Spires of Xin-Shalast 31

Finally, after 5½ years, we have completed our first Pathfinder adventure path Rise of the Runelords. I’m not sure what the average play length for an adventure path is, but we haven’t played it continuously all that time. When we play, it’s normally once a week, with sessions lasting 3-4 hours. We broke the campaign up, playing a chapter (which might take 2-3 months), then taking a break to play something else. Our quickest run through was the second chapter – The Skinsaw Murders – which we did in two days over New Year. We also had a year in which we didn’t play it at all, because we were busy with other games.

The final chapter took 31 sessions, though I threw about half of the 5th chapter of Shattered Star into it as well since it seemed to fit and gave me an opportunity to present some more background of the lost city before the players got there. That only took four sessions, partly because I simplified bits of it, and partly because the party was a couple of levels higher so the combats went a lot quicker.

The final session started in the middle of the fight with Karzoug, with most of the party having managed to get close to the Runelord. Solassar had failed his will save against the Repulsion, so wasn’t able to approach within 15ft, and Grodok had been Mazed so was out of the fight. Since he needed to roll 22 on a d20 (he has -2 from his Intelligence) to escape, he was likely to be stuck there for 10 minutes. Serena had made it to the soul lens, where I (and Karzoug) was expecting her to start interfering with it.

We began with Grodok trying to escape the maze of twisting turning passages all alike… he rolled a 19 – and spent his last Hero Point to give himself +4, breaking out of the spell on his first attempt – much to the surprise of Karzoug. Esheire then cast Anti-Magic Field and ran up to stand next to Karzoug, dropping all his magic and forcing me to recalculate all his statistics based on not having any magic available.

Given that Karzoug wanted to stop Serena damaging the soul lens, he moved away and used his Rod of Quicken Metamagic to cast Wish to bring the rune giant back to life, however it needed to get up and find its sword before it could start doing anything. Instead of doing what I thought she was planning – trying to damage the soul lens – Serena summoned 4 Zuishin to heal Grodok and try to dispel the protections on Karzoug. They failed on the latter though.

Esheire charged towards Karzoug again with her anti-magic field, allowing Solassar to move in and get an attack, but rolled a 1. Grodok stepped in at this point, and even without any of his magic managed to take down the Runelord.

At this point there was as flash of light as the soul lens and runewell erupted, transported back to Mhar Massif and potentially blinding everyone – though only Grodok failed his save. The dead giants were restored as was the dragon – though give it had fallen into the lava it then immediately took a lot of damage before it made its way to safety.

With their lord dead, the giants and the dragon surrendered to the party. For this, and the fights before it, they received just over half a million experience each (taking them to 18th level), and I also gave them one level of Mythic Tier. Fortunately Esheire had a scroll of plane shift to get them all home and back to Xin-Shalast, so after looting Karzoug’s corpse and raiding his library, they left.

The Heroes of Sandpoint – Solassar, Esheire, Grodok and Serena

The last thing to do was for Grodok to go and find the half-orc cook Thura and propose to her – except the kitchens had been raided and there was just a pie sitting on the table.

When the party first arrived in Xin-Shalast, they had a tendency to re-use safe havens on multiple nights, and the last place they used were the cellars beneath the kitchens of the old fortress. Khalib had discovered this through scrying, and persuaded a local Lich to set a trap for them when they returned. The idea being that they would teleport back, hit the Teleport Trap the Lich had put in place, and find themselves in the middle of a group of undead, preferably whilst they were low on spells and hitpoints.

As it happened, they never went back there after that point, and since a couple of days had passed since the death of Karzoug at this point, I figured that the undead had gone back home. Leaving the teleport trap in place and a dead Thura baked into a pie (that had been Khalib’s idea).

Thura was resurrected, and presumably she and Grodok will go on to live happily ever after. Grodok did return back to Sandpoint to return the tail of the giant rat he had killed – still believing that this had been the point of their quest all along.

So the campaign is over, something for which I’m actually glad since I could do with a break. It was a lot of hard work towards the end – high level Pathfinder is tough to run, with a huge number of options to be aware of. Using Roll20 (especially with all my scripts) definitely made things a lot easier, but that meant a lot of prepping up front.

The players seemed to enjoy the campaign though, and the end battle went reasonably well. I would have liked to have been able to kill one or two of the PCs in the final battle (the resurrection effect after Karzoug’s death would make the cost of that short lived, but it would have been more dramatic), but Esheire’s use of anti-magic field really hampered Karzoug’s ability to do anything at the end. Possibly he should have tried a Wail of the Banshee rather than bringing back the rune giant, but it wouldn’t have changed the end result.

At any rate, that’s all for now. It looks like our next Monday night game will be Zweihander, but that won’t be until the new year.

Samuel Penn

Samuel Penn