So, we played two days ago, and it was a blast! We finished the first module with a bang, and then went on to the next, with a few hiccups. A very fun meeting, I hope you will enjoy as well.

An important note is that Andrew's player wished to change character (He didn't like the limited options of a non caster). But he wanted to find a decent finishing point for Andrew as well. This happens at the start of the second module.

Shall we begin?

Session 7, Part 1- Battle over the Wardstone fragment, Areelu's temptation

Music from where we left last time

Last we left the party after defeating the Aghash Div, but with Andrew at -4 hp due to a lucky zombie's axe. They quickly got him back to health using the many potions of CLW they hoarded (The module gives out LOADS of those!). Once he was back to his feet, they decided to explore the Scrying pool in the room. Sena cleaned it, and prayed for guidance, which came in the form of a short vision- he felt as if he was floating up the stairs to the third level, where he saw a hellish site: The floor as it was seemed ripped apart, like it was pulled and twisted, with gaps leading to abyssal depths. The place was partly transforming into the abyss! Parts of it seemed to connect to a desert, part of it to ice, and in the center thee was a sort of an island, a necrotic themed island, where Sena saw two prominent figures- one of a great black and red minotaur, and the other of a twisted wasted form, part elf, part insect- Jaslyn. Behind her, in the middle of the "isle" was the Wardstone fragment, shedding light. The favored of Deskari noticed his presence, and dispelled it.

Getting his senses back, Sena told the party what he saw, and they decided to explore the rest of the floor first, and only then ascend.

The exploration was brief- some minor documents, minor treasure, 1-2 more planar effects, and little else. The party discussed whether to open the blocked door, but decided against it. From the sounds of it there was some ooze behind (They were right, I changed the Preyton there to a hungry flesh)

They were ready, for the big fight, the last fight in the module, to destroy the wardstone fragment! (I was a bit surprised, they were somewhat depleted, but they decided to go on)

A few magical preparations (Skip if not interested). Mostly out of scrolls and wands and such, which the party hoarded till this point: Protection from evil on all 7 (including Arabeth and Millorn). Harry got Andrew and Mad dog enlarged, and cast shiled on himself. Sena cast Hide from undead on Harry, Mad dog, Andrew and Andera, and used a few scrolls to add all kind of defensive buffs to himself. (He likes playing defense). Mad dog who fers wht is to happen drinks a potion of invisibility.

With improved defenses, and their two melee bruiser enlarged, the party ascended up.

The final battle!
As the party ascended the stairs the came to a strange looking battlefield:

Spoiler: pics of the battlefield
Pardon the quality

A magnification of the central part, Jaclyn's necrotic "isle" she's the green- baige miniature, the black bull in the fiendish minotaur.

A bit of n explanation is due: The characters are on the topmost right of the battlefield. going south of that the battlefield continues till it turns to red- n incursion of an Abysiall desert. From the characters and to the left and then down the battlefield continues till it meets an icy patch- an incursion of an abyssial tundra. There are gaps which are basically sheer drops into abyssal energy. (I was hoping for some pushes over edges and such). In the center there is a black place, an incursion of The Rot- an abyssal necromatic place, In which the Wardstone (Orange) has been placed, hoping that the negative energies will drain on the stone. The area is floating, and not attached by land to anywhere.

Enemies? The blue ones are zombies, fast zombies. (Jaclyn could easily zummon more of these using animate dead combined with remove paralysis on the many bodies in her isle). The green ones are dretches, and the red ones re Schir demons.

And then there re the tiefling summoners, in grey (Hard to see on the map), one for each zone, and focused around some abyssal crystal (There's always a crystal! ). The party didn't know what these were yet, but were worried.

I changed Jaclyn a bit. She raised her bow and mocked at the players. "You've met only mooks and pitiful underlings so far, but now you face a true force of the abyss!" It's go time!

The party at both curses and is excited. Surprisingly, Mad dog's large size makes it hard for him to navigate the small bridges, he moves a bit to the south, but the schir, with his ability to see invisible sees him, and yells out.

The zombies try to move forward, some are baffled by the invisible mass of Mad dog. This is followed by stinking clouds of dretches. Thoguh the party makes their save (other than millorn), they realize they are gettign swamped. Sena shouts: "Andrew! Mad dog! Make us room, we can't be bottled here. Harry, you and I occupy the bitch, keep the pressure on her!"

But there are more suprises! The summoners each reach towards the crystal, and cast a summon monster spell, and portals appear near the party, an icy one and a firey one. The Blue portal sends a chilling wind on them (30 ft line, 3d6 damage, fort save 16 for half), while from the red one comes another schir.

Sena focuses and unleashes a channel energy, greatly harming the oncoming undead. Jaclyn curses him "I can make many more than you can destroy!" To which Sena just replies "You're probably right!" Harry moves behind Mad dog and targets Jaclyn with magic missiles. She shoots him, trying to disrupt him with her corrosive bow, but he manages to retain his spell, and wounds her nicely.

Andrew also channels, destroying the wounded undead, and tries to move to the other front, but finds it hard to move. Andera follows him, and targets a schir with holy arrows from the armory.

Then the black portal appears, two of them in fact- one near the island, another on the north west front of the battlefield, and the fiendish minotaur steps through it, roaring a challenge, and readying to charge.

The party thinks about having John jump the distance to the island, but he finds it hard to find a good spot (I made it difficult, but not impossible. It's odd that jump is now dex based in PF!). He settles for killing two dretches with a cleave. But then the shcirs (Other then the west most one) close on him and they start exchanging blows. Mad dog is locked in battle with them (To the player's frustration), which takes up most of his next rounds.

Meanwhile the portals spew more cold, and another schir. Andrew moves forward and engages the minotaur, "smite eviling" him. Jaclyn uses a wand for remove paralasys, intending to raise 14 more fast zombies next round and send them through the portal, but Sena notices this. He doesn't know what exactly she is doing, but he knows how to stop her- Silence... he puts it at the center of the island, effectively blocking the entire island! (Including the summoner who controls the portal). This may have been the winning move of this battle.

harry doesn't let go either and keeps sending more spells on her.
Jaclyn comes through the portal to cast dispel magic from a scroll on the silence, but Sena pulls out another scroll of silence and repeats the process. Harry manages to immolate her in fire, While Andrew dmages the minotaur greatly. The party is starting to do some good damage here!

But they are taking major damage as well. Mad dog can't hold up to the schirs and they drop him to a -8, Jaclyn decides to put some pressure on the heroes, and try and help her minotaur and comes to deliver a serious inflict spell on andrew, making him in the single digits as well.

Sena positions himself between the two, and heals them somewhat, when ndrew turns on Jaclyn and delivers two mighty blows with his sword and shiled, taking her to 0. And Harry finishes her with a well timed power missile! The minotaur then falls from a sneak attack from the disappeared andera.

Now, I try to take some advice from the Angry DM, and know when to finish encounters. This was basically over, as the party easily powered the rest. They were in high mood, and dredging through killing everyone and so on would just take a long time, and add nothing. So we decided that I'll narate a bit from here on, which went on something like this: They went through the dark portal (Which still couldn't move due to silence), and faced the summoner. He used a silver red bell which vanished. Nearly immediately they could feel some presence approaching, so they went to the wardstone frgament, and Sena used the rod of cancellation they got from Quendys to destroy it.

But it was not over yet! As the wardstone fragment shattered, sending out a great light, the party felt falling into darkness, feeling that something was very, very wrong.

DM thoughts- design of the final battle and execution
The final battle was supposed to be a few things- it was supposed to be tough, it was supposed to be a bit of a puzzle (How to get to the main island) and it was supposed to mke the players think and prsent them with quite a few choices.

In the original module the 3rd floor is one tiny room with the minotaur, and one tiny room with Jaclyn (And possible reinforcements if you'd like). That was quite absurd since a character can then just walk to the fragment, suffer a few AoO at worst, and destroy it with one action. Lame! So I tried something different.

The party could solve this in a few ways- either kill a summoner and take control over their portal to gain access. Jump to the place, find another way there or... just draw Jaclyn to where they were and kill her there. Jaclyn had quite a few option on her island as well- send the minotaur and heal him with necrotic energy (Through a wand, I changed 1 feat for undead affinity), Summon fiendish dire bats, shoot her +1 corrosive long bow (She had a big enough to hit bonus to hurt most) Hold person to anyone who got close enough, summon more undead, soul siphon for those who were close enough and so on...

But Sena managed to negate most of those. Good for him the bastard!
All in all the battle felt a bit on the easy side (Though Mad Dog and Andrew were about 1 hit from dying) and ended fairly quickly (5- 6 rounds or so). The party commented on this however that for once, they acted as one group, with each doing his share and acting his role in the plan.
Good for them!

Areelu's Vorlesh offer
The five PCs found themselves surrounded by a soft white light, but otherwise in darkness. Then they heard the slow soft clapping, and saw Areelu Vorlesh, the half fiendish witch who opened the worldwound in the first place, sitting on a destroyed pillar and smiling. Sena's player cursed "I knew it! We weren't supposed to destroy it, right?" Mad dog's plyer was confused. Andera's player was angry "We did as we were told..."

Areelu began to speak. "You have done what none of us could. The wardstone would burn any demon or cultist who tried to get near. Though we destroyed most of it, enough remained to keep the border intact. But heroes? Righteous heroes? Heroes that were played right, led to believe they are saving the day? Those could enter and do our work for us. Provided they were told the right story, and were courageous enough, fool enough, or just gullible enough to do fall for the bait."

She then revealed the wardstone border failing, and the demons rushing in all over.

"Congratulations, you have highhandedly doomed Mendev, and all it's people, we could not have done it better ourselves. You are indeed great monsters, great demons, great murderers. There were many eyes: Those who's mind was preoccupied with the abyss for long" (She showed Millorn, looking at Andrew, voices whispering behind his eyes). "Those who bear our influence in their very blood, body and essence. (Showing Lann, with hateful thoughts towards the "uplanders", towards the great city they have built, while their people were in the dark) "Those who carry the shame of their actions, the curse of those dead due to their guilt" (John, with the spirits whispering in his ears. "You left us! We died cause of you!") And even one so distraught with love, she would pledge herself to the dark, for a chance to see her loved one again." (Arabeth praying fervently, crying, mouthing "Anevia, please! Just bring her back to me!")

The party seemed a bit confused at this. Mad dog's player didn't quite understand what was about with Anevia. I noticed Sena tensing a bit about John. (Mad Dog the Character by the way wasn't listening at all. He was thinking how hot she looked and if he could bed her. Players! )

"Once we knew there were heroes, all it took was to move the right pieces (She makes a sort of a gaming board, moving pieces. The Aghash Div and, Faxon, the above 4, plus Quendys with emphasis. Party "So he IS the betrayer!") and let you do the rest… Give a few heroes little hope, to crush the hopes of hundreds of thousands."

She then turned specifically to each one:
"You Senatef, the ever watchful, careful. You were suspicious, yet you did nothing. You followed around, like a good little sheep. It was your inaction that led to this doom." The player did not respond.

"Andera, the vanquisher of demons, the spy, the cunning. You have failed to see the real danger, you have failed to see the scheme, and have led to your people to their demise." The player looked surprised, but dismissed this offhand.

"Harry, one so knowledgable, so wise. And yet so eager to destroy. You alone could understand the great magical energies in the wardstone, yet did you question? Did you object? Research? No… You came forth eager for destruction of a massive scale. Well, the destruction you have wrought is epic indeed." To which he just replied "Ah- huh!" (??)

"Mad dog, a nickname of a mindless rabid animal, eager for the kill, the slaughter, the mayhem. Congratulations! You and your friends are probably the biggest mass murderers in history, and the deaths of your fellow beings will be excruciating, painful, and their souls will fuel our armies. We have you to thank for!" (Mad dog was still lost in his "how to shag" contemplations)

And you Andrew, with your blind zealortry, and utter conviction of your just cause. You never stopped to question. Even now I can feel you trying to object, to find a way out of this mess, to justify your atrocities, to others, to yourself. You are impressive, but you have been blind. And in your blindness led your people to their doom!" Andrew rose up to her. "A lot of talk and little action! Come and fight me! One on one if you dare!" (The player informed me in secret that he sought a way to finish Andrew's story, and thought this would be an appropriate death. I had another idea though, one that I thought he might like better, later on).

She looked at them all. And then came to her pitch. "I see the power of the wardstone in you. I seek it. I offer you a reprise- You can live, you can flourish, you can become great, powerful, a terror to behold. Swear Allegiance to Deskari, and it will grant you power beyond your dreams! He favors greatly those capable, powerful and destructive enough, as you have shown yourselves to be." Something changed in Sena's player face. I din't quite understand it at that point.

Deskari's form, the gigantic humanoid insectoid with wings made of giant swarmed loomed above.

What is the alternative? Either serve, and relish in the riches, or Die, like your friends. She once more showed them. "The egg hatches" (Millorn erupting, a shadowy figure crawling out of him) "The tainted return to us" (Some Majestic demon commanding Lann and the mongrelfolk to turn on the others) "The warrior faces the past" (John has spirits face him, surrounding him) "Power meets greater power". (Quendys and Aravash try spells against the worm that walks, which then uses disintegrate to kill both) "The Lover returns her love" (Arabeth is possessed and comes towards Anevia who shoots arrows, and drive a sword through her heart, crying.) At this last one they suddenly questioned. "Wait, are we seeing things as they are or..."

But Sena interrupted her at this point. "Thanks you for sharing this info. I think your planned is flawed. I think you tried to trick us. I almost believed you till you told us why you need us, and I understood that all of this... charade, is meant to impress us. But it is YOU who needs US. You chatter too much, your arrogance has betrayed you." He motioned to the eyes of Deskari "And I think we know who is the pawn in this game, don't we?. I don't believe anything you talk about. You have shown your fear! WE are the force that could beat you! Thank you for delivering this freely." He then started slowly clapping, as she had in the beginning. And the rest? Well, they just joined in the clapping!

It was my hope that some might accept her offer, be demoralized or beaten enough. (My guess was on Sena and Mad Dog) but it apparently didn't work. Oh well! "You insolent! If you will not serve! You will die!

Throw init. Areelu wins (+16 to init after all). and starts with mass suffocation. At this Sena's player start shooting expletives "A 9th level spell? you kidding me?" Buuuuttt.. as per the module, the power of the wardstone saves them. As she casts the spell the light within them grows fierce, and attacks her! She creams, trying to get forward. The party's awareness shifts between her and the history of the Wardstone. (This is all narration, but a short one)

The fire starts to sear her wing and arm. The party sees the true vision- Wardstones all over the border over charge, killing thousands of demons, then all of them going inert. In the past, in 4635, PCs see the building of the first wardstone, with the herald of Iomadae- an angel with a halo of swords.

Areelu tries to walk towards, but is pushed back by the energy, much of the wing is and one arm are burned. In 4665, Hurlun burns the first 20 witches. In 4692, Storm king attacks wardstone, Terendelev nearly kills him. The Storm King escapes.

Areelu screeches, falls back, wing burned to bones and tendons, arm cracked, Areelu's skin burns, her horn splinters, flesh showing in half her body, skin burnt. In 4712, Arabeth fights Staunton Vhane near Wardstone, he escapes with fiendish wasp. Minhago the Lilitu demon speaks to Jeslyn atop the Gray Garrison "Wish for it darling mortal" Jaslyn- "I wish for the abyss itself make me a protector, help guard the stone till it's corrupted to Deskari's glory!"

One of Areelu's eyes melt, She shrieks to high hell, some ribs are showing, one arm is useless, the other already badly burned. The party sees Areelu's Vorlesh plan- the nyhandrian crystal used with the Wardstone to turn the many crusaders into demons. They see the silver bell appearing at her side and Areelu using the Imago lens to teleport back into the world.

Areelu lays on the floor, crumpled barely living, great strength of will. "I… Will have my revenge! Next time the ward stone won't protect you!" She then turns and despite the great pain uses some power and vanishes… (Mad Dog's player, as gore happy as she is, really liked the drawn out descriptions of Areelu's suffering. But she thought she was less "shag worthy" after all of that..."

DM design- Areelu's Temptation
Areelu isn't a fair match to the players power wise. But she could be roleplay wise. The module have her try to kill the PCs, get burned, and then send 6 Babau to a fight against super powered PCs. It cheapens Areelu in my opinion, and it gives no actual interaction between this BBEG and the PCs. I wanted them to get a small sense of her at least.

I did seem to mess up with her wanting the PCs for their power. This seemed to have tipped Sena's player off. But if did give him a chance to make a cool counter speech, and feel awesome, spitting in the face of the arch demon.

I did hope that at least 1-2 will find the offer appealing, which sort of make them "mini fall", and have effects that will accompany them on the next part ofthe campaign, but it didn't happen. Oh well. She did end up looking a bit ridiculous, but not overwhelmingly so. More importantly, all players got to snub her a bit and feel rebellious and "sticking it up to the boss" sort of thing. Which is fun!

The PCs found themselves atop the wreckage of the great Garrison, with the sounds of fighting ceasing, and the remains of many demons below, with Lann's forces pressed against the building, protecting it. The day was won, and Kenabres returned!

They still felt the holy power in them, much less than before, but still potent, different. The wordstones' power, made up from the prayers of tens of thousands over the past century settled finally on them. And they could sense the last words- "Our last hopes are with you…"

Some end music. We are the champions, by Queen

End of "The worldwound Incursion" module!

Each Player's XP: 19,720 (The big fight was worth around 20,000 XP, Areelu's temptation was 1,500 for each PC that didn't take the bait)

So we ended the first module. Spirit were high around the table, and the feeling was good. The party leveled to 5th level, plus they just got Mythic! There was a long time of trying to work out all of those details, so we took a humus and cake break, and worked on things, while I took a bit of time to unwind. I'll update with the level up and the start of the second module at a later time.

Hope you're enjoying, we sure did!