Actual Play – Mik Mek and the Mummy Queen (7/25/2015)

Blood for BloodGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

With Eric back in tow, we delved back into the Tomb of Yarrix!

Character Motivations

Kicking off the game I wanted to talk a little about where our character are going. It seems like they’ve changed a lot in what they care about, in how they act, and in what they are driving for.

Elara – The question looming is what’s going to win out, her reverence for nature or her allegiance to House Aldori. On the surface those two aren’t in conflict, but as we need evermore resources to prepare for an impeding war, things like sawmills and taking the land currently held by the fey are no longer luxuries, they are necessities. When the war effort and nature’s balance are at odds, which will she choose? [Mechanically speaking Pathfinder makes this a viable choice. Instead of just becoming and ex-druid, Elara could retrain her druid levels (all of them) into another class. She could become something adjacent like a Ranger or a Hunter, or get totally wacky with something like a duelist, monk, or cleric/inquisitor of another god!]

Merrowyn – Ovinrbaane is getting in her head slowly. In her mind war is inevitable so we’d better be prepared for it. Kasten was right, we should have been raising armies from the start. We’re going to go to war with Issia because of ideological reasons and family ties, but we’re going to go to war with Pitax because frankly Pitax can’t afford to let us get too big, otherwise we’ll just crush them. In her mind these are all just logical conclusions of being a solider [Profession (Soldier) +19 thank you very much]. As a player this is an active decision to try and push Merrowyn towards choosing between what she things is right (her lawful good father) and what she thinks is needed (her chaotic neutral god of war).

Miquela – Is having a nervous breakdown about killing people. When it was just monsters that was easy. Even when it was bandits that we had a charter to kill, it wasn’t that bad. But when she’s making the decisions about who live and who dies, there is a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, and it’s weighing her down. Her interpretation of the laws has often been a very convenient one. Follow them strictly when they serve her interests; override, reinterpret, or just ignore them when they don’t. But she’s accountable now, and nothing she does goes without notice. As she faces the ramifications of her decisions and realizes how much power she wields, she doesn’t know if she’s doing the right thing or not, and her council on the matter is vastly divided!

Olivetta – The voices in her head are becoming a lot more distinct, almost as if they are somewhere. And as the voices are becoming more distinct, it’s also possible they are becoming more conversational. She’s learned that the man on the chair in the back of the chamber is none other than Sirian I, which is kind of insane. As the de facto speaker for our ancestors, Olivetta actually has a lot more political power than she thinks she does, and so far she’s been dodging the responsibility of using it. We’ll see how long that lasts…

uzar-kusWho do we kill on this level?

Much like the Trolls of what is now Fort Marcus, we managed to alert every damn critter in the dungeon level of our presence and fight them all at once. In the line up were a dozen evil clerics, five honor guard, a few fiendish emperor cobras, about a gillion degenerate serpentfolk warriors, and Uzar-Kus the two headed “high priest” (read sorcerer) of Ydersius.

So, how, in the hell did we win this battle? Two things.

1. Elara raced in there on the tail of the flying Gamil (god we love that Salamander) and before anything else happened dropped a volcanic storm in the center of the room, covering the entire area in falling meteors, soot, and ash. This reduced visibility and made the entire area difficult terrain.

2. Potions of flying consumed, Miquela used her Tactician ability to share the Coordinated Charge feat with all of us, and at once we flew across the entire room (nice that it had high ceilings) to pounce on Uzar-Kus with sword and spear. The two headed snake didn’t know what hit him.  When he dimensioned doored across the room to leap on Olivetta (who had hung back) we just did it again! (though the second time took a lot of attacks of opportunity from serpentfolk who were no longer flat footed). Were it not for that, I’m sure those dozen clerics alone would have destroyed us.

Side note: I had a shield spell up from my wand of shield. First time EVER that I’ve had a shield spell cast when someone cast magic missile on me. This just after using evasion to dodge a fireball completely. Ooh did that make Uzar-Kus mad. It was great!

Loot found:

  • +3 Dagger
  • Necklace of Adaptation
  • Jade symbol of Ydersius
  • 250 pp
  • Vial of super poison
  • 5000 gp diamond
  • And from the impenetrable adamantine cage hanging from the center of the ceiling (that we just broke out by destroying the stone holding it there) 4lb of adamantine and a 20,000 gp green diamond!

Down the crystal shaft

Unable to find Mik Mek on this level we realized we had to go down, all the way to the tomb itself. Ugh, for a damn Kobold you’re a lot of trouble Mik Mek.

Down the rabbit hole we went with Gamil in tow and we found the seal placed on the Tomb of Yarrix. Before entering Olivetta cast Legend Lore to find out what she could about this place. Combined with Gamil’s knowledge we gleaned:

Once the lair of the dark priestess Yarrix, a disciple of the Great Old One Hastur and master of the Cult of Shadowed Fire who could corrupt elemental fire into shadowfire. For centuries the Tomb of Yarrix has been trapped in warped space by the magic of Carsolis, a champion of Sarenrae. There was also a cleric who was instrumental in her defeat, but didn’t make it to the credits page.

On the doors to the Tomb was an epic level Forbiddance spell that would be very bad news for anyone not specifically aligned with Carsolis [Lawful Good] or allowed to pass. Yeah, getting in was going to be easy, getting out, not so much.

Inspecting the seals on the door very carefully, Merrowyn found that someones epic level handiwork had disabled the traps on it. effectively separating the wax seals from the door without actually breaking the seal!

During all this we also got a little bit more from Gamil about his history. We had pretty strong suspicions he wasn’t any ordinary Salamander, but we didn’t expect him to be a prince! Damn, we were traveling with royalty. Apparently he had been slumming it in the Emerald Spire to hide from his mother and betrothed. There was a delightful exchange between him and Miquela about the burdens of rulership and we started feeling really, really bad about that Charm Monster spell we had cast on him.

Enter the Tomb

Seals already broken, we cracked open the door and went inside. The structure was built of dark glossy stone with ribs every 20′ and furnished with heavy bronze doors.

Brown mold covered automatons on in the corner. A combination of a Icy Sphere [Flaming sphere cast with a Elemental Cold Metamagic Rod] to kill the mold and the regular swords and spears to dismantle the automatons and we quickly breached the entrance.

Loot:

  • 2 x 1000 gp Emeralds
  • 2 x 1000 gp Diamonds

Shadowfire and Chaos Magic

Fuck, just fuck that room and those shadowfire creatures. It was a magic gone bad place. We went in. We fought and destroyed but boy was it gnarly. Our magic dispelled (at best) or turned against us in the form of shadowfire (at worst). And Gamil, a creature of fire himself, almost corrupted by the Shadow. It was bad times.

We were pretty sure Leccio would have had a field day investigating the phenomenon of the shadow magic well, but for us, we got out as soon as possible!

Time for Ovinrbaane

Yarrix herself was a bit of a let down for Merrowyn.  We quickly found her tomb (which Mik Mek had been hiding in) and found her inside it. Though she summoned to Devils to guard her, we virtually ignored them and drove hard to destroy her. Deeming Yarrix to be a real threat, Merrowyn dropped her Issian greatsword and in a flash the electric pulsing blade was in her hand, hungry for destruction.

Which came way to easily. One hit (to a mummy already injured by Miquela) and Yarrix went down. Merrowyn wanted more. Ovinrbaane wanted more. Hell, even Sean wanted more. She wasn’t raging, in fact she was completely cool and clear-minded.

Merrowyn looked for another thing to fight and she squared her attention on Gamil. He was going to be a problem sooner or later. This was as good a time as any to deal with that problem, and she could probably be on top of him, sword rending his otherworldly entrails, before he even knew it. There was a pregnant pause while she considered her options and then Miquela, Olivetta, and Elara were all quick to say “maybe you should put the sword down now Merrowyn. Maybe you should put it down now!

If this had been Apocalypse World I would have told Dennis I need to act under fire. And the fire is give in to the battle lust and kill Gamil.

Loot:

  • Ring of Protection +3
  • Staff of Fire

Yarrix didn’t truck with much.

The Truth

On our way out we finally decided we had to break the spell with Gamil, and see what he would do. First we told him all the truth. We weren’t troglodytes. We weren’t followers of Kroa’Coth. We weren’t even heretic hunters. He was cool with all of that.

Also, we cast a charm spell on you to make you our friend. Still pretty okay with that.

[Charm Monster spell dismissed]. Gamil gave us a long look. Furrowed his brow and said “You should leave now. I’ll walk you to the surface.” Not the reaction we wanted, but not as bad as we expected.

Breaking out of the Tomb

The surface, however, was not as we left it. 30 of Issia’s most dangerous hunters and inquisitors were standing there, ready to take us in. Or, more likely, take us down.

We paused for a moment, and the in what was probably his final act of heroism, Gamil cast up a giant wall of flame, told us to get the hell out of here, and charged into the fray!

Olivetta teleported us all back to The Tusk and the last thing we saw was Gamil swinging his longspear with glee.

Home Sweet Home

We faced some less that pleasant realities when we got home.

  1. Mik Mek just couldn’t keep Pietro quiet. So he killed him. His peace offering was a 5000 gp diamond to use to raise him. Jaha, our high priest, was capable of performing the feat, but only with the permission of the church of Pharasma…
  2. Who, incidentally had shown up at the Tusk, after Miquela’s discussion with the High Priestess of Pharasma in Restov, looking for a cathedral to be built in their name as well.

Negotiations

Went poorly.

Since Toti had done so well shutting down the church of Abadar when they tried to get their claws in us, we elected Olivetta (a worshiper of Pharasma) to speak with the dignitary. A polite but stern woman who insisted on drinking the foulest herbal tea, the priestess in charge of the delegation was clearly a practiced politician. And when you’ve got control over who comes back from the dead and who rots in the boneyard, especially when we really need someone brought back from the dead, you’ve got a pretty big bargaining chip.

What they wanted. A temple built in The Tusk within three months and a cathedral built in Sellen’s Gate within a year. That, or lose favor with the church and say goodby to the idea of ever bringing someone back from the dead.

Merrowyn tried to get an angle on the side. She could see that the inquisitor of Pharasma was clearly not given the same regard as other inquisitors. He was the only man in the group, and was regarded as perfunctory by the priestess. Being the only one who would take Merrowyn on on a pint of ale (which they had to sneak out to drink) he told her that he was Brigitte’s brother (his name is Jonah) and like their parents before them, they have chosen to serve Abadar and Pharasma respectively. Jonah seemed like a nice enough guy, but warned Merrowyn that the high priestess was not bluffing. She would happily cut us off.

We bent knee.

Miquela pushed back the cathedral to 15 months but otherwise we agreed to all their terms. And miraculously, moments later, a terrified Pietro walked through the door, freshly raised from the dead.

Epilogue

We wrapped with a few final moments for our characters.  Miquella leaving cookies for Mik Mek. Merrowyn paying bail for Santiago and drinking with him. Elara touring the grounds in Fort Marcus (getting away from civilization for a bit). Olivetta reconnecting with the ancestors. Good times.

What rocked

Gamil was great. I loved our mixed emotions surrounding him. Camaraderie, guilt, fear, regret, regard. So many feels. Also, noble salamanders with Bull Strength spells cast on them are fucking deadly. We were really happy he was on our side.

I had fun dancing around with Merrowyn on the edge. That decision of slaking her bloodlust, proving herself to Gorum (who is never impressed no matter what you do, felt very real.

When we got back to the Tusk, eventually Olivetta noticed that she couldn’t hear any of her ancestors. The priestess of Pharasma confirmed that yes, they were hiding from her. Holy shit. Not only does this imply that there is some significant otherworldly politics we’re not savvy to, but we also got the sense that the ancestors exist in a place. Maybe a place that we could visit. I got goosebumps thinking about some serious Horn of Valere (from Wheel of Time) action happening here. If they exist in a plane, can we plane shift to see them? Can we plane shift to bring them back with us? Could a powerful ancestor witch of the Sordello family do the same and allow us to bring both Sandro and Nataniel back to set the record straight themselves? The possibilities!

Re-uniting with Mik Mek was great. Him learning that Renato was saved and rejoining us was not only good for state security but for Miquela’s conscience. She once again had someone who would kill for her when she just wished someone to be dead. It was comforting.

What could have improved

The hostage situation is really keeping us in the fiction from playing out any kingdom turns. It makes sense, we’re not about to give up on the family, but I want to get me some annexing action and some army building! Let’s to get those babies!