Tag Archives: adventure path

Carrion Crown Chapter 4, Wake of the Watcher, Session 2

Second Session (13 page pdf) – We fight mutant giants, fish-men, Hounds of Tindalos, and The Colour Out Of Space in a run-down old mansion an in unholy mashup of half of Lovecraft’s short stories.  Next week – the other half!

The fights took a lot of time this session.  The marsh giant was hefty though not much of a danger to us due to positioning.  The Hounds of Tindalos, with their damage-gaze, did a lot of damage to us. And the skum happily charged down a tunnel at us and Xurak and I lightning bolted them out of this universe easily.

The Color out of Space part is creepy, it had husked out a bunch of women and kids and we couldn’t really fight it, it drained stats like there’s no tomorrow.  By messing around we let it go, hopefully to another world or plane of existence. We get a crazy lady to add to the baby in terms of helpless noncombatants we have to worry about.

We finish up by deciding to go kill the heck out of a church full of Dagon cultists!

Carrion Crown Chapter 4, Wake of the Watcher, Session 1

First Session (17 page pdf) – Slugs and babynapping cultists abound in the otherwise-shitty town of Illmarsh. But we obtain the ultimate weapon – a controlled spectre!

We continue to peel back the layers of decrepitude in the town, where it’s pretty clear they’re pimping out babies to Deep Ones. I like Jayleen the local barkeep though, she’s fun. A giant octopus goes after a local, we kill it, as we are wont to do.

voltiaroThen it’s out to Undiomede House, an old ruined mansion, since everything about its appearance in local lore cries out “conveniently close to town dungeon location.” Turns out the trip there is more unhealthy than a Perfect Bacon Bowl, as leeches overtake us – and not just normal leeches, burrow-to-your-brain in three rounds leeches. They are a “hazard” not monsters so of course we butt up against the game rules as we try to get them off us.  I manage it but Nigel, Oswald, and Zurax all get brain parasites for their trouble!

We save a baby from some ridiculously-dressed cultists, which puts an abrupt end to the dungeoning! We head back and try to get someone that won’t eat/trade the kid so we can go back. And we kill another even more ridiculously dressed cultist!  Fade to black.

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three, Seventh Session

Seventh Session (12 page pdf) – “The Sun Temple Colony” – The crew finds the lost Andoran colony built atop an Azlanti ruin.  They fall in with religious extremists as an Azlanti artifact nearly burns their ship to the waterline! Then they start poking around the island.

lost_citiesI liked doing the Sun Temple Colony after I did From Shore To Sea, because they were used to the WoW-like architecture of the Azlanti, and even knew to talk to the will-o-wisp streetlights in Aklo… But first they get lit up by the main attribute of the Sun Temple Colony, its big ol’ sun-focusing floating lens.

The Sun Temple Colony is from the Lost Cities of Golarion supplement. The intent here is that there’s parts of it about 10 CRs above the party’s level, so they have to keep it a bit on the down-low and play the locals against each other. They meet the “free” colonists and learn about the cult, the God-touched and breeder varieties. And they get a mascot, the impressionable 15-year-old Lefty.

Sindawe gets to exercise his captaining skills, which is generally “issue orders and then beat the nearest crewman unconscious since he’s clearly not moving fast enough.” They do get loot shares; this is probably the best place to give the pirate crewmen treasure because they are a thousand miles from anywhere they can spend it.

Then, it’s off to hexcrawl and explore the island!

 

 

Carrion Crown Chapter 3, Broken Moon, Session 5

auren_vroodFifth Session (18 page pdf) – Done with the local vermin, we move on to assault a keep full of necromancers!  And someone dies.  Many someones. Then it’s off to get some Lovecraft, but instead we get some McLovin!

We planned our assault of the necromancer keep in Feldgrau. We get to the top and the “skeletons” there are uber buff skeletons to our chagrin. We pop a fog cloud to stop the arrows, except for the PCs that like going and standing out of the fog cloud so they’ll get shot.

We expected a bit more of a dungeon, but halfway through the skeleton guards fight Orrin (Auren?) Vrood shows up and lays into us with the Circle of Death. This starts an entire sequence of “but wait…” as we figure out all the complex effects.  He pops a Circle of Death which kills four party members – but I use the group Harrow card to give us SR20, which saves two people, then I use my personal Harrow card to give Oswald a save bonus, which saves him. (Using them is a meta-thing that doesn’t really use an action.)  Zurax Darkfire, we hardly knew ye.

Then we kept forgetting stuff.  He used eyebite on me and I ran, forgetting the SR, and then he used it on Oswald, who almost ran before I blurted out “Wait, SR!” The SR didn’t save him, but since I wasn’t really feared my Fortune hex was still up so that saved him.  I got tired of that and used my new anti-necromancer ray, Lightning Bolt.

We go all the way to Carrion Hill to get Zurax raised, then go all the way back to Feldgrau, where everyone but a local ghost has skedaddled. Boring.  And then we head to the big neon signs saying Thrushmoore.

On the way we had a great encounter – Nigel sneaks off and comes across two nymphs bathing in the lake. He spies on them, making both Fort saves against blindness.  He reveals himself with a “Hey laydees!” and then makes both Fort saves against stun! They say “Ooo you have to catch us!” and he promptly rolls a natural 20 and the fleeing nymph rolls a natural 1. “Whoops, I have fallen over this log and my dress has come off!” He comes out of it with a goofy grin and a nymph-hair token that makes him super hell on wheels as a bard (+4 on Will saves, Craft, Perform, and 7 bonus rounds of bardic performance a day!!!).

Then we come across a marsh giant who demands tribute; Zurax animates a zombie from a Kellid werewolf corpse he’s keeping, Nigel tramps it up, and we send it to its fate.

Finally we end up in Thrushmoore, aka Innsmouth, and get the obligatory Lovecraftian town setup.  It’s just a little too much on the nose, how each adventure is “this thing themed!!!” But, what the heck, we’re level 8 now.

Carrion Crown Chapter 3, Broken Moon, Session 4

Fourth Session (13 page pdf) – We go to the butthole of Ustalav and farm us some werewolves, plus any local necromancer that gets lippy.

After an unfortunate encounter with a hangman tree (made more dangerous by the fact that three PCs weren’t there/didn’t show up on time, and only bested by one of them showing up mid-fight) we go to the Furrows, also known as the worst place in a bad country.

We dodged a remarkably large local necromancer patrol and rooted around in a ruined building where we found our missing werewolf hunter, Duristan.  “Oh, I’m not werewolfed, and I somehow got a band of mercenaries here!  We’re hunting some other werewolves!” “Yeah, that sounds grrrreat… Take us to your mercenaries.” We hoped we’d convince them we’d “help attack” the Prince’s Wolves and then we could betray them mid-fight.  Duristan, however, showed his usual lack of forethought by just yelling out as soon as we went into where the Jhazeldans were.

And here’s where seventh level pays off!  I crowd-controlled the shit out of that building.  Black Tentacles BAM!  Web BAM!  We knew that was just a delaying tactic and we needed help, so everyone else fought while I flew over to get the Princes’ Wolves to help; they were remarkably whiny about it for having been dispatched here for this express purpose.  I convinced them (In D&D you always have to convince NPCs to do anything, including what they were going to do anyway) and then it took them like three rounds of running in their heavy armor to get there and when they did they were like crappy CR2 werewolves only suitable for mob control. Sigh.  But the rest of the party had staged a calm fighting withdrawal to outside the building and was keeping the werewolves bottled up, so I figured I’d liven up their day with a Stinking Cloud.  You would think werewolves would have OK Fort saves but they were all puking up squirrels. By the time they broke loose and got out of the building the Princes’ Wolves arrived; I hit the BBEG with a 4-level Enervation and everyone else chopped him to bitty-bits. I slumber hexed Duristan so hopefully we can cure him of his lycanthropy.

Then we’re talking with the Princes’ Wolves inside the building when some necromancer goon with two big undead thingys busts in and is all like “Now I’ve got you!” I Lightning Bolted his dumb ass and everyone chopped through the undead.  I blinded him and he ran off crying to momma; a slumber hex later and I dragged him into the building with us.  Send more necromancers!

It wasn’t all me or anything, everyone was on top of their game.  Icobus got a great beheading shot in among others. Nigel started using his whammies on undead, being a dirge bard. Oswald shot a lot of things. We were worried when two players didn’t show but even just three of us could hold the fort for a good number of rounds! Yay, level 7.  (Though, it does explain why it’s the breakpoint for E6; it’s definitely the level you leave normal life behind for the life of a superhero.)

Carrion Crown Chapter 3, Broken Moon, Session 3

Third Session (12 page pdf) – We fight werewolves, werewolf ghosts, beefcake werewolves, and a paunchy librarian. Werewolves are stupid, though wealthy; perhaps we should take up werewolf farming.

The werewolf ghost (vilkacis) fight is bracing; it tries to possess several party members but a Protection from Evil from Xurak and then Misfortune hex from me keeps it from being successful.

Then we catch up with the librarian (Estovian the keeper of the Lodge) and beat the bejeezus out of him. I get to use my new lipstitch spell to sew his lips together, which was disturbing both for him and for the rest of the party. Lucky for him he charms Oswald who prevents his prone form from being Rodney Kinged into the great unknown; lucky for us Oswald is super gullible so we manage the situation anyway (“No really, he’ll be safer chained up down here with all his gear in our gunny sack…”).

We did OK in the big werewolf boss fight.  I got a little pissed that I kept putting bad guys to sleep with my slumber hex and no one would freaking coup de grace them, and then someone would wake them up and they’d be back in the game – and my hex can only affect someone once a day. I’m like “do you like fighting these guys?  How’s that lycanthropy making your tongue taste?” Anyway, finally I blind the werewolf chick and we bring an end to the combat.  We’d neatly bypassed all the rest of the werewolf guards so we just sent her packing. (Get it? Packing? I crack myself up. Actually, I decided that Sredni Vashtar’s Girl likes making bad puns in Common, which entertained Tim because there’s an Indian girl at his work that does the exact same thing.  I’ve known one too, it’s an oddly common little quirk. I like it when I can bring some authentic Indian girl to my character!)

Then we get to commune with Desna! Besides getting healed of all our ills and getting some plot points, this is cool for Girl – she’s still NG and starting to consider being more assertive against her NE god-familiar.

After that it’s just a wrap-up fight with two werewolves.  I like using my Slumber hex like the guys from Dark City – “Sleeeep! <waves hand across their face>.” We even let Estovian go with some threats to watch his step in the future. It’s Ustalav; if you kill every violent dumbass you meet the whole place would be empty.

 

Carrion Crown Chapter 3, Broken Moon, Session 2

Second Session (10 page pdf) -  The Lodge becomes a killing ground as various things go wrong, and our heroes are generally a step behind everyone else.

Talking to various decadent Ustalavic nobles is about as useful as you’d think. But Girl meets another girl from her orphanage back in Jalmeray, who’s working in an adjoining brothel. Also, Nigel trades his carnal favors to the madam for info on our quest.

Then we get attacked by a truly giant spider. And then someone werewolf-curses out and kills another patron. We get sick of screwing around and break into the local Lodge keeper/librarian’s office to beat the truth out of him but he dimension-door skedaddles. With remaining intel we decide to cut to the chase and go out to the Stairs of the Moon and harvest us some werewolves.

Carrion Crown Chapter 3, Broken Moon, Session 1

First Session (14 page pdf) – It’s out to the Lodge of Werewolves where we’re sure they hunt the “Most Dangerous Game.” On the way, we have slug problems.

First it’s back from Castle Caromarc to Lepidstadt, where we decide to follow Professor Lorrimor’s killer Orrin Vrood out into the werewolf-haunted forest of the Shudderwood. We load up on silver weapons and werewolf lore.

On the way, we have quite a fight with a big slug-grub-woman-thing. Then we get to Ascanor Lodge, where we fiddle around with decadent nobles and hunt werewolves with them till a bunch of werewolves yell plot points at us.  Then it’s back to the lodge for hot chocolate in front of a fire.

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three, Sixth Session

Sixth Session (12 page pdf) – “Quest for Azlant” – The crew sees some hot action against the Mordant Spire Elves as they fight a skimmer to the bitter end. Then they investigate the weird dangers of Azlant, finally arriving at the Sun Temple Colony.

mordantspireThe fight against the Mordant Spire Elf skimmer is very different from their previous naval combats.  The elf ships are small and nimble, with small but very expert crews. Sindawe was shocked when they handily outsailed him and then the magic started – elementals, an unseen servant dropping the ToA’s anchor, fireballs, glitterdusts, fly, invisibility, and much much more!

And they maroon the female elf captain, eschewing torture, rape, etc., possibly as a result of last session’s heart-to-heart on the subject of pirate ethics. They do enjoy taking all the elves’ masks however! The Mordant Spire elves consider the Azlanti islands a “no go” area so patrol it and drive off outsiders. Didn’t work in this case, but it was a solid combat!

Then the crystal pillar they come across and decide not to enter is directly from a legend about real-life St. Brendan the Navigator I read in some book of exploration stories.

And finally they reach the place they end up staying a while – the Sun Temple Colony!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three, Fifth Session

Fifth Session (15 page pdf) – “Island Tour” – The Teeth of Araska crawls through the sunken spires of lost Azlant looking for Morgann Baumann and the Black Bunyip.  And one crew member falls to MURDER! But a new and unusual  member joins the crew.

The Teeth of Araska ventures into the shattered remnants of lost Azlant in the middle of the Arcadian Ocean. Much of the action is ship-navigation, storms, and minor random encounters. Except for Tommy murdering Bojask over dinner.

Tommy’s player had to leave the game but we keep in touch.  Last time we talked he told me “Tommy’s totally against slavery, and he’s not going to put up with Bojask and his elven rape slave.” So at officer’s mess one night, he death attacks Bojask right in front of the other PCs, which they find appropriately shocking. Then there’s a lot of discussion and hashing over ethics and morals and feelings and practicalities…  This provides them an opportunity to actually discuss and introspect about the crew’s slaving and raping and whatnot, up till now it’s been happening as snap decisions without real party discussion.

And then, they find J.J. the seamunculus! He turns into a hilarious long-term NPC, an “anatomically correct” aquatic homunculus that a flamboyantly-dressed wizard made… He makes the PCs a mix of entertained and uncomfortable, just how it should be.

I like sessions like this where there’s some stuff going on but it serves mainly as a backdrop for PC/PC and PC/NPC interactions. The PCs are very invested in their ship and crew and are happy to go into great detail with them. Heck, it’s these roleplay sessions that turn into 15 page summaries like this one, as opposed to the combat ones where it’s 8 pages of “someone hit somebody.” Enjoy!

Best line:

Jaren the Jinx shouts out, “Buoy Ho!” The crew becomes so embroiled in making ribald jokes at this they nearly miss what he’s pointing at.

Reavers Sources – Third Season

Following on from my behind the scenes analysis of the various published adventures I’ve used in the commission of my Reavers campaign… (Also see Season One and Season Two).

Third Season

In this season I used some smaller sources from Dungeon magazines but a lot of it was homebrew. Not necessarily because I wanted to, but some items I was wanting to use fell through – like Voyages to the West, an Open Design patronage project that came in way late. But what I did use was…

  • I stole the town of Hollobrae from Firey Dragon Games’ 3e module “The Silver Summoning.”
    I don’t recommend the module, but as a repository for “I need a town for the PCs to raid” it worked fine and added character to the location in session 1. Daphne the unnamed one-line NPC became a recurring character.
  • “Tammeraut’s Fate,” from Dungeon #106, by Greg Vaughan
    This formed the first part of their Azlanti tour and occupied sessions 2-4. Sea zombies beset island monastery!
  • The Sun Temple Colony from Lost Cities of Golarion
    This is more of a capsule setting with adventure seeds, which I expanded upon to form a large section of the season, sessions 6-18 are set there. I also repurposed a couple things they didn’t come across in From Shore to Sea since it is also an Azlanti ruin.
  • Rana Mor,” from Dungeon #87, by Rich Baker
  • D1.5 “Revenge of the Kobold King,” 3.5e Paizo adventure
    Rana Mor formed the primary dungeon on the Sun Temple Island with a heavy reskin from “Indian” to “Azlanti” in feel; it filled sessions 10-12 and then again in sessions 16-17. I added a couple touches like the Sealstone and curse and giant beetles from Revenge of the Kobold King because those were “Azlanti.” I was really having to poll sources to get authentic Azlanti stuff; I also used gear/magic/etc. from the Open Design aquatic rules companion to From Shore to Sea, Sunken Empires.
  • Back to the Arm-Ripper/random dungeon combo from Season One!
    I got to reuse all the old content in sessions 22-25, but had to update it significantly since it was denuded of baddies last time and was much lower level last time…  So wrathspawn pirates as mentioned in Dungeons of Golarion were in residence!

The Dungeon sources from this season and last were all good, I picked them specifically because they were some of the stars from the magazine’s run.  I’d run Tammeraut’s Fate before but the rest were new to me. The baddie from Rana Mor got dubbed a “vampire stripper” based on her cheesecakey art. She was dangerous as a real stripper though and was a big foil/villain for the latter half of the season. A lot of the actual Sun Temple threat was sorta faceless so I wanted to have another baddie who was more personally memorable. I did a lot more picking locations/seeds out of books instead of whole cloth adventures this season.

And that’s how you run a multi-year campaign that meets very regularly for long play sessions while still having a demanding job and kid and life otherwise! Take preexisting building blocks, add the mortar to join them together, then put a nice veneer over the top. The time you save on making the blocks means you can shine on the additions.

I’ve compiled all these into a new page in the Reavers section, I’ll add to it as we go on!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three, Fourth Session

Fourth Session (10 page pdf) – “Zombie Proof” – as if zombie barbarians and zombie Red Mantis assassins aren’t enough, the crew ventures beneath the waves to the wreck of the Tammeraut, following their own fates.

In this session, we resume in mid-fight as the zombies threaten to overwhelm the hermitage on Firewatch Island. When they all have to fall back and barricade themselves into the scriptorium to avoid the undead hordes comes my favorite dialogue of the session:

Daphne says, “It’s days like this I’m glad I was kidnapped by pirates.”

I turned the spellcasting into a mini-game to race against time, and when Wogan and Janore finally got the spell cast they doubled down on the existing storm to waterspouts that cleansed the island of zombies!

The generic ghost that’s the end of Tammeraut’s Fate is instead part of the legacy of the shadow phantom-haunted members of the small band that got Cypher-glyphs exploded into them at the climax of Season One, Madness in Riddleport. The ongoing theme of the corruption of that kind of magic continues!  And then, they depart with a spell that can find them the Black Bunyip and Morgan Baumann!