For backgrounds on the characters played in this campaign, look here~
Upon the cusp of early Winter as the solstice lay just a few short months ahead, preparations have begun in the small hamlet of Kassen’s Hold for a yearly celebration of the legacy of its founder, Ekat Kassen. A former crusader and adventurer who had struck fabulous fortune during his adventures, Kassen had set out to establish a strong and safe community in the Fangwood of Nirmathas beside the Tourondel river–which has since served both as a trading stop for merchants and caravans and a stopover for journeying soldiers, crusaders and mercenary companies heading to and from the troubled lands to the north.
It is in this community that the fighter Zantric D’Larric had come to settle with his love-to-be Zerra–taken in under apprenticeship with the dwarvern smith Braggar Ironhame. As well, Brother Vang Tanvor of the Knights of Ozem found himself in the tutelage of the aged crusader Sir Dramott of Lastwall. A brief slip of happenstance and the two became acquainted, sharing a time at the forge before meads at the Seven Silvers.
Newly arrived in Kassen’s Hold on this day were a trio of Pathfinders: Pandora Eilserv, the drow rogue accompanied by her bodyguard Emma–a barbarian–and the wayfaring inquisitor of Desna, Meryk, whom had been dispatched to assist the pair in their respective aid of Cygar Anravis. With a vested interest in expanding a lodge into operations in the Nirmathas region, the Pathfinder Society’s attentions were turned as well to a number of local points of interest–the resting place of Ekat Kassen, as fate would have it, soon among them.
Further drinks were shared at the Seven Silvers, as well as a contest between Emma and Zantric; soon however worry surfaced among those in Kassen’s Hold, for the villagers whom had departed for the yearly pilgrimage to Ekat’s crypt were now worryingly overdue and the recent sightings of bandits and orcish bands in the wilderness bespoke a cause for alarm. With Zerra among the missing, Zantric was swift to volunteer; Cygar suggested Emma and Pandora accompany
Further threads of fate had been spun as others came upon the same fold; Anselme Baud, the young but decisive druid charge of Olmira Treesong accompanied by the stalwart Leone–became solicited as a guide. Cassandra, the Katapeshi sorceress and apprentice to Holgast was similarly enlisted–though she at the behest of the wizened wizard that the expedition might benefit from arcane prowess–while as well the Arcanimirium might turn a curious eye.
Together, this gathering of diligent souls set out to seek the wayward villagers.
During the first of the two day journey to the crypt, the party was waylaid by an ambush set by what seemed to be several orcish slavers joined by goblin ‘volunteers’; among them were a strange mixture of orcish clans and stock–while the most notable was that of the apparent leader, an immense bluish-black-skinned orc with a stature of over seven feet in height and rich red eyes. After a brief but bloody battle, the orcs were dispatched to a man, a single goblin escaped and one–Grokzug–with a predilection for pickles was taken captive. Enraged upon discovering the implements of slaving on their corpses, Zantric beheaded the collected bodies and left a set of spikes as warning.
Meryk joined the expedition an hour after the engagement and after a bout of largely unsuccessful questioning with the Grokzug, the party set off to find a campsite. As evening came and the gathering began to prepare tents and other implements, a pack of starving wolves assailed the campsite–but was swiftly and decisively driven beneath the sword, with three wolf pelts collected and a pair of the lupines sent loping off into the night. In the morning, the group continued on southward while later in the day arriving at the Gray Lake the body of a bandit was discovered, seemingly several months old and dead from the bites of a serpent. Newly minted coins from Tamran were discovered on his person–and his garb suggested having come from a larger city.
Not wanting to risk an attack from such serpents, the party elected not to explore the lake and proceeded further south.
It began to rain later in the second day, making for a miserable and sodden approach to the ravine in which the crypt lay; arriving at the gorge, the party was presented with a muddy, slippery slope for the nearly mile-long descent–and soon began a treacherous trek to reach the bottom. While Meryk and most were able to make the descent without incident, Brother Vang and Cassandra both suffered particularly painful tumbles along the way–leaving the pair battered and bruised upon arrival to the crypt. Outside, the group discovered the slaughtered remains of several horses and pack animals–as well as a crushed, ancient skeleton; with set resolve, the party proceeded to the entrance of the crypt, beginning their foray beyond.
Within the first chamber several ancient skeletons were found, joined by the frightfully fast zombified remains of a pair of bandits–similarly garbed to the man discovered on the shore of the Gray Lake. Brother Vang brandished the holy symbol of Iomedae, striding headlong into the ranks of the undead while joined by his martial compatriots–and in short order the lot had been dispatched. Two slain villagers were discovered in the entryway–while a mournful wailing could be heard from the east, to which the group advanced.
Pandora led the way through a short, maze-like section of the crypt–plummeting into several unexpected pit traps along the way before discovering a key she’d read about in a Pathfinder Society module report; Leone also suffered a fall, requiring a complex winch and pulley to recover his sizable form from the bottom of the pit. Afterward, the group discovered the panicked, hysterical Roldare who spoke of slaughter and Zerra’s capture by the ‘one that talked’. Though the cobbler offered his repeating crossbow (and many apologies) to the party, the former was declined and the man was told to await their return.
A haunt was discovered which burst Emma’s lantern, before the party discovered a terrible smokey fire pit from which a burning skeleton emerged; as well, the haunted remnants of a pair of villagers burned away, setting a terrible conflagration which assailed the party before being temporarily suppressed. Returning to Roldare’s room, the party rested to recover from their ordeals and prepare for further advancement through the crypts.
Upon the next day, the group ventured further through the crypts, coming upon a clockwork construct fashioned in Kassen’s image; after learning about the virtues of Home and Family and seeing to a swarm of rats, the party discovered a room with treasured goods–several wands, badges of faith, scrolls and potions thus recovered. As well, Cassandra recognized an object of some legend–a Tesseract Stone, remnant of an ancient mineral society and a prized treasure of the orders of old.
The party advanced northward, enduring a gauntlet of trapped statues and a mischievous Determined Device haunt; beyond, a fountain room was discovered with the statue of a weeping maiden holding a headless statue of Ekat’s remains. Deep within the fountain a magic key was discovered among hundreds of mundane copies–before the group doubled back southward through a room with several large murals. Here, depictions of Ekat and Asar’s battle were found–with the pair both wearing amulets which seemed curious pieces of what appeared to be a larger whole. From this chamber, the group then came upon a vicious trap–the pillar of one thousand arrows.
Running this fresh gauntlet using the kind lessons bequeathed by Kassen’s mechanized form, first Pandora and Emma made their way across before securing passage through the door beyond; there, the pair were faced by four bloody skeletons and a bloody Huecuva which the barbarian swiftly engaged. The others advanced across the arrow chamber with trepidation before joining Emma and Pandora–and together, with the barbarian woman on the verge of running short of Master Ippo’s endurance training, the five wretched undead were put down and their deathless forms were laid to final rest.
Down to the second level the party advanced, finding a chamber which solicited rest and rumination; with the sounds of water to the east and the stench of rot to the west, the party elected to rest and reflect upon their experiences before they would see to what lay beyond the next day.
Emboldened by their newly discovered prowess, the party set out to seek the remainder of the missing villagers once more. Brother Vang hatched a clever plan to scout ahead with the protection of Iomedae to hide him from the eyes of the undead; nominating Pandora to accompany him (as the elven woman would doubtless be invaluable for her repertoire of roguish talents), the pair made their way stealthily through the western doors and past an assortment of zombies–some beset by strange and terrible fungal growths.
In the adjoining chamber, Pandora became fearful of a terrible sight in a reflecting pool–though thankfully Anselme was able to halt the woman before she could flee the crypt entirely. In the meantime, Brother Vang was halted by an immense portcullis–beyond which he spied a giant juju zombie black widow spider excited by his presence. Throughout the foray into the crypts, Meryk had begun to experience portentous dreams from Desna–and it would seem that said spider may have been among his most recent, speaking of the potential for a terrible fate ahead.
Withdrawing from the western section of the crypt, Brother Vang and Pandora instead ventured to the east–which they discovered to be partially flooded on an even lower level. The pair crept carefully past a hazardous patch of Azure Fungus, avoiding an electrical discharge–before finding an immense hulking frog sitting down one end of the hall. Pandora proceeded into a watery chamber with a wheel on the far wall, still hidden from the undead present; after narrowly avoiding a hazardous hidden drop, Pandora began to swim for the wheel–while Brother Vang heard a most ominous croak.
Panic broke loose as the giant dire frog secured Vang with its tongue, beginning to drag the misfortunate cleric towards it; the others quickly hastened to make their way into the eastern chambers, though in their haste they had not been forewarned of the Azure Fungus and were struck by painful electrical bursts. Brine zombies began to emerge from the wheel chamber as Pandora worked the device, roused by the sudden commotion in the waters–swimming with eerie ease as they assailed the party arriving to aid Brother Vang. As the cleric vanished into the mouth of the towering frog, the group was waylaid from the rear by smaller (but nevertheless frightfully large) frogs while already beleaguered by the undead.
Engulfed within the terrible belly of the best, Brother Vang’s thoughts turned to the terrible fate of the now-infamous Paladin Jenkins–a Pathfinder chronicle having detailed an account of his death in the eastern reaches after fool-heartedly charging through what had turned out to be a clutch of dragon young. After a rigorous and painful experience among the assailants, the group managed to persevere with casualties but without fatalities–while to the west, an ominous banging could now be heard, as the portcullis had been raised…
- Anselme Baud, human Druid of the Lion Totem with Leone his lion companion
- Brother Vang Tanvor, human Cleric of Iomedae
- Cassandra DeCharne, human Sorceress from Katapesh
- Emma, human Barbarian
- Meryk, human Inquisitor of Desna
- Pandora Eilserv, drow Rogue
- Zantric D’Larric, human Fighter
See what Emma thought about this session here!
See what Meryk thought about this session here!