Brad's Shattered Star

Session 3 - Into the Deeps of The Crow

Below sea level is a whole other region of the Thassilonian artifact known as the Crow. The companions continued down into the darkness, leaving behind the upper level in search of what might lie below.

The first level below the sea was the abode of some mites, funny little blue creatures like someone took the ugly stick and beat the trash out of a lost colony of smurfs. The mites have some affinity with vermin, and had scattered giant ants and spiders around to protect their homes. The tunnels made for big people apparently weren’t good enough for the two foot high creatures, and they were busily carving out space of their own in between the walls of the Crow’s lower level when the companions found them.

Krisilla got a little freaked out when she followed a tunnel to where the mites were digging, and they chased her with pickaxes, only to find Hydra in no mood to play. How they managed a diplomatic response when they finally met the king with mite goo dripping from the monk’s hands and clothing is some kind of miracle.

The mite king Zugga sent the heroes off into the dark depths to find his lost pet “Clickylegs” and return his spare crown. Of course Clickylegs was in an area of the Crow that the mites refused to go into , so the companions ventured forth. Battling spiders and other creatures, they eventually found the hook horror Clickylegs and returned the king’s treasured spare crown.

Mostly nose and all comical, King Zugga had a mission…if only he could remember what it was!

Along the way, they found another staircase heading further down, and being the intrepid adventurers they are, they blundered on down. After all, they had found a magic fountain, hadn’t they?

Immediately below was a giant maggot with the face of a demon and the smell of a demon’s cesspit. And that was just for starters. It wasn’t long after that when they ran into the domain of the “Suzerain of Little Erebus”. Apparently aasimar don’t like imps, because the thrashed the little creature before he could make them a business offer. From there, it was only a matter of time before they found a place to stay for the night. Tomorrow is another day…

Session 2 - The Forgotten Column

The companions returned Ms. Vancaskerin to the Heidharch Manor to find that the Venture Captain had much more in store for them. The shard that Krisilla had palmed was apparently one of the fragments of the Sihedron of Xin – the Shattered Star. After learning the history of the sihedron, the companions watched with anticipation as Krisilla fitted a special ioun stone to the shard. In a strange vision, she learned that the next fragment of the Shattered Star resided somewhere in the Crow, one of the pilings that used to hold the Irespan aloft.

Armed with information gathered from the questioning of Natalya Vancaskerin, and aided by a new recruit – Enamos, the self-styled pirate king – the companions set out for the Crow. They found evidence of the new entrance right away – a busted down wall is kind of difficult to miss – and began scouring the place for sign of the next shard fragment. It wasn’t long before they came across the newest member of their party, a monk named Hydra, who had been caught poking his nose into the wrong corners.

Along the way, they ran into the remnants of the Tower Girls, Ms. Vancaskerin’s former allies and sometimes lycanthropes. The fight for the Crow went up an down four levels of the Crow, ending with a climactic battle against the werrat leader of the Tower Girls – Ayala Javeski. The companions manged to defeat the lycanthrope, avoid being bitten, and throw out a few good puns to just make it complete.

Ayala has a nasty temper, and an even nastier bite

In the final room, they found a set of burning hot metal doors, with more Thassilonian runes. Like the puzzle box they had opened at Heidmarch Manor, these runes too could be manipulated, though it caused much pain to do so. Eventually THE EYES had been transformed to THEY SEE and SILENT to LISTEN, and the doors swung open. A staircase led back down to the first level, and from there to another set of stairs spiraling down into the darkness.

Session 1 - 9/21/2013

Our story begins with four intrepid adventurers – Reinnwulf, the human barbarian, Tine, the gnome alchemist, Kriscilla, the halfling rogue, and Andree, the aasimar fighter – being summoned to the Pathfinders Lodge to meet with Venture Captain Sheila Heidmarch. While there, they were given a puzzle box to solve, which served as an audition of sorts.

The puzzle box was a test of the mind, to see if the adventurers could eke out slues from a forgotten language and tease open an ancient artifact. Thassilonian runes spelling out the word CRUEL were the key, as was the fact that you could switch two letters in the sequence by touching them simultaneously. The group quickly determined that the solution to the puzzle was to rearrange the letters to form the word LUCRE – a petty joke by some ancient Thassilonian noble, no doubt.

Not even the great Sheila Heidmarch herself expected what the companions found inside the box, however. As the lid popped open, a pair of pugwampis – destructive little gremlins – leaped out and caused mayhem within the Lodge library. The gremlins were quickly dispatched, with only a few torn books, gnawed candles, and minor bloodstains to show for their mischief.

Rather than being dismayed at the state of the library, Sheila apologized for the attack – though she did use the trap as anecdotal evidence that the life of an adventurer was like to be fraught with excitement and danger, and that problems were solved with the mind as often as with the sword. She then explained why she had called the group together.

One of her informants, a Sczarni gang member named Natalya Vancaskerin, had gone missing after reporting that she and her crew were on to a great find. Only, she missed the meeting she had set up with Sheila. The Lodge leader wanted the companions – who would likely draw very little attention in Magnimar – to investigate Natalya’s disappearance, and to bring her – and any artifact that she might have found – back to Heidmarch Manor. Sheila had few clues to give as to where to begin the search: she mentioned that Natalya might be residing in the garrison’s cells at the Arvensoar, that a carnival fortune teller called " The Amazing Zograthy was her initial contact with Natalya, and that citizens were rumored to be disappearing into the hands of Nidalese slavers. Armed with these dubious starting points, the companions set off into the city.

- The Arvensoar is a majestic place for a garrison and prison

They started with the city watch at the Arvensoar garrison, speaking to Captain Kasedei. They learned that Natalya was not currently incarcerated, and that The Amazing Zograthy might indeed be a good source of information. They also learned that Natalya had been a member of the Tower Girls, who recently moved their headquarters. They had previously been staying with a wretched beast of a man named Fenster the Blight, somewhere in the Underbridge area.

Looking at a map of the city, the companions decided to visit Zograthy first, and glean what knowledge the man had of Natalya before trying to find Fenster’s place. They found the old fortune teller in a booth in a semi-permanent run-down, trash heap of a carnival. He extorted a nice gem from them to tell them all her knew of Natalya and her whereabouts. It turned out he had quite a bit of knowledge. He also pointed them to Fenster’s place, a location they now deeply desired to visit. Among other things, he confirmed the rumors of the missing people, but professed no real knowledge of the disappearances.

It wasn’t hard for them to find Fenster’s place, a run down warehouse with a sign out front claiming “LEEV GIFT AN WATE”. Dropping a handful of ration bars onto the plate, the party only had to wait a few moments before a vile, stinking, filthy wretch of a man appeared to scarf up the proffered goods. His trademark “Wha chew want Fenster ta dew?” came out though a mouthful of rations. He claimed to know all about Natalya’s whereabouts, but refused to give any information for less than “a hunnert gold”. Kriscilla tried to convince him that she had a special coin easily worth that, but he didn’t fall for the trick. Instead, the companions decided to track down rumors of the slavers while giving Fenster time to forget about the false coin.

Naturally, the next best thing to do was to stroll through the most dangerous part of the city asking questions of everyone they met and generally making a nuisance of themselves. They tracked the slaver rumors to an abandoned tavern, The Puffy Pelican, where Kriscilla found evidence that the tavern was not quite as abandoned as it appeared. They kept the place under surveillance, and along about midnight, the light from a lantern appeared within the building. Reinnwulf led a charge into the building, followed closely by Tine, and succeeded in denting the wood floor with his head when a sorcerer caught them both in a Color Spray spell. Fortunately, Kriscilla and Andree were able to subdue the man, largely due to it being hard to fight back with an arrow piercing your lungs.

Andree recognized the man as Plutivarch Dremis, a man with a 100 gold bounty on his head for various petty crimes (most of which made the guard look like fools, and thus endeared him to them greatly). The companions questioned the man, and found that he was the one spreading rumors of the slavers, hoping to draw some young and cocky Pathfinders into a trap, where he could sell them to the Aspis Consortium and earn himself a place in that organization. They also learned he wasn’t too bright.

- Plutivarch Dremis was the “criminal mastermind” behind the fake Nidalese slavers

They spent the rest of the night in the Puffy Pelican, and set out at first light for the garrison prison, a bound prisoner in tow. Captain Kasedei thanked them most sweetly for the gift, and returned it in kind with a heavy bag of gold. Then, the group headed back to Fenster’s place, pausing only to get a cheap vase from a street vendor. Kriscilla was finally able to convince Fenster of the items great worth, after bobbling a few times, and the man told them of the place where Natalya now had her hideout. Apparently she split with the Tower Girls and was setting up her own gang.

The companions reconned the new hideout and found at least two of the new gang, a pair of toughs that tried to out muscle Reinnwulf. They quickly learned the error of attacking a human giant holding a spear when you are armed only with spiky clubs. Of course, they will now have to put that learning into practice in their next lives. Inside the half-burnt boarding house, they found the rest of Natalya’s gang, a small group of sewer goblins. The fights got messy, and not a few things got dead – goblins in groups being the perfect targets for Tine’s bomb-throwing skills – but none of the companions took any irreversible damage. The same could not be said of Reinnwulf’s pants, which quickly became soaked with sewage after he fell into one of the sunken floor areas.

Up in the attic, guarded by more goblins with crossbows and a goblin snake, they found Natalya Vancaskerin. With a presence of mind not normally seen in criminals and evil masterminds, the woman saw Reinnwulf coming and ran for it. Unfortunately for her, she missed a rafter and fell through the rotten attic floor into a pool of sewage just behind Andree. Andree shrugged off Natalya’s magics and backed the woman into a corner as goblin chunked rained down from the attic where Reinnwulf was mopping things up. The barbarian jumped down from above to hold Natalya still, and Andree slammed the flat of her shortsword into the woman’s head. Lights out for Ms. Vancaskering and a good two days’ work for the companions. Now all they needed to find was a good cleaners…and maybe a bath house.

- Natalya Vancaskerin, ex-Tower Girl, ex-freelance informant, ex-living member of the human race?

As Kriscilla ran her fingers through the various pockets and other hiding places on Natalya’s body, she found an assortment of treasures. The oddest one was a triangular shape made of a coppery metal unlike anything the companions have seen before. It has an indentation in the base, a circular impression, and the edges are smooth, though the metal itself appears to be pitted with age. Kriscilla shrugged and placed it into one of her packs as the companions turned to leave.

And so it begins

In the beginning, there was Thassilon: An ancient empire existing more than 10,000 years before your birth. It was governed by the mighty Runelords, and ruled by the powerful Emperor Xin. There are many old tales that tell of the fall of the Runelords. As they turned away from the seven virtues of rule, their paths twisted and corrupted until they resembled the seven deadly sins instead. Harnessing the power held in runes, they fueled powerful magic to turn on their ruler, so that no man stood above them.

There are many theories over what brought Thassilon to its knees after Emperor Xin finally died. A common tale is that the power-hungry Runelords fought each-other in tremendous world-shaking battles, shattering the empire into disparate fragments of civilization. Others say that the Runelords discovered an evil power in their research of rune magic, one so strong that even they could not control it. Regardless of what brought its end about, the crumbling stones that dot the Varisian landscape serve as ancient sentinels bearing a powerful message: even the mightiest can fall.

Across the lands of Golarion, there are many remnants of the old Thassilon: from ruins spread across the land, to underground tombs and complexes beneath cities such as Kaer Maga. Even the great capital of Magnimar, where our story of the Shattered Star begins, is built upon the Irespan: an enormous bridge that stretches so far out into the Varisian Gulf that it passes across the horizon. It is told that the Irespan served as the main travel route through the mountainous realm of Bakrakhan, the nation of Thassilon ruled by Alaznist, the Runelord of Wrath.

- Magnimar and the Irespan

The tale of the Shattered Star begins with apparent inauspiciousness: people are born – as they are wont to be – yet these people know not the path their lives will take. You all came from humble enough beginnings, yet every sight, every smell, every action you ever took has lead you upon this road of possibility. It brought you to Heidmarch Manor, when you scrawled your signature with steady hand upon the piece of paper signifying you as a Pathfinder of Golarion: a seeker of treasure, a delver of secrets, a chronicler of history, or – to use the common phrase – a murderhobo. You have completed a few odd jobs here and there, mostly minor tasks such as rooting out old relics in the collapsed and abandoned warehouses along the Dockway side of Magnimar. The glow of success from these menial tasks cannot compare with the flush of triumph you feel receive the following note:


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