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Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 7, Part 3

September 23, 2016

After a couple of days of uneventful travel, the adventuring party was attacked in the night. Or rather, Satampra the swashbuckler was attacked, for the third time, by a soul eater. In the night! Satampra happened to be asleep at the time, and when the daemonic black cloud crept past the watch to his sleeping form and struck at him with its claws, his cry woke the group.

Third Time’s the Charm

The swashbuckler grabbed his sheathed blade, rolled away and came up into a crouch, and threw off his scabbard. As the fiend advanced, he did his best to to parry its attacks, but Lady Luck was not on his side that evening. The assassin slashed at him with its smoky talons, tearing away pieces of his essence with each strike. After few failed Fortitude saves, Satampra fell back to the ground, unconscious, with zero Wisdom. The soul eater could now begin to feed.

Or maybe not! Iofur the druid pulled one of his new 9th-level tricks out of his hat and attempted a baleful polymorph against the daemon. Another failed Fortitude save, this time on the soul eater’s part, and the evil black cloud of death suddenly changed into an… evil slug of death. One that had a lot of hit points!

The slug doggedly inched towards Satampra’s helpless body, determined to consume his soul even in its new form. I wasn’t sure if that was possible, but the soul eater made the save to keep its mind, and it was sure as Charon going to try! Mestinous the elven wizard created a wall of force to block the slug from its prey, and so the slug then started to inch up the invisible wall. But it was finally killed before it made it very far.

lesser restoration partially restored the Emperor’s spirit, and a few curative prayers closed the cuts on his body. He was badly shaken by the experience, though, especially when he learned how close he came to a permanent(ish) death. In truth, the soul eater isn’t so dangerous – if you kill the fiend near the corpse even after it’s devoured a soul, the soul goes back into the body and it can be raised as normal.

The Forbidden Kingdom

On the following day, the group reached the entrance to what the Nomen had named the Valley of the Dead. The centaurs had erected signposts at the edge of the valley, warnings to travelers to not venture any further. And indeed, the Nomen travelling with the party would not cross the boundary; entering the valley was forbidden to them.

But nearby, the scouts had found some old markings left by Kerezar the Watcher, indicating that he had been through the area a few moons ago. And more recent marks told the centaurs that Xamanthe, daughter of the Nomen’s leader and lover to Kerezar, had also passed by, presumably on Kerezar’s trail. The Nomen scouts wanted to keep looking for their tribesmen on the “right” side of the signposts, while the PCs wanted to go explore the “wrong” side. When the centaurs failed to persuade the humans that doing so would be a mistake, the two- and four-legs agreed to part ways.

varnhold-vanishing-session-7-map-2Roughly a mile south of the valley entrance, the wind seemed to die down and sounds of nature dropped away. Soon the adventurers began to spot tall, stone steles rising from the rock-strewn ground. The runes and pictures adorning the slabs were so weathered that they were hard to make out, and no one was able to determine what was written upon them. As the group slowly rode further south, the steles multiplied, until the party were riding through a veritable forest of giant-size gravestones. All was silent, save for the wind, as they rode further into the valley.

Miles later, the explorers came to a 300′ tall cliff with a 15′ wide stair cut into it. The stairs were tall and perhaps once chiseled from the rock, but like the graves they were so beaten by time and wind and water that it was hard to tell what they might have once looked like. The path snaked deep into the cliffside, and the PCs stared at it with great foreboding.

So they decided to go around! Or at least scout around. Iofur wildshaped into a normal-sized bat and flitted up towards the top of the cliff-face. Once he had ascended high enough, he could see that a second cliff, this one of limestone, rose a few miles to the west. At one end, a huge waterfall tumbled over the limestone and turned into a swift river at the base of the cliff. And in the middle of that river was – as island! Finally, the group had found an island in the Tors! Obviously there could only be one of those, so by process of elimination, it must be the fabled Vordakai Island.

The island itself was actually a tall, smoking column of limestone that must have been slowly shorn from the nearby cliff by the river’s flow. Iofur flew closer to investigate, but stopped when he heard a reptilian cry pierce the air. A wyvern launched itself into the sky from somewhere behind the limestone stack, and upon seeing the deadly beast take flight, the little bat decided to head back to the others.

Next: wyvern hunting!

  1. Obviously there could be only one island in the Tors. :facepalm:

    • Missed opportunity on the adventure’s part, really, since there is only one island in the Tors. 🙂 The fact that it’s an island with a giant column of stone with smoke pouring out of it certainly points towards something being there, in any case.

      • Well, a column of smoke is canonically easy to follow.
        So there’s that I suppose.

  2. Pinkius permalink

    We had an air wizard with us, so by this point he was flying around, sometimes hasting the melee party members. that said, we still had a little rough time with what comes next. After the wyvren, I don’t even remember a wyvren.

    • There are actually two wyverns in the adventure! But I cut one out in the interest of saving time.

    • Did you go in at the ground level? Or the concealed back door?

      • Pinkius permalink

        We swam in i think there was a ring of freedom of movement in there, which our gm may have put there because the wizard really wanted one, for some reason.

      • Pinkius permalink

        probably front door

      • No, ring is in there. Conveniently-placed ward against a certain someone’s paralyzing touch, I imagine. There are some scrolls of remove paralysis in the Varnhold chapel that fulfill a similar purpose. Wizard probably wanted one because grappling is one of the best ways to stop a spellcaster!

      • Pinkius permalink

        That WAS his stated reason for wanting the ring, although everyone else in the party had been grappled too, he was grappled only once, long before he could have owned that ring and he used it to escape another grapple a grand total of once (far) later in the game… from a teammate who was charmed by some bullshit gaze attack. We got surprise round gaze attacked, two will saves or be charmed in a row. Gaze attacks man, over powered bullshit.

      • Pinkius permalink

        oh, and our fighter got paralyzed by a certain lich.

  3. Added a travel map to this entry.

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