Welcome to the second Game/Session report series: the Wrath of the Righteous Pathfinder campaign, played under D&D 3.5 rules! Let’s start with Worldwound Incursion, the first scenario.
One funny thing is that while the road trip-style campaign starting with Sunless Citadel features a perpetually strapped for money group, this heroic (mis)adventure’s group is far richer ^^
- Azrael Galanodel: Aloof elven, part-fae on the side, wizard/sorcerer (aka. “Yo, I heard you like magic so I put magic in your magic!”), the group’s arcane spellcaster and magical damage dealer. Linguist — Yes, again. And this one’s worse ^^ —, source of weird knowledge and resident “ah, looks like I can do that…” guy (my character).
- Nessa Arensen: Human military brat, archivist (i.e. mage-style cleric) worshipping Sarenrae, the group’s primary divine spellcaster, healer and off-magical damage dealer. She gets along rather well with everyone and serves as the group’s conscience (Jackie’s).
- Theoban: Human crusader, the group’s tank and off-physical damage dealer. Secondary conscience of the group (NPC party member).
- Adariel: Drinking human ranger, the group’s scout and physical damage dealer. Tend not to get along well with…irritating non-combatants. Left the group on getting out of the underground (Emily’s).
- Annika Taveshti: Barbarian druidess, the group’s secondary healer, off-divine caster, off-healer and off-magical damage dealer. She tends to shy from the social side of things, has a bit of a cruel streak and is always accompanied by her dog, Sokto (Nick’s).
- Kennet Midashi: Human military scout, the group’s scout and physical damage dealer. An involuntary social specialist joining around the end of their underground trip (Beth’s).
N.B. : This report was unfortunately done a fair amount of time after the fact and without the benefit of the logs, so errors are expected.
So, I stopped in Kenabres for the annual fair, taking a break in my search of information on the Riftwardens/my parents/my heritage/strike what doesn’t apply when I suddenly saw Korramzadeh, the Storm King, drop on the city and get into a firefight with Terendelev, the silver dragon protector of said city. To be honest, I didn’t get time to do much more than panic, scream and try running away before getting dumped in the underground through the nearest hole…
Once I landed underground, I met up with Horgus Gwerm — a dour noble —, Anevia — the companion of the city’s guard commander —, Aravashnial — a blinded conjurer belonging to the Riftwardens — and what will make up the party. After dealing with a mad crusader lost in the tunnels and finding a set of magic silver scales — presumably belonging to Terendelev —, we rested at an abandoned, desecrated and re-consecrated temple of Abadar before encountering a group of molemen, lost descendants of the crusaders.
Said molemen were in a spot of bother — one of them was trapped under fallen rocks — so we helped them out and they paid us back by a warning about some toxic fungus very common in this section of the underground…A very timely warning given that we found a corpse infested by them a few caverns further. The next molemen we found though tried to kill us so when we found a third group, we asked what was up. We ended up getting invited to their village…
Once at the village, the chief asked to meet us and we learnt that, in the time since their confinement underground, the molemen split. While some — such as those we saved — kept to their vows and are searching for a path to the surface to kill some denizens of the Worldwound, others — such as those who tried to off us — became demon worshippers. Recently-ish the tribe inviting us found a path to the surface leading to Kenabres’s outskirts but, owing to the recent alliance between their fallen brethren and a group of Baphomet’s cultists, they don’t have the manpower to spare to actually use it. So the chief offered that, in exchange of us clearing out either the cultists or the corrupted molemen, he’ll send a squad of rangers to lead us to the surface and as reinforcements for the city.
Nessa, Annika and I took advantage of the chief inviting us to stay the night — and of the subsequent party — to get some information on the feud between Aravashnial, Adariel, Anevia and Horgus. Annika had the easiest job because she got Anevia and Adariel a few drinks and they told her without fuss that Anevia is inimical towards Horgus because he got by dubious means her companion’s sword — apparently it was pawned during a rough spot and the pawnbroker sold it before the agreed upon time — and refused to hand it back. As for Adariel, she just dislikes haughty people like Horgus. I had a none too difficult job because, even though we weren’t drinking, we’re both conjurers so it wasn’t difficult for me to build an amicable report with Aravashnial. The reason of Horgus enmity towards him is that Aravashnial is often seeking demonic influences in town and Horgus ran afoul of one of his witch hunts. And Nessa had the worse job: getting lord Gwerm’s story…that was interesting. Apparently, he indeed got the sword through a pawnbroker but even if he wanted he couldn’t give it back: by the time Anevia got to him, he had already sold it to one of his friends, lord Nyserian. The reason of his enmity towards Anevia is that upon his refusal, rather than talk to him about why like civilised people she broke into one of his warehouses…and disturbed his charitable operations. Yes, because he gives to charity. A lot. Enough that he needs bloody warehouses to sort everything out. …Hell, he gives more than Queen Galfrey! As for Adariel, his enmity is out of principle.
The next day we decided that Baphomet’s cultists, being closer, less numerous and less used to the place would probably be softer targets so it was time to boot them out. After the rangers led us to the cultists’ camp and we neutralised the lookouts — a pair of molemen —, it was time to use the advantage of surprise to get them all at once. So we broke into their improvised shrine while they were preparing for their morning prayers: a champion, two priestesses and five henchmen. Time for a firefight.
Well, I didn’t know we could hit that often the furnishings… We got rid rather easily of the henchmen and one of the priestesses, but the other and the group’s champion took far longer. We got the second priestess on a misunderstanding but the champion took long enough that I was down to throwing Acid Splashes around… Thing is, our enemies weren’t much more successful: the champion was redoing the door frame around Theoban while the surviving priestess was charring the walls black. We ransacked the place, found a letter presumably revealing the location of a few safe houses for the cultists — incidentally, Horgus was shocked to learn that Nyserian Manor was one of them — and a straggler on leaving the place: time to get some information! …I learnt two very important things then. First, Annika tend to be as…messy with her kills as any summoner. Second, the others — above all Theoban — seem not to appreciate how terribly messy a summoner’s solutions generally are.
After getting some clues on our next destination — the probably changed by now password and the name of the leader of Kenabres’s cultists up to Korradamzeh’s offensive — we left for the molemen’s village to inform them of our success, we got another party and the next day, left for the surface with our guides/reinforcements.
Once at the surface, it wasn’t pretty: roaming demons — we beat up a group of imps who were harassing a few survivors —, the Ring District — aka the castle’s area — locked tight, damaged buildings everywhere and Areelu Vorlesh’s voice asking for surrender regularly like a bad PSA. First things first, see if there isn’t a resistance to Vorlesh’s occupation somewhere: they probably have more information than us on what’s happening here, what with us getting trapped in the catacombs… We found then holed in the Defender’s Heart tavern and led by Irabeth Tirabade, commander of the guard. Ah, Aravashnial is shying away from her, something to look into… After talking with Irabeth, Horgus and Aravashnial, finding out that Irabeth was commanding the resistance because the city’s lord — Lord Hulrun — disappeared during its fall and consulting a city map in the tavern, we decided to leave the rangers at the tavern, escort Horgus to Gwerm Manor, visit the safe houses and then bring Aravashnial to the Librarium of the Broken Black Wing, aka Kenabres’s Riftwardens’ base.
Just before leaving though, Adariel offered to stay with Irabeth and spy on the castle’s area for the resistance. We wished her good luck and she went on her way…first stop: Gwerm Manor! Once there, we found an empty but somewhat intact place: apparently Horgus has a country house towards Nerosyan and he suspects his staff to have headed there following Kenabres’s fall. After dispatching a bandit set on pillaging his house, we left lord Gwerm to his residence and headed towards Topaz Solutions…which we found ruined. Next, we headed towards Nyserian Manor, where we found a demon disguised as lord Nyserian but not much else of interest: apparently the cultists ransacked the place on investing it. Then, there was the last safe house: the Tower of Estrod, apparently the main base of the cultists. We found a big group of cultists there, Minagho — leader of Kenabres’s cultists — and a mage who charmed Annika to try to get us to leave when she investigated the basement…and ended up on the wrong end of Sokto’s fangs. Lastly, we accompanied Aravashnial at the Librarium of the Broken Wing, which we found prey to bandits having thrown their lot with Areelu’s crew and currently harassing the librarians. We beat them, they protested that they did that only to survive which pissed off Nessa and Theoban — they could have bailed — which sealed their fates. We then learnt that Kenabres’s Riftwardens got killed while we were down there and the wardstone taken to the Ring District by Areelu’s forces. Aravashnial found a cure for his blindness there and decided to stay there to watch over the librarians while we went back to report.
Once we reported on what we found in the safe houses — information revealing that Vhane Staunton, traitor to the Fourth Crusade, was apparently based in Drezen; that Irabeth’s sword was being prepared in the cultists’ new headquarters in the Ring District for his use; and that Areelu Vorlesh was currently away in the Abyss regarding a plan involving the wardstone — Irabeth convoked us for a risky mission: help her infiltrate the Ring District and destroy the wardstone. We took a few objects like healing potions or an invisibility one — and for me a cloak of resistance and a cold iron dagger — and first we tried to see if we couldn’t enter by the front door: Areelu’s sorry excuse for a PSA was still being aired like a broken record, so there must have been a still open entrance to the Ring District. There was one and the good news was that we found where did lord Hulrun went. The bad news was that he was brainwashed and transformed in an ever-vigilant sentry, presumably by Areelu Vorlesh. Oh well, time to find another way in… We finally found an house whose roof was very close to the Ring District’s surrounding wall and we used it to get inside with the rangers’s help. We found out there that the Ring District was transformed in, more or less, an holding camp for those who accepted Areelu’s offer, that people there tend to disappear for a mere trifle, that the demon troops installed their headquarters in the castle and that apparently a girl was recently taken there. So we went to the castle, avoiding the patrols as much as we could.
After quickly beating the guards, we entered and met Othirubo — the cultists’ magician — with a squad of demons. We beat them, retrieved Irabeth’s sword that he luckily didn’t have the time to modify yet and made our way upstairs. There, we found another squad of demons that we dispatched and a door with an odd warning, considering that it was Areelu Vorlesh who posted it. Behind it: Sara, the girl who disappeared…with a surprising appearance. Apparently, she was mauled by one of the garrison’s demon, Areelu learnt of that, killed the demon, healed the girl, decided afterwards to transform her in a half-fiend and left her in this room to recover. It looks like her transformation doesn’t have any mental after-effects but given that we don’t have the time to ascertain that in detail, after she threw a (rather brutal) tantrum upon seeing her new appearance, we opened the door, gave her a cloak and told her that we had something to do upstairs but that we would be happy to lead her to the Defender’s Heart after we finished. In the mean time, if she wants, she can go there. On this note, we made our way upstairs once again.
Once upstairs, we found Jeslyn — second in command of Kenabres’s cultists — guarding the wardstone…who noticed our entrance…and who’s talking with Areelu Vorlesh! Given that it wasn’t at all time for subtlety, we let Kennet take an invisibility potion and do a beeline for the wardstone while we were being a distraction. After an irritating fight, due in big part to Jeslyn healing herself all the damn time and to the wardstone’s passive defences, the good news was that we managed to take down the wardstone. The bad news was that we took just enough time for Areelu to come. The worst news was that, just before trying to kill us and gloat about her master plan, she informed us that depriving her of Kenabres’s wardstone took down the whole network.
Luckily, she failed at killing us and had pressing matters to attend to, so she left on an ominous warning that we got new powers but that she would collect next time we met…
All in all, it wasn’t that bad an adventure, if a bit stressful: we earned a fair bit of money, quite a few magic items and got a status of demon-thwarting experts…which will be source of more annoyances than anything, I can just feel it…