Chapter 5 – Skeletons of Scarwall

Full Session Summaries

Commentary

We head out to haunted Castle Scarwall in Part I.  Fighting undead is where Annata is a Viking, so we’re kicking bony ass and taking ghoulish names.  We were tickled to be fighting orcs and skeletons, it’s like we’re first level all over again.

I know it’s hard for a DM to run NPCs in a party, but these three Brotherhood of Bones hangers-on we have are worthless with a capital LESS!  Well, except for our favorite, Laori, who is always entertaining.  This session, she let Annata know she’d like to sleep with her!  I’m writing a separate blog post about how she dealt with that.  Will it violate the Paizo fansite license morals clause?  Find out, read the full summary!

At the end, we fought and slew what we think is the “main boss” but it didn’t lift the evil aura around the place; Paul was impressed that I then intuited we’d need to kill all the sub-bosses and then kill the main boss else he’d just respawn.   I’ve been playing RPGs and computer games for 25 years, I know how game designers think.

Let me say again for the record how sweet the Channel Energy power is for clerics in Pathfinder.  For those not familiar with it, Pathfinder replaced turning undead with “channeling energy.”  It heals people in short range and harms AND turns undead.  You can augment it with feats as Annata has – her channeling damages (but doesn’t turn) evil outsiders, she can make it heal only her allies (by default it heals everyone in range), and she’s quickened it to a free action with Quicken Turning.  It means that:

  • If you have a day where you’re not fighting undead, one of your major class powers isn’t worthless.
  • You can heal at range rather than always having to incur attacks of opportunity to go heal a comrade.
  • You can heal multiple party members at once.
  • You have loads of dice of healing that don’t eat up  your spell slots.  Thus you get to use spells for useful proactive things.
  • With the quicken, you aren’t wasting your time every round of combat with only healing.

Face it, as damage dealing has grown, Cure spells have not kept pace.  Even low level characters dish out or take like 20 points of damage a round – at our level, 80 points in a round isn’t uncommon and I’ve seen more than 100.  The usual 1d, 2d, 3d, 4d Cure spells are pretty much worthless in the face of that; I’d need ten minutes and my entire spell loadout to take care of just a couple rounds of combat.  So the channeling steps in to fill the gap and let the cleric do something in a round other than heal.  Neat!

We continue to clear Castle Scarwall in Part II.  Two more of the four sub-bosses, a devil bat lady (who really reminds me of an enemy from some video game I can’t place) and a shadow dragon, fall to our swords and sorcery, leaving only one sub-boss to go and then the main boss – who we already killed once before, so no worries there.  Our party is only three strong, but we are mighty!

The main challenge is keeping enough spells held back to take care of Shadow Count Sial when he finally decides to turn on us.  He’s acting even twitchier than usual and it’s clearly only a matter of time.  I hope Laori sides with us and not him when it all goes down.  Though Annata’s not quite sold on the hot girl-on-girl Laori proposed last session, she’s been a good friend so far.

We hit level 13 at the end of the session.  For Annata, I’m thinking adding a level of Crusader (a holy martial artist from Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords) to get more combat prowess.  She’s supposed to be a holy warrior but her damage sucks (1d6+2 whether you need it or not!).  She’s finally worked through the feat chains to add one of the Pathfinder beta crit feats, which will help…  She could make her crits fatigue, stagger, sicken, or bleed an opponent, I’m still deciding which.  But with Crusader she’d get all kinds of nice boosts.  Paul’s letting me swap out Stone Dragon school for Desert Wind school to match Sarenrae’s sun focus, though counting the powers as one level higher.  I’m thinking Death Mark, Fan the Flames, Flashing Sun, Foehammer, Divine Surge, and Thicket of Blades stance.  Although Iron Guard’s Glare is also attractive, and if combined with Fire Riposte and Holocaust Cloak, and potentially the various fire shield magics Annata has available to her, could be compelling.

It’s a shame to lose a level of spellcasting, but truth be told, seventh level cleric spells suck.  First of all, there’s not enough of them.  And four of those, really the only good ones, are basically the same spell (dictum/holy word/blasphemy/word of chaos).  Spells like Holy Word and Disrupting Weapon suck because they specify that they only affect creatures of less than your caster level.  So they’re no use on big bads, they are only mook-mowers, and we have plenty of other mook-mowing options. The symbol spells which also take up several spots on the spell list suffer from the same issue.  She’ll miss the level bump to Channel Energy way more.

Quite the drama erupts in Part III, in which our dear priestess Annata gets killed!  The last sub-boss in Scarwall got her with a Trap the Soul, and all our anti-undead/necromancy/death magic protections were of no avail because – get this – that’s a conjuration spell.  The boys killed the demi-lich and broke the gem, but then had to Shadow Walk back to Kaer Maga to get a Resurrection.  On the one hand, dying is scary, on the other hand, she got to see Sarenrae Heaven first hand and meet the Sunlord Thalachos, Sarenrae’s herald, so after she recovers from the physical aftereffects she’s mentally and spiritually quite invigorated.

Then the Shadow Count (and pet chain devil) finally turns on us and Laori.  We spank him but Laori heads out to Cenobite Heaven to sightsee, so the Boner Squad is no more.  And sadly Laori missed her last chance to put the moves on Annata.

And then we finally get the fabled (and holy, intelligent, and badass) blade Serith-Teal!   Thondyke is chosen as its wielder; as it’s both intelligent and holy it’ll have no part of Malcolm, and Annata (though to be honest a little jealous) thinks he’ll get a lot more use out of it.

And with that, Castle Scarwall is cleansed!  We get a sending from Vencarlo that tells us it’s time to return to Korvosa and whip some bitch-queen ass.  About time, we reply.  But first, we have $50k a head to gear ourselves out like the 14th level master killers we are!  To the magic mall!

< A History of Ashes Crown of Fangs >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s