This AP freaking rocks!


Hell's Rebels

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Currently running this for my college buddies, and it's a total blast to DM. About halfway through part 3 and they still have NO idea what Barzillai's master plan is, at all, even though I dropped several hints.

We have:

Kel, the kitsune oracle, brother of Lilliana, former Bellflower agent who went on the lam after being caught red-handed liberating four full crateloads of halfling slaves and leading the dottari on a merry chase in which a scaffolding being used to build a statue of Barzillai was burned down. This earned Kel the #1 spot on Barzillai's sh*t list, and the tale gets crazier every single time it's retold (I STARTED with "sperm whale from the stratosphere" jokes and it got nuttier from there). Specializes in Murderous Command-ing enemies to spread chaos. Current bounty: 50,000 pieces of gold, for ruining Barzillai's birthday party.

Lilliana, genderfluid (rolls a die with every shapeshift to determine gender and presentation) kitsune gunslinger. In it to protect Kel when he gets into trouble. Currently Public Enemy #2 for shooting Barzillai when the latter ordered that Kel be Boiled in Oil for ruining his birthday party.

Misha, catfolk arcanist and theater nerd. She is a HUGE megafan of Shensen the singer, and is in for a big surprise later. Current bounty: 1,000 pieces of gold, for having the Poison Pen write insulting sonnets claiming that Misha slept with Barzillai's secret mistress (which he doesn't actually have, not that anyone cares anymore)

Isett, human barbarian. She was arrested and sold into slavery by Barzillai's hit woman Nox years ago when Nox was just another mook, for incredibly petty reasons. Is now back in town and kicking butt. Current bounty: 1,000 pieces of gold, for liberating (with the Order of the Torrent's help) members of Kel and Lilliana's family imprisoned unjustly by Dear Leader Barzillai.

Kotri, aasimar bard. Works at the Kintargo DMV, kind of disturbed by the insanity going on but doing her best to help keep people alive. Has stupendous powers of bureaucracy and negotiations. Convinced House Vashnarstil to side with the resistance with a level of over the top corporatese to make EA jealous. ("By synergistically synergizing our brand identities and business ventures, we can turn our customers into reliable payers from which we can extract prodigious value for our shareholders. With this loot-box system, we can give these resources a sense of pride and accomplishment as we acquire their money to support our shareholders...")

I've changed very little--Barzillai has a lot more Proclamations, most of which involve banning stuff (so far he's banned mint, tea if drunk during the night, oatmeal, and, in a fit of particularly evil pettiness, gender reassignment potions). Octavio and Rexus are dating, that happened. The tiefling girl Zea from book 1 is a bigger part of the adventure now because she nearly died in a tooth fairy ambush (Isett hit her by mistake and felt terrible about it, the player even took a rank in Heal as a result), she was murdered by Varl Wex just after delivering a note confessing her love to the girl she liked, so the PCs unanimously agreed to use their raise dead scroll on her (and then vacated Hetamon's back room because the crush showed up and the recently deceased lass was soon wrapped in her crush's arms and being kissed senseless), so now they literally have deliriously happy lesbians high on romance and THE REVOLUTION!!! making out in the closet during the supposedly secret resistance meetings.

Octavio is really starting to worry about operational security.

They're pretty seasoned players so they're ripping through even the tough encounters with relative ease. Isett can easily kill 4 mooks in one round at level 7. I'm considering adding more mooks to fights or making them tougher to really challenge these guys.

Other NPC changes have been pretty limited--I'm adding some stuff to Shensen, her opera-singer thing is a cover now and she and the awakened deinonychus are both agents of Andoran military intelligence who are in Kintargo to secretly spread THE REVOLUTION!!!, only Barzillai was on to them and had her petrified; Barzillai has an announcer who praises him effusively before every speech; Barzillai is a little bit crazier and more evil than in the books as written; oh, and Setrona is hanging out with the revolutionaries now after they killed her neighbor in a secret lair and handed said neighbor's sweet shop over to some poor people whose kids had been kidnapped by the neighbor's evil cult.

Barzillai's birthday party replaced the Thrune rewards from book 2, because I felt the idea worked a little better. I built up to this through multiple game sessions because it was the perfect opportunity for the PCs to stir some stuff up. Barzillai had had a 50 foot Comrade-Lenin-Strides-Towards-The-Progressive-Future style statue made of himself (you know the kind, the Great Leader stands nobly over his adoring public as he boldly points the way to the nation's grand destiny) while giving himself outlandish titles that I ripped off of real-life dictators (such as "The Invincible and Peerless Leader, His Excellency His Grace the Lord Mayor Paracount Barzillai Thrune, Lord of all the Beasts on the Earth and the Fishes in the Seas, Muse of all Artists, Conqueror of the Rebellious Scum In the World In General And In Cheliax In Particular, Eternal Leader of Juche Kintargo, Last King of Ustalav"), so it was to be revealed on his birthday after he forced hundreds of citizens to sing a song praising his modesty that he wrote himself, accompanied by Misha's theater friends who have been forced to rehearse and perform incredibly bad plays that Barzillai wrote about how great he is. Anyway, Kel slipped a whole bunch of silver raven masks to the people there for the party, and Misha taught everybody a version of the song that called Barzillai a moronic egomaniac with a small penis. This pissed Barzillai off so much he was literally gibbering in rage, and he backhanded his announcer Royston (I gave Barzillai a prissy announcer in a big powdered wig and ridiculous makeup who announces him before his speeches with over the top titles and praise) for saying "Great Leader! This is infamous! INFAMOUS! We must leave immediately to preserve Your divine dignity!" (obscure Trek reference ftw lol), then angrily ordered that the statue be revealed on the spot to salvage the mess.

The statue, Kel magically covered with an illusion portraying a grinning Kel giving Barzillai two middle fingers.

Barzillai completely lost it and started screaming orders at his minions, but then he looked around with True Seeing and saw through Kel's magic disguise. He ordered that Kel be captured and Boiled in Oil, only for Lilliana to shoot him (he survived). The heroes got away and went to ground in a safe house, where they threw a party with the resistance and got presents for being badasses.

Probably the most memorable event I've ever DMed. Amazing fun.

I can't wait until these guys finally take the fight to Barzillai in the next adventure, it's going to rock!

Easiest fight so far: Menuthegoro, or however it's spelled. Isett succeeded on a critical Will save, then Misha immediately Communal Protection from Evil'ed the group. In seconds, his best attacks were useless. The aboleth was dead in three rounds flat.

Hardest fight so far: Menador keep. With a stinking cloud ambush that instantly rendered all the guards useless, the group could slaughter them at leisure. Despite these overwhelmingly successful tactics, Lucian and his erinyes friend did some serious damage and nearly killed Misha before being taken out by clever tactics and raw firepower. Would have been a TPK had Misha died. The group plans to take and hold the keep, I plan to have it later nearly re-taken but then destroyed by their occupying forces.

Lamest villain death so far: The aboleth. Total chump! Easily countered and then useless due to Kel pulling a Murderous Command on the dominated ranger.

Best villain death so far: Nox. Literally drowned with holy water while having her lower face, neck, and upper torso hacked apart by a vengeful barbarian trying to pour said holy water into her lungs and stomach directly. Nearly managed to kill the PCs before this, though.

Most memorable moment so far: Barzillai's birthday, where a song intended to describe Dear Leader as having "modesty so great that it makes the gods themselves weep" and being "so beautiful as to make Shelyn herself jealous" was replaced with one mocking Barzillai for having an ego bigger than Golarion itself and looking like a potato clawed by cats. Roleplaying Barzillai's tantrum was just about the funniest thing I've ever done and my players loved it!

Overall, 9/10, nearly perfect.

I will update this as things develop.


What an amazing write-up!
Sounds like you're having a blast running it, which is always great to see from GMs!
My version of the game was more serious, but over-the-top in Hell's Rebels makes so much sense. (Seriously, look at the NPCs... some of them are kind of ridiculous and feel like people playing at a revolution rather than actually willing to enact any kind of change.)

Please continue to update us as your game progresses, yea?

Did they do anything noteworthy in Vegas Vyre?


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Warped Savant wrote:

What an amazing write-up!

Sounds like you're having a blast running it, which is always great to see from GMs!
My version of the game was more serious, but over-the-top in Hell's Rebels makes so much sense. (Seriously, look at the NPCs... some of them are kind of ridiculous and feel like people playing at a revolution rather than actually willing to enact any kind of change.)

Please continue to update us as your game progresses, yea?

Did they do anything noteworthy in Vegas Vyre?

Not yet!

Basically, I framed book 3 as a list of 4 things they have to do before Barzillai's next transparently Evil Trap (tm), namely the masquerade--they need to secure the majority of the nobility on the side of The Revolution (tm), close the Menador Gap to control land travel in and out of Ravounel, secure the alliance with the Acisazi to control the seas, and go to Vyre to secure the support of Ravounel's only other population center. They want to flip House Aulorian without screwing over the Poison Pen, so Lilliana proposed closing the Menador Gap and the sea lanes to put the squeeze on the head of the house to convince him that the revolution is the winning team. They just killed off Lucian Thrune, his wyvern, a buttload of guards, and the erinyes torturer after a brutal fight that began with a perfectly executed ambush, and are about halfway through the keep. They are planning to have the extended kitsune family plus Armiger Lierre and some rebel supporters hold the keep.

Next session is Sunday. They are going to finish the keep, then head back to their city and their rebel alliance, which contains some...interesting teams.

And by interesting, I mean that one team is scarred grouchy teenager Lee and his wise old uncle Mushi who run a tea shop with Lee's emo girlfriend and her bubbly acrobat BFF; another team is a kid with goat legs, a hydrokinetic kid, a girl with a magic invisibility hat, and a teenage necromancer; and there is as I mentioned a teenage disaster lesbian making out with her girlfriend in the closet during the rebellion meetings.

It's absolutely fantastic.

After that, it's off to Vyre for the fancy party, then next week I plan to do the big main event. Might take two sessions, will be worth it.

During the big finale to book 4, I fully intend for key NPCs to show up to fight alongside the heroes. Octavio busting out some hellknight moves, Hetamon leading gay anarchist revolution cultists into battle, Shensen singing "Mother Anarchy Loves Her Sons" in the original Ukrainian, et cetera. It's going to be wild and I can't wait to DM it!


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Party was burned out from a rough week and the bard can't make it next week due to family commitments. They finished the Keep without too much trouble, successfully squeezed the head of House Aulorian to start covertly providing vital regime intel to the Silver Ravens, and used a favor from Captain Sargeata to contact the Glorious Reclamation and send them intel on Thrune tactics that helped the paladins take Senara. I'm going to poach the Angel Knight from Hell's Vengeance and have her show up to act as liaison.

They just got to Vyre and are looking forward to the big party, but we're waiting a week due to the bard being out.

In addition to the masquerade, Barzillai has announced that he will put on an opera, that he wrote himself, about how he personally descended from the heavens after defeating Shelyn herself fair and square in a beauty contest, because he knew that the backwards bumpkins of Kintargo needed him to bestow upon them his divinely inspired wisdom. Misha the theater nerd had to be physically restrained from attacking the propaganda posters declaring this.


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We are starting next week with the AP and I've been reading the entire weekend GM threads and other threads throughout this forum. Many thanks to the dedicated GM's who left a lot of important information for future gamemasters, so we make less mistakes.

I've actually taken Friday off from work to get more prep done for the start next week, so I got all the important bits well in hand. I hope this AP will be as fantastic as it was for many (and am already terrified of running the Ruby Masquerade and the Temple of Asmodeus).

Shadow Lodge

magnuskn wrote:

We are starting next week with the AP and I've been reading the entire weekend GM threads and other threads throughout this forum. Many thanks to the dedicated GM's who left a lot of important information for future gamemasters, so we make less mistakes.

I've actually taken Friday off from work to get more prep done for the start next week, so I got all the important bits well in hand. I hope this AP will be as fantastic as it was for many (and am already terrified of running the Ruby Masquerade and the Temple of Asmodeus).

Break a leg!

(Is a campaign journal a possibility?)


magnuskn wrote:

We are starting next week with the AP and I've been reading the entire weekend GM threads and other threads throughout this forum. Many thanks to the dedicated GM's who left a lot of important information for future gamemasters, so we make less mistakes.

I've actually taken Friday off from work to get more prep done for the start next week, so I got all the important bits well in hand. I hope this AP will be as fantastic as it was for many (and am already terrified of running the Ruby Masquerade and the Temple of Asmodeus).

It really is a well-done path. At worst, part 3 has some awkward structuring that a novice GM can get tripped up by.

The Ruby Masquerade is pretty intimidating, but I think the Temple can be made a little easier by having some of the major NPCs show up to help the PCs raid it so the heroes can kill Excellent Leader as the NPCs hold off the trash mobs. Just make sure there's some extra XP opportunities!

So far, I've been having a blast. The major *structural* addition I've made is that the PCs have gotten in touch with the Glorious Reclamation (although this was basically me indulging PC initiative and decisions because I felt they'd made a good effort and deserved some concrete results, to be fair), and Lord Marshal Cansellarion jumped at the chance to have a friend in the northwest; the paladins can't actually send much aid but they did send a liaison (the Angel Knight), and once the heroes un-petrify Shensen/Supervising Agent Comrade Eris and find her trainee Junior Operator Comrade Guttugger, the paladins and PCs will get access to support from Andoran's Revolution Exportation Department, who are willing to back the Silver Ravens on the condition that they take an anti-slavery stance. One of the PCs is a former slave, so that shouldn't be a problem.

(Octavio is not super sold on RED's aggressive anarcho-socialism, but Hetamon and his cult think there's nothing more revolutionary, and thus sacred)

If all goes well, Ravounel will be a free anarchist paradise, and Cheliax will be a LG monarchy by the time this is done.

Shadow Lodge

Ian G wrote:
Andoran's Revolution Exportation Department

As long as you're repurposing NPCs from Hell's Vengeance, Book 2 of that AP has one of these you might be able to use.


zimmerwald1915 wrote:

Break a leg!

(Is a campaign journal a possibility?)

Thanks for the well wishes!

I doubt I'll have the time to write a campaign journal, since I'm GM'ing, have a full-time job and also have many other hobbies. I'll be rather putting my own RP time into prepping the campaign.

None of my players have much of an online presence, so I fear nothing will be coming up from that side, either.


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Ian G wrote:
Andoran's Revolution Exportation Department
As long as you're repurposing NPCs from Hell's Vengeance, Book 2 of that AP has one of these you might be able to use.

The paladins sent over the Angel Knight and her winged hussar armor! :)

I also told my players what the NPCs they care about think of the Reclamation. Quoting from our Discord:

--Rexus thinks that the Reclamation are a bunch of fanatics. They mean well, but they have no sense of tact, and don't know when to cut their losses.
--Octavio thinks that the Reclamation are well-intentioned, but simultaneously heavy-handed and too idealistic, and thinks they're too quick to set aside Hellknight training methods as fruit of a poisoned tree.
--Laria thinks that the Reclamation are fighting for the right goals, but their up-front tactics make them vulnerable and put innocents at risk.
--Hetamon thinks that the Reclamation are fighting the good fight and doing exactly what's gotta be done. Revolution is in the air, and it's time for action!
--Setrona thinks the Reclamation are even worse than Octavio. He only has a stick up his ass, they are nothing but stick.
--Zea thinks that the Reclamation are awesome. Revolutionaries fighting for justice? There's nothing more romantic!
--Lady Docur and her guild think that the Reclamation are dangerous and want even less part of their Cheliax than Thrune's Cheliax.
--Captain Sargaeta is wary of the Reclamation--they seem like the kinds of people who might object to an honest privateer's profession.
--The Poison Pen thinks that the Reclamation are awesome subjects for a poem. He soft-supports them, but likes the Silver Ravens more.
--[Exiled Tian fire kineticist, tea shop proprietor, and leader of the freedom fighters rebel team] Mushi thinks that the Reclamation burn bright and young, like his nephew. They will learn the hard way the consequences of total war.
--[Exiled Tian fire kineticist and member of the freedom fighters rebel team] Lee thinks that the Reclamation are honorable and respectable, and so accords them considerable respect. He isn't a fan per se (he isn't a fan of very much), but he considers them better than the insane fascism of the Thrunes.
--Dear Leader Who Descended From Heaven, His Excellency His Grace the Peerless Strategist Lord Mayor Paracount Barzillai Thrune, High Inquisitor of the Church of Asmodeus, Muse of All Artists, Savior of Humanity, Eternal Leader of Kintargo, thinks that the Reclamation are a useful distraction. To say more would be spoilers. [because Barzillai wants to enact his evil plan without family interfering]
--The Chelish state [and by extension Abrogail Thrune] thinks that the Reclamation are a mortal threat to the continued survival of House Thrune and the fascist regime.
--The Church of Asmodeus thinks that the Reclamation are insurrectionists and Enemies of the State, and so must be put down...but that doesn't mean they aren't also a useful opportunity to put the screws to house Thrune for more power.
--Most Hellknight orders consider the Reclamation to be a terrifying threat or mortal enemies. The more innocuous [i.e. less openly fascist, racist, and/or imperialistic] orders are keeping their heads down, while fascist scum like the Rack and racist imperialists like the Nail are staunchly opposed.

The Sunday after this coming one, the party's going into the dinner party, where I fully expect them to accidentally cause a diplomatic incident.

After that, they need to return to Kintargo...just in time for the Masquerade. Misha the arcanist has a scroll of Break Enchantment so she can free Shensen (and she's really upset that Barzillai is making her theater friends perform s!%#ty operas, so she's chomping at the bit to get in there for a rescue), I'm bringing back Nox (even though she was killed off) so Isett the barbarian can have some fun, and of course Kel and Lilliana are Public Enemies #1 and 2, respectively. So Kel's going to try to get in just to irritate Excellent Leader, and Lilliana's going to keep him safe.

Should be a blast, though the Masquerade looks pretty intimidating!


magnuskn wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:

Break a leg!

(Is a campaign journal a possibility?)

Thanks for the well wishes!

I doubt I'll have the time to write a campaign journal, since I'm GM'ing, have a full-time job and also have many other hobbies. I'll be rather putting my own RP time into prepping the campaign.

None of my players have much of an online presence, so I fear nothing will be coming up from that side, either.

Now I'm kinda thinking of resuming my campaign journal write-ups so to give you more thoughts to work from. :)

Because while the AP is pretty good, there are areas where it just doesn't quite work as intended. Like the Sanctioned Doghousing... that never did quite make sense. Are all of the prisoners shoved into one doghouse? What's to prevent the prisoners from just sitting down? Why are they starving after being in the doghouse for one day?

(Amusingly, I also hinted at other rebel groups in Kintargo with the Doghousing. As Barzillai's forces were about to force the armiger form the Order of the Torrent into the doghouse they learned someone had broken all the nails off from inside the doghouse and filed them all smooth somehow without being seen or heard. And the nails were all missing. (They will end up found having nailed the Opera House balcony windows shut.) Sadly the PCs failed their perception check to find an origami inside each doghouse which is the calling sign for the individual involved.)


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Vyre went well. Kel the renegade oracle charmed Mantice and seduced her, to boot. 39 banquet points...five of which, amazingly, came from Isett the barbarian. But Kel stole the show with his gift of a fancy arrangement of red roses with black roses forming a spider shape amid them, which Mantice thought was awesome.

They then spent the next in-game week doing rebellion actions and preparing to take down Barzillai at the masquerade. Tayacet defected (I ran a little clandestine meeting scene and everything) because they've been nonstop good guys, so she brought a buttload of intel on the opera house. They have concocted a plan to get in, have two of the team distract on the dance floor while the rest sabotage the opera that Barzillai wrote about his own modesty, kill Nox again (she was killed for real but I handwaved things so she's back, but shhh it's a surprise for the barbarian!), and otherwise monkey-wrench things backstage.

Fake Barzillai isn't going to know wtf hit him.

I love this group. XD

Also Barzillai temporarily banned dishwashing because his servants quit and he had to wash his own dishes once, but that went so badly he retracted it and blamed the decision on "the deception of foreign anarchist agitators" after a week.


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My players found the crypt and expected Barzillai to use the past Silver Ravens as undead to blame the Ravens for his crimes. XD It's actually a brilliant evil Barzillai thing, tbh, a shame it wasn't in the adventure. Tempted to just grab graveknight stats but by that point we were already mid-encounter.

Kel and Liliana both blatantly cheated at the Dance of the Damned, but the former won (by mind-controlling a judge), and got away with it. Meanwhile Misha and Isett freed Shensen, who started getting the opera cast and crew (who are being forced to put on an opera about how Barzillai showed the gods the true meaning of wisdom before descending from heaven to bestow his benevolent leadership upon Kintargo despite his sister begging him to sleep with her, which is exactly as cringey and terrible as it sounds) out one by one with Misha's pre-bought buttload of scrolls of Dimension Door, while barbarian and arcanist focused on looting the basement.

They blatantly skipped most of the dungeon by using a buttload of scrolls that Misha, who hadn't bought nearly anything so far, splurged on. It was extremely efficient. XD

Party ambushed Jilia while Kel held court upstairs and killed her in 1 round. Ambushed the devils upstairs and slaughtered them with alpha strikes.

Kel Dismissal'ed Cizmekris on the surprise round (everybody readied actions for the moment Fake Barzillai gave a command) after True Seeing him beforehand and figuring out that he was a devil. The rest of the fight was a cakewalk even though I added Nox back in for Isett's sake. Isett dropped Nox in 2 rounds then jumped across the orchestra pit and started chopping up devils.

Octavio showed up with hellknight reinforcements just in time to find...300 survivors, a bunch of devil corpses, and some terrified dottari.

Shensen is hugely impressed by Misha, who literally cried with joy at her approval.

By far the single best adventure I've ever DMed.


I hope my own group is half as awesome as yours sounds :)


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:D I hope so, too! It's been a fantastic ride so far.

Great moments:
--Misha cries when Shensen/Operative Eris tells her she's done a great job running a rebel cell.
--Kel encounters Zea (tiefling girl who's with the Ravens) and her girlfriend after they got invites to the masquerade in the mail, tells her to leave and run to get Octavio with some backup.
--Isett, Lilliana, and Misha ambush and one-round-kill the devils upstairs in near-silence.
--The same trio kills Vampire Jilia in one round by ambush.
--Shensen, using Dimension Door scrolls, frees the opera cast and crew one by one in Batman-esque ambushes DURING the opera.
--Kel uses 6 layers of illusions and disguise plus covertly mind-controlling a judge with a lesser geas to win the Dance of the Damned by blatant cheating.
--The absolute cringe that was Barzillai's opera about himself and the monument to his ego that he turned the museum into.
--Nox goes down in two rounds to a buffed-up and prepared Isett with surprise.
--Fake Barzillai shot in the throat and Dismissal'ed immediately after his evil rant.
--Octavio arrives in the third round of combat in the final battle with his Hellknights and a small army of rebels, just as the last devil falls.

Bad moments: None.

New goals:
--Win the inevitable street war.
--Find Hetamon, who has gone missing (kidnapped by his evil mom but they don't know that).
--Find Shensen's trainee, Junior Operative Guttugger ("he's about man-sized, long tail, feathers, sickle claw on each foot, mouth full of sharp teeth, speaks Elven".
--Make contact with Andoran's Revolution Exportation Department to get some help in Spreading The Revolution (tm).
--Kill the Eternal Leader of Juche Kintargo, His Excellency His Grace the Lord Mayor Paracount Barzillai Thrune, High Inquisitor of the Church of Asmodeus, Lord of All the Beasts on the Earth and the Fishes in the Sea, Champion of the Human Race, Defender of the Virtues of Mankind, Conqueror of the Rebellious Scum in the World in General and in Cheliax in Particular, Last King of Ustalav.


Dear Leader's newest Proclamations, to open book 4:

PROCLAMATION THE TWENTY-SEVENTH

BY ORDER OF THE IMPERIOUS LEADER, HIGH INQUISITOR LORD MAYOR PARACOUNT BARZILLAI THRUNE, ETERNAL LEADER OF JUCHE KINTARGO

With the uprise in rebel activity, it pains the heart of our Beloved Leader to declare the closure of Bleakbridge to all but official traffic, yet He is a wise and intelligent leader and clearly such steps are necessary to ensure your protection! The nefarious Silver Ravens must not be allowed free access across the river Yolubilis, and until you, the loyal citizens of Juche Kintargo, aid in their defeat, Bleakbridge shall remain closed and under guard.

PROCLAMATION THE TWENTY-EIGHTH

BY ORDER OF THE PARAMOUNT LEADER, HIS EXCELLENCY HIS GRACE THE LORD MAYOR PARACOUNT BARZILLAI THRUNE, MARSHALL OF THE DIVINE HOSTS, LEADER OF THE HUMAN RACE!

In His infinite wisdom, our Beloved Leader has decided to crack down on rebellious and counter-State faiths for the good of Kintargo and greater Cheliax as a whole! Public worship of any deity other than Lord Asmodeus, Savior of Cheliax, Master of Humanity, is hereby forbidden. All works of art and artifice bearing the likenesses or symbols of the lesser faiths must be turned over to the dottari. Worship of the deities Zon-Kuthon (Lord of Pain) and Abadar (Lord of Wealth) may continue only within the walls of their respective temples. Noncompliance shall be punishable by public torture and execution!

PROCLAMATION THE TWENTY-NINTH

BY ORDER OF OUR EXCELLENT LEADER, HIS EXCELLENCY HIS GRACE THE LORD MAYOR PARACOUNT BARZILLAI THRUNE, HE WHOSE BEAUTY MAKES SHELYN HERSELF JEALOUS AND WHOSE SKILL AT STRATEGY HUMILIATES THE PATHETIC IOMEDAE

The destructive and ruinous anarchists known as the Silver Ravens are hereby proscribed, and until this fiendish rebellion's despicable leaders--the nefarious REBEL SWINE known as KEL, the treasonous vermin LILLIANA, the hateful renegade MISHA VIN, and the cannibal brute known only as the BLACK BEAST OF KINTARGO, surrender or are captured, all Silver Raven sympathizers must disavow support of this extremist group, lest they be faced with PUBLIC EXCRUCIATION!

Furthermore, our Eternal Leader has in His infinite wisdom and benevolence offered the following rewards for the capture of these anti-state actors!

For KEL, the infamous anarchist terrorist and bewitcher of men's minds--ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD!

For LILLIANA, the evil assassin who dared to strike our Dear Leader--ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD!

For MISHA VIN, perpetrator of the RUBY MASQUERADE MASSACRE--FIFTY THOSUAND PIECES OF GOLD!

For the savage BLACK BEAST OF KINTARGO, accomplice to the last--TEN THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD!

For the suspected FIFTH RAVEN, whose silver tongue and seductive wiles risk the security of our Fatherland of Cheliax--TEN THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD, with ONE THOSUAND PIECES OF GOLD to whosoever reveals the identity of this reprobate!


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Session ended early due to player exhaustion and schedules clashing slightly.

Silver Council meeting went well. They have a lot of friends and now a tenuous alliance with the Glorious Reclamation, who are about to take Westcrown. They also resurrected the former Lord-Mayor. Open war with Barzillai has begun, and the resistance is fighting hard.

Heroes took Tombus and the dottari troop down in 2 rounds flat. They then, feeling cocky, went looking for trouble after dispatching Shensen and Octavio to find Hetamon. They killed some hellknights then ran into a devilbound sorcerer who proceeded to kick their asses, but they prevailed. They then quickly delved into the Silver Star via the basement, were momentarily frustrated by the slimes, and proceeded to ambush and dismantle Natsiel and her hags in 1.5 rounds. Next week: Meeting Junior Agent Guttugger, freeing Strea Vestori, liberating Hetamon, and securing the district.


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After some discussion with my players, I've altered the territory control mechanic a bit. Now, to control a district, the players have to take out the sector boss, put an NPC in charge, then fend off an attempt by Barzillai to retake the district with NPCs from the NPC codex the next morning.

Also, Octavio is definitely my favorite supporting character so far. Barzillai is super fun to play though, my players are going to love killing him.


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The Silver Ravens rescued Hetamon (who kicked his evil rapist mom's corpse a few times for good measure), freed Strea, met up with Junior Agent Guttugger, People's Commonwealth of Andoran Revolution Exportation Department, and then fought off a counterattack the next morning by a gang of mercs hired by Excellent Leader. Swiftly moving to secure the district, they were alerted by Octavio of an attempt on Barzillai's part to take the records hall. Heroically charging to the rescue, our heroes ambushed and killed Tiarise in one round, realized she was the bastard who murdered a kid and summoned the tooth fairies in book 1, and felt vindicated.

After killing the other denizens of the hall, and capturing a powerful cleric who I replaced the inquisitor troop with since the troop mechanics aren't really doing it for us (too easy to beat for the CR), the heroes learned from interrogation and researching the scrolls they found that Barzillai's evil plan is, roughly: Become a genius loci -> become a bigger genius loci -> become a god who is also Golarion itself -> f#~# his sister. The cleric was stripped and transported back to the resistance base for further interrogation by Hellknights, swearing his undying allegiance to the Eternal Leader of Juche Kintargo the whole way.

Next week: A counterattack on the noble district by Dear Leader's agents, and the Ravens cover their flank by taking out the castle garrison.


I made flags for Barzillai's minions (the Chelish insignia is really small in the top left corner and the flag is dominated by a picture of Barzillai's face) and for the Silver Ravens (an anarcho-socialist flag with a few slogans written on it). Today's going to be fun!

PROCLAMATION THE THIRTIETH

BY ORDER OF THE INFINITE LEADER, LORD MAYOR PARACOUNT BARZILLAI THRUNE, KING OF KINGS, EMPEROR OF THE UNIVERSE, LORD OF THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE WORLD, MASTER OF ALL HE SURVEYS, FUTURE OF THE HUMAN RACE, THE NEW DIVINITY, ONCE AND FUTURE MASTER OF THE SEVEN SINS, ETERNAL IMPERATOR OF ALL MANKIND

In order to strike fear into the hearts of the savage anarchists who beset our fair city, and to inspire patriotism in those loyal to the superior Chelish state, our Glorious Leader in His infinite wisdom has declared that the city of Kintargo shall henceforth be known forevermore as NEW BARZILLAI. May New Barzillai stand for a thousand years! May our Eternal Leader bless us with His brilliance and generosity for ten millennia! Hail unto Barzillai Thrune, the greatest mind the world has ever known, He who makes the Last Azlanti himself look like a cowering fool by comparison!


Update:
--Attack on the Records Hall by Hei-Fen, a jorogumo, some cultists, and an arcane archer (CR 12 from the NPC codex) done in about 4 rounds. Victory for the Resistance!

--Kotri the negotiator bard's silver tongue won the River Talons over easily. The Silver Ravens organized an all-out assault on the bridge, facing Vanasses, two dottari captains, a hamatula, and a pyromancer from the NPC codex. The wizard went invisible but was glitterdusted, Isett slaughtered the hamatula and the captains in 2 rounds with Lilliana's help, and after that it was mop-up. Kel possessed the mage with magic jar and that was it.

--Barzillai's authority is now negative. He sends Rivozair, a handmaiden devil, and a gelugon to retake the bridge. Lilliana and Kel shoot up Rivozair and Murderous Command her, then Kel dismisses the handmaiden devil as the gelugon summons bone devils. After that? Mopping up. Lucky crit from Lilliana one-shots Rivozair from 131 HP down to dead. After that? Clean-up. Took Isett one round to finish the bone devils with a little support.

Next week: The raid on the castle. At this point I'm switching to milestone levelling because my players are too good at this game to be challenged by on-level encounters and the XP is starting to pile up too fast. They just hit 12 ffs.


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Ian G wrote:
At this point I'm switching to milestone levelling because my players are too good at this game to be challenged by on-level encounters and the XP is starting to pile up too fast. They just hit 12 ffs.

Good choice!

While tracking XP APs seem to require filler fights (random encounters) early on and later into the AP the PCs are likely too powerful as you need to make the fights harder which, yeah, has them levelling up too fast.

For the most part, my group found the fights in this AP fairly easy, but sometimes that was required. (Eg: The Hounds in book 6 took out a PC in a single round and the final fight of the AP would've overwhelmed the group within 4-6 rounds... Good thing it only lasted 2 or 3.)


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Yeah, I'm seeing that now. It doesn't help that one of my guys is a tactical battle lover who is not super fond of RP despite ironically playing the face, while the rest of the party plus me are super RP oriented and I'm not the best at running combats. :(

The story seems to be well-received though.


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Party turned Kintargo Keep into a full-scale assault, teleported in and slaughtered the garrison with comical ease. Kel pretended to be the hellknight leader and convinced the remaining garrison to stand down. They then got initiative over the First Warden and killed her in 1 round.

So I sicced a cornugon on them. That was a mess, but they won, no casualties.

They plan to run the Cathedral mostly as a dungeon, which I'm worried will result in them nuking Barzillai in 1 round, but w/e at least I can give him a nice evil speech.


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Party charged in to the temple cockily to kill the high priest. They did so, but got mobbed by large numbers of villains--they were doing OK until the harrower and Dear Leader arrived.

Dear Leader gave the following evil speech as he entered:

"My little chickadees! Your puny minds cannot imagine the magnitude of your failure. You are far, far too late, cowering peons, for my metamorphosis has already begun. When I am New Barzillai, when I am Cheliax, you will rue the day that you offended me, Silver Ravens! I will bring your feeble rebels to their knees, and you will realize the full scope of the futility of your pathetic efforts when you tremble before my awesome power.

"You never even stood a chance! Even as you began your first fumbling efforts at resistance, even as you killed my loyal servant Nox, I was already beginning my transformation into a higher form of life! As you stumbled about dungeons and attended parties in Vyre, I laid the groundwork for my own ascension to divinity! You have vexed and frustrated me, but all that you have achieved is the extension of your own punishment when I arise as a sliver of Infinity! I will be Cheliax, and then I will be Golarion itself, and then I will BE a GOD!!! And not just a god, the one, true God!

"And nothing you feeble rebel scum do can stop me now.

"Minions! ANNIHILATE THEM!!!!!!!"

He then on his turn said the following to Kel:

"KEL!!! Your end of days approaches, for I will beat your pancreas with your spleen, and then I will RIP your LIVER out of your body, and crush it to dust in front of you, for the glory of my divine self! I am beyond man! BEYOND LIFE! I...am a GOD!!!"

Then he blew 'em up with Flame Strike. Both casters down. The party evacuated and is going to go back next week armed for bear.


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How shocked were they that they had to fight The Eternal Leader of New Barzillai, His Excellency His Grace the Lord Mayor Paracount Barzillai Thrune, High Inquisitor of the Church of Asmodeus, Lord of All the Beasts on the Earth and the Fishes in the Sea, Champion of the Human Race, Defender of the Virtues of Mankind, Conqueror of the Rebellious Scum in the World in General and in Cheliax in Particular, Last King of Ustalav?


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Warped Savant wrote:
How shocked were they that they had to fight The Eternal Leader of New Barzillai, His Excellency His Grace the Lord Mayor Paracount Barzillai Thrune, High Inquisitor of the Church of Asmodeus, Lord of All the Beasts on the Earth and the Fishes in the Sea, Champion of the Human Race, Defender of the Virtues of Mankind, Conqueror of the Rebellious Scum in the World in General and in Cheliax in Particular, Last King of Ustalav?

Not very, tbh. They were actually doing pretty well (Misha's first starring role was a huge success so two of the bone devils bonked their heads trying to teleport, Lilliana and Isett are damage machines, and Kel took out all the trash with two spells, so they had Cornistan and some mooks dead and dusted Alucedia) until Barzillai and the harrower showed up at the same time with more mooks. Barzillai gave his evil gloating rant, then flame struck them. Both casters unconscious. Isett picked up the priest's corpse after dumping a potion down Kel's throat, Kel brought Misha back to positive HP, Lilliana shot Barzillai in the throat (so I think Lilliana is now Undesirable #1), and Misha dimension doored the lot of 'em out of there.

It was a really good tense combat! I cut loose with lots of the bad guys' best spells early on and that really made things a challenge.


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They captured Barzillai.

Literally, got him down to -24 after luring him out by killing his priests. Then Misha used telekinesis to throw him out the door and they ddoored the party out.

So now they have a very badly injured Barzillai tied up with a sword held to his neck in their base.

This is going to be fun. I RPed a great interrogation with them, everybody seems to have had a blast--now they just need to figure out wtf to do next. XD

Shadow Lodge

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Ian G wrote:
This is going to be fun. I RPed a great interrogation with them, everybody seems to have had a blast--now they just need to figure out wtf to do next. XD

Put him on trial. Especially if they have the Kintargo Contract and can prove that 1) he was no Lord-Mayor and 2) he knew as much. Means he did all his murders and tyrannies as a private citizen and indeed as a traitor.


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They do not have the Contract yet, but they are aware that when he dies he will "engage The Hillening". There is some desire to find an exception to these rules so he can be soul-trapped or w/e for the proletariat, but they have discovered that flesh to stone will begin his transformation.

I have nudged them to get Manticce hoping they'll have her Trap the Soul him so that his transformation begins and I can get this back on track lol.


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Ring of Sustenance, Ring of Regeneration, and one of those Amulets that lets you exist without breathing. Put him in a Portable Hole. Ensure that you buy an occasional one of those elixirs that turns you young once again. Keep him in the hole and make sure he never dies of old age and can't do anything to himself. And he's stuck in the void, unable to interact with the world, unable to do anything.

Or bring him to Galt and get his head lopped off by one of those soul-sucking artifact blades. ;)

Oh wait, I shouldn't be giving suggestions on how to derail things worse ;)

Shadow Lodge

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Tangent101 wrote:
Or bring him to Galt and get his head lopped off by one of those soul-sucking artifact blades. ;)

No need to go to Galt, they have one in Korvosa.


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Also, a trial is going to be SUPER hard because at this point nearly everybody in the city hates Barzillai because of his psychopathic egomania, renaming the city New Barzillai, and the three dozen Proclamations he made doing everything from declaring himself Magnificent Leader to banning mint.

It didn't help his case that he built a 50 foot gold-plated statue in the Comrade Lenin Strides Towards The Progressive Future style in honor of his modesty. Not to mention that the reviews for his opera (about how he's the most amazing person in the universe who showed the gods how it's done before personally descending from the heavens to bestow his incredible brilliance and unsurpassed good looks upon the dull-witted peasants of Kintargo) were terrible--in part because of the small quibble that he tried to have the audience at the premiere massacred.

Shadow Lodge

Ian G wrote:
Also, a trial is going to be SUPER hard

One would think this would make a show trial super easy.


Yes but a show trial would make Octavio really really grouchy.


One would think the existence of magic would make fair trials pretty easy, and the existence of the Cheliax legal code would make unfair trials pretty easy.


I don't think anybody has zone of truth, and they really want to be the better people here (half the party is Good, and one of the neutrals is quickly trending Good).

Either way, the real problem is containing Barzillai and preventing The Hillening.

Shadow Lodge

> Party is Good or trending Good
> Party wants to do a Trap the Soul

Ah, players. Never change.


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Hey, they only want to stop Barzillai from becoming a sapient landmass and eventually a god. I have a feeling they would be open to less permanent solutions (i.e. enjoy five years in prison then f%#$ off and don't let us ever see you in Kintargo again on pain of swift death), but Barzillai has inadvertently forced the isssue after they provoked him into a several-minutes-long megalomaniacal rant about how The World Will Soon Be His and how Nothing Can Stop Him Now and how he's invincible and a superior being and he will Be New Barzillai, and then he will Be Cheliax, and then he will Be Golarion Itself (and Nothing You Pathetic Fools Do Can Stop Me Now (Mwahahahahahahhahaaaa!)!!!)

I do love these guys, as players as well as as my friends. Fantastic group overall. Lots of fun to DM for.


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While most of the party was in Vyre, Barzillai's minions tried to spring him, facing off only Shensen, Guttugger, Octavio...and Lilliana, who was the MVP due to their high level. They vaped Aluceda again. Players had a blast playing unoptimized NPCs in a tense fight!


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After some time, we finally got the whole party back together yesterday. Unfortunately we ended early due to stress and exhaustion and COVID isolation getting to people, but the party still managed to get intel (that I'm feeding them to get the AP back on track) on Barzillai's transformation and how to probably mess it up. They also cleared a good chunk of the top level of the temple and rescued a celestial sex-ed teacher who was trapped in an infernal engine.

(Misha, who was raised in an opera house, where unplanned pregnancies are a whole genre of tropes unto themselves, has never heard of contraceptives in her life. The lillend was very pissed that the bad guys took her stuff so she didn't have access to the three-hour presentation that she's spent centuries cooking up.)


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Update: Kel's player is leaving because he's been having consistent issues with RPing in person vs. (as he's used to) in D&D-based CRPGS. It has been an amicable parting. Kotri's player got into grad school and is probably leaving in January as well but doesn't want to drop out mid-adventure, so Kotri became Acting Lord-Mayor.

Session report: Having broken the infernal engines, the heroes flew straight up to the belfry, rapidly slaughtering Asmoden and his mooks thanks to some well-placed spells by Kotri and Isett's comically high DPS. They dramatically exorcised the bells--Isett killed Nox again in a vision, then got a guest appearance of Kelsier from Mistborn because I'm a nerd as she relived her time in slavery in the jungle, Lilliana made the best gun ever to impress Torag (their family's favorite god), Kotri charmed a hostile audience into tearing Barzillai to bits over the lines at the DMV, and Lilliana escaped a twisted version of a childhood memory before shooting Hillzillai in the throat like they did on Barzillai's birthday.

Then they returned to the Lucky Bones to confront the imprisoned Barzillai Thrune. Seeing as there was no way to get an unbiased jury, Lilliana summarily executed Barzillai with nearly 200 points of gun damage to the face as he was in the middle of explaining how he had 16 pages of exquisite torments planned for them and would create 16 thousand more, causing his body to erupt into flames as Mephistopheles claimed his soul.

Kotri, backed by the nice noble lady whose name I don't remember who wanted to improve the sewers, became Acting Lord Mayor and Revolutionary Leader. Everybody got statues--Kotri's with a silver tongue as she gives a stirring speech, Misha with quill and book as the notes for an opera about her are carved into her robes, Kel shrouded in a hood with a sperm whale crushing his enemies at his feet, Isett standing strong and noble with sword raised, defending two women who look like Zea and her girlfriend who are hugging each other, and of course Lilliana in center stage, a winning smile on their androgynous-form face as they stand with gun over shoulder and foot planted firmly on the head of a fallen Barzillai Thrune.

All of these of course were made from Barzillai's monument to his own ego.

Shensen congratulated Misha on her first successful Revolution, revealing that she once led pirates to an anarcho-socialist revolution and learned how to sing operatic sea shanties, then promised Misha that the euphoria never goes away, encouraging her to enjoy herself. Octavio expressed his congratulations and thanks to Isett--the Order of the Torrent is, until Octavio gets some paperwork filed properly, the "(Free and/or People's?) (Republic of?) (Revolutionary) Police Force/Public Safety Department" (they're still workshopping names) and will be dealing with freeing remaining political prisoners from Barzillai's regime. Zea has been training to be a Hellknight after seeing how badass Isett is in a fight, she wants to be like her, and also Zea's girlfriend thinks Zea looks great in armor.

The ceremony went off without a hitch since all possible raiders have been slaughtered with terrifying efficiency. Kotri renamed the bridge. A dramatic opera glorifying the Silver Ravens and mocking Barzillai in its portrayal of the Revolution was put on. The day has been saved, and Kintargo is free!

Absolute blast of an adventure, arguably better than the last one.

Now, the Silver Ravens know that they have a month or two to prepare before the vile BARZILLAI THRUNE, self-proclaimed RULER OF THE UNIVERSE and ETERNAL LEADER OF JUCHE NEW BARZILLAI (FORMERLY KINTARGO), returns as a hill to start causing problems. But for the moment, they can rest...and party!


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Sorry to see that you're losing two players!
Are you going to continue on with just the 3 (?) that are left or are you getting new players?

I'd ask if you're going to end the AP with book 4, but based on that last sentence you're going on with book 5 and 6.


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We'll see lol, I'm still trying to figure out solutions.

Plan is to go through 5-6! I'm going to try to recruit the love of my life who's in yet another city and timezone right now (I'm MST, everybody else is EST, S. is CST) but he's already in a lot of sessions of various TTRPGs so we'll see if he's up for it.

If we have to end it here...man, what an ENDING! It was pretty f+@&ing awesome all around.

Shadow Lodge

Ian G wrote:
the nice noble lady whose name I don't remember who wanted to improve the sewers

Belcara Jarvis.


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Ian G wrote:
the nice noble lady whose name I don't remember who wanted to improve the sewers
Belcara Jarvis.

Thank you! That's her. :)


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We are continuing into book 5, going to see how it goes. Kotri has been installed as Lady-Mayor after the heroes figured out Barzillai's stuff, went to Odexidie's abode (I inserted some references to companies my friends and I hate here, which got a BIT too 4th wall breaking, lol), got his support in exchange for putting his name everywhere as the best lawyer ever, and returned triumphant. Baroness Delronge was effectively threatened into voting as the PCs wanted...well, they scared the crap out of her thanks to Lilliana's stratospheric Intimidate, then offered to let her pretend to be coerced so she could look good if Cheliax ever comes back.

Pretty creative, so I let it fly.

They also had a blast with the murder mystery and clearing the nobleman's name, they gave the rival house's matriarch just enough metaphorical "rope" to hang herself with.


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OK so my party, down to Isett, Lilliana, and Misha, had a lot of fun securing the region. Killing the bad guys in the Grotto was easy, the Terapsillion was MUCH harder, we nearly had a death. But the dragon was easily negotiated with, everybody loved how I played him as "peak neckbeard".

Mangvhune I built up bit by bit as a mysterious shadowed figure seen in the lower city, then when the team got back from the Terapsillion they found there'd been a murder (the two nobodies). They went to take out the slavers first since Octavio had no leads, and I let them interrogate them into surrendering after Isett took out half the rangers and the devil in 2 rounds while they inflicted like a dozen points of damage, total.

They got back to Kintargo Keep and went to investigate the corpses. Zea, who is now training as a Hellknight and engaged to a cleric NPC she slipped a "I have a crush on you" note to before her murder at Varl Wex's hands (and subsequent PC-sponsored resurrection) back in book 2, reappeared after heading home for the night, incoherent and babbling about her fiancee being dead.

Team Ravens deployed, finding Zea's wife-to-be a cold corpse carved up like a turkey. They investigated and determined after some research that the killer was a baubau, so Misha used Limited Wish to replicated a spell that let her detect those. She found one under Alabaster Academy.

Team Ravens, after handing Hetamon a scroll to resurrect the fiancee, armed for bear and went to the Academy. They quickly found Mangvhune's lair and proceeded to beat the tar out of his followers, but the priests got off a bunch of Unholy Blights that severely weakened the crew. Lilliana, with a stratospheric AC, was luckily too high-level to be sneak attacked by Manghvune, which saved their life. They were down to SIX HP when Misha quickened glitterdusted the general vicinity and proceeded to Chains of Light Manghvune, who failed his Reflex save.

Lilliana put her (female at the time) gun to Manghvune's head, said "Nice try," and pulled the trigger. Manghvune died instantly.

Now they have an alchemist cultist raving in the prison and it's time to face diplomacy, haunts, and the final stand of Barzillai Thrune.

Very good session today IMO.


Glitterdust is soooo effective. ^^;; I had my group dealing with slavers far earlier (I'm thinking that this second group of slavers for Book 5 will be specifically targeting allies and friends of the PCs when it gets to that point of the game) and they used Glitterdust to take out pretty much the entire baddie group sans their Conjurer Wizard (who didn't have her Bonded Wand and kept failing her Concentration checks so she was useless anyway). At that point I just summed things up, had the PCs disarm the baddies and the baddies surrendered.

Glad your group is still enjoying things, and I look forward to seeing what will happen in the next book. ^^


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Drat, forum ate my longer post.

Short version: Party had a blast browbeating the Chelish ambassadors. They won negotiations easily and kicked the assassin's butt. also forced the Chelish to leave their devils behind.

Cheliax is basically screwed. Ravounel is actively funneling war supplies to the Reclamation (who just won a protracted battle for Westcrown) via Andoran, and getting paid for it to subvert the treaty. Thrune rule is starting to collapse and Andoran is already looking to firmly ally Ravounel so they can mutually rebuild post-war Cheliax to protect against potential Nidalese and Molthune aggression.

If the Thrunes do win, they will be left with a gutted ruin of a country. Minus one of its richest regions.

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