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Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 15, Part 1

January 27, 2017

The sun was starting to drop below the western peak, illuminating the massive skeletal linnorm from behind and partially blinding the adventurers. As they stood there on the plateau, shielding their eyes from the sun’s rays, they could barely make out a humanoid figure clamber up the wyrm’s spine and then seating itself near the skull. Once the rider was mounted, the skeleton launched itself into the air, and came at them with startling speed! As it happens, winged creatures can’t fly once they are turned into skeletons, but magical flying creatures can. And linnorms, despite their lack of wings, are able to fly magically – not to mention quite quickly!

The party immediately passed around some buffs, and then Mestinous the elven wizard readied a fireball for their fast-approaching foes. The linnorm partially dodged two fiery explosions, along with a column of holy flames that descended from the sky – a flame strike courtesy of Iofur the druid. Despite making its saves, the skeleton was substantially hurt by these attacks – I had given it the burning skeleton template, but flipped it to cold for thematic reasons, and so it was taking extra damage from all the fire.

Iofur also summoned a tiger, which, being unable to fly, couldn’t actually reach the wyrm. The druid then shifted tactics and was in the process of summoning a manticore when linnorm finally closed the gap. It flew over the heads of the waiting warriors and snaked it head down to chomp on the druid, ruining Iofur’s spell! The rider, a heavily-armed and armored cyclops (graveknight [cold] fighter 4), then unleashed a devastating blast of cold at the wizard, hurting Mestinous badly.

Satampra the swashbuckler and Orseen the warpriest looked behind them in shock at the flying monster – they had not expected it to go over them! Satampra sprang into action, taking off at a run towards the linnorm and then executing a running leap for the record books! (aided by haste, his elven boots, panache, and lots of Acrobatics) He soared through the air, landed on the skeleton’s back, and managed to grab hold of one of its vertebrae. The creature’s tail thrashed about, and he had to hang on for dear life so as to not be thrown.

hasted Orseen charged towards Iofur in order to smite the skeleton’s massive skull, and the tiger jumped on as well. Iofur used the distraction to summon a fog cloud and move away from the wyrm’s terrible jaws. Remesio the cleric called forth his own flame strike to burn both the mount and the rider. But the rulers’ bravery meant little to this undead engine of destruction. Orseen was laid low by the monster’s frozen claws, and then killed by another blast of cold. Mestinous was felled as well, and lay on the ground dying. The situation looked grim for the adventurers.

Breaking the Ice

Iofur dismissed the fog cloud so that the priest could find Orseen’s frozen body and use the breath of life to bring him back. Meanwhile, Satampra had been hammering on the linnorm’s spine with his undead bane warhammer, and he finally hit a weak spot. The head of his weapon struck the vertebrae at a particular angle, which caused a loud CRACK to ring out – and then the bone shattered! The magic holding the great skeleton together began to unravel, and it exploded in a burst of frozen air and bone shards, knocking Orseen out again and throwing the swashbuckler and the graveknight to the earth.

The group had destroyed the Colossal wyrm, but… now they faced its rider, Vordakai’s Avatar of Famine! The undead cyclops clambered to its feet, using its shield to hold Iofur’s tiger at bay as it did so.  The graveknight then smashed the animal’s skull with his spiked ball & chain, before grimly turning to face the humans who had dared to challenge his master. Everyone who was still able to stand slowly spread out around the giant, weapons or spell components at the ready.

“Well, you only live… um, however many times I’ve been raised,” uttered the Emperor before he bravely and foolishly charged the frost knight. Remesio used the distraction as cover to channel healing energies into the group (passing the caster check to do so while inside the graveknight’s desecrate aura), which resuscitated the two fallen party members. But while Satampra had brought the others some time, it came at a high cost. The giant death knight swung his morningstar again and again, battering past the swashbuckler’s defenses, until the Emperor was brought low and laid lifeless upon the ground.

Orseen used a couple of swift actions to heal himself, and then swung his holy undead bane greatsword in a Vital Strike while still prone. Nevertheless, the blow knocked the Avatar back, and the cleric then smote the cyclops with the power of the gods! His prayer of holy smite burned away the monster’s flesh and brought the knight’s wretched existence to an end. Its ice-covered arms and armor clattered to the ground, expelling the cloud of ash that was once its body.

It Can Go Next To The Door Museum

The group had no immediate way to bring Satampra back to life, and so they had to quit the field until they could recuperate. But oh, how they hated to leave the linnorm skull there! It was the ultimate trophy! They resolved to come back for it after the whole Vordakai affair was concluded, reasoning that in the meantime no one else would be able to move it, either. In the meantime, they threw the graveknight’s stuff into their bag of holding (which will soon come back to haunt them!), picked up the swashbuckler’s broken and icy form, and set out for a good hidey hole.

Next: there’s a front door?!

Frozen Linnorm Skeleton

CR 10, XP 9,600
Burning Frozen advanced ice linnorm skeleton (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 191, 250, 251, 288)
NE Colossal undead
Init +13; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0

AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+9 Dex, +12 natural, -8 size)
hp 171 (18d8+90) max 234
Fort +9, Ref +17, Will +13; +6 profane bonus vs. channeled positive energy
Immune cold, undead traits
Weaknesses vulnerability to fire

Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft., fly 100 ft. (average), swim 40 ft.
Melee bite +23 (3d8+18 plus 1d6 cold), 2 claws +23 (3d6+18 plus 1d6 cold), tail slap +18 (3d6+10 plus 1d6 cold)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 30 ft.
Special Attacks freezing aura (1d6 cold to adjacent and attackers w/natural weapons)

Str 42, Dex 28, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +13; CMB +39; CMD 56 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Improved Initiative
Skills Acrobatics +9 (+13 to jump)

SQ frozen death (9d6 cold to adjacent upon destruction, Ref DC 20 half)
Active Effects desecrate (created within)

  1. Pinkius permalink

    Yep +10 to hit from strength, pretty silly there mr. linnorm skeleton ;P
    Makes him just as accurate as the herald of vordekai, a bit more damaging in practice too, because of those extra attacks at full bab. Though I imagine he didn’t get to do many full attacks
    I’d be interested to get a peep at your players character sheet/blocks if they don’t mind, looking at the herald and linnorms stats with a +23 to hit, seems like they’re going up against some tough cookies.

    • Well, there must be a reason the front line keeps dying! This is around the point where we move out of the “sweet spot” of the 3e/PF system and enter the world where having a miss chance is more important than AC, unless you can super-munchkin your AC. I have been encouraging the players to buy/craft items to boost their numbers but they mostly haven’t, so… the beatings will continue until morale improves!

      • Pinkius permalink

        miss chance ain’t reliable, so many enemies going forward will have truesight n stuff… I mean, depending on AP.

  2. Pinkius permalink

    Also you should have had the linnorn use a cmb of some sort, maybe overrun or bullrush, look at that sweet CMB bonus

    • Hah. But I didn’t want to waste any actions!

      • Pinkius permalink

        if the overrun is enough to knock the whole party over, they’ve gotta provoke AoOs to get up, and you can’t cast good from the ground ;P.
        Also standing up prevents full attacks.

      • Potentially useful, bt you’d need to stay in the area to take advantage of those AoOs.

      • Huh, never thought of that – might be a good tactic with super-large creatures like this. Thanks for the tip! 😉

      • Pinkius permalink

        Actually my idea was flawed. As written actually overrun is not nearly so good… trip would be a better candidate. Creatures with trample can sorta try that, but in Overrun it states you can just choose to get out of the way of an overrunning creature… Also without trample overrun only targets 1 creature.

  3. Pinkius permalink

    At this rate I think Satampra’s next child will have some spooky template for all these deaths

  4. Yup, so stealing this!
    Though I’m probably not pairing it with a Graveknight.

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  1. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 14, Part 2 | Daddy DM

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