Age of Worms Adventure Path playtest: Tyralandi Scrimm

Campaign Journals

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ASEO wrote:

She's not dead. You don't die and then write "The pain as the arrow was pushed the rest of the way through my gut was eclipsed only by the pain of my head slamming against a pile of sharp rocks. And then; blackness."

It just isn't done.

ASEO out

James Jacobs wrote:

Unless you worship the goddess of death and your journal's something that she makes you do in the afterlife so you'll hopefully learn from your mistakes...

But that's not the case. Tyralandi's not dead, but she did go to –7 hit points. Which is bad if you're the cleric. And even worse if you have a Tomb-Tainted Soul.

Hmmm...good point.. Mostly dead, not completely dead. And not dead dead versus undead dead.

Journal of Penitence... that's an interesting concept.

ASEO out

Thanks for the reply on stats in the playtest campaign!

Also - glad to hear Tyralandi stabilized and didn't die! Maybe the Ruby Goddess will give her a cool, meaningful vision in that brief journey into the darkness!

James Jacobs wrote:

Tyralandi's not dead, but she did go to –7 hit points. Which is bad if you're the cleric. And even worse if you have a Tomb-Tainted Soul.

It will be interesting, since I doubt they have any potions of Cause light woulds to heal her with...she may be doing a lot of resting to recover if her friends can clear the Grimlocks out.

Why no posts receintly?

ASEO out

ASEO wrote:

It will be interesting, since I doubt they have any potions of Cause light woulds to heal her with...she may be doing a lot of resting to recover if her friends can clear the Grimlocks out. Why no posts receintly?

ASEO out

Her soul may have gone briefly to GenCon... I hear that's what happens at -7 HP, especially with Tomb-tainted clerics' souls. ;-) Come back to the light... er... darkness... er... just come back to us, Tyralandi!

Laeknir wrote:

Her soul may have gone briefly to GenCon... I hear that's what happens at -7 HP, especially with Tomb-tainted clerics' souls. ;-) Come back to the light... er... darkness... er... just come back to us, Tyralandi! that like Hades, or maybe Nirvana? I've heard of this mythical place, but never had the chance to visit it myself. Once again, I'll be interested to hear how she recovers. I guess she has been out before, but maybe not as bad as -7.

ASEO out

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Yup. Tyralandi went to Gen Con there for a week. I'll be putting up a post today sometime.

Tyralandi needs to slap Demon Boy around some...He doesn't write, he doesn't call...sometimes I wonder if he really even cares. ::sniff:: It is not like I am just sitting by the computer waiting for him to let me know how he is doing...

ASEO out

ASEO wrote: that like Hades, or maybe Nirvana? I've heard of this mythical place, but never had the chance to visit it myself. Once again, I'll be interested to hear how she recovers. I guess she has been out before, but maybe not as bad as -7. ASEO out

Oh, it's better not to ask too many questions about GenCon. But I hear that one can see many of the walking dead in that realm, and "Masters" of various celestial and daemonic lines. Tales speak of a dark plane and a cacophony of voices, being neither good nor evil, and the denizens there play mysterious games of chance - controlling other beings on the Prime using powerful magic and small chaos stones that determine fate itself! No entity remains there indefinitely, and the plane itself fades after a tenday cycle... only to return again each year...

Laeknir wrote:

Oh, it's better not to ask too many questions about GenCon. But I hear that one can see many of the walking dead in that realm, and "Masters" of various celestial and daemonic lines. Tales speak of a dark plane and a cacophony of voices, being neither good nor evil, and the denizens there play mysterious games of chance - controlling other beings on the Prime using powerful magic and small chaos stones that determine fate itself! No entity remains there indefinitely, and the plane itself fades after a tenday cycle... only to return again each year...

So it's a frat party?

ASEO out

ASEO wrote:

So it's a frat party?

ASEO out

If I told ya, well, you know. Plot device. Go refill the popcorn and get your girlfriend some jujubees... the intermission's almost over!

Back to our regularly scheduled program... :)

Laeknir wrote:
ASEO wrote:

So it's a frat party?

ASEO out

If I told ya, well, you know. Plot device. Go refill the popcorn and get your girlfriend some jujubees... the intermission's almost over!

Back to our regularly scheduled program... :)

Can somebody please unpause this thread?!

Tyralandi...the masses clamour for tales of your exploits!


I wanna hear what happens next!

Reaping 17, 595 CY
I woke to a searing pain in my back and a nasty stale taste in my mouth. It took me a moment to realize where I was—back at Theldrick’s personal shrine in the temple of Hextor we’d cleared out a few days ago. I took a few moments to repair the damage the grimlock archer and the fall had wreaked on my body, and as I did I couldn’t help but notice how wretchedly filthy I was. Layers of dust, sweat, dirt, blood, grime, and makeup had congealed together to form a sticky film covering me from head to toe, and so many nights of sleeping in my armor had done little to help the situation. Healing spells helped the chafing, but did little to fix the horrible fact that it’d been days since I’d had a change of clothes or a bath. If we don’t find something to implicate Smenk in this hellhole soon, I’m not sure what I’ll do.

Eventually, I got around to tending to the others’ wounds; Tassilo helped greatly by augmenting our healing magic by channeling positive energy. It’s a handy trick; too bad it doesn’t work for negative energy. I also couldn’t help but notice my three skeletons were missing. Turns out, after I fell and passed out, they’d had a terrific battle with chokers, grimlocks, and a particularly huge grimlock barbarian. This barbarian had smashed down the three skeletons (including poor l’il Gar), but in so doing had given the rest of the group enough time to take her down. Ah well. There’s more undead out there to use and discard. Wee Jas forgive them.

Soon, we worked our way back into the caverns. The grimlocks had been busy, creating several crude and disgusting shrines or warnings to stay out of their territory, using parts of my destroyed skeletons and pieces harvested from their own kin to erect monoliths of grue. Navigating the chasm took time, but at least we didn’t get ambushed. Until we were winding our way through a narrow cavern beyond the chasm, that is. Several more grimlocks jumped us, but they were little match for us—they weren’t particularly genius in their tactics. Indeed, at one point, Demon Boy wounded a pair of them to an inch of their lives. I saw this and took a chance by throwing a dagger at one about ten feet away. The one right next to me tried to club me as I let down my guard to throw the dagger, and in so missing me he tore open something inside him and crumpled to the ground in a pool of blood. His nearby ally followed an instant later, my dagger lodged in his throat.

Over the next hour, we continued to press deeper and deeper into the grimlock caverns. It was perhaps the most grueling and unpleasant thing I’d ever done. Not only did I stink of blood and sweat and filth, but the caves themselves tried to defeat us as well. Not only were they dark and often more vertical than horizontal, but the ground itself was buckled and twisted. We stumbled in the dark, fought grimlocks, pressed on, and on, and on. There seemed to be no end to these gibbering hordes. Demon boy’s newly acquired power to spew thick sheets of spiderwebs from his hands proved to be a key advantage; it really helped to keep the freaks off of us.

Finally, we came to the end of the caverns, a massive chamber with a deep fog-filled depression. By this point, we were ragged, wounded, and low on resources. I had hoped we would retreat and rest, but Gar had his “big dwarf” spell going so rather than waste a precious minute or two of its duration we pressed on. Of course, Gar got jumped by another mess of grimlocks and went down. And I spent the majority of the combat using the last of my healing on him and the others.

Soon, it became apparent that the fog in the depression was far from natural, and that someone within was using divine magic to harry us and augment the grimlock guardians. Out of spells, I dug out a scroll of dispel magic we’d found in Theldrick’s temple and cast it. The fog cloud vanished, revealing a horrible stooped grimlock who’d stitched a pair of disproportionally large eyes into his sockets! The freak capered and shrieked and started casting more spells, but his fog cloud banished he was easy to put down.

After taking a few moments to recover, we found something of note. Grallak carried several scrolls filled with strange spidery writing, words that spoke of a coming darkness and of a strange power growing in the pool back in the Dark Cathedral. Perhaps most interesting were the final two sentences: “At last the will of the Ebon Triad be done. With the return of great Kyuss, the Age of Worms is finally upon us!”

This disturbing news recovered, we made our way back to the temple of Hextor, our progress through the caves accompanied by Gar’s constant hatred of the tortured ground. Sitting now back in Theldrick’s quarters, rubbing the blisters from my mud and sweat and dirt and blood spattered feet, I was forced to agree with him.

Reaping 18, 595 CY
Have we really been holed up down here for only three days? It feels like it’s been a week. The smell in Theldrick’s chambers is almost too much now. I’m doing what I can to keep from degenerating into a vagabond or goblin, but I’m afraid some of my companions aren’t bothering with keeping up on their own hygiene. The smell coming from that dire pig’s cage, where we stashed all of the bodies of the Hextor cultists, is worse, but only just. It’s really quite disgusting. By Wee Jas’s grace, I pray we escape from this pit without contracting some sort of foul wasting sickness after sleeping for so long in our own filth. Memories of Diamond Lake above are almost starting to sound preferable. At least there are rivers up above to bathe in and to wash one’s clothing and clean one’s armor. Disgusting.

Mostly recovered from our battle with the grimlocks, we dragged our crusty selves back to the central chamber. I gave that strange dark pool in the southern portion of the cathedral a sidelong glance, recalling the mention of something quickening within in Grallak Kur’s notes and hoping our business here would be concluded before then. Not even a ripple disturbed its surface. We turned north and passed through the door marked with Vecna’s symbol… and stepped into a maddening labyrinth of passageways. As we wandered the twisting halls, I did take pause to offer a prayer of thanks to Wee Jas, though, for at least the ground was level and smooth, and at least the air didn’t reek of rotting Hextorians.

It wasn’t long before we started hearing things. Whisperings, giggles, sobbing, crying babies, and stranger sounds. We’d gone deep into the maze and were considering backtracking to try a more organized approach when suddenly, a wall slid silently open and a weird little birdman stepped out, pulled a knife, and stabbed Taan in the gut.

Suddenly, birdmen were all around us. Their oily black feathers rustling, they squawked and shrieked and, most disturbingly, continued making the sounds of crying babies, shrieking old women, and anything else they could think of to throw us further into chaos. Things got bad when a pair of horse-sized weasels showed up. We were scattered, spread out throughout the maze and each of us tangling with a couple of the birdmen on our own. We needed help. So when I found myself in a relatively sheltered alcove, I sent out a prayer to Wee Jas for aid, asking for something that these nasty birdmen wouldn’t be able to hurt.

She responded with a lemure, a half-melted damned soul harvested from the depths of Hell. Excellent! Its turgid waxy flesh would run like rancid butter when the birdmen tried to cut it. One birdman in particular, one with arcane powers, freaked out and started throwing fireballs. The fire burned Gar and Daejin something fierce, but the lemure was fine. Wee Jas certainly knew the best thing to send in our time of need. The monster lurched toward the nearest birdman, its horrific battle cry sounding like nothing more than the death rattle of an old man choking on a mouthful of cold onion soup.

That was when I heard Gar starting to yell. At first, I thought he was just angry his beard had caught on fire or something, but then as he barreled further down the hall, I realized he was shrieking about “the fiend” and knew he’d seen the lemure. I wasn’t sure at the time he knew I’d summoned it, but in any event he lost complete sight of the weasels and the birdmen and obsessed on the poor damned soul. Fortunately, he missed it with his axe and the lemure was able to distract the birdman sorcerer for a few more seconds before it vanished, back to its well-deserved torment in Hell.

It didn’t take much longer to finish off the remaining birdmen and weasels. The enemy defeated, we began the standard practice of tending to our own wounded. But before I had a chance to heal Taan’s gut-wound, Gar rumbled up to me with a weird, hard glint in his eye.

“Did you call up that fiend from the pits, girlie?” he roared at me. I must admit, I was taken aback at his anger, but I answered in the affirmative.

“Well ye’d best never be doing that again. If you’re going to be trucking with fiends, I’ll be done with’cha. Or you’ll taste Kullen’s axe.”

His stubborn and sudden anger was having an effect, but I doubt it was the one he was hoping for. All I could think of suddenly were his tactics in the battle against Theldrick’s Hextorians.

“The lemure was under my complete control the whole time.”

“Ha! I doubt it!”

“It didn’t attack you, did it?”

“I wasn’t gonna give it the chance! You don’t bring evil into this world!”

“How is calling a lemure into the world any different than calling mad slashers into the world, like you did back in the Hextor temple? Mad slashers are evil too!”

Gar didn’t have a ready response for that. His eyes bulged, his skin turned even more red, and that vein above his right eye started shuddering. Flecks of froth danced on his lips as he turned to face the rest of the group, who was watching in shock. His eyes landed on Tassilo.

“Talk to her, Tassilo! She’s mad! Mad slashers and devils AREN’T THE SAME THING!”

Tassilo just shrugged. “I’ve got no real problem with turning evil back on itself to destroy itself.”

“WHAT!” Gar roared. He looked around in a building rage, his knuckles white on the haft of his axe. Things were about to go bad again, and I was fairly sure if he got his killcrazy dander up, I’d be first in his sights. And I was out of spells. I started edging toward the closest exit when he spun on his heal. “THAT’S IT THEN! I’M DONE WITH THE LOT OF YA!”

He stomped off, heading back to the Dark Cathedral and presumably the exit. I was amazed, and a little more amazed when I realized that everyone else was looking at me now.

“It was under my control the whole time! What’s the difference between devil and angel as long as I keep it under control?”

Tassilo rolled his eyes. “Don’t play coy, Tyralandi. You know the difference.”

I’m not sure if it was his calm tone of voice or the simplicity of his statement, but his words rang true. It felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. Obviously Gar had some sort of thing about fiends, and likely for a good reason. Thinking back, he did seem to be the one most disturbed about my control over the skeletons. A sudden wave of guilt washed over me, followed almost immediately by a wave of anger.

“Well,” I said, “Someone better go get him before he gets himself killed,” I said, making it obvious that that someone wasn’t going to be me. A few more moments of awkward silence, and then Taan, of all people, threw his hands into the air and ran off after Gar. The two returned a few moments later. Gar immediately set to searching the dead, but didn’t even look at me.

We returned to the temple of Hextor under a blanket of hostile silence. Fortunately, the tension was enough to distract me from the filth and smell of the place. I slept off to the side that night, away from the rest of the group, not sure what they thought of me and not sure why Wee Jas had even allowed me to summon a lemure in the first place, I lay there awake for several hours.

At one point, just before I drifted off to sleep, I heard Demon Boy off to my left.

“Well… I thought the melted skin man was neat.”

I’m not sure if Demon Boy’s approval helps, or if it makes me feel worse.

Reaping 19, 595 CY
When I woke the next day, it was to the taste of bile. I had quite nearly thrown up in my mouth, the sour taste of last night’s bland repast of Vyth’s few remaining rations momentarily taking my mind off the previous day’s events. As we geared up for a return to the labyrinth, no one seemed in a particularly talkative mood, and it was apparent to me that what had happened had not been forgotten.

I did what healing I could; at least the rest of the group wasn’t so sickened by me that they were willing to turn down Wee Jas’s restorative caress.

We returned to the labyrinth and found it to be empty. It took two or three hours, but eventually we managed to explore the whole place. Of course, it was riddled with secret doors. One of the last ones we located was particularly interesting, though, as it was in the northernmost reach of the maze and beyond it was a single door. We passed through the door, and beyond found a long hall. Several marble columns supported the vaulted ceiling, and strange green shapes seeming to writhe within the stone of these columns. The walls of the place were studded with wet-looking bulges and lumps. Gar, ever curious, walked up to a pillar to examine the markings more closely, and suddenly his shoulders slumped. And as they did, the bulges on the walls opened, revealing dozens of monstrous and bulging eyes set into the walls of the place.

As they did, I felt a chill pass through the place. The temple of Vecna itself had noticed our intrusion, and its true guardians had doubtless been alerted.

Dark Archive Contributor

James Jacobs wrote:

Reaping 18, 595 CY

...the sour taste of last night’s bland repast of Vyth’s few remaining rations...

Ha! Even for sessions I miss Vyth still gets mentioned. ;D

At least he's good for something. Too bad that something is catering. While important, it's not exactly a high-adventure kind of skill. ;)

Reaping 19, 595 CY
The temple of Vecna had been alerted. Tassilo and Dram took Gar by the shoulders and tried to rouse him from his stupor, but they were unable to do so. Whatever he’d seen writhing in that weird stone pillar had flummoxed him completely. Thinking back on how the grimlocks and the kenku had so effectively used the terrain of their lairs to ambush us over the last few days, I cast detect thoughts and stepped forward to scan the area for any lurking dangers.

Ah HA! There were indeed thoughts hiding ahead. I stepped a few more feet into the hall to try to pinpoint them, and suddenly one of the minds… unfolded! Where at first had been one mind was suddenly a million, each clamoring for the others’ attentions and all shrieking and begging to be heard. The sudden outrush of madness overwhelmed me, and I think I blacked out for a second. A few seconds after that, it came shrieking down the hall at us, a writhing, roiling cloud of inky smoke that just barely held to a man’s form. I recognized it from an old book—an allip.

Tassilo tried to turn it, to no avail. I tried to seize control of it, and failed as well. And after it came several silent cultists. Each wore brown robes, and each were missing their left hands and left eyes; fanatics of Vecna! They opened combat with color spray spells, and one of them caught me full in the face. I spent the next several seconds reeling, blind and unable to move. The sounds of battle around me seemed like they were coming to me from along a long, metal tunnel. I knew I needed to move, but I couldn’t. At least, not right away. Eventually, my sight returned and I saw that the battle had moved around a corner to the north.

Upon rounding the corner, I was confronted with a nightmarish sight.

Banks of black pillars flanked a huge, lumbering centipede of monstrous proportions. Its chitinous plates were covered with spikes and its red eyes seemed to flicker with an inner fire. The rest of the group was either fighting against it or against several other Vecna cultists. Gar had cast his enlarge person spell and Demon Boy had clogged a northern wing of the passageway with another web. Tassilo was trying to help Gar with the fiendish centipede, while DaeJin was plugging it with arrows. In the back of the room a taller cultist stood at an altar, his face hidden by an elaborate iron and wood mask. I saw a door at the far end open and watched Vyth, Dram, and Taan gather there, ready to jump the lead cultist. Unfortunately, the lead cultist saw them too. He spun to face them and with a wave of the hand a bolt of lightning erupted in the air between him and the three of them. It looked really painful, and judging by how they all retreated back around the corner, I could only assume it was worse than it looked.

I knew that if I ran in to help Gar against the centipede, I’d get picked off in an instant, so instead I called upon Wee Jas again, asking for her to send aid of a different sort this time. Something heavily armored with a lot of potent attacks. It arrived a few seconds later in a burst of white light, an opalescent scorpion the size of a wolf. The celestial scorpion scuttled forth and its claws lashed out with blinding speed, clamping onto the centipede’s flank and causing it to writhe and shriek in pain. Distracted by the scorpion’s crushing embrace, Tassilo and I were able to get in to melee it. Unfortunately, it’s hide was too tough to penetrate with daggers or even a morning star, but we were able to distract it enough so that Gar was able to get in a death blow.

The loss of his centpiede seemed to rattle the highpriest. With a roar, he fled north through a door, his retreat guarded by other cultists. We tried to hack our way through them and managed to do so, only to be confronted with a second fiendish centipede summoned by the highpriest.

The battle was going poorly. Everyone was bleeding from numerous wounds by this point, and Gar went down only to be healed back into consciousness by Tassilo. Things were looking grim. The high priest was holed up in the room beyond the centipede, and we could tell he was casting more spells therein, obviously summoning more aid. We knew if he called in another one of those huge centipedes, the battle was as good as over for us. This was when Vyth sprang into action.

He charged toward the centipede, weaving and dodging its frenzied bites and leaping up onto its back. Somehow keeping his balance, he ran down its spiky length and into the room to the north. We all heard the high priest’s shriek of outrage, followed by a shriek of pain as Vyth hurled a shuriken into his neck. Unfortunately, this strike didn’t drop him, and instead he fired a volley of magic missiles back at Vyth, who staggered back around the corner into the room beyond, obviously heavily wounded.

Dram saved the day then, killing the second fiendish centipede with a well-placed spear thrust to the head. As the summoned monster vanished, we all piled into the room to the north and found the high priest scrambling with a door, trying to escape. Gar roared and charged, swinging his axe… and missed. The high priest whirled, back to the door, and drew a wicked-looking dagger from the folds of his robes.

“Vecna take you, infidels! My death will only rouse the slumbering eidolon in the pool beyond. You shall all taste the true wrath of the Ebon Triad if you kill me!” Gar made ready to swing his axe, but Dram called out from the back of the room.

“Don’t kill him, Gar! We need him as a prisoner to implicate Smenk!”

Gar muttered, then swung with the flat of his axe, dropping the high priest to the ground, unconscious.

The battle was over. Surrounded by the dead cultists, we slowly regrouped in the vile laboratory we found ourselves in, and that was when we realized Vyth was nowhere to be seen.

It was Dram who found Vyth’s body. Poor, silent Vyth lay crumpled in the far corner of the room, his body riddled with the familiar welts and gashes magic missiles leave in their victims. His body was limp and pale, the blood draining slowly from his wounds, not spurting. I thought back to the battle against Ogermoch’s forgotten elemental in the Whispering Cairn, when Vyth had been crushed nearly to a pulp by the elemental’s fist and I had managed to reach out and beg Wee Jas for mercy, and pulled his fleeing soul back into his battered body. That was a miracle. A once-in-a-lifetime miracle. Wee Jas had obviously known that we would need Vyth’s bravery and agility in this battle, and that’s why she granted him his stay of execution. I saw that now. Had we assaulted this final chamber without Vyth, I felt certain that we would not have reached the high priest in time and he would have likely sent yet another summoned monster out to finish the rest of us off. Vyth’s bravery had slowed the cultist’s plans just enough so that we were able to get to him.

Dram lowered Vyth’s head back to the blood-slick floors.

“He’s dead. Vyth is dead.” Dram’s eyes were rimed in tears as he looked at each of us, and I felt my own heart lurch. When Dram’s gaze fell upon the cultist’s unconscious form, he said flatly, “Kill that bastard.”

Gar nodded once, swung his axe, and the Faceless One’s head rolled clear of his treacherous body. I went over to Dram and kneeled down beside Vyth. Silent as ever, now silent forever.

What's that in my eye? Nothing. It's nothing, man. *Sniff*

Reaping 19, 595 CY
Things took on a strange, surreal cast after we realized Vyth was dead. For me, at least. Not sure what the others were thinking about, of course. Dram seemed shaken up by the event, at least. When someone (I forget who) announced they’d found a scroll that contained something that looked like a code for a cipher, my thoughts immediately went back to the strange coded document we’d found in Theldrick’s chambers. Sure enough, the code worked! The cipher spoke more of this coming Age of Worms, mentioning someone Kyuss as the herald of the Overgod. The document went on to speak of something called an Ebon Aspect... something that the Ebon Triad was striving to awaken from a pool. The Faceless One wrote of how the rise of the Ebon Aspect would signal the beginning of the end, and of how important it was to nurture it. A traumatic event would cause it to waken early and in a weakened state. An event like, say, the invasion of the three temples by heretics.

As if on cue, the moment we read those lines, a terrific roar echoed through the chamber. It was muffled and distant, but nonetheless powerful. It came from the south. From the chamber the elevator had lead to. The chamber that contained that sinister dark pool.

We were in little condition to take on another fight, but as the roars were joined by the sound of terrific destruction, we also realized that we wouldn’t be able to rest. Whatever had risen from that pool would find us sooner than later. Best to confront it now, while we (hopefully) had the element of surprise.

Tassilo and I used the last of the healing scrolls, and managed to work out how to use the wand of healing we’d liberated from the Hextorites as well. Beyond this, unfortunately, I had little to offer save for a single scroll that contained a monster summoning spell, a scroll we’d discovered in this room not a few moments before.

We made our way back through the labyrinth to the south quickly. Upon reaching the door that opened into the central chamber, we could hear the sound of something huge lumbering around. Gar used his final spell to grow in size, and with that, we threw open the door and hurtled into combat.

The creature that lumbered into view from behind the ruined and crushed elevator was not what I expected. It was worse. It stood ten feet high, a six-armed monster with a fiendish face and massive fangs. Three of its hands were missing, but the other three ended in terrible claws. It saw us and roared, but fortunately we had the drop on it.

Dram, Taan, and Daejin took off to the left and began firing arrows into its flank. I read the scroll and called on Wee Jas for aid... ironically, she sent a huge clattering centipede similar to those that we had just seen the Faceless One call upon, only this one shone with radiant light. I sent it around to the right to distract the monster from our archers. Gar, in the meantime, roared his own challenge and charged the beast. The battle that followed was intense. The monster seemed at times able to shrug off our attacks with ease. The archers, Dram in particular, kept hitting it with well-aimed arrows, and Demon Boy used the last of his magic against it (including a failed attempt to burn it with a scorching ray that actually, horribly healed some of its wounds). The monster focused its initial wrath on the largest target, the summoned centipede, which gave Tassilo and I the chance to get up behind Gar. We used the wand of healing to keep Gar on his feet, barely, and as Demon Boy, of all people, ran up behind the creature with his spear to distract it, Gar finally got in a killing blow and dropped the menace to the ground.

By this point, we were exhausted. The monster had destroyed the elevator, so we were forced to jury-rig a harness of sorts to haul up those of us (me) who couldn’t climb the walls of the elevator to freedom. By the time we had hauled up Vyth’s body and were making our stumbling, staggering way to the exit, all I wanted to do was get back into the open air, get a bath, and see to Vyth’s burial. Unfortunately, there was one last wrinkle.

As we stepped out into the blinding sunlight of late afternoon, a group of several guards stopped us. They informed us that our presence had been requested in the nearby mining office... a request by none other than Dourstone himself! There was a tense moment where I thought a fight might break out... it’s a little disturbing how quickly some people forget how to operate in society if they spend a few (admittedly grueling and disgusting) days holed up in a cultist-infested mine. Fortunately, we hadn’t completely regressed to the level of troglodytes (although we certainly smelled the part), and in moments we were clambering up the stairs to Dourstone’s office.

Dourstone himself was there, as we expected. What we didn’t expect was Merovinn Bask. We hadn’t seen the bald and creepy wizard since the whole fiasco at the Feral Dog several days ago, when Gar had lopped off Kullen’s head. Bask had been with Kullen and the rest but had slinked out the back door when the fight started. Doursone greeted us friendly enough, offering us food and wine. We didn’t accept. Something was going on, and the longer the conversation went on, the more it became obvious to me that Kullen had used some sort of magic to make Dourstone more compliant with interrogation. Indeed, when we asked him about the cultists in his mine, Dourstone was more than willing to admit to the fact that he knew all about them. Even Dourstone seemed surprised by his honesty. With a few minutes of conversation, I felt we had everything we needed to see him placed under arrest, but other members of the group seemed to want to take the law into their own hands.

Normally, I would have tried to argue them out of it. But I was tired, filthy, and in still in shock over Vyth’s death. When Tassilo and Dram announced that they’d heard enough and was heading over to the garrison and the church of Heironeous to report Dourstone to the authorities, I joined them. I had a feeling that something dire was in the works for Dourstone, Bask, or both, considering the people we were leaving behind to finish the interrogation, but at that point I couldn’t care less.

Fortunately, the church of Heironeous had a vault in which we could store Vyth’s body overnight. Not that I minded carrying his body all the way out of the mines, but it was nice to put him down somewhere safe and relax. The priests of Heironeous and the garrison commanders seemed to only notice Tassilo and Dram... they ignored me completely when they weren’t eyeing me with distaste. Whatever. Soon enough we got to the part that interested me the most: they would put us up for the night, and there was somewhere I could get a bath.

The rest of the group arrived a half hour later with the news that Dourstone was dead and Bask had fled. The news didn’t surprise me, but the fact that Dourstone had apparently been poisoned by Bask and wasn’t killed by Taan or Gar or Demon Boy did.

Ugh. What a dreadful period of my life the last few days have been. Tomorrow, we bury Vyth and go through the spoils of the fights under Dourstone Mine. Wee Jas willing... there will be enough to finance an escape from this town.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The latest installment of Tyralandi's ordeal in Diamond Lake is up! With 19 minutes to spare! Whew!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Well... since Jeremy posted his character sheet that means I have to post mine! Here's Tyralandi's current stats:

Female human cleric (Wee Jas) 4
LN Medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Listen +3, Spot +3
Languages Common, Infernal, Celestial

AC 21, touch 11, flat-footed 20
hp 31 (4 HD); 25% chance to ignore sneak attack/critical hit
Immune death from massive damage
Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +7

Spd 20 ft. in banded mail (30 ft. base)
Melee mwk morningstar +5 (1d8+1)
Ranged mwk dagger +5 (1d4+1/19–20)
Base Atk +3; Grp +4
Special Atk rebuke/command undead (6/day, +5 turning check)
Combat Gear potion of shield of faith, [i]wand of cure light wounds (23 charges)
Spells Prepared (CL 4th, +4 ranged touch)
2nd—[i]detect thoughts
* (DC 16), hold person (DC 16), lesser restoration, spiritual weapon
1st—command* (DC 15), cure light wounds (2), sanctuary, shield of faith
0—cure minor wounds (2), light, mending
* domain spell; Domains Domination, Mind

Abilities Str 13, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 14, Wis 17, Cha 16
SQ spontaneous casting (inflict spells, cure spells 3/day)
Feats Spell Focus (enchantment), Spontaneous Healer, Tomb-Born Fortitude, Tomb-Tainted Soul
Skills Bluff +5, Concentration +7, Diplomacy +11, Disguise +5, Knowledge (arcana) +7, Knowledge (religion) +6, Knowledge (the planes) +5, Perform (string instruments) +6, Sense Motive +5, Spellcraft +5
Possessions combat gear, +1 banded mail, +1 heavy steel shield, masterwork morningstar, masterwork dagger, pearl of power (1st), Heward’s handy haversack, courtier’s outfit, silver holy symbol (25 gp), skeleton key, bedroll, winter blanket, sunrod, small steel mirror, iron pot, soap, waterskin, makeup (for covering up unsightly effects of Tomb-Born Fortitude), everburning torch, silver necklace (30 gp), malachite earrings (20 gp), obsidian ring (5 gp), 1,725 gp, 64 sp

Sweet! :-)

For the "tomb-tainted" feats... which book do they come from? (And generally... just curious what might they provide as benefits?) Thanks, thanks!

EDIT: Oh... der! Libris Mortis, right? It's on my list to buy... :-)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Yup. Libris Mortis it is. Tomb-tainted soul makes it so you heal damage from inflict spells and take damage from cure spells. Tomb-born Fortitude gives you immunity to death from massive damage and 25% resistance to crits and sneak attacks.

The trick is rememberig you have that 25% resistance when it matters...

Can Erik's campaign truly be called a "playtest," considering there's so little (if any) time between play & publishing?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Rob Bastard wrote:
Can Erik's campaign truly be called a "playtest," considering there's so little (if any) time between play & publishing?

Not really. At first, sure. It was certainly a playtest for the adventure that he wrote (The Whispering Cairn), but as time wore on, the adventures came in faster than we could keep up. It takes about 6-8 weeks for us to complete one adventure, and they're coming in once every 4 weeks, so there ya go.

What it DOES do is allows us to see first-hand what does and doesn't work with the adventure path. This information is valuable not only for if we ever release Age of Worms as a hardcover, but more importantly, it teaches us what does and doesn't work in a large campaign and will make Adventure Path III all the better as a result.

We don't have time to playtest every adventure we print. As you can see, we barely have time to playtest one adventure. Playtesting is something that is more properly the responsibility of the adventure's author. By the time it gets to us, the devlopment process replaces what would otherwise be a playtest process. And to tell the truth, it's not a bad replacement; developing adventures works almost as well as playtesting but takes up MUCH less time and resources, which is a must-have for a magazine's busy production schedule.

What's involved in the development process?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Obscure wrote:
What's involved in the development process?

That's a topic for another post, but in short, it can range from anything between just formatting styles and fixing the language on down to rewriting entire plot points and generating entirely new NPCs.

Reaping 20, 595 CY
We buried Vyth today.

Of course, just as with everything else we try to do, things just refused to go smoothly.

I woke this morning feeling like a person again for the first time in days. Sleeping in a real bed and not within smell-distance of over a dozen dead cultists can do a lot for your attitude. I met with the others for breakfast, an event that quickly turned into the “What has Tyralandi stuffed in her handy haversack?” I emptied the magic bag out on the table and we sorted through everything. It took nearly two hours, but in the end we had most everything sorted and cataloged. I ended up with a suit of magic banded mail—it’s pretty nice looking, but I’m going to have to do something about the blue leather parts. They just won’t work. Maybe I’ll dye them black or something.

Daejin had to leave soon thereafter to report back to the Bronzewood lodge; she promised to make it back to town as soon as she could but said it might be a couple days. Taan and Tassilo gathered up the remaining loot and magic and set off into town to pawn what we didn’t need and to get Allustan to identify the magic we couldn’t figure out on our own.

Which left myself, Gar, Dram, and Demon Boy with Vyth. I told the others that we’d be ready to bury him by early afternoon, and that if any of them wanted to be in attendance they’d best show up at the boneyard by then. It took an hour to prepare his body for transport; he’d suffered some damage in the flight from Dourstone’s mine. He had to look his best for the afterlife, but fortunately I was able to restore the worst of the damage. Demon Boy seemed particularly interested in this stage... I’m not sure why, but he was quiet so I didn’t bother shooing him away.

With Vyth prepared, Dram, Gar, and I worked together to carry him from the garrison out to the boneyard. The trip necessitated us passing through town, alas. I was ready for gawkers, but I hadn’t anticipated attracting the attention of who we did.

I’d seen the guy around town before—his name was Auric. He seemed strangely proud of the fact that he was wallowing in self-mockery. I recognized the belt he wore as the Champion’s Belt—a prize awarded to those who triumphed in a series of annual gladiatorial fights in Greyhawk. I’d seen previous champions in my youth—many would travel for a week or two with our carnival and perform for the rubes. But if Auric was the new champion, what was he doing here in Diamond Lake? He stepped up to us and immediately started asking us about Demon Boy, who was slinking along behind us. I tried to ignore him and step around his bulk but he stepped to the side to block my path further. That was when his other pal, a sour-looking man who introduced himself as Khellek, stepped in to help his friend. It seemed that they had seen the posters advertising a 100 gp reward for Demon Boy’s capture, and had taken an interest in collecting.

Of course, an argument started. I was in no mood for a fight, but I could tell that Gar was. After spending so much effort making Vyth look presentable for death, I wasn’t about to risk him in a street brawl. At first I tried to talk them out of it with shame, pointing out to him that it seemed ridiculous that the winner of the Champion’s Games had been forced down to the role of bounty hunter for a backwoods freak show, and wondered what had happened to force him into such desperate measures. This seemed to the do the trick, and for a moment I think he was ready to let us go in favor of a loud and lengthy argument with Khellek, but unfortunately Khellek managed to turn the conversation back to Demon Boy with ease. Auric was definitely not the leader of their little operation.

Next, I offered to pay them for Demon Boy’s bounty, to buy them out. I had my offer up to 400 gold (and it looked like the two were about to agree) when, out of nowhere, Taan burst onto the scene.

“If you give them anything, Tyralandi, I’ll have to kill you out of shame. I think instead, we’ll have to take 400 gold from THEM, as payment for the honor of talking to us!”

It’s amazing that our little group has lasted this long.

The conversation started turning sour then. Diplomacy and bribery were done, and with Taan ready to just yank Khellek’s coin purse off his hip and Gar guffawing at Auric’s attempt to impress us with stories of his gladiatorial prowess (“What kind of idiot would want to be a gladiator? Honestly, are they anything more than clowns with less makeup?” being one of Gar’s wittier comments), I was looking around for someplace nearby that I could stash Vyth where he’d be sheltered in the upcoming fight when Dram, bless his heart, spoke up.

“Listen, we just lost a friend and we’re on our way to bury him. And as a result, we’re not in the mood. And really... Demon Boy’s small potatoes. If you REALLY want some money, you need to set your sights higher. I hear Balabar Smenk’s got a lot of money these days… certainly more than you’ll get running errands for Zalamandra. In fact, we’d love to help you if you were willing to take that fat bastard on. But we’re not going to give up Demon Boy, so you’re not going to make your piss-ant 100 gold by turning him in. All you’re going to get is a fight. So, in the interests of keeping all of us safe, why don’t we all meet later this evening and we can talk things out a little more civilly?”

Dram’s speech was enough to call out the third of Khellek’s little band of thugs—the elf Tirra. She stepped out of hiding and put away her bow—she’d obviously been hiding back there somewhere and was ready to plug one of us with an arrow if things went bad. I really have to work on my attention to my surroundings… one of these days it’s gonna kill me. Anyway, Tirra seemed to agree with Dram and went so far as to agree to the meeting. Her announcement seemed to annoy Khellek… seems like all three of them fancy themselves the leader. I did notice the glances that Tirra and Taan seemed to share as she joined her other two friends… interesting. Looks like Taan might have been up to more than just gambling and threatening local shopkeepers on his trips alone into town since his arrival in Diamond Lake.

In any event, the three let us pass. All in all, the confrontation worked out pretty well; we even got to keep our money. We need to do something about that bounty though... Dram and Gar and I plan to go over to the Emporium after Vyth’s burial but before our meeting with the others and take care of it.

Vyth’s funeral was short, mostly because I realized at the last minute that I really had no concept of what it was that worshipers of Xan Yae did to honor their dead. If I hadn’t had been so flustered earlier in the day, maybe I would have remembered to do some research. Mental Note: I need to find out how the rest of the group wants to be buried when they die so I can make sure I do a good job for them when the time comes.

Fortunately, Tassilo remembered some key rituals. One, in particular, involved the ritual sacrifice of a cat to be buried with the body. Fortunately, Diamond Lake has a lot of stray cats. Some of the group found sacrificing a cat to be a little creepy, but I personally didn’t understand the problem. It’s just a cat, after all. And it should be honored to be part of such an important moment in Vyth’s existence. Perhaps the MOST important moment of Vyth’s existence, as a matter of fact. Well… maybe his birth is as important. I suppose.

Anyway, Dram took off to find us a cat. He found one in a disturbingly short period of time, but he’d killed it in the process of catching it. No good! You can’t sacrifice something that’s already dead! He caught another one quickly enough, and finally we were able to get on with his burial. Vyth’s and the cat’s, that is. Not Dram’s. That’ll come sometime later, I suppose.

Gar actually had a few nice things to say at the side of the grave after we had interred his body (Vyth’s, that is, not Gar’s). I marked the site with a small cairn of stones, and left him one of my daggers in case he needed it to help fight off soulgaunts or whatever might rise up on his path to the other side in an attempt to consume his soul. Not sure what he might have done in life to attract them, but I’m sure he did something. Merely leading a life of silence does not mean you led a life without sin.

Rest well, Vyth. I wish I’d had a chance to get to know you better.

Lantern Lodge

This is really good stuff keep it up.

FlashMan wrote:

This is really good stuff keep it up.

I agree, keep it up. I look forward each week to reading updates on your campaign, and find much useful information to incorporate into my campaign as well. Wonderful work!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I certainly intend to keep Tyralandi's journal going as long as the campaign goes. However... with Erik and I working on a project for WotC at the same time we're working on the magazines... there's been a few weeks lately where we just haven't played. Hopefully, we'll play this week and a new journal entry will be created.

Okay, I'm getting antsy. I hope you posting on another link today means you'll be posting one here, too. :)
PS: Loved the Beetles on a Paladin line and the one describing the skanky s of Diamond lake. Good stuff.
PPS: I take it you've contemplated writing novels/short stories. I would love to see Tyralandi transferred into a storyline of her own...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Thanks for the kind words, Castilliano! We're (in theory) playing again this week, so there should be a new entry in this campaign journal by Thursday.

As for writing novels/short stories... we'll just have to wait and see what the future shall bring!

James Jacobs wrote:
I certainly intend to keep Tyralandi's journal going as long as the campaign goes. However... with Erik and I working on a project for WotC at the same time we're working on the magazines... there's been a few weeks lately where we just haven't played. Hopefully, we'll play this week and a new journal entry will be created.

Hmm... y'know, there might be several bags of premium Halloween candy in it for you, if y'all stop working and play ze game! My angelic little niece will never miss a few bags from her sizeable hoard...

I'm just sayin... candy, candy, candy! Think about it! ;-)

Hmm... no takers on the candy. A hard-sell, I see. How about money? Slaves? Halfling pipeweed? A bevy of beauties doing the dance of the seven veils? ;-)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Laeknir wrote:
Hmm... no takers on the candy. A hard-sell, I see. How about money? Slaves? Halfling pipeweed? A bevy of beauties doing the dance of the seven veils? ;-)

All of those could work! Unfortunately... the campaign's still on hiatus. Won't be happening this week or next, but maybe the week after Thanksgiving? I've got my fingers crossed...

Doesn't it suck when working in the gaming industry interferes with your gaming? Hopefully you guys can get back into it soon.

James Jacobs wrote:
All of those could work! Unfortunately... the campaign's still on hiatus. Won't be happening this week or next, but maybe the week after Thanksgiving? I've got my fingers crossed...

Darn! Oh well, I'll stop pestering. :-) Really, though, it's excellent! And although I hesitate to suggest extra work, you should definitely consider writing a WotC novel! These kinds of journal-narratives are different in several ways, of course, but your presentation and writing style always makes for an interesting read!

Anyway, here's hoping that you can play again soon!

I must admit that I miss reading the updates to the Age of Wyrms game here. Doesn't stink sometimes when life gets in the way of hacking a goblin to bits. *sighs* Looking at the calender its been a month and a half now. Does this put the gaming editors in jeopardy of losing their Super-Geek statis? I mean no game for two months. The people that I game with would be complaining of the need for just a small gaming fix here or there to hold them over. But I guess the fact that they have us coming here to read posts in and of themselves gives them still a one-up on most of us gaming geeks. Let me know if and when the vote comes about for who gets the new title of Super-Geek.

I really like Tyralandi. The way you can write from her point of view is incredible.



Paizo Employee Creative Director

Turbo Gorilla wrote:




We're actually (hopefully) playing this Thursday. You'll know we did if a new installment pops up by the end of the week... (I've got my fingers crossed!)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Yay! We're actually going to play tonight! In celebration, I'm posting the latest recap/journal entries, which actually recount the last game we played forever-ago. It was a kind of short game even then, so this entry's a bit sparse, but it's good to be back on track!

Reaping 20, 595 CY
After burying Vyth, I really didn’t feel that interested in doing much else, so I left the plotting and scheming of how we were going to handle the coming meeting with Auric, Khellek, and Tirra. Frankly, I wasn’t all that clear on why we needed to deceive them—if we couldn’t simply buy Demon Boy’s freedom from them, we certainly outnumbered them. Gar and Taan seemed the most interested in the task, and at least they were being quiet about it so I took the chance to catch a nap.

That evening, we met them as scheduled at Lazare’s. They were there already, and had selected a booth on the northern side of the room. I let the others do the talking mostly, and surprisingly the meeting didn’t end in bloodshed. Gar put on quite the show, talking in hushed tones about how much loot Smenk had stored in his home and how if we all teamed up, we’d be able to split the loot into 10 shares and be RICH! Barring, of course, any monies paid for resurrections after the caper. He somehow managed to sound legitimately excited about the prospects while at the same time making it sound completely unappealing. Eventually, we all agreed that we’d go storm Smenk’s place the next evening, and all of us left except for Taan, who stayed at their table at Tirra’s invitation.

Outside, we ran into Melinde, a paladin I’d seen in passing here and there in town. Part of the Garrison, she immediately latched on to Tassilo and Dram and pulled them back into Lazare’s to talk to them. Interesting… I can understand why she’d want to talk to Tassilo, since they’re both devout worshipers of Hieroneous, but Dram? I know he’d been hanging out a lot with Tassilo recently, and had even accepted a commission from the garrison, but I hadn’t realized how taken-in with their creed he’d become. I’m not sure Hieroneous is the right choice for him, but I suppose that’s something he’ll need to discover on his own time.

The evening had grown late by this point… all in all, an exhausting day. I headed back to the guildhouse to catch some sleep and dream of soft beds with sheets that don’t give me a rash.

Reaping 21, 595 CY
Taan had an interesting bit of news to report to us over breakfast this morning. After staying for another hour or so at Lazare’s, he had managed to convince Auric, Khellek, and Tirra that our group was destined for messy failure, that Smenk was going to do us in, and that there was a MUCH better place to go for easy cash—a hidden cairn in the hills! Dram had whipped up a really authentic and well-drawn map of the region, and had indicated upon it a cairn entrance. I’d been in that gully before, and knew there was nothing there, but the three buffoons seemed to fall for the forged map when Taan showed it to them and claimed he’d swiped the map from Dram while he was asleep. Taan had already looked around town a bit and confirmed that the three others had left early this morning to seek out this fake cairn. Nice! That gets them out of our hair for at least three, perhaps four or even five days. Plenty of time to have our little “talk” with Smenk. Hopefully Allustan’s okay with leaving for Blackwall Keep a few days early, otherwise I’m afraid we’ll have to meet him there. I for one don’t want to be in town when the three of those fools get back. As delicious as it would be to see their expressions, I’d rather avoid the drama at this point.

At this point, Demon Boy had pretty much decided that he could never return to Diamond Lake. If those other adventurers had recognized him, EVERYONE in town would be after him for the bounty. I tried to soothe his fears, and even rigged up a pretty nifty little costume for him. He looked great! At least, the others and I did, until Gar kicked open the door to announce that “Daejin and some weirdo” had arrived. Gar fell for the costume, and when he asked who the hell this was, I told him “Meet Blinkblink! He’s a new gnome recruit for our band! He’s a prospector from Grossetgrottel.” Gar peered closer at him, then snorted. “The hell you say! That’s just Demon Boy! Why’s he wearing my blanket?” Which, of course, sent poor Demon Boy back into his funk.

Of course, any consolation for the little chap immediately got put out of mind as Daejin stomped into the room. She paused when she saw Demon Boy, and asked, “Who’s that guy?” I told her it was Blinkblink, and that he’s a new friend. In reply, she sat down at the table and immediately helped herself to breakfast. Between bites, she tossed her head back to the door and said, “I’ve got a new friend too. That’s Kol. He knows something about this Age of Worms thing, and we’re supposed to help him out or something.”

I looked up at the door, and standing in it was an old guy, tall and skinny, with hair more white than blond. His face was like tree bark, all craggily and raspy with a crazy mountain-man beard. Oh, and behind him loomed a huge white tiger.

The tiger, of course, wiped away Demon Boy’s fears. “TIGER!” He immediately leapt up into the big cat’s face and demanded a ride. Kol stepped in between the two and said, “Easy, little boy. This is Neko, and he’s a bit… particular about who rides him.” He peered closer at Demon Boy. “And he’s quite particular about little red tieflings.”

Hmmmph. I still think his disguise was pretty good. It’s not fair that the first people to check it out were unimaginative nit-pickers.

James Jacobs wrote:

Richfest 6, 595 CY

Spent the last couple days exploring the wilderness, looking into all of the cairns I know about. They're all empty. Damnation! Tomorrow, I'll have to go into town and endure the ogling of those filthy curs again. I need to talk to Dram; maybe he'll be able to swipe...

I really like this method/format of journal...keep up the good work!


"Live or die, you decide..."

Lantern Lodge

"Neko"? *snickers* so the tigers name is kitty cat I take it cause that is what Neko is in Japanease. Now Tora, that is a name for a tiger (mainly because that is Tiger in Japanease)

Scarab Sages

...of course "Mao" would have been too direct (let alone "Mao-Mao").

I logged in tonight, hoping that you all at Paizo had your Thursday night session last night and we'd get the latest entry tonight. Can we expect another installment before Tyralandi & c. go on holiday for the holidays? This is a totally cool campaign journal.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Alas, we didn't play last night, and Erik's going on vacation next week... SO! The next time we're going to play is in January. :(

That said, the last session we had was really jam-packed with crazy stuff. Maybe I'll write up her latest journal entries anyway and post them before the Holidays roll around...

Lantern Lodge

Yes, Please do. It's a very good read and I'm sure we are all anticipation more.

Liberty's Edge

Hey James Jacobs....could you post your update PLEASE!!!! lol....

happy holidays and a good new year too!!!


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