Back in either November or December 2007 I sat down at a table with four of my friends and began one of the longest running campaigns I have ever had the pleasure of GMing. That night we began the first part of a new concept in campaign design, an “adventure path”, with a book from a company none of us were familiar with. And so it was that I started our very first Pathfinder campaign with Pathfinder #1: Burnt Offerings using Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 rules.
With each new issue our understanding of the world of Golarion expanded and the characters (those that survived) grew and gained much power and notoriety. When the Pathfinder RPG Alpha rules were released we immediately jumped on board and began printing out copies of the new rules. Character conversion followed shortly thereafter and then again once the Beta rulebook was released and finally when the Core Rulebook was released. Though there were sometimes gaps between games we still got together when we could for a good meal, fellowship, and the defeat of many monsters.
Alas, the game stretched too long and began to get stale. The group persevered through much hardship and made it half way through the final volume of the campaign, Pathfinder #6: Spires of Xin-Shalast. It was there that life interrupted the game again and pushed back any future sessions beyond the foreseeable future. Faltering interest combined with no end in sight led me to suggest a compromise to my players: Why not just let me write out an ending for the campaign?
And so it is that I present for you today the first part in the series. This is the chronicle of four individuals from different walks of life and how they braved the dangers of the lost mountain top city of Xin-Shalast in a bid to stop the return of Karzoug, the Runelord of Greed.
WARNING: SPOILERS GALORE FOLLOW. IF YOU PLAN ON PLAYING IN THE RISE OF THE RUNELORD CAMPAIGN I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU STOP READING NOW. WHILE THE EVENTS DEPICTED HERE ARE MODIFIED FROM THE ORIGINAL SOURCE THIS WILL SPOIL THE STORY. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Cast of characters:
- Calantha, a Varisian Cleric/Wizard/Mystic Theurge of Shelyn and Guardian of the Alara’hai.
- Constantine, an exiled Chelaxian Cleric of Sarenrae and scion of the House of Doraciun.
- Kir, a Half-Elf Ranger of Erastil and Commander of the Order of Sirion.
- Raynoir, a Dwarven Fighter and companion to Kir.
* * * * *
“What the hell was that thing!”
Calantha gulped in great lung-fulls of air to relieve the burning in her chest from the run. “Definitely not of this world whatever it was.”
Constantine shuddered once again, vague images of the horror at the bottom of the arena dancing before his eyes.
“Regardless of what that thing was we need to keep moving. The dragon and the devil could be anywhere waiting to strike. Let’s at least find some cover before taking a break.” Kir hefted his blade once again and set out across the square towards a group of low lying buildings. With a shared shrug, Calantha and Constantine hurried to keep up. Shaking his head and chuckling Raynoir took his customary place as rearguard.
With one solid kick from his heavy boot, Kir opened the entrance to the unassuming gray stone building. Rushing in and making a quick sweep revealed no immediate threats allowing the group time to take a seat on the cold stone floor.
With a sigh of relief Calantha slumped to the floor, unshouldering her heavy pack. “What now? Whenever we break cover the dragon attacks and if we stay in one place too long the ice devil will try to ambush. Not to mention the hundreds of giants in the city that, thank fully, we have not alerted yet. We can’t just keep running forever.”
“Who said anything about running? I say we stand our ground and make them think twice about trying to take us.” Raynoir ended with a grunt and spit on the floor.
Constantine scowled and wiped at the sweat streaming down his brow. “Not everyone has your endurance. Besides, Sarenrae’s blessings have limits and I believe I have neared the end of what I can do for today.”
“We must gather our strength and push forward towards the top.” Brandishing his blade with one hand, the steel in Kyr’s eyes glinting. ”Dragon, devil, or giant does not matter, they will all fall beneath our blades!”
Calantha and Constantine exchanged looks of exacerbation but nonetheless leaned forward to discuss The Plan. Using the tip of his sword to draw a line in the thick dust on the floor, Kir began sketching out his idea.
“Constantine get your fire ready and Calantha be ready with that lightning. What we’re going to do is….”
To Be Continued…