My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Fri May 01, 2015 2:18 am

Due to a terrible number of distractions (called life), I'm still not nearly done reading the new Freeport book, but I am making progress and making lots of notes for my errata site.

And I'm continuing to build more LEGO minis for the upcoming Gorilla Island adventure. I recently bought some more bricks and minis through Bricklink, including a few more Legends of Chima gorillas and a Rock Raiders rock monster. I won't be able to do everything in LEGO, most notably the nameless NPCs in the tribal settlements. But I've been cutting out some more "A Monster For Every Season"* minis to help diversify my "mook box" (which consists of HeroQuest figures and some cheap, used D&D minis).

* Simple, cartoony PDF fold-up minis that Rick Berlew made as rewards for his OOTS Kickstarter a couple years back.
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Tue May 12, 2015 10:36 pm

There's finally an end in sight to our present hiatus, which has been due to two of our players being graduate students who are getting married at the end of this month. It looks like we may be able to fit in a short session Memorial Day weekend, then start up again early regularly next month. Which is excellent news, because Nate's campaign thread is making me miss my own game even worse...
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Sat May 30, 2015 4:41 am

After a 6-month hiatus for the holidays, two short campaigns run by other players, and waiting for our newest players to resurface, we've finally had another session of Freeport! Huzzah! (Nothing makes you second-guess yourself like having to wait and wait and wait to get back to the thing you've done so much prep for.)

Damarak heard of a retired gnome sailor, "Old Tom" Oakstaff, known for his tall tales of the merfolk. The party tracked down Old Tom in one of his favorite dives on the Docks, regaling the crowd with thrilling battles against the hated sea-devils and his bawdy tales of romancing bonny mermaids.

The PCs plied Tom with drink to learn more about the disappearance of the local merfolk. Oakstaff told them about the long war between the merfolk and sahaugin of the Serpent's Teeth, in which the sea-devils utlimately wiped out the merfolk's reef village a few years ago. He gave them the location of that settlement, and the approximate direction of the sahuagin tribe's home. Tom also shared general information about the sea-devils' society, language, and religion, and revealed their few weaknesses: sensitivity to light, and a tendency to frenzy when blooded. Tom hopes that some of his friends survived to join their distant kin elsewhere, but the race hasn't been sighted near Freeport since then. The party returned to the ship to discuss what they'd learned, and decided to investigate the ruined village before plotting revenge on the sea-devils.

When they reached the site, Larkspur and her crocodile reconnoitered underwater. They saw sharks in the area, and as they approached the edge of the village, the druid caught sight of a few sea-devils lurking in the ruins. She returned to the ship to report this, then cast life bubble to allow the party to survive underwater. The non-swimmers advanced along the sea floor, while Inacio charged ahead astride his elasmosaurus to engage the sea-devils and sharks in combat. After taking out this first group (leavign one merely unconscious), they faced reinforcements led by a priestess. This wave was also vanquished, and the priestess subdued and taken prisoner. (A well-timed glitterdust by Harissa's cohort Virali neutralized the cleric long enough to prevent her using her own spells.) The party retreated to the boat with their prisoners to rest, heal, and prepare new spells. Damarak plans to cast zone of truth the next morning to see what useful information they can get out of these two sahuagin.

The players and their characters are not optimistic about their chances of success with this interrogation. It's become an in-joke that this group can't intimidate anyone worth a damn. The couple of NPCs that they've tried to interrogate so far belonged to, in my players'' words, a torture cult [Lowyatar's Society of the Velvet Whip], and laughed at their feeble, clumsy threats.

The party's renewed interest in the merfolk and sahuagin has led me to adjust my plan for getting them to Gorilla Island. I'll be throwing them some clues about survivors which will lead them there, either before or after they try hunting more sea-devils. The merfolk have also given me a good personal subplot for Damarak, whose player is highly amused by the idea of his undine cleric trying to get some mermaid booty. He'll be a bit frustrated in that pursuit unless he can find someone who knows the fins to feet spell (from Advanced Race Guide). I've let Larkspur's player use a few non-undine druid spells from that book, but she won't get this one as a freebie--it's going to be a special quest for Damarak.
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:25 am

After a night of rest (with the water-breathing prisoners tethered to the ship, under constant watch), the party interrogated the two sahaugin. They managed to intimidate the priestess enough to collect a fair bit of information:
  • The merfolk are dead, or gone. They were lesser creatures, worthy only to be dominated.
  • The local leader is known as the Marquess. Treasure stolen from the merfolk goes to her.
  • The sea devils now serve Dagon, the Hunger From the Depths (a demon lord). He and his chosen will consume the air-breathers, and any others who stand against them.
  • There is a settlement to the north of the reef, with hundreds of sea-devils, and a temple to Dagon.
After disposing of the shark-men, the party continued to lurk in the sea lanes near Windward, looking for places that sahaugin might ambush ships.

They soon encountered a Kizmiri ship, the Brass Falcon, that had been looking for them. Harissa's betrothed, Rameel, was aboard, and asked to speak with her. Grudgingly she agreed, if only to finally tell him off. He came aboard the Half-Pint and they spoke--in front of the crew, at Harissa's insistence. She eventually convinced him that she was was perfectly content as a pirate and had no intention of ever going home to her family or to any husband. After the Falcon sailed off, she explained that part of her past to her shipmates, She also vowed to kill the cleric Khalib, with whom she's fought twice in the past, and who she believes told Rameel she was in Freeport.

A storm brewed up, so the crew took the ship around to the safer side of Windward. (This proved more difficult than it should have been, as everyone but the cool-headed druid Larkspur had trouble making Profession [sailor] checks.) During the storm, Damarak stripped to the waist and stayed on deck, reveling in this display of the power of his god (Melkarth, god of strength and storms). St. Elmo's Fire wreathed the mast and rigging, and a fragment of this witchfire enveloped the undine cleric. The light attempted to communicate with him, asking what he was trying to do. When Damarak tried to explain fighting the sahuagin and looking for the merfolk, the entity showed him pictures of a great battle between the two races--then the image of a breathtakingly beautiful mermaid sunning herself near an island. Damarak instantly fell in love (and lust!) and gushed to the others about the vision his god had granted him.

The hadozee ranger, Inacio, recognized the fiery creature as a comozant, a form of air elemental that appears during storms, but he knew nothing more about them. Issalia heard fragments of Auran when it "spoke" to Damarak, so tried to speak with it. The comozant went to her, and seemed pleased to recognize her as a sylph. It then moved to Inacio, who found the thing's touch unpleasant and itchy, It showed him a treetop village inhabited by vanara, near a mountain with a rock formation resembling an ape's face. The St. Elmo's Fire, and the entity, then vanished into the sky, and the storm broke soon after.

When the party compared notes, Damarak was reminded of traveler's tales of "Gorilla Island," an earthly paradise from vanaran legend. However, the party still has no clues to how to find this island, or the mermaid the cleric saw, so they will continue focusing on the sahaugin for now.
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:56 am

For the next session, I took a break from the party's quest to give them an opportunity they had been looking for, to acquire a larger ship. The day after the storm, they found another ship run aground on the reefs, but not yet sunk. Its crew of goblins and gnolls were busy trying to free it from the reef when the Half-Pint sailed closer to take stock of the situation. Inacio finally got to make use of his training in Semaphore by relaying messages from Captain Harissa to the ship in distress. He was answered by a goblin lookout, whose captain--a female catfolk dressed in even more gaudy pirate garb than Harissa--requested aid.

This, of course, was a mistake, as the Half-Pint's crew attacked as soon as a couple lines had been run to the Sea Cat. Harissa promptly boarded across the tightened ropes, heading for the enemy captain, while Inacio followed and started mowing down goblins. His elasmosaurus, along with Larkspur and her crocodile, ambushed the gnolls who were working in the water on the reef. The animals mauled hapless victims while the druid's aqueous orb neutralized more of them. Damarak used call lightning to pick off crewmen trying to work the 'Cat's ballistas, though he drew archer fire himself--and then punished the fools who dared attack him.

Harissa's cohort Virali used glitterdust to good effect, throwing many goblins into confusion, and briefly taking the gnoll first mate out of the fight. When the goblin lookout starting lobbing bombs at her allies, she used the same spell to neutralize him. The poor gob tried to escape by diving overboard, but fell poorly and knocked himself out when he hit the water.

When Inacio and his beast messily finished off the catfolk captain (with a critical hit each!), the gnoll first mate surrendered. Harissa knocked him overboard, declaring, "MY SHIP!" With that, all that was left was to mop up, and spare enough goblins to help the party sail the ship back to port after they free and repair the ship.

The party has already chosen a new name for the ship: The Growler. Larkpsur plans to use warp wood to change the seacat figurehead into a narwhale [I plan to make some "Unikitty" jokes at their expense] and to help Damarak make repairs (though he'll be using make whole).
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby Angel Tarragon » Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:18 am

Sounds like an exciting, fun and funny time. I'm looking forward to hearing more about this campaign.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:04 am

The party took a couple days to free the ship from the reef, make repairs, and sail the new ship to port. Between the loot from the captured ship, and selling off The Half-Pint, each PC acquired a nice pile of cash, which some of them spent immediately to acquire better magical gear. Harissa also recruited more crew--more goblins and a half-dozen half-orcs--with promises of booze and adventure.

Inacio, for his part, found an unlucky halfling to press-gang the night before they sailed out again. He did this purely out of spite--the hadozee has hated all halflings ever since the pirate Barty the Small captured a ship he served on, and is now obsessed with getting revenge.

The next couple week were spent hunting sahuagin in the waters around the Serpent's Teeth, and fighting a few battles with the sea-devils. [I skipped over playing out these fights in the interest of getting to more interesting stuff.] One night, after their latest fight, a mermaid ghost appeared, looking pleased at seeing the remains of slain shark-men. Damarak noted a strong resemblance to the mermaid from his vision (though the ghost appeared older), and engaged her in conversation.

The party learned that the mermaid, Maladara, had been slain in the last large battle between her people and the sahaugin. Some of the merfolk had escaped, including a few of her close kin, but had not returned to the area since. She knew the location of the sea-devils' temple, and informed them that the site was less heavily-guarded than usual due to the number of sahaugin who were out hunting the PCs. Maladara revealed that the leader, the Marquess, was a malenti (a mutant sahuagin who looks like an aquatic elf), was a spellcaster but not a priest, and rode a large, unnatural-looking shark.

The PCs rested that night, then followed Maladara's directions to the temple the next morning, anchoring some distance from the town then traveling underwater the rest of the way. The Temple of Dagon consisted of a large, low dome with a number of openings around the base, and small enclosed rooms projecting from the cardinal points. Maladara drew away a number of guards by appearing nearby and singing--this brazen display by a hated merfolk proved nicely disttracting! This allowed the PCs to fight their way into the temple against fewer sea-devils and sharks. Once inside, they could see that the dome was a single open chamber with a large well-like opening in the center of the floor. One of the sahaugin guards fled to warn the Marquess, who soon appeared from one of the adjoining rooms. She was a summoner, and called forth her eidolon, "Acid-Maw," a large pallid shark whose giant, fang-filled mouth drooled acid. The shark grabbed and mauled Inacio, but a well-timed grease spell from Virali allowed him to easily wriggle free before being gnawed further.

Meanwhile, Larkspur's daylight spell dazzled the sahaugin, giving her party a significant advantage. Damarak's holy word and Virali's glitterdust further weakened their foes, and prevented Acid-Maw from landing another bite before Harissa delivered the killing blow to the eldritch shark. This loss enraged the Marquess, who was soon surrounded and taken down by the heroes.

The party quickly searched and looted the temple before reinforcements could arrive. The well, from which Acid-MAw had appeared, proved to be filled with innumerable bones of humanoids and large animals. The treasure that they found in the priest quarters included two very unusual items: a long pole upon which were mounted several dozen large shark teeth, and a brass cylinder puzzle-box that they have yet to open. They will study these items further next session. The former is a baronial standard (see Treasures of Freeport), nonmagical but of important cultural value to the tribe. The latter contains a map showing the way to "Gorilla Island," and a ring of jetting (also from Treasures of Freeport).
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:12 am

The party has reached 8th level, and the players are in the process of leveling up their characters. All will continue in their previous classes, except for Inacio, who will pick up a level of monster slayer (see the new Freeport: The City of Adventure book). This means that the Grinder's crew now consists of:
  • Harissa, azhari freebooter 8 and ship's captain, and her cohort Virali (nagaji bard 6)
  • Inacio, hadozee ranger 7/monster slayer 1, and his elasmosaurus companion Lapras
  • Larkspur, undine druid 8, and her crocodile companion Atoll
  • Damarak, undine cleric 8 (of Melkarth, god of strength and storms)
  • Issalia, sylph witch 8, and her owl familiar Titania
  • 5 elf deckhands (Harissa's followers)
  • 18 goblin sailors, 6 half-orc toughs, and 1 halfling "cabin boy"
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby Angel Tarragon » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:38 am

I don't know why but I got a good gut laugh out of imagining a halfling as a cabin boy. :lol:
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:49 am

I'm really tempted to make the little bugger tougher than he looks, and patiently bide his time until he can stab Inacio in the back during the final showdown with Barty. :twisted: Assuming the hadozee lives that long, of course. Meanwhile, the halfling is being studiously careful about following the other officers' orders if it keeps him well out of sight and reach of the crazy monkey.
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:20 pm

The party returned to Freeport and spent the next few days appraising and selling their loot from the sahaugin temple.

Inacio attempted to use his knowledge of traps and devices to open the brass cylinder. As he moved the sliding pieces of the puzzle box, Harissa and Larkspur realized that the parts of the merfolk and dolphin engravings represented stars, and that Inacio had moved them to give a bearing using constellations in the southern sky. Harissa took careful notes and very accurately plotted the indicated course, towards the southern continent of Khaeder. Inacio then manipulated the puzzle further, and found the configuration that opened the cylinder--and indicated that the Serpent's Teeth were intended to be the starting point for the previous bearing.

Inside the device was a small package wrapped in oilskin and sealed with wax, inserted inside a ring. Issalia examined the ring and identified it as a ring of jetting, which would allow its wearer to jet underwater like an octopus. The oilskin contained a tightly rolled map labelled in Aquan as "Gorilla Island." The map depicted an island with a central volcano named Mount Girallon, and four peninsulas: one "arm" for each of the cardinal directions. The southern slope of the volcano's cone depicted Ape Rock, which matched the giant face in Damarak's vision from the comozant wyrd.

After provisioning for the voyage, the Growler set sail. Their course would take them past Crab Island, which they found on the maiden voyage of their previous ship, the Half-Pint. Harissa, Larkspur, and Inacio had told Issalia and Damarak stories of their past adventure here, fighting giant crabs, a sea hag, and the horrible "dead man's brain" coral. This time, they had little fear of the island's dangers, and easily killed a couple of the large crabs to cook for a feast for the crew.

However, while everyone was preoccupied with preparing the feast, the PCs heard screams coming from further down the beach. A huge shark-eating crab, much larger than the species they had encountered before, had attacked one of the foraging parties. Some of the PCs ran to investigate but were too late to save one of the goblin sailors, and found a tough fight on their hands. Larkspur used a geyser spell to hurt the crab and drive it onto the beach where the others could engage it. It then grabbed the druid, who wild shaped into a triceratops in order to better defend herself. The crab landed a lucky crit on Harissa with its free pincer, but couldn't hold onto two foes at once. Then the azhari had it flanked and finished it off with a vicious crit of her own. Damarak arrived just as the crab went down, so could merely provide healing for the badly hurt druid and freebooter. He and Inacio then helped drag the dead crab back to the cook fires.

The immense crab provided ample meat to supplement the ship's larder for the voyage--and Larkspur's cantrips kept it edible for long after the crew grew tired of eating crab! After another two weeks of sailing, they sighted Gorilla Island, and dropped anchor near the mouth of one of the streams on the northern shore.

Inacio took to the trees of the jungle to scout around. He spotted a dragon flying around the peak of the volcano, but was too far away to determine its size and color (just that it was dark, not shiny). He also came across a giant chameleon--as large as a horse and able to snatch a pterodactyl out of the air--but avoided its notice. He returned to the ship to report, and the PCs decided to go hunting the lizard. When they caught up with it, Larkspur took a wrong step and alerted it to their presence. The party had just started to rush towards the lizard when arrows flew out of the nearby foliage and hit several of them. They had been ambushed by a gang of kech, hairless ape-men with camouflaged skin, who had been stalking the chameleon. (Inacio and the kech had failed to notice each other when he was scouting here earlier. :twisted: ) Inacio quickly took out the lizard, then moved to help the party fight the kech. Between his and Harissa's weapon skills, Issalia's hexes, giant spiders summoned by Damarak, and Larkspur in dire tiger form, they made quick work of the kech. They left one alive--hexed to sleep, then webbed and later bound with rope--to interrogate for information about the island.

But that conversation has to wait until next session...
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:32 am

Our next session is scheduled for tomorrow night. Until then, here's a link to my deviantArt gallery, where I've just uploaded the Gorilla Island map. (The Growler is currently anchored near the mouth of the river to the north of the Stone Circle.)
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:19 am

Issalia cast tongues and interrogated the kech prisoner. She intimidated it sufficiently to learn that the north and east sides of the island are controlled by the kech and "four-arms" (girallons). The volcano belongs to the dragon, and the other side is populated by "weakling monkeys" (vanara). The witch spared the kech's life so that it could tell the others of its kind that the party plans to avoid their territory, if they don't attack first.

Out of concern about drawing the dragon's attention, the party went back out to sea to circle around to the south of the island, and approached the river that the map shows as leading to the treetop village. They saw some vanara fade into the trees as they came in close, so anchored at the mouth of the river and kept watches through the night. The vanara set their own watches as well, to keep an eye on the newcomers.

In the morning, the PCs took the ship's dinghy up the river, and encountered one of the locals' leaders, Wokah, who asked their business (in his own language). These ape-men are the standard tailed species, rather than the gliding hadozee subrace Inacio belongs to, so they found his wing-flaps somewhat freakish. That and his low Charisma made a less than ideal first impression, but his news about having a vision of Ape Rock caught Wokah's attention. The vanara decided to take the party to meet "Grandfather." He led them further upriver, where the sharper-eyed PCs could see a village of platforms and rope bridges high in the trees, then turned aside to head for a clearing where a few huge trees held larger structures. During this walk, Inacio recognized an amulet Wokah wore: a pregnant winged ape, which represents the vanara fertility goddess Der-Maga.

After a short wait, a very elderly, mostly white-furred vanara descended slowly to the ground, and was introduced as "Grandfather." (Inacio alone noticed another vanara who came down far more stealthily, and kept a watchful eye on her.) Issalia cast tongues on Damarak to act as the crew's spokesperson. He and Inacio told the old monkey about their visions and showed him their map. Grandfather told them a good amount of lore about the island:
  • Some merfolk have recently come to the waters south of Gorilla Island. The vanara know very little about them yet.
  • Ape Rock is the home of "Der-Maga's Children," who are made in her image and guard the mountain. They keep the dragon away from the village, and the mountain is sacred to Her.
  • The dragon has been seen more often recently, and the volcano has been smoking more than usual, too. However, the vanara are more worried about stories of a leader arising among the girallons (who normally are not very intelligent or organized).
  • The kech hate all other races, and are becoming more aggressive in their raids. The follow a vile form of nature worship, with rituals including the sacrifice and consumption of other intelligent beings.
  • There is a shrine to Der-Maga at the base of the mountain below Ape Rock. The vanara sometimes speak with Her Children there. Damarak asked if outsiders were allowed to visit the site, and Grandfather replied that he will have to pray and think about whether to allow it.
  • The ruins on the north side date from when the island's vanara were more populous, but have since been taken over by the kech, who appeared later. The stone circle is more recent, and attracts both the kech and the girallons. (The latter have been here as long as the vanara.)
  • Besides the various simian races, the island is also inhabited by giant lizards and a number of dinosaur species, both prey and predators. (Occasionally even the jungle itself attacks people.)
  • The party was warned not to kill any of the island's tortoises, who are under the care of "The Old One," a great tortoise who is the oldest living being on the island.
  • Grandfather knows little about the island's four "arms," apart from Sloth Hook, named for the giant sloths found there.
Through Damarak, the Growler's crew offered to help fight the tribe's enemies, while waiting for permission to visit the shrine. The vanara here know little of sailing, but confirmed that the cove inside Sloth Hook is sheltered from the worst weather. The PCs ordered their crew to move the ship to the far side of the small island in the cove, while they remained with the vanara. After some deliberation, they decided that they would investigate westward first, exploring Rocky Fist Point then heading north into girallon territory. They intend to eventually thin out the kech a bit, and hopefully learn more about their priests at the Stone Circle.
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:07 pm

In related news, I've finally finished compiling my errata page for the Pathfinder edition of Freeport: The City of Adventure. :ugeek:
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:35 pm

The party started their trek to the island's western arm by following the river back to the shore. Before they exited the jungle, they were ambushed by two huge beetles that had natural camouflage making them look like fallen trees until they moved. The first insect went down quickly under hits from Inacio and Harissa, a call lightning from Damarak, and a burning hands from Issalia. Then the second one finally connected with Inacio, inflicting a critical hit and grabbing him. Damarak slapped a cure critical wounds on him, which saved the ranger from dying from an attack of opportunity as he slipped free and retreated out of reach. Harissa landed a critical hit (with dirty fighting added in) on the second beetle, disabling it. This bug bit the cleric, who was in the path to its escaped prey, before collapsing.

(These deadfall beetles were a new monster of my own creation, and I was very pleased by how the combat played out. As my wife put it afterwards, they weren't very dangerous to the party as a whole, but posed a serious threat to any individual they successfully hit (2d8+12 plus grab). The one that grabbed Inacio did 49 damage--one point away from forcing this campaign's first save vs. massive damage! Now that my players have encountered this creature, I'll be posting its stats to my Studded Plate blog soon.)

After several healing spells were cast, the party continued onward along the shore to Rocky Fist Point. They decided to climb the spire to see the surrounding area better, and Larkpsur cast mass feather step to make this easier. (The spell's recipients ignore difficult terrain.) As they hiked up the steep slopes, Larkpsur spotted a dragon coming in for a landing near the top. She warned the others, and Inacio, being a natural climber, went ahead to scout. He found the dragon--actually a two-legged, grayish drake covered in spines--perched on a large shelf-like flat space near the peak, next to a cave opening, eating what remained of a vanara. He reported back via message. The ranger circled to a closer hiding spot while he waited for the rest of the party to come up. Damarak used a silence spell to cover their approach, but the dragon noticed them as soon as they were close enough to run out of cover.

Harissa charged the dragon, which allowed Inacio to flank it with surprise. The drake then spat a glob of black dust at the ground, so that it that exploded over both attackers. This breath weapon did negative energy damage and cursed them for a round (with effects similar to a doom spell). The party's weapons and spells quickly wore down the drake, and it fled--but it waited just a little too long to do so. Larkspur wild shaped into a pteranodon to pursue it, but a critical hit from Harissa's crossbow knocked it unconscious, causing the dragon to fall to its death on the mountainside.

All but Larkspur explored the small cave, finding a nest, hundreds of broken bones, and a battered sea chest. The chest held a (Tiny) scorpion, which attacked Inacio, who handily killed it. The treasure inside the chest was less than they had hoped--a scroll, a couple potions, a well-made starknife, and a handful of gems, The better climbers in the group then finished the ascent to the peak to have a look around. (There was little to see that wasn't already on their map, but the druid did spot a couple of huge sea turtles swimming offshore nearby.) The party then worked their way down to the dragon's body, and spent the rest of the day butchering it for its spiny hide and horns--and hoping to find whatever glands or other organs produced its cursing breath.

(The dragon was a spire drake from Bestiary 4, but they were unable to identify it. They will need to do some research to learn more about it--and Damarak has been inspired to try to create a "mass doom" spell. As a Large dragon, its hide could be used to craft dragonhide hide armor, which could be used by the druid. However, Larkspur has been avoiding medium armor to date because she has a poor Strength score and prefers to have her speed unimpeded. At the very least, though, they'll have an impressive trophy to show off to the vanara village when they return.)
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:06 am

Stats for the deadfall beetle have been posted to my blog.
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:40 am

It looks like my game is on more-or-less official hiatus until the new year. One of our players has to finish writing the first draft of her dissertation by mid-January, and the rest of us have our own work- and/or school-related stress to deal with through the holiday season. Until then, we'll be trying to fit in some lower-impact socializing--one-shots, board games, movies, whatever--for however many of us are free to hang out on a given weekend.
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:00 am

I've been going over the pages from of my now-defunct "Dreams of Freeport" wiki, which archived notes from my first two Freeport campaigns (in v.3.0 and v.3.5, respectively). I will eventually migrate some of that material to the current "Winds of Freeport" wiki, such as:

  • An overview of H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands (in which those first two campaigns were set, before I changed to the World of Freeport for "Winds").
  • Gods of the Dreamlands, including alignments and domains.
  • A couple short adventures I wrote for the v.3.0 campaign.
  • The final stat blocks for the PCs from both campaigns. (I've advanced few of them as NPCs for "Winds," and may post those versions there as well.)

For now, I've started that migration with the old v.3.5 version of the Gods of Freeport page, and the 4E version I worked out before I chose to stick with v.3.5 instead. (That's the only 4E page I'll be saving, as the others were mostly excerpts from the Freeport Companion,)
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:54 am

So, I decided to migrate more pages sooner than I thought I would: The "Past Lives" page presents material from my first two Freeport/Dreamlands campaigns.
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:34 am

(Huzzah! We're finally past the holiday-induced gaming drought!)

The party returned to the village with their trophies, and told the tale to the vanara leaders. "Grandfather" complimented them on their prowess, and granted the party permission to visit the goddess Der-Maga's shrine. The PCs spent a day or two checking in with the crew they had left on the Growler, and preparing some simple offerings to take to the holy place.

Wokah, the first priest they had met, led them into the jungle towards the base of Mount Girallon. Along the way, the party was attacked by a hungry allosaurus, who grabbed their guide. Damarak channeled energy to heal him, and Virali cast prestidigitation to make him taste awful, making the dinosaur drop him. (I decided to allow this, after a successful Bluff check, because it was a clever idea.) The druid Larkspur wild shaped into elasmosaurus form to overcome the allosaur's sizable reach, and Inacio tumbled past it to flank (he failed to avoid drawing an attack of opportunity, but the dinosaur rolled a natural 1 to hit him). A grease spell tripped the beast, and Issalia's slumber hex knocked it out briefly. Inacio took advantage of this to pour poison into its mouth. When the poison started to work, the allosaurus woke up, but it died from a severe beating before it could rise.

The party resumed their travel, and reached the shrine without further incident. The shrine was located in a cave on the shoulder of the volcano, directly below the massive formation known as Ape Rock. Wokah instructed them to leave their offerings on the altar of piled stones outside, then led them into the cave. The tunnel opened into a small, dead-end chamber where two man-sized statues of winged apes holding falchions flanked an alcove where a small, crude stone idol of Der-Maga (a pregnant winged ape) was displayed. Wokah prayed before this niche (in Vanaran), explaining that these visitors had received visions leading them here. He then moved aside and asked any any of the PCs wished to offer prayers. Inacio and Damarak chose to do so, asking (in their own native languages, Vanaran and Aquan respectively) for guidance regarding their visions.

The party then heard a voice like that of an elderly female vanara coming from the idol. It spoke in Vanaran to Inacio, welcoming him to the home of his distant kin. It spoke of a threat arising among the four-arms (girallons) that was beyond the monkey-folk's power to end, and asked that he and his companions eliminate it. If they did so, the goddess and her followers would be grateful--and they would see that his genes would not be lost to their race. Also, the Children of Der-Maga would help the party locate the mermaid that the undine cleric sought. Inacio relayed this to the others, minus the part about himself possibly getting a mate out of the deal.

(Inacio has a Cha of 5, so the party tries to keep him out of sight whenever they want to make a good impression on anyone. There's also a running joke that the only way he can get any companionship is to pay for it--and vanaras are in short supply in the Serpent's Teeth as it is.)

The party then left the shrine and returned to the village. Their plan now is to deal with the girallons as quickly as possible, so that they can claim their promised rewards. To do this, they will return to their first anchorage at the island, which is on the coast nearest the stone circle where the girallons and kech are known to gather.

As they sailed around the island, the crew spotted a huge eurypterid (sea scorpion) that turned to attack the ship. Inacio manned the ballista, with some deckhands to help him reload more quickly. Larkspur, her crocodile companion, and Inacio's elasmosaurus were already in the water, pacing the boat, when the monster attacked, so they took the brunt of its attacks. As the druid attempted to grapple it in giant squid form, Harissa leaped overboard onto its back, and dealt the killing blow. Damarak healed the party members who needed it, and treated the animal companions for poison from the vermin's stinger.
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:48 am

The Growler reached the river mouth, dropped anchor, and the party rested to heal and replenish spells. The next morning, they trekked into the jungle looking for the stone circle.

When they reached the site, they stayed hidden in the trees while they looked around. In a clearing a few hundred feet across were two concentric circles of standing stones, surrounding a small rise. The inner circle was made of trilithons, the outer one of single upright stones. Inside the circles, at the peak of the low hill, was a large slab obviously meant to be some sort of altar. On the far side, rows of stones flanked a path that continued southwards into the jungle. The clearing seemed empty at first, but then the sharper-eyed PCs noticed three unmoving humanoids standing inside the circles.

When the party moved closer to the edge of the trees, they identified the humanoids as kech, and the Larkspur (the undine druid) spotted a girallon resting under a tree a couple hundred feet away. They moved to ambush the four-armed beast, and Larkspur cast entangle on the kech. The girallon managed to rend Harissa (the azhari freebooter) before falling to the party's weapons. However, another kech fired on the party from the trees. That made it a target for the druid's sleet storm.

More kech appeared from the other direction, shooting Damarak (the undine cleric) a few times before succumbing to call lightning spell, Larkpsur's ball lightning, and other PCs' arrows. One tried to flee, but could not escape the party's range in time. The party then turned its attention to the entangled kech, which turned out to be zombies. These monsters proved too slow to break free of the animated vines and leave the area before being grasped again, so were easy targets for spells that Issalia (the sylph witch) delivered via spectral hand.

However, as the party was mopping up there, a second girallon entered the far side of the clearing. Larkspur attacked it with an ice storm spell, before wild shaping into a stegosaurus. A glitterdust spell from Virali (Harissa's nagaji bard cohort) blinded the girallon for an instant, then Harissa's quick blade wounded it severely [two critical hits!] and one of Damarak's lightning strikes finished it off.

Another kech caught most of the party in an entangle spell, but only the druid's crocodile companion was held fast. The kech then fled into the jungle, but Inacio (the hadozee ranger) drank a potion of haste and took to the trees to pursue it. Virali tagged it with glitterdust, which prevented it from simply vanishing into the jungle. Inacio quickly caught up with it, and they traded blows until Harissa arrived a couple rounds later to help her crewmate finish it off.

Harissa examined the kech's gear: a longbow, arrows, and a sack. The bag held a potion, a small stone cube, and three vanara pelts. This incensed Inacio enough that he skinned the dead kech in revenge.

Meanwhile, the others had not been idle. Damarak studied the henge to look for clues to its purpose. The altar stone was stained brown from repeated sacrifices, and the other stones bore some crude symbols weathered to illegibility. Larkspur returned to her own form and beheaded the two girallons in order to carry trophies back to the vanara village. Issalia examined the dead kech, which carried no gear apart from longbows and arrows.

When Inacio and Harissa returned, Issalia studied the loot, identifying the items as a healing potion, a stone of alarm, and a bag of holding. When the others learned about the vanara pelts, they agreed to carry them back to the village after finishing their current mission to take out the girallon's leader, which they were fairly certain was not among the dead here. Inacio laid the kech spellcaster's hide on the altar stone as a grim message for others of its kind.

The ranger had seen that the rows of stones to the south continued some distance into the jungle, marking a path heading in the general direction of the volcano, They party decided to follow that route next. But first, they made camp a short distance away from the clearing to spend some time recovering from the battle.

Image

While working out the map for this battle, I decided to render it in LEGO, to better help both me and my players visualize the location. Each stud represents a 5-foot space, making the map model above 400 ft x 400 ft. We ran the combat on this map, using microfigures for the PCs and kech, and small microscale models for the girallons and the druid's animal companion and wild shape form. We also used small plates or dice to mark spell effects on the map. This worked out quite well, and gave us a chance to try a larger battle scene that wouldn't fit on a standard 1" grid battle map. More pictures of the model (both pre-game and during play) can be found at my Brickshelf gallery. [That folder is not yet public, but should be within a couple days.]
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:25 am

During the night, the party's sentries spotted some very large bats flying around the nearby jungle. At least once, a pair of them came close enough that the PCs on watch could see that they had kech riding on their backs, but fortunately none of these night-hunters spotted the PCs' hidden camp.

In the morning, the party followed the path into the jungle. After proceeding this way for quite some time, Larkspur spotted girallon tracks coming to and leaving the path at one point. The party decided to follow these tracks, which led them upward beyond where the trees thinned out, and into a steep ravine in the mountainside. The girallon tracks continued into this ravine.

The party could see some cave openings ahead, 30 or more feet above the floor of the ravine. Damarak cast silence on a hammer so that Inacio could climb the stone face and quietly pound in pitons to anchor a rope for the others to climb up to the nearest cave. When he got about halfway up, the edge of the silence spell reached the cave, alerting a kech within. The creature shot arrows at Inacio, who easily dodged and climbed up to the entrance to kill the kech. The cave was also inhabited by a mobat, which tried twice to bull rush the hadozee off the cliff. This simply left it more open to Inacio's weapons, and the ranger finished it off quickly. He then finished installing the rope, and the rest of the party joined him.

From here, they could see other cave mouths further up the ravine, and a tunnel leading towards one of them. They followed this, and discovered a weird, four-horned, ape-headed beast in the next room. Damarak's blessing of fervor spell gave the party the speed to surround it before it could react. The fiendish thing breathed fire onto Harissa, Virali, and the druid's crocodile companion. The cleric blasted it with a holy smite spell that, while it did mijnor injuries to his allies (the party is entirely CN), it dropped the daemon to 0 hp. Inacio then downed it with his silversheened trident.

As the party fought the daemon, some of them noticed a girallon resting in a chamber beyond it. Despite the silenced hammer being used to mask most of the sounds of combat, the ape quickly came alert. It cast a defensive spell or two, then entered the fray just as the guardian daemon fell. The girallon--a large female wearing a small wooden idol around its neck--recognized Inancio as one of the hated vanara, and managed to rend him. While Damarak channelled healing and Issalia inflicted a touch of idiocy spell, Harissa started to carve into the beast with her yatagan, landing several hits (including two critical hits) that finished it off.

When the girallon fell, its blood left the body in a cloud of mist, which coalesced into a new monster: a blood-red, horned, ape-like fiend with a maw of teeth in the center of its chest. Issalia identified it as a baragara, a chaotic evil outsider, and concluded that it had been possessing the girallon. Her lore was not complete enough to provide any clue to its capabilities or weaknesses. Damarak tried another holy smite, but could not overcome its SR.

The baragara trapped Inacio with a hold spell, and demoralized Harissa, but the freebooter kept fighting. Issalia managed to inflict her evil eye hex on it, making it easier to hit, but the part had trouble getting through its DR. Only the azhari Harissa, using her might of the efreet and dirty fighting, seemed to do much damage to it. The baragara then focused on her, and grabbed hold of her. Even Virali's grease spell was not enough help to let her wriggle free, and the monster's chest-maw began chewing her flesh. However, at this point, the party's luck turned, and the crocodile Atoll landed a brutal critical hit with its tail slap [which benefits from the Improved Natural Attack feat]. Issalia then used her slumber hex on the fiend, and it failed its save and collapsed. The party held their next blows, allowing Atoll to administer a coup de grace that killed the baregara. As the party hacked into it to make sure it was truly dead, its body melted into a pool of gore, splattering the party and thoroughly soaking the exsanguinated girallon's fur.

As Virali made liberal use of prestidigitation to clean her allies, the PCs examined the withered corpse, and the room it came from. The girallon wore an amulet that had a wooden carving of a horned, four-armed ape attached to the same necklace. In the room, they found a black stone idol of the same girallon-like form standing upon a flat-topped boulder. Issalia cast identify and learned that the necklace was an amulet of mighty fists (thundering) and that the idol, carved from magically hardened obsidian, functioned like a darkskull (radiating a continual unhallow and bane effect). Damarak also spent some time examining the idol and wooden unholy symbol, and identified the god depicted as Gral-Bara, Demon Lord of Apes. The party put the idol into their newly-acquired bag of holding to protect themselves from its aura. They also decapitated the girallon priest and added her head to the bag, so that they could display it as a trophy when they returned to the vanara village.

But first, they have to determine if they can clear out the other girallons that they expect to find in these caves--or even safely leave the ravine. Their cleric is nearly out of spells after patching up their latest wounds, and the other spellcasters don't have much magic left, either. But one decision was easy: they unanimously agreed that Larkspur's crocodile Atoll more than earned the magical amulet!
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:58 am

This fight was one of the main boss battles on Gorilla Island, so I deliberately made it very difficult for them. The party is currently 8th level (with Virali, the cohort, at 6th). The ceustrodaemon (or guardian daemon; Bestiary 2) is only CR 6, but has DR 10/good or silver. The baregara (Bestiary 3) is CR 12, with DR 10/good. That DR, and the baragara's high SR, made the fight very challenging for them.

The girallon (Bestiary) was a more intelligent (and evil) "high girallon," as well as a 3rd-level cleric (CR 8). I also adapted the demon-possessed template from Advanced Bestiary for use with baregara (who are CE outsiders, but not demons). That raised the girallon's CR to 11--then they had to fight the expelled fiend itself when its host died.

Between the XP for these monsters (and the puny kech and mobat), and a story award for the major milestone, each PC earned close to 10K of XP this session! They are still 3K-4K short of reaching 9th level, but another average session should get them there.

Here are links to the photos I took of the battle during game, showing the LEGO minis we used:
Mobat vs. Inacio
The ceustodaemon
The high girallon
The baregara rises!
Victory at last!
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby Nate Christen » Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:26 pm

timemrick wrote:When the girallon fell, its blood left the body in a cloud of mist, which coalesced into a new monster: a blood-red, horned, ape-like fiend with a maw of teeth in the center of its chest. Issalia identified it as a baragara, a chaotic evil outsider, and concluded that it had been possessing the girallon. Her lore was not complete enough to provide any clue to its capabilities or weaknesses.


Thanks for sharing this, Tim; I enjoy reading your updates.

How do you handle Knowledge checks to identify new enemies? I like to provide some information, to provide a benefit for investing in Knowledge skills, but I'm never sure how much information to reveal based on the DC of the check.

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Re: My 3rd Freeport campaign: Winds of Freeport

Postby timemrick » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:19 am

Nate Christen wrote:How do you handle Knowledge checks to identify new enemies? I like to provide some information, to provide a benefit for investing in Knowledge skills, but I'm never sure how much information to reveal based on the DC of the check.

To be honest, I end up winging it most of the time. My players are usually fishing for, "Does it have DR, and what overcomes it? Does it have energy resistance? What kind of nasty stuff can it do to us?" (Usually in that order, especially the past couple sessions.) So I usually give them one special attack or defense for every 5 points that they exceed the DC.

In this last session, they failed their checks to identify the ceustodaemon, so didn't get any information on it. Issalia barely made her Knowledge check to identify the baregara, so got the name and type (chaotic evil outsider) but nothing else. I gave them the possession tidbit as a freebie, just because it helped explain what they were seeing. In an earlier session, they had a good enough check to learn that girallons are magical beasts, have a rend attack, have no special resistances, and aren't very intelligent. (There wasn't really much more to tell them than that, except maybe what a "high girallon" was, but their checks werne't that good.)
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My new Pathfinder game (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.
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