Dani's Super Happy Pathfinder Fun Time

The Journey to Aradain
A battle on the ocean, and a reunion with an old mentor

After a brief rest after returning from the necropolis, the party stocked up on supplies and boarded a merchant vessel headed for the western coast of the Eastern Continent, where their next destination lie: The kingdom of Aradain.

After following the southern coast of the Northlands and a brief stop near Silvert, the boat began crossing the open ocean, and was attacked by a swarm of fishmen with their trained giant octopus! The octopus grappled the boat to hold it still while the fishmen boarded to kill the crew, but the party valiantly fought them off and made use of the ship’s ballistae to destroy the sea monster’s tentacles.

After arriving on the coast, the party set off on horseback again into Aradain territory, finding it a great deal more densely populated than the comparatively sparse Northlands. Settlements were rarely more than a day’s journey apart, with plenty of farms between.

They came upon the town of Kryal, where the Kryal Monastery was located, a training ground for paladins and clerics of Carda, where Elsa was also trained. The party stopped to speak with Elsa’s mentor, a half-elf paladin named Stonnel, who suggested they contact a nobleman in the Aradain capital named Lord Reinhardt Schutz, who would be willing to help them root out the necromancer cult that was trying to infiltrate the nobility and courts in Aradain and take control from within.

It was also revealed to the party during their conversations with Stonnel that the Castle Aradain was under a centuries-old spell dating back to the kingdom’s founding: A powerful Zone of Truth, stretching over the entire castle grounds and as far as anyone knows, impossible to resist. Put simply, lies literally cannot be told within the castle walls, which is why so many guild, diplomatic, court, and council meetings are held within the castle walls.

The party is off to the bustling capital of Aradain to meet with this Lord Schutz.

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Northlands Necropolis part 2
The final battle in the necropolis! An unlikely ally?

Exiting the tomb of Honengend the Beloved after a good night’s rest, the party ventured further in and discovered a vast chamber, presumably where undead were being created. In it, a pair of necromancers were conversing with their master, giving excuses regarding their failure to destroy Stormy Bay. The party overheard that weaker undead had to be used due to the black skulls going missing, that the Sentinels had been warned about the siege beforehand, and that the necromancers didn’t expect so many allies to show up — particularly the paladins and clerics of Liana sent from Palhast.

The necromancer’s master sentenced them to death for their failure, and said that the Sentinels would carry out this sentence, and that they were already on their way, as was foreseen. Partway through the bloody battle, an errant blast of negative energy struck a mercenary hired by the necromancers — he offered to aid the Sentinels if they spared his life, so they struck a deal and took down the necromancers.

After the battle, the mercenary explained he had been hired as a bodyguard for one of the necromancers, a bearer of a black skull, because other bearers were being killed or going missing. The Sentinels then let him go, and after looting what little treasure remained in the hidden treasure room and from the bodies of the two necromancers, left for Stormy Bay.

  • From the cleric, they got: +1 chainmail, +1 heavy mace, Amulet of Natural Armor +2
  • From the wizard, they got: Black Skull, ring of sustenance, wand of scorching ray (30 charges left)
  • Spellbook: Fireball, Displacement, Protection from Arrows, Scorching Ray, False Life, Mage Armor, Shield, Magic Missile, Ray of Enfeeblement, and all 0-level spells

Once they returned to Stormy Bay, he party reported their findings to Isuld, Shoroth, and Lizbeth, and were presented with three options: Aid the scouts searching for the necropolis on the Southern Continent, investigate the cult infiltration of Zalam, or investigate the cult infiltration of Aradain.

The party seemed mostly in favour of going to Aradain, as it is a lovely place and much more friendly than the iron-fisted magocracy of Zalam or the savage wilderness of the Southern Continent.

The party also received 5000 gold payment for accomplishing the mission.

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Northlands Necropolis
Journey into the necropolis! A well-guarded crypt!

With a map provided by a Sentinel scout, the party made their way to the necropolis. The map proved largely unnecessary, however, given the huge trail of death and decay left by the undead horde. The trail led to an ancient ruined city a day east of Stormy Bay, well away from any roads, and not appearing on any map.

The trail led into the only non-ruined building in the city, a crypt leading deep into the earth. It opened up into a vast complex of pillars, lined with massive shelves housing thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of sarcophagi, pillars stretching in all directions into the darkness.

The party met resistance in the form of undead guardians, suffering a wight’s energy drain and the vicious attacks of a mummy, but came out no worse for wear. Some further exploration led the party to the inner area of the necropolis, a more conventional crypt, where they spotted a ghostly figure.

Following it, then busted through a barricade and found the tomb of Saint Honengend the Beloved, one of the first priests of Liana the Wounded Saint, goddess of healing. Honengend had lived during Liana’s mortal life, and had sacrificed his own life to stop the red rot, a horrible plague that ravaged the countryside nearly 2000 years ago. He gave Beckett and Elsa gifts of healing. For Beckett, a spell that heals wounds over time. For Elsa, an amulet that strengthens the power of her Lay on Hands ability.

The party decided to rest in Honengend’s tomb for the night, as it is a holy place and is protected from undead. The next day, the delve further into the necropolis, hunting the necromancers who tried to destroy Stormy Bay.

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Siege of Stormy Bay - Part II
The siege finally ends! Victory for the goodguys!

With Lizbeth’s raven familiar leading them to the marketplace, the party discovered a necromancer had summoned a massive dinosaur skeleton to rampage through the city! They cunningly destroyed the skeleton’s legs to bring its skull down to within reach and destroy it, making short work of it. The necromancer, his creation destroyed, tried to make a getaway but was stopped when Lizbeth appeared on a nearby rooftop to cast Dispel Magic on the necromancer’s wings of flying, neutralizing them long enough for the party to subdue him.

Lizbeth said she’d take the necromancer away for interrogation, and directed the party towards the west wall, where the horde was massing for another attack. Once there, they fought a desperate battle until a welcome sight appeared on the horizon, from the northwest: Palhast forces had arrived! The clerics and paladins of Liana the Wounded Saint worked together with Stormy Bay’s defenders to utterly annihilate the undead horde.

With Dalziel interrogating the captured necromancer, the party has yet another Black Skull in their possession, and the ranger Cin has a new toy: Wings of Flying! The party was also paid the handsome sum of 5,000 gold for their integral role in helping to defend the city during its time of need.

It’s just a matter of time before the results of the interrogation are revealed. For now, it’s time to recuperate and stock up on supplies before leaving for the necropolis.

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Siege of Stormy Bay - Part I
An undead horde marches on Stormy Bay! Can the defenses hold?!

The Siege of Stormy Bay begins! After a week of preparation, the undead horde finally arrived from a necropolis to the east, attacking the outer walls, zombies piling themselves up to get at the juicy guards atop the walls. The party was assigned to the east wall, and after aiding the city guard against the zombies, they received word from a raven familiar belonging to Lizbeth that there was trouble at the north gate!

Upon arriving at the north gate, the party discovered that a pack of ghouls was paralyzing guards and leaving them for the zombies to kill. They put a quick stop to that, but then a figure in dark armour approached the wall — a powerful cleric of some dark god of undeath, engaging them in brutal combat.

The party came out victorious with only minor injuries, but that was only the beginning. Even now, Lizbeth’s raven can be seen flying towards them from further into the city.

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Defensive Planning
Arrival at Stormy Bay! Grim tiding! Planning for the city's defense!

After the party’s arrival in Stormy Bay, they promptly went to the Sentinels Guildhouse to plan for the siege. They met the four senior members of the Sentinels:

  • Lizbeth, a half-elf wizard who has been a Sentinel for nearly a century.
  • Shoroth, a half-orc fighter who has participated in campaigns for both Palhast and Aradain, and is a graduate of the Ruhiim Academy.
  • Marcos, a human monk and Ruhiim Academy graduate who led an expedition into tunnels north of Stormy Bay to eradicate mind flayers that had been abducting people.
  • Dalziel, an elf rogue and guild spymaster.

The party was informed that Palhast, the Ruhiim Academy, and Sage Breygon had all been warned of the impending siege and entreated for aid. While aid is guaranteed from the Ruhiim Academy and Sage Breygon because of their close proximity to Stormy Bay, Palhast aid might not arrive in time.

The party has several days to prepare for the siege, and there is much to be done.

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Interview with a Vampire
Sanarro's reclusive ruler is a vampire! But he's actually a nice guy?

Leaving from the machine city Vathis, the party made their way east along the coastal roads, then took the north road to the mysterious isolationist city of Sanarro. After a terse and unfriendly greeting from the guards at the front gate, the party was let in and informed that their request to meet with the city’s lord would be considered.

After some discussion regarding how to approach Lord Renahd of Sanarro in conversation, they were invited in to his manor, where they finally met him. It didn’t take long for them to get down to business, and despite Elsa sensing an evil aura about him, he was surprisingly forthright and honest.

The party decided return his honesty in kind, which resulted in surprising progress. He admitted to being a vampire, and informed the party that should a necromancer try to use a Black Skull to control him, he would be helpless and have absolutely no means of resisting.

After agreeing to give him a black skull for purposes of study and safekeeping, Lord Renahd informed the party that a week before, his guards had captured a necromancer who tried to infiltrate the town. They tortured him for information, and discovered some disturbing facts.

  • Despite the necromancers use of the Black Skulls, artifacts of Luteus, they do not worship Luteus but rather some other deistic or semi-deistic entity that requires living sacrifice.
  • These sacrifices send the soul straight to this entity, where it feeds on the soul and grows stronger.
  • The cult has two necropolises, one on the Southern Continent and another in the Northlands. The one in the Northlands is supposed to be near Stormy Bay. Massive legions of undead are being amassed in these necropolises.
  • The cult is planning on laying siege to Stormy Bay with an army of undead.

Lord Renahd agreed to send a scout with a message to Stormy Bay to warn them about the impending siege, and the party set off the next morning for the long journey back to Stormy Bay.

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Honour Among Thieves
A favour for the Thieves' Guild! Kriver Whiteknife's gratitude!

ENTIRE SESSION OFFSCREENED

After successfully completing a favour for Kriver Whiteknife and the Thieves’ Guild, the party was contacted by him a second time. He wanted to know if they were looking for some work to do while they were in Vathis — the money would be good, and it would put them in good graces with the Thieves’ Guild.

The party graciously accepted, completing a few relatively simple tasks in the span of a day. Highlights include:

  • Intimidating and beating the shit out of a small gang of upstarts who had been roughing up prostitutes in Thieves’ Guild territory.
  • Delivering a few packages to the smaller fishing communities to the south of Vathis.
  • Protecting a Merchant Guild member who the Thieves’ Guild suspected would be targeted for assassination during a speech. The party caught and killed the assassin before the act even took place.

The party received individual rewards for each, adding up to a rather handsome sum.

GM NOTE: After this, change your primary weapons to +1 magical weapons. Do not alter any other gear or your money total.

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Vathis Thieves' Guild
The machine city Vathis! A favour for the Thieves' Guild! The fabled black market!

The party set out from Sage Breygon’s Tower and headed northeast, stopping briefly at Caeron before continuing to the machine city Vathis. Once there, they spoke to Aubin, the guildmaster of that chapter of the Sentinels, who set them on the right path for their mission.

After telling them about the joint investigation (involing the Sentinels, Vathis Law Enforcement, and the Thieves’ Guild) regarding the surge in trade of magic items in the black market, he put the group in contact with Kriver Whiteknife, the Sentinels’ contact in the Thieves’ Guild.

The party met Kriver at the Fat Rooster Tavern, but he wasn’t about to just give them entrance to the black market — they needed to do him a favour first. He sent them into the old waterways, deep beneath the city, to find out what happened to a Thieves’ Guild member named Matthias who went missing the day before.

Finding what remained of poor Matthias didn’t take long, but it was an ambush — the party was attacked by a three-legged, three-tentacled creature (they later learned it was an otyugh), and Beckett the cleric nearly died during the fight. They found the otyugh’s treasure hoard, which included:

  • A Wand of Scorching Ray, with 42 charges left (unclaimed)
  • Two Rings of Protection +1 (both unclaimed)
  • A Cloak of Resistance +1
  • A Scroll of Burning Hands (unclaimed)
  • A potion of Cure Moderate Wounds

Upon returning to Kriver, he confirmed that the magical dagger they found belonged to poor Matthias, now dead. He led them to the black market, where they quickly discovered a third black skull being sold by a merchant, right out in the open.

A brief conversation with the merchant revealed that a wizard had recently come to Vathis, but had done something to cross the Thieves’ Guild, and Kriver Whiteknife killed the wizard personally. The Thieves’ Guild then sold the wizard’s possessions on the black market. The dwarf agreed to give them the skull and the wizard’s book and personal notes if they bought something, so they picked up a

  • Least Ring of Fire Resistance (resists 5 points of fire damage).

The wizard’s book and personal notes revealed that he is, indeed, part of a much larger organization of necromancers. They’ve been deliberately gathering those mysterious black skulls not only because they give a significant boost to necromantic ability, but also for some other dark purpose that is only vaguely alluded to. The notes included correspondence with other necromancers, speaking of grand plans to infiltrate Palhast, Zalam, and Aradain, and to raise a grand army of the dead. Another disturbing piece of information was that there’s a grand catacomb on the southern continent, and that another one is planned for the Northlands.

Perhaps the mysterious ruler of the isolationist city of Sanarro will know more about this necromancer cult?

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Sage Breygon's Tower
Visiting the great sage! A stolen book recovered!

The beginning of this series of adventures saw the party go from Stormy Bay to the tower of the great Sage Breygon, master of arcane arts and prolific instructor, running an academy out of his tower. Once there, they discovered that the mysterious black skull artifact can’t be destroyed by conventional means. Breygon told the party he has a book that might reveal more about the origin of the skulls and even how to destroy them, but soon discovered it was missing from the library.

A furious Breygon berated Yashua, the chief librarian, and used his divining pool to discover the location of the thief: The nearby fishing town of Stengart. On arrival, the thief turned out to be a huge coward who immediately gave up not only the stolen book, but also the location of the man who hired him: A necromancer!

The thief led them right to the necromancer’s safehouse, but upon entering, were attacked by the necromancer and a trio of ghasts. It was a vicious battle, but the party emerged victorious. They found not only a second black skull, but also some totally sweet loot (not to be confused with the Totally Sweet Lute, which is a mighty bardic artifact spoken of in legends).

LOOT LIST:

  • Morningstar +1
  • Handaxe +1
  • Heavy Mace +1
  • Heavy Steel Shield of Light Fortification +1
  • Druid’s Vestment
  • Belt of Giant Strength +2
  • Headband of Inspired Wisdom +2
  • Ring of Protection +1
  • Elixir of Vision
  • 1000 gold worth of alchemy materials

The book revealed that the black skulls — plural, since there seem to be multiple skulls — are an ancient artifact as old as civilization itself that seem to surface only occasionally throughout history. They do indeed enhance necromantic ability, specifically the creating and controlling of undead of any shape and size, and are known to be able to allow even weak necromancers to control powerful undead like vampires.

As for destroying the skulls, the book offers only speculation: the fiery breath of a dragon, hurling into a volcano, shattering with a holy undead bane warhammer during an eclipse, and other fanciful rituals.

Sage Breygon was a gracious host to the party, allowing them to stay in empty faculty quarters during their visit, and offering to identify the magic items (listed above) free of charge. He even offered to purchase the ones they didn’t want.

The party’s next stop after recuperating is the machine city Vathis, to check in with the Thieves’ Guild and petition them to gain access to the Vathis Black Market, where there has been a recent surge in the trade of magic items.

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