Help! Scribbler too early!

Rise of the Runelords

So my players are prepping for the siege of Sandpoint (4.1) and the Stonelord decided to explore the Catacombs of Wrath to see if he could determine what the Giants might be after. Well he sent his earth elemental companion walking through the earth down the spiral stairs to the scribbler's lair... I had the hounds bay and he failed the will save so he was panicked and fled back up. Unfortunately they are now convinced that whatever is down there is what the Giants are after and must be investigated immediately. Any ideas on how to disabuse them of the notion/get them on the track to Jorgenfist once the siege is over?

TLDR: party wants to excavate/explore scribbler's lair at the start of book 4. Help me not TPK them :)

Grand Lodge

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Oof. There aren't really supposed to be hounds down there yet - Xaliasa hasn't been reborn to summon them!

That said, your party is technically on exactly the right track in that assumption, and in my eyes that's a good thing. In order to avoid contradicting yourself, I would place two abyssal hounds keeping watch over Xaliasa's bones, submerged in the shrine's baptismal font. Not a major encounter - maybe CR 12 or something, just a little distraction - and it may prompt the party to wonder whose bones could warrant that kind of interest. If they're smart, they'll use divinations. If they're hasty, they'll probably destroy the bones.

Furthermore, the shrine shouldn't be as cleaned-up as it will be in Book 5, such that the party cannot take the cave path back to Xaliasa's quarters. However, if they earth glide or otherwise explore past the shrine, the only item they ought to be able to find is the revelation quill, given its artifact durability. That quill may even give them the idea to ask whose bones those are, which could give them juuuust enough information to understand the hook of Book 5 better.

Hope this helps.

Note: The Scribbler is supposed to return to life after the minor runewell of wrath surges with power in response to Mokmurian's death (because the runewells are all connected to each other).

Askar Avari wrote:
Xaliasa hasn't been reborn to summon them!

*Facepalm* Totally forgot the runewell activation doesn't just cause the sinkhole but also revives him! Definitely wasn't prepared for him to earthglide the elemental down, so I was completely winging it.

Really like your idea of the hounds guarding the bones (could also play off the howl as a ghostly echo/ward/haunt effect, since he never saw the hounds but just fled from the sound). Added bonus - my players are paranoid about the waters in the ruins after the waters of lamashtu and the runewell summoning sinspawn, so they'll likely not disturb them if I just let them explore a bit and mention the skeleton in the water as part of a perception check.

The revelation quill surviving could be a great tool for getting them back to Sandpoint after Mokmurian too - it could begin scribbling madly in Thassilonian upon Xaliasa's awakening, maybe with the same unsettling handwriting they saw on the walls of the meditation chamber....lots of room to play there!

Thanks so much!! You turned the disaster in my head into a very cool opportunity!

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