Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pathfinder Transcript: "Don't Poke the Bear"

[One of the players in our group has started keeping brief transcripts of our sessions, partly for the amusement of a third party who isn't playing with us I guess, and partly to help us pick up the following session in medias res.

The next quest was run by the player who'd been controlling Snake (Ninja). It picks up his Xanadu meta-plot (basically, "go kill the seven mystical god-beasts") six months after our previous adventure there.]

TL;DR-  A temple's sacred gem has been swapped with a fake, and we're asked to investigate.

The first session was a mess. We wanted to examine the fake, but where I wanted a friendly NPC we know to get it for us quietly and legally, other PCs wanted to steal it (one of the island's most sacred objects, guarded by our allies in a TEMPLE DEVOTED TO WRATH). The discussion wasn't going anywhere, and I thought my plan was best, so I just walked out and set about finding the NPC. The other PCs, who also thought their own plans were best, took this as a sign to leap into action. So that all went south. And then, the friendly NPC (who should have been willing and able to fill us in on a few things) kept trying to abandon us.

I'm pretty sure this NPC isn't secretly trying to undermine us- I think he might have been trying to subtly/cryptically hint at our next step, buuuuut I don't think the DM realized we were missing some basic information about the situation and our mission; he mentioned afterwards that he never anticipated that we might consider the gem itself a potential lead.

When the Warg fight broke out in session three, I told a few PCs to guard the wagon & hapless NPC, because of course, right? Unfortunately, that meant they missed almost all of the fight - a substantial chunk of playtime - although the DM did have some Wargs circle around and eventually reach them.

The final encounter, with Acedia the Bear God, was kind of neat- the bear was essentially too lazy to fight, the negotiations we were using to draw the bear into ambush went so well that we canceled the ambush, and when a mind-controlled bandit tried to provoke the bear into attacking us (itself a neat twist) one of the PCs stayed the bear's wrath through sheer honorableness.

First Transcript

Ivellios (Half-Elf Hunter) and Windfang (Wolf Companion) [Our transcriptor.]
Si'lent Stillstorm (Ratfolk Sword Saint Samurai of the Order of the Eclipse)
Thurion (Elf Grenadier Alchemist)
Montag (Human Fighter) (no Holy Joe this time, because he's off being a dragon) [This is me.]
Cairn (Dwarf Inquisitor)(Out Sick)
Claes Lovelace (Half-Elf Mysterious Stranger Gunslinger)
Player of Snake (Ninja, not appearing in quest) as GM: Welcome to Xanadu

[The xenophobic land of Xanadu is divided into seven regions/terrains, its capital into seven districts, and its populace into seven Houses, all associated with one of seven great beasts. These beasts embodied the Seven Deadly Sins and were supposedly sealed away by an ancient goddess.

During our previous adventure, a young priestess named Lily had been accused of freeing one of the beasts (the serpent Invidia), and we proved her innocence. I forget how, exactly. Later, I borrowed another beast, Gula the Hogzilla, as a red herring for my Rat King quest.]

Thurion discusses the half-elf village. Ivellios listens interested, but not ready to make any commitment.
Thurion, Cairn, Montag are summoned to the guild leader (Lagos). Ivellios goes with Thurion.
Lily's older half sister Karen paces back and forth in Lagos' office.
Karen thanks for our help against Invidia. After hearing about Goula's demise, she traveled back to look for our aid. They've discovered that the Gem of Wrath in their temple is a fake. She believes the other temples may have the same issues.
Ira, Red Dragon of Wrath; Avaritia, Yellow Fox of Greed; Acedia, Blue Bear of Sloth; Luxuria, Goat of Lust; Lion of Pride. These are the remaining avatars are Xanadu.
Karen wants us to travel to Xanadu to investigate the other temples.
Karen asks for additional aid, and Lagos calls for Si'lent and Claes.
Karen teleports us to Xanadu, into an antechamber at the temple of wrath.
Everyone takes their own idea and applys it.

[I blame myself.]

Montag attempts to barter with the guard based on his previous exploits in Xanadu. Cairn goes invisible of the greater variety and detects the magic on the stone. The others stand and see what happens.
Cairn attempts to disable some traps around the stone of wrath and succeeds. Without knowing anything else, he pilfers the gem.
One of the guards quickly notices that the gem has been removed. After a quick shout, guards block the doors.
Father Bradley greets us while the chaos begins.
Thurion quickly bluffs (and succeeds) about a caper where a thief made the gem invisible and then just came back later to acquire it.
Si'lent unleashes his Darkness and causes an altercation.
Cairn gives the gem to Ivellios and says "Here, scry this." They decide to leave.
Claes attempts to intimidate a guard to not going to report. She grabs him and orders him to stay. She succeeds.
As the darkness slides out of the room, Thurion is left behind... "Oh shit." He gargles his dimension door and disappears.
Thurion joins up with the darkness crew. As the darkness falls, the guard and Father Bradley split up.
Cairn and Ivellios hide off in a tavern.
The other group catches up with Father Bradley and they begin discussing how he can be of assistance.
Father Bradley tells us that Lily has continued with her studies. Most of the town has remained quiet, but scuffles have increased in the markets.
They discuss where they can find more information about Ira. Montag remembers the urchin Angus who they met last time.
"You've seen so little of our land, maybe you should travel?" Father Bradley pulls out a map, and they discuss other places they could travel. Each region has a name in similar manner with the sin avatars.

Second Transcript Summary

Last Week on Critical Failure...

[Ivellios (our transciptor), Si'Lent and Claes were absent for this session. We decided that those three split off to pursue different leads, and set a rendezvous point at an Inn. We eventually forgot about the rendezvous and ended the session at a different Inn.]

[The DM finally let us talk to Fr. Bradley!]

The group gathered back up and traded information. Cairn schedules a meeting with Father Bradley at the library. We learn this city (Crystal Veil, the capital of Xanadu) used to be called Pride Rock
The party members read several books: An Atlas, children's books, How to Woo Lasses and Charm Fellows, Auburn Curls and the Lazy Bear, The Fishman From the South (about Zeraphim).
Montag discussed with Bradley. They only know for sure that Wrath is a fake, but they suspect the others are fake as well.
Thurion finds a book called Unmatched Greed that talks about a great library in the west.
After learning what they can, they return to an in Inn in Gluttony.
The following day, we hear different rumors about different areas. Each area corresponds with a given sin.
In the town square we discover Drumpf. Cairn murders him after detecting he was Chaotic Evil.
The party meets a Gin merchant from Boarshead. He ships Gin to Riverden, and he son Billy fell asleep near the forest. The merchant hires the party to escort the shipment.

[Drumpf was a drunk Trump parody we met while hunting for the serpent Invidia in a swamp on our previous adventure here.]

Third Transcript

The party, Billy, and Gin leave Crystal Veil for Riverden which is approximately 3 days journey.
Billy reveals that he didn't previously plan to have guards present.
Half the party rides in the cart. Ivellios rides on Windfang, who minorly complains. The others acquire mounts.
We camp at 8pm. Cairn and Ivellios find some tracks. He identifies them as Large Elder Wargs.
We return to the camp, and inform the rest. We tell Billy to go back to bed and take shifts.
During the night, Ivellios sleeps while the rest are awake. A scream rings out and Montag wakes Ivellios.
Our camp is in a lightly wooded area.
Cairn traces the scream and investigates. He casts Greater Invisibility and runs after the noise.
Montag and Si'lent wake Billy. After motioning him to be quiet, Si'lent instructs Billy to remain calm and quiet.
Ivellios guards the Gin.
Cairn discovers a man slumped up against a tree.
Cairn introduces himself, and heals the mans injuries.
The man reaches for Cairn to hold him and misses.
The man reveals his true form and turns into a Warg.
Cairn attacks the Warg and slays it. "Finally... Worthy prey for the pack..."
Cairn turns towards the camp and tries to return.
He's interrupted by a howl, and leaps into a tree.
Claes and Thurion stay at the camp, while Ivellios, Si'lent, and Montag leave to go find the sound.
The away crew happens on Cairn stuck in a tree and yelling at Wargs.
Si'lent sees a group of 11 shadows, 4 of which are large. She removes one of them from combat with her Otherwordly Kimono and approaches the rest. Si'lent quietly laughs evily.
Cairn leaps from the tree, but fails to strike anything.
Ivellios releases Windfang, and the pair move closer to the cluster.
Thurion is throwing sunrods around the area.
One of the large shadows growls and barks. Si'lent hears "You three, with me."
One of the wargs drags Si'lent to the ground. Another tries to nip at Windfang and misses.
Montag asks the wargs where he can find a magical sleeping bear, then approaches the warg attacking Si'lent and takes a stab at it.
Claes hears the commotion and so she heads out to join the team.
The smaller wargs approach. They snap and howl but don't manage to hurt anyone.
Si'lent uses her quickdraw and blasts one of the larger wargs.
Cairn murders one next to him with a holy dagger, and another next to him with a axiomatic dagger.
Ivellios and Windfang swap places and attack the same target several times. Wounds are inflicted.
Thurion throws more sun around the camp.
The shadows shift around again.
Montag shouts "Where's the bear!" and attacks the Warg over Si'lent. It slumps over dead. He moves on to the small one, and levels it as well.
Claes continues running. She's now 2/3s of the way there.
The smaller wargs shift around again.
Si'lent stands and returns her sword to her sheath.
Cairn stabs more wargs. Another falls.
Ivellios and Windfang do their dance again and drop the last small warg around us.
Thurion throws more lights around.
More shadows shift around.
Montag sprints back towards the wagon. He makes good time.
Claes blasts one of the wargs and makes him very unhappy. Bullets fly. Boom.
Si'lent lets the other warg out and stabs it strongly.
Cairn throws some daggers at the released warg, striking it with massive holy damage.
Windfang approaches the released warg and puts it down.
Montag continues running towards the camp. He hears Claes' gunshots. He runs to put himself between the wargs and the cart as well.
Claes blasts the warg again.
Wargs move around again.
Si'lent, Cairn and the crew kill the unconscious wargs and move back towards the camp.
The warg that's been blasted moves up Montag.
Montag puts it in its place.
The wargs make their way around Montag and at Claes.
Claes puts the remaining wargs in their place and puts them down.
We return to the cart and end the session on a good night.

Fourth Transcript

We all wake from a good night's rest.
We discuss with Billy, and we learn that it's about a day's travel to the point where he fell asleep previously.
As we continue on, Billy begins to get nervous.
We set up shifts so that Claes and Windfang will be awake when the rest of us go to sleep for our quick rests.
After about a half day's travel, we reach the edge of the Idle Woods.
As we enter the woods, Billy and the horse start to get drowzy.
Thurion wips up a potion, and Claes and Ivellios feed it to the horse. It feels a little better.
Montag: "Were you on the way to Hornburg?"
Person: "You mean Horncliff?"
Montag: "Yea, that."
We discover that there are several couples who are lethargic and starving on the path. It seems they've been here for awhile.
Billy mentions that this trip used to be just a couple days travel, several years ago.
We continue on.
We feed the horse another potion, and its endurance is restored.
Cairn and Ivellios wander around, to the west and around the camp respectively, searching for tracks and weird notes.
Cairn notices something in a tree, and climbs to investigate.
Cairn sees what appears to be a treehouse. He throws his daggers at the door to create a thumping sound. Nothing occurs.
Cairn: "Anybody home? If you're a gobbledygook, I have a knife for you. If not, I may help you out."
A hatch opens above Cairn, and an arrow falls out of the treehouse. "Shit!" A wood bar drops to block the door.
Cairn and a man in the treehouse converse. Cairn threatens to set his treehouse while singing about it. Man panics, threatens to go get his family.
Returning to the camp crew...
After investigating the path, nature seems to be recovering its foothold with the decrease in traffic.
Thurion confirms that there is still a bit of magic in the area. He offers Billy a lesser restoration potion. Billy seems slightly recovered.
Thurion feels bad that he left people behind. Billy suggests that we get to Riverden in order to get help from the local authorities.
We continue on down the path, and investigate the treehouse.
Ivellios gives everyone wind walk.
We attack the treehouse gentlemen.
Montag shoves his sword through the gaps in the treehouse's walls and stabs one of the men. He tries to lever a wall apart and fails.
Thurion throws acid and melts some people.
Cairn stabs a man with a anchoring dagger. He's stuck, hard.
The gentlemen immediately surrender.
We begin to interrogate them.
Ivellios snags some stolen Gin from them while Cairn begins to interrogate them.
We learn that they have seen what appears to have been the bear. It looks like a large blue mountain.
Cairn says he should cut their hands off. Ivellios agrees.
Montag found some magical gear. One of them is a Blinkback Belt. A pair of boots and cape join the loot.
Cairn convinces the men from the treehouse that they should help the other travelers. He pays them and leaves them their hands.
We continue on, and reach the edge of the woods.
After we travel to Riverden, we drop Billy off and return to the edge of the woods and end the night.

[One of these bandits was named Louie. I assume the others were Hewey, Dewey and Donald.]

Fifth Transcript

As we enter the woods, we again resist its effects.
We continue south and Air Walk (communal) across the river.
We continue south and find some tracks that keep traveling south west.
In combination, Thurion, Cairn, and Ivellios find some tracks and begin tracking down what they think is the god bear.
We continue tracking, and the sun begins to set.
We come across a break in the woods. Inside is a large pond, with a large but shallow cave. Inside the cave, we believe we see the bear.
We move up with Thurion and Claes on the outsides of the cave, and the others on top of the cave.

[I was moving into position to ambush the oversized bear. Someone with good talking skills was supposed to wake the bear and milk it for info, but they decided to follow me instead.]

The party argues about what we're doing, and we make a decision.
Ivellios stands infront of the sleeping god bear and releases Windfang from his armor.
Ivellios decides to fish with his grappling hook.
As the bear wakes, Ivellios offers him food.
The bear threatens Ivellios, and he throws the fish at him.
The two continue their conversation.
The bear agrees to temper his powers in the woods, and Cairn convinces Ivellios to agree to this.

[The bear finally walked out of the cave, and we were all ready to attack it, but then Cairn argues that Ivellios' discussion with the bear constitutes a verbal contract and we shouldn't breach it. Since his shouting gave our position away, I agreed not to attack the bear.]

As we attempt to leave, a crossbow bolt flies out. People attempt to stop the arrow, but only Cairn succeeds. Claes' gun rings out, and Ivellios leaps but misses the arrow.
Claes takes a shot at the shadow and appears to miss.
Montag leaps off the bluff and runs towards the shadow.
Thurion fires an arrow bomb at the shadow and strikes him. He knocks the shadow out of the tree.
Ivellios and Windfang approach the shadow as well.
Cairn moves up too and stabs the shadow with this anchoring dagger.
Acedia, the god bear, charges forward and travels over Cairn.
The Shadow tries to stand up and flees with minimal success. "That was a warning shot," Thurion shouts out.
Claes moves closer to join the fray.
Montag moves closer to the shadow and begins attempting to interrogate it.
Thurion begins to dig through his materials.
We drop out of combat so everyone can investigate. We discover the shadow was Louie from yesterday.
Cairn opens the wound we left yesterday with a dagger of dispelling. It fails to remove the effect on Louie.
He attempts to dispell the effect through a normal dispel magic, and he succeeds.
We discuss with Louie and Acedia about what Louie's doing here.
Louie says they took people to Riverden and were getting drinks when he then remembers waking up pinned by us.
Acedia mentions that Avarecia may have better stories to share about their bindings.
Acedia hands Cairn a blue socket gem of sloth.
We return to Crystal Veil with Louie.
We give Louie over to Father Bradley for interrogation.

Acedia's Gem causes Fatigue on strike, Exhaustion on Crit when socketed on weapons.
Acedia's Gem provides immune to Fatigue, and Restfull when socketed on armor.

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