Precisely where I got the idea to make the AaWBlog a months-long, continuing plot is unknown to me. Fortunately it seems to be going well, and for that, a tip of the hat needs to be given to the most frequent of the AaWBlog crew: Brian Wiborg Monster, Justin Andrew Mason, Tim Snow, and Rory Toma!
This wild ambition began with Tribal Troubles. A mysterious creature appears and sweeps the PCs off to the Disputed Territories of Aventyr where they interact with three tribes of natives before breaching an ancient temple. Within they awaken a dangerous, timeless creature, along with a powerful sword that can sweep them away to Pradja, following a curious photograph that talks of the party’s death!
Definitely take a look at the summaries here and here!
The AaWBlog adventure path continues in the tundra of northern Aventyr, along the railways of gnomish engineers and laymen laborers. Our adventurers travel to Steamtown, embroiling themselves in a proletarian conflict centered around a strange, prophetic news sheet! Alligotonium, a mineral integral to the adventures to come, makes its appearance in these series of articles.
Destiny Derailed can be perused now here and here!
This humanoid figure is tall and abnormally thin, with long fingers and nails. Its skin is pale and its bright blue eyes study you contemptuously.
The Archivist CR 9 XP 6,400
CE Medium outsider (demon, evil, extraplanar, chaotic) Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft, see in darkness, lifesense 100 ft, Perception +18
DEFENSE AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +4 Dex) hp 76 (10d10+21) Fort +5; Ref +11; Will +11 DR 10/good; Immune poison, mind-affecting effects; SR 22 Special Defenses permanent mage armor
OFFENSE Speed 30 ft. Melee unarmed strike +6 (1d3) Special Attacks harvest memory, possession Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th; concentration +19)
at will—command (DC 18), suggestion (DC 20), detect magic, read magic
3/day—dominate person (DC 22), mind fog (DC 22), greater command (DC 22)
When engaged in combat, the Archivist casts greater command, telling everyone to stand still. It then uses the harvest memory ability to remove a powerful spell from a spellcaster to use against its foes.
STATISTICS Str 10, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 20, Wis 18, Cha 18 Base Atk +6; CMB +6; CMD +20 Feats Improved Initiative, Combat Casting, Craft Wondrous Item, Spell Focus (enchantment); Greater Spell Focus (enchantment) Skills Appraise +7, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Knowledge (arcana) +15, Knowledge (planes) +15, Knowledge (religion) +15, Perception +18, Sense Motive +15, Spellcraft +15 Languages Infernal, Common, Draconic, Abyssal, Goblin
ECOLOGY Environment any Organization solitary Treasure none
SPECIAL ABILITIES Possession (Su) As a standard action, the Archivist may possess any object or creature that has an Intelligence score (negated by a DC 20 Will save). This save is Wisdom based. A possessed creature still maintains control, but the Archivist may assert control and direct its actions (a DC 24 Will save is required to resist being compelled). The Archivist may leave at any time, or automatically leaves if the creature is killed or the object is destroyed. Harvest Memory (Su) As a standard action, the Archivist may attempt to harvest a memory from any creature within 60 ft. (negated by a DC 22 Will save). If successful, the Archivist may steal and use a spell that the target can cast or steal a memory. This spell is removed from the target’s known spells as if the target cast it, and the Archivist uses its hit dice to determine the spell’s caster level. If a memory is stolen the target gains a negative level, and the Archivist gains a cumulative +2 luck bonus to all save and attack rolls.
Archivists live to collect information—they travel the planes, stealing new spells and memories from those they encounter to return them to the great libraries in the Abyss. They often possess natives of a plane or objects so that they can operate uninterrupted for great lengths of time. Sometimes they even possess those in leadership positions, and conduct social experiments with the power of the possessed.
While Steamtown is being packed up, ready to move down the rails for its new site, Borys approaches the PCs for a final mission. After the recent hellion attack, several items have been possessed. One of these items, however, poses a major problem and has just come to light.
A printing press, worshipped by the goblins as a god, has been discovered hidden in an abandoned shed-turned-temple about 2 miles to the north of Steamtown. To further complicate matters, the goblin workers believe the press to be truly divine—and that it can foretell the future. In fact, the press has turned out to be the source of the prognosticating articles that have been circulated in the Steamtown Herald for the past few months.
The press has stopped working, and the goblins now think that their god press is dead, killed by the demons unleashed from the blast site—they aren’t going to go to work again anytime soon. In order to get them back to it, the laborers need to be convinced that their god still lives, or that the press was never a god entity. Borys offers a 10,000 gp reward to the PCs to handle this as they see fit; any outcome that gets the goblins working again is acceptable.
The shed is well-hidden at the end of a small box canyon and it takes about one and a half hours on foot to reach the shed due to the rough terrain. When the party arrives they are met with a curious sight—a dozen goblins are prostrating themselves before the tin-roofed wooden shed. The structure has a single, wood-slatted door that is half open, and the entire shabby building has been decorated with what appear to be allogotonium items, painted runes, and the occasional newspaper. The goblins are wailing—a DC 18 Spellcraft or Knowledge (religion) check reveals why: they are communally casting a spell to prevent possession in the area. This negates the inanimate possession power of the hellion revenants within 100 ft. of the chanting goblins, although it does not expel a revenant from a currently possessed item.
The goblins, occupied with their ritual, do not hinder the party’s progress into the shed. It has a simple metal table that holds a printing press and makeshift wooden altars surround it—some have lit candles while others have small baubles and tributes, and a few even have some unrecognizable food items. Shortly after the party enters the shed, a single news sheet prints out. In bold letters, it says, “Help me! Destroy the sheets as they leave and let me retake control.”
A few rounds later sheets begin to print (four per round for five rounds). The sheets can be easily destroyed—anything that would destroy a normal sheet of paper destroys one of these. Each time a sheet is destroyed, 1d4+1 hellion revenants appear. At the end of 5 rounds, it prints out one more sheet: a DC 20 Perception check reveals that this missive is different than the others. It simply says, “I’m free; prepare yourselves!”
One round after the last sheet emerges, the press starts shaking and smoking. A stream of ink shoots out of one end and begins to sculpt a 3-dimensional object that materializes as the Archivist. [In tomorrow’s stat block Sunday! -RT] The Archivist immediately attacks the nearest arcane spellcaster in the hopes that he can steal a spell to escape.
Once the Archivist is defeated or escapes (XP is awarded either way) the goblins stop their chanting and enter the shed to attend to the press. They thank the PCs for returning their god to them, and promise that they will go back to work. The press prints out a final page: “I will return and tend to my flock. The dangers that lie ahead can be managed by them, but if you see your name in print again, know that I am calling, and that I need you.” The press continues to steer the goblins in a manner that avoids waking demons.
If the Archivist defeats the party, the doppix is ejected from the press as the Archivist takes back control. The goblins continue to worship the press as a god, but now the press directly manipulates the goblins into freeing more of his brethren (creating problems for PNE down the road).
If the PCs try to destroy the press, the 12 goblins defend it with their lives. The leader of the goblins begins the action by breaking a small metal item that unleashes 1d10 hellion revenants that attempt to possess items that the adventurers carry, as the protective aura provided by the goblins is no longer in effect.
No matter what happens, the goblins return to work and the party receives their reward.