Pathfinder: The Kingdom of Darkness

Group A: Battle on the Big Bridge
A storm is gathering...

As the city of Absalom becomes somewhat quiet (quiet for the largest city in the world that is) the heroes have time to breathe.

Altaire, Lili, and
Sym saw an opportunity to make a profit from the now-empty apothecary, and made the decision to talk to the people at Absalom’s City Planning Bureau. Altaire kindly asked the young lady gnome behind the desk to help them move the paperwork along quickly, so she promised them that if they helped her with the large load of paperwork she was behind on that she could get them ownership of the shop in a week. Altaire and Roko sat down to help her finish her backlog, while Sym took a cat nap in the back.

While Altaire worked, he implored Lilli to find a way to occupy herself on her own. Happy to avoid the monotony of bureaucracy, she took him up on the offer. She leaped across the building tops of Absalom, watching the thousands of people going about their thousands of errands. Through the hustle and bustle of the city, she noticed a familiar carriage, belonging to a familiar noblewoman. Her curiosity and mischief piqued, she decided to “drop in” on her.

The noblewoman was appalled and insulted. She demanded with every breath in her lungs that “this monster” be removed from her carriage and the streets of the city. Before she could call the guards, her husband put a gentle hand on her shoulder.

He assured her that this young lady was more than deserving of some respect for saving his life yesterday. He kindly asked Lilli to dismount from the carriage, and she complied.

Utterly offended, his wife scrambled into the carriage, but the gentleman of a husband thanked her properly for saving his life. He handed her a small pouch of platinum pieces and a letter of summons that could be used to request a favor from his Taldan house of Graetorias. Tilting her head at the gift, it eventually dawned on her that she had received a present. It was just for her. In her glee she ran back to Altaire to show him her first acknowledgment from another person.

Suhaila and Silhren left their new home in the Petal District for the Grand Lodge, where Pathfinders were served cheap meals more breakfast. Spotting Hroth on his own, he was dragged to breakfast by an enthusiastic Suhaila. Sitting down with sweets for Suhaila, breads and cheese for Silhren, and simple soup for Hroth, Suhaila also noticed Treval sitting by himself, and offered him a seat with them. Treval shrugged and joined them.

They spoke of religion, on the beauties of Shelyn and the simplicity of Erastil. Family was a harsher subject, with Hroth and Treval keeping quiet about their tragic tales of familial loss.

As they departed, Silhren pointed out to Hroth that he has a package at his door. Grinning widely he left the half-orc to return to his room and find a gift: a cloak of resistance. Hroth couldn’t find any utility Silhren’s generosity, but elected not to shot-put the gift over the walls of the Grand Lodge.

As they walked and Suhaila talked, Treval handed her a box. The box contained a homemade sweet roll that Treval had made himself. Blushing, Treval quickly made himself scarce, leaving Suhaila with a warm smile.

Kot approached Suhaila as Treval exited, and told her that he started to remember that the person who had wronged him was a woman, and he could remember the prayer to Ragathiel that he had rehearsed a thousand times before he had his memory stolen. Suhaila congratulated his progress, and promised that his memory would be found soon.

Sym and Altaire finished the paperwork as Lilli returned with the gifts from the Graetorias family. They quickly sought out Suhaila to consecrate the building, as it had been desecrated by the presence of the Night’s Breath toxins. Meanwhile, Silhren managed to unpack all of the newly delivered furniture into his family’s old estate by himself.

When it seemed like the day would be coming to a close, Ralpor arrived at the heroes’ newly furnished residence with grim news. He pointed to the Kortos Mounts, just north of Absalom, and to a collection of black clouds that were rising into the sky from the Mounts. They were took thick to be smoke, and too unsettling to be natural. He wished that he could send others, but knew that these heroes had the most experience with the cult, who he expected to be the culprits.

The heroes rushed into the Mounts, climbing steep rock and navigating the wild mountains with no path but the columns of smoke. As they climbed, they came across a collection of monstrous humanoids. The tribes of native minotaurs, centaurs, and harpies had gathered around a large bonfire. They seemed to be discussing plans of action to retrieve their respective chiefs from the hands of a dwarf man with masked sorcerers at his side.

The heroes peacefully reached out to the three tribes, claiming that they had a common enemy, and would offer help in exchange for guidance through the mountains to the cultists. The centaurs proved to be most reasonable allies, while the harpies questioned why they shouldn’t just eat the outsiders. The minotaurs complied when the harpies were persuaded.

Several of their fellow tribesmen and women had already been transformed into nightshades by the cultists, but most of the forces were converted back to their original states by Suhaila. Following the tribes’ lead, they guided the heroes to a gaping maw in the mountains that the tribes referred to as the Devil’s Throat. It was a place of sacrifice, where all three of the tribes would bring the frail and weak to be thrown from a bridge that was built across the monstrous canyon.

There, on the bridge, they found the dwarven cultist Kolar, who the heroes had missed when he escaped from the cult base under the Absalom streets. He was boiling large amounts of Night’s Breath, and the toxins were becoming airborne, and blocking most of the light from the sky. Two Proxies stood to bar the path, but the tribes struck first, the centaurs urging the heroes to free the tribesmen while they handled the spellcasters.

On the bridge, Kolar awaited them, with the chiefs of the three tribes at his beck and call, with the dark infestation of the Night’s Breath coating their bodies like a cloak of dark fogs and silks. Kolar seemed strangely cocky in the faces of the capable Pathfinders, as he showed them a peculiar green marble-like gem.

He asked them: what would happen if anyone in the world had the potential to become like gods? What if every tyrant, murderer, and thief on Golarion could be handed limitless power? Likewise, what if every crusader, benevolent ruler, and adventurer could have the same power to oppose them? Kolar promised the heroes that nothing short of bedlam would follow what these little rocks could grant.

He squeezed the gem, and strange magics swirled about his short frame. The gem made his actions quicker than possible, as he tossed explosives and drank powerful extracts with lightning speed. The chiefs also ran to his aid, slamming the heroes with their weapons and rivers of negative energy.

With a combination of skill, luck, and clever tactics, the heroes poured the toxin from the cauldrons into the Devil’s Throat, and the three chiefs were brought back to their senses. Kolar managed to escape with his life, but not with everything he brought…

The tribes were reunited with their chiefs. They had been reduced in numbers, and the minotaur chief could not bear the loss of his children. Suhaila offered another option: peace with the tribes, and the people of the Isle of Kortos. The tribes were hesitant, but as they looked around at the diminished numbers of their members, they saw few better options for survival. Naturally a slaughter of the competitor was proposed, but quickly overruled. The tribes requested time to thin and plan, as this would be a new age for them.

The marble that Kolar dropped was recovered by the heroes, and as their skin touched it, light blasted forth and engulfed them. Everything went bright before it darkened to a canvas of stars. They could see a massive green orb floating in the darkness, and slowly being pulled to a point in the Material Plane. The perfectly spherical, alien object passed stars, dead and living planets, and clouds of thick gas to eventually reach Golarion, where it crashed down into the surface and ripped apart the land, creating the Inner Sea. As it slammed against the surface of the world, pieces were torn off by the force, and the green stone produced smaller green stones of perfect spheres that flew across the land and the sea of the wounded world. And now they waited to be found.

As the vision ended, the heroes caught a glimpse of the pantheon they observed the earth and people of the planet below. Shelyn, Nethys, Erastil, and all the rest caught a glimpse of them too, as they returned to consciousness.

They had been changed, and now understood what kind of danger the world was in.

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Group B: High Society in Low Places
An angry town finds a surprise under their feet.

The Heroes of Logas had finally reached Wolfpoint, and decided to take a load off. Taking several handsome soldiers to bed and many drinks to their gullets, the evening went well.

Until a condescending voice asked them if they’d have another.

Pallos stood behind the bar, a bloody corpse of one of the two tengu brothel owners to his right. He gave them a sneer and demanded that they return the recipe for the Night’s Breath that they stole from his base.

Despite several tricky efforts, Pallos proved to be too clever and demanded the recipe in exchange for the lives of everyone in the bar. Holding spell over his head, he held out his hand.

The recipe was given and Pallos dropped his spell. He delivered another quick tirade about what he planned to do with the Kingdom of Darkness when the cult would finally achieve their goal.

When the chaotic kingdom is established, Pallos intended to pick up the pieces; specifically the corpses, and use them for his own domain as soldiers and subjects.

With a wink, he was gone.

The Heroes of Logas left the next morning, and Saya departed for Absalom and the Pathfinder Grand Lodge to speak about the cult’s intentions and movements to her comrades.

The Heroes followed the road to Elidir, the capital of Isger, hoping that the more cosmopolitan setting might hold more clues.

On the way the heroes came across the town of Saringallow, a town established on blood and distrust.

The town was in a state of near civil war. A large number of thefts had been committed as of late, and tensions were beginning to rise because of them. The nobles of the town claimed that the smelly commoners were thieving their valuables, but the villagers pointed to several instances of thievery committed in their homes as well. The nobles wrote it off as a cover up by the culprit to throw them of the trail.

Splitting up to do damage control, Avacyntan took to the city hall in time for a meeting between the “factions” of the town. The town’s mayor, Fegerend Gof, and the council woman of the nobles, Claire Thalmus, had great difficulty seeing eye to eye. Syn’s silver tongue managed to help avoid a brawl in the town hall, but the tensions could only be delayed.

Dwyn interviewed a number of people who had witnessed the the thieving, and was able to glean that they only attacked n the night time and took only food and a few things of slight value.

Content Not Found: lanus spoke with the local guards to step up the security and find some kind of middle ground for the guards, who were also split between the townspeople and the Chelish nobles’ private guard force.

Jon elected to the take the investigation a little farther, and took to the sewers to track the culprits for the thefts. With a little luck, he came across one of the thieves watching him from a distance. Following their trail, he came across an underground structure that resembled the cult base that they had visited the day previous.

Giving his pet crow a message, he sent the bird to deliver news of his findings to the rest of the group.

Crow delivered the message, and the Heroes of Logas rallied to Jon’s position. The base was occupied, but not by the cult.

A large colony of friendly Dark Folk had taken residence in an abandoned cult base.

The heroes were welcomed with both smiling faces and cautious stares, but the leader of the community, Svanik, was more than happy to explain himself and this people. They had fled former homes with other, more violent and callous dark folk to lead a more peaceful existence. They had found this base by accident as they dug up, and they sealed the entrance to the Darklands behind them. They had much less food this close to the surface, so they had to resort to less-than-honorable means to secure food. Painfully aware that the surface people would likely not respond well to a dark stalker visiting them at night to discuss trade, they decided this was the safest course of action.

He also wondered aloud if the town of Saringallow would want stones that the dark folk could grow. Syn examined a piece of these stones, and discovered that they were metamagic stones, powerful magical artifacts. Syn assured that the people above could benefit from them greatly.

Lanus rushed back to ask the soldiers he had rallied against the thieves to hold their wrath for a moment so negotiations could commence. While the town guard was compliant, the nobleman guard was less accommodating, determined to destroy the creatures who preyed on his charge. Lanus managed to convince him to speak before raising his spear.

While Svanik seemed excited to negotiate some kind of settlement, his right hand Porvin was not as trusting of the surface-dwellers. He seemed to be more content hiding in the base, continuing to steal. Svanik had made his decision, and was escorted to the town hall to discuss an arrangement.

While Svanik was taken to town hall with Syn, Lanus, and Dwyn to speak to the nobles and mayor’s council, Jon stayed behind to watch the dark folk. Jon was accosted by several dark folk who saw things Porvin’s way, and Porvin escaped with several of his own to murder Svanik before he made the mistake of trusting the surface-dwellers.

The negotiations were long but ended well. Svanik was allowed to establish a bit of trade while under watch.

While the negotiations came to near a conclusion, the Heroes of Logas tried their best to quietly hold off the dark folk attackers. Porvin managed to get into the hall and make and attempt on Svanik’s life, while Dwyn and Syn passed it of as a kind of cultural thing that dark folk do as part of diplomacy.

Svanik managed to pacify Porvin harmlessly, urging the Heroes to not kill him or any more men. Haning his head in shame, Svanik saw that perhaps his people couldn’t live in harmony with the surface. He apologized to the noblemen and common council and saw himself out.

Surprisingly, Claire stopped him, and Fegerend urged him to stay.

Things worked out well, and the town of Saringallow would certainly benefit from the new trade of metamagic stones. The Heroes of Logas kindly departed from th thankful town, continuing their journey to the capital.

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Group B: Two Ghosts, a Ghoul, and a Mutton Place
The road to Wolfpoint was long.

A new day dawned after the Battle of Logas. The townspeople gathered their bearings and resources from the surprisingly successful battle, won in no small part by the efforts a few extraordinary people.

The group of heroes met again in town, concluding that this cult was bad news. Seeing that they all needed to head north, they decided traveling together would be mutually beneficial. They agreed to meet at the town gates at noon to depart.

Dwyn, began his search for his sister in Logas, asking about town if they had seen a half-elf girl with blood-red hair. His search pointed him to the north, along the Conerica Straits.

While searching, the sounds of heavy metal boots rattled down the street. Instinctively leaping to the shadows, he stood still to listen. The men in armor were Hellknights in training, with the unmistakable tattoo of the Order of the Chain on their necks, depicting a hand wrapped in chains.

Not far away, Content Not Found: lanus watched them enter a familiar smithy, and speak to the young apprentice. They asked if they had seen this half-elf, citing a sketch of a half-elf man wh strikingly resembled Dwyn. The boy, gullible as he was, was fooled by Dwyn into thinking he was a dwarf, and asked him why they were looking for a dwarf.

Angered, the Hellknight, known to Dwyn as Odd Lucan, lifted the boy from his feet and demanded that he tell him where “Connor” was.

Dwyn and Lanus quickly sprung to action, drawing the Hellknights attention from the boy. Dwyn attempted to deny his identity, but the old family member saw through him, and combat ensued.

The Hellknights proved to be too experienced and well-armored for the group, even when Avacyntan, Jon, and Content Not Found: gale rushed to their aid. Jon was slain in the battle by Odd, but no sooner had his body hit the ground that a cleric of Sarenrae brought him back from his early grave. Right behind her was a very upset half-orc, fire sweeping across his greatsword and rage in his eyes, throwing himself at the Hellknights.

The two strangers gave the heroes enough time to escape intact. They regrouped at the gate to the north and fled for Wolfpoint.

Traveling along the Conerica River, they noticed a sign for the Sinking Flagon Inn, a reputable inn on the Conerica Straits. The heroes stopped by to get good food, and Lanus bedded a local waitress.

Dwyn asked around the inn, and the bartender reported that a girl matching Dwyn’s description headed further down the road.

Upon exiting the bedroom, Lanus and the waitress were disturbed by strange sounds. The echoes of a child danced in the hallway. A trail of old children’s toys seemed to be luring Lanus to the arms of an attic whisperer. He cautiously approached, drawing his weapon, determined to destroy it for Pharasma, but he was hesitant because of its childlike appearance.

Dwyn and Syn came to his aid, followed by Gale and Jon. The creature was put down, and the bartender was promptly questioned.

The Sinking Flagon Inn had been an orphanage before it burned down years ago. The owner of the Inn bought the land and refurbished it. They had no idea that there were any casualties in the fire, much less that they were restless.

The group moved on, continuing the trek to Wolfpoint.

As they passed a small forest, Dwyn noticed that his pocket seemed a bit light. He caught movement out of the corner of his eye, and noticed a small fox with their medallion in its mouth.

She was quick, and they nearly lost her as she bounded through the trees, past dusty ruins, and to the doors of a decrepit temple.

She giggled as the heroes caught their breath, pointing out that this was a cult base she had led them to. She introduced herself as Saya. Confident that the “heroes of Logas” could handle a few more cultists, she drew them in to help her ransack the base.

Eyebrows raised, the group begrudgingly followed her in.

The base was cold and stone, with dust filling the air. They almost immediately noticed someone walking the halls, and pursued him to find a large locked door with five keyholes.

Saya asked Gale to help her with a task while the rest of them tried to open the door.

The first key was found inside an undead ooze that could spawn skeletons. Jon boldly leaped inside the ooze to fish the key out, but found himself unable to maneuver out of the ooze’s grip. Fortunately, the undine Syn effortlessly destroyed the skeletons with holy power and swam through the ooze with ease.

The second key was around the neck of a ghost in a secret laboratory hidden behind the walls of the temple. The ghost was frantically trying to prepare some kind of alchemical concoction, with no success. Syn approached the ghost gently, and conversed with the troubled specter. The ghost, an elven male, couldn’t remember his name, where he was, or even what a god was. He only remembered the name of his love: Pallos. Pallos had commanded him to create large quantities of a poison called Night’s Breath, the recipe card of which Jon had already found.

The ghost seemed fixed on the word “friend”, repeating it like a mantra. Feeling it was appropriate, Syn decided to call this ghost Friend; Friend seemed excited to have companions in the living world once more.

Friend relinquished the key, only asking that the heroes stop Pallos, because he was no longer the man he fell in love with. With those words, he left this plane for the Boneyard, seemingly at peace.

The third key was found in the waiting mouth of a mummified corpse that also bore a trap that paralyzed some of the heroes. Several zombies rose from the ground to slay some of the paralyzed heroes.

The fourth key was found at the end of a grim hallway filled with hanging undead, whom Lanus sent to their final rest with a vial of holy water. A large chasm with a small foothold separated them from a statue with the key placed in an indent.

The final key was found on the possession of an underling in the cult base. Luckily, he dropped the key outside the door.

The door unlocked, and the heroes piled in to find a ghoul cleric handing a black vial to a man in white robes: Pallos.

Grumbling that some fox girl had stolen the larger supply of poison, he turned to greet the party. Amused by their tenacity, he smiled.

Pallos was callous to the fate of Friend, claiming he had done what was asked and would have been sent to the Great Beyond either way.

Pallos waved his hand at his underling, Tholrist, ordering him to destroy the interlopers he let in. Tholrist let loose waves of negative energy as the party dueled with his ghoul entourage.

The battle was hard-won, but Tholrist fell in the end.

The temple now empty of life/unlife, the heroes returned to the surface to find Saya toting an enormous bag of black vials. Gale had departed to find his missing coven. Saya thanked them for their help, and walked with them to Wolfpoint.

Finally reaching Wolfpoint, the heroes took their evening to the local brothel for food and song and drink, as well as a few bedfellows.

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Group A: The First Legs of Many Journies
Everyone here has a story to tell.

After a night of well-deserved rest, the heroes had a moment to catch their breath from chasing cultists.

But not all was quiet.

Sym returned to his room after spending some hard-earned gold to find an ornate sword on his bed. Perturbed, his investigations revealed that this gold and silver, jewel-encrusted sword was, in fact, a Raktavarnan named Roko.

Roko

Roko repeatedly referred to Sym as his “master” claiming he would serve him “to the day he dies.” Incredulous but not turning down the offer, Sym took Roko to Grom to examine.

Grom seemed to know a thing or two about the Rakshasa and their cycles of reincarnation. Roko seemed to have been dumped onto the bottom rung of the reincarnation wheel, much to his chagrin. Grom suggested that as long as he is around, he may be of use for his ability to translate any language and perform recon. Sym needed only to say the word, and Roko would leave his service.

Altaire and Lilli went out for a romp around the town. After failing to climb a passing carriage to reach the rooftops, they fled from a grumpy noblewoman. Upon escaping her, Lilli smelled smoke.

Looking around, Altaire noticed a plume of smoke from a block to the south and they hurried in that direction. An inn was burning to the ground, and the presence of a screaming mother outside the inn was enough to hint that not everyone was out of the fire. Lilli hurried inside the crumbling building and managed to save an elven couple, two human boys, a trapped baby, and an elderly human just before the building’s collapse.

The elderly gentleman had breathed too much smoke in and was losing his breath. None of the guards who came to the scene could perform any kind of first aid, so Lilli stepped in and helped the old man breathe.

Receiving a salute from the city guard who arrived, Altaire and Lilli left as heroes.

Silhren came across Garren, who seemed to be watching Treval Bast with interest. Treval had challenged a fellow Pathfinder to a friendly duel, and a crowd had gathered at the training grounds to watch.

Garren made sure to properly thank Silhren for his help two nights previous, when he was cornered by dangerously pious men. He did not expect any salvation, and he wanted Silh and his companions to know that he was grateful.

In the infirmary, Suhaila was finishing her treatment in the capable hands of Jaistelle Alnair, a Pathfinder cleric of Sarenrae.

After enduring Jaistelle’s complaints about her companions’ lack of regard for their own health, Suhaila found Kot sitting alone on one of the beds; he was examining a mithral helmet with a flame sigil on the forehead; he claimed he knew about it, but not enough to be sure. Suhaila recognized the flame sigil as a common symbol of Ragathiel, an Empyreal Lord of Heaven. Kot started to remember a little more.

The brooding Hroth, with his luck, stumbled into Jaistelle and Khrane Bokor in the middle of an argument as they departed to take on the cultist that the heroes had reported on the night previous. Jaistelle berated Khrane about being on a couch thrown at a simulacrum, while Khrane promised her a banquet several times over. Hroth could barely get a word in.

Leaving the bickering couple, Hroth found Silhren with his ocarina in the courtyard. Puzzled by his carefree attitude, Hroth questioned how he didn’t seem to have any cares. Silhren was puzzled, but assured him that he felt there was no reason to worry. Hroth found it more confusing that Silhren could give to others to freely, but Silhren responded that he didn’t need to worry about that, either. Hroth walked away in a huff with Silhren trailing close behind him, trying to understand his reasoning.

Suhaila received an unexpected boon from Benneth in the form of a letter from Casamir Ayperi, her missing brother. The letter begged her not to join him in the chasing of the cult, but Casamir knew that this wouldn’t stop her. The letter included a special medallion, one that the letter claimed could open more than one base of the cult. He apologized for not sending her a letter sooner, and explained that it was too dangerous for him to contact her or their family, and he urged her to avoid speaking to them as well. Suhaila was elated to hear that her brother lived, and thanked Benneth. She left with a spring in her step.

While wandering about Skyreach, Hroth came across an unsettling development; he discovered a wanted poster for his arrest. A bounty had been placed on his head by his home town of Omash, and listed several kidnappings as his doing.

Hroth quickly removed the poster and took it with him, but not before noticing another poster. This bounty was almost large enough to make the Prophets of Kalistrade blush, and called for an enormous list of murders, kidnappings, attempts on the lives of royalty, moving of illegal goods, and other crimes of varying seriousness.

This face was also familiar; it was the face of the cultist who had been taken back to the Pathfinder Society in the Grand Lodge into custody for protection and questioning.

His true name was Spencer Khalim.

Sym accompanied Hroth into the dungeon of the Lodge to find the aftermath of a bloody escape. The guards had been slain by strangling, lightning, and negative energy. The blood pooling on the ground was being captured by a crude drawing of a toothy grin etched in the floor, likely to mock anyone who found the scene too late. Hroth and Sym tracked his footsteps to the stone wall around the lodge, where the trail had stopped with a teleport. He was long gone.

Within Skyreach, near the mess halls, Altaire and Lilli wandered to get some food. They were interrupted by a beautiful song coming from an unlit armory. Quietly approaching, they found Zarishu Sala, singing to herself. Lilli sneaked closer to hear more but was found. Startled that she had an audience, Zarishu stopped singing and tried to change the subject.

Altaire insisted that the song was lovely and inquired about its origin, while Lilli listened for more. Zarishu was hesitant, but explained that the song was one her mother sang during her life as a slave. She sang the song after she had given up, but Zarishu was determined to the change the solemn song into a plead to fight. She would not become like her mother.

Altaire agreed to keep this secret between them.

Finding himself at the Vial Secrets apothecary, Sym could not find the proprietor. The Old Lady was not at the desk, and the shop had a uneasy silence.

That silence was broken by voices from the back room; the Old Lady was in the shop. Sym heard half of the conversation. Th Old Lady reported to someone about improving some concoction with the wishrooms that she had asked the heroes to obtain from the Cairnlands. She seemed annoyed, as if this person was pushing a deadline on her.

Sym sent in Roko to get a closer look. She spoke to this mystery man through a divining mirror. Roko also found that she had the recipe for the infamous “”/campaign/kingdom-of-darkness/wikis/nights-breath" class=“wiki-page-link”>Night’s Breath" poison that the heroes knew all too well. In fact, she planned to use the wishrooms to improve the Night’s Breath. Roko swiped the recipe and returned to Sym.

Feeling greedy, Sym snooped about the shop and discovered a cabinet with a collection of powerful Alter Self potions that could last an entire day.

The alarm spell on the cabinet alerted the Old Lady, who came rushing to storefront. Thinking quickly, Sym donned his cloak and it changed into a regal outfit. The Old Lady only caught the backside of a rich man exiting the store. By the time she rant to the street, Sym had changed back, and pointed to the west. He smiled as she gave chase to his ruse and headed east with his report.

Now aware that the Old Lady of Vial Secrets was in allegiance with the Cult of the Open Armed, the heroes warned the First Guard of her presence, and they sent a squad with the heroes to apprehend her.

They were met with a trap. Knowing that others might come for her, the Old Lady prepared a trap, with the current brew of Night’s Breath she had. She propped it against the doorway and it fell onto the first people into her back room: the First Guards. Three of them became Nightshades instantly, while the last resisted the poison. The heroes and the First Guard were expecting Nightshades, but they did not expect the Old Lady to throw back her hood and have hissing snakes for hair.

The battle was treacherous, but everyone managed to leave alive, and the Old Lady was killed. The First Guard thanked the heroes for their assistance and returned to Skyreach with their report.

Upon returning, Silhren, Suhaila, Altaire, Lilli, and Sym found that Treval’s duels had continued. He had challenged five fellow Pathfinders of his caliber and had bested them all. Garren was even more intrigued by the boy, and after Treval’s last and decisive victory, and some healing from the Shelynite heroes, he offered himself as an opponent.

Garren made Treval a deal: if he could land a single blow on Garren, he would consider him the victor and leave him be; however, if Garren could knock Treval out, he would come with him. Treval tentatively took the bet (while Altaire set up bets behind the duel).

The duel was over in seconds. Garren succeeded in disarming both Treval’s longsword and cestus in one fluid motion. Even without weapons, Treval still could fight with his fists, but he was parried and knocked unconscious in a single blow.

Disgraced, Treval hurried to his room without a word after being brought to his feet.

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Group B: Logas' Salvation
If not for brave heroes, a great city would not be standing.

In the bustling city of Logas, former capital of Isger, a great but not unexpected tragedy was avoided.

Travelers from various roads stopped in Logas for the day; Dwyn, the deceptive rogue; Content Not Found: gale_, the cursed aasimar; Jon, the purveyor of hope; _Content Not Found: cohortis-lanus, the divine hand of Pharasma; and Avacyntan, the preserver of life and liberty, convened on Logas by chance. Dwyn wasted no time in striking deals with the locals, displaying rocks he picked up outside and selling them as rare and valuable jewels. Gale helped the local hunters by mending the broken bow of a young huntress. Lanus and Dwyn aided a young apprentice to the local blacksmith in carrying his tools to the shop, and they were promised the first of his weapons out of gratitude.

Good deeds in Logas abounded as the generous men helped a local inn obtain an expensive altar to Asmodeus by the order of passing Hellknights. In return, they were given a clever and useful artifact that the inn keeper claimed would bring them good luck.

Entering the city, Syn and Jon happened to spot a young man limping to town off the beaten roads. They helped him to his feet and brought him to the local guard. The young man, Casamir, brought grim news: goblinoids intended to march to Logas in a few days.

Leaving the captain to contemplate this new threat, Jon and Syn looked around to find capable sword-arms to aid in the inevitable fight, but they found a small fight of their own as the inn where Dwyn, Lanus and Gale were staying was infested with giant rats and a lizard that fired lightning from its tail.

They noticed that these creatures were probably driven from their homes in the woods. Jon and Syn relayed the bad news as a recruiter began to shout outside, looking for able bodies to prepare for the goblins’ assault.

For the next eight days, the heroes lent their arms to aid the town in its defense; They built barricades, set traps, scouted the area, and recruited healers and knights from the surrounding lands to defend the city from the approaching enemies.

The day finally came, and the massive hordes fell upon the town. The Chitterwood nearly lit into flame with the number of torches and fire-happy goblins that began to march out in waves, followed by cunning and brutal hobgoblins and bugbears.

The armies stood opposite each other, tempting the other to strike the first blow.

An old man from Logas’ side loses his grip on his bow; a goblin falls to the dirt, and the goblinoids charge with all their might.

The two forces smash into each other, but the efforts of the town paid off, so the hordes were less than what Casamir predicted. The traps and barricades kept the forces thin, and the heroes made their mark on the field.

Cutting their way into the thick of the fight, the heroes came across a man in a black cloak with an enormous white mask. Surrounding him were several goblinoids that had been changed into nightshades by mysterious force, but they left the heroes little time to contemplate such things.

The man in the mask extended an offer; he described a “Kingdom of Darkness” to the heroes, a place where might made right and the strong made their way in the world. He claimed that people who fought for gods and for survival would find a new god, and much success could be found in this new kingdom.

For the heroes, there was little to consider; they gave a quick and decidedly negative answer, and the man shook his head in bemused disappointment.

The nightshade-infused goblins and bugbears started to blast the heroes with negative energies while the evil wizard slammed them with painful spells. The fight was harrowing, but the party managed to scrape out alive.

With the leader of the army vanquished, the goblins retreated back into the Chitterwood. Tired and bleeding, the heroes dragged themself back to a city filled with merriment, and they were rewarded for their efforts.

The only clue as to where to go next came from Casamir, who recalled that Gale’s missing coven had been speaking about the cult that the masked man belonged to and were headed in the direction of Wolfpoint.

Casamir warned the heroes of their future; having slain a “Proxy” of the cult, they would become targets of the cult’s members and, if they became troublesome like Casamir, the god of the cult himself.

The future is uncertain, but when has Golarion ever been certain of anything?

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Group A: Darkness of the Unknown
A group of soon-to-be heroes get a taste of what they are up against.

With a cult base discovered below Silhren’s shop in Absalom, all that was left was to investigate.

Upon opening another seal below the streets of Absalom, the party was greeted by a mechanical chandelier. The chandelier projected a voice from the boss of the cult base, asking for the password. When the party couldn’t produce a password, and then couldn’t name any cult members, the jig was up. The chandelier raised silently and left the heroes alone in the quiet hallway.

Having no choice but to move on, the heroes entered a large mess hall. The hall appeared to be left alone, and all the tables had been left with plates and platters of prepared food. Bread, meats, cheeses, fine wine and mead covered every table in the room. The tantalizing smell of fish pulled Sym to take a bite of a medium-rare salmon.

The moment Sym bit into the fish, the room’s true nature became more clear. The fish began to bleed from its eyes and mouth, and the dishes around the room began to leak crimson red. Sym became starving, but the food wouldn’t satisfy. Silhren pointed out the evil presence in the room, and a good amount of channeling from Suhaila put an end to the haunt for the moment.

Listening to the spirit, Hroth put down some gold on the table to appease the unappreciated spirit who was worked to death, and remained at work ever since.

Moving on, the heroes came to an intersection and decided to move north. They found a small entryway into an important-looking room, flanked by stone statues with raised greataxes. Lilli was sent to investigate, triggering a trap. The axes came down on Lilli, and the floor opened beneath most of the party. They grumbled and pulled themselves from the hole. Altaire used an Enlarge Person spell on Lilli, who stood up tall and blasted the door down, along with the new greataxe barrier.

The room beyond was a planning room and library. The heroes found a disturbing letter from a higher up in the cult, speaking about Alken (whom the heroes had dealt with in Skyreach), and spoke about a man named Fegerin, who was being promoted to a “Proxy”. The heroes also found old maps of underground tunnels beneath Absalom that Alken likely used to infiltrate the Pathfinder Grand Lodge.

To the south, they found a prison, with one prisoner still awake. He was clearly mad, and he had written disturbing messages on the wall about a “tall man” who was stalking him. Attempts to reach the poor man were unsuccessful, as he continued to babble about how this man came to him at night and watched him.

He suddenly began to panic and point at the wall behind the heroes, claiming, “He’s here.” The heroes didn’t see anything in the room, but Silhren’s Detect Evil revealed an overwhelming evil in the room that blinded him for a short time.

When everyone took their eyes off the man, his screaming stopped. Looking back, the party saw that he was no longer in his cell. Looking around the room, they found him quickly; he was sitting on the stool next to the door, completely silent.

His stomach was slit open; his organs had been removed, placed in sacks, and put back inside his body.

The heroes quickly removed the other two prisoners in the room and asked Content Not Found: rethovel-wa-naonel to take them and the papers from the planning room to the Pathfinder Society.

In the next room was a curious sight. Lilli stopped to examine the figure in front of her; strangely, she could see Altaire standing in front of the next door, even though he was still behind her. As the second Altaire began summoning new creatures, however, the party readied their weapons.

Dealing with the doppelganger and the hidden choker easily, they claimed the doppelganger’s Bag of Holding and moved on.

After preparing for a fight, the heroes burst open the double doors to find the real mess hall; all of the tables, chairs, and stools had been turned on their sides to prepare for the intruders. They raised their crossbows and dared the party to advance.

One person met their challenge; Altaire stood as tall as he could beside Lilli and let out a tirade he had been building since they walked in. He introduced their guests: Lilli and himself, Rethovel, the “guy who scares the shit out of me,” Suhaila, the “conduit of divine death,” Silhren, the “wall of deadly mortar,” and Hroth, the “rain of pain.”

Despite the rather strange entrance, the cultists seemed to buy it and began to shift their eyes nervously. The heroes charged and fought hard, leaving two cultists dead, one unconscious, and two attempting to flee.

Following the cowardly mercenaries, the heroes found the altar room. Fegerin, the cleric mentioned in the letter, was receiving both his confirmation and a large, intimidating mask of white from a terrifying projection of an extraplanar creature. The creature declared that defeating the heroes would make a good commencement ceremony and disappeared, laughing.

The cleric donned the mask, and its dark powers filled the room with unease. The two mercenaries that had retreated to the altar room were turned into nightshades, and negative energy began to flow from their corrupted forms in deadly waves.

The ensuing fight was brutal; the room was cramped, and the party had little room in which to avoid the fireballs that Fegerin threw at them. Altaire and Rethovel lost consciousness, and Lilli was dismissed. The nightshades advanced, emitting waves of harmful negative energy that filled the room. The altars to the Open-Armed flanked the room, adding to the power of the deadly trio. After Suhaila healed Rethovel and Altaire with her goddess’ aid, Silhren and Rethovel engaged the cleric toe-to-toe in fierce combat while Hroth and Sym threw spells and arrows. With a small amount of divine help, Silhren managed to final slay the cleric with a glaive through the mask.

With his final breath, the evil cleric secretly activated a trick on his own medallion: the hidden glyphs about the hideout exploded, and the entire place started to come down on everyone’s heads.

Rethovel stuffed the body of the man in the mask into the Bag of Holding and they navigated the collapsing tunnels. The streets above their heads crumbled into the structure, and the moon from the night sky could be seen above in some rooms. The tables and chairs in the mess hall were obstacles enough; in addition, though, the room with the doppelganger had collapsed over the only door out, and water was pouring in the room. Luckily, the choker in the room had burrowed a tunnel to the prison. The prison had collapsed; the bars twisted around any avenues of escape, and the dust raised from the falling stone impaired the heroes’ vision. Escaping into the library/planning room, the party found that the debris in the air made it difficult to breathe; fortunately, however,the secret door they had discovered earlier was still working.

No one was left behind, as no one moved far ahead of the slowest party member. Though this caused many to become injured from the falling debris, the heroes risked life and limb to ensure each other’s safety. Their valor paid off; with perseverance, prayer, and a little bit of luck, everyone made it out alive.

A gaping hole in the streets behind Silhren’s shop spewed stone and dust as the escapees caught their breath. The guards came to them quickly and took them to the Pathfinder Society to report what had happened.

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Group A: Adventure in Absalom
Even in the world's largest city, there is danger around every corner.

Now field commissions for the Pathfinder Society, Altaire, Hroth, Content Not Found: rethovel-wa-naonel, Silhren, Suhaila, and Sym aided with the reconstruction at the Grand Lodge.

As repairs continued, Sym decided to pay a visit to Vial Secrets, and asked the Old Lady if she knew of any good sages. She referred him across the street to see Grom, the clever but strange halfling who runs Sage ’n General. Sym inquired if the sage had any knowledge of the Nightshades, upon which Grom swung open his scroll cabinet to an avalanche of scrolls. He offered a scroll of Nightshade lore for a low price of 100gp. Not having that much money, Sym offered chocolate to pay for the scroll. Still not having quite enough, Sym departed to obtain more money from his comrades.

Silhren and Hroth continued to aid in rebuilding the collapsed quadrangle. Silhren took a break to play his ocarina. Shortly after sitting down, he received company from a very inebriated Zarishu. Through the slur of compliments, she mentioned a bar called the Goodnight Kiss, with a bad-ass barmaid. Zarishu promptly passed out, and Silhren carried her inside to find a bed for her.

Rethovel and Suhaila took some time in the library of Skyreach to research the Nightshades themselves. Luckily, they found a tome that told them of the Nightshades’ unnatural cruelty and desire for the end of all things.

Convincing Grom to part with an old scroll for 50gp from Rethovel and a bag of Kibwe chocolates, Sym returned to Rethovel and showed him and Hroth (who was on a break) the scroll. Rethovel noticed that the scroll was written in Azlanti, meaning that it was very old. The scroll also detailed the different known varieties of Nightshades.

Rethovel concluded and shared with the group that if they ever meet a real Nightshade, they should consider retreat.

After a long day of work and study, the party scattered. Suhaila and Altaire came across an Aasimar gentleman by the name of Kot. He was meeting with a counselor who hoped to help him regain his memory. Suhaila deduced that his ailment was a magical one; she offered to help her angelic kin and planned to bring him any answers she could offer.

Upon Kot leaving, Suhaila decided to begin the search for her missing brother, Casamir Ayperi. A Pathfinder in the Grand Lodge happened to remember him coming back to the lodge a few months prior. He pointed her to the bar-heavy district of town, where she would find a gentleman named Benneth, who had spoken to Casamir last. He claimed that Casamir was on the lookout for a group of cultists in masks…

Behind the party, a small bar fight almost broke out, but was diffused by the barmaid with a single strike of a mug.

As the party walked back to the Grand Lodge, night had fallen, and the torches had been lit. In the dark alleyways, Hroth noticed a group of armed men and women surrounding someone in a corner. After pointing the party in their direction, they perked up quickly upon hearing accusations of “abomination” and “freak.”

A group of ruffians had taken it upon themselves to corner a dhampir, wearing necklaces of garlic to prevent any resistance from their prey. The party took them by surprise; their surprise was not put to rest to see that they stood before a tiefling, a good-aligned paladin, an aasimar cleric, a giant summoned creature, a catfolk sorcerer, and a half-orc who could wield a bow with unnatural grace.

Needless to say, the five thugs backed off. The dhampir did not expect to be saved, and somewhat crudely thanked them or their help. He asked them if they had seen a man with a brown cap with a green feather, but no one could help him. With a simple wave, he said goodbye.

The quadrangle at the Grand Lodge was still in shambles, so the party needed a place to stay for the night. Recalling that his family had owned a store in Absalom in the Petal District, Silhren guided the party to his old stomping grounds.

When they arrived, the lock on the shop was broken. A quick search of the area and the inside revealed that the shop had been used recently. A series of footprints lead to a secret and magical doorway that lead into the back of a warehouse that had not been there while Silhren was a child. Searching the rest of the shop, Rethovel found a medallion that displayed the symbol of the cult. This medallion opened the secret door that lead to the back of the warehouse on the other side. This small alcove in the back of the warehouse also had a staircase leading down into lower levels. It appeared that someone was putting out the torches in the warehouse, so the party laid low to intercept him. The cultist noticed the secret door had been opened and took the bait. He was caught by the party and politely interrogated. He revealed that there were still a number of cultists downstairs and possibly some other surprises. The party knocked the nervous man out and descended into the catacombs beneath Absalom…

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Group A: Becoming Pathfinders
A most unusual group of heroes gets an even more unusual welcome to the Pathfinder Society...

Now in the city of Absalom, some of the heroes tried their hand at street performance. After Sym froze a fountain, and Hroth had to break the ice, the guards gave them cold looks and asked them to get out of the fountain. Silhren sat down and played his ocarina, and his impressive display drew a crowd. Hroth asked one of the guards which way the Grand Lodge of the Pathfinder Society was. The guard directed the party to the Foreign Quarter.

On the way, the group stopped by an Apothecary called the Vial of Secrets, as per Sym’s request. After buying potions and scrolls, the heroes noticed that the old lady running the shop spoke in strange speech patterns and smelled heavily of exotic mushrooms. She offered to pay them for any mushrooms they come across in the Cairnlands, for their spell boosting properties.

Finally reaching the Grand Lodge, the heroes were escorted to meet Ralpor Wales, the guard captain of the Grand Lodge. He warned them sternly that he would be watching them during their stay at the Grand Lodge, the heart of the Pathfinder Society. Ralpor escorted the heroes into Skyreach to meet Marcos Farabellus, the dean of swords. He happily showed them to their first test to become Pathfinders.

The first test was to fight a unique construct, with slots that small rods, scattered about the room in locked chests, could be be inserted to weaken the golem until they finally defeated it.

Completing the challenge in short order, the heroes were met on the other side by Marcos, who told them he knew about the Spoiled Brat and that they had survived something clearly extraplanar. He hinted that they may be able to become Pathfinders quicker than most because of their exceptional handling of the situation on their ride to Absalom.

The second test involved an unlit maze filed with traps to test young Pathfinders. The tunnels were not empty, however; the diggings of small creatures had flooded a room and created a haunt in its wake that the party barely managed to resolve before being pulled into the water themselves. Following the footsteps of these creatures brought the group to a trap-laden storeroom. On the way out of the room, the group discovered a small mob of gremlins being ordered to continue on by a man with a long black cloak and a large, white, faceless mask; upon noticing the heroes, he cast the room into deep darkness and disappeared. The party felt it best to leave the test and tell the deans that something had happened that needed to come to their attention.

The group backtracked and met with Aram Zey, the dean of spells. He had been scrying them as they progressed, and he assured them that little of what they found below the surface was meant to be there. He told them it would be fine for them to quit the test and get some rest in the living quarters within the Grand Lodge.

Suhaila got to room with the Keleshite woman, Zarishu, who had helped them survive the Spoiled Brat. They found themselves conversing in the bathhouse about Zarishu’s desire to find a husband, and she shared her critiques about the various gentlemen Suli had come to Absalom with.

Meanwhile, Silhren attracted a large crowd with a rousing song or two, and a group of bards joined in.

Early the next morning, the group woke to the unpleasant sound of structural sabotage; within seconds, the entire dormitory building collapsed on top of them. When they escaped the collapse, they found waves of gremlins tearing the other buildings to pieces. Joining in the battle with several other Pathfinders on site, the group helped repel the diminutive attackers. Rushing to Skyreach, the heroes found the three deans on their knees, opposing an equally winded man in a long cloak and large, white, empty mask. They challenged him, guided the deans to a defensible area, and engaged the evoker in combat.

The dark caster spoke of his master, the “Open Armed”, threatening his wrath should he himself fall. Before he did, his master heard his call, and granted him the power of the nightshades for a final assault.

Emerging scathed but victorious, the heroes defeated the masked man. He told them that his master knew their faces, and that they would come to fear his.

The evoker disappeared into the ether, and the deans thanked the group for saving their lives. Seeing how the party had yet again performed exceptionally, and that all three deans were present to witness it, Marcos happily pulled out a number of Wayfinders to hand to the heroes, commemorating their Confirmation as official Pathfinders.

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Group A: Goblin Surprise
Stowaways are never pleasant surprises...

Aboard the Spoiled Brat, passengers await landing at the docks of Absalom, the city at the center of the world. A truly colorful list of passengers walked the deck. Altaire (Ali) Goldmeadow, the gnome summoner with his companion, Lilli, rode to Absalom to find fame. Suhaila Liliya Ayperi traveled in search of the brother who left home and only wrote once. Sym sought knowledge and understanding of the world around him. Silhren Rilbahn desired a chance to serve Shelyn. Content Not Found: rethovel-wa-naonel came with a curse and the desire to break it. Hroth fled his home in accordance with his master’s wishes. Among the hopeful crew, they were not the only ones with dreams in Absalom.

Unfortunately, this trip to Absalom was not to be a quiet one; nearly an hour before landing at port, goblins sprung a trap after being discovered by a shipmate. The goblins blasted from their hiding places and attempted to take the ship, while applying a mysterious flask of dark magic. The passengers of the Spoiled Brat took the fight to them and repelled the stowaways.

The flask of dark magic possessed the crewman who found the goblins in hiding. When the passengers found him, he had already begun to change; his skin was washed with black, and his eyes became red. He summoned a number of skeletons and desecrated the lower deck of the ship.

The crew survived, and the new heroes found themselves victorious.

One of the passengers suggested that the group find the Grand Lodge of the Pathfinder Society, and it became clear that the Pathfinder Society would have some influential new members…

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Destiny Swirls
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes...

A hero isn’t made in a day.

The call for a hero isn’t always clear.

But heroes are all around Golarion, and they won’t know it until the Gods choose them.

In the town of Absalom, the city at the center of the world, individuals of all races, aspirations and vices walk the stone streets and dock in the vast harbors.

Among them are heroes who don’t know their potential, but will find their destinies will take them beyond the stars…

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