Session report: Sword of Valor, part 1

Welcome back to the series of Session reports regarding the Wrath of the Righteous Pathfinder campaign, where I do reports of my D&D games with the LJF crew…more or less in character ^^ Let’s continue with the second scenario: Sword of Valor.

Dramatis personæ

Same as Worldwound Incursion’s, with the following differences:

  • Adariel is definitely out.
  • Nessa passes main magical damage dealer.
  • Azrael passes off-magical damage dealer, decides to play up his fae heritage like you wouldn’t believe and adds Knowledge user to his duties.
  • Annika adds off-physical damage dealer to her duties.

Report

N.B.: Part of 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, once we thwarted Areelu’s plan for Kenabres’s wardstone, we were asked by Quednys to go to the Defender’s Heart’s backroom…where we met queen Galifrey herself who wanted our report on Kenabres’s keep’s events. Nessa began to explain, but she quickly was overwhelmed by Mendev’s queen taking a personal interest on our trip which, given that the others weren’t exactly volunteering, led me to finish the explanation. After we explained what happened — as an aside, she was as surprised as us by Areelu bailing out after her first attempt at doing us in failed lamentably: I would have expected her to try to disintegrate us next — we got drafted into retrieving the Sword of Valor from lost Drezen given that the Worldwound’s forces overextended after their assault on Kenabres. As I see it, there are two big problems with that mission: first, we only have a one-hundred men strong squad of paladins accompanying us, which is too large a force to infiltrate Drezen but too small and too poorly equipped — no siege engines or siege engineers on hand — if a force of any size hangs around town. Second being that we’re going on this mission because Aponavicus is currently away. Were she to come back, we would be deader than dead. On her way out, taking the rest of her troops because of an attack on Nerosyan, Galifrey declared us the heroes of the Fifth Crusade…weren’t we only at the Fourth?!?

After a small general panic attack at that declaration, we set off to recruit our old colleagues to supplement the three advisors Galifrey left with us: Aron Kir, a siege expert and scout; Sosiel Vaenic, a demon-hunting cleric; and Nurah Dendiwhar, a bard specialist of the Drezen area and its history. I was tasked with recruiting Aravashnial, which went swimmingly once we secured from Quednys that he protects the Librarium of the Broken Black Wing in Aravashnial’s stead. On our way back, we were discussing of what could we expect on our way to Drezen before entering the Defender’s Heart…and meeting Horgus!?! Weren’t Annika and Kennet supposed to just ask him for tips on how to buy supplies in bulk? While we were still wondering how they convinced lord Gwerm, who was intent on staying home last we saw each other, to join us Nessa joined us. She didn’t get reinforcements from her family — who decided to follow queen Galifrey’s army to Nerosyan — but managed to recruit Irabeth to command that army, which prompted Anevia to accompany us. Then, before leaving, Nessa and me decided to check up on Sarah: apparently, she’s still secluded in the tavern’s back-room. We learnt that she met her family, that she’s staying with Quednys because she’s fearing she’ll go on a rampage because of Areelu’s meddling (“You shouldn’t, we got hit as well and we’re not trying to kill people…”); wondering if she won’t have to see her family get old and die while not changing given she’s stronger, tougher, have better senses and so on (“I’m a son of the Fair Folk and no one complains…ok, we’re adventurers. If you need to commiserate about longevity, send me a word.”); asking if we had anything to hide her fiendish appearance (“I’m no good at illusions. You Nessa?”“Neither…We’ll try to find something during our trip, ok?”); and opting to stay in Drezen when we proposed her to accompany us to get some fresh air because her appearance could be detrimental to morale.

And off we went in the Worldwound…well, technically, Mendev’s border regions: we wouldn’t be entering the Worldwound proper until we crossed the Sellen at Vilareth Ford. But first port of call: Valas’s Gift, breadbasket of Kenabres! Which would work better if the ground wasn’t terribly dry… Once arrived at Valas’s Gift, we got a better handle of the situation: the wardstone network shutdown caused the Worldwound to encroach on Kenabres — hence the ground’s dryness —, Drezen’s troops took advantage of the assault on Kenabres and the other frontier towns to attack Valas’s Gift and abduct part of its population, and they left a tiefling garrison to occupy the place…Joy. Once the garrison dispatched without casualties, we decided to stop there for the night, made a funeral pyre for the victims of the attack and I was decreed the expedition’s ray of sunshine and happiness by Nurah. Yes, I swear!

The next day, we arrived at Vilareth Ford which we found held by an army of tieflings overseen by a few wrocks and a brimorak. The plan was to split, that Aravashnial attracts the tieflings attention with a pair of giant spiders while we go deal with the tanar’ris, and the paladin squad deal with the tieflings hopefully without demonic interference. We managed to keep the tanar’ris busy while the paladins dealt with the tieflings without too many problems but unfortunately the brimorak managed to teleport away to the next strongpoint’s commander, so we definitely lost the element of surprise. The nice news — beyond getting the high and mighty paladins to grumble due to having to scavenge for gear — is that in the half-destroyed guard post, we found part of the garrison! We sent them back to Kenabres with a request for reinforcements to hold the ford and continued on. Next port of call: Keeper’s Canyon! Former Mendevian settlement, back when Drezen was crusader-held. But first, the night: I got from Aravashnial that he never was affected to Drezen’s Riftwarden branch, contrary to my parents, so we’ll have to shift through the archives for clues on their fate; we got from Horgus that he’s still as cantankerous as ever; and Nessa got from Sosiel that Areelu transformed herself into a full-fledged tanar’ri, which spawned another round of speculations on her designs for the Prime. We agreed that she probably wanted to propagate her transformation more widely though.

The next day, we crossed into the Worldwound proper and decided to tackle whatever would wait for us at Keeper’s Canyon: given the eponymous canyon, it seemed logical that something would be waiting for us. On our way though, we got a first taste of the Worldwound’s…peculiarities: a rain of frozen locusts. Because Deskari and his henchmen were worried we would forget they hold the place and are cartoonishly evil. After sending Annika to scout as an invisible bird — Wild Arcana’s so nice… — we learnt that a bigger tiefling army and a troop of dretches were waiting for us, all these people led by an incubus. We quickly decided on a twist on last time’s strategy: Aravashnial would fireball the tieflings to convince them to come, the paladin squad would engage the mortal contingent while we bypass them to hit — and hopefully hold — the tanar’ris. A good point is that we managed to deal with them without too much hassle — in big part thanks to Dessia stunning the incubus out of the gate — but unfortunately this time the paladin squad took casualties handling the tiefling contingent. During the evening, I noticed Nessa looking forlorn, went to see her, learnt that it was due to the casualties — she brought her hopes up with the first two fights and they went down crashing — and managed to console her by pointing out that they were enlisted soldiers and that we could possibly influence which form would Areelu’s meddling take.

On our way through the twisting Keeper’s Canyon, we saw a dilapidated chapel up on the cliffs. After consulting our advisors (for the record, Nurah was in favour of bypassing the place and Sosiel and Aron were in favour of checking it out. With Aron throwing in the likely hiding place of some emergency healing supplies to sweeten the deal) we decided to go alone see what’s up in that chapel…and our welcoming committee was some thoroughly gnawed human skeletons. Along with some gargoyles: time to warm up! Once the gargoyles beaten, we had free run of the courtyard and decided to make a beeline for the stables. Once there, we found a bow for Kennet and a spear Annika claimed…and I ended up having to talk my way out of possible harm because of my reaction to cold iron. I managed to have them believe it was due to Areelu’s tinkering with the wardstone… Once in the chapel proper, we got attacked by a group of extremely annoying ghouls who got their kicks setting tigers on us…and, for reasons that reason ignore, found it a good idea to protect themselves against lawful beings. None of us are, so we got a good chuckle out of that decision. After dispatching them, we went to the inner sanctum just to get ambushed by a nabassu and some other ghouls. Once put down — this time starting with the spellcasters — we saw another nabassu come back after the battle and promptly wing it. Once the chapel was cleared, we found that the choir was under the effects of a permanent zone of silence, probably a wish; found and delivered the chapel’s healing supplies to our army; and got them to go up and help us clean out and reconsecrate the place.

After resting at the chapel, we got out of the canyon in the early afternoon to the sight of Drezen…and a vast greenish cloud of bugs between us and the town. After examining them, we found out that they were demonic bugs who should disperse once their queen, living underground, is driven off. Time for some spelunking! We grabbed Sosiel to help us out with a silence spell, Aron tagged along for the ride and off we went hunting the queen. After a fight far more annoying — thrice-damned confusion… — than really dangerous, the queen was slain, the bugs dispersed and we had free run of the tunnel complex. Upon a cursory exploration, we found a portal to the Abyss that we closed by collapsing the cave on it…using invoked racoons to burrow in the pillars. Go my lovelies! Once we dealt with the bugs, we decided to camp in sight of the town’s remparts and to try scouting it the next day.

Next time, part 2 of the Sword of Valor session reports: Drezen!

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