Rise of the Runelords

Chapter 7 - Wax, Demons, and Wrathspawn, oh my...
The battle goes poorly... for the badguys

As the session began, the battle against the Quasit Elerium had begun, with her being backed up by a Wax golem and a summoned Wrathspawn. Taking the offensive, the party had the upper hand until they were scattered by a Fear effect, then blinded by a Deeper Darkness. Sadly, Elerium’s summoned creatures turned out to be largely moot, once her Shield Guardian and Wrathspawn were dispatched, a simple Protection from Evil wand prevented summoned monsters from being effective. Having said that, it was only a timely lay-on-hands that managed to keep Lord Otto among the living after being tail-slapped by a Fiendish Dire Crocodile (I missed with that bite attack, darn it!).

So largely toothless, it was only a matter of time before the Quasit witch was caught and dispatched with much stank. Looking at her broken (and not vanished back to her home plane) body, an amulet was discovered, with a work in Thassalonian etched into its back, a word that, translated by Izenbad, means both “within” or “Inside” such as a chest or other container, but also meaning “other” or “separate” …

As the credits roll for the end of the Episode, the camera lingers on the bubbling red fluid at the head of the Cathedral-like chamber, silently and menacingly emitting its frigid effervescence…

Loot and XP

  • Defeated enemies: Elyrium, Wax Golem Shield Guardian, Wrathspawn = CR7 + 5 + 5 = 6400xp
  • 6400/3 = 2,133XP each
  • No loot for this session… but you haven’t seen much of the Catacombs.
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Chapter 6 - Turning Right
The descent into the Catacombs leads precisely where it should.

Freed and mourning the death of her estranged half-brother and Father, Amiko left the Heroes of Sandpoint as they strode with determination down the smuggler’s tunnel that was uncovered beneath the Glassworks.

There, they found a cave in the cliffs below Sandpoint, looking out over the Varisian Gulf, which had clearly been used as a staging camp for goblins, from which a number of additional tunnels extended. After some exploration, they discovered one that had at some point been bricked up, but was now excavated. Following it, they soon encountered the Catacombs that had been eluded to in Tsuto’s journals, as well as their inhabitants – Wrathspawn.

Aberrant creatures with deep ties to rage and hatred, the Wrathspawn sentry they encountered was mighty, but did not last long. Proceeding into the catacombs – evidently centuries old and of Thassalonian origin (perhaps, wondered Izenbad, associated with the “Old Lighthouse” that rose over Sandpoint?), the party did what any experienced party does when confronted with what might be a labyrinthine bit of spelunking. They picked one direction, and kept following it.

Unbeknownst to them, this “right turn” strategy led them directly into the Cathedral (shortly after overcoming a trap that had seriously dire gastronomic repercussions), where they encountered one extremely angry Quasit Witch, her oddly low-affect and bland barmaid companion, and another Wrathspawn summoned, as they watched, from a rune-encrusted dais of bubbling, steaming, frigidly cold liquid.

If one could be summoned so quickly, how many more could be created if this creature was left to her devices?

It was a question that the Heroes were not willing to contemplate, and they leapt into action, charging across the cathedral and catching Elerium in a devastating pincer maneuver. As we closed the session, Izenbad had stunned the demon with an Ear-Piercing-Scream, while Tor Lun and Otto engaged their foes close up…

XP and Loot:

The session was unfortunately cut short, so XP output was very low… 2400XP total, divided three ways is 800XP each

No loot was in the offing besides a large ranseur and some extremely nasty water, both of which were left behind.

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Chapter 5 - Hate, Family, and Molten Glass
The Kaijitsu family reunion goes horribly wrong.

Bursting into the Glasswork’s workshop reveals a number of things… First and foremost the 9 goblins (including a Warchanter and two commandos) gleefully violating the bodies of everyone who worked there, pouring molten glass on their corpses and putting red-hot pokers and tongs in places that make a strong man squirm. Second, the smirking face of the Half-elf brother of Amiko, Tsuto Kaijitsu, evidently the mastermind behind this scene of vile debauchery. Third, the body of Amiko and Tsuto’s father, tied to a chair and evidently killed by having various colors of molten glass poured over his head, face, and body – a “work of art” that the goblins were gleefully imitating.

Launching into battle, the party drove into the goblins, hoping to press the advantage on Tsuto, but his skills were far greater than they anticipated, and until circumvented by a well-timed glitterdust spell, the Half-elf Ninja\Monk was a difficult foe, poisoning Izenbad with drow sleep poison, and weakening Tor with Centipede poison, which made the four goblins who hemmed him in a dangerous situation. As usual, any Goblin who Thrlond faced off with died almost immediately, and Otto’s judicious use of healing kept everyone in the mix, though Tor was taken down by the Goblins he faced. Once Glittter-dusted, however, Tsuto’s hit-and-run tactics fell by the wayside, and he tried to use a false opening to render Otto flat-footed so as to get a full round of sneak-attack against him. However, being flat-footed did not reduce the metal-wrapped Paladin’s defenses a jot, and all Tsuto managed to do was bounce more arrows off his foe harmlessly. Realizing his error, and having taken a brutal hit for the trouble, he attempted to flee, but was laid low before he reached his escape.

Searching his belongings while the goblin corpses were thrown into the furnace, an important clue was uncovered, Tsuto’s journal. Detailing the plans behind the attack on Sandpoint, as well as foreshadowing a far larger attack, the journal also revealed the mastermind behind the entire plot — the presumed dead daughter of Father Tobyn, the Asimar Nualia, who was taking steps to remove her celestial “taint” and replace it with the blessing of her “mother,” Lamashtu the Mother of Monsters.

The Attack that was planned for the future, the journal indicated, was to be a pyre of offering to Lamashtu, aided by the Quasit and her freaks below the town. This bit of news alarmed the party more than a little, and they headed into the basement below the Glassworks, both to hopefully find Amiko, and to investigate this mention of freaks below the city. The did manage to find Amiko, badly beaten and bloody but alive. Once healed, she was informed with as much tact as Otto could muster of the demise of her brother and father, news that she took as stoically as she could. Departing to gather townsfolk so as to take care of the bodies in the Workshop, Amiko told the party that as a thank you, they could stay in the Rusty Dragon for as long as they wanted, whenever they wanted, for free.

Poisoned, somewhat weary, but spurred on by the dire implications of Tsuto’s journal, the Party set forth down the Smuggler’s tunnels that they uncovered in the basement, into dangers and trials unknown…

XP and Loot

This was a real barn-burner of a session, and it was a real turing point for the story, and the party.

XP: 11,890 total, so 2,973 each (rounded up). Anyone Ping?

Loot: This is the sum total of the loot salvageable from the goblins, as well as Tsuto(who was fairly well-equipped). I am and have been, assuming that you guys are managing your own loot and resources…

  • coinage: 26pp, 309gp, 200sp, 700cp
  • gems: 383gp in various types of semi-precious gems
  • Mithral chain shirt
  • + 1 composite (+ 2 Str) Longbow
  • Amulet of Natural Armor + 1
  • Masterwork Temple Sword
  • poisoned arrows: 1x Giant Wasp venom, 2x Large Scorpion venom
  • Potions: Daylight, Levitate
  • Scrolls: Darkvision, Tiny Hut
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Chapter 4 - Goblins, Boars, and Family Drama
Some days are just better than others...

the session began with a slight bit of Retcon, wherein Thrlond was asked to handle the grim duty of dispatching a goblin who had evidently been trapped in a boy’s closet for the days after the Attack and whom, after having been driven mad by hunger and fear, had eaten his colleagues and then finally turned on the boy.

Though the boy’s Father and Dog did not survive the encounter, neither did the Closet Goblin, though it took far more punishment than any goblin the Grizzled Dwarf had previously seen. In fact, it took three (or four?) solid thumps with the Earthbreaker before it stopped trying to chew on him.

Fast forward a day or two, to the Boar Hunt that had been mentioned in Chapter 3. Making their way to the Tickwood, Thrlond, Eisenbad, Tor, and Otto all accompanied Foxglove on what turned out to be a remarkably successful Boar hunt. One boar was run down by the paladin, while two were messily dispatched by Thrlond, and Eisenbad, in a show of utterly shocking prowess, bagged the last of the four. Sadly, only one of the two killed by Thrlond was edible, the other having been killed due do massive organ trauma, still three boars was more than enough for Amiko to feed a large contingent back at the Rusty Dragon.

On the journey to and from the Hunt, the conversation with Foxglove, which began pleasantly enough at first – amusing takes of life in the big city of Magnimar – slowly became something else, as it became clear that the Merchant was something of a “Number 1 fan!” of the party, most specifically of those of the more martial persuasion. By the end of the hunt, as gracious and charming a host as Foxglove is, it was a relief to part ways.

However, while Amiko was busy getting the evening’s meal ready, her father, the last remaining patron of the original settlers of Sandpoint, owner of the Glassworks, and arguably the wealthiest and most powerful of the town’s citizens, stormed into the Rusty Dragon, intent on dragging his daughter with him back to Maginmar. On seeing the Party, he launched on a blistering tirade, accusing them of causing trouble, attracting the Goblins with their foolhardy heroics, and being nothing more than mercenary thugs. Otto tried to smooth his feathers, but he was having nothing of it, and when he tried to forcibly remove Amiko, grabbing her by the hair, she floored him with a dirty ladle.

“You are as dead to me as your Mother.” were the last words he spoke as he stormed out, soup dripping from his hair and clothes. This pronouncement seemed to bring forth not more than a resigned sense of disdain from the former adventurer, and she returned to her work, to the applause of those assembled in her Tavern.

The following day, the party was called into a meeting with Sheriff Hemlock, Mayor Deverin, and a friendly Elven Ranger named Shalelu, who had been monitoring the activities of the local Goblin tribes, and discovered some frightening things. Not only were the goblins of the local tribes far more active than usual, they were acting in Concert, and with tactics far out of place for them. Were it not for the Party, she was certain, the Attack on Sandpoint would have been a massacre. She had come to warn The Mayor and the Sheriff of the threat that this posed, and they were taking it quite seriously. Sheriff Hemlock was planning on leaving that very day with a group of the Town Guard to Magnimar to ask for troops to assist in the town’s defense, assuming that the threat of Goblin attack was greater now than previously. As a favor, he asked that while they were gone, if he could count on Otto and the others to make a strong public showing, to shore up the confidence in the public that they were safe while he was gone. The party readily agreed.

The day passed calmly enough, but the next morning, the party was approached very early by Bethana Corwin, an elderly halfling woman who worked as Amiko’s housekeeper. Normally a timid little thing, she was clearly concerned and flustered by a note she found in Amiko’s chamber, and the fact that he bed had been unused the previous night. The note, which she translated from Minkaian, was from Amiko’s half-elf brother, who had been disowned and banished years ago, asking her to meet him in the glassworks. On investigation, the party found the Glassworks operational (smoke rising from its furnace chimney) but the drapes drawn… making his way to the roof, and looking down through the skylight, Tor surveyed a gruesome scene… The works were operation, all right, but the operators were goblins, and they had evidently brutally murdered the employees, their bodies littering the foundry floor.

We ended the session just as the party was about to charge into the workshop….

Treasure and XP

No loot for this session, and while there was definitive story progress, nothing notable in terms of combat… everyone take 400xp.

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Chapter 3 - the Heroes of Sandpoint
The People of Sandpoint have new Hometown Heroes...

With the Goblin attacks safely behind them, and the dead and wounded mercifully few, Sandpoint did what Sandpoint does – put it behind them and kept going. The Cathedral was sanctified in a quiet ceremony the next day, and for the next several days, not a one of the Defenders of Standpoint could so much as step out for a snack without being applauded, thanked, and back-slapped.

Of course, as Lord Otto discovered, some people were perhaps a bit too effusive in their praise and affection, nearly trapping the Paladin in an unfortunate scrap with the owner of a local General Goods store. Only by quick wits and silver tongue greater even then that of “Slick” William of Little Rock was Otto able to extricate himself without resorting to violence, and without, even, tarnishing his sterling reputation.

On the other end of the Spectrum, Izenbad was also cornered, this time by the Sheriff Hemlock and Father Zantus. It was discovered that the burial vault of the previous Priest of Sandpoint, Father Ezakien Tobyn, had been desecrated, or at least violated, the door standing slightly ajar. Not wanting to make too much worry in a town so rumor-obsessed, Hemlock and Zantus contacted the first of the town’s new defenders they encountered, which happened to be Izenbad, as he was studying the inscriptions on the stone plinths near the cathedral. Upon investigation, it was found that not only was Father Tobyn’s body missing, but someone had left a nest of plague-bearing zombies and skeletons that Izenbad managed to dispatch quickly.

Several days after the attack, the group was approached by Aldern Foxglove, the Magnimarian merchant Noble whom the party saved outside the White Stag Inn during the raid. He said that he had needed to take several days to line up everything, but that the reward he had promised the Party was theirs. Thrlond, who was otherwise occupied at this point (more on that later) was unable to accompany them, but when you have a Paladin and a Good Monk on your party, one can assume that the treasure split will be as equitable as posible. When shown to Aldern’s coach, they were presented with two lockboxes, one full of coinage and gems, the other containing a selection of items, from which each of the party member was allowed to select one thing.

Following his reward, Foxglove insisted that those that were interested should accompany him on a boar hunt in the nearby Tickwood Forest the next day…

Loot

(FYI – this little trove was randomly generated, but I am not too happy with how lopsided it came out)
-
-* Coinage – 5200gp total in gold, silver, and some small gems

* Thrlond – a +1 Menacing, Throwing (not returning) Earthbreaker
* Tor Lun – a potion of Cure Light Wounds
* Izenbad – a wand of Lesser Arcane Seal
* Otto – (not yet determined… remainig items of interest are a potion of Mage Armor, a potion of Endure Elements, a potion of Reduce Person, and then a scroll of ranger spells and one of Wizard spells)

As mentioned in the Comment, below, I am re-doing the Loot for this reward. Sorry, Mig. Anyhow, the good news is that there is no “pick one of these” aspect. You are given a lockbox with the following in it:

  • Coinage – 5200gp total in gold, silver, and some small gems
  • Potion of Enlarge Person
  • Potion of Spider Climb
  • Potion of Corruption Resistance
  • Scroll of Invisibility
  • Scroll of Magic Weapon
  • Scroll of Shock Shield
  • Wand of Divine Favor
  • A Masterwork suit of the Dwarven equivalent of O-Yoroi (Samurai) armor. It will require a bit of adjustments at the local armorsmith (which has already been arranged for): Armor +8, Maxdex +2, Armor Check -5, 35% Arcane Failure, Spd 20/15’, 45 pounds.
  • Masterwork Throwing Axe

XP

Originally, I wanted to have a solo side-adventure for each of you, but time and circumstance has prevented that, but I also want to not punish people by not granting XP just because they were not actively participating. As a result, I will offer the following story reward: 450XP each

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Chapter 2 - Gobber the Great, and Aldern Foxglove
Our heroes rally to the defense of Sandpoint

As revealed by Izenbad, the fighting had broken out in a number of places across Sandpoint, though of most immediate concern was the small horde of Goblins that had somehow snuck back behind the buildings that bordered the Festival, and had lit the fuel for the bonfire in its cart. Pushing the cart was a massive, bloated goblin, easily over 8 feet tall, around whom other goblins capered madly, chanting “Gobber the Great! Gobber the Great!”

Lashed into a frenzy by their love for fire, Gobber’s presence, and the persistent encouragement of a Goblin Warchanter, the group tried to get to the new Cathedral, intent on burning it to the ground. Thankfully, they met a shockingly more martial Thrlond and Izenbad (and his suddenly appearing pit) on one flank, and the other party members on the other. Otto made quick work of Gobber, though he almost caught a mouth-full of burning branches for his trouble. Meanwhile, the fleeing Warchanter proved to be unable to outrun Tor, and fell to the Dragonborn’s fists.

But more danger was afoot, a large, foul-smelling foot at that, and the Heroes of Sandpoint charged north to the gates near the White Deer, where a pack of goblins had overpowered the guards who were stationed there! Engaging the beasts, they rescued Aldern Foxglove (a local merchant with seeming noble ties) from a large band of Goblins, including a Warchanter and two mounted Commandos. Brought nearly to his knees by the strain of the fight, Otto’s faith buoyed him, and he persevered, protecting Foxglove while the others engaged the remaining raiders. In a scant few moments of blood, steel, and magic (including a well-placed Rain of Frogs), it was over, and the vicious little knee-biters were routed or dead.

Once he recovered from the ordeal, Aldern showered the heroes with praise for their prowess as warriors, honor, and piety (in the case of Otto). He then informed them that he was staying at the Rusty Dragon, and while he had some business to finish up, he was most willing to reward the heroes for saving his hide. What good were riches, he confided, if one is carried off in a Goblin’s belly and unable to spend them?

XP
  • The Initial Assault – 2300xp
  • Goblin Pyros and Gobber the Great – 2600xp
  • Die, dog Die! – 3900xp
Total: 8700xp, 2175xp each.
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Chapter One - The first step out the door...
the Beginning is not always the start.

What is there to say about first chapters? From the road to the north arrived Izenbad the Inscrutable with his Owl dozing calmly on his shoulder, accompanied by Thrlond Foehammer, a Dwarf whose calm demeanor stands in stark contract to his Earthbreaker hammer and subtly foreboding mask of leather and bone. From the Southern road came Lord Otto von Berengar, Paladin of the North, wielder of Starfall, scion of Dreams, and all-around awesome guy, with his stalwart traveling companion, Tor Lun, the draconic Monk, possessed of indomitable will, fists of Iron, breath of flame, and charm of a dead fish.

Drawn to the newly completed cathedral, the two pairs of wandering adventurers soon picked each other from the crowds gathering near the Cathedral, as they set up for the festival of the Swallowtail Release, due the next day to consecrate the new house of Worship. After spending the afternoon learing what they could of local history, and the details of “the recent unpleasantness,” the pair of pairs returned to the Rusty Dragon, where Otto’s skill and charm as a storyteller drew crowds that would make the local Theatre owner more than a little envious.

The following day was laden with food, drink, and beauty as the thousands of Swallowtail Butterflies – the Children of Desna – were released to the limitless joy of children and adult alike. In an act of kindness that earned him many admirers among the gathered children of Sandpoint, the monstrous monk gathered many of the butterflies and brought them to the delighted children, snatching them from the air over the heads of the assembled townsfolk without bending a single wing, delivering them back to the children who once again proved that they were only capable of catching colds.

Just as the Preist was about to begin the consecration, however, the day took a turn for the perilous, as goblins suddenly streamed into the plaza, swinging wildly at man and beast alike, pursuing children and the infirm with a sadistic glee. Though at least one child fell victim to a goblin’s Dogslicer despite Tor’s best efforts, they were not anticipating a group of valiant warriors to be present, and fell quickly, despite clearly being somehow augmented by a mystic force as yet undiscovered.

As the session closed, Izenbad’s quick aerial reconnaissance showed without a doubt that the attack was not just in the plaza, and while the bulk of Sandpoint was gathered at the Cathedral, the sounds of conflict echoed through the late afternoon air…

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