The Acts of The Lords of Rannick, LXXXVIII

This seems kind of cute, unless you have the music from the Terminator franchise stuck in your head.

That was fun. Another one person big fight and some more exploration.  Last week’s ending looked a bit grim. 
 
Okay, so it was a step backwards. By scooting down to the city in a burst of golden mist, they’d undone all the solid work of getting through the Upper City unmolested (mostly), the trip to the Occluding Field on the golden bridge to the Mhar Massif’s upper slopes, then the final winding path to the Citadel above. Never fear though, Spellcasters live to turn drudgery into ease; if they wanted to work for a living, they’d all be Rangers.
 
Tersplink took the matter in hand and in the eerily quiet streets outside the Shahlaria began Teleporting the group back to the Golden Bridge. He knew he wasn’t going to be able to pierce the Occluding Field with a spell like Teleport, but if he could get everyone there, they could all stroll through, given that they had now collected enough Sihedron Rings from the fingers of the Giants guarding the spire of Avarice.
 
So the two trips were made in groups of two, with Tersplink having to ferry himself via Teleport back and forth to pick everyone us; all the while incurring magical fumbles because of the ad hoc nature of this Teleport spell. One caused him to barf for a while, but everything else went pretty well. We think the Reduce Person effect would have worn off by then, otherwise, he’d be a Tiny creature, barfing up something that went up a size category as soon as it left his body. Either that or the vomit would have stayed small and adorable. The Pathfinder rulebooks are frustratingly vague about what effect spells have on vomit,.. vomit in general really.
 
 
Anyway to cut a Small story Tiny, they all Teleported back to the base of the Citadel without incident. But that put Tersplink at such a low spellslot count that he was done for the day. They holed up again in the place where they had slept the previous day. When they woke up, they calculated that they had – by Ghlorofaex’s reckoning – 43 hours to save Varisia, maybe the world. That’s actually important for Halvard and Ron in a different way than it is for everyone else: They only get their spells at a particular hour of the day, which we’ve kind of established is early in the morning. 24 hours into that 43 hours (at the 19 hours left mark) they’ll get their spells again. Then they’ll get their spells back again 5 hours AFTER Karzoug’s expected return. This seems important.
 
Arcane dudes just needs rest whenever. But I guess Abadar and Gorum are sticklers for maintaining a schedule.
 
They set off to ascend the spiralling ramp to the Spire of Avarice, which we know now will take 4.5 hours, during which travel time they discussed the shit out of what to do. The questions were good ones, and although I can’t remember them all, they established a few things: No, you can’t know the tower over, nor do you suspect it will crumble when you defeat Karzoug UNLIKE several other dark tyrant abodes we can think of… It was also at this point that the clerics could explain why just chopping the tattoos or brands from Karzoug’s followers won’t somehow save their souls from being fed into whatever device it is that is powering Karzoug’s return. The brands are a sign of devotion – you could chop the Insane Clown Posse tattoo off a Juggalo, it won’t suddenly restore their taste in music. Like being a Juggalo, it is a very hard path to come back from.
 
… 
 
Sorry… I went on a google image search for some appropriate Juggalo image to put in here and now I have to go and lie down and cry.
 
 
So, yes, chatting. In particular, Tersplink’s recon of the dimensional irregularities in the spire that seem to allow Karzoug to pop up and cast spells. Yes, those are his real spells, but no, that isn’t the real him. It is a projection of himself he can make onto this dimension, but only in the weakest points of the fabric… with the warp and the weft… and the bare patches. If you could block them with something Karzoug would not be able to materialize there.
 
Arradin, not really knowing anything about magic and the casting thereof did come up with a good point. If you were to engage Karzoug, cause him to cast some spells and then immediately rest and recover spells – he’d either have to immediately do the same, otherwise, you’d have your spells back before he did and you’d catch him down a fair numbers of spells. Although I’m sure those students of the arcane would be loath to admit that a mere arrowcatcher would have stumbled on a glaring spellcaster weakness like that, but she’s right.
 
After all this talk and various other discussions they arrived back at the circular room at the top of the spiral. They returned to just outside the Golden Doors through which there was Golden Mist. They dicked around with the plinths a bit more, Halvard proving the point that his god was mighty by shifting the plinth a bit when others could not. They discovered that the plinths radiated Transmutation auras and Kerplak noticed that the marble was speckled with sparkling dust – he reckoned it was a mixture of emerald, sapphire, ruby and diamond ground to a sand and embedded throughout the plinths. They also found some plinths that were more scuffed up, as though there had been some kind of violent-ish episode in the two rooms of 6 plinths, but not in the many rooms of 4 plinths. Who knows? Well, me.
 
All this investigation was fine, but they wanted to find out what that intermittent light emanating from the spire had been. They had seen it during the previous watch and the first time they had camped out at the base of the Spire. Arradin had tried timing the appearance of the light, but it did not seem to have a set schedule. Kerplak had viewed the crack from which the light emanated with his telescope, and he saw a slightly larger than man-size hole in the outer wall of the spire’s disc-like platform. 
 
Fortunately, Torgor was on hand to give them a better idea of where the light must be coming from – roughly clockwise to where they currently were. Since there were no doors leading that way, they backtracked to the hallway outside the circular entrance, to the set of preposterously adorned golden doors. Just when they think they’ve seen as richly decorated a door as they could possibly ever see, another one shows up that manages to be even more splendid. Karzoug obviously had a great way of getting the most out of his craftsmen (hint: he made a point of learning something about each of his craftsmen and providing small treats on their birthdays, and then also covering them in boiling gold if they disappointed him, and Casual Shirt Fridays as a more severe punishment).
 
Kerplak listened at the door and heard nothing. Halvard checked the door for traps and found nothing, then Arradin opened the door. 
 
Inside, a splendid chamber with shining golden walls, polished to a mirror-like sheen. Pillars of decorative gold rose to the high ceiling  and a 20′ wide path of glittering rubies provided a red carpet all the way up to an onyx dias, upon which rested a magnificent golden throne, upon which lounged an armoured woman, drinking a potion.
 
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This character definitely benefited from the new artwork in the Anniversary Edition of ROTRL, second only perhaps to another inhabitant of this level. Nice work Paizo. Not sure what she needs the spurs for, mind you. She was, somewhat refreshingly, just a human woman, albeit wearing some fancy gold armour and drawing a massive golden scimitar that burst into a roiling green flame. She sped toward them – no, that isn’t right – she sped towards Arradin, completely ignoring everyone else.
 
Halvard, Arradin and Ron surrounded her, with Tersplink and Albedon closer to the doors and Torgor and Kerplak staying close but not too close. She and Arradin traded blows, ineffectively at first, but with increasing intensity, the Golden Armoured woman buffeting Arradin backwards with her shield. Arradin, in return gave her a huge gash…
 
Kenneth Willams 2
 
 
…with her sword, causing a solid bleed effect. Albedon had little luck trying to get offensive spells to land on her, as she obviously had considerable spell resistance. Similarly, Halvard and Ron had not much luck landing hits that could get through her armour and Ron wasn’t able to disarm her. It became apparent to Halvard and Torgor, as they had the luxury of not being attacked by this woman, that she wasn’t really fighting them – it was the sword. She was really just keeping up with it. She made lunges at parts of Arradin that she wasn’t really even looking at and the two men had the distinct impression that she might be behind the wheel, but she wasn’t doing the driving. They would have done, at least, if they could possibly have imagined a car, which they could not.
 
Arradin landed a string of decent blows and was saved from a few herself as Tersplink had cast Displacement on her. Then the woman struck back, badly staggering Arradin. Kerplak and Torgor, providing missile support in between going invisible had little luck until a chance shot by Kerplak – a really, really chancey shot – sent a bolt into her Couter.
 
kenneth Williams
 
A Couter is the part of a suit of full plate that guards the elbow. Piercing the elbow, the bolt’s impact caused her to drop the great Scimitar. Tersplink cast Invisibility on himself and leapt on the golden blade, causing it to disappear from view as well.
 
Halvard stepped up and reversed his previously poor luck with Channel Smite and smote her, hard. She collapsed to the ground, unconscious but barely alive, due to some seemingly incidental non-lethal damage that Arradin had done early in the fight.
 
They stripped her of her armour as quickly as they could and healed the bleeding that would otherwise have killed her. Then I think they tied her up. I don’t know. There was talk of an Ice Prison and talk of tying her up, but I’m not sure anyone actually did that. Entirely out of curiousity (it’s all he knows!) Tersplink cast Detect Magic and was pleasantly surprised that the answer was Yes, Everything.
 
Her Armour was a set of +5 Full Plate, her belt a Belt of Physical Might, her bow a ridiculously taut Composite Bow, her boots Boots of Teleportation, her cloak a Cloak of Minor Displacement, the inordinately fancy crown and ring . What they were unable to identify was the small square stone and the Golden Scimitar. Everything else was quickly distributed.
 
Ron and Kerplak, meanwhile, went to check out the throne. They confirmed that it was indeed fabulous. At the far end of the chamber in which they now stood they could see a pair of doors to their right (clockwise) and an open curving passageway to their left (anti-clockwise). That’s where we left them, with the pimpest chair in the world and a woman that they maybe tied up. And 38 hours left to save Varisia.
 
p.s.
 
How chancey was that dice roll that Sean made to send one of Kerplak’s bolts through the woman’s elbow?
 
This chancey. Sean unveils “The Bukowski” technique:
 
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