Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 3
Since people still seem interested, here’s the notes for session 3 of my Gatekeepers game for PF2.
The PCs wake having stayed the night at the farm run by Morgan’s Dad — whose name is Ferris, and can go by Goodman Ferris, Yeoman Ferris, or Landsman Ferris (since he owns his own land and has the deed on register in the Imperial Archive on the Continent). Player’s start to jokingly refer to him as “MorgansDa.”
The storms which have wracked the area for the entire autumn have suddenly stopped, but it’s unseasonably cold – winter cold. There’s barely any wind, the sky is clear but the air crisp, and the night was so cold dry wood cracked and frost formed on stones around the farm.
Heading out from MorganDa’s Farm, the Pcs see a group of 7 sailors coming down to road to the farm, pushing a cart. Hailing them, the PCs discover they are from the “King of the Crest,” an enormous 14-decked imperial Gantharian warship (Ganthar being a major kingdom on the Continent). The sailors are looking to buy food, and offer to pay in gold, or double-price in spellsalt. Gantharians being legendarily proper and polite there’s no sense of threat, so Morgan takes most of the sailors (lead by Deckmaster Rithan) goes to take to Ferris and see about buying some food.
“Bohrgun the Badly-Named” (the ship’s bosun) – stays with the other PCs to answer questions. They learn the Continental Empire nation of Curtalia, “the Grainhouse of the Empire,” has been stricken by a blight that both destroys crops and rots food in warehouses within hours. Curtalia is being avoided and quarantined, but many of the major food stores of the Empire are already infected. The King of the Crest managed not to put in at any quarantined harbors (which would have led to it being quarantined), but as a result it is seriously low on foodstuffs.
Further, the PCs are told Tidesgate is being flooded by other ships looking to buy food. Because the sea is suddenly becalmed, only ships large enough to afford a storm witch or sea warden (druid) can make it to the island easily, and those ships are too big to put in anywhere by Tidesgate or Seagrace. Most are avoiding Seagrace unless they have contacts or contracts there, so Tidesgate is being inundated with big ships.
MorganDa agrees to sell some preserved food, all for spell salt, and the Pcs get to see that he has potato cellars on his land that aren’t easily spotted (being under trap doors covered in sod and then under scattered hay and where he parks his empty wagons and large items waiting for repair.
The group then head back to Tidesgate. As they approach they see other groups of sailors from different nations (not all from the Continental empire) heading out of town, but in this case each is accompanied by someone the group recognizes as a responsible citizen of Tidesgate (often guards-for-hire). The harbor is choked with huge warships, many from distant lands that normally bypass this island when making a route along the Circle Trade, but must now be desperate for supplies. One is a huge ship with a spiked roof covering it, and rows of long oars in addition to massive ribbed sails, and is clearly not from any nation of the nearby Continent.
(Art by Juulijs)
In town, the price of food is skyrocketing in town as captains go door-to-door to buy anything people will spare, and send their men out of town to buy from farms directly (such as the Gantharian soldiers were doing). Rumor is some ship’s crews are threatening or outright stealing, while others offering to buy with spell salt at x2 to x5 food’s normal cost, and even black sugar is being used at 2/3 its normal value. Some are sending foraging parties into the plains and woods, which is technically illegal. The law is normally ignored, but there are so many now that local residents that depend on forage are beginning to run low on food, and there’s been a spike in apparent wolf and trihorn steer attacks, suggesting the sailors are stirring up trouble.
The PCs see Pottage’s Tottage has been turned into a central depository, with townsfolk bringing anything they are willing to part with to sell on consignment (and then locking their home’s doors and placing “No Thing For Sale” signs on them), while Pottage takes lists of desired items from a line of ship’s quartermasters, and makes them wait until each evening for him to say what each can buy, and at what price. The PCs grab a moment to update Pottage in private.
Then they head to Hexer Hellaina’s, to report to her. She pays them well for the information (in spell salt), and buys the black glass they got from the broken salt circle around the burial grounds (last game session). That she pays for with silver. Hellaina promises to update the Town Council.
Later, the Town Council wants to see the PCs, and confirms what Hellaina told them. In addition to Tidegate’s other issues, the council tells the PCs it’s been falling below freezing already, months before the norm, and hard freezes are expected in the next few days. The entire fall crops are in danger of being lost, and only having farmers putting out torches all night, every night, may keep that from happening.
With all this, the Tidesgate Council is spread impossibly thin by the combination of early freezes and hungry sailors. They are called on to watch the docks, keep fights from breaking out, and enforce usually-ignored laws on hoarding and cornering markets. The PCs offer to help, and the Council asks them to go to Southmount Farms, 2 days south beyond the God-Knuckle Hills. The farm is normally reliable in regular fortnightly deliveries, and now they are 4 days late. The Council sent Briarbrow Hooffoot (a cousin of Holly’s) to check it out, and he has not returned yet.
Southmount is run by the Braddoc family, who are regular suppliers of the Smoke Pine Taven, old friends of Morgan’s father and Averill’s family. They make “the Clear,” a very high ABV liquid that tastes like stale fire, which Nana Cutthroat often uses to add kick to drinks she has watered down, so people don’t realize how little of the original booze is left in the version for sale.
The PCs head out south the next day. They discuss their concern about things getting worse in town, especially if panic sets in about a lack of food, or folks sell too much of their emergency reserves and then the fall harvest falls.
As they enter the God-Knuckle Hills, they come across 5 shambler zombies, caught on a hill surrounded by a flash flood river from the heavy rains in previous weeks. They identify one of them as a farmhand at Southmount. The shamblers seem to be constantly trying to cough up something (like a hairball). The PCs jump the rushing creek and destroy the 5 shamblers. They also conclude that these are created intentionally with necromancy, not spontaneous undead that sometimes rise. The bodies seem diseased. The heroes burn them, making sure they do so in a hollow that will keep the ashed from running into the local water supply.
End Session 3.
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Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 2 (Part 4 of 4)
Here’s part four (of 4) of my Game Session 2 notes for my Gatekeeper’s campaign for PF2 (part one here, part two here, and part three here). The articles at the Gatekeeper Index can remind you of all the characters, backstory, rules changes, and setup, if you want a refresher.
The PCs set to camp, and a massive thunderstorm moves in (similar to ones they have been seeing for several says to the north, including producing weird green lightning bolts where one bolt strikes down, and 5 more curl up from the same point in the clouds to arc back into the sky).
While camping, Nambra and Brôg sense something while on watch. They wake everyone, and Nambra is able to identify it’s location within a few feet due to her Whisper Elf hearing, but no one can see it. Calling out to the unknown creature, it replies that they are in danger, and the PCs realize it’s the 7-legged giant spider Morgan freed from its collar. The PCs try to strike up a conversation, with Holly specifically inviting it to come talk to them on future evenings, but it proves difficult. The spider often repeats part of all of what the PCs say as its response to them, with changes in emphasis (“Are you our friend?” “AM I your friend?”). A few skill checks in, it’s decided that it really does under stand them and wants to communicate, but its grasp of their cultural norms is weak, so it tries to mimic their speech patterns as much as it can to try to be talking the way the PCs talk. After repeating “You’re in danger” a few more times, the spider flees into the night. In the morning, the PCs find the waterproof web canopy it made for itself some distance off from their camp.
In the morning, the PCs find the edge of the Eirsyus burial grounds. It’s cutoff from the rest of the forest by a roughly-30-foot-wide break in the trees and large bushes, which Averill confirms is salted earth, likely as part of an occult “firebreak” to keep the spirits of the place bound within the burial ground. The PCs can see old cairns and burial pits covered by heavy rock that must have been quarried elsewhere. They decide to walk around the burial grounds once to see what can be seen from the firebreak before going inside.
During lunch, on the forest side of the firebreak, they are attacked by a festrog which burrows up out of the earth to attack them, starting with a surprise attack just behind Averill. It is riddled with diseased pustules, boils, and supperating rashes, and the stench is nearly as bad as it’s actual attacks. The PCs defeat it, and it rots away before their eyes. The hole is crawled out of is at least 20 feet deep, and the top lined with detritus from the festrog’s diseased flesh. The PCs decide to ignore it, for now.
Walking the firebreak around the 400 or so acres of the burial grounds reveals a crater — apparently a lightning strike — that’s destroyed part of the firebreak. Within the crater are tiny black lightning-shaped buts of obsidian. Jaedyn decides to try to use salt to complete the line through the crater, but as the group adds salt, storm clouds and green glows begin to boil into existence just above them. They stop, and clear the salt they’d already added, and the clouds dissipate.
The PCs gather all they can find (using Averill’s telekinesis, rather than getting into the crater), and decide to stay here overnight, roughly 100 feet from the crater, to observe the burial grounds at night.
The first watch hears something scurrying around in the burial grounds, but can’t see it. They talk at it, and it replies, promising all sorts of information if they give it some of their blood. They need not step into the grounds… a few drops soaked onto a cloth they toss to it would suffice. The PCs refuse, and the creature scurries away.
Second watch spots a wight-with-lock-in-its-forehead, far into the burial grounds. It uproots an old, dead tree with 1 arm, and suddenly throws it at the PC’s camp. The tress explodes when it crosses the line of the firebreak, and the PCs take a little damage. The wight rushes the firebreak as the PCs deal with the fallout of the exploding trees, but it is incapable of pushing past some invisible barrier at the edge of the firebreak. The PCs try to talk to it, it demands they give it their blood, saying blood is the key, but it is eventually thrown back by the invisible barrier, deep into the burial ground, and is not seen or heard again.
The third watch hears strange howling within the burial ground, which is answered by similar howls on the forest side. This goes on for a bit, and then two volkyr (same kind of evil spirit reincarnated as wild beasts they faced yesterday) leap from the woods to attack them. Averill is nearly knocked out in a single blow, but the PCs manage to win the fight.
As dawn approaches, a few of the PCs can ear a creepy clicking, scraping noise coming from the crater. The party goes to investigate, and discovers tiny salt crystals (all 5-sided, and flickering with 5 different colors) are growing in the crater. As they grow, the crater slowly fills in with dirt. By morning, there is no longer any sign of a lightning strike having broken the line of the firebreak. The PCs aren’t sure if their presence caused that, or if it was perhaps removing the lightning obsidian that allowed the line to heal? As a test the PCs run a line of salt over where the crater was, and nothing unusual happens.
The voice of the 7-legged giant spider comes from the forest side, saying in apparent awe that they stayed on “the line” all night, and guarded it. It is now repaired, claims the spider. But when the PCs try to ask the spider questions, it just repeats (you are all in danger,” and flees.
The PCs still have unanswered questions (Why did a wight want to buy food? Who was Chandra Chase and why did she pretend to have been hired by Pottage? Who collared the 7-legged spider, why was it kidnapping people, and what are its intentions now? What caused a storm that blew a crater in the firebreak of the burial grounds? Why do groups of 5 get pulled together, and then suffer terrible fates, once a generation? What is the Underhill Grove?), but decide for now to head back with the information and materials they have gathered.
End Session 2
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Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 2 (Part 3)
Part three of my Game Session 2 notes for my Gatekeeper’s campaign for PF2 (part one here, and part two here). The articles at the Gatekeeper Index can remind you of all the characters, backstory, rules changes, and setup, if you want a refresher.
The PCs gather at Pottage’s Tottage, and briefly update each other on their experiences of the day. Then they go inside and, to their relief, Pottage is in fact present and willing to explain what’s going on… such as he knows it.
Pottage reveals to the PCs that while he was indeed a foundling, he was found with a trunk of possessions that Nana Cutthroat kept for him until he was a young teen, when she gave it over to him. He discovered in the trunk a family journal, which claimed his family had been moving back and forth between Tidegate and the Continent for generations, trying to solve the mystery of “The Five.”
According to that tome and the research he has done since, every generation 5 people of different backgrounds who happen to be in Tidegate are drawn together, seem to begin to engage in a mystery of some kind, and then are cursed, killed, or disappear. A few generations ago one was a member of his family, and his line has been trying to figure out what is going on ever since. Often the deaths appear to be part of something ritualistic, though it’s not always at the hands of Bloodletters. Different groups, from lone wizards to wicked gollusks, have seemed intent on killing The Five each generation.
So Pottage doesn’t know what is going on, but seeing 5 of them suddenly falling into strange events he was immediately convinced they were this generations example of an event that has ben going on for at least 200 years (since the Continental Empire absorbed Khetonnia and destroyed Eirsyus). He’s spent his whole adult life preparing to help whoever the 5 turned out to be, and now the time has come. He’s been trying to learn all he can and though he has snippets — for example, the Underhill Grove is supposedly a place or group that can aid the Five, but he doesn’t know anything else about it — the core of what causes the Five to be drawn together, and who then destroys them, and why, is still a mystery to him.
And, his shop turns out to be full of secret compartments and hidden shelves. This is where he keeps his tools, tomes, and supplies, since he spends most of his time here watching over his store. Pottage notes that there was no sign of the “new girl” Chandra Chase (who Averill and Morgan ran into), but his personal chambers above the shop, and his locked valuables storage, and his basement deep storage, and his small warehouse were all thoroughly searched and left disheveled, but there’s no sign anyone found his hidden spaces in his open-to-everyone storefront.
Jaedyn suddenly asks if Chandra was the kind of “too gorgeous for it to be normal” that might mark her as a gollusk, and while no one is sure, the idea is bookmarked for later.
Pottage can’t explain the 7-legged spider that grabbed him, though he can say it appeared to be laying in wait for him. He was trying to sneak in the back way of his shop, when he and then his employee Mac where grabbed, poisoned, and wrapped up. Upon hearing about the stranger with a lock in its forehead and red motes for eyes, he notes is sounds like a wight, and was dressed in fashion common in Eirsyus roughly 200 years ago. When shown the coins Nambra grabbed (which the wight spent), Pottage pulls out of of his secret draws which has a book on local Numismatics, and confirms they are of an old Eirysus city-state from the last days of those realms before the Continental Empire crushed them. They have only been seen in recent years in old Eirysus graves.
There is, he notes, an old Eirysus burial ground roughly a day north at the southern tip of the eastern edge of the Wildwood. Upon consulting a map, Morgan confirms that was the direction the giant spider dashed off to when it fled out of town. Although they can’t be as perceive, Jaedyn and Holly also note the wight seemed to be going that way when it turns into smoke.
The PCs agree they are going to go check out the old Eirysus burial grounds, to see if they can find more info. They want to leave in the morning, but Pottage suggests they get out of town now, before the town council can decide to order them to stay here until things are all sorted out. The group decides to go to Morgan’s father’s farm, one of many within a couple hours of Tidegate, stay there for the night, and set out at first light. Pottage promises to do more research about the giant spider and the sigil on its back, and the wight.
The PCs make it safely to Morgan’s father’s farm, where those who have never been before are a bit surprised by its architecture. The entire farm is walled with a stone wall taller than a typical human, which is rare but not unknown, and the main farmhouse and neighboring barn are stone with slate roofs. It is known Morgan’s father left the island years ago, before Morgan was born, because his original home burned down, so mostly his sturdy, stone construction is attributed to that (and, perhaps, the adventuring money he made while he was gone). The farmhouse is big enough that 20 could live there long-term, and 100 people shelter in it, but it’s just home to Morgan and his father at the moment. It has 2 indoor baths with copper water tanks you can heat with a fire, a huge kitchen, and apparently multiple cellars with extensive emergency supplies.
(Morgan’s Fathers House… sorta. The roof should be slate tiles, and wall taller, the gate sturdier, and the windows all narrower and with heavy shutters. But, you know, other than that… Art by Midge9282)
Hearing that they might be tracking a wight, Morgan’s father does two things. First, he tells them if they run into a wight, they should run immediately. Secondly, he gives them a glass bottle totally wrapped in a wicker cover. he says it’s Vingarian Brandy – from Vingarie, on the Continent. Supposedly helps with level loss and doom from contact with undead (“brings warmth back into your soul”). He doesn’t know if it’s true, but it seems worth trying if they get in trouble.
The next day the PCs head north. Since there is no path or road directly to the burial grounds, they must us exploration activities to arrive without getting lost or delayed. Everyone is able to do so except Averill, who just shrugs and follows along when he thinks north is one direction, and everyone else believes it’s the exact opposite way.
Late in the day, the group is attacked by a volkyr — a vicious creature that looks like a cross between a wolf and a wolverine and has flat, all-black eyes. Local lore claims volkyr are reincarnated evil spirits –not born nor breeding like typical animals, but fel souls of mortals that step full-grown out of unlit places to cause pain and misery. The creature begins the fight with a charge, and nearly drops Morgan in a single blow. But the group is able to fight it off, and afterward patch up Morgan.
By then, it’s dusk, and the party decides to camp and continue on to the burial grounds in the morning.
End of Part 3.
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Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 2 (Part 2)
Part two of my Game Session 2 notes for my Gatekeeper’s campaign for PF2 (part one here). The articles at the Gatekeeper Index can remind you of all the characters, backstory, rules changes, and setup, if you want a refresher.
Morgan quickly climbs up to the top of Pottage’s Tottage, and sees a Large spider with a face he realizes matches the one he saw looking over the edge. It has struggling people-sized silk bundles webbed to its hind legs, a bright red sigil on its back, and seems to naturally have just 7 legs (4 on the left, 3 on the right). The spider sees him, covers itself in a fog cloud that moves with it, and jumps away to another roof. Morgan follows town protocol by raising an alarm (screaming “MONSTER! GIANT SPIDER!”), and goes after it. (Chase Rules)
Averill tries to follow from the ground and raise the alarm.
Meanwhile, the PCs at the Smoke Pine Taven are passing out food bundles. The system is simple, a line forms by the counter. Everyone throws down a couple of copper and gets a bundle. But Jaedyn sees a figure she does not know, who is wearing a cloak, completely covering their hands with its edge and totally covering their head with its hood. While it’s not unusual for shy strangers to come in off a ship, one being that covered is odd and with the recent weirdness makes Jaedyn suspicious. She opts to hand it a food bundle in a way that causes it to fall at the last second, hoping to get the creature to look up to grab it. (Thievery check) This succeeds, and she sees it has a desiccated face, a lock built into its forehead (like the front of a padlock), and it’s eyes are hollow black pits, with tiny bright red motes of light far, far back within the eye sockets.
It hisses at her, and runs to exist the Smoke Pine.
Jaedyn throws a knife in an effort to pin its hood to a wall so it is jerked back and its face is revealed. She succeeds, and the whole cloak comes off. The desiccated creature flees out into the street. Holly grabs its food and runs after it. Nambra takes this opportunity to conceal herself from anyone in the Smoke Pine, especially the cats. Jaedyn grabs the dropped cloak, the runs after Holly.
Holly wants to get ahead of the fleeing figure (Chase Rules), and eventually does so. She offers it the food pack, saying it’s done nothing wrong. It crouches and replies “Give me your BLOOD!” Taken aback, Holly refuses, and the creature turns into smoke and flies away faster than be followed.
It begins to rain.
Morgan is chasing the jumping cloud of fog that has a giant spider in it, while Aervill tries to rally people in the streets below. Eventually Morgan catches up to it and, since the fog is made of water vapor, tries to access his water powers (sending a hero point) to dispel it. that succeeds, and the spider creature seems surprised. Getting a better look at it, Morgan sees it has a black collar around its neck, with inward-bent hooks that dig at the spider’s flesh and cause trails of smoke to trail upward from the contact. Morgan tries to access his water powers again, succeeds, and uses them to form curved blades of ice that cut the collar free of the spider creature.
The spider gasps, drops the two figures strapped to its legs, looks at Morgan and chokes out “You’re in DANGER!” Then, it flees.
Morgan cuts the two figures loose, discovering they are Pottage and Mac. He and Averill get back together, and Pottage comes to enough to say he’d like his return to be kept secret for now. Morgan and Averill agree, and happen to mention the new woman working at the Tottage, Chandra Chase, didn’t know he was back yet. Pottage is concern because he hasn’t hired anyone new, and doesn’t know a Chandra. Pottage promises to meet them in a bit at the Tottage, but asks if and can they get Mac to Hexer Helaina, since he’s not recovering as fast. They agree, and while Morgan takes Mac to Hellaina, he sends Averill to go get Jaedyn, Holly, and Nambra and bring them to the Tottage as well.
Nambra, as it happens, noticed the two coins the desiccated figure used to buy food looked different from any others she’s seen, and exchanges them for two coins of her own. Holly and Jaedyn come back in, noting the figure disappeared. Nana Cutthroat comes up to them and hears the description, and says it sounds like a wight. She is asked if wights are common in Tidegate, and affirms they are not. There was one wight captain who couldn’t set foot off his ship that used to come to port now and then, and they allowed it, but it turned out he had a plot to have his ship carried by millions of tiny crabs, and then a holy knight from the Continental Empire showed up and destroyed him.
But, Nana Cutthroat notes, this cloak seems older than that. She gives it a deep sniff, then suddenly says she must talk to the council, and rushed off into the rain, with the cloak.
And just then, Averill shows up, and explains why they should go to the Tottage.
End Part 2.
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Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 2 (Part 1)
As long as there is interest, I’ll keep posting Game Session notes for my Gatekeepers game for PF2. Due to work, illness, holidays, and one players dedication to seeing a single specific college football game every year (Bedlam), it’s been a long time since session 1.
The articles at the Gatekeeper Index can remind you of all the characters, backstory, rules changes, and setup, if you want a refresher.
The day after taking Hexer Hellaina to the ruined tower outside of town, the PCs want to go talk to Pottage, since he seemed to know what was going on. But, they discover, while they were out all day with Hellaina, the Town Council sent Pottage to Seagrace, to bring the Duchess of tides a report on the recent events around Tidegate. It’s expected to be a week or so round trip. Pottage is often sent on such trips, as he has people he trusts to run his store without him (Pottage’s Tottage), has no other official duties in town, lacks family that might need him, and is younger than other councilors who might otherwise be free to make the trip.
The PCs go about their lives. Holly spends time focusing on the strange new elemental energy she accessed n the first session. So does Morgan, though he does so through the sword exercises his ex-adventurer father taught him. Jaedyn practices with the amazing rapier Nana Cutthroat seems to have just had sitting around to give her. Nambra hunts. Averill puts in extra shifts as a telekinetic dock worker.
It remains an unusually stormy fall.
After a week the PCs get together at the Smoke Pine Taven, and discuss what to do. Pottage should be back now, but no one has seen him. Several PCs notice that Guster, one of the most stand-offish of the semiferal cats that hang around the Smoke Pine stays near Holly, which is unusual. He is also recently well-brushed, and that’s unusual. He’s the same cat that sat on Holly in Session 1 when the PCs warmed by the fireplace in the common room. The PCs wonder if he is a spy for a local witch?
With a major storm threatening, they decide to have Averill and Morgan go to Pottage’s Tottage to see if he’s back, or if his employees have an eta. Meanwhile, the storm looks to have winds strong enough to blow cinders back into the homes of people with simple, cheap chimneys. That means lots of folks will be coming to the Smoke Pine to grab packs of food wrapped in cheesecloth, so they can eat cooked food but close the flue on their fireplaces for the storm, so the other PCs stick around to see if Guster eventually leaves the Smoke Pine, so they can follow him.
Upon arriving at Pottage’s Tottage, Averill and Morgan see Mac, a human who works for Pottage and is famous for moving and talking slowly, battening down the window shutters. The front door is open, so they go in, and encounter a gorgeous young woman they have never seen before. She says her name is Chandra Chace, is very friendly, and says Pottage hasn’t returned yet. So, the two PCs head back out… and Morgan notices he’s hearing shutters around the back of the building bang continuously in the wind. Mac should be able to secure a shutter quickly, so the fact this is still banging is weird. Morgan finds Mac’s prints in the soft earth around the shop, and follows them around to the back where they lead up to the banging shutter and just… stop.
Morgan looks up at the top of the shop, and for a spilt second sees a lumpy, hair-covered face with two giant round black eyes and… fangs? But the face, twice the size of a human’s, ducks back behind the ridgeline of the roof just as Morgan spots it.
End Part 1. I’ll get to part Two tomorrow.
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Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 1, Part 2
Since people asked for it, I’m posting session notes for my Gatekeepers game for PF (index here if you want to look something up) . Here’s Part 2 for Session 1. (Part1 is here.)
The heroes have saved children from the basement of a flooding ruined tower outside the town of Tidegate. The children were apparently captured by devotees of a Bloodletter faction leftover from the Bloodletter wars of more than a century ago. The heroes want to keep the Bloodletter connection quiet as long as they can, and attempt Diplomacy to convince the children not to tell anoyone about tht part of the event.
The Diplomacy roll goes badly, but the children all claim to agree.
However, as soon as the heroes make it back to the Smoke Pine Taven, and the children see their clan patriarch, Syrkin Dale, in the great room, they rush up to him and loudly begin shouting all the details of what they saw happen.
This makes the townsfolk and shipwreck survivors in the Taven uneasy, but the councilfolk present don’t seem shocked. As the children are taken to a private room to calm down, the councilfolk tell the heroes that Bloodletter Sectarians have shown up trying to perform strange rituals every few decades. The council tends to keep it quiet, but it’s a known risk.
When the heroes mention the Sectarians seems to be waiting for them, specifically, the councilfolk note it may not have been about the PCs individually. Some Bloodletters have access to ritualistic divination, and can create situations that will bring in the elements that give them the best chance for success. So rather than “five specific townsfolk whose names we know are here!” the message might really have been “the divination indicates these are the random people who give our ritual the best chance of success!”
The PCs don’t mention their strange experiences with apparently elemental power sources, and most of the PCs don’t realize anyone but themself experienced it. Jaedyn and Morgan say each other’s Mystery Point uses and have acknowledged it to each other, but don’t mention it to anyone else.
It’s decided by the council that Hexer Hellaina will be asked to go investigate.
When the PCs go to get warm by the fire, the council-member Pottage swings by to give them some of his “Feel-Better Soup,” and at the same time quietly and in the most serious tone of voice any PC has ever heard him use, says “The Bloodletters wanted you, specifically, We’ll talk later. Be careful.” Then quickly moves away.
Several cats climb into the lap of halfling barbarian Hollyhock Stonefound, and keep her pinned in place by the fire all night.
Hexer Hellaina eventually shows up, and wishes to speak to the PCs. They tell her the general course of what happened, answering questions about the blood-drinking stone, but don’t mention the Mystery Point powers. Hellaina decides she needs to go look herself, after the storm ends, sometime the next day, and asks the PCs to go with her. They agree.
The next day the group including Hellaina have an uneventful journey back to the Ruined Tower. Hellaina does some rituals and analysis and determines that 1: The tower is the anchor for a wedge between the Mortal Realm and the Unlit World (where shadows, death spirits, and forgotten things dwell), 2: That wedge was asleep until awoken by a ritual recently, 3: Once awoken it was why the stone was drinking blood, and if it had gotten *enough* of the *right* blood, it could have forced open a full doorway between the Mortal Realm and Unlit World, and the PCs prevented this by moving the bodies of the fallen away from the tower, and 4: There must be an relic of some sort to serve as the focus for this anchor, and they need to find and destroy it.
So she gives everyone dowsing rods and explains how they work (search with Perception or Occultism, takes time), and Nambra ends up using a Red Mystery Point to reroll her check.
Well before anyone else has gotten more than a slight twitch on their dowsing, Nambra is strongly pulled to the keystone of the main door into the tower. Her dowsing rod then bursts into flame, the fire strikes the keystone and blows the front off it it, revealing it’s a hollow, lead-lined container dressed in stone, and containing a skull covered in sigils very similar to those of the Bloodletter Sectarians. Also, Hellaina notes that is NOT how the dowsing rod should work.
It’s suggested that maybe Nambra has a stronger connection to the relic because she took a critical hit and spilled the most blood on the stone before Averill telekinetically pulled her out. Hellaina is shocked Averill’s tk was strong enough, and he explained he felts a rush of power when he was straining, and Jaedyn and Morgan exchange glances. They begin to ask if everyone experienced such a thing, and Nambra confirms she had a similar rush when using the dowsing rod, and Hollyhock that she had the night before when running on top of the mud.
So Jaedyn and Morgan explain their experiences, and Hexer Hellaina finds this curious and important. She tells the PCs she’ll need to do some research ebfore she can even guess what is going on, and suggests (but does not order) that they keep their experience quiet for now.
Then she uses a ritual to destroy the relic, closing the sliver of a gap connecting the Mortal Realm and Unlit World at this location.
End of session.
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Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 1, Part 1
Since people asked for it, here’s part 1 of the notes for session 1 of my Gatekeepers game for PF2.
It’s early fall in Tidegate, and the storm season has been unusually bad. As we begin play, a major storm has caused a ship to wreck on the shore north of town, and most of the town council and senior people of note have gone to help survivors. As is the norm for local disasters, survivors are being brought to the Smoke Pine Taven, and all the PCs end up there to help settle people in. The many cats of the Smoke Pine are all present, but staying well out of reach of anyone.
Among other things the PCs have someone manning to Smoke Pine’s door, so they can open it to let people in but otherwise hold it closed against the wind and rain. The PC spots two councilmembers struggling towards the door – Syrkin Dale, who is clearly injured, being part-carried by Pottage (who is also struggling with a giant cauldron of his modestly famous “Feel-Better Soup”).
The PCs help them in and patch up Syrkin Dale, and determine that in the rough category of “Battle, Beast, or Debris,” the wound seems caused by debris. Syrkin explains that one of his tenant farmers’ children were last seen playing in a tower of the Old Keep outside of town, and hadn’t shown up since the storm began. Syrkin had gone to look for them, heard them calling for help from the tower’s basement saying they were tapped and the basement was flooding, but then a piece of the old tower’s structure fell on him and both injured him and blocked the only door in. Syrkin staggered to town to get help, and Pottage had spotted him and helped him in.
PCs note that Syrkin seems very annoyed Pottage is the person who found and helped him… and Pottage doesn’t seem to notice. Also, the Smoke Pine’s cats take turns coming up to and rubbing happily on Pottage.
With all the townsfolk who would normally go help already busy outside of town with the shipwreck, and a flooding basement not something that can wait to be dealt with later, the PCs decide they need to go save the children themselves. The Smoke Pine’s owner, Nana Cutthroat, gives them some gear to help, and they rush out into the storm.
The tower is up on a hill that’s a bit steep under the best of circumstances, and is a dangerous mudslide waiting to happen in the heavy rain. With some careful use of ropes and letting the most nimble PCs go up first, the group manages the ascent without incident.
The tower is a ruin, with a staircase on the outside spiraling up to the top of its 25-foot wall (the roof long-since gone), a pile of rubble on the other side making a rough but passable ramp, and a single door that does seem to be blocked by some collapsed timber. The PCs split up, with half heading toward the blocked door, and half heading to the stairs to seek an alternate way in.
As the PCs approach the blocked door, it slams down having obviously been rigged as a trap. Four sailors are just inside, all with thin leather handwraps common to sailors from the Akkaron region of the Continental Empire. One sailor has a headband, the other three have sigils freshly cut into their exposed foreheads. The headwrapped sailor yelled “They’re *all* here! Kill them!”
More foes climb up from the basement, warning children below to shut up.
Jaedyn opts to leap from the top wall down onto the new targets, a 30-foot leap. The player invokes the white Mystery Point, which allows her a good roll and Jaedyn discovers the wind is swirling around and guiding her. Morgan leaps after her, his player using a blue Mystery Point, and the rainwater water guides him. Nambra takes a critical hit from a crossbow, and is knocked out.
As the PCs defeat the sailors, they discover the stone of the tower is literally drinking up any spilled blood. The PCs begin to haul fallen bodies outside, beyond the apparent reach of the thirsty stone. Averill uses his telekinesis to pull Nambra out of the tower, so it can’t access her blood, which also required the power of a Mystery Point. However, they don’t manage to do so before enough blood gathers to form a icy blood paraelemental, which they must defeat.
Trying to get the children saved, allies patched up, and bodies moved, Hollyhock’s player expends the green Mystery Token, and the muddy ground supports her, preventing her from sinking in.
The fight is over, but the game session goes on (to be covered in Part 2).
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Really Wild West: Doomstone Campaign Ends
I wanted to spread this info over 5 articles last week. I started several of them. but I also got kidney stones… and that derailed everything. So, here is 5 articles worth of content and pictures, all crammed into one post.
End of an Era… of Gaming
Since moving back to Oklahoma, I have been running a Starfinder play mode I called the Really Wild West, in a campaign titled Doomstone. We just wrapped it up in my last session.
I don’t get to actually complete campaigns all that often. Scheduling or relocation usually kills them off first, and honestly burnout of myself or players is more common than wrapping a whole campaign plotline. And, to be fair, some games I designed to be endless sandboxes, so there was no “end” for the storyline to reach.
I originally intended to turn Really Wild West into a commercial setting book, so there is a ton of art and game rules and background for it on this site. Given how far behind I am on other projects that’s certainly not happening anytime soon (thankfully I never took money or preorders for it), and it may never happen. But the material is all still available, so you can see where I was going with it. And I never let anything go to waste, so the core material will likely show up in *something*.
For those of you who were following along back when I was posting session-by-session updates, here’s a super-quick rundown of the campaign, minus subplots. (There’s tons of cool stuff I just don’t have time to go into for a summery –how the PCs got the pistol Killdemon, the redemption of Beardcutter Ben the Shaver’s friend, the duel where Crackers Jack threatened to murder a the mysterious gunslinger who killed his brother only to in the end shoot himself in the hand so honor is satisfied, the Tombspider Inn, BoHoss the Ogre, Tex Tanner the Helium Baron, Ceasear — professional snuggler, “that Goddamn Manticore”…)
Earth, 1891. Magic and fantasy creatures have always been part of the world. Last year, the Martains attacked in the first War of the World.
The PCs (a centaur paladin, mysterious gunslinger, fenrin bounty hunter, human mechanic technopolitin, and orc cartogramancer easterner) were each for their own reasons on a train headed west. It’s attacked by teleporting serpentfolk bandidos who, it turns out, are trying to steal a safe being transported by the Fonts & Bismark company. The safe contains a Martian Power Generator, salvaged from a Martian tripod.
The PCs do some investigating, and come to believe the attack was funded by the East Hudson Bay Fur Trading Company, who have also taken over a local ranch and are making life difficult for its neighbors. Investigating further they discover the EHBFTC is funding a dig into a mesa where a genius known as Professor Adremelich is using converted Martian Digging Machines to access Demiplanes, including one with serpentfolk, and one with svirfneblin the Professor is using as forced labor. Using svirfneblin crystal tech after liberating them, the PCs raid the Serpentfolk demiplane, and cut it off from the Material Plane.
Evidence gather suggests Professor Adremelich wishes to become a Darkling, a more-than-mortal creature empowered by one of the Fates Worse than Death. Specifically he appears to be possessed by the Venom King, a medieval worldwide threat put down by the centaur paladin before she died, and the return of which is why she has been brought back.
The PCs commandeer one of the Martian Digging Machines and the mechanic technopolitan converts to be their expedition vehicle, the “Armadillo.” The PCs begin to see themselves mentioned in the papers, and decide to take the name “Knight Rangers,” rather than be stuck with some yellow-journalism appellation.
They also encounter a Deputy of Death, a psychopomp cavalryman who warns that someone has escaped the Lands of the Dead, and if the deputies can’t bring him in their boss, “The Marshal” will come handle it personally. The Marshal getting into a fight on the Mortal plane could be… catastrophic.
Like, end-of-the-Olmec Empire catastrophic.
Realizing that defeating a proto-Darkling will require mystic aid, the group head to Hellgate, Montana, home of the famous hellgate University which allows the licensed study of fel magic, and thus should have experts who can help. Along the way they face Sumerian Vrock Demons, Angry Minotaurs (who they placate and befiend), and a cyborg named “Barron the Immortal”” who is causing all sorts of trouble, and they deal with him scoffing at the “Immortal” part of his name.
Of course the expert they need is currently lost after taking an expedition into the dinosaur-infested Badlands. Also, Hellgate appears to have a mole, and another cult is found supporting a myserious cigar-smoking man who clearly also wishes to become a Darkling, the Bloodletter, and is not as far along as the Venom King but is apparently working with him.
The PCs go rescue the expert they need, put an end to a spreading ghoul plague among the dinosaur population, drop a boxcar on a ghast allisaurus while using a holy smite to empower it, discover the mole in Hellgate U is the Chancellor who is also the Bloodletter Darkling wannabe, get attacked by Barron the Immortal again (who, it turns out, cut up his brain and used it to empower multiple mechanical bodies), and get a line on where Professor Aremelich is.
Their expert will make them a nail to drive through a Darkling’s shadow, so shooting them with a bullet will kill the darkling position itself, never to return. But, she also recommends they use the Chancellor’s research to find King Arthur’s Spear, Rhongomiant, which was forged to destroy the Darkling of Betrayal but was never used against it. The PCs raid the Chancellor’s secret base, slay a vampire, and get his notes. those take them to a hidden valley where there is a gate to the fiendish demiplane where the lost Legio IX Hispana Roman legion has existed for centuries, having turned to diabolism to survive a massacre and the fall of the Roman empire.
Fight on a giant gearwork dimension device, lots of Roman themed devils, free the people living under fiendish tyranny, get the spear. Encounter a second Psychopomp Deputy of the Marshal of Death, who warns time is getting short.
Upon returning to Hellgate, they discover it’s been attacked by a Martian Walker, the first anyone has managed to get functional since the War of the Worlds. They immediately help the US cavalry track it down, discover it’s a distraction drawing eyes away from a third Barron the Immortal, who is trying to complete a Martian Factory they began building just weeks before they fell to disease. The PCs stomp him and it, and find notes suggesting there’s just one Barron left… the most powerful of them.
They also discover a working Martian interplanetary communicator, and from its signal learn the Martian elite back on Mars are diabolists, and they are planning a second invasion… eventually.
The Knight Rangers still need to deal with the Tripod, and hunt it down with the Armadillo, fighting it in a Ghost Town. They win.
Tracking Professor Adremelich to Helena, Montana, they find the city is cut off by an evil vapor projected from a Paddle Steamer. They sneak up on and attack the Steamer, ultimately dealing with its owner an ancient Sumerian Elf Vulture Diabolist. Upon killing him, the Mysterious Gunslinger PC discovers he has become a Deputy of Death, for bringing in a long-outstanding fugitive, giving him natural ghost gun advantages
Helena saved, they advance on the Monarch hotel, where Professor Adremelich/the Venom King is preparing to perform the ritual to become a full Darkling. To get to him they must face the last Barron the Immortal… who is a giant mechanical spider n the third act.
From there they descend into the basements beneath the Monarch, then the sub-basements, then they discover the builders had ignored numerous warnings from pre-Columbian cultures that said not to dig here. This is because when a Darkling brought down the Olmec Empire, his disciples had fled to North America, and build an underground Ziggurat to try to bring him back. The heroes of the existing lost-to-history native cultures of the time (referred to as the Woodland Mounds culture by some RWW historians) defeated them and left warnings which later cultures in Algonquian- and Siouan-language speaking peoples had maintained and respected.
The builders of the Monarch had not.
It is revealed Professor Adremelich has been hired to build digging machines to go even deeper below the Monarch, had encounter the darkling Cult Ziggaraut, and because of the poisonous Black gas the Martians has used in the War of the Worlds was so power, the dead Venom King had been able to whisper to the professor, hooking him as a host. Now, in that cavern, the Knight Rangers must face the about-to-ascend Venom King one and for all, in an ancient cavern littered with his failed technological and magical experiments, magic teleporting portals, two canopic guardians, a venom specter, a stream from the River Styx, and the Venom King himself.
The fight was long and hard, but in the end, the Canpoic Guardians were destroyed, the mechanic kept the mystic or technological experiments from coming to life, the bounty hunter took down the undead chimera, the technomancer dispelled the Venom King’s displacement and other defenses, the Paladin pinned his shadow to the ground with Rhongomiant, and the Gunslinger took the only and only bullet they had to destroy him forever, and made an attack roll in the open, for all to see.
And rolled an 18. And shot the bastard right between the eyes, destroying that threat forever.
There was some wrap-up after that. The Marshal of Death dropped by to say the issue was settled. The paladin discovered she didn’t have to die to keep the universe balanced. Everyone agreed to invest in the mechanic’s soon-to-be-established tech company.
So, for now, game over.
I mean THAT game. I’m still getting together with these folks, who I have been playing with for 35+ years, and bouncing dice. Just not, for the moment, the Really Wild West.
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Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 8, part 1)
I got a bit behind on posting these due to the holidays, but here’s the after-action report for Session Seven of the Really Wild West: Doomstone campaign. The Knight Rangers have headed out in their converted Martian Excavating Machine, now known as The Armadillo, to the Montana city of Hellgate as part of their quest to find and defeat Professor Barkane Adrameliche, who has become the darkling Lord, the Venom King.
Along the way, they topped in on the family of the ogre ranch-hand and ally Bo Hoss, and discovered the Hoss clan was being forced to labor for a group of Vrock cultists.
This entry is adapted from the notes of my friend Carl, a player in the game, and told from his point of view. My wife, Lj, was unable to play this session. As a result her character, the fenrin operative bounty hunter, was caught up by a twister while flying ahead to scout using DaVinci Wings. Sawyer managed to assure the other Knight Rangers that she’s catch up with them after she landed (and since Lj wanted us to go ahead and play without her, we hand-waved any concern the characters might normally have had over losing a member for a few days).
You can find Session One here: Part One, Part Two.
Session Two here: Part One, Part Two.
Session Three here.
Session Four here.
Session Five here: Part One. Part Two.
Session Six here.
Session Seven here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
If you don’t recognize a reference, it may (or may not) be in a previous session, or at the updated campaign notes page.
May 7, 1891
Travel past Idaho Falls, turning west.
May 8, 1891
The Knight Rangers pass many signs, pointing back to Idaho Falls, which appears to have been called Eagle Rock until recently. Numerous families in wagons are headed East toward Idaho Falls, evacuating the area further west.
Reach Root Hog, Idaho (will someday become Arco). It shows signs of extensive new construction, Edison and Tesla-based engineering, and numerous Martian tech survey teams
The nearby “Craters of the Moon” was a major Martian landing location, and kind of an initial base for them. When Martians were getting sick at the end of the War of the Worlds, this was a place they fell back too. The town is “Martian wreckage boom town.”
Recently the Army Corps of Engineers has opened up Craters of the Moon battle site to public exploration. The Corp found a lot of stuff, but the mass of public can find more, and even a simple Martian “screw” is worth 2 credits.
As the Knight rangers arrive in the Armadillo, a bunch of people with newstypes (Newspapers printed locally having been received over the Babbage-Bel Grid) approach us and ask us for signatures.
Headline in the “Lake Hudson Dispatch” reads: Knight Rangers Threaten Town of Texburg. The coverage is all negative and wrong, along with a negative artists rendition
Headline in the “Gotham Times” reads: The Really Wild West: Martians, Mercenaries, and Magic!, and only mentions the KR in passing
Headline in the “Washington’s Bugle Weekly ” reads: The New Wild: Heroes Arise to Meet Unimagined Threats, and is accompanied by a fairly accurate artists rendition, although the female centaur paladin is depicted as being 12 feet tall. The article is written by “April Raynes,” and it mentions two other groups, the “Swordslingers” and the “Blud-Hexen Bunch”
After about hour, 12 men with rifles who have us artilleryman’s badges and red strip trousers show up. They are led by Sergeant Levy Cooper, a gruff man with a big bushy mustache and beard. He is currently in charge of Martian issues in Root Hog. Wants to see our Martian papers, and to have one of his people go over the Armadillo to make sure its not leaking or going to exploding. We agree.
Locals had more encounters with the “bug gum” and takes some affidavits from us about our experiences with it (the Jerusalem bugs and walking meat).
The engineer mentions “orange goo” from some Martian tech that makes bugs grow big. Sergeant mentions Tesla was here first, indicates the least constructed building, “they had a really nice headquarters.”
He gives us a whistle that has a specific frequency that his fenrin employees can hear, they use it for emergencies.
They leave a corporal to keep an eye on us. Sergeant cooper says ” people don’t do what is expected, they do what is inspected.”
The closest crossing the Armadillo can take is a bridge which currently has so much traffic, we have to make an “appointment” to cross the bridge with the bridge officer.
In town, the centaur paladin goes for a hot shower, can’t find a shower place big enough, but a place that normally does degreaser for salvaged Martian tech, allows her to wash there. She encounters a large, 6″ wasp and pops it with a towel. It explodes into a green goo that is the same color as the Venom King’s various poisons.
The roboticist mechanic does some gambling, and looses to a professional gambler, “Slyton Seeves” , his friends call him “Sly.” They chat. He seems polite and proper. He wants to buy her (custom built) spark pistol for a lead lined box with a glowing blue dodecahedron crystal, She recognizes it as technological, but doesn’t know what it is. She does identify it as a part of a Martian interplanetary communicator. She makes the trade (and later builds herself a new spark pistol).
The human soldier guards the Armadillo while others are in town. He sees a woman walking about unnoticed on other people’s camps. No one else seems to see her. She then kisses a guy who is wraked with coughs, and that guy dies.
She approaches the Armadillo, and the soldier makes it obvious he can see her. She approaches, and they talk. She is Macha Morriga, basically a psychopomp. They exchange information, she tells him darklings rewrite reality. About 1,000 one got loose in South America, and destroyed an entire empire. She leaves, peacefully.
The cartographamancer half-orc was contact by agent of Tex Tanner. Tanner wanted to hire the Cartographamancer away from the Knight Rangers on a long-term contract, but was turned down. Tex Tanner is clearly paying agents throughout the West to keep track of the Knight Rangers.
(End Part One)
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Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 7, part 3)
Wrapping up the after-action report for Session Seven of the Really Wild West: Doomstone campaign. The Knight rangers have headed out in their converted Martian Excavationg Machine, now known as The Armadillo, to the Montana city of Hellgate as part of their quest to find and defeat Professor Barkane Adrameliche, who has become the darkling Lord, the Venom King.
But first, they want to check in on the family of the ogre ranch-hand and ally Bo Hoss, who live near Rexburg and stopped communicating with him months ago, though they only ever sent him messages once a season.
Notes adapted from the notes of my wife Lj, a player in the game, and told from her point of view.
>>Later on May 6th day we come to Rexburg.
The Knight Rangers decide to visit Bo Hoss’s family before going in to Rexburg. The ogre clan live in a small valley between Rexburg and Hibbard, in the vents of a mostly-dormant shield volcano.
· There’s a Pony Express post at the edge of the valley, which looks abandoned. An investigation reveals an old smell of blood in the floor – a Kasatha was stabbed and bled to death right there – no blood drops leading out of the shack. It’s been at least 7-8 months since the pony has been here, and no foot prints nearby for months.
· The post itself has a hobo mark on it – means this place is unfriendly and unsafe
· Strongly smells of vulture-like bird – either a large flock or a huge roc visits here every few days but is smart enough to clean up their sign (only their scent gives them away)
· Place is clean and packed like they left it on purpose
· The Soldier and Operative, both with DaVinci Wings, take to the air and scout the valley.
o The soldier determines that there is wildlife, but they are all acting like there are predators around. He finds and talks to a fisher (a weasellike mustelid) using speak with animals. It says there are “big, death birds” – they crow and dance and speak all the wrong words. They’re all feathered, but they talk to fleshy people
o The operative sees at the other end of the valley, beyond the volcano, there is a creepy looking lodge up in the side of the mountainside, in a wetland area. It’s old and rundown, but there’s a light on. Between 100-200 years old, or maybe just a really hard 40 years. Smells of at least two half-elves.
Drive the Armadillo in, but it can’t make it up the mountain to the vents where Bo Hoss’s family live. There are carved-in stairs the Knight Rangers take to get up.
· There are old stones here carved with South Pacific language, which no PC speaks
· Also some larger, new stones carved in a very different language
· We see someone inside the cave – a Bo Hoss-like ogre– carving on the wall.
· There is a vrock overseeing him. It sees us and screeches – it’s on
· The operative shoots and misses, but startles the vrock.
· The centaur paladin charges and shouts “I name thee demon!” The Knight Rangers conclude it’s a demon.
· The vrock screams and causes fear, though no one in the area is affected
· It slams its beak into the paladin for a LOT of damage. It seems to be augmented.
· The cartograthurge technomancer moves up to see if the new stones are doing something that may effect the ogres
· The ogre, being now free to move as he will, turns to the stones at the entrance and starts to chisel away the runes yelling “NO!” with each blow
· The soldier PC spots another figure down the other tunnel
· The vrock dances and creates a cloud of spores, affecting everyone but the soldier, who is out of range. The centaur paladin grows pustules on her skin from it – blech – but just ignores the penalties and keeps fighting.
· The technomancer says the menhirs are summoning rocks – brings more demons here, and infuse the area with demonic energy. The ogre keeps trying to destroy it, but it’s taken months to make and is resistant to destruction.
· The roboticist engineer and her drone joins in to destroy the menhir with the ogre, using her engineering knowledge to help break up its structure. They speed up the destruction quite a bit
· The figure the PC soldier spotted down another tunnel is a half-elf male with a red, glowing pentagram over one eye who has a wavy-bladed dagger and a pistol. He waves his dagger in the air to cast a spell while he fires. A screaming bullet fires past the Soldier, the bullet crying out obscenities in Infernal.
· The ogre hits one of the runes on the menhir (natural 1 on a skill check to damage it), and it disintegrates his chisel and damages him mildly.
· The fenrin Operative bounty hunter moves into the tunnel near , sees another set of stones and alerts the cartograthurge technomancer. Operative shoots the vrock, but the attack bounces.
· The roboticist mechanic moves into the tunnel to deal with the second menhir. She spots three more ogres manacled and gagged deeper in the tunnel, and lets the other OCs know.
· Te half-eld cultist and PC Soldier exchange gunfire in a different tunnel. The half-elf staggers to behind a third menhir in that tunnel, and smears his blood on the menhir – his eyes roll up – he chants in Ancient Sumarian and keeps firing at the Soldier. His bullet missed, but the soldier felt the vileness of it as it passed
· The Operative bounty hunter moves over to the bound ogres, and identifies that their manacles happen to be compatible with her manacle keys. Ha! She unlocks one, tells it to free the others.
· The centaur paladin continues to solo the vrock but has to lay on hands for herself – she was running too ragged. It’s smite evil lance strikes against fiendishly-empowered beak bites.
· The technomancer successfully breaks the front menhir. Half the sense of fiendish energy infusion in the area goes away.
· The mechanic begins to dismantle the second menhir
· The soldier (able to ignore the half-elf’s cover), shoots him again – this time, killing him
· The first menhir broken, the ogre who was attacking it picks up a rock and assists the centaur paladin fight the vrock by flanking it with her. The ogre takes an attack of opportunity from the Vrock to get into position and is bloodied (runs out of stamina), but doesn’t seem to care.
· The centaur paladin bloodies the vrock – woohoo! Then it smashes her with its beak again, bloodying her.
· The technomancer unleashes his steampunk bee-bots (the spell “microboat assault) at the vrock, distracting it
· With Engineering and her drone’s strength, the mechanic roboticist destroys the second menhir, ending the “evil temple” feel entirely, inside this tunnel. The vrock is visible weakened.
· Soldier, Technomancer, and Mechanic PCs move on to break the third menhir in the other tunnel, byt the dead halg-eld cultist.
· The manacled ogres frees themselves and follow the fenrun Operative into battle. Second.
· Aided by the Operative and the orges, the centaur paladin finally does in the vrock. It diminishes into ropey cords of muscle, pus, and rot before it disappears.
· A second vrock is spotted flying this way. The Knight rangers and freed ogres destroy the remianing menhir, and wait for it to arrive. It is visibly weaker than the first vrock, and faulters when the last mehir is destroyed.
·During the wait, the freed orgres explain two half-elves arrived months ago and summoned a vrock on a stormy knight. Then the vrock captured the ogres and forced them to make the new, evil mehirs. When three were done, the vrock did a dance that turned on half-elf into a second vrock. Then they began being forced to make more menhirs, to turn the last half-elf into a vrock, so the three vrocks could then open a gate to the Abyss.
· Most Knight Rangers take cover to fight the vrock, but the centaur paladin and the ogres stand in open view to draw it in.
· The second vrock arrives at half health since there are no menhirs, and he’s trying to get to the third one.
· Paladin charges, Operative and Soldier shoot, Technomancer uses the beebots, Mechanic sics her drone on it, so the vrock is flanked by drone and paladin. Orgres pick up and throw rocks they have prepared for their home’s defense.
· Vrock is outmatched, though it does ignore magic missiles cast by the technomancer thanks to Spell Resistance, and on a critical hit inflicts a bleed effect on the drone. It dies, much less impressively than the first vrock.
· The ogres are Bo Ghun, Bo Ghran, Bo Deir, and Bo Fo. There are 20 total in the Bo clan (babies grow to full size within 2 years). They invite the Knight Rangers to eat and rest.
· PCs check out the shack at the end of the valley first — was an abandoned cult house. Find a demonic text telling them how to summon a vrock. The cultists were still 5 months from completing the rocks needed to summon the third vrock, but needed the ogre’s exert stone-carving skills to do it. They told the local townsfolk that the post had been destroyed and that the ogres would come into town to get their mail, townsfolk didn’t care enough to check on why the ogres never did that.
LOOT: Magical Sumerian wavy-bladed dagger; sixteen sets of size-large manacles; demonic text (which is put in a lead-lined safe n the Armadillo the mechanic deigned for radioactives, but will work great for magic too)
· The ogres give the Knight rangers us a return letter for Bo Hoss.
· When the Knight Rangers get into Rexburg to mail the letter to Bo Hoss, they tell local officials that because they ignored the inquiry about the Bo clan, demons nearly overran the world.
20,270 current total, (23,000 to 7th)
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