Actual Play – The Sword of Sirian Aldori Changes Hands (7/23/2016)

Sound of a Thousdand ScreamsGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Adrienne Mueller, Eric Fattig, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

Alt Title: Soul for Sell – Discount Rates!

Spoils of War

We started the game reviewing the spoils we took from the palace in Pitax. Oh, so many spoils. Since the campaign has wrapped now, and since we had more coin than we knew how to shake a stick at, I’m only going to mention the notable bits (as I didn’t record them in our master chart of accounts):

  • Monsters of the Arena (gargoyle, hell hounds, advanced dire tigers, remorhaz…all put to the sword)
  • Arms of the Arena (greatswords and full plate)
  • Throne of a king (Burgundy stone with veins of white gold)
  • Villamor Koth’s bedroom filled with gaudy tapestries of dragons along with standard adventuring loot (and some poison…weird).
  • Articles of the palace (hidden ballista, masterwork musical instruments, bottles of fine wine,  amazing carpets,  five build points of goods)
  • Irovetti’s bedroom including his bound mistress Engelidius, a spirit naga who just wanted his head!
  • A Treasury…that was totally empty.
  • And underground grotto filled with crystals, and a chest that had Briar, the Bastard Sword (the Nymph Queen’s Doom) wrapped in Evindra’s shawl, who once she wore it remembered her purpose to guard the blade from the Nymph Queen and her agents.
  • 19 more build points taken from looting the city!

Lessons Learned

From the mouth of Herald Beneku who was more than happy to turn on his dead king, we learned Irovetti has had the sword for years. He was supposed to let his mistress know when he found it, but never did, instead he just continued to enjoy the benefits of her patronage!

We left Pitax in ruins but gave the portmaster and the union chief (the mayor was killed in his home) in the city, ostensibly in charge.

Mikeal Trushian, the First Lance, led the Silver Lances, an army of Cavaliers [11th level cavaliers!] was on his way to the battle, but accepted our offer to pay him for his services (albeit, extremely expensive!)

Pitax is in a bad enough state that we’re pretty sure they won’t even be on the Outlaw Council to vote us down. We’ll call that a win.

A Blessed Wedding

Back home, at the Temple of the Elk, Tad and Xanthia were gathered together with Jahad officiating a ceremony observed by all their loved ones. Akirso gave Xanthia away, Miquela gave Tad away and the two were married and given the blessing of Erastil.

The Great Elk appeared at a distance, a bright light shown from the heavens upon them, Tad shapechanged into a Centaur then back, and Xanthia shapechanged into a human and back again!

Miquela used the Rod of Splendor and created a feast for all!

The next day there is a cry in the keep… as Xanthia was wearing a dress and trying to walk in shoes! Leccio, understanding her plight was very sympathetic and told her it gets better. She took the form so that she could learn to dance with Tad. Awwww.

Financial Woes

In the midst of all this nuptial bliss, those with a more pragmatic mind, realized that our coffers were dipping incredibly low [We started a kingdom turn and added up the cost of all our armies being in use for all those weeks]. Though we able to cover our costs barely, things looked very grim for continuing to fund the armies as we go to war with Issia.

Hima delivered a note to Miquela… it was a 100,000 gold piece note from the Iron Bank, a gift from Mik Mek, essentially the “break glass in case of emergency”.

Merrowyn’s attempt to sell her soul, apparently not worth much.

Merrowyn, seeing that Olivetta and Imogen had great success bargaining their souls for information and power thought this was definitely the right path to power. (This may have been motivated somewhat by playing with Stras in Blades in the Dark).

She had a scroll of Contact other Plane scribed and then endeavored to read it herself, knowing that if her intelligence and charisma were shattered, it would mean much less than if the same happened to Olivetta or Imogen. She tried to contact Gorum, a greater diety, and her mind would have not been up for the task if not for Olivetta loaning her a powerful headband of intellect and Santiago howling with such fervor, that the ground shook and every Gorumite for miles held up their sword and joined in with the howl!

She was able to ask these questions and gain these answers:

  • If I give you the rest of my life, will you grant me an army of Zentragt, your divine servitor race of iron armored bears to fight beside us? Response: Roaring laughter.
  • If I give you my soul, will you send Saint Fang, your minion, to fight beside us? Response: Yes (turned out to be a lie, a capricious god she’s got).
  • And some other bullshit questions about whether or not Sordellos would side with us… to which she was only told: wait!

So apparently there is more to bargaining with outsiders than just reading some funny words on a scroll and bloodletting.

Urgent sending from Rostland

An urgent sending came in, cut off midstream. Merrowyn stayed behind to keep mobilizing our armies to move north, but the rest of our heroes teleported into the action! On their way however, they felt something blocking their transit, a dimensional barrier that they wouldn’t have made it through, except for by the will of our Ancestors that battled the barrier down and allowed the to arrive, stunned but in tact!

Mik Mek and Domingo were surrounded by thirty Issian soldiers at the fountain outside House Aldori. After aiding in the skirmish for a moment, they heard and explosion inside and rushed in after it.  Inside they found Bog and Gloriana bleeding out on the steps of the great hall. As Bog said his final words, happy with the life he led, he handed his sword, the blade of Sirian I to Domingo, signifying that he was now the head of House Aldori.

Rostland Under Siege

There was little time for sentiment. Outside a few Sordello, including Contessina Sordello, the head of the house, stood off against 100 Issian Royal Guard who told them all to go back to their homes, that nothing was happening here.

Domingo, Elara, Miquela, and Imogen all went to meet with the heads of the great houses to warn then that this is exactly what would happen to them if they didn’t band together now.

Olivetta returned to The Tusk (teleportation was easier now) and grabbed Merrowyn, who went through the streets bellowing news of the attack and rallying the people to the plaza, forming them into a mob!

Inside some of the major houses were still holding out, and some were missing, but Lord Mayor Sellimus saw the writing on the wall and said that like it or not, we’re at war now!

Orb of the Dragon

Incited to violence the nobility and common folk alike too to swarming the palace, and thanks to many castings of passwall, they were able to enter it with ease! The first fight that broke out was one of guards and people, catapults and cavalry, all the forms of violence we were accustomed to.

The next fight however, we did not expect at all. Our spells were being countered from an unknown source, blazing jets of fire were coming from knowwhere, and so we assumed Stroon was close. However what we did not assume was that King Noleski and his sister were present, and what we assumed EVEN LESS was that he had an Orb of Dragons and would change into a Great Wyrm Red Dragon right there in front of us! So that’s where the 3rd Great Wyrm that seemed to be in some stories but not in others came from!

Another item on Sean’s Bucket List

Though Dennis played Noleski as unfamiliar with dragon form and did not make optimal use of his powers that was still one damn tough fight. Between multiple time stops spells, incredibly deadly attacks, and movement speed that outstripped anything we could muster, he was incredibly difficult to catch, and then incredibly difficult to harm [Displacement, you can die in a fire!]. There were only three great advantages that we had in that fight.

  1. Early on Contessina Sordello cast a slow spell upon him [which he could only fail his save with a natural 1, and Dennis rolled in front of us…and got a 1. Note, later he realized that Noleski was hasted so it should have just cancelled that out… but it was much later in the fight after a Time Stop where he did dispel it]
  2. An early Greater Dispel Magic which dispelled his Contingency Teleport home spell.
  3. Noleski’s arrogance, which caused him to only teleport to the horizon where he could mock us after his second Time Stop spell ended…to which Imogen used her last Greater Teleport to put us all on top of him, where Miquela put her magical blade into his brain!

Yay, Great Wyrm Red Dragon and King Noleski killed in one blow!

What Rocked

As mentioned, the battle with said Red Dragon. Fucking epic.

The passing of the blade to Domingo and Bog’s death was very sad and very poignant.

I was pretty pleased that Pitax was such a mess. I felt like we wanted into other locations (Varnhold and Sellen’s Gate) and just took over without really dealing with the plight of what conquering is like. I was happy that this was messy and filled with ugly outcomes.

I had a mixture of amusement and disappointment that my communing with Gorum was so ineffective. I got one straight answer out of him, which turned out to be a lie. It’s rough I think, to GM deities. I mean they are supposed to be the superlative example of their domains, but how do you play that out as anything other than alien? One way is to model them after Greek Gods I guess, capricious and human in every way except their vast power. The other is to make them very distant, which is what Gorum has been. But that unnatainable approval is also a drive for Merrowyn. The fact that she can never get either father (Edward or Gorum) to just say she’s good enough makes her try to get their approval ever more. So, this was another in a long series of attention grabing schemes from a fundementally insecure young person who wanted to be told she was doing the right thing.

What could have improved

Wow, do we just give no shits at all about this adventure path anymore. The civil war, our internal family struggles, losing bog. They are all so much more important to us than a Nymph we never met who hates us because we exist. I mean big fights and another artifact sword, whoopee. We just don’t care. To address that (and because Dennis and Regina will be moving away soon) we’ve pretty much cut that story-line out of the game and are focusing our final game sessions (this was the 2nd to last one) on the civil war, of which most of our characters have been preparing for this entire time!

Wow, combat in Pathfinder is slow when you’re not a part of it. I had to step out for a few minutes (I think to walk the dog or to swap out the laundry) so I said that Merrowyn should stay behind to mobilize the army, thinking that whatever happened in Rostland wouldn’t take that long. When I got back, I sat there for over an hour while they fought off the invaders. It wasn’t the worst thing ever. I’ve had a hand in a lot of the characters build so I was excited to see them pull of their moves like using Judgments and Panache, or casting Summon Monster One Billion, but it hit me just how much time it takes to do combat. And that was combat with identical foes (the Issian soldiers)!

2 thoughts on “Actual Play – The Sword of Sirian Aldori Changes Hands (7/23/2016)”

  1. I came late to this session, and my what details I missed!

    “Irovetti’s bedroom including his bound mistress Engelidius, a spirit naga who just wanted his head!”
    Well gee. I’m glad we killed the fucker.

    “From the mouth of Herald Beneku who was more than happy to turn on his dead king, …” This is the second Herald who’s been delighted to help us out. I love how Irovetti’s people despise him so much.

    Also love the Gorum-summoning and Tad/Xanthia wedding details!

    The battle was indeed epic! Sooo many highs and lows. And so exciting! (And agreed. Displacement can go be tortured and disembowled and then die in a fire.)

    Teleport (/D Door) is like the most useful spell ever. Ever, ever.
    Having said that though, I also kind of think that a lot of our most potent spells are also our least flashy spells. Heals, countermagic, buffs – we would have been dead so many times over if it weren’t for them. I’m glad they got a lot of appreciation in our games – but I think in general they’re the unsung heroes of D&D magic users.

    Favourite Bits:
    – Great Wyrm!!! Great Wyrm!!! Great Wyrm!!!
    – Olivetta catching Imogen with Featherfall! Imogen had just been gleefully knocking mages out of the air before hubris caught up with her and her own fly spell was dispelled. No feather fall prepared. On the cusp of dying (again). But Olivetta had her back! I think she teleported over to do it and I was so, so grateful. Thrilling moment.
    – The comeback from the dispel that almost knocked out the Blind! Eric rolled a dispel for Olivetta and it was not quite high enough to get rid of the Wyrm’s displacement, … but just high enough to remove its Slow. The look on Eric’s face. The silence that fell over the table. The beating of our hearts as we recognized our impending Doom. Then the quick, hurried rules consultation to establish that what actually would have happened was… (something to do with staff vs caster spellcaster rating, I think). The Slow remained intact! Something else (I think Stoneskin) was removed! Whatever it was that we retconned – thank you Dennis for letting us roll with it! Otherwise we’d still be picking up the pieces of our shattered spirits.
    – Merrowyn selling her soul to the dragon! (Or at least being willing to!)
    – Miquela and Elara’s truly, truly, eloquent speeches to the people of Restov that it was time to seize their futures. So many excellent arguments. So much zeal and pride.
    – I’m also so glad that Noleski’s mocking-ness is what killed him!
    – And dude, that roll for the Slow. It’s like Dennis knew he was going to roll a one for the resist. Fantastic!

  2. I loved how everyone else as players were still ready to keep chasing that wyrm across the land, but I as a player was sooooo tired that Miquela was just “Wha? Whas gon on? Where do I hit it?” and I rolled a crit, delivering the killing blow. “Oh, ok… so s’over then?”

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