Actual Play – The Valley of Fire (7/30/2016)

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

The final session. The war is over. Long live the queen.

Aftermath of a Fallen Dragon King

In the wake of Noleski death, Imogen, Miquela, and Elara met with the house leaders and pressed them to band together and go to war while Issia was still reeling from the loss of their king.

In the streets, Paulo the Blacksmith was held up as a hero of the people, and in private conversation with Merrowyn made it clear that for these many years while the swordlords may have suffered, the people suffered more. They were ready to go to war, but they expected to protections which the swordlords had been failing to deliver for generations.

Athon’s Story

Before we could head out though, Miquela needed to know something. What really happened to her father. She asked Olivetta to use her connection with the ancestors to pull Athon from the demi plan and force him to speak. He fought hard and resisted her summons. Even when he arrived, he was reluctant to answer, but Olivetta compelled him with her force of will to relent and reveal the truth.

Did you kill yourself? No. [That was news right there. Everyone said Athon’s death was a suicide]
Who killed you? I don’t know.
Why would they do it? Jealousy.
What do you remember? I was in my study. It was a good day. I drank from my cup and my throat began constricting. That was all.
Why do you linger with our other ancestors? Because I failed my family…and my children.

When he returned to the demi plane of our ancestors Olivetta tasted hemlock in her throat. When we consulted our master poisoner Mik Mek, he said that hemlock had too strong a taste to be used on it’s own. Very likely they used a two fold poison. One to numb the senses, the other to kill him. That would have to be done by someone close.

Brevoy_MapMarching through the Valley of Fire

The only way to move a large force north, without being exposed to the Issian forts on the Rostland Plains was to circle east and cross through a mountain pass, through the same place that our ancestors marched to fight Choral the Conquerer, through the place where they were burned alive by molten dragon fire, into the Valley of Fire!

As we passed through the valey many of the bodies of the fallen were still visible, preserved perfectly under the glassy molten rock that was super heated into liquid by dragon fire and then quickly hardened again once the flames ceased. All around use were bodies. Thousands and thousands of them.

When we were nearly out of the valley, we had come to the place where Imogen died, just beside Estruan Aldori, we felt a rumbling of the earth around us and then saw the rock around us being cracking open, and the dead rising out of their molten graves.

We were surrounded by an army of 114,552 dead soldiers and kin or not, they were not keen on us passing!

Miquela and Merrowyn both spoke of us continuing the battle that the started, but it was Imogen, speaking to the ghost of Estruan, that convinced them to stand down. As each of them returned to the earth, Estruan held out a staff with a bear flag whipping from it, somehow preserved through all this time and destruction.

The banner of of Sirian Aldor I, the Sword Baron.

Capturing the Forts

In a planned pincer move, the Sordellos broke out into the Rostland Planes and the twin forts connected by a protected bridge over the water moved all their forces to the southern fort to defend it. And when they did our forces in the north easily captured the norther fort and once inside steamrolled through their meager forces.

There were six pairs of forts across the river and we repeated to to fort after fort until finally we were met with a force that gave us pause: Regent Narissa.

She met under a flag of truce with Miquela and made this offer. “I just want to go home. Allow me to leave and I will abdicate throne and it will be yours for the taking.”

A difficult decision

When Miquela returned we had to decided if we could trust this woman. If she told the truth, we might walk into New Stetven and claim it as our own. If she lied, she was using the time that we spent arguing to wait for reinforcements to arrive.

The argument was fierce, not only among the Daughters of Aldori, but among the many lords we brought with us. There were those who wanted to accept her deal, those who wanted violence before it was too late, and those who to try another plan altogether.

Merrowyn called Elara a coward for being to scared to go to war. Merrowyn and Miquela got in a fist fight over it. But in the end, we accepted her offer, and true to her word, she gave us New Stetven.

Narissa never made it home. She was killed by a fellow Issian on her way there.

The war was over.


As forces moved and borders on maps were redrawn, those of us that could slip away, traveled back to Skywatch. Rudolpho, terrified of the place, mustered the courage (a few remove fear potions helped as well) and together we went back to the Cyclopian Observatory, down into it’s depths and found the force that was keeping the Rogarvian family in stasis.

In it’s depths we found a giant sphere crackling with blue electricity orbited by smaller spheres that appeared to move of their own accord. This “machine”, as our knowledgeable ones identified it, was an artifact that bridged two (maybe more) planes of existence into one. This created a place where the planes collided and intersected, allowing easier passage between them and having other bizarre effects such as the temporal stasis we observed.

As Imogen and Olivetta discussed the artifact and what could possibly destroy it, Merrowyn got in her head a very simple solution to all this business. Only an artifact cold destroy another artifact. Ovinrbaane would finally get to blow up something REALLY big. She prowled away from the group, leapt on to one of the orbiting spheres, and then, with blue lighting all around her dove, sword first, into the sphere…

Many years later

Imogen lived in her own manor in Aldoria, helping to raise her grandchild. Her son was indeed in that stasis field, but on the verge of death and finally released from his torment when time was restored. He had with him though his wife and child, which she took into her arms as her own.

Olivetta, who has lost her source of power as the ancestors had all returned to The Tusk, and picked mushrooms with Leccio. She gave up the adventuring life and decided to become a mushroom farmer [Ex-Witch 15, Commoner 1, Alignment: Neutral Good].

Elara and Akiros went off to dig a well somewhere. That’s what they call that when Paladins and Inquisitors…who I am kidding, they were actually digging a well together.

Miquela and Staggio were reunited. The man who said he was married to the blade and would die fighting in the north, finally returned, dropped his blade and said “I want to go home, I want to see my family.”

Merrowyn got to ride on Saint Fang to Gorum’s final resting place and join Marcus. She was cracking skulls, drinking mead, and enjoying cunnilingus in the afterlife. Not a bad way to go.

The future of Aldoria… secrets revealed

What happens next? The campaign is over but we still have questions.

Mivon turned out not to be the great neighbors we hoped for and eventually expanded around us and a new war was at our doorsteps.

Aldoria made it onto the Outaw Council! Huzzah.

Tad figured out a way to mass manufacture his alchemical ice and became the richest man alive brewing “iced” beer.

Rudolpho who had taken a bit from all of us did the only thing that made sense, he went off to be an adventurer.

Edward tried to retired but got pulled back into action six times before they finally let him go.

Jonas, turned out to be the lost god of humanity Aroden. Reincarnated as a human without knowledge of his own divine nature. Huh.

Pietro was finally returned to Sellemus but he brushed him away. “I have no son.”

Kasten never really bounced back from his betrayal. He remained a broken man.

A few words were said over Merrowy’s grave. Edwards thanked Abadar that he was never able to break her will. Santiago howled for all the world and the afterlife to hear. He took it the hardest. Poor pup.

But wait, who killed Athon?

It was Savia. His own sister. She couldn’t handle his success. Hated seeing what he was becoming and watching him make something of himself and of the family. When she couldn’t pull him down with her, she resorted to killing him instead. What a way to go.

What rocked

Oh, so many things. In no particular order.

That moment when we realized that Athon couldn’t have killed himself. He was still fit and could hold a blade. The way a swordlord commits suicide is by picking a fight they know they cannot win. Athon would have never poisoned himself.

Meeting Estruan and witnessing the devastation they faced. Not only earning his trust but also restoring his good name that had been besmirched for so long.

Actually having enough forces that we could use some military tactics. We didn’t use the mass combat rules but it was fun to catch an enemy by surprise!

At one point Miquela and Domingo spoke about who would carry the sword of Sirian. Who would lead the family. There was a brief pause where it seemed like they might duel over it, but it passed. Miquela did not want to be a swordlord, she wanted to be The Swordlord!

It was pretty darn cool to blow up that big thing. Merrowyn had swallowed her pride one to many times for Miquela and after obey a direct order to cease fire that she knew was the wrong call, she continued following her sisters, but was done with being a general. She was looking to finish this and do something new…she just didn’t know how quickly an opportunity would present itself!

The fact that Marcus the Mouth had been making bets with Gorum in their Valhalla about what Merrowny would do was just touching. We had a fun moment where she walked into the pub and saw he was serving drinks behind the counter!

Imogen meeting herself, her old destroyed body, possessed by some spirit or another. It was creepy on a personal level and terrifying on a “this could mean a giant battle with the undead” level.

The fight between Elara and Merrowyn was pretty intense. As a player I had to stop several times to say “sorry I’m getting loud. are we okay?”. Regina was a champ and love butting heads as well. And she won!

Olivetta, her ancestors gone, and her desire to work arcane arts gone as well, turning to a simple life and becoming a farmer was a great story. Seems like the kind of story that turns out of be the background of the farmer who comes out of retirement to go back to war. But I think for Olivetta the story was just done.

We had been waiting so long for Staggio and Miquela to be reunited. It was great to see them finally together again.

What could have improved

From all I know about it Module 6 sounds like an insufferable grind. Dennis, you did us so right by dropping that and making the final games about the things we always cared most about. Our country, our land, our people, and our family. I guess this is actually a could be and was improved category!

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

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

Alt Title: Soul for Sell – Discount Rates!

Spoils of War

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

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

Lessons Learned

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

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

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

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

A Blessed Wedding

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

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

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

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

Financial Woes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Urgent sending from Rostland

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

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

Rostland Under Siege

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

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

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

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

Orb of the Dragon

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

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

Another item on Sean’s Bucket List

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

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

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

What Rocked

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

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

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

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

What could have improved

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

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

Actual Play – Pitax Falls (7/2/2016)

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

White Rose Abbey

Seemed like a perfect nice place to make wine and enjoy an autumnal sunset. Inside the main doors a vestibule led off on either side to stairwell that opened up to an outside patio with a splendid view. One could easily imagine drink deep from the monk’s wine well into the wee hours of the night up there.

There was also a red curtain covering the entrance into the main hall…of doom!

The scariest fight to date

Inside the abbey, protected by invisibility spells, illusionary terrain, illusionary walls, readied dispel magic spells, and several other abjurations were no fewer than a:

  • Geatane, the Wererat Doppleganger Ranger/Assassin follower of Gyronna who thoroughly reviled the Swordlords [CR 18!]
  • 20 Elite Pitax Wardens [10th level Fighters]
  • 12 Elite Pitax Heralds [10th? level Bards]
  • A mercenary wizard a Staff of the Magi! [Level unknown…but high! Plus Staff of the Magi!]

That fight was rough. Is started out with Merrowyn opening the curtain and feeling like someone slit her throat. Once inside the illusions made it appear as though the Abby was empty when it was infact filled with both cover, barricades, and a host of killers. The moment we walked in, out of nowhere (literally) shafts of ice came flying toward us impaling all who were exposed. Soon after a wall of force came up behind us trapping us there, and finally a mob of wardens came rushing toward us to lock us down. [With those arrows doing about 30 points of damage each, and the wardens hitting for a good 20-25 a pop, we were not in a good place]. We were not in a good place!

In that fight both Olivetta and Imogen feel and were dropped within an inch of death’s door and Merrowyn wasn’t close behind. We only, only survived the fight because of Elara casting True Seeing and Spell Resistance, Imogen following up with a couple Greater Dispel Magic spells, a Sleet Storm to drive the assassin closer, a summoned Dire Tiger that swallowed the mage, Olivetta casting a Cone of Cold that  insane amounts of healing spells and finally a Glitterdust spell on Geatane. We also got insanely lucky and made our saving throws against all five (FIVE) dominate person spells cast!

Dennis has a plan for a TPK right? I’m sure he’s got a plan for that!


By Gorum’s rusted iron, this was a big haul. Kind of them to be wearing Handy Haversacks for us to carry it all back with!

Description Qty Value Cash Value Kept by
Dark Leaf Leather Armor +4 (Fire Resistance 10, Shadow +5, Fortification (Light), Glamoured, Poison Resistance) 52460 26230 Sell
Belt of Physical Might (+4 Strength/+4 Dexterity) 40000 Miquela
Boots of Escape 8000 4000 Sell
Chest Piercing, Minor 2200 1100 Sell
Cloak of Resistance +4 16000 Elara
Head Piercings, Major 6000 3000 Sell
Potion of Cure Serious Wounds (CL 10) 10 15000 Divvy
Potion of Fly (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Heroism (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Magic Fang, Greater (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Misdirection (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Pass without Trace (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Potion of Protection from Good (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Potion of Shield of Faith (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Quick Runners Shirt 1000 Imogen
Ring of Chameleon Power 12500 Merrowyn
Ring of Protection +3 8000 Olivetta
Snipers Goggles 20000 Merrowyn
Gloves, Poisoner’s 5000 2500 Sell
Composite Longbow +4 (Pauliewood, Adaptive, Human Bane, Frost, Greater Sniping) 90275 Elara
5000 Platinum 50000
Handy Haversack 2 4000 Divvy
Ring of Protection +2 2 8000 4000 Sell
Amulet of Natural Armor +3 8000 Imogen
Bouncing Metamagic Rod 11000 Olivetta
Cloak of Resistance +3 8000 Imogen
Gloves of Elvenkind 7500 Olivetta
Headband of Mental Prowess +6 (Intelligence/Wisdom, Skills: Dungeoneering, Spellcraft) 90000 Olivetta
Ioun Stone (Amber Spindle, Resonant Power: Evasion) 10000 Divvy
Potion of Bear’s Endurance (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Cat’s Grace (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Cure Serious Wounds (CL 10) 6 9000 Divvy
Potion of Darkvision (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Displacement (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Fly (CL 10) 3 4500 Divvy
Potion of Gaseous Form (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Good Hope (CL 10) 2 3000 Divvy
Potion of Invisibility (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Neutralize Poison (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Owl’s Wisdom (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Protection from Electricity (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Protection from Fire (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Potion of Protection from Good (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Potion of Protection from Evil (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Potion of Resistance to Acid (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Ring of Protection +3 8000 Miquela
Ring of Wizardry (Type II) 40000 Imogen
Staff of the Magi Artifact Olivetta
Full Plate +1 20 53000 26500 Sell
Greatsword +1 20 47000 23500 Sell
Potion of Cure Serious Wounds (CL 7) 40 42000 24000 Sell
Rapier +1 3 6960 3480 Sell
Short Bow +1 3 6990 3495 Sell
Potion of Invisibility (CL 10) 3 3000 Divvy
Potion of Fly (CL 10) 3 4500 Divvy
Chain Shirt +1 3 3750 1875
2,237 GP 2237
10,000 GP owed in IOUs

We were set up

After all that…it was a setup. No weapons of mass destruction. No Horn of Deathly Fog. Just a setup for yours truly.

Well, much as we didn’t like being tricked…it didn’t work and now we have a Staff of the Magi. Oivetta eventually ended up taking it but I had a delightful time with Merrowyn holding the staff in one hand and Ovinrbaane in the other, while the two artifacts seethed with venomous vitriol for each other.

The staff, which for some reason, neither Olivetta or Imogen though would be good to break and give each of them half of it, once handed over transported both arcane casters to a elven glade where an ancient elf named Vanlanthiriel stood beside a glistening waterfall. She explained that she just wanted to be of some use, that she was dreadfully tired of being wielded by conservative wizards that never wanted to exhaust her energy and that the only way she could find any rest was if strength was utilized [Read…spend all the charges!]. Olivetta agreed to take up this daunting task!

Dead men tell many tales

After surveying the battle, Imogen summoned her familiar Anomander to cast Speak with Dead to converse with one of the fallen Heralds (the one who played the drums no less!) and asked him questions about what in the world was going on. Here’s the answers we got to our seven questions:

  • This place? An abbey.
  • Been here a while? Yeah, it took a long time to set up this ambush. Days. Weeks?
  • Evindra’s shawl? Irovetti has it.
  • Irovetti’s plan for this place? Who knows. Brought his closest circle of cronies here, took everything they found, killed off all the lower level minions that came with him.
  • Evindra? She was guarding in a trunk. Irovetti carried it out.
  • The Palace? Irovetti has secret passages in and out of it, but otherwise who knows how to get in.
  • How to defeat him? Move fast! He’s got mercenary armies on their way in. Much easier to defend against if we’re in the city. The palace is called the House of 1,000 Doors for a good reason. It’s impossible to navigate, full of dead end hallways and traps, designed by a wizard ages ago to stupify invaders and only made more complex by Irovetti. Also, watch out for his mistress, she’s dangerous!

Return to Camp

After telling everyone what happened, and asking some of Xanthia’s soldiers to watch over Evindra, we met with our advisors to make a plan to take the city and the palace.

Kasten knew about the palace but had no idea where the secret entrances in and out are. He did know the exterior walls are made of 3′ of stone, 3″ of steel, 3′ of stone, 1″ of lead, 3′ of stone, 3″ of steel, and 3′ of stone! The adventurers solution: Passwall (Staff of the Magi), Disintegrate (Imogen), Passwall (Staff of the Magi), Improved Alchemical Acid (Tad’s concoctions), Passwall (Staff of the Magi), Disintegrate (Imogen), and Passwall (Staff of the Magi)!

Jerome found the swordlord to tell her than Kobb had returned and he was with three men that wanted to talk to her!

  • Amana Ranikea, an out of shape man who was the mayor (not Lord Mayor) of the city. His son is the commander of the military inside the walls.
  • Wacla Skiba, an outdoorsman turned union leader, who represented the people of the city.
  • Abdul-Malik Usamov, the shrewd portmaster who controlled trade via the waterways. Also, the only one who was not terrified of us.

We negotiated with them and agreed that if they let us into the city and through all the city gates unmolested (or at least mostly), we would spare the lives of the citizens and hand over  the city to them once we sacked the palace, killed Irovetti, and fended off any of his mercenary armies should they still pledge fealty to a dead man.

Taking the Palace

In the cover of night we led our armies into the city to hold it. The Griffon Slayers and Sootscale’s Own encircled the palace, and with judicious use of passwall spells we tunnelled our way into it, through the library filled with low brow fiction, the conservatory filled with masterwork mystical instruments, the arena which housed all manner of monsters, and into the throne room where Irovetti and guests were feasting.

Irovetti, Avinash Jurrg, and a Weretiger, oh my!

It was one arrow into Irovetti and and the shortest of ever monologues before he disappeared (Contingency Dimension Door spell) and initiative was rolled!

The fight was another very tough one, which became much easier because midway through Olivetta cast Dominate Person on the 15th Rogue Weretiger and she ended up flanking Avinash (who, amazing isn’t immune to precision damage) with Merrowyn, which meant they were both dealing out insane amounts of hurt [between the two of them and an arrow from Elara, we did 350+ in one round.]

It was also much easier because of our multiple T-rex summonings (thank you Staff of the Magi), many giant ankylosaurus (thank you Imogen) to tackle the host of heralds, wardens, and the summoned demons that would have otherwise given us trouble (and taken a lot of time to roll out their attacks and damage).

Ding dong, the wicked king is dead.

As someone we never really thought that much about at first, Irovetti proved to be a giant pain in our asses, and given that we absolutely could not ignore his aggressions, he still may yet be the deciding factor in our war with Issia. We’ve defeated him but at what cost. The kingdom’s treasure for sure, but also the good will of our neighbors. The Nomen, the Sootscale, and Mivon all came to our aid, at least in part because they were threatened by his aggressions themselves, and because they saw him attacking their ally Aldoria.

Will they do the same again to attack a foreign nation that poses them no threat? Especially after receiving nothing from this venture (Irovetti’s treasury was empty!)?

We did find among his personal possessions however a chest with:

  • Evindra’s shawl
  • A bastard sword made of translucent steel with a thorn motif.

What Rocked

Wow, that fight was brutal. I mean, both of them really, but the second one less so because we skipped over the dozens of wardens in the room with the help of several summoning spells, and the successful dominate person had a huge effect on the battle. While Avinash did cast Blasphemy, which left Merrowyn paralyzed, weakened, dazed, Olivetta responded with a heal spell and Ovinrbanne cast Freedom of Movement, so the spell that should have taken her OUT of the fight didn’t stop her from putting her greatsword of war through Irovetti’s chest.

The first fight, however, ouch, that one was really close. Geatane being able to drop about 180 points of damage a round (average 30 per arrow, 6 shots with rapid shot) and being totally undetectable put us in BAD shape. If not for the sleet storm spell that forced her close, the True Seeing that spotted her, (even then, Elara had to roll a 49 on her Perception check) and the combo Greater Dispel and Glitterdust that finally made her detectable to us, she would have just picked us off one by one. Thank Pharasma, Erastil, and our Ancestors for our spellcasters! Also, the early Cone of Cold was devastating. It turned the tough as nails wardens in to one shot mooks.

Our decision to hand over the city to the citizens was a pretty cool one. If we were going to play longer, I’d really like to see how relations with Pitax would continue. Seems like we could make something good out of all this carnage.

There was a moment when Merrowyn was in full-kill mode and could only see red. When Olivetta tried to heal her, I rolled to save against it. Failed the roll (phew, she needed those hit points) but it was a tense moment.

Vanlanthiriel was super cool. I loved that she was just like “just use the damn charges, you conservative ass player characters!” I had a lot of fun mis-remembering the Story of Solomon when I offered to break the Staff in half and give one half to each of our arcane casters. Something along the lines of “split the baby in half and everyone was happy”.

What could have improved

Oh man, I just want to play more of this game out and I know that we’ll only have another session or two. A civil war to fight, Olivetta and Imogen’s souls gambled, Merrowyn losing it completely and having to be put down by Miquela. Hope to see these things, not sure if we’ll have time to fit it all in.


Actual Play – There are no bad ideas in brainstorming! (5/21/2015)

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

Garess in Duress

Kasten’s debriefing was done by Merrowyn and Elara (who was mostly there because she didn’t trust Merrowyn to talk to him alone). We learned several things:

  • The walls of Pitax are high, taller than the Tusks. It will take siege engines to bring them down.
  • There are granaries inside, but they aren’t well stocked.
  • The palace itself is a fortress. Getting inside will be next to impossible.
  • There are three armies that are two weeks out. A huge (500) army of archers. A huge (500) army of cavalry, and a colossal (2,000) army of orc infantry.
  • Avinash Jurrg approached Irovetti asking to aid him. That is highly irregular and means the demon must have some vested interest in destroying Aldoria.
  • If given the opportunity to serve again, Kasten is too broken a man to take it.

What to do now?

Probably the most moving scene of the game (but not the most terrifying, that comes next) was when a small band of the leaders, primarily the player characters, were pitted with deciding what they should do next. Here was the essential conundrum: To focus our efforts on destroying Pitax or prepare for the civil war we must step into soon. The problem is that we really have to do both. Ignoring Irovetti means that he’ll sack our cities the moment move our forces north. Laying a long siege on Pitax means we’ll be over committed when we’re needed for the war up north.

Xanthia pointed out that the Nomen were loyal to us, and would view as siege on Pitax and an extension of their response to Pitax aggression. Further, we knew that Mivon had vested interest in crushing Pitax as well. Since it was unlikely we’d be able to bring those forces to bear against Issia, and since maintaining Aldoria gives us a staging ground for the attack (thanks Savia) and a place to fall back if we lose, it’s critical that we don’t give it up to Irovetti.

As we thought about all the possibilities, Miquela often repeated one mantra. “There are no bad ideas in brainstorming!”

The Plan

We’re going to siege Pitax. It’s the only thing to do. With Leccio’s knowledge of siege engines we’ll mobilize the ballista and catapults in Sellen’s Gate and begin construction of trebuchet and siege towers. We’ll do all that we can in two months and then hand the rest of the siege over to Mivon. In that time we’d commit our personal efforts to killing Irovetti and replacing him with an ally so the demon Avinash could not continue to lead the Pitaxian forces.

Rallying our Forces

Merrowyn stayed in Sellen’s Gate to mobilize our units, oversee the construction of siege weapons, and prepare the supply trains to keep our armies fed.

Elara and Miquela met up with Atonio Ribissi and he led a force of another 1,000 Mivon soldiers to aid us. The discussed giving the city to Mivon, but Ribissi didn’t want to extend themselves that far. Instead we agreed to sack the city, take all it’s wealth, divide up its lands, and leave Pitax as nothing but a memory.

Imogen and Olivetta teleported to the Tusk in order to find out what they could about Avinash’s motivation for targeting Aldoria. Presumably if there was something there that he wanted we might find a way to offer it to him or remove it from the equation.

A bargain struck

Books however, were of little use. They had already learned everything they could from researching in Leccio’s library. Imogen, perhaps always planning to do this suggested that there may be a demon which she could summon, bind, and then ask if it knew of Avinash, and what he sought in Aldoria. Foolishly, Olivetta agreed, and together the performed the ritual.

Imogen inscribed a magical circle of protection against evil and inverted the runels to funnel it inward. Then she cast a gate to reach the infernal realms and a binding to bring the demon Af, a fiendish Glabrezu to heed her call, but his next door neighbor picked up instead!

Demon Choices

Lahatiel, the creature that we faced so long ago in Vordekai’s lair, decided to interrupt the summons and show up instead, with a brand new sheen of demonic power at his disposal which he demonstrated by breaking the circle of protection as easily as one would smudge a chalk line.

With that big of terror on the table, he negotiated with Imogen and Olivetta, trading information for services. It wasn’t easy of course, these demons live for mystery and subterfuge, but he a positive disposition towards us as he was quite thankful that we send him back to the infernal realms as he had been trapped too long on the prime material plane and had been missing out on life back in hell.

After much deliberation however, a bargain was struck:

Imogen and Olivetta would ensure that souls promised to hell long, long ago, made their way there in our lifetime, and if they didn’t Imogen and Olivetta’s souls would go in their stead. In exchange we were granted three questions about Avinash Jurrg. To seal the deal lots of blood was shared and drunk, and apparently the most delicious thing you could ever imagine.

The questions three:

What does Avinash Jurrg seek in Aldoria? – He seeks an object inside Aldoria and to destroy it’s current inhabitants on behalf of another

[Oh snap, there is someone even bigger and badder?]

Who does he serve? – He serves no one.

[Thanks pal, way to be a sport].

Who does he work on behalf of? – He owes a favor to the Nymph Queen Nyrissa

[Knowledge: Planes check result 53!]

Nyrissa is a powerful nymph of the fey realm of the First World. Count Ranalc, one of the Eldest, the rulers of the realm, fell in love with her and bestowed upon her some of his essence. She grew haughty with power and considered herself one of the Eldest. As punishment the 13 Elders banished her to a demi plane Thousand Breaths and too from her part of her essence, which they forged into a weapon that can destroy her, and that she is completely blind to.

Avinash, as he works on her behalf cannot actually claim the weapon, but he can make way for her agent to do so and kill the usurpers in the process.

Hah! That’s how Irovetti got so powerful!

Big Bad Choices

Careful reading of the contract

Another revelation. The souls that were to be delivered? All the descendants of Choral the Conqueror! HAH! So that is how Choral got his dragons! And why he put all his family in stasis to cheat his way out of the deal. So much makes sense now.

Merrowyn’s read – we need a more powerful patron. She wonders what kind of army Gorum would offer up in exchange for all of her descendants? Or to be his agent on this world. Imogen can cast Contact Other Plane 1/week…

Meanwhile, in the land of less demonic…

A new army raised (Sellen’s Sentinals, 1000 3rd level fighters), Arvin’s Rangers bolstered (from 500 to 1000) and three siege engines built, we headed out for Pitax to do war. Along our armies were also the Nomen Centaur, Sootscale’s First Infantry, the Mivon Bravos, and a new army of Mivon Infantry. We renamed our Second Infantry to be the Wyvern Slayers (a title they earned) and moved out with them and the Swordlord’s Own! Quite a force.

When we arrived at the walls of Pitax our herald Rudolpho walked up to the gates to read our demands, that Irovetti be turned over to us and that the gates be opened for us. The response was…predictable.

“His Supreme and Inimitable Magnificence, Castruccio Irovetti, by the grace of the gods the rightful King of Pitax, Marvel of Numeria, Master of Mormouth, and Prince-Regent of the Sellen, will not surrender to the unlawful agressions of…”

What was a bit of surprise was the sound of panic and doubt in the herald’s voice, which was only increased when we started lobbing giant rocks of all shapes and their walls!

As the siege continued, and bow fire was traded, we saw something new in Leccio. Ever the mild mannered scholar, he was strutting about the battlefield (barefoot in his kilt of course) talking about how he was going to bring those walls down and how he would open that city up and all sorts of other boasts we would have expected out of a swordlord, but certainly not out of good Leccio! Yeah!

News of dangers to come

In the morning of the third day of the siege, Jerome presented an intercepted missive to Merrowyn. When she shared it with the group and they reviewed it, the message revealed that Irovetti had been developing a lethal version of the Horn of Fog, which would emit a toxic mist rather than just an obscuring one [Read: Cloudkill instead of Wall of Fog].

From some Knowledge: Local checks we realized it the location the weapon was being developed was Whiterose Abbey to the north. From a Knowledge: History we recalled it’s story:

Priests of Cayden Cailean were taken by the beauty of the white roses that grew upon the hill, they chose the hill as the site to build a remote abbey and winery. Over the decades that followed, the need for companionship eventually drove Evindra, a nereid, to contact the priests, and they welcomed her presence, seeing her as a benevolent spirit once she began to teach them the secret of how to enhance the quality of their wine by using purer forms of water and more efficient methods of filtration. A horrid halfling that offended the church of Cayden Cailean, rather than being banished was sent to Whiterose to tend the garden, hoping that he could do less harm in such a remote location.

Not much has been heard about Whiterose Abbey since.

Weapons of mass destruction? Not in our enemies hands! (we could at least agree to that, though Merrowyn was sorely tempted to use them on the upcoming mercenary armies, or to threaten to at least, if they didn’t turn back, others thought their use was absolutely out of the question… THERE ARE NO BAD IDEAS IN BRAINSTORMING).

Setting out

Thanks to Greater Teleport we all took a jaunt up to Whiterose. Before we headed out though:

  • Cronc personally packed Merrowyn’s pack for her, which she tried to make into a thing so she could flirt with him, but did it all wrong. Merrowyn isn’t good a flirting.
  • Olivetta told Leccio what she and Imogen had one wow, was he displeased. “You mad bad decisions when you’re with Imogen. Will you promise me that you won’t go off with her alone in the future?” A pretty reasonable request given that Olivetta had just bargained her soul away!

Whiterose Abbey


Unable to scry into the abbey itself (Olivetta didn’t preparing a scrying spell that day) we opted to try and get closer so that a Clairvoyance spell could be cast. Surreptitiously we crept along the outside wall to the ruined winery, crawled over it an entered. Once inside Imogen went about summoning Hound Archons (including Myrmidon of course) to teleport all through the grounds and report back to her.

The ones who went down the long tunnel under the abbey reported a pool of water at the end. The one that went into the guest house reported it was abandoned. The ones that entered the Abbey, even invisible, didn’t return. Imogen re-summoned Myrmidon who told her that something which was invisible itself, detected him and banished him, with quite a zing mind you!

The Starry Pool

We continued down the tunnel, again with hopes to use a Clairvoyance spell and to find out what was in the pool. Here’s what we found:

  1. A crystal clear pool of water.
  2. A constellation of starry lights glittering on the roof of the ceiling.
  3. A ledge beside it with many fungal blooms growing on it.
  4. A water clock covered in a tarp, which was not running because the reserve had been closed off.
  5. A face the water basin of said clock, that appeared to plead for mercy.
  6. A haunted scream followed by a mad advanced ghost halfling sorcerer monk with some serious firepower and a whole lot of fear factor!
  7. Six advanced willowisps with a whole lot of scorch factor.

The fight was a rough one. In part because only Olivetta and Merrowyn survived the first shriek, which caused everyone else to gain the panicked condition. Luckily for Elara and Miquela, it only lasted one round. Unluckily however, because of the panic they dropped their weapons and the ghosty ghost cast a black tentacles spell right where they dropped them. Evil and smart! Imogen was out for three round, which she spend in her room at the royal villa, thanks to a teleport spell. That was one surprised housekeeper!

I don’t track round by round accounts here but the fight was a rough one. Merrowyn took 227 points of damage, and only stayed up because she was raging, Ovinrbaane cast Aid on her, and Olivetta dropped a 140 hit point heal spell on her!

The ghosty ghost was bad news, dropping first a quickened hasted, then later quicked magic missiles every round, passing through us to age us horribly with each touch (thought the aging wore off after the damage was healed), and flying all over the place being super hard to hit and even then taking half damage on account of being incorporeal!

evindraFreeing Evindra

Once the ghost was defeated we got the startling suspicion that he was not gone for good. The more martially inclined members of our party swam down into the water where we found his bones. Above Imogen and Olivetta (a pairing Olivetta was quite concerned about) inspected the water clock and in doing so released the nereid Evindra from her watery prison.

Evindra was traumatized by the ordeal but was eventually able to tell us that she was here (and we suspected “here” meant on the prime material plane) for a reason. She had something she was supposed to do, but couldn’t quite remember it. We were eventually able to find out that she helped the priests make better wine, and that they were very kind to her, but that the creepy gardener had become obsessed with her, and to claim her has his own he eventually killed all the priest and caged her in the water clock.

[Note: The message that I get from this entire adventure path is a) Owlbears are best and b) Will-o-wisps are fucking jerks.]

Who knew t-rex likes his vegetables

After an attened at Clairaudience into the Abbey with which we heard very little, we made our way up to the top of the hill. Beside the abbey was a few other smaller buildings and a fenced off area that turned out to be a graveyard full of advanced shambling mounds.

They stood up, and we chopped them down, including an extra large tyrannosaurus rex that Imogen summoned, which swallowed one whole! So awesome!


At least I know where I’ll go when I die” – Olivetta, on demon bargaining after forsaking your god.

There are no bad ideas in brainstorming” – Miquela, as we suggested some really bad ideas.

Chart of Accounts

Its been awhile since I’ve updated our ledger, mostly because until the last two sessions our games had been pretty loot-light so it wasn’t necessary, but we’ve come into a nice chunk of change

Item or Description  Quantity  Value Paid/Gained  For or From
Totals as of 1/2/2016     191
Sahuagin Barbarian:
Greataxe +3 18,320 7,328 (Sold for 40%)
Large Breastplate +3 9,550 3,820 (Sold for 40%)
Total as of 1/30/16     11,339
Scroll of Water Breathing -375 Imogen
Bracers of the Falcon -4,000 Elara
Tongues Permanency Spell -7,500 Imogen
Issian +3 Greatsword 18,350 9,175 Merrowyn
Total as of 2/20/2016     8,639
Rushlight Tournament:
Rod of Lordly Might 75,000 Divvy
Total as of 4/2/2016     8,639
Scroll of Regeneration -2,275 Olivetta
Scroll of Waves of Fatigue -1,125 Merrowyn
Villamor Koth:
Hide Armor +5 26,165 13,083
Ring of Protection +2 8,000 4,000
Potion of Barkskin (CL12) 1,200 Divvy
Potion of Heal (CL 15) 4,500 Divvy
Vicious Greataxe +2 18,320 9,160
Barbarian Ltd:
Greataxe +2 8,320 4,160
Hide Armor +3 9,165 4,583
Potion of Barkskin (CL6) 2 1,200 600
Ring of Protection +1 2,000 1,000
Cure Moderate Wounds Potion (CL9) 3 2,700 Divvy
Rune Giant:
Huge +3 Keen Adamantine Longspear 35,020 17,510
Breastplate +4 16,950 8,475
Intricate Clay Barrel of Rice Wine 2,000 Divvy
Large Gold Ingots 40 20,000 20,000
Mithril Ore (40 lb) 20,000 20,000
Total as of 5/1/2016     107,809
Crazy ghost hafling gardner:
Water Clock 2,500 2,500
Rod of Lesser Quicken Metamagic (3rd level or lower) 35,000 Olivetta or Imogen
Total as of 5/21/2016     110,309

What rocked

Debating our actions, with the legitimate fear that overcommitting to war with Pitax would surely mean we could not win the war with Issia to come, was fucking awesome. Importantly because if showed a divide that we didn’t know existed. One one side Miquela and Merrowyn very much believe that the only purpose of Aldoria is to be a staging ground to prepare for the war with Issia, and more importantly that losing Aldoria is an acceptable price for winning the war. Olivetta and Elara however didn’t grow up in Rostland, they knew of the family, but didn’t lived under Issian rule. Aldoria is there home and the are ready to sacrifice it. Imogen ultimately doesn’t care about the Issians at all, they are just an obstacle in the path of defeating her true foes, the Rogarvians.

Some pretty deep stuff there, and I was delighted to see it all come to the surface.

The entire demon summoning and negotiation was wonderfully agonizing. A particularly beautiful part was when Imogen tried to summon forth a cup of Lahatiel’s blood with a mage hand spell but it could not penetrate his spell resistance, so wincingly she took it herself, coming far closer than she wanted to the demon.

Also the scenes of them licking their lips and craving another taste of his blood. So good.

The Imogen and Olivetta antics just keep getting better and better. After Leccio’s request that they not be alone together, we just kept pressing on that obvious solution to every problem “Oh, why don’t Olivetta and Imogen go do that…” It was awesome! As was Imogen’s uncertainty about why Olivetta was acting strange around her, and why Leccio was giving her side-eye.

Leccio’s talk with Olivetta was super endearing.

When Imogen pancked and teleported back to her bed chambers and then spend three rounds screaming as a terrified housekeeper also screamed back in terror, was awesome. The fact that at the end Imogen released the dire tiger which she had been storing as a tattoo on her back (which just terrified the housekeeper even further) and then teleported back so that her little black ichorous kitty could pouce the ghost and tear it asunder was AWESOME!

Merrowyn got to ride a Colossal T-Rex. It just doesn’t get much better than this. And yes, in case your wondering, Merrowyn really just wants to ride big things. She’s not all that subtle. Note, she also not good at flirting. I think she’ll have to be more direct with Cronc (who, btw, packed her some very nice spiced rum in her travel kit, what a sweetie).

That fight was a fun one. Lots of surprises from the ghost, and resourcefulness on our part (Elara casting communal resist energy against lightning was a clincher!). Improved Vital Strike with a greatsword while enlarged and sneak attacking…is nice!

What could have been improved

I think I don’t know how to flirt (like Sean, personally doesn’t). Merrowyn was trying to create an inside joke with Cronc, but everyone said it came off like I was brushing him off. Ah well, it makes sense for Merrowyn to be terrible at nuanced social interactions.