A suitable ending to the Legacy of Fire [spoilers abound]


Legacy of Fire


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After about 200 hours of gameplay, a ragtag group of adventurers, liberators of Kelmarane righted the wrong they had unleashed on Katapesh by felling Jhavuhl, evil efreeti, noble lord of the City of Brass, ruler of an army of effete, jann and fire giants, would-be consort of Ymeri, the Queen of the Inferno, before he could transform into Xotani the Firebleeder, spawn of Rovagug.

The campaign was a blast, hugely appreciated by the players and by myself. The arabian nights feel did a lot to it, as well as the finely crafted scenarios Paizo is publishing. It's really quite an achievement to be able to finish such a long campaign which took us 36 sessions of about 5 hours of gameplay, over 13 months to finish. It is, for all of us, the longest Pathfinder/D&D campaign we have played.

What we found not so great:


  • my players found the two big dungeons a bit too big, especially Bayt-Al-Bazan. Their flavor helped us a lot to not get bored, though;
  • the railroadiness of the campaign arc. It all hinges on the PCs being interested in keeping the scroll and being curious enough to explore it so the second part of the campaign can unfold. It makes for a few worrisome transitions but it wasn't a problem for my group (my player's can't resist their curiosity and the Moldspeaker helped a lot) but I can see this being a problem for other groups.

What we found great:


  • the Pathfinder rules (I converted it all to Pathfinder, core rulebook only since we started in October 2009);
  • the arabian night feel;
  • the opening scenario with its multiple choices (a great plus for my players), and having the PCs really care about Kelmarane (that was really helpful for later);
  • the Moldspeaker;
  • the villain revealed early on;
  • Kakishon and its weirdness;
  • the look on my players' faces when they exited Kakishon… to end on the Plane of Fire;
  • for me, as the GM, having the PCs not being able to go magic item shopping in books 4 and 5. That made them think about their possibilities and actually use the magic items they were finding, as opposed to selling them right away. I think it made the story stronger with an urge to go back to civilization;
  • the fight with Aberzjerax at the end of the Impossible Eye, pure heroism;
  • how epic the Final Wish was: freeing Kelmarane again, wishes flying, cinematic combat, a crazy monk, the return of the Carrion King, Fire Giants walking in lava rivers, and Jhavuhl.

In the end, the group consisted of:

Sidi Sahab, human elemental (cold) sorcerer 13, fond of black tentacles and summon monsters, as well as many offensive cold spells (the Moldspeaker, and with a crush for Shazathared, the marid princess)
Barham, human rogue 10/shadowdancer 3, specialized in sniping from a distance with his shockbow (owner of Andrathi the cat for a while)
Nadir, human paladin of Sarenrae 13, scimitar, large shield and full plate, the archetypal paladin (abbot-protector of Kelmarane and wed to a Kelmarane Adept of Sarenrae)
Taka, half-orc barbarian 13, keen greatsword, rage, and power attack (ouch…)

and the final fight against Jhavhul went as follows…


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Coming straight from the entrance of Xotani's grave, after having dealt with the Jann captains, the Nightmares, and the Janissaries, the group was huddling under an invisibility sphere when they reached the ledge overlooking Xotani's skeleton. Jhavuhl was reveling in the lava lake below, amid tendrils of lava that seemed to writhe with their own life, and within the deafening sound of Xotani's heartbeat. He saw them right away, in spite of the invisibility sphere, roared before confidently raising in the air, asking them to bow to his power and wish him to transform into Xotani. Only then would he consider keeping alive. That was met by a flurry of activity and a call for initiative. Jhavhul rolled a 1, the beginning of a bad day, his last…

Sidi Sahab goes first, frantically taking his expensive scroll of summon monster IX (bought only hours before) from his belt. He starts incanting. Barham uses his wand of greater invisibility, just in case. Nadir (who had the time to imbibe a potion of fly as Jhavhul was mocking them) did what a true paladin of Sarenrae could only do: he charges the Huge efreeti, alone, calling on his goddess to smite the evil creature. He hits for about 60 points of damage. Jhavhul uses his boots of speed and then retaliate on poor Nadir who ends the round barely able flying. 120 damage points, Nadir can't take two of these. The tendrils of lava animate themselves, trying to grab the group that is near the edge. They fail. Taka quickly drinks a potion of fly.

Sidi Sahab summons an Ice Devil which appear over the lava lake, it charges Jhavhul for little damage. The sorcerer hastes everyone but Nadir and the Ice Devil, too far off. Barham releases a volley of 5 +2 fire outsider bane arrows forged by Artel, the azer smith of Kakishon. They fly true and four of them hit Jhavhul. That's another 70 damage points but Jhavhul has not lost half of his hp. He's still confident. Nadir lays on hand and then sacrifices himself for Kelmarane. He knows he won't survive the next series of blows from Jhavhul, but he stands his ground nevertheless and unleashes a full attack on the efreeti. His last one. Out of 4 attacks, 2 hits, including a critical hits…

Smite evil is insane: that's 77 (crit) + 46 damage points in a single round. Jhavhul is down to 27 hp. At this point, the players were getting suspicious: "It's too easy, there's a trick." No, there's no trick, your paladin has just almost slaughtered the end campaign BBEG! That's what paladins are for and they are really good at it! Not that I'm complaining, it's part of the game.

Panic sparks in Jhavhul's eyes. He knows he needs to drop this paladin now, or he won't have the opportunity to finish his ritual. He unleashes all he can on poor Nadir. Two attacks hit, Nadir reaches -23 and his body slowly floats down to the surface of the lava lake below, where he disappears, body and gear. "No, not the gear, that's unfair!" complains someone A worthy sacrifice. Jhavhul gets a couple of shots on the Ice Devil and quickens an invisibility. He needs to heal before it's too late. I had given him a few potions of cure serious wounds, and ruled that he had a scroll of heal (CL 12th), in his mansion. He was now going for that. Taka takes the round to remove the grapple from the lake's tendrils. Two Fire Giants come from the northern lava river, attracted by the noise.

Sidi Sahab can see the invisible Jhavuhl, thanks to a permanent true seeing. He strikes the flying genie with an elemental blast. Jhavuhl saves and his cold resistance absorbs it all. Much cursing ensues. The Ice Devil tries attaching the invisible Jhavuhl and fails. Barham shoots another 5 arrows on where Sidi Sahab tells him the efreeti is. Only one hit. Jhavuhl is now down to 15 hp… The lava tendrils can't grab anyone. Javhul drinks a potion of cure serious wounds and flies south as fast as he can, getting beyond Sidi Sahab's vision. The two Fire Giants move into position, around the ledge, and attack Taka. At this point, I had given the control of the giants to Nadir's player. The glee with which he attacked he former companions was very amusing, or disturbing, it depends. Taka retaliates by raging, power attacking and full attacking with his keen greatsword. The giant takes it. Two more giants appear.

Sidi Sahab tries to dominate a Fire Giant, fails. Barham focuses his attention on the direct danger and unleashes +1 fire arrows yes, I know but that or regular +1 arrows, it doesn't make much of a difference at a Fire Giant, who drops. He is still invisible though, so the giants focus on Taka, at the edge of the lava lake. The barbarian takes it, and then flies above the giants to go for Jhavhul, in spite of the attacks of opportunity. He takes more than 120 damage points during this round, bringing him down to negatives, which triggers a contingency heal (CL13th). Thank you Nefeshti… In the meantime Jhavhul reaches his mansion.

In the next rounds, Sidi Sahab transform into an air elemental to go fly south in pursuit of Jhavuhl, followed by Taka. The sorcerer finds the time to summon an Erinyes for her true seeing. At the same time, Barham fells another giant and severely wounds yet another one. Being invisible, the giants try to attack him but only get a few blows through. Sidi Sahab, Taka, the Ice Devil and the Erinyes reach the entrance of Jhavuhl's mansion. They don't want to go in they can't anyway and place the two devils in front of the shimmering entrance whilst they float above the lava river. Barham's invisibility wears out and the giants now know where to hit. He is in deep trouble, and drops within a round, he is at -7. His shadowdancer's shadow, come to help him, doesn't last a round either. Barham fails his Fortitude save and take a negative level. He is now at -12, with a Constitution of 14. Close… The giants head south after the invaders.

Jhavhul reappears from the mansion, partially healed and with 155 hp left. He throws a bead of force on the Ice Devil. The resilient sphere is easily avoided by the devil. Taka and Sidi Sahab see their chances of survival dwindling by the second. It's now or never. Taka, realizing that he will take an attack of opportunity if he attacks Jhavuhl uses his Strike Back feat to protect Sidi Sahab and waits for the efreeti to attack him. The Ice Devil now played by Barham's player attacks Jhavhul, and fumbles. The fumble deck says "dazed for 2 rounds". The situation becomes even more dire. The Erinyes can't do much against Jhavhul's high AC. Sidi Sahab unleashes all he has: chain lightning. Jhavul's save: 1… Much hooting and shouting ensues. He takes about 60 damage points. He then quickens a magic missiles. Jhavuhl is hurt but it will take more than that to drop him. He moves and attacks the barbarian, who strike back first. It's a duel of titans. Swords clash and damage is taken. For good measure, the efreeti lord also casts a quickens scorching ray on the poor Taka. More than half of it is absorbed by Taka's ring of fire resistance but it still stings.

Another round. The stalemate is not at the heroes' advantage. Sidi Sahab unleashes another chain lightning and a quickened magic missiles. Still not enough even though Jhavhul has taken more than 220 damage points overall, by now. Jhavhul goes for Taka, who fails his Strike Back. A full attack and Taka can barely withstand it. Full power attack with 4 hits, 164 damage points! The barbarian is at 1hp!!! Jhavuhl finishes his round with his last quickened scorching ray. Taka should drop but, thanks to his orc heritage, he is still standing, sustained by his rage, calling on willpower he never thought he had. He is at -17, staggered, using his orc ferocity.

It's the moment of truth: the fire giants have just joined the fray, Taka is almost dead, the sorcerer knows he won't last alone. It has to be now or this is the end of Kelmarane. It has to be now or he will never see the marid princess again. It has to be now or his companions all died for nothing. Sidi Sahab casts one of his last chain lightnings. Jhavuhl saves but takes damage and sees his end, if only he could stay alive for this round, now that his giant minions are here…. Jhavuhl is down to 5hp, which I reveal to the players… Sidi Sahab's players frantically grabs his d4s… A quicken magic missiles is Sidi's last chance and, unbelievably, in a final deafening roar, the efreeti lord finally decides to die, thereby ending the Legacy of Fire. Screaming, shouting and hooting around the table…

A fight worthy of the end of a 200h-long campaign. One PC died, heroically; one dropped two points away from death; one, although still standing, was within 7 points of his death. Only the sorcerer was still at more than 80 hp. But a sorcerer doesn't last long, alone… The whole fight looked like it was going to end in two rounds, after the paladin's critical hit but, fortunately, it lasted for a good 10 rounds and was extremely close, up to the last round. A moment that we will remember for a long time.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nail-biting stuff, Olwen! I like how you got the players of the dead/incapacitated PCs to run some of the monsters so they didn't sit like lemons!

Scarab Sages

As the player of Nadir ibn Hamd ibn Sadr `Abd ash-Sharanriyyah I can only agree with this evaluation. Legacy of Fire is epic and uniquely flavorful, and the Pathfinder rules, well... rule. :)

Especially as far as the Paladin is concerned, Paizo has finally really set things right. I took down a red dragon three CR levels above me in single combat, for frak's sake... OK, so I was pimped out in buff spells and had some artillery support from the Rogue, but still! Regardless, the rules felt balanced, since I usually did significantly less damage than the Barbarian against average foes. Apart from the damage-dealing, I am most impressed with the Paladin's tanking ability. Neener-neener-you-can't-touch-me saves, a high AC and swift-action self-healing are just invaluable. I still took lots of damage from boss-type enemies, of course, but that same damage would have flattened the squishier party members.

I can also only commend Paizo for the storytelling. It really made us care about Kelmarane as well as the various NPCs. Sidi Sahab's epic last-minute deliverance of the imprisoned marid princess comes to mind... and of course, the last book had me on edge with suspense for weeks, with Kelmarane fallen and my wife taken hostage.

At this point, I also have to congratulate the DM again for his stellar effort at bringing this campaign to life. I know Paizo adventures are well-written, but that's still only half the job. Kudos all around!


Indeed, this sounds like a suitably epic finale. I can only hope it will be so for my group, too. :) Finale reminded me of the ending of my Savage Tide campaign where in the last round of the fight versus Demogorgon the only one left standing was the party Bard (with no offensive abilities whatsoever that could pierce his defenses)with Ring of Three Wishes (1 wish left) and Demogorgon with 1 hp. Bard goes first. :D

But tell me, why did Jhavhul attack Ice Devil and threw Bead of Force at him? Would have there been a TPK if Jhavhul concentrated on killing the PCs?


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Erevis Cale wrote:
But tell me, why did Jhavhul attack Ice Devil and threw Bead of Force at him? Would have there been a TPK if Jhavhul concentrated on killing the PCs?

Both the Erinyes and the Ice Devil were in the way and he couldn't reach the PCs. He could have tried bull rushing the devils to go through, but both could fly, so he wouldn't have been able to push them into the lava river. He decided to try to remove at least one of the two with the bead, whilst trying to fly vertically over them with his move action. He failed that Fly check but the Ice Devil removed himself from the equation with his fumble. So, in the end, the bead of force or a bull rush wouldn't have changed much.

I was actually quite disappointed at the save for the bead of force. The 5d6 sonic damage without a save is nice, but a DC 16 Reflex save to avoid the effect of the resilient sphere is rather trivial at this level.


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A few interesting stats that summarize the campaign:


  • Largest amount of damage dealt on an NPC with a single melee attack — 93 points of non lethal damage dealt by Taka (the barbarian) with a power attacking, raging, critical hit of his +2 keen greatsword on Narrgok, the gnoll priest of Rovagug who had defiled Kelmarane's church of Sarenrae. The non-lethal damage was the effect of a critical hit deck card: triple damage, but non-lethal. Narrgok got coup-de-graced quickly after that.
  • Largest amount of damage dealt on an NPC with a single ranged attack — 55 damage points dealt by Barham (the rogue) with a critical hit of his +1 shockbow, combined with a sneak attack on a poor salamander, in Bayt-Al-Bazan.
  • Largest amount of damage dealt on an NPC with a spell — 84 damage points dealt by Sidi Sahab (the cold elemental sorcerer) with an empowered cold scorching ray on a cold-vulnerable pyrohydra, in Bayt-Al-Bazan.
  • Largest amount of damage taken by a PC (or companion, or summon) from a single melee attack — 66 damage points on a poor summoned Wooly Rhinoceros, from a Fire Giant critical hit in Bayt-Al-Bazan.
  • Largest amount of damage taken by a PC (or companion, or summon) from a ranged attack — 14 damage points dealt by a Carrion Guard with his composite longbow on Nadir (the paladin), in the House of the Beast. It seems there aren't many ranged attack specialists, in this campaign…
  • Largest amount of damage taken by a PC (or companion, or summon) from a spell — 90 electricity damage points to Sidi Sahab and Nadir when Barham walked on a trapped carpet, in the Brazen Tower. Ironically, Barham took no damage from this trap that dropped the sorcerer. A few dark looks were exchanged at the table…
  • Largest amount of damage taken by a PC (or companion, or summon) from an effect — 67 damage points dealt by the Sepid Div's rain of debris on Sidi Sahab, in Bayt-Al-Bazan.
  • Largest amount of damage taken by a PC (or companion, or summon) from a full-round attack — 164 damage points dealt by Jhavhul on Taka through four attacks of his +3 adamantine unholy flaming burst Huge scimitar, power attacking. Taka was still standing after that. Impressive.
  • Number of unconscious PCs throughout the campaign: 28 (Barham 9 times, Nadir 9 times, Sidi Sahab 6 times, Taka 4 times)
  • Number of PC deaths throughout the campaign: 7 (Barham once, Nadir 3 times, Taka 3 times)


I thought about doing the similar thing, but then I realized that most damage would be in the last chapter, so there kinda wouldn't be any point. :D


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Erevis Cale wrote:
I thought about doing the similar thing, but then I realized that most damage would be in the last chapter, so there kinda wouldn't be any point. :D

True! But I've actually kept track of how all these changed through the campaign. It's quite interesting to see the damage evolution.

That type of analysis is much better followed as the campaign is played, though. I'll probably do that for our upcoming Kingmaker campaign and post the values at the end of each Adventure Path volume.


I noticed the stuff about highest damage notable things, and it made me wish we had kept track of those things...

One thing I do remember was the Most Damaging Full Attack...
The party was in the final encounter with Jhavhul, things were going back and forth.. and then Koro Skyflame (14th level Strix Musket Master Gunslinger) manages to get off a full-attack with his gun... with Rapid Shot this was 4 attacks... after a crazy string of rolls he ended up with two hits and two crits! with a x4 weapon... After everything was rolled and calculated he did a total of 284 damage in the one round...

Needless to say the fight was very much in our favor after that.
It wasn't enough to kill him, but very appropriate the killing blow was also a crit, from !Abawe (The Moldspeaker) wielding the Awakened Tempest.. a satisfying conclusion..

Another thing I remember (although not the exact numbers) was the groups resident tank stepping into a room of inivisible Janni Captains and taking the full force of 8 of them full-attacking, all 2d6 sneak attacks...
He had been at full health, and even with them rolling fairly badly he was dropped right down to 3hp.

We all enjoyed this campaign a lot.. the flavor of the story was fantastic.


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Interzone wrote:
I noticed the stuff about highest damage notable things, and it made me wish we had kept track of those things..

I'm now doing that for all the sessions of our Shattered Star campaign and it's quite amusing to see the wild variation, even as the PCs get higher and higher level.

Interzone wrote:

One thing I do remember was the Most Damaging Full Attack...

The party was in the final encounter with Jhavhul, things were going back and forth.. and then Koro Skyflame (14th level Strix Musket Master Gunslinger) manages to get off a full-attack with his gun... with Rapid Shot this was 4 attacks... after a crazy string of rolls he ended up with two hits and two crits! with a x4 weapon... After everything was rolled and calculated he did a total of 284 damage in the one round...

That's pretty crazy! That's similar to what the group's paladin did and it sure did change my expectations for the final fight. As long as everyone has fun, it's great!

Interzone wrote:

Another thing I remember (although not the exact numbers) was the groups resident tank stepping into a room of inivisible Janni Captains and taking the full force of 8 of them full-attacking, all 2d6 sneak attacks...

He had been at full health, and even with them rolling fairly badly he was dropped right down to 3hp.

I remember that one, and I had one of my PCs complaining that it was totally unfair after he had been hit by 3/4 of the janni captains. It's funny to use the PCs' tactics against them every once in a while. ;)

Interzone wrote:
We all enjoyed this campaign a lot.. the flavor of the story was fantastic.

Yes, I fondly remember this campaign. I GM'd Kingmaker since then, and that one was also wonderful campaign. Going from level 1 to level 17, building your own kingdom, etc. That's one of the epitomes of high fantasy, and it was a great gaming time.

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