Sunday, March 6, 2016

[Pathfinder] Wrath of the Righteous episode 1: Fallen Into Darkness

A couple of years ago, one of my gaming friends decided to start running the Pathfinder Adventure Path Wrath of the Righteous. For those who don't know what an Adventure Path is, it's the same kind of thing as an old-school D&D module, essentially a choose-your-own adventure story for multiple players.

Wrath of the Righteous pits the player-characters against demons that are trying to open a doorway into the Material Plane. For centuries armies have fought against the demon hordes attempting to invade the world, defending a spot known as the Worldwound where the barrier between the Abyss and the Material Plane is weak. Wrath of the Righteous is set in Pathfinder's default world of Golarion.

Unfortunately after we'd played only four or five sessions, the vicissitudes of life intervened and we had to put the game on indefinite hiatus. A few weeks ago my friend who is GMing this campaign finally felt he was ready to resume. Unfortunately in the intervening time period I misplaced my notes, so the information I have about what happened during those initial sessions is pretty minimal. But I thought I'd start blogging my summaries of our sessions, beginning with a brief recap of how the campaign began.

Note: Most of the other players are using 'hybrid' classes from the Advanced Class Guide, hence the class names may not be classes you're familiar with if you know D&D character classes.

Player Characters:

Aegronius - male half-elf slayer
Asamiel - female elf wizard (me)
Frairuna - female half-orc warpriest of Iomedae (my husband)
Jiro - male human shaman
Zosta - female human brawler
Bohgong - Jiro's spirit animal, a white monkey
Kirara - Asami's familiar, a white cat

Asami and Jiro come from Tian Xia, Golarion's Asia-equivalent region, where Asami hails from the Japanese-inspired elven country of Jinin, while Jiro comes from its neighbor Minkai, which is also Japanese-inspired. Jiro, who had been a gardener for a noble family, discovered that he was actually a bastard son of said family, and that it was his destiny to go to the far-away Worldwound to prevent the oni from using it to emerge into the world. Asami was sent by the Council of the Golden Flame to accompany him and look after him. The Council believed that the Westerners of Golarion didn't know enough about demons and that only their expertise would be enough to save the world from a joint demon-oni invasion.

Runa was sent by her goddess, Iomedae, to join the fight against the demons. Zosta had gone to the city of Kenabres near the Worldwound to visit her parents, who were the bodyguards of a barbarian priestess named Cennami who was also engaged in fighting alongside the Crusaders against the demons. Aegronius came seeking work with the Crusade. The five companions met on arriving in Kenabres where Cennami took charge of them and began their training in fighting demons. This training included fighting a redeemed demon named Rhino, who now worked alongside Cennami and the other barbarians to support the Crusaders.

After the group had been in Kenabres for a short while, they attended a festival in the city. As the city's leader Lord Hulruun, delivered a speech the crowd suddenly saw a demon lord appear, locked in battle with Telendrev, the silver dragon who acted as the protector of Kenabres. Then a crack opened up in the earth and the five newcomers plummeted into it. As they fell, they saw Telendrev suffer a mortal wound. But before they could plunge to their deaths, the dragon cast a feather fall spell on them all. This didn't prevent them from being knocked unconscious by the long drop, but it did save their lives.

After they recovered consciousness, the group began seeking a way to get back to the surface. But first they each found a single scale from a silver dragon. These scales would grant them several different magical powers when used. After discovering the scales, they began exploring the tunnels in which they had landed and found that other people had also fallen through the crevice that opened in Kenabres: Anevia, a human woman who had suffered a broken leg in the fall; Aravashnial, an elf Riftwarden (the protectors of the Worldwound) who had been blinded by the demon that attacked Telendrev; and Horgus Gwerm, a nobleman scholar. These three joined forces with the five player-characters and continued the search for a way back to Kenabres. They stumbled upon a site where someone had camped, but found no sign of the campsite's original occupant other than an emblem in the shape of a bat, which Runa picked up. They also had an encounter with a dwarf who seemed to have lost his mind and who attacked them, forcing them to kill him. This left them with his spellbook and several scrolls, which Asami took charge of.

And that gets us up to the point at which we resumed the campaign.

February 7, 2016 restart

The party of people who had fallen into the subterranean caverns beneath Kenabres were obliged to climb up a shaft into a very large cavern, which had stone arches that reminded them of a temple. The floor of the cavern was cracked, and there was a tall stone tower that had collapsed. Runa caught a glimpse of something near the rubble of the fallen tower, which turned out to be one of the Mongrelfolk who lived beneath the city. When the group from the surface approached the Mongrelfolk person, who introduced himself as Lan, told them that his companion had become trapped under some rocks that shifted when the tower fell. After Jiro allayed his fears a little, the group lifted the rocks and freed Lan’s companion Krell, who like Anevia had suffered a broken leg. Lan explained that the fallen tower was a watchtower, and that he, his mute companion Dyra, and Krell had been on watch when it collapsed. Lan told the group from the surface that he knew a way to get back to the surface, but it would require first going to the Mongrelfolk city. He agreed to show them the way.

The enlarged group eventually came upon a large chasm which they must cross to reach the Mongrelfolk city. Aegron strung ropes across it, but despite the ropes Runa fell in, overburdened by her heavy armor and weapons. Aegron had to pull her out after she removed her armor and weapons and sent them out separately. The group formed a cradle of ropes to carry across the injured Anevia and Krell and the blind Aravashnial.

The party next encountered a circular cavern, which Lan warned was inhabited by ‘spore coughers’, a kind of fungus that would attack anyone who entered the cavern. He advised that the fungus creatures disliked fire. The group spotted two bodies in the cavern, wearing the robes of priests of Iomedae. Jiro crept up to examine them and found that both were dead. The fungus was dead too, but it didn’t look like the fungus had killed the two men. Both men bore wounds caused by weapons. Aegron noticed that one of the men had a small brass bull’s head with red gemstone eyes clutched in his hand. Several of the other members of the group recognized this object as an unholy symbol of the demon lord Baphomet, and Runa realized that the men weren’t carrying the traditional longswords of priests of Iomedae. Instead they carried glaives, the holy weapons of Baphomet. They must be imposters.

Lan told the group that he and his people had seen many other men like these in the caverns recently. The bodies were searched, revealing another curative potion and a scroll of a spell that could be used to cause fear in the spell's target. The group decided to make a litter from the glaives and carry one of the corpses with them, so that when they returned to the surface they could show the priests of Iomedae that there may be infiltrators in their midst.

Suddenly three men also wearing the garb of Ioemedae’s priesthood appeared on the other side of the cavern, wielding bows. Two of them shot Asami and she collapsed. Runa extended Iomedae's blessing to the group, and Aegron rushed up to meet the three enemies. Jiro cast a curative spell on Asami, who was on the verge of death. Runa charged the assailants. Zosta also moved forward, facing a man who dropped his bow and revealed spiked gauntlets. Aravashnial summoned a large lizard and commanded it to attack anyone firing bows, as he couldn’t see what was happening and didn’t realize that the newly recovered Asami was about to fire her bow at their foes.

Asami abandoned using her bow and sent a missile of magical force at the man in front of Zosta, who fell. The other two archers fired their bows but missed their targets. Jiro followed the example of his companions and rushed forward, but he also failed to connect. Aegron knocked down another of the enemies. Jiro, Zosta, and the lizard attacked the remaining man and overcame him. Runa then suggested that the one living man be taken prisoner and taken to the surface instead of as a corpse. The group members took two healing potions and a quantity of arrows from the bodies of the fallen Baphomet cultists.

Lan then guided them to an enormous cavern with a lake in the center, where the Mongrelfolk city sat on an island in the midst of the water. They were carried to the island on rafts assembled of various salvaged materials. Runa had earlier found a bat symbol at an apparently abandoned campsite the group found after they fell through the crevice; this turned out to have belonged to the son of the Mongrelfolk chief, who had left after a disagreement with his father. Though Chief Sull was initially insulted by some condescending things Aravashnial said about the subterranean folk, Asami shushed Aravashnial and the other members of the group managed to be more diplomatic. The chief agreed to help in the fight against the demons after he was told what had happened in Kenabres. He gifted the party members a bandolier containing six potions for healing wounds and three potions of that could remove debilitating conditions. He also presented them with a morningstar. In addition they had acquired five chain shirts from the imposter priests, though few of the group could actually make use of such armor.

After their meeting with the chief, the group planned to join the Mongrelfolk in an attack on the false priests’ underground camp. Chief Sull had explained that the only route back to the surface he knew of passed directly through territory held by the cultists.

Spellbook: all cantrips, color spray, mage armor, magic missile, grease, detect secret doors, blur, levitate, fog cloud, invisibility, resist energy, shocking grasp, silent image
Scroll of cause fear
Unholy symbol of Baphomet
Two glaives
Five chain shirts
Six potions of cure light wounds
Three potions of lesser restoration
42 arrows

February 28, 2016

Previously: Chief Sull, leader of the mongrelmen, had told the party that the route back to the surface led through territory held by some bad mongrelmen. He also told them that the priests of Baphomet had already been present in the caverns prior to the attack on Kenabres.

The group from Kenabres sold some of the items they had acquired in fighting the Baphomet priests and the mad dwarf to the mongrelfolk. They each gained 116 gold coins from this transaction.

The mongrelmen village had no inn, so that night the group stayed in a communal space. During their relaxation time, Aravanshial permitted Asami to copy a spell that could create an arrow of acid from his spellbook into her own. That evening while Runa took the third watch, she was bitten by a spider. In the morning as they were preparing to leave, Jiro spotted a spirit, which Zosta refused to believe was real.

Lan escorted the party out of his village. He didn’t personally know the way to the surface, but knew the correct direction to travel. Shortly after leaving the village on the lake they entered a narrow passageway, only wide enough for them to walk in single file. They could see the marks of chisels on its walls. Suddenly Lan spotted something blocking the crevice. A wooden barricade about five feet high had been built where the passage widened. There was one sentry visible behind the barrier.
Runa took the lead in speaking to the sentry, who demanded that she go forward alone. Aegron and Zosta also moved forward to be a little closer to her, but only Runa approached the barrier. The sentry appeared to be talking to someone else and stalling for time. They heard some type of alarm given as someone shouted from behind the barricade. Runa tried to convince the guard to let her pass by showing the Baphomet holy symbol she carried and taking on an imperious tone, but the mongrelman sentry didn’t appear to be convinced, so she ran around the barrier to attack him. Aegron also threw a javelin at him but missed.

A second mongrelman appeared behind the barricade to attack Runa. Jiro ran forward to join his companions in attacking the barricade guards. Zosta leaped over the wall and kicked the sentry. Asami ran forward, leaving Aravashnial, Anevia, and Horgus behind. She paused to cast a spell on herself that cloaked her in arcane armor before approaching the barrier. The wall sentry could be heard shouting, “Help! Faster!” to someone else.

Two more mongrelmen emerged from a door behind the barricade and attacked Runa, seriously injuring her. She had to drink a potion to heal her wounds. Zosta hit the wall sentry and he collapsed. Asami ran around the barrier and hurled her wooden spear at one of the mongrelmen, showering him with splinters that left tiny bleeding wounds. Jiro was fighting another of the mongrelmen using the morningstar Chief Sull had gifted to the group, while protecting himself from a second foe with a shield of stone he had conjured. Jiro smashed his opponent with his morningstar. The mongrelman who had hit Runa fled. Aegron pursued him, but wasn’t able to hit him. Asami threw her spear at one of Jiro’s foes but missed. The fleeing mongrelman ran through the door and shut it behind him. One of the remaining enemies struck Jiro a dire blow, but Jiro hit back with equal force and killed his opponent.

Aegron opened the door and found the mongrelman he’d been chasing lying just beyond it, collapsed from the wounds he’d suffered. The last mongrelman behind the barrier fell after Asami directed a ray of bitter cold at him. The group then passed through the doorway. There they found three rooms, one of them set up as a bunk room. A large lizard charged Aegron and bit him, then held on. Asami and Zosta attacked it to get it to release Aegron. After it died Jiro realized that its bite was poisonous.

There was no one else in the other rooms, and Asami determined that they contained nothing magical. The group went on through a door leading out of the bunk room. As Zosta opened the door, someone shot her twice with a crossbow, and she saw a dark figure apparently disappear into the floor. Runa went into the room first, finding no one, and located another door in a corner. Aegron found that the attacker had descended a rope ladder that led down from the room’s other far corner. He descended the ladder, while Runa opened the door.

The door Runa had opened led to a downward sloping ramp and a heap of garbage, apparently serving as the mongrelmens’ trash midden. Runa slipped and slid down the ramp into the rubbish, where she discovered that garbage wasn’t the only thing at the bottom of the ramp. Something hidden under the offal grabbed her and burned her with acid. Zosta pulled a rope out of her pack, and Asami cast a spell on the rope to allow her to direct its movement from the doorway to pull Runa away from the creature, which Jiro identified as a giant amoeba. When Asami, Jiro, and Zosta all hauled on the rope together, they were able to drag Runa away from the amoeba’s grasp.

 Meanwhile Aegron had found more mongrelmen at the bottom of the ladder, too many for him to handle on his own. He was shot several times and collapsed, unconscious. By the time Jiro looked down the ladder, he saw only bloodstains on the floor below but no sign of Aegron. He climbed down the ladder to find another barrier similar to the one they had encountered in the crevice outside. Runa then descended the ladder but her heavy armor caused her to lose her grip and fall. She landed prone at the bottom, swearing loudly, which alerted the mongrelmen that more people had entered the chamber. A second battle ensued. Aravashniel summoned a monitor lizard from Elysium to help the group battle the mongrelmen.

The last surviving mongrelman pleaded for mercy and said he would tell them where Aegron was. Jiro approached the door beyond the barricade and heard labored breathing coming from the other side. The mongrelman told them that Aegron was on the other side of that door. He also told them that the leader of the mongrelmen was a human woman named Osilla, who had slain their previous leader. Jiro opened the door to see Aegron lying on a table, and yet more doorways leading out of the room.

Next: Episode 2, Enemies In the Deep

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