Rise of the Runelords

Journey to Riddleport
The Spires of Xin-Shalast, Part 1

Coming Soon!

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Angry Diplomacy
Sins of the Saviors, Part 11

Coming Soon!

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The Mithral Mage
Sins of the Saviors, Part 10

Wealday, 25 Gozran, 4734

The Rune Wardens, having duped the white dragon Freezemaw into a tentative alliance, have ventured into the Vault of Greed to confront the mithral mage known as Ordikon. They find him floating over a silver pool of roiling magical energy.

Ordikon begins the battle by trying to disintegrate Zavian, and casts a quickened mirror image spell on himself. Marcus, recalling his previous embarrassment, is irked to no end by this. Ordikon also calls forth two enormous entities magic of silver magical fluid to face the adventurers.

Freezemaw takes a bite out of one of Ordikon’s mirror images, but then sit back to watch the battle unfold. Ordikon’s magics are swiftly hampered by a blindness spell from Marcus. The mithral mage resorts to area of effect magics, but the party resists his spells as Astrid and Lea slowly carve through his liquid servants below.

Unable to land a spell on the mage herself, Amelia summons a horse-sized dire bat to flank blind Ordikon with Zavian, who resists another petrification spell. As the silver wizard’s situation grows desperate, he appeals to the dragon and promises great riches in exchange for its assistance.

Freezemaw swoops over to unleash its frigid breath on the party. When their warding spells resist most of the damage, the dragon takes this as confirmation that they were planning on turning against it. The fight with blind Ordikon takes a backstage to the battle with the dragon. Lea is frustrated to see the fight take to the air where she can’t follow. The battle is taking place so high in the domed chamber that she cannot even reach them with channel positive energy.

Soon, Freezemaw has Marcus in its mouth again, thwarting the wizard’s ability to cast spells or strike with his ranseur. The dragon carries him into the center of the room, out of reach of Astrid and her slippers of spider climbing. Amelia’s spells keep sloughing off its scaly hide.

An enlarged Zavian gets Astrid back into the fight with air walk, but is nearly slain when he swoops down to collect Lea. Despite this, he deftly carries her up into range of her channel and together they bring the party back from the brink of defeat.

Astrid pushes past the blinded Ordikon to attack the dragon, thrusting Echo behind her to shank him without looking. The Mithral Mage’s body falls into the pool, where it dissolves leaving only his possessions.

Still held in Freezemaw’s vicious jaws, Marcus uses his superior knowledge of dragon anatomy to identify its uvula and batter the dangly bit with a telekinetic punch. The dragon retches him out and Marcus drops down towards the silver pool. As he draws close, he feels its raw magic assault his senses and quickly swoops away with overland flight to join Amelia.

The dragon beats its wings to knock Astrid off her feet, and then swoops down after Marcus. Before it can snatch the wizard back up in its jaws, however, Astrid gets her bow out and catches glimpse of a missing scale below the dragon’s left wing. Nocking her greater arrow of dragon slaying, she lets fly straight and true.

The flash of green necrotic energy silhouettes Freezemaw’s skeleton. He tries to press his head forward to bite Marcus, but instead collapses limp at the wizard’s feet, tongue lolling out.

The party quickly sets about scavenging the scene. Lea braves the dangers of the pool to retrieve Ordikon’s items, including a powerful magic staff of mithral. Marcus identifies the strange churning liquid as a pool of elemental arcana that could potentially be used to mend or recharge magic items.

Amelia decides to cut open Freezemaw to look for “dragon pearls” in his stomach. She doesn’t accomplish much beyond covering herself in gore. Astrid methodically salvages enough dragon hide from the ruined corpse to make a suit of armor and cuts off the dragon’s talons, while Lea removes its head. Astrid also retrieves a rare dragon pearl from the creature’s stomach. Infused with elemental cold, the enormous icy blue gem serves as a natural refrigerant.

Amelia goes to speak with the water mephits in the front fountain and lets them know that Ordikon is dead. She wants to know if this has happened before and if Ordikon might reconstitute himself. The mephits, however, break out into impromptu song: “Splish, splash, the mithral mage is dead!” Amelia takes notes on this strange folk music.

In Ordikon’s research center, Marcus realizes that the books on transmutation and constructs are worth a fortune. he and Zavian spend several hours poring through them for information. Zavian learns that the Therassic Flenser device that might cure Nualia’s affliction would also destroy Vivi in the process. But he also learns that the transmuter wizards had also identified a sacred cleansing site of Desna that could achieve the same purpose without harming Vivi.

Marcus learns that the wizards in the Vault of Greed had been tasked with devising a means for Karzoug to ride out the cataclysm of Earthfall, ten thousand years ago. Their solution involved constructing the largest runewell ever made in order to place Karzoug in stasis in a pocket realm between Golarion and the nightmare plane of Leng. The Runelord’s apprentices were supposed to release him once the disaster had passed, though the Runeforge wizards had little information on that side of the process.

Next, the adventurers decide to use the pool of elemental arcana to recharge some wands. Marcus’ wand of shield is fully recharged. The wand of magic missile Zavian dips into the pool explodes in his hands, while a wand of bear’s endurance regains a few charges. By Zavian’s calculations, this was a net gain.

The party strongly suspects that several of the animals in the research center and the fountains are polymorphed (a house cat, three rats, a snake, a white-faced monkey, and two goldfish). Amelia advises that they smuggle the creatures out of Runeforge before trying to change them back.

But before pressing on to the Halls of Wrath, the Rune Wardens decide to rest in the Vault of Greed and recover from the terrible battles they have fought this day.

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Invasion of the Statue Smashers
Sins of the Saviors, Part 9

Wealday, 25 Gozran, 4734

The Rune Wardens have gathered around the Runeforge pool and have begun imbuing their weapons with the properties of enchantment and illusion magic. Just as the last runes finish etching themselves on the blade of Iomedae’s Wrath, they are confronted by a 20-foot tall animated statue of Runelord Karzoug.

Lea charges the statue, calling upon her goddess’ blessing to protect her. As she does so, she feels something strange and watches as her blade seems warp and swell until it takes the form of a giant silver dildo. Karzoug is baffled by this and Lea worries that it is a side effect of the Runeforge. The sword still works like a sword, though and cuts into the stone as if it were flesh.

Astrid dunks her double-bladed sword Echo into the pool. Once it is ready, she joins the fight. Lea begins to suspect her weapon’s ridiculous appearance is a sign of Iomedae’s displeasure.

Marcus, having cast see invisibility earlier, spies the white dragon Freezemaw creeping out of the entrance to the Halls of Wrath and watching the battle with great interest. Marcus whispers a warning to Amelia, then moves away and summons up eight identical mirror images.

Amelia uses her glibness to call out to the dragon and insist that it was the Runelord of Greed who stole its treasure hoard. She urges it to join them in fighting the dragon, and makes a case so persuasive she almost convinces herself.

Despite the power of their Runeforged weapons, Lea and Astrid are taking a tremendous beating from the smirking Karzoug statue. The stone giant also afflicts all nine Marcuses with a slow effect. Zavian, having buffed the party, dips Sunspark into the Runeforge pool.

The white dragon, still invisible, flies out with a roar (knocking the Alaznist statue to the floor). Freezemaw attacks the Karzoug statue, demanding that it return its treasure. A big chunk of stone is torn from the huge golem’s shoulder.

Astrid takes advantage of the distraction to dash up the side of the statue, hack off its arms, and then remove the head. Karzoug sputters some last threats before his stone visage shatters on the ground. The invisible dragon presses on into the Vault of Greed, howling for its lost treasure.

Amelia and Marcus dip their weapons in the pool, while Lea’s sword returns to it normal state. Many dick jokes are made. Noting that the pool still has some lingering energy left, Zavian has Marcus help him lower his wings into its churning waters. His senses are assaulted by the magic within, but when his wings are withdrawn they are inscribed with runes. Marcus notes that the runes are different for each weapon, speaking to the bearer’s particular sins or virtues.

The party spies two warriors of Wrath peering out at them from behind the ruined Alaznist statue. Marcus addresses them in Wrath-inflected Thassilonian. The adventurers convey that they are here trying to thwart Karzoug’s return and that the dragon is an enemy of theirs as well.

Marcus also tells them that Alaznist has spoken to him and promised to make him a ragesmith once he destroys Karzoug. The Wrath Warriors are unsure what to make of this, but promise to convey it to Highlady Athroxis, who may permit Marcus an audience.

The party then follows the dragon into the Vault of Greed. They find the jeweled metal door that had thwarted Marcus’ prying eyes, but which was merely a trapped decay for the secret entrance into the Vault, which the dragon has torn through.

The true entrance is warded by a shimmering green mist that Marcus realizes will transform those of weak fortitude into something else and teleport them away. Zavian uses dispel magic to temporarily remove the mist’s danger.

In the chamber beyond, they encounter several mephits in a bubbling fountain. After winning the creatures’ trust, they learn that the fountains in the Vault are all connected and fed by a tiny portal to the Plane of Water. There is also a much larger pool in the complex “made of magic.” The Vault is ruled by a “mean silver man” who has killed at least a dozen of the mephits. The creatures warn that the green mist transforms people into goldfish and teleports them into pools.

Following the dragon’s trail, they come to another chamber with a fountain that features a large statue of a robed male wizard. As Zavian approaches to inspect it, the statue reveals itself to be a stone golem. The adventurers fight it and Zavian ultimately brings it down, but one after another its three identical siblings arrive in the chamber to fight and be destroyed.

After Astrid cuts down the last one, they investigate the fountain and see goldfish swimming in it. They debate whether to turn them back into who or what they were, but decide to leave them for now.

Following the dragon’s trail, they find a hallway with several side chambers full of raw goods—lumber, iron, cotton, etc. Marcus determines that the rooms are enchanted so that anyone within can cast fabricate at will, but any items created will revert back to their base materials if removed. Sort of practice rooms for transmuters.

They pass through another identical fountain chamber with goldfish, only this one has no statue. From there, they step into some sort of research chamber that the invisible dragon is in the process of tearing up. It surprised a “mithral mage” here, but the wizard dimension doored away.

Freezemaw questions how the adventurers knew the mage had taken its hoard, but Amelia is just barely able to talk him down. She assures him that the mage must simply be deeper in the complex. The dragon then smashes through another set of doors and starts talking to someone else.

That “someone” is a huge boar-like creature known as a nalfeshnee demon. The fiend claims it is bound to guard this chamber, but simply wishes to be released back to the Abyss. It promises them a great reward if they can free it, but the Rune Wardens recognize that its promises are empty.

In the ensuring fight, Lea discovers that her smite has lost some its protective power, another sign of Iomedae’s displeasure. After the paladin and Astrid take their swings, it is Marcus who finally cuts the pig fiend’s belly open.

Freezemaw presses impatiently onward, leading them to a large room with a big shimmering, writhing pool of silver liquid. Above it floats the mithral mage, who looks like a hairless human man with skin made of silver. He doesn’t look happy to see them.

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We've Done Worse Things
Sins of the Saviors, Part 8

Wealday, 25 Gozran, 4734

Picking up from the previous cliffhanger, the Rune Wardens fight six furious simulacra of the succubus Delvahine, which the wizard Vraxeris had been keeping in his room within the Shimmering Veils of Pride. While the adventurers have the upper hand, Marcus is briefly dominated and attacks Astrid with a scorching ray. He also attacks Lea, who is warded by her resist energy spell. The paladin also slips up on an attack at one point and viciously cuts into the redhead. Astrid wonders what she did to make them attack her.

With the simulacra defeated, Marcus takes a while to send more than a dozen prying eyes floating through the Runeforge to scout the complex. The floating translucent eyes are stopped by doors outside the Vault of Greed and the Revenous Crypts of Gluttony. The eyes also run into trouble from tentacle monsters in the Festering Maze of Sloth, though one does manage to glimpse an obese wizard, tentacles bursting from his chest, floating over a churning pool of sewage. The wizard notices the eye but is too slothful to do anything about it.

In the Halls of Wrath, the eyes come across what seems like a functioning society of wizard-warriors and sinspawn, who dwell in a complex traversable only through teleportation circles. The humans are all about the same age, but don’t appear to be clones or copies. The eye briefly glimpses a scary-looking woman with scars on her bronzed skin and a flaming ranseur in her hands.

In the Iron Cages of Lust, the eyes peep on Delvahine entertaining herself with her two remaining Alu-Demons, while two strange extraplanar entities known as shining children look on.

Lea concocts a plan to alter the deal with Delvahine while still getting what the party wants. On their wat back to the Lust Wing, Amelia recalls that succubi can drain the life force of creatures during intimate acts. Zavian prepares to cast death ward on the paladin at the appropriate time.

Gathering outside the succubus’ pavilion, the adventurers manage to cajole Delvahine to appear at the doorway. Lea exploits a convenient moment of lacuna to rewrite the terms of their agreement. In exchange for a few moments of fun—of Lea’s choice—the demoness is to hand over the components for the Runeforge ritual, any more information about the ritual, and release Mr. Mutt to their custody.

A confused Delvahine takes the paladin to her boudoir, where the shining children wait like attentive servants. After snapping her figures to magically disrobe the paladin, she offers Lea a choice of shapes for their encounter: “Classic Delvahine,” her girlfriend Ameiko, the water nymph Meleena, her old flame Queenie, the sexy spy Mira, new harem addition Seleval, and… Lea. After a moment’s hesitation, the paladin decides to screw herself.

Outside, the party can’t help but hear the Leas go at it, despite Marcus’ desperate attempts not to listen.

Afterwards, the succubus gives Lea two of their toys as mementos. She also offers a profane gift of power that tempts Lea but the paladin turns her down. Delvahine says she is welcome to back in the Iron Cages should she change her mind, where she will always be young and beautiful.

After Lea makes her walk of shame outside, the party heads over to Mr. Mutt. Astrid and Lea realize his silver birdcage is just a thin layer of foil over a permanent force cage. Zavian dispels the cage. Mr. Mutt is still mad and level drained, but Zavian uses restoration to return a glimmer of sanity to him. He says he is Nelevetu Voan, once a commander in Sorshen’s armies until he was betrayed and sent here as punishment. He’s forgotten what the sky looks like. Amelia tells him its blue.

Upon leaving the cathedral, Nelevetu Voan turns to dust. Amelia and Lea collect the dust, vowing to have him resurrected later.

“We’ve done worse things,” Lea says.

“What, just now or as a group?” Amelia asks.

“Yes,” Lea says.

Having acquired the items and information they need, the party returns to the central chamber where they catch the unmistakable stink of dragon. Marcus casts see invisibility, but does not spy anything. Amelia deduces that the dragon came through the portal and then ventured into the Halls of Wrath.

Detecting no immediate danger, the adventurers approach the Runeforge pool to begin the process of imbuing their weapons with illusion and enchantment magic. Lea is the first, dipping the blade of Iomedae’s Wrath into its bubbling, glowing waters.

As runes etch themselves onto the blade, a golden beam of light erupts from the pool and strikes the huge statue of Runelord Karzoug which stands outside the Vault of Greed. The statue comes to life and speaks with Karzoug’s voice to sneeringly declare that the party’s quest ends here with their deaths.

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Attack of the Clones
Sins of the Saviors, Part 7

Toilday, 24 Gozran, 4734

Upon entering the Shimmering Veils of Pride, the Rune Wardens are confronted with hostile duplicates stepping out from mirrors on either end of a mirrored hallway. A well-placed fireball from Marcus sears one group of copies, but more importantly destroys their mirror which causes them to wink out of existence. The other MirrorMarcus uses stone shape to protect its team’s mirror and battle is joined.

Astrid tears up MirrorAstrid. Lea’s attempt to get inside her duplicates’ heads backfires. Marcus and Amelia work together to bring down the second mirror, but not before it unleashes a second wave of murderous duplicates.

Once the party regains their hearing after her shout spell, Amelia breaks out a new song to soothe their injuries. They then press on into the next chamber, an enormous cathedral with ivory floor tiles and mirrored walls. At the center of the room is a stepped dais with an enormous, wise-looking peacock perched atop it.

Approaching the peacock causes seven voices to speak in unison, warning in Thassilonian that the master is in his study and is not to be disturbed. The Rune Wardens are then beset by what they discover are seven identical wizards. Amelia’s glitterdust proves vital to revealing the invisible wizards, who are bombarding the party with fireballs, scorching rays, and unsuccessful mind affecting magics.

The seven wizards look human but when cut down they dissolve into snow. Zavian and Marcus bring down one each, while Astrid and Lea tear through the others. Amelia finds a hidden door at the back of the room, while Marcus determines that the giant peacock is just an illusion.

Beyond the hidden door is a cozy chamber lined with bookshelves bulging with tomes about Thassilon. The room also holds a chair with a richly dressed man who looks like an aged version of the seven duplicates outside. After a momentary inspection, Zavian pronounces him dead of old age. Although the body looks as if it died but moments ago, the layer of dust over it suggests it has sat here for some time.

Amelia skims through the journal in the corpse’s lap, which proves to be the diary of Vraxeris, the master of the Shimmering Veils of Pride that the succubus Delvahine had sent them to contact. Vraxeris writes of strife between the different factions of Runeforge after the pool in the complex center stirred to life.

Vraxeris learned this was Karzoug’s doing and had been developing a plan to strike back at the Runelord of Greed. This involved crafting runeforged weapons using components infused with the associated sins of pride and lust: a shard of mirror from the peacock hall and some of Delvahine’s “equipment.” Vraxeris was unable to complete this task, however, as his attentions turned to finishing his 205th clone before dementia could overtake him.

Exhausted from their battles, the party rests in the study, barring the door to the next part of the complex with a chair, and wedging Vraxeris’ body up against the secret door. They also pause to take stock of their treasure.

Wealday, 25 Gozran, 4734

Upon completing their rest, they press further into the Shimmering Veils of Pride. They find two storage rooms where Vraxeris had been keeping his dead clones. Over 200 corpses, all about the age of the one in the study, and in the same state of preservation. Zavian suspects that some quality of the Runeforge has prevented the bodies from decaying.

In a wrecked library, the party finds only a single salvageable tome. From there, they open the doors to what turns out to be a very spartan bed chamber, which contains six naked duplicates of Delvahine. The succubi simulacra let out howls of anger at this intrusion.

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The Iron Cages of Lust
Sins of the Saviors, Part 6

Toilday, 24 Gozran, 4734

After Marcus gives a heads up to Shalelu and Seleval, the adventurers press into Rimeskull. Lea and Amelia avoid sliding over the side of the chute inside the gullet of the cave.

They plunder the white dragon’s hoard and then use their keys to activate the portal to Runeforge. They figure there is about an hour before the portal closes.

They arrive at the central hub of the Runeforge, where a shimmering pool of magic energy bubbles while passages split off in seven different directions. Zavian communes to help them navigate the complex. They learn that they need to go to the Lust and Pride wings to obtain what they need to use the pool to enchant their weapons. Zavian also learns that there may be something helpful to Nualia in the Greed wing. They also realize that the dragon knows they have come in here and it can follow them.

After some debate, they decide to head to the Lust wing of the complex first first. Marcus isn’t happy about it.

Inside the grand cathedral, they find an enormous pavilion, a series of strange cages, and some rude Alu-demons. Amelia tries to make one more friendly with charm monster, but the spell fails. Fighting breaks out and the creatures badly injure Zavian. He takes down one of them and Lea kills another. The survivors flee.

The party approaches the pavilion. Stone giants warn them away, and they are contacted by the Alu-demon alpha, who says their mistress will speak with one of them. Lea volunteers.

The paladin treats with the succubus Delvahine, who doesn’t care about the Runelords. She offers to help the party in their quest in exchange for spending a few minutes of “fun” with Delvahine in her boudoir. Lea wants to know if the information is genuine. The succubus offers a show of good faith, telling the paladin to visit her ally Vraxeris in the Shimmering Veils of Pride. He should have valuable information, and she wants to know what’s been going on with him as he hasn’t visited in some time. Lea accepts this offer.

Reuniting with the others outside, Lea tells them she is going to take one for Golarion if this pans out. They check on the lone shivering captive in the cage outside the pavilion, who the Alu-demons have been calling “Mr. Mutt.” He has been treated horribly and seems quite mad, but is not on the verge of death. They plan to come back for him.

Proceeding into the Shimmering Veils of Pride, they enter a splitting hall of mirrors and are confronted by two sets of mirror doubles, except for Amelia who hangs back in the entryway.

“There can only be one!” the doubles cry out.

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Freezemaw
Sins of the Saviors, Part 5

Oathday,12 Gozran, 4734

The Rune Wardens bid their farewells to the crew of the Misericorde. Captain Daelyn suggests she might stop by Sandpoint or Korvosa sometime to look Amelia up. She also gives the bard a little carved wooden keepsake amulet to remember her by.

Marcus and Lea consider investigating the nearby Brinewall Castle, but the party ultimately decides to press eastward along the Steam River towards Lake Stormunder and their destination at Mount Rimeskull. This far north, it is still bitterly cold with snow on the ground. But the river is noticeably warmer than the surroundings, giving off a warm fog. Amelia recalls that Lake Stormunder is known for its geysers and thermal springs; she suspects that the river is carrying warm water from the lake to the sea.

Seleval kisses the ground once they are ashore and her attitude improves markedly now they are on land. After they have set out, she asks Lea if it would have been okay for her to eat the fish men who attacked the ship. She goes on to ask if there are any intelligent creatures that she can eat, as they taste the best. Lea insists that all intelligent creatures are off the menu. She encourages Seleval to try hunting to get this out of her system, and says she can return to her lamia form.

However, when Seleval attempts to transform, her features become more leonine but her body remains humanoid. She starts to panic and hyperventilate. Marcus determines that she has been afflicted with a curse that is preventing her from completing the transformation. Seleval wails that it is Lamashtu’s vengeance. Lea and Amelia do their best to keep her calm while Marcus makes use of break enchantment, just as he had done on the curse that afflicted Nualia. He suspects that the goddess’ curse could return at a later time.

For now, Seleval reverts to her lamia form and pads alongside the wagon as it glides along the river bank.

Moonday, 16 Gozran, 4734

On the fifth day of the overland trip, Amelia is scouting ahead on her hippogriff Mr. Fluffy when she spies something strange. A longship has been beached on the north bank of the Steam River, and half of the ship is completely encased in ice. There is no sign of any crew. She returns to the wagon to alert the party and they proceed forward together.

Investigating the ship, they find trace body parts (a hand on a railing, feet in boots) frozen to the ship. They determine that the unnatural ice came in a big gout from the east and some sort of enormous creature devoured the bodies in one bite. The ship itself is still seaworthy, and amid the frozen gear they find a heavy wooden shield of the taverns. They give the shield to Seleval to carry for the moment.

Wealday, 18 Gozran, 4734

On the seventh day of the overlap trip, the party comes across a ruined Ulfen campsite with heraldry similar to the frozen longship. Nearby, Amelia spies a group of barbarians attempting to set up an ambush. As the party approaches, they are challenged by Greatchief Oleg Olegsson of the Redhand Clan. He demands tribute in exchange for their passage through his clan’s territory. He is interested in weapons, but would accept Seleval.

Over the others’ objections, Lea challenges Oleg to single combat—if she wins they pay no tribute, if he wins he gets a pick of their weapons. Oleg calls forth his champion, his huge pet dire bear Embers. The bear charges forward and swiftly wrestles Lea to the ground. Somehow, the wrestling match turns more playful as the bear comes to befriend the paladin.

Marcus makes it up to the barbarian by using fabricate to create a new masterwork spear for him. Oleg declares them friends and invites them back to his camp for a celebration. The barbarians warn the party about Freezemaw, a terrible white dragon that has been terrorizing the area and is known to lair near Rimeskull. Marcus crafts several more weapons in exchange for white seal furs from the barbarians. He uses the furs to line the inside of his wagon and to hang on the outside as camouflage.

Oathday, 19 Gozran, 4734

The Rune Wardens finally reach the turbulent shores of Lake Stormunder. Marcus unveils some recent enchantments to his wagon that cause it to fold out into a boat. With Astrid, Amelia and Shalelu navigating, they set out across the lake.

Toilday, 24 Gozran, 4734

After several days on Lake Stormunder, dodging geysers and navigating through fog, the party arrives at the foothills of Rimeskull. Marcus and Zavian use their various stone shape, wall of stone and illusory wall spells to carve a small cave out of a hill to serve as a base camp.

The plan is for Shalelu and Seleval to stay behind, waiting for a few weeks before trekking back down to Sandpoint. Shalelu assures Amelia that her hippogriff will be well cared for. Marcus urges the elf to look after the horses, but if worst comes to worst, to save their horse shoes. Lea gives Seleval her personal copy of the Acts of Iomedae to read while she is away.

Lea then attempts to use the anathema archive to determine how they can leave the Runeforge upon entering, but finds no clear answer. Marcus makes use of the revelation quill and learns that the Runeforge is not on this plane, and those that can travel the planes can find their way back. With that information, Zavian is confident that he can get the party home.

The party then sets out for the nearby hill with the ancient Sihedron Circle. The standing stones turn out to be carvings of the seven Runelords, their mouths agape. The adventurers realize they need to cast an appropriately themed spell to activate each head. Once activated, the heads give off a loud trilling noise and a golden key appears in their mouths.

As they began activating heads, the winds started to pick up. By the time they had claimed several keys, a raging blizzard surrounded them. And out of that blizzard, a huge white dragon suddenly dropped down on top of them.

The dragon then raked them with its freezing breath. While some of the Rune Wardens rush to activate the last heads and grab the keys, others try to fight Freezemaw, who is hidden behind the blizzard. The dragon picks up Lea, carries her high in the air and then drops her, only to be frustrated by her ring of feather fall.

Amelia and Zavian are briefly trapped in a dome of ice, but Marcus burns them out with scorching ray. Zavian dispells the blizzard, giving Amelia and Astrid clear shots as Lea grants the party her smite. The dragon shakes off a cacophonous call but takes a fearsome wound from the redhead’s arrows.

Freezemaw lifts Marcus high up in the air, thwarting his ability to fight back or cast spells. Despite grievous wounds, the wizard readies himself to unleash a fireball as soon as he is released.

Taking heavy damage from Astrid, the dragon tosses Marcus against the side of the mountain as it attempts to escape. It is badly scorched by the wizard’s fireball, but despite the party’s best efforts it manages to dimension door away.

Lea and Amelia rush up to the unconscious Marcus and manage to restore him to consciousness. The adventurers find themselves at the entrance of the Rimeskull cavern, with seven magic keys to Runeforge and an angry white dragon on the loose.

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High Seas Adventure
Sins of the Saviors, Part 4

Starday, 24 Pharast, 4734

Having slain the Sandpoint Devil, laid the ghost cowboy to rest, and re-consecrated the lost Desnan shrine, the party makes camp on the Devil’s Platter. Vivi tries to sort out a lesson from her recent experience, in which everyone made poor decisions but things turned out okay. The Rune Wardens give her life advice.

The lyrakien azata Idun, explains that the bugbear cultists cursed Nualia, which was causing her arm to bulge painfully and distractingly. Marcus casts break enchantment, but Idun warns that the curse was interacting with a different affliction. Through her demon arm and the mark of Lamashtu over her womb, Nualia is still connected to the demon goddess. Lamashtu is using that link to torment her and spread the corruption from her arm to slowly continue the process of turning the aasimar into a demon.

Sunday, 25 Pharast, 4734

Upon the party’s return to Sandpoint, Zavian presents Nualia with an item he had been working on, the Bracer of the Unconquered Sun, which should disguise her demon arm and keep the corruption from spreading for a time.

An attempt to use the revelation quill to find a sacred Desnan site to cure her does not succeed. Lea then uses the Anathema Archive to discover the site of a Thassilonian artifact, the Therassic Flenser, that might do the job. It’s located way out in the Cinderlands. They decide to go after it once they return from Runeforge, while Nualia and her crew chill in Sandpoint in the meantime.

Seleval asks Lea to write a letter to her dad or the high priest letting them know about her situation and their arrangement, in case something should befall Lea. The paladin agrees to do so, scribing a letter to Knight-Captain Laori Vaus.

Shayliss wishes Marcus farewell, providing him with some more drawings to liven up his voyage. She also whispers “I love you Marcus Fengwathil” after kissing him goodbye and he realizes this is the first time she’s actually used the word “love” before. He urges her to have good dreams of him and makes a mental note to cast dreams during the trip.

Lea realizes that Ameiko had scheduled a shift for her right as they were preparing to leave. The innkeeper confesses that she just finds Lea adorable in her frilly uniform and takes the paladin aside to hastily change her clothes.

“Try not to get killed again,” Ameiko says, warning that future deaths will lead to more ridiculous outfits.

Lea makes no promises, but pulls her in for a passionate kiss. “I love you. I’ll be back.”

The party plus Shalelu and Seleval travel to Magnimar and spend several days making purchases in preparation for their trip. Amelia treats Lea and Seleval to a spa day at Fimblethwick’s Splendiferous Spa in the Alabaster District. Seleval enjoys the milk bath especially. In addition to shopping, Marcus continues to market his wares and can tell his name is starting to get out there. Astrid catches up with the barbarian blacksmith Neshka, sharing stories of her battles against the dragons.

Zavian has trouble finding a ship, finally going to the rat-infested Feiger’s Shack on Rag End. There he meets the lizardman Arakos, first mate on the Misericorde, a ship that might suit them. The captain is a young Bekyar woman named Daelyn. She agrees to transport them, but demands cash up front at twice the normal rate. Zavian negotiates her down to 150%, but she bumps it back up to 175% when he remarks on the familiar appearance she has with notorious pirate Keris Farima. Daelyn insists they set sail first thing the next morning. They agree to meet her at Docking Quay 94.

Moonday, 2 Gozran, 4734

After stowing the cart, horses, and hippogriff below decks, the Misericorde hastily pushes off from the docks ahead of an authority figure and a gang of thugs. Daelyn takes an interest in Amelia and invites her to dinner. Lea tries to talk with her, but stumbles over herself and is distracted by Seleval’s sea-sickness. Lea asks if there is any alcohol and Daelyn has grog brought up.

Zavian notices that the ship has a figurehead of Keris in armor, with a misericode jammed between the pauldron and gorget.

Amelia dines with the captain, who is interested to learn more about her and hear some of her songs. The bard notices she has a set of hand drums in her cabin. Initially wary of a trap, Amelia quickly realizes that this dinner is a genuine come on. She ends up spending the night in the captain’s cabin and its soft bed.

The rest of the party is relegated to a cramped room with a set of hammocks. A queasy Seleval insists on hammocking with Lea and mercifully falls asleep almost immediately. Marcus, meanwhile, bivouacs in the hold inside his levitating wagon, which is also warded with an alarm spell. He continues to cast dream spells every night to visit Shayliss.

Toilday, 3 Gozran, 4734

The next morning, Marcus finds the lizardman Arakos suspiciously eyeing the floating wagon, and the horses spiderwalking on the walls. When Marcus tries explaining the magic, Arakos asks if he can switch to Draconic. In doing so, the wizard discovers that the lizardman is far more eloquent in that language. The two have long conversations over the course of the journey.

Marcus and Lea talk to Shalelu that morning to get her sense of the ship and its crew. She notes that it is a pirate ship, but she’s mystified why it is missing its siege weapons. Marcus confirms that they aren’t magically hidden. Lea wonders if the crew has gone legit. Seleval pukes next to her and the paladin uses lay on hands to cure her nausea. The bedraggled lamia is very grateful.

Zavian asks around discreetly about Daelyn’s connection to Keris. He finally ends up talking to a halfling sailor named Rarder, who says that the captain is the youngest of Keris’ daughters. However, Daelyn had a big falling out with her mother a few years back and is out on her own. That’s why she is operating in these northerly waters, far from the Shackles. Zavian stops the halfling from picking his pocket, but pays Rarder 100gp for his information and his silence. The cleric shares this information with the others.

Oathday, 5 Gozran, 4734

On the fourth day of their voyage, the Misericorde passes by one of the great landmarks of the Varisian Gulf—Hollow Mountain. Marcus uses arcane eye to get a closer look. The shores of the island contain ruined structures of Thassilonian design, while hanging overhead is an enormous broken bridge that appears to be the other half of Magnimar’s fabled Irespan.

Carved onto the side of the mountain is the familiar glaring face of [[;alaznist | Runelord Alaznist]]. The wizard spies movement amid the ruins, including several strange spider-like creatures that remind him of the shriezyx monsters that had been released from the Irespan long ago.

Meanwhile, a sailor on the Misericorde slips and falls, breaking his leg. Lea rushes to heal the man and mend his bones. Rarder uses the distraction to try to rummage through Marcus’ pockets and triggers the wizard’s alarm spell. Marcus awakes to see Daelyn holding up Rarder in one hand. The half-elf warns the sailor off from touching him again and makes careful note of his features.

Fireday, 6 Gozran, 4734

On the fifth day of the journey, they leave the relatively quiet waters of the Varisian Gulf for the colder, choppier Steaming Sea. Seleval is truly miserable and has started rationing Lea’s nausea-alleviating lay on hands. The paladin brainstorms with the rest of the party to find some way to help the seasick lamia. Eventually they put her up in the levitating wagon, where the jostling isn’t as bad. Lea stays with her and at Seleval’s request, starts reciting passages from from the Acts of Iomedae.

Sunday, 8 Gozran, 4734

On the seventh day, the Misericorde enters Bunyip Bay, named after the vicious aquatic mammals that dwell there. That morning, a large albatross crashes into the sails and falls to the deck with a broken wing. Lea heals it, but Rarder nonetheless warns that it is an ill omen for the voyage.

That night, Daelyn invites the rest of the party to join her and Amelia in the captain’s cabin for dinner. The meal is interrupted, however, by the eerie calls of bunyips. The ship is placed on alert as the Rune Wardens head out onto the deck and see a massive swarm of bunyips gathered around the ship.

Then the Misericorde jolts under their feet once, then twice, then three times. Daelyn warns that something is caught against the underside of the vessel. Lea and Astrid volunteer to rappel down and investigate. Zavian uses control water to briefly force back the bunyip feeding frenzy. Marcus casts various buffs on himself, including enlarge.

Going over the side, Lea and Astrid discover with their magically-aided sight that a giant octopus has attached itself to the ship and is using its tentacles to batter the keel. One tentacle has even punched through into the cargo hold. They begin attacking the creature, but Astrid is quickly grabbed in one tentacle.

Flying overhead, enlarged Marcus spies several figures climbing the aft of the ship. He shouts a warning to Amelia and Daelyn, who are nearby. Amelia’s daze spell fizzes against the fishmen, but the captain does shoot one.

Two more fishmen race out onto the deck and Amelia overhears them discussing their targets: “the apostate and the cleric.” Marcus spears one with his enormous ranseur, while Arakos blocks the other from getting further. Zavian uses hold person on the fishman threatening Amelia, and the bard skewers it with her laptop. Marcus senses his alarm spell on the wagon going off.

On the underside of the Misericorde, Lea presses past the creature’s tentacles to jam her sword in its brain. She and Astrid then begin cutting the body lose from the ship.

Up top, the two surviving fishmen decide to make a break for it. Daelyn shoots one down as it tries to swim away. Marcus uses a fireball to disperse the bunyips, while warning that something is in the cargo hold.

Zavian races downstairs to find an enormous orange tentacle lying limp in the hold and water bubbling up through a hole in the floor. The wagon has taken some damage. Marcus, in water elemental form, quickly joins the cleric in plugging up the leak. Seleval emerges from the wagon and asks if she had killed the monster. Zavian tells her yes. She remarks that krakens are real pushovers.

Reverting to half-elf form, Marcus begins repairs on his wagon. Seleval offers to help, but finds there is little she can do beyond hold a hammer. Once Lea, dripping wet, stomps into the hold, the hammer is forgotten as the knightly lamia fusses over her soggy princess—at least until the seasickness catches up with her.

The crew resigns themselves to a lot of calamari dinners, while Daelyn decides to make use of the adrenaline by taking Amelia back to her cabin. Zavian unsuccessfully tries to sense any shipwrecks below to investigate.

Wealday, 11 Gozran, 4734

On the tenth day, the Misericorde draws near the ruined Brinewall Castle. A lookout warns of seeing an enormous flying beast far off in the distance. Marcus only gets the barest glimpse of it before the shape disappears below the eastern horizon. Daelyn orders the ship to anchor well off the coast from the haunted castle and promises to take the party ashore the next morning.

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Dealing With the Devil
Sins of the Saviors, Part 3

Fireday, 23 Pharast, 4734

Having returned from their excursion to the Therassic Library with Brodert Quink, Marcus and Shayliss meet up with the rest of the party at the Rusty Dragon to start planning their trip to Lake Stormunder over dinner. Lea and Seleval are stuck working the bar and common room in their ridiculous frilly outfits.

Marcus calls Ameiko over and apologizes about the incident a few weeks ago when he teleported into her Magnimar townhouse and startled the groundskeeper. He asks if it would be all right for the party to teleport there in the future. Ameiko tells him that everyone except Zavian is welcome there.

Marcus asks if he could have some sort of formal note to present to the servants. Ameiko decides to write something on Rusty Dragon stationary and scrawls out a note on one of the branded napkins. After she signs it, she stamps it in red ink with an official Minkaian seal.

The doors to the Rusty Dragon are thrown open and a gust of wind rushes through the commons, nearly blowing away the note. Spurs jingling, a figure in a long dark duster swaggers into the tavern. From beneath a wide brimmed hat, the figure scans the room with pupil-less eyes on a marbled white-gray face. From behind her shoulders, two little cupid wings can just be seen. With all eyes on her, Vivi spies Zavian and waves excitedly.

Zavian approaches, but before he can get close, Nualia interposes herself between the two. The demon-handed aasimar asks a flurry of questions about the vivicar’s well-being, and insists that she “come away from the nasty man.” Vivi tilts her head quizzically and Zavian acknowledges that he and Nualia are not on good terms at the moment.

“Well I guess we can talk it out,” Vivi says.

She sounds like a bubblier version of Nualia as she explains to the two aasimar that she can talk now. She cheerily reiterates this fact to the other Rune Wardens as Nualia steers her towards her table in the far corner. Zavian is able to talk his way into coming along.

vivi stumbles over herself a bit as she tries to elaborate on why she’s returned, finally saying that she’s “screwed up” and “made bad decisions” and wants to go back to the old way of doing what Zavian and Nualia tell her to.

She explains that she had heard about this abandoned Desnan shrine in the Devil’s Platter south east of Sandpoint and decided to go there to leave a sacred stone and revitalize it. Her lyrakien azata companion Idun advised against it, but she pressed on. the two of them were ambushed by Lamashtu cultists and Idun was captured. Vivi barely escaped and attributes the mess to her poor decision-making. She wants Zavian and Nualia to tell her what to do.

As if suddenly remembering something, Vivi rises and pulls up her shirt to reveal a huge bite that has been taken out of her side, sending fractures running throughout her torso. Zavian and Nualia realize she is near death and both start pumping mending magic into her until the damage is repaired. Vivi gives a little sigh of relief and says that the Sandpoint Devil did this to her.

Nualia angrily proposes marching out the next morning with Vivi to kill the creature and rescue Idun. Zavian insists that they need help, and manages to persuade Nualia. Marcus, who has been eavesdropping on this conversation, drops all pretense and makes his interest plain in going after it. Nualia angrily invites all the Rune Wardens along. After getting assents from Astrid and Amelia, Marcus checks in with Lea at the bar, who is eager to finish what she started with the Sandpoint Devil.

Vivi excitedly notes that she will be bringing guns to this monster hunt, and sets a pair of strange metal wands with wooden handles on the table. Marcus is intrigued by the alchemical slug-throwers, although Vivi eventually realizes that letting the wizard peer down the barrels is a bad idea.

Vivi explains that while traveling in the Cinderlands, she met a man from Alkenstar where these weapons are produced. She rescued him from some Shoanti, but later realized that he was a very bad man. So that night, she hit him over the head, stole his clothes and guns, and returned him to the Shoanti to face justice. And that’s how she got the guns, hat, coat, and boots.

Nualia insists on taking the very grimy Vivi off to get cleaned up, with everyone to meet up the next morning in order to set out for the Devil’s Platter. Later that night, after everyone else is asleep, Vivi goes to visit Zavian. The vivicar asks after his decision not to help Nualia on her quest.

Vivi also says she is worried about Nualia, who is not doing well. Here demon arm and the mark of Lamashtu over her womb have grown painful and the arm is starting to spasm and act on its own. Vivi is worried that Nualia’s partial demonic transformation might still be in progress. The aasimar had been questing to get the arm fixed, but Zavian’s decision not help kept her from completing the quest.

Zavian thanks Vivi for this information and promises to do what he can. He and Vivi go outside to talk more while he works on the forge in Marcus’ cart and she gazes up at the stars. Eventually, Vivi heads back to join Nualia. She explains that she sits close to the fire until her clay body gets very warm, and then curls up against her aasimar double to keep her toasty on cold nights.

Starday, 24 Pharast, 4734

The next morning, the Rune Wardens plus Nualia and Vivi pile into Marcus’ wagon, with Amelia following along on her hippogriff. Lea has Seleval stay back at the Rusty Dragon to protect Ameiko (and cover her shift).

It takes about half a day just to reach the Devil’s Platter, a big limestone escarpment that is the largest rocky rise on the Lost Coast. Riddled with clefts, cracks, and caverns, it is rumored to be the home of many local monsters, including the infamous Sandpoint Devil. Marcus’ cart, with its levitation spell and spider-walking horses, scales the walls of the escarpment and then travels across its rocky top to the cylindrical cave known as the Pit.

It is dusk by the time the party arrives. Zavian and Marcus hastily buff themselves and others before the cart heads down into the pit. Vivi guides them to the particular side cavern where she was attacked. There are a series of ledges around the side of the Pit shaft that are connected by wooden scaffolding, but no sign of cultists.

Astrid can hear a faint plaintive call from the side cavern and sees a tiny figure in a cage. She signals for the rest of the party to join her, although Marcus and Amelia hang back by the wagon. Zavian suggests Vivi do the honors of freeing Idun, but when the vivicar tries to shoot out the lock of the cage, the image vanishes while another cage drops out of the ceiling to snare her.

Arrows streak out of the darkness at Zavian and Marcus, but fail to connect. A pair of murderous bugbears rush out to knife Zavian. Two big burly bugbear women with greataxes attack Nualia, while a third bugbear cultist casts a spell that causes the aasimar’s demon arm to bulge and pulse. A heavily pregnant and sickly-looking elven woman emerges across the cavern, seemingly directing the cultists. She begins making her way towards Marcus.

Intense fighting ensues. Zavian and Nualia are surrounded by foes, with Lea and Astrid rushing to aid them. The bugbear cultist summons up a fog that obscures the melee. The bugbear archers nearly kill one of Marcus’ horses and Amelia evacuates the wagon from the Pit.

Vivi struggles to free herself from the cage, warning that the runes on it are starting to glow. Nualia, meanwhile, is distracted by whatever was done to her arm. Zavian decides to go help Vivi and manages to dispel the magic on the cage before it goes off.

Marcus blasts the pregnant elf with scorching rays, but she keeps advancing. He cuts her downn with his ranseur, which causes her to split open and birth forth an enormous vulture-like monster.

Despite the fog, Astrid and Lea are rapidly thinning the ranks of the bugbears. Vivi shoots the hinges off her cell door and escapes. Marcus hurls a fireball to destroy one of the wooden scaffolds and send two bugbear archers falling to their doom. An incapacitated Nualia is grabbed by one of the burly bugbear women and dragged out into the Pit shaft, but doesn’t fall due to her air walk spell.

Then, out of the depths below, a terrifying winged shape emerges, its mouth full of fangs and body like that of a horse. Riding on its back is a spectral figure in a wide-brimmed hat and duster.

“Give me my guns back, you clay-fingered bitch!” the ghost cowboy calls out. He fires his phantom guns into the fog, wounding Astrid and Zavian. The Sandpoint Devil belches hellfire at them.

A butterfly flits in front of Nualia to bestow Desna’s favor. The aasimar shakes off her affliction and channels a burst of positive energy that batters the ghost. Astrid tries to lunge at the Sandpoint Devil, but misses her footing and starts to fall.

Amelia returns to the Pit riding her hippogriff and casts feather fall on Astrid. After the Lamashtu monster shakes off a cacophonous call, she uses grease to send him falling on his feathery ass. Marcus takes this opportunity to get some distance from the creature and then casts command undead on the ghost. He suggests that the cowboy land his steed to better engage with the party, then urges the Rune Wardens to concentrate their attacks on the Sandpoint Devil.

Vivi finally enters the combat and starts pumping bullets into the monster, followed by a nasty attack from Marcus. Lea struggles to make her way towards the creature, but fog and bugbears obstruct her approach.

The ghost cowboy continues to demand the return of Vivi’s guns, so she decides to oblige him. The vivicar tosses both of her guns up to him and he drops his ghost weapons in surprise to catch them. Once the weapons are in hand, the specter vanishes, but Vivi manages to catch one of his ghost pistols as it falls.

Zavian swoops down to collect Astrid, then carries her up to the battle and holds her while she attacks the Sandpoint Devil, finally slaying the beast. With it dead, the party makes short work of the Lamashtu monster. Vivi frees the captive Idun from a cage around the Sandpoint Devil’s neck.

Amid all the chaos, two bugbear cultists manage to slink away.

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