Last Sunday, our motley band of heroes got together to continue their adventures in Varisia. This is what happened (WARNING: spoilers for Rise of the Runelords and long not-so-great storytelling follow the cat photo):
Our adventurers entered the rocky, snow-covered circle hoping to figure out how to disable the fabled stone heads that would reveal the hidden passageway they sought. Kyra rushed in first, tripping over a rusty crowbar that she tossed aside, only to reveal a trapped Stone Head. The cleric quickly dealt with it with the aid of her divine magic, imbuing the party with confidence at their quick progress. Amiri then sauntered forth to search for the next Stone Head but found only some mediocre hide armour and an Attic Whisperer (aka “Mr. Creepy”) that was easily dispatched.
The “not-a-goblin” Tup found a Stone Head while messing around with a potion of Glibness and defeated the trap. He then moved and found a third Stone Head to disable, showing off his progress.
The wizard Ezren had no such luck, finding only some abandoned spell scrolls and armour, and thus the ranger Harsk was determined to prove his ability to search out their quarry. Unfortunately the dwarf ran right into a crushing door trap which he barely survived. However, the door hid a fourth Stone Head which, the ranger, since he couldn’t magically deal with it, chose to beat on futilely, hurting himself more in the process. On a second attempt he managed to topple the Stone Head, unfortunately landing it directly on Kyra who didn’t quite manage to get out of the way of the falling rock. The cleric then defeated a wandering spectre haunting the circle, taking out her frustrations at the ranger out on the dreadful spirit which didn’t have a chance against an already-angry holy warrior.
Amiri wandered around the circle and found a new warhammer which she sat down to admire while leaving the more magically-inclined party members to disable the last 2 traps. Tup managed to scout out one of them and banished it, leaving Ezren to disable the last of the Stone Heads and open the passageway into the Runeforge.
Unfortunately the heroes efforts had alerted the ancient ice dragon guarding the circle, and as soon as they opened up the way, Arkrhyst attacked. The adventurers failed to defeat it on their first attempt but after quickly running to safety in order to heal up Kyra and Tup, Amiri and Ezren reengaged the beast. They handily defeated the icy lizard, allowing the party to make their way into the depths of the Runeforge.
The Halls of Seduction
Venturing down beneath the Siheddron Circle, our heroes found themselves within a wing of the Runeforge dedicated to Thassilonian sin magic, specifically to the sin of Lust.
On discovering this fact, Tup immediately took off running into the halls and quickly came across a Roc. Unsurprisingly, the “not-a-goblin”s response was to set it on fire, only he failed to defeat the giant bird as it evaded his scorching ray, dealt a good deal of damage to the pyromaniac, and then proceeded to carry him off further into the underground structure. Kyra took off in pursuit of Tup while Ezren attempted to follow but was waylaid by an Alu-Demon sister. The wizard barely survived the encounter with the seductive demon who disappeared back into the dark passageways, leaving him bloodied and fearful.
Harsk took himself off to the garrison in search of anything useful but found a second demon sister; he however, easily defeated her and managed to close the garrison, cutting off a potential escape route for the villainous mistress of the Halls of Lust. Meanwhile Kyra had found Tup, the “not-a-goblin” and soon-to-be bird food, and healed him up. In the process she picked up both a divine blessing and a new pixie friend, no doubt attracted by her holy magic.
Amiri gained entrance to the prison but failed to find any useful allies amongst the mistress’s prisoners. As she did so, she spotted Tup running back towards the Iron Cages of Lust, having apparently not learned his lesson. He spotted Mistress Delvahine herself, and was able to get out without being seen in order to inform the rest of the party. With the villain’s whereabouts known, the heroes decided to try and close down all possible routes of escape before returning to her lair.
Still wary of running into another demon sister, Ezren chose to visit the Academy instead. He found a useful arcane spell before spotting a trap that he enlisted Harsk’s aid in disarming. Kyra chose to explore the wing dedicated to the sin of Pride and found a strange inscription scrawled upon the walls which warned her off a dangerous plague zombie ahead. Buoyed by her faith, and her flaming mace, she quickly reduced the monster to ash before it could become a problem.
Amiri found a third Alu-Demon sister in the prison which she easily defeated. She then attempted to persuade the jailors to close the prison gates; with the aid of Tup’s incantation of glibness, she was able to charm them into complying, and thus another escape route was removed. The barbarian then headed into the Pride wing to hunt for a way to close it’s entrance.
Still at the academy, Ezren spotted another seductive demon henchwoman lurking in the library halls and hightailed it for the temple’s sanctuary, knowing how badly he’d emerged from his previous encounter. Harsk remained behind and handily defeated the sister, her magic-dampening powers being no match for the ranger’s crossbows.
Amiri found the next sister and defeated her amongst the shimmering veils of Pride, but unfortunately lacked the wisdom to close the wing even temporarily. She had at least taken care of the demon henchwoman, even if Tup’s bird friend was lurking somewhere in the wing, and would likely need dealt with. Satisfied that he’d helped Amiri enough anyway & not about to risk the Roc seeing him again, Tup himself had wandered off into the Throne Room searching for valuables; after finding and rejecting a slinky headband, he continued deeper into the room only to spot another demon sister. Dropping his ill-gotten loot, the “not-a-goblin” hightailed it for the sanctuary of the temple to join Ezren in safety. Harsk and Kyra continued to sweep the halls of Pride in an effort to close it down, while Amiri healed up and found an impressive new weapon.
Ezren finally faced his fears and marched into the Throne Room to defeat the sister that had scared off Tup. Tup then joined him to continue looting only to disturb a mammoth; luckily a quick poison blast took out the lumbering beast.
With most of the demonic sisters defeated but multiple escape routes remaining, the party needed to quickly close the place down. Ezren found a troubadour at the Academy who helped him close the doors, while Amiri defeated the last sister within the Temple itself and closed the sanctuary to demonic interlopers. Harsk then defeated Tup’s flying nemesis and closed the doors on Pride. With only the Throne Room doors open, and Ezrena and Tup blocking the entrance, the rest of the party, aware that time was running out, headed back into the Halls of Lust to confront Mistress Delvahine. Tup used his persuasive charisma to get the guards to close the Throne Room doors while Amiri squared off against the villainous bard herself.She threw everything she had into the combat and emerged victorious, declaring this part of the adventure a success.
The MIstress of Lust was defeated, but the party knew other Thassilonian leaders were lurking within the Runeforge’s halls. Determined to reach the forge itself, the heroes knew they needed to defeat these villains before they got in the way.
Determined to find one of the leaders, Harsk headed into the Crypts of Gluttony, stumbling over a shiny headband before being surprised by yet another giant mammoth. The beast emerged victorious, leaving the injured dwarf to pick up a Holy Light spell before resting up. Kyra had wandered into the Vault of Greed, leaving Amiri to encounter and easily defeat a ghoul lurking within the Halls of Envy.
Tup was once again in the Throne Room looking for anything shiny; he instead found the decidedly unshiny zombie Xyoddin Xerriock. Enraged by the lack of loot, the “not-a-goblin” promptly reduced the zombie henchman to smoldering ash, but then fell foul of a siren who was apparently a lot less flammable.
Deciding he didn’t want to be set on fire by his overzealous companion, Ezren left Tup and took off to explore the dungeons. He found a Simulcram of Vraxeris who escaped, forcing the wizard to pursue him deeper into the depths. Ezren dispatched the fleeing henchman and closed the dungeon entrance to prevent any villainous leaders slipping into its depths to hide.
While all this was going on Harsk decided to delve further into the crypts where he uncovered a zombie nest. Luckily the heroes were able to defeat the shambling dead who swarmed them in response. The battle then drew the attention of another Roc, which Harsk quickly dispatched in a hail of arrows before it could get too close. Kyra then ran into the Crypts to heal Harsk as the dwarf was looking somewhat rough; as she was doing so, the giant mammoth lumbered back, looking to finish off the ranger. Determined not to lose her patient, the cleric quickly defeated the beast, barely breaking a sweat.
Back in the Throne Room, Tup picked up a shiny new ring which he immediately tested for flammability. He then tossed aside some weapons which looked less likely to burn before disturbing a zombie giant which did burn rather well.
Buoyed by her success, Kyra called upon the blessings of her gods before exploring deeper into crypts. She came across one of the infamous Thassilonian leaders, the undead Azaven; the cleric defeated him but he slipped away into the rest of the Runeforge before they closed the Crypt doors. Unfortunately for him, he ran into the Halls of Envy and was immediately spotted by Amiri who also engaged the necromancer. She defeated him in combat, but another leader, Jordimandus, was lurking within the same Halls and came to his aid, letting him escape once more.
While scouting the Maze of Sloth, Tup found both a necklace of fireballs and the location of a second Simulcram of Vraxeris; he relayed this information to Ezren who handily defeated the henchman, but failed to seal off the maze’s twisted passages. Meanwhile Amiri headed back into the Vault of Greed only to find Azaven once more. The lich was fast becoming the bane of this adventure as the barbarian once again defeated him but then saw the Thassilonian leader slip away into the shadows. Irritated by the lich’s cockroach-like nature, the barbarian stalked back to take on Jordimandus. She easily defeated the bear he summoned to attack her before easily defeating the conjurer, closing the Halls of Envy and preventing his escape.
Back at the Maze of Sloth, Kyra appearedto confer with Ezren and provide healing to the battered wizard. His ally Father Zantus also helped rally his strength and get him ready for battle. Tup attempted to call upon the divine blessings of Shelyn but the goddess was apparently not answering calls and so his cries went unheaded.
Harsk had found the third leader, Ordikon, hiding out in the wing dedicated to Pride. With the aid of Lamashtu’s divine guidance, and an incendiary cloud, he defeated the villain but was left badly injured. Hearing his cries, Ezren levitated the ranger into the maze where Kyra could heal his wounds, before the cleric and wizard made their way into the Throne Room. They found Tup the treasure-hunting “not-a-goblin” struggling with an arcane lock which Kyra helped him open. Ezren then flushed out and defeated the siren that had scared Tup off earlier enabling them to close the Throne Room (once it had been scoured for valuables of course).
It was clear that Azaven and Ordikon had hidden themselves within the twisting maze, so Harsk quickly closed off the Prideful wing and set himself up within sniper range, before the rest of the party made their way to flush them out. Amiri found the lich first and defeated him with the aid of Harsk’s arrows and Tup’s fire blasts. She then found Ordikon hiding further along the passageway. He came at her with poisonous acid magic blazing, but the barbarian’s attack was aided by Kyra’s dragon, Tup’s fire and Harsk’s bow. The undead villain revived but the party simply blasted him away a second time, defeating the third Thassilonian leader and leaving them ready to approach the Runeforge itself … after something of a break.