A few words from the proprietor
I unfortunately missed this session. From what is reported below it got… interesting. This is a guest post by Peter Wilkie, and any footnotes from me will be marked as Snark From The Proprietor (SFTP). I’ve also inserted headings (primarily for my own amusement, such are the privileges of an editor).
Bloody Hell. What do we do now?
It all started with the trees, the Circle of Sacred Trees created when the gods blessed the grove created by Natura near the outpost. We found that the gods have their favourites and wanted some time with them – not only were we all drawn to the trees, those with any sort of divine connection found that moving away was like swimming through treacle. Even I, who think of myself as purely arcane, was forcefully reminded of my heritage and Kali, who has no powers considered divine, found that her title of High Priestess of Gorum is not merely ceremonial. We also discovered that any god with worshippers there was represented in the grove – Lorena Whitelock was guided to a tree consecrated to Boccob and Eric Pelorson was guided to a tree consecrated to Pelor.
When I’d had enough of the creepiness, I called on one of the clerics of Nethys to cast Commune and find out what could be done. Before the spell was cast, the connection was made – apparently the trees are a direct communication conduit to the god. I asked for freedom so that we could get on with what we were tasked to do, the answer was ok but all must meet again at the trees in 1 day’s time. I asked for the meetings to be staggered so that the base could keep functioning, the answer was no. Sure enough, 24 hours afterwards, all those with strong divine connections were drawn trance-like back to the trees – I maintained enough self-awareness to tell those around me what was happening and summon all those not so affected. When we arrived, so did the images of the gods in the centre of the grove. Needless to say, nearly all (including myself) were struck with awe and reverence, also not a little confusion as to how we merited such attention.
The Bad News
The answer to this was forthcoming but not reassuring. The gods had blessed our enclave in order to assist in its protection. I now wish I had not pressed for more information.
Something freed Rovagug from its prison and it is likely that either this effort or Rovagug’s burst to freedom in response was the cause of the Apocalypse. The gods had blessed our enclave but could do no more – if Rovagug should turn its attention to the mortal realms, we had all the protection we were getting. What a cheery thought. The gods advised us of the function and purpose of the trees (quick communication between the gods and their followers at the base) then faded from view. We then discovered that some trees had yet to grow – apparently if worshippers of different gods arrive at the base, they will get a tree for their use also.
What is that doing there?
As we were recovering from the divine audience and trying to establish the base, Kali reported that a strange building had been sighted about half a day’s travel from the base. Not important to her but we might want to check it out. We got ourselves set up in base and ready to travel then left the following day.
The Hellscape is annoying. Chaos and Law combining while competing, overlaid with a taint of Evil. But worse, a drain on all magic.
All our abilities, both innate, learned and from magic items, were affected and some ceased to operate due to the planar interference. Ferus was lucky in that most of his stuff was fine – the rest of us complained to varying degrees as we discovered our new limitations.
We arrived at the house without incident.
Traps and Malfunctioning Magic are a Bad Combination
A new-looking building, it was out of place in this blasted landscape. The front door was open and we went in. Kalmar found a pit trap in the front hallway but managed to avoid falling in. Yangrit was less fortunate when trying to jump over the pit and discovered that the spikes at the bottom were both viciously-barbed and poisoned, but escaped with significant but not life-threatening injuries. The rest of us crossed over as Kalmar discovered a second trap, this time bars blocking passage further into a house and forming a cage that trapped him. Ferus released him but could not then remove the bars blocking further entry. Ferus also discovered a secret door that lead further into the house before being asked to investigate the first door we had passed (it was near the pit trap.) Finding a magical sleep rune, Ferus left the building, along with Kizen, Yangrit and Kalmar. Pyren then triggered the rune – he and I, being elves, are immune to sleep magic. While we investigated the front room, which turned out to be a kitchen, Kizen attempted to heal Yangrit. Both actions caused confusion.
Kizen attempted to heal Yangrit. The influence of the Hellscape caused the spell to turn Yangrit into a stone statue! There was a chance that Kizen could trigger an effect to undo the spell but a higher chance that Kizen’s further use of magic could make the situation worse. So Kizen, Kalmar and Ferus returned inside.
Things Get Worse. And Also Very Strange.
The kitchen. A perfectly normal-looking house kitchen, with a roast duck and veggies cooking in the oven – about half done. !!! No sign from outside of any occupants and so far no indications of life or movement inside the house but a roast dinner being prepared?! My magic seemed to be working but revealed nothing that could explain the situation. The party retreated to the hall and checked out the secret door.
Behind the door was a room that once might have been a living room but now held a Witchfire! The ghost of a hag, wreathed in unearthly fire, it bathed Ferus in a sickly green flame, rendering him sickened and vulnerable. Pyren charged through, also becoming wreathed in the flame, but was not able to land a blow on the creature. Ferus had no weapon that could hurt it, so moved inside to wait for me to enchant his weapon. Kalmar rushed up to the creature, shouting “Servant of Evil! I will smite thee!” but the glow of energy that normally accompanies his declared wrath petered out before it could envelop him and I became nervous – could we summon our powers for this battle?
I moved in and enchanted Ferus’ blade – he charged into the fray. The creature bathed Kalmar in its unholy fire, injuring him in the process. Kizen entered the room and healed Kalmar and Ferus. Pyren swung and missed then tried something and caused lightning to shoot from his blade! This was a surprise to all, including Pyren – that had not been his intent. I enchanted Kalmar’s weapon but while Kalmar was able to inspire his wrath, neither he nor Ferus could land a blow on the creature. Its fiery touch caused Kalmar to stagger – Kizen tried to destroy the creature with positive energy but only managed to make it grow leaves out of its skin?? Her second attempt caused a fireball to explode. Pyren was unable to hurt the Witchfire and suddenly the area near the creature was covered in darkness. I could see nothing and failed to dispel the darkness so retreated. Kalmar tried to heal himself – the results were unfortunate. A lightning bolt went off and Kalmar cried out in frustration, still badly wounded. Now blind, Pyren and Ferus could not land blows on the Witchfire.
The creature reached out and lashed Kalmar with its claw and Kalmar fell, apparently dead. Kizen stepped forward and healed Kalmar (apparently now unconscious, no longer dying) but then the paladin was enveloped in further darkness, which I realised I could not defeat. A stranger, aasimar in appearance, entered the room. When I enquired she called herself Yangrit. Surprised when I questioned her, the stranger looked confused when she looked at her hand – a perfectly normal aasimar’s hand. It sounded enough like Yangrit that I enchanted her weapon. She stuck out her hand declaring “begone darkness!” but instead a second lightning bolt shot out of her fingers, striking all of our comrades. There were cries of frustration from Kizen, Ferus and Pyren and when more weird magics bathed the area, I panicked and called upon the chronomancers to help us.
A rescue. Sort of.
When we recovered our bearings, we were still(?) in the same room of the house but now there was an ordinary-looking family and furnishings and no sign of the Witchfire. Startled and confused, they asked who we were. I interrogated them and ascertained that we were 1000 years in the past, in a small village (which the house apparently had once been a part of). There was a wizard’s tower three days’ travel away but a weird-looking construct-creature had set up shop on the edge of the village. Recognising the Lich Lord from the description, we headed there and introduced ourselves.
Bloody Hell. What do we do now?
Game Mechanic Notes
- The party managed to do about 18 points of damage to the creature, all from lightning bolts (it’s immune to fire.)
- Ferus rolled the Knucklebone of Fate and got more fire resistance.
- Yangrit rolled the Knucklebone while a lifeless stone statue and was returned to fleshed-out existence as an Aasimar.
- Surges had a 50% chance of successfully generating the effect intended. Spells, spell-like and supernatural abilities required a concentration check to work properly. All failures resulted in a random effect being applied.
This affected Kizen the worst of anyone and Jeremy, who was taking all of the right actions, unfortunately rolled badly and generated arguably most of the random results. However, Yangrit, Pyren and Kalmar all attempted actions that generated random results (Did Ferus?) I don’t recall clearly.) Treffen’s ability to automatically succeed at concentration checks was greatly appreciated by me and I was lucky on the majority of the few rolls I had to make. All 3 Enchant Weapon spells required a roll that succeeded each time, I don’t remember what occurred when I failed to cast Continual Flame.
- There were other random effects beyond those mentioned, but I don’t remember what they were.
- The paladin died, the oread’s now an aasimar, the oracle’s self-belief took a hammering and the party is 1000 years in the past. The GM is calling the session a success
- We abandoned the fight while the Deeper Darkness spell was still in effect. Much of what happened was shrouded in darkness, including the second lightning bolt scorching Kalmar unto death. Note that this means we had the body of a dead paladin with us when we encountered the Lich Lord and yes, it’s interested in acquiring it.
This sounds like a hell of a session, and one I’m sorry to have missed. I hope to have the next sessions written up soon.
As noted above: SFTP equals Snark From the Proprietor. Anything else is Treffen’s notes in the margins (written in character)
 A God of Magic – similarities/ties to Nethys? Must investigate, when I can…
 Another mystery god, similarities to Sarenrae I think.
 SFTP: You’d think that Treffen would know better than to ask questions he doesn’t want the answer to by now.
 SFTP: This is really not good news.
 SFTP: That should be useful. Assuming that we actually want the answers.
 Not to mention stopping fights between paladins and the few evil-aligned folk to accompany us – we’re all in it together up to our necks.
 Game Mechanics: all permanent supernatural and spell-like effects were rolled for when the party crossed into the Hellscape, with approx. 50% failing. All non-permanent effects, including anything requiring a mythic surge, were rolled for when used.