Shattered Star Adventure Path

Stakeout at the Puffy Pelican
Wherein our adventurers wait for slavers in the dark

Session the Fourth

July 3, 2017 was the Monday of the Canada Day long weekend. It was also the second weekend after high school got out and both my son (Darvo's player) and his friend Riley (Zaz's player) had just graduated so I kept hounding my son to make sure Riley didn't forget about it. However, I didn't bother to remind my very reliable friend Richard (Tapuaki's player) about the date and, of course, on the Saturday of that weekend he contacted me to apologize that he had forgotten about our plans and that he and his wife had made arrangements to spend the day with family.  

I guess I'll know better next time – always remind everyone about upcoming game dates! frown

Stakeout

After the party checked out the abandoned Puffy Pelican wharf-side tavern, they decided to separate and come back together down the road about 11:00 PM – an hour before the rumoured meeting was to occur – and set up to watch for activity.

Arriving at the Tavern

When they arrived, all was dark and quiet. Tapuaki (who had not re-summoned Mate Ora) set up a message link with Darvo who then climbed up onto the thatched roof of the abandoned tavern by the chimney. Darvo  agreed to start checking in with a whisper around 10 minutes and, when the link stopped working, he’d poke his head up enough for Tapuaki to see him and thus set up a new message link. Tapuaki, Rehn and Zaz hide together behind some barrels and boxes across the road from the old tavern with a clear line of sight along the end of the building opposite from the chimney.

Just before midnight Darvo whispers to Tapuaki that he thought he heard a sound at the far end of the building, on the water side. As he’s saying this the other three suddenly see light leaking between the boards across the windows and out the one doorway at the back which was not boarded up. It’s fairly steady, so probably some kind of lantern.

As Tapuaki is far more stealthy than the other two, he spends a few moments starting a “message” link and then moves stealthily up the side of the building and the dock off the back to where he can see through the doorway into the room. At first all he sees is the edge of the bar, but eventually, he can see past it to what seems to be three hooded lanterns sitting in a group, about a foot apart from each other, right in the middle of the room. He relays this to the others. Rehn says “Check for magic.” “Already on it” Tapuaki whispers back and then tells everyone that there’s definitely magic in play here. “Ho ho!” says Zaz, “It’s a trap!”

A moment later, Tapuaki realizes there are TWO faint magical auras in the room and then determines that one is centred on the three hooded lanterns and the other is located somewhere behind the bar, towards the end furthest from the door he's looking through. Unfortunately, he can't actually see what's causing it as while detect magic can identify things beyond the small wooden bar, his eyes cannot. Additionally, not having ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) he is unable to narrow in on the magical schools of either aura.

Darvo decides he will carefully creep along the roof until he’s over where he thinks you’re saying the hidden magic source is located so he can try looking down onto the spot and see what's there. Knowing that he’s not especially stealthy, he first casts unseen servant and sends it to start knocking on the front door as a distraction from any noise he might inadvertently make. (And it was a good thing too – Tapuaki, aware of his plans, hears every misstep he makes!) While Tapuaki is wondering whether the distraction was big enough, he notices a slight “wobble” from the aura behind the bar (having kept detect magic running), as if whatever was responsible for it shifted position slightly. Tapuaki informs everyone of this new information as Darvo carefully pushes aside some of the thatch to see what’s below him – only to report that, as far as he can see, there's nothing there. Darvo then decides to drop a copper piece through the hole he's just opened – explaining to Tapuaki that, if there's something invisible there, it should bounce off it. The coin plummets down … and lands on the floor. But Tapuaki senses the aura “jump”, almost as if reacting to the dropped coin. He also realizes there are now THREE auras in the room, two now in the same spot behind the bar.

I'm Going In, Cover Me!

Zaz decides that it’s time to just go in and confront whatever it is. Not even bothering to try and be stealthy (not only had Darvo already had his unseen servant knock on the door, Zaz has a -13 stealth check if he’s carrying his shield) Zaz walks up to where Tapuaki has been lurking outside the back door, whispering “Come on. Follow me in and let me know if anything changes about the magic.”  Sighing, Tapuaki jumps up on the deck and, staying 10 feet behind, follows Zaz in.

Zaz walks in the door, down along the bar, turns the corner around the far end … when the room lights up with a colour spray. The spell just misses Tapuaki but hits Zaz full on, blinding, stunning and dropping him, unconscious, to the floor. Tapuaki immediately lets everyone else know what just happened, takes a 5’ step back and, now that his opponent is visible, tosses an acid splash … which, sadly, misses.

Behind the bar counter is a thin man with a weak chin and a ratty, most likely self-inflicted haircut, wearing clothes that were once fine noble’s clothing but are now dirty and ragged. He casts another colour spray which flashes over Tapuaki, but the halfling is able to shake off the magic, remaining unaffected. Darvo decides to jump, feet first, through the thatch aiming to knock the man over while using acrobatics to stay upright himself. He successfully lands on the fellow, knocking him to the ground face first and doing a fair bit of damage, but also fails his acrobatics check and not only ends up on his back, on top of his target, but also takes some damage himself.

Moving just enough to free his hands, the caster reaches up and sends two magic missiles right into Darvo's back. Rehn finally skids in the back door and up to the end of the bar, whispering to Tapuaki as he does that he wants everyone to move away from the target so he can throw an exploding bomb at him. Tapuaki passes this information along, takes another 5’ step back and starts casting summon monster I. Zaz moans a little, no longer unconscious, but still blinded and stunned. Darvo rolls off the magic user towards the closed end of the bar in front of Rehn and wedges himself as far under the counter as he can.

The magic user pushes himself up and then, seeing that Tapuaki is working to cast something, casts daze at him. Unfortunately, Tapuaki fails his save this time, losing the summon monster I spell he was in the middle of and is unable to do anything for a few seconds. Rehn winds up and throws his bomb but his aim is off, causing it to fall short and to Rehn’s right, landing on top of the bar, right in front of his target. Their opponent does take splash damage and, while Darvo is also within range, he was protected by the cover of the counter top and avoids taking damage. Darvo stays where he is and casts cure light wounds on himself to heal the damage he took from jumping down from the roof.

The party’s opponent pulls a potion bottle out from somewhere and drinks it down. Rehn throws another bomb and this one lands right in the guy’s face, dropping him like a stone. Tapuaki comes out of his daze to discover the fight is over. Darvo runs over to the downed opponent, checks to see if the man is still alive (he is, but dying), spends one round tying his arms behind his back, checks again that he’s still not dead, and then casts cure light wounds on him.

Rehn spends a few rounds roughing up the guy and relieving him of his possessions. Darvo begins interrogating their prisioner with help from Rehn. A short while later, Zaz has recovered from the effects of the color spray.

Plutivarch Dremis

Our adventurers have taken down what appears to be a slightly unhinged sorcerer. He is quick to admit that the rumours about the Nidalese Slavers were created by him as part of a strange ruse to try to “impress” the local chapter of the Aspis Consortium (an unscrupulous multinational trade organization which is distinguished from other trade groups by the size of their operations, and their willingness to do whatever is necessary to accomplish their goals.). His plan, as far as it went, was to lure in newbie Pathfinder recruits, capture them and then deliver them to the Aspis Consortium HQ (located a few blocks from the tavern). However, he apparently wasn’t asked to do this, instead, he had just decided it was a good idea because he’d heard they weren’t happy about the Pathfinders in the city.

Darvo suggests taking him back to the Arvensoar to let them know what this miscreant has been up to. Once they get there, it turns out his name is Plutivarch Dremis and he is very well known by the City Watch. In fact, there was a bounty on his head for 100 gp due to a wide variety of minor crimes (many of which had made the Watch look bad, so they were really pleased to get their hands on him). 

Zaz takes the opportunity of having a happy, friendly officer to talk to, and asked about Natalya Vancaskerkin. The following Information was obtained

  • The watch hasn’t picked her up and didn’t even know she was missing.
  • Not surprised her disappearance wasn't reported since the Sczarni prefer to solve their own problems.
  • She’s known to run with the Tower Girls.
  • Finding any Sczarni gang is tough, but the Tower Girls will be even tougher as they had a falling out with another gang (the Wreckwash Blades) and had to move their headquarters; none of the Watch’s informants have been able to provide an update on their new location.
  • Rumour says the Tower Girls were slumming it in an abandoned warehouse in Underbridge, sharing with “Fenster the Blight” – a disreputable local who smells as bad as he looks but isn’t especially dangerous – who might know where the gang went or possibly even where Natalya is.
  • Directions to Fenster’s warehouse was provided.

Session Summary

XP Earned: 1400 total (350 each)

Encounters

  • Plutivarch Dremis, sorcerer, fought in abandoned tavern (the Puffy Pelican)

Treasure Gained

  • 100 gp bounty on Plutivarch Dremis (split equally between the adventurers)
  • Plutivarch's possessions (all currently in Rehn's possession)

    • 6 darts
    • 3 full potion bottles, all different in shape and contents (identified by Plutivarch as cure light wounds, cure moderate wounds and invisibility)
    • Belt pouch with 35 gp and 1 large translucent purple gem (probably amethyst but has not been appraised)
    • Nice, wickedly curved, dagger †
  • Other items

    • 2 empty potion flasks (two different shapes, one matching the full flask identified as cure light wounds and one matching invisibility)

† Based on comments made by Plutivarch during the interrogation, [[:tapuaki]] believes the dagger may be an Arcane Bond – he's heard that a few sorcerers have been known to have them. [[:darvo]] thought that was a very good reason to not give it back to him. If it is/was, it will be at least masterwork but no one has appraised it yet.

Spells Cast & Items Used/Expended

  • Darvo

    • unseen servant (lvl 1) – used as a distraction by knocking on door
    • 1 cp – dropped in an attempt to locate invisible opponent (reclaimed)
    • cure light wounds (lvl 1) - heal damage due to jump into room
    • cure light wounds (lvl 1) - save Plutivarch from death [DM mistake – I thought unseen servant was a cantrip]
  • Rehn

    • explosive bomb x 2
  • Tapuaki

    • message (cantrip) - used multiple times to create a "message hub" between party members
    • detect magic (cantrip) - used to scan the tavern interior
    • acid splash (cantrip) - used against opponent 
    • summon monster I (Sp) - casting lost due to hit from daze spell

Next Session – Saturday, August 12, 2017

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Investigations and Altercations
Wherein our adventurers attempt to investigate Natalya's disappearance

Session the Third

June 3, 2017, was the first active session with all four players in attendance, which was great. It was a good session, with everyone getting involved in role playing and combat. 

Investigations

Upon leaving the Pathfinder HQ, our four adventurers discuss where to start looking first.

The Arvensoar - the headquarters and barracks of the City Watch – is closest to their current location, but [[:tapuaki] is hesitant about approaching them (the Shoanti are not always well received by the other people of Varisia and he's extra unusual due to being both a Halfling and being trailed by Mate Ora). Rehn also isn't especially interested in visiting them either – he kind of likes to blow things up and that hasn't made him many friends among the City Watch.

Darvo suggests going down to the docks and seeing what can be found out there about [[:natalya | Natalya]] and the Nidalese Slavers. He's familiar with the area, knows a lot of the people and figures it should be relatively easy to gather some information over a few rounds of drinks or tavern games.

Zaz wants to go straight to  Washer's Row because he thinks there will be a better chance of getting information about Natalya from a known associate of hers. But it's on the opposite side of the city from where they are now.

After some debate, they agree to try the headquarters of the City Watch first, then Washer's Row, followed by the dockside taverns if they don't learn much from the first two options.

A Visit to the Arvensoar

The party heads for the Arvensoar and Darvo suggests he should do the talking as he really can be quite persuasive when he puts his mind to it. Tapuaki decides to remain outside. Rehn and Zaz walk in with Darvo, but hang back to let him approach the front desk first. Darvo does his thing but, when he is informed they'll have to wait until Captain Kasadei is free to speak to them and are told that they don't know how long it will take – could be 15 minutes, might be several hours until she has time to talk to them – Rehn pushes to the front and starts making a fuss, demanding to see her right now. The officer they were speaking with, who is actually quite busy himself and is now annoyed and eventually tells them to just get out. As Darvo and Rehn start walking out, Zaz tries to step forward and ask a question but just gets stared down as the officer points towards the door.

A Visit to Washer's Row

Unsuccessful with the City Watch, the party troops off to Washer's Row, in search of "The Amazing Zograthy".

The Amazing Zograthy
The Amazing Zograthy

Washer's Row is a tangle of open-air washhouses, launderers, and Varisian wagons and tents, the bulk of which offer laundry and tailoring services though there are several supporting various other trades. At the southern end of the row, there is squalid little carnival area set up – "Professor Callivario's Stupendous Exhibition of the Outrageous and Sublime" – which is little more than a series of rundown sideshow booths, carts with assorted games and amusements. Urchins abound and a group of men are betting on a cat fight to one side. This is where The Amazing Zograthy should be found.

Tapuaki, who is riding Mate Ora, asks an initially bored-looking old barker if he knows where they can find Zograthy. He gets a strange look but is pointed in the direction of a dark, well-patched tent with strange symbols painted on it and with chicken bones and other oddments decorating it. The party starts to head in that direction but then Zaz exclaims that he wants to try one of the games, stopping in front of a shifty looking guy behind a table with three walnut shells on top of it. Darvo (who is wise to the ways of carnies and con artists) tries to convince Zaz to keep moving but, when that fails, decides to stay with Zaz, sparing only brief glances at Tapuaki and Rehn to see where they go.

TapuakiMate Ora, and Rehn walk into a stuffy, cluttered tent with a table covered in blue velvet stitched with moons, stars, and arcane symbols in the middle of it. On the table sits a dusty crystal ball and a dog-eared Harrow deck and behind it sits an aged, bald, Varisian man with threadbare purple robes and piercing eyes – the one and only Amazing Zograthy!

Zograthy greets the strange group with nary an eyebrow raised, launching immediately into what is obviously his standard spiel to perform a fortune telling. Tapuaki waves that offer aside and gets right to the point – they are looking for information about a missing Sczarni gang member and were advised he might be able to help. Zograthy sits back, saying "Ah! Secrets. Probably my greatest trade!" and flatly demands 50 gp for what information he can provide.

Meanwhile, Zaz bets a few times on the pea and shell game, starting with coppers and then a silver, which he wins with, but then moves up to gold, which he (of course) loses. Darvo had warned him this would probably happen, but Zaz doesn't seem to care, simply enjoying the entertainment of trying to outwit the carnie's sleight-of-hand.

Back at Zograthy's tent, Tapuaki attempts to haggle, eventually getting the Sczarni fortune-teller to agree to answer questions for just 15 gp, but Rehn feels that is still too much and says so. Zograthy becomes belligerant at this, arguing that it's more than reasonable and threatening to withdraw the offer completely. Tapuaki, annoyed, grumbles and prepares to leave, directing Mate Ora to turn around just as Rehn steps forward and says something injudicious about how "flammable" the stuff inside Zograthy's tent looks. To which Zograthy sits up, says, "Now that was not a wise thing to suggest." and then calls out loudly, "Hey, rube!" and smirks. 

Realizing that they're probably about to be accosted and thrown out of the side show, while Mate Ora finishes turning Tapuaki casts enlarge on his trusty steed/companion. Rehn also whips around to see what's coming and they both see at least half dozen, angry looking, Varisians of both genders, well armed and armoured, heading their way. An altercation that could best be described as a bar fight (but without the bar) ensues as a total of 12 Sczarni Thugs converge on our human alchemist, halfling summoner and his enlarged psychopomp eidolin. Meanwhile, Zograthy slips out through an opening in the back of the tent and disappears.

Varisian Thug 1Varisian Thug 2Varisian Thug 3Varisian Thug 5Varisian Thug 6Varisian Thug 7
A Few Sczarni Thugs

At the sound of fighting, both Darvo and Zaz look down the alley to where, a good 120 feet away, they see their companions and the Varisian thugs starting to clash. Exasperated, Darvo starts to run, yelling out "Stop! We don't want any trouble! Really!" but is blocked from advancing as far as he could when he attempts to run past a pair of carnies who are otherwise just watching. By this time, Tapuaki has been pulled off of Mate Oras back and it looks like Rehn is about to go down, but Mate Ora has actually caused some damage to at least one of the attacking carnie/bouncers.  Having run up behind Darvo, Zaz loudly calls out, "One gold to anyone who drops their weapon right now!"  Roughly half the attackers (including a few who hadn't even made it into the melee yet), do just that. Rehn raises his hands in surrender and Tapuaki commands Mate Ora to stop attacking. 

The fight over, Tapuaki gets back up on Mate Ora's back, and, grumbling about just wanting to get some information and this was completely ridiculous, he heads towards the exit gate with Rehn, looking a bit sheepish at having just tried to punch out someone twice his strength, following him. They quickly pass Zaz who has a line up in front of him of seven (7) Varisians claiming to have dropped their weapons when requested. Although Darvo quietly notes that at least one of them is cheating as he hadn't even drawn his weapon yet Zaz just shrugs and, continuing to give out gold coins, says that they should leave on a positive note and "one or two extra gold coins is worth that". They then leave as well, to find the others, with Mate Ora back to regular size, waiting just down the street from the gate.

A Visit to Dockside

Having been unsuccessful in gleaning any information about Natalya Vancaskerkin or her disappearance, Darvo finally leads the group down to the Dockside neighbourhood, which he knows well having grown up on its streets and then working in the fishing trade for the past several years. They spend several hours visiting a number of the taverns and inns in the area, both reputable and not, spending a few coin to buy drinks and play some dice games while asking around about Natalya and the rumours about Nidalese Slavers that Sheila Hiedmarch mentioned.

They still don't learn much of anything about [[:natalya | Natalya]], but they do hear rumours of a pick up for one of these slave runs that very night, at an old, abandoned and boarded up shoreline tavern "not too far from here."  It's late in the afternoon and the only lead they have, so the group decides to go check the place out.

What was once known as the Puffy Pelican (a faded painting of a fat pelican can still be seen on the front wall of the building) has seen much better times. The doors and windows all appear to be boarded up and the back has a half-collapsed wooden deck hanging out over the high-tide mark. A thorough investigation of the site fails to uncover anything particularly out of the ordinary – searches do not reveal any secret entrances or exits and while one of the back doors that was, at one time, boarded up, has had the boards removed and is propped open, the interior itself is empty and truly appears abandoned with no signs of recent use.

Since the meeting isn't until midnight, the adventurers agree to go their own way, to get dinner or do whatever they need or want, and then meet up again just down the road from the tavern around 11 PM.

Session Summary

XP Earned: 1400 total (350 each)

Encounters

  • Brawl with a dozen Varisian thug "bouncers"

Treasure Gained

  • None

Spells Cast & Items Used/Expended

  • Tapuaki
  • Zaz

    • 7 gp, given to "bouncers" who "dropped their weapons"

Next Session – Monday, July 3, 2017

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Pathfinder Society Summons
Wherein our neophyte adventurers are summoned to the Pathfinder HQ

Session the Second

April 30, 2017, was the true start of this campaign, where our heroes were brought together, given a task, completed it (somewhat) successfully, and then given a quest.

Before the session even started I got a call from Richard (PC: Tapuaki) - he was sick as a dog and wouldn't be able to make it. So he sent me a link to his online character sheet, and I would just have to muddle along with our 1st level Summoner as a temporary NPCfrown

Summons from Sheila Heidmarch
A summons from Sheila Heidmarch

Summoned

Early in the morning, a courier approached each of the PC's and handed them a letter sealed with the mark of Sheila Hiedmarch, the first, and only, Pathfinder Society Venture-Captain in Varisia.

Each PC was invited to report to Heidmarch Manor (also the Varisian Pathfinder Society Lodge), an hour before noon, to discuss a "matter of grave import, not only to the Society but to Varisia as a whole."

Arrival at the Varisian Pathfinder Society HQ

About a quarter of an hour before 11 in the morning, Tapuaki arrived, with the weird, disturbing form of his eidolon, Mate Ora, at his side. The Varisian serving woman who answered the door was initially taken aback by the sight of his unusual companion but invited them in when shown the summons letter. She requested he, uh they, wait in the foyer until "the others" had arrived.

There was a single bench in the foyer, though it was (of course!) sized for humans. Mate Ora provided assistance so Tapuaki could reach seat without having to struggle and then settled down by his feet.

Ten minutes later, [[:darvo] and Rehn approached the manor gate from opposite directions, looked each other up and down, both briefly and somewhat warily, before heading up the front path together. As they were knocking, Zaz, his huge tower shield strapped to his back, came in the gate and jogged up the front steps just as the door opened. The same serving woman opened the door, ushering them in when they presented their letters, where they were quick to notice the small, highly tattooed Tapuaki sitting on the bench with a … black? … dog? … thing? … lying on the floor at his feet.

Once they were inside the front door, the serving woman turned back to let them know that they would have to remain in the foyer for a bit longer than expected as Venture-Captain Heidmarch was just finishing up a meeting with an important visitor who had unexpectedly shown up earlier in the morning.

Darvo moved across the room to sit on the arm of the bench on the opposite side from where Tapuaki was sitting, took out his pan flute and started to play on it softly. Zaz leaned on the wall near the bench and the open door leading further into the manor, and Rehn just stood in the middle of the room, using a dagger to clean his fingernails.

A few minutes into their wait, a house cat stalked into the room as if she owned it, took three or four steps and then froze, a low growl in its throat as it looked right at Mate Ora. Zaz, deciding that he didn't want to see a yowling fight start, knelt down, put out a hand and tried to settle the cat's nerves. He was successful and able to pick the cat up and pat it soothingly for a few minutes before letting it jump down and run back into the main part of the manor.

Another 10 minutes passed with none of the PC's talking to the others, each keeping to themselves and their thoughts. Finally, Sheila enters with her guest, an attractive half-elven woman, at her side. This woman is introduced as Koriah Azmeren whom Rehn and Darvo recognize as one of the country's most famous Pathfinders and an expert on the region known as the Darklands. Sheila  apologizes for the delay so far and says it will be a little longer before she can explain why she called them in "as I must conclude my business with Pathfinder Azmeren before we meet." But, she adds, there is a task she hopes they might be able to help them with.

Paradox Box
Paradox Box

The Paradox Box

She takes them to the library where a stone box, a little larger than one cubic foot, covered in carvings sits on a table. She explains it is called a Paradox Box, an ancient Thassiolonian puzzle and that although there appear to be seams where the top might come off, they are only shallow grooves. "Each paradox box has its own secret method of being opened. Essentially, a paradox box substitutes hidden catches and magical triggers for a lock. Given time, anyone clever enough could figure out how to open a paradox box, just as given time, a locksmith can open any lock." It turns out that this particular box was just brought in by Koriah and while she has taken some preliminary notes she has not had time to investigate it thoroughly and so has not yet figured out the trick to open it.

"So…" she says, "why don't you put your heads together and see if you can't do that for me? Even if the box is empty, as I suspect it probably is, knowing the method of opening it makes it a valuable find anyway. I'll return shortly, and I hope to see that box open! Think of this as an audition, if you will—because the actual task I want to speak to you about soon will require as much wit as it will brawn!"

Left to their own devices, the PC's finally start talking to each other, with Darvo and Zaz taking an up close look at the box. They read Pathfinder Azmeren's notes, discover some oddities about the device and, in fairly quick order, figure out what to do to make it open …

Which immediately causes two Pugwampis Gremlins to be summoned into the room!

Pugwampis attack!
Pugwampis attack!

The pugwampis are more interested in causing destruction and mayhem than hurting anyone and immediately jump from where they appear to tables and bookshelves along the side of the room, one starts to chew on candles and rip up scrolls lying on the table, the other starts pulling books out of a bookshelf, ripping out pages and tossing them into the air. They are also screaming what can only be obscenities at the top of their lungs (no one understands the language).

Quick little buggers, the pugwampis rip up and toss around a second set of scrolls and books before anyone can take a breath.

Rehn steps in and tries to hit the one closest to him which is on a table at the back of the room gleefully ripping up scrolls and chewing on candle sticks. Swinging his heavy mace his attack is defeated by the pugwampis' unluck aura and instead gouges a deep line across the top of the mahogany table. Zaz tries to grapple the creature nearest to him which is jumping around on another table in front of a bookshelf. He successfully grabs the creature, his size relative to the little gremlin having helped significantly. Darvo, standing just to Rehn's right and wearing spiked gauntlets attempts to punch the loud little bugger Rehn had tried to hit. Darvo manages to land his swing, but it doesn't seem to do as much damage as he'd expect.

Meanwhile, Tapuaki directs mate-ora to bite at the pugwampi that Zaz has grappled. The Eidolon connects, tearing into the creature's left hand but this attack also appears to do much less damage that expected. Tapuaki himself readies an action to attack either of the pugwampis with his bolas if they move out into the room, away from the general melee.

The pugwampi on the table at the back of the room blatts a raspberry at Rehn, pulls out a sharp little dagger and jumps at the alchemist with an even louder scream of defiance. Both feet land in the middle the young man's chest and the gremlin slashes the dagger down as he pushes off with his small but powerful legs, landing back on the table and knocking a beautiful vase crashing to the floor. Crowing in delight, the creature holds the now bloodied dagger over his head. Rehn really annoyed at this point, swings again, misses again and, this time, his mace takes a huge chunk out of the front edge of the table.

The pugwampi Zaz is grappling squirms and wriggles, attempting to escape, but gets nowhere. Zaz then pins the creature between himself and the table and yells out "Hey! Someone grab the rope from my bag so I can tie this thing up!" Darvo , taking a cue from Zaz's success, jumps at and grapples the gremlin in front of him who is still brandishing his dagger overhead. Responding to Zaz's request for rope, Tapuaki directs Mate Ora to step away from the melee and goes to search Zaz's backpack.

Both pugwampis continue to squirm and wriggle in attempts to escape from the grappling adventurers, the pitch of their screeching epithets rising towards ear-splitting levels at the same time. Rehn, seeing that Tapuaki is getting rope from Zaz's bag, goes to his own pack and rummages in it for some rope to tie down the one Darvo is grappling.

Zaz, still holding the squirming beast tightly attempts to subdue it into unconsciousness. He does get a hit in but, sadly, it remains fully conscious. Darvo also swings another spiked punch at his opponent and clearly connects with the side of the small creature's head, crushing it. Immediately, the volume of screeching drops by half as the summoned gremlin disappears, returning to the plane from when it came.

Wrapping Up

With one pugwampis out of the picture and the other grappled and about to be tied up, the ordeal is soon over. Darvo is dismayed by the damage that has been done to the library, especially since quite a bit was actually caused by Rehn's weapon. He decides to try mending some of the damage and, realizing the table is far too large for him to fix, he collects the pieces of the smashed vase and starts casting mending .

The Quest

A few moments of silence descend except for Darvo's spellcasting and then both Sheila and Koriah dash into the library. [[:sheila  | Sheila]]'s face shows a look of dismay which then turns into a resigned eye role on seeing the, now tightly bound, pugwampi. A moment later, she raises an eyebrow at Darvo  who indicates the smashed vase while he continues to work on the casting. She looks thoughtful for a moment, then nods before asking for the full details about what had just happened.

After hearing the tale, she admits she is glad they have successfully opened the box, and though she's sorry about the "unpleasantness" that happened as a result, it shows that they can think things through, react when situations change and work together, a perfect combination for the task she has for them. It also turns out the box is not empty, and she generously offers the items it contains to the group for their troubles.

Sheila then explains that she needs them to find out what happened to Natalya Vancaskerkin, a local Sczarni double agent/informant for the Pathfinder Society who had gone missing. Natalya was supposed to meet with her three days ago about a strange Thassilonian artifact that her gang had supposedly located and was about to acquire. Because of the delicate nature of Sheila's relationship with Natalya as an informant/double agent, she doesn't want it generally known that she is the one looking for her. This is also why she selected four neophyte members of the Society – without much in the way of a reputation in the city yet, it's more likely that any criminals or other such who might have information will actually speak to them.

Sheila is able to give them three possible leads where they can start their search:

  1.  Visit the "Amazing Zograthy" in Washer's Row – a known middle-man between outsiders and the Sczarni crime families, of which the missing informant is a member.
  2. Check with the City Watch to see if, perhaps, Natalya has been picked up for some petty crime and is simply stuck in a jail cell.
  3. She has heard rumours of Nidalese Slavers kidnapping people off the street. If it's true, this could explain Natalya's unexpected disappearance.

Sheila readily admits that she's far more interested in the artifact that Natalya was supposed to bring to her than in what has actually happened to the girl and she offers them a 500 gp reward if they can find it and bring it to her. That said, if they can also find the girl and bring her back alive it would certainly be appreciated and she will double their reward if they are able to do so.

Session End

XP Earned: 1000 total (250 each)

Encounters

  • 2 x Summoned Pugwampi Gremlins

Treasure Gained

  • Paradox Box Contents

    • Silver Dagger (appraised by Zaz as Masterwork, given to Rehn)
    • Silver Ring with Overlapping Feather Pattern (identified as a ring of feather falling by Tapuaki, given to Darvo)
    • Garnet x 2 (appraised by Zaz as 50 gp each, one each given to Tapuaki and Zaz)

Spells Cast & Items Used

  • Darvo

    • mending cantrip used to fix broken vase
  • Tapuaki

    • detect magic cantrip used to identify ring of feather falling
  • Zaz

    • rope used to tie up pugwampi (returned)

Next Session – Saturday, June 3, 2017

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And So It Begins
Wherein a new campaign is born

Session the First

Yesterday, April 8, 2017, I began a new Pathfinder RPG Campaign that will be following Paizo's Shattered Star Adventure Path, right from the first adventure, Shards of Sin.

The People

This RPG  group includes five individuals: Ron (my husband), Richard (an old family friend), Nathan (my son), Riley (a friend of Nathan's), and Jenni (me).

All the players have played fantasy RPGs at one time or another but to differing levels and with differing styles. All of which is going to make this very interesting.

Ron (mid-50's) is a very, very, very casual FRPG gamer. Most of his gaming was done in high school, umpteen years ago, using 1st Edition AD&D. He has tried RPGs with our other FRPG friends but just hasn't taken to it because the "usual suspects" I have gamed with over the years are almost all "Real Roleplayers" and he truly is a "Real Man" – happiest playing a Paladin in a Monty Haul dungeon, with little time or patience for namby-pamby roleplaying. (cf. : Real Men, Real Roleplayers, Loonies and Munchkins). He has never played PFRPG.

Richard (early 40's) is a solid D&D FRPG gGamer, and a core member of the group of "usual suspects" I have gamed with. He has crafted and DM'd his own in-depth campaigns using 2nd Edition and 3.5 Edition D&D and played in many D&D campaigns using rule sets from the Rules Cyclopedia version of classic "BECMI D&D" through to 3.5 Edition. He has played PFRPG campaigns in the past, but not recently.

Nathan (18, just graduating high school) has been playing RPG's since he was 7, though mainly the Serenity RPG until a few years ago when I encouraged him and the other older kids of the players in an earlier campaign of mine to join us. In high school, he joined and eventually became one of the key participants in, the Games Club. This past year he has been running a 5th Edition D&D campaign for some of the younger members of the club. He a passing familiarity with PFRPG.

Riley (18, just graduating high school) is a bit of an unknown. He's in the high school games club as well and has, apparently, DM'd D&D more than he's been a player. This past year Riley also DM'd D&D 5E in the Games Club for much of the year. One thing I can say, based on evidence from this session, is that he seems to lean towards the "Loonie" side of the spectrum (this will definitely be interesting). He's never played PFRPG.

Jenni (late 40's) is me, your friendly, neighbourhood DM. I've been playing FRPGs on and off since the original "Basic D&D Boxed Set" came out in 1978. Got back into things heavily in my mid-to-late 20's with D&D 3.0E and 3.5E and quickly switched to PFRPG (aka 3.75E) rather than throwing out everything and starting over with D&D 4E. Haven't bothered to look into 5E.

The Rules

The first session was for finishing up all the player's characters. They'd all decided what races, classes and archetypes (if any) they wanted, so this was all about ensuring their stats, feats, and skills were selected and calculated correctly; any special abilities were written down; magic casters had chosen spells, and everyone had purchased equipment.

This process had to take into consideration the classes and custom rules I was allowing/using:

  • Pathfinder Core Rulebook
  • Pathfinder Advanced Players Handbook
  • Pathfinder Unchained

    • Signature Skill Feat
    • Expanded Skills
    • Background Skills
    • and the following classes replace the originals in the Core Rules and the Advanced Players Handbook:

      • Barbarian
      • Monk
      • Rogue
      • Summoner
  • Archetypes available through Paizo's Pathfinder Reference Document (PRD) for all allowed Classes

The Party

Rehn, Human Alchemist 1 (Chirurgeon*).
Player: Ron
Planned. First benefits kicks in at 2nd level

Rhen grew up in the upper city of Magnamar, the child of a middle-class merchant family. His life was relatively easy and, as his parents doted on him, he was little more than a dilettante in his teen years, allowed free reign to do and try whatever he wanted. And then he discovered alchemy, and that his true talent lay in mixing concoctions and, especially in blowing things up. Not having much opportunity to do the latter at home or his parent's shop, he joined the Pathfinder Society. 


Tapuaki, Halfling Summoner 1 (Master Summoner)
Mate Ora, Psychopomp Eidolon
Player: Richard

Found by members of Shriikirri-Quah (Hawk Clan) Shoanti when his family was killed by Goblins, Tapuaki was taken in and raised by the Chief Shaman and his wife (a respectable witch herself) who had not been able to conceive a child. Being a halfling, he was always smaller, slower, weaker than his human brethren and was relentlessly teased and bullied by the other kids, and even some adults, in the tribe. As it happened, he had the makings of a summoner and, unwittingly, attracted a Psychopomp who would eventually become both his friend and defender against the cruelties he faced. His adoptive parents worked with him to build up and control his powers, but when they were both killed in a goblin raid, the tribe ordered him to leave. Heading for Magnamar, he hopes to gain experience, wealth, and prestige with the long-term goal of returning to his tribe and earning a respected position within it. He'd heard tales of the Pathfinder Society and, thinking it would be a likely path towards his ambitions, he joined up once he reached the city.

Mate Ora is the name given to Tapuaki's Eidolon. Its body is roughly the size of a pony or a Great Dane, with the hind legs of a great cat, and forelegs taloned like those of a great lizard or bird. Above the forelegs, it's body continues upright, a narrow column curving backward like a snake to its head, the front-top portion of which is a bone-white fleshless horse's skull, below which there is a long sharp, under-beak flanked by two long sharp mandibles. Its skin is a mixture of taught black flesh giving way to patches of shiny black scales and sprouting a plumage of scraggly, sickly looking black and grey feathers, intermixed with empty and broken quills, running from the back of its head all the way down its neck and back.


Darvo, Varisian Half-Orc Bard 1 (Sea Singer)
Player: Nathan

Abandoned by his mother as a child of only five or six, he lived for several years as one of many urchins that flit around the under bridge and docks of Magnamar. When he was around 12 or 13 (he doesn't actually know how old he is), he was taken in by an old salt of a fishing captain who had a good eye for seeing potential when others might dismiss a person out of hand. Darvo was young, and smart and quick to learn the ways of working on the fishing trawlers that ply the coast of Varisia. A charming young man (despite his half-orc nature), Darvo took to the music of the sea and taught himself how to play the pan flute. He would often be found playing music on deck to lighten the crew's mood even when nets had failed to bring in a good catch. Eventually, he realized that, with his music, he was able to touch and call upon magical powers. Showing his old friend and father figure, the fishing captain, what he could do, the old man told him he to leave off fishing and do something better – "You ken joyn dat dere Pat-finder So-sai-ety. For right sure, dey'll help make sometin' more o' you."


Zaz, Half-Orc Fighter 1
Player: Riley 

Not from Varisia, Zaz comes from a country known for its armies (he's still deciding which one, current options are Taldor, Molthune, or Lastwall). Born into poor circumstances, he joined the army specifically to gain skills and training that would allow him to improve his lot in life as soon as his commission ended. Due to his size and strength, they put him in a unit trained to create phalanxes, protecting themselves and their allies with a wall of heavy tower shields. When his commitment to the army was finally completed, he decided he wanted adventure and travelled to Absolom "The City at the Center of the World". It was there that he decided to join the Pathfinder Society. Shortly after, he learned about the untapped potential for adventure and riches in Varisia, so he took a ship to Magnamar and checked in at the Pathfinder Lodge the day he arrived, perhaps a week before the start of the campaign.


Next Session – Sunday, April 30, 2017

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