Two Pathfinder games in one month. This is madness! This game was set a week before Big Bad Con and the day after I ran a Tough Mudder. I had a lot to do still to prep for the con, but was incapable of doing much more than roll dice and drink beer thanks to a sprained hand and a billion scrapes and bruises.
Frosty beverages in hand, we sat down to game!
This session we started our setup in Rostov, looking at the Aldori lands (or land as they case may be).
Syrian I – Manor House
- Now dilapidated by years of neglect
- Huge sprawling manor, much of it (including the great hall) is unused.
- We have money to live in and maintain the residence halls, servant quarters, and Bog’s trophy room inside the south tower.
Savia Aldori – Twin sister of Athon, she is now the black sheep of the family. At first everyone understood when she mourned her brother’s death, but five years later she is still mourning him, and she never mourns sober.
Domingo Aldori – A proud Aldori duelist and rising start of the family. Domingo was incensed that Bog picked the daughters of Aldori accept the charter.
Arlette (no family name) – Arlette was a harlot that fell in love with Edward Aldori in a case where he was defending her. Surprisingly, he returned her love, and married her. Part of the reason he still takes on such lowly cases is for his fondness of his wife, and memory of where she was long ago.
Maria Aldori (Barberas) – Maria, widow of Athon came from the Barberas family but is now fiercely loyal to the Aldori, even after Athon’s death.
And an adventuring we would go…
Mik Mek, the Magnificent
Mik Mek, the kobold ally we had gained last time, turned out to be quite the charmer, and quite the devious manipulator. As we traveled and shared tales, he gradually lured us into talking about House Aldori and our charter. Once she caught onto this Merrowyn used the familiarity they had developed to find out about chief Sootscale and the demon worshiper Tartuk, the Kobold shaman that worshiped the demon Sharptooth (of which we now carried an idol of).
Mik told us he could get us to the chief, but after that we were on our own. So we made a plan to offer him trade with a powerful noble house (hey, it once was true, and we’re still noble), but before we would work with him, we had to know he was the sovereign ruler of his clan. You know, with no outside influences.
As we entered a hidden Kobold with a spear (Nat Pick) was disarmed by Mik Mek’s chiding. He wondered why “bigems” were being led into the clan’s lair, but Mik Mek told him it was better if he let smarter Kobolds do the thinking. As we ventured in, we noticed a fallen board that identified this as Silvertop Mine. Whut? Unpossible! Two mines, just waiting to be harvested.
Down with False Gods
Negotiations went well (I got a 27 on my Diplomacy roll) and despite perhaps his better judgement, Sootscale took the Ivory Statue we brought back and shattered it on the ground! Of course Tartuk was watching all of this and preparing. The fight was on!
He got a surprise round on all of us and decreed that Sharptooth would have his vengeance… and then cast burning hands on half the humans and kobolds gathered there.
The fight itself was a good one. Tartuk had a ton of defensive spells cast (Blur, Windy Escape, and possibly others) and he summoned up a Dredge to fight along side him. But we had three melee fighters beating on his head, so even with his defenses bolstered, Tartuk was not long for this world. His begrudgingly summoned demon, fought as it was commanded, even after the sorcerer (shaman my eye!) had perished.
During the fight, when Merrowny realized that Tartuk wasn’t a shaman at all, but a sorcererous charlatan, and that he had been duping the kobolds into following his conjured up god, it really upset her. Deities are, by their nature, divine, and for a mortal to usurp their power (even if that power is just the influence over other mortals) is an offence against the heavens. So yeah, she raged out, and did that crazy thing you can only do while raging, which is keep standing (and fighting) while technically at negative hit points, but currently positive due to the constitution bump from raging.
Making friends and looting caves!
Sootscale was grateful that we defeated Tartuk and was happy to let us loot his corpse and raid his quarters…where we found all kinds of treasures:
- Wand of Magic Missiles (26 charges) – Merrowyn
- Masterwork Small Cold Iron Sickle – Elara
- Amulet of Natural Armor +1 – Elara
- Ring of Protection +1 – Miquela
- Feather Tokens: Fan, Anchor, Camp site, and Swan Boat – Merrowyn
- 7,420 cp (yay for high strength)
- 2132 sp
- 203 gp
- Masterwork light metal shield
- Boots of Elvenkind – Merrowny (hah, tumble master!)
- +1 Flaming Arrows (x7) – Miquela
- And some more cash:
- 321 sp
- 249 gp
- 33 pp
- Dust of Illusion (1 use) – Merrowyn
- Silver ring with a pearl on it – Yay, Svetlana’s ring!
- Tartuk’s journal with his life/death/life story, and a fly scroll in the back – Dude, he was one messed up Gnobold!
Sootscale also shared with us some information including the general location of the Stag Lord, where a ford in the Shrike and Thorn rivers was, where we could find a working bridges, and that he had not seen Fangrim, our missing bandit.
Return to Olegs
With supplies low we headed back to Olegs, though we took the time to explore another plains area on our way back. There we found he lair of a trapdoor spider… and we stabbed it in the face bits.
In it’s lair we found a dead bandit (but not Fangrim) and on his body found a short sword, stag lord pendant (now we have 3) and scrap of paper in his boot with a treasure map… to the wizards’ treasure we had already found.
Good times at the trading post
We returned to the trading post to unload our haul, collect our bounties (800 gp for dealing with the Kobolds), and re-provision. While there we had a few choice encounters.
Jahad Cafcan – A wandering missionary with visions of a lost temple of Erastil.
A trapper who told us to be wary in the woods, it was filled with woodsmen, hunters, and trappers that were not as friendly as he… and also wild animals.
Markus the Mouth – After may drinks and more playful flirting, Merrowyn asked Markus if he wanted to show her how he got his nickname. Fade to black, but in the morning Tad, without saying a word, served her an abortifacient tea. “It coats, all the way down to the uterus” – Miquela (quote of the game).
We also restocked on some of potions Oleg had received since we last visited (for which he charges us a minor 400gp):
- Cure Light Wounds (CL: 2, x2) – Elara
- Protection From Evil (CL: 2, x1) – Elara
- Shield of Faith (CL: 2, x1) – Merrowyn
Aldo’s Tree House
Traveling west from Oleg’s trading post we found a giant tree house, big enough for a whole family, but currently only occupied by an old hunter named Aldo. He was a pleasant fellow, came down and shared lunch with us, and told us a bit of his life. His wife had passed and his children wanted more from life than a fancy tree house next to dangerous woods. So he was left to himself, living in the woods as he liked it.
Though he was old and lived in a tree, Aldo was no Bokken’s brother… thank goodness.
Also said he had seen Fangrim a month back or so, and sent him packing with an arrow at his feet. He told us to watch out for the fey in these woods as the were capricious creatures. After a nice lunch we headed west into the woods.
Make a perception check he says. Fail it we do. Make a Knowledge (Nature) check he says. Fail it we do. Rolls a die at random he does and CHOMP, a big old bite is taken out of Elara, but some wolf headed creature that stalked us in the woods.
Greatswords are great. One mighty cut (a critical hit mind you) and the beast dropped.
Make a Fortitude save he says. Fail it Elara does.
Oh well, it was some scary beast in the woods, but we cut it down. No worries, I’m sure.
Make a perception check he says. Fail it Merrowny does. CHOMP, a bear trap nearly takes off her leg (Thank Gorum for 2nd level). With some work (and a lot of asking “why are we in the woods again”) Merrowyn found the release, and popped open the trap (yay, disable device).
Then the party looked around and found another, and another, and another. After some careful poking around with sticks, we found a dozen bear traps in one narrow pass. Clearly the pass that any travelers (not necessarily animals) would take. Who the hell set these and what (or who) were they trying to trap (or kill)?
Loot collected: 12 bear traps!
As we continued to travel, out of no where, bees descened upon us all and stung us like crazy. Then Tad’s shoelaces were mysteriously tied together. That night there was a snake in pot, and spiders in his sleeping bag. Yep, you guessed it, we had wandered into Fey territory.
Using almond cookies from Svetlana as bait, and a readied entangle spell to capture the, we caught a single Girg named Tyg’titter’tut (Tigger reference anyone) and her Faerie Dragon companion Perlivash. We traded cookies for amnesty!
They also told us of the hunter that set the traps, that he was a “bad man” and that Tig might have tripped one of his traps while he was setting it up, and how maybe, just maybe, the several hundred pound log that fell on him crushed him to death… you know, good faerie fun.
No funeral for the bad man
We found a the hunter, tapped as the fey said under a log, and long dead. He had thrown an axe at someone or something while trapped under the log, and had stuck into a nearby tree, but otherwise we learned nothing about the man.
We took his axe but I’m a little disappointed 4 we didn’t even think to bury (or other wise tend to) his corpse.
Loot collected: Masterwork Handaxe
Temple of Erastil
A tromping through the woods we went until we came to a strange clearing. The glade was surrounded by broken and overgrown pillars that created the perimeter and was dominated by a large murky pool some 20 feet wide and 50 feet long. It’s sluggish waters are covered in a thick layer of scum and have a foul smell. Beyond the pool a crumbling set of stone stairs lead up into a large dark cave.
As we approached, wary or what we might find in the cave a giant bear, the likes of which we had never seen came charging out and attacked immediately! You know what’s good against big monsters? Big swords. The daughters of Aldori got stabby in a hurry, which was good because the giant bear was going to tear us in half otherwise.
When the beast fell, we all had a what the hell moment. As it collapsed it turned into a man, who whispered “Thank you” and then aged a thousand years in a few seconds, turning to dust before our eyes.
After that a giant elk (to which Merrowyn raised her sword to, but Miquela forced her to bring it down) came to sip at the murky pool, and in doing so cleansed it and all of the old temple. The elk looked at us knowingly, nodded, and the retreated out of site (out of existence) into the woods. Yup, I think we got a visit from a god. Pretty bad ass.
Seeing the water purified we all drank from it. I was perfectly clear and crisp, healed all of our wounds, and the infection which we did not know about lingering in Elara’s veins.
Back to Olegs we go
After this we headed back to Oleg’s trading post, with a bit of loot, and some good news in hand. Jahad was so happy that we found the temple he immediately raced of to go find it himself. Svetlana was kind and Oleg was grouchy. All is well in the world.
2900 XP. That gives each player a grand total of 6686 (3rd level, hell yeah).
Masterwork Light Metal Shield (159gp) (Sell for half)
Wand of Magic Missles (26 Charges, 1170gp) (Merrowyn)
4 Feather Tokens (Fan, Anchor, Camp Site, Swan Boat) (Merrowyn)
Ring of Protection +1 (Miquela)
Amulet of Natural Armor +1 (Elara)
Boots of Elvenkind (Merrowyn)
7x +1 Flaming Arrows (Miquela)
Dust of Illusion (Merrowyn)
Small Materwork Cold Iron Sickle (Elara)
Stag Lord Pendant (Miquela)
Short Sword (10gp) (Sell for half)
12x Beartraps (24gp) (Merrowyn)
Masterwork Handaxe (306) (Sell for half)
Scroll of Fly (Merrowyn)
Total: + 2447
2 x Cure Light Wounds (2nd) (Elara)
1 x Protection from Evil (2nd) (Elara)
1 x Shield of Fatih (2nd) (Merrowyn)
Total: -400gp (take off our credit at Oleg’s)
800gp- Making peace with the Sootscale Kobolds
1000gp – Svetlana’s wedding ring
Jahad’s thanks – Finding the temple or Erastil
Net Gain: 2847 gp
Our total cash = 5123 (850 of that credit at Olegs).
The mercenary band deserter (4 masterwork weapons)
Fang berry bushel to Boken “old man” (Deal on potions)
Stag Lord’s body – “Safe” passage across the river.
Thoughts on this game
Dennis opted to use the Critical Hit cards instead of the standard double damage. They are, um, brutal. In I think every instance we drew, they were devastating. In once case 3d6 dexterity damage just ruined someone’s Armor Class. In another after the double damage we also caused the baddy to bleed, which didn’t really matter since it was dead, dead, dead, but still. Brutal.
For monsters he opted to have their crits just do max damage. Dangerous, yes, but not wildly off the chart.
Really torn in this game. I love the family being developed, I’m also a greed gamer chasing loot/XP. I like them both but I’m not sure if Pathfinder works well mashing them together. If Kingmaker has any family “quests” involving returning to Rostov and setting things right, that would be killer.
Pathfinder has lots of options, and though they seems to fit together more thematically than the hodgepodge of feats and prestige classes in 3.5, it’s still big list. Between all the archetypes, class powers (like rogue talents and rage powers), feats, and magic items one could potentially buy, character building can be a bit staggering. Guides are a double edge sword. They help you weed out some of the poor choices and illuminate some good ones, but they also expose you to a whole new realm of optimization that feels very much like why I got sick of 3.5 (optimization at the expense of any kind of credibility or authenticity).
Really loving this game. I’m so ready to go kick some Stag Lord ass.