The Acts of the Lords of Rannick, LXXXVII

The more these sessions boil down to being long fights and no exploration, the less I have to actually say about them. Fortunately, that last session was pretty damn funny. I can’t believe it has taken us this long to put Sean’s conversations with the Fresh Wok delivery lady on speakerphone. It was kind of how I always imagined that those conversations went… I just couldn’t have imagined how perfectly I had imagined them. I don’t know how one goes about establishing such a rapport over the course of 4 minute telephone conversations every week for a few years, but evidently Sean does. 
Anyway, yes, this may be a short entry, but not a useless one, because although they didn’t cover a great deal of Runelord trivia or real estate, they DID find out what Spells he can cast, because he cast a bunch at them. Similarly, Karzoug got to see what they could do… Not that there isn’t exploration and some exposition to drop yet, but pretty much everything is in place for the end game:
  • They know that in about 2.3 days from now Karzoug will have collected enough souls to come back to Golarion and plunge Varisia into a new age of tyranny.
  • They’ve found Karzoug’s Citadel.
  • They have two weapons specially forged to kill Karzoug.
  • They’ve been alerted by the Spiders and the Dragon that the Men of Leng intend to divert the soul energy that is bringing about Karzoug’s return and instead split the mountain open and release Mhar, an elder god of considerable brain-melting power. they’ve discovered that there are two possible end-of-Varisia-as-you-know-it plots going on and they’re all poised to go, right? Ha.
The body of the Rune Giant who had been blocking the door barely had time to hit the floor before we finished last time. We started this session with Arradin getting out of her Red Dragon plate armour and into the +5 Full Plate (Armour +14, woo!) that the Rune Giant had previously occupied. This took a while.
That wasn’t time anyone was going to waste waiting, so they started exploring this large room… really a large double hallway lined with doors. Ron, Halvard, Dagfinn and Kerplak took to exploring these doors as Tersplink returned to help Arradin out of and into armour.
The first door they opened was neither trapped nor locked and upon opening they discovered a bare room; opulent, but not insanely so, like other parts of the building. The only features of the room were six 12″ high plinths, each about 5′ wide and a persistent arcane hum that Tersplink and Dagfinn could detect (A flat).
They tried scratching one of the plinths, but that did nothing. In fact they couldn’t find out anything interesting about either the hum or the plinths. And there were a lot of them, each door they opened contained either 4 or 6 plinths and humming.
The room curved away in one direction, with doors lining the curved walls, so they set off to see if they could find anything more interesting than plinths and A flat. They did! They found Karzoug again. And Karzoug cast a bunch of spells at them! That’s what he does.

Here’s a tiny toony Karzoug from this guy: who does a good line in cartoony Paizo characters.

The spells he cast weren’t as devastating as Disintegrate, but still made life a bit difficult for everyone.
Two stood out, because they weren’t just damage effects.
  • Repulsion: Kept Halvard infuriatingly far away from Karzoug, to the extent that Halvard had to channel negative energy to make any hurt happen to him.
  • Mass Reduce Person: By which Tersplink and Kerplak were reduced to Tiny and Dagfinn was reduced to Small. This effect is extant at the end of the session IIRC.
What he relied on for damage were two pie plate damage spells which turned the wide open space into something difficult to get around.
  • *cough*Evard’s*cough* Black Tentacles: They grapple, they damage, this and Colour Spray are some of my fondest recollections of playing a Wizard. That and being killed by cats and centipedes. One of the bad things about Pathfinder being D&D without the rights to the D&D-specific stuff is that they can’t continue with the Vancian tradition of naming spells, which is too bad, because I think having a product line like Bigby’s and Evard’s and Tenser’s is neat. I kind of image D&D mages being like those guys with Calvin-pissing-on-Auto-manufacturer-logos on their trucks. “I’m a Melf mage, as have been always will be: Melt Everyone, Loot First, that’s what I always say.” “Give me Bigby any day, I here Melf spells aren’t even written on Greyhawk anymore.”
  • Cloudkill: A rolling bank of – at this level – Lesser Restoration sapping. Cloudkill plain old kills weaker opponents, but at your lofty level, all it can do is zap your Constitution. Which will mean you’ll need Lesser Restoration to get them back quickly enough to be of use… yeah, Karzoug’s head isn’t just an Ioun Stone rack.
He cast a few others, a Magic Missile here, a Scorching Ray there, but that’s about that.
Karzoug started his offensive with the Black Tentacles which grappled Kerplak and Dagfinn. There was all sorts of shenanigans to get them out of it, including greasing them up with Grease. Eventually they got out, but the Tentacles suck around, choking the hallway with animated-japanese-schoolgirl-molesting creepiness.
The Cloudkill was laid down close to Karzoug with the aim of eating everyone’s Constitution, but fortunately Ron still had his Staff of Heaven and Earth and used a charge to cast Gust of Wind to blow the poisonous cloud away. The effects of Cloudkill were ameliorated by Tersplink’s Mass Bear’s Endurance.
The Repulsion kept Halvard at bay and Dagfinn and Arradin had to struggle through it, Arradin making an end run around the Tentacles and bisecting Karzoug with her Domineering sword. Karzoug had taken hits, notably from Halvard’s channeling, Dagfinn’s Deafening Song Bolt (which caused him to disappear for a round or two) and Ron’s shuriken. But Arradin’s strike appeared to have a an instant effect. The blade passed straight through the image of Karzoug and the Runelord looked surprised for a moment as light spilled out of the rent in his projection. A second later he was gone.
To follow up, Tersplink cast Detect Magic and began examining the fabric of space inside the room. He found that there were spots – strongest where Karzoug appeared – where the weave of this particular dimension was more meshed with that of another dimension; this meant that (insert arcano-babble here) and that the (insert arcano-babble here), which was quite contrary to the normal working of things. To summarize; Karzoug is able to project only in certain areas of this building because that is where the link between this plane and whatever-plane Karzoug is on is strongest. Karzoug can’t just pop up behind you in the shower, but has to (somehow) lie in wait for you at certain points of this spire. That seems like it should be useful.
Anyway, healing was passed around. And they started opening more doors. The doors they chose to open were in one corner of the room and far more fancy than the doors that led to plinth rooms. They checked it then opened the door, which open to reveal a glimmering golden mist, filling the room. They stepped in…
…and one by one appeared in a puff of rolling golden mist in the Lower City, pretty much right outside the Rune Giant’s Fortress, that Shahlaria. If they looked up, they could see the Spire of Xin Shalast, far above them on the face of the Mhar Massif.
That seems like a good place to say that they have 54 hours left to save Varisia.
Sean won the night’s Fate card, not for any roleplaying heroics, but more for that telephone call, which is really the work of a few years and heroic in its own charismatic way.