Rise of the Runelords–The Shadow Clock, Part 2

[Game date: 2014 Feb 02]

  1. Session 19
    1. Date: 2014 Feb 2

                                                              i.      PCs: Camla, Derik, Gragdar, Vaelmorn, Dikembe (Shoanti barbarian played by a guest player)

    1. Returned to Townhouse

                                                              i.      Took bats with use of darkness, and managed to return without attracting too much attention.

                                                            ii.      Carried bodies of Ironbriar and Xanesha

    1. Met with Lord-Mayor

                                                              i.      Filled him in, and he fainted. Removed magical ruffle.

                                                            ii.      Convinced him by taking guards to Sawmill and showing evidence of Ironbriar’s journal

                                                          iii.      Got rewarded.

                                                          iv.      Met his personal bodyguard, Markinen.

1.      Met Four-Tooth, Lieutenant of the guards

2.      Met Dirk, sergeant of guards

                                                            v.      Invited to a ceremonial dinner

                                                          vi.      Got a writ from temple of Sarenrae to have Restorations cast

    1. After resting, went with Dirk to collect evidence at Clock Tower

                                                              i.      Waited outside as guards went in and encountered Scarecrow.

                                                            ii.      Went in and defeated it

                                                          iii.      Valemorn levitated with Camla to top.

                                                          iv.      Gragdar climbed stairs and triggered bells falling. Barely survived, but many on ground perished.

                                                            v.      They cleared out the clocktower

    1. At the dinner party, were honored.

                                                              i.      Lord Mayor then asked them to look into a small matter with the Black Arrows. They are a group of rangers based out of Fort Rannick that keep the ogres and giants from the Storval Plateau in check. They have missed sending reports the past few months. The last messages from the hamlet of Turtleback Ferry indicate that they hadn’t been seen in several weeks.

    1. Return to Sandpoint

                                                              i.      Camla requests and gets Tsuto’s body to return to Ameiko for burial.









Rise of the Runelords–The Shadow Clock

[Game date: 2013 Dec 26]

  1. Session 18:
    1. Date: 2013 Dec 26
      1. Players: Camla, Derrik, Gragdar, Vaelmornhttp://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/208290/the-shadow-clock.jpg
    2. Rested in Sawmill for the evening. The following morning, they released the assumed messenger ravens found on the rooftop and followed them by riding on Vaelmorn’s giant Bats. It led the group to a rickety clocktower in the Underbridge.
    3. Assault on Clocktower

                                               i.     Vaelmorn and Camla leapt into the top floor through an open doorway. As they did so, a demon appeared in a cloud of smoke and lightning, accompanied by the smell of pungent sulfur.





                                             ii.    Seeing the fight, the others followed in on the second bat, but Derrik was suspicious and stayed out of combat, instead spending 3 rounds detecting evil. It paid off as he realized that the demon was just an illusion! And the true source of evil was just behind them! Just as the Paladin tried to warn his companions…




                                           iii.     The other demoic being cast off her clock of invisibility – a woman from the waist up, and a large snake below; Xanesha as she was known attacked Camla from behind, the devastating blow almost killing the man outright.




                                            iv.     The group shifted their attention to her. Gragdar’s undead hosts bore the brunt of her deadly spear attacks, giving the others time to reform battle lines.




                                             v.     A decisive use of the Blindness spell by Gragdar allowed them to finally close and surround Xanesha without provoking the deadly attacks of opportunity, even though she was able to remove Blindness on her next action.




                                            vi.    Lots of magical summons and Xanesha was trapped; boxed in by the confines of the small tower made her unable to use her spear. The naga resorted to the use of powerful magics, with particular benefit of Scorching Ray, to the chagrin of Vaelmorn.




                                          vii.     The heroes eventually succeed in killing her and find in her possession a letter from “Lucrecia”.




    1. Taking stock of their situation, they are deciding whether to explore rest of the Clocktower, or return to the Mayor.




Here’s the overview of the DF layout – as it was just the top floor of a clocktower, I used just the minimul of pieces. This picture is of when Camla and Vaelmorn leaped into the open doorway from atop the flying giant bat.



I ran Xanesha as written in the re-released Rise of the Runelords hardback version (Rogue 1). She is the first creature the group has fought with a base 6d12 combat dice; combined with her magical spear and her spellcasting, she was quite a formidable opponent. An illusory deman, and invisible sneak attack on Camla brought down half the group; later, two 8d6 Scorching Ray attacks on Vaelmorn brought the pain.

Rise of the Runelords–Sawmill

[Game dates: 2013 Dec 07]

    1. Session 16:
      1. Date: 2013 Dec 07

                                                   i.     PCs: Camla, Derik, Vaelmorn, Gragdar

      1. Meeting with the Mayor

                                                   i.     Heroes meet with Mayor Haldomeer Groboras in City Hall, where they are informed that one of the Magnimarian Justices is leading the hunt for the murderers.

                                                 ii.     Justice Ironbriar is summoned and they meet a stern tall elf. Unbeknownest to them, he is also the leader of the cult of the Brothers behind the murders – of whom Aldern was only a puppet.

      1. Assault on the Sawmill

                                                   i.     They manage to track down which sawmill and then try to gain entry, but are turned away. Derrik detects evil in the workers.

                                                 ii.     They decide to scout, and fly on bats to rooftop, where they sneak in through the messenger raven coop.

                                               iii.     They drop into the main floor, where they find Justice Ironbriar! He is surrounded by cultists in the midst of a ritual murder. In addition, they see Lyrie and Tsuto are part of the group!







                                                iv.     Vaelmorn drops in, and puts up darkness, but finds that it is repeatedly countered by Daylight. The fight is touch and go, leading to the destruction of most of Gragdar’s undead horde, but they prevail in the end.








I thought that Ironbriar would be an ideal Inquisitor – not only the NPC background of a stern Justice, but specifically the Infiltrator that defeats the pesky Paladin’s Detect Evil. And with the high-crit Elven Curveblade, and the ability to make it Keen and Bane, he was a formidable opponent. Adding on his followers, plus Tsuto and Lyrie (whom’s freedom he saw to – and who warned him about the drow’s Darkness abilities), the encounter turned out quite challenging and fun for all.


Elf Inquisitor (Infiltrator/Preacher) 8
NE Medium Humanoid (elf)
Init +13; Senses low-light vision; Perception +11
AC 20, touch 16, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +6 Dex)

DEF +9 DR 8 / 10 (magic)
hp 58 (8d8+8); judgement of profane healing 3
hp 69

Fort +8, Ref +11, Will +10; +2 vs. enchantments
Defensive Abilities judgement of profane protection +2; DR judgement of profane resiliency 2: magic; Immune sleep; Resist elven immunities, judgement of profane purity +2, judgement of profane resistance 6 (fire)
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 Elven Curveblade +14/+9 (1d10+2/18-20/x2)
Melee keen BANE +1 Elven Curveblade +16/+11 (1d10+2 + 2d6 bane/18-20/x2 – 15-20 w/ keen edge)

Special Attacks bane (+2 / 2d6) (8 rounds/day)

Spell-Like Abilities Detect Alignment (At will),

Inquisitor Spells Known (CL 8):
3 (2/day) Keen Edge*, ??, Ward the Faithful* (+2 to AC and +2 to saves)
2 (5/day) Litany of Defense (double defense), Hold Person (DC 14), Invisibility, See Invisibility
1 (5/day) Doom (DC 13), Shield of Faith, True Strike, ??, Protection from Law
0 (at will) Resistance, Daze (DC 12), Detect Poison, Read Magic, Detect Magic, Bleed (DC 12)
Str 12, Dex 24, Con 11, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 8
Base Atk +6; CMB +7; CMD 23
Feats Combat Reflexes (8 AoO/round), Improved Initiative, Toughness +8, Weapon Finesse

Skills Acrobatics +15, Bluff +6, Climb +6, Diplomacy +8, Disable Device +11, Heal +7, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (arcana) +6 (+8 to identify the abilities and weaknesses of creatures), Knowledge (dungeoneering) +6, Knowledge (history) +3, Knowledge (local) +4, Knowledge (planes) +8, Knowledge (religion) +8, Perception +11, Sense Motive +12, Spellcraft +7 (+9 to determine the properties of a magic item), Stealth +18, Survival +2, Use Magic Device +2 Modifiers
Languages Common, Draconic, Elven
SQ domains (murder), elven magic, judgement (3/day), Combat Gear; Other Gear MW Mithral Chain shirt, +1 Elven Curveblade, wand of daylight (10 charges) 150 GP
Special Abilities
Bane (+2 / 2d6) (8 rounds/day) (Su) Make the weapon you are holding a bane weapon. Swift to change type.
Combat Reflexes (8 AoO/round) Can make extra attacks of opportunity/rd, and even when flat-footed.
Detect Alignment (At will) (Sp) Detect chaos, evil, good, or law at will.
Determination (3 / day) (Ex): free action

– Aggression: Re-roll attack roll

– Defense: Immediate action to get +4 DEF

– Warning: If ally hit, can force reroll of attack

Elven Immunities +2 save bonus vs Enchantments.
Elven Immunities – Sleep You are immune to magic sleep effects.
Elven Magic +2 to spellcraft checks to determine the properties of a magic item.

Inquisition (Justice):

– Judicious Force (2/day) (Su): +4 confirmation roll for crit if you or ally w/I 10 ft makes threat.

– Chains of Justice (1/day) (Su): bind opponent w/I 60 ft w/ spectral chains (Will negates). Damage is mirrored to both.

Judgements (3 times / day): Can use 2 @ 8th level

– Profane Destruction +3 (Su) Weapon Damage bonus.
Profane Healing 3 (Su) Fast Healing
Profane Justice +2 (Su) Attack bonus
Profane Piercing +3 (Su) Concentration and vs. SR bonus
Profane Protection +2 (Su) AC bonus
Profane Purity +2 (Su) Save bonus
Profane Resiliency 2: Magic (Su) DR/magic
Profane Resistance 6 (Fire) (Su) Energy Resistances
Profane Smiting (Magic) (Su) DR bypass
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
Misdirection (Sp): Detects as a LN elf.

Necessary Lies (Su): +8 on saves vs. lie detection

Second Judgement (3/day) (Su) Variable bonuses increase as the combat continues.

Tactics HERO POINTS: 1

Before Combat Before combat starts, casts keen edge, shield of faith for +3 deflection, and Ward the Faithful

During Combat

1st round: Uses Judgment (swift) for Protection and Resiliency, Standard for Chains of Justice, Move to Melee

2nd round: Swift action to use bane

– Litany of Defense if going into melee (Doubles armor DR?)

– Judicious Force to get +4 to confirm.

Rise of the Runelords–Magnimar

[Game dates: 2013 Nov 30]

  1. Session 16:
    1. Date: 2013 Nov 30

                                               i.     PCs: Camla, Derik, Vaelmorn, Gragdar, Sharptooth (another friend took over running the goblin)

    1. Sandpoint

                                               i.    Returning to Sandpoint, they decided to keep Aldern’s death and subsequent undeath a secret.

                                             ii.     Camla went to store to get an airbladder for Gragdar’s newest goblin ghast acquisition

1.     Ven asked if they caught who did it.

2.     Camla couldn’t hold it in and said yes, and that he was punished. Ven retired crying and thanking Camla.

3.     He saw Orik in the shop with Shayliss, and Orik helped him find the bladder.

                                           iii.     They filled in the Sheriff and Mayor.

1.     They requested that everyone be armed and trained. Mayor said it’ll have to be run by the elders.

                                            iv.     They got a card reading by Madame Mvashti

                                             v.     They got summoned by Brodert and told more history about the Sihedron, as well as that some kids went to Chopper’s Isle and found an opening.

                                            vi.     Heroes decided to go to Magnimar as soon as possible.

    1. Magnimar

                                               i.     Camla and Derik went to Aldern’s house disguised as Aldern and a guard. They got to the upscale Naos neighborhood, and paid for a porter to clear the way for them to the townhouse.

                                             ii.     The others flew in by bat and walked in. They had trouble getting through the guards at Naos, and had to sneak in.

                                           iii.     Camla and Derik arrive at the house, and bluff their way in. But are shocked at suddenly seeing Iesha in there. And then are ambused by the “servants” – all four of them turning out to be faceless stalkers!

                                            iv.     Vaelmorn, Gragdar, and Sharptooth arrive in time to turn the tide of battle.

                                             v.     They manage to capture one alive, and questioning him, learn that they were hired by Aldern, but knew of his transformation. They also learn that Aldern had a visit from a woman and a pale elf some 4 months previous. They find the deed to the house, and the mention again of the Brothers and the Seven’s Sawmill.







Rise of the Runelords–Misgivings

(Pictures originally posted on the Dwarven Forge forums)

[Game date: 2013 Nov 23]

  1. Session 15:
    1. Date: 2013 Nov 23
      1. Players: Derrik, Camla, Gragdar, Vaelmorn, Ameiko (played by Mark, a friend of Camla’s player)
    2. Misgivings basement
      1. Following Iesha into a very large cavern opening, they see in the distance the figure of Aldern with several undead around him.
        1. He is crouched down and sobbing over what had become of Iesha. She is cradling him as he begs her forgiveness, telling her that it was “the Hurter”, and “the Brothers” that has caused all their problems.
          1. They barely recognize the cowardly fop whom they had saved from the goblin attack on Sandpoint during the Swallowtail Festival; the same magmanious noble with whom they had gone boar hunting. True, he wore the same finery, but now the blue and gold was ripped and stained with substances beyond just dried blood. The hands covering his face were wasted and gangrenous, the nails elogated into gore-encrusted claws – and an nauseating odor to match.


        1. As he catches sight of the group however, Aldern’s demeanor suddenly changes, eyes focused on Gragdar.
          1. The man straightens and enthusiatically greets his “greatest friend – the powerful and most excellent of warriors, Gragdar!” with Iesha completely forgotten.
          2. To show off his devotion to the ork priest, he points out a table behind him – now a shrine bearing Gragdar’s missing javelins, a pair of his gloves, what appear to be tufts of hair, and his name written in dried blood.
          3. He beckons for Gragdar to approach “and join us in consummating our… our hunger…”
          4. Stirring from whatever human pity she had remaining, Iesha shrieks out in rage and strikes at the remanants of her husband.
          5. At this, Aldern reaches up and pulls apart what appears to be a mask composed of strips of dried flesh – underneath which, Gragdar’s face stares back at the group!
        2. Combat ensues with the ghoul servants attacking Iesha as she rakes at Aldern and he rushes towards Gragdar.
          1. Vaelmorn casts darkness on a javelin and hurls it at Iesha, covering her and the 3 ghouls attacking her.
          2. As they fought, Derrik sees a strangely humanoid shape on a wall of fungus near the table; he realizes that it somehow is his own shadow! He must eat feed on the fungus to reclaim his stolen shadown, but resists the compulsion with a great force of will.


        1. The fight is quickly over, with Aldern defeated. They cut his body up and toss it into the whirlpool. Dying, his form reverts to that of the ghoul, and his face turning back into a mask of stitched dired flesh. They take the gruesome mask. They also find a note implicating “the Brothers of Seven” and a “Xanesha”.


      1. They burn down the fungal growth, and leave.
        1. Aldern now dead, Iesha’s spirit passes on, and the revenant collaspes. They bury her body in the yard of the manorhouse.


Rise of the Runelords–Misgivings

(Originally posted on the Dwarven Forge forums)

[Game date: 2013 Nov 11 – didn’t play d/t player illness]

In damp foundations of Foxglove’s manorhouse, ancient construction leads to some caves, inhabited by the same undead.

Listen, in the distance, is that them?WP_20131111_012



And what’s beyond that cave mouth?


Overview of the layout. Mixtures of the resin Caverns sets and the Chamber of Sorrows from DF’s KS 1.


Rise of the Runelords–The Skinsaw Murders

(Dwarven forge picture originally posted on the Dwarven Forge forums 2013 Nov 17)

[Game date: 2013 Aug 31]

After dealing with the deadly denizens dwelling atop Thistletop, the heroes took a trip to Magnimar to purchase some equipment. There, they learn about a rash of murders – mostly of wealthy businessmen, that are wagging the tongues of the cityfolk. The theories of who is behind the killings range from underworld deals gone bad, to the followers of justice bringing home judgment on those who would trample on the poor.

  1. Session 11:
    1. Date: 2013 Aug 31

                                               i.     PCs: Camla, Derik, Gragdar, Vaelmorn

    1. Sandpoint Council

                                               i.     The heroes return to Sandpoint and meet with the leadership and tell them about Nualia, and how she was still alive and behind the goblin raids.

1.     They were requested to keep that secret, for Father Tobyn’s sake

                                             ii.     They warned them about Orik and Lyrie

                                           iii.     Ameiko brought up rewards

1.     Titus said good idea and wanted to give plaque

2.     Ameiko looked unsatisfied, and when prodded suggested money

3.     Titus said funds are low, especially with Glassworks down.

4.     Group offered to hire workers in Magnimar to restart Glasswork operations.

                                            iv.     Sheriff Hemlock requested them take Tsuto to Magnimar for trial when they go.

1.     They secure him (borrowing broken chainmail and locked gauntlets from Savah).

    1. Shopping

                                               i.     They meet Katrine and Shayliss again, as they buy manacles at the general store.

1.     Shayliss is still upset at Vaelmorn as she tells Camla to beware of his traveling companion, since the elf obviously likes boys

                                             ii.     They get scrolls and spellbook evaluated by Vorvashali

                                           iii.     He is able to tell them that hair, fingernail, etc. can be used for scrying.

                                            iv.     They confirm that the pearl earring Lyrie had likely belongs to Tsuto

    1. Magnimar

                                               i.     Travel to city with Ameiko

                                             ii.     At the city, they deliver Tsuto to Ironbriar – a tall pale elf who is one of the city’s Justices.

1.     They also are introduced to a Lady Xanen (human woman with a hint of a foreign accent) who is brought in as a prosecuting attorney.

2.   They tell the pair about Tsuto’s crimes as well as their deeds in rooting out Nualia and protecting Sandpoint. They explain that as the prosecuting team, they need many details of what had happened. The heroes enthusiastically revel in their heroics – blissfully unaware that they are sharing all of their tactical details with the masterminds behind the next set of troubles.

                                           iii.     After brainstorming with Justice Ironbriar and Lady Xanen, they spend some time in the city to purchase supplies and equipment. They also hear rumors about killings that have been taking place in the city. The opinions of the murders are diverse, as most of the dead are bankers and rich merchant.

1.     Rumors abound of it being a cult of those freeing the oppressed?

2.     Or vengeance from a spurned business man?

3.     Possibly a monster in the Shadows?

                                            iv.     Vaalmorn spends substantial money to purchase a pair of riding bats. The bats and his use of levitation become a primary mode of transportation for the group.

    1. Sawmill Murders

                                               i.     Vaelmorn uses the bats to fly Ameiko back to Sandpoint, where he sees a commotion at the Sawmill

1.     Vaelmorn returns to retrieve the rest of the group from Magnimar and they return post-haste

                                             ii.     Upon their arrival back at Sandpoint, they are met by Sheriff Hemlock, who tells them about murders that have recently occurred in and around Sandpoint. The bodies of Harker, one of the Sawmill’s employees was found mutilated the day prior. With him, was the body of Katrine!

1.     Hemlock also passes on a piece of parchment that was pinned to the sleeve of Harker’s shirt; it is addressed to Gragdar! Hemlock says that he has Ibor Thorn, the other miller who discovered the body in the holding cells; in addition, Katrine’s overprotective father – Ven Vinder was in another cell after flying into a rage upon hearing of his eldest daughter’s death.




2.     Hemlock then tells them that there were three more mutilated bodies found at an abandoned outlying barn a few days prior. The three men were identified by a letter carried by one of the men; men well known to the Sherriff as notorious con men, swindlers, and local troublemakers.  The bodies were found when a patrol along the Lost Coast Road was attacked by a lone sick and insane man who was frothing at the mouth and clothed in blood-caked garments. After easily subduing the man, the patrol discovered the bodies.




                                           ii.  With multiple gruesome murders, the Heroes of Sandpoint gladly agree to help. They begin searching for clues:

1.   They examine the bodies of the 3 men from the barn kept in the basement of the Garrison. The bodies had all been horribly mutilated with what appear to be claw marks; prominently, each has the seven-pointed star carved on them and face and jaw removed. Hemlock said he wasn’t surprised that they had met their deaths as it was only a matter of time, but he tells them the method of mutilation was identical to Harker. They insane man found by the patrol – a local Varisian thug named Grayst Sevilla was taken to a sanatorium located half a day south of Sandpoint.

2.   They then interview Ibor, and find out that Harker was cooking the books and skimming money from the mill. He implicates the Scarnetti family




3.    They interview Ven without getting much information from the grieving father and ask to speak to his family.

a.     Solsta and Shayliss are upset.

b.     They suspect Shayliss but don’t find anything amiss.

3.     They also speak with a Maester Grump – a local farmer who had just come to Sandpoint with tale about walking scarecrows that were killing farmers! They get the location of the Hambley farm and promise to look into it, although Sheriff Hemlock worries that the moonshine on Grump’s breath is only dulling memories of a grim situation.




                                           iii.     After meeting with the various individuals, the heroes make their way to the sawmill at the edge of Sandpoint. Keeping a small crowd at bay are a pair of guards.

1.     They recognize one of the guards as Orik! The man who they let go from Thistletop! Vaelmorn is apoplectic!

a.     Orik says he was looking for a job after leaving and headed to the town.

b.     He said he had previously gone through Sandpoint and liked it, as well as the friendly people.

2.     Inside they discover Harker and Katrine’s body.

a.     They immediately recognize the seven pointed star carved into Harker’s chest – the sihedron. He too was missing his lower jaw. Katrine however, appeared to have died by way of the sawmill’s saw.

3.     They note the claw marks on Harker’s body as well as rotten flesh on an axe next to Katrine’s body.

                                            iv.     Hambley farm

1.     On way to the Hambley farm where Maester Grump told them the walking scarecrows orginated, they group stops by the abandonded barn where the trio of bodies were found, but they don’t find anything of note.

2.     Arriving at the Hambley farmstead, they begin making their way to the main house, when suddenly, one of the scarecrows leaps free of its bindings and attacks! They destroy it, but find it to be a ghoul dressed up in farmer’s clothing.

3.     They retreat and return riding on the giant bats, acid splashing all the rest of the moving scarecrows in the field.




4.     Landing on the one building, they see the ghouls inside.

a.     This leads to a fierce battle, but they eventually destroy the remaining ghouls – including ones that look like they were once  female as well as children.




b.   On one of the ghouls, they find an iron key hanging on a leather cord around his neck; the key bears a heraldic symbol of a curious flower surrounded by thorns. Derik recognizes it as the Foxglove family crest, whose estate is located on the coast a few miles west of the farm.

c.  In addition, a body with the now-familiar mutilations lays in the farmhouse’s kitchen – even through the decay and the swarming flies, the sihedron is plainly visible carved into the chest, as well a scrap of parchment pinned to the tunic, and addressed to Gragdar.



[This was the session which started part 2 of the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path, The Skinsaw Murders.]


Rise of the Runelords–Thistletop

(Originally posted on the Dwarven Forge forums)

[Game date: 2013 Jul 27]

On the lowest level of Thistletop, the heroes found Nualia – the woman who had united the goblin tribes in their common purpose. After a harrowing battle with her, they defeated her, only to find the memories of her haunted life flooding into their souls. Saddened at the loss, they nevertheless pressed forward, and discovered that she was far from the only source of danger in these ancient ruins…

Campaign Journal

  1. Session 10:
    1. Date: 2013 Jul 27

                                               i.     Players: Gragdar, Vaelmorn, Derrik, Camla

    1. Thistletop

                                               i.     The group returned back up to the other side of the bridge to recuperate after the battle with Nualia, taking her head with them. Among several notes and journals found with the body, they learn that Nualia planned to lead a goblin army to raze Sandpoint to the ground as a burnt offering to Lmashtu; her reward would be full transformation of her body into the fullness of a fiend – her arm of which was just the beginning. And the sacrifice of lives would fuel a “runewell” in the catacombs beneath the town! While they didn’t detail was how it worked, but cautioned that it not overextend the runewell’s stores, lest it be deactivated.

                                               ii.   They attempt to question the captive Lyrie about the runewell without success.

1.     Vaelmorn finds that Lyrie’s cat had partially bit through the ties, and uses it as blackmail to interrogate her. When she refuses, he kills it.

2.     As she rages at him, he throws her over the bridge, still tied up.

3.    Derrik jumps over bridge and rescues her! “Everyone’s redeemable.”

4.  After seeing the length at which the Paladin would risk his life for a captured hostage, Derrik and Gragdar relent to the others and allow her to be taken into custody.

                                             iii.     Sublevels

1.    Returning to the underground base, they find a secret doors leading to a trio of rooms. The first held is a barren room with an upraised dial and a marble throne flanked by statues of a man clutching a blook and a glaive. A ghostly figure seems to be seated in the throne – the same man as the statue. He seems to be addressing an audience as he moves about, his fingers decoradted with hooked rings. Camla makes out his words to be ancient Thassilonian, repeating the same message over and over: “… is upon us, but I command you remain. Witness my power, how Alaznist’s petty wrath is but a flash compared to my strength. Take my final work to your graves, and let its memory be the last thing you…”. They determine it is an illusion and continue.

2.  The second room contains 3 low tables covered with drills, saws, knives, and other tools. Near one of the tables, a mish-mashed collection of bones. 

3.  They enter into the third room, with no signs of magic nor evil detected and are ambushed by a wolf-demon of enormous size! The creatured mauls several of the heroes who were determined to bring it low. Until Camla, recognizing it as a Greater Barghest, screams out the danger to his companions. The bloody skeleton of Koruvus once again provides distraction as the heroes attempt to flee the room in terror and engage it from outside. The barghest proves to be trapped in the room, but rends the fleeing interlopers – who only managed to survive with the faith and blessings of Camla and Derik. From the doorway, a poisoned javelin strikes it square in the chest, but is not quite able to penetrate the thick hides of the foul beast. They stab at it with the recovered ranseur, but it quickly sunders the ancient weapon. The creature then attempted to use its charms to lure in Vaelmorn, which the drow narrowly shakes off. Finally, the power of Derrik’s faith brought low the creature with arrows that suck deep into the maw of the ravenous barghest.



A wolf-demon of enormous power!



                                           iii.     Exploring the rest of the subfloors, they encounter the undead shadows of the architects left behind to guard their creation.

1.     A judicious use of magic allowed them to overcome the non-corporeal creatures; Gragdar’s magic weapon spell on Derrik’s bow alloed them to save Shalelu from one of the shadows.

2.  During the battle, Gragdar takes command of one of the shadows.




A room hidden behind an entire wall that revolved to reveal the sarcophagi of the architects! And one guarded by their undead spirits!



                                            iv.     He uses the shadow to good effect.

1.     It explores the last basement room which it partially flooded. A giant crab was hiding in the water which the shadow quickly rendered powerless.

2.     They take the treasures from the room and guide the shadow back up to the midlevel to kill the strange tentacled squid-like creature living in one of the caves.

3.     They then command it back to the Thistle hedge to kill the creature that the goblins feared at the bottom of the “Howling Hole”.



And the treasury, partly flooded… unguarded, or so it seemed…


(An overview of the layout – note, I took some liberties with the official map.)


Rise of the Runelords–Nualia

Campaign Journal

Session 9:

  1. Date: 2012 Jul 13
    1. PCs: Camla, Derrik, Gragdar, Vaelmorn, Miyamoto
  2. Thistletop
    1. During the middle of the night, they spot a well armed human fleeing across the bridge. He is taken captive by threats of cutting the bridge.


      1. He tells them his name is Orik and he wantss no further part of Nualia’s crew; especially after seeing the massacre of the goblins by the heroes.
      2. He describes the ritual sacrifices that Nualia does. He requests they spare Lyrie. He is willing to go face justice.
      3. They tie him up and leave Shal to guard him.
    1. Goblins redux (and Lyrie!)
      1. Crossing back, they discovered the animated corpses of the goblins in the throne room. Entering in, they encounter a Sorceress, who is stationed there to guard against another incursion. Her scorching ray greets Vaehrun as they enter. Her magical attacks greatly injure the group, but she is taken captive.
      2. A fierce debate arises as to her fate. She is allowed to live, determined by the flip of a coin. She is tied up and left on the isle side of the bridge.


  1. Nualia
    1. Not wanting to give Nualia time to become alerted, they set off in search for her.
    2. They quickly search a capel to Lamashtu and move on.
    3. Descending, they find themselves in an ancient complex within the isle. The entire level appears to be canted, and the first room shows several statues that have toppled over. In addition, a pair of severed heads on spikes at the far end of the room turn and watch as they make their way forward.
    4. Within the exiting corridor, Camla detects a trap on a pair of statues. Sending forth Koruvus’ skeleton, they watch helplessly as a pair of portcullis slam down, subjecting it to the slashes of ancient weapons, before falling open to a pit beneath filled with spikes.
    5. Beyond, they find a small room within which waits an incensed Nualia flanked by a pair of dogs. “HOW DARE YOU INTRUDE!!” she screams at them as the hounds begin their attack. Her powerful sword blow cuts down Vartha’s skeleton in one slash; the dogs’ unearthly howl sends Gragdar fleeing in fear while Vaehrun is almost cut down by another swing of the magicked sword – he is only able to withdraw when his shield bash forces her to stumble back a few feet. When the drow tries to conceal the room in darkness to gain advantage, she banishes it with a wave of her clawed hand. “HOW DARE YOU INTRUDE!!!” Another howl sends Miyamoto fleeing in panic, his club dropped at his feet. A rout is avoided when Camla and Derrick step up to shore up the faltering line; Camla summons forth a skeletal champion behind Nualia – providing just enough distraction that Derrick is able sneak up and use Lyries’ wand of Shocking Grasp to send a bolt of pure electricity into the wayward Aasimar. Screaming at the sudden pain, her eyes lock onto the paladin and memories of her childhood tortures at their hands feeds her anger. “Camla. Derrik,” she utters, as the fury of the sword and claw dig into Derrik. The paladin uses all the force of his faith to remain standing, shored up by Camla’s healing to buy time for the others to catch their breath. Summoning the deeper darkness again, Vhaerun provides cover for Gragdar to once again use his connection to the negative energies to drain her life. She responds in kind. But the wear of the fighting has taken its toll on her, as she finally drops with a series of blows that find their home.250px-Nualia
    6. Upon her last breath, the heroes are assaulted by a wave of emotions; drawn into her death throes, they remember. They remember the fear of the dark, and the man who took her in. They remember the stares and murmurs and finger point by everyone wherever they went. They remember the whispered words murmured at each passing. They remember – was that Camla? – who plucked at her hair. They remember the shoving and rhymes – “Nualia, Nualia, girl with no mum; Nualia, Nualia, dad all gone; Nualia, Nualia, girl with purple eyes; Nualia, Nualia, beware her touch!” They remember the questions and requests – do your tears really cure warts? could you touch this? Could you kiss that? The varisians were always the worst. They remembered watching as their peers snuck their first kisses; and how no boy would talk with her. They remembered the giggling as they walked past. They remembered the young Varisian man who first told her she was wonderful and beautiful and special. They remember Dellek embracing them in hidden smuggler’s tunnels. And the shock when he called her those names when she told him that she was with child. They remember the man who had promised her forever, leaving Sandpoint with a sneer. They remembered her father’s anger and the nightly lectures about her sins. They remember the giggles that turned to snickers at the fishmarket. They remember the fingerpointing as her belly grew. They remember the night the pain felt as if the life growing in her was clawing its way out. They remember the blanching midwives stealing away the thing that came forth from her. They remember drowing into the grief, into the anger, into the loneliness, into the wrath… and waking months later into clarity. They remember locking the door to father’s room, and setting the fire. They remember going to Magnimar and taking vengeance against Dellek; and the quickening of the need for more against Sandpoint. They remember the woman who gave her the medallion that would guide them to destiny. They remember being drawn to the bricked up smuggler’s tunnel, and the quasit within. They remember the calls that led her to Thistletop. ‘FREE ME. FREE ME. FREE ME.’”
    7. Shaken, the heroes emerge from the memories, the pleading, demanding, monstrous voice echoing into the distance.



Lyrie and Nualia


I changed Lyrie to be a Magus as a solitary level 4 Wizard for 2 reasons: (1) aw written, she would not even be a speedbump against a full party , and (2) I thought that the concept of a magical rapier wielding magus with the high crit chance of shocking grasp would be too sweet to pass up! (My players are min-maxers and it’s fun for me to create similarly powerful challenges). To make it interesting as well, after the heroes’ initial incursion onto the island, the defenders were on alert; the goblin bodies were animated into undead, and Lyrie was stationed at the keep.

Lyrie CR 6

Female Magus 5 / Wizard 1
CE Medium Humanoid (human)
Init +3

AC 21, touch 14, flat-footed (+3 dex, +4 armor, +4 shield)

DEF +11 (+3 dex +8 shield spell), Armor DR 4 (Mage Armor)

hp 39 (5d8+1d6 +6 Con + 5 favored class)

hp 51 (5d8+1d6+Con 12) :
Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +5
Defensive Abilities mage armor, shield spell

Speed 30 ft.
Melee MW rapier +7 (1d6/ 18-20 & spellstrike)
Melee +1 keen rapier +7 (1d6+1/ 15-20 & spellstrike)
Special Attacks arcane strike (+2 damage), spell combat, spellstrike, arcane pool (6):

Magus Spells Prepared (CL 5th; concentration +15)
2nd (3/day): Scorching Ray, Mirror Image, Invisibility

1st (5/day-5) Windy Escape, Burning Hands, Ray of Enfeeblement, Warding Weapon, Shocking Grasp,

Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 1st; concentration +11)

1st (2/day) Shield, Mage Armor

Str 10, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 8, Cha 8
Base Atk +3; CMB +3; CMD 16
Feats Scribe Scroll, Combat Casting, Weapon Finesse, Arcane strike (+2 damage), Uncanny concentration, Combat Expertise (Magus bonus feat)
Skills Knowledge (arcana) +13, Knowledge (engineering) +13, Knowledge (history) +13, Knowledge (local) +13, Perception +1, Sense Motive +1, Spellcraft +13, Stealth +5
Languages Common, Elven, Goblin, Osiriani, Thassilonian
SQ arcane bone (cat named Skivver), wand wielder arcana

Combat Gear dagger, MW Rapier, wand of shocking grasp (CL 5, 9 charges), scroll of comprehend languages, scroll of minor image, scroll of see invisibility, scroll of sleep, scroll of whispering wind,

Other Gear cloak of resistance +1, silver comb (25 gp), spring loaded wrist sheath (can ready wand of shocking grasp as swift action), fine silk gown (60 gp), everburning torch, small pouch of artifacts (hair, fingernail clipping, used handerchiefs, and a pearl earring worth 50 gp) stolen from Tusto Kaijitsu, 3 pp, 278 gp

Spellbook Contains all prepared spells plus comprehend languages, detect secret doors, floating disc, identify, locate object, minor image, obscuring mist, see invisibility, sleep, and spider climb.


Before Combat Before combat starts, Lyrie casts mage armor. If she has sufficient warning, she subsequently casts shield.
During Combat

1st round: Using combat expertise and fighting defensively to augment her defenses while cast defensively warding weapon. (-5 attack, +3 AC)

2nd round: Swift action to spend 1 arcana pool to enhance rapier to +1 keen (lasts 10 rounds), cast shocking grasp, and use spellstrike to deliver the attack.

3rd round: Arcane strike each round after (+2 damage)

Lyrie uses windy escape (immediate) against any attacks that successfully hit her. She casts mirror image if she gets hurt even with windy escape. She uses spell recall (swift) for windy escape to use defensively. After using up her prepared offensive spells, she switches to using her wand of shocking grasp with spellstrike, all the while using the high crit modifier of her keen rapier.

Morale Lyrie is a coward at heart, and when she gets to half her hit points, she attempts to flee to the closest ally for help, using invisibility to help flee. If she believes the PCs have harmed Tsuto, though, her anger takes over and she fights to the death in an attempt to avenge him.



Ahhh… what fond memories of Nualia. I too up’ed her challenge, and what a memorable experience! She is the perfect candidate to be a Antipaladin, so I used a mash-up of suggestions from the excellent Paizo forums on variant interpretations of Nualia. In combination with her aura of cowardice, and the yeth hounds fear effect with baying (and the possiblity of Nualia herself using the bane fear effects!), half the party was always cowering in fear. The memory of the fight was driven home with the monologue I gave the players having their PCs experience her troubled backstory. Quite fun!

Nualia CR 7

Female Angel-Blooded Aasimar (Angelkin) Antipaladin 6
CE Medium Outsider (native)
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception -2
Aura strong evil, aura of cowardice (10 ft. radius, -4 to saves vs fear)

AC 17, touch 10, flat-footed 17 (+7 armor)

DEF +1 (armor), Armor DR 7 + DR 5/good if fiendish
hp 80 (6d10+24+Con 16) :
Fort +12, Ref +6, Will +8 SR 11 (if fiendish)
Immune disease; Resist acid 5, cold 5, electricity 5 (cold 10/ fire 10)

Defensive Abilities plague bringer, unholy resilience;
Speed 20 ft. (armored)
Melee +3 vicious Bastard sword +13/+8 (1d10+7/19-20/x2 + 2d6 damage if take 1d6) and
Claw +5 (1d6+2/x2)
Ranged Masterwork Composite shortbow (Str +3) +7/+2 (1d6+3/x3)
Special Attacks channel negative energy (3d6, DC 15) x3, cruelty (DC 15; sickened, staggered), fiendish boon 1/day (+1, 6 minutes), smite good 2/day (+2 attack, +6 damage, +2 AC), touch of corruption 6/day (3d6 plus cruelty)
Spell-Like Abilities Detect Good (At will), Remove Disease (1/day)
Antipaladin Spells Prepared (CL 3, touch +9, ranged touch +5, concentration +5):
1 (2/day) Doom (DC 14), Litany of Weakness, Bane

Str 18, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 16
Base Atk +6; CMB +10; CMD 20
Feats Channel Smite, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard sword), Lamashtu’s Mark (1/day)
Skills Acrobatics -3 (-7 jump), Bluff +4, Climb +1, Diplomacy +1, Disguise +4, Escape Artist -3, Fly -3, Handle Animal +7, Heal +0, Intimidate +14, Knowledge (religion) +10, Linguistics +2, Ride -3, Sense Motive +2, Stealth +1, Swim +1; armor check penalty -3; Racial Modifiers +2 Heal
Languages Celestial, Common, Elven, Goblin
SQ antipaladin channel negative energy 3d6 (3/day) (aura of cowardice, aura of evil, channel negative energy, clean small objects, cruelties (shaken [dc 16], staggered [dc 16]), fiendish boons (fiendish servant iii [2/day]), touch of corruption (3d6) (6/day), unholy resilience
Other Gear +1 Breastplate, +3 Bastard sword, Masterwork Composite shortbow (Str +3), 20 arrows , Sihedron medallion, gold holy symbol (worth 100 gp)
Special Abilities
Antipaladin Channel Negative Energy 3d6 (2 uses of Touch of Corruption) (DC 16) (Su) Positive energy heals the living and harms the undead; negative has the reverse effect.
Aura of Cowardice (Su) Enemies within 10 ft. are not Immune to fear and take -4 to saves vs. fear effects.
Aura of Evil (Ex) The antipaladin has an Aura of Evil with power equal to her class level.
Channel Negative Energy (Su) You can channel negative energy to heal the undead and injure the living.
Channel Smite Channel energy can be delivered through a Smite attack.
Clean Small Objects Small metal items in your hands are cleaned and shined.
Cruelty (Shaken) (6 rds) (DC 16) (Su) When you use your Touch of Corruption ability, you may also make your target shaken for 1r/Antipaladin level

You may only apply a single Cruelty ability to each use of Touch of Corruption, chosen when used.
Cruelty (Staggered) (3 rds) (DC 16) (Su) When you use your touch of corruption ability, you may also make your target staggered for 1 rd per 2 Antipaladin levels

You may only apply a single Cruelty ability to each use of touch of corruption, chosen when used.
Damage Resistance, Acid (5) You have the specified Damage Resistance against Acid attacks.
Damage Resistance, Cold (5) You have the specified Damage Resistance against Cold attacks.
Damage Resistance, Electricity (5) You have the specified Damage Resistance against Electricity attacks.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Detect Good (At will) (Sp) You can use Detect Good at will (as the spell).
Fiendish Boon (Enhance weapon) (1/day, 6 min) (Sp) Add keen
Immunity to Disease You are immune to diseases.
Lamashtu’s Mark (1/day) 1/day: inflict 1d4 CHA penalty on an opponent you strike.
Smite Good (2/day) (Su) +3 to hit, +6 to damage, +3 deflection bonus to AC when used.
Touch of Corruption (3d6) (6/day) (Su) You can inflict 3d6 damage, 6/day
Unholy Resilience (Su) You gain your Charisma Bonus as a bonus to all saving throws.


Before Combat If Nualia suspects combat is imminent, she summons her fiendish spirit into her sword, granting it the vicious ability, and casts protection from good.

During Combat Nualia activates her Sihedron medallion as a free action at the start of combat to gain false life.

She prefers to casts litanies on her enemies while in melee. She prefers to fight with her bastard sword and claw, her face an impassive mask save for her eyes, which blaze with anger; but she will not hesitate to use her touch of corruption to stagger particularly dangerous enemies. If she can, she will move to make sure her aura of cowardice affects as many of her opponents as possible before her yeth hound ally uses its bay.

She uses smite good as quickly as possible, preferring to target good-aligned divine casters. If possible, she moves into the hall to the south so that it’s harder to surround her, and so she has an escape route handy, using channeled negative energy to clear a path if needed.

Morale Nualia is loath to abandon her hard work, but if reduced to fewer than 15 hit points, she does just that, reasoning that escape and eventual revenge is better than death at the hands of the PCs. She does her best to flee Thistletop, ordering any surviving minions she encounters to guard her retreat.

To increase her nastiness even further, there’s a gray area in the rules that suggests she might be able to use her claw to deliver her touch of corruption as a standard melee attack – if you decide to go that way, her claw attack is a +9, and deals 1d6+3 damage (plus the touch of corruption damage and stagger effect).

Also not only is the yeth hound bay a fear effect, but so is bane, and bane‘s penalty to fear effect saves stacks with her aura of cowardice. She should quite literally leave your PCs cowering in fear! 😉

6hp * 5 + 10 + 3*6 + 6 favored class

False life: 1d10+5

Divine Favor: +1 hit and damage

Rise of the Runelords – Thistletop

(Originally posted on the Dwarven Forge forums)

[Game date: 2013 Jul 05]

The Dwarven Forge Woodlands set turned out wonderfully for the use as the layout for the Thistle tunnels leading to Thistletop. The PC’s were all understandably scared of squeezing into the mound of nestles, wherein dozens of goblins were hiding.

The group was able to successfully navigate their way through, although Gogmurt proved quite elusive with his special ability to walk through the thistle walls!

Stumbling upon the Birdcruncher tribe:


Fighting Gogmurt, as he casts Entangle!




Tangletooth slain…


Making the way across the rigged rope bridge, the heroes of Sandpoint arrive at the crumbling keep. There they dispatch the distracted guards, and Warchief Ripnugget’s hosts.

(Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough of my pieces to fully make out the keep, so I didn’t build out the courtyard or outbuildings. So just the front portion, watch towers, and throne room.)

Entering the open front doors:


Peeking into the throne room reveals the Warchief astride a giant gecko holding court over his tribe.



Exploring the courtyard:


Campaign Journal

  1. Session 8:
    1. Date: 2013 Jul 05
      1. Players: Group
    2. Thistletop
      1. Scouted Thistletop
        1. Scared at the fortified nature of it: the Thistles and the bridge
        2. Weighed assault options
        3. Decided to do a water assault
          1. Returned to town to get boat and waited a week until the new moon.
          2. Heard about the “sea monster”
          3. Reconsidered their options
          4. Went back, and camped out. Noticed evening fog, and decided to attack.
      2. Clear out Thistle tunnels
        1. Found way to Birdcruncher goblins and killed them.
        2. Found westernmost exit, looking over cliff out to the island.
        3. Wandered past the howling hole and found the kennels. They filled the goblin dogs full of arrows.
        4. Scouted out past kennels and spotted firepelt cat hiding around corner.
          1. Vaehrun charged cat and attacked. Gogmurt then cast entangle, and moved into and out through magical brambles and thistles attacking the party. They eventually capture him when Vaehrun remained beyond one thistle wall waiting for him to cross while he was harassed with spells and missle weapons.
          2.  Questioned Gogmurt and rested.
            1. Learned about the sea monster, as well as about Nualia’s companions.
            2. They leave him tied up in the Thistles
      3. Explored upper levels of Thistletop
        1. Crossing the bridge, they explored some of the ruined fort atop the isle. Shalelu and Vaehrun killed the sleeping pickle-thieving goblins. Then explored the courtyard, giving up after being unable to open up the nailed shut stable.
        2. They dispatch the goblins playing cards, and snuck up on Warchief Ripnugget and his retinue in the throne room. Summoning a deeper darkness, Gragdar moved into the room and killed all the goblins with the powers of negative energy.
      4. Chased Ripnugget down
        1. Following the open doorway down, they find a naked bugbear with a bow behind a line of naked female goblins. As they engage, the are surprised by a very-much alive Ripnugget who frequently charges while running alongside the walls and ceilings atop his giant gecko! They eventually take him down, but not before taking heavy damage.
        2. The group retreats back across the bridge.
        3. They vote upon Gogmurt’s fate, and decide to let him go, now that the Thistletop goblins have been decimated.