Pathfinder (Dragon Age Setting)

In Pursuit of a Little Quiet
In which we split the party

The group begins investigating the Devouring Silence alliance (who are no doubt display defiance about compliance in appliance science), and they discover the trail of a darkspawn/orc band that have been traveling from hamlet to hamlet, “practicing” blood magic on the largely helpless chastened. Jubei can tell that the group will not catch up to them going at their present pace, so Abel, Jubei, Eli, and Ros push forward at an accelerated pace using Abel’s summons and several Con checks.

During their travels, Eli casts several Sendings that yield some much needed good* news. They catch up with the orcs after ten days and destroy them, but the darkspawn are long gone.

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*This is were a signing statement joke about the writer interpreting “good” to mean something unreasonable and counter to the wording would have been really topical and incisive ten years ago. Jesus, ten years? Well, yeah, maybe it would have landed like seven or eight ago, but ten would really be the money shot. Anyway, the news is shit.
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Out of the/their Depths
In which several sessions pass, and also some people

The group heads with a section of the legion into the deep roads, looking for some “Greywarden Bullshit or whatever. Or is it Graywarden? Is there an actual difference, like one faction broke off and the E or A represents something? Eh, anyway, it’s a long slog. Mind the Nug shit.” They find a large Eluvian, a bunch of darkspawn, and a few Tavinter mages helping the latter with the former. Spirited debate ensues. Able slips in through the Eluvian to help, having previously had Something I’ve Gotta See To™.

The group procedes to self defense the darkspawn to death, and the Tavinters fuck off through the mirror. The group sees to the unconcious Legionaires, who had been knocked unconscious by some sort of mind-blast trap. Fucking darkspawn.

Abel appears to be less than sober within half an hour. The group decides to check out the other side of the mirror, and finds a large hall with a large number of mirrors. The go through one with Chastened symbols on it, and they find themselves in a large, ornate temple. The wall is covered with a mural depicting a great elven army facing a darkness.

Some messing about later (ahem, Vitalek), and the great obelisk in the center of the room activates. A few undead guardians do as well. Some double-killing later and a large troll emerges from the ruins of the exploded obelisk. He introduces himself as Zul’Zamguul, a powerful TBA who was used as the glue in a “hey this sword is too artifacty, let’s seal it away” plan by some very long dead elves. He’d slowly consumed the weapon to sustain himself, and now he wants out. The group assents, and Abel enters into a blood pact. Hurray.

Abel picks up a small green marble of non-magical nature. Nothing comes of it.

Zumguul lets them out of the temple, although he us unable to leave himself. The group heads south, meeting up with Eri- er, Rosalyn’s tribe. After some hellos and information gathering, the group heads to Zumguul’s old cave. There, they encounter a small cadre of humans worshiping a giant (creature type, not size, or, I mean, not only size) abomination (non-subjective type, or subtype maybe?).

After pushing the above’s Cartesian Z-axises into the negatives, the group Claims Their Shit and moves on to Selese’s Garden, known by the local witch populace as “The Glade” or “The Place Where We Get Our Powers.” The group arrives there and finds a guardian spirit tending the glade. Just as the guardian spirit is about to spill the beans about Zumguul, the “totally normal” green marble explodes out of Abel’s hand, turning the spirit into a demon.

Shit.

The group Does What Needs to Be Done, and then actually/sort of manages to reform the spirit through the use of blood magic, hero points, more blood magic, and some “calculated” risks. And blood magic. She kicks them out, but that’s totally fine.

The group dives into the central pool and emerges in the great hall of mirrors. They activate the appropriate Eluvian, and Zumguul is freed. Back at his lair, he tells their futures in a completely clear and helpful way:

Grohm- A tree rotted into the ground regrows, but it’s infected with an old disease.
Jubei- Two little kossith, roaming in the trees, P-L-A-Y-I-N-G. The hornless one stabs the horned one in the back.
Oscar- A phoenix is consumed by flames, and then a dark phoenix rises from the ashes. No word on the goblin queen.
Zalifur- A murder of crows is hunting for an exiled member. To murder, presumably.
Vitalek- A shanty town burns down.
Liam- White griffins, wings soaked in black oil, crash into the soil as a large stone keep crumbles.
Roselyn- A hand reaching out of the darkness towards her son.
Abel- Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit.
Elias- Your improved golems are in another castle.

The group then heads back to Roselyn’s camp and makes things slightly awkward and tense.

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The Two Extremes of Subterrainian Experience
In which the group avoids utter failure through violence and good manners

The group makes their way into the deep roads, following the darkspawn tracks. Zalifur gets himself poisoned with a rare toxin known as maeplairsnothir while disabling a trap, and the rest of the group has to deal with some goddamn darkspawn doing some goddamn darkspawn bullshit. In this case, that’s a combination of creating brood-mothers through the usual horrible means and some sort of blood magic ritual. Spirited exchanges of views and spell levels ensue, and the darkspawn emissary opens a tear in the veil and escapes to the fade.

The group finds some loot, and also some old dwarven documents about the Legion of the Dead. Apparently, the Legion was once accorded nobel status. Eli and Vitalik suggest that this may be a “big deal.”

Everyone begins the week and a half journey back to civilization, intending to inform the chantry there’s a tear they need to deal with. During the journey, the sky lights up with a strange, powerful spell effect from up north. By the time the group reaches “civilization,” the templar have mostly cleared out. The strange light in the sky was the result of a spell blowing up part of Kirkwall, and the chantry has mobilized and headed there in the hopes of making the situation worse.

The group decides “fuck it, we’ll deal with it later” and heads to Orzammar to turn in the documents, ideally in exchange for some creative gratitude. A tense, but surprisingly non-embarrassing meeting with King Harrowmont later, the group has a bit of gratitude that they cash in. After abusing dwarven hospitality for a week or two, the group gets a meeting with the commander of the Legion of the Dead. The legion is interested in their help clearing out a taige with some strange wards on it, and the group agrees.

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Reflections, Deflections, and Collections
In which the group lightens their load and goes looking for trouble

After some debate, the group travels to the Dales to meet with a tribe Abel claims to know. Following a tense, awkward, and thoroughly embarrassing back and forth, the keeper of that tribe agrees to take possession of the mirror with the understanding that the group may or may not be able to resume custody, depending on how dangerous it turns out to be. Prior to this, there were more than a few cultural misunderstandings partially smoothed out by Qunari brashitude (it’s a word).

After that, the group heads back to Ferelden and follows up some leads on the darkspawn attacks. Apparently, several villagers were carried off during the attacks. The group travels northwest towards some riverside caves, and Jubei finds some tracks there, leading into some tunnels that connect to the deep roads.

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Of Skulls and Diplomacy Through Other, Other Means
In which class abilities are used to avoid combat for once

Deciding that the trolls went back on their deal in some cases, and “yeah, sure, whatever… fuck those monsters” in others, the group decides to get the drake skull back. Rather than attacking the camp, Abel summons a few air elementals to air-lift the skull out of the village and distract the locals. This goes surprisingly well, and the group heads south.

Some time passes as the group travels through Nevarra, finally returning to Northwestern Ferelden. Vitalek successfully restores the mirror, although it will require much more powerful magic to activate it again. The mirror has three uses:

  1. Storing copies of minds
  2. Some unknown power
  3. Triangulating the position of something unknown

Much spirited debate is had over what to do with the mirror. Abel proposes giving it to a certain Dalish tribe for safekeeping, claiming that this tribe is uniquely suited to handling it. Vitalek wants to hold on to it, possibly burying it in the middle of the forest for later study.

Much of the group is eager to travel east to look into both some darkspawn attacks and to investigate the possible marauding wild mage/abomination they created. Between the requests for a rite of annulment on the mages of Ferelden and the possible upcoming exalted march, things are looking rather bad for mages. Some are suspicious of Orlais using all this as an excuse to weaken Ferelden for conquest.

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Fucking Around with Mirrors 101
In which the group does some high-stakes interior decorating

Magically drained and modestly injured, the group reluctantly decides to spend the night in the ruins before going out and dealing with the trolls. Jubei and Duke have a shitty night, and Zalifur hurts himself with his own trap.

Come the morning, the group leaves the ruins to find the trolls waiting for them. The trolls demand the mirror, as “trolls own all in troll lands.” Abelos counters with “fuck these guys, we’re literally standing on the bones of their victims.” A few hundred points of fire and acid damage later, the trolls have reconsidered both the concepts of ownership and being. Vitalek takes the opportunity during combat to do an uncanny impression of a bull’s udders.

After close examination, the group determines that the mirror (and its scattered shards) drain life and magic from anything that touches it. Vitalek posits that the mirror is attempting to repair itself, and the group carefully gathers the pieces together in a few boxes. Eli stone shapes the mirror out of the wall and into a box they’d made for this purpose, and the group departs the ruins.

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Bones, Spiders, Ruins, and... a Mirror?
In which the group breaks an important internet rule

The group heads south, looking for some Elven ruins that Abelos heard rumors of. Along the way, Jubei gathers extra venison and other sundry victuals. After a couple weeks of travel, the group encounters a tribe of trolls. The leader offers to allow them to enter troll lands in exchange for the meat, the Drake skull, and a promise to slay “The Fickle God.”

Closer inspection reveals that The Fickle God is probably a manifest greed demon inhabiting the ruins of an ancient Dalish temple. The group journeys into the temple, stepping over the decades-old bones of countless elves. After a few magical traps and some swimming, the group encounters a room full of enormous spiders led by the manifest spirit. Spirited discussion ensues, ending with many dead spiders, a destroyed spider demon, and most of the group unconscious or clinging to consciousness.

As the session draws to a close, Abelos spots a broken mirror wrought of mithril and silverite in the corner…

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Drake Hunting 101
In which the group disturbs a delicate ecosystem (again)

The group leaves Weisshaupt, heading south. They come upon the site of their previous battle, the ground corrupted. Drake tracks nearby suggest that the magical resonance has attracted one of these creatures. Abel suggests the group hunt down and dispatch the creature to avoid a possible draconic possession.

In preparation for the battle, the group creates some scrolls and oils to enchant their weapons. A week’s tracking leads the group into a marsh, and ultimately to the beast. After a messy conflict, the drake is killed and its scales and bones taken for crafting materials.

Casualties: one endangered Green Drake
Sexual tension: fair

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Arrival at Weisshaupt
In which the group learns some hard lessons about fertility and diminished shelf life

Jubei, Abel, and Zalifur run off, hoping to track down the fleeing mage. Last seen, the wizard was flying north under the protection of an invisibility spell. Some quick math and guesswork/spellcraft on Abel’s part gives them a range of roughly a mile that the wizard could have gone before needing to land. They head out a bit further, then begin tracing a circle until they pick up the trail. Sure enough, Jubei and Duke find prints and the occasional bit of blood. Further tracking reveals that the wizard likely summoned a mount, but the amount of blood on the ground suggests that the wizard was bleeding out by this point. After a couple hours, they find the wizard dead in a clearing.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group waits back at the sight of the ambush. Vitalek gathers up the dead (and one survivor) and performs a blood magic ritual to harvest their life energy and create blood crystals. This, combined with the earlier summoning, causes the veil to weaken even further.

Jubei et al. return from the hunt with a bit of bonus lucre. They engage in a spirited debate about Vitalek’s use of blood magic in an already-weakened area before packing up and getting the fuck out. Bodies are gathered and burned to reduce the chances of any undead/restless spirit nonsense.

After another week of travel, the group makes it to Weisshaupt. They are informed that the much more important items (Cousland’s armor and sword) have already arrived in the care of marginally more competent couriers. King Alister the Only Marginally Amusing had insisted that the ashes be transported by Liam, probably for some ridiculous human reasons.

The group learns that proper Greywardens are generally, you know, trained before being sent off to fight the good fight. The wardens offer to provide this training over the course of the next six months. The current wardens (Ros, Jubei, and Liam) agree to this new training.

In addition, some key facts about Greywarden life become clear. The group learns that wardens are sterile and rarely last more than ten or fifteen years before “the calling” lures them into the deep roads to die. Despite this, Vitalek and Grohm also express interest in joining and undergoing actual training.

The new wardens begin their exhausting training. Elias works part time for the wardens and part time for himself. Oscar gets a job as a clerk for entirely above-board reasons. Zalifur gets sporadic work as a caravan guard. Abel heads into the wild for most of the time, apparently visiting local Dalish tribes. He occasionally returns for brief periods of caravan work.

Six months pass.

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The Long Road Ahead
In which the group ponders the disconnect between time passing in and out of game

The group unloads plunder at Redcliff, and Jubei spends some time conversing with the Ash Wardens. Concerned that “The Master” has ambushes set up for the whoever is transporting Cousland’s weapon and armor, the group seeks an audience with Arl Eamon.

After some initial haranguing, the Arl grants an audience. This meeting goes incredibly well, with no one unknowingly bringing up sore spots like his dead child or the circumstances surrounding it. At all. In the end, the Arl agrees to contact his nephew, the King. Abel quietly ponders what lengths Eamon probably goes to in order to work the phrase “my nephew, the king” into casual conversations.

A long, dull, trek north takes the group out of Ferelden, across the Waking Sea and through Nevarra. Weeks turn to months, with the last leg of the journey running through swamplands and forest. In the former, the group barters a deer carcass for safe passage through the troll-occupied swamp. Similar entreaties do not work in the latter when offered to the latest group of soon-to-be-corpses that “The Master” has sent to fetch Cousland’s ashes.

After a few additional snide comments and overt threats, battle is joined. The fighting is fierce and entirely lacking in the passive structure of the previous sentence. Blood magic receives some heavy usage, ending with the enemy cleric summoning some sort of rimefire demon/undead mess from the fade. The group puts it down, and Abel foils Grohm’s best efforts to get is low-AC ass killed.

Jubei, Abel, and possibly one or two others run off to track down the wizard who fled mid-battle.

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