Tuesday 6 May 2014

Pathfinder - The Story So Far (Part 3)

A Brief History

A recap of our Pathfinder campaign thus far, as best I remember it and primarily from Svetlana’s point of view. We play fortnightly and the game has been running for a few years, so I’ll be breaking this down into as logical segments as I can figure. A lot of it is probably out of order and sometimes in the wrong geographical location. I may need to offer a corrections page later. And I’m not sure of all the spellings of all the names, so they may keep changing. But here goes (Part 1 here) (Part 2 here) (this is Part 3).

Returning to the Dawnlands to lick their wounds and mourn their loss as well as oversee their barony, Alexei is holding court when Oleg arrives full of fury and vengeance: he is ready to beat Chester to a pulp. Eventually, it comes out that a priest of Serenrai called Thanos has taken Vladimir because of a letter Chester wrote. It seems Thanos has gone to Absalom with the boy. King Noleski is there already for a big conference on the threat from the thanodaemon and Chester, Alexei and Svetlana will be required to attend as witnesses so Oleg and Mollos join them to find help find Vlad.

The journey is uneventful and they make good time in Svetlana’s awesome magic boat of awesomeness (I think it probably has a different name, but that’s more or less what’s written on the character sheet. They found it in Varnhold), but Thanos had enough of a head start that he should have arrived first. He proves hard to track down but they do meet Anna Hencheck’s cousin.

Chester speaks to his church and it is confirmed that his letter was received but they did not send Thanos. At this point, Chester returns to the Dawnlands on church business (presumably he gave his evidence to the Council before going: Svetlana and Alexei are summoned a few days later).

Whilst they’re investigating, some of the members of the Council of Absalom and other important people in town for the conference are being assassinated. This is also very bad. Noleski is safe and offers his body guard, a Paladin called Kieran, to assist them in seeking Vlad and the assassin. Kieran has a falcon called Apollo and rides a griffin, Brutus.

With the help of local group The Forthright Men, the Pathfinder Guild and Mythic Investigations, they learn that Thanos was an urchin boy who fell in with a bad crowd and died and was cremated a few months ago. Using their position, they manage to gain access to his ashes and, with the help of a gumshoe from Mythic Investigations, learn that these ashes actually belonged to a baker called Steven Baker. There are three bakers by this name of the right age, so a trip to buy lots of bread and cake follows. All are alive but one is a bit odd and warrants further investigation: Kieran and Alexei create a distraction by preaching in the streets, whilst Mollos and Svetlana sneak round the back and in through an open window.

They find a portal to a temple of Rovagog (not Rubberduck). Steven is beaten up and tied to a chair whilst the party go in. They rescue a Drow Gunslinger/Demon Hunter by the name of Roland. He summons assistance from his order (two tough-looking individuals who refuse to give their names) and they return to the temple to find out more. When the party returns, they find many priests of Rovagog lying dead of no discernable cause*. This adds to the eerie air of the place, but Svetlana spots a large pair of doors and, peering in, sees living priests around an altar.

The party goes in and has slaughtered most of the priests when the supposed Demon Hunters turn on them: this is, in fact, Thanos and his cronies. They nearly succeed in killing the party before Alexei manages to shift them all to the Ethereal Plane. It is creepy here, but they heal up as fast as they can and walk through the wall into a room beside this great hall, where Alexei has spotted a prisoner. Dropping back into the Prime Material Plane, they learn this is the real Roland and he readily agrees to accompany them back to get vengeance on Thanos and the fake Roland. Suited up and armed, they return.

As they walk through the door, Svetlana takes careful aim with her crossbow and lets fly a bolt. It transverses the hall to hit Thanos square between the eyes with enough force to carry him backwards and pin him to the wall. She doesn’t enjoy killing but this victory fills her with relief. Between them, they manage to dispatch the other two. Svetlana races to the altar: her suspicion is confirmed when she sees a teenage boy within. She is confident that this is Vladimir Leveton. Thanos uses a dying breath to throw a final curse on her, but Alexei eventually realises and removes it.

They dig the stone altar from the ground to remove that before Mr Tiddles sanctifies and burns down the temple. We take the altar to Noleski and he summons Malliard to help figure out how to free the lad. This is complicated when the assassination efforts pick up: Mollos reports to us that his contacts indicate Noleski may be next on the list. Concerned, Svetlana and the gang head over to protect him. The message arrives: several members of the Council of Absalom have been killed, including the Head of the Council. Absalom has gone into lockdown.

Absalom’s lockdown is pretty impressive: a god put it into place to keep the city safe before leaving. It prevents anyone entering or leaving by any means and to do this cuts off access to all but the Prime Material Realm. Yep, no access to items in bags of holding or other extra-dimensional spaces. No access to any deity not manifested and in Absalom (ie, no clerical spells). No access to the Ethereal Plane (ie, no spells for Alexei). No access to the Arcane Plane. Any spells to be cast can be done only by spending mythic chips and sacrificing your own health. We’re a rather magic dependent party who keep basically everything (except, in Svetlana’s case, a few hipflasks of different drinks) in bags of holding or similar, so this is markedly debilitating.

The party heads to the Arcaniam, the Tower where the mages live, to see if we can help. They advise that the assassin is in one of 3 places and they have teams heading to two already. The party heads off to the third and get there seconds too late to save the Councilman but we do catch the assassin. As Mollos feared, it is an old friend of his, Kit, who seems to have gone rogue. She didn’t recognise him when he saw her earlier. Kit is arrested and returned to the Arcaniam as the party realises that their rings of sustenance are no longer working.

Svetlana finds food and cocoons herself into the bed provided for her in the Petal District – a room she has scarcely looked at until now. It is here she is woken several hours later by a persistent tapping at her door: two more Council members have been murdered and an attempt was made on Noleski’s life. She races to him, uncomfortably aware that she can no longer use minor cantrips to make herself presentable. He is ok, but Malliard has taken a nasty blow to the stomach that would have killed a lesser man.

Ezekiel reveals his underworld contacts and leads the party to the Bloody Blades. This is a gang similar to the Forthright Men but more brutal. Nonetheless, under the emergency circumstances the group is prepared to follow Ezekiel’s lead. A bit of negotiation takes them to ‘Dancer’, a duellist who admits to the attempt on Noleski: he was hired as champion by one of the nobles of Brevoy, someone known to disapprove of Noleski’s coronation. He knows nothing about the other killings and tags along out of interest.

Svetlana has spent some time learning the noble houses and political interlinking and from this makes a list of possible future targets. Following the trail of blood and death, they interrupt someone leaving the third house – it is the Blood Mistress, the head of the Red Mantis order. Mollos manages to take her down with, seemingly, the help of the Red Mantis god, who does not approve of meddling in politics. The lockdown is lifted.

Back to Noleski for reward and promotion. Mollos admits his name is actually Arron. Svetlana and Alexei are now Earls (the female earl title isn’t Earless but, apparently, Countess. Svetlana’s equally tolerant of Countess or Earl) and Brevoy’s representatives to the Grand Council of Absalom. Kieran is released from Noleski’s service with similar lands etc. He opts to join the Earls in their next endeavours.

And that, I believe, brings us up to date.

*This is something to do with Alexei but so far I don’t know what. I think we all have personal plots going on that aren’t being fully shared with the other players so that they can be more fun when they come out – Mollos/Arron has largely come out now because a lot of the plot has been tied up and partly related to Chester who was played with my brother before he dropped out. Husbit (playing Alexei) I think has the most involved personal plot and I am looking forward to learning more about it, but I want to wait until it is revealed in game! I’m not sharing my personal plot here just yet, for the same reason.

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