The Acts of the Lords of Rannick, LXXXV

Wow, we didn’t get much done last night, did we? And if we didn’t get much done as a group, imagine how little Kerplak got done, because he didn’t do shit last night. I think its the bleaching, man. I’m worried about the little guy. Heeeee-hoo! Shamoni.

You know that at some point staving off the Bleaching is going to involve transitioning from “Find interesting new stuff” to “Get super creepy”.

The party spent an invigorating few hours exploring some old ruins that turned out to have no treasure or xp lying around, so we drew a veil over that and got on with the meat of the campaign. That’s a shitty thing about city exploration when the city isn’t fully documented and really – how could it be? Xin Shalast represents a future super-dungeon which the party is currently unlocking. It’s a place that once the lore is unlocked, GMs will be able to flesh out and expand with any number of amazing dungeons and scenarios. That’s cool. It just doesn’t help right now. There is a Lost Cities of Golarion supplement that includes Xin Shalast, albeit AFTER this party has gone through and been successful against Karzoug… which is a liberty, but I can see why they made it. To travel through Xin Shalast is to walk past years worth of adventuring loot. So I suppose it is natural for people to want to come back. Of course, what happens to Xin Shalast in THIS iteration of events is in the wind. There are two possible outcomes if the party DOES NOT defeat Karzoug and as many outcomes as the players can think of if they DO defeat Karzoug. Either way, whatever I run next won’t be in Varisia, so I’m more than happy to let the whole place get ground under the tyrannical boot heel of Karzoug’s Rune Giant legions.
What happens to the PCs and Varisia after the assault on the Pinnacle of Avarice is still something to be worked out. Ideally I would like the post-Rise of The Runelords PCs to open up some small new features to future character creation, much like Corwin’s investment in non-session story will. Later though… for now, the party was preparing for the last dungeon.
After bypassing the fascinating, but empty alabaster towers to the west, the party progressed up the steep and winding path to the Runelord’s tower. Lit by the moon, they arrived at a shelf beneath the stern face of Karzoug and on that shelf lay the abandoned buildings that surrounded the tower itself. All of them were dwarved by the 2000ft tall Pinnacle of Avarice, a physics-defying pillar of arches and buttresses that seemed like lacework around the thin central pillar that rose, unsupported, the height of the tower, terminating at the tower’s sole enclosed level, right at the top.
It is almost as tall as the Burj Khalifa, as spindly as the Space Needle and as arch-covered as the tower of Pisa. And they provided no pictures of it. 🙁
Also, completely devoid of any signs of life. They tried tracking to see if there had been any recent comings or goings, but evidently there had not. There was, however, one oddity in the structure high above – the tower has been untouched by time except for one small hole in the disc high above them. Everything else on the tower is ornate and opulent in some way, but this hole looks like a hole… Further down in the city, they could hear and see hubbub faintly. Distant horns sounding, crashes and fireworks exploding periodically.
So they decided to camp there for the night, with Tersplink setting up a Secure Shelter and Dagfinn, Arradin and Ron taking watch. As they did so they periodically saw faint glows emanate from the hold in the disc. The night passed without incident, however, and at the crack of dawn everyone had rested enough to get going. They set off for the central pillar of the tower which had around it a winding corkscrew ramp. The interior walls of the tower (because although they appear to be spindly pillars, they are spindly only in relation to the scale of the tower) were decorated with frescoes depicting life in Xin-Shalast. Dagfinn took his time looking them over and absorbing the scenes. They depicted a cosmopolitan trade-based city where even the simplest of items were decadently fancy. Giants, giant kin, humans, lamia, cyclops, dragons and others of more outlandish provenance made up the population and could be seen engaged in commerce and craft of all sorts.
We could figure out how long it would actually take one to climb 2000ft on a slippery spiral with a radius no less than 40ft… and by we, I mean Rolland and he wasn’t there, so we didn’t. 9am, K -3, thats when the party reached the top of the spiral. However many granola breakfasts they had to have/skip to make that happen, happened. Also, you guys are totally sick of fucking granola breakfasts.

Fucking AGAIN.

They cautiously entered the area where the screw ran into the disc, the ramp flowing seamlessly into the floor of the Pinnacle’s only level. The passage they found themselves in was curved, with the hallway seeming to follow the spiral of the corkscrew below them. Ahead were a set of gleaming polished gold doors, magnificent in size and to one side another smaller door, albeit still polished gold.
While many of the party were less than stealthy in their ascent, it was to Albedon that all the reproachful glares were directed when he made a bunch of noise. A second or so later a surprised giant walked around from the inner curve of the hallway. It was a Cloud Giant, not a stone or Rune Giant and when alarmed Cloud Giants tend to make clouds. Kind of like cows. Poof! A dense billowy wall of cloud enveloped the first few members of the party.
I think if the Cloud Giants had looked like this, parlay may have been attempted. As it was... total sausage fest.

I think if the Cloud Giants had looked like this, parlay may have been attempted. As it was… total sausage fest.

Dagfinn moved up to engage and was hit twice with the Cloud Giant’s gargantuan Morning Star, earning himself some perforated bruises. The giants did not run in fear at his Frightening Song “Hey, giants, I just met you and this is crazy; here’s my flametongue, so fuck off maybe.” Man, there should totally be an Earworm spell. Or just an Earworm monster. Eh, let’s save that the musical episode.
While Kerplak slunk off to one side, turning invisible, Albedon cast Scouring Winds, a doozy of a pie plate that stuck around, scrubbing flesh off the giants for the duration of this fight. Ron solved the immediate cloud problem by whipping out his Staff of Heaven and Earth that he inherited from… Don?… and blew the cloud to vapour and Shortfang into the far wall, where he spent the rest of the fight limping around and licking his paw and looking pretty pathetic.
The window of visibility was enough for everyone to take a shot, but the giant was joined by three others. Arradin was able to charge in and take the heat off Dagfinn who moved back and healed himself. Tersplink hasted everyone except Kerplak, right? Because Kerplak spent the next few rounds trying to get his wand of Haste to work, by just whacking it off his forehead. One giant took a slew of criticals and was dazed, blind and deafened at one point.
Albedon’s magical battle was interesting as he pitted himself against the natural magical abilities of the Cloud Giants. Innate vs Learned. Magical sorcery versus magical science. Emotion versus reason. Albedon successfully dispelled an Obscuring Mist and in the breaks in the popping clouds, hit out with some Empowered Fire Snake and then Contagious Flame. Then the giants came back with more clouds that prevented Albedon from targeting new hosts for the Contagious Flame, but by that point the Scouring Winds had been scouring for quite a while and the giants began dropping.
Winner: Magic Science! Take it away Neil…
One of the Giants, perhaps sensing that his jig was about to be up, made a dash for the golden doors, hauled them open and began bellowing “Intruders! Intruders!” before being taken down. The party dashed to the doorway to see what might be coming their way and as Arradin saw further into the hallway, she came to a halt as she found herself in the presence of the Runelord.
Just standing there in the hallway. Like he was waiting for the copier to warm up.

Hey guys, this says the fuser module needs to be replaced. Is that toner? Does it mean toner? It said that all yesterday too, but it kept going. Where do we keep the fuser modules? So it isn’t toner? Do we buy them from the same place we buy toner? Well how long does it take to get delivered because I have this big spellbook here and I only need like a few pa.. – you know what, fuck it, I’ll go to Kinkos.

His face contorted into a sneer of cruel mockery, his voice remained flat and passionless as condescended to speak to them again. He did applaud their tenacity, but he downgraded them from “mere worms” to “hungry maggots” as they writhed their way to the death that awaited them at the core of their fate. “I am that fate, maggots. I am your death.” And with that he shot a thin green ray at Arradin that very nearly reduced her to a pile of ash. It somehow didn’t, for reasons no-one is able to articulate. Should have though. Probably will the next time it gets tried.
Ron stepped through the door and spun two shuriken into the head and neck of the Runelord, which caused the image to ripple and disappear, leaving only cold laughter in its wake.
Winner: Drunk guy throwing dangerous things! Take it away drunk guy…



3 Comments on “The Acts of the Lords of Rannick, LXXXV

  1. Assuming a pitch of 10 ft then the helix is 9.5 miles long. I couldn’t find a coefficient of friction for leather on gold but gold on gold isn’t too much different than leather on wood so let’s just say you can walk 2 mph up this slope. This scenario would take you only 4 hours and 45 minutes.