Varisia MN

Taking Down the Arkonas
The fall of a corrupt noble family.

A month has passed since the fall of the mad queen Ileosa. Elladan & Kellevan have returned to the elven lands from which they came, each for his own purpose. Sinderion, while not officially the Field Marshall of Korvosa yet, has essentially taken command of the Guard. The Guard have been kept busy chasing down escaped Ileosa supporters, particularly Gray Maidens, while the dwarven archer Drimgar lends his aid whenever possible to achieve this task. Aten Hamadi, priest of Sarenrae, accepts an offer to become the new high priest of Korvosa’s temple, while Icireal helps tend to the shrine of Irori, as well as assisting however she can throughout the city.

Even as they are each kept busy, the city itself faces the monumental task of recovering from the depredations of Ileosa and her followers. And all the while, the hellknights of the Order of the Nail maintain their camp outside Korvosa’s walls, intent on imposing their will upon the wounded city.

Sinderion finds himself approached by a strange, but attractive, half-elf woman. Ariana explains to Sind that she had been a prisoner of the Arkonas, the noble family in Old Korvosa that are secretly rakshasas. She is able to provide detailed knowledge of the Arkona mansion, and offers to lead Sind to the vault, which contains the means of breaking the Arkona’s power in Korvosa. Sind contacts his fellow adventurers, and they agree to accompany Ariana on this mission.

A few days are spent observing the activities of Glorio Arkona and his sister, Melyia. Once they are certain that they will be able to invade the house while the two are away, they make their move. They enter through the secret sea cave beneath the mansion and begin their ascent. Along the way, they encounter one of the rakshasas, as well as strange fungus monsters. Once past these hurdles, they find themselves in the Arkona’s beautiful indoor garden, only to be set upon by even more guardians of the mansion. A pitched battle ensues with four rakshasas,ending with two dead and two captured. Ariana proves quite willing to ensure downed opponents stay down, while at the same time causing the adventurers to become wary of her.

Once the rakshasas are finally dealt with, and the adventurers have spread out to investigate the mansion, Ariana finally shows her true colors. Catching Aten alone, she attacks. To her disgust and dismay, the hand of the goddess seemingly reaches out to protect her servant, as what should have been a devastating attack fails to do more than lightly injure the priest. Drawn to the sound of battle, Drimgar drives away Aten’s assailant, forcing Ariana to flee the mansion. As the adventurers assess their situation, Aten informs his comrades that his magic revealed that Ariana was actually a lamia matriarch.

Concluding that they won’t find any answers to what the lamia matriarch was attempting right then, they find the vault. Sind is assailed by the vault’s magic defenses, but he proves able to withstand them. In the vault, a single chest is found. In this chest, a full accounting of the Arkona’s criminal activities, as well as the full roster of the Cerulean Society, is found. Having achieved their goal, the adventurers flee the mansion.

By the time these documents are brought to the arbiters and warrants can be issued for the arrest of the Arkonas, Glorio and Melyia have fled the city. A cursory investigation reveals that Glorio has fled by ship in the predawn hours for Cheliax. Melyia, on the other hand, has apparently fled by other means and no one is any idea of where she has gone. Ariana, likewise, has apparently fled the city, as no sign of her can be found in Korvosa. The various scions of the Arkona family are rounded up, but prove to have been ignorant that the head of the family and his immediate relatives were in fact rakshasas. One of the Arkona cousins is found ritualistically murdered, the Sihedron carved into his flesh.

The warrants are handed over to the Order of the Nail, to give them a distraction while Korvosa continues sorting out the aftermath of Ileosa. The Guard begin rounding up members of the Cerulean Society, though two of the people on the list are also found murdered in the same ritualistic manner as the Arkona.

Sind is finally officially made Field Marshall. The city eventually manages to return to some semblance of normal, though Queen Cressia Kroft tries to make Korvosa a better place. Much to the disgust of the Korvosan establishment, she even goes as far as to open peace talks with the Sklar-Quah, asking Icirieal for her aid in this, due to the half-elf’s status as an accepted member of the quah. Drimgar eventually returns home, his exploits becoming known in Janderhoff. His family, however grudgingly, finally accept his eccentric ways and welcome him back.

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The Land of the Ice and Snow
Dealing with some cold witches.

It is roughly two years after the fall of both Ileosa, the mad queen of Korvosa, & Karzoug, the Runelord of Greed.

In Magnimar, Torgisl Snaedis finds himself hung-over & broke in a Dockway dive. A fortune in gold squandered over two years. As his sticky eyes open, he sees the bleery image of a thin, blond man in Ulfen garb. The man, though skeptical this is the sorcerer he is seeking, offers to hire his services on behalf of Queen Elvanna of Irrisen. 35,000 gp if he accepts the job & can get to Whitethrone within two days. Torgisl accepts.

Meanwhile, Sinderion Bromathan, field marshall of Korvosa, is approached by a thin, red haired Ulfen man with the same offer. He tells Sind that the Queen wishes an item of considerable magical power to be retrieved from the Veil of Frozen Tears before a band of demon worshiping frost giants can find it. Sind asks his adventuring companions if they think this is a worthwhile endeavor, & they say yes. Sind informs Queen Elvanna’s agent of accepting the offer, then the entire group heads to Irrisen.

In Whitethrone, Torgisl meets his new adventuring companions, they are given details about the mission, & they spend the night innQueen Elvanna’s ice palace. Come morning, they all eat a big breakfast, then head out to the necropolis.

On reaching the Veil of Frozen Tears, they see a frost giant encampment at the foot of the mighty ice sheet. They also see a large opening in the icy cliff face, revealing a town carved from ice. This is where they enter, immediately coming to a giant clock with two dozen stone crones adorning it.

The party approaches the clock, which has multiple hands & seems to keep time in no known way, & find a clue carved in the ice: “A stitch in time.” Aten flies up to the clockface & spies a rhyme in tiny script where the 9 should be. As he reads it, the clock chimes & two of the stone crones attack. Torgisl attempts to destroy them with a fireball, but only causes two more crones to animate, as they appear to be immune to his magic.

As the battle proceeds, two more crones animate & attack. Aten surmises that proximity to the clock is what caused the attack, so the party gives it some distance. Those crones already attacking continue to fight until destroyed, but no other statues activate. As they finish off the statues, they hear a loud, bestial howl from in the ice town. Aten, still flying, momentarily spots a large, misshapen form, possibly humanoid, in the town watching them. After a moment, the form disappears from view.

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The Icy Necropolis
Things happen.

Having survived the witch clock, our heroes slowly make their way into the ice necropolis. As they seek out the giant figure spotted earlier, they stop to check some of the ice buildings along the way. The ice sealing the doors prove to be easily taken care of by Sind’s adamantine axe. Inside each of the buildings, they find long dead warriors laid out in honor.

It isn’t long before Sind finds the trail of the creature that was observing them. The party follows it into a small square, which contains a fountain. Despite the freezing cold, the fountain’s water remains liquid. Before they have much time to ponder this, a raging, misshapen frost giant attacks. Despite his near mindless, animalistic fury, the party proves itself quite capable of defeating him. To Sind’s delight, the giant is discovered to have a magical, flaming axe, which he keeps as a trophy.

The party checks out a few more buildings, finding more deceased warriors. It’s not long before a recent trail is found leading out of one of the ice buildings. Following it through the connected tombs, the party finds a flight of stairs leading out of the necropolis.

Reaching the bottom of the descending stairs, the party finds a room that appears to have been the scene of a relatively recent battle. A half dozen scorched skeletons little the floor, while the statue of an ogre stands facing the statue of a devil. While the rest of the party searches the room, Aten moves to examine the devil statue. Almost immediately, the statue comes to life & attacks.

Torgisl hampers the devil’s spell-like abilities with a spell while the rest engage. It’s a short, fierce battle which ends with the devil’s defeat. The party collects what valuables they can find, then Sind & Icireal scout ahead.

Beyond a door blocked by ice bars, they find a round room with a caged ball of crackling grey energy. Arrayed around the energy ball are a number of undead. Two of them spot Sind & unleash cones of cold that engulf Sind & Icireal, as well as the rest of the party at the end of the hall. The two adventurers retreat, and the party starts to plan their attack on the undead.

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Battling the Dead

Calling upon the power of his goddess, Aten unleashed a firey cloud upon the assembled undead. They immediately scattered, attempting to escape a burning doom, but they had no where to run to, trapped as they were. The ball of grey energy seemed to grow agitated, then it lashed out at one of the undead, the arc of energy repairing some of the damage it had suffered. Torgisl added his own sorcerous might to the attack, launching a ball of fire into the room.

Abruptly, the assembled undead rallied & rushed the bars keeping them from the party. With surprising strength, they pulled the bars of ice away, before Aten directed the burnning cloud to engulf them again. After a moment, two of the undead rushed the party from the cloud, their bodies horribly damaged & charred. They unleashed their cones of cold on the party before Sind stepped forward & struck them both down.

To everyone’s surprise & mounting concern, the ball of grey energy flew out of the cloud of fire. It lashed out at Aten, striking him & draining away some of his life force. The party retaliated, & a brief melee ensued. The ball released a pulse of negative energy that struck the entire party, then Drimgar unleashed a torrent of arrows upon this strange creature. As the last arrow found its mark, the ball exploded, engulfing everyone in negative energy. Though wounded, everyone survived.

Once the party sorted itself out, they entered the strange, round chamber. The room was practically destroyed, the ice bars that had contained the ball of negative energy melted. Incongruously, an alcove containing a throne of ice set with 5 sets of chains remained completely untouched. Approaching the alcove, the party quickly discovered why, as the magics protecting them from the deadly temperatures of the tomb abruptly stopped working & deathly cold tore the very air from their lungs. A brief examination of the throne revealed that a sixth length of chain had been prized from the ice, & each chain had 27 links.

Moving on, the party chose to first explore through the door across from the throne. They found themselves on a ledge in a 160 foot chasm. Under a layer of ice at least a foot thick, they could see the bodies of hundreds of chained soldiers. Icireal & Aten attempted to fly upwards, intent on exploring further up the chasm. They were immediately attacked by insubstantial, shadowy arms from the ice, whose freezing touch drained away one’s strength. Aten’s divine power only provided a momentary respite, while Torgisl’s magic assault did nothing at all. Deciding that this haunt was too dangerous & powerful, the party returned to the previous room.

With only one more exit from the room, the party went down a relatively short corridor that ended at a door. Beond was a room set up as a dining room, with several bookshelves full of ancient books. While the rest of the group explored the rest of the room, Sind started to examine 5 doors set in the room’s far wall. As he listened at the second door, a ghostly hand reached through it to attack. As Sind backed away, through each door stepped a large, incorporeal spirit that Aten identified as dread wraiths.

Largely unprepared for this type of foe, Sind led a withdrawal from the room, while Torgisl created a wall of magical force to hold the wraiths back. Protected from their deadly touch by his magic, Aten brought up the rear. The rest of the party seeking the relative safety of the anti-magic field around the throne, Aten activated a nimbus of light damaging to the undead & turned to meet the wraiths. Braving the damaging light, the first wraith attacked, only to find its touch was useless. On seeing this, the other 4 wraiths withdrew. Before the last wraith could flee, Aten unleashed his most powerful healing spell upon it, causing it to shriek in unearthly pain before it fled.

Even as he turned towards the party with a triumphant look on his face, a nabasu demon teleported in front of him. No doubt the hand of Sarenrae herself reached down to protect her servant, as the nabasu’s attack proved ineffective to an almost comic degree. The nabasu immediately fled; one might have thought out of embarrassment as for any other reason.

After waiting for several moments in the alcove, enduring deadly cold, the party concluded the wraiths were gone & fled back up to the necropolis above. They sought out one of the buildings they had previously opened, the hunkered down within to tend to their wounds.

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Stuff Happens
People die.

The party sets up a modest camp inside one of the tombs in the necropolis. Aten, needing only two hours of sleep due to his magic ring, takes up the watch relatively shortly into the night. He sits reading, hearing the wind howl outside. But wait! Was that the howl of something else on the wind as well?

Before Aten really has time to worry about it, the group is attacked. The dread wraiths they had fled followed them, and were now attacking through the very walls. Though everyone is hurt in the initial attack, All that really does is wake everyone up. Unfortunately, due to their speed, the wraiths are able to rain blows down on Torgisl again before he is able to fully awaken, and there he remains, still on the floor for the rest of the battle.

Drimgar, using his holy bow and his amazing skills, destroys one wraith with a rain of arrows. Aten unleashes the power of his goddess, burning the undead. Icireal, her blows enhanced by her holy amulet, engages and destroys another. And Sind, his sword unleashing a telepathic battlecry, destroys yet another. Though the group sustains more injury, it isn’t long before the dread wraiths retreat back through the walls.

Drimgar immediately teleports to the top of the tomb, raining yet more holy arrows down on the undead. Icireal transports herself through the wall in pursuit. Sind, having no special means of leaving the tombs, takes out his adamantine axe and pries open the sealed tomb door. Aten enters the ethereal plane, only to discover another dozen dread wraiths lurking there.

By the time Sind gets the door open, Icireal and Drimgar have finished off the retreating spirits. On the ethereal plane, the wraiths attack Aten, but are quickly driven back by the holy power of Sarenrae. Once they have fled, Aten returns to the material world, concerned and perplexed by what he has seen.

Wounds are tended up, Torgisl is raised from the dead by Sarenrae’s power, and the party decides to lay low for the day to continue recovering. They full explore the necropolis, finding the lair of the insane giant they previously encountered. They find a flight of stairs leaving the necropolis for lower levels with signs of passage from that party destroyed by the devil and the lone, slightly built figure. They also find a partial collapse inside one of the tombs up against the cavern wall, revealing a hole in the ceiling that leads up 100 ft to another large cavern.

Icireal ascends to explore, finding a horde of treasure frozen into a large amount of ice. Also in the ice, however, is a massive, amorphous mass. Ignoring the treasure for the moment, she ascends another hole in this cavern’s ceiling, coming to the top of the Veil of Frozen Tears, right next to a slumbering dragon of absolutely massive size. Upon returning to the party, her description leads them to believe that the dragon is some sort of linnorm.

Once fully recuperated, the party explores down the long flight of steps. At the bottom are double doors that open easily. Beyond is a massive room filled with row upon row of ice statues of Baba Yaga, negative energy crackling betweem them. They see obvious signs of passage: one statue has been destroyed and there is a discarded pouch in the middle of the room.

Sind attempts to damage one statue with his axe, but finds it impervious to it. Icireal strikes the statue, causing minor damage to it. Aten then casts a minor healing spell on the statue, causing further minor damage, showing that positive energy can harm them.

Deciding that they would rather see what is beyond the double doors across the room, they use their magic to transport themselves beyond them. To everyone’s shock, and Sind’s apparent delight, the room beyond is full of equally shocked frost giants, and one huge, deformed giant of unknown sort. Icireal, the sole person not caught by surprise, immediately assumes gaseous form.

End of session.

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Of giants, witches & the torc

Battle with the giants is immediately joined, with Icireal unleashing a cone of flame that engulfs almost all of the enemy combattants. Before the giants can even think of retaliation, the winter wolf is dead, two of the frost giants are fleeing, & to everyone’s shock, Drimgar has felled the massive giant leader with his holy bow. This leaves only the raging, deformed frost giant, who is taken care of quickly.

To the delight of the group, it is discovered that the giant leader’s armor and weapon are adamantine. While the party investigates the spoils, Icireal investigates the ornate double doors leading back to the room with rows of ice sculptures. To her surprise, the doors become insubstantial to her, allowing her to pass like they’re not even there. She passes the time destroying one of the ice sculptures, revealing a porcelain doll within. She brings it back to the group, at which point Aten comes to the conclusion that the dolls and the chains are the key to finding the torc.

Icireal passes through the door again to obtain more dolls. Meanwhile, the rest of the party find the doors impassable. Despite the room showing an aura of significant abjuration, they attempt to teleport out of the room, only to be violently thrown back into the room. Concluding that the door just isn’t an option, the party follows the route taken by the fleeing giants, leaving Icireal alone to continue obtaining dolls.

The party passes through the remnants of the giant’s temporary camp inside the Tear, and then assume gaseous form to fly through an arrow slit and back up to the necropolis. Reuniting with Icireal, the group then heads back to the throne with the chains, using Sind’s axe to cut loose enough for each party member.

On returning to the witch clock in the necropolis, Aten demonstrates his theory by using the chain to create a ring around the doll, causing him to abruptly vanish. As the clock begins to come alive once again, and the golems begin to stir, each party member quickly follows suit, appearing in an enclosed room with a single misty window that shows the necropolis. Also on display is a throne with an ice sculpture of a woman, a golden torc around its neck, and a large crystal ball situated in front of it.

Battle is quickly joined as an invisible assailant launches magical attack after magical attack on the group, with only Aten able to see the flying young-appearing woman near the room’s high ceiling. Sind lights the lantern of revealing and takes to the air, thanks to his celestial armor, removing the witch’s advantage. Drimgar is able to wound her, then Torgisl has an amazingly bout of luck, managing to ovepower her with a feeblemind spell. After that, though the fight continues briefly, she is finally brought down, though Aten recommends against killing her. Torgisl is struck by her last hex before she falls, leaving him exhausted but thankfully otherwise unharmed.

It is at this point that the witch’s familiar, a raven, reveals itself and explains that she is the daughter of Queen Elvanna, and that she is under a compulsion to protect the torc due to having slain the previous guardian (who is now just a scorch mark on the wall). Aten is able to suppress the baleful magics affecting the witch, and subsequent questioning verifies the information provided by the raven. The party retrieves the torc, placing it within their portable hole, and relieves the witch of all of her valuables save her ring of cold resistance (so she won’t die from the cold). They then knock her out and leave the room, much to the raven’s outrage. As they go, they discuss possible plans for having the torc hidden in one of the outer planes, probably by a servant of Sarenrae.

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Endgame
The fate of the torc revealed.

Having secured the Torc of Kostchtchie, the party departed from the Witch Clock with the torc safely tucked away inside a portable hole. They left the unconscious granddaughter of Queen Elvanna in the clock with her familiar, still under the influence of Torgisl’s spell. After tending to any wounds, Aten suggested bringing the torc to the great temple of Sarenrae in Sothis, the capital of his homeland Osirion. It was a simple matter for Torgisl to teleport the party there in just a few quick jumps.

When they arrived, they found the Burning Blades festival in full swing. It was decided that the torc would be safely held at Sarenrae’s temple until the culminaton of the festival, at which point Aten would summon Sarenrae’s herald, Sunlord Thalachos, to ask him to destroy or at least hide the torc. With ten days of festival ahead of them, the party went out to enjoy the sights and wonders of Sothis.

A few days into the festival, Queen Elvanna was finally able to discern their location. She immediately teleported an undead servant to Sothis to demand the torc. Of course, the demand was refused and a brutal, if brief, battle was joined. Aten was ultimately the one to destroy this powerful, ice encrusted abomination. After that, Elvanna bothered them no more. For now.

Sind also received a message from the temple of Abadar in Korvosa, saying that Queen Cressida Kroft had seemingly gone mad. She had banished all of the Korvosan Guard from Castle Korvosa and invited the Order of the Nail into the city. She was also demanding to see Sinderion. Sind promised to return as soon as he was able.

Finally, the day arrived and many of the powerful of Sothis arrived to see the summoning of Sarenrae’s herald, including the ruler of Osiron, Ruby Prince Khemet III. Aten was successful, making his request and offering his sword, the sign of his faith, as payment for the Sunlord hiding the torc in the outer planes. Thalachos also requested that Aten give his story to the temple, then left for the outer planes, taking the torc and Aten’s sword with him. As he departed, he warned that the servants of evil were close, having sensed the presence of the torc. The party walked to the door of the temple, gazing out into the crowded square, spotting a serpentine demoness just before she departed in a puff of snow and cold wind.

Aten chose to stay in Sothis a few more days, so that he could purchase a replacement sword. The rest of the group teleported back to Korvosa, to confront whatever awaited them there.

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The rise of Krune, Runelord of Sloth
The quest to oppose the cult of Lissala begins.

Agents of the Pathfinder Society are at work throughout Varisia. Even as one team works to find all the pieces of an ancient Thassilonian artefact to protect Varisia & another seeks to oppose the Aspis Consortium’s goals in the region, yet another has been sent to find the resting place of Krune, Runelord of Sloth. The Society has already crossed swords with the agents seeking Krune’s return, and blood was spilled. The cult of Lissala remains undaunted, & the threat they pose is still very real.

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Liberating the Crimson Throne...again.
More trouble in Korvosa.

The heroes, having dealt with the demonic Torc, teleported back to Korvosa thanks to Torgisl, the halfling sorcerer. Having been warned of Queen Cressida Kroft’s strange and irrational behavior, the group first sought out Alistair Frodel to get his take on the situation.

Shortly after the group had left for the lands of the north, Cressida had begun to behave in an increasingly erratic fashion. She replaced Sinderion Bromathan as Field Marshall of the Korvosan Guard, threatened trade relations with Janderhoff, asked the Order of the Nail to take over the security of Castle Korvosa and invited Glorio Arkona back to Korvosa so that he could level charges against the heroes for their attacks upon him and his holdings.

After getting this information, the group went to the temple of Sarenrae to plan their next move. While they discussed this, they met with several other key figures, including Bishop Keppira d’Bear and Commandant Bertrand Endrin. They advised speaking to the Order of the Nail to see if negotiation was possible, especially since Aten was informed that the Order had made a small number of attempts to get ahold of him while he was away. Grudgingly, the heroes agreed to speak to the Hellknights.

They went to the Longhouse, which was being used as temporary headquarters for the Order, and soon found themselves in the office of Lictor Severs “Boneclaw” DiViri. After a relatively short discussion, during which DiViri admitted that he was aware that Kroft was behaving in an extremely out of character fashion, the heroes managed to use some of the adamantine that they had collected to bribe the Hellknights into abandoning the city. DiViri had indicated that the Order had long been considering departing from Varisia to return to their homeland, though no timeline was forthcoming.

With that taken care of, the heroes teleported into Castle Korvosa’s throne room to confront Queen Kroft. They were quickly engaged by Lord Arkona and his retinue, and Aten used the power granted him by Sarenrae to drive out the evil that had possessed the Queen. Said evil proved to be that worm-like devil that they had confronted two years before when they deposed Queen Ileosa.

As the battle raged, other lesser devils joined the conflict, then undead seemingly at the command of a creature identified as a Worm that Walks. This creature indicated that it knew the heroes, and sought vengeance against them, though they weren’t sure who this creature might have originally been. Soon, the enemy forces lay dead or otherwise destroyed, except for the monstrous necromancer. Seeing his allies defeated, he simply dimension doored away, promising that his vengeance would come another day.

Alistair arrived with a number of Korvosan Guard, while Sable Company marines invaded the castle from the rooftops, and the place was quickly secured. After eliminating a flesh golem, the heroes found Neolandus Kalepopolis alive and only slightly the worse for wear. Then Queen Kroft got down to some business, first informing Sind that he was being permanently replaced as Field Marshall by Alistair. She then asked Sind if he would be willing to lead an official Korvosan expedition to fabled Xin-Shalast, to seek out the riches said to exist there, Lastly, to show the city that all was well again, Kroft planned an official ceremony to thank the heroes for once again coming to Korvosa’s aid in its time of need.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. Though a little bird did warn the heroes that winter was coming for them.

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