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Kingmaker: Sound of a Thousand Screams, Session 1, Part 2

Over the week that followed the 1st bloom, the rulers of Caerelia frequently checked in via sending with Feywatch, the town/garrison they had built outside the Castle of Knives. But Feywatch’s commander reported no activity at the infamous ruins in the Thousand Voices forest. Other corners of the kingdom similarly reported no unusual activity.

During that week, Aakif the arcanist hit the books, and Orseen the gnoll warpriest held a celebratory feast with one of the fey black swans as the main dish. The feast briefly became the talk of the town when the participants were rendered horribly ill by the experience. Save for Orseen, whose heroic constitution saved him from harm. Luckily for the rest, they lived in D&D land, and some remove disease and lesser restoration prayers were all that was needed to erase the lingering effects of Orseen’s ill-considered dinner.

The 2nd Bloom

Late in the 7th day after the whirlpool incident (day 8 in the adventure’s reckoning), a messenger arrived from Tatzylford – the forests east of town had been replaced by giant mushrooms! The PCs had seen this before, and immediately sprang into action – they wanted to nip this incursion in the bud before it swallowed another town! The party teleported to the edge of town and then flew over to the affected area, arriving close to sunset.

The group explored the area on their flying carpet, and here I ran into a bit of a problem. The mandragoras populating this bloom have very good Stealth checks, and can hide underground on top of that. They can’t fly and they have no ranged attacks. The PCs failed their Perception checks, and… then what? They didn’t land the carpet because they didn’t find anything of interest, and the mandragoras didn’t reveal themselves because the PCs didn’t land. This is the sort of thing that makes me feel like not much thought gets put into these high-level adventures, with regards to how high-level PCs operate.

At a loss, I rolled a First World random encounter for the group to run into, and got pixies. That provided a brief distraction but didn’t move things along, so I tried again and got… a unicorn. They ignored the magical equine and kept flying around.

Exasperated, I finally just had the little plant people appear. The carpet rounded a bend and – there they were! Thousands of mandragoras! The PCs did what I expected them to do, which was to go up as high as they could and still be in range and start fireballing. The mandrake folk burrowed into the ground. Impasse.

The frustrated adventurers flew around some more. Satampra the swashbuckler got it into his head that he was going to chop down a mushroom – I’m not sure why, exactly, but I was grateful for the opportunity – and so they landed. Or rather, he go off and the others remained on the carpet, hovering.

Naturally, the bloom’s inhabitants popped out of hiding/the ground and attacked, leaving the swashbuckler poisoned and partially drained of blood. He leaped up to the carpet and Aakif teleported them back to Tatzylford.

That Plant is Poison

Back in town, Aakif wracked his big brain for information on the plants and recalled that they became sluggish in the dark. I was going by the writeup in the adventure, though I see now that when Paizo published the mandragoras in Bestiary 2, they changed their weakness to supernatural, and not just regular, darkness. In any case, the adventurers resolved to go back in the dead of night (end of day 8/start of day 9) to take advantage of that, this time loaded up with delay poison and plenty of area of effect spells. The delay allowed the bloom to spread into an adjacent hex, which luckily for them was not the town’s!

This time the arcanist directly teleported the group to the spot where they had last been attacked, and used his circlet of mindsense to find a burrowed mandragoras. Orseen yanked one out of the ground, causing it to shriek! (everyone saved) Then thousands of the little buggers came out and swarmed the group! Swords, firestorms, and fireballs had soon destroyed two swarms’ worth of plant people. When that happened, the rest of the mandragoras suddenly fell over, dead! There was high-pitched keening sound once again (only properly heard this time, as they weren’t underwater) as greenish energy bled out of the earth and the mushrooms. The glowing stuff mostly evaporated into the air, but some of it was sucked down into the mandragora bodies. Then the light show ended, and the terrible noise with it. All was silent and dark.

The dead mandragoras radiated the same type of magic as the swan corpses. Aakif claimed one for study, and out of fear of the unknown, the rest were burned. It was now Day 9.

The arcanist took the little dead plant person over to Last Hope, the town with the best Lore bonus in the kingdom, and did his best to figure out just WTF was going on. Unfortunately, he uncharacteristically flubbed his Spellcraft check (as outlined in the sidebar on page 11 of the adventure) and had not yet formed a workable theory. All he could do was speculate that the corpse was infused with First World energies, but what that meant he did not know.

The Clock Keeps Ticking

When the Emperor returned to the capital, he was immediately informed that the castle had received word from Feywatch! A large group had appeared at the ruin gates, it was reported, and then flown away! This was the 3rd “bloom”, the Horned Hunter and his hunting party, setting off to find the sword Briar. But the players did not know that yet.

Next: hunted!

Kingmaker: Sound of a Thousand Screams, Session 1, Part 1

For my DMs-only notes on changes I’ve made to this adventure, see here.

Here’s a map of Caerelia as it stands at the start of the adventure.

The rulers of Caerelia awoke one fine mid-Rova (September) morning to reports of a huge whirlpool in the middle of Lake Tuskwater. As they were currently in Caerelia’s capital, Stagfell, and as Stagfell was located on the edge of the Tuskwater, this was a concerning development! In fact, the whirlpool was only a couple of miles south of Stagfell’s harbor, where the aquatic anomaly had already swallowed one slow-moving barge.

The reports further said that the water in and around the pool had turned black, and those exposed to it contracted a virulent blinding sickness. Both the dark waters and the edges of the whirlpool appeared to be expanding.

Caerelia’s emperor and his council took the strange occurrence to be an incursion from the faerie realm, the First World. They had in fact suffered other such incursions in the past, and had long anticipated the arrival of another. And so, the kingdom’s greatest champions:

  • Emperor Satampra Zeiros, CG male human swashbuckler 12/rogue 3
  • Councilor Orseen, LN male human gnoll warpriest of Iomedae 15
  • Magister Aakif Raganus, CN male human arcanist 15
  • High Priest Kwin D’noot, CG male dwarf cleric of Cayden Cailean 15

…set forth on griffons and flying carpet to investigate the swirling, diseased waters.

Swan Lake

It didn’t take long for the affected area to come into view. As the PCs drew nearer, they noted that the whirlpool was populated – a dozen or more giant black swans swam placidly around the edges, sometimes getting pulled in but taking to the air before being sucked down. The big birds paid no heed to the humanoids and griffon above them.

On the way over, Aakif the arcanist had spontaneously prepared and cast a spell (as yet un-named) that he had developed with the aid of the kingdom’s Spymaster, ex-PC Mestinous the elven wizard, to detect planar openings. The divination had led them right to the whirlpool, though now that they were hovering over it, he couldn’t sense a single “center” of the planar passageway as he had expected. Instead he had the sensation that there were many smaller portals, all below him, and all in constant motion.

As per the adventure, the bloom’s power is bound up in the swans. Or maybe it’s bound up in the water elementals, and gets transferred to the swans when the elementals are destroyed? In any case, the players felt like they had a handle on the earlier incursions that I had introduced, which made the actual published blooms look like an evolution, possibly in response to their previous victories.

While the arcanist puzzled out the meaning of this, Orseen the gnoll warpriest grew bored and began pumping himself full of divine power. Then he leapt from his griffon and dived into the center of the whirlpool, using Fervor to invoke righteous might as he fell.

Splash!

The armored, giant gnoll was quickly pulled to the bottom by the turbulent waters. He had prayers of water breathing and freedom of movement going, so being underwater did not hamper him, but all the same he could barely see; the lake floor was enveloped in a giant cloud of swirling silt, kicked up by the churning whirlpool. And beyond that, while he could breathe the black water, it was full of disease, and he had to make several saving throws.

The warpriest poked the silt with his sword, meeting no resistance, but then – the silt poked back! A stone-hard current slammed into him, knocking him backwards, and then another rush of water hit him from behind! As Orseen gasped from the shock of the blows, he drew more of the filthy water into his lungs.

As outlined in the “prep” post for the adventure, these were a couple of Plague Bearer water elementals, instead of the stock elementals in the adventure. Aside from the additional complication of the diseases and the concealment provided by the silt cloud, they were not terribly effective. Orseen just about handled the two of them on his own without much trouble. I probably should have stuck with having 4 elementals, as in the adventure, despite their higher CR. I could have also upped the concealment afforded the elementals to 50%, given that they would presumably be near-invisible in their element. Or not? Regular air elementals aren’t naturally invisible, I suppose.

In any case, while Orseen fought the cloudy water, the others decided to follow him under the surface… just not via the whirlpool. They dived down beyond its edges, swam down to the lake bed, and then made their way towards the whirling water’s terminus. They dimly made out Orseen through the occluded water, and assisted in destroying the poorly-perceived elementals. Aakif and Satampra the swashbuckler got diseased in the process; a minor issue that would soon be remedied by the party cleric.

A Thousand Underwater Screams

When the last elemental had been destroyed, they heard “a high-pitched keening not unlike the sound of a mortally wounded rabbit or deer,” only distorted by the water. So, not like that at all, really. Glowing energy rose from the water, up towards the surface, and exploded in an impressive light show. Then the swirling currents above slowed and came to rest.

When the group broke the surface, they found the whirlpool was gone, the swans had all died, and that that portion of the lake was no longer black. Orseen wanted to eat the dead birds, though Satampra advised against it, reckoning that they were as diseased as the water had been.

The giant avian corpses really weirded out the Emperor. They were ultimately brought back to Stagfell aboard the party’s folding boat, where Satampra ordered them burned (after giving in to Orseen’s pleading and letting him have one of the birds). But the First World swans were not harmed by the fire – they had resistance from the Fey template. Aakif detected strong magical auras on the corpses but didn’t know what to make of them. In the end, Satampra had the strange swans buried in a field outside of town and had guards posted over the graves. Just in case.

The swans are “trophies” of the 1st bloom, needed to enter Thousandbreaths later on. Or at least, the PCs need trophies from 3 different blooms to enter Nyrissa’s realm. So I’m glad they buried the dead birds (who have a gentle repose effect on them, as per the adventure) rather than using them in a feast, as Orseen’s player Bill had advocated for.

Next: The second bloom!

Kingmaker: Prepping Sound of a Thousand Screams, Part 1

This post is for Kingmaker DMs and other curious parties. It contains my thoughts regarding the first half of book 6 in the Kingmaker adventure path, Sound of a Thousand Screams, that I had while preparing it for my campaign, and some of the changes that I made as a result. Spoilers for this adventure and the adventure path as a whole follow. Consider yourself warned!

Read more…

Kingmaker: Intermission #4, Session 2, Part 2

Orseen the gnoll warpriest, reduced to a weakened, animalistic state by his inability to complete the geas/quest placed upon him, looked at the thorn-wrapped sword that was being offered to him. He snatched it out of Satampra the swashbuckler’s hands and cradled the weapon in his paws, feeling a glimmer of his old self return as he held the blade.

“We’ve talked it over, and you can bring that to the Green Lady,” Satampra told his champion. It wasn’t a lie, strictly speaking. The sword was a fake, yes, but Satampra never actually said that it was the real Briar…

A year or so back, the PCs had created some replicas of Briar as part of their plan to keep the sword out of fey hands. Now they were giving one of the copies to Orseen, hoping that as long as he thought he was fulfilling the objective of his compulsion, the penalties he had incurred would go away. As the warpriest’s Intelligence was currently 1 and his Wisdom was not much better, he had no chance of seeing through the ruse.

The gnoll was released from his dungeon cell and taken outside, where the group’s flying carpet awaited. They would fly west with him for a day to demonstrate that they were making progress towards his quest. And when the penalties from the compulsion had worn off after 24 hours, they would teleport the rest of the way over to the Castle of Knives. From there, the PCs hoped to sneak into Nyrissa’s realm and gather some intelligence about what laid within.

What could go wrong?

Game Over, Man

After appearing outside the front gates of the Castle of Knives, Aakif gave everyone spells of flying (except for Orseen, who activated his ebony fly figurine) and invisibility. The unseen group rose into the air and floated over the walls surrounding the Green Lady’s domain.

They could tell they were in Nyrissa’s realm almost instantly. Before, the area inside the walls mostly trees, with the bare bones of a ruin in the center. But now they saw a black lake nearby, and beyond that an area of ice and snow, and the great black bird’s spire past that. Further on they could barely make out features that they knew of from the book Zuddiger’s Picnic.

However, they had not gotten far when their presence had been detected! The Green Lady herself suddenly appeared in the air before them, beautiful and terrible to behold! But this time, everyone made their saving throw against being blinded by the sight of her.

Despite the invisibility spells, Nyrissa looked right at Orseen and motioned for him to approach. “I see you have finally brought my sword to me. Come closer, my champion. Present your weapon to your Queen.” The warpriest spurred his unliving mount forward. When he was within reach of the Queen, he extended his arm to hand over what he thought was Briar, but then hesitated. His immense greed for the weapon warred with the magical enchantment placed upon him, and he struggled to both give the sword to his mistress and to maintain his deathgrip upon its hilt.

Unfortunately, his delay gave Nyrissa time to examine the blade and realize its true provenance. “You- you seek to trick ME?!” she swore incredulously. The fey queen jabbed an angry finger in the gnoll’s face. “DIE, BETRAYER!” she screamed. And he did, after taking 180 points of damage from her finger of death.

“Time to go!” yelled Aakif the arcanist. He swooped in to snatch Orseen’s body and the fly figurine and then teleported them out of the area. Satampra threw a useless dagger at Nyrissa to break his invisibility, allowing Kwin the dwarven cleric to see and grab him before uttering a word of recall.

Orseen was soon brought back to life, though it was extra-expensive as raise dead couldn’t be used (owing to his dying from a death effect). And it looked as if the theory of ending the geas through death proved correct, as he appeared to be free of the compulsion to deliver Briar to the Green Lady after he was restored to life.

After the warpriest was back in fighting shape, the party returned to Castle of Knives, only to discover that its walls once again contained an empty ruin lying amidst the ancient trees.

Anecdotes Are Not Data

Satampra immediately set the scholars of the kingdom towards determining the period of Thousandbreath’s visits to Golarion. The researchers didn’t have much information to work with, though – just this visit and stories and legends from the past. Eventually they reported, as a rough estimate, that the worlds aligned thrice every 40-50 years, though there were significant outliers. And while detailed astrological information was recorded for the day and time that the portal opened, that was just one data point; nothing could be sensibly extrapolated from it.

Years passed. Caerelia prospered as a vital trading hub between the River Kingdoms and the splinters of Brevoy (as well as Numeria and Iobaria). The rulers settled down and continued their individual pursuits when they could. Though there were no further incursions from the First World, the council knew it was only a matter of time, and did what they could to prepare for the day.

And then, in mid-Lamashan (October) of 4725, some 15 years after the kingdom’s founding, the Emperor of Caerelia woke to news that a whirlpool of dark, diseased water had suddenly appeared in Lake Tuskwater, about a league south of the Stagfell docks. The first of ten blooms had arrived.

Next: black swan!

Kingmaker: Intermission #4, Session 2, Part 1

Attempts to use sending to get more information from Feywatch, the outpost next to the Castle of Knives in the Thousand Voices forest, went unanswered. The PCs quickly gathered and buffed, and then teleported over to the small town.

It looked… different… than it had the last time the rulers had visited. The place was empty of people and wildly overgrown, as if it had been abandoned for decades, if not centuries. Aakif the arcanist’s first thought was that some great amount of time had passed in just this locale, but Satampra the swashbuckler and Orseen the gnoll warpriest shook their heads. “We’ve seen this before,” said the swashbuckler.

Varnhold,” spat the gnoll.

They wandered about for a while, looking for clues as to the townsfolk’s whereabouts. Much like Varnhold, it appeared that everyone had dropped whatever they had been doing and left town, only this time very little time had passed since their disappearance. The group started to head down the road out of town and towards the gate of the Castle of Knives, reasonably assuming that their people must have gone in that direction. But they had not gotten far when they chanced upon the most beautiful woman imaginable! She was walking down the overgrown lane towards them, flowers and plants springing up from where her feet touched the ground. It was her: the Green Lady, Nyrissa, the Mistress of Whispers and the Queen of Forgotten Time; the almighty faerie queen who claimed the Stolen Lands as her own.

My intention here was for the players to finally meet Nyrissa, interact with her, and learn some of her capabilities rather than never seeing her until the final scene of the adventure. I thought a great deal about how to play her, how she would regard and respond to the PCs in preparation for this session. But that all went out the window pretty quickly thanks to the irreverence of Bill, Orseen’s player.

Aakif, Satampra, and Kwin the dwarven cleric all failed their Fortitude saves and were struck blind by the sight of the Lady – their minds erased the woman’s appearance from their memories and refused to see anything more to protect them from being further overwhelmed. Orseen was the only one to make his saving throw.

“Hey!” called out the gnoll champion. “Are you the Green Lady?” He wagged his tail.

Nyrissa frowned at this commoner’s familiarity with her, and the warpriest was momentarily crushed with the thought that this beauteous creature was unhappy with him. “I am a Queen of the First World,” she replied, “and will be addressed as such by the likes of you.

“Orseen, what is happening?! Oh gods,” moaned the other PCs. Aakif, who had crafted a Circlet of Mindsight for himself during the downtime, moved quickly to gather together the blind.

“So I had this great thought!” continued the humanoid puppy, instantly forgetting the Queen’s warning. “What if we give you the sword, you know the one, Briar, and you give us the Stolen Lands? It’s win-win!” This was an idea that Bill had come up with in the wake of being ordered to give up the sword – a way to get “his” weapon back and end the impending crisis in one fell swoop.

Nyrissa’s frown turned into a snarl. “You dare talk to me as an equal?! …wait.” Her demeanor shifted from angry to quizzical in an instant. “I know you. You swore to bring me the sword to me.” She eyed the warpriest’s greatsword, which was clearly not what she was looking for. “Why have you not kept your word?

“I haven’t yet,” replied Orseen. “But I’ll give it to you, as soon as you agree to give us these lands in exchange!”

You will bring the sword Briar to me now, faithless cur, and with no further delays.” And with those words the Queen of Forgotten Time placed a geas/quest on the gnoll.

At that point, Aakif had heard enough and teleported the group back to Stagfell.

So I missed this in quickly reading over Nyrissa’s spells, but geas/quest has a 10 minute casting time. And for good reason, because there’s no save and if you’re prevented from performing the quest you soon take a -12 penalty to all attributes. Oops. Well, I reasoned that Orseen’s previous dream-pledge to Nyrissa had created a bond between the two, that allowed her to place him under that effect much more quickly than normal.

Bad Puppy

Once back home, the Emperor immediately called for priests or potions or something to restore his sight! And the others as well, of course! While the servants were scurrying around, Orseen got really close to Satampra. “So, here’s the thing,” the gnoll explained to his liege, “I really need your half of the key to the chest to the thing that leads to the sword. The Green Lady is totally going to bargain with us once I show it to her. Oh, and I’ll need the password,” he said, looking at Aakif, “and where to find the chest,” he pointed at Kwin, not that the blinded dwarf could see Orseen’s furry finger. “Then we can wrap this whole thing up!”

The others tried to convince Orseen that he was under the Lady’s spell, but he refused to believe them. And when Satampra declined to give up his half of the key, the gnoll started getting pushy and aggressive. So Aakif summoned a cloak of dreams and stood next to the warpriest until Orseen failed a save and fell asleep.

The gnoll came to in the dungeon. “Sorry, buddy,” Satampra told him, “but we gotta lock you up until we can get this curse off of you.”

Once Aakif had diagnosed the warpriest as having been geas‘d, the party struggled with what to do next. There wasn’t really any way around a geas/quest short of some very powerful spells, and Orseen would just waste away if he stayed locked up. The arcanist was capable of casting limited wish, the lowest level spell needed to undo the compulsion, but he didn’t know the spell and didn’t have access to a scroll. Someone floated the idea that killing the gnoll and then raising him might end the effect, but Aakif was not so certain it would work. Bereft of options, they resolved to bring Orseen to the Owl Prince to see if he had the power to remove Nyrissa’s enchantment.

Meanwhile, the council was panicking. The Green Lady had arrived! Their doom was nigh! But… no doom arrived, save for the missing inhabitants of Feywatch. No further First World incursions appeared, and no other towns or hexes came under attack.

However, as rumors of the Feywatch Vanishing spread, those living in and around the Thousand Voices forest fled the region before they, too, disappeared. Pitax, still recovering from the war, became inundated with refugees, and the council rushed to supply aid and fortify the city. But still, no attack came.

Owl’s Well That Ends Well

The Owl Prince was unable to restore Orseen, but he did indicate that Nyrissa’s quest was only possible while the connection between Thousandbreaths and the Castle of Knives remained open. Once the way between worlds was closed, the power of the compulsion would slowly fade, and Orseen would eventually return to normal.

But that wasn’t soon enough for the PCs. They had been trying to reach Thousandbreaths for a year, and now it was right on their doorstep! However, they’d be foolish to go in without their meatshield champion, or with him in his current state.

And so, the day after their meeting with the Owl Prince, Satampra presented the caged warpriest with his heart’s desire: the thorn-wrapped sword known as Briar.

Next: a visit with the Queen!

Kingmaker: Intermission #4, Session 1, Part 2

“The sword, Briar,” said the faerie Owl Prince, his hand outstretched. “Kindly hand it over, and I will consider our business concluded.”

Orseen the gnoll warpriest, the current and very possessive holder of said sword, shrank back in horror. “NO!” he yelled, eyes wide with fear. He quickly shrugged off the custom-made scabbard and harness that held the blade and clutched it tightly to his body before turning his best puppy-gnoll eyes on Satampra the swashbuckler.

The Emperor of Caerelia sighed. He and the others knew the thorn-wrapped sword was important, but not how or why. Certainly it was greatly desired by Nyrissa, aka the Green Lady, a powerful faerie who had searched for the weapon for countless years.

“Do you intend to give it to the Green Lady?” he asked of the Prince. While the Owl Prince had been friendly towards and been willing to aid the kingdom in the past, they did not know where his true loyalties were, or really understand faerie politics at all.

“Hmm,” mused the fey lord, hiding his hand back beneath his feathered cloak. “An interesting proposition. But no. I’ve no desire to defy the will of the Eldest, who hid Briar from Queen Nyrissa so long ago. In fact, I had considered giving it back to them, that they might hide it again.”

“My Lord, if I may ask, to what end?” inquired Aakif the arcanist.

“I might gain a token of esteem from those above my station. But it is hard to say. The Eldest are fickle, and much time has passed since they first sequestered Briar. I know not what they would do with it now; perhaps their feelings towards the Queen of Forgotten Time have changed.”

“Then why take it at all?” bluntly asked Kwin the drunk dwarven cleric.

“Consider that Queen Nyrissa has searched for the blade since before your recorded history. I have heard that she is now aware that Briar has been flushed out of hiding, and that it is in your possession. You are strong warriors, and yet you are mortal. Could you withstand the power of one who once considered herself an equal to the Eldest?”

The Prince’s query hung in the air with a weight that prevented the gathered humans from speaking.

“I judge myself much better suited to keeping Briar safe. Or, if that proves untrue, I could chance to give it back to the Eldest. And in doing so, your frail mortal lives would be spared. Until the Queen’s calamity comes to these lands, anyway.

“So. The blade, if you please.”

The Counter

“Hold up,” commanded Aakif, lost in thought. Then he hastily added a, “Please. My Lord.” The arcanist had actually spent much of the past few months thinking on the problem of protecting Briar from the Green Lady.

“My Prince, if the goal is to keep Briar out of Her hands and keep us safe, I believe that I have a way to do that. If we can bury the blade, make it so that She can’t get it, would that satisfy the terms of your request?”

The Owl Prince considered for a moment and replied, “Perhaps. I would need more information.”

Aakif looked excited. “Of course.” He began to pace, his speech picking up speed as he talked. “There is a spell, Leomund’s secret chest. Do you know of it? With it, we can hide Briar in the Astral and it would be completely irretrievable, even by the strongest known magics. Well, the strongest known mortal magics.”

“Ah, but you would need a focus,” intoned the Prince. “If the Queen obtained that, she could reach the sword. How would you protect that?”

“The token can be warded against common divinations. Yes, those wards are surmountable. What I further propose is this: a chest made of stone, filled with a powerful acid. The focus is magically suspended within. The chest needs a key and a password to be opened; without either, the magic holding the focus disappears and it is destroyed by the acid. If the chest is damaged, same thing. The key can be designed to split into two, such that having one half says nothing of the shape of the other. Satampra and Orseen, our strongest warriors, each hold one half of the key. Only I know the password, as I will have to speak it in crafting the enchantments. We build several such chests, and Kwin hides them all. He, as the strongest willed among us, knows which is the correct one and where it is located.

“It’s a four-part lock. Each one of us would need to be subjugated or compromised in order for the focus to be obtained. I believe that would keep Briar out of the Green Lady’s hands, but the sword would still be available if we needed it in the future. Unless the chest is tampered with, in which case the sword would be lost forever… But that’s an outcome that I think no one truly wants – certainly not Her.”

Orseen whimpered.

The Owl Prince gave a look of grudging respect. “Magister Aakif Raganus, I am impressed by your cleverness. Very well. If you do what you have proposed here tonight, I will consider Satampra’s debt to me discharged.

“But once again, I must urge you to leave these lands. Despite your many accomplishments, you cannot stand before one of Nyrissa’s power. To stay is to die.”

And soon after, the faeries departed, ending the audience.

Aftermath

The councilors were alarmed by the Owl Prince’s warnings, and wanted to take action to fortify the kingdom against whatever was coming, if that was even possible. Citizens were encouraged to report faerie sightings, faerie rings, or any dead magical beasts (the PCs were thinking of how previous incursions were perhaps centered on a dead unicorn and a dead silver dragon). This didn’t sit well in some quarters – Caerelia had always been a place respectful of the fey and the “old ways,” going back to its founding – but the rulers considered it a necessary measure if they were going to avoid being blindsided.

A new town was founded, Feywatch, right outside of the Castle of Knives, the spot where Nyrissa’s realm of Thousandbreaths sometimes intersected with Golarion. An elite garrison armed with cold iron weapons was stationed there, and the place was provided with scrolls of sending in case Nyrissa’s realm were to appear there again.

Time passed, and the panic over an impending invasion slowly receded. For a while, the PCs investigated rumors and stepped through faerie rings, but none of it led to Nyrissa or her realm. They tried teleporting from within the First World (after walking through a faerie ring) to parts of her realm that they had visited before, such as the frozen giant graveyard. But they found that some magic prevented them from doing so. After a few such journeys, one of which took over two months in Golarion even though they had spent just a few hours in the First World, the PCs abandoned their attempts to reach Thousandbreaths.

With fears about the kingdom’s destruction in decline, the rulers came to pursue other interests. Kwin focused on expanding his brewery and concocting the most amazing booze possible. Aakif spent much of his time back on his family lands, investigating the mystery of the ghost dragon. And Satampra and Orseen would journey to the Shadow Realm, where they searched for signs of the banished Eldest known as Count Ranalc, a one-time lover of Nyrissa’s. The pair had many amazing adventures there, but proved unable to find the faerie exile.

And then, one fine day in the late spring of 4721, Stagfell received an urgent sending from Feywatch: “The fey are here! Send aid!”

Next: The Green Lady!

Torg Eternity: Character Generator, Nile Empire Update

A bit behind the times here, but the TOCG character generator for the Torg Eternity RPG has been updated with content from the recent Nile Empire Kickstarter! Also there have been bug fixes, upgrades, you name it. The latest version is v1.6 and can be downloaded for free here. For some reason my installer software doesn’t like this program, so it’s just a zip file. While the program has rudimentary summaries of the game elements, you’ll need the Nile Empire sourcebook (and the Torg Eternity core rulebook) to make the most of this character generator.

I would also like to once again highlight that the data contained within the generator can be customized to suit your home game, or even just to fill in the descriptions for perks, items, etc. with the book text. There’s some Word docs in the install directory that give some starting tips, but I am discussing the topic in much more depth in a series of posts that starts here.

While I realize that it’s been a long time since I posted an update about this particular program here, as it happens I’ve been making changes on a fairly continuous basis since that last post. If you want to keep up-to-date with this program, I encourage you to head over to Ulisses-US’s Torg Eternity forums, specifically this thread. When I make minor changes I generally post them there, and often field requests for new features there as well.

I haven’t been keeping a definite list of fixes and features for this application as I do for the Kingdom Manager, but here’s a partial list of new features since the previously posted update:

  • Added a whole suite of tools for rolling tests and damage and calculating the results. They’re under the new “Tools” menu on the main menu bar.
  • Revamped how money and acquiring items is handled after character creation ends; your character now doesn’t have to worry about tracking wealth. Added a special Requisition window for rolling to see what you can convince your bosses to lend to you for a mission.
  • Added full windows for selecting race and cosm, so you can see the details before choosing.
  • Put in up/down controls for attribute and skill inputs. The controls also work with the mouse wheel if the mouse is hovering over.
  • Attributes are actually customizable in the custom data files, to the point where you could re-create the original Torg attribute spread if you wanted to. You’d have to rewrite all of the other game data to match the new attributes, though, so truth be told this isn’t so useful to most folks. I implemented it because I was toying with adding Perception back in as an attribute as a house rule.
  • Mousing over an attribute will display the racial minimum and maximum.
  • Added a new “Encounter” export option for NPCs, which tries to provide useful summaries for, you guessed it, encounters. Well, combat encounters, anyway.
  • Improved the functionality of the text editing controls in the Add Note window.
  • Revamped how items that are typically associated with other items work (e.g. silencer, laser sight, different kinds of ammo, etc.). Now the items know which other items they’re associated with and transfer their properties over. So if you put a silencer on your pistol, the pistol will note that its damage and range are reduced.
  • When acquiring items, spells, and so forth, the application now differentiates between items that can’t be used because the character doesn’t meet the requirements, and items that are merely contradictory for the character. Contradictory items are still hidden by default, but can be added to your character without fuss.
  • The game data continues to be updated to include errata.

What’s Next

The Aysle kickstarter has already ended and I’ve actually got most of it already implemented! As soon as the books are available for sale I will publish that particular update, along with some new features.