Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pathfinder RPG: Session 12 - Fire Priests

Lexi, Elven Rogue (played by Jojo, 10yo)
Sharpblade, Skeleton (Human) Fighter (played by Evan, 7yo)

Early the next morning, the adventurers follow the Iron Hammer to the Temple of Sarenrae, where they are to meet the rest of the party going down under the Old Light to deal with the skeletons. “You all arrive at the Temple, and are immediately ushered into a large hall where there are several people already waiting for you.”

The Temple has assigned three clerics into this mission. “The first is an old man with a long white beard. He is sitting on a bench, and it looks like he’s having a snooze. The second is a young girl with dark hair, and although she’s young, she’s apparently been on a few missions before. The third is a young thin man who is bragging to everyone about how well he has done in his recent training. This is his first mission.”

As usual, I poll the kids for some good names, and eventually the old man is named Snoozy Bob, the young girl Clara, and the thin man Felix. Snoozy Bob has a tendency to get some shut-eye at any opportunity. Clara is painfully timid, and speaks with a soft, hesitant voice. And Felix? Well, let’s just say that Felix seems to talk more about great deeds rather than actually doing them.

“You also see that there are three other adventurers hired by the Temple to protect these clerics. They glance up when you guys come in, and you see that these other guys are dwarves.” I look at Jojo. “You recognise these dwarves! These are some of the same dwarves from the Festival of Sarenrae! You know, the ones whose iron dragon you sabotaged?”

“Ooooh no,” moans Jojo as she covers her eyes. “I’m sooo dead!”

One of the dwarves stares suspiciously at Lexi and then comes closer. “You!” he says, stabbing an angry finger at Lexi. “Haven’t I seen you before?”

“Who me?” replies Lexi, feigning innocence while looking at the dwarf up and down. Or more like, down and down. “Nope, I’ve never seen you before.”

I get Jojo to roll a Bluff check, and she rolls an 18. “Hmm. that’s pretty good. The dwarf is still staring at you with his finger out, but he looks uncertain. Then the Iron Hammer steps in between you both and booms, ‘These are my friends, and are most certainly trustworthy. If you have a problem with any of them, you’ll have to deal with me first.’ He glares pointedly at the dwarf who eventually slinks away back to his two other companions.”

“Close one,” says Evan. Meanwhile, Clara the timid cleric comes up to Sharpblade to ask him something. Jojo opts to role-play her voice, so I get her to blurt in small voice, “Um.. are you, uh.. a real skeleton?”

Evan retorts, “What me!? What do you think, huh!? Can a real skeleton talk like this, huh!? Or do this!?” He starts doing the robot dance while going, “I. Am. A. Skeleton. I. Am. A. Skeleton.”

I. Am. A. Skeleton.
Clara bursts into tears, and Lexi puts an arm around the little cleric to console her. “I.. I.. just wanted to know.. if he was.. Evil.”

“There, there,” says the elven rogue soothingly.

The little cleric sniffs. “Because if he was, I would have.. destroyed him.”

Lexi nods understandingly, and glares at Sharpblade.

Eventually, the group leaves the Temple of Sarenrae and heads towards the Old Light. The City Guards have replaced the wooden hatch with an iron-bound trap-door, and it takes two guards to turn a pulley system that lifts the heavy trap-door open. The kids decide that the Iron Hammer and Sharpblade should descend first to secure the area.

Sharpblade lands into the corridor, and draws out his warhammer with a fancy flourish. “The Iron Hammer lands next to you, and pulls out his hammer and does a fancier flourish than yours.” Not to be outdone, Sharpblade swings his hammer over his head and makes a few elaborate moves, and the Iron Hammer counters with a few showy moves of his own.

“What ARE they doing down there!?” queries Felix who is looking down the hole, while Lexi rolls her eyes.

Soon enough, the whole group is in the corridor and given that only Lexi and Sharpblade have been here before, it falls on them to lead the way. Jojo immediately jumps at the opportunity to play 'tour guide', and gives out a commentary as the group proceeds up the corridor. “Over here, you’ll notice that the corridor is curved, like part of a big circle. And here, we have the iron door which leads to an iron grate room. Don’t go in there, because there’s a Gray Ooze trapped inside.” Clara gives out a small scream at this, and jumps a few feet away from the door.

“You all travel up the corridor, and soon come to a large room.” I draw a half circular room on paper. “It is very dark in here, and the clerics say that they can sense undead evil in the room. The corridor continues up another exit on the other side of this room, but it’s blocked by rubble.”

The kids wisely decide to throw a lit torch into the room. “The torch falls into the center of the room… and keeps falling! There’s a big yawning pit in the middle of this room, and you don’t even see the bottom of it! All along the edges of the pit, you see a whole bunch of skeletons!” The undead creatures turn as one towards the adventurers and start advancing towards them.

“Okay, blast them, clerics!” says Jojo.

“Oh, the clerics need the skeletons to come closer. And you also notice that there is one less cleric in the group! Felix has disappeared!”

“What!?” exclaims the kids.

“Just great!” says Jojo. “Where did he go?”

“I think he fled back down the corridor,” I supply.

Meanwhile, the advancing skeletons clash into the dwarves in front. Behind the dwarves, Clara blasts the skeletons with her Channel Energy, and Snoozy Bob wakes up to slice three skeletons with a powerful beam before going back to sleep.

On Evan’s turn, he announces that he’ll step out towards the skeletons to see if they’ll attack him. “Maybe they’ll think I’m one of them!”

I roll the d20 several times, and say, “Amazingly, none of the skeletons near you attack, and completely ignore you!”

“Yes!” says Evan, pumping his fist.

“You also notice that most of the skeletons here are wearing the same sort of old armour as the ones you fought in the past mission. However, next to the edge of the pit, you see four other skeletons which are dressed differently. These ones are wearing long robes like a priest does. And the robes seem to have faded patterns of fire on them.”

“Hmm.. Fire Priests,” remarks Jojo, remembering what Puddlebug translated from the Animated Statue.

Evan thinks a bit, and then says, “I’m going to blast my Magic Missiles. At the ceiling above the skeleton priests!”

This was certainly unexpected, and I hadn’t thought about how stable the ceiling was. But given that the kids have seen several places where the ceiling had come down and blocked the way with rubble, it was an easy indication that the ceiling was fairly weak. I tell Evan, “If you can do at least 10 damage to the ceiling, you should be able to bring it down.”

Pit Room, with Sharpblade's Magic Missiles striking the ceiling
Sharpblade blasts his three Magic Missiles, and Evan rolls 3d4+3 to get a total damage of 11. “Your Magic Missiles hit the ceiling, and the whole ceiling starts of collapse on skeletons and adventurers in the room!” I get the kids to do some Reflex saving throws, and they both take some damage from falling rubble.

“The rubble crashes on top of the four skeleton fire priests! Two are buried under the rubble, while one tumbles wordlessly into the bottomless pit. Meanwhile, the last one survives the crashing rubble and advances towards where you guys are!”

This skeleton is holding a wooden wand that is blazing with fire on its tip. Evan declares that he is going to prostrate himself in front of the skeleton fire priest, as if in worship. I still roll the d20 though, and it comes up favourably. Lucky kid. “The skeleton fire priest walks right past you! It lifts its wand up, and a sheet of flame blasts the rest of the party! Dwarves are rolling on the ground on fire, and the clerics are frantically patting flames out of their robes!”

I get Jojo to do a Reflex saving throw, which she succeeds. “You take half fire damage! But ooo, it’s pretty bad - you’re down to 1 Hitpoint!”

“Tell everyone to run back down the corridor!” orders Jojo, and so the clerics and dwarves (pun alert) hotfoot it down the corridor. The skeleton priest lurches after them, its fire wand blazing.

“What about me?” asks Evan.

“Sharpblade is still prostrate on the ground. There are a few skeletons milling around, some missing arms and parts, but they are all ignoring you.”

The skeleton decides to crawl towards the rubble where the other two skeleton fire priests were buried. “Do I see any of them?”

“Well, you do see one. Or more like, half of one. Only the top portion of this skeleton remains, and it’s arms are gone.”

“How about its robe?”

“Well, that’s torn in half too.”

“Oh, come on!” Evan had plans to wear the robes himself.

Meanwhile, the rest of the adventurers are running down the corridor. “You reach the iron door, when you suddenly realise that the iron door which was open before is now closed!”

“I thought the door was busted down from last time,” points out Jojo.

Good point. “Um. It wasn’t really busted DOWN. Just busted open. And someone has hastily closed it again.” Nice back-flip, dad.

Lexi knocks on the door, and from the other side, they can hear Felix’s panicked voice, “Stay away!! Just go away!!”

Jojo rolls her eyes. “So much for the great cleric deeds!” Lexi turns to the rest of the adventurers. “Okay, we’re going to wait here for that skeleton to come up, and when it does, Clara and Snoozy Bob will blast it!”

Snoozy Bob raises a hand. “Oh, I might like to point out that Clara and myself have run out of Channel Energy blasts.”

“What!?” The elven rogue lets out an exasperated breath, and then turns to the iron door. “Felix! We need you to come out and blast a skeleton!”


Meanwhile, back at the pit room, Sharpblade is about to crawl away when a voice calls out to him, “Psst! Over here! Come over here!”

Evan is immediately intrigued. “Over where?”

“The skeleton! I’m on the skeleton!”

Sharpblade crawls back towards the skeleton, following the voice. “It seems to be coming from an amulet that is hanging around the skeleton’s neck! ‘Get me outta here!’ says the voice.”

Evan is a bit confused. “Out of where? The amulet?” Sharpblade picks up the amulet.

“Just get me outta this place!”

Evan looks at Jojo and shrugs. “How? Do I smash the amulet?”

“NO NO NO! I AM the amulet! Pleeease, get me out of this place!”

I ask Evan if he wants to put the amulet on, and he unhesitatingly says yes. The skeleton then gets up and makes his way back down the corridor.

Back at the iron door, Lexi tries coaxing the frightened cleric to open the door. “Look, think about how great everyone will say that you are when you blast that skeleton that’s coming down the corridor! They’ll all talk about how really awesome you are!”

I was going to get her to do a Diplomacy check, but after hearing her speech, I decide that a Bluff check was probably more appropriate. Jojo rolls and barely makes it. “Felix is still hesitant to open the door, but he eventually cracks it open and steps out. He makes some comment about people wasting their Channel Energy blasts. ‘Jerk!’ mutters someone. It might have been Clara.”

The adventurers ready themselves to face the skeleton fire priest coming down the corridor. I turn to Evan. “You see something ahead of you, lurching slowly forward with a blazing wand. It’s the fire priest with its back to you!”

Evan says, “I’m going to run up behind it, and kick it in the butt!” So Sharpblade strides towards the skeleton, and delivers a big kick which stumbles the skeleton forward. “The skeleton priest staggers forward, but manages to remain on its feet! It turns around, it’s skull snarling as it raises its wand toward Sharpblade!”

Just then, the amulet around Sharpblade’s neck speaks out in an unknown language, “Gazt-nomi-matzoo!”, and the wand loses its blaze! The skeleton fire priests tilts its skull as it inspects the now-dead wand.

“Now, Felix! Blast it!” calls out Lexi, and the thin cleric complies. Channel Energy blasts decimate the skeleton fire priest, and soon it is a pile of bones on the ground.

The adventurers all breath a sigh of relief. Felix is the first to speak, “And of course, that was my plan all along. To conserve my blasts for this. Yes, so I think it’s time we head back to the Temple and report.”

“But there are still a few more skeletons left,” points out Clara. “Shouldn’t we deal with them before we go?”

“Well, sorry, but we’re out of energy blasts,” replies Felix, as if to a small child. “How are we going to deal with them?”

Snoozy Bob coughs politely. “Well, we’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way.” He draws a small mace out from his robes, and charges up the corridor.

“Woo, go Snoozy Bob!” cheers Jojo.

The three dwarves look at each other, and then charge up with him. Clara gives Felix a look, and follows them, and eventually Felix goes too. “Notice that this conveniently leaves the Iron Hammer and you guys here at the iron door,” I mention to the kids.

The Iron Hammer turns to Lexi and Sharpblade and grins. “Looks like we can go get that ore now, eh?”

Adventure Notes:

I love being able to throw in some previously established characters and enemies at the players. Gives it a real campaign feel.

Evan really surprised me with that Magic Missile move to bring down the ceiling, which I thought was a great idea. Magic Missiles aren't really the best offensive magic one can get, and I loved seeing Evan try to use them creatively. 

I try to get in at least one fight in each session, and in this one, the kids were content to let the clerics and dwarves do the heavy-lifting. Not that they didn’t face some challenges of their own.

I think we spent more time laughing at each others antics in this session than anything. And if that doesn’t rock, I don’t know what does. :-)

Plot hooks: Strange talking amulet. Fire Priest skeletons.