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Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 10, Part 2

November 4, 2016

Within the range of their torch light, the tomb raiders could see two zombie cyclopes on the two closest ledges, and another standing in the tar below, just under the secret door. The ledge zombies had javelins, which they immediately started throwing at the open doorway. A loud, raspy voice was chanting in the darkness beyond, and when its unholy prayer was complete, a ghostly green scythe appeared in the middle of the group! The weapon immediately took a swing at Mestinous the elven wizard.

varnhold-vanishing-session-9-map-1The wizard, faced with danger, did what he always does in such circumstances and ran down the hall, back the way they had come. The scythe followed! He used his sword to recall a dispel magic spell, and cast it in an attempt to unravel the scythe. But he was panicked, and the endeavor proved to be beyond him (i.e. he rolled poorly). Luckily for the elf, Orseen the warpriest had his own dispel ready, and his prayer succeeded where the mage’s spell had failed. “See? That’s how you do it!” the priest helpfully told his companion.

While Satampra the swashbuckler shot arrows at the zombies and Remesio the cleric aimed a searing light at them, the mysterious voice in the darkness spoke again, and an unholy blight blossomed atop the clustered party! Unfortunately it didn’t do squat. I rolled 3d8 for damage and got a 4, and everyone made their saving throw. Phooey! Iofur the druid finished his opening summons, which resulted in 4 dire bats appearing, and then he called in some ball lightnings, as is his wont. The bats and the lightning took care of the javelin-throwing zombies, while Orseen hacked apart the one by the door. With the way now clear, Satampra leaped across to the big ledge on the left, while Remesio grabbed the warpriest and followed via dimension hop. They still could not see the spellcaster in the back of the cave, who then uttered a curse of blindness against the wizard. Mestinous was struck blind!

The druid sent his blindsight-equipped bats to chase down their hidden attacker, but after their initial charge they were all wiped out by a Quickened Channel Energy and a Great Cleave with a scythe. Not that the players knew that! They were only aware that all 4 bats flew into the darkness, shrieked, and then hit the ground with the sound of wet plops. The party rushed forward, and finally could see the opposition – a giant robed skeleton cyclops wielding a scythe! In its single eye socket sat a large green gemstone that glittered in the torch light. Orseen and Satampra charged into melee, while the casters hung back and pelted the Herald of Pestilence/Unholiness with spheres of flame and lightning.

Waves of sickness rolled off of the skeletal champion – a Quickened Channel with the Disease variant – that ate away at the frontline warriors and left them queasy. Then it was time for the Herald’s attack. I had missed my chance with the Herald of War and his Flash of Insight ability, and wasn’t about to repeat the same mistake here. The champion’s gemstone eye flashed brightly, it raised its scythe high, and I apologized to Orseen’s player as I “rolled” a 20 for the attack. Scythes do x4 on a crit, and if I confirmed the critical strike, the warpriest was going to take 8d6+92 damage. “That would instantly kill me, even if I was at full health,” glumly noted Orseen’s player, who currently leads the pack with 3 PC deaths in this campaign so far. I rolled the d20 and… missed. The strike was a hit, but not a crit. Orseen would live to see another day.

Iofur summoned a (living) cyclops of his own, who had better luck with its use of Flash of Insight. The Herald had one more round before it was going down, and I considered my options: cast a spell or full attack? I opted for the full attack, but rolled poorly and only the first scythe swing hit. And that was that. Before it got another action, the PCs destroyed it. Its gemstone eye shattered, and the scythe, robes, bones, and armor clattered to the ground.

After some healing, the party once again poked through the remains of another of Vordakai’s champions. When they found another idol, this time of Apollyon, the Horseman of Pestilence, Mestinous’ player nodded and said, “Totally a dingus hunt.” But he was then distracted by the discovery of an amulet of natural armor +2, which the party started to squabble over.

An Eye for an Eye

varnhold-vanishing-session-10-map-2From there, the explorers decided to head down the tunnel, which led to the crypt where Satampra and Iofur had previously encountered two souleaters. The large room was empty this time, but some smaller chambers in the back were found. The back areas contained ancient funerary tools, along with a statue of a cyclops covering its eye with its hands. That was obviously a clue of some sort, and the PCs tried all sorts of poses with their eyes and their hands while standing in front of the statue. When their actions yielded no results, they searched around the stone figure and uncovered a secret door behind it. The statue was actually looking at another secret door on the opposite wall, that the players never found and which is rather useless.

The hidden room (W19 on the map) was a weird one. The walls were covered in eye-shaped carvings, which all seemed to be looking at a much larger and singular eye carving on the far side of the chamber. There’s really no way the players would ever discover what this room is for, but it’s pretty important to Vordakai – if the big eye carving is destroyed, his artifact eyeball cracks and he gains a 20% spell failure chance. I was rather afraid that would come to pass, since destroying something they didn’t understand was just the sort of thing I could see them doing.

But they puzzled over the carvings for a long while without learning much, other than the room was suffused with magic. Finally they thought they should try touching the important-looking carving, and Orseen volunteered. By the book, nothing would happen – the room and the eye aren’t trapped – but I thought that logically, Vordakai would take some precautions here, so I zapped the warpriest with a glyph of warding.

Next: they touch it again!

  1. Two Dispel Magics for one Scythe? Not too bad a trade.

  2. Pinkius permalink

    It was likely a spiritual weapon spell, which is like, a level 2 spell, so yes! 1 level 2 for 2 level 3 is a very good trade. Not very good for action economy with 5 v 1, but very good value trade

    • I thought maybe it was a Scythe of Evil from the Evil Domain, but yeah, probably a Spiritual Weapon. If so, that’s an awesome trade.

    • It was a spiritual weapon, yeah. Great spell to fire off at the start of a fight, since it keeps going and going and can’t be killed with HP damage. Also it’s a 2nd level spell that scales with your BAB and Wisdom. Only downside is if your deity’s favored weapon has a crappy damage die.

      • Pinkius permalink

        it doesn’t actually use your dieties weapon die, they’re all 1d8s, but it DOES use the crit range and multiplier, presumably to prevent size cheesing

      • So… really good for they clergy Cayden Cailean then 🙂
        Probably for Scythe-users too.

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