Actual Play – Your prince is in another castle (6/20/2015)

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

Political Machinations

In the wake of the duel, Miquela realized more political moves would have to be made if we’re going to bring the Sordello and Aldori families back together.

First off, we’ll have to pardon all past crimes committed between the families. Heck, even let folks have one final duel, but then the slate is marked clean. One time.

The other thing we’ll have to do is marry some folks. This started with a lot of nods followed by a lot of “what, you mean me?” and then some “whoa, whoa, whoa”s. Will Elara marry a Sordello? Domingo suggested Merrowyn marrying into the Sellemus family… specifically Pietro (ugh!).

Instigating war

Unannounced to Miquela, Merrowyn paid a visit to Luca to give him a proposal. House Aldori will offer up their smuggling route to Restov swordlords so they can sneak would-be hostages out of Rostland into Aldoria.

Luca was not enamored with the idea of sending family away, though he could see the merit in some cases, but was eager to use the smuggling routes to arm his family without Brevoy being aware of it. He gave Merrowyn a 250,000 gold piece line of credit, which represented a significant portion of the entire House Sordello’s holdings, in order.

All of this is leading to one thing, the Restov families being ready for war and actually going to war, instead of letting Issia pick them off slowly, one family at a time.

Scrying on Pietro

Last time we found him inside a bag of holding, we presumed captured by Mik-Mek. We were expecting to find him there again, but instead we got nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. But as also, scrying not working has a particular flavor, which Olivetta and especially Leccio have gotten good at differentiating.

  • He’s not inside God-Touched ore
  • He’s not dead
  • He’s not protected by a non-detection spell
  • He’s not on another plane.

Another attempt

Since Pietro was AWOL, we decided to try something that would probably be fruitless, using a Sending spell to contact MikMek directly.

“MikMek, it’s Merrowyn. Miquela needs information from Pietro. Where can we find you? NatPick is well. Minister of Mining.”

What we got back:

“ON THE RUN. BOXED IN. PURSUERS DANGEROUS. DANGEROUS. GOING TO GROUND. TOMB OF YARRIX. HURRY.”

What the what?

Tomb of Yarrix

Well that was strange. We quickly contacted Leccio and got to finding what the heck the Tomb of Yarrix was and more importantly where it was.

North, WAY north, Like, deep into Issia north. Also, some kind of snake god multi-dimensional dungeon. Nice!

How to get there? Why, flying eagles of course! Elara summoned them and we all headed out. It was glorious, except for Merrowyn for which it was both terrifying and nauseating. Oh my god. Merrowyn is B.A. Baracus.

i_ain__t_gettin___on_no_plane_by_crashtefano-d356ogn-618x361

Flashbacks

During the flight we had a flashback to Ludmilla, Natalas chief of staff and the Surtov liaison with Daggermark assassins. She was hiring!

Distractions

We also noticed a glow up ahead. Something very, very big on fire. Like a castle or or town. Unfortunately going to it would take us off course and time was short already. Reluctantly we held the course and continued to the tomb.

As we flew the scenery changed from Russian steppes to Scottish highlands, to Siberian tundra. Frosty!

We landed outside the apple orchard and quickly made our way in, noticing that a whole bunch of rangers had set up a whole bunch of traps, aimed at catching, killing, or maiming anything that came out of a particular cave. That had to be our tomb!

Entering the Tomb

Inside the cave was a large emerald nimbus hovering in the air and nothing else. We stepped into it and were transported into the tomb!

Room 1: Praise to Kroa’Coth

The large room we found ourselves in had scripture on the walls “Give praise to Kroa’Coth and be welcome”.

This had to be like entering Moria, right. We just had to say praise in the right language–oh fuck what are those fires?!? Several animated flames blared through the room and burned us. Guess we didn’t give praise fast enough. Fucking Kroa’Coth!

After some recollection, Olivetta remembered that Kroa’Coth is a demon lord of snakes. Oh fun. He like snakes. An fire. Double fun!

TroglodytesRoom 2: Stinky Death

The next room was octagonal in shape with several passages ways leading away from it. The floor was littered with frescoes and other art that had been thrown down and destroyed. Hiding among some of the rubble were six fiendish troglodytes. What plane of existence do fiendish things go when the die again?

Stinky, but they gave us an idea! We all used our hats of disguise to look like trogs!

Loot:

  • 6 x +1 Scimitar
  • 60 gp
  • 6 x +2 Breastplates
  • 6 x Holy symbol of Kroa’Coth

Room 3: Barracks

Nothing to see here. Except a strange snake construct that had a magical ring (Fire Resistance, but we didn’t identify it yet) worked into it’s rattle.

Loot

  • Ring of Fire Resistance (minor)

SalamanderRoom 4: The Forge

We found our first, erm, creature, we could talk to.  A salamander pounding on a breastplate at at forge. A forge of molten steel handled casually by the fiery beast.

In our new disguises we tried to communicate with the Salamander, speaking in draconic as the Troglodytes had, and making sure that our new found holy symbols were visible. He didn’t understand us. Typical. Creatures that live two doors apart and don’t speak the same language.

He did however make it clear he wanted us to leave. As in now! When we persisted, he charged full of wrath. And then Olivetta cast Charm Monster, he failed a saving through, and suddenly we had an ally! Who spoke common!

Gamil, as we found out his name is, is a hard core Kroa’Coth disciple and loathes those who’s faith is burns with fewer flames than his. He also really likes killing shit. At least his second motivation was in accord with us, and his first, was as soon thanks to the charm spell as well. Olivetta told him that we were sent to root out herecy and that anyone, anyone could be a heritic.

He was to come with us, guide us through the dungeon, and help us put an end to the heresy that infected this place. He told us there were new followers, the fey, as well as the weak serpentfolk who still worshiped the weak Ydersius (another evil snake god, this one with her head cut off, charming).

“Also, give us that breastplate as well.”

Loot

  • Breastplate with serpent design inlay

436px-Red_serpentfolkRoom 5: Jail Cells

The first room we found with our boon companion was full of jail cells. We didn’t think MikMek would have gotten himself caught, but best to make sure. The two guards were degenerate Serpentfolk, because you know regular old Serpentfolk aren’t so low as to have guard duty. This meant they didn’t have any innate magical powers and relied on things like swords to get what they want. We also rely on swords, but our are sharper. Gamil was impressed, for some Troglodytes we kicked quite a bit of ass. Heretic Degenerate Serpentfolk!

In the cells was single Serpentfolk who had been tortured over a prologued period of time. He was too broken to say much other than that he renounced Ydersius for Kroa’Coth. So, one evil snake god for another evil snake god. Jeez, snake gods, get a room! We killed him as there was nothing else to do. He was too far gone to be helped.

Deets on Ydersius. Snake got who had his head chopped off. Patron god of the serpentfolk, just not these serpentfolk. More here.

Loot

  • 2 x Masterwork Heavy Maces

Room 6: High Priest’s Statue Room

After that we walked down a long hall and Gamil asked us if we wanted to enter the high priest’s chambers from the front or the back entrance. Gorumserpent_folk_by_fstitz-d2xx00h damn it’s good to have charmed monsters!

We came in the back entrance, circumventing the guards and not giving the high priest anytime to cast a zillion spells that no doubt would have made him a fair bit tougher. We entered a large room with a single giant serpent statue surrounded by a whole bunch of beheaded snake statues, Elara noticed the giant snake under the bed, and announced that he too was a heretic. The high priest gave us an “Oh, rly?” look, and it was on!

Round 1 – Stand up, draw twin acidic rapiers, and cast dominate person on our witch. Send your snake to tackle and entangle Miquela. Pretty fucking strong opening Mr. High Priest.

Rounds everything after – Get all kinds of stabbed by all of us while Olivetta sits on the bed (that is now burning because Gamil sits on it with her) watching us. The plan was to make her watch us die, but boss man, we don’t go for that. Many sword wounds later and look, we’ve got two magic rapiers!

Loot:

  • 2 x +1 Acid Rapiers
  • Pearl of Power (level 3)
  • Gold holy symbol of Kor’Coth (worth 600gp)
  • 550pp
  • 1600gp
  • 30 x 100gp Rubies
  • Large serpent fang made of stone
  • 6 x Jeweled death masts (worth 6000gp total)
  • Many book written in Alco.

Room 7: Rolling the rest

Outside the high priests chambers were some dark naga, more serpentfolk, and other nastiest. We rolled them.

Down below

We found stairs going down that were barricaded. Gamil told us that below were the weak followers of Ydersius, led by Ziska. As we still hadn’t found MikMek, and it didn’t seem likely he was on this level, we decided to go down. “That’s where are the heretics are right? Let’s go!”

Down below we entered a room that featured only a pedestal with a beautiful emerald resting on it. We were all impressed with the size and perfection of the gem but Elara and Miquela were in full “my precious” mode about it [thanks failed will saves]. Merrowyn tried to grab Miquela to stop her but couldn’t get a hold of her.  Meanwhile Elara wild shaped into a giant squid and lunged for it with one of her many tentacles. And then pop – they were gone!

Tell me can you feel it? The Heat is On.

I could feel it! Our group was split and hell was breaking loose. Here’s the tame version of it.

Miquela and Elara were trapped in a dark corridor. They couldn’t see anything but they could hear a machine churning away and soon they were being attacked by an ethereal snake that despite it’s own incorporeality was able to mash them down and shred them in it’s gears. They couldn’t fight it, they couldn’t get around it, all they could do was run. They ran in the dark and time after time smacked into walls as the corridor twisted this way and that. No matter how it turned though the serpent that gave chase never relented, never was tangled up by the labyrinthine passage. Ahead they heard the echoing of another machine; another snake coming from the other direction, closing on them!

Olivetta and Merrowyn were left up top with no idea what happened. They did notice a small reptilian claw print in the soot above a torch. MikMek had passed through here. Hooray, only where the hell are Elara and Miquela??!? Gamil told them that they had been taken away and were lost to us. When we insisted that they must be rescued “Because Elara, she’s the heretic-finder!” he told us that we’d have to move fast. So we did. Gamil was giving a potion of flying, Merrowyn was already enchanted with a Spider Climb spell, and Olivetta used her flying hex. Armed with aerial alacrity we made haste and literally ran through the halls of ALL the serpentfolk. As we raced by we saw serpentfolk burst into multiple mirror images, we saw others become blurred, and others exhibit other magical defenses. All assuming they were being attacked, when really just wanted to move past them fast to find…

Elara and Miquela, once the were finally pinned between the two giant snakes, were a bit delighted really when the snakes became solid! Solid snakes are something we can kill! And kill they did. With flame strikes and summoned bugbears and the usual stabbyness. But they they were still boxed in. Both passages clogged by giant snakes!

When the rest of us caught up with them we saw a passage filled with magical darkness. Gamil paused and said they were in there but it looked clear that he didn’t much like the idea of going in after them. We did it anyway…with a whole dungeon level of serpentfolk on our heels!

 

What rocked

The marriage discussion was a great one. I love the idea of the Daughters of Aldori, all great warriors, having to marry to save the families. Especially if it’s to someone they loathe!

Gamil was a hoot. A total sadist who reveled in murdering… he wasn’t all that different than any of us! Also the constant “He gives you a chest bump, take 1d6 fire damage” was great!

Dominate Person on a Witch. Nice move GM. Nice move!

That chase at the end was legit scary. Dennis did a great job of bouncing back and forth between the two groups and constantly leaving each group wondering what happened next. It was pretty intense!

As random dungeons go, this one has some fun flavor. The internal politics, though we’re not keen to side with either faction, are fun, and the variety of denizens were great.

What could be improved

There are many active plot threads that I am eager to tackle: rescuing the hostages, negotiations with Pitax, finding the evil rings, arming for the civil war with Issia, rooting out the lundwyrm (green dragon fey monstrosity), meeting the elves in the Narlmarshes, finding the water skimmer creatures in the hooktongue, and the eventual simple hex clearing and kingdom growth. While a fun romp the Tomb of Yarrix was never on our radar and  I know we’re eager to find MikMek, so we can find Pietro, so we can get to Operation: Breakout asap.