Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Deck the Halls

Deck the Halls
A Christmas Tale

For too long, the northern town of Ivanheim has suffered under the curse of Santa Claus. With every passing year, his naughty list grows longer and longer and more and more children are taken away to be processed at his workshop. This year, the people of Ivanheim have moved all their children to the great Smokehall and hired mercenaries to defeat the mad elf once and for all. Included in Deck the Halls:

  • 6 new enemies, including Rudolf, nutcrackers, and Santa himself.
  • A strange fey creature, obsessed with purging the world of naughtiness.
  • Pop culture references to make you giggle
  • Holiday cheer, and goodwill towards men.

Deck the Halls is a Christmas one-shot meant for 3-4 level 3 PCs.  It takes 2-3 hours to run.

Adventure Background

Deep in the frozen north, the snow-swept town of Ivanheim told legends of the mad elf Santa Claus. Vengeful, omniscient, and cruel, the elf watched over the village children with an unforgiving eye. Once a year, in the dead of winter, the elf stole down the chimney of any naughty children, nabbed them from their beds, then took them to his workshop for processing.

For years, the elf stayed in legends, a parable to keep children off his naughty list. Then, one year, a handful of children built a snowman Santa Claus, and accidentally placed the town sage’s magical top hat on the sculpture. By the morning, the snowman was gone.

The next night, the town bully Chris disappeared from his room. Altogether better off, the town thought nothing of it until the mischievous Hildur boys disappeared the following year. Then the sinful Berit, and Frida’s little Gösta, barely a month old.

In each of their empty beds, the perpetrator left a lump of coal.

For seven years, the legendary Santa Claus has been terrorizing the townsfolk. With every passing year, more and more children fall into the naughty list, and disappear in the dead of a winter’s night. Every year, the townsfolk light roaring fires, place iron spikes in their fireplaces, and do their very best to protect their young. Some parents have died in defense of their offspring, guts found hanging from holly and mistletoe. Where there once were four dozen children in town, only half remain.

They have named the night of Santa’s arrival Chrismiss, after the missing Chris, Santa’s first victim.

Something must be done. Actions must be taken before an entire generation is processed in Santa’s cruel workshop.

This year, the children have all been sequestered in the town smokehall. Iron bars have been placed on the doors and windows, and the chimney has been lit with a blazing inferno. Mercenaries have been hired to protect the children, ward off Santa Claus, and kill the mad elf if possible. You are those mercenaries.


The Smokehall

The smokehall is boiling hot, and a large pile of discarded furs, gloves, and hats sit heaped in a corner. Two dozen white-faced children mill about, whispers barely registering over the roaring fire. Their parents have all gone home, either out of fear or a desire get out of the way. You are the infant’s only defense. Somewhere in the deafening blizzard that rages outside, a mad elf stalks towards his prey.

A single child fights against the fear and paranoia. Sven, a boy no older than 5, stands by the closed door and stares resolutely forward. In each hand he carries a small carved wooden stick, and with these he beats a lively tempo on a little drum. The townsfolk call him the “little drummer boy,” and his tune lifts your spirits.

As long as Sven is alive and playing his drum, any PC within 30 feet that can hear him gain a +2 morale bonus on all attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves. Sven has the same stats as the other children.

There are two large tables in the smokehouse, and 20 chairs. The PCs may arrange these chairs and tables in any way they wish, barricading the door, gaining cover, or making a fort. They may also decorate the hall with whatever traps they wish. They should also instruct the two dozen children to stand in specific 5’ by 5’ squares. As small creatures, the children each take up one square.



Blizzard rules

If the PCs head out into the blizzard, they will suffer a range of penalties. The severe winds impose a -4 penalty on ranged attacks and perception checks, and even protected flames have a 50% chance of guttering out. The heavy snow obscures all sight beyond 5 feet. The extreme cold and wind chill deals 1d6 points of lethal cold damage per minute (no save) Additionally, every minutes an exposed character must make a Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal cold damage. The PCs are altogether better off waiting inside.


The Reindeer

The world outside the smokehall grows pitch black as the hours pass. The blizzard howls.

Then, around 11:30, the faint sound of jingling bells can be heard. They ring clear and sharp even through the raging cacophony of snow and wind. The children shiver and clump up, and may abandon their assigned positions if not reprimanded or encouraged.

The jingling grows closer and closer, until it is directly outside the front door. Santa appears to be dispensing with his customary entrance of the chimney in favor of a more direct route.

There is a booming knock at the door. A few children let out frightened cries or whimpers.

“Ho, ho, ho!” a deep, resounding voice laughs from outside the room. If the door is not locked or barricaded, the immense doors will fly open, and in will rush the reindeer.

If the door is barricaded, a few more loud crashes follow, the elf himself trying to get in. Then, there is a pause. The sounds of rummaging through a bag, and the scraping of metal on wood. Then, another pause.

“Meeeeerry Chrismiss!”

The smokehall door explodes into a shower of flame and wooden shrapnel. All PCs within 15 feet are dealt d6 fire damage and d6 piercing damage (DC 13 Reflex save halves both). A large, ragged hole has been blasted in the door.

In rush three reindeer through the hole, and combat begins. If the door was not blasted open, then four reindeer rush in through the door. Starting with the second round of combat, another set of reindeer (four if the doors were not barricaded, three if they were) rush in on a new initiative order. As each new reindeer rushes in, the deep, disembodied voice lists their names: "Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen! And on Rudolf!”

The final reindeer to rush in is Rudolf himself, his nose glowing like a flame.

The reindeer will favor fighting the PCs, but will gladly take pot shots at any undefended nearby children if the PCs are already swarmed.



Diabolical Reindeer CR 1/2
XP 200
N Medium Animal
Init +1; Senses low-light vision; Perception +5
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 12, touch 11, flat-footed 11 (+1 Dex, +1 natural armor)
hp 9 (1d8+5)
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +1
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 60 ft., fly 30 ft. (poor)
Melee gore +2 (d4+2)
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 14, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 2, Cha 7
Base Atk +0; CMB 2; CMD 13 (17 vs. trip)
Feats Toughness, Run
Skills Perception +5

Rudolf CR 1/2
XP 200
N Medium Animal
Init +1; Senses low-light vision; Perception +5
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 12, touch 11, flat-footed 11 (+1 Dex, +1 natural armor)
hp 9 (1d8+5)
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +1
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 60 ft., fly 30 ft. (poor)
Melee gore +2 (d4+2)
Special Attack blinding nose
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 14, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 2, Cha 13
Base Atk +0; CMB 2; CMD 13 (17 vs. trip)
Feats Toughness, Run
Skills Perception +5
-------Special Abilities-------
Blinding Nose (Ex) Rudolf’s nose emits a bright light to a range of 30 feet. As a standard action, Rudolf can intensify his nasal brightness. Any enemy within the area must make a DC 11 Fortitude save or be blinded for 1 minute. This save DC is Charisma-based.

Child CR 1/4
XP 100
Young Human Commoner 1
CN Small humanoid (human)
Init +3; Senses Perception +3
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 11 (+3 Dex, +1 size, +1 dodge)
hp 3 (1d6-1)
Fort -1, Ref +3, Will -1
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 20 ft.
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 6, Dex 16, Con 8, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 13
Base Atk +0; CMB -3; CMD 11
Feats Dodge, Endurance, Simple Weapon Proficiency (club)
Skills Climb +2, Handle Animal +5, Perception +3, Stealth +8, Swim +2
Languages Common


The Toy Soldiers

With the reindeer dead, Santa will send in a group of toy soldiers. A single tin soldier leads the charge, followed by three nutcrackers. The Tin Solider will shoot at the children, while the Nutcrackers run interference.

Tin Soldier        CR 2
XP 600
N Small construct (clockwork)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low light vision; Perception +0
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 14, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +1 size, +1 natural)
hp 16 (1d10+10)
Fort +0, Ref +5, Will +0
Immune construct traits
Weaknesses vulnerable to electricity
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 20 ft.
Melee slam +5 (1d4+2)
Ranged BB gun +6 (d12)
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 14, Dex 17, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 1
Base Atk +2; CMB +4 CMD 17
Feats Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes
-------Special Abilities-------
Self Destruct (Ex) When the Tin Soldier is brought to 0 hp or lower, he explodes into a shower of tin shrapnel. All creatures within 15 feet are dealt 2d6 piercing damage (Reflex 12 halves).


Nutcracker       CR 1/2
XP 200
N Small construct (clockwork)
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low light vision; Perception +0
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 12, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+1 size, +1 natural)
hp 6 (1d10)
Fort +0, Ref +3, Will -1
Immune construct traits
Weaknesses vulnerable to fire
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 20 ft.
Melee slam +6 (1d4+3/19-20)
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 16, Dex 12, Con —, Int —, Wis 9, Cha 1
Base Atk +2; CMB +5 CMD 19
Feats Improved Critical (Slam), Lightning Reflexes
-------STATISTICS-------
Nutcracker (Ex) If the Nutcracker scores a critical hit on a male character, the victim is nauseated for d4 rounds.


Santa’s Workshop

As the fight with the toy soldiers draws to a close, or if he is attacked while still outside the smokehall, Santa realizes that retreat is the better part of justice. He summons a large, opaque blue portal that leads straight to his workshop, then hops inside. The portal remains open for some minutes, and is easily visible through the smokehall doors. When the toy soldiers are killed, the children will implore the party to jump through the portal and finish the fight. If they do not, then Santa will get away this year and return in future years.

The portal deposits the party in the center of small warehouse filled with smoke and rust. Manning the conveyor belts that shuttle coal and weapons from the north to the south walls are 10 undead children. As the party enters, the undead children grab light crossbows from the conveyor belts and turn glazed eyes towards the intruders.

In the center of the room is Santa Claus, the mad elf himself. Dressed in red furs with white trim, the fat elf has incredibly pale skin and bloody eyes. He carries a large sack filled with coal that he swings like a hammer. He roars in incoherent rage and charges towards the party.

The undead children will use light crossbows exclusively, even if it means they incur opportunity attacks. They reload their light crossbows as a move action.


Santa Claus CR 4
XP 1,200
LE Large Fey
Init -1; Senses darkvision 60ft. scent; Perception +12
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 14, touch 8, flat-footed 14 (-1 Dex, -1 size, +6 natural)
hp 73 (7d6+49); regeneration 3 (fire)
Fort +11, Ref +4, Will +9
Immune cold
Weaknesses vulnerable to fire
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 20 ft.
Melee bag of coal +6 (2d4+2), slam +6 (1d6+2)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th; concentration +11)
         1/day – quickened frigid touch
         3/day – quickened sleep (DC 14), quickened chill touch (DC 14), quickened poisoned egg
         At Will – quickened ray of frost
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 16, Dex 8, Con 24, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 17
Base Atk +3; CMB +7; CMD 16
Feats Combat Casting, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Improved Natural Armor
Skills Bluff +14, Disguise +14, Escape Artist +9, Knowledge (religion) +11, Perception +12, Stealth +9, Use Magic Device +14
Languages Common, Giant, Sylvan


Undead Child        CR 1/3
XP 135
NE Medium undead
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60ft.; Perception +8
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 4 (1d8)
Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +1
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 20 ft.
Melee 2 claws -2 (1d4-2)
Ranged light crossbow (1d6)
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 7, Dex 15, Con —, Int —, Wis 9, Cha 10
Base Atk +0; CMB +2; CMD 14
Feats Improved Initiative



Clean-Up and Rewards

When Santa Claus falls, the blizzard outside subsides. The village lights can be seen clearly some miles away through the cold air, though the workshop is cleverly hidden into the mountainsides to the point of being invisible. The adventurers can return to Ivanheim for their reward.

The workshop connects to Santa’s home. It is devoted mostly to storage rooms filled with toy parts, coal, and mundane weapons, but the living quarters and alchemy lab may be scavenged for 1,000gp worth of scrap and gear.

The undead children cannot be brought back to life, and are better off being put out of their misery.

If the heroes followed Santa Claus to his lair and defeated him, then the townsfolk will eagerly pay them 1,500gp each for their efforts. If instead the adventures decided to let Santa Claus get away, then they will only receive 1,000gp each for their efforts and Santa Claus will return subsequent years to wreak havoc on the town.


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Sunday, November 30, 2014

New Pantheon 22: Return of the King


After prepping and buffing, our heroes teleport to Maven. The King of Men is surrounded by a massive army of Elves, and gives a small speech challenging the PCs. Adrian begins broadcasting the scene to the world. The PCs respond with rabble, then attack.

Maven has an extremely high AC, but doesn't deal too much damage. He absorbs blows from Punjin, Humungous, and Yeezy for quite a white. There is a tense exchange between Adrian and Layric - Layric is the only one who can see the invisible Layric. Layric opens by using a metamagiced disintegrate, taking off most of Adrian's life. Adrian then forces Layric to make three separate DC 30 Dominate Person saves (quickened, then persistent), but the resilient bugger makes all three. Knowing another disintegrate would spell death, Adrian flies into the crowd and disappears.

Without Adrian to back him up, Maven doesn't stand a chance. He eventually goes down under a hail of blows.

Trying to prevent a total catastrophe, The Alchemist's Avatar teleports in, only to be immediately smushed by Humungous. Our heroes feel their faith grow as the people of Cain watch the Avatar and Maven die. They know have the worship of the entire world.

But they hear Adrian's voice inside their heads: "Meet me in the Copper Minaret in Kamai."

Our heroes then begin destroying the routing army with dragon fire and blade.

After they have had their fun, they teleport to the Copper Minaret. Here they find Adrian desperately snorting Kishii, but to no avail. When he notices the heroes, he gestures to a few purple bean bags and tells them to take a seat.

"Now that Maven and the final Avatar are dead, the gods, the true gods, will take matters into their own hands. Within a matter of weeks they will come down here and destroy you. On this plane of existence, they are invincible. However, on their home plane they are more human. You must fight them there.

"Teleport to the Root of the World, the King of Men's fortress. There you will find a small jump gate that leads you to their plane. Given the amount of worship that you have, you should be able to make it through. Once inside, you can confront them and kill them. One all three are dead, their power will flow into any of you who have survived the fight. You will become gods in earnest."

"Why are you helping us?"

"When Castor took away my ability to enjoy Kishii, he did not take away the pain of withdrawal. I have been suffering for 15 long years, desperate for the pleasure that Kishii brings. I am hoping that when he dies, I can have my life back."

It is July 19th, 2015. Our heroes are level 20, and have just ranked up to the final Ascension level possible: level 7.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

New Pantheon 21: Ovelia of the Reclaimers

Back at Gallowhall, Layric goes through applications for new gods. He decides on three:

Punjin, a rotund monk with a quarterstaff possessed by the god of water. He used to follow Krannic with the Apocolytes, then turned to Saffron, and now follows the New Pantheon.

Hildagerde, a Witch from Australia who is now possessed by the god of air. She was banished from her home for unwholesome practices.

Yeezus, a Warpriest wielding a scimitar and buckler. Rache, overwhelmed by the amount of worship for positive energy, is splitting his power with Yeezus.

After interviewing and choosing new gods, Layric decides to use a spell to determine, with a 90% accuracy, the answers to some questions. Amoung these, he determine that: The Elemental 6 are not dead, their greatest enemy after taking over will be "everyone," and "Ovelia" will help them against the Reclaimers. If anybody remembers the other questions/answers, feel free to post.

Again postponing the reclaimers, Layric decides that he wants to try his hand against the Alchemist. They teleport to outside Saffron's Monastery, where they hope to either find him or draw him out through general destruction. It is storming, but the monastery appears calm and "business as usual." They use elemental sight to inspect the monastery, don't find the Avatar but do find a monk in Saffron's old room. Then, they teleport into Saffron's old room.

Yeezus, unused to this whole teleporting thing, winds up in a small room with four sleeping monks. He spends the next few rounds sneaking around the area, eventually bringing dozens of low level monks on his head. He finally exits the facility to find himself not in the Monastary, but out in the desert. He commands a monk to tell him the way to the Monastary, and the Monk points. Yeezus sprints in that direction, not able to see more than 20 feet at a time, and becomes promptly lost in the desert in a storm.

The rest of the heroes wind up in the correct location. Punjin offers to soften up the monk a bit before questioning, but instead splatters his brains against the back wall with a single punch. RIP Remi.

Our heroes then start exploring. Not finding anything and getting bored, LAyric summons and earth elemental into the courtyard, followed quickly by acid rain and lightning by Hilda. After a dozen rounds of killing monks and inducing chaos, it becomes clear that Castor's Avatar is uninterested in coming to the rescue, and our heroes scry on Yeezus, teleport to him, then teleport home.

The next day, Layric scries on the Avatar. He sees where the Avatar is, but is blinded by overwhelming white light and the scry ends in an instant. He gets the sense the Avatar is on a different plane.

Without a further lead, our heroes go to the reclaimers.

They teleport to the city square as described by Nut, a large marble fountain surrounded by marble and brick buildings. Silver filaments connect most of these buildings, and the massive silver minaret looms about half a mile away.

Before our heroes can get their bearings, three monsters teleport in: A Gargantuan Clockwork Monstrosity, a Black Dragon studded with soulstones, and a large arcane and shimmering serpent. The construct explodes when brought to 10% of his damage, the black dragon wings Punjin and breathes fire, and the serpent transforms the area into a hellish landscape, but otherwise the monsters are dispatched without issue.

The city is somber. Hundreds of people look in shock and quiet intensity as the heroes first congratulate themselves, then charm and question a guard. Evidently there are no more defenses, and Ovelia is waiting the tower. Layric shakes the limp hands of citizens. Only a few sobbing individuals fill the silence.

The guards part at the base of the silver minaret, and our heroes make their way up the stairs to the throne room. There is an inactive silver jump gate, and then a dozen active jump gates. Ovelia stands alone in the room, holding a single ornamented dagger. Hilda quickly induces agony in her, then Punjin grapples her. As they do this, Layric is unnerved by the unmistakable build-up of titanic arcane powers. "Let her speak!"

Ovelia speaks: "Let me tell you what is going to happen. In 40 seconds, a splinter zone bomb is going to go off in the heart of the city, completely demolishing everything in a 20 mile radius. With it, the machinery keeping Maven from returning will be destroyed. You will walk through one of these jump gates before the bomb goes off. Maven will return to Cain, and publicly challenge you to combat. You will fight him. You will lose. As the world watches, worship of Maven will replace worship of the New Pantheon, and this will all be over. Never will a reclaimer bend the knee to either Maven or the new Pantheon. 15 seconds."

Our heroes discuss what to do "10 seconds" but without much time "5 seconds" they jump through a portal, taking Ovelia with them.

They appear in a small hut in a large field of wheat. Moments later, the ground shakes with incredible force. Minutes later, and immense sound, like a cliff collapsing, is heard. A few moments after that, our heroes hear a voice in their minds.

"People of Cain - This is Adrian Deel, High Advisor to Maven, King of Men. Your ruler has returned from his long exile. Maven once again walks the lands of Cain. To those who call themselves the New Pantheon: The True Ruler of Men and Representative of the Gods challenges you to combat on the fields of Dorma, near Osiris. You have one hour to appear, or be branded cowards and be hunted in every land. This nightmare is over."

With every word, the New Pantheon can feel their worship shaking across the globe. They know that if they do appear before Maven within the hour, they will lose an incredible amount of worship, perhaps all.

It is now July 19th, 2015 AF. Our heroes played this at Level 20, Ascension level 6.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Pantheon 20: Attack on the Monastery


After extensive debate whatsoever, our heroes decide to once again try Saffron's Monastery. Ayslin, Swaggles, and Jeptha buff with fly and invisibility, then teleport to outside the monastery walls. They use their respective elemental visions to identify Saffron, meditating in her room surrounded by candles.

Greater Teleport in! The Monk has extremely high AC (50) and ridiculous CMD (75), but a few ice balls and a windwall later and she is dispatched. Before she goes, she knocks over a candle, triggering a contingency.

Before our heroes have time to celebrate, Castor's Avatar teleports into the room. Dealing 50 damage a throw to each character, the Alchemist blinds Jeptha and confuses Ayslin and Swaggles before they can even act. Ayslin is dealt double damage modified by a ring of fire resistance 30, and Jeptha is dealt none. Jeptha, successfully trips the Avatar, but with his bombs attacking touch the Alchemist is content to throw from the floor. The next round, Jeptha is confused and blind, and Ayslin and Swaggles are nauseated and confused. Then Jeptha is confused, blind, and nauseous, and the Alchemist pulls out his dagger to slowly kill the fire god.

He proceeds to whittle away at the fire god for a dozen rounds, blocking Jeptha's only escape route. He takes a small break to massacre Ayslin and Swaggles with bombs, then goes back the stabbing until Jeptha is dead.

The spirits of Fire, Water, and Air swear revenge and leave cursing, and seek out new hosts.

It is now July 11th, 2015 AF. Our heroes played this at Level 19, Ascension level 6. Despite killing Saffron, word of their defeat at the hands of the Avatar spreads and they do not gain an Ascension level. They do, however, level up to Level 20.

Monday, November 17, 2014

New Pantheon 19: To Saffron's Domain


Our heroes determine that Humungus' day shall be called "Antichristmas" or "No More Games Day."

After some deliberation, our heroes decide to once again ignore the Reclaimers. They instead set their sights on Osiris, the city Saffron rules in Northern Dorma. This is prime Trinity territory, and our heroes greater teleport to the closest location they know - Jeptha's old farm.

The farm has been transformed into a shrine to Jeptha's holiness, and offerings are being taken. Leading the sermon is Jeptha's pappy Gilead, a terrible person who treated Jeptha like a dog. When Gilead sees Jeptha, he falls to the ground and begins weeping in fear. Jeptha swiftly takes revenge. He tells the gathered mob the truth about his pappy, then castrate the man and puts him back in prison in Gallowhall. Easy.

Our heroes go north toward Osiris. Acting upon Swaggle's desire to be more evil and draw the final avatar out of hiding, the gods convert villages on the way, pillaging and slaughtering any who do not convert. They also take about 1,000 people on a forced march. By the time they reach Osiris, only 100 remain. The intent is that these hardened individuals will become their guard, but the gods fail to quite break them.

The citizens of Osiris are hiding. Our heroes ignore them and head straight to Saffron's Monastery, where she governs. They see an ugly woman (Saffron) and a man in a black cloak, a bandolier of vials around his arms. Castor's Avatar. Both individuals stand atop the 30 foot walls that surround the building.

"Why have you come here?" Asks Saffron.

"Well," begins Swaggles, and then Saffron, at the limit of her social interaction for the day, fires.

The combat is brief and one sided. In the surprise round, the alchemist throws a bomb and deals 50 damage to Humungus. Saffron fires an arrow and hits. Then Swaggles, able to act in the surprise round due to battlefield awareness, drops a wind wall bubble around the gods. They are protected from arrows, and the bombs that a 30% miss chance.

It's the alchemists' turn. 5 bombs go flying. Attacking touch, each hits Humungus for around 50 damage. Humungus amazingly shrugs off a variety of effects, but when a stink bomb is thrown Swaggles gets nauseated. Saffron waits passively for a heroes to exit the wind wall.

Humungus and Jeptha look at each other as Swaggles begins vomiting in the background. Neither of them have a way of quickly getting to their opponents, 30 feet up a wall. Humungous has been dealt over 300 damage in a single turn.

For the first time in a long time, the gods retreat.

Ayslin greater teleports our heroes back to Gallowhall to lick their wounds.

It is now July 10th, 2015. Our heroes played this at level 19, Ascension Level 6.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

New Pantheon 18: Varaug's Lair

After discussing some more teleportation logistics, our heroes decide to take out the Great Red Wyrm Varaug. They scry on the Dragon and determine his location, deep underground in a massive cavern on a huge pile of gold. He appears to have no anti-scrying measures up (and why would he? Scrying and teleportation are spells not generally available to mortals), so our heroes shrug their shoulders, buff and teleport in.

A contingency spell activates, and the dragon goes invisible. However, in the surprise round Layric casts glitter dust, and reveals the colossal beast. Humungous and Jeptha charge forward to attack, the former dealing hundreds of damage from pounce and the latter dealing nearly dozens of damage to the creature too large to trip. Ayslin shoots an ice ball, and Swaggles bravely and cunningly maneuvers behind a pillar.

The Dragon attempts to cast time stop but is countered by Layric. He then flies up 100 feet, trying to get out of Humungous' range.

Another ice ball, then Layric casts fly on Humungous and Humungous pounces again (the dragon bites for an opportunity attack). With over 900 damage dealt in two rounds of combat, Varaug falls without having done anything. Down goes one of the toughest dragons in the game (with double hp), and our heroes barely took damage.

The Dragon's horde is impressive, but perhaps beneath our heroes now. They discuss many things, including creating a holy city on this continent using the gold.

Our heroes teleport to Dail, where they tell a guard, now named Kevin, to prepare the town for celebration that next evening. They then teleport away.

Swaggles has a teleport mishap, and winds up in Tomatoville. His attempts to help the populace result in mass death and destruction, but he is scried on and picked up by Ayslin within an hour.

The next day our heroes teleport to Dail, then parade through the streets. Humungous holds aloft the head of Varaug. At the city square, a massive crowd has formed, and Swaggles makes a speech. They re-enact the battle, and Swaggles takes a more central role. The crowd starts chanting Swaggles, and he takes all the credit for the dragon's defeat. Humungous decrees that on this holiday there shall be no more games, but seems to change his ruling when pressed by the crowd.

After one too many silences, Swaggles makes the "this is awkward" sign at Ayslin, and the group teleports away.

It is now June 20th, 2015. Our heroes played this at level 18, Ascension Level 5, but have now ranked up to Ascension Level 6.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

New Pantheon 17: To the Isle of Madness

Our heroes continue on their journey for another week until, one day during lunch, an ethereal figure appears on deck. Perhaps 13 or 14, the female claims to be Ovelia, queen of the reclaimers. She brings a soulstone in friendship, and would like to know the New Pantheon's intention.

Some diplomatic pussyfooting occurs. Ovelia assures the Gods that they will not find worshipers among the reclaimers, and warns them that if they take one step on land they will be faced with city-leveling war machines. She requests an alliance, but is denied. She warns our heroes to turn the ship around or find themselves at the bottom of the sea. Then, she disappears.

Aislyn teleports the soulstone home to prevent gargor from being lured, then our heroes discuss for a long time. They travel another week to an uninhabited island, then instruct their crew to head home and teleport home themselves.

Back at Gallowhall, our heroes ask Krannic to find somebody who knows enough about the Reclaimer lands to give Aislyn the information needed for greater teleport. Krannic explains that he can try, but he has never heard of anybody who has been there.

Then, Jeptha thinks of somebody.

Nut. The PC from the previous campaign who betrayed the others. Now abandoned on a tropical island, his madness infects people throughout the world.

Our heroes set Krannic to find a Nutter, which he does within a week. In the mean time, our heroes sell 45 soulstones for 2,250,000gp, but delay the shopping spree.

A Nutter is captured in Karem-Kora, and our heroes teleport there to question him. After extensive questioning, and a temporary removal of insanity, our heroes find themselves talking to Nut through the man. They ask him to describe where he made his first fishing rod (a place perhaps a month's difficult journey from the Reclaimer lands) and he does.

One greater teleport later, and our heroes find themselves on a beach, just as described. But there is a fishing rod here, as well as a cooked fish and a small campfire. Layric sees an invisible Nut sneak into the forest. Swaggles flies up and finds that they are on a small island.

"Uhhhh" they all say.

Shuriken!

A shuriken misses Jeptha by a hair, and Swaggles responds with an area attack which damages the invisible ninja. Layric casts Grasping Hands, but the Ninja Escapes. Using his invisibility and the jungle, the Ninja is unseen and nearly unseeable - but not to the bloodhound like T-Rex that Layric summons! They follow the T-Rex into the jungle for a round or two before the beast explodes into a shower of flesh and blood (and coconuts?).

A missed glitter dust is followed by 125 damage and 8 strength damage of shrunken straight to Jeptha. Then, a stinking cloud gets Nut and grasping hands grasps him. Quickly, our heroes teleport home and put him Nut in a cell.

Then, a long questioning process begins. Jeptha takes the helm, and Nut senses a deep, underlying psychological connection between the two (both characters were played by the same player). The god of madness reaches out to both Tomas and Peter, then warns our heroes against going to sleep ever again. He babbles of rocks, and emus, and missing hands, and rhinos named Rihanna.

Eventually, Layric summons a Succubus who casts Dominate Person. Still crazy but somewhat more agreeable, Nut describes in detail the Reclaimer city.

After this is done, our heroes knock Nut unconscious and bring him back to the Isle of Madness. Because, they reason, there is a place in this world for madness after all.

It is now June 17th, 2015. Our heroes played this at level 17, Ascension Level 5.

Session 18: Varaug's Lair

Friday, November 14, 2014

New Pantheon 16: End of an Empire

As they watch the tornado covering Kathmar, our heroes have a long discussion about next steps.

Once a plan is formulated, they find a small cave and sleep. 8 hours later and the storm is still raging. Swaggles suppresses the tornado, and they survey the damage. Minaret, walls, military headquarters and inquisitorial headquarters are all still standing, but the civilian areas have been completely destroyed. A large pile of sand, perhaps 20 feet tall, rests over most of the city. Our heroes deduce that much of the army probably found refuge within the government buildings.

Drawing from his memories as an inquisitor, Rache describes the entrance of the Inquisitorial Office to Ayslin. One greater teleport and the group is inside. Short work is made of the 60 or so exhausted and demoralized fighters in the entrance hall (capped off by a massive Acid Ball by Layric), and the remaining soldiers scatter. Rache grabs the nearest enemy, and gleans that the high council is in the bunker a few stories down. Down our heroes head, killing the few enemies who do not flee.

The iron door to the bunker boasts the most complex lock Layric has ever seen, but 20 minutes of work and some guidance by Rache sees it open (but only barely).

Inside the cramped room are the thirteen councilmen, half a dozen other government officials (including the bug-man), and half a dozen guards. Rache demands that they kneel or die. One guard does, but everybody else remains standing.

Those who stand are slaughtered.

Our heroes return to the entrance, then Layric burrows into the military headquarters. Using their telepathic link, Ayslin teleports the remainder of the group there. Again a couple dozen soldiers are murdered, and the rest surrender. Our heroes then make their way down to the underground factory which once produced Relic Walkers. Here they find another impossibly difficult lock, cracked by Layric, and inside - 50 soulstones of various shapes and sizes. Our heroes bag these immensely precious items. They are worth 50,000gp per soulstone - 2,500,000gp in total. The New Pantheon is suddenly loaded.

There is no more resistance.

Our heroes gather the remnants of the Dorian empire on the sand pile in front of the Minaret. "Go forth, and share what has happened here today. Kathmar is a dead city. You have witnessed the power of the New Pantheon."

Then, our heroes dramatically teleport back to Gallowhall. Krannic has been running operations smoothly. What's next? The dragon is considered, but ultimately considered too dangerous. Breya is then chosen as the next target. Without any way to teleport there, our heroes must travel by boat. They commandeer Narset's fastest ship that can be crewed by 6 people, and begin sailing.

Two weeks into the journey, and our heroes are attacked by Aymeric's massive Avatar, a 20th level inquisitor of immense strength. But he cannot match the sheer amount of damage dealt, and goes down in but two rounds.

It is now June 10th, 2015 A.C. Our heroes played this session at level 16, Ascension Level 4, but have just ranked up to Ascension Level 5.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Pantheon 15: Attack on Kathmar

After discussing Varaug a bit more, our heroes decide to go level Kathmar. Ayslin is back, and better than ever. Greater Teleport will make this whole travel thing much easier. Our heroes nip back to Karem-kora to buy some Potions of Jump and Boots of the Cat, then greater teleport to the cliffs above the Charcoal Minaret.

With unbelievable ease, our heroes appear on thousand tall cliffs overlooking Kathmar and the bleak desert beyond. Rache and Jeptha don their Boots of the Cat and drink their jump potions, then leap into the void. Thanks to the potions they both are able to land on the minaret, and thanks to the boots they both take 20 damage instead of 20d6 damage. They immediately dispatch the two guards on top, then wait for Swaggles and Ayslin to fly down. So far, so good.

The group makes use of their new ascension power, pocket sight, to identify and see out of pockets of their element: plants and animals for Rache, water for Ayslin, and strong fires for Jeptha. They search for the council room, where they hope to murder the high council. Swaggles watches the door into the Minaret, and downs some more guards who come up.

Jeptha finds the council room after about 10 minutes of searching (though it is only partially occupied), but around this time they are challenged by guards in the staircase. The claim to surrender, kill a few guards as they come up, and then chase the other guards down the stairs. The alarm goes off.

For the next fifteen minutes they make their way down the tower, easily slaughtering any resistance. The tower acts as an effective bottleneck, and these CR 3 and 4 guards are not even worth rolling against. They find the council room empty, and, as time passes, the tower becomes deserted.

They reach the bottom of the tower, open the door to perhaps 500 armed and ready enemies, then close it again.

Hmmm.

At this point, Swaggles looks over his spell list and finds "Control Weather." A tornado would be pretty awesome against a city of sand and gravel, right? They head to the top of the minaret. Swaggles starts casting the spell (10 minutes), while climbers come up the mountain. There are a handful of flyers around, and Ayslin snowballs them to death.

Then, out of nowhere, insects appear. First a colossal scorpion with nasty venom. Then a swarm of caterpillars. Then another swarm of caterpillars, then another colossal scorpion. During the fight Rache is grabbed, Jeptha is poisoned, Ayslin lobs a few snowballs of different flavors, and Swaggles loses his spell casting after being confused and nauseated. But the vermin are overcome.

Swaggles has one more casting, and the heroes decide to go somewhere more remote. They teleport to the cliftops two miles out of the city, and Swaggles casts Control Weather unmolested. As the winds pick up a few people attempt to dispel it, but CL 19 is hard to contend with.

A massive hourglass shape appears over the desert and moves towards to city. It reaches impossible proportions as it nears, an immense funnel bringing black sand up and into the clouds. The tornado is bulbous and, from this distance, smooth and hypnotizing. As it moves over the city it completely obscures it. Kathmar is now a pillar of black and grey sand.

And it will be for the next 29 hours.

It is now May 26th, 2015 A.C. Our heroes played this session at level 15, Ascension Level 4.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Pantheon 14: The Desolation of Varaug

Our heroes, now joined by the new God of Darkness Lord Humungus, continue sailing for Dail and the town of Briartop. Here they hope to convert the locals, probably by cutting their legs off at the knee and sending them to inform the surrounding villages.

Rache casts detect scrying again. This time he sees that the Reclaimers are spying on them in addition to the Dorians.

When our heroes near Briartop, they see an immense pillar of smoke. The village and the surrounding area has been leveled, and pools of yellow liquid still burn. Layric recognizes the metallic smell from his scratch and sniff monster manual: A red dragon, likely a Wyrm or Great Wyrm (CR 20+). Probably out of our hero's pay grade.

Our heroes make their way to the town, which they find completely leveled. After some searching, they come across a stone cellar, where the two survivors have been trapped: Vera, a large, blonde woman, and her 6 year old son Jericho. After being given some food and water, Vera explains that the great Red Dragon Varaug has claimed this area, and most of Dail, under his rule. He requests two things: Monthly payments of gold, and free reign to eat any he chooses.

For years, the citizens of Briartop went along with this, terrified of the massive dragon. Then Vera's older son, Michael, decided enough was enough and formed a mob. They killed the mayor, then set about to protect the town. When Varaug found that his monthly tribute was not ready, and that the villagers were armed and poking sticks at him, he leveled the entire town in a matter of minutes. A single scale is all the damage the thousands of townsfolk did, and Lord Humungus grabs it for later scrying purposes.

Our heroes discuss what to do. At their current ability, they determine that attacking the dragon would not be feasible. Perhaps caution is the better part of valor, or whatever. You know. They slink away from Vera, then head back to their boat. Perhaps the Dorians and the destruction of Kathmar are next on their list?

That night as they get ready for sleep, the avatar of Avaryn, the Night Queen, appears before them. The avatar is a bow-wielding half-elf, and she marks them for death, then attacks. The fight seems fairly straightforward until the moon goes behind a cloud and the avatar turns invisible. Then, it becomes fairly straightforward again with an application of glitter dust. Jeptha keeps the avatar prone and unable to unleash her 5 attacks. Surrounded by Rache, Jeptha, Lord Humungus, and an Earth Elemental, and getting shot at by Layric and Swaggles, the Avatar falls without too much trouble.

It is now May 25th, 2015 A.C. Our heroes played this session at level 14, Ascension Level 4.

After the session, we ran a mock fight against the CR 20 Dragon. The dragon's 22d10 fire breath was incredibly deadly (no surprise there), but the heroes were able to overcome him with extensive injuries and no casualties. There were however, a few things that made this significantly easier than the real thing. The dragon was not buffed, and our heroes were fully buffed. Also, I will be running the Varaug with double the HP of the standard CR 20 Dragon.

We ran three or four rounds in about 10 minutes though! Amazing!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Pantheon 13: Dragon and Leviathan

Our heroes are now level 13 and ascension level 4, with over 100,000gp worth of equipment. The have the backing of 40 million worshipers, and one of the strongest empires in Cain at their beck and call.

All of a sudden our heroes are sexy and they know it.

Our heroes chat with Shor'mat for a while, deciding where to go next. The Mavenites are likely too powerful, the Nutters too insignificant, the Trinity too unclear, and the Reclaimers too far away. This leaves the Atheists. Our heroes aren't exactly sure how they will convert them, but it will likely be a divine good cop, bad cop across a few smaller towns. Our heroes check in on Shor'mat's brother Sebeth Gamorra, determine that he probably won't be a problem, then set sail on the Pinafore towards Dail. Thur'Khan, the high Priest of Fire, and Billy Aey'Khan, the child orphan High Priest of Air, stay behind.

On the way, Rache is able to determine that two people are scrying on him. He is able to pin down one person to a robed figure in Kathmar, in a room with approximately 20 other robed figures. The second individual he is unable to get a fix on.

The second day of travel our heroes are attacked by a huge leviathan construct and a huge dragon construct (health doubled). Rache identifies these as the city-wrecking war machines built by the Dorians in their war of domination before the cataclysm.

Both constructs have powerful breath weapons, and Rache and Jeptha endure a few blasts before the enemies come into melee range. Swaggles flys around and plinks away with his bow. Finally the Dragon lands on deck next to Jeptha, only to be immediately tripped. When he tries to get back up, he is tripped again, and Rache moves in for some massive damage.

The Leviathan rears up out of the waves and grabs onto and then swallows Jeptha. The ride down the mechanical mouth and into scalding water and crushing gears isn't pleasant, and Jeptha begins armor spiking his way out. Rache finishes off the Dragon, then moves to the edge of the ship - too bad the Leviathan in 10 feet away and out of reach.

Another round and Jeptha damages the Leviathan's mechanical stomach, but the god of fire is brought down to 4 hp. Swaggles senses death is near, and leaps down the Leviathan's throat to heal his comrade with a Mass Cure Moderate Wounds. "I don't have too many more of those. 0 to be precise."

Rache contunes to shake his fist at the construct, then uses his judgement burst spell to deal a bit of damage to the leviathan while healing the heroes inside the Leviathan. He is then grabbed himself.

Jeptha finally cuts a hole in the Leviathan's stomach, and Swaggles and Jeptha go into the ocean, underwater. Swaggles attempts to shoot the construct from underwater at point blank range, but misses all of his shots.

Rache pulls out his morningstar and attacks the creature. He is then swallowed, takes a bumpy ride down the Leviathan's throat and out its stomach. Ouch. One more round of melee at on all sides (Rache drops his morningstar into the ocean to pull out his falchion - RIP morningstar), and the Leviathan dies.

It is now May 23rd, 2015 A.C. Our heroes played this session at level 13, Ascension Level 4.

Monday, November 10, 2014

New Pantheon 12: Rise of Shor-Mat


Rache, Layric, and Aislyn face off against a now angelic Kah-Mat. But before combat can begin, our heroes hear a female voice inside their heads: "Are you the elemental six reborn?" When the answer is affirmative, a massive window in reality forms, showing the mob below exactly what is happening in the throne room.

The fight does not start off well. Layric learns that acid does nothing against Kah-Mat (and that she has Spell Resistance), and Rache unsuccessfully attempts to dispel the queen's Warhammer. Kah-Mat then uses her 100 foot fly speed to land in our hero's midst and use holy word. Rache saves and, due to his inquisitorial toughness, suffers no ill effects. Aislyn saves but is still blinded for two rounds. Layric fails the save, and is blinded for five rounds and deafened for two rounds.

Our spell casters then deduce that Kah-Mat is immune to cold. Kah-Mat uses Holy Smite, an area burst attack, then moves. Aislyn burns an fireball attempting to locate the queen in the darkness, but misses. Then Kah-Mat returns to war hammer Rache.

After a few turns of immunities, spell resistance, and DR, our heroes hit upon a strategy. Rache uses his piercing judgement to lower Kah-Mat's SR, and Aislyn is able to scream so loud is dazes the queen. Rache gets a massive hit on the dazed angel and then Layric gets a critical for 2 damage (before DR), injuring Kah-Mat's hand.

Kah-Mat retreats back behind her throne to tend to her hand. After a few rounds pass, our heroes realize that she is likely healing herself. Rache charges around the throne and lands a massive critical, sending Kah-Mat into view. Aislyn finishes off the queen with a fireball.

As the courtesans and crowd erupts into confused murmurs, a single woman detaches herself from the people in the throne room and quickly makes her way to the balcony. She addresses the crowd.

"Listen to the words of your new Ruler. Today we are doubly blessed. The heretic Kah-mat the eleventh, now the forgotten Kah-mat, has been cast from our midst, and the true elemental six have returned to us! As sister to the forgotten, I am now Shor'Mat, first of the new dynasty! Go from this place and let your family, friends, and enemies know: The true gods of Narset have returned to power, and Shor'Mat, once Lana Gamorra, sister of the forgotten Kah-mat, takes their counsel."

The crowd erupts into cheers. A pissed off man in the throne room glares at Shor'Mat, but says nothing.

Rache commands that everybody kneel. They genuflect. The gods are content.

The Gods meet quickly with Shor'Mat. She's power hungry as all get out, but seems to believe in them. Our heroes determine that she'll make a good Mat, and leave her in power. The pissed off man is her brother, but she says that he shouldn't be a problem. The Gods tell Shor'Mat their true names.

Shor'Mat also makes the heroes aware that the Narset Government has approximately one million gold pieces. Aislyn suggests that they each take 80,000, though no final decision is made.

What to do with Thur'khan and Kah'khan?

Thur'khan is summoned from the boat. He is deeply disturbed to see all the genuflecting, understands that he has not been made Mat, and knows that his relationship with the false gods has just changed forever. Nervous and pale, he genuflects. Rache assures him that everything will be alright tomorrow.

Everybody sleeps.

In the morning they make their way back to the boat, Thur'Khan in tow. On the way they disintegrate a man who runs at them with a knife, blame a son's blindness on her mother's lack of belief, and successfully argue theology with a handful of priests.

They take Thur'Khan and the boat back to Kah'Khan's cave.

In the cave, Kah'Khan and his followers refuse to kneel. Against Aislyn's protests, Layric opens a 70 foot deep acid pit beneath the high priest of the true god of earth. Kah'Khan fails the test. Rache then murders the high priest's entourage.

Our heroes then turn their attention to the shaking and terrified Thur'Khan. "You are the only one who knows the truth now. We will name you high priest of fire, and you will stay here in Karem'Kora. I trust that you will worship us faithfully, and know us as gods?"

In response, the quivering and pale Thur'Khan genuflects. "Of course. You are the Gods of Narset."

It is now May 21st, 2015 A.C. Our heroes played this session at level 12, Ascension Level 3. They have just leveled up to Ascension Level 4.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

New Pantheon 11: Assault on Kah-Mat

After long discussion with the High Priest of Earth, two points are driven home. First, the High Priest does miss his divinely ordained powers, and recognizes that Layric can grant them. Second, our heroes are off to overthrow Kah-mat, which is something that the High Priest can get behind. The High Priest agree to keep his mouth shut, at least for now. "You can find me after you overthrow Kah-Mat, and we can discuss my place in your 'New World Order."

Thur'Khan is temporarily placated. But confused. And brooding.

Our heroes make their way back to the Pinafore, and continue to Karem'Kora, arriving at the massive city that evening.

After a bit of fact finding, it is determined that Kah-Mat has rebuilt the high temple on a 50 foot cliff directly over a waterfall. She gives weekly sermons from a large balcony. She is also always flanked by her 6 high priests, who have been known to change forms into vivid personifications of their elements.

Layric and Peter II do some night scouting. They make their way onto the roof of the building without a hitch, and find it well guarded, with some staircases leading down. They then make their way onto the balcony, where they trip some sort of magical alarm. Layric memorizes the area for future dimensional door-ing, then dimensional doors himself and Peter II back to ground and safety.

After much discussion, the plan forms. It is simple enough. During one of Kah-mat's sermons, the heroes will dimensional door to the balcony and kill the king and high priests in a very public way. Easy.

Our heroes wait until the next sermon. The stand among the throng of thousands, buff, then teleport up.

Things go wrong immediately.

Our heroes are targeted by a "Teleport Trap," though only Peter II fails his will save. The ninja winds up in a pitch black, bare room with a single locked door and a large, hungry looking ooze with tremor sense. Worst case scenario for a ninja. Failed will save results in a sneak-attack immune enemy who can see invisibility.

Layric, Swags (Crow-Man), and Jeptha resist the save and wind up successfully on the balcony. A fight immediately breaks out. Kah-mat and the high priest of light teleport away, and the remaining high priests (water, air, fire, earth, dark) transform into huge elementals. Down a member, this fight is incredibly close. Our heroes are surrounded.

Layric is invisible, and lobs a few fantastic area spells that deal massive damage. Jeptha watches in horror as the two-legged humans transform into no-legged elementals - but is relieved to see that final transformation yields a legged earth elemental. He is tripped, of course.

Swags finds himself surrounded and unable to use his bow without taking 5 opportunity attacks. Jeptha valiantly pulls a "Maven" and dances around to incur the opportunity attacks. Thanks for a high save and mobility, only one hits. Swags then takes the opportunity to fly away and into the temple, where he has a better vantage point. Arrows start flying. The Dark elemental is downed, and then the Air elemental, through a combination of arrows, acid balls and long pointy stick thrusts.

Peter II is having a somewhat worse time. He risks an opportunity attack and picks the first lock on the door. With minimal hit points and few options, he then flees to the corner where he is devoured by the Ooze. The God of Darkness looks for another host.

Back on the balcony, Jeptha takes a beating, then drops down to -12. He starts bleeding out. Game over for Jeptha? Not so! Swaggles uses cure critical wounds to bring him back up to 20 or so, and the invisible Layric makes Jeptha invisible, giving him time to nurse his wounds. A very strong tactical choice. Swaggles is now the only visible target, and he flees for his life into the temple, elementals in hot pursuit. Particularly the fire elemental.

The earth elemental is the last to charge after the Crow. Jeptha takes this opportunity (attack) to come out of hiding and make short work of him.

A few rounds of combat later, and the fire and water elementals are killed. Layric is sitting pretty, never having been seen, Swaggles is somewhat injured from an irate Fire elemental and Jeptha is limping along.

At this point, Super-Saiyan Kah-mat appears, seeming to have fused with the positive high priest. She has gained wings and a massive morning star, and she has fire in her eyes.

It is now May 20th, 2015 A.C. Our heroes played this session at level 11, Ascension Level 3.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

New Pantheon 10: Aquatic Beasties and God-Like Impostors

The remaining gods return to Gallowhall to discover that the God of Darkness has chosen another: Peter II, a strange ashen man with a longbow and bizarre goggles. He lets nothing on regarding who he is or where he has come from. Our heroes accept him.

Peter Corinthian learns that Semprona is dead, stomps off in a huff, and then is thrown in jail next to Thomas.

Our heroes take a quick sailboat ride to New Auger, where they purchase some supplies.

Then, back at Gallowhall, they decide their next target is Narset. Those guys just need a gentle nudge, right, as they already follow a divine six? Our heroes take a small crew, man the HMS Pinafore and head to Karem'kora, Narset's capital. Gallowhall will follow behind at its slower pace.

On the way they are attacked by a colossal crab (with doubled health), two giant octopuses, and a dire shark. The fight is criminally easy to start. The crab is dealt nearly two hundred damage in one round, before it smashes its own head on the deck and goes unconscious. Jeptha prevents one octopus from getting on board, and the other is pummeled.

Then, when the fight seems all but won, things get hairy. The crab re-emerges and grabs and throttles Rache, bringing him down to 2 hp. When the beastie dies, Rache falls into the water. When a dire shark makes a lunge, Jeptha gets in the way and winds up in the shark's stomach. However, the shark eventually dies to fire and our heroes continue on their way. This was a CR 15+ fight.

The night before reaching Karem'Kora, Thur'Khan receives a message from Kah'Khan, the high priest of Earth. The high priest, who was supposedly dead, was actually spared when Kah'Mat killed the other high priests. Kah'Khan awaits them in a small cave nearby. Our heroes decide to meet with him.

Before entering the cave, Rache uses his scroll of Detect Scrying. He is able to determine that two different individuals are scrying on him, but can glean no information.

Our heroes are greeted by men in brown cloaks, worshippers of Earth. They are also greeted by Kah'Khan, whom Thur'Khan immediately embraces. Then Kah'Khan takes Layric to a small room.
"Just a formality my lord. What is your true name?"

"Kah'duln" replies Layric, listening to the voice in his head.

Kah'Khan enraptured looks turns first to confusion, then to horror. "You are not the God of Earth. Who are you?"

An equally confused Layric attempts to convince the High Priest, then begins to think they have walked into a trap. When Kah'Khan calls in his acolytes, the rest of the party follows. The conversation is tense and confused.

Slowly, Rache says "It's possible that we aren't the true gods."

How could this happen? What is going on? When our heroes tell Kah'Khan their whole story, he hesitantly suggests the following: Narset sent out several colonies about 500 years ago. One such colony may have been on the island that Gallowhall docked with, where the heroes found their powers. It is possible that over the decades, the culture and religion of the colony changed so much that their worship no longer went to the 6 Elemental Gods. This new worship formed small spirits, who believed themselves to be the elemental gods. When the colony died out, the spirits remained until our heroes re-awakened them.

"Then join with us," implores Layric. "Your gods are dead, and we are their replacements."

"I am sworn to the God of Earth, not some imposter. You would have to kill me first. And if you do not, then I will return to Karem'Kora and warn them of your falseness."

"Very well. Then you must die."

"Wait!" shouts a distraught Thur'Khan. "I don't understand what is happening here, but you cannot kill this man. Besides being a high priest, he is one of my dear friends. You would have to go through me first."

It is now March 11th, 15 AC. Our heroes played this level at level 10,  Ascension Level 3.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Gobbler

The Gobbler
A Thanksgiving Tale

Every year for the past six years, Giblet Turkey Farms and Slaughterhouse has suffered some great tragedy on the eve of Turkey Day.  Gunter and Drumstick Giblet have hired the party to protect their prestigious institution and get to the bottom of these mysterious matters. Through the night the PCs are visited by the Ghost of Turkeys Past, the Ghost of Turkeys Present, and the Ghost of Turkeys Future before coming face to face with the fearsome Gobbler.
Included in “The Gobbler:”
  • Four delicious turkey-based enemies
  • A bizarre yearly ritual of slaughter in the town of Pilgrim’s Rest
  • A mysterious new holiday themed curse
  • Two sticks of butter and a dash of nutmeg

The Gobbler is a Thanksgiving one-shot meant for 3-4 third level PCs using the Pathfinder ruleset.

Turkey Day in Pilgrim’s Rest

Turkey Day is an annual tradition in the quaint little town of Pilgrim’s Rest.  At noon, the eager townsfolk hurry out of their homes and down to the dozen or so turkey farms that line Pilgrim’s Promenade.  After purchasing the biggest turkey they can afford, they take their turkey to the town center for the Great Slaughtering, a sacrifice to the Mighty Turkey in the Sky.  Then, they take the remains home, throw the broken body in the oven, and settle down with the whole family to eat the corpse.  Other ceremonial dishes include eviscerated potatoes, liquefied squash, and pie.

For centuries, Giblet Turkey Farms and Slaughterhouse provided the biggest, highest quality turkeys known to Pilgrim’s Rest.  A family institution, Giblet Farms has been selling turkeys since the first great cull of ‘09.  But recently, the farms have fallen on hard times.  Every year for the past six year, Giblet farms has dutifully built up their turkey stores, feeding and housing the great fowl throughout the seasons.  Every year, Gunther Giblet, owner of the farms, insists that turkeys will be on sale this year for Turkey day with no problems.

And every year, some mysterious tragedy has befallen the farms in the night.  Giblet Turkey Farms and Slaughterhouse is unable to open on time the next day, and the farms are forced to sell their turkeys the next day at slashed prices.

The PCs have been hired to protect Giblet Turkey Farms and Slaughterhouse, and to get to the bottom of the mystery.


Gunther Giblet’s Office

Gunther’s waiting room is a bit small, but otherwise comfy.  Chairs, tables, books, and mugs are all halfling size, and the taller PCs must crouch to avoid touching the ceiling.  The walls, floors and chairs are all decorated in brown and orange, and the paintings all depict Gunther with some massive prize turkey caught in the wild.  A silver bowl of piping hot cider fills the room with a delicious scent.

Gunther is clearly running behind schedule, locked in some angry and increasingly loud negotiations with a young lady.   As the minutes tick by, the conversation behind the closed door reaches a fever pitch, until suddenly a dark haired halfling woman bursts out of the office fuming.  Her voice already hoarse from yelling, she stops, spins around, and screams “And you didn’t have to name me Drumstick!” before disappearing out the front door.

Gunther Giblet stands red faced in the room.  With a long sigh this round little halfling returns to his chair, leans back, rests his feet up on the desk, and begins to massage his temples.  His eyes are closed, but after a few moment he calls out “Next appointment please.”  It is the PCs’ turn.

The office smells strongly of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Just like in the waiting room, everything in here is brown, orange, and halfling sized.  The walls are lined with paintings of massive turkeys that Gunther himself has caught.

Directly behind Gunther is a huge painting of the halfling himself next to the largest turkey the PCs have ever seen.  In the painting, Gunther is scratched and pecked up from the hunt, but otherwise beaming.  Next to Gunther is a scowling halfling child who can only be Drumstick.

“She’ll come around.  The business has been in the family for seven centuries, and it is not going to stop with Drumstick.”  He sighs again. “She’s a vegetarian, you know.  Does it to spite me.”  A large bottle of Wild Turkey Bourbon sits on the desk, and Gunther pours himself a small cup, then downs it.  “Stressful time of year.  I always try and see to it that I get as blotto as possible before Turkey Day.” He pours another glass, then raises it.  “Cheers.”

A look of recognition suddenly flashes in Gunther’s eyes.  “Oh!  You are the mercenaries that I hired to look into matters at the farm!”

Gunther will then engage in conversation with the PCs.  He is a very amiable and has done his research, talking with the PCs about their past adventures and public lives.

He will also explain the situation.  Every year on the night before Turkey Day, mysterious vandals wreck his farm.  He has hired previous mercenaries to look into the matter, but they have all, unfortunately, been brutally murdered on the job by inexplicable forces.

If the PCs ask about Drumstick, Gunther will explain that she is his daughter from a mother who died in childbirth.  Drumstick does not want to take over the family business, but Gunther is sure she will change her mind.  Gunther will dismiss any accusations aimed at Drumstick as preposterous.

Gunther will also dismiss any accusations aimed at his competition, insisting that turkey farming attracts only upstanding gentlemen, and they have all been very sympathetic.

After the first accusation, or fit somewhere else into the conversation, Gunther will exclaim “And don’t tell me it’s the Gobbler!”  When asked to explain, Gunther will roll his eyes. “A silly urban legend, nothing more.  Six years ago, I installed an automatic turkey slaughterer to speed things up on Turkey Day.  Put the live turkey in one end, get a perfectly de-feathered, beheaded, and cooked turkey on the other.  I’m very proud of it.

“Well, during the installation, one of the crew fell inside the machine.  Before we could turn it off, the poor fellow was de-feathered, beheaded, and cooked.  We sent his body home to his family but, due to a terrible miscommunication, they ate him for their Turkey Day dinner. We received a very kind letter the next day thanking us for the meal.

“In any case, some of my more superstitious workers now believe that his ghost haunts the farm, and that he is behind the accidents.  Totally gobble-de-gook if you ask me.  Hogwash!”

The PCs have no way of knowing this, but this entire story is just a red herring.  It is all true, but the man’s ghost moved on without issue, happy that he could feed his family one last time.

After determining payment (1,500gp a party member, unless the price has been negotiated higher) and resolving any other outstanding issues, Gunther sends the party directly to the farm to begin their watch. The PCs get to the farm as night falls.


The Giblet Turkey Farm and Slaughterhouse

The term “farm” is an overstatement.  The Giblet Turkey Farm and Slaughterhouse is a large warehouse.  Cubbyholes filled with massive turkeys fill the west and south walls of this 5 story room, and the noise is incredible. The top five feet of each of the four walls is devoted to windows which let in the night breeze and moonlight.

Along the east wall sits “the machine,” menacing and still.  It is 45 feet long and jet black, a coal operated conveyor belt of death. Spring loaded blades, shiny red tubes, and a square oven are all part of the hellish contraption.  A series of empty buckets lie below the machine, evidently for catching the unwanted by-products of the process.  They are, thankfully, empty.

The room is also littered with empty wooden crates, presumably for transporting live turkeys. The boxes are three feet tall, provide partial cover, and require a DC 10 acrobatic check to leap onto.  Inform the players that they should feel free to arrange the boxes however they like.

The only door in or out of the room is in the center of the north wall.  It leads to a series of small storerooms and staff rooms.

Allow the PCs to investigate and set up whatever defenses they like, including pushing the boxes around to make cover.  After that, time passes quickly.


The Warning

The turkeys slowly fall asleep, and the unbearable noise dies down.  All is silent for a time, and the hours tick by.

Then, around 11pm, a soft scratching noise is heard, as if something hard is being dragged across a stone floor.  The scratching noise grows louder and louder, until it is evident that something is about to burst in from the northern door.

Something does.

The door flings open, and a booming voice declares “Beware!”  The turkeys all wake up at the sound and begin to gobble madly.

In the doorway stands an extremely elderly half-elf.  He has a light dusting of white hair on his head and chin, and is missing one of his eyes.  The man is dressed in overalls, is carrying a mop and is dragging a bucket of water behind him.

“Beware!” Repeats the half-elf, if he is not subject to the prepared actions of the PCs.  “I am Derby, the night janitor, and I have seen your predecessors torn to pieces every year for the past 6 years!  Beware!  Tonight you shall be visited by three Ghosts: The Ghost of Turkeys Past, The Ghost of Turkeys Present, and The Ghost of Turkeys Future!  Only after shall you see the Gobbler before he takes your life.  You shall know him, for his gobbles shall shatter the very windows!”

Derby kicks his bucket over dramatically, raises his arms, then starts mopping the floor.

Derby is a fairly crazy half-elf.  He has been the night janitor for Giblet Turkey Farms and Slaughterhouse for nearly 100 years, and it shows.  He is ragged, beaten down, and with his fair share of scars from handling turkeys.

He moves extremely fast, mopping the whole of the room in just a minute or two.  During this time, he will answer any questions the PCs have.

Derby has never seen the ghosts or the gobbler.  He only knows about them from the screams of the mercenaries as they attempt to fight.

Derby knows that Drumstick hates the farm, but has never seen her act against it.

Derby was there the night that they installed the machine.  A halfing named Trypto Phan was sucked inside, and Derby is sure that the ghost of Trypto is the gobbler.

To other questions, Derby will give crazy and evasive answers.  When the PCs are done with him, or when two minutes have elapsed, Derby will take his mop and bucket and leave to clean the other rooms.  However, the PCs have explicit orders to stay in the main room.  If they follow him, they will discover him cleaning until about midnight, and then leaving to go home.


The Ghost of Turkeys Past

Within half an hour the turkeys have calmed down again.  Most have ceased their gobbling and all is quiet again.

At midnight, the town bell begins to toll.  It rings out, seeming to slow down as it counts up.  After the eleventh tone there is an extraordinarily long pause … and then a loud bang erupts from inside the room.  The machine chugs to life, spitting smoke and a foul stench.  The fires within the oven begin to glow red, growing brighter with every passing moment.

Then, turkey entrails start seeping out of the bottom of the contraption.  They quickly overflow their buckets, spilling onto the floor in a massive red and black puddle.  As the machine picks up steam, the entrails rise in a heap, forming a huge, Frankenstein turkey.  This fifteen foot turkey drips intestines, feet, and brains, and fixes two glowing red eyes on the PCs before attacking.

Upon the turkey ooze’s creation, all PCs should make a DC 12 Will save or become frightened for d6 rounds.

Ooze, Turkey      CR 5
XP 1,200
N Huge ooze
Init -3; Senses blindsight 60 ft.; Perception -5
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 5, touch 5, flat-footed 5 (-3 Dex, -2 size)
hp 50 (4d8+32)
Fort +9, Ref -2, Will -4
Defensive Abilities split; Immune ooze traits, slashing and piercing
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 10 ft.
Melee bite +6 (2d6+7)
Space 15ft.; Reach 5 ft.
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 20, Dex 5, Con 26, Int —, Wis 1, Cha 1
Base Atk +3; CMB +6; CMD 13
-------SPECIAL ABILITIES-------
Split (Ex) Slashing and piercing weapons deal no damage to a turkey ooze. Instead, the creature splits into two identical oozes, each with half of the original's current hit points (round down). A turkey ooze with 10 hit points or less cannot be further split and dies if reduced to 0 hit points.

After the destruction of the turkey ooze, the machine shuts off and all goes quiet again.  The remains of the turkey ooze slowly disappear.


The Ghost of Turkeys Present

Things remain calm until one o’clock.  The sudden chiming of the town bell wakes the turkeys, and they begin to gobble to each other.  Instead of dying out like for previous hours, this gobbling grows and grows, until it is insufferably loud.  All PCs should make a DC 12 Fortitude check or become deafened for d4 minutes.

Suddenly, the cages lining the walls of the room burst open.  Hundreds if not thousands of turkeys pour forth, with their minds set on revenge.

Place one turkey swarm on the south wall, one on the west wall, and one in the southwest corner.

Turkey Swarm       CR 2
XP 600
N tiny animal (swarm)
Init +0; Senses Perception +5
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dex, +2 size)
hp 25 (3d8+12)
Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +2
Defensive Abilities swarm traits
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 30 ft.
Melee swarm (1d6 plus distraction)
Space 10ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks distraction (DC 14)
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 12, Dex 10, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 11
Base Atk +3; CMB —; CMD
Feats Toughness, Great Fortitude
Skills Acrobatics +4, Climb +7, Perception +5
-------SPECIAL ABILITIES-------
Distraction (Ex) Any living creature that take damage from a turkey swarm must make a DC 14 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round.

When the turkey swarms are dispatched, our heroes can see to their amazement that the cages are all closed once more, and the turkeys are still in them as if nothing has happened.  The turkey corpses littering the floors have all vanished.


The Ghost of Turkeys Future

Things are quiet again until the bell chimes two.  After the last chime dies out, there is a sudden flash of light in near the doorway.  All PCs should make a DC 12 Reflex save or become blinded for one round.

Three turkeys appear in the northern end of the room.  These turkeys are slightly taller than an average turkey, and they are dressed unusually.

The turkey in front grasps a longsword in one hand, and a steel shield in the other hand. He is dressed in full plate and sports a steel helmet. The turkey to his left wears a green cap and grasps a longbow.  The turkey to his right sports a pointed purple wizard’s hat and a long white beard.  In his wing he holds a staff.

The turkey in front gestures meaningfully to the PCs, and utters a confident gobble to his companions.  He then gives off a deep turkey warcry and charges the party.

Turkey Knight      CR 2
XP 600
Turkey Fighter 3
CG Small humanoid (turkey)
Init -1; Senses Perception +3
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 22, touch 10, flat-footed 22 (+9 armor, +3 shield, -1 Dex, +1 size)
hp 34 (3d10+12)
Fort +7, Ref +1, Will +4 (+1 vs. fear)
Defensive Abilities bravery +1
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 15 ft.
Melee longsword +7 (1d6+2/19-20)
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 14, Dex 9, Con 16, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 15
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 13
Feats Iron Will, Shield Focus, Toughness, Weapon Focus (longsword)
Skills Intimidate +8, Perception +3, Sense Motive +3, Survival +6
Languages Turkish
Other Gear full plate, heavy steel shield, longsword


Turkey Archer      CR 2
XP 600
Turkey Fighter 3
CN Small humanoid (turkey)
Init +3; Senses Perception +2
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 17 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +1 size)
hp 30 (3d10+9)
Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +1 (+1 vs. fear)
Defensive Abilities bravery +1
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 20 ft.
Ranged composite longbow +8 (1d6+1/×3)
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 12, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 13, Wis 9, Cha 12
Base Atk +3; CMB +3; CMD 16
Feats Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Toughness, Weapon Focus (longbow)
Skills Perception +2, Ride +5, Stealth +6, Survival +5
Languages Turkish
SQ armor training 1
Other Gear chainmail, composite longbow


Turkey Sorcerer      CR 2
XP 600
Turkey Sorcerer 3
CG Small humanoid (turkey)
Init -1; Senses Perception +4
-------DEFENSE-------
AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10 (-1 Dex, +1 size)
hp 22 (3d6+9)
Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +3
Resist acid 5, cold 5
-------OFFENSE-------
Speed 20 ft.
Melee quarterstaff +3 (1d4+1)
Special Attacks bloodline arcana: celestial
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 3rd; concentration +6):
    1st (6/day)—bless, magic missile, shocking grasp, true strike
    0st (at will)—acid splash, daze (DC 14), drench (DC 13), jolt, mage hand
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 12, Dex 9, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 9, Cha 17
Base Atk +1; CMB +1; CMD 10
Feats Eschew Materials, Spell Focus (enchantment), Toughness
Skills Appraise +7, Heal +5, Perception +2, Use Magic Device +9
Languages Turkish
SQ bloodlines (celestial)
Other Gear dagger

These turkeys, like their predecessors, disappear when they are killed.


The Gobbler

On the strike of three, the world seems to go dim. A distant, deep gobbling can be heard somewhere outside the building.  It grows louder and louder, with caged turkeys echoing the sentiment, until a single ear piercing gobble shatters the high windows of the room.  Then the door bursts open.

Gunther Gibblet stands in the doorway.  He gobbles to the heavens, clearly out of his mind with drink and pain.  As the PCs watch in horror, Gunther sprouts long brown feathers.  His nose elongates and hardens, and his halfling feet grow yellow and thin.  He howls as his arms extend and then fold back onto themselves.  The quivering mass grows.  And grows.  And grows. Gunther is no more. In his place, a massive, terrifying turkey stands.

There can be no mistake.  Gunther Gibblet is a were-turkey.

Gunther fixes merciless red eyes on the party and attacks.

Gunther Giblet, Wereturkey            CR 6
XP 2,400
NE Large magical beast (lycanthrope)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +4
-------DEFENCE-------
AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+3 Dex, +7 natural, -1 size)
hp 76 (8d10+32)
Fort +10, Ref +9, Will +5
-------OFFENCE-------
Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +12 (2d6+5/19-20 plus curse of the wereturkey), claw +12 (1d8+5/19-20 plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
-------STATISTICS-------
Str 21, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 7
Base Atk +8; CMB +14; CMD 27
Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Critical (claw), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Perception)
-------SPECIAL ABILITIES-------
Curse of the Wereturkey (Su) A wereturkey’s bite infects a humanoid target with the curse of the wereturkey (Fortitude DC 14 negates).

       Wereturkey’s Curse
       Type curse, injury; Save Fortitude DC 14 negates, Will DC 20 to avoid effects
       Onset the eve of Turkey Day; Frequency on the night of every Turkey Day
       Effect target transforms into a wereturkey under the GM's control until the next morning


Resolution and Rewards

The result off all this nonsense varies widely depending on the player’s choices.  If Gunther is killed, then Drumstick closes the farm.  She hates the party for killing her father, but does not press charges.

If Gunther is simply subdued, then he returns to human form at daybreak with no memory of the night’s events.  He genuinely does not know that he is a were-turkey. Gunther has been getting “blotto” every Turkey Day eve for the past 20 years.  He wakes up the next morning completely hungover and usually in some strange place, with no memory of the previous night.  Because of this, he has no recollection of turning into a were-turkey, and does not think it strange when he wakes in torn up clothes.  He just assumes he’s a pretty crazy drunk.

Gunther received the curse from a magical turkey, the largest catch of his life and the one now immortalized in a picture on his office wall.  He will make this connection when told of his affliction.

A remove disease, remove curse, or heal spell will cure Gunther of his lycanthropy.  Otherwise, he will simply have to chain himself up every Turkey Day eve.

In any case, as long as Gunther survives the night, he will be thrilled with the PCs for cracking the case.  He will provide the PCs with whatever reward was promised and will even throw in a lifetime supply of turkey.  Though the PCs may have had enough of turkeys after the events at Giblet Turkey Farm and Slaughterhouse.

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