Rise of the Runelords (Anniversary Edition)

So, a lot has happened....

I haven’t kept this up-to-date since the group finished Book 1. They are nearly through Book 2, so I don’t intend to go back and fill in all those details. I’ll try to keep this more up-to-date as we make our way into Book 3.

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Game Session #5: Thistletop! (Part II)

Current Year: 4707 AR
Date: 1 Lamashan

Having recovered from the battle with the dozens of goblins on the surface, the heroes began their journey into the lower levels of the hideout. Carefully moving about the stone corridors, the party encountered the bugbear ranger, Bruthazmus! They had heard the name of this goblin hero before, from the elven ranger Shalelu Andosana, and knew of his particular hatred for elves. Stumbling upon his bedchamber, his many consorts interposed themselves between the bugbear and the party, and the giant began to fire arrows at the party members in the front ranks. However, after his “wives” were killed, he engaged the party with his melee weapons, but he was no match for them, and was soon dispatched.

The party continued to press into the depths of Thistletop, and encountered an ebon-skinned wizard, who shrieked at them for killing her beloved, Tsuto! As the fight commenced and as she bought herself time through the use of creating multiple images of herself to delay the party, a familiar voice rang out: TSUTO! The half-elf had escaped his bonds en route to Magnimar, and made his way quickly here, to protect his love, Nualia! But, even with the assistance of the wizard who loved him (but for whom he had no such feelings), the party quickly sent them to their early graves.

As they ventured further, they discovered the human fighter Orik Vancaskerkin, a sellsword and mercenary. The warrior had been helped out of trouble by Nualia and others, and so he felt a sense of duty to repay the debt. However, not long after coming to Thistletop, he realized her terrifying plans and wanted no part of them. Giving the party information he thought might be helpful, Orik fled Thistletop, never to return.

And, as they cotinued to explore, they opened a non-descript door from the passageway and saw an unmistakenly beautiful, white-haired female. Her armor exposed her belly, which bore many scars. Her left arm and hand were no longer that of a humanoid, but of a demon. The party had finally discovered what had happened to Nualia! The party attempt to parley with her, to inquire what she was doing with the remains of her father. The aasimar told the party of her tragic and sordid history – from the constant ridicule of her beauty, to her seduction by a young cad from Magnimar, to the stillbirth of her bastard and monstrous child, to the soothing voice of the mother of monsters. The voice had fueled her rage and her hate, and she took vengeance by murdering her father (she had barricaded him in his room and set the fire that burned down the temple) and then hunting down and murdering her former lover. And, in the whispering voice of Lamashtu, she found purpose.

The party, stunned at the depth of despair and vileness of her story, could not reason with her, and a frantic struggle for survival began. Nualia proved to be quite capable and powerful, and with one stroke, she nearly decapitated Drodin! With great fortitude, the paladin survived, and the heroes managed to dispatch the priestess of Lamashtu and her evil yeth hounds. Exploring her room, they discovered that the priestess wore a strange medallion, adorned with the strange seven-pointed symbol. They took the medallion, with plans to have it examined later, perhaps by the sage of Sandpoint, Bordert Quink.

The party eventually came upon two pillars, and upon further examination, the pillars seemed to be carved in the form of two large stacks of coins. Carefully inspection revealed a slot in each one – after a moments, they placed a coin in each slot, and the pillars gave way to an undiscovered and unexplored area of the fortress. They proceeded to investigate and eventually made their way to a room as hot and smokey as the bowels of the Nine Hells! It was there, in this smoky and acrid-smelling room, that the party finally encountered Nualia’s monster: Malfeshnekor, the greater barghest. Trapped here for all eternity, with an unending hunger, the creature eagerly awaited its freedom, which would have been secured by the completion of Nualia’s ritual. Freedom, however, was not to come. The battle was short-lived.

Binding their wounds, gathering their belongings, and trying to peace together the strange events found here, the party made the two-hour journey back to Sandpoint, where they hoped they could finally enjoy a hero’s rest.

But, one nagging thought continued to plague them: was it mere coincidence that they encountered the servants of Lamashtu on the first day of the month named for her? Coincidences were certainly common enough, but this? This seemed to be so much more.

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Game Session #4: Thistletop! (Part I)

Current Year: 4707 AR
Date: 30 Rova

Having made their preparations, the heroes departed Sandpoint for Thistletop. The journey to the thistle and bramble-shrouded woods took a bit over two hours. Venturing into the woods, the small-stature of the dwarves made navigating the narrow and thicketed passes easier. As they carefully made their way through, they encountered a goblin druid (who they would later learn was named Gogmurt.) The druid made great uses of his abilities to pass through the wall of the thickets, striking the group then fading back to the protection of the brambles. At one point, his potent magics managed to ensorcle Beast, who ignored any commands from Rockash and simply sat, passively watching the combat take place. Gogmurt was assisted by his firepelt cougar companion, Tangletooth. The party dispatched the cougar, then gave chase, but the druid managed to escape.

As the party made their way to the bridge connecting the mainland to the island (that once was the head of one of the Runelord Karzoug’s sentinel statues), Astrid noticed that the decaying rope bridge had been trapped, and that too much weight would cause the bridge to collapse, sending all those on it to the briny depths some eighty feet below. As Astrid worked to bypass the trap, the others noticed that something large and heavy had been dragged through the thicket and at least to their end of the bridge, if not across it to the other side. Carefully, the party made their way across the bridge, where they found the wooden stockade that was home to a number of goblins.

Most of the goblins the party encountered were nothing more than mere annoynaces. They were easily dispatched, and after one encounter, the party discovered the large and heavy creature that had been dragged from the mainland: a large, black horse had been captured and was tied up. Clearly indicating it wanted to be free, the party removed the ropes and the horse galloped away to freedom.

The party continued to investigate the stockade further and, again, easily dispatched the goblins, except for one: Warchief Ripnugget! The goblin warrior charged into battle, mounted on a large gecko named Stickfoot. Ripnugget’s skills as a mounted combatant were formidable, and he did considerable damage to the party. However, eventually, the party held fast, wore him down, and he died.

Resting to heal their wounds, Rockash quickly journedy back to Sandpoint, where Father Zantus provided him with a number of potions and scrolls to assist them. He returned to the party, where the healed and rested for the night, preparing to journey into the lower levels of Thistletop!

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Game Session #3: The Catacombs of Wrath

Current Year: 4707 AR
Date: 29 Rova

Having cleared the Glassworks, freed Ameiko and apprehended Tsuto, the party returned briefly to Sandpoint before making its journey blow the Glassworks into the Catacombs of Wrath. They took Tsuto to Sheriff Hemlock, and told him of Tstuo’s involvement in the raid on Sandpoint and in the kidnapping and beating of Ameiko.

Sheriff Hemlock indicated that, due to the nature of his crimes and the small and limit courts in Sandpoint, Tsuto would have to be taken to Magnimar, where he would be held over until a trial could occur. Reluctantly, the party agreed and handed him over.

After resting for a few hours, the party made their back to tunnels below the Glassworks.

As they entered the newly-discovered area, a strange monstrosity of a creature attacked them. Vaguely humanoid in shape, the creature seemed to be something of a distortion of a human, with long, gangly arms, and two small arms with tiny hands which surrounded its mouth. The creature was quickly dispatched, but it’s unnatural, otherworldly nature unnerved the heroes.

Moving through the catacombs, the heroes found a statue that they would later identify as one of Alaznist, the Runelord of Wrath. The statue was adorned with this symbol:

Wrath.jpg

They secured the removable glaive, and proceeded on, encountering a variety of monsters – sinspawn, a mutant goblin with three arms, and lastly, an extremely powerful quasit (which the party believes is the one referred to in Tsuto’s journal.) After a protracted battle. the quasit fled and the party returned to Sandpoint, where they began planning their expedition to Thistletop.

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Game Session #2: The Glassworks

Current Year: 4707 AR
Date: 29 Rova

The party set out to investigate the Glassworks, searching for any sign or trace of Ameiko. As they approached, they made some general inquiries of nearby citizens regarding the comings-and-goings of persons in the area. They indicated that recently the shop had been closed to the public, but that the furnaces were running. Most just assumed that there was a large project being undertaken and that the workers did not want to be disturbed or interrupted.

Arriving at the Glassworks, the heroes found every exterior door locked, and the interior curtains closed at every window. Astrid scaled the wall and, peering into one of the skylights, looked down into the main furnace room. What she saw was nothing short of shocking: goblins were running around in a frenzy, waving and arm or leg, throwing an occasional hand or foot, squealing gleefully. She saw human corpses, and noticed that some had been covered in molten glass.

The party moved to an exterior set of doors, and Astrid’s skills with a lock-pick gained the party entrance to the building. After a quick exploration, the party moved into the main furnace room, where they were attacked by eight goblins. The fight was difficult – the cramped space combined with the number of goblins proved a serious challenge to the group, but they were able to overcome the frenzied goblins, though two managed to escape through another door. After the fight, the party searched the room and found, propped in a chair, the molten-glass encased corpse of Lonjiku Kaijitsu.

The heroes headed off after the fleeing goblins, descending a stair case that was in the adjoining room. Discovering a wall that had been knocked down, the party searched the area. Hearing some sounds, the party continued on, eventually discovering the injured Ameiko Kaijitsu. The party healed her, and upon regaining consciousness, she informed the party that she had been lured here by her brother, Tsuto. He had attempted to get her to join him in following Nualia, as other mercenaries had done. She had refused and so Tsuto had his goblins beat her. The party escorted her to the stairs and directed her to seek out Father Zantas for healing.

The party made its way to the one room it had not explored, and when the opened the door, they were attacked by the two goblins which had fled Additionally, Tsuto attacked the party and, in moments, had rendered Drodin and Astrid unconscious. Tsuto proved to be a difficult opponent, but the party finally defeated him. Though he nearly bled to death, Rockash was able to stabilize him. The party searched him and found some equipment and his journals.

The journals were filled with pages full of drawings of Nualia. Three pages in particular stood out, and in those pages, the party learned that Nualia (who had been presumed dead) had burned the remains of her adopted father as a means to gain favor with Lamashtu. As well, there were references to a forthcoming larger assault on Sandpoint. Additionally, two locations were mentioned that caught the party’s attention: the tunnels below the Glassworks, and Thistletop (which is a journey of two hours by foot from Sandpoint.)

The party secured Tsuto and is contemplating its next move.

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Game Session #1: Sandpoint!
The journey begins

Current Year: 4707 AR
Date: 23 Rova (the Autumnal Equinox)

The heroes of gathered together at the coastal town of Sandpoint, home of the group’s resident rogue, Astrid, and locale of the great Swallowtail Festival. The group, who casually refers to itself as “The Drunken Brigade”, has come to join their ally in her town’s celebration.

The Swallowtail Festival is a celebration in honor of Desna, and on this particular occasion, it is also being used as a time to dedicate the new cathedral. The new religious center was erected to replace the one destroyed in a tragic fire that occurred five years prior, claiming the live of priest Ezakian Tobin and his adopted daughter, Nualia.

After playing a variety of games, with varying degrees of success (and failure!), the group gathered to hear the remarks of Father Zantus. As the thunderstone struck the lectern, high-pitched cries and chanting could be heard, and in seconds, the town was overridden by swarms of goblins. The Drunken Brigade performed heroically, dispatching the goblins in their area and saving the life of Magnimarrian nobleman, Aldern Foxglove. Foxglove, thankful for the assistance of the party, invited them to join him in two days on a boar hunt, offered to pay for their mounts, and paid them a small some of money for his rescue.

As they surveyed the damage, they were approached by Ameiko Kaijitsu, owner of the Rusty Dragon Inn. For their efforts in defending Sandpoint, Ameiko has offered them free room and board at her establishment.

Date: 24 Rova
The next day, the group was approached by Sheriff Belor Hemlock for their assistance. There had been a disturbance at the boneyard, and he wanted their help to investigate. Upon entering the vault which had been disturbed, the party was attacked by two animated skeletons. The undead were easily dispatched by the group, though two important discoveries were made: first, a robe of bones was found (which Kharrum, as the expert in matters undead was able to determine, was used to create the skeletons); second, the remains of former priest Ezakian Tobin were missing. Sheriff Hemlock asked that the group not inform anyone as to the his last fact, lest a panic might ensue. The group then went to speak with Father Zantus. They learned of Tobin’s adopted, aasimar daughter, Nualia, and the presumption that she had died with her father in the fire (her body was never recovered, but because parts of the fire had been so hot, they presumed that it had been completely destroyed.)

Date: 25 Rova
With the rising of the sun, the party, outfitted in riding and hunting attire, met Aldern Foxglove at the gates to Sandpoint. He gave them a brief instruction on the sport of hunting and, with the blare of the horns, the boar hunt was underway. It took little time to find a suitable quarry, and the massive beast was quickly dispatched. It was hauled off to the Rusty Dragon in for preparation for the night’s meal.

Later that evening, as the party dined with Foxglove, a loud and surly visitor burst into the dining hall of the Rusty Dragon. This man was Lonjiku Kaitjitsu. Looking at the party, he made a series of jibes about “vigilantes” and “leaving the job to those hired to do it.” Speaking in a language that no one understood, he bellowed and howled, until Ameiko appeared. The two exchanged heated words, and as the older man attempt to grab Ameiko, she hit him in the head with her ladle. Humiliated, the old man began to depart. As he reached the door, he turned to Ameiko and, in common, shouted, “You are as dead to me as your mother!”

As the commotion died down, the party returned to their meal with Foxglove, he indicated that he would begin his return to Magnimar the next day. As well, he invited them to visit him at his home should their journeys ever take them to the City of Monuments.

Date: 28 Rova
After spending a few days visiting the town, meeting residents of Sandpoint (who have come to view the party as heroes), the group was approached in the early morning hours by Amele Barrett. Her son, Aeren, had been having nightmares about a goblin in his room. Her husband, believing it to be the work of bad dreams, eventually quit going to the room to check out the situation. However, the previous night, the family’s dog, wouldn’t quit barking and whining, and such were the yelps of the dog that Amele grabbed her children and took them out of the house. She asked the party to investigate. Upon searching Aeren’s room, they found Amele’s husband, Alergast, face down in the closet. Turning him over, they noticed that his face had been almost entirely chewed off. At that moment, a goblin leaped from a hole in the closet and attacked the party, but was quickly slain.

As the day continued, Sheriff Hemlock asked the party to join him at a meeting with Mayor Kendra Deverin and a special visitor. The eleven ranger, Shalelu Andosana, provided information to the party about the five goblin tribes in the area, the rumors of goblin or goblin-allied heroes, and general information about goblins and how they work together. Sheriff Hemlock indicated that he would be travelling with some guards to Magnimar in an attempt to secure more soldiers to help defend Sandpoint should something more serious befall the town. As such, he asked the party to remain in Sandpoint to help keep an eye on things, knowing that doing so would help to maintain the morale of the town’s citizens.

Date: 29 Rova
Early in the morning, a halfling woman named Bethana Corwin approached the party at the Rusty Dragon Inn. She informed them that her employer, Ameiko, had not prepared breakfast that day and had not be seen. She indicated that she had looked in Ameiko’s room and discovered that the bed was unkempt and that there was a note. The language was unfamiliar to the party, so they sought out the services of the town’s sage, Brodert Quink. He translated the letter, which was from Ameiko’s brother, Tsuto. Tsuto asked Ameiko to meet him at the Glassworks at midnight (presumably on 28 Rova) to talk about some information he had related to their father’s involvement in the goblin attack on Sandpoint. The party paid Quink for his services (and his silence and discretion) and began the trip to the Glassworks.

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