City of a Thousand Towers

At the moonwell

This log entry will be for between session (out of game) actions. Add comments to answer questions or start a discussion

I’d like the party to decide on a basic path so I can work up details. There’s a lot more information following but in summary here’s some ideas for one or a combination of things. You don’t have to restrict yourself to these choices:
* Return to the king for support (aka NPCs and magic items)
* Pursue the fallen paladin Ventrix and try to reclaim Iomedae’s crown (see below for more details)
* Find powerful allies
* FInd a way to ascend Yola and Marselene (i.e., make them mythic)
* Go straight for the demon Tuvagos (the one formerly bound by iron in the shadow’s center)
* Find powerful magic to aid you in your quest

After the battle with the succubus, the party rests and recovers all spells and HP. For now, the succubus hangs around with you. Suddenly good, she doesn’t really know what to do.

At dawn, it is clear from the vascant expression for a time that Blondie received another vision.

While Dagda was praying to Iomedae, in the reflection of the moonwell, he sees his patron goddess. She speaks (although only he can hear). “My crown is stolen! Beware, it’s destruction may give untold power to your enemies. I have given you the limit of my powers, you and your fellow champions! You must save the world. The danger is not yet passed!”

In the interest of keeping things moving, I am assuming both Dagda and Blondie will share their information.

Dagda relates his experience (as described above in this entry). When he does, Blondie describes his vision:

He sees Ventrice, the fallen paladin taking a cell in the dungeon of the Paladin’s tower. It is not a prison cell but it is stark and damp with only a plain bed and simple wooden desk and chair. She enters the cell and falls to her knees in prayer to Iomedae.

The days seem to pass, although it is hard to tell in the dungeon. Ventrice tosses and turns in her sleep. A shadow seems to come into the cell, growing dark each time she sleeps. Blondie hears whispers that he thinks may be in her dreams: “Iomedae has abandoned you… A stronger power calls… Your fate is not to grovel… Claim your destiny… I will show you the way…” The voice is dark and seductive.

After each troubled dream, she wakes and prays fervently. The shadow in the room, something Blondie thinks only she can see (and him, through the visions), starts to fade. Her prayers seem to be giving her strength. When the shadows are nearly gone, she vows not to sleep until they are banished and prays resolutely, hour upon hour, not pausing for food or drink. Her faith is strong but her body weakens.

A man comes into the room, dressed in black. He is not like the others who have brought her food and prayer books. They were dressed in the livery of the paladin’s order. His face is in shadows. He wears black leather gloves and boots of highest quality.

Ventrice rises as he enters and steps back. “You!” She reaches for her sword but she is unarmed and unarmored. He throws his hood back, revealing a handsome, ebony face. “The man from my dreams,” she whispers. You recognize him as well: he is the demon who had taken hobbit form and directed the battle in the sunken road where you fought the false Father Gareth and False Suchet. She draws back from him, but you notice desire in her eyes as well.

“You are strong. You are sure. There is no need to grovel before your false goddess. Come to me. Together we will rule Tavia.” The voice is the same you heard whispering to her earlier.

“No!” In a barely audible, breathy whisper, she says, “Guards…” Her heart is torn.

“I stand against the demon of the shadows…” she says.

“As do I,” the demon answers. “He would slay us all, demons and mortals alike. I will help you destroy him. Come to me!” . He is tall, his shoulders square. His dusky voice speaks of power and…of lust. “The shadows are banished. If we slay the arch-lord, we can rule all! We can bring peace to the land!”

Ventrice turns away. He walks to her and lays a hand on her chin. She flinches and puts her hand on his but does not push him away. “Could I have done that if your false goddess had not abandoned you.”

Her nostrils flare as she draws breath. For a moment, Blondie thinks she will resist. Then she kisses him. They swiftly shed their clothes. Your vision fades and when it returns, it is clear the two have coupled.

The demon slays the next guard who comes to bring her food. She takes the dead paladin’s arms and armor. Together a make a trail of death and destruction from the tower dungeon to the upper floors where they find and kill Father Gareth, who dies before an ornate mithril chest. Within lies Iomedae’s crown. Ventrice tries to take it but is burned by it. They put it instead into a leather sack. Ventrice also loots her old weapons (including a bow Blondie recognizes as a magic item of some power) .

They go to the balcony where the demon takes his natural form of a winged inncubus and he carries her off into the night, carrying the leather sack with Iomedae’s crown.

“Ventrice, my love,” the demon says. They embrace and kiss.

“Ventrix,” she says, “I am Ventrix now.”

With her still in his arms, he takes them both off the balconey, teleporting away before they hit the ground.

Marselene thinks Blondie has described the making of an anti-paladin. While not entirely impossible, there is little hope of redeeming Ventrice. She tells you that Ventrix will gain most of her new dark powers almost immediately but that there are likely to be rituals and some learning required before she will have her full dark powers.

Marselene is worried about Iomedae’s crown. She thinks it is likely that Ventrix could forge a pact with a dark power that would give her similar powers to your own (i.e., in game terms, she’s worried that Ventrix could use the crown to become mythic.)

Marselene thinks they could have destroyed the crown using Asmodeus’ tears, but if they had Iomedae would surely have known and would have given a different message to Dagda. Therefore, this may mean the crown is still extent but that Ventrix and her demon seducer intend to use the crown to perhaps both achieve mythic ascension and empower a dark artifact that she could use.

So, assuming the decision to not destroy the crown in Asmodeus’ tears was not an oversight on Ventrix’ part (which Marselene considers most unlikely), Ventrix is almost certainly headed to one of the other centers of evil in the world. Using her mastery of lore, she thinks it could be (but is not necessarily) one of the following places:

  • The sunken city of Ssrilith, to the far south. It is ruled by an evil merfolk. There is said to be an arrow embedded in stone that can be only removed by a dark soul of the greatest power. This arrow was used to slay an ancient god.
  • The Soulwell. Marselene is not sure where this is and, most likely, similarly to the Fey Forest, it is in an ‘other world’ adjacent to this one. This other world is ruled by a vampire, is perpetually night and undead roam the land. The Soulwell would provide some sort of dark blessing if the crown was cast into it. So, this would not be a magic item but would instead grant her powers, perhaps those akin to your mythic powers, perhaps others. With a very good library or some divination magic, Marselene might be able to find out more about this.
  • Ventrix might be able to become a mythic agent of the demon, formerly at the center of the shadows, if she went to him and pledged herself to him. However, Marselene, is not sure if the demon could do such a think. Perhaps he could before the shadows and might one day at some future point, but his ordeal of the last few centuries has probably weakened him.
  • Given the role of the incubus, it is possible, even likely, that the demon lord Nocticula is involved with Ventrix’s subversion. If this is the case, there are a number of places Ventrix may go: into the Drow underworld, where Nocticula is particularly revered to one of several temples to her, or to the ruins of the Witch Realm in the far north. The Witch Realm was ruled for over a 1000 years by an ageless seductress and assasin beholden to Nocticula. She and her realm were destroyed long before Tavia came to be, but evil still lurks there.

Marselene notes that she would be much more useful to the group if she, too, were blessed by the gods. Yola (the druid) quickly seconds that idea, muttering “and I could get my sickle back.” Marselene thinks that Iomedae might not be the best patron for her and Yola though: she may already be at the limit of who she can empower, and even if she is not, if her crown is destroyed she will be weakened and lose the ability to empower as many folks.

Yola strongly supports the idea of getting her and Marselene empowered. Marselene is not sure how to do this but suggests a visit to either the Tavia temple district or Trina (the silver dragons home- if you can get to it) or some of the shrines of the most noble gods might show the way. Naturally, it might make sense to work with some of Iomedae’s allies (see wiki article on Iomedae for list of her allies.)

If the party does want to directly confront the demon once bound at the center of the shadows, she suggests they may want to try to find a powerful ally, such as Goradus, a gold dragon said to be the first gold dragon, so someone similar.

Additional

Yola continues to scry Ventrix and the Incubus (because she can’t always get a read on Ventrix- she thinks Ventrix has some anti-scrying spell).

She sees Ventrix practicing her new dark arts in what looks like a crypt. Once she saw the Incubus steal a human baby and later saw the baby in the crypt. So, far the two have remained in the crypt.

Yola says she can use a dream spell to communicate with you. So if you go after Ventrix, she could use dream to give you updates on what she is able to scry.

Marselene spent some time discussing Blondie’s vision of Ventrix’s fall from grace. She thinks the Incubus used a dimension door spell at the end, not a teleport. Demons can teleport but not with another person. Incubus can’t normally dimension door but this one may be trained as a wizard.

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Purging Demons

The party arrives at the surface in Tavia in time to keep the King and Ventrice from kill each other. Ventrice, the leader of the paladins, came so close to killing the king that Iomedae withdrew her blessing (and her paladin powers). Ventrice seems to have accepted her punishment and has withdrawn to the dungeons of the paladin’s order.

At the battle between the king and Ventrice, a giant eagle appeared, proving to be a powerful sky druid, Yola.

Afterwards, based on a vision Blondie received, they travel to Yola’s moonwell to bless their weapons. They find it high the mountains guarded by elementals of incredible power. Yola, recognizing that her magic sickle seems to want Dagda, loans her weapon to him and with the aid of the party, the elementals are destroyed. The elementals appear to have been lead by a succubus that the party shot from the sky. She feel into the moonwell, and like their weapons, was blessed, in this case becoming a rather confused good succubus. For now, she has promised to protect the moonwell.

The players weapons are now blessed with the holy effect (+2 to hit, 2d6 damage vs. evil).

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Chaos in Tavia

This is just a high level summary because I forgot to write it up the weekend of the session and it is already getting a little hazy.

A month of revelry at the fairie queen’s court passed in a blur. Blondie spent most of the time at the queen’s side, clearly her favorite and still, even having left the woods, bearing her mark (something Marselene warns may carry a price some day). Angel Eyes spent much of his time making leaps and vaults of ever more preposterous distances until from standing still, he could vault into the rafters and from a run, he could leap over the hunting lodge.

The faerie king proved quite voluble, and entirely forgiving of being decapitated, presiding from the hearth where his head is mounted. Though still called the king for honorary reasons, it is now the queen, restored to her mind, who rules.

For their aid, she granted everyone in the party a parting gift, and of course, granted Blondie the hunter’s bow, which has already seemed to have bonded to him more than any other bearer.

One night Maria received a curiously slow and drawn out message from Father Gareth, which she recognized to be a magically sending, telling of chaos in the city. The queen gave leave to the party to part and the dryad Lala once again conveyed the group to the other side, this time to mortal lands.

Note to players, if some of you want a faerie companion, let me know.

Returning to Tavia, the party found that only 2 days had passed in their realm but it had been a catastrophic two days: the Paladin Order had attacked the king. With the aid of a wizard, they had disintegrate the towers under pinnings. The attack proved only partially successful (the paladins apparently do not muster an engineer among them… if they do, that paladin was not entirely behind their leader’s plan). In any case, the partial collapse killed hundreds but did not disturb the core of the palace.

The palace guard mustered to the king and the forces of both battle in the streets. In the meantime, bands of demons have broken into the city, spreading chaos. One especially disturbing form of chaos was a black ice that seemed to spread from the sewer openings.

The paladin leader Ventrice swore the King is a demon and demanded the party’s help in destroying him. The king’s representatives swear the same about the Paladin queen. The party thinks neither is likely to be a demon, although the magic of Ankou demons are strong enough to thwart even a true seeing so it is possible either or both are demons.

Not wishing to make matters worse, and fearful of that the black ice in the sewers indicated a demon attempt to free the tears of Asmodeus, much less guarded since Ventrice had recalled the paladin guard for her attack on the palace, the party went to the Dark Temple. There they found the naga guardian and all the kobolds slain (although it turns out Bedip was not among the fallen). A beholder over the pit turned out to be an illusion cast by an ice demon. The black ice itself was the corrupted breath of a pair of powerful white dragons, about the size of Mataran but quite potent.

The black ice was deadly and kept the group spreadout. A wall of ice cast by the demon in an attempt to trap Angel Eyes in the pit with him was destroyed by fire but released a cloud of blinding fog which further complicated things but in the end, the party was victorious.

The tears of Asmodeus are once again safe. However, the city above is still in case, demons roam the streets and after momentarily blanking out, Blondie looks somewhat ashen faced. (Only Jim will be able to read his vision.)

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The Faerie Queen

Tomalin

After rescuing Gareth and Suchet from the half-death of the Ankou demons, the party spent the night in the town of Tomalin, just by the cemetery where they found their friends. Early the next morning, they were awaken by a townsman who burst into the inn announcing fire and smoke to the east, toward the shadow lands. While the party gathered, onlookers also reported a black dragon, which turned out to be a silver dragon, somewhat shadowed in the dawn. Blondie saw him ripping a demon apart on a nearby roof top before hopping down and turning into a tall, muscled human.

The dragon, Mataran, claimed to have lived in the north fighting demons until those lands were overrun. A troop of paladins, including Trina, the paladin the party earlier learned was a silver driver, road up. Trina and Mataran recognized each other as brother and sister, though they aren’t very friendly with each other. Mataran was surprised to find his sister as large as he was- when he left him he was quite a bit larger but now she seems about his size and age. Mataran chalked it up to manipulations of their father, claiming he could change the flow of time in his lands.

Trina informed the party they were requested back in the city: the captain of the paladins had determined that the king was really a demon in disguise. The palace is tool well guarded for a frontal approach. The captain wants the party to help go beneath the palace and collapse the tower, killing all within, including the false-king.

The party was skeptical that the king was actually a demon and even if he was, destroying the entire palace and royal family was an appropriate response. After some back and forth, they refused to help the captain but did send Gareth and Suchet back with Avondale and Dagda.

Mataran reported that he say groups of demons, in their normal disorganized formation that seemed to break up as quickly as they formed, to the east. The townsfolk panicked and begged the party to help. The party told the townsfolk that while they could not destroy all the demons, they could provide time for the townsfolk to escape to the city.

Just at the edge of town, the party killed seven of the same demons that the false Suchet & Gareth had used to try to ambush the party. Mataran revealed that he had a potent breath attack, using a gas to paralyze some of the demons, as well as a ferocity in combat with fang and claw.

The Faerie Woods

The dryad Lala they met on the road to Ubeck led the party to her tree, an ancient oak. One by one, she melded them into the trunk then passed them out again into the faerie woods, a forest of ancient trees with a thick canopy that kept the forest floor in shadow and undergrowth so tangled swift movement was a challenge.

Not far from Lala’s tree, the party heard something huge crashing through the forest. Spreading out, some caught a glimpse of a colossus composed from the writhing forms of hundreds of demons chained together. Angel Eyes ran to it and was nearly killed by its powerful blow. Fortunately, the demons it was composed of ripped the colossus into 4 smaller groups, still formidable, but more amenable to destruction, and the party soon had the creature destroyed.

After an overnight rest in Lala’s tree, the dryad led them to the lodge, pausing only to refresh the still somewhat wounded of the group at a healing water fall near the river.

The Faerie Queen

The lodge was a great stone-walled hall, over a hundred paces long and forty wide. It’s stone were so moss covered that from the outside it looked more like nature cliff. Inside, the place was a mess- long disused tables and benches lay scattered about. The rafters high above were home to all manner of vermin- from rats to bats to spiders and more. At the far end of the hall, a great stone hearth rose high up. A small fire flickered in the hearth. Before a beautiful, elven-like woman in torn clothing and matted hair lay in a stupor against the flank of an immense wolf. Above the mantle a magnificent compound bow was mounted on the stones.

Marselene informed the party that the woman was not an elf but a sidhe, an elf-like race of the faerie realm. Lala said her name was Leonora and that when the king ruled the forest, the queen was made. The queen only ruled when the king’s severed head was mounted on the hearth. The king was not sidhe but a huge elk with an antler rack over 10 feet wide. As an elk roaming the forest, he was magnificent and very fleet, but he was only animal like, with little understanding. As a mounted head, he could speak.

Blondie tried moving the bow but it was immovable. Lala said the bow could only be claimed in the reign of the queen.

Blondie brushed the queen’s hair under the watchful gaze of the wolf. She seemed to like it but remained as mad as ever, babbling and unfocused.

The party decided to restore the queen to sanity, and free the bow, by mounting the elk-king’s head on the hearth. Blondie asked the wolf to help, who signaled her agreement by nodding. After some discussion, they settled on a plan where Blondie and the wolf would find and drive the elk toward the rest of the group and Maria would create a magical pit beneath him. The elk was swifter even than a flying dragon but after 2 days of failed attempts on the third day, the elk fell into the pit, where dangled over the void by his antlers. Mataran then severed the head with his great sword.

Once mounted on the hearth, the king spoke to them, sounding not the least put out by his fate. In fact, the king, now freed from the mentality of an animal seemed happy enough to preside over the festivities of the restored court from his place above the fire.

Blondie claimed his bow.

Faerie Court

Within a day, the hall was tidied up by mushroom-men servants and sprites, the queen was in regal garb, the tables and benches were restored, music and light filled the hall. A throne carved from the trunk of an oak was rolled into the hall and the queen took her place upon it, insisting that Blondie take a place at her side.

Once the hall was filled with her court, she bestowed gifts on the party. Blondie’s gift was the bow but to the others, she granted a gift of their choice.

The party spent a full month in the faerie woods, in the company of the sidhe and all the exotic folk of creatures of the land of faerie- from butterfly-winged talking giant frogs, to sprites and sylph, to the unearthly sidhe themselves.

Now that the queen is sane and the worst of the demon depredations (the demon colossus) was destroyed, she feels her people can keep the demons at bay for now and asks that her new friends, and her champion Blondie, destroyed the scourge in the world at large, as that would best protect her own land. She does bestow her kiss, a special bond, on Blondie before you leave. She warns you that time does not run as it does in the outside world. Due to the threats all face, she has seen to it that for at least for this visit, time flowed more swiftly in the forest. When you return, only 2 days will have passed in the larger world.

Leaving the Faerie Forest

In addition to the magic item gift, Maria, Blondie and Angel Eyes gain a free mythic fey ability. If they want something that requires tier 3 or higher, they can defer taking the ability until they are higher level.

From your time in the woods, every has 20 temporary hit points. These last indefinitely but cannot be restored once used. They will leave you a bit stronger in your first few battles.

Party members can spend their time as they like in the woods. Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to do. If you take the leadership feat, it is possible to recruit a faerie follower here (you can take the feat on loan if you are not eligible, i.e., take it at the next opportunity for a feat.) If anyone is interested in that, let me know and we will work up the details. We will probably also tweak the level rules to make sure the follower is actually of a useful level.

While in the Fey domain, Marselene finds that here she is not troubled by the ghosts and poltergeists that follow her in the large world. Several times she voiced the desire to return here once the demon threat is dealt with.

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Trouble in Tavia

On the way back to Tavia, the party encountered Father Gareth and Suchet who lead them to a sunken road where demons ambushed them. Fighting off the demons, the party realized that Father Gareth and Suchet were doppleganger demons – Ankou demons (see below). Fearing to harm their friends, they intimidated the captured demons into revealing where Suchet and Gareth were (rather than killing the demons outright), and rescued their friends.

Suchet and Gareth are very ill (in game terms drained of strength) but will recover with some restoration magic. The two were hidden in a crypt, guarded by a ghoul of exceptional power.

After looting the ghoul’s crypt, they took their friends to the nearby village of Tomalin, where the party has rested and recovered all HP and spells. Note: Suchet and Gareth are still drained of strength.

Ankou Demon

An ankou demon is sort of like a doppleganger in the sense that it can pass as someone else. In this case, the substitution is extremely strong, thanks to a bond that remains to its living victim.

The demon can change its form, much like the fairly common alter self spell of wizards and sorcerers. However, it has a much stronger form of mimicry: it can beguile a victim, rendering the victim catatonic. Then, after close physical contact for some hours, it can take a form of the victim that is impenetrable to most forms of magic, such as a paladin’s ability to discern evil.

Only the most potent of vision spells can reveal the ankou demon for what it is. Anything else will only reveal what would be revealed if the spell were cast on the victim because somehow the ankou channels such magics to the victim, who remains in an unconscious state.

As long as the victim lives, the ankou can also speak and read any languages of the victim and has access to much of its memories, although not special powers like spells.

The linkage is not beneficial to the victim. Rather, the victim wastes away, slowly if the ankou cares for the victim with food and water, quickly if not. Ankou do frequently tend to their victims to further their disguise, not out of good nature, of course, but even in the best cases a victim rarely lives more than a few weeks in this state.

Slaying an ankou demon while linked to its victim kills the victim and the demon. To save the victim, the victim must be physically found and then the magic link severed through some sort of magic circle, or the like. Even then, the victim is usually quite weak, requiring the restoration magic of a powerful priest to fully recover.

In its natural form, ankou demons appear as a slender, tall, genderless humanoid with tentacles around its mouth, coal black eyes, few features and dark gray to black skin.

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Visions, Dreams and other Portents

This post is a ‘holding’ place for visions, dreams and the like. Content is player specific so you will see only those visions that your character received, if any, as a player secret. I am not going to retroactively pull visions from earlier in the game but if you have one you want me to add, send me the text or link of it and I will add it to your player secret.

Following the defeat of the Count Francis-Flesh Golem, and after everyone received their gift from Iomedae (their first mythic tier), Blondie fell to his knees, looked into the sky with his eyes rolled into the back of his head and began speaking loudly in the alien language he uses in combat (due to his Oracle’s curse). It appears he is having a vision, but you will have to ask him for what he sees.

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The Silver Staff

Scroll to the bottom for a short summary of game session

Meta notes: I am not using the standard pathfinder setting so while I stole the term “Starstone” from the standard pathfinder mythos, it is not as described in the standard lore

Pre-game

As promised, Gareth did some praying while Bedip and Trina were off trying to get to her homeland. (See last paragraph of the previous session log for details on what they found). His praying involved some divination spells as well as fasting and praying at a shrine to Iomedae in the Paladin’s tower. He reports the following:

He saw several times, a dark stone, pitted and rusty. He believes this is the Starstone, an object of pure metal that fell from the heavens. It played a roll in Iomedae’s ascension to god-hood but is holy to all but the most evil of the gods. Unfortunately, it is also behind the shadow curtain now.

Gareth also claims that the party is not worthy of the crown at this time but does note that’s its powers can be separated by dividing it into its constituent parts, when and if the time comes.

Each of you should have a player-only note as part of this page. Let me know if you can’t see it.

Game Session

Gareth and the order of paladins were very thankful for the party’s timely aid and provide both gear at not cost and served as brokers with other sources of gear (for a big discount). Equipped, including with mounts and even a squire for Avondale, a paladin who joined the party at their request, the group headed out.

They made good time through the still settled lands but with the shadows only 70 miles away now, they soon came to abandoned farms and towns. They wisely skirted a swam of what sounded like wasps. They camped for the night in an abandoned farmhouse near the road where a hungry green fog set after them, a foe they dispatched without too much trouble.

The next day, they were assaulted by a warped bear- much larger than usual and with strange growths. The party also encountered a dryad near Ubeck, pleading for help relocating from the encroaching fog. It seems she might have tried to use some of her magical allurements but was unsuccessful. The party did promise to aid her on their return.

At the city of Ubeck, they found the walls and buildings in good shape- no sign of battle or fire, but abandoned. The castle tower, the count’s home, had strange iron protrusions ringing its top.

They road to the city gatehouse and found the gate open. Just inside, they heard a heavy, shambling creature which turned out to be a beast, taller than a man, looking like it was stitched from many bodies. They dispatched this creature without too much trouble but farther into the town, they catch a glimpse of another such creature (at this time, it does not appear to have noticed the party).

Some of the last refugees they passed on the way to Ubeck stated Count Steen was going to fight to the end. He swore he would not be the one to lose a 1000 year old patrimony. The count, who goes by his first name Francis, even with commons, also claimed he had some sort of method to battle the forces of shadow, although none could say what that was other than that it has something to do with the strange metal protrusions from the count’s tower.

Second Session

As the party began to scout the town they found a weapon smith who was a bit of an alchemical genius, with unfortunately for him, an over-fondness for explosives. Blasty, as they called him, had set some traps against the golems and prepared a number of other explosives from grenades to a large 40 pound bomb. After agreeing to work together, he gave them shelter in his armory where they passed the night. He also gave them an adamantine blanch that coated their weapons with a one-use adamantine resistance penetration.

The next day they tried to go as stealthily as possible to the count’s castle (within the city walls). They were just short of the plaza before the castle when a golem sensed them. Blasty set the 40 point bomb he had been lugging, destroying the golem, most of four houses and himself.

The roar sent other golems charging toward the party. They just managed to close the castle portcullis before the golems arrived, also setting some charges outside the gate and destroying a number of golems.

In the castle keep, Blondie found a very large golem to be alert. This was the count, turned into a golem himself (along with many other body parts). The golem leaped down the stairs partway (damaging himself) and charged out of the keep. Blondie had intentional acted as bait and he lead the golem to his companions.

While Blondie and the others battled the golem, Dagda went invisible and made his way to the tower top, where Maria’s locate object spell had indicated the staff lay. After a little hunting around, Dagda found the staff in a cabinet with a human impaled on it (possibly the person who turned the Count into a golem).

Dagda recovered the staff and bolted down the stairs in time to give it to Maria during the battle.

Thanks the mirror-image spell that Maria placed on everyone and Blasty’s grenades, whose fire did not harm the golem but slowed it, the party was able to ultimately kill the golem, although it was a much more difficult creature than the other golems. (Ref note, I did not introduce Blasty for the purpose of giving you a fire attack— he was just comic relief. But if you did not have the fire to slow him, his two attacks probably would have killed one of you because if 2 blows hit in one round, there was extra electrical damage.)

Once the count was slain, Iomedae blessed first Maria (who had called on her aid and held her staff) and then the rest of the party.

See the forums for notes on your Mythic Ascension.

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Temple in Flames

Pre-game

Angel Eyes has a new contract and convinced the party to help him out with it, since it seemed to be a bit of old-fashioned looting of abandoned buildings, instead of an assassination contract.

On the way there, the group dodged a city patrol that appeared to be press-ganging folks for an invasion of the shadow lands. Scooting down a side street, the group was about to head back toward’s Angel Eye’s tower of loot when most of you noticed smoke in the direction of the temple to Iomedae. Blondie was pretty sure it was the temple itself on fire.

With little discussion, the party decided to race towards the temple. At the corner of the plaza, the group sees:

  • The chapter house that is part of the Temple’s walled lot is in full flame.
  • The pillared temple itself is damaged: the roof is partly down, the cult statue in the middle is on its back in pieces, several pillars are down and others have their drums out of line.
  • The temple hearth used to stand on a platform on the front steps. The main slab on which an “everburning fire” is missing. THere’s a good chance the cracked stone slab sticking out of the burning chapter house is the hearth slab.
  • The statue of King Jormund, that used to stand on a pedastel in the middle of a fountain at the center of the plaza is standing on top of Iomedae’s state, clawing it with its hands
  • Five creatures have Father Gareth and 4 Paladins ringed between the temple and the burning chapter house
  • A sixth creature, larger than the others is perched, unmoving, on top of the temple

The creatures are about 7 feet tall, very solidly built, winged. Their skin looks to be a mottled grey-red. They have long, curled horns on the head, and viciously clawed hands and feet. The one on the roof is noticeably larger, with a long chin spike. Except for the roof top one, their eyes glow red.

There are wide roads running into the middle of each side of the square plaza. Aside from the temple, the other structures (a merchant’s tower with walled plot, a ruined tower that has long been a pile of rubble, and on the fourth side, a large stone inn (only part of which is in use), are unaffected by the turmoil.

If multiple players have the oracle level, while they will be babbling the same language they will be doing so essentially unintelligibly until they have lots of practice (i.e., some distant future). Therefore, oracles cannot use the language to communicate with each other in battle.

The Session

The party members each woke this morning from a powerful dream. At first details were hazy but as the morning wore on, they remembered more until just before the battle started, they could recall the full dream.

The party let the paladins focus on defending Gareth and occupying most of the creatures, who turned out to be demons. Instead, they turned their attention to the king’s statue, which seemed to be trying to excavate the torso of the fallen statue of Iomedae.

Angel Eyes and Maria. destroyed the King’s statue, The demon on the roof then flew down and pulled a silver crown from the ruins of the torso of Iomedae’s statue. Though the crown burned the demon’s hand, it seemed determined to carry it off but was unable too, thanks to a chaotic fight that involved the entire party, a lucky Command spell from Dagda followed by a mage hand by Maria on the crown, some strategic webs from Maria, some brave hand-to-hand from a grapple from one of the paladins, some telling arrows from Blondie, Dagda’s use of an epic brilliant sword and the aid of another paladin, Trina, who turned out to be a young silver dragon.

The demons the party fought were stone demons with the one going for the crown an especially potent one (you might even call him mythic.)

Just as they dispatched the demon, Blondie, Dgda, Angel Eyes and Maria started to experience a vision that began with a voice saying “Do you want to see” and a vision from afar of the curtain of shadow that has been slowly creeping from the east. Accompanying the vision was a piercing headache, which, as the vision progressed, caused temporary and then real damage. Next they saw Iomedae standing by the shadow curtain gesturing for them to enter, then their vision passed through curtain without Iomedae following and the voice (not Iomedae’s repeating “Do you want to see?”. Dagda healed himself and lost the vision.

The vision continued into the shadow desolation where vegetation and creatures are warped to a place of shadows so thick, it was like fog. Here Maria passed out and also lost the vision. Only Angel Eyes and Blondie say the final piece:

A demon was caged in iron, some of which pierced its body. It was alive though judging from the ichor that seeped from its wounded and feed a vast mat of slime crawling with vermin, it had been there for ages. The voice asked again “Do you want to see?” They realized now that, though they could understand the voice in the vision, it was speaking some alien, ancient language unlike any they had ever heard (not celestial). The two remaining party members said yes and in return gained one level of oracle and the curse that they speak in this mysterious language during combat. While they would be able to understand anyone speaking this language, they cannot understand any other form of communication and they cannot understand each other (because they can’t speak it very well at this time.)

After reviewing Maria, the party questioned Trina and discovered she was sent by her father from the west. The party decided it would be worth learning more about her father, especially since it seems that he figured in a dream that Angel Eyes experienced the night before.

Bedip and Trina flew off to find her father. They returned 6 days later, both exhausted because they did not find her ancestral home: when she first flew from the west to your land, she flew through a curtain of shimmering rain. At the time, she thought it was just a rain squall. When she tried returning, she found no island and about where the rain was, she saw endless ocean and had a sending from her father saying “You are of this world now.” Based on this, she now wonders if she was raised in the heavens and that her parents might be some sort of demi-god, angel, or the like. She does have an older brother whom she last saw 20 years ago.

Iomedae’s Sword
The Crown of Iomedae

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The Secret of the Pit and More Secrets Still to be Decrypted

Just some quick notes on where things are:

  • The Temple to Iodemae gave you a heal scroll to cure the Guardian Naga Minolus and Dagda did a bang-up job of casting it, despite it being far above his current Inquisitor abilities
  • On LInko’s corpse, you found a scrap of paper that proved to be a key code for deciphering a block of text you found on a scroll you found earlier on LInko’s body (at the time you killed him).
  • Father Gareth has been very helpful but he seems to be withholding some information from you (various sense motive checks)
  • The black pit apparently contains something called the Tears of Asmodeus. Apparently, these are large, glassy black objects (Minolus said they were too large to move) that are a focus of Asmodeus’ evil. You don’t detect any evil in the pit but Minolus claims that is because there are magic seals over them and they are also buried under lots of dirt and debris.
  • Minolus agreed with your suggestion to wall in the passages that lead to the mummy chambers. He has the kobolds working on this.
  • The kobold Bedip is currently traveling with you. He seems honorable (for a kobold) and not too whiny. You don’t detect any evil on him. While he doesn’t do a lot of damage, he is well armored and has proven very useful in holding the line with Clem.
  • On your request, Gareth asked an order of knights to send some support to Minolus. Two paladins and some men-at-arms showed up and promised that the order would maintain a guard for now in the pit.
  • Bedip showed you some of the other passages near the Black Temple that lead to the sewers, where you found signs of ghouls and other creatures. You followed these and defeated many skeletons, ghouls and one half demon minotaur. Loot from the Minotaur battle.

Gareth has translated the scroll. You can find what it says in the forums (ask any questions about it there). The forum post is here.

He is reluctant but he eventually allows you to copy the code from the Necronomicon and explains how it works. (It’s a form of a Vigenere polyalphabetic encryption.) The most direct way to use it is to have the encoding phrase but there are other ways to decode it and (from the forum post) you do have enough information to actually crack it, if you are clever. (You don’t need to actually do the work of cracking the code, you just need to tell me how your character would approach it. You might be able to use some knowledge checks for some hints.)

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The Dark Temple

Note: Suchet has the royal background, which as a reminder, was available to all of you. One thing to remember about the royal family is that it is very large and other than the palace guard, every duty in the palace is carried out by a royal from the actual king and queen to the librarian, cook, and stable master. Suchet is also a kineticist from the Occult Adventures supplement, which is also available to everyone. I’d also recommend checking out the Advanced Class Guide which offers another take on multi-classing that is far more powerful than the standard method. Both of those guides are available at no cost as web pages on the Paizo site (or a $10 pdf download).

The party had reason to believe there was an evil temple beneath the city and the party was determined to find it. On the advice of Gareth of the temple to Iomedae (LG Goddess of valor, rulership, justice, honor) where they sold the necronomicon, the party planned a return to the dungeons beneath Tavia, but first they wanted to expand their ranks,

At the temple, they hired a warrior named Clem, to put a little stiffness into their front line. They also met Magda, a person tainted by demonic blood but one who seemed especially keen to fight demons. Finally, the temple priest Gareth seemed all to eager to push a young princess, Suchet, on them. Something a refugee from the royal palace, ostensibly for her ability to sit things alight with the flick of a finger, but perhaps more because she was a moodier than usual teenage, Suchet had come to rest in the temple.

Geared up and with a much larger group, the party headed back to the ruined tavern where there was a chasm that lead to the underground passage. Here, they found 20 of the city guard and stern warning from Captain Dellina that looting ruins without a permit was forbidden.

Legalities aside, when one of the guardsmen crawled from the chasm stiff and nearly frozen with some sort of poison, and the next bunch refused to enter, Dellina took the better part of valor and offered the party 50 gold per cockatrice beak, which Maria negotiated to 80.

Below, they found the 3 cockatrice and 2 ogres that had caused them trouble before. It proved a long fight against the cockatrices but the ogres fell swiftly since they had to squeeze through passage that were narrow for a hulking ogre. Everyone was duly impressed by Suchet’s fist’s of fire and even Blondie was thinking of a change of profession especially when his arrows proved much more useful for pock-mocking walls than skewering cockatrice.

Clem was the only one affected by the cockatrice paralyzation and he was quickly cured with fresh cocktrice blood. Angel Eyes ran the three cockatrice beaks and some blood (to cure the paralyzed guard) to Captain Dellina and she gave the party a bonus- paying 300g.

Pushing on the party found a natural passage that lead to another section of worked stone. (Note: we did not play that part but as part of that exploration, you did come across some side passages that you did not explore. Linko Phan almost certainly came from one of these side passages, not the path you have been using so there are clearly other ways into the underworld.)

In this section of the dungeon, you found a large circular room with a huge pit in the middle and side chambers. The place was strewn with fresh corpses: human guards wearing the livery of the Phan merchant family and kobolds, some of which were kobolds of unusual size (KUS). After taking out a few kobolds and Magda’s tango with a mummy he unearthed in a sarcophagus, the party came to terms with the kobolds who had Linko Phan pinned in a side chamber. A kobold was able to force a mummy back into its crypt with a holy symbol.

Linko, as it happens, was Angel Eyes’ assassination mark. While Angel Eyes does not know for sure that the assassination contract was a result of the Linko dealing with the dark arts, it seems quite likely because by all appearnces, Linko was in the dungeons to create a temple to Asmodeus.

Pretending to be a rescue party, Angel Eyes tricked Linko into coming out. While a powerful wizard with some fairly strong body guards, Linko and his surviving companions were very injured by the earlier fight with the naga and the kobolds. Linko and his guards were swiftly dispatched by the party.

It turns out that the kobolds serve a guardian of this place: Minolus, naga. The pit is an ancient source of evil and Minolus guards it against dark forces, which in this case turned out to be Linko Phan.

Game session stopped here since it was late. We’ll discuss loot and follow-up by email or forum, and I’ll try to remember to finish this thread out after the email discussion.

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