Spires of Xin-Shalast 26
I was hoping that the campaign would be finished by the end of October, but we are now into November and there’s still another few sessions left. If the players want to continue their characters for a bit after that, then that’s a possibility, but I’m hoping our Rise of the Runelords campaign itself will wrap up before we break for Christmas.
The previous session ended with the death of the wizard Khalib, and the arrival of several Lamia-kin to block the PCs off in the other direction. They were keen to grab loot and leave at this point, since both Esheire and Serena were low on their high-powered spells, but were forced into fighting the lamias.
Two Hungerers flew in from the direction of the throne room, accompanied by a couple of lamia priestesses. The dungeon tiles have been really useful, for the location is huge and being able to slide things along and add tiles as needed has been invaluable. Without them, I’d probably be displaying everything on the TV with Roll20, which I prefer to avoid doing since it misses out on the physical tabletop feel of the game.
My tokens also have metal bases, with magnetic flight stands, so I can stick any sized token on several stands reasonably easily.
Esheire stuck a wall of stone up to try and block the lamia-kin, which blocked the princesses, and then dropped a Hungry Darkness on them all which blocked their sight and started cutting them to pieces.
Grodok and Solassar took on the last of the storm giants at the far end of the field of battle, though Grodok spent several rounds cursed with bad dice rolls, until he finally dropped his power attack and took down the giant.
Serena dropped the mirror images on the first Hungerer with a dispel magic, then her Zuishin started shooting it with arrows when they came charging out of the darkness. One Zuishin was dropped through wisdom drain before the first Hungerer was taken down, then a disintegrate from Esheire took out the second.
With the nearby enemies defeated, a quick grab of the loot, including stuffing Khalib’s body into a portable hole, was followed by a hasty retreat. Though the PCs were keen on leaving, they’d actually pretty much broken the last of the defences.
They retreated back to the mountainside, and the protection of another Magnificent Mansion to rest up and prepare for the following day.
They took the opportunity to get out the golden scimitar of Viorian Dekanti. Serena tried to determine the magics on it, but failed. Being an major artifact, it isn’t susceptible to such spells. It was then that it started a conversation with the group, suggesting that it could help them against Karzoug if only they picked it up and wielded it. Even Grodok wasn’t quite stupid enough to try it, though he came close. The sword was able to use create food and water to create some pies to tempt Grodok, but they were pretty bland fair so he lost interest.
The sword told them its name – Chellan – but they were unable to get sufficient Knowledge History or Lore Thassilon checks to recognise the name. I reminded them that they did have the Revelation Quill, so they used that to determine that it was one of the seven blades of conviction, created by the Runelords and could also be unmade by them. Deciding that they probably wouldn’t use it, they put it back in the bag of holding.
They rested up for the night, and got about 200,000 XP for their last couple of forays against the Pinnacle of Avarice, taking them about half way to 18th level. I don’t intend for them to level up again until the Karzoug situation is resolved one way or another, but what’s left around probably isn’t enough anyway until they actually defeat him.
The following day, it is the 27th of Pharast, two days before the night of the full moon which was prophesied as being the earliest date by which Karzoug could free himself. Rather than deciding when he will rise myself, I have come up with a way of randomly determining each day whether Karzoug escapes or not. The chance will increase each day following the full moon, modified by what the PCs have done. This means even I don’t know when he will rise, but the PCs will have a bit of warning that something really bad is going to happen before it does. Given the two days they have though, I think they’ll just about be fine.
Anyway, they head back to the Pinnacle of Avarice, and all is quiet. The bodies of the defeated still lay where the PCs had left them the day before, and they head into the throne room to loot the body of Viorian Dekanti. They notice some bloody paw prints heading towards the corridor leading out of the room, which look like Lamia prints.
Serena goes through a door, and sees an image of Karzoug waiting there. Rolling for initiative, Karzoug goes first but is surprised. With no more spies left he wasn’t expecting the PCs this time and didn’t have a spell prepared. Serena is slightly slower, but is able to recover quicker and leaps back out of sight.
They quickly close the door and head in the other direction, following the bloody paw prints. The prints lead to a set of doors, where Esheire notices a slight fracture in reality, similar to where Karzoug has had an image before. She stabs it with her dominating star knife, and she hears a scream before the portal snaps shut.
As I have done for every other image of Karzoug they have come across, I take a green counter from a pile. The only difference is that this time one of the players noticed. They have absolutely no idea what the counter means, or even whether it is good or bad. I currently have only one counter though, so it can’t be that bad. Can it?
Thinking about it, I have something else to track as well, so I’ll probably use player-visible counters for that as well.
Going through the doors they come across a couple of Lamia priestesses, both of whom are prostrating themselves before the group and begging in the name of Lamashtu for leniency. They have seen plenty of what the group are capable of, and have decided that furthering the cause of Karzoug is not worth their lives.
They are more than happy to provide some information once the group show sign that they may accept the lamia’s surrender. The High Priestess Ceoptra is guarding the Anima Focus, beyond which Karzoug is trapped. He hid there before the Cataclysm that destroyed Thassilon, but something went wrong and was not able to escape as planned.
They also say that there is an Astradaemon guarding a prison through the door, though they don’t know who or what is in the prison. There is also an angel that Karzoug had summoned and bound to guard a hole in the outer wall – a possible entrance the PCs had missed because they went straight for the stairs beneath without scouting the outside of the building.
Beyond that, is the Leng Device, which creatures from the plane of Leng are working on – part of some plan of Karzoug. They don’t know what it does, but it’s probably the Device mentioned by the strange spiders the PCs met on their first approach to the Pinnacle. The lamias warn that the door to the Leng Device is protected and not to read it.
The last time something in the Pinnacle tried to surrender (a very confused giant, admittedly in the middle of combat), it was simply killed, so I was glad that this time they were willing to stop and talk so I could provide some information.
It’s at that point we decide to call it an evening before they headed on to encounter anything that could be considered dangerous.