Tag Archives: crimson throne

Second Curse of the Crimson Throne “Crown of Fangs” Session Summary Posted

In Crown of Fangs, Part II, it gets interesting.  We go back to assault the castle again.  And we get to use a deck of many things!  Old school indeed.  And we mostly survive!  Thorndyke gets to kill a horned devil not once but twice with the magic sword Serith-Tial.  And Malcolm gets a keep and lands; his long held goal of becoming Doctor Doom is near at hand.

Annata has a bit of a bad day – she gets tentacle-raped to death by a worm devil.  Her deck of many things draw is the only thing that saves her!  And she goes from orphan to noble in the bargain.

And our new bard Cayen has a complicated love life.  First, his brother shows up to play his barbarian girlfriend, which is weird out of the gate.  Then, he gets his alignment changed by the deck to Lawful.  And finally, the Red Mantis leader falls in love with him (again, the deck at work).  Hell hath no fury like a high level barbarian woman scorned!

Next session will be the campaign finale.    Will we defeat the Queen?  Will Snu-Snu cleave Cayden in half?  Will Vencarlo finally romance Annata?  Will Thorndyke do justice to the legend of Blackjack?  Will Annata become the next Queen?  What will Malcolm choose to defile with his bodily excretions now?  And will Korvosa finally be free?  So many questions – but nothing might and magic can’t answer!

First Curse of the Crimson Throne “Crown of Fangs” Session Summary Posted

The last chapter of Curse of the Crimson Throne starts out with a bang in Crown of Fangs, Part I.  In Kaer Maga we meet a bard and his Shoanti barbarian girlfriend/henchman who also wants to see the Queen fall in Korvosa.  We sign them up!

Behind the scenes, Patrick (Thorndyke) is in London for a month, so we had to send him ahead of the group to “scout”.  Bruce (Valash) is still stuck in a bizarre  employment purgatory where his ex-employer is keeping him on on a contract basis but he has to fly to frickin’ Minnepolis every week and is unlikely to ever return, really.  This left us with only me (Annata) and Chris (Malcolm) – we are mighty, but 2 PCs is a little light.  Luckily, there was a player who had to drop out of the other Curse of the Crimson Throne session at this point, Ed (Cayden Cailean, a bard).  To get in a better RP experience, rather than run one 8-person game of CoCT, Paul (our GM) kindly split our gaming group and ran 2 4-person games.  So we called up Ed and he’ll be getting to finish out the AP, just with us instead of his original party!  That’s a nice win-win.

After we blow all our money on the best gear the Pathfinder RPG and Magic Item Compendium have to offer, Annata Word of Recalls our group back to Korvosa, into the shrine to Sarenrae at the Temple of Many, where she spent so many years as an initiate.  We’re quickly reunited with the rest of our resistance brethren – Vencarlo, Neolandus the seneschal, Grau the guardsman, and even Field Marshal Cressida Croft has gotten off her ass and decided it’s time to fight the Queen.  They give us a laundry list of targets which we go and prosecute, including a Blackjack impersonator and Sabine herself!  Sabine, for those not following along, was at the heart of a love triangle ending in a duel between Grau and Vencarlo back in the day, and now she’s the Queen’s lesbian lover and goon squad commander.  Except, sadly, they say she’s really honorable at heart and should be turned and brought back alive.  Annata’s a good enough Sarenrae… -ite?  ist?  that she’ll do it, but it doesn’t make some parts of her heart happy.  We brought her back alive; I’m sure she’ll start vamping on Vencarlo again.

Annata is still way in love with Vencarlo and keeps trying to get him to do something about it, but he keeps saying “Yes, well, back to the struggle…”  When she was younger this would have driven her into a fit of insecurity, but she’s pretty confident in herself now and it’s starting to annoy her.  “I’m cute, smart, and can wipe out a small army solo, what’s his problem?!?”

We also go on a special ops mission inside the Queen’s palace.  The bloatmage, her new seneschal, escapes us but we kill a mess of devils and retrieve the body of an Abadarian priest.  Our comrades get things underway, and resistance forces reclaim the streets of Korvosa!

Things are going well.  Annata’s still trying to figure out Cayden’s part in the story.  She is one of those people who sees symbolism in everything, and so far she’s seen huge parallels between Malcolm and Thorndyke and the original founders of Korvosa, Field Marshal Jakthion Korvosa and original Sable Company Marine Waydon Endrin.  She wouldn’t be surprised, when it’s all over, to see them heading up the Korvosan Guard and Sable Company Marines respectively.  She suspects she’s Alika Epakena (St. Alika, who died saving Korvosa from the Great Fire).  She died once already at the hands of a demilich in Scarwall Keep, and though her comrades released her soul and got her a Resurrection, it definitely showed her that there’s ways to die that magic won’t cure, and would be unsurprised to give her life permanently in a final effort to save her beloved Korvosa.   Cayden – she’s not sure.  Maybe he represents Montlion Jeggare, the gentleman explorer who also had a hand in the founding of the city, and became a major merchant house?  The whole thing with House Arkona hasn’t been resolved yet; her deal with the hidden rakshasa Lord Arkona is chafing at her and her inclination to purge all evil from Korvosa is starting to chip away at it, so there may certainly be a power vacuum there too.  She’ll figure it out, she’s sure that destiny’s hand is laid hard upon the group.

Third Curse of the Crimson Throne “Skeletons of Scarwall” Session Summary Posted

Quite the drama erupts in Part III of The Skeletons of Scarwall, 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!

Go enjoy the full 10 page .pdf summary of the session (and all the others).  Your favorite adventurers will return next session with Crown of Fangs!

Second Curse of the Crimson Throne “Skeletons of Scarwall” Session Summary Posted

We continue to clear Castle Scarwall in Part II of Skeletons of Scarwall (8 page .pdf).  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.

First Curse of the Crimson Throne “Skeletons of Scarwall” Session Summary Posted

We head out to haunted Castle Scarwall in Part I of Skeletons of Scarwall (8 page .pdf), the fifth and penultimate chapter of the Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path.  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!

Second Curse of the Crimson Throne “A History of Ashes” Session Summary Posted

We’re moving quickly, and we finish up the fourth chapter of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path this session.

In Part II of A History of Ashes (10 page .pdf), Annata, Malcolm, and Amiri successfully complete our Shoanti ritual as Thorndyke rejoins us.  And then we have to face the biggest Red Mantis hit squad yet.  Amiri and Krojin Eats-What-He-Kills benefit greatly from their barbarian unflankability.  Sadly Malcolm does not, and the fight turns into a WoW-style format of Annata pouring healing as quickly as she can into Malcolm as he hacks at his opponents.  Annata is pretty lucky with striking people blind, her blindness spell succeeds on Cinnabar the Mantis leader.  It’s one of Sarenrae’s prime punishments for infidels so her good luck is dramatically perfect.

Annata respects the Shoanti people a lot more now.  In the beginning she was fearful (as around Korvosa they’re generally considered to be the murder and rape brute squad) and looked down on their “savage” ways.  But living with them, and seeing how they conduct themselves both in battle and in camp, she’s impressed.  They’re certainly brave – Krojin didn’t even bother considering the whole “turn them over to the Red Mantis” spiel from Cinnabar – but they are also surprisingly joyful.  Annata’s never been a big partyer (being largely confined to a temple for most of her post-street urchin life) and their celebrations, even after being attacked, seem much more honest and unabashed than Korvosan life, which appeals to some of her understanding of Sarenrae’s teaching (their worship of the sun also seems symbolic to her).  She gets a bit of a Spring Break experience out of the celebrations and she needed that; being underground resistance in Korvosa had her wound pretty tight.  By the time she has to leave, she is proud to be a Sun Clan Shoanti!

Amiri stays with the clan and Annata works to get her hooked up with Krojin.  Brandie was just temping as a player, and Amiri’s backplot says she was trying to find acceptance with the barbarians so that wraps up neatly.

At the end of Part II, we actually started The Skeletons of Scarwall and did the initial briefing, Harrow readings, etc.  And we get to see Laori again when we go find the Bortherhood of the Bones people!  Shadow Count Sial and Asyra are lame, but Annata really likes Laori.  Except for the evil-god thing they are two peas in a pod and happily chatter away with each other till Malcolm and Thorndyke are driven to distraction.

First Curse of the Crimson Throne “A History of Ashes” Session Summary Posted

We continue into the fourth chapter of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path from Paizo, using the Pathfinder RPG beta rules.

Part I of A History of Ashes is kinda Part II since we got a lot of the initial plot explication out in the previous session.  We were really short on players, so Chris’ girlfriend decided to dive in as Amiri the barbarian, and she learned the joy of the UltraHack!

It was a short session, we screwed around a lot beforehand.  We went to get devoured by the sandworm, but the noob is the only one who got swallowed!  Then we go to perform some barbarian initiation ritual where we have to keep our poles erect for three days straight.  Has anyone else noticed that this whole adventure path has been pretty homoerotic?  In the art, even in the character descriptions, there’s “a lot for the ladies” in Curse of the Crimson Throne.  Good thing I’m playing a female character.

Speaking of females, we pressure one of our groupies into playing this time, and she outshines her bf easily!  Woot!