I'm running a WotR campaign and I've just started book 2. I've been jotting down notes of what happened each session so far.
This journal is going to be a bunch of sessions behind where the campaign actually stands. If my players read this, I don't want any spoilers.
If anyone reads this journal, you will notice a bunch of differences compared to the actual book. This is intentional! I have changed the backstories and abilities of some of the NPCs and some of the campaign background and tinkered with a bunch of encounters.
Campaign house rules
1) I do not use standard treasure. Instead, PCs are given their WBL as long as they have some downtime and a plausible area to upgrade their equipment.
2) Craft feats can be taken by anyone regardless of level, skills, caster level, etc. If you’re a caster, you’re probably creating your own items. If you’re a fighter, barbarian, rogue, etc, you have a good contact who will get you discounted items.
3) Since I use hero labs software, I’m not using standard ½ cost crafting. I allow the person who took the craft feat to get 20% increase in their WBL budget as long as the extra budget is spent on that category and 10% increase for all other party members. So a 3rd level PC with brew potions would normally have 3000 WBL. The feat would give that PC 600 extra gold as long as the extra was spent on potions and all other PCs get 300 extra gold to be spent on potions.
4) Consumables cost double the listed cost since the money isn’t lost permanently. You get a fresh budget each level and normal cost consumables would be too powerful.
5) For 9 level arcane casters, I allow them a custom feat called arcane blast. This basically does 1d8 energy damage per 2 caster levels as a range touch attack usable at will as long as you retain a spell slot of each level unused. So a 4th level sorcerer can do 2d8 damage as a range touch attack as long as he keeps a 1st and 2nd level spell slot unused. This may seem powerful, but it’s not that bad in practice. The damage is still much less than a dedicated martial, and the arcane caster will use this less over time as their spells get better. It also burns a feat, thus slightly reducing their power at high levels.
6) PCs are built on 20 points
7) Hero points are allowed
8) All hit points are ¾ max except for 1st level where they are max. So d6 would be 4.5/level, d8 would be 6/level, d10 would be 7.5/level, and d12 would be 9/level. 4.5/level means alternating 4 or 5 rolled per level and 7.5/level means alternating 7 or 8 rolled per level.
9) Dazing spell not allowed
10) 1 party NPC allowed after part 1 of book 1. So there will be 4 PCs and 1 GMPC in any encounter. NPCs are built on 20 pts and ¾ hp just like PCs.
11) I don’t give out XP. I level up the party where appropriate
12) I will not be using mythic rules
Valin: Half-elven Paladin of Iomedae
Quinnlyn: Half-elven Cleric of Iomedae
Ramirez: Human Cleric of Cayden
Cayden: Named after the deity. Human Sorcerer with silver dragon bloodline (descendent of Terendelev)
Hulrun – Mayor of the city. Pompous ass.
Nestrin – High Priest of Iomedae. Cheerful bureaucrat. Pretty humble.
Yarick – Leader of the Cheliax contingent of the crusade. Arrogant jerk.
Irabeth – Captain of the Eagle Watch.
Klarah – Serving wench who refused to give her name to PCs. She has seen too many crusaders die early so she doesn’t want to get too attached to anyone
Terendelev – She appears in the guise of a helpful old lady. Friendly and likable.
Horgus – Whiny arrogant jackass merchant lord
Anevia – Helpful archer with broken leg
Aravashniel – Egghead scholar with eyes burned out during fighting
PCs introduced to the city. Introduced to the museum in the Gray Garrison. Some nice roleplaying as they find information about the history of the city and meet some of the movers and shakers.
During the demon attack, the PCs fought a dretch and 2 warrior 1 cultists. The dretch nauseated 2 party members including Valin with a stinking cloud, but a color spray from Cayden ended the fight pretty quickly. PCs were surprised to see the friendly old lady escorting them around the city turn into an ancient silver dragon and get decapitated by the Storm King. As her last action, she rescues the party when they fall into the giant crevasse during the fighting.
Horgus, Anevia, and Aravashniel are found with the PCs.
Party members find Terendelev’s scales. I reworked them a bit to help the party members.
1) First scale allows levitation as a swift action 3 times a day for 1 minute each. Given to Ramirez
2) 2nd scale allows caster to ignore SR from chaotic evil outsiders 3 times a day for 1 minute each as a swift action. Given to Quinnlyn
3) 3rd scale allows caster to ignore cold or electric resistance or half damage to immunity 3 times a day for 1 minute each as a swift action. Given to Cayden
4) 4th scale provides resistance 30 to cold or electricity 3 times a day for 1 minute each as a swift action. Given to Valin
5) I give 4 additional scales that have a special power to allow the PCs to gain all the benefits of resting without having to spend 8 hours actually resting. This idea was shameless stolen from something I read somewhere.
Horgus demands that PCs deliver him to safety first. He urges them to abandon the cripples since they will slow down the party. Needless to say, this doesn’t make him too popular with Anevia and Aravash.
PCs skip the area with Chief Sull’s son’s brooch. I decide that the brooch would be found with the hueceva. The PCs fail the will save to recognize the monster as undead and skip the encounter. I teleport the brooch to Millorn.
End Session 1
Millorn – B~@@!+& crazy dwarven wizard
Q – Annoying Quasit doing best to make PCs lives miserable
Wendaug – Evil mongrelman traitor who tries to kill party
Lann – Helpful mongrelman guide
Chief Sull – Chief of mongrelman village
Seer Opoli – Wife of Sull. More skeptical about PCs than Sull. Can make minor potions and scrolls.
PCs have a relatively easy encounter with darkmantles. They run into Millorn who almost kills Valin but runs away. Q reveals itself and mocks Millorn while giving away his position. PCs eventually manage to calm Millorn down and talk to him. They exchange darkmantle bodies for brooch and access to his journal. They learn that he was researching demons but was kicked out by crusaders because his methods were too extreme. Q has been tormenting Millorn since then, staying invisible and driving him even crazier.
PCs press forward bringing Millorn with them. Q decides to adopt the PCs and starts calling out their positions to all nearby monsters as well as throwing out random insults. It etches a big arrow pointing out the direction that PCs are going.
PCs run into Lann with 2 other mongrelmen. One is trapped under a rock. 3 PCs help Lann free his comrade while the 4th watches for Q. Horgus says something insulting about the mongrelmen that angers them, but PCs smooth things over.
Mongrelmen refuse to take PCs to their village with Q around or with a crazy Millorn in the party. Millorn is dismissed to go back to his lair. Finally Aravash summons a lantern archon to chase Q away. Q decides to torment Millorn some more and leaves. PCs feel a little guilty to leave Millorn like that, tormented by Q, but they don’t have much choice.
PCs get to mongrelmen village and level up and gear up. After some negotiation and after presenting the brooch, they get Sull to agree to a tentative alliance, but Sull wants an ironclad agreement from a leader of the surface dwellers. He sends Lann as his ambassador with the PCs. Horgus almost blows the negotiations but Quinnlyn smacks him before he could open his mouth.
The route to the surface leads through Traitor territory. These are a group of mongrelmen who have allied with the demons and cultists. PCs get through 1 checkpoint easily, slaying 2 traitors but run into Wendaug with her lizard friend. Wendaug almost kills Quinnlyn with a critical hit and runs away.
End Session 2
Hosilla – Inquisitor of Baphomet who is in charge of mongrelmen traitors
PCs run into a very tough encounter. Hosilla, 2 cultists, and Wendaug. A hard fight ensues where Quinnlyn and Ramirez both drop, but kill the cultists and bring Wendaug down. Hosilla goes invisible and takes Quinnlyn hostage. The PCs agree to let her go in exchange for Quinnlyn’s life. PCs find letter to Hosilla and Radiance which becomes an Elven curveblade in the hands of Valin. They find out about the 3 safe houses that the Ivory Templars of Baphomet keep in the city.
PCs then run into an encounter with 1 cultist, 1 skeleton champion, and 2 ordinary skeletons. Valin continuously misses skeleton champion until he decides to use up his smite, fumbling and dropping 2 weapons in the process. Fight ends, but PCs are very low on resources.
PCs finally fight 2 dretches in maze. Most of PCs are nauseated by stinking cloud, but enough survive to hold off dretches and eventually defeat them.
Lann gets the party to agree to spare Wendaug and the remaining traitors. They will be brought back to mongrelmen village to be judged.
End session 3
PCs finally reach the surface! They level up but are not able to gear up until they hit civilization. A scale is used to rest up.
Vagorg – Half-orc sorcerer who hates Irabeth
Hana – Misguided crusader who thinks she can effectively fight the demons by plunging her sword in a virgin
Chaleb – Evil cavalier who took librarians hostage
PCs have a decision on how to proceed. Each of the NPCs have a good argument on why the PCs should take them to their destination first:
Horgus: points out that they can rest and gear up at his manor and have a home base
Anevia: She is frantic about the safety of her wife Irabeth. Points out that if they find her, they’ll have a very powerful ally for future encounters
Aravash: Says his library has some helpful equipment and research on demons. Argues that he’s useless without his eyes and believes there is a chance someone at the library can restore them.
Lann: Wants to find a leader of the surface dwellers to sign a treaty.
PCs can also go directly for the 3 evil Templar safe houses.
PCs decide to go with Horgus. Gearing up and resting is just too tempting for them. They run into Hana about to plunge her longsword into a demurely dressed attractive girl who they recognize from session 1 as their serving wench. The girl is protesting that she’s not a virgin and that it’s just a superstition anyway, but Hana isn’t listening. Quick thinking by the PCs and a hold person spell later results in Hana captured, her 3 allies fleeing, and Klarah saved.
Hana has snapped after the demonic assault. She does not repent her actions but does give her parole and agrees to go with them. She is allowed to keep her sword on her promise to surrender when they reach their destination. On the way, they run into a demonic spider and 3 cultists but beat them after a tough fight. Hana fights bravely.
Horgus manor is mostly intact and his underlings welcome the party. It is apparent that while Horgus may be a jerk, he does inspire loyalty from his followers. As promised, he rewards the PCs (allows them to gear up to level 3 WBL). Horgus seems taken with Klarah and offers her a job and shelter.
PCs learn that there are 2 organized resistance groups in the city. Worshippers of Iomedae and Asmodeus who have an uneasy cooperation while they fight the demons and cultists.
The PCs decide to go to Irabeth and Anevia’s house next. On the way, they see a family of 4 lying dead in the street, torn apart by demons. Lann tells them that he saw a group of Cheliaxans standing around and watching the demons do their savagery. Apparently the leader of the Asmodeans decided that he didn’t want to lose any soldiers helping the family. He felt that unless the family offered craftsmen or soldiers, they weren’t worth the casualties plus the need to feed them. PCs are furious, especially Valin. The PCs followed the track of the demons and kill 2 abrikandilu demons in a shop while rescuing the shop owners. They direct the survivors to head toward Horgus who will take them in.
At Anevia’s house, they’re ambushed by Vagorg. When they open the door, Vagorg releases a fireball at them. An attempt to charge him by Ramirez results in an invisible dretch at the doorway. Valin wipes out dretch and walks next to Vagorg who proceeds to turn invisible with a defensive casting. PCs seal the doors of the house and then chuck 3 fireballs from a necklace of fireballs into the house. Vagorg dies and house burns down. Anevia is happy that Vagorg is dead, but isn’t so happy that her house and all its memories have been completely destroyed.
PCs meet the Asmodean patrol that left the family to die. They exchange harsh words, but that’s as far as it goes as both sides realize that nothing is to be gained by fighting.
PCs return to Horgus and rest up. The next day, they decide to go to Aravash’s library. The library is held by Chaleb and his crew of tieflings. In the ensuing fight, they kill most of the tieflings but Chaleb threatens to kill the librarians unless he’s freed. PCs grudgingly agree. A schir demon and 2 dretches are attracted by the commotion. PCs get ready to fight but see Chaleb lurking. Chaleb challenges Valin to single combat and he accepts. Chaleb has the initial advantage since he’s level 4 vs the Valin at level 3, but Valin uses 2 hero points in the fight to defeat Chaleb who is brought to negative HP and surrenders after being disarmed and healed. Meanwhile the rest of the PCs including Lann and Aravash (who uses up his last summon spells) manage to defeat the schir and 2 dretches. The freed librarians help by using magic missile spells at the dretches. PCs get some much needed gear from Aravash’s stash including some lesser restoration potions, healing potions, a wand of daylight with 3 charges and a wand of magic missiles at CL 5 with 8 charges. To Aravash’s disappointment, there is nothing that can heal his eyes here but they take as much of his research as possible back to Horgus’s.
End session 4
Faxon – Tiefling witch
PCs finally learn where the Iomedaen worshippers are headquartered. It’s a very solidly built inn called Defender’s Heart. They approach the HQ, but a warning bolt over the head is fired. A guard demands the password which the PCs do not have. Things are tense for a while before someone recognizes Anevia. Irabeth comes and joyously welcomes her. She asks why Anevia didn’t give the password since she left it in their house in the secret hiding place. PCs sheepishly explained that they burned down the house in their zeal to kill Vagorg.
PCs learn that Nestrin is still alive and is head of the remaining Iomedeans. He is able to heal up Anevia and Aravash. Aravash digs into his research notes.
PCs decide to hit the safe houses.
First safe house results in a complete dud. It’s been abandoned.
Second safe house had 6 looters in it. PCs are wary of a fight and depleting their resources before a possible battle so they come to an agreement with the looters to take their loot and go away. PCs tell looters about Horgus who will take in people in need. A sense motive reveals nefarious motives for the looters, but PCs already agreed to let them go. They go downstairs and run into Mandragora hiding in vegetation as well as 2 demonic flies. The bilbous bottle breaking leads to some hilarity with the random results. All foes are defeated after dealing some damage to the PCs. Mandragora actually nauseates most of party, but Ramirez is cleric of Cayden Cailen and has variant channeling that negates nausea so fight was relatively routine.
Third safe house had Faxon on roof with a schir demon and a couple of tieflings defending. Faxon blinded Anevia, and had his familiar deliver a vampiric touch to Valin at same time schir power attacks Valin. Valin drops. Without a frontline fighter, the fight is hairy for a while but eventually Quinnlyn heals Valin who is dragged out of harms way. He kills the schir after using his smite. Faxon did attempt to bestow curse on Quinnlyn but was reduced to trying to burning gaze Cayden the rest of the fight. After the schir was killed, Faxon decided to escape.
PCs return to Horgus and find out that 6 looters apparently attacked his manor. His forces killed them all, but took a couple of dead in the process. PCs wisely kept quiet about their role in the attack.
PCs level up to level 4 and gear up.
End session 5
Lili – Cavalier of Asmodeus. Quietly professional and excellent team player. Astonishingly beautiful.
Othirubo – Alchemist leader of 2nd floor defenses
Aravash shares his research with the PCs. Apparently the broken wardstone has a weakness and under the right rituals can be corrupted and turned against the crusaders. The PCs must destroy the wardstone before the ritual finishes! Aravash gives them a rod of cancellation that he dug up from the crusaders armory. They must touch the wardstone with the rod to destroy it.
The wardstone is located in the Gray Garrison museum. Nestrin suggests that the PCs try and get the Iomedae and Asmodeus worshippers to coordinate a diversionary attack on the building while the PC strike team goes in and takes out the wardstone. He expects that it would take 2 attacks to complete the destruction, but doesn’t know about Terendelev’s scale.
PCs easily get Irabeth to agree to lead the Iomedae portion of the diversionary attack and head over to the Asmodean HQ. They speak to Yarick and point out the benefits of a temporary alliance. After all, his forces will be toast as well if the demons succeed in corrupting the wardstone. Yarick agrees but wants to send one of his warriors along the mission to fight and observe. He calls Lili who is a raven haired beauty with a sword that seems too big for her.
Outside the Gray Garrison, the PCs see 3 morbidly obese men guarding the door wielding glaives. There are a bunch of windows facing out that would be perfect for archers. The PCs buff up and enlarge person on Valin, Ramirez, and Lili. They charge the building. The enlarge person was a wise plan since while it made them bigger targets for the 6 tiefling crossbowmen at the windows, it avoided attacks of opportunity from the Vermlek demons. Also the Vermleks spider climbed up the side of the building so they would’ve been able to attack with a reach weapon while the PCs would’ve not been able to respond. It was a frustrating fight for the PCs since the mass inflict light wounds used by the vermleks was just able to keep up with the damage the PCs were inflicting. Finally the PCs bashed down the door and ran inside. By that time, the tieflings were wiped out and the Vermleks decided to climb inside in an upper floor instead of following the PCs in the ground floor.
The PCs found a stairwell with Othirubo behind a barricade with a schir and 3 dretches. PCs have a LOT of difficulty winning this fight with Othirubo’s bombs causing all sorts of problems. Eventually they manage to kill the schir and dretches and corner Othirubo. After blinding and dazing him, they manage a capture. Lili bargains with him. He gives up what he knows about the building’s defenses and in exchange, he will surrender to the Asmodeans and promise to serve them for a year and a day. Valin couldn’t promise the same deal with the Iomedeans, so he took Lili’s offer. Cayden charming him helped a great deal since it made him realize that he didn’t have many bargaining chips and Lili’s deal was the best he was going to get. The charm also ensured that he would turn himself in to Yarick so the PCs didn’t have to escort him.
At this point, PCs decide they were going to have 1 more encounter and then use Terendelev’s scale to rest and not have to make a second attack on the garrison.
End session 6
Jezlyn – Mutated half-elf oracle charged with completing the wardstone ritual
Areelu Vorlesh – Godlike archmage responsible for creating the entire Worldwound.
Deradnu – Half-fiend minotaur responsible for guarding the upper level of the garrison.
The PCs and Lili have bonded nicely. They have saved each other’s lives a few times and worked well together and have become friends despite their differences in philosophy.
PCs decide to rest for 15 minutes so Quinnlyn can memorize a 1st and 2nd level spell slot she left empty. In the middle of the rest, they are attacked by a schir and 2 abrikandilus. They defeat their foes, but Lili’s armor is shattered by an abrikandilu. A mending spell partially repairs the armor, but it’s not at full str.
PCs use Terendelev’s scale to rest up. They run into Deradnu, a half-fiend minotaur guarding the upstairs. With his reach, he is able to sunder Radiance, leaving it broken, with an AoO as Valin charges him. He does tremendous damage to the PCs including giving Radiance and Valin’s armor the broken condition before falling. His smite on Valin was very damaging.
They run into the ritual room which was a little like the Tardis. It was much larger on the inside than the outside. Conditions were horrid, almost like the Abyss. The floor was like a chessboard with pits every other square. Jezlyn was at one end with a schir, 3 dretches, and 3 demonic flies. The wardstone was in a cage well above ground hanging in the air.
Things were setup to be a tough fight but Ramirez levitated up and using his Travel domain power of extra speed and longstrider was able to reach the wardstone and touch it with the rod of cancellation. This immediately caused a rush of energy that destroyed Jezlyn and all the defenders in a golden light. Then a sickly purple color seem to cover the remnants of the wardstone and a gate opens up. Areelu Vorlesh herself shows up in person!
Areelu gloats that it was her plan all along to have the PCs destroy the wardstone and give an opening for her to corrupt it. She is about to proclaim victory when Terendelev’s scales on all 4 PCs starts glowing and a silver light aids the golden aura of the wardstone to fight Areelu’s purple color. Areelu is furious since her calculations didn’t account for the scales. She uses her metamagic rods to cast an empowered meteor swarm AND a quickened meteor swarm at the PCs, intending to wipe out these worms who dared check one of her plans. 60 dice of damage later, 197 points of damage turns Lili (who is not protected by a scale) into atoms (-149 HPs remaining!), but the PCs seem to be protected by Terendelev’s scales and the energy backlashes at Areelu breaking the Gate and critically wounding Areelu. She swears vengeance at the PCs and returns to the Abyss to lick her wounds and heal up.
PCs return in triumph. Valin and Ramirez go and tell Yarick about Lili’s death. He is furious, thinking they deliberately sacrificed her. He laughs at their story about Areelu stating that Areelu would’ve squashed them like insects if she had actually appeared in person. When Valin tells him about the scales, Yarick asked them why they didn’t give Lili an extra scale. He doesn’t believe the PCs story about not knowing that the scales would protect them. Basically the interview was an utter disaster and Yarick got some critical info about the scales while still thinking his warrior was sacrificed.
PCs become quasi-mythic. They can rebuild on 25 points and now have 1 hero point that regenerates every day as well as their base 3 hero points.
PCs level up and gear up.
End session 7
Galfrey – Queen of Mendev and overall head of the Crusade. Very elegant and regal.
Joram – Craftsman working for Horgus who may be stealing from him
Aron – Recon and tactics specialist
Sosiel – Cleric of Shelyn. Calm and serene, perfect for attending the spiritual needs of an army
Nurah – Smart aleck wise cracking Halfling bard. Can make an army fight harder and improve their morale.
Valin took Craft Rings as a feat, explaining that he had a good contact among Horgus’s men.
Valin went to pick up the rings he ordered from Horgus. Horgus had no idea what Valin was talking about. One of Horgus's workers named Joram frantically signaled him to meet in private where he explained that he was the one who set up the "arrangement" with the other PCs and that Horgus didn't know about it. Valin, being extremely lawful, felt he had to tell Horgus that Joram was possibly stealing from him. Horgus got mad and ordered Joram’s hands chopped off. Valin was appalled and got Horgus to agree to turn over Joram to the Eagle Watch for sentencing instead of hand chopping in exchange for a "favor" to be named later to Horgus.
Joram was royally pissed. From his point of view, he was doing the PCs a favor by allowing them access to cheap rings (never mind that they weren’t his rings) and his reward was to almost have his hands cut off and now a certainty that he was going to spend a long time in a dungeon. He bribed a guard to send a message to Ramirez and then Ramirez, Cayden, and Anevia spent a good chunk of the session planning and executing a jail breakout in such a way that nobody would be blamed. They did not include Valin in the jail breakout attempt. :)
Queen Galfrey arrived with her army. She met with the newest heroes of the Crusades. She gave a hug to Cayden (which was apparently a minor breach of etiquette), explaining that Terendelev was her dearest friend. She had Valin and Quinnlyn go to their knees and then pulled out her sword and knighted them.
She then met the PCs in private with Irabeth. She introduced Aron, Sosiel, and Nurah. She explained that the demons had suffered a great defeat, but there was a lot of work to be done. The demons had left the garrison of the city of Drezen unexpectedly weak and there was an opportunity for a strike there. Not only would the crusaders gain a fortress, but they could recover an artifact called the Sword of Valor which had amazing powers against demons.
Galfrey was going to leave one of her most experienced battle tested companies for the PCs to command, but the PCs had to find financing and supplies and raise an army to take Drezen.
PCs first go to Horgus to line up the financing. It was pretty obvious that it didn’t matter how big an army they could raise if they didn’t have money to pay them or supply them. Horgus was agreeable, but struck a hard bargain. The PCs basically pledged that once Drezen was taken, Horgus would have priority over other merchants in establishing a business there and that the PCs would protect his economic interests. Horgus promised to give the PCs 50,000 gold for financing and possibly more money later.
PCs do some research and then Aron and Anevia report the following armies that might possibly be recruited:
Irabeth’s Orc tribe
PCs then negotiate with Chief Sull to release his mongrelmen to accompany the army. Sull was very hesitant at first since he wouldn’t be able to protect the tribes if all the warriors were gone, but he got the PCs to promise that the mongrelmen could live on the surface city while their warriors were gone. The city garrison would protect them. In total, 100 mongrelmen rangers and rogues were released for duty with the army.
Next was the Asmodean forces. Regular soldiers and guards spit at the PCs. Apparently Lili was very popular with the regular troops and they didn’t take her death very well under questionable circumstances.
Needless to say, Yarick wasn’t in much of a negotiating mood. Finally he agreed to release 100 soldiers with a written promise to have half the influence over Drezen when it was captured. Valin and Nestrin weren’t happy at the terms, but they agreed to it since they desperately needed those soldiers. Yarick wasn’t inclined to negotiate either, but he had to put the needs of Asmodeus above his personal feelings.
The PCs setup a nice party welcoming the mongrelmen and a public signing of the alliance between the Paladins and the Hellknights. However, Aron and Anevia brought word that there was going to be a public attack during the ceremony with the hopes of disrupting 2 alliances simultaneously!
End session 8
Peri – Lyrakian Azata. Working girl and somewhat mercenary. Aravash’s friend (although he won’t admit it)
Joram contacts Cayden and Anevia and meets them secretly. He tells them that a witch named Faxon and an Inquisitor named Hosilla tried to recruit him. They have a powerful demon enforcer working with them as well. He is about to tell them more information when a spear plunges through his back and the babau demon looks mockingly at them and then disappears.
Cayden gives some of this information to the party, electing to keep some of it for himself. He does not mention Faxon or Hosilla by name to the rest of the PCs. They brainstorm and then call Aravash to ask for his advice. Aravash asks for 1000 gp which pretty much wipes the party clean in terms of non-magic item wealth. He pulls a lesser planar ally scroll and summons Peri. After some negotiations, Peri agrees to use her Commune ability in exchange for payment. The PCs have 6 yes or no questions to determine how the attack is going to occur. After the questions, they learn that Tieflings are involved, there are 5 or fewer in the plot, and it involves the sewers of the city.
Cayden decides to try and pump information from Othirubo. He gets permission to speak to Othirubo from Yarick and strikes a bargain. In exchange for cutting time from his sentence, Othirubo will spill the beans on what he knows. Othirubo gives a nice profile of Faxon and Hosilla and some tips on how they would react and what their plans would be. Since Faxon has a disguise hex, he would mingle with the crowds and use his evil eye, curse, and other nasty abilities to cause havoc during the peace treaty and party. In exchange for further reduction of the sentence, he agrees to draw a map.
They go into the cellar and use Lann as the GMPC for this sidequest. They run into a schir with a grimslake pet guarding the entrance. A nasty fight ensues with Valin dropped and down 2 points of con drain before finishing off the foes. The fight lasted 6 or 7 rounds with the party burning a lot of resources.
End session 9
Estrin – Fanatical captain of Iomedae who follows Hulrun.
The party presses onward. They explore the sewers and run into Faxon, Hosilla, and babau demon. I thought it would be a tough fight, but 2 critical hits by Lann along with a critical spear thrust by Ramirez nukes the babau immediately! Faxon and Hosilla decided to run. Faxon throws Hosilla under the bus by casting a fog cloud and leaving her stumbling before the PCs catch up. They capture Hosilla but get no useful info from her. She’s a fanatic hardass. Some interparty conflict occurs when Cayden and Ramirez wants to turn her over to the mongrelmen to be executed while Valin and Quinnlyn, under Nestrin’s orders, insisted on her facing Iomedaen justice.
As Cayden visits Yarick to negotiate Othirubo’s sentence reduction, he sees Horgus having a discussion with Yarick. Apparently Yarick wants Horgus to work for him instead of the Iomedaens. With his wealth and business connections, whichever side has his alliance would have a very useful resource.
Faxon doesn’t attack the treaty. With the heightened security and knowing first hand the power of the PCs, he decided he didn’t want to face them alone. He did steal Hosilla’s captured glaive however.
PCs take a trip to lower Mendev to try and recruit mercenaries for the attack on Drezen. They pass by some villages where it’s clear that the villagers hate and fear representatives of Iomedae. Finally they see a village where 4 warriors in Iomedae’s service had their heads on a pike outside the village. Some tense negotiations result. PCs learn that Iomedaens would routinely sweep villages for witchcraft, cult activities, and demons. They would burn groups of villagers at the stake if they suspected witchcraft in the area. Apparently while Queen Galfrey had all of her attention on the Crusades and the war against the Worldwound, her lower level priests, soldiers, and inquisitors were involved in a nasty guerilla war with her own people in the countryside. There are just enough real witches and cultists involved and enough brutality and retribution from both sides to have an ongoing simmering war. Plus taxes had to be high to support the war effort leading to subsidence level existence for the villagers. Think Vietnam or Iraq.
The PCs learn that a group of Iomedaens had burned 20 villagers, insisting that some of them were witches. The villagers had managed to take down 4 warriors in the process. The PCs chase after them and catch up because they are moving slowly, escorting wagons.
They run into Captain Estrin, a cleric, and a bunch of low level warriors. Negotiations break down as both sides insist that they are in the right and the other side should be arrested. Finally fighting breaks out. Estrin signals 2 riders to notify his superiors. During the fighting, Ramirez manages to catch the 2 riders with his fly spell and stop them. However the cleric got away after casting a couple of spells. It was a fairly tough fight but the witch hunters were eventually killed off with 2 low level prisoners remaining.
End Session 10
Deacon – incubus psychopath
Liotr – Hulrun’s right hand man and head of Iomedaen church in Egede
Harg – Leader of barbarian and brutish mercenaries. Big hulking man, but surprisingly shrewd. Dislikes Jeri.
Jeri – Leader of well trained disciplined mercenaries. Elven. Cold, calculating, and steady. Keeps her men in order. Dislikes Harg.
PCs bury Iomedaen witch hunters and give what they’ve collected in taxes to the villagers.
A nasty Incubus named Deacon greets the party as they head toward Egede. He laughs at them and tells them that they removed a thorn in his side by killing the Iomedaen patrol. Apparently the patrol got a couple of real witches and agents in the course of their burnings. He gloats that while they spend all their time fighting the crusades, he was spreading corruption and recruiting witches and cultists and destroying order and decency in their backyard. Valin fires 3 arrows at him including a smite, but misses all 3 shots and Deacon flies off.
PCs arrive in Egede where they are disarmed by the city guard. They are brought to Liotr, a veteran scarred inquisitor of Iomedae who is furious at the loss of his men. He chews out Valin and tells the party that while Galfrey has ordered him not to interfere with their mission, they are not wanted. He makes it known that he would hang them if he had a chance. It’s apparent that decades of fighting shadowy shape changers with subtle powers such as incubus/succubus/witches etc have left a mark on him.
PCs start mingling and find some wanted posters of various felons such as Deacon and the PCs themselves. They find both Harg and Jeri, but both of them refuse to bring their men to Kenabres unless they get a payment of 1000 gold in advance. The PCs apparently forgot to bring money with them on their trip.
PCs do some roleplaying and conclude that they have 3 choices to get the money.
First option is to capture or kill Deacon and get the reward money. The problem would be to find a way to pin him down so he couldn’t escape. Ramirez was the only one in the party who could pursue since he could fly, but he probably wasn’t a match in single combat.
Second option was to sell one of their raise dead elixirs to get the money. Valin approaches Liotr on the subject. First he asks for the money outright and Liotr scoffs. Then he makes the offer of the elixir and Liotr agrees if they bring Estrin back from the dead. PCs debate, but decide they’d rather leave Estrin dead.
Third option was to sell some of their magic gear to get the money. This was the option they eventually decide as they sell off 2 rings of protection.
PCs come to an agreement with the mercenaries and leave the city. A little way out of the city, they see 3 villagers nailed to a tree with cold iron arrows. A cartoon caricature of Valin was posted above the bodies telling him that Deacon was merely returning his arrows to him.
PCs decide they didn’t have time to waste in trying to hunt down Deacon and return to Kenabres. They find that Aravash has come to an agreement with the Riftwardens to supply 15 wizards and 30 apprentices to the war effort. They decide to go for Irabeth’s orc tribe next.
PCs and Irabeth travel toward her ancestral orc tribe lands. During the trip, an advanced bulette attacks the party. It was apparent that this was no ordinary bulette as it didn’t act like a hungry predator. It acted more like an assassin who was on a mission to kill Valin. Party eventually kill bulette and Valin survives by sheer luck as the bulette misses a critical bite attack. Bulette ignored other targets to focus on the paladin leading the PCs to speculate that it was sent by a malignant foe.
End Session 11
Tark – Irabeth’s Father
Merit – Irabeth’s Mother
Scar – Orc tribe leader
Mystery Orc woman – Mysterious advisor who seem to have great influence on Scar. Radiates evil. PCs suspect that she is a succubus. PCs never got her name.
Siabrae Druid – Leader of small knot of evil druids. Undead lich-like druid who harbors great bitterness towards the demons and the Iomedaens. PCs did not get his name.
Deacon along with 2 schir demons attack the party after they recover from the bulette attack. He drinks a potion of enlarge person and then flies 15-20 feet in the air to thwack the PCs with minimal retaliation from the PC bruisers. With enlarge person and vital strike and a glaive with 20’ reach, he is a nightmare to deal with. That’s 4d8 plus bonuses each strike while the party can only strike back with spells or bows.
He taunts PCs and tell them that he’s going to kill one of them and fly away. The PCs are not impressed.
He hits Quinnlyn while she was trying to summon a hound archon and disrupts the spell. When she drinks an invisibility potion, he strikes Cayden next. After Cayden drinks an invisibility potion, he strikes Ramirez twice and drops him although he avoids death with 2 hero points. The 2 paladins were mixed up with the schir demons at that time although Valin was trying to hit Deacon with a bow and lands a couple of arrow hits. Deacon grabs Ramirez and flies off as the schirs get mopped up.
About 15 minutes later, a man with 3 zombies walks up to the party. The zombies each have one of Valin’s arrows through them and are wearing Ramirez’s armor and equipment. The man tells Valin that it’s becoming a habit for Deacon to return his arrows to him. After some tense negotiations, it is made known that Deacon wants to make a prisoner exchange. Ramirez for both Hosilla and Chaleb. He doesn’t mind if the party just trades their bodies although he did note that Ramirez would be returned in the same condition as Hosilla and Chaleb. If just one of them were returned, then half of Ramirez would be returned. The PCs grudgingly agree to the deal, although they’re not sure how they were going to convince Liotr to release the prisoners for a man who killed some of his soldiers.
The man leaves and the PCs destroy the zombies to let the villagers rest in peace.
After discussing whether to continue on the mission or immediately go back to Egede for the prisoners, they decide to finish their mission first.
They hit Tark and Merit’s house. Tark is a cheerful elderly orc who was a mighty warrior in his day. Merit is apparently no commoner, but PCs can’t figure out exactly what class she is. They greet Irabeth joyously and graciously host the PCs. At the news of the PCs mission, Tark’s face clouds up. He explains that he was allowed to leave the Orc tribe with the promise that he would not interfere with their affairs again. He’s uncertain whether that promise includes Irabeth since she is his daughter.
Tark tries to set up Irabeth with both Cayden and Valin, evidently hoping for a grandchild someday. Nobody has the heart to tell him about Irabeth’s marriage to Anevia. PCs are able to rest after a very harrowing adventuring day. Tark and Merit decide to go with the PCs stating that it is not safe for them if the orc tribes leave and with someone like Deacon in the general area.
In the morning, they get to the orc village. Irabeth calls out Scar for a challenge. They speak in orcish that the PCs don’t understand. A mysterious orcish woman stands near Scar and whispers in his ear. Her presence is so imposing that it’s obvious she is no ordinary orc.
Merit and Tark provide some translation. First Scar claims that Irabeth can’t challenge because it would be breaking her father’s promise. Irabeth counters that she is her own person and her father’s promise does not bind her. Scar states that only orcs are allowed to challenge and Irabeth is a human, not orc. Irabeth calls into question Scar’s orc-hood and bravery and claims that only battle will decide if she is worthy. Finally it is agreed that the fight will be at dawn the next day.
The PCs decide to sleep in shifts of 2 to make sure someone could wake the group if one of them is disabled. The mysterious orc woman visits Tark and Cayden first and Valin and Quinnlyn next. She tries to convince the PCs to leave without challenge, but doesn’t succeed. She also tells them that she will be helping Scar during the fight but does not give any specifics.
In the morning, Irabeth refuses any help in the fight, declaring it to be dishonorable. She does count on the PCs to check and make sure the mysterious orcish woman isn’t helping Scar secretly.
The fight is fast and brutal. Barbarian with 2 handed falchion vs Paladin with sword and shield. Scar almost wins, but a Heroic Defiance spell from Irabeth saves her and she strikes Scar down. Scar almost attacks again using his Orcish ferocity power, but a fabulous diplomacy roll by Irabeth gets him to submit. He was at negative hit points, so he would’ve died as soon as his rage wore off and his con dropped by 4. Orc woman disappears in the excitement of the duel.
Irabeth tells the party that she would take care of things from here along with Tark. She urged them to go save Ramirez.
Party picks up Sosiel in Kenabres and heads toward Liotr in Egede. A good diplomacy roll by Sosiel plus good roleplay got him to agree to free Hosilla and Chaleb, but his condition was for the PCs to restore Captain Estrin to life. PCs agree.
Prisoner exchange goes off smoothly with a 3rd party handling the exchange. Ramirez comes back to the party and Hosilla and Chaleb join the demons and cultists.
PCs decide to hit druids next. They take Aron Kir with them. As they get closer to the forest, more of the animals look either wildly feral or skeletal.
At the forest, they meet the Siabrae leader himself! He is awesome and terrifying and it is apparent that he could destroy all the PCs with ease by himself if he were so inclined. He warns the PCs to leave the forest or risk destruction, but the PCs manage to get him to talk. It slips that he is extremely bitter toward Queen Galfrey and the church of Iomedae for not sending forces to help the forest when the demons attacked.
They bargain and Siabrae leader tells them to recover an artifact inside the forest that the druids could not approach. This artifact allows the demons to teleport within the forest and cause havoc before being destroyed. He will help fight the demons if the PCs recover/destroy the artifact, a black stone in a guarded tomb.
End Session 12
Nia – Leader of apprentice druids serving Siabraes. She is 14 years old and has the mentality of a child soldier who has been thrust into war at a very young age.
PCs approach the tomb. It is very harsh terrain. Between the snow and brambles and underbrush, every step is difficult terrain.
PCs reach a stretch of forest with a bit of a clearing between 2 lines of trees. It’s an obvious trap. PCs attempt to bypass the area by flying over, but Valin and Quinnlyn get webbed after the party gets split. A death web and 2 ettercaps attack them. Death web does amazing damage and poisons Valin, but he manages to break the web and fly out of reach of the spider-like things.
They find a burial mound. As they search for an entrance, Quinnlyn finds it the hard way by falling through a trap door that was buried in snow. She falls 40 feet onto some spikes and takes a lot of damage. The PCs use Ramirez’s silver scale to levitate down and join her.
There is an adamantine door in their path, but nobody in the party can pick locks. They resort to bashing it down taking a long time to break the hinges on the door.
Waiting behind the door was a ceustodaemon and a clockwork soldier. They were charged with guarding the dead. Negotiations break down and the PCs attack. The clockwork disarms Valin as he charges in and the ceustodaemon grabs Radiance and throws it behind him in the room. However Aron saves the day doing immense damage to the clockwork with his swashbuckler precise strikes. Meanwhile the rest of the party focuses fire and eventually takes down the ceustodaemon but not before it gets off a damaging breath attack. The clockwork is armed with a glaive with Cayden Cailen’s holy symbol imprinted upon it. It is picked up by Ramirez who learns that its name is Demon Splitter.
PCs recover from the fight and find a door. They manage not to trigger the trap and find a sarcophagus in the room. When they open the sarcophagus, a mummy appears and 3 shadows pop out of the walls. Also the sarcophagus turns out to be a mimic. A brief but nasty fight happens and the undead are taken out but at a heavy cost. Valin lost 9 points of str, Aron lost 7 points of Str, and Ramirez lost 3 points of Str and caught mummy rot. The mummy rot took 5 con and 6 cha from him when the onset period arrived. The actual sarcophagus was inside the mimic which wrapped itself around it. They find the black stone.
PCs rest and recover and use up close to 15 charges of lesser restoration from a wand before healing up. They heal the mummy rot from Ramirez.
The return trip was without incident. Now that they knew where the death web was located, they simply flew much higher than the tree line to bypass the encounter.
As they returned to the druid camp, a bunch of demons attacked, but the siabraes had no problems destroying them. The Siabrae chief was true to his word and authorized 20 apprentice druids to join the crusader army in exchange for the black stone.
The apprentice druids look to all be about 12-15 years old. Apparently the Siabraes realized that they could not hold off the demons indefinitely without replenishing their numbers somehow. So a little more than a decade ago, they started adopting orphans and/or kidnapping children in the Worldwound area to train them in the darker ways of nature. If they grow powerful, they can eventually become Siabraes, otherwise they would still be useful in fighting demons, crusaders, or any other potential threats to their existence. The apprentices are led by Nia, a 14 year old girl who has seen too much horror at too young of an age and seems to be emotionally cold. The apprentices have a mix of feral and skeletal animal companions.
End Session 13.
Barbarian chief – PCs didn’t get his name this session. It is Huron.
On the journey back to Kenabres, PCs get to know Nia better. She creeps them out a bit, with a great deal of coldness radiating out from her 4’11” 95 pound frame. Her ape companion is just a tool that she calls “Ape” and it’s clear that she views him as being completely expendable. Both sides question each other and it’s clear that there is a vast gulf between their worldviews.
At the outskirts of the city, there is a dispute as the druids want to enter the city to establish a base of operations while the party would like the druids to stay outside, especially the ones with skeletal animal companions. It’s clear that it will be very difficult to control the druids in battle and they can’t be assured that they will follow orders. A compromise is reached where a handful of druids enter town while the rest scout out the area.
PCs use this time to level up and gear up.
Nurah brings word that the city is a powder keg ready to go off. There are too many factions, many of whom hate each other. She suspects that Faxon is in the background trying to stir trouble. She also reports that the Asmodeans have called a few devils into their ranks for added help against the demons.
Valin tries to bring word to Yarick to get both sides to control their men in case of an incident occurring. He spots Horgus leaving the place, apparently having to come to some sort of deal with Yarick. There is a bearded devil behind Yarick during the talk which made Valin have to exert some self-control to keep from attacking. Both sides agree to try and take extra precautions.
The PCs visit Horgus and try to warn him about the dangers of the Asmodeans. Horgus looks upon them as a business partner and trusts to their lawfulness when honoring deals. He asks them worriedly whether it’s a good idea to have a bunch of kids in their early teens in the front line of a war but the PCs state that they must do what they can to prosecute the war. Klarah shows up smiling in delight at seeing the PCs again, especially Valin. She casually mentions that Horgus is training her to help run the business and remarks that it’s a lot of work setting up a supply line for an army.
That night, a paladin of Iomedae and a cavalier of Asmodeus are found dead, apparently at each other’s hands. The warriors on both sides have their weapons out and are glaring at each other but the commanders restore order quickly. They declare martial law in the city and order all factions to keep to their own areas. It doesn’t quite work as an orc is found dead at the hands of a druid. The druid states that the orc attacked her unprovoked and she was just defending herself when she tore him to shreds.
The various clerics of the factions prepare speak with dead spells to try and find out what happened. First they question the orc. His corpse states that the druid threw a knife at him and ran. He followed and attacked her when she shape changed into a beast and ripped him apart. The investigators believe the druid when she stated that she didn’t use weapons and didn’t even possess a knife.
They question the Iomedaen paladin next. He declared that he saw the Asmodean attempt to rape Klarah and intervened to save her. She ran away during the fighting. The Asmodean cavalier stated that Klarah seduced him and that it was completely consensual. He felt that the paladin attacked him in a jealous rage and that he was just defending himself. When Klarah is brought in for questioning, she states that she was working at Horgus’s Manor at the time of the incident and had no knowledge of anything happening.
PCs deduce that Faxon used his disguise self hex to take Klarah’s appearance and try to start a fight between the factions. Rather than causing a panic and morale loss in the armies, they decide to make the incident appear to be just a drunken jealous fight between the 2 warriors that led to mutual death. They figure that this was a plausible reason that everyone would accept. However they setup a 5 person buddy system where everyone has to be in a group of 5 at all times. Anyone caught alone would be “quarantined” until it is determined whether they are as they appear to be. Nurah at 2’11” playfully asks if she’s exempt since there’s no way that a disguise hex could make Faxon that short, but the PCs insist on no exceptions to the rule.
PCs have a little fun setting up a marching order for the army and trying to make sure that there is a neutral faction between any 2 factions that might hate each other. It basically involved a 2 prong thrust and required some creative juggling of factions to get the effect they wanted.
PCs head toward the Kellid barbarian encampment with Nia as the GMPC. They speak to the barbarian chief who greets them coldly. It’s apparent that the tribe felt betrayed by Queen Galfrey and the Iomedaens from generations ago. When requested to send troops to help fight the demons, he declared that he could not since he needed his men to protect the tribe from a hag who was stealing young women. He pointed out that Quinnlyn might be her “type” since she is young and attractive and even somewhat exotic looking to boot with her half-elven blood. During the bargaining, he reacts very negatively when Valin suggests that any troops sent would have to follow orders. He declares that Kellid barbarians of Sarkoris were not soldiers or minions, but would be treated as allies. Their field chief would have discretion on whether to follow “suggestions” or not, but under no circumstances would follow an “order”.
PCs debate whether the barbarians are worth the trouble, but decide to try anyway. They agree to hunt down the hag and bring her head back to free up the barbarian warriors from protecting the tribe.
Nia asks for some clothing or belongings from one of the kidnap victims. She has Ape scent the clothing and start tracking her down. They enter some marshy land and find enemies ahead. After buffing up, they run into 2 karkinois and 3 trolls. The PCs carve through their enemies, but Ape gets killed by a critical vital strike from a karkinoi and it plus a troll quickly flanks Quinnlyn and takes her down. The fact that the troll saved twice with its +3 will save vs her murderous command spells was the biggest reason the party’s defenses broke down in that area. The surviving karkinoi grabs her body and runs with it threatening to kill her if the party pursues. The party reluctantly let it go, hoping that the hag would keep her alive long enough for them to track her down. Nia in her tiger form has Quinnlyn’s scent so she’s pretty confident she could track her down.
End session 14.
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Gherne – Barbarian subchief. Becomes blood brothers with male PCs
Elspeth – Gherne’s betrothed. Becomes blood sister with Quinnlyn
Shaman – Lizardfolk shaman.
Quinnlyn wakes up. Elspeth has used Quinnlyn’s wand of cure light wounds to heal her. Quinnlyn sees Elspeth and 2 other barbarian girls. All the girls are pale and woozy from blood loss as they’ve all been drained down to 6 Con. She finds that the Blood Hag collects young girls as “skins” to be used when the current skin is used up. Her gear and holy symbol is missing.
The rest of the party start tracking Quinnlyn down by Nia using scent. They see a couple of lizardfolk watching them. It turns out that none of the party speaks draconic so they couldn’t communicate, but they scent out the location of their village. A shaman meets the party and speaks broken common. It turns out that the lizardfolk have been terrorized by the hag and her “big ones”. Some negotiations result in 10 lizardfolk joining the party to hunt down the hag.
They run into the hag, a karkanoi, and 4 ogres. The lizardfolk match up with 3 of the ogres and the PCs fight the rest. The blood hag is terrifyingly powerful and doesn’t get a TPK solely due to deliberate subpar tactics. With CL12 and +18 touch attacks, she would routinely hit 3 times with scorching rays resulting in 12d6 damage every attack which is devastating to 6th level PCs.
The lizardfolk finish off the 3 ogres at the cost of 5 of their number.
The girls are saved and brought back to the barbarian encampment. A joyous Gherne greets the PCs and offers blood brotherhood to the male PCs which all of them accept. Elspeth does the same with Quinnlyn. Huron the chief releases 100 warriors to the PCs for use with the army with Gherne as the field chief.
Back at the army camp, a lot was happening. The evil druids and mongrelmen seem to become fast friends with some of the younger members learning the secrets of rangerhood while opening the possibility of natural divine magic to some of the mongrelmen. The PCs see the Asmodeans using Othirubo to teach the secrets of alchemy to some of the younger apprentices.
Sosiel calls a conference of clerics. There is Sosiel, Quinnlyn, Ramirez, the orc shaman, and 2 Cheliaxans. He requests that all clerics maintain a 3rd level spell slot each day for create food and water to help the morale of the various armies. All the clerics see the sense of the suggestion and agree.
A 12 year old druid boy flies back in eagle form and reports a small army of dretches and tieflings ahead in Vilareth Ford. They have about 20-30 prisoners. There is 1 demon which is determined to be a brimorak demon leading them.
Some planning between the PCs occurs. Kayden and Valin disagree on strategy and have a furious argument on how to proceed. After bringing in the other war captains plus Anevia and Aron, a consensus is formed where the PCs will try and assassinate the brimorak to keep it from teleporting to the main demon forces to give warning of a large army approaching Drezen. The druids will slip behind enemy lines and place mass volleys of entangle spells to pin the enemy armies in place while the mongrelmen and any other army with significant range attacks will mow them down with archery. Any remaining stragglers will be easy to annihilate.
After the battle, the plan would be to send a diversionary force against Icerift Castle to draw away some demonic forces from Drezen. Since this diversionary force would have to operate far away from supply lines, they would have to consist of the troops best able to live off the land. The druids, mongrelmen, and orcs are chosen.
End Session 15.
Kamilo – Rescued Paladin of Iomedae
Baron – Tiefling sorcerer
Aron tells the PCs that Valas Gift was entirely destroyed with all inhabitants killed. However none of the children were found. PCs speculate that it might be either the demons or druids who took the children. They’re not entirely sure what they would do if it turns out to be the druids.
PCs assemble 2 strike forces. The PCs plus Aron will try and decapitate the enemy by assassinating the brimorak. Meanwhile under cover from the army attack, Lann, Anevia, Nia, and Aravash will stealth their way to the prisoners and free them while fighting off any nearby guards. Aravash proclaims that he’s not an adventurer or front line combatant, but the PCs browbeat him into joining since they wanted the NPC group to have an arcane caster with them.
PCs know that the brimorak is in a tent in the center of the enemy forces. The dretch and tiefling soldiers are generally too busy celebrating their victory over the garrison to pay much attention so the PCs get within 50 feet of the tent before the strike. They wait until the army attacks to draw off most of the defenders before making their move.
In their way was a schir and 2 dretches which are disposed of casually as the PCs rush the tent. Quinnlyn had summoned a hound archon and Ramirez had cast a fly spell on Kayden reasoning that a flying blaster sorcerer would be a great asset.
Inside the tent turns out to be the brimorak, a tiefling sorcerer in the back named Baron, 2 low level tiefling fighters, and most worryingly, a brain ooze!
The fight starts out ok for the PCs as Aron nukes one of the fighters and the hound archon deals heavy damage to the brimorak. But a few well placed create pit spells by Baron eventually gets Quinnlyn, Aron, and the hound archon to fall in. Aron was especially funny as a dretch gets lucky and nauseates him. Aron stumbles around and somehow falls into an existing pit even with a +11 reflex save with a +2 bonus!
The brain ooze proves scary and inflicts some intelligence damage on the PCs. For some reason, it didn’t use some of its most powerful abilities in the fight. A well placed lightning bolt turned into cold bolt from a lesser elemental rod kills the brimorak and severely damages a schir. The tiefling sorcerer runs out of create pit spells and is reduced to a couple of magic missiles but runs away after the brimorak falls. The brain ooze decides that it can’t beat the entire party by itself and flies away where it will undoubtedly cause future headaches for them.
The NPCs are mostly successful in rescuing the prisoners with only a few dying during the struggle. An interesting prisoner turns up, Kamilo, an attractive woman who is a paladin of Iomedae and leader of the prisoners. She was a rock who kept the prisoners together instead of breaking from the beatings and tortures inflicted upon them by the demons and brain ooze. She and most of her fellow prisoners are convinced to join the army.
The army soundly defeats the dretches and tieflings with very light losses. Without teleport, the remaining survivors are no threat and will easily be hunted down by mongrelmen and druids. The brain ooze will be a bigger problem as it can defeat whole squads of regular soldiers by itself if it runs into them.
End Session 16.
Arune – Clerical leader of Asmodean field forces in the army. Shrewd, ruthless, and practical.
Arles – Iomedaen survivor of brain ooze attack. Fearful and hopeless.
“Mother” – Brain Ooze
PCs brainstorm on how to find and defeat the brain ooze. They question Kamilo who explains why the brain ooze didn’t try to use dominate person or other formidable mental powers in the previous encounter. It was conserving psychic energy and attempting to reproduce. It had come to an alliance of convenience with the demons where it would use its psychic powers to aid them and it would be able to feed on the prisoners after the demons were done with them. It toys with its prey and had left a couple of survivors insane even after their physical wounds were healed. 2 other prisoner survivors who are currently insane have confirmed this in their few lucid moments.
At night, a brain ooze attacks a patrol of Iomedaen paladins, slaying 4 of them but leaving one survivor, Arles who is shell shocked. The patrol does kill the brain ooze in the process with their smites. A very careful search of the body leads Quinnlyn to conclude that this was smaller than the brain ooze the PCs had fought earlier. PCs smell a rat and use Speak with Dead in the morning on the brain ooze corpse. It reveals that “Mother” had it attack the patrol and arranged it so it would die in the process. “Mother” was hoping that everyone would think that it died in the attack and let down their guard afterwards.
Arles was the survivor of the attack. He has lost his faith after the attack and is currently an ex-paladin. He has survivor’s guilt after seeing 4 of his closest friends die horribly with their minds ripped apart.
PCs consult with Arune, the clerical head of the Asmodean contingent who suggests leaving some “bait” with a few of the more expendable troops such as the orcs. He casually remarked that nobody would really care if a few orcs were killed in the process of drawing out the brain ooze and having an ambush party ready to clean it up. The PCs refuse the suggestion, not willing to sacrifice any of their allies, no matter how odious they were.
PCs issue orders that all patrols would have to go in groups of 10 now instead of 5. The only exception would be the druids who need to operate in smaller numbers and are more powerful than average anyway.
5 druid scouts report that a large army of mostly dretches and tieflings are in Keeper’s Canyon. There are 2 incubi in charge with a small number of babaus, brimoraks, and schirs sprinkled in.
They arrange the armies so that it would be a simultaneous attack. Barbarians would climb the cliffs and attack from behind, Iomedaen Paladins and Asmodean Cavaliers would attack from the river, Chaotic Mercenaries and Orcs would attack from the west, and Mongrelmen would attack from the front. The battle would be opened up by all the wizards/druids opening up with fireballs and entangles and then the archers would continuously fire until the enemy becomes more disordered. Priority would be to fireball tieflings since they were a lot more vulnerable to fire than demons. The druids stay with the wizards to protect them just in case some of the higher level demons teleport in their midst to attack.
While this is going on, the PCs would make a beeline for the enemy leaders. While the armies clash in the background, they face the 2 incubi, 2 babaus, and 3 schirs. Opening shots by the PCs take down 1 schir with a monstrous damage roll by Kayden using a cold lightning bolt. A hound archon summoned by Quinnlyn faces off against another schir and both of them fight each other ineffectually for the rest of the fight.
The demons focus all their attention on Valin. Through intensive use of lay on hands and heroic sacrifice, he lasts long enough to kill the 2nd incubus with a critical hit on a smite. But the 2 babaus take him down with him needing to spend 2 hero points to not die outright. And then Aron gets on a ridiculous tear and hits a babau with 2 consecutive critical hits with extra panache spent on increasing damage. The 2 crits annihilate it. The last babau sees how the battle is going and teleports away to report.
The PC’s armies win the fight but take more casualties this time because there were more defenders and they weren’t surprised. Plus the defenders had a handful of brimoraks and tiefling sorcerers who could cast fireballs back at the PC armies.
After the fight, Kayden decides to question some of the tiefling prisoners including the sorcerer captured in the previous fight. His name is Baron and he is very strong willed and is willing to bet his life that the goody two shoes wouldn’t outright kill him or be willing to torture him worse than his father and other demons used to torture him. His father was one of the incubus demon leaders named Exorius.
At first Kayden is able to come to an agreement with him and he provides useful information about the leaders and defenders of Icerift Castle and Citadel Drezen. He starts off with a bargain that Baron would be freed after 12 months of service and decides the information was useful enough to cut 4 months off the sentence. A little more questioning had him reveal some information about the brain ooze including some of its motivations and likely strategies and why it was working with the demons. It would probably avoid the heavily armed armies themselves, but would look for opportune weak points in the supply lines to strike. One of the PCs (I forgot who) tells him that this info was worth no sentence reduction and that he was lucky they didn’t turn him over to the Asmodeans. This angered him and made him resolve in the future to get a firm sentence reduction up front before giving out any more information.
A little while later, Baron says he has some more information that he says is worth a 2 month reduction in sentence. Kayden refuses to give a firm number up front leading to Baron refusing to part with any info at all. Kayden tries to use both good constable and bad constable approaches including a clumsy attempt at torture which is ruined by a lawful good Quinnlyn nearby who heals Baron. Frustrated, Kayden stalks away and approaches Arune. Arune is willing to take Baron off his hands, but warns that if he takes custody, he would keep Baron and would not return him. Kayden thinks about it and decides he doesn’t want to turn Baron over. Arune gives a chilling suggestion to just kill him and use Speak with Dead on the body afterwards. That suggestion is also refused. Finally Arune suggests that Kayden gives his 2 month sentence reduction this time as a test. If Baron’s info was as good as promised, then he would be given the benefit of the doubt in future negotiations. If not, then it would be made clear to Baron that no further deals would be made unless he made up the information deficit. The beauty of this approach was that it gave Baron plenty of incentive to give accurate info and a lot of incentive to avoid overpromising.
After that breakthrough, Baron agreed and let slip that Staunton Vhane was holding a very important prisoner who had escaped. It was rumored to be a succubus who had turned her back on the rest of the demons and was probably holed up somewhere in the surrounding areas near Citadel Drezen. Kayden agrees that if true, this was very important info and would reduce the sentence. But it had to be verified first. Baron agrees with this restriction.
End Session 17.
Ilzek and Jadiss – pair of ghast clerics of Kabriri
As the army marches forward, they start getting attacked by flights of gargoyles. The gargoyles with their mobility and immunity to non-magic weapons cause serious casualties with their only losses being a wing that attacks some paladins and are surprised by their smites. Scouts report a chapel ahead which was once sacred to all the good deities but has been overrun and desecrated. The gargoyles appear to be using this as a home base and roost. There appear to be 2 to 3 dozen of them.
Anevia rides in from where she was leading the troops protecting the supply lines. She flings a dead quasit and reports that she believes there is a traitor in the army. The quasit was sent by Faxon and had a message to “unleash the operation”. Unfortunately Anevia had to kill the messenger before finding out who it was going to report to. She felt that she couldn’t adequately follow it due to its flight and invisibility so she attacked as soon as Faxon was away.
PCs decide they couldn’t hunt for the traitor with the gargoyle problem to be dealt with. The army couldn’t afford to bypass the chapel with this many gargoyles around who would play havoc with their supply lines. It had to be taken and secured before the armies could continue their march to Drezen. However, the chapel had been heavily fortified and without siege equipment, it would’ve been impossible for the armies to attack. This was a job for a small elite strike team.
Arune states that he will command the troops when the PCs are away. Since he is the most senior and accomplished military man around, the PCs couldn’t logically gainsay this despite the fact that he is an Asmodeus worshipper. Arune immediately spreads the paladins around the army so that everywhere the gargoyles attack, there is a group of people who could smite waiting to meet them. Both sides play keep away from each other.
The PCs meanwhile take invisibility potions and get into the chapel courtyard. Outside are 6 gargoyles, 2 of which appear to be leaders. They surprise attack the gargoyles and a vicious fight erupts. The 2 leaders happen to be gargoyle barbarian 1s leading 4 ordinary gargoyles. The PCs eventually take down the gargoyles, but Anevia is almost killed and has to use 2 hero points to stay alive.
PCs recover from the fight and enter the temple which has defaced statues and artwork of the various good deities and a huge altar to Kabriri in the back. There is a permanent desecrate effect here. Both Radiance and Demon Splitter start vibrating heavily.
Ilzek and Jadiss along with 4 ghast barbarian 1s meet the PCs. One of them summons a babau demon in the fight. This was an extraordinarily tough fight. At various times:
1) Ramirez got paralyzed for 4 rounds and was a sitting duck
2) Quinnlyn got cutoff and surrounded by 3 ghouls. She would’ve died except she spent 2 hero points to cheat death
3) Valin got surrounded by both ghast clerics and the babau and got dropped to negative hit points even after a heroic defiance spell.
Eventually the PCs win, but it was an exceedingly close fight with lots of hero points spent. PCs are almost out of resources and decide they have to retreat and regroup.
End Session 18.
Nulkineth – Inquisitor of Kabriri. In charge of Chapel defenses
Maugla – Nabasu demon
PCs return and find some good news. Apparently Arune is a military genius. He had a bunch of paladins and Cheliaxan Cavaliers trade armor and suckered the gargoyles into a major attack against the disguised paladins. 18 gargoyles were killed at the cost of 8 paladins, 3 cavaliers, and 2 Riftwardens. The gargoyles are reduced to about a single wing of routed survivors.
Arune is about to hang Arles, charging him with cowardice and desertion. Multiple witnesses including his fellow paladins detail how he broke and ran leading to the deaths of the 2 Riftwardens. Arles could not explain why he ran except to state that he felt afraid.
Reluctantly the PCs allow the hanging as doing otherwise would greatly affect the army’s morale and cohesion.
Valin notices that the Iomedaen paladins seem to treat Arune with a great deal of respect and reverence. With one masterstroke, he had won a great military victory against a seemingly invincible foe who would’ve caused massive future problems. Plus the paladins seem to genuinely trust him despite his evil nature. Valin calls a meeting of the paladins and warns them that despite having to work with the Asmodeans, they are evil and that the paladins should remember who they are truly fighting for.
PCs discuss among themselves and agree that while it’s worrisome that Arune has all this influence on the army, he could be trusted in the short term. If he had wanted to, it would’ve been easy to massacre the paladin army when they were spread out into little groups. Also, he could’ve had 20+ hellknights ambush the PCs as they were returning from the fight and out of resources if he had wanted to kill them.
In the morning, a grim faced Anevia reports that she found 3 vials of shadowblood in Aron’s belongings. It’s a nasty highly addictive drug that has some short term benefits to someone’s fighting skills, but causes a major crash eventually. It would explain why Aron is so hyperactive at most times. PCs decide to table this and carefully observe Aron later. They’re not sure if Aron is really addicted or whether this is a setup and the drugs were planted.
Kayden decides to pump Baron for information. In exchange for more sentence reduction, Baron lets them know about Nulkineth, the half-demon Inquisitor of Kabriri who is the leader of the chapel defenses. He also describes a major demon that Nulkineth occasionally meets with, but only knows that it looks vaguely like a gargoyle and flies. It is a Nabasu demon.
PCs prepare for their 2nd invasion of the chapel. They enter the temple and run into Nulkineth, a winter wolf, a ghast cleric, and 2 ghast barbarians. Quinnlyn gets off a key consecration spell early which greatly weakens the ghasts, but gets surrounded and nuked by a smiting Nulkineth. She spends 2 hero points to cheat death again. The wolf proves very annoying, tripping a PC with each attack but gets killed. Valin almost drops again, but a heroic defiance leaves him at 4 hit points and he gets a critical hit smite attack vs Nulkineth and ends the fight.
The PCs barely have time to breath and quickly heal up before Maugla arrives. The nabasu quickly gives Ramirez 8 negative levels forcing him to spend 2 hero points to cheat death but is volley fired upon by arrows and spells and finally falls.
After clearing the temple of defenders and consecrating the altar, Radiance becomes a +1 Holy cold iron weapon and Demon Splitter becomes a +1 Keen Evil Outsider Bane cold iron weapon. PCs level up and gear up.
End Session 19.
PCs chew upon the information that Anevia provided on Aron. They remove the shadowblood and observe his reactions. At first he acts normal, but eventually his eyes become very bloodshot and he starts walking through the camp searching for something. Valin confronts him and a tense confrontation occurs. Aron doesn’t want to be disarmed and arrested and challenges Valin to single combat. Valin refuses the challenge and things are about to become ugly before Sosiel arrives and defuses the situation. Aron starts sobbing and the story comes out that he had an old addiction to shadowblood but had gone clean. However one day, 4 vials of the stuff appeared in his belongings. Aron doesn’t know how the vials got there, but he didn’t have enough willpower to resist lapsing back into his addiction.
Sosiel takes Aron away and is hopeful that he can cure the addiction with his spells and some TLC. PCs speculate that either Faxon planted the drugs, or the potential traitor might have. They can’t rule out Aron or even any of their otherwise trusted associates such as Anevia as the traitor. PCs decide to replace Aron temporarily with Gherne as the GMPC.
Scouts report large amounts of demonic activity in Ahari Gorge ahead. They are normal soldiers, not shapeshifting druids so they don’t get too close. Kayden volunteers to scout closer and casts invisibility and fly upon himself and gets within 100 yards of the gorge. It is filled with masses of tiny insectlike demons. When he gets back, none of the PCs can recognize them based on Kayden’s description. Finally they consult with Arune who recognizes that they are Vescavor demons who tend to mass in swarms of thousands. They realize that trying to march an army through would be suicidal and since the cliffs are 120 ft high, it would be impossible to move heavily armored men, many of whom ride horses, across the gorge.
Arune tells them that Vescavors only mass in these numbers if there is a Vescavor Queen nearby. The PCs must kill the queen and hopefully get the swarms to disperse.
PCs scout some more and find some holes in the ground where the vescavors seem to enter and exit.
PCs decide to camp for a night to rememorize spells. They focus on area effect spells such as holy smite and sonic burst.
In the morning, Kayden casts invisibility and fly on all 5 party members including Gherne. Quinnlyn shares a bit of the burden by contributing 2 invisibility potions and Ramirez is able to cast fly on Valin and use his scale to allow himself to fly.
In the Vescavor caverns, they use invisibility to get by most of the swarms until they run into a massive cavern with 2 entrances, both guarded by vescavor swarms. One cold lightning bolt later, one of the swarms gets one-shot and becomes chunks of frozen pieces that shatter as they hit the ground. The PCs use this opportunity to enter the cavern where they see the queen guarded by 2 bodyguard swarms. They also notice a shimmering rift at the back of the cavern.
Using invisibility, they get close and while they suffer some inconvenience from confusion, they kill the queen fairly easily. However a vrock flies through the Abyssal rift and attacks the party! With a heroism and mirror image spell up, it is extremely tough. It brings down Gherne forcing him to spend 2 hero points to cheat death. Valin manages to land a smiting crit on it through its myriad images, but then it turns its full attention on him. It mangles him with 4 power attack hits. The party slowly chews through its images and Valin’s turn comes up. It has 2 images left. Valin attacks twice and lands 2 hits, using his last hero point to get the 2nd hit, but he merely wipes out its last 2 images. Kayden decides to use his last 3rd level spell on it with another cold lightning bolt, but it fizzles vs the vrock’s SR. The vrock gets its turn and lands 2 hits on Valin with a full attack. These 2 hits are enough to kill him outright. Quinnlyn finally goes and lands a searing light spell and takes it out.
The PCs return, using a raise dead elixir on Valin. The vescavor swarms disperse upon the death of their queen. The PCs decide to wait a day and spend some time closing the Abyssal rift before proceeding.
End Session 20.
Nirmal – 12 year old druid boy – scouting specialist
Moxsahbuul – Berbalang
PCs finally reach Drezen. At Arune’s request, Nia has detailed Nirmal to help scout for the PCs, but wants him to return after a day since he is her best scout. Nirmal using earth glide as an earth elemental and flying overhead as an eagle is able to draw the PCs a detailed map of Citadel Drezen and surrounding areas.
Arune tells PCs that he’s been keeping in touch with Nia’s forces in the North. For some reason, the defenders of Icerift castle are just staying put and not fighting the northern armies. Nia is not about to make a frontal assault on the castle either so it’s a phony war at the moment there.
PCs interrogate Baron again and promise him freedom in exchange for telling all he knows about the defenses in the area. He agrees. The main defenders are:
Haunted Vault – some freaky scary undead
Drezen Cemetery – an army of ghouls. If they aren’t dealt with, they will attack the army at night and try to grab corpses to increase their numbers
South Bank – Mostly cannon fodder with cultists and tieflings. They are more of a speed bump to force the Crusaders to spend resources while the main demonic forces prepare for battle.
Ahari Bridge – A tiefling sorcerer named Barrid will probably be at one of the bridges. Demons have some man eating aurochs ready to pull down the bridges if given the opportunity.
Paradise Hill – A strong force of schir demons is posted here guarding lots of crusader prisoners.
North Bank – Baron has no information about this.
Citadel Drezen – Each watchtower has a couple of brimoraks plus tieflings and cultists ready to man the catapults and ballistas. Staunton Vhane is here with some scary monsters at his disposal.
Nirmal wants to return and report to Nia, but the PCs use diplomacy to convince him to stay another day. They want him to confirm Baron’s information and scout out what’s in the North Bank. He gets the information, but is spotted by the demons and almost gets killed. He generally confirms Baron’s info and reports that the North Bank is where the demons are placing their reserves. More schirs, dretches, tieflings, and cultists. He then leaves to report to Nia, but not before the PCs hear him sobbing at almost being killed or captured by the demons.
PCs strategize and ultimately decide that they can’t leave the cemetery behind their lines. They detail Arune to use the Cavaliers, Barbarians, Chaotic mercenaries, and a few paladins to attack the South Bank while Kamilo takes most of the paladins and some undead specialist cavaliers to destroy the ghoul army at the graveyard. PCs don’t trust Aron yet for actual fighting so they detail him and Sosiel to escort Baron a mile away before freeing him so he can’t betray them during the battle. Meanwhile the PCs will make a strike at the Haunted Vault.
That night, Moxsahbuul sneaks into the camp and drains the vitality of 2 barbarians, killing them. Their weapons can do nothing to it. This makes PCs even more resolved to clear the Vault.
The next day, the armies start attacking their objectives. PCs use Aravash as their 5th member despite his protests. The vault doors are locked and trapped so they get Aravash to summon a lantern archon who teleports into the vault and open it from the inside. It can’t see anything since there is a deeper darkness effect inside. It also says that it feels very uncomfortable. It opens the door and immediately gets eaten by the green slime trap. It cries piteously as the green slime consumes it.
PCs use a daylight spell to cancel out the deeper darkness and find a Mohrg, 2 babaus, a schir, and a vermlek demon. They appear to be guarding 2 sealed rooms in the back. The Vault also has an Unhallow effect on it. Meanwhile they find Moxsahbuul appear outside draining vitality from the paladins near him who can’t hurt it even while smiting since it is incorporeal and the rank and file soldiers do not have magic weapons.
The ensuing fight is nasty as the PCs not only deal with the Vault defenders, but also attack and dispel Moxsahbuul’s astral form, banishing it back to its body. A perception roll by Ramirez lets him know that its body is in one of the sealed rooms in the back. PCs take down all defenders except for the last babau who teleports away after being blinded by a holy smite. The defenders did manage to down Valin after he gets surrounded by the mohrg and both babaus.
Aravash summons a hound archon who teleports inside one of the back rooms where it gets paralyzed and killed off by the berbalang.
Afterwards it is just mop up as the PCs slowly break down the stone walls around the sealed rooms. Moxsahbuul cannot teleport and is a sitting duck inside since he can’t get by the PCs.
PCs find out that the army encounters have been very successful. Arune easily dispatches most of the defenders but chooses not to approach Ahari bridge reasoning that it would just cause the demons to pull it down. Demons will not pull it down until the last minute since keeping the bridges intact will allow them to sortie their armies out for counterattacks. Kamilo has a more difficult time with the ghouls since they were the tougher force and she’s not as skilled as Arune, but casualties were still fairly light due to the PCs being able to dispatch Moxsahbuul before he was able to cause too much damage.
End Session 21.
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Barrid – Tiefling sorcerer in charge of defending Ahari Bridge
A furious Gherne speaks to the PCs and declares Arune to be a traitor and a friend to the demons. He states that Arune had the opportunity to surround the tiefling/cultist/dretch defenders of the South Bank and wipe them out completely, but let 50 of them escape across the bridges. PCs promise to speak to Arune.
PCs strategize with Arune and diplomatically ask why he didn’t surround the enemy and wipe them out completely. He says that he deliberately left an escape route for the enemy so that they’d break and run when things turned against them. If he had surrounded them, he would wipe them out but would lose 4 times as many men as he actually lost since the enemy would fight to the death. If they had an escape route, they would rout across the bridges instead and it’d be easy to kill them from behind. Arune points out 150 enemy dead vs just 10 of their own men as proof of the success of his strategy. He also points out that the survivors would spread fear and panic through the enemy ranks. PCs agree with Arune’s strategy, but must find a way to placate Gherne before the 2 leaders come to blows.
Sosiel, Aron, Anevia, and Jeri come into the camp with all of Jeri’s men. They report that a very powerful incubus attacked Sosiel and Aron’s party. He killed the 3 escorting soldiers and nearly killed them except that Anevia and Jeri arrived and drove him away with arrows, but not before he grabbed Baron. Later Jeri found 6 of her men dead with her and Anevia’s arrows through them with a note stating that he was just being courteous and returning their arrows to them. PCs recognize this as the signature of their most hated enemy, Deacon.
Jeri explains that with this incubus plus Faxon and the brain ooze in the area, she could not protect their supply lines without a lot more men and some of the Riftwardens. She would lose all her men uselessly if she tried since ordinary soldiers were no match for such formidable foes.
The party checks and finds that the armies have about a week of food left which puts a strict deadline before they have to take the citadel. Arune speculates that this attack must be taken very seriously by the demons if they pulled their best field agent, Deacon, into trying to stall the attack. Time that he spends trying to delay the army is time that he is not spending in Mendev trying to corrupt the villagers, killing patrols, and spreading his witchcraft and cultist networks.
PCs with Arune’s advice decide to grab the bridges next. Both bridges must be taken simultaneously or else the demons would pull down the other bridge. PCs plus Gherne form 1 strike team and Arune chooses Aravash, Hana, Othirubo, and Anevia for his strike team.
During the night while everyone is trying to rest, a disturbance occurs. A horribly tortured Baron is thrown into the camp. Both eyes have been gouged out, his tongue has been cut off, and both hands have been cut off as well as other signs of torture. Apparently Deacon must have gotten all the information he needed and then spent some time being creative in leaving Baron as an object lesson to other tieflings and cultists who might have the idea to turncoat and betray the demons.
Baron is still alive, but obviously in no condition to speak. He is horribly traumatized. PCs heal him as best they can but do not have access to any spell that can restore his eyes, tongue, or hands.
PC strike team approach the bridge. They see 4 aurochs near the bridge supports, 2 dretches up front, and a schir and brimorak on the bridge itself. They don’t see the sorcerer, Barrid, who Baron had said would be guarding the bridge.
PCs mount their attack and find a big surprise. The aurochs are actually 2 grimslakes and 2 apocalypse locust demons under an illusion! Plus Barrid is across the bridge with a mirror image spell up. It is a trap setup by the demons to assassinate the crusader’s most powerful champions.
This becomes a very nasty fight. Bad luck on saves results in both Quinnlyn and Valin losing their clerical and paladin powers due to failing a save from the locusts and being branded with Deskari’s mark. Kayden absorbs 2 full scorching rays from Barrid, nearly dying before retreating and healing up. The turning point is when Ramirez kills a grimslake and brimorak in the same round. A Barrid fireball almost nukes Valin but Kayden creates a pit and makes Barrid fall in. Barrid eventually dispels the pit and gets out, but that gave the PCs time to kill the locust demons. Barrid decides to retreat with all his allies dead even though 1 final fireball would’ve probably killed 2 PCs. Having his mirror images dispelled by Ramirez helped him make his decision.
PCs spend lots of resources healing up and find that the other strike team was successful. They took some major damage as well, but the other bridge didn’t have Barrid there so it was somewhat easier to take.
Arune reports that Hana fought very well and that he would request that she be permanently assigned to his service. He says that she has potential. PCs politely refuse since they fear that she might convert from Iomedae to Asmodeus.
PCs decide to recall the northern armies so they call a hound archon to deliver a message to Irabeth to let Nia and Lann know about the order to return. Only the druids can make it back quickly since the other armies will take a few days to get back on foot.
Kayden does a little recon but backs off when he sees a vrock commanding the schirs defending Paradise Hill. He sees some babaus and lots of schirs as well.
A strategy session results in a decision that Arune would take a strike team to free the prisoners on Paradise Hill. PCs will try and kill the vrock and any other leaders that the demons have while Jeri will lead the armies and try and keep most of the schirs occupied.
End Session 22.
You seem to do a fair bit of roleplaying with the various generals they have under their command. Do you have any roleplaying notes for them?
All the recruitable NPCs have their own character sheets. They are built on 20 points with PC wealth, but do not benefit from PC crafting feats and do not share the benefits of their own crafting feats with the PCs. Using Hero Labs has made this a very easy process to keep all NPCs updated and saves me a ton of time overall.
I have a general personality for each NPC. In the journal at the beginning of each session, I introduce new NPCs and give a general overview of them. Sometimes their attitudes and personalities do change after roleplay with the party.
Is there any specific NPC that you want more info on?
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Yarick is the head of the Cheliax contingent of the crusades near Kenabres.
In my version of WotR, countries around the world send military contingents to fight the demons, recognizing that they are all in trouble if the demons win. Cheliax has sent a particularly large army to fight and thus has a lot of power and prestige in the area. The Iomedaens and Asmodeans don't like each other, but have to cooperate since only the demons win if they go to war.
Yarick is rude, abrasive, and arrogant. He is always looking for advantage and ways that he can increase the power of Cheliax and Asmodeus. He scored a coup when he got the PCs to agree to give Asmodeus equal weight to Iomedae in Drezen once it has been captured since they needed his army.
Harg and Jeri are leaders of the only 2 mercenary companies available at the moment to the PCs. Most of the rest have either signed contracts elsewhere or have avoided the Worldwound due to the danger level. There is a lot of unspecified bad blood between them due to a prior contract going wrong and due to their diametrically opposite natures.
Harg is Chaotic Neutral and his warriors are a bunch of undisciplined barbarians and fighters who don't like following orders and are somewhat of a loose cannon.
Jeri is Lawful Neutral and her warriors are disciplined fighters and cavaliers who fight in formation and follow the chain of command.
The next update will actually involve Harg and Jeri. Stay tuned! :)
Pozlixt – Vrock commander of schir army
Each PC has a separate mini-crisis or opportunity to deal with.
First Quinnlyn sees that Harg is about to leave with his mercenary band. When asked why, he says that his contract was specific that he was not to fight near Jeri. Having Jeri be named leader of the Paradise Hill assault force meant that he would be under her command which he absolutely refused to consider.
Quinnlyn accuses him of desertion and says that she would take 80% of their pay away from them. She also hints that she will use the rest of the army to stop them. Harg is too furious to pay attention to such threats. He says flat out that he would return half the money but would fight his way out of camp if necessary. He accuses Quinnlyn of not bargaining in good faith if she tries to put his men under Jeri’s command.
Quinnlyn tries to buy time by saying that she will consult with her partners, but Harg is having none of it. He demands an answer on the spot. Quinnlyn at first refuses, but sees that he is serious about leaving and finally promises that his men would be either in reserve, or would mount a diversionary attack on the North Bank. In any case, she promises that he will be in a different group from Jeri and would not have to follow her orders.
Lann had followed the druids back to the army camp. He had ridden all night on Nia who had taken the form of a dire tiger to rush him back while most of the other druids had flown or earth glided back.
Lann angrily confronts Valin and asks why the church of Iomedae had freed Hosilla and Chaleb. It turns out that the 2 of them plus Faxon had ambushed a squad of mongrelmen and killed 6 of them. The remaining 4 were captured and had their right hand cut off so that they couldn’t draw a sword or pull a bowstring and then released. He says that he recognizes that in a time of war, he can expect losses but he shouldn’t have to fear losses from enemies that were already defeated. He says that he told his people that they could trust surface justice and that he was promised that Hosilla would never menace them again.
Valin is apologetic. He first tries to point out that it was a prisoner exchange and that they got Ramirez released in exchange. He asked them whether they would have traded Hosilla for their chief. The answer was an emphatic no from Lann who stated that it was not worth it to release such a hated and powerful enemy. Valin gives Lann an elixir of Raise Dead as a peace offering. The exchange ended in Lann saying that he would talk to his people, but there was no guarantee that they wouldn’t return home due to what they perceived as treachery.
Nurah finds Ramirez and tells him that his meathead blood brother was going to try and kill Arune. Apparently Arune had really rubbed Gherne the wrong way with his manner and diametrically opposed alignment.
Ramirez enters Gherne’s tent and sees him sharpening his falchion. He asks what he was doing. Gherne cheerfully says that he was going over to Arune’s tent and was going to cut his head off. Ramirez asks why and Gherne says he doesn’t trust Arune and feels that he would be a better field commander. An honorable frontal assault was preferable to maneuver and cowardly ambush tactics in his mind. Gherne would express his dominance over Arune by chopping his head off. Ramirez tries to talk him out of it. Gherne asks why he always sides with Arune over his sworn brother. Ramirez finally calms him down and promises that he would be the first one to strike at Arune if he betrayed them. They both finally had some good wine and got drunk together.
Finally Othirubo asks to speak to Kayden. He says that after seeing what Deacon did to Baron, he was convinced that his only hope was to join up with the crusaders. He says that he could get most of their tiefling prisoners to join him. Kayden is suspicious and asks him where this attitude change came from. Othirubo replied that his original plan was to be like Baron and run away to another continent when his sentence was up. But after seeing what Deacon did, running away was clearly not an option. A little back and forth between them results in Kayden saying no, but he promised to discuss the issue after the upcoming battle.
The PCs meet up with each other and Arune. They discuss what happened with the exception of Gherne’s plot to kill Arune. When the tiefling issue comes up, the consensus was that the tieflings had to either be integrated into society or killed off. It was decided by majority vote to take Othirubo up on his offer and give full pardons to any tiefling who would fight for the crusaders. It was further decided to put Harg’s men with the tieflings and riftwardens to protect them and use the group as a battery of long range fire that would hopefully suppress the watchtowers of Castle Drezen. That had the added benefit that Harg’s men would not be with the assault troops and thus not under Jeri’s command.
PCs bring the news that they will accept the tieflings’ offer of service. Othirubo then starts volunteering information about the defenses including the name of the enemy vrock commander which is Pozlixt. He also mentions that Staunton Vhane had a pet of some sort that made even most demons afraid.
The next day, the battle occurs. The plan was for the armies to assault the entrenched schir demons while Arune’s strike team rescued the prisoners and the PCs go for the vrock commander. The PCs would bring Kamilo with them while Arune would have Aravash, Hana, Lann, and Nia with his team.
While the army mounts a major frontal assault on the hill, the PCs rush forward. They first run into a group of 2 babaus and 6 schirs. The schirs are just an annoyance at this point, but they buy plenty of time for the babaus to launch lots of dispel magics. The dispel magics are primarily aimed at Valin and Ramirez since Pozlixt considered them the biggest danger to him. The schirs are killed off, but the babaus play keep away for awhile before finally being hunted down and killed. They did dispel a lot of spells.
At the building that housed the prisoners, the PCs see 6 babaus and about 40 schirs attack the building in an attempt to massacre the prisoners.
Then Pozlixt introduces himself with a massive lightning storm from a dance of ruin done from invisibility that takes out dozens of men over a 100 foot radius. He shows up with 2 brimorak demons and 2 schirs. The brimoraks mainly cast dispel magics on Valin and Ramirez before resorting to fireballs and fire breaths. The PCs have learned from the prior vrock fight and have dispel magics of their own. A hero point aided dispel magic gets rid of Pozlixt’s mirror images and the PCs finally take him down, but not before Kamilo and Quinnlyn are dropped.
The battle is won with very heavy losses. Well over 100 attackers are dead and there are lots of wounded. The doors of the prison are opened and everyone sees a very battered Arune and strike team standing over 6 babau and 40 schir bodies. There are about 6 bearded devils alive and almost 10 dead in the room covered with demon blood. Hana with her eyes shining starts chanting “Arune” and salutes him. This chant is picked up by all the prisoners and there is a crescendo of “Arune” chants. Then some of the Asmodean prisoners start chanting “Asmodeus” and that starts picking up as most of the prisoners pick up the chant including even many Iomedaen prisoners. Months of brutal captivity by the demons had taken their toll on the prisoners.
It turned out that the bearded devils called at session 14 were kept by Arune in reserve a couple of miles away from any action with strict orders to hide. At the proper moment, they would be called and teleport in. They were armed with cold iron weapons whereas any demons they run into would not be equipped with silver weapons giving them a big advantage in any fight. With the strike team plus the bearded devils, they were able to throw back the demonic horde.
PCs try their best to mitigate Arune’s influence, but clearly a lot of ground was gained by him in this operation.
End Session 23.
Soltengrebbe – Very powerful chimera
With the aftermath of the battle, there are numerous problems to deal with.
About 50-60 men had caught Grey Pox from the schir’s filthy weapons. It would take several days of every higher level cleric and druid in the camp plus a large scale potion brewing process by Ramirez and Othirubo to cure the disease.
With the time needed to rest plus the influx of bodies from the freed prisoners, the food supply for the army had dropped from 5 days to 3.5 days. The food could be stretched longer with half rations, but the men wouldn’t be able to fight as well. A Ramirez survival check with help from Gherne and Nurah results in about 3 extra days of food by detailing 2 armies to forage. They had to forage in army strength because less than 20 men in a group could be targeted by Deacon, the Brain Ooze, or the Faxon/Hosilla/Chaleb group.
The orcs and mongrelmen finally return. The mongrelmen’s numbers have been drastically thinned out as barely half their original number return to camp.
Irabeth looks a bit more cynical and hard-bitten as the result of her operation. Controlling the orcs and engaging in a vicious struggle with the northern demons has taken a spiritual toll on her. She talks to Valin and says that in the north, there were several points where tieflings tried to surrender but were massacred by her troops with her assent. She said that if she freed them, they would return to kill more of her forces. If she took them prisoner, she would have to either take them along with her forces which would slow them down and force her to feed them, or she would have to detail forces to escort them south to Drezen or Kenabres. Neither option was palatable to her. She requires an atonement which she decides to get from Sosiel.
Irabeth also details some of what happened in the north. Apparently only lower level demons fought her forces. The more powerful demons stayed inside Icerift Castle and refused to leave. At first she was puzzled, but she later found out that Nia had let a tiefling prisoner escape after letting it overhear that one or more Siabrae Great Ones were watching over the apprentice druids and would ambush any powerful demon who left the castle to attack them. The entire northern operation was a gigantic bluff run by Nia. Also while Irabeth expected to be in overall charge, she was outvoted as both Lann and Nia agreed that Nia would be the best commander of the forces. She grudgingly admitted that Nia had done a superb job as leader with losses as low as could possibly be expected under the circumstances.
The orcs had lost about 20% of their forces, the mongrelmen about 50%, and the druids had taken trivial losses. Apparently the druids had a policy of ruthlessly sending their animal companions plus many summoned animals into combat and let them fight to the death. They would support them with long range spells, but even though many of the druids were formidable combat machines, they would invariably retreat if the demons got close to them using flight or earth glide to get away. Force preservation was their first priority in any skirmish with the demons since there was no ground that needed to be protected there. And the next day, additional animal companions would be called or raised to repeat the cycle.
Irabeth also reported grimly that she had some suspicions about the druids. A few times, they would report a village that had been destroyed. Invariably, the children would be missing from the villages. Since the druids were the scouts of the army, they would always be the ones to find these villages first. It could have been the demons who had done this since demons would also prize children, but while Irabeth had no proof, she had suspicions about who had actually done the deed and who would’ve benefitted the most from this.
Irabeth also opined that if the druids ever joined forces with the demons, the entire crusades would be a lost cause. If relatively low level apprentices were this dangerous, she couldn’t imagine how powerful their Siabrae Great One leaders would be.
Lann is met by Kayden. He sees Lann engaged in talk with Wendaug who urges him to open his eyes and see that the surface worlders were not to be trusted. They had broken their word before and would do so again.
Kayden finds out that when the druids flew south, the Faxon/Hosilla/Chaleb trio had gotten more aggressive and took a steady toll of mongrelmen lives on their way south. The druid group was the only one that the trio feared/respected at all and with them gone, there was no stopping them.
It was obvious that the evil trio was trying to make their losses unbearable and try to cause friction between them and the Iomedaen church. Each death was a grim reminder to the mongrelmen about the costs of surface world treachery.
Lann says that it will be hard to convince his people to ever trust the church of Iomedae again. He says that Nia has invited him and his tribe to live in the forest with the druids where they will be protected. Kayden doesn’t directly tell Lann not to accept the offer, but says that his ancestral home of Osirion could do the same thing. There are numerous places where a strong tribe could wander without being persecuted by outsiders.
The PCs gather and discuss the next steps. Irabeth suggests letting Arune command the armies to deal with the North Bank and Watchtowers while a small surgical strike team infiltrates the castle and tries to assassinate Staunton Vhane and any other leaders in the castle. Valin strongly objects since he doesn’t want Arune to gain even more influence than he already has over the armies. Kayden disagrees and says that they have to have the best person for the job. He points out that there were numerous occasions where Arune could’ve wiped them all out if he intended treachery. Valin doesn’t disagree with that assessment, but fears that Arune will rule the city by acclaim once it is taken. After all, dozens of former Iomedae worshippers had turned to Arune and Asmodeus after the prisoner rescue. Finally after extensive discussion, it is agreed on the original plan. Arune will be in charge since they owed it to the men to put the most capable person in charge.
After that, they discussed how to deal with Staunton’s pet. They want to draw it out and kill it before they enter the castle since fighting it plus Staunton at the same time would be a nightmare. They finally agree on a plan to let slip that due to the need to cure disease, Quinnlyn and Ramirez would be at a weak point. It would be a perfect time for a powerful monster to try and assassinate the army’s leadership.
At night, a monstrously huge chimera appears. It is Soltengrebbe, Staunton Vhane’s pet. I didn’t want to use a mythic chimera due to the dual initiative plus mythic abilities, so I replaced it with a chimera with the Advanced and Giant templates. I also gave it DR 10/mythic so that normal soldiers, even smiting paladins, couldn’t realistically affect it since the description of the monster in the book states that the paladin army’s weapons invariably bounces off it even if by rule a paladin’s smite would go straight through its defenses.
Soltengrebbe steamrolls through the camp, killing many crusaders who try to stop it. The PCs meet it. It catches the entire party in a vicious blizzard breath but gets critted by both Ramirez and Aron! It does one more full round attack, almost downing Valin before being taken out.
With the mythic challenge defeated, the PCs level up. They quickly send 2 armies plus the Riftwardens back to reestablish the supply lines and are able to gear up.
End Session 24.
Helmuth – Aasimar paladin among the rescued prisoners
Auzmezar – Head of the circle of Siabrae druids – Among the mightiest of all druids on all of Golarion
PCs ask Irabeth about Castle Drezen’s defenses and whether there was a way of entering besides the front gate. Irabeth pulls the floorplans to the castles from the time she was stationed there. She points to a tower that would probably be an opening since it was the only place a massive beast like Soltengrebbe could’ve entered and left the castle. Kayden does some scouting of the area using his invisibility and flight and sees the opening covered by canvas. He sees something large underneath the canvas rustle around and quickly leaves. PCs decide that this would be a good place to try and surprise attack the garrison.
Nurah tells the PCs that Arune is about to impose some discipline among the armies. PCs arrive and see that Arune has sentenced 2 tieflings and 4 freed prisoners including Helmuth, an aasimar paladin who had taught Valin a secret spell in gratitude for being freed. The 6 of them have been sentenced to 20 lashes each.
Apparently, the 4 freed prisoners had badly beaten up the 2 tieflings, accusing them of being torturers and rapists who had personally tortured the 4 prisoners. Arune proclaims that since it was decided that the tieflings were to be given amnesty in exchange for fighting in the army, their past crimes were forgiven and the freed prisoners would be punished for attacking fellow soldiers. He also found that the tieflings were partially at fault since they taunted the prisoners using their amnesty and throwing it in their faces. Since no one died, the punishment was only 20 lashes each. However Arune made it very clear that if any of this behavior happened again, all parties responsible would be hanged.
PCs can’t find any fault with Arune’s discipline and don’t interfere.
Later, Captain Estrin rides into camp with 20 warriors. He says that he was sent by Liotr who desperately needs help since demons had infiltrated into Mendev itself and were wreaking havoc among the villages and towns. He demands 2 armies to be sent back to protect the villages. PCs refuse, proclaiming that Drezen was the objective and diverting troops when the city was that close to falling was foolish. There is a violent disagreement with Estrin spitting on Valin and accusing him of consorting with devils and undead. Valin punches Estrin and proclaims Estrin as a murderer of innocents. They both agree to a duel at some future time. Estrin rides away with his men.
PCs are suspicious that Estrin would arrive at that instant to ask for help. They send a hound archon with a message to Nestrin asking about the situation in Mendev and whether Liotr really asked for help. It turns out that while there were demonic forces invading Mendev and attacking villages, Liotr hadn’t sent anyone to the Drezen expedition. The “Captain Estrin” who the PCs met was clearly not who he appeared to be.
That night, Anevia joins the PCs and lets them know that she found out about a secret druidic meeting outside of town. It would be hard to infiltrate since they have their animal companions keeping watch. It was decided that Anevia would take Kayden and Quinnlyn with her while invisible so they could spy on the druids.
Anevia leads the trio through a gap in the animal coverage and they settle in and listen. The druids all congratulate Nirmal for his 13th birthday and start playing like normal little children, instead of the murderous child soldiers that they normally appear as. There is much laughter and joy. Then a monstrously powerful Siabrae druid appears. He is Auzmezar, the head of the entire circle of Siabraes druids!
Auzmezar congratulates Nirmal on reaching his 13th birthday and going through his rite of passage. He hands Nirmal a suit of dragonhide armor and tells him that the armor has been enchanted to change shape when he does.
Auzmezar then questions Nia to determine what she had learned about the crusaders. Nia says that the armies aren’t dangerous. Even if they send thousands of soldiers, a few druids calling lightning could devastate all of them. Every Mendevian soldier invading at once would not be a threat. The only threats are the leaders. Individually each leader is no challenge, but working as a team, they can defeat challenges much greater than each of them alone since their powers complement each other. Nia adds that if Auzmezar wants to kill them off, now would be the time before they grow into greater power.
Auzmezar tells Nia that this is not the plan. The demons are the greatest enemy and she should do all in her power to cooperate with the crusaders until the demons are beaten. He adds that the Iomedaen church and their representatives are the Great Betrayers and should never be trusted. Their promises and honor are worthless as shown by their betrayals of the druids, Kellid barbarians, and most recently the mongrelmen.
Auzmezar then recites the teachings of the Pallid Princess and mentions the circle of Birth, Life, Unlife, Death, and Rebirth. He departs, but not before returning Nissa and Niall, two druids who were previously slain in the fighting but have been reincarnated. The child druids gather around their risen comrades in joy.
PCs return to camp with a lot to chew on.
End Session 25.
Agmar – Young Red Dragon
PCs prepare for an infiltration and assault on the castle. They see Arune making preparations for the assault including troop placements and attack routes.
A babau demon walks into camp waving a white flag. He proclaims that Staunton Vhane is willing to challenge any champion in single combat. If he loses, the demons would evacuate the castle since they would have no reason to defend it any more while if he wins, the crusaders would have to leave.
The PCs discuss among themselves. Anevia feels that Staunton would not have made the challenge unless he was very confident in victory. She says that 10 years ago, she almost lost Irabeth during their confrontation. If help hadn’t arrived at just the right time, Staunton would’ve killed Irabeth instead of merely running away with the Sword of Valor. Staunton was better than Irabeth 10 years ago and presumably would still be better today.
PCs decide to refuse the challenge since they don’t feel confident that any of them could beat Staunton in single combat. The babau laughs at the cowardice of the crusader leaders as it returns to the castle.
The next day, the PCs turn invisible and fly to the tower in the back. As they get close, a voice invites them to come in and chat. PCs warily enter through the canvas and see a red dragon. Clearly it had noticed them with its blindsense.
The dragon tells them that he has no interest in actually fighting them. While he wasn’t afraid of the PCs, he saw what they did to Soltengrebbe and decided negotiation was a better tactic. He asks for 2000 gold as a bribe. He says that he would “scout” around the general vicinity of the castle for 3 days if the money was paid. PCs want to buy him out permanently, but he says that if Staunton Vhane is still alive in 3 days time, he would be in big trouble if he didn’t return. He can only promise the 3 days. PCs discuss among themselves and decide 2000 gold was a cheap price to avoid a dragon fight.
PCs enter the tower and sees signs that Soltengrebbe used to lair here. They see 7 ballistas in the lower part of the tower that are disassembled. They are reserves that will be rotated in the front towers if the front ones are damaged or destroyed.
Anevia has a very difficult time with the locks. These locks were of dwarven construction and very difficult to pick (DC 35). For the first door, Ramirez decides to dimension door through instead. He takes Anevia and Valin with him. They run into 4 Thoxel demons and handily dispose of them with their only damage being Anevia failing 2 murderous command saves and shooting Quinnlyn and Kayden.
The next room is harder as they enter a large room and find 4 half-fiend minotaurs. The minotaurs are defeated, but force the PCs to expend some resources in taking them out.
End Session 26.
Janeamine – Apparent avatar of Iomedae
Konneshka – Vrock
PCs enter next room on the way to where the Sword of Valor was last kept. They enter a massive room and run into Konneshka, a demonic scorpion, a brimorak, and a schir. Konneshka attacks Anevia and is ready to massacre her. The scorpion lands a devastating line of acid that hits 4 opponents. However Quinnlyn casts a dismissal spell that sends Konneshka back to the Abyss. The remaining opponents are easy to deal with.
At the next room, Kayden enters while invisible. He sees an imposing woman with short dark hair who looks like the idealized depictions of Iomedae in the artwork that he has seen in her temples and shrines. There are 8 worshippers who are kneeling and praying to her. Kayden is suspicious and carefully lines up 4 of them to get hit by his dragon breath spell. That spell massacres all 4 of them. There is no reaction from the woman or any of the remaining worshippers.
The rest of the party enters the room and try to puzzle out what’s going on. Valin detects strong evil from the woman, but nothing from any of her followers. The PCs try and engage her in conversation to determine what her angle was, but all they can tell is that she seems sincere in her beliefs. PCs are sorely tempted to unload on her, but they stay their hand.
"Iomedae" is actually a succubus named Janeamine who took her form almost a decade ago and first charmed the 8 crusaders into worshipping her. After awhile, she didn't need to charm them anymore and they genuinely believed her to be the real Iomedae. And then later on, she embraced the role so fully that she now thinks of herself as the goddess. So the 4 people that Kayden killed with his spell were actually innocent dupes. It might have some interesting alignment consequences when he finds out since he is neutral good.
The rest of the demons in the castle find this amusing and leave "Iomedae" and her worshippers alone. It's their version of reality TV. :)
Loud noises are heard as demons seem to be gathering, but nobody enters the room for some reason.
PCs find a couple of secret doors that lead to the room where the Sword of Valor was formerly kept. They see it hanging on a wall with 2 chests underneath. The chests turn out to be fiendish mimics. They do some moderate damage with their smites, but are easily disposed of. The banner turns out to be a fake as it is just a simple spear with a flag hanging from it.
End Session 27.
Kiranda – Succubus swashbuckler – Playful and seductive
“Staunton Vhane” – Incubus anti-paladin – Grim and businesslike
PCs leave “Iomedae” and her remaining worshippers and retrace their steps. Their activities have drawn some attention and they run into a muscular dwarven man wearing a breastplate and using a scimitar and shield and a lithe beautiful elf woman with a chain shirt, rapier, and buckler.
PCs and Kiranda negotiate for a bit, but since Kiranda is demanding their capture and they demand Kiranda and “Staunton” to surrender, fighting erupts. PCs notice that “Staunton” is using a scimitar instead of a glaive as reported and that his breastplate has 2 slits in the back which suspiciously looks like it was designed to allow wings to slide through.
Kiranda starts off dominating Kayden who starts blasting his friends indiscriminately with dragon’s breaths. “Staunton” smites Valin.
The duo starts off with spells, but then gets into melee with the party. PCs try their best to limit the damage that Kayden is doing with trip attacks. PCs have an enormously difficult time hitting the evil duo who have them on the ropes since they are landing plenty of hits of their own, although their damage is significantly less than what the PCs dish out. “Staunton” has AC 33 vs Valin who has about the same AC vs “Staunton”. Kiranda is extremely dangerous as her +9 charisma modifier makes her virtually immune to any effects that require a save for 3 rolls due to the charmed life class feature, including saving with a roll of a 2 vs Quinnlyn’s spear of purity.
Eventually Kayden breaks Kiranda’s domination and starts landing some cold scorching rays on her. The PCs drop her to single digit hit points with focused fire before she decides to teleport out. “Staunton” follows her with both of them content in running the PCs out of resources.
During the fight, all PCs except for Kayden were either dropped or brought to single digit hit points. It was a very close fight. Anti-paladin and swashbuckler are 2 classes that synergize EXTREMELY well with a high charisma monster like an incubus/succubus.
PCs decide to use the last silver scale to rest up. They don’t want to leave the castle to try another assault reasoning that Staunton Vhane would just beef up his defenses and might call more aid to help him.
The use of the scale might be a surprise to Staunton who is hopefully counting on the party being out of resources during their fight.
End Session 28.
Staunton Vhane – Antipaladin commander of Castle Drezen – Former Paladin of Iomedae who has been corrupted and fallen.
Joran Vhane – Staunton’s brother. Smith who has been forced to work for Staunton.
Soulshear – Staunton’s glaive. Powerful evil artifact weapon.
PCs retrace their steps and are met by a dwarf and 4 babau demons. They get attacked but the PCs notice that the dwarf is deliberately missing. PCs chase off babaus and Valin nearly kills the dwarf with a smite.
They heal the dwarf and find out that his name is Joran Vhane and he is Staunton’s brother. He explains that Staunton has his son, Millorn, hostage for his good behavior. He is a skilled smith who is the only person capable at the moment of operating the Corruption Forge. PCs tell him that Millorn is actually free and in the undercity of Kenabres at the moment. The “son” that Staunton is holding is probably an incubus or succubus playing a role. Joran agrees to hide while the PCs hunt down Staunton.
PCs approach the gates of the Castle and run into an ambush of 6 half-orc ranger archers. Despite being very much inferior to the PCs in power level, they cause a great deal of problems due to arrow slits and being in hard to approach areas. They actually manage to force Ramirez to use 2 hero points to cheat death and cause lots of damage to the PCs before being taken out.
PCs discuss and decide not to open the gates yet since they feel that the armies would be massacred if they went inside before the enemy leaders are dealt with.
PCs approach a couple of areas that are barred. Finally they approach the stairs to the lower dungeon. At that point, they run into Staunton plus 2 half-fiend barbarian 1 minotaurs. There is some negotiation which mainly consisted of Staunton mocking Valin for cowardice before Kayden initiates the fight.
The fight starts off very badly for the PCs as Ramirez and Kayden both are downed and forced to use 2 hero points to cheat death due to smiting minotaurs and Staunton while an invisible Barrid summons a large and medium earth elemental. Staunton’s glaive summons a babau for good measure. Quinnlyn however saves the day with copious use of hero points by dismissing and dispelling the babau plus the large earth elemental. She also channels and brings Ramirez and Kayden back into the fight. Meanwhile Valin has killed 1 minotaur and Anevia finishes off the other with her archery. Things still look bleak as Barrid starts tossing around fireballs and Staunton is using the flanking by the summoned medium earth elemental to ravage Valin. However PCs persevere and with hero point expenditure finally downs Staunton. Anevia gets a crucial critical hit on Barrid to prevent him from tossing 1 additional fireball and possibly killing Ramirez and Kayden again.
It was quite an epic fight that took the party to their very limits and beyond.
After that, the PCs cut off Staunton’s head and Kayden uses it to demoralize most of the remaining demons. The ones that can teleport generally do so while the remaining tieflings and half-orc defenders start turning and killing dretches and schirs that can’t retreat. They surrender to the party who now have control over the castle except for 2 battlements and the dungeon.
PCs speak to Joran who tells them that one battlement probably has a Nabasu demon commanding it and the other has a murder machine woman who is capable of cutting demons in half with a single blow. The dungeons are crawling with undead including probably a vampire. And Staunton has a red dragon who might be returning at any moment.
End Session 29.
Chorussina – Tiefling conjurer
PCs divide NPCs into 2 teams and have 1 group attack the east battlement while the other attacks the west battlement. PCs decide to take Sosiel and have 4 divine casters including 3 clerics enter the dungeons.
PCs quickly learn that the dungeon has a very powerful Unhallow effect and has been infused by the Abyss with Good and Lawful characters taking severe penalties in the dungeons. Also the PCs hear voices whispering in their ears and Kayden and Ramirez quickly take 2 points of charisma damage from the voices.
PCs search around the jail cells and quickly find a secret door. The door leads to a room with the Corruption Forge. There are 4 salamanders there who ignore the PCs as they enter. PCs can’t communicate with them and both sides leave each other alone.
The PCs finally enter a room where a tiefling wizard named Chorussina is conducting a ritual. She has 3 babaus with her. Quinnlyn makes a knowledge roll and determines that the purpose of this ritual is to bring down Castle Drezen and kill all the attacking armies!
PCs attack. Chorussina places a wall of force around her team plus Ramirez but doesn’t realize that he can dimension door out of the trap. Both sides take time to buff up while the wall is up including the babaus summoning 2 more of their number and Chorussina summoning a large earth elemental.
The wall of force finally gets dropped and the fighting starts in earnest. This time, the babaus decide to concentrate on the spell casters instead of the front line fighters. They quickly have Quinnlyn and Sosiel on the ropes. Kayden duels with Chorussina and steadily blasts her. She quickly runs out of offensive spells and is reduced to defensive spells plus magic missiles before deciding to dimension door away when Kayden hits her with a particularly damaging blast.
Meanwhile Quinnlyn and Sosiel both get dropped along with 3 of the babaus. The last 2 babaus grab Sosiel and threaten to kill him unless the PCs trade Staunton Vhane’s glaive, for him.
PCs discuss. Ramirez is willing to do the trade, but Valin doesn’t care for the idea since he doesn’t want a potentially powerful weapon being returned to evil hands. His view prevails and the PCs refuse the trade. The babaus then rip off Sosiel’s head and teleport away with the head.
PCs are shocked and a furious round of recriminations occurs between Ramirez and Valin. They settle for attempting to complete the mission to honor Sosiel’s sacrifice. As they proceed further, they enter a room with a pit and a narrow winding ledge to a door on the other side. Ramirez casts a fly spell and finds out that the door is locked and the PCs must return since they don’t have a lock picker with them.
End Session 30.
Eustoyriax – Mythic shadow demon
Jestak – Fierce barbarian woman
PCs regroup after Chorussina fight and Sosiel’s death. They return and find both NPC groups attacking the battlements were successful. One group reports a captured barbarian woman who hits hard. She almost killed Gherne, but Aravash placed a pit underneath her and she was easily captured. Gherne says that Jestak was a member of his tribe and a hero. He is puzzled that she would fight for the demons. PCs suspect that she was charmed and/or dominated by an incubus or succubus. They keep her held prisoner until they figure out what to do with her.
The other group has taken a beating. Both Nia and Irabeth look almost dead (both had to spend 2 hero points to cheat death), but they do take down the Nabasu.
PCs decide that they don’t have time to waste in trying to find a way to cast resurrection on Sosiel, so they ask Nia to cast reincarnate on him. She does so off a scroll and Sosiel lucks out. He returns as a male human! He is now a Kellid rather than Osiriani however but neither him nor Aron seems to mind.
That night, 2 soldiers were found dead and blood drained. None of the sentries reported seeing or hearing anything.
Valin decides that it is too risky to carry Soulshear around. So he hands it to Kamilo to guard along with a squad of paladins.
PCs descend into the dungeon again, taking Anevia with them. They retrace their steps. Kayden casts fly on Anevia who picks the lock in the room with the winding ledge but takes long enough that the duration of the fly runs out. A telekinesis trap pushes her off the ledge into a 40 foot spiked pit covered with green slime. Anevia takes a lot of damage and 5 points of con drain before escaping.
PCs enter the room where they meet Eustoyriax along with a greater shadow and 2 regular shadows. PCs have no problem with shadows, but Eustoyriax magic jars Kayden. Valin uses Paladin’s Sacrifice to take the effect on himself which leaves him possessed. Ramirez then dispels the magic jar to kick Eustoyriax out and Quinnlyn uses Dismissal to send Eustoyriax back to the Abyss.
PCs take control of the Sword of Valor found in the room and any remaining demons/undead flee the castle.
PCs return to find Kamilo almost dead (surviving by spending 2 hero points to cheat death) and the 4 paladins with her dead and Soulshear missing. All 5 had arrows shot through them and there was a note stating that in recompense for a weapon, 5 weapons would be returned in trade. A gift for a gift. This was obviously Deacon’s signature style. Apparently Deacon wanted to trade up from his current weapon to a better one.
PCs rest a day and use a dismissal spell on Janeamine/Iomedae and banish her. Her worshippers get angry at the attack on their deity by the PCs and attack them with daggers. They are easily knocked unconscious. PCs use their last elixir of raise dead to bring back one of the worshippers that Kayden killed in session 27. They find out that he still worships “Iomedae”. PCs decide to not bring back any of the others from the dead since they fear the rest of them will be insane for the rest of their lives. PCs decide to send all of them to Kenabres to let Nestrin deal with them.
End Session 31
Now that Drezen has been captured, PCs have a lot of work.
The situation is that if one of the PCs chooses to become mayor, they will succeed and Arune will become deputy mayor. Otherwise if no PC wants to be mayor, then Arune will become mayor and Irabeth will become deputy mayor. Arune has the most prestige in Drezen outside of the PCs at the moment. Kayden has the highest combined Diplomacy/Bluff/Intimidate skills and volunteers to be mayor.
A number of items are on the PC to do list.
1) Kayden works up plans for an artificial hand that allows constant Mage Hand plus a necklace that allows Ventriloquism at will for Baron. This doesn’t help his eyes or allow spell casting, but it would allow Baron to at least function. Kayden is told by Othirubo that he’s afraid that Baron would do something stupid like negotiate with the Siabrae Druids or ask for a wish from a demon if he’s not healed soon. Aravash looks at the plans and thinks it would be feasible to create the items. It will take him a few days.
2) Due to the attacks on Mendev, the PCs send the Lawful mercenaries under Jeri and the Chaotic mercenaries under Harg back to Liotr. They make it clear that it would be Liotr’s responsibility to pay them.
3) Joram wants to renegotiate. He is mostly done with modifying the Corruption Forge, but wants his son, Millorn, returned first. PCs don’t like the renegotiation and at first refuse. Joram is about to leave town when Valin stops him. They speak and eventually they come to an agreement where Joram will finish the job but Valin will accept a Geas to return Millorn or his body. The Geas will last up to 1 year and 1 day.
4) PCs find out from Irabeth that a monumental request such as Galfrey personally going to the Siabrae druids to talk would have to be a personal meeting, not from a Hound Archon messenger. PCs decide to wait until they have teleport magic to arrange the request.
5) PCs don’t really have good options dealing with orcs. Irabeth cannot lead them forever and it’s clear that Scar will take over and revert the tribe back to their Chaotic Evil ways. Tark is too old to reasonably challenge Scar and the only other plausible chief would be their Shaman who is just as evil as Scar, but more cunning. The orc tribe will settle within 10 miles of Drezen where they will still be protected from demons but can cause trouble to everyone in the area. PCs decide to table the issue.
6) PCs don’t press the issue of Arune keeping devils around town since they don’t have a legal leg to stand on. However there is an unofficial agreement that Arune will limit them to 6 devils and will only add more as a replacement for losses or if Drezen is attacked by demons. The devils provide a surprisingly stability element to the town as they are the one force that the tieflings and orcs are very afraid of.
7) PCs invite mongrelmen to move to Drezen where they will be treated as full citizens. Lann ponders the idea and will talk to his people about it.
8) Kayden establishes a town council. It will be composed of the 4 PCs, Arune, and 2 additional people of Arune’s choice. Kayden wants to give Arune a sizable voice in running the town, but he ensures that the PCs have a majority when it comes to decision making.
Barbarians have moved back to the main tribe except for Gherne and Elspeth since they feel kinship to the PCs being blood brothers and blood sisters with them. Tieflings are mostly quiet for the moment. They unofficially look toward Othirubo as their leader. Riftwardens have mostly dispersed throughout Mendev and the Worldwound area with only Aravash staying in Drezen.
Most of the apprentice druids move back to the wood, but Nia and Nirmal stick around. By this point, all the people in the town are somewhat used to frequent Undead animal companions visiting. As long as they behave and don’t go around killing things, they are somewhat accepted. Nia and Nirmal have done aerial reconnaissance of the area surrounding Drezen and Nirmal’s undeniable artistic abilities kick in and he draws the PCs a nice map of the area.
End session 32
Current status of the PCs and important NPCs:
Valin - half-elf Paladin of Iomedae 9
Quinnlyn - half-elf Cleric of Iomedae 9
Ramirez - human Cleric of Cayden Cailen 8/Ranger 1
Kayden - human Sorcerer 9
Anevia - human Slayer 9
Aravash - elf Wizard (Conjurer) 9
Aron - human Swashbuckler 9
Gherne - human Barbarian (Invulnerable Rager) 9
Irabeth - half-orc Paladin of Iomedae 9
Hana - human Cavalier 9
Kamilo - human Paladin of Iomedae 9
Lann - mongrelman Ranger 8
Nia - human Druid 9
Nurah - halfling Bard 9
Othirubo - tiefling Alchemist 9
Sosiel - human Cleric of Shelyn 9
Important associate NPCs:
Agmar - red dragon who used to serve Staunton Vhane but was bribed by PCs to look the other way.
Arune - leader of Cheliax contingent in Drezen. Military genius
Auzmezar - leader of the Siabrae Druids. One of the most powerful druids on Golarion.
Baron - captured tiefling Sorcerer. Horribly tortured by Deacon and a potential redemption target for Kayden.
Galfrey - Queen of Mendev and overall leader of the crusade.
Horgus - Merchant lord. Responsible for keeping supply lines open and growing the economy of the town
Joran - Brother to Staunton Vhane and father to Millorn. Evil dwarf who is only entity capable of modifying Corruption Forge.
Klarah - ward of Horgus. Starting to learn his business
Millorn - Insane dwarf Wizard. Last seen being tormented by a quasit
Nestrin - high priest of Iomedae and current mayor of Kenabres
Scar - leader of the orcs before Irabeth challenged him and took over. Will be leader again if Irabeth gives up control of the tribe
Tark - Irabeth's father. Lawful Good Orc
Wendaug - mongrelman leader of rebel faction. Has currently reconciled with Lann
Yarick - head of the Cheliax contingent in Kenabres
Important known enemies remaining:
Areelu Vorlesh - architect of the Worldwound
Chaleb - human Cavalier
Chorussina - tiefling Wizard (conjurer)
Deacon - extremely powerful Incubus. Calling card is to gather arrows fired at him and later return them to the shooter fired through the bodies of soldiers, crusaders, or innocent civilians
Eustoyriax - extremely powerful shadow demon
Faxon - tiefling Witch
Hosilla - human Inquisitor of Baphomet
Kiranda - succubus Swashbuckler
"Mother" - master brain ooze
"Staunton Vhane" - incubus Antipaladin who fakes being Staunton Vhane
Staunton Vhane - will come back as a graveknight
Higgs – Halfling sorcerer who worships Baphomet
Towlee – Cleric of Baphomet
Godcaller – Mysterious entity in charge of shrine
PCs look at Nirmal’s map and see a location that Quinnlyn remembers was historically a shrine to Cayden Cailen. Ramirez jogs his memory but apparently didn’t listen to the stories of his religion and doesn’t recall anything other than the fact that there is a shrine to Cayden in the area.
PCs grab Nia as they explore the area as well as her animal companion, Tiger, who is unsurprisingly a dire tiger. PCs see an enormous shrine in the distance. As they get closer, it becomes obvious that it was a former shrine to Cayden which has been occupied and corrupted by cultists of Baphomet. Ramirez is filled with righteous fury and has a +2 sacred bonus to hit, damage, and save DCs while in view of the shrine.
PCs have no stealth capabilities to speak of with a -4 net stealth modifier from Valin determining the group stealth. They are spotted from long range and a catapult stone flies over their head. PCs ignore the warning shot and press on.
PCs run into Higgs, Towlee, and 4 antipaladins of Baphomet, one of which is mounted. Towlee has an Allosaurus as an animal companion. Higg’s familiar is sent back into the shrine with a warning to the Godcaller that intruders have arrived.
A fight erupts. Kayden tries to put a pit under the mounted antipaladin. The AP saves and nearly skewers Quinnlyn with a smiting Spirited Charge. Quinnlyn’s Jingasa saves her from a crit. An empowered scorching ray from Higgs however drops her and forces her to use 2 hero points to avoid death. Nia kills the mounted AP in one pounce attack.
Towlee throws 2 chains of perdition that annoy Valin and the rest of the party, consistently tripping them. This is exceedingly dangerous with smiting antipaladins around but Kayden is able to take out the APs by consistently lining them up in lightning bolt spells.
Higgs proves to be by far the most dangerous enemy. With fireballs and empowered scorching rays, he does tremendous damage to the PCs. Ramirez and Nia in air elemental form try chasing him around but his mirror images protect him as he continues the devastation. Finally Kayden catches up to him and uses Dragon’s Breath on him which bypasses his Lesser Globe of Invulnerability. Higgs is killed by that attack and Towlee decides he can’t fight all the PCs by himself and drinks a potion of invisibility and retreats.
PCs lick their wounds after this battle. Quinnlyn and Tiger were both dropped during the fight and Valin, Ramirez, and Nia had taken tremendous damage. Many charges from a wand of cure light wounds are used to restore party health.
End session 33
Zanedra - “the Godcaller”. Thinks deities are just charlatans who use their powers to dupe people into worshipping them. Doesn’t believe gods are any more worthy of worship than a powerful entity like a dragon. Master Summoner
PCs cautiously move toward the temple. Ramirez vaguely remembers that this temple will open to priests of Cayden Cailen if the proper phrases are spoken by the priest.
The temple opens and the PCs step in. They see a raised dais where Zanedra looks down upon them. There is a weird looking golem in front of her ready to protect her from any attackers. Ramirez sees stone statues of Cayden and important associates of his that have been defaced and turned into statues of Baphomet. Bas reliefs on the wall seem to depict Cayden with a baby, but the bas reliefs have also been defaced and it’s hard to make out any details.
The PCs talk to Zanedra and learns that she is a rare atheist in Golarion. She doesn’t deny that deities exist, but she thinks that they’re just another race of powerful entities like dragons or titans. She wants to tap into the power of the shrine to increase her personal power to the point where she can be as powerful as the so called “gods”.
Negotiations break down and the side walls sink into the floor revealing huge air, earth, fire, and water elementals. The fight erupts.
Fortunately for the PCs, Zanedra has a personal code where she refuses to outnumber her opponents unless they grossly outclass her. The PC party has 6 members including the 4 PCs plus Nia and Tiger. Zanedra has herself, the alchemical golem, plus the 4 huge elementals. She will not summon more unless some of her forces are killed off and only to equalize the numbers.
The fight started with Zanedra forcing Quinnlyn to fall into an acid pit. Kayden also falls into the pit after he was forced to end his turn next to it in order to place a fly spell on Valin. The elementals get into a massive melee with Tiger and Ramirez with lots of movement from both sides. Valin and Nia try harassing Zanedra and do force her to keep moving using dimension doors to escape. Zanedra puts Valin into a Wall of Stone but he manages to break it down. Meanwhile Kayden has dimension door’d out of the acid pit along with Quinnlyn. Quinnlyn steps into the center of the room to cover as many people as possible with her auras of heroism and menace, but that puts her in position to be flanked by the air and water elementals and they drop her. The golem does some damage before being dropped into a pit by Kayden. Tiger falls, but takes out Earth and soaks up many attacks by Earth and Fire before dropping.
Zanedra dispels the pit and frees her golem but the elementals are slowly whittled away. Fire drops and Zanedra summons a pair of babaus to replace her fallen elementals and they almost drop Valin, forcing him to use a heroic defiance spell to not fall unconscious. Babaus are rapidly falling behind the PCs in power level and are easily dealt with.
Finally, only Water and the golem is left. Kayden lands several rounds of cold scorching rays on Zanedra and she decides to flee since she doesn’t have any powerful offensive spells remaining. At this point, she can’t summon stuff faster than the PCs can kill it so she dimension doors away and the golem is easily dealt with at this point.
After recovering, Ramirez consecrates the temple to Cayden Cailen. At this point, the stone statues revert back to Cayden Cailen instead of Baphomet and the bas reliefs on the wall are easily distinguishable. It looks like the baby in the bas relief has the same birthmark as Ramirez who appears to be Cayden’s son. Demon Splitter hums in contentment and gains the Planar ability allowing it to ignore the first 5 points of DR from an outsider.
End Session 34