Pathfinder 18-21 – Fuck, it’s been a while

Yeah… so it seems that “a day or two” translates to a month, when I’m working 10 hour days.

So, we’ve had 4 sessions in that time.  I’ll go through them as if they were one, and I’ll be fairly quick about it.

One thing I noticed, though, is that I blog much faster when the module really pisses me off, which it hasn’t been doing as much recently.  Huh.  I wonder what that says about me.

When we last left our intrepid heroes, they had finished off an annoying part of Book 4, and were continuing on after a room of zombies.

From there, they entered a hallway with a big inscribed (locked) door at one end.  They ignored it, assuming it to be Mokmurian (Stone Giant leader), and went the other way first.

(I should note, if you haven’t figured it out yet, that my players tend to play D&D like Diablo or NWN.  Perhaps a comparison to WoW raids could be made, but I’m not the one to do it.  Explore and loot everything before hitting the boss to end the dungeon.  This will possibly change once we’re playing 4e and they realise how treasure works in that edition, though that’s doubtful.  ^_^   (Note for my players who read this, most enemies don’t have magical treasure in 4e.  You won’t walk out of a dungeon with 50 +1 rapiers to sell.  You’ll walk out with a smaller number of more useful items instead.))

This direction let to an odd-looking cavern.  It looked vaguely natural, but all edges were smoothed and rounded.  Here, I threw them up against a Spawn of Juiblex (see picture), the “architect” of the cave.  Neat battle, surprised the group with the Spawn’s ability to “flow”, or move without AoOs.  Brought Nonnie into negative hit points, too, so that was fun.

Rant time.

Okay, this room was originally supposed to be home to a few Hourds of Tindalos.  These are Cthulhuian monsters that can teleport all over the place, at will, as long as they start and end by an angle.  Mokmurian had smoothed this room down to keep them from teleporting.

Now, ignoring the fact that even a rounded edge has angles, and this may or may not have made the engineers in the group have fits, this is a stupid encounter.  I can imagine the discussion.

Guy 1: “Hey, let’s put these stupidly weak (CR 6) Lovecraft monsters here, because they’re cool and unique.  They have a great backstory and this uber-neat ability.”

Guy 2: “Okay.  Sounds awesome.  But make sure that they don’t tie into the story at all, and that the players have no way to get any of the cool background information.  Oh, and let’s arrange the room just right so that the creatures have no chance to use their super-cool-and-unique ability.”

And thus, the Hounds of Tindalos became, in this adventure, ugly dog things with nothing special about them.

Sigh.

Anyways, one near-death experience later, and they continued through the room.

By the way, there are only 3 people here this week.  Thorbar, Nonnie and Nox.  So, a striker, a blaster sorcerer, and a meat-shield who’s very good against giants.  No healer present, but they were healed up by the cleric and bard between battles.

Upon opening the door, they find themselves in an arcane laboratory of sorts.  Papers are strewn about, and two giants are working, while another sits on a throne on a raised section.  The giant on the throne calls to the others, as wind begins to swirl around him.  The two down below turn to look, one erupts into flame, and the other hardens like rock.

Second rant.

A level 14 wizard is a CR 14 creature.

A stone giant is a CR 8 creature.

A stone giant with 14 levels of Wizard is a CR 15 creature.

…yeah, no.

Look, I know the whole “class levels that don’t play to a monster’s strengths add 1/2 CR” rule.

But when you have 14 levels of wizard, Wizard is now your strength!  “Stone Giant” is now the nonassociated part!  Reverse the fucking math.

14 + (8/2) = 18.  So make him a level 11 Wizard, and 11 + (8/2) = 15.  Or something.

But I didn’t want to redo the boss, and I hate playing high-level casters as enemies anyways, so I dropped him, and replaced him with the three Elemental Magi from the Monster Manual 5.

Like you’d catch Monkurian alone anyways…

So, good battle.  Nox got beaten up pretty good.  Thorbar got to use his new Giant Bane-Blind armour, which made him happy.

Upon killing Mokmurian, he froze in the air, as if gripped by giant hands, turned clumsily to face the party, and spoke in a voice that wasn’t his own.  The group knew the voice, though.  Runelord Karzoug, who they had heard speaking way back in the goblin fort (book 1) in an endless loop.

So, villainous taunting, etc etc.

They find a key and a map, with a mark over Sandpoint (as well as a few out to sea) and a reference to a place called Runeforge.  Apparently, the coastline used to be a mountain range inland, but something happened to sink half the continent… or something.  The key opens the door from before, leading to a huge library with a robot librarian.

Yeah.  Awesome.

The library is used for tons of plot exposition, as the group researches all it can think of about the Runelords and the ancient empire they ruled over.  Whee!

Runeforge, they discover, was a magical demiplane, neutral to all the runelords, where magical research was conducted.  If found, it could awaken Karzoug, and bad stuff would happen.

Conna the Stone Giant Elder hasn’t wasted any time, during this, and is reclaiming power as they research.  The giant tribes around the fort have already started to dissipate.

So everyone goes to the cave up in the mountains to fight a dragon.  Woot!  Dragon fight!  Red dragon breath weapon hurts like a bitch.  Dragon dies, horde is looted.

From the map, and the stuff they dug up about Runeforge, they decide to return to Sandpoint.  They teleport to the Rusty Dragon Inn, directly beside their regular table.

…and are greeted enthusiastically!  More so than usual, even.  Something about a sinkhole…

…which apparently appeared in the center of town a couple nights earlier, has weird howling sounds coming from it, and swallowed up a team of guards that went to investigate.

Yeah.  This stuff just keeps happening, doesn’t it.

And down into the sinkhole they go.  In there, they are greeted by a disembodied voice, who calls himself…

The Scribbler

Laughter ensues.

Sounds like a B-list Batman villain.

Anyways, The Scribbler is actually a divine servant of Lamashtu, charged with guarding the shrine they’re entering, and has been there since the fall of Thassilon.  He questions them, to learn of what has occurred over the past 1000 years, and they question him back.  The party asks about Runeforge, and he tells them that the way to Runeforge is among the scribblings on the walls in the temple.  (The temple walls are covered with writing.)  The party enters further.

Blah blah, fight a demon, fight some dog things.

Eventually, they ended up encountering The Scribbler himself.  This was a neat fight.  The Scribbler made timely use of the Heal spell, which pissed everyone off. :)

They find all the appropriate writings on the wall, arrange them appropriately, and (with some good knowledge checks) take off towards their destination, Lake Stormunder, and Rimeskull.

Once there, they need to solve a small puzzle.  There were 7 runelords, each with dominion over a specific school of magic.  Here, there are 7 stone heads in a circle.  You need to cast the appropriate magic in front of each one in order to get it to cough up a key.

The Warlock’s at-will Detect Magic makes quick work of this.

Another dragon fight!  A huge white dragon swoops down, breathing frost on everyone.  Next turn, it dives in, and grabs the Sorcerer in its jaws, snatching him up and dropping him into negative hit points.

“Fuck!” says everyone, and the most damaging attacks available are unleashed asap.  Reza rushes over and drops the dragon with a Harm.  Hell yeah!

Keys in hand, the groups ascends the stairs up the cliff.  Everyone is wearing a Sihedron medallion (7-pointed star), which is good, because if they weren’t, they would have been attacked by a bunch of huge earth elementals with the Awesome Blow (teeheehee) feat, and knocked 200 feet off the cliff.

Fun.

Horde is looted again.  Keys are placed in the appropriate spots in the dragon’s lair.  A portal forms.

And we end for the day week month.

Playing tomorrow.  Shouldn’t be this long again.

18 Comments

Storyteller  on August 9th, 2008

“Explore and loot everything before hitting the boss to end the dungeon.”

My players are exactly the same way. They refuse to go up or down stairs until the entire level is cleared, and avoid sets of double doors like the plague until everything else is checked out. Then they get mad at me for having the boss fight when they’re all out of spells. *rolls eyes*

“So make him a level 11 Wizard”

Thanks for this info. I have a group going up against Mokmurian next session, saw that he was a 14th level wizard and was a little surprised/worried.

“The Scribbler”

I actually love this name. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I love batman villains. Anyways, I actually answered a divination spell during book 4 referencing someone called “The man who writes nothing but nonsense” or something like that. I’m hoping that when they meet the Scribbler, it will be less of a “HAHAHA” and more of a “Oh, this must be who the divination was talking about. This guy’s important and stuff.”

Thanks for the great post!

Geek's Dream Girl  on August 9th, 2008

OMG, Graham posted???? :woot:

Graham  on August 9th, 2008

Damn right I posted. Enjoying the emoticons? :ninja:

@Storyteller

If you have access to the MM5, I’d grab the Elemental Magi out of there. They work great (especially when together), and fit the theme of a giant tapping into ancient magic really well. Better than just having a giant Necromancer, IMO. Plus, all three together, straight out of the box, are EL 15.

lookintomyeyes  on August 9th, 2008

Aww, I missed the LIBRARY?! No fair man!

Also, I LOVE THE HARM SPELL. It makes playing a cleric sort a fun! (As long as I get to use it and not spend time healing peeps of course. :P)

Graham  on August 9th, 2008

Yeah, you missed the library, but that was way back at the end of June. I should also mention that Nonnie asked the Librarian about his ring (and then went invisible so he could give it to the robot to examine).

Also, I’ll say again, you will love the 4e cleric. Take all the hacks we did to the 3e one to make it more fun, and build them into the core of the system so it’s more playable with less work.

Storyteller  on August 10th, 2008

Yes, I do have access to the MM5 and I’ll certainly take a look at those monsters and consider using it.

Did you have it set up that Mokmurian was one of them, and the other two were cohorts, or did he split into three and do some fancy magic like that?

Graham  on August 10th, 2008

I had Mokmurian as the air one, with the other two as assistants/henchmen. But the split into 3 thing is very cool.

mxyzplk  on August 10th, 2008

Hmm, we didn’t have too much trouble with Mokmurien even with a couple extra CRs on him. Party vs solo caster is usually quick work if you know what you’re doing (lay on the dispels and mob ’em).

We had killed the red dragon earlier in the raid on Sandpoint, but the white totally chomped one of our guys too, only some Spell Compendium spell that lets you “combat rez” the round after someone dies saved ’em.

Y’all lucked out in not having to fight the Scribbler, demon, and dogs all at the same time. We had to do them all at once (and the glabrezu made his roll to gate in another glabrezu so there were 2 of them!). That sucked.

Graham  on August 10th, 2008

Oh, he probably wouldn’t have been a huge problem to defeat (though, like every other caster in these books, his AC was obscene). Though it did give me a good excuse to ditch running a high-ish level spellcaster, so I took it.

The party had decimated the giants, to the dragon turned tail before encountering them personally, giving a blast of flame on his way out of town.

The glabrezu failed his summon attempt, and The Scribbler was still talking to the party somewhat at that point. He came into combat with the dogs, hitting from behind and breaking his invisibility. He then dimension-doored out, and faced them in the cathedral, where there was more room to maneuver.

Donny_the_DM  on August 11th, 2008

Yay for Graham!

Sounds like a good time was had by all. Feel your pain on the (criminally) disassociated encounters. Thematic areas with matching critters may be “old hat” but it got there for a reason. Inserting completely randon shit into a game “just because” is incredibly frustrating.

Running into the temptation myself over art TPK, got a lot of work ahead of me, that’s for sure.

Tommi  on August 12th, 2008

They find all the appropriate writings on the wall, arrange them appropriately, and (with some good knowledge checks) take off towards their destination, Lake Stormunder, and Rimeskull.

Does this only look like a choke point where a failed roll or two could stop the entire adventure, or this is actually such a thing?

Anyways. Take an animal with lots of HD, some wisdom, and low CR (elephant might be a good choice). Awaken it. Add enough druid levels. The CR is amusing, assuming awakening is around +1 CR.

Graham  on August 12th, 2008

It isn’t, really, no. The writings on the wall are all actually there, and fully decipherable with no skill checks. A skill check can reveal a hint to the order, or the meaning of a certain passage.

There are a couple tricky bits to make it rhyme, such as “mirror” meaning “lake”, but they are all fairly common in english poems anyways.

Additioonally, so long as the party remembers him, there is a Thassilonian historian right in the town.

And, if all else fails, the library from earlier still provides a +30 bonus on knowledge (history) checks to confirm things.

The group really only used skill checks to confirm they got it right.

Christine aka Nox  on August 12th, 2008

Yay for posts! Yay for cute emoticons (which I’m sure to over-use) :bandit: :D ! And, more on-topic, yay for diversifing somewhat away from my Desert Wind-heavy Swordsage manuvers (fire-based) before we caught up to the red dragon.

Tommi  on August 13th, 2008

Graham,
Good to hear. I do certainly hope that adventures with bottlenecks are a thing of the past.

Harbinger  on August 13th, 2008

Keep these logs up. I am a few sessions behind you running the same adventures and have learned a lot about what to do in my game from reading your logs.

Graham  on August 13th, 2008

Yay! We is helping!

I have one more to go up right away.

lookintomyeyes  on August 16th, 2008

…Speaking of playing clerics….can we have the newest post now? The one that involves me going \” *Touch* :whistle: BOOM!!!! :evil:

Hehehe, 120 damage rocks………….. :evil:

:P (Sorry, but that really made my game, cause I FINALLY got to use that spell properly!)

Graham  on August 16th, 2008

Long week, long day especially. This week and last week will be done together.

Oh, and it was more like 260 damage :P

You seem to really be enjoying the smiley menu. I’ll be sure to keep it when I redesign the page.

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