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  1. - Top - End - #211
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    A small update: Mad Dog's player will keep his character. He is determined to work on his defense though.

    Mad Dog is back, Madder than ever!
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2015-11-16 at 04:52 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #212
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    So, last Saturday we had our meeting, which was an absolute blast! One of the best we've had yet! It started with a fast improvisational chaos, and then continued to a "scene" I've been working on for a long time- Negotiations in Nocticula's palace. The start involves a furious battle, but the rest involves some very nice roleplay. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as we had playing it!

    Session 24, Part 1- Mayhem under the Battle Bliss arena

    At the end of the last session the party has just killed the infamous gladiator of the Battle Bliss arena- Galderfang! But... he managed to slay Mad Dog as well.

    The crowd was in shock, some cheered the party, some "booed" them (Is there such a word? ) They were mostly confused. But Imagraleth, the battle Bliss' owner and manager, stepped forth into the center of the ring, and called out: "Blood for the Battle Bliss! Cheer the new champions of the ring! Theeeeee Numerian Tigers!" A cheer, though a bit of a hesitant one, came up from the crowd of demons...

    The party is not in a amused disposition. Sena looks over the crowd of demons, looking at this blood sport, and calls out to them: "We shall soon be back, and give you a GREAT honor, as you have given to us! Our beloved crowd of the Arena!" (Sena's intention of honor is starting to spam Holy Words... He's had enough). Imagraleth, who understands something is a bit off, none the less, directs the party, carrying the heavy body of Mad Dog into Galderfang's quarters, those befitting the ring's champion.

    They come to a fairly lavish room, with various furs, skins and such from various creatures, with two succubi lounging on the carpets, Galderfang's concubines. But they don't seem to miss him that much, as they quickly come for the party, all smiles, temptations and offerings. The party shoos them aside for a second, talking to the ring's manager. Imagraleth was impressed by them, and thinks about sponsoring them, with some profits from their winnings. He is worried about the anger Sena seems to be seething in, but they quickly bluff him to thinking this is because of Mad Dog's death.

    As he lives them, Sena first send a sending to Queen Galifar: . "Until further notice, you cannot trust Arulashee, please notify Drezen, in order to protect the Sword of Valor."
    The Queen replies shortly: "She betrayed us? (sounding quite angry) Kill her at the first opportunity! She knows too much! We soon arrive at Raliscard, all goes well. Stop the demon alliance!"
    Sena grunts, and begin resurrecting Mad Dog.

    As he does so, the party considers their options and plan. Julian reinstates their goals:
    - Find Nocticula and stop the alliance.
    - Find Arulashee, and if she's not too far gone- save her.
    - Find the Nyhadrian mine, and put a stop to it.

    Sena wishes to "draw attention" by going back to the ring, and just killing as many demons as possible, ESPECIALLY the ring master... "They arekeepign slaves to fight in these blood sports.". Julian thinks of perhaps contacting Minhago through a sending, and offering herself instead of Arulashee, to which the party responds "No way!". Andera's player mentions the Discern Location spell, an 8th level spell, that he thinks they'll be able to gain access to here, in Porphyry (Damn them! I forgot about that! ) They end up wanting to learn more of the arena itself. Andera goes sneaking, while Julian goes talking...

    I... didn't quite expect this avenue, and the module doesn't touch on this, so... I was startign to improvise like crazy! Andera found an entrance to the underbelly of the ring. He learned that there is a circular corridor underneath, that holds maintenance rooms, beasts, slaves, and some visiting gladiator dens. he saw two doors, to the two ends of the circle. He see the lock, picks it, and goes inside, without even searching the door!

    The alarm spell alerts Imagraleth, and he teleports with two guards. "Um, what exactly are you doing here? I thought you heroes were coming o get your... honors... at the ring?" Andera tried bluffing, that he was looking around, heard there were perhaps other contestants here. Imgraleth didn't like it, and ushered him outside. "I'll show you the grounds later on. Leave the upkeep of the ring to me, you just do the fighting, right?" The ring master was getting quite suspicious, and started inquiring about these newcomers, not yet willing to confront the killers of Galderfang. Andera saw him singing a tune to put the alarm and mage lock back on. "Hmmm... a bard..." (The module mentions him in a sentence- "Imagraleth, cambion bard 16") It seemed the party was taking an interest in the ring master. I was quickly trying to think up a 16th level bard...

    Meanwhile Julian went to ask the two succubi, who quickly became very affectionate, very physical, their hands startingto move on Julians... "Yes love? How can we pleasure you? Hmmmm?"
    J: "Well… that's nice. But business first. How long was GalderFang been the Champion?"
    The succubi pouted "Oh! He's ancient news, you're the star now!".
    J: "Answer my question!"
    Onew of the succubi waved a dismissive hand "Him? About a year, maybe two years?"
    Julian tried to impress them "You know, we are meant for greatness"
    The succubus smiled their tempting smiles, redoubling their... efforts "Oh, we know you are!"
    J: "And if you please us..."
    S: "Oh, we will!"
    J: "Then tell us of the opponents!" (It was at this point I understood the party must have thought that they are supposed to fight many gladiatorial fights. I was quickly trying to think of possible interesting opponents and such down below. Thankfully I have made various random encounters- for flavor and battle, so I was using/ reskinning those on the fly)
    The succubi gave more pouting (Yes, I was making them too blunt and upfront, we just laughed about it) "Them? Oh, none can stand against you!" but at Julian's stern gaze they relented "Oh, there are some gladiators who come and go, there's a Shemhazain demon who wishes to prove itself, some Bebiliths, and we heard that Imagraleth has a few captured celestials, in his private vault. Keeps them for some sort of big battle, a big show? This is so boring! You would slaughter them all, my champion!"
    Julian inquired more "What about slaves from Golarion?"
    The succubi got a bit annoyed "That boring place? Oh, they bring some every so often, they fight, they scream they die. They get a good stock of cattle every few weeks we think?" Julian doesn't manage to find anyone of particular importance from questioning them further.
    Julian petted them "You're starting to please me! Now go and appease me- go ask some questions, get me some more facts!" The succubus looked at her affronted, but pouting, they got up, changed their appearance, and went sniffing around...

    The others got back just as Sen finished the 10 minute resurrection spell. With a flash of light, his owudns healed, and Mad Dog lives!
    Mad Dog rose with a gasp "Ok! Where is he?!"
    Sena leaned down at him "Oh, he's dead. But... we plan on a new massacre of demons, and we need YOU!"
    Mad Dog grinned "Great!" Looking at his rejuvenated body, smiling with menace.
    Sena handed Mad Dog his great sword. "I know how to make you happy! Now get up! We got work to do!"

    Andera and Julian quickly relayed their findings, and they quickly discussed a plan:
    Mad Dog "Wait, so our target is to free the celestials?"
    Julian: "We have two objectives- to find Nocticula, and find Arulashee"
    Sena: "i know how t oget her attention! Lets get outside, and start massacarign them all! This will get her to notice us!"
    Andera: "We can't just massacre them! Shamira will just send her super guard, or herself, and come kill us!"
    Julian thought "No... we need to kill select targets- She's the demon lord of assassination, right?"
    Sena: "What about the ring master? Imagraleth?"
    They give him some thought- on the one hand he is probably a high profile person, but will killing him attract Nocticula's attention, or Shamira's, for hurtign the city's entertainment?
    S: "It will get us the attention!"
    Julian and Andera were more cautious: "Not the RIGHT attention… But we could try and free the celestials, we can need any allies we can find."
    Mad Dog: "Won't keeping freeing celestials and mortals will look like we're pro-celestials? Yeah, I know we want attention, but won't this make us look on the celestials side? Why should Nocticula deal with us then?"
    Julian "We don't know, but the fact that she hasn't allied with the demons yet, might say we have a chance…"
    Mad Dog: "Killing demons gets good attention, but freeing celestials? If I was a demon, that would put you on the wrong side."

    None the less, the party decides to try and free the celestials. In my mind I try to quickly come up with a basic structure and fast made encounters... Well, improvising sure is interesting!

    To the rescue!

    The party goes down to the door Andera saw before. A bit of detect magic, a couple of dispels, and the spells on the door are gone. "I can't believe you forgot to check for magic traps!" says the party.
    Andera goes a bit in front, passing some maintenance and storage, till he hears some voices. He hears the voice of some demon talking with Babaus (Got a very distinctive voice) and some grunts of dretches. They seem to be moaning that they had to take care of the beasties and captives, and haven't witnessed the death of Galderfang. "Must have been some battle! We never get to see the good stuff!"

    Andera goes back and relay the news. The party... AGAIN... discusses about options- attack? Sneak with invisibility or such? Bluff? Till Sena has it. "They are Babaus and dretches! We just storm in like we own the place!" (The party worried about any of them teleporting to alert Imagrleth). As they strut full force, the Cambion handlign the 2 babaus and the 3 few manure shovleign dretches, loosk up in wonder.
    C: "Hey! Who are you?"
    S: "The Numerian tigers! Who are YOU?"
    C"I am Salaat what do you want?" (The party groaned at his name. "You need to come up with better ones! His name... does not bode well for him, you know?")
    Julian stepepd forth, with all of her charisma and majestic presence "We are just looking around, we're taking a tour, we have been allowed by Imagraleth…"
    Salaat was offended, but totally fell for her bluff "We are never told anything! He shoudl tell us when he gets people down! So what do you want to see?"
    Andera boasted: "We want to see who we gonna kill! Let us see the celestials first".
    Salaat was a but hesitant. "um... He never let anyone see them He keeps them in his private section. I never got to see them".
    Julian however smooths things, offering to remember him and so on, so Salaat and a babau leads them down the circular corridor. They pass some cells: A few giants, who look mutated, a few lizardian warriors, Some sort of a construct, 2 Bebiliths behind a force barrier, until they reach two big double doors. "They are beyond that door, but Only Imagrleth can open it. You're going to call him now? Put in a good word for me?"
    "So, you call Imagraleth now?"
    "Yeah, we'll tell him." they say, before Andera sneak attack, and Mad Dog and Sena finishes the duo quickly.

    Standing before the door, they detect 5 magical influences on the door, and Julian uses 2 greater dispels to take them off. Andera sees the complex lock, and goes to work on it. He manages to unlock it, just when the trap springs! The two side walls tried to crush them between them, but they managed to step back just in time. Also, a deep vibration goes through the walls- an alarm! (The trap idea came from Baldur's Gate 2- in one of the more lethal dungeons there is a crushing walls trap, that just kill your entire party. I allowed for saves)
    Ander'a player: "But we dispelled the traps!"
    Me: "The MAGICAL traps. You didn't even look for the mechanical ones!"
    The party groaned "We are such NOOBS!" (My, it has been some time since we've done a proper dungeon!) The party was weary of the door and it's trap, unsure what to do now.

    I started counting rounds. I envisioned Imagraleth and a few others getting down, and it tking them about 6 rounds to gt to their captives, and usher them to the teleportation circle inside, back to a safer place. The party didn't know that though.

    The party started putting on mirror images, with Andera using his wand to put some on Mad Dog (They didn't want to repeat the performance in the ring).

    A round later, 4 vrocks appeared behind them. (Part of Imagraleth response team. The idea was that they would delay the intruders, and that one would teleport back to him to report of the nature of the threat). But the vrocks don't get a chance to act. With Andera and Mad Dog delivering huge piles of damage, and Julian then casting a dazing fireball (Metamagic +3), they stand there dazed, with the party cutting them off quickly. Behind the door, they her something humongous getting behind it. They wait for it to open it.

    They almost wait for too long, before Sena's keen ears manage to just barely hear rushed whispers behind the thick door. He hears, faintly Imagraleth' voice. "Quickly! Get them to the circle! Before those blasted angels come rescuing their friends! And you! Hold them On!" The gigantic thing just behind the door grunts in affirmation.

    The party realizes they can't wait. Sena uses a mythic point to cast some spell, and go ethereal... He goes through the ether, beyond the door, past some Gargatuan bestial horrific demon, and into the main chamber, where he sees Imagraleth, with various magical energies around him, 2 succubi at the back with caster robes, and 3 vrocks around the ring master. He stands inside some magical circles, and waves to speed up a few more vrocks leading about 5 beings, hunched and covered.

    We understand that we have no gargantuan miniature, so Andera's player quickly whips one. Julian seems to remember "The succubus talked about some demon gladiator.. .Shamhaz... something?" (Shamhazian demon) never the less, She has no time to waste, points the door, and disintegrates it! Mad Dog roars s he rushes at the Shamhazian brute demon, taking the burnt of his gaze, but slashes at it with his sword, taking out a good chunk! The demon full attacks the barbarian, yet thanks to Andera's foresight, it is mostly mirror images got taken down. (My bad- I forgot it had true sight at all times! ). Andera diverges his eyes, and tumbles inside...

    Imagraleth, panicking, tries casting irresistible dance on Mad Dog, but he saves. Sean prepares reemerging from the ether, putting on few new buffs on himself, but Julian basically ends the battle- she casts dazing fireball again, but with her persistent rod to boot! All of the demons (Including Imgraleth) Are dazed, except for one succubus, just outside of the spell's area. I quickly think "Ok, she can cast dispel..." before Chandi dimension doors Andera next to her, who full sneak attack her, cutting her pieces.

    Sena, a bit bummed, still emerges next to Imagraleth, making sure the celestials hear him, and unleashes a holy word! After Mad Dog manages to kill off the Shamhazain, the party quickly dispatches of the incapacitated demons. Julian comes in, stepping through the hole in the door, over the butchered demon. "Well, that went well!"

    DM's thought- improvising the rescue
    Thankfully, I could cobble this quick scene up from a few other scenes in from some other scenes I prepared for Porphyry, as part of the "sight seeing/ combat encounters". The only one I couldn't quite account for was Imagraleth himself. A 16th level bard is complex to plan and run. I quickly wrote a few base ideas and stats for it, and quickly looked up a few high level spells, but I didn't quite manage to flesh him out completely before Julian took him down. Oh well...

    The Shamhazian was quite a disappointment though- his save DCs are quite low, but maybe that's due to the nature of mythic.

    Taking credit for the rescue?

    Now that there were the archons there, both Sena and Julian wanted to impress them, and get them to their respective causes. (Julian's new religion and Sena's new vision of the future) The players started joking about how they use effects (Angelic visage, slow or silence on each other) to sabotage each others' efforts! Sena's player bemoaned jokingly, that he can make the most moving speeches, the most eloquent points, but Julian can just saunter in with her sky high charisma and social skills and either pick her nose or fart, and it will be so CHARMING they would still go with her! They kept on laughing about it, till it sounded something like this...

    The celestials proved to be 2 hound archons, 2 legion archons, and a trumpet archon! With her wings cut. Sena quickly cast regenerate on her, and they all thanked the party profusely. "Thank you majesties! Who are we in debt for our rescue? Who sent you?"

    Julian replied: "No one sent us. No creature should be imprisoned. All should be free! "
    The trumpet Archon spoke reverntly: "I am Adriel. (I had a different name, but the party asked for this one, easier to remember) I am a general of Sarenrae. We spied upon Shamira, who long ago seduced, corrupted, and then consumed one of her high angels. She was brought here by Nocticula, we sought to ascertain to what end, yet she ambushed us, and captured us, as her prize. She... Has a thing for Sarenrae's worshipers..." It became apparent that Shamira held her trumpet. Sena suggested confronting Shamira and getting it back, but the party quickly dissuaded him from that idea.
    Sena asked them "Where do you wish to go?"
    Julian had an idea, that would quell Sena and her friendly rivalry. "There is a great battle in Golarion. If you have no other duties, we would appreciate if you could join the crusade, especially our queen. She may need all the assistance that she can."
    Adriel:"If this is your wish, I will aid you, and go to her, with your blessing, till the light of Sarenrae calls me elsewhere." The party is satisfied with this, and goes on looting!

    Sena's redemption?

    Before sending her and her followers, Sena takes Adriel a bit to the side, speaking to her quietly. "I was once a follower of Sarenrae. I was her devotee all of my life. But... In light of some consequences, concerning a disagreement, I have probably made a mistake..." Sena looked ashamed.
    Adriel inquired "What sort of a mistake?"
    Sena relays the story of Drezen quickly, his argument with Sarenrae, and taking on Calistria's offer "I think I meant well, though I did wish for the tieflings to die, and did not include them in my prayer... I have since tried to amend my ways, and even managed to find the tieflings' souls stone."
    Adriel looked at it, and explained he could free them with a casting of Dispel Evil.
    Sena thanked her, and continued "I seek redemption. I have always was and have been a true believer of Sarenrae."
    Adriel thought, and spoke to him clearly. "If you wish to go back to her fold, you'll need to take off the mark of Calistria. Her agreement with her lent her the power to take hold of you, a sort of ownership. And from what I hear, she is a covetous mistress. She has taken you as her own. Once you do so, you would find Sarenrae welcoming. She welcomes redemption. In order to be free, you must turn back from the path that led you to the trickster. For that is her hold of you."
    Sena took it in, understanding this may be difficult. What a bind has he gotten himself into with Calistria? He reached and took Sarenrae's silver holy symbol, which he kept unto, and gave it to Adriel. "May this symbol serves you better than it did me. If you see her, please end her a word from me, and tell her... tell her that I have a new vision for the future, one where mortals, demons and more can work and live together." (he explains about it briefly)
    Adriel is intrigued, so Sena takes out the tielfing stone, and casts dispel evil on it. The stone flashes, seems to expand slightly, and then implodes on itself, with a hiss going out, as some... things... get released.
    Adriel bows to him, impressed "I will relay your words." She and her archons accept the pins symbolizing Sena's vision of the future (Made in Drezen, in the previous module or the interlude), before Sena banishes them to Golarion, towards the Queen's army. (The player then smirks at Julian's player. "Aha! I got them at the end!". The party laughed "You sneak!")

    About the loot- I confess to the party that I have no idea what Imagraleht might have on him, and ask of them to give me time between sessions to think of something. Got me there!

    DM's thoughts- Sena's evolution
    Sena surprised me here as well, but he wishes to evolve him further, in an attempt to go back to Sarenrae. I thought quickly, and basically Adriel's advice was for a few steps:
    - Convince Calistria to let her control of him go. (He can't get powers from others till she does so). The problem is, Sena doesn't really understand what her game and interest int this is. He knows only, from past conversations through Commune that she has a special interest in him, and their mythical powers, that she seeks "to learn new things", and that she seems to not have a great stake in the struggle between crusaders and demon armies... A problem...
    - Go back from his dedication to vengeance. This is what led him to Calistria. he needs to truly let it go, before coming back to Sarenrae.
    - Have Sarenrae accept him back, though this seems to be the easiest step. He is worried about his "beyond morality" aura and soul. Sarenrae is dedicated goddess of good. Can she accept someone who is not so strongly so?

    Now, all of this is what he understood from Adriel, which is... for the most part true... However, I do have somewhat of a surprise, later.

    An invitation you cannot refuse!

    As the party was gathering up the loot, and were starting to think what to do next, I decided to throw the Notoriety out of the window. I imagined that killing Imagraleth, and saving the celestials Shamira captured was good enough.

    Suddenly, a great fiery light appeared from the corridor- Shamira herself, with anger and murder in her eyes! Yet, at the same time, another figure, looking a bit like a sort of a... priest? yet with eyes like pools of night, emerged from a nearby shadow.

    Spoiler: Sister of The Last Embrace

    The figure held a hand towards the furious Shamira, who's fiery aura started scolding the very walls. "Visitors to The Midnight Isles. Your actions have gained the attention of the ruler of the realm, Our Lady Nocticula, the Lady in Shadow. She wishes your presence in her palace, as her guests.Finish your affairs here quickly if you have a pressing need to, but do not delay much, and come with me. The Lady awaits..."

    Shamira seemed to be fuming (literally), but did not challenge the Lady's wishes. The party exchanged glances, and swallowed deeply. "We're ready" they told the Sister of The Last Embrace." She nodded, and... grasped a shadow by the wall, pulling it aside, like a curtain... revealing a sort of a dark path behind it, and motioned to the party. They walked inside, to the path that leads to the palace of the demon lord Nocticula...

    I'll stop here. The next part (I believe I'll be able to finish it in one part) will deal with the various dealings inside Nocticula's palace. Quite a few surprises, some twists, and some beautiful moments. I hope I can find the time to write it soon! Stay tuned!

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  3. - Top - End - #213
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF spoliers!)

    Right, I've been a bit delayed in writing this, so lets get into it. Are you ready? A bit of a warning about this part- I threw away about 99% of what the module did here, and did my own thing, which is a lot more elaborate, but I also think a lot more fun. There are no battles in this part, but a lot of quite cool roleplay, even from Mad Dog! Enjoy!

    Session 24, Part 2- Nocticula's palace, Start of Demonic Negotiations

    As Nocticula's messenger moved forward, the party followed on the dark path. They knew this was a sort of... a shadow plane, but made mostly of narrow paths, with but darkness beyond. They followed, weary, and before they could quite take the scene, the Sister of The Last Embrace reached into yet another shadow, and... pulled at it, revealing an opening, into a courtyard. The party entered.

    The courtyard was huge, with towering statues, of many kinds, many races, creatures, all made with the same purple Porphyry stone of the city... Yet their attention was drawn to another shadow lifting, through which stepped an identical sister into the courtyard, and behind her followed some figures. As they party saw them, the blood boiled!

    First entered an impressive powerful demon, wrathed in a small storm of fire and lightning, with an aura of command and power. all but Julian knew this demon, they have seen it at the start of their adventures, in the Clydewell Plaza, cutting off the silver dragon Terendelev's neck- It was no other than Khorzedah, the balor general, also known as The Storm King! (I will refer to him as such from now on).

    Behind him followed an armored figure, with the horns of a minotaur, but with an air of cunning, wisdom, and feroctiy. They knew this one from description only- Hephazimerah, Baphomet's own daughter and high priestess, whom they know controls the Nuhadrian mine!

    Behind her came another one of Baphomet's favored, or maybe not so much of lately, but which the party have met just recently- Minhgo herself! And on her arm was no other than... Arulashee, who seemed close, very close, to Minhago. The succubus gave them taunting wave, which almost made Sena charge.

    But there was one last guest, whom all but Julian have met in person, but even she has seen her, only as the dooming introduction illusion to Drezen. Areelu Vorlesh, the Worldwoudn Witch, stepped forth. Last they saw her, she was burned, broken, nearly dead by the Wardstone's power. Yet now she seemed fully restored!

    Mad Dog's player grinned with glee. "Init!" he yelled, yet even though both parties were surprised to see each other, both Sisters held up their hand. "This is our lady's palace! No hostilities may be used against her guests. You are both guests of our lady in shadow, do NOT displease her!"

    Julian concentrated her new sight on the demonic emissaries. The Storm King looked to her like an image of unparalleled pillar of power, raging energies of destruction. Baphomet's daughter looked like a metallic sphere, with various contraptions, moving parts, and blades. Like a highly advanced and lethal lock or puzzle. Minhago looked like a fast shifting mask, but somewhat a broken one, which often shifted to expressions of anger, of shame. Arulashee looked... like any kind of another succubus, only more thoroughly corrupted. Julian concentrated ,seeking to see any of the former succubi, but found no trace... And lastly- Areelu Vorlesh. The witch looked like some sort of a vermin, of an unknown origin, sitting in the center of a huge web, spanning away, some of it disappearing, as if into other realities. She herself sat still, yet Julian could see sort of phantom limbs, pulling ,weaving, spinning...

    Sena smiled, trying to taunt Areelu. "Why, aren't you looking better?" But the witch just laughed, and played a along. She gave a slight spin, spreading her new wing. "Why yes! Isn't it just marvelous?" Sena replied "it would look better on my wall!" Julian in the meantime silently cast a message to Arulashee. "We are still here! We will get you back!" to which the succubus laughed. "Sure you will!" and winked at them.

    The Sisters looked at the parties. "The Lady Awaits. You have come to make your pleas and requests. We are Lilith. We shall guide you. Please, follow us." and the two sisters, led each party into the massive palace, through different routes.

    Walk through Nocticula's Palace

    Palace of Nocticula's music- Dreamgasm
    (The idea was for a music incorporating lust and danger. I didn't listen fully to it before settling on it. Some parts can be too... disruptive)

    Lilith led them, as they went inside. They walked for an unknown time, for the palace was was immense, they estimated it might be the size of entire Kenabres or more! Many twisting paths, stairs, vast halls, small rooms. The place was baffling, but the sights and sounds were... quite disturbing... They first passed some halls, with bored succubi, some were in the midst of passionate carnal pleasures, some were in torture, with a multitude of slaves, some disfigured, some in ecstasy, only even that seemed too much- in their pleasure, they screamed, begging to stop... They passed through an immense library, dwarfing anything they have yet seen on the material plane. Amongst the shelves were ancient scrolls, writings, books made of exotic... uncertain materials, at some places carvings, at others writings in languages they knew were old, long forgotten, at some places just whispers, contained, seeking to be free... They passed vast armories, with exquisite and lethal looking weapons, ones seemed designed to inflict pain, more than kill, and horrific one at that... they passed along the borders of humongous arenas, in which what looked like small armies clashed, but not in a tactical battle, but in a desperate bloody and gory fight of mayhem and carnage, with multitudes dying...

    The party was quite disturbed by all of this, with Julian visibly depressed. Her sight, senses, burdened her... Sena, worried, asked Lilith. "Can we... stop? Observe? Do something on the way?" Lilith didn't look back... "You may shortly, but do not delay. Do not keep The Lady waiting..." Sena stopped by what looked like an old temple. He ventured inside. The place was but one big circular room, dust covering it in it's entirety, with the dome of the place filled with carvings, symbols and depictions of all the gods he knew, some he just heard of, some hinted on, and some, many more, that he never even knew existed. Good, evil, neutral, all in between... Dust covered all, this place was not visited for a long time. A sort of museum of the divine, or perhaps graveyard? Fear gripped Sena, and he clutched Calistria's symbol, asking for her guidance, only to find to his terror that his connection to her is severed! Lilith spoke quietly. "Only the Lady's power exists here...". Troubled, Sena continued to follow her...

    They continued on, passing great vasts of kitchens, with great boiling pots, with the scent making them drool, before hearing the screams of something... someone, roasted alive. They passed torture rooms, with instruments which their imagination could not grasp, could not understand, but which seemed cruel to the extreme, with the various sobs and pain of victims around... they passed crossed a long bridge, over a pit whose bottom they could not see, whee to it's walls were shackled hundreds, if not thousands of suffering souls. The party was quite depressed at this, and Julian and Sena briefly thought to try and free some, yet Andera stopped them. "I wish nothing more. But this is not the place, and the time. This will not help here..." Demoralized, they ventured after Lilith.

    Further they walked. They passed by a great ball room, covered in shadows, were figures, powerful figures, seemed to dance and converse, yet their exact conversations were just out of reach. They passed by strange, geometrically impossible structures, were robed figures chanted in a strange language, doing untold rituals of dark magic and blood... Fresh blood... The road continued, on and on. How long have they traveled? Hours? Days? Time, sensation, perception seemed distorted here.

    They came upon narrow upgoing stairs, as if in a slim turret, and started climbing up, up, after Lilith. She spoke to them, softly, but firmly. "We shall soon be in the lady's presence. As we arrive, you are expected to introduce yourselves. Who are you, whom do you speak for, and why have you come. Do not offend the hostess!" after a few more long moments, Lilith added "Think carefully of your words. Here, they carry more weight, more power, than all the swords and spells in your world..." The players looked at each other, tense... before thy reached Nocticula's audience.

    Spoiler: DM's notes- walk through Nocticula's palace
    This was mostly to set the atmosphere. I wanted the party to feel that the negotiations were at a much larger scale, not something ordinary, but something on a far bigger, far grander, far more dangerous level. The were coming into the big league. The palace gave a bit of a measure as to what it might mean visiting the realm of a demon lord. It was meant to partly awe, partly tense the party. Thankfully, they were getting into the mood of things, and were not making jokes, but taking it seriously. The feeling was tense!

    First Audiance with Nocticula

    The party reached a big plateau, and when they looked around, they saw it must have been at the top of the palace, with no edges, overlooking the Midnight Isles, and the vast Porphyry City below. They saw the demonic emissaries also emerging, but their attention was drawn elsewhere...

    For in the middle of the plateau was a deep pool, an immensely vast pool, of dark liquid. Only when they looked at it- it wasn't a liquid at all... it was the night, the sky, space... they could see stars in it, vast cosmic spaces... and white, soft, silvery mists were floating, caressing the "pool", like clouds of moonlight... and in the midst of the pool a figure swam. The figure of a pale skinned woman, nude, elegant, confident, assured, erotic, but not in a cheap, easy sleazy way, but in a sensuous, mature, alluring power... The figure swam in the cosmos, and slowly reached the end of the pool. Slowly, Nocticula rose from the "water"...

    Spoiler: Closest image I could find. I hope this is ok

    The picture is of Eva Green, in her role in Sin City 2. I Liked the look, and if the players identified the character, well.. .that gave the right feel as well!

    As the naked Nocticula rose, the inky pool, and the white mists slid upon her body, covering her naked form like an misty inked half see through robe. She strode towards them, confident, powerful, yet at ease. As she strode, perceptions... changed. While before they looked down at her swimming in the pool, now she was descending a flight of stairs. As she came about 5-6 stairs above their position, she sat elegantly. As she did, the "robe" melted, shaping itself like a throne of velvet shadow, with the mists rolling softly under it. Nocticula sat there, naked, an image of superb womanhood, and looked down at them. They noticed that there was little color on her- her skin was white as ivory, her hair black as the rich night. The only vivid colors were her lips, which were passionately red, and her eyes, emerald green, and piercing. Yet... her look was unreadable, impassive, you could not read her, as she looked at the two groups. They stepped back, in awe of the presence of the demon lord, who did not appear as they thought it would.

    And as they looked, Julian looked at her as well, with her own sight. Looking upon her was not easy though, and Julian could feel the strain, upon her eyes, upon her sanity, upon her soul. Yet she was determined to try and get some inkling into what and who Nocticula was, if it will get them any advantage. So she looked to the soul of the demon lord...

    At first, she saw a mirror, and her own reflection looking back at her. Yet Julian felt there was more, so she looked further. In through the mirror, she fell into a big lake, and dove deeper, deeper, seeing sights, hearing sounds from different planes, different worlds, someone trying to compose some sort of a... music? But with confused tones... Yet Julian felt there was more, so deeper she looked. She got to the bottom of the lake, where there was a circle of statues, some of which she knew were images of Nocticula she knew, some she did not know, and there were many, but all were at the edges of the circle, looking out. In the middle of the circle there was a big stone, partly chiseled, but the figure of the statue was not yet complete. The strain was starting to hurt Julian, yet she felt there was more, so she looked further. Into the stone she bore, and found the stone was filled with holes, tunnels, and a black ink carving it's way inside, trying to get at different hollows, were other liquids were. Some it reached, and either backed from, or consumed and obliterated, yet with some it mixed... the black ink seemed to be breaching and... dancing? With a hot, thick, orange liquid, the two mixed with each other. Julian felt that she was close, there was more, but it might cost her. Still, she looked further. She dove to the center of the ink, to it's "heart", when she came into a still darkness... and in the middle of the darkness- a cocoon... (The party- "WTF?") and the cocoon was somehow still weaving itself, yet it had some sort of a sensory appendage. And that was focused on... something in the room! In the audience plateau! Julian could almost feel a held breath, as the cocoon's attention was nearly entirely on one thing! That was...

    But with that her sight burned entirely, and Julian crumpled to the floor, now truly blind! Yet the memory of her glimpse stayed with her. But what occupied Nocticula's attention? Julian knew she had to find out!

    DM design- Nocticula's appearance and Julian's sight
    I decided not to use the image in the module, for that looked a bit too much like a super cliched succubus, what a child might expect. I wanted to present a more mature, lest "cartoony" image, something more befitting a demon lord of ageless power. I asked bout this in one of the former "help threads", and someone mentioned Eva green. I quite liked her appearance in Sin City, where she portrayed a sort of succubus really. But I also quite liked the black/ white imagery, and that she looked like a seductress, but a mature, interesting one. It provided a different feel than the demon look. The scene with her swimming in the pool provided inspiration for her initial appearance here, though I gave a few extra touches to make it feel supernatural, and a bit awe inspiring. Thankfully, the players were in the mood to play it, and not joke about it.

    As to Julian's sight- I wanted to give the player a real benefit from what he added to the play, when she gained divine power. The player at times hindered his character and party due to her blindness (Not sure I talked about it, but for instance- her inability to view scrying, which made some teleportation impossible, or inability to target beyond her "echolocation" range, and so on) So I thought this might be cool. Mechanically, each "stage" of looking into Nocticula's soul demanded an increasing will save, for an increasing wisdom drain and level drain. Surprisingly, Julian's player rolled REALLY well on her saves (though she did use mythic surge 2-3 times), and failed only after viewing the last image! Which worked out quite nicely! Each image had some symbolism that could give hints to her character, but I let the party figure those out.

    Formal presentations

    Yet the audience did not stop for her to contemplate. Both Lilith spoke in unison "Emissaries! You stand before Lady Nocticula, ruler of The Midnight Isles. Present yourself, and state your affair with the Lady In Shadow!" The demon emissaries started.

    "I am Areelu Vorlesh, emissary of Demon Lord Deskari, Lord of the Locust Host, Ruler of the Rasping Rifts. I am The Architect of The Worldwound, Initiator of the cataclysm to come. I speak in Deskari's voice, and has it's authority in these matters. I come to offer alliance, Lady in Shadow!"
    "I am Hephazimerah, Daughter and emissary of Demon Lord Baphomet, Lord of labyrinths and secrets, ruler of The Ivory Labyrinth. I am favored of Baphomet's many offsprings, and have slayed many of them. Leader of the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth, and creator of many great wonders and secrets. I speak in Baphomet's voice, and have it's authority in these matters. I come to offer alliance, Lady in Shadow!"
    "I am Khoramzadeh, Second emissary of the Demon lord Deskri, Lord of the Locust Host, Ruler of the Rasping Rifts. I am High general of the World wound Army, ruler of Iz, I am The Storm King! I speak as Areelu Vorlesh Second. I come to seek alliance, lady in shadow!"
    "I am Minhago, second emissary of the Demon lord Baphomet, Lord of Lbyrinths and secrets, ruler of The Ivory Labyrinth. I am the sower of discord, of mistrust of the crusade, Engineer of the mass betrayal and chaos in their ranks. I speak as Haphazimerah's second. I come to seek alliance, Lady in Shadow!"
    "I am Arulashee, Master Spy for the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth, a researcher of mortal heroes and their… bravery… (she said mockingly) I come as adviser, consultant and companion to Minhago, serving both great demons. I come to offer alliance, Lady in Shadow!"

    It was the party's turn. They looked at each other. They didn't quite prepare anything... Sena decided to go first.

    I am Senatef Aberdeen, High priest of Calistria, Goddess of shadows, betrayal and vengeance. I am the creator of the New way, where demon and mortal can work together, for a better future. I am here on the authority of Queen Galifar, and adviser of Calistria herself. I am here to seek counsel, and peace."

    There was a tense silence. Nocticula nodded at the sisters. Lilith spoke a bit sternly, coldly. "We do not deal with mortal queens... we deal with higher beings... On who's authority do you speak?"

    Sena gulped, and answered "I speak with Calistria's authority." Nocticula nodded.

    Julian spoke next. "I am Julian Bearstorm , daughter of Diane Bearstorm, grabber of divinity, and mother to the forgotten ones, I am also one of the destroyers of the Ivory Labyrinth. (She glanced at Hephazimerah, who fumed), I represent those who refuse to yield, in Golarion and anywhere else. I have come here to ask for the denial of war."

    Again, Lilith spoke: "But on whose authority do you speak for? You claim they gave their authority to you."

    Julian retorted "I speak on Golarion's authority." Lilith responded "The world does not grant you authority."

    Julian's eyes intensified. "I speak for the 5 gods of the crusade."

    The Sister inquired. "You have their authority?" She answered "In this matter alone." The party exchanged nervous glances.

    Next was Mad Dog. "I am John Mad Dog, I am here to speak for no one but myself, I am here to aid the others, for speaking is not my strength." (I quite liked it, and decided no to pursue more. Arulashee was an aid as well after all...)

    Andera was next. "I am Andera of Numeria. I can speak on behalf of many people who seek to leave their life from tyranny and evil schemes. And as such I follow the path that Arulashee has led me here." He then turned to Nocticula, addressing her in person. "Our humble world, is a mere room in the vast palace of Lady Nocticula, so it will do her no harm if she won't let the other scheming demons to strengthen themselves over you."

    Nocticula remained passive. Lilith spoke "On whose Authority do you speak?"
    "I speak on the authority of Desna, who has led us all of this way."

    Nocticula nodded, and both Lilith bowed to the party. "Now that formalities re over, we shall begin." At that time I reached and brought out a bottle of red wine, and some glasses, and poured them for the party, who were pleasantly surprised. "We shall commence the negotiations now, You are all guets of our Lady. The negotiations will take place in a few stages. Each will have his chance to speak, for you ll have a stake in this matter- The fate, of Golarion." With that, we all raised a glass, for now we the set was... set. We drank, saluted, and smiled.

    DM's notes- introductions and celebrations
    The introductions were both to remind the players of the opponents they fight against, who are their main opponents. It was also a chance to have them express themselves. This was stepping into "The Big Game", I wanted to give the party chance to voice them selves, their process, bit more clearly. bit of a defining moment. I think each had their own style...

    Also, "On who's authority do you speak?" was meant to make the party realize the magnitude of the matter more, which they have had quite nicely.

    Choices of opposition

    After a drink, it ws Nocticula herself who spoke, not her Lilith. "Before me you stand, 4 and 4, and a companion" (She nodded briefly at Arulashee), as such, each one, shall speak against another." She nodded at the Lilith, who put a black cloth, and upon it several objects. I unwrapped a few items, and put them on the table, with the players taking quite a surprised interest- A black cloth blindfold, A bloody red knife, with speckles of white drops, a bottle of perfume, and a letter, with an enigmatic rune upon it. Each group got the 4 objects, yet then a fog separated them. Nocticula voiced. "Each of you, choose the representation of your test, of your negotiation. You will have chance to argue against your opponents, but I will have question you as well... Choose wisely."

    The party quickly realized the objects represented Nocticula's domains, spheres of influence: Blindfold- darkness, Knife- assassinations, Perfume- lust, Envelope- secrets. But what to choose? Andera spoke "We need to consider what THEY will choose as well!"
    They quickly deducted that The Storm King will probably take the knife. They thought Minhago will take either the perfume or the envelope. The other two? They were not so sure... Julian remembered Areelu's souls image- of the spider weaving the web, and deducted she will choose the envelope- secrets.

    Julian used this chance to reveal her vision of Nocticula. "She is cocoon, looking for... something here. But what?"
    Sena spoke. "Perhaps me? With what I have become?" Andera rolled his eyes. "Not everything is about you!" Sena blinked "Maybe Arulashee then?"
    The players debated this a little. ("Admit it! You shagged her! She now carries some sort of a demonic sena larvae spawn!" ) Yet they came to no conclusion.
    NOT you Sena!
    Mad Dog returned their attention to the choice. "The matter at hand?"
    They decided to each go with what they knew best. They decided as such: Andera chose the blindfold (Being sneaky in darkness), Mad Dog chose the knife, Sena chose the envelope (he always suspected people), and Julian chose the perfume (Due to her ability with words and her past part-time-succubus period (Before finding the Paradox).

    When the fog dissipated though, they found what the demon emissaries have chosen, which surprised them, a bit- The Storm King indeed chose the knife, Minhago chose the perfume, but Hephazimerah chose the envelope, and Areelu Vorlesh chose the Blindfold.
    Andera shivered "I'm going against Areelu Vorlesh?" He bluffed a smile at her. She smiled back. "Oh my..."

    The party each surveyed their opponent. This was going to be... interesting. Nocticula raised her glass, and the Lilith both put the blindfold on Andera and Areelu Vorlesh. As the world grew dark (I had the player put on the blindfold) the first negotiation commenced. "In the beginning, before all, before the world, there was only Darkness. And there we shall begin as well..."

    DM notes- Choosing a concept of negotiation
    They partly surprised me too. The items were a bit of a nice touch. A light riddle, but not a game stopping one. Also, a bit of randomness. It proved to be a nice touch, making the session bit more special, a bit more memorable.
    A bit more added tension, eh?

    On Darkness...
    As the dark enveloped Andera (And Areelu), they heard Nocticula's voice. "This. This is real Darkness- where you cannot see, cannot hear, cannot feel. When my voice is gone, there shall be nothing..." (We sat in silence for a sh
    ort while). Nocticula then began her questions.
    Andera thought, and then answered: "Opportunity. To start everything a new. When everything is suppressed, you have to find something new. I will find a way to navigate again. It is a place to start a new, a challenge.
    Areelu answered as well: "What is to me real darkness? Darkness is the lesson of fear, and conquering it. In darkness there is only you, do you fear yourself, seeking light, a distraction? Or do you look inside, to your own darkness, to your own fear, and overcome it. Darkness is my teacher."

    Nocticula questioned further: "What will you do when it engulfs you fully, with no ability of light? How will you face it?"
    Andera: "I cannot tell you until I face it, for only when you face a new situation, you will know. But I won't be confused, whether it is the fear outside me or inside me." He said, mocking Areelu's answer.
    She answered confidently: "I shall breath it in, as I have. Many times before. For in the dark, the unpleasant truth appears, but in confronting it, you either die, or grow. I have grown, many times!"

    Then came Nocticula's last question. "What is the power and value of darkness for you?"
    Andera: "The power of surprise, for I am better, covered, concealed. But it may be something new, a new advantage. I can't forsee what total darkness will be, but in it, I will find the advantage. This is what I do."
    Areelu answered, a bit repeating her previous line. "The darkness is the fear. It is the primal lesson. A tool for those who fear it, a powers to those who embrace it."

    It was then, that Nocticula addressed both, more pointedly to the negotiation:

    Andera thought quickly, and improvised. ("What CAN we offer her?") "I offer you… to lessen the powers of the two other demons. We will take care to lessen their power. Maybe it will be your chance, to make an island out of them."
    After a few moments of silence "Anything else?"
    Andera thought a few more moments, and added "I think that the experiment on Arulashee isn't finished yet... Also, I offer a thought- Who do you trust better? My offer, or some evil scheming creature?"
    Areelu laughed pleasantly "Someone whom she knows, can relate to, understands? What can Deskari offer you? I offer you plenty! I offer you the secrets of the hive mind! Deskari is the lord of swarms, and as such can offer you a mind pattern, a shape and power none other can! I offer you the power of true transformation, through the power of Nyhadrian crystals! We have tested it, and it shall grant you great power! And if that is not enough- I have studied the nature of planes, their boundries, their essence like no other! I will share my knowledge, my research, if you join us in alliance!

    This stage of the negotiation has come to and end. Both parties rolled (Andera rolled diplomacy for Areelu as well). Despite well made arguments, Andera rolled a 1... and rolled better for Areelu. At the end, it seemed that her arguments persuaded Nocticula more. The Blindfold faded, and once more they were on the dark plateau. For the party, it lasted but a few seconds. Yet by Andera's frustration, and Vorlesh mocking bow, they knew who had won this round.

    "Just my luck being the first, against her!" Andera's player grumbled. This was not a good start!

    The negotiations for the fate of the world have started, but not well...

    DM's notes- negotiations rounds
    Each such round has 2 stages: At first, Nocticula asks 3 questions relating to the concept chosen. There are no right or wrong answers. Just those who seem to show some spirituality, some thinking, and which might impress her. I had the demon emissaries answers prepared, but they are not perfect. Each makes 1 or more mistakes. For each impressing answer, the negotiator gets a +3 to their diplomacy roll to this specific negotiation.

    Then she asks (In all negotiations) what they can offer her. I wrote to myself the main things she is interested in (based on her motives, which are an enigma to the party so far, but also to the demons). Items can give a +5 to a +10 on the diplomacy roll, if they interest her. Lastly, Though not stated directly, if the party can touch on a weakness/ fault of the other side (Such as having defeated Areelu twice, which for some reason they didn't mention) they can subtract -5 from the other side.

    Each negotiation won grants a hefty bonus to the final stage (later).
    In Darkness:
    3 questions: Andera got a +6 (Second answer felt evasive), so did Areelu (Last answer felt repetitive).
    Offerings: Andera got +0. (Nothing really) but managed to snag on the betraying nature of demons (-5 to Areelu). Areelu however got a +5 (Nocticula was intrigued by the potential of transformation, though she is hesitant bout using the Nyhadrian power).

    So all in all they quite canceled each other out, but the diplomacy rolls (and Areelu's hefty modifiers) proved victorious to the demons.

    Negotiations: Party: 0, Demons: 1!

    Unfortunately you have to finish here, due to a lack of time to write. i hope to finish up later this week. Hope you like it!
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2015-12-22 at 02:53 PM.

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  4. - Top - End - #214
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Grrrr! I've tried twice to write this last session log, and twice the computer froze and the work was lost. But I got it fixed now. Sorry for the long delay, with the computer problems and real life, it took me awhile.

    EDIT: Apparently this part is a bit long, so I've split it into tow parts (Sorry, at least the parts are shorter? ) Posting the last part immediately after this one. (Already written)

    Ok, lets finish this!

    Session 24, Part 3- The negotiations intensify, A Feast, Odd delights.

    After the failure of the first round of debates, the Lilith motioned the two parties to follow them. "You have come a long way, and there is still along way to go. The Lady wishes you to dine, eat, and replenish your strength, for you will need it. Follow us." Somewhat depressed, with Andera leading the blind Julian, they followed, once more through the twisting paths and halls of the palace.

    As they walked, they talked quietly amongst themselves, after Andera told them of what happened. Julian contemplated. "So, she asks you both some questions about darkness, and then asked you what can you offer her?"
    Sena was worried about this. "What CAN we offer her?" Julian and the others grew silent, trying to think of this, before they reached the dining hall...

    First Interlude- A Feast for the Soul!

    Both parties came to big, yet archaic looking dining hall. There was a big table at the center, and some chairs round it. The Lilith spoke "The lady have prepared a great feast for you honored guests. She has acquired dishes of the most exquisite tastes, from the best in the planes. Sit, Relax, enjoy. You are safe here." Nocticula herself did not join though. Soon, shadowy phantasms came carrying various foods and dishes, with the smell enticing.

    Sena sought this opportunity to get closer to Arulashee, yet at her sides sat both Hephazimerah, and Minhago, who was quite... affectionate... with Arulashee, who was affectionate back.

    The daughter of Baphomet glared at Sena "Go away! We are not your friends!"
    Sena retorted "I do not seek your friendship, but I demand respect!"
    As Hephazimerah rose to answer, Areelu Vorlesh raised a hand, calming her down. "Oh, we do respect you and your friends Sena. You have proven to be real worthy adversaries, The Lady wishes us to relax, so we shall. Come, sit, we shall reserve our... confrontations... to the negotiations." The witch gave Andera a smile...
    Sena nodded at Vorlesh for second while sitting himself next to Arulashee "Thank you Vorlesh, for keeping your friends from falling." The sentence however was directed at Arulashee (His promise to her "If you fall, I will catch you.")
    Arulashee herself seemed bemused by Sena, with Minhago, with her eyeless face, behind her. Arulashee spoke softly. "So, you have come a long way, both of us have. But..." And here sh stretched, and put an arm around Minhago. "I have finally arrived. I am finally free!"
    Sena was trying to contain his fury. "It was all her fault! Her doing!" he glared at Minhago.
    Arulashee was amused. "Was it? Oh, she helped, but the Arulashee you knew tried to be good for decades, and yet not succeeded. Yet, with but a few "nudges" from Minhago, I came back, and I'm fully here. Was she ever going to change?" Minhago then added with delight. "It was quite easier than I expected. There is nothing left..."

    Sena, exasperated, cast Heal on Arulashee, trying to undo the Lilitu Brands Andera saw in his dream. Arulashee looked surprised, and then laughed, removing some of her armor, showing a few healed brands. "That was ticklish! The brands... helped, they got me to return swifter, but... they are not really needed anymore. Please, take them all off if you really think it might help. She told you- there is nothing left." She put her hand on Sena's miserable cheek. "Thanks to you..." Minhago chimed in as well. "Sometimes yo uwin, sometime you lose. Here? You have lost!"
    This got Sena furious, yet his retort was cold "Here is your problem, you only see your games, struggles. You see this was only as conflict, while I see it as something bigger- a web of destiny, Of hope, of conquest, trickery, and more...You are so single minded, and because of that you will seal your doom. Do you even know what you are fighting for? You don't understand even yourself… You only talk with hollow words and nice speeches, but when I look at you, I most sincerely pity you. Thank you for your hospitality." Sena rose and went to join his own party "Respect is important."
    Arulashee put her hand around Minhago "That's Sena- All the time, talk talk talk, so full of himself!"

    Andera listened all of this while, but decided to now speak to the succubus: "Arulashee, There is some peace in losing independence, when you are told where to sit, who to speak with... You look like are happy now, but remember your own destiny, your own choices..."
    Arulashee laughed, making a fake pose of damsel in distress "Oh, you have come free me as well, like your tieflings?" Minhago snarled "Don't worry, we shall enslave them again, and make them pay for their betrayal. By the time we finish with that sorry lot, their example will deter any further thoughts of... redemption."
    Andera smiled his curious smile at Minhago "You won't survive that long"…

    Withe the "pleasantries" aside, both parties got to the feast itself, eating in silence... the dishes were indeed exquisite, the tastes superb. After some time (It was hard to grasp it's passing in the palace) the Lilith asked for attention again. The shadowy figures brought strange contraptions, laying them near the plates, They looked like sort of strange, elaborate masks, with a sort of siphon at the mouth... "The Lady wishes you to replenish not just body and mind, but also soul. She offers a feast of soul- The Lady acquired and prepared a delicacy, a creaturee of great power, who's soul you will consume with the essence masks before you. It shall grant you vast power for the negotiations to come! Please, Feast, delight, and do NOT displease out hostess!"

    The diners than heard a great moan of pain, as two dozens of the waiters, carried into the hall on great platter, a huge bronze dragon, skewered unto the plate, yet still alive, in great agony, with strange runes carved into his flesh. The party was appalled, yet the demons grinned, and quickly put on the essence masks. The sufferign dragon was laid on the table.

    (The players at the table:
    Sena- "Crap, but we cannot offend her...".
    Julian's player- "Screw this! We're not letting this happen!")
    The two charcters exchanged glances, and Sena tried healing the dragon, while Julian tried banishing it, but the magic of the plate and flesh carved runes prevented both spells. Vorlesh grinned through her mask, and the 5 demons starts siphoning the dragon's soul, as if drinking it from a straw. The dragon gave a horrible roar of suffering.
    Julian paled, Sena as well, but it was Andera who acted, quickly moving to it's neck, and killing the dragon releasing it's soul...

    Lilith approached the party with disdain and reproach "You dare insult the generosity of the hostess?!" But Julian answered back quite masterfully "Does the hostess wishes to offend us specifically with such a..."feast? Is that how she treats her guests?!" The Lilith stood silent for a few moments, but then receded, though still angry. "Very well... The Feast has ended. We shall now resume the negotiations."

    As the party filed after the Lilith once more, Sena was troubled. "I think we may have seriously upset her..." Julian spoke back. "We can't bend ourselves to fit her will. We are who we are, and she knows it.". Andera spoke as well. "We could not let that happen. What's done is done." Unsure of how they fared, the party continued in silence...

    DM's design- The Feast
    Between negotiations I designed a few interludes. This is the first. I had a few objectives here:
    1. After meeting the demon emissaries in the courtyard, then the negotiations, I wanted to give the party a chance to talk to them, in less constrained conditions, more free form. A big part of the negotiations is to know the enemy more, and give it a bit more character, a bit more build up than just "boss encounters". This worked out decently enough, though the focus was on Arulashee, as was expected...
    2. The dragon's soul: It indeed was intended as a test by Nocticula, though not a major one. It was supposed to be a simple test- do they offend the hostess/ seek power/ stay good? After the initial shock of negotiations, I wanted a simpler test, to give the players a feeling of more control, and to hint that their actions in the interludes may be important as well.

    The party did well here. Nocticula wanted to see if they stay true to their nature, or do they bend to circumstances. They gained a +3 for the FINAL negotiation. Had they feasted on the dragon, they would have gotten power- 2 rerolls of mythic power, none replenish able. As Andera acted so quickly, I decided that the demons didn't mange to siphon enough dragon soul to gain this benefit.

    I did have the Lilith be angry with them, because it's good to keep the players guessing.

    On Killing...
    Once more through the pathways, this time to one of the earlier massive battle arenas, which could hold battles between small armies. And it seemed that it just had... Multitudes of bloody bodies and carnage was in the scene, the aftermath of battle. The floor was red with spilled blood... Both parties came to the center, and the They could see Nocticulas walking through the battlefield, anekd, confident, mature and beautiful, yet with splatters of blood all about her. She motioned Mad Dog and the Storm king forth. "Hold the knives". (Credit to the player, he took the knife, and held it along his arm, as if meditation and preparation! )

    As Nocticula spoke, Mad Dog heard a thumping, from inside him, from the multitide of the dead in the place...

    On killing- Heart beats sound affect.
    (I put in to be quite loud, prominent in the scene)

    Nocticula's voice, came as heart beats: "One knife, One target, One kill. You have shed a lot of blood on your path. Such is war. You are killers, mass killers, with the death of hundreds, if not thousands, or tens of thousands on your hands. Yet, what has killing taught you?"
    Nocticula posed her first question "Who would you kill? When? How? And why?"
    Mad Dog thought for a moment, and then answered in simplicity, with a quiet, reserved, humble voice. "I kill not from strategy or planning of long term consequences, I kill the enemy in front of me, I kill to help my friends, with my friends. I am not a great thinker, I open the way for them. Who would I kill? The biggest enemy I can, one who's death would matter."
    The Storm King spoke next: "Who would I kill? These in front of me. They are the champions of their people, and the most successful so far. Their gods have invested their power in them. So destroying them would prove… disheartening, possibly fatal to our enemies. They are opponents of worth, cunning and power. They are a threat, and threats must be eliminated."

    Nocticula continued, with the beats getting more pronounced. "Who would you protect? How? And why?"
    Mad Dog: "I will protect those who cannot protect themselves, I will protect the other who travel with me. For they lack in strength, but will be able to deal with a greater enemy."
    Storm King: "There are 3 I protect. Lord Deskari, The witch Vorlesh, and The Suture. (This last bit got the party confused "The What? Oh, he must mean The Worldwound." This in fact was a hint about a crucial part in the last module, and a Weakness of The Worldwound. The Storm King did not wish to mess with Nocticula, and so told the truth, but just tried to downplay it. The party didn't think much of it... )

    Nocticula's voice, the beating hearts rose, for the last Question: "In this struggle, of endless killing, slaying, murdering, butchering, of all these vast amounts of bloods and souls. What is your upmost guiding principle?"
    Mad Dog thought for a moment, but then framed his answer in the form of an image. Himself in the Wordlwound, standing near a cliff, with a brown dragon flying overhead and himself coming out and calling at her "Come down here you Bitch!" (The player's initially thought to just answer "Charge!", but thought this would illustrate things better... The party part laughed, part face palmed)
    The Storm King, general of the Worldwound Army, thought answered more thoughtfully" Collect your info, plan accordingly, and time your assault. Timing is everything, and we demons have plenty of time..." (+3)

    The heartbeats receded somewhat, and now they saw heard Nocticula's voice, powerful, clear, and demanding, just as she did with Andera and Vorlesh "WHAT DO YOU, OFFER ME?"
    Again they came to this problem. Mad Dog thought, and answered truthfully "I have not that much to give. I can only kill your enemy… I do not hold the secrets of magic, of lore, no secrets or knowledge, what I have, is what I told you. If you wish me to kill an enemy, that I could give. If you wish to have the heads of demons, that I will give with pleasure!"
    The Storm King came more prepared: "Join us Lady in Shadow, and there is much we would give! The vast armies of Deskari! A swarm of demons at your command! I also hold the city of Iz, with it's powerful masterful forges, to make tool like no other, and..." With this, the Storm King released control of his power, (Which he kept in check in the palace) and a storm of chaotic elemental powers- fire, cold, lighting erupted roiling around him. "I have mastered the combination of chaotic energy, and would give you it's secrets, unsurpassed, in return for your alliance!"
    (The party, especially Sena's player were quite exasperated from this- "What the hell can we offer here in return? We got nothing! We're getting creamed here!" Julian's player was quite contemplative...)

    Mad Dog's player rolled for himself and the Storm King, and for once his dice proved good, as he rolled very high for himself and very low for the balor (including surges. Forgot to write the exact numbers) With adding the modifiers (detailed soon) it came surprisingly to... a draw?! The party whooped and gave high fives! They were not expecting Mad Dog, from all people, to be able to come to to toe in negotiations with the balor!

    The Hearts stopped beating, and Nocticula was no where in sight, but they heard her voice "You have made your arguments, and I shall consider both... We shall meet again later..."

    Andera spoke to Vorlesh. "Not as one sided as it seemed, is it?" She was all smiles, but obviously pissed at her general, who didn't quite understand why what happened here. Frankly, neither did Mad Dog...

    2 rounds of negotiations:
    Party: 0, Demons: +1!

    DM's Design- On killing...
    I quite expected Mad Dog's player to chose the knife. I knew he would have a hard time in social interactions, so thought to at least choose a theme that is easier for him, and fitted the story.

    Tell the truth, we were all quite impressed with his answers, and roleplay. He quite outdid his usual blundering. We felt this conversation gave Mad Dog's character a bit more depth, as it showed him as humble, honest, and quite self aware, which didn't quite fit with the "rage! Kill!" stuff before... It was interesting to see...
    As to the brek down of results:
    3 Questions: Mad Dog got a +9, for all 3! His first 2 answers surprised Nocticula, and showed both restraint of a sort, and a place with in the group, a defined purpose, quite contrary to the mindless rage she was expecting from him. I contemplated about the 3rd answer, but decided to go with it both for the "cool factor", and that it displayed Mad Dog's willingness and desire to seek a great challenge, and call it forth, without fear. This spoke volumes of him.
    The Storm King got only a +3, for the last answer. The first answer was quite expected, and didn't give Nocticula any new insight, as was the second.
    Offerings: Both sides got a +0. Mad Dog didn't quite offer anything she couldn't accomplish herself, and though the Storm King's suggestions may have sounded quite tempting, none of them touched on her particular desires and motives...

    So all in all, Mad Dog had a +6 to his roll compared to the balor. I still expected him to fail (The Storm King has a high Diplomacy modifier, even though it's downgraded somewhat from the 6th module), yet lucky rolls made the day! This turned out quite awesome in all, for Mad Dog actually contributed to the negotiations, more than was expected, by EVERYONE! (Himself included)

    Second Interlude- Strange Delights

    As Nocticula's presence faded, the Lilith spoke again. "Half of the negotiations have ended. You have dined and talked, the lady now wishes you to enjoy, indulge, and accept the many sensations of her grand palace. In these halls exist more delights and experiences than the mind can encompass in a single life time. Speak of your wish, your desire, and we shall seek to ensure you are fuly satisfied..." The two groups shot some glances, as they departed again...

    The party is quickly led to a small yet luxurious suite, with one main room, and adjoining room for each member. "You can rest here, talk, converse, it is safe. The place is protected from divination and scrying, you have privacy here." Andera was suspicious though "Full privacy? Won't Nocticula peer in on us?" Lilith smiled "The Lady promised you Privacy, and you shall have it." Andera was still unsure.

    Julian was more intrigued at what she spoke before, about the delights, Lilith explained: "In this palace we have collected created the most elaborate and exquisite sensations one will encounter in the realms. It is The Lady's wish that you can indulge in these, a once in many life times opportunity. She is your hostess, and offers you full hospitality... Rest, and once you wish, each of you can call upon me, and ask for an experience, a delight, and I shall seek a way to make your desire come true... The only limitations is that you may not infringe on the Lady's privacy, or harm the other emissaries, they are under her protection as well." The party thanked her, trying to think of what to do, and went to rest.

    Sena, who needed to rest for but an hour, called Lilith first. After about 20 seconds, she knocked on their door.
    Lil: "Yes Senatef, what shall be your pleasure?"
    S: "I want understanding"
    Lil: "Such as?"
    S: "I wish to understand Nocticula… I know I can't do it directly, but maybe something she wrote, a memory, a talk?"
    Lil:"This the lady will not grant. Anything else?" (Sena's player shrugged his shoulders "Was worth a try")
    S: "Hmmm... I'd like to make a spiritual experience. I'd liek to pray to my goddess, but I felt block here. Can I pray to her?"
    Lil: "Will praying to your goddess will give you delight?"
    S: "Yes."
    Lilith: "Very well, We shall enable you to pray." She led him once more to the temple he stopped in when they first came- the round stone room, with signs of many divine beings on the walls, but with a heavy layer of dust upon all. Lilith left him alone.

    Sena cast Commune, only to have his mask fall to the ground, unlike the previous times where it floated to Calistria's amused voice. This time the mask's features barely moved, as if the connection was coming from far away...
    Cal: "You feel.. .very distant...Where are you?"
    S: "I am in Nocticula's palace."
    Cal: "Any sights worth seeing?" (Though she soudned far, Sena could hear her smiling)
    S: "What can you offer me, to offer her?"
    Cal: "To her? Hmmmm..." After a few moments, she came with a response. "One favor- One kill she cannot kill, one secret she doesn't know, one service. I am not sure however... that she will be interested..." (This is something the module does state Noctitula wishes- a favor from the other gods).
    S: "I have something else I need to ask. You have a mark on me. If you'll let me, I will connect Sarenrae, we can give her something more worhtwhile."
    Calis: "More worthwhile than my favor? My mark will stay ,you are mine! But... if you wish to commune with her, I will allow it."
    Sena then Communed with Sarenrae. The mask burst in a soft, warm flame, but not a burning flame. Sena was confused by this, but continued
    Sarenrae's voice came warm, comforting, if a bit sad "Yes Senatef, my lost one."
    Sen:"It ws awhile before our last talk... I am in Nocticula's palace. I negotiate for the crusade..." He found it hard to speak. "Maybe I am lost, doomed, sealed. But if Nocticula will go against the crusade, our fate is sealed. What can I offer her?"
    Sarenrae's voice burned softly after a few more moments "You can offer her the kindness and favor of the crusade gods."
    Sen: An Amensty? Redemption?"
    Sar: "More of a cosmic debt. When she will want it, we shall pay it. This we promise..."
    Sen: "For my last question… What can I do for us to be departed no more? I have a debt to Calsitria, and I will repay it. But it deosn't mean you and me are enemies. On the contrary, I have tempered retribution and reprisal with mercy."
    Sar: "I will accept you, when your heart is ready to accept me... You have strayed from the path, and you need to find it again. When you shall do so, I will be there..." The commune ended.
    As a last attempt, Sena tried to commune with Nocticula, but felt nothing. He picked up his mask, still a bit warm, and put it back on his face.

    Though Sena still had plenty of time, we skipped to Julian (Some hours later, after her rest) She called Lilith to her.
    Lil: "Yes Julian, what shall be your pleasure?"
    J: "Giving a message to the mistress. There is something important for her to know!"
    Lil: "Will it please you?
    J: "Very much so!"
    Lil: "What is the message?"
    J: "I spoke with Andera, who told me of what happened, In the presence of Areelu Vorlesh. And I was quite surprised, the essence of ascending demons, that she steals from her The Lady in Shadow herself?! From her own realm!?"
    Lil: "Explain!"
    Julian went and explained about the secret mine in Nocticula's Realm, and how the demons have been harvesting demonic essence, without her knowing. Lilith seemed tense, angry. "Is there anything else?"
    Julina smiled. "No, that would be my delight. Thank you!"

    We jumped to Andera, who again sought to feel a connection with Desna, and contact Arulashee in dreams, but it didn't work. Desna's connection was blocked here, and Arulashee was also better protected after the first attempt. We returned to Sena in the meantime. He called Lilith again. "You have been granted your delight", but Sena waved her. "it's not about that. I'd like to try and meet with one of the other emissaries, Arulashee specifically, alone." Lilith concentrated for a bit, communicating with the other Lilith. "Very well, she will meet you, alone, at a place we choose for you. Follow me. On the way Sena started casting buffs- protection from evil, magic vestment, eagle splendor, and such. The players joked with him. "Don't forget to take a condom as well!"

    She waited for him in a homey room, sitting on a couch, her armor aside.
    Arulashee smiled at him "You said you do not think of this as a struggle... So let us talk in a more pleasant manner. Do you wish to eat?"
    Sen smiled "Does it seem you are afraid? We shared a meal at the Inn and Out, if your remember".
    Arulshee smiled "Strange place we have come to."
    Sena sat "Yes, indeed. How do you feel?"
    Arulashee looked at him, amiable, yet still amused "You keep asking that, as if it will change the answer- I feel liberated, I feel wonderful, I am... whole again! I was sick, split, not my self. It was a great torment, which Desna put upon me... But now I'm free from it."
    Sena spoke: "Yet you felt other things- compassion, regret, fear, love..."
    Arulashee looked at him, like at an uncomprehending yet hopeful child. "Sena, I am a succubus- corruption, seduction, lust, and more... I am not those things, I never were, they are unnatural to me, a taint. I am not a mortal… I am concept given form. Yet you are cute in your hopeless hope, in wishing to "free" me... I am more free now than I ever was."
    Sena nodded his head "I don't want you to be good or bad, evil or kind. Those words mean nothing for me…"
    Arulashee was surprised "Then what is it that you want?"
    Sena sighed, and spoke at length "I wish you to be happy with who you are. It wasn't just the paradox that caused this. The way you felt about your ways? It was always there…The change made you rise, towards a unity within yourself. You are not whole now, you are struggling. Something is wrong, and you know it. I can help you, if you wish. You need to be whole again. You other side won a battle, but you have lost the war. The same grievances in you exist, if you want it or not. I know that there is something else. It will rise again. My hope is dear lady, that when this time will come, it will not be too late..."
    Arulashee looked at him, warmth in her eyes. "I am not whole now? The way you saw me before- I was fractured, tormented, insecure, lost. Are you trying to persuade me, or yourself?" She sighed, and rose. "I will avenge against Desna, the crusade, and what they have done to me! When the time will come in the negotiation, I will speak, and will seal your doom, the doom of the crusade, the world, and those gods! And without a single ping of regret..."
    Sena was stunned a bit. "So you have no problem to seem e die, screaming for my life, it will not do anything to you?"
    Arulashee shot a hateful look at him. "You? Who tried to pull me away from what I really am? It will cause me great pleasure see you self centered fool, and Andera, that coward, burn slowly!" yet, Sena's sense motive got just high enough to notice a bit of doubt, a subtle doubt, possibly an unconscious one in her answer. (Bloody huge modifiers and surge rolls! )
    Sena shaked his head. "Were it the other way, if you fall, I will catch you."
    Arulashee came close to him, pressing her body to him. "Such a romantic. Come, when this is over, we shall probably never meet again. Let us join here, this time, for one night of passion, between old friends, old lovers..." Her hands started moving on him, but he pushed hr (gently) away. "For me it was never about the flesh. I saw you, and it was absolutely... beautiful, the soul inside. Never be something else." And with that he rose and left.

    DM design- The balance of Arulashee's soul
    The player asked me if this may have done anything. The party allready realized turning her back, if at all possible, may take another approach than just spells. In truth, even though Arulashee was central to the negotiations, I couldn't quite come up with a good mechanic to see if the party manages to redeem her back or not. I came up with a somewhat vague system for this:
    The DC will depend on Minhago's influence (Social skills). As Minhagos' skills are very high, this proved quite difficult.
    The character who will try to force the transition (whenever that happens), will be the one to roll.
    Each attempt to "sway' Arulshee, that touches well enough on her core issues (A bit similar to aspects from FATE core), will grant a bonus to the decisive roll. (+3 for anything of import) swaying attempts are added from all attempts by the party.
    Previous familiarity (As in the GiTP diplomacy rules) still comes into effect. Basically, Sena and Andera will have a +10 (Considered Intimate), while the other two get a +5 (Considered ally).

    I considered Andera's previous "dream scene" to be worth 2 sway points. (His words, and using her specific equipment, giving it to her). Sena's healing the brands grant another point, and this conversation another 2 (Wanting her to be herself/ whole again, facing her with the prospect of him dying at her actions)
    So Sena gained 3, Andera 2 (Though I forgot to tell him that)

    Julian in the meantime had an idea- she pulled out The Lexicon of Paradox. She had an idea- part of the angel's essence that was transferred to Arulashee, was also transferred to Sena, so might it be possible to take Sena's part, and transfer it to her? I told the player that if he can come up with an interesting way of doing it, I will consider it. On similar lines of the last paradox riddle- Find a situation/ place where definitions become blurred, and sufficient power to cross the boundary into something else. The player began to think...

    Meanwhile, Lilith came to the suite, and asked Mad Dog and Andera- "Is there nothing you wish for?"
    Mad Dog did not, while Andera sighed, tired "I just want to feel everythign is nice, calm and good for a change, that nothing bd, alarming or dangerous happens, no one wishes to harm another…"
    Lil: "You wish a delusion?"
    An: "Sadly for now, yes…"
    Lilith thinks, and then motions him to follow her. They traverse soem halsl and paths, and come to what smells and looks a bit like a drug house, with various people and demons, in hallucinogenic trances/ stupor. A wizened old tiefling comes, and hands the Lilith a potion. "I have contacted this master of alchemy. Drink, and get your desire... Worry not, for it will not have an effect on you later."
    Andera looked at the potion inquiringly, but then sat on a cushion, and drank. (We decided the player will describe how it felt). Andera floated in warm, soothing waters, comforting waters, with soft sounds. No weight, no worries, no aches, all tension gone, away... soft and comfortable... Like Nocticula's pool, he drifted through the warm waters of comfort relaxation...
    Yet all things come to an end, and after some time, he slowly awoke from his dream, back into the drug den in Nocticula's palace. Above him stood Lilith, with an oddly curious look on her face.
    Lil "And now, how do you feel, that you have returned? Back to this world, back to this... imperfect reality?
    Andera rose slowly "It can be addictive, and I might well have spent the restof my life there. But but it makes me wantto fight all the more to achieve this. It is a delusion, but we can accomplish this."

    She led him back, and made on last attempt with Mad Dog "Is there nothing you wish? Intimate pleasures? A grand fight? An armory?" Mad Dog just nodded and declined "None of these I will enjoy. I wish to continue."

    With all party members back, and done with their requests, Lilith spoke to them. "You have indulged in whatever delights you wished. We hope the Lady's hospitality suited you. We shall now continue to the third round of negotiations." And started leading them away.

    DM design- Delights of the palace.
    This was about halfway through the negotiations. I had a few objectives in this:
    1. It is another test by Nocticula. As a former succubi, what people want can tell you lot about them. I decided interesting/ surprising/ impressive choices would grant a similar bonus. While Sena and Julian's choices were very tactically minded, Andera's cool roleplay choice (and dialogue), and Mad Dog' decline were interesting enough. Together they granted them another total of +4 for the final negotiations. (about Julian's message- though Lilith (and the demons) didn't know this, Nocticula already knew about the mine. This didn't add to the negotiations. She hasn't acted upon it for reasons that will become clear later)
    2. It will greatly add to the feel of the scene, a chance to explore the palace and what it can offer.
    3. It offer the party a lot of freedom to do their own ideas, and such. I expected either sway attempts with Arulashee, or trying to spy on/ sabotage the demons efforts. I had a few ideas, but it was all mostly improvisation here.
    4. Originally, I had ideas for how the demons too will try to mess up with the party's efforts. I tried a bit in the end of Sena and Arulashee's conversation, but quite forgot about the rest in trying to run the session.

    On secrets...

    The party was led this time to one of the enormous libraries they've seen the way to Nocticula. There was a feeling of knowledge, sealed knowledge, secret knowledge in the place. Nocticula stood by one of the books. "Open your envelopes" she told Sena and Hephzimerah. As both did, the vast tomes of the library rustled, and whispers, secrets, started to be heard, on the verge of hearing...

    Sena and Hephazimerah heard Nocticula's voice, like half whispered words. "Information is power. The one who knows, is the one who can influence and control. It is strong. The one who does not, is weak. Therefore, comes the need for the secret."
    She asked her first question: "Tell me one secret, of great import. A trust, of your side…" (Sena knew this was for Nocticula's ears alone, that both him and Hephazimerah would not know each other's secrets)
    Sena: "We have a tome. A book, something that cannot be true or false, exist and not exist. Soemthign that has the power to close the demon invasion completely, or open it to engulf All of Golarion. We posses it." (He did not hear Hephazimerah's secret)
    Nocticula asked her second question."If there was one mystery in the world, you'd like to know the secret of, what shall it be? And why do you wish to uncover it? (This both sides heard)
    Sena: "I will speak for my own self experience. I will desire to understand the mystery of love. No one can explain it, it can break any border, any allegiance, anything. Any knowledge is useless against it. No one understands it, yet I wish I did..."
    Heph: "Your mind, Lady Nocticula, and what is it that you truly seek here…"
    Nocticula asked her last question: "What secret should not be revealed, ever… why?
    Senatef smiled: "Your Secret... I feel it is important enough..."
    Hephazimerah answered differently: "The secret schemes of our great lord Baphomet, and the Ivory Labyrinth. I serve my lord loyally!"

    The whispers subsided in volume, and yet felt more pressing, more ominous. Nocticula faced them both with her quandary- "WHAT DO YOU, OFFER ME?"
    Senatef came more prepared than Andera and Mad Dog. "From my lady Calistria one favor- One kill you cannot kill, on secret you do not know, one favor. I speak also for the gods of the crusade, they offer a similar offer- a cosmic debt, of your choice. But... I don't think you want any of these, so I offer something more... Me. I've heard that I've become... something else, which no one fully understands. When this is all over, this war, I offer myself to you, to explore as you wish."
    Hephazimerah had other offers: I offer you the secret passages between worlds and plains! The Ivory Labyrinth touches on many secret entrances to many worlds. I also offer my services. I am one of the most skilled artificers (Not the class!) and maker of great mysteries, wonders, and artifacts. I will craft any wonder you desire, if you give us your alliance!

    Sena presented a good case, especially in his offers, and with a decent rolls, managed to overcome Hephzimerah! They had won this round! Nocticula spoke briefly. "You speak interestingly, servant of Calistria. The favors of the gods re not something to be taken lightly. As to your offer of yourself to me... It is irrelevant now..." This confused Sean, but he let it pass.

    Andera smirked at Vorlesh "Not so one sided now, is it?" Yet Vorlesh smiled back. "It's not over yet..."

    DM design- On Secrets
    This was fairly straightforward. I'll just break it down:
    Questions: Sena got +9 for all 3 answers, Hephazimerah got +6 (The last answer did not appease).
    Offerings: Sena got +10 for the deals of favors of the gods. Heph got +5 for the paths between worlds. So in total Sena had a +8 on Hephazimerah, enough to pass her impressive diplomacy with a decent roll.

    Party: +1, Demons: +1! (It's a tie!)
    Due to post length, I have to cut this part here. Now worries though, the last part coming up right up!
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2015-12-22 at 02:40 PM.

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  5. - Top - End - #215
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    The end of this long, yet fun session.

    Session 24, Part 4- Dances, A change, Final Negotiations

    After the library, it was time for the third interlude in negotiations.

    Third Interlude- Dances, Rivals, Bygone faces

    Lilith led the path once more, in the twisting strange halls. The party felt excited at the last win, but Julian was mostly silent, for she knew she will be in the next, and final negotiations, against Minhago. The party finally arrived at a great hall, a dancing hall. There were ornaments, decorations, and big wide floor. There were also quite a lot of other figures there, mostly various important looking demons (Such as Vallexia was), but also other figures, some mortals, some... stranger...

    The voice of conversations, of a party was all around, until Nocticula came. She strode to the center of the viewing stage, and sat,with her cloack of dark waters forming itself gain as a throne. The crowd grew silent. This night, My night, we celebrate. Dance, music, passion- that is life. Harmony, disharmony, change and rhythm. Put your mask on, choose a partner, and dance the night!" She looked at what must have been the band/ orchestra. "We shall commence with the dance of Leaves in the Storm!". The people quickly wentt to take masks.
    Sena's player jokingly chose one of Guy Fox (From "V for Vendetta"), but then just went with his own mask of Calistria.
    Mad Dog chooses the mask of a plain half elf.
    Andera takes a mask of a succubus.
    Julian... decides she won't wear a mask.
    The orchestra started playing...

    Leaves in the Storm dance- Blackheart, Two Steps from Hell
    (Thanks to Hawkstar for the great suggestion!

    As the music started, winds started billowing through the dance hall, and the party, like many others, felt their limbs start to move, whirl, and dance! The dance was quite fast, and the people changed partners quite often, every minute or so, out of the magic of the dance. The party members found themselves with... strange dance partners!

    Julian foudn herself dancing with... Areelu Vorlesh! As they twisted and jumped, they conversed briefly.
    V: "Ahh! So you're the new one, aren't you? I didn't meet you last time I encoutered your group. An unexpected… twist? I have heard about your.... tranformation... I must say it is quite intriguing...
    J: I have had a great teacher- you for example! Do you know your essence has pushed the powers of good?. (She's talking about Vorlesh teaching her through the Paradox) This is not something simply accomplished. (Look of understanding…)
    Vorlesh laughed. "Oh, we all have wide reaching effects, but do you understnad? Who is pulling your strings? Who's toy, puppet you are?
    It was Julian's turn to laugh: "Please! Such cheap tricks? I thought you were better! I can easily disgrace you in front of our hostess."
    Vorlesh smiled "You're talking about the mine? Hmmm... I assure you, it will not prove a major point. However, I wasn't trying to trick. Done with that. But it seems we shall have to complete this dance, won't we?"
    J: "Oh, it is such a DELIGHT dancing. I must say, it's so easy to manipulate you, I'm slightly disappointed!"
    V: "Now who's trying the cheap tricks? But... It was very interesting finally meeting you Julian. I think I understand... (With a slight look of apprehension). And with the music, they changed partners.

    Andera found himself dancing with Hephazimerah. The Minotaur priestess grunted in anger.
    Heph: "You! I heard you led the purge against our spy netwrok. I have a long memory! I will keep a special place, a special torment for you, and your tiefling mewlings! You spread your power amongst many, and that will make you weak!"
    An: "My, It seems like you're offended!
    Heph: "I take pleasure in taking out obstacles like you, one piece at a time. You'll see!"
    An: "Really? We've taken out any "obstacle" you've thrown at us so far. We're comign close to you, and your precious mine. YOU'LL see!"
    Hephazimerah gave a disgusted grunt, and the dance switched partners.

    Mad Dog found himself dancing (quite oddly) with The Storm King.
    SK: "So killer, I have heard about you, your power, your rage, your thirst for blood. My oh my, you'd make a wonderful demon. These… talks… these... parleying. They are not much for us, are they? We belong on the field of battle! I would relish the change to cross blades with you, my most wonderful beast, and then make you my fighting pet. Blood is blood, isn’t it?
    Mad Dog, a man of simple words, gave a nice answer: "Relish it not, and pet I would not be. Should we cross blades, a head would fall, yours or mine." (The party was quite impressed at this!)
    The balor got it's fiery burning head inches from Mad Dog's face, who didn't flinch. "Yes, till we clash again!" and the dance changed...

    Sena found himself dancing with Vorlesh as well.
    V: "A long time since we last met, no? I remember clapping..."
    S: "I see you're moving better now. How is the new wing?"
    Vorlesh extended it as part of the dance. "Quite nice thank you? How is John, and your soldiers?"
    S: "Oh, that old game? You're trying to make me do soemthing to upset our hostess?"
    V: "Just a friendly inquiry! Hmmm... You may be the first to withstand my temptation, and yet… you seem to fall far father than the rest. Your soul… detached, darkned. I heard of your mantra. I'm on it, Ain't I?"
    Sena laughed: "Oh, right t the top!"
    Vorlesh nodded in acknowledgment: "I would be offended otherwise! Isn't vengeance delightful? Magnificent? It has given you so much power, without it you wouldn't have gotten half as far. I know... about vengeance. If you'd like, I can help (Looks at Arulshee, and then Minhago). Friendly wise, no strings attached."
    Sena sighed "You seem to not understand me... you are blinded… I have manged to free a legion of your demons. This is the real revenge. Demons free from everything. This is the real threat to all of you, don't you see?"
    But Vorlesh attention was drawn elsewhere, to the dancing Julian, with a thoughtful look upon her face. She answered none the less. "You have been most... interesting to watch... Thank you, thank you indeed!" and the dance changed.

    Julian in the meantime was dancing with Minhago.
    M: How is your mother? I allready have agents looking for her. Imgine her despair at gettign captured again? A bitliek your father really... (Julian was a bit surprised) Oh, you never knew him as well, didn't you? He was a mighty barbarian with a small clan of Sarkorians, in the Worldwound. It was fun hunting them down, again, and again, and again. They had so little pieces left when it was over…
    Julian didn't rise to the bait:Talking about pieces. Why do you seem like a broken mirror, I have seen in you fear, shame... You're just a big pile of hurt, aren't you?"
    Minhago was furious "Oh, I'll hurt you.."
    J: "As a a mask master, you are so open… No matter your master was so disappointed with you…"
    Minhago resumed her confident face. "I still have the ace, and we shall see in the final negotiation…"
    J: I'm not worried, You kind of have a habit of losing".
    And the dance changed.

    Andera found himself dacnign with Arulashee.
    Ar: "Andera, the coward. You have looked for me so long, and yet in the end? You didn't have the guts to pursue me, and now it's all too late..."
    Andera spoek a bit sadly,. "You know, This is our first dance ever. I wanted it to be special, waited for the first dance… And yet you found another interest…"
    Ar: "You never even fought for me..."
    Andera laughed bitterly "I am fighting this campaign only for you. I joined the crusades for you, hoping to give back to you what you once gave to me. To give you back your bow and arrow, you aim!"
    Arulashee looked confused "What bow, what are you talking about?"
    An: "Oh, I wasn;t talkingto you. Its' the other one, the one who asks questions. If for some unfortunate, you will lose, the questions will always be there. You won't be happy. The bow is there, remember it!"
    Arulashee waved him off angrily "I will not listen to your trickery!"
    Andera shot one last sentence before the dance swept them away. "I'm not trying to trick the succubus. I gave you the bow, try and use it, seek for the bow, seek for the bow that saved my life!"

    (I quite liked how it went, so considered this another successful sway attempt).

    Mad Dog found himself dancing with Hephazimerah.
    Hephazimerh tried to provoke his anger, and his pride, as the group's champion, but Mad Dog just laughed. "I would love to crossword with you, but tonight, we dance at a tune of words. Neither one of us is very good at it, are we? But that is the lady's rule. And as for the greatest champion, you do not know where true power lies."

    The dance of Leaves in the Storm has ended. But Nocticula called for yet another dance. "The night is young, and the heart will dance. I welcome past and gone, to join in this trance!" With that, the band started a new song!

    The Dance Macabre!
    (It's traditional really! )

    The room filled with mists, and the party found themselves moving by the power of music once more, only this time moving straight from their bones, their skeletons, to the sounds. And in the mist, they again found... odd dancing partners.

    Julian Found herself dancing with no other than... Dumas Ardent, Leader of the Silver Banner, who perished in the attack on Drezen!
    The old (and dead!) warrior looked around surprised. "Why am I here amongst all these demons?! Oohhh! Some big ones! never matter! Some say outnumbered, I say target rich environment!"
    Julian (and the player), broke up grinning. "I always liked you. It is a pleasure to meet you again!"
    D: "Is it really you Julian? You have... (cough cough) changed a bit. My, you make this old body feel young again! Too bad my wife is probably at the dance too!"
    Julian laughed. "I am delighted to be dancing with you! You always had the right spirit!"
    D: "Aye, but I commanded my troops alone. You now seem to command... much more... Are you ready for this responsibility? You have made a safe place for them I've heard, but the war is not over, and you know they will follow you, blindly, to war. And the war will escalate, greatly, soon enough. I know you have our death on your shoulders, but you may have many, many more deaths joining them soon. Can you do that Julian? (He looked at her concernedly, a bit like a grandfather).
    J: "Each and every death lies heavily on my heart. But I teach people to defend and stand for themselves, not just to live their life, but to stand for what they believe for."
    D: "Good. There is limit to the responsibility you can take over them. You can teach them, guide them, but the choice is theirs. And if the cause is good, then accept they chose it."
    Julian hugged Dumas: "Is there anything you'd like me to make for you in Drezen?! I'd love to do it!"
    D: "You've already done far more than I would have ever imagined possible. We are proud of you, Julian..." and with that, he faded...

    The party got real excited understanding what this dance was about, trying to guess who they might meet. Sena found himself dancing with a big, fat, and slightly rattish figure, with tumors on his face, though a big grin on them as well- Chief Sul, from the mongrelfolk of Kenabres.
    CS: "Didna quite expect me, did ya?"
    Sena grinend widely "No I didn't! But it's great seeing you!"
    CS "Aye, I rest good in the afterlife. Sarenrae accepted. You have Taken my people to new places, for which you have friends brother Spirit. I hope Lann is doing alright, and my Opoli?"
    Sena was a bit overcome, trying to relay everything that happened "Lann and Opoli are doing fine, your people are a nation unfolding! The impossible! They have inspired me, others, so many others! They are the seed of change for the world!"
    CS: "Um, Spirit, I also come voicing a concern- Sarenrae is quite disturbed. People are worried, so is John… What has become of ye? You have become more... volatile, and we're worried..."
    Sena was a bit embarrassed. "I've tried... trying... to do the best I can think of. It's a bit confusing, but... I..."
    CS patted him on his shoulders, and grinned. "It's ok. Sometime you're a ******** and a shmuck, but you ARE trying to do best. Not easy, is it? You'll find a way, just try not to hurt, others, or yourself, too much on the way, ok?"
    Sena was quite overwhelmed with emotion, so they just hugged, and CS whispered. "Doing good Spirit, be well!" and he faded.

    Andera found himself dancing with a thin, agile, dark skinned man, with a serious look upon his face. However, the player could not remember who it was.
    The man inquired. "Can't you guess Andera?"
    Andera thought, but had to answer "I don't remember who you are..."
    The man answered. "You came looking for me, and have found my dead body. You've worn my ring, the ring of our order, ever since." Aandera then remembered the ring of shadow flame, and the man he came to Kenabres looking for.
    An: "So you are... Solvanus Senest, the Raat Mukdir!" He was surprised. "It is an honor."
    SS: "No, it is my honor. You have saved Kenabres, and since then... Well, you have done more than I could have ever imagine. And you have been able to purge the Baphomet spy network! You are indeed proven yourself to be the new head of our order!"
    Andera was humble here: "I havenotdone this alone, we have all fought hard for this..."
    SS: "Yes... But I tried to appear here not to just congratulate you. I also come bearign warnings. The first is about the witch Vorlesh- We suspect her schemes go fr beyond just converting demons into tougher demons. All that you've encoutnered so far with the Nyhadrian crystals, the monsters, Drezen, Even the attempt on Kenabres... We suspect these are just trials, experiments, for something... bigger. What little divinations that werenot blocked, and spies we have, seem to indicate she is looking for soem sort of an extra special material/ concept/ something for her final plan. Of recent she tried to tempt and converse with high priests of the crusade gods."
    Andera took the news grimly. "We never underestimated her. Do you know wht she might be looking for?"
    SS: "No. That we could not ascertain. We are not sure she knows herself... As to Nocticula- The demon is no longer fully who she was. Do not take her ploys as simple. She is something else, but beyond our capability. In the after death some inquire of her. She seeks some profound and deep philosophy. Contacts and spies, secret envoys tried to spy or contact some of the neutral gods. Some even say she seeks celestials. But for what purpose?"
    Andera responded softly "We've gained simialr information. We may know more, by the end of the negotiations. I do not trust her, not one bit!"
    SS: "I know. As the head of the Raat Mukdir, and one of it's last surviving members, I bid you success in your efforts, and future struggles. Much depend on you all."
    Andera, though dancing, managed to bow a little. "Either we rest peacefully ,or etenrenlly… All of us."
    With that, Solvanus Senest dissolved...

    Mad Dog found himslef dancing with a succubus, that he did not recognize. It gave him a wink, and a mischevious smile. "Hello there big fella, can't you guess?"
    Mad Dog's eye brows frowned. "Um... no. I killed you once?"
    The succubus laughed, and changed shape mid dance, to a more familiar form, that of the halfling traitor, Nurah Dendiwhere. The agile halfing danced around the mass of Mad Dog, between his legs, on his back... "Well, I guess I got my reward for my last failure. Currently I'm not that a major demon, but this fits my talents well. I'll work up the ranks..."
    Mad Dog was frustrated by her quick and annoying dance. "Will you stop that! I don't care for the dead!"
    But Nurah was having fun. "Heard you took out the entire spy network? Damn! We worked quite hard on that! How does dear Queeny fare? And the war effort?"
    Mad Dog replied simply. "Well... Better than you?"
    Nurah laughed. "Well, Mr. Grumpy developed a sense of humor at last? Took you awhile! Heard your troops are even moving to Raliscard by now?"
    Mad Dog, who never really kept up with the news replied. "I guess. We're movign to end you demons, on all fronts."
    Nurah laughed, twirled around the confused barbarian, and gave a wink. "So you are... so you are..." and dissolved.

    Julian found herself dancing with another ghost, but more ghostly than then the others. Small of stature, but strong looking, firm, with the ghostly images of an armor, a helmet, and a big hammer. She looked into the grey glowing eyes of Staunton Vhane.
    SV: "You have grown into a new light. I am finally gone. My torture eternal, yet I did as was my duty. Now I shall await the end of time..."
    J: "Was it worth it? I have failed in getting you back… Your brother is doing well. As does your cousin. Your family is not gone!"
    SV: "Yes... I have heard of my kin... Thank you for my… family… perhaps they will do better than me. I am gone, far gone… You seem to always come to the darkest of places. In Drezen, in my darkness, you sought the Sword of Valor, and found something… unexpected. Something that was not what it seems. In this place of far deeper darkness, there may still be a hidden light, hidden very very well, even if it looks like something else…"
    Julian thought deeply on this. "Yes, one small light, can end up lighting the entire world. Can you give me a clue as how this light can be... freed?"
    SV spoke gravely. "Think back to The light you once freed. What is the essence of The Sword of Valor, why hve you sought it? What did it bring the crusade?"
    Julian answered with one word. "Hope!"
    SV nodded. "And now I must return to my own darkness, which I have earned. Bring new light to darkness..."
    As he faded, Julian implored "You are not beyond redemption!" but the ghostly remains faded completely...

    Sena found himself with one he's expected to be dancing with since this dance began.
    S: "Hello John. I've been missing you!"
    The old commander smiled warmly at him. "Ah, Senatef, my child. You have learned so much in these past few months. Not all of these have been... easy truths. Some were quite... painful. I worry how this have changed you. You have developed fast..."
    Sena sighed. "So many seem to worry about me... I know Sarenrae's court is worried. I am Searching ,seeking, at unrest, but that is my spiritual journey, even if I made some mistakes along the way...
    J: "We worry the lengths you might go to, to pursue your journey..."
    S: "I have been seeking to return to Sarenrae's fold. I've spoken with her about this!"
    J: "In order to do so, you'll need to forsake the one path that led you away.
    Sena sighed. "Well, that is for me to do. But John, I just wish you to finally rest easily.
    J: "I will rest, when you will, my dear child." he caressed Sena's cheek, as he slowly faded away "We shall meet again, if the world doesn't end..."

    Andera found himself dancing with a stunning looking woman, in a green dress, only splattered in blood in the middle, and with dazzling green eyes.
    Jerribeth: "Well, that went not as well as I expected...Look what you did to my dress!"
    Andera smirked "Well, it is funny to dance with you, now that you're dead. I wouldn’t want you alive... Also, I just danced with your sister. Can I take my wish now?"
    Jerribeth grinned evilly: Perhaps I have underestimated you, but Vorlesh won't. She is craftier than me. I know you have a secret… A certain tome? No, don't worry, I won't tell- I rather she fries!"
    Andera was surprised: "Oh? I thought you worked together?"
    Jerribeth scolded him: "Us? Don't be an idiot! I'd rather have here quartered and butchered, the hag! The demons of Baphomet and Deskari never quite liked each other. Remember Xanthir Vang? Oh, we play ok, but we always scheme to take each other down a peg or twenty..."
    Andera thought "Hmmm... Well, if so, would you like to help us take her down? I think Arulashee is in the middle of this. Can you tell me of your sister? To hurt Vorlesh?
    Jerribeth was amused. "Hmmmm, well, the main thing she was always extremely independent, always hd her own mind, acted on her own decisions. Wouldn't take authority well, did my sis. If she is playing Minhago's game now, it's because she has her own plan, her own motives in this... Try shaking her up?"
    Andera grunted "We're trying..."
    Jerribeth started to fade. "You know, your really should have accepted my offer for a wish, you'd make such a lovely overlord! Now, I really got to change this dress..."

    As the mists roiled more, Mad Dog found himself increasing soemwhat in size, and then dancing with an odd partner, a dragon! A dragon he killed before- Scorsizore!
    The angry dragoness roared! "You? Dragon slayer! That sword comes from my hoard! Thief! You won, and on the way of becoming a true monster, a true dragon! A hoarder, a killer, an annihilator!
    Mad Dog just stayed silent, unimpressed.
    Sc: "Your people have a saying about dragons- pride cometh before the fall. Always remember- there are bigger teeth than yours."
    Mad Dog: "Never said there aren't..."
    Sc: "Here, in this place, there are teeth, hunger, want big enough to eat up the whole world! (She looked at Nocticula, and then Vorlesh) "Are you plnnign so be their slayer as well?"
    Mad Dog shrugged. "If I get the chance..."
    Scorsizore bared her teeth in a snarl. "Well dragon. You might just get it. Fare well, Slayer..." and the dragon faded as well...

    And the music stopped, and the mist dissipated. Nocticula spoke briefly "The dance is done. The night begun..."

    Spoiler: DM design- the dances
    The dances had a few objectives:
    1. Again, enhance the feeling of being on diplomatic mission, in a very supernatural place.
    2. Since this is the last interlude, it is amongst the last chances for the party to converse with their enemies.
    3. The "dance macabre" idea came from the Babylon 5 chapter "Night of the dead" (5th season). I wanted to do this for 2 reasons: The Negotiations are an important point in the campaign- a move into "the big league", where even divine entities play. Things are going to escalate quite fast in the next two modules, and I'm not sure if I'll have time to pull something like this off. I wanted the party to have a bit of time to reflect back on their past, before the big mess starts rolling fast. Also, this is our 24th session, which was our last session in the "Many facets of darkness" campaign, which had a somewhat similar encounter (The mirror room), which I wanted to incorporate as well.

    The players LOVED the dance encounters. It was real fun!

    Not done here yet...

    As the dance hall empties, Julian asks Andera to give her the holy sign of Desna. "I probably won't give it back, but hopefully, it will be worth it." Andera gives it to her, and Julian sends a message to Arulashee, seeking to meet her outside the hall, alone. Arulashee is quite apprehensive, but Julian sends one last note. "I will wait outside the Hall's door. No trickery, if you do not come, you are lost."

    Sena, with his keen ears, manages to hear the quick huddled conversation of the demon emissaries.
    V: "... The second plan. This is your last chance to get Baphomet's favor. Do you understand? Have you made the modifications?"
    Heph: "Yes, I have."
    SK: "I have contributed my power to it…"
    V: "Good. This Julian, she has… inspired me. I now know what was missing. Contact your father, and enact the plan! This will end soon! When we have it, we shall finally be ready!"

    Sena quickly came and alerted the party. They discussed this briefly, wondering if the demons plan on attacking Nocticula somehow if the negotiations fail! Sena seek Lilith, and tells her as well. She assures him no one can attack her in the palace, and if so, they will face lethal re precautions.

    Julian waited outside the hall, until she heard Arulashee's voice. "First Sena, then Andera, and now you probably want to trick me as well? I told you- she is gone!"
    Julian sighed, and came slowly towards Arulashee, as if musing. "I remembered once a very happy Arulashee, A single moment that I saw you truly happy, and gave me a hug, after one noble thing you have done- helping us save the captive aasimar at the Inn and Out. You remember tht? How happy you've felt?" Arulshee was bit stunned, and Julian used this moment. "I wish to hug you back!" Though blind, she managed to do so, just before Arulashee pushed her away, confused. Julian grabbed her hand, and put Desna's symbol in it, pressing it in."There is always hope, remember remember there is always hope." For a moment Arulashee stared at the symbol, and then threw it t the wall and stormed back to the other demons. Another sway attempt.

    Lilith came to the 4 of them. "It is time for the fourth round of negotiations, and started leading the way.

    On desire...

    This time they were led to a sort of boudoir, with one big bed in the middle. On it,Minhago and Arulashee were allready waiting, scantly clad. Nocticula sat near the head, with the pefumes of the place intoxicating, urging, wanting... SHe motioend to Julian, who hesitted for a second, before slippingof most of her clothes, and joining in. As the 3 figures were on the bed, mists surrounded it, blockign the view. (The rest of the party: "Oh, C'MON!" )

    On desire- Enigma, principles of lust
    (The party: "Really? You coudln't choose something cheesier? I thought it was good! )

    AS the perfumes started inciting their urges, and bodies touched bodies, they heard Nocticula's intoxicating voice. "Lust of the flesh is the game of the simple succubi. I deal with want… desire… craving… temptation. All beings want… All beings desire… And that desire can drive them to do… What would not have been done otherwise…"
    The demon lord asked her first question: "What do you think of lust, of want, of desire? Do you favor or disfavor it, and why?"
    Julian answered: "The power of words, body and mind, is the power to influence others and manipulate them, in a most enjoyable way, not only physically, but mentally."
    Minhago answered similarily: "Desire is power. It is a motivation, like no other. It can make the great, it can make the cursed. It is a tool, and a constant challenge. It is the string by which you are pulled, or by which you pull…"

    Nocticua's second question came, as they felt themselves heating, sweating, moving, breathing... "What is your own desire, craving, lust? What do you want?"
    J: "I lust to be powerful enough to fulfill my vision…"
    M: "To regain my favor In the eyes of my lord, and bring great suffering to those who have wronged me or my lord!"
    Arulashee also joined in. "To rid myself of the righteous taint once and for all, and to revenge against the goddess and fools who dared try and convert me! That pathetic puppy eyed Sena, with all his self importance,self centered, and impotence, (Sena: "HEY!") and Andera, who cannot ever decide whether to trust, love, or be cautious, and refrain. Merely a coward, and a self righteous one! I want to see them suffer, see their souls torment, annihilate, and anguish through eternity!"

    It was getting hard to concentrate, with flesh, yearning, desire evoking want. "When will you conquer your lust? How?"
    J: "I will conquer lust, when I will be the one who pulls the strings. The way will be my vision, and my loyalty to my true self. (Huh? )
    M: "I have been arrogant once, proud once, overconfident. I have conquered it, and will act when ready. I have learned to be patient… Bide my time… Venegeance will be served, in it's time…"

    The need started to dissipate a bit, the intoxication waned, when Nocticula asked her knwon question. WHAT DO YOU, OFFER ME?
    As Sena, Julian came prepared. "I offer you the knowledge I have learned to ascend to divinity, the path that no other have discovered. The way to form the cocoon of the butterfly."
    Minhago offered thus: "The lord of the Ivory Labyrinth, like you, has been gathering secrets for a long time. I offer to share with you these secrets, of Golarion, of the planes, of demon lords, of the gods! Also, the war will garner many souls for the demon planes, and we offer you the prime pickins of it, as you desire!"

    Yet Minhago's words proved futile, agaisnt Julian's powerful presence, and the offer she has made. She has indeed touched on a matter of great interest to Notcticula. As the msit lifted and the 3 have resumed their attire, it was clear Julian won this round! The party ws thrilled. "Wait? So we've won?"
    Yet Lilith calmed them. "This round, Yes, but there remains the final negotiations, to which we'll go, and where each of the parties can summarize their plea. Come, the Lady Awaits..."

    Negotiations: Party +1, Demons +2!

    DM design- On desire
    3 Questions: Julian's aanswers weren't that impressive, and sort of touched on vague saying, with little that felt personally interesting. so she got +0. Minhago and Arulshee got +6 (For the first and last questions)
    Offerings: Julian got a +10 for her offer, While Minhago got a +5. So in total Minhago's side got a +1 to their roll, but Julian used every charisma booster she had (Mostly from mythic shenanigans), and quite crushed her!

    Final Negotiations!

    Both parties made their way for the last time. They reached the escalating stair way, and climbed till they reached the great plateau, under the midnight sky, overlooking Porphyry, and The Midnight Isles. Nocticula sat on her throne of darkness and mists. The party felt her presence emanating from the throne, and knew that the time for the final decision was imminent.

    The Demon Lord spoke clearly. "Both of you have come to me. Offering alliance, and offering I withhold my alliance. I have heard your answers, pleas, requests and offers. Before I make my final decision, you may speak. Make it count."

    Vorlesh knelt before the throne: "We have come offering alliance, my Lady in Shadow. With our combined forces, the outcome of the war in Golarion is clear- We shall be unstoppable! We have offered you much, and what have these... heroes... offered in return? A favor of their gods? They share different morals, different values, different beliefs, while we share the same. Can you trust those "promises" when the time comes? Yes, I am aware that you've been told of the mine operating in secret in your territory, and we shall compensate you, with the great riches it offers. Together, the 3 demon lords, the alliance will surely fall! Their defeat is guaranteed, and the spoils of such a victory... Join us, join the winning side! We shall conquer Golarion, then the planes, and then... the gods themselves! Isn't that what you really want, Lady In Shadow?"

    The Storm King stepped forth as well: "The crusades have weakened greatly during this century. They have relied upon the Wardstones to protect them, and those are gone. Yes, they have withstood us since, but that is only due to those you see here before you. All of their successes, re because of them. You can end it all right here, right now. Join us in alliance, crush these... "heroes", and all opposition falls! All will crumble!"

    Though the emissaries of Baphomet thought to speak, Vorlesh gave a quick sign for them not to. The party figured their previous failures in the negotiations have earned her ire.

    Julian rose, majestic, speaking with a powerful voice: "I heard one Representative that fully confessed she cheated you once, and will cheat you again. One that says of unstoppable power, yet... If so, why are they offering you so much? Why would they need your help? And about conquering the gods? Are they serious?"
    The next words were directed at the demons, as well a Nocticula. "As to us "mere heroes", there is a big difference- we speak the truth, with our hearts, and our words, and those you can trust... As to what we can offer- you have heard what I can have offered you. all of their great boasts- you already have these, but what I can give? None of them can do so... It is a hole in their strategy, and their knowledge and understanding. I offer you something new. As they would look for the solution in ignorance, look into their dark hole, I will be there, smiling..."

    Sena added his piece: I heard the offers of Areelu Vorlesh and The Storm King... I hear hollow sentences. They keep speaking if they will win so easily, yet they make such desperate offers... Is the victory so certain? I know the workings of demons- through trickery, and at the end a betrayal. Just look! Now that their lie surfaced, they talk about compensations! Can you trust someone who has lied once? We can be trusted. None of our actions shows mistrust!

    Andera finished the party's arguments: "Think about it- the demons have outnumbered us the entire time, but they haven't won. Why? Because demons are unchanging, while we change, adapt, and because of that we will win!"

    Nocticula then turned her eyes to Arulashee, who stepped back a bit surprised under the intensive look. "And you, little succubi? You have been to both sides, know them both, probably better than all of them. What would you advise, one of mine, as I was long ago?"

    The party, realizing that she was probably the focus of Nocticula's interests the entire time, decide to press Arulashee.
    Julian: "I beg to differ my friend. I think Arulashee is a great example that she can still change, and will change. Arulashee you have changed, I believe in you."
    Sena joined in: "I believe in you"
    Andera finished: "Tell us rulashee, tell us now- have you changed?"

    We decide Sena will roll. He gets a +21 for all of the 7 sway attempts, and manages to pass Minhago's influence enough to succeed! Arulashee seems in conflict, before she suddenly gasps, and an arrows pierces her from... the inside? it protrudes from her chest, and she falls to the ground, heaving. All eyes turn to her, before she rises, only this time her eyes are no longer red, but silver, and she is holding her bow! (Party: "Yeah!")

    Arulashee straightens her gaze at Nocticula, who's gaze finally shows "some" emotion- that of rapt attention, and interest. Arulashee speaks with conviction. "Yes, I do know these heroes well. Part of me would say that they are reckless, they act without much planning, rush ahead, not thinking well of their consequences, but I would call it courage, caring, and daring to act and endanger themselves for what they believe. Part of me would say they have too many inner conflicts between them, but I would say they each have a voice, and that they listen, and work out their differences, for something that works for all. Part of me would warn about their unknown qualities, but I would say they have the markings of destiny- they make the impossible possible- They have saved the doomed Kenabres, Conquered the unconquerable fort of Drezen, found the Sword of Valor, found and destroyed the Ivory Sanctum, and they have redeemed the nonredeemable succubus, who know stands before you! Yes, they are but 4 heroes, against the demon swarms, but if I were you, I would put my trust in them!"

    DM's design- Arulashee's speech
    Nocticula has a vested interest in Arulashee' transformation. I have decided this in the middle of the 3rd module, though I assumed she would be redeemed far before now. As it turned out, the party botched a few saves for her (2-3 if I'm not mistaken?) on the way, and once I got the idea of Minhago trying to capture and corrupt her, well... the idea that she might be more pivotal to the negotiations became more interesting...
    Having her redeemed and speaking for the party grants a +10 (The same as a great offer), having had the party not redeemed her, she would speak against them (Basically, all of the negatives she mentioned by saying "a part of me would say...") and would grant them a -10 to their final negotiation.

    It was time for Nocticula to make her decision. Julian rolled Vs. Vorlesh, both using their show of charisma.
    Modifiers for the party. +8 winning previous negotiations. +3 from the feast. +4 from the delights (Andera and Mad Dog's choices), +10 from Julian's offer, +10 from Arulashee's redemption. In total, a +35. Julian has a +26 to her diplomacy, +20 from show of charimsa, +1d8 from her surge. Or in total a 1d20+ 1d8+ 81
    Vorlesh offers gives her a +5. But she has a Diplomac bonus of +30, and +20 from her own show of charisma, and a +1d0 from surge. for a total of 1d20+1d10+ 55.

    Julian won, with a great margin! The party was ecstatic! Nocticula spoke: "You have spoken, and spoken well. Yet none of your arguments interest me. I have no real interest in your struggle. I will join no side. As to the mine..."
    Here Areelu Vorlesh, knowing she was defeated, rose to her full height, and looked at the Demon Lord in defiance. "You my not join our alliance Lady in Shadow, but the mine will stay! We shall pay you tribute, and but do not incur the wrath of Deskari!" The party was surprised at Vorlesh audacity and nerve, but styaed silent.
    Nocticula stopped for a second, but then continued. "I will leave the mine be, as long as I get my fare share of the crystals, and the secrets of refining it. I WILL come collecting!" She faced Vorlesh, who stood defiant, confident, unflinching. Nocticula waved them away. "And now, our business is at end. you will leave now, to your respective planes. I will assure your safety out, but from then, you are on your own. Do not disturb me further!" With that, Nocticula turned, nd started descending once more, into the pool of Midnight Sky...

    Andera gloated a bit. "Well well, look who just lost... again!" Yet Vorlesh just smiled a tight little smile. "See you soon..." and turned to the other demons, having them make haste, following their Lilith. The party was very pleased, only Sean worried "Wait, what now?"

    The party has gained enough XP toget to 15th level. Also, they passed two mythic trials at once (Redeeming Arulshee, and winning he negotitions), which put them into 6th tier (With one extra mythic trial won).

    Each PC's XP: 641,144- 15th level, 6th tier!
    We've ended this here! All in all, a very fun, tense, and successful session. I worked quite a lot on the negotiaitons (As soem of you may have seen in thehelp threads), and though I might have changed a few things, all in all I think it went splendidly well!

    The players later commented this was one of the best sessions they've ever had. Great, for things are gone be a roller coaster from soon afterwards! Hope you enjoyed, and sorry for the lengths and delays in updates. RL complicates stuff, I hope you understand.
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2015-12-22 at 02:41 PM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  6. - Top - End - #216
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Our next session is on Friday, it just took me quite some time to update the log. I apologize for that, but RL has been getting in the way. I assume I've lost most if not all of the readers by now (it's no fun having to wait that long for an update), but I'll keep this none the less, even if it but for my own memories, and DMing process. So...

    Between Sessions 24 and 25

    I have gotten only a little time to actually write stuff for the next few sessions, but I've been thinking of some major issues:
    1. Arulashee's role: She has become important to the party, and the overall story, and yet I think she may start to draw to much attention from the group dynamics. I'm wondering what to do with her? She can have many possible roles: Adventuring companion. Sena's lover, Nocticula's adviser/ concern, prophet for demon redemption, and more. We will decide this with the group.

    2. Experience? Reading ahead I stumbled on a problem- the party is one level ahead than planned. Not fully sure how this came to be, possibly due to more challenging encounters, maybe the Vazgral Island, maybe the fact that the module doesn't include XP for fights in Porphyry, not sure. And this is before defeating Minhago... I will need to find a way to adjust for this. My current thought is to cut away many of the "just combat fillers" encounters on the way. I wonder if other DMs came to this problem?

    3. The Colphyer mine: Next stage in the module, which has a bit of travel in the island, and then a small dungeon. I haven't really rad into this previously, but as I did this past month... Bleh... most was uninspiring. I think I'm going to skip nearly the entire river ride, and the omox queen. I may have the party arrive near the dungeon's entrance. A few ideas I quite liked though:
    - The strange runic stone, with the flayed angel, and abyssal harvester (Quite a cool fight this might be).
    - The Umbral Dragon. I'd like to have a dragon, but not sure if I will use her as written (Where the party can ambush her first, and she starts with very poor tactics). Not sure of how to incorporate her yet, but much leaning into having it work WITH Hephazimerah, possibly as her mount? A much more challenging battle, no?
    - I loved the description of the Nyhadrian essence seeming partly alive, and that it can retreat into the mine. It gave me an idea- to have the mine, the central essence of the demon lord's soul, infect the terrain, the walls, the atmosphere. I want them to feel like delving into evil demonic essence! Not sure how to represent it yet, but I 'll get to that...
    - The mine's plan? quite crappy really... And Hephazimerah's tactics even crappier. Going to change this somewhat, though not sure how yet. i love the idea of the mythic half fiend minotaurs (Especially the improved version in the Scorpion files). I'll think of this. Thinking of maybe turning this place into a small, yet complex maze, with closing walls, changing rooms and such... not sure...

    4. Start of the fifth module:
    Spoiler: Warning! major spoiler for my intended changes
    This draws real close- end of the next session, or early in the following session. The module basically have the party meet with Iomedae, who sends them on a rescue mission. But I want to make this a bit more- My idea will have a new twit of a sort, and put the crusade once more in distress. I'd like meeting the deities involve all 5 gods of the crusade, but in a stressful stage- Abducting the Herald (The Queen in my case) also enables the demons to affect it's lords to affect through it/ her it's power source- Iomedae itself. She will be sickened, and the crusade falters, with the loss of it's Queen. and weakened goddess. (There is more to that, but more on that when we get there). This is done for 3 main reasons:
    - explain why the gods don't just go and save their herald.
    - Have the party also consider the crusade on Golarion before going to The Ivory Labyrinth. Perhaps more interaction with the previous NPCs, maybe taking the new Drezen forces into something more significant. I'm contemplating acting out a mass combat here, maybe a retreating one, Not sure yet... i need to see if the party even would want to play such a thing. Also, I think the rules will break quickly under the new powers of the team, especially the casters...
    - With Julian and Sena in the team, and their new semi divine status, this will place a greater onus on them, and their development as future deities, by helping the deities in their time of need.

    5. Sena's redemption: I have something planned along the big reveal at the start of the fifth module, which I hope he'll like. And Sena may face a choice, but not between tow lesser evils, but rather a choice of.. .creativity, and responsibility. I think he may like it.

    6. Character updates: Julian and Mad Dog already sent me their improved character sheets. I'm waiting for them all to do so, before posting the table of Level 15, Tier 6!

    Good night to you all!

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  7. - Top - End - #217
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    For those who might be interested...

    Level 15, Mythic Tier 6

    I'm including some purchases made by the party in Nocticula's palace in the session we played yesterday, as this came quite soon after leveling.

    Main changes:
    - 15th level Feat: Improved two weapon fighting
    - 6th Tier path ability: Precision critical.
    - New Trick: Mage bane (rogue talent)

    - 15th level Feat: Metamagic Maximize.
    - 6th Tier path ability: Arcane Metamastery II
    - School power (From bloodline): +2 to necromancy DC.

    Mad Dog:
    - 15th level Feat: Raging Vitality.
    - 6th Tier path ability: Perfect Strike.
    - Rage power: Energy absorption.

    - 15th level Feat: Greater spell penetration.
    - 6th Tier path ability: Mythic spells.

    Stat Andera Julian Mad dog Sena
    Race Human Human Half elf Aasimar (human scion)
    Class Ninja 15 Sorcerer 15 Barbarian 15 Cleric of Calistria 15
    Mythic path Trickster Archmage Champion Hierophant
    Alignment CG CG CG Beyond Morality
    HP 175 196 (Due to improved Campaign trait- +3 hp/lvl 226 156
    Abilities (Heroic scores) 10 (14 with belt)
    27 (33 with belt)
    14 (18 with belt)
    13 (15 with headband)
    18 (20 with headband)
    10 (12 with belt)
    14 (18 with belt)
    14 (18 with belt)
    12 (18 with headband)
    12 (16 with headband)
    28 (34 with headband)
    28 (30 with belt)
    14 (16 with belt)
    18 (20 with belt)
    10 (12 with Breastplate)
    10 (12 With Breastplate)
    10 (14 with belt)
    10 (14 with headband)
    26 (32 with headband)
    18 (20 with headband)
    Traits Improved Chance encounter
    group fighter
    Improved Exposed to awfulness
    Arcane temper
    Improved Stolen Fury
    Demon slayer
    Improved Touched by divinity
    eyes and ears of the city
    Special class features: Skirmisher archetype.
    Tricks: Vanishing trick
    Sacred sneak attack
    Wall climber
    Sudden disguise
    Bleeding attack
    Invisible Blade
    Ghost step
    Master disguise
    Magebane attck
    Arcana Bloodline
    Green sting scorpion familiar
    Rage powers: Superstition
    Intimidating glare
    Witch hunter
    Fire resistance
    Greater fire resistance
    Eater of magic
    Energy absorption
    Domains: Deception
    Good (Divine source)
    Liberation (Divine Source)
    School power: Necromancy +2
    Path signature ability Surprise attack Wild arcana Sudden attack Inspired spell
    Path ability Defensive Move
    Legendary Weapon (Chandi)
    Mirror Dodge
    Menacing Whisper
    Minor Artifact (Chandi)
    Precise critical
    Enduring armor
    Eldritch Breach
    Arcane metamastery 2
    Legendary item
    Divine Source
    Show of charisma (Extra path ability)
    Flash of rage
    Burst through
    Penetrating damage
    Titan's rage
    Perfect Strike
    Heathen slayer
    Faith's reach
    Enduring spell
    Sleepless (Extra path ability)
    Beyond Morality
    Divine Source (Extra path ability)
    Display of intelligence
    Mythic spells
    Regular feats Weapon finesse
    Two weapon fighting
    Shadow strike
    Blind fight
    Extra ki
    Step up
    Follow step
    Step up and strike
    Improved critical (Wakizashi)
    Improved two weapons fighting
    Eschew materials
    Spell penetration (+ greater)
    Improved Counterspell
    Expanded arcana (X2)
    Metamagic- silent, still, persistent, selective, dazing, quicken, Maximized
    Skill focus (Survival)
    Power attack
    Finishing cleave
    Weapon focus (Great sword)
    Improved critical (Great sword)
    Critical focus (Great sword)
    Furious Focus
    Intimidating Prowess (Breastplate)
    Raging vitality
    Combat casting
    Selective channeling
    Heavy armor proficiency
    Alignment channel (Vs. Chaotic evil)
    Demon hunter
    Channel Smite
    Divine Interference
    Spell Penetration (+Greater)
    Mythic feat Mythic weapons finesse
    Mythic blind fight
    Mythic improved critical
    Spell lore x2 (Mythic spell)
    Extra path ability (Display of Cha)
    Mythic power attack
    Mythic improved critical
    Mythic dodge
    Extra mythic power (Sleepless)
    Extra path ability (Divine Source)
    Mythic heavy armor
    Top skills Stealth +34
    Disable Device +35
    Acrobatics +27
    Escape artist +28
    Climb +21
    UMD +22
    Bluff +30
    Diplomacy +27
    Intimidate +19
    Know (Arcana) +19
    Spellcraft +19
    Intimidate +26 (Breastplate)
    Perception +24
    Survival +19
    Acrobatics +12
    Diplomacy +22
    Sense Motive +22
    Perception +22
    Knowledge planes +14
    Signture Magic Items Chandi- Minor Artifact (Through universal path)
    Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 10
    Eternal bond
    Wakizashi of the planes
    Precise Strike
    Ghost touch
    Holy (Imbued by Amulet of the Bond)
    Dimension door 3/day
    True strike 3/day
    Brilliance- Legendary Item
    Headband Cha +6, int +6, Wis +4
    Spell casting (Cleanze)
    Warlord's Breastplate +4
    Int, cha +2
    Gain Intimidating Prowess
    Heroism 3/ day (Only on others)
    Defiant (Evil outsiders)
    Sword of Paradox-
    +2 transformative (One handed blade)
    +2 worth of abilities, changed by wielder (currently Holy)
    Swift action- change material and alignment
    Considered Epic for DR purposes.
    Path signature ability Surprise attack Wild arcana Sudden attack Inspired spell
    Main magic items Belt and headband (Above)
    +1 spell storing cold iron wakizashi
    Mithral shirt +4, shadow
    Daredevil boots
    Cloak of resistance +4
    Ring of protection +3
    Ring of major fire resistance
    Gloves of storing (Holding the second Wakizashi)
    Amulet of the Bond (Add +2 worth abilities to weapon. Currently holy)
    Bag of holding II
    Wardstone Fragment
    Lots of wands
    Lots of arrows
    Belt and headband (Above)
    White robe of the magi
    Amulet of natural armor +2
    Ring of protection +3
    Rod of Persistent spell
    Lesser rod of maximize
    Lesser rod of empower
    4 spell knowledge pages
    Flying carpet 5x10
    Handy Haversack
    Lexicon of Paradox
    Belt of Dwarven kind (Also +2 Str and Dex)
    Great sword cold iron +2 evil outsiders bane
    Heaven's Fall (Staunton Vhane's earthbreaker)
    Ring of Protection +5
    Amulet of natural armor +3
    Cloak of resistance +2
    Helmet of the fortunate soldier
    Ring of inner fortitude (Minor)
    Boots of Flying
    Headband and belt (Above)
    Mithral Full plate +4 of speed (Glammered)
    Light wooden shield (To hold rod)
    Cloak of resistance +5
    Rod of quicken spell
    Boots of jumping and striding
    Mitre of the Heirophant
    Malleable holy symbol
    Bag of holding III
    2 Incense of meditation
    20K+ gp worth of diamond dust
    5,000 gp worth of incense
    Scroll of resurrection
    Scroll of raise dead
    Lots of scrolls
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2016-01-03 at 09:26 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #218
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Our next session is on Friday, it just took me quite some time to update the log. I apologize for that, but RL has been getting in the way. I assume I've lost most if not all of the readers by now (it's no fun having to wait that long for an update), but I'll keep this none the less, even if it but for my own memories, and DMing process. So...
    Hey Kol, I don't have anything to add but I just wanted to let you know that I'm still reading and enjoying your log. I'm sure there are others as well.

  9. - Top - End - #219
    Ogre in the Playground

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Quote Originally Posted by ComaVision View Post
    Hey Kol, I don't have anything to add but I just wanted to let you know that I'm still reading and enjoying your log. I'm sure there are others as well.
    Indeed, there are. I was just about to come into the thread and post as much.

    Such encouragement! Much excitement! More adventure!

    I love this campaign log, love the characters and, most of all, love the DM that is bringing this epic adventure to life!

  10. - Top - End - #220
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Thanks ComaVision, Eldonauran! It is quite encouraging to hear you are enjoying the read. Sorry for responding with a delay, but RL has been hectic and busy.
    .Is hope to be able to write a log of our last session later this week. Hopefully on Wednesday or such.

    Thanks again for the kind words!
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2016-01-10 at 12:35 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #221
    Pixie in the Playground

    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Finally I catched up again with your Log.

    The negotiations were really great. I love the idea of the different aspects.

  12. - Top - End - #222
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gustl View Post
    Finally I catched up again with your Log.

    The negotiations were really great. I love the idea of the different aspects.
    Glad you liked it! The players loved it, it was quite tense, gave a lot of place for self expression, and they loved the dances as well...

    On another note- We played another session, a little while ago, which went... Weird... A lot has happened in the group in RL since, but with RL swamping me, I didn't get enough time to sit down and write it down in the log. I hope I will get there, a bit later in the week...
    Or the next.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  13. - Top - End - #223
    Ogre in the Playground

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Well, whenever RL gives you a chance to regale us with the adventures thus far, we will be eagerly awaiting.

  14. - Top - End - #224
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Thanks Eldonauran! RL has been taxing- My new life partner, her pregnancy (She's now 21 weeks pregnant), preparing for the future, My internship, and more... I'm mentioning this because this didn't only affect my ability to write the log, but alongside other matters, it has affected the game considerably.

    This will be the last session logged for a while. For reasons I'll explain after the session is logged, we re taking a hiatus of the campaign, for an unknown time. We are trying out something new (I'll talk about it later). I have wondered whether or not to write a log for this session (As the last session seemed a good stopping point), but this is not just a story log, but a game group log, and as such, I thought I should include it. I will talk about the discussions, reasons, decisions and future, after this session's log. With that said, it is time for the session itself...

    Session 25, Part 1- Last dealings with Nocticula, boons and departing

    At the end of the last session, the party just won the negotiations, after finally redeeming Arulashee. We've started with the ending scene:

    Nocticula spoke: "You have spoken, and spoken well. Yet none of your arguments interest me. I have no real interest in your struggle. I will join no side. As to the mine..."
    Here Areelu Vorlesh stepped forth. "You may not join our alliance Lady in Shadow, but the mine will stay! We shall pay you tribute, and but do not incur the wrath of Deskari!"
    Nocticula continued. "I will leave the mine be, as long as I get my fare share of the crystals, and the secrets of refining it. I WILL come collecting!"
    Nocticula waved them away. "And now, our business is at end. you will leave now, to your respective planes. I will assure your safety out, but from then, you are on your own. Do not disturb me further!" With that, Nocticula turned, and started descending once more, into the pool of Midnight Sky...

    Vorlesh just smiled a tight little smile. "See you soon..." and turned to the other demons, having them make haste, following their Lilith. The party's Lilith bowed to them, and motioned them to follow her.

    The party talked amongst themselves. They were quite unsure of what to do now.
    Andera: "We go back to Golarion now? We still need to get to the mines!"
    Sena was worried about something else: "I think we may have assassins on our tail- Nocticula assured our safety here, but I bet Vorlesh was not pleased... She said she'll see us soon. We need to be prepared!"
    Julian though commented: "I agree, but I think it's not over yet... We'll get to the chambers and think out strategy."
    Sena inquired of the Lilith: "Can we buy things here? We would like to exchange some of our loot."
    The Lilith was amused "The Palace of Silken Shadows holds many artificers, makers, and bounty from all of creation. You will be given freedom to pursue your... mercantile endeavors."
    Sena though had another question: "Would I be able to contact Shamira?"
    This surprised me (and the rest), but Lilith responded. "I will be able to convey a message to her. Whether she decides to meet respond or not, is The Ardent Dream's decision".

    But in their own chambers, a surprise awaited- Nocticula was waiting for them...

    Tell the truth, Sena's player quite expected it as well. "So, now we really talk with her!" Nocticula stood in the luxurious quarters, her robe of mists and shadows wrapped around her form. As she spoke, a bit of her formality and distance were lessened, her voice was a bit more personal, a bit... "You have impressed me. Which along the eons, the times, have been... rare… In return, I have come to educate you, thank you, and assist you, in a small manner at least."
    Julian spoke directly " What sort of assistance? Material assistance? For we could really use your help in this war."
    Sena also wished to speak. "What is your goal in this?"
    Yet Nocticula started pacing, and answered their inquiries in her own way. "I cannot act against Deskari directly at this time (Sena: "THIS time?"), for Vorlesh threat was not an idle one."
    Andera burst. "Why not? You're the demon lord of assassinations after all!"
    Nocticula continued pacing, speaking in a level tone. "Yes, yet it is not an easy matter. It will not be easy to just... assassinate, and my plane may suffer greatly, had I even contemplated about it. Deskari's form is not quite easy to assassinate..."
    Julian inquired "Explain please."
    Nocticula came to the sofa, and in one fluid motion sat on it. "All divine beings, demon lords included, shape, and are shaped, by he concepts and ideas they affect. I take the form of a seductress, Baphomet takes the form of a cunning minotaur, and Deskari? Deskari is the devouring swarm. It is Hunger given form, and as his influence grew ,so did the many demon vermin composing it's hive mind. Not to mention the ever growing vast armies it gathers. In the past century, his forces has been gathering more and more demons to his army ,with the lure of invading Golarion a great appeal."
    Sena grimaced learning's this, but Andera was boastful. "So what! His "Vast Armies" couldn't beat the crusade for a whole century! We shall beat them!"
    Nocticula raised an eyebrow. "You think those were it's armies? Then I DO need to educate you. You see, while the Worldwound enables demons to travel to Golarion by means other than summoning, it is volatile, and dangerous to those who pass it, the stronger the demon, the deadlier the portal. So most of what you see are weaker demons. yes, some powerful ones have managed it, but the vast majority of the armies..." here she paused, then reached and lifted a bottle of champagne, and shook it slightly. "The bottle is The Rasping Rifts, Deskair's plane.". She made her fingernail elongate, to a pin point, and pierced the cork down. A slight fizzly liquid bubbled through the hole. "This is the Worldwound, and it's affect on your world." She then pulled the cork free, and the champagne rushed out, and overflowed over her hand. "And this is what will happen, if the Worldwound raptures entirely..."
    Julian spoke "So that's Vorlesh' plan? To tear up the Worldwound?" Yet Sena had another theory "I think she is playing Deskari. I think she wishes to sap power from the gods, and become one herself! She's just using it's powers."
    Nocticula nodded. "It may be. I do not know of the Witch's motivations, yet she does seem to have... her own plans. Of mortals, she is indeed a very, very cunning one. She was the one who suggested and incorporated Baphomet's help. A hired cunning. Yet their alliance has had... problems, since you have come and undid a lot of the Minotaur Lord's work. Yet your point, Sena, may have some merit. Did you even think, why they approached ME? There are hundreds of demons lords, more approachable ones. Did you consider this?"
    Julian replied almost instantly. She seemed to have thought about it. "They wish you to assassinate the gods themselves." Nocticula nodded. "That would be my guess. Now, which god?" Julian continued. "Iomedae probably."
    Nocticula rose, and started pacing again. "That would be my guess as well, though we never quite talked about the exact "assistance" they wished for their prizes. Iomedae has taken the mantle of divinity following the death of her god- Aroden, the god of humanity, a bit more than a century ago. Deskair managed to get to Golarion a short time before that, yet it was killed by Aroden, killed on that plane... A Demon Lord can fully die only if killed on it's own plane. Yet I'd wager that Deskari would fear committing his entire forces, itself, to Golarion, before Aroden's successor was... dealt with. And of all the gods, Iomedae is the one still sticking to her natural form the most, the one who has meta morphed into the form of her ideals the least..."

    Spoiler: On the "Plot exposition"
    I felt this was a good point to bring the party into the "bigger scope" of things. They have just dealt well with inter planar politics, and so in my eyes, they were in "The Big League", and should be treated as such.

    Now, expositions can be hard- You need to keep the players from tuning out. My idea was to write to myself a few key info bits I wished to deliver (Why she can't act, Deskari's form, Deskari's armies, the limitations of the Worldwound, Vorlesh having another plan and such). and start a conversation. I gave some info, and within it some open questions, and let the party try to lead it. Thankfully my party took a good interest, and pursued the conversation. It felt more of them inquiring, then her info-dumping on them.

    Gratitude of Nocticula
    This felt heavy to the party, and they went into a a bit of silence, contemplating. Nocticula's eyes however came to rest on Arulashee, with her new silvered eyes, and tall posture. "Hmmmm... And you, my child, have probably intrigued me the most. Come here, I would like to take a look at you, one of my own." Arulashee gasped for a moment, feeling a pull form the demon lord, yet Sena instinctively came between them "Leave her be!" (The party was surprised "you got the balls to stand up to a demon lord?!") Nocticula released her "I was just... curious. I would love to see what will become of her,how she will develop, I would love her to come to stay in my palace, as an adviser, a companion. She is... something new, unexpected, a precedence..."
    Yet Arulashee had her won mind to speak. "I am not yours. I am my own. Now fully, more than ever before. Yet this is not the end, but a beginning. Now I must choose my path. I... am not sure what I will choose. I will think it through."

    Nocticula smiled, and turned to the rest. "Before we continue, I wish to thank you each." She spoke to them in the order they faced in the negotiations.
    First, she turned to Andera. "You spoke that in Darkness you will find opportunity, a challenge, a possibility to make things better, and the element of surprise. You speak the words of defiant hope. At the time, I was more moved by The Worldwound witch arguments, as she also understands other aspects of it. But for you, your crusade, those words may serve well. You bring your hope inside of you, instead of outside sources, though you explain it a bit more poorly... (Andera: "Damned diplomacy roll!" ) People may listen to you less than your comrades, but keep giving your counsel, for it is wiser in ways than most. And keep watching the shadows…"
    Andera just responded "Thank you."
    Nocticula continued "I must say when the Lilith informed me of your desires during the break in negotiations, I was surprised. It is not an easy thing to do- to both seek but solace, and then to coem back from it, after having tasted it. Most people who reach your power, who are active enough and seek to change the world, do not seek to just to relax, and let all be well. You are a man of action, and most such men thrive in it, and are not well suited to live in the world that they wish to make... While your friends sought an advantage, it was your request that inspired me the most…" Here Nocticula for a moment closed her eyes, and sighed. "An end to battle, to relax. I have met many heroes in the past, yet few ones has yet charmed me such in their requests." She smield at him, warmly, and caressed his cheek for a moment, a silken touch. "And most who do taste… of my pleasures… never cease. It is refreshing to find a person of enough self will and vision to propel him out of what he WANTS to do, to what he NEEDS to do."
    Andera was a bit speechless, yet then managed to crack a wiry smile and respond "This is an endless struggle, sometimes you need to relax... before you die."

    Nocticula nodded smiling, and then turned to Mad Dog: "For one who says he is poor with words, you make good use of those you have. I have heard you were tainted by demon rage before, and yet here you speak with honesty, humility, and simplicity. Some mistake simple for stupid, yet you have shown it is not so. Many would boast, call of their power, their greatness, their self-importance to me, especially against such rivals. Yet you do not fall to the bait… This too impressed me nicely. And you have the courage to call up dragons from the sky, and speak up to balor generals from the abyss, and not flinch back. This…" She smiled a mischievous smile "greatly amuses me. I will watch your clashing of swords…"
    Mad Dog just nodded. "And clash we shall."
    Nocticula's face turned curious. "I must ask though- When I offered you all a delight of the palace, was there nothing that you wanted, or did you fear that my palace offers will somehow entrap you?"
    Mad Dog answered simply, and beautifully. "A man should know his limits... and his temptations."

    Nocticula nodded, and turned to Sena:
    "As Caslitria's disciple, I ws not sure if I'd even let you inside my palce. I do not like having the followers of vengeance come here. It makes for poor judgement, poor decisions, but this was… a special case…"
    Sena grew tense. "Well, at the moment I joined her cause it was a moment of great weakness, a sacrifice. (He explained the scene on Drezen' Tower again, where he turned from Sarenrae to Calistria) I thought that some must be sacrificed for others to be saved. I thought it was a revelation, now I see it as a burden."
    Nocticula continued "You have told me of a secret, of a tome, of Paradox. Now that we are here, alone, I would like to see it.
    The party was alarmed, they didn't want to do this. Yet, they didn't wish to piss her either. Grudgingly, Andera pulled the Lexicon of Paradox out of his holding bag.
    Nocticula's gaze was expressionless, yet her words surprised the party. "It has been awhile".
    Julian: "Just how long has it been?"
    Nocticula raised an eyebrow: "How long? If that is your question then it shows you do not fully understand. But this is not the time. Please, put it back." Andera did this, thoguh the party was confused.
    Nocticula turned to Sena again. "Paradox… the impossible possible. But You have made yourself an avatar of that. But for what purpose? This can be for good, and worse. It was used by Areelu Vorlesh herself, who followed it's teachings and opened the Worldwound. You follow it as well. Will you be as her? Do you even understand what is the paradox? What does it… want?"
    Sena thought for a moment: "I think I am in the path of learning. I do not understands it fully. I am on the path… It will be arrogant to presume that I understand the way of paradox. And Areelu Vorlesh herself doens't fully understands it. But... I am from the other side of the coin…"
    Nocticula let it be. "As to the secret you wish to understand- to understand love… I'll give you a chance." She smiled, taking a glimpse at Arulashhe. "Though speaking as one who dealt with love extensively, perhaps that's the one secret that's better left unknown."
    She finished with Sena saying one thing "As to the favor of the gods. I do intend to collect it."

    She then turned to Julian: "In talking about Desire, your words... take considering. You tread a difficult path- Great power, and the thought of doing good, yet with deadly means. You have spoke of power to fulfill your vision, of desire to be the one pulling the strings, to hold to no one but yourself. In none of these have you spoken of your followers, of your people. Do you know how they fare... goddess? How has things been on Golarion since you've left?"
    Julian did not like being reprimanded " I don't know… As one who came from the mud of the streets, I know of the poor and deprived. Therefore improving my cause will improve their cause. I came not from a palace."
    Nocticula still pushed on. "And yet the means to your end... You react in anger, and with deadly means. Think about it. More rely on your actions, then you and your party alone."
    Julian fumed a bit.
    Nocticula continued: "As to your offer- You seek to teach me. I have already made a transformation long ago. I know some about it. But in transforming to the divine, you lose some of the self. As you influence your aspects, your ideals, you also partly become them, merge with them. You are less your own. Do you understand that?"
    (She went on explaining a bit about the 3 types of divine beings, and the transition into more cosmic powers, and less of self). The new gods though, the mortals become gods, are a bit different, so it may differ in your case as well. Iomedae, for example, holds her humanity close to her, and strive to keep it. Yet be warned- such transitions changes your very being, ties you to it.
    Julian didn't fully like what she heard. "Thanks for the warning. I'll need to think about it."

    Spoiler: Nocticula's gratitude
    I wanted to have the players know a bit what she thought of their arguments and offers. I thought Andera did quite well, despite being the first to negotiate, and having the bad luck of facing Vorlesh. I wanted to boot Mad Dog's confidence aout speaking up, as he did great job I think, and we loved his roleplay last session. As to Sena and Julian, who were more "roleplay heavy", and had big issues to deal with, I wanted to show that these were considered, even by a demon lord.

    On assistance, boons, and last days in the Palace
    Having thanked them, Nocticula turned more business like again. "And now for my assistance. While I cannot ct against Deskari and Baphomet directly. I know of the mine, but due to Vorlesh threat, I cannot be seen to be involved in it. But you can.... You have proven resourceful, and have managed to surprise many... So, if you "happen" to find the mine on your own, nd put an end to it? Well... That is all for the best. When you have rested, and finished here, I will show you a path, a fast path, by the shadow paths my Lilith use, to get to the island of Colphyr, where the mine operates, within the transformed heart of Colphyr, the demon lord of poisoned waters and dragons. When you re done, ask for me, and I will open the way there."

    "Also, as part of my gratitude, I will offer you each a boon, if you wish. Surprise me... A gift, no strings attached." (I discussed with the party this will be about the same power of a wish spell, but if possible, more with story/ flvor purposes). The party thanked her, and said they will think of it.

    With that, Nocticula departed. I thought the party will rest for a "night", and will depart, but the party wished to use the palace facilities, mostly to buy/ craft stuff. They figured out (Correctly), that the palace will be the best chance to upgrade their equipment. Lilith enabled them to contact the master artificers and some master merchants. The group spent some time handling loot. I'm writing some of their purchases and such in the spoiler for those interested.

    Spoiler: Buy! Sell! Buy! Sell! Craft!
    First of all, The Battle Bliss ring master's loot:

    Mithral +2 glamoured, headband of cha +4, gloves of storing, cloak of resistance +4, various wands, bag of holding +3 with some money. They sold most of it, though Andera kept the gloves of Storing, putting his second magical Wakizashi in it.
    Apparently they haven't allocated nearly any loot since the start of the module (Including the fane. That long? ) After selling tons of stuff (Including the ring of telekenisis? Really?) each got 52,437.5 gp.
    Improvements and purchases made:
    - Julian: improves Brilliance to +6 int and improved her belt another +2 to con.
    - Mad Dog: buys a ring of inner fortitude minor. And improves his dwarf belt with +2 str, +2 dex.
    - Andera merged some belts to +6 dex,+4 str,+4 con
    - Sena: improved headband to +6 wis, +4 int, +2 cha, bought a malleable symbol (His got destroyed on Valzgar), improved his armor bonus to +4 and improved his belts +2 con.
    - They spend quite some resources on diamonds and such, expecting ressurections...
    - At the end Julian has but 5 gold left... [/Spoiler]

    While in the palace, a few more noteworthy things took place:
    - A matter of style!"Sena had an idea for new clothes for his order (Uniform?), Which are basically high quality white robes and tunics, They are inspired by the Assassin's Creed Brotherhood clothes (We didn't play the game, but he loved the pics and traieler he's seen). Each uniform has a place for a personalized symbol on the shoulder and a bit in the fore front. His symbol is the wing (Such as in the pic) He bought one for himself, and 4 more (The others and Arulashee).

    Spoiler: Sena's order uniform pics! (From Assassin's Creed)

    - A matter of trumpet: The party wonders what to do with the Book of Infinite Spells (A minor artifact they found on Lady Vallexia). Sena comes up with an idea, the rest of the party agrees with. He asks Lilith to send Shamira a message "Am artifact, for a broken archon's trumpet (That they rescued under the Battle Bliss Arena). A day later The Lilith brings him a package, with a long object in it, wrapped in cloth. He gives her the book, and opens the cloth. Inside there is the trumpet, but a few words glimmer in the air above it "Look above you!" he looks up, when a meteor swarm descends on him. He suffers the damage, but lives. More words appear "Just cause I like you!" He grumbles at Shamira's... sense of humor, though the rest of the party laughs ("I can't believe we STILL don't look for traps!") as he gets the archon's trumpet. (I was fast improvising this, knowing well that he'll survive this. Also, there is a story behind Shamira as well...) Sena sends her a message: "Thank you!"

    - A matter of Arulashee: After some meditation and reflection, Arulashee calls the party to consult with them.
    Arulashee: Now that I have... awoken.. .fully, I need to consider my path. You have all helped me greatly along, so I would wish to hear you. I have thought of it- though I have enjoyed your company, I think in your path, I may prove more of a hindrance. Your future deals with great powers, some of which I am not sure I can handle, and I may be a liability, as was proven with Minhago. I will continue to follow you, if you wish, and help as best I can. But... It may be that now, I need to guide myself, and use my awakening on a different path.
    Julian seems to have thought of this as well. "You know yourself, and you will know your path. I have full confidence in you. If you want my advice? There is a war going on. Go join the queen, or the forces of Drezen. They will need such a great warrior as you, with such knowledge of demons, and an inspiration.
    Andera added his thoughts. "You can make the best effect with the tieflings- They too wish to change, and they can. You can show them how."
    Arulashee hugged him. "Thank you, you saved me once, and saved me again, from my darkest, We shall remain friends. Taking out your message of hope against the darkness."
    She asked Mad Dog's advice, but he didn't know what to add.
    Lastly, she turned to Sena: "You guided me through faith, and your new vision. You have guided me through devotion, hope, and love. What do you think?"
    Sena was perplexed: "It is strange that now, after all of the changes that you made, you seek our decision?"
    Arulashee responded. "I do not seek your decision, but your opinions, as valued friends."
    Sena spoke thoughtfully: "If so, it is extremely odd, that the process Andera started with the tiefligns, affected me as well. It seems both of us have the same vision. Maybe it seems like I don't like Andera, we are different people, yet I admire him, and what he has done, and I think his idea was the best one, I would vote for his idea as well."
    Arulashee smiled, and hugged Sena tightly. "I will go to Drezen, they will see a succubus, but a changed succubus. I no longer hide. I will be myself!"
    Julian was worried. "Ok... But I think we should send them before you go."
    She hugs each one in turn, and kisses each on the forehead, except for Sena, which she kisses passionately, lovingly on the lips. She speaks to them all "This is my gift, you can contact me through it, no matter the distance." (Mechanics wise- this is the changed Arulashee's anarchic gift power as described in the 3rd module. I decide that the +2 stat bonus can't go to the highest attribute. Sena adds to charisma. Mad Dog to Constitution. Julian to Wisdom. Andera also gains charisma.)

    Arulashee then takes Sena by the hand, into more private chambers. "The Lady of Shadow has given us a night here, before we depart. it has been a long time coming, has it not?"
    Alone, Sena is quite... surprisingly awkward of the intimacy. "I wish to give you gifts. The first of your new place, the second more... personal." First, he gives her one of the new uniforms, which she loves and promises to wear when she comes ot Drezen, as a messenger for his vision. He is a bit quiet, thoughtful before presenting the second gift."I want to give you something that is very dear to me. He was my Mentor, and he showed me the way from when I was a child to whom I was before Drezen. This is the only material possession I have from him. As it helped me, I hope it will help you." With great reverence, he places John's holy symbol in her hands. Arulashee is a bit shocked, gets a bit teary ,and gives him a strong, loving embrace.
    Sena, still awkward, starts mumbling upon her new way, the vision, and so, but she quickly shushes him. "We have been through that, and there will be time in the future. For now, let us love. We have this rare time, this one night, to be with each other. Shall we?" Sena, for once, his stumped for words.
    The rest happens behind the scenes, not for this log... We agreed that is is not smutty, but loving, and that Sena is quite bit too self aware, a bit naive, but that matters very little. A time with far less words, but wit ha great deal of true communication... (not that it stopped the players making a lot of... expected funny remarks. Grow up people! )

    Spoiler: Arulashee's departure
    As I mentioned in previous posts, I thought that with the growing complexity of mechanics, it was time to have Arulashee depart .She will still influence the story and game, but less as a party member. This was discussed between sessions with the party, as I wanted them to influence her fate and role. W had a few ideas, but this seemed like the best one.

    However, I felt Sena's player missed her coming along. I did say that she will appear later (probably several times), but it seemed like he was a bit bummed by this none the less...

    Time to go- Boons and partying words
    It took several days for the artificers to improve the party's equipment (I ruled that they are SUPREME artificers, or else by RAW the time spent to improve all of those things would have taken too much time. We settled for bout a week, which was far more than I planned for anyways... Oh well..). When they were ready to leave, they spoke with Lilith, who then led them to meet Nocticula, before they would leave.

    They found themselves on great balcony, overlooking what looked like an enormous, life like map of the Midnight Isles.
    Nocticula spoke "I am pleased that you have found the hospitality of my palace to your liking. It is time for you to continue on your path. Have you given thoughts to your boons?"
    Julian: "Several says ago You asked what would be my pleasure. When we came here, I saw multitudes of pits, with both people or their souls trapped there, prisoners to suffer. My first instinct would be to release all of the slaves you have in captivity, yet I realize that would be impossible. Now I ask of you- Release as much as you can from them and let them make way to Drezen. For me this will be the grandest boon. Send those who care, who do not give up, those who will inspire… If you do this, I will forever be in your debt." Nocticula raises an eyebrow, yet respond. "A demon lord of my stature, will not do well to release their prisoners. There is a matter of appearances and expectations in the demons world.... Yet, if you happened to make your way int one of the pits, having stolen the charm to unlock it's magical chains, and happened to also have a scroll of a portal to send them away, and then vanished from my palace? Well, I will be VERY angry, but you will be away, won't you?" Julian nodded, understanding the politics and compromise requested. Nocticula continued. "Yet, you will probably be able to free only one pit. Choose." Julian disliked the choice, but agreed. She was offered a few choices, but after a bit of inspiration, chose to free prisoners sold to Nocticula a long time ago. Prisoners with a life long span, coming from a religious order. That of The Hammers of Heaven (Staunton Vhane's unit, which was comprised from dwarven paladins and clerics).
    We decided to not play through the rescue, and just spoke of how she and the others came there, tricked most of the guards, quickly disposed of the few remaining ones, freed the shocked slaves, and that Julian used the scroll given to her by Nocticula to open a portal to Drezen, sending yet more forces to help them!

    Mad Dog wished her to grant him strenght (+1). Some people have simple tastes.

    Andera had an interesting request "As the struggle goes deeper into darkness, I have though of the debate... I wish I could see in the darkness, so I can improvise better, and find my way better…" i liked the request. Nocticula put her handover his eyes, and when she removed it, the eyes were dark. Andera got Darkvision to 90 ft, and a +2 to perception.

    Sena spoke after some contemplation. "As you know, and I think you realize it also, we are in the beginning of a new age. An age that may spell a sure peace, one that is vulnerable to unworthy men. I travel In a path that I do not completely understand. I seeks to understand the way of the paradox."
    This surprised me a bit, but I tried to improvise, not very well. "The paradox in itself is a tool, a means, a way. it seeks to manifest itself, yet it has no goals concerning good or bad. That is for the user of the Paradox to decide." The player was frustrated by this. He he hoped for something more philosophical, more eye opening.

    Spoiler: Of boons and requests
    The module have Nocticula offer a boon at the end of the negotiations with her, material magic item of up to 15K or so I think. This is quite... unimaginative I think, when you just spoke to a demon lord. So I gave them something more free form, basically in the limits of a wish or so. I must sy I REALLY liked Julian's request, and tried to work with her to make it happen. Also Andera's request was very fitting for the scene. I didn't do well with Sen's player, yet this happens.

    With the boons concluded, Sena got the group together, and offered his new suits. The party was surprised, and most accepted, except for Andera. "I don't wear another man's uniform." It seemed the player was resistant against Sena's player attempts at easing up the tensions and compromise Sena wished to show that they are all one, with the same goal, yet Andera suspected it was meant to symbolize they were part of HIS vision. Still, the others accepted.

    Nocticula lifted them by flight from the balcony, and they rose above the map. They flew toward the distant Isle of Colphyr, Which looked heavily grown with jungles, with one big river coming from the mountain at the center, making it's way through the jungles. Nocticula grabbed a shadow by the island, and... pulled it away, revealing a long shadowy path, similar to the one they used to travel into the palace. "Follow the road, and reach Colphyr. Farewell, emissaries of Golarion."

    Knowing very well that this may be the last leg of their journey through the Midnight Isles, and remembering well Vorlesh last words, they ventured into the shadow path...
    Starting to write the second half now. Hopefully will finish quickly.
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2016-02-27 at 06:59 AM.

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  15. - Top - End - #225
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Hopefully will finish quickly.
    Yeah, right!
    With some computer problems, and very few opportunities to actually sit and write, I haven't quite managed to get this written yet. Here we go!

    Session 25, Part 2- Ambush on the shadow path, Coplhyr and Melazmera

    The party started their way towrads the island of Colphyr, the Nyhandrian mines. The path was about 25 ft wide, but outside of it there was... nothing... Other than a few paths that crossed their own path, there seemed to be mostly void. The colors as well were... diminished. Julian concluded "This must be Nocticula's version of a shadow plane for her own. I get my sight back, and all we see is black and white, great!"

    A few hours have passed, yet suddenly they heard a shout in their mind, a sort of telepathic shout. "Incoming assassins! Now!"

    I demanded the players tell me immediately what their characters do. Julian cast mirror image, Andera vanished, Sena activated some spell (Eagle soul I think?) and Mad Dog stood alert and ready to strike. And on the path ahead, Minhago appeared, only... changed, deformed somewhat, from the multitude of nyhadrian crystals embedded in her flesh!

    The Lilitu demon yelled a challenge "You shamed me again!" Her skin seemed to crack at places, an eerie glow coming from within. "This sends here! My final sacrifice for Baphomet!" she seemed unstable, both physically and mentally. She flew towards the party, coming close, when suddenly Andera reappeared! (Andera: "What the hell?!". It's an active invisibility purge, from her ring), and she activated mirror image, which made Mad Dog groan, with about 8 more illusory Minhagos floating round.

    At their back though, the mystery ally appeared, as shadows conformed into a semi ethereal shadowy figure, loading a crossbow. "Nezzerius?" asked Sena in surprise. But more shadowy creatures approached from further behind, quite a few dreaded wraiths! "Aye! I'll hold these off! You deal with the rest!"

    Next was Julian, who wished to see past Minhago's illusions. She quickly cast true sight, and discovered "the rest"- two Sisters of The Final Embrace, personal guardians to Nocticula, like both Lilith they encountered, invisible and lunging at them. "Crap!" muttered the party. (Unfortunately they rolled really crappy on init).

    Sena focused on Minhago first, Using his quicken rod and his own actions to cast 2 successive dispel magic on her, taking down her unholy aura, true sight and flight. She came down on the path, angrier then before!

    It was then that the sisters attacked, and when the party learned a bit more about their training and nature... Sena was struck, and felt as if his life almost ended, but he managed to live through the Death attack just barely. Julian who saw the invisible assassins didn't have to deal with that, yet both casters had to deal with 2 negative levels, as the vampires drew out their life force. (Party: "Vampire succubus assassins?!" ) The invisibility though didn't wear off- improved invisibility. The party cursed, as only Julian saw them. She breathed in, knowing this battle could easily prove fatal!

    Andera and Mad Dog flank Minhago, and they try to take out her images. Mad Dog takes down 3, but she then strikes back with ferocity, yet her instability makes her less focused... Still she manages to hit a few times, once a crit, but Mad Dog's lucky helm diverts the crit into a normal attack (he got the helm from Soltengrabbe's treasure, in Drezen!).

    Yet then the party is caught by surprise by the nature of the crystals- Minhago... erupts, in a nova of cold and fire (each dealing 60 damage), and only part f the party manages to evade the damage. Even Minhago is hurt. In fact, it seems like the energies are degrading her, yet she seems bolstered by it! "The Storm King's gift! To end you all!" She yells. Andera notices alarmingly that the energy with in her starts building up again, quickly...

    Sena after having felt the energy drain, Unleashes Channel energy to hit them, but barely affects the Sisters. Nezzeirus in the back summon his doubles, who get entangled with the dread wraiths. Andera gets his other sword from his new gloves, and strikes 5 times, or 5 misses... The Nyhadrian crystals provide Minhago with increased deflection, raising her AC to 50+!

    Julian casts selective empowered mythic fireball (She and her shenanigans! ), but the sisters easily evade, and uses Brilliance to quicken a mythic disintegrate on a sister, but they save against that as well. Julian is astounded by their high saves. "Um... Vampire succubus assassin... anti-paladins..." (The party: ) The duo focus on her (As she alone can see them), and without many protections (They go straight through the images, with ointments of true sight themselves), Julian loses more levels, and is in a bad shape!

    The party gets stressed "This doesn't look good!"

    Mad Dog grows big and rages, trying to take down more images, and even manages to hit Minhago twice! and both are crits! (Party: "Yay! Go Mad Dog! She's going down! ) But she wears fortification armor, and both crits are negated. (Party: Andera: "There go my sneak attacks... )

    Nezzerius yells from the back. "Ama gonna earn my pearl!" yet even he it is hit hard, and though some wraiths go down, so do some clones. Sena Sena grumbles. "The Ambush! They are too well prepared!" and goes back to his support role, casting heal on Julian.

    This gets an attention of a sister, who uses her round to cast true strike(This is how they managed to hit Sena in the first place), but the other keeps hitting Julian. She goes white, weak, with only a few levels left... gasping, She casts selective prismatic spray, and but though some wraiths are affected, the sisters easily save against all effects. The player gets really frustrated by this! "I can't even affect them with my strongest spell!"

    Mad Dog keeps on taking down images, and hits Minhago again, only this seems to unleash her nova again (This time twice fire, 60 each), Julian fails both saves, taking 120 hit points (She has a lot due to her improved campaign trait) she nearly falls down... And the rest are badly wounded as well... Minhago yells in triumph. "Baphomet! I will do your bidding! I will prove glorious to you!" Sena, through the pain and chaos perceives something quite alarming- the shadow bridge is affected by the energies as well, and part of it seems to unwind... Still stable enough, but not sure how much it would take...

    Yet Andera seems even more determined. "Chandi! Help me hit her!" and the eager sword casts true strike, (It's spell casting ability, along with dimension door) and manages to hit her, even through the fortification! The sneak attacks hits her hard. With a sudden attack he hits again, and Minhago is utterly surprised by the scoundrel, who manages to hit her even harder than Mad Dog!

    Minhago, enraged, shouts as she tries to attack both Mad Dog and Andera, yet both manage to evade her strikes ( Mad Dog mostly due to Mythic Dodge), and Nezzerius comes down to the last Two Wraiths, though it is not looking that well either.

    Sena, seeing how badly hurt Minhago is, but also how badly hurt Julian is, uses his quicken rod, and spread his arms, one to each. From one comes white energy, which heals Julian, from the other hand drak energy, which harms Minhago and... kills her!

    The party goes "YEAH!" but Minhago's death, holds one last surprise and sacrifice- The Storm King embedded in her the force on final thores, which with the nyhadrian crystals coalesce into a nova od dark energy! Andera saves, so does Julian (Though she would have died if Sena didn't heal her), and Mad Dog uses his "eater of magic" ability to survive.

    Yet Sena doesn't manages to save, and his victory smirk turns into a surprised agonized expression, as the nova snuffs out his life. Sena collapses on the bridge, and dies... The player took this very hard, along with his previous frustration, gotten angry and moody. () The party took this as shock as well! ()

    And the rest are doing poorly as well. They barely scratched the sisters so far! Andera grits his teeth, and goes invisible again (With Minhago dead, the invisibility purge ends as well). Julian goes to Sena's body, evades AoO using mythic, and uses a scroll of limited wish to raise Sena form the dead . (Forgot which specific spell it made- raise dead? breath of life? Unsure) Sena' player is no less pissed...

    Mad Dog tries to pinpoint but fails. "First images! now invisibility! Can't hit them!" Yet Andera, with mythic improved blind fight does locate a sister and hits her hard! Sena heals himself, and uses the last charge of the quicken rod to cast true sight on Mad Dog. He doesn't get up from the floor, just mumbles. "We should have done it at first place... Now, lets sit and watch..."

    Mad Dog grins at the sister. "Ok bitch! Do your worst!" She hits him a bit, but then, he hits her back... he damages her heavily, but before she can act Andera Sneak attacks her and crits! Now, Andera has precise SA now, which means that on a crits he also multiplies his Sneak attacks damage! He pierces the sister through the heart, and she crumbles to dust... The other, understanding the battle is lost, teleports away...

    The battle is won, but just barely, and the atmosphere around the table is glum, frustrated, and bummed...

    Design of Show down with Minhago, and the Shadow Ambush
    This was a very tough and nearly TPK. I designed it as really difficult, for several reasons:
    1. In my planning, if the party to this far, it meant they succeeded in the negotiations, which, as I assumed, meant that they just scored a major victory against the demons, but I needed to show the demons are a serious threat still.
    2. I wanted to show that the demons learn as well, and have learned the party's abilities and tactics. lot of the encounter was geared specifically against the characters abilities. I rarely do this, but this felt like the right time, with all that happened before.
    3. I wanted to bring Minhago's arc to an end, with her actually cracking, yet with some twists. I also wanted to show how she became a tool for the others (Who basically sacrificed her), but also the length the demons will go to take the party down now.
    4. I wanted the party to deal with an ambush. Till now, for the most part, the initiative was theirs. I wanted to show the other side takes actions as well.

    As to the design of enemies:
    - Minhago was changed by the crystals- more to AC (deflection), but less to hit (Due to her being unstable). I increased her hp to 420, but she lost some each round. And she also got partially hit by the Unstable Aura. This effect meant that once every 1d4 rounds, she unleashes a nova in 60 ft, from two random energies, each causing 60 damage, but the party can save for each. When Minhago was hit, there was a 1 in 4 chance to unleash a nova again. When she died she basically mimicked the Balor's death thores, only with negative energy.

    - Sisters of the Last Embrace: They are succubus vampires anti paladin 2, assassin 4, with a few added spell like abilities, usable 3/ day (Improved invisibility, true strike and 1-2 others) They also had a few magic items, which upped their death attack, and enabled them to counter some of the party's abilities. How did the demons get their help? Vorlesh had sufficient magic (Which... the party didn't even think to find and counter...)

    - Dread Wraiths: In my original design these were supposed to be part of Vorlesh spells as well, sort of semi shadow images of the party, but when thinking of how to incorporate Nezzerius, I had him "Earn his keep" by battling them, and just wrote their battle progression to myself on the side. This turned out important, because if the party had to battle them as well, it might very well have been a TPK!

    -The last bit was the bridge itself, though that didn't come into light. Any energy damage the bridge got inflicted with, reduced it's hit points. Had it vanished, the party would have been taken out of the shadow paths, into Nocticula's realm (About half way there, middle of the seas). This was to add a complications with Minhago's energy bursts (And limit area energy spells), but I didn't' assess the bridge hit points, and it never came to actual danger).

    Dealing with hard feelings

    The battle was very fierce, and the emotions which rose from it needed to be dealt with. We decided to take a humus break and talk things out.

    The two players of Sena and Julian were really frustrated, and somewhat pissed off by the battle. Julian's player felt that almost all enemies have saves or SR too difficult to beat, despite investing heavily in being able to penetrate these, and Sena's player felt ineffective, and that they need to rely on Mad Dog to kill things, and that his character was mostly support. This impression joined to his general feel that a lot of his attempts to affect stuff didn't succeed very well (His vision, with Arulashee, and more). Also, the player really hates being resurrected, it feels like he has lost, and now he is cheating.

    Both players thought about changing characters. Julian's player felt his character isn't effective, and that it "doesn't quite feel like a rising goddess", and Sena's player felt frustrated about dying, being ineffective and not being able to promote mostly roleplay themed initiatives.

    I could relate to some of what they said, but was utterly surprised by their feelings of inadequacy, when their characters solved quite a lot of the challenges in the campaign. I tried to give many examples in the past, yet for some reason, the impression both players got was that their characters were mostly for support. When mentioned they could have worked better as a team Julian's player got annoyed "She's a mage, with great magical power, and I want to feel that she is overcoming her enemies on her own, not just resorting to buffing others, or countering the enemies abilities". Sena's player kind of echoed this. "Yeah, Sena can buff, debuff, but basically, we take down enemies defenses, and boost up Mad Dog or Andera, and they do the killing..."

    This quite surprised Mad Dog and Andera's players, who felt that they were sort of second fiddle to the casters! Andera player spoke "We can't teleport, incapacitate enemies, go through walls, fly and more, we hit stuff, but about half of the enemies die before we even get to them! I can vanish, and I can hit stuff, and it takes a lot of planning an effort, while you use some of your magic and just get it done."

    Mad Dog's player just summarized "Look, it was tough, and we didn't fight well. We didn't coordinate and forgot a lot of stuff. Can happen when we play once a month." Andera's player was mostly silent and talked mostly in emails after the session, but he got pissed by Julian and Sena's reactions. He thought they were acting a bit like cry babies, when once they are faced with challenges they couldn't just easily magic away, and can't just waltz through, when he and Mad Dog have to face considerable difficulties and many times play sort of second fiddles to their magic, but didn't complain as much.

    When hearing them, I go the impression the battle was perhaps too tough to my group's tastes. This is especially true when we meet only about once every 4-5 weeks, so they come to feel good, feel successful, feel competent, a bit of a fun power trip and escapism. The battle was supposed to feel party f the ongoing campaign, and it's context within the long struggle, with ups and downs, but here it felt dominating the session, setting the tone for it.

    Tactically, In truth, I think the party handled the battle really bad. They didn't act as a team, left Julian to face both sisters alone, and didn't really counter or think creatively against an enemy so well prepared. (Undoing the sisters invisibility, hampering movements, maybe undoing Vorlesh enchantment on the sister, helping Nezzerius so it could join the fight or more). But perhaps, as Mad Dog's player said, with sessions happening so far off, with the players forgetting some of their characters abilities, and with each one wanting to shine and feel bad ass in this once a month or so escapist hobby, the experience here felt quite bad...

    I myself was quite tired by it. I worked quite a lot on this encounter, and seeing it fell quit badly, when I thought it would be a high light, felt bad. There were quite a lot of unresolved feelings there, and it felt they didn't all stem from the battle itself. We understood this, but decided to move on, and talk about this after the session. We wanted to move things on, get to new experiences, and hopefully they would prove better.

    Aftermath of the battle

    Mad Dog helped Sena get up. He looked pale, worse for the experience, yet he greeted Nezzerius when the shadowy demon approached. "Glad to see you! How did you come here?"
    Nez: "Ama know of the shadow paths. Use them as well. And I know some in the palace. They told me Minhago, which you hired me to find, came out, so ama followed her. This other, the witch Vorlesh brought her others- the sisters, which was... quite odd. And the shadows. There were two others, and the Balor invested a lot of power, chaotic power, into crystals the horned on put inside Minhago's flesh. Ama was worried, but followed. And then you all come, so ama shout a warning!" (I decided that the benefit of hiring Nezzerius will be his warning, that gave them one action before the battle started, and fighting the dread wraiths."

    In the loot of the dusted sister and the scorched remains of Minhago, they charge her spell storing ring and give it to Mad Dog (He keeps it in his pocked, since he allready has2 rings. Might need to exchange), and spread some ointments of true sight and a few other tools between them. The sister has a few note worthy items. First, a glamoured +3 improved shadow mithral shirt, which Andera takes, and her glove is a "glove of final embrace" (+2 to death attack, +5 to final embrace ability, causes bleeding 5. Homebrewed for the sisters, made from descriptions of a few other magic items). They decide to exchange this with the pearl they gave Nezzerius (pearl of power level 6, more than a fair exchange). Nezzerius bows, and bid them farewell.

    The party is beat. Sena heals the party, and they rest an hour there for him to regain his spells (Surprisingly the rest don't want to use their recuperate abilities. Mythic points are just too damn precious! And they feel they need to hurry, since by the ambush, it's obvious the enemy knows they are coming). After Sena is rested, they restore Julian and his negative levels, and move on, quite grimly...

    Island of Colphyr

    A few hours later, by the speed of the shadow paths, the party reached the end of the trails. They reached, and pulled away a shadow like curtain, and stepped into the island of Colphyr. It felt a bit like when they first entered The Midnight Isles, on the island of Vazgral- here too there were vast jungles, and the feel, the taint of evil, and the Starless skies above... Strange archaic chaotic charges appeared ahead, and the party heard the scream and screeches of flocks of wild vrocks, in their frenzy, in their dancing, in their madness...

    Wait? A jungle? Shouldn't the party be near a waterfall? A beach? the shore?
    I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I decided to skip through the entire "river road" mentioned in the module, where they have about 3-4 battle encounters as they trudge their way up the river from the shore if the island to it's center. Why? 3 reasons:
    1- The battles are a laugh, most are boring, and they add very little to plot or game. They are just "filler XP".
    2- I prefer fewer encounters, but more difficult, and with some meaning. So a before, I crunched some encounters and added the XP for other stuff.
    3- The party is assumed to avoid taking flight, due to the masses of vrocks flying in the skies. But, at these levels, the party would most probably find an easy way with a spell or two to bypass that (Wind walk again? Maybe with some invisibility or such? I'd trust they would find some idea...) So planning all of that just to have them sidestep it quite easily seemed foolish, and very time consuming.

    I did keep some of the ideas, which I found appealing. See soon...

    As they arrived, I was quite surprised by their first action, which showed some responsibility. Sena cast Sending to the Queen." Arulashee saved us. Through her, Nocticula won’t ally with demons. She is completely redeemed in our side. Please inform Drezen. She will come. How goes the campaign?"
    Shortly aftera reply came. "Contact failure for 9 days! Army lays siege on Raliscard. Taking losses, inflicting more. Demon resistance heavy, moral high, making good progress, though with cost. Nocticuila's matter? Your situation?"
    They used a scroll to contact her again: "Notcticula is out from the game for now. Continuing to second objective. Tell archon Adrial, I have her trumpet." (The one they saved from under the Battle Bliss)
    The Queen replied. "Will do. Great aid to our forces! Her and companions. Powerful cleric! You continue to amaze me! great news! Shall inform Drezen!"

    Spoiler: COntact with the Queen
    I must say I was quite pleased at them initiating the contact! It shows they do care about the war effort, and have not lost sight of it. Also, they seem to have a good relationship with the queen, which is important for the next part. This was a success.

    Not knowing where to go, they listened, and quickly heard the river, they came close to it and started trudging up. They knew they would be teleported close, and indeed, after about 15- 20 minutes, they could hear a waterfall, and see a sharp rise in the mountain, the top of Coplhyr Island.

    Yet in their way, they could feel a strange repelling force, and as they approached, they felt it stronger. Yet it did not manage to affect them. Upon coming closer, they saw large, weirdly shaped and alien looking rock jutting from the jungle high, covered in odd, shifting runes. Julian realized this is the source of the sensation they kept feeling, and this close could identify it- A permanent Antipathy effect, only spread out over a very large area...

    I'll need to explain the scene a bit, as this changes from the module. The party has basically come upon the waterfall and cave entrance to the mines. But the initial encounter in the module on Colphyr incorporates a special feature- The Qlippoth stone, which emanates the Antipathy spell, and also has... a nasty surprise. I incorporated the 2 encounters here together. The Stone stands near a small lake just outside the cave entrance. Also, I got rid of the Omox filth queen. The inhabitant of the cave still resides... )

    Tentacles, angels, and Melazmera!

    The party expected the place to be guarded, so they tried to look ahead. Mad Dog managed to see a figure just inside the shadow of the cave entrance, a large figure, a humanoid of a sor, with wings? "Must be some guardian demon." Said Andera. They decided he would sneak ahead to get a batter look.

    He then snuck right next ot the Qlippoth stone (Wait? You don't even examine it? ) His stealth was high enough that the creature observing through the stone didn't notice him. (Which the party mistook for it being safe! ) Andera got a much better look, and spotted that it was no demon, in fact it looked like an angel, with no head... (The party: "What the hell?") He got back, informed the team, before sneaking up ahead of them again abotu 30 feet ahead, as hey followed.

    Andera is sneaky... the rest? Less so... As they got about 15- 20 feet from the Qlippoth rock, The Abyssal Harvester who watched through it, sent out it's gargantuan tentacles and hit the 3 nicely, even grappling both Sena and Julian (This... did not add to their mood). This in turn alerted the headless angel, (The Flayed one in the module) and the resident within...

    Sena uses Freedom call (Domain power, I think from liberation?), and both him and Julian fall. The grappling is basically ineffective from now on... Which renders the harvestr mainly as a beat stick... (Ineffective cleric, eh?) Julian quickly dimension doors back, out of reach.

    Mad Dog gets mad, and starts hacking off tentacles... The headless angel flies towards Sena, trying to hit him, but fails again and again. Yet, his profane Aura encompasses both Andera and Mad Dog, which lowers their AC (I'm using Scorpion's stats, As mentioned before. And Sena is beyond morality). Inside the cave, Melzamera casts two buffs, one regular, the other quickened...

    The Abyssal Harvester proves as a surprisingly effective beat stick! It starts pummeling Mad Dog with tentacles, and luckily for him a crit is averted by Sena's Divine Intervention. The barbarian in turn keeps hacking at the tentacles with fury! (Why does he keep in range? )

    Julian tries a disintegrate but fails due to miserable dice, and the the other three keep hacking with the angel and the tentacles. Sena uses Dimensional blade to pass most defenses of t he angel, and charges his attack with channel energy. Together with Andera, they damage it nicely! Mad Dog, despite having cut some tentacles, get pommeled hard, till he decides to back away... Meanwhile, Melazmera in the cave keeps casting some more buffs, till she is ready, and teleports to the battle field.

    The party gasps as the Guargantuan ancient umbral dragon appears on the battle field! "Intruders to my realm! Die!" before she cast a quickened fireball (Which the party saves against). Most of the party groans. "Oh crap!" But one player beams. Mad Dog grins "Well, that's more like it!" Andera however, fails the save against her frightful presence, and runs away! ("Man! I have to upgrade this save!")

    What? Wait... No! Not again!

    The Abyssal Harvester recoils his remaining tentacles into his realm, not wishing to be hitby Melazmera's breath or spells. And it seems she has many, with various protections around her, including mirror image, haste, displacement and more.

    But not for long- Julian casts Greater dispel and takes out all off her spells other than shield. Sena casts heal on Mad Dog, and uses hi divine intervention to block the dragoness AoO on him. "you go dog!" Mad Dog charges, grows, hit her once, hit her again, one crit, cutting about half of her hit points away.

    Alarmed, She casts quickened mirror image again, and uses her shadow breath (hoping to reduce all of their strength), but both Sena and Mad Dog save, and Julian is JUST out of reach. She rolls her eyes. "Another spell? Please!" And uses another greater dispel, taking out the images, and the shield. Mad Dod then crits again... and gut the ancient umbral dragon, in 2 rounds, without her dishing out ANY damage!

    Julian then turns to the Flayed angel, who is still crossing swords with Sena. "I've had enough of this!" and with a disintegrate ends the battle. The party pulled back to regroup, and the abyssal harvester quickly sent some of it's remaining tentacles, grabbed the dragoness' body, and pulled it into it's realm.

    Mines' entrance battle
    For this encounter I used 3 elements: The dragon, the flayed angel and the harvester. All used Scorpion's stats. I hoped incorporating the 3 would solve action economy.

    I also moved the Qlippoth stone here. In the module the harvester can't for some reason draw the grappled victims into it's lair. I think this is mostly due to it being introduced at the end of the river, so a grappled victim gets transported a long way away, and gets severely cut off the party. If the PC dies, it will take the party a long way to get to resurrect it. If it lives, it brakes up the party so it's very difficult to negotiate between the two sub parties. I think the designers wished to avoid that). Unlike the module, I intended that the harvester COULD draw the grappled opponents inside it's lair. (It's lair is A bit after Melazmera's cave, after the entrance. It could cause a short term separation, and even might cause a very daring rescue, mid battle. (The harvester is a beast if faced alone).

    But... Sena's freedom call and the subject is mute...

    The entrance seemed clear, next come the mines. Hephazimerah is waiting, deep in the heart of a demon lord' grave and essence...

    Each PC's XP: 755,288.


    We ended the session here. As mentioned before, due to this session, and a following discussion in the two weeks after (I'll detail this in the next post), this will be the last session, at least for a long while. We are putting the campaign on hiatus, though I can't promise that we'll resume playing it. I apologize for the somewhat abrupt ending, but this was for the health of the party and myself.

    I have debated with myself of whether to write this session at all, or just end "with a bang!" after the negotiations, which seemed a more... fitting stopping point. (Or even upon embarking unto the shadow path, at the end of the first path). But... this is not just a story log, but a gaming log, and as such, it deals with problems nd difficulties, as well as successes. And what happened here helped illuminate the discussion we had later on, and the reasons we stopped the campaign currently.

    Despite the difficulties, the party did have great fun playing the campaign, and I had great fun running it so far. Yet the difficulties proved too much for now.

    What's up next? In the next post or two I will discuss several things: The discussion we had and why did we decided to stop, my thoughts on the campaign as a whole so far and the challenges it presented for my particular group, a brief summary of the plans I had for running the rest of the campaign, and our groups' gaming plans for the future! No, we haven't broken up, but we decided to make some big changes!

    I hope you enjoyed this so far. I'd like to thank all who commented, encouraged, and helped with advice on this thread, or many other "side threads". Thanks for reading!

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  16. - Top - End - #226
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    In this post I'll try to discuss some issues that relate to the campaign, our own experience in it, and potential future plans, both in the campaign, and in our gaming group. I will divide this to several sections
    In this post I'll write about:
    1. Why did we stop?
    2. Challenges in running and playing the campaign.
    In the next post I'll write about:
    3. My rough sketches as to running the rest of the campaign.
    4. Our group's plans for the future.

    So... Why did we stop? What went wrong?

    So... Our group have stopped playing the campaign. We might continue some day (All were quite invested) but there is a good chance that we won't as well. Checking the first post, It was written in December 2013, so we have invested a significant amount of time and effort into this, and for the most part it was great fun! So what happened?

    Well, running (and playing) this campaign proved challenging on several levels. Through the campaign some of these were touched upon, and some I realized in our discussion in the two weeks after the last session. I have had some time to think of these, and i will try to summarize. I think the difficulties in the campaign stem from a few sources:
    Our group's composition, circumstances
    The ages of our group members range between 35 to 40+. This means we are all quite busy- families,careers, jobs, and other projects we're involved in. Which means we meet about once every 4-5 weeks or so. (though when we meet, we play for 8-10 hours, and we PLAY!). this has several influences: First, people forget stuff- mostly long term story lines, more minor NPCs, or even their character capabilities (Spells, powers, magic items, feats and such). This can lead to frustration, but our group has dealt with this in many ways, to a partial success.

    Yet for the DM in this case, this is tougher. I like DMing, and my group likes me DMing, but for the past several years, my real life has become more and more busy. I was a med student, but now I'm nearing the end of my internship, and will start my residency. I've been involved in some volunteer projects, and more. We tried different approaches in the past trying to deal with this- Julian's player DMed for awhile (But he got too bust as well), We tried FATE core (A simpler game from the mechanics perspectives), but didn't quite manage to understand it yet, and so we decided to try using someone's else work- a published campaign. My initial thought was: "Hey, someone already did all the writing, stats, treasure and such, I'll just need to read a bit before we play, and that's it!" But, as Andera's player warned me- Running a published adventure actually requires MORE time in order to run well (I'll touch on that later). Though I did love the process of figuring out the designers intentions, finding a way to better them to fit my group, and so on, it did take a big toll,in terms of time spent planning ,of effort, and though a lot of it was fun, a lot of it was frustrating. As we ventured into higher levels, and into less well designed portions of the AP (Again, I'll touch in it later) The burden has become more and more...

    And I've met a woman nearly a year ago, and fell deeply in love, and we moved in together, plan on getting married, and she is pregnant. that and starting a residency, means my own time slims more and more, and I can devote less and less time for the party. My group used to laugh that I always over planned, and that they never came close to the end of my prepared materials. in the past year they started getting real close. In the last session they did. I didn't even have Melazmera's treasure, barely a hastily scratched map of her cave, in case they come in. Other than ideas, I didn't have anything in terms of game mechanics actually planned for the mine.

    And I got less and less time to develop and implement ideas that my players wanted to explore, from Sena's interaction with the gods, his vision and Arulashee, Julian's rise to deity-hood, or Andera's growing character. And yet, I didn't want to disappoint my players. I liked playing with them, giving them a good session, seeing them happy, having fun. Yet there were signs of burnout... usually after DMing a session, I was exhausted,but felt elated, but in the few instances where things didn't go well, and the party left unsatisfied, I felt utterly drained.

    In the discussion in emails after the session, Sena's player said he'd quit the group (Due to reason of play style being problematic with the adventure, I'll get to that), At first I was upset, and wanted to find a way to solve this, but a part of me was relieved... A part of me longed to stop DMing,to rest for awhile. But I was hesitant to disappointing the group. Luckily, I have great players, and better friends. Julian's player (Who is quite savvy about people) felt what I was going through, and talked with me, with the others and at the end we decided that mostly for my sake, the groups sake, and some other problems, that we will stop here, and change the system, and change the DM! I took a bit of time off, and Andera's player ran an introduction adventure to the group in Shadowrun, which went fantastic! This went quite well, and I joined a session after. Tell the truth? it's great relief to me, and I have more time to breath, and enjoy, and so does the group.

    Group's play style vs. Running an Adventure Path
    This is the first time we ran an adventure path. Yet after conquering Drezen, some of the party started having new projects, new ideas, things they wanted to explore. Be it from Sena's many conversations, interactions, and his vision for the future, Julian's Sleepless eye, or ascension to godhood, or even Andera's interaction with tieflings. Yet, I couldn't quite find a decent way to put these in the context of the campaign, as the campaign NEEDED TO GO THIS WAY, and the characters more personal goals needed to be put aside, or downplayed for this to happen. Now, some groups are more fine with this, but at least two of my players (Sena and Julian) got frustrated more and more, about their core issues not being addressed. I think this is a problem with most APs, who have to deal with more general groups, but for my particular group this was a big problem.

    Oddly enough, in previous campaigns, where there was no strict PATH, we felt far more at ease to explore the characters own goals, motivations and such. But when there was an adventure path, Andera and Mad Dog's player seem to desired more to move the campaign along, to proceed on it's path. This was a goal unto itself- to finish the campaign and the main story. This caused some friction within the group, which I've touched upon at times. The need to adhere to the AP just didn't fit with my groups play style.

    Campaign design problems
    I took a lot of effort to redesign stuff, which might have been avoided in a better designed product. I'd like to note right here, that I think some of the problems are inevitable when designing APs (I'll touch on that later), and that i really appreciate and commend Paizo's stuff for the work they did. Still, some things either could be better designed, or didn't fit my group. I'll touch on these later, when talking about challenges running this campaign.

    Long pauses, infrequent sessions
    Due to our ages and busy schedule, we met rarely. This meant that when people did come to play, they needed their "Gaming dose". I've talked about this a bit before, but designing such session is quite different from designing weekly meetings, since each session needs to provide a full enough experience, and the "dose" until next time. People come with some expectations, and a want for escapism. If that is not meet (and it means different things to different people), then the player gets frustrated, and the experience drags on till the next session, which is a long way off. This means that a session played mostly "On the way to somewhere", that doesn't get the players a feel of competence, and of some closure, often ends up as a not successful session. but this is a lesson that took ae some time to learn, and it is quite hard to implement, mostly in the terms of a long ongoing story, with goals quite different apart. Our group probably needs shorter, more tangible, more accessible goals, and resolutions, that can be done in 1 session.

    Challenges running the campaign

    I'm talking about more general challenges, not strictly ones for my group. I'll talk about 4 layers here: Running a Paizo AP, running a high level game, running a game with mythic rules, and running this specific AP- Wrath of The Righteous.

    Running a Paizo AP
    I'll start with saying that this is the first Paizo AP I've ran, and I've only read some others, and talked about others with other forumists and gamists. I haven't ran any other modules or campaigns of other sources as well, so this may not be true of other material.
    Paizo APs usually cater for a group of 4 players, with low- mid optimization level. They do try to give focus on a specific theme for a campaign, and they divide their campaigns to about 6 modules, each spanning about 3 levels or so, give or take. They do seem to pose some very specific problems though:
    1. As a DM, you are basically running someone's else material, which means you are nto well familiar with it, nor the design purposes always. As no group is like the other, this means that except for very rare cases, you ALWAYS have to adjust the AP to your group. This may mean little tweaks, or larger ones, but rarely you just run the AP exactly as written.
    2. Lack of long term continuity and themes: This stems from different writers writing different parts, with a different focus, and different ideas. This also stems from the fact that the modules are also meant to be potnetially played on their own. This leads to a significant lack of inter connection between modules, or keeping major themes going. There are many examples in this campaign:
    - The 4 major NPCs of the first module get more and more downplayed as the campaign progresses, with later designers almost writing them off.
    - No real buildup for major antagonists (Vorlesh appears briefly in the first module, and then as one battle in the end? The Major opponent of the campaign? Really?)
    - Factions and accomplishments get forgotten/ trivialized when inconvenient:
    We saved Kenabres! Ok, time to move ahead.
    We conquered Drezen! Well, now others rule it, go back to dungeon delving!
    We rescued Arulashee, which is built to be a romantic ally! Well, she leaves you on the next module.
    We made A demon lord ally! Yeah, forget about her...
    It takes a real hard effort to build enough consistency and continuity for players who want it.
    3. Many parts are railroaded: Yora touched upon this in another thread, but most of Paizo's modules have a very strict order of things that happen, with only very small places that can be more freely played, and then with quite... crappy support. The ruins under Kenabres have ONE path. The road to Drezen has ONE road. and so on... More then that though, as the modules all assume that the game will progress one way, and demand success at previous efforts. This leaves very little, if any, wiggle room. In our Campaign this mostly became evident after conquering Drezen. The party had a base, with resources, people and more. They had plans, but the modules basically had their idea of what the PCs should be doing, which really didn't fit most.
    4. A big problem for our play style, and that of quite a few others I've talked with, is that we have little time for play, and so we value it, and like things to matter. Many of the modules seemed to have quite a great deal of "filler encounters"- which means just battle encounters, usually with little actual threat, just for the sake of earning XP. They aren't important for plot development, they aren't really challenging, not even interesting. Just... Fodder battle XP. A certain kind of play style promotes this, even benefits from this, but not ours.

    Running a high level game

    We never before reached beyond level 12/13 in previous campaigns, and even then it felt to us like this was quite epic already, and heavy magic effects were already evident. I've heard the claim that high level games tend to breakdown or lag, and this in some way proved true with us as well. In the later parts, battles dragged on considerably. But more than that- with the vast options (Mostly of the casters), Planning a suitable challenge became quite difficult .The Modules didn't deal with this well, as it seemed that they basically continued to play practically the same game (Quests to reach a place, find something/ kill something/ save something), but put quite railroady limitations on the high level magic that enabled passing these problems. And the party still felt like "fetch boys"... At these high levels, the game itself should feel... different. Maybe it's just our group, but the game got very complicated rules wise, and very lethal as well... Which we don't quite like, as coming back from death feels like it cheapens the challenge. (Both Mad Dog and Sena wished to quit playing their characters after dying, but ended up to keep playing, due to requests of the party).

    Running a Mythic game
    Our experience with mythic is... odd. The mythic rules change the game, mostly the ability of casters to cast any spell on their list, and various other powers (Like Mad Dog's combos that made him a crit monster, or Andera's ability of undetection, which basically made him nearly impossible to hit). These abilities makes challenging players far more difficult. The first instance was in the trap room in Drezen. "Magical poison? Wait, I got just the spell for that". I think it quite bogged down the casters creativity, as later on,they just kept pouring through books to find the perfect spell for each situation, and didn't quite think with the tools they allready had. It makes the game very hard to handle.

    I'd like to point out a few of the abilities that seemed very themed for flavor, but had deep roleplay and campaign implications. Mainly the ability to become divine entities (Forgot it's name), and Sena's "Beyond Morality" ability. Sure, these can be played for mechanical benefits (Beyond Morality was SUPER effective in this campaign), but they also entirely change what the campaign, and the PCs are about. The ability to create legendary items/ artifacts also had great potential, and Chandi was starting to become an interesting minor character, and in ways developed Andera quite a lot. Thing is, These are usually meant to be (In my opinion), things the character develops into for a long time, and something that is supposed to be integral to the campaign design, and character design. But with mythic? "hey, it's part of the rules. It's an ability", which made it both unexpected, and felt like it should be a viable option. It felt odd though.

    Also an odd observation- the "universal path" abilities usually had more use, and more impact on the campaign than the path specific abilities. (Other than the signature abilities).

    Mythic also tends to vastly increase the speed of leveling. Why? Well, the characters have power beyond their level, and so the DM either lets them steam roll everything, or they upgrade the challenges, which grant more XP, to lower levels, which makes them level faster (Usually also gaining mythic tiers by trials), face even tougher challenges, and so on... The speed which we leveled felt at least to me and some players quite dazzling. You haven't even gotten used to all of the names of the abilities of the previous level, and you leveled again!

    In short, Mythic play to my opinion is intended for truly epic sounding games, tremendous stakes, but require very skilled DMs, not for every one.

    Wrath of The Righteous Campaign
    I have ambiguous feelings about the campaign. I think the basic concepts were quite amazing, quite inspiring, and a could at both be played as simple "good vs. eviiiilll!" or as something deeper. But, I think they fail at execution of many of their wonderful concepts. A few main problems, not covered in the "Running a Paizo AP":
    1. For a campaign that speak of mythic and epic deeds, they seem to coddle, protect and make sure the party succeeds, which... bugs me. From making the Gray Garrison a joke, Making Vorlesh feel like a moron when she fails to kill them (Note: I suggest not even putting her there. The players kept feeling smug about that for the entire campaign. Her first impression? A failure.), making Nurah so easy to spot, making Drezen defenses laughable, as well as Staunton Vhane, Minhago and more main adversaries, I've allready talked at length about Nocticula, and so on... I have no problems with the players feeling bad ass, but if you coddle the mall the way, some of the taste is lost, at least to us.
    2. Beyond the second module, the AP seems like it was not written with Mythic rules in mind. from the CRs (When the rules themselves note that the tiers count half their levels towards the party's APL), soem ability to replace a lost mythic PC (Since the AP links the mythic power to the singular event at the end of the first module). Actually ,other than throwing enemies with mythic abilities themselves at a time, the modules don't really deal with the PCs being different from others... They become something else, not just "stronger heroes"... They become mythic and... that's it. No other indication that this is a major part of the campaign, their very nature,their gift... This is a BIG miss in the planning...
    3. I feel that other than the second module, where the party leads an army, they are frankly quite left out of the major war... Up until a bit in the last module, the AP goes out of it's way to provide them tasks that are not related to the direct war effort. It's not that the task are not important, but the Player's guide, and the entire history sparks ideas of being in the military, fighting a war, and more. Heck, 3 out of the 5 characters built their backgrounds with that in mind! (Andrew, Sean and Andera)
    4. The campaign tries to promote a lot of their additional rules for "mini games" (Down time, exploration, mass combat), but does it quite poorly, and then neglects almost all of it. Which stings... like bad form. Out of these the mas combat, along with the previous rules, feels the worst. You put such a big emphasis on this in the second module, PCs expend resources on such abilities (Skills at the least), and even promise to have a big battle at the end module, only to... not have it?
    5. The campaign traits. I've talked about this at length before, but unlike other APs, here the traits are tied to specific mythic paths, and thus tie to very specific sets of classes, which kind of forces a trait on a character, not to mention forcing the story on her, which is bad enough. More than that, the resolutions in the 3rd module are... sorry, just plain bad. They feel like the writer there was forced to write resolutions for them, and came out with half baked ideas for each. This was not done well...


    Enough for now... Gotta go. next are rough plans I had for the rest of the campaign (Including major changes), and what otr gaming group plans on playing next, the changes and shifts we've made.
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2016-02-27 at 12:54 PM.

    1. Special projects:
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    2. My campaign logs:
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    Thanks for reading!

  17. - Top - End - #227
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Ok, the last issues left for this log- The future planned, the future in reality.

    Rough sketches for the rest of the campaign.

    If any of my players is reading this, I highly advise NOT to read the following. You know... As to the rest of you, well, the following are rough plans. Major themes/ changes Intended to implement.

    End of the 4th module- The Nyhandrian Mines
    Battling In the mine:
    I quite disliked the mines as written, and it seemed like the battle there would easily develop into all of the mine coming to defend it. Now, If you remember the battle of the Ivory Sanctum, and how hard it was to handle that battle, I don't wish to repeat that. I wished to lower the types of opponents. Also, Delving into the center of the essence of a slayed demon lord... Hmmm... This will be the closest the party will ever get to the raw essence of the Nyhadrian power, so I wanted to play on that. So, to sum it up, a few major changes:
    - The mine as a trap: As mentioned, the demons pretty much anticipate the party to come. So while they hurry up to "close shop", they also prepare it as a trap. This includes preparing places for it to collapse, booby trap "Nyhadrian bombs", and so on...
    - Fewer enemies, simpler battle: Basically I was thinking about Hephazimerah, the minotaurs (Using the stats by Scorpion. The minotaurs can freely teleport within the mine, making them quite challenging. Also, Maybe I'll get to use their Oubliette power for once. The Minotaurs pack quite a punch with their mythic feats and so (Mythic improved vital strike for example). And maybe some acolytes, for magical and summon support. All the rest (the other more minor demons) I'm gonna leave out.
    - The very soul of Evil: I wish to make the essence of the demon lord a force in the mine, like some sort of a semi intelligent awareness. The party might be bale to interact with it (perhaps use it, since the demons have been excavating it), but definitely feel the ancient power, the menace. Not sure how I'd do it, but the very evil presence will have a serious effect, even Sena might be affected, though less than the others.
    - Daugher of Baphomet: Hephazimerah isn't working on a shard as in the module. she starts quickly buffing when an alarm is set, and comes buffed up. I hate it when they intentionally handicap the main antagonists, especially in very... stupid way.

    About the end of the module, Baphomet and Nocticula
    The ending I quite disliked when reading it. Felt like a cut scene, and an annoying one. And the party is just handed a mythic trial for it, while doing nothing... My idea was as follows:
    Baphomet does come, and the party has to fight it! Though at the end of the first round, their hear a telepathic message: "Three...". This is Nocticula counting, the assassin's 3 round of "studying the target". The party has to survive 3 rounds against the demon lord. (Not an easy task considering they re probably fairly depleted after the mine battle!) After which Nocticula does come and assassinate Baphomet, which returns to it's plane. She then explains that she sort of used the party as bait to draw it here. The party will meet her shortly again, at the fifth module.

    5th module- Herald of The Ivory Labyrinth
    I will detail my problems and the my proposed changes in points:
    1. The Herald: When I first read about this, I felt quite disappointed- there is practically zero emotional investment in this quest, unless a character is very much attached to Iomedae's causes. So I made a switch I hinted at in previous posts- The herald is not some outsider being, It is the Queen itself... While attacking Raliscard, and once Vorlesh learsn the party is t Nocticula's realm (And gains some idea from seeing Julian's transformation), they contact Baphomet to attack and take the Queen into his realm. The Crusade suffers a heavy blow, but more than that- The demons use the connection between the queen to Iomedae, to sort of poison the goddess through the process of corrupting the queen. This connection cripples Iomedae, and some of her ability to bestow power on her followers also falters... The attack on Raliscard turns into a mess, and the army suffers heavy losses, and is forced into retreat.

    The 3 main changes here are:
    - A stronger emotional investment with the queen, the party knows the priosner of the labyrinth. As an option, some of the prisoners found through the module mightbe parts of her retinue and so.
    - Explains why the goddess Iomedae can't just use her godly powers to kick Baphomet's ass.
    - Makes the antagonsits more competent looking, and inserts another sense of urgency and distress into the crusade and campaign.

    2. Coming back from the Midnight Isles: In the module it seems like the party comes back, maybe finish some projects, buy/ sell stuff, and then meet Iomedae. There is little to no real interaction with Goalrion again, which is a shame. The change I propose is as follows:
    The party comes back to chaos! After the revelation in the Nyhadrian mines, the party rushes back and gets to the retreating remains of the Queen's army from Raliscard. They come to help them retreat, when their queen is gone, and Iomedae's power falters...

    I'm not fully sure how to implement this, but a few thoughts:
    - I'd like to play another Mass Combat, against vastly superior forces, with very low moral. The party's high level is crucial to be bale to escape. I think of having the demons general be either the merilith general or the storm king itself mentioned in the 6th module. Perhaps insert the corrupted phoenix from there as well. Bit battle, with the party's high level and powers tilting the balance back.
    - I'd love to somehow enable the changes the party worked for come into effect in this dire situation, whether the first new recruits of Julian's order, perhaps units of tieflings under the banner of Sena's new vision, maybe some of the allies they saved (The archons, the Valkyrie, the souls of paladins from the pits of Nocticula), perhaps some info gained by the Sleepless Eye. In short, I'd like to bring in the effects of Drezen (Who was so far spared from the main conflict) to help "save the day".
    - The party sort of become the crusade de-facto leaders! Yet they themselves need to leave it soon... So, They need to appoint new leadership. With many of the crusades leaders gone/ dead when the queen was killed, I'd love for them to find a way to deal with this, most likely by appointing some of the NPCs they worked with so far, as temporary leaders/ rulers, till the crisis ends. Could lead for quite interesting roleplay I think, and a feeling of empowerment, and development...

    3. Interview with Iomedae: Now, this is huge. I feel the module doesn't deal with it very well. Some of my ideas:
    - Not just Iomedae: The module assumes heavily that the party will follow Iomedae, but in my case, none do... Sena worshiped Sarenrae, and moved to Calistria (More on that soon), Andera semi worships Desna, and Julian has a problem with all of the gods, Iomedae especially. Also, I felt the rest was under presented. So, instead of just meeting her, they meet all of the five gods of the crusade, as they did briefly in The Hall of Heroes...

    As mentioned, Iomedae is sickened/ cursed/ affected by the corruption of the queen, and is struggling to lend her support, and to her troops, but her power is diminished. The other 4 came to her aid, but as will be explained soon, both Sarenre and Desna will have their hands full, and most of so the power of them 5 to help the crusade is diminished, which is why they need the PCs. Yet i imagine the party will have enough chances to interact with all of the gods (With some interactions planned).

    - "Your mission, if you choose to accept it..." The Big Reveal, Part 1: The party hears that the queen was not just kidnapped for the lulz, but that it looks like the demons have a serious purpose in this- the process of corruption includes sapping her divine essence, and through it some of Iomedae's own essence (Which is why she is sick/ affected), for some other purpose. Some quick theories might come to the conclusion that Vorlesh tries to make the impossible possible again, and needs the god's own essence, with the demon lords essence (Nyhadrian essence) to make her goal possible- open the Worldwound fully! This puts an extra burden on stopping the corruption. However, the gods have different ideas on this- to try and save the queen, even if this means Iomedae suffers, and this may fuel the Worldwound ritual? Or to seek to kill her swiftly? Ad this is the major moral quandary of this module, I'd like to emphasize it, and have a debate of the gods, and PCs. The soul of the leader, vs. the fate of the world...

    I also intent to put the module on a time frame, with two main effects: First, It affects the chances of reversing the queen's corruption, and secondly, it may affect how far Vorlesh has completed her ritual in the 6th module or how strong her defenses will be.

    - A surprise guest/ not whom you thought/ The Big Reveal part 2: Another divine entity comes in- Nocticula! She uses her favor from the gods for an audience with the gods, and for their favor. Sarenrae and Desna support her, and the three reveal quite a few things of the past, and some surprises for Sena:
    In short, Nocticula has been trying to develop into something else than she is, Her emissaries have contacted both Desna and Sarenrae, who decided to explore this... potential... They mostly talked philosophy, yet also bargained. Remember The burning succubi who rules Porphyry? (Forgot her name, damnit!), well, She is at least partly Sarenrae's representative, and part of the deal she made with Nocticula. It enables Sarenrae to contact her, and in return the angel in demon's disguise started putting forth some of Sarenrae's beliefs and philosophy (Subtly, secretly) into the major demon city of the Abyss.

    Yet a demon lord is hard to change, and so before she will undergo a change, Nocticula wished to test. So with the 3 came up with a certain plot, which in which Nocticula revealed the location of an artifact (Lexicon of Paradox), for the chance to test a creature similar to her own self- A succubus. This led to the first expedition, who summoned one an angle to help unlock the secrets of Paradox, yet ended up with part of it's essence transferred to Arulashee... Yet the Expedition itself failed, and Arulashee took a long time to redeem, without the real help of morals.

    Yet years later, a new opportunity presented itself- A band of heroes, who seemed to manage the impossible, and one of them even shared a spark of the angel, a sortof siblign to Arulashee... The goddesses and demon lord watched closely.

    And when that priest called forth to Sarenrae, they 3 decided to play a little trick- Sarenrae will turn him down, yet another will intervene. It was never Calistria whom Sena worshiped, But Nocticula herself! She played as her, but they affected each other. She felt his struggles, and as the follower is affected by the divine, so is the divine affected by the follower, and as Sena changed, so did Nocticula, in subtle ways, as he was her first follower of her changing form. They kept it from Sena, and sought to see the paths he will choose, and in amny ways, his changes (Becomign beyond morality, his new vision of Drezen, him helping arulashee and redeeming her, and his desire to return to worship Sarenrae) changed Nocticula herself.

    I imagine Sena' player would LOVE this twist, even if he has been played for awhile. But what now? Well, Nocticula has finally decided to make the change, and by killing Baphomet has aligned herself squarely on the crusade's side. Yet, she is not yet fully ready. So she will undergo... metamorphosis, and go into a cocoon, (of a sort), and will emerge a new. She seeks the help of the gods while she is vulnerable.

    So Iomedae is trying to hold her power, supply support to the queen, and help the crusade. Sarenrae tries to heal and help her, and Desna goes to guard Nocticula's transformation. Torag and Shellyn, the two lesser active gods stay to guard Iomeadea, and help as much as they can with the crusade, still, the divine support for it is quite weakened...

    - Emerging Divinity: And so here come both Julian and Sena. Julian is asked to help, and spread her belief wider, with her new followers starting to support the crusade as well. There may well be a bargain to help her become on of the gods, possibly replace Iomedae if she falls... And Sena? As might be understood, Sena had the supprort of both Sarenrae and Nocticula all the way, but in his way he has shown them both a new way- his vision. He becomes a sort of a god of his own new vision, with powers and core beliefs coming from both gods, yet he now is his own power source, though he my well share philosophies from both. I think both players would love the change of status...

    I Imagine Iomedae might have an interesting conversation with Julian, about the roles of godhood, where they can intervene, and when not, and the responsibility of mortals as well, some talk about leadership, and more... Julian's player wished to play Julian as first defiant, but once a goddess she would see things from the other end as well, and will understand (The player himself quite like Iomede's teachings I believe, Andrew after all was Iomeade's paladin)

    4. The Ivory Labyrinth- finding the prison: Now, after reading the module's intro, about the love of mazes, labyrinths, and mysteries, I was looking forward a complex maze, puzzle and a really difficult exploration of finding the prison! But... instead of that, the location is practically handed to the players in one of the two encounters in the main city of the Labyrinth. This was SUCH a disappointment! I don't exactly know how I would change this, but actually learning of the prison's location should be a very difficult and complex challenge, requiring a lot of planning and creativity. Not sure what exactly, but it is a majot part of the module.

    5. Baphomet's involvement: This is his realm, yet for nearly the entire adventure it sits on it's arse, and just comes for the final confrontation. I intend to play it differently, that due to him dying so recently, he is less powerful, but still exerts influence on it's realm. It will have a certain pool of points, which the DM can use to make the party's life difficult, themed on his domains and powers: blocking their paths, confusing them, summoning creatures, and more... The idea is to have the party feel that they are in HIS domain, and that he can affect it, and also increase the build up with him, up to the final confrontation.

    6. The prison itself: I'm not quite sure how to handle it, but by the module it feels VERY similar to the rest of the Ivory Labyrinth, only instead of mostly open spaces, it is more limited. Yet again it feels like wandering about, till they bump into things. I haven't fully though of this, but I'd like to make it feel like The Tightest Security in The Abyss, and not just a walk in the park, with some weird demon guards at times...

    7. Major officers and the end battle: The module seems to urge the party to do 2 things before the end battle: Dispose of major players in the prison (or else they teleport to the Herald's room when they get there), and recruit some help (Various prisoners or shady characters). I'd really like to make this a point of balancing the need to prepare, vs. the time limit (mentioned earlier), and the prison's increasing security. Things should feel quite stressful, not a leisure walk...

    6th module- City of Locusts
    A few major changes:
    1. The Doomsday clock, and Threshold defenses: 5 days sound like a hell of a lot of time. This is the end game, there shall be very little time here. Thinking more like 3 days or so... The party will need to see what sort of Plot Items they decide to risk for till the final confrontation, and what they'll pass, according to time.

    2. Fate of The Queen: not sure exactly how, but either saving the queen or killing her will have good and bad effects. if saved, she may not yet be fully redeemed, and her continued corruption may enable the demons to still draw from Iomedae some essence ,making the challenge tougher. Yet, she may know some crucial information, raise moral quite a lot, and may help the party in the final ritual. Pros and Cons.

    3. Demons' assault: Not sure what to do about the first battle. I think the merilith (If she survived the mass battle of the previous module), will not go for Drezen, but for the Capital, perhaps to try and silence the queen if she's been saved. Otherwise, Not sure.

    4. Gaining the Chisel: Not sure how to go about it, but the entire scene with the strange brothel in Iz seems... very unlikely to me... In these high levels, treating this as infiltration or a dungeon seems very odd. I imagine the party to use some powers to circumvent nearly all, or this very quickly devolving into a big battle.

    5. Killing the Storm King: Him Appearing just after gaining the Suture feels like one of the lousiest entrances of major campaign villain ever... and him being protected from being found? He is the general for god's sakes! He needs to lead armies and such! He isn't exactly hiding in a bunker! And the party has 9th level mythic spells! They can't find him? really?! And why does the general come to to battle them alone, with most of his army occupying the entire city? I'm not saying to bring in every Babau and dretch, but at least some major officers and such?

    6. the suture: The module inserts wonderful challenge and complication (keeping the mythical dretch alive), but then completely undoes it when suggesting to put it into extra dimensional storage space. No... just no. I intend that making keeping the miserable bugger's life a challenge, with many of the opponents strategy focused on killing it. not fully sure how, but I want to keep this very unique and cool challenge potent.

    7. Attacking Threshold: This somewhat goes back to the Grey Garrison's problem- a place the party is expected to take in several forays, attacking and regrouping. But.. .this close to the end? A static dungeon? And again they are expected to go and kill all of the other special monsters before trying to close the portal, even if that is THE major issue here, the point of the ENTIRE campaign, and The Doom of Us All...

    I intend to make it shorter, fiercer, and a hell of a challenge. Main thoughts:
    - Every resource coems into play, hopefulyl a lot of effects from the campaign- be it NPCs advice/ help, The Queen, Arulashee and others possibly joining, help from the gods, help from Drezen, and more. Wil ldepend heavily on how things revolve till then, but I am keeping notes!
    - Less encounters, but more difficult ones: As explained through out my log.
    - Battle at the Worldwound's room: I hope to make it more engaging then described. Also, Intend for it to be fought on BOTH sides of the portal, In Golarion, and the Rasping Rifts themselves. (Intend to have 2 maps, with the opponents able to cross it by expanding movement or some resource
    - I want the Worldwound tear itself to play a major part here, a chaotic tear in reality. Not sure exactly how, but the biggest magical effect the entire campaign revolves around should be felt like more than just a static portal...
    - I want some... interaction with the idea of the Paradox again. One of the campaign's main themes is "To make the impossible possible", and many of the vents here were linked to the Lexicon, but more than that- to what it represents. I want this to be addressed to somehow...

    8. Deskari! I've heard in nearly every group that faced it, that beating it is a cake walk... I intend to have him attack WHILE the party tries to close the portal, quite possibly joining the battle with other major demons, and possibly Vorlesh herself. I intend to make him... different though... As Nocticula mentioned- his form, as the demon lord of the locust swarm, is that of a swarm made of thousands of major demons. That's the idea, though I;m not sure how to implement it. But I want the party to fight the mother lord of Hive Mind Swarms ever!

    Where do we go from here? Or... Anyone up for Shadowrun?

    So, we come to the end of the log (At least until we return to the campaign, and of course you can still comment and ask questions). So what have we decided to do?

    Well, we're doing a big change. We decided to shuffle things up- We're leaving Pathfinder for now, and start playing a new system for most of us- Shadowrun, 4th edition. Julian's player realy wishes to DM it, but he has very little experience in the system (Read: No actual play, just read the rules book), and so Andera's player (Who has quite extensive experience in it, as well as DMing it), will DM for awhile, probably a short campaign, after which he might continue, or Julian's player will take charge.

    I will be a player! This is a big relief for me, as I seriously need a break, and I don't have the time to prepare adequately no more. I wil be playing a sort of a trickster mage. Yay!

    Most have us have little to no experience with the system, so it's a new experience for us. Andera's player (I should really call him the GM from now), already ran an intro adventure for the rest of them (I was busy), Which went quite splendid, with great roleplay and a lot of enthusiasm. I joined for one session so far, which was a hoot, though very different.

    We also have a new player, an old friend of the DM who knows SR well, and whom I've played with on occasion- A really cool player, very inventive and creative!

    A log you ask? Well, I hope to get to it. I've written notes for most of the first session, but I will need to find time to write it (it took me long enough to finish here after all!). It will be somewhat different, fro ma player's perspective, getting to know a new system better, and a different play style (SR is quite different from PF). I will most likely post the log on the general roleplay forum.

    So far, the change seems to have done good for the party, and the first session experience (And into adventure for the rest), seems to have gone great! So, here hoping for the best!

    That's it for now. No more to write... I loved the game we had, despite difficulties, and I'm a bit saddened to let it go, but it's for the group's sake, and my sake as well... I hope you've enjoyed the read so far, and would love to have you read the next log. I have written one player's POV log in the past ("It began with a crash"), which seemed to have garnered good interest.

    As always, if you have any comments, questions, remarks or such, feel free to post away! I am still keeping this log subscribed (Duh!) so I will see when new posts come up.

    Thanks to all who helped,advised, and encouraged, it is always nice! And last but not least- Thanks to my wonderful group, who makes DMing worthwhile!

    Happy gaming to you all!
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2016-02-29 at 03:33 PM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  18. - Top - End - #228
    Ogre in the Playground

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    Feb 2010

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Alas, the fate of so many games... To be placed lovingly on the shelf for a brief time and to fade into memory under a fine layer of dust.

    But in all seriousness, the adventure never left me wanting for more. If I could offer any advice to your players as they cusp the line of high level play, it would be this: Surviving at that level requires a serious dedication to stubbornness. Spellcasters are grasping the electrified power line of the universe at that level, being whipped back and forth over a highly conductive pool of water, hoping their toes don't brush its surface. In this game, Failure is an option because death is not the end of the battle. Most creatures don't respond to raise dead spells. They are done with that hard life. Adventures have the gall to get back up and say that they are not done!

    Thank you for taking the time to detail the adventures of you and your group, and sharing your thoughts for the future adventures in this adventure path. I'll be keeping an eye out for any other adventure logs you post.

  19. - Top - End - #229
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldonauran View Post
    Alas, the fate of so many games... To be placed lovingly on the shelf for a brief time and to fade into memory under a fine layer of dust.
    Yes, I believe this is what will happen. If we take a long enough hiatus, I think it may be hard coming back to the game. Also, other than me possibly having more time, the other problems aren't likely to be resolved...

    But in all seriousness, the adventure never left me wanting for more.
    Thanks! That's a very nice compliment! I'm very glad you liked it!
    If I could offer any advice to your players as they cusp the line of high level play, it would be this: Surviving at that level requires a serious dedication to stubbornness. Spellcasters are grasping the electrified power line of the universe at that level, being whipped back and forth over a highly conductive pool of water, hoping their toes don't brush its surface. In this game, Failure is an option because death is not the end of the battle. Most creatures don't respond to raise dead spells. They are done with that hard life. Adventures have the gall to get back up and say that they are not done!
    Hmmmm... death is a particular issue with my group. Out of the 8-9 game aesthetics,the one that all the group shares is that of Challenge- they need to know that the challenge is fair, and that failure is a true option. For most of them, at least in combats, death IS the failure. A loooong time ago, Julian's player DMed a long campaign for us, but at some point it turned quite lethal, and 1-2 PCs would die each session. Yet we were loaded with money, and so the mage teleported us and the bodies back to a major temple, we got raised, and got back. And yet... we quickly lost a feeling of connection to the game, and it failed cheapened for us... At least for some of us, an actual failure should be an option, and one after which you don't get to fight back anymore... The parry sort of accepts "Last breath" spells and such (As sort of "last chance") but most reaaaallly dislike being raised.

    As to failure, in a broader scope- It really bugs me that in order for the story to progress, the module assumes the PCs MUST win always. The demons side almost, or never wins, and as such they will feel as incompetent. And there is no place for continuing of something failed. This leads to making SURE they would succeed (Not me, but the modules), or else the game stops... I didn't like that, not one bit...

    Thank you for taking the time to detail the adventures of you and your group, and sharing your thoughts for the future adventures in this adventure path. I'll be keeping an eye out for any other adventure logs you post.
    And thank you for the kind words. It gladdens me, and makes me smile! I'll post the next log, when I get a bit more time. 2 sessions so far, but very, very entertaining!
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2016-03-08 at 02:32 PM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  20. - Top - End - #230
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2016

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    First of all I'd like to thank you very much for sharing this log, full of details, well writen and so on.
    Secondly, I apologize for my poor english as the french guy i am.

    I run this campaign for 6 months now, and I wanted to say that I take a lot of inspiration from your log : I feel the same pb about the original design, and I must admit you have resolved those pretty well.

    My group is about to reach the Gray garrison, at the end of the first book, so I'm about to tie some part of background, mainly linked to the "campaign traits". The resolution of this in the 3rd module is ... well I dont know polite english words to describe my feeling about it. Again I found your version of those events (and the way you made a link between all the characters) a very good way to explain things.

    So is the reason for this post (and the reason why I created an account here !) : Would it be possible for you to resume the story behind your "lost expedition" ? I understood the major thing, but I guess the details (and the answer to my questions) are explained trought the whole adventure. I 've already read a lot here but not all for the moment, and my understanding of english is too weak to get the essential quickly (and there is a loooot to read here !)

    It would help me to get my own version of these events, and to put the right elements in time to make my players discover it little by little.

    Thank in advance, and again you've done a amazing job ! Too bad you decided to stop so close to the end

  21. - Top - End - #231
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Quote Originally Posted by RING3R View Post
    First of all I'd like to thank you very much for sharing this log, full of details, well writen and so on.
    Secondly, I apologize for my poor english as the french guy i am.

    I run this campaign for 6 months now, and I wanted to say that I take a lot of inspiration from your log : I feel the same pb about the original design, and I must admit you have resolved those pretty well.

    My group is about to reach the Gray garrison, at the end of the first book, so I'm about to tie some part of background, mainly linked to the "campaign traits". The resolution of this in the 3rd module is ... well I dont know polite english words to describe my feeling about it. Again I found your version of those events (and the way you made a link between all the characters) a very good way to explain things.

    So is the reason for this post (and the reason why I created an account here !) : Would it be possible for you to resume the story behind your "lost expedition" ? I understood the major thing, but I guess the details (and the answer to my questions) are explained trought the whole adventure. I 've already read a lot here but not all for the moment, and my understanding of english is too weak to get the essential quickly (and there is a loooot to read here !)

    It would help me to get my own version of these events, and to put the right elements in time to make my players discover it little by little.

    Thank in advance, and again you've done a amazing job ! Too bad you decided to stop so close to the end
    Hi there! J'oublies beaocoup Francais, pardon moi!
    French aside, thanks for replying and the kind words! We didn't stop close to the end, we stopped near the end of the 4th module, so about.. .64-65%?

    A few comments about your questions, regarding the traits and last expedition, as well as some thoughts about the Grey Garrison. Some of these are copy pasted from An earlier post of mine, Which detailed some thoughts I had, while already GMingthe fourth module, while trying to give advice for another player.

    About using the traits:

    Originally by Kol Korran:
    2) The Campaign Traits: These are... quite badly done... both mechanically (My players barely used them) but also in terms of story and character development. Let me explain:

    The character traits force a major event or so in the character's life, not exactly something the player envisioned for their character. Player have ton of ideas, but by using the stories in the campaign traits, it forces them to include elements that they didn't really want to incorporate. More than that, the Campaign traits tie directly to type of classes and Mythic paths, meaning that if you play a certain kind of class, you practically MUST pick one trait only (Chance encounter for sneaky types, Divinely touched for Divine casters and so on). In my group, one player (The one playing Andrew and later Julian) happen to choose a different trait than the one fitting his class, since another character (Harry) already had it. I allowed him to not tie it to the mythic path, and I think it enriched his options, and made his character much more interesting, and even made the mechanical benefits more useful, and more balanced.

    Past APs if I understand used the campaign traits to tie the group together, but here belonging to the crusade and the initial events are enough of a binding factor.

    More over, the campaign traits are supposed to be dealt with in the third module, but their handling is... crappy at best. Basically, each character has a certain location/ encounter in which a bit more is revealed about their campaign trait, and this counts as a mythic trial for her. The conclusions are quite badly written, unsatisfying, and feel quite like the author was told "You need to include this in the module!" and just wrote something offhandedly. Since most players didn't envision such elements in their characters to begin with, this adds little if anything to the game.

    Mechanically, the improved traits are... mostly uninspiring, mostly due to them being tied to the. They strengthen the already very strong aspects of the character, and thus create one of two results- either it makes the character more extreme, and more unbalanced, or it doesn't really add anything significant to an already strong capability, and is thus useless.

    Julian's player, who took the trait belonging to the guardian path, got useful abilities for a mage (Ability to reroll for incapacitating attacks, and later om +3hp/lvl), which was much more useful. Andera used his trait ONCE in the entire campaign. Sena not even that. Mad dog got a bit more overpowered by his improved campaign trait. Their benefits are for the most part- boring.

    So, enough Jabber. My suggestions?
    - Forgo the campaign traits altogether. Let the party have the entire selection of traits to make more varied and interesting characters. Tie the background THEY write and want to play into the story somehow.
    - If you do use the traits, I'd suggest to disconnect between trait and mythic path. You'll get much more interesting characters, and much more useful traits this way. (A warrior with the Chance encounter powers, A Rogue who is divinely touched, and so on)
    - If you do use the campaign traits, Work out a better story resolution for them in the third module. I've tied the campaign traits into one big story and location, as you might see through the build up in my work on the second module, and in the third module with the Lost Expedition, which also ties the story of Arulashee, Jerribeth and the Lexicon of Paradox. Find whatever suits your party, not what suits the module.
    Story of tying the traits, The Lost Expedition, and the campaign as a whole:

    This was a story that was made up as I read more of the modules, tried to tie them all together, and the damned traits. The modules have very little continuity in them. I must say that some of these fitted my specific group, due to their stories, and may or my not work for your group. Also, the entire "Lost Expedition" story came about due to trying to pull most of the 3rd modules "trait quests" (Which were immensely weak, and uninspiring), tie in The Lexicon of Paradox (Which is an artifact that "just appears" in the possession of the queen at the start of the 4th module), and the bigger stuff- Vorlesh, The gods, Nocticula and more...

    I'll try and detail the story from past,to the adventure modules:
    - Centuries ago, Nocticula, demon lord of Darkness, Lust, Assassination and Secrets, one of the oldest, and most powerful demon lords in existence, slowly comes to the realization that she seeks to change. Yet demon lords, as semi-deities, are already quite bound to their idea/ theme, and are influenced by it, as they influence it. (In Julian's search for godhood, I've delved a bit into the nature of the divine and so on, and made my own rulings/ understanding of the matter. You can look in this post (Under "First two excerpts and first vision" and "Third excerpt and second vision"). Nocticula started seeking a way to do the impossible- to change a deity' nature, her own nature. She withdraws from handling The Midnight Isles into her palace, and uses her powers and connections to seek, discuss and probe about philosophical matters...

    - Nearly a century ago, the witch Areelu Vorlesh is imprisoned in the Threshold tree, where the most powerful mages of the land are being held. She contacts two powerful mages- Wyvern the necromancer, and Opon the summoner/ God Caller (These people are mentioned only in the last module, despite being quite influential to it's start!) With them she discusses divinity, possibility, and doing the impossible. They reveal to her their work- the writings, experiments, theories and more of the hundreds of captive mages hereon Threshold- People who sought to explore, how to "Make the Impossible Possible" (The major recurring theme and Moto of the campaign). Their work, which also binds much of their life force and power, is a tome called "The Lexicon of Paradox". Areelu Vorlesh tricks the two mages to help her, and the three use the Paradox to perform a ritual...

    Too late in the ritual, Wyvern and Opon realize Areelu Vorlesh intent- removing the barrier to the abyssal planes! Letting the Abyss join with Golarion! They manage to stop the ritual in the middle, when Wyvern attacks and combats Vorlesh, while Opon grabs the Lexicon and flees the place... Wyvern combats her long enough to let him evade her, yet the ritual is not a total bust- a great portal opens, and Vorlesh uses her power to link it to one Abyssal plane- The Rasping Rifts, the plane of Deskari. She has her own machinations for the demon lord... The portal is strong enough to let demons through, though it is unstable enough to make the travel dangerous- The stronger the demon, the greater the change for a mishap, so mostly weaker demons traverse the portal, with fewer and fewer stronger ones.

    Vorlesh is furious, and puts her best efforts to try and find the Lexicon once again, to finish her work, and exact vengeance upon Opon...

    - Opon, who knows the power of Vorlesh, flees upon the wild, and pleas for whatever power to help him! Help him hide the damned Lexicon! He is answered, by a curious figure, one who has been drawn to the sudden tear in the world, one who sought to make the impossible possible- Nocticula. Under guise, she contacts Opon, and helps conceal him even from Areelu Vorlesh powerful scrying. He finds a small grove, with an old Thane tree (Though not as big as the one in Threshold) and uses his power, (And various other powers in the land, as you wish) and the powers of Nocticula, to mask the place from the prying eyes of demon kind and their followers. The place remains hidden for a long time. Vorlesh does catch Opon, as he goes out, yet Nocticula erases the knowledge from his mind, and so the secret is kept safe.

    Vorlesh turns her efforts to try and find another way to open the portal further. She seeks our more power, and with Baphomet's help, come upon the idea of the Nyhadrian Crystals and mines.

    - Nocticula tries to learn and understand The Lexicon of Paradox, but quickly understands the danger in it. Slowly it affects it's guardians, twisting them... She keeps it, yet turns her attention on a new... opportunity- the gods of the crusade, which become more and more desperate in their fight against the demons. Especially after the disastrous second crusade. She makes secret contact with two of them- Desna and Sarenrae, and after some discussions, debates and more, the two are intrigued by the possibility of changing/ redeeming the demon lord. Nocticula sets up a "compensation" for their assistance, as well as an experiment- An expedition to find the Lexicon of Paradox.

    - Nocticula, under guise, slips in enough hints about the location of the powerful artifact,that big expedition (100+ forces) travel into the Worldwound, trying to find it. Amongst the expedition are a few characters related to the campaign traits:
    - Parents of the "Child of the Crusades" (Originally, Andrew's parents) who lead the expedition.
    - Partial parents of the "touched by divinity". (Why partial? We'll get to that).
    - Mage support: The leader of The Black Wing Library (Quendis I think?), and a few apprentices, one of them is the father of "Riftwarden Orphan".

    They reach the local, and manage to defeat some of the defenses, and reach the Lexicon of Paradox. Yet the Lexicon wouldn't budge! It keeps eluding them.

    - Nocticula sets up her experiment: She enable two of Baphomet's elite demons, the sisters Jerribeth and Arulashee, to find the place. They are both intrigued by the expedition (As well as how they haven't found the place before!) Both demons change their appearance to that of local barbarian women, and help the expedition as scouts. Slowly, they infiltrate it. And learn more of the secret the expedition came to find!

    - The expedition leaders with the mages, are exasperated. Unable to solve Paradox' riddles, the expedition starts transforming, both from the Worldwound's affects and The Lexicon's own powers... In a bit of desperation, they call forth a powerful celestial, to bothprotect them from the corrupting effects, and help them solve the riddle.

    - Meanwhile, Jerribeth and Arulashee learn of the object of the search, and manage to consult with/ corrupt/ subvert the exploration of a brilliant genius young mage (Father of Riftwarden orphan). He understands more of the nature of Paradox, it's transforming qualities. They manage to persuade him that in order to survive the Worldwound, one needs to be part demon. He does a few... experiments, which partly infuse some crusaders with such energy,secretly... They quickly go mad, and are put down. Yet the mage is obsessed with the knowledge" For the Greater good", and experiments more. Yet, afterlearning enough, Jerribeth has another idea...

    - She and Arulashee unleash the mage's experiments upon the expedition, turning many to monstrous semi-demonic horrors. In the ensuing chaos, they try to capture the celestial. In desperation, and with the "help" of The Paradox energies, part of the celestial's essence trades places with part of Arulashee's essence, making the celestial part demon, and instilling with her part celestial, which begins the succubus transformation... SHE is Nocticula's experiment- can a powerful succubus change her nature? Can the impossible become possible?

    Yet an odd thing occurs, not even one that the goddesses and demon lord planned- one of the woman in the crusade, who became pregnant, is struck by the celestial essence as well, and a baby is born ("Child of divinity"), who is then rescued by one of the last surviving members of the Lost expedition (Which becomes a slaughter house), and which makes sure to bring it back to Kenabres. It is, in a way, a sort of sibling to both Arulashee and the new guardian of Paradox- the demon/ celestial/ paradox. (Which the party last meet at the end room of the Lost Expedition dungeon, and must either convince or fight a deadly battle).

    - The expedition is lost, The corrupted mage is turned slain by Child of the Crusades parents, yet then returned to life as The Worm That Walks- Xanthir Vang. (Truth be told, I haven't quite though why he didn't tell of this to Vorlesh, yet there can be many reasons- shame, memory loss due to the trauma, and more). The lost remains of the expedition (Most notably who rescued Touched by Divinity, Parents of Child of the Crusade perhaps, and possibly Quendis), return to Kenabres, but vow to keep it a secret, believing the place was cursed, and also to hide the shame of what happened...

    - But it's not over yet! Jerribeth, who wishes to undo Vorlesh, and further her place with Baphomet, keeps the expedition a secret. She sends many forces and more to try and undo Paradox riddle, but to no avail. In the meantime, she uses the knowledge she learned from the mage, one of corruption, and infusing demonic essence, in her own... experiments (The results are the Stolen Fury and Exposed to Awefulness traits). Yet most are quite unstable, many die, many go mad, to Jerribeth's frustration!

    - Strangely enough, it is these experiments that draw Vorlesh attention, who builds upon their knowledge, to her own experiments. She uses the Nyhadrian elixirs, along with the knowledge from Jerribeth's experiments, to transform many demons into powerful mythic demons. Yet this is but one stage. At the start of the campaign comes another experiment- trying to transform the armies through the Wardstone fragment, and later on, once she learns more of Paradox (In my campaign, through viewing the PCs making the impossible possible, mainly Julian, but also Sena), she comes to the final piece of the puzzle, which involves abducting the herald (In my campaign- the queen), and finishing what she started- Opening the portal fully.

    - Yet there is also Arulashee- Despite being infused with celestial essence, her struggle to redeem herself is a long one. Her first act of redemption is initiated by Desna, (The Chance encounter trait), yet despite a long attempt at redemption, she doesn't succeed on her own. For her internal essence is that of demons. It takes another involvement, that of mortals (The PCs) to enable the final transformation (I've changed how she redeems and how they interact with Nocticula in the 4th module a GREAT deal), and thus convince Nocticula this could be done. This starts her final transformation (The cocoon), as she realizes finally that the true potential of change is from the mortals, and thus she learns from THEM! (In my campaign Sena became a partial focus for that, as can be read in one of my last few posts, about the big reveals in the start of the 5th module), and the rest (As described there as well).

    When the party fids and claim The Lexicon of Paradox, they both gain the means to close the Worldwound, but also make it susceptible to be found by Areelu Vorlesh. Up to you!

    On the Grey Garriosn, On Areelu Vorlesh, and Minhago

    Originally by Kol Korran:
    4) The attack on the grey garrison: The module gives a hell of a crappy reason why none of the major demons protect the Wardstone, the KEY to turning the entire crusade army into demons. With such importance, you'd think they'd put some more defenses around it, no? It always irked me... In my campaign, in the last session when the party met Minhago briefly (And I had to remind them of her part in the protection of the Wardstone), the issue of the demon side seeming utterly incompetent ,pathetic and laughable in that scenario came up again. This single event breaks up any sense of a capable, dangerous, competent foe. They are considered fools, idiots, cartoon villains... I have realized that to a point, this has colored the rest of the campaign so far...

    The module goes even further suggesting the party attack in waves, retreating, resting, attacking again and so on. Now I ask you- if you knew someone was attacking the key point to your whole super evil plan, would you leave it so poorly defended? Thankfully, this point is easier to fix, since the party by that point is quite capable of taking the entire garrison in one attempt, even though at some difficulty. I roleplayed it's encounters close to the real thing, with a bit of an added difficulty, and it went ok.

    But what about the first problem? The demon side leaving no serious defense of the Wardstone feels just so... inexcusable... After this last session I gave this a great deal of thought, and if I had to do it again, I would do it as this:

    Minhago, the lilitu, a CR 17+ demon (Depending on the version you use) Is the one protecting the Wardstone. She has an underling (Jaclyn) who helps in doing atrocities around the city, and raising skeletons and such. But Minhago is the definite guardian of the Wardstone.

    As the party travel in the city they hear rumors of the two, mostly of Minhago, some of Jaclyn. You know- build up. Once they reach the Defender's Heart, They hear from the leaders of the rebellion of Minhago, her reputation, her superbly overpowering them and everyone here. Though an attack on the Garrison may be possible, It is impossible with Minhago there. She could obliterate them all (You can have Minhago be aware of the forces at Defender's Heart. She does not consider them a real threat, and also looks forward to the corruption of the Wardstone turning them into demons)

    Now, either the NPCs suggest it, or the PCs come up with it, but the rebellion, instead of it being used as a diversion for the forces surrounding the garrison, it is used to divert Minhago's attention. Basically, the rebellion needs to create a diversion, to draw out Minhago to a different location, and enable the PCs to attack and destroy the Wardstone.

    What can such a diversion be? I suggest to have some options, but let the PCs try to think up their own. There might be some locations Minhago cares for in the city, which she will protect if attacked on mass, or maybe an item she covets, or such. In general principle, I'd try to have the party research Minhago's history, story and personality, and then use part of her demonic personality characteristics to draw her out (Her greed, her devotion, her hatred, her contempt, her pride and so on). This will make her downfall all the more potent, as the party used the demonic flaws to gain their victory.

    A passing thought, but it could be cool if the entire rebellion other than the PCs and accompanying NPCs will be needed for such a distraction. A suicide mission really, since they have no real hope of defeating Minhago when she appears, just to occupy her time, enough for the party to succeed. You might add that the expected results of destroying the Wardstone is releasing so much magical energy, that it will destroy everyone near, so the party is also on a sort of a suicide mission (Depending on whether you think the party will like this kind of theme). This grim but fatal effort, to save the rest of the crusade, may give a real heroic and righteous feel to the end of the module, with a twist of the Wardstone turning them to mythic instead of destroying them.

    How to play it in session? One way is to just have the party run the grey garrison after someone tells them Minhago has been lured out. I think though, that if I could, I would place two grids- On one you play out the Grey Garrison, on the other you play the scene of the rebellion fighting Minhago (Each player gets to control some red shirts, which are quickly recycled as Minhago cuts a swath of destruction), You can really play out Mihago's power and cruelty here, and also her failings. You can even use the mongrelfolk as something that greatly piques her interest (She may wonder as to these strange "half demons" who all with the crusaders) It gives her much more presence, and gives the excursion a much more pressing time limit.

    At the end battle, I'll have Jaclyn staying behind as the protector, not wanting to Alert Minhago to avoid her anger. But near her death or when the party gets 1-2 rounds away from the Wardstone, you pull the twist! Jaclyn (Or maybe a status spell or an alarm spell around the Wardstone) alerts Minhago, who immediately teleports back to the room!

    Expect an "Oh Sh*t!" moment from the group! There is no way in hell they can beat her, but thankfully there is another "win" button- destroying the Wardstone! The party acts in 1-3 crucial rounds, trying to just get close enough to the stone using superior numbers, trickery, diversion, or just glorious foolish bravery to get the to the stone and destroy it! I think this will make a bloody epic ending! Minhago is almost destroyed (or is destroyed but is brought back), and the party meets her later on, with a far more intense background between them.

    (Minhago as built makes quite a fitting opponent- though at this level she is practically unbeatable, she lacks any area attacks, and most of her spell powers either require long casting, can be stopped with protection from evil, are protective in nature, or have an effect in a campaign, not just in a battle. For the most part she can function as a melee beast, but melee fighters can be maneuvered around...)

    It makes the capturing of the garrison so much more rewardring, makes sense, and memorable. First tricking Minhago out, which takes some clever thinking, as well as a great deal of courage and sacrifice. It takes battling Minhago at the end, who did not just desert her post, which is a unique, memorable, and thrilling challenge, a suitable ending to the module, and a suitable challenge for a mythic ascension. And it keeps the enemies as a real powerful, competent, and not an idiotic threat.

    5) Areelu Vorlesh: Again, the end of the module makes her look pathetic, incompetent, and a laughing butt. My party still makes jokes on her, even though I tried a different approach than in the module, who didn't work quite so well admittedly. I'm not fully sure how to deal with this, though if you include Minhago or some other powerful guardian, you may opt to leave the Areelu encounter out altogether. You can have her image appear before the Queen and the party, or some other threat and the like, but not be defeated as overwhelmingly as this. Not a failure of this magnitude be tied with her directly...

    I got no certain solution here, but you really need to consider this. This set the tone for the rest of the campaign, and how serious the group takes the enemy.
    Good luck to you!

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    Thanks for reading!

  22. - Top - End - #232
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Thank you very much for your (wow... detailed) answer!

    For the record, my players have some particularities which guide me through some choices I made:

    - They are all new players in D&D-like, so they don’t seek the same things than some of your players. Simple story and epic battles seem to fit them quite well (for the moment). They don’t seem to be interested in vast role play (a little, but that’s it) and they have not many ideas how to deal with complex problems (thus linear story-line and major NPC to advice them is good for them). Furthermore they did not make deep background so using the campaign traits proved to be easier for the building of their characters (I have added 3 additional traits to fit ideas they had).

    - I decided not to use the mythic rules (they are new to the game, I don’t want to drown them with additional content), so I will not force they mythic path according to the campaign trait they have chosen.

    - I have some characters whose stories (made by them) fit pretty well with those traits and choices you made/things you’ve added: one of them (inquisitor who have made bad things being too zealous) wanted to play the conflict between good nature/evil thoughts... perfect for the chance encounter trait and the story of the redeem of Nocticula (which I loved when I read it BTW, I think this add a lot to this major NPC and the plot line!).
    Another one wanted to play a life oracle of Sarenrae, and to play with the theme of the redemption (touch by divinity and the Celestial/not that much being), and another wanted a barbarian with demonic power (exposed to awfulness!). So using the traits seemed a good idea for me, but it needs a better link with the main plot, and a better ending. You find a perfect way to improve those!
    Another wanted to play an alchemist addicted with demon-blood, turning him into demon. The last one made a sorcerer with abyssal lineage. All of this will make a major theme for my game: redeem and finding the line between good and evil.

    I’m glad you answer to my original question, because you even gave me more good advices (I’m about to play the Gray garrison, so I will thought about the Minhago thing). If you have more advices, or some things you would have played differently knowing what you know now, I will take everything could help me to improve my game!

    Good luck for your next campaign, I secretly hope you will finally come to finish this one
    (PS: I hope it’s not too hard to read my english )

  23. - Top - End - #233
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Quote Originally Posted by RING3R View Post
    Thank you very much for your (wow... detailed) answer!

    For the record, my players have some particularities which guide me through some choices I made:

    - They are all new players in D&D-like, so they don’t seek the same things than some of your players. Simple story and epic battles seem to fit them quite well (for the moment). They don’t seem to be interested in vast role play (a little, but that’s it) and they have not many ideas how to deal with complex problems (thus linear story-line and major NPC to advice them is good for them). Furthermore they did not make deep background so using the campaign traits proved to be easier for the building of their characters (I have added 3 additional traits to fit ideas they had).

    - I decided not to use the mythic rules (they are new to the game, I don’t want to drown them with additional content), so I will not force they mythic path according to the campaign trait they have chosen.

    - I have some characters whose stories (made by them) fit pretty well with those traits and choices you made/things you’ve added: one of them (inquisitor who have made bad things being too zealous) wanted to play the conflict between good nature/evil thoughts... perfect for the chance encounter trait and the story of the redeem of Nocticula (which I loved when I read it BTW, I think this add a lot to this major NPC and the plot line!).
    Another one wanted to play a life oracle of Sarenrae, and to play with the theme of the redemption (touch by divinity and the Celestial/not that much being), and another wanted a barbarian with demonic power (exposed to awfulness!). So using the traits seemed a good idea for me, but it needs a better link with the main plot, and a better ending. You find a perfect way to improve those!
    Another wanted to play an alchemist addicted with demon-blood, turning him into demon. The last one made a sorcerer with abyssal lineage. All of this will make a major theme for my game: redeem and finding the line between good and evil.

    I’m glad you answer to my original question, because you even gave me more good advices (I’m about to play the Gray garrison, so I will thought about the Minhago thing). If you have more advices, or some things you would have played differently knowing what you know now, I will take everything could help me to improve my game!

    Good luck for your next campaign, I secretly hope you will finally come to finish this one
    (PS: I hope it’s not too hard to read my english )
    I think it was a good choice to not use mythic with new players. It complicated lot of my veteran players, and myself included! But you may need to make some adjustments, especially to mythic creatures. However, other than them, the 3rd module and above should be fine as their are, monsters statistics wise.

    A note about incorporating Minhago in the Grey Garrison. While I think it would have been a good idea with my group, I cannot tell if that is the case with yours. Minhago is FAR above their powers. (CR 17+ !!), so if they face her directly, she will slaughter them without a blink. Be careful on how you use her. Emphasize, in no uncertain terms, the power difference.

    The Chance Encounter trait focuses more on the relation with Arulshee than Nocticula (In my party Andera was too suspicious of her, so Sena became more pivotal). Nocticula is something that the great group may aspire to affect. Note that she doesn't let anyone else (Other than the 2 goddesses) know this, not until the 5th module (In my version at least). The party should come fully expecting to deal with one of the major forces of evil there is! Makes for a much better game.

    Good luck with your game!

    1. Special projects:
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    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  24. - Top - End - #234
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    I'll give this a go, eventually

  25. - Top - End - #235
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Hi Kol Korran!

    A few months after my previous post, I just wanted to make some feedback: We're now in Drezen and all went pretty well :)

    First, the Grey Garrison: It was really epic! I have followed the ideas you gave me and have started to build up Mingho. The party had to find a way to make some diversion before entering the garrison, and they thought of Radiance (Yaniel’s sword) to attract the demon out and force her to fight the resistance (they didn’t know about the Minagho/Yaniel story, but they knew the lilithu sought the sword badly). I added there a way for the party to see the consequences of their past actions: for each significant action they made (rescuing NPCs, getting help from the mongrelfolk, finding the cultist locations, clearing some areas full of demons, finding a way to attract Minagho, losing no time in the garrison etc.), they had % chances to loose NPC (I added and built up some more, not just the 6/7 original ones). The PCs and majors NPCs were linked together (kind of powerful version of the “message” spell) so the party was able to realize how powerful Minagho is, and how fast the diversion turned into a slaughter (the party did well and lose “only” 4 NPCs out of 15, but they had an opportunity with the Queen arrival to resurrect one of them). At the end (I also redesigned the last room...), Minagho finally appeared in front of them and scarred them pretty much (great “oh sh*t” moment ;))! They rushed into the stone to cancel its power and finally made it! The party felt great before meeting Vorlesh and realized the true power of their opponents (I made her failure less pathetic and I think it worked).

    After that, we tried mass combat. I made some changes in the original rules, and gave the party an opportunity to build a "team of armies", so each player could lead one. However, after three battles, we decided to give mass combat up, and find another way to deal with this (kind of "fight of leaders").

    Through the journey, I added some "interactives visions" where the PCs get in the body of crusaders, 20 years ago, to start founding out why THEY are here, and why THEY were chosen (by Terendelev at the start, by the Gods through the wardstone etc.). With the hints I put in here and there, the party started to wonder what happened with them. I plan to make some partial revelations soon: it works much better than in the original module (which “final” pops up in the third module, and in a quite disappointing way).

    Since the beginning, I think I managed to build up some major opponents: Mignaho, Staunton Vhane and Jerribeth. You were right about this: I think it is important to build them up so the party don't discover them during the (final and only) encounter and avoid things like “ok we killed him, he seemed to be quite an important character, but what's his name already?”

    Thank you for your advices, and once again, hope you can read my English!
    Last edited by RING3R; 2017-02-13 at 05:51 AM.

  26. - Top - End - #236
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Glad to hear your campaign is doing well RING3R!

    I'm quite intrigued by the way you played Minhago. The idea came to me only when playing the 4th module (In which she makes a reappearance). I thought it a cool idea, but also immensely risky... Sounds like your character pulled it off!

    You brought 15 NPCs into the game? Nice! More than the module gives, if I remember correctly. Sounds like your party takes the game and people seriously. Nicely done.

    I'd like to her how you ran Drezen. For my group I think that was the highlight of the campaign, other than the negotiations with Nocticula. They still remember Staunton Vhane as a very memorable antagonist. (Sena and Julian's players apparently even had ideas of getting his soul back from Deskari...). Good luck to you.

    Note that for us, the game started falling apart in the 3rd module. It is... somewhat aimless... They ended up doing very little actual exploration of the wild, and most of their interests lay IN Drezen (looking back, they spend nearly 40% of their time there, interacting with NPCs and such). A lot of GMs mentioned in other logs that the 3rd module feels... "out of place/ out of context". I'd suggest t give it more aim, more context, in order to make it work.

    There is a problem after conquerign Drezen, with all the investment in NPCs, troops and so on, that many parties wish to play ruling it, making projects and more, and some groups have some ideas of how to aid the war effort (Such as attacking other demon bases?) It feels like the module loses the momentum... I haven't given it much thought afterwards, or came up with an idea of how to salvage it, but good luck to you!

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  27. - Top - End - #237
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Glad to hear your campaign is doing well RING3R!

    I'm quite intrigued by the way you played Minhago. The idea came to me only when playing the 4th module (In which she makes a reappearance). I thought it a cool idea, but also immensely risky... Sounds like your character pulled it off!
    Well I build her up so the PCs could get no doubt she was able to kill them in one round, so they play carefully. Nevertheless, they had to play a "destiny trick" (I use te "Paizo Plot twist cards" - one of the many ways for me to compensate the mythic rules I don't use) to make Minagho focus one Jeslyn first (with very few HP left) to punish her for her failure. It took one round to move across the room, and a single shot to kill her. The PCs knew then there was no chance they could do something against her. They did the job they came for quickly and the wardstone finally saved them (i planned it could resurrect those who unfortunately died against Minagho but it was not necessary)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    You brought 15 NPCs into the game? Nice! More than the module gives, if I remember correctly. Sounds like your party takes the game and people seriously. Nicely done.
    Well, some important ones from the original module (Aravashnial, Anevia, Irabeth and Horgus who did not came with the PCs after once in Kenabres because of the way they treated him, Millorn but the PCs didn't face him and ran), some in the module but just mentioned, with no statblock, whom the party liked and get close to (Quednys who died during the final fight against Minagho, Lann, Chief Sull and Opoli from Neathholm), 2 former PCs who quit the came early, and finally I added some other for plot or flavor purpose. Of course, I allowed only one NPC at the time during fight and such.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    I'd like to her how you ran Drezen. For my group I think that was the highlight of the campaign, other than the negotiations with Nocticula. They still remember Staunton Vhane as a very memorable antagonist. (Sena and Julian's players apparently even had ideas of getting his soul back from Deskari...). Good luck to you.
    A PC (who join the party at the second module) has his story closely tied to Staunton (she is a dwarf who fought with him during the fall of Drezen 75 years ago, and so was betrayed by him when he stole the Sword of Valor). So I could build him up, and I guess the final encounter will do the job! I redesigned him to make him more "final boss" of Drezen, and I will relocate the shadow demon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Note that for us, the game started falling apart in the 3rd module. It is... somewhat aimless... They ended up doing very little actual exploration of the wild, and most of their interests lay IN Drezen (looking back, they spend nearly 40% of their time there, interacting with NPCs and such). A lot of GMs mentioned in other logs that the 3rd module feels... "out of place/ out of context". I'd suggest t give it more aim, more context, in order to make it work.
    I plan to make the third module mainly about discovering what happened with the "first expedition", so I hope the PCs will enjoy it (they are very interested in their personal stories). They start to look forward to find out what happened with them. We'll see !

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    There is a problem after conquerign Drezen, with all the investment in NPCs, troops and so on, that many parties wish to play ruling it, making projects and more, and some groups have some ideas of how to aid the war effort (Such as attacking other demon bases?) It feels like the module loses the momentum... I haven't given it much thought afterwards, or came up with an idea of how to salvage it, but good luck to you!
    It's very "party dependent" and knowing mine, I doubt that they will spend time ruling a city. I plan to allow them to send groups of NPC to help them explore the wild, and report "we found that but it seems to be too dangerous for us to go nearer" etc. As they DONT want to play army anymore, I doubt they will think about attacking major demon's places... but again we'll see :)

    If you're interested, I will leave some more feedback !
    Last edited by RING3R; 2017-02-17 at 05:48 AM.

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