No Sleep 'til Absalom

Kelmarane: Day one
"Scouting" Kelmarane

Once Almah’s party is settled into the ruined church of Sarenae, she convenes a meeting. Her plan is to scout Kelmarane in order to get an idea of its tactical situation, since she suspects that a frontal assault would be easily thwarted. The battle market is as much fortress as it is a market, and they are badly outnumbered by the Gnoll tribe in the area.

She asks the adventurers to do what they can to get an idea of the disposition of the Gnolls, using her own guard and mercenaries as reserves and a watch within the Church. Dervel and Vug fly over the city on the back of his obsidian fly, but can see little in the waning light. What they do see, however, is more humans than they would’ve expected, including some humans and gnolls working a field of cacti that lays between the church and Kelmarane, as well as several caravans heading north from Kelmarane towards the Pale Mountain, protected by a fort overlooking the route from a steep cliffside.

Returning to the church, Vug and Dervel lay out a plan to head north at night to attempt to capture one of the caravans. The adventurers set out, passing through the field of cacti, which Dashki reveals to be a field of Pesh, the local narcotic from which Katapesh gets its name. The adventurers head east, attempting to avoid the fort to the northwest, and cross the river, discovering a partially-buried shrine to Nethys, god of magic. Forgetting the plan about caravans, they delve into the shrine and ultimately encounter an insane human in the tattered rags of ancient nobility. He babbles something about his homeland of Ibeq before transforming into a human-leopard hybrid and attacking the party. While being brutally dismembered, he bites Vug deeply on the shoulder.

While the insane man is bleeding out on the floor, Dervel plunges his strange ritual dagger into the man’s chest, removing his heart, and once he speaks a command word his eyes cloud over. Dervel tells the party that three caravans leave Kelmarane each day, headed north to the Pale Mountain.

XP AWARDED: 1600

GOLD AWARDED: I FORGOT BUT I HAVE IT WRITTEN DOWN AT HOME

ITEMS AWARDED:

  • Mysterious Punching Dagger
  • Brass Scarab of Open/Close
  • Something else I think, I should stop doing these at work

SCOUTING RESULT: Not a whole lot. There are humans around Kelmarane, possibly involved in the black market Pesh trade. Three caravans leave Kelmarane each day for the Pale Mountain. The tactical disposition of the Gnolls is quite strong.

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Bad luck in the desert
And a mold problem in the basement.

The adventurers report to the Pathfinder Great Hall in Absalom and are inducted into the Society. Each recieve a wayfinder, a signature calling card of Society members, and are asked to go to Katapesh to assist a Merchant Princess there named Almah Roveshki.

Once in Katapesh, the adventurers meet with Garavel, the majordomo of Almah’s house, and they travel for weeks through the desert in order to meet up with Almah’s party. When they arrive, they find the camp ablaze after the Astrologer’s wagon ignites. While the adventurers work quickly to douse the flames, over half of the party’s camels are lost.

A quick investigation reveals that a nearby infestation of Pugwampi, fey minions of the Gnolls, has infected the camp with bad luck, although a Cyclone card fluttering from the wagon and striking Dervel in the chest portends more than simple critter magic at work in the region.

Almah reveals that her ultimate goal is to retake the battle market of Kelmarane, a few miles to the north. Her family once controlled the town and the valuable trade hub it was built around, but was captured by a Gnoll expedition from the Pale Mountain several decades ago. In order to restore the party’s luck, as well as to establish a base of operations for the assault, Almah asks the party to clear out the nearby ruined church of Sarenae (now home to the Pugwampi) on a hill overlooking Kelmarane that has significant tactical importance.

The adventurers wipe out a small tribe of Pugwampi within the church. The church itself is heavily decorated with tales of the Templars of the Five Winds; most prominent is the janni Vardishal, who is a local saint of Sarenae and was granted immortality by a powerful djinni named Nefeshti. The Pale Mountain also figures prominently in the sculptures, as well as a powerful djinni you assume to be Nefeshti, who is in conflict with a third mysterious figure.

In the basement of the church, the adventurers discover a mostly intact alchemy lab, where a strange green mold attaches itself to Keku, who begins frantically digging within the courtyard. After a few minutes, she pulls an ancient, beautifully detailed rapier from the ground and, once regaining control of herself, begins to drink heavily.

Almah’s Party:
Almah – Merchant Princess of Katapesh (equivalent to a minor noble)
Garavel – Almah’s majordomo
Pactmaster Guard – Elite soldiers assigned to protect Almah (and possibly to keep an eye on her.)
Mercenary Guard – Hired by Almah, these are local mercenaries and quite rough around the edges compared to the elite Pactmasters.
Dashki – A local guide hired by Almah — renowned for his expertise on Gnoll culture.
Z-something – A cleric of Nethys and the party’s healer and alchemist.

XP AWARDED: 1000

GOLD AWARDED: 50gp (each)

ITEMS AWARDED:

  • Mysterious Rapier
  • Pathfinder Wayfinder (each player)
  • Ring of Feather Fall
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Final Confrontation in the Darkwood Vale
And Vug gets hit in the face some more.

The adventurers return Jurin Campbell to his father, who in return gives them a reward and a grilling about their involvement in the disaster that befell the attack on the fey. Once convinced their role was fully benevolent, he offers the adventurers a job. He and the Consortium feel that the Iron Lotus didn’t live up to their end of the bargain, unaware of the sabotage and mistakenly believing that the defensive wards they provided failed to withstand the fey magic. He asks the players to go to Absalom, to the vault at the center of the Iron Lotus school, and retrieve the collateral the Consortium provided. It should be a stack or folio of parchment — shares in the Consortium worth about 30% of its value. He offers you 500pp each for the job, payable upon delivery at the Consortium office in Absalom’s docks district.

Kimi Creed, waiting outside the Consortium compound, cajoles the adventurers into making one last jaunt into the Darkwood Vale to help rescue her father, Rolo Creed, who hasn’t been seen since the height of the battle. They head through the forest a second time with Kimi leading the way, who proves to be a capable fighter and guide. She leads them straight to the mysterious lake at the center of the wood, and they confront the spirit of the forest, who claims to have captured Rolo as a prize.

The fey spirit beguiles the adventurers through a portal in the lake surface into a mysterious wilderness seemingly existing parallel to the world they know. They begin to parley with her, but once she flippantly reveals that the fey were responsible for massacring the orc village, Vug flies into a rage and nearly takes the nymph’s head off. The nymph immediately sends them back through the boundary into the material world, at middle of the lake, where a freshwater summoning battle occurs. Keku’s dolphin and octopus prove scrappy and capable against the nymph’s prehistoric predator fish, who nevertheless get a few of Dervel’s fingers. With Kimi peppering her with arrows from her enchanted bow, the nymph makes one last savage grab for Vug, desperately trying to drown her. Vug drives her sword clean through the body of the creature, sending it back to its realm forever.

Returning to Falcon’s Hollow yet again, they encounter a mage of the Iron Lotus who seemed to be following the path of stars and would fixate on shiny things. They return him to town under the care of Aleera, who suspects his intellect was drained by a spell of some kind.

The adventurers also met Roger Hammersmith, a Pathfinder Venture Captain, who arrived in town amidst a small celebration just as they were returning Rolo. He wrote down the chronicle of their adventure and asked them to return it to the Pathfinder Grand Lodge, in Absalom. He also mentioned something about joining the Pathfinder Society.

The ogre was never reported again, presumably having returned to wherever he had been summoned from.

XP AWARDED: 1,550

GOLD AWARDED: 1,000gp (each)

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Droskar's Crucible Level 2 / 3

The adventurers delve into the stinkiest depths of the Kobold warrens and rescue the last child from the tribe’s cruel sorcerer-shaman. Six of the twelve children who had set out with Kiernan nine days earlier survived the ordeal. Some, such as Jurin Campbell, the son of the consortium boss, seem permanently traumatized. Others, especially Kimi Creed, daughter of the consortium’s chief ranger, seem to have risen to the occasion nobly.

They return to town, however, under the shadow of a supernatural fire that seems to have consumed the eastern part of the forest around the lumber consortium headquarters. They encountered many burned and wounded survivors of the battle returning to Falcon’s Hollow, and no sign of the fey, although the spirit of the forest clearly seemed pleased with the situation.

No doubt Kimi Creed will be heading to the woods to find her father — but the adventurers know nothing about what’s happened at the camp or if the battle is even settled…

[I want to call a do-over on the part where you return Jurin to his dad. I didn’t have anything ready for that, due to you guys pretty much aceing that last bit of dungeon.]

XP AWARDED: 1266 + 500 (quest)

HERO POINTS AWARDED: 1

GOLD AWARDED: 3000 gp and gems

(This should mean total party gold was 4624 (770 each) before you went to the shop, where you spent all your gems and 2000 gold. This would leave each of you with 437 gp. Yiyi to make things easier I’ll just say that’s how much it cost to get your armor refitted. If my math is wrong please let me know!)

ITEMS AWARDED:

  • Heartseeker Blade
  • Cloak of Resistance +2
  • +1 Battleaxe
  • +1 Spear of Shocking
  • Masterwork Mithril Breastplate (Ancient)
  • Masterwork Pick & Mithril Climbing Harness (Ancient)
  • Masterwork Longspear (Ancient)
  • Masterwork Heavy Steel Shield (Ancient)
  • Masterwork Dwarven Waraxe (Ancient)
  • Holy Symbol of Droskar (Anvil)

ITEMS PURCHASED:

  • Headband of Charisma +2 (All gems)
  • Black Fly Figurine (2000gp)
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Droskar's Crucible Level 2

The party advanced through the second level of the Droskar’s Crucible monastery complex, discovering evidence of an abyssal influence over the new kobold inhabitants. You suspect the abyssal presence also had something to do with the downfall of the Dwarves who once inhabited the monastery.

XP AWARDED: 666

HERO POINTS AWARDED: 0

GOLD AWARDED: Several gems (~400gp), Obsidian Owlbear Statue (300gp), ~200gp? Don’t remember

ITEMS:

  • Masterwork Sling
  • Boots of Elvenkind (+10 Acrobatics)
  • Slippers (????)
  • Droskar’s Gauntlet (+2 STR, Stone Shape 1/day, cursed (cannot be removed))
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Droskar's Crucible Level 1

The party overwhelms the kobold lookout at the monastery, preventing him from alerting any help. They then confront the wolfpack that was present at Kieran’s murder, killing its leader, a strong young Worg.

Throughout the upper levels of the monastery are clues that the Dwarves, once devotees of the benevolent Torag, had turned to the worship of a dark and sinister god.

The party continues down into the depths of the monastery’s lower levels, discovering a much larger and more elaborate complex not generally known to the locals of Falcon’s Hollow. It seems that the Dwarves had expanded at some point, and kept it a secret …

XP AWARDED: 950

HERO POINTS AWARDED: 0

GOLD AWARDED: 100pp 624gp

ITEMS AWARDED

  • Handaxe +1
  • Wand of Cure Light Wounds
  • Masterwork Dagger
  • Masterwork Light Crossbow
  • Ring (Unknown Fire Warding)
  • Flaming Bolts +1 (3)
  • Silver hammer, ornamental
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Disturbances in the Vale
Missing children, mercenaries on the prowl, and a darkness moving in the depths.

Each year the Warden of the Vale takes the children of Falcon’s Hollow on a ranging, to teach them the dangers of the forest. This has been something of a tradition for many years, since the darkness rose and the children were barred from even approaching the treeline. It was deemed important that they get over their fears, since so many would end up working among the trees themselves. It is therefore seen as an important and sacred tradition.

Ten days ago Kieran, the aging Warden, and twelve of the town’s children (each aged 13, just about to come of age) set out into the forest. They carried supplies for seven days, and were expected to return in five. Among the group were several children of consortium lumberjacks, along with Keiran’s own daughter. The children were scared but excited nevertheless, ready to see for themselves what they had always been warned of.

They have not been heard from since.

Keiran’s wife, a local healer and alchemist, fussed over the group before they left, providing them with numerous healing potions, poultices, splints and bandages in hopes of keeping them safe. Each of the children carried basic adventuring gear (7 days’ rations, rope, a hatchet, an oiled leather tarp, a bedroll, and some water.)

Early on their third night in the woods, just north of the ruins of an old halfway house (a prison / forced labor camp for the lumber consortium) they were set upon by a band of kobolds and wolves, including one particularly large wolf. Kieran was overwhelmed and slain by the large wolf, despite killing five kobolds. The children (along with the bodies of the slain kobolds) were taken away. Kieran’s body was left to rot, along with his family’s magical longbow and a gleaming masterwork shortsword, freshly forged and hardly used, save for the caked and dried black blood of those he took with him to the grave.

The kobolds have retreated to their lair beneath the ruins of the Dwarven monastery at Droskar’s Crag, through the forest to the north.

MEANWHILE

A spirit of the forest, appearing as a beautiful maiden clad in living foliage, appears to the adventurers and requests their help against the increasingly aggressive incursions of the Lumber Consortium. The adventurers discover that the Consortium has hired powerful mages to help clear the forest of fey, and have passed that information along to the beautiful spirit. They seem quite pleased to have the knowledge, but have not shared their plan with the adventurers.

XP AWARDED: 425

HERO POINTS AWARDED: 1

GOLD AWARDED: 0

ITEMS AWARDED:

  • Masterwork Shortsword
  • Troll Bone Club (see description)
  • Lash of the Vale (see description)
  • Horn of the Vale (see description)
  • Bondurant Family Bow (see description)
  • Potion of Cure Light Wounds (x3)
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