Just as you begin to get your bearings, the ground begins shuddering beneath you. Loud cracks echo in the air around you as the earth splits in several places, large stone spires rocketing from the fissures to loom against the blackness, that same faint luminescence highlighting their twisted, craggy shapes. The spires continue to burst forth on either side of your party, from a pair of rows that arc slightly towards each other at each end, methodically forming a circle around you. When the rumbling ceases, there’s only one small opening left—your only means of escape.
As you move towards it, the rumbling resumes, and the crack of the earth in that last open spot echos off of the twisted stone spires forming your prison. This fissure is larger than the others, and you soon see why—it’s not a spire rising from it, but a great, twisted throne, a thousand faces carved into its face, each in apparent agony. Something rests on the throne, but it’s difficult to make out the nature of the occupant; something about him—or her—seems to be hard to look at almost. Every time you try, you find yourself looking elsewhere instead, unable to remember what you saw.
The first part of our third session had the party still clearing goblins out of the temple ruins; they were able to surprise a large group of them in the central chamber, and took solid advantage of that surprise by nearly eliminating the goblin chief in a vicious opening attack. From there, it was essentially cleanup; once the rest of those creatures were mopped up, they had time to apply their first gained level (hooray!), and take stock of their surroundings. The room was dominated by a large dais framed by an archway; in the center of that dais was a notch perfectly sized for the staff they’d found. Stone in staff, staff in notch, and with that, the party took their first steps into the overarching story of the campaign.
They found themselves in the area described above; a sort of twisted arena overseen by a shadowy creature. That creature began attacking the party with minions, but they held their own better than most sacrifices. At some point during the combat, the staff, stuck in the ground in this new place, began flashing once more; only one member of the party took hold of it. The rest focused on the creatures they were fighting. The staff gave a final pulse of light, then vanished taking that party member with it—and stranding the rest in this new realm.
This is where things will get hairy. I’d designed the encounter under the assumption that the party as a whole would either move toward or away from the staff when it began blinking again; silly me, I hadn’t considered that only some (or one) of them might. As it stands, there’s no way for that party member to reunite with his company under current conditions; I’ll be operating with a split party for some time now. Still, since I had two complete adventure paths planned, it’ll be fine; I can just run them both.
At any rate, the rest of the party was saved from a series of ever-escalating encounters by the arrival of a new NPC—a tiefling sorceress by the name of Kaiil. She whisked them away from the arena via a teleportation spell, safely delivering them to the new city of Bane. Bane will be their new base of operations for this leg of their adventure; they’ll have to work on finding a new way home without the staff.
Yodelhim, our half-orc wizard, was the one who made it home; however, upon his arrival back in the temple, his head was hit with searing pain, and the shadowy creature whom the party had faced had an offer for him…time will tell if he accepts it.
Today was the first session where I got to use the new set of Pathfinder Pawns I’d ordered, and they really, really helped a lot. I’m extremely pleased with the purchase, and I’ll definitely be picking up more—especially since the party used a few monster pawns to denote themselves, lacking any other form of representation. I also plan on ordering more map tiles for future dungeons. For the map of Bane, I reached out to someone on Twitter and commissioned a map, giving him a basic description of the locale—and OH MAN, did he deliver. Because I didn’t need a copyright or anything, he posted it on his personal store at DriveThruRPG.com. It’s listed as “The Infernal City.” Check it out, kick a buck or two his way!
Healthy and rested.
Stuck in the demon realm—find a way home!
The Mysterious Tome – Found!
Yodelhim Goes Solo!