Strange Aeons which is currently in book 5 at level 14. D&D-wise we've played to level 11 twice, and are currently up to level 9 in Storm King's Thunder, plus I've DM'd a good part of the first campaign and Curse of Strahd. I ended up selling most of my 5e stuff, because to me it felt like it had run it's course, though a few of the people in the group still love 5e. I'd never sell my Pathfinder books. Right now I struggle to think of a character that I'd get excited about creating in 5e, while just glancing through the Pathfinder books I can think of a ton of classes & archetypes that I'd like to try.

Anyway, my two cents. I too hope Paizo gets their web presence together and keeps putting out amazing books, but they've earned my trust at this point and they have a long, long rope to go through before they lose it.

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Euan wrote:

No, that's not true cigarret, and I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't smear legitimate complaints with your 'whining' claim. I, at least, have purchased every source book for every character ability, DM run, etc. I do/use. I suspect many folks around here do (though certainly not all I agree).

However, Paizo's SRD and the Archives of Nethys are not identical. There are many legitimate reasons why the loss of Paizo's SRD is significant to many of us. Will AoN close the gap over the next weeks and months? I have every faith in Blake and his team. However, pulling the plug on Paizo's SRD in this way is poor form in my opinion - and others on this site and others I've communicated with agree.

Please don't assume and snark, it adds nothing to the conversation and only inflames emotions.

Papa-DRB - the site seems mostly stable to me (maybe a touch slower), and considering the extra load they must be experiencing I'm happy. I did get that error once, but I refreshed and it cleared. Over time, I suspect they'll add resources and it'll stay up and zippy.

Ah, my apologies, I thought it was just a free resource, I didn't realize that it had other applications. The over-reactions from some of the people above just seemed a little extreme.

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Tridus wrote:
Mimo Tomblebur wrote:
Yikes! What a horrible thought. Removing the Player Companion info would ruin the function Nethys has served.

I hope not, since then we'd still have to visit multiple sites. d20pfsrd has a lot of the player companion stuff on it.

Nothing was mentioned about removing anything, so I'm hopeful that isn't the case. It's hard to understate how much value sites like AoN add for players when you need to look up what something does. A quick search beats trying to figure out what book it's in any day of the week, especially with the sheer quantity of content PF has.

It looks to me like Paizo recognizes that and wants to encourage it rather than stymie it.

It's probably the people that never spent a penny on Paizo products that are whining the loudest too, heh.

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Got mine yesterday. Ontario, Canada.

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Name: Zolash, Dwarf Barbarian 13 & Kallista, Tiefling Investigator 13

What Grows Within - in Neruzavin fighting the remnants of Lowls mercenaries.

A searing light from the seeded cleric followed by a trip attack from the seeded fighter, brought Zolash to prone. Two full rounds of 5 attacks finished him off.

Then it was Kallista’s turn. Thala again, unleashed a full attack on her dropping her into a room filled with black tentacles, which then proceeded to crush her to death.

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Session 36 - Two down, two to go

Connor (Human Oracle 13 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 13 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 13)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 13)

Connor was the first to take the initiative and he blasted Keetos, the seeded Slayer, with a searing light.

Thala of House Cato, a seeded fighter, came at them in the doorway, and moved in to trip up Zolash, leaving some room for Carsathi the spore cleric to drop her own searing light in the middle of the adventurers. Injured, Khalaban quickly went invisible and backpeddled deeper into the room.

Another searing light from Connor left Kelshaun the merc fighter open for Kallista to execute point blank with a studied strike from her crossbow. That was it for the positive news for the party though, as Thala unleashed a series of blows on Kallista, finally slamming the investigators head against the ground, her consciousness fading.

Kelshaun then unleashed some great axe attacks on Zolash, tearing into his resistance and opening up some gaping wounds on his chest.

Khalaban, still invisible, dim doored into the mercenary camp looking for a more effective vantage point to unleash his magic from, though unfortunately leaving himself out of the range of Connors mass heal, which brought Kallista back up and started to close Zolash’s wounds as well.

The seeded caster Marok then unleashed a sea of black tentacles on the room with Kallista, Connor and Zolash in it, though all three were able to avoid the tentacles grapples, at least initially. The seeded cleric remained watching and cast mirror image on herself.

Still prone, Zolash fought like a demon, waving around Flaming Hawk and tearing into Kelshaun with some solid blows.

From his new position Khalaban unleashed a massive empowered vampiric touch that sucked out much of the seeded life that remained in the husk of Thala of Cato. Connor seared her again, but she wouldn’t drop.

Then it was her turn. Thala opened up on Zolash with her flail and tentacles, whipping around in a frenzy. Zolash dropped lifeless to the ground, and was crushed by a black tentacle.

Meanwhile Khalaban was behind enemy lines wreaking havoc, casting disintegrate and turning the sorcerer Marok into a pile of spore particles. Connor stepped up to heal Kallista, but immediately after Carsathi stepped forward and inflicted critical wounds on Kallista (a crit) and she also dropped lifeless to be carried upon the sea of black tentacles.

Seeing his companion go down Khalaban charged up an empowered lightning bolt, and before Thala could move out of the way, the bolt leapt from his fingertips and turned the fungal warrior into a charred husk.

The bodies were looted and the tents searched since Connor and Khalaban had time as the black tentacles spell slowly faded away. The aura of great Evil coming from one of the tents revealed itself to be none other than the Necronomicon, which Lowls had abandoned for some reason, perhaps having already made use of it’s nefarious potential. The party also found some notes that Lowls had left concerning what he was truly up to in Neruzavin, and the instructions for little ritual called Beckon the Stars.

The party levelled up to 14 and the session ended there.

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Session 35 - Straight Outta Heaven

Connor (Human Oracle 13 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 13 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 13)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 13)

In the distance the party saw one of the landmarks that the Giantess Prophet had told them about, a tower with no exterior windows or exits, except for a large double doors that they could see distorted off in the distance. It was what was in front of the doors that caused the group some stress though, for standing near but not exactly in front of the doors were two magnificent Angelic creatures. The creatures accosted them, saying that they sensed great evil nearby but could not locate it. Did the party know of what they spoke?

Realized that lying to these powerful creatures would most likely not work Connor told them what they knew, which it seemed like the Exscinder Archons Aumensilakos and Yrisolma already seemed to have some knowledge of. The Angels did not appear to get any less severe with this story though, and lacking any hubris whatsoever (especially since the group had taken out one of their kind earlier in the Mysterium), they demanded that the party should call for them if they managed to retrieve the evil tome known as the Necronomicon. Connor agreed, saying that they wanted no part of the book either, and the Angels launched off back into the heavens.

The tower doors opened easily (the group actually figured out that the Archons couldn’t actually see the doors, which was most likely why they were unable to locate the book). Three separate staircases wound their way upwards in strange unfathomable angles above and below each other like something out of an Escher Painting.

At random they selected the middle staircase. Near the top of the stairs they found a dark room, in fact the entire inside of the tower seemed to be dark and oddly pulsating, but just as they were about to enter the room Kallista spotted a man enclosed within the wall coated in fungal growths and spores. They managed to hack him out without further hurting him, but he seemed far past gone, unable to articulate anything, and beyond even Connor’s great healing powers. Unsure what to do they left him on the staircase, and Khalaban stepped into the next room.

He was immediately thrown upwards at great speed, crashing into the ceiling, and feeling the full effects of his upwards fall (46 damage - ouch). He was able to get his senses together though and Dim Door down to retrieve Connor and Zolash. Kallista flew up once she got the hang of the reverse gravity situation.

In the next room they found a temporary camp site, apparently left by Lowls mercenaries, and a journal. The journal read of a horrific tale of the mercenaries slow corruption by these sporelike entities as they awaited word from Lowls, hoping against hope that he had not abandoned them. On reading the note the campsite seemed to come to life as like a horrible nightmare and tentacles sprang from the ghostly entities thrashing Zolash and Khalaban around before the haunt subsided.

Climbing up the vines that lined the room, Khalaban and Kallista found themselves under attack by two vegetative creatures that had emerged from the walls. Another small mushroom creature also joined in hurling psionic attacks. Kallista unleashed a studied strike while Khalaban found his charisma under attack in the form of an ego whip from the nulmind (the small mushroom thing). Khalaban whipped up a Wall of Force, but it bought them little time as the plants merged back into the walls and went around the force wall. Fortunately Zolash then joined them in the room and started to cleave away with Flame Hawk, chopping like the keenest ginsu knife.

The nulmind continued its mental assaults driving at Khalaban with an Id Insinuation - though it was resisted. A plant creature grappled Zolash and managed to swallow him up, but Connor was quick with a Flame Strike, and the wounded vegetable birthed out Zolash through a hole that Zolash himself had made in the plant root, where Connor had weakened it. Another studied strike from Kallista ended one plants photosynthetic cycle and Khalaban lashed out with a disintegrate spell - obliterating the other. The nulmind pogoed back into the wall, abandoning the fight after it saw it’s companion foliage fall.

The group took stock of the situation after the fight; feeling a great evil presence in the room to the west as well as another great magic force above them. After a rest, Zolash kicked open the door to the west, and the party found themselves confronted by five well armoured and armed elite mercenaries; the ones that had followed Lowls into Neruzavin no doubt.

The session ended there.

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Session 34 - She who has been there

Connor (Human Oracle 13 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 13 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 13)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 13)

The one known as Mother Grim Moon turned out to be a large, twisted, blistered Ash Giant priestess or prophet. She had spent time in Neruzavin, and knew something of it’s layout and dangers. Unfortunately the Ash Giants know only strength, and Mother Grim Moon felt that she would not be able to spend time with the group unless they somehow proved their mettle and strength to the entire tribe.

Fortunately such an situation had already presented itself. A massive scorpion called Old Obsidian had attacked the tribe, and though they had driven it off into a cave, they had so far been unable to kill it. If the party could take down this scorpion they would have earned the respect of the Ash Giants many times over. Killing Old Obsidian would come later though, as a small ‘feast’ of unusual desert delicacies - charred rat, was presented to the party. Only Zolash chose to partake.

The next morning the party buffed up and readied themselves for battle. The giants all gathered around them drumming and making loud warlike cries, while leading them to the cave where the Colossal scorpion rested. The cave lay in the dark, but the tail stinger of Old Obsidian poked out. The tail alone was massive, the scorpion itself stood 25 plus feet tall and 65 feet in length, with a nausea inducing 30 foot reach.

Unafraid Zolash charged in and delivered a truly immense blow (65 damage crit). The giants ate it up. A Khalaban disintegrate and a Connor searing light soon hit the creature, while Kallista sat out of its range and breathed in a Dragon’s breath cone of fire.

The Scorpion lit into Zolash with a rapid flurry of attacks tearing him open, and poisoning even the hearty dwarf, but Connor was quick to step in with a Heal spell with dealt with all of that. Zolash then roared at the creature in the throes of his rage, and hacked off it’s tail, picked it up and then beat the mighty vermin to death with it. The giants went crazy - more than impressed with how handily the group had taken down the enormous creature.

A discussion with Mother Grim Moon followed. She admitted that they had not been able to stop Lowls from entering Neruzavin, and that he had bypassed them somehow. She also gave a clear vision of some of the obstacles that she had seen within the city as well as the locations of three rather strange monuments, which the group immediately recognized as the sisters to the Star Stelae that they had seen in Thrushmoor. Mother Grim Moon had slept beneath each pillar and had differing visions based on each, as each seemed to represent some different aspect of the entity in control of them or that they called to. She also revealed what she knew of the evil that slumbered beneath the city, and that it seemed to be some kind alien entity, that appeared to be getting very close to being freed.

Mother Grim Moon also told them that she had some healing, restorative abilities, as well as the ability to Raise Dead in extreme circumstances, though the physical cost to her was great as it left her weak and open to corruption for a period of time afterwards. The party thanked her and left in the morning towards Neruzavin.
The trip to Neruzavin was a short one. Shadow Walk is fast and though you can’t see exactly what you walk over, they were able to estimate effective distance having been near the lost city before.

Stepping inside the proximity of the city was a jarring transition. Visual distances became hard to consistently make out and estimate, and perspective seemed to be shattered. Angles seemed to be impossible, yet right there in front of them. Flight seemed to be greatly restricted due to the disorientation of looking into this mess of irregularity.

Fortunately then for the group they were able to sneak up on a slowly moving group of disgusting seeded creatures. That stealth allowed them to target the seeded spellcaster and bring her down quickly with Kallista’s studied strikes and poisons. Zolash chopped at some of the centaur type seeded creatures, while Connor made effective use of Holy Smite, and Khalaban was determined to see his disintegrate spell earn its name. The party made mostly quick work of the seeded mutants, though two assassins that leapt out from the strange angles in the walls caused some trouble to Khalaban, almost disabling him, and laying into Kallista with some corrupt spored weaponry. Fortunately the party quickly regrouped and brought down the assassins before they could take anyone out.

The session ended there.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 33 - Starting to find a home

Connor (Human Oracle 13 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 13 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 13)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 13)

Before heading out to confront Lowls, the group again found a little red haired sneak at the door of the room they had in the Fleet. This time though Khalaban heard her at the door, and dimension doored to the end of the corridor catching the girl running back towards the main room. A voice called out through the door - ‘Rose, where are you? You haven’t been bothering the customers again have you? A beautiful red haired woman stood in the doorframe. Khalaban didn’t recognize her. When Connor stepped out of the room though he was shocked. The woman also cried out his name in surprise. It was Shaelynn, the woman that Connor had been with while at Lowls. She pulled Connor aside and they had many words to say to each other.

Years earlier, when Shaelynn left Lowls she had been sent out to reconnoiter the area for him. At the time she hadn’t realized that she was pregnant, and when she discovered it she knew that she couldn’t return to that house, no matter that Connor awaited her back there. She managed to find a relatively safe space in the fleet, and Kitha had taken them in and been a source of courage and employment for them. The people around treated her and their daughter, Rose, as if they were part of a family. Realizing that this place was about as good and safe as he would be able to find for them Connor left them with some money and some words that he would do his best to come back. Kallista also made some more time with Kitha.

In the interim Khalaban came into a knowledge of how to walk the shadowy plane, a spell that was surely going to help them in their pursuit of Lowls, through the area known as the Parched Lands. Kaklatath explained the situation to them in further detail. She was a Yithian, an elder race that had been watching the planet for a millennia, since the time of the Age of Serpents. Their mortal enemy had been the Flying Polyps, who served as a precursor to an invasion by the God of Yellow, Hastur. At the time the Yithians had succeeded, at great cost to their number, sealing the Polyps below Neruzavin with powerful magics. Lowls had pushed up the time table on this greatly and these seals were now under great threat.

The party left as soon as possible traversing great distances with the use of Khalaban’s Shadow Walk ability and Connor’s newly acquired spell Heroic Feast keeping them well feed and sustained. Using the map, and Kallista’s Overland Flight spell, the group were able to pinpoint a few landmarks of interest, including a cairn that the resident Girtablilu used to record their scoutng missions on and a cavern that stretched hundreds of feet across.

After a matter of days they discovered the lost city. Though as they stepped out of the shadow plane they were immediately attacked by two giant humanoids. Kallista was quick to react and get off a shot, but the giants closed quickly with the party, one of them smashing Zolash with a giant club.

Khalaban used his innate sense of geometry and fired off an empowered lightning bolt through both, singeing them. From behind him sprang a large Scopion, which pincered him twice and hit him with a poisoned tail stinger. Khalaban was sorely wounded and Dim Doored away, as Connor lashed out with Searing Light and Zolash and Kallista hacked and shot up the two giants.

Zolash then managed to cleave through the stomach of one giant, almost ripping him in two. Apparently this feat of strength impressed the hell out of the remaining giant who quickly called for a truce, tapping the scorpion into subservience with his axe, and laughing over the fate of his dead companion. “Come” he said, “You strong. That really good. Mother Grim Moon would like to meet you.”

A few hours travel and the group entered a large grouping of huts and walked into the giant village, with the giants clearing a path directly to the massive tent of the one called Mother Grim Moon.

The session ended there.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So it's on to What Grows Within in a few weeks, and until then we are back to another few weeks of Icons - which is such a great little game, and definitely a refreshing contrast to the complexity in Pathfinder at Level 13.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 32 - It’s just business

Connor (Human Oracle 12 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 12 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 12)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 12)

GM Notes:
So as expected this section went pretty much nothing like it was written in the book. The party has too many resources at their disposal not to be able to hand a Gnoll fortress (with an open roof? I mean c'mon) at this point. I think they probably could have laid waste to the entire fortress if they had wanted to, which I was prepared for - had all the attacks in macros, heh, but thankfully my players are too wise to go that route, and were able to get everything they needed through diplomacy.

It does seem like a bit of a strange thing to throw at the characters at this stage in the adventure, but it is cool that it gives them a chance to really show off their powers and feel powerful, which at this point they obviously are.

Many strategies were discussed about how to approach the fortress of the gnoll slaver Biting Lash, including possibly turning the city against him or her, approaching as traders, and even head-on assault.

The group ended up attempting the old fake prisoner bit, with Zolash as the prisoner and Khalaban (with altered self disguising himself), as a trader dabbling in exotic barbaric dwarves. They approached the gates of Blossoming Thorn with Zolash in manacles, and were immediately accosted by the gnoll guards on either side of the entrance. They seemed to indicate that this was a rather uncommon thing - allowing traders into the fortress, but after taking a look at Zolashes pearly whites and sculpted physique they changed their minds. They walked the party through seemingly endless corridors up to the top of the building. They saw many slaves being trained in the courtyard, as well as quite a few exotic animals and monsters caged up along the walls of the facility. Kallista recognized a Dragonne and some rather overgrown Basilisks.

As they entered the gnoll building a familiar disembodied voice breached their minds once again, telling them that she was in the cells, and that they must hurry to free her, as the inmost blot was growing in power even as they dawdled.

Reaching the top of the tower, the group saw what Kallista had seen earlier - many sculptures of humanoids, which Connor’s knowledge revealed as to be most likely petrified victims of the basilisks seen below. They were led to the larger tent, and saw beneath it many well armoured super gnolls, standing in front of a a weathered looking gnoll woman, who had a hawk resting on her shoulder. She addressed the party and asked their business. Khalaban went with the agreed upon story, that they were traders in exotic dwarves, and let her speak. Biting Lash asked a few questions about the goods, to which Khalaban continued with his story.

At this point Princess Njano stepped forth from the shadows behind the tent, alongside Kisetz and Harkoor, her martial bodyguard and halfling sorceror respectively. She appeared to have regained her full faculties, and blazed with anger. Seeing how the group were caught in a lie, Njano screamed that Biting Lash must attack them. In a town where the gnolls were frequent targets - the gnolls had formed some kind of pact not to attack each other, and rather to defend instead in the face of human or other aggression. Biting Lash asked if Khalaban wanted to revise his story… Khalaban relented and told the truth, that they were only interested in Count Lowls, and his passage, and were not here to impact Biting Lashes business in any way. Biting Lash seemed to consider this and had one of her gnoll bodyguards go to fetch a map for the adventurers. Khalaban also requested the psychic slave, the one who had been contacting them in their dreams and the gnoll seemed to have an idea of who that might be, and that she didn’t value that slave all that much, willingly bringing her forward.

Njano was hopping mad, she demanded that Biting Lash attack and kill the group immediately. In this case though it appeared that Biting Lash had had enough. She turned on Njano, telling the group that she was not interested in getting in their way, that she had no love for Lowls (who was simply a deranged business acquaintance) and that she didn’t want to be seen by the other gnolls in the city as having broken her races implicit agreement, so she would not get involved in what was to come next.

Infuriated, Njano stepped back and Kisetz and Harkoor leapt to attack. They didn’t make it too far, Kisetz got in a few blows on Zolash, but she looked back to see Harkoor trading spells with Khalaban and ending up on the worse end of it. Harkoor got off a feeblemind but it was deflected by Khalaban’s spell resistance, and she was in turn hit by a feeblemind and hacked to death by Zolash and Kallista. Njano also tried to escape and was chopped down as she ran. Seeing the others fall, Kisetz bit back her anger towards Zolash and dropped her weapon. Khalaban cast a charm on her and she was unable to resist it, tamely walking towards Khalaban with a new attitude of deference.

With their business concluded, Biting Lash allowed the party to leave as it had entered, undoubtedly hoping to never see them again, and the group returned to the Fleet, to plan their next move.

The party levelled up and the session ended there.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 31 - Um, it was Allan not us!

Connor (Human Oracle 12 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 12 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 12)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 12)

GM Notes:
So Kitha and crew are from Pathfinder Players Companion - Pirates of the Inner Sea. She's an ex-slave, and a pirate and the Captain of the Branded Chain! I had some worries about running this section of the adventure, but I'll go over them next time after I see how the next session plays out :)

To the party’s surprise the teleport to Okeno exited to smallish room with wooden flooring and walls, and just the dim aura of a lamp lighting the area. The room also rocked slightly with the movement of the waves? They were in the hold of a ship.

The room itself was fairly uninteresting so they headed up the stairs and down a corridor. A small monkey skirted across their path, but the corridor was more well lit than the room below, and the loud sounds of conversation and laughter could be heard from around the corner. The room around the corner turned out to be a bar - a tavern on the waves. As they entered the room, no one appeared surprised, and the bartender, a full-bodied woman, with a deep throaty voice welcomed them to ‘nicest part of the Fleet’. It turned out that the Fleet was a group of floating ships that had been tethered together and were a permanent mass fixture in the harbour of the port city of Okeno, the Slaver/Pirate City.

The bartender wasn’t open to much talk but she directed the group towards a beautiful young tattooed woman, who sat back in a chair with her feet up on the table. Glancing over the full room the party saw a crazy assortment of well armed men and women, none of whom paid too much attention to them, as well as a small red haired girl, who ran between the tables, and who everyone seemed to pay affectionate attention to.

The beauty introduced herself as Kitha Saltspray, the proprietor of the bar. She wore a captains hat with a pink rose on it, and had a longsword at her belt. Across the table from her sat a balding man honing a big bastard sword who seemed to talk in nothing more than grunts and yups. Kitha introduced her companion as Skamon. The monkey ran up and perched itself on her shoulder.

Kitha and Kallista hit it off right away, it seemed like there was a spark between damaged souls. The booze flowed and Kallista opened up about the parties goals and plans and what they were after and Kitha gave them a bit of a lay of the land in Okeno. With the Gnoll slavers being prominent in the city, and largely living in walled off fortresses, keeping anonymous by having most of their business done through proxies. There was little law in Okeno, and the ‘governor’ didn’t have much sway. It was definitely the Slavers that were at the top of the food chain here. Kallista was able to find out that Biting Lash was most likely one of these pseudonyms, and that the only well known Gnoll Slaver was a powerful, rich Gnoll woman, known only as the Princess Njano. She was called the Princess because people really didn’t screw with her, because of her wealth and her two powerful bodyguards. She also walked the Fleshfairs with a impunity. Soon after Kallista and Kitha retreated to Kitha’s room to continue their debriefing :) Khalaban barked at Kallista to be ready for the next morning, and Kallista retorted with ‘Thanks, dad!’.

The next morning Kallista woke in Kitha’s bed, though Kitha was gone (which probably wasn’t too unusual since she had a lot of responsibilities). Kallista rolled out of bed and promptly vomited the contents of her stomach all over Kitha’s nice floor. ‘Crap’, she said, ‘Someone should clean that up.’.

The rest of the group was ready for action and they headed out immediately to the Slaver Fleshfair. The human fair didn’t have much going on of help, though through deft negotiations the group picked up a butler named Allan for a gold piece.

The next stop was the Gnoll’s Laughing Fleshfair, named that because of the yips and barks used to negotiate prices for the merchandise. Usually it was only Gnolls that were allowed in with full access, so Khalaban used his alter self to disguise himself as a Gnoll trader. Some guards around the area paid a bit of attention to them as they entered, but they were allowed in.

After a few hours of searching with no result, they saw the smelly crowds parting and observed the Princess walking through as if parting the sea. A small halfling in a dark robe walked behind her. He had a small monkey, similar to the one in the Fleet on his shoulder. Another shorter dark skinned woman with dual swords on her back, walked in front, rippling with muscle but also an unusual grace.

Khalaban approached with the party and Allan at his side. Soon the muscled woman, named Kisetz blocked their path, and in particular snarled at Zolash. Khalaban introduced himself with a flourish as a trader from far off. Though wary of such things, Khalaban was very persuasive (crit diplomacy!), and the Princess motioned to a side tent, waving her hand to make space and the traders in the tent scurried aside like rats abandoning a ship. The initial negotiations did not go well, and the mention of Biting Lash seemed to put the Princess on her hackles. Despite their suspicions Khalaban was able to get off a sleight of hand dominate person spell on her. Questioning her about other Gnolls caused her guards to push forward and try to extricate her though, so acting quickly Khalaban extended his arm past them and dimension doored the party and the Princess away, leaving poor Allan shrugging his shoulders saying “it wasn’t me!”.

Khalaban realized he would need a quieter place to interrogate her, and hearing the alarms being raised all around, and the place rapidly turning towards chaos, he cast invisibility on himself and the Princess. The party agreed to meet back up at the Fleet. With that Khalaban leapt into the air carrying the Princess and flew back to the Fleet unobserved. The rest of the group was able to make it back unaccosted as well.

After sneaking back into their room, Khalaban put his new friend, the Princess, to the question. He was able to find out the location of Biting Lashes fortress, and the fact that the Gnoll’s did have a certain code of honour between each other, that was used to protect them as a group from outsiders (like the party!). The interrogation was disturbed by Kallista hearing a scratching at the door, but it turned out to be just the monkey and little red haired girl playing in the hall. Having the information that they needed they decided to release Njano outside in a random spot in the city, after all they weren’t going to be here long anyway.

Kallista waited til night and quaffed an invisibility elixir and a fly elixir then scouted out the Gnoll fort. It was an impressive structure and well fortified. It had a portcullis gate entrance and was about 60 feet tall. Just a few small windows dotted the outside walls. The top floor seemed to be open though, and Kallista saw two tents that she couldn’t see into, as well as many heavy crossbow emplacements around the walled edges of the roof. Also on the roof Kallista saw some incredibly detailed statues of people in a wild assortment of conditions. Satisfied with her surveillance, she flew back to the Fleet to prepare for the next day’s attack/infiltration.

The session ended there.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Did no one else have deaths vs the Keeper in the Mysterium? That thing was ridiculously lethal.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Character: Connor (Human, Oracle (Lore)) L11

Adventure: The Whisper Out of Time , The Soul of the Mysterium

Cause of Death: The Broken Soul Exscinder Archon took a five foot step and cleaved down Connor with a power attack from his Flaming Longsword. Connor was later resurrected along with the Elder Lythiin after the group left the Mysterium.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

We'll be going to our Icons campaign for the next month or so, then will come back to finish The Whisper Out of Time.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 30 - The Mysterium does have a soul after all!

Connor (Human Oracle 11 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 11 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 11)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 11)

The party heal up and replenish their spells before heading down into the Soul of the Mysterium.

When the Angelic Gate on this level opens up there is no obvious stairway down into the area below. Kallista pulls through though and discovers a fairly accessible path down, by using using the angel figures that line the walls as foot and handholds.
The room below is small, but also filled with angelic statues. A few of the figures give off a sense of motion and have a certain dynamism to them, but they do not seem to be an imminent threat. In the middle of the room is a cube with images on either side and concentric squares that rotate on the top.

Connor studies the sides of the cube and is able to see that one side has predominately creation type images and the other has images that lean towards acts of destruction. With this base, Connor turns the squares so that all the life based icons are on the side of the creation images while the darker images shift to the other side.

Connor's initial settings seem to be correct as the cube slides off its base and opens up into a portal, one that can not be seen through. The party enter as a group, though Kallista wisely drinks an elixir of blur and another of fire resistance before stepping through.

The portal drops them in a squared off room filled with books. Books line the walls, but others hang from chains on the ceiling. Unfortunately there appears to be a gap where one book rested, but that’s an issue for later, since the party is immediately confronted by a twenty foot tall, enraged, Broken Soul Exscinder Archon. With its fiery wings out the being wails right in the faces of the group. Amazingly enough, having faced down many horrors in the last few months, none of the party are affected.

Connor acts first and pulls out a scroll of psychic surgery. A solid plan, but unfortunately this creature has been corrupted body and soul, and the spell has no effect. Zolash steps up as well and launches into full enraged attack, chopping away at the angel.

The Archons then unleashed it’s flaming longsword on Zolash with a series of massive swings, almost bringing him down.

Khalaban brings out the vampiric touch and pulls away at the creatures body and soul, while Kallista unloads with a true strike elixir studied strike.

The Archon then attempts to get off a defensively casted flamestrike, only to have it fizzle and not go off.

Taking advantage of this Zolash steps in for some more swings and Khalaban is able to pelt the thing with some magic missiles. All this damage is beginning to take it’s toll on the creature and enraged, it takes a step back and unleashes a flamestrike on Khalaban, Kallista, and Connor.

The party inflicts some more damage on the creature with Connor and Kallista pulling out their wands of searing light, and Connor able to get off an impressive blast causing the Archon to stagger. Unfortunately for him this draws the beings attention and it cleaves down with a massive power attack and chops Connor down the middle, killing him instantly. Other slashes reduce Zolash to a sliver of health as Khalaban dimension doors away to the corner of the room.

Enraged at his friends death, Khalaban pulls out a scroll of Horrid Wilting and is able to get the impressively powerful spell off, and also penetrate the creatures natural spell resistance. The spell immediately takes its toll, opening up the already grevious wounds on the Archon and causing it to stagger even more.

Seeing their opportunity to strike Zolash steps up and cleaves the thing with Flame Hawk and Kallista swallows a true strike elixir and focuses on the enemy, then pulls off a remarkable shot, blasting the angels head open with a studied strike, causing it to drop to its knees, flaming wings extinguished as it dies.

As the Archon collapsed the party saw some kind of remnant vision of Lowls coming into the soul of the Mysterium, chopping down the Necronomicon, and rapidly casting a teleport from a scroll before the protective wards were activated.

The party reset the Mysterium wards and Zolash claims the Archons flaming longsword. The group then take the bodies of Connor and Elder Lythiin back to Elder Thyrr, where they are able to get some attention and healing/raising. The Elder is grateful for their help and immediately offers to help raise Connor, since the Mysterium defenders have just had their very reason for existence salvaged by the heroic actions of the adventurers.

Elder Thyrr offers up 5000 gold to be divided by the party and also some items from their vaults that the martial group had accumulated over time in their defences of the Mysterium. They also offer to teleport the party to Okeno, to continue their dogged pursuit of the Count, who had escaped once again. They accept.

The party levelled up and the session ended there.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 29 - Into the Mysterium 4

Connor (Human Oracle 11 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 11 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 11)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 11)

A quick exploration of the surroundings finds three of the angelic statues which are turned the proper directions. The adventurers then decided to focus on finding the last statue and moving on. They explored the rooms to the east first of all. After peering into the upper room, but seeing no angel statue, they closed the door.

Looking down the corridor below, Khalaban at once saw a scene of carnage. In the middle of the destruction they saw a larger version of the proto-shoggoths that they had fought earlier. Khalaban quickly threw up a wall of force, locking the creature into the room while they party debated their options. Ultimately they decided that they would have to confront the thing.

That gave them a few rounds to prep up though, and Kallista drank a displacement elixir, while Connor dropped a spiritual hammer on the creature and Khalaban filled the room with black tentacles. Unfortunately the hammer found it hard to hit and the tentacles couldn’t grab onto the slippery, repulsive creature.

They were able to wear the creature down slightly before Khalaban’s Wall of Force lost power, but still confronted a pretty powerful enemy. Kallista peppered it with true striked bolts, while Khalaban released hails of magic missiles at it. The missiles and bolts had some effect but some were also resisted.

Meanwhile the Proto-Shoggoth Synyctium, slapped Zolash with tentacle after tentacle eventually smashing him into unconsciousness. Connor charged in to take some hits, while also reviving Zolash in the process. Zolash awoke to immediately stoke back into rage and unleash a full attack, which seemed to stagger the creature.

Retreating down the corridor Connor and Kallista pulled out their wands of Searing Light, and started to use them to good effect. Connor even critting with one. Another burst of tentacles smashed Zolash back out of his senses, while the other desperately unloaded everything that they had into the beast.

Finally just as it charged towards Khalaban, the magic missiles and a critical Searing Light from Kallista’s wand brought an end to the creature. The group went into the room and discovered that most of the carnage was from a single body that had been dismembered, that of the Elder Lythiin. They left the body and continued on with their investigation of the other rooms.

The first room to the south seemed to contain books about trances and drug induced ecstasies. In the room there was also chest. With utmost care Kallista managed to find a trap and disable it, taking the scrolls, a periapt of health, and other items from inside the unlocked chest.

The second room contained 4 Axiomites that put up a pretty good fight, one unleashing a lightning bolt through all members of the party except Kallista, but the group rapidly took them down one after another, with Kallista finishing the final two with a studied strike then another precise shot in a nice show of skill.

The room below brought forth 4 clockwork mages all with different specializations. This fight proved a fairly exhausting one. Immediately on cracking open the door, Khalaban tossed in a black tentacles spell. The spell did not catch any of the constructs, but provided a difficult ground for Zolash to get in on them.

One of the mages hurled a fireball out into the corridor, hitting all but Kallista. Another cast a stinking cloud, and another a web. Khalaban found himself trapped in the web. Seeing Khalaban trapped even through the fog, Zolash light the webbing on fire, freeing his companion. After that Connor stepped in to give Khalaban freedom of movement.

A scorching ray blasted Khalaban, but didn’t bring him down. Then Zolash decided to get in the mages clockwork faces and rushed into the room. He was hit by a spray of magic missiles, but stepped in to hack one of the mages with a massive cleave. A lightning bolt from Khalaban brought one of the creatures down, while Connor provided some much needed mass healing for the entire group.

Meanwhile the mages stepped up to Zolash and started to slam at him with their metallic arms. Deciding to risk it, Khalaban dove into the room and unleashed some magic missiles and after dodging a series of attacks from the creatures, a lightning bolt, which brought another of the mages down. Finally Kallista stepped in a quaffed an elixir of Blue Dragon breath and spewed an arc of electricity at the two remaining clockwork creatures, sparking off chains of blue charges throughout their bodies and leaving them smoking husks.

They then turned the final angelic statue which was in the corner of the room, and heard a rumbling sound, undoubtedly meaning that the staircase towards the soul of the Mysterium was now accessible and the Keeper now awaited them.

The session ends there.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 28 - Into the Mysterium 3

Connor (Human Oracle 11 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 11 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 11)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 11)

Gagging from the stench of the Spawn of Yog-sothoth (all failed their saves), the party find themselves face to face with the creature as it charges Connor. One of the tentacles lashes out and hits but Connor still has freedom of movement up from the previous fight, nullifying the attempted grapple.

Connor withdraws and Kallista is the creatures next target. Grappled, Kallista also receives a freedom of movement from Connor. She steps back and pelts the creature with a well considered bolt, leaving room for Zolash to step up and pound it with a full attack, which he does to great effect cleaving away at the repulsive mass of black appendages.

Khalaban hurls some magic missiles at the creature, before retreating down the corridor only to come upon a group of Mysterium guards whose minds and bodies had been shattered by the corruption of Xhamen-Dor that Lowls brought along with him. Luckily for him one guard maintains his state of mind and holds back the others, telling Khalaban to run - which he does, eager to not to be attacked on two different fronts at the same time.

At this point Zolash has been going toe to toe with the Spawn and holding his own, with the aid of some healing from Connor, and some well placed bolts from Kallista. Unable to find purchase with any of it’s grapples frustrates the creature, and it can’t stave off the party for long before one of Kallista’s studied strikes ends it’s existence.
The party find the Angelic gate in the room, with much debris around it - the Spawn had been pounding the architecture, taking chunks out of the walls and ceiling in it’s fits of rage. Unfortunately there are still angelic heads to turn before the door can be opened to the next level. The party head out in search of them.

They find three of the heads quickly, though the fourth proves more elusive. While searching the dark clawed hand again reaches out from the wall and rakes Zolash across the side, though again he is fast enough to return the favour with Flame Hawk.

Finally they decide to check out the dual doors in the southern corner of the library, As they get near the door, they hear a voice call out “Is that you Lowlsy? I knew that you wouldn’t abandon me”. Figuring, rightly, that the voice belongs to one Miacknian Mun, Khalaban comes up with the idea to disguise himself as his former boss to at least see what is going on in the room.

The disguise takes, and Mun is completely fooled, though that may be partly due to the fact that he is in an awful condition, having been locked away in this room, with no-one but his familiar Akie, to keep him company as proto-shoggoths and worse patrolled throughout the complex outside the door. The room is in an terrible state as well, having arcane markings on the walls, along with books scattered all about, and tables overturned. Mun himself looks awful, alternating between blathering nonsensically and catatonia.

Khalaban tell Mun to wait, and he exits the room only to return invisible. He then discreetly turns the angelic head, then dimension doors Mun back up to the previous level, leaving the impish companion in the room. Confused, Mun is then hit by a feeblemind spell and then Khalaban leads him back down to the rest of the group, Akie joins them as they search around the room, uncovering a nice masterwork alchemy kit and some items of various worth.

After pulling the ring on the Angelic stairwell, the adventurers head down the stairs where they encounter another pair of proto-shoggoths, which they dispatch quickly, using similar tactics to their previous meeting.

The session ends there.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 27 - Into the Mysterium 2

Connor (Human Oracle 11 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 11 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 11)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 11)

The party takes a vote and decides to investigate the classrooms. Entering one, Zolash is struck dumb when he sees the books rise up off the shelves and the words slipping off the pages into the air in front of him. Before he can react they all smash into him, overwhelming his mind and causing him to drop to his knees for a moment, before he is able to make his way back to the door to exit the room.

As the party reach to swivel the final angelic head, four more hounds pour forth from the guardian mirror and rapidly gain the group’s scent (maybe it was Zolash :?). Connor quickly starts throwing searing light at them, while Kallista whips out her crossbow and starts firing. Launching themselves from the corners of the rooms though, the hounds gain the advantage and rip into Kallista bringing her to her knees, though she is able to survive with a curing elixir and a mass heal from a quick thinking Connor.

Khalaban takes one down with a Vampiric touch, as they all gang up on Zolash trying to bite and tear him to pieces. Now frenzied, Zolash wipes one out with Flame Hawk, while Kallista takes out another with a perfect shot studied strike. The final one is downed by Khalaban’s magic missile barrage before he is able to taste Zolash once again.

Gaining a few moments of respite, the party make a beeline for the guardian mirror and smash it to pieces with their blades and axes.

At this the party decide to head downstairs and twist the last angel head to open the stairwell. Immediately below though they sense that they are being watched. Two pink coloured oozes slide toward them - Connor recognizes them as Proto-shoggoths.

The party fall back as Connor is able to get off a holy smite on both the creatures. At this Khalaban throws up a wall of force dividing them. Zolash lays into the one on this side of the wall, while Khalaban gathers up the group and dimension doors them farther down the hall. With Kallista and Connor throwing searing lights from their wands at the creature and Zolash unloading his full fury, they are able to take one down fairly quickly, just as the other crawls around the corner behind Zolash. At this point Zolash is solely wounded, and Khalaban steps up to him, taking an attack as he does so, and dimension doors Zolash back to the rest of the group. The creature crawls toward them and Zolash unleashes a lethal series of blows including a bite, filling his mouth full of the putrid pink flesh. A few more wand bursts melt the ooze into a puddle.

Feeling a bit the worse for wear, Zolash looks to Connor for a cure disease, and Connor gives in.

Gathering themselves up the group explore the rest of the area, and soon after Kallista feels a large dark spectral claw dig into her back stealing some of her vitality (7 con, ouch :) as well as tearing a few gouges. Zolash quickly swipes at the hand with Flame Hawk and it slips back into the wall that it extended out of.

Further exploration reveals a corridor that gives off an almost unbearable stench. The adventurers hold their noses, and Kallista, who is in the lead glances around the corner. In the room is a large creature that resembles a squirming mass of black tentacles with a humanoid head attached to the centre of the thing. The creature stands amidst piles of rubble and beside the Angelic gate. The spawn of Yog-Sothoth sees them as well and charges towards Kallista with tentacles flailing.

The session ends there.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 26 - Into the Mysterium

Connor (Human Oracle 11 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 11 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 11)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 11)

Returning to the Knights of Evolvement after resting the night and heading out to purchase some new equipment, the group gave a full report of the depravities that were taking place in Mun’s laboratory. Ethem Baler looked disgusted, and was quick to ask the party not to implicate the Knights in what had been Mun’s activity alone and was able to offer payment to the party in the form of arranging a teleport to their next destination on the trail of Count Lowls and Mun.

With their business in Cassomir concluded the party met at a mages tower near the palace and were quickly teleported via circle to Katheer. The mage that did the teleport didn’t seem to interested in their names or activities and didn’t give his own in return.

After a further shopping spree in Katheer's renowned Great Market District and some skilled haggling (Kallista picked up some poisons and a ring of protection; a mace and shield for Connor, and a beautiful new flaming Axe, named Flame Hawk, for Zolash), the party attempted to find out more about the Mysterium.

They soon learned that the Mysterium had become more of a curiosity than a place of importance in Katheer in recent years, there were also rumours that it had been attacked in the past week, and that it was currently under lockdown. They found this to be true, as they approached the ancient building and six well equipped guards stiffened as they did so. The guards seemed less focused on the outside of the building than on the powerful looking door, which was also being reinforced by solid bars of metal, keeping whatever was in there inside. The guards said little but directed them to speak with the Elder Thyrr, one of the members of the order dedicated to safeguarding the knowledge held within the Mysterium, in the building across the street.

The Elder was initially reserved on meeting the adventurers, but soon opened up when they revealed the ordeals that they had been through to get to this point. She revealed that:

The wards had been breached and the inside of the Mysterium somehow corrupted.
Embarrassingly, Lowls and Mun had used the institutions current state of poverty to buy their way in.

Hounds of Tindalos had sprung from a mirror within the Mysterium, instead of it’s usual Axiomite protectors, and they quickly began to attack anything and anyone that moved within, but had yet to break out of the confines of the building.

In order to reset the wards of the building someone must penetrate to the Soul of the Mysterium, by first turning the angelic heads on each level towards the walls to gain access to each level, and then to the Soul itself. Once the Soul is penetrated and the guardian defeated, the wards must be reset by using a mechanism within that room.

Should the group need a rest, there was a sensory deprivation sphere built into the top of the first level, that should provide relative safety from even creatures such as the hounds.

The Elder Lythiin had earlier entered and tried to do what the party was attempting to do now, and he had not come out. If he was dead, his body was to be retrieved and would be raised by the order.

Should the party be able reset these wards they would be well rewarded. With that they were shown to the barred doors of the library and almost pushed in before the doors were slammed shut and re-barred.

After some initial investigation, the party was surprised when four hounds leapt from the corners of the corridor that they were in. They rushed in on Khalaban, wounding him greviously, though he was able to get off a lightning bolt and wound two of them.

Kallista broke out her cold Dragon Breath and Zolash cleaved one down with Flame Hawk, his new Axe. The remaining hounds gathered up though, almost bringing down Khalaban and Kallista by porting in behind them and clawing and biting at their exposed backs. Zolash stepped up though and chopped one down with a massive perfectly aimed hack with Flame Hawk, while Connor applied some healing magic. Khalaban took care of one of the remaining hounds with a lightning bolt and Kallista eyed one up with her studied strike and shot it through the eye with a bolt, smacking it’s head against the wall and ending the immediate threat.

The session ended there.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 25 - Some Skins in the Game

Connor (Human Oracle 10 (Lore))
Khalaban (Human Sorcerer 10 (Aberrant Bloodline))
Zolash Keshan’Uvel (Dwarf Barbarian 10)
Kallista (Tiefling Investigator 10)

Preamble: Merry X-mas, Happy New Year, yada yada…

The party saw the grotesque Skinstitches and Hellwasps immediately as they ascended the stairs. The hellwasps leapt in to attack, and Khalaban was equally quick to throw up a Wall of Force that cut off the Skinstitches from reaching the party.

Kallista released a gout of fire breath at the hellwasps before taking in that the hell part most like meant some form of fire resistance, and they were barely affected. They leapt in, stinging Khalaban and Zolash on the legs and and upper bodies, making them a little bit sluggish.

As the Skinstitches watched helplessly from beyond the wall of force, beating on it with their raggedy flesh mitts, Khalaban broke out the lightning bolt and Kallista vomitted out a swarm of waspy competition. These wasps were smaller than the hellwasps, but they had Kallista’s biting personality and they managed to take down a few of their competition.

Meanwhile Zolash, still unaware of the wasps fire resistance pulled out a torch and started waving it around menacingly, but pretty ineffectively. The wasps scored a few more minor hits, but another lightning bolt from Khalaban dropped more of them, and a final fire breath from Kallista took them both down overcoming their resistance to fire and charring them into little cinders. Connor blasted the Skinstiches with a pair of Flamestrikes and completely scorched them, adding the scent of charred flesh to the already pungent smells of the lab.

Taking a look around the group found many alchemical niceties, as well as a partially formed Mi-Go machine, and an interesting looking skin rolling around in greenish fluid in a transparent container, with the label “Number 61” pasted on it. Kallista’s keen investigator eye caught that the skin inside seemed to be moving and even possibly looking towards the stopper at the top of the container. Everyone pulled back as Kallista popped the cork, though nothing immediately happened. Sure enough though, with the cork removed, the adventurers were able to hear a voice coming up with the bubbles in the container. The voice sounded like it was in great pain, though it was able to maintain a conversation. Number 61 seemed to know much of Lowls and Mun’s activities.

The group found out that Lowls and Mun were headed to the Mysterium in Katheer.

That they were worried about the guards there.

That Lowls had decided that bribery would be the easiest way in.

That their goal was to steal a book called the Necronomicon from a part of the library called “the Soul”.

That Lowls believed that this book was salavage his reputation amongst arcane scholars in Ustalav.

That the Soul of the Mysterium had powerful and dangerous wards surrounding it.

That a creature called the Keeper was guarding the book, and that he didn’t know how to overcome it.

That Lowls had made contact with a Gnoll slaver named Biting Lash in Okeno, to help organize a trip.

A trip to the hidden city of Neruzavin, which he hired out a number of slaves to help with.

That Mun spent a great amount of time upstairs with his anomalous friend, translating documents.

That there were currently two Derros in the room above that were terrified of what was in the attic.

The skin then begged the party for release from its current condition. It looked over at a blue vial, which Kallista emptied into the container, and the skin shrivelled up, thanked them, and then drifted slowly to the bottom of the container.

Knowing what to expect above now helped somewhat, but the group was still surprised to find a grim room above, filled with curtains of alchemically treated human skin hanging from the ceiling. In the room were the two Derro mentioned by Number 61, but also another of the skin construct Mun’s. The Derro consisted of a four armed long haired woman and a smaller man, who wore a coat with little vials all over it. They turned to face the party expectantly as they entered. The flesh construct ignored them completely, seemingly self-absorbed in its own pity.

With some diplomatic thrusts exchanged the Derro seemed no more friendly than before, though they did make an overture to work together, that it seemed like both parties needed something from above. Not content with this arrangement, and possibly afraid of being stabbed in the back by the venomous creatures, the group didn’t go with it, leaving them at somewhat of a stalemate with no one willing to back down. Eventually the Derro woman, named Twain, told them what they were really after. The hanging skins were apparently theirs through an arrangement with Mun, to be treated so the Derro could walk around inconspicuously outdoors removing their vulnerability to the sun, the skins hanging here were incomplete in some way, and Twain thought the key research was housed upstairs. Seeing that the party did not trust them though, the Derro exited, heading down the ladder to the room below.

Determined to go upstairs, Khalaban initially went alone (using altered self to disguise himself as Mun), and found an attic brimming with fetid overgrowth of vines, with noxious yellow flowers growing along them. He was unable to locate the desk though. Eventually he called up the entire party to help in the search.

With the entire party upstairs, the vegetation seemed to expand, cutting off rays of light coming from outside, and growing over the trapdoor which the group had used to enter. A dark presence seemed to emanate from the ceiling. Kallista spotted the desk, and made an attempt to open it but failed. Then, all feeling somewhat shaken by this, the floor vegetation seemed to heave up and roll over them with Kallista and Zolash throwing themselves to the side in time and Connor and Khalaban bearing the brunt of the attack.

Khalaban was able to dig through his memory and identify this creature as a Dark Young of Shub-niggurath. The creature lashed out at Connor and Zolash with tentacles, hitting and pinning each. Khalaban released a lightning bolt into it, to no effect, though Kallista was luckier with a Cone of Cold, which seemed to jar the aberration.

Zolash was able to free himself from the tentacles, but Connor attempted a Freedom of Movement spell which he wasn’t able to get off. The creature once again lifted the mass of vines and trampled over the entire party, smashing them down and shaking the entire foundation of the infirmary in the process (The infirmary happened to be in the middle of Cassomir’s locker a very unstable region of the city which was itself built land reclaimed from a swamp).

With the last rolling trample, the floor gave way, and the adventurers crashed down onto the floor below, with the creature hanging over them and dropping down to finish them off. Khalaban was able to touch the thing though and get off a vampiric touch, while Connor healed Zolash. Kallista drank a healing extract. The creature again lashed out with tentacles at Kallista and Zolash, almost bringing Kallista down, and flaying the skin off Zolash, leaving him deeply wounded. Finally Kallista was able to take a brief moment to size the creature up and unload into it with a studded strike right into its gaping maw, finishing it off and leaving the house in silence.

At this the trapdoor from below opened and the Derro Twain stepped back into the room, walked over to the remains of the desk and snapped up a paper from it then slid back through the trapdoor. Kallista thought about jumping her for a moment, but probably wisely held back, considering the state that the party was in.

The group explored around and found 500pp, some valuable diamonds, and a small wooden case which contained some archaic and ornate looking glasses that gave off a strong magical aura.

The party levelled up and the session ended there.

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