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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Alright I'm finally able to get this thing started. This is a campaign journal of the first (hopefully) long-running campaign with this group of players. Most of us have been playing together for a long time in various combinations, but until recently school and traveling has prevented us from doing more than one-shots and mini-campaigns. Red Hand of Doom was basically the longest we've ever been playing one game.

    Now that we're all gonna be around for the conceivable future, I've decided to run a campaign that will go from level 1 until however long the players want to keep playing it. I'm aiming for high teen levels but it could end sooner or later, depending on whatever. The key factor here is characters that the players will enjoy playing for a long time... fortunately it looks like we've got an entertaining set on our hands.

    This campaign takes place in my Axinia setting (found here and in my sig), same as RHOD. There are a whole list of house rules on the site, but the only two that readers need concern themselves with are as follows:
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    1) Finesse Fighter is a homebrew feat that allows Dex to damage on finesseable weapons. Two of the players will be using it.

    2) I call this "the Video Game Way." If a PC hits negatives in combat, they don't die unless an enemy takes the time to Coup de Grace them. This only counts for combat damage, so jumping off a cliff or getting your throat slit still kills you normally. This helps make it so a lucky crit just takes you out of the fight, not the campaign. There's more to it to cover corner cases and stuff but this is the gist.


    Also I made a Player’s Guide in the vein of Paizo’s adventure path guides. It explains the setting in a bit more detail so take a look if you want:

    Here it is.

    The Cast:

    Korddrengr, CG Half-Orc Zealot
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    Korddrengr (or just Drengr) is a reckless, but well-meaning, warrior from a tribe to the north of Daggerpoint. He is heroic and surprisingly polite in social situations, as well as ruggedly handsome (his player insists that this is very important to the image of the character ). He is currently in search of his mother, a human who was an honorary member of his orc tribe, but left some time ago. He’s joined up with the Free Tusks guild in Daggerpoint in order to try to locate his mother and dispense justice along the way.

    Mechanically Drengr plays like a barbarian, and his player is intending to make him charging focused, and later getting a mount to do ridiculous damage. Played by the person who played Skalfdir in RHoD and Yuda in the psionic campaign. You’ve probably noticed a pattern with his characters at this point, and we love him for it.

    The zealot is a hybrid Barbarian/Paladin class in the vein of the Advanced Class Guide playtest that Drengr’s player and I designed. It plays mostly like a barbarian, but the rage is slightly less good and and it gets notable paladin abilities like lay on hands and divine bond.

    Here’s a PDF of the class.


    Ausk “the Mad,” CG Orc Witch (Scarred Witch Doctor)
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    Ausk is a full-blooded orc from the same tribe as Korddrenger, in fact they knew each other once upon a time. Ausk was training to become the tribe’s shaman, but one of his rivals betrayed him and sold him into slavery. Ausk has regained his freedom, but found that the rest of the tribe has been killed, probably betrayed by his rival. Now he is in Daggerpoint seeking answers. Ausk is actually quite lucid most times and can be intimidating and diplomatic in equal measure. However, he believes that the tribal mask he carries around to be sapient (it is his familiar) and often talks to it to the unease of those around him.

    I said no the Constitution based casting of scarred witch doctor, but did allow him to choose a different mental stat to use as his casting stat if he wanted. He chose Charisma. Also, he’s using Half-Orc stats, despite being a full-blooded Orc, because the default stats for orc are dumb. Played by the guy who played Ivan in the psionics campaign.


    Antonio “Tony” Contarini, NG Human Swashbuckler
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    Tony is the scion of a prominent Catonian family, but he has traveled to Daggerpoint in search of excitement and adventure. Unfortunately, none of the big Eight guilds have yet accepted him into their ranks. He has settled into the less-than-exciting job of a civil accountant, but this has provided him with a passable income and average accommodations. He is a cautious, but also excitable fellow, and is skilled in diplomacy and persuasion. He is a dextrous and certainly capable fighter for his age, which makes it even more frustrating for him that he has yet to be accepted into a guild. He has a rival named Arnaud Savelli who has joined up with the Shining Axes, and Tony longs to best the dastard in combat.

    Played by the guy who played Raiku from RHoD and DMed the psionics campaign.

    Swashbuckler is an advanced class from the Advanced Class Guide playtest. It is a fighter with a pool of “panache” points which it can use to do cool things, like parry blows and make counterattacks.


    Zara Sirocco, CN Aasimar (Muse-Touched) Spelldancer
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    Zara is a cautious and reserved aasimar from Lanvaldear. She grew frustrated with courtly life and traveled to Daggerpoint in search of artistic and personal freedom. She is kind, but distrustful of many authority figures. Despite her position as a lowly bar maid at the Rusty Knife tavern, she is knowledgeable and cultured. She aims to become powerful in the arcane arts so that she can make her own rules.

    Played by the girl who played Nico in RHoD and Vrai in the psionics campaign.

    Spelldancer is a hybrid class of Magus/Bard in the vein of the Advanced Class Guide playtest that I designed myself. Zara was originally going to be a magus but her originally concept inspired me to make this class. The player liked it and decided to use it.

    Here’s a PDF of the class.



    So yeah, EVERY party member is Charisma-based, which means they're all good at social skills. Another odd quirk, Ausk is the only character with a class that has seen official publication as of yet
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    Axinia: My campaign setting.
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Map of Daggerpoint.

    SESSION 1, Part 1: Escape in the City
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    We open during the late afternoon in the city of Daggerpoint, a haven for those seeking freedom and fortune (through means good or ill). In the Rusty Knife Tavern, the owner, a dwarf named Kortis, counts his earnings while the barmaid Zara Sirocco cleans tables in preparation for the evening rush. Three more people converge upon the nearly-empty bar in search of information. Kortis has a reputation for knowing information that perhaps a bar-keep should not know, and these figures each seek information.

    Drengr (OOC): So an orc and a half-orc walk into a bar... it breaks.

    Queue the entrance of Korddrengr and Ausk.

    Ausk: Bartender! Bring us your second strongest drink!

    Kortis: *raises eyebrow* Sure... can’t say I’ve heard that request before though.

    Ausk: It’s been my experience that asking for the strongest drink results in them mixing up a bunch of stuff and a considerable amount of poison... so the second strongest drink will suffice. Isn’t that right? *looks at his tribal mask*

    Drengr follows soon after, and he and Ausk recognize each other immediately. Drenger gives Ausk the “traditional orc greeting” of a punch to the face*, which Ausk returns. Ausk, almost casually, mentions the fact that their clan had been massacred as they catch up... before steering the conversation to other topics. Drengr showed great concern for the fate of his clan, but pushed it to the back of his mind as other concerns arise...

    Drengr: Bartender! Bring me your THIRD strongest drink!

    Meanwhile... Tony enters, avoids the pair of orcs and approaches Kortis.

    Kortis: *sigh* Want something like my fourth strongest drink?

    Tony: Just beer, I’d rather keep a clear head. I’m really here looking for something else.

    Kortis: And what’s that?

    Tony: Adventure...

    Kortis: Well I suppose there may be some of that to be had... I’ve been hearing about a string of kidnappings lately, and when they’re this close together that usually means slavers-- **

    Drenger & Ausk: SLAVERS!?

    The two orcs join the conversation, eager to learn what the dwarf knows. Zara’s interest is peaked as well (they’re all chaotic except Tony and largely opposed to slavery) and also inquires what leads the dwarf has on potential slavers.

    Kortis: Well I don’t know for sure, but I think there are some people running... less-than-reputable businesses somewhere in Dock City, if you go to this alley––

    At this point, two clawed hands burst up through the floorboards beneath Kortis and yank him down into the cellar below! At the same time, 3 gnolls*** and a ratfolk burst up through the floor around the 4 characters. Tony starts screaming in terror! The others leap into action and the first initiative roll happens.

    Zara is up first and breaks away from the gnoll in front of her and goes after the ratfolk, who is wielding a bow. Ausk leads with a Burning Hands, narrowly avoiding Tony and any flammable objects to get two gnolls. Tony, still yelping, draws his rapier and takes a defensive stance, but is still too afraid to attack. Korddrengr leaps up onto a table to get to the 3rd gnoll, but is too distracted by doing awesome combat moves to get around the gnoll’s metal shield. The gnolls prove to be able to do significant damage, and the ratfolk his fairly accurate with his bow.

    Zara closes in on the ratfolk and starts a battledance. The rat draws two short swords to fight her, but he can’t hit the dancing and twirling Zara and begins to grow frustrated. Tony starts using his parry and riposte abilities to avoid getting hit, and the gnolls are forced to reevaluate the scared accountant. Tony, his confidence bolstered, begins fighting in earnest, and takes out one of the dog-men. Ausk decides to conserve his precious few spell slots and wades into melee with his quarterstaff, actually hitting and dealing damage to another gnoll. Korddrengr recovers from his embarrassing miss and strikes the gnoll in front of him, downing him instantly. I believe his minimum damage was enough to defeat them

    Zara keeps up her assault on the ratfolk, and nickle-and-dimes him to nothing, barely getting hurt herself. The remaining gnoll bugs out and jumps back down the hole. The party elects not to immediately pursue in favor of chugging some healing potions.

    During all this they could hear Kortis struggling, yelling, and being bound and gagged and dragged off somewhere beneath the floor. A glance down the whole reveals a tunnel dug from the sewers into the cellar of the Rusty Knife. Soon after the combat ends, the newly christened adventurers hearing yelling and screaming from the street outside, and people running away down the street. They move out of the bar to see amidst the crowd another ratfolk and two more gnolls emerging from an open manhole cover, one of them carrying the thrashing and bound Kortis.

    The chase is on! The PCs need to deal first with forcing their way through the running crowds, and then have to deal with inconveniently placed fruit cards and a frightened, thrashing horse. The kidnappers make their way towards an alleyway, but Ausk and Tony close in on them quickly. Zara gets cut off by the angry horse, and Drengr is too confused and jostled by the crowd to keep up pursuit. Tony takes down one of the gnolls, dropping Kortis to the ground, and takes out the other when it tries to pick up the dwarf and make a break for it. The ratfolk keeps its distance and plinks away with his bow, and Ausk tries to close the distance. Unfortunately the ratfolk has a really good movement skills and climbs up a drainpipe onto a rooftop and escapes over the shingles. ****

    It is not long after, as the party regroups, that a group of Monarch Wings guards, as well as some of the Free Tusks, arrives to cordon off the area. Tony and Zara return to the bar with Kortis, while Drengr, being a Free Tusk member, approaches the apparent leader to explain things along with Ausk. Turns out the leader of the group of Free Tusks is none other than Grovak, half-orc paladin and leader of the entire Free Tusks guild!

    Grovak: Korddrengr! Good, any chance you can explain what happened here to me?

    Drengr: Yeah, it started when these gnolls and a ratfolk jumped out of the floor and then––

    Grovak: Wait. Back up. Jumped out of the floor?

    Drengr: Yeah out of the floor, and then...

    Drengr explains the situation and introduces Ausk. Grovak asks to meet the other participants and they all head back to the bar.

    Meanwhile Tony and Zara are getting acquainted with each other and Kortis.

    Zara: How the hell did you not notice a GIANT HOLE being dug into your cellar?!

    Kortis: ...I haven’t been down there in a while....

    Zara: Seriously Kortis? *throws up hands*

    Tony: Hey now, who actually owns the bar here?


    *this is not actually the traditional orc greeting, but that’s Drengr for you

    **slavery is illegal in most countries of Axinia

    ***I made gnolls into a playable race in my setting. Thus, they are weaker and by no means always evil. Don’t worry, I didn’t make the first encounter of the campaign a CR 5

    ****I used Pathfinder Chase Cards for this sequence. I highly recommend them, as long as you pick out the cards you want to use beforehand. Though Drengr was stuck on the first card most of the time :/
    Last edited by Axinian; 2014-02-05 at 07:23 PM.
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    Axinia: My campaign setting.
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    It's taking me a little while to get the whole session written up, so here's the first part. I'll post the second half of the session before the week is out.
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    SESSION 1, Part 2: Detroit Dock City
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    Grovak enters with the other two orcs and introduces himself.

    Zara: Zara Sirocco

    Tony: Antonio Matteo Contarini... and I need a drink.

    Grovak: Oh! I didn’t know a Contarini had come to Daggerpoint. My apologies!

    Ausk: I knew he was a rich boy... humans.

    Grovak explains that he has actually been running around to various crime scenes all day, as there were several other, similarly violent kidnappings in the space of a few hours, all perpetrated by “minority” races (though this was the only case of villains bursting through the floor). Given that the Free Tusks strive for peaceful race relations and civil rights, it’s very much in his interest to ensure that these events do not spark racial tensions between gnolls and other humanoids. He also corroborates Kortis’s suspicions of slave trade. Grovak will also have difficulty apprehending the criminals, as he doesn’t want to be seen as turning on a race that’s usually oppressed... but he can’t do nothing either lest he be seen as defending them. Fortunately he has just happened upon several warriors with more than enough reason to pursue the kidnappers... the party agrees to help, especially after being offered several hundred GP to do so.

    Tony: Now Kortis, what was that you were saying about an alley?

    Kortis nervously continues his story from before they were rudely interrupted. He explains that in a certain alleyway on the East side of town, there is a small stairway leading to the lower levels of Dock City, where bad business usually goes down.

    Dock City is a shoreline area where the piers are built so big and in such a high density that people eventually just starting building buildings on top of them and connecting them, creating several blocks of residences and businesses that ships can just pull right up to. Unfortunately it’s not the best place in Daggerpoint to be, especially in the later hours. The undersides of the docks have been built up too, creating a sublayer of rickety hallways and rooms. This sublayer is where Kortis thinks the slavers are.

    The party heads out pretty much right away, despite it being rather late.

    Tony: Hey I’ve got work tomorrow, so I won’t be able to do it until evening then anyway.

    Tony also inquires to Drengr why the Free Tusks wouldn’t let him join their guild.

    Drengr: You don't have tusks coming out of your face, so less people hate you. So the Free Tusks don't feel the need to help you as much.

    Tony: So if I grew tusks, they'd let me join them?

    Drengr: Probably. Bet it'd help your chances with the ladies too.

    Ausk: A very specific kind of ladies.

    Ausk also seems to be rather judgmental towards humans, assuming that Tony is at least somewhat racist right off the bat. Drengr and Zara stop tensions from flaring up, but Ausk clearly has some hostility he should probably work out.

    They find the hidden stairway no problem and descend. They navigate the damp, creaky halls beneath the docks by the light of Ausk’s Dancing Lights spell. The pass a couple offshoot hallways and arrived in a room with three doors. They still haven’t encountered any living creatures... and that technically remains true when they open the left door to reveal zombies! The three walking corpses are just shambling around in the remains of a record room/library. They are all bloated with sloshing, putrid water and smell like rancid seawater.

    The zombies begin to shamble towards their new prey, but Drengr charges into the room, clocking the first zombie with his earthbreaker hammer. Unfortunately, damage reduction means that it doesn’t drop, and the zombie’s counterattack makes makes Drengr save against nausea as the putrid water bursts out of the rotting skin all over him. Fortunately, he, as well as the other party members, make all their saves against his over the course of the battle. It does not go well in other respects, however. Zara can overcome the DR, but does not have a high base damage (hasn’t taken Finesse Fighter yet). Tony does good damage and parries attacks like nobody’s business, but proceeds to not roll higher than a 5 or so for basically the entire fight :/ Ausk still wants to conserve spells, but can’t deal any damage with his quarterstaff either, so he’s reduced to just casting Guidance on people over and over again.

    They take out two of the zombies, but the undead actually hit quite hard, and Drengr gets knocked out after the first zombie goes down. The close confines of the room prevent anyone from getting to him to give him a potion. The others stay up a lot longer, destroying another zombie, but Zara and Tony get knocked out in quick succession. Then it’s just Ausk vs a lone zombie that he can’t really damage or harm in anyway. Fortunately, he (as the rest of the party) has realized that the sloshy undead can only move or attack in one turn, not both. He gets the zombie to follow him out of the room, before running back in to pour a healing potion down Drengr’s throat. The half-orc springs back to life and charges the zombie, cleaving the rancid corpse in twain!

    The two conscious half-orcs manage to carry the comatose human and aasimar back out of dock city, and make their way to the nearest Free Tusk building, where they pay for some much needed healing. At a 50% discount naturally, since Drengr is a member and they are all on a task for the Free Tusks anyway.

    When they’re all conscious and patched up, they decide NOT to return immediately. They all agree to meet the next day in the evening, since Tony needs to work. Zara is getting a break from work obviously, on account of the bar being trashed. Ausk inquires to the Free Tusks as to how to become a member, and it is explained to him that it’s basically a job interview. Applicants submit some paperwork, and then there’s an interview where a representative decides whether you’re a good choice or not. He submits an application. That will likely be resolved next session.

    The party gathers together again the next day. Fully healed, and decide to try to find the slavers again. They return to the zombie room, gathering up a scroll of enlarge person and advancing through a door in that room. There was actually a potion in the room too, but someone chugged it during the zombie fight in the hopes of it being a healing potion. Turned out to be an elixir of swimming

    The next room is a ruined office. They cautiously enter the room, Drengr first. Turns out the rotting old desk is some sort of proto-mimic, shifting from it’s wooden appearance to a giant pale blob of slime with a gnashing mouth. It deals some damage and has a poison, and actually lasts a while, putting Drengr in danger again, since the other party members have to maneuver in the tight confines of the office to attack it. Once they all settle into positions though, the mimic succumbs to a flurry of swords and hammers. They find a potion of cure light wounds and another potion that they can’t identify.

    They return the the room with three doors and look through the keyhole of the “north” door. They spy in the dim light a merfolk, propped up through a hole in the floor and rummaging through some sort of pack. They go through the floor and the merfolk turns to face them looking startled and suspicious. Tony calls out to him, and begins to work some diplomacy on him. By convincing the merfolk that they are only here to find the slavers, and are not in fact messing with his gang’s turf. They learn the path to the slavers’ lair from the merfolk, but they suspect that he knows more about their arrangements than he lets on. However, They decide not to make an issue with it, and press on, leaving the merfolk to his looting.

    They encounter two ratfolk further in and manage to take them by surprise! They’re in a room that has a wall open to the water, and one of the ratfolk is across the gap in another open room. They down the one near them with no trouble, and the archer across the gap flees through a door in his room. They proceed through the door they can actually access and come into a much large room, and are immediately set upon by two gnoll slavers! There is also a narrow passage leading further into Dock City’s underbelly, and it is partially blocked by a makeshift barricade, beyond with is a blue-skinned humanoid (an undine) and the ratfolk archer that fled. The undine turns out to be a sorcerer, casts Grease to hinder the party’s movements. It turns out not to do much, especially since Zara auto-succeeds on the acrobatics checks (nice moves!). The gnolls do some damage but are downed in short order. Drengr charges the barricade smashing it into pieces, and proceeds to cut down the undine! The ratfolk tries to flee, but the whole party converges on him and he goes down without having harmed them significantly.

    They press on into the slavers’ lair. They look through another keyhole and see a large room with a big hole in the floor, exposing the seawater beneath. There is a ratfolk on the other side of it, pacing quickly and nervously. The party decides to blitz the room, bashing the door open and charging the slaver! Ausk launches a Daze spell at the rat, and the enemy blows its save big time. They put a little bit of damage on the guy, but he survives the assault and shrieks in panic!

    Ratfolk: S*@%! They did make it here!

    With that, the ratfolk whistles, as if calling a dog, and form the water burst a massive reptilian creature! It has many legs and a puckered mouth full of rings of teeth. A Water Wraith. The party mirrors the ratfolk’s sentiment.

    Party: S*@%!

    BGM

    Things go bad immediately when the creature bits and grapples Zara, taking out most of her hp. The ratfolk yanks out a pair of short swords and begins to engage. The party doesn’t do much damage in the first round, but Zara escapes the grapple due to her high escape artist modifier (she can use perform (dance) for such things) and later starts a battledance to help everyone out. The water wraith forgoes grappling, settling for just making 5 attacks per round. Fortunately these attacks are divided amongst the party. But HP totals are dropping steadily. Ausk tries to use touch of fatigue on the creature, but it makes its save and Ausk actually gets knocked down into the water. The luck of the rest of the party finally starts to change, and they start landing staggerng blows against the creature. Tony parries just about any attack thrown his way. and Zara’s battledance is boosting Drengr’s already insane damage output.

    The beast is felled, and the ratfolk immediately drops his weapons and surrenders.

    Ratfolk: Alright alright! Please don’t kill me! If you can kill that I can’t fight you! Please spare me!

    They bind the ratfolk and start pressing for information.

    Tony: Who hired you?

    Ratfolk: I don’t know!

    Drengr: Listen, you tell us or you take a swim!

    Ratfolk: I don’t know! Usually people hire us anonymously! They come to us with money and we take it!

    Ausk: It’s probably one of the guilds.

    Tony: What makes you say that?

    Ausk: This is Daggerpoint?

    The ratfolk doesn’t actually have much more to tell them, except that some of the hostages were already taken elsewhere. To where he doesn’t know. The party inspects the remaining rooms, finding two bound and unconscious hostages and a bunch of loot. A lot of gold and some magic items. Notably, a +1 Dagger (which they intend to sell), and a mithral shirt, which Zara happily snatches up, giving her really good AC.

    Even better, they all level up to Level 2!!!


    And that’s where we left it.

    Next session is tomorrow, BTW.

    THOUGHTS
    1) The players put a lot of work into their characters and their personalities. We are generally a more roll-play sort of group (though most of us are no slouches in the RP department either), so this is really refreshing.

    2) That said, I need to get used to this style of game. I started out with a classic dungeon crawl to get things started. But that won’t hold true for the entirety of the campaign. Things will be a little more sandboxy for a time I think, which is a departure for me.

    3) Hopefully all the world background wasn’t too much to dump on you readers. I know having to read up on that stuff can be a turnoff for reading campaign journals. If you’ve got questions about the setting, campaign, characters, or players, I’ll do my best to answer them.
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    Axinia: My campaign setting.
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    As someone who has recently stumbled over your RHoD journal I must say that I am quite pleased to see there's more where it came from. I find your groups adventures to be quite entertaining, and look forward to seeing where this campaign journal goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Axinian View Post
    3) Hopefully all the world background wasn’t too much to dump on you readers. I know having to read up on that stuff can be a turnoff for reading campaign journals. If you’ve got questions about the setting, campaign, characters, or players, I’ll do my best to answer them.
    Quite the contrary, I found your campaign briefing to be fairly short and informative. It's nice to know what the characters know about the setting, and not having to have setting elements explained every time they crop up must be useful for you.
    If I had a +1 Pan of Frying I could totally do that!

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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Good to see more of your work!
    Can't write. Can't plan. Can draw a little.
    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    "In his free time, he gates in Balors just so he can kill and eat them later!"

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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Here’s the first part of the session. It was mostly investigatory for the first half. All the combat will come in the second part.

    SESSION 2, Part 1: Adventures in Accounting
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    IMPORTANT NOTE: I forgot to mention in the last update. All the kidnappings that happened up till this one? Mostly scholars and other knowledgeable people. The players were informed of this, but I forgot to put it in the journal. My bad :P

    The characters leave with the captured ratfolk and the hostages to return to the Free Tusks, and perhaps find out what the deal is with all these slavers. That means it’s interrogation time my friends! One of the hostages is a man called Oro, who seems unusually resistant to telling the PCs anything, especially considering that telling them what they want to hear can only help them. He keeps insisting that he doesn’t know why he was taken, as he isn’t a scholar or all that knowledgeable. Sense Motive checks show that he’s lying to some degree, but the dice are not in the PCs favor for some reason and they can’t seem to get anything out of him. The other hostage is a woman name Abigail, who is a middling scholar for the Seekers (the major lore-finding guild). She’s much more helpful, explaining that she was in charge of recent excavation uncovering lost parts of the under-city. She says that they uncovered several temples, and got most of it cleared out before they ran into underground monsters. She was figuring out how to deal with that when she was violently kidnapped from her apartment.

    After conversing with Grovak and each other about who could be behind the slavers, most of them seem convinced that a guild of some kind is behind it. It’s very heard for crime syndicates to operate in Daggerpoint without using a guild as a cover, but it would also be difficult for one of the Eight to be be behind this without someone figuring it out. Thus, the party deduces that one of the many minor guilds that inhabit the city is responsible. Tony heads home (he does in fact have work tomorrow) while the other three head to City Hall in the hopes of examining a list of registered guilds to find possible suspects.

    Ausk: Wait, Korddrengr, you can read?

    Drengr: Yeah. Why wouldn’t I?

    Ausk: You spend all your time hitting things!

    Drengr: To be fair, most of the stuff I read has to do with hitting things.

    The learn a bit about a lot of the minor guilds ruling out ones that would very likely not have any crime connections: food and produce guilds, that sort of thing. There are three very common types of guild that are more likely to participate in criminal activity:

    1) Mercenary Guilds: These things pop up like weeds, as any adventuring party of decent strength tries to form one. They cover a wide range on the moral spectrum.

    2) Fight Club/Gladiatorial Guilds: These guilds get in trouble a lot for letting organized fights escalate, and often hold secret fights with less-than-legal stipulations. They also do bad things to keep these activities under wraps.

    3) Brothel Guilds: Slavery is illegal in Valon, but prostitution isn’t. Most of these guilds are worker run and/or heavily scrutinized, for good reason. This is likely the most likely kind of guild to participate in outright slave trading.

    This is informative for the players and the characters who have not long been in Daggerpoint, but while this does provide some hints, it doesn’t really explain why the slavers are primarily kidnapping scholars and other such folk. The party decides to call it a night, and reconvene in the morning.

    Meanwhile, Tony arrived back at his apartment to find a strange envelope slipped under his door. It’s solid black, and the only indicator of its sender is the emblem of the Monarch Wings* on it. After doing the best he can to make sure it isn’t booby trapped, Tony opens it and reads the letter inside:

    I heard about what you did. Keep it up. It is good to have go-getters like you around.
    – G


    Tony surmises that the “G” likely means “Genovese,” the Don of Daggerpoint. Cheered by the recognition, he puts the letter in a safe place and takes note of it in his diary** before retiring for the night.

    Several things happen in the morning:

    1) Zara, with little to do since the bar has not yet been completely repaired, decides to go talk with the Seekers to learn more about the members that have been kidnapped.

    2) Drengr and Ausk have a moment where they discuss how weird it is that Ausk carves his spells directly into his flesh. Quoth Ausk’s player “I’m dipping a little in to the crazy pot, here.” After that, they decide to try to find out more about the guilds that could be behind this.

    3) Tony goes to work. :P

    Zara arrives at the Seeker headquarters, a strange, narrow building covered in arcane runes, only to find that she was expected.

    Seeker Clerk: Ah yes, our diviners said you would have an appointment today! Here, I’ll show you to your meeting.

    Zara: Efficient :)

    Zara is introduced to the one of the higher ranking mages, a wizard named... Norman. He is very forthcoming with information, as it seems his guild is the primary target of the kidnappers. He reiterates Abigal’s story about her excavation, and also says there was another, similar excavation across town that had its caretaker kidnapped. Unfortunately he was already gone when the party busted up the slavers’ lair. There were a total of six Seekers kidnapped in the recent crime spree: the two excavators, and four initiates working on their theses (in order to advance to the next rank). Mostly history buffs.

    Zara: Any idea who could be targeting you?

    Norman: I’m not certain. Stuff like this has happened before, though not to this degree. We uncover a lot of priceless artifacts and ancient lore, and some people want to get their hands on it. No one specifically comes to mind. Mystic Gate*** could be a suspect, but they end up getting what they want through legal means anyway. We’re more than happy to share our findings with them. In fact, we usually enlist their aid!

    Zara leaves after getting that information and chatting amiably with Norman to update the group on her findings.

    ----

    Meanwhile, Korddrengr and Ausk pay another visit to the captured ratfolk, with the intent of getting any info that could help identify what sort of guild is responsible for hiring him. Ausk takes point. The ratfolk folk looks up nervously as the orc enters his cell.

    Ausk: Oh good! You remember me. I have a question for you...

    Ratfolk: ...

    An awkward minute passes... before the the ratfolk nervously asks what Ausk’s question is.

    Ausk: Ah yes, who hired you?

    Ratfolk: I already told you, I don’t know! They were anonymous!

    Ausk: Yes, but someone must have come to take the hostages away. Who were they?

    The rat explains that cloaked and hooded people cam in a deep boat, low enough to fit under the docks, but deep enough to fit several people. Ausk offers improved accommodations and protection for the rat’s cell in exchange for information. The rat spills that one of the people who came on the boat had a strange tattoo on his arm that looked like a three-pointed crown. Having gotten what he came for, Ausk leaves.

    Me: You’re not actually gonna get him improved living conditions are you?

    Ausk: Hell no!

    Drengr and Ausk ponder the symbol and decide to ask Grovak about it.

    Grovak: Hm.... oh yeah! I know this guild, it’s the Ring Kings guild! They’re a fight club I think, I’ve heard some of my warriors talk about it.

    Ausk: Any idea how they could be involved in this?

    Grovak: Not entirely. They have been shut down several times for letting fights get out of hand, but other than that I don’t know that much about them.

    Zara arrives now and the PCs fill each other in on what they’ve found out.

    Ausk: We should get Tony in on this. Maybe he can find something in the accounting books.

    And they head out to City Hall to find the “Warrior-Accountant” as they’ve dubbed him.

    ----

    Meanwhile still, Tony is crunching some numbers and being bored, but several transactions come across his desk over the course of the day, which begin to form some patterns. There are definitely some gladatorial guilds engaging in an unusually high amount of transactions with some brothel guilds. Four names show up:

    1) Ring Kings
    2) The Scarlet Room
    3) The Octagon
    4) Lessie’s Harem

    The nature of these deals aren’t really suspect, but their frequency and value are. It’s as Tony is looking a little into these when he is informed that “two orcs and a lady” are there to see him. He leaves his cubicle to find his fighting companions waiting for him in the lobby. They fill each other in on their findings, and the fact that there have been two occurrences of suspicious activity on account of the Ring Kings catches their attention.

    Drengr: Let’s go check out this fight club!

    Tony: I still need to get off work. I’ll be out in a couple hours.

    Drengr: :/

    Wah wah wah. The rest of the party goes to hang out in the still incomplete Rusty Knife Tavern. Tony extensively delves into the financial history of the Ring Kings, and finds that the guild has engaged in an extremely high number of real estate transactions with the Scarlet Room guild. Real estate deals for these kinds of guilds aren’t unusual. as they both want secure properties, but the fact that these properties are quite obviously overvalued and exchanged far too frequently.
    Tony rushes to the tavern to explain his discovery.

    Tony: GUYS! THE RING KINGS ARE BUYING PROPERTY AT MASSIVELY INFLATED PRICES!!

    Ausk: ... and?!

    Tony: No, see, they’re trading lots of real estate with the Scarlet Room!

    Drengr: So?

    Ausk: Still not following.

    Zara: ?

    Tony: OK, they’re laundering money or trading something illegal by disguising the deals as buying real estate.

    Ausk: So... what they’re trading slaves with a brothel?

    Tony: Sounds like. Though it doesn't explain why they're kidnapping scholars...

    The party is excited to have a solid lead, and Drengr is itching to check out a fight club. The party heads across town to the Freight Quarter to investigate the Rings Kings...


    *I will post a bunch of the guild emblems at some point.

    **Tony’s player gave me a whole bunch of in-character diary entries for his backstory, and is intended to keep writing in it as the campaign goes on. It’s awesome! Especially since I wasn’t expecting it. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some of it once it gets some more entries.

    ***A guild that caters to spellcasters of all kinds, and polices evil mages.
    Last edited by Axinian; 2014-02-12 at 08:20 PM.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    The plot thickens...

    Also, perhaps they're kidnapping scholars to slake intellectual lusts?
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    I'm guessing they're trying to exploit summoning/calling spells. I'm sure the Scarlet Room wouldn't mind some leashed succubi, and the Ring Kings would love to bring otherworldy creatures into their duels.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    So we didn’t have a session this weekend on account of a convention, but it did give me time to catch up on this.

    SESSION 2, Part 2: There are No Backsies in the Arena!
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    Finding the Ring Kings isn’t hard. The guild is headquartered in a run-down house in the Freight Quarter (kind of the warehouse/slum area) with a line of sailors and other burly types out the door. The bouncer out at the door poses a question to the party:

    Bouncer: Ya here to fight or watch?

    There’s a bit of a debate here. Drengr is kind of itching for a fight, and others are unsure if participating in a tournament is a good way to get information. They are all pretty sure that Drengr gives them the best chance I inform them that we’ll be using the Performance Combat rules from Ultimate Combat, and that actually makes it a good possibility for everyone, since they all have pretty good Charisma. Tony, Zara, and Drengr all enter that night’s tournament, while Ausk intends to try to get info from the crowd possibly make some money from the betting.

    The fighters are lead inside and informed by a halfling with an eyepatch that it’s nonlethal combat decided by KO (though the halfling seems annoyed that it’s not mortal combat), and that they’ll be provided with weapons that can deal nonlethal damage with no penalty. It’s a four round tournament, and the winner gets a title shot at the champion. The higher you place, the more gold you get. They’re then lead to the basement of the house, a room packed to the brim with rowdy sailors and other fightin’ folk. Ausk inquires as to the location of the guild manager, and is told that he’s in back with the champion, and probably won’t come out until he does. Zara gets the first match, the very pretty aasimar girl standing out quite a bit amidst the decidedly less pretty observers. She is confronted with an oread warrior, and Drengr takes it upon himself to provide... encouragement.

    Drengr: COWER BEFORE YOUR PRETTY, SPARKLING DEATH!

    Zara starts her battledance to get some bonuses, and is easily able to get the crowd on her side with a variety of flashy moves. The oread whiffs his first attack, and Zara is able to take him down with little difficulty, the crowd cheering her on.

    Tony is up next.

    Drengr: BEHOLD, THE DEADLY FLASHING BLADE OF THE WARRIOR ACCOUNTANT!

    I unfortunately can’t recall who Tony fought, but the accountant quite quickly got the crowd in an uproar (helpful attitude) and took down his first round opponent with little difficulty. Drengr surprisingly runs into a spot of trouble in his first round, not really getting the crowd on his side, and getting an unfortunate natural 1...
    Drengr: *fumbles* "I need not wield my weapons competently to defeat thee!"

    Apparently true, as he still comes out of the round largely unscathed. The group is not so much cheered by their victories as they are by the money. They are not allowed to bet on or against themselves, obviously, but they are allowed to bet on their companions, and the farther they go in the tournament the more moolah they make.

    Zara is unfortunately taken out of the tournament by an ifrit barbarian in round 2, much to the crowd’s disappointment. It was kind of a lucky shot on her opponent’s part, as I believe Zara now has the best AC in the party thanks to the mithral shirt. Tony ends up going against the halfling with a eyepatch, who turns out to be an alchemist. The halfling buffs himself up a bit, but takes a nasty hit early on, and doesn’t get to bring as much pain as he was hoping. Drengr wins his round also, trading banter with another orcish barbarian, and managing to get the crowd a bit more excited this time.

    Round three pits Drengr against Tony!

    FIGHT!!!

    Drengr hits harder and has more HP, but his AC is crap and has to switch to sword and board in order to not get thwacked out of the tournament. After the equipment change, it is a tense battle. Drengr gets in some solid knocks, but Tony parries blows like mad and they are both in low single digits before Drengr deals the deciding blow. The crowd is going wild as they were both the crowd favorites that night. There is no hard feelings between the two and Drengr gets to advance into the final round. A notable exchange:

    Tony (OOC): Oh wait, can I take that back?

    Drengr: THERE ARE NO BACKSIES IN THE ARENA!!

    Drengr fights a human monk who launches volleys of attacks at once. Drengr is forced to use his shield once again, but the monk still gets a stunning fist through! Drengr is stunned for a round, and the monk lays into him... or tries to, completely failing to hit the dazed and confused half-orc even with multiple attacks. Drengr recovers proceeds to wreck the guy, the bonuses from the crowd allowing him to hit his otherwise stellar AC. And with that, Drengr gets to make an attempt on the champion...

    The guild manager comes out first, an old, balding gnome with a ring of spikey white hair and a cane. And then the champion emerges. He’s buff, but not in the same way as the sailors, more in a handsome sort of way, and his muscles bulge against the unusual attire of a Catonian naval officer’s uniform. Most of the PCs are a little confused... but Tony immediately recognizes him as his rival Arnaud Giovanni Savelli.

    Arnaud: *sees Tony* Hey, look who’s still second best!

    Tony:

    Tony fumes a bit that he isn’t the one to get to fight him, but Drengr is only more willing to beat the crap out of him now that he knows Tony has a beef with him. Ausk throws in his support as well... in a suitably witch-doctory way.

    Ausk: Take his teeth!

    BGM

    The crowd takes up the chant (“Take his teeth, take his teeth, take his teeth!”) as the two warriors lay into each other. Drengr takes a two-handed earthbreaker swing at Arnaud for a good damage roll, but the Catonian swings back with a massive wooden club for even more! The battle is quick and bloody, as the two brutes hammer away at each other swinging for the fences. Drengr actually dips into negatives, but uses his Divine Resilience (homebrew) trait to remain conscious for 1 turn... which is all he needs to deliver the finishing blow his opponent. The crowd goes nuts cheering their new local champion!

    The PCs are given their placement money and they now have several hundred gold pieces extra from extensive betting. Drengr is invited into a back office with the gnome, who they learn is named Heigan, and the party goes with.

    Heigan: So are you sticking around? Or am I gonna have to find myself another champion?

    The gnome seems a bit preoccupied with how to market Drengr, and also ignorant of any of the recent real estate deals with the Scarlet Room.

    Tony: If you aren’t making these deals, who else would have the means to make them instead?

    Heigan: Only... Arnaud. Damn it!

    The party and Heigan rush out of the office to find the former champion, but are informed that he rushed out soon after being beaten...

    And that’s where we left it.


    THOUGHTS
    1) Again, the players surprise me with how well they stay in character and the with their inter-PC dynamics, despite being apart for a good half of this session. It’s hard to convey through text on the internet (especially since I can’t remember everything that is said) but the players are making this more entertaining than I could ever make it.

    2) Hey man, Tony’s player is the one who made him an accountant, not me!

    3) The players seem eager to catch on to a “main plot thread” as Ausk’s player put it. They’re pretty close now.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    As Drengr's player, I think I was in weapon & shield mode for the last fight. Although I didn't successfully block any of his blows, so the two-hander would have done a better job.

    When I defeated Arnaud, a tooth flew into the crowd to be caught by Ausk. Ausk gave it me, and I pocketed it.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    The session did, in fact, happen last Sunday! A lot needs to be written up so here's the first part.

    SESSION 3, Part 1: In Through the Out Door
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    The party learns Arnaud’s address from Heigan and rushes out into the night to intercept the former champion. They are able to navigate to his place in the upper West Side without much difficulty (and managing to avoid random encounters) and appear to have arrived before Arnaud has. There is only a brief debate as to whether to break into the house or not, but Tony is the only one who voices serious objection (being the only non-chaotic member). This action is right up Zara’s alley, though, and she surprises the party with her ability to pick locks. Some successful stealth and disable device checks later, the party is in the house of Tony’s rival.

    Some snooping around in the dark reveals some certificates of payment addressed to Arnaud from some names that are obviously alias. Not content with possibly damning evidence, the party also loots some of Arnaud’s cash :/ Kiiiinnnd of stretching the definition of Chaotic Good here but whatever. The party also comes across an antique vase... REALLY antique, given that it is from the Ormir Empire (your standard ancient world-spanning civilization that disappeared a thousand years ago). Now, owning artifacts from such a time is not too uncommon, but it requires a goodly amount of money and it stands out in Arnaud’s decidedly middle-class house. It depects the three neutral gods in various forms, and Zara (knowing Ormiran) reads text espousing praises to those gods. This is not surprising, given that the empire favored the neutral gods.

    Drengr: *grunt* The text on this urn interferes with the rest of the piece.

    Apparently Drengr’s an art critic now

    The party bolts from the house, however, when they hear Arnaud coming through the front door. They blow some Stealth checks, so Arnaud knows for certain that there was someone in his place, but the party gets away fast enough that he doesn’t actually see them. The party decides to call it a night at this point.

    They awaken the next day to find a small blue envelope with black lace beneath each of their windows... Tony actually heard it being delivered during the night but did not see who did it. The letter inside each is identical and was as follows:

    Greetings fellows!
    I am aware that you all are already in the employ of other esteemed guilds, but I believe I can give you information that can aid you in your efforts. This is provided, of course, that you can perform a service for me! Please meet me in the tavern of the young aasimar’s employment at eleven PM this evening and I shall explain in detail.

    -An Interested Observer


    Zara is approached by Kortis soon after:

    Kortis: Zara, who they hell do you know that would just up and rent out the whole bar for the night to meet with you?!

    Zara: I have no idea...

    Kortis: Well whoever it is... good job!
    He says with greed in his eyes. The players debate whether there are dollar signs there or just straight up gold coins :P

    The party gathers to confer about the letter.

    Drengr: Wait, who’s the aasimar?

    Zara: Me!

    Drengr: I didn't realize you were an aasimar, I just thought you were a really beautiful human!

    Tony: No, I'm*a really beautiful human!"

    Drengr: I can't tell all you humans apart! …From non-humans...

    The party agrees to meet with whoever the “interested observer” is come evening, but until then they decide to kill some time. Zara helps out around the now-repaired bar, meeting up with Raia, a halfling barmaid who she’s friends with (and was in her backstory). Tony does some shopping (he’s been saving his gold) and gets a mithral chain shirt of his own! Drengr and Ausk go to the Temple of Thor just so see what it’s about. It’s a converted cathedral, but the Thor decorations are chaotic and colorful, which contrasts with the rigid stonework of the building. Drengr starts ranting on and on about the temple’s history and Ausk decides he needs to get out of there, so he distracts Drengr with a pretty woman and runs off. Ausk spends the rest of his day looking for members of other guilds to help inform his decision to join one. He ends up talking to Norman the diviner in a bar and decides to submit an application to join the Seekers. Ausk also finds a cleric from the Mystic Gate guild, but approaches him at night and the cleric doesn’t take well to a an orc scarred witch doctor randomly approaching him in the dark just “wanting to talk” and he quickly extradites himself rom the conversation.

    Drengr’s day ends up being... busy. Having been shot down by Ausk’s distraction, he decides to casually wander the city looking for the witch doctor... without really picking a direction. He just sort of wanders around the Guild Quarter for a while looking for people that ping on his Detect Evil (which manifests as a raven only he can see alighting on the perp’s shoulder). Most people in the town aren’t strong enough to detect, but he does encounter one. He’s a big human with a regal bearing and bright armor. He basically looks like the stereotypical knight in shining armor, but he bears the emblem of the Shining Axes mercenary guild. Drengr decides to intentionally run into the guy.

    Knight: *grunt* watch where you’re going green-skin!

    Drengr: I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you right. Where I come from, we call people “green-skin” to their face.

    Knight: Oh is this really happening right now? Please tell me this is happening right now!

    Drengr: Yeah, it is *punches Knight in the face*

    A fist-fight breaks out between the two, right in the middle of the street. Some people run, many stay to watch (“fight, fight, fight!”). They exchange blows, the various penalties from unarmed striking making the fight at least appear even... even though the knight is able to throw two punches per round to Drengr’s one.

    It doesn’t last long though as a patrol of Monarch Wings guards come along to break them up. The knight is escorted away to be reprimanded elsewhere, and the two combatants glare at each other as he goes. Drengr is taken to a cell not far away. It’s not a dungeon or anything –– picture a sheriff’s office from a western movie... yeah that’s what he’s in. The Free Tusks are alerted, but Grovak their paladin leader decides that it would probably do Drengr some good to spend a night there. Drengr also asks a note be sent to Ausk asking HIM to pay his bail... but Ausk decides he’s too busy with other stuff :P Keep in mind, Drengr’s in there for just 1 night. This was just a minor offense and the city is certainly not that lawful so he get’s out tomorrow morning, with no fine even.

    Drengr still decides to attempt escape. His first idea? Seduce the guard. *sigh* he does not succeed. Unfortunately the male guard doesn’t swing that way, but Drengr’s bluff roll probably would not have succeeded if he did. Next he tries to bust the bars... with the guard’s office not 10 feet away.

    Guard: What the hell do you think you’re doing.

    Drengr: Um.. *grunt* just making sure they’re sturdy.

    He then tries to appeal the guard’s sense of JUSTICE and HONOR and GOOD, but these noble speeches fall a little flat when they’re about an overnight stint in jail because of a fist fight...

    With the traditional forms of escape unsuccessful, Drengr decides to go with pure annoyance. He shouts and hollers and sings and makes as much of a ruckus as is orcishly possible. He rolls high on this check! The guard has just about had enough and, knowing Drengr to be a capable fighter, goes and grabs some friends to subdue the half-orc with saps in order to get a gag on him. Naturally, Drengr tries to make a break for it as soon as they open the cell. He’s taking nonlethal damage left and right, being unarmored, but he actually manages to disarm one of the saps and starts smacking his way out, flying into a rage and knocking out 2 guards with nonlethal damage before making it out the door... only for his Divine Resilience trait to run out, sending him unconscious in the street...

    Later, Ausk hears something from Grovak’s office after a note is delivered.

    Grovak: OH MY GODS!

    Ausk: Drengr?

    Grovak: Drengr. I’m going over there.

    Ausk: If you don’t mind... I want to come too.

    Ausk and Grovak arrive at the jail cell containing Drengr, with several rather frightened guards surrounding it. They are allowed entry though, and they both have a nice chat with the half-orc.

    Drengr: I’m sorry, Grovak, I thought you left me in here as a test! To escape!

    Grovak: NO! Why would you think I would do that? Did it not occur to you that I left you in here as a test to stay in?

    Ausk: Remember who you’re talking to here, Grovak.

    The three have a nice little chat, mostly about the appropriate time for zeal and aggression. After everyone has calmed down a little, Grovak agrees to convince the Monarch Wings to still let Drengr out the next morning, with a hefty fine of course. This could have turned out badly, as attacking city guards is pretty bad, even in a chaotic city. But Drengr’s player gives some good RP and starts what could be a character arc for him.

    Ausk brings the news to the rest of the party, and Tony makes a note to have a discussion with Drengr on the morrow, since he can’t just keep starting fights in the streets and expect everyone to keep hanging out with him. For now, though, there is an appointment to take care of...
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    SESSION 3, Part 2: Ze Scorpions, Ja?
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    The party arrives in the bar at 11 PM to find it darkened, but the fireplace is lit. In front of the fire is a fancy leather chair that Kortis saves for special occasions, accompanied with more chairs and a small table. In the chair is man with sharp features, slicked back black hair, and pale skin. On his blue jacket is emblazoned the symbol of the Steel Claw weapons manufacturing guild (one of the 8 even). This is Jaeger (pronounced yay-ger), It is well known that he is a Barovian vampire, and this draws a lot of criticism, but he is supposedly on the level and the Don allows his presence. He beckons the party to sit.

    [Warning: German accent being badly translated into text below.]

    Jaeger: Ah! It eez good to finally meet you. But...

    Tony: Our companion is indisposed currently.

    Jaeger: I see. Vell zis should be sufficient. Az you know, I perhaps have a lead zat could help you in your investigation! Zer iz a man who calls himself ze Scorpion –– an unpleasant name I know, tacky too.

    Ausk: Cliiiiiiicheeeeeeee

    Jaeger: Quite! Anyvway... until recently zis man was in my employ, but now he has absconded vith several loads of veapons to sell on ze black market. I have reason to believe zat he has also entered ze slave trade, und iz likely had a hand in ze recent kidnappings.

    Tony: And you want us to go and stop him? We accept!

    Jaeger: Vunderbar! I vas not expecting such a quick response! I believe he is currently hiding out in a docked ship called ze Eel’s Tongue –– again with ze unpleasant names... I vould go myself, but whenever I or ze Monarch Wings send people to apprehend him, he has already packed up und left. But if someone not clearly affiliated vere to approach, he might stay und fight!

    The party remains terse throughout the conversation, some of them are clearly uneasy about Jaeger’s vampiric nature. In retrospect it may have been best that Drengr wasn’t there Not helping is the sound of bats in the night soon after he leaves. The party relays all the relevant information to Drengr the next day, and they then discuss Drengr’s future with the party. Drengr apologizes, and things seem OK again.

    The party heads down to the docks in the evening after work to investigate the Eel’s tongue. There are two tieflings on watch on the deck of the ship, and the party tries to approach stealthily from the alleyways across from the gangplank. Tony and Drengr fail spectacularly, but quickly roll good Bluff checks to appear as simple passers by. Drengr impersonating a bard for the second time in the session He approaches the ship, singing and hollering, and one of the tieflings tries to shoo him off. Meanwhile, Zara manages to get a Charm Person off on the other, and starts up a Fascinate spelldance as Drengr is driven off to enthrall the other one! She dances onto the ship, luring the enraptured tiefling guards to the other side of the single mast. With their attention diverted, the rest of the party sneaks on an assails them! Being flat-footed and unawares, they don’t last long. They do survive a round and one of them, in lieu of calling for guards, stomps on the deck, clearly signaling someone below.

    With the guards mopped up, the party prepares themselves for reinforcements from below decks... but none comes. They here the pattering of many feet briefly, but then silence. They advance below decks slowly, throwing up Dancing Lights as it’s pitch black down there. Naturally, it’s an ambush, but they avoid a surprise round and initiative is rolled. They are confronted by three “mites”, bluish goblin things that have an affinity for vermin and very annoying DR 2/cold iron. One of them is mounted on a giant scorpion and is able to give the others buffs. The scorpion gets taken out first, but not before inflicting some Str damage on Tony. Fortunately, he’s dex-based, but carrying capacity starts being a concern. The fight otherwise goes well for the party, Drengr taking the biggest beating as he starts getting flanked, but the mites don’t do that much damage so the rest of the party is relatively unscathed. Also, Zara’s spelldance boosts their damage which helps against the DR.

    They search the ship, finding some gold and a couple potions, but the most interesting thing is the fact that part of the side of the ship can clearly be opened to form a ramp. The ship is pulled up next to land, parallel to the raised stone street. When the ramp is opened, it reveals a tunnel carved into the stone, leading under the streets and probably into the sewers.

    The party advances across the ramp into oddly placed tunnel and through a set of stone double doors. Beyond is a room covered in yellowy, stringy pus, much to the party’s revulsion. Guarding the door on the other side of the room is an Ettercap, a humanoid aberration with scything claws. Normally they have an affiliation with spiders, but the two pale white scorpions emerging from the shadows say this one is slightly different. Tony and Drengr charge in, aiming to take out the ettercap, but poison from all three enemies is taking its toll. Zara unfortunately needs to conserve her spelldance, and Ausk his spells, so the fight is mostly a slugfest, with ability damage making it difficult to finish off the scorpions. But the party pulls through, pancaking the scorpion themed baddies into the ground.

    They chug some potions and advance into the next room, which appears to be a cargo room. Crates full of weapons are here, and there are plenty of ledgers denoting sales to recipients with obviously false names. The party finds some more potions and some gold, and then advances into the room beyond.

    This room is long and narrow, with jail cells on either side, each containing several unconscious and bound prisoners. There are two more mites guarding the cells and at the far end the room is a small table. In front of it stands a man in black leather (the Scorpion), with cestuses on his hands. Behind him sits a young man, no older than the party (they’re mostly 19 or in their early 20s) dressed in lavish red clothes bursting with silk and crimson lace.

    Scorpion: I told you I heard something.
    Posh Man: Well take care of it!

    Then the posh man Dimension Doors out. The party is worried that there is a potentially high level caster, but he appears to have fled and there are more pressing concerns to deal with. Initiative happens, and the Scorpion turns invisible! Fortunately, Zara has this covered with her Glitterdust 1/day spell like ability! She covers the back of the room in sparkles, taking the mites out of the fight for a round, but failing to reveal The Scorpion. Turns out he’s using his Slippers of Spiderclimbing to go up the walls and around the party!

    [Note: I actually flubbed here, I actually thought he was in range of the Glitterdust and I revealed where he was... but turns out he wasn’t so he got to continue being invisible]

    The Scorpion reappears behind Drengr, nailing him with nasty sneak attack damage and delivering a powerful Strength damage poison with his fist. Drengr succumbs, and suddenly the melee juggernaut isn’t hitting as hard. Tony and Zara put some damage on the enemy, but then he goes invisible again, only to reappear behind Tony and strike out at both him and Zara, dishing out more Strength damage. Fortunately, this leaves an opening for Ausk to run in and nail The Scorpion with a Frostbite spell, inflicting the fatigued condition and dealing some damage. Tony manages to take the Scorpion down to 0 HP exactly. The ninja (Tony’s player easily identifies him as such, since he likes to play ninjas) tries to flee invisibly past the cargo room... but Ausk just shuts the doors leading out With that, The Scorpion removes his weapons and surrenders. One of the mites gets taken out, but one tries to flee through a secret passage into the sewers. Drengr manages to catch him though and drags him back kicking and screaming.

    Ausk (to Scorpion): You do realize what’s going to happen to you once we return you to Jaeger, right? *intimidate*

    Scorpion: Better than you do. *not so much*

    Ausk: Guys... he doesn’t seem to worried about his punishment.

    Tony: Well he’ll probably just get turned over to the Monarch Wings and put in prison. But there is definitely something deeper going on here...

    __

    And that’s where we left it. And they level up to Level 3!


    THOUGHTS
    1) And the first arrest of the campaign! Surprised it took this long honestly

    2) There was potential for inter-party conflict here... but it seems to have resolved itself.

    3) I think I’ll post stat blocks for the party soon, just so everyone knows what’s going on in combat.

    4) I only just now notice how many [smalltongue] emotes are in this post. Here's another

    MORE THOUGHTS (players out!)
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    1) During character creation, pretty much everyone gave themselves a personal rival or enemy. I intend to include all of them. Some are known to the players, others not so much. Arnaud is Tony’s and has already been introduced. The “knight” is Drengr’s, and he is a cavalier that Drengr will later have mounted duels with (Drengr intends to become mounted combat focused at higher levels). This is actually a lot earlier than I was planning to introduce him, but I had a good opportunity here. He’s also very racist and that’s the primary reason for their antagonism.
    Ausk’s and Zara’s won’t show up for a while.

    2) Yeah yeah I stole Jaeger. Shut up (though I doubt many people get the reference)
    Last edited by Axinian; 2014-02-27 at 04:24 PM.
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Huzzah, another installment!

    You may officially tell Tony's player that the warrior accountant has become my new hero.

    Quote Originally Posted by Axinian View Post
    3) I think I’ll post stat blocks for the party soon, just so everyone knows what’s going on in combat.
    Ooh, aaaaah...
    4) I only just now notice how many [smalltongue] emotes are in this post. Here's another
    It's alright, you were justified in doing so.
    If I had a +1 Pan of Frying I could totally do that!

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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Did they kill that last mite, or is he still in their pack somewhere?
    Can't write. Can't plan. Can draw a little.
    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    "In his free time, he gates in Balors just so he can kill and eat them later!"

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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by Doorhandle View Post
    Did they kill that last mite, or is he still in their pack somewhere?
    He's alive. What happens to it remains to be seen.
    Last edited by Axinian; 2014-02-28 at 06:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Alright the session was relatively short on account of life getting in the way of my prep time :/
    However, the group has acquired a valuable resource for figuring out what the Heck is Going On. I’ll be posting the log soon (probably tomorrow afternoon).

    Also, I said I’d give stat blocks for the characters, so here’s that.
    Spoiler
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    Tony
    NG Human Swashbuckler 3 (Advanced Class Guide)
    HP: 24, AC 21
    STR 8, DEX 18, CON 12, INT 14, WIS 10, CHA 13
    Feats: Weapon Finesse (bonus), Finesse Fighter (human), Combat Reflexes, Dodge/Mobiltiy (recall that mobility and dodge are 1 feat in my games)
    Traits: Force of Personality, Reactionary

    Zara
    CN Muse-Touched Aasimar Spelldancer 3
    HP: 24, AC 18
    STR 8, DEX 16, CON 14, INT 14, WIS 12, CHA 18
    Feats: Weapon Finesse (bonus), Eschew Materials (bonus), Dodge/Mobility, Finesse Fighter
    Traits: Force of Personality, Spellpiercer
    Spells: 1ST: Charm Person, Cure Light Wounds, Shocking Grasp, Shield

    Korddrengr
    CG Half-Orc Zealot 3
    Using the Reckless Rider barbarian archetype
    Raging stats:
    HP 35, AC 17
    STR 20, DEX 12, CON 20, INT 10, WIS 7, CHA 15
    Feats: Power Attack, Raging Vitality
    Traits: Force of Personality, Hot of Blood, Blessed Resilience
    Drawback: Headstrong

    Ausk
    CG Orc Witch 3 (Cha-based Scarred Witch Doctor)
    Using half-orc stats but is flavorfully a full-blood orc
    HP 19, AC 13
    STR 10, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 14, WIS 10, CHA 18
    Feats: Skill Focus (knowledge nature), Endurance (bonus), Eldritch Heritage (sylvan bloodline)
    I know that Paizo said you can’t take wildblooded bloodlines with Eldritch Heritage, but screw that! He’s thinking about getting a wolf as his animal companion and taking Boon Companion to negate the penalty from eldritch heritage.
    Traits: Dim Seer, Tribesman, Force of Personality
    Drawback: Mark of Slavery
    Spells: 1ST: Beguiling Gift, Burning Hands, Command, Cure Light Wounds, Ear Piercing, Scream, Enlarge Person, Frostbite, Infernal Healing, Mage Armor, Obscuring Mist
    2ND: Blindness/Deafness, Vomit Swarm, Silent Image
    Last edited by Axinian; 2014-03-04 at 09:12 PM.
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by Axinian View Post
    Also, I said I’d give stat blocks for the characters, so here’s that.
    Spoiler
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    Tony
    NG Human Swashbuckler 3 (Advanced Class Guide)
    HP: 24, AC 21
    STR 8, DEX 18, CON 12, INT 14, WIS 10, CHA 13
    Feats: Weapon Finesse (bonus), Finesse Fighter (human), Combat Reflexes, Dodge/Mobiltiy (recall that mobility and dodge are 1 feat in my games)
    Traits: Force of Personality, Reactionary

    Zara
    CN Muse-Touched Aasimar Spelldancer 3
    HP: 24, AC 18
    STR 8, DEX 16, CON 14, INT 14, WIS 12, CHA 18
    Feats: Weapon Finesse (bonus), Eschew Materials (bonus), Dodge/Mobility, Finesse Fighter
    Traits: Force of Personality, Spellpiercer
    Spells: 1ST: Charm Person, Cure Light Wounds, Shocking Grasp, Shield

    Korddrengr
    CG Half-Orc Zealot 3
    Using the Reckless Rider barbarian archetype
    Raging stats:
    HP 35, AC 17
    STR 20, DEX 12, CON 20, INT 10, WIS 7, CHA 15
    Feats: Power Attack, Raging Vitality
    Traits: Force of Personality, Hot of Blood, Blessed Resilience
    Drawback: Headstrong

    Ausk
    CG Orc Witch 3 (Cha-based Scarred Witch Doctor)
    Using half-orc stats but is flavorfully a full-blood orc
    HP 19, AC 13
    STR 10, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 14, WIS 10, CHA 18
    Feats: Skill Focus (knowledge nature), Endurance (bonus), Eldritch Heritage (sylvan bloodline)
    I know that Paizo said you can’t take wildblooded bloodlines with Eldritch Heritage, but screw that! He’s thinking about getting a wolf as his animal companion and taking Boon Companion to negate the penalty from eldritch heritage.
    Traits: Dim Seer, Tribesman, Force of Personality
    Drawback: Mark of Slavery
    Spells: 1ST: Beguiling Gift, Burning Hands, Command, Cure Light Wounds, Ear Piercing, Scream, Enlarge Person, Frostbite, Infernal Healing, Mage Armor, Obscuring Mist
    2ND: Blindness/Deafness, Vomit Swarm, Silent Image
    The Force (of Personality) is strong with this bunch...
    Why yes, Warlock is my solution for everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by obryn View Post
    Active Abilities are great because you - the player - are demonstrating your Dwarvenness or Elfishness. You're not passively a dwarf, you're actively dwarfing your way through obstacles.

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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by Axinian View Post
    Alright the session was relatively short on account of life getting in the way of my prep time :/
    However, the group has acquired a valuable resource for figuring out what the Heck is Going On. I’ll be posting the log soon (probably tomorrow afternoon).

    Also, I said I’d give stat blocks for the characters, so here’s that.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Tony
    NG Human Swashbuckler 3 (Advanced Class Guide)
    HP: 24, AC 21
    STR 8, DEX 18, CON 12, INT 14, WIS 10, CHA 13
    Feats: Weapon Finesse (bonus), Finesse Fighter (human), Combat Reflexes, Dodge/Mobiltiy (recall that mobility and dodge are 1 feat in my games)
    Traits: Force of Personality, Reactionary

    Zara
    CN Muse-Touched Aasimar Spelldancer 3
    HP: 24, AC 18
    STR 8, DEX 16, CON 14, INT 14, WIS 12, CHA 18
    Feats: Weapon Finesse (bonus), Eschew Materials (bonus), Dodge/Mobility, Finesse Fighter
    Traits: Force of Personality, Spellpiercer
    Spells: 1ST: Charm Person, Cure Light Wounds, Shocking Grasp, Shield

    Korddrengr
    CG Half-Orc Zealot 3
    Using the Reckless Rider barbarian archetype
    Raging stats:
    HP 35, AC 17
    STR 20, DEX 12, CON 20, INT 10, WIS 7, CHA 15
    Feats: Power Attack, Raging Vitality
    Traits: Force of Personality, Hot of Blood, Blessed Resilience
    Drawback: Headstrong

    Ausk
    CG Orc Witch 3 (Cha-based Scarred Witch Doctor)
    Using half-orc stats but is flavorfully a full-blood orc
    HP 19, AC 13
    STR 10, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 14, WIS 10, CHA 18
    Feats: Skill Focus (knowledge nature), Endurance (bonus), Eldritch Heritage (sylvan bloodline)
    I know that Paizo said you can’t take wildblooded bloodlines with Eldritch Heritage, but screw that! He’s thinking about getting a wolf as his animal companion and taking Boon Companion to negate the penalty from eldritch heritage.
    Traits: Dim Seer, Tribesman, Force of Personality
    Drawback: Mark of Slavery
    Spells: 1ST: Beguiling Gift, Burning Hands, Command, Cure Light Wounds, Ear Piercing, Scream, Enlarge Person, Frostbite, Infernal Healing, Mage Armor, Obscuring Mist
    2ND: Blindness/Deafness, Vomit Swarm, Silent Image
    Vomit swarm? Good man.
    Can't write. Can't plan. Can draw a little.
    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    "In his free time, he gates in Balors just so he can kill and eat them later!"

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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    I’M NOT DEAD YET!
    I don’t know why I set deadlines for myself on this... its basically a sure-fire way for me NOT to get it done :P

    So we had a session 2 weeks ago (which is this entry). Then we had a week off, and then we had another session on Sunday, which I’ll type up soon.

    SESSION 4: The Demon Wears Prada
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    We pick right where we left off: interrogating The Scorpion.

    Drengr (to the Scorpion): "Did you know there are plenty of other ways to make money that are good? You could, y'know, start a bakery, or do adventuring that involves defeating people that are not good."

    Tony: "Yeah, I mean, we got paid to fight you."

    Scorpion: "Fair enough, but you're not getting paid as much as I am"

    Tony: "How much are you getting paid?"

    Scorpion: “Oh there’s the money, but there’s also the resources and standing... also I get to keep living.”

    The Scorpion is frustratingly unforthcoming with specifics. He readily admits to anything the party has already discovered, even his direct involvement in the slave trade, but it takes some vigorous shaking and yelling from Korddrengr to intimidate the guy into dropping the charade. He had told the party that he was just taking people he thought were valuable, but pressing the issue gets him to reveal that he has been taking specific people. He even freaks out a bit and spills the beans that the Scarlet Room brothel guild is responsible for setting this up! They kind of already knew that to a degree but confirmation is nice.

    They take the captured folk (and the mite) to the authorities and the Scorpion to Jaeger, who manifests behind them suddenly from gaseous form to receive the rogue agent.

    Tony: “GAH! Please don’t do that again!”

    The Scorpion is taken off to be interrogated, and the party decides to get some sleep. The next day sees some follow-up. Grovak of the Free Tusks arrives and fills the party in on what’s been found out, mostly that all the prisoners Scorpion had were all Seekers working on the same excavation –– the one that Zara had followed up on earlier. He and the party are more worried about the involvement of the Scarlet Room and decide to stake out the place in order to get more information.

    The Scarlet Room turns out to be fairly high-class (as far as this sort of thing is concerned) place in the lower West Side, with several alleys and apartment type buildings around it. The usual crowd hasn’t started arriving yet, so they have some time to set up a stake out.

    Queue Ocean’s 11 planning montage!

    Ausk disguises himself as a beggar in an alley across the street. Tony inquires as to whether there are apartments for rent across the same street... and a d% says there are! He approaches the undine landlord flashing money around and he is the proud occupant of a new apartment within the hour, with a view of the brothel. Zara and Drengr set themselves up in the alleys around the place:

    Drengr: “Alright Zara, if anyone comes through this alley, we pretend to be star-crossed lovers.”

    Zara: “Sounds good!”

    Drengr: “We should come up with personas.”

    Zara: “I don't know if that's necessary...”

    Drengr: “Better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them. Mine will be a half-orc––”

    Zara: “Good, because you're going to run into some problems otherwise.”

    Drengr: “––like me, but raised among humans in the city slums. He learned to fight and survive, but he never learned to love.”

    Ausk: “That's just you!”

    Drengr: “No it's not, I'm from an orc tribe!”

    The party observes the comings and going of the customers, and nothing seems unusual... until Arnaud walks into the place (easily recognized, despite apparently attempting a disguise), much to Tony’s chagrin. In light of this, the party reconvenes and comes up with a plan:

    1) There is a fence behind the building surrounding a small garden. Zara and Tony, being stealthy, will try to sneak their way in this back way.

    2) Meanwhile, Drengr and Ausk will go in the front in an attempt to get an official audience with the guild leader and hopefully draw attention away from the infiltrating party. Drengr is an official Free Tusk after all.

    The plan seems to go well, Zara and Tony sneak into the building easily, but Tony blows a stealth check passing through a kitchen (Zara: is this a brothel or a restaurant?), but remains unseen due to the noise and bustle of the place :P They make their way into an empty room before we cut over to the others.

    The orcs are greeted by a half-elf woman behind a counter who seems somewhat confused as to why the Free Tusks would want to speak to the owner, but she fetches him in short order. The owner walks down the stairs... and it’s the Posh Man they saw talking with the Scorpion! He doesn’t betray recognition of the party and extends his hand to shake... he introduces himself as Sir Sagat. Drengr clasps hands with the man, but takes note of the phantom raven on the shoulder that is his representation of detect evil. Ausk has a premonition...

    Ausk: “Drengr don’t do it––”

    Drengr: GRAPPLE CHECK!

    Everyone: DAMN IT!

    Things go south pretty fast. Drengr fails his grapple check, and Ausk launches a spell at Sagat, only for it to fizzle off Spell Resistance. Zara and Tony burst into the front room to assist, but the half-elf woman changes shape into a form with red skin and black horns. Turns out she’s a Cambion, a low-level demon that specializes in taking humanoid forms to infiltrate the material plane. Not only that, but another cambion bursts from a side room to join the fray. Sagat calls out:

    Sagat: “I knew it was you!” *turns to the stairs* “Arnaud! Looks like I’ll need you after all!”

    And with that Sagat dimension doors out again. Arnaud appears from upstairs.

    Arnaud: “Tony! Still having your friends fight for you I see!”

    Tony: “I don’t need to dirty my hands with fighting you myself >:)”

    Ausk: “Take his teeth! Take his teeth!”

    Ausk’s intimidate check is successful, reducing the rival’s effectiveness for a time. The cambions deal good damage, and they have a ridiculous crit range, but the party actually has a surprisingly easy time dispatching them back to Niflheim, and Arnaud doesn’t last long against 4 PCs without backup. With him knocked out and tied up, the party sets about investigating the place. People had been running and screaming around them during the battle and the Monarch Wings are no doubt on their way. Many of the patrons and “workers” escaped the 2nd floor by using bed sheets as rope, and the party encounters no further resistance on the main floors, only scared and half-naked patrons. They find Sagat’s office, and the secret trap door in the ceiling that leads to an attic. They find an abandoned spellbook that likely belonged to a kidnapped Seeker who was brought here, but there are no hostages currently.

    Zara opens a door to a side room in the attic... and is immediately set upon by 2 Dretches! She shrugs of the blows of the slimy, degenerate demons and the melee people tear into them. A stinking cloud does happen, but then Tony and Drengr tear that dretch apart. The room the’ve stumbled upon appears to be a makeshift summoning room, with two inactive summoning circles. The party wasn’t expecting any degree of demonic involvement at this point and the previous fights have disturbed them a bit.

    Another room off the attic is a macabre library. Almost all the books are made out of humanoid skin and written in abyssal. Drengr is nearly sickened by the sight, unable to turn off his detect evil, but the rest investigate the room for clues they can actually read. They do find a very old journal, which chronicles some sort of noble’s foray into demon summoning in order to seek vengeance on a rival. The final entry alludes to a keep outside Daggerpoint that he intends to travel too...

    It’s still only been a few minutes since the hubbub in the entryway, and now the guards arrive. They are paranoid and hostile towards the PCs at first, but the party acquits themselves nicely by showing them all the demonic stuff they found to incriminate Sagat. The party and the guards take Arnaud to a holding cell and Grovak arrives. They all intend to figure what exactly the Catonian knows about all this...

    And that’s where we left it.


    THOUGHTS
    1) Yeah it was a somewhat short session, on account of me not being entirely ready to DM, but some important revelations were had.

    2) I think my journal is making the game seem more linear than it actually is. The PCs actually spend a fair amount of time deliberating which leads to follow up on.


    Look forward to another entry soon! Had the most recent session yesterday.
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    OKAY!

    Just bumping to let everyone know that THIS THREAD IS STILL NOT DEAD! I am, in fact, working on typing up the next entry, even though I am now officially 3 whole sessions behind. I got behind when the forum went down and haven't caught up yet.

    However, posting may be erratic as I am entering the home stretch of this semester and finals rear their ugly, academic heads. Once summer hits, things should be different.
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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Now that we're all gonna be around for the conceivable future, I've decided to run a campaign that will go from level 1 until however long the players want to keep playing it. I'm aiming for high teen levels but it could end sooner or later, depending on whatever. The key factor here is characters that the players will enjoy playing for a long time... fortunately it looks like we've got an entertaining set on our hands.

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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Really enjoying the read so far, keep it up!
    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

    Where did you start yours?
    On a raging battlefield, right as the commander of the good guys was slain and the army began to rout.

    Thanks to PersonalSavior for the awesome SM avatar!

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    Default Re: Rising Star (PF Campaign Journal)

    Very enjoyable read so far. I'm fascinated by the glimpses of the characters that we read through your words.
    Last edited by JerichoPenumbra; 2014-05-07 at 11:20 AM.
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