Actual Play – Heroes of Skywatch (10/24/2015)

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

The triumphant return of our heroes after rescuing the hostages… and all the sacrifices they had to make.

Last session we ended with our return. At the start of this session we saw Chall Fingo vanish along with nearly a third of the hostages, who, now free, were immediately heading back to Restov to arm up and plot their revenge.

Last session actual play: Big Damn Heroes

When we turned our attention back to the PCs we found them, as often the case in the…

Small council meeting

First there was a discussion of awards. Yay for one happy topic. All who fought would receive a metal forged by Christoph and emblazoned by one of our artisans recognizing them as a “Hero of Skywatch.”

Others would receive greater rewards commiserate with their contribution and station.

  • Ribissi – for his contributions and the contribution of Mivon, Miquela would offer to foster one of his children as her own. Additionally we will name the first ship in our navy the Water Dancer and make the masthead in his image as a nod to him.
  • Aldo – Named the Warden of the North.
  • Xanthia – Named the Warden of the East and given leave to raise a Centaur army (Free Nomen Legion).
  • Sootscale – We delayed the awards until the evening so that he and the rest of his entourage could participate. Additionally he will be named Warden of the Deep.
  • Roy – A graveyard would be built in honor of the fallen in Tazzleford. (+1 graveyard).
  • Franco – A memorial would be built in his honor (+1 monument in the Tusk) and Miquela would speak of the long road he had to walk to earn our trust and our respect and how his shoes would be very hard to fill.
  • Jerome – Awarded an official title, head of the Swordlord’s Intelligence Service (SIS).

For the others, they were awarded a special medal for their contribution.

And then the bad news

What to do with Peitro?

Really, we’ve got this kid, and he’s been working with our enemy. The man who kidnapped our loved ones, and kidnapped the loved ones of many Rostland families. He’s despicable, and should be put the sword.

But how to do it without destroying his father, or if not destroying his father, destroying his father’s credibility, which we will need if we are to unite the houses?

Maybe more so than ever before the council was divided. Do we give Pietro back to his father? If so, do we do it publicly or secretly? Maybe through a message to his mother first? Do we put him on trial ourselves for treason against Aldoria? If so, what do we do when he calls for an advocate? No matter what we do it could be bad.

Edward got up and left the table when Merrowyn suggested that if Lord Sellemius stepped up to be the advocate for his son, they should throw the match. Not long after Merrowyn got up and left the table after it was clear that we were going to lock him up in some dungeons and throw away the key.

Which is exactly what we ended up doing. Nobody felt great about it, but Kobb and Domingo’s cold logic won out over our own sense of right and wrong.

Disappointed Dad

What made Edward leave was his daughter saying something that hurt him at the core. That she would consider having an advocate throw the match, even push for it. He thought he had trained her (all those ranks in Profession: Advocate!) and she just gave it all up in a moment when it would serve her purposes.

Later, Merrowyn, Olivetta, and Leccio made a quick jaunt to Skywatch (Leccio wanted a look at the Rogarvians) and came back beaten and battered. Edward found Merrowyn later and was about to forgive her, but then he saw her all beaten up just like she was 12 again and constantly getting into fights.

Kingdom Turn 37

The Kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Paying consumption and 10 BP for the rescue mission.
Expansion into hexes C0, C-1, and C-2
Farms in C0 and C-2
Fishery in C-1
Roads in C0 and C-1
Buildings (Tazzleford): Graveyard
Buildings (The Tusk): Monument
Increase size of Arvin’s Rangers from Medium (100) to Large (200).
Event: Outstanding success in Tazzleford – Dug up an old Cyclops graveyard and sold off artifacts (+16 BP, +4 Economy until next turn, +1 Fame, -2 Unrest)

Liberation Day

During the morning there was a parade through the Tusk and Miquela used her Rod of Splendor to create a giant feast for everyone to partake in. Leccio pointed that since the rod can be used once a week, she should do this every week! Tuesdays would be best!

In the afternoon Miquela sat in the common ground and received petitions from the people. Many asked for impossible things, others had grievances easy to solve. The worst of the complainers were saved for the end, when Miquela’s patience was the most strained. Kobb had engineered it, trying to get her to snap. She kept her calm though and addressed even the most cantankerous citizens with civility.

At the end of the hearings one final petitioner, Lady Simeraldia Amato, wife of Bruno Amato and a her small entourage stepped up and asked if they could approach the Swordlord. She was admitted to come forward where she took a knee and held out her upward turned hand to Miquela. Not sure what to do, indeed there was no protocol for this, Miquela stood and took Lady Amato by the wrist in a soldiers’ embrace and lifted her up.

Standing very close Lady Simeraldia said “House Amato does not forget!”

Fuck yeah. A win for the good guys! Or at least, you know, a win for us.

After that there were games and contests. People trying to enter the temple of Gorum (good luck), wheelbarrow jousting, you name it. Merrowyn was peopled-out and spent some good time drinking with Santiago and talking about alternative ale-dispensing vessels.

At dusk the kobolds arrived in an giant parade. Sootscale had commanded his soldiers to put on their finest polish and clean up as well as they could. Quite an impressive feat. They had giant paper dragon puppets driven by 20 kobolds, gymnastics, jugglers and other fanfare. They also had the stuffed corpse of the Hobgoblin commander they defeated during the last raid. Festive by kobold standards, a bit crass by ours.

Hero-of-Skywatch_clear2Awards Ceremony

At night, after the parades and festivities, we performed the awards ceremony, commemorating those who fought at Skywatch to bring our families home.

  • Atonio Ribisi, his five dualists, one of them fallen, and his wizard – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal. We further offered to foster one of his children to be raised by the Swordlord herself alongside her own.
  • Roy Resnick  – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal and a graveyard for the fallen erected in Tazzleford.
  • Aldo Resnick – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal and named Warden of the North.
  • King Sootscale – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal and named Warden of the Deep.
  • Nat Pick and the twenty kobolds, four of them fallen – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal.
  • Jerome, and “staff,” one of them fallen – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal and named head of the Swordlord’s Intelligence Service (SIS).
  • Xanthia – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal and named Warden of the East, and granted the commission to lead a Free Nomen army.
  • Chall Fingo, his two bodyguards, one of them fallen, Jarl the wizard, and Laren the archmage – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal in absentia.
  • Akiros – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal in absentia.
  • Mik Mek – Was not mentioned, though a medal was left for him later by Miquela.
  • Brigitte, and her three clerics of Abadar –  Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal.
  • Rombilard, Felix, and the Twins, one of them fallen but raised again  – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal partially in absentia.
  • Lieutenant Solia, Private Delaco Farell, and Sergeant “Stoney,” soldiers of the Swordlord’s Own –  Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal.
  • Sergeant  Nolan, soldier of the Swordlord’s Own, fallen in battle –  Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal posthumously.
  • Captain Franco, commander of the Swordlord’s Own, fallen in battle –  Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal posthumously, thanked personally for his service by the Swordlord, and a memorial erected in his honor.

The awards were often accepted by loved ones and then placed by them on the recipients. There was a joyous scene where Tad accepted Xanthia’s and vice versa and then placed them on each other. The same for the Resnicks and the twins.

When Franco’s medal was awarded a woman in battered adamantine full plate stepped up from the crowd and accepted it in his honor. She introduced herself as Savia Sordello, Franco’s older sister, and simple as that, returned back to a crowd of soldiers.

The Afterparty

Someone doesn’t walk around in dented adamantine plate if they haven’t seen a lot. Like, a lot. And she didn’t storm out the moment she received the medal, so that was another good sign.

Merrowyn approached, made the briefest of small talk and then offered her a position. Something like “So, you’re Franco’s older sister. Want a job?” Not surprisingly, after 3o years of soldering Savia wasn’t interested in anything but a command position. Specifically Franco’s. “I think my brother died trying to be like his big sister. I intend to honor that.”

This was a problem. The position was to be given to Lt. Solia. She was the next in line for it. She fought at Skywatch. She was one of us. Savia, despite her accolades, was a stranger. Solia was understanding, kind of amazingly so. She liked that most problems, big or small, went to Franco, and she wouldn’t mind if they went to his sister instead.

But of course, nothing could be that simple. Miquela also had to have a say. She needed to make sure that Savia’s ego wasn’t going to interfere with her duties. Not an unreasonable question, but damn Merrowyn was sure she was going to undermine her. Savia laid it out pretty clearly “I don’t really care about you, or about Aldoria. But my brother did, and I love my brother.” Maybe not what Miquela was hoping for, but good enough!

Elara and the ranger’s hut

Enter Elara, Druid, upon a simple scene of Akiros digging  a well out in the woods. Toilsome work with spade and sweat. As she flew down and took human form the spoke about why he was out here, to offer the rangers a place of respite on their travels and why he was out here, to do Erastil’s will.

The recent rescue of the hostages shook Elara up, again. The lizardmen taking that boy, the kidnapping of our family, those things were just wrong. Yet there isn’t a place for right and wrong in the Green Faith. A wolf who kills a lamb isn’t wrong, he’s just hungry. And when that wolf is killed by a hunter who will use his fur for a pelt, that isn’t wrong either, so long as it all stays in some kind of equilibrium.

But those acts were not done out of necessity but from malicious intent. What of that? Meanwhile Elara offered to help dig the well, and took the form of an Earth Elemenal and dug it out in no time at all. The work was done but there was no satisfaction in it.

They talked. About one’s place in this world and one’s purpose. About beliefs and direction. About choosing a path before one is chosen for you. In the end Akiros told her that he finds purpose in doing Erastil’s will, and when he needs guidance he looks to Jahad. Maybe she should too.

Elara and the pool at the Temple of the Elk

Enter Elara, the reluctant druid to the Temple of the Elk, where all sorts gathered. Rangers on their way to and fro. Families that lived in the area. Pilgrims wanting to see the sight, and of course Jahad, welcoming them all in.

Elara also sought council from Jahad. The conversation was a bit more direct. He pointed to the rangers, noted how they were necessary to keep the land safe, but by necessity were not part of the same society that they protected. If Elara also wanted to protect people, she’d have to make a choice to stand apart as well.

And how do you make that choice? By being throw into the transformative pool and then yanked back out again.

Exit Elara, Inquisitor of Erastil.

Kingdom Turn 38

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Expansion into hexes D-2, E-3, and F-3
Farms in F-3, E-3, D-2
Roads in C-2, D-2, E-3, F-3
Settle in Sellen’s Gate! (Held together with shoeshine and promises till now)
Balanced Treaty formed with Mivon. We share an enemy. Pitax!
Treaty with Mivon. Successful. We created a balanced treaty!

Event: Fued. Savia has taken over leading the Swordlord’s Own and not everyone is making the cut. +1 Unrest as she kicks out some of the original soldiers!

Kingdom Turn 39

The kingdom is stable (-1 Unrest)
Claim three water hexes (Lake Hooktongue) establishing two separate routes to Sellen’s Gate.
Buildings (The Tusk): Library, Barracks, and a Temple of Pharasma (just in time!).
Army expansion: Increase the size of the Swordlord’s Own from Large (200) to Huge (500).
Army creation: Nomen Free Legion (Small army of Centaur Rangers)
Event: Natural Blessing (fires burn through the kingdom but miss inhabited areas, the next harvest will be a fantastic one) [+4 Stability until end of next turn]
Event: Vandals. Mivon duelists show up excited that we have no lists and so they can duel anyone they wants. They leave with broken faces muttering about out incivility (put down before they could spread unrest).

Other matters of state

We put a call out for wizards wondering if we could lure any to the Tusk by building them colleges and academies and such, then…

One day we receive a letter, no wait, we received a verbose invective, from none other that Ervil Pendrod. The missive went on and on (many pages, both sides, small lettering) about how we abused him, took him for granted, and tried to take advantage of his good nature. But that wasn’t all, he went on long tangents about how this is how wizards are always treated and that he has never been given the respect he deserves.

As the small council reviewed the pages of the letter in confusion it was Kobb who finally burst out in exaltation. “Wait a second… Penrod was know for being calm, rational, and patient. This letter is anything but… He must have one of the rings!” And in short order we all agreed. One more ring accounted for, two more at large!

When we realized this, we also began to wonder if the reason we’ve had so much trouble recruiting wizards was because of Dopple-Svetlana. We reached out to Ribissi and asked if he knew any wizards looking for a home. He said he thought we just didn’t like wizards!

We built a library that month, and will soon upgrade it to an Academy and then a University! We’re going to start bringing some arcane might to our kingdom!

Plans for next session

Kingdom turns permitting: expand to more plains hexes, build farms in new hexes and in H7, building granary and storehouse in Sellen’s Gate, establish a trade route to Mivon, grow our armies, create a standing army in Sellen’s gate, build a cathedral in Sellen’s gate, build an academy in the Tusk.

War efforts: Talk to Sootscale about the hobgoblins. How do we face a foe that has every terrain advantage over us (underground, dark, in their home). We can fight them out on the open front, but if we don’t destroy them, they will eventually grow so vast they can crush us.

Personal goals: Get some hounds for the castle. It needs a good pack of dogs to be running around eating the scraps, keeping us warm, and barking at intruders.

What Rocked

We’ve got the following houses that would right now raise banners for us: Sellemius (most likely), Amato (hell yeah!), Strozzi, and Aldori. House Ridolfi also has strong nationalistic views and may stand with us, but we’ve made no specific inroads with them to make them believe us. They might just as well back another leader to fight the throne. House Infaganti are making money and that is the way they like it. They are at present in favor of the status quo. House Villani are moderates not inclined to take sides. Finally there is House Sordello, which as far as we know, still hate our guts. Should our play win them over, we have a chance of uniting all the (capital “S”) Swordlord houses, which hasn’t happened since… oh yeah, the time House Aldori led the houses to their fiery graves. Hmmm… let’s stock up on our Rings of Fire Resistance!

What could have improved

Damn it. I always have these ideas too late! Treason is a crime fought over with greatswords. Instead of suggesting we throw the match, Merrowyn should have demanded that she be allowed to be the advocate! Arg, that would have been cool. Fuck, fuck, fuck. It might still happen. I’m going back to my dueling strategy doc I made several levels ago to update it. It’s like updating your resume.

Actual Play – Big Damn Heroes (9/26/2015)

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

At the sight of Miquela, Pietro (freshly resurrected) feinted on the spot. Everyone expected someone else was going to catch him but instead he went back like a board and he his head hit the floor…hard. He didn’t move. We couldn’t tell if he was breathing.

We all stood in silent horror. Shit, did he die again? What does that even mean if he did? Has this game switched from Pathfinder to Fiasco? We stood there, speechless, until…

Johah, the inquisitor of Pharasma, burst out laughing.

Finding our family

Last session we finally recovered Pietro (albiet a dead Pietro) and after hunting him down through some crazy ancient forgotten Emerald spire and were now going to find out from him where the hostages were being kept.

To facilitate this, the head of our new founded central intelligence Jerome, asked if he could interrogate the prisoner without Miquela present, and he wasn’t sure how many more resurrections this kid had left in him (The swordlord does tend to get a bit stabby with people who have betrayed her).

In the next small council meeting (as we waited for information from Pietro)

  • Cobb suggested keeping Lord Sellemus in the dark about his son which we temporarily agreed to.
  • We all agreed it was time to call the banners and get the hostages.
  • After we recovered the hostages we also agreed that there would be no reason not to go to war with Brevoy, except that are armies aren’t nearly large enough. In order to hold our own they need to grow to ten times their current size. Once that happens we’ll be ready for:
    • War with Pitax (if we can get Mivon to step in and help)
    • War with Brevoy (if we can unify the Restov swordlords)

The children are in Skywatch

When report came back from Jerome we found out:

  • Pietro has been working with the Surtovas for ages, since he was a teenager. Never thought highly of by his own father, Pietro saw Noleskin as a father figure, and hand a lingering fancy for Queen Natala.
  • He’s dumb, but not as dumb as people think. They worked with Pitax to kill one of the four groups sent out, which confirms we’re the only ones that have survived this long.
  • The hostages are in Skywatch. Time for a history lesson folks.

The observatory at Skywatch has been there forever. Thought to be built by celestial creatures (though we suspect cyclops), it’s surface is utterly impenetrable. When Choral the Conquerer united the two nations there was one group of ultra nationalist swordords, the Night Blades that continued to fight even when their country had fallen. The took control of Skywatch and through several underground networks smuggling supplies they were able to hold it for a year. Finally, after sending all of his mundane forces against it and failing Choral brought in his dragons and burned everything to ashes. All but the observatory, which was untarnished by the flames.

It was claimed by the Rogarvians, but granted to the Surtovas to rebuild and after they had built it, they lived their. Some other things we know it about it:

  • It cannot be penetrated by magic (teleportation and scrying doesn’t even work within a mile of it)
  • There are rumored to be catacombs under it.
  • Based on Pietro’s knowledge there are at least 200 troops there (as of a month ago).

Cobb suggested we let him send in a highly trained team to gather intelligence and ferret out the hostages. It would take a month, maybe two. We didn’t have that long. We couldn’t keep Pietro hidden for long and who knows what would happen to the hostages during that time. It was time to go!

Strike Team

We had our expected line up…

  • Miquela, our Swordlord
  • Elara, our Warden and closest to Rudolfo, along with her old companion Kiri.
  • Merrowyn, the General

Then their were our stalwart companions:

  • Tad on Xanthia’s back (and she was flying???)
  • Mik Mek
  • Giovanni (he was going to get his son and sister back!)
  • Rombilard and the Twins (who would never miss the action)

We also had recruits brought up from within our ranks:

  • Franco and five of the Swordlord’s Own (including Nolan and Stoney).
  • Brigitte and three healers of Abadar.
  • Three of Enza Aldori’s finest students.
  • Jerome and three of his infiltrators.

Ambassadors of good will from parts near an far:

  • Sootscale arrived with Nat Pick and 20 of his Kobold Elite
  • Antoni Ribissi of Mivon arrived with five duelists and a wizard.
  • Chall Fingo and his entourage include two men-at-arms and Jarl the wizard, as per his agreement many moons back.

We couldn’t get all of us that far north, even with all our combined wizards using all their powers of teleportation, so we called in a favor. Jarl contacted his mentor, and ancient elf named Lauren, one of the archmages of Golarion, who created a teleportation circle that would bring us all close by, and then promised to have another ready for us the next day to retreat.

Finally there were two who arrived at the last moment before we set out:

  • Santiago, though forbidden by Miquela, burst into the teleportation circle at the last moment.
  • Akiros, who we expected to come with but no one had heard word of showed up “Erastil told me I need to be here”.

Those left behind to guard the Tusk

We couldn’t just all go! Despite wanting to come with, we had to leave few behind to ensure there would be a kingdom to come back to.

  • Edward, left in charge
  • Domingo, still wheeling and dealing
  • Jahad, to look after the poeple
  • Toti, to keep the clerics of Abadar in check.
  • Arvin, to watch our borders
  • Leccio, to provide us what wisdom he could from his library
  • Cobb, our contingency plan
  • Hima, to guard Floriana
  • Enza, there must be a dueling master in ever swordlord’s capitol!
  • Sootscale, to unleash the horde should an enemy choose now to strike.

The costs (financial ones)

Our personal costs for potions to go on this trip:

Description Qty Value Cost
See Invisibility (CL3) 4 -300 -1200
Invisibility (CL3) 4 -300 -1200
Darkvision (CL3) 4 -300 -1200
Fly (CL 5) 4 -750 -3000

Costs to equip the rest of the troops and arrange the logistics: another 50,000 in expenses (12 Build points when we get to Kingdom phase).

The Rescue

We all hopped through the teleport circle about five miles north of Skywatch in a craggy region that was well concealed. We sent out scouts to report on the current status and a few hours later they returned back reporting that 100 cavalry were moving towards Skywatch, all of them “Slashers” the Brevoy elite. In front of them was an eerie black carriage that floated without wheels and was driven by eight black horses. Inside the town near the observatory were 500 troops.

We opted to come in from the size, circumvent the town all together, open the gates and let our folks storm in while we kept the slashers busy. That was the plan at least!

Highlights of the Fight

  • Elara dropping a volcanic storm in the center of the Slashers slowing them all down and blocking visibility.
  • Oliveta impersonating a Slasher and then using Mass Suggestion to get a dozen of them to clump together around a single sergeant.
  • Miquela running to lead the wedge when Fraco had fallen to a disintegrate spell.
  • Merrowyn leaping from rooftop to rooftop to pull all the necessary levers to open the gates and tag team fighting with Mik Mek.

Remarkable actions of the our allies:

  • Chall Fingo making a direct b-line to the wizards and cutting them down despite his entourage taking grievous injuries.
  • Franco leading the charge of the Swordlords own and not one of them breaking after he was disintegrated by Stroon. Fucking Stroon!
  • Santiago running off on his own, chasing down a scent and finding Rudolfo (later).
  • Akiros keeping calm as there is a delay in opening the gates.
  • Our bad ass Kobold assassin archers.
  • The Stone Face Killer and Mik Mek fist bump.
  • Tad flying on Xanthia’s back raining down explosive arrows.
  • Aldo showing us he still had it in him, by dropping the first Slasher with a single arrow, and then nearly killing Stroon with one shot. Also some adorable moments between him and his son Roy trading compliments.
  • Rombilard and Felix going full bear on the Slashers.

Inside the Observatory

After slaying a whole ass ton of Slashers (and emphatically avoiding going anywhere near that spooky carriage) we made our way into the observatory and then went down… so far down.

There we fought wizards and rogues and did more killing until we finally got the end where we found Narise (the hand maiden of Queen Natala), our hostages, and about 20 killers ready to kill those hostages.

And then the Swordlord and Narise negotiated. Tensely.

In the end we left them go and they gave us back the hostages. Despite a lot of super evil dudes that wanted to do some murdering and some super good guys who really didn’t want to see those super evil guys walk away free.

A count of those lost

  • Franco, leader of the Swordlord’s Own, disintegrated by Stroon.
  • Nolan, one of the Swordlords’s Own
  • One of Chall’s entourage
  • Two of the academy duelists
  • One of the Twins
  • A duelist of Mivon
  • One of Jerome’s infiltrators
  • Four of Sootscale’s kobolds

More mysteries inside Skywatch

Miquela realized that as Narise was leaving, she hinted that dangerous as it was to be in Skywatch, it held something valuable. Later one of our scouts reported finding something very strange.

A giant room, filled with tables? beds? something. And on each of them was one one of the Rogarvian family. Apparently all of the Rogarvian family. Completely frozen.

Olivetta had cast dominate person on one of the rogues and she sent him into investigate. The moment he passed through an invisible barrier he was locked in place and his telepathic connection with Olivetta was completely cut off!

Much as we knew Leccio would love to see this, there was no way to get him here magically or to hold Skywatch long enough for him to travel this far. We had to go and we had to leave this mystery behind. One thing we knew for sure was that this was the work of some epic level sorcery, the likes of which we doubt any Surtova has ever mustered. Whoever did this, for whatever reason they did it, the Surtova’s used it to their advantage!

We freed the hostages!

Despite our losses and this mystery we raced away from Skywatch with 500 soldiers on our heels. We made it to the extraction point and teleported home. All of the hostages with us!


We found out that Savia, once sober, had been the one to hold everyone else together. She was the rock that kept them steady. That strength of character lasted just until she got home and hit the drink. Then she took it all out on Toti. Awww.

Elara went to see Rudolpho and rejoiced that he was still alive.

Merrown brought Domingo to see his mother.

Miquela made a pillow barrier around her children and slept with them in her giant bed.

Olivetta watched Rudolpho and Giovanni unite. She then was seen talking to a carpenter and gathering her things to move out of the Tusk and build a little shake of her own.

Aldo and Roy drinking together.

Robilard and Felix wrestling while drunk.

The twins, one of them getting the other ressurected.

Franco’s commemoration by his soldiers.

Tad and Xanthia heading off to be alone.

Sootscale arriving with an entourage to pick up their fallen.

As Miquela nodded off for the night and one of the babies woke and started fussing, a single reptilian and coming up out of the shadows to give it a pacifier and calm it once again.

What rocked

This rescue operation was  long time in the coming. It was great to finally get to do it.

Merrowyn hardly ever pulled out her sword. I think she stabbed one dude that Mik Mek was tussling with and maybe an assassin. It was fun having other things for her to do (namely opening the giant doors) besides stabbing things.

Dennis did a masterful job of managing a truly gigantic combat. I would have never taken on something so daunting and handled it with such granularity. Some combats have interesting terrain or environmental factors that effect them. In this game, the environment was the battle itself, and all the people we cared about in it!

What could have improved

Hard to say really. There were some tactical elements (like needing to open two doors) that might have been more clear if we were using a battle map or if we specifically announced that we were going to examine the mechanics of the door. But mostly likely that would have taken a really tough Knowledge (Engineering) check that none of us would have made, so we were likely to find out the hard way one way or another.

Next session

Kingdom turns

Freedom day celebration!

Honoring those who lived and those who died to bring our families home.

And more I’m sure!

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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.


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!



Actual Play – Three (7/11/2015)

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

Lazy days on the southern border

Aldori does a have a few things going for it in terms of security. Both our southern and eastern border are occupied by allies. We still get raids from the Tor Mountains hobgoblins but we don’t have an angry nation on our backs, which is more than we can say for our western and northern borders.

Arvin’s Rangers are sent to patrol all of the Aldori borders regardless. We’ve had trolls in the south, there are always fey in the Narl, we’ve got a proto-dragon that likes to show up every so often, and that last hobgoblin raid was a thousand strong. The rangers get to see a lot of action and there are some big damn heroes like Rombilard and the twins that are always there to get the glory.

And then there’s us. The not-quite-good-enough to join the army [those are 4th level rangers] stragglers who have missed all the great battles and all the glory. We’re Arvin’s patrol, and we’re assigned to a pretty damn boring patrol at that.

Cedric’s Folly

In the south east of Aldoria, between the land we’ve officially claimed and Mivon, there is a large stretch of hills that nobody really cares about. There are too many bandits to the south, to many roving monsters in the woods, and not far to the east it flattens out just before hitting the Tor Mountains, where hobgoblins are known to live. It’s just too much of a pain in the ass for anyone to want… but people still live out there.

It’s frontier land, not really part of Aldoria, with no laws to speak of, but protected by the rangers just the same. There’s Cedric, who set up shop “Cedric’s Rest” selling fish and bar-tending and repairing good and what all have you. He employed some of the young ones that weren’t cut out for farming to do odd jobs. A great guy, liked by everyone except the irascible tailor and his wife the exasperated weaver, both of which were great gossipers and always found fault with everyone.

As far as law goes, it really doesn’t. So instead, people come to us with their problems. When the are legitimate, like say, all our pigs are stolen, our skills are put to good use. When they are petty, like say, the tailor doesn’t like the fact that Cedric offers so many services, we know it’s time to blow this popsicle stand and get back on the road (or what passes for a popsicle stand and what passes for a road).

A little bit about Arvin’s Rangers

Mechanically speaking we figured out a good way to make characters actually good at ranging. Here’s what we did, and what I consider Arvin’s requirements for his rangers:

  • We all had cold iron weapons melee weapons (cheap), cold iron and alchemical silver arrows (also cheap), silversheen to put on our melee weapon (250gp but worth it), and a single oil of magic weapon. This means that either in melee or ranged we could overcome DR/Cold Iron, DR/Silver, and DR/Magic.
  • All our classes with decent skill points and good skill selections (Ninja, Ranger, Hunter, Wizard, Inquisitor, Magus) that have stealth, survival, and perception as class skills, or if they don’t, taking traits that grant these as class skills.
  • Intelligence, Wisdom, and Dexterity is a must. Intelligence to have a few languages, dexterity to be good with ranged weapons and stealth, and wisdom to have decent will saves and good perception.
  • Every character takes the stealth synergy teamwork feat. That means the more of us there are, the better we’ll do with stealth. Also, all our character have light armor and either masterwork armor and/or the Armor Expert feat to reduce armor check penalties. Further, we all have cloaks of elvenkind and our stealth skills maxed out.
  • Everyone is equipped with ranged weapons. Even our Wizard had a composite longbow. Good to be and elf!
  • Focus on teamwork feats like Precise strike, Shake it off, and Outflank, to get the most synergy between us.
  • All the spellcasters were focused on battlefield control. Spells like entangle, web, [continue from here]

The end result is that we were able to do things (like average 30+ on our stealth rolls for the entire party) that most band of adventurers would never accomplish. There would always be


We fought, and fought, and fought and finally rescued the hostages. Or at least most of them.

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:


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.



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


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!


  • 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.


  • 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.”


  • 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.


  • 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!


  • 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.



Actual Play – The Price of Peace (5/30/2015)

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

Not all was well in our hometown. During our time talking to the Lord Mayor, we couldn’t help but notice that the Swordlords were calling their banners, gathering their forces, and preparing for something. More guards were on every doorstep and the whole city was filled with an air of tension.

But they weren’t doing anything.

Merrowyn noticed that no preparations were made for travel. No caravans packed, no horses mounted with gear, no forces on the move. They weren’t planning to attack. But also, no additional guards on the walls, no scouts in the fields. They also weren’t planning to defend the city….

Miqueua noticed that all social activities had come to a halt. No weddings, social duels, ship chchristening. etc. All the things that keep the swordlords from killing each other had stopped.

Olivetta sensed that the ancestors came back to Rostland with her. They were upset that the other houses (the ancestors of the other houses) wouldn’t come out to play with them.

Elara was at an outdoor cafe and heard some swordlords complaining and offhandedly remarked that the Lord Mayor Sellmus lost his son (sounded like he was abducted). Listening to what gossip there was, we found there were more abductions as well. Triplets form houe Amato (three darlings of the house). The Lord Mayor’s son. An attempted Strozi kidnapping where they all died in the process. House Vilani lost the head of the house’s wife.

Putting our Heads Together

Using a Telepathic Bond to prevent scrying (get it, putting our heads together, get it?) we put all this information together. If Rostland is arming up, but not preparing to fight an outsider, and all the social events that keep swordlords from killing each other in the street have stopped… they are about to implode on each other. Fucking King Noleski is pitting the swordlords against each other. Between threats and kidnappings from some houses, and showing favoritism to others, the whole city felt on the brink of self destruction.

So, what to do now. We need to rescue the hostages, that’s for sure, but we can’t leave the city like this. We need to suture this wound before it bleeds out, and we need to do it now. Before we leave for the children.

Of other note: We want to go to war with both Brevoy (once the hostages are saved) and Pitax, but right now both of those options are right out. Brevoy has our family members and Pitax has an army ten times larger than ours. They probably can’t dedicate all their forces to fighting us, lest Mivon decide to break it’s treaty with them and invade from the south, but they still have more than enough to crush any force we would send against them. So, on both fronts we wait.  Much to Merrowyn’s displeasure.

The Plan for Reunification

We’ll have a duel. A big public event. That should appease folks for a while. Our first idea was to stage one between ourselves. Merrowyn and Miquela could wear their hats of disguise, appear to be foreign swordlords and fight in the street. Once we brought the idea up to Domingo though, he pointed out that nobody cares about two no-name duelists stabbing each other in the street. To make it big, it has to be personal.

What duel could we stage that would get people’s blood hot? How about the anger of a spurned lover? Miquela vs. Luca, Swordlord of Aldoria, mother of Staggio’s children (Staggio, remember is Luca’s brother) vs. childhood romance Luca, who is now married to an Issian, the woman who initially tore them apart. It’s perfect!

Domingo loves the plan. We all love the plan. Kobb thinks it’s a terrible idea.

Queue Mission Impossible Music

Merrowyn knows the streets of Rostland like the back of her hand. Muddy, scraped, and illegible. But it was still good enough that with some asking around she found out that Luca would be attending a horse race in a day. It’s pretty pathetic by Rostladic standards, but we work with what we’ve got. Luca would be surrounded by guards, but that’s just fine, the bigger the audience, the better.

Domingo meanwhile coaches Miquela on the delicate art of challenging someone to a duel. Insult them enough they want to fight you, but not so much they want to kill you. He suggests she ignore his wife, pretend like she isn’t even there. That she call him a coward for staying in Rostland while his brother fights in the north. He’s really ballsy actually, and keeps goading her to be more and more ostentatious. It occurs to us that Domingo didn’t forgo adventuring because he wasn’t brave enough, he just doesn’t like getting dirty.

Miquela attended the races dressed in furs and jewels (thanks to the Rod of Splendor) and sat in front of Luca and his wife. Beside her was a placard, visibly holding the seat for Staggio. Who of course, is off in Gods-know-where Issia burning castles to the ground. Miquela waited until should could find the smallest slight, when Luca’s wife tells a story, and tells her them to stop their constant “chattering”. She follows by Insulting Luca for being here at a race while his brother was fighting the war. It takes a little work but eventually Luca is incensed and accepts her challenge. A duel will be fought in the dueling grounds three days from now!

Preparations for the Fight

Olivetta teleports Merrowyn goes to Kobb, where she:

  • Tells him about the fight and their intent. He thinks it’s a bad idea because most likely Noleski will use it as an opportunity to assassinate her.
  • She gives him two magical rings that have obvious effects (Arcane Signets and Rat Fangs) to ferret out the “rings”. She also asks about Kasten maybe having the rings.
  • Tells Kobb we’re going to get the hostages so call on the cavalry.

Kobb in turn:

  • Sends us back with some extra security (one of Jerome’s informants named Kaloss, a killer, and a propagandist).
  • Tells Merrowyn and Olivetta that when the Lord Mayor came and told us he had to cut ties, Kobb had a report that the Surtov’s knew what was going on and Kobb thinks there is a spy in Sellmus’s court.
  • Gives her his written reports. One of Arvin’s pepole encounter a wounded elf in the deep Narlmarshes. Some unknown Elf society. They are different than normal elves. Xenophobic.
Going down!
Going down!

Back in Rostland

Milosh and Esmerelda Zingarosh (Playwrights hired by Sellmus) invite Olivetta to lunch. They are a little skeptical of Olivetta being a playwright. They wonder why she’s working on it, because she has “direct connection” with the source material. Holding them at bay is difficult however as they say they need total access to the source material to get it right. Something about “creative license” or some other such nonsense.

Icarus, perched on the Aldori homestead, draws a ton of attention from the people, who begin offering him cheese and bread – hurled from a safe distance – to snack on. Elara’s presence is made pretty obvious by this, but that gives her license to, as Elara, go inspect the dueling grounds and make sure there is no tampering with them (there isn’t).

Miquela sends a ruby necklace to Luca’s wife Larissa as gift intended to insult her. The letter includes something like, I’m sure you’ll fine another good husband, after I kill this one. The response is a bland thank you note, as little a response as she can offer.

Another trip to the Tusk

Yay, thanks teleport.

Elara goes home to pick up Kiri. She has Rudolpho’s scent and may be helpful when we’re looking for him.

Merrowyn finds out her Tiger Lords and the Horde have met. Blood was shed and friends were made. The high priest of Gorum paid some bail to get the tiger lords out.

Dream Time

Olivetta has a dream conversation with Leccio. Leccio is struggling with his temper. He used to never get made and now he doesn’t know how to handle it. Leccio is annoyed that Merrowyn and Kobb are acting like such amateurs trying to ferret out the rings (First world fey magic doesn’t play by the rules).

Leccio also tells her that he discovered that Sellemus’s son Pietro is not with the others hostages. He’s in Issia somewhere, wining and dining with his “captors”.

The Night Before

Bogg asks Miquela the night before if she’s written a will. Somber but necessary. Edward will be guardian of the children and regent of the kingdom.

Finally, it’s stabbing time

Bog, Akiros, and King Nicoli Surtov all attended!

[The fight was pretty brutal. Mechanically speaking, Miquela won it because of a savage number of critical hits, she got three in the fight and all of them were debilitating. Her final attack on her round (when she was down to 4 hit points) was a “Flat Blade Thwak” (triple damage, all of it non-lethal). Thank goodness for the non-lethal part of it. She did 75 points of damage when he was down to 25 HP. Basically, this fight came down to “who won initiative?”

Of other notes. Luca didn’t start power attacking, but Miquela did. That might have made the difference but it makes sense. He was holding back at first, fighting one-handed and somewhat more defensive, she was going all out from the beginning. He also had Stoneskin cast on him before the fight and used an adamatine blade…gotta get one of those for Miquela!]

During the main event plenty of other things were going on as well. Olivetta spotted a witch in Noleski’s retinue. During the fight she attempted to hex Miquela, but Oliveta was waiting for it. She blasted her with a Feeblemind spell and sent sent the high level witch to ruin!

And while that was happening an assassin was trying to stab Olivetta with a poisoned fork, but Merrowyn who had been watching for this, caught up to him just in time to wreck great pummeling down with her cestus and send him sprawling. Poisoned fork clattering to the ground!

Elarch was our clinch however. She wildshaped into a spider, carried a strand of red thread from her own cloak, and carried stealthily made her way across the arena, into the king’s Box and deposited the thread inside his coat. Without being noticed!

Godly affairs

Before the fight Merrowyn greeted Luca as the self appointed representative of Gorum to wish him a great battle. When doing so she leaned in and whispered to him “She still carries a torch for you.” Luca responded in kind “She’s got a funny way of showing it.”

Meanwhile the high priestess of Pharasma paid Miquela a visit. Our swordlord was immediately full of piety and “oh yes, the very next thing we’re doing in The Tusk is erecting a temple of Pharasma.” There was more at play here however. The High Priest of the Church of Abadar of Rostland (as we have chosen to call it) was pressuring Pharasma to without her favor from Aldoria. Presumably, that the high priestess could decide if Miquela was slain in the duel, that her soul was not fit to return.

After the fight, the high priestess visited her again and muttered something about “that asshole things he can tell me what to do, I’ll show him…” then she cast a Heal spell on Miquela and restored her to perfect health (impressive as she was down 110 hit points). Yay…. now let’s not forget to build that temple.

Oh wait, Pharasma and Gorum hate each other and we’ll be putting their temples right next to one another, also next to the graveyard. NOTHING COULD GO WRONG.

Updating the Major

We told the Lord mayor that his son is in good condition and not in cell. We think there is a spy in his house…possibly Pietro. The Lord Mayor decided to pretend he didn’t know so as to leek mis-information to Noleski.

With the Lord Mayor and his wife present, Olivetta cast a scrying spell on the king. We found him in he privy screaming about wanting to kill them all. He was clearly enraged that Miquela won.

We could hear his sister (thankfully from outside the privy) calming him and telling him to stay the courses. They are going to isolate the swordlords and destroy them one by one. In the last moments of the spell, he says “he wants something done now.” She smiles and says she’s got something in motion.

This was all the evidence the Lord Mayor needed to see the kings intent, and it also let us know someone was in danger. We sent word to Domingo to go check on Bog, who we also knew was with Akiros. Meanwhile, we made haste to the Strozzi family holdings just in time to catch up with the assassins!

Re-cue Mission Impossible Music

Another very fun fight where we all got to show off our skills.

Elara flew overhead and spotted the small group all clad in black mesh. She cast Faeire Fire on two of them and lit them up! The others she cast hungry earth on, and sucked one of them into the churning ground.

Miquela, first arguing with the guards at the front saw the burst of flames and drank a fly potion. She flew up over the games and the into the interior courtyard to dash towards what she hoped was Luca’s new chambers.

Merrowyn was on the roofs and spotted an crossbow sniper. She was able to sneak up behind him and choke him out, but after that it was mad dash from rooftop to rooftop to take out the other three.

Oliveta descended upon the two now-revealed assassins and cast Dominate Person on one to force him to slay his companion. “Yes my dark mistress” is right!

Inside Miquela got to Luca just as assassins were throwing in flash bombs and then leaping in themselves. Luca was in bed, still recovering and mostly naked. Miqula lit up the room with a sun rod and then got to stabbing assassins. The hired thugs were tough, but they weren’t expecting an armored and ready opponent. She cut one, then another, then a third down.

Lovers Quarrel

With Larissa passed out (from fright) Luca and Miquela finally got to have their big spat, which was of course filled with lots of “I did it all for you” and “That wasn’t what I wanted!” Luca is a good guy, sad that he had to marry to keep the peace. Those two are Starbuck and Apollo.

Where do we go from here

Scrying on Pietro again Olivetta found him trapped inside a dark space. After sometime a iris of light opened above him, he gasped for air, and then started whimpering. In the light it was clear that he had been beaten. From above where the light was, came a raspy voice telling him to to shut up or it will get worse.

Using her knowledge of the arcane, Olivetta pieced together that Pietro was trapped in a bag of holding.

Bag of holding? Raspy voice? Someone else following up a lead that would find Miquela’s daughter?

Mik Mek has Pietro! Oh no!

Thoughts on this Game

This was so much fun. I had gone into it really wanting to rescue the hostages and maybe start a war or two, but this was so much better.  The political implications, the drama, the subterfuge, I’ loved it all. I’m particularly proud of thinking of the placard for Staggio at the races. That was my high point of the session.

Some parts that stand out to me in particular:

1. The duel was exciting just to watch, but it was even more awesome because we all had something to do during it. Miquela is busy dodging an adamantine blade, but we were neck deep in our own business as well. One fun bit for me was that Merrowyn didn’t even get it that Akiros stood by her because he was watching out for any kind of funny business. She just thought “yo, Mr. Paladin has my back.”

2. The assassin rescue mission was one of the few where everyone really got to show off their stuff. Usually it’s buffs from Olivetta and then direct damage from Elara, Miquela, Santiago, and Merrowyn. Here we got to see Elara and Olivetta really shine with battlefield control spells, Merrowyn’s speed made a difference on the rooftops, and Miquela benefited from us loading up on potions (Fly for the win!). Fun to shake things up.

3. I love that our world is rich enough now that we can start piecing things together from in game clues rather than knowledge rolls. Placing Mik Mik as the Pietro’s captor was possible because we know Mik Mek has done that before (with Oleg, unfortunately).

Up next…so it seems like the Aldori family has a long history of creating underground railroads to get people to safety. Merrowyn has a plan to do the same for the remaining swordlords in Restov. We’ll see if it works. And then of course, scying on Pietro again, sending a message to Mik Mek to please let him out of the bag, and then meeting up with our kobold ninja friend.

Actual Play – Enemy of all Enemies (5/9/2015)

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

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.

DerghodaemonFrom 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.

Dumb luck?

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).

Bloody Skeletal ChampionsHall of Heroes

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”


Enemy of All Enemies

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.

Sellen’s Gate

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.

Other events:

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!

Kingdom Building

To represent work done while we had been gone, and work we set in motion, we did a single turn of kingdom building.

Turn 36

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.

Some others agree as well, on this thread and on this one.  No word from the developers though.

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
Restorative Ointment 5000 Party
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 Arm -16000 Cob
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
Efficient Quiver -1800 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
Jaunt Boots -7200 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.



Actual Play – Rescuing one Numesti after another! (3/14/2015)

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

The best laid plans…

…are foiled by flu and fires.

We had grand plans for Pi day. We would all gather to play Pathfinder and eat Pi(e). A good day. We were also going to rescue Numesti from the dungeon, liberate the kingdom from it’s tyrannical leader, and defeat said tyrant and his pet wizard. And yeah, things worked out in the end DESPITE our terrible plans.

Our witch struck down by plague

Poor Eric caught the flu. By Saturday he was doing a bit better but still contagious. Like a trooper he showed up anyway, but over Google Hangouts. I was pretty impressed with Hangouts.  It lasted for 10 hours, only dropping once. Eric cold hear us all, we could hear him, and he he could see three of the four of us. Not bad!

Plans to rescue Numesti

Here were a few of the things we did in preparation to rescue Numesti, or die trying:

  • Set up a smuggling route with Dario between Fort Drulev and Tazzleford to get goods into the town and people who want to escape free.
  • Between Santinder, Dario, and Merrowyn’s new “Black Market Connections” rogue talent, a scroll of silence, 10 longswords, and several potions were purchased to help with our infiltration, five each of:
    • Blink (CL 5)
    • See Invisibility (CL3)
    • Invisibility (CL3)
    • Darkvision (CL3)
    • Disguise Self (CL1)
  • We rounded up equipment for Numesti to look presentable. Clean clothes, a razor, to shave with, goodberries to feed him, and plenty of healing potions to get him up to full strength.
  • Merrowyn showed Miquela the little proclamation she wrote her, to which Miquela replied indignantly “You wrote me a speech?
  • We rounded up any vermin we could: cats, rats, pigeons, and a box of puppies which was thankfully never used. The former, however, would be fodder to draw attacks from oozes, slimes, puddings, and cubes!

Entering the Dungeon

Santinder led us out of the city, down to the docks and past, to a small seaside cave, hidden unless you knew just where to look. The cave wreaked of fetid water and was pitch black. Darkvision potions a go!

As we moved up through it, herding animals in front of us and having more discussions of “just what exactly are they here for” we made our way through the winding tunnel until it opened to a large natural cavern. Up ahead the tunnel continued, but off to the side we saw a giant deposit of quartz. Above the quartz was a ledge that looked quite large, and above that were burn marks on the ceiling. Tad identified them as the scorch form alchemist fire.

We moved forward to investigate and FWOOMP, a black pudding fell on Miquela’s noggin. Thankfully she got out with minor burns, but that started us scrambling up the ledge, as Olivetta recalled that the black puddings were averse to quartz. A few animals sacrificed and we were safely on the ledge, where flaming sphere and alchemist fire rained down on our gelatinous foes.

Treasure after Treasure

After the puddings were popped, we had a moment to survey the ledge and on it we found the skeleton of a man who had been dead a long time. He saw cross legged with a fine mithral Aldori dueling blade resting across his lap, untarnished by time. He also had a book in pristine condition, and a satchel rotting away.

The man (we determined from the book) was none other than the infamous and wretched Nathanal Sordello, notorious for marrying Savia Alodri and later murdering her brother Snadro Aldori (who was brother of Estran Aldori. This was all during the time of Choral the Conqueror and the decline of the Aldori family. He is a hated enemy of the Aldori now… and this was his remains.

The sword was an ancient mithral Aldori dueling blade, made by our family! The book was a diary, magically enchanted to hold thousands of pages and be protected from the elements, it was the journal of his life from 15 to 75. Inside the bag were rotted rations, empty canisters that once held alchemist fire, and wrapped in now rotted cloth the famous emerald jewelry set that belonged Savia including a necklaces, earnings, hair pin, bracelets, broaches, rings. More than you could wear at once…emeralds for every occasion.

These weren’t treasures…they were historical artifacts!

  • The jewels of Savia Aldori. Lost for almost 200 years. Sirian the first gave these to his wife! [30,000 of jewels, not that we’ll ever sell it]
  • The mithral sword was Aldori made. Not just made in the fashion of the Aldori, but actually one of the family swords. [+2 Mithral Aldori Dueling Sword]
  • The book chronicled a time that history has lost, the time before Brevoy, before Choral the Conquerer, and before the feud between Sordello and Aldori…in fact a time when the families were bound by blood!

Breaking into the Castle

Further along the tunnel we came to a locked gate and when Merrowyn failed to pick the lock, Miquela and Tad had a good idea to make use of those dead black puddings. Some sizzling and popping later and we were in!

Further inside were several get away packs.

  • Bag of Holding (Type 1)
  • 4 x Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (CL 9)
  • 4 x Potion of Fly (CL 9)
  • 4 x Some kind of skunk smelling musk (purpose unknown)

The Caverns continued to another locked door. Black pudding used it, this one had to be picked

The Treasure Room…How all dungeon delves should start

We broke in and found that Drulev’s escape hatch was also his treasury! Hell yeah:

  • Golden Yellow Topaz (500gp)
  • Deep Blue Spindle (400gp)
  • Amethyst (300gp)
  • Chrysoberyl (100gp)
  • 5 x Fresh Water Pearl (500gp total)
  • 8 x Moonstones (4000gp total)
  • Jeweled Crown (700gp)
  • Artifacts from a Tiger Lord burial ground (2500gp)
  • Greenwood ring depicting a snake entwined with each other [Ring of Evasion]

We also found a separate stash with a few items that looked like they to a single person

  • Breastplate +2
  • Longsword +2
  • Masterwork Composite Longbow (Str +3)
  • 60 Arrows
  • Masterwork Dagger
  • Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (CL 7)
  • Potion of Lesser Restoration (CL 7)

And finally a wine cellar

  • Containing 119 bottles worth some 6600gp

34-lord_terrion_numestiRescuing Numesti (the first one)

A stairwell lead up into the castle and one door led to the dungeon. We slipped in, Merrowyn imbibed a potion of see invisibility, and we investigated the dungeon. All the cells were empty except one at the end. In there was the decrepit figure of Terrion Numeski. We found and and laid out plainly.

“We’re here to set you free, overthrow Drulev, and put you in charge of this nation. There is a party full of nobles going on right now and we want to clean you up, take you up there, and rally them to stand behind you. You in?”

He was game. Well, sort of. Numesti knew that once Pitax got wind of the revolution, his daughter would be in danger. So, yes, he’ll stand by us, if we stand by him and go rescue his daughter from Amaug. Sure, assuming we survive tonight!

We fed Numesti a goodberry or two, healed him, gave him new clothes, shaved him and game him back his gear (the stash we found in the treasure room).

Up the Rabbit Hole

We took the secret stairs up two flights and found again two more secret doors. One, clearly to the banquet hall, from the other side of it we could hear the sounds of a party. The other, to a library.

This is where our plans went south. We were going to drink the potions of disguise self, impersonate Pitax enforcers, and make our way to the party. Buuuuuttt… Stroon’s familiar, a Dust Mephit was resting on a bookshelf. He heard us come in, watched as we examined Stroon’s work (experiments on weaponizing black puddings into grenades that weren’t going well), summoned another Mephit to distract us and the teleported away to warn his master. Unbeknownst to us, at that point Stroon cast a scrying spell on Miquela so from here out, all of our plans were known to him.

We panicked a bit, set the library on fire in an attempt to lure Stroon there, then put it out when we realized it was going to gut the whole castle!

A fair bit of indecision and “the jig is up” conversations later, we decided to check on the party itself. Merrowyn imbibed a potion of invisibility and a potion of blink and popped through the secret door and into the party…where she found all the nobles except the ones we came to thwart. From a quick glance she picked up that the Stroon siblings, Drulev, and his mistress had all left the party in a hurry, leaving their guests confused and anxious.

Plan B

The situation wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t the worst outcome either. Without Stroon or Drulev to challenge us, Miquela entered the great hall and announced our presence, decried Drulev, and asked the nobles to stand with us and with Numesti!

And it mostly worked. Some came to our side and picked up the swords that clattered to the ground from nowhere in front of them (Merrowny still invisible, pulling them from her bag of holding). They agreed to hold the keep, fight off the guards and Pitax enforcers, and watch our backs.

The kingdom was ours! (you know, except for an insanely paranoid duelist and a crafty wizard somewhere in the castle waiting to kill us).

The Hunt is On

How do you search through a castle for a wizard and a duelist that could be anywhere when you don’t want to be detected? Why you drink a potion of invisibility and then turn into an earth elemental and earth glide through the floors and walls of the stone castle until you find them! Go Elara go!

Meanwhile Merrowyn’s potion wore off and she was recognized by one of Cobb’s agents who said “this place is terrible, I want a new post!” Also “I tried to send reports but the giants ate my ravens.” Merrowyn told him to see out Dario and that if they didn’t survive the night, Dario would get him back to Aldoria.

Elara came back and reported that she found them on the fourth floor, their shouts at each other could be heard from the main hallway!

We tried another plan, and it sort of worked. Except of course Stroon was scrying on us so he knew all about it. Merrowyn drank another invisibility potion and made her way up the secret stairwell.  Elara earth glided up through the walls. Olivetta flew outside and would crash through a window. Miquela, Numesti, Tad, and Santiago went up the main stairs. The plan was crash in when the room is suddenly silent (Merrowyn was going to cast a Silence spell from a scroll).

The reality was everyone crashed in and Stroon countered the spell as Merrowny was casting it!

Baron Drulev

Showdown in Drulev Town

We fought, we won, the wizard and his dead sister got away, but here are the highlights:

  • An 11+ level fighter with the Swordlord archetype and the counterattack ability plus the flanking foil feat is really, really dangerous. Like, attack everyone who hits him dangerous. Drulev messed us up something fierce and I think only because Merrowyn started her attack invisible, did she get in a good hit.
  • Grappling a wizard with Freedom of Movement cast isn’t dangerous, but it doesn’t work.
  • When a crazy lady who loves her doggy more than anything accidentally throws it at you, and you’re standing in front of a broken window, and the only reason the dangerous wizard isn’t blowing up the room is because that crazy lady is his sister, maybe you should catch the dog…otherwise it might go out the window and the crazy lady might just be crazy enough to jump after it and then shit is on!
  • After Drulev went down there was a tense pause, where Stroon knew our beef wasn’t with him and that his sister was probably dying or dead outside. He readied an empowered fireball and gave us once chance to “get out of here now”. Merrowny didn’t take it. She tried to reason and reason meant Fireballs! It did a LOT of damage, but evasion paid off (for maybe the first time ever) and it was on!
    Pavetta Stroon
    Pavetta Stroon

    (Before then we had been trying to avoid directly attacking Stroon in the hopes we could negotiate with him).

  • Stroon got away, with his dead sister and her dead dog. When defeat was immanent, he cast dimension door to pop outside to his sister, and then teleported away with her.

Some notable treasure looted off Drulev’s body (and who took them!):

  • +2 Defending Mithral Aldori Dueling Sword (Miquela)
  • +1 Amulet of Natural Armor (Santiago)
  • Belt of Physical Might: +4 Strength and Constitution (Merrown, Hell yeah!)
  • Cloak of Resistance +2 (Santiago)
  • 4 x MW Handaxes
  • Mithral Full Plate of Speed (Miquela, and hell yeah there too)
  • Ring of Protection +2 (+1 Ring given to Santiago)
  • Rod of Splendor (Miquela)
Amekus Stroon
Amekus Stroon

Dang, that is the first treasure trove where we went HELL YEAH to all of it. Okay, we’ll sell those hand axes. But really, that was some hot shit. Just sad we didn’t catch Stroon, I bed his garb would have looked mighty fine on Olivetta.

A day of rebuilding

Well, Stroon got away, but he wasn’t our enemy. We can live with that. The kingdom in the hands of Numesti is what we wanted. That night and the next day we did a lot to leave the town in better shape than we found it:

  • Merrowyn sent for the Aldorian Second Infantry to come from Ogelton to guard the town.
  • Terrion responded that an outside army, no matter what their intent will look line invaders unless…
  • We agreed to annex Fort Drulev (nation is getting a new name as soon as we can think of one!).
  • Miquela and Tad stayed up late reading the journal of Nathanal and found out that as young man he was quite a nice guy. He saw Savia, and older woman, and fell in love at once. He made it his life’s goal to win her favor. Later, on accident it seems from the account, he met her brother and the two of them became fast friends.
  • Elara through spells like soften earth and stone, transmute mud to rock, stone shape, and wildshaping into an Earth Elemental, greatly improved the “we never finished building the wall” situation we found the town in.

Now…to Armuag!

We found in Stroons notes that he had been tracking Armaug, who was on a quest to find the “Overbane”. We knew where Armaug was as of yesterday (the last time Stroon scryed on him) and Merrowyn, Tad, and Leccio put their heads together about Gorum, the first Armaug, and realized that Overbane was old Khelid and translated loosely to “the enemy of all enemies”. Given that everything Gorum makes or that stands for him is a weapon, we figured it had to be something pretty dangerous.

As the GM said “When an barbarian warrior gets an artifact of Gorum, it doesn’t mean the death of your party, it means the death of your nation!”

Yeah, let’s stop that.

We also knew that Pharasma and Gorum have long been at odds. Pharasma wanting to get her due, and Gorum denying her his followers. The Boneyard is the place where souls are sorted out and Armaug soul never made it there!

Put on your hiking boots

With no horses still alive in the fort, we set out on foot, up north and traveled for three days. Along the way we encountered a batch of zombies, but not the typical “I just killed a village and raised them to do my bidding because I’m a megalomaniac necromancer” kind of zombies. Old zombies dressed in ancient tiger lord funeral garb. Nice work Armaug, cracking open burial mounds and letting the vermin roam free!

Eventually we got to the camp site of Armaug and his 36 barbarians. The encampment was nestled in a small box canyon, with a forest behind it (filling up the canyon) and an excavation into the side of the cliff side.

First Elara scouted as an eagle, spying the five women in a cage in the center of the camp. The looked well enough from a distance. Surrounding them were yurts and a large number, though not quite 36, of barbarians in high spirits. This was it!

No sign of Armaug though, so with the aid of a spider climb spell Merrowyn walked down the canyon side behind the camp, snuck in to get a closer look. She couldn’t understand them (Note: Learn Khelid at next level) it was clear that they were excited…almost like they found what they were looking for. There were two unoccupied. By the cover of night Merrowyn snuck in to see what was inside them, using her wayfinder as a source of light but letting just barely a crack out from under her cloak.

In the first she found some boots (big boots), articles of travel, and a map depicting Tiger Lord burial grounds. Several of them were crossed off, while one (the one that we were currently at) was circled many times. Merrowyn did a quick sketch of the map noting the other locations that weren’t already crossed off, and then slipped out of the camp.

Tomb Raiding

Determined that Armuag was inside, that rescuing the hostages now would mean leaving him to find the Overbane (which would be very bad) we opted to go in after him. Via wolf in gaseous form, Merrwyn lowering Miquela down with a rope, and then spider climbing down herself, Elara and Tad flying, we snuck past the encampment and into the cave.

We entered the natural cavern and found their crude excavation broke way into a large man-made chamber. We also noticed that the stone around the chamber looked like iron running with veins of blood. The scholar in our group recognized that as God Touched ore. One of the materials Leccio had advised us would block out magical scrying. Most likely also teleportation. When Merrowyn pulled out her wayfinder, it was spinning like crazy when it should have been pointing due north.

The chamber itself featured three alabaster statues with Khelid warriors. Each of them magnificently sculpted and paying close attention to anatomical accuracy, if perhaps exaggerating. One brandished a bastard sword and buckler, another a spear, and the third just an inviting glance that reminded Merrowyn of Marcus. Merrowyn’s like of “This is a sacred tomb, disturb nothing” quickly turned to “We should take these home… out of respect.”

Gyronna_holy_symbolSisters Three

Elara and Miquela noticed a sound in the chamber, someone else was in here with us, though there was nothing to be seen. Quickly Merrowyn and Miquela drank see invisibility potions and saw the figures of three priestess of Gyronna.

The fight was over really fast. The started summoning demons but each of them was interrupted by swords or explosions in the face. The then channeled negative energy and wracked our souls with pain. It was bad. They each did it. Twice! Santiago, in gaseous form was almost destroyed by the negative energy. But after that, we sliced them to ribbons.

On them we found:

  • 3 x MW Breastplate
  • 3 x +2 Keen Dagger (what is it with priests of Gyronna and keen daggers?)

Test of Strength

The chamber had two giant double doorways leading out of it. Each of the doors made of a single bone. What bone of what creature could possibly be big enough to make a 12′ door? Oh, the cranium of an Ancient Wyrm Dragon is what. Bajesus.

Opening the door the sisters had been standing in front of, we saw a long room with four boulders[1] of increasing size, and four ledges with indentations appropriate to each boulder’s size. The corridor was only large enough for two of us to work in it, so together Miquela and Merrowyn got to rolling them. Olivetta cast Enlarge person on both of us first, which helped out mightily. The boulders all made it it to their locations…but man what an exertion it took. We used:

  • Miquela’s Help (+2), Enlarge Person (+1), and a strength surge from the Blood Reservoir of Physical Prowess (+4) to move the heaviest one.
  • Miquela’s Help (+2), Enlarge Person (+1), Rage (+3) and the Auspicious Mark (+3) to move the second one.
  • Miquela’s Help (+2), Enlarge Person (+1), Post-Rage Fatigue (-1) and a lot of luck to move the third one.
  • Miquela’s Help (+2), Enlarge Person (+1) and a decent roll to move the fourth and lightest one.


Doors opened and we proceeded. Miquela pointed out that if we call just flew, we probably cold have made it as well. Cheating? Probably also the Gorum way.

Test of Endurance

The next room featured a large metal plate with a wheel in the center and columns going up into the ceiling. We attempted to be crafty and have Elara take the form of an air elemental to fly over and use her vortex to turn the wheel, but it was clearly not engaged with the gear below…if only there was some weight on the plate to push it down.

Okay we’ll bite. We all leapt onto the plate (concerned touching the floor might be bad and as soon as we did the doors closed behind us and every surface of the room was covered in a foot of ice. The room got freezing cold instantly and Miqeula furiously turned the wheel (now feeling it engage) as we all endured the cold.


Test of Audacity?

The next hallway we entered split into a cross shape with narrow passages opposite each other leading left and right. Each passage led to small room with burial treasures left behind. Khelid artifacts. Nothing stood out as particularly valuable but Merrowyn did spot a pipe with silver inlay and etching on the inlay that was gratuitously erotic. Marcus would love it. In the bag! Santiago also strutted out with an intricately scrimshaw bone in his mouth. Waving it proudly.

Test of Prowess

The end of the main hall led to stairs up to another set of doors. Inside was a large circular chamber with a giant iron statue in the center. An depiction of Gorum. Tall, brutal looking, spiked on every edge, and menacing.

Merrowyn and Santiago just started walking up to it. Greatsword out and Teeth barred. We just knew this would be a fight. Once everyone entered the door slammed shut again and we heard a booming laugh from above. To our little surprise the statue came alive and we were faced with an IRON GOLEM.

Okay, I’ve gotta stop here. There are a couple of canonical monsters that it is every dungeoneer’s desire to say they have vanquished. Dragon, Beholder, Mind Flayer, Lich, and Iron Golem. They are five monsters that ARE Dungeons & Dragons (even if the game we’re playing is Pathfinder). We had already faced a Lich, but it was a greatly weakened one. Facing an Iron Golem (at even greater than full strength in this case) is like the sign that we have graduated to BIG DAMN HEROES.

The fight was mostly about smashing each other hard, but some very cool things happened worth noting:

  • Miquela just got the Coordinated Charge teamwork feet and shared it with us. This meant that when Santiago charged Miquela, Elara, and Merrowyn got to charge as well! This meant that on our own actions we could move around the Golem to get a flank and lay down some heavy pain. AWESOME.
  • On the first round the Golum emitted a poisonous gas (I forgot they could do that) but because Elara was an air elemental at the time, she dispersed the gas quickly. Awesome!
  • Olivetta dropped a lightning bolt on the beast, which slowed it down. Thanks Knowledge (Arcana)!
  • Gorum laughed at us as we fought his creation. For the followers of Gorum (Merrowyn, but I think maybe Santiago too) we also heard a mocking “good try, but not good enough” and the second time “better, but still not good enough”. Mocking yeah, but still pretty cool to have your god talking to you. Oh, and then he cast 10d6 Make Whole spells to restore the Iron Golem to health.
  • Iron Golems…hit like a truck!

After the fight was over we hacked away any took his head. Taking that thing home to craft craft into an adamantine greatsword (even if it’s just the hilt!).

What now?

We ended the session there. It was very late and while our characters might have a ring of sustenance to share between them, we don’t. We’ll have to face Armaug next time.

XP: 39,600 (Most we’ve ever gotten). 5100 till 11th level. Damn.

Thoughts on this Game

First off Dennis is a machine for running non stop for 10 hours. I mean we took breaks to eat but it was Pi day. All our food was pie, which was quick to serve and easy to eat while gaming.

Speaking of Pie, Regina made and super delicious quiche and Karen made a chocolate pie that I could have eaten all of. Such yummy good.

I got frustrated during the game when I felt like our plans fell apart, but after some thought (here) I realize a lot of that is because of my own expectations, not the game. We was stymied when we were detected by the Mephit (and therefore Stroon) and our element of surprise was shot. A little bit as well when we brought animals into to the caves to act as aberrant detectors and the first one dropped on Miquela. Here’s some thoughts on that:

Sometimes there are clues when you’re about to make a mistake. Noticing scorch marks on the ceiling should have triggered a thought that something on the ceiling was being attacked and we should look for that. More subtle but still there was knowledge that if we enter a wizard’s library the chances that it will be trapped/alarmed/guarded is high, so we shouldn’t just walk in. In retrospect this all seems reasonable, in the moment it didn’t occur to me until too late. In my head I blamed a perception vs. stealth check, but really, we could have been smarter to just not go in there in the first place, or to have used some of the additional tools at our disposal (Blink/Earth Glide and Invisibility) to do so without setting off alarms.

I think as players we’re used to the idea that a threat will be obvious and all methods of resolving it will be equally challenging (c.f. Apocalypse Engine games where all rolls have the same difficulty, it’s only what’s at stake that differs). So we think that if we want to get a pie from an ork it is equally difficult to get it by sweet talking the ork, hitting the ork with a stick, or sneaking around the ork. The fallacy is that in Pathfinder those things aren’t equally difficult, and finding the right method usually takes either doing it the wrong way first, or spending a ton of time at the table exploring every option.  The former is our standard, but sometimes we spend forever debating about how to do something and then still get it wrong, which compounds exasperation with frustration.

We have another reason for taking brute force methods as well. Our characters (and the game in general) are built for them. Consider the ork’s pie again. We know that sweet talking and stealth both have binary outcomes (we succeed or fail) whereas hitting with a stick uses an ablative resolution system (we both keep hitting each other until one side falls down) and we assume we have more resources to burn than our opponents. So… rather than take the chance that our plans will fail and we’ll be boned we often muscle through. Using brute force methods should come with the expectation of brute force results.

I also think my frustration was unfair because I wasn’t accounting for all the things that had gone just as we wanted them too, or better:

  • Darkvision in the tunnel made traversing it no problem.
  • Clothes, food, etc for Numesti make him presentable.
  • Our argument that he needed to aid us and lead the people was convincing.
  • Tad’s distractions kept the giants at bay
  • Being invisible and using Blink/Earth Glide allowed us to survey the castle undetected.
  • One of the black puddings did get distracted by our animal distraction.
  • Despite the gig being up on us, when all our enemies ran away from the party, that left the nobles at the party a captive audience.

Also… crap. I should have realized the moment Stroon Dimension Door’ed away that he was going for his sister. Kicking myself right now for not just taking the chance and jumping out the window sword swinging wild. I would have happily taken 7d6 damage to get another shot at Stroon.

For that early-game frustration I walked away from the game totally excited. We had just killed an Iron Golem! But before that we also completed feats of strength and endurance judged by Gorum! My god yo! I play Merrowny with a daddy complex. She always wants to impress her dad, but she can never see eye to eye with him and so always veers a bit off course. I realized that she really has two dads in her mind. Edward, who is a good man, stands up for what is right, and is in every way honorable (Lawful Good) and Gorum who kicks ass across the planes (Chaotic Neutral). Merrowyn isn’t exactly like either, but she wants to impress both (Chaotic Good).

Early on in the Kingdom building, when Merrowyn wanted to face Chall Fingo and couldn’t she started studying under her father to become an advocate (though it was down time, she spend a year doing that). Between that and the responsibility of running a kingdom (things like having a trial for Girgori) she really started seeing Edwards perspective. She was even the voice of reason in one discussion about straight up assassinating one of our prisoners. Out on the road though, violence is often, even most of the time, the solution. We see a problem, we kill it. A lot of times that problem is evil as shit, or attacks us first, so there’s little moral quandary, but it’s still very much the Gorum way.

Anywho, Merrowyn (and in turn me) rarely gets to feel like she’s fully living up to either dad’s expectations, and it was pretty awesome to literally muscle though Gorum’s challenges to impress him.

[1] Oh wait, not boulders. Petrified ancient wyrm dragon testicles. Keeping it classy Gorum.

Actual Play – Out of the Slough, Into the Fire (or Lightning, or Ice, or Acid)! (2/21/2015)

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

Camp Mosquito

We started off in good Aldori fashion – arguing with each other. In this case it was Merrowyn’s belief that were we ever to take the Hooktongue Slough, the first thing that would need to go is the Slough! Burn out the swamp. Unfeasible? Drain it?

Elara was quick to jump in defense of leaving nature alone, and Olivetta, partial to swamps as well, thought it was quite nice as is. A perfect home for a would be witch!

Elara tried casting speak with animal to see if she could learn anything about the people in Fort Drulev. Mostly she got snakes trying to bite her (“Yeah, I’ve got information, just come a little closer and I’ll whisper it in your ear”), birds with no time for her (“nope, sorry, can stop to talk”) and one swamp panther who just said “you shouldn’t be here. it is’t a good place”. When asked about Lizardmen, the panther replied there were two-leggers in the swamp not worth the trouble. We figured out what he meant soon after.

Eagle Scouting

Before we broke from this gods forsaken swamp, Elara took eagle form and set out and scout Fort Drulev. The city appeared at quite less than full occupancy. For every fishing boat on the lake, three were left in the docks. There was also no livestock to speak of. No horses, or animals or any kind. Very few travelers on the road, and those that were seen all moved with a sense of urgency. The wall around the city is only 3/4 built.

Boggard-blogFrogmen Attack

Meanwhile, without our druid to guide us, the rest of us walked right into a boggard outpost. Two boggards way, way up in the trees called out an alarm and then started attacking us. The shot poisoned blow darts as well as cast an entangle spell on us to keep us from getting up the tree.

Apparently Tad speaks boggard! So we asked him to try and parley with them. Th hurled back insults about his heritage! And shot more poisoned darts!

Both Miquela and Merrown tried to climb up them but but both a) it was taking too long and b) the both fell out of the trees!

Olivetta cast a glitterdust spell to reveal one of them in the tree and Miquela started firing on it with her bow.

Merrowyn got pissed off and started hacking at the giant eucalyptus tree with her greatword. Now… one might think it takes hours to cut down a giant tree. But if you have a raging barbarian on one side of it, and a giant wolf gnawing on the other… it’s impressive how fast you can start worrying it’s occupant 150′ up in the air! As his tree shook, he leapt to the other tree where his cohort was. Only to be shoved out of that tree and fall 150′ to the ground. Miquela tried to catch him, but all that she ended up doing was being splattered by a dead boggard.

Great. Glitterguts!

The second one, seeing which way the wind was blowing, leapt from his tree to the lake and cast feather fall on his way down. To which Merrowny and Miquela used to pepper him with arrows. Ouch! Miquela could have finished him off but again we wanted to try and make peace if we could. She held her arrow and Merrowyn leapt into the water herself to catch him. She caught a trident in the chest for her efforts but got a hold of the bugger (bugger boggert) and they went into the drink. Oliveta used her slumber hex to put the boggard warden sleep.

Triumphant over two!

boggard-priest-king-blogNext comes the whole village!

Our victory was short lived. The next moment a whole M’botuu village of boggards crested the hill. Six more boggard wardens astride six giant frogs. Behind them a whole village of boggards surrounding their high priest and king. He croaked commands to attack. Tad flicked his throat to croak back “Paley!”. The king cast Flame Strike on Miquela. It was on!

The battle started rough. It took Merrown some time to get out of the water and during that time a whole bunch of wardens stabbed Miquela, Oliveta, and Tad with their Tridents. Elara was still in the distance, seeing the pillar of flame and trying to catch up!

Olievtta was able to heal some of Miquela’s wounds and then did a think of beauty. She cast a lightning bolt on the boggard king and in doing so clear a 10′ wide path right two him.

Miqueala was in her element. Enlarged earlier by Olivetta, she was swinging around two longswords the size of greatswords and cutting up frongs and frogmen with equal aplomb!

Merrowyn took advantage of the opening and charged the king. She discovered a few things.

  1. He had a lot of magical protections. Without a flanking ally he was darn hard to hit!
  2. He could and did channel negative energy multiple times in a round! Many, many hit points of damage later, he still had another trick,
  3. He could and did cast slay living, touch her, and brink her right to the brink of death.

Like, literally the brink. Merrowyn had 1 hit point left (of 109), had one more round of rage, and after that, without magical healing she would fall down and die. Not be bleeding, be straight up dead. Miquela charged in and hacked at the king as well. Merrowyn could have retreated, sought healing from Oliveta and surely survived, but in her moment of indecision she felt a light on her from above and the presence of someone, or someones, watching. Like all times she considers fleeing, this was a test from Gorum. Or something like that.

She screamed, she hacked, she buried her sword into the boggards chest, then she fell over, drew a healing potion from her bandoleer, quaffed it (thanks hero points), and passed out bleeding. But not dead. Yay! She could almost sense a “grunt” form Gorum, and a 3rd party saying “I told you so”.


Now that we had basically destroyed their entire civilization and sent the remaining boggards into the swamps, we plundered. LIKE YOU DO!

From the wardens:

  • 8 Masterwork Tridents
  • 8 Masterwork Handaxes
  • 16 potions of Cure Serious Wounds (CL 12)
  • 8 x Hide Armor +1

From the king:

  • Hide Armor +2
  • +1 Icy Burst Morninstar
  • 3 potions of Cure Moderate Wounds (CL 12)
  • Potion of Sanctuary (CL 12)
  • Masterwork light wooden shield
  • Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds (CL12) with 24 charges
  • Wand of Poison (CL12) with 9 charges
  • Unholy symbol of Gogthu
  • Phylactery of Unholiness

bog_striderOnce inside their village we also plundered:

  • 56 Platinum pieces
  • 1287 Gold pieces
  • 2019 Silver pieces
  • 872 Copper pieces
  • 5 black opals (worth 200gp each)
  • 10 gold bracelets with animals motifs (worth 25gp each)
  • 12 gold ingots from Mivon (250 GP each)
  • A cask with 3 x elixir of swimming
  • Harp of charming
  • One captive Bog Strider, who though intelligent couldn’t speak any language we did, so we just set him free, with the gift of one of the gold bracelets we had taken.

An eventful camp

That night in camp, while Miquela was on watch she heard a noise. A moan. Was it a swamp creature, some undead spirit? It happened again. It was close, in our camp! What was it.

Oh, apparently Merrowyn having the sexiest sexy times with Marcus in her dreams. Apparently Marcus’ won a bet with Gorum and that was his reward. FOR SIX HOURS.

Nobody could sleep (except Merrowyn) all night.

In the morning everyone was awkward except Merrowyn who was reconsidering swamp living. She had the best night of sleep in her life.

Then Miquela burst out with the truth in one quick-as-she-could description of the night.

Then everyone, including Merrowyn, was awkward for a good while longer.

Making our way into Fort Drulev

Once we broke from the swamp we immediately started looking for locals. People in outskirts of the city that we could talk to in order to gain information about Fort Drulev, and find a way inside without arousing suspicion.

We didn’t spot anyone working in fields, but we did spy a camp full of travelers. We approached with open hands, and after passing around some of our wine and a few healing potions for the sick, we gained some of their trust. The group was a band of refugees who fled from Pitax, led by a sister and brother pair Durina and Arcadi. They were merchants who knew they would be trumped up on false charges and executed if they tried to call their loans with King Irovetti, performers who made a satire of King Irovetti and were going to be hung for it, and worshipers of the river god Hanspur, who is not the god worshiped by King Irovetti, and would probably be executed for their heresy.

Notice a pattern here. King ass clown is getting our our list of rulers unfit to rule.

The problem for these travelers is “what to do now”. They had originally traveled to the south and met a hydra! It killed 6 of their men and forced the to retreat. North is Fort Drulev which they barely avoided but were told by one good farmer that took them in, that people going in don’t come out and that they should avoid notice at all costs. Going east through the slough… we just came out of that and barely made it. Yeah, the boggards were dead, but that probably just means something else would take their place. Westward was unknown, maybe it would be safe, but they would have no destination to head to. At least none that any of us knew of.

After some deliberation about where the could go, we gave them a Swan Boat feather token and told them to head straight across the lake, to it’s north-eastern tip and from there walk east until they found Aldo, who would lead them to Ogelton. It isn’t a guarantee of safety, but it’s a damn better chance then that had any other direction they went. In thanks they gave us the name of the farmer who gave them refuge, Sirote Guzman).

Help on the Farm

At the advice of the refugees we made our way across the western river and north of Drulev in the night, eventually to the farm of Sirote. We noticed that most of the farm was in good working order, but repairs that required outside expertise, such as that of a wheelwright or blacksmith, were not done. We asked for lodging for the night and eventually were given the barn.

In the morning, after Olivetta had mended a cart and some other broken tools (best cantrip ever!) Sirote eventually talked to us. We told him our intent plainly, and though he wasn’t thrilled about Drulev finding out he helped us, he was willing to connect us with his brother-in-law, who had a means of safe passage delivering goods into the city. He also told us of his son Toman, who, idiot that he was, wanted to be conscripted into the army, and he hadn’t seen him since he joined.

Sirote took us on a long walk to his brother-in-law’s house and introduced us to Dario. Merrowyn immediately recognized him as a fellow rogue. It was that slightly unkempt but ready to tussle look and the confident swagger. We stayed with him that night, and for 500 gp he offered to smuggle us into Fort Drulev as dairy farmers. Tad would provide the alchemeical disguises (potions of alter self), and we would make it into the the fort as dirty (male) farmers who had finally saved up enough coin to visit the Velvet Pocket, a tavern and brothel. From there Dario told us to seek out the madam of the house Satinder Morne, cleric of Calistria, goddess of trickery, lust and, revenge. Oh my!

That night Merrowyn and Dario got to their thieves cant’ing and she learned he is a smuggler in the area. He knew a bit about the fort and it’s history. He told us their was a curfew started an hour before sundown and going till an hour after sun up. Staying out after that meant certain death, for Drulev let hill giants roam the streets at night. He didn’t know how many there were, somewhere between three and twelve but he never got a good enough look to know for sure.

Drulev is a minor Roslandic noble whose family has a lot of Issian influence. His wife, the Baroness, is from a prominent Issian house.  Man, we just keep loving this guy more and more.

Into the Fort

In the morning we made our way to the fort and noticed several things on our way in.

  • The wall isn’t finished, and it hasn’t been worked on recently either. It looks like they just never got around to finishing it.
  • There are siege weapons on the wall… but they have been retrofitted to point inward instead of out!
  • The soldiers on the walls looked gruff and downtrodden. And not the best either, many of them were green recruits. We estimated 50-60 soldiers, plus another 20 from Pitax who remained.

We made our way to the Velvet Pocket (as surely farmers) and started commingling. Merrowyn, aka Farmer Boris, met a corporal who was drinking with his men. After offering up some drinks, the corporal started talking about how things had gone downhill here. He’d been here since the start, but after Numesti was imprisoned, everything just went to shit. If only they had finished that damn wall! The Tiger Lord would have never been able to take the city!

Merro-, et Farmer Borris told the corporal that he had a brother who joined up, Toman. Immediately the other soldiers snickered and told him that Toman had tried to desert. He was pulled from the wall and burned in punishment. Now he was dying of gangrene in a cot. He wasn’t going to make it much longer. I said I knew my brother was an idiot, but he was still family. Could I make it in to see him before he died. The corporal said decidedly “No”, the Pitaxian soldiers guarding the barracks wouldn’t let me in, in fact, they might string me up for just asking. If he only had the coin for a healing potion, he’d give it to him. My eyes lit up a bit and I handed him a potion of cure moderate wounds. Hopefully Toman will make it!

SatinderHelp from Lady Hubba Hubba

We had some discussion out of character if it was the blue lipstick or the underboob that was more egregious. No consensus was found.

Either way, Oliveta, aka Farmer Swarthy Pants got Satinder’s attention and asked if he and his friend could go have a private meeting with her.

“Adventurous” she leered and then took Olivetta and Miquela by the arm, padding them down for weapons and coin as she did, and tool them upstairs. Once their the sultry seductress act was dropped immediately. “Okay… what do you two want?”

Since she was straight with us, we dropped the act and confided in her. “We’re here to free Numeski, maybe kill Drulev on our way out.” She gave us a whole bunch of information:

  • Drulev is paranoid. He has an escape route out of the castle that leads from the dungeons to the docks. She can get us in the dungeon that way!
  • Numesti hasn’t been fed in two weeks. If he’s not dead, he’s going to die soon, and then probably be fed to the hill giants.
  • Speaking of hill giants, there are 8 of them. They are kept content with booze and food but supplies of both are running low. Now that all the livestock and horses have been fed to them, she fears the next to go are prisoners and citizens.
  • Drulev is an accomplished swordsman and duelist.
  • His mistress Lady Quintessa Maria, is leading him around by his dick.
  • His wife the Baroness Pavetta Stroon is quite upset by that.
  • His wife’s brother Amekus Stroon is a powerful wizard that has recently joined them in the castle. He’s and evil fucker.
  • Tomorrow night the Baroness is hosting a party at the castle. If we want a time to break Numesti out, that’s when to do it. However… if we run off, it’s the citizen that are going to pay for it. We’ve got to confront Drulev.
  • There are probably five or so nobles attending the court that would side with us if we have Numesti freed.

Satinder agreed to sneak us in and to offer us lodging until then. That night we communicated with Leccio via the sending spell. This is what he told us about Stroon: Evoker, Scholar, Ruthless, Meticulous, Organized, Pragmatic, Well-traveled, demonic familiar, versatile, notable scholar of aberrant oozes!

Awesome. That place is going to be alarm spelled, wizard locked, trapped, filled with some kind of ooze, slime, or jelly, and be run by a violent madman with an evil wizard at his side. Sounds like our kind of party!

Thoughts on this game

We missed last session, and I was quite eager to play. We jumped right in and had a blast from the start. There was less killing dudes and taking their stuff (though with the boggards, there was certainly some of that) but I really enjoyed our circuitous means inside the city. I felt like this was one area where we took the right precautions and it paid off.

The dreaded planning sessions. We started talking about how to get in, what to do with the hill giants, how to fight a powerful wizard, what to do about the effings oozes that are probably in the dungeon. I felt my head starting to spin thinking about all the contingencies.


I know Dennis can read this, but frankly there is no “plan” yet, just ideas, so I don’t think I’m tipping our hand. So far ideas I have in mind include:

  • Avoiding detection: Disguise/Alter self, Invisibility, Gaseous Form, Clairvoyance/Dimension Door.
  • Detecting traps, oozes, guards, etc: Darkvision, See Invisibility, Detect Magic, Trapfinding, Clairvoyance, Faerie Fire, Glitterdust.
  • Moving around: Blink, Dimension Door, Earth Glide (spell and/or by virtue of wild shape), Gaseous Form, Stone Shape, Transmute Stone to Mud, Expeditious Excavation.
  • Neutralizing a wizard: Grappling, Black Tentacles, Silence spell, readied Counterspells.
  • Protecting ourselves from some of the worst spells: False Life, Protection from Evil, Resist/Protection from energy (but only if we know what element he favors, as Evokers can change them on the fly), Fortune Hex, spells that would break line of sight (Obscuring Mist, Fog Cloud, Darkness, etc).

But there are also out-of-combat considerations to ponder:

  • Can we talk our way into the party unnoticed? Could we guise ourselves as guards? as guests?
  • If we free Numesti, whats the best way to get him ready to aid us. I figure a sword, a set of +2 hide armor, some clean clothes, a razor to shave with, plenty of healing magic, and a meal are a good start. Will we have time to get him all of these things?
  • Who can give us a layout of the castle so we know what to expect? Numesti? A guard? Satinder?
  • Can we divide our enemies at all. If Stroon is the Baronesses brother, and she knows Drulev has a mistress, maybe we can avoid fighting a wizard all together if he see’s Drulev as in a lurch?
  • Will we have time to speechify the nobles who side with Numesti and get them our our side? If so, should we carry in a bunch of swords and shields to give them something to fight with, presuming they will probably be disarmed at the party.
  • There are 8 roaming hill giants. Can we use that to our advantage? We already said that getting them inside the party is both immoral (they are certain to harm innocent people) and likely also dangerous (what if Drulev can command them and now we’re facing both of them). Tad offered to keep the giants distracted for five minutes with a light show, but does that mean we’re going in without him?

There is a major morality factor here as well. It’s pretty standard fare for adventures really. Our most effective tactics (getting the drop on the wizard before he’s ready, letting hill giants rage through a party) are also the most immoral. The compromise will have to be in the form of having as many protective spells as we can cast before the confrontation, and hoping that we can save Numesti and that he can rally others to fight beside us.

To that end, I prepared something that Merrowyn will offer to Miquela. Speeches aren’t really her thing, but she does have enough ranks in Profession (Advocate) to know some pretty damn basic violations of the River Freedoms when she sees them. Composed by Merrowyn the night before and given to Miqeuela to say as we enter the party, hopefully with Numesti at our side.

Miquela Speech
Click to View PDF



Actual Play – In Defense of Tazzleford (12/20/2014)

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

Christmas gaming found us in good spirits with plenty of presents to share, good food to eat, and good spirits to drink! Dennis make as mean Manhattan. Only bummer was that our Mia has flown south for the winter and now lives in Culver City. We might manage to do a remote session over Google Hangouts sometime, but it wasn’t in the cards this day.

What just happened

We ended the last session with an urgent summons from Tazzleford. But we rewound the clock to first play out our last small council meeting.

Cobb walked up, not disguised, not in the shadows, just sauntered up and kicked his legs up on the table. “I might as well come to the council meetings now, everyone knows I’m the spymaster.” A snide comment may have been made about how few disguises actually work with one arm as well.

Here was the low down:

  • DoppleSvet got a lot of information from us. For the few meetings that she didn’t attend, she probably heard about from those who did. She was trusted implicitly. The hardest thing to know is when she had been replaced? Was there ever a real Svetlana? Oh probably, I mean what use would it be to have a spy married to Oleg. But after that? Was it really her who first came to the Tusk and charmed Edward into telling us we should make her the lord mayor? Was it really her when she had an affair with Franco? Cobb had all these concerns as well…and how could we know now.
  • The warring with the Issian continues, and Staggio had led a small band of 30 up north to cause all kinds of trouble, including burning castles to the ground (or so we suspect it’s him). Cobb is due to report back with the size of the Issian forces committed to the battle. but even that information may be misleading. Since the outbreak is considered “personal” right now only the Royal Army has of Brevoy has been engaged, but were we to add our forces to the mix, more armies from the north would undoubtedly join as well and it could escalate for a while.
  • Cobb also pointed out that wars are expensive and that while he had largely be self sustaining up till now if we wanted more out of him we needed to give him an income source. Either 5BP/turn or establishing a black market. Neither choice made Miquela feel good at all.
  • After the meeting Cobb asked Miqeuela and Merrowyn to stay behind a bit longer and told us he had bad news. He presented a small wooded box. The inside designed to hold four identical rings, but only one of them was currently present. He told us that one of his best, most reliable men had found the box, put on the finger, and then “changed”. It was very subtle at first, but his loyalty was replaced by a kind of indiscriminate apathy. He hadn’t suddenly become a pawn of our enemies, but he was different. Also the ring turned invisible once it was on and he believes has some compulsion effect that makes the wearer not want to admit they are wearing it or to remove it.

Four Rings to Rule Them All

Great, just great. That DoppleSvet has distributed three of the four rings and we don’t know on who. We suspect that she first gave one to Svetlana before replacing her, and also offered one to Franco who refused it. But other than it previously being on a dead woman and not being on Captain Franco’s finger, we had no idea where the other three rings were. Shit…how much as Giovanni changed since the abduction? He had been grown fat and obsessed with money, now he was getting back in shape and talking about huge expenses as simple the “cost of doing business.”  What about Tad, with his new “friend” Xamanthe Silverfire? He had never shown interest in anyone by Miqeula before. Was this just him finally getting over a many year crush or had he changed. What about X, Y, and Z?

We decided that Leccio couldn’t possibly be affected by the ring. He died and his body was reincarnated. Also he was one of the targets of the attack. And finally how would they have gotten a hedgehog to wear a ring in the first place? So we went to him first. He was…perplexed. Some of the markings on it looked somewhat familiar, but only in the sense that they were old, arcane, very rare, and possibly of fey origin. Leccio reasoned that Olivetta had joined us too late to have been a target for the rings so we added her to our now growing secret (six people now knew about it, which Merrowyn thought was five people too many for it to be a secret).

Olivetta’s first instinct was to have her put it on and then have there rest of us do tests on her. You know detecting her alignment, and such. She was prepared to be pinned down and have her finger removed in necessary (as was the case with Cobb’s man) to test it. Yeah…not going to happen, but props for her dedication. Olivetta and Leccio both performed several divination into the ring to discover that it was indeed magical, but that the magic was more subtle than they were used to, and not of either divine or arcane origin. Perhaps something of the fey.

Well that left us nice an paranoid. but we had other more pressing matters to attend to, like an urgent summons to Tazzleford!

Defense of Tazzleford

An exhausted messenger came with a hastily written notice form Roy Resnick (Lord Mayor of Tazzleford). Roy just learned that an army was marching on Tazzleford from the west of the slough. He requested immediate aid. We rode out with haste. Why, in retrospect, did we not lead an army with us is totally beyond me.

When we arrived Roy told us that a young woman had just arrived in town and collapsed. She claimed to have hidden away with an army and then broke away from the them in the night. She ran a head but the were close behind.

We talked to the woman who said she as Cassandra Numesti, the name of a minor swordlord house. She told us her father Terrion Numesti, a man we had met at the founding of our kingdom and that we knew worked for Lord Drulev, had been imprissioned and that an arm was on its way, and that Drulev defeated the Tiger Lords but was then defeated by then, but now he led them. Woah, woah, woah. Slow down a bit there Cassie.

A short history lesson.

Lord Drulev was granted one of the four charters to claim territory in the stolen lands. We met way back in And we shall call this land Our Land (Over a year ago in real time, thanks AP reports for helping us remember shit). Back then we thought his name was Drevoy. Drevoy, Drulev, whatever, he’s still an ass hat. His schtick seemed to be to tell everyone else he was better than then and conquer any who disagreed. That’s what we already knew. Here’s new stuff.

The story as Cassandra told it was that operation Drulev worked for a while. Her father Terrion Numesti was one of his fellow rulers and although Terrion did not approve of Drulev’s approach, he supported him. After a great many fights they were able to defeat the Tiger Lords and push them back out of the Hooktongue region.

The victory did not last long, however, as soon the Tiger Lords returned, this time bolstered by armies from Pitax. Man, what is it with Pitax! The reinforced Tiger Lords took the city by force. Terrion urged Drulev to surrender but he was too arrogant. When he finally did bend knee to them, the Tiger Lords had sacked his town. They asked for hostages and Drulev offered up Terrion’s daughter Cassandra. Terrion refused and for this he was put into a dungeon cell! Cassandra fled from Drulev, disguised herself and hid among the soldiers. It did not matter over much. her sister was given as hostage in stead.

After capitulating something strange happened, Drulev was put back in power (of sorts) and given Tiger Lords to lead. Now drunk with power (as if he hadn’t been before) and hatred of the Swordlord Miquela Aldori, he sent his new forces of Tiger Lords and Mercenaries in the employ of Pitax eastward to attack Tazzleford.

conan_the_barbarianAnd then they were upon us

Merrowyn sent a raven to the Tusk to summon The Horde but it wasn’t fast enough. Arvin and his scouts reported seeing troops move through the trees outside of town. We didn’t have days, we had hours!

In that time we secured what we could. The bridge was fortified so that archers could safely fire from it. Barricades were built up to fill the wholes in the wall that were missing. Traps were set where holes couldn’t be plugged. We also each contributed something based on our own expertise. Merrowny rallied the soldiers (Profession: Soldier). Miquela took a small force into the forest to ambush them (Stealth). Olivetta rounded up all the wildstock and sent them out making as much noise as she could feinting an attack (Bluff). Elara circled the skies as an eagle and reported back information about their movements (Perception).

I’ve been preparing to use the Mass Combat rules for a while (and a few levels, thank you very much +18 Profession: Soldier). What I didn’t know is how we’d handle this rag tag militia that we had rounded up in Tazzleford. The answer was not with the mass combat rules, but with a mini version of them, the battle rules. Each round each side attacks (using the armies offensive modifier) scores a point if they hit. At the end of three rounds, the side with the most points wins.

The first round the barbarians rushed us and missed the roll by one point. Every other attack succeeded (In fact I rolled natural 20s on the first two battle rolls, but there are no critical hit mechanics for mass combat). End result was a narrow victory 3 to 2. The Barbarians were cut off from the mercenary archers and each group was made short work of. Just when we thought it was time to clean up the mess though, the second wave came crashing out. A dozen trolls led by a an Ogre Mage!

Ogre_mageA tough fight

Our spellcasters didn’t have the luxury of staying back in this one, the trolls charged forward and targeted them. But just before they did, the Ogre Mage strafed by and hit us all with a cone of cold. Ouch! It killed many of the soldiers on the field and messed up the rest of us (it’s a curse than I can never seem to make my reflex saves, especially against the big damage effects that would be awesome to avoid!).

Miquela dropped a necklace of fireballs on the trolls as they rushed forward, Elara followed up with a Fire Snake. Both would have earned the attention of six trolls, but Elara was flying high in the skies. So instead they went for Oliveta. Oh noes!

The trolls were bad news. Each of them were tearing us up with their claws and bites and rends. The Ogre Mage was even worse. He fought smart, targeting the dumb rogue/barbarian with charm monster spells, and targeting squishy casters with vital strike longbow shots and trolls!

We all got pretty chewed up. Game mechanics-wise, Tad, Olivetta, and Merrowyn were all in single digit hit points, which was a pretty scary place for a raging barbarian when I realized that if I hit 0 hit points, that meant a dead Merrowyn. Any of us could have bit it really since the damage per blow was hefty. Miquela was better off because she had been chugging healing potions like a fiend, and Elara was mostly untouched due to being in eagle form and flying above the fight.

Prisoners of War

After the Troll/Ogre fight wrapped up, so did the Battle (TM) and we all got to see what was left of Tazzleford. Suprirsingly it hadn’t been wrecked too horribly. We kept our defenses somewhat in tact and though many were injured only the cone of cold spell caused insta-death to the townspeople and luckily that was mostly focused on us!

The barbarians fought until death, but the mercenaries were smart enough to retreat (those that could) or surrender (those that couldn’t). There is a mercenary code we learned of, that when a merc is captured you offer to ransom them back to their company and you treat them reasonably (no torture). This came up because threats of violence to get information was Merrowyn’s first thought. Luckily one of the prisoners was pretty happy to talk. We learned this:

  • Fort Drulev has been a pot ready to boil since the Tiger Lords arrived. Everyone was itching for a fight, so sending the soldiers out to fight was necessary. Everyone wanted to get the hell out of there!
  • Drulev really hates Miquela. Personally. Derogatory comments about her proclivities and the fortune handed to her spew freely from his foul mouth.
  •  The leader of the Tiger Lords Armaug took the hostages from Drulev but is now on a great quest to find a great ancestor.
  • Drulev has a 2nd in command, Aman Trask, who made the deal with the Ogre Mage and Trolls.
  • Trask is also the the one who cemented Drulev’s relationship with the Tiger Lords.
  • The mercenary’s company was the Red Tails, who are about 500 strong. They have a contract with Pitax for the next six months that they aren’t going to break.
  • Pitax hires all sorts, including monsters to form their armies

We sent two letters to the red tail company. One that offered ransom for the prisoners we had and another asking if the were interested in working for Aldoria once their contract was up!

A Great Feast

We celebrated the victory that night and planned to head back to the Tusk in the morning to meet with our small council and decide what to do in response to Drulev’s attack on Tazzleford.

The more “in touch with the people” of us however realized there was a certain expectation for us to make right what others had done wrong. Cassandra’s father and sister were still hostages, and we had just been attacked. The people didn’t want a small council deliberation, they wanted a “Pick up the lone magical club and beat a lich to dust with it” heroes they had heard about. Oh yeah, we’re professional murderers, it’s sometimes easy to forget that when you’re ruling a country.

So we sent our letters, called off the Horde, and headed out to Fort Drulev, making as much of a straight line as we could.

Kaer_Maga_nagaA going away present form the Narl

We didn’t have to go through much more of the forest, but before we got out we each ate a few lightning bolts (damn, I’ve got to improve my reflex save!) On either side of us were dark naga coming out of the woods. Oliveta cast Feeblemind on one of them which turned it from a dangerous spellcaster to a dangerous large poisonous snake. Not sure which is worse!

This was another tougher than expected fight. The Naga were very hard to hit and each round they doled out some pretty ferocious attacks (magic or otherwise).

After defeating them (we did kill them dead in the end), we tracked their trail back to their lair and found a group of just traumatized folks. An ork, a halfling, a dwarf, and several humans all working fearful that the naga would return. It took a long time to get through to them but eventually we convinced the ork, who all the others looked to for guidance, to go to Tazzleford where they would be taken care of.  Or at least we hope they agreed, they really didn’t say much. After that we got to the looting:

  • Masterwork Buckler
  • Quarterstaff +1
  • Potion of Shrink
  • 600 GP of mundane items
  • Scroll of Dispel Magic (CL 5)
  • Scroll of Fire Trap (CL 5)
  • Feather Token (Anchor)
  • 743 gold pieces
  • 749 GP in gems\

Kind of a motley trove, but we’ll take it. That’s a few more thousand into savings.

A site of desecration

Just before we broke out of the Narlmarshes we came upon a small pond. Before we got there we noticed that all noises had stopped. No animals were in the area, no leaves rustling in the wind. This was a place of stillness. Of death. As we got closer we saw a horse lying dead at the edge of the pond. Closer inspection revealed that it wasn’t a horse but a unicorn with it’s horn broken off. The pond and infact everything in the area was stagnating and rotting from the corruption that emanated from the fallen creature.

Oliveta cast speak with dead and we asked it questions to find out what had happened.

  • What killed you? Purist Beauty Corrup
  • ted (we could hear the capitalization in front of every word)
  • How can we put you to rest? Return my horn.
  • How can we protect ourselves against your attacker? True Love

Another mystery to add to our list…for another time. Remorsefully we left the clearing, now on the look out for a unicorn horn as well as EVERYTHING else.

Travel through the Hooktongue

We broke out of the dense forest for a brief reprieve of plains before diving right into a many league wide swamp.

Crocodiles, dinosaurs, sinkholes, dragonflies the size of men, you name it, this bog’s got it. Too wet to really walk on, to shallow to put a boat on, we just had to wade through the fucker. And wade we did all the way until Lake Hooktgonue where we ended the session.

Thoughts on this game

We’ve got so many different’ things going on, I had to make a spreadsheet to prioritize them all. This is sorted by everyone’s priority except the unicorns horn, which I just added now after writing the AP report and remembering it.  There are 18 items on the list now and I’m sure I forgot something.

A few personal thoughts. I realize Merrowyn is kind of a broken record sometimes. She’s very predictable, so I’ve elected to start writing out some Burning Wheel style beliefs (as well as emailing Dennis to see if he’s like to incorporate a belief system to reward Hero Points for people pursuing their goals. Here’s the first draft of what Merrowyn’ would look like:

  • Noleski has kidnapped our children; I’ll recruit the Red Tail mercenary company to bolster our forces for the impending war with him.
  • Drulev has insulted my swordlord; I’ll make him eat his words. Literally.
  • Terrion Numesti rots in a cell for honoring his daughter’s freedom; We’ll free him from that bondage.

Right now they look pretty much like I want to do the “plot” things, but in my experience that’s how beliefs usually start. And then, in play the start becoming more personal. I’d like to see what other people are looking for and see if I can riff off those. In particular I’d like to hear Elara’s goals as I do so love our often very different outlooks on the world.

Related, at the beginning of the session Dennis asked us to write down three things we’d like to see more of: Something that had already come up in the game, something about our character, and something about another character. I’m curious/excited to see how those make it into our next sessions.