Spires of Xin-Shalast 15
With a certain level of paranoia, the party sheltered in the relative safety of the basement, whilst the blue dragon Ghlorofaex could be heard in the halls above. By the time they had prepped some more spells, and finished looting the rooms for art trinkets, the dragon had seemingly left.
Heading upstairs, there was no sign of the dragon, so they obviously decided to see if there was any more loot in the building. The random treasure generator at the Archives of Nethys really useful for this sort of thing.
Though Ghlorofaex is powerful out in the open, in the close confines of the building he would be too vulnerable, so I had him withdraw. He had originally turned up expecting to join a fight, not to arrive after it had finished with no allies to support him. He’s a dragon, and not stupid.
It was also possible that what would happen next, is that further reinforcements would arrive in the form of giants, but again the close confines of the building would make it a slow, boring and one sided fight, making it ultimately pointless. Instead I decided to try to introduce a possible ally for the third time…
Whilst they were searching the upper floors, a stone giant crept into the hall below, looking very nervous. He was spotted by Solassar, who pointed him out to Esheiri. He is the same stone giant they have seen previously who seems to have his true form hidden by transmutation magic. Noticing that he had been seen, he took a chance and started floating up to where the group were, looking around nervously as he did so.
He is Gyukak, and though was originally lured here by the promise of riches and great fortune for giant-kind, he has come to believe that what is good for Karzoug possibly isn’t as good for his kind as was promised. So he has plans to leave, and quite a few other giants are also thinking along the same lines.
However, they need something to encourage them to go against Karzoug, so is hoping for some strike against Karzoug’s power that would encourage them.
There is talk of what can be done, and Gyukak describes what he knows of some of the important players currently in the city.
There is Xingteng, an undead Imperial Sovereign dragon (known in Pathfinder as a Ravener, what used to be known as draco-liches back in the day), who mostly keeps to himself in the ruins of the slave district. This is the dragon that Esheiri saw on their first night in the city.
There are also Kyldrayrth, an undead green dragon, and Naguss, and undead white dragon. Though weaker than Xingteng, they are both powerful dragons in their own right.
The creature that Solassar saw was Gamigin, an ice devil that as far as Gyukak knows has been here for thousands of years. He is an assassin, used by Karzoug to take out anyone who causes the Runelord trouble.
The blue dragon is Ghlorofaex, another servant of Karzoug. Ghlorofaex often travels up Mhar Massif to the Spires of Karzoug, so must have some means of getting through the occultation field that prevents travel up there.
The giants are ultimately controlled by the Rune Giants in the ruined fortress of Shahlaria, which sits atop a cliff overlooking the rest of the city. It is there that Gyukak suggested a strike, to remove the most obvious source of Karzoug’s influence. If that was done, then Gyukak could persuade many of the giants to leave the city with him.
As is usual, Grodok asked many stupid questions, but to the annoyance of the giant. He did find out from Gyukak though that the orcs of Shahlaria had spoken of a giant rat.
After Gyukak is gone, the party decided to investigate the ice devil Gamigin in the Heptaric Locus, hoping he had a Sihedron Ring. This was another example of badly drawn maps, since according to the map scale this building was almost a kilometre across, but only capable of seating 150,000 spectators in its huge arena. A lot of the outer parts of the building I described as being rooms, dungeons and mini-arenas, with the actual main arena just taking up the small portion in the middle.
Though there were opportunities to explore the outer (and lower) parts of the Locus, the party went straight for the central arena. They spotted (and identified) the tracks of several Scarlet Walkers, a type of outer planar not-quite-spider.
It turns out Scarlet Walkers are very good at stealth, so two of them were able to surprise the party as they tried to sneak around the ruins of the terraces in the arena. They were able to hit Grodok, and their huge (30ft!) reach and effectively unlimited attacks of opportunity were put to good use disrupting spell casting and arrow fire. They died in a few rounds, but they served their purpose – giving Gamigin some more information on the capabilities of the party.
With the death of the Walkers, an Ice Storm hit the party. The originator was only barely spotted due to Solassar’s skill unlock in Perception – the Ice Devil had made his presence known – some 800ft away.
At this point it was decided that Serena needed to give Esheire the Sihedron Ring to allow her to teleport everyone across the distance to their foe, and take him down. It was also here, as I was quickly sketching up a tactical map of the area that it was decided to end things for the evening.
From my perspective, this was useful. Gamigin has an Intelligence in the high 20s, and I’d really like to play him in a way that properly represents that, so having some time to figure out how to make best use of his abilities will be needed.