Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jacob's Tower, Level 13: Sorcerer

Level 13: Sorcerer is the final level of Jacob’s Tower. It features a three part battle with Jacob himself. It also describes the rewards upon completion of the dungeon, explains the secret purpose behind the tower, and reveals true identity of Nine.

Level 13 contains three new NPC stat blocks and three new monsters.

The final level of Jacob’s tower can be deadly. It has three back to back APL 15 fights, a challenging and rigorous gauntlet from which not all will emerge victorious. If you have a strong group, well built or large, then you may keep them at level 12 for the level. However, if your group is smaller or most powerful, you should consider bringing them up to level 13.

Level 13 may also be re-flavored as an epic three part boss fight for many campaigns.

Jacob's Tower, Level 13 is only available within the Jacob's Tower package.  The entire package contains improved levels, enemies, traps, and fights.  Besides Level 13: Sorcerer and all other levels, it also contains an expanded foreword which goes into more depth regarding Nine and the inter-dimensional bar stop.

If you have already purchased some levels of Jacob's Tower, we will discount that amount off your purchase.  Just send us an e-mail at zenithgames.blog@gmail.com

You may purchase printable PDFs of the entire package, Levels 1 - 13 for $9.99:

Jacob's Tower, Levels 1 - 13 ($9.99)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Jacob's Tower, Level 12: Arena

Jacob’s Tower, Level 12: Arena
(190,000xp, 79,600gp Max)



Arena is the penultimate level of Jacob's Tower.  It takes place in a large coliseum in front of a screaming crowd of thousands.  Arena features several large scale fights with open, complex environments usually not possible in dungeons crawls.  It also gives the heroes one last chance to flex their skills to a potentially adulating crowd.

The Arena

The PCs are thrust into sunlight. Momentarily blinded, they are acutely aware of various other sensations beating down upon them. The solid heat of the desert sun. The chalky dust beneath their feet and swirling into their faces. The deafening roar of a cheering crowd of thousands. And a loud, amiable voice barking out playful phrases in words too fast to comprehend.

As their eyes acclimate, the PCs begin to comprehend their surroundings. They are on the southern half of massive round arena, a coliseum 105 feet from end to end. The dusty ground is splattered by blood and the occasional humanoid bone. Chips and dents mar the ornate marble walls that extend 20 feet up to the viewing gallery, where thousands of enraptured audience member cheer on the PCs.

And what an audience! Creatures of all shapes and sizes: humans, elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs, titans, liches, gnomes, lizardmen, elementals, clockwork giants, large wolves with intelligent eyes, green clouds of gas, fallen angels, uplifted demons – everything race and species the PCs have ever encountered and countless more.

At the center of the arena, a tall marble column extends 50 feet into the air. At it’s peak, a pink, amorphous blob gesticulates with two waving pseudopods. It blinks half a dozen eyes, and through a score of glittering mouths he booms his gleeful commentary to the crowd. He is Ringmaster.

“… Nothing like yesterday’s show, I assure you. You see before you the finest Jacob has to offer. These adventurers have fought together through thick and thin, braving and overcoming fearsome challenges no other mortal could dare to face. And here they stand before us, stronger for the effort. Look at those muscles, look at those brains. Look at the courage! Look at the eagerness to kill! But before we get started on the event, let’s learn a bit about our contestants.”

Note that an invisible dome separates Ringmaster and the crowd from the action down below. Though the arena walls may be climbed, the heroes will hit a ceiling that domes from 20 feet up starting at the audience to 50 feet up at the top of Ringmaster’s pillar.

The Interview

Ringmaster stretches a pseudopod down from his column to where the party is standing. It produces a wand, then holds the wand to the nearest character like a microphone.

“So, adventurer, tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your name, and why are you here?”

Once the adventurer has done so, Ringmaster asks a follow up question.

“If you weren’t an adventurer, what would you do with your time? What are you going to do when you are done adventuring? Do you have any useful, legal skills that could earn you a day’s wages?”

Ringmaster asks any appropriate follow up questions to get the character to demonstrate any Profession or Craft skill.

The character may make a single skill checks for each Profession or Craft skill he has trained, demonstrating his ability to the crowd. For each DC 22 Profession or Craft check at which he succeeds, mark a success and the crowd goes wild. If the character fails to make any DC 22 Profession or Craft checks, the crowd boos him.

Ringmaster then asks the same questions to each subsequent character, also drawing Profession and Craft skill checks out of them.

If Ringmaster’s pseudopod is attacked during the interview it will come off entirely. Ringmaster and the crowd roar in laughter (and the pseudopod will re-grow), but the interview is be over. Successes should be tallied as they stand.

The crowd is either pleased or disappointed with the heroes after this display. If the heroes had zero successes, then they will actively boo them in the first fight, imparting a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves for all enemies. If the heroes had only one success between them, the crowd is nonplussed and will not cheer for or root against them. If the heroes had a number of successes greater than one but less than the number of heroes, then the crowd will be impressed and root for them, imparting a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves for the first fight. If the heroes had a number of successes equal to or greater than the number of heroes, then the crowd is ecstatic. They will impart a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves for the first fight, and also throw 10,000gp worth of gemstones onto the arena. These gems are automatically collected and added to the PC’s prize money at the end.

After the interview, Ringmaster pulls up his pseudopod.

“Well, that was certainly illuminating. But enough talk! It’s time for some action! Let’s see how our adventurer’s fare against . . . The Mammoths of the Clammoth Mountains!”


The Mammoths of Clammoth Mountains



Within a single round, the arena undergoes a sudden and violent change. The sun is blotted out by black clouds, and the temperature drops from burning hot to below freezing in a few instants. The PCs must make a DC 20 Fortitude save or become sickened for d6 rounds by the quickness of the change.

At the same time, the ground shrieks and rends. Ice and snow shoot over the dust of the arena, replacing it with worn rock.  Massive, 40 foot deep chasms split the earth (marked in purple on the map). Walls of grey stone explode from the ground, reaching high above the invisible wall (marked in yellow on the map). The walls of the chasms and mountains are covered with ice and require a DC 30 climb check to scale.

The blizzard further mars matters. The heavy snowfall drops visibility to 30 feet, and the wind imposes a -2 penalty to ranged attacks. The entirety of the map is considered difficult terrain due to the snow.

At the same time, three mastodons (M) materialize out of thin air, shepherded by a single frost giant (G). As soon as they are made aware of the PCs, they attack.

During this one round change, the PCs may take their movement and standard actions. The ground is not yet difficult terrain. If they are in a square that is becoming a chasm, mountain, or enemy, then they see the coming threat and may take their movement to get out of that square without penalty.

When the battle is over, the heroes find a Mask of Giants, Lesser in their inventory as a reward.


The Quiz

When the last enemy is defeated, the area reverts suddenly back to the hot and dusty arena. The crowd cheers wildly, and Ringmaster beams down at the heroes with six unnatural eyes.

“Well fought heroes! Nicely done! That’s three mammoths who have been frozen in their tracks!

“Let’s take a short break from fighting, and give the audience a chance to catch their breaths. How about a game of . . . NAME! THAT! ANSWER!”

The crowd chants along with the somewhat bizarrely named “Name that answer!” then goes quiet.

Ringmaster eyes the PCs, then asks a few questions. Feel free to replace the below questions with those specific to your campaign world.

Any PC may think about the questions, though the PCs may only submit a single answer as a team. Roll all knowledge checks in secret. For each correct answer given to Ringmaster, tally a success. For each failure, a bolt of lightning from the blue deals each character 6d6 damager (Reflex DC 20 halves). The PCs may choose not to answer a question after making a check, preventing them from achieving the success but avoiding the bolt of lightning.

The questions are as follows:

“How much, to the nearest 500 pounds, does a plasma Ooze weigh?” A DC 25 Knowledge (dungeoneering) check will give the correct answer of 6,000 pounds. A knowledge check of 20 – 24 suggests 5,000 pounds. A knowledge check of 10 – 19 suggests that they are weightless. A knowledge check of below 10 suggests that they weigh 9,000 pounds.

“What part of the crossbow catches the string?” A DC 25 Knowledge (engineering) check will give the correct answer, the nut. A knowledge check of 20 – 24 suggests a riser. A knowledge check of 10 – 19 suggests a serving. A knowledge check of below 10 suggests a tickler.

“The humanoid Abyss Gigas is vulnerable to what?” A DC 25 or above Knowledge (local) check will give the correct answer, nothing. A knowledge check of 20 – 24 suggests fire. A knowledge check of 10 – 19 suggests electricity. A knowledge check of below 10 suggests sunlight.

“What does the tree-like Irminsul keep within its trunk?” A DC 25 or above Knowledge (local) check will give the correct answer, a portal to another plane of existence. A knowledge check of 20 – 24 suggests undead corpses. A knowledge check of 10 – 19 suggests deadly poison. A knowledge check of below 10 suggests vegepigmies.

The crowd is either pleased or disappointed with the heroes after this display. If the heroes had zero successes, then they actively boo them in the second fight, imparting a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves for all enemies. If the heroes had only one or two success between them, the crowd is nonplussed and will not cheer for or root against them. If the heroes had three successes, then the crowd will be impressed and root for them, imparting a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves for the second fight. If the heroes had four successes then the crowd is ecstatic. They will impart a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls and saves for the second fight, and also throw 10,000gp worth of gemstones onto the arena. These gems are automatically collected and added to the PC’s prize money at the end.

When the quiz has concluded, Ringmaster once again engages the audience.

“But enough of question and answer. I sense that you are hungry for blood! Well, you are sure to see some in this next fight, though it may be a bit watered down. Let’s see how our adventurers do against the Sea Serpent and Stygian Turtle Shark!”


The Sea Serpent and Stygian Turtle Shark



Again, the arena undergoes a violent and sudden change. Within six seconds, the dusty ground transforms into warm tropical water, whose blue sheen is lost in the black depths hundreds of feet below. Four poorly constructed rafts float on the swells, and the sun contours their shadows through the sea.

At first, there are no enemies, and the heroes have an additional round to orient themselves and swim to a raft. However, at the start of the next round initiative should be rolled. The PCs have attracted the attention of monsters.

A Sea Serpent and Stygian Turtle Shark rush up from the ocean depths. They may use their capsize abilities to automatically flip rafts and dump any passengers in the water nearby. Doing so also destroys half of the raft.

When the battle is over, the heroes find a Folding Boat in their inventory as a reward.


Entertainment

When both monsters are defeated, the area reverts back to the hot and dusty arena. The crowd again cheers wildly, and Ringmaster looks down at the heroes with mock concern.

“My goodness, what a fight! You nearly didn't make it our of there.  Let’s hear it for our contestants.” The audience cheers and hoots wildly. “I think that we need a little bit of light heartened entertainment before the next fight. Alright, heroes, lets see if you can make our audience laugh!”

Into the area materialize a wild bull and a small table with a mirror and make-up kit. Half a dozen ropes tie the straining bull to the ground.

“Choose your best rider. He’ll be trying to stay on Sally, the wild bull. But, to make things a little more amusing, use that make-up kit to dress your rider up like a clown. You have one minute, starting now!”

The PCs only have time to make one Disguise check to dress up their rider. A DC 30 Disguise check yields three successes. A DC 25 Disguise check yields two successes, and a DC 20 Disguise check yields one success.

Once the rider looks like a clown, he should quickly mount Sally. When he does, the ropes keeping her in place evaporate, and Sally attempts to buck her rider off. The rider makes up to three DC 25 ride checks, though any failure bucks the rider and end the checks. For each successful ride check, mark one success.  The crowd roars in laughter for the whole affair, and will clap if Sally is ridden for all three rounds.

The PCs may of course choose to keep their dignity and refrain from any of this nonsense, in which case they will get 0 successes.

After being ridden for three rounds or throwing her rider, Sally will disappear.

The crowd will either be pleased or disappointed with the heroes after this display. If the heroes had zero successes, then they will actively boo them in the third fight, imparting a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves for all enemies. If the heroes had only one or two success, the crowd is nonplussed and will not cheer for or root against them. If the heroes had three or four successes, then the crowd will be impressed and root for them, imparting a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves for the third fight. If the heroes had five or six successes then the crowd is ecstatic. They will impart a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves for the third fight, and also throw 10,000gp worth of gemstones onto the arena. These gems are automatically collected and added to the PC’s prize money at the end.

Ringmaster guffaws loudly.  “Well, that was certainly funny! But enough comedy. Time to move onto the tragedy! Ever seen a plant kill a man? Now is your chance! Watch how our adventurers contend with the fearsome Tobongo.”


The Fearsome Tobongo



Foliage and greenery erupt out of the ground. The air suddenly is laden with humidity, and sweat instantly forms on the hero’s brows. Birdcalls and buzzing insects form a jungle cacophony amongst the bushes and brambles. Seven overgrown trees sprout from the soil (marked with green on the map)

Across much of the arena, a wide swath of brambles and mud materializes (marked by brown on the map). Moving into any of these squares uses 15 feet of movement, though any ability which ignores difficult terrain may be applied. The first time each turn that a character moves into the terrain, he may attempt a DC 20 Survival check. On a success, he may move through the terrain as if it did not exist for the rest of his turn. The enemies automatically ignore this terrain.

Out from the rich earth in the northern part of the arena grows a massive, angry looking tree, the Tobongo (marked with a T on the map). This Tobongo lacks the animate tree ability. Instead, as a swift action, he may automatically animate one of the seven trees around the area (marked in green). The animated trees instantly come to life and act on the Tobongo's initiative, using the same statistics as a Treant except for the Animate Tree Ability. The Tobongo may raise up to seven trees in this manner, at which point there are no additional trees to animate. If the Tobongo is killed, all of his animated trees whither and die, and the fight is over.

When the battle is over, the heroes find a Boots of Friendly Terrain in their inventory as a reward.


The Obstacle Course

As the jungle fades back into arena, Ringmaster leads the audience in applause.

“Incredible! And I thought the trees would have them stumped. What a group!

“Well, we only have one more fight left, but before we get to that lets watch some nice, safe action. How about … an Obstacle Course!”

Before our heroes materializes a short obstacle course – a pool of water leading to a wooden climbing pole, then a long balancing beam with a small crawlspace at the end. The crawlspace empties out onto a tiny platform where a red flag dances on a moving stick nearly out of reach.

“Each contestant will have one minute to complete the course. One contestant at a time please! And please note, you are now under the effects of an anti-magic field. No spells will work, and magic items are turned off.”

One by one, the adventurers will need to complete the obstacle course. This consists of a DC 20 Swim check, a DC 20 Climb Check, a DC 20 Acrobatics check, a DC 20 Escape artist check, and a DC 20 Sleight of Hand check. If the adventurer fails a check, he may try again. However, if he gets three total failures then he runs out of time and fails the challenge. In this case, he is smacked off the obstacle course by a massive fist of force which makes an attack on the adventurer at +30 for 2d8+10 bludgeoning damage. For each adventurer who reaches the end and grabs the flag within zero or one failures, tally a success.

The crowd will either be pleased or disappointed with the heroes after this display. If the heroes had zero successes, then they will actively boo them in the fourth fight, imparting a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves for all enemies. If only one hero succeeds, the crowd is nonplussed and will not cheer for or root against them. If two heroes succeed, then the crowd will be impressed and root for them, imparting a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves for the fourth fight. If at least three party members succeed, then the crowd is ecstatic. They will impart a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls and saves for the fourth fight, and also throw 10,000gp worth of gemstones onto the arena. These gems are automatically collected and added to the PC’s prize money at the end.

When the heroes have completed the obstacle course one way or another, Ringmaster will give his last announcement.

“And now for the final fight. The end all, be all. The total party kill. If they succeed, the heroes will go on to meet Jacob himself. Please hold your breath, for now we welcome onto the stage: The Seven Ankous.”


The Seven Ankous



Seven marble pillars rise 10 feet out of the arena dust. When they reach their zenith, each materializes a large dark shape: horrific, skeletal, alien creatures with black wings of smoking darkness. The Ankous are clothed in malevolent blackness, but burn with yellow fire that seeps out of empty eyesockets like blood. In unison, the Ankous raise their wings, then swoop in to attack.

Only one of these Ankous is real.  The rest are shadow doubles.  The Ankou is identical to the listed stats, with the following exceptions. The Ankou starts with 6 shadow doubles, and they last until killed (the real Ankou is indicated with A on the map, while the shadow doubles are indicated with S.) The Will save to disbelieve any shadow double is raised to 26. The Ankou loses his Circle of Death spell like ability, but gains a second casting of prismatic spray.

A shadow double's melee attacks cannot bring an creature below 0hp, though his bleed might.

If you feel like being extra deceitful, roll two separate initiatives.  Have four of the doubles and the real ankou go on one initiative, while the last two shadow doubles go on the other.  Have the character make Will saves when interacting with the real ankou, with the result always "you believe this ankou is real."

The Ankou shares a health pool of 266 with his shadow doubles. When any double or the Ankou himself is damaged, the health pool is decreased by the damage dealt. When the health pool reaches 0, the Ankou and all shadow doubles are slain.

When the Ankou is slain, the darkness of his wings slowly spreads, encompassing the area, the crowds, and Ringmaster. His voice can be heard over the roaring crowd, through it grows fainter and more distant with every passing moment. He sounds genuinely thrilled, and taken up in the moment.

“Stupendous! Fantastic! Amazing! Never has a mortal passed the final test! Never has a mortal gotten this far! My dear ladies and gentlemen, our heroes are on the way to see Jacob himself! The first heroes in an age! Good luck my dear adventurers! You will need it!”

If you are just playing Jacob's Tower and leveling up after Arena, distribute 64,000gp among characters evenly.


Purchase a Printable PDF of Jacob's Tower Level 12: Arena with improved monsters and challenges here for 99 cents!


You may purchase printable PDFs of the entire dungeon, including the secret final level and an expanded foreword, here for $9.99. If you have already purchased some levels of Jacob's Tower, we will discount that amount off your purchase.

Jacob's Tower, Levels 1 - 13 ($9.99)

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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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Pantheon 23: The New Pantheon

Using the memories and images gleaned from Adrian, the party teleports to the Root of the World, the ancient fortress of Kings in the Antarctic. Here they locate a jump gate to take them to the plane where the Trinity lives. A long time is spent buffing a determining bonuses before jumping through.

Through the jump gate is an extensive white plain of shining crystal. A small house, with a clear pool of water and a palm tree are off in the distance. Three figures stand by the house, waiting.

Our heroes make their way towards the trinity: Castor, the Alchemist; Avaryn, the Night Queen; Aymeric, the Judge. And, of course, Avaryn's unicorn Princess Sparkles. Layric realizes, much to his dismay, that he is no longer invisible.

The new pantheon make a few attempts at dialogue before they realize there is little to say. When the conversation turns sour, Avaryn makes the first move.

The fight is fierce. Avaryn does excellent damage with her bow, bringing Layric down to double digits. Layric transforms into a Troll for the regeneration. Punjin very nearly takes out Castor in one hit with quivering palm, but Castor makes the save on the nose. The unicorn charges into the PCs, and get in the way of the huge sized Lord Humungous. Rache (skyping in for the final session) closes with his character from a previous campaign, Castor. Hildegarde drops darkness for cover. Yeezus provides health and cover. Castor throws bombs like a madman, but the heroes have learned from their mistakes. Their saves are through the roof, and they successfully avoid any negative status ailments.

One by one, the old gods go down. As they go, their spirits coalesce into a gigantic monster, who comes to life when the last dies: The CR 25 Tarrasque.

Who actually goes down rather easily. As the Tarrasque goes down, the power of the gods, the true gods, begins flowing into the New Pantheon.

Then betrayal! By everyone!

Sensing that the power will be evenly distributed amongst the survivors, each god suddenly attacks the others.

Hildegarde wins initiative.  She casts time stop, teleports to the jump gate, hops through and casts earthquake on the room.  Unfortunately, she soon realizes that this room has survived two earth shattering cataclysm, and the jump gate is made of sterner stuff.

Layric throws a fireball, then makes the biggest mistake of his life: He doesn't fly up, instead staying within easy reach of the massive Lord Humungous. He is then pounced by Lord Humungous and instantly destroyed.

Punjin takes one look at the massive Lord Humungous.  The monk squares up ... then runs as far and fast as he can, 320 feet a round.

Yeezus also knows that Lord Humungous could easily take him out. Yeezus runs for the Jumpgate. It will lead them out of the plane and they won't get the powers of the gods, but he might get away from Lord Humungus. Rache attempts to toe-to-toe with the God of Darkness, and is destroyed.

Wiping the remains of Rache and Layric from his maw, Lord Humungous looks at his quarry: Punjin is too fast, and too far. Hildegarde is gone. But the god of darkness can beat Yeezus in a foot race. He pounces.

Miraculously, Yeezus survives the initial attack, but is brought down to a pittance of his health. He stares death in the face, knowing that just one more attack could kill him. And Yeezus can do nothing.

But wait! Positive energy deals three times damage to the God of Darkness, and Yeezus can cast Heal dealing 450 damage! That would instantly kill the already hurt Lord Humungus. All that he needs to do is make a pretty easy touch attack....

He fails.

He gets eaten.

Lord Humungous wipes his lips. And looks around for more quarry. None can be found.

Hildegarde escapes through the jump gate. She gives up her godly powers, but survives. She moves to a small, primitive island where she lives as a witch for many years.

Punjin runs for miles, until the power of the place is evenly distributed between himself and Lord Humungus. They are now both immortal, and cannot kill each other. They reunite, and decide to work in tandem to shape creation. Together they put out the sun, and plunge the earth into an undead apocalypse of their own making. Civilization roils and is destroyed. Humanity, and all living creatures, are driven to the edge of extinction.  Undead civilizations rise. Millennia pass, and the two surviving gods shape it all.

The god of water and the god of darkness. The New Pantheon.

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.