Spires of Xin-Shalast 14
A long time ago, I used to write up notes after each session of my campaign, partly for my benefit, partly to put on my website, and partly for the player’s benefit. I’d try to write from the perspective of the player characters, sticking only to what I knew the player’s knew. Invariably I’d get a “Oh, that’s what was going on” from players, because what I thought was obvious to the players wasn’t.
For much the same reason, I try to avoid recapping what happened last session whenever possible, because sometimes what I think was obvious wasn’t, and sometimes I just make mistakes and blurt something out. This session, there was some confusion about what happened at the end of the previous session, so I quickly recapped by reading my very brief notes:
“Teleport to the ruins. See the ogre mage. Earth glide, find some stuff, discovered, run away.”
“Ogre Mage? What Ogre Mage?” was the immediate response. Followed quickly by the realisation that the stone giant with transmutation magics on them was probably actually an ogre mage. Bummer. Note to self – no more recaps.
It is decided that since they have already taken out a number of Lamia, and other Lamia are now at the ruins of the Sihedron Temple investigating the ruins (and premature graves of their sisters), the so-called House of Divine Consumption might have its defences currently reduced and be a good target for assault. They’re wrong about the first, but not too wrong for the latter.
It is also around now that the players once again demonstrate that what I think they know isn’t what they know, and have a conversation about a topic which really confuses me until I realise that they’ve added 2 +2 and gotten 7. That may allow for some amusement later.
Solassar scouts ahead and gets a good idea of the layout of the building without being spotted. There are several Lamia Priestesses and Lamia Matriarchs, as well as a number of Kuchrima. Whilst he is watching, another creature seems to teleport in – some form of large insectoid with icy-blue carapace. It speaks in a language Solassar doesn’t understand, though it sounds slightly Abyssal in nature. After a short conversation with the somewhat cowed looking Lamia, it teleports out.
A large insect had been mentioned before, in reference to the Heptaric Locus, and the group picked up on that. They also noted that it seemed to be teleporting without too much difficulty, so may have one of of the Sihedron Rings they were after. For now though, they were more interested in assaulting the House of Divine Consumption. I put this event in to give the players a clue as to where they might want to go, since they seemed a bit directionless. They knew what they wanted, but didn’t have much idea as to how to find it.
At this point I wish I’d put more effort in fleshing this place out. It’s only very briefly described in the adventure module, despite being one of the main areas of the city. As it happens, the building I sketched out fitted conveniently on a 20×20 map grid, with a few rooms.
With the entire group invisible, Solassar and Esheiri snuck in, with Solassar kicking things off with an attack on one of the Lamia Matriachs. The way I run initiative in Pathfinder is that in surprise attacks, the character (player or otherwise) that kicks things off gets to ‘take 20’ on their initiative roll, plus they get to make a Stealth check to set the Perception DC for the other side to not be surprised. Solassar quite easily surprised everyone.
Esheiri followed things up with some magic in the main room, and then Grodok came charging in, soon followed by a couple of summoned Tyrannosaurs from Serena. This was a complicated fight that took all evening, even though it only lasted about six rounds.
Four Lamia Priestesses, six Lamia Matriarchs and eight Kuchrimas were present. Apart from the Kuchrimas, who kept to the ceiling and shot arrows down at the dinosaurs, they could all use magic, so there was a lot of keeping track of what spells had been cast, and what spells were most effective to cast.
Within a few rounds the party had control of the situation, though one Tyrannosaur when down from arrow fire which prompted Serena to summon in an air elemental to deal with the Kuchrima.
By the time most of the Lamia were down, Grodok found some stairs and rushed down alone – to encounter something. To quote from the description:
This creature’s appearance is accompanied by the sound of retching and wet, flapping flesh… a body composed of a sack-like mass of stitched flesh swollen almost to bursting… a twisted leonine body that is little more than a pulpy mass of shattered limbs and sinew…
Of course, nobody was able to recognise it due to their lack of knowledge skills (I keep bringing this up, but I do find it amusing).
It actually managed to get in a hit against Grodok and caused some Wisdom drain, but then proceeded to roll badly (in theory it could consistently get attack rolls in the 40s). Grodok then rolled a critical – and took it out in one set of attacks.
By this point most people were downstairs ready to support Grodok (not that he needed it), leaving only Serena and her summoned companions to witness the late arrival at the party.
A gigantic blue dragon swooped in, stopping at the entrance way and breathing a bolt of lightning at both the Zuishin and the Tyrannosaur (it couldn’t get Serena in a bolt and hit something else). The Tyrannosaur when down immediately in a flash of electricity, though the Zuishin remained standing.
At this point Serena made use of the one knowledge skill she is good at and not only identified it as a very old blue dragon, but also realised that what was in front of her was probably an illusion (despite the lightning bolt). She and her Zuishin rapidly moved to the stairs to take cover below.
It is getting late, and it seemed like a dramatically appropriate point to call a halt to things for the evening.