Iron Gods: Fires of Creation
Episode 2: The Weeping Cavern
Last Time on Iron Gods
The party was hired to delve a series of caverns beneath the town in search of the missing councilor Khonnir Baine. First, they investigated the site of the town's namesake fire; finding no clues there, they then proceeded to the Foundry tavern, a place they had been told they could use as a base of operations. On nearing the tavern, however, they discovered Val, Khonnir's adoptive daughter, under assault by a malfunctioning robot! Barek's swift blade dispatched the metallic monstrosity, and now the group plans their next move…
10 Rova 4714 AR
The party elected to rest for the night, and sought out Joram Kyte in the morning. After receiving the priest's blessings, the party heads to Weeping Pond.
The party is under the effects of water breathing for six hours.
The party swims across the acrid water to a submerged cave entrance along the cliff at the opposite side of the pond. The 45-foot-long tunnel eventually lets out into a small cavern. The bodies of severel large beetles, evidently dead for days, glow weakly, revealing the walls to be moist with condensed water. The air is humid and stinks of mold and vinegar. The stream winds around to the East up North, along a stony, soot-scarred beach. A five-foot-high ledge sproting several stalagmites rises to the East, beyond which a low-ceilinged cave beckons.
Submersion in the chemical-tainted waters - let alone breathing the stuff - has a chance to sicken even the hardiest stomach. Each PC must make a Fortitude save.
Barek: 5 fails
Durand: 11 succeeds
Selka: 20 succeeds
Valki: 8 fails
Barek and Valki are sickened for one minute after leaving the water.
Selka casts light on her longspear and valki draws her everburning torch as she calls forth her spear. Durand and Barek ready their weapons also; as Durand moves forward to investigate the soot on the shore, a trio of living beetles attack!
The beetles skitter from crevasses along the cavern's walls, their carapaces glowing bright as torches. Two head for Durand, while a third attacks Valki
Attacks (vs Durand): 4, 17 vs 13 (FF) one hit
Damage: 3 (8/11)
Attack (vs Valki): 7 miss
Durand, surprised by the glowing insects, fires at the nearest. (He provokes two opportunity attacks, which the beetles take)
Attacks (vs Durand): 5, 17 vs 16 one hit
Damage: 4 (4/11)
Attack (vs Beetle): 14 vs 11 hit
Damage: 10 + 1 fire (dead)
The musket-round smashes apart one of the beetles as another bites down on Durand's calf. Durand weakly kicks the beetle away and swiftly reloads his gun.
Selka pauses for a moment as a vision washes over her; she sees a group of halflings fighting these beetles in a nearby passage. She then shakes her head clear and stabs at the beetle accosting Valki.
Attack: 9 vs 12 miss
Still nearly retching from the putrid water of the pond, Valki sidesteps the nearest beetle and drives her nanite-spear at it.
Attack: 15 vs 12 hit
Damage: 9 (dead)
The shaft of light pierces the beetle's head, sizzling as she pulls it out.
Barek roars and circles around the beetle while it's preoccupied with Durand before before he swings as it wildly. (uses primal wrath)
Attack: 18 vs 12 hit
Damage: 22 (dead)
His blade neatly bisects the poor insect.
With their foes dispatched, the party rests a short while - Barek catches his beath, he and Valki both let their stomachs settle, and Selka tends to Durand's wounds.
Cure Light Wounds: 3 (7/11)
Will the PCs follow the stream first? (Likely)
Roll: 8-6 yes
As she healed Durand, Selka described her vision to her companions; she said she thinks the halflings died just to the North, beside the stream. The party proceeds; rounding the corner of the stream, they fid a stony bank on which thick carpets of green and gray molds and funguses grow. It is growing especially well around a trio of three-foot-high, foul-smelling mounds.
Each of the mounds is a young slime mold; the party gets a chance to notice before the molds attack. The check is against the molds' stealth check of 22.
Barek: 17 fails
Durand: 16 fails
Selka: 17 fails
Valki: 20 fails
As the party approaches the bodies, the moldy mats covering them lurch into life - each one attacks one of Barek, Durand, and Valki.
Attack (vs Barek): 15 vs 12 hit
Damage: 3 (7 thp)
Attack (vs Durand): 6 vs 13 miss
Attack (vs Valki): 8 vs 11 miss
The mold's pseudopods swing almost lazily past the heads of Durand and Valki, but Barek's arm is caught by the odorous ooze's slam.
Although splashing through the stream, Durand attempts to deftly slip past the mold (initiates prince's attitude, moves 3 squares, triggers Attack of opportunity).
Attack: 5 vs 20 miss
Durand brings his musket to bear on the mold he just dodged.
Attack: 22 vs 11 hit
Damage: 10 + 0 fire (resisted)
Though the explosives with which he's treated his bullets failed to catch on the mold's damp body, the lead ball was more than enough to send bits of the ooze flying all over the cavern.
Barek instinctively lashes out at the mold after it attacks him (uses a round of rage, then initiates primal wrath).
Attack: 24 vs 12 hit
Barek's withering strike causes the pile of fungus to fall apart, the blade making a sickening squishing sound as it digs into the halfling corpse underneath. Barek laughs madly (uses victorious recovery to regain the use of primal wrath).
Valki, taken aback for a moment by the mold's unsuspected movement, plunges her spear of light into the fungus.
Attack: 18 vs 12 hit
The mold before her quivers for a moment before collapsing.
Selka thinks she sees a pair of huge, pale glowing eyes watching her from the corner of her vision, but dismisses it as a trick of her failing vision.
Durand reloads his musket and walks back into the moldy cavern.
Barek lets his rage end. He is fatigued.
Valki begins to search the corpse that she was previously investigating;
It appears that one of the other expeditions that passed through here had already searched the corpses, however; Valki did not find anything of value.
Just as Valki announces this conclusion to the others, they hear a splash and a croak at the eastern end of the cavern. Peeking around the stony corner is a froglike creature with a pair of fangs and large, cloudy, bloodshot eyes. The party is taken aback for a moment, but then the room is suddenly flooded with searingly bright light.
Each PC must make a Fortitude save;
Barek: 6 fails
Durand: 9 fails
Selka: 3 fails
Valki: 13 succeeds
Valki is able to shield her eyes quickly enough, but the others are blinded by the flash.
Selka, unable to see, invokes the aid of her ancestors (casts bless).
Durand stumbles back and focuses on listening for whatever it was that blinded them (uses standard action to recover prince's attitude).
Barek steps forward and blindly, but weakly, swings at the frog-creature;
Concealment: 48% miss
His blade, unsurprisingly, clangs off of the wall of the cavern.
Valki, realizing she's the only one that can see the creature, focuses on it with all her might. The circuitry beneath her skin flares to life as she hurls her nanite spear at the creature. (uses nanite surge and a hero point, but is firing into melee against a target with cover.)
Attack: 15 vs 20 miss
Unfortunatley, with Barek in the way she can't get a clean shot. She forms another lance of light.
The frog-creature lays into Barek.
Attack: Bite 16, Claws 16, 18 vs 10 all hit
Damage: 10 (0thp, 12/15)
Selka steps back, near to where she remembered Durand was.
Without the ability to see, Durand can't shoot; he carefully wades over to where he heard Selka move.
Barek stumbles into the water beside the creature (provoking an attack of opportunity).
Attack: 19 vs 10 hit
The creature bites his forearm, but Barek is enraged despite his fatigue and attacks even more wildly than before (spends hero point to make two attacks);
Concealment 1: 28% miss
Concealment 2: 60% hit
Attack: 6 vs 16 miss
Valki charges the froglike monster with her spear, jamming it at its glowing eyes.
Attack: 24 vs 20 hit
Heartened by her success, she lunges in for another attack (uses a hero point);
Attack: 8 vs 20 miss
Hurt by Valki, the Blindheim turns its attentions to her.
Attack: Bite 11, Claws 23, 24 vs 18 claws hit
Damage: 7 (1/8)
Hearing Valki's curse at the blindheim's strike, Selka rushes over to aid her.
However, an underwater stone trips her and she can't get to Valki quickly enough.
Durand begins slowly making his way around the corner, yelling for whoever can to follow suit.
Barek lays into the frog-monster again (uses hero point);
Concealment 1: 68% hit
Concealment 2: 35% miss
Attack: 23 vs 16 hit, threatens
Critical: 13 vs 16 standard hit
Barek's blade cuts a deep gash in the monster's forearm, and it croaks in pain.
Valki carefully backs away from the frog-monster as it's occupied with Barek, then bolts to Selka and takes her hand.
The frog-creature's eyes suddenly dim, and it disappears around the corner, while Barek flails wildly around.
Selka calls out to Barek as she casts healing magic on Valki.
Cure Light Wounds: 4 (5/8)
Once around the corner, Valki takes Durand's rope and ties it between them all. She then leads the party back out of the cave; the expedition will need to delay at least until the others can see again. Back at the Forge, Selka casts cure light wounds on her brother, restoring him to his full health. The blindness wears off by the mid-afternoon, but he party decides to delay for a night, to allow Selka to commune with her ancestors.
Damn, blind is harsh. Doesn't help that the PCs rolled terribly too… I knew PF was swingy, but I'd forgotten just how swingy it can feel. That would have been a lot different if everyone had made their blind saves, for example, and both Valki and Barek had a better-than-even shot at it… Anyways, occasionally discretion really is the better part of valor.
I'm wondering if I should up the rate of Hero Point gain to 2/level after first; I'm not rewarding anything outside of per-level HP gain, so I think I'll just give Blood of Heroes as a bonus feat to all of the PCs. I'll be doing this in my Carrion Crown game too, just so I don't have to worry about rewarding additional hero points.