So this past weekend the Runelords group assembled to *hopefully* successfully finish Book Four or the Rise of The Runelords AP. Did they come out victorious or did they fail valiantly? Read on to find out. But first a recap of the party.
The PlayersBruce - Marcellus (Human fighter 10 / damage sink / constantly hungry / Aerodus older brother)
Mike - Seoni (human wizard 1/ cleric of Calistria 9 / Marcellus' girlfriend / scary lady)
Jim - Aerodus (human sorcerer - destiny bloodline 10 / too willing to commit murder for his own profit)
Matt - Nicholai ( half-elf bard 10 / wanna-be playboy / skill whore / Wren's....boy toy)
Jess - Wren (human rogue 10 / pie thief of Sandpoint / linguistics master / Nicholai's lord & mistress)
Brian - Zatara ( half-elf barbarian 10 / damage monster / the party's conscious / afraid of Seoni)
Me - DM (rules-keeper-upper / storyteller / master of the circle game / just loves the spell Reverse Gravity)
Before the session began I was into my pre-game ritual of setting up my dice, getting out the minis I required and reviewing my encounters for the game ahead. All I could do was just stare at the sheet for Mokmurian (the leader of the stone giant army and transmuter level 14) and sigh to myself. For somehow I knew that things would go badly in some fashion this evening.
Now the party left off after defeating the stone golem guardian of the Runeforged Cauldron (an artifact that converts people into slaves to serve the Runelord and/or whomever was in control of the cauldron at the time also known as Mokmurian). They were a little bit battered and bruised but none the worse. Pushing on they entered into a chamber full of suits of armor. Specifically ogre and giant sized suits of armor. Naturally some of the armor were baddies waiting to spring on them as they passed through the room.
And they did spring on them. Four hill giant zombies in full plate and their leader too. The Headless Lord was in command of the zombies; a intelligent undead beastie that pumps up other undead attacks/resistances/etc while also being a bad ass too. Until Zatara got into melee with him and promptly eradicated The Lord in two swings.
More and more as this goes on I'm fully giving into the thought that the barbarian class in the PFRPG is irrovocably broken beyond recognition. Granted the first attack Zatara landed on The Lord was a critical hit (dealing around 80 points of damage....dropping The Lord to around 40 hit points left) its *still* horribly frustrating dealing with barbarians in Pathfinder. I'm still having a difficult time placing something in its (Zatara's) path that he doesn't outright destroy.
The rest of the group was focused on the four zombie hill giants and they at least lasted a few more rounds. Seoni, who channels negative energy, managed to take control of one to turn it on the fellow zombies but that was short lived as the others were slain quickly before the commanded zombie would be able to attack. And then Zatara dispatched that one too.
Coming through a long hallway our intrepid adventurers managed to locate multiple double doors, including a fancy looking brass door with lots of runes on it. Naturally that was the entrance to the Thassilonian library they oh so wanted to raid for info. Wren checked out the door and then attempted to pick the lock (unsuccessfully). Wren also forgot to speak the password at the door learned from the ancient scrolls that were on The Black Monk from a previous session. Oopsie.
So a Shining Child of Thassilon was summoned into existence (extra-planer nasty) to defend the library from intruders. I get the map set up. I get my minis ready. Heck there was even another monster that was following them around and they were unaware of it and it was going to join in the fight. So initiative begins and the party runs away like the bastard child of Brave Sir Robin and Forrest Gump. And then they hid away and waited until The Shining Child was recalled back to its place of origin. Also the 'other' creature stayed in hiding biding its time.
Eventually the worked their way back to the brass doors, spoke the pass phrase, and through a charge from a Wand of Knock opened their way to a land of lost knowledge. After introducing them to the clockwork librarian within and letting them take in the scope of all this lost and ancient texts I made sure to re-inforce that Mokmurian was likely close by and probably won't wait for you to get done dicking around in the stack.
So they healed up and plodded on into another chamber down the long corridor. Within these walls, which are smoothed so there are no hard edges within, they encountered a pack of Hounds of Tindalos and the arrival of the Forgefiend (which has been following them with its earth-glide ability for awhile now...waiting to strike when they were deep in combat). Battle ensued. Party won. Party healed and then it was onto the final room in the dungeon. The lair of Mokmurian.
And the fight lasted for about two hours as well. Mokmurian had ample time to prepare for them. He opened up with a fireball and proceeded to cast quickened scorching rays as needed. As the battle proceeded, and the party was getting beat up, Mokmurian silenced Nicholai (who was singing his Dirge of Doom) by turning him to stone (Flesh to Stone) then later cast defensively Reverse Gravity on the melee combatants around him causing Zatara and Marcellus to be flung up towards the ceiling 70 feet up. And the battle kept raging on.
Jim (Aerodus) used his plot twist card causing Mokmurian to vanish out of sight. However due to the fact the chamber was under the influence of a dimensional anchor spell teleportation out of the area wasn't possible. Unfortunately for Aerodus he re-appeared behind him. And with a few arcane gestures unleashed a volley of scorching rays into the sorcerer....ending his adventuring career.
Which this just enraged this remaining party members further. First the bard is turned to stone and now this. And the fight is renewed with new vigor (read: pure hatred) and they threw everything they had on Mokmurian. Even Marcellus & Zatara got into there at the end as Mokmurian dismissed the Reverse Gravity on them so they would fall. Jess's (Wren) plot twist card halved that falling damage and the rest was soaked by their stone skin spells put in place earlier.
Eventually the tyrannical stone giant was brought down....but not before the real threat, the REAL villain, took control of the dying giant to deliver a message. The Runelord of Greed, Karzoug, spoke directly to them and let them know that all they've managed to do by killing off his minions was fuel his return faster and that there was nothing they could do to stop him. A fabulous way to get the party fired up to keep going to try to stop this newly revealed power.
Now, however, the party needed to regroup. They gathered back in the library and Seoni began work on trying to restore their fallen comrades. Firstly she reversed the stone effect on Nicholai (much to Marcellus' displeasure as his brother was dead). Seoni told him to shut it and this was the easier of the two to finish. Now the next day she went about bringing about Aerodus back from the dead. Raise Dead was cast and.....nothing. Aerodus was gone for good. His spirit refused to return. A ally was lost.
And Jim decided to roll up a new character instead. His run with Aerodus was fun but perhaps Aerodus' 'destiny' from his bloodline was to die heroically fighting Mokmurian. Some of the other players were a little thrown by this but have accepted it as best as possible. Now when we reconvene Jim will have his new character fully fleshed out; a halfling cavalier with riding dog. It should be fun.
This is also the break for the Runelords game. Our next get together will be to play under Jim's hand in book one of The Council of Thieves AP. We will go through all of book one and then come back and finish the last two volumes of the Runelords saga. It will be good for a break too. I'm looking forward to not sitting behind the screen and a few sessions of that will scratch that itch nicely. I'll also be writing up an adventure log detailing this groups adventures as well. That too should be fun.
For the final thought of this entry all I say is this: Goodbye Aerodus. You will be missed but be remembered as a hero.