Redeeming Nualia?

Rise of the Runelords

My group has captured Nualia and wants to try to redeem her. One of the characters is also an aasimar, and one of the other characters has had a very lonely childhood, just like Nualia, and though he has become lawful good because of it, he sympathizes with her story. They tried talking to her, but this cannot be that easy, if it is at all possible. Nualia has sold her soul to Lamashtu after all. However, I would like to give my players a chance of getting through to her, but it should be difficult, so that redeeming her will be a real achievement. What would be good ideas to make this work?
The group consists of a (LG) paladin, a LG inquisitor, a NG witch, a LN arcanist and a N sanctified rogue.

Its been a while since it happened, but my PCs managed to pull it off. One of them, Tordek (paladin of Abadar), his player had approached me early on and said that he wanted to attempt redeeming Nualia. So, over the first few sessions, I had Abadar give him visions of young Nualia in his dreams, so that Tordek would be able to understand her trauma and prejudice against the people of Sandpoint. Tordek enlisted Willo, a cleric of Serenrae, to help him with talking to Nualia when the time came. Through some spectacular RP and a few amazing dice rolls, they pulled it off. Nualia submitted herself to arrest and was taken by Sheriff Hemlock and the PCs to be tried in Magnimar, because the people of Sandpoint were too biased for her to get a fair trial there.

Things did not work out as they had hoped, but that's the basic version of how they were able to get her to see the error of her ways.

Grand Lodge

Hey there Luna,

After my party read Nualia's journal, our witch decided that she couldn't stand to have Nualia die after everything that happened to her, and has gentle repose on her corpse for the day they can afford her resurrection. Before she was killed by our barbarian, her demonic arm was chopped off and Lamashtu revoked her divine power just before she was killed - so she would have a few seconds to grasp the sick joke Lamashtu played on her life before she died.

I think the things that are most important to redeeming Nualia can be narrowed to a few points

1) Nualia was tricked by Lamashtu. She made Nualia believe that she had been abandoned by her patron in the most vulnerable state of her life, and while she was unconscious, her child was killed by her own father. This was planned by Lamashtu to turn Nualia against everyone she had ever loved. Nualia has to understand the cruel joke.

2) People that tormented Nualia may legitimately regret what they did. The school kids who tormented her are adults now, and if any of them are allied with the party (in my party, it's Aneka Avertin and Ameiko Kaijitsu), and learn of her fate, they may show her humility. Others will feel vindicated in how they treated her as a child, but they shouldn't come up until she's started to make a change.

3) Nualia's sin (as if she were a PC), as I see it, is wrath. The fact that the devs suggest she becomes a succubus feels really silly to me - lust seems like her weakest sin. Nualia's legitimate anger at the people of Sandpoint needs to be acknowledged without Lamashtu's influence - without tying their actions to Desna, for instance. Also, you should figure out what Nualia's virtue is, to hint at what good is left in her (-> for me, this was compassion. Nualia couldn't stand to hurt people who reminded her of herself as a child, or the people who protected them. She felt it was the people of Sandpoint's cruelty that condemned them, not just mad killing).

Given your party's emphasis on divine characters (if you count the sanctified rogue), I would suggest that part of Nualia's redemption come with her rejecting the gods - good and evil.

Lastly, if the party captured her and you don't want her sent to the Hells in Magnimar, try having her condemned to Habe's Sanitorium. That way, the party will see her again soon, and she won't be out of their reach. Furthermore, she can slip the party information on Habe in an exchange for her freedom.

My party actually sympathized with Nualia quite a bit after reading her journal (one player was E anyways, so he was kind of wanting to go burn the town down himself when he read the journal), so I can definitely understand why you want to delve into this.

I ran my version a bit differently for two reasons:

1. My gods and goddesses are slightly more active than one would normally consider them to be. I will occasionally have them appear in some form or another, but so far it's only been in one-on-one situations.

2. The party agreed to offered to let her go, taking two fingers and some hair as proof that they'd killed her, along with sending a Kitsune shape-shifted into Lyrie with her as a spy.


How I viewed Nualia's situation:

1. She was completely devoted to Lamashtu, believing that Lamashtu had opened her eyes when she was in her coma, showing her what Sandpoint was really like. She was then trained and "groomed" for the purpose of destroying Sandpoint.

2. Growing up, she really didn't have the best examples of Desna worship to surround herself with when you consider her adoptive step-father Ezakien. I took a look at Desna's portfolio and read up on her entry in the Inner Sea Gods book. Desna is a deity that loves exploration, experience, and discovering new things. I applied these on a personal scale instead of the grand scale.

3. Nualia believes she's Lamashtu's champion, her chosen emissary. A person like that thinks they can't lose. After all, they have divine might behind them. She received a vision of Malfeshnekor in Thistletop, along with a mission to free him.

How it went in my game:

When the party agreed to let Nualia go with Lyrie, they told her to wait until night had fallen. By that time, they had killed Malfeshnekor, looted the place top to bottom, and left Nualia in some goblin rags (I know, modesty isn't a virtue it seems). When Nualia left the room you encounter her in, she and "Lyrie" explored Thistletop and Nualia was devastated to find Malfeshnekor dead, skinned, and his teeth and claws harvested.

That's a hell of a wake-up call when your divine mission ends in failure. I'd be left unsure, confused, angry. My Goddess chose me, sent me a vision of her will, and yet I failed. Where was she? I thought success was guaranteed with her help?

Nualia suddenly had a lot of questions, so she began making her way to Magnimar. She stopped in at Sandpoint on the way for a midnight raid to get clothes, food, and armor and weapons. This resulted in a confrontation with Ameiko when they tried to raid the Rusty Dragon for food, but Ameiko was apologetic and truly felt bad about what had happened to Nualia. She got them supplies and sent them on their way. (Then confronted the party's rogue within a few days...)

Nualia went to the Skinsaw Cultists in Magnimar and confronted Ironbriar on just what the hell was going on and asked him if she was being used. Ironbriar had a scathing retort about tools being thrown away when they were no longer of use and Nualia started a fight. She and "Lyrie" only escaped because they set parts of the place on fire.

When they first got to Magnimar, I had Nualia get irritated and start ranting at a monument in Magnimar, the one from Magnimar, City of Monuments of a cleric of Desna. She threw a rock at the statue, which started glowing blue (Desna's color, or one of them) and threw the rock back. It hit Nualia on the head (which knocked her out), branding her with a fading tattoo of Desna's holy symbols. This was accompanied by a similar effect on the scars of her stomach and them being found by chance by a cleric of Desna that offerred them shelter.

This was the fluff and flavor I used to begin a sort of internal tug-of-war between Lamashtu's influence and Desna's influence on Nualia's soul. From Lamashtu's side, she hates Desna and delights in making Nualia fall and serve her (especially given the deceit surrounding her child). From Desna's side, Nualia's journey of life has been horribly mis-directed and her future so very different from what it could have been. Desna reaches out to try to correct the damage that has been done. She wants to give Nualia the chance to discover who and what she really is.

I lead Nualia and the Kitsune player on a side quest involving a Succubus that messed with them in Magnimar, a rather goody two-shoes thing that involved multiple villages being attacked by demons, the Succubus being favored by Lamashtu and out to get Nualia for failing, and getting stuck in a rather simple trap that had two conditions for escape:

1. Nualia has to kill her friends.
2. There has to be a demon sacrifice inside the trap.

The only demonic material in the trapped room was Nualia's arm, so this forces a choice in Nualia choosing between good and evil. In my game, she gave up her arm and went on to kill the Succubus, learning the truth of what Lamashtu did to her child and her coma-induced influence.

Now she'll be showing up this weekend in Chapter 4.


Ultimately, I view her as being quite redeemable, given her Goddess- and demon-influenced memories being tainted. It should definitely _not_ be easy or quick, though. It should take lots of RP and showing her that what she thought was right was actually wrong.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

@Askar Avari, I personally feel Love/Lust is Just as Much her sin as Kindness/Wrath. If you look at her backstory form the late unpleasantness she legitimately loved Delek. In fact she craved Love so badly that she lacked from Tobyn and the town that she fell for the Lust Delek offered her. Furthermore if you read Gogmurt's section in thistletop he tells the party if they spare and interrogate him that he suspects that Nulia and Tsuto are lovers because he has seen them "going at it like donkey rats" in the woods. She has become the very thing that made her fall in the first place. She is willing to use Tsuto's legitimate love for her as a weapon against Sandpoint. So I think if it came to redemption you could appeal to either virtue Kindness or Love. In my party I have a Paladin of Shelyn and a Cleric of Calistria(pretending to be a cleric of Desna) I am hoping that the Paladin gets a shot at redeeming her through love but I wouldn't be disappointed if the cleric converted her to Calistria to channel her wrath toward the deserving(namely in this case the Skinsaw cult who warships Norgaber, Calistra's rival).

Thanks for all the ideas and input. It gave me a lot to think about. The players left Tsuto alive as well, so if they can kindle real love between Tsuto and Nualia, this could actually redeem them both. I also like the idea of a side quest, and the idea of sending Nualia to Habe's sanatorium. It is also a good idea to let my PCs talk to various people in Sandpoint to make them see the error of their ways and apologize to Nualia.
I think it is also essential that Nualia will get rid of the demonic arm and the scars.
My players like to roleplay and also usually write elaborate back stories. In fact, there are 2 PCs with a back story similar to that of Nualia (a lonely, isolated childhood) and both had a different response to it. Neither of these PCs is evil.

FWIW, the Player Companion "Champions of Purity" has a 2-page write-up of the mechanics for Redemption, with explanations for why it is what it is.

Also, the Player Companion "Bastards of Golarion", while mostly about Half-Elves and Half-Orcs, has content applicable to Planetouched and others. The background "The Celebrity" is pretty much Nualia's story... and I think that even the unnamed Aasimar female in the artwork is her. Your players may find some things to work with it in.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

IIRC, the Wrath of the Righteous Player's Guide also has some information about redemption. (I'm AFB at the moment, so I can't check right away.)

Bellona wrote:
IIRC, the Wrath of the Righteous Player's Guide also has some information about redemption. (I'm AFB at the moment, so I can't check right away.)

It does. It looks to be identical to the one in the Player Companion, so this would be a free version to obtain.

One wrinkle to keep in mind... just because the players want to redeem someone doesn't mean it will work (ever). The target ALSO has to want to change.. and if that important foundation isn't there, redemption is not possible.

I agree that the players have to be really convincing in order to pull it off. They have already made some attempts, but Nualia has rejected them all so far. After all, she has practically sold her soul to Lamashtu. But I know my players: they will not give up without a fight.
It will lead to some interesting roleplay. Depending on that, and how hard they try, they will either succeed or fail (after a lengthy process).
I am familiar with the content in the Wrath of the Righteous Player's Guide.
I also plan to make Nualia a relative of the PC in my group who is also an aasimar, so that she as a paladin will have a personal interest in the redemption. After all, Nualia's real parents are never mentioned. In my campaign she is the PC's cousin.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'll just tell how it ran as a sideplot;

My Nualia ended up captured by the PCs. Orik Tsuto and Lyrie all escaped custody too, with Orik becomming in time a protector of Sandpoint and Lyrie the rival of my Wizard PC.

Upon finding her journal, the PCs decided to lock her up and slowly help her towards redemption. I played her as sad, suicidal and self mutilating girl, but the group Paladin was keen on redempting her and was kind enough to her, so she eventually got oriented towards redemption. In the end of Chapter 2, she had cutted her own demonic arm and went into a coma.

Come chapter 3. Tsuto goes back to Sandpoint, kills father Zantus, kidnaps Nualia, and flee to the Hook Mountain Clanhold, trying to convert his love back to evil. Unfortunately, Nualia contacts the PCs for help via the kind Paladin, and the group rescues her, trusting her to be actually on their side. Tsuto and Lyrie escapes, AGAIN.

The Party suffers a humiliating defeat by Black Magga (this is important)

Comes chapter 4. The humiliated Tsuto leads the charge against Sandpoint and gets killed. While the party goes to Jorgenfist, Nualia actually takes the place of Father Zantus (by hinding her identity and being the mysterious one-armed priestess of Sandpoint).Her last act towards a full redemption is by betraying Lamashtu by sumonning Black Magga, allowing it to be killed by the PCs at the end of Ch4.

At the end of Ch5 (Present day) , as the party returns to Sandpoint, they discover that Nualia wasn't 100% honest and is part of a secret cult, only to discover the existence of the cult of the Redeemer Queen (To Foreshadow Nocticula's presence in Return). Nualia is one of their more trusted allies now.

As for Lyrie, the only last unresolved thread, continued on her quest to get into the Pathfinder Society no matter what. The party will encounter her again in Xin-Shalast, as she will the one feeding the party info on Mhar, realizing something really bigger is at stake and making peace with the party if they let her go.

So yeah, Nualia can be a great addition to Rise beyond chapter one

Grand Lodge

Along similar lines as this thread, I have a question coming from my party specifically:

The party killed Nualia at Thistletop after Orik cut off her arm. However, they holed up in hiding before "escaping" Thistletop (they didn't realize they'd defeated almost everything), read Nualia's journal, and became committed to bringing her back to life to expose what Lamashtu did to her and give her a chance at redemption.

My question isn't so much on how the party might do this (I think we're seeing a lot of interesting answers here, and I have my own ideas as well), but rather, who, if anyone, would remain invested in Nualia enough to interfere? Whether by raising her, stealing her gentle reposed body, or other means.

From what I understand, Xanesha and Xanesha alone took interest in Nualia, and no one higher up the chain of command towards Karzoug would know much about her (although Karzoug himself would know of her thanks to his scrying).

Would you expect others devoted to Lamashtu to be interested in her, though? Perhaps the new witch/ranger introduced in the new Sandpoint Campaign Setting guide? Or maybe the Red Bishop (mothman cleric of Pazuzu) aiming to forge a new weapon against Lamashtu? Anyone else you can think of?

I feel strange keeping her on ice all the way through books 2 and 3 until the players have magic capable of raising her themselves, given months passing and enemies having a clear idea of where she is.

As written, I think your best bet for someone interfering with the resurrection and redemption of Nualia is probably a survivor from her crew, though I don't know how well that fits the events of your campaign. Tsuto is obsessed with her for selfish reasons and might want to see her resurrected on his own terms rather than seeing her as either Lamashtu's pawn or an associate of good-aligned PCs. Erylium would probably want to see her resurrected so that her service to Lamashtu might continue.

It's mentioned in The Hook Mountain Massacre that the Kreeg ogres used to make sacrifices to Lamashtu before Barl Breakbones arrived and took charge, and I get the impression that the annis hag coven found there were probably the leaders of this worship; it may be that Lamashtu uses them as her paws, or the lamia priestesses at Jorgenfist in Fortress of the Stone Giants, but both of those options depend on Lamashtu having a sincere and powerful interest in keeping Nualia as a minion, and the "it's a sick joke by Lamashtu," twist on her story that you've previously mentioned may make that unlikely.

What a cruel joke it would be if you allowed them to keep her on ice for two books, bring her back, and find out that she's unhappy and ungrateful to return.

The above stems from my inability to think of anyone who would bother to interfere. I mean, assuming they know about her body's whereabouts, they would surely question why the party was keeping her in a state that would allow for a rez, and upon learning it really is to rez her- why would someone opposed to the party want to stop that? Free bringing back an evil ally/minion? YES PLEASE.

Perhaps a good-aligned entity would want to thwart bringing her back, and not listen to the party's explanation that she could be saved?

Also Erylium, as TheOrganGrinder stated; but some work or explanation concerning the quasit's madness would have to happen, and even then, how would she act on her desire, and who would she take Nualia to?

Grand Lodge

mousmous wrote:
What a cruel joke it would be if you allowed them to keep her on ice for two books, bring her back, and find out that she's unhappy and ungrateful to return.

Even if does stem from a lack of options of (evil-aligned) people who want to interfere, I do think this is a helpful way of complicating Nualia's return to life and possible redemption. I think I can break it down a little like so:

The Plan:
1) Karzoug is aware of Nualia, as she wore the Sidhedron Rune, but effectively considers her a failed project of Xanesha's. He's keeping tabs on the ones who killed her, but ultimately she was far too weak to be invested in yet.

2) Lamashtu's remaining followers in the region have also discovered (thanks to one of their agents in Sandpoint) that Nualia is being preserved via gentle repose, but have decided not to interfere - if the party plans on reviving her themselves, that only makes their job easier (cost, spiriting her away if need be, etc.)

3) When Nualia returns, she is powerless again, and either in a new body or in her old one minus an arm. She is bitter at her defeat, ashamed that she was found unworthy by her Mother, but more than that, has no where to go from here. Even when the party explains their understanding from her journal (that she was never in contact with Desna through her dreams, that Lamashtu just loves to corrupt things that Desna values), that only makes her feel empty inside. After all, that means no one ever loved her in the first place.

4) A servant of Pazuzu begins trying to visit Nualia wherever she is kept (Habe's Sanitorium, the Hells, etc), trying to turn her towards vengeance @Lamashtu, such as by killing Lamashtu's remaining servants in the region and joining the Red Bishop. On top of vengeance, it would show Nualia another path to destroying Sandpoint (as per the Sandpoint Campaign Setting Guide, which I highly recommend reading if you haven't). Meanwhile, members of the party will likely be trying to get Nualia out of her depressed stupor as well - if they encourage her to seek revenge, that will push her towards Pazuzu, but if they encourage forgiveness/compassion/love, she will rebuke Pazuzu's servants.

5) If Lamashtu's servants see her as a threat (and the party is protecting her), they will find other heroes to confront the party to try and have Nualia killed, and, moreover, cremated. The same will happen if she rebukes Pazuzu's servants as well - either way, heroes can be lured with the opportunity to stop evil. This will force the party to either talk down or fight the rival heroes if they want to protect Nualia.

6) If the party is successful, Nualia feels something. And the party will have their first chance to really change her heart (especially if they dissuaded her from vengeance).

7) The first opportunity I can really think of for when she would be on a path to recovery and capable of recognizing the threat to Varisia as a genuinely bad thing is if she meets The Scribbler and gets a good idea of what the Runelords were like, and what Karzoug's return might mean. If she has turned towards good at this point, I think I'll have her accompany the party to Runeforge.

This is thinking far ahead, and there's many complications that may arise, but I think this is my roadmap for a possible Nualia redemption and how the forces of evil (and good) may interfere.

My party was obsessed with the Thistletop NPCs, so I had to keep them relevant any way I could.

In my game, Nualia wasn't redeemed, but diverted from her path of revenge all the same, and in the end viewed as peer and equal to the PCs.

Her plan was foiled, her god abandoned her, Lamashtu's gift- her arm -was ripped from her body, then her and Tsuto were brought to trial in Magnimar by the PCs, only to be imprisoned by Tsuto's distant bio-dad Ironbriar (who I revealed to be their contact with Xanesha).

(As for the others, Lyrie escaped in the melee, Elyrium got kidnapped and trapped in a lantern and was carried around on our gnome's hip, and Orik got hired by the party.)

Having been betrayed by their own organization and left with no powerbase with which to fulfill her contract with her god, they broke out of jail with Lyrie's help, and started trying to take power into their own hands. Still obsessed with the idea of becoming a demon but now with no goddess backing her, Nualia killed a shady demonsgraft seller and implanted everything onto her, giving herself another demon arm, demon legs, a gross black tongue, a large purple heart sized for a cow that could be seen through a hole in her chest, and big old horns, and then went after Xanesha.

The PCs ran into them there and agreed to work together to get the info they wanted out of Xanesha (basically who is your boss so I can go exact my vengeance out on them, too), even trading them Elyrium as a gesture of goodwill.

They sort of remained a relevant rival adventuring party, following the same leads as the PCs , sometimes acting as allies, sometimes as antagonists, until they joined the party for all of the Runeforge (both trapped down there), and then all of Xin Shalast, where Nualia, Tsuto and Lyrie were recognized as Sihedron Heroes alongside the party.

That being said it was a gestalt game with no capital G good PC's, but the point it there's lots of ways to sort of move Nualia out of the antagonist role and fulfill her character arc without fully redeeming her either.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My group's cleric of Desna, Jori, became obsessed with redeeming Nualia after a harrowing, so the party took her alive. Jori spent some time talking to Nualia (AT her, really) before she was sent off to Magnimar for a fair trial, as suggested in this thread.

I also used this thread's idea that she ended up in Justice Ironbriar's court, who, uh, "set her free on a work release program" shortly before the PCs killed him.

Nualia has been chewing on what the cleric said, so I'm having her drop in on Jori while everyone else is spending time decoding Ironbriar's journal. Since Jori didn't know that Nualia is at liberty, and has no idea if she got through to her, I'm planning on some cat-and-mouse tension to unfold across that period of downtime before Nualia finally agrees to Jori's help.

It'll be like "Killing Eve," if Villanelle were a fan of Lamashtu.

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