Agents of Winter (an all-elf SD campaign) [Major Spoilers]


Campaign Journals

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Arodus 1, 4707: The battle on the plane of shadow was going badly. The beast was blasting energy all over the place, and elves were vanishing left and right. In the end it was triumphant, and there weren't even any corpses left to show where the valiant had fallen.

Fortunately, the elves had all left soul anchors in a shack in the Churlwood. It seemed to take many centuries, but they slowly crawled their way back to the material plane. Finally three of them materialized there.

Without officers, they lacked a means of contacting their superiors in the secret society. They found themselves level drained and confused. Searching the shack, Aubrey found an encoded book containing some emergency contacts. She knew that an animal got sent to this sort of shack every few months to take away the old book and bring a new one, so she set about decoding it.

Zara started scanning about, hunting for evil. She detected a presence outside, and immediately ran toward it. She surprised an inmai demon, who had been peeking out of its tree and looking at them through the solid walls. One swift stroke from her cold iron longsword dispatched it.

Knowing that they were expected, the three took all sixteen soul anchors (including their own) and all of the emergency supplies, and set out for Roderic's Cove.

PCs:

Aubrey (evoker 1)
Celiast (ranger 1)
Zara (paladin 1)


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tbug, I can't believe you have all the APs going at once! Do you have 4 different groups, or are they the same players?


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Joana wrote:
tbug, I can't believe you have all the APs going at once! Do you have 4 different groups, or are they the same players?

I gave up computer games and TV to do this, but it's worth it. :)

There are two players who are in all four campaigns, one of whom is my wife. She plays Shakkk (RotRL), Karmina Ornelos (CotCT), Zara (SD), and Mert (LoF). The other player has Girzig (RotTL), Serai Leroung (CotCT), Aubrey (SD), and Sakaya (LoF). Other than that there's some variety in how many campaigns people play. Most seem to play in two.

There's been some speculation as to which of the four APs will be the first to finish. Even though SD was the last one started some people think that the extreme task-oriented nature of the PCs gives them a pretty good shot at being the first group done.

Also, I'm flattered that you even noticed that I'm running all four. :)


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Character Creation Guidelines:

Spoiler:
You are all elves working as elite special operatives for the Winter Council, a secret society dedicated to the preservation of all things Elvish. Specifically, you are survivors of squads five and twenty-three, who were working on the Plane of Shadow when things became disastrous and both squads were seemingly lost with all hands.

Fortunately, this wasn't entirely unanticipated. You all attuned yourselves to soul anchors. While the downside is that these can be used against you by hostile magic (giving you -10 to saves against spells targetting you by someone holding your anchor), these give you an additional chance to recover when your soul and body are losing contact with each other.

Your time on the plane of shadows has left you shaken and confused. Your two squads (Squad Five and Squad Twenty-Three) each consisted of a commander, a lieutenant, a trapfinder, a sniper, a meat shield, a healer, a scout/data specialist, and someone expert in doing massive damage from a distance. None of the officers made it back from the Plane of Shadow, and all of you who did find yourselves sorely lacking in memories and abilities. In game terms, you all used to be level six and now you're level one. You have 2d6 action points remaining.

All operatives of the Winter Council either have Favoured Enemy: Elf or else the ability to cast arcane spells. Before you lost your levels you each had at least one of these abilities. You also filled one of the above-listed roles in either Squad Five or Squad Twenty-Three. Anyone who is (or was) a wizard has a Blessed Book and has scribed in several spells for the highest level of spellcaster attained. (See handout.)

You are all now tainted with shadow stuff. This will likely have repercussions revealed later, but one you can know immediately is that you can each choose one spell with the shadow subschool and once you reach as many hit dice as the spell's level (use wizard level in case of conflict) you may cast it at will for the price of one action point and one negative level. Anything that prevents you from acquiring a negative level prevents you from casting this spell. Spells with with the shadow subschool include: Greater Shadow Conjuration, Greater Shadow Evocation, Project Image, Shades, Shadow Conjuration, Shadow Evocation, Shadow Walk, and Simulacrum.

You are all equipped with a hat of disguise, 500 gp (in cash or equipment, as you prefer), and one of the following equipment packages:

mithril shirt
+1 composite longbow (you choose the Strength rating)
efficient quiver with 50 cold iron arrows
masterwork cold iron longsword
boots of elvenkind
cloak of elvenkind
silver dagger
oil of bless weapon

elven chain
+1 cold iron longsword
masterwork composite longbow (you choose the Strength rating)
amulet of natural armour +1
ring of protection +1
silver dagger
oil of bless weapon

+1/+1 quarterstaff
masterwork composite longbow (you choose the Strength rating)
bracers of armour +2
silver dagger
oil of bless weapon

In addition, the emergency shed (where you stored your soul anchors while on the Plane of Shadow, and thus where you have reappeared) holds the following emergency equipment which you can use as you see fit:

scroll of raise dead
scroll of restoration (x2)
scroll of sending (x3)
wand of cure light wounds (50 charges)
wand of identify (50 charges)
wand of modify memory (50 charges)

There is also an encoded book listing five emergency contacts.

Build your ability scores on thirty-six points, and choose from grey elf, high elf, wild elf, and wood elf. You must be lawful. You may select two traits, taken from the Paizo traits document, the Second Darkness player companion, and the Elves of Golarion companion. The traits document is available as a free download: <http://paizo.com/traits/>. Your free starting languages are Elf, Undercommon, and Taldane.

Please decide which classes you had up to level six, making sure that by then you either had the ability to cast arcane spells or Favoured Enemy: Elf. You have retained only the first of your six levels, and need not progress the same way again.


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Aubrey, Celiast, and Zara knew that they had to make good time away from the clearly-compromised emergency shack. Arriving at Roderic's Cove to book passage, they also set about finding out how long they'd been away. To their surprise it had only been a year. After arranging transport on the Lucky Albatross with Captain Bridget Bjornsdottir, they found a place to sleep.

After sailing for most of the next day, they arrived in Riddleport. They knew their contact was named Kwava, but that's all the information they had. They began questioning beggars. Old Blue took them to Seven-Fingered Hack, who directed them to Wincing Meg, who knew that Kwava was about to be ambushed in a place called the Boneyard.

One of the oddest things about Riddleport was the blot in the sky. They seemed to have some sort of connection to it. They could always tell which direction it was in, even at night or with their eyes closed or indoors.

They went out past the hills and tried to question Crooge, who apparently was the caretaker of the area, but he wasn't interested in talking to them. Watching from a distance, they saw a lone figure being attacked by several rat-shaped humanoids in the swamp.

Rushing down there, they arrived just as the lone figure, who turned out to be an elf, fell from his wounds. Everyone fought valiantly, and soon only Aubrey and one of the ratfolk were still standing, and both of them only barely. They agreed to call it a draw, and each dragged off their companions.

After Aubrey applied some healing, the elves made introductions. To no one's surprise, the lone elf in the Boneyard turned out to be Kwava. He said that he'd been working for a man named Saul Vancaskerkin in order to investigate rumours of a renegade elf who lived beneath the Gold Goblin. He also explained that he was a junior member of the Shin'Rakorath, and offered in his defense that he wasn't expecting the review board for another few months.

The heroes explained that they weren't the review board, but said that they would be passing along their report. Kwava took them to his tent near the Burying Ground, which did not meet with the heroes' approval. They said that as a group dedicated to preserving elf culture they should actually try to exhibit some culture themselves rather than staying in a tent near human corpses. Kwava tried to engage in a discussion about the relative values of Mwangi elf culture versus Kyonin elf culture, but they were having none of it.

The next day Kwava said he had to go back to work at the Gold Goblin and report his failure to spy on the crime lords who were supposed to have met in the Boneyard the previous evening. The heroes disguised themselves as humans and accompanied him. Upon arriving at the Gold Goblin, however, they were ambushed, and ran away.

PCs:

Aubrey (evoker 1)
Celiast (ranger 1)
Zara (paladin 1)


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While the elves were resting in Kwava's tent near the Burying Ground they were joined by Phos, who popped out of his soul anchor, confused and wondering what was happening. The others brought him up to speed. He was particularly intrigued by the tug that they all felt toward the shadow in the sky that Kwava couldn't feel.

They rested in the afternoon, then very early the next morning they crept back to the Gold Goblin. Approaching near the kitchen entrance they managed to distract the one guard on the roof and then knock him out before he could sound the alarm. They entered the kitchen, searched thoroughly, and went down a flight of stairs. Their attention was drawn to a door secured by a portcullis.

Getting into position while silently dealing with the locks, they quickly raised the portcullis and rushed into the room. They found a man in there who trained animals for fights. They subdued him and tied him up, leaving him on his bed.

A lot of time was then spent searching the basement beneath the Gold Goblins. Eventually they discovered a trap door beneath the arena sand. They couldn't open it stealthily, so they smashed it open. They destroyed a wight before discovering some troglodytes. Phos thought quickly and disguised himself as Saul Vancaskerkin, then escorted the group past the reptile folk.

More precautions got them past a pool containing tentacle creatures, then they made it into a room with a big rune-covered curved stone. In the room was a drow and a pair of demons. In spite of the demons getting right up in their faces, the elves concentrated their fire on the drow, downing her before she had a chance to flee.

PCs:

Aubrey (evoker 2)
Celiast (ranger 2)
Phos (rogue 1)
Zara (paladin 2)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The group searched for a couple of hours while Aubrey struggled to recover from the paralyzing poison of the drow's crossbow bolt. There was a bang, and the cave shook, showering dust and stones on the elves. Aubrey and Mert were sucked into their soul anchors just as Seldon and Merisiel Galanodel were disgorged from there. Celias, who was near the top of of stone cylinder, said that he heard rushing water.

Everyone grabbed their stuff and climbed outside, only to see that the water had retreated out of the bay. Realizing that it would soon be back and with a vengeance they rushed for higher ground, making it just in time. The sea crashed back in, flooding much of Riddleport.

Working their way across the water and back to the Gold Goblin, the elves observed a number of accidents and difficulties being experienced by the local humans. When they finally arrived at the Gold Goblin they discovered that it had been flooded and the staff was busy cleaning. They made themselves look like members of the staff and slipped inside.

Changing their illusions a couple of times, they made their way deeper into the building, finally encountering Saul Vancaskerkin. Imitating the drow they'd slain, they convinced him to prioritize finding "her" a ship that could take the group to Devil's Elbow. He agreed to do this is quickly as possible and let her know.

With some time to spare, they decided to investigate an elf Kwava had described to them as requiring an "elf tax". Gars, as he called himself, was part of a gang based in Saint Caspieran's Salvation (a local mission dedicated to a saint of Sarenrae). They went there and let it be known that they wanted to see him so that they could pay their tax. When he arrived, they made short work of him, killing him and injuring a guard who had accompanied him while a number of human peasants looked on in shock. Whispering in the guard's ear that the elves were to be left alone, they slipped away before reinforcements arrived.

They returned to the drow's cavern (via the hidden ladder), where they rested for a while. After they had recovered their spells they used a scroll of Speak With Dead they'd purchased, and interrogated the drow woman. They made sure Kwava was elsewhere. Soon they knew a great deal about what was happening with the drow's plans, as well as who had known of her presence in Riddleport (just Saul and the troglodytes).

They went back into the caverns and attacked and killed the troglodytes. Exploring further they found the body of Saul Vancaskerkin, partially eaten.

PCs:

Aubrey (evoker 3) [arrived late]
Celias (ranger 3)
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 1)
Phos (rogue 2)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 1)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The elves knew that they needed a secure place to meet, so Phos continued to pose as Saul Vancaskerkin and took everyone upstairs in the Gold Goblin to "his" private room. After spending some time conferring they went back downstairs, where one of Saul's men informed them that (as per Saul's instructions) they had arranged for a ship. It would be arriving in four days' time.

They decided that they wanted to deal with loose ends in Riddleport before leaving town, so they sought out Wincing Meg and purchased the location of the wererats. She told them she would have that information in a few hours and they should return at about midnight.

They spent the intervening hours socializing. At the Mystery of the Gate they met a half-elf Cyphermage named Samaritha Beldusk. They were interested in learning more about the leadership of the Cyphermages, and she told them about Elias Tammerhawk.

When midnight approached they went back to Wincing Meg. She told them that they must have been overheard earlier, and that the wererats knew they the elves were coming for them. She told them were to expect the ambush, and she turned out to be correct. Four wererats and a swarm of flesh-eating cockroaches were waiting, but the elves managed to slay them all. A fire started in the process, but a bucket brigade quenched it without any loss of life.

The elves decided that they needed to leave town. They spent some time meeting the other elves of Riddleport, discovering that hardly any lived there, and bought what supplies they needed. They sold the secret of the underground room to study the Cyphergate to Elias, and sold the Gold Goblin to agents of Clegg Zincher (the crimelord himself having left town soon after the tsunami hit).

Once it was time to board the Flying Cloud, the group realized that they weren't ready to go directly to Devil's Elbow. They listened to Captain Creesy's tales of the siren ghost of the island and the loss of the colony there, and decided to go to Magnimar instead.

After a few days of sailing they arrived. They shopped a bit at the Bazaar of Sails, and sought out Variel the Untrustworthy (the name of the Magnimar contact on their emergency list). They discovered that he had died about a month previously.

PCs:

Aubrey (evoker 3)
Celias (ranger 3)
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 2)
Phos (rogue 3)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 2)
Zara (paladin 3)


Good grief. That was a module in a month. At this rate Second Darkness will be over by Christmas!
Thanks for the updates. Posting journals for several different campaigns must be a lot of work.


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To be fair, I started chapter one of Second Darkness about two thirds of the way through because the PCs weren't doing all of the gambling frivolity at the beginning. They're technically in chapter two now, but they've gone to Magnimar for a bit before returning to Riddleport or Devil's Elbow. I suspect we'll be lucky just to start chapter two before Christmas. :) (In terms of moving quickly though, I think that From Onyx Hall wins; they started chapter three of Legacy of Fire last week and I suspect they'll finish chapter three tonight.)

Magnimar should be interesting. I have three players from my Birdcrunchers! game, two from another Runelords campaign, and one who has never adventured in Golarion before. I'm trying to keep the city's history vaguely consistent with what happened in the two RotRL campaigns, but that's taking a bit of juggling. (eg Lord Mayor Grobaras died in one game but not the other, same with Justice Ironbriar.)

Magnimar should also be a nice change for this group, since it is home to more than six hundred elves (as opposed to Riddleport having fewer than two dozen). As members of a group dedicated to traditional elf culture they should find lots of conflict in need of resolving. :D

Thanks for reading! All the campaign journals do indeed make for a lot of work (though I bribe players into doing the updates whenever I can), but knowing that people are reading and enjoying our games makes it worthwhile!


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The agents of the Winter Council were concerned about the death of their contact, so they inquired after any personal effects he might have left behind. The new resident of his townhouse confirmed that there had been some, and the elves promised him a substantial reward if he could produce them. He told them to come back the next day and he'd have them.

Since it was late in the day they set about finding a secure place where they could meditate for the night. As they were asking after an all-elf inn they were approached by an elf calling himself "Squirrel". He said that Lady Oparal Siliarvanendri would like to meet them, and that she would give them a place to stay while they were in Magnimar.

Once introduced, it was quickly established that Oparal Siliarvanendri used to be a special operative for the Winter Council, just as they had been. She described herself as the only survivor of Squad Nineteen, and asked after their squads. She seemed surprised when they said that they were from Squads Five and Twenty-Three.

She asked about their plans in Magnimar, and they told her that they wouldn't be here long. They mentioned that they had discovered that Variel had left behind some items and that they would be retrieving them the next day; she requested more details about that, which they were happy to provide.

Early in the morning Oparal said that she would introduce them to Verrine Caiteil, spokeswoman of the Council of Ushers in Magnimar. Oparal told them that she herself was part of a traditionalist faction of elves in Magnimar and that Verrine was the leader of an assimilationist group. The group took this under advisement, but clearly their sympathies were with the traditionalists.

Verrine told them about various cultural events in the city, and Merisiel suggested that Magnimar sponsor a festival celebrating elvish culture. Verrine said that there would be elvish representation in an upcoming multicultural festival, but Merisiel suggested that something with more focus would be preferable. Verrine invited her to submit a proposal to the Council. Merisiel set to work.

Following up on another lead, the group went to the Stone of the Seers, where they met Professor Handaviel "Quicksilver" Manatarnivax, an elf who taught there. He told them that he was worried about the Celwynvian Charge, a statue given to the city by the elves. He knew that it was magically receiving status updates from someplace that allowed it to grow and lose leaves according to the seasons, but this year the leaves hadn't grown. He assumed that the status updates must be coming from the positive energy plane and he was trying to established a proper connection there.

He showed them his equipment, and told them that he needed assistance. They volunteered. Phos asked what would happen if one or more people involved in the ritual already had a tie to the plane of shadow, and Quicksilver cackled gleefully and suggested that they find out. This sounded fine, so they began the ritual.

Once it was completed, a blot opened above the focus device, spitting electricity at Quicksilver and knocking him out. The group could feel the pull of the blot, and then two spidery creatures with monkey features leapt out of the blot and attacked. Before long there were five of the creatures, one of them ten feet across. The elves managed to disrupt the focus device and dispatch the creatures, but not before one had killed Phos.

Even after he was raised from the dead Phos was very weak, as was Aubrey. The group spent several days recuperating, and Merisiel spent a lot of time on her cultural festival proposal.

Once almost a week had passed they learned that about two hundred traditionalist elves would be meeting for a discussion on important issues. They attended with Oparal and listened to all of the debates, which took two days. Merisiel proposed her cultural festival, and it was debated for several hours without a conclusion being reached.

The day after the festival they received many gifts from Oparal, as well as a staff from Quicksilver as reparations for Phos's death. Oparal asked if there was anything else they needed before leaving town, but they couldn't think of anything. They did some shopping and arranged passage to Devil's Elbow.

After sailing for a bit, they arrived at the island. The captain was worried about the legend of a siren ghost, and when they saw several figures running toward the docks they had him stop the ship and row them ashore away from the piers. The ship sailed away.

The elves made their way through the jungle toward the docks, where they heard drunken grumbling. They met a dwarf named Gravin Goldhammer, as well as four of his companions. They told the elves of blue creatures with tentacles, and the elves went hunting.

PCs:

Aubrey (evoker 4)
Celias (ranger 4)
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 2)
Phos (rogue 3)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 2)
Zara (paladin 4)


Debriefing 4708-S5-DS (continued)

4708 Rova 20

We meditated until first light. We left for the area that the Cyphermages were said to be in - a tower, in a tiny village called Witchlight. No blue tentacle creatures were encountered.
Witchlight was next to a cliff , next to the ocean, that had been erroded since the buildings were first built. The tower was on the edge of the cliff.

Sometime before this S5-MS had declared herself the captain. She seemed as good a choice as any. I attempted to reinforce her leadership, when possible, because of the loss of chain of command.

Approaching the tower, we spotted a number of bodies. S5-MS determined, from approximately 50ft away, that they were tainted with evil. S23-HE turned these four undead, forcing them off the cliff. A Cyphermage, Samaritha (who had arranged the sale of the Cyphergate information in Riddleport), called from the tower that there were tentacle creatures on the way. She opened the door for us. The squad first decided to stand and fight. Although the creatures were not extremely tough, there were approximately thirty of them. We decided to enter the tower and barred the door.

The creatures continued to attack. S5-MS, S23-MD, S23-HE and S23-TF shot from the top of the tower. Samaritha had two wounded companions on the second floor. These were all that remained of the Cyphermages. She expained that the creatures attacked when there was movement or when their offspring were attacked.

As the creatures attempted to get into the tower, it began to shake. Then it began to topple over the edge of the cliff. I made it out a window. S23-TF made it outside with a wounded Cyphermage - he had Spiderclimb Slippers. S5-MS climbed out with a grappling hook and rope and then slid down. S23-MD and S23-HE were caught on the 4th floor. S23-MD levitated the rope. She and S23-HE were able to survive part of the fall by holding this rope. S23-TF unhooked the grapple and they all floated free. The captain and I retreated to the tower attachment. She held the door while I shot past her.

The Cyphermage told us about another who had gone to a lighthouse on the eastern tip of the island. He had not returned. We headed towards it and some ruins on the way.

As we approached the ruins, we heard the noises of people. S23-TF snuck up on it, hearing the talk of a number of people packing up camp, including some sort of monster. While he was away, I attempted to loca the nearest starmetal ore. Nobody we had met had found any and it sounded like there were a number of people who did not sound concerned. The nearest ore was off towards the cliffs. This was surprising. When S23-TF returned, we narrowed its location to very near the edge of the cliffs. He climbed down. There was a cave with some sort of structure and movement. It was too dark for him to see and he returned.

We went to the camp, disguised as humans. It was Clegg Zincher's (we had sold his agent the Gold Goblin). His second in command had no helpful information, but did offer to pay us for information regarding the lighthouse. He believed that we were also treasurehunters who had decided to help the Cyphermages. The captain and S23-HE seemed overly concerned with preventing the shipping of the monsters to Riddleport. I was beginning to lose confidence in the captain's focus on our mandate.

We continued to the lighthouse. S23-TF scouted, finding the dead Cyphermage and no movement at the lighthouse. The squad approached. The captain determined that there was something evil moving inside. We entered and it appeared that the evil thing had moved outside. Going outside, we saw nothing. Triangulating, we determined that it was in the walls. S5-MS, S23-HE and I all attempted to drive it from the walls. It eventually fled the wall, into the sun and then straight into the ground. It appeared to be a wraith.

Returning to the camp, we encountered Clegg Zincher. He invited us into his tent for refreshment. He told us that he had gathered very little starmetal, but was going to use the creatures in the fighting pits. His phrasing, and barely perceptable pauses, revealed that he must be under the effects of mind-affecting magic and signalled the squad. S23-HE excused herself, cast Evil Protection and returned in the guise of one of Zincher's men. She discharged the spell, temporarily freeing him. We told him that we were there to help him and that he only had a few minutes before the mind control returned.

He was being controlled by The Enemy. Calling for his 2IC, he continued. We 'speculated' that they might be in disguise to trick him. He seemed to believe this. Every night Zincher went to their secret cave to have the spell refreshed. They wanted the creatures taken to the mainland and the starmetal gathered. He was to leave on a ship that night. He instructed us to tie him up and to have his men attack The Enemy in the cave.

We did so, with his 2IC. The 2IC took him to the bedroom part of his tent. We quickly decided to alter the 2IC's memory of Zincher's story (using the wand) to having included that The Enemy appeared as The Enemy as well as a number of mythical beings. We determined Method 2: Bad Disguise would be sufficient to hide The Enemy's existence. This would allow us to take the men to help us fight, without having to dispose of them.

The 2IC returned. S23-TF altered his memory. He revealed that he was an undercover agent for Korvosa, sent to bring Zincher in for no payment of sin tax. He offered us, first money, then Zincher's effects, as a reward for helping to get him off the island.
There was some debate, as Zincher owed us for the Gold Goblin. We agreed. He would remain with Zincher while we attacked The Enemy's location with Zincher's men. We began to plan.

PCs:

Aubrey (evoker 4) S23-MD - Massive Damage dealer
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 3) S23-HE - Healer
Phos (rogue 3) S23-TF - Trapfinder
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 3) S5-DS - Data Specialist
Zara (paladin 4) S5-MS - Melee Specialist [officially] Meat Shield [unofficially]


After gathering up the thugs Zincher had provided as fodder, we set off along the secluded path down the cliffside. Phos scouted ahead, uncovering a secret door in the rock. Disabling the magical trap and aided by a Silence spell from Quill, Phos pushed open the door, surprising two of The Enemy.

After a skirmish made longer by the narrow doorway, one of The Enemy lay dead in his own magic darkness. Three of the thugs slipped into that darkness in an effort to loot the body in secret. The other Enemy had slipped away under the cover of our battle with the shadow demon. Zara smote the demon mightily and we moved on, in pursuit of The Enemy. In our pursuit we came across another of The Enemy holed up in a lab with a giant lizard. Our unwieldy party made short work of the two of them.

Eventually our mob emerged into the underground harbour Phos had discovered in his earlier explorations and were beset by a half dozen Enemy archers. Slowly we picked them off but not before Phos was hit and knocked unconscious by their insidious poison. We heard a fell voice call out "Jump, jump! Bite, bite!" which was shortly followed by an orca emerging from the harbour to divide our front line. Zara and a particularly bloodthirsty thug were separated from the bulk of our party and were faced with the Enemy cleric who had commanded the porpoise.

I took it upon myself to attempt to electrocute the orca, with a certain amount of success. The Enemy cleric was armed with a flail and was determined to relieve our paladin of her sword. Despite this the two of them were able to inflict a fair amount of damage to the priestess, before I was able to Shatter the offending flail. Facing sure defeat the cleric attempted to dive away, only to be struck dead by a massive punch delivered by our bloodthirsty companion.

We removed the usable resources from the bodies and retraced our steps back out of the complex, but not before altering enough memories to safely keep the Enemy secret (again utilizing method 2: bad disguise)

Aubrey (evoker 5)
Celias (ranger 2 fighter 2)
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 4)
Phos (rogue 4)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 4)
Zara (paladin 5)

x8 thugs (Warrior 1)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

After sending Zincher's thugs on their way, the elves turned their attention to the sealed door. They smashed the barriers and got rid of the defenses and met the ghost of Virashi, the siren who had lured people to the island so many decades before. She lamented the loss of Yaris, and implored the PCs to find him.

The elves went back to Zincher's camp and met with Akron, who (as promised) delivered some of Zincher's loot to them. They went back to Witchlight and looked among the graves for Yaris, but didn't find his name. They started down the hill, and stopped when a glow came from the woods. As they watched, an elf woman with wasp's wings stepped through a portal and said that she was a messenger of Calistria. She greeted Zara and said that she had a gift for her, and introduced Happenstance, a monstrous centipede mount. The winged messenger then disappeared back into the portal.

After going down to the docks they made sure that Gravin Goldhammer's personnel were incapacitated and then waited for the ship that Shindiira had indicated would be arriving that night. They disguised themselves as human labourers, and made sure they had crates to move around. When the ship arrived, it turned out to be of elvish manufacture. They slew the drow aboard and confirmed that it was a captured vessel, named the Savahara. They claimed it for themselves.

The following day they investigated the western lighthouse, but found it overrun by monstrous centipedes. Returning to the eastern lighthouse they confronted the wraith there and confirmed that he was Yaris. After some effort he accompanied them to the caves, where he was reunited with Virashi. With Merisiel's help they went into the afterlife together.

After only one more day on the island the ship they'd arranged to meet them arrived. It loaded up them, Gravin Goldhammer's people, the lone remaining Cyphermage, and all of Zincher's folk (not including Zincher and Akron). They paid the captain to take them to Riddleport and to send back a prize crew to bring the Savahara to Riddleport as well. He agreed, and said that the second job would take him a week.

Back on the mainland, they knew they needed to settle the ownership of the Gold Goblin as well as dispose of Zincher's ledgers. After some negotiation, Merisiel sold them to Slyeg for a handsome sum.

Having some time, they leisurely began interviewing sailors to crew the Savahara.

PCs:

Celias (ranger 3/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 5)
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 4)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 4)
Zara (paladin 5)


(While my previous summary captured something like an appropriate tone for a debriefing, it totally sucked the fun out of the summary. So, I'll be using a different style)

Interviews for sailors proceeded more quickly than expected, with the Captain (Zara) vetoing anyone with the slightest taint of evil around them. Luckily, we were able to assemble a skeleton crew out of those remaining.

The sole exception to the rule was an excellent navigator and pilot, 'recommended' by Avery Slyeg (the crime lord). It seems he, Hin Mayval, had done some work for Slyeg that had won him the enmity of Split Face, the master of Riddleport's beggars. Slyeg offer 200gp/month that we keep him alive. This amount rose to 250gp and then 300gp as we asked questions. Knowing it would probably cause problems, we agreed anyway.

The rest of the crew are:
- decrepit dwarf (partially healed by Merisiel)
- intelligent & curious Shoanti with decent piloting and navigation skills
- human priest of Besmara
- Chelish paladin of Iomedae
- a couple of regular human sailors
- Ulfen named Tügrik Trollbane (Tügrik has a worrisome effect on the female members of the squad, particularly the Captain)

We made our way towards Magnimar. The trip went off without incident, other than a minor mishap as we left port, scraping the side of another ship. I don't believe that it will take more than a few days to fix.
One of the sailors took it upon himself to prepare the duty schedule and generously offered to oversee it. Hin seemed to have a little trouble plotting the course, but it didn't take us an overly long time to get there.

After letting the crew off in groups, we made our way back to the former home of Variel the Untrustworthy (our contact from the list). The current owner said that Squirrel had picked Variels old items, that the occupant had been able to buy back. In typical human fashion he tried to trick us into paying for effects, even though Squirrel had clearly already done so.

We made our way to Lady Siliarvanendri's home to take a look. She greeted us eagerly. Sidestepping questions about our activities, we inquired after Variel's possessions. She promised to retrieve them from storage by the following day.

Aubrey, Celias and I visited Professor Quicksilver. It seemed his star had fallen significantly at the University, due to his experiments and theories regarding the Celwynvian Charge statue. Apparently thinking we were going to be keeping his staff anyway, he offered to let us keep it in exchange for us accompanying him to Crying Leaf and Celwinvian. He has got it in his head that this is the only way to determine the cause of the problem with it. We were unable to convince him that this is a dead-end.
Our best option for dealing with this is, probably, planting a false memory of a visit (via teleportation) with the wand. Unfortunately Phos is the only on who can use it and he is 'away' at the moment.

The rest of the day was uneventful.

Back at Oparal Siliarvanendri's, she presented the items, including the encoded message from Variel. Examining it, I quickly determined that it had been made within the last 24 hours. I pointed this out to the Captain and Oparal expressed shock. She immediately began to leave to find who had breached her security, but her protests just did not ring true (to me at least).
<**These were a couple of max rolls with the aid of an action point die each**>
With my shouted warning, we sprang into action as one. The Captain blocked her way and Oparal had a magical mishap (lowering her resistances) as she tried to blast Zara. <**Critical Fumble Deck**> <**tbug doesn't softball us, it was just one of those times that everything went our way**>>
This enabled me to land a Silence on her and with the rest of the squad doing their thing, Oparal quickly surrendered.

Silencing the doorway to preclude the summoning of help, we set to questioning her - Aubrey reading her surface thoughts.

We learned that, to her knowledge, nobody has heard from the Winter Council in more than a year. She quite casually admitted to being a traitor, saying, "We're all traitors here." TRAITORS! Apparently our squads were supposedly traitors and we were sent to our deaths because of that. She also revealed that her squad had mutinied against their leader, killing him and separating. She had sealed her fate by this point.

She tried to bribe us and arrange a meeting with her current bosses. As we were unwilling to deal with a traitor, Aubrey and I tagged teamed her for whatever knowledge we could get, learning that she is working for some sort of powerful group that seems to only be interested in money and power. She betrayed the cause for MONEY!?!

As soon as we had everything we could reasonably get from her, she was dispatched and hidden in our storage bags. We devised a plan to have Merisiel pose as her, leave a while later and simply never return. We would ask after Oparal over the next few days, eventually 'give up' and leave a message for 'when she returned'.

As we made to leave, Squirrel approached with one of our sailors - the ship had been attacked. We raced to it in Oparal's coach.

The crew had acquitted themselves well. The big Ulfen was unconsious, but had slain a number of the attackers. It seems that we may have a traitor on board, as the boarders had been after Hin. Thankfully they were not successful, although they had made it below decks. As we suspected - trouble.

Celias (ranger 3/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 5)
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 4)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 4)
Zara (paladin 5)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Returning to the manor house of Oparal Siliarvanendri, the group bluffed the servants for a bit and then took a peek in her safe. They found some money, gear, a lock of hair (still attached to a bit of scalp), and some notes on a piece of parchment. The parchment turned out to be Oparal's attempt to understand the Winter Council, and the state of the special ops squads.

Spoiler:
There were traditionally six members of the Winter Council ten millennia ago, and the current crop is nothing if not traditional, so presumably there are still six.

There are at least twenty-three squads, so if each Council member has the same number of squads (not a sure thing, but they seem to like symmetry) then they each have at least four squads.

Since the late 4680’s or early 90’s, squad nineteen received much less in the way of oversight and direction when compared with (at least) the previous half-century.

Squad nineteen is recruited from the Shin’Rakorth. Council contact: Auramesties.

Squad eight has a chaotic (!) druid in it. Must find out about at least one more member of squad eight.

Squad thirteen seems to deal with spell researchers and magic item creators. At least one member, Mythrock, is non-lawful.

Squad 5 is former Shin’Rakorath. So is squad 23. They appear to have the same squad structure as squad 19.

Squad Nineteen whereabouts:

Commander Script: dead (but keep hair)

Lieutenant Valienne: Absalom (?)

Istchir and Hanthel: Isle of Terror

Neniel: unknown - refuses sendings

Palanu: Axis

Dinenion: Looking for No-Nose?

The group did some shopping the next day, and Merisiel spent a lot of time laying an elaborate trail to fool anyone trying to find out what happened to Oparal. Quill and Aubrey paid a visit to Quicksilver, and accepted his job to transport him to Celwynvian so that he could properly examine the origin of the Celwynvian Charge.

The next morning they sailed with the tide. After several hours, they noticed that a ship of military construction was gaining on them. They determined that it was an Andoren vessel, so they droped their sail and awaited its approach. The captain shouted across that they should lower their weapons and prepare to be boarded. After a bit more shouting, it was determined that the captain whom the elves had hired to sail their ship from Devil's Elbow to Riddleport had used it for a bit first, including to sink an Andoran merchant ship, and that the Andoran government were holding the ship owners responsible. Combat ensued, and some fireballs from Aubrey made victory a sure thing. They rescued what crew they could and healed them up and sent them on their way.

They stopped in Riddleport for more provisions, then headed toward the Mierani Forest. As they started to try to navigate a river they became stuck in a mud bank. As they were pondering their options on getting out, three forest drakes attacked them. The battle was tough and a lot of damage to the ship ensued, but eventually the crew was victorious. A couple of castings of speak with dead the next day yielded the location of their lair, and a trip into the woods gave them some wealth.

PCs:

Celias (ranger 4/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 6)
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 6)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 6)
Zara (paladin 6)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Exploration of the back of the drakes' cave revealed two prisoners chained to the walls. The elves healed them up and freed them, and they woke up. They introduced themselves as two Pathfinders. The dwarf called herself Thorla and the human called herself Marita. They expressed interest in exploring the forest Celwynvian in particular. The elves dissuaded them from this, and set them on a course out of the woods.

Meanwhile back at the ship, the crew found themselves under attack from some troglodytes. Fortunately Tügrik jumped down into their midst before they got on board, and it was a rout.

The elves returned to the ship and checked in, then the next day they set out for Crying Leaf with Quicksilver. On the way there they met an elf ranger who identified herself as Shells. She was revealed to be a former member of the Winter Council special forces, and they found that they all had much to discuss.

At Crying Leaf they were happy to receive Quicksilver, who introduced himself as an expert in extra-planar phenomena. When he said that he wasn't working with Giseil Voslil he was promised an introduction once the other elf returned to town, and in the meantime was given a lab.

Left to themselves, the special ops elves found themselves frustrated with Eviana Nirgassan, the ruling noble of Crying Leaf, and went to find the local leader of the Shin'Rakorath. Two of them had previously met Kaerishiel Neirenar, and he was a welcome breath of seriousness and action after speaking with Eviana. He had a scouting mission for Shells, and took the map that Quill gave him and set to work on some tactics.

Before too long an army of elves was massing to head to Celwynvian. The heroes were going to do special missions while the battles raged, beginning by securing an ancient building being used as a guard post. They approached silently and invisibly, and wasted little time in slaying the four rooftop drow. They prepared to enter.

PCs:

Celias (ranger 4/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 7)
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 6)
Phos Adanien (rogue 4)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 6)
Zara (paladin 7)


We climbed up onto the roof above the section of the building we had previously determined contained a number of large spiders. After breaking a small hole in the decayed roof, I dropped a flaming sphere through, efficiently clearing the room. A quick detect thoughts showed three minds in the larger adjoining room, however the third one detected my attempts, tipping our hand. Knowing our time was short, we quickly climbed into the room and burst through the appropriate door, only to be faced with an empty antechamber. Stepping across, we used a scroll of knock to open the locked door. Unfortunately this had allowed the three Enemy in this library to prepare an ambush, which we quickly thwarted. Zara managed to take on out with a single mighty swing of her longsword, while Celias peppered the other two with arrows. After a quick once over, we discovered the Enemy's defence plans, as well as a number of reference materials that shed some light on the research being conducted here. A second detect thoughts on the smaller room on the other side of the spider room revealed it to be filled with a number of stupid creatures. Entering the room we discovered those stupid creatures to dretches who were terrorizing a room ringed by pillars topped by crystalline spheres, 3 of which contained flickering images. Upon seeing us they turned to attack, throwing those spheres at us, shattering several. The members of Squad 23 (myself and Merisiel) were horrified to discover that these spheres contained the vast knowledge of one Elorquan, the former head librarian. I may have over-reacted slightly and dropped a fireball (with its energy component converted from fire to sonic) on the room, killing most of the dretches.

Once the relief troops showed up we returned to headquarters to debrief. Our next assignment was to clear out a mysterious alchemical lab. Upon arrival at the lab we were intercepted by the drider guard who managed to lightning bolt half our squad twice, dropping me. I was up shortly thereafter with the assistance of our healer, Merisiel. The rest of the team managed to shoot him and I lightning bolted him back. After climbing up onto the roof we discovered a large hole venting mysterious smoke into the atmosphere. Seeking to drive out the alchemists, we plugged the hole with one of our tents and set up an ambush over the main door. Shortly a number of troglodyte guards emerged into the toxic waste dump blocking the entrance. We easily picked them off, inspiring a new proverb, "as easy as shooting trogs in a garbage pile." In an unsuccessful attempt to draw out the remaining occupants, we attempted to imitate the trogs, saying things like, "Look, I can make a goo angel!" We made our way into the lab, where we finished off the Enemy alchemist and managed to neutralize a large vat of the precursor to a powerful poison.

<Meanwhile, back at our ship>

At approximately midnight the watch was alerted to an attack on the ship by a series of thumps along the landward hull. Upon inspection a number of sacks were discovered to be pinned to the exterior of the ship. The crew, having been awakened by the initial thumps, responded as such: Tugrik, Gorik and Vad all leapt off the ship in the attempts to dislodge the sacks, while the remaining crew attempted to escape by sea off the opposite side of the ship. Tugrik and co were successful, however the attackers on shore were still able to set off the alchemist's fire and oil bombs, killing both Gorik and Vad in the process. It turned out that Hin was the focus of this attack as a number of underwater attackers attempted to grab and drown him, to no avail. The remaining crew abandoned the burning ship and set off on land to attempt to intercept their elven employers.

Celias (ranger 4/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 7)
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 6)
Phos Adanien (rogue 4)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 6)
Zara (paladin 7)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Phos didn't actually make it to that game, alas.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Having finished up in the alchemist's lab, the group contemplated the next step. They spent a fair bit of time examining equipment and dividing up resources, and while this was happening they heard the approach of heavy, slow footsteps. Someone peering outside saw a grey render moving toward the building northeast of them. An oddly lit sphere a couple feet in diameter seemed to be interacting with it somehow, but after the ball of light disappeared the render charged the elves. Their archery skills were sufficiently proficient that they dropped it before it reached them.

Investigation of the ruin to which the render was heading revealed that it used to be some sort of music school. Some pests seemed to have taken up residence, but for the most part the elves avoided them or else killed them easily. It turned out that in one corner the glowing ball of light had made its home, so (after confirming that it was evil) the group prepared their assault. They threw open the door and began the attack, though they had a lot of trouble with it. Celias tried to improve morale by singing an encouraging little tune, but this had an unexpected side effect: someone rose through the flooring and screamed at them all.

The screaming was disturbing to several of them, including the ball of light. It flew off at high speed. This allowed the elves to focus on the woman, whom they determined to be a ghost. They managed to put it down through brute force, but had sufficient theological training to know that it would return soon unless they could grant it eternal rest. Investigation revealed that she was a famous musician who had composed a song that had remained part of elvish culture down through the millennia. The elves discovered a place of honour where the original had been kept, though it had long been stolen. They realized that they needed to replace it (either with the original or an exact copy) in order for her to pass on to Pharasma's judgement.

The glowing light returned soon after and gave them more trouble, but eventually they dispatched it.

Returning to camp, they saw a green dragon attacking some other elves who were also worn out from fighting. They immediately set about attacking the dragon and trying to draw its attention away from the soldiers, and before long were successful. It breathed acid at them and sprayed several of them, and kept flying past. By then, however, they'd managed to deal so much damage that it was forced to land and fight them close-to. They proved its match, and returned triumphantly to camp (dragging Razorhorn's corpse behind them). They suggested dragon steaks, but the primarily-vegetarian camp had a number of complaints about the entire proceeding. Eviana graciously deflected most of the criticisms and then summarized them for the visiting heroes.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 5/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 8)
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 7)
Phos Adanien (rogue 5)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 7)
Zara (paladin 8)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Tügrik Trollbane led the sailors away from Crying Leaf and the elvish militia who had tried to hinder them. They had just been caught by a patrol when Shells came upon them. She mediated the situation and contacted the PCs, who came by and collected them. After some debate, it was decided that the sailors should secure Razorhorn's cave and wait there.

This went fairly smoothly, right up until the point when a patrol of purple-skinned elves showed up and hoped to raid Razorhorn's hoard. A very difficult fight ensued, and the sailors were nearly all affected by the poison crossbow bolts. In the end, however, the sailors downed three of the four.

The PCs, meanwhile, had returned to Celwynvian. They were keen on investigating some ruins that a drow map had marked as "haunted smithy". Sure enough, a ghost in there was trying in vain to complete the forging of a sword, and they determined to do some research and put his soul to rest.

Another ruin contained an undead known as an attic whisperer, and nearby lurked some crypt things. The elves were surprised to learn that the latter sort of undead could teleport them away. This went particularly badly for Syl, who ended up near a watchtower where the drow had mounted a ballista.

Once the undead were settled the elves could concentrate on the siege weapon. They managed to do some damage (particularly Aubrey with her fireballs), and then Zara called Happenstance (her monstrous centipede mount) and went straight up the tower wall to finish off everyone at the top.

Feeling victorious, the elves regrouped and did some planning on where to explore next. While this was happening they saw a bebilith demon wandering the streets. There followed a very difficult fight, which saw Aubrey dead before it was over. The elves retreated to the nearby camp to recover.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 5/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 8)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 8)
Zara (paladin 8)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The rest of the day was spent helping at the camp. They ran into Quicksilver again, who told them that he was collaborating on a new top-secret spell with Giseil Voslil, a necromancer based in Crying Leaf. Quill managed to get him to talk about it, and then spent a couple of hours brainstorming ideas to complete the spell (which Quicksilver called "recorporeal incarnation"). Quicksilver mentioned that he and his partner had the ability to cast permanency, and Zara ended up with darkvision that way.

The next morning Quill contacted Tügrik to inquire after the status of the sailors, and discovered that they had learned of the drow. He consulted with his companions, and they decided to bring the sailors along into the next battle. They collected them and returned to Celwynvian. As they approached the ruined city they saw a disturbance in the distant trees, and ended up being attacked by a drow-poisoned treant. They put it out of its misery, and continued on to scout out the drow base (as requested by one of Eviana Nirgassan's aides). They got a feel for defense and contacted the camp via sending. Since there were three entrances they decided that three groups should enter. They returned to camp to rendezvous with Shells and Kaerishiel Neirenar, who would be leading the other two teams.

The large group of elves and sailors took the front door, which was guarded by several drow. The early scouting had also revealed a four-armed construct just inside, so they were prepared to deal with it as well. The fight didn't last long, and soon the group was prepared to enter.

Just past the contruct's room was a long hallway, one end of which contained many zombified elves. With two paladins and three clerics it didn't take long to send them to their rest.

At the other end of the hallway there was an altar to the demon lord Abraxas. The paladins decided that it must be destroyed, but even though their attempt was successful they set off a fireball trap that killed one of them. Her loss was mourned.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 5/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 8)
Merisiel Galanodel (cleric 7)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 8)
Zara (paladin 9)


We were in the drow headquarters when the "captain" received a sending: Kaerishiel Neirenar and Hadnabral Seldanica unresponsive. Healing team waiting 500 yards back. Building secure?. Asistance required? Vrock demon escaped from ruin and is rampaging. This distracted us from the footprints we'd been following. Aubrey got a weird look on her face (which I later found out was because it turns out that Shell's real name is Hadnabral Seldanica and she is Aubrey's long-lost sister she never knew existed! What a small world) but the rest of us decided to search for the missing teams.
We found a room with a large pool of water, lots of evidence of splashing and a whole bunch of elf corpses. I thought it might be an invisible evil, but it turned out to be water elementals. Aubrey was so freaked out about her sister she almost used an electricity spell, frying us all, but thankfully she snapped out of it and fireballed them instead. The captain's super cool ghost touch cold iron sword made short work of the beasties.
Next we found a pretty fae lady trapped on a lily pad who wanted our help, but it turns out she was an evil, lying aboleth who was trying to trick us to climb in her scummy pool and die. The others saw through her disguise and destroyed her. We then remembered the footprints we'd been following and found a drow hiding behind the door (which Tugrick destroyed so manfully I am tempted to forgive him for destroying period features). In the wall was this amazing portal, part of which was the piece that was hacked out from Magnamar's famous ring. We defeated the drow and before the portal behind him could close Tugrik ran toward it yelling "Adventure!". Syl followed (he is far too smitten with that rugged barbarian) and the rest of us followed.
The other side was absolutely amazing. It was the Armageddon Echo we'd heard so much about - a perfect replica of ancient celwynvian, filled with walking, talking shadows. It felt pretty good to be there, and Aubrey and I immediately realised what an opportunity this presented. We decided we'd stay to speak to the locals and find out all we could about our perfectly preserved heritage. I linked arms with the first guy we met there, and started to pull out some paper to make notes. Unfortunately the ingrates in Squad 5 wanted to return. Though I successfully shrugged of cousin Quil's silly command to flee and his pathetic attempt to tackle me, Tugrik was able to haul me off back through the portal (he was not pleased with the muted tones and a place that seemed to be less adventure and more museum). The portal shut.
I sulked for a bit, but there was work to do. We headed back to the camp. One good thing about the "captain" is she is able to keep her tongue around that useless, empty headed mayor. I don't know how she does it. Turns out that they were able to frighten off the demon (typical, now we''ll have to kill it later, on its terms) and were having a banquet. We convinced the mayor that we would go through the portal the next day and rescue the teams (Aubrey and I are very excited to return and I plan to make lots of sketches). It seems the man we met on the other side was a leader who held no truck with portals and leaving the world behind in the face of imminent disaster (the head librarian told us this).
While we waited for the banquet Quil questioned the bodies of both the drow and the aboleth. Turns out that Nolvennis took the two elven team leaders with him into the demi-plane and he has the key for the echo gate and for the other portal, which goes to the evil drow city of Zirnakaynin. Also, both the drow and the aboleth are hoping to discover how the first world-ending disaster occurred, so they can recreate it. That's so typical of evil folks, fighting over who will be the first to destroy all the good people.
At the banquet we got tons of cool stuff! The stupid mayor thought we wouldn't like it, but once again the Shin'Rakorath came through. We were able to also buy some of the loot the mayor had to offer, so I now have an amazing bag of holding type 4 and a wand of cure serious wounds! Yay! So tomorrow we get to go through the portal again and now I have enough storage space for all the stuff I want to buy or cool stuff we find (we might even find dragon loot in the echo). Tomorrow looks to be a fantastic day.

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 7/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 8)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 8)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 9)
Zara (paladin 9)
Phos Adanien (rogue 6)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Re-entering the Echo revealed that some odd fiery undead were lurking. The heroes immediately engaged them, with Tügrik and Zara fighting to keep them at bay while Syl, Aubrey, Mule, Quill, Pazzer, Kolbar, and Hin hung back and tried to hurt them from a distance. Finally having three of these creatures attacking just him was too much even for Tügrik, and he fell. His noble spirit will be missed.

The elves revisited several places they'd seen in the present day, including the music conservatory and the smithy. There they did research on how to give final rest to the ghosts.

Entering the Fluted Goblet, they saw a number of ancient elves and two drow. They immediately slew the drow, being rather casual about the deaths of bystanders since they'd determined that these souls were not present but were simply recreations intended for study purposes. The drow turned out to be Fisaria the necromancer and her apprentice, Bixus.

The elves determined that they needed to investigate the observatory. They went there and immediately entered the very top level. There they encountered Nolveniss and his demonic familiar. After a fierce fight they slew the drow.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 7/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 8)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 8)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 9)
Zara (paladin 9)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The elves carefully secured the head of Nolveniss so that they could later cast Speak With Dead, then started down the stairs. Phos and Syl crept ahead so that they could scout, and when they spotted a couple of guards tried to take them out quickly and quietly. This didn't go as well as it could, and soon there was a big fight.

Once that was over, the elves continued on. At the bottom they found themselves in what was clearly the lair of the late Razorhorn. Zara began detecting evil, and found a rather powerful source behind one of the tower doors. Opening it revealed Shells and an elf she identified as Kedopad, who had been her squad's connection with the Winter Council. Zara started a fight with Kedopad, much to the consternation of Shells, but once he was dead he was revealed to be a darba demon, and Shells fell into shocked silence.

One final fight (against a pair of demons and a squad of drow led by a cleric) cleaned out the observatory, and the team settled down for a trio of Speak With Dead castings (on Nolveniss, Kedopad, and the cleric). They learned enough to tantalize them but not enough to know what was going on.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 7/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 9)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 9)
Phos Adanien (rogue 6)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 9)
Zara (paladin 9)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Still mourning the loss of Tügrik, the elves honoured him by putting him on a boat, pushing it to see, and lighting it on fire with a fireball. They then shared stories about him and celebrated his life as a hero.

The next day the elves teleported to Kyonin and tried to hire Shin'Rakorath mercenaries to travel to a place called Zirnakaynin. Phos snuck around invisible, and saw that the name caused people alarm. The elves were told to return the next day. When they did so, they were met by a sickly elf called Silence. She was a former squad leader working for the Winter Council, and she was suffering under a powerful curse. Her desire was to pass on to the outer planar home of Calistria, and she told the heroes that they were the only members of the Winter Council squads that she heard were still in operation. She charged them to keep the existence of the drow a secret and to rebuild the Winter Council if necessary.

They took Silence to the outer planes, then went through the portal to get to Zirnakaynin. On the other side of the portal they met a cart driver named Gadak, who offered to drive them to the city in exchange for news from Celwynvian.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Gadak tried to convince the elves to take service with House Vonnarc, the family that he served. They agreed to consider it, and said that they would contact him via sending. He was disappointed, but he drove them through the city and into the upper cavern of Eirdrissier. They attempted to approach Azrinae Manor, but were intercepted by a demon. They spent some time in some drow shops, and eventually decided to work for House Vonnarc. They contacted Gadak, and he arranged an interview for them.

For thirty days the elves did various chores for House Vonnarc, gaining prestige within the House and the trust of Slavemother Undamesta.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Slavemother Undamesta called in the group. She informed them that some important spell components had gone missing on a part of the Worming Way called the Blood Pools, and that they should go retrieve the components and make sure that this sort of thing didn't recur. She told them not to ask questions and to go. Quill started to ask questions, so she told him that she had no answers for him and that he was to report for flogging after his successful completion of the assignment.

They discovered that the worst known ongoing threat at the Blood Pools was a colony of darkmantles. This seemed suspiciously weak to have waylaid a shipment to House Vonnarc, so the group was cautious.

This was rewarded when they were attacked by morlocks after they arrived. The morlocks were killed, but not before sounding an alarm. Before long there were more, though they fled after being in the centre of a fireball.

Zara was feeling very oppressed from a month among the drow, and she was becoming alarmingly depressed. She began to wonder if she was dead and this was hell, and she was unsure that she was still a paladin. The others in the group paid close attention to her.

A trip through a tight passage led them to a vertical ascent to a temple of Lamashtu. There was a baby there, and for the first time in over a month Zara attempted to detect evil. Before she got much information, however, the baby lunged at her with razor-sharp teeth. It failed in its attempt to rip out her jugular, and the group quickly dispatched it. They discovered that it wasn't a living thing at all, so they shrugged and ignored it.

Leaving the temple took them back to the Blood Pools themselves, and they made a lot of noise fireballing an old pile of bones crawling with bugs. Soon about twenty morlocks were swarming them, including one with a large axe. This fight drained many of their resources, but in the end they won and were able to find the box of spell components. They returned to Zirnakaynin and were greeted as champions. Quill was reminded to report for flogging.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 8/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 10)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 10)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 10)
Zara (paladin 10)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Zara was depressed. The paladin had spent a month working for a drow noble house, and she was starting to think that she had turned evil. She sank into dispair and sat in her room, unmoving. Even a flogging didn't convince her to start work. Her companions knew that if she was flogged five days in a row then she'd be executed, so they began to worry.

That day after work, Aubrey decided to teleport to Kyonin to see how things were. She was not at all pleased when she saw a shadow forming in the sky over Iadara. It looked similar to the one she'd previously seen over Riddleport.

The next day the group (minus Zara, who was flogged as a result) was gathered by Slavemother Undamesta and told to escort a drow woman back to her home. She described where she needed to go and explained that she and her riding lizard would travel together. Mule popped a bag of holding over them both, and Aubrey teleported them to a spot in lower Zirnakaynin where she'd been many times, and the journey was uneventful. Then the group put in a full day's work. Quill requested a meeting with Alcavniss Vonnarc, and while Slavemother Undamesta was convinced that the request would not be met she said that she'd pass it on.

After the next day's work (and another flogging for Zara), Quill's request for an interview was granted. Slavemother Undamesta was somewhat put out, given that she'd never had such an interview in all her years serving House Vonnarc. The group went to the tower, where they were escorted to Alacavniss' workshop. She was waiting for them, and had a number of surface fruits and vegetables spread out for them.

She made it clear that she knew that they were from the surface, and asked them a number of questions about their purpose. Cyl asked about how they could find out where Allevrah had gone, and Alacavniss said that she would need some time to research that. Since they were still her employees, she sent them out to chastise a local businessman.

Worried about Zara, Aubrey teleported her back to Riddleport and left her in a rope trick in Kwava's care.

When the elves returned to Alacavniss after slaying the drow businessman they received a colder reception than the first time. She revealed that she had learned that they were all surface elves. She told them that she didn't know where Allevrah's lab was, but she knew who did: a demon named Quilindra who was currently being held prisoner by the elves. Then she told them that they were through with House Vonnarc, and the next time she saw them she would kill them. Then she used a wish spell to destroy the amulets that were serving as the foci of the spell disguising them as drow, and shooed them out of her workroom. They teleported back to Riddleport to consider their next move.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 8/fighter 2)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 10)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 10)
Phos Adanien (rogue 8)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 10)

Absent as a player but present nonetheless:
Zara (paladin 11)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Though there was some talk about researching yet another hole in the sky up north (near Jol), the group decided that they were going to focus on Kyonin.

Their first tactic was to cast wind walk then find the path and set out over the forest. This worked well until a demonic guard intercepted them. They had just enough time to teleport back to Iadara before it started messing them up.

They knew that Quilindra had more information for them regarding Allevrah's lab's location, so they tried to figure out where she might be. It took them a lot of work, but eventually they learned that she was held in an ancient elvish construction known as the Paradise Chamber. Through some judicious and creative spellcasting they were able to speak with her. They learned that she was being held captive by the queen, and decided that it was finally time for them to approach Her Majesty directly.

They were granted an audience for the following morning. They volunteered for Abadar's truthtelling, and very carefully told their story without giving away their intentions. Queen Telandia agrees to their scheme to release Quilindra into their custody on the condition that they track down the headquarters of the Winter Council. They were thrown into the Paradise Chamber as prisoners and then broke out, taking Quilindra with them.

A series of jumps through elf gates eventually brought them into the heart of the Tanglebriar. Quilindra led them toward Thorn's End, where a number of demons awaited to give them some sort of reception.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 8/fighter 3)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 11)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 11)
Phos Adanien (rogue 9)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 11)
Zara (paladin 11)


The paladin's still a paladin then, and not in need of atonement or anything else in that line?


Very nice alterations of the campaign; I like this approach to SD :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

The paladin's still a paladin then, and not in need of atonement or anything else in that line?

The paladin went catatonic and got flogged a bunch. The player did a great job roleplaying it, and I don't think any of us (her included) knew if she was going to snap. I think it was the most interesting situation for a paladin I've ever seen. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Are wrote:

Very nice alterations of the campaign; I like this approach to SD :)

Thanks! I think that having the Winter Council actually have to deal with the situation makes for the most interesting approach to the AP. It's their mess, after all, and they're such a great group it seems like such a huge shame not to let the players have a chance at playing them. :D

Thanks for the kind words!


Having traveled by quite a number of gates, the succubus led us towards Thorn's end. We drew the attention of a host of demons. In a face-to-face battle a few of them looked like they would be a challenge for us individually, let alone in the numbers that greeted us. Aubrey confirmed this.

The leader seemed familiar with Quilindra and she quickly convinced him (a Nalfeshnee) to allow us entry. She encouraged us to be quick about returning with the Spike. We assured her that we would do our best.

Approaching the building protected by the Spike, Phos scouted ahead. Approaching the entrance, vicious plant creatures rose up out of the nearby muck to attack. He and the rest of the squad made quick work of them. The demons seemed highly amused at having had their bit of fun at our expense.

We briefly debated ways to signal to whoever might be behind the door that we were allies. We decided that it would be too risky to allow the watching demons to learn any of our signals. We settled for simply calling out that we were not demons, but elven allies and slowly opening the door.

Greeted with a wall of readied weapons, we were brusquely invited to 'prove it' by stepping across the threshold. Hurrying inside, we all gave various confirmation signs once we were safely behind closed doors (and the prying eyes of any of the demons).

The leader of the guard, Armistril, established who we were. Hearing that some of the squad is originally from Squad 23, he separated us. His choice of words made it seem that 23 might be facing the points of the guards arrows, on the spot. However, he wanted to inform us that their council member had turned to the path of the Others. Taking charge, the captain assured him that they are trustworthy. (She seemed to have made an almost full recovery since the time Below. Cyl seems to take a perverse pleasure in needling her, though).

Armistril filled us in on the situation. Alevra had revealed herself by killing Auremestes, head of the Council. With such a betrayal and no strong leader, the rest of the council had fallen into various states of apathy or seeming madness, although Armistril was somewhat diplomatic in his description. All of them seemed to have one thing in common - they wanted to end the siege by deactivating the Spike's protection. They, and the guards, believed that as long as they held out as long as the Spike did, they would go on to their just reward in the afterlife.
The guards had been just hanging on to this promise to keep them going. Food stores had run out long before - they subsisted on magically created gruel and duty.

Thing were worse than I had imagined possible. I had been prepared to find that our leaders had been viciously and utterly destroyed - or maybe held and tortured. That they had simply given up was almost too much to fathom. We had been killed on the shadow plane, fought our way back to our former selves, discovered an Others plot, been instrumental in foiling an incursion into one of our oldest cities - relying on just ourselves almost completely. And these SUPPOSED(!) leaders couldn't be bothered to even try! How could the actions of one person have brought the core of our oldest and strongest organisation to it's knees?! The only thing keeping them from ending it all for themselves and all the Council Guard was the Guardian of the Maleficus Spike - Ghaele (or possibly a Ghaele).

We decided that we would try to get through to Council as well as investigate Alevra's lab. We still needed the location of the Land of Black Blood at this stage. Armistril gave us information on the members (Names, areas of interest, assigned squads). He seemed to think that He'alin was the least insane/erratic. He was the wizard liaison of squads 11-15.

Before going to the upper levels, we distributed what food we had. Merisiel's gift of a bag of salt was treated as if it were the greatest treasure these men had ever seen. [*One of the things that Merisiel "Mule" does is try to always have whatever it is the party could possibly need. I think that she has at least one of everything off of the basic equipment list.*]

After a little back and forth to sort out how we would proceed through Thorn's end without having to convince each guard that we were not invaders we began in earnest.

On our way to the wizard, we passed through the council chamber. Like the majority of our most important places, much attention had been lavished on its decoration. It was marred only by the Spike, impaled in a wall. We made sure to give the artifact a wide berth and loudly declared our intention to leave it alone. We did not encounter Ghaele.

The guards closer to He'alin told us about a golem that guarded the path to the rooms where he spent his time. As we had no desire to disturb any guardians unnecessarily, we called out to him from the threshold of the golem's room. He told us to go away at first. He had now intention of talking to us "anymore". However, when he heard that we had members of Squad 23 amongst us, he deigned to speak approach us. He dismissed Squad 5 almost immediately. [*The backstory on the Squads is that 5 was more of the real-world type of special ops force (Thugs, in He'alin's mind). 23 often dealt with missions of historical, cultural or esoteric significance*]

Squad 5 retreated to the nearest guard room, where all the guards were eavesdropping (He'alin was not the quietest of speakers). He'alin seconded Aubrey, current leader of 23, to Squad 11 (one of the ones under his control). He gave Aubrey a day to get rid of the rest of her squad, as only captains are supposed to enter Thorn's End. After that, he would allow her past the golem to our destination. There was, of course, just one thing. It seemed there was this pesky item in the council chamber. It blocked magical travel, which was needed to proceed. If Aubrey would just remove that item, He'alin would be able to help her.

We were out of luck with the 'least erratic' of the Countil. We determined that we would escape, resurrect Auremestes (leader of the council) and hope that his influence (if not mere presence) would work to fix the Council. Aubrey and I devised a way to create a save and secret exit. She would Passwall downwards, beyond the influence of the Spike, I would shape the stone into a distinctive room and we could teleport to and from there. This would keep us from the eyes of the demons and, even though the entrance would be sealed by the magic of the Spike, the room would remain.

With our plan set, we decided to make contact with 5's Council member. Apparently she (Malandil) had become entirely apathetic, other than for her...amorous...pursuits with one of the other council members. We decided that we would try to have her pay us our back pay, offsetting some of the cost of having someone cast True Resurrection on Auremestes. Not finding her in her own room, we made the circuitous trip to Arlindil's room (The object of her affection).

Our wanderings took us through a map room. We checked for a listing of the Land of Black Blood. To our amazement, there was one. Of course, Alevra had been thorough and the scroll, itself, was missing.

We also came across a Chapel with one statue of Calistria in it. Its twin was notably absent. We guessed that Alevra probably made off with it during her escape.

We found Malandil in Arlindil's rooms. She seemed only mildly surprised to see us and readily agreed to our request, asking only for a few more minutes. We chose to spend the next ten minutes well out of earshot of the chamber. We thought it best not to speculate too long on the activities of an amorous druid. Finding us after a while, Malandil was content to pay us, as long as we understood that we were to immediately disband afterward. She encouraged us to follow whatever pursuits might make us happy. A most disturbing attitude for a leader of the Winter Council.

As she led us through the building, we wrung all the information from her that we could, regarding the appointment of new Council members and the authority of the leader of the Council. Arriving at the treasury, she was surprised to find magical seals on the doors. Aubrey made short work of them. Malandil scooped coins into our bag without any real concern for amount or type. Once satisfied, she wished us well and dismissed us. Phos made sure to lock and then disable the locks on the treasury.

We left for Absalom. We had high hopes that we would be able to raise Auremestes and that the return of his leadership would begin the rebuilding of our organisation.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 8/fighter 3)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 11)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 11)
Phos Adanien (rogue 9)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 11)
Zara (paladin 11)


While we gathered information on the temples that might have the people able to resurrect Auremestes, we traded some of the goods we had gathered for more useful items. The temple of Calistria seemed to be the most appropriate.

The resurrection was fascinating. The body built up from it's most basic parts. Bones, then organs and flesh and viscera and skin. Riveting.

As his consciousness returned, we let him know where he was, signaled our membership in the squads and let him know that we were not alone (the clerics).

Accompanying Auremestes as he re-equipped himself, we were accosted by a few bands of thugs. After one of the leaders stepped out and found the tip of Phos's rapier jutting from the front of his chest, they all seemed to miraculously disappear.

We brief the chairman and returned to Thorn's end. Auremestes's return was everything I could have hoped. He immediately began whipping everyone into shape. One of the first things was to call a meeting of the Council the following day. Zara and Aubrey, as acting heads of the squads, would provide a full briefing.

During the meeting the Ghaele was dismissed from the council chamber, but squads 5 and 23 took up position around the room (most near the Spike). The Councilors seemed better, but still deeply affected by the isolation. However, none of them could agree on anything, even after the captains' eloquent and pointed briefings.

As they argued, He'alin suddenly stood and attempted to turn the stone, around the spike, to flesh. Of course, we were all on high alert and managed to take him down and counter the spell in moments. As he slumped to the floor, we saw what we had not in the flurry of arrows and spells - he had changed. He'alin, the drow, lay in a smoking heap at the table. Auremestes dismissed us.

After some time we were allowed to speak to Auremestes again. He admitted us to the Archives and we were able to study He'alin's notes on Alevra's research. The specifics of the process for calling down the rocks were included (see Appendix 5 to this report). In summary, there are large glyphs that allow the user to find and control asteroids. Over time, pulling it towards the planet. We also found a vague description of The Shrine of the Bound Earth which is near the Land of Black Blood. Hopefully, this will be enough for us to teleport to and, hopefully, someone will know the way to the Land. Quite thin, but we have done more with less before.

The other option that we have discussed is scrying on Alevra, now that we have an image of her (copied from the Mended picture of her in Thorn's End) and items that belonged to her. The risk is that she will detect this. And, even if we are able to neutralise her, we still need information about the Glyphs.

Auremestes formalised the appointment of the captains and lieutenants for each squad. He encouraged them to fill out our ranks and admonished them to remember that they no longer fill the roles they once did - They are now leaders, not melee experts or scouts.

We decided that it might be worthwhile to check the rumours that Kwava passed along about the 'blot in the sky' above Jol. Knowing if we have one or two threats may be valuable. Unfortunately none of us have been to Jol in our travels. We will teleport to Kelwinvian and Wind Walk from there. This will also give Aubrey the time to recruit Shells, her sister, into her squad.

We were all elated (shown to varying degrees). We had restored the Council! The world was still under a threat of catastrophe, but suddenly the odds didn't seem so awful. We had no idea what we were about to face.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 8/fighter 3)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 11)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 11)
Phos Adanien (rogue 9)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 11)
Zara (paladin 11)


Well, as we rebuild the winter council, there will be much recruiting and training of squad members. Thankfully, I’ve just learnt a very useful way to motivate elves ... an attractive Ulfen.

It all started the day after we left Crying Leaf. We had recruited Shells and Blink before windwalking to Jol to investigate the second hole in the sky that Kwava had reported. We were tempted to pay a visit to this poor, misguided elf first as we’d heard disturbing news about the group he’d recruited to Squad Omega (only one elf and she’s only half-elf at that, plus a “pirate catcher” and “public relations officer”!), but we were on a tight schedule.

When in Jol we discovered two very interesting characters. The first was a kobold named Sliss who was remarkable because she claimed to be studying the dragon who she said is behind the hole in the sky. She seemed to worship the dragon and believed it was causing the inclement weather that the locals had been suffering recently. Unfortunately the weather meant we couldn’t get a good look at the hole, but we did not feel the same tugging attraction that we’d experienced with the hole in Riddleport. We could not afford to leave the matter unresolved however and she agreed to travel with us into the sky the following day.

Sliss seemed okay, if a little crazy in her obsession with worshiping the dragon and never questioning its motives. We decided not to mention the time we slayed a dragon, or how tasty they are.

The second character was Taria Katjasdottir, a former council contractor who had done a job with Squad 13. She is skilled with an axe, can cast a few spells, and apparently has the ability to inflame elven lust. Syl, Aubrey and Zara were all instantly infatuated with this human warrior, but I felt it a betrayal to the memory of dear, departed Tügrik to even entertain such thoughts.

Taria’s presence sparked an impromptu contest of power between the three suitors: one complimenting her current axe and offering her the use of a powerful axe of sundering in their possession (much to the chagrin of one of the other suitors, in whose possession it had been until very recently); another casting prestidigitation to impress her; yet another flaunting the former barbarian, now frog, which she’d enchanted in a past battle. Despite their best efforts, no one was more successful at being more charming than the others, but Syl was able to prove his superior litheness and flexibility, implying he could display it more fully in a more comfortable venue.

I feel almost sorry for poor Taria. She has done nothing to bring about this sexual tension and consequent contest for her affections, though she has politely expressed admiration for all three, not showing any preference. This would seem to indicate she will be focussing on the job at hand and not my temporarily insane squad mates. It is also possible she is oblivious of the chaos she is causing. I cannot determine her mind (I will have to ask Quill what he thinks as he is very good at sensing what motivates others) but for now the benefit of her presence is clear - she is inspiring our squad to great heights.

The first night in Jol we stayed at a local inn, only to be disturbed by screams and jelly-like monsters falling from the sky. They were acidic and the little blobs seemed to be merging into larger more dangerous blobs. They were dispatched rather quickly and the town was saved (no thanks to Blink who stayed behind to “keep an eye on the room”). Once again Taria’s presence, and the fact that it was her hometown under attack, may have inspired certain squad members to neutralise the jellies with the utmost efficiency. Their need to impress Taria was intensified by her being rousted from sleep and being clad only in her chainmail shirt (leaving her shapely legs exposed up to mid-thigh).
After peace was once again restored, we all went back to bed.

In the morning we worked out an ingenious plan to take a closer look at the dragon and the “hole”. Syl would have fly cast on him and would hold a rope to which we all would be attached. Aubrey would then cast levitate on the remaining party members and Syl would haul us up. This pleased them both as Syl could show off his superior upper body strength and Aubrey could show off her magic. Unfortunately our departure was slightly delayed as there was much debate over who would get to be in front of and behind Taria in the line as we ascended.

The plan seemed to go well and we were approaching the “hole” when we spotted two giants on the back of two rocs about 100 feet away, heading straight for us. This was the moment when all the motivational force of a toned and beautiful Ulfen warrior paid off.

First, Syl dealt the rocs three critical wounds in the span of 6 seconds, significantly weakening them and comprising their manoeuvrability with strategic shots from his bow. Zara followed with an equally powerful attack, stunning the roc with its ferocity. Aubrey followed this with a cone of sonic damage. As one of the rocs began to plummet, bleeding profusely, Phos disappeared. I assume that he gets up to some really impressive, roguish stunts while we cannot see him, but I cannot be certain. He may have been kicking himself away from the safety of the rope to jump in the path of a roc, grabbing onto its belly and dealing crippling wounds before steering its decent like a skilled rodeo performer, or he could have been eating an apple and watching the spectacle... I have no way of knowing, but I suspect it’s the former (he is from the obviously superior Squad 23 after all). His disappearance was followed Zara trying to shoot at the giant on the remaining roc, but fumbling horribly. Aubrey made sure that Taria got an eyeful, but it was a mistake on her part as the misguided arrow unbelievably veered towards the roc, dealing a critical strike. No longer able to hold the weight of the giant, it started to drop in a barely-controlled glide. Zara was ecstatic. Aubrey, trying to distract Taria from Zara’s awesome performance, drew attention to herself, loudly casting a final spell at the descending roc. This, however, backfired terribly as her supposedly awesome new spell (I think it’s called disintegrate?) fizzled and barely scorched the falling creature.

At this point, the dragon showed up. It was smaller than I expected but about the same level of angry. On spotting it, Syl instantly notched his bow and let fly with another true strike; the dragon began to gush blood. At this point Quil decided to teleport back to the town and warn them of the imminent arrival of the falling rocs and giants, which seems uncharacteristically magnanimous (considering that it was only Jol after all), but I’m hoping that my example of following the path of good is rubbing off on my pragmatic cousin. It may have had more to do with the fact that he isn’t very useful in an aerial battle, or perhaps even he is not immune to Taria’s charms and wanted to save her home city (regardless of what he says about finding human ears weird and unattractive). Zara, not be outdone by Syl, once again loaded her bow and she must have hit an organ or something as the dragon seemed to crumple and it plummeted to its doom, the life visibly draining from its body.

Unfortunately, our new companion Sliss was not pleased with us so swiftly destroying her scaly hero. She breathed a bolt of electricity at our party – lined up along the rope just like the adorable ducks she keeps (in a cage, for their eggs) – but despite the damage Syl was able to grapple her and while so subdued Aubrey turned her into a rat (very suitable when one takes into account Sliss’s disdain for mammals). It was just Aubrey’s luck, however, that Taria was disappointed with this. It turns out she thinks frogs are far more adorable.

It was then that we noticed that the “hole” in the sky was actually the bottom of a floating barge, and we were almost upon it.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 8/fighter 4)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 12)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 12)
Phos Adanien (rogue 10)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 12)
Zara (paladin 12)


OOC: You captured the tone of the session perfectly. I laughed nearly as much reading it as I did playing through it. Good Job!


With the barge in front of us, and the storm raging all around us, there was nothing to do but to make for the floating structure. With my mighty strength, I hauled our intrepid group forwards. It was a little bit chilly with the wind, and hard to hold on to the rope attached to my companions. But it did ensure more flexing on my part and my jerkin was clinging to me somewhat. I can't help but notice Taria's increased interest in me. Or at the very least, less disinterest.

We approached the barge from below and gained what tactical knowledge we could from below. In fact, as we soon discovered, the structure consisted of a large barge on top, a central spire running below, and platforms running off of the spire underneath the barge.

We initially assaulted the lower levels of the structure, fully expecting resistance. But aside from two large (and now empty) nests, and a small dragon horde (now unguarded).

By this point, we determined that the source of the storm seemed to be originating from above us. We begin to formulate a plan of attack. Quill conducted reconnaissance via clairvoyance. He determined that the barge was lavishly decorated. There was a hole in the sky some height above the barge.

And, of course, the 15 foot tall giantess in a pool of screaming faces at the center of the barge.

Our initial plan (suggested by myself) involved using Passwall to come through the bottom of the barge underneath her to drop her through the floor. However, we soon determined that it was highly unlikely she would physically fit through the hole. That and a pool full of screaming faces above and a town below us seemed like a bad idea ready to happen.

We finally determined to have Phos approach invisibly, grab the giantess' weapon, and fling it off the barge to one of the lower platforms. The rest of us would enter via Dimension Door, with one group in melee range, and the balance of the spellcasters far enough away to engage safely.

The plan goes off well. Quite well. Up until the point we actually attack her. Even without her armour and sword, she still proves extraordinarily difficult to strike. However, our band is not new to difficult encounters. With Zara providing an immediate distraction and Aubrey... doing what Aubrey does, we are able to prevail, though not without her getting a strike in at me. Her blow was incredibly painful, however I managed to remain standing and fighting.

Taria seemed impressed.

Soon enough, the giantess lays dead at our feet, and while Mule patches me up, the others explore our new conquest. It is soon determined that with a broken rudder, our new sky barge would have much difficulty in steering. Which could make things difficult should we seriously examine becoming sky privateers and raining death down upon the Andorans.

In addition, through our standard interrogation techniques, we determine that this giantess was responsible for opening this particular hole in the sky, was under the impression that we served someone named Zoarth (a leader of a group of extra-planar cat people), and that the bulk of this conflict was as a result of a lovers' spat.

I idly wonder whether or not Zoarth would hold a candle to Nole Vennis.

After we finish our interrogation of the giantess and our investigation of our new barge, Zara determines to ensure that our property remains ours. Thus she spends some time carving "Zara's barge. Keep out. This means you, Zoarth" into a prominently visible place.

With little more to do up here (since with a broken rudder and no steering rod, we will have difficulty flying the barge), we teleport back to Jol to rest, and add one more person to our party: a 1/2 giant, 1/2 gnome named Chog Kar.

Note to self: determine if I want to ask about the logistics of *that* pairing.

In the morning, we decide that our next step is to find the Shrine of the Bound Earth. Which will involve a nearly blind teleport there. We determine that sending our entire party would be dangerous, and so we send squad 23, Shells, and Taria in the first group to try to minimize possible casualties, but also provide enough muscle should they arrive in a hostile environment.

The first attempt winds up off target, but they arrive safely on their second attempt. Squad 5 scrys in on 23, and the rest of us manage to teleport in without incident.

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 8/fighter 4)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 12)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 12)
Phos Adanien (rogue 11)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 12)
Zara (paladin 12)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

With the team reassembled, the group pondered what to do next. The large shrine in front of them seemed the logical point of investigation, so Phos donned his slippers of spider climb and searched not just around it but up and down the walls and along the roof. Everyone else waited a long way back, taking care to stay hidden.

He was on his way back to his fellows when the doors flew open and a half dozen drow ran out to try to find what was making the noise on the roof. When they couldn't see anything, another drow walked out and cast true seeing. She pointed to Phos, who promptly received a faerie fire. Combat erupted, but eventually the drow were defeated.

Investigation within the temple revealed an earth genie trapped in a gem. They communicated with her for a bit, and debated releasing her. Finally she promised them a wish if they got her out, so they set to work. Eventually they determined a method, and someone teleported to the surface to buy the necessary scroll.

The group decided to use their wish to gain information on how to destroy the glyphs, and this proved a fruitful decision.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 8/fighter 4)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 12)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 13)
Phos Adanien (rogue 11)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 12)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The group hesitated, feeling that the challenge awaiting them at the Glyph of Renewal was simply overwhelming. Eventually Quill decided to teleport back to Crying Leaf for more help. He returned with Giseil "Stuffer" Voslil, of recorporeal incarnation fame. They thought that perhaps his might would be enough to help them, but decided to delay until the next day.

The next day arrived. Stuffer helped them learn a bit about their opposition, and they were further disheartened. They'd caught a glimpse of a drider's bedroom though a magical backfire, and decided to go check it out. Sadly, the greater teleport that they employed encountered a forbiddance, and so they decided not to investigate it after all.

PCs:

Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 13)
Phos Adanien (rogue 12)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 12)
Zara (paladin 12)

NPCs:

Chog-Karr (barbarian 7)
Giseil "Stuffer" Voslil (necromancer 13)
Hadnabral "Shells" Seldanica (ranger 8)
Shivira "Blink" Shanfariala (beguiler 8)
Taria Katjasdottir (duskblade 8)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

After very much discussion, the group decided to attempt to disable the Glyph of Renewal. Using the information gained from their wish, they teleported to the Crystal Plaza. Mule dashed to the glyph, accompanied by Quill and Zara. The others fought the abyssal harvester, which killed Blink. Quill managed to get a banishment to work against it, and they had a temporary respite. Merisiel quickly disarmed the glyph with judicious use of her Healing skills, and everyone teleported away.

After raising Blink from the dead, the party decided to take on the Glyph of Fury. They didn't have the ability to teleport everyone there, so only Aubrey, Mule, Phos, Quill, and Syl went. They arrived fifty feet out from the glyph, and Syl and Phos shot at the ropers who were perched nearby. Aubrey cast her vision spell, getting an angry voice and an image of her comforting the glyph in response. The ropers attacked, killing Mule. The group teleported back to the Shrine of Bound Earth.

Quill took Mule and teleported to Absalom to visit the temple of Calistria. There he had Mule raised, and then they went shopping.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 8/fighter 4)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 13)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 13)
Phos Adanien (rogue 12)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 12)
Zara (paladin 12)

NPCs:

Chog-Karr (barbarian 8)
Giseil "Stuffer" Voslil (necromancer 13)
Hadnabral "Shells" Seldanica (ranger 8)
Shivira "Blink" Shanfariala (beguiler 8)
Taria Katjasdottir (duskblade 8)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Late that night, as the group was resting at the Shrine of Bound Earth, a team consisting of drow and demons teleported in to investigate what had happened to the squad stationed there. It was a tough fight, but the heroes managed to defeat the investigators.

The next morning they set out for Rotstone Hollows. There were some drow guards and some sort of mucky antlion. The heroes killed everything, then prepared to enter the towers.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 9/fighter 4)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 13)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 12)
Phos Adanien (rogue 13)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 13)
Zara (paladin 13)

NPCs:

Chog-Karr (barbarian 8)
Giseil "Stuffer" Voslil (necromancer 13)
Hadnabral "Shells" Seldanica (ranger 9)
Shivira "Blink" Shanfariala (beguiler 9)
Taria Katjasdottir (duskblade 9)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Moving under the towers, they got through the complex to the glyph room. Quill managed to banish the two demons, and the others made quick work of the troglodyte who had been accompanying them. Phos shut down the glyph.

Moving east, they approached the enormous mushroom that formed the outside of the home of the Mouldering Emperor. Some drow were keeping watch, but the heroes slew them all.

They approached the Emperor quickly and fought as best they could. He was proving resistant to most of their efforts until Quill managed to blind him. In frustration he teleported away, and they quickly shut down the glyph.

PCs:

Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 13/archmage 1)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 13)
Phos Adanien (rogue 13)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 14)
Zara (paladin 13)

NPCs:

Chog-Karr (barbarian 8)
Giseil "Stuffer" Voslil (necromancer 13)
Hadnabral "Shells" Seldanica (ranger 10)
Shivira "Blink" Shanfariala (beguiler 9)
Taria Katjasdottir (duskblade 10)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The group approached the Livid Sanctum from below. Phos scouted ahead, silent and invisible, and nearly took out the first sentry single-handedly. The rest of the group followed closely behind, and soon they were fighting many, many spiders. The got past that, even recovering some treasure in the process, and made their way upward. After a nasty fight against some undead they confronted the drider at the top. They vanquished him, and left.

This left them with two focus glyphs they needed to deactivate. They decided to tackle the one on the cliff next. They'd looked at it twice. The first time a roper perched on the cliff face had killed Mule, and the second time several ropers had begun to fly toward them. This time they spent a lot of time planning tactics, and teleported in (already levitating) in two groups. One drew the ropers away from the glyph while the others snuck in to deactivate it. This was tricky, but they managed to pull it off.

PCs:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 10/fighter 4)
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 13/archmage 1)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 13)
Phos Adanien (rogue 13)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 14)
Zara (paladin 14)

NPCs:

Chog-Karr (barbarian 9)
Giseil "Stuffer" Voslil (necromancer 14)
Hadnabral "Shells" Seldanica (ranger 10)
Shivira "Blink" Shanfariala (beguiler 10)
Taria Katjasdottir (duskblade 10)


Not wanting to waste any time, we hurried onto the last focus glyph, the Glyph of Defence. Having very little info on how to overcome this glyph, our plan was to just blast it into oblivion. Teleporting in two groups (minus Syl, whose soul anchor seemed to be inopportunely malfunctioning), we managed to surprise a glabrezu and a bare-chested male drow. The glabrezu looked up from its snack of a living drider in time for Quill to banish it and the drow promptly attempted to surrender. I set to work throwing every big-bang spell I had prepped at the glyph, while the rest of the party set to work either assisting me or holding off the incoming reinforcements. In a lull in battle we were able to ascertain that the glyph was particularly vulnerable to fear-effect spells. I cast my last phantasmal killer and Stuffer followed that up with a number of cause fear's, deactivating the glyph.

We teleported out and set about prepping for the assault on Alevrah and the master glyph. This involved extensive castings of commune and limited wish. We were able to determine a rough deadline of two days as well as a location on the island that we could teleport into. We spent a day shopping, scrying, studying and scribing, with a brief meeting with Auremestes in the middle. It was at this meeting that we learned that the drow situation on the surface had become considerably more dire than we had anticipated. We forced this knowledge to the back of our minds and focussed on more pressing matters.

With our time running short and our preparations as complete as they could be, we proceeded to the final step in our plan. We teleported in two groups to the island housing the master glyph, snuck past a well appointed guard tower and found our way to a miles-long stone bridge, one of the last milestones on our route to the master glyph.

PCs:

Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 13/archmage 1)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 14)
Phos Adanien (rogue 14)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 14)
Zara (paladin 14)

NPCs:

Chog-Karr (barbarian 9)
Giseil "Stuffer" Voslil (necromancer 14)
Hadnabral "Shells" Seldanica (ranger 10)
Shivira "Blink" Shanfariala (beguiler 10)
Taria Katjasdottir (duskblade 10)


I was too traumatized by the event to even mention it but I should add that during the glyph assault my sister, Shells, perished. One of our preparations was to have her raised, so all is not lost.

-A


As we neared the far side of the bridge, Mule noticed a rippling in the black water below us. This resolved itself into a large tentacle which Zara handily lopped off. At the end of the bridge, between us and the doors leading into the cliffside, there appeared to be statues of a glabrezu and 4 vrocks. They revealed themselves to be alive when one vrock took flight and the remaining 3 began to dance. As disconcerting as this was there was an even larger threat emerging from the water below us. Missing a tentacle and looking furious, the Mouldering Emperor arose and used some sort of breath weapon. Shells, Blink and Stuffer all died immediately and the rest of us were in varying states of consciousness. After a quick mass heal from Mule, we decided discretion was the better part of valour and teleported out, arriving at the temple of Calistria in Absalom.

We got healed up, raised our dead companions, did a bit more prep and formulated a plan for avoiding another bridge massacre. Leaving Blink and Shells behind, I cast levitate on the rest of us. Stuffer, Taria, and Chog-Karr then climbed into bags of holding, the rest of us huddled in an invisibility sphere while Quill teleported us to about 200 ft up the cliffside. Upon arrival, I dimension doored the party 10ft behind the doors in the rock. We found ourselves in a hallway lined with small rooms. Looking into the nearest two we could see three Enemy females in each room but they were as yet unaware of our presence. This changed shortly when Stuffer, Taria and Chog-Karr climbed out of their bags and Zara stepped up and stabbed one of them. The Enemy raised the alarm and began casting spells. In a quick bit of thinking, Stuffer arcane locked the main doors, much to the frustration of the demons on the other side. We slipped into the combat like the well oiled machine we are and were able to vanquish many of the Enemy before they could call many more reinforcements. Those Enemy still alive were growing increasingly irritated that their chaos hammers seemed to have little to no effect on us (due to alignment and/or spell resistance) and instead decided to flee by casting meld into stone.

Meanwhile, the demons outside had managed to get the door open. The glabrezu stuck his head into the hallway and was promptly banished. Quill put a wall of stone in front of the doors, which successfully trapped one of the vrocks. The remaining three popped into the hallway, one on either side of me and the last blocking in Zara. We did what we do best (massive amounts of cold damage and stabbing, respectively), which bought enough time for Mule and Quill to banish or dismiss two of them. Zara ran the last one through.

We gathered the loot from the Enemy and steeled ourselves for the next hallway.

PCs:

Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 13/archmage 1)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 14)
Phos Adanien (rogue 14)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 15)
Zara (paladin 14)

NPCs:

Chog-Karr (barbarian 9)
Giseil "Stuffer" Voslil (necromancer 14)
Hadnabral "Shells" Seldanica (ranger 10)

Shivira "Blink" Shanfariala (beguiler 11)
Taria Katjasdottir (duskblade 10)


We fought our way through the hallways, past a number of large snakes and small demons before coming face to face with the Enemy, led by Alevrah. There were dozens of foes in a large room with her. Seriously hampered by clouds of noxious and acidic gases, we were just barely able to eliminate most of her reinforcements, not without significant losses to our forces. Stuffer, Chog-Karr, and myself were all killed in the battle, but Mule was able to bring me back through judicious use of a scroll. Along the way we learned that Zara had fallen from her paladin ways and taken up the cause of evil, though apparently not the particular brand of evil practiced by Alevrah and the Enemy. I will be watching her closely in the future.

I was plagued by the memory issues that often accompany an unexpected visit to the Boneyard and while we had fought well we were far from finished. Alevrah remained undamaged and seemed untouchable. After a short debate, via telepathy, it was decided that we would evacuate and regroup.

We met at the temple of Calistria in Absalom and began our preparations.

PCs:

Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica (evoker 13/archmage 1)
Merisiel "Mule" Galanodel (cleric 14)
Phos Adanien (rogue 14)
Seldon "Quill" Galanodel (cloistered cleric 15)
Zara (paladin 14)

NPCs:

Chog-Karr (barbarian 9)
Giseil "Stuffer" Voslil (necromancer 14)
Taria Katjasdottir (duskblade 10)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Elidlara "Aubrey" Seldanica wrote:

PCs:

Zara (paladin 14)

Nope.

Zara (paladin 10/blackguard 5)

Also:

Celias "Syl" Gorgorathtel'taur (ranger 10/fighter 4)

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