Played November 10 & 11, 2018
12 Kuthona 4707
Based on the information Longtooth gave us, we determined that we should seek out the wyvern cave after a short respite.
My Overland Flight ability came in especially handy during this adventure, as I cannot deign to climb. One becomes quite sweaty when exerting that much energy, and it affects the drape of one's robe. Unfortunately, my peer land-bound companions were forced to climb a rope to get to and from the cave, and it was because of this clumsy device that the wyverns detected our presence. After Mudder was poisoned and Tordag was grappled, we slew the wyverns and discovered that Orgluk has a handy skill – he can pick locks. Where on Golarion would a half-orc with his fighting skill have picked up that ability? I am still not sure I trust him.
After we cleaned out the wyvern cavern, we came upon a tryly disturbing amalgamation of vermin writhing and pulsating in the cave above. Amid the conflux of six- and eight-legged bodies, we found three undead giant spiders. Within their unholy carcasses they carried thousands of smaller arachnids that clambered out onto those who stood nearby.
Upon further examination of the vermin cave, Mudder discovered a secret crevasse. When we followed the path, Mudder noticed some tracks. With his remarkable powers of observation, he noted that these tracks belong to a species of being called Red Caps. The most he could tell us about them was that they're fey creatures. They were annoyingly difficult to deal with. Orgluk discovered that his cold iron morningstar seemed to be the most effective weapon in our arsenal. One of the little miscreants managed to sneak past Digger and attack me with his scythe. Consequently, we also learned Magic Missiles are effective against them.
We continued our exploration of the underground cave network and found a single, angry kobold who was in possession of a very nice necklace of fireballs. How I wish we had possessed that for the vermin cave. Fortunately, she was not able to use it on us. I am so curious about this solitary kobold by herself in these caves. But alas, she is no longer alive to tell us her story.
Our continued exploration of the cave system led us to discover the giants' tannery and their forge. In the tannery, three ogres were employed in the smelly work of making leather. My dwarven companions were thrilled to discover some of their mortal enemies in the cavern system, and Orgluk is beginning to understand the depth of their hatred for giantkind.
In the forge room, we noticed the giants had enslaved a group of five dwarves to run the bellows. After my compatriots slew the giants working in the room and we were discussing where we could keep these dwarves safe, Digger started growling. Because of his bond with Mudder, he was able to alert Mudder to a presence in the hallway. Consequently, Mudder discovered a female stone giant hiding.
The giant requested we follow her; Tordag, being the only one among us who speaks giant, learned that she was willing to help us sneak into the giants' compound. Against our better judgment, we agreed to go, simply because Tordag trusted in her sincerity.
When she sneaked us in to a safe location, Kona (that was her name), told us Mokmurian murdered her husband when he took over their clan, and she has concerns that his leadership will be the end of their kind and their culture. When pressed, she indicated that Mokmurian is dabbling in something ancient; she mentioned the name Karzoug. Based on our knowledge from Broddert Quink, we know Karzoug is a Runelord.
Kona was previously matriarch of her tribe, and we negotiated with her for as safe a passage as we can get in exchange for keeping the dwarf captives save and working to defeat Mokmurian.
She warned us that we would encounter some trolls on our path and a particularly evil hill giant. The warnings were appreciated as they allowed us to discuss what we knew about trolls in preparation for fighting them.
The trolls were essentially sentries to an area that spiraled down deep into the ground. When we emerged from our descent, Mudder and Tordag noticed that the stone chamber was unnaturally made – similar to the area beneath Sandpoint.
In the first open space we came to, we came upon a horribly misshapen hill giant. Because of my Hold Monster spell, my colleagues were able to quickly dispatch of him. As we moved into the room, things began happening to us. Both Mudder and I became small, and Orgluk and Digger were both nauseated! Before we even had time to process what was happening to us, some mysterious creature – made mostly of metal and belching molten metal and fire – emerged from the wall and vomited a scorching mess of melted metal onto Tordag. Then it disappeared back into the wall before we could do much damage to it.
As we proceeded farther into the chambers, we discovered something Tordag called a stone golem. He said it had damage resistance, which made it difficult to kill. In the center of the room stood a cauldron. Tordag said it was used to make misshapen giants like the one we encountered in the front room. It exuded evil, and he warned us to stay well away from the noxious mixture.
In another room in the underground complex, my Halt Undead spell came in handy. Four undead hill giants and an undead, headless ogre were lurking. The ogre was particularly greusome, but fortunately, he was one of the creatures that was held with the spell.
We also encountered a room containing three lizard/dog-like creatures. They were invisible when we first moved into the room, but Tordag case an invisibility purge so that we could see the beasties. They were devilishly quick, and they had terrible gaze weapons. These were the final creatures before Mokmurian's lair.
When we finally met with Mokmurian, his chamber was encased in fog. Tordag dismissed it, and we observed Mokmurian, a stone giant, standing atop a 20 foot dias.
Tordag, in a moment of truly brilliant thinking, case Silence on himself and dimension hopped next to Mokmurian so that he could not cast any spells with verbal components. That was particularly helpful in stifling Mokmurian's fearsome spell-casting abilities. By this point in our day, many of our talents and abilities had been expended, but I had one fortunate trick up my sleeve: a wand of Enervation we had recovered from a previous battle. Between Tordag's Silence and the negative levels from Enervation, our party was finally able to eek out a victory over our foe.
Because of a strange occurrence just before Mokmurian's demise, I question just how much of a role we played in his death.
Shortly before he finally died, Mokmurian pulled out a scroll and began casting Limited Wish in an attempt to teleport himself. Before the spell's completion, however, his body contorted and his neck snapped. From his lifeless maw came a disembodied voice reminiscent of the one we heard in Thistle Top. It was the voice of Karzoug, ridiculing us as the heroes of the age and belittling our ability to defeat him. He spoke of his rise and of that of the armies of Xin-Shalast and how the slain giants marked with the Sihedron were hastening his arrival.
If that is the case, perhaps it is a good thing that we did not enter the tower via the throng of giant armies outside. There would have been many more slain giants.
Upon his person, Mokmurian carried a key to a set of double doors we hadn't yet tried to open. Behind those doors lay a vast, ancient library. Broddert Quink would be a fortunate scholar indeed to visit these many tomes. Perhaps someday we will bring him here. At least he's never married, so his disappearance into the books won't cause his wife any consternation.
Inside of the library was also the first helpful construct we had encountered. The librarian aided us in locating several volumes that contained answers to our questions about the time of the Runelords.
Tordag has given me the notes from his studies, and I have included them here to keep them safe. We still have more questions, but the hour is late (early? We have been underground so long I have no idea of the time of day), and we are all in need of some well-deserved rest. Because none of Mokmurian's minions yet know that he is dead, we have decided to rest here behind the locked door of the library. Tomorrow, we shall continue our research.
One final note before I retire: Mokmurian was also in possession of a map that marks the cities of Sandpoint, Magnimar, and Riddleport as places of interest. They all contain “Hellstorm Flume” ruins. Who would have thought they sleepy little town of Sandpoint was once a part of an ancient feud between Runelords?
It was nice to get back at it! This was the first time we've played since the arrival of our tiny human (1/2 dwarf, 1/4 elf, 1/4 human), so we had to work around her schedule a bit. A 6-month old cares not for the plans of her parents. But things went pretty smoothly playing-wise. The battles got a bit rough. We did this whole bit in one day in-game, so we were pretty close to tapped when we got to the battle with Mokmurian. We got beaten down pretty hard a couple of times. The Silence spell and Elsbeth critting with her wand of Enervation really made the difference in the battle. It also didn't hurt that Mokmurian rolled horribly on a couple big saving throws and caster checks (against Hold Monster and to cast defensively). Poor Mudder wasn't getting any help from his dice. Despite changing out a few times, he kept rolling single digits on his d20s when attacking (and often below 5). Fortunately, that rubbed off on Hangar who blew some pretty big saves (a couple Hold Monsters and the Halt Undead that was mentioned in the journal).
Getting into higher level play has been interesting. Most of our campaigns haven't reached this point or were wrapping up when we got here (~ level 13). So it's exciting that we're just really diving into things now that we're getting to be pretty powerful.
ETA: Steel Soul is a fantastic feat and every dwarf character should seriously consider picking it up.