The Once And Future King

Into the Crow's Nest V
Fireday, 17 Gozran 4715 AR

After a restful night, the party prepares to continue their exploration of The Crow and once more rearrange the glyphs on the ancient doors they discovered the night before. The ancient hall leads to another set of stairs which they descend, returning them to the first floor of the piling where they originally entered.

AmoebaGiant.pngThe hall opens into a room with a green, scum-covered pool extending to the opposite wall. Dorsavnil detects motion in the water and as he moves to investigate, two large transparent blobs emerge from the pool and slowly ooze forth.

The potential threat is quickly nullified as the slow moving creatures can’t last against the fast moving by the group.

Searching the area, the floors and walls are covered in guano and an opening is detected in the wall to the north, though the party does not investigate further, moving instead into a passageway to the east which opens into a small room with stone benches and a fountain.

Roused by the light and noise, hundreds of bats come swarming out of crevices in the walls moments after the group enters, surrounding them in a whirlwind of teeth and battering wings.

BatSwarm.jpg

The heroes attempt to attack, and manage to knock a few bats out of the swarm, but the swarm continues unabated as the threat of an enemy they can’t simply attack disorients the party. Dorsavnil flees back into the prior room, diving into the pool as blood drips from dozens of bite wounds on his skin. Fijit follows suit as Roland and Eran attempt to swat at the maelstrom of vermin.

Desperate, Roland leans down and attempts to ignite the thick piles of guano on the floor and, with a spark from his flint and steel, a small explosion rocks the room, knocking him backward and dispersing the swarm in the process.

The party regroups and Fijit opts to explore a tiny crevice in the south wall that only she can squeeze through and the short passage open into a room littered with desiccated fish carcasses and a few larger bodies. The ground is a thick, sticky sheet of webbing and to the southwest, the room opens into a forty-foot­ diameter silo-like chamber with sloshing water. Next to the water, two large spiders feed on a freshly killed dolphin though they quickly turn their attention to the gnome when she tosses an explosive bomb in their midst before fleeing back through the tunnel.

The spiders pursue, unaware that the party awaits them in the chamber beyond where they are quickly cut down.

As the heroes head towards the last remaining corridor in this area, they hear the sneeze of a small creature. Turning the corner, the see a shadow disappearing at the bottom of a stairwell.

Rather then pursuing quickly, the party takes their time descending the stairs deeper into The Crow. At the bottom, they follow a several kinks in the passageway before it opens into a wide catacomb chamber with rows of burial niches cut into the stone walls. Half a dozen ten foot high mounds of dirt dominate the floor and milling about the chamber are six ants the size of ponys, their mandibles chittering as the collectively move to protect the room from the intruding party.

Eran charges into the room and is quickly surrounded by three of the ants while the others block Roland and Dorsavnil in the hall, preventing them from progressing into the room.

The melee is furious as the worker ants chitinous bodies, turn aside blow after blow from the party. From a passageway in the south end of the room, a group of squat humanoids with giant heads and puffy blue skin emerge forth, chattering loudly in an unfamiliar language and taking up position behind the ants.

Mite.jpgFijit tosses a bomb into the ranks of ants and the ensuing explosion also kills one of the squat blue creatures and the remainder quickly flee back to the tunnel from which they emerged.

Despite his superior armor, Eran is overrun by the ants and his dying body slumps to the ground with the rest of the party unable to reach him as each slain ant is quickly replaced by one of the others stepping forward to continue the assault.

With just two ants remaining, Fijit runs out of bombs as Roland succumbs to his wounds and goes down. Facing the spectre of meeting their maker in this cold catacomb, Dorsavnil reaches deep inside himself and surges forth, cleaving one of the remaining ands in half with his greatsword.

With Serenrea looking down on her follower, Eran – against all hope – stabilizes on death’s door, buying Dorsavnil and Fijit the precious extra seconds they need to finish off the remaining ant.

Without taking a moment to catch their breaths, they push forward to Eran’s battered body and pour a healing potion down his throat. With the Aasimar now conscious, the party quickly flees two floors higher into The Crow to once more seek shelter in the chamber of the former leader of the Tower Girls.

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Into the Crow's Nest IV
Oathday, 16 Gozran 4715 AR

That evening, the party returns for a third foray into the The Crow, retracing their steps and returning to the site of their last battle. Exploring further, they find a chamber with a large mural featuring a tall, redheaded woman with a ranseur standing over a short, hunch-backed man – her ranseur is impaled in man’s belly, and his twisted demonic hands clutch at shaft as black smoke wafts up from his face and wounds.

A breeze is detected from the south wall and it is quickly discovered to be an illusion. Fijit imbibes her mutagen and climbs out the illusory wall, climbing upward she discovers a hanging platform similar to the one that the party crossed on the floor above. Climbing downward she sees their boat tied down below and pieces together that below is the entrance to The Crow while above is the chamber that precarious crossing they needed to make in order to proceed to the floor upon which they currently preside.

In another chamber, several tables are set up and a well used harrow deck lies upon one of them. On a raised platform, sits a stone statue of a beautiful woman wielding a ranseur – a woman the party recognizes as Sorshen – Runelord of Wrath.

With nowhere left to go but down, the party descends an additional flight of stairs. A hall ends in a doorway behind which a partially healed were rat and lone remaining Tower Girl – the survivors of their last battle – lie in ambush.

Finishing off the wounded lycanthrope takes little effort, causing the lone Tower Girl to flee for her life. Dorsavnil chases after her, up the flight of stairs and back through the tunnels above, unable to land a finishing blow along the way.

WereRat.jpgWith the party separated, a door inside the chamber opens and a larger wererat, wielding a Varisian bladed scarf charges in along with two additional Donkey Rats.

This wererat fights not only more fiercely, but more competently, and proves to be a challenge for the fractured party who manages to hold their own for nearly a minute before Dorsavnil returns.

Now regrouped, the heroes press the advantage of their numbers and slay the wererat.

Exploring the chambers beyond, they discover tables heaped with sections of wall mural, ancient coins, jewels, pottery and more – Thassilonian artifacts looted from around The Crow, in addition to several journals.

In a hidden nook, the discover a skeleton with a strange pendant that they identify as the Pendent of the Souk – the traditional badge of office for the Prince or Princess of the Market in Magnimar.

Moving on from the room, the party is faced with a massive pair of double doors that dominate the western end of the previous chamber. The doors are made of a silvery metal and decorated with images of burning eyes that look inward toward two sets of runes carved onto the face of each door.

A cursory study of the strange doors reminds Roland of the Paradox Box that Sheila Heidmarch had tasked them with opening just 10 days prior.

The deciphered runes spell out a message on each door – the left reading ‘LISTEN’ while the right reads ‘THE EYES’. As Roland reaches forth to switch the letters he is shocked with a burst of electrical energy.

Gritting his teeth, he rearranges ‘LISTEN’ to ‘SILENT’. After a moment of deliberation, Eran rearranges ‘THE EYES’ to ‘THEY SEE’ and the doors swing open.

Beyond the doors, Thassilonian murals are as vibrant as if they were painted yesterday. A dusty corridor runs north with no sign of footprints making it very clear – no one has been beyond these doors in a very very long time.

Aware that nothing is coming from above and confident that with the doors shut, nothing is coming from below, the party makes camp to rest for whatever ancient secrets lie below….

dungeonhall.jpg

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Seeking Sinspawn
Oathday, 16 Gozran 4715 AR

The morning following Taxfest, the party receives a summons to meet with Toth Bhreacher at the Golemworks. Toth informs them that he has heard of their explorations of The Crow and wants them to him a favor.

Toth is aware that deep in the heart of the ancient Thassilonian monument there may lie ancient creatures and he offers a bounty if they can bring him the heads of three sinspawn – corrupted products of magic used by spell casters in Thassilonian-times as shock troops for their armies.

The party agrees to help although, wary of the strange request, Eran decides to discuss with Canayvan Heidmarch at Heidmarch Manor on Toth’s trustworthiness. Canayvan vouches for the wizard, informing the group that Toth is a respectable citizen and ally of the Pathfinder Society.

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Taxfest
Wealday, 15 Gozran 4715 AR

When the party wakes up just before noon, Magnimar is bustling for, unbeknownst to them, the 15th of Gozreh is the holiday of Taxfest!

Taxfest.jpgAround the city, priests of the Master of the First Vault accompany tax collectors in their duties, visiting door to door.

Well known as a haven for adventurer’s a priest and tax collector have been posted at the Old Fang, asking adventurers to submit a record of treasures collected in the past year, and charged accordingly.

Dorsavnil, risks reporting an absurdly low amount but makes a superior bluff and ends up being taxed very little. Eran makes an impassioned case that his earnings have been donated to the church of Serenrea and is also taxed very little as a result.

Fijit and Roland are both subjected to the priest’s zone of truth and, as a result, are taxed comparatively heavily.

That evening, with tax collection completed, a large feast is held at the local temple of Abadar.

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Into the Crow's Nest III
Toilday, 14 Gozran 4715 AR

Descending further into The Crow, the heroes find themselves in an unlit room with crumbling walls and head down one of the three corridors that exit the chamber. It takes no time for them to be spotted by a pair of Tower Girls and their donkey rat pets who charge as the Girls fire their crossbows.

As they move into attack a door is flung open and another wererat emerges to join the melee. While the Tower Girls are quickly killed, the wererat proves to be a menace equal to the first one they encountered on the floor above.

Two greivous wounds from Eran and Dorsavnil’s silver weapons cause the creature to flee and the party does not pursue, as they stop to lick their wounds.

The rest, however, is short lived as the beast reappears a moment later with Tower Girl reinforcements before fleeing into deeper chambers as the Sczarni girls unleash their crossbows. Fortunately the Tower Girls pose little additional threat, but low on resources, the party ascends the stairs once more, trekking out of The Crow and back to Magnimar to rest.

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Into the Crow's Nest II
Toilday, 14 Gozran 4715 AR

Once more retuning the The Crow under cover of night, the party quickly ascends to back to the upper level where they faced their challenging opponent two nights prior. While the chaos caused by their combat remains, the heroes are quick to note that the bodies of the dead have been removed.

In an adjacent room, a small campfire has burnt out while on a spit above sits the charred corpses of two donkey rats. Two bedrolls belie the fact that this chamber served as the sleeping quarters of the two women slain in the prior skirmish.

On the southern wall, an otherwise well concealed secret door is held ajar by a piece of kindling. The chamber beyond featured scripted and faded murals, which Eran takes note of to inform Canayvan about.

To the east, the chamber opens onto a ledge where a tangle of ropes anchor a 10 foot platform over the shaft that leads below.

Fijit downs her mutagen and as her skin and hair begin to take on the colors of the walls themselves, she touches the same walls and, clinging to them as if under the effects of spider climb, crawls up the ceiling and approaches the platform. As she is just above it, she spots a hook lodged into the ceiling – pull on the hook, a panel opens and a rope ladder falls down to the platform.

Climbing the ladder, the gnome scouts and and finds that it leads to a long hall.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party ever-so-carefully approaches the platform using the tangle of ropes. One by one they manager to overcome the obstacle and all safely arrive at the top of the ladder, rejoining Fijit in the hallway – a passage that bears murals showing strangely dressed Thassilonian priests placing bodies into crypts. The hall itself is strewn with bones and a quick examination confirms that a battle recently took place here.

TowerGirl.jpgThe hall opens into a chamber warded by a tripwire that the wary group easily spots, assuring that they don’t set off the alarm attached to it. As they discuss removing the tripwire, however, their voices carry into the room beyond where two more Tower Girls rush forth to defend their hideout.

Without the assistance of a were-rat, two lone Tower Girls prove to be no match for the party as attacks from Fijit and Eran soften them up while Roland and Dorsavnil finish the job.

In an adjacent chamber, a trickle of water runs from a demon-shaped mouth on the wall into a fountain. Studying the fountain, Eran determines that it is magical and that the water is quite fresh, a curiosity in such an ancient catacomb.

Pushing forth, a side chamber provides a sack of ancient coins – Thassilonian in nature – and a statuette of some manner of giant the likes of which the party has never seen. Continuing down the main corridor, the party reaches a set of stairs leading down….

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Preparations II
Moonday, 13 Gozran 4715 AR

Licking their wounds from the previous night’s failed excursion into The Crow, the party visits Heidmarch Manor once more to discuss lycanthropes with Sheila Heidmarch, who suggests they visit any number of armories in Magnimar for a weapon treated with silver.

Canayven_Heidmarch.jpgBefore they leave, she reminds them that her husband wished to speak with them.

A brief audience with Canayvan reveals his desire to learn more about The Crow and he promises the party a reward for any significant information about ancient Thassilon they can bring him from their explorations.

With that, the fledgling Pathfinders spend the rest of their day re-arming and preparing to return once more to The Crow the following evening.

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Into the Crow's Nest
Sunday, 12 Gozran 4715 AR

As night falls, the heroes meet with a dock worker that Sheila had contacted to arrange for providing a boat to the group.

TheCrow.jpgOnce in the water, the party quickly realizes that they are lacking any experience in maritime matters, and that navigating the small boat will be time consuming task. After about an hour of sloshing through the water, they approach the Irespan piling known as The Crow.

While they see no signs of life inside, they do spot a small platform where several other small rowboats are tied off. Approaching, they tie off their boat and enter the structure through a small opening that looks as if it were physically knocked out.

Inside, the find the remains of a small camp which Roland Kaddren posits must once have comprised roughly fifteen individuals.

Moving deeper into the structure, they enter a room with stairs leading upward. Inside, a large rat shrieks at their approach and flees up the stairs. After a search of the room reveals little of interest beyond colorful murals of Thassilon pilgrims and giants marching over an intact Irespan, they head up the stairs.

The stairs seem to wind ever-upward, and after climbing several stories, the party emerges into a room to find two women waiting for them. In the corner, the large rat begins to transform, shifting into some manner of human-rat hybrid, and it grabs a sword from the floor and charges forward to attack.

TowerGirls.jpg

The woman, dance around in combat, positioning themselves favorably to strike at exposed areas while the rat-creature snaps viciously with its snarling jaws.

Now starting to learn how to fight effectively as a group and how to complement one another’s abilities, the party takes care of the Sczarni women fairly easily, but as they rain down attacks on the rat-creature, they seem to have very little effect. Recalling her studies, Fijit realizes that they are facing a lycanthrope – a were-rat to be precise – and that they possess innate immunities that can only be easily overcome with silver.

On the ropes from the were-rat’s assault, Eran steps forward and shouts for the rest of the party to retreat. As the heroes move for the stairs, the Aasimar thrusts his shield forward and slowly backs away as the were-rat tries to reach around and strike with claw and sword.

Managing to largely keep the creature at bay, Eran’s plan seems to be working until the were-rat strikes a particular nasty blow that brings him to his knees but the cleric of Serenrea channels the divine power of his diety, healing himself as he once again takes a defensive posture.

After several minutes of retreating from the creature’s assault, the party finally finds themselves back on the first floor of The Crow. Nearing the entrance, the lycanthrope makes a move to duck around the cleric, cutting him off from the rest of the group.

As Roland and Fijit reach the boat, the were-rat makes another move now leaving Dorsavnil as well as Eran, cut off from escape.

Desperate, Dorsavnil roars as his greatsword is consumed by hellfire and with a mighty swing the chamber is painted red with the were-rat’s blood. The creature returns the assault while Roland and Fijit do their best to distract it.

Surging forward with Eran at his back, Dorsavnil once more swings his hellfire imbued weapon and strikes another mighty blow. The creature falls agains the wall for a moment before turning to flee, running past Roland and Fijit and diving into the water and out of sight.

The party takes a brief moment to catch its breath before getting into the boat to flee back to the city.

As they retreat, a rain of arrows flies down on them from The Crow, creating additional injury, but no fatalities.

Badly wounded, and now keenly aware of at least one of the secrets that The Crow has in store for them, the party retreats to the Old Fang to rest.

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Preparations
Starday, 11 Gozran 4715 AR

The party spends the next two days preparing for their journey to The Crow, taking time to heal and purchase supplies for their challenge ahead.

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Shards of Sin
Fireday, 10 Gozran 4715 AR

Weary from their battle with Natalya, the party recovers the shard and exits the building only to find a group waiting for them.

TowerGirlAmbush.jpgA woman with a whip, flanked by two Sczarni thugs demands the shard, which Dorsavnil declines to know anything about. The woman, angered by the insult, raises her hand crossbow to attack while the thugs move in.

After a few seconds of combat, Dorsavnil reaches into his pack and pulls out the shard. At the site of it, the woman charges forward to attack and with a mighty swing from her short sword, the blood rage goes down, the shard dropping from his hand.

Snatching the shard, she stops and drinks a potion to heal the wounds she incurred to get to the artifact.

As one of the Sczarni thugs goes down, Eran rejuvenates Dorsavnil and the two pursue the woman, cornering her. As she attempts to escape, Dorsavnil cuts her down and recovers the shard while the other thug is captured as a prisoner.

As they loot the bodies and restrain their prisoner, Dorsavnil grows impatient with the ideas presented by the other members of the group and begins barking orders at them, demanding to be healed.

With their captors in tow, the heroes return to Heidmarch Manor where Dorsavnil requests an audience with Sheila, showing her the shard.

As her reveals the artifact, Roland and Fijit notice a crack in her otherwise clam demeanor, as she pauses in awe before extending a carefully worded invitation to the group to come inside to talk.

In her parlor, Sheila explains that she believes that she knows what the artifact is and that her suspicion will be proved correct if an ioun stone that she provides will fuse to an indentation in the artifact.

She hands the stone to Dorsavnil who orders her to put her hands in his shoulders before placing the stone into the indentation. As he does so, there is a bright, coppery flash of light and the stone fuses with the shard.

Delighted, Sheila explains that the party has found an ancient Thassilonian artifact – the Shard of Pride, a fragment of of a larger artifact known as the First Sihedron of Xin – the founder of Thassilon.

What you have found, my friends, is nothing short of a miracle. Varisia has seen its share of miracles of late-the discovery of Xin-Shalast and the defeat of Runelord Karzoug, or Korvosa’s release from mad l leosa’s rule come to mind-but this discovery will soon be remembered as an equal to those events. This is a powerful Thassilonian artifact, a fragment of horacalcum and a portion of the Shattered Star of Xin: to be precise, the Shard of Pride. I suspect that the shard’s current carrier already knows more about it than I do, in fact… -Sheila Heidmarch

Sheila further informs the group that each shard is keyed to another shard in a sequence and that once a shard has been infused with the proper ioun stone someone concentrating on the next shard in the sequence will receive a vision of where that shard is.

With that knowledge, Dorsavnil concentrates on the shard and receives a vision of a massive stone column adorned with carvings of birds. As he describes it to the group, they collectively realize that the vision was of one of the pilings of the Irespan known as The Crow.

She tasks them with bringing her back a map of the interior of The Crow, should they gain entrance, and suggests that the party speak with her husband before leaving.

The group departs from Heidmarch Manor and returns to the Old Fang for the evening. At the bar, Roland strikes up a conversation with someone who explains that the mayor has finally issued a reward for anyone who can get to the bottom of the recent disappearances. Roland shares the information with the rest of the group who reminds me that they had previously learned about said disappearances and that they prevailing rumor pointed at slavers kidnapping locals to sell into servitude in Nidal.

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