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I am neck and neck with erucsbo it seems. Maybe a session or two behind.
We left off in the middle of a joint encounter with the faun chirurgeons and the blighted handmaidens from the Stitching Lab and the Infested Parlor respectively. The Jimenju tree immediately took out my heavy DPS characters (the kineticist and the eidolon) with it's intoxicating stench ability, which turns any fight into a bit of a slog. Without their main damage output, the party is forced to weather the magical attacks of the alchemists and witches (looots of abilities and buffs to keep track of in this fight, gee whiz). Several of the party members have been shaken, enervated, evil eyed, and enfeebled. The single blightguard as well as a couple of the chirurgeons and handmaidens had fallen, but the tree still stands as we left off last session.
The tooth fairy swarm lurks in the room ahead, which I have been excited to run since I first read about it before the campaign started. The party is also about due for a rest, and since the witch and druid can cast fairy ring retreat, resting should be trivial even in this hostile environment. So to add a little interest to things, I'll have obvious blightguard and bandersnatch tracks all over the place when they emerge in the morning.
By this point, the blighted unity ability of the fey means the element of surprise is gone. How have other GMs dealt with this? There appear to be some contradictions in the text, such as Orielle the blighted pech supposedly unaware of the intrusion before the PCs arrive at her chamber, despite her blighted unity ability.
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... By this point, the blighted unity ability of the fey means the element of surprise is gone. How have other GMs dealt with this? ...
This will start impacting my group now.Previously they took a break after the rusalkas (not blighted) and the entire battle was underwater / inside fog, so no evidence of the result for anyone else.
They haven't rested since the last battle but there has been gap due to them waiting for the resilient sphere to drop to finish off the swarm, so the next blighted group will be the blightguards before heading down to the lower levels.
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I suppose I should update my game.
For Book-6 I skipped most of the events and intrigue of the first part. I figured that everyone would be willing to help when shown proof and didn't bother using influence rules. Even the evil dwarf guy helped out (he wasn't evil in my campaign, but an ally).The players got the letter from Forest marshall dude, and then teleported around the land and met up with all the potential groups of allies, and then arranged the meeting to take place at Fort Ristin in a couple weeks (where the phaendar refugees have been chilling since book-2). Meanwhile they rested in Kraggodan and did some crafting and relaxing.
They basically came up with a plan of distractions around the land to draw out the forces at Phaendar. Some of the allies drew forces out into the lands near Phaendar. While the dwarves and Molthuni harried the tower in Molthune so some forces at Phaendar would be moved there via the stone roads.
So far they have defeated all the enemies around the tower in Phaendar and successfully got the prisoners across the bridge and into the woods. I basically kind of staggered the enemies outside the tower coming at the PCs and over the course of like 15 rounds took care of the foes.
Next session they will enter the Onyx Tower with the Sardonyx shard and deal with the guardians inside.
And after that they will be level-16 and into the Vault.
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double unholy blight by the baregaras but failed to knock off the 4 angels (movanic devas) that had been summoned against the ropers.
holy smites then in return.
I did get to dispel overland flight on the fighter (landing him on the "broken ground") plus successfully intimidate him, but a critical hit from his hammer in addition to the smites were more than enough to see off the baregaras.
The eidolon went in to check the bandersnatch's room and got ambushed, taking enough damage for the summoner to dismiss her.
Trickster entered the room as well with the rest of the party just outside - so blightguards will be moving up next round due to the noise.
Party will be due a rest after this (they were considering it before checking the bandersnatch den).
Devas have cure serious wounds 7/day so keeping everyone topped up hasn't been that hard for them (though some of the other spells are starting to run out).
This is great! I loved getting caught up on so many adventures! Nice gaming everyone!!
It's been a while for me since posting. A MAJOR career change, and training and, well, things fell aside!
BUT I didn't stop my nightly Sunday games! And I'm in book 6 and in the Onyx Citadel myself!
How did I get there? Well I'd like to share-tomorrow at my computer !!
Let’s see….how did I change things…
I for one never cared for the war council , and find the traitor in the beginning of Book 6. What changed for me was that….well, my merged campaign of events with Giantslayer saw that initial town of Trunau as the mountain city to retreat to if things went back in Phaendar. Which they did!
Seeing as the Heroes were known by Scarvinious, and then again later between the groups searching for them in the woods, the biggest revenge motivator that Scabvistin could have would be to take over Phaendar a secon time. (In my campaign, that event didn’t happen). So, after all the things the Heroes did in the Fangwood with the 3 forts, and then at Longshadow, that really put the I.F. on its heels. So, they went back to damaged Phaendar, and set up the combat events of Book 6.
My group’s time line was deep winter trying to retake Phaendar. The druid of the group brought forth a Blizzard, and just shut things down. At 13th level, what’s weather and cold? The group made the SE door, and fought the giants there. Visibility was poor for all, miss chances galore, but they gained the door and the lower part of the town. Druid tried flying around for a while, to spy on the other gates, the other giants, and noticed one large very black raven trying to catch him in his snowy owl form. But the Owl Druid lost sight of the raven.
At this point, a patrol Troop came by, battle ensued! Most visibility issues, PCs running around and UTTERLY losing sight of each other (thanks Roll20! I screw with visibility a lot). That fight ended as another troop came forward-this time the raven from above flying before them before Maltagra the horned devil revealed itself!
This battle was fun. Lots of Fear, Confusion with spells, and Dimension Door from the devil to get away from the fighters and land amidst the casters staying away. And again, miss chances with EVERY SINGLE ATTACK.
( I eventually skipped the Rawhead fight. Didn’t seem worth it at this point).
I should say the first thing that the group did was actually save the trapped humans here. By this point in my campaign, they have 2 onyx shards, raised a smal tower here, and sent the other people to tower set up with Longshadow).
Gaining the Tower was easy, the fight with the Obsidian Golems was nasty! A favorite combo of stone shaped stairs, grease, and hungry pit spells with kiting some guardsmen down was fun. I ran the Tower pretty much by the book. Added a few more honor guards in the tower simply for numbers in my group. The disintegration trap did land! That was a healing resource burn!
Final battle with scabvistin made a lot of my PCs scratch their heads until they realized it was a callback to Book 1; that’s why my Scabvistin decided to retake and destroy Phaendar!
Good fight. The Bard Ettoran Phaerk ended up here instead. I concretely and demonstratively made mention of his playing, and it was round 8 before one my PCs shouted “is there a bard hiding in here?!!!” and I said the music became a mocking trill. I shook my head at my PCs…and kept debuffing them. :D
In the end , they won. Kept Phaerk alive after capturing him and actually talked to a prisoner to get info. I forgot my group knew how to do that. But in the end, it became time to head to the Vault of the Onyx Citadel!!!
Within the Vault, I pretty much kept things as the book suggested. With some tweaks.
They came through, met the pechs, had the fight right away with Shakhib and his golem. Good little fight. Came into Stone Home, went to fight their way through to Ziguch of the Seventh Facet…and annihilated him. The immortal ooze took longer. BUT my group put Ziguch into the regen tank (I removed the Hob Alchemist here. I couldn’t fathom how this guy was getting in and out as much as he would, operate here, and Ziguch/Ooze be okay with that. So I stopped that).
From there, it was on to the 3 Nexus points. My character change to this was that one my PCs was from Longshadow, and his family was taken to the Vault to run the mines at the Nexus point.
So, instead of going against the dragon and the Molten nexus that was closest, and I was most prepared for…they took the treasure from Ziguch, and went to the Shard Nexus to buy off the xorn. Which, worked, and surprised the group actually. The one fighter took up the offer to wrestle Cragcrusher, but eventually lost. The Shield Champion Brawler? Made some pretty quick work of him and won the belt!
They next pressed on to Flow Nexus. It was here that Kraelos and his Troop was. First off, my PCs took the bridge and guardhouse I created here, and then freed up the people farming and mining, got them moved back, then set a trap for Kraelos and his Troop. That didn’t last long, won handily. When they went up to set the nexus, bwahahaha the GM laughs and smiles as the zarxorin rumbles to life. I did stone one PC in it’s stomach, kept knocking the other fighters off the pinnacle, causing them to climb back up and using the AoE spell effects. It got a little close at one point where I thought I was going to a TPK, until 2 rounds of Heal, and
OH, get this! The arcanist narrowly beat the SR, and then I rolled a Nat 1 for the saving throw. The arcanist shared half of all damage down to her with the the zarxorin. And then other party members, and herself, started to harm her. I made a ruling up on the spot of she would have to pass a Will save to cast disintegrate on herself!!
Then, they went to the Molten Nexus, because, high level adventurers can teleport all over. They barely made the diplomacy checks, even as I pushed them with the checks. What I did lastly was to have the group pay in tribute was $50K in gold, and the arcanist Staff of Power. Which…they did! Encounter passed.
They headed to the Citadel next. Decided to waterbreath and swim there. Fought 2 targothas in the water. NO freedom of movements cast, so the battle was a little bit more edged to the spiked eel snakes for a while, but they eventually won over.
With that, the group landed on the Citadel, on the back beach, avoiding the Warwonger of the bridge and the direct door in.
It’s been much easier to just play things by the book at this point still. Fight some jotund trolls, head over to the barbican on the easter, fight some munitions officers, who call upwards to the minotaur to release the gallow dead.
(which I found odd that they were 2 rooms apart, cuz no way would I want to be near those dead!)
I changed the gallowdead to be dwarven heroes known to the 3 dwarves that fought at Khundrakur and Kraggodan (additions to my campaign), who were all taken/missing on the StormNight (the night that heralded the attack on Trunaue and Phaendar).
The gallowdead wrapped up the fighters who couldn’t escape, and then the druid/rogue/oracle/arcanist had to deal with them. The best was when the arcanist teleported in front of the door to the bolt ace gunslinger grim horn, who on their initiative, kicked the door open and let loose shooting!!
So, they shot from the door to their north, and the gallowdead, who were on their way out anyways, until both groups gathered around the doorway, challenging each other to run in/out at them. The PCs, who have a fighter with an Intimidate Build (I’m outlawing that Cornugon smash feat next time) hit the room, with Stone skin and spirit link to the oracle, and then the fight went on.
I made Grimhorn fight with all Mazemaster minotaurs, because why woudn’t a group be here as well? I used some third party minotaur trais/feets to make the battle a bit more interesting, because at this point, nearly everything is a slug fest. Since hobs don’t care for magicians, it’s only alchemists and clerics, and that’s been few and far between for a while.
Fights over, they manipulate the Citadel so it can’t send any more troops around, and the group makes it’s way to the main citadel entrance.
And here’s where I go…this map design is so video-gamey. There’s only one way to get to the barracks on the second floor; because there is one entrance to the Citadel. That’s…annoying. So, I thematically changed up some ideas of the rooms being where they are.
Also, I can’t help but make mention; the floors, the walls, the ceiling are so BLACK that light only reflects or shines off its surface as white. The natural lights set up in here shine awkwardly around. IT’s goofy and weird! Unsettling!!
But, as the group climbed up from the stables to the war room where Noxil the bugbear is trying to set off a coup, I read A BOOK to my hidden PCs about how this group is nearly pushed over to taking Azaersi out, and stopping this campaign. They’ve suffered so much, lost so much on Golarion (the Realms for me), let’s just keep this home as ours.
Would my PCs entreat into talking with them? No…everyone has been an enemy for far too long. Family and close friends have been killed, lost and taken for 181 days (I kept track in my game time). BUT, the invisible arcanist, did do a Mass Suggestion, hitting Noxil and his crew, as wll as some hobs, to go find the General and take her out!
So, they cut the numbers down in the room, and attacked. I had to end early that night, and I made the room that the book suggests as a safe place to sleep as a room for the wounded-and NO ONE had ever found the room yet! Only stone cunning dwarves did. So, they entered the hidden medic room, healed, and rested.
The last fight was making the way through the halls, and a new guardian was entered into the fight, because I’m getting tired of hobs…and that was inevitable maruts. Onyx stone skinned guardians of the Citadel? YOu betcha! Interesting fight, dividing the group with wall of forces, blinding enemies, dimension dooring around, Awesome blow knocking others around and down, I had fun!
Next up, is climbing up the Citadel some more, and finding a siege troop with the firedrake siege weapons to have them turned on the group. And the PC rogue thought he made it up there and back without being detected…heh heh heh….
spring attacks by the blightguards but only 1 managed to get damage on the fighter (only visible party member).
After 2 goes (and getting sneak attacked by the rogue) they switched to thorns and 1 got a parasitic bond on the fighter.
Meanwhile the bandersnatch had managed to grab the trickster with its bite and confuse her as well.
Summoner used bracelet of friends to get the trickster away from the bandersnatch.
Bandersnatch came out and hit the summoned devas (grabbing one, confusing another, and inflicting heavy damage on a third) after the devas had been bombarding the blightguard barracks with holy smites.
Blightguards ended up being finished off by fighter and rogue - though the fighter did go unconscious from the parasitic bond.
Bandersnatch tried to escape with a deva in its mouth after getting smashed by a summoned elder lightning elemental, summoner's storm fury attach of lightning bolts, and wizard's mage sword spell but didn't quite make it.
Wendel and Meril jumped in when it was down and stabbed it to make sure it was dead.
I've let everyone bump up to L16 (so that they can finish the AP at 20 instead of 18), with the descent to the deeper reaches to come next.
I'll probably have the rogue do high level recon as she has See in Darkness plus sniper goggles, but limit her ability to see what is happening at ground level. Also reduces the damage output of the party a bit for fighting beneath the canopy to hopefully ramp up the tension a bit.
Let’s see….how did I change things…
Nice, and you have certainly skipped ahead a fair way.
I'm keeping tweaks to a minimum to lessen the work I need to do.
Players are more about combat than story anyway (had to remind them that their goal was actually to get the sardonyx shard rather than defeating Arlantia).
Will be interesting to see what they do with the sandbox of the Vault instead of the more linear paths that have been traveled in the last book and a half.
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the sandbox of the Vault.
We just played the first session in the vault.They were escorted to Stonehome and were getting some info there and Shaakhib showed up and his iron golem was utterly destroyed before it could act (along with a third of Shaakhibs HP). So Shaakhib just fled out of there without even getting to act.
The party was able to fairly easily navigate the their way to Ziguch's room. They made a temporary ally of Oktar. I played him as if he was missing a bunch of memories but had vaugue notions of what happened before the vat. But he wanted to be sure the evil of the immortal ichor is destroyed. So our session ended with them just about to face off against Ziguch, and perhaps play in the sandbox in that room (was this the sandbox your quote referenced? haha)
As my group ascends the Onyx Citadel, and especially after they had spent over half a day murderating everything through 2 floors, I just didn't feel that the book really gave me the thought that this place was on high alert.
I think considering everything that the PCs did back on Golarion, wiping out so many army portions of the Ironfangs, that the leadership would really be on edge. That's why I liked the Captain's council that seemed a bit open to removing Azaersi from control. But my group would no longer side with any of them, considering what war had done to their families and their cities.
But...you can't go through the Citadel in one day. The one room is built in there to give you a place to rest. So...after killing all the trolls and Grimhorn and gallowed dead and ruby gargoyles and the Captain's room assembly, what would the Citadel do?!!
That's my thinking, and that's why I used an idea from the back of the book to bring in the inevitable maruts.
And that's why this week, when the group went up to the third level by the siege engines, there was a Siege Alchemist Troop there-who knew they were coming!!
Nothing like 20d6 coming from those firedrakes at the group!
A pretty decent combat, as the Troop was ready for them (caught the dwarf rogue sneaking; one of the alchemist had to be on lookout for the stairs; there was invaders just yesterday, dontcha know?!)
As the group advanced past that, the door with the Alarm spell wasn't cancelled, and that set up the next fight in the dueling academy in H29.
A bunch of hobs practicing Karate Kid stuff here is NOT what I figure is going on, especially a day after invaders killed half those stationed here!
Nope, here is gathered the most fervent of Azaersi supporters; ready to defend her to the death for her goal of taking the Citadel to Golarion!
I didn't get to use Noxil, so a quick changing of labels, and now there's a Anti Paladin Hob in this room. But he's not leading the way, oh no. I went o d20pfsrd, and villains codex and such, and I got a Brutal Warlord, high level Fire Cleric, a Slayer versus humans and dwarves, and another dozen mook hob fighters to be ready and waiting in this room!
Which is good (remember I got 7 PCs), as they decided to summon 3 Triceratops...and include them in a casting of Particulate Form. NERTZ!!
But it's good and fun, but oh the prep and readiness I've had to do!
I have also decided in my prep here, that there won't be the adamantine golem. This big battle ought to drain enough resources before eventually facing Azlowe and his cultist group. The PCs haven't even found the witcheaters and the dwarf kinetic knights at their forges either! Gonna depend if they end up finding the most direct route to Azaersi or not! Also, I've doubling the amount of Obsidian golems there, and they all appear in the first round.
party bumped to level 16 (as part of my plan to have them finish at level 20 instead of 18).
Easily disabled the malevolent earth trap (rogue has +37 Disable Device, and that is when not wearing the ring of maniacal devices).
Mandragloires got poison on the fighter and trickster as the rogue went aloft to see how big the cavern is (she has See in Darkness), but trickster made the save and fighter only took -1 Con (so no real effect).
As the mandragloires spammed unholy blight (blasphemy has no effect due to their low CL), the trickster and wizard bombed the area with fireballs and the summoner blasted it with lightning.
I had bumped up the number of mandragloires to 4 but it was no real contest, and as they tried to dash to other mushrooms the rogue and fighter picked them off.
However now the rest of the Deeper Depths knows that the party is there. The blighted handmaiden, Orellie, and a hobgoblin all saw the display of flashes of fire and lightning. The party all has darkvision now and isn't using a light source, so nothing else was visible, but the rogue saw all the onlookers from her position near the cavern ceiling.