Pathfinder 4 – Marathon session, marathon leveling

PowerlevelingOh, yeah. DM log. I should do that. :D

So back on Sunday, we played our fourth session in the current Pathfinder game.

Characters present:

  • Nox, the sex-changing, race-changing Changeling Swordsage
  • Reza, the Dwarven Cleric, still getting used to this Cleric gig
  • and Nonnie, the fast-talking, act-before-thinking Halfling Sorcerer

Still on the first adventure, we ended off last time after slaying the Quasit, and looting her tiny kingdom.

This time, however, we had a unique situation. Nobody had to work or go to school on Monday, due to it being Reading Week (Canada’s university spring break) as well as Louis Riel Day (Manitoba’s new February holiday).

So we did what any gaming group would do in that situation.

We gamed for as long as we could stand it!

So, yeah, extremely long session. We started around 2:30, and played straight to 11:00 or so, with only a short dinner break in the middle. altogether, a good 8 hours of gaming.

Hiking back up from the Catacombs, the party reviewed Tsuto’s journal. Finding mention of Thistletop, Ripnugget, and Bruthazmus the Bugbear, they decided to consult Shalelu, local elf ranger/goblin expert, before proceeding.Holy crap! My party just decided to ask questions before proceeding! I’m so proud.

After finding some information, including Shalelu’s long-running feud with Bruthazmus, they set off for Thistletop to deal with the problem.

At this point, I should mention that I had just introduced Nonnie’s new Sorc ability that eliminated his need for a crossbow. It fires a magic arrow, and he has dubbed it “Zat thing”

In any case, Shalelu showed them the way to Thistletop, and they went off. Upon arriving at a large mass of nettles covering the peninsula, they considered burning it down.

Now, this is where the thoroughness of the book shows, as it includes information on what happens if they try. Go Paizo!

In any case, before attempting to burn down the forest (which was just the first of many suggested arsons that day [the others being numerous suggestions to burn down the goblin fort, as well as the stone dungeon underneath :P ]), they notice that some of the thistles can be pushed aside easily, leading to tunnels underneath.

And in they go, taking the western path and coming across a group of 10 goblin refugees.

Burning Hands…

Sorry, I meant two goblin refugees.

All 10 perished in the surprise round. Go party!

(Nonnie was feeling very proud, by the way.)

Back to the east, they came across a deep, dark pit. To check the depth, it was decided they would drop a dead goblin down.

ThudSplash!

Roar!

And with that, a lack of climbing skill in all but the Swordsage, and a complete lack of swimming ability, they decided that the howling hole was best left alone. Probably a good idea, though I did want to use that Bunyip (the answer to the Bear vs. Shark question, if it was, y’know, mating season).

And onwards. Four tied-up Goblin Dogs proved easy, though noisy, prey. The Druid in the next area also died unfortunately quickly, though he put up a hell of a fight, walking through the brambly walls to retreat and heal. He also managed to Entangle everyone before the battle was over, and dealt some nice fire damage. On his person, they found a (much appreciated) Wand of Cure Light Wounds (due to me swapping it for the less-than-useless CL 1 Produce Flame) a couple Potions of Tree Shape (of which Reza kept one, which may become interesting), and a Potion of Speak With Animals.

This last one is important. There will be a test later.

This was followed by about 10 minutes of speculating on how much an animal would have to say that was useful. Our best guess of a dog’s mind is:

“meat!meat!meat!meat!MEAT!MEAT!MEAT!meat!meat!CAT!CAT!CAT!meat!meat!”

They took a look to see if anyone was watching from goblin fort on the island across the bridge. (Planning before acting again? Who is this strange group?) The two watchtowers seemed empty.
And away the party wandered over the bridge. Well, actually, Nonnie raced across giggling, while the others stepped carefully. Fortunately for them, 2 1/3 medium creatures is less than the 3 minimum required to set off the trapped bridge. Free XP! Woot!

With the main Goblin watch distracted by murdering seagulls on the other side of the island, they managed to get into the main hall with no issue, barricading the door behind them. First things first, they took out the east watchtower, where two goblins were playing cards. Nonnie now has their deck, which consists of 43 cards from a variety of decks. It also has 7 different 2’s of spades.

North they went, to the goblin throne room. Despite this, it wasn’t all that difficult of a fight, though it took a few rounds. The bard proved quite difficult to hit, for the Cleric in 1-on-1 combat. As for the warchief, well, after his mount died, he fell prone. Once he got up, the Swordsage used a maneuver to throw him 10 feet, landing prone again. He wasn’t much of an issue after those two rounds.

After exploring the chief’s quarters, and finding large key and a silver holy symbol of Lamashtu, they headed back to the entrance.

(This is also important! Test is coming up!)

Continuing on, they slew some sleeping goblins, and made their way to the western watchtower, to discover the two goblins there sleeping. They were quite full after stealing some pickles, and a couple Coup de Graces took good care of them.

Looking out from the tower, they could see four goblin dogs running around in the courtyard. So they decided to distract them with food.

Specifically, with chopped-up goblin bits thrown down to them.

Unfortunately, this didn’t work as well as they had hoped, and the dogs still attacked upon their entry to the courtyard. Quick battle, nothing important happened.

But after that battle, they explored the shed in the northwest corner. A shed that contained a very angry, very strong, very mistreated heavy warhorse.

Pop Quiz #1!

What kind of potion did I say would be important? No peeking!

That’s right, Speak With Animals.

So, one potion, a few apples, and a decent diplomacy check, and Reza the Dwarf has a new Heavy Warhorse. The potion even let her find out its name and history (which would have otherwise been half a page of wasted text, but now I’m quite glad they included it). It also got me looking for a Warhorse mini. (There’s one in the latest set, but my FLGS was sold out of the singles. Though one of the guys there has 5, and may let me trade him for one.) For now, I’m going to make one out of erasers and toothpicks, and see how it goes over. I also have a Lego horse that is way too big.

Last couple rooms, they turned the key in the hidden chest left instead of right triggering a rusty blade trap, they found some new crap, and went downstairs to the dungeon.

So they wandered around, spent some time admiring Goblin art, bypassed a cathedral of Lamashtu, thinking it best to leave it for later, and fought a Tentamort, managing to not have it liquefy their organs.

Back to the west, through the prison, and then up into the cathedral they thought they had bypassed through a different door, at which point they were charged by a couple of screaming Yeth Hounds.

Nox and Reza prepare to fight, when Nonnie charges up past them.

Pop Quiz #2!

Whose holy symbol was found earlier?

Brandishing a silver Lamashtu holy symbol, Nonnie goes off on a rant about how Lamashtu sent them to continue the work here, and wants the Yeth Hounds to return for now.

Yes.

Seriously.

It was fucking awesome!

So the party plays along (though Reza’s player seems disturbingly intent on including some sort of sacrifice in the ruse). Diplomacy checks are made, Bluff and Intimidate to help out. Nox shifts into the form of a scarred pregnant woman (all the while complaining about “finally being able to leave that form!”) to assist with the ruse. (Lamashtu’s avatar is a beast-headed pregnant woman, with a scarred belly. She is known as the Mother of Monsters, and selects pregnant women to scarify in order for them to become her disciples.)

With all this, the Yeth Hounds are sufficiently convinced, though they watch warily for a bit. After Nox changes her voice into a demonic rumble (while still in the scarred pregnant lady form), they decide that they would be of more use elsewhere, and zip out of the room.

Seriously awesome.

So the party explores the cathedral, and then barricades themselves into a room off the prison to rest for a while (stupid attrition mechanics). During this time, some of the local (though stupider) residents realise that something has happened (though not what, as the only dead bodies are the Tentamort (who nobody goes near except to throw it food) and the goblins on level 1 who are locked out of their fort). Specifically Bruthazmus the Bugbear Ranger, who is now wandering the nearby halls to figure out why the tentamort isn’t eating.

So, upon leaving the prison, the party stumbles across Bruthazmus. So what does Nox do?

She shapeshifts into the Bugbear’s mortal enemy, the elf ranger Shalelu, of course.

Great Disguise check, horrible Perception roll, she is now his main target. She thinks this is hilarious, by the way.

Which, admittedly, it was. Especially after Bruthazmus steps back, laughs, and fires an elf-bane arrow.

At a changeling.

Who is not an elf.

Which, of course, warrants a new opposed check. Which Bruthazmus fails by an even larger margin, despite the +20 circumstance modifier he now has on it. Stupid dice, and their stupid 2s.

In any case, he dies. And the 6 goblin wives he’s been spending his time with run out, and also die. (On a side note, the goblins have crappy weapons that break on natural 1s. 4 of those 6 wives broke their weapons. WTH?)

One final battle in a bedroom with a mercenary, and they were done for the night, now two everburning torches richer, with one encounter left on this floor.

But that’s not the end of it, oh no.

They started this huge game 800 XP into level 3.

After totaling the XP earned, they are now 100 XP into level 5.

Level 4? We don’t need no stinking level 4!

Hence the title of this post.

So this Sunday will involve boosting two levels, and finishing off the dungeon. It shouldn’t take too long, which is fine since Reza is flying away to the boonies Monday morning for work. Additionally, we might be bringing in a brand-newbie, so we’ll need to make a new character as well. (In fact, I believe we’ll be getting two brand-newbies soon, one of whom is my brother.)

But for now, on to the standard tripe.

What the players liked:

  • Long sessions can be really fun sometimes, though not too often.
  • The impromptu RPing is great fun. Very Rule of Cool.
  • Nobody minds if we get enough XP to skip a level. Leveling in the middle of a game slows everything down anyways.
  • Nonnie really really enjoyed his magic arrow/”Zat thing” ability. As we went through, it was never more powerful than a crossbow, and made it feel like he never “ran out of magic”.

What the players didn’t like:

  • That said, the extra level 4 firepower would have been appreciated in the middle there. It’s a give and take, y’know?

Lessons Learned:

  • The most rewarding RP encounters are unplanned. Being able to think on your feet is the greatest skill in a GM’s repertoire. I’m glad that improv is one of my strong points.
  • Rule of Cool is awesome, and is great to try to include. But the best situations are never planned for. I could never have foreseen and included the Yeth Hound situation, yet this event will probably be remembered for years. Awesome.

4 Comments

Christine aka Nox aka Karen aka Legolas  on February 23rd, 2008

Also don’t forget I’m now everyone’s favourite blond elf-boy Legolas for a little while (yes, I know… I came up with the male-elf change on the spot, and just popped out with the first name that came to mind… one thing to know about me is that you will probably never meet a bigger Tolkien geek in your life)

Graham  on February 23rd, 2008

There’s a reason I’m just referring to you as Nox in this writeup. :)

And she’s right. She has read LotR about 40 times since grade 6 (and is 24 now), all while reading loads of other books as well.

Most of those times were between grade 6 and 8 as well.

ChattyDm  on February 23rd, 2008

Great funny writeup… Managing to do Thisletop in almost one session is impressive.

Can’t wait to see the group tackle the Skinsaw murders…

Oh and Graham… saying you’re girl’s age online is bad form… :)

Graham  on February 23rd, 2008

Well, we still have level 2.

And she told me to.

As well as, it’s not bad form when they’re young. :D

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