We continue our Pathfinder game of Strange Aeons, with my character Costian recording our adventures. This was another combat heavy session, which was quite complicated with a fight across multiple floors. Pathfinder combat can be slow when there are a lot of things going on. Since only my phantom could do much in the final battle, and I have macros in Roll20 to roll all my melee actions with a single button press, the last half of the session consisted of me taking 5 seconds to click a button and confirm that I didn’t hit anything, then waiting 20-30 minutes as everyone else did their actions. The annoying thing was – there was something I could have tried that may have made me more useful, but forgot about until it was too late. It’s been so long since I really played these characters, trying to remember how they work is difficult.
However, the combat was quite close, with several PCs getting close to death before we managed to defeat or drive off the opposition.
Sunday, 27th Pharast, continued
Riding in the mind of the giant centipede, I sent it squeezing through the narrow doorways into the room beyond, and was immediately engulfed in pitch blackness. There was the scent of other creatures in here – the small blue Derro that had been riding the centipedes, but also of fresh water. Cautiously moving forward, I felt the creature’s front legs touch water, so turned to follow the shoreline round to the right.
Almost immediately I bumped into something – a small creature that giggled at me and stroked my legs. So I tried to bite its head, but in the darkness misjudged where that was. It returned the favour by stabbing me and scurrying off. I charged off round the edge of the water, until something bit deeply into my front legs – some sort of mechanical trap. I felt a sudden lurch, and the centipede was dragged down into the water and I quickly snapped back to my own body.
Deciding that we couldn’t do anything against the magical darkness of the Derro, we headed back up the lift to the ground floor to perform a proper search of the place. This gave Erasmus some time to study some spells which he thought might come in useful against the Derro, whilst we performed our usual looting. Most interesting to me were some maps hanging on the wall. They were of various regions in the Inner Sea, though there was a gap where I might expect a map of Qadira to be. There were a dozen of them still there, and I took them all.
According to Ray, he’d had a sneak upstairs and seen some ‘skin stitched’ golems which had some hell wasps buzzing around them. There was more of the house to explore above them, so we decided that investigating this way might be easier than the Derro down below. I had a plan to lay down some area-effect magic to contain the creatures, then Ray and the others could strike them from a distance.
So Gregor cast invisibility on me, and I crept up the stairs, followed closely by Ray. Up the top of the stairs was a laboratory of some sort, and there were two large golems of stitched together flesh and rotten cloth, and things seemed to crawl under their skin as if bursting to get out. So I thought and silently summoned a churning swarm of Etheric Shards, which filled the room from the top of the stairs out to where the creatures were. The cutting, slicing, piercing shards were invisible, but started to slice and dice the creatures whenever they moved. This act broke the protective invisibility on me, so I darted back down the stairs whilst Ray dropped an exploding ball of acid over them.
The swarms burst from the skins of the two golems, but with the etheric blades, the magic of Ray and Erasmus, and Gregor’s arrows both the golems and swarms go down without being able to reach us. Before the last swarm is dissipated, it seems to form words from its buzzing – “will you bargain?” – then flees up through a hatch in the ceiling. It was a well planned attack on our part, and it went about as well as it could have.
Catiana goes ethereal and floats up through the ceiling, finding an attic full of racks stretched out human skins forming almost maze-like passages between the racks. There is another construct here – a hollow that looked very similar to the one we’d met when we first came in, but this one was mumbling to himself with his head in his hands. He seemed a little bit more ‘real’ to be than the others.
But then there came the sound of casting, and another derro tried to put an enchantment on Catiana, so she quickly dropped down through the floor again.
In the room below there was an invisible ladder leading up to the hatch, so everyone quickly clambered up through it. By now there were two derro – a spell caster who had mirror images cast on himself, and an invisible female who seemed to be an alchemist of some kind who had very long arms. A fight ensues, but only Catiana and Gregor can see the invisible one so Catina takes control of her manifestation away from me. The construct seems to mostly cower on the floor, but the alchemist is fast and difficult to hit, and Catiana is unable to land a blow on her – even when she darts past her after the male derro is killed and dives down through the trap door.
So Catiana phase lurches through the floor and drops down on top of the derro, who doges past her and down the stairs at high speed. Catiana phase lurches through the floors again down to the ground, where she spots her running past in the direction of the lift. Another phase lurch and Catiana makes it to the lift to see the derro wave goodbye as she drops down towards the deep basement.
Back up in the attic, everyone is quite badly injured and needs Erasmus’ help to get back on their feet and not bleed to death. Apparently Sheena and Ray both came quite close to death, but I missed most of it. I’m not sure why my sister hadn’t taken any of my magic to use against the derro alchemist, but apparently she was so focused on trying to punch her that she forgot to try anything else.
With the alchemist having fled down the lift things are quiet again, which gives us time to recover and figure out what all these skins are for. Unfortunately the construct had been killed in the fight, and I’d been hoping we could talk to it rather than fight it.