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Ironfang Invasion

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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
Erpa wrote:
For my gestalt campaign(s), we have crossed back over to Kraggodan, and have come downstairs into the Reliquary as well! But my stories will be for later. Too tired right now...

must admit I miss having you just in front of me so that I can mine your experiences to help my own.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Hell's Rebels resumed last night, with a terrifying dragon fight after our city-bonded witch played Hot and Cold to find the next step we needed to take. Thankfully, previous battles had prepared us for the fight, but my vigilante and the paladin both got a little banged up. The witch also ate some breath weapon damage, but the recharge die was kind to us.

erucsbo wrote:
Erpa wrote:
For my gestalt campaign(s), we have crossed back over to Kraggodan, and have come downstairs into the Reliquary as well! But my stories will be for later. Too tired right now...

must admit I miss having you just in front of me so that I can mine your experiences to help my own.

Lol awesome! I just like coming here to see what people’s takes are too!

So, during the talks with the Even handed Synod, my group of 7, taking their turns and getting used to this ‘verbal combat’, well, they rolled for crap and only came away with an initial success describing the events at Phaendar.
The Intimidate build fighter, going all Hulkamania to describe killing Scarvinious, brought the dwarves back around, around with the dwarven oracle describing bringing dwarven gear back from the trog caves.
Things went better from that point, and as each DC went up, the players rolls did well to match it. The brawler shield champion IS from Longshadow/Hollow Hills area, and was always collecting horns from killing various things, which interested Karburtin, and Lady...Tidal? Forgot the merchant leader at the group. Karburtin was engaged and enjoyed being corrected by the druid to discuss various fey and creatures of the Fangwood.
The dwarven oracle finished everything up well to try and bind the Synod to them as allies being found, much like the group has made allies with Phaendar, the Rangers, and Longshadow. Will they be allies as well?
They kept succeeding on checks, did well to get in heartily well with the Kraggodan dwarves, and the group was allowed to head down into the Reliquary.
So, with a group of 7, and now an animal companion, of the puny wyverns from the Hollow Hills wyvern rider camp, was heavily worked on by the druid to assume the role, everything I throw at them gets the Advanced Template, and I nearly have to double up enemy numbers as well as giving them 75% max hit points.
The oracle, moving more of his recent class spells into pure divination and the buff/battle changes, was doing the Detect Evil scouting as long as the dwarven rogue gave the all clear.
However….they searched to the right upon entering the hall...and didn’t look left, which is where the evil gugs came from. 7 of them came from the left, and 3 actually entered the round after, to climb upon the pillars, and jump down on the flying wyvern! The group had some rough spots against the gigs, as I went for the pining route with grappling, and just trying to dump the PCs on their butts, and limit full attack rounds. Obviously, the group won out in the end.
After checking around, and heading into the mossy caverns, I had 4 gugs minding Ishkagah in the worked chamber north. Detect evil caught sight of the furthest back one, and once the invisible rogue shot into it, they gugs came, and Ishkahgah began his spells of shield, bullstrength, summoning the babaus.
I did more with choking off the hallway with the gugs, using their ability to squeeze with easy effort past each other, and once they started to fall, the 3 babuas showed up, teleported beyond the group to the south of the moss cavern, dropped darkness on the more humans of the group (who had darkvision cast on them, but the babuas didn’t know that), and the invisible arcanist became targeted!
The arcanist, with aid of the fighter, finally blocked off the north of the mossy cavern into the worked room with a wall of force...which was brought down a round later by Ishkagah. 2 gugs tried to retreat back into the room, with a now invisible Ishkagah working spells near the J7 hallway.
Once the group had nearly finished off the retreating gugs….Ishy attacked from the rear, invisible, with arcane strike and bull strength to a PC who had no clue Ishy was there! Now let me tell you, if you haven’t already, get that Robe of Scintillating Colors rocking the round before! Adding in a concealment miss chance, going up to 50%, for 10 rounds, and you could daze the PCs? Which, I DID knock 2 of the group, and animal companion, out for 5, 4, an4 rounds respectively! Add in the blight, and I sickened another 2, and it was looking like a great fight!
Until my soldier fighter came up to knock Ishy around….which summoned Karavalkos! For next week! A cliffhanger!

The thing I have to change, is that when its recommended Ishy run back to get its fiendish does Ishy not trigger the dwarf trap? So, I’m putting it in that the only dwarven that the gug speaks is to give himself free movement. The one fighter will be able to roll a Perception to maybe hear the gug speak dwarven, giving the group a clue to maybe search for traps there. Cuz the gugs HAVE to know to be able to knock the spell trap out, otherwise they’d be hit with the trap daily using that hall!!

Something else fun I”m doing? One of the characters is carrying around the broken leg currently. What I intend is to have Elacnida possess the carrier, the rogue, and shoot the first person with sneak attack dmg who inspects the stoned gug, then have Elacnida move the round later to the stone gug, then give out the moan, then attempt to stone someone from some piece. That ought to put my group into disarray. Gotta make’em antsy!

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Kisegar is a lot of fun. I keep having Chen buzz lazily through the air and bump off the eidolon and flip on his back. Every party of duergar or other random encounter on the Long Walk, Kisegar explains that she is escorting very important surface dwellers, and that she is the premiere guide for any traveler on the Long Walk. She explains proudly to anyone who will listen how she was a slave only a couple days ago. I had the drow encounter last session, a slaver party for house Vexidyre, and tried to hype it up by having Kisegar wanting the party to run. They would have none of it, and confronted the twisted elves and put a very final stop to their quest for slaves from the surface.

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

<entire 3.5 hour session was one battle. A few more failed saves could have made a huge difference.>

Spying two gugs in the side passage, the wizard cast haste and summoner cast barkskin on her eidolon. The trickster sneaked past the 2 gugs with greater invisibility and then the rogue moved to a flanking position on one and dealt some damage.
The gugs responded, dealing some damage to the rogue before the eidolon and fighter moved up to also do damage.
The wizard cast summon monster and summoner started a life conduit with her eidolon.
The trickster dealt some serious damage to one of the gugs before the rogue finished it off and then dropped the other as well.
The eidolon failed to coup de grace the unconscious gug, but then the fighter smashed it to a pulp.
That's when 4 babau demons appeared around the party, though none managed to land a hit.
The wizard cast mage's sword as her summoned dinosaur appeared, hitting one of the demons and dazing it.
The summoner cast resist energy (acid) on herself and her eidolon and the trickster tried to remove one of the demons with dispel magic, but failed.
The rogue managed to deal enough damage to one of the demons to destroy it while the eidolon hit another.
That's when Ishgahkah appeared in the midst of the melee, clashing bright colours coming from its robe and a greasy black miasma rolled from it over most of the party, damaging almost everyone but only fully affecting the dinosaur, and another demon, this one horned, appeared.
The wizard attempted a baleful polymorph as the dinosaur destroyed one of the remaining babau demons.
The summoner created an acid pit under the horned demon but the demon managed to escape to the side.
TThe trickster missed Ishgahkah, trying to hit it with eyes closed to avoid the clashing colours.
The horned demon flung the summoner into the ceiling 50' overhead and tried to drop her into the acid pit, but the summoner managed to use her wings to glide past the pit and land on the other side.
The fighter hit Ishgahkah as the last remaining babau demon fell into the acid pit, before the demon then dispelled it.
Ishgahkah tried to slow the party but only the eidolon was affected.
The wizard summoned more help as the summoner used her wand of magic missiles to damage Ishgahkah.
The horned demon managed to enslave the eidolon but failed to dominate the summoner.
The eidolon hit the last babau demon, and even though the fighter missed Ishgahkah, the gug decided to try and get away, running past the dinosaur (which with eyes closed could not make an opportunistic attack) and escaping from the trickster (who also had her eyes closed).
The wizard's three summoned vulpinal agathions appeared, each landing a holy smite on the fleeing gug, dropping it to the ground.
The summoner fired more magic missiles at it and the trickster cast searing light on it as well.
The horned demon issued a command to flee, but only the eidolon failed to save, running back to the main entry hall.
The fighter hit the last babau demon, which managed to hit back, before the dinosaur did enough to destroy it.
The wizard's mage sword hit the horned demon, as did the agathions with more holy smites.
The wizard also hit with a cone of cold and cold ice strike finally doing enough damage to send it back to the abyss.
The summoner fired off an acid splash on the unconscious Ishgahkah, enough to push it into death, as the eidolon broke free from the command and returned.

So, the Kalavakos demon just was summoned, and attempted to steal the soul of the fighter who caused Ishy’s blood to flow. The thing is, the arcanist always casts communal protection from evil, which was HUGE to use against the babaus and the horned demon. So, the horned demon didn’t steal a soul the first round, couldn’t attack anyone right away, and Ishy did a full retreat up the corridor to get its fiendish scions.
Horned demon got pounded so quick, he lasted two rounds. As the group came to the hallway, the 4 fiendish gugs (for my group, were coming down! However, a wall of thorns filled the hallway, prevented the gugs from moving, but my improved AC to them also meant they had no damage. A stinking cloud was dropped, but they are immune to poison, but my group didn’t know that. It meant no one had visibility, including Ishy to come up and try to get close to the fiendish ones.
My PCs did some more buffing, for 2 rounds, then dropped the wall of thorns, and charged through. Ishy had given his group some Rage spell, and tried to do acid arrow to the PCs, but it was all over pretty quickly. The 2 PCs who did receive Smite Good dmg got absolutely WRECKED by that dmg. Oy!
I had placed the blade barrier trap just past the northern wall of the Aurum’s room. The rogue went to check the door, (I put in doors) got it unlocked, looked in to see the gleaming gold statues, ‘standing sentinel’ over the bank tell alcoves. The rogue comes in, the room “springs” to life, and the golems attack. I decided to do only 2, not 3 like I was originally planning, and probably should have kept it 3. They slowed everyone...but all it did was take haste off from pre-casting...and then the arcanist used a scroll to give haste once again. Dividing up attackers, 2 on 1 golem, 3 on another, a magic adamantine hammer in the group, and it was 4 rounds for my group to wreck them. Golems!
That said, the other merged campaign has given my group a giant’s bag of holding, so the 3,500 pounds of gold? It’s totally in the party’s pack!
And now they walk out to find the blade barrier trap spring upon them.
After that? An upgraded enemy in a gargantuan, fiendish, advanced, great purple worm!!

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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

Inspection of the downed gugs after the fight only found items of value on the one with the colourful robe, as well as the disturbing find of a preserved human face covering its head.

The spellcasters especially were feeling like they needed a rest, so the party holed up in the southern sub-passage.

Moving north the next day the party found in a stone chamber a stack of 4 preserved human faces sitting on top of a strangely-organic looking pillar that turned out to be a petrified human leg.
The trickster moved out into the corridor beyond and got caught in a slashing blade trap, though thankfully managed to dodge half of them. She activated her sigil of Kraggodan and then was able to move back into the space and disarm the trap so that the rest of the party could move through.
A door on the eastern wall of the corridor was unlocked using the sigil and a cursory investigation revealed something magical in one of the sealed vaults that lined the brazier lit chamber. There were also two gold painted statues that stood guard.
The trickster entered the room and tried to open the vault containing magic but didn't succeed so she exited before the protection from the sigil expired.
The wizard summoned celestial ankylosaurs, while the trickster cast heroism on the fighter, the summoner cast barkskin on the fighter, and then the wizard cast enlarge on the fighter as the dinosaurs appeared.
All the summoned beasts failed to land an attack.
The summoner put barkskin on her eidolon and the trickster cast blessing of fervour before the fighter waded into the room and hit.
The stone golems came to life and hit back at the fighter, doing significant damage.
The rogue fired off an acid splash close enough to do sneak attack damage and the dinosaurs managed to land some hits.
The eidolon also hit but to little effect due to the golem's damage reduction.
The trickster used Cure Critical Wounds and a quickened channel positive energy to restore the fighter, who then smacked one of the stone golems and landed a critical hit on the other, finishing the fight.
Wanting to make use of the buffs and summoned dinosaurs most of the group moved out of the chamber and headed north while the trickster aided the rogue to open the vault, discovering a pile of gold ingots (all stamped with Kraggodan's seal) and a bracelet of friends with 2 charms remaining.
The next chamber that the party entered, dinosaurs leading the way, was occupied by 2 gugs, an evil red light shining from their eyes as they leapt to attack, but they were no match for 3 celestial ankylosaurs and a still fully buffed fighter.
That was when the party heard something moving in the darkness of the cavern beyond. Something big. Something very big.

So, over the last two weeks, my group moved forward from the fiendish gigs chamber, Detected Evil towards the east, but the utter absence of evil to the west. They were beat with all the combating that was going on, and felt better about finding something good. The soldier-fighter wanted to stay on task with searching of and for the onyx towers, so the fiendish purple worm will wait!

So, they get to the mausoleum (pardon me, can’t remember the exact name off the top of my head), but still feel like exploring. They aren’t empty of resources quite yet, so why not? No 15 minute adventuring day for them!

They step out into the hallway. At the end, to the west is where the stoned gug is. The oracle and soldier go to inspect, why the dwarf rogue who has been spotting for everything says ‘you guys check it out, I’m fine here.’ HE, has been carrying on him the broken pieces of statues, and I decided to use Elacnida’s possession here! He did fail his save, and took aim and shot at the dwarf oracle...but this is of course the time when he rolls a 3 on the dice to actually miss his flat footed ally. ‘What the hell?’ is the sudden hub bub, (a round goes by), Elacnida comes out of the stone gug, and does a moan.Both Soldier and Oracle uncharacteristically fail Will saves, roll for randomness, and the soldier takes off towards the forgefiend room. The arcanist was nearing the group, and gets off a hold person on the soldier; the oracle ran the other way through the group, and the pet wyvern rolls a 20 to grapple and bring the oracle down. Their senses return in moment, and they destroy the gug statue.

However, they really don’t investigate or pause to consider what’s going on! They just assume it’s all trap based.

They head into the Enthroned King’s chamber, Diplomacy by the dwarf oracle goes very well, but the King says you must defeat his jailers. The lead cloud actually really knocked down 3 of the PCs, so THEN it was highly necessary to go back and find rest! With the Enthroned King in tow!

Waken the next day, head down to forge fiends. Perceptions weren’t great, the bomb went off, and they fiends had the jump in initiative to drop some slag puddles and a wall of fire to separate the group. A Dismissal here, and then a gang up, and the event ended.

Detect evil pings to detect the roper (and I changed it that below it was the remains of a small campsite, and how the hobs got into the Reliquarry). The roper is chatty, but the group goes, ‘well, it’s evil, and hey, sapping our strength, so enough of this!” and with clever spell use and magic effects of bull rush and trip, the roper gets tossed and falls down into the shaft below him. I...really wasn’t into the combat with this one….

Heading into the northern part of the main chamber, I have a line delineating when this will occur, as opposed to the time instance. I want the PCs to ‘walk into’ Elacnida’s memory in the space she did. And the PCs almost hit the trigger line, as they were separated and searching…! But the crossbows drew the dwarf rogue’s eyes, and he and the other dwarf went in for the weapons, and the ice devil triggered. With my pumped up martial gelugon, and feats, he was kicking some ass, but once the group got settled in, got protected from cold, a haste spell to ward off the slow effects, they overcame.

Which is all fine. Because this is all about making them combat, be choosy, and be aware they are coming to the central chamber (as the King described) where the Onyx Key should be….but it’s not….

I’m going to enjoy that fight...right after I deafen the oracle, arcanist and druid who inspect that library…..

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By serendipty, my players happened to mention their old svirfneblin friend from Book 1 on the day they were set to encounter Novvi's trading party. So it was a fortuitous reunion. I tried to play up the alien weirdness of the various dark folk, and it was fun teasing out the reveal of Novvi, as she slowly unravels the filthy rags and removes the false nose (a pitted gray mushroom) of her dark creeper disguise.

The Gobstoppers, plus Kisegar and Chen, have arrived at the Five-Eyed Matron, and officially reach the end of their journey on the Long Walk. Kisegar faces a tough dilemma as she must choose between her employers and clients whom she correctly sees as a source of great wealth, and her people and god in the form of Rovalda's party. Of course one of the tenets of Droskarites is their willingness to get one over on their fellow duergar, so it probably won't be too much of a dilemma. The Gobstoppers' open revulsion for slavery is fascinating to Kisegar.

Rovalda confronts the party in the shadow of the giant five-eyed statue. She barely gets her offer out before the party aggressively refuses. The tidy sum she offers is meaningless to them now. Their refusal, plus the presence of the dwarf kineticist sends her into a rage and she flies up from the saddle of her chapel beetle. We ended on the cliffhanger as she and her party move to attack.

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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

The rogue moved into the cavern beyond and saw an enormous purple worm moving in the darkness, alerting the rest of the party.
The wizard sent in her dinosaurs but one got grabbed in the worm's massive maw.
The summoner cast improved life conduit, and the trickster cast bull's strength on the fighter.
The fighter moved up to vital strike the worm but missed.
The worm swallowed the dinosaur it had previously grabbed, and struck another dinosaur with its poisoned sting.
The rogue moved up to attack but fumbled and her rapier got stuck underneath the worm.
The wizard cast haste, the summoner cast shield on her eidolon, who hit the worm but didn't do much damage, and the trickster cast greater invisibility on herself.
The fighter managed to land a hit on the worm and the worm hit back, grabbing him in its mouth.
The rogue managed to retrieve her rapier and attack.
The dinosaurs continued to pound away and the wizard cast slow, but failed to beat the worm's spell resistance.
The trickster cast grace to move next to the fighter and cast heal on him, just before the worm swallowed him.
The worm dealt more damage to the dinosaur at its rear including more poison and grabbed the eidolon.
The rogue managed to deal enough damage to kill it and allow the fighter to escape from within the belly of the beast. (GM note: had significantly increased the worm's HP as the entry in the AP failed to account for the extra HP from being advanced.)
The trickster cured most of the damage the fighter had taken.
Moving onwards the party passed through a chamber that turned out to be an ossuary for all the dwarven children that had perished during the Quest for Sky and dedicated to Folgrit, the dwarven mother-goddess.
The group respected the sanctuary and moved through to the corridor beyond where they found a statue of a gug. While investigating it a ghostly duplicate formed next to it and let out a frightful moaning. The eidolon and rogue both failed their saves and fled in panic, the eidolon pushing further into the Reliquary and the rogue dashing back the way the party had come from. The fighter tried to stop the rogue, but as she was invisible he missed her, so the wizard (permanent See Invisible) chased after her. The summoner dismissed the eidolon as soon as she had passed around the next corner.
The fighter then proceeded to smash the statue until it was nothing but dust.
The wizard caught up with the rogue as she had almost made it back to the entrance hall, her fear fading at that point.
The summoner resummoned her eidolon.
The next chamber showed two large lead dwarven statues flanking 3 sarcophagi, and a voice called out demanding to know who had disturbed its self-imposed exile. The trickster activated the sigil of Kraggodan and entered, diplomatically engaging so successfully that she was able to escort the bottle containing the enthroned king out of the chamber without disturbing the chamber's guardians.
Conversation continued outside where tales were exchanged and much was learnt of the Onyx Key.

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Rolled a purple worm on the random encounter table. It's their first fight after leaving the Long Walk, and it's quite a doozy. We ended with a cliffhanger on the top of the second round of combat. By then, the worm had grabbed and swallowed the party's eidolon. It still has more than 130 hp left. Should foreshadow well the dangers that lie ahead on the route to Kraggodan.

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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

The corridor ended in another rockfall and the room off the side had a cavern beyond its collapsed rear wall like other rooms in the Reliquary.
In the darkness of the cavern the wizard spied a large figure standing still, identifying it as a forgefiend.
The trickster cast greater invisibility on herself and the summoner cast shield on her eidolon before the eidolon rushed in and attacked ... and triggered the trap. A maximised fireball blasted the area, fortunately for the rest of the party before they had closed, though the eidolon did manage to dodge some of it.
The fighter rushed in and spying more deeper in the cavern threw some iron spikes at one.
That was when a circle of fire sprang up surrounding the fighter and eidolon, and the lights went out as the already dark cavern became too dark for even darkvision to penetrate.
The trickster tried to dispel the darkness but failed.
The eidolon moved through the encircling fire hoping to blindly find the forgefiends (and hope they weren't also traps) with the fighter following but both missed hitting their targets in the dark.
The forgefiends hit back with physical attacks and flame, though in the darkness it was just intense heat that could be felt.
The wizard started a summon and the summoner cast improved life conduit on her eidolon as the rogue, who could still see through the darkness, squeezed past the fire and used her wand to snowball one of the forgefiends, before vanishing.
The trickster failed to dispel the darkness again as the forgefiends hit the fighter and the eidolon again, the fighter managing to land a return blow.
The wizard's summoned lantern archons appeared, but their light was no match for the prevailing darkness.
The summoner transferred hit points to the eidolon, but couldn't manage to dispel the darkness either.
The rogue dodged the combatants to flank the forgefiends and attacked one of them.
The trickster again failed to dispel the darkness, the eidolon swung and missed, and the fighter quaffed a potion of cure serious wounds.
The summoner also failed to dispel the darkness again and transferred more hit points to her eidolon.
But that's when things turned.
The rogue critically hit and killed one of the forgefiends and significantly damaged the other.
The trickster finally managed to dispel the darkness and now being able to see the melee performed a quickened channeling of positive energy.
The eidolon dropped the last forgefiend and the fighter made sure it was dead.
The trickster cast some healing on the fighter, including 2 charges from the cure serious wounds wand, and the summoner did the same with 3 charges from the cure light wounds wand.
Feeling ready to press onwards, the party headed further through the long cavern, finding a large pit at the end where the cavern turned to once again break into the worked stone of the Reliquary.
The rogue (invisible again) looked down the pit and couldn't see the bottom as it twisted away, but did think she could see something glinting a long way down. This prompted the others to move closer when suddenly the fighter and eidolon were grabbed by sticky strands from the other side of the pit where an eye and mouth appeared on a large stalagmite.

So, my group moved forward into the full haunt detailing Elacnida’s neurotic betrayal of Azaersi and Zanuthura. The haunt ended up being not that big a deal (as the group is 1 level higher than the recommended..maybe 2?), so the haunt was just there for more story and plot clues.

They read the plaque that said the Onyx key was through the door, so they went to the left upper chamber, found the library, and the trapfinding designed dwarf rogue was able to, after stealthing in, in light armor, and being made aware of traps, was made known about the “shh, quiet in the library !” trap, so that didn’t erupt on anyone. I’ll give some partial experience for finding it, as that is what the rogue is for.

Heading into the Onyx Chamber, Elacnida tried telling the story of getting the PCs to walk in the lava for their ‘reward’. The druid summoned a badger and dropped it into the lava (LOL, yeah, I know!), and after hearing it’s dying squeals, Elacnida shouted ‘that’s enough!’ and the elder earth elementals (for my group) rose from the ground, and battle was joined!!

The suped up elementals played their games of knocking people over, and hitting them while down, and then getting back up. One of them got Dismissed in the second round, so there was less heavy bashing going on from that.

Elacnida’s stone turning ability? I got 3 of the characters on that when they roll 1, 2, and 2 for their saves! Suddenly, it got a little scary for the group. The one dwarf fighter who was hammering away at the remaining elemental wasn’t able to get any precision dmg, nor could he intimidate it. He had to start backing away from it, since he was stuck solo fighting it, and had been criticaled himself, and kept getting knocked over. Elacnida caused another fighter, who critically failed, to run away and hide for 6 rounds in fear. It got pretty hairy there at the end, but my group prevailed.

I did choose to not go through with any extra punishment for not melting the pieces of Elacnida. They ended up destroying all (damaged) statues they came across, so I’ll call that good.

After stone salve treatments, and the group freed from their stasis, they gathered up Elacnida’s pack, and since they had so many protection spells on them that would last hours, they raced back to the spot they sensed great evil, and ended up causing the fiendish purple worm to come out. I made it into a colossal fiendish great purple worm, but since they were protected from all acid and fire, they prevailed quite well. They were quite thankful, however, to had run from this source when they were originally exploring this region, as they were running out of spells, and much leaner on the healing by then!

So, they went back to Kraggodan, got their just rewards, tooled up some gear, made some more role playing moves, and it’s back to my merged Ironfang Invasion-Giantslayer campaign and the Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen!

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

The wizard recalled the vulnerabilities and immunities of the roper, casting a fireball at it and dealing some considerable damage. Now visible she retreated back out of range.
The trickster cast flame strike, but the roper's spell resistance kept the spell from affecting it.
The roper got a second strand on the fighter and pulled him into the pit, the fighter swinging down on the 2 attached strands to smack against the opposite wall. An attempt to land another strand on the eidolon missed, but the trickster was caught by one.
The fighter activated the immovable rod and then slashed one of the strands, causing it to break.
The summoner shot a searing arrow at the roper but missed.
The rogue (still invisible) made her way around the pit, taking up a position near the roper and managing to remain undetected.
The eidolon, who had also been pulled closer, flew the rest of the way to the other side of the roper, swinging and missing, but the roper managed to get a bite in as she closed.
The wizard went invisible again, and the trickster managed to use her scorpion whip to slice away the strand before it could pull her in, and then moved behind cover out of range of more strand attacks.
The roper managed to get another strand on the fighter and despite the immovable rod causing a lot of resistance, still pulled him 5' further up the pit wall. The roper also tried to hit the summoner, missing but did call out saying that she should come closer.
The fighter turned off the rod and quaffed a potion of bull's strength.
The summoner shot two more searing arrows at the roper, one of them finding its target.
With the eidolon in a flanking position, the rogue launched a full attack, hitting three times. The eidolon missed stealing the kill with her attacks from the other side.
The wizard (invisible) managed to fly undetected over the pit to keep an eye on the fighter (and was ready to cast feather fall on him if he fell).
The roper dragged the fighter up another 10' (leaving him 10' below the edge), but missed attacking the rogue due to the debilitation suffered from her attacks.
The fighter climbed the final 10' out of the pit and managed to drop the roper with a one-handed hammer blow. Drop being the operative word. The now dead roper toppled into the pit, almost dragging the fighter and eidolon in with it. They managed to brace themselves to stop falling in with encouraging cheerleading from the summoner on the other side of the pit. The rogue went to cut the strands but failed to hit with her dagger, the rapier being no use trying to sever them.
The eidolon managed to cut both the strands on the fighter, and then the wizard used her dagger in combat for the first time ever, severing the final strand that was holding the eidolon, and causing the roper's body to tumble down the pit into the Underdark.
Recovering from the fight and after doing a check of the pit they moved back into the Reliquary. Moving through quickly the party found the library and managed to avoid the trap while finding the loot.
The party headed back to the large chamber. Pondering what to do next, the sounds of battle and distant shouting seemed to echo around the room before a spectral image started to form. It was a battle between a spectral hobgoblin woman in a hooded coat, a similarly blurred serpentine figure, and a medusa. The hobgoblin called out something that couldn't be properly heard, but the rogue was able to read her lips and understand she was accusing the medusa of betraying them. The wizard cast haste, the summoner cast shield on her eidolon, and the trickster cast sacred bond on the fighter. Then the serpentine figure cast a spell, identified by the wizard as black tentacles, and real black tentacles erupted from the floor of the chamber, grappling everyone except the fighter.
The wizard managed to dimension step away to just outside the chamber, while the fighter moved to try and help the trickster get free. The trickster identified the phenomenon as a haunt so she channeled positive energy, effectively erasing the damage done by the black tentacles, and then managed to escape the grapple.
The next round a ghostly voice was heard by the summoner, eidolon, and rogue who were all still entangled. "Thus always to traitors"; and a ghostly blade impaled each of them from behind, mirroring the spectral hobgoblin sticking her sword into the back of the medusa.
The rogue managed to escape, leaving just the summoner and eidolon trapped. The trickster made her way to clear space near the wizard and the rogue did likewise. The fighter dodged the tentacles to try and assist the summoner.
The eidolon smashed a potion of cure light wounds against the tentacles and the wizard summoned an azata lillend while the trickster channeled more positive energy. The lillend appeared and cast cure serious wounds on the haunt. The trickster cast a cure critical wounds to further damage the haunt causing it to finally disappear and release the eidolon and the summoner.
The lillend then cured the remaining damage while the party checked out the weapon vault.
On removing the magic weapons lining the walls the temperature in the room suddenly plummeted and within a light cloud of mist two frozen, multifaceted eyes appear atop a towering, insectile monstrosity.

I think you're gonna have a good time with the gelugon fight!

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Erpa wrote:
I think you're gonna have a good time with the gelugon fight!

I'm going to try and play up the contract part and see if they "do a deal with the devil". Most of the time they are combat-happy and will ignore verbiage from opponents (they didn't engage in any repartee with the roper). If I can make it obvious that while the devil isn't going to pull any punches, he is pretty much sick of this contract hanging over his head and, not having seen any activity for a long while, now has the chance to complete it (and hopefully without the pain of dying 3 times).

I expect though that the party will just want to fight (though that will also deplete resources that could be kept back for the boss fight).

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An ice devil appeared and the wizard dropped an intensified fireball on it, but it didn't seem to have any effect.
The devil retaliated with an ice storm and, sighing, complains about thieves and annoyingly long contracts.
The fighter charged in to hit it but got hit in return and slowed.
The trickster moved in using Grace and Greater Invisibility.
The summoner cast Protection from Cold and the wizard summoned an agathion as the rogue launched an attack on the devil.
The ice devil put up a wall of ice and tried to shift away but was finally taken down, disappearing in a flurry of ice shards, as did the icy wall.
The agathion cured the damaged party members before going away as well.
There was only one door left, the large one to the north with dwarven symbols denoting the space beyond as the chamber of the onyx key.
The trickster found no traps so used the sigil of Kraggodan to open the door. A hobgoblin statue with the upper half of its face and head smashed stood near the platform in the center of the chamber beyond.
On entering a ghostly hobgoblin appeared, congratulating the party on getting there and informing them that the medusa Elacnida was hiding in Kraggodan's treasure chamber hidden below illusionary lava.
Not believing him the summoner dropped a scrap of leather into the pit while the wizard went to check one of the chains in an alcove, finding a lever used to raise or lower the central platform, and then the fighter pushed the statue into the pit, watching it sink below the lava.
The ghostly hobgoblin changed into a ghostly medusa, failing to petrify the fighter but managed to call forth 2 huge earth elementals who rose from the floor, hitting the trickster and the eidolon.
The summoner cast greater invisibility on the eidolon, who flew over the platform to attack Elacnida. The wizard summoned an angel and the rogue managed to touch Elacnida with her lidless charm bracelet, rendering her immune to the medusa's gaze.
The fighter survived another gaze attack and damaged Elacnida before she retaliated by moving through him, causing pain by supernatural ageing, but not before the rogue got a strike on her as she moved away.
One of the elementals managed to hit the trickster and fighter as the summoner flew across the platform and cast greater invisibility on the rogue.
The trickster tried dispelling an elemental, to no avail, but the eidolon got some hits on it.
The wizard's angel appeared and used holy smite, then the rogue did considerable damage to Elacnida with her rapier and ghost touch dagger.
The fighter avoided petrification a third time and managed to dispatch Elacnida.
It was then a slugfest with the elementals, including the summoner and eidolon setting up an electrical arc on one while the trickster defensively cured the fighter. Then the wizard managed to baleful polymorph one of the elementals into a toad.
The elemental finally succumbed to multiple attacks including a snowball from the rogue and magic missile from the trickster, while one that had been turned into a toad was picketed by the summoner.
The medusa's desiccated mortal remains were found in one corner along with the needed proof of the Ironfang's involvement.
The wizard mended the statue of the Molthuni before restoring it to flesh, and then everyone exited the reliquary.

Usual concluding adventure stuff and next on to book 5.

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notes to date and with an eye to comments made on book 6 in the future - the most damaging spells the party spell casters can cast are greater invisibility on the rogue and bull's strength on the fighter (and haste on both). The use of extensive flight (summoner, eidolon, and wizard (overland flight) have it all the time, rogue has celestial armour) and invisibility (rogue, wizard, and summoner almost always invisible and summoner, wizard, and trickster always have greater invisibility ready to go) will most certainly have to make its way back to Azaersi else a lot of the book 6 encounters will end up being very one-sided.

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started Prisoners of the Blight but entire session was spent with Karburtin's exposition, further off camera developments with the siege of Kraggodan, shopping, crafting, and then teleporting to Longshadow, then Fort Trevalay, and finally working through the Fangwood to the clearing in A.
Now have about a week to try and rewrite Kusana's tactics, because as written they just don't make sense (fly away and use spells that require melee touch attacks).

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Only got part way through the fight at the runestone due to some retroactive shopping and crafting.
Mirror image worked well for Kusana as well as moving around to deny the fighter and rogue getting a full attack sequence.
Fen maulers almost took out the trickster when everyone else had flown after Kusana and only the trickster was left on the ground, but she managed to use Grace to get away and fly out of reach.
Sirocco and multiple fireballs had no effect on Kusana though her fog cloud got burnt away quickly.

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Since others are sharing, thought I'd add mine.

Started in September last year and have 9 players now. Lots of times they divide up into two groups of four. They've been clearing the Chernsardo slowly. They have just discovered the Trog caves last session.

They have missed some of the forest explorations and I've had to adjust timing of events a bit. Going to let them explore the Trog Caves and then have Fahrak appear shortly after they clear the trog caves to start to lead them into the Camp Red Jaw portion.

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Kusana got Mirror Image cast again.
The fighter took out the first of the fen maulers, while the rogue jumped from the top of the runestone using her snapleaf to land invisible behind the other one. The summoner and eidolon set up on either side of Kusana and used electric polarity.
Kusana responded with scorching ray and then flew up again.
The wizard dismissed the sirocco and summoned 2 air elementals.
The fighter and rogue finished off the second fen mauler and the trickster managed to dispell Kusana's mirror image, leaving a single target for the fighter to smack, killing Kusana as she belatedly begged for mercy.
The party completed the ritual provided by Karburtin, but retreated to the wizard's rope trick for a rest.
The wizard also cast sending to inform Navah of her mother's passing.
Progressing further into the woods with the party finding the village ruins and a number of other disturbing signs of the blight became more and more frequent.
They found the small swath of greenery and bubbling springs apparently passed over by the Darkblight. Whispering voices in Common could be heard just ahead, mentioning safety and keeping out of harm's way. Cautiously moving through the unblighted flora, the wizard eventually spied invisible globes in the location of the voices, but not before there was movement in the plants as a huge one unfurled whiplike fronds covered in clear tendrils, each tipped with a glistening red bulb.

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Trickster and Eidolon got hit by the sundew and stuck (including the eidolon's weapon), and the wisps attacked the trickster and summoner, knocking out the trickster (and activating their fast healing).
Fighter threw alchemical fire at the sundew and the rogue activated her unfettered shirt's freedom of movement to launch a full attack.
The wizard summoned 3 air elementals (that weren't all that effective) and glitterdusted 4 of the wisps (which really helped the fighter).
Spore cloud from the sundew staggered most of the party (and drained some int) but due to the alchemist fire still burning I gave a chance that the pollen would explode instead - and that happened on the eidolon and summoner - so they took fire damage instead of being staggered and taking int damage.
The party kept hitting the sundew for a few rounds after it was dead (not realising that the adhesive didn't stop when it died) and the eidolon got lucky pulling free when the wizard cast freezing sphere (damaging the already dead sundew but having no effect on the wisps).
Fast healing on the wisps recovered a couple that had been knocked out, but attacks of opportunity on them quickly dispatched them.
Fight took up most of the session and feel sorry for the trickster's player who had their character knocked out before they got a turn, but they were able to look after the rogue during the combat instead.
Party healed up and used rope trick to rest afterwards.
Session ended with the runestone sliver no longer tugging, the darkblight now firmly in control of the forest (and stabilising shifting trees), and the female characters having an intuition that something is stalking them. The clearing awaits.

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The trickster noticed movement through the murky gloom and when part-way through the clearing saw a tree with eyes watching the party as well as a mound of rotting vegetation and fungi shifting on the opposite side of the clearing.
The wizard sent some dancing lights over to the mound and the fighter and the eidolon charged in to hit it.
The wizard enlarged the fighter as the mound struck back, engulfing the eidolon in a wet hug and slamming the fighter.
The trickster moved to attack and the rogue struck the mound as well before the fighter dropped it to the ground.
During the battle the tree on the other side had been making its way across the clearing.
The eidolon charged at it but got hit and became nauseated, also losing wisdom in the process.
The wizard fireballed the tree as it slammed the eidolon again causing more wisdom and physical damage.
The summoner cast lesser restoration on her eidolon and the trickster closed in to launch an impromptu sneak attack, noting that the many eyes of the tree made it impossible for it to be flanked.
The fighter charged the tree, using his longarm bracers to attack so that the tree could not hit him on his way in.
The eidolon was hit again, losing more wisdom and the wizard fireballed the tree again. The fighter was also hit, losing wisdom and becoming nauseated, though this didn't last long as the trickster cast heal on him as the summoner used electric polarity to finally stop the tree.
The trickster cast remove disease on the eidolon and the summoner cast lesser restore eidolon to get most of the eidolon's lost wisdom back.
After the battle the party overheard someone talking to themselves at the edge of the clearing.
It appeared that the heretofore stalker was a lone quickling who was seeking allies to help him find his sister who was taken when the quickling village was devastated. A (very) successful diplomacy check by the trickster was enough to convince the quickling that the party was friendly.
Taking the east pathway from the clearing the trail turned north again and opened into another clearing where spongy black tendrils grew up and over the tumbledown marble walls of a building that once stood there. The only thing standing higher than a few feet was a throne of living ash wood in the centre of what looked to have been a large circular hall.
The party cautiously investigated and the fighter prodded the throne with a spear, whereupon a voice echoed in everyone's head, speaking in sylvan and decrying the desecration of his lady's seat, then darkness fell over the area. No-one but the rogue could see through the inky blackness, and when four shadowy creatures appeared, adjacent to the eidolon, fighter, and trickster, the rogue called out their positions, and then the creatures struck.
The eidolon and fighter took a small amount of damage each, but the trickster was pounded.
The summoner cast evolution surge to grant her eidolon tremorsense and the rogue managed to snowball the creature attacking the trickster, destroying it in the process.
The trickster tried to dispel the darkness but failed, while the eidolon struck back at the creature attacking her, managing to damage it.
The wizard then cast freezing sphere with the rogue confirming that the other three creatures had also been destroyed.

<next session starting top of the next round!>

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The fighter quaffed a potion of Cure Serious Wounds to recover some health and stop bleeding.
The summoner used the wand of Dispel Magic against the darkness, but failed to dispel it.
The rogue turned invisible.
The trickster cast Cure Serious Wounds to also recover some health and stop bleeding.
That's when a clash of bright colours momentarily split the darkness, flashing over the trickster, fighter, wizard, and rogue.
The trickster heard babbling noises inside her head but managed to dismiss them.
The fighter felt his blood thicken and a wave of nausea pass over him but he managed to shrug it off. The wizard couldn't resist a tug as a violet beam washed over her and she disappeared, while the rogue, hidden by invisibility and the deeper darkness, went silent.
The summoner went invisible and started to circumnavigate the darkness.
The trickster cast Dispel Magic at the darkness, but it had no effect.
A black ray appeared and hit Nelia who suddenly felt very very tired, indeed she was exhausted.
The fighter still waited and the summoner kept moving (but more slowly now).
The trickster cast Dispel Magic at the darkness, but it had no effect.
The eidolon moved through the darkness, using tremorsense to locate the rogue.
A creature flew out from the darkness hitting the summoner before disappearing into the inky blackness again.
The summoner used the wand of Dispel Magic against the darkness, but failed to dispel it.
The trickster cast Dispel Magic at the darkness, but it had no effect.
The eidolon moved through the darkness and, finding the rogue, felt her cold and unresponsive to the touch, as if turned to stone.
Another black ray flashed out at the trickster but went wide.
The summoner used the wand of Dispel Magic against the darkness, but failed to dispel it.
The trickster cast Dispel Magic at the darkness, but it had no effect.
The eidolon, assuming that the creature attacking them was hiding nearby in the darkness activated her ring of retribution to cover the area in a ball of fire.
Trying a different tack, the fighter moved into the darkness trying to locate whatever the darkness was emanating from, but the only observable effect (from those outside the deeper darkness) was to see the wall of inky blackness shift five feet.
The trickster cast Dispel Magic at the darkness, but it had no effect.
The eidolon attempted to cover the area where she thought the darkness might be centered with a blanket as the fighter suddenly felt exhausted.
The summoner used the eidolon's senses to cast Acid Pit, hoping to catch whatever was causing the darkness, but not cause the fighter to fall in the hole.
The trickster cast Dispel Magic at the darkness, and it worked, seeing an invisible statue of the rogue but still no sign of the wizard or the hiding Wendel.
Finally seeing the creature that had been attacking them, the eidolon tried to intimidate it as it instead hit the summoner.
The trickster managed to get a sneak attack in, finally doing some damage to their opponent.
The fighter shot at it with his bow but missed.
The summoner cast Pellet Blast and trickster cast Holy Smite but it seemed to dodge most of the damage.
It got a hit on the summoner again and the fighter, unable to reach it flying in the air, decided to quaff another potion of Cure Serious Wounds.
The summoner used her wand of Magic Missiles to hit the creature and the trickster hit it with a Lightning Bolt.
The eidolon flew up to meet the creature in the air where it attacked her and dealt some damage.
The fighter moved over to the trickster as the summoner cast Restore Eidolon on the eidolon.
The trickster cast Restoration on the fighter as the eidolon tried to charge the creature but failed to connect.
The creature then dealt damage back to the eidolon.
The summoner used her wand of Magic Missiles again, then the trickster cast Overland Flight on the fighter who then flew up and scored a critical hit on the party's tormenter, smashing it into oblivion.
The trickster channeled positive energy to help heal the damaged party members and then used her sun rod trick to recast Continual Flame on her lantern and the fighter's helm at a higher level in order to have a way to combat deeper darkness in the future.
Wendel re-emerged from hiding and with no immediate way to restore the rogue or find the wizard the party rested inside the shelter created by the summoner's Field Scrivener's Desk.

<GM notes - it wasn't until I allowed the trickster and summoner to make a Spellcraft check to recall that darkness had a range of touch, and therefore there must be something from which the deeper darkness was emanating that they then switched tactics to dragging a blanket over the area in the centre of the deeper darkness. I hadn't told them that the ankou had cast it twice - that's why the darkness shifted when they covered up the pebble with it on that was closest to them. The next action the ankou was going to take if it had survived (it was down to about 20hp left before the fighter hit it with a critical that did 124hp damage) was to swoop down and grab the blanket which would have restored the remaining Deeper Darkness. The prismatic spray taking out the rogue (the only one who could see in deeper darkness) and the wizard really forced them to rethink how they operated, and the debuffs from (initially) bleed and later exhaustion also really cramped their effectiveness. 10 attempts (including the previous session) before finally succeeding on dispelling the deeper darkness spell was a running gag by the end. The trickster had exhausted all her 3rd level arcane spell slots and was starting to burn through 4th level slots before finally succeeding. All up the ankou turned out to be a very dangerous opponent and if there had been a tighter party grouping or more failed saves for the prismatic spray then the result may have been very different.>

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<GM note - first PC death in quite a while>

The wizard found herself on the elemental plane of Earth in what looked like the inside of a gigantic geode. In the distance she identified a handful of xorn in discussion with a couple of shaitans.
Approaching warily and becoming visible she greeted them and inquired if they had a way of sending her to the Prime Material Plane. The shaitans were willing to assist, depending on what the wizard had to offer.
She thanked them and said she would return after considering, then went and summoned a shedu to cast dismissal on her. It successfully got her back to Nirmathas, in the Fangwood clearing with the runestone that had supplied the chip used to find the darkblight.
The next morning she successfully teleported to the edge of the darkblight and made her way back to the clearing where she had been plane-shifted from, finding the party still within the hut made by the summoner's scrivener's desk.
The wizard said she would be unable to unpetrify the rogue until she had relearned her spells the next day, so the party continued on with the rogue statue still within the bag of holding.
The party found a blighted orchard and, in the distance, heard running water to the north and faster running water to the east. East meant traversing the narrower pathways through the orchard but spying no dangers they headed in that direction.
Partway through thorny vines whipped out and managed to grab both the trickster and Wendel and only partially grab the eidolon, damaging the fighter slightly but not getting a decent hold.
The wizard cast Haste on the party and both the fighter and eidolon launched an attack on one of the vines while the trickster and Wendel failed to escape the other.
The summoner shot a searing arrow at the vine that had grabbed the trickster and quickling as the vines continued to constrict and do damage.
A cloud of pollen was released from the other vine that captivated both the eidolon and wizard, the fighter managing to do enough damage to the vine to eventually destroy it.
Meanwhile the summoner damaged the other with a pellet blast but another cloud of pollen from the remaining vine captivated the wizard, eidolon, and summoner.
The continual failure to escape from the other vine proved too much for the trickster, who after channeling positive energy to keep alive, eventually succumbed to the accumulated damage.
The fighter had managed to avoid being ensnared as well and finally killed the second vine.
Once free of the captivating pollen the wizard summoned healing help and the party rested.
After resting the wizard restored the rogue with Stone to Flesh, and then the rogue, after quaffing a potion of Guidance, used a scroll of Raise Dead to successfully bring the trickster back to life.
The trickster then cast Restoration on herself to remove one of the negative levels.

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Don't know if anyone reads the blow by blow. If there is enough demand will reinstate, but seems I'm the only one posting here regularly.

Party reached D8. Satyrs managed to charm 2 (Wendel and the eidolon) into getting naked and dancing, but that didn't last long.
Fighter got hit by a thorn, and later so did the summoner.
Result was the fighter needing to have 2 castings of heal as well as other cure spells in order to keep going, and the summoner drained almost everything from her eidolon. Trickster was pretty much out of cure spells by the end of the combat.
A LOT of damage was dealt (and satyr resistances (including SR) plus DR plus fast healing dragged the combat out).
Decided against having the fortitude save to avoid the effect (not included in the statblock but assume DC25 based on template and raging) as the satyrs were already up against it (needing 19 or 20 to hit the fighter or eidolon on their first attack).
It upped the tension when considering whether to let the rogue sneak attack a satyr or risk the fighter scoring a critical hit and then potentially seeing a party member go down as a result.

Ended with all satyrs slain and Mireena coming through the waterfall.

Tip for others who will get to this encounter - get the thorns in the non-fighters (likely easier to hit, lower Fort save bonuses, and fewer hps) and makes party tactics that much trickier.

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PCs aren't all that good at asking questions but still ended up with the woodland's ingress stone from Mireena.
Rested in a mage's magnificent mansion before moving on down the river (overland flight and phantom chariot).
Hit the haunt, which was dealt with by a 'heal' spell and then all the bones collected and buried.
I ignored the Nachzehrer - didn't feel it fit in with everything else.
The encounter with Groger was 1 part confusion, 1 part frustration, and 1 part whimsey as the players tried to work out what to do.
Again - not good at asking questions, but ultimately the fighter and summoner took the 'gift' of immortality in exchange for the ebony fly found after the haunt.
They've just found the river turning red and are investigating the next clearing off the river.

erucsbo wrote:
Don't know if anyone reads the blow by blow. If there is enough demand will reinstate, but seems I'm the only one posting here regularly.

I am a module behind you, still in Siege of Stone, so I would have to read the next module to understand the full story. Instead, I scroll backwards to read your older posts. My party is up to your Aug 12, 2021, comment. Hm, your party bluffed the einherji guardians that they were all dwarves in disguise. My party has masters of deception, but they will probably try a different bluff.

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Mathmuse wrote:
... I scroll backwards to read your older posts. ...

<grin> I did the same thing with some of the others who posted more detailed recounts, but they've either stopped posting/playing or I've moved ahead of them. :-(

I'll try and throw in the GM notes rather than the blow-by-blow (though most of the detailed recounts have been a copy-paste of the summary I send my players (with names changed to classes)).

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Figured I would jump in and share how mine is going so far.

Been running Ironfang Invasion for the past couple of months now. It's been pretty fun so far, and my players seem to be enjoying it as well. There's 8 of us total, so 7 PC's. Definitely makes for a challenge to balance out encounters. Definitely a fine line between too easy and too tough.

Party is: Ranger/rogue (unchained) (Nirmathi irregular ranger archetype); Alchemist (grenadier archetype); Paladin; Druid; Zen Archer Monk/Inquisitor (Sacred huntsman archetype for inquisitor as well); Cleric (Crusader archetype); Shaman.

Fun party so far with a lot of interesting bits. Looking forward to their reactions to all the twists that happen.

I added on a huge session zero for my group. Changed it so that Phaendar would hold a large harvest festival every year on both of the equinoxes. Gives a good reason for everyone to be in town, especially for those not from town. Had it spread out over 3 days, first being more business fair like with stalls conducting business with trading of goods and talk of Nirmathas and Molthune. Even had a pair of "recruiters" from Tamran there to talk of the war. Day two shifted to more of a festival with setting up of festival games with prizes for all the PC's to enjoy and get some low level magic items to start. To get the items they had to take a token to Aubrin at the tavern at the end of the third day to collect. While there Aubrin shares some of her special Ale with the group and just as she's telling the story is when the invasion starts.

It was interesting to see what my group did while fleeing, they sent a lot of villagers just running at the bridge only to find most had been slaughtered by the Hobgoblin and companion there. They went through all of the encounters well, destroyed the bridge and made it into the Chesnardo with around 25 villagers and Jet, Vane, Kining, and Aubrin.

The middle part that is very sandbox-y was interesting. I made a list of the encounters in the book and then ran through them as the party went out, they wanted to scout for somewhere safe first, which led them to checking out the rangers redoubt and all eyes wood first. I changed the local hermit encounter to be a higher level illusionist wizard (Veld) who had a large berry grove under her control with illusions to hide away her main house and gardens. The group stumbled into her grove and she recruited them to clear out the Bramblelash that had nested in her groves. They moved the refugees there for awhile while scouting ahead since Veld offered for the party helping her with the Brambles.

They just finished the troglodyte caves last week. They did it all in one go, which got to be very tough in the end. I added a mimic to the gelatinous cube encounter in the Derro ruins to add a bit of fun and more of a challenge. The final encounter was a bit rough, but there are two PC's (alchemist and zen archer monk) that do a ton of damage so again a bit hard to balance. I introduced Novvi right after they finished as well so they would have a way to offload some of the loot they had been collecting and to buy some items. Picking up tomorrow night with them getting the pieces leading to part 4 of the book, Camp Red Jaw.

Very much enjoying this AP so far, very excited for the future books and to see what this party does. Definitely a different group than what we have played before. I am kinda lucky in a way as most of my group is older than I am, and have been playing D&D for a long time, versus I just started a few years ago with Pathfinder. So it is the first time they have gotten to all play together without someone having to be the DM. Lots of fun ideas they come up with that make it interesting to run.

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Figured I would jump in and share how mine is going so far. ...

Welcome aboard.

Action economy plays a big role in several parts of the AP (especially defending Longshadow in book 3), so tweaking encounters for your large party is definitely going to be required (as you have already noted).

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My players (party of 5, newly level-15) are on Area H of Book-5, so a little ahead of some of you here. But we started in January of 2018, playing about 1 x month for 5-6 hours when it was in person, and we've played a little more since we switched to online, but for shorter sessions. A total of 64 sessions so far, with #65 this weekend and #66 should be the finale of book-5.
I hope to finish the Ap by the end of the year.

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Grumpus wrote:

My players (party of 5, newly level-15) are on Area H of Book-5, so a little ahead of some of you here. ...

I hope to finish the Ap by the end of the year.

Any details you can share would be appreciated.

We started Jan 2019, and likely to finish about 6 months after you.
Added an extra blightguard to D3 but party was too strong. With the fighter and rogue both having an AC of 35 and the eidolon getting close to 40 with barkskin it is almost impossible for them to be hit in normal combat.
The summoner, trickster, wizard, and rogue are normally invisible (with the summoner, trickster, and wizard having access to greater invisibility plus flight (wings, overland flight, overland flight respectively)), so typically it is just the fighter and eidolon who are visible (rogue, wizard, and trickster have permanent see invisible).
The parasitic bonds caused by the thorns just delays the inevitable, extending combat time, so I expect G and H to be a real slog.

erucsbo wrote:
Figured I would jump in and share how mine is going so far. ...

Welcome aboard.

Action economy plays a big role in several parts of the AP (especially defending Longshadow in book 3), so tweaking encounters for your large party is definitely going to be required (as you have already noted).

Thanks, yeah definitely going to be interesting building those encounters, though looking forward to running that, should be pretty fun.

It seems, at least for my group, it is a better challenge when I buff enemies in the encounter (Max HD; additional HD or level(s) depending on creature) and adding one or two additional creatures. Adding too many more bogs things down, but not buffing them leads to just being simple fodder with no substance.

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My group has Ratfolk Witch, Half-Orc Unchained Monk, Human Life Oracle, Human Archery Ranger, Half-Elf Heavens Shaman.
The life Oracle has been the MVP, and the party only gets really challenged about 2 or 3 encounters per book. I don't mind if they stomp everything, we get through more encounters quicker.
I haven't really changed too much from the book, but I am pretty sure this adventure won't end the way Paizo had it end for the lore of Golarion.

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Mine is elven trickster, elven wizard, human unchained summoner, human rogue, human fighter. I limited initial character choice to the CRB plus unchained but have allowed people to rework their characters and opened up other first party options since about level 5. The trickster was originally a cleric but had a major makeover after the assault on Longshadow and is now Clc3/Rog1/Arcanist1/MysticTh1/Trickster8.
The fighter and summoner could change race if they die while still under the effect of Groger's bite.
Most straight up fights have been no contest (the rogue and fighters DPR can be massive), but environmental factors (dropping the fighter in a pit, fog, deeper darkness) or ways other than a high AC to prevent being hit (mirror image, blur, SR) have definitely made things more of a challenge.

I likewise think that the canon ending is the least likely outcome from my group.

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My party had started as halfling rogue. elf ranger, gnome druid, and gnome rogue. The two rogues deliberately built for different niches: the halfling has the scoundrel racket (I converted the campaign to Pathfinder 2nd Edition) and became an arcane trickster serving as the party face, and the gnome has the thief racket and became a sniper serving as the lockpicker. When I shifted from games from our dining room table to online via Roll20, my two out-of-state daughters and an online friend joined in with a goblin champion, a leshy sorcerer, and a catfolk monk, pushing the party up to seven members. I double the challenges.

Amusingly, the party contains zero humans, which confuses some Ironfang soldiers. The enemy has tried recruiting the goblin and gnomes in the party. Once the goblin champion's player and elf ranger's player missed a session, so we assigned their characters to remain behind and guard rescued slaves while the party went on a short side mission. When the players returned the next week, I had an Ironfang patrol wander by the pair and the rescued slaves. The elf hid, but the goblin bluffed that she was an Ironfang work boss ordering the slaves to carry barrels. The bluff succeeded. The goblin champion is a CG liberator serving a god with the Trickery domain, so she had trained her Deception and her god had no objections to lying. Anti-slavery became a major theme in my campaign.

Session Zero had outlined that they would spend most of Trail of the Hunted hiding in the forest, so the original four were stealthy nature-loving characters. The other three were able to hide well, too, though the champion is untrained in wilderness survival skills. Thus, they soon turned the game around, not hiding from the Ironfang patrols in fear but hiding from them to ambush and kill them. During 2020 A.D. when many players lamented in the Paizo Pathfinder 2nd Edition forums how weak the PF2 builds were, my players were regularly defeating enemy forces as strong as them through teamwork and tactics. The druid specializes in destroying armies, so I have to triple the threat from armies. The Ironfang Legion had no chance at the battle of Longshadow, because the party had prepared very well and trained citizen militias of longbow archers.

Under the tutelage of Aubrin the Green, they became official Chernasardo Rangers and act like official protectors rather than adventurers. I like such roleplaying, so the villagers respond well to their status as Chernasardo Rangers. The other Chernasardo Rangers they rescued during Fangs of War were equally accepting. The party is in the dwarven city Kraggodan right now in Siege of Stone, so I invented all-dwarf Kraggodan Rangers to serve the role of the Chernasardo Rangers that far south and interact with them as peers.

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In Area H of Book-5, the party had made "friends" with Orellie the Pech Inquisitor. She didn't hide how devoted she was to Arlantia and Cyth V'Sug, but was so happy to find out that the party killed Naphexi, she agreed to trade her ring for the Decoy ring the party found earlier.

Moving on to the hobgoblins, the party declined to parley, reason given is not to negotiate with the people who overran their town and have done horrible things all over the country. So they killed them off and gained no information about Taurgreth.(and I added the Vemerak in round-2 for added challenge).

They got the 4th ring and with a spellcraft in the high 40s, I let them know the powers Dryad's Song (but they hadn't found out the bit about reciting the poem opening the door yet). So they got excited that they could say the words and remove the darkblight. So they went back to Orellie right away and used it on her without consent. The book was silent about whether Orellie was devoted to Cyth V'Sug prior to becoming blighted, so I ruled that she was always a follower even before her transformation and that she would resist the effect (giving her a DC28 will save). She got a 27, and thus the darkblight was removed, and then I played her as very upset since the party removed what she thought of as a blessing from her Lord, and that's where our session ended with her and her scorpions about to attack, and most likely die quick while behind them they hear the sounds of the acid pit draining.

I still need to work out her stats without the template, and I may add in the Leng Spiders from above.

So next session they'll wipe out the Pech and finally face off against Arlantia. I may add a couple Omox demons to the final fight to make it a little more challenging.

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Nice work Grumpus. Enjoying your summary of what is in my near future.

After the battle with the blighted patrol the wizard cast mage's magnificent mansion for them to rest in. The wizard and Trickster had used prestidigitation on the red caps to clean them and turn them white, then left them there with the bodies of the slain patrol while they rested.
In the morning they found both the hats and bodies gone.
(of course returning patrol members would have been significantly p*ssed off, gone on a search for the desecrators, and warned Naphexi.

Next morning the party decided to head down-river to the dragon.
They were buffed with prot v acid, resist acid, overland flight, and just before entering the slough the eidolon was barkskinned and the fighter was enlarged, then the entire party hasted.
Naphexi saw them coming and cast blur on herself.
Dragon fear got most of the party shaken, but the Trickster had memorised Remove Fear and fixed everyone except the eidolon.

Despite some taunts and demands from Naphexi it was basically a rush in and fight.
Wendel snuck around the outside and waited.
The eidolon was first in and used her ring of retribution to create a fireball. Didn't get past Naphexi's spell resistance.
She then found out how difficult it was to hit the dragon while the dragon just crushed her (her DR saved her from being popped in the first round).
Naphexi cast cloudkill but almost everyone who made their save only suffered 1 Con damage (reduced to 0). The summoner had summoned a bralani azata who used gust of wind on the cloud, but it at least gave Naphexi some concealment for the next round.
Naphexi almost popped the eidolon, who was then dismissed by the summoner, so the dragon proceeded to go for the fighter.
Even the fighter was having a hard time hitting the dragon and none of the spell casters could beat her spell resistance, when the rogue managed to get a sneak attack in. Double Debilitation. That -2 to Naphexi's AC for everyone else and -6 for the rogue, coupled with reducing the dragon's to hit by 2 (and -6 on the rogue) proved telling, even with blur causing a few of the fighter's blows to miss.
Naphexi had about 60 hp left and would have leapt to the sky the next round when the rogue got in a series of sneak attacks and dropped her unconscious.
That was when Wendel managed to get a shot in (had the players roll his hit and it was a 20, though not confirmed critical) and his sneak attack damage was enough to kill Naphexi outright.
Fighter was a bit miffed at having the kill stolen, but storywise the players agreed that it was a better result.
I'm letting them go to 15th level before they head for the palace (and they haven't been past D2 yet).

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Here's a rough recap of the Arlantia fight.

I had strands of fungus rise up from the ground in H4 and wrap up Orellie and suck her underground to fight at Arlantias side, kind of like the fungus under the pumpkin patch in Stranger Things-2. It may not be within the rules, but I didn't want to waste time on a pushover combat.
So the final fight had Arlantia, Orellie, and Taurgreth. I kind of ignored some of the rules with her Aura of Decay and the mindslaver mold on Taurgreth, and just had him fight the whole time on her side. My party didn't even know about him anyway cause they killed the other ironfangs without chatting.

It was a long good battle. I only used 1 heal on Arlantia, I could have done the second one, but my players may have revolted at that point. She was able to drop one character unconscious, and even had a final attack to perhaps kill him off, but rolled very low and missed him. She got to use the majority of her high level spells, and with Divine Power did a good amount of damage in melee too, Make sure you channel-smite each round.

Taurgreth was hard to hit with his cloak and using his defending sword. I had him study target on 4 PCs, but never really was able to flank for sneak attack. I considered usnig Arlantias other "Heal" on him, but didn't.

Orellie almost knocked out another player so he dropped off the ledge to take 5d6 falling damage, so he wouldn't get full round attacked and most likely killed. Remember to get her Judgement going early and use Bane.

Anyway, the party is successful, and we quit before resolving setting Gendowyn free and all the other wrapup at the end of the book.

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Heading back to ruins of Accressial Palace the party took the one path they hadn't used and ended up running into the froghemoths.
The all-round vision and blindsight stopped the sneak attack damage but when the wizard summoned 4 brachiosaurs it was game over with bits of froghemoth splattered all over the clearing.
Then through the throne to Arlantia's Glen and we ended with initiative being rolled.
I'm definitely going to hobble summon monster while in the pestilent palace.

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I've ruled that the close link to the Blasted Heath has resulted in the Pestilent Palace having the impeded magic planar trait (for anything good).
Th jubjub managed to stun most of the party except for the wizard (just out of range) and the rogue (who lost her flanking buddies due to the stunning) but when the wizard managed to summon 3 celestial brachiosaurs they (with the now flanking rogue) smashed the jubjub to smithereens in a single round.

The dinosaurs then proceeded to try and knock down Arlantia's tree but the effect was mostly raining down darkblight on everyone and filling the clearing with mold and spores. The party eventually twigged to using Dryad's Song in the hole and opened the path to the Pestilent Palace.

The heartrot roots took a few rounds and the water elementals were dispatched even quicker, but the beckoning call of one of the rusalkas has snared all but the trickster, rogue, and Wendel, while the other is raising the water in the chamber.

Could be interesting with the highest swim score anyone has is 8 and that is entirely due to strength. The others range down to -1.

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The rusalka ability to daze those who start adjacent is wicked, but their ability to actually do damage is weak. Charm monster failed but the beckoning call worked. I collated all the underwater rules beforehand and had all the action taking place underwater. Failed swim checks and the slower movement of swim certainly stopped more PCs getting close to the rusalkas (and therefore being dazed) early on. The rusalkas' intention was to essentially hold and drown everyone, with entangle being cast to try and grab people from below, and fog clouds above to restrict what could be seen by those above water.
Once the fighter got tricked (he was trying to swim up to be next to the rusalka) into being levitated by Wendel (who then pulled him above the water) and got him clear to break the enchantment and was then able to provide flanking for the rogue it was over in a couple of rounds.
Magnificent mansion cast for party recovery, but rest of the palace won't be able to tell too much what has happened since the fog clouds concealed the battle from outside the water, and the assumption could be made that the rusalkas won and are still under the water with no sight of intruders.

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triple encounter fight started as the party engaged the blightguard in the stitching lab and fireballed the jimenju tree before finishing off the fungus farm.
Almost all of the party saved vs the jimenju's intoxicating stench the first round. Haven't finished the fight yet. One of the handmaidens has been knocked out and the fauns have now come out of hiding and are throwing acid bombs.

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full 3+ hour session required to finish the fight from last time. Thorny bodies of the fauns coupled with them using true strike before throwing thorns for their parasitic bond on the eidolon were enough to cause the summoner to dismiss her eidolon before meting out damage to the protected fey.
The hand maiden tactics of casting twilight night followed by beast shape didn't make much sense (they were more dangerous and harder to hit before transforming) but having the jimenju aroma last for 6 rounds despite the tree being reduced to pulp at the end of the 4th round kept things interesting for a time. Wizard had also been hit by a parasitic bond and had to retreat and hope the party didn't crush the offending blightguard too much (but has it had only just recently gotten back from being unconscious it didn't take too much to take it out of the picture without damaging the wizard too much.
They also were able to drop the last 2 handmaidens in the same round stopping one from treestriding away.
Wendel lost 7 wisdom from the headfruits before being restored later.

The parlor is now a mess, the quicklings have been freed, and the pixies continue to harvest mushrooms without any ongoing oversight.

Will be interesting to see if the "Danger! Do Not Release!" prompts them to open the door or leave it alone.

Reporting in with an update on the Gobstoppers. We are deep into Book 5, having just entered Arlantia's Pestilent Palace. This section of the adventure has been a gauntlet of brutal encounters. The advanced Jubjub bird following directly after the blighted dragon. However, my party has mostly handled the fights, though they are blowing through a ton of healing. Of all the encounters, it was actually the froghemoths in the Blighted Depths that actually struck a killing blow on the party's druid. A raise dead scroll brought her back, but they were only able to heal one of the permanent negative levels, so she is fighting with a bit of a handicap until the party can find some restoration magic.

Speaking of the druid, her parents from Crystalhurst will be among the captives being held in Arhlantu. The dwarf kineticist has some incentive to restore Gendowyn and avenge the dwarven armies that fell in the Darkblight. And of course Gendowyn herself has kineticist abilities.

I feel like my campaign is lagging far behind the campaigns of erucsbo and Billy Buckman. My players finished Siege of Stone, and are heading up to the Blight by way of Larb Village, Luca's Docks, Polebridge, and Fort Trevalay. Those first three villages I made up myself. So long as they are heading north through territory conquered by the Ironfang Legion, they want to undermine the Ironfang's efforts and free some war captives.

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Mathmuse wrote:
I feel like my campaign is lagging far behind the campaigns of erucsbo and Billy Buckman...

As long as you are all having fun then what does it matter?

I think my group will be happy to get back to hobgoblins and straight up fights rather than the enchantments and ambiguity of the fae.
The player of the fighter especially doesn't like it when his character gets captivated or has some other effect that means he can't do anything.
It is now more than 3.5 years since we started (Jan 2019) and we'll almost certainly see it all the way to the end which on current timing will probably be around the middle of next year.

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of course they opened the door.
Swarm descended on the eidolon, paralyzing her but failing to extract any teeth. Trickster cast black tentacles but swarms are immune to being grappled.
A bit of a panic when the swarm headed towards the rest of the party but the rogue threw a bead of force (carried around since Fort Trevalay) and the swarm rolled a 1 for its reflex save, trapping it inside.
When the sphere dropped the swarm was blasted to smithereens by area spells as everyone kept a safe distance.
Ropers surprised them but their attacks were mostly against summoned creatures that were accompanying the fighter as the rest of the party held back. Then the rogue's sneak attack and fighter's hammer managed to get rid of them. Baregaras have been watching though and have delayed their attacks until the ropers were no longer a threat.

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