Tale of the Outcasts

Campaign Journals

Sovereign Court

So I figured I should record this for posterity.

I started this campaign about a month ago as a reworking of my old 3.5 campaign. It's been updated to Pathfinder and adapted to fit Golarion's setting, while a few aspects of Golarion's past were changed a bit to fit the campaign. We have completed four sessions so far.

Description of Session 1, February 4, 2015.

The story began at Heidmarch Manor in Magnimar, where two newly-confirmed members of the Pathfinder Society were updated on recent goings-on.

After Queen Ileosa's death following Curse of the Crimson Throne, her successor, though styling himself as King Eodred Arabasti III, had turned out to be merely a pawn of the Aspis Consortium, which was now extending further into Varisia and making it harder for the Pathfinder Society to continue its operations in the region. Haldmeer Grobaras, Lord Mayor of Magnimar, had apparently been killed by Aspis agents after he was observed meeting the Heidmarches for dinner. Luckily, his successor, Devin Thanos, was a Society supporter, and he and the society had started putting together a search for Thassilonian artifacts that could give them a potential edge. Grandmaster Torch's betrayal of the Society and threats to reveal the identities of Decemvirate members was also discussed.

The PCs, a Tengu Inquisitor named Tochi and an Orc Fighter named Rigar, both exiles from their homelands, were assigned to track down a Halfling named Mort Periwinkle, a retired adventurer who had information on an artifact called the Emerald Crown that the Society wanted. Upon finding him, Periwinkle told the PCs that he had discovered the location of the artifact, a place called the Temple of the Oliphaunt, in the Fenwall Mountains to the east, but that both copies of his map had been stolen recently by the local sewer goblins. He had apparently been asked about this by Aspis agents as well, who had gone into the sewers already. He also told the PCs that a similar gem to the one in the crown, except yellow, had come into his possession a year ago, but that he had sold it to Grandmaster Torch.

So Rigar and Tochi, along with an NPC cleric named Ander (since the cleric's player was unavailable that session), managed to bribe one of Maginimar's civil engineers for some information on the sewer layout. Getting a map of the sewers near Periwinkle's residence (which intersected with an old ruin-turned-goblin lair), they descended to find the maps. They dispatched a trio of dire rats without a problem and managed to drain some of the water out using a valve when they were confronted by a pair of Aspis agents. Rigar and Ander held their attention long enough for Tochi to sneak around from behind and shoot them while the others attacked with their melee weapons. With them down the group further drained out the chambers. A brief fight with three sewer goblins ensued outside the lair, but they went down swiftly.

With the main entrance still largely waterlogged, the party managed to find a drier hidden door, albeit high up and reachable only by rope. Tochi and Rigar managed to enter the lair where three more goblins awaited them, this time backed up by a threatening hobgoblin cleric in a black robe. The fight played out on a series of walkways over filthy water, limiting movement. The cleric healed the goblins after their attacks while hitting the PCs with his Lightning Arc power, bringing Rigar and Tochi to their knees. Eventually, however, Ander managed to make a successful Climb check which he had previously been failing. After he healed his beaten comrades, they managed to kill all the goblins and tied up the cleric for questioning while stealing his valuables (including a wand of Cure Light Wounds). Beaten and intimidated (Rigar broke one of his hands when he refused to talk), the cleric revealed that he was working for "none other than Lord Zarkon himself!" This Lord Zarkon had apparently been sent a copy of the map already and would use it to find a magic sword and open a portal to Hell. Mentioning the Emerald Crown elicited a response of "What's that?".

The party noticed a panel in the center of the room that concealed a secret door, along with three holes in the wall that may or may not be connected to it. Tochi's Detect Magic revealed identical auras in the floor panel and on one of the three holes, allowing the party to avoid the other two trapped holes. Inside the hidden room, the party found one copy of the map along with a decent amount of loot. They attempted to take the bound hobgoblin to the authorities for further questioning, but he committed suicide via Lightning Arc rather than be imprisoned.

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Session 2: February 9th, 2015

Characters are now second level.

Rigar and Tochi returned to Heidmarch Manor, where they met two new arrivals: Durgen Hammerhand, a dwarven cleric of Desna, and an elven bard raised among humans by parents who had immigrated to Magnimar from the Mordant Spire. Rigar and Tochi told them what they had found, but kept quiet about the sword and the portal to Hell, instead telling them the hobgoblins wanted the Emerald Crown. The Society sent them ahead up the Yondabakari River via longship to catch up to the hobgoblins before they could obtain the Crown. Before leaving, the Society asked them to bring back any information regarding the location of the lost city known as Kaylon, as it was important to the Decemvirate's long-term plans for the region.

I should point out there that among the various supplies obtained by the characters at the start of the game, Rigar had bought himself a small menagerie of trained animals, including a musk ox, a guard dog, a mule, a monkey, a raven, and an owl.

After a week's travel up the river, the party stopped at the newly-established lodge in Ilsurian, where they learned of recent happenings in the region:

A large meteorite had fallen a few miles east of Biston a week ago, and the citizens had been gathering as much of the strange metals as they could carry back when a small army of hobgoblins appeared, led by a demonic-looking figure. The people tried to fight them off, but the hobgoblins still got away with about half the meteorite iron.

Two elves wearing strange masks (identified by the bard as Mordant Spire elves) had been questioning travelers in the region about whether they had seen a tall, thin, pale elf nearby. They had put up wanted posters with a reward of 5000 gp for the elf, listed as "Tharivol" and accused of "Unnatural Necromancy."

The party took note of these happenings, rested the night, and crossed Lake Syrantula to the valley marked on Periwinkle's map the next morning. At the entrance, they came upon the ruins of a defensive wall and located the original gateway, now crumbled down with a stream flowing through it. Four hobgoblin warriors met the party at the entrance, and a fight broke out. The hobgoblins were quickly defeated, and Rigar made a point of tying them up, interrogating them about their mission, and breaking their hands before proceeding. They encountered little resistance as they proceeded southward, managing to scare off a prowling mountain lion. They reached an overgrown hill which proved to be the now-buried Temple of the Oliphaunt, and set about looking for an entrance.

The east side of the hill included a walled-off courtyard with a gate through which the party could see a doorway into the temple. There was a lever in the center of the courtyard, but it was unreachable. However, one gap in the wall, only five feet wide, was found. This proved to be the lair of a giant spider, which had to be fought before entering. This was done, and the party set up a sort of base camp in the courtyard. Entering the temple, the party came upon a long hallway with pillars on either side and an altar at the far end, behind which stood a set of metal doors. Two smaller doors were positioned on either side of the hallway. Examining the altar, the party noted the top of it contained a sculpture of an elephant standing on an island of some kind, with the following inscription:

Jandelay, proof against the Maelstrom,
Jandelay, of green fields and faultless spires;
No sane soul born dares trespass fair Jandelay
For the Oliphaunt guards you always.

Doing what every group of adventurers does best, the party set to chiseling out the stone elephant and pocketing it to sell later. A commotion was heard from the animals outside, where the party found three figures waiting: a bald male human wearing bearskins and wielding an Earth Breaker, a male half-orc in breastplate armor, and a red-haired human woman wearing robes. The latter confronted the party on behalf of the Lorekeepers of the Shundar-Quah, saying the Pathfinder Society should leave well enough alone instead of interfering with ancient magic that could have disastrous consequences. A successful Diplomacy check by the bard (helped by the bard speaking Shoanti) convinced the group to reveal more information:

The Oliphaunt of Jandelay was a massive extraplanar creature that had been summoned during the days of Thassilon, destroying entire cities in its wrath. The Lorekeepers' unnamed source of information (of whom the armored half-orc was a representative) on the Pathfinder Society indicated the Decemvirate were evil and ambitious enough to try summoning it again if it served their purposes. Summoning it required four specially-crafted gems containing the essences of Law, Chaos, Good, and Evil, and that the Emerald Crown contained one such gem. The Lorekeepers' unnamed source had one of the others.

The party acknowledged the possibility this might be true, but maintained the Emerald Crown was safer in the hands of the Pathfinder Society than its rivals. With negotiations arriving at an impasse, a fight started, but was resolved without any deaths as the human barbarian was knocked unconscious and taken captive. The woman agreed to leave the party in peace if the party surrendered her brother, which was done despite the half-orc's objections that they should have just killed the party without talking to them.

The party continued into the temple after healing up. Finding that the big metal doors were held closed by some sort of mechanism, they explored the rooms on either side of the main hall, finding levers in each one that opened the doors when both were activated in succession. In the process, they encountered a skeleton lying on the floor with a masterwork battleaxe. Attempting to get close to it provoked an attack by a giant ant that had been feeding on it, which wasn't too difficult to defeat. Also in one of the side rooms was a bronze elephant idol. When Rigar went to grab this, he fell down a 20-foot pit. After climbing out of it, he decided to send his trained monkey to collect it instead.

Behind the doors, the party fought off three hobgoblins (a cleric and two warriors) who had infiltrated the ruins through another entrance. Inside this room were two sets of doors (one wooden to the west, one stone to the north, the latter being locked), a slot in one wall, and a small pool of water. The party found nothing unusual about the pool of water, and determined the slot in the wall was actually a mechanism with a missing lever. Finding a stick to replace the lever, the party managed to activate it, resulting in a concealed stairway dropping from the south wall.

Rather than descend the stairs, however, the party decided to check out the wooden door to the west, which opened onto a narrow corridor. No sooner had Rigar set foot into it, however, than an axe swung down from the ceiling and hit him for a lot of damage. Following this, Tochi decided to make Perception checks on everything encountered from then onward. A second axe trap was triggered by the party testing the corridor via throwing the corpse of the hobgoblin cleric down it. After emerging into a larger room on the west side of the temple, the party reached the entrance the hobgoblins had used, encountering two more warriors and a second-level sorcerer, which they managed to defeat before the latter could use any of his spells (bad initiative roll). The sorcerer fled, but a thrown trident soon felled him.

Sovereign Court

Session 3: February 23rd, 2015

The bard left to attempt to track the hobgoblins (revealed via the cleric's holy symbol to be cultists of Baalzebul) to their point of origin. Tochi, Rigar, and Durgen continued to explore the ruins. A side passage from the room where they had fought the last group of hobgoblins contained a chest, which they were wary about opening. Tochi could not determine anything via Perception and cast Detect Magic, revealing that the chest radiated Evocation while something inside it radiated Abjuration. Everybody moved out of the room except Rigar, who opened the chest and took a Burning Hands to the face. The chest contained a Cloak of Resistance +1.

After taking 20 on a Perception check, Tochi found a secret passage leading downstairs. Following it, the party came to an intersection where Tochi fell down a spiked pit due to a failed Perception roll, but still managed to recover the key to the locked stone doors upstairs. Also on the lower level was a crypt, where four skeletons rested in alcoves around a pedestal containing a copper elephant idol. Rigar's monkey took the idol, which caused the skeletons to animate and attack. The attack was easily repelled after Durgen's channeling destroyed half of them and weakened the rest.

The party opened the locked door upstairs to find a combination of a library and laboratory. The party looted the potions and scrolls, along with a silver elephant idol and a map of Thassilon showing the location of Kaylon. As soon as they tried to exit, however, the pool of water outside the doors animated and attacked, revealing itself to be a disguised water elemental. It was dispatched without great effort, however.

The party proceeded to the last unexplored section of the dungeon, where they found another altar. This one had four slots in it and was surrounded by four pillars, carved to resemble a queen, a wizard, a tower, and a knight, with a button installed on each. The floor in the room was composed of black and white panels, and a set of heavy reinforced metal doors blocked further exploring.

The adventurers attempted to figure out what to do. The altar clearly was designed to hold four elephant idols, of which the party had three. Hitting one of the buttons (the one on the queen) produced a painful electric shock. Toch managed to figure out the puzzle had something to do with chess, and came up with a number of elaborate possibilities for solutions, such as moving the pillars around the floor panels (they didn't budge) or pressing them in an order of outside-in on a chessboard, assuming the wizard was standing in for the bishop. Tochi received another shock when attempting this as he pressed the Tower button. Finally, he randomly tried the Wizard button and a gold elephant idol appeared in his hand (the solution was to push Wizard, as it was the only one that wasn't a chess piece)

Placing all four idols on the altar opened the metal doors to reveal the temple's treasury, guarded by a giant burning skeleton. After shooting it and doing little damage, Tochi picked up one of the idols to close the door. The party managed to devise a clever plan to destroy the skeleton. Rigar and Durgen stood by to lure the skeleton through the doors when Tochi put the idol back down. After the skeleton approached, Rigar and Durgen attacked, and as soon as the skeleton had entered the doorway, Tochi picked up the idol again. The doors slammed shut and crushed the skeleton between them. The party looted the room, finding (amongst other things) a golden crown with an emerald with engraved runes set into it, along with a broken sword made of meteorite iron and a holy symbol of Desna set into the hilt.

Tochi put on the Emerald Crown and found his Charisma increased by two points and the ability to cast Summon Monster II once per day. With the artifact in their possession, the party made their way to the valley's entrance. They caught sight of a column of smoke in the distance and found their longship had been burned. In front of it and standing in the gap in the wall were 20 hobgoblin soldiers, five hobgoblin clerics, and two tiefling inquisitors, led by a dark red hobgoblin with horns, a pointed tail, and bat-like wings (a half-devil), riding a fiendish bull. The latter introduced himself as Lord Zarkon, and threw the bard's mangled corpse down in front of the party. He said they would be next if they did not give him the sword they had found in the ruins, which had been used as a key to seal a portal to Hell and was needed to unlock it, but could be used to destroy said portal as well. The party was given two hours to decide whether to give up the sword before Lord Zarkon killed them and took it by force.

Weighing their options (fight, hole up in the ruins, look for another way out of the valley), Rigar, Tochi, and Durgen walked to the easternmost end of the wall where it met the valley sides and climbed over it using a rope and grappling hook. Although they had a tough fight against Lord Zarkon's rear guard, with Tochi and Durgen being knocked unconscious at one point, they managed to win. Rigar leaped off the wall and landed on the cleric, and Tochi summoned a group of eagles via the Emerald Crown to keep one of the fighters from reporting back. Eventually the group healed themselves and hijacked Lord Zarkon's supply wagons, fleeing to Melfesh an hour ahead of the army. Despite leaving a lot of gear behind, they managed to hire a boat to take them back to Ilsurian, where they handed the Emerald Crown over to the Pathfinder Society.

Sovereign Court

(Apparently I've been spelling one character's name wrong the whole time. It should be "Tochee" instead of "Tochi.")

Session 4: March 2, 2015

After the party received their reward of 15,000 gp for the Emerald Grown, they spent the night at the Pathfinder Society Lodge. They found out the following morning that three children had been kidnapped from Ilsurian overnight. Four more had apparently been abducted from Biston. All seven had been dragged by undead into the Ashwood. Ilsurian sent one of their best trackers, a hunter named Miriam, along with her husband Jarvis, a fighter, out with a search party to investigate an abandoned Chelaxian fort within the Ashwood. As night fell and the searchers had not been heard from, the mayor of Ilsurian gathered whatever adventurers and mercenaries had come to town and offered each 1000 gp for the return of the missing people (or the remains thereof).

The Pathfinder society sent Rigar and Tochee to answer the call, Durgen having gone to Biston earlier to obtain meteorite iron for the reforging of the sword. They met up with two others, both human: Bingham, a wizard from Korvosa's Academae who needed to hide out for a while due to unfortunate happenings there, and his hired bodyguard/assassin, a slayer named Lord Elliot (female despite the name).

The four would-be rescuers headed into the woods that evening to the old fort, where they discovered three hobgoblins waiting in ambush. Elliot got the drop on them, sneaking up and stabbing one stealthily before they knew what was happening, but as soon as the fight started, a bell rang from the tower atop the fort. Arrows started flying from the tower as a group of zombies and skeletons charged out of the front gate, attacking adventurers and hobgoblins alike. The party managed to fight both groups off, Rigar cleaving through a skeleton and the hobgoblin fighting it with one sweep of his hammer. Upon interrogating the surviving hobgoblins, the party learned that Lord Zarkon had withdrawn back to the east after failing to capture the Pathfinders at Melfesh, but had left hunting parties to track them down. The party let the hobgoblins live after convincing them that they had sold the broken sword to the Aspis Consortium.

Entering the fort, the party managed to avoid a trap thanks to Tochee noticing a large set of trapdoors in the entryway linked to a pressure plate below. Beyond the entrance was the main hall, containing two long tables, a third smaller "high table," four fireplaces giving off a sickly, eerie green light from the unusual flames within and decorated with either a bear head or a shield and crossed axes above, a red carpet lining the center, several doors leading to either side, and a large mirror at the opposite end of the hall. The latter caught Tochee's interest, and he examined it. A horrifying sight greeted him within. Tochee saw a hideous rotting reflection of himself that slowly turned and killed his companions. This caused him to flee the room screaming, but the rest of the party restrained him and clamed him down. Tochee then fired an arrow at the mirror, breaking it and revealing a door behind.

The party decided to explore the side passages first, finding two trapped rooms. One had a chest blocked by a pit trap that would also trigger a portcullis to fall in front of it. This one was bypassed when Bingham's familiar (a small pterosaur) flew over the area that would trigger the pit trap, opened the chest, and retrieved a red orb from inside. The second room had a portcullis that would slam shut in front of the entrance. The party blocked the portcullis's path to the floor by wedging a table into the doorway. Looking inside, they saw a statue wielding a greataxe and wearing a blue orb on a necklace. Rigar proceeded toward the statue, which was actually a disguised earth elemental. It pulled a chain hanging above it, hoping to lock Rigar in the room away from the rest of the party, but the table blocked the portcullis from falling and the party was able to dogpile the elemental to death.

After returning to the main hall with the orbs and having to get Tochee out of another pit trap that led to a pool full of alligators, the party set about examining the bear heads hanging above two of the fireplaces. Elliot discovered that they were really disguised zombies, and prodded one with her rapier suspiciously. This caused them to animate and burst out of the walls revealing them to be zombie bears wielding halberds and shooting laser beams out of their eyes! In the ensuing fight, Rigar managed to slay one of the bears while the other inflicted serious damage on Elliot. After Bingham cast an illusion to confuse the remaining bear, the party retreated to the front gate behind the trapped ceiling. The zombie bear pursued them, fired its laser eyes at Rigar, and triggered the trap. The falling rock from above failed to harm it, but Rigar's halberd was set against its charge and took it down.

"This caused them to animate and burst out of the walls revealing them to be zombie bears wielding halberds and shooting laser beams out of their eyes!"

I like a little humor in a game, but this might be a little over the top. There is some internet picture with cossacks riding bears with laser rifles or something.

Might be a little more... realistic.

Sovereign Court

That was admittedly a bit over-the-top. With that exception, I do tend to keep things fairly serious and let the humor develop naturally from the characters' own mishaps.

Session 5: March 9, 2015

Entering the door behind the shattered mirror, the party climbed the tower in the old fortress, fighting a zombie wolf and a strangely intelligent skeleton that retained its spellcasting abilities after death. As it turned out, the rescue party from earlier in the day, had been reanimated as special types of undead that kept the memories of the originals, this one being the hunter with her wolf companion having been turned into a regular zombie. The skeletal hunter was hit by blinding rays from Bingham, keeping it from fighting at full power until it was destroyed. At the top of the tower, the party found a pair of red and blue dragon statues with open mouths. When the red dragon was given the blue orb and the blue dragon the red orb, the hidden staircase in the main hall descended. The party made their way downstairs to a long narrow corridor full of supernatural darkness. Strange noises were heard from behind the party, apparently being made by some massive creature. These turned out to be illusions, with the real danger being the trapped door that Elliot fortunately noticed in time. Bingham opened the door magically from a distance, while Elliot carefully collected the poisoned spike from the doorknob for later use.

Behind the door, the party found the necromancer's lair, which contained a cell with seven children trapped inside and an altar with a bloody pentagram drawn on it. There were two skeletons and the zombified fighter guarding the necromancer himself. The necromancer was Tharivol, the elf who had fled the Mordant Spire earlier, a skeletally thin figure with pale white skin and eyes that were completely black. The fight actually wasn't very difficult, with the necromancer only getting off one Scorching Ray against Rigar before a Color Spray from Bingham stunned him for four rounds, during which he was knocked unconscious and his minions were quickly dispatched. The party looted the necromancer, freed the children, and made their way back to Ilsurian.

After reading Tharivol's diary and interrogating him, the party found out the following information:

Tharivol had been attempting to raise an army of undead to invade the Mordant Spire. He had tried to access a portal to Hell in the mountains north of the Yondabakari River on the Storval Plateau to the east, but it was guarded by a group of hobgoblins who hated elves and refused to deal with him. He had returned to the abandoned fort in the Ashwood to experiment with creating intelligent undead and to make himself into a lich (which required the sacrifice of seven innocent souls, hence the kidnapped children) when the party stopped him.

Sovereign Court

Session 6: March 16, 2015

The party (now level 4) rested for a few hours at Ilsurian while the children were returned to their homes, then set off for Kaer Maga in a wagon with the necromancer tied and manacled. A headband preventing him from casting spells was also placed on him.

On the road to Biston, a goblin attempted to ambush the pary from a tree but was quickly captured. He explained that he was hungry and was just trying to get a bit of the ox pulling the wagon, and the party let him stay with them temporarily out of pity. They reached Biston and received the reforged sword (a holy longsword with +1/3 of the wielder's HD on attack/damage rolls), known as the Starblade. The blacksmith allowed them to have it for free in gratitude for the party rescuing his son earlier.

Setting off for Kaer Maga, the group encountered a pack of hungry wolves and the ensuing fight revealed that the goblin was actually an alchemist specializing in firebombs. He heavily damaged one of the wolves in the explosion, while Rigar dispatched another, and the third was critically hit by Elliot's daggers. On the outskirts of Abken after the incident, they met Liantha, the woman who had confronted Rigar, Tochee, and Durgen at the Temple of the Oliphaunt. She apologized for her earlier attack, as she had heard of the party's rescue of the children earlier (which included her niece) and was willing to give them a chance if the would accompany her to Kaer Maga and meet with her still-unnamed informant on the Pathfinder Society there. They agreed and entered Abken together.

During the night spent at an inn in Abken, the party was attacked by a group of hobgoblins. Led by a tiefling inquisitor and with two of the hobgoblins riding dire wolves, this proved to be a difficult fight. Highlights of this lengthy encounter included:

Tochee spending most of the fight stunned by a Color Spray from the hobgoblin sorcerer.
The goblin climbing into a chimney and rolling bombs out of it at the hobgoblins, lighting several on fire and forcing them to flee.
Elliot already being fully armed and awake at the start due to staying up so she could pickpocket the patrons. She also managed to stay hidden for about half the fight while sneak-attacking the enemies.
Bingham tripping up one of the hobgoblins with Grease while his familiar dropped alchemist's fire on the ones fleeing outside.
Rigar chopping through a hobgoblin and his dire wolf mount with one stroke.
The party capturing the other dire wolf mount after the attackers had been killed/driven off.

The party rested again after the encounter, and met Abken's official advisor from Korvosa the next morning. He congratulated the party on fending off the attack and invited them to a feast at the local nobleman's castle. However, Tochee was suspicious of the advisor's motives and believed this to be a trap. Pleading urgent business in Kaer Maga, the group continued east. They eventually reached their destination, where Liantha descended into the lower levels of the city to inform her contact of the party's arrival, promising to return for them in an hour. The party, meanwhile, delivered the necromancer to the Mordant Spire elves, who gave them the promised reward, upping it to 6000 due to them taking the trouble to bring Tharivol in alive.

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Session 7: March 23, 2015
After entering Kaer Maga, Liantha told the party that she would inform her source that they had a rived, and would return for them in an hour. Advising them not to follow her into the maze of tunnels beneath the city, she descended into a hidden entrance beneath a flagstone. The party met with the Mordant Spire elves and turned over Tharivol to them. The elves thanked them and paid 6000 gp, more than the official offer since the party had returned him alive. Part of this was paid to Mogmar, the goblin alchemist, who was now an official member of the group. As the party had obtained considerable reward money in the last week and they were finally in a large enough settlement to spend it, they mostly spent the hour buying gear. In particular, Tochee bought a musket in hopes of becoming a gunslinger. He and Rigar also learned that a group of Pathfinders and a group of Aspis agents were exploring the caves beneath the city, each trying to find an obsidian skull used to summon demons before the other could get it.

When the hour was up, however, Liantha failed to return. After some discussion, the party followed her trail into the underground. Elliot and Tochee tracked her through the tunnels until they came upon a secret door, beyond which they found her. She was tied up with a knife to her throat by a group of heavily-armed half-orcs. In charge of this group was a horribly scarred man sitting in a bathtub sand wearing an amulet with a yellow crystal: Grandmaster Torch. He explained that although Liantha was convinced the party could be helpful, he was not. In exchange for Liantha’s life and his cooperation in their efforts, they would have to demonstrate that they were not loyal to the Pathfinder Society. He gave them the task of delivering the demon skull mentioned above to him instead of to either of the warring factions.

The party explored the caverns further looking for the demon skull. They avoided a magic lightning trap and encountered a large room where a large bat-like creature (cloaker) was waiting in ambush. The parry’s perception was too good for it, however, and they glued it to the ceiling via a Web spell while shooing it with arrows until it died. Finding a pit trap concealed in the floor below (which the cloaker set off as it crashed to the floor), they descended and found a door at the bottom. This led into an abandoned religious complex where the party fought a pair of dretches, found a small tile with the letter “X” carved on it, and entered the sanctuary of an ancient demon cult. The room had four doors leading out of it and was dominated by a stone altar with a painting behind it. The painting depicted a hideous bird-headed figure covered in snakes, which Bingham identified as the demon lord Abraxas. On the altar was a simple inscription: A__A_A_. Reasoning that the completed inscription should spell out “ABRAXAS,” and already having one of the missing letters, the party decided to search the adjoining rooms for the remaining letters.

This was cut short by the arrival of four Aspis agents. Recognizing Rigar and Tochee as the Pathfinders who had set the hobgoblins on them earlier, they attacked. It was quickly repelled by Mogmar’s bombs, Elliot’s sneak attacks, Bingham’s Color Spray, and Rigar’s hammer. While Rigar and Mogmar looted the agents, the rest of the group split up to search the complex. Elliot and Bingham took one door, Tochee took another, and Durgen took a third.

Elliot and Bingham’s passageway intersected with Tochee’s, where a walking carnivorous fungus (basidrond) awaited them. They all proved able to resist its spores and killed it by dropping it in a magic pit created by Bingham (after shooting it and stabbing it, of course). Tochee and Bingham found the B tile among the treasure in its lair.

Durgen’s room contained a shimmering magical barrier in the center, beyond which lay the S tile and some more treasure. The floor in front of the barrier contained a hand imprint, and a tapestry on the wall showed a figure kneeling and placing its hand on the floor. Durgen decided to put his hand in the handprint, hoping this would deactivate the barrier. Instead, it teleported him to the ceiling. A nanosecond before hitting the floor, he was teleported to the ceiling again. This continued until he had fallen a total of 60 feet and crashed to the floor in pain. Taking a closer look, Durgen found that the figure on the tapestry was actually wearing a ring. This was an actual ring woven into the tapestry. When Durgen put the ring (a Ring of Protection +1) on and tried the handprint again, the barrier disappeared and he took the items behind it after casting Cure Moderate Wounds on himself.

The party tried the final room together. Inside, the R rile was sitting on a pedestal. Elliot searched carefully for traps and found a Flame Strike spell set to go off if someone removed the tile from its pedestal. The party carefully removed it from a distance.

Assembling all the tiles on the altar caused the painting to swing aside and the wall behind to phase open, revealing an archway. Beyond was the demon skull, guarded by two emaciated figures coated in red slime and wielding glaives. Bingham identified them as Babau, or assassin demons. The resulting fight was the hardest the party yet faced. Mogmar summoned a swarm of spiders, which was ineffective against them but still prevented them from casting any spells. Bingham cast what he could to protect the party while his familiar dropped holy water on the demons. Rigar swung at them with his hammer, doing damage but not enough to settle things quickly. Tochee shot at them with his bow, which did very little. Elliot attacked with her daggers and had about the same luck as Rigar. Durgen drew the Starblade and charged, dealing a powerful blow to one of them, but a critical hit on the demons’ counterattack killed him. The enraged demons did not give up easily even with Durgen's sacrificial charger. Dropping their glaives, they bit and clawed like mad. Elliot was barely conscious, and Rigar was nearing death when a lucky hit finally brought down the last of the demons, only conscious due to his orcish ferocity.

The party had obtained the demon skull, but not without cost. Durgen lay dead among the demons.

Sovereign Court

Session 8: March 30, 2015

The party is now level 5. Tochee has multiclassed into Gunslinger.

After retrieving the demon skull, the remaining party members encountered a group of Pathfinders. Led by Ander, the cleric from the first adventure, and including an elf druid, a dwarven fighter, and a human ranger, they congratulated the party on obtaining the skull for the Society after recognizing Rigar and Tochee.

Unfortunately, their mood quickly soured after noticing that a) Elliot and Ander were long-lost rivals, and b) the party wasn't going to give them the skull. Ander tried to take it by force, but Bingham cast Invisibility Sphere on the party and they escaped, with Elliot covering the exit with a vial of basidrond spores she had obtained from the dead monster earlier.

They gave the skull to Torch, who agreed to work with the party now that they had proven their disloyalty to the Pathfinder Society. He released Liantha to them along with his amulet, which contained another of the gems used in summoning the Oliphaunt. Now tasked with obtaining the remaining gems before the Pathfinders, the party set out, taking with them one of a pair of two-way mirrors for future communication.

The amulet proved to have a similar effect as the Emerald Crown. It boosted the wearer's Wisdom by 2 and allowed its 5th-level wearer (currently Bingham) to cast Summon Monster IV once per day. Studying the runes engraved on the amulet's gem, Bingham determined that they read "25 degrees south of east." Comparing them to the runes the party had seen on the Emerald Crown, the latter's runes had apparently read "5000 miles." This gem was also the essence of pure Law, as opposed to the emerald's Chaos.

After arranging supplies and hiring a few guards, the party decided to put an end to the hobgoblins' portal to Hell before trying to locate the remaining gems. They proceeded northeast until their camp was attacked by two ogres and their pet dire wolves. Tochee simultaneously injured one and woke the rest of the party with his musket. Mogmar caused a lot of damage to the ogres with his bombs, while Bingham was seriously injured by a strike form an ogre's greataxe. Eventually, Mogmar and Tochee managed to bring down the ogres with their alchemical firepower while Rigar and Elliot slayed the wolves with hammer and knife.

The next morning, the party encountered a band of orcs. These were Rigar's people, led by his father Ogthar. Ogthar was still displeased with Rigar due to the latter's tolerance of humans, but when the party explained that they wanted to find the portal to Hell, he was eager to see them try to go for it (as this would likely kill them and get rid of the problem). At the same time, the only people in the tribe who knew the exact location were the tribal shaman and the chieftan, and they had been kidnapped by ogres. Ogthar asked for the party's help in saving them, as either way, he would get something he wanted (the return of the shaman and chief or the death of the interlopers), and told the party where the ogres were holding their prisoners.

The prisoners were held captive by a hill giant, his two ogre minions, and their pet fire drake in a narrow ravine between a pair of tall rock outcrops. Scouting the area under invisibility spells revealed that the hill giant was in the valley guarding the prisoners, with the ogres sitting on ledges beside the rock walls, and the drake perched on the highest outcrop as a lookout. The party, still unnoticed, devised a plan.

Rigar (with Enlarge Person cast on him), Tochee, and Mogmar climbed up to the drake's outcrop, while Bingham stayed farther away. Elliot went around the ogres into the valley to free the captives. The group borke invisibility and attacked. Rigar, Tochee, and Mogmar attacked the surprised drake together with some dire bats summoned by Bingham. Between all of their combined attacks, the drake fell without a fight. Mogmar and Bingham then went to work on the ogres with their bombs and bats respectively, with Tochee shooting Bingham's ogre. Elliot's initial sneak attack on the hill giant did some damage, but she was still hit extremely hard by its greataxe. However, the giant was not able to kill her. Rigar leaped from the drake's perch, still enlarged, and brought his hammer down upon its head. The giant fell, but Bingham was able to cast Feather Fall in time to slow Rigar's descent.

The orc chieften and shaman were grateful enough to allow Rigar back into the tribe, giving him his father's position. They gave the party the location of the portal as well.

Sovereign Court

Session 9: April 6, 2015

After bringing the orc chieftan and shaman back, Rigar (with their support) decided to exile his father from the tribe, both for disowning him and for failing to rescue his superiors. He offered Ogthar a chance to redeem himself via combat, which his father accepted. The fight was intense, with Ogthar raging immediately and inflicting serious damage on Rigar with his greataxe, but eventually Rigar proved himself the stronger and Ogthar (who insisted on fighting to the death) was slain.

None of the orcs raised any objections, at least in public, as Rigar had the support of their leaders. To make the transition better, Rigar and his companions decided to hold a feast and a celebration to which most of the party contributed, Bingham and Mogmar producing a magic and alchemy powered light show and Mogmar brewing some strong goblin liquor. Among the various events there was a drinkning contest involving Elliot, Mogmar, and five orcs. Mogmar eventually won after Elliot passed out in the final round. Rigar took this opportunity to recruit a number of orcs to fight the hobgoblins at the portal to Hell, getting 30 of the tribe to back them up. Elliot also made a deal with the shaman: Bring back Lord Zarkon's head in exchange for a magic rod the shaman possessed.

The next morning, the party and their orc allies set off toward the mountains, finding the volcanic peak that contained the portal. The entrance to the dungeon was in the central crater, and the only obvious way in was a chasm formed when a lava flow had given way. In the chasm stood 25 hobgoblin soldiers. Tochee, Elliot, and Mogmar scouted around to find a more hidden way, coming across a small cave. This was guarded by a pair of hell hounds, however, and the idea of sneaking through was abandoned in favor of a different strategy.

Two groups of orcs positioned themselves on either side of the canyon entrance, while a third charged up the middle to draw the hobgoblins out. When the hobgoblins attacked the seemingly easy targets, the hidden flankers attacked from either side. A gap opened up and the party made it through to the crater, where they found foru large pillars lining a causeway to a ruined tower partially covered in volcanic rock. Three hobgoblin soldiers, a hobgoblin cleric and sorcerer, a tiefling inquisitor, and Lord Zarkon were waiting there. Lord Zarkon angrily told the party that he had been too merciful and should have killed them in the Oliphaunt's valley, and he refused to let them live again. As the fight began, Bingham cast Enlarge Person on Rigar. Lord Zarkon flew from the tower and attempted to strike Tochee with a lucerne hammer. He missed and climbed to a higher altitude to avoid attack. The sorcerer attempted to cast Magic Missile but was hit and his spell failed. Mogmar bombed the soldiers and the inquisitor while Elliot went after the cleric. Tochee fired his musket twice and hit Lord Zarkon while Bingham's familiar dropped holy water on the fiend. Lord Zarkon attempted to evade but was ultimately killed when Rigar hit him with the Starblade on a charge.

The orcs arrived, having slain the hobgoblins and with only 10 orcs dead. With his dying breath, Lord Zarkon gasped that, although he had failed to fully open the portal, he had at least managed to summon his mother back to her throne on the Material Plane.

Sovereign Court

Session 10: April 13, 2015

The party is now at Level 6, and Elliot has her first level of Assassin.

After a night spent recovering after Lord Zarkon's defeat, the party returned to the crater to investigate the structure there and find the portal to Hell. Mogmar climbed up to the balcony where Lord Zarkon had been and attempted to enter there, only to provoke a nasty-looking creature covered in chains (kyton) that had been lying in wait in a room full of chains. Luckily, Bingham managed to cast Create Pit below the kyton, dropping it out of the action for most of the ensuing fight. The remainder of the party was attacked by a pair of hell hounds that charged out of the main entrance They managed to hurt Rigar a bit with their fire breath, but he and Elliot took them down without a lot of trouble. The bearded devil waiting inside was another story. It managed to keep Rigar and Elliot occupied for quite a while and cursed Rigar with an infernal wound that defied healing. This wound was eventually patched up with a bit of magic though. The kyton above was eventually dispatched by Tochee's gun, Mogmar's bombs, and Bingham's spells.

The chain-filled room upstairs had served as Lord Zarkon's study, and there the party found a decent amount of treasure including a pair of Boots of Striding and Springing (which Elliot immediately claimed), a broken grandfather clock stuck on 4:00, a key, and a cauldron full of yellowish goo. After discovering it was actually a living ooze monster (an ochre jelly), Mogmar put the cauldron's lid on, tied it securely, and rolled it along with him in case he could find a use for it.

Downstairs, the room where the party had fought the bearded devil was Lord Zarkon's throne room. Beneath the throne, Elliot found a small keyhole. Using the key from the upper room revealed a trapdoor and a ladder leading downward into a large room. This room had four braziers containing apparently flammable material that somehow would not light, and each brazier was next to a door. Examining the doors revealed that they were unlocked and that one of them was hot to the touch with rumbling sounds coming from behind it.

The north door led to a room filled with sand, and a green flame was burning at the far end. When Rigar tried to reach the flame, he fell into what turned out to be quicksand and nearly drowned. After Rigar was pulled out of the sand, Bingham gave his familiar a torch and had the pterosaur fly over to the flame, light it, and bring it back. The green flame managed to light the brazier next to the north door.

Beyond the south door was an apparently bottomless pit. On the other side of the pit was a ledge, upon which burned a yellow flame. The only way across was a narrow walkway barely a foot in width. Dropping an object into the pit caused it to fall, then reappear at the top of the room, where it fell again in an endless loop. Elliot, carefully balancing on the walkway, managed to reach the flame and lit the brazier outside.

The east door was the one that had felt hot to the touch. Opening it quickly revealed the reason: The room was full of lava, with a few rocks serving as stepping stones to a platform containing a red flame. Bingham cast Resist Energy (fire) on his familiar to protect him from the heat and lit the brazier in the same manner as the north room.

The room behind the west door contained two features: a pool of water in the center and a door beyond it. Suspecting a trap, Eillot poured a vial of Liquid Ice into the water, freezing it solid. The door proved to have a very well-built lock, however, and Elliot couldn't disable it. Looking around for a solution, the party saw a key frozen in the ice. Rigar smashed the ice into bits and retrieved it, only to have a stone slab close off the top of the pool. Luckily, there was no longer any water in which to drown, and Elliot disabled the trap. Unlocking the door revealed a blue flame beyond, and the final brazier was lit.

As soon as all the braziers were lit, the flames transformed into four medium-sized elementals, one each for earth, air, fire, and water. Elliot had luckily found some Dust of Dryness in the hill giant's lair earlier and used it to destroy the water elemental. Rigar and Elliot ganged up on the earth elemental, which fell due to their efforts along with Tochee's firepower. Bingham managed to blind the air elemental for most of the fight, long enough for Tochee and Moggmar to kill it. The fire elemental, after already taking some damage, went down after Elliot hit it with another Liquid Ice.

When all the elementals were destroyed. the floor covering the center of the room slid away to reveal an even lower level to the complex. This consisted of a circular room dominated by a red pentagram etched into the floor. The room was surrounded by doors, numbered from 1 to 12. The party decided to open door #4 based on the clock in Lord Zarkon's study being stuck on 4:00. Before trying that, however, Mogmar decided to pee on the center of the pentagram for some reason. This proved to be a bad idea.

An osyluth, or bone devil, had been summoned to guard the portal to Hell and had been watching the party to determine if they were here to open it or to destroy it. When Mogmar urinated on the pentagram, though, the combination of the symbol's desecration and being partially in the goblin's line of fire enraged the devil, which decloaked and stabbed Mogmar with its stinger tail. The shocked goblin sprang back behind his cauldron and unleashed the ooze, but the devil's bony armor proved too difficult for the ooze to dissolve. A very difficult an intense combat ensued. The devil was a formidable opponent, fielding four attacks every round and being difficult to damage with its bony armor. Tochee was poisoned, then knocked unconscious and bleeding to the ground. Bingham's spells were deflected by the devil's spell resistance. Elliot did a little damage with her sneak attacks, but not enough. Rigar managed to land a very lucky hit with the Starblade, however, and from there the party was able to bring it down.

After performing some first aid, the group investigated Door #4. Inside they found a pedestal which would fit the Starblade, and beyond it a red-hot glowing gateway. Rigar put a bone from one of their dead enemies partially inside the gateway, and pulled it back to find the end had been burned (practically vaporized) off with intense heat. Rather than destroy the portal immediately, though, Bingham used his amulet to summon an imp out of it for a new familiar. With that done, though, Mogmar took the Starblade (insisting on doing the honors himself) and struck the portal, destroying it.

Sovereign Court

Whew! After nearly a month of hiatus, this campaign is finally going again... I hope. Here's the description of the last session before the break.

Session 11: 20 April 2015

In an attempt to prevent the Pathfinder Society from getting its hands on the artifacts needed to summon the Oliphaunt of Jandelay, the party followed up on their lead to the location of Kaylon. They headed to the Churlwood north of Magnimar, to the point marked on the map Rigar, Tochee, and Durgen had found in the Temple of the Oliphaunt.

Upon reaching the outskirts of the ruins, the party was attacked by a frightened-looking green dragon, a very small one at that. There was a brief exchange of blows, and even after the party had healed its injuries, the dragon ran away screaming for its mother.

Heading north from there, the party found an obelisk in a clearing with a crystalline object on top of it. Elliot managed to scale the obelisk and take the item, which turned out to be a quartz crystal carved into an angular shape. From the top of the obelisk, Elliot managed to see a mostly-destroyed ziggurat to the north with a greenish haze over it, while to the west across a river stood a towering statue. The party skipped the ziggurat, figuring the green haze meant the baby dragon's mother was lurking within.

Instead, the party crossed the river to the statue. It depicted an arrogant, imperious man wearing regal attire (Elliot had dubbed him "Yonder Douche" from afar), and wearing an amulet identical to the one Bingham had. On his crown was another angular quartz crystal, and an inscription on the statue's pedestal read "XANDERGHUL" in Thassilonian. Mogmar crossed the inscription out and carved "YONDER DOUCHE" instead. This time, Mogmar climbed the statue and retrieved the crystal, carving some drool onto the statue's mouth and adding the word "Derp" on its face on the way. No sooner had this happened than a group of bandits showed up. They demanded the party give them the crystal. Mogmar agreed and declared that he was throwing it down to them, but tossed a bomb instead. the fight was over very quickly, and Elliot talked the survivors into surrendering and handing over another crystal in exchange for their lives. Questioning the bandits revealed that they were working to collect artifacts for a wizard based out of Galduria's Twilight Academy.

Moving onward to the northwest, the party came across another ziggurat, this one intact. Climbing the stairs to the top, they found the entrance impossible to open, but noted a large sihedron symbol carved into the door. The three crystals the party collected fit the slots in the sihedron, but four more were required to fill it. A fourth crystal was found in an alcove around the back of the temple atop the ziggurat, but Elliot determined it to be trapped, and that lifting it would cause a stone fist to pop out from behind it and punch the would-be thief off the side of the ziggurat. Elliot managed to grab it from the side and stay out of the trap's path, however.

Making their way south, the party found another structure, an earthen mound with a door set into it. Opening the heavy slab of rock, they discovered two sarcophagi watched over by an idol. As soon as Rigar had opened one, the other also popped open and a mummy burst out of each. There was a difficult battle, and even after the mummies were slain (largely thanks to Mogmar's bombs), the danger did not lessen. After taking a hit from one of them, Rigar felt his flesh starting to rot away. The party could do nothing to stop this mysterious curse, so they hightailed it back to Galduria and brought the now-comatose orc into the temple of Desna, where the priest managed to cure his mummy rot just in the nick of time.

The party headed back to the ruins, now with five crystals (they had found one among the treasure in the tomb). They found one final unexplored structure; a small shrine on the riverbank. Inside, they noted that the interior had been stripped clear (probably by the wizard and his bandit allies), but that the looters had apparently missed a hidden trapdoor. Beneath the shrine lay a larger room with the treasure still undisturbed. This included a sixth sihedron crystal on a pedestal in the center. Beyond this was a set of large reinforced doors, tightly shut. Elliot knew a trap when she saw one, and successfully switched the crystal with a bag of sand. The party was still curious about the huge doors, and managed to open them. Unfortunately, the doors had been part of the trap, and led to the bottom of the river. Water gushed into the room, flooding it almost instantly. Luckily, the party had not actually triggered the trap from the pedestal which would have locked the trapdoor shut, and they were able to climb out.

The final structure yet to be explored was the damaged ziggurat with the gas cloud over it. As expected, the party found a large green dragon sitting atop a pile of treasure when they arrived. Bingham cast Enlarge Person on Rigar beforehand in case things went wrong. Which they did.

As the party started negotiations, the dragon demonstrated its lack of interest by stating "YOU MADE MY DAUGHTER CRY!" and loosing its breath weapon. This dealt the party a lot of damage, but with their superior numbers and preparedness, they were able to defeat the dragon and put an end to its offspring as well. Finding the final sihedron crystal in the dragon's hoard, the party headed back to the other ziggurat to open the door.

Sovereign Court

Session 12, 18 May 2015

First session played internationally over Skype, since I moved to Canada while the campaign was still running and didn't want it to end. Only Elliot, Bingham, and Tochee's players stayed on at this point.

Entering the ziggurat, the party came to a pillar-lined hallway with an altar on one end. Atop the altar was a golden grim reaper idol, and behind the altar was a large door. They also discovered a concealed trapdoor in the center of the room.

Bingham cast Detect Magic, revealing two strong auras in the room: a conjuration aura on the idol and an evocation aura behind the door. Sensing a trap, he had everybody leave the room and opened the door magically from a distance. Behind the door was nothing but a wall decorated with a giant demon face, which shot a massive gout of flames throughout the room.

The party decided to leave the idol alone, and opened the trapdoor instead. Underneath was a ladder leading to a mist-filled room. Another Detect Magic identified the mist as a powerful illusion spell (with a touch of enchantment). Seeing no other way to go, Elliot descended into the mist and was seemingly transported to the past. A child on the streets of Korvosa again, she heard a voice calling her "Ellie," coming from above. In reality this was the rest of the party asking if she was OK, but the illusion had convinced her otherwise, so she ran and hid. Trying to get her out, Bingham used his amulet to summon a dire ape, which grabbed her and hauled her up the ladder. She managed to kill it near the top, and perceiving both the ape and the party as street thugs from her past, hauled herself up intent on fighting. Fortunately, the party decided to surrender rather than risk killing her, which was enough to break her out of the illusion.

The party worked out an elaborate way of tying each other together with ropes in an attempt to counteract the illusions, which mostly worked until Bingham perceived them as enemy spellcasters. They managed to snap him out of it and continued down to the next tier. Here, they found a large pool of what appeared to be calm, clear water between them and a door. Elliot realized something was wrong, and suspecting it might be a giant water elemental or some other nasty thing, threw a vial of Liquid Ice on it. To her surprise, the substance only created a thin, unstable film on the pool's surface. Upon soaking part of someone's cloak in the pool, the party finally realized the true nature of the threat. The fabric sizzled and dissolved away as the liquid was revealed to be a powerful acid.

Bingham got his imp to fly a rope over the pit and attach it to the ceiling, and everyone managed to swing over to the other side. Behind the door, they found a museum-like room full of treasure and wondrous artifacts. Among the various coins, valuables, and magic items was a centerpiece consisting of three dinosaur skeletons (a Stegosaurus under attack by an adult and juvenile Allosaurus) along with a book describing how the Oliphaunt of Jandelay was originally summoned and what happened as a result. The following account was written inside.

I'm sure a lot of this is incorrect, but it works for this campaign:
From the Legacy of Xanderghul, Runelord of Pride, King of Cyrusan, Greatest in Thassilon.

This cataclysm began, I suppose, with Acererak. His desire for more territory, more wealth, and more of everything drove him to attempt a misguided conquest of Azlant, and I went along with him because I couldn’t say no to the challenge. The Oliphaunt was my idea, however, whatever Acererak claims. He just wanted to brute-force them to death with conventional armies, and was a complete idiot for thinking it could possibly work. Of course, neither he nor any of those petty despots could hope to measure up to my greatness of intellect, so I was hardly surprised. I spent months watching the Outer Planes through the Cyphergate to find a power great enough for our conquest, and at last my gaze alighted on Jandelay, an island of paradise amid the Maelstrom where a truly magnificent creature stood guard. Greater and more terrible than even the mighty Tarrasque itself, the Oliphaunt of Jandelay was exactly what we needed. I say “we” only out of courtesy, for I could easily have accomplished the feat myself with far better results than if that weak-minded idiot was involved.

Summoning the mighty beast would be no easy task, for controlling the chaos of the Maelstrom is perilous even to the best wizards like myself and Jandelay lies at its center like the eye of a storm. The Maelstrom’s edges, however, are not so difficult to control. As I discovered, the realms of Law, Chaos, Good, and Evil all serve as fixed and stable points on the Maelstrom’s outskirts, and of some part of each realm could be brought to the summoner’s location it would be much simpler to control them. An essence of each of the four alignments would be needed for the summoning ritual. Serving as stable anchors for the Maelstrom, they would draw the Maelstrom away from Jandelay and allow a summoning ritual to capture the Oliphaunt unhindered. Acererak raised the predictable objection that Law, Chaos, Good and Evil were intangible concepts with no substance, and I had to descend to his abysmally low lever to explain. The essences of intangible concepts would obviously be contained within tangible vessels, in this case gems. A topaz for Law, an emerald for Chaos, a diamond for Good, and a ruby for Evil.

I made the mistake, however, of informing Acererak of how it could be done, as I needed his talent at transmutation to contain the essences in gems. Such menial work is far beneath a true magical genius like myself, but I told him too much. He must have let slip to Alaznist what we were planning, and she is the worst at not keeping her trap shut. As usual, she was so angry at being left out of our grand plans that she must have betrayed us to Azlant, which alerted them before I could test the process. Acererak had just finished constructing the gems after wasting far too much time on building his ridiculous Spindlehorn from which to look the Oliphaunt in the eye while controlling it. “But,” he often told me when I objected, “You wasted even more time on all those giant statues of yourself across your kingdom.” The fool clearly doesn’t know that I deserved every single one due to my inherent awesomeness, and that someone with my intelligence and charm hardly needs to make eye contact in order for my commands to be obeyed.
Anyway, Alaznist’s childish attempt at revenge brought an invading Azlanti army down on us within a month. Acererak, in defiance of my orders, decided to summon the Oliphaunt himself, refusing to give me the gems or even let me help with the summoning out of his insatiable greed. The results were still positive, at least at first. The invading army was easily crushed underfoot, and the threat ended. I sent in my army to clean up whatever was left when Acererak lost control of the beast. The Oliphaunt vanished in a massive explosion that simultaneously froze my legions in place while raining fire and lightning down upon them. In hindsight, trusting Acererak with the process of summoning the Oliphaunt was a mistake, as his impulse has always been to grab everything he could get first and figure out what it actually takes to use it later.

At the end, all of the Runelords got together and decided that the gems would be divided between everyone involved to prevent the Oliphaunt’s return. I kept the topaz containing the essence of Law and made it into an amulet. The emerald with the essence of Chaos was set into the crown given to Karzoug, Acererak’s successor to the throne of Greed. Alaznist kept the diamond with the essence of Good, concealing it within her scepter, the Darkhammer. Acererak took the evil ruby with him to his final resting place, and this has proved impossible to locate. He wanted to be buried on an island near Azlant, in hopes of rising again to claim what he couldn’t have in life. The location of this island remains a mystery, a mystery to which the answer was inscribed on the other three gems. Yet due to the refusal of Alaznist and Karzoug to concede to my superiority in these matters (indeed, in ALL matters, but one step at a time) they refuse to allow me to examine their gems.

The book had revealed the location of one of the remaining gems. Darkhammer, Alaznist's scepter, was a relic given to Aroden during his travels by the last descendants of the Runelords, a sign that he was worthy to rule Avistan. The scepter had been kept by Aroden's followers in Varisia and was now enshrined in Magnimar's temple of Iomedae.

Examining the room magically, Bingham found that attempting to leave the room with any of the items inside would trigger an attack from the dinosaur skeletons, as would attacking the skeletons preemptively. Thus, the party withdrew to the other side of the acid pool without taking the items, leaving the last of them to actually trip the alarm. The skeletons pursued the party only to be dissolved in the acid.

The group is now making its way back to Magnimar for the Darkhammer.

(as a side note, the knowledgeable will note the name I gave Karzoug's predecessor who summoned the Oliphaunt and should be able to guess what the final dungeon in the campaign will be as a result)

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