I got caught up with a few RL matters. But I'm back, lets finish telling the session's tale.

Session 23, Part 3- Short tempers, Rupture of Rapture, The Battle Bliss arena

After hiring Nezzerius, the party was stumped again. For some reason, some thought it would take him a minute or at most an hour or two to find where Arulahsee is held. When they realized it might take longer (At least day or two), they decided to try and focus on other stuff in the meantime, even though their minds weren't fully in it. They decided to head for Rupture of Rapture, where the succubus Vallexia was interviewing potential performers, and where they thought the coloxus Oodkalakt may be. With frustration, and a short temper, they followed the beheaded doves pointing to the place...

On the way Julian got a Sending from Queen Galifar: "Repelled siege!Marching in force to attack Raliscard, inside Worldwound! Moving fast, taking the initiative. Your situation?"
Julian didn't quite know how to answer her, or had the mood to. She answered a bit cryptically: "In Porphyry, seeking way to do this..."

DM notes- Sendings from the Queen?
Why Sendings from the Queen? For 2 reasons: (Warning! The second one is a major spoiler!
1. I want the party to feel that the war on Golarion is still progressing. That things there won't stand still. I plan on having inter planar sendings from the queen and maybe forces in Galifar from time to time. To keep the party at least minimally connected.
Spoiler: 2.
I mentioned a few times before, that at the end the next module, which originally focuses on the party saving Iomedae's Herald from Baphomet's domain, will be changed to save the Queen herself from there. (I changed her fluff to make her the mortal herald of Iomedae). She gets taken by Baphomet's forces while the army attacks Raliscard, near the very end of this module.
I want to keep the party remembering her, be aware of her at the war. We play so infrequently that I don't want the party forgetting about her existence. Takes a it of "relationship maintenance"

Rupture of Rapture- gaining an audience

The party made it's way into a small courtyard, filled with various hopefuls and wannabes, trying to practice, impress and perform various deeds and the like. Various music prevailed the place.

Rupture of Rapture- Arabian music- 1 hour music track
(I won't fully cal lit that, but meh, it gets the feel I was aiming for. More of what Disney or the like would call "Arabian music". Oh well...)

The party was not in the mood to chit chat. Noticing the main bluish- purple round stylized building, they headed straight for the entrance. The 4 succubi whose job is to sift through the masses of wannabes, stop them. "Hold applicant! Who wishes to come to Vallexia, the illustrious patron of finer arts?"
Sena was a bit confused, but tried to play it. "We heard she wished to see new talents? New things?"
The head succubi snorted in derision. "And YOU think you fit? Mere tieflings? Smelly tieflings? You aren't even dressed right! Pathetic! Move aside wormlings! Next!"
Sena nearly lost it there and then, ready to unleash another holy word spell, just out of anger, but Julian stopped him. She dismissed the veil on herself, and the crowd suddenly gasped and moved aside, as her impressive looks and semi goddess aura was revealed.
Julian talked severely. "We do not deal with mere... lowly servants! Move aside, before you incur my full wrath!"
The succubi seemed fearful, but tried to stood her ground "We are chosen by her, loyal to her, her offsrpings..." but then she stopped, as if hearing something, before moving aside. "Yes, the Lady Vallexia will see to you now. Please wait in the reception for 1 minute, before entering." She bowed and made way for the party, headed by Julian, to enter.

As they entered, the party found themselves in the room which they scried upon earlier, with the coloxus Oodkalakat at the table. Seeing him, Sena approached him, with great intensity. Again, he was not much in the mood for chit-chat. "I know you! You have in your possession a soul stone, of a group of tieflings!" The surprised Oodkalakt stammered, and tried to see who these people were, and why they were asking him of this, when they came to see Vallexia. He tried to talk his way out of it, saying he deals with various soul stones, having made various deals and the like. (I play him like a weaselly small minded bureaucrat, with slurping sounds as his fly tongue comes out every once in a whiel in agitation). The party tries to press him, but Vallexia summons them to enter.

"Entertaining Vallexia"

The party enters the high born succubus' interview room. She sits upon her floating chair, with her tail slaightly tapping on it's side, in a bit of impatience. She herself is dressed like a high noble, with a sophisticated look, and a book at her hand, quill at another. In the room there are also two big cages, in which two warrior like woman are imprisoned, with a defeated look upon them, and a feel that they are not exactly mortals. They were playing music for the succubus, mere broken slaves by now. "Celestials..." Sena mutters, and quickly identify them as Valkyries, of Iomedae most probably. (The original module has lilends captured here, I changed it a bit, to present a more challenging fight if they come to that).

The lady Vallexia gave them an inquiring look, but then smiled politely. "Well, you did make an entrance. You seem to be seeking me, but I know so little of you. Who are you, to seek me?"
S: "Well, it seems like you are a great lady, you seem very respected, and scholarly. (She nods), We needed to talk with you for some time now..."
Vall: "That may well be, but still doesn't answer my question, manners and form are important!"
J: (With a slightly disinterested and mocking tone. "Me Julian."
Vall: "Of which house, of which prodigy, and what is title?"
Julian seemed a bit perplexed, and Andera intervened: "I am Andera Kancher… From Numeria."
Vall: "Numaeria? Yes, I've read about it! It's on Golarion, isn't it? Quite a quaint little place, isn't it?"
Andera was surprised: "You haven't been there?"
Vallexia gave a dismissive bored waver: "I have long since stopped visiting that plane. Why go there, when everything of real interest comes to Porphyry? To me? Besides- visiting the Worldwound and all of that... Not really, fashionable this century, more of a simpletons thing..."
An: "Hnmmm... A lot of your race seem to find it quite... engaging. A lot of souls to tempt, and so on..."
Vallexia gve him a more critical look: "Well... my "race", has many variations, opinions and the like. I'm not one of your common street succubi."
Julian decided to answer her now. "I am Julian, of Drezen, freed Drezen."
Vallexia took an interest in that. "Yes... I have heard of curious changes on Golarion. Are you..." She looked at her unusual look "One of them?"
Julian answered squarely. "I am not alone in the changes in our world, I am one of them, but not the sole one."
Vallecia lifted her quill and wrote briefly in her book."We shall see..."
John watches her tail "I am John, barbarian champion of Drezen."
She looked at him with a light interest, but mostly a certain disgust/ refrain. "Yes... I can see why..."
S: "And I am Senatef, And I lead the new way."
Vallexia wrote a bit more in her book, but then confronted the party: And what is it that you seek here? I seek new talents, performances and amusement for my house, yet you seem to have your own Agenda?"
J: "Our presence here concerns a possession of one of your minions." (She quickly explains Oodkalakat and the soul stone)
Vallexia is quite displeased: "You came for that little Dretch? Is that why you bothered me?!"
The players quickly discuss an idea- they think they might be able to learn more of Nocticula from Vallexia, one of the nobles...
Sena: "Maybe you should know that the Silent Darkness is coming to a close." (A term in the previous post s a legend telling of Nocticula's withdrawn in the past few centuries)
This perked her interest: "Really, how may that be, and how would you know?"
The party a bit jumbles this up, talking about an alliance with other demon lords, about dedicating the plane's forces to the war on Golarion, dragging the Elite succubi with it, but they fare poorly...
Vallexia makes another dismissing wave, this time with some annoyance. "Always rumors, no one will know what she will do. Have you come to waste my time with such prattle?"
An: "Perhaps we can trade information?"
Vallexia laughs "With you? Rumor mongers? I come here to seek talents, skills, creativity, not to gossip with off worlders with out a clue..."
Mad dog asks: "Skills in what exactly?"
Vallexia smiles, reclining "Surprise me, amuse me, entertain me. I am open to new, innovative things..."
Sena tries to impress by casting some sort of an ethereal spell. (I forgot) She is displeased. "Many master magic, it is not something... NEW... I hope you have better?"
The party gets around to the fact that SHE also has an interest here.

Julian answers in a song, with rhymes and such, that she seems to think might fit. (The chracter even has 1 rank in perform), yet the player rolls poorly, and she is displeased. "You have a powerful presence, but you lack training, finesse, control. Maybe practice for a few years, then come back."

Andera decides to try to make a performance, along with covering an attempt to free the valkyrie. He suggests an acrobatic fear, and then makes jumps on the bars, and then jump to the other, trying to KICK the lock and disable it. I like the idea and allow it with a hefty negative modifier, yet he succeeds, before making another jump to the bars near the ceiling!. His performance does impress Vallexia, though she scolds him for the lock. "I have went to a great deal to purchase these little toys, and train them appropriately. Please do not try this again? Hmmmm?" To his surprise, at a small nod from the succubi, the Valkyrie obediently goes to the door, and locks herself in again! Andera is horrified! "What has she done to break them so?" Impressed by Andera, she talks excitedly. "Hmmmm... what form, what agility! Yes... I think you could be of great interest to the ladies in the court! You'd make a very good show. What do you say, my... Numerian Tiger?" (The party got a bit of a kick from Andera's new nickname! )

At this point, after all they have went through, Julian quite lost her patience. "Since I failed you, please allow me to try again, I have made a new spell, one that I am sure will impress you my lady!" Julain manages to intrigue her, and using metamagic mastery to cast it as a still spell (A mythic ability) she surprises her with a finger of death! The succubi is hit an fails her save, nearly dying! "No one insults my poetry!"
We roll initiative, but Julian acts first, and again casts finger of death, killing the surprised succubus, before anyone could act. Sena looks at her astonished. "I don't know what that was, but I like it!"
This "Battle" is finished so fast, and in total surprise ("Sneak attack finger of death b*tch!") that Vallexia hadn't managed to call an alarm. Andera goes quietly to the door, and as quietly he locks it.

DM thoughts- Rupture of Rapture
This went a bit weird. First because the party was there not to gain known in the city (The Notoriety Score in the module), but due to the Soulstone side quest, and so didn't quite try to impress her. Secondly, nerves were frayed, and the tempers short.
Playing Vallexia as a snotty nose up noble didn't much help either I guess.

Finishing up in the rapture
Julian went straight to the astonished Valkyries, and opened their cges. "You poor souls have given up on hope, and I do not believe In giving up on hope!" She gives them a small arousing speech, and besseches them to go to Golarion, and then to Drezen, and join the forces there, and her Order of The Forgotten. They kneel in front of her, profusing their thanks. "Yes Goddess!" (The player: "Now THAT I like!" ) Sena sends them to Golarion, and the player is pleased. "First the Aasimar, now them. The legend spreads. We now have two celestials to our cause!"

The party then goes for the loot. Now, I haven't quite prepared for them to kill her (Yes, I know, Silly me!) and so look in the module and give the loot straight from there. She got some serious loot! Amongst other things: Belt dex +6 (Goes to Andera), Ring of telekinesis, Scroll of limited with, and... The Book of Infinite Spell?! (From what I understand it's a sort of a minor artifact?) The party doesn't quite loke the book though- for the casters it's quite pointless, and Andera and Mad Dog don't like the negative level. So they just store it for now...

Sena goes to check Valleixa's book. I made her note taking just for the feel of an educated scholar, so I improvised a bit here. The party finds their names, with little remarks, such as:
"Julian- New ascendant? Source of power? How to tempt?"
"Mad Dog- Dangerous. Can be tempted/ controlled? Potential for games?" Mad Dog was quite alarmed, as he purposefully introduced himself as John, not Mad Dog. The party realized they have some reputation, which they didn't quite like...

Sena wished to interrogate Valliexia's corpse, but failed with his "Speak with dead" Spell. They explore the back room, finding her teleportation ring, but couldn't figure it out (They thought it was for summoning demons). One thing was left- dealing with Oodkalakat.

Andera uses the Master's Disguise trick to make him look like Vallexia, and goes to sit on her thrown. Mad Dog and Julian are turned invisble, while Sena refuses. He wishes the coloxus to see him. Andera calls it in.
The edgy colocus enters, and looks atthe room confused- Only Sena from the guests, and the valkirie gone? "Only one here mistress?
An: "Close the door."
Oodkalakat does as bidden, looking around (And at the very intense Sena) quite nervously. "Were are the signers mistress?" (Julian's player: "Can I just give him THE finger allready?")
An: "I have sent the others elsewhere. "I made a deal with these people, and I need the orb of souls you have
Ood (A bit whimpering): "But... it's mine! I wanted to save it for later..." but Vallexia/ Andera brooks no argument. Whimpering, he reaches into some recesses and produces the softly glowing orb, and hand it to Sena. Brings the orb, Andera give it to Sena. .
Julian's player "NOW?" Andera's player nods. Julian appears with a anger of death, and the coloxus dies with a dying murmur of "Mistress! assassi..."

Pleased with that, Sena speaks with the demon's dead body via speak with dead:
S: "What do you know about incoming delegations?"
Ood: "Many succubi try to speak with Nocticula. I don't know who!"
S: "Where are they?"
Ood: "All around the city. How should I know?"
Sen goes more infuriated: "How to get into the palace?"
Ood: "You can't! Only Nocticula invites!"
Sena: "How do you release the souls from orb of souls?"
Ood: "Why would you want to? Good price! Maybe breaking spells? Sanctified spells? Don't know! Maybe Thanadaemons know?" (The party is pleased with this answer)
Sena tries to be more specific: "What do you know about delegations who come to persuade Nocticula to attack Golarion?"
Ood: "People talk to Nocticula? Really?" The party finally realize he is quite a small level bureaucrat.
Sena: "What is the circle at the back used for?"
Ood: "Transport slaves for entertainment, to her mansion. They don't long live. (The party pats Andera: "We saved you Numerian Tiger!" )
Sena, disgusted, finishes the interview by stepping on the coloxus dead head, squashing it under his boot, with a fetid squelch. Mad Dog however, decides to chop off Vallexia's head. "Perhaps we can use this, to intimidate others..." The yput the two demons bodies in the cages, and think about leaving a message. They end up with writing all across the wall one word- "Minhago!" In case something liek this happens again, they will do it more, and maybe get some "Unwanted attention" on her hide. (Julian thinks of leaving "She said I didn't know how to sing. No one says anything about my singing!" , but ends up deciding against it. )

Feeling they have finished here, Sena once more turns to them. Pleased they got the Soulstone, but quite troubled about the rest of their predicament. "Now What?"

The party's Notoriety Score: +10! (+5 from the previous fights, +5 for killing Vallexia. Had they all impressed her and she lived, they would have gotten +12...)

Some understandings and concerns I had at this juncture
After dealing with Vallexia, it dawned on me that I may have created a certain problem: After Arulashee was taken, the entire focus of the party got turned to rescuing her, with all other concerns pushed aside. It took me this long to understand it fully- the party didn't try, or even care about getting noticed and actively getting Nocticula's attention no more. And I didn't have Arulashee there to remind this, or focus them. Oddly enough, once more, I underestimated the party's single mindedness at times, when something really gets to them. And capturing Arulashee certainly did this in a big way. (Calistira's final question to Sena in the commune was important- "What is important to YOU?" she wished to see whether he will pursue his own personal goals, or the more world-responsible pressing goals, such as stopping the alliance between demon lords).

I was worried about the Notoriety Score. It doesn't allow for that many opportunities raise it. Basically there are having a lot of random fights in the city (Which was quite boring, and time consuming), displaying your "true colors", which the party preferred quite sensibly and smartly to avoid, and other than that a few choice accomplishments: Killing Minhago (Which they didn't), Killing Nezzerius (Which they didn't, and which was currently unlikely), Entertaining Vallexia (Which they killed), Winning at Battle Bliss, and dealing with Shamira...

Even if they won at Battle Bliss, this still wasn't enough... So... A deal with Shamira, or coming up with something else? But more than that, I was worrying about the party's interest and fun. As was evidently expressed in the Vallexia encounter, not even Julian's player (Who quite likes these sort of encounters at times), really cared, and the party was stressed, and pissed off.

I was considering throwing off the entire Notoriety Score away, and ply things as the feel right "story wise". Yet as I was thinking, I was also trying to run the session, so this got delayed. But one thing was certain- We can't play the "Gain Notoriety game" for much longer. It was losing appeal, FAST![/SPOILER]

Really... now what?
The party discuss options. Julian once more tries to take a look at objectives:
We have 3 targets:
"We need to free Arulashee. We won’t do better than the assassin probably. I suggest we focus on the other stuff" (Sena groans deeply in frustration, his mood darkens)
"We also need to prevent the delegation with Nocticula! This is urgent, but we don't know much what to do, except gaining her attention. Ideas?" The party is somewht stomped."
"And we need to put a stop to the mine. Perhaps Arulashee is even there, but we got even less of an intel about that." Julian ponders. "We need to get more high profile. Lets think."

The party gets a few ideas. One of the first one to jump, is to keep killing the city's noble succubi! (Murderis always the first option! ) The party thinks that if they will kill half a dozen or so of the nobles, this will get attention for sure. But is it the right kind of attention? The party thinks of using Vallexia's teleportation circle to get into the noble quarter (Terrace of The Favored Mistresses) but for some reason don't pursue it. (As I listened I gulped down inwardly, knowing I have nothing prepared for this, the module never tried to explore this. This involved a highly complex region, with tons of complex high level NPCs. had this happened I may have called the session to an end, since we played quite long, and this mean quite more preparation, or improvising widely but inappropriately)

Another idea that Julian had came from one of the random "city descriptions" that I made in the previous session- about small platforms in the city, which display sort of pieces of a living deadly mortal chess-like game. I was quite impressed here, and though of how to improvise that. (I never really expected them to try and elaborate on this. It never ceases to surprise me that the things they get hooked on sometimes are the ones I gave the most little consideration to! ). Julian thought they could either play in such game, or run one, and thus gain much respect amongst the nobility, a bit like celeb athletes or such.

They decide to try and follow this route, but learn on how to approach it in the Inn and Out. So Julian makes them all appear as tieflings again, and they teleport to the room there.

DM's gripe- Porphyry city
For such a major location, in which the party is EXPECTED to search for various opportunities, the info in the module is way, way, way to scarce and thin! Ever since they came to it, despite having done quite a considerable amount of "fattening the fluff up" for the city, I am improvising left and right. Really, the info given for the city is just plain insufficient! Even for the most mildly "goes beyond the trail" kind of group. I am quite disappointed in this..

At the Inn and Out the party goes down, find the hosting incubi Chulakat, and start a chat.
Chu: "Ah! I suspect the lady is enjoying her new acquision?" (Talking about the Aasimar from previous session)
j: "She enjoys it quite a bit. She wants someone to join the games, the platforms in the city? How doe one join these?"
Chulakat shrugs his shoulders "Oh, the entrtainment of the mistresses. They find suitable... contestants and call for them. The platforms are used by the mistresses to test their new found subjects, followers, champions and slaves."
An: "What do you win?"
Chulakat smiled. "Depending on the bet. The game can be between 2-6 mistresses, and the wagers... vary greatly. It is a... "sport"... for the nobles. The crowds prefer simpler entrtainments, like the arenas. We like the fights, the blood..." (Sena whsipered: "Oh! We will give them plenty of blood allright!")
This kind of intriuged the party, finally biting a hook. "Arenas?"
Chulakat suggested the Battle Bliss Arena. The party thanked him, and went to check it out. Full night (No stars in this plane) has descended...

Enter The Battle Bliss!
The party goes looking for the arena's manager, a high level cambion bard called Irmageleth. On the way the party discusses quick strategy. "Hey, if he's a known person, we can try killing him as well? Like with Vallexia?" Julian answer "I say we give him 3 questions. If not- Finger of Death!" Talk about trigger happy!

Irmagaleht quickly comes to view the party, explains about the fights taking place in a small, yet exclusive arena. Julian is worried baout fighting slaves, but Irmagaleth agrees them to fight demons. He says that their top gladiator is non other than Galderfang!
The party gives blank stares. "Is he good?"
Irmagaleth looks atthem bewildered. "You have not heard of Galderfang? The flyign death? The killing storm of blades? The Gladiator before all fall?!"
Party: "Um no... But we understand you like him?"
The ring manager looks at them suspiciously "You're not from around Porphyry, aren't you? You don't look like any famous gladiators I know off..."

Mad Dog grins, lifting his sword: "We're VERY famous where we came from, and were going to be just as famous here…"
Irmagaleth seems suspicious. "Maybe we'll start you smaller? I don't want to get the crowd's expectations up. We provide quality fights! Not just rabble!"
Mad Dog makes a few experimentive swings with his sword. "Nah! We'll start from him, and the go higher... You know, really tough guys?"
Irmagaleth likes his approach, but asks for some demonstration. Mad Dog goes to a nearby statue, rages and titan grow, and lifts it up with incredible strength, wanting to get on with it. A successful intimidation roll, and Irmagaleth looks highly pleased. "Well well... it seem you lot might prove... intriguing. I'll arrange the battle in 2 hours. Need to get the patrons in..."

The party whittles the time near the ring, listening to all kind of rumors, such as "Did you know someone killed lady Vallexia? Cut of her head! Just like that! Some say Minhago was there, left a message! Wasn't she in some big fight the night before? What is she up to?"

Irrmagaleth finally calls for the party, and bumms Sena by notifying them all that they may not enter with any magical effects allready active, though once the battle start, all is permitted. "Just give us a good fight! Something to watch, you know? A good show! The crowd loves it! And... try not to die to soon, will ya?" Sena curses as he takes his buffs off.

The crowd enters, and Imagraleth gets to the center, giving an introduction. "Succubi and Incubi, Demons and visitors, ladies and slaves! I welcome you to another gory fight of bloodshed and violence! Welcome to the Battle Bliss! In this corner, we have the one, the only, the slayer and decapitator, the slasher and numerous killer, GALDERFANG!" (Roars of excitment and such... the party yawns...)

"And in this corner, strangers to our marvelous city. Are they brave enough? Or are they fool enough, to dare death in the Battle Bliss?! I give you..." At this point he turned to the party, not quite having gotten a stage name from them. Andera suddenly roars "WE ARE THE NUMERIAN TIGERS!" Which gets quite a lot of roars as well, though.. .confused ones... ("Numerian what?", "Who are they?", "A TIGER? In Porphyry?" )

Eeeeeeeenterrrr The Battle Bliss!

Battle Bliss arena fight- A compilation of 10 epic tracks
(I searched for something fast paced, and quickly changing, pumping up the blood a bit, eh?)

Andera acts first, and dissappeared, fast going to the middle stage and climbing it. The crowd boos greatly as he vanishes, not liking it. (It was amongst several attempts of mien to hint that a more "impressive arena battle" will be better appreciated- more notoriety. Didn't work. The party was in killing mood) Andera was surprised by the energies of the stage, improving his ability to hit! (There are 3 stages in the arena, each gives some bonuses if you're on it)

Galderfang Teleported to the middle ring as well, and used his other actions to wield his blades impressively, gettign much applause from the crowd, and calling a challenge to the party. "Numerian Tigers! Fight me openly! Not like thieving skulks in the night! THIS. IS. BATTLE BLISS!"

Mad Dog rises, flying, raging, growing! And yet as he strikes, Galderfang blocks his attack. "Brute strength, you know not how to fight! I will show you true killing skills!"

Sena uses his quicken rod and starts pumping buffs on himself, alsu using genie blood and flies high above the arena, again gettign booed by the crowd. "We will show you a fight!" He yells... from a safe distance...
Galderfang shouts back "All I see is cowards! Is this the courage of your Numeria?!"
The gladiator then turns on Mad Dog, with a devastitng full attack: Mad dog is hit by the Scizore, Critted by the gladius, hit by and trident nd get hit by a mythic Sudden attackfor another hit by the Scizore! Galderfang Slashes, stabs and chops Mad Dog brutally, gettign him down to 42 hitpoints! The incubi's power to increase pain also hits him, and MAd Dog is staggered underthe pain. The party suddenly thinks this mightbe an actual threat!

Andera tries to hit Galderfang, but his attacks are blocked by some unseen armor, despite the minimal "Gladiator clothes" shown in it's pic (Glammered armor, though it did not hve any affect other than AC) He tries menacing whisper "This is your last battle demon. We are your DEATH!"" Galderfang seems Shaken from the hidden attacks and whispers (I forgot to add the bravery bonus! ) and tries to reply "Coward Shadow! Show yourself!" The crowd again shows his dissatissfaction with the cowardly attacks!

Julian cares not though, and unleashes one highly effective spell- persisted Mystic Slow. Galderfang fails his save, and gets turned from a fast deadly full attack monstrosity, to a slow motion warrior. The crowd gasps seeing their champion so!
Andera tries scaring him again, yet fails, and fails to hit. Mad Dog though hits, and HARD! He delivers great amounts of damage, yeteven the party is suprised to see the gladiator bloodied well, but still standing!
And Galderfang won't go down without a fight! He attacks again, and adds another ttack with Sudden attack, both hit Mad Dog squarely, one of them a crit!
The slowed Gladiator, focuses his strikes, and kills Mad Dog! The Barbarian falls down, bloody gashing wounds all over his body, with a cheer from the crowd!

The party panics a bit, as they quickly check Breath of life and see it didn't quite work as they thought it did, and with the amount of negative damage Mad Dog incurred (Including the end of rage), he is just too far gone... Breath of life won't save him. (I didn't get into this ruling. The players brought it up briefly after the first battle of this session, but now rechecked it).

Imagrelath called out pleased. "First death for the Battle Bliss! This may be a short fight!" He looked at the party angrily though, having expected them to provide... More entertainment.
Sena tries to think up ideas, but can't think up something fast enough. Despaired, he putts to more buffs on himself, and descend upon Mad Dog's body, wanting to protectit from further harm, and draw Galderfang's attention. "Now face ME!" He says angrily!

Yet he doesn;t getthe chance, as Andera delivers a few quick cuts, with severe damage. The Gladiator coughs up blood, but still stands! Then Andera uses a mythic surprise attack, and finishes him! Galderfang topples bloody, with Changi through his chest, nd the crowd going silence in the middle of the cheer. Gladerfang has fallen!

Yet the party is not pleased, as next to him, lies the body of Mad Dog...
This... has not been a good day...

DM thoughts- The Battle Bliss and Galderfang
The improved version of Gladerfang proved to be quite a powerful foe (I used Scorpion's file stats). Yet the Battle Bliss fight itself is kinda boring, for 3 main reasons:
- The party fight only a single opponenet. Even the player commented on this: "Wait, we're a group that fights only one demon? Aren't we supposed to be against a group of demons?" Fighting an opposing team of gladiators would indeed make it a more interesting, a more tactical one. More choices and threats, yeah?
- Galderfang is a single melee opponent. And as have happened here, he has NO way of countering debilitating battlefield control magic. So... basically, one successful spell takes him off. (Pretty much as has happened here).
- The module tries to make the arena more engaging with various terrain and magical effects of areas. But with one opponent, who is most likely to get tackled by another melee from the PCs, there is little if any real reason to move around. Plus, the DCs of the negative effects in the ring? Quite laughable...

Had I ran it again? I'd use a team of gladiators, some what similar to a group of adventurers. Also, I'd make several winning conditions- such as "capture the flags" or such, to make the movement on the battle field (And it's various effects) more interesting, engaging, and provide more choices then "Kill the rest of them.

Each PC's XP: 538,744!
Notoriety: "The Numerian Tigers!" +20
(10 from before, +10 for killing Gladerfang. They could have gotten more, had they done an "entertaining fight!")

Final thoughts for the session:
- We ended here, for several reasons: The session took 10 hours and we were tired. The players needed to think what is their next move, and frankly- So would I! The initial battle with Minhago, and the twist of the captured Arulashee has thrown things out of hilter to big degree! I was quite surprised at how personally the group took it! Some became depressed (either cause they liked and worried for her, or because knowing of the big set back it put them in), some became angry (They did NOT like being tricked!) but they all became very engaged in the game!

- I need to think of whereto take this. The party's focus is nearly entirely on saving Arulashe, with secondary on getting to Nocticula. And they haven;t got any real clue of how to do either... Meaning, I need to think things through for next session. As it is- this ain't working. The party has Notoriety of 20, with the module putting the goal at 40. And the party have used up pretty much all of the suggested options (Though I did play Minhago as trying to evade them instead of battling them to the death), except for... Shamira... which is a serious encounter in itself. (Though from what I gather, the party has other ideas entirely, mostly revolving around killing lots of important people... Ahhh... D20 and the lessons it teaches... )

- Mad Dog's player also surprised us at the end, telling us he might wish for Mad Dog to stay dead, and try a new character! I think dying twice in a session got into him somewhat... But also, the player likes changing characters from time to time, when he grows bit bored of their mechanics. This took us by surprise, and we decided to talk about it later. (I'll discuss it in future posts. Not certain as of now).

- In short, the players came to the session feeling they are going to OWN it, but got played upon, and shocked. I did hoped that if Minhago's scheme would work it would shaken confidence a bit, and shaken things up (Especially before the negotiations with Nocticula, where overconfidence can be deadly in the extreme), but I think it went a bit too far than I expected... Have I broken them? Hopefully not... This has been a TOUGH seesion, both for them and me...

But... if I know my party, in the next session they will come up with something clever, outrageous, and will stir things up in return! They are good at doing that, those bastards! That's why I game with them, no? (That and the Humus breaks! )

-I will probably discuss a few re-planning matters over the next few posts:What about Mad Dog's player? New character or old one? What effect would Andera's dream intervention will have? Hiring Nezzerius? To stick with the Notoriety score, or go for something else? I'll try to think of these and more... Not sure when, when I have the time until the next session.

Talking about the next session- we set the next game for the 20/11, about 3 weeks from now. The party has already started planning, over emails... I hope you've enjoyed the read. Feel free to comment, question, argue, critique or whatever. All is welcomed.