Actual Play – Path of Destruction (2/9/2014)

PathfinderCoreCoverGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Mia Blankensop, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

Man, this was another brutal session. James Jacobs, I give you props for bringing on some serious pain. I’ll go into more detail below, but I left with a real damned if you do, damned if you don’t taste in my mouth after the game. We had left city to clear the way for settlers. Had we not done that, a spy wouldn’t have been found, and our settlers would have had to contest with a dozen Tatzlwyrms. But, since we did leave, we missed a rampaging owlbear that wreaked havoc on our city, killing 112 people, and injuring more than two hundred more.

It sucked every way from Sunday…which rocked. I’m looking forward to figuring a way out of this mess.

World Building

Before the adventuring started, Dennis promoted us to do some more world building, focusing around two of our family members:

Savia Aldori. Clearly with Savia around, a scandal needed to crop up. And sure enough, after Grigori’s trial, once we had left the city, Savia started talking. It started as bragging about her son, but turned sour after too much drink. She told everyone the trial was rigged against the bard, and that we just wanted him dead. (All true, we just didn’t want the public to know that). Toti tried to stop her from running her mouth off and was bit on the hand for her efforts. Savia turned particularly cruel in that moment and let out her dark secret, that Toti was a twin, and that her sister Tati died in childbirth, strangled by Toti’s umbilical cord.

Edward Aldori. As our warden Edward had been playing the role of mayor of the Tusk, even though that wasn’t his actual position. He asked Miquela how she would like to proceed in governing the city. We discussed it and agreed that there would be an appointed mayor and elected aldermen for each district of the city that would serve as the mayor’s council. Edward would start interviewing candidates for mayor. Additionally we needed to hire some guards proper, as the soldiers that were acting as guards just weren’t suited for it.

Family Reunited

As Mia was back, Toti was reunited (didn’t much feel like staying in the Tusk after the incident with her mother) with her cousins in the woods. We we’re happy to see her, but sad for the new she brought. There was some discussion of “what to do with Savia” and we ended up deciding Merrowyn would hook her up with some smarmy boy toy, which should keep her occupied for a few months. (Note from future Merrowyn: Merrowyn will not be doing this).

Exploring F3

In the morning Toti wandered off into the woods to have herself a nice primal scream or seven (still upset about her mother) and got lost..

We searched for her but after hours of searching instead of finding her, Miquela found a giant bear. A gods damned giant bear! It roared at her loud enough to strip the bark off trees. She ran from it, climbed up a three and was just knocking backer her animal bane arrow when she heard a mans voice calling out “Felix. Felix! FELIX!!!” A A half dressed man burst out of the woods holding a bar of soap with one hand and his unlaced trousers up with another. He apparently had been taking a bath.

After the confusion was over, the man introduced himself as Rombalard, the ranger we had heard about. The rest of us met up and he of course made instant friends with Kiri. He also made an instant impression on Merrowyn and Elara. Possibly all of the Aldori ladies. Rombalard is a pretty, pretty man.

To make up for the scare, we asked him to help us find Toti. From what I know of Rom personality, he probably would have helped us find Toti if we had just sent a wild bear on him! We searched all day and of course found her back at camp, sipping hot toddies and singing shanties with Tad.

That night over the camp fire Rombalard shared some of his knowledge with us.

  • The area to our west was known to include Tatzlwyrms. A nuisance by themselves, but dangers in mated pairs or in packs.
  • The trapper up north that we found dead in his own trap was probably Klein. A particularly anti-social hunter!
  • In the Slough nearby is a tribe of lizardmen, led by a priest king. The are very territorial and brutal. We’re going to have to deal with them sooner or later.
  • On the subject of werewolves he got very cagey. At first he didn’t want to admit anything beyond the fact that the stolen lands were full of them, but after some persuasion, admitted that there were stories of a werewolf lord that he suspected were true. He thinks werewolves may be the reason nobody has able to settle the stolen lands for a thousand years, and that if there is a lord, and there probably is, it might be the same one this whole time.
  • Aldo use to be a general. 30 years ago he led an army in a great battle. Hmmm, I wonder if this is an Easter egg from the designers or just a coincidence.
  • He didn’t much like Jubalist either. He called the gnome a grifter who posed as an explorer.

Though Merrowyn told him he had best keep one of there beds warm that night (in pretty much those words), Rombalard stayed up all night talking to Miquela and noting improper happened. From Merrowyn’s perspective, a bloody shame.

Oh yeah, adventuring!

tatzlwyrmWe spent three days exploring the area and all was peaceful until we ran into a sandy beach with two tatzlwyrms tanning themselves, apparently asleep.

We snuck up close, took out our bows, and shot the hell out of them! Both were dead in moments, but then 10 shot up out of the water and attacked. It was a merry battle in dead. Miquela got to slice and dice [attacking four times in a round using both of her weapons] and Merrowyn got in a wrestling match with one that did not end pretty for the wyrm.

Wyrmboots!

Be it ever so trampled, there’s no place like home

After setting Roy Resnick, his wife, and followers up in a nice safe spot we headed back to the Tusk… which we found on fire.

It was bad. Really bad. A huge section of wall was torn down and something had rampaged through the streets crushing people and buildings. There were fires everywhere. People were trying to keep things together but the damage was severe. As we got further into the city it just got worse. We arrived at the Advocate’s Rest and saw the roof had collapsed but there were still people trapped inside. Of all people Cobb and Akiros were the ones trying to hold one of the supports up so that Edward could help people out.  Miquela and Merrowyn jumped in to help brace, and with their strength were able to raise the support up so that most of the inn’s inhabitants could be rescued. Some didn’t make it.

city_on_fireThe Town Hall was also on fire, and a whole district of houses had been destroyed.  In the chaos, Edward and Akiros had kept their heads. The told us than a monstrous owlbear, bigger than anything they had ever seen, had rampaged through the city. The Fearsome Badgers pelted it with flaming arrows to draw it’s attention, and led it out of the city. Akiros put his hand on Merrowyn’s shoulder and gave her and consoling look. “He died well” and she knew exactly what he meant. Marcus lead the light infantry unit. The ones who would be peppering them with the arrows, the ones that probably saved the city, and the ones that it murdered.

Merrowny through his hand off her, got on Horse and started bolting through the city, following in the wake of this monster. Elara went after her while Toti and Miquela stayed to do disaster relief in the Tusk.

Miquela and Toti: [Stability check DC 2o succeeded to save the Town Hall]. After putting out the fires they learned that this owlbear was different. Not only was it monstrously big, bit it had armor on. Poorly made and patched together in places, but armor. Owlbears aren’t sentient and would normally do this kind of thing.

Elara and Merrowyn: Swan boat used to catch up with the thing and track it’s back to it’s lair, where Tad, Miquela, and Toti caught up with us.

Monster_OwlbearKilling the Hell out of J7

Expecting one hell of a fight we prepared with every magical reinforcement we could. [I think we hit our record of buff effects: Bull Strength, Bless, Aid, Prayer, Shield of Faith, Shield, and later of course rage and a barrage of fire and lightning].

Entering the cave we smelled the stench of the Owlbear’s ordure and saw that despite our light sources, it went quite deep. We wouldn’t be able to just drive him out, we’d have to go in.  And there was a lot of in.

First, living off the dung piles, we encountered shrieking fungus. It’s piercing shrill must have alerted everything in the care to our presence so we back up to the mouth of the cave to see what would come out.

What came out first were a pair of shambling mounds. Ready to fight a monster owlbear, we pelted them full of arrows, flaming spheres, and spiritual crossbow bolts. By the time they made it to us, as Miquela shredded them to ribbons with her swords.

Just as the last one fell though we heard thundering roar that made the entire cave shake and from it’s depths came the monstrous owlbear. I was really happy when I rolled a crit on the final blow to kill the ever-loving-fuck out of that thing! Oh, and yeah, it tore us up something fierce!

After killing it, the rest of the denizens in the cave scattered like the wind, so we explored it relatively unimpeded by spiders, fungus, and ettercaps that otherwise would have given us grief. At the end we found that the cave had another entrance, and in it was the remains of a savage battle fought a few weeks ago (based on the state of the decaying bodies). Another monstrous owlbear, presumably the one we just killed’s mate, along with a dozen tiger lord barbarians. The leader wore a ring made of braided hair wrapped around a silver wire. The owlbear we fought had a similar ring around one of it’s talons as well.

We camped overnight and in the morning Toti prepared a spell to speak with the dead. We questioned the Tiger Lord but his will was inimical to ours, and he provided few useful answers. His name was Eriiiiiik, he hailed from the unending plains in the east, and performed all his acts of his own volition. Thank’s Eriiiiiiiiik!

Between the discarded bits on the cave, and what we looted off the Tiger Lord, we claimed the following:

  • Masterwork Thieves Tools
  • Silversheen
  • Wand of Lightning Bolts (33 Charges)
  • Chain Shirt +2
  • Longsword +1
  • MW Throwing Axes x2
  • Potion of Speak with Animals x2
  • Restorative Ointment
  • Antitoxin
  • Smoke Sticks x2
  • Tanglefoot Bag
  • Tunderstone
  • Eyes of the Eagle
  • Blood Reservoir of Physical Prowess
  • Gold (267 total)
  • Shambling Mound sap (quest item)

Some really good stuff in this haul. The weapons, armor, and wand will all go into the sell pile, but the eyes of the eagle are great, and the blood reservoir is the perfect kind of creepy blood doping kind of magic item that Merrowny would use. I love it.

Return Home

We returned with the head of another beast, but it was a joyless victory. Some information was learned though. Cobb said he had finally had a break through on the cult, and on the serial killer. The killer was in fact, only killing cultists. And he or she was doing so incredibly professionally, better than Cobb’s men. It seems our serial killer was probably helping us out (maybe even our mystery royal enforcer).

We’ll be looking into that!

Thoughts on this game

I’m hoping that I’m just being slow in not understanding the connections between the characters. Clearly there are clues that link our royal enforcer to being the serial killer, and possibly being from Daggermark (assassin and poisoner). There are ties between the unidentified prisoner we never found being the Gryronna cult leader, but we don’t know either of their identities so not much help there. I’m putting bets that the swamp witch is the leader (taking different forms to attract different levels of society) or that she would at least know something about her. I hope some of these connections are real and that we can discover them through play next session, as that will finally start to make some sense out of all our trouble.

As mentioned at the start this session was rough. Dennis was very wise by making the carnage personal and killing one of our named NPCs. Marcus wasn’t critical to the story, but he was important to me, and more so to my character. Merrowyn, who is normally a little indignant, is now in full on “fuck this place” mode. For her everything about adventuring on the open road is great, and everything about running a kingdom is miserable. She’s still upset about not being able to fight in Grigori’s trial, and now she’s just lost he lover. As a player I don’t want to be disruptive to the group, but every chance I have for Merrowyn to act out without hurting everyone else, I’m going to take.

Rombalard was a bit over the top, but I like him. I’m happy that we made contact, made a friend and got some useful information out of him. Kingmaker author’s I commend you on creating NPCs that are interesting and tie our characters more into the world. Now I’m curious about Aldo leading an army, about this Werewolf Lord, and other deets.

Fucking Trolls. That is all.