The Belly of the Beast
Armaug’s tomb. If not an avatar of Gorum, Armaug was clearly his most decorated hero. Doors made of Great Wyrm Dragon skulls, walls made of gods blood ore, and mighty guardians proved that Armaug and the weapon he weilded were of mythic proportions.
Iron Golem Door Jams
Having dispatched the golem we took the door on our right, assuming the door on the left led back to a whole mess of other traps and tests.
So the doors cold not slam shut behind us we propped the decaptitated head of the Iron Golem between the doors to porp them open. What little good that did us.
The hallway was full of a think billowing fog. In the form of an Air Elemental Elara attempted to disburse the fog, but at best she could hold it at bay. The fog once blow furhter than Elara could push it, returned on it’s own accord, intent on engulfing us. The swirling winds offered us so security however, at least we were able to see the area around us.
After walking down the hall for quite a while we spotted gpyphs eteched with metal into the marble walls. Olivetta identified the glphys as the marks of great warrors of old. These were all solidiers of Gorum who appear to have enscribed their mark on this wall in a form of eternal (and voluntary) service to their god.
Just as Merrowyn and Santiago though of making their own marks (Santiago in fact lifted a leg) we heard something in the mist. A metalic clicking of broken gears grinding together.
From in front AND behind giant spider demons emerged! They were covered in chitin that looked hard as metal, and the grinding noise of their plates grinding against each other was maddening….literally. Though the wiser Daughters of Aldori managed to resist the effect, Merrowyn and Santiago fell to the siren song of death and destruction. As though all the distractions in the world faded away suddenly Merrowyn only knew one things: Kill or be killed. She growled something incomprehensible and lunged forward with her mighty blade (Feeblemind spell, Intelligence and Charisma dropped to 1).
The battle was brutal. Not only did these Derghodaemon demons slice and dice (and rend), they also summoned swarms. They were also resistant to our weapons (presumably DR 10/Adamantine), and at least fire, ice, and electricity. We didn’t try acid!
In this fight I figured out Merrowny’s “big” move with a 1 intelligence. Run up fast (take the attack of opportunity) and hit it hard. Vital Strike + Lead Blades (cast before the fight) + Sneak Attack (via Skirmisher) + Power Attack = 10d6+22
They made us dumb, they shredded us well (lots of damage plus a fair amount of constitution damage), the summoned a creeping doom on our heads. It was bad.
But we weren’t out of tricks. This is also the fight where we figured out “go for crits” is a good option. Normally when fighting things with damage reduction, Miquela switches up to use a single sword in both hands. High attack bonus and a bit more damage. This time however she stayed in ginsu mode (5 attacks per round with Blessing of Fervor) and just went for as many crits as she could get. Which was a lot. she chopped of legs, pincers, you name it. If an appendage stuck out, she was in the business of hacking it off!
The worst was when we killed them… the just went -pop- and disapparated to some hell dimension. It’s like the worst we did was make them stay after school for detention.
What they left behind though, besides injured adventurers, was a quite stupified Santiago and Merrowyn. The big dog came over and started licking Merrowyn…so she did the same back to him.
After some concern of what would we do with these two barely intelligent critters (to which I suggested just point us at things to kill) Dennis interrupted our discussion with some clarity coming through over the din. Above her, resonating through her Merrowyn heard Marcus’ familiar voice saying “I’ll call in that marker now.”
A moment later… all was back to normal, except what was that horrible wet dog taste in her mouth!?!
It was a miracle! Or many be a wish or limited wish. Either way we were back to ourselves. Or so we thought (see whining dog below).
Embarrassed. Awkward. Determiner. We proceeded down a long corridor and into another chamber… where skeleton warrior of old fired bows at us. Nice welcoming!
Elara toned her whirlwind down, cast obscuring mist, and let the fog from the corridor appear to spill into the big chamber. This gave us a few moments to cast a few spells and get ready for skeleton smashing!
Fast Armor – Bash with Magic Club. Zoom up for Vital Strike – Power Sneak Attack. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Fire Snake to all your Faces. Lightning Bolt.
What was dead is dead again (at least for now).
Shaman of Gorum
Past the hall was another set of worker’s quarters filled with various historical artifacts. Past them stairs led down into a long chamber with a massive glowing figure at the end.
“Does he have big boots?” I asked.
“Yeah, he’s got big boots, but but that’s mostly because he’s 12′ tall” The gleeful GM responded. I guess it wasn’t Armaug.
The Shaman called forth for one of us to step to announce themselves. I think Merrowyn finally lived down the fact that she missed a guy with her sword when he was trying to take a crap.
“I am Merrowyn Aldori and the blood of Gorum’s foes has been many times shed by my blade. I come for Ovinrbanne, the blade that is rightfully mine.”
[Intimidate Roll DC 35 – Nailed it!]
“You may pass”
Armaug the Angry
As we walked forward we stepped down into another chamber and heard – before we saw – the bellows of Armaug, enraged.
“Coglyn, I knew you would betray me!”
“I’m sorry, are you talking to me?” Said a confused Miquela “Because I’m not Coglyn, but we are here to kick your ass.” (Or you know, something cool like that).
The bodies of his twelve dead companions animated and we fought the Barbarian Baker’s Dozen.
The fight was tough. Armaug hit like a truck and his companions were no chumps either. But he was also insane and that made him oddly more predictable. We knew he was just going to kill whatever was in front of him (or int the case of his Great Cleave, whatever was all around him).
As he fought he continued to hallucinate, shouting at us
“Sysyl, I cast you out once from my bed, you’ll never spurn me again!”
“Tez, you were always jealous of me!”
“Estrella, you meddlesome druid!”
He died impaling Merrowyn as she impaled him. Pulling the great blade out of her, she held it for one moment before everything went black. Voices and people from a time long past appeared, spoke indecipherably to her, and then she woke with her friends all bruised and battered around her. “It’s okay guys, I’m alright.”
The Real Armaug
Behind this room was the burial chamber where the original Armaug laid completely still as though sleeping. He did not move, did not breath, but otherwise seemed unaffected by either death or the hundreds (thousands?) of years that he had laid there. Merrowyn whispered to him that she would now carry his blade and smite Gorum’s foes.”
My job is done here
When we returned to the shaman guard he had returned to man size (I guess he wasn’t normally 12′ tall) and gave us thanks for relieving him. Then he aged a thousand years in a moment and turned to dust.
All the looting
We then looted the hell out of the false Armaug (but not the original), the fallen barbarians, and the shaman. Here was our impressive haul:
- Greatsword +1 (x20)
- Compostie Longbow +1 (+4 Strength) (x8)
- Breastplate +1 (x20)
- Historical Artifacts (1400gp)
- Breastplate +3 w/ Masterwork Armor Spikes
- Keen Battleaxe +2
- Amulet of Natural Armor +2
- Ring of Protection +2
- Belt of Physical Might (+2 Strength, +2 Constittution)
- 599 Platinum Pieces
- 11378 Gold Pieces
- 23617 Silver Pieces
- 48832 Copper Pieces
- Diamond (5000gp)
- Fire Opal (1000gp)
- Gems (1500gp)
- Electrum Crown (2500gp)
- Ring of Counterspell
- Wand of Heroism (CL 9)
- Restorative Ointment
- Pearl of Power (Type 3)
- Necklace of Fireballs (Type 2)
- Ruby encrusted silver arm band
- Malachite Necklace (900gp)
- Bag of Holding (Type I)
- Belt of Physical Might (+2 Strength)
- Horseshoes of Speed
- Amulet of Natural Armor +2
- Ring of Protection +2
- Agile Breastplate +2, Wild, Dragonhide, Fire Resistant
- Staff of Mithral Might
You’re coming with me now!
When we exited the temple to find the Tiger Lords they were, well, a little surprised to find us. Merrowyn revealed Ovirnbaane (which she had wrapped in leather before that), held it up high and told all of them, she was their new leader. Much bickering ensued between two of Tiger Lords that spoke common until the calmer one simply stabbed the loud one and then told everyone (we presume) to follow us.
More bickering ensued and Merrowyn threw the great blade into the back of a Tiger Lord that was about to ride off. That convinced a few more to stay, and we rode off with 20 Tiger Lords, who, uninterested in the pasty thin women they had taken hostage, had left them more or less untouched in captivity.
We returned to Fort Drulev with the hostages (and with new of Armaug’s defeat) and proclaimed this town would no longer be known for the Tyrant that found it, but for it’s future as a trade hub of the Sellen River. We dubbed the city Sellen’s Gate and appointed Numesti Lord Mayor.
Taking a very brief rest at The Gate (already shortening it!) we made plans with Numesti to build roads from Ogelton to Sellen’s Gate in the next three months and to Annex Sellen’s gate when we do. In the mean time, the 2nd Aldori Infantry would guard their walls.
We continued the efforts to rebuild the wall, and Merrowyn directed Kobb’s spy to continue working out of Sellen’s Gate and to infiltrate Pitax. We know there will be retribution, we just need to know when.
We crated the body of Nataniel Sordello, so his body could be laid to rest in Restov.
Lost History of the Sordellos and the Aldori!
There, with a few more moments to read Nataniel’s journal, Tad and Miquela discovered more about his past.
As a young man (age 15-18) he was enamored with Sandro’s skill with a blade. Much better than his own.
Later Savia became ill and he tended to her (gout, it runs in the family). She was hard on him and a bitter patient as she hated being ill. Slowly, reluctantly, she falls for him and finally he woes her. Someone taunts her for being with a younger man and, possibly to prove a point, she marries Natanial.
Savia and Sandro are away and miss most of the war with Choral the Conqueror. When they return and see how bad things have gotten Nataniel and Sandro form the Night Blades, a group of swordsman who fight in the shadows for social justice.
When Brevoy surrendered the Knight Blades started fucking with them. Meanwhile the swordlords didn’t know what to do. Some fled (and later founded Mivon) while others wanted to fight.
The Knight Blades took a castle in the north and made their last stand there. Murdered to a one.
Sandro and Nathanial saw what was happening, realized that many of the Aldori were going to suffer and hatched a plan to move people, money, magic items, and land from the Aldori name to the Sordello. At the same time they played a long con to convince the people that they had become enemies so no one would suspect the Sordello of harboring Aldori.
After about five years one of the Rogarvian’s sensed duplicity and almost discovered the truth. To remove all doubt Sandro proposed a duel between him and Nataniel. He threw the fight and died on Nataniel’s blade.
Soon after, seeing his wife on the edge of death from gout, he dueled her as well, and killed her, allowing her to die with a sword in her hands.
Nataniel became the most hated Sordello in all the lands.
Later, as an old man, he tried to assist a young Aldori rogue named Lessica. She, like the younger Nataniel was running a con to smuggle money, but this time into the Aldori family from Mivon. When she was caught, no one would stand for her.
Nataniel, in disguise traveled south, intent on selling Savia’s famed emeralds in order to afford an advocate for Lessica. It would be his final good act to help the Aldori family. He never made it though. He got trapped in a cave going around the hooktongue and died of starvation because he was pinned in by black puddings. He died of starvation with Sandro’s sword and Savia’s emeralds…all alone.
While you were gone…
As usual there were no cheers for our return, only updates and problems.
Kobb: Thanks for the silver arm (Miquela bequeathed him with a Mithral Arm), Kasten is now a brigadier and in charge of all of Pitax’s monstrous mercenary units. Great. Just great.
Kobb: Also, no idea who has the rings on. He’s starting to look like Giovanni!
Domingo: Chelliax put an embassy in Fort Stevens. They didn’t like the sounds of “let’s all meet first”. Fuckers.
Domingo: There are also a whole bunch of elves in the Narlmarches that we never noticed. And they’ve been there forever.
Leccio: A new theory on our Fey-Green Dragon. It isn’t a dragon at all, but a Lindworm, the predecessor of dragons. If so, it’s at least 5,000 years old. Also great.
Giovanni: Leccio bit me in a small council meeting.
Staggio has reformed the Knight Blades and people are starting to cross house lines to join him.
Leccio was studying the ancient artifacts recovered from the tomb and took a particular interest in the piece of scrimshaw that Santiago had chosen as a bone to chew. Stantiago stormed off and rolled into Merrowny’s room as she futile tried to sharpen Ovinrbaane. “That woman. Sometimes she makes my balls itch.” He then fumbled with a canteen to get at some of Merrowyn’s wine. She opened it form him, took a long swig herself and then poured the rest into a bowl for him.
Holy crap. Gormum has given his followers to the power to communicate with one another. Merrowyn and Santiago have some mystical bond now…or at least that is what Merrowyn thought until she realized he could talk with everyone. Gorum had changed him, he awakened the big dog! Woof!
To represent work done while we had been gone, and work we set in motion, we did a single turn of kingdom building.
We’re three years old!
- Kingdom is stable (-1 unrest)
- Claim hexes C1, C2, and C3.
- Roads in C1, C2, C3, and D4
- Farm in C1
- Buildings: Barracks in Tazzleford, Black Market in the Tusk
- New army: Arvin’s Rangers, new army created in Tazzleford.
Diplomatic Edict with Mivon
We’ve been working up to this for a while. An embassy sent to us early on and another one sent by us later. Here’s how the mechanics broke down.
- Base DC to place an Embassy: 10
- Mivon’s Size Modifier +6
- Aldoria’s Size Modifier +9
- Aldoria’s Infamy +1
- Alignment Differences (NG vs CN) +10
- Existing Friendly Relationship -5
- Fame -9
- Built Points spent on a Gift (A dueling parade paid for by Aldoria) -6
Final Diplomacy DC: 16 – Nailed it!
We built a noble villa in Mivon and they did the same in the Tusk. Progress!
Trade Routes… or maybe not
Well, since we’re all buddy, buddy with Mivon, why not use our Cathedral’s special ability to issue a second edict and start trade with them as well. Because, we’re too big! Here’s the math on this one:
Route Length: 26 hexes. Trade Route Length: 26 (all over rivers). Size of Aldoria: 45 hexes.
- Starting DC (Control DC): 71
- Corruption in the Tusk (thanks Black Market!): +4
- Route Modifier (RM = Trade Route Length/10): +2
- Length Modifier (LM = Kingdom Size – Trade Route Length): +19
- Productivity in the Tusk: -2
Final DC: 94. A number we can hit on an Economy roll, but can’t touch with Stability and Loyalty.
I’ve got some serious questions about the LM calculations, namely that your trade routes benefit from having a smaller kingdom and/or a longer route. I’m sure I can puzzle some logic out of that, namely that nearby goods are worth less than far away goods, but it says right in the text that “Longer trade routes are harder to maintain than short ones.” That’s not consistent with the rules as written.
Bleh, look at me, I’m a rules lawyer now. =(
So, we opted not to try this. Once we take Sellen’s Gate, we’ll set up a route between there and Mivon.
The Druids of Fort Marcus wipe out a roving orc band…and there is much celebration (We are at +4 on Economy until the next Event Phase)
Things to build next turn
Guildhall and a Foundry in the Tusk.
Other downtime activities
- Selling and Purchasing magic items (Merrowny)
- Reading Nataniel’s diary (Miqeula)
- Bonding with her new companion Icarus (Elara)
- Doing witchy stuff? (Olivetta)
A short trip home
Thanks to a mostly well placed teleport spell (we landed in the fountain), we were able to visit Bog without notice. He wasn’t doing well, but hearing the story of Nataniel sparked is interest. It was the same kind of finagling that he and the Lord Mayor of Restov had been doing for years. Bog convinced us that to do anything about this we needed to show the journal to the the lord mayor himself.
Doing so involved some alter self spells to sneak into a bath house with his wife Lady Melisa, using some non-detection wands to prevent ourselves from being scried on, and then telling the whole story to her, who told it to her husband, who said “this should be a play.” and then after some more thought, said “no really, this should be a play!” And he sent us one of his finest playwrights to help write it! Olivetta is all over it!
Magic items claimed
Magic items assigned (from this session and the previous one)
|Description||Qty||Value||Cash Value||Kept by|
|Sadro Aldori’s Mithral +2 Aldori Dueling Sword||9520||Aldori Treasury|
|Emerald Jewlery of Savia Aldori||30000||Aldori Treasury|
|Diary of Nathanal Sordello||Aldori Treasury|
|Bag of Holding (Type 1)||2500||Miqeula|
|Potion of Fly (CL 9)||4||5400||(2 to Miquela, 2 to Merrowyn)|
|Mithral +2 Defending Aldori Dueling Sword||19520||Miquela|
|Amulet of Natural Armor +1||2000||Santiago|
|Belt of Physical Might: +4 Strength and Constitution||40000||Merrowyn|
|Cloak of Resistance +2||8000||Santiago|
|Mithral Full Plate of Speed||26500||Miquela|
|Ring of Protection +2||8000||Miquela|
|Rod of Splendor||25000||Miquela|
|Ring of Protection +1 (From Miqeula)||2000||Santiago|
|Belt of Physical Might: +2 Strength and Constitution (From Merrowyn)||Santiago|
|Compostie Longbow +1 (+4 Strength) – Made Adaptive||3880||Miquela|
|Amulet of Natural Armor +2||8000||Elara|
|Ring of Protection +2||8000||Tadd|
|Belt of Physical Might (+2 Strength, +2 Constittution)||10000||Icarus|
|Wand of Heroism (CL 9)||20250||Merrowyn|
|Pearl of Power (Type 3)||9000||Olivetta|
|Necklace of Fireballs (Type 2)||2700||Miquela|
|Bag of Holding (Type I)||2500||Elara|
|Horseshoes of Speed||3000||Tad|
|Agile Breastplate +2, Wild, Dragonhide, Fire Resistant||44100||Elara|
|Staff of Mithral Might||58000||Divvy|
Magic items purchased
|Description||Qty||Value||Cash Value||Kept by|
|Mithral Full Plate +2 (Sold)||14500||7250||Miquela|
|Gloves of Dueling||-15000||Miquela|
|Enchant Composite Longbow to +2 and Adaptive||-4000||Miquela|
|Stag Lord’s Bow (Sold)||3375||1687.5||Miquela|
|Bane and Flaming Arrows (26)||26||-160||-4160||Miquela|
|Potion of Invisibility (5)||5||-500||-2500||Merrowyn, Miquela|
|Glove of Storing||-10000||Merrowyn|
|Potion of Lesser Restoration (3)||3||-300||-900||Merrowyn|
|Corsair Enchantment on Armor||-5000||Merrowyn|
|Boots of Elvenkind (Sold)||2500||1250||Merrowyn|
|Shadow Piercings (Minor)||-3750||Merrowyn|
|Headband of Mental Prowess (+2 Int, +2 Wis)||-10000||Miquela|
|Headband of Wisdom +2 (Sold)||2000||Miquela|
|Amulet of Natural Armor +3||-18000||Miquela|
|Ring of Protection +1 (Sold)||1000||Miquela|
|Metamagic Rod: Reach||-11000||Oliveta|
|Metamagic Rod: Reach, Lesser (Sell back)||3000||1500||Oliveta|
|Rod of Voracious Hexes||-9000||Oliveta|
|Dweomer’s Essence (5)||5||-2500||Oliveta|
|Headband of Mental Prowess (+2 Int, +2 Cha) (Sold)||-5000||Oliveta|
|Headband of Mental Prowess (+4 Int)||-16000||Oliveta|
|Belt of Physical Might (+2 Dexterity, +2 Constittution)||-10000||Oliveta|
|Dusty Rose Prism (Ioun Stone)||-5000||Oliveta|
|Headband of Inspired Wisdom +4||-16000||Elara|
|Headband of Inspired Wisdom +2 (Sell back)||4000||2000||Elara|
Plans for the future
Ideas for rescuing the hostages:
- Any intel we can get from Kobb on where they might be keeping them.
- Bringing Kiri who has Rudolpho’s scent
- Either using Flight/Teleportation/Disguises to get to New Stetven (as a start) or go in the guise of a diplomatic envoy.
Ideas for things to be doing during future kingdom turns:
- Issue Exploration edicts to explore more of our surrounding areas
- Go and visit with Elves
- Look for the water skimmer people in the Hooktongue
- Discover what is at the bottom of the Hooktongue and how to pacify, avoid, or destroy it.
- Aid Kobb in looking for the evil rings
- Work on the play about Nataniel and Savia.
- Ask specific questions from our spy network and ambassador about action in Pitax.
Thoughts on this Game
The Daughters of Aldori did A LOT of stuff this session. Plunder through temple trapped with deadly defenses? Check. Defeat a barbarian warlord and take his artifact blade? Check! Rename a major port city? Check. All the creation of a black market in our own capitol? Check Form an embassy with Mivon? Check. Start writing a play that could turn the tide of Aldori-Sordello relationships for brutal hostility to blood brothers? CHECK!
We decided that the effect of Ovinrbaane was not the a memory wipe that would make Merrwoyn eventually turn on and try to kill all of her companions. Instead it would act as a conduit for Gorum to nudge Merrowyn in certain directions as overall make her more murderous by degrees. Perhaps she’ll change from Chaotic Good to Chaotic Neutral. Or maybe just folks like her father will notice a difference in her.
I play to play up her reliance on violence as a solution and see how that goes. Should be good times.
As noted above I can’t quite wrap my head around the Trade edict difficulty, except that perhaps it’s something we should have done early on and missed the boat on. Reading up in it more, most likely we would only gain a small bump in economy from establishing one, but it feels like a good thing for kingdoms to be doing. you know, having relationships with your neighbors that deter them from wanting to sneak armies into your capitol and murder you in your sleep.