View Full Version : Journal The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

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2015-08-22, 11:30 PM
Yeah yeah, we don't actually play until next week, but I've been plotting this for quite a while and I'm really looking forward to it...so here's the beginning!

The End has come to all of us, Gods and Mortals alike. The only choice, to be consumed by Flame or Darkness. Our only hope, to steal heroes from other worlds, other times, and pray one of them can succeed where all others have failed. Their fate becomes ours, and for that we should be damned even if they prevail. The Sun gutters, and the Moon burns. How will you die?

Lesser Aasimar Cleric 6
I don't have a ton of info on her yet, but as she's planning on going into Radiant Servant of Pelor, I suspect this cleric will be a fairly strong force for Good and Justice (have to capitalize those. Always) Has Extra Turning and Divine Metamagic, planning on doing lots of buffing.

Human Binder 1 / Warlock 5
A supernatural con man and information broker (think Constantine from the Hellblazer comics), Janath is a smooth talking liar with some nasty magic up his sleeve. Plans on going into Hellfire warlock, along with at least 2 levels in Chameleon, so aiming for flexibility. Played by Jeargroth (he who ran the last game)

Warforged Fighter 6(Dungeoncrasher)
An experimental bodyguard, Puck's unfortunate habit of reacting to threats to his charge with overwhelming and horrific violence kept him deactivated for an inordinate amount of time until he was found by Angelena (and may or may not have imprinted on her). Plans on going into Warforged Juggernaut (and not sure after that). His biggest current goal is to gain flight as to be able to mash opponents into the dirt.

Human Cleric 1 / Monk 2 / Paladin 3
A servant of the Raven Queen, Sammael is a devout (and somewhat unnerving) adherent to the concept of natural death and fate. We homebrewed up a feat that lets him combine his classes for some of the class abilities, we'll see how it works (unarmored, hits stuff hard with his fists or a scythe, has some creepy magical powers). Played by Lazarius (Tywin in the last game)

Human Sorcerer 6
A mage with Blue dragon blood in her veins, Sona was trained in the use of her magic by dragons. Plans on going into Pact Adept (with custom pacts from her draconic teachers - a blue and a gold dragon respectively), and aiming for versatility. Played by Picanet (Kas in the last game).

Orc Barbarian 1 / Fighter 5
An Orc warrior whose tribe was enslaved by a mercenary company in his youth, Talvosh was trained as a disciplined soldier. But the blood running through his veins, and his heritage, says otherwise. Planning on going into Frenzied Berserker (with the caveat that I made him spend several feats towards bolstering his Will save as to not constantly frenzy kill his party members). Played Fred in the last game.

Between the group, we've written a small novel's worth of backstory and various interactions of the characters leading up to this game, so anyone who's bored/interested in reading a big chunk o'stuff, feel free to PM me.

You dream, and you dream of fire. An all-encompassing inferno, too bright to see anything but the flames, too hungry to do anything but feed the blaze. You burn, and are reborn in turn.

But the light dims, the flames contract. The darkness surrounds you, circling closer and closer as the fire flickers. Finally you are left with nothing but a small tongue of fire in the palm of your hand, no more than a candle flame, and the darkness presses down. It’s hungry. You can feel it watching you, waiting, all that is keeping it away is that small pinpoint of light.

You can hear a rhythmic grinding and ticking, the working of some vast machine in the distance that is slo..w...i.....n..g to.....a........h...a...l.....t

The flame goes out, and as the darkness consumes you, you snap awake.

This same dream has haunted you, driven you, these past few months. Perhaps you had it after finding a strange relic, symbols and carvings you didn’t recognize. Or perhaps after reading a scroll speaking of distant worlds, strangely new and crisp unlike the molding detritus it hid among. A madman mumbling riddles. Or you just had the terrible dream after laying down to sleep like any other night. But it has stayed with you since, whether the dream has awaited you every time you close your eyes, or if you’ve only had the dream once, but with such crystalline clarity that it branded itself into your memory.

The dream, and the Mark. A black circle, more like a deep bruise on the back of your hand than anything. Except that nothing you have tried can change or remove it...no wizardry, no healers, no prophets or priests. It doesn’t seem to do anything, other than fill you with a sense of foreboding. You’ve had the terrible feeling that even if you lost that hand entirely, the Mark would somehow still be there, a part of you.

You have found others with the Mark, others who have shared the eerie dream of darkness and flame. Perhaps you’ve become close companions, or knew them before. Or perhaps you are only thinly allied by the threads of the dream. Either way, you’ve finally come across a solid clue. An ancient temple, recently unearthed and the entrance discovered. No one has yet returned with treasure or knowledge, but all of your searching and hunting points to here.

There has to be something. There are scant few options left.

Theme Song! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-8vp4akcPc)

2015-08-24, 02:01 PM
For those who might not want to delve into our little world of collaborative writing I will be happy to summarize Janath.

Janath is the only child of a loving couple whose birth killed his mother and forever poisoned the relationship with his biological father. His adventures brought him into the house of his surrogate father Arimides, who was an experienced summoner/binder and dealer of information. When the much older man passed Janath was tossed to the street by creditors and lawyers. Left destitute and desperate he embarked on a audacious theft that resulted in his becoming a Warlock. (Long story, but Meiphistopheles played him like a fiddle) returning to the world he used his new found abilities to further his own fortunes and that of Hell. Holding onto the last shreds of his humanity has been rather costly personally, financially and relationship wise. He has found a group he might be able to trust, something that is an extreme rarity in his world. As for finding a cure for the curse, he cares not, controlling it however is an goal he can get behind. Next time he is in hell Mephistopheles will bow to him, or every soul bound to hell on a bad deal will be tied up as indefinitely as his own.

As for how well he will work with some of the group it is uncertain. He is a Warlock, and has great plans for "The Dead Walk." Hopefully he gets his hands on some pots of Glibness soon. We all can't be good though.

I am looking forward to not wearing the mantle of GM and believe this campaign will put the Romanov incident to shame. Please join us...

2015-08-30, 02:29 PM
First session! The party arrives at the entrance to this temple, a wide tunnel with the shattered remnants of the doors scattered about. Sammael pulls out an everburning torch (though half the party has darkvision), and they advance into the darkness!

They trigger the alarm spell in the tunnel, which gives the orcs ahead of them time to hide and prepare their ambush. The party follows the winding tunnel down to the first floor, a broad circular chamber full of rubble and stones, with a large boulder in the center of the room.

Said boulder is a Silent image, with 5 of the orcs hiding behind it. The other 3 are hiding behind the real broken pillars and rubble. However, I realize that while the ambush is set nicely, several of the party members have pretty sharp listen modifiers, and I didn't make the orcs very good at being silent. So instead of the whole party getting ambushed, Puck, Sona, and Sammael get to act in the surprise round as the orcs come rushing out of the fake rock with a mighty warcry!

The opposition consists of: The boss (half dragon orc bard), 2 smashers (orc barbarians), 2 bashers (orc fighters), 2 shooters (orc rangers), and 2 sneakers (goblin rogues). The smashers are up front practically inside the fake boulder, the bashers are the boss' bodyguards, and the shooters and sneakers are off to the sides behind cover.

Surprise round! The boss goes first, and lets out a horrific "WAAAGGH!", otherwise known as dragonfire inspiration bardic music. Puck is actually up next, and he bull rushes the one smasher in the face to careen into the basher behind him, tripping them both up. Shoot! A shooter sinks an arrow into Janath's side, the sneaks miss, and Sona casts mage armor on herself. The second smasher (who isn't on his face) charges Talvosh and lands a solid blow, and Sammael retaliates with a stunning blow (that the smasher passes).

Next round! The boss shimmies over to line up both Puck and Sona with a Whirling Blade...except I roll a 2 against Puck and Sona uses Wings of Cover. Ah well. Puck notices that the one nearby shooter is within 10 feet of the wall, and bull rushes him into the wall to trigger dungeoncrasher. The poor orc is absolutely PASTED, with Puck crushing him from full health to around -18 or so instantly. Sona's up next, and she takes advantage of the smasher+2 bashers +boss all tightly packed together with a Great Thunderclap. The Boss makes all his saves, but my dice betray me and the other three fail all 3 saves, leaving them all deafened, stunned, and prone. Janath gets sniped again for a big chunk of his health, and his attempt to Suggest that the Boss lay his weapons down fails. Angelena heals Janath up, Sammael gets walloped, then Talvosh takes an attack of opportunity on the chin in order to charge a shooter with a Heedless charge-Leap attack max power attack. He clears the rock the Shooter was hiding behind, and cleaves the orc in twain (putting him to -20 or so with the one blow).

The orcs land a couple more hits, but it's pretty much decided at this point. Even with mirror image, the trio of Sammael, Puck, and Talvosh chop the Boss down, and the remaining orcs fall as well. The last surviving goblin frantically tries to escape, but a Mortal-Bane Eldritch Blast to the face stops that plan.

The party methodically strip the dead orcs and take any of the gear that looks shiny enough. Searching the chamber, they find four corpses stacked in the far corner - all stripped of their gear with numerous stab wounds. Seems that the ambush trick worked at least once before the party arrived. The only other thing in the room besides rubble is a massive blackened iron door, a large keyhole in the center, and large gleaming words that each party member reads in the first language they learned:

There are many worlds

Sona had found a large black iron key in her backstory, which looked to be around the right size and shape. Approaching the door, the waves of supernatural heat radiating off of it had no affect due to her holding the key, and the door is opened with little ceremony. It slides open noisily, revealing a set of stairs leading down...

The stairs spiral down several stories before opening into another chamber, this one all burnished steel and grating. There are 6 statues in the center of the room, 3 facing left and 3 facing right. Carefully examining them, the party finds that the statues have sections of crystal in them, either in the eyes, mouth, or heart. There's a pillar from the ceiling shooting down two beams of light (that's being blocked by the statues currently), and gems on the opposite walls that seem to be connected to the (sealed) door on the other side.

It's a puzzle!

I accidentally make it a little more confusing at first by mixing up one of the rules, but this is the Puzzle (http://britton.disted.camosun.bc.ca/frog_puzzle.htm). It takes a little bit, but with experimentation, a little bit of arguing, and a lot of accidental swearing, the statues align. The light beams pass through each statue and strike the gems on each wall, and the door opens smoothly while more words appear above it.

But do they share the same sky above?

Our brave adventurers continue downwards.

The polished steel quickly gives way to carved stone again, and these stairs go down even further. Instead of a wide chamber like the previous floors, this is a narrow hallway, with an ominous scythe-wielding statue on each side. It seems there's a strip down the middle of the hall that would be out of reach of either statue, but after careful examination, Sona and Janath notice that there are multiple spots on the floor radiating conjuration magic. Sammael carefully creeps forward, and as soon as he steps within reach, the one statue lashes out and slices him with its scythe! It resets instantly afterwards, but does not swing again while he stays still. Talvosh steps on one of the squares, and passes his will save to avoid being slid over to one side. After a bit more thinking, Sammael chops through the wooden haft of the statue's scythe, then steps forward again. The statue swings! But with its weapon broken, the trap is just swinging impotently. The party moseys on by, trap defeated.

The hallway is downright claustrophobic, with carved alcoves on each side containing dust, bone fragments, or full skeletons. Nothing jumps out at them though. Going around another corner, the group is confronted with a 10ft wide hole in the floor, Peering down (from a careful distance), it seems to be a 30 ft pit. Talvosh backs up, and with a hard running start, soars over the pit!

And falls through the floor, revealing the disguised pit directly past the first one. :smallbiggrin: Sammael tosses a grapple down the hall and drags it back, revealing that the visible "pit" is actually a 6" drop, and the real pit is where Talvosh fell through. Jump checks, a rope, and a Floating disc gets everyone over/out of the pit. The hallways finally widen out to reveal another door leading down, this one's message written across the floor:

To Dream of unknown shores

There's a dull roaring that gets louder as the party goes down yet another spiraling staircase (they guess that they have to be 300 feet below ground by now), and the source of the noise is revealed as they enter the next chamber; a 10 foot tall wall of flames that spreads across the whole room. The (sealed) door is on the other side of the flames, and another message is visible above it.

The moth burns its wings gladly

Talvosh had drank one of the random potions found on the orcs hoping it was healing, and instead gained fire resistance, so he charges headlong through the fire. With his resistance, he only takes a few points of damage. Everyone else makes it across without harm with an absolutely hilarious combination of anklets of translocation, benign transposition, Sammael having a ludicrous jump check, and Puck full on heaving Janath over the flames. The door stays locked though. After searching the room, scheming, plotting, and debating, Sammael pulls out a torch and has everyone burn themselves for at least a point of damage each.

The door opens with a clank.

This floor is much brighter than the previous ones, the floor and walls a gleaming marble. There's a large fountain in the center of the room, and 6 statues arranged about the room. There's yet another message written across the side of the fountain (because I love being cryptic and vague).

For but a glimpse of the Flame
Muzak (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpI-KeK-PQg)

The scent of mint is strong in the air, which a quick knowledge check reveals is a common ingredient in healing salves and potions. Dipping a hand into the fountain heals Talvosh, and everyone dunks a hand/arm/head. Sona is a little disappointed that the water from the fountain turns into nothing but plain water when scooped out. Examing the statues reveals:
-A large man with an imperious expression, hands and feet wreathed in flame. Standing in front of him evokes feelings of Pride and Power - Angelena feels a curious familiarity with this statue, like her god but harsher
-A beautiful woman with a clever expression, holding a scroll in one hand and a dagger behind her back. Her fingers are crossed in each hand. Standing in front of her evokes feelings of Mischief and Knowledge
-An androgynous figure, seemingly male or female with each glance, holding a lantern. This statue evokes feelings of Deja vu
-A hooded and robe figure with open hands. To look in the hood evokes Primal Terror, but the statue itself evokes Comfort and Bittersweet love. Sammael feels drawn to this statue, being in front of it is almost like praying to his Goddess.
-An armored figure holding a sword, so worn and old looking as to be barely recognizable compared to the others. It evokes feelings of Protection and Strength
-A debauched looking young man, who evokes feelings of Guilty Lust and Pleasure (and the edge of what might be Madness)

They also find an empty pedestal in one corner, with only fragments of stone jutting up from it. All of the other statues are arranged as to face away from this pedestal...

The door is open, so the party continues every downwards.

This doesn't seem to be a floor so much as where the builders decided to stop. The lights stop, and the stair abruptly end. There are 7 large slabs of stone that jut out from the walls, forming another set of crude steps, and even they stop.

Only the Fall remains is written across the end of the stairs. Peering down, the group can see the ripple of water. Evidently going with the motto of "who dares, wins", Talvosh nimbly skips down the steps and dives into the black! It's a 20ft drop to the water, and he passes his swim check to keep afloat. Puck follows, but lets himself sink to the bottom since he doesn't have to worry about that breathing nonsense. Peering about, he can see light shining through a tunnel off to the one side underwater. The rest of the party uses a rope to more carefully shimmy down, and everyone follows Puck.

The underwater tunnel is just long enough to evoke a bit of panicked swimming near the end, and the most ominous message yet is written at the end of the tunnel.
Darkness Everlasting

The tunnel opens into a sloped ramp, and everyone slogs out of the water. This chamber is much darker than the others, even with darkvision it's hard to make everything out. On one side of the room is a raised platform, with a gate of sorts embedded into the wall. On the other is a heavy cracked stone chair, almost a throne of sorts. As Janath creeps closer, a hooded and robed figure with a steel hand and a featureless metal mask appears.

"Well, it's been some time since a group like this made it here together." The Traveler tilts her head and gazes upon the party. "Hello again, Sona."

Sona is freaking out, as this Traveler is the being that placed the curse on her in her backstory, along with nearly killing her, her classmate, and all three of her arcane teachers (two of which are dragons) before being forced to retreat. Everyone starts spreading out, and the Traveler offers to make their last part of the journey painless, as "there's only one way to go further." Initiative!

Boss Fight! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn7dW6xCMXY)

The Traveler wins initiative, casts Time Stop, then casts a Maw of Chaos to catch everyone except Sammael and Talvosh. Talvosh gets a Reverse Gravity placed around him. Time resumes, and everyone in the Maw except for Puck dies instantly. Sammael rushes up and readies an action to interrupt the Traveler's next spell. Talvosh crashes off the ceiling, then manages to crawl out of the backwards gravity and crashes to the floor. The Traveler goes to reach out and touch Sammael with that ominous steel hand, but his attack of opportunity lands and knocks it away, and her second attempt is a natural 1. Puck succumbs to the Maw and dies. Talvosh leaps through the air with a scream but the Traveler uses an immediate action to place a blazing yelllow wall between them, electrifying Talvosh to death.

"Your mark...it's different...what is that?" Unlike all the others, Sammael's Mark was artificially induced, as his mission is to find the source of this Curse and stop it. Guessing that he wants nothing to do with this Traveler's questions, he backs away.

"Why prolong the inevitable?" Sammael grits his teeth in response, and dives into the Maw of Chaos.


Awaken (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0YCN1rc22g)

The party all suffer the terrible dream of Fire and Darkness again and as one, wake up on a beach. There's a small fire crackling away next to them, and looking around, can see that this shore is at the base of a cliff. On the top of the cliff, a large lighthouse.

And there's the first session.

2015-09-04, 05:00 PM
Well then. That was different.

2015-09-04, 06:37 PM
"Interesting" different, or "Kill it with fire" different? :smallbiggrin:

2015-09-04, 07:06 PM
I agree with Blackhawk, the only adjective that I can think of to describe that is "interesting."

2015-09-04, 07:09 PM
I am certainly excited! When you said "time stop" I was like "this is gonna be fantastic."

2015-09-04, 08:15 PM
Yeah... I/Sona was not over reacting with the freak out when we bumped into 'The Traveller.' She is a scary scary lady and a nasty piece of work. Pro-tip: she looks like beef jerks under that mask lol. Wince cry blubber run home to mommy. *flail*

2015-09-04, 08:22 PM
I don't think I've ever been as eager to read the next instalment of a campaign journal after only one entry as I am now. Sadly, it's 2:20 am and I'm not coherent enough to come up with good wording for my praises, but pretend I said something really eloquent :smalltongue:.

2015-09-04, 08:26 PM
"Interesting" different, or "Kill it with fire" different? :smallbiggrin:

Theres a difference?? :smallconfused:

2015-09-04, 10:24 PM
Well then. That was different.

I agree with Blackhawk, the only adjective that I can think of to describe that is "interesting."

Theres a difference?? :smallconfused:

Hope you both continue to find it interesting / different, and valid point, Blackhawk.

I am certainly excited! When you said "time stop" I was like "this is gonna be fantastic."

I don't think I've ever been as eager to read the next instalment of a campaign journal after only one entry as I am now. Sadly, it's 2:20 am and I'm not coherent enough to come up with good wording for my praises, but pretend I said something really eloquent :smalltongue:.

Thank you!

I'm not planning on throwing things/casters over triple their average level at them regularly, but that one was the "intro boss" in the spirit of FROM games, i.e. you're supposed to die to be introduced to that particular mechanic. This campaign is going to be heavily inspired by the Dark Souls / Bloodborne games, so I'm expecting many deaths. And the mechanic I've whipped up for that is Humanity Vitae!

-Vitae:The essence of your character’s identity, quite possibly their soul. The Curse consumes Vitae, eventually reducing its victims to empty, Hollow shells.
-Choose an attribute that you feel is a defining one for your character (Intelligence for a wizard, Strength or Constitution for a barbarian as an example, you should probably pick your highest one). Your Vitae total is equal to half this attribute, rounded down. All characters begin with a Vitae score equal to their total
-When you die, 1 minute later you are reborn at the last Bonfire you attuned yourself to (or next to the Torchbearer you have attuned yourself to after they have rested for a minute) with full hit points and all of your gear, but daily abilities/spells/powers are NOT refreshed. Some creatures might be able to interfere with this, causing you to lose equipment or not be reborn with full hit points
-You lose one Vitae point when you are reborn
-As you lose Vitae, your body and mind begin to degrade and break down. You look more and more like a walking (burnt) corpse, and you lose your memory and identity. Eventually, everything that made you, you, is burnt away.
-When you reach 0 Vitae, you are nearly Hollow. You gain the undead subtype, but none of your other statistics change. If you die while in this state, your character has gone completely Hollow, and is gone forever, now a mindless soulless killing machine under the GM’s control.
-You can regain Vitae through defeating powerful monsters, other Cursed individuals, or sometimes find it in a rare crystallized form
-There may be side effects to having too much Vitae…
-As characters become more powerful and learn more of Artaith and the Curse, new abilities involving Vitae may be revealed…

If I remember correctly, everyone chose their highest stat (Angelena-Wisdom, Janath-Charisma, Puck-Strength, Sammael-Wisdom, Sona-Charisma, Talvosh-Strength) so everyone has a starting score of at least 9. I'll be dropping those scores soon enough :smallamused:

Bad Wolf
2015-09-05, 02:01 PM
Interesting. I was kind of confused when everyone started dying.

2015-09-12, 12:37 PM
Two fatalities last night - any bets as to whom before the update is posted?

2015-09-12, 02:21 PM
Janath only has 8 Viatte, as his Charisma is not as high as his Dex... but his mouth does most of the work so that is why it was chosen... and he didn't die. BWAHAHAHAHAHA... long live the warlock.

2015-09-12, 03:14 PM
We switched stuff around due to scheduling and played last night instead.

Come sit by the Fire (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6GK8HhjQQE)
Our heroes all snap awake sprawled about a small crackling fire. They're on a beach (Angelena is the unlucky winner of being closest to the water and claims her prize of a face full of wave) which seems to be at the base of a cliff. There's a lighthouse at the top of the cliff, and a quick scan reveals a tunnel carved into the cliff face. Everyone takes inventory of themselves, and checks their surroundings. Beach? Check. Ocean? Check. Tiny fire that glows with magic and makes you feel surprisingly content and warm? Check. Sammael and Puck are eagle-eyed, and spot an island in the distance across the water, at least a few miles away. After a bit of discussion (and Janath creeping people out by re-binding Naberius to himself), they head into the tunnel. It's well lit, with fresh torches mounted on the walls regularly, and the tunnel curves around to a wide set of stairs leading up. Advancing up the stairs, the party opens the heavy door at the top and find themselves inside the lighthouse. Someone has turned the inside into quite a cozy little room - rugs, a table covered with food, a cheery hearth with a cooking pot hanging over it, and comfy chairs scattered about. There's a man and a woman who turn about as the party enters, and they invite everyone to sit and eat.

I imagine you're somewhat confused right now (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSdmEsnRjAI)
The twins (they have to be, for how eerily similar they appear) sit down as Talvosh happily digs in, then the rest of the party slowly joins. The two express their regrets to our heroes at their unfortunate arrival in Artaith, what with the Curse and all.

*And yes, I snapped the twins up wholecloth from Bioshock Infinite - they just worked too well for this*

The Twins manage to help shed some light on the situation while still being fairly vague, seamlessly alternating and finishing each other's sentences.

"What is this Curse?"

"A dreadful thing - You can die, but not for long. Each time you do though, you'll lose a piece of what makes you...well, you. Lose too much...and poof" *hand fluttering gesture*

"What caused it?"

"Well, if we knew that, you wouldn't be here and neither would we."

"Are you cursed?"

"No. We have unique circumstances."

"How do we cure it?"

"Again, if we knew, none of us would be here. Our suggestion is to follow the remnants of the road east and north, to the city of Logos. It's the largest city remaining on the continent, with the both the largest amount of non-Cursed, and the largest repository of knowledge around."

"How many have arrived in the past year like us? Have any managed to return to their own world?"

"...More than we'd care to count....and we're not sure."

"What's on the island in the distance?"

"The shattered remnants of a great empire, now it's a bunch of crazed sorcerers. A lack of morals and rules against inbreeding will do that."

"What are your 'unique circumstances'?"

"I'd explain it, but I don't think it would mean anything to you...it involves temporal and quantum entanglement."

There's some more going back and forth, and then the Twins present their gifts to the PCs (everyone wrote or explained their character backstory to me, so they all got a choice of experience, a point of Vitae, or a semi-random magic item). Puck takes the experience, imbibing a gleaming black fluid. Talvosh takes the item, and gains a Spool of Endless Rope. Janath takes the item, and receives a Rod of Frost. Sona takes the Vitae, and receives a small gleaming crystal that shines with an indigo light. Crushing it between her fingers, her Vitae increases by one (and she feels a disturbingly euphoric rush doing so). Sammael acquires the Lenses of Revelation, and Angelena lucks out with a 1st level Pearl of Power. Everyone fills their bag with food (and Janath grabs as many bottles of booze as he can secret away...I think he has a drinking problem). After a few final questions, the party decides to follow the Twin's advice and follow the road to Logos. Leaving the lighthouse, said road is almost entirely dirt, with fragments of stone mixed in. It follows the cliff edge, and then angles down to the shoreline.

The Journey begins!

While the party has been afflicted with a terrible curse and banished to a strange dying world, at least it's nice out. It's sunny and tropical, with jungle further inland. After about half an hour of walking, the group comes across what looks to be a fishing village. Part of it is submerged, with portions of huts poking up from the waves, and the smell of decay is strong in the air. Approaching closer, Sammael spots several figures sprawled about and on top of the first few huts. They look like horribly emaciated and burnt humans, basically walking corpses wearing tattered fragments of clothes and armor. One is repetitively banging his head against a hut wall, while the others are laying about staring at nothing. Sammael takes a moment to quaff his tinctures (basically eternal potions that function 2/day) of Enlarge person, Mage armor, and Shield then walks close enough to catch all of them in a Destroy Undead burst. Doing a big chunk of damage to all of them in a blast of silvery flame, the Hollowed scramble to their feet with a gasping shriek and attack!

The party mows quite handily through these 5 Hollowed, with charges, bull rushes, an eldritch blast, and another destroy undead burst taking care of them before they can do much damage to our heroes. Advancing further into the village while his tinctures still function, Sammael encounters two armored archers, and then a waterlogged corpse shambles out of the water to hiss hatefully at him. Immediately, Sammael has to make a con check to hold his breath as his mouth fills with seawater.
Battle! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7V-Nyn81r8)

The Drowned advances to try and catch more people in it's drowning aura, but no one fails. Janath is behind a building and can't see any targets, so he changes position. Sammael rushes towards the archers and hurts them with another destroy undead burst, and they respond by sinking a couple arrows into him, despite his currently terrifyingly high armor class. Sona benign transpositions herself and Talvosh so he's set up for a charge on the Drowned, and Puck sets up for a bull rush into the nearby building. Angelena puts out a Bless, and the nearby hut bursts open to let three Hollowed shamble out waving broken and jagged weapons. Talvosh charges!

But he forgets to declare any power attack, or to leap attack, or anything like that, so his hit is solid rather than massive. The Drowned thumps him for solid damage (they are Nasty monsters), and everyone makes their save vs drowning. Sammael plays a bit of pinball with the archers (moves towards one, the other shoots him while the first retreats out of reach), and is concerned at how fast their arrows are dropping his health. Sona and Janath grease and zap two of the Hollowed that burst out of the hut, and Talvosh smears one of them to a fine paste, nearly collapsing the hut in the process! But that allows the third Hollow to land a near max damage hit on Puck for a huge 35+ pts of damage! Angelena puts Guidance on Puck. Talvosh swings twice and does impressive damage with the one hit...but then at the top of the round he fails his con check, and falls over choking on the seawater in his lungs. The Drowned reaches down, seizes him by the throat, and brutally snaps his neck with a coup de grace.

One down.

Sammael sprints back towards the Drowned (and out of sight of the archers) while using another destroy undead), while Puck and Janath finish off the remaining two Hollowed. Angelena heals Puck up, and Sona blips herself onto a nearby roof (with her anklets of translocation) and tries a Great Thunderclap on the Drowned, which does nothing. The archers advance and manage to hit Angelena with one shot, but miss the other. The Drowned shambles towards Angelena and Janath, but there's this strange metal thing that doesn't breathe in its way...Sammael burns his last Destroy undead and cranks the damage roll, incinerating the archers. The Drowned shrugs it off with a malevolent glare, but is occupied by Puck wailing on it with his greataxe. The Drowned punishes Puck with two massive hammerblows, but everyone concentrating fire on it manages to finally bring the Drowned down before anyone else succumbs (Sammael started to, but it moved out of range to try and kill the cleric so he stabilized). All is silent except for the slap of the waves on the shore again.

Talvosh wakes up by the fire on the beach again, and is gently mocked by the Twins on his way back towards his companions. While he's hotfooting it back to the village, the group takes their time and examines the corpses and nearby huts. The Hollowed and Drowned have nothing, while the archers each had finely crafted bows and masterwork breastplates. Searching the huts, the party finds a sealed chest in one, and a tightly wrapped scroll in another. Inside the chest are 7 vials full of murky blue liquid; a ridiculous spellcraft and knowledge arcana check reveals that they're most likely potions of water breathing. Puck picks up the chest, and shaking it, starts the evening's trend of him breaking things to reveal hidden items/info. The bottom falls out of the chest, revealing several arcane and divine scrolls. Sammael opens the leather scroll case he found in the other building Secret found! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d3qCPcMgH4) and finds what seems to be a journal entry.

What a terrible place I have awoken to. If you are like me, and have arrived in this place following some nasty business involving a black mark on the hand, a bizarre dream, and an untimely death, you have my sympathies. If you are a natural inhabitant of this miserable world, my condolences. Return this scroll whence you found it, for I cannot assist you. This writing is for my fellow displaced individuals in an attempt to aid in elucidation. I will share what I have discovered of this place named “Artaith” in my writings. I will secret these away for as long as I survive and am able to, to pass on my knowledge.

After speaking with the...eccentric twins at the lighthouse, I and my companions found myself in this abandoned village. The sea is already starting to creep up to the edge of some of the buildings, slowly reclaiming it. According to what we learned, this is a brief stop on our way to Logos, one of the few remaining safe havens of civilization. As to what happens after that, I am unsure.

I am also unsure of the motivations of my enigmatic guides. Who to trust in a land of strangers? At least I have my companions with me. Gwyneryr suggested jokingly that we toss someone off the cliff to see if they were telling the truth about us being unable to stay dead for long. I think she was joking at least. We will cross that bridge when we reach it.

We were forced to slay several creatures lurking about the village last night. Hollow seems an apt name; they were as bestial shells of men, flailing and clawing with whatever they had in hand. They took an alarmingly long time to die. We will be following the remnants of the road leading East in the morning.

Vaughn of Esmerra, Adventuring Scholar

They transcribe the scroll, and replace it where they found it, for any who travel this way after them. Puck finds nothing in the third hut, and smashes it to the ground using his ridiculous dungeoncrasher bonus to doing so. This reveals the corpse lying on top of the hut! A young man, dressed in light robes and unarmed except a dagger that looks as if it's never been used, he seems incredibly out of place. That, and he obviously drowned to death despite being on top of a building. Searching the body, the party finds a strange angular crystal. No one is able to roll high enough to fully identify it other than it seems to be a catalyst of some sort, that fits into another device. Angelena's player is wiped out and heads to bed, and Sammael's has to leave as he works early the next morning, but Talvosh, Sona, Janath, and Puck decide to explore a little further before retiring. Advancing further into the village, there's the choice of going further inland, and towards what looks to be a barricade made of rubble and a set of crude gates, or more towards the water and the remains of what might have been the main docks. They manage to spot the other Drowned before it can sneak up on them though, and the fight against the lone Drowned goes much more in the party's favor. They start checking the huts around here, splitting up (but still staying pretty close). With that last fight, however, they finally got the attention of the Scrag rogue that haunts this area. He stealthily observes the party as they dismantle the Drowned, and waits. Sona is checking the building closest to the water, and he creeps up. Because Sona has Blindsense from her Draconic Sense feat, he doesn't get to creep up right behind her before attacking. But a surprise partial charge and then acting first means she takes three sneak attack claws in a row, and dies messily! The Scrag starts to drag her body towards the water for later consumption, but Janath blasts him with a Mortal-Bane blast, and then Talvosh does a max power attacking leaping charge - and the Scrag crits on his attack of opportunity.

Talvosh crits in retaliation, taking the claw across the chest in exchange for nearly cutting the Scrag's arm off entirely with a massive blow. The scrag lets out a pained howl of dismay, and withdraws into the water holding his mostly severed arm. It glares at them from the water before disappearing into the murk.

After venturing vaguely towards the gates and narrowly escaping being filled with arrows by the sharpshooters on top of the gates, the party decides to travel all the way back to the bonfire on the beach to recuperate (Sona ignored the Twins on her trek back from death).

And that's the second session!

2 :smallbiggrin:

2015-09-15, 04:32 PM
This is my kind of game! Did you make the stats for the Drowned or is it from something? I like the Drowning Aura.

EDIT: MMIII. Oh, when I DM again... :smallamused:

2015-09-15, 04:40 PM
The Drowned is from the Monster Manual 3...it is definitely nastier than the CR 8 that it's listed as because of that aura.

Glad you're liking it so far!

EDIT: Exactly, the MM3 :smallbiggrin:

2015-09-15, 10:43 PM
This is brilliant. I can't wait to see where the plot of this campaign leads too.

2015-09-16, 10:30 AM
I see someone was brave enough to ask for the back stories... you are a brave soul and I salute you lol.
Hope you enjoy them!

Red Rubber Band
2015-09-17, 09:30 PM
Really liking this so far.

Any chance you guys could quit your day jobs and play this campaign out as quick as possible? :smalltongue:

2015-09-17, 11:20 PM
Really liking this so far.

Any chance you guys could quit your day jobs and play this campaign out as quick as possible? :smalltongue:

Kickstarter or Patron? Lol

2015-09-21, 04:16 PM
Someone asked for back stories... do they know the PAGES of stuff they are going to have to slog though... And how dark some of it is? Good on the person who does, it will definitely be entertaining, but some of it is rather ... bleak (would be putting it mildly).

2015-09-21, 04:26 PM
do they know the PAGES of stuff they are going to have to slog though...

After seeing 33 pages for only the first part of Sona's backstory, they probably got a rough idea.

Red Rubber Band
2015-09-21, 06:47 PM
Someone asked for back stories... do they know the PAGES of stuff they are going to have to slog though... And how dark some of it is? Good on the person who does, it will definitely be entertaining, but some of it is rather ... bleak (would be putting it mildly).

After seeing 33 pages for only the first part of Sona's backstory, they probably got a rough idea.

Makes me want to read them now :smallbiggrin:

The party member with the least baggage in my group is a sociopathic murderer* who is planning deicide (of their own god, not someone else's) and a war that will almost certainly end in the utter destruction of their race. I feel that we would game well together :smalltongue:

* I feel that having to point an adventurer out as a murderer to distinguish themselves from other adventurers should clarify exactly what kind of person they are.

2015-09-22, 12:13 AM
Sent the links to you in a PM, Red Rubber Band. As for the copious quantity, it is the product of 4 people writing back and forth together for 8 months or so for fun.

And thank you for the kind words, everyone!

2015-09-23, 09:13 PM
The Lutece twins.....


...you evil evil genius.

2015-09-27, 05:06 PM
Session the Third!

The party had retreated to the Fire on the beach at the end of last session to rest (or in Puck's case, repair himself). I allow a bit of retroactive changes (Puck had excess money, I let him snag a single Clockwork Mender that can repair him for 1d8 per day, and change a feat around, Talvosh didn't realize how badly full plate would hinder jump checks so I let him convert it into light armor). The night passes swiftly, and with Angelena burning the rest of her cure spells before falling asleep + a solid repair check from Puck + the increased healing effects from sleeping at the Fire, everyone is mostly topped up come morning.

Returning to the village, the group reaches the point where they could check out the (mostly) submerged remnants of the docks, or advance further inland towards a tall wall and heavy gates bisecting the village. Despite Sona's paranoia and muttered threats regarding something large and scaly in the water somewhere :smallbiggrin:, they decide to check out the gates and wall.

Carefully observing from behind several of the huts that remain standing, the wall is pretty solid looking, around 20 feet tall and made of sharpened logs lashed and reinforced together. There's a big set of doors in view...but there's also two of those archers walking back and forth along the parapet (who roll horribly to notice anything). After debate and buffing (Sammael and Puck both quaff the tincture of Enlarge, Angelena puts Darkness on a rock that Puck wedges into his armor plate, and everyone decides to storm the gates!
Charge! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujsCRw-eA0o)

One of the archers is fast to react and sinks an arrow into Puck's shoulder (I roll a natural 20 for the first attack of the night, but Puck took the Improved Fortification feat), but misses with the other 2 shots. Talvosh dashes to the next closest building for cover, while Sona zips a Glitterdust at the second archer. I roll an 18 on his Will however. Sammael holds back and misses a bowshot at one of the archers (yay cover), preparing to use his ludicrous speed to rush to the door as soon as Puck hits it. Janath makes himself a clever little sniper bunker from inside one of the huts, but rolls poorly. Puck starts the pain train, and slogs inexorably towards the gate, while Angelena sidles up and puts out a Mass Aid. The archers continue shooting, and I hurt Puck a bit more, but not as much as I should due to the darkness shrouding him. Talvosh makes it to the gate (and being right under the gates makes it very difficult for him to be shot), and Sona Magic Missiles an archer. Puck makes it to the gates, and beats the DC 32 to Kool-Aid Man the gates wide open! Sammael rushes up next to Puck, and they both see inside the gates:

It's a broad open area, almost an arena. Almost half of it is covered by water, not even the thick walls can keep the ocean out it seems. There's a broad stone platform with a large fire blazing behind it (that must be the source of the smoke they saw earlier). On the platform are four large iron bowls with fires burning inside them, and in the middle is a massive stone seat. On said seat is a Giant armored figure, 12 feet tall easily. It looks up inquisitively as Puck bursts the door open, and stands with the squeal of metal on metal!

Dun dun dun (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0VCujqlxGc)
Angelena starts heading for the gate, and the archers take some pot shots at Sona and Angelena (since they can't easily see the three at/inside the gates). Talvosh charges the giant with a raging max Power attack Leap attack! And notices too late that the giant is holding onto a thick chain. The massive boat anchor & chain, glowing a sullen red from sitting in the large fire, lashes out and smashes Talvosh out of the air and to the ground!

It's a large spiked chain, but I just loved the image of a big anchor being whipped around with a giant chain.

Sona throws a Greater Thunderclap above the gate and clips both archers, who both fail their save and fall over. One in fact fails so badly that he slips right off the parapet and crashes to the ground! Unfortunately, that makes Janath's sniper position useless, so he starts heading out of the hut and towards the gate. The giant kicks the one brazier over, spilling the burning oil all over the water and igniting it (effectively cutting off that side of the area), then brings the anchor howling downwards with a maximum Power attack to crush Talvosh into a bloody mess! Buuutt I roll a 2 and Talvosh frantically rolls to the side. Sammael surges forward, mobility keeping him safe from the lashing chain, and rolls a natural 20 with a Smiting scythe slash. Thankfully he doesn't confirm, and he opens a cut down the giant's back. Puck can't reach the giant, so he rushes the hapless archer on the ground and smears him all over the wall. Two more archers start making their way from the other side of the fort, but they don't make it close enough to get a clear shot. Angelena double moves and just makes it close enough to save Talvosh with a Quickened Cure. Talvosh, Sammael, and Puck all manage to surround the giant, and while Talvosh and Sammael distract him with heavy blows, Puck succeeds on a Sunder and nearly cuts through the chain. Eep! It's still in one piece thankfully, and the giant cranks all three of them. Sona finally starts heading for the gate - she's separated from the herd, but I don't roll the required % for the Scrag Rogue to notice and start stalking her :smalltongue:. Janath starts sniping back and forth with the archers. Finally everyone's made it into the compound, with spells and arrows flying everywhere.

Then Puck crits with his greataxe for a BIG hit. "Oh, almost forgot my second attack." And rolls a natural 20 - again! Two power attacking greataxe criticals finish the giant off with over 130 points of damage between the two hits. The first blow shears through the giant's stomach plate, and as he drops to a knee, the second takes him in the neck and nearly decapitates him. The archers make a valiant effort to avenge their leader! I drop Puck to less than 10 hit points, Talvosh is looking low, Angelena has to use almost every spell slot, Sammael is out of smites, and Sona uses a good chunk of her slots, but they finish off the archers and overcome the boss fight with no deaths.

Next time, Gadget!

The party spots the heavy chest hidden inside the fire behind the giant's seat, and Janath puts the fire out with his Rod of Frost. They luck out, and inside the chest they find a Rod of Bodily Restoration, a jar with 3 ounces of Stone Salve, an Oil of Magic Vestment +3, and a crystal of Lesser Aquatic Action. They also notice a dark glittering cloud above the giant's corpse, and after some "debate" Sona claims the point of Vitae. Unbarring the far gate, the party continues onwards and find a second Fire set in a little clearing in the forest. It's mid-day by now, but everyone is so spent and wounded that everyone makes camp around the Fire immediately until the next day. Attuning to the Fire, everyone notices that it is alarmingly easy to lose track of time and just drift off while they sit around the fire. The group rests (Puck repairs a big chunk thanks to a Guidance of the Avatar from Angelena) and the day and night passes with little incident. The Scrag had been watching them, but a botched move silently forces him to retreat early in the evening...

Continuing onwards and further inland, the jungle quickly thickens and surrounds both sides of the road. After nearly a full day of travel, they spot a trail leading off the remnants of the road, and Sammael spots fresh human tracks going down it. Investigating further, the group follows the trail for around half an hour, until it leads to a clearing. Inside the clearing is a walled compound...with two massive crossbows mounted on the walls that point menacingly in the party's direction as soon as they come into sight.

"Move on, strangers. We've nothing worth taking, and want nothing to do with you!"

Janath however manages to smooth talk his way into the group being allowed to share dinner, camp outside the compound, and trade in the morning (got them from unfriendly to friendly, not quite helpful). The spokesperson introduces himself as Andrej, and after the group swears they mean no harm (and strangely enough, that none of them use fire magic), the gate opens and they're invited in for dinner. Introducing themselves to the travelers, all the compound comes out. There's Andrej (a larger man), Bogdan (an even larger man, entirely hairless), Radovan (a long-haired bearded man in robes), Malina and Teodora (two outdoorsy looking hunters that look close enough to be sisters), and Anja (a harsh looking woman in dark leather armor). Sammael spots a small figure wrapped in bandages duck out of sight into one of the buildings. The group had also noticed that the front of the compound had recently been repaired, and still had scorch and burn marks. Acting on a hunch, Sammael and Angelena offer healing to the burnt person hiding in the back. Turns out it's Andrej's son, Zivko. Hesitantly, the young boy (covered nearly head to toe in bandages), shuffles out. A heal check reveals that while his health isn't bad, he's been burnt so badly that he's suffered dexterity damage. Using the rod of bodily restoration, they heal the boy. Tearfully, Andrej invites the group to stay inside the compound for the night, and promises to answer any questions they have.

Dinner is a hearty stew, and Andrej and Radovan answer questions as best as they can as the evening passes. It's a pretty bleak picture that's painted - they've seen dozens of travelers go on pilgrimage to Logos, and scant few are seen again. It's also about a month's travel on foot to Logos. The Curse has been spreading for years, possibly decades, and unlike more strong-willed individuals (i.e. adventurers/PCs), the Curse can consume someone in a matter of days sometimes. The harsh woman (Anja) is surprised at Puck's presence, and Radovan strangely enough seems to recognize him, calling him a Forged and asking what he's doing so far from Logos. Digging for more info, it seems the Forged are the protectors of Logos, Divine creations of the patron goddess of the city, Thelesis. The topic shifts towards deities, and the group gets a quick introduction to the pantheon of Artaith. As they are described, Janath connects them to the 6 statues they found in the underground temple.

Adremmalach, the Lord of Magic, Sunlight, and Strength, the King of the Gods (the imperious man with hands wreathed in flame)

Thelesis, the Lady of Wizardry, Knowledge, and Thievery (the clever looking woman with a dagger and scroll)

Uthra, the Gentle Mother and Shepherd at the end of the Road (the hooded and robed figure that Sammael felt such familiarity with)

Rhamiel, the Rake (the debauched looking young man)

Valeos, the Guardian (the armored figure)

Anael, the Watcher (the androgynous statue holding the lantern)

Radovan also implies that he thinks the twins at the lighthouse are servants of Anael, but lets slip that he hasn't seen a priest of any of these gods in years.

Sona also does a bit of digging, and finds out that the person responsible for burning Zivko (and nearly the whole compound) was a sorceress with fiery red hair and an even more fiery disposition...someone she knew from the past. A violent and cruel woman named Jezelle, who Sona had encountered when they were both trying to discover exactly what the Curse was. The incident was a few weeks ago, apparently Jezelle was wounded and lashed out when Andrej refused to let her in. She nearly burnt the whole place down before they managed to drive her off. Radovan promises to try and make a rough map for the group in the morning, but before he retires for the evening, hands them a sealed leather scroll case.

Baltan died today. What we thought was a corpse on the road jumped up and cut his throat, and nearly sawed right through his neck before we killed the thing. By then, Baltan was too far gone to save. Still not fully believing what we had been told, we headed back through the village, and back to the bonfire. Baltan met us halfway through the village, seemingly no worse for wear. He said he felt fine, at least.

We burst back into the lighthouse, demanding more information. We were told of a ritual to allow someone to tie themselves to a Bonfire, to become a Torchbearer and carry a part of the fire with them. More inclined to believe the cryptic twins now, we returned to the fire and performed the ritual on me (all agreed I was the best choice).

It felt horrible. However brief, the sensation of burning alive is not something I ever wished to know. After that flash, though, I just felt warm. There was a nagging feeling of having lost something in the ritual, though. I asked Baltan about it later that night, when everyone else was asleep. He agreed, that after “dying” it had felt like a bit of him was missing.

Let us hope we don’t find out what might happen when someone dies too many times.

I have included the steps to the ritual below:

The Torchbearer must gather a drop of blood from each of their companions, along with a small piece of hair (or skin I suppose if you are gruesome or your companion bald). Collect all of this into a cloth, and tie it tightly. The Torchbearer must then grip the cloth in their fist and squeeze as tightly as possible. Committing your companions to memory and holding them in their mind, the Torchbearer must then thrust their hand (holding the cloth) into the Fire, and let go of the image in their mind. It will not burn, though it is not pleasant.

Thus is a Torchbearer anointed.

We end the session there, the trading of goods will happen in the morning. Puck levels up to 7 (he's ahead of everyone else due to taking the gift of xp at the beginning).

DEATH COUNT: Still at 2, alas.

2015-09-27, 07:21 PM
Puzzle has installed some very real paranoia in me/Sona during the game. Thank goodness for a cranked out listen skill to try and keep ahead of the nasty Scrag who I assume in time is going to get himself a name and story at this rate. FML.


2015-09-27, 08:04 PM
This just gets better and better. Could you please send me a link to the various backstories?

2015-09-27, 10:29 PM
Thanks again, Blackhawk and Masterkerfuffle (and the links are sent).

And Picanet:


2015-10-02, 12:23 AM
[QUOTE=Picanet;19879675]Puzzle has installed some very real paranoia in me/Sona during the game. Thank goodness for a cranked out listen skill to try and keep ahead of the nasty Scrag who I assume in time is going to get himself a name and story at this rate. FML. [quote]

I offered the GM, Viate, if he would bring the Scrag back in while we were all doing our damnedest to fight the boss... A wet hand slowly creeping around Sona's necks and got turned down. No love for the Lock.

2015-10-02, 09:12 PM
No love for any of the PCs, for I am a cruel and capricious Overlord.

And now theme songs! Some of the players have given me their selections, but the rest will have to suffer with my amusingly inappropriate choices until they choose their own. Then and only then will I change it.


Angelena:(GM's choice)
Sonne (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkuY_qDoVrI)

Janath:(Player's choice)
Please allow me to introduce myself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBecM3CQVD8)

Puck:( Player's choice; Reassuring, no?)
Dun-dun Dun Da-Dun (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XblVVbqIHU)

Sammael: (Player's choice)
Caught by the Light (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ekz-9IAooDk")

Sona:(Player's choice)
Storm Song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEXwpBoIq_Q)

Talvosh:(GM's choice)
Here comes the... (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqWZqQXk_Ao)

Edit: A player chose a song! Huzzah!
Edit the 2nd: Another one!

2015-10-02, 10:53 PM
And we have a painted mini, courtesy of Puck's player:


2015-10-04, 10:09 AM
Dangit, I'm going to be checking back every single day now to this thread, just to see if there's an update. :D
I love it so far.

2015-10-04, 06:30 PM
Glad you're liking it Prismcat21! We play every second Saturday (so next game is this coming Saturday), but there'll normally be other stuff posted occasionally.

And another mini is complete! Here's Talvosh (and Talvosh's axe):


2015-10-05, 03:52 PM
Sweet Mother of Orcus!!
He's Gruesome. :D

2015-10-08, 09:13 PM
And we've got some more painted minis, because Puck's player is silly fast and talented!





And a group shot!


EDIT: Sammael is complete and added! I'll add a full group shot once I've got it.

2015-10-11, 02:14 PM
Session the Fourth!

The trading in the morning goes smoothly, with Radovan revealing an assortment of scrolls and a wand that they've scrounged up. It's a near empty wand of Blur, and scrolls of Righteous Might, Rainbow Pattern, Summon Monster III, Cure Serious Wounds (curiously as a bard spell), and two others that I've completely spaced on (the group happily trades the weapons and armor they've been dragging around for the scrolls, the wand, and a wheelbarrow). Radovan also finds two sooty and burnt (but still legible) maps! One is half of what looks like a world map, and the other is a rough layout of the jungle. Going over the forest, Radovan warns that Whip Panthers are quite common in multiple areas of the jungle, while dinosaurs tend to stay closer to shore. There's a ruined fortress by the river that bisects the jungle, and he's fairly certain that there is a Bonfire there.

The other piece of info (and the reason they don't go further than within several days of their camp, and NEVER across the river), is that a large green flying creature has been spotted north of the river - most likely a dragon.

Puck wanders the small compound while the trading is going on, and awkwardly chats with one of the hunters (Teodora). She mentions to look out for blue ribbons in the jungle, as they mark traps the hunters have set (giving a +10 to spot said traps). He also notices the young boy, Zivko, peeking from the upper walkway, and climbs up to confront him.

Puck: "What are you staring at, boy?"
Zivko: "...You're really big."
Puck: "And you were burnt before. *grabs arm* You seem fine now."
Zivko:"...Do you kill people?"
Puck:"Would it bother you if we said yes?"

Zivko rummages in a pouch, and pulls out a drawing. It's a surprisingly detailed face sketch of a pretty young woman...or she would be pretty if not for the cruel expression across her face. Zivko solemnly hands Puck the sketch, a distinctly non-childish expression on his face.

Zivko: "If you see this woman, the one who burned me and tried to burn our home...will you kill her?" Unsurprisingly, Puck agrees to the request, and tromps off to the group with the kill bounty, and the sketch of Jezelle. Meeting back up, the group is thanked profusely again by Andrej, and they set out again into the jungle.

Ambience (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwWMcOcplKk)
The party debates for a while whether to press forward, or travel back the day or so to the last Bonfire they attuned to and perform the Torchbearer ritual. They decide for bigger risk/bigger reward, and press forward. The first day of travel passes uneventfully, but during the night, there is the sound of drumming, far off to the northeast for several hours. It's incredibly faint, but it must be a massive drum to be heard at all at this distance. Also, this is the first night that isn't overcast and cloudy, and the moon is clearly visible.

The large, burning moon. It's as if there is an eclipse, with a ring of sullen flame enveloping the moon and brightening the night. Looking at the black Marks on the back of their hands, there is an eerie similarity.

The next day of travel through the increasingly dense jungle goes smoothly as well, the remnants of the road having become a well used game trail from the looks of it. The dirt has numerous tracks and marks on it. In the evening, the drumming is heard again, on and off throughout the night. In the morning, Sona finally makes the (not particularly difficult) Intelligence check to use the scale on the map to estimate how far from the ruins they are. It looks like another three days of travel or so, one without the benefit of the old road.

Mid-day, the random encounter gods are no longer pleased with the party, and they are ambushed by a pack of Megaraptors. They rush out of the bushes with a screech and tear into Sammael, Talvosh, Puck, and Janath!

Clever Girl (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSe4oXluWrc)

Unlike piddly normal Deinonychus, Megaraptors actually have an impressive damage output, and they lay into the group pretty quickly. Sammael fights back, but is taking far more damage than he's dealing out, and goes to pull back towards the rest of the group. Unfortunately, he didn't quaff his defensive tinctures (what with being ambushed and all), so his AC is not high enough to protect him from the attack of opportunity (even with Mobility). The Megaraptor gashes him across the midsection and he drops. The party tries to fight free of the other raptors, but can't get close enough before the raptor savages the helpless Sammael, killing him. The party takes out the Megaraptors without any further casualties, but not without getting bloodied in the process. The stench of blood is heavy in the air, and the party quickly decides to make the half-day trip back to where they made camp and rest back there, hoping Sammael will be able to catch up quickly.

Seeing as how Sammael's land speed is 50 ft/ rnd, and he has a high Con score, he arrives at the camp site only a couple hours after the rest of the party, what would be an utterly punishing pace for anyone else a moderate jog for him. As the party is still kind of beat up, the group makes camp for the night.

By the time the party reaches the spot where they were attacked, there is nothing left of the Megaraptor corpses but bloodstains and drag marks. Shortly afterwards, the whole party gets the hair-raising sensation of something watching the group from the undergrowth. Once or twice, they catch glimpse of dark forms prowling out of view again, but no solid spottings. A knowledge (Arcana) check reveals that Whip Panthers are most likely Displacer Beasts, magical feline predators with barbed tentacles, a natural light-bending displacement power, and a bloodthirsty disposition that makes them kill for pleasure as much as sustenance. The feeling of being stalked continues for most of the day, and the party finally reaches the break in the road the map warned of in the evening. There seems to be a glade just off the road, and what looks like a clean grotto. However, Sammael spots a flash of blue, and looks closer to spot the very large log studded with numerous spikes hanging from vines. It's set up to give a very quick and brutal greeting to anyone who wants to claim the water for their own, so the group decides instead to make a (large) fire at the end of the road for camp. They've just managed to pile the logs and start the fire (Eldritch Glaive and 2 big freaking axes make super efficient lumberjacks) when the sensation of being watched returns in force, and eyes gleam in the jungle.

Large, feline eyes (the party gets 2 rounds to make stealthy preparations, either buffs or sidling in one direction slowly - Puck gets enlarged, AC enhancements go up, and Janath drops a cloud of mist). Then with a spine rumbling growl, an absolutely massive Displacer Beast prowls onto the road. It's Huge (as in the size category), easily 10 feet high at the shoulders. It's even more hideous than others, with bone plates and spurs jutting and bulging out from its ebony skin, and massive tentacles whip-cracking back and forth. As everyone squares off, the large beast lets out a dull coughing roar!

Fight Music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl5L5uH-Yq0)
The Twisted Displacer Beast (who is a Dire Spellwarped Displacer Beast:smallbiggrin:) goes first and smacks Puck. Puck almost manages to trip the Twist-beast (alarming!), and Talvosh misses his attack. The 3 other displacer beasts rush out of the woods, and Janath gets hit (while Sammael deflects the blows aimed at him). The miss chances are flying fast and furious, with the displacer beasts 50% miss, the 20% or 50% from obscuring mist, and Sona's Blur spell.

The Twist beast goes again, and lays into Puck and Talvosh! The third Displacer beast also sneaks up and smacks Puck as him and Talvosh lands a couple hits, while the other two keep advancing and flailing at the tightly packed quartet of Sona/Janath/Sammael/Angelena as they slowly shuffle away. Janath lashes out with his Eldritch glaive, Sona deflects some things with Wings of Cover, and then Angelena tries to hit the Twist-beast with a Doom.

She fails the Spell Resistance, and the Twist-Beast's strength increases further! Things are looking a little tense...the battle rages on, with the Twist-Beast hurting Puck more and dropping Talvosh to single digit hit points. The Twist-beast is down to 90 hp after Puck's last two hits, and then Talvosh rolls a natural 20.

And confirms :smalleek: to deal 90 points of damage, decapitating the Twist-Beast on the spot. Curse you, x3 crits! There's a bit more skirmishing, and one displacer beast bites it before the other two are wounded enough that they flee into the jungle. Angelena uses every single spell she has remaining for healing, and Sammael skins the Twist-Beast as the group makes camp to recuperate.

During the night, Puck notices something strange. One of the jungle birds, a larger looking parrot, is sitting at the edge of the firelight, staring. He throws a rock, thwacking it, and it doesn't move. Pointing it out to Sammael, the paladin peers closely at the eerie parrot. It's undead, so Sammael rushes up and destroys it with a flash of divine turning.

Several moments later, the drums start again. Boom Boom Boom (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzb8zN9AbmM)

The travelling is harder going without the road, but they make it to the ruins of the fortress by the end of the day. It looks like it was quite a stout little castle in the past, but all that remains now is part of a wall, and a single tower. Moving closer, the group discovers a new ability - they make an ability check using whichever trait they chose for their Vitae score. Passing the check, they can feel a tugging sensation towards the tower. The iron gate blocking the door has been sliced open cleanly, and it's a simple matter of stepping over. Going up the stairs, they find a Bonfire...and a lone stranger.

His name is Drokon, and the party settles down after a bit of nervous chatting. Drokon has been here for months, but it seems he hasn't been travelling in any particular direction, or with any sense of urgency. He traveled north along the shoreline, and then gradually cut east through the jungle to end up here. He seems quite self-assured (Puck and Talvosh get the vibe of a trained warrior off him), but he's not particularly ambitious seeming. He hasn't heard of or seen anyone resembling Jezelle, however. He does seem quite interested in everyone's goals and motivations. After some more discussion, Drokon shares his knowledge of a new ability using Vitae:

"Center yourself. Focus inwards, upon your heartbeat. Now focus on the space between the heartbeats, the absence, the void. That is the Curse. That is the strand winding through you. Now reach, and pull from that absence within yourself. You can strengthen your flesh, at the cost of your spirit."

The party now has the ability to heal using Vitae. As a standard action, they can burn a point of Vitae to recover all their HP.

With that, we call it a night. Everyone else levels up to 7


2015-10-14, 02:59 AM
Ahhh, that jungle boogie. *bangs drums while chanting*

Excellent to see another campaign journal on these fine forums... particularly a dark-souls inspired one. Just mentioning that immediately makes my mental image twice as twisted, which is pretty great. :smallcool:

2015-10-24, 12:42 AM
Hope that twisted mental image brings a grin to your face, Doorhandle!

Game tomorrow night, and I think I'm all prepped for multiple choices on the part of my test subjects!

http://www.quickmeme.com/img/80/800c432b4e5721131a11d9b4200ab5bda181e51c259c769fdc fbfde71be13163.jpg

2015-10-25, 04:03 PM
The fifth session, and no one has thrown anything at me yet, so I'm taking it as a success :smallbiggrin:

Drokon departs in the very early morning, before dawn. Wishing the party well, he ambles off towards the northwest. I'm certain that is the last we'll ever see of this fellow.


The group goes over the map, and decides that first they're going to check out whatever's in the hatch leading below this tower, and then they're going to follow the river east and check out the tiny islands in the river. The hatch is sealed with a heavy lock and chain, but it's no match for Puck. Heaving the hatch open, a narrow staircase leads down into darkness. Puck and Talvosh go down first (which plays perfectly into my plans, mwaha) and tromp down the stairs. It curves around tightly after just a few feet, and ends abruptly around the corner - the rest of the stairs seem to have collapsed. And just then the combined weight of the two largest characters pushes the barely-holding-together stones past their tipping point. Puck and Talvosh fail their reflex saves and go tumbling into the black amid a groaning shower of stones! Crashing to the ground, the two find themselves in what seems to have been a storage room - or possibly a prison. They peer about in the cloud of dust stirred up by the impact of their landing (and the stone might have contributed also), while Janath floats partway down the 30 ft drop and starts to light a torch. Hearing a crunching at their feet, Talvosh and Puck notice that there are a lot of bones beneath them. Bones, and ashes. Talvosh is the only one who makes his Spot check, and notices that in the flickering uncertain light, there is one more shadow than there should be.

He's the only one not surprised when the four shadows and a greater shadow surge out of the walls and floor! Puck only takes one point of strength damage, I miss Talvosh somehow, but Janath gets nailed by the greater shadow and another shadow for 8 Str damage total in the surprise round...Talvosh's return swing whiffs harmlessly through a shadow. Sammael and Angelena were preparing to lower Angelena down, so Sammael is able to evaporate the one shadow floating next to Janath with his destroy undead (and hurt the greater shadow). The greater shadow then wraps its dark fingers around Janath's heart and hits him with another 7 strength damage, killing him instantly. As his body crumples to the ground, his shadow rises up, horribly animate! Talvosh and Puck make their incorporeal miss chances and pop several of the shadows, Puck takes some more strength damage in return (many jokes and threats are made due to it being "Janath's" shadow that hits Puck), and then Angelena is up. Leaning fearlessly over the edge, she unleashes a Greater turn undead. The entire room is bathed in blazing sunlight, and every remaining shadow is blasted instantly into nothingness.

A moment later, Janath is reborn a few feet away from Angelena, with his strength returned to 1. Life is just a little bit of pain for poor Janath at the moment, but a max blast from the Rod of Bodily Restoration puts him back up to max strength. Sammael and Angelena descend into the pit, while Sona and Janath decide they're having none of that creepy place and chill out topside. Searching the room, Angelena and Puck discover several things:
1) there's at least 4 bodies worth of bones strewn about the ash and stone
2)there's a collapsed passage in the one corner - There's a skeletal hand poking out from the rock, and Puck finds a black gleaming ring (a ring of protection +2)
3) in the other corner, Angelena finds a bunch of scrapes and gouges on the wall...and a fingernail fragment embedded in the stone, with a message carved into the rock:
So cold
So cold
So dark
So hungry
Let us out

Puck decides to try and dig out the passageway, and manages to open a small tunnel in the top part of the hallway without collapsing the whole thing. The opening is too small for anyone wearing armor - Sona, Sammael, or Janath would be able to fit carefully. Peering in with a torch, Sammael can see a small room, and a small crate in the corner. He also see the cracks spiderwebbing all down the sides of the hallway, and can hear the ominous groan of the stone shifting. He asks Janath if he can come down to use his Haversack so Sammael can slip in and out quickly with whatever's in the room. Instead of a Janath, the backpack soars down with a thud.

Ever so carefully, Sammael shimmies his way through. The hallway doesn't collapse and insta-kill him, yay! Digging through the box, he finds rotten cloth, a ruined set of leather armor...and a heavy metallic brick. Scrubbing the caked on dirt and grime away, the gleam of gold shines through. Sammael wriggles his way back through, and I collapse the tunnel out of a sense of dramatic timing. Scrambling back out of the tunnel, they examine the brick more closely. It's got a reddish hint to it; not rose gold, more the edges of of the brick shines red. None of the heroes have the appropriate skills to understand what it is other than unusual-seeming gold. My smug know-it-all-grin peeks out eeeever so slightly.

Travelling further down the river, the group keeps a low profile - so I don't roll the required % for the dragon to spot them *overdramatic sigh*. They do however encounter a gigantic crocodile sunning on the shoreline, and against Angelena's vote, kite and demolish the Croc after it manages to bite Talvosh once. Puck becomes convinced that there's something inside the crocodile, and splits it open. The gore flows down the river, and everyone unanimously votes that Puck has to wash himself off in the river before continuing onwards. Janath does some scouting up in the air, and notices a huge tree (double the height of the surrounding jungle) around a day to the north across the river...that's roughly in the direction of where they think the drumming has been coming from.

The river's widened quite a bit by this point, and the group lashes together a makeshift raft. Puck takes hold of some rope, and drags the raft across to the small spit of land in the center of the river. The drumming (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzb8zN9AbmM) starts up again at this point, louder now that they're closer than before. The drumming continues even as they hop to the slightly larger island and decide to make camp until the next morning. There's about 100 feet of river between them and the north shore, but those on watch notice something slightly unnerving across the river. There's a least a dozen of those parrots and other animals sitting at the shore/perched in the trees at the edge of the water. Not moving, not making noise, not breathing. Just watching. Janath takes aim and burns several of them up, and the remaining ones shuffle further into cover. Their eyes still shine in the light, unblinking.

After a not overly restful night, the group has had enough of that damnable drumming, and decides to head north towards the big tree Janath spotted and see what they can discover. Puck tromps into the river again, pushing against the lazy but massive current and tugs the raft along with him. As soon as the party steps foot onto the northern shore, the drumming stops. So do any ambient animal noises. The only noise is their own breathing, and the faint gurgle of the river. Girding their loins, they head north.

The jungle is much wetter, almost marsh-like, and everyone is thoroughly soaked and miserable by mid-day. Sammael and Angelena are intensely uncomfortable in these woods, like someone's brushing the back of their neck constantly. A zombie monkey goofs up his one job and rolls a 2 on his hide, and Sammael puts an arrow through his neck, but the sensation is even stronger by late afternoon. Sammael uses his Detect Evil on a hunch, and nearly blows a blood vessel as he staggers backwards.

The whole jungle is desecrated. The soil itself reeks of undeath and darkness. The party decides to keep going (Sammael votes along with Talvosh to just try and burn the whole jungle down at this point), and everyone starts catching glimpses of figures out of the corners of their eyes, flickers of movement behind trees. Finally, at dusk, firelight fills a large clearing ahead. Creeping ahead, Sammael peers through the jungle carefully.

It's a large dirt clearing, with a crackling fire (not the special kind) at the base of a ridiculously large Mangrove tree. Dozens of bodies hang from the tree, or are nailed to the branches and roots, or are sprawled about the base of the tree. There's quite possibly a hundred bodies strewn about. 20 feet up the massive mangrove there's a broad flat platform...with a giant drum mounted on it. One of the hooded figures rolls a natural 20 on his listen, and catches a noise.

"Who's that? Do we have...guests?"

Sammael steps into the clearing, and everyone else follows behind. Another hooded figure steps into view, and cheerfully hisses out a greeting in the stereotypically "evil" voice. Sammael gets close enough to use his Lenses of Revelation, and woooww. Both hooded figures are undead, as are almost every body hanging off the tree. A third figure steps up into view.

"Well, hello! You must be the ones who have made so much noise in the forest lately. Have you come to admire my art?"

Angelena: "You did this? Your...art?!"
Totally not a necromancer: "Why, yes! Did you like it?"

Aaand Sammael pushes past Janath to start climbing the roots with violence on his mind. Initiative!


Sammael makes it partway up the roots, while Angelena casts Air Walk on Puck, who makes it partway up to the platform. Sona zaps a Greater Thunderclap, and the Totally-not-a-necromancer is Stunned (the two undead figures are fine). Undead Drums starts the beat!
Boom boom boom! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Tipnch3AVU)

Janath flies up and tries to Shatter the drum, but it is magical and about 10ft long by 6 ft across. Undead Vocals steps up and lets out a Horrific Shriek, causing strength and dexterity damage to a large chunk of the party. Then the bodies hanging off the tree drop down, many of them still wearing the remnants of the nooses, and stand up from the ground. The one Mob of ghouls gets charged by Talvosh, who deals an absolutely hideous amount of damage to them, and the other horde of undead shambles towards Angelena. Puck makes it to the platform, and I realize the error of the three baddies standing close to each other on a small platform. Vocals spends most of the rest of the fight being smashed to her bony posterior and shoved to the ground by Puck, while an enraged Sammael blasts Destroy undead attempts at them and hacks at them with his scythe. The dread necromancer does manage to hit Talvosh, Janath, and Sammael with a Wave of Exhaustion at least. This plus the strength damage taken previously drops Janath to 0 strength. We rule that his fell flight is mental however, so he feebly floats towards Angelena.

The ghouls and Talvosh tear into each other, but him plus Sona throwing out blasts of electricity manages to put the one mob down. The other horde claws and bites at Angelena, and she attempts to smite them in Pelor's name with a Greater Turning. A poor roll plus the desecration of the area (and that mobs are 30HD worth each) prevents them from being sublimated though. The Dread necromancer is about to try and hit Sammael with a Fell Draining vampiric touch when Puck interrupts and sends him crashing into Drums, stopping the beat. A negative energy blast prevents the necromancer from dying, but that clues Sammael into a weakness. He sears the necromancer with his Lay on Hands (who has tomb-tainted soul), and then Puck chops his head off. Sona saves Angelena from being mobbed, and her and Talvosh. The ghouls pry Talvosh's axe away in a grapple, so he starts pulping ghoul heads with heavy punches. He's down to 3 hit points before Sona's magic missiles, Angelena's [I]Searing Light and Deific Vengeance, and his max-power attacking punches put down the other mob. Drums and vocals try to make a run for it! But Sammael chases Drums down and cuts him apart, while Puck does a flying bodyslam from the platform and utterly pulverizes Vocals. Our heroes pull through with no casualties, but a LOT of ability damage and general pain. The two priestly sorts can already feel the aura of desecration starting to lift somewhat.

We'll see if they have the chutzpah to sleep in the clearing...

Session complete!


2015-10-25, 04:42 PM
You're still an ass. ;)

2015-10-25, 05:07 PM
Slander! Baseless, unprovoked slander, I say!

Note to self; increase frequency of Wisdom eating monsters.

2015-10-25, 08:38 PM
Note to self; increase frequency of Wisdom eating monsters.

Thanks for proving the point... ;)

2015-10-29, 11:04 PM
A player finally chose a theme song for their character, edited the theme song post appropriately.

And I had forgotten about this clip from Shrek, but it sums up my DMing this game far too accurately:


2015-10-29, 11:25 PM
May die? MAY DIE?!
All of us will die! At least once, just to earn the achievement and see the black bar and red writing flash before our eyes.

2015-10-30, 12:09 AM
I'm still greatly enjoying this. :smallsmile:

2015-10-30, 03:17 PM
Yeaaaahh.... this is just going to keep bouncing around in my head until i incorporate some of it into my game the next couple of weeks. :)
Keep up the great game. :D

2015-10-30, 09:09 PM
Thanks, tgva8889 and PrismCat21, glad you're enjoying it!

Lemme know what you spring on your players, PrismCat. I may counter-incorporate :smallbiggrin:

2015-11-08, 03:54 PM
You are Session Six. No Janath tonight due to family stuff, so he is in silent follow mode (he's still there with the party, just in the background)

We pick back up right after the party defeated the necromancer and his malevolently musical minions!

Drums, Vocals, and the necromancer's remains are looted, and the party scores themselves some finely crafted (and incredibly light) chainmail, along with some other magic items. Angelena takes the Vitae from the necromancer's corpse, and is unnerved by the sheer rush of it. While climbing back up to the platform, Puck notices that there's something unusual about the base of the tree (you know, besides the numerous corpses and body parts nailed/tied/strapped to it). The base of the tree is split, so if you pushed your way through the hanging roots/branches, you should be able to walk right under the tree to the other side. Except Puck can see nothing but darkness past the roots...and he has darkvision. Chopping some of the roots away, he calls Sammael over to examine. Sammael uses a Continual Flame and extends his hand forward to reveal that there is a curtain of solid black stopping any vision from going through, and a closer look reveals that it's a Portal. With a high enough Knowledge (Planes) roll and a close examination with Detect Magic, Sammael's educated guess is that it's a portal to the plane of Shadow (or something similar). I wait with bated breath for one of them to walk through, but they act all conservative and careful and don't go charging forward carelessly :smallmad: Talvosh lobs a rock in, and the portal ripples lazily, thick oil over water.

Puck and Talvosh clamber up to the platform, and decide to push the massive drum off the platform. It's quite heavy, but together they do so and it crashes to the ground. Hurray vandalism! The presence of the creepy portal, plus the whole tree of corpses and dozens of bodies strewn about the clearing convince Sammael and Anne that fire is the only solution, so operation Start the Fire begins! The exhausted party members chill out for an hour or so, while dry vegetation and wood is gathered and stuffed into the highly treated drum-log. With a high enough Survival check, the drum is crammed into the roots of the creepy hanging Mangrove-esque tree, and it catches fire. As the flames build in the night, the party realizes that they should probably vacate the premises as to avoid being surrounded if the fire spreads too much. They hustle off into the darkness to the Northwest.

However, the fact that they just torched the tree that is notably taller than any of its neighbours means that the % for the dragon to take notice increases to 10%...and I roll a success.

About an hour or so away from the necro-clearing, Sona hears the rush of something large winging overhead at high speed and rustling the treetops...then it loops back around. Everyone hastily takes cover / hides in the jungle just before the dragon crashes through the canopy and lands with a crunch. Everyone's eyes and noses start stinging and burning as a horrible acrid scent fills the air. The dragon scans the surrounding area, and easily spots Talvosh (who rolled a 3 on hide).

Dragon: "Little rodENTs...was It yOu who Lit the fIRE?"

The dragon (who is the size of a large draft horse...that also has wings, a long serpentine neck and a long tail) seems a little...unusual. Its head tilts back and forth erratically as it speaks, and there's an unnerving light in its eyes. Sammael speaks up to confirm that they started the fire and stands slowly. The dragon's gaze snaps to him.

"TribUtE! yOu must pa, pay me TRIbute foR haRMING MY juNgLE..!..Or i wILL Eat You."

Sammael: "We were purging your jungle of foul undead."

Dragon: "W h at iF I lIKeD the DeadthinGS?"

Sammael's eye twitches at that, but before anything else happens, the dragon takes a closer look at Sona hunkered down behind a fern.

The dragon rears back, mouth snapping open with a malicious hiss. The acrid scent intensifies, and greenish gas starts to waft from the dragon's body. Its luminous eyes blaze, and the surrounding vegetation burns and withers as the wicked claws dig into the dirt.

"TTTHHHIIIEEEEEFFFFFF!!!!" It screeches in Draconic, spittle flying and sizzling.

Initiative! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoDFWC2sTSs)

Puck and Sammael rush forward and cut into the dragon, then it's the dragon's turn. The acidic gas is so potent that simply standing next to the dragon burns Sammael and Puck for 25 damage each, and then the dragon lays into Puck (who had used Shock Trooper to land a mighty blow), full attacking as only a dragon can. Everyone is low on spells/abilities/fatigued/still ability damaged from the previous fight, so the group is more than a little nervous. Sona casts Mirror image on herself, and Angelena casts aid on Talvosh, who charges forward and hacks away while being bit on the way in.

Sammael falls back as the caustic aura could quite easily kill him outright, while Puck grimly attacks again. The dragon goes and drops Puck, then tears and claws at Talvosh, still howling in Draconic at Sona. Sona tries to distract the beast, cutting her palm and running at an angle (Mirror image stops Sona from being bit), while Talvosh does his best to return the favor of slicing the dragon up before stepping back to force the dragon to have move either towards him or Sona (instead of being able to reach both). It's unanimously decided that the torchbearer needs to retreat, so Angelena runs away into the bushes.

Sammael keeps backing up, and draws his bow. Instead of turning to focus on either the orc with the painful axe or the THIEFGIVEITBACK, the dragon leaps backwards and spews a cloud of sickeningly green gas! It melts Puck and hurts both Sona and Talvosh badly. Sona starts backing away and shooting magic missiles and balls of lightning (from dragon lineage), rolling like a boss on spell penetration. Talvosh gets off a leaping charge again for disgusting damage, while Sammael casts True Strike from his wand on himself. The dragon stalks Sona, Mirror Image and Wings of Cover keeping her alive while Talvosh keeps fighting.

Then the dragon kills Talvosh. Sammael's arrow thuds into the creature's head at this point, and Sona is down to using her anklets of translocation and armbands of elusive action to keeping falling back and firing magic missiles. Finally, shockingly, the dragon crumples before it can rip Sona limb from limb.

Shakily, the party regroups after Puck and Talvosh are reborn next to Angelena. There are some attempts to loot/dismember the dragon corpse, but it's made difficult by the fact that its very flesh seems to be emanating the burning caustic gas still. The vegetation surrounding the body is very quickly dying and burning away (Talvosh is burned as he claims the Vitae). That, plus the danger of the fire catching up to them means the party stumbles ahead for another hour or so until they reach a creek, and everyone collapses into rest and repair.

The party has a late start in the morning, but are looking much healthier on average. Drokon actually reappears, mentioning that he saw the large fire and heard the fighting with the dragon. It seems a little odd, but not overly aggressive. After breakfast, Puck asks to see Drokon's sword, and there's a tense moment where it's unclear if he's going to return it or attack Drokon. The moment passes though, and Drokon mentions that he would be quite interested in a duel with any of the party. It's not as if there's any serious consequences if the duel goes badly, after all...Puck accepts, and the two square off.

Now, Drokon is a swordsage with a high initiative and a good selection of maneuvers. His plan is to toss his opponent into the creek or taunt them into it, then use Step of the Moth to dodge around and cut away at his opponent while they flail in the water. Unfortunately, Puck cranks his initiative and Drokon flubs his, so Puck trips him and chops him for half his health. Drokon shadow steps away onto the creek and readies an Elder Mountain Hammer as he beckons Puck forward. I leave Drokon too close to shore though, and even with a bonus for floating above the ground he gets tripped again after hitting Puck for heavy damage...and Puck rolls a crit. Drokon unsurprisingly dies, and Puck gets to experience the very confusing sensation of Vitae rushing into him with the killing blow. It seems something about the duel changed how the Vitae acted...

The group stays camped for the rest of the day to see if Drokon returns (he does not). Sammael returns to the dragon corpse, which the fire didn't spread to, and now that the gas has faded manages to get some hide off the body. Sona and Talvosh notice some signs of the dragon near their current camp, and realize that since its very presence killed and scorched vegetation, the landing points are pretty obvious. The party goes to sleep again, planning on heading northwest towards the road in the morning.

Talvosh has a disturbing dream during the night...he's sitting in absolute blackness, unable to see anything. There's the unshakable sensation of someone staring at him though. Then something whispers in his ear:
Be Mine (http://www.tubechop.com/watch/7154165)

It's close enough to morning that he doesn't go back to sleep.

The party continues in the morning, and as they travel the surrounding jungle quickly becomes drier and more natural as they get further from the marshy region. Sammael also notices that everyone is gradually travelling upwards. They catch sight of some reptilian creatures, but they flee quickly into the bushes. There are also notable streaks and splotches of brown and dead vegetation, where the dragon landed or trundled through the trees. That night, Talvosh has another dream. This time, there's the sensation of a hand on his shoulder along with the darkness and the Voice (http://www.tubechop.com/watch/7154209). Sleep is...difficult to return to. The group guesses they're about a another day away from reaching to Old Road again, and then it's another few days following that before they're out of the jungle. Peering out above the treeline, Sammael sees an inordinate amount of jungle towards the west, and what looks like canyons and possibly mountains to the north and northeast. There's the distant coughing roar of displacer beasts to the south as the party travels, but they stay on target and keep going.

This night, Talvosh Fails his Will Save (http://www.tubechop.com/watch/7154293). Puck watches as Talvosh sits up, grabs his axe, and wanders away from camp, towards the southeast. Sona and Sammael wake up when Puck tries to get Talvosh's attention as he follows. No response to either Puck or Sona asking questions, but on a hunch Sammael uses Detect Evil. A Shadow hangs about Talvosh, so Sammael winds up with a rock and throws it into the back of the orc's head. He deals 2 points of damage, which is enough to wake Talvosh up. Talvosh needs to make his will save to not frenzy, he just needs to roll a 3.

He rolls a 2, and whips about. He charge-leap-pounces Puck, and takes off half his health with one hit (and luckily for Puck, misses the other two attacks). Sona Greases the ground underneath Talvosh, hoping to keep him flailing around ineffectually. Puck trips Talvosh, and then crits with a max power attack, nearly killing Talvosh with one hit. On Talvosh's turn, the nonlethal damage from his Frenzy makes him pass out, and he then succeeds on his save to stop frenzying. His rage doesn't end, which gives Sammael and Angelena enough time to disarm the orc and heal him. Once he wakes up, he's not particularly chatty about what happened (partially because he's not sure what happened himself). Inspecting Talvosh, Sammael notices something strange.

There's an inky black worm, very small, jutting out of the back of Talvosh's neck. Carefully, he reaches out with his death touch and brushes the worm. It swells and thickens in response, and now Talvosh can feel a sucking, pulling sensation on the back of his neck. Sammael uses a destroy undead burst, and the worm evaporates in a puff of shadows. A little creeped out, the party leaves as early as they can in the morning and continues northwest at haste.

They finally reach the Old Road again, and start following it to the Northeast. After a couple days of uneventful travel (steadily inclining upwards and the terrain becoming more rocky), they notice signs of broken branches and crumpled bushes leading off the road. Scouting ahead, Sammael finds the skinned corpses of several displacer beasts and a Megaraptor. The meat is still on all the creatures, but the heads, claws, and tentacles are all missing. They've all been efficiently and quickly butchered, but only for trophies, the meat was seemingly ignored. Sammael also sees smooth brushed dirt where there should be footprints...

The next day, Sammael triggers an Alarm spell, and hides in the bushes while the rest of the party hangs back a little bit and prepares for company (Sona disguises Talvosh with a Major Image to not look like an orc, though thinking about it I'm not sure how her character knew it was elves :smallbiggrin:). Shortly after, a group of harsh looking elves wanders by Sammael's hiding spot. There are three elves with broad heavy looking spears, complicated blue woad patterns smeared across their flesh. There's another elf holding only a bow, his pattern even more elaborate. Finally, there is an elf wearing heavy armor made of bone. His breastplate was once someone's ribcage, and his helmet was very obviously an orc skull once. The hilt of a greatsword juts over a shoulder, and it seems to be bone also. Every last one of them radiates evil.

Puck is the only one who speaks elven, so he can understand them as they jeer and laugh wandering down the road. In accented common, they ask if the little lambs are lost, and what the Forged is doing so far from his shiny little city. When Puck dismisses them in Elven, the mood turns a little more serious. After a suspicious offer to "hunt" together, and some posturing and threatening between one of the spearmen and Puck, the leader orders his men to step aside and let the travelers pass. Sammael passes his sense motive to notice the leader loosening his sword belt slightly in preparation, and quietly Blesses his weapon. The leader rolls a natural 20 on his Listen (side note, there were a LOT of 20s rolled tonight. I rolled 4 against Puck...too bad he can't be critted :p), and his head snaps to the side.

"Clever monkeys!" With a snarl, the Fight is On! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OLax-NenP8)

Sammael's readied action gives him a surprise attack, and he shoots the Bonecaster with an arrow - no crit though. The Throatcutter goes first, bursting out of his hiding place in the bushes and he sneak attacks Angelena for an alarming chunk of her health, sinking his heavy pick in the general kidney region. The Raid Leader goes next, barking a swift Bardic music from Song of the White Raven, and he rushes forward and slices into both Puck and Talvosh with a Mithral Tornado. Talvosh goes next, frenzying and raging as he hits the Raid Leader for 40 points of damage or so...his next attack?

A crit for nearly 100 points of damage, decapitating the Raid Leader :smalleek:. The Bonecaster is up next, and unleashes his Quiescent weaving to give Displacement to the group, and also casts Haste through his Eldritch Tapestry. Puck rushes one of the Ragers, knocking him into the Bonecaster and toppling both of them (Sona throws a Grease where they fell). Displacement is Puck's bane this fight however, as he misses almost 80% of his hits all fight due to it. The Ragers rush various targets, stabbing with their Greatspears and dealing high damage when they land.

The Throatcutter tumbles behind Talvosh, flanking him (using a sprint ability to move as a swift action), and he does his best to skewer him. Sona blocks one hit with Wings of Cover due to being dragonblooded, but the off-hand hits, and then the haste attack crits for a LOT of damage. The Bonecaster barks another word, and all the elves go invisible. Talvosh is apparently the reason Puck kept missing from concealment, not missing a single time from miss chances and chops into the Rager and Throatcutter. Talvosh's health yo-yos alarmingly the whole fight, with Angelena succeeding on her defensive castings to keep healing him, and all the elves howling about killing the Orc for the glory. Displacement + invisibility allows the elves to maneuver around and land more blows, but a Glitterdust reveals the Throatcutter, and Talvosh finishes him before he can kill Sona or Angelena (or Talvosh for that matter). The Bonecaster hits Sammael with an Enervation, but Puck and Sammael catch up to him, and they manage to strike him down. It takes a while, and Sammael, Puck, and Talvosh all get skewered repeatedly, but the last Rager finally goes down with everyone at LOW hit point levels (and I suspect Talvosh was only alive because of some miscalculations from Rage hit points :smallbiggrin: which I will tease him mercilessly about). It is 1 in the morning at this point (Angelena having already gone to bed with the command being "I keep defensively healing people so they don't die"), so we do experience quickly. Seeing as how I was very suprised they managed to defeat the dragon, there's a lot. Everyone except Sammael (and Janath cause he wasn't there) dings to level 8...the poor death priest is 100 xp away from levelling. MWAHAHAHAHAHA! *cough*

Still disappointed they didn't try the portal.

And there's the session!


2015-11-08, 11:34 PM
There is no excuse. I wear the meta gamer medal of shame for the week. :(

I still like the image of Talvosh decapitating an elf while looking like a short Italian man with a frying pan. I stand by that.

2015-11-09, 12:25 AM
What was your plan for the portal?
I know you're aching to tell 'someone' about it lol :P

2015-11-09, 12:56 AM
Lol, not going to reveal everything, since they might still go back to it, what with several of the players having the goal to slay all bosses, and the fact that they haven't found a Bonfire since the ruined keep by the river.

The portal does lead to the Shadow (this world's version of the Plane of Shadow - very similar just with the creepy factor turned up). Also, if you'll note, the Shake Dem Bones fight was labelled a Miniboss fight - the actual Boss of the area is through the portal.

If you want to know anyways PrismCat, pop me a PM and I'll give you the details.

2015-11-09, 11:34 AM
Can you explain the dragon's dialogue a bit? I'm guessing it was erratic in pitch and speed?

2015-11-09, 11:50 AM
Can you explain the dragon's dialogue a bit? I'm guessing it was erratic in pitch and speed?
Puzzle accompanied said dialogue with head twitches and weird pauses. It was very.... off. Sona was aware (via backstory) that most dragon's here... you can't have reasonable conversations with.

2015-11-09, 12:12 PM
This just gets better and better. Thanks for writing this journal.

2015-11-09, 01:09 PM
ComaVision, you are correct. The dragon's speech was very inconsistent, with awkward pauses and words at different speeds, and the wrong syllables being emphasized. I overdid it a little in the writing, I think, but the feeling I was trying to convey with the dragon's manner was madness.

“Forgive me, I am still adjusting to speaking with dragons that are lucid and coherent.” The stranger’s voice was aged but still strong. Even through the distance and the magical sensor, both Verlaine and Sona could hear a thread of old sorrow. “There is only one dragon I know of from my home that I could have such a conversation with.”

“Oh, and is this dragon not someone you’d chat with? Too scaly?” There was the biting tongue of Master Tonitrus, never leaving sarcasm unused. The stranger seemed to stiffen, and her next words were iron.

“No. No, as he was singularly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands, I did not.”

There was an awkward silence, as Kultainen glared at Tonitrus quickly.

<All but a single dragon gone mad? If Master Tonitrus didn't look like he just bit off half his own tail I'd laugh at her too.> Sona mentally huffed and failed to keep her curiosity from nudging the eye around to where she could see the stranger's face.

The stranger in that is the Traveler, conversing with Sona's two draconic teachers.

And thank you again, Masterkerfuffle, for the kind words. You are singularly responsible for me being 33.4% more of an insufferable ass to deal with :smallbiggrin:

2015-11-21, 02:16 AM
Another weekend, another upcoming game night :smallbiggrin:

A little bit more info on the PCs! I quizzed everyone on which of the Seven Sins their characters would be most likely to succumb to for...reasons. If they're careful, it'll never come up. They're all going down I'm sure they'll all be careful.

Angelena: Envy

Janath: Lust

Kiani: Pride - What what? Who's this? We've had a character change! Janath will be striking out on his own, and his player is instead bringing in the conjurer/master specialist/malconvoker, Kiani! The power curve of the party might have went up a teensy bit. Don't worry though, Janath might reappear in another role.

Puck: Sloth

Sammael: Pride

Sona: Wrath

Talvosh: Wrath

2015-11-22, 02:09 PM
Don't worry though, Janath might reappear in another role.

I don't think "might" is a strong enough word. I made him, I know what he is capable of... I am not looking forward to going up against him at any point in the near future.


2015-11-22, 04:14 PM
Pft. Whether or not he shows up again has nothing to do with his build lol.

Last night was rough. Still lots of fun - but certainly some pouting ^.^
I'm looking forward to seeing what the forum readers think of this week's entry of douche-baggery *coughcough* I mean cheeky GM tactics and our woeful plight against the forces of gravity. ;)

2015-11-22, 06:14 PM
Seven deadly sessions, Seven deadly...well, you get the picture.

We pick up right after the fight against the Elven raiding party, and the all important looting of bodies! There's a selection of greatspears and chain shirts from the ragers, a wicked set of jagged picks that the Throatcutter was using (Angelena's kidneys twinge at the sight), but there's a few items that really catch the party's attention:

A small leather charm bag, filled with a snake fang and rabbit fur - A Chronocharm of the Horizon walker
This wide greatsword has a gruesome grip and hilt - it is made of what looks disturbingly like a spinal cord. Even the blade looks to have been carved from the leg bone of some giant humanoid, yet rings like metal - +1 profane burst Greatsword
This set of armor is far sturdier than its macabre materials would suggest. Despite being made of yellowed bone, it can repel a steel blade. It is highly disturbing for most to handle however, let alone wear- magical breastplate of some sort
A heavy leather bag, stitched with arcane symbols. Inside are small polished bones, every inch covered with carved runes. Upon closer inspection, they are spell formulae - A Wizard's spellbook
A green and white jade ring - Ring of Antivenom
A fine woven metal headband - Headband of Intellect +2

Sona flies up carefully to look for any sign of a Bonfire, as everyone is more than a little nervous at the thought of having to return all the way back to the ruined keep in the jungle. The road continues north and upwards, into what looks like a series of mesas and canyons. Passing her Vitae check, she feels a tugging sensation towards the north. Everyone uses whatever abilities they have left to try and heal up, and the party limps north. The jungle quickly gives way to bare stone and jagged rock, the road continuing along an elevating raised cliff. Said road abruptly ends with a sheer drop, but a small Bonfire burns at the edge. The party gratefully collapses for the night.


During the night, Janath slips off to make his own way in this world...when Angelena wakes, she feels a connection between her and Janath break.

In the morning, Kiani the wizard comes across the scene of a recent & bloody battle on the road, and hastens along it - the other worshiper of Pelor the Twins had mentioned must be nearby. Encountering the party, it's a pretty tense meeting (when Puck's first action is to start advancing towards Kiani while muttering, "If I get her before they invite her to the fire, I won't get in trouble..."). After a bunch of dancing back and forth, no one dies and Kiani joins the group, immediately gravitating towards Sammael and Angelena.

Background Music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=761LRR1sL7U)

Gazing out from the cliff edge, this seems to be a maze of Mesas, canyons, and ravines cutting back and forth. These aren't small either, it's a several hundred foot drop down to the bottom, and easily several hundred feet across to the next mesa. There's the sound of what must be a BIG waterfall off to the west (though echoes through the canyons makes it hard to accurately gauge), and the Old Road points north before the cliff drops away. Peering down, there's a very rough and treacherous series of switchbacks leading down the cliffside (more like a series of narrow ledges angling back and forth). Carefully, eeever so carefully the group makes their way down the cliffside.

Talvosh fails his check, and Angelena fails hers HARD. They go tumbling down part of the cliffside before managing to catch themselves on a ledge together. The damage makes Talvosh frenzy though! Buut Angelena uses Air Walk to get out of Talvosh's reach, and then Talvosh passes his save to voluntarily end his frenzy. Everyone makes it down, and travelling across to the next mesa, remember about their super long spool of magic rope. Sammael uses his spider climbing slippers to scramble up and tie off the rope so everyone else has an easier time making it up, and they find the remnants of the road again.

Continuing north, this mesa is gigantic; the party travels for half a day and there's still lots ahead of them. The remains of the road travels quite close to the west edge of the mesa - A knowledge (geography) check reveals that none of this area seems natural. It would have taken a fairly cataclysmic event to shape the surrounding cliffs and ravines like this. However, such musings are interrupted by a strange glint in the sky, approaching rapidly! Initiative! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_PjUvwHBs4)

The Juvenile Steelwing (not as high an attack bonus, lost its razorfeather spray) divebombs the shiniest target, chomping into Puck. The rest of the fight quickly turns into a slugfest - Puck gets Enlarged and manages to trip the Steelwing, and everyone piles around hacking at the metallic bird. Kiani tries to grapple the bird with a Huge fiendish monstrous centipede, but it can't get past the attacks of opportunity. It does eat a bunch of attacks instead of party members though, which is always a plus. Puck gets Fly cast on him, and lives the dream! He flies up and smashes the prone Steelwing into the dirt for a LOT of damage. The Steelwing's crazy AC and damage reduction lets it break free and start flying upwards without dying. Before it can either wheel around for another divebombing (or escape) though, Puck charges straight up and continues the time honored tradition of landing brutal Crits! The Steelwing smashes to the ground, very dead. With some successful Knowledge checks, the group identifies the bird, and realizes that its feathers are quite valuable. Working carefully, they manage to collect and wrap up several hundred feathers, spreading them among the group. A proper crafter could turn them into quite the impressive arrows. Continuing onwards, the road cuts out into open air.

Deciding to cross over the gap to the mesa west of them, our heroes devise a plan. Puck flies over (using the spell) to the other side of the cliff while holding onto the end of the rope, and loops it around an outcropping of rock and braces himself. Talvosh holds onto the spool, and after looping a rough harness, traverse Kiani across the 150 ft gap successfully. Next is Angelena, and that goes smoothly as well. Next is Sona's turn, and Talvosh fails his strength check. Sammael and Talvosh make their Reflex saves to dive and catch the spool before it flies over the edge, though, so Sona just gets the lovely experience of freefalling for a couple seconds, then bouncing upwards. As Sammael and Talvosh stand up though, a black blur flickers right in front of Sammael's face. Said flicker was a massive black arrow slamming into Talvosh's shoulder! He barely manages to hold on to the rope, but Sona quickly casts Fly on herself and translocates out of the rope harness. Everyone scans the area for signs of their attacker, but no one spots anything. Then another arrow flashes out of nowhere, this time sinking into Sona for over 2/3 of her health! Sammael notices it came from the northern part of the plateau he's currently on. He squat-runs forward while quaffing his tinctures. Everyone else hunkers down for cover, and Sona flies over to Angelena frantically. Creeping forwards, Sammael manages to spot a strange rippling motion on a small cliffside ledge. Shooting an arrow at it, it turns out to be a small hunter's blind - but it is empty.

The remaining members make it across the gap, and they hustle west until they find a small dip in the rock to hide in for the night. Examining the arrows, they're unusual; one uninterrupted piece of black metal with fins rather than feathers. It would require quite the amount of force to fire these.. Sona hears a faint metallic scrape during the night while on her watch, but nothing comes of it. In the morning though, everyone notices another arrow jutting out of the rock about 40 ft away from where they were sleeping, with a note impaled under it.

Leave! Your kind is not Welcome!

The group cuts west, pretty certain they'll come across the river feeding the (very loud by now) waterfall. Eventually they do just that. Sunken into the rock, it is broad, violent, and deep looking. The rushing rapids look fast enough that even Puck is unsure if he could keep his footing across. Instead, they travel along the river a little further north until they reach a more easily crossed section. Eventually they come across some stone ledges jutting out over the river, leaving a 15 ft gap to cross. With some jump checks, more rope, more successful checks, and one emergency use of translocation anklets, everyone makes it across safely and I don't have to roll the damage for being dragged down rapids and then eventually hurled off a massive waterfall. On the other side is a curious sight...there's a path carved into the stone, leading arrow-straight north and south. There's also 3 sets of obvious humanoid tracks going south. After some debate, the group decides to head north, not wanting to backtrack any more. They travel for the rest of the day, and camp out again without a fire. The next day, after about half a day of travel, they reach the northern edge of this mesa. Using 2 Fly spells, Talvosh and Puck convey everyone across the massive canyon in two trips (there's some joking about a mosquito biting Talvosh in mid-air, and him frenzying and divebombing whichever poor victim he was carrying. Strangely, people prefer Puck). Also, it's official that Sammael surfs on Puck's back Megaman/Rush style. As people are across though, they hear the most enchanting Music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFRY6fzEQqw)...Puck, Angelena, and Kiani fail their Will saves and start wandering towards a nearby chasm. Talvosh gets a hold of Angelena to stop her, and Sammael "helpfully" knocks Kiani down and loosely hogties her. Poor Puck flies over everyone and down into the chasm though. Descending further, Puck sits down in front of the pretty woman singing the lovely song.

The group of harpies fill Puck full of arrows, blasts him with a Scorching ray, and bludgeons him with clubs before he snaps out of it and manages to escape the chasm with alarmingly low hit points. He slams to the ground in front of Angelena and burns a Vitae in preparation for the harpies attacking in force. So close...

Dun dun dun (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PTpIH4VODs)
There's a great wailing cacophony of shrieking and cackling laughter, but the harpies take long enough flying out of the chasm that Angelena and Kiani manage to clear their heads from the befuddling song. The first harpy to soar out of the chasm is just a basic mook, so the readied actions of an arrow and a Great Thunderclap sends her tumbling to her mostly assured demise. The rest eventually make it up, and the battle is on. The Spellbinder and the two Archers are the major threat, but none of the harpies are playing fair, flapping back and forth out of reach, above the broad chasm. The Spellbinder throws a Wall of Fire down around part of the party, and the Archers blast away at Puck, hoping to finish off their original prey. Sona manages to hit the Spellbinder and the Archers with a Great Thunderclap, and one archer tumbles back into the chasm, stunned. She regains her wits before pasting on the bottom of the chasm, but she's essentially out of the fight. Kiani summons a Howler Wasp which goes after the harpies, and then gets a club to the head for her troubles. A lane opens up, and Puck rockets forward at the Spellbinder! Unfortunately, she uses Wings of Cover to stop him dead, and then flits backwards and dispels his fly spell. Puck manages to angle himself to eventually land on the small spire of rock partway down the chasm, but that's still 100 feet down. Kiani summons an air elemental, but unfortunately it's too small to be much of a threat. Sammael's arrow shots are also stymied by the Spellbinder's Mirror image, and me rolling an image taking the hit rather than the Spellbinder almost every time during the fight.

Angelena puts up a Wind Wall to try and block the archer, but she just flaps over to one side and keeps plugging away at the party. The Spellbinder conjures another Wall of Fire and scorches Angelena, Kiani, and Talvosh, and Sona hits her with some Magic missiles. Then Angelena gets Air Walk on Talvosh, and he rushes the very surprised Archer, landing a heavy blow (but only one because I was cruel and made him trade pounce away - outdamaging the rest of the party by way too much and I had warned him at character creation it might happen). The archer retreats and shoots Talvosh repeatedly in response, and then the Spellbinder looks over with a cruel smirk...and Dispels Talvosh. The only reason Talvosh doesn't become red paste smeared across the chasm floor is the drop takes long enough for him to burn a Vitae before impact, allowing him to survive the 63 points of damage.Down in the chasm, the archer that had been stunned tries to sing and charm Puck into stepping off the spire to his death...Puck saves, but he doesn't have a ranged weapon. Instead, he makes a massive strength check (at Talvosh's suggestion), rips a large hunk of rock free, and rolls shockingly high to smash the harpy with said chunk of rock! She rolls a 1, and falls to her death (for real this time).

With the party's two heavy hitters out of the fight, things are looking bad, even with Angelena calling a celestial giant eagle to help out. Kiani takes out one of the few remaining minions with Vipergout serpents, and then hits the Spellbinder with Phantasmal Assailants. She fails the initial save, but makes the second, but that's still 4 pts of wisdom and dex damage! Sona blasts back and forth with the archer, blocking her arrow with Wings of Cover, but that allows the Spellbinder to shoot her down with a Scorching Ray killing her. Sammael keeps shooting, and Angelena busts out a Holy Smite, killing the archer and severely wounding the Spellbinder. After blocking a suprise long range critical bowshot from Talvosh WAAY down below with Wings of Cover the harpy lets out a pained shriek of dismay and disappears with a puff of magic. We end the session there, and I hand out another giant chunk of xp. Angelena and Sammael rocket into level 8, Kiani gets partway through level 7, Sona and Talvosh are close to 9, and Puck just squeaks into level 9.

Whee, fun session!

Lucky number seven

2015-12-05, 01:20 PM
Surprise! Early eighth session! I have a super early flight Sunday morning, so we played last night instead.

No Sammael player this time, so it is he who is in silent NPC "follow" mode.

Talvosh and Puck are rescued from the chasm with some spider-climbing slippers and magic rope, and the harpy archer who died up top is thoroughly looted. Puck claims her enchanted longbow, as the lack of any sort of ranged weapon was a bit of a pain last game. The archer has more magical items than everyone expects, and party wealth is spread around a bit. Everyone is starting to get a little pack-mule-ish with the amount of gear they're lugging around. Then since everyone is beat up and wounded, they decide to make camp...right next to the chasm with no attempt to disguise themselves...where they fought an enemy who obviously transported away while still alive.

Why thank you, for the present :smallbiggrin:. Right around midnight, the harpy spellbinder (sorcerer, spellbinder just sounds cooler) comes back and wakes up the party with a lovely Wall of Fire right underneath their sleeping/resting bodies, while floating around at a comfortable 200 ft up.

Feel the burn (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9nbT2264m8)

Everyone is awoken by the pleasant tingle of oh god it hurts why am I on fire, and Puck turns out to be quite the archer with his new bow, pegging the spellbinder with an arrow and forcing the second to be deflected with a wings of cover (even with the Shaky flaw). The spellbinder puts Mirror image up again prudently, and I again get maximum images. The rest of the party scrambles out of the ring of magic flame, except for Talvosh who rolls into the centre - the heat is pointed outwards on this one, so he wins the lottery while everyone else sizzles (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfCOJLRk2D4) some more. Talvosh shoots with his bow, but the distance makes retaliation from the rest of the party more difficult. Kiani calls up a howler wasp who starts ascending, while Sona puts mirror image up and gets further away, and Angelena backs away from the flames and heals a bit. Once the howler wasp makes it closer to the Spellbinder, it gets an enervation to the face. Seeing as I roll 4 negative levels and the howler wasp has 2 hit dice, it just "Poofs" away and a pair of wings floats sadly to the ground. More arrows shoot upwards (and some make it past the mirror images and OP magic blocking), so the Spellbinder swoops down to try and catch everyone with the dreaded Slow spell!

Except the whole party makes their will saves with flying colors...uh oh. A hail of arrows, magic missiles a Glitterdust and other various magical projectiles assault the Spellbinder, putting her to low low health. The party is looking pretty beat up though, so she banks around and nails poor d4 hit dice Kiani with all three Scorching rays, killing her stone dead. Talvosh looks to finish it, shooting through the top of the wall of flames! If he makes his concealment save to hit the Spellbinder, it'll be a flaming arrow for style - but it misses. The fight drags out, and it takes shooting every single one of the images, but Sona and Puck comboing magic missiles and arrows finally slay the Spellbinder. The entire party runs over to "make sure she's dead" ie double tap with extreme prejudice. Thankfully for Kiani, Angelena had attuned with her before they went to sleep, so she reappears next to Angelena instead back at the beginning of the canyons. They strip the spellbinder clean, claiming her bracers of retribution, circlet of charisma, magical vest, and two(!) Vitae before collapsing back to sleep. In the morning, Talvosh mentions that he saw several bodies (and bones) strewn about the chasm floor, along with a passage leading downwards, so they use the flying Puck express to ship everyone down.

It's...not what the party expects down there. The bones strewn about are no longer strewn...they've been approximately reassembled and arranged to point at the passageway. Even the harpy corpse (under the heavy rock) has a wing pointing at the passageway. Talvosh also notes that the whole room has been thoroughly stripped of all valuables. Somehow, even the harpy (still under said rock) has been relieved of everything except her underclothes. Cautiously, the party creeps down the tunnel. It spirals around and down, and suddenly there's lit torches set into the wall. The tunnel opens into a large circular chamber, also freshly lit. There's two narrow slots or windows carved into one wall, and as Sona peers in, another chamber visible through about 10 feet of rock. There's also a large bell with a pull-cord mounted on the wall.
Puck gives it a yank.

There's a massive explosion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIp7gjTKx7s) of bright lights and smoke in the far chamber, scaring the pants off of Sona! Once the pyrotechnics spell fades though, visible in the chamber is a small hooded and robed figure, standing on a stool.

"Ah! Customers! I haven't had customers to this store in a while!"

MERCHANT DISCOVERED (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zip3u016uXE)

The small robed individual introduces himself as "GRABISLOV the Eminent," who is accompanied by his assistant Mr Snatch (who seems to be a pair of eerily pale hands with too many joints and disturbingly long fingers). Grabislov quickly tries to sell the party an enchanted bow used by a great emperor thousands of years ago...it's the bow from the harpy that Puck crushed with a rock. The party spends a couple hours (in real life) haggling and trading back and forth, as Grabislov seems to have access to extradimensional storage, and has a chance to have anything in his stock. No one has appraise or overly high diplomacy, but cautious bargaining and some high rolls keeps the party from getting completely hoodwinked. Grabislov still ends up ahead on most of the deals, but only by a little bit rather than outright robbery. The group ends up trading around most of the weapons and gear they had collected, along with all of the Steelwing feathers, for an assortment of magical items. 2 bags of holding, some boots that enhance Puck's speed to 30 ft, a protective ring, some better vests of resistance, and the big purchase, a ring of mighty summons. Methinks Kiani won't be getting much group loot for a while...there are deals that don't go through, such as the crystallized Vitae that no-one can afford after the ring, or Grabislov offering a favorable trade for a fresh vial of Talvosh's blood. Sona does get the strange crystals they found in the Sinking village identified; they're control crystals for a magical ship of sorts, often used by the sorcerers of the remains of the Solar Empire. Grabislov is quite disappointed that the party doesn't know where said ship would be. Puck also gets a tidbit of info: if they make it to Logos on their Pilgrimage, Puck should look for a woman named Maria...she may know something about his true creator. Finally, Grabislov bids the party farewell, mentioning that they may meet again. Another blast of noxious of smoke, and Grabislov the Eminent disappears (along with his gear and Mr Snatch). The torches go out too, so the party carefully makes their way up and out of the chasm, then continues north.

Someone is still tailing them, though...

After a couple days travel north without incident, the group reaches the edge of the plateau, another sheer drop into a deep canyon below. Again the Puck/Talvosh Airways gets everyone to the ground, and it seems like this canyon connects to several others. Before they can get too far though, something splats into the ground in front of them. It's a black arrow, but the splat was from the bag of something horrifically foul smelling that was tied to it and was spread all over. A survival check reveals that it smells like...

The ground shakes as a Gargantuan Purple Worm bursts out for snacktime! Puck hacks into the beastie, and gets bit for his troubles. Kiani summons up an almost as big centipede to try and distract it, as well as a fiendish ape. Sona prevents Puck from being swallowed with a timely benign transposition with the fiendish ape (which goes down like a goldfish cracker). Talvosh and Puck together do an absolutely disgusting amount of damage...but when Angelena goes to step into the fray, a black arrow slams between her shoulder blades from behind for a critical hit! The worm gets hacked to pieces, but then Talvosh gets an arrow to the back. It only takes a mirror image being cleaved in twain and a grease spell (plus Puck tripping him by one point) to prevent Talvosh from murdering anyone. Taking cover behind the monstrous centipede, Talvosh and Puck get fly cast on them, but by the time they make it to the top off the cliff, there is no sign of their pursuer. Another bag of foul smelling liquid splatters across the group as the two ascend though. We end the night there, next to the giant chopped worm.

Eight! The rampage continues :smallbiggrin:

2015-12-05, 05:10 PM
And a question to the folks who peruse our shenanigans! I'm trying to keep the journal at a good pace, with lots of detail and description, but I don't want it to read like a court transcript with an exact blow by blow of every die roll or skill check. How am I doing so far? Good level of detail? Being too brief and could use some more? Too much? Let me know what you think please :smallsmile:

2015-12-05, 09:17 PM
And a question to the folks who peruse our shenanigans! I'm trying to keep the journal at a good pace, with lots of detail and description, but I don't want it to read like a court transcript with an exact blow by blow of every die roll or skill check. How am I doing so far? Good level of detail? Being too brief and could use some more? Too much? Let me know what you think please :smallsmile:

As far as I'm concerned there's the perfect balance - We've got enough detail to establish a decent blow-by-blow but you haven't bogged it down with rolls or overly specific descriptions of exactly what happened in each turn.
Thanks for putting in the effort :).

2015-12-05, 11:13 PM

If Kiani loses all her Viate, and becomes hollow, I am rolling up a ray caster who does nothing but heightened , maximized, twinned, echoing scorching rays.

Or I am bringing back Janath, going Legacy Champion Hellfire Warlock with Felldrain.

Either or... GM has now been warned.

2015-12-06, 01:09 AM

If Kiani loses all her Viate, and becomes hollow, I am rolling up a ray caster who does nothing but heightened , maximized, twinned, echoing scorching rays.

Or I am bringing back Janath, going Legacy Champion Hellfire Warlock with Felldrain.

Either or... GM has now been warned.


2015-12-06, 01:53 PM
Thank you, Oshi!

And because I'm bored in an airport right now, I have an offer. I'll answer any questions anyone has about the game, the world, the plot, etc. I'm not going to answer with massive spoilers, but I'll certainly try and give some knowledge and teasers. Think of it like the loading screens that have little blurbs about items or events in the world :smallbiggrin:

2015-12-07, 01:20 PM
Yeah I got one - the jerk with the black arrows; we ever going to actually get to ask him what his freaking problem is?!?!

I've also got a long standing curiosity about the island of sorcerers we have left alone for now.

Oh. And if Logos is the ONLY freaking city still standing in this place.

Feel free to add lurkers! :P

2015-12-07, 05:26 PM
Yeah I got one - the jerk with the black arrows; we ever going to actually get to ask him what his freaking problem is?!?!

Talk, fight to the death, toe-mayto toe-mahto...

I've also got a long standing curiosity about the island of sorcerers we have left alone for now.

It is a very curious place. On that island are the ruins of what was a worlds-spanning empire at one point.

Oh. And if Logos is the ONLY freaking city still standing in this place.

No, but it is by far the most welcoming and accessible

2015-12-19, 05:10 AM
Nine sessions for Mortal PCs, doomed to die (and die, and die)...another surprise early session due to people having pesky Christmas related things on Saturdays, sheesh. Who does that?:smalltongue:

We rejoin our stalwart heroes at the bottom of the canyon, where they chopped up a ravenous purple worm, but the mysterious sniper had once again escaped after harassing them. Having no luck spotting any trace of the hunter, the party decides to follow the canyon east, then north. They make a wise decision and use prestidigitation to cleanse everyone of the worm bait that sprayed across the party at the end of the fight, so the random encounter chance is back to normal. Another day's worth of travel takes the party around another mesa (and they do not encounter another purple worm despite there being numerous signs of their presence). Searching for a cavern of some sort to make camp in, Sammael manages to discover an illusory cave-in, and inside...a Bonfire! The party piles into the secluded cavern, and happily collapses for rest (but slapping an alarm spell on the entrance is a wise choice).


The only things inside the cavern is the Bonfire, three carved wooden markers, and a scroll tube. The wooden markers have names on them - Baltan, Gweneyr, and Medea. Inside the scroll tube is a disturbing message.
*The date is illegible, and the writing is much more uneven and shaky than previous entries*

Damn them! It’s too much...just too much. How can you save a world from itself?

Baltan is dead. Gweneyr; worse than dead. Medea... Our accomplishments have come to naught. This place has devoured us whole and left nothing of value behind. I travel back to where we first arrived in Artaith, alone. The things this Curse has done, and the things needed to fight it. *a section of writing is damaged or the quill was pressed so hard it has partially ripped and cannot be deciphered*

At least I’ll die on a beach, with a nice view of the ocean.


The mood goes somber as Sona reads the message to the rest of the group, and sleep comes a little harder. In the morning, they continue to the north, and come across another winding path up the cliff face. Clambering to the top, they seem to have reached the end of the canyons: in front of them is the largest drop yet though. It's at least 400 feet across, and it looks at least that deep. A massive bridge spans the entire length, heavy wooden planks and stout ropes as thick as a man's arm. The bridge is 20 feet across, and seems remarkably solid. No one is surprised when I draw the bridge on the map (I have to split it into 3 sections it's so long). There seems to be a shape of some sort at the far end of the bridge, so Sammael zooms ahead with his silly silly speed. Everyone else buffs up in preparation, as this is an entirely not subtle encounter setup.

The shape zooms towards Sammael, and as he gets closer, it appears to be a large sphere of swirling air...with shapes in it. It rockets towards him! Initiative! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2p1iAsL6E4) I roll a natural 20 for the Sweeper, so the Living Spell of Defenestrating Sphere + Vortex of Teeth tries to run Sammael over. Wisely, he moves out of the way and makes his save. The rest of the party moves up, and Sona uses a clever benign transposition to swap Sammael and Puck. Puck slams the Sweeper into ropes on the side of the bridge and partially into the air, but it just floats there (I get quite the glare for no dungeoncrashing damage). Sammael moves up and chips the thing, and Talvosh runs up and past it in prep for some charging next turn.

Then the Hunter strikes. From the other end of the bridge, hundreds of feet away, black arrows pound into Talvosh's back. The Sweeper tries to send Puck and Sammael skyward, but they both make their saves. Sammael starts sprinting towards the other end of the bridge, Puck and Talvosh start dismembering the Sweeper, and everyone else hustles forward. The Hunter throws an Entangle onto the bridge to slow the party down, then throws something at the foot of the bridge (on his side) and backs away. Angelena nails the Hunter with a Moon bolt, but he makes his save and only takes 3 Str damage (still not nice though). Kiani had made herself invisible earlier, and sprints up right close to the Sweeper with the intention of sliding past. However, the Sweeper has Blindsense...it moves over and engulfs Talvosh, Puck, and Kiani. Talvosh and Puck take attacks of opportunity, and make their saves. Kiani fails her reflex...then fails her Fort...then fails her second Fort.

This was the whole reason I created this monster :smallbiggrin:. She is flung 50 ft into the air, but luckily for Kiani the random direction lands her back on the bridge. The falling damage slams her into negatives though. The attacks of opportunity from Talvosh and Puck deflate the poor beastie, and everyone hustles forward. Sona uses another benign transposition to swap her and Kiani, allowing Angelena to heal her.

The thing that the Hunter threw at the bridge? Turned out to cause a Wall of Thorns to sprout up and block the bridge exit off. Sammael simply jumps off the side of the bridge though(!) and lands on the side part of the cliff, commanding the Hunter to surrender. Everyone else throws some long range spells, Angelena gets an arrow in the side (which convinces Kiani to stay prone and combat roll down the bridge), and the party struggles through the Entangle before Angelena gets close enough to dispel it. Sammael gets a bunch of arrows to the chest for a present as the Hunter lets loose and shouts in a harsh ringing voice.

"You damn Cursed! All you do is bring death and destruction to everything around you!" As Sammael charges in retaliation, he cuts into the Hunter as he notices that he is just like Puck! He is a cloaked and hooded figure with metallic armor plating for skin, and large eerie birdlike blue eyes. Sammael hurts the Hunter, but it's still one on one and not looking good for Sammael. Talvosh makes an absolutely ludicrous jump check to vault OVER the entire Wall of Thorns just in time to see the Hunter cast Arrow Mind and drop Sammael to -5 at point blank range. Puck smashes into the Wall of Thorns and makes it partway through while the casters rush across the rest of the bridge. Talvosh charges with a Max power attack Leap! And of course crits:smalleek:, shrugging off the arrow of opportunity as he had to cross in front of the Hunter. His mighty blow smashes the Hunter to negatives and ends the fight, and then Puck makes his save to end his frenzy.

"...Finish it..." The Hunter rasps as he painfully tilts his head to expose his neck. "Just do it, you monster. You know you want to!" Puck makes it through the thorns, and barks for Talvosh to wait as he stares at the first creature that was the same as him. The rest of the party makes it over and surrounds the fallen Hunter.

There (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpGQte6MNGE) is a lot of tense questioning. This Hunter is full of hatred and bitterness towards the Cursed, believing that they will only bring further pain and suffering to Logos. The whole group, in particular Sona, Sammael, and Puck, however, manage to calm and talk with the Hunter enough to get his name: Spotter. Spotter eventually agrees to talk (and is partially healed by the group). Spotter has been haunting these canyons for years, offering one warning to leave to those Cursed on pilgrimage before passing judgement. He snarls in response to the groups claims of innocent individuals.

"I had to kill a student I trained for 10 years because the Curse had consumed him! 10 years and all he could do is try to tear my heart out!" Puck in particular seems to shake Spotter with his words, and then Sona drops the bomb of asking about the mage with the metal hand.

Spotter: "...Mother? You saw Mother!?"
Sona: "She's the one who marked me, and killed all of us to send us here."

If Sona ever wondered what it looked like for a steel man's heart to break, she just found out. Spotter denies it desperately, but when Angelena and Puck agree as well, he slowly gets up and starts walking to the cliff edge. As he's driving a spike into the rock, Spotter reveals the mage's name: Maria of Logos. Mother of the Forged. Spotter quickly spools a rope out and rappels down the cliff.

Puck is having none of it though, and chases him down the rope. I'm fully expecting Puck to execute this fellow Forged at this point as he corners him in a small little cavern hideaway. Instead, he shames and inspires him with an impassioned speech of perseverance and determination. At least partially convinced that this group of Cursed might be different, Spotter agrees to accompany them for a bit. Specifically, he agrees to lead the group to a sanctuary of sorts; another Bonfire tended by a man named Shepherd. The party will need to rest before they traverse the Wasteland that separates them from Logos.

And the winning D'oh! moment is all mine. As Talvosh hands Spotter his bow back, he asks what it does. Showing off a little, Spotter nocks an arrow to show how the head magically catches...on...FIRE! I FORGOT THE FIRE DAMAGE ON HIS BOW!!! NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! (http://www.tubechop.com/watch/7514504):smallfurious: If I remembered that I would have killed both Sammael and Talvosh. Ah well.

As the group travels downwards, Sona peppers Spotter with questions about everything. Spotter is able to answer some of them, but like everyone they've met, is unaware of the Curse's origins. He does confirm the dragons have always been insane for as long he's been alive, and that they hate sorcerers particularly. The strange canyons and torn landscape was caused by some event called the Castigation centuries ago. As for the Curse, it's been around for at least a century, maybe more. More and more fell victim as it spread, and with greater speed. Open conflict and warfare spread everywhere, and now there are just small pinpoints of civilization spread about. Around sunset, the group reaches a plateau that gives a glimpse of this Wasteland (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZGDuVE0ge0)

Desolation. Blasted rock. Craters. Eerie dust clouds. No trees. No water. No green of any sort. The brief glimpse is of an utterly destroyed landscape before darkness and fog obscures it from view. The party continues, and takes a small switchback trail that would have been difficult to spot without Spotter's (hur hur) help.

Nestled in a tiny little valley is a green meadow. Across the meadow is a small church, and what seems to be a well-tended graveyard. Warm light spills out of windows, and the whole group can immediately feel the pull of a Bonfire, stronger than usual. A man with a lantern and a cane shuffles out in response to Spotter's whistle (how he whistles without lips is a mystery not meant for mortal men), and cautiously welcomes the group to spend the night. As soon as Angelena crosses the low stone wall, she can feel that it's Holy ground. Shepherd hustles them inside the church, and offers them the wonders of hot food, cots, and blankets.

There is a bunch of questions as everyone but Puck and Spotter fill their bellies with hot stew (Talvosh produces gator meat for said stew). Shepherd confirms most of what Spotter said, and also expands some on the Curse itself. It seems that determination and willpower can keep the Curse at bay for longer, as some succumbed in a matter of days, compared to others who lingered for years. He also asks that the group not disturb his patients behind the church, as there are around a dozen Hollowed that he does his best to tend to. Sammael's immediate "destroy Undead" urge is paused by Shepherd's holy symbol: a crook. It gives off the same vibe as the hooded statue that Sammael felt kinship with, and Shepherd reveals himself as a servant of Uthra.

Turns out the Hollowed don't do anything other than sit around and eventually wither away, lulled by the Bonfire's proximity. Shepherd does his best to make their passing peaceful restful, and to somehow help them. So far, he has had no success, but he continues to try. Shepherd also answers questions about the Wasteland. It's only a little under 2 weeks to Logos in a straight line, but the Wasteland is full of dangers. Warped living spells, rogue war constructs, elven warbands, and Daemons haunt the scarred battlefield, so discretion is a virtue. Most importantly to Sona and Angelena, he has spare bedrolls for them (since the harpy Spellbinder burnt theirs). There is more info that I'm sure I'm forgetting, but those are the big points.

While this is going on, Spotter is grilled by Puck on what the **#% he is. Spotter confirms that Puck must be a Forged, the race of sentient living constructs created and awoken by Maria of Logos (and her goddess Thelesis, lady of Wizardry and Trickery). Even though Puck was assembled in another world, Spotter undoes a little catch to partially open Puck's chest to reveal a Crystal Heart. The core of a Forged, it somehow crossed worlds. As to his purpose, that's up to Puck. Every Forged is given free will to choose their own destiny, and their own path. Spotter also gifts Puck with a Forged component: A Rod of Escape that fits into a slot in his forearm (it works as a rod of escape for anyone, but for Forged they can carry it without it filling a hand or item slot). Over the night, Spotter also scrounges up a masterwork composite longbow for Talvosh that has a strength rating close to Talvosh's. We end the session there, and everyone but Puck levels (so Kiani is level 8 and everyone else is 9 now).

Still at eight. Next time, Gadget!

2015-12-19, 09:38 PM
Fairly quiet night... Kiani got off a whole one spell, and even that didn't do anything... We were saved by our tanks again. Would have been interesting if the bow had been Flaming or something. May have changed the whole encounter. Alas it was not meant to be.... *Snicker*

Glad the GM boot is on the other foot.

2016-01-03, 03:03 PM
10th session, and in a completely shocking turn of events, there's a bunch of fighting *gasp*

The group rests, and awaken feeling more refreshed than they have in a while. The Bonfire seems larger than the other ones they have rested at earlier, and Shepherd mentions that he has spent quite some time tending to it. In fact, when they wake up, everyone gains a few temporary hit points from the Fire. Sammael grills Shepherd for more info on the Wasteland, and isn't thrilled with what he gets.

"Time and space in the Wasteland are...frayed, weakened. Things from the past, from other places can sometimes push their way through, can warp the area. Be very wary of anything you see. Frozen images of past battles can come to life - most of the time they're illusions, but other things can hide within that are certainly not illusions. Daemons are able to step across to this world much more easily because of the weakened barriers there, also." Sammael notes that Shepherd uses an archaic term here that once referred to a specific race of fiends, but is also used in several tomes as a catch-all for evil outsiders. Sammael asks if there's any way to reach Logos without traversing the Wasteland, and Shepherd grimaces in response. They could cut west over the mountain range, and follow the coastline around, but that would take several months, easy (plus require mountaineering equipment). On the upside, there's at least one Bonfire at the beginning of the Wasteland, and Shepherd is pretty certain there's at least one more in the remainder of a keep.

Sammael asks Shepherd if he has any cold iron weapons, and he in fact does. Sammael is gifted 2 cold iron daggers and a masterwork cold iron longsword, as a token of their shared faith (they may worship different goddesses, but the kinship is there). It should be about 2 weeks to Logos, so the group sets out. Spotter waves at them from the roof of the church as they leave, and offers one last "helpful" piece of advice.

"Try not to die!"

It's several hours back through the narrow trail and down through some foothills before the party reaches the edge of the Wasteland. What isn't obscured by shifting fog is bare rock - cheerful looking place. There is indeed a small Bonfire set next to an ancient looking well and an almost as ancient looking lean-to. Attuning themselves to the Southern Wasteland Bonfire, the party sets out with determination burning in their hearts!

The (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPUl1f4Qcc0) travelling itself isn't difficult. It's just incredibly eerie. The fog is everywhere, visibility cuts out after 50-60 feet. They're following the bare remnants of the Old Road still, but the only thing that anyone can see is just bare rock. No plants, no animals, no signs of life at all. And the only sound is that of their own foosteps and breathing, quickly swallowed by the fog. The first day of travel is unnervingly uneventful. No one sleeps particularly well, and the group is quite willing to push onwards first thing in the morning. the earlier they're out of this place, the better. The Silence (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1vZhTl9TIU) is just as creepy today, and I actually call for Will saves partway through the day - Angelena fails, and is unnerved enough that's she's shaken for an hour or so. After another empty day of featureless badlands, Sammael and Sona hear a rhythmic clanging off in the distance. The sound is metal on stone, and whatever it is, it's heavy. Sammael creeps forward quietly towards the noise (he used Omen of Peril, but the roll was unsuccessful and said safety). There's several massive chunks of rock strewn about. Between them seems to be a path, with BIG footsteps worn into the rock itself. Sammael can't get any closer for an inspection, as he sees a silhouette in the fog!

Said silhouette comes closer - it's a giant figure armored like a knight - at least 10 feet tall. It walks with slow crushing steps, each one landing exactly in the depressions worn into the rock. The rest of the party follows up to Sammael, and they all watch as the iron knight stomps along its path steadily. Cautiously, lightly, Sammael advances while watching the knight closely. It's walked a little past the group now, but the moment Sammael's foot lands on the worn path, the knight spins in place. There is a stern face on the front of the helmet, and as it gazes at Sammael, the eye slots ignite with eldritch flame. The mouth grates open, and a piercing shriek echoes through the air! Initiative! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoecOxzeAuc)

Angelena goes like greased lightning, and buffs everyone near her with Mass Aid. Sammael zips around the corner of one of the rock chunks, drinking his tincture of enlarge. The rest of the group advances closer, with Talvosh getting the closest. The iron golem stomps towards him in response, raising gigantic fists. Kiani barks fell words of beckoning, and summons a Voor. Now, if you haven't looked at a picture of the Voor, it's a full on HR Giger lovechild monster. So everyone is a little freaked out at the quiet Pelor-worshipping mage calling up a squamous monstrosity and commanding it in words that reek of blood and corruption.

I love the Malconvoker class :smallbiggrin:. The Voor lumbers forward and takes a mighty swing! Which scrapes off the golem's chest fairly ineffectually. The rest of the party shuffles around, and then strange low-hanging clouds seep out of the closest pile of rock. Small motes of light twinkle within the clouds, and small blasts of flame and heat ripple through them (More living spells). One Glitterfire each tries to engulf Talvosh and Sona, who scramble out of the way, while a third lurks behind the iron golem hits it with it's fireball slam to load the golem up with healing *snicker*.

Sammael circles wide, while Angelena puts Sanctuary on herself to protect from the explosive cloudmonster nearby. Talvosh decides that the best defense against an unfamiliar creature is to chop it into tiny bits, and does just that to the hapless Giltterfire in front of him. The Voor goes berserk, flailing and slashing at the golem, but what few hits get past the armor class can't get past the damage reduction. In response, the golem lands a one-two punch on the Voor's face. Who needs weapons when your fists are the size of shields and solid metal? Puck is in position now, and he rumbles into the Golem with a diving shoulder block! I don't roll high enough, and he manages to push the golem back the 5 feet necessary to smash it against the nearby rock! Ow! The golem embeds into the stone with a crunch, then pushes itself back out. The second Glitterfire flails at Sona, who stops it with a wings of cover. The third one coils around the iron golem's legs, and Puck gets to see the dent he just put in the golem pop back outwards and repair itself.

Talvosh kills the Glitterfire threatening Sona and Angelena, and they move up to support Puck and the Voor. Sammael sees the remaining Glitterfire healing the golem, and bisects it with his scythe before kicking the pieces apart - Snap Kick Attack! The golem designates Puck as its primary threat, and punches him in the head really hard several times. Sona and Kiani throw some magic at the golem, but either washes off or is resisted. Puck hooks a giant knee with his axe and manages to bull rush the golem again (which is scary impressive considering how big and strong the golem is), smashing it against the rocks. The Voor flails with great enthusiasm but little results. Talvosh finally makes it to the Golem and ragefrenzies, but misses his first hit (AC 30 is no joke). The fight struggles back and forth a bit - Puck and Talvosh seem to be the only ones who can get high enough damage to hurt the golem, but the golem pummels them ruthlessly for it. Even the SR:no spells that Sona and Kiani throw out either miss, are saved against, or just don't do much. Then the golem starts breathing poisonous gas! Sammael and Talvosh make their saves, Puck doesn't breathe, and the Voor inhales deeply just for the fun of it (being immune to poison). Sammael falls back and begins a 2 round chargeup attack - he casts Divine Sacrifice, a neat spell I hadn't noticed. Then he casts True Strike. Then, right after Talvosh lands several massive blows (the Voor trying to grapple and heroically taking the attacks of opportunity right on the chin/beak), he shoots the golem in the side of the head with an adamantine arrow for a BIG chunk of health. The golem is finally looking quite wounded, and our heroes finally manage to destroy the golem; Puck smashes into the large gouge Talvosh opened up, hearing something important break. The glowing eyes fade, and the golem slumps over, its patrol ended at last.

Checking around, there's nothing but some piles of eroded stone and fragments of dust. The hunks of rock the battle was around might have been part of a large wall once, but they're too worn to truly tell. The group follows the footprints, and quickly end up back where they just were. The golem had been guarding something, patrolling for so long that it had worn footprints into the stone inches deep - but whatever it was guarding is long gone. This is the most defensible place to make camp, so Angelena patches the group up and they hunker down for the night.

The next morning, the fog is much thicker. Talvosh tries a Survival check, and flubs horribly, pointing out a random direction as what he tinks leads back to the road. Sammael makes his check, but notices something strange; he almost agrees with Talvosh's direction before catching himself and realizing that the fog was playing with the light from the sun. It's the other way back to the road. Almost like something was actively trying to mess with his sense of direction...

It's much slower going through the fog now, with everyone barely able to see 10 feet in front of them. Partway through the day, Sammael has to catch himself again - for a brief moment, the fog parts to reveal the Old Road curving to the east. There's something funny about it though...it shimmers and flexes with the fog. As soon as Sammael resolves himself to keep going north, the mirage melts away. This is not a friendly place...

After another day of travel, Sammael spots something up ahead in the fog, maybe a couple hundred feet off. Which is strange, seeing as how the fog is still thick enough to inhibit vision after 40-50 feet in all other directions. Creeping closer, it's a wall. There seems to be a walled town up ahead, and as the fog parts, the road is revealed to lead directly towards an open gate. One door is open towards the party, the other hangs inside the walls. Sammael uses Omen of Peril again and passes, but gets slightly unusual results. The brief flash of the vision shows him standing at the edge of an open grave. Safety, but at the absolute edge of said safety before peril. Sammael steps through the gate into the city first. Sona focuses her hearing and listens for any noises, any sign of anything. Talvosh fails his dex check and bumps the door on his way by, and the sudden squealing creak is absolutely deafening in the silence! This has the effect of nearly making Sona jump right out of her clothes, echoes through the air, and announces their entry to the city all at once.

It seems to be a small town...but it's empty. There seems to be the center of the town/city several hundred feet up ahead, with the silhouette of what might be a larger keep beyond that. There are multiple huts and houses on each side of the street the party is on - and every single door hangs wide open. Sona carefully examines the nearest building, specifically checking for scratch marks or embedded fingernails (I might have a weakness for that sort of detail). There's nothing. The building is empty. No furniture, no food, no rugs, no people, no anything. Just an empty house. The one next to it is the same. Normally I have background music playing, but here I deliberately am playing nothing.

A little creeped out, the party moves on to the town square. There's a fountain in the center of it, but it too is empty. No water, no dust, not even a statue on the raised center section where the water would normally come out. The outline of a keep looms further ahead to the north, and the streets lead to exits to the East and West also. Curious, Sona casts Detect Magic and focuses on the empty pedestal.

She passes her Will save (http://www.tubechop.com/watch/6867373), so she is stunned for a round and can't remember what she saw. Confused by Sona suddenly staggering, Sammael uses Detect Evil. He staggers back (http://www.tubechop.com/watch/6867373) as well, stunned for a round. He can't remember what he saw, but it was Evil. There's a super quick vote to move onto the keep and then the hell out of this place.

While walking (with a bit more trepidation), Kiani is gazing around with her hair hanging loose. Then when she turns to one side to look at a house, her hair is brushed lightly behind one ear. She didn't touch her hair, and there's no one around her. Walking speed intensifies!

Reaching the keep, the party looks at the raised drawbridge, and closed porcullis, and broad moat full of swirling fog to obscure the bottom of it. Everyone by now is feeling wigged out, so I call for will saves. There are some truly epic saves, so as they stand at the edge of the moat, the keep...ripples. Slowly, the walls fade to translucent, as do the surrounding buildings. After a moment, the party is standing back on the Old Road, with nothing around them. The rest of the day's travel is uneventful.

Partway through the next day, the sound of combat echoes through the fog. Screams and shouts (that Puck recognizes as Elven) ring out above the wet noises of steel sliding into flesh, and the clang of weapon against weapon. Designated Scout Sammael goes to check it out, unhappy about the fact that the only cover available is the fog itself. Creeping through the mist, Sammael stealths forward. Finally, up ahead he can spot a vicious skirmish. There's at least a dozen elves like the ones they had encountered before, dressed in rough leather and armor...fighting each other? Must be a tribal thing - there are more than a few corpses on the ground from what Sammael can see. As he watches, one skewers another with his spear, and keeps stabbing as his opponent falls. After the 8th repeated stab, Sammael figures something's up. Straining his vision, he can see another figure just beyond, unnaturally tall and thin. Every inch is covered in armor, and angular shapes are dancing and swirling about it. Then the figure stalks forward and stares right at Sammael's position. He drops an obscuring mist and hustles back to the party as the armored figures bellows in Sylvan (which Sammael understands) to chase after him.

Sammael makes it back to the party with enough time for 2 rounds of actions by everyone. The group buffs themselves (Puck and Talvosh getting embiggened, a Voor getting summoned, Sammael embiggening himself, Divine protection and Mass Aid going out. The Elvish warchant degenerates into howls as five elven berserkers rush out of the fog (which has dramatically lifted to allow for 200 feet of visibility), followed by the 10-ft tall painfully thin armored figure. The shapes spinning and swirling about it? Weapons. Axes, swords, daggers, a veritable cloud of blades surrounds the figure.

Initiative (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICSk8-pJkX8) is rolled up, and the armored figure stalks foward past its elven minions, uncaring as its blade cloud slashes two of them (they howl with an almost religious fervor). The creature lazily twirls a long chain seemingly made of razor blades, and flicks a hand out at the party.

The Quickened Empowered Blade Barrier (made of twirling and spinning lengths of sharpened and spiked chains) slams into place in front of the party, catching Talvosh, Sammael, and Puck. Sammael makes his save and leaps backward, but Puck and Talvosh fail, and get shredded for 78 points of damage each! The mood of this fight is suddenly very serious as the party's two main damage dealers have lost over half their health in the first turn. Kiani steps back and buffs herself, alarmed as a spray of black oily fluid from Puck hits her in the face, and beckons her Voor forward. The Voor lopes towards the group of elves, stopping 20 feet away to force attacks of opportunity. One of the greatspear-wielding elves lets out a ferocious howl, charging with a raging max power attack! The Voor crits with a nasty attack of opportunity, half killing the elf. But it turns out this elf must have been an extra on the set of 300, as he leaps high into the air and lands a critical hit! Slamming the speartip home right between the Voor's teeth, the elf balances on the Voor's chest and twists the spear, killing it in a single blow. The other four elves scream and cheer in excitement as the first shakes his spear in victory. Sammael draws his bow and runs along the side of the barrier. Talvosh and Puck delay their initiatives so Sona and Angelena can each cast a spell on them: Puck gets Fly, and Talvosh gets Delay Death. Puck flys up and over, and Talvosh charges straight ahead, getting smoked in the face by the chain as he misses his axe attack. He also feels a surge of fury, even on top of his frenzy, but passes his will save. The other elves rush at the party, brandishing their weapons. Sona is the only one with Knowledge (Nature), and she makes her check to recognize the armored figure as a Ragewalker, a dangerous Fey spirit of bloodshed and warfare.

The Ragewalker dissects Talvosh, killing him if not for Delay Death. It also waves a hand, and another Blade barrier lashes across Sona and Angelena. Sona manages to dive forward next to Kiani (but leaving them trapped between the two whirring walls of death), but Angelena gets savaged! I drop her to exactly 0 hit points. Without the temporary hitpoints, she would be steak tartare...both Angelena's player and I agree that this is the most singularly painful experience in Angelena's entire life. Kiani summons another Voor, and sends it rushing at an elf. Sammael snipes one of the elves, critting and taking her in the throat. She straightens up with a defiant snarl, but his second shot ends her. Puck is up, and sets up a plan most cunning. He rockets downwards and slams into an elf standing near the Ragewalker (taking a cruel cut from the razor chain on his way in). He utterly crushes the elf's strength check, beating him by 20 and sending him flying into the Ragewalker. I rule that the extra distance means increased damage from the blade cloud, and he is reduced to pink mist. The Ragewalker is knocked off his feet, and he takes a brutal cut from Puck's free attack, shrieking as there's a spray of oily pale blood. Talvosh is up next...but he fails his save against the Ragewalker's Frenzy this time, and lashes out at Puck. Two attacks miss, but one lands on target and Puck takes a lot of damage. Angelena heals herself and stumbles out of the barrier, and Kiani and Sona try some spells that bounce off the Ragewalker's spell resistance. The Ragewalker is hurt, and only one of the opponents next to it is affected by his aura. He makes his defensive concentration and throws out his final wall of blades - splattering an elf (collateral damage) and killing Talvosh (again) if not for Delay Death. By this time, his body is only being held together by crackling streams of light. The barrier just misses Puck, but his health is low from the friendly fire. The razor chain loops around Puck's neck, and with a tug, said head is separated from his body. Sona pierces the Ragewalker's Spell resistance with a Sound Lance, and even with it making the save, that's a big chunk of damage. The Voor charges at the Ragewalker and gets pureed by the barrier, but Talvosh now has no valid target other than the Ragewalker. He lands all his attacks and finishes the murderous fey off.

The blood frenzy continues though...the remaining barbarian and Talvosh spot each other through the blade barrier and charge! I deal enough damage to kill Talvosh a third time before the spell fades and he literally falls into a pile of shredded orc.

The two encounters give enough xp (I hand this stuff out like it's on bulk discount) for Puck to hit level 10, Kiani is level 9, and everyone else to be very close to level 10.

It takes a good 20 minutes for the spinning walls of magical death to fade away, and the party relieves the elves of their armor and weapons. They also find several pots of what seems to be blue woad - these act as potions of shield of faith, except you smear it on, not drink it. They follow the trail of bloodshed back to see if there's anything left of the other elves that Sammael saw. All that remains is their blood and bodies strewn about. They loot the bodies that seem to be carrying magical gear, and also find a large jug of water, and a heavy bag of dried meat! Unfortunately, Sammael picks up what looks like a dried rack of ribs, then sets it down hastily. Angelena quickly sees that it's a human rack of ribs. Soo...just water then. Eager to put this carnage behind them, the party hustles back to the road and heads north.

In a little bit, a shape emerges from the thickening fog. It's a wall, with the road leading to a gate. One door is open towards the party, while the other hangs inside the wall...

10! Bam!

2016-01-03, 06:43 PM
There, got the whole thing up.

2016-01-06, 10:36 AM
You're really making me consider spell pen and greater spell pen for my next feats. Just saying lol. Orb of Fooooorce? Here boy! Come help me put a dent in Puzzle's monsters! *whistle*

The majority of my contribution that night was prep work. Enlarge the beefcakes and make Puck fly lol.

Too bad I won't get it next level because Pact Adept 4 :P oh well, level after that I get my second Pact. wheeeeee!

2016-01-09, 02:16 PM
I love it all. Spent the morning rereading all the entries.
If you wouldn't mind, I'd like the chance to read all the back-stories.

2016-01-09, 02:55 PM
I love it all. Spent the morning rereading all the entries.
If you wouldn't mind, I'd like the chance to read all the back-stories.

We got another brave one over here boss! Lol.

I apologize in advance for being half of the most prolific writing team of the bunch. Hopefully you enjoy when Puzzle gets them to you. ^.^;;

2016-01-09, 03:17 PM
:smallamused: I'm off work tomorrow. I should be done by next weekend :thog:
I wish my group was as great as you guys, I'm still teaching them. They have the basics down and they're trying out casters now.

2016-01-09, 05:15 PM
...I don't know if "great" is the best word to describe us...:smallbiggrin:

And there's a big excessive sack of words in your inbox, PrismCat21

2016-01-09, 05:31 PM
Hey now - we're an efficient bunch! Have to be with the stuff you're throwing at us lol.

I'll take that 'Great' badge and pin it up to my 'MetaGamer' one lol

2016-01-11, 03:52 AM
Small suggestion that only occurred to me because I somehow remembered the death count in between sessions and spent the last log waiting for people to get killed... Maybe put the death counts in spoiler tags? :)

2016-01-12, 01:06 AM
Small suggestion that only occurred to me because I somehow remembered the death count in between sessions and spent the last log waiting for people to get killed... Maybe put the death counts in spoiler tags? :)

What are you talking about Oshi, I've been doing that the whole time...*cough*

2016-01-14, 08:15 PM
Game tomorrow night! Finishing the final prep stuff tonight and tomorrow morning-


Just switch "thousands" for "seven" and "millions" for "a dozen or so" and we're good :smallbiggrin:

Votes on who's taking a dirt nap next?

2016-01-14, 08:32 PM
While not a bet, I would point out that the Malconvoker seems ill suited to this campaign. Summoned creatures can have serious trouble fighting stuff above the summoner's level, and most of the recent fights feel like they'd been against stuff that's just too far past the limit. When the enemy mooks can one-shot your summons it's not a good matchup. Unless the encounters swing back towards masses of guys again.

Dark Souls campaign is good. Interesting how well random encounters matches up with the feeling of being able to mostly just plow through from point A to B unless you mess up.

2016-01-16, 02:02 PM
Thank-you for your concern. I think. Lol. Janath was just not socially going to end up working within the party as his next invokation was Dead walk for a mass of expendable meat shields. The two anti-undead people in party may have not liked it. I am happy if Janath becomes a failed hero aka villian.

As for Kiani not being able to hold her own, that is the downside to being a Mage. Sona may have wings of deflection, but she is still squishy too. Both tend to stay back and just feed our fighters either buffs or extra cover via mooks. As for her own personal defence next level she gets Planar Binding so she will be covered. Still debating what she wants. Definitely a Nightmare, but debating stealing Puzzles Half-fiend troll idea from a previous campaign.

As a fellow Player and Playgrounder, I am open to suggestions as you have seen what we are up against.


2016-01-16, 03:14 PM
<pokes GM>

It's been over 13 hours since end of the game session, geeeeeeez. Post already. :)

2016-01-16, 03:26 PM
While not a bet, I would point out that the Malconvoker seems ill suited to this campaign. Summoned creatures can have serious trouble fighting stuff above the summoner's level, and most of the recent fights feel like they'd been against stuff that's just too far past the limit. When the enemy mooks can one-shot your summons it's not a good matchup. Unless the encounters swing back towards masses of guys again.

Well, in defence, I would say anything that soaks even one hit from (insert big-bad here) contributed directly to us retaining vitae.

Jeargoth needs to work on his theorycraft a bit for selecting appropriate things to summon but that will come with time. Malconvoker is one of those roles that is very much dependent on meta-knowledge and good anticipation for prime effectiveness, that or encyclopedic knowledge of Monster Manuals and speed at applying templates and bonues to monster stats on the fly. Thankfully, he gets mulligans equal to his vitae as he learns the class. :)

2016-01-16, 09:06 PM
See the abuse I have to deal with, Playground? Truly, it's a wonder I can function at all. :smallwink:

This campaign journal goes to 11. 11 sessions, at least. But alas, Kiani's player had a sick child, so the malconvoker is in silent NPC mode.

Last time on Dragonball Z Last session we ended with our hapless heroes gazing upon an eerily familiar gate. The same gate as the creepy town they were in before, that faded away out of sight...

The group decides that if they head through the town in the same manner as before, it should disappear in the same manner and deposit them back onto the Old Road again. Marching in boldly, there's a few differences that are immediately spotted. The scent of woodsmoke and ash hangs in the air, a fine layer of soot coats everything...and there's dozens if not hundreds of footprints visible in said soot. And they're all leading out of the city. Sona cautiously puts an arcane mark onto a nearby door for a reference point. Sammael casts Omen of Peril and gets a warning of Extreme Peril, so the party takes a moment to toss some buffs on before advancing towards the town square. This time, it's...different. There are numerous gouges and craters in the surrounding flagstones, and the pedestal in the centre of the dry fountain is no longer empty. There's a strange, squat black sculpture, but no one can tell more than that from a distance. As they approach, Sammael and Angelena make their checks (getting a bonus from their ranks in Heal).

It's made of bones. Compressed and fused into one another, there are multiple skeletons vaguely visible, but horrifically integrated with one another. The sculpture is black because the bones are covered in greasy soot. As the group stares, Angelena makes a will save. Then she fails one. In a unnervingly serene tone, she announces that she knows what to do. To save them, everyone has to die.

And she sets off a Flame Strike in the middle of the party. Initiative!

Sammael zips over and nonlethally punches Angelena in the jaw, stunning her. Then an invisible presence rips through 4 of Sona's 7 mirror images as well as raking a vicious claw down her back! Retaliating with a Glitterdust reveals a feral catlike predator. Then the other 4 Hellcats charge in with pounce attacks! I roll randomly for their targets, and the dice really don't like Sona today, so another two go after her while one mauls Talvosh and another chomps on Sammael. Sammael is a little gouged, Talvosh is bleeding profusely, and Sona is down to one mirror image and not too many hit points by the time the charges are done.

The fight rages back and forth, with lots of misses due to invisibility. Puck's Blindfighting proves useful, letting him smash a Hellcat grappling Sammael into another one, and landing vicious blows as they hit the dirt. Sona anklet-ports out of the jaws of a Hellcat and flies out of range, Talvosh flails back and forth, landing one nasty hit. Angelena...drools. Sammael manages to land a critical Smite Evil with his scythe, and spikes an unluckly Hellcat right through the skull to finish it off! By the time the fifth Hellcat goes down, Talvosh looks like a tenderized side of pork, and falls unconscious as his rage ends. Angelena overcomes the presence possessing her and heals him, but I'm still keeping the party in initiative order. Then Sona has to make a Will save (which she passes, shucks). Acting on instinct, Puck charges the eerie sculpture, plowing straight through the thigh-high stone fountain wall before cutting the bone idol in two. There's an uncanny wail, and a hiss of black smoke, then blessed silence. After taking stock of everyone, they notice that Kiani has vanished...but there's an impatient looking monkey holding a scroll! As soon as he's noticed, he hands the scroll over before vanishing. It's a note from Kiani saying that she sensed where the Hellcats were coming from, and she went to deal with it, if the party could look for the one closed door two streets south and to the west of the square.

The group trundles along, a little worried at how low everyone is running on health and resources, and easily find the hut Kiani was talking about. Seeing as how it is the only building with a closed door, and there is a LOT of blood splattered all over the place, it stands out. Sona creeps up to the door and listens, and hears...an orchestra? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r30D3SW4OVw) Puck boots the door down, revealing an empty room except for stone stairs leading down. Girding their loins, the party descends...

The stone stairs are even and well lit, and also go down quite a ways. The music gets gradually louder as they go further down, until it's clearly audible to everyone. After a few flights, the stairs open into an elegant looking study. Shelves full of books line the walls, and there's a delicate glass and metal table with what looks like tea and pastries set out. Kiani is sitting at the table with her back to the party, facing the other occupant of the room. There's a man dressed in lace and silk lounging at another table about 20 feet or so away, sipping daintily at a teacup. The final detail that sticks in everyone's mind is the strip of brass across the floor, etched with glowing runes, that separates the man from everyone else.

"Ah, these must be your companions, aren't they Kiani? Please, please, help yourselves." The group eyes Kiani, asking her for a way to prove she isn't being compelled. Kiani responds by casting protection from evil on herself, and nods shakily to the group. The more observant members notice that she is soaked with nervous sweat. As Sammael squints suspiciously at the man, Kiana whispers, "look at his hands." Sammael and Sona make their spot checks to see that his palms are backwards. As they stare at said creepy backwards facing hands, the man murmurs, "ah, so you're not completely unobservant," and seemingly pulls his face off. Instead of a human, a man with the face of a silver and black-furred tiger slouches in his chair.

"I am Manukha dē Khāṇa. Charmed, I'm sure." The Rakshasha inclines his head lazily. As Sona recognizes (and Kiani agrees) that those are some seriously heavy binding runes on the floor, they don't need to attack or flee right away. After some tense small talk (and Talvosh being horribly disappointed to find the pastries were illusionary), Manukha makes an offer to answer questions, in exchange for answers to his questions. Sammael is disapproving, but Sona is intrigued. The Rakshasha beckons her closer to the edge of the barrier, 30 feet away from Sona.

She juuust baarrreely makes her Intelligence check to catch the discrepancy, and stares hard at the ground. Disbelieving the illusion, the floor melts away to reveal the runes, 20 feet from Sona. The rakshasha bares its teeth in a hungry smile.

"Can you blame me for trying? It's been a long time since I had a fresh dinner." The group goes to leave, but it seems the Rakshasha is bored / lonely, and it agrees to a bargain of two questions answered by it in exchange for one answer from the party. Puck paces the room the whole time ; his player can practically see the "OPTIONAL BOSS" light blinking above the rakshasha, but the rest of the party is low on spell slots and health.

Manukha taunted Talvosh with three questions about his heritage as the group was about to leave, so he claims his six questions first. Unfortunately, he isn't careful with his phrasing and burns three of them right away which the Rakshasha answers with obvious single word answers. There were some small questions / answers back and forth, but here were the biggest ones:

Angelena: "What was the Castigation?"

Manukha: "Centuries ago, the god of Light and Magic condemned and punished his most devoted followers for the sin of Hubris. That is not what caused the devastation you saw on your pilgrimage, but it is tied together closely. Now, my turn. How does it feel to know you may never hear your god's voice again?"

Angelena: "...I feel despair and fear, but I have faith that I willwalk in His light again."

Manukha: "Feh, faith."

Sona: "What happened to the dragons of the world?"

Manukha: "Long ago, ancient even by my kind's reckoning, there was a terrible crime visited upon the dragons. Not even I know what it was, but it has to do with your blood, little mage." *stares at Sona before chuckling* "You know the red-haired woman. Tell me, do you think you can kill her this time?" Sona is unhappy at further confirmation that Jezelle is at large in Artaith, but is confident that she can kill her...at least once.

Angelena: "How do I break the Curse and return home?"

Manukha: "All I know is that you must learn as much as you can of how the Curse is tied with your Vitae, and that you must prepare to give up more than you ever imagined. Beyond that, I do not know." *Idly flexes his claws while examining them* "Which one of your companions would you sacrifice in exchange for returning home, sun-priest?" Puck interjects that she would not have to choose, he would offer himself.

Manukha is delighted at this, and scribbles it down in a nearby book, mentioning that it would be a lovely twist for a play. He also conjures an illusion of Puck and Angelena waltzing together, the dance ending in Puck strangling Angelena to death. Just because.

Manukha; "You want to kill me, don't you tin man?"

Puck: "Yes. What is the easiest way to do so?"

Manukha: "Cheeky little insect. With faith."

Sammael: "What happened to the people of this city?"

Manukha: "They burned."

Manukha: "Tell me, Sammael. How does it feel to know you will never know your Goddess' final reward?"

Sammael: :smallmad:

Manukha: :smallbiggrin:

At this point, Manukha makes an "interesting" offer. He will answer any and all of the group's questions, and give them several potent magical items...if one of the party will walk across the bindings and allow him to consume them. Angelena actually pipes up that she would entertain the idea, if she could somehow transfer her status as a Torchbearer. Manukha's eyes widen at this, and his tongue swipes across his lips at this statement. Sammael realizes that this is a bad idea, and turns to leave while insisting everyone else does so too. Sona taunts Manukha as she turns to leave.

Manukha: "Careful, mageling. You do know what they say about those who underestimate tigers, don't you?"

Sona: "What's that?"

Manukha: "They scream, Oh gods, please help me, I'm being mauled to death by a tiger." *bonus internet cookie for who can name the quote*

Angelena still wants to ask some questions, but she starts to go along with the party decision to leave, and Manukha pipes up again.

Manukha: "Now now, Angelena, why don't you come over here to discuss this further with me?"

Angelena fails her save against the suggestion, but the party manages to get in her way. Everyone leaves the study at this point to the sound of Manukha's mocking laughter and sinister implications that they're missing important information.

The mockery stops when Puck collapses the building and buries the stairwell in rubble. There's a distinct telepathic growl as Sammael pisses on the rubble and mockingly consecrates it. Our heroes hustle back towards the keep at this point. Their surroundings start to waver again as they reach the edge of the moat, but this time the portcullis starts to lift as well. Once again, the city melts away, and they are left on the Old Road.

The party makes camp pretty quickly after that, and the next day goes smoothly without incident. There's even some vague hints of hills and variance in terrain now, rather than flat blasted wasteland - huzzah! Partway through another day of travel, the group hears some strange noises up ahead. At this distance, it sounds like hollow thuds followed by faint whooshing noises. As they get closer, the noises get louder, and flashes of light appear through the fog. Fist-size motes of light float back and forth at random, dozens of them. As soon as one gets close to another, they erupt in a rush of flame and air, then continue floating along. It's a field full of fireballs with proximity alarms.

It looks like they could cut wide around the field, but the party doesn't want to risk losing the Road or running into something lurking in the fog. So they send Mr "All my saves are double digits and I have evasion" Sammael up to bat. With a bit of experimentation (and one frantic dodge), Sammael finds the edge of the field and marks it. Studying the field for any sign of a pattern, he then takes a deep breath and dives in. It's child's play for Sammael to dance back and forth, making all his saves with eases, and he successfully makes it across. With Sona standing at one edge and Sammael at the other, everyone rejoices as it's just within the range of benign transposition. 5 spells later and a bunch of successful saves (Sammael needs a one to fail, but if he rolls a one, it sets off a chain of explosions and cumulative penalties, knocking him from one to another), the party has traversed the minefield/fireball field.

After another day and some of travel, the party halts as a series of MASSIVE sounding footsteps echo through the fog. Two Huge mechanical creatures tromp out of the fog, their arms ending in giant axes and mauls.

"IDENTIFY." Drones the one warforged titan. Puck steps forward and declares his status as a Forged.

"IDENTIFY." The party starts buffing, as they have no idea what to say.


Sammael zips out on a flank and bounces an arrow off the one titan's armor plating. Puck immediately shows the terror that is him being enlarged as he charges up and succeeds in tripping the one warforged titan, taking the attack of opportunity on the shoulder. The Titan stands back up (taking another hit from Puck in the process), but sends Puck soaring in return with an Awesome blow, Puck landing 10 feet away on his back. Talvosh rushes up right in the other warforged titan's face, prepping for mangling next turn. Said second titan lets out a blast of steam, and runs right over both Talvosh and Puck with their surprising 50 ft landspeed (I make the grievous error of not realizing Puck and Talvosh could have taken attacks of opportunity instead of Reflex saves, so they get moral victory points no matter what). Sona flies away from the warforged titan that is now much closer than she expected, and there is much jeering and taunting. Puck, Talvosh, and Sammael all surround the first warforged titan and hack away at it, leaving it at critical health in exchange for a couple smashing blows on them. Angelena lashes out with a Moon bolt, not realizing the creatures are constructs, and immune to such magic. And unfortunately now, with Sona having retreated, the second warforged titan has a bead on Angelena.

"COMBAT PRIORITY: ELIMINATE HEALER!" It blares as it thunders forward and whallops Angelena. I roll absolutely pathetic damage with the extra dice from Powerful Charge though, so she's okay. The first warforged titan gets chopped down, and Angelena prepares for combat with the second, busting out a scroll of Righteous Might! But charges from Puck, Sammael and Talvosh, plus a big Sound lance from Sona, puts the second Titan down before she even gets a swing. They continue on, having spotted what might be a cave to spend the night in.
Sammael's player had to go to bed, so I divvy up XP. Sammael dings to 10, as do Sona and Talvosh. Angelena is just a bit short, though, so Sona/Talvosh/Puck/Angelena decide to go a little further in hopes of maybe getting Angelena to 10.

The party approaches the small cave entrance (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy5xlq5lKKE) carefully. They can see a faint glow coming from within, and the non-warforged members can smell burnt meat. Tiptoeing quietly, they enter. Talvosh spots some writing smudged on the cave wall, but can't read it. Sona can (it's in messy Draconic):

"We do this for you, My Lady."

Angelena and Sona stay in the tunnel while Puck and Talvosh enter the cavern proper. It's not that big, and there's several bedrolls and travelling packs strewn about. In the centre is what seems to be a deep cooking pit. Peering in, the two beatsticks see three bodies piled on top of one another, and a bed of glowing coals and embers about them. The bottom is burnt away to the bone, but the top one was held up high enough by the other two that his or her flesh has been slow cooked. The faint hint of appetizing roasted meat threaded through the smell of burnt flesh and hair is now a little sickening. Puck roots through one pack, while Talvosh checks the other. Crumbs and remnants of travel rations, and near empty waterskins are all the pair find - it seems these three were at the absolute edge of their supplies. Underneath the one pack though, Puck finds a crude looking collection of papers bound together, with writing he doesn't understand. As he goes towards the final pack, the Cinder Swarm bursts out of hiding in the pit and engulfs him with a whoosh of flame!

Puck and Talvosh very quickly find out that their axes do exactly squat to the swarm of fire elementals, and they both get scorched (but manage to avoid catching on fire). Angelena zips up and tries to dispel the swarm, but no luck. Sona swats them with a Wings of Flurry, and that gets the Cinder swarm's attention. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy5xlq5lKKE)

Angelena and Sona get engulfed, and Angelena goes up in flames. What follows is Sona being nauseated (rather than it being creepy crawlies all over you, I rule it's because the swarm is essentially living malevolent sparks and embers trying to force their way into your eyes, ears, mouth, and nose) and trying to run away, and the swarm gleefully chasing her and trying to make her barbecue. It takes more Wings of Flurry and finally a Holy Smite from Angelena before the swarm is dispersed with a Pop. Angelena and Sona are horribly scorched, and Sona's eyebrows don't return until several healing spells later. Puck hands Sona the journal, and she peruses it while he decides to "search the bodies", i.e jump down and violently search the corpses. He finds a cold iron dagger and nearly makes Sona throw up, and then he and Talvosh get a serious scolding from Angelena (Talvosh for being vaguely tempted to try the flesh).

Reading the journal with difficulty (it's written in a very shaky hand, and is written quite poorly), Sona translates from Draconic. It seems they were a group of adventurers that were trying to complete their Pilgrimage, and they were quickly in over their head. The group died off from monsters and starvation until only three remained, and then the journal changes tone. It talks of the Red Lady, and how she showed them the way.

The Way is through Fire.

That's all the last page of the journal says. Uncomfortably, the group settles down for the night in the cave (many prestidigitation spells later).

During the night though, Sona has a strange experience

Sona opens her eyes to find the rest of the group asleep, including Puck. There's a glow coming from the pit...and noises. I play these (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25SV6zqTl1k) two (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gstQeQVW848&list=PL8GZX0xZGe9jbL9X7vF9EzyOJBDBhUdpD&index=16) simultaneously. As Sona stares, a scorched, burning hand reaches up and grips the side of the pit. Then another. The burning corpse lifts itself onto the opposite edge of the pit, and shakes its head back and forth. A stream of ashes and flames forms into lengths of long curled hair, and embers flare into eyes as the face reshapes itself into that of Jezelle. The other dragonblooded sorcerer Sona had encountered while researching the Curse in her backstory, and one whose approach to the Curse brought the two of them to blows before.

"Oh, it is you, little wyrmling. How've you been?" Teeth glowing with sullen heat are bared in a fierce grin behind ashen lips. Sona swallows and squares her shoulders.

"Hello, Jezelle."

Jezelle kicks her feet in a gruesome parody of playfulness, but Sona catches how different her voice sounds. Even discounting the nightmare appearance, there's a hungry edge to her voice that wasn't there before. It sounds...wrong. Jezelle taunts and threatens Sona some, making a show of eyeing and mocking Sona's companions.

Jezelle: "You have no idea what I've learned about the Curse, and what I've gained, Sona."

Sona sneers in response. "I know something you'll never have that I do, though."

Jezelle: "Oh?"

Sona: "Friends." Jezelle's grin vanishes at that, and the embers flare a little.

Jezelle: "Speaking of that, is that little fairy boy of yours with you?"

Sona's had enough at this point, and catches Jezelle square in the face with a Great Thunderclap. The head rocks back, and slowly turns back to Sona. Half the face is ruined, and crumples away into ash, but the other eye burns even brighter.

"I'm actually not that far away from you, Sona," Jezelle hisses. "I'm going to find you, and I'll show you and your 'friends' exactly what I've learned. The Curse is a weapon, and it's given me power that you couldn't understand." Sona flashes a rude gesture as the corpse bursts into flame.

"Then we'll see who's stronger." With Jezelle's final words ringing in her ears, Sona snaps awake with a gasp. She fails her save against the Nightmare spell, and thus takes damage and doesn't recover her spells. She's not too willing to share what she dreamt about with Puck, and only gives him the bare minimum info.

The next day is gloomy, and everyone is extremely relieved when their Vitae checks feels the faint tug of a nearby Bonfire. Out of the fog rises the shape of a castle - but lopsided. Half of the keep is seemingly melted (I ripped off Harrenhal on a smaller scale), and up ahead is a broad gate. As Sona approaches, she notices the two very big armored figures on each side of the gate. Two armored figures that look exactly the same as the Iron Golem they fought before, but they're each armed with greatswords. They raise their swords menacingly, and Sona lifts her hands in a peaceful manner. At the sight of the Mark, the golems reverse their swords and plant them into the stone. Everyone hustles through, eager to reach the Bonfire. There's a brief panic moment as Sammael walks through and the golems twitch, but his Mark is close enough.

We end the session there, and Angelena earns enough to level.

Still 10, alas

2016-01-17, 04:18 AM
Puck is not a valid target for Enlarge Person, dunno if he'd been doing that earlier but I just noticed. Excellent move bringing in a swarm against a melee heavy party. Mechanically I'm not sure I agree with casting Nightmare on a PC, but it has countermeasures and certainly allows for dramatic flair.

My first suggestion for summons expecting powerful foes would have been Druid with Rashemi and Greenbound (so OP), but naturally that's not an option now and it's not very Dark to begin with. Off the base fiendish lists I'd go with Dire Wolf, more Dire Wolf, and Giant Crocodile at 5th, but SM creatures are never very tough: as I'm sure you know, their big feature is having assorted magical abilities they can spam and I'm pretty sure none of the other splat options are much tougher. The Malconvoker's big abilitiy is summoning more dudes, rather than better dudes. A Ring of Perfect Summons (CM) is expensive but would be worth at least a few extra hit points. My biggest suggestion has nothing to do with Malconvoker-ing, but replace your Medium Elementals with Energons from Planar Handbook. They have 4 incorporeal touches totaling 12d6 on a full attack, and incorporeality gives them a shot at surviving a hit regardless of damage. Summon Giants (Frostburn) isn't a bad alternative to SM8, especially if you can get the DM to agree that all giants should have Brutal Throw because duh.

Of today's fights, Hellcats aren't that tough and I expect the summons would have been plenty useful against them, but the Warforged Titans would shrug off and walk over anything short of a Large Earth Elemental or a Rhinoceros. I'm curious as to how your group will be running Planar Binding: do you take the stance that making the charisma check basically lets you do whatever you want, or that the charisma check only allows what would have otherwise been a fair bargain under Planar Ally costs, or do you simply plan on Charm Monster-ing everything instead?

Speaking of swarms, the Ephemeral Swarm (MM3) is particularly nasty, though sadly not small enough to be completely immune to weapon damage and it's within Turning range now.

2016-01-17, 04:35 AM
Living Constructs don't count as humanoids, Fizban?

EDIT: They in fact do not, I had goofed up on their type/subtype!

As for your spoiler, yes, that is a good one. And what Kiani's player can get away with for Planar Binding will depend on creativity and style - I'll be pretty flexible since I'm throwing some crazy stuff at them

2016-01-27, 10:55 PM
Pic of Kiani incoming!


And new group shot!


2016-01-28, 05:43 PM
Sinister Six??? Lol. I may argue with that :P

2016-01-29, 12:56 AM
Sibilant? Slobbering? Severe? Serious? Slacking? Savage?


2016-01-29, 05:03 PM
I was thinking 'The Slick Six' if it'still going to be a Netflix original lol. Adam Sandler can play Sammael, Dwayne Johnston as Puck... so on and so forth.

2016-01-31, 06:28 PM
And on the Twelfth session of gaming, the GM did give to the party...

More B.S monsters :smallbiggrin:

No Kiani player :( so she's tired and just hides in the background.

The Melted Keep isn't a particularly large castle, inside is only a small stable and a central building. The party is more than a little eager to make it to the Bonfire, and Talvosh tears an unlocked door off its hinges to get inside. Inside is indeed a Bonfire.


No one feels like exploring until they've slept at least 8 hours, and everyone passes out on the spot. The next morning they decide to check what's below this room, cautiously taking the stairs down...watch as the pack of PCs stays in tight formation for safety from predators :). On the landing partway down the stairs, everyone except for Talvosh passes their spot check to notice that one of the stones in the wall is off-center and loose. Sammael carefully examines it, noticing the corner of...paper? He fishes the pages out from behind the loose stone and takes a gander

This “Wasteland” is miserable place. There’s nothing pleasant, it’s full of horrible monsters, cloying mist, and it’s grey. Giant automatons , bizarre clouds that are made of magic and try to kill you, and fiends! It doesn’t seem to make sense. From what I know of demons and devils, they shouldn’t be in each other’s company without attacking one another. But I’ve seen the two acting in concert with one another, attacking us. There were also some creatures that I did not recognize...I’m not sure which of these two things in Artaith are more unsettling. We’ve finally made it to this keep in the middle of absolutely nowhere, a haven of sorts among the mists. We’ve decided to spend a few days here recovering and planning what we’re going to do next.

Even with part of the keep melted like some oversized candle, it’s in very good shape. There are some fascinating tapestries - they’re quite aged, but the images that are still visible seem to point to this place being some sort of monastery. Well, the catacombs below point to that as well. There’s some heavy warding magic down there - when we tried to go into the catacombs, everyone except Medea suffered horrible sunburns, Baltan worst of all. I didn’t get much time to explore, everyone was on edge and in a hurry to get back to the Bonfire, but there seemed to be several mausoleums chambers with no visible doors, and a very heavy and elaborate gate. I got the sensation of being watched down there…

I swear there’s something at the bottom of the well, too. Before I could examine further though, once again my boorish companions yelled at me to hurry up and come back where I couldn’t get in trouble. You set off a few dozen traps examining secrets and treasures and they never let you live it down.

I’m...worried about my companions. Ever since the temple in the canyons, Gweneyr and Baltan have been acting differently. They’ve been more aggressive, more...hungry. Gweneyr has always been more than willing to live up to her barbaric appearance, but Baltan had never been bloodthirsty before. We’re all on edge because of this place, but my gut says there’s something more. Medea died several times before we reached the keep, and she’s not doing well. She’s even more withdrawn than usual. I’ve been fortunate so far - I’ve managed not to die, nor have I partaken of this “Vitae.” Something that feels as good as Gweneyr and Baltan describe it has to have a catch of some sort.

I hate this place.

Continuing down the stairs, there is indeed a well in the center of the room, quite a large one (10 ft across). It's also nearly full, clear water visible only a few feet down, and quite deep, as the party cannot see to the bottom with 60 ft darkvision. Casting a light spell on the stone that was hiding Vaughn's journal entry, they toss it into the well and watch it go down...and down...until it reveals the bottom of the well and the large chest at said bottom. They nominate the guy who doesn't have to breathe, and tie a rope around Puck's waist before sending him to the watery depths below. It's around 100 ft to the bottom, and Puck very carefully lands off to the side of the chest before beginning a careful inspection.

Now, Puck's player and I have played through both Dark Souls and Bloodborne together, so he is understandably worried that the chest is a Mimic. If you haven't seen or played Dark souls, Mimics are much scarier than the normal d&d beastie. This is a http://darksouls.wiki.fextralife.com/file/view/Img0061.jpg/477299722/Img0061.jpg and if you open a Mimic chest, they grab you and chomp you, most likely killing you. So Puck very intensely studies the chest, circles it, checks the floor around it, very specifically does everything he can to inspect without touching the chest. He sees that there might be something very slight beneath the chest, and that the latch of the chest is sticking out. With extreme focus worthy of bomb disarming, Puck loops a length of rope around just the latch,plants against the wall, and then both him and Talvosh heave up in the hopes of ripping the lid open.

The latch snaps clean off without anything else happening. So Puck decides on another tactic, and pushes off as hard as he possibly can, slamming into the chest from above! Strangely enough, it's not the splinter of wood or the squish of flesh, but the crunch of...stone? The illusion fades away to reveal that the chest is in fact a cunningly carved block of solid rock. The impact jarred the block a bit, so Puck is able to muscle the stone chest up and over. Beneath it is a large metallic key! And a trap. A bolt of lightning blasts down into the well and zorches Puck (and Talvosh through magic conductivity+I thought it was funny). Puck makes his way out of the well with key in hand, and they continue down the next flight of stairs.

The stairs lead down to a LARGE chamber. Darkvision and an everburning torch reveals 2 massive pillars, 35 feet across, seemingly made of pink and white quartz, and a smaller one in between. Puck and Talvosh are the first down the stairs, and as soon as their feet touch the floor there's a flash of harsh sunlight, and they both take 12d6 damage to the face. Angelena, Sammael, and Sona put their heads together and figure out that the flash of light was from a Forbiddance. Sona and Angelena are next down the stairs, and Sona gets a lesser sizzle. Angelena walks through free as a jaybird, and then Sammael gets a supernatural sunburn as well. After they've made it past the base of the stairs, they start checking out these "pillars."

Tapping the crystal and listening reveals that they seem to be hollow, and Puck makes his way around the closest one poking the key into it every couple seconds. On the one side, his hand disappears into the wall. After everyone else catches up, Puck and Talvosh step through. Inside (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLBybw-IJ5U) the chamber are sarcophagi, stone carvings of armored warriors on the lids. There is a stylized sunburst on the wall, and the whole chamber shines with muted sunlight, as if partially obscured by something. Puck decides to shove one of the lids off in search of loot, and that's when the rest of the party hears HEAVY metallic footsteps coming towards them from the center of the room. Sammael rushes into the room to try and undo whatever just happened, and Puck and him hurriedly replace the lid. The footsteps tromp even closer however, and around the corner comes two 10 ft tall armored figures, each wielding very large greatswords. They in fact exactly resemble the golems standing guard outside the keep...

Puck rushes out of the room and slams into the nearest Iron Guardian (which is an Awakened Iron Golem), hoping to knock both of them over preemptively. It stops him dead though...uh oh. Sammael drinks one of his tinctures, Sona greases the space between the two Guardians (and I begin my trend of rolling above 14 for most of the night) and they both save, and Talvosh zips up and gouges one with a frenzied-raging power attack. It retaliates with a max power attack full attack and nearly kills Talvosh outright. The next one steps up and whangs Puck for some damage as well. The two frontliners hack away again while Sammael continues to self-buff, and Sona sneaks up and Enlarges Talvosh. Angelena channels her god-given magic and tries to blast the Guardians with a Flame Strike, everyone forgetting that golems are immune to almost all magic, and that this style in fact (the same as the one they fought a while back in the Wasteland) is repaired by fire!

Then the Guardian that Talvosh and Puck had full attacked and hurt uses Combat Expertise and continues to chop into Talvosh (who's past the point of reasonable rescue by healing). I ruled that when Talvosh is below -10 hit points he is staggered, so no infinite full attacks
With the Guardian's AC skyrocketing, the party begins to pull back, Puck and Angelena withdrawing. Sammael pulls back more slowly, firing ineffectual arrows. Sona re-checks her spell list, and lobs a Lesser Orb of Acid and deals some truly nasty damage. The first Guardian, after absorbing repeated blows from the party, slowly keels over. The second Guardian decides that since this pesky berserker won't fall down dead, it should take out the spellcaster, and jogs around the far side of the chamber to flank her. Talvosh limps after it, still flailing his axe while physically holding his body together (and still hitting due to his stupidly high strength). Sammael bravely tries to intercept the Guardian, and he and Talvosh manage to hold it in place while Sona keeps lobbing orbs of acid.

Finally the Guardian has had enough and bull rushes Sammael 20 ft back and then kills him the next round. It's a five ft step away from introducing Sona to the edge of its blade when a combination of Talvosh, Puck rushing back into the fray (taking the Forbiddance damage again), and Sona burning through all of her 1st and most of her 2nd level spells puts it down. Talvosh's frenzy ends, and he pretty much falls apart like a sack of ground beef. After everyone is revived, they examine the rest of the chamber, discovering two more quartz room/pillars. Puck and Talvosh want to break and desecrate everything looking for treasure. Strangely, Angelena and Sammael have an issue with this plan, so it's tabled for later. All the chambers seem similar; sarcophagi with carvings of stone warriors, sunburst on the wall, and the strange fact that each room is lit with sunlight. One is bright and shining though, like a hot summer mid-day, and another is just the warm beginnings of the day. Right before they vote to retreat back to the Bonfire though, Talvosh makes it to the end of the catacombs and finds a heavy elaborate gate. Coincidentally, the key Talvosh found is just the perfect fit! On the other side is an armory of sorts. The group examines and plays with everything, so here is the list of treasure:

Witchlight reservoir
Mantle of second chances
Expansion engine (a warforged component that allows use of the psionic power Expansion 2/day
Runestaff of the Assassin
Lesser metamagic rod of Extend
+1 evil outsider bane Mace
A vial of Uncanny ichor - concentrated magic, this will increase the enchantment value of a weapon or armor by +1
scrolls of Holy Sword, Arcane Eye, Shrink item, and Identify

The group doubletimes it back to the Bonfire, and keels over. Angelena decides to experiment a bit in an attempt to see if she can make the Fire help Puck heal. Cutting her hand and holding it above the flames, she mentally offers a sacrifice of her health. A point of her Vitae burns away, and the fire is Kindled. Everyone's healing is increased, and Puck does indeed heal some now. The next morning the party decides to check out the rest of the keep to see if there's anything else to find.

In the stables they find a ripped saddlebag. I roll on the dreaded random loot chart, and they end up with a +1 throwing returning short sword, and a +2 buckler (cue unenthusiastic whoo). They also manage to work their way into the melted towers (Puck doing his impression of a meteor to divebomb into one). Inside the one they find the tapestries that Vaughn mentioned in his journal! There are 6 of said tapestries, and they seem to detail the birth, life, and death of a single individual. They are incredibly detailed despite their moderate size, and the position of the Sun features prominently in each. Angelena uses a Guidance of the Avatar plus aid from Sammael and Sona to realize that there are instructions hidden within. The four chambers in the Catacombs below correspond to a different position of the Sun - visiting them in order may reveal something.

Angelena also feels that further study may reveal more information, but that will take time (i.e. the GM did not expect these to be found yet, and still needs to fully write the tapestries up). After bulling through the wards again, they visit each chamber - Dawn, Noon, Eclipse, Dusk. As they do so, there's a grating noise as the central chamber (where the Guardians were hidden) descends. What comes back up is a broad basin full of a glimmering golden liquid. Some high knowledge checks reveal it to be liquid Orichalchum, a magical metal associated with sunlight and magic. Puck and Sammael dip the blades of their weapons in, and both are infused with the metal, increasing their enchantment by +1 and increasing their hardness to 15. After another day of lazing about, they set out towards Logos once more.

There's a brief discussion here - I knew that I was being stingy with loot, but after having them total up, several members are WAY below the average level. So I whip together a random encounter with some choices from my book of beasties, and off we go! While travelling, Sammael hears a plaintive voice calling for help in the distance. The timing is horribly suspicious, but it sounds genuine. Creeping off, Sammael finds a young knight with a broken leg laying in an open cave. He doesn't register as evil, but the knight's reluctance to leave the area sets off alarm bells. After Sammael heals him enough to walk, he feels a foreign presence try to invade his mind. Initiative! The succubus manages to land a kiss (Sammael rolled a 2 on his grapple check), but after taking a flurry of blows, decides to teleport away. Sammael falls back just long enough for everyone to catch up, and they head back to the caverns. As Puck floats down to inspect, a group of menacing sorts confronts him! Fight time!

A seemingly unarmed member disappears in a cloud of black smoke, and reappears right behind Puck! Suddenly claws of blazing light sprout from his hands, and the Nightcrawler (unofficial name) carves into Puck, then disappears only to reappear again and claw him twice more. Another unarmed member runs off to one side, while Sammael slow falls down right in front of the succubus and utterly DEMOLISHES it with two Smite evils (from snap kick). The Duskblade twins zip up and flank Sammael, one missing while the other lands a channeled Vampiric Touch. Talvosh does a flying leap to hack into the one Duskblade, more than willingly taking the falling damage in exchange for nearly killing the Duskblade (Talvosh rolls like me the whole night, very rarely rolling below 14). Puck is displeased by this strange man fading in and out around him, and crosschecks him into a stone outcropping for ugly damage. Wisely, Nightcrawler decides to go after another target, doing his teleport dance around Sona and slicing most of her mirror images to shreds (and a well timed wings of cover to prevent a critical Eldritch Claw). The other unarmed warrior takes a full round of attacks from Talvosh and a hit from Puck (deflecting one with a Wall of Blades) and then tears a hunk off of Puck with his bare hands (Rabid bear strike). Talvosh, Puck, and Sammael target the Warblade at that point, and Sammael tumbles in with a death touch once the Warblade is down to critical levels and finishes him. D'aww, no one-on-one unarmed duel. The remaining Duskblade goes out with a bang, burning an arcane strike+true strike+max power attack+stored shocking grasp in sword to try and kill Talvosh. It does a boatload of damage, but the orc has two boatloads of health or so.

Nightcrawler carves into Angelena through her Righteous might after Sona falls back and goes invisible (much good natured teasing is thrown about due to her predilection for defending herself :smallbiggrin:), but finally he goes down as well. But is anyone truly dead in a place like this... :)?

Bodies are looted, xps are handed out, and we finish up there.

Twofer night, so 12

There is experimentation and testing, and I hereby decree the party figures out what this gear is:

Two Spell storing +1 Greatswords
Two sets of +2 breastplate
One set of Dimension stride boots
Amulet of mighty fists +2
+2 nimble breastplate
gloves of the balanced hand
Ring of protection +2
Belt of giant strength +4
Chasuble of Greater fell power
Cloak of resistance +3
Bag of holding type 2
Anklet of translocation
Bolt shirt

2016-02-01, 04:34 AM
Pic of Kiani incoming!


And new group shot!


Those are super spectacularly awesome.

2016-02-01, 08:20 PM
Glad you like em. I always enjoy painting up new random minis, that and it helps me keep everything straight for combat when the model actually looks like the character :smallsmile:

2016-02-01, 08:44 PM
Glad you like em. I always enjoy painting up new random minis, that and it helps me keep everything straight for combat when the model actually looks like the character :smallsmile:

*ahem* because tradition and a long standing premises has been established outside the forum that no one will understand, but I cannot let slide....

Meh, they'll do. Painting isn't Mr. Wink's strong suit; there's no lines for him to colour inside. We had to burn the first abominations that came off his pallet.

2016-02-02, 10:28 PM
*ahem* because tradition and a long standing premises has been established outside the forum that no one will understand, but I cannot let slide.... Picanet has sworn a solemn and sacred oath to never say anything nice about MrWink's painting. If she ever compliments it deliberately, her soul is forfeit.

We had to burn the first abominations that came off his pallet. That gives me a very nice mental image of painting via forklift :)

2016-02-05, 04:33 PM
I must say I am enjoying this read. I take it one of you all is a big fan of Warmachine?

2016-02-05, 10:10 PM
A few us are definitally warmachine players mostly it was just that warmachine had models that best suited what I was looking for with the least amount of conversion. The other models are from reaper.

2016-02-06, 03:27 PM
Also means a lot of the time the players face off against warbeasts and warjacks when they're the right size. Glad you're enjoying the read, jguy!

2016-02-08, 12:55 PM
So was the Iron Golem a Khador Juggernaut?

2016-02-08, 09:05 PM
They ended up being a Seether and Lich Lord Venethrax actually, as they were the closest models that were roughly the right size :smallbiggrin:

2016-02-15, 05:10 AM
It's later than usual, blame replaying Dark Souls 2 and Deadpool...

The thirteenth session! On the thirteenth of the month! *Krakoom* Mwoo haa haa haa haa

Just as planned Nah, amusing coincidence. Bad news, though - No more Kiani :smallfrown:. Her player unfortunately doesn't have the free time to play anymore, so no more Malconvoker.

The party decides that there shouldn't be too much risk of being ambushed, and rest in the caverns, burning all of their spells to heal up as much as they can before resting. Awakening to yet another fog-shrouded morning, the party continues onwards! Talvosh attempts to pick the correct direction with a Survival check of -1! And rolls a 4. Mercifully, Sammael corrects him so they don't get horrifically lost. Huzzah!

Partway through the day, Puck and Sona hear a faint roaring in the distance, like a massive fire. Son after, everyone can hear it, and the fog to the north of them is darker, like there's smoke mingled with it. After traveling towards it for a bit longer, the all-too familiar walls of the eerie town come into view. However (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l45CHS-5cA), numerous flames rise above the walls, and the gates lay broken and burning on the ground! There's a bit of hesitation, but the sound of numerous screams mingling with the rush of the flames pushes the group to advance.

The town is indeed ablaze; every building in sight is burning, collapsed, or both. There's also people running for their lives, screaming and panicking. But when one comes near, they fade to intangibility and then just a shadowy silhouette - it seems they're possibly an illusion of sorts. While Sona disbelieves the flames to look for the Arcane Mark she placed last time, Puck advances up to what seems to be an average looking human running towards them. An unseen being drags the hapless peasant to the ground as Puck walks up, and horrible rents and gashes tear across his back. Puck cautiously prods towards it...and turns out this isn't an illusion.


The Hellcat that Puck poked at goes first and rips into poor Puck, and then two creatures scuttle into view further down the road. The two Mezzoloths both drop Cloudkills into the middle of the group. Pretty much everyone saves, but that just means half damage. Another Hellcat bursts out of a nearby building and pounces onto Talvosh for a bunch of damage, and then it's Sammael's turn. He strides forward, and lands a critical Smite Evil with his scythe on the unsuspecting Hellcat attacking Puck. A critical smite, by the way, that completely obliterates the beastie in one blow. Sona flies up out of the cloud for fresh air...which makes her an easy target for the third Mezzoloth to engulf her in another Cloudkill. Puck cleverly tosses his Rod of Escape to Sammael to activate, which creates a nice bubble of air for the others to take refuge in (since he's enlarged). The rest of the fight doesn't go so well for the fiends; Puck and Angelena get stabbed with tridents, Talvosh takes more con damage (he's the furthest back in the group, so the cloud surrounds him the longest) and gets mauled more, one mezzoloth gets pulverized into a burning building, another gets axed to pieces, and the final one gets combo-charged after it fails to dispel the rod of escape.

The group decides to head straight for the town square rather than checking if the Rakshasha is still lurking about (disappointing). There are many other disturbing images and scenes on the way, but none become more than shadows. Mezzoloths running down and impaling people, Hellcats mauling victims, and disturbingly, people dying and turning Hollow before attacking others. A Nycaloth swoops by at one point, hurling dismembered limbs about in a horrible rain. Luckily for the group, I don't roll the required % for any of these horrible things and creatures to be anything other than visions. Soon the group makes it back to the town square with the fountain (which is on fire too). As they're moving through the square, all the flames suddenly flare up and burn bright, colors melding to a bloody red. A mocking female voice rings out of the sky.

"Finally, I found you all!"

It's Jezelle.

Jezelle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXVO4cChaN0) taunts the group a little, sounding quite smug and assured. Talvosh makes a crude sexual offer, which Jezelle mostly ignores with only a slight mention of him being rude. When asked her intentions, Jezelle assures the group that if they leave Sona behind, she'll leave them be. Her monologue is interrupted by Sona verbally tearing her a new one, mocking her on several levels. Jezelle loses her temper, and lobs a Fireball. Sammael and Sona made their Listen checks to pinpoint where the voice was coming from, and the Will save to realize that it was being disguised by a Ventriloquism spell, but Sona doesn't react in time.

The blast of supernatural flame hurts Sona, and flat out kills the con-damaged Angelena and Kiani instantly. As Angelena dies, she feels the connection between her and Kiani ignite and burn away (not out of Vitae, but Kiani is out of the picture until whenever her player can make time to game again). Fight Time! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSXTxyynUJ4)

Jezelle is visible now, sitting side saddle on an eerie horse with a smoldering mane and tail...150 feet in the air. Puck grabs his bow and takes a shot that ricochets off arcane protections. Sammael does some quick thinking...and shoots at the horse instead and deals some damage to the Nightmare. Jezelle snaps her fingers, and two Nycaloths ripple into existence. The giant multilimbed flying tiger-monster men swoop in for the attack! One charges Puck and deals some damage, the other swoops at Sammael and crits with his big axe, dropping him to 6 hp off the bat. Talvosh rages and runs over to assist Sammael! Puck cuts the Nycaloth in front of him once, and then crits. I mark the damage and am about to continue when his player reminds me that he dealt enough damage to need a massive damage save. I roll...a 1. The Nycaloth takes a step, and promptly has its insides become outsides. Jezelle cries foul at that, frustration letting her natural brogue slip out. Sammael lands some blows, as does Talvosh, but the Nycaloth finishes Sammael off with another axeblow. Sona lobs a Great Thunderclap at Jezelle and her horse, but I continue my habit of rolling 13+ all the time on saves. The battle between the Nycaloth and Talvosh continues, but the orc's damage output while frenzy-raging is insane, and the Nycaloth gets hacked apart.

Jezelle is quite unhappy at this turn of events, and casts Arcane Spellsurge. The air around her shimmers and ripples, and her bright red locks flutter as if in a hot breeze. She starts hurling spells at an alarming rate, scorching Talvosh and Puck. Sona goes invisible and keeps moving, Puck keeps shooting at the Nightmare (which Jezelle doesn't defend), and Talvosh...waves his axe menacingly. Jezelle is still focused on Talvosh, and hits him with a critical Disintegrate (I had forgotten my dice and borrowed some which were apparently imbued with malice and hatred towards all PCs). Even a succesful save doesn't keep him from being reduced to below 0 by the green ray, so he uses Mad Foam Rager to delay his death. Jezelle is right pissed at that, and uses her second spell to hit him with another Disintegrate rather than choosing a target that's actually threatening her. Talvosh obligingly turns to dust.

Sona hits the Nightmare with a Sound Lance, and it explodes. Jezelle is left sitting in the air, looking quite unhappy, and then a shimmering silver cord appears behind her before the foul-mouthed sorcereress is yanked away with a shimmer of magic (spellcraft reveals that she was Astrally projecting via the Nightmare, and couldn't maintain the spell when it died. Sona and Puck loot the piles of daemonflesh, and Sona convinces Puck that they shouldn't rest in the partially illusory town of intense creepiness (and now fiendish pillaging and plundering), and they retreat out of the city and make camp a ways away on the road.

Angelena, Talvosh, and Puck awaken back at the Bonfire located in the Melting Keep, several days back. That night, the moon is in full view, and its sullen flames are bright enough to read by, contributing to an uneasy night's sleep for all. Sona especially! She "awakens" to Jezelle pinning her down with both hands wrapped around her throat and squeezing.

"I hate being interrupted." Her tone is almost friendly. "It's rude, and being rude upsets me. I'm finding it harder and harder to tolerate things that upset me lately. Like you, and your friends." Sona manages to gasp in enough air to spit. Jezelle thunks her head against the ground. "I'm going to find you and your friends again. I'm going to kill them again. I'm going to burn you all until there's nothing left." She raises a finger above Sona's eyes, a finger that sprouts a flame at the end. Slowly, the fire descends towards Sona's eyes.

She wakes up with a gasp, and a brand new set of hand-shaped bruises around her throat.

Angelena prepares several Sending spells in the morning, a wise decision. A less wise decision is to try and contact Puck with the spell...

Angelena: "At the Melted Keep. Is anyone hurt? Where are you? If you can, stay where you are and we will come to you."

Puck: "Not really. On the road."


Puck starts speaking to Sona, his words still part of the response: "We heard a voice like Angelena's. No, it stopped. Asked where we were. I should say we will wait for" SPELL ENDS. Another Sending spell straightens things out, though. Angelena, Talvosh, and Sammael hustle towards Sona and Puck, and Sona and Puck stay right in place. The city seems to have faded, and Puck busies himself with attempting to create a smal stone fortress from nearby loose rocks. It...doesn't go so well. I roll absolutely no encounters for everyone, so no deaths due to party splitting. After a couple days, the party is reunited! They continue further north. A couple evenings later, their path dips into a steep valley, and what seems to be numerous tall walls, or a structure of sorts. In the morning, they check it out. It seems to be a large maze of some sorts, numerous tall walls of gleaming black stone visible through pieces of the fog. Walking closer reveals an entrance in the 20 ft tall walls (which are made of obsidian and seem to have numerous razor sharp edges). There is writing on the outside of the walls, first in Infernal, then Abyssal, then in more recognizable languages.

Sona tests flying up over the walls. Nothing happens, she can see that the path seems to be 10 ft across, and the walls are jagged and sharp on top also. Flying back and forth doesn't seem to trigger anything, so the party decides to advance into the Labyrinth. The mood is tense (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCIqVlELCts), everyone creeping ahead slowly. The path goes round and round, but seems to be one uninterrupted route, no branches. Then they come across a thick wall of ice spread between the walls, which Puck and Talvosh break. The supernaturally cold fog hurts, though. Then another. And another set. Then the invisible flying Bone Devils strike! They hang like grotesque bony arachnids, hovering just close enough to reach the party without fear of easy retaliation. After some bowshots and magic (and Sona and Angelena getting poisoned), Sammael takes some damage using his spider-climb slippers to walk up the sharp walls to try and smite the devils. After some heavy blows, the fiends vanish. They come back a little later, the party leaving a bit too much space between their members. Again they are separated by ice and whittled away at. The Bone devils don't hit extra hard, but they are hard to reach, and highly mobile, and really frustrating. A quick Benign Transposition allows Puck to dive down from where Sammael once was and body slam the Bone devil that Sammael had previously wounded into a Broken-Bone devil and kill it.

Further down, there's a Third ambush, and the party keeps bleeding. A second devil finally manages to get squished, but at this point it's 1:30 in the morning and we pause it there until next session. I am a cruel and vindictive GM, and I don't give out xp seeing as they're technically mid-encounter.

15 (technically 16, but I'm not counting Kiani)! 3 in one night! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmdyhV0adCw)

2016-02-16, 04:59 AM
Ah, I'd thought about suggesting Nycaloths. People act like dragons are scary, Nyc's eat them for breakfast. And fireballs following stinking clouds, also quite effective. If not for that axe crit into massive damage fail (that's a 20+confirm followed by a 1) none of them should have lived. Did you try using any of their SLAs, or did they count as being summoned/called mid-combat and thus without their at-will invisbility and mirror image? Swap some feats into Improved Grapple and they might be able to pin the barbarian though I'd personally just fly away in response to frenzy, possibly after flyby grabbing a caster on the way.

2016-02-16, 01:44 PM
Yeah, that natural one made me sad, but the timing made for a pretty hilarious, "You are already dead" moment. As for their spell-likes, partially it was because they weren't around long enough, but mostly it was an in-game reason. Being in prolonged close contact with that NPC tends to do…things to your ability to think rationally and not give in to bloodlust.

But no, that will not be the last time Nycaloths show up (and there's the commander as well). Heh heh heh...

2016-02-18, 12:06 PM
Found and started reading this thread a few days ago and I have to say I'm enjoying it immensely. Thanks you posting!

2016-02-18, 09:41 PM
Thanks, Dromuthra! Happy to hear you're enjoying it!

2016-02-21, 02:33 AM
And I finally remembered to write up some more information on the unusual banners the party found in the Melted Keep! In depth study may reveal secrets...

All of the banners use stylized, almost simplistic images that somehow convey more information and details than they rightly should. Magic was most likely involved in their creation.

Beams of light shine down from a rising sun onto towers of gleaming white stone. Within a tower, an infant stretches its arms upwards, held upward by a maternal figure. Below, armored knights raise their blades in a salute towards the sun. Knights and towers alike sit upon a green island.

The phrase across the bottom reads: As your spark ignites, so too does the light of the Dawn

A girl trains with the armored knights under a midmorning sun. Arcane runes circle the youth's forehead, hadns, and sword. The knights seem even greater in number, and are loading themselves into boats that depart from the island towards shadowed shores.

The phrase across the bottom reads: Your light grows ever stronger, basking in mine

The girl, now a woman, leads the charge against a horde of hideous monstrosities. The noonday sun gleams above her, and an army of knights surges behind her, crashing into the terrible creatures emerging from all directions

The phrase across the bottom reads: Your glory will burn bright in its zenith

This banner seems more grim than the others; the charging army falls into a yawning crevasse, monsters slaughtering and destroying knights in splashes of crimson. The woman, the general, falls to the bottom of the pit, alone except for the creatures circling her, and the Sun is obscured by a black circle.

The phrase across the bottom reads: Do not despair. I am with you even when my light does not fall upon you

The sun bursts through the darkness in this banner, a thick beam shining down upon the general. Still alone in the pit, now it is the monsters that are torn asunder and cut down by a blade of blazing light.

The phrase across the bottom reads: For none can stand against the might of your soul, as long as the sun still burns

A tomb emblazoned with the image of the woman is in the center of this banner. Countless figures bow their heads and kneel before the tomb as the last rays of the setting sun spread across the cloth.

The phrase across the bottom reads: Though the Sun must always set, so too does the Dawn come again

Hopefully this isn't too cheesy :smallbiggrin:

Orion Hamby
2016-02-21, 08:35 PM
And I finally remembered to write up some more information on the unusual banners the party found in the Melted Keep! In depth study may reveal secrets...

All of the banners use stylized, almost simplistic images that somehow convey more information and details than they rightly should. Magic was most likely involved in their creation.

Beams of light shine down from a rising sun onto towers of gleaming white stone. Within a tower, an infant stretches its arms upwards, held upward by a maternal figure. Below, armored knights raise their blades in a salute towards the sun. Knights and towers alike sit upon a green island.

The phrase across the bottom reads: As your spark ignites, so too does the light of the Dawn

A girl trains with the armored knights under a midmorning sun. Arcane runes circle the youth's forehead, hadns, and sword. The knights seem even greater in number, and are loading themselves into boats that depart from the island towards shadowed shores.

The phrase across the bottom reads: Your light grows ever stronger, basking in mine

The girl, now a woman, leads the charge against a horde of hideous monstrosities. The noonday sun gleams above her, and an army of knights surges behind her, crashing into the terrible creatures emerging from all directions

The phrase across the bottom reads: Your glory will burn bright in its zenith

This banner seems more grim than the others; the charging army falls into a yawning crevasse, monsters slaughtering and destroying knights in splashes of crimson. The woman, the general, falls to the bottom of the pit, alone except for the creatures circling her, and the Sun is obscured by a black circle.

The phrase across the bottom reads: Do not despair. I am with you even when my light does not fall upon you

The sun bursts through the darkness in this banner, a thick beam shining down upon the general. Still alone in the pit, now it is the monsters that are torn asunder and cut down by a blade of blazing light.

The phrase across the bottom reads: For none can stand against the might of your soul, as long as the sun still burns

A tomb emblazoned with the image of the woman is in the center of this banner. Countless figures bow their heads and kneel before the tomb as the last rays of the setting sun spread across the cloth.

The phrase across the bottom reads: Though the Sun must always set, so too does the Dawn come again

Hopefully this isn't too cheesy :smallbiggrin:

But cheese is only bad when used to break a game :smallbiggrin:

2016-02-28, 09:39 PM
Fourteen sessions, and here I am without a joke or reference related to 14. So...*awkward silence*...how bout those local sports teams?

Cutting back to the action, the party continues ahead with a bit of trepidation...their resources are running a little low. Then the sound of eerie screams and running feet echoes about the stone walls. Our heroes tense, but continue moving forward slowly...which leaves them all a little surprised as 5 bearded devils bamf into the middle of the group!

Bearded devils aren't super scary to the group at their level, but there are several nasty cuts landed, leaving Talvosh and Sona bleeding from the infernal wounds (to make it nastier, I let the effect stack, so both Sona and Talvosh are losing 4 hp / round). The devils are crushed, sliced, and mashed pretty quickly, but that just ensures everyone is in a nice line for the Ice Devil to reveal himself with a Cone of Cold that does some serious damage. The Gelugon then vanishes behind a wall of rapidly forming ice, probably from an unseen Bone devil. On the party's other flank, Sona tries to step around the corner for cover, only to be attacked by a Bone devil!

Angelena Shatters the icewall blocking the Gelugon, allowing Sammael, Talvosh, and Puck to go after the Gelugon. They attack, landing some solid blows, but the Gelugon's retaliatory full attack nearly kills Puck. Sammael also gets stabbed with an AoO as he tries to tumble to flank, and the slowing effect causes him to fail. Sona is still hurling out spells, but the fact that she is still bleeding out has her a little concerned. Angelena manages to block the Bone devil off with a Wall of Stone, which gives them at least a moment to breathe. Sammael squeezes between Puck and Talvosh to use his Death touch on the Gelugon! But it has just enough hit points to not die on the spot (he rolled a 42 - it had 48 hp). The Gelugon teleports away to regroup, and the Bone devil reappears to corner the two spellcasters...and receives a Talvosh and Puck charge for his troubles. Surviving but being on his keister and surrounded by the party, he decides to teleport away as well. Everyone is in rough shape, either low health, low resources, or both remaining, so they decide to make a run for it out of the maze. Puck has fly going, so he flies above the party as they hustle through the corridors. As they run, the Ice devil's harsh and cruel laughter scrapes in their minds. Then it starts lobbing Ice storms as they scurry away. Talvosh drops to negatives, but a quick cure and mass aid wakes him up to keep running. Right at the exit, another rain of brutal hailstones drops Angelena to -4 right as she dispels the wall of Ice preventing their escape. They limp back up the hill and out of sight as the Ice devil floats above the obsidian walls, still laughing and mocking them as they flee.


The party is wise enough at least to not camp right outside the black labyrinth's walls, but they don't go that far away. Every single spell that can be cast is cast for healing, and the group settles down painfully to rest and recover. In the morning, VENGEANCE!

The morning is a flurry of planning and preparation. Spell lists are tailored to resist cold, prevent teleportation, possibly flat out eject fiends from this plane of existence. There is also careful discussion of how this will be a battle of attrition, of resource management, to prevent them from being bled out.

It's an impressive setup and example of preparation. Unfortunately, they're close enough to the labyrinth that the invisible flying Bone devil in the air hears every word and teleports back to report back before the party leaves. :smallbiggrin:

So when the party descends the hill to attempt entering the labyrinth, the entrance is blocked by a roaring wall of flame. There is speculation that suddenly all the monsters within will be fire themed (and I get a couple glares for it), but Sammael and Puck manage to disbelieve the illusion. Talvosh nat-1s his roll, so it takes a while of convincing that the flames are fake before everyone enters. Once again, they shuffle their way around, between the jagged stone walls. Before they get back to where they had fled, the Ice Devil welcomes his returning guests back with an Ice storm.

-Your blood will feed the Labyrinth- it hisses in their minds. Initiative! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFrcmJQencc)

The fight starts off with a group of horrific looking creatures burbling their way down the hall towards the party. They look like half-melted people, sludging their way forwards with piteous moans and wails. Talvosh and Puck advance, and that's when the Ice walls start appearing to split the party again. The Ice devil concentrates, and inky black shadows swell and swirl about. Sona recognizes it as an Unholy Aura. Uh oh...

Sammael's arrows bounce off, and the ice devil leisurely flies towards the party, at a comfortable 100 feet in the air. The Lemures get shredded by the two maniacal lumberjacks of the group, but that was the whole point of them; split the party. This fight takes up pretty much the whole evening, with ice walls shooting up, being broken, illusions of bone devils appearing and being banished, the Ice devil blasting down with cones of cold, and all in all difficulty in reaching the actual devils. Angelena goes for the tactical approach of trying to Dispel the Ice devil's magic, but rolls below six on both spells on the gelugon (fly and unholy aura). Sona and Angelena then get cordoned off with icewalls, and the Ice devil teleports in right in their faces. Sona passes her fear check, but Angelena fails! I prepare to cackle triumphantly and describe how she is stricken with terror...when she remembers about the bonus from Sona's persisted circle vs evil. D'aww Angelena reaches out with a Dispel Evil! She shatters the Unholy Aura, dropping the Gelugon's ac from ridiculous to simply high, but fails to penetrate its natural SR to attempt to banish it. The Gelugon teleports back in the air after Sona swaps herself with Talvosh, and Sammael ninja leap/climbs the wall to enter the fray as well. The battle rages on, with the Bone devils chipping away at the party while endeavoring to stay out of the reach of the melee beasts.

Finally, the pivotal moment occurs. Angelena is below 30 hp, and the Ice devil decides to finish her before she tries banishing him again or healing the party (who except for Puck is starting to look beat up). It charges straight down with its spear, with enough Power attack that a high damage roll could outright slay Angelena!

And I roll a 1. Half jokingly, I roll a dex save for the devil to not fumble.

And roll another one. The spear embeds into the wall, it'll take a move action to wrench free. The party goes berserk at this opportunity. Puck (who Sona had manuevered close enough to to cast Fly on) launches his enlarged self straight at the Gelugon, mashing it into the wall and pushing it just far enough down to be in everyone's reach. Talvosh gets warped in, Sammael burns as many smite evils and stunning blows as he can in a turn, Angelena tries another spell (but she cannot roll above a 6 the entire night for spell penetration...she needs new dice). After the concentrated onslaught, the surrounded Gelugon falls. But it's not dead, the wounds rapidly closing...until Sammael blesses his weapon and manages a coup de grâce. The labyrinth is eerily silent after the sounds of battle.

The party picks itself together, and trudges forward, following the labyrinth in its entirety. There are no more creepy messages on the walls, but things are unusual. A length of hallway that everyone knows is shorter than the previous one takes a full minute longer to traverse. The lighting changes, and everyone's sense of distance is messed up. Finally they reach the center, which seems to be a featureless wall. However (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xf1xYpBQjw), there is a rumble, and the ground bulges beneath their feet. Glittering black liquid flows out of the crack in the dirt, and six crystals of Vitae force their way upwards.

No one really asks questions, and they rapidly split the delicious soulstuff amongst themselves. After, they traverse the labyrinth again, but in reverse. There is talk that when they exit, they're expecting to be elsewhere. No such wondrous magic occurs, though. Back at the entrance, Sona has enough and casts Fly on everyone. They fly over the Labyrinth...and pick up traces of the Old Road again. I end it there, as the devil battle took pretty much all night. Everyone but Sammael and Angelena level, and they're about 1000 xp short.

Sorry for a shorter entry this time, but I really didn't want to just bog it down with step by step accounts. So if there are any requests for random triva, more detailed descriptions of what have you, or fluff entries, knock yourselves out and I will strive to entertain!

Still at 15, but I'm happy knowing that three of them were at death's door tonight

2016-02-29, 09:14 AM
Still love it! I'm constantly checking back, hoping for updates.
Sent you a pm.

2016-03-01, 11:23 PM
Thanks again, Prismcat21!

2016-03-05, 08:08 PM
This has been the best Campaign Journal I have ever read. I envy your skills at DMing, and applaud your players for such dedication to character development.

One question, would you consider sharing your setting specifics? Like stuff about how Vitae, Bonfires, and whatnot works? My group loves Dark Souls, but I could never figure out how to do a D&D games based on it. If you are ok with it, I would love to borrow your rules and then design my own version of the world around it.

2016-03-05, 09:19 PM
This has been the best Campaign Journal I have ever read. I envy your skills at DMing, and applaud your players for such dedication to character development.

One question, would you consider sharing your setting specifics? Like stuff about how Vitae, Bonfires, and whatnot works? My group loves Dark Souls, but I could never figure out how to do a D&D games based on it. If you are ok with it, I would love to borrow your rules and then design my own version of the world around it.

Should have seen the smug grin on birthday boy's face when I read your post out to him lol. I'm sure he'd be glad to share once he finally gets online lol.

2016-03-05, 09:43 PM
Should have seen the smug grin on birthday boy's face when I read your post out to him lol. I'm sure he'd be glad to share once he finally gets online lol.

Lol, glad I could be of service to the ego! :D

2016-03-06, 02:11 AM
Wow, thanks, Mongobear! I think there are better journals out there, but I'm glad that you're enjoying the read. I have the rules for Vitae up already, but give me a little bit and I'll compile it all into a new and shiny post.

2016-03-13, 04:58 AM
Session 15! Means my campaign has a +2 bonus to...things! No Angelena this time, she was wiped and had an early day the next morning. Everyone else was understandably a little worried (or as they put it, "we showed up to raid without a healer")

We join our heroes the morning after traversing the black stone labyrinth:

Sona starts the day with attempting her second dragon pact (she's just entered her final level of Pact adept), this one with her Gold dragon teacher. After assembling the offered treasure and concentrating, her attempted magical phone call is interrupted by a...presence. Now, Sona's character has been in the presence of her "Grandmother," a Wyrm blue dragon matriarch. That feeling of awe is a foothill compared to the absolute MOUNTAIN of power that her mind brushes against. The Presence seems to consider her request and is amused, then fades away and the pact attempt succeeds with Kultainen (the before-mentioned Gold dragon). Nothing like a bit of existential terror to start the day!

The fog seems to have actually lifted this morning...Sammael's player immediately declares that I'm lying and disbelieves. Funny he should say that...

The path leads to foothills, and beyond that, mountains. It switches back and forth, but it's a path out of this blasted place! Everyone is super excited...until they notice that the hills seem rrrrreeeeaaaaallllyyy similar. Like they've seen them before...It's the path they took to enter the Wasteland originally (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JgEptmz_eE)

I was out! I WAS OUT! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA0IlBAhT8s)

Sammael and Talvosh make their Will saves to disbelieve, and manage to help the others to save before they walk off the sheer drop. Puck manages to roll three 5s in a row, but Sona manages to touch him with a fly spell just in time. The fog has lifted, but instead of a nightmare loop, in front of the party is a 100 ft drop straight down. Puck floats down, Talvosh holds the rope while Sammael climbs down, and then things go a little sideways. Talvosh is either a little distracted or a little silly, so he throws the top of the rope at Sona as he dives off the cliff to do some Australian rappelling! He does this fast enough that Sona doesn't catch the rope, and no-one else has time to react...so he kisses the dirt, frenzies, and then collects himself so everyone else can approach safely again.

About an hour of travel later they reach the edge of this shelf and another cliff drop. Talvosh seems to be attempting to break free of the Matrix, and dives off this one too.

...*shrug*. I like rolling lots of damage dice, doesn't bother me.

After that, they continue onwards towards the edge of this giant shelf of land, travelling until near dark. The sky is starting to cloud over ominously; Sammael can see a thunderstorm (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZndUINPPW8) coming, and tries to find anything resembling shelter. He can just see some small rock formations up ahead, so they press forward through the rain. As they approach, it's evident that these aren't just rocks...it's the worn and battered remnants of a gate, jutting up about waist height. Beyond are lumps and piles of rubble in somewhat regular spacing. As the group continues towards what seems to be a larger structure up ahead and the rain thickens into sheets, the layout of the building remnants seems awfully familiar. Some intelligence checks are made, and it's clear that they've once again returned to the City in the wasteland. The large structure turns out to be the keep, which is balanced precariously on the cliff edge. Part of the keep in fact is just hanging off into space. Alas, no-one decides to check out the inside of the keep, and they instead huddle up on one side of the building to get a bit of shelter from the rain.

No-one gets any rest, however. Shortly after everyone settles, the noise of horses (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZQhFnCFdUw) rings out through the dark. Sammael is the only one who makes his Spot check through the flashes of lightning and pouring rain. Four armored horsemen and mounts (nightmares), floating motionless above the cliff drop. As he spots them, one raises a lance in a grim salute, and all 4 ripple away into nothingness. The sound of hoofbeats echoes all about shortly after.

Airborne (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mynzbmrtp9I) equine (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeK0VTrSpTQ) enthusiasts (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAKN_zYAwV4) of a spectral nature!

The party circles their wagons and readies actions - visibility is pretty short, even with most of the party possessing darkvision. The riders strike! Only Sammael's action of shooting an arrow works, as the riders charge up in the air out of reach, attempting to skewer the party with lances as they charge back and forth! Puck, Each member of the party takes a lance hit as the riders swoop and weave in and out of the darkness, even picking the lucky number 7 to hit Sona without even brushing one of her duplicates! Sammael bounds upwards like some demented rabbit of inevitable doom and slaps one of the nightmares with his death touch, confident that it will fall. Except these are not garden variety hell-horsies, and it survives the premature termination. However, then Sona steps up and slaps the two riders/horses that are within range with a Wings of Flurry. It bounces off one rider because of SR, and his mount makes the save, but the other rider's nightmare fails the save and explodes, leaving the rider to tumble to the ground. His visor bounces open though, and everyone needs to make will saves vs Phantasmal Killer!. Except Puck. And Sammael. And the other two are close enough to get the bonus from Sammael, so everyone is okay *shakes fist*. Talvosh makes a stupid jump check to hack into one nightmare, and then Sona puts up a Wall of Fire around everyone to block line of sight while Puck and Sammael hack/slash the dismounted rider to the afterlife (he valiantly stabs Puck a couple times, but that's about it). The other riders wheel off into the darkness after an attempted Unholy Smite does 8 damage to the group. Talvosh burns a Vitae as he's down to critically low health, and Sammael and Puck prepare to buff/transform and roll out.

The moment the Wall of flames flickers and dies, though, the sounds of terrifying whinnies and screams starts up again! Except I completely bomb the 3 remaining rider initiatives, so the heroes are all prepped and ready. Sona puts out a Major Image of a wall of Blades, and all three completely bomb their Spellcraft rolls to try and catch that her motions don't match up. The illusion delays the riders long enough that Sammael is buffed, Talvosh is Enlarged, and Puck is transformed into Devastator Expanded. Talvosh takes more charges, Sammael dodges several stabs of opportunity, Sona blasts with more Wings of Flurry whenever the riders stop close enough, and Puck grabs one right out of the air and holds him while Talvosh cuts into him for most of his health. The riders fall, one teleporting away with 3 hit points, and I rule that he commits ritual suicide from the shame of being defeated and fleeing the field of battle.

I was a little disappointed with these monsters. I used these guys (http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fc/20061222a), and really liked them...they were super mobile, had some neat abilities, and decent defenses. Unfortunately, their damage was just not enough to be threatening, even with a Spirited charge. Serves me right for using them as is and not customizing them (namely, giving them Power attack would have improved them immensely I think) :smallbiggrin:

After defeating the riders, the party decides to (very carefully) check out the ruined half-keep. Peering inside reveals that most of it has been crumbled/broken away, except for part of a tower jutting out past the cliff. Talvosh and Puck just step in to the edge, and talk about using their weight to counterbalance the building while Sona searches it. However a nat 1 causes them to hastily jump backwards as the rest of the keep slides into the chasm with an absolutely horrific CRASH!

The night is wet, miserable, and not particularly restful, but it passes. Burning a couple Fly spells to traverse the chasm, the party continues and is thrilled to spot hints of green vegetation. Indeed, by the end of the day, they've actually descended down into the beginnings of a forest! They've made it across the Wasteland! There's only one or two attempts to disbelieve, and I'm only briefly tempted to Shyamalan-twist the party by declaring that everything has been an illusion, they're still in the dungeon from the first session.

The forest is a lot more deciduous trees and bushes compared to the jungle they first went through, but spirits are high. After a couple days of smooth travel (no one notices their observant little shadows in the woods), the party notices a large outline on the horizon. Finally, they break out of the woods and see that said shape are walls. Big walls, 60 feet high at least and curving out of sight in either direction. The road leads towards a set of gigantic gates, flanked by Warforged Titans. These ones are a little bigger, though, and have actual hands rather than cleavers. Talvosh wants to fight them just because, but Puck and Sona convince/tell him that senseless violence may not be the best course of action. As the party approaches, the warforged titans sit up (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc0eSAaaLj4), flames flickering in their eyes. Each turns and grabs a humongous chain, and with the deafening scrape of stone on steel, pull open the 5-storey tall gates into Logos. The gates open, the constructs drop to a knee and wait. The party walks through cautiously...it's like I've made them paranoid or something. Their first visual impression of Logos is the sheer scale. Every building they can see (and there are dozens) is at least 3 stories tall, all a combination of steel and stone. However, all of the buildings look...worn, rusted, starting to crack. Everything seems a little desolate, a little beaten down.

The closest visual impression I could find easily was similar to the cities in The Last of Us (the game). Not quite as destroyed as that, but not too far behind.

A crowd of several dozen has gathered on the other side of the gates by the time the party walks through, and there is audible murmuring and speculation. "Pilgrims." "Cursed." "Saviours." "Strangers." Everyone the group can see is in pretty rough-looking shape, most looking very close to Hollowed. Threadbare robes and scraps of once-fine clothing seems to be in vogue, as are swathes of dead-looking flesh and skin. Finally, a pair of metallic figures step through the crowd - Two Forged. But while they seem more nimble and lithe than Puck, their armor plating is scarred, dented, and worn to a flat dullness.

"Welcome, pilgrims, to Logos. If you mean no harm to the city, you are welcome indeed." There's a bit of talking back and forth (the Forged are a little interested in the black arrow Spotter gave the group, and VERY interested in what seems to be a wayward brother of theirs), and the party is directed towards an inn (about an hour down that westwards road) and a Bonfire (about half an hour straight down the main road). No-one in the group was aware that a construct could sound so sarcastic and bitter as when the one mentions that the Bonfire is in the Church of the Flame. The group decides to head for the Bonfire first, and the Forged nod and bow.

"Again, welcome to the City of 15 Nights."

Wait, Church of the what now?! There's suddenly a bit of concern as the group remembers that Jezelle seemed to have connections to a religious following involving Fire...too late now I suppose.

Walking (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rakape74oNY) the streets of Logos is...interesting. All of the buildings are gigantic, and all seem built to last. Regardless, everything is in dire need of repair and maintenance. There are numerous flickers of movement in allies and at windows, but the city still seems sorely underpopulated for its size. The one Forged said this section was called Greenwall, and the name is apt; plants and trees are seemingly attempting to reclaim the city. Green crawls all over the walls, but the stone and steel is still holding out. After around 30 minutes down the arrow-straight street, a structure visibly newer than the others comes into view. It is in that cliched church-y/temple-y shape, and a stylized flame is painted across the stones (which are obviously scavenged from other buildings). Everyone feels that soul-deep tug, and they hurry inside.

It's obvious what the point of this building is; the circular chamber is plain and empty except for the large Bonfire in the centre of the room. There are several Hollow inside (and a dozen or so outside), but they were all standing, sitting or kneeling towards the fire, doing nothing but rocking back and forth slightly. After a couple moments, a figure sways into the building. It's a mix of comical and grotesque - he's dressed in clean, nice robes, but the man is painfully thin and obviously nearly completely Hollowed. The fact his face is painted with white ash makes it even stranger. At the sight of the party, the man lets out an ecstatic cry and prostrates himself so suddenly there's an audible SMACK.

"Pilgrims! Saviours! You have completed the Pilgrimage and arrived at Logos! Welcome!"

There's a beat of awkward silence, then Puck tugs the man up, and the questions begin. The ash-painted man is the Keeper of the Southward Flame, an adherent of the Church of the Flame...and being so nearly Hollowed seems to affected his mind badly. The party does get some information in between the praises and awkward stares. The belief (and whole thing about pilgrimage) is that Cursed individuals walk the path to the central fire in the middle of Logos, receive enlightenment, and then save the poor inhabitants of this world. All the Keeper can say about that thought is something about Linking with the Fire...(tee hee hee). The head of his order would be able to give more information, as would the Pure.

The Pure, you say? Those turn out to be the Uncursed, apparently people that have escaped the Curse the party labors under. Puck asks the Keeper if he has anything that could aid the party, and he happily scurries off and returns with a small chest. Whatever is inside might have been valuable once, but now it's just rotted silk and mildew. The Keeper sheepishly mentions that he has been unable to find new gifts for pilgrims in some time. After attuning to the fire and asking some more questions, the party decides to head for the inn the Forged mention, as hot food and hot water are an irresistible siren call to Sona. On their way out, the Keeper begs for the party to not let the Fire go out. He's unable to explain or elaborate, though.

Sona wants to take the straight road back to the inn. Puck and Talvosh want to go down a random sidestreet cause the players want to pick random fights and get loot/xp. Time for a wacky adventure! A natural 20 on a survival/gather information means they actually find the inn using side streets, and since there's only 3 players at this point (Sammael's player worked early the next morning so he turned in earlier) I can't spring my planned encounter on them yet. It just takes 4 hours of Sona trying to herd the bloodthirsty Talvosh, and convincing Puck not to just run through the buildings, before they find the Knot&Bole inn.

It's a BIG building (4 stories tall), and the common room is the size of what would be a very large restaurant today. There's a couple dozen people sitting about, and everyone does the quiet stare as the group enters. Finally a ridiculously buff hobgoblin with a a braided beard& moustache waves them to a table and takes food&drink orders while asking questions. While negotiating the price of chicken, pies, beer, and rooms, the hobgoblin also calls Logos the "city of 15 nights."

"What Knights?" Asks Sona.

"No, no, nights, as in it takes 15 nights to travel from one end of the city to the other."

:smallsigh: Sona is displeased at the thought of walking for a week to get to the center of the city.

We leave it at that! I suspect there will be many more questions.

Holy crap, story progress!

Still at 15, but making Talvosh burn a Vitae is a moral victory

2016-03-13, 06:51 AM
And I didn't forget, Mongobear! I was just lazyassembling warmachine minisprocrastinating

...distracted. Let's go with distracted.

-Vitae:The essence of your character’s identity, quite possibly their soul. The Curse consumes Vitae, eventually reducing its victims to empty, Hollow shells.
-Choose an attribute that you feel is a defining one for your character (Intelligence for a wizard, Strength or Constitution for a barbarian as an example, you should probably pick your highest one). Your Vitae total is equal to half this attribute, rounded down. All characters begin with a Vitae score equal to their total
-When you die, 1 minute later (combat delays this - should be one minute of peace) you are reborn at the last Bonfire you attuned yourself to (or next to the Torchbearer you have attuned yourself to after they have rested for a minute) with full hit points and all of your gear, but daily abilities/spells/powers are NOT refreshed. Some creatures might be able to interfere with this, causing you to lose equipment or not be reborn with full hit points
-You lose one Vitae point when you are reborn
-As you lose Vitae, your body and mind begin to degrade and break down. You look more and more like a walking (burnt) corpse, and you lose your memory and identity. Eventually, everything that made you, you, is burnt away. This is a subjective level, but I'm aiming around half your vitae score is when it goes from superficial to serious mechanical penalties (such as losing the ability to benefit from morale bonuses and a scaling penalty to social skills). All Int/Wis/Cha skills should take increasing penalties as well (spellcasters might be able to avoid this, but I leave that up to individual GMs)
-When you reach 0 Vitae, you are nearly Hollow. You gain the undead subtype, but none of your other statistics change. If you die while in this state, your character has gone completely Hollow, and is gone forever, now a mindless soulless killing machine under the GM’s control.
-You can regain Vitae through defeating powerful monsters, other Cursed individuals, or sometimes find it in a rare crystallized form
-There may be side effects to having too much Vitae…This one I can't go into a ton of detail as my PCs haven't done too much research yet, butif your Vitae total reaches twice your original score, your body and soul are overwhelmed and corrupted into a daemonic monstrosity, and your character is forever gone, a psychotic NPC/monster under the GM's control. As your score goes over your total, your emotions run hotter and more intense, especially related to the character's chosen sin. Your hunger for Vitae also begins to overwhelm your reason - when presented with an opportunity to claim Vitae, actions not related to killing and taking it suffer hefty penalties (such as equal to the character's current vitae total).
The villain Jezelle (as she shows up more) will be a good example of what I have in mind, as she is a sorcerer consumed by her sin of Wrath.
-As characters become more powerful and learn more of Artaith and the Curse, new abilities involving Vitae may be revealed…
-Known abilities of Vitae:
Spend one to regain all of your hp
-Sacrifice one to a Bonfire to kindle it, increasing its healing ability
-"Supercharge" magic, allowing vitae to serve as extra levels for the purposes of metamagic

Repositories of Vitae, these flames heal and soothe the Cursed in their struggles. As a full round action, a Cursed individual can attune themselves to a Bonfire. If they die, they will be reborn at this location. A Torchbearer attunement overrides a Bonfire attunement: For example, the Torchbearer is attuned to Bonfire A. A hero is attuned to Bonfire B, but completes the ritual with the Torchbearer. If the hero dies, they will be reborn by the Torchbearer's side, not the Bonfire.

Speaking of that, the Torchbearer! By collecting a drop of blood and a piece of hair/skin from other Cursed (WILLINGLY - can't shanghai people), a person can act as a mobile Bonfire of sorts. Instead of being reborn at a Bonfire, the members of the group will instead be reborn by the Torchbearer's side. This ritual takes 10 minutes, and is completed by casting the collected blood and hair/skin into a Bonfire, and reducing your Vitae score by one. You cannot regain this point while you are still the Torchbearer.

Sleeping within 30 feet of a Bonfire is incredibly restful for a Cursed, they heal double the amount of hit points for resting 8 hours (so character level + CON mod)x2. You do not have to be attuned to a Bonfire to benefit from this. This is just the benefit of a basic Bonfire, they can be kindled to greater power by offering Vitae. If a Bonfire is kindled with 1 Vitae, it then fully heals Cursed who rest at it. Further kindling should begin to do things such as heal more ability damage, cure disease, neutralize poison, and perhaps even break curses.

The almost hypnotic flames also hinder violent action about them. The Bonfires radiate a 30ft Sanctuary effect, with a heightened save. It depends on how inviolate you want the Bonfires to be, but always at least DC 20 (I would think higher), and the possibility of Cursed receiving a penalty against this save. How harshly you want to enforce this depends on how much you mind the risk of spawn-camping.

I hope this is enough info for you - let me know if you have any more questions.

2016-03-13, 12:02 PM
And I didn't forget, Mongobear! I was just lazyassembling warmachine minisprocrastinating

...distracted. Let's go with distracted.

-Vitae:The essence of your character’s identity, quite possibly their soul. The Curse consumes Vitae, eventually reducing its victims to empty, Hollow shells.
-Choose an attribute that you feel is a defining one for your character (Intelligence for a wizard, Strength or Constitution for a barbarian as an example, you should probably pick your highest one). Your Vitae total is equal to half this attribute, rounded down. All characters begin with a Vitae score equal to their total
-When you die, 1 minute later (combat delays this - should be one minute of peace) you are reborn at the last Bonfire you attuned yourself to (or next to the Torchbearer you have attuned yourself to after they have rested for a minute) with full hit points and all of your gear, but daily abilities/spells/powers are NOT refreshed. Some creatures might be able to interfere with this, causing you to lose equipment or not be reborn with full hit points
-You lose one Vitae point when you are reborn
-As you lose Vitae, your body and mind begin to degrade and break down. You look more and more like a walking (burnt) corpse, and you lose your memory and identity. Eventually, everything that made you, you, is burnt away. This is a subjective level, but I'm aiming around half your vitae score is when it goes from superficial to serious mechanical penalties (such as losing the ability to benefit from morale bonuses and a scaling penalty to social skills). All Int/Wis/Cha skills should take increasing penalties as well (spellcasters might be able to avoid this, but I leave that up to individual GMs)
-When you reach 0 Vitae, you are nearly Hollow. You gain the undead subtype, but none of your other statistics change. If you die while in this state, your character has gone completely Hollow, and is gone forever, now a mindless soulless killing machine under the GM’s control.
-You can regain Vitae through defeating powerful monsters, other Cursed individuals, or sometimes find it in a rare crystallized form
-There may be side effects to having too much Vitae…This one I can't go into a ton of detail as my PCs haven't done too much research yet, butif your Vitae total reaches twice your original score, your body and soul are overwhelmed and corrupted into a daemonic monstrosity, and your character is forever gone, a psychotic NPC/monster under the GM's control. As your score goes over your total, your emotions run hotter and more intense, especially related to the character's chosen sin. Your hunger for Vitae also begins to overwhelm your reason - when presented with an opportunity to claim Vitae, actions not related to killing and taking it suffer hefty penalties (such as equal to the character's current vitae total).
The villain Jezelle (as she shows up more) will be a good example of what I have in mind, as she is a sorcerer consumed by her sin of Wrath.
-As characters become more powerful and learn more of Artaith and the Curse, new abilities involving Vitae may be revealed…
-Known abilities of Vitae:
Spend one to regain all of your hp
-Sacrifice one to a Bonfire to kindle it, increasing its healing ability
-"Supercharge" magic, allowing vitae to serve as extra levels for the purposes of metamagic

Repositories of Vitae, these flames heal and soothe the Cursed in their struggles. As a full round action, a Cursed individual can attune themselves to a Bonfire. If they die, they will be reborn at this location. A Torchbearer attunement overrides a Bonfire attunement: For example, the Torchbearer is attuned to Bonfire A. A hero is attuned to Bonfire B, but completes the ritual with the Torchbearer. If the hero dies, they will be reborn by the Torchbearer's side, not the Bonfire.

Speaking of that, the Torchbearer! By collecting a drop of blood and a piece of hair/skin from other Cursed (WILLINGLY - can't shanghai people), a person can act as a mobile Bonfire of sorts. Instead of being reborn at a Bonfire, the members of the group will instead be reborn by the Torchbearer's side. This ritual takes 10 minutes, and is completed by casting the collected blood and hair/skin into a Bonfire, and reducing your Vitae score by one. You cannot regain this point while you are still the Torchbearer.

Sleeping within 30 feet of a Bonfire is incredibly restful for a Cursed, they heal double the amount of hit points for resting 8 hours (so character level + CON mod)x2. You do not have to be attuned to a Bonfire to benefit from this. This is just the benefit of a basic Bonfire, they can be kindled to greater power by offering Vitae. If a Bonfire is kindled with 1 Vitae, it then fully heals Cursed who rest at it. Further kindling should begin to do things such as heal more ability damage, cure disease, neutralize poison, and perhaps even break curses.

The almost hypnotic flames also hinder violent action about them. The Bonfires radiate a 30ft Sanctuary effect, with a heightened save. It depends on how inviolate you want the Bonfires to be, but always at least DC 20 (I would think higher), and the possibility of Cursed receiving a penalty against this save. How harshly you want to enforce this depends on how much you mind the risk of spawn-camping.

I hope this is enough info for you - let me know if you have any more questions.

Yay! I have been waiting here patiently twitching uncontrollably hoping you'd link the Bonfire/Vitae rules.

Thank you very much, I am sure my group shall equally hate me once I unleash this upon them.

One question about the Vitae rules, what is your opinion on making it a 7th ability score, which would be rolled for just like the others, instead of basing it off of the main stat for a player?

2016-03-13, 12:52 PM
Depends on how random you want it to be, and how many "lives" you want characters starting with. Would you still use the score halved as their Vitae score (and starting Vitae points)? You can definitely play with how fast dying becomes permanent by changing the totals...

2016-03-13, 02:31 PM
Doing it as an "ability score" might cause issues with some of the mechanics of the system actually, if I go beyond just rolling it as a stat, and add in something like Vitae based skills that they can use to sense Bonfires, Perform more difficult Vitae based powers, or other such things.

I am just trying to find a way to randomize the system, so that every character doesnt have the exact same amount of Vitae +/- 1, which is where the idea of rolling it like an ability score came from. I would keep the mechanics the same, as far as gaining/losing points, and spending them for certain powers, just wanted to alter the starting value for variance.

2016-03-13, 05:05 PM
Let me know how it goes! :D

2016-03-24, 04:09 PM
You know how hard it's been not to hit the spoiler in that post? The curiosity has been killing me. The odds of one of us having too much though?

Prooooooobably not going to happen :P

2016-03-25, 04:07 PM
You know how hard it's been not to hit the spoiler in that post? The curiosity has been killing me. The odds of one of us having too much though?

Prooooooobably not going to happen :P



2016-03-25, 04:14 PM


All part of my evil cunning plan! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

2016-03-25, 11:50 PM
*Spray bottle* Bad Picanet!

We game every second Saturday - next game is tomorrow, so journal should be up Sunday or Monday :smallbiggrin:

2016-03-26, 09:19 AM

2016-03-27, 04:22 PM
Sixteen sessions, whee!

The party (well, specifically Sona) is thrilled to be spending the night in an inn for the first time. Especially an inn with Hot...running...water.


Sona wolfs down hot food and then vanishes for the rest of the night. Sammael manages to get the Hobgoblin innkeeper to chat for a while and answer some questions. Sammael's first big one is a good one - where are all the bodies? From the comparatively small amount of the city the group has seen (and how few people), there should be bodies absolutely everywhere. The inkeeper is a little grim-faced at the question, but nods understandingly. Part of it is that this is one of the safer areas of the massive city, there are whole wild swathes that are inhabited by just Hollows. That's where a lot of the bodies are; still wandering around in the dark sections of Logos. Also, not even Hollows last forever. It takes a long time, but eventually even they just break down, crumbling away into nothing but ash. The inkeep's other guess is that a lot of inhabitants fled the city a long time ago, when the curse was breaking out among countless people in the city and driving them mad. Sammael also asks how many people who aren't Cursed still live in the city - the inkeep isn't certain of the number, but he believes the Unmarked are around 100 or so, all in the Inner city. Everyone eventually goes up to their rooms for the night, except for Puck (he just sits in the banquet-hall sized common room all night, watching a handful of people come in and out).

In the morning, the group wakes to numerous crates and sacks being carted in and out of the inn. The tinkerer / trader that the inkeep mentioned has arrived. She's a cheerful woman in brightly colored clothes directing workers to unload and load from the multiple giant wagons being pulled by ridiculously large oxen (their shoulders are at Puck's eye height, so around 7 feet). At the sight of the adventurers, the trader's eyes light up. New customers, new goods, new money! Let the trading begin! The party unloads their near-stuffed bags of holding with whatever the trader has money for, which ends up being 10 000 gold worth of the magic weapons looted from the elven raiders the group. She doesn't have any magic items that catch anyone's interest, but the trader recommends that the adventurers visit both the Forges and the Inner city districts, where magic items are still created and sold/traded. Puck's player finds a warforged component that he is absolutely hellbent on acquiring: The Scorpion Brand. Admittedly, I can't deny that a giant robo-scorpion tail would be pretty cool.

The trader convinces the party to hang around at the inn for one more night, and grills them for stories of their adventures so far. They recount their trials and tribulations, and get a couple in return. The commander of the Forged guard is apparently named Bulwark, who is noted as a famous swordsman, as well as being prodigiously strong. The trader has a story or two about a red dragon she saw flying around once, as well as when she fainted right after Bulwark saved her caravan from elven raiders (mainly the story focused on Bulwark cutting through two raiders and their weapons at the same time). There's also a quick mention of Eulethron, a city to the north that is still inhabited, supposed to be nearly as big as Logos, and famed for some of the greatest healers in history. Since it's across the bay and far to the north, the trader knows nothing more than that however. The party also gets a bit more info on this Maria of Logos. She was rumored to be the founder of Logos, however long ago that was, as well as having a direct hand in the creation of the Forged. She hasn't been seen in centuries though, and these rumors of an iron-masked Traveler cursing and/or killing people don't seem to match up with any other stories about Maria. Our fearless heroes also learn that they are the first group of Pilgrims to arrive in around a year or so.

The trader also smoothly and shamelessly flirts with most of the party before inviting Talvosh up to her room. There are only a few jokes about losing Vitae, but the morning arrives and the party sets out on the Old road (having been informed that if they follow that, they will arrive at the Inner City).

The party reaches the southern Shrine of the Flame, and the docile Hollows are still outside the walls, sitting or standing and rocking back and forth slightly. Creeped out a bit by the keeper of the flame, they decide to just go around the shrine this time and continue onwards. Poor guy, he just wants to help...

Ambient city music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcnLYrxLlhU)

Walking down the road is a strange experience. The city is gigantic, numerous multi-story stone buildings on every side. But it's worn down, desolate. Empty. Part way through the day though, there's an eerie rasp from a nearby ruined building, and a gang of half a dozen Hollows shambles out!

I nat-20 the Hollow initiative, and one charges Puck and actually lands a max-power attack for a pretty nasty hit. It's strong enough that the rusted and jagged greatsword shatters as it cuts into Puck, leaving that Hollow without a weapon. Another misses Talvosh with the broken remnants of a door, and the others shamble closer with various pointy implements. Sammael's next, and his destroy undead blast incinerates most of the Hollows with one woosh of harsh silver light. The remaining Hollows are cut down without much trouble, Angelena's persisted Positive energy aura dealing the last 2 pts of damage to burn the creature to ash. I don't roll any other random encounters, and travel continues. Night falls, and they find an unoccupied building to squat in for the night. There's more than a bit of grumbling at being back to sleeping in the rough after two nights in the lap of (relative) luxury.

While everyone sleeps, Pucks wanders through the nearby buildings, but I don't manage to roll any encounters. Puck also doesn't find any useful items, clear evidence that the buildings right next to the road having been stripped and scavenged repeatedly. There's even signs that there was plumbing, but the pipes have been ripped out. Morning comes, and the group heads out again.

Partway through another day of travel, the party comes around a corner to find that the road is blocked by several wagons flipped on their sides. The road narrows down, and the buildings on each side have open balconies on the second and third floors. Sammael and Sona hit ridiculous Listen checks (over 30 and over 40!) to hear the slight scrape of metal on stone coming from the building. Sammael uses Augury to ask about walking down the street between the buildings and gets a resounding WOE. So instead the party shuffles to the building on the left, booting the door down and rushing in!

The building is in shambles, piles of rubble everywhere. Talvosh and Puck head up the stairs together while the rest of the party shuffles through the lower floor. As they turn the corner to the second floor, they're introduced to arrows! Two bounce off of Puck ineffectually, while another two thud home for decent sneak attack damage into Talvosh. Initiative! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UHUYg8BUSI)

The initiative count is a little mad, with two of the rogues at 25&24, Puck at 23, Angelena, Sammael, AND Talvosh all at 21, and Sona at a 20. The first two rogues (all four are at the top of the stairs shooting downwards) shoot Talvosh another two times, then both bail off to the sides of the room. This lets Puck rumble up the stairs to utterly annihilate the third rogue against the wall - also, we've determined that this is the "angry" noise Puck makes when he starts a bull rush: Rrrraaaaggghh! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-ONY-B3I_Q) The rogue is super dead, and Sammael using his silly land speed to go across the room and up the stairs, a robed and hooded reaper flowing towards them, freaks them out even more. Talvosh cuts one of the rogues in half, and Angelena runs towards the stairs as well. Sona stays closer to the doors, readying an action to put a Wall of Fire at the doors if anyone comes through.

However, everything goes quiet for Sona, and suddenly there's a horrible pain in her side! A bizarrely dressed figure is in front of her, a knife planted in her side. Her blindsense didn't detect anything - as she tries to scream, absolutely nothing comes out. Another presence is behind her, but her Pact Adept ability to apply Silent and Still to a number of spells per day for free allows her to escape death and deflect the second knife. The figure narrows its eyes as he/she (can't tell) pulls the knife out. The two killers are dressed all in black and white, with black and white facepaint.

NINJA MIMES! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phizxxJAdqk)

The three fighters upstairs hear nothing from the ground floor (hurr hurr hurr), so they continue mangling the outclassed archer rogues and their gnoll ranger boss. Angelena manages to catch a glimpse of one of Sona's assailants, and hits them with a Deific Vengeance for some damage, but she forgets to yell upstairs. Sona burns another use of her Draconic magic to cast a Silent Still Benign Transposition and switch places with Puck and yeling about bad people downstairs, the Mime Twins raising their eyebrows but still readying their knives. Talvosh had charged the gnoll on his turn, so he is close enough to the balcony edge to see another figure dressed in black and white on the balcony across the street. They make an exaggerated wave, and Talvosh's mind is suddenly assaulted! He makes his will save, so he only takes 7 points of charisma damage, dropping him to 3.

Top of the round! Puck's player is confident that he'll be fine against the two mime killers, what with Puck being immune to poison, ability damage, and flat out immune to crits and sneak attack. So he's a little surprised when I start rolling all those d6s again. Even with half damage (from penetrating strike), the fact that I roll pretty much all 4+ on the SA dice on the 5 attacks the twins land means Puck takes a LOT of damage. Pretty much anyone else would have been dead, and Puck also clinically notes that every blow would have severed tendons, ligaments and muscles with each cut. Puck responds by smashing one of the twins into the wall, nearly killing them. Sammael zooms down the stairs and lands a scythe crit on the other twin for a nasty chunk of damage, and then Sona swaps Sammael and Talvosh. Talvosh misses two attacks, but his third connects (he had ended his frenzy before spotting the figure in the other building, so he's just on rage at this point), killing that twin gratuitously and his cleave attempt nearly killing the second. Then an amused voice echoes in his head; "You're not getting away that easily!". He fails his will save and keels over at 0 Charisma, blood oozing from his ears. The remaining twin runs for his/her life, sprinting out of the building. Puck decides to take the direct route and Kool-Aid mans his way THROUGH the wall to skid to a halt in front of the terrified twin!

Angelena hits the passed out Talvosh with a lesser restoration to wake him up while Sammael glares at the figure in the opposite building and drinks his potion of Jump, narrowly avoiding a shard of crystal the mime hurled at him. Sona casts mirror image on herself, but can't do anything else as the force of the sneak attack staggered her. Talvosh uses the door to leave the building rather than Puck's new exit. The terrified twin changes direction and sprints for the opposite building, aaallmmost making it to the door. Puck tries to make another shortcut, but fails his strength check by one to break through, adding a large crater to the side of the building. Angelena runs after Puck, while Sammael does a quick little lap to build up speed and then jumps 40 freaking feet to land on the opposite balcony, hustling to try and catch the black&white figure as they walk downstairs.

Talvosh is up, and since the poor twin didn't make it in the building, charges them and explodes the poor killer who had 6 hp left. Unfortunately, then the wall/doors next to him explode outwards and a giant reptilian monster pounces on him. The creature rips into him with claws dripping with caustic acid, and Talvosh dies messily. The mysterious 3rd mime waves their hand, and a wall of shimmering green energy blocks Sammael's path - he recognizes it as psionics of some sort. Left alone on the upper floor, Sona finally catches her breath and heals herself with the belt of healing.

Puck makes a high Intelligence check, and slams into the corner of the building this time, blowing the strength check out of the water...and a quarter of the building collapses on itself in a horrific CCRRAAASSSHHH. The reptillian creature fails its Reflex save and is plastered underneath tons of stone. Sammael jumps off the 2nd floor balcony to cut around, and Sona finally catches to the group. She's just in time to make a ludicrous Listen check again to hear someone speaking inside the barely standing building.

"No! I won't leave! They killed her!"
"Fine, you're right."
There's a pop of suddenly displaced air.

After a moment of carefully picking through the rubble, Talvosh reappears, and they loot the bodies. The creepy mime killer has a pair of nasty shortswords - gutter fighting weapons, and a strange looking belt+sheath setup. There are slots for vials on the backsides of the sheaths, with tubes curling over where the blades would come out. The party guesses correctly that the sheaths when loaded would poison a blade as it was being drawn. They also find an assortment of masterwork weapons and a whole bunch of light cure potions from the ambushers upstairs. The final alarming item the group finds is the item that had Silence cast on it. A single coin the mime was carrying.

A coin from their world.

We end it there, not playing until 1 in the morning this time.

16. Without that prestige class ability though, Sona would have been dead. And if they had swapped anyone but Puck, they would have been dead too. Hee hee hee!

EDIT: Added another quick namedrop from the trader discussion.

2016-04-11, 01:31 AM
17th session, and the players STILL haven't overthrown me in a mutiny, so win-win! Also:


We start right where the last session ended, our heroes had survived the much nastier-than expected ambush and driven off at least one of the creepy black and white individuals. After searching the bodies, Puck spends a few minutes digging and pushing through the rubble to see if he can find any remnants of whatever creature had mauled Talvosh to death. Determination and an unhealthy focus on digging up corpses is rewarded...with some scale fragments and squashed meat/bones. Whatever it was, it was reptilian *coughcoughtotallynotaFleshrakercoughcough* and nasty. After a couple minutes of patching up those who need it, the group decides that the best course of action is to just keep heading towards the inner city. But first, they must overcome the dreaded Barricade!

All that's blocking the road is two wagons turned on their side, soaked with lamp oil (and a barrel of oil behind the barricade), but either I described the barricade in seriously ominous terms, or I'm a devious enough GM enough of a jerk that it takes the party a good 10 minutes of careful inspection from a distance+debating/planning. Finally the Puck express rumbles up and of course smashes through with ease, and manages to veer off course to not smash through the barrel of volatile oil (so no flaming warforged today). And with that we are on the Pilgrim's road once more.

A little under an hour further down the road our group finds what must be the base camp of the first band of would-be ambushers. There's nothing of value in it though, other than a arrrow trap that tags Sammael for a bit of damaga. Pressing on till dark, they find a building with a still solid looking steel door to rest in for the night (even if the hinges barely survive the enthusiastic unlocking process). Searching inside, it seems to have been a jeweler's store and workshop. There's nothing but dust and broken glass on the first two floors, but on the third there's something.

A suspiciously human shaped pile of ash on the ground, an empty manacle and chain where a leg would be, and a key that fits said manacle thrown out of reach in the corner. With that thrilling discovery, it's time to go to bed!

In the morning, our heroes have an interesting encounter as soon as they get back onto the Pilgrim's road.

There's a group of a little over a dozen individuals on the road as well, all in dark worn uniforms. Three are Forged, the rest seem to be mostly human with a couple hobgoblins. The group is a little tense, but hails the party cautiously. After a bit of chatting back and forth, the squad realizes that this is the group of Pilgrims that the southern gate guards had sent a brief message about just a couple days prior. One of the Forged (who seems to be the leader of the group) introduces himself as Bronze. A second cockily introduces himself as the Iridescent Talon (the rest of the squad rolls their eyes and mutters that it's just Talon), but Talvosh nicknames him Iri on the spot. Iri has no problem with it :). The third Forged doesn't speak, but the others mention that her name is simply Lady. The rest of the squad...I don't name because I'm lazy and they're not particularly important NPCs. Deal with it!

After asking the party how their travels have been going, they mention the ambush by the creepy ninja mimes. Bronze makes an unhappy noise, and the rest of the squad mutters amongst themselves. Apparently the party had survived an encounter with a rather notorious group known as the Mummers. Mercenary assassins, the infamy comes from both their elusiveness and their rather high body count. The fact that the party managed to drive them off (and only one person was killed by the Mummers) greatly impresses the squad. After some more questions, Bronze mentions that the squad is heading further east to investigate signs of Elven raiders. He invites the party along, partially to offer the party a path to follow that's not the main road (in case they're worried about being ambushed again), and partially having a talented group of adventurers at their side would make things much safer and much easier.

After a bit of debate, the party decides that they will indeed accompany the squad of rangers. It'll add a few days to their trip, but there seems to be a multitude of reasons. To learn more of Logos, to gain some good will with the guardians of the city, to evade further attacks, or just the chance to kill more elves. I leave it up to the audience to decide which reason came from who.

The party falls in with the rangers, travelling down side streets that quickly narrow into winding alleys. The rangers move with well-practiced silence, obviously familiar with travelling between the ruined buildings. The party isn't too bad...except for Puck, who gets some lingering glances from Lady in particular. The building styles change slightly as everyone beats feet for the day, and once the group stops for the night, Bronze explains that they're heading for the Underbridge region, around the aqueducts. Puck questions why the rangers are so unsure of exactly where these raiders are hiding. If Bronze is a city guard, he should know. Bronze sighs and gestures to the dozens of buildings around.

"It's better to think of Logos now as a vast wilderness with small communities interspersed, rather than as a city. There's just too much, and not enough of us. We're a scouting force, not guards, and it's just us for about a week in each direction."

Sammael asks roughly how many people still live in Logos. Bronze's best guess is that there are several thousand people that are either Unmarked, or have enough willpower that they are able to live and function (mostly) normally. As for scavengers and vagrants eking out a living among the Hollows and worse in the wild parts of the city...10 times that, possibly. It's still a drop compared to what the size of Logos suggests it should hold.

Partway through the next day, Bronze calls a halt, and everyone hunkers down in a courtyard. A little later, one of the forward scouts makes it back, confirming that there's signs of elves in the foundation tower up ahead. Bronze starts to order his men, then pauses and looks to the party. He asks for their suggestion, stating that he'll follow their lead (Iri chimes up that Bronze just wants to see what the party is capable of). Everyone decides that Talvosh will get the attention of the knife-ears (seeing as how frenzied they got seeing him before), then lure them back into the courtyard, where the rangers will be hiding above and rain down arrows. Sona goes up with the archers in one building with Sammael, while Angelena and Puck wait in the courtyard. Seems like a good plan, right?

Doesn't go...exactly to plan. The issues starts when Talvosh just decides to wander up to within 50 ft of the building and throw a rock to get their attention. No attempt at stealth at all, no attempt to look out for signs of elves. So he gets to throw the rock, and then he gets surrounded by the two sneaky sentries, who each shank him in the surprise round. Then they both go ahead of him, and shank a bunch more to drop Talvosh to -4. It's okay! He's got Diehard...

Except then the Bonecaster walks out of the building and nails him with a Reach Belkar Claws. Alive Talvosh transforms into Dead Talvosh, and the Elven cries of bloody victory alerts the rest of the gang. Initiative! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX1H5d3x8CI)

The party readies a multitude of vicious and brutal readied actions. With bated breath, they lay in ambush...and start to suspect that Talvosh isn't coming back anytime soon. The raid leader barks some orders...but completely flubs a sense motive roll I made behind the scenes (and I rolled a natural 20 for the party's ambush setup), so he sends some of his brave warriors forward. They step into the alley that will lead them down towards the courtyard killing field, Angelena spots them and blasts them with a Flame Strike Sammael shoots an arrow! And then Sona cuts them off with a Wall of Flame!

So they're trapped at the beginning of the alley, not even close to the ambush point, and none of the archers can see the elves through the flames. Ah well. The bonecaster snarls and dispels the mystical ring of fire after triggering his Woven spells (causing Displacement around him, the commander, and a couple warriors),which lets Angelena nail the group with Holy Smite, blinding several in the back). One of the warriors rushes forward at Angelena...directly into Puck's Expanded Axe as he steps around the corner. The second one charges in...and misses Puck spectacularly. Sona smiles and recasts the Wall of Fire, and then Puck bull rushes the warrior into the wall and flames (the axe swing was an AoO). At the sight of the 20 ft flames again, the two sneaky elves cut around the long way...

Sammael does some extreme parkour, diving from the current building he's in to the next one, sprinting through the burnt-out building to carefully peer down at the elves. Keeping in tradition with elven commanders spotting Sammael when they shouldn't, the leader rolls a natural 20 and points with his sword, gesturing Sammael to come down and fight. The sneaks rush down the alley at Angelena, but they can't quite make it close enough, and she steps around the corner to cast Cloud of Knives. Sona peeks out the window and slaps the sneaks with a Great Thunderclap, which they fail against. Finally, an elf within sight of the rangers. The elven sneak gets perforated and dies, and Puck starts toward the other one (who's stunned).

Sammael dives down at the leader, dodges the attack of opportunity as he slides by, and rolls high enough to trip the commander using Elusive Target, ending up between the tripped commander and the bonecaster after landing a kick to the bonecaster's side. Said bonecaster hits Sammael with a normal Belkar claws for some damage. The commander stands up, deflecting Sammael's attack of opportunity with a Wall of Blades maneuver, then winds up with a Ruby Nightmare Blade! Which Sammael causes to miss with Diverting Defense...curses! Luckily, it misses the bonecaster because of displacement. The warriors inside the wall of flames are no longer blinded and are tired of being slowly cooked, so they start climbing the building to scramble inside the window. Puck makes it to the stunned elf and nearly kills him with a single axe-blow, while Angelena paces back in forth in front of the 20 ft roaring flames, displeased at her lack of targets for her floating magic knives.

Alarmed at the near-decapitation by his leader, the bonecaster shuffles back and Hastes the nearby elves. Sona then swaps Sammael and Puck with the fan-favorite Benign Transposition, allowing Sammael to chop and pummel the wounded sneak to death, and Puck to take out the Bonecaster. Angelena continues pacing, just champing at the bit for the flames to drop. The elven leader roars a challenge and hacks into Puck with a full attack. Puck responds by cross-checking him into the wall for a big hunk of damage...ow. Sona dispels her flames, finally allowing Angelena to hurl one of her mystical knives at the last elven warrior who's half in and half out of the building. The knife hurtles forward! And Angelena misses by one :(. One of the other elven warriors is close enough to the window to see Puck, and decides to risk his life in one glorious strike.

He Dives (https://youtu.be/4KlSuGNt8e4?t=21s) out the window, howling and thrusting his spear. He has reach as well, so it'll be a simultaneous attack with Puck's attack of opportunity. Max power attack death or glory!

I roll a 3, so it's just death for him. Even raging, he's taken Flame Strikes, Holy smites, and fire damage, so Puck cuts him in half. The commander takes this opportunity to tumble past Puck and hit him with a Ruby Nightmare Blade. I fluff it as the commander darting past and delivering a wicked draw-cut to Puck's exposed side as he cuts at the airborne warrior, and Puck takes nearly 50 points of damage from the one blow. Blood is pouring out of the commander though, he's down to his last 10 hit points or so. He raises his blade invitingly and grins with red-stained teeth. Sona dim-doors into another building, and takes a bit of damage as she accidentally puts her foot where a chunk of stone is. Puck strives to grant the commander a warrior's death, but one attack misses from displacement and the other is deflected with Wall of Blades. The elf that Angelena shot at vaults back out the window...and rolls a one to reduce falling damage, and breaks his leg badly. The remaining elven warrior mimics his brother and dives out at Puck, screaming maniacally!

This one rolls a 4, so he suffers the exact same fate as the first. And Puck's cleave attack connects, finishing the commander.

Everyone meets up in the courtyard, Talvosh reappearing now that there's a moment's peace. The rangers are impressed. Really impressed, the party is more than a little frightening. Doesn't stop them from gently teasing the group about how they basically denied themselves the entire ambush setup (Iri especially takes great glee in this). After a bit more discussion, the party decides that they're going to head back towards the Pilgrim's road rather than continuing on with the rangers. Bronze understands, and is very enthusiastic in thanking the party for helping them defeat the raiders with only one casualty. The rangers travel partway with the party back towards the Pilgrim's road, and their night of rest passes blessedly quiet.
I've been rolling Scrying attempts each night on a random party member, and so far they've made their saves. So far...:)
Before the groups separate, Lady ghosts up behind Angelena, and silently hands her a folded piece of paper. Opening it, Angelena sees that it's a quick but detailed map, detailing an alternate route to take towards the Inner City. When asked about it, Lady finally speaks in a hoarse whisper. She explains that it is a more discreet route; it will take several days more, but it is much less visible than following the Old Road (also known as the Pilgrim's road). The only thing to worry about is to not venture too far east - the route winds near the self-claimed domain of a powerful fey spirit of decay. Angelena thanks Lady and makes an attempt to offer assistance in healing her voice, but is graciously refused.

The party makes it back to the Pilgrim's road in quick time, then settles down to debate on which route to take. After some back and forth, they decide to head down the alternate, quieter path. It's not as if they're on a strict time schedule, and not walking down an obvious route when murder-mimes are after you is a good thing. Of course, Talvosh and Puck's players want to go down that road because all they hear from "Powerful fey spirit" is "Optional boss." Sona doesn't roll high enough on a Knowledge (nature) to provide any info, so they're going in blind!

This scene (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYx3duinKqk) depicts the debate perfectly. Sona, Angelena, and Sammael play the parts of Nami, Usopp, and Chopper in no particular order, while Talvosh and Puck are channeling Luffy together.

Lady's map is very precise, it makes navigating the winding side streets and crumbled buildings easy. It also seems to bypass known areas of danger. Speaking of crumbled buildings, it only takes a day of travel for everyone to notice that all of the buildings are becoming notably more aged and scarred-looking. Dust hangs in the air no matter what, and fewer and fewer buildings stand as tall or as solid. Partway through the second day, the party stops at a seeming ring of completely crumbled buildings. They're all reduced to piles of rubble, and all in a ring several hundred feet across around one massive squat building. It's as if a giant hand scooped part of the building away, so the party can see into the broad open building from where they stand at the edge of the ring. It's at this point they hear singing... (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGo2yqcUYaY&nohtml5=False)

After a bit of debate, they notice a figure in tattered clothing flitting back and forth in the building. Sammael cranks his Knowledge (nature) roll to get a bit of info (my version of the Raven Queen is served by a good amount of less friendly fey, so he has some experience with them). The fey is most likely a Ruin Chanter, a spirit of ancient ruins and the relentless advance of time. The other bit he gets is that while they're not actively malevolent, they don't particularly like mortals. Oh, and they can fly. The Ruin chanter makes a casual spot check, and everyone is okay due to the distance...except for Talvosh rolling a natural 1. Ruh roh...the song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfrPvoaK80k&nohtml5=False) cuts off abruptly, but Sammael has a moment of inspiration and picks the song back up, in Slyvan. He rolls a high Perform, and the Ruin chanter beckons them forward.

Hesitantly, carefully (especially Angelena), the party advance into the domain of the Ruin Chanter. It looks like a a youthful woman dressed in tattered clothing of various dirty and dusty hues, but there's something wrong with her eyes. They don't look right.

"You have a pleasant voice for a mortal. What, exactly brings you to my home?" Sammael makes pleasantries, but Puck actually catches her interest by simply saying it was her singing that caught their curiosity. The chanter smiles at that, and offers to sing for her guests.

Everyone fails (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4RSFDoM7YM&nohtml5=False) their Will save vs the Fascinate effect, except for Puck who is immune to such things. I roll to determine randomly, and the Chanter mentions that Talvosh's axe would look lovely rusting on a pile of stones. Talvosh mutters that it was his father's axe, but he fails his Will save by 1 to resist the Suggestion to Put the axe down on that pile of rubble and leave it. Puck wanders over and picks the axe back up, and the Ruin Chanter does not like that.

"That was a gift. Put it back."

"It is not his to give, I claimed it from him." Tttteeeeccchnnnically true, he had disarmed Talvosh way back in the jungle, and then gave it back to him with the implication that he could take it back if Talvosh freaked out again. The Ruin Chanter is still insulted, and demands that Puck produce a different gift then.

His offer of a platinum piece is rejected, and the Chanter icily demands that the party leaves and never returns to the Chanter's domain. Quick apologies and quicker feet ensue, as the party decides they are out of their league and retreat. The Chanter ominously clangs her adamantine mace against the floor rhythmically as the party retreats, and the eerie chiming echo follows the party for several hours of hustling back through streets.

We end it there, and Angelena finally catches up to the rest of the party and hits level 11 (she had missed several sessions and/or extra fights previously).


Talvosh kind of gave me this one on a platter

2016-04-12, 07:02 AM
A reminder just in case: you can't ready actions unless you're in initiative, which requires you to be aware. It looks like you may have people "readying" actions before they're aware of combat-that's what initiative is for. Or possibly you had everyone roll initiative when Talvosh died loudly and that's when they started readying, not sure which is why it's just in case.

Picking up the song the Ruin Chanter was singing was genius, and the song you linked for it was blaaauglkwelkdkf :smalleek::smalleek:

I'm surprised they decided they were outgunned, Ruin Chanter's got nothin' on Ragewalker and they took one of those out with it's posse of uberchargers.

2016-04-12, 10:57 AM
Listen checks for Orc-Fillet; especially since we were expecting him to come back. And he did! Just not in the most healthy of ways lol.

There is a key difference between the rage walker and the Ruin Chanter that made even our OPTIONAL BOSS WAAAAAG happy beef sticks pause - Flying at will. Really hard to charge something that doesn't adhere to the petty laws of gravity.

Though.... there was discussion after game of a di-door invisible flying juggernaut delivery system. Voila! Crater Chanter!

2016-04-14, 08:36 PM
Dude... Those songs are lovely! I've been freaking out my party lately with an undead little girl, that they just can't quite escape from.
She's actually been herding them to her Dread Necromancer 'daddy'. They've convinced themselves that she's some sort of Fey. When they reach her home, these songs will play nonstop and set the desired mood perfectly. Nothing creeps them out more than music, this is so great! Thank you :D

2016-04-14, 10:58 PM
Well, the hearse song at least I had already used in our last campaign, but yeah it was kind of appropriate. I'm just a little bit of a sucker for using music...

As for why our mighty heroes decided to retreat, I think it was a combination of the super high fascinate DC freaking everyone out, and the fact that most flying enemies have given the party...issues.

2016-04-16, 10:39 AM
Great campaign! I haven't played the Dark Souls games so I feel like I may be missing some references but I love the theme and story so far. Quickly becoming one of my favorites.

2016-04-16, 02:50 PM
Thanks, Brion, glad you're enjoying it! I'm not really using any plot stuff from the Dark Souls series, just shamelessly lifted took lots of inspiration from the theme and feel of the game.

Also, forgot to type it earlier, but that sounds awesome, Prismcat, let me know how that session goes when they reach her home :smallbiggrin:

2016-04-26, 01:46 AM
18th session! Is late because Dark Souls 3 has consumed my life like a delicious cream puff.

It is an awesome game. Haven't even completed it yet and already thinking about different things to do in the next playthrough. If you enjoyed any of the previous series, you should go out and get it right now. If you haven't played any of the Dark Souls games (or Bloodborne), I highly recommend them with the caveat that they are very challenging, and can be teeth-gnashingly frustrating. The tradeoff is the sense of victory after you FINALLY stomp that boss with a perfect run.

So yes, get Dark Souls 3. And then you too can Kill More Bosses (TM)

No Sammael today due to tropical holiday, but we had another player join the group! He decided to play the bow-wielding Forged archer, Spotter - the fellow our heroes battled in the canyons, and managed to befriend him/shock him out of his madness. They left him at Shepherd's Respite to think things over before travelling through the Wasteland.

The vision came around a week after that strange party of Marked had left Spotter with the Shepherd. It was the dead of night, and Spotter was on the roof, staring distractedly at the Moon. The huge, burning Moon that slowly filled all of Spotter's vision as he sat, unable to move. Everything went black except for the ring of flame, and Spotter was left in oblivion.

As time passed, Spotter realized that he wasn't alone in the darkness. Someone was watching him, staring a hole into the back of his head. Spotter could feel the weight of the gaze, and then suddenly there was a real weight pressing against his back.

"And now the choice has come to you, tin doll. How will you act?" The voice is grating, malicious, hateful. A force dragged Spotter's left hand into his view, and a circle of flame ignited on that hand.

"How will you die?"

When Spotter came to, the Mark was burned into the back of his left hand. Shortly after that, Spotter set out after the party. Through a combination of stealth, luck, and not having to sleep, Spotter managed to make his way across the Wasteland without much fuss, and he's finally caught up to the party.

We go back to the party as they depart from the Ruin chanter's domain at high speed. They decide to keep following the side streets and back alleys - it might take a bit longer, but not being predictable when there's murderous mimes after you is a good thing. When they wander around a corner, there's a familiar Forged sitting on a pile of rubble waiting for them.

Spotter joined the party! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rXOPhzBiuo)

After some chatting and catching up, Spotter expresses his desire to travel with the group and see exactly what is going to happen. One member stronger, the party continues onwards!

Later on in the day, the party comes across a broad open expanse, thick waist-high grass covering every inch except for a small tower in the one corner. It's several hundred feet across, and quite silent. The party is creeped out by the wide open area, but carefully advances towards the tower after some high Listen checks. As they approach the tower, everyone can smell the faint odor of smoke, and as they get a little closer, can see said smoke seeping out of all the open doors of the 4-level watchtower (which is relatively small). Talvosh and Puck tiptoe up to the entrances, but can't see anything inside due to the smoke filling the interior. They stride into the thick, ash-filled smoke, and Talvosh finds the source first. It's a withered corpse, hunched in and over itself, smoking as if it had just been burning seconds ago. Then the corpse turns its head to stare at Talvosh through the smoke, and lets out a horrific shriek! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kM_J27SnPM) Initiative! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0IqQQY5p88)

The Ashen (template I made up) Bodak goes first, and batters Talvosh with its fists, coating him with ash which then ignites for fire damage. The thick smoke pouring off the creature is a bit of a blessing, as it cuts visibility down to 10 ft. Talvosh is the only one within range of the Death gaze, but he makes his save easy. Spotter is up next, and zips up close enough to sink several painful arrows into its back. Puck stomps through the smoke and laughs off the Death gaze, shoving the Bodak back (but not getting close enough to smash it into a wall). Sona buffs herself, and both her and Angelena notice the grass swaying, shaking, and...burning? Sinkholes open up, and ash-coated Hollows begin to stream up all World War Z style. Ruh Roh, Rhaggy! Angelena slaps down a Consecrate to prepare for the undead masses.

The Ashen Bodak is in trouble as Puck, Talvosh, and Spotter hammer away at it. They all keep making their Fort saves, but the two melee beatsticks take damage every time they strike it from clouds of burning ash. Finally, Puck pulverizes the Bodak against the wall, dusting it, and everyone scrambles into the tower for a more defensible position. Sona throws out a Wall of Fire to stop the Hollows (further igniting the smoldering grass), but they sprint through heedlessly. They take damage, but not as much as they should, especially from a spell that expressly harms undead more. The mobs of undead scramble up to the doors of the tower, and the party lashes out. Angelena uses a Greater Turning to obliterate one of the mobs in an explosion of golden sunlight, while Talvosh lays into another mob with his max power attack of silliness. Finally the undead manage to start swarming into the building, and anyone who isn't a Forged gets mauled and suffers negative levels! They're mobs of Ashen Wights.

Sona stays out of the way while the other 4 members hack and slash, spraying ash everywhere. The final mob starts scrabbling up the side of the tower to reach the second-floor balcony since the ground floor entrances are blocked by other mobs, so Sona distracts them with a Major image of the party running away, while Angelena busts out another Greater Turning. Shortly thereafter the Hollows are put down, but the party is now surrounded by a field of fire. Whoops! Huddling in the (thankfully stone) watchtower, the party hunkers down until the fire goes out. By the time that happens, it's late enough that the party decides to rest in the tower for the night. It's quite defensible; the only downside is they made a gigantic smoke signal to anyone paying attention...

Sona fails a Will save, and awakens to the entire tower, including her companions, ablaze. The fire doesn't hurt her, strangely enough.

"You know, I didn't expect you to make it this far. I thought you would have burnt away quite a while ago." Jezelle is sitting on the railing of the balcony, staring up at the moon.

"Yeah, guess you should have tried harder."

"Do you ever wonder why the moon is like that?" Jezelle still hasn't turned to look at Sona, her gaze still fixed on the burning moon. Sona just kind of squints, Jezelle normally doesn't say anything that isn't a threat of some sort. "It's always there, hanging above us. You can see it during the day, during the night, no matter what. Why is it like that?"

"Did you like my surprise?" This confirms Sona's suspicion that Jezelle had hired the Mummers. She scoffs, though.

"I don't think they did what you paid them for. We've taken care of them once already." Jezelle just turns and smiles in response.

"Oh, I didn't pay them to kill you once. For as long as you're in Logos, they're going to keep coming after you. Keep cutting away at you, killing you. Though I don't want them to truly kill you." Something seems strange at this point. Jezelle seems to be getting bigger, her voice thickening. "I want you to run. I want you to flee, and try to hide," She swells even more, and broad leathery wings rip out of her back as the tower begins to crumble under her mass. Her face has twisted into a massive draconic snout as burning eyes lock onto Sona. "I WANT YOU TO BE MY PREY, AND I WILL DEVOUR YOU!"

Sona wakes up with a scream, and does not regain her spells for the night. Morning comes uneventfully after that, and the party continues north. They're getting close to the Inner City. As they travel through a particularly narrow stretch of alleys, a strange noise makes everyone pause. Unfortunately, that just allows an Ectoplasmic Shambler in the shape of a giant melting arachnid to thump down on them. It's the Mummers! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Er_RfuRSDU)

Puck saw a shape move on a nearby rooftop right before the acidic green mist engulfed everyone, so he surges forward. The Mummer waves casually from atop a 40 ft building, so Puck tries to bring the building down by smashing the corner. An alarmingly high check damages it, but doesn't collapse the whole building thankfully. Spotter is up next, and runs out of the mist and fires an arrow at the Mummer. Sona puts Mirror image up (this is important later), and the other party members start moving towards the edge of the opaque mist/ooze/stuff. Next up is the druid mummer's new pet, and with a terrific CRASH and a deafening hiss, a huge Alligator smashes through a building! The psion Mummer looks down, and Dominates Spotter, commanding him to kill Puck.Yes, Master. (http://www.tubechop.com/watch/7927065)

Then things go badly for the Mummers. Puck charges the megagator, who misses his attack of opportunity. Puck then crits with his max power attack, and kills the gator in one swing. I didn't even get to swallow anyone with him :(. Then Sona Dimension Doors herself, Talvosh, and Angelena onto the same rooftop of the psion Mummer. Uh oh! Thankfully the Druid Mummer on the opposite roof is close enough to blind Talvosh with Blinding Spittle, so the Psion doesn't get chopped to unrecognizable pieces. She still gets zorched by Angelena, but poor dice rolling keeps it to a minimum.

Spotter follows his commands, planting arrows into Puck's back while mumbling, "Kill...Kill...Kill...Kill.." Puck unfortunately flubs his Sense motive, and decides that Spotter is trying to kill him! He pain-train smashes Spotter into a wall, but doesn't kill him. The psion gets the heck out of dodge using dimension stride boots, and hits Talvosh with an overchanneled max-augment Death Urge. Talvosh passes, alas. Angelena and the druid exchange some blasting spells, while Talvosh wipes his eyes clean and plans to jump the 15 ft gap between buildings. Sona dim-doors for a final time and brings along her two friends to land between the two Mummers. Finally, the ninja mimes reveal themselves, stabbing Sona and Angelena as they appear from nowhere! Wait, only Angelena gets stabbed because of Mirror Image. She makes her Fort save, too *Fist shake*.

Puck trips Spotter and warns him to stay down, while Talvosh is finally close enough to let loose, having resisted ANOTHER overchanneled Augmented Death Urge, and he kills the psion and one of the ninja-mimes. The druid tries to take Talvosh out with a Choking Sands, which was a poor decision and dies as a result. The final ninja decides to dive over the side of the building to live another day, disappearing into the side alleys. Spotter is free of the mental influence and apologizes profusely to Puck, who seems mollified. Angelena makes her secondary Fort save, and passes it by the absolute skin of her teeth. Those daggers had Black Lotus extract on them, and just for fun I roll the con damage if she had failed. 12 con damage would have absolutely killed her *Return of the Fist shake!*

We end it there, and Puck is 650 xp from levelling :smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

The party is getting close to the Inner City...I might have to actually roleplay characters who DON'T want to immediately kill them! *Gasp shock*

Still 17. My average is shot! I'll have to cheattry harder next time

EDIT: I had forgotten a couple lines in Sona's nightmare, they're added in now

2016-04-27, 11:48 PM
I don't have a ton to say, but this campaign journal is an amazing read. You and your players really know your stuff and it's been fun seeing a ton of 3.5's more outre monsters like the Voor pop up. Please keep doing what you're doing!

2016-04-28, 12:54 PM
Thanks, Piedmon_Sama! Glad you're enjoying the read. We still do a lot of on the spot rules checking, but we're getting pretty quick at it. I normally just rule in favour of monsters winning anyways :smallbiggrin:.

Anything people would like to see more of? Less of?

2016-04-29, 07:48 AM

Anything people would like to see more of? Less of?

More PC deaths. Definitely more PC deaths. :-D

2016-04-29, 10:05 AM
Anything people would like to see more of? Less of?

I'd like to see some trap encounters (deadly, of course).

2016-04-29, 12:21 PM
I want the scrag from the first session to reappear :smallbiggrin:

2016-04-29, 01:46 PM
More unique battle fields?

Some unique living constructs like Inevitables? Given the warforged, I would imagine someone's gone crazy with some unique/fun golem/mechanical peoples

2016-04-29, 09:55 PM
I want the scrag from the first session to reappear :smallbiggrin:
You hush you!!!

*shifty eyes sudden caek bribe*

I still don't dare leave Sona at the back of things anymore because of that fiasco. Or go first. Or... do anything else before defensive spells. They can make as much fun of me as they want - for there are only two levels of paranoia...


And insufficient.

2016-04-30, 06:42 AM

Hmm, I guess I'd be interested in seeing some more monstery monsters. Fighting char-op with char-op works but hollows for days is meh. I'm talking some eldritch abomination level titans like from Saph's Seven Kingdoms campaign journal (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?139572-Campaign-Journal-Seven-Kingdoms).

And some sort of PC counter to Nightmare. It is a nice way to deliver stuff directly to the head, but just taking it every night makes me sad. Pretty sure the one getting Nightmare'd is not the divine caster (I've lost track of the names :smalltongue:), bog standard Dispel Evil when she starts tossing would do the job. A counter-Nightmare campaign would also be amusing.

2016-04-30, 08:11 AM
Suggestions for more PC deaths or things that will cause more PC deaths?

PrismCat21: *salutes* I will strive for exactly that!

ComaVision: You're being a little prescient here...I'm not saying there's going to be a Sen's Fortress, but worthwhile revelations are never gained without suffering...

Brion: Oh, I'm still sincerely hoping the party ventures back there eventually, because Mr Scrag has been keeping himself busy. Just imagine these folks with green warty skin and eating victims in between sets:


Jonagel: I do try and have some creative opportunities in battlefields, and I definitely have more unique locales in mind, but were you thinking of anything in particular? More environmental complications, that sort of thing?

And there will be some more construct types for sure! As for Inevitables, they have a specific spot in the campaign - may not see them for a while depending on what direction the party chooses. But I will try and get the wonkier constructs in soon!

Fizban: YES. Saph's campaign journal is one of my favorites, and I will definitely have terrible beasties lurking about (the monster notebook shall return). I know there's been lots of people of varying states of undeath the last bit, I've just been trying to keep rough themes for areas. As for the Nightmare, well, counter-tactics are entirely in the PCs hands. I agree that I don't just want to spam the spell every night just for the sake of killing spell slots, but Jezelle is an opponent with a serious grudge against the party, Sona in particular. It'll have to be solved one way or another.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I do like feedback.

2016-04-30, 08:53 PM

for there are only two levels of paranoia...


And insufficient.

I have a sudden desire to put this on a t-shirt if it isn't on one already.

2016-05-10, 12:59 AM
19 sessions! Time for a
Angelena: Cleric 6/Radiant Servant 5 - pretty sure she's going to finish out radiant servant, and then probably back to cleric, maybe something like sacred exorcist or contemplative
Puck: Fighter 6/Warforged Juggernaut 5 - Player's plan is to head into Psychic warrior next, I believe
Sammael: Cleric 3/Monk 2/Paladin 6 - I believe the plan is to continue alternating between these classes
Sona: Sorcerer 6/Pact-bound Adept 5 - More sorcerer, maybe some of the full-casting prestige classes if she can qualify for any of them
Spotter: Ranger 9/Deepwoods Sniper 2 - More Deepwoods sniper, and the player is going for the Mage Slayer/Pierce magical concealment feats
Talvosh: Barbarian 1/Fighter 5/Frenzied berserker 5-More berserking

The party had just repelled the Mummers once more, managing to cut down three of them (and avoiding serious harm with a LOT of high saving throws) before the remaining Mummer made a break for it. Not wanting to travel much further low on spell-slots, the group wanders down a side alley and finds a defensible-looking apartment to rest in for the night. Being only a block or so from the ambush point, however, means they aren't that hard to find.

Right before dawn, Spotter sees a small flicker through the window, and then hears a strange hum that quickly builds into a Whine (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J08v0d7Fygg). Then the building collapses on the party :P. Everyone makes their save, though...except for Sammael (the man with the highest saving throws by far) who rolls a natural 1. And another natural one to try and force his way out of the rubble. Strength checks are made (or disregarded with bolt shirts and translocation anklets), and Spotter rushes down the alley and around the corner! He isn't in time to catch anyone though, and finds a rapidly fading circle of ectoplasm and an envelope wedged into a wall at eye height.

Nah, I kid.
Salutations! You have proven to be a remarkably vexing target. So much in fact that you aren't worth further pain and suffering on either of our parts. Go about your business, keep this to yourselves, and we'll never meet again with any luck.


The letter is marked with black and white comedy/tragedy masks in lieu of a signature

The group managed to get enough rest to replenish spells, so they're more than happy to move on swiftly. And now that the threat of ambush and assassination is seemingly off the table, it's time to go back to the Old Road! There's a brief moment where Puck and Talvosh half-joke about wandering the back alleys by themselves because...reasons, but the sacred law of "DON'T SPLIT THE PARTY" holds firm. No encounters are rolled, and the gang travels along the Pilgrim's Path until it leads to the edge of a large lake. In the center of said lake is an island of massive buildings that seem to be easily double the height of the buildings they've been travelling among. To top it off, a monstrous tower dwarfs everything else on the island, stretching up and up towards the clouds. There's a smaller island partway across the lake, and a broad bridge connecting the two islands, but no such bridge connecting to where the party stands. There is, however, a large lever on a raised platform. Nothing bad ever happens when you pull a lever! Nothing bad does happen though...see, I'm not a jerk ALL the time.

The lever causes a bell in a nearby tower to ring (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9BdgQJAulg), and Spotter can see silhouettes moving in the guardhouse on the halfway island. Shortly, everyone can hear a massive rumble and groaning. With (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uu64ipIEwA) a roaring surge of water, a colossal metal bridge drags its way up out of the lake. Streams of water pour off the sides as it rises and locks into place with a deafening CLANK.

There's a little bit of confusion at the lack of guards on this side, but then Spotter notices the glint of steel and the gleam of eyes beneath the water. He also recalls that lake-watch was uncomfortable and incredibly boring (Spotter had been a member of the Steelguard before fleeing to the Canyons several decades ago - the player doesn't have any inside knowledge, but I throw little tidbits in as he starts to recall the past). Finally, the party starts across the long bridge. They make it to the guardhouse on the halfway island, and the gates are thrown open. The guards are atop the walls of the guardhouse, left hands clenched over their chests in a salute. Apparently a group of Pilgrims arriving requires some ceremony, and after some sideways glances, everyone continues on to the second bridge. While the first humongous bridge rose up from the lake, this second one has a set of gigantic chains suspending it. It seems that it can be lifted, or more likely, retracted to the central island. Finally the party has reached the Inner City of Logos.

The bridge leads to a broad set of steps leading up. This island seems to be packed with numerous buildings like the rest of Logos, but the buildings are notably taller, and notably in better shape. There are quite a few balconies overhanging the road/steps the party walks, and people start creeping out as they proceed. There are more people than the group has seen in Artaith entire, but it still feels...empty. No one cheers, no one claps. There are only haunted stares, and furtive whispers.

Not creepy at all :P

Once the group makes it up the stairs, they enter a courtyard that is empty except for a somewhat oversized Forged. He's about twice as big as Puck(!), at the absolute limits of the Large size category. Its burnished steel plates and brass accents seem to emanate solidity and strength, and large gauntlets clasp a Fume Knight-sized Greatsword. As they approach (sidenote, I think I got asked about fog gates about three times while they were approaching), the Forged slings the greatsword over its shoulder and speaks in a suspiciously Peter Cullen-esque voice *coughcoughGMisahackcough*

"Welcome, Pilgrims, to the Inner City of Logos. I am Bulwark, commander of the Steelguard. I bid you a truly warm welcome..." Bulwark trails off as he notices Spotter. "...Spotter? Is that you?!?"

"...Yes, sir." Spotter's a little nervous, as while the Steelguard was an entirely voluntary position, he did sort of just up and disappear in the night all those years ago...and now he's back in front of his commander.

"Huh. Never thought I'd see you again." Bulwark is lost in thought briefly, then catches himself. "We'll speak later. As I was saying, I bid you welcome to our city, as long as you mean its inhabitants no harm. Please, I will escort you to the Central Fire." Everyone is fine with this, and Bulwark's greeting seems to relax the atmosphere somewhat. There is more animated talking from the people on the balconies above, and even some scattered cheering. One word is overheard several time that catches everyone's attention:


They ask Bulwark about it, and he looks slightly uncomfortable (he actually has articulation in his face, oooooh).

"Should get used to it...the Church of the Flame will toss that at you a lot." Whoops, now he looks embarrassed. "Er...forget I said that?" It's not that Bulwark dislikes the Church of the Flame, from what Spotter remembers, it's more that he disagrees with their views. They continue travelling through the Inner City, and the party sees what looks like a large row of shops and stalls closing for the night off in one direction, before arriving at what must be the Central Flame. It's a large building that stands out from the others around it, partially because it's made of a bright white stone, and partially because it's all curves and rounded edges (whereas everything else has been quite blocky and angular). The central building seems to be a large dome with a pair of elephant sized doors, which start to open as the group approaches. They're close enough to see the extremely intricate flames carved onto the entire surface of the doors. A warm light shines from within, and Puck bows while gesturing to the open doorway.

"Angelena, Talvosh, Sona, Spotter, our new brother Puck, and Sammael. I again welcome you all to Logos. May you find warmth and peace by the fire."

With that, the party enters the Central Church of the Flame. It's a surprisingly large chamber, still all smooth curves and clean white stone. The Bonfire dominates the room; it is far larger and far brighter than any of the Fires the party has encountered so far, the flames licking 30 feet in the air easily. They stretch up towards a large open skylight in the ceiling, and coil around the other dominant feature of the room - a massive stone sword is planted in the flames, the hilt almost stretching into the skylight. The sword has to be at least 40 feet tall. As the party wanders into the pleasantly warm chamber, they catch sight of three figures standing by the flames. All three are dressed in soot-stained white robes, and the one in the center has what seems to be a blindfold. The blindfolded woman does a deep curtsy, while the other two prostrate themselves fully.

"Welcome, Marked Pilgrims. Welcome, Saviours, to the Central Fire." After a moment, they straighten/stand up, and the woman with the covered eyes continues speaking. "I am Flamespeaker Alexandria, and these are Flamekeepers Darius and Ember. You have traveled far, and your journey has been arduous. Please, find solace by the Fire." They happily do so!


The hypnotic pull of these flames are far stronger as well, and everyone except Sammael and Talvosh completely lose track of themselves until they are distracted with a gentle cough from Alexandria.

"I'm sure you have many questions, and I will strive to answer as many of them as I can, but for now, please feel free to rest. We have ample chambers for you here in the church, or if you would prefer I'm certain Commander Bulwark could find accomadations for you."

Talvosh muttering to Angelena: "Do you think she can even see us?"

Alexandria just smiles. "I can see and hear you. The flame obscures, and reveals all."

Sona practically sprints for hot water and a soft bed, and Angelena and Sammael retire for the night as well. Talvosh and Spotter decide to go along with Puck to the Forges, on the all-important quest to find Puck his robo-scorpion tail!

Bulwark is still outside, and he goes along with the terrible trio to the Forge district. They chat a little bit as they walk, such as asking why Bulwark asked everyone to take off any gloves (no attempts to disguise or hide the Mark is permitted), how many Forged remain in Logos (just over 100) , and what exactly Spotter had been doing off in those Canyons (...slightly more awkward, but Bulwark doesn't seem to judge). It takes a while, but they eventually arrive to what seems to be a factory of sorts, with numerous people working away over anvils, forges, and worktables. Bulwark leads them through, ducking slightly as if worried he may hit his head. They walk up a catwalk next to a vat of molten metal, and meet a pair of angular, almost blocky Forged. They seem much rougher-hewn than the others they've seen. Apparently these are Anvil and Hammer, two of the finest smiths on the continent. Hammer (they think) looks at the hulking commander, looks at the other three, and then sheer vitriol spills into the air.

"What the *** are you doing here, you giant ***?! And who are these **$@?"

Hammer has quite the foul mouth, and I'm throwing out about 3 obscenities per sentence. After introductions (such as they are), Puck bluntly asks what they have for sale. Hammer retorts that they should come back in the morning (with multiple curses).

Puck:"But you're here right now."

Hammer: "And we're busy! Sod off!"

Puck: "With what?"

Hammer: "I doubt a dumb hunk of iron could understand! ***@#!" He gestures to the plans on the table. Puck makes a suitably high Craft (Forged) check to suss out that it's schematics for climbing spikes as a Forged component, able to shoot out of hands, elbows, knees, feet, or back. This impresses the pair enough that Anvil actually turns and examines the group.

Anvil: "While my brother is less than eloquent, what he says is true. We do not have enough free time to display various items for you. However, bring this to the front of the Foundry during the day," he hands Puck a stamped piece of metal, "and you and your companions will be given a full tour and demonstration of our craft." Satisfied, the trio wander back to the Central Fire. Bulwark bids them a good night, and mentions that he'll probably see them again soon. Before he leaves, though, he quizzes Puck on who trained him in the ways of fighting.

Puck: "We have always known. She who made us is is long dead."

Bulwark: "I think I could help you with the next step of your training. I see the spark of potential in you, to walk a path similar to mine," he gestures, and a gleaming blade coalesces in his hand, then fades just as quickly. "Will can cut as deep as steel."

Puck: "We can do something like that." He activates his Expansion engine and Bulwark nods.

Bulwark: "With my training, you could do that simply with your will. Think on it."

Out of game, Puck now has the means to level in Psychic Warrior.

The three join their companions in resting - in the massive apartments that serve as guest chambers for them. This is actual luxury, not just comparative luxury.

Everyone awakens in the morning, except for Sona. She requires cajoling and bribery/threatening to be dragged out of her room before noon, but they manage it. After eating a wonderful meal, Flamekeeper Darius (who has apparently been assigned to see to their wants and needs) requests that the group come with him to the Grand Tower, as the Council of Logos would like to meet with them. The gang moseys along to said tower.

It is even bigger up close, and bizarrely enough the walls of the ground floor are all glass (something highly unusual). Darius leads them into a round audience hall of sorts, with many more empty seats than full. Flamespeaker Alexandria is there, standing alongside a young woman. She introduces herself as Council Head Katarine, and makes introductions for the other nine individuals in the room. The party has already met Commander Bulwark, Flamespeaker Alexandria, and Flamekeeper Ember, so she moves on.

Council members Norus (an older man who seems ecstatic at the party's arrival, smiling and so happy he's almost tearing up) and Tarr (a middle aged man who seems to have a solidly neutral poker face)

Ambassador Noctis, from the island of Helios: A handsome tanned young man bedecked with gold jewelry and a white toga, he seems every inch a spoiled noble brat, barely looking up from his undignified sprawl in a chair more notably opulent than the others. Canny players notice that when he does look up, his eyes shine blue with magic, and Noctis' gaze lingers on Sona.

Ambassador Madchen Brunhilde, from the northern city of Eulethron. What skin the party can see is porcelain white, but little is visible underneath a veil and Victorian style gown. Her gaze can be felt through that veil though; it's intense, searching, and not particularly nice

Ambassador Kodai Onsei, from the Goblin Holds, along with his guard Shunsui. Curled up in a chair is the oldest and ugliest goblin any of the party has seen. His eyes are milky, his skin is wrinkly, and nothing seems symmetrical. But the gaze seems sharp despite the milkiness, and the old goblin rasps something that party can't understand (no-one speaks goblin). Shunsui is a hobgoblin decked out in a full set of lamellar armor, and multiple weapons jutting over his shoulders and from his belt.

Talvosh's player immediately declares that these must be the Great Lords, and they should take out all these bosses while they're gathered together. I'm almost a little disappointed he doesn't try it :P. Instead everyone introduces themselves, and then I start serving up slices of deep-dish exposition!

Katarine welcomes the party again, and offers to answer questions, as well as explain why the party is here.

The big one addressed first is the whole "The Marked (everyone seems careful to say Marked rather than Cursed, at least in Flamespeaker Alexandria's earshot) shall travel on Pilgrimage to the Central Flame, and receive Revelation" statements. That part is mostly true. There is a way for the Marked to learn more about the Curse, and the prophecy that a Marked one could save Artaith, "to receive Revelation"...by traveling to a place named Revelation. Partway up the Grand Tower, there is a Portal to another plane, one named Lethe. On this plane, among the fields of ashes, is the fortress Revelation. Within are tests and challenges, and those who overcome them and return are granted great knowledge. It's a dangerous journey, both Katarine and Alexandria mention that many of the Cursed who attempt it do not return. However, those who did gained the ability to travel from Bonfire to Bonfire, seemingly at will. Also, any knowledge about the Curse of Hollowing is of extreme value. The council doesn't try to push or encourage, but if the party is willing to attempt it, they will do what they can to assist.

The council unfortunately doesn't have a ton of information about the Curse itself, other than what the party has guessed at. They do mention that the records, stories, and information gathered suggests that the Curse has slowed or lessened possibly - there are tales of when the Curse first appeared, people could Hollow in mere moments. There have been a few recorded cases of the Curse being cured (seems a bit of a verbal dance, with not calling the Marked Cursed, but still talking about the Hollowing...awkward), but they require extreme arcane might, or divine favor. Neither of those options are practical, nor are they always perfect. Especially that many of those powerful enough to do so have fallen, disappeared, or both. Noctis makes some snide comments and reinforces the party's opinions of a spoiled scion. Brunhilde makes an off-hand mention that the healers of her city had cured the Curse in their records, but such things were "not for Outsiders."

The party gets the overwhelming feeling that this group of individuals have been arguing the same topics with and against each other for a LONG time. There is a lot of old, thick tension sludging back and forth. There is some talk of Maria - it seems that while the official story is that Maria of Logos has not been seen in Logos in centuries, there are many rumors that the Traveler is in fact Maria of Logos. Not a topic that seems like a good one to bring up in front of Bulwark - he seems upset by such talk, and it's never wise to upset giant robots.

The talk of the Mark, Revelation, and such is interrupted by Councilman Tarr demanding that the council speak of the troubles with the Northern Fire. Apparently there have been no reports from that section of the city for several weeks, and the investigating party did not return. Some old bad blood begins to bubble up, when the party offers to investigate for a reward. Despite being embarrassed a little by them, Tarr happily states that he will ensure they are rewarded, as his family estate has access to diamonds in notable quantities. He promises to gather some information for the party when they are ready to travel to the Northern section of the city. Sammael's player mentions that he had seen the exclamation point floating above Tarr's head when he had cast Detect magic :smallbiggrin:

There's some more going back and forth, including some verbal back and forth with Noctis (who treats anyone other than Sona with bored condescension), before the party and Council agree for some time to process. All of the members mention that they are available if anyone wishes to speak to them more, and they meet every several days.

As they head out of the audience chamber, and go around the corner, the party is startled by Madchen Brunhilde being RIGHT THERE. Her veil is lifted to reveal delicate albino features and cold eyes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V9zxXN1rx0).

"Pardon my interruption, but I am looking for some individuals you may have encountered on your journey. You mentioned some trouble in the city itself...did you perhaps see or meet a pair of twins? A little unusual, perhaps dressed strangely? Quite agile, but not very talkative." Sona tries to bluff, as she hasn't gotten a great impression from this strange maiden, but a poor roll means Brunhilde sees a tell in Sona's eyes.

"You have...where?" The party admits that two of the Mummers match what Brunhilde's saying, and roughly describe where in the city they ran into them. Brunhilde curtsies, thanking the party and assuring them that they do not have to concern themselves with the twins at all anymore.

Brunhilde's eyes look like they would be perfect for a shark made of ice. Woe be to anyone caught in those sights. Flipping her veil back down, she curtsies again and glides off, radiating far too much bloodlust. And with that, it's a night

Puck hits level 12, and the rest of the party is pretty close behind.

Still at 17, no combat tonight

2016-05-11, 02:24 AM
There, rest of the session is posted. Technically there was a little more, but it fits better to lump it in with the next session, where the shopping madness will probably begin.

Also, while the party was waiting for an appointment/permission to scour the Library of Logos, the council had a map for them!


2016-05-15, 09:35 PM
And I almost forgot - No game this upcoming weekend, as most of us are going away for the long weekend. So you've got until Wednesday night to harass if you feel the need.

2016-05-16, 09:30 AM
Harass, harass, harass!

2016-05-16, 05:39 PM
So... I just read The Romanov Incident. That was bloody brilliant. :D
I matched up which character belongs to which player, and kept it in my head as i was reading. It was a lot of fun imagining them as their current character and how they interact with each other. :-P
Keep up the amazing work y'all!

2016-05-16, 10:32 PM
Harass, harass, harass!


Glad you enjoyed reading the Romanov Incident :smallbiggrin:

2016-05-29, 12:58 AM
Not dead, vacation was good, and just had a couple spurts of fun inspiration for future monsters- hehehehehe...


2016-06-01, 11:49 AM
One thing I love about this journal is that you guys/gals play on about the same schedule as my group does (we're every other Sunday), so I get a good RPG fill for a couple of days!

2016-06-01, 12:42 PM
So long as Puzzle isn't too distracted and posts in good time lol. Looking forward to the game this weekend :D

Got some SHOPPING to do *girly glee sounds*

2016-06-02, 01:06 AM
Looking forward to the next update. This journal is way too much fun.

2016-06-06, 11:09 PM
Session 20, and I'm apparently enamoured with the sound of my own voice, because it was another exposition-heavy night. No Talvosh player today, so he's playing the quiet game

As the party heads back towards their quarters from the Central Tower, they notice something strange. What they clearly remember as an alley is now a storefront...one with a sign that ignites in Faerie fire as they slow down and stare.

Grabislov's Emporium - Open (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoAkBar3DYk)

The party members who rush into the pitch-black entrance (and have to save vs the Wall of Smoke that's being used as a curtain) find a store littered with various bizarre items and knick-necks, and the same short hooded figure sitting behind a colossal counter.

"Welcome to the grand emporium of Grabislov the - hey, you look familiar!" It is indeed the same merchant that they encountered in the Canyons, creeping floating hands and all. Only Talvosh and Spotter decide to do some shopping here (this technically had happened at the end of the previous session, but I decided to lump it in with this one), the rest of the group deciding to wait and check out what's available in Logos. Grabislov makes his offer of paying for Talvosh's blood, and this time without spell casters around to warn him of the dangers of such a thing, he agrees. After losing a third of his constitution to blood loss, he decides to buy (Something decided next time I hang out with Talvosh's player). Spotter decides to take the same deal, and he buys a Pick of Piercing (which is super cool, by the way). He then asks if Grabislov has any greatbows.

"I have in fact the greatest of bows!" Somehow the short hooded merchant and floating disembodied hands pull up a bone bow up from behind the counter that's about 12 feet tall, with a string the thickness of a man's arm. Grabislov is disappointed that Spotter seems uninterested. Instead, Spotter trades his current bow for a jet-black lacquered bow that is eerily silent to both draw and fire. There is no creak of wood, no hum from the bowstring at all (mechanically it's a +1 hunting composite longbow).

I’m sure there aren’t any dangers in freely offering your blood up to a mysterious magical merchant…


The rest of the party waits until the next day, and after selling/trading all the various treasure they’ve been hoarding, go on a shopping spree. I don’t stress too much about the exact items each shop may or may not have - with how few places of safety I’ve offered, and this being the remains of a city renowned for magical innovation for centuries, I just go with “under X amount, you can find it, between X and Y, you can get it commissioned.” Angelena gets some metamagic rods and a periapt of wisdom, Sammael picks up another piece of the vestments of divinity, Sona gets a better cloak of charisma, and Puck gets his legs chopped off.

Wait, what?

Puck in fact commissions an arachnid chassis and longstrider sigil from the Forged smiths, Hammer and Anvil. He also begins a bit of training from Bulwark to reflect his first level in Psychic Warrior. The party generally revels in not being on the road, using the downtime to relax and recover. This downtime is also an opportunity for any meetings the party wants to make with any of the Council members or other NPCs.

Sammael receives a letter from Councilman Tarr in regards to the issues in the northern part of the city. Apparently the investigators have sent back an all-clear via messenger pigeons. There’s something strange about the letter though; it’s awfully verbose for such a simple message, and some of the letters are different sizes. The deathpriest makes his check to decode the message, revealing that the councilman wishes a discreet meeting.

One evening Sammael does just that, slipping away to an outdoor tavern. It seems that Tarr is suspicious of the all clear report. For one, why the investigators didn’t come back themselves if everything was fine. Second, the report was just detailed enough to not warrant further questions, but didn’t really explain anything. Tarr asks the party to make their way up to that region quietly, sometime in the next several weeks before they attempt the portal to Revelation. That way, there’s no big obvious fuss from Tarr demanding another scouting party. His offer of payment in diamonds still stands, so Sammael provisionally agrees for the party.

I roll randomly, and one evening later in the downtime, Puck receives a gift. It’s an elegant wooden box, covered in thin scrollwork, and there’s a card attached to the box, simply labelled, “Compliments of Madchen Brunhilde.”

Inside is a set of wicked looking shortswords, and two index fingers. The blades look to be a match to the ones the creepy twins from the Mummers used...and the index fingers are both right-hand index fingers.

Brunhilde did say they wouldn’t have to worry about them. An intelligence check from the group clicks the party into the fact that for the fingers to have not crumbled to ash, they would have to still be alive…

While Sona was shopping, she asked on the “passes” the council had mentioned the party would need, and received a somewhat...unusual answer. Apparently they won’t be ready for a bit - the library is upset. Expressing understandable confusion, Ember (who seems to have been designated as their assistant and aide) escorts her to the Library entrance (which ended up being near where she bought most arcane items anyways). Descending into the lower sections of the Central Tower, Sona enters what seems to be a bunker. The open doors are several feet thick, and seem to be solid steel (or something denser). Inside there is a circular room with barricades set up next to bookshelves, “librarians” who look more like long-suffering wartime veterans, and another oversized metal door with a pair of ballistae pointing at it.

That is the entrance to the grand Library of Logos, and an extremely twitchy looking individual wanders over and elaborates with jerky hand movements and the occasional piercing stare at the library door. Apparently the Library was managed and maintained by a controlling intelligence, a grand construct that sorted, retrieved, catalogued, and moved books and information for everyone. It was known as the Custodian, and to the surprise of no-one playing in my game, the centuries of catastrophes, damage, and cursed Hollows drove the Custodian mad. Or broke it, no-one is entirely sure. The construct began to occasionally kill, maim, dissect, or vanish people attempting to use the library, and it just got worse over the years. Eventually withdrawing any information from the library became essentially dungeon-delving, which might be why the librarians look so tightly wound.

And the Custodian also changed its name, choosing to go by Pathos.

The twitchy librarian recommends Sona come back in a few days, and to bring her friends “as backup.”

Later in the week Sona does just that, convincing everyone (minus the missing Talvosh) to come along. Misery loves company!

The Doors open (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT7pVK5q8tk) to reveal a moderately sized room, consisting of multiple large tables and chairs, empty shelves, and a small podium with a metal sphere hanging at mouth height. As the party enters, a smooth male voice emanates from everywhere in the room.

“Hm, 2 warforged, 3 humans - one with a celestial infusion and one with curiously seeming draconic heritage. Interesting. I am Pathos. What is it you are searching for?”

The party is very polite and very careful with their words, and manage to not set off the ssslliiiigghhtly unstable Pathos. They manage to wring out quite a bit of info, which is below in mostly point form.

-The Curse has been ongoing for at least several hundred years, or more than 500
-Logos is either 200 or 600 or 1000 years old
-Dates seem to be an issue, with most answers seemingly having multiple options. Time apparently is more fluid than it should be
-Puck’s “heart” is in fact from Logos, though the rest of him is not. His animating crystal is #76, while Spotter’s is #144 *Note-Spotter and Bulwark had mentioned that at full strength there were always 343 Forged*
-The party is not cleared to request information regarding the connection between Maria of Logos and the Traveller, and if they are unaware of what is required for clearance, they don’t have clearance for that either
-Maria of Logos disappeared at least one hundred years ago
-Maria of Logos is in illegal possession of 13 479 tomes that are far overdue to be returned to the Library. The party offers to try and retrieve some of these tomes in exchange for more sensitive information, and receive a giant pile of book titles and a “maybe”
-The Curse seemed to reduce in intensity several hundred years ago also, right around the time records noted strange individuals from distant worlds and places appearing with the Curse
-There are seven gods; Adremmelach, Uthra, Rhamiel, Valeos, Thelesis, and Anael
-Eulethron is one of the largest civilized cities remaining. It is ruled by a council of nobles, and was famous for its Healing Church. Especially interesting in that the worship of Uthra (the goddess of healing and death) was nearly nonexistent there
-Helios is what remains of the Solar Empire, which once dominated most of the known world. Inhabitants of this island have always been known to have a greater than normal concentration of sorcerous talent. Sorcery in fact was and is required to acquire titles and political power.
-The Gravefields are exactly that: a gigantic graveyard spanning over 100 miles.
-The Stone Prison is the domain of a group of Medusae, who will petrify and watch over individuals for payment. Several kings of shattered kingdoms are suspected to be long-term guests. Petrification was also a possible solution (for those with the means) for the Curse.
-The Dragon lands also have a pretty on-point name. What information Pathos has is mainly a high concentration of dragons, a lack of large cities and settlements, and a large concentration of stable portals to Lethe.

This leads to Angelena and Sona requesting to read several books. Sona on the different Planes surrounding Artaith, Angelena on Helios and the Solar Empire. A few minutes later one of the walls fades away, and several books float in and come to a stop on the table.

The Prime, otherwise known as the Material plane
The Summerlands, domain of the Fey
Hyperborea, home of the Gods
The Shadow
Sheol, the Gates of Death
The Astral Sea

The book is extremely aged, in fact nearly ripping when it’s handled (dex save is made though). It turns out to be a book on some terrible catastrophe that befell the Solar Empire before the Curse, called the Castigation. There is a passage speaking of a six-winged angel appearing before the Emperor, and its words booming from every altar of Adremmelach:
“My Father looks down upon you, and finds you wanting. You have become indolent and fat, content to rest upon the glory of conquests past. You insult his blood, that through which magic flows through you. You have brought this destruction upon yourself, and you must make amends if you are to receive the blessing of Adremmelach! Go forth, defeat those who would oppose you. Reach new heights of magic, of power. Prove yourself worthy of the blood of magic, or you will be emptied of it!”

The Emperor apparently suffered some terrible punishment after this. Another legible portion of the book is dated “the 15th year of dark skies.” The writer is speculating that with the combination of the Solar Empire losing most of their armies to the destruction of Midpoint (the party can’t find more information on that name), the Castigation and loss of the Emperor, and the natural disasters plaguing the world, that the Solar Empire would never rise to its former position of power.

The rest of the book is too damaged to read, but with no mention of the Curse, the party assumes it is prior to that.

Pathos suddenly speaks again, sounding slightly agitated. Those books weren’t the ones that were meant to be sent, they’re too old and restricted. An invisible force snatches the books away to safety, but the party manages to calm Pathos down again to ask some more questions.

-Questioning the discrepancy in how many gods there are just has Pathos insisting that he never said 7, there have always been 6.
-The party (surprise) do not have clearance for why dragons hate sorcerers. They do get the creepy mumble of “They have to pay for their Sins. All of them.” Nothing more after that though
-The only information on what caused the Solar Empire’s downfall other than the Castigation is a single name: Tephras

Sona asks about any books by Vaughn of Esmerra, and everyone decides to leave when Pathos starts bellowing about “That talentless hack!” Everyone escapes, and the door slams shut. Asking the librarians (who all wince when they hear that name), they explain that the adventuring scholar wrote something that enraged Pathos to the point that so much as mentioning his name is a BAD IDEA.

The party leaves the library with a disappointing lack of deadly neurotoxin being released.

The other big NPC that the party interacts with is Ambassador Noctis, as Angelena is intrigued by the similarities between Pelor and Adremmelach. After some fruitless searches, it turns out that there are no churches of Adremmelach in Logos, nor have there ever been. Noctis is the only one that Ember knows of, and he has a personal shrine in his own garden. Angelena manages to find an actual wine merchant, and buys a solid bribe; a 300 gold Helios wine recovered from a sunken ship. Sona goes along as well, as does Spotter, and they manage to smoothtalk the man enough that he agrees to take them to the shrine.

Noctis emphasizes how much of an arrogant noble he is with every word and gesture, but he also actually apologizes to Angelena and Spotter after an off-hand comment about “ungifted chattel.” After all, it’s not their fault that they were born without sorcery. Strangely enough, he doesn’t become fast friends with any of the party :P. Sona and Angelena keep Noctis interested enough to keep talking though, and they find out that the strange crystals found Wwwwaaaayyyy back in the Sunken Village are control crystals for an Elemental sailing vessel, which is probably near where they found the crystals. The ship will not function for anyone without them. Noctis also offers payment or magical service in exchange for information or relics related to the Solar Empire, but the group doesn’t have anything for him right then.

There’s a bit more back and forth and roleplaying (including when Puck shows up with his new Robo-spider legs and scares the bejeezus out of everyone), but we end the session with the party planning to head north next game. Sona and Angelena hit level 12!

Still 17, two sessions without combat *shocked face*

2016-06-09, 06:49 AM
Everything is better with robo-spider legs!

2016-06-09, 12:38 PM
Everything is better with robo-spider legs!

Undeniable truth!

2016-06-20, 08:46 PM
The 21st session, and continuing the trend of lots of talking-

Nope, violence time! All the characters are geared up/out of money/don't want to talk to NPCs anymore, so they set out towards the Northern Fire of Logos to investigate the strange going-ons reported by Councilman Tarr.

Puck and Spotter are waiting around for their fleshly compatriots outside the apartments, when Ember notices their obvious travel-readiness. Curious, he asks Spotter where the group is off to.

"To the Northern Fire, and Rambleshack." (Spotter had recalled the name of the community around that Fire)

"I...see." Ember is a little confused. "Why are you going there, if you don't mind me asking?" Sona has made it out by now, and tries to play it all low-key. She manages to get out, "Sightseeing" right before Spotter blurts out the truth.

"To investigate."

Ember is more confused now. They're sightseeing as part of an investigation? For whom? Before Sona can stop him, Spotter continues on his rampage of truth.

"We're not supposed to say who, it's a secret."

Poor Ember does not know what to do. The group settles him down somewhat by assuring him that it's nothing serious, and that they will in fact return shortly to seek Revelation. With that, the party sets out to the northern bridge of the Inner City, and onwards from there! They don't make much of an effort to sneak, but it's pretty smooth going since they've become somewhat famous in the Inner City already. They talk briefly with the gate guards on the bridge about reports coming from the North. Apparently there's been a lot of Ash Wraiths spotted lurking about, and the last wagon mentioned something about a large predatory...something lurking between the Inner City and Rambleshack.

The first day of travel goes without incident, other than it starting to rain in the evening. One immediately noticeable thing is that this region of Logos is much more destroyed and damaged. Buildings are partially (or fully) collapsed more often than not, and there is much more wood, weathered and worn structures or repairs. Partway through the second day of travel, the group comes across an obstacle of several large buildings that have fully collapsed and created quite the mini-mountain of rubble. Luckily, there's a tunnel through the rubble...a pitch black tunnel. Perfectly safe. Everyone travels through in a group, and everyone has around the same Vitae level, so the DreadAsh wraiths attack (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7PHXAdyRio) random targets. Sona's Blindsense lets her act in the surprise round, but she rolls slower than the four creepy silhouettes seemingly made of ash. Talvosh makes his save, but Angelena fails and takes some con drain as supernatural ash steals her warmth away. Sona wins the lottery and gets two wraiths - she makes one save, but fails the second and I roll max damage (8 con drain!) for that one. In retaliation Sona busts out a Wings of Flurry, but none of the fell beasties are dazed. In response to her demonstrating her ability to reliably harm them, another wraith floats over and all three reach for her delicious life-force. One is blocked with Wings of Cover, but the other two connect and that's all she wrote for Sona.

The rest of the party's incorporeal miss chance tilts mostly in their favour, and good rolls plus a large chunk of damage from a destroy undead burst kills 3 of the 4 wraiths with only Angelena taking more con drain. I get her down to 1 hp before she manages a Restoration on herself, and the remaining Ash wraith disappears into the wall. Everyone has an action readied to attack, so when Sona's wraith rises up from her body the following occurs:
1) Puck chops it
2) Spotter shoots it
3)Sammael kicks it

And the wraith is instantly blasted to -30 or so. The final dread wraith brushes Sammael, but he makes his save and it gets chopped down. Sona is reborn with only part of her Constitution restored, and there's a bit of dismay until they figure out which magic is strong enough to deal with ability drain. Our heroes move on from the tunnel swiftly, and find shelter for the night. The rain hasn't stopped, and has instead started coming down harder.

The next day of travel is wet, miserable, and slow due to the inability to travel in a straight line because of the crumbling buildings. Sammael and Spotter make their Survival checks like kings, however, so there are no truly dangerous detours. It’s getting dark by the time the party comes across a decent-sized house, fully intact and door hanging slightly ajar. Puck is about to step onto the porch when Talvosh manages to make his spot check and grab Puck’s attention - those porch railings seem awfully jagged...and teethlike...and moving. The house stands up, and up, and up, on titanic legs - terrifyingly long arms burst out of the sides, and a ravenous maw splits the former house. The Gigantean Mimic finishes its cutscene intro, and it’s Initiative time!

Sammael charges the colossal mimic (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICSk8-pJkX8), and thwacks its ankle. Puck skitters around to its backside in preparation for an attack. Sona lobs a Sound lance for a bit of damage, and Spotter fires off some arrows.

Then the mimic goes, snatching Sammael and Puck up into the air and biting at Talvosh. They flail in the creature’s grasp to little effect, and I cackle with sadistic glee as the other party members fire futilely at the monstrosity. Except Talvosh ruins my glee by landing a crit for over 150(!!) points of damage. Change of plans time! The mimic rears back, and hurls poor Sammael like a javelin at the grouping of Sona, Angelena, and Spotter. Sona protects everyone -well, everyone but Sammael-with a Wings of cover (perks of dragonblooded), and the death priest cartoon squeegee slides off the invisible shield. Talvosh is snatched up and gobbled down the hatch, but both him and Puck are able to continue dealing damage with their armor spikes. Spotter and Sona keep firing away, Angelena launches a Bolt of Glory for big damage, and Sammael darts in with his furious fists and feet. Puck gets launched and suffers the windshield effect as well, and then the mimic is pissed. Food should not hurt it this much! It starts stomping and smashing with abandon (max power attack) while Talvosh keeps thrashing with his frenzy-raged armor spikes inside. Sammael avoids serious harm with Elusive Target, but Angelena gets smashed and yanked skyborne. The group keeps attacking with abandon, and Angelena manages to escape with her anklets of translocation and a willingness to fall 50 feet or so. Another blow puts her to negatives, but Puck and Spotter manage to land the final blows, and the humongous housemonster crashes to the ground!

There’s some frantic maneuvering and healing, and Sammael saves Angelena. In order to rescue Talvosh from dying as soon as his rage ends, they swap Spotter and Talvosh, and Talvosh crawls out of the mimic’s gullet without too much damage due to his armor crystal. The party picks another house to spend the night in. :)

Puck spends the night hacking into the mega-mimic’s guts, so I roll the random treasure chart, and he manages to find the mostly-digested remnants of a pair of Forged arms. On them are gleaming bracers, which turn out to be Bracers of armor +5 (!).

In the morning, Spotter guesses that they’re just under two days travel from Rambleshack. The name seems fitting already, as there is a plethora of rough lumber and wooden additions/repairs/substitutions to the decaying stone buildings (and the lumber is rotting as well). Partway through the day though, he manages to spot a tripline juuuust in time strung between a collapsed building and an intact one. Suspecting it might be the work of scouts from the Steelguard, he calls out. No response. He follows the tripline into the building while the rest of the party decides to wait outside after learning he doesn’t have ranks in disable device.

The tripline leads into the building, and seems to be attached to a flint striker...which is set up next to a fuse...which leads to a large barrel. Carefully plucking the fuse out with a lucky Dex roll, Spotter examines the barrel to discover it’s full of alchemist’s fire. This much would have probably collapsed the building on whoever tripped that line. Creeping upstairs, he manages to avoid two more traps (why a building is trapped when the first trap would destroy the whole place strangely enough isn’t questioned). Finally, opening the door gets Spotter shot with a heavy crossbow bolt, but he ducks the other two. Inside is a massive heavy repeating crossbow on a tripod, and the faint remains of habitation.

Puck spider climbs (not the spell, he climbs with his spider legs) up the side of the building and deposits Angelena inside, then checks the roof. After scouring the place, they determine that several people had stayed here, but most likely several weeks ago, and that at least one was a bowyer and fletcher. The party carefully departs, and I’m surprised that they simply leave the crossbow and barrel of alchemist’s fire.

The rain finally stops! Yay!

It’s evening by the time the party is approaching the edge of Rambleshack, and Spotter and Sammael creep ahead to scout. As they stealth their way forward, they can see a lot of light, and hear...music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc_udCSi3qo)...and laughter!? Staying at the edge of the light, they peer around a corner to see the edges of what is apparently a festival of sorts. Lanterns and torches hang everywhere, and there are several large bonfires visible in the distance (no Bonfire, though). The group of people they can see seem to all be wearing masks, and everyone is laughing, drinking, and eating.

Sammael is instantly suspicious of revelry and fun. :p

Unable to get any closer due to the excessive amount of firelight, they sneak back and confer with the party. They decide to just wander in while Spotter keeps watch on the closest rooftop he can get to. By the time they get to the corner of town, most people have wandered further into the town. A straggler wearing a plain white mask spots the party, and as soon as he wanders a little closer, Sona nails him with a charm person. He cheers and welcomes his old buddy, teasing her for not being at the celebration already. He eyes Puck suspiciously, but shrugs since a friend of his friend must be all right. All Sona can get out of him is that the dance is starting at the center of town, so they’d better all hurry!

They do just that, while Spotter does his best Batman impression and lurks on a rooftop. As the party gets further into Rambleshack, it seems to be quite the celebration. Food and libations are all over, most people are wearing masks, and everyone seems to be having the time of their life. There’s at least several hundred people around, and as the party gets to what seems to be the center, a massive circular dance starts up (play this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8BAgLNPpDI) at 1.25 speed). Sona gets swept up, but the rest of the party hangs back. Sammael is sensing for magic and evil as much as he can, and gets the occasional flash, but people are moving too fast around the (Very large) bonfire to examine in detail. Said fire contains illusion and transmutation magic, though…

As the dance dies down, a figure dressed in soot-stained white robes somehow leaps on top of the bonfire, standing comfortably atop the flames.

“Brothers, Sisters! It warms my heart to see you all here, enjoying yourselves!” There’s a loud amount of drunken cheering. Everyone laser-focuses on what seems to be a Flamekeeper. Sammael can’t get an alignment off of him, and Sona is certain that the voice isn’t familiar.

“For joy is so very important in our dark world. We must strive to live to the fullest, to exult in life! We must stoke the fires of our hearts, for the way is through Fire!”

“The Way is through Fire!” The crowd chants back. Everyone’s creepout meters edge up.

“And Fire is Life!”

“Fire is Life!”

The group is muttering amongst themselves about just what the hell is being celebrated when the Flamekeeper spots them.

“And even strangers are welcome to our night of revelry! Please, eat, drink, enjoy yourselves!” Sammael is eyeballing everyone, trying to sense if anyone is being compelled or influenced by unnatural means. Angelena asks what the celebration is about, and the Flamekeeper offers to explain to them. If they’ll just step this way (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_mJUwgwhgQ)

We leave it at that totally not a cliffhanger, and Talvosh hits 12.

18...and several close calls. The megamimic was so much fun!

2016-06-24, 04:10 PM
Character build updates! Cause I said so...
Lesser Aasimar Cleric 6 / Radiant Servant 6
Warforged Fighter 6 / Warforged Juggernaut 5 / Psychic Warrior 1
Human Cleric 3 / Monk 2 / Paladin 6
Dragon-blooded Human Sorcerer 7 / Pact bound adept 5
Warforged Ranger 9 / Deepwoods Sniper 2
Orc Barbarian 1 / Fighter 5 / Frenzied Berserker 6

Think that's mostly correct...And to make up for the dearth of deaths over the past few sessions, I'll have to cheat harder turn up the intensity for the upcoming sessions.

2016-06-27, 08:18 AM
Is that Prestige Paladin, or is Sammael just being weird? (Not enough BAB for prestige paladin actually so it can't be that). I've never been quite sure what all he's doing, though when I saw Cleric/Monk I was assuming Sacred Fist.

2016-06-27, 11:04 AM
Nope, is normal Paladin. Sammael is a bit of a frankenstein-experiment :smallbiggrin:, with a home-brew feat that lets these three classes stack together for some class features in exchange for losing other ones.

2016-07-03, 11:00 PM
22 sessions now (yeesh), and I think this was the most I've been sworn at in a game.:smallbiggrin:

Anywho, so we left off last time with the party (minus Spotter, who was still the terror that flaps in the night) heading off with the Flamekeeper to ask some questions.

The party is still going from the looks of it as our heroes follows the Flamekeeper through Rambleshack. People are drinking, laughing, eating, slipping off to alleys with each other...all in all it's quite a wild celebration. Aaannndd everyone in the party is really weirded out by this. After a few minutes, the Flamekeeper leads the group to a large cliche Church (heavy stone building, stained glass windows, set off by itself in a large open courtyard, giant double doors). There are a couple dozen people about the courtyard, but all are praying rather than partying from the looks of it. The Flamekeeper pushes the doors open and gestures invitingly to the suspicious group.

Meanwhile, Spotter has fallen behind, as he has to make detours and move more slowly from rooftop to alley and back to stay out of sight. It's noisy enough that he manages it, even with the frankly absurd number of lanterns, torches, and light sources. He sees about the same as he's creeping from alley to alley, a large amount of people absolutely bound and determined to have to the time of their lives.

The Flamekeeper finally coaxes the party into the church (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_mJUwgwhgQ), Puck leading the way. It's quite a large building, with multiple rows of pews, an upper balcony, and a large Bonfire almost spilling out of the stone hearth it's set into. Asking about the investigators who were sent, the Flamekeeper responds that they had arrived, found everything to be in order, and left almost a month ago. Seems direct and reasonable to everyone. The party expectantly waits for an explanation as to what's being celebrated.

"Life, quite frankly. The fact that we are all alive, and in such a world, everyone needs to revel in the simple fact of life more often." When asked how often such celebrations occur, the Flamekeeper responds "twice per moon-cycle." Sammael had been spending a good amount of time with the Flamekeepers and Flamespeaker in the Inner City the last while, so the fact that whatever this Flamekeeper is describing, it's brand new, is strange. The whole party is on edge, watching for a hint of an ambush, but there's only them, the Flamekeeper, and what sounds like a few acolytes shuffling about upstairs. The Flamekeeper goes into a bit more detail about the celebrations, and finally explains that through such celebrations, they hope to strengthen the Bonfire. He also asks which of the group is their Torchbearer, and Puck actually successfully bluffs that it's him. No-one attunes to the fire though...and Angelena gets a weird feeling off of it. While she's concentrating, the Flamekeeper continues.

"We Flamekeepers have been too passive. We've been stagnant, simply sitting and waiting for the end. It's all well and good to provide succor for the Cursed, but all that does is to let their candleflames flicker a little longer! We should be trying to feed all the Fires, strengthen them, spread them!" He acknowledges that the Fires require Vitae to be strengthened, but claims that such wild celebration can help to restore the Vitae lost much more quickly.

So...happy feelings help fight the Curse. Strangely enough, everyone is more than a little skeptical of the claim. Puck actually grabs the Flamekeeper by the collar and is about to do something drastic, but everyone else manages to convince him to back down. Spotter finally makes it to the Church, and nonchalantly sidles in to lurk among the pews. The rest of the group demands to know where these ideas came from, and a surprisingly familiar voices pipes up as a figure enters from a door further back in the church.

"It's partially from me, to be honest." A hooded and robed figure that sounds exactly like Janath closes the door behind him! "Sona. Sammael. Angelena. Talvosh. Puck. It's so very good to see you all!" Dun dun Dun! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1Y73sPHKxw)

Everyone is surprised and just as suspicious, as one of the reasons Janath had left was some severe philosophical differences between himself and Sammael and Angelena. They're also surprised how he managed to get further north than them by himself.

"Not without difficulty, I assure you. I have suffered, to the point that I've had some changes of heart." Janath pulls his hood back to reveal his face...which has been horrifically burnt. An eye is almost destroyed, and heavy scar tissue mars over half of his face. "And with the things I've come to understand, I wanted to apologize to all of you. Especially you, Sammael. I was wrong, I just had too much pride to admit it."

Huh...okay. Janath explains that he had died several times, quite painfully, and the realization that his life would simply flicker away had galvanized him to the point that he had become determined to change his ways and do something that would improve this place. The burns apparently were from a fiend of some sort, whose saliva burned and scarred Janath even through death and rebirth. There's a tangent as Sona asks if Janath knows anything about the Labyrinth, and Janath gets excited lecturing about the Blood War, and how the fiends here seem to have no divisions along Law or Chaos. Sona walks up to the fire, and hands Janath a bottle of his preferred liquor, which he accepts quite gratefully. Pouring some out for everyone, Janath explains that it was partially his knowledge of souls and partially inspiration that led to his work with the Flamekeeper. Sona and Sammael demand if Janath, or this cult (Janath and the Flamekeeper grudgingly admit it could be seen that way with a smile) has anything to do with Jezelle, the "Red Lady."

"Never heard of her, sorry." Again, he seems honest. Everyone but Puck, Spotter, and Angelena take a cup (Janath showing off with a wand of mage hand), with Talvosh taking their shares. Janath proudly points to the fact that no-one in Rambleshack has went Hollow in the past month, even with almost everyone in the town having attuned themselves to the Bonfire, and having been sacrificing Vitae to it. Janath asks why Angelena doesn't attune herself to the Bonfire, as she's the group's Torchbearer. Uh oh...Angelena makes a bit of an excuse, but everyone tenses a little more. Hands have been near weapons this whole talk, and Spotter gets quite aggressive as he notices the heavy doors being closed by two acolytes. Janath and the Flamekeeper's assurances that they just want to keep the church quiet doesn't relax any quivering nerves. Spotter demands to know what happened to the scouting group, and the Flamekeeper repeats himself. No-one is moving any closer to the Bonfire to attune to it, but no-one's drawing steel yet at least.

Janath sighs, lamenting that everything would be so much easier if they would just attune themselves to the Bonfire. With that, he speaks a WORD that blasts everyone's senses except for Spotter (who's out of range) and Puck (who's Evil in alignment). The Flamekeeper hurls a cone of eerie flames that clings and drags at Sammael/Angelena/Talvosh, and an unseen force lifts Puck into the air to float helplessly. Initiative!

The swearing begins, what with me hitting the group with a Blasphemy in a surprise round, and then entangling and/or reversing gravity on them. Janath uses the round that everyone is dazed to further increase frustrations by slapping a Black Tentacles down (flavoured to be grasping limbs of heat-stealing ash). :smallbiggrin: One of the acolytes by the door soars through the air and throws a punch at Spotter, but things don't match up. It hits earlier than expected, and a punch gouges claw marks into his armor...but Spotter flubs his will save to see through the illusion. Puck Expands himself, but is still stuck in the reverse gravity What seems to be a small child hops down from the balcony, and casts mirror image. The fairly uneventful first round ends with that.

The next round doesn't go much better for the party, with Janath comboing his Black Tentacles...with a Solid Fog.

Can you guess the theme of this fight already?

Another acolyte dives at Sona, and she sees through the illusion. It's not a robed figure, it's a hideous bird-man demon! Which claws at her ferociously. Poor Angelena, Talvosh, and Angelena spend several rounds laboring through the Solid Fog and grasping tendrils, and there is much grumbling. Janath does some sort of trick, and there's now one of him standing up on the balcony as well. Spotter finally breaks the illusion to reveal that it's a Vrock attacking him as well, and they exchange blows over the pews. Sona manages to dispel the magic holding Puck in the air after taking some damage, and Puck rushes Janath! Unfortunately, "Janath" crumbles away into ash as soon as Puck collides with him! The real Janath chuckles from the balcony, and lobs an Eldritch blast out. The Flamekeeper hits Puck with more flames (he's a dragonfire adept, but I just reflavored it to look like Pyromancy) that slow his movements. Angelena uses her anklets of translocation to finally escape the tentacles and fog after taking a beating from them, and activates her ring of Silent spells (neat magic item) to try and hinder the Flamekeeper. Talvosh reaches the edge of the fog and tentacles, he's halfway out...and the eerie child giggles nastily and hits both Talvosh and Spotter with another Reverse Gravity.

The Vrock on Sona mauls her savagely - Wings of cover isn't enough when the creature attacking you has 5 attacks. Janath then snipes her with two Eldritch Blasts, one of which used all the charges on one of his items, and drops her to negatives. Puck responds by straining just close enough to the Flamekeeper to land a max-power attack critical attack! The Flamekeeper is alive, but barely. Unfortunately, the Vrock next to Sona pierces her heart with its claws, killing her. Some of the party notices that the flames of the Bonfire flare up and strengthen as Sona dies...

A third Vrock kicks Talvosh back into the solid fog from his mid-air perch, and I'm pretty sure the group almost mutinies on me for that one. I don't die, so we continue on :). Angelena blows the Flamekeeper's head off with a Searing Light (again the flames dance higher), but then Janath somehow steals her persisted positive energy aura. Puck turns around and thunders at the creepy child...who's actually a Glabrezu. He takes a claw to the face, but smashes the Glabrezu against the wall for solid damage. Talvosh makes it out of the solid fog again...but he steps right back into the Reverse gravity (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC75aU47GRk). Janath takes aim, and drops Angelena unconcious with an Eldritch blast. The second Vrock divebombs Angelena and shuffles her off the mortal coil, and everyone sees the flames swell and blaze. Sammael finally makes it to the edge of the solid fog, and using his Bolt shirt, appears right next to Janath and punches him in the face. Alarmingly, his second blow is blocked by Janath's...shadow? It's a Spiritual Guardian spell, just fluffed to look more sinister.

The Glabrezu teleports away from Puck and stalks towards Talvosh and Spotter, who are floating in mid-air still. A duplicate of Janath appears behind Sammael, and both step away and zap Sammael. Puck rumbles towards the Glabrezu, and Talvosh manages to fire off an arrow with a rope tied to it, and drag himself out of the crowd control suffering. Sammael chooses the wrong Janath and it crumbles to ash (Janath urging him to just give in and feed the fire), and then one of the Vrocks appears behind him. Spotter gets slapped around by the Vrock - pretty sure the only reason he's alive at this point is his armor crystal that absorbs damage. Puck goes all out on the Glabrezu, and manages to break all of the Glabrezu's remaining mirror images. Then Talvosh is up...and he hits every single attack after frenzying, raging, and declaring max power attack. Dealing a disgusting amount of damage, the howling orc chops the Glabrezu in half.

Janath zaps Sammael again, and then Sammael lands a flurry of blows and manages to stun Janath! The Vrock flails ineffectually (as I roll a string of under 6 for attacks). The three on the ground clash with the Vrocks, killing one of them. After Janath spends a round stunned and getting punched again, he's had enough. Using his last quickened Flee the Scene, he zaps over to the other side of the balcony, and pulls out a large glass vial of blood.

Activating the scroll/item, Janath commands Talvosh to kill them all. Since the scroll was created using Talvosh's freely given blood, he takes a massive penalty to the save, and he fails against the dominate effect.

WAAAAGGGGHHH!!! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sB3KrcLXmnY)

Spotter fires a barrage of arrows at Janath, and Sammael hops off the balcony, dodging blows from both remaining Vrocks. Puck forces every inch of speed out of his new legs, and sprints up the wall, along the underside of the balcony, and up next to Janath...who teleports back to the other side of the balcony. Talvosh winds up, and juuuusst misses decapitating Spotter. Puck leaps off the balcony and manages to trip Talvosh, and keeps him on the ground long enough for Spotter to keep firing and Janath, dropping him unconscious. But the positive energy aura wakes him up, and he stands up and blasts Spotter...down to one hit point. Sammael is on the defensive against the two Vrocks, and Spotter's return volley kills Janath.

He slumps against the wall with a smear of blood. His dying words echo through the church.

"The Labyrinth...Opens!" The Bonfire EXPLODES (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGwKe8xshqg), the flames turning jet black and roaring straight up to the ceiling.

Sona and Angelena awaken at the Central Flame, but the resurrection is much more painful than it should be...and they both lost an additional Vitae when they died...they scare the life out of Flamekeeper Ember with their abrupt appearance, and Sona immediately demands that Flamespeaker Alexandria be summoned.

Talvosh is fully in the grip of a blood-frenzy, but the random number gods make the Vrocks his first target. Wisely, the remaining 3 party members decide to make a tactical retreat at top speed, as the black flames are already burning across the stone ceiling, and there are eerie screams and howling coming from the flames. As they burst through the doors, they're treated to the sight of all the people who had been praying outside the church.

They're burning. Some have crumpled into gruesome human torches, others are still trying to crawl away. Judging by the screams from back in the town, it's happening there too. The stained glass windows are consumed in blasts of ebon flame, and the roof starts to slump as the trio of Sammael, Puck, and Spotter run for their lives.

Inside, Talvosh finishes murdering the Vrocks in time for another Glabrezu to leap forth from the flames. Then another. Then more Vrocks. Then things he doesn't recognize. With a scream of fury, he charges and goes down fighting. He reappears with Angelena and Sona just in time for Alexandria to arrive and ask what's going on. As Sona and Angelena explain about a seemingly corrupted Flame, Alexandria looks grim. When Talvosh mentions the black flames and the Daemons, she goes pale. She barks for an assistant to go find Commander Bulwark, and for another to ring the bell warning of great danger.

Spotter, Sammael, and Puck are running at top speed through the village, and most have already combusted. Sammael shouts for those still alive to follow, but then fiends start appearing in bursts of smoke. Since Puck and Sammael are so much faster than Spotter, Puck uses his second Expansion Engine charge, and runs with Spotter on his back. Since Puck is big enough, Spotter balances on one or two of his legs and his lower back, and gets a rail-shooter minigame to discourage the fiends from catching up. He lands enough hits, and the heroes hightail it out of Rambleshack at high speed. As they're leaving, there's another massive explosion, the black flames reaching into the sky and forming a massive wall. A shape bursts out of the flames...a shape that's massive, and winged, and Red.

It's a dragon, and Sammael and Spotter make their checks to notice the figure riding the dragon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXVO4cChaN0) as it roars past overhead. It's heading south, towards the Inner City.

The trio manage to get out of sight long enough to hide in a cellar. This is just in time for Sona to get a hold of a Sending Scroll, and her and Sammael trade info. As the planning on how to get the trio back without suicide starts, I roll a natural 20 on their luck check, and Ambassador Noctis slouches in. Angelena and Sona manage to convince him to help, and he pulls off a scrying-teleport combo to reunite the party. We end the session with Bulwark about to arrive, and the planning of the Inner City's defense to begin.

Sammael levels to 12!

21! Triple combo night, and all three of the surviving heroes were at low health levels

2016-07-07, 09:23 AM
If there's one thing I've learned about DMs, they make sure that any party members that leave WILL come back and be a huge problem later.

2016-07-07, 09:45 AM
If there's one thing I've learned about DMs, they make sure that any party members that leave WILL come back and be a huge problem later.

Members that leave, other potential PC concepts that turn into villains... there is no lack of inspiration for Puzzle to use at his discretion with a little reworking.

"Oh, you'really going to discard that? Excuse me while I take it, break it, reform it in the darkness and then send it after your soul!!!"

2016-07-07, 05:20 PM
Hey, I'm just providing them with an escape from the island of discarded characters.

And purpose.


2016-07-07, 05:37 PM
Hey, I'm just providing them with an escape from the island of discarded characters.

And purpose.


My only solace in this pattern is that if I had played Jezelle instead and left Sona on that island, we'd be dealing with something a lot harder to kill... I think. Oh who knows?! First it was a fey-warlock mafia family, now it's bi-polar MeriDEATH.

2016-07-07, 10:34 PM
People give me backstory, I give them horrific enemies. It's a wonderful cycle.

2016-07-08, 04:42 PM
I am both saddened and elated to see Janath's return. Saddened because it was so short a time, I worked hard on that character, his return was short but memorable. I feel he should have been able to remove more of the party than that, but given circumstances guess the best he could with bad rolling. I hope he has enough Vitae to return again and again. He had great flexibility in my original build, I believe Curious Puzzle has further bent, twisted and made up new rules that allow him a even more breadth of deadliness.

To the party members remaining. I say "Please allow me to re-introduce myself, I am a man of wealth and taste..."

Toxic Shaman
2016-07-10, 05:39 PM
Just finished reading everything in the story so far. Intriguing premise for a game. I like it.

More please!

2016-07-11, 01:42 PM
Glad you like it , Toxic Shaman! Might not be able to accommodate you with more this upcoming weekend (scheduling schtuff), but I'll try posting either some teasers for the upcoming battles or something along those lines.

2016-07-15, 04:40 PM
Okay, voting time! What sort of fiends should our heroes face off against first? Devils, demons, daemons/yugoloths, obyrith, or a combination of two?

Note that I say first, I have ideas for later encounters...

2016-07-15, 11:51 PM
Okay, voting time! What sort of fiends should our heroes face off against first? Devils, demons, daemons/yugoloths, obyrith, or a combination of two?

Note that I say first, I have ideas for later encounters...

Well, Devils/Demons are technically the two extremes of the Fiendish variations. You mentioned that in Artaith, the two sort of got over the whole Blood War thing, and started working together, or at least not the eternal levels of hate they're had in normal planes of existence. Which is a pretty NEUTRAL Evil thing to do, so imo, that fits the Yugoloth type much better. However, late on I could see actual Fiendish extremists/purists factions appearing working towards their own lawful/chaotic/whatever ends.

2016-07-16, 10:54 AM
Specifics, Mongobear :P

Horned devil flanked by Vrocks? Bearded devils & bebeliths? Nalfashnee and a Nycaloth? Gimme fun/silly/horrifying combo ideas! For *REDACTED* plot reasons, any combo of evil outsider is possible.

2016-07-16, 11:14 AM
Perhaps a "Harem" full of Erinyes and Succubi hidden by illusion that tempt the male players (and/or Female players) for carnal pleasures. Then if/when any of them actually dive into the "fun" they get split up which is where the illusion falls and they have to fight their way out of the "Sex Dungeon" half-fully naked.

Would be even more awesome if the "Owner" of this Harem type thing was an Avatar of one of the more Hedonistic Demon/Devil Lords, I think there were mid-level CR versions of them in the Fiendish Codexes (Codexii? Codii?).

Not too sure on specifics of anything else though, I actually never really used Demons/Devils that often in my own games. Maybe find ones who have similar abilities, or odd synergies with one-another that would have a sort of "cool, we both like fire/torture/poison/mutilation, lets be friends!!"

2016-07-17, 12:57 AM
I would personally recommend, bearded devils mounted on Nightmares. Each flanked by a squad of Yugoloths.

2016-07-17, 08:44 AM
But what sort of Yugoloth?

Feed me mooooorrree...

2016-07-19, 01:55 PM
May I suggest Echinoloths? Nasty CR8 yugoloth with spell resistance and several elemental resistances, persistent wound damage, generally nasty for casters, especially divine. Not sure how it would fare against the warforged or melee though... Only average of 75ish HP and low AC...

But it fits the Lovecraft horror theme established by the Voor =D

2016-07-19, 03:12 PM
1) I love this journal!

2) Demons and Devils oh my!
I would add in Hellcats (BEZEKIRA) for the fun of it, the fact that they are always invisible when in light makes them a joy. Perhaps adding in some mobs that thrive in darkness, and you could have a fun dynamic on your hands. Better yet, give Hellcats the Shadow Template -- not a lot of health or AC, but makes them have total concealment when not in full daylight. Of course, when in full day light, they're invisible with Evasion, meaning they can dodge those AOEs pretty well.

Herzou is fun too, having their stench not impact your other demons/devils, and throwing a +19 to grapple with 3 blasphemies a day...

Bebilith have a grab bag of tricks - up to 3d6 con damage per hit, massive damage to armor(sunder will make your PCs hate you more, think of all the sunder possibilities!), and web for the hell of it.

Also, seconding the having demon/devils riding on Nightmare steeds, maybe your Ashen templateon the fiery nightmares? =D

Finally -- adding class levels to Demons/Devils. Lawful evil Blackguard/Anti Paladin Chain Devil? Add Full Plate, AC of 35+? Bearded Devil Barbarian? :O

And remember, you can always throw a Fiendish Template on anything else! http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Fiendish_Creature

2016-07-19, 07:32 PM
Crusader/knight Chain devils riding Bebiliths...

heh heh heh...

2016-07-19, 09:21 PM
Crusader/knight Chain devils riding Bebiliths...

heh heh heh...

You're an evil twisted DM...and I fully support that. Imps with class level in rogue and arcane archer, invisibility flying short bow sneak attacks galore....?

I'd ask how does your part even survive, but then I remember you have a death counter! :D

2016-07-21, 11:05 AM
Thanks, Jonagel. If I didn't have the whole 'multiple lives' mechanic as part of my campaign, I don't think I would be quite as cheeky with my monsters.

But that's partially why I did it in the first place :smallbiggrin:

2016-07-21, 01:02 PM
I don't know how to use spoilers, sorry.

First off, if a massive amount of demons and devils are coming out if the bonfire, I am obligated to suggest at least a passing reference of Kalabon to your players. (Fiendish Codex II: p.121)
They are small devils w/ a CR1/2. What's fun about them is they can join together to create larger, more powerful, versions of themselves. :D Every 2 Kalabons = +1 on Attack rolls. All their individual hit points are combined. Each size increase grants tentacle attacks. 1-3 Kalabons = small size, 4-7 = medium, 8-31 = large, 32+ = huge.
Have 60-70 swarm the party initially and let them be mowed down. After massive losses to make to party feel good and waste resources, combine them together to a colony mass of huge size (CR8), or a couple large masses (CR4 each)

Angelena, Sons, and Talvosh all had extra Vitae absorbed by the corrupt bonfire. I imagine it would be fun to have 3 special devils/demons that represented a mockery of their characters and abilities show up, perhaps powered up some, due to the Vitae.

Sona would be easy enough, you've already mentioned the red dragon. It could have spawn from the other creatures, a Draconic or Half-Dragon Demon/Devil, or probably a Fiendish/Half-Fiend Red Dragon.
A Redspawn Arcaniss(MMIV: p.152) w/ Half-Fiend template and 5-6 levels of Sorcerer would make her sweat a lil.

Angelena, being a Lesser Aasimar Cleric, would fit well thematically against a Lilith(Fiendish Codex I: p.43). CR12, Cleric casting level 9th, up to 5th spells, many fun spell-like abilities and special abilities. Basically a succubus on steroids. I'd replace a few Cleric spells but otherwise leave her as is.

Talvosh, as a Frenzied Berserker would make more sense having a Demon be his friendish representation. However, I didn't want to favor any 1 Fiend :) . The Ayperobos Swarm(Fiendish Codex II: p.115) would be hilarious. Looks like a cloud of bloody mist from a distance. 10ft space, regeneration, Disease:Devil Chill, any creature begining their turn in its space and is damaged by them, must make a Fort save to not be distracted and nauseated. If they fail, the swarm burrows inside their flesh and takes control of their body :D
Of course a regular Ice Devil or Barbed Devil w/ 1 level of Barbarian works just as well.

All of this would just be in addition to everything else going on around them. It would be a lot more work for you, and a whole lot to remember. I trust you're able to pull it off though B-D

2016-07-21, 01:14 PM
I hate you all just a little *whimper*

2016-07-21, 01:21 PM
Armanite(Fiendish Codex I: p.28)
The elite demonic heavy calvary, resembling demonic Centaur. Large size, CR7 each, prefers to always charge with their lances if able.

Narzugon(Fiendish CodexII: p.125)
Human-sized devil, fear inducing face. CR5 each, mounted warriors (usually riding nightmares), the elite calvary of the baatezu. Prefers always to charge with their lances :)
At-will Scorching Ray(CL 5th) that they use if too far away from opponent.

Have the Narzugon mounted on the Armanite. When they get close enough to the opponent, have them charge. They'll each have a lance and get big bonuses using them :smallbiggrin:

How's that for some Devilishly/Demonic synergy :P

2016-07-21, 01:25 PM
I hate you all just a little *whimper*

2016-07-22, 11:15 AM
Thanks for both the suggestions and for causing Picanet mental stress! :smallbiggrin:


T-minus 1 week, so more suggested shenanigans are always appreciated. Or questions to be answered as penance for missing a session!

2016-07-22, 06:48 PM
Or questions to be answered as penance for missing a session!

Yes, I have a burning question, seeing as how a session was missed and I so wanted an answer....

Players please stay out :smallsmile:
So did they manage to finally slay Janath or does he still have a pool of Vitae to pull from so he can come back again? I must know...

2016-07-22, 07:47 PM

2016-08-02, 02:03 AM

No Sammael this session! We start right where the last one left off, with the party around the Central Flame preparing for the imminent fiendish attack.

During this invasion, our heroes can gain the aid of certain NPCs or groups depending on their choices and actions. Said NPCs or groups grant access to special abilities! At the moment they currently have Ambassador Noctis, and Flamespeaker Alexandria.

Flamespeaker Alexandria will protect any civilians or noncombatants that make it to the Central Flame (as will the calming effects of the Bonfire, the party hopes). She can also provide some healing, and very limited magical items. Her once / invasion ability is :

Stir the Embers - By harnessing the inscrutable power of the Bonfire, Alexandria floods the Marked with newfound strength, allowing them to fight anew. 1 / invasion, the party is treated as if they had rested 8 hours for the purpose of spells, limited abilities and limited items (essentially reset).

Ambassador Noctis is a potent sorcerer, more than capable of defending himself. Convincing him that others are worth defending, however, is a little more difficult. With some careful diplomacy, he might be called upon to lend his magic as required. His once / invasion ability is:

Power of the Sun (or "Really? You expect me to handle this for you? *sigh*") Cassius can destroy one non-boss encounter single-handedly with his power (if he accompanies the party). This expends the majority of his resources, however.

More NPCs may become available, depending on the party's choices and actions

The party questioning how fast they can expect the attack is answered by the keener eared members hearing the sound of screaming and combat already. They decide to head out at once for the barracks to try and meet up with Commander Bulwark (and hopefully the majority of the Steelguard) - Sammael staying behind to help guard the Bonfire. As they rush outside, hideous winged shapes already dart back and forth across the skyline, and crashing and screaming echoes from all corners of the city (as does the frantic tolling of deep bells). As they hustle across the open courtyard, however, they are spotted by a group of the same menacing bird-monsters as before! The four Vrocks dive in with eager screams, and it's initiative! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEeEUPrIDao)

Angelena is speedy and goes first and detonates a blinding flash of light in the midst of the Vrocks with a Holy Smite, dealing decent damage to the three that save and blinding one. One Vrock counters by clawing her across the chest and spewing its spores all over her, Sona, and Puck. Another swoops in and lets out a deafening shriek, somehow stunning Talvosh (who rolled a 2) but no-one else. Another swoops into the party, and the blind one rolls a critical failure and smashes headfirst into a nearby building, dropping to the ground stunned.

And here is where Puck's hot hot dice for the night start :smallbiggrin:. His first attack? Max power attack critical, which with the damage from the holy smite is enough to decapitate the unsuspecting Vrock. Cleave attack? Crit. Confirm. Dead Vrock #2. Thankfully there's nothing else within the steel monstrosity's reach, so his reign of terror ends for that turn. Spotter lets out a barrage of highly accurate arrows, but without a crit that DR 10/Good reduces him to chip damage at best. I hear quite a few exclamations that Evil Outsider is going to be his next favored enemy...Sona puts some defensive magic up, Talvosh does nothing, and it's top of round. Angelena conserves her spells, and the two remaining Vrocks try to summon friends. One succeeds, but the one who ran headfirst into the building is still woozy and fails. I do a bit more damage to the party on average as one of the Vrocks gets some mirror images and the other does some full attacking, but they get dismembered fairly quickly, and the party continues down the main street to the East.

They're forced to do a bit of detouring, as the main street is full of broken wagons and market stands that are on fire. There are people running all over the place, but also some are fighting back. As the party heads towards a pair of allies, they hear footsteps running towards them. A pair of people sprint around the corner in fear, but are suddenly skewered by wicked looking spears! What marches around the corner is a phalanx of daemonic looking infantrymen, all armed with jagged spears and massive tower shields carved with eye-watering runes. What skin that is visible is black and red. Initiative! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtKS_l_aU04)

The Infernal Legionnaires (Legion devils with tower shields and spears + a bonus feat or two) go first. A single member double moves and rushes into the midst of the surprised party. They're even more surprised when the rest of the squad appears all around them and everyone gets stabbed at the same time! The legionnaires are eerily coordinated, spinning, pivoting, and attacking in perfect unison. Talvosh lands a massive blow on the closest fiend...and it takes it silently and unflinchingly. Uh oh. Sona grabs Spotter and Angelena by the wrist and dimension doors the three of them to the nearest rooftop - each spear didn't do a ton of damage, but they were incredibly accurate, and there were a lot of them. Puck smashes two of the legionnaires to the ground and cuts into them, but then more appear and Puck and Talvosh get stabbed a LOT. It takes another round of full attacks from Puck and Talvosh at maximum power attack (and Spotter blasting off arrows) before the creatures all crumple to the ground, still in perfect unison. Puck has Persisted Vigor running, so he starts healing immediately, but Talvosh is looking a little beat up. The barracks is nearly in sight, so the party rushes forward!

The barracks is a larger building, more a fortified keep than anything else. As the party exits the alleyway to stand alongside one side of the building, they see it is already under attack. Forged and humans and Hobgoblin fight against dozens of Fiendish monsters. As our heroes watch though, the fiends start to pull back...and are chanting something? (http://www.tubechop.com/watch/8229102)

There's a rapidly darkening shadow, and as the party looks up, the Goristro demon crashes to the ground with an actual Earthquake. The gigantic bull-headed monster roars as cracks spread through the barrack's walls, and the building directly behind the party collapses on them. Sona, Spotter, and Puck all pass their saves, but Talvosh and Angelena are buried underneath the rubble. However, Puck forgoes his save to shelter Angelena and take half of her damage!

MINIBOSS: Goristro demon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh4PL-833Y8)

Spotter tries to cast hunter's mercy and is depressed when the shaking ground forces him to lose the spell. Sona ducks around the corner as to not be a target for the huge demon. Puck and Talvosh strain to break themselves free of the rubble, and manage to push enough off to go from pinned to grappled. However, the Goristro snorts and hurls a giant boulder into the midst of them, causing large amounts of pain! But Angelena can see a path to freedom, and uses her anklets of translocation and also takes cover. Without an immediate threat, the Goristro lumbers up to the Barracks wall, and with a single massive fist, deals almost 80 pts of damage with a single smash! The wall doesn't look so good...

The party realizes that the Goristro collapsing the barracks would be BAD, and go on the offensive. Sona uses a Major Illusion to try and distract the beast with a squad of charging soldiers. Angelena steps up and lets loose with her big gun-a Bolt of Glory -and deals a giant chunk of damage! Puck is free, and skitter-charges the monster, deftly avoiding the attack of opportunity by never rolling below 15 tonight (plus cross-class in Tumble), and lands a heavy blow. Sona then switches him and Talvosh, and the orc lands a brutal cut as well! Spotter plugs away with his bow!

The Goristro roars in pain and reduces Talvosh to red jelly with a single mighty blow, licking said jelly off of his furry fist. The battle continues, and Puck charges again! And lands another bloody crit with max power attack for a LOT of damage. Then Sona casts Snake's swiftness for Puck to attack again. And guess what?

If you guessed crit, you win a free ticket to Artaith! :smalltongue: Cinematic-wise, the first crit hamstringed the creature, then as it staggered, Puck rapidly crawled up its leg to embed his axe right between the eyes, and then rode the corpse down as it collapsed.

Another squad of legionnaires shows up, but a Huge-sized Commander Bulwark leaps over the barracks wall with an equally huge sword and lays waste to them with sweeping cuts.

"Am I glad to see all of you! Quick, let's get inside!"

ALLY GAINED: Primary defender of Logos, and leader of the Steelguard, Bulwark is a skilled combatant and a keen tactician. Bulwark allows analysis of the central island's defensive state, and allows tactics rolls to get possible hints.

There's a little more stuff, but it makes more sense to include in the next write-up.

Sorry for it being a bit shorter, tonight was lots of crazy combat, and I don't want to pad with tons of, "he rolled an attack. He moved and attacked. She full attacked. Etc, etc." But if you want more detail (or less), just yell at me.

Getting closer to that 1 / session average again

2016-08-02, 12:40 PM
With you and Kaveman not having updates for a few weeks, and my own group having a 6 week hiatus, I was starting to get the shakes. Even a short update is very welcome!

2016-08-02, 03:11 PM
With you and Kaveman

I'm not even close to the same scale as his crazy journals :smallbiggrin:, but thanks for the compliment!

starting to get the shakes

I suggest that you see a medical professional about that :smalltongue:

2016-08-02, 07:13 PM
With you and Kaveman - I was starting to get the shakes.

I'm not even close to the same scale as his crazy journals :smallbiggrin:, but thanks for the compliment!

This sounds like another fun journal to spend an inappropriate amount of time reading :smallbiggrin:

2016-08-03, 06:33 AM
I'm not even close to the same scale as his crazy journals :smallbiggrin:, but thanks for the compliment!

Oh yeah, his stuff is completely insane, but yours and his current one are the only ones I'm still reading!

2016-08-03, 07:50 PM
Glad you enjoy reading it Brion, for reasons that have nothing to do with me paying you to write nice comments.

The payment has been sent Nothing like that at all...

2016-08-07, 04:17 AM
I'd be interested in seeing the full stats (or changes rather) for those Legion Devils, while they're built to be used en-masse like that I seem to remember there being a couple flaws that made that unappealing past a certain point. Presumably your mods address those flaws.

Goristros are a nice demon-minotaur, magically uninteresting but a very solid bruiser, and yet that random fluffy earthquake managed to perform a significant role in keeping the archer sidelined.

A very, very nice thing about running DnD like a video game with respawns, is that you can run massive events like a video game with respawns. Looking forward to how it develops.

2016-08-08, 10:48 AM
I didn't do a ton with them, still wanted them to be foot soldiers rather than elite destroyers.

I swapped the sword for a spear (almost entirely flavour), and turned their natural shield arm into a natural armor bonus. Then I outfitted them with Tower shields (phalanx imagery), and gave them Power attack and Combat Expertise as bonus feats. With the absolutely ludicrous attack bonus from their Legion's ___ ability, it's completely trivial to always have 3 points towards power attack and 3 points towards combat expertise.

So I don't know if it totally fixes the beasties, but they were fun enough. That teleport as a move action :smallbiggrin:

2016-08-09, 07:19 AM
Glad you enjoy reading it Brion, for reasons that have nothing to do with me paying you to write nice comments.

The payment has been sent Nothing like that at all...

Next time, I would prefer a non-descript brief case as opposed to the sack with a dollar sign on it. My pleasure!

2016-08-12, 09:58 AM

Looks like a full group tomorrow, so I can let loose with the blatantly unfair and overpowered Fun encounters! Honestly not sure if the invasion will be resolved with this upcoming session (one way or another), or if it'll take one more. We shall see...

2016-08-15, 06:45 PM
24th session! It's getting alarmingly close to a year's worth of my madness that these players have put up with - I think we've found a comfortable balance between my amusement and their, well, their saline content.
http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/11/11a37be619b2f87bc357c2d463f346920b5f1d2c14f65da453 86bba707db78f8.jpg

Full group today, and we start back at the Church of the Central Flame.

The party decides that they can hold out for one more push before using any special abilities. They do decide to bring a squad of Steelguard with them, though, and head out to make sure the Forges (and its armoury) doesn't fall. After a bit of healing, off they go! The Steelguard has already set up rough fortifications and what seem to be heavy siege crossbows.

Partway to the Forges, the party spots a handful of civilians frantically fleeing from a gang of leering fiends armed with saw-toothed glaives. Telling the squad of Steelguard to hold back, they rush up to be heroes!

There's a bit of a hiccup, as Angelena throws Bull's strength on Talvosh (forgetting he has a belt of strength) and Sona throws out a Cloudkill at the group of Bearded Devils, forgetting to do a Knowledge (Planes) check to be reminded that most fiends are resistant or immune to poison. But Puck spider-surges ahead and crashes into the bearded devils bowling ball-style!

That's when a demonic-looking spider the size of a small hut clambers into view on a nearby roof, and riding said spider-demon is a green-skinned fiend with four arms, wielding two massive bows.

The Advanced Arrow Demon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvNKXfCkFew) alarms everyone with the sheer volume of arrows it blasts out at the group, and how much damage each arrow deals. Then another clambers into view on a rooftop on the other side of the courtyard, and the hail of arrows happens again! Sona in particular suffers from the second barrage (being the closest target), I think I actually traumatized her player for the rest of the night. Didn't kill her, though *shakes fist*

Spotter shoots back, and manages a brutal critical on the first Arrow Demon's Bebilith mount, popping an eye. While he's firing, an enlarged Sammael sprints like a madman for the building it's perched on, and makes it partway up with his spider-climbing slippers. Talvosh determines that there is no way he can make it up to either Arrow Demon, and runs for the bearded devils (and to either save the civilians or claim them for himself as backup Vitae, I'm not certain).

Angelena casts Holy Storm on herself, and the -4 it imposes actually makes a big deal in this fight (combined with her arrow deflection crystal, it puts her AC against shooting in the high 30s). Spotter ducks in and out of the rain to keep shooting at the 1st Arrow Demon. Said Arrow Demon keeps shooting at any target exposed in the courtyard, growling as the rain spoils his aim. His mount skitters over and takes a chunk out of Sammael, but he passes his save. When he tries to maneuver past the Bebilith to get to the Arrow Demon, however, it nails him with another bite...and he fails his save and takes 4 pts of Con damage. He does land a crit on the rider, though. Puck makes mincemeat of the Bearded Devils, except for a couple who teleport over to cut off the civilians...which just puts them in Talvosh's range. Sona goes Invisible of the greater variety and runs for Angelena.

Angelena hits with a Searing light, Spotter lands more bowshots, but the first Arrow Demon (and his mount) are still standing. The mount full attacks Sammael! He's still alive, and lands his attack of opportunity as the Arrow Demon shoots him point-blank with a bow, and deflects the next arrow with his feat. But then the Arrow Demon just keeps shooting, and an arrow-studded corpse tumbles off the roof. Sona lashes out with a Sound Lance, and some more shooting finally slays the first Arrow Demon.

Puck runs with all 8 of his legs to make it up on the roof in front of the second Arrow Demon to prevent it from continuing to barrage the party. For his troubles, he gets full attacked by the Bebilith, and the Arrow demon fills him full of large arrows. He manages to slay the mount, but in the process the Arrow demon gets another two full rounds of shooting, and Puck falls under a hail of arrows (http://www.tubechop.com/watch/8264093). Sona Dimension doors herself and Talvosh up there, and Talvosh plus more arrows from Spotter (who was not having a good dice day) finishes the second Arrow demon off.

The remaining Bebilith screeches and pounces off the roof to chomp poor Angelena! She fails and takes 5 Con damage (ouch). However, her mace, the holy storm, and the Steelguard being commanded to rush in finish off the critically wounded spider-demon-thingy. Victory! After checking on the civilians (only 1 of whom died) and some emergency battlefield healing, the party plus the soldiers hustle ahead to the Forges.

There is noticeable resistance around and on the roof of the main Smithy (which is a massive warehouse sized building cause I wanted an excuse to use my big mat and dungeon tiles). The party commands the Steelguard squad to guard their backs, and help a bit with the fight outside. After a bit of buffing (as much as can be done since everyone is low low low on resources), into the smithy they go.

There are channels of molten metal flowing back and forth, and the entire building is painfully hot - either the smiths turned off all the restraints as to delay attackers, or things are going critical. There's 5 or 6 man-sized insectoid creatures (which the party recognizes from before as Mezzoloths), and a hulking winged fiend bellowing commands in Infernal and lashing a brutal looking chain back and forth. Initiative! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyWa2OE_W30)

Most of the party rushes forward, either going for cover behind a workbench of bee-lining for what seems to be the commander. The mezzoloths foul that up with poisonous Cloudkills everywhere, blocking line of sight, but I don't manage to mess anyone's CON up.
I think I did this wrong, but Cloudkill does force a save as soon as it is conjured if you're in the area, right? Or does it not happen until your next turn? I believe it's the former.

Puck had Fly placed on him, and he zooms above everything to get in the Horned Devil's face...and crits him! I am sorely tempted to take Puck's player's dice and sacrifice them to Dark&Elder powers ;P . However, the Horned Devil retaliates by mercilessly pummelling him and shuffling backwards towards the pool of molten metal. Sona uses Greater invisibility again and cautiously shuffles up the side of the room. I think she's still gun/bow-shy:smallbiggrin:.

The rest of the party is tangled up by the multiple clouds of greenish gas, and Sammael skirmishes with the frontmost Mezzoloth. DR 10/Good when you're out of Smites is a problem, though...

Puck is looking quite rough after his next round of attacks bounces off the Horned Devil's nasty AC. Angelena has buffed herself into an absolute monstrosity, but her speed of 20 feet keeps her back from truly getting into the fight. Sona switches Puck and Talvosh, and it's Talvosh's turn to get smacked around by the chain of command. However, no-one fails their save vs stunning *grumble grumble* and Talvosh lands a max-power attack crit (which is still ludicrous without raging or frenzying). I know the Horned Devil has regeneration, but I ruled that he fell back into the liquid metal and drowned.

Sona uses a Gust of Wind to push the Cloudkills away, and the party manages to meet up with Hammer & Anvil, the masters of the Forge! They are their usual obscene foul-mouthed offensive charming selves, and thank the party in their own way. And since the party didn't use the Steelguard squad for anything overtly dangerous, they're at full strength to help reinforce and defend the Forge! Yay!

I roll for the chance of Anvil and Forge having some high-end gear/magic they were saving that the party could use...and the dice gods proceed to smile down upon them. I roll a 98, so Spotter, Puck, Sammael, and Talvosh all receive vials of Uncanny Ichor (increases the enchantment value of a piece of equipment by 1), while Angelena and Sona get a rod of lesser empower and a 3rd level pearl of power.

The party is critically low on health and resources at this point. There's some debate of resting for 8 hrs in the forge (an idea that would end hilariously badly), but they decide instead that it's time to use Alexandria's special gift. Sona uses the last of her spell slots and spell-likes (though I guess she had a good amount left to do that) to make everyone invisible, and 2 people fly, and they very sneakily return to the Central Fire.

Bulwark is quite pleased at the party's exploits so far, and they all head inside. The church is rapidly become full of the wounded and frightened by this point, but the building (and the Fire's warding) is intact. Alexandria nods at the party's request, and they also gesture Noctis to join in as well (who acts like a prat as usual, but Spotter and Sona notice signs of acute mana exhaustion, meaning that he burned through almost all of his spells while they were gone). Sammael asks Alexandria exactly how much this power will cost, to which the Flamespeaker is somewhat evasive. He insists, and she admits that it will cost more than several lives worth.

Alexandria has everyone link hands, and she gestures towards the Flame. Everyone's surroundings go pitch black, but they can all feel the soothing warmth of a fire beating against their skin. The strange feeling of light without light swells, thickens, and breaks in a brief blinding flash. With that, the party is fully healed, and all abilities/daily use items are reset as if after a full rest.

There's a bit more talk of tactics and what to do, but that will fit better in the next entry. Which will be Sammael's last D: as his player is moving away for Law school.

There were some things I could have done more efficiently with the Horned Devil, but I honestly didn't expect Puck and Talvosh to both crit, and both pass all their Stunning saves. Ah well, the Invasion isn't over yet...

2016-08-16, 01:48 PM
Cloudkill: A living creature with 6 or more HD takes 1d4 points of Constitution damage on your turn each round while in the cloud (a successful Fortitude save halves this damage). Holding one’s breath doesn’t help, but creatures immune to poison are unaffected by the spell.

Since it specifies on your turn (to the spellcaster) I read it as they make saves immediately, and then again on your following turns should victims still be in the cloud.

2016-08-17, 10:14 AM
That's how I read it, too. And since one person on the internet has agreed with me...



2016-08-26, 12:34 PM
It's halfway between when I started posting this campaign journal and the actual first session last year, so

And if the PCs go the way I suspect they will, here's a Sneak (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TSP_FxCe3E) Preview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgZgopHA9o4) for tomorrow!

2016-08-26, 12:55 PM
It's halfway between when I started posting this campaign journal and the actual first session last year, so

And if the PCs go the way I suspect they will, here's a Sneak (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TSP_FxCe3E) Preview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgZgopHA9o4) for tomorrow!

NO TOUCHY THE HEALER!!!! *hides Angela under greater invisibility*

2016-08-30, 01:29 AM

No Spotter this session.

So our intrepid heroes decide it's time to go for the head of the giant fiendish invasion-serpent. Spells are prepared, buffs are discussed, schemes are set, axes are sharpened, etc. With the aid of Noctis, they teleport right over to the Central Tower to enact said cunning plan! Noctis saunters off to "check his apartment," but the more perceptive members can tell he's off to try and help anyone in the tower.

The group decides that it's best to try and draw out Jezelle at the base of the tower. So exiting the tower, Sona creates an illusion of a giant blue dragon climbing up the tower, roaring this way and that, and creating a general ruckus. Within a few minutes, they get some attention. A sorceress riding a dragon doesn't show up, but bolts of eerie lightning strike at Sona's illusion! Then several shapes blur in and out of sight at the edge of the tower top (which is at least 400 feet tall). The rest of the group is hiding just out of sight at the entrance to the tower, and Sona hustles to get out of sight as well. However, with a Spot of +31(!), the Nalfeshnee Teleports down to the ground with a bellow.


It starts the fight off hurling a Slow at the party, which everyone except for Angelena saves against. After the trials and tribulations with DR in previous fights, Sammael darts over and Blesses Talvosh's axe. Continuing the trend, Sona slaps Fly on Talvosh as well. Thus empowered, Talvosh charges the Nalfeshnee! And gets whalloped by the invisible Nycaloth standing in the way. Sammael blesses Puck's weapon as well, and Puck rumbles into the fray as well. Meanwhile, the Nalfeshnee gathers his power, an unholy nimbus shimmering about him. Sammael rushes the Nycaloth as well, and the 3 melee mashers scrap back and forth. Before Sona and Angelena can help out, though, a second Nycaloth appears and hacks away at them! While the fight rears back and forth, the first Nycaloth goes down from the combined assault and a crit. Talvosh goes for the Nalfeshnee, but its ability has charged.

"I PRONOUNCE YOU ALL - GUILTY!" The smite blasts outwards. Buuuut everyone saves :( However, the other Nycaloth has dropped Angelena. So Sona healed her with her healing belt- and the Nycaloth promptly tried to kill her again, dropping her to negatives. Sona Dim-doors herself and Angelena further inside the tower and around the corner, and Puck attacks the Nycaloth. All of the Nalfeshnee's abilities and attacks are resisted by the frenzying Talvosh, and the combo of Sammael and Talvosh bring the pig-ape-tinywinged beast down. There's some more heavy hits back and forth, but with both Talvosh and Puck's weapons blessed, the Nycaloth retreats after a bit more. While trying to cram a healing potion down Angelena's throat, Sona however hears the sound of battle from further inside the tower.

With attempt one a bust, the party takes a quick moment to heal a bit (Mass lesser vigor persisted on the party helps) and then heads inside to check out the noise Sona heard.

The combat seems to be in the central audience chamber that the group met the Council in, and they peer around the corner. It's the Goblin ambassador's bodyguard, the Hobgoblin Shunsui. He's standing over a tiny green body, and defending himself from what seems to be four faceless shadowy assailants. His blade is an uncanny blur, blocking strikes from every angle. But it is 4 on 1, and as the party rushes into the room, Shunsui goes down from a cut to the back. Initiative!

A cloud of thick fog swirls up with supernatural speed, obscuring the blade-wielding silhouettes. Sammael wisely does not enter the mist full of what might be Ninja, and moves to flank. Sona steps up and blasts the fog away with a Gust of Wind, surprising the Assassin Devils. Puck moves up to smash some devils, but one makes him pause by seizing the unconscious Shunsui by the hair and pressing a wicked knife to his throat. The faceless devil's message is clear. There's some out of game debate before Puck's player remembers that Puck doesn't know this hobgoblin and doesn't care. The Assassin devil kills Shunsui right before getting cross-checked directly into his partner. With the Bless just barely still lasting, Puck nearly kills the one devil he strikes. Another reappears right behind him, having been stymied by its lack of ability to Sneak Attack Puck. The Assassin Devils flicker in and out of sight around the council chamber. Talvosh and Sammael take some nasty chunks of damage, but the rest of the party manages to not get cut up too badly. The Assassin devils are nasty customers, but those Blessed Weapons, Sammael's uncanny dodge+Elusive target (Diverting defense specifically), and a couple nasty spells manage to turn the tide before anyone else dies. Near the end of the fight, however, the entire tower shakes and the air is filled with a deafening Roar. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnKRPGhKbtY) It's coming from above...

Shunsui is very dead, but the old Goblin Kodai is actually still alive (barely). While Angelena is checking on the emergency bandage around his neck, Puck is roughly rattling Shunsui's corpse around in his usual manner. The group consumes a Vitae from him before Kodai is healed to the point of waking up, but he does wake up to see Shunsui's corpse being manhandled by Puck. So with that lovely diplomatic precedent set, Kodai is not particularly chatty. He brusquely thanks the party for their aid, then touches Shunsui's corpse before disappearing with a ripple of magic. Another quick application of magic bandaids, and the party heads up the main stairs of the tower.

They find a bloodied up and wounded Noctis curled up in the corner of the room containing the elevator leading up. Apparently there was a group of Assassin Devils for him too, that he reduced to smoking black spots on the ground (Noctis helpfully points them out). He makes some dry jokes, but when the party mentions that they're heading up, burns his last remaining Limited Wish to give them a Legion's shield of faith.

The first elevator (which is the traditional Souls floating platform with a touchstone in the center) goes up for a couple minutes, leading to a plain chamber containing only another elevator. As this one ascends towards the roof, the party goes Buff-a-mania, putting out:

Mass energy resistance (fire)
Blur on everyone (last of a wand)
Fly on everyone (this was very crucial)
Sammael drinks all his tinctures
Puck uses an Expansion charge and activates his Force screen
Sona Mirror images

And I'm probably missing some, but those were the important ones. The elevator reaches the roof!

In the center of the roof is a large arcane looking device, with what seems to be a shimmering portal lens inside spinning brass rings. The more attention-demanding sight though, is the Huge red dragon hovering above with a certain Red-Haired sorceress riding it. Jezelle opens her mouth, and Sammael's player rolls Initiative. No monologue, right down to brass tacks. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_8t5ay0-YU) :smallbiggrin:

The enlarged flying Sammael zips up to threaten Jezelle, and Puck actually has just baarreeelllyy enough range to charge and strike Jezelle for a good chunk of damage! She blinks out of sight and reappears further away with a curse, floating in the air. Before she can do more, though, Sona surrounds her with a Cloudkill! The dragon tears into Puck for a hideous amount of damage (but the party's energy resistance means they don't have to worry about the 25 pts of damage every turn just for being next to the dragon). Talvosh freaks out and beelines for the dragon. Sammael and another cloudkill from Sona forces Jezelle to fall back to long range (several hundred feet above the tower), and her wrath is delayed as Jezelle has to burn a Vitae several turns into the battle. Then the fire begins to rain down, specifically on Sona and Angelena. Even making their reflex saves, Jezelle's Fireballs do BIG chunks of damage, as well as ignore the resistance spells. Sona gives as good as she gets though, hurling out Sound Lances and Cacophonic Fields.

The Dragon has some trouble with the miss chances on the floating adventurers hacking away at it, and also can't just trivially snatch Talvosh up with its teeth. The hit points fly off back and forth, but Talvosh is missing the dragon's alarmingly high AC as well. The two axe-men have to go to no power attack to be able to hit regularly, it seems. Sammael keeps pressuring Jezelle, either chasing after her or firing off arrows to try and disrupt her. Angelena busts out a Heal to keep the party going!

Several fireballs later (Jezelle is angry enough that she's using Arcane Spellsurge to hurl multiple offensive spells and not bother with saving immediate actions for defense) Angelena drops. Another blast kills her. Sona is doing better with her draconic feats healing with each spell, but a few more spell exchanges leaves Jezelle quite wounded, and Sona dead.

Puck and Talvosh do what they do best, and land several crits (the dragon caught Talvosh in the face with his breath, but Frenzy+energy resistance means he's still going), and with a roar, the dragon finally falls. I know this recap makes it seem fast, but it took a LOT of turns for it to go down, and the heroes are looking rough even after the Heal. Jezelle lets out a howl of her own as the dragon Falls. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RzA_Oomra8)

This fight isn't over.

With Jezelle so much more mobile than the 3 remaining heroes, they're forced to endure multiple blasts as they ascend and fire arrows at her. They can't pierce her alarming armor class, until Sammael lands a hit with the aid of a True strike. As they close in (and up), Jezelle starts throwing some nastier spells than just blasts of flame. Puck saves against a disintegrate, but takes an absurd amount of damage anyways. He's forced to burn a Vitae, and with Jezelle looking nearly dead on her feet, takes a risk.

He sends Snug out on the attack. The little construct bug buzzes up and charges the insane mage!

And rolls a natural 20. *sigh* I really need to burn Puck's player's dice, no-one should have dice better than I do :smalltongue:

Jezelle saves against the poison, but it's another point of damage. Jezelle hisses a curse, and one Shocking grasp later, brave Snug is reduced to pieces. Sammael is close enough to try and finish the fight! He uses his Bolt shirt to get right in her face, and attempts to slay her outright with his death touch!

A translucent dragon wing blocks the fell hand, and Jezelle responds by seizing his wrist and inflicting another shocking grasp on him (he also survives due to having burnt a Vitae). Just before Puck and Talvosh can ascend further, Jezelle disappears and reappears relatively close to Puck. Close enough, in fact, to hammer him with an Orb of Fire, burning away 2/3 of his health with a single spell. If he hadn't burnt a Vitae, Puck would have been turned to a falling hunk of iron right there. Talvosh takes advantage and rushes in! He finally lands a blow! Jezelle lets out a choked gasp of pain, and then a final scream of rage before she EXPLODES in a blast of supernatural fire. Puck and Talvosh are caught in it, but energy resistance plus good saves keeps them alive.

Super long (and fun) session! There's more RP stuff that happened, but I think it will fit better with the next entry.

And alas, Sammael's player is now off to another province for school.

Plus 3 burnt vitae!

2016-08-31, 05:06 AM
HUZZAH!!! Another update!
Burning Vitae is nearly as good as killing them. Keep em coming.

2016-09-01, 10:14 AM
That seemed to be probably their toughest combat yet! Seems like you were very close to a TPK, even with the burnt vitae.

2016-09-01, 04:11 PM
The reason that it wasn't a TPK was casting Fly on everyone before the fight. If they had waited to cast flight until after the fight started, or only put it on one or two members, it would have ended ugly. Without everyone zipping around like murderous hummingbirds, Sona / anyone in the air would have been isolated and barbecued, and then the flightless members remaining would have been subjected to repeated driveflyby flamings and spellbombings.

And don't worry PrismCat, this train has no brakes. :smallbiggrin:

2016-09-03, 06:27 PM
Plot tweest! The aftermath I was talking about, posted early!

Floating in the air where Jezelle once was are 4(!) Vitae. But..there's something different about them. They seem to shine with a faint reddish hue...the players decide how to split the Vitae (and which to try and store for Angelena and Sona), and Puck touches one.


He passes his Will save, so Puck manages to catch himself before he tries to embed his axe in the side of Sammael's head. From Sammael's viewpoint, the moment Puck touched the red Vitae, his eyes went blazing red, and Sammael could actually hear Puck's gears and plates shrieking and grinding against one another as he wound up to swing before halting. Sammael absorbs one as well, and immediately feels the same.

Unadulterated, teeth-splitting, muscle-ripping, heart-bursting RAGE. As with Puck, his hands are scrabbling at the hilt of his scythe before he can push back the nigh-overwhelming wrath. They very very carefully coax the remaining Vitae into a glass flask for the other party members. Down below at the corpse of the dragon, Talvosh takes the two Vitae that emerged from. They didn't specifically state if they were inspecting it as carefully, so I quite gleefully make Talvosh roll 2 Will saves. He passes one, and fails the other. So Puck and Sammael up above are treated to the sight of a howling Talvosh rocketing upwards towards them. :smallbiggrin:

He makes his next save, so his warscream kind of trails off in confusion as to why he's holding his axe, and why he's 30 feet higher than he was a moment ago.

While they're waiting for Angelena and Sona to return, Talvosh and Puck get up to their usual tricks of disemboweling and desecrating the corpses of the fallen "looking for treasure." They're pushing the corpse off the tower right as Sona and Angelena are arriving.

Originally I had Bulwark help Sona and Angelena make it back to the Central tower quickly, but that contradicts something else I'm doing, so COSMIC RETCON HAS OCCURRED. Instead, some potions of Expeditious retreat / squad of backup / DM handwave gets them there relatively quickly. Juuussst in time to look up and see a large shadow rapidly descending towards the pair! Wings of Cover prevents any damage from the falling dragon corpse, but the mess. The mess! It takes several prestidigitation scourings to be physically clean. The mental stains, however, are forever.

Ascending back through the tower, Sona is handed a vial of the red Vitae. The three members who already were subjected to it aren't particularly detailed in their explanation, just that it might make her a little crazy. Puck puts her in a preemptive Full Nelson hold. Sona drinks the Vitae, promptly fails her save, and cuts loose with a Stilled-Silent (from Pact Adept) Wings of Flurry. Which nearly kills Talvosh, as he's at dangerously low health already. Puck rattles her, Sammael stunning fist-nonlethally flurries, and Talvosh nonlethally wails on her all at once to stop that from happening again. I imagine the sound to be something like this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCWbl8ajfA8)

Thankfully for Sona, Angelena gets there in time to scold Puck and stop him from being tempted to toss her off the side of the tower. Still working on that 'appropriate response' trick...with the group reunited, and Jezelle nowhere to be seen, they hobble back to the Church of the Flame, the party having run out of pretty much everything.

There's good news and bad news waiting as they return.

The Good: The majority of the fiends seem to have disappeared, particularly the commanding creatures. Reports are coming positive from most of the defenders as they break through the remaining creatures

The Bad: A lot of the city is still either demolished, burning, or under attack from remaining creatures. No-one has seen most of the Council members, still.

The Worse: Bulwark and a large contingent of heavily wounded Steelguard return shortly after the party, the mood somber. They were apparently fighting around the Unmarked Estates. They managed to defend at least part of the homes...but three of the Estates were razed. And while they were under assault, another group attacked an incredibly vital home.

"The Children. They killed all of them." It's Lady, the eerily quiet Forged from before. She's missing an arm, and speaking at a normal tone (which for her means she's screaming). And here is where an absolutely horrifying revelation crashes home.

The party has seen exactly one child since arriving in Artaith. One, and he was a teenager. They have seen no children of any age in Logos, none at all. As Bulwark helps Alexandria up from the despairing heap she crumpled into at this news, the Flamespeaker confirms that the Cursed are unable to have children. No-one with the Mark can have children. Numbly, Sammael and Sona go with Bulwark to examine the estate to look for clues as to who is responsible.

The Estates are all high-walled and highly defensible buildings, and all are heavily scarred with recent wounds. There's still the sound of fighting in the distance, but the building the group goes towards is eerily quiet. There's a perfect circle melted or cut through several walls and buildings in a straight line - whoever did this had a clear objective that they cut to the heart of quickly.

Inside are the absolutely shredded remains of Forged, humans, and Hobgoblins, and behind them are many small bodies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_mJUwgwhgQ). Sammael grimly inspects the children - there is no blood. Besides being unnaturally pale, they seem untouched. Making his Spellcraft/knowledge Religion (what with him being dedicated to natural death) check though, he does discover the cause. They were slain by a manifestation of concentrated Evil, a word of Blasphemous malice (yes, I'm being subtle as a hammer). More horrifyingly, this almost guarantees that their bodies will rise as a Hollow or Undead of some sort.

While Sammael does this, I roll randomly, and Sona receives a quiet message murmured in her ear. It's Janath's voice:

"Sona - I know you won't trust me, but Jezelle is insane. She took all the children, couldn't stop her. I'm sorry."

The timing is suspicious, Sona is already stinging from when he KILLED her, and when Sammael mentions the signs of Blasphemy being cast, she snaps a little.

"Bastard! I won't kill you. I'll mend this curse and send you to that Hell you've been running from personally!"

A little later, there's another murmur, but this one sounds different. Colder, more rasping. It's Janath, but not the same.

"I'm never going back. And gods help me.




2016-09-03, 08:44 PM
Thank you :)
Thank you for the quick update of the aftermath.

2016-09-04, 03:52 AM
This is awsome! Thanks for posting it. :smallbiggrin:

Could I ask for the backstory? I need something to read in work. :smalltongue:

2016-09-04, 02:01 PM
Could I ask for the backstory? I need something to read in work. :smalltongue:

St. Cuthbert help you!!
Sona's alone is a full novel... they're all wonderful though :D

2016-09-04, 06:31 PM
Too late - the links are sent!

And thanks you two, always good to hear that people enjoy the mad scribbling of our game.

2016-09-06, 08:36 AM
St. Cuthbert help you!!
Sona's alone is a full novel... they're all wonderful though :D
LOL - back before Artaith had a name I had been aware Puzzle was working on a world for a couple years. Sona's story was my poke to try and get it started, and to figure out if I was going to play Jezelle or Sona as my PC.

That... and Puzzle and I like background writing. You think Sona's is long.... heh. There's a preamble to my game that's over 70k words long, and an alternate evil time line that's on part 2 now?

There is a lot of writing. ^.^;;

2016-09-08, 04:37 PM
I was thinking about the City of Fifteen Nights business.

Wow, this city is huge. If it takes fifteen nights to walk across and is roughly circular (so it takes fifteen nights between any two places on opposite borders, not just between the two most distant places inside the city), it must be immense.

I'd guess you could walk 50 km per day (about 31 miles?), because you can realistically walk at 5 km/h for about 10 net hours a day (I'm supposing the city is an easy terrain without too much a labyrinthine layout to get lost or slowed down). That makes it 750 km across (466 miles). It covers 441.562 km2, that's slightly larger than Iraq or California, and the outer walls are 2.355 km long, about the distance between Paris and Moscow.

Let's take a look at the population. From D&D, Sigil has been stated at 819 mi2 (about 2.121 km2), because it's 6,4 mi in diameter and 20 mi long, with different sources giving populations of 250.000, half a million and a full million. That's 118, 236 or 471 people per square km. I'm talking about Sigil mostly because it's a true metropolis, which Logos must have also been, once. Let's say Logos had population density of 250 people per km2 before its fall (that's also mean value of population density of today's Earth, BTW). That would put it at 110.390.500 residents, with probably half as much in visitors, travellers and traders in the golden age of yore. With 110 million people, it's six times larger than New York, or only 10 mil people short of Japan.

Population density of 250 people per km2 is by the way very low, as the cities of today may be around 2.000 and metropolises start at 15.000 and go up to 41.000 people per km2 in the City of Manila. Anyway, for 2.000 and 15.000 ppkm2, Logos would have 883 millions and 6,6 billions residents, but these population densities are probably too much even for a magical metropolis, so let's go with the 110 millions. :smallwink:

Even with a century of dying out and hollowing, there must be millions of feral undead in the city. How many ash wraiths can the PCs kill before they crush them with sheer numbers? :smallbiggrin:

Anyway, this city must be (or have been) absolutely filled with magic. Nothing short of a literal army of magewrights might have ever made this work. During it's prime, Logos must have relied on an incredible number of create food and water, network of magical transportation and probably some extradimensional sewers.

I wonder how much of this magic still remains somewhere in the ruins...

BTW, Logos is definitely what I would call a city state. :smallcool:

P.S.: How the Baator many people must have lived on Coruscant?

2016-09-08, 06:40 PM
I was thinking about the City of Fifteen Nights business.

Awesome analysis

That's super cool, Red Kangaroo, even if it reveals me playing slightly fast and loose with scale for the sake of GRAND DRAMA. :smalltongue:

I was using the fifteen nights going more off being able to cover 30 km / day (It is a little windy and congested, plus having to travel around large impassible structures), so yes, it was an absolutely gigantic city. Just not quite as monstrous as your initial report :smallbiggrin:

And yes, that is the reason that most of the city is still pretty much uninhabitable. Even with the grand majority of the dead having been moved to the Gravefields (a process spanning probably close to a decade), there still are countless Hollows lurking in the dark places of the city. What the party has travelled (and the scant residents of Logos lurk in) is a relatively narrow strip across the city that has been clawed and fought back into relative safety. On the upside, by this point, said Hollows have wasted away to the point that they lack the energy to actively search for victims.

And yes, the city was full to the brim with magic of all sorts. It was the shining example of magecraft for the whole world (the city of Helios rivalling it, but they were far more selective about their inhabitants and who used magic for what). Downside is that when the Curse spread so rapidly at first - a city full of people who can harness a power like magic all going violently insane and murderous all at once?

As for the Sewers and magic remaining in ruined areas of the city...I'm going to need you to sign this Nondisclosure agreement, since you seem to be near-prescient.

2016-09-08, 07:05 PM
I just heard a choir of cat girls dying there... lol

2016-09-08, 08:51 PM
This seems appropriate (http://www.tubechop.com/watch/8331324)


2016-09-09, 03:18 AM
GRAND DRAMA :smalltongue:

Rule of Cool always trumps any Common Sense or Suspension of Disbelief, if anime taught me anything. :smalltongue:

I was using the fifteen nights going more off being able to cover 30 km / day (It is a little windy and congested, plus having to travel around large impassible structures), so yes, it was an absolutely gigantic city. Just not quite as monstrous as your initial report :smallbiggrin:

Then it's 158.962 km2 of cityscape and about 40 mil residents, going by my previous math. That's still quite huge but probably loses that "the City Where Half the World Lived" feel. :smallbiggrin:

I'm going to need you to sign this Nondisclosure agreement, since you seem to be near-prescient.




2016-09-09, 11:04 AM
I like! My google-fu fails me, is that from something, or just a super cool piece of art?

Edit: And "City where half the world lived" is spawning little idea bunnies....into the random ideas notebook it goes!


One day till whichever new direction the party chooses! Looking forward to see where their greedy little hearts take them.

2016-09-13, 12:47 PM
And the delay on this session writeup is entirely because of my new computer and Overwatch, otherwise known as my new favourite game and devourer of time.


26 sessions now! The first bit is a recap for Spotter's player, then a summary of how the defence of Logos went.

As everyone had hoped, defeating Jezelle broke the portal's stability, and banished the commanders of the invasion. Not all of the fiends vanished, but the loss of coordination (and many of the much more powerful fiends) gave the Steelguard the opportunity to push back with lethal success. The surrounding ruins are going to be much more dangerous with fiends lurking in them now, but the central city still stands.

The Flamespeaker and Flamekeepers - things would have to have gotten quite dire before they were in serious danger, but not encouraging the flame-priests to venture beyond the Bonfire was a good choice

Bulwark - The survival of the commander meant the Steelguard remained organized and effective. Speaking of the Steelguard, their remaining numbers are about 2/3 of what they were. Downside, that 1/3 consists of warriors with decades of combat experience, not easily replaced (if at all)

Ambassador Noctis of Helios - The arrogant prat who turned out to be more altruistic than he lets on provided notable aid during the invasion. Just don't mention it or he'll turn you into something unfortunate.

Ambassador Kodai of the Goblin Holds - Despite some rough interaction with the party, they did save his life. The ancient goblin's bodyguard, Shunsui, did not survive, but has returned (now one of the Cursed).

Anvil & Hammer (and control of the Forge district) - Repair of the city and its defences is actually possible with these two around, as is outfitting the heroes during their downtime.

Leaders of the Council - Noctis was unable to make it far enough into the Tower before assassins struck, and all 3 leading Council members did not survive the battle

The Unmarked - More than half of the Unmarked survived...BUT the loss of the Unmarked children is a horrifying enough thing to negate nearly any sense of victory on this front

The city/settlement of Rambleshack - Every living thing around the Northern Fire of Logos is gone, burnt to ashes. The portal of black flame to the Labyrinth is gone, but so is everything else.

The civilians of the central city certainly took casualties as well. The party didn't prioritize protecting them, but by dealing with major threats so quickly, helped the Steelguard to do so instead. So this point is kind of a middle ground.

The city of Logos has been dealt a severe blow...but it will survive.

Yay, bittersweet PC victory! Now for some downtime after the Hellish/Abyssal/Labyrinthal (it's a word now, deal with it) invasion. The PCS all spend saved up treasure / treasure from their last boss encounter / large donation from new Council of Logos, and end up spending just under a month re-equipping, recuperating, and investigating.

Talvosh makes his axe better at axing things. Gotta give him points for focus, at least.

Puck enhances his own armor, and also picks up a Winged Vest. So he's a flying spider-bot now (BEST. TRANSFORMER. EVER.). He also cranks a Craft roll (with assistance from Angelena via Guidance of the Avatar) to rebuild his little buddy Snug.
Despite successfully rebuilding him though, Snug won't wake up. Finally he manages to find Noctis on a quiet day, and asks him if he knows how to wake Snug up.

Noctis fails his Will save vs pity for the poor sad robot missing his diminutive friend, and uses one more Limited Wish to breathe life back into Snug.

Beyond that, Puck spends a good amount of time staring at the Portal to Revelation, occasionally throwing test items through it.

Spotter makes it his mission to find out exactly who murdered the children, and how they knew exactly how and where to strike. He suspects treachery, or strong divination magic, and goes hunting for signs of either. The robo-hunter makes a massive tracking roll, and finds one set of human footsteps interspersed with two other notable sets of tracks. One heavier two-legged set with reptilian-style claws, and one set of what seems like a giant predatory cat. They go right through the smooth circular holes cut through several walls and the corner of a building, and then disappear at their objective.

Spotter also interrogates as many of the surviving Steelguard that were in that area that he can find, and comes across some luck. Finding a Hobgoblin named Taltho, he finds that Taltho just can't remember what happened. He was on guard, heard a man ask him a question - then nothing. Spotter has Arcanist as a favoured enemy, so I let him attempt to help Taltho shake whatever is affecting his memory. He manages to recall a man in finely crafted travelling clothes, smug grin, sharp goatee, and stylish hat. The description is far too close to Janath to be a coincidence. That's all the info he can get out of the guard due to the Devil's whisper he was subjected to (which I think is a super stylish ability).

So Spotter is certain that it was Janath, he wasn't alone, and he teleported out of the city. I'm sure this will never come up again.

Sona makes it her goal to speak to Alexandria and the Library, to hunt down some info.

Speaking to Alexandria once things have calmed down a little, she hounds her for any and all info on the Labyrinth. So in point form!
-It is the home or source of daemons (Artaith's catchall word for fiends)
-It's unsure if it existed or not before the Curse, or if it simply drifted closer to Artaith because of it
-Anyone who has traveled to it either died or went insane, then died
-Portals are (blessedly) rare and brief, but seem to open in places of bloodshed and suffering
-Attempting to deal with Daemons never ends well
-There seems to be a connection between Vitae and daemons (whether they feed off of it, or collect it), but there is little hard fact regarding this
-There is a famous book in the library of a mage who traveled and returned from the Labyrinth (it's also famous for an account of a mage's descent into madness)

Sona also braves the Library (and the attention of Pathos) one more time. The mad sentience apparently defended itself quite handily against the fiends who tried to enter, and was in a good mood because of it. After showing off the Vrock with its limbs physically tied into a knot, Pathos grudgingly allows Sona to read the above-mentioned book of madness. Stereotypically, there is human skin involved in the binding (but only in patches, as in the creator ran out of normal materials and gruesomely improvised).

She passes her Will save and doesn't take Wisdom damage from the contents, yay!I'll actually write up some passages and post them later, but a quick summary in the meantime! The book describes attempts to breach the Labyrinth for information, and possibly means to overcome the Curse. The author starts out well-intentioned if arrogant and dismissive of those who tried in the past. As the author actually crosses over into the Labyrinth, though, the damage very quickly becomes evident. From initial descriptions of "Shattered worlds circling Oblivion" to scrawling pages of indecipherable scribbling, anything useful becomes very difficult to find. One phrase that keeps cropping up is the Beast. Someone or something that was stalking or herding the Author, or maybe the Beast was the Labyrinth itself. The author's insane ramblings make it hard to tell...

After lots of shopping, investigating, and general prepping, the party is ready to enter the portal to Revelation. They'd been warned that the portal is a one-way trip;those who succeeded returned to Logos via other means.

The party travels up the tower, up the elevator, and onto the top of the tower. Studying the spinning portal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stWae6r7Blw), finally everyone steps through.

They emerge into a barren landscape coated with ash. It piles up about their calves like snow, and silently rains down from the grey sky. There is a large reddish sun on the horizon, but it seems almost dim, and the air is chill. There's a steep drop-off behind the party, and what might be an ash-coated lake below, and in front a narrow bridge leading to a gigantic ziggurat. Everything has a hushed, muffled feeling to it.

All in all, a cheerful seeming place. :smallbiggrin:

Climbing the many steps to the top of the ziggurat, the party notices that there are numerous statues spread out across the broad platform. They're remarkably detailed, right down to clothing, weapons...and panicked expressions once the ash is wiped off. A quick spell craft check confirms that this is most likely the result of petrification.
And just in time for that, a guardian shows up! Several of the party hear some murmuring about being tested, and then a Ghost Beholder (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIW7Ho4xMa4) floats up through the floor.

Spotter and Angelena fail their saves against the Horrific Appearance, and take max damage to their physical stats for a lovely start. With everyone caught in the anti magic cone, the party spreads out / rushes underneath the many-eyed beastie. Puck actually was far enough off to the side that he can fly up to attack the creature on his turn, and makes it through the miss chance for big damage!

Next turn the beholder turns to face Puck, dropping him to the ground. Then it lashes out with eye rays, but most of the nasty ones are resisted or blocked. It does however disintegrate the ground under Talvosh, dropping him into a neat 10-ft pit. Sona manages to blast the ghost with a Wings of Flurry, and her mirror images keep her safe. Here is where I accidentally cheat Spotter's player. He has a lesser Truedeath crystal (which grants ghost touch), but I mix up on the required enchantment level to use them, so all his arrows miss. They should have hit, so Spotter's player officially has a DM cookie when fate frowns upon him next time.

The party's saves don't go so well next turn...Angelena fails against a Finger of Death...but she has Resurgence! Her reroll fails by one, and she is slain. :(

Then I roll a critical on Spotter with a Disintegrate, and he fails his save badly. Strangely enough, 52d6 turns the poor Forged to dust. Sona dives into the hole and casts Fly on Talvosh, and here is where the fight starts to turn around. The beholder keeps turning to drop one of the axe-wielding fliers, and eye-rays the other each turn. But Puck's numerous immunities, and Talvosh's strong Fort+Will saves (plus decent rolling) keep the pair up and hacking away. Even with the 50% miss chance, hits keep landing. Sona tries to keep out of sight, and attempts to distract the ghost with the illusion of Angelena and Spotter returning, but the creature is unphased. Some statues are tossed about with Telekinesis for big damage, and Sona narrowly avoids having a giant statue dropped onto her from above. Finally, the spirit is hacked apart and dissipates.

With a grating noise, a ramp opens in the floor, leading deeper into the ziggurat...

Ah, the dreaded save or DIE DIE DIEs

2016-09-13, 06:06 PM
So what exactly were your player's reactions when they came 'face-to-Face' with the BigBad of the encounter???
My heart sank a lil itself when you described it :D

2016-09-14, 11:59 AM
There were quite a few, "Aw crap"s and "What, it can do WHAT?"s

I'm just sad no-one failed their save vs petrification, because then the beholder could have wielded them as a weapon. And that everyone passed their saves vs the beholder's malevolence possession. That would have been fun carnage as well.

2016-09-20, 05:48 PM
And the selected excerpts from the Journal that Sona had read, written by a mage trying to learn more about the Labyrinth:

I fail to see how other mages seem to willfully ignore the Labyrinth. We know that it is the home of Daemons. We know that Daemons seem attracted to Vitae. We know that connections between our world and the Labyrinth are (thankfully) rare, and seem encouraged by bloodshed and violence. But that is all we know. It is an unacceptable gap in our collective knowledge! Regardless of the danger, I consider it my duty, my obligation to discover more. I’m not going to be an idiot about it, however. There will be checks and balances, and I will not call these creatures up and allow them to wreak havoc. Someone has scrawled "Liar" in messy writing next to this entry

But even the chance of discovering more about this Curse that has ravaged the land for so long is worth terrible risk.

-My early research is fruitless at best; any attempts with divination magics bring up nothing more than ominous riddles or garbled madness. Any written accounts of conversations with fiends are less than useless as well, no solid information anywhere. As much as I hoped otherwise, I will have to attempt to summon a daemon. "Nononono don’t too late" is gouged into the page

-I called and bound a small daemon, an imp by the traditional titles. After its bluster and threats wore down, I was able to intimidate the creature with the threat of being locked away forever. It spoke of the Labyrinth as if it was an entity rather than a world, but was still remarkably vague beyond that. I was able to compel the name of a more powerful fiend from this imp, thankfully. I will have to reinforce and double my wards as a precaution, before I attempt to call this Yasak Meyve. This name seems to have been scratched out and rewritten several times, almost ripping through multiple pages

-Finally, progress! After creating a new binding circle, and clearing the surrounding area of Hollowed, I was able to bind the fiend Yasak Meyve. It’s attempts to tempt me carnally were pathetic, and it quickly capitulated once I left it alone in the circle for several days. The discussions with Yasak regarding the Labyrinth have been...illuminating. The Labyrinth seems almost to be a transitory plane - one may be able to reach other worlds through it! The rest of this page and a handful of others are shredded beyond repair

-Yasak opened a window to the Labyrinth for me, in exchange for a small concession. It wasn’t mine to give It was terrible and beautiful. I gazed upon a mountain range seemingly made of polished bone, dancing with green flame. Yasak said that the bones were that of a great titan of their kind, long fallen, and that generations of history were scribed upon the bones. Yasak claimed to be of an order that maintained said scrimshaw. Who knew that there would be scholars among such savage monsters? More importantly, it means that the Labyrinth has form. Which means that I could travel there astrally, and leave my body safe while I explore. I just need to find a way to safely open a portal.

-My experiment with Vitae and Yasak has had mixed results. The Daemon went berserk after I placed a fragment of Vitae within reach, but rendered it unable to physically touch it. There was a catastrophic resonance incident, however, and something caused part of the wards to crack. Regretfully I was forced to destroy Yasak. I was close to discovering some new facet of the Curse, I can feel it. Yasak had taunted me several times, claiming that knowledge of the Curse’s origin was scrawled onto those titanic bones.

Before it died, Yasak threatened that the Beast would gnaw on my soul. Typical daemon bravado and over dramatization, but it was strange that it seemed to refer to a specific creature. I have another piece of information to use for astral exploration, now.

All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth The Beast is watching All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth All paths lead to the Labyrinth Can’t hide need to hide need to wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up WAKE UP


-I seem to have attracted the attention of something The BEAST watches. Even behind my wards, I constantly feel a prickling sensation on the back of my neck. I find myself unnerved by own bedroom too many corners corners let things in. The last month has taken a toll on me, I am barely able to sleep, let alone perform magic. If my research is to bear any fruit, I am left with only one recourse. I must travel to the Labyrinth physically and attempt to ambush whatever is stalking me. A Beast hardly expects you to attack it in its lair, after all.

That’s only part of the reason. The remainder is the hunger to see this forbidden place in person. I have been haunted, teased, tormented by second-hand glances, second-hand words. I need to see it in person.

-I will regret what I have done to open this portal for the rest of my life But I still did it willingly

-There are no stars here in the dark, only shattered and shackled worlds spiralling about Oblivion. My Beast has found me, where I am meant to be.

Come find me, walk my road, there’s no point in running

All paths lead to the Labyrinth.

2016-09-22, 07:24 AM
I really appreciate the amount of depth you and your players put into this campaign. I wish I had the time to read the backstories from the players!

2016-09-22, 01:16 PM
I will do super brief summaries!

And I can make mocking parody-summaries because a) I'm a jerk, and b) I had a large chunk to do with most of the backstories:smallbiggrin:

Angelena's parents: You have been blessed by the heavens, dear child!
Fate: Time for everyone you love to Die!
Angelena: Well, at least I avenged my family with these nifty cleric powers, and can devote myself to a life of service to Pelor!
Fate again: Have a terrible Curse!
Angelena: OH COME ON

Wizard: Construct, I have created you to be my servant and bodyguard!
Puck: ...user access denied. Running Murder.Exe!
Wizard's apprentice: Don't worry, I'll take care of you
Puck: DisproportionateResponse.sys and Lethalprotectiveness.exe are online!
Wizard's apprentice: Sleep mode! Sleep mode!
*Some time later*
Angelena: Hmm, what's this?
Puck: Greetings, new user! All systems nominal!

Sona: You know, being a sorcerer is pretty cool. And I have draconic blood too!
The Traveler: Hey, you know what else is cool?
Sona: What?
The Traveler: A soul-binding Curse! No charge!
Sona: :smalleek:

Think The Hunted (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunted_(2003_film)) but with robots and archery

Talvosh: Why am I so angry all the time?
Fate: Have a Curse!
Talvosh:......*Rage intensifies*

These may or may not be accurate in the slightest, but I never let the facts get in the way.

And alas, no game this Saturday, as I haven't completed enough of the Temple/dungeon because OverwatchAsh vs Evil Dead reasons.

2016-09-22, 03:56 PM
a) I'm a jerk,
These may or may not be accurate in the slightest, but I never let the facts get in the way.

This is the reason why we love you. :D

2016-09-24, 11:48 PM

2016-09-27, 06:12 AM
Talvosh: Why am I so angry all the time?
Fate: Have a Curse!
Talvosh:......*Rage intensifies*

I feel like this could be some social commentary about a lot of actual people.

2016-09-28, 08:30 AM
Curious Puzzle, what would you think about new Vitae powers for both magic-user and non-magic classes to benefit from?

Right now, I think you mentioned full heal and fueling metamagic. The first is good for enyone, the second is useless for non-casters. I think it could be cool to allow more actions that burn Vitae - let the players deplete their life. :smalltongue:

The powers should strong but not overpowered, to give a reason to burn the precious, precious Vitae.

What I came up with:

as a free action before any roll, burn a Vitae and roll twice; pick the better roll,
as an immediate action, burn a Vitae to auto-succeed on any saving throw,
as a free action even outside one's turn, burn a Vitae to gain a bonus move action at the end of the current (N)PC's turn,
as a free action before attacking, burn a Vitae to auto-hit; still roll because of criticals,
as a free action before attacking, burn a Vitae and if the attack hits, score a confirmed critical; if you miss - bye bye, Vitae :smallbiggrin:,
as a full-round action, burn a Vitae to remove a single status effect from yourself (this may be too strong :smallconfused:),
at a kindled bonfire, burn a Vitae to heal either ability damage or negative levels,
at a kindled bonfire, burn a Vitae to gain temporary hit points equal to your level that last until depleted or death (you gain more estus from the bonfire :smalltongue:),
as a 10 minute ritual, burn a Vitae to light a new bonfire (again, probably very/too strong).

BTW, could I ask how much Vitae does everyone have? Is anyone in risk of hollowing? :smallbiggrin:

2016-09-28, 10:12 AM
If we were actually keeping Talvosh from taking Vitae after his troll death fiasco? He'd be down to one or two - he'still at the point where he's looking a little corpse-Ish.

The rest of us are in the 6-9 range. Vitae is hard to come by when you're not willing to slaughter innocent children and people for it in droves....


2016-09-28, 10:21 AM
Vitae ideas, some of which are accurate

Red_Kangaroo, you're peeping into my brain again...


:smallbiggrin: But yes, the group has been very careful with their Vitae, and have not been willing to experiment with such a precious resource. They have qualified to figure out another use or two, however...next time they rest at a Bonfire.

2016-09-28, 10:52 AM
Red_Kangaroo, you're peeping into my brain again...

I'm sorry, but I can't help it! :smallfrown: Your brain is so deliciousss and sssoft, rife with ideasss... :smalltongue:

Anyway, I must say I like the Vitae reviving mechanic.

I always disliked the cheap death in D&D, just as I dislike it in some (*cough* Marvel *cough*) comics. Death is just a status effect if you can remove it any number of times you want. On the other hand, it's just so easy to die sometimes... And having your character killed, especially if you have taken some time to give him background and personality, feels bitter and awful. Especially after you've failed a single save...

I think Vitae is a very elegant solution - you can have a dangerous adventure where the risk of death is real, yet you don't need to fear for your character that much every time you fall low on health, but it's a finite resource and once you're hollow, you're hollow. At least for me, that's a nice balance between cheap death and too harsh/unfair death.

TL;DR: I know, I know. But I can't stop myself once I start typing! :smallbiggrin:

P.S.: How much of a chance do we have to see anything from Bloodborne? :smallwink:

2016-09-28, 09:38 PM
Thank you!

And yes, there is an entire city (and possibly underground ruins) where I crammed all the stuff I shamelessly purloined from Bloodborne.

2016-10-08, 02:05 AM
We played tonight because of scheduling, so here's a sneak peek!

One of our players managed to get a bunch of Dwarven Forge from another acquaintance, so I spent a couple hours yesterday making up a dungeon! Here's some pics, writeup will be sometime tomorrow:


2016-10-08, 02:06 AM
And another peek!

2016-10-08, 08:56 AM
Sorry if it looks like I disappeared, though I sort of did. Just checking back to make sure it's still here, looks like things are going well. Hopefully I'll catch up before the conclusion.

2016-10-08, 08:54 PM
I'll eventually forgive your heinous abandonment, Fizban.

One day.But I'll never forget

27th session, and as mentioned I had a whole bunch of Dwarven Forge set up. Time consuming, but it was lots of fun to fiddle with, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.


Catching back up with the party, they had defeated the first guardian, and descended the stairs into the ziggurat. Inside was another Portal, and the heroes step though.

It transports everyone to a large circular room. In the centre of the floor is a massive hatch/sealed gate. There are 4 archways leading in opposite directions, and 3 large indentations set around the hatch. The faint crackle of a Bonfire echoes down one hallway, and the gang hustles there. Inside is one of the smallest Bonfires everyone has ever seen, flickering fitfully in a brazier. The party decides to take a full day to rest and prepare for whatever dangers lie ahead. With the Forged repairing, Talvosh patiently waiting until murder-happy-fun-time, and Angelena praying, Sona snoops around the room and manages to find some sheafs of paper hidden in one corner. And one of them is writing from the pesky Vaughn guy!

So we’ve made it to Logos, and through that portal to Revelation. Revelation, this temple buried in the ashes of what seems like an entire world. It’s been...hard. I think we’re all going a little mad, in one way or another.

I can’t taste sugar anymore. That shouldn’t be that large of a matter, but it frightens me, for what could be next. Gwyneyr is stronger than ever, full of life and passion. But she’s also got a gleam in her eyes when she looks at the rest of us, that isn’t healthy. Baltan died several times, and it almost looks like he had started rotting before he managed to find more Vitae. Medea is doing better, at least.

Logos was strange. Squatting in the ruins of greatness past, it seemed. If the Cursed, sorry, the “Marked,” can live for as long as the Flamekeepers claim, why hasn’t anything improved more than the bare minimum? Have they all given up at some level? And that insane Library! So much knowledge, locked away behind a psychotic bully!!! Hmph. Once we’ve made it through whatever this place is, I’m going back to give that Pathos a piece of my mind.

Speaking of getting through this temple, I suspect that everything here will be a test of some sort. First one seems simple. Three hallways besides the one that lead here, three open slots above the massive stone hatch leading further down. Obviously there’s some power sources of some sort. This shan’t be difficult!

…*writing is from a later date*


*Further date*


*Further date*


I get a few glares for that one. Once everyone's spells are prepped, damage is healed, and blades are sharpened, they charge ahead to the top passageway!

It seems to be a display room of some sort, but in a terrible state of disrepair. Armor stands barely stay upright, various weapons and pieces of armor are caked in dust and rust, and there are piles of miscellaneous equipment in the corners. There is a stout-looking sealed door in the one corner. Beyond that, Puck and Spotter notice that there is a strange spot on one wall that is notably cleaner than the rest...as if there was something hanging there. Rummaging through the piles (Sona uses detect magic but strangely doesn't pick anything up), the group manages to find a metal plaque. Inscribed on it is:

Iron roof
Glass walls
Forever burns
But never falls

Talvosh guesses it first, and the party rummages through the detritus. They manage to find a heavy iron lantern, and as soon as Angelena picks it up, a clean white light shines out from the lantern. It still doesn't register as magic, so Sona takes a closer look and realizes that it's under an obscuring aura of sorts to hide the magic. A nearby longsword seems to be doing the same...Spotter does the classic Conan clang (if you don't know what I mean, shame on you), and years of rust and dirt cracks off to reveal a remarkably light and sharp longsword. It is in fact a +2 keen mithral longsword!

While the party was fiddling with the sword and debating on the use of the lantern, though, Angelena notices that the lantern is getting steadily brighter...and the handle is getting hotter. When it deals fire damage to her, she drops the lantern and the light immediately goes out. Curious, they open the door in the corner to reveal absolute pitch black darkness. None of the party's darkvision can see anything at all...but when someone picks up the lantern, the white light pushes the darkness back. After some debate, Puck takes the lantern, and grabs the new longsword. Into the darkness they go!

It is really dark (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xW_AFUxABQ) inside. Only the lantern allows anything to be seen - and their vision stops dead at the edge of the light. Everyone shuffles their minis down the corridors (I classily move sheets of paper back and forth to represent visible sections) until they come to a closed door with a heavy padlock. Using knock makes quick work of that, but the party also hears the scrape of stone on stone, and ominous breathing in the distance...after the party buffs up, Puck pulls the door open, and reveals a horribly desiccated and dust-coated Hollow. With a shuddering gasp, it lurches towards him! Initiative!

Individually, the Dust wight isn't really threatening to the party. But they're tough, and tight quarters means they should damage the Forged badly, and force lots of saves to paralyzing dust. Blur works in the party's favor, however, and most attacks against Puck and Talvosh miss as several wights shamble forth. Spotter fires off arrows while Sona uses Snake's swiftness to attack by proxy. Puck rushes forward some more, though, and leaves the non-melee trio in the dark. Sona and Angelena manage to make it to the light in time, but Spotter doesn't. Something brushes an icy hand against his neck, and he takes 6 points of constitution drain.

Or he would have, but I grant him the GM cookie for screwing him over last game, and he makes his save instead. Truly, I am a benevolent god. He scrambles into the light after that, and warns everyone to not go into the dark. Puck and Talvosh are still flailing back and forth with the wights, so Angelena turns to the darkness. After we check that Turn undead only needs line of effect, not line of sight, she busts out a Greater Turning and blows the Ashwraith to nothing! The remaining Dust Wights are chopped down with little incident after that. As the room is searched, Spotter nearly finds a Trapdoor with his whole body, but manages to stay upright as the trap-door slams open and closed. Which would leave someone trapped by themselves in complete darkness. Sona and Puck trigger the trapdoor again to peek inside for treasure, but all they see is a quick flash of hateful dead eyes gleaming before they vanish.

The party isn't worried by this, not at all...

Puck is actually taking a notable amount of fire damage from the lantern, so they put Energy resistance onto Sona, and pass it off to her. Puck happily goes back to his giant axe of doom.

The party continues creeping down the dark hallways, and the eerie whispers from the blackness continue. One voice goes a little louder, though.

"TURN OUT THE LIGHT." Will saves for everyone! Spotter is the only one who fails and tries to swat the lantern out of Sona's hand, but Sona's mirror images foil him and keeps the light going. The gang picks up the pace to the next door after that. Said next door has a trap-door right in front of it, which Puck avoids thanks to his spiderlegs. Said spider-legs allow Puck to clamber onto the wall next to the trap-door, and give a bonus to everyone else to get across the trapdoor. Spotter makes it across, then Sona does. However, Sona steps around the corner...and leaves everyone but her and Spotter in the dark.

This pleases me. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7_K28GZHdo)

Alas, everyone makes their saves vs the constitution drain, and frantically leaps across the trap-door to make back to the safety of the light. The door slams shut behind them with a scream of frustrated rage.

The room the party is in seems to be a dead end...except for the secret passage!

There really was a secret passage in one of the walls, swung on a hinge and everything.

The party has to creep in single file down this passage, and swiftly the sound of footsteps approach towards them. Puck crawls to the ceiling, while Spotter, Sona, and Talvosh all ready actions to attack whatever comes out of the dark. Said dust wight nearly dies on the spot...but then there's an eerie pulse of purplish energy that harms everyone and invigorates the wight! Another wight trundles up to reinforce, and the fight is on!

Sona flies up to the ceiling to keep light on everyone and stay out of the way. She also manages to save vs a suggestion to throw the lantern away *shakes fist*. As the party brawls it out with the dust wights, another creature comes into view. It seems to be a skeleton, but made out of metal, with backwards-jointed legs. It lets out another pulse of negative energy, but I roll far too many 1s for it to be threatening. The wights eventually go down, and the party faces off with the Shadesteel Golem!

They haven't realized it's a golem yet though, so Angelena's Sound lance bounces harmlessly, and Spotter's arrow barrage is ineffective vs a surprisingly high AC. Even Talvosh misses a couple times, so Puck goes with the no-attack roll needed option and repeatedly bull rushes it into the wall. Meanwhile, Sona is too close to the ceiling (and distracted by the lantern starting to do more damage than the resistance), and a spectral hand grabs her by the spine. She nat-20s her Fort save, though.

After several more smashes, the shadesteel golem goes down, and the group continues.

The narrow corriders finally lead to a large brazier, with what seems to be an overly large Vitae crystal floating within the flames. Guessing that it's one of the power sources needed to open the hatch, the group picks it up after determining that the Vitae is safely wrapped within a small orb of force. As the brazier goes out, a scream of maddened fury echoes through the halls! Doors slam open and shut repeatedly, and the aura of imminent doom increases greatly. The party seems a little perturbed by the ashwraith's anger, and quickly hustles out of the maze. After one incident on the way out involving a door slamming shut and splitting the party (and Talvosh having to make 6 saves vs drain over 2 rounds), the remaining doors on the trip back and demolished.

We call it for the night there, with one of the rooms being completed!

Still 28
Dice weren't on my side this night, plus we were all distracted playing with the shiny dwarven forge

2016-10-14, 03:44 AM
I finally managed to find the time to finish the backstories!

I'll be so pissed if Sona can't make it back to Verlaine. :smalltongue:

2016-10-14, 12:06 PM
I finally managed to find the time to finish the backstories!

I'll be so pissed if Sona can't make it back to Verlaine. :smalltongue:

I know right?
Also - achievement cookie for you sir. That's a lot of reading.

2016-10-18, 12:06 PM
You say you're looking for some happy endings? Let me look in the back, got nothing on the shelf...

...nope, those are backordered. I do have this, instead though:


2016-10-19, 12:37 PM
You say you're looking for some happy endings?

Oh, I definitely don't expect a happy ending. This is Dark Souls campaign we're talking about. :smallmad:

If I was to imagine an ending to this campaign, I'd probably say:

After long struggle full of hardship, after loosing most (if not all) of her companions, after more deaths than she can count, after deeds than she'd rather forget, Sona manages to break her Curse and return home, locking Artaith against all travel, thus leaving the Curse and the Cursed forever behind to rot and never again threaten the Multiverse. Then she finds out Verlain tried to follow and rescue her, acquiring a Curse of his own and departing for Artaith...
Verlain searches long and far, but finally finds a way to open a stable portal between Primes. The price was high and many an archdevil, demilich and mad godling had to be bribed or promised a favor to. Still, Verlaine now can find Sona and bring her safely back home. But what he finds is only a blue-haired Hollow...
Magic is power and one day, Sona is powerful enough to fight her way back to Verlaine. She may not have broken the Curse, but the Traveler have been disintegrated until she Hollowed and then buried on the bottom of the ocean. Sona may still return to Artaith after her death, but now she can just snap her fingers to travel between Primes. But then Sona returns to Verlaine and he does not see her, he sees a frighteningly eldritch crone. He sees a new Traveler.
There are Curses to break, there are fairy debts to pay. But after all is said and done, Sona returns and so does Verlain. They meet after such a long time and see what they both went through. Sona fought in a world as ash and cinder, killed demons and undead and died and died and died... so many times. How many memories of one's own last breaths, flesh ripped from the bone, pain of burning alive and dying over and over again can a human live through? Verlain lived for years among fae, insane reality-benders who do not have alignment of good-evil, lawful-chaotic, but rather blue-orange, socks-pineapple. When you have entered a dream weaved by a bored arch-fey, how can you know whether you left? Have you left, or is this Sona just another of the apparitions the fairies find so funny to throw your way?

Anyway, may I have some irrelevant questions? :smallwink:

What happens to a Marked who dies of old age? Do they instantly or very rapidly Hollow, die and are reborn slightly younger, or simply live forever?
I suppose the Stone Prison means Hollow can be contained by petrification. Can they similarly be "killed off for real" by Polymorph Any Object into a tree, or some soul-trapping stuff?

2016-10-19, 01:38 PM
..... well **** Sherlock! Lol. That's not far off from at least one short writing project that's been done on the side. Sona wouldn't take the Traveller's name though - She'd be The Wanderer lol ;)

Fun FYI - both Verlaine and Kin are being played on our Wednesday game. They are super Adventure Bros!

2016-10-20, 11:36 PM
Alas, due to everyone being busy on different days, doesn't look like there shall be a game this weekend!

Just means I'm going to make the monster stats more silly.

And Red Kangaroo!

No, a Marked cannot die of old age. As long as the will remains, they endure.

And yes, meddling with souls could certainly do bad things(TM) to the unfortunate Cursed/Marked. As for Polymorph any object...eeeehh, I'd use the Tree example at least to make a horrific Cursed Treant.


2016-10-22, 10:01 PM
Ha! Plans finished early - game time!

2016-10-23, 09:03 AM
Ha! Plans finished early - game time!

Excellent news. Looking forward to hear what comes next.

2016-10-25, 05:58 AM
Let's see, so I left off just at the second part of the city battle. Advanced Arrow Demons on Bebiliths you say? On high ground where the puny melee characters get to eat full attacks from the mount for the trouble? Another beastie I'd like to see that stats on. I'm surprised the Bebiliths were that useful, but then I don't think your guys are super high on defenses and they were eating super sized arrow volleys on the way. Would have expected Fly into diving charge but I guess they ran out of Fly before that? Excellent use of Holy Storm as a defensive measure, wouldn't have helped against most spells but perfect for this situation. Ah, seems they were saving the Fly.

Lots of heal spam on both sides against the pyromancer. I hope the party didn't expect Resist Energy to work against a dedicated fire specialist, fine for dragons but Searing Spell is effectively mandatory. I hope the crazy vitae is supposed to be a side effect from the previous owner rather than an explanation for why they were crazy murderers.

I'm not sure how Resurgence helps against Finger of Death, unless you had a rule about instant death being delayed a round.

Interesting scrawlings of madness. I'm always faintly annoyed by trying to think in character for this sort of stuff though: either you're an informed player/character, in which case your character either already knows via knowledge checks or you simply cast the right spells, or the standard mechanics are cut off by the DM, which means there's nothing you can do. The guy probably did take all the appropriate precautions and was simply screwed because the plot said so, because if he'd had the right backup and succeeded there wouldn't be any plot for the PCs to deal with. It's why even though something like Elder Evils sounds good, I still wouldn't want to use it: too much fiat the players are forbidden to interact with (particularly the "whole world eats save or die" sort of effects).

Could I get a refresher on this portal to "revelation?" It must have been mentioned earlier but I don't want to go digging.

Nice trick with the lantern. Was that old-school magical darkness they could have penetrated by other means such as Ebon Eyes or True Seeing, or pure puzzle darkness? Creature in the darkness or field save? Generally I'd let a player cash in a favor on their own terms, but that's a decent value still. Also, I can't remember what book Dust Wights are in but I don't think it's a flubbed name because I remember them being tough as well, unless that was a custom monster you already told us about that I've forgotten. Turn out the light, ha, if anyone's ever fallen for the "try torch" message there that's just sad. And a Shadesteel Golem in a situation where they failed to recognize it immediately.

2016-10-25, 10:27 AM
Let's see, so I left off just at the second part of the city battle. Advanced Arrow Demons on Bebiliths you say? On high ground where the puny melee characters get to eat full attacks from the mount for the trouble? Another beastie I'd like to see that stats on.
Medium Outsider (Chaotic, Evil, Extraplanar, Tanar'ri) Arrow Demon Fighter 4
Hit Dice: 10d8+90+4d10+36 (195 hp)
Initiative: +4
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class: 24 ( +5 armor, +4 Dex, +5 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 20
Base Attack/Grapple: +14/+19
Attack: 2 Large +1 composite longbows (+5 Str bonus) +21/+21 ranged (2d6+9/x3) or claw +19 melee (1d6+5)
Full Attack: 2 Large +1 composite longbows (+5 Str bonus) +21/+21/+16/+16/+11/+11 ranged (2d6+9/x3) or Rapid shot +19/+19/+19/+19/+14/+14/+9/+9 ranged (2d6+9/x3) or 4 claws +15 melee (1d6+5)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Close combat shot, oversized weapons, spell-like abilities, summon tanar'ri, symmetrical archery
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 5/cold iron and good, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to electricity and poison, resistance to acid 10, cold 10, and fire 10, spell resistance 22, telepathy 100 ft.
Saves: Fort +20, Ref +13, Will +11
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 20, Con 29, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 12
Skills: Balance +17, Bluff +14, Concentration +21, Hide +17, Listen +16, Move Silently +17, Ride +19, Sense Motive +16, Spot +16
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (longbow), Mounted Combat (bonus), Mounted Archery (bonus), Improved mounted archery, Weapon Specialization (longbows)(bonus)
Environment: Infinite Layers of the Abyss
Organization: Solitary, pair, team (3-5), or squad (6-10)
Challenge Rating: 11
Treasure: 2 Large +1 composite longbows and arrows, Greater bracers of archery, +2 studded leather armor
Alignment: Always chaotic evil

I hope the crazy vitae is supposed to be a side effect from the previous owner rather than an explanation for why they were crazy murderers.
Very much side effect, not explanation.

I'm not sure how Resurgence helps against Finger of Death, unless you had a rule about instant death being delayed a round. Alter Fortune sounds totally similar to Resurgence...the words are practically the same. *cough*.
Just mixing up names.

Interesting scrawlings of madness. I'm always faintly annoyed by trying to think in character for this sort of stuff though: either you're an informed player/character, in which case your character either already knows via knowledge checks or you simply cast the right spells, or the standard mechanics are cut off by the DM, which means there's nothing you can do. The guy probably did take all the appropriate precautions and was simply screwed because the plot said so, because if he'd had the right backup and succeeded there wouldn't be any plot for the PCs to deal with. It's why even though something like Elder Evils sounds good, I still wouldn't want to use it: too much fiat the players are forbidden to interact with (particularly the "whole world eats save or die" sort of effects).
I can certainly agree on it being difficult to balance. I don't want it to be "haha you learn nothing until I say you can," but it can't really be a world-threatening curse if a bunch of 4th level spells can figure everything out. The players haven't tried too much with divination magic, but there is some info that can be gleaned (just not everything).

And of course the nameless mage is doomed, it's a pre-requisite for being the author of an Apocalyptic Log. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ApocalypticLog) :smallbiggrin: Nah, he did take all the proper precautions for summoning and binding the daemon. The issue was sending his essence into an unfamiliar and hostile plane of existence.

Could I get a refresher on this portal to "revelation?"
The Pilgrim's path must be followed for the Marked to reach Revelation. That's the phrase that kept being mentioned to the heroes - dual meaning that the temple/portal is named Revelation, and that those who complete the trials receive Revelation about Artaith and the Curse.

Nice trick with the lantern. Was that old-school magical darkness they could have penetrated by other means such as Ebon Eyes or True Seeing, or pure puzzle darkness?
Thanks! It was a series of heightened Blacklight spells. So Ebon eyes or true seeing would have worked, or a heightened light spell, or dispel would have worked as well.

Also, I can't remember what book Dust Wights are in but I don't think it's a flubbed name because I remember them being tough as well, unless that was a custom monster you already told us about that I've forgotten.
They are tough, from MMIII. They're just CR 7 though, so individually no longer a threat to the PCs.

Turn out the light, ha, if anyone's ever fallen for the "try torch" message there that's just sad.
? Sorry if I made the writeup unclear, but "Turn out the light" was a Mass Suggestion effect