Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dragon's Demand: Are You My Mummy?

Game Date: 5/31/2014
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Dragon's Demand, Session 14
System: Pathfinder
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Halfbeard (Cliff) - Dwarf Ranger
Lilith (James) - Tiefling Paladin
Raz Furian (Matt) - Human Sorcerer
Tanith Tularn (Thomas) - Human Cleric
Vires (Daniel) - Human Alchemist

The Session:
When we left off, our party had just finished taking out Aeteperax's fourth lieutenant, a giant grioth.  Hurting from battle, we headed to the naga's room to rest.  During the night, we heard the sound of a large creature leaving the grounds, and returning an hour later.  It's hard to say for sure since our room had no windows, but we're pretty sure it was Aeteperax.  Or at least the dragon impersonating him.

We interrogated both of our prisoners - Thaena the now-blind naga, and Pentosh the nearly-dead alchemist.  We asked about the whereabouts of the druid's wife.  Apparently Aeteperax keeps her in his cave, which isn't far from here.  We learned that the naga had an unrequited crush on the dragon, but unfortunately for her Aeteperax is too obsessed with the "Dark Window" to notice Thaena.  We asked what the Window was, but she couldn't be more specific.

We visited our druid frenemy Azmur for more information.  He didn't know much more about the Dark Window, except that it was connected to the "Dark Tapestry", a term we'd heard before.  He did, however, offer to lead us to where it might be.  But first we headed to the monastery's kitchen to see if Pentosh had left any alchemy supplies that Vires could use.  We found some chemicals that, once combined with some dragon scales we'd collected, yielded five potions of acid resistance.

Continuing on to the Dark Window, we found a library that hardly had any books in it.  In one corner was a secret door, leading to a passage that circled the room before ending at a locked door.  (Crazy architects; putting the secret door on the opposite side of the room would have saved the poor monks a lot of walking.)  The door's lock was of the highest quality.  It resisted all attempts to pick it, and the door was too sturdy to force open.  We even tried knocking, but got no answer.  Though that's probably a good thing.  Eventually we turned around, resolving to explore more rooms in hope of finding a key.

Later we found a room full of metal coffins.  It wasn't what we initially thought, though.  These coffins were actually sensory deprivation tanks the monks used for meditation.  There were some rocks placed on one, which just screamed "plot related" to us.  We cleared the rocks and opened the coffin, revealing a dead human.   For once in our lives, the dead guy stayed inanimate rather than attacking us.  Azmur recognized him as one of Aeteperax's former lieutenants.

We used a Speak With Dead scroll, which allowed us to ask the corpse two questions.  First we asked what Aeteperax's real name was.  The corpse answered, "The name he used before is unimportant; he is Lord Aeteperax now."  Then we asked where the key was, and he answered, "Aeteperax never needed the key."  Well, that was a waste of a scroll.

We explored a few more rooms, and when we were satisfied that we'd seen everything in this building, we headed to the next one.  We found a prayer room, with a large mosaic in the floor.  After a bit of searching we found a trap door under a rug.  A small tunnel led to a chamber, where a mummy sat on a throne.  We tried talking to the mummy.  It said it had to test us to see if we were powerful enough to prevail.  And then it attacked us.

It was a long, difficult battle.  I wish I could say it was an epic battle, but honestly it was just teeth-grindingly frustrating.  Seriously, if more battles were like this I would quit RPGs forever.  It made D&D 4e battles look brief by comparison, but at least in 4e you feel like you're accomplishing something during the fight.  This was a curbstomp battle.  Several times I thought it might turn out to be a "hopeless boss fight", the kind you're supposed to lose for plot reasons.

I mean, sure we survived, but only because we used up a lot of party resources.  We turned in several Pathfinder plot twist cards, and Lilith had to redeem some tokens to keep from dying.  The mummy had insanely high attack rolls, generally only missing if he fumbled.  He often did enough damage per round to flat-out kill a character.  As a monk, the mummy had flurry of blows, stunning fist, damage reduction, and a few other surprises.  Most of us could barely hit him, much less actually cause real damage.

On the bright side, he was vulnerable to fire.  Twice during the battle, Raz hit him with a maximized Scorching Ray, which did a good deal of damage.  One plot twist card caused him to become exhausted, and one fumble caused him to bleed very slightly.  We critted a few times, but never could confirm because of his high AC.  One final fumble left him fatigued, and he collapsed from his own bad die roll.  His last words were, "Finish what I could not, destroy the beast, and restore honor to the monastery." Gee, thanks, now that you've depleted a lot of the resources we were saving for Aeteperax.

As he died he handed us a key.  Hopefully the key will open the door to the Dark Window, but we haven't tried it yet.  On his body we also found an Amulet of Mighty Fists, and a Belt of Giant Strength.  We heard that something big is supposed to happen in town in the morning, so we wanted to get a move on.  However, we were just too beat up to risk running into another fight, so we took an extended rest.  And that's where we ended the session.

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