Tag Archives: curse of the crimson throne

Fourth Curse of the Crimson Throne “Seven Days to the Grave” Session Summary Posted

We wrapped up the chapter in Seven Days to the Grave, Part IV.  It was a little disjointed, as we left and returned to the warehouse/dungeon sooo many times.  I halfway hoped the nurse that fled would bring down the Queen’s goon squad or something so that we didn’t have unlimited back-and-forth access.  It becomes too tempting to play it safe (clear a room, rest, clear a room…)

We fought Nosferatu.  Not sure if that is what it was called, but its pic was a total copy of the original from the movie.   Then we leave, and go back to free the ocarina player, then leave, and go back to clear the place.

I was a little unhappy with the writing towards the end, though.  In both chapters there’s been some “Korvosa is totally rioting and there’s starvation!  Well, not really.  Plague has closed down the city!  Well, not really.  They all hate the Queen!  Well, not really.”  Last we heard, the city was in flames because of the city being enraged that this new Queen was now in charge, but when we come up with proof that her own hand-picked SS guys and goon squad are behind the plague, Guard captain and populace alike are all “Oh, must be a coincidence.”  What!?!  But to no useful end, since immediately afterwards, in a cutscene we’re not there for, she reveals herself as evil anyway.  It seemed like a big “fuck you” to the players.

I am not allergic to story – all the “sandbox” or “old school” gamers out there say “story baaaad!”  Not me, I like me some story.  But this is really the first time in the APs I’ve felt like they were more in love with their own story than the PCs’ part in it.

Sure, Paul our DM hews very close to the written word and you could say he should just change it, but having to change it reveals a weakness.

Anyway, in the end it’s a minor nit – the chapter was still enjoyable overall – but it seems to me a bit of a warning sign.  Interesting characters and driving plots are great, but should never threaten the primacy of the PCs in the story.

Best session quote:

We find an operating room, and cells beyond with more hapless Varisians.  As Annata tries to calm them in Varisian, Thorndyke demands, “Stop speaking that dog language!”

Next time – Escape from Old Korvosa!

Third Curse of the Crimson Throne “Seven Days to the Grave” Session Summary Posted

We started our first proper dungeon crawl in Seven Days to the Grave, Part III!  Annata had hoped to somehow spy around in the Queen’s Physicians’ “hospital”, but we pretty much had to disguise up and go in the front.  That worked very well!  She gave Valash her doctor’s mask, and she used the glamered armor they had found to simulate a Grey Maiden’s armor (at the cost of a point of AC).  She was a little uncomfortable at how… form-fitting it was, but serving the Goddess requires personal sacrifice.  I made up Malcolm to look sick and Valash turned Thorndyke invisible.  And off we went!

We managed to penetrate all the way to the boss before we were discovered.  The session summary gets it a little wrong and it’s confusing what happened – when Valash brought out the disease-box he was like, “What could this thing be, Doctor Davalus?”  Apparently every single Physician is in on the plot and knows what they are, so Davalus decided to fight us.  Bad plan, we unloaded on him.  I was worried we wouldn’t get out of there after, but the Maidens and Physicians didn’t stay crunchy in milk and the nurse apparently didn’t summon the cops.   So we wasted them all and extracted the Varisian experimental subjects.  Annata’s still fretting about what to do about the 60 plague victims in there.  And then, the dungeon!

Best quote from this session:

Annata offers, “I need to contemplate the religious implications of these murals.”
Malcolm points out, “They’re going to kill everyone. You think too much. I never think about things, that’s why I’m such a good fighter.” Malcolm grabs one door handle and opens it. This triggers the trap: the skeletons breathe out poisonous gas, then animate. The creature’s arms and weapon spring from the door and cut through him.
Malcolm gasps and falls as his lifeblood sprays out against the wall.

And it happened exactly like that.  The scythe critted and did 63 points of damage to Malcolm!  We were really worried he was going to die, so worried we didn’t laugh and gloat at the time.  But now we can.  Mmmwah hah haaa!

Predictably, when we finally got to fight Rolf the necromancer he d-doored away.  I always hate that.

Second Curse of the Crimson Throne “Seven Days to the Grave” Session Summary Posted

In Seven Days to the Grave, Part II, we go scuba diving!  In Korvosa’s equivalent to the Hudson River.  As is traditional, the ranger gets screwed out of actually affecting anything with his ranger powers.  Reefclaws?  Sorry, they’re aberrations.  A shark?  Sorry, it’s a hag’s buddy.  Poor bastard.

Annata used Speak with Dead for the first time, to demand the truth from the dead priest of Urgathoa we found.  We were not all that shocked to find out that the head of the Queen’s Physicians was implicated.  And the Red Mantis, some improbably-garbed assassin cult (they kinda resemble Ambush Bug, my favorite supervillain, but not because of his menace factor).

Worried that the guard might decide to arrest them at the Queen’s behest, Annata insisted on going into Citadel Volshyenek alone to tell the Field Marshal this information.  She thought Kroft had generally been fair with them, but had also turned over Trinia to the Queen’s goon squad when instructed.  Luckily, it appears she’s practicing being less Lawful and said we should go find more proof!

I had a long confusing exchange with the DM from trying to roleplay Annata’s relationship with Grau.  He was there in the Citadel.  I wanted him to want to see me so I could give him the cold shoulder.  I had trouble getting this across.  “Does Grau want to talk to me after?”  “Yes, what do you want to ask him?”  “No, no, I want him to want to talk to me, but I don’t want to talk to him.”  “What?”  It’s so hard being a chick.

Then we went to the cool zombie death house to find the Ocarina of Gypsies, and rescue Hugh Hefner.  Annata actually took that crossbow bolt from interposing herself between the crazy-lady and the lord; that’s not clear in the summary.   It was pretty entertaining how the villainess’ S&M act largely defused any Intimidation-based interrogation of her.  I am nothing if not persistent so I got her to open up more later in her cell.   And then comes the best quote of the session:

Once Annata is finished talking to her, Malcolm steps up with his cosh. “Sleepy time!” WHACK!
Annata protests, “But she’s already in a cell!”
Malcolm calmly answers, “Well, now she’s unconscious in a cell.”

Boys.

First Curse of the Crimson Throne “Seven Days to the Grave” Session Summary Posted

Our brave band continues their struggle against evil as they begin the second chapter of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path!

In Seven Days to the Grave, Part I, Annata and her friends were busy bees indeed.  First, they are trying to nip this darn Blood Veil plague in the bud.  Grau came to her and asked for her help because his niece was sick and needed help.  They set out immediately.  Grau was standoffish and wouldn’t talk to her much, which hurt Annata’s feelings a little.  He was just like “OK, here’s my sister-in-law’s house, get to healing, gotta go!”  Hmph!  She’s practicing her icy demeanor for the next time he shows up.

Next, Vencarlo asked them to come over!  Annata had been wanting to ask him about the political situation (and see him again on general principles).  When they got over there, he had the escaped assassin/victim Trina Sabor with him!  Blackjack had entrusted her to him to aid in her escape.  (Yes, it’s obvious to the rest of the party that Vencarlo’s Blackjack, but not to Annata!)  They promised to smuggle her out of the city.  Vencarlo said that things had gotten too hot for him politically and he was going to need to go underground in Old Korvosa for a while.  Annata’s breathless “Oh, Vencarlo, are you in danger?!?” provoked a round of groans and “Jeeezus”es from the other players at the table.  I am proud.  Anyway, we snuck her out of the city, the other characters largely foiling any of Annata’s efforts to learn more about the girl and what her deal is.

Upon reflection, this is the first major crime Annata’s performed.  She didn’t really think of it that way at the time, but all these postings about new capital crimes in town made her face that fact.  She had just talked with her spiritual mentor, Father Valdur (incidentally the head of the Bromathan family), who confirmed to her that serving the greater truth and good sometimes required some minor deception.  So she’s OK with it, but a little sobered now in retrospect.

The appearance of these “Queen’s Physicians” and “Grey Maidens” seems ominous.  Annata is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, despite her companions’ immediate ranting about cryptofascist conspiracies.  But it is fishy enough that she’s willing to check into them a bit more.

Meanwhile, Valash appears to be going totally and completely insane.  Obsessive/compulsive mania and paranoia.  Up till now Annata was tolerant of her friend’s quirks but now she’s getting concerned.

The dungeon crawl against the wererats went well.  Annata managed to save the lives of all but one of the wererats, still being very reluctant to have anyone die.  She was disappointed that she couldn’t talk Girrigz, the wererat leader, into repenting of his evil ways and accepting redemption.  But, the Mark of the Outcast she placed upon him will likely prevent any further shenanigans.  And they saved an otyugh!

Third Curse of the Crimson Throne “Edge of Anarchy” Session Summary Posted

The party’s capture/rescue of Trina Sabor, alleged assassin of the King, in Curse of the Crimson Throne: Edge of Anarchy Part III is about the last straw for Annata. She can’t be sure that Trina didn’t have anything to do with the King’s demise (a poor artist with a magical mithril shirt, dagger, and potion loadout? That’s a little suspicious) despite her convincing-sounding story to that effect, but she doesn’t feel right about how everything happened – Field Marshal Croft seems honorable but she’s bound by her orders, and the orders coming down to her seem more and more questionable.  She had wanted to talk to Trina herself, have the goddess prove the truth of her words, but they’d been sent off immediately on an errand to retrieve that poor Shoanti boy’s body from the boneyard.  And while they were gone, the Queen’s guard spirited the girl away.  She wept in anger and frustration when they returned from the crypts to discover Trina’d been taken without even an interrogation to her execution.

Even tired and out of spells from their battle with the minions of the necromancer Rolth, she would have stood up for the girl publicly had she been sure of her innocence.  She tried to find anyone to talk to who might be able to do something, but she couldn’t find Vencarlo or the Field Marshal, and Sabine and the Queen were inaccessible. She felt for that poor girl – as they marched her out to meet the headsman, she fervently prayed to the Dawnflower to spare her if she was innocent, or to grant her a quick end with no pain if she was not… But then the goddess answered her prayer in the most unexpected and awesome way ever – Annata’s heart leapt in her chest when Blackjack himself appeared to spirit away the condemned artist right off the chopping block!

Sarenrae’s word on the matter could not be any more clear. If Blackjack is against the Queen – then she shall be too! No more accepting questionable jobs in the alleged name of order and the public good. Annata will get to the bottom of this, and as the Book of Light and Truth says, “Where the Dawnflower’s rays shine, the darkness can not stand.”

Second Curse of the Crimson Throne “Edge of Anarchy” Session Summary Posted

Edge of Anarchy, Part II continued the urban fun, as we took on missions for the Korvosan Guard to help stabilize the city.  Sure, we stopped some killers and met with the crime boss known as the King of Spiders to get blackmail material on a Chelixian ambassador, but more importantly, Annata has been meeting some interesting men!

Last time, actually, is when we met Grau, the Korvosan Guard sergeant who was wandering the chaotic streets drunk and depressed.  We escorted him back to Citadel Volshyenek at the time, and now we’ve been sent there by the Queen to help Field Marshal Kroft and the Guard.  He’s cleaned himself up and has been showing the heroes around.  She got the whole story out of him – how he and his fencing master had both fallen in love with the same woman, another fencing student, and it had all ended badly.  (And the woman was Sabine, the Queen’s bodyguard and rumored lover!)  A sad story and six pack abs.  He definitely needs an understanding ear, and maybe hearing about the Dawnflower can help him.

Then, she met Vencarlo Orisini, a dashing gentleman, who was bringing important information to the Field Marshal.  He’s well connected, very honorable, handsome – and Grau’s old fencing master!  Annata was ready to not like him, but her standoffishness melted in the face of his nobility (he actually asked after his old student, who he wished well despite their falling out.)  And you don’t get your hand kissed much on the streets of Korvosa nowadays.  And he owns his own villa…  And the long hair looks good on him…

What’s a good girl who’s been largely holed up in a temple for the last seven years to think!?!

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First Curse of the Crimson Throne “Edge of Anarchy” Session Summary Posted

Well, our gaming group completed the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path from Paizo.  It took a year of hard gaming.  But there’s no rest for the wicked!  We’re starting in on our next campaign, the next AP from Paizo – Curse of the Crimson Throne.  And we’re using the Pathfinder RPG Beta playtest rules, as it’s way better than D&D 4e.  This one starts in the city of Korvosa, with our brave characters coming together to get even with the crime lord Gaedren Lamm.  That goes well, but then the King dies and the entire city breaks out into riot and rebellion!  Thrill to our urban adventures in… Edge of Anarchy, Part I!

And as a bonus here’s my character, Annata Vieri, cleric of Sarenrae the Dawnflower.  She’s cute!!!