02 March 2015

Blog dust-off and Pathfinder Campaign stuff.

I haven't fallen off the face of the interwebs, but I think the reason I haven't been updating my blog is because I've been too busy prepping and running my Pathfinder homegame centered around The Emerald Spire Superdungeon, which despite such a lofty appellation, is really just a series of 120' by 150' dungeon levels. I like the module, but lament the lack of direct tie-ins to some of the other Golarion settings books, like The Technology Guide. I will probably end up re-running this module at a later time with a fuller rewrite of it to include a larger amount of the special Pathfinder things I personally like, and to expand the still expansive dungeon. Each floor takes between 5 and 8 hours to complete, this includes the pregame chatter and any in-game activity that isn't directly related to the dungeon delving.

So here is a dump of all of the expository stuff leading up to the start and the biweekly updates. Page break because of minor spoilers.




Intro and background:
Background
The Emerald Spire is the ruins of what is purported to be a mile tall tower made of solid emerald. It lays roughly halfway between two towns, the wretched hive of scum and villainy, Thornkeep, and the military autocracy, Fort Inevitable. Both towns are within the area of influence of the gleaming metropolis, Shardheim, the largest urban area in the known world, and major trading hub between the other major and minor geopolitical entities, with rumors of traders from beyond this world. Humans are in the majority, barely, followed by moogles, who claim to have been settlers or traders from another world orbiting one of the stars in the night sky. But all races, to include the socalled monstrous ones, are present to some extent. There are even rumors that the head of the first and largest banking firm in the world is run by dragon as old as Shardheim. Laughable really.
Across the eastern ocean is the giantish Protectorate of the Diamond Throne.
To the west are the forest kingdoms of the exiled faeries, elves and goblinoids.
Under the mountains to the north and south are the, one time beings of earth, dwarven clan holds.
Beyond the northern mountains are the dragon lands, filled with dragons and dragonfolk, the most numerous being kobolds.
Dramatist personae:
  • Mouse, a so-called "scout," currently on the run from a thieves/assassins guild in Shardheim with his elder sister Kat. Played by the other GM in our group.
  • Kat, an oracle, technically haunted. Played by the other GM's wife.
  • Dun'Sali, a sibaccae summoner. Death by crit to the face in the first session. Played by my wife.
  • Bro'Gakar, a half-orc barbarian, adopted "little" brother to Dun'Sali. The party babysitter.
  • nameless, a sacred fist warpriest, monk-like divine spellcaster. Dead in the second session from a combination crit and deathknell. Played by the other GM's wife's brother.
  • Zug, goblin alchemist and would be claiment to the throne of Zog, first, greatest, only, and last, goblin kingdom. Played by the other GM's wife's brother.
  • Teemog, moogle arcanist, currently wielder of firearms of a high-tech variety. Somehow not dead yet. Played by the other GM's wife's brother's SO.

Session one recap:

Cat and Mouse having briefly joined forces with Dun'Sali and formed a licensed adventuring party out Ft Inevitable, are now short one sibaccae summoner, but gained an orc barbarian by the name of Bro'Gakar, younger brother of Dun'Sali. They also brokered a peace treaty with the self-styled King of the Emerald Keep. What perils lay in store for our intrepid adventurers? Did they remember to declare their goods? Will they find more companions to use as distractions? Did they bring enough torches? Just what is the significance of the mysterious parchment? All these questions and more may be answered next time.
Also this happened last time: http://m.youtube.com/?reload=2&rdm=1bakrb4i4#/watch?v=LUYbu5DJA1U
Session two recap:
Having added a warpriest to Menagerie, our intrepid heroes made their way to the second level of the oddly named Emerald Spire. After making quick work of several skeletons and almost crushing everyone with a trap, their newly made adventuring companion fell before the might of the bone priest in charge. The remainder bravely ran away, holed up in a secret passage, and recruited a goblin alchemist. They then handily defeated the priest through better living with explosives and fire.
Session three recap:

When last we left our merry band of...adventurers, they had sent half of their party to hire a new member, the presumably cuddly but fearsome master of the arcane, Teemog, as well as purchasing 60 pounds of bacon as a bribe/payment for the goblins of the Emerald Keep.

After two rousing battles with first one spider and then a swarm of adorable yet deadly baby spiders, during which Mouse doused themself in oil and lit themself on fire, defeating the swarm.
They also met Nemeoh, a hell knight squire separated from his group who tends to get swallowed up by his sword.
Due to some shenanigans, Nemeoh, angered some guards further down in the Spire, Zug tried valiantly to set their crossbows on fire from stealth, as is the goblin way, and Bro'Gakar annihilated the door.
The Menagerie also learned that masses of meat pudding with eyes and teeth are dangerous, so dangerous that when we last left our...heroes...they were making a tactical withdrawal during which Bro apparently sacrificed his life buying them time.
However, the next day a letter sealed with a crest bearing a mask and two crossed daggers was delivered to them by being pinned to a dead goblin.
The letter reads: "We have your orc. If you want to ever see it again, bring us these books." And attached is a list of obscure texts as well as what look to be mundane genealogies and account registers.
Session four recap:
Having exterminated the semi-peaceful troglodytes and their magnetic god for the sake of some shine, The Menagerie made the trek to Thornkeep in hopes that the lawless town will be a bit easier to operate from than the bureaucratic, but safe, Fort Inevitable. Thus far they have made friends with one "snake" oil salesgoblin, and have a lead on some magical sword of ultra gobliness or something.

Will our heroes be able to brave the depths of the deadly labyrinth rumored to be beneath Thornkeep proper? 
Will Teemog blow the party up?
Will the dastardly and shiny Clockhead track them down to Thornkeep?
Will our heroes best the dangerous traps?
Did they bring enough torches?
Session five recap:

Having braved the depths of the not so Accursed Halls beneath Thornkeep, The Menagerie have unstatued the fabled Sword of Zog. With it Zug hopes to solidify his totally legitimate claim to the ancient throne of the Goblin Kingdom of Zog, throwing off the oppressive yoke of humans and elves and moogles.
Teemog has thus far succeeded in not blowing up the party, and himself, but has also failed to actually hurt anything with his weird gun.
The Menagerie has also managed to best the fearsome puzzle door finding their way down.
Will Great Chief Graalsk, the Brambleclaw King, who also has designs on the Sword of Zog and the kingship of the Kingdom of Zog, learn of Zug, son of Zog, and his coup in progress?
What mutated the goblins beneath the Accursed Halls?
And once again, did they bring enough torches?
Session six recap:
When we last left our intrepid band of extremely heroic adventurers, they had: killed the product of a deranged alchemist's mind (Snarltooth the goblin RIP), killed the deranged alchemist, killed the chief of the Brambleclaw goblins in Thornkeep, avoided death at the hand of the Brambleclaws, implicated the head of an assassins guild in Shardheim for the deaths in Thornkeep, gifted a nonfunctional construct to the inn, and successfully did not get lost returning to Ft. Inevitable.
Upon their return to the Emerald Spire, our merry band of goblin slayers discovered that the Emerald Keep tribe of goblins, who had been previously slaughtered by a wizard through no fault of the party, had all risen as flaming skeletons and smoking zombies; much to the consternation of Zug, the would be heir to the throne of Zog and master of the arts explosive, as well as the rest of the group due to the bizarre magical darkness that pervades the Keep.
Also, burning skeletons explode.
Will these actions come back to bite the party in the ass?
Will Cat and Mouse finally be brought to the justice of the guild they wronged?
Will Zug be able to actually amass a kingdom?
Why hasn't Teemog blown up the party yet?
But most importantly of all, where did the bugbear king's corpse go?
Session seven recap:
Mouse bravely tested out one of the several green crystal tokens, discovering that they can be used to teleport within the Spire. Later they all discovered that there is a limit of two creatures per crystal and that the tokens are not single use, but do require an hour to recharge. 

With trepidation, and concern for their backsides, the Menagerie made their way down to Cellar of the Emerald Keep. Discovering that all the traps had been reset, which were a simple task for Mouse master scout and amateur locksmith. They also discovered several presents that Klarkosh, the metal-plated mage and self-styled master of the spire. Presents that consisted of several thousand skeletal spiders coated with brass with jingle bells made into their abdomens, and a huge undead monstrosity constructed from moon-spiders and the corpses of slain undead and friends. 

They also recovered Mouse's discarded pack and found a giant key that allowed them to open a doorway into a pocket dimension. The resident of this pocket dimension being one of the most dangerous dungeon denizens, a beholder, who contrary to beholder nature, was not only not murderous, but also  very friendly and an inter-dimensional merchant. They were able to off-load some of their loot and purchase magical items that would otherwise require custom order or a trip to Shardheim, both requiring months.
Teemog discovered his much valued esoteric firearms are extremely valuable and don't belong on their world. He also discovered that despite his rifle shooting lightning, it doesn't do much more than tickle a living target. What possible use could it have?
Reprovisioned, they descended back down to the Den of the Norgorber Cultists, only to discovered the signs of a massacre: scorchmarks and bloody dragmarks. Evidently Klarkosh had also been here while the Menagerie was away exploring beneath Thornkeep. They were able to recover a fair amount of valuables, including the funerary clothes of an ancient noble who had transformed into a wight during his internment.
They decided to consult Abernard Royst in Fort Inevitable on the matter of the horrible, life-draining nightmares that were mainly plaguing Mouse.
On their return, they delved deeper, planning on checking former Godhome of the Troglodytes that were definitely crazy and attacked the party because they were definitely evil. But on their way down they discovered the minions of Klarkosh pulling guard duty in front of a freshly excavated tunnel towards the Spire. After a short battle, and a long walk, they discovered a natural cavern filled with glowing mushrooms and other fungi, and mining crew consisting of Gundrum, a pech and former servant to the Great Makers, the presumably long gone creators and master of the Spire, an Emerald construct, whose name consists of a large amount of static, and to clockwork servant, who being mindless, have no names. Our dungeon delvers, in a most unlikely turn of events, chose not to slaughter them all, and instead learned that Gundrun only works for Klarkosh, and the Emerald construct serves him only out of a sense of loyalty for restoring it and its fellows. The mining crew is currently stymied by a door made of some high-quality metal with no discernible method of opening it. After providing some helpful suggestions, they went further along the fresh tunnel, wary for the nercomantic excavators Klarkosh has created.
After another long twisty winding walk, they were able to successfully sneak up on a long excavator busy banging away another metal door of unusual quality. After using the barbarian lock-pick, brute force, they opened the door into a pitch black dungeon of metal.
I will continue to update my blog with recaps of my Pathfinder game until it finishes.