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.
Throughout Destiny Derailed, the fortunetelling press has spit out news of future events; after Borys enlists the PC’s help to avert a strike, the party discovers that all is not as it seems. What does the doppix have to do with devices that collect and convert blood, and is this connected to the wereguten curse?
The adventurers, fighting demons and hazards on the tundra, need a place to rest and recuperate. Fortunately, they can do so in a nicely appointed boxcar located in Railcar City, home of the upper echelon of the on-site PNE employees. This rest is short-lived, however, as a cloud of sharp alligotonium ore descends upon Steamtown, unearthed by the demolition crew blasting a route through the mountains. Worried that the explosion killed the workers and stirred up demons, Borys sends the party with the work crew in a repaired train engine—which stops as an ireful hellion walks the tracks towards them, the operators fleeing for their lives.
After the demons are dispatched, they return to a a wrecked town full of ore and cursed items possessed by hellion revenants! To make matters worse, the goblins have stopped working, as they believe their god is dead—Borys again asks for help.
[And while all of this went down, the AaWBlog won an ENnie! -RT]
Pradjna is rich in alligotonium, and many think that their centers of knowledge and magic owe much of their existence to the early ease of access to this wondrous material. Many magic items have been crafted from the demon ore—everything from mighty swords and wands to lowly frying pans and kitchen knives.
Items made from this ore also have another unique ability; they attract hellion revenants. A hellion revenant attempting to possess an item that is within 10 ft. of an item made from alligotonium must make a DC (15 + CL of item) Will save or the alligotonium item is possessed instead. As such, “worthless” magic items made of the ore are often carried or stored near more powerful magic items, hoping that the possessed possessions are these minor items, not the more powerful one. Once a revenant possesses an alligotonium item, it cannot willingly leave. Only a remove curse or the destruction of the item causes it to leave.
Any number of hellion revenants can reside in a single alligotonium item—while this sounds like a bad thing, it is actually helpful. When a revenant possesses an item, it can cause it to malfunction in random ways. The chance to malfunction is based on the CL of the item and the number of revenants inhabiting the it. Minor possessed magical items are somewhat highly prized by the upper class in Pradjna; they often give them as prank gifts for fun. A CL 3rd or below possessed alligotonium item often fetches between three and five times its normal asking price.
Misfortune Table: The percentage chance for misfortune from an item is (50/CL) / (# of revenants in item), rounded down. For example, a CL 3rd item with one revenant has a 16% chance of a misfortune, while the same item possessed by 2 revenants only has an 8% chance of misfortune with each use. The strength of the misfortune is also based on the caster level of the base item. Roll on one of the percentile charts below to determine the misfortune effect.
When an item injures someone or otherwise acts strangely, make sure to play it up! A frying pan spits its hot contents back into the face of the user, or a blacksmith’s hammer bounces off the anvil and hits its wielder in the face! Much fun can be had—especially if the PCs unwittingly use some of these items in the course of performing otherwise mundane acts in and around Steamtown.
The army of hellion revenants that were released as a result of the blast at Demon Pass have made their way to Steamtown. Using their inanimate possession special ability the vile wraiths begin to possess and curse random items throughout the city.
Once per day a hellion revenant can possess an inanimate object within 10 feet as a full-round action. Once an item is possessed it becomes a cursed item and radiates a 10-wide unnatural aura. To determine the effects of the curse bestowed upon an item due to possession by a hellion revenant see the Revenant Curse Chart below.
An item remains cursed until the revenant chooses to leave it (requiring a full-round action), the item is completely destroyed, or the effect is removed with remove curse (DC 15). When the curse effect is removed, the hellion revenant reassumes its incorporeal form, is stunned for 1d4 rounds, and then attempts to flee until it can find another item to possess.
Revenant Curse Chart 1d100 Curse Results 1-5 Functions normally; 10% chance of breaking each time used
6-10 Functions normally; 25% chance of breaking each time used
11-15 Functions normally; 50% chance of breaking each time used
16-20 Functions normally; 75% chance of breaking each time used
21-25 10% chance it inexplicably bursts into flames (1d6 fire; item unharmed)
26-30 25% chance it inexplicably bursts into flames (1d6 fire; item unharmed)
31-35 50% chance it inexplicably bursts into flames (1d6 fire; item unharmed)
36-40 Malfunctions 10% of the time (malfunction dependent upon item type)
41-45 Malfunctions 25% of the time (malfunction dependent upon item type)
46-50 Malfunctions 50% of the time (malfunction dependent upon item type)
51-55 Malfunctions 75% of the time (malfunction dependent upon item type)
56-60 Malfunctions 90% of the time (malfunction dependent upon item type)
61-65 Catastrophic malfunction upon next use. 25% chance of it breaking
66-70 Catastrophic Malfunction upon next use. 50% chance of it breaking
71-75 Catastrophic Malfunction upon next use. 75% chance of it breaking
76-80 Catastrophic Malfunction upon next use. 90% chance of it breaking
81-85 25% chance of it exploding upon next use (1d4 force; item destroyed)
86-90 50% chance of it exploding upon next use (1d4 force; item destroyed)
91-95 75% chance of it exploding upon next use (1d4 force; item destroyed)
96-100 Item explodes upon next use (3d4 force; item destroyed)