Pathfinder 15 – Holy fuck, it’s a dragon!

Now that we’re finished with Book 3 of the adventure path, I want to make my feelings about this campaign series clear. Book 2, as anyone who reads the site regularly knows, had some serious issues, both in the writing and in the monster balance. Some of these were to the point that I was almost ready to give up on the adventure path altogether.

And then we hit Book 3, the Hook Mountain Massacre. Though it isn’t the type of adventure I’d run regularly (it’s a bit too… disturbing at times), this book saved the path for me. It’s creepy, flavourful, fun, and just plain awesome. The writing is great, the monsters are great (including the second Lamia Matriarch), and Nicolas Logue is one warped writer.

As such, the game is still going strong. Book 4 looks to be pretty solid as well. We should be done it this weekend, and aside from one minor issue (which I’ll go into next post), I have yet to see any major problems.

Present this session:

  • Nox, Changeling Swordsage
  • Nonnie, Halfling Sorcerer
  • Reza, Dwarven Cleric
  • Thorbar, Dwarven Barbarian
  • Eretri, Aasimar Warlock

The party had decided to stay in Fort Prefect, their new home.  The winter passes, cold but enjoyable.  They enjoy their much-deserved downtime.

The denizens of Turtleback Ferry are very happy to have their new heroes staying close by.  The schoolteacher that they saved has even gotten into the habit of sending pies up to the fort every week.

Eventually, spring comes.  It’s been almost a year since the Swallowtail Festival, back in Sandpoint.  With the pies, one week, a package comes from Mayor Deverin.  Inside, the mayor invites the party to return to Sandpoint for a new festival, entitled Goblin Day, in honour of the defeat of the Thistletop goblins one year prior.  She hopes they will come and regale the townsfolk with stories of the battles on that day.

The group thinks this is just fantastic, and prepares for their journey.

Upon arriving, there is much partying.  Some go to visit old friends, including Ameiko and Elias.  Thorbar drinks at the Hagfish.  Nonnie turns in early.

Waking up early as well, Nonnie heads out to the woods on the edge of town.  Nox, suspicious, follows.  Once out of sight of town, Nonnie removes his family ring.

You see, Nonnie is currently at a bit of a crossroads, and is roleplaying it well.  He has some choices to make with regards to character development, and time will tell what path he chooses.

I mention this because the ring is what hides his draconic heritage.  As he removes it, his skin darkens and toughens into an almost scaly sheen.  His eyes narrow slightly, and he becomes a rather imposing figure, for a 3-foot halfling.

What followed was a fun little bit of RP, with Nox gasping and questioning the situation, and Nonnie, surprised, trying to cover up what happened.  It was amusing and very enjoyable.

As they stopped to come back into town, however, they noticed a group of silhouettes over the hills to the east.

“Shit!  Giants!”

Nox bolts back to town, pulling Nonnie on the way, and they rush to wake their teammates.  As everyone makes it outside, moving to alert the sheriff, they hear a huge crash from the north.

The giants they saw were to the east.

Shit.  Well, at least the sheriff knows now.

Moving north, there are three stone giants past the north gate.  They are just standing there, throwing taunts.  One had tossed a boulder, which cause the previous crash.

Battle ensues.  These three are quickly dispatched, due to having three general high-damage-output characters and a giant-bane dwarf.

The flying Warlock and levitating halfling look to the east, to spot some more giants coming over the bridge into town, accompanied by three dire bears.  A round or two later, and they face off against this second party.

Once this group is dispatched, the party hears a shriek up above, and they look skyward.

Dragon.  Fuck.

A red dragon swoops over town, breathing fire on a couple of buildings, and then heading towards the Old Light (ruined lighthouse-thing) on the west side of town.  The two fliers start to follow it, but are called back by the rest of the party, so as to not face the dragon until it’s closer to the ground.  Additionally, another group of giants are approaching from the east, one of whom is blowing a large horn.

The one with the horn looks to obviously be a war leader, so the group attacks.  This battle isn’t quite so fast, but the party is once again victorious.  They fell the leader just as the dragon flies back.  It glances at the downed giant, scowls, blasts the group with fire (8d10 damage, dropping everyone close to death, and Nonnie into negative hp), and flies off to the east.  Dragons are tough bastards.

They heal a bit, and move south once again, weakened.  There, they find a group of giants retreating now that they don’t hear the war horn, and two others attacking the brewery.  One is bowled over into the river by falling beer barrels and knocked unconscious.  The PCs take him prisoner for some interrogation, though a couple group members object strongly, saying they should just kill him.

As a note, this sequence is highly scripted, with certain events happening on certain rounds.  It seems, from my retelling, that things happened right as the PCs completed their previous task.  These events are actually supposed to be able to happen while the party is busy concentrating on another task, but we always managed to finish the current task just before the next event occurs.  Neat.

In any case, the giant wakes and sneers at the party, but offers information in exchange for his safe release.  He’s cocky enough that he doesn’t think the PCs would be able to stop his lord (Mokmurian) anyways, and doesn’t want to be shamed by death at the hands of these tiny beings.

We find out the location where Mokmurian is gathering his army (Jorgenfist, in the Iron Peaks), and other various information (Mokmurian has apparently mastered the “magic of the Ancient Lords”).

The Iron Peaks are over two weeks away by foot, at least a week by horse.  Additionally, we want to get there before the retreating forces do.

The cleric prepares Teleport.

What the players liked:

  • Big running battles like this are always fun.  From the sounds of it, 4e will make things like this more feasible, so I’m looking forward to that part.
  • Despite the game being primarily combat, we still managed to get in some good RP time.
  • Dragons!  Whee!
  • Level 11!

What the players disliked:

  • Reza has a number of powers that key off of evil enemies.  Stone Giants are neutral, meaning she isn’t at full effectiveness against them.  She’s still decently effective, though.
  • Dragons!  Fuck!

Lessons learned:

  • With this party, if I want to have something interrupt a combat, I need to have it come in fairly early.
  • Prisoners and what to do with them is a contentious issue, it seems.

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