Feb 2012 - Pathfinder - Conquest of Steel campaign

Aren't you hot in that fur coat? Let me help you out of it.

APL4 party crushes CR9 foes

Summary-
Dates: June 26-28
Locations: petrified worm cave
NPCs involved: Bre, Fel’a’Nil
Important occurences:
PARTY DESTROYS THE CYCLOPS AND WOLF
Spriggan’s hold discovered
Party now has two hiding places within 1/2 mile of one another in the foothills of Mt Branthlend.

Players present: Bobby, Michael, Nathaniel, Kris
XP: 13400
Loot:
Mining pick
Shovel
Adamantine Crowbar
Ring of: Jumping, improved
Large mastercrafted Greataxe
Large Heavy Crossbow
Large Hide armor
Pelt of a Winter Wolf (enough to make 5 cloaks)
10k worth of magical materials harvested from the wolf
Cyclops skull
Jellied cyclops eye
Ring of Counterspells
Stone of Alarm
Scroll – arcane
CL7 – Phantasmal Killer
Wand of rage – 33 charges
1 wand of rage – 50 charges
1 Arcane scroll – CL 7 Phantasmal Killer
CL 7 Charm Monster
1 Arcane scroll – CL 1 Expeditious Retreat x 3
2000gp of gems
magic materials to make wands/scrolls worth 3000 gp
Vest of escape – size small
Horn of fog
Gnome Hand of glory – wearing an emerald ring
3 masterwork light crossbows, size small
3 masterwork morningstars, size small
Mwk Longspear, small x4
Mwk Heavy Crossbow, small x4
Keg of whiskey
Dagger, adamantine
Spellbook – spriggan’s hold (see the Item’s tab for a list of the spells contained therein)

and hopefully the following detail

Detail-
Quest status:
Find the location of the Cyclop+wolf: incomplete, sorta
Investigate the missing Azin scouts: incomplete
Stop the poaching for the Azin: incomplete
Delivery Bondini to Faaz: incomplete
Return Parda Pardo’s lost shield to him: complete/sold to Mario Tasso in Pitax
Loose ends regarding Abelie’s attack on the Irovetti warehouse: incomplete

Summary:
After feasting on the greasy white flesh of the owlbear’s breast meat, the party plots and plans their approach to the ancient enemies of the Kargi, the Cyclops Federation. As the group plans during the day, they can hear the snoring of the Cyclops “Bre” echoing up through their listening hole.

A plan is hatched! The party will lure the cyclops+wolf out of the Purple Worm Cave using the illusory sounds of an injured game animal. As the giant beasts stand in the steep lip of the cave exit, Jurik will cast “Grease” on their footing, causing them to fall down onto numerous spikes that the party has placed underneath the exit.

The party spends a few hours hacking trees and sharpening long stakes, then hustles the half mile to the worm’s cave. Sneaking with barbarian grace, they find themselves just out of line of sight of the exit, and ont he signal… they pounce! While Jurik watches the cave for signs of activity, Desi, Kor and Setyiel furiously plant spikes in the ground, twisting them into the dirt and preparing a dastardly trap for the Cyclops+wolf while Scrabble prowls around them for small rodents and butterflies.

The trap is set. The party takes up positions of ambush. Jurik crouches behind a boulder and sings a song conjuring the long-lost memory of a fallen elk calf, it’s mournful cry echoing up and down the hills.

The party tenses, ready for confrontation… and… waits…

and…
waits…

and…

waits…

and…

hours pass. The sun begins to set. Jurik changes the sound of the injured calf to that of humans setting up camp and roasting food.

Darkness begins to fall, the time of the cyclops+wolf’s normal departure from the cave. The party watches the summer sunset with renewed tension as Jurik’s magic continues his invisible puppet show of human hunters setting up camp.

The sun sets. Midnight arrives and the cyclops+wolf have not left their cave. Desi digs a campfire up and the whole party sets out their bedrolls around it in view of the cave entrace. Watches are set and the party rests.

The following day is more of the tedium of war – waiting and waiting for something horrible to happen. The party keeps their limbs loose by chopping down more tree limbs and sharpening more stakes, creating a densely packed field of stakes underneath the worm’s mouth. The day passes, even the bobcat that observed the party the day before has lost interest.

Sun sets, another watch is set – Kor is restless – he knows that Cyclops has got to be starving, but why didn’t it come out? Did it go out a second exit? Is the party being watched by the cyclops and the wolf right now? Troubling…

The night slips down again and watches are set. But as the sky lightens to a deep purple and the morning birds begin to chirp, Jurik spots something in the cave – the yellow eyes of a gigantic wolf, deep inside the cave, coming forwards. Jurik opts to feign ignorance and vulnerability, chomping on meat and ignoring the doom that approaches. Seyiel and Kor tighten their grip on their weapons as they hear the heavy thud of padded feet on the stone of the worm cave. Above, Desi and Scrabble watch the ground below, ready to unleash a hell of arrows into their foes.

Clomping along behind the wolf is the cyclops, Bre, a ten foot tall hulk hauling a massive two bladed axe. As the wolf reaches the lip of the cave, Jurik flings a fistful of owlbear fat towards the cave, singing a song of the hunt and causes the cavemouth to become slick and slippery. The wolf leaps, acrobatically missing most of the spikes but taking one of the improvised spears deep in a leg.

The fight begins.

The wolf huffs and puffs and opens its toothy maw wide, breathign a freezing blast of snow, sleet and ice into Kor and Jurik, leaving a centimeter thick shell on their armor and hair.
Kor bellows his battle ragey cry and closes through shattered boulders and swings the Halouk axe mightily into the thick fur of the Winter wolf, while Desi sends arrow after arrow down into the huge beasts neck and shoulders.
Setyiel readies his battle magics as the Cyclops “Bre” lunges out of the worm tunnel, clipping a spear on the way down. He charges forwards towards the dandy elf, his gigantic axe held high above his single, angry eye. The axe slashes downwards, missing the agile, improbably slender warrior.
Jurik sings a song of battle, bravery and adventure. The Kargi clan warriors are totally amped by their personal soundtrack.

The wolf lashes out, returning a rage-filled bellow to match Kor’s and trading giant claws for Kor’s axe blow and leaving inch wide slashes in Kor’s arms and face. The barbarian’s blood splatters the rocks and earth.

Setyiel’s blade crackles with electricity and the full fury of the dancing warrior’s magic, and he swings and twirls in an elaborate series of movements. And misses completely.

Kor, Jurik, Desi and the giant wolf battle, with arrows raining down, axes flashing and healing wands poking. But the claws of the immense monster send gobbets of Kor’s flesh and rivers of his blood spraying this way and that, and the barbarian falls unconscious, leaving the wolf free to bound up the mountainside towards Desi and her animal companian, the lynx “Scrabble”.

On the other side, the towering hulk of the Cyclops swings two handed with his giant axe, first slashing a huge wound in the elf and then swinging back with the blade flat, only to miss. The elf’s movement become more elaborate, his magics more furious, as he single-handedly battles against his massive foe. But again, his attacks completely miss the giant, hulking target.

As Desi and Scrabble face the oncoming, immense force of the wolf with tiny, precious defiance, Jurik’s magic wand returns Kor to a conscious, but fatigued state. The barbarian takes a minute to rest on the ground, downing a powerful healing potion and feeling his strength improve.

The cyclops roars and swings his axe again, flattening Setyiel and dashing him to the ground. Up atop the petrified purple worm, Scrabble’s furious biting and clawing have failed to slow the wolf, who slashes Desi and Scrabble with claws and freezes them with her breath weapon. Desi collapses in pain and Scrabble falls shortly thereafter. The wolf’s gravely voice calls down to Jurik, demanding an immediate surrender.

Kor responds with a challenge to the cyclops, while Jurik sends a handful of owlbear fat and magic towards the giant humanoid, slowing it’s approach while Kor clambers over boulders to get carve a giant piece off the monster. The cyclops carefully stomps towards Kor, then swings his axe again, Setyiel’s blood streaming through the air on the way in and mixing with Kor’s blood on the way out. The wolf lopes down the mountain as Kor falls with Jurik just behind him.

“Surrender!” demands the wolf. And Jurik nods, “Ok, we surrender” as he kneels and healing wands Kor once again and steps back. The wolf continues downwards, rushing up to Jurik. The cyclops, in an overexcited moment, rushes to step out of the grease and over the fallen body of Kor, and slips – he falls to the ground with a terrible thud and an ancient curse, next to the secretly conscious Kor.

Jurik steels himself, sings a high note in his song and immediately betrays his promise of surrender, ducking the wolf’s vicious bite to flee a short distance back. He looses an arrow into the wolf’s pelt and shouts “Kor!” which is all the prone barbarian needs: an excuse to go absolutely fucking berserk.

He lurches to his feet and uses the momentum to bring his Halouk axe down in a set of vicious blows that sever both of the Cyclop’s giant legs at the thighs. His follow-through swing carries the axe blade deep into the haunches of the wolf, severing both legs in a single blow.

Standing soaked in his own blood and the blood of his enemies, Kor looks around and sees Desi, Scrabble and Setyiel fallen on the ground while the dead cyclops bleeds next to the dying wolf.

Magic revives the fallen party members and Setyiel celebrates the moment by brutally carving out the wolf’s eye and a portion of its brain with his scimitar.

The party is victorious! Jurik begins composing the battle-dance of “Three Eyes and a Worm”. The rest of the party directs their attentions to the mouth of the cave as they settle in for a night of victory camping and the carving up of their foes.

The skulls of the wolf and the cyclops are preserved, at least temporarily – Desi’s jealous eyes spend the whole night darting towards the gigantic teeth of the fallen monsters.

The next day:
The party uses ropes to climb up into the mouth of the cave, creeping through the petrified body of a 100 foot long, monstrous worm. The stone teeth of the worm extend ten feet into the body, though they are broken off and worn down by time. The internal organs, stomach and intestine of the worm are roughly hewn out, opening into a long, dark cavern behind the worm’s tail. Setyiel’s magic lights up Kor’s axe and the party proceeds, passing out of the worm’s tail and into a winding, rough tunnel that curves slowly upwards and to the left.

Kor’s barbarian instincts startle the party with a sudden stop. He peers at the wall and the floor, then grunts and kneels with his axe held forward. He gently presses the axe down to the ground, triggering a pressure plate. Suddenly two dozen spears on the left and two dozen broken spear-shafts on the right burst forward – the half broken trap would impale the left side of any unwary traveler.

The party slips past the trap and continues until another obstacle stops them – a wide pit with a curious bit of detritus at the bottom and a flattened log across the way. The smell of stale toilet is overwhelming. Upon closer examination, Desi’s suspicions are confirmed – the hole contains a Gray Ooze and is likely used as the cave dweller’s toilet. Kor dons Jurik’s jumping ring and leaps easily over the gap, dragging the log into place while Desi and Setyiel murder the toilet with a barrage of arrows. They decide to return later when Setyiel can use Mage Hand to levitate the adamantine crowbar that lays at the bottom of the pit.

Further exploration reveals a small trickle of water near a large, rough-hewn alcove. The trickle comes from a long, small underground hole about a foot wide – most likely the hole leads, eventually, to the Owlbear’s cave. Interesting! More interesting: the rough-hewn alcove has bedding, evidence of the wolf+cyclops’s living situation and… LOOT. Lots of loot, actually – apparently Bre and Fel’A’Nil killed a number of small humanoids and took their belongings, including a variety of magical items, armor and some scrolls. Most bizarre, among the piled gear is a mummified hand of a gnome, like a child’s hand with pink fingernails, to be worn as a necklace.

Up around a bend, as the tunnel continues to ascend, the party finds the cave blocked off with boulders and rubble – the previous inhabitants have used the rocky choppings of the petrified worm to block this part of the cave off, either for safety or to prevent the unwary from continuing any further. This is all interesting to the party, but more interesting is the hidden, 3 foot tall door that Jurik discovers in the wall of the tunnel. After some rogue-monkeying, Jurik is able to open the door, revealing a stone passage. Dancing lights are sent down the passage, revealing a dining room of some sort, with ceilings of ten feet high. Jurik crouches down and starts down the passage, stopping only ten feet in- “it’s a trap!” he curses, and begins tinkering with his rogue’s kit. Behind him, Setyiel casts “detect magic” and detects numerous magic auras within the hidden area, the first being the trap that Jurik is working on disabling.

“Aaaaaaaiieeeeeeeeeeaaa!” screams Jurik and, wild with terror, he scrambles back out of the cave, fleeing an unseen assailant. The entire party readies their weapons and magic, but no opponent is found. Jurik flees down the tunnel, only to return a ten seconds later with an angry, embarassed look on his face. “Magical fear trap,” he mutters, and then, crouching, he re-enters the cave.

OHKARGSTAADNOOOOO!!!!!!” screams Jurik, bolting from the cave in terror once more. This time Kor siezes the cowardly bard in a bear hug and prevents him from fleeing with an angry grunt. Once Jurik has composed himself, he shakes off Kor and enters the cave again.

PROTECTMEFROMSPIRITSAAAAEEEEEE!”
and
HELPHELPOHOHOHHELPNOOOO!”
and
FIRETHEBURNINGSOTALLAHHHHH!”

are but three of the screams that Jurik cries during the following fifteen minutes of his attempts to bypass the trap. The party begins to speculate that Jurik’s ability to “inspire courage” may be diminished in the future. Eventually, however, Jurik is able to turn the trap to the “off” position and proceed.

Ten feet further into the cave, Jurik discovers, with a curse, another trap. This trap is different, however, set to summon a powerful monster. He calls Kor into the cave to assist with the fight, should the trap be triggered. Kor stares at the bard in a silent accusation, but crouches, ready to defend the weaker barbarian should it come to that.

It doesn’t come to that, though – the shock therapy of intense fear inspires Jurik to new levels of competence and he deftly disables the monster-summoning device and bravely shuffles into the dining area. The rest of the party joins him and they begin exploring the hidden home, opening door after door until they find a door that holds a powerful magical trap.

Another trap! And even worse: this one doesn’t summon monsters to fight or scare you off, it triggers the spell “Phantasmal Killer”, capable of killing the unlucky victim on the spot. Kor scowls at another fear trap.

“I can handle this,” he says, and the magic users of the party look skeptical. “Phantasmal Killer” is a powerful spell, capable of summoning fears out of the darkest, hidden parts of the victim’s mind. The loss of the party’s alpha barbarian would be a real blow. Kor’s plan for getting through the door also seems to involve a pickaxe, a simple-mindedly brutal approach to such a cunning magical trap. The elf, Setyiel, wonders for a moment, if he should ever have joined the primitive tribe of the Ohesaare.

Kor’s took a strong grip on the pickaxe, hauled it back, and crashed the tool forward into stone – specifically the stone of the wall around the corner from the trapped door. He shoved the kitchen’ table and stove off to the side and began hacking at the stone wall, digging into the brick and morter until he has broken through.

The magically trapped door is never disturbed, but Kor’s plan of breaking through the wall allows the party to break into the chamber.

In the chamber, the Spriggan wizard’s wand and potion making room is revealed. Setyiel is delighted to loot a the wizard’s study, finding scrolls, wands and most notably, the dead Spriggan’s spellbook.

Kor’s interest lay back in the kitchen – an entire cask of whiskey! Everyone decides the most prudent course of action is to camp inside the Spriggan’s Hold, for at least a day. A celebration is called for!

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