Saturday, June 16, 2012

Gifts of the God Mages : Pathfinder e08

Gifts of the God Mages
May 2012 - ongoing
June 13th Game Session

Episode Eight: The Bard's Keep - Part One

On the eight game session of the Indigo-Entertainment Pathfinder chronicle, I decided to throw a published adventure at them.  Waaaaay back when I was still playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (not d20 or 4th edition) I had a copy of the 29th issue of Dungeon Magazine, which had a remarkable adventure in it:  Ex Libris by Randy Maxwell.  The Dungeon was a beautiful creation that had the complexities of movies like Cube, and the remarkable allure of mystery which I loved.  I decided very early on to use the dungeon with much adjustment and changes to suit my game.  The end result was an adventure which would turn out to be the first "multi-part" game which would require more than a single session to resolve.

In this game session, the following players were present:
Ramza, CG, Fighter-Wizard
Caishn, CN, Rogue
Jazintho, CN, Wizard
Rondo, CG, Sorcerer

Ironically, that meant all the players had names which started with the letter J.

Given the events of the last session, with Jazintho's treachery revealed to all (his being possessed by the Demon Child was a high plot point, as was his exorcism of its influence), I spent some time before the game started asking him what his direction was to take.  After all, if he wanted the group to trust him, he had to give a good reason for them to do so.

The gist was this:  Jazintho claimed to have been overwhelmed by the demon, and attempts to sense his alignment proved that he had not turned towards evil.  Eventually, the group, while not unanimous, decided to give him a second chance.  The group descended into the ancient ruin called Bard's Keep in hopes of find an artifact book which according to Omen, "You will know you have it once it is in your possession."  The group entered the keep, noticing quickly that the ruin unlike others had been raided by others before, if not quite recently.  Little did they know the trials they were to face.

While Bard's Keep was not filled with traps like it was the previous adventure, the place was strange in how the rooms next door seemed to change on their own.  Suspecting some kind of clockwork dungeon, the group faced off with two of the place's guardians, with much difficulty, realizing the place was definitely a challenge which may require their full cooperation to overcome.

The rooms were moving.  That much was clear.  But what system existed in their movement, and what clues the previous attempts others made to conquer the place left behind were but the ingredients to a whole new adventure.  After finding a few metal plates which had dwarven runes on them (each plate corresponding to a letter) and facing off with two of the place's guardians (deadly things which were vicious in combat and deadly with their fiery breath weapon), the group realized to take a strategic retreat was a wiser course of action.  It became quickly apparent, however, that they would have to return to rescue the other group which had gone in with hopes of finding them.  What this will result with in the end was something to be discovered in a later game session.


Definitely though, the players found the dungeon to be an awesome, if not challenging experience.  Faced with a place which seemed to naturally move on its own, there was no doubt that the group would have to find some way to work with that complication to succeed in this quest.   With the looming threat that now PC death will be respected, all carried with them the worry that the game session they played could be their final one.

One thing was certain, however:  The fun only multiplied even more.

And while this game chronicle was probably to end on the 12th episode, there was no denying that all who played the Gifts of the God Mages game were definitely enjoying the ride.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gifts of the God Mages : Pathfinder e07

Gifts of the God Mages
May 2012 - ongoing
June 13th Game Session

Episode Seven: A Trap Within a Trap

On the seventh game session of the Indigo-Entertainment Pathfinder chronicle, the stories were now taking a new direction.  Given the size of the group, and the growing story line, I had decided to approach the games in this manner:

Opening Scene
Game Proper
Closing Scene

This way, every single game will feel like a self-contained episode of a show, will contribute to the growing metaplot, and yet have enough time for the fight sequences.  Given the time allotment to each session (around two to three hours only) for a five to seven player game, I had to sacrifice my usual storytelling style and instead make the battle/dungeon crawl more prominent.  But no way am I turning this into just a roll-fest.  After the tragic first game I ever had, I made a promise that all Tobie games will always have a story to remember.  I was not about to back out of that promise just because I was running Pathfinder.

In this game session, the following players were present:
Ramza, CG, Fighter-Wizard
Caishn, CN, Rogue
Jazintho, CN, Wizard
Galvindir, LG, Cleric
Baus, true Neutral, Barbarian-Wizard
The game opens a meeting occurring in some dark room where the candles are lit low and the lanterns are hooded.  A grand circular table receives a number of guests, mostly men, some women, and a few of them are in robes.  The topic:  the assaults being conducted upon various cities through out the Realms.  It soon becomes apparent that the Lord of Doranth, the Lords of Waterdeep, and the Elven Queen of Moonshae Islands are among those in the secret meeting.  Most voice anger towards the unprovoked attacks upon their territories.  The Elven Queen unsympathetically states her domain remains unblemished and labels the issue "a Human problem," a statement which raises more ire from the others present.  Eventually, a voice suggests that perhaps it would be time to protect one's domain with powerful magical means.  The Marduk of Al Qadim heckles the suggestion as he reminds them of the magical chaos that makes even the power of the City of Haluraa unstable.  The robed figure, King Zalathorm's vassal,  Azoth Fereas reminds them there are powers that the magical chaos is unable to rattle:  "Artifacts," he mutters with a smile, "And I believe we of Halruaa know of a man who can provide us the defenses we require."

The game then jumps forward to the Realms Master.  The ship is spinning in a whirlwind, as it remains anchored to a whirlpool in some desolate sea.  Omen calls out to Ishi and Jasmine, who use their mobility to try and secure more of the fluttering sails to the battered masts.  Ramza, the new captain, struggles to come to a decision whether they should wait for the party below to reemerge with the artifact, or leave and return when the weather is calmer. "This is not a natural storm," Omen intones, "I sense the magical quality of the destination below may be behind the assault we are taking."   Ramza reluctantly commands for the ship to be taken out of the whirlwind.  A full mile away from the site.  But just before he has it carried out, Minder throws him a subtle suggestion:  "An opportunity does exist to focus on what you are experienced with, and to pass the reins of command to someone else.. a First Mate perhaps?"  Ramza agrees and asks Foxilon Cardluck to take charge, just before he leaps down to scale the chain of the anchor to join the adventurers below.

The Realms Master uses the Astrolabe to move its location.  The results surprise Ramza.  The ship is literally there one second, then gone the next, and Ramza crashes into the waters with a cleanly severed chain in his hands.  He swims to the entrance of the tomb, a small patch of land in the center of the whirlpool and slides inside to find the others.

Earlier, the group split into two groups as they found the entrance leading to a junction of four chambers.  Jazintho wastes no time and hurries down the eastern corridor, not caring that the "wizard" Baus followed him.  On the western corridor, Alcarin and Galvindir take charge.

Jazintho and Baus trade barbs frequently, with the Half-elven wizard clearly showing his disdain for the Half-Orc barbarian-wizard.  The two are so focused on their insults that neither notice they walk straight into a pit trap! Falling painfully twenty feet, the two gather their wits and consider a way out.  But as Baus tries (and fails) to climb the steep surface, Jazintho whispers to the Demon Child if it can provide a means out.  The Demon Child teases it may if Jazintho tastes Orcish blood.  Jazintho mistakes this as a command to kill Baus.  And in hopes of giving him an edge against the more trained fighter, Bestows a Curse upon him as Baus attempts to scale the wall.  But Baus had earlier Detected Magic and sensed a powerful source below.  Botching his Spellcraft check, he mistakes the great power to be an Infernal Necromantic source.  This misunderstanding does not make it easier for Jazintho, whose specialty school has always been Necromancy.  The Barbarian strikes at Jazintho, disrupting his attempt to throw a Phantasmal Killer at the other.  As the two consider their next moves, they hear the voice of their captain Ramza above them as the captain had opted to check the eastern corridor.

Alcarin and Galvindir walk the western corridor with some level of care, but the two are busy sharing talk of the gods they serve.  Alcarin is surprised to learn from Galvindir that he was visited by Pallas herself, but before they could get into further details, both fall prey to another trap:  A Falling Block Trap!  Both are smacked painfully by the stone blocks and quickly utilize their healing abilities to recover their strength.  The corridor ends in a large chamber with a door at the end of a second narrow corridor.  But this time more wary, both see the many holes that dot the walls of the corridor and sense another trap (if not more) waiting for them.  Galvindir summons his signature Pony once again, but refuses to have it go ahead as a test dummy.  Alcarin, eager to move forward, runs ahead.  Galvindir follows with the Pony behind him, not wanting to separate the group.  The first row triggers sand that begins to fill the chamber.   The second triggers a barrage of Javelins that fly from the holes.  When they reach the second corridor, however, Alcarin alone notices the magical sigil that glows before an Electricity Arc Trap is unleashed.  The dwarf escapes it, but in his attempt to pull Galvindir down with him, instead throws Galvindir into the electric arc's path.  The Cleric is painfully electrocuted, and his contact with the Dwarven Paladin means he too takes some of the pain.

Ramza casts Enlarge on the Half-Orc to assist in their escape of the pit.  Jazintho uses the now Large Baus to clamber out of the pit and continue down the corridor.  Jazintho triggers a magical sigil on the ground and is Teleported away.  The two others are oblivious to this event.  Ramza, however, tells Baus it may be best to follow the others, and as the two reach the main junction at the entrance, Baus admits he called his Rage during his square-off with the Half Elf and needed some time to rest.  Ramza leaves him alone and hurries down the western corridor, dodging another Falling Block trap, and reaching the main chamber to see the others in the other side of a chamber that was waist deep in sand.  Alcarin bashes at the walls and finds a hollow where the corpse of another dwarf with a hammer lay.  He convinces the others to follow him (instead of simply traverse the sand and head back) and continues to batter a path through the walls themselves.  He strikes another hollow, and before any of them could react, they are falling into the darkness.

Baus notices some writings at the ceiling of the entrance and is frustrated to realize they are in a language he does not know.  Ishi Barasume arrives, asking him how the others are.  She tells him Omen had made a mistake (actually he had lied) and tells him the tomb is not a tomb at all.  It is a tower.  And it wasn't owned by a former Elven wizard.  It was owned by an Elven Inquisitor.  It was a place where evil was exorcised!

Jazintho finds himself in a domed chamber, and the relief statues of elves and gods come alive, asking him if he is ready.  If he is willing.  And if they should begin.  Jazintho says yes, even if he is uncertain what this will entail.  From the domed roof, a crack shatters, and his three friends drop into the location to join him.  As the three recover from the fall, Jazintho sees every statue raise their heads in their direction and bathe them in white burning light.  The exorcism begins and Jazintho finds the the Demon Child suddenly expelled as a dark shadow that clings to his leg.  It tempts him with power! With magic! But when it sees that others are witness to its presence, it demands to Jazintho that it needs a host body.    As if in response, Galvindir is suddenly flanked by a horned man and a woman with a lance.  Alcarin, on the other hand, is surrounded by a Protection from Evil.  Ramza, it seems, is the sole option.  As Jazintho begins casting Lightning bolt to strike him, Ramza retaliates with a Blindness spell! The Lightning bolt strikes first, however, and Ramza is brought to his knees.  Alcarin interposes himself between them, and Lays his Hands on Ramza to help him recover from the pain.  Galvindir takes this opportunity to speak to Jazintho and try to convince him to free himself from the demon.  "True power is earned.  Not given.  You are better than this!"

When the Cleric sees Jazintho is too far or emotional to reach, he asks Pallas for help.  She tells him, "I can help you, but remember what I told you.  You have sworn to protect my Chosen.  Then know this, he is my Chosen."  Galvindir sees to his surprise that Pallas was referring to Jazintho, not to Alcarin as he originally thought.  "In his destiny lies the destruction of the world, as well as its Salvation.  And only you can help him reach the proper choice."

The Demon Child screams again, but this time Pallas' light is far too great.  The Demon dissipates and is no more.

Minutes later, back on the Realms Master, Omen admits he had inspected the vault and noticed a number of artifacts missing.  He suspected one of the group was possessed by the Demon Child and had lied to the captain to bring them here to vanquish the demon.  Ramza finds the artifact of the Tower, however, but Omen tells him it is not for his eyes to see.  The group lock up Jazintho for the nonce in a room, to consider what is to be done to the elf.

None of them notice, however, Jasmine talking to Ramza, and suggesting to him that they stick together.  She asks him again if he is a wizard and he admits he is excited to learn new power.  Jasmine, of course, can only smile.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gifts of the God Mages - Pathfinder e06

Gifts of the God Mages
May 2012 - ongoing
June 10th Game Session

Episode Six: Three Years Later

On the sixth game session of the Indigo-Entertainment Pathfinder chronicle, it was time to bring the game to a new level of danger.  The players were much more accustomed to their classes and many were already targeting their preferred Prestige Classes.   This meant they could now be held accountable for any mistakes, wrong judgement, and vulnerabilities they fail to compensate for.  Starting with this game session, I warned them that the "nice" DM has ended, and now, dead PCs will not be "saved."

To give the players some more "fuel" to survive, I set the game three years later, and allowed them to have two levels free, as well as 15,000 gold to spend.  (Players who were not present in this session were to have two levels free, but only 10,000 gold to spend.)

In this game session, the following players were present:
Rondo, CG, Sorcerer
Ramza, CG, Fighter-Wizard
Caishn, CN, Rogue
Jazintho, CN, Wizard
Galvindir, LG, Cleric

The game opens with the players being told that Three Years Ago, the Realms Master was destroyed.  The fire that rained down on Doranth was a vicious one and the city took a major blow.  During the session, details would soon be shared leading to this sad picture:  While Dwalimer Omen and Elminster were with the two others in the tavern, a sudden magical storm of flames erupted and ignited most of the city.  The Realms Master was not spared from the burning rage.  While Alcarin and the others sought to help those they could, Minder and Vartan Hai Sylvar were both struct by the flames and were trapped by the sinking ship.  Using his last breath, Vartan cast a spell for Minder to be transformed into a flying form, and Minder sadly failed to react soon enough to save the Elf in return.  Elminster died in the flames.  Omen vanished.   Ishi, Foxilon and the rest arrive to see the horrible carnage, and while most of the crew depart to find new lives now that the questing ship they gathered in was gone, Alcarin and the original crew salvaged what they can from the ruins of the Realms Master.  They learned the pocket dimension was intact and could be carried with them, as was the powerful artifact that served as the ship's engine: the Astrolabe.

Ishi, Minder (in her dragon-like form) and the late Vartan Hai Sylvar

And so, three years later... Galvindir was meditating at a small shrine deep in the woods.  During his prayers, the maiden in white armor appears to him and petitions for his help.  As he considers doing so, Erastil himself has his avatar appear before Galvindir and accuses the woman of attempting to steal his loyal priest.  She introduces herself as Pallas, and tells Erastil in exchange, she will extract a vow from her "chosen Paladin" to watch over the Cleric.  The two gods seal the pact, and Galvindir is told to head for the City of Waterdeep as his first task.  She warns him of a coming war and tells him there will be a great responsibility in his hands which may turn the tide of the war.  When asked what threat is coming to affect the Realms, Pallas intones darkly, "The God Mages are coming."

Rondo spent the last three years searching for more of his Bloodline.  The Stormborne seemed harder and rarer than most lines.  Going as far as the lands of Al Qadim, Rondo learned that there the Stormborne were known as Children of the Djinn, and their lineage was hailed as powerful and deadly.  Rondo was given the offer to remain, but reminded that one chooses what one will call one's family.  And from that, Rondo realized he wished to find the crew once more.   His journey would eventually lead him to the port of Waterdeep.

Ramza struggles to find a mentor for his Archery skills and eventually visits the City of Halrua in hopes of gaining magical training.  There, he discovers that Dwalimer Omen (whose name he drops in hopes of getting a foot in) is known as a thief and is wanted by the city itself.  But when another strange moment of magical chaos strikes the city, Ramza escapes and opts to return to Doranth.  There, he chances upon a drunken Dwalimer Omen, who has no recollection of how he survived the fire.  Months pass and he helps Omen regain focus and determination.  The two eventually receive an invitation to head to Waterdeep upon hearing word that the Realms Master is supposedly docked there.

Caishn lives a life of bliss with his "wife" Nuala in a small house in the woods.  But events turn a strange direction when Nuala seemingly has moments where she uses magic without thinking, or acts differently from usual.  At one point, he finds she has a new ring that she loves: A Ring of Telekinesis.  Confused by her moments, Caishn however is quickly distracted when the urge for adventure returns.  With Nuala excited to join him, the two decided to head for the City of Waterdeep where adventurers tend to find good beginnings.

And finally Jazintho's tale uncovers a dangerous twist.  The Wizard HAD succeeded in opening the vault but had only time to steal two artifacts:  A polyhedral bone and a deck of cards.  Both had unexpected and unpredictable magical effects when used (with at one point the bone die struck Jazintho to death, but an earlier roll actually allowed him to be resurrected instantly.)  To the surprise of the other players, Jazintho seemed to be friends with Jasmine (whom they all remember him striking down with his Lightning spell) and the two opted to head for Waterdeep, also after receiving word of the Realms Master being active there.

The group's reunion at Waterdeep is short-lived however.  Literally seconds after they find each other by the port, a magical chaotic event once again happens.  Skeletons rise from the ground, led by a Skeleton Champion that sat upon a steed of bone.  The group dispatch of the undead quickly, using their best skills, spells and weapons at their disposal.  But the skeletons, it would so happen, were just the start of their troubles.  With a deafening cry, a massive skeletal Tyrannosaurus Rex stomps into the scene and only with their combined efforts and Dwalimer Omen's Incendiary Cloud do they succeed in bringing it down.    I fail to remember whose sharp eyes catch a robed figure with a skull mask seemingly the master of the undead assault, who vanishes in a gateway when its undead army begin to fall against the city's defenses.

Port side, Nuala (who was inadvertently thrown into waters) gets rescued by the combined efforts of Galvindir, Rondo, Ramza and Caishn.  They find the Realms Master crew at the port, who all seemed surprised to see their old friends.  The new ship is bigger, with four masts of sails, three lower decks, and better weapons.  Most are surprised to see the new appearance of Minder, who seems quiet given her guilt over Vartan Hai Sylvar's death.  The crew are doubly surprised to learn Dwalimer Omen is alive and excitedly welcome the chance to serve under him again.  But Dwalimer Omen does not forget a debt, and he announces Ramza as the new Captain of the ship.

The group, however, fails to notice Jazintho and Jasmine plotting at the wayside.  Jasmine, as it turns out, is Surea in disguise and the drow has noticed an ebbing in her power.  Even her Ring of Telekinesis seems to malfunction at times.  The two realize the Realms Master and all its artifacts can be theirs if they find a way to get rid of Dwalimer Omen.  "Jasmine" tells Jazintho she will handle killing the Wizard, after all such an act requires a woman's touch.  Jazintho will handle gaining the support of the crew to make one of them the new Captain when the chance comes.

A darker turn for the game, indeed.  And definitely an exciting direction the game is headed.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gifts of the God Mages - Pathfinder e05

Gifts of the God Mages
May 2012 - ongoing
June 8th Game Session

Episode Five: The Tomb of the Gnome Tinkerer

On the fifth game session of the Indigo-Entertainment Pathfinder chronicle, my total number of players has reached ten.   I have to admit, it has been a while since I've had a group this big, so a part of me was feeling a bit apprehensive about being able to give a game that will still be entertaining for all.  While most Dungeon Masters approach Pathfinder (and D&D games) as tactical battle fests, I find it hard to focus on just the battle and love injecting story arcs into the game.  This, however, meant working out story lines that intersect with many characters, allowing for a greater participation from those involved.   Many during this session earned enough experience points to finally hit fifth level, which meant many taking the first step towards their preferred Prestige Classes.  Multi-classing was definitely the option some had embraced.

In this game session, the following players were present:
Rondo, CG, Sorcerer
Ramza, CG, Fighter-Wizard
Baus, true Neutral, Barbarian-Wizard
Caishn, CN, Rogue
Lyus, NG, Druid
Kalder, CN, Rogue
Jazintho, CN, Wizard
Galvindir, LG, Cleric

The game opens with the group learning the party is split in different areas.  One group was already off in another quest, still trapped in the Tomb of the Gnome Tinkerer.  As it turns out, Ishi, Vartan and Foxilon were returning from the Tomb to recoup some strength and bring Vartan back for recovery.  But both were determined to return to help Rondo, Ramza and the new crew member Baus.  Baus is a Half-Orc Barbarian who was smarter than most in his community.  His dreams of someday becoming a true Wizard has become his driving goal in adventuring.

Elsewhere in Doranth, Kalder and Galvindir were speaking with the Erastil priest about the God Mages.  Galvindir inspected the authenticity of the ancient tome that supposedly showed how Nuala resembled the supposed God Mage of old.  Yenrry (NPC) continued to remain fascinated with his strange regenerating hands.  Kalder found himself being asked by the priest if he was willing to do what it takes to save the world, namely kill Naula before she regains her power.  When he agreed, the priest blessed him with some Divine spell, promising when that day came, he would strike true.

Elminster and Omen were both terribly injured by the attack in the tavern.  Alcarin (NPC) opted to stay and do what he could to help.  Lyus in a daze, went back to the Realms Master, uncertain how to tell them that the greatest Magus in the Realm, Elminster was on the very verge of death.

Back on the ship, Jazintho slowly was made aware that his assault by the Drow wizard Surea was merely an Illusion.  She teased him about the power of magic and admitted to him she too had a Demon Child within her.  "They start with knowledge, then tempt you with secrets, and eventually... things beyond anything you expect."  He tries to pry more secrets from her but she remains mum, asking him however if he would be interested in working with her.  "I only have to settle a score with Omen.  Omen has shied away from his responsibility in raising our child."    With the key Jazintho was given by Ishi, the wizard quickly considered looking for what it unlocked.  He eventually finds it opens not Omen's chambers or the artifact room, but a room that has been locked up.  Inside, melted armor, a destroyed shield, and a distorted holy symbol were found.  Jazintho realizes it was the room of the former Paladin who had died, one who supposedly Ishi and Jasmine had loved.

Just off the ship, Ciashn arrives with Nuala and both are confronted by a suspicious Ishi Barasume.  Ishi did not meet the two earlier in the day and was wary of letting them onboard the vessel.  Eventually, the oriental... warrior... allowed them onboard and called out asking who will join the mission to finish the quest and get the others out.  Jazintho opted again to stay, hoping for another chance at seeing the artifacts.  Kalder and Galvindir arrived back in time at the port to see the leaving boat.  They joined the others on the trip to the Tomb.

In the Tomb, Ramza, Rondo and Baus dealt with four Ogres.  The giants were terribly strong, with their massive reach and frightening strength.  Baus disabled one with a well-timed surge of Rage, but fell down exhausted in the struggle.  Rondo was able to fell another one, with a hidden strike of Shocking Grasp, followed by a flurry of Magic Missles from above.  Ramza knocked one out with a Sleep arrow, then engaged with another with his sword.  The last Ogre, however, was vicious and nearly overwhelmed Ramza's skills.  Rondo had to support the battle with an empowered blow of his spear.

In the upper levels, the group had to navigate four floors of traps, monsters and lures.  From a series of deadly traps which Caishn had to disable one at a time (with the third requiring help from Kalder), to a room filled with gold and platinum coins, that turned out to be a massive breeding pit for metallic crabs and their gigantic brethren.  Once again, Galvindir's pony came to the rescue, but sadly the pony's strikes were barely able to penetrate the crab's armored shells.  Kalder and Caishn brought low a few with well-timed sneak attacks.  Galvindir's bow amputated a few crab arms with well-timed strikes.  Lyus found himself grappled by one grab, and eventually had to spring free with the help of his wolf.  Caishn at one point asked Ishi, "You guys have been here before.  Why not just show us the way down?"  Ishi replied, "Perhaps I wanted to see if you were all worth being part of the crew."

Down below, Ramza and Rondo eventually find a strange room.  With the bottom filled with water, strange criss-cross marks dominated the chamber, and the floor was broken down to narrow arcing pathways.  Rondo took to the air to study if the patterns made sense from above.  Ramza dove down to check what was the source of the green-bluish lights that flickered below.  Deep beneath the waters, Ramza felt a strong current that buffeted him backwards.  Rondo could not get what significance the patterns shared, and it was only with the arrival of Galvindir and Lyus that things would come into focus.  Lyus assumed his Wildshape and became a shark, diving into the waters to investigate.   Below, he found a strange bottle like thing that was the source of the current.  Knocking it free from the ground, hoping to study it, the object shot out like a propelled missile and ricocheted against the walls, ceiling and anything in its path.  The arcs now made sense as the object zipped past many of them, until a perfectly-timed catch stopped the object's deadly launch.  Rondo grabbed it tight and as he slowed his flight, he stoppered the object closed.  It was a Decanter of Endless Water.

Beneath the waters that were now calm, Lyus found the remains of a long dead gnome and his spectacles.  Since the spectacles were the artifact they were to collect, Lyus gathered it up with his teeth and swam back towards the surface.  It was another successful quest, and the group congratulated themselves for a job well done.  Caishn, Foxilon and Kalder freak out when they discover that all the "coins" they gathered turned out to be tiny metallic crabs!   None of them knew, however, what was happening back at the Realms Master.

Jazintho found himself an audience to a disembodied Dwalimer Omen.  The poor wizard continued to be in so much pain that he decided to leave his body Astrally for the moment.  Asking about how things were, Jazintho merely played it cool and told him of the ongoing mission.  Chancing it, Jazintho inquired about the artifact room and Omen joked about keeping the key where no one would expect to find it: Tied to the ship's Anchor.  Heading there, Jazintho finds Jasmine sitting on the anchor, and admitting to him that she's been watching him.  She learned a "thing or two" from Priam Agrivar, the late Paladin, among which was the ability to Detect Evil.  As she questioned Jazintho's motives, the Wizard took no chances and immediately threw a Silent Lightning Bolt at her.  Jasmine fells into the waters as she screamed in pain.  Before the key fell in as well, he reached out with Mage Hand only to find the key flying away from him and into another's hands.  "Ring of Telekinesis beats Mage Hand any day," Surea mused, as she levitated from the port side, and made a deal with Jazintho to share the hoard.  Jazintho agreed.

Galvindir felt a bad feeling once again, and for a brief moment saw the image of a maiden in white armor wielding a lance once again.   Who she is seemed to be a secret to be revealed in another time.

The answers will follow, in the next episode of The Gifts of the God Mages.

Friday, June 8, 2012

More Scenes to Throw at your Players - Houses of the Blooded

Here are a few more scenes/scenarios to throw at your players for your Houses of the Blooded games.  While these can also be adapted to work with many other game systems, I felt Houses of the Blooded was the best system to relate to these because of the way the system celebrates player interaction more than tactics or other gaming themes.

And yes, do check out the influential movies or sources to enrich your ideas on how to approach these scenes!

A brother (or Friend) lost his wife, and has taken Revenge a tad too far.  Rather than petition to the Senate, he has begun killing all the vassals, lords and ladies of a rival Baron over the course of a few Seasons.  Thankfully, his acts of vengeance have yet to be noticed by the Senate.  Will you help him hide it?  Try to convince him to stop?  Or bring it to the Senate to be dealt with properly?
Inspirational source:  Sweeney Todd: The Demon of Fleet Street

You have decided to investigate on those who worship Fashuva, hoping to learn more about them and how to detect their influence in your Domain.  But the man you've come to learn from might just be a servant himself!
Inspirational source: The Rite

Your favorite Vassal has been spirited away by another Ven.  You've heard rumors that she now toils under her domain as a slave and while most veth are meaningless, you cannot help but want to find a way to steal her back.  How do you?
Inspirational source:  Spirited Away

You awaken to find yourself in a different room, in a different Region, served by Vassals you do not recognize. They, however, recognize you.  Soon you realize why:  a rival Baron somehow has switched places with you.  He is in your body, and you are in his.  What his plans are and what can you do to get your body back?
Inspirational source:  The Change-Up

Similar to the one above, but you've switched bodies with the most disappointing child you have.  And yes, that child is starting to relish being in control.
Inspirational source: Freaky Friday

A vicious group of Foxes has taken it upon themselves to always malign, insult, and embarrass you during Parties.  You are tempted to call for Insult, but you're not sure if that is better than winning them over and getting them to side with you instead.
Inspirational source: Mean Girls

In this world where words can be louder than actions, you embark on using the rumors and whispers others share to further your advancement among the Ven.  But what if you bite more than you can chew?
Inspirational source: Easy A

You and your husband hope to gain more respect from other Ven during Parties and other events.  But they all seem aloof, if not condescending of you two.  You find a mentor who is well respected and in some ways even feared and offer to be her Vassal to learn from her.   But will you learn to become like her?  Or learn to see how you have always been better than her?
Inspirational source:  The Devil Wears Prada

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gifts of the God Mages - Pathfinder e04

Gifts of the God Mages
May 2012 - ongoing
June 6th Game Session

Episode Four: The Princess Nuala

As my fourth session of the Indigo-Entertainment Pathfinder games commences, I learn that two more players want to join the game.  It has been a while since I've had a game this huge so I'm pretty psyched.

In this game session, the following players were present:

The dwarven paladin Alcarin Dominus, whose calling to faith remained unclear.  He had yet to truly understand which deity had inspired him down his road.

Jazintho, the half-elven wizard, remained attached to the dark Demon Child.  Its whispers continued to haunt him.

Lyus Baequiundlin, the druid, was learning the natural importance of combat and began to comprehend the need to be willing to shed blood in battle.

Yenrry Dragonsbane, the Human Sorcerer began to understand his Draconic lineage had a far greater role to play in all things.

Caishn Riverend, the halfling rogue, still desired to find a chance at greater wealth.

Galvindir, the priest of Erastil, finally found time once more to join the questing.  His ponies was sorely missed by most.

And lastly, Kalder Regulus, a human rogue who was an old friend of Yenrry.  The two during their childhood both were being enrolled by their parents to Sorcerer schools, but Yenrry actually failed to pass the enrollment process while Kalder found it boring and instead turned towards a life of thievery.

In this game session, numerous plot points were to be explored.  While the game generally was to be serial in nature, with each session composed of a quest to retrieve an artifact for Dwalimer Omen, this game session was to touch on many plot points that have been introduced.  These included:

The Realms Master and its crew.
The lizardfolk/draconians.
The White Dragon.
Princess Nuala of the bloodstone.
Erastil's growing presence.
And the Paladin's unresolved Deity.

The game opened with Dwalimer Omen informing the crew that they were making a stop at the city of Doranth, a Market City, and that they were free to either accompany him as he went to meet an old friend, go shopping in the city, or stay on the ship and keep it safe.  Naturally, each decided on their own what they wanted to focus on.

Alcarin and Lyus opted to accompany the wizard Omen, anxious to learn what the old coot was up to.
Jazintho alone opted to stay on the ship, claiming to desire to have more time studying his spells.  In truth, the whispers desired to see the chamber of the artifacts and the wizard hoped to find a way to find the key that opened the locks.
The rest opted, naturally, to go shopping.  Galvindir, however, hid his real reason:  he had slowly began to sense a growing presence of something disturbing from the rogue and his companion.  And while he did not believe Caishn was evil, he had his concerns and wished to keep an eye on them.

Omen, as it turned out had come to the city to speak with one of, if not the greatest living magus in the Realm, Elminster.   What at first seemed like a battle unfolding (with Alcarin being polymorphed into a pebble and Lyus being flung onto the ceiling as gravity shifted around him) turned out to be the unconventional challenge of hello that the two wizards often greeted each other with!   With things normalizing, Lyus and Alcarin realized they were soon suddenly thrust into a new challenge:  The wizards LOVED to drink.  And they had to drink as much as well!


While out shopping, Yenrry and Kalder make their way to separate shops, with Yenrry hoping for magical items and Kalder seeking a good magical sword.  Yenrry mistakes a con artist for a real shop but thanks to his truly convincing Charisma, bluffs his way into getting the con artist's real Ion Stone.  Kalder on the other hand meets a dwarven fighter named Greta who claimed to have once been a heroine of great renown.  Greta offers to sell Kalder one of the many swords she had found, a sword of immense magical sharpness that when held and the word Infernis is invoked, is sheathed in flames.  She does warn him of another sword she owns, a blade of pitch blackness that she claims is a cursed blade that hungers for blood.

Outside, Caishn is amused at Nuala's antics as she seems oblivious to the time frame she now lives in.  Even something as simple as a lantern seems like a magical device to her!  Galvindir takes the opportunity to try to ask him some questions about her, but when she notices him, she starts asking if they can get married!  Caishn learns from Galvindir that a wedding ceremony would cost him 500 gold and the rogue quickly attempts to case a good target.  Galvindir discovers Nuala does not even know the halfling's name, but neither seem aware of a robed figure watching them in the streets of Doranth.

Back on the Realms Master, Jazintho shares some moments of conversation with Jasmine, who relates to him how she gained her wings.  She speaks of a magical city called Sigil that exists like a central hub of various magical planes.  She admits that she hates the wings, feeling they make her look strange and cursed.

When a row boat approaches the Realms Master, Jasmine flies off in a hurry to welcome old friends back.  Minder identifies them for Jazintho, describing the oriental woman in exotic red armor as Ishi Barasume - a former samurai from the Oriental Lands, the halfling rogue as Foxilon Cardluck - whose understanding of Spellcraft has him actually helping Dwalimer Omen cast spells properly when he fails to prepare the right components, and lastly an Elf named Vartan Hai Silvar who is wrapped in blankets and seemingly sick.  The Elf claims to worship an Elven God named Labelas Enoreth, a God of Luck, but Jazintho silently muses that no such deity exists in the Realms.  Minder shares the concern, since Vartan's divine magic clearly is being granted from somewhere.

Jazintho's first impressions of the crew are not too favorable.  Ishi barely gives him notice.  Foxilon nearly steals his gold, clearly displaying his innate ability to use Mage Hand to pick pockets, and Vartan sneers at the wizard, clearly not showing any brotherly affectations towards the fellow Elf.

Realizing there is practically no chance to steal away into Omen's chambers, Jazintho tries learning more from Jasmine about the others.  He learns Jasmine and Ishi once fell in love with a Paladin and that man had died.  Before he could learn more from her, however, a visitor arrives at the port side and calls out for Dwalimer Omen.  To Jazintho's surprise, the woman is a Drow elf who is the splitting image of Nuala.  Calling herself Surea Luna, the elf demands to see Omen claiming he is the father of her child.


The three scenes then quickly shift in pace as events unravel faster.

Omen and Elminster, too drunk to care, begin slipping information that the others find interesting.  Elminster asks about the elven Princess and ponders if Omen ever learned if she was pregnant.  Omen presses to try to learn from Elminster where the fabled Dragon Orbs are.  But poisonous darts force both wizards and Lyus into unconsiousness.  And before Alcarin could dispatch the Assassin, the assailant intones, "The God Mages know your names.  Dahak, claim me!" before slicing himself with his poisoned daggers.  The man, like the halfling trap in the previous quest, exploded and unleashed a deadly poisoned gas upon those in the room.

Struggling to lift them, even as the gas began to overwhelm him, Alcarin sees a bright light burst the doors open.  A maiden dressed in white armor reaches out to him and asks him if he is ready to be of service to her.  When asked who she is, she tells him she knows her name.  He cries out a different name and she says that is not it.  She whispers her name and tells him if he does intone it, she will help.  But she can only save one of the two men he is trying to carry.  One must die, for the rest of the world to live.  Looking down at Omen and Lyus, Alcarin embraces the burden and calls out her name.

In the streets, Caishn and Galvindir hear Nuala call out in panic.  They see a robed figure dragged her to an alley way.  Rushing to help, Galvindir summons (yes of course) a pony and Caishn rides it to take chase.  Not too far away, Yenrry and Kalder emerge from their shops to hear the commotion.  Kalder runs up the nearest wall and from roof top to roof top makes his way to the scene.  Yenrry rushes on foot.  The robed figure casts Hold Person to freeze Nuala, but Caishn launches a bullet that misses its mark!  Galvindir launches an arrow and strikes the robed figure on the shoulder.   Yenrry follows through with two Magic Missles and the robed figure drops to the side.    As Caishin closes in to strike again, the robed figure attempts to cast another spell.  Missing his attack of opportuity, Galvindir succeds with another arrow and strikes at the figure.  The figure falls backwards and yields.  He turns out to be an elven priest of Eristel and when questioned, admits Nuala is the splitting image of one of the old foes of the temple, a God Mage called Nuala eSur.  The priest offers to show them the ancient tome he keeps, one his grandfather long kept as proof of the God Mages' treachery.  He tells them how the God Mage used the Dragon Orbs to command the dragons to raze 90% of the Elven Nations.  Yenrry, Kalder, and Galvindir agree to return to his temple with him (after Glavindir heals the priest's wounds with a channeled energy release) while Nuala and Caishn opt to return to the Realms Master.

In the Realms Master, Jazintho is intrigued by this look-alike of Nualla  Surea flatters him with her knowledge of arcane magic and shows off her Ring of Telekinesis.  She asks him if he would like to talk about the Demon Child, and slowly reveals she too has a "birthmark" like his, only on her right breast.  She tells him about the true secrets of magic and suddenly unleashes Magic Missles upon him! Before he could react, she launches more at the others in the crew and tells him she merely wants to take back the Demon Child... and get her vengeance on Dwalimer Omen.  Just before Jazintho is felled, he ponders on how this woman casts Magic Missles seemingly without effort:  no somatic, verbal or material components at all.  No pause even to concentrate!

And to end the session, Alcarin awakes in the streets, alive and weak.  Lyus is nearby.  The people in the city are trying to kill the flames that consume the tavern.  But many swear they saw a massive silver beast take to the air before they arrived.  A silver dragon, long thought extinct for many centuries.


This game session definitely pushes the plot forward.  The God Mages are now more prominently mentioned in the game, and Erastil is hinted as a possible ally against him.  Is Dwalimer Omen dead?  Is Elminster?  What of the rest of the Realms Master crew?  And lastly, who is the white maiden armed with a lance that Alcarin has embraced to follow?

The answers will follow, in the next episode of The Gifts of the God Mages.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Gifts of the God Mages : Pathfinder e03

Gifts of the God Mages
May 2012 - ongoing

Episode Three: The Scales and the Moon

As my third session of the Indigo Entertainment Pathfinder games commences, I realized some minor errors I made in the earlier games.  For one, the Sorcerer of James was not supposed to have flight yet. That was an Elemental Bloodline power gained at level 15.  Another MAJOR error was I totally forgot to remind players to add their Strength modifier to all damage rolls! That explained why it took a while for these fourth level characters to drop goblins down.  So to make up for this, I gave all the players a free magical item to balance things out.  To permit the Sorcerer the scenes earlier established, I gave him Boots of Flying.  Others got appropriate magical items to round things out better.

In this game session, the following players were present:
Tofie was playing Alcarin Dominus, a Dwarven Paladin, and he continued to serve as a wonderful example of how to play a character.  Sticking to his accented portrayal through-out the game, here was hoping other players learn to "speak in character" naturally.  With his new Dwarven Plate, he definitely felt ready to face any new dangers.

JP was the half-elven Wizard named Jazintho.  Tempted by the Demon Child, JP was now two full levels higher than the rest.  I felt I wanted to challenge him on playing an anti-hero, and this game presented such an opportunity.  With a Pearl of Power and the secret levels he gained through the Demon Child, he felt more powerful having now the power to cast Lightning bolt more than once.

David was the elven Druid named Lyus Baequiundlin, and this time he had a Spear of Wounding to assist him in battle.

Ric was the Human Sorcerer, Yenrry Dragonsbane, who lost his hands in the last game.  With the limbs replaced with magical iron forearms from Halruaa, the City of Wizards, the Sorcerer hoped his two Ion stones would help him survive better.

Jigs played the Elven Fighter Ramza, who found a Scabbard of Keen Edge ready to help empower his sword for battle.

Jam was the Halfling Rogue Caishn Riverend, whose Ring of Chameleon Power provided him with stealth whenever he needed it.

And lastly, James played the Half-Elven Sorcerer Rondo, and his Boots of Flying would provide him mobility whenever he needed it.

In this game session, I had one goal:  Let the players experience an encounter with a dragon.   Dungeons and Dragons, after all, was the roots of Pathfinder.  It felt only appropriate that the players finally get an encounter facing with one of these mythical beasts of legend.    Tasked to retrieve the Moon Arc, a lost artifact that has long been forgotten in the Temple of the Moon all the way in the far northern lands of ice.  Expecting it to be a breeze, the group was surprised to find something waiting for them at the front of the ancient temple whose entrance stood at the foot of a frozen lake.  Carefully stepping onto the frozen lake, Rondo, Ramza and Caishn made their way towards the entrance.  The body of a halfling seemed to be hanging upside down on the temple's facade.  Lyus soon identified the ropes holding the body to be Assassin Vine, and tried to call out to the others to warn them.  Sadly his voice did not carry.  Hoping to help, Alcarin leapt on the frozen lake, forgetting how his mass and the plate mail he wore might be too much for the ice to bear.  Cracks spread out from where he landed and the dwarf quickly dropped to his knees and tried crawling forward.

As the other half of the group made their approach, Jazintho began to hear a message being whispered to him from somewhere.  The wizard scanned the surroundings and caught a glimpse of a massive white thing with a golden eye staring from the cliff's edge.  The message was simple, "Have you brought me offerings?"  When Jazintho answered, "Maybe." Both Lyus and Yenrry overheard him and wondered what the wizard was muttering about.  The wizard merely replied, "Just practicing my monologue."

As the first group neared the halfling, Rondo launched a Mage Hand guided dagger across the sky to slice the halfling down.  The halfling was alive, it seemed, and quivered and moved.  On the last instance, the group realized the halfling was struggling to motion, "Stay away!" but the warning reached them too late.  The body of the halfling erupted, unleashing a Stinking Cloud of miasma upon the three.  Caishn reacted fast enough to tumble out of the way.  But both Rondo and Ramza fell to the ground, with nausea taxing their systems.

Alcarin saw his friends in trouble, and before he could get to them to help, realized a massive thing was moving under the frozen lake.  Dodging out of the way, the Dwarf evaded the initial attack of whatever that massive thing was under the water.    It was at that moment, Lyus thought to help and using Longstrider, quickly closed the gap between him and the dwarf.  Jazintho heard the whisper once again, asking if his companion was his apprentice.  Jazintho turned to the Sorcerer and without warning, launched a Lightning Bolt at the poor man.  Thanks to his Draconic Bloodline, the Sorcerer survive the initial onslaught.  In hopes of buying himself time, Yenrry casted Charm Person back in retaliation.  But the Wizard's Half-Elven blood and intense will saved him from being overwhelmed by the spell.  This time, in an attempt to disable him, the wizard struck the Sorcerer with a Blindness spell.  Yenrry resisted the effects, but wisely Bluffed his way into pretending he had been disabled.

As the first group attempted to regroup, Assassin vines reached out to attack.  Ramza sliced away a few, giving Rondo the precious seconds he needed to recover from the Stinking Cloud, and fly them both out of reach.  Caishn felt the frozen lake begin to melt and quickly launched himself to the temple wall, using his grappling hook to pull himself to safety.  Neither Lyus and Alcarin were lucky however.  The ice melted and both plunged into the icy depths.  Lyus was immediately rendered unconscious by the cold.  Alcarin struggled but his armor proved too heavy for him to try to swim against.

A bridge formed across the icy waters, allowing Jazintho to bring the disabled Yenrry across with him into the temple.


Lyus and Alcarin awaken to find themselves naked and hanging upside down inside a massive ice pit.  At the center of the bowl-like floor, a hoard of armor, weapons and gemstones was present.  Lyus embraced his Wildshape and transformed into an Eagle in a bid to escape.  Alcarin used his massive strength to shatter his own icy manacles, and the two quickly used teamwork to find weapons to arm themselves.  In the pit with them, the massive golden eye emerged, and they soon learned to their horror that the thing was a serpentine white dragon that lived in the pit with them.

Jazintho with the "disabled" Yenrry find an audience with a chief priest of what seem to be reptilian humanoids.  The priest converses with Jazintho in Draconic, a language Yenrry sadly never learned.  As the two discuss, the priest warns Jazintho that it is aware the human is pretending to be blind.  So the reptilian figure draws a blade, and takes action to pull out Yenrry's tongue.  Yenrry panics, and tries to use Diplomacy on the two, hoping they would let him go.   The priest, now speaking in Common, demands that Yenrry prove he is blood of the Dragons, but lacking his hands which can turn into claws, Yenrry feels his bid for freedom has failed.  The reptilian man slashes at the Sorcerer, tearing away his iron limbs.

Caishn, Ramza and Rondo find Jasmine arriving as they contemplate on how to rescue their friends.  Jasmine questions whether or not the others need saving and recommends they abort the quest and return to the Realms Master.  But the three stand their ground and insist they try to find their friends ("...and the loot," Caishn intones.)  Jasmine tells them she will return with the others, but tells them they probably only have an hour.  Maybe less.  To find their friends.

The three enter the long hallways whose walls are filled with murals of lizard folk and dragons.  At the end stand a pair of double doors.  Not finding them locked, they enter to find themselves in a massive chamber, with a circular pit in its center.  Towering over it is an 80-foot tall statue of a dragon with golden eyes.  On its head, like a crown, stood the Moon Arc.    The cultists all turn around, alerted to their arrival by the sudden light that disrupts the gathering when they opened the doors.  Ramza, perhaps guided by extremely accurate gut feelings, orders Caishn to tie his two ropes together with the grappling hook and hand them to him.  Rondo casts Detect Magic and begins to see numerous points of power.  The chief priest in the other side of the room surges with an extremely powerful aura of abjuration magic.  The most powerful source of magic emanates from the object atop the 80-foot dragon.  Yet other points of magic exist (which he later discerns to be the presence of Jazintho, Yenrry, and something deep in the pit.)

As Rondo attempts to parlay with the chief priest, using his Boots of Flying to walk over the very pit, the chief priest levitates as well and walks towards the Sorcerer.  Both begin to discuss options as Rondo silently casts Charm Person to sway the conversation in his direction.  Back at the foot of the dragon statue, however, Jazintho is warned that the party may learn of his treachery and is to pretend to have been Charmed or Dominated by their foes.  But Jazintho at first thinks it would be better to eliminate any witnesses, and launches a second Lightning Bolt at Yenrry.  Yenrry falls down into the pit, practically dying from the final assault.   Down below, Alcarin and Lyus attempt to face the dragon, with the poor Druid being the first recipient of the White Dragon's Cold Breath.  Alcarin rushes close to strike, but the Dragon's reach works to its favor and with a swipe of its tail, launches the Dwarf across the pit to the other side.

Caishn slips into the shadows, using his Ring of Chameleon Power to make his way to the 80-foot Dragon statue unmolested.  The cultists close in and Ramza decides to use the rope to descend into the pit.   Seeing the dragon attacking his friends, he draws out his Sleep Arrow and considered stabbing the Dragon with it to knock it down.  But his first two attempts to do so fail to penetrate the Dragon's immense armor.   When the negotiations between Rondo and the priest don't seem to go anywhere, Rondo then flings a vial of Alchemist's fire onto the priest's open mouth!  The priest plunges down the pit, screaming as the fire eats as his face.  The cultists panic, and they rush to exit the temple in fear rather than stay to fight.  Alcarin slides to the side of the dying Sorcerer and uses his Paladin abilities to bring him back from the brink.  Lyus dispels his Eagle form to pull out a Healing Potion and recover from his grievous wounds.  Yenrry too draws out a potion to heal himself, but only seconds later realizes his stumps have somehow regrown what seem to be strange fingery protrusions.  He begins to wonder if he has somehow gained the regenerative properties of reptiles as well.

Atop the Dragon Statue, Jazintho finds the Moon Arc, but as he touches it he feels the Demon Child scream in agony and demand he let go.  The Moon Arc, as it turns out, is a powerful artifact of goodness and the Demon Child cannot abide its touch.  Jazintho pulls away, allowing Caishn instead to come forward and draw it.  But as he pulls it free, the temple begins to share and the magical wards that keep the White Dragon from leaving the domain break apart.  As the Dwarf and Lyus anticipate another deadly blow from the dragon, Ramza kicks off the rope, Quick Draws his bow, and launches the Sleep Arrow into the White Dragon's open maw.  The Dragon seems unaffected, and blasts the flying Rondo with another surge of Cold.  Ramza survives, and just as the Dragon was about to strike the fatal stroke, it drops to the base of the pit and falls asleep.

Debris from the temple begin falling down, and many of the heroes consider their means of escape.  Initial attempts of both Jazintho and Caishn to scale the walls and reach the ceiling from atop the statue fail.  Rondo flies to Ramza and lifts him towards the sky, slipping through the broken ceiling to escape.  In the clouds, still on its approach, the Realms Master makes its journey to them.  Rondo flies there, hoping to have enough time to fly back.  But on his return trip, only Jazintho can be seen at the roof of the temple, and before he could make it any closer, the whole structure collapses on itself and vanishes beneath a cloud of ice cold shards.


On the Realms Master, Rondo feels distraught, having failed to rescue the others.   Dwalimer Omen walks up to him and tells him, "Not all is lost.  If your friends were as devious as I expected them to be, then I suspect they have found the means to survive despite themselves."  When asked by Ramza what he meant, Omen casts a simple Locate Object spell and brings the Realm Master to the lake.  A golden bubble breaks the surface and inside, the rest of the party can be found alive and well!  As both Ramza and Rondo begin to ask what is going on, or how this happened, they notice the Yenrry, Alcarin, Lyus and Jazintho are all staring  instead at Caishn, and the new person who seems to be with them.

"May I present to you, the Elven Princess," Dwalimer Omen pronounces, and the beautiful naked Elven woman whose lap Caishn is resting against, smiles in response.  "Hello Omen," she mutters, "I never thought I would see you again."

"She has a thing for rogues," Omen admits, and shakes his head.  As if to prove his point, the Princess pulls Caishn closer and tells him, "You are going to love me... forever.  Right?"  But all Caishn can think of that moment is that Dwalimer Omen just admitted he used to be a rogue as well.


As you probably noticed, this game was my first step into developing the presence of an ongoing story arc.  The Blood Stone which Caishn first stole from the Tomb of the Elven Princess returns in this game with an unexpected twist.  The gem wasn't just a gemstone.  It was some kind of prison or vessel for an Elven Princess.. one which Dwalimer Omen happened to personally know.    Also in this game, the ongoing story of Jazintho's seduction into evil continues, and how this will eventually clash with Alcarin's Paladin vows is definitely something to look forward to.  Yenrry's Draconic Bloodline too begins to give hints of an ongoing tale.

As to Ramza, Rondo and Lyus?  One will just have to wait and see what direction their stories will eventually take.  But one thing is for sure, there is time to learn all their tales.   Assuming they survive long enough.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Gifts of the God Mages : Pathfinder e02

Gifts of the God Mages
May 2012 - ongoing

Episode Two: The Demon Child

As my second session of the Indigo-Entertainment Pathfinder games commences, I find myself starting to enjoy Pathfinder's tactical system again.  Admittedly, I'm more of a story - drama - character focused kind of guy, so trust me when I say to be really enjoying Pathfinder is a new feeling for me.  As I mentioned before, I've borrowed liberally from the Forgotten Realms comics of Rags Morales, Dave Simons and Jeff Grubb.  And in this case, I took the opening sequence of the fifteenth issue of the comic series.  But rather than bring the Avatar war into the plot, I just focused on them gathering what I felt was a nicely diabolic new artifact into the game.  If things would go my way, one of the players would find themselves tempted by its promise of power.

Boy was I right!

In this game session, the following players were present:
Tofie was playing Alcarin Dominus, a Dwarven Paladin, and boy was he playing it to the hilt!  He used this fun gruff accented voice all through-out the game, it was really amazing!
This issue inspired the opening sequence.

JP was the Half-Elven Wizard named Jazintho, who was an old friend of Alcarin and has a deep-seated desire for power.

David was the elven Druid named Lyus Baequiundlin, whose had a penchant for travelling weaponless and whose wolf companion showed a loyalty unexpected of beasts.

Ric was the Human Sorcerer named Yenrry Dragonsbane whose charisma was great and whose past was linked to a small line of humans who carry dragons blood.

Mark was an Elven Cleric (whose name I forgot) who was infamous for summoning Ponies during a battle.

The group had been directed by Dwalimer Omen to retrieve a strange artifact: a mummified fetus that held dark infernal powers known as the Demon Child.  The artifact had been long in the hands of a community of goblins, who worshiped it as one of their own.   We opened the game with the initial quest of finding and retrieving the artifact as practically done, and the group was working on their return to the Realms Master.  Of course, that's when things would not go as planned.

Minder was chatting with Jazintho about the new recruits (Lyus and Yenrry) and was wondering aloud if the group was doing okay.  Minder mused, "The group is composed of a Paladin, a Sorcerer, a Cleric and a Druid.  Without any Rogues, I wonder how they plan to steal the artifact?"  The entrance to the goblin underground community seemed quiet so far.     At least until Yenrry appeared at the entrance with his hands holding the artifact.  With Yenrry on a full sprint, Jazintho and Minder realized something was definitely up and as Minder headed below the deck to contact Omen, Jazintho took one of the smaller boats and made for the shore.

Soon enough the others emerged from the cave, also at a run.  Goblins were chasing after them! Clearly their plan to stealthily take the artifact had fallen apart.  The cleric summoned another pony to serve as an ally, while the Lyus commanded his wolf to strike at the nearest Goblin.  Jazintho closed in as quickly as he could hoping to get within range to throw a necromantic Scare at the goblin horde.  But deep within the underground caverns, the Goblin King and his people rushed to join the fray.

When the Wizard found himself within range, he quickly threw the necromantic spell and forced the other goblins to disperse.  Believing they were now safe to reach the ship, the group made their way forward towards the shore.    The Goblin King drew out components and casted a spell, causing two gigantic leeches to emerge at the shoreline.  One destroyed one of the three rowboats, while the other prepared to strike!  Lyus, moving swifter thanks to his druidic spell, Longstrider, and hoped to Warp Wood the ruins of the boat to serve as a suitable weapon.  But the leech had reach and struck Yenrry before the Sorcerer could act!  Plunging its spinning row of fangs into the human, Yenrry felt his strength ebb away with his very life.

As the others combined their efforts to take the leeches down, Yenrry heard a voice whispering to him, asking him to choose:  Destroy or Devour.  Choosing Devour, Yenrry finds his hands merging with the artifact and the artifact's mouth extending into a massive maw filled with shark-like teeth.   With a single chomp, the artifact severs the leech in two.   Minder calls out to the party as the golem steers the Realms Master to get the party onboard.  The golem throws a massive net down the side of the ship for the party to grab hold and climb aboard.    Alcarin, hoping to help the Cleric get onboard, throws the human to the ship but finds his strength faltering at the last minute.  Embarrassingly, the Cleric smacks into the ground.   As the group hurry to board, the Goblin King charges outwards, hoping to take the group down with a final salvo.  Missing both arms (they were transmuted into the Giant Leeches), he begins casting a spell to bring them down.  But his attempt fails as the Pony comes to everyone's rescue and clobbers the king with its kicks.

On the Realms Master, Minder sees how Yenrry is taken over by the Artifact and tells the Druid to hand him an axe.   The artifact, not wanting to be separated, asks Yenrry to choose and this time Yenrry chooses Destroy.  A Disintigrate ray fires from the artifact's eyes and strikes Minder, but the golem shrugs it off and pins the Sorcerer down.  Taking the axe, Minder tells the group to be ready to help him - but only after the Sorcerer is freed from the artifact.  Without hesitation, Minder amputates the Sorcerer's two hands.

When Dwalimer Omen arrives, he explains that the artifact is a dangerous thing, and asks the Wizard Jazintho to place it in the extra-dimensional space where they store all the gathered artifacts.  But Jazintho fails to keep his hands from touching the artifact and failing to have a strong enough will, succumbs to the temptations of the artifact and hides it.  The artifact slides into his body, with only one of its hands appearing like a birthmark upon his chest.


Never underestimate the Pony.
The second game was filled with hilarious moments and awesome heroism.  Everyone celebrated when Mark had his Cleric once again bring a pony into the battle.  Laughter abounded when Tofie's Paladin failed to toss the Cleric, rolling a one on his strength check.  And fear-filled gasps erupted when Ric's Sorcerer first  used the artifact in hopes of protecting himself, grew into impassioned exclamations when the golem had to amputate his hands, and finally into "Oh My Gosh" screams when JP's Wizard Jazintho failed his Will saving throw and was seduced by the artifact.

To give the seduction an even better touch, I threw in this as a temptation for the player himself:  The artifact would grant him TWO whole levels if he accepted it and kept the artifact's presence within him as a secret from the other characters.  Finding the twist an interesting challenge to role-play, and definitely a source of more fun, JP accepted the plot twist.

Definitely, the players more and more got into their roles and there was no denying this was going to be a chronicle that was going to be more and more fun!

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