NobodysHome's Wrath of the Righteous Campaign [Spoilers]


Wrath of the Righteous

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Shadow Lodge

I need to redownload that. I had it on my desktop before it died, but never bothered to end up re-getting it when I got a new computer.


Oh, and just for a bit of delicious gossip, Jake's player is running 4 players (Kariss' player included) in a second WotR campaign, and they *DO* have a paladin of Iomedae...
...who is in serious danger of dying of Filth Fever before they even reach Neathholm!

Ah, the irony! :-P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

My PCs did in fact offer to bury Kandro. They were very disturbed by the mass of flesh on the altar, and burned it. So they got the Kandro point, but lost the two for the Temple. They cleaned it (the temple and altar), but did not properly address the mass of flesh.

As for the why on the Kandro question - while strong evidence pointed to his treachery, the fact that he had been treated so vilely by the demons pointed (in my PCs' minds) to the fact that he may have been duped or framed. This was enough to give him the benefit of the doubt and let him be buried appropriately.

Thanks for another good write up.


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Nice to hear that SOMEBODY buried Kandro!

Yeah, it's going to be interesting now that school's started. I was taking two hours a day after work to keep up with all 3 journals (Leilani, RotRL, and WotR), but fell behind hopelessly on 2 of them (RotRL and WotR), and now the kids' homework is going to eat into my writing time. PLUS my group is now demanding 2-3 sessions per week.

Anyway, I managed to squirrel away some writing time for today, tomorrow, and Thursday, so let's see what I can come up with...


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Yeah, Penny started 5th grade to today, she got lucky with her teacher and got one that spent 10 years teaching in same school as my dad before he retired so she has known Penny her entire life outside of school:)

its always fun for me to watch everyone all worked up and streesed out on the first day, for some reason when others are super stressed out it makes me calmer, pisses my wife off every time "why aren't you freaking out!" she says, "because you are" i say back:)


captain yesterday wrote:
Yeah, Penny started 5th grade today...

Oh Good Lord... you have a girl the same age as one of my boys.

They must NEVER meet...


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NobodysHome wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Yeah, Penny started 5th grade today...

Oh Good Lord... you have a girl the same age as one of my boys.

They must NEVER meet...

Or they could meet and take over the RPG word!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
NobodysHome wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Yeah, Penny started 5th grade today...

Oh Good Lord... you have a girl the same age as one of my boys.

They must NEVER meet...

considering she was born in Seattle and like her dad is strangely drawn to the west coast i certainly wouldn't rule it out:)

so dont think we wont stop by sometime for alchohol, food and gaming:)

also if you ever end up in Madison, wi for a reason i couldnt possibly grasp feel free to stop by for the same (except we're on Reign of Winter:)


captain yesterday wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Yeah, Penny started 5th grade today...

Oh Good Lord... you have a girl the same age as one of my boys.

They must NEVER meet...

considering she was born in Seattle and like her dad is strangely drawn to the west coast i certainly wouldn't rule it out:)

so dont think we wont stop by sometime for alchohol, food and gaming:)

also if you ever end up in Madison, wi for a reason i couldnt possibly grasp feel free to stop by for the same (except we're on Reign of Winter:)

Noted.

Funny story: One of my close colleagues in grad school ended up with a tenure-track position at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. We met again during summer post-grad seminars and he told the tale of working late in his office one night only to have another professor knock on his door. "How did you know I was in?"
"It's 2 am. It's February. And there is ONE office in the building with the light on and the window open. I knew it had to be you."

Yes, we ice trolls stick together, though why he had the light on I'll never know..


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Tels wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Yeah, Penny started 5th grade today...

Oh Good Lord... you have a girl the same age as one of my boys.

They must NEVER meet...

Or they could meet and take over the RPG word!

Embrace the future of Paizo!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just to add in forum quirks; I've lived in Madison before and currently live in the Seattle area.


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By they way, if your kids did meet up.... would this be a case of nobody's home at captain yesterdays? :P


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Well, I'd apologize for derailing my thread even more, but it's WAAAAAY too late for that.

My *older* son (now 13) is the one you have to worry about. Infamous quotes like, "Abominations are tasty," or, "The potato blight virus was useful because it killed Irishmen," just ensures he will be the doom of the RPG world (if not a wider scope). I've taken to sending out a "quote of the month" as he says some truly inspired (or terrifying) things.

My younger son (now 10) is disturbingly sensible, though I did get a wonderful, "Dad, I've never hated you more than I hate you right now," last night after a particularly egregious kill-steal-fest in League of Legends. My wife's, "Really? Was it really that bad?" was met with, "No, I guess I've hated him more at other times."

Yes. I fell over laughing.

I am a very Bad Dad.


And now, seriously. Meetings for the rest of the afternoon, but then I'll write. Next session was pretty short. Hope to have it up by Friday.


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Seannoss wrote:
Just to add in forum quirks; I've lived in Madison before and currently live in the Seattle area.

well that answers where we all stay when

we crash PaizoCon one of these years:)

that is awesome tho, we would've stayed but our daughter needed to be closer to family (both my wife and i grew up in wisconsin)


Good stuff, I hope to run this AP for my friends some day.


Thanks. I'll use that as an excuse to remind my players they're sitting on last week's writeup. Don't want them piling up unposted...


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just tell them every day they delay costs them a use of mythic power next session, of course if they're on the ropes you can give it back, then you're the hero and they might get better at submitting them
win-win:)

or you'll piss em off and they all take Foe-Biter next tier:)
you might be better off not doing that, loses outweigh benefits and what not:)

Silver Crusade

Nice last evening NobodysHome. I still scratch my head about some of the devotion points, since I ran this adventure with a pretty massive implied countdown timer.
The idea, that a party (basicly using swat team tactics) would wait and clean for several minutes, seemed insane and my players found it utterly unreasonable to do anything of the sort until the wardstone was dealt with.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

come on, they gotta make it all nice and clean for Areelu Vorlesh when she comes in to fire the Death Star super Cannon like a rock star:)


Well, after my eager readthrough of RotRL (I still find the 'have your kids play the goblins' strategy hilarious), I'm eagerly looking forwards to the continuation of this one! :)


Well, thank you!

Yes, I did *LOVE* having the kids play goblins. Unfortunately, my younger one did want to play some of the more powerful demons, and I had to tell him that such demons were a little too much for him to play. We just got past Jerribeth in Book 3, and in spite of complaints to the contrary HER as-written stat block was a mighty nasty fight. Jake finally had to play his "exposed to awfulness" card to avoid dying, and burned something like 10 of his 13 of his mythic surges against her alone!

I will try once more to prod Kariss' player for her edits; we've got a pipeline of posts now, but her work schedule has been brutal so it's a delicate balance between "gentle prodding" and "bugging her so much that she just says, 'Forget it! Post the darned thing as-is!'"

I'm *hoping* to start clearing the pipeline with at least 2 posts this week, but it depends more on her work schedule than mine...


12-June-2014 Game

With the kids finishing their school year and birthdays in abundance, this weekend's session was a single, very short Thursday night. The few interesting notes:

(1) Have you ever tried searching for Queen Galfrey's first name? It turns out there's a thread dedicated to the fact that "Galfrey" is her entire name. But if your players are like mine, they'll ask, and if you're not ready for it, you're kind of stuck.

(2) Speaking of Queen Galfrey, DO NOT read her speech from p. 8-9 of Sword of Valor verbatim to your players. It comes across as, "You screwed up, but we're giving you a second chance."
My players are big on veracity of their roleplaying, and nearly walked out on the queen and ended the campaign right there. After all they'd endured, after destroying the wardstone at Irabeth and Quednys' request, with Irabeth with them the whole time, and after having Iomedae personally thank them, they were going to get crap from some unknown crusaders who thought of them as traitors?
It was a complete mess, and soured the next few sessions. I tried to play Galfrey up as sympathetic, but they're still peeved at her for even passing on such negativity. I wish I'd just pre-read the speech and roleplayed out the conversation. It's a nasty stab in the back for PCs who are all about being "righteous".

(3) The other big GM'ing mistake I made was to decide to test out Merissa's new mythic powers on her parents' murderers. When your players get shiny new toys (mythic abilities), it's your job as a GM to stay in the back and let 'em have at.
I've chosen two mythic spells for Merissa so far (Cure Serious Wounds and Holy Smite), and they're definitely stomping on the sorceress' toes.

Anyway, let's get going...

=====
24-Arodus-4713 (continued from last session)

The party gazed in wonder at the destruction they had wrought. The wardstone lay shattered on the ground, inert. Fragments of it were embedded in the walls, and in Jeslyn's body for that matter. A quick Detect Magic by Kariss revealed that a handful of the fragments contained a mere trace of their former magic. Not wanting the demons to get their claws on them, the party carefully packed them away.
Speaking of demons, the six babau lay dead. They were not summoned; they had traveled to this plane and perished. Merissa looked smug and satisfied about that fact. Once she assured herself that all the enemies were dead, she used her last channeled energy (she had been using Alignment Channel to excellent effect against the babaus) to heal the party and Irabeth.
Once Irabeth was awake, she started healing herself as the party gathered everything they thought might be useful for Defender's Heart: Jeslyn's gear, the two helmets that Merissa was supposed to repair, the Rod of Cancellation, and the fiendish minotaur's magical battle horn.

As they realized just how much gear they were going to need to carry, Kariss pulled out one of the scrolls she had had the wizards prepare for her and cast Ant Haul on Jake. Suddenly, he felt like he could carry the world!
GM Note: It's funny. Jake's carrying capacity with Ant Haul has become the stuff of legend, so seeing it at "only" 900 pounds the first time it was cast makes me think, "Wow, how fast they have progressed!"
With Jake easily able to carry a table with several bodies on it, and Merissa, Irabeth, and the mongrelmen more than willing to help carry additional stuff while Kariss kept herself free to defend the party if necessary, they were able to load up all of the loot and body parts from throughout the Gray Garrison and make their grisly way back to Defender's Heart.

They were welcomed as heroes upon their return. When the wardstone exploded, demons had quailed and cultists had cowered. The strike forces took advantage of the distraction to strike devastating blows to the enemy all over the city. Kenabres was won!
As head cleric of Kenabres, even if only temporarily, Merissa did not allow herself to be distracted and quickly asked Jake and the mongrelmen to put down the bodies for sorting, blessing, and cremation. Several paladins settled in to help her with her work. Anevia raced out, embraced the bloodied-but-alive Irabeth, and beamed at the party. "You brought her back! Thank you SO much!"
NoPrey and Kariss earned hugs. Jake even got a kiss on the cheek.
Quednys came next, leading Aravashnial. "Did it work? Did the rod destroy the stone?"
Jake was nothing if not honest. "No, the rod didn't do much of anything. But this did," and he hefted his morningstar.
Quednys looked puzzled. Aravashnial seemed amused, though he couldn't see what Jake was hefting.

The rest of the afternoon was spent dealing with the repercussions of what had just occurred. The quartermaster was going through the items they had brought back, totting up sums to be allotted to the party. As he worked he quipped, "Yes, when the city was sacked, all the 'civilized' people grabbed their gold instead of their belongings, thinking they could always buy new things. As a result we have an abundance of gold here, but quite the dearth of things to buy with it."
Once the quartermaster had his total, Irabeth intervened. "Please add 10% to that total. I believe, Jake, that this represents payment in full for Radiance and your services to the city?"
Jake was a bit taken aback; he was a guard. Defending the city was his job! But he wasn't about to argue with extra gold, so he simply replied, "Yes. Yes, I believe we are completely squared away."

Kariss retired to her room to give herself and Rishi a well-earned scrubbing. NoPrey rolled about in some dust, scrubbed his beak a bit, and called it good. Jake went to the main hall and had a few beers, until several nearby crusaders offered to buy him a bath and he took the hint.

As Jake slept, he dreamt of a scarred but beautiful woman clad in full plate mail approaching him. "Jacob Thornbriar, you have done well. You showed bravery in the face of evil, chose to do good for no reason other than that it needed to be done, and saw to it that those who fell before you were properly laid to rest..."
"...er, that was Merissa."
The woman smiled a bit. "Nevertheless, you have done great services for me, knowing or not. And while I am sorry that I will not be able to help you in the future, I can at least grant you a token of my gratitude for what you have done so far..."
With that the woman leaned over and kissed Jake on the forehead.
He awoke feeling far stronger than he had the night before. He dressed quickly and rushed to find Merissa.
GM Note: Yep, the full-blown 10 point bonus. +2 to an ability score, a bonus feat, 5 hit points, and +2 to a skill. Not bad for a day's work.

=====
25-Arodus-4713

Jake found Merissa already performing her devotions. He waited patiently until she was done.
"Er, Merissa?"
"Yes, Jake."
"Did Iomedae talk to you last night?"
Merissa beamed. "Yes, Jake. She did. She said that she was very proud of me, and that she liked my new friends. She mentioned you by name, you know."
Jake was taken aback for a moment, but decided to proceed. "So, what's it like when she talks to you?"
Merissa described at length Iomedae's visits to her: They were dreams, but they were much more real than dreams. She could remember them vividly. Whether it was splashing in a cold forest lake or eating strawberry ice cream on a beach, she could feel the icy chill of the water, the grit of the sand between her toes, the ice cream sticking to her cheek, and all the other little things that normally distinguish dreams from reality.
Jake thought for a moment. That did indeed describe his dream very well. But without the ice cream.
"And what does she look like?"
Merissa gave a vivid depiction of the woman Jake had seen in his dreams. A bit too vivid. Apparently they frequently swam or walked the beach together, and Merissa described scars in places Jake just didn't need to think about on a goddess. But her description was utterly and completely accurate: The woman Jake met last night was indeed Iomedae, and she had personally thanked him for destroying the wardstone! What a concept!
Unfortunately, now that he had opened himself up to discussing Merissa's dreams with her, extricating himself from her discussion proved nearly as difficult as destroying the wardstone. He finally had to retreat back into the men's barracks, where Merissa's propriety prevented her from pursuing him.
Fortunately, the moment she wasn't discussing her dreams with Jake she remembered the helms she was supposed to Make Whole, and she rushed off to find Irabeth and take care of that business.

That gave Jake another angle. Once Merissa was off mending the helms, Jake approached Irabeth and asked her about Iomedae and what she was like. Irabeth's description was a far more by-the-book description of a brave, martial woman who had sacrificed everything in pursuit of her faith and her crusades, even going so far as to take the test of the Starstone to better aid Aroden. Jake asked Irabeth whether Iomedae had ever spoken to her.
Irabeth raised an eyebrow wryly. "Been talking to Merissa, have we?"
Jake let the matter drop.

Finally, he conferred with Kariss and NoPrey and learned that they, too had had the vision of Iomedae, though NoPrey wouldn't discuss it until he had recorded it properly. NoPrey complained that he hadn't slept well because it had been bright all night, but when he had finally dozed off, he had been visited by Iomedae.
GM Note: Guess who took Darkvision as a mythic power?

The day passed pleasantly. NoPrey had come to the conclusion that their adventures would make an epic saga, and holed up in his room for most of the day, writing a journal of his adventures. Later in the day, he came down to find some grit to replace the stuff he had regurgitated thanks to the dretches, and spent the afternoon writing in the tavern and recommending a fine location for grit just outside Defender's Heart. No one took him up on his offer of grit. As one of the most powerful healers left alive in Kenabres, Merissa was hard-pressed to keep up with the demands on her person. Rumor had it that one of the raiding parties had rescued a cleric of Shelyn and he would be arriving soon, but in the meantime Merissa was kept busy from the time she mended the helms until she retired for the evening. Jake had no such ambitions nor demands, and spent the day relaxing in the tavern, socializing with the handful of Kenbres guards who had survived the attack and made it to Defender's Heart. He was now a rich man, but with nothing to buy, what good was that wealth? Kariss spend the day with Aravashnial, learning more about the Riftwardens and their duties and tales.
Jake, having a high Perception roll, noticed the way Kariss was spending so much time with Aravashnial, so when Aravashnial happened to pass through the main hall without her, he commented loudly to the guard next to him about how beautiful Kariss was, and how he couldn't believe that she was single.
Aravashnial, having a high Intelligence, invited Kariss to dinner and they had a pleasant meal and conversation.

The night passed without incident.

=====
26-Arodus-4713

In the morning, Merissa approached Jake, NoPrey, and Kariss. Although her brother had urged her repeatedly against it, Merissa needed to know what had happened to her parents. With their newfound power, they could surely face whatever was there, could they not?
Jake tried very hard to dissuade her. Even Kariss suggested that it was a bad idea, but Merissa would not be dissuaded.

The trip to Merissa's house was only about half a mile, and the streets were clear of demons and cultists. Even better, signs of life were returning. Those who had stayed in Kenabres but hidden in their cellars or storage sheds were beginning to emerge from the wreckage and start the long, arduous task of rebuilding their city.

Their mood was immediately soured as they neared Merissa's block. Jake heard a woman's voice crying in Abyssal, "You, too, can have a paladin! Only a copper! And if you're rough enough we'll waive even that fee!"
They stepped around the corner to see what was obviously a vermlek inhabiting Merissa's mother's nude body, lasciviously advertising her "wares". Merissa's father was dead and crucified on the front wall of their house.
For some reason, the party chose to go to initiatives. Unfortunately, Merissa won. Bad GM die!

Of all the mythic powers about to be brought to bear on the poor vermlek, the mythic Cure Serious Wounds enhanced by Faith's Reach hit it first. 30 hit points sounds OK until you get hit by 6d8+12 and blow your save. Kariss was displeased that she hadn't gotten to try out her new mythic Magic Missile.
Another Ant Haul, and Jake carried Merissa's parents back to Defender's Heart for proper burial.

Once they got there they found the fortress in an uproar: A massive army was entering Kenabres from the south! Initial scouts only reported the army, so it was a tense 10-15 minutes before the next set of scouts reported: It was Galfrey's army! The Queen had come to Kenabres at last!

And I'd end it right there on a wonderful dramatic note, except both Jake and NoPrey tried to formally greet the queen. Jake's untrained Oratory roll of 5 was amusing; the equivalent of greeting the queen with, "Heya, toots!" Then NoPrey with his +7 skill rolled a natural 1. Our house rule is that for skills a natural 20 gives you +5, while a natural 1 gives you a -5 (we feel it adds to the drama of extreme rolls), so NoPrey managed a spectacular 3 (1+7-5). I figure he just regurgitated for her and asked, "Want some?"
The Queen was Not Amused.

*** End of Session ***
Next Planned Session: 21-June-2014 (Already played)


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NobodysHome wrote:
The Queen was Not Amused

*starts bursting out laughing*

This was one of the funniest lines of the journal so far. Maybe that's why she's a bit of a jerk to the players a bit later on?


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horngeek wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
The Queen was Not Amused

*starts bursting out laughing*

This was one of the funniest lines of the journal so far. Maybe that's why she's a bit of a jerk to the players a bit later on?

I love it!

The next writeup's going out for player review tonight, and has a lengthy oration on, "How to defuse Galfrey's 'jerkiness'". I love the idea that she's a jerk because of NoPrey's regurgitation attempts.

I should have thought of that...

...Anyway, the next writeup just needs a final once-over from me, then off to the players, so I'd expect it on Thursday or Friday...


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21-June-2014 Game

I've already mentioned most of the nonsense that went on over the start of Book 2, but I might as well put it here so that those playing along at home can keep up:

(1) Queen Galfrey's initial speech (p.8-9) earns a big fat, "No." My group really resented the implication that they'd messed up by destroying the Wardstone.

(2) Army combat earned a second big fat, "No." As Jake's player put it so wonderfully, "Yeah, let's take all the feats, skills, and equipment we've chosen so carefully for the last ten sessions, our characters' personalities, and all of the tactics we've developed working together, totally ignore it all, and submit our fate to a single die roll with a faceless army. That sounds fun!"

(3) The "NPC Swarm" here gets overwhelming: Any reasonable group will most likely have Irabeth, Anevia, and Aravashnial accompany them. Add Sosiel, Aron, and Nurah, and you're trying to play half a dozen characters AND run an army AND describe new and interesting terrain AND manage monsters and random encounters and track resources.

Not fun.

So my recommendations would be:

- Ad lib Galfrey's speech. I'm afraid I read it verbatim, forcing her to do a lot of backpedaling and apologizing once I realized just how much I'd offended the players.

- Either pre-roll the army combats and just describe them (what I did for the first couple of sessions) or forget the rolling entirely and just describe the combat. The rolling ended up making my army fights even less engaging, as the paladins never rolled under a 16 during the march while the enemies never managed over a 9. Same die. Brutal. Once they were in Drezen I let them roll their army fights. It was... less than engaging.

- If the party has a cleric, forget army resources. Between Sosiel and a cleric, Create Food and Water is going to feed that army for a LOOOOONG time. If there's no party cleric, maybe you can do it to increase the sense of urgency. But none of the army nor city-building stuff worked for our group at all. They want to save the world, not play Kingmaker. So I just dumped everything. Food. Goods. Army fights. I just ignored 'em all. And I ran it much better once I stopped worrying about all that stuff.
(Total side note: One of the players in Jake's WotR game is an utterly avid "empire builder". I'm really looking forward to seeing how he reacts to the city-building in Drezen. But they only play 2-3 hours a week, so they're a couple of months away from that as of yet.)

- Instead of spending a lot of time prepping army rules (my big mistake), spend your time getting into the heads of the NPCs and think about little vignettes you can play out among them. I really *wish* I'd done 1-2 full sessions on just the party interacting with the NPCs during the march. I could have thought up a lot of little scenes that would have made the final betrayal much more significant, and I might have managed to work Arles Jhestander into the plot. (Though at the point he is supposed to start despairing, the army had lost exactly... 0 people, so I really thought his disillusionment would have been a bit over-the-top.)

Anyway, as I've said elsewhere, I think my big overall complaint about Book 2 was that it seemed like the authors felt that since they were adding mythic rules already, why not throw in everything else they could think of (crafting, army combat, city building)? It was overwhelming as a GM who's never run any of that, and underwhelming for the players. So we dumped it all in favor of just telling the story.

=====
26-Arodus-4713 (continued from last game)

In actuality, it was at least a couple of hours between the army's arrival in Kenabres and the queen's arrival at Defender's Heart. As runners exhausted themselves transferring messages between the army and the remaining defenders of Defender's Heart, the party learned just how massive the attack was. Kenabres was fallen. Cities all along the southern front were under attack. A demonic force had barely been pushed back from an advance on Nerosyan, capital of Mendev.
And they knew that all of it was a ruse! The demons' simple plan was to drag crusaders along the entire front into range of the wardstones, where Areelu Vorlesh had planned their final end!

The ploy was monstrous and terrifying: The demons had forces enough to take tremendous losses just to lure the crusaders into a massive trap. That was worrisome in and of itself.

Eventually a runner announced that the queen would be arriving in a matter of minutes, and she had requested an audience with Irabeth, Jake, Merissa, Kariss, and NoPrey. In private. Irabeth straightened her armor, both Kariss and Quednys offered to Prestidigitate her until she shone, and Anevia desperately worked with comb and brush on what might generously be called Irabeth's "hair". The others weren't nearly so concerned. Jake was perfectly happy to meet the queen exactly as he was. Kariss cleaned herself up a bit, and NoPrey preened. Merissa seemed a bit distracted, gazing off into space, but gratefully accepted Kariss' offer of Prestidigitation to get cleaned up.

Queen Galfrey's personal guard arrived first, Detecting Evil and Magic around the crowd. Once they were satisfied it was safe, they escorted the queen to the same briefing room the party had been using with Irabeth. It was beginning to feel like a small, dimly-lit, poorly-furnished home away from home.
As the queen greeted each in turn, Jake blurted, "So, do you have a first name?"
NoPrey offered the aforementioned snacks.
Kariss and Merissa remained wisely silent.

The queen spoke.
GM Note: Yeah, I'm paraphrasing because this is a LOOOONG speech.
"So, before me sit the saviors of Kenabres, who braved all odds to penetrate an enemy fortress and destroy the remnants of Kenabres' wardstone. There are some who call you traitors, who believe you knew that your actions would destroy the border and allow demons to run uncontained across the lands. I am not so uncharitable. From what I have heard, you saved untold legions of crusaders from a fate worse than death. In fact, your actions most likely saved the crusade. And almost as importantly, you bought us time.
"Word has arrived that Sainte Rae'Sheleth and her group is en route to Aaramor to seal the southern borders, but they are only four and cannot be everywhere at once. The demons are massing to the south as well, and it seems that there the bulk of our forces must deploy as well.
"However, this leaves the north relatively undefended. And I have a plan. You must know the tale of the dwarf-built fortress of Drezen, pinnacle of the First Crusade. It repelled all demonic attacks from the First and Second Crusades, until its defenses were breached not by demons but by betrayal from within. What you may not know is that the key to Drezen's defense was not its dwarven make, but the Sword of Valor, a banner carried by Iomedae herself during the Shining Crusade.
"I propose we return the favor to the demons. You take a small force of paladins northwards; enough to ensure you reach Drezen safely, but not enough to attract the attention of the demon general Aponavicius to turn her armies back northwards. Once there, penetrate the fortress, locate the Sword of Valor, and reclaim it for the crusade."

The party was significantly offended that the queen had used the words "begrudge", "traitors", and others. She reassured them that she believed in them, and the players grudgingly decided to cut the GM a break and proceed with the plot.

The meeting continued with many questions and answers: The crusaders knew that the Sword of Valor was still in Citadel Drezen through Divination, and they did not believe even the demons capable of hiding one of Iomedae's own artifacts from her. While they were not sure of the artifact's powers, or even whether it would work for the group, historic records indicated that it boosted allied morale and, most importantly, prevented demonic teleportation. The queen had picked 103 people to travel with them: A 100-strong group of paladins known as the Holy Knights of the Sword (a few eye rolls were heard), and three experts: Aron Kir was a human expert on scouting, infiltration, and siege tactics. His boyfriend, Sosiel Vaenic, was the sole surviving cleric of Shelyn in Kenabres. He could provide healing and support for the army, and also knew demons and their tactics. Finally, Nurah Dendiwhar was a halfling bard who could boost morale and had studied a great deal about both pre-fall and post-fall Drezen and its surrounding area; she might be able to guide the army if the path they had chosen proved impassable.
Queen Galfrey asked whether the group wanted to bring any of their own allies. Irabeth gave them the big eyes, but she certainly didn't need to. They knew nothing of managing an army of paladins, and Irabeth's experience would be invaluable. And with Irabeth came Anevia, of course, no questions asked. Kariss expressed regret that they could not take Aravashnial, and the queen immediately asked, "Whyever not?"

Learning of his condition, the queen quickly scrawled something on a scrap of paper, knocked on the door, and handed it to the page who opened it. "Take care of that immediately for me, please."
She sat back down. "There. I'm sure there's a scroll of Regeneration in my supplies somewhere, and someone who knows how to use it. We'll add Aravashnial to the list of your companions."

Once they had decided on the group, the queen asked, "And how long will it be before you are ready to depart?"
Jake looked at the others. "When can your paladins be ready?"
The queen smiled. "Very well, you will depart first thing tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I have more pleasant business."
She reached into her bag and pulled out a small ornamented box. "As you know, the crusades have been ongoing for over a century now. During that time, we have developed quite a few awards and decorations for those who perform exceptional actions in the conflict."
She pulled out five circular blue medals, each adorned with a pair of grey eyes. "For recovering the details of our troop movements from the cultists of Deskari and returning them to the crusaders, I award you, Irabeth, Merissa, Jake, Kariss, and NoPrey, the Righteous Medal of Clarity."
Each party member received his or her medal as the queen went on.
"Jake, as I understand it, you slew many demons that were extremely deadly for one of your skill. For this, I award you the Righteous Medal of Valor."
She handed Jake a medal shaped like a demonic skull, the top of which had been pierced by four red-hilted swords.

"Thank you for your service to our cause. I will leave you to prepare and rest for the evening.
And... good luck!"

For Jake, Merissa, and NoPrey, the rest of the day was relatively uneventful. Jake socialized in the tavern with the other surviving guardsmen, NoPrey worked on his journal, and, grudgingly acknowledged as the most powerful cleric at Defender's Heart, Merissa was kept busy healing, curing, and blessing people.
Kariss had a much greater surprise in store, as early in the evening, Aravashnial arrived, face (and eyes) fully restored!
"Kariss, I do not exaggerate one bit when I say that it is wonderful to see you! Would you do me the honor of dining with me this evening?"
Kariss consented and they had a pleasant, though utterly chaste, evening. It seemed that elves did indeed move very slowly in courtship!

=====
27-Arodus-4713

The morning arrived all too quickly for Kariss and NoPrey, but the paladins, Merissa, and Sosiel had already finished their morning devotions, Jake was up and about, and the army was ready to march. They traveled north along the edge of the Worldwound, the plan being to arrive at Valas' Gift, a farming outpost for Kenabres, in the late afternoon or early evening. There was little hope that Valas' Gift would have been left unscathed by the demonic hordes, so all prepared for the worst as they traveled.
While Kariss rode alongside Aravashnial, Merissa seemed to be getting along splendidly with Sosiel, and they had together come up with a plan to supplement the army's food supplies by combining their abilities to create as much food and water as possible, saving the carried supplies for emergencies. Merissa's newfound mythic abilities enhanced this food production even further, so it seemed they might be able to travel almost indefinitely on only the food provided by the two clerics. Aron occasionally rode with them, but he and Nurah spent most of their time scouting ahead. Just because they weren't in the Worldwound proper didn't mean that demons might not be lying in wait for them. Jake spent his time chatting with the paladins (especially the women), while Irabeth and Anevia rode at the front. The party was happy to see that Anevia's leg had been healed as well; apparently the queen had been able to find more than one scroll of Regeneration.
NoPrey... was NoPrey...

Sure enough, as the afternoon wore on, Aron and Nurah rode back to report that Valas' Gift had been sacked. The demons hadn't been interested in a strategic victory, but rather a demoralizing one, and thus had left the fields relatively intact while utterly destroying the village. Irabeth commanded that the army would make camp just outside of Valas' gift, and send search parties to a radius of 2 miles to try to find any survivors. The paladins, assisted by Aron, Nurah, and Anevia searched in vain; here and there they found an all-too-obviously human bone, but neither survivors nor complete corpses. Many of the food caches hadn't been disturbed, and Irabeth reluctantly ordered the army to refill their rations. Between Merissa, Sosiel, and the supplies, the army was still completely stocked.
Dinner was a somber affair, and afterwards Irabeth said a few words for the fallen before the army retired for the night.

=====
28-Arodus-4713

Irabeth's plan for the next day was to reach Vilareth Ford, one of the few stretches of the Sellen River shallow enough to allow an army to cross. Many of the paladins held out hope that the small force that normally guarded the ford had been able to repel any attacks, but others were more skeptical; Vilareth Ford was the obvious crossing between Drezen and Kenabres, so if Aponavicius had sent any troops at all to assist in the sack of Kenabres, the ford would have been lost.
In the late morning, Aron returned to report what seemed to be a halfling hiding among the rocks along the river. The party investigated and found a young halfling dressed in the ragged remnants of a squire's uniform. He clutched a massive book, nearly as big as his torso, to his chest. "Are... are you crusaders? Thank the Heavens! It is saved!"

The puzzled party returned with the halfling (and the book) to the army, where the halfling was peppered with half a dozen Detect Evils, a few Detect Magics, and a Zone of Truth from Merissa. His name was Fenton Bootblack. Surprisingly, not a single observer quipped, "More like Bootlick!" Paladins and their morals. *SIGH*.
Fenton's master, Lord Terryn Trueblade (now THAT was a name that inspired confidence), paladin of Iomedae, had decided that, as current protector of the holy book Fenton carried, it was his holy duty to go on a secret mission to infiltrate Undarin in the heart of the Worldwound and rescue any remaining Sarkorites or captured crusaders enslaved there. What Lord Trueblade lacked in brains, he more than made up for in bravery and compassion. Unfortunately, his small band of crusaders was barely a match for even the first bebelith that ambushed them, so when an almost-fully-grown nabasu drained Lord Terryn of most of his life, his followers scattered and left him to die. Only Fenton remained true, and the dying Lord Terryn pressed the tome into Fenton's arms, urging him to get both the book and himself out of the Worldwound and to the safety of Mendev.
Unfortunately, Fenton had little idea what the book was. Fortunately, working together Sosiel and Merissa worked out that the book was none other than the Lymrin Discourses, an ancient study of the martial aspects of Iomedae's worship, valued by clerics and paladins alike for the boons one could reap studying it every morning. While the boons might have been useful to Merissa, the party felt that taking the tome back into the Worldwound after all the effort Fenton put forth to get it safely out would be unkind. They asked four paladins to escort Fenton and the book back to Kenabres and the queen.

GM Note: While the AP has quite the nasty events for anyone leaving the army (the whole Arles Jhestander thing implies that any small group of paladins trying to traverse the road would die horribly), I didn't want to punish the party for roleplaying "good" characters who chose the Crusade's greater good over their own, so I absolutely let them ship stuff back and forth from Kenabres. But I reduced their army's combat strength accordingly, for all the good it did the enemies.

As they approached the ford, their worst fears were realized: It was held by an army of tieflings, with no sign of the crusaders who were supposed to be protecting it. The paladins did not hesitate; in spite of being outnumbered almost two to one, they charged down upon the surprised tieflings. While I'd say this was a pathetic fight, I've read historical accounts of cavalry charges against foot troops, and this worked out about as one would expect. The paladins took no losses; the tieflings were obliterated. There was a small goat-like demon who seemed to be their leader, surrounded by half a dozen tieflings, but as the fight became a rout she teleported away. In other words, well before the party could approach her.
As the party started looting the fallen, the paladins quailed at taking equipment used by demonspawn. Kariss spoke up. She spoke of their mission, and how the hopes of the crusade rested on them getting to Drezen and freeing the Sword of Valor. And to do that, they could not quail at using the enemies' resources against them; in fact, it was their duty to do so! Only by taking advantage of every available resource, no matter how distasteful, could they hope to succeed and drive the demons out of Drezen! The paladins responded with a hearty cheer, and set to searching for useful items among the dead.
GM Note: Another magnificent oration by Kariss' player, backed by a spectacular Diplomacy roll to rally the pallies into looting. Woo hoo!

As Anevia and Aron scouted for more enemies, Irabeth, Sosiel, and Merissa searched for survivors. Soon enough they found a dozen surviving crusaders locked in a stone supply house. The survivors' ranking officer was Kamilio Dann, a female paladin of Iomedae. She reported on the atrocities that had been committed against her and her people, up to and including human sacrifice, and warned the crusaders that they had overheard that a larger army was awaiting them at "Keeper's Canyon". Kamilio offered to lead her survivors back the Kenabres to report on the army's progress, and the group took her up on her offer.

As a final act of defiance against the demons, the party had the army gather the dead tieflings into a massive pile for cremation, then had Merissa Consecrate the mound before burning it.

GM Note: It's really a pretty neat idea. I think it was NoPrey's player who noted that Consecrate severs ties with an enemy god. So he figures that even if the tieflings made bargains with demons so their souls would go somewhere other than the Boneyard, Consecrating them would break that tie and they'd have to go to the Boneyard for judgement no matter what. (NoPrey's player denies being clever enough to have come up with that, but we'll give him credit anyway. :-P) I'm not sure it's Golarion canon, and I certainly don't think I put that idea in his head, but I can't fault his logic, and it just doesn't cost too much to Consecrate a pile of dead tieflings.

Knowing that there was an army waiting for them at Keeper's Canyon, and knowing that delay might allow that army to gather reinforcements, Irabeth pushed the army on a bit farther that day, finally settling down perhaps 10 miles north of the ford.

As they settled into their tents, Kariss was a bit alarmed to find a human jawbone hanging from a string in hers. It reeked of powerful magic. She called the rest of the party to examine it. Finally NoPrey, fearing no human spirits, tried to take it down. As soon as he touched it, it crumbled to dust.
"Oh, well," NoPrey squawked, "They don't make 'em like they used to."

Uncomfortable with this odd resolution, Kariss nonetheless went to sleep in the women's tent.

=====
29-Arodus-4713

In the morning, the jawbone was back. Kariss sighed. She fundamentally knew that this jawbone was going to follow her around until she did something about it. As she picked it up, she knew that she was holding the jawbone of the Venerable Galevius, a famous Chelish diplomat who had been instrumental in uniting Aroden and Iomedae's followers into what eventually became the First Crusade. Each tooth held a special power of diplomacy, and she could crush a tooth to gain that power for an hour.
Deciding that carrying around such a useful and tactful old jawbone wasn't so bad after all, Kariss packed it away for future use.

As Kariss was dealing with the jawbone in her tent, in the men's tent Jake had an idea.

Instead of marching hard all day, then fighting the army at Keeper's Canyon in the early evening where the forces of darkness would be at an advantage, why not spend an extra day and assault them in the early morning when the growing light would be to their advantage? Irabeth agreed; they would march to within about 10 miles of Keeper's Canyon and then stop for the evening, hopefully both confusing the enemy army at their failure to arrive, and giving them a tactical advantage fighting in the morning with the sun at their backs.

As they marched, Kariss noticed that Aron was acting a bit strangely; he was far more nervous than usual, and even a bit snippy. When he refused to tell her what was wrong (other than vague "concerns about the crusade" that were obviously absolute nonsense) and stormed off, she decided to approach Sosiel. Sosiel cursed and said he would take care of it.
Kariss was nonplussed at being dismissed so readily, and she did not care for Sosiel's mistrust of her. On the other hand, she wasn't stealthy enough to follow him. So she sent Rishi, Wonder Weasel, in her stead.
Rishi relayed Sosiel and Aron's conversation to her. Apparently, Aron was a former drug user, and was using again. Kariss was incensed! How could he be so stupid as to endanger the entire mission by drug use?!?!

She gathered the party and confronted Aron. He apologized profusely, and with Sosiel's help they cleared him of the drug, shadowblood, which was essentially the essence of a shadow demon. They asked him where he had found the drug, and he claimed he had found it in his pack. The party grew concerned: They had a traitor in their midst!
Grabbing a couple of paladins who had demonstrated paladin-like abilities that would be nearly impossible to mimic (such as channeling positive energy), the party scoured the camp with Detect Evil and Detect Magic, but found nothing.

GM Note: At this point I was proud of my players for not going for the obvious, "Well, we have three new NPCs. Let's tie all three down while we search all their belongings." It would have been a short adventure for the saboteur indeed! I was also happy none of them pointed out Nurah immediately; she'd been extremely quiet during the session (TOO MANY NPCS!!!!), so I was hoping she was flying 'under the radar'. Also, I realize that the paladins' Detect Evil is a spell-like ability, so whether or not Magic Aura would fool it might come under debate at some tables, but if you can Dispel a spell-like ability, you can fool one in my book!

The rest of the day passed uneventfully, with the party setting up camp perhaps 10 miles from Keeper's Canyon. Jake and Sosiel kept a watchful eye on Aron, but his bags (and he) were clean at the end of the day.

=====
30-Arodus-4713

Morning dawned with the paladins chomping at the bit to assail Keeper's Canyon. Neither the party nor Irabeth saw any reason to hold them back, so they were unleashed on a combined army of tieflings and dretches.
It really didn't go any better for the demons. The ranged attacks and Smite Evil made this fight a rout as well. The party spotted a horned man in a cloak watching the battle, surrounded by a few tieflings and dretches, but as his armies fell he, too, turned and teleported away.
During the battle, Kariss focused on Aron's bag. Even during the aftermath, as Merissa and Sosiel went to provide what little healing was needed, and Aron, Nurah, and Anevia scouted for further threats, Kariss watched. When Aron finally returned, they opened his bag together.

And there it was. Another vial of shadowblood.

Kariss was even more angry! How had this person managed to slip the vial into Aron's bag with her right there? They destroyed the shadowblood, and knew Aron was innocent. But who was the traitor?

Jake said, "Leave it to me. We'll catch him during the next fight."

The army marched forward for most of the day, finally stopping at an unremarkable spot somewhere along the Ahari River bed.

GM Note: Yes, yes I did totally skip Arles Jhestander's loss of faith. In two full battles against three armies the paladins had taken... 0 points of damage. No, I'm not talking, "They healed all their damage." I'm talking, "The enemy troops never managed that DV 18 roll to do any damage at all." So the notion that some of the paladins were losing faith was just sad, and silly, and I didn't want another Queen Galfrey incident, so I just dumped him. In my campaign he was happy. I'm a good GM that way. I'm good to (some of) my NPCs :-P

Then, Jake played his ace in the hole. "OK. I stay up all night."

I winced. My perception-focused, "I'm going to take Wisdom and Skill Focus and be a half-elf just to have a Perception roll through the roof," was lying in wait for poor Nurah, who already knew there was a trap waiting for her during the next battle.
GM Note: And yes, with that little stunt I made him make a Bluff roll against Nurah's Sense Motive. Oh, wait! What's that you say? Nurah doesn't HAVE Sense Motive? Yeah, I learned that. The hard way.

So an invisible Nurah crept quietly into the tent to place her next vial of shadowblood. Unfortunately, there are certain laws of physics to be obeyed, even among the invisible. She had to move a tent flap. I believe I still gave her a +10 to her already-sizable Stealth roll, but it wasn't enough. Jake waited until she was at Aron's pack, then used his second surprise of the evening for me: He used a move action to stand up, a move action to get to the door, and burned a mythic surge to take an attack and cut down the tent.
On top of the invisible Nurah.
One quick-and-hopeless "grappling fighter vs. bard who didn't bother to take Escape Artist either" and Nurah was captured.

Jake's shenanigans woke up Sosiel, NoPrey, and Aron, as well as everyone in the women's tent. Not wanting to deal with her in the evening, they bundled her up and hung her in the middle of the women's tent until morning.

=====
31-Arodus-4713

In the morning, Nurah was spitting mad just long enough for Kariss to hammer her with a Charm Person. The next hour or so was taken up by Nurah and Kariss having a pleasant little breakfast of tea and scones (well, trail biscuit, but they're really the same thing, aren't they?) with some lemon curd (well, salted gruel, but they're really... oh, never mind!)

Nurah's story did her no favors. She was scribe and tactician for Lord Axilar Trezbot during the Fourth Crusade, and found that she greatly savored the carnage and destruction the never-ending war provided. On being captured when her lord was slaughtered, she considered it "freedom" and pledged her support to the demons, excelling as a long-term infiltrator and saboteur.
Kariss tried to find some spark worth redeeming in her. She relished destruction. She had personally arranged the deaths of dozens of devout crusaders. She had no regrets about those deaths, and was mainly upset that she had worked so hard to get to the queen's side, only to be assigned to the heroes instead.
Kariss had heard enough. With Irabeth's assistance, they bundled her up, packed her in a saddlebag, and sent another four paladins to deliver her back to Queen Galfrey. (And there was quite some argument as to whether to leave her alive at all.)

GM Note: As I said, I regret the way I played Nurah, but if you look at her background, her deeds, and her attitude, there's really nothing much worth redeeming in there. As a GM you have to add some depth to her if you want the PCs to make an error, and with the number of NPCs I was running I just failed to add that depth. I'll admit it was my mistake, but I'm not particularly unhappy about it. I was glad to be rid of yet another NPC cluttering up my side of the screen, and I just don't see my group as being enamored of saving her. Arushelae is far more my cup of tea, but that's a dozen or more sessions away.

*** End of Session ***
(Well, not really, but all they did was find the chapel, climb the stairs, and kill the gargoyles. I think that fits in better in next sessions writeup.)

Next planned game: 22-June-2014 (Already played)


...and now we have to congratulate Tangent101 on being the first person EVER to favorite one of my campaign journals before I could even finish editing it.

How did you know I didn't say something horrifically offensive in my journal, Tangent? How!?!?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maybe it was the delivery, but why are your PCs so upset with the Queen? Is this a case of 'shooting the messenger' or something? She goes out of her way to acknowledge them as heroes, despite naysayers and critics, and congratulates them on their deeds, yet, your PCs seem to view her as the one chastising them for their actions.

It just seems odd that they bare so much negativity towards the Queen.

Small nitpicks, Consecrate doesn't work that way; the aspect NoPrey's player describe is used to cut off the power of another deity's altar, so that it can no longer provide benefit for the followers of a God. For example, a Cleric of Saranrae might use Consecrate to prevent Cultists of Urgathoa from using an altar to bolster Undead. Also, Magic Aura has no effect on your alignment as it makes a magical item look non-magical or a non-magical item look magical. What you're looking for is Misdirection which would have allowed Nurah to cast it on something like a dagger, or her shirt, and then anytime someone casts Detect Evil on her, it would, instead, reveal the Evil (or absence) of her shirt. Since the shirt isn't Evil, Nurah would not appear to be so either.


Tels wrote:
Maybe it was the delivery, but why are your PCs so upset with the Queen? Is this a case of 'shooting the messenger' or something? She goes out of her way to acknowledge them as heroes, despite naysayers and critics, and congratulates them on their deeds, yet, your PCs seem to view her as the one chastising them for their actions.

Yeah, I didn't understand it either. I actually went back and re-read the specific part and said, "See? She believes in you! She's just mentioning what others think."

"Well, she's the queen. She should shut them up!"

Maybe one of the players will explain it to both of us. :-P

Quote:
Small nitpicks, Consecrate doesn't work that way

Oh, we all know that. I was just explaining NoPrey's reasoning for making Merissa Consecrate the pile of dead tieflings. (Kariss' player was joking about how they should have all hidden behind it. And if you don't get that reference, shame on you!) (Wow! That's a horribly-edited clip! Let me see if I can find better in under an hour. If not... *SIGH*. Nope. That's the best I can find.)

Quote:
Also, Magic Aura has no effect on your alignment as it makes a magical item look non-magical or a non-magical item look magical.

Again, that was my issue. Shadowblood has a moderate evil evocation aura. So you put Magic Aura on it and it no longer appears magical. BUT... does it still detect as Evil to a Detect Evil spell or ability?

I can see arguments both ways.
- "It's CL 9, so it has an evil aura, and that's different from a magic aura so it's not suppressed."
- "It's a magic item and Magic Aura suppresses that magical aura, including the evil part."

I believe the second argument is correct, so I went with that. They weren't spamming to find Nurah; they were spamming to find the shadowblood.


I adjusted the Queen's speech as well.

I eliminated the mass combat. It can be fun in an adventure like Kingmaker where the armies are fighting for your kingdom. It's not very fun for mythic characters that are supposed to be able to destroy enemy armies alone. I built the encounters with that in mind. They get to wipe out hordes of demons alone.

It goes along with my modifications to the Queen's speech stating that retaking Drezen and recovering the banner is thought to be impossible. She feels the PCs were meant to be able to do the impossible. They have been sent to retake Drezen and clear the way for armies to march into The Worldwound taking the war to the demons.

Silver Crusade

I did translated the speech into German (my players prefer it) and added quite a bit at the end to raise the moral.... and after that 2 Ulkreth demons teleported into the middle of the camp ^^
Why players managed to almost kill one of them and the queen took care of the second one..... to reiterate they almost killed a CR 15 demon with some unlucky rolls from the demon.

Army combat, sound nice on paper, and is actually better in the Kingmaker AP, but in actual play it is rather bland. I tend to use it as a backdrop, while the PCs face the enemy army commander.

The number of NPCs gets out of hand, I think all the NPCs in Book 2 aren't really necessary. I managed to foreshadow/introduce some of them in book 2, but even with an NPC list (basically the inside cover of the APs with blank squares instead of descriptions) it gets old pretty quick. God knows how GMs with larger groups handle this.


Maybe it should be made clear that she thinks they're idiots?

The people who are muttering about how destroying the Wardstone was treason, that is, not the PCs.

Also, point out that as a Lawful Good monarch, she doesn't feel like it would be a proper use of her powers to simply silence people.


horngeek wrote:

Maybe it should be made clear that she thinks they're idiots?

The people who are muttering about how destroying the Wardstone was treason, that is, not the PCs.

Also, point out that as a Lawful Good monarch, she doesn't feel like it would be a proper use of her powers to simply silence people.

I made it clear that she disagrees with the doubters.


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22-June-2014 Game

After so many warnings about how mythic would break things, this session made me ecstatic; the party had an incredibly nasty fight in the Lost Chapel, to the point that I started seriously worrying about a TPK (but not enough to let up, since I was having trouble keeping individual PCs down).

So the "GM Notes" for this session are sparse: The as-written chapel is really nice. The gargoyles give the party a false sense of invincibility, the inept ghoul clerics reinforce that sense, and Nulkineth isn't tough enough to dissuade them from thinking of the whole area as a walkover.

Then, along comes Maugla...

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31-Arodus-4713

After sending Nurah back towards Kenabres with another quartet of paladins, the group was ready to proceed. The army marched up Keeper's Canyon towards Kenabres proper. Before they had travelled even an hour, they came upon a narrow wooden staircase leading up to the top of the canyon. Aron identified it as a staircase to one of the old chapels that had been put in as waystations for travellers going to and from Drezen, as well as hospitals for injured crusaders. All of the chapels were in disrepair now, but in earlier times they carried ample medical supplies for large numbers of crusaders. The supplies were always well-hidden, so there was a chance they were still intact after all these years.

That was all the motivation the party needed. Leaving Irabeth, Aron, Anevia, and Sosiel to watch over the army, they carefully climbed the treacherous staircase. Jake, being the best climber of the group, went first, trailing a rope behind to assist Kariss, NoPrey, and finally Merissa in getting to the top of the cliff.

As expected, the chapel was in ruins. Overgrown weeds choked a courtyard beyond a smashed and broken gate, and many of the statues decorating the roof of the chapel were damaged beyond repair. Unfortunately, Jake's Perception roll was far beyond the feeble Stealh rolls of the gargoyles, even among the statuary, and the party opened fire on the hapless gargoyles with magical bows and Magic Missiles. To say the fight was one-sided would be an understatement. The gargoyles, incensed by being hit by bows that could penetrate their damage reduction, moved in to engage the party hand-to-hand. They met Jake, with Merissa providing additional protection for NoPrey and Kariss. Enough said.

The gargoyles dispatched, the party proceeded to the chapel proper. Their first order of business was to search the stables for signs of recent activity. There was nothing there but the remains of a few hapless victims of the gargoyles and a small number of magical weapons that paled in comparison to those already wielded by the party. Into Jake's Bag of Holding they went.
The party moved to the door of the chapel proper and Jake listened, hearing both scurrying and spellcasting within.

GM Note: OK. I really *tried* to run these poor clerics as-written. But at CL 3 trying to use a CL 9 scroll turns out to be remarkably impossible... at least with my die....

The resulting combat was less-than-stellar. The party opened the door to find a horde (well 6) of ghouls and two ghoul clerics, all in a Desecrate aura and ready for (almost) anything. The ghoul clerics spent two rounds each trying to use their scrolls of Summon Monster V. Jake, seeing them trying to use scrolls, stepped in and use his bow to further disrupt their casting. All of their efforts combined resulted in a single babau. They would have been a LOT better off behaving like ordinary ghouls.
On the other hand, as for the ordinary ghouls, Merissa introduced them to the Sun domain (Channel resistance? What's that?) and most perished before getting a chance to get even a single attack on a party member. (I figured the +3 profane bonus from Desecrate still applied, but they rolled terribly and burned prolifically.) Jake engaged the ghoul clerics while the babau laid into Merissa with great gusto. NoPrey stood behind her, healing her as she battled for her life, and Kariss spent her time experimenting with various damage spells to see what affected babaus.

Eventually, all of the ghouls fell, and the party took a moment to heal up and check the ghouls for useful gear.
GM Note: Once again, you have an enemy who knows he's under attack (Nulkineth), but his tactics-as-written are basically, "He buffs up and sits in his room 'til the party gets there."
It's a BAAAD tactic. He's not all that tough. Make him join the ghouls.

With the chapel cleared, the party started moving through the compound, looking for more enemies. First was a dining hall, converted into a rather obvious torture chamber. Next was a kitchen being used as a larder by the ghouls. The party cut down the fallen soldiers there and had Merissa say some words over them. Jake listened at the next door, and a voice boomed out, "Coward! Come through then! Face me and face your doom!"
The party, not being idiots, had NoPrey open the door as Merissa channelled. She rolled really, really REALLY well. The poor ghouls that had been waiting in ambush burned in a furnace of holy light. Jake rushed in and introduced Nulkineth the half-nabasu to the concept of being whacked upon. Nulkineth disapproved of this philosophy and struck back, damaging Jake for over 50 points in a single round! One mythic Cure Serious Wounds from Merissa took care of that problem, while Jake and Kariss dealt with the problem of Nulkineth being alive.

The party moved on into a mysteriously-silent room lined with stained glass. Kariss and NoPrey could determine that the room was under the effects of a permanent Silence spell, but not why anyone would do such a thing. The party immediately suspected a trap. Jake moved through the room first, and caught a glimpse of something flying in the sky outside of the stained glass window.
GM Note: This was a lot of fun. Maugla the nabasu demon saw that Jake has spotted him, so he summoned a second nabasu and they moved in opposite directions to surround and annihilate the party. It was a great game of cat-and-mouse as I tracked the demons the party could neither see nor hear (because of the Silence) as the party set up their defenses from they-knew-not-what.

Jake stepped out of one end of the mediation room, spotted a demon flying low in the sky, and hit it with a Holy Arrow. It looked like it fled. Unfortunately, that was a ruse to put the party in position for the other demon to hit them with Mass Hold Person. In yet another epic moment of, "OK, that spell is WAAAAY too powerful", we learned that Hold Person is indeed a mind-affecting [compulsion] enchantment, meaning Jake's Magic Circle Against Evil protected everyone except NoPrey from its effects. Moving out of the Silence, Merissa managed to turn into the hero of the combat first by Dispelling the hold on NoPrey, then Dispelling the summoned nabasu. Who knew?
Kariss, frustrated by her inability to target the other nabasu, decided to teach it a lesson the old-fashioned way. She put Fly on Jake while NoPrey put Haste on him. Yeah, THAT'S a flying demon-killer.
The nabasu got its licks in: It hit Merissa with a 4-level Enervation forcing her to hide in a corner for the latter portion of the fight, fearing another hit, and got in some good damage on Jake, but a Hasted Flying fighter who's critting every round just doesn't make for long-lasting foes.

The demon was finally killed, and the party searched the rest of the chapel. Once they were sure it was secure, they brought up Irabeth, Anevia, Sosiel, and Aron and the eight of them spent time cleaning the chapel. They found a massive cache of healing potions that they distributed to the army. Cleansing the temple and distributing the potions also managed to further awaken Radiance, but since Radiance was in Irabeth's hands I didn't worry about it too much.

At the end of an exhausting day, the party finally retired to their tents.
Cue Exorius, cranky incubus looking for revenge after his armies got slaughtered by Irabeth's. The party was essentially bereft of resources after their day at the temple, so it would be a simple matter to kill all the PCs in one of the tents. But which one, which one? Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, he chose to teleport into the men's tent, away from the fully-rested paladin with the awakened legendary sword. Go figure. No accounting for taste!

Unfortunately for Exorius, NoPrey had taken Darkvision as a mythic ability, so when he landed in the men's tent and I gave everyone Perception rolls to wake up, not only did NoPrey wake up but he could see Exorius and sounded quite the alarm.

Exorius rolled too low on his initiative to get off a coup de grace, and the nekkid menfolk held him at bay long enough for Irabeth to arrive. And roll a double crit. On first hit. While Smiting Evil. With Radiance. My entire notes for poor Exorius are, "Exorius met Irabeth. Ow."
Yeah, Jake was holding his own, but Irabeth... ow. Yeah. Ow.

The multitude of paladins healed up the menfolk, the women went back to their tent, and everyone slept soundly for the rest of the night.

*** End of Session ***
Next planned game: 26-June-2014 (Already played)


And yes, I already sent out the 26-June writeup. We're playing less (boo!) allowing me to write more (yay!).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You are still quite a way before tier three, so your triumphalism may be a bit premature. ^^


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magnuskn wrote:
You are still quite a way before tier three, so your triumphalism may be a bit premature. ^^

The 14 year old in me wants to say, "That's what she said!"

I blame Cosmo.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

the funniest part for me is for some reason i haven't figured out i was thinking NoPrey was an animal companion:) this is a good reason to start from the beginning which i started last night:)

i am curious about the name but i'll go back and check to see if its explained earlier in the thread:)


magnuskn wrote:
You are still quite a way before tier three, so your triumphalism may be a bit premature. ^^

We actually finished Book 3 already, as I posted in the "Failed AP" thread. I'm just a SLOOOOOW writer when my pesky players are making me run 3x a week.

No game this week, and very unlikely next week (pesky Halloween), so my writeups may finally get less than 4 months behind!


captain yesterday wrote:

the funniest part for me is for some reason i haven't figured out i was thinking NoPrey was an animal companion:) this is a good reason to start from the beginning which i started last night:)

i am curious about the name but i'll go back and check to see if its explained earlier in the thread:)

Yeah, definitely start at the beginning. NoPrey's name is explained in his background story.

I'm not running anything except a quick Jade Regent for the next 2 weeks, so I should have time to get us at least through July... I hope...


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26-June-2014 Game

On paper, I really like the vescavor swarms. Each swarm is a really nasty fight for a group of 6th-level PCs ("HOW many AE damage spells do you have prepped?"), and the AP makes it very easy to overwhelm a group that doesn't proceed with extreme caution.
On the other hand, an extremely cautious group protected by Protection from Evil should be able to sneak in, assassinate the queen, and get the heck out of there without a ton of trouble.

Needless to say, my party took the latter approach and the entire vescavor caves didn't even merit a line in my notes. They went in, they avoided any combats, they killed the queen, and they got the heck out of there. It wasn't until much, much later that they even noticed the rift in the caves.

So it was a short session marked by very good tactical acumen in the vescavor caves, more pointless army fights on arrival in Drezen, and then the PCs pulling out something "obvious but deadly" on me that I had to allow, but that turned the haunted vault into quite the joke, though Kariss might disagree with this assessment.

Anyway, a short session, but lots of writing to do, so let's dive in:

=====
01-Rova-4713

In the morning, the army performed its devotions, pulled up stakes, and moved out. After a couple of hours on the move, Aron and Anevia returned with disturbing news: The canyon ahead was filled with some kind of green mist through which the army would have to pass. A series of questions followed, during which the party determined that the mist wasn't spreading, so it was most likely safe to approach it with the army and further investigate.
They moved up, and quickly learned that the "mist" was in fact tens of thousands of tiny carnivorous Abyssal vermin known as vescavores. There wasn't an obvious way around them; they filled the canyon, and the walls of the canyon were too steep for the paladins to climb, much less their mounts. (Stupid paladins and their hopeless Climb rolls!)
The party met with Irabeth, Anevia, Aron, Aravashnial, and Sosiel, trying to work out a resolution. Aron suggested that the swarm was so large it was likely that a queen was near, so a small stealthy group might be able to infiltrate the hive, locate the queen, slay her, and thereby disperse the swarm.

Jake knew a job when it clubbed him on the head. The party gathered their stuff, Merissa put Magic Circle Against Evil on Jake, and they crept forward, seeking an entrance to the hive that they could fit into.
It didn't take long for them to find such a hole, rig up a rope, and climb down.

GM Note: Personally, I like the way the caves are done: The once-a-minute Stealth vs. impeded Perception checks adds a sense of urgency and danger to the caves, without overwhelming the party with swarms when they're unlikely to have much equipment for dealing with them. OK, yeah, a sorceress is excellent "equipment", but even her 6d6 fireballs would typically take at least two per swarm, so this area is excellent TPK territory if you just lay down a bunch of swarms and start 'em moving after the first fireball.
Unfortunately, my Stealth-impeded cleric didn't roll under a 17, and the vescavors rolled a 3, a 2, and a 5, so the party had a distinct lack of danger getting to the queen.

The floors, walls, and ceilings of the cavern were covered with a vile, slippery/sticky mucous-like compound that make progress slow. Not wanting to attract the attention of too many vescavors, the party proceeded through the caverns with extreme caution. While they frequently passed individual vescavors that seemed somewhat disoriented (either from their recent births or from their recent transportation to the Material Plane, the party couldn't tell), they managed not to attract undue attention.
Within a few minutes, they came upon a massive cavern in which rested a massive vescavor -- obviously the queen. For lack of any better tactic, Merissa buffed Jake, NoPrey performed, and Jake and Kariss laid into the hapless creature. I'd say that it put up a valiant fight, but with everyone making their Will saves against her Gibber and Kariss obliterating the swarms with fireballs that included the queen, it was much more of a, "We walk up and kill it," encounter.

As soon as the queen was dead, the swarms started dispersing, and the group returned to the army to move on.

GM Note: Yeah, here's a shortcoming of the caverns: You WANT them to go to the rift in E4 to fight the vrock and seal the rift, but once they defeat the queen and the swarms start dispersing, they don't have a strong reason to continue exploring. The description provides for a "purple glow to the southeast", and I think you have to play that up. As it is, I didn't map out the caverns, I didn't emphasize the glow, and so the party just walked down, killed the queen, walked out, and moved on. I'm sure I could have been meaner and had more stuff emerge from the rift over the 2-3 weeks between the death of the queen and their final closure of the rift, but it really was a case of, "This particular aspect of the AP doesn't interest me that much, so I'm not going to pay too much attention to it."
In short, decide how much you want to play up that particular rift before you run it. In hindsight, I wish I'd made it a bit more important, as it would have made future events (the Plague searching out rifts to drain their energy, the Lexicon of Paradox giving them the power to seal such rifts, etc.) much more poignant. But as I said it was a short night, and I was just trying to get them to Drezen. My bad.

The army proceeded to Drezen. Aron and Anevia scouted ahead and reported the standing armies: An army of tieflings at the southern entrance to the city, a veritable army of ghouls in a cemetary to the southwest, and an army of schir demons to the northeast.
The party chose to just walk in and run the combats. As before, they were boring and anticlimactic. The combined tiefling/cultist armies got obliterated. The ghoul army encountered channeled positive energy. The schir army wasn't nearly as nasty of a fight as expected. So we wrapped up the army combat in a single day, and the army encamped to recover just outside of the southern portion of the city.

=====
02-Rova-4713

Continuing the theme of, "We have an army of paladins with us, what should we care," the party started the morning by surrounding a dangerous-seeming Haunted Vault in the cemetary with paladins. On cue, ALL of them channeled positive energy to destroy undead.
Why yes, Virginia, there ISN'T a single square anywhere within the vault that isn't within 30' of the outside. Moxsahbuul had an unpleasant awakening.

Fortunately, the PCs assumed that the sheer number of channeled energies would have killed anything inside, so they took their own sweet time breaking down the front door and getting in, allowing some of Moxsahbuul's fast healing to take effect. The berbalang climbed to the ceiling of the vault, hid itself, and waited as the party explored...
It went beautifully for a few rounds. None of the party members spotted Moxsahbuul, and he was able to drop down on Kariss with no one near to help her, and he did great damage.

Unfortunately, between Jake's blows and Merissa's healing, massive damage to Kariss did little more than irritate the party. Jake's aligned sword ripped Moxsahbuul apart, Kariss helped with anger-driven Magic Missiles, and Merissa kept everyone intact.

Once the fight was over, Merissa used a mythic Dispel Magic to remove the Unhallow effect from the vault, they spent the day cleaning it, and realized that Merissa would need to prepare a large number of Mending and Make Whole spells for the next day to repair all the damage the berbalang had done to the former holy site. It had originally been designed to hold hundreds of urns with ashes of fallen crusaders, and now all the urns lay broken and the ashes lay scattered. They were sure that Merissa would be able to fix it all in the morning.

*** End of Session ***
Next planned game: 28-June-2014 (Already played)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I used the swarms as more of a timer on the fight, so if they didn't beat the queen in time they would be in trouble. Also the swarms are fire resistant so I doubt a 6d6 fireball would take out any. But you planted a seed in case you do want to use that rift later.

I didn't use mass combat for many reasons stated by everyone but there's no way I'd let an army all use channel energy like that. Just like the army of dretches don't all cast stinking cloud to win. And I'm pretty sure that solid rock/earth would block channeling.


Seannoss wrote:

I used the swarms as more of a timer on the fight, so if they didn't beat the queen in time they would be in trouble. Also the swarms are fire resistant so I doubt a 6d6 fireball would take out any. But you planted a seed in case you do want to use that rift later.

I didn't use mass combat for many reasons stated by everyone but there's no way I'd let an army all use channel energy like that. Just like the army of dretches don't all cast stinking cloud to win. And I'm pretty sure that solid rock/earth would block channeling.

As a swarm, the vescavors take 1.5x from fireballs before you apply the fire resistance. So 6d6 averages 21, x1.5 = 31, -10 for fire resist = 21. So two fireballs (with failed saves) destroys a swarm.

Oh, they waited until I'd mapped out the vault, then lined paladins along the wall. If you're handed 100 4th-level paladins, you don't have to use them as an army, you can use individuals, which is what they did.

I'm afraid I looked, and there's nothing in the rules about stone blocking channeling -- it's one of the really nice ways to take out incorporeal creatures hiding in the walls...


And just to keep everyone in the loop, since I'm sure not every reader of the campaign journal also reads the "Failed AP" thread:


  • As of today (24-Oct-2014), we started Book 4 on Saturday, 18-Oct-2014 but didn't even get to the first combat. So you can call us "at the start of Book 4"
  • I'm avoiding any forward-looking spoilers in this thread, so people who just want to read the campaign journal can read it without fear of, "What happened to them next?"
  • The only exception to this is that I will be posting any obits in the obituaries thread. So if you want to remain 100% spoiler-free, avoid the "Failed AP" thread and the obits thread. No spoilers in this thread!
  • My next writeup includes the single-best-encounter of the entire AP so far, so I'm not going to promise it any time other than "soon". Without having to run a lot of games, I have more time to write and less of a backup, but I'm still 4 months behind, so there you go.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As for channeling, I think this covers it:

A burst spell affects whatever it catches in its area, including creatures that you can't see. It can't affect creatures with total cover from its point of origin (in other words, its effects don't extend around corners). The default shape for a burst effect is a sphere, but some burst spells are specifically described as cone-shaped. A burst's area defines how far from the point of origin the spell's effect extends.

I'd also misread what you had said about the fireball and reversed them :)


Seannoss wrote:

As for channeling, I think this covers it:

A burst spell affects whatever it catches in its area, including creatures that you can't see. It can't affect creatures with total cover from its point of origin (in other words, its effects don't extend around corners). The default shape for a burst effect is a sphere, but some burst spells are specifically described as cone-shaped. A burst's area defines how far from the point of origin the spell's effect extends.

I'd also misread what you had said about the fireball and reversed them :)

Right. It's all about whether you treat channeling energy as a "burst spell" or as something different. We've been treating it as "something different", because otherwise incorporeal enemies are just pain old nasty.

When I'm not getting hammered by work I'll look for an FAQ on exactly how much wall Channel Energy can pass through...


Interesting...I stand corrected.

So channels don't pass through walls at all. Changes the dynamics of how we play quite a bit, but I think we can adapt...


Mwahahahahahahahahahaha!

So, the Turntables have been turned!
this here, is a game changer!
[insert some other cliche involving tables being turned or even re-arranged]


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
NobodysHome wrote:

Interesting...I stand corrected. but I think we can adapt...

.....was the last thing the intrepid Adventurers said to the villagers before traipsing off into The Worldwound.... they were never heard from again......


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The Lich, Cliche BBEG wrote:

Mwahahahahahahahahahaha!

So, the Turntables have been turned!
this here, is a game changer!
[insert some other cliche involving tables being turned or even re-arranged]

Yes, Mr. Cliche BBEG, or may I call you "The"?

I remember channeling into total cover... 3 times in this entire AP (all in the last couple of writeups, so it's all done).

Leilani, on the other hand, has been keeping the party alive by being in the room behind them and channeling to heal them, only requiring line of sight on the enemies she wants to exclude using Selective Channeling. Making her have to have line of effect to all her allies is going to change tactics quite a bit. (Probably in a good way... I'm not particularly impressed with that group's tendency to run off in all directions willy-nilly and each player hopes Leilani follows him or her to keep them from dying...)

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