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Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 16, Part 1

February 10, 2017

Faced with the inescapable death trap, the party decided to… escape! Everyone grabbed onto Remesio the cleric, and he dimension hopped them all to the other side of the nearby portcullis. So much for that death trap. Mestinous the elven wizard then tossed a fireball through the bars at the approaching zombie cyclopes, and Iofur the druid summoned a tiger into the room. The tiger pounced on one zombie, bringing it down, and was then just barely not-killed by the other cyclops. A giant eel wiggled its way through one of the water spouts in the ceiling while the water continued to rise at a prodigious rate, and the adventurers decided at that point that it was time to leave.

varnhold-vanishing-session-16-map-1Beyond the portcullis was a hall that led to a stairway (W11), which luckily for the group led up instead of down. And then it went down a bit, and then up again. At the head of the stairs was a passage that ended in a fancy set of double doors carved with a water motif. Hey, said the players, that seems familiar! And indeed it was: they had run into identical doors way back when, which opened into a daemon shrine. As did these doors.

The problem with the daemon shrine (W12) was, when they opened the doors at the other end, freezing black flames filled the room for lots of damage. To bypass the trap, everyone went back into the hall while Satampra the swashbuckler opened the doors and triggered the trap. He easily made the Reflex save, and thanks to Evasion took no damage at all.

varnhold-vanishing-session-16-map-2Beyond the shrine was an empty room (W13) with a set of double doors on the left and a hallway on the opposite end. Behind the doors was a stairway that led to a dead end. Why build a stair that leads nowhere? There’s got to be a secret door there, right? Satampra in particular was utterly taken with the idea that there was something here (there wasn’t), even after Iofur got over 40 on a Perception check to search the area. As the search-and-conjecture-fest continued, Orseen’s player Bill started making jokes about a hypothetical Lich Magazine, with articles such as: “10 Dungeon-Building Tips That Will Confound Your Adventurers!”

varnhold-vanishing-session-16-map-3Finally Satampra admitted defeat and the group proceeded to the next room (W14). It appeared empty, save for two large blocky columns, but when they entered, a piscodaemon appeared! The fiend immediately conjured a stinking cloud, which would not have been a problem for the invaders on any previous foray into the island. But since they had not gone through the tar pool room with its toxic air yet (their usual entrance path), they had not warded themselves with life bubble.

Orseen the warpriest was taken out for the fight by the nauseous fog, but Iofur blew it away with a gust of wind before it could affect anyone else or get in the way of targeting the daemon. Mestinous hasted the party and Satampra rushed forward to tank for the casters, a role he has proved to be not very good at in the past. Especially when it comes to piscodaemons! As if to prove the point, my dice went on a hot streak and the daemon scored several critical hits against the swashbuckler, who was soon down to single digit hit points.

The wizard erected a magical wall of force to separate the combatants. While Remesio healed and buffed Satampra, Iofur summoned a cyclops onto the other side of the barrier. The living cyclops hefted its greataxe, “rolled” a 20 with Flash of Insight, and then failed to confirm the crit! That’s happened to me a couple of times now, so it’s gratifying to see it impacting the druid as well. And as an aside, I am on record as thinking that Flash of Insight is a BS ability. But putting it on a summoned creature that comes equipped with a greataxe is even more BS. Anyway, the piscodaemon and summoned giant were trading blows when the elf dismissed his wall, allowing Satampra to jump in with some sneak attacks. The fiend didn’t last long after that.

With the daemon slain and Orseen’s stomach settled, the party ventured down a passage which led to a circular room with manacles on the walls. Only one set of manacles was currently occupied, by the rotting corpse of a female centaur. An examination of the body seemed to confirm that it was Xamanthe, the daughter of the Nomen’s leader. It had been 10 months since Varnhold vanished, and probably 6 months at least since Xamanthe had been captured by Vordakai, so I reasoned that she had eventually been forgotten about and died of thirst. I suppose I should have had her brain eaten, as with the Varnholders in the feast hall, but I didn’t think of that at the time. The adventurers gingerly freed the mushy body from the chains… and then dropped it into their bag of holding. I hope extra-dimensional spaces can be disinfected!

And with that, they decided to leave. As near as they could figure, they had explored the whole dungeon, save for the area past the water elemental. Remesio teleported most of them to the entrance of the Valley of the Dead, while Iofur started to make his own way out.

Dark Side of the Moon

The surviving Nomen had regrouped from Vordakai’s attack, and were busy rebuilding their camp, cremating their dead, and disposing of zombie remains. Satampra requested an audience with Aecora Silverfire, the Daughter of the Moon and leader of the centaurs, and while they waited for her they pulled Xamanthe’s body out from storage. When Aecora saw her daughter’s body, she collapsed to the ground, sobbing. She had resolutely borne the burdens of her people through this dark time, but having her worst fears for her daughter confirmed caused the dam to crack, and her grief came out in a torrent. The winds suddenly picked up and howled alongside her, and the clouds above began to roil and darken as if they too would weep for Xamanthe’s passing.

While the group waited for Iofur to show up, the cavalry that had been sent to assist the Nomen finally arrived, a few days too late. Not that they would have helped much against a flying skeletal linnorm being ridden by a lich and a graveknight! The PCs briefly considered using them to wipe out the weakened Nomen, but thought that might be a bit too gauche, even for them, and held off for the time being. They spent a peaceful, if somber, night with their centaur allies, and in the morning made ready to end the threat of Vordakai for good.

Next: the final showdown!

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12 Comments
  1. That’s a way out of that trap of course *facepalm*
    I wonder if my players will thenk of that.

  2. Eric Gosselin permalink

    Your storytelling is always good, im always hanging on for the rest of the story. Thanks for sharing with all of us!

  3. Pinkius permalink

    Hmm, how-ever will Vordkai deal with any army i wonder! Probably by doing the same thing he did to varnhold.

  4. I see your spellchecker also can’t tell the difference between dam and damn. 😉
    When my players did this, we had a talented teleporter in the group. I inscribed runes on the bars so they couldn’t be teleported through. A similar charm was on all the walls and doors of the place. He could hop around open rooms, but this kept them from jumping through traps.

    • Whoops, thanks for catching that spelling error! Sounds like a good precaution. The published crypt definitely wasn’t built with teleporting tomb raiders in mind, which is strange considering it was designed by an archmage.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 15, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Intermission #2, Session 1, Part 1 | Daddy DM
  3. Kingmaker: Intermission #2, Session 2, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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