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Sidequest Saturday (Forsaken Frontier): Final Battle

Four warlords have marshaled powerful undead armies to once more fight for the rulership of the Shining City of Salamangka. This is the climax of everything the PCs have experienced since 5th level when they were first drawn to the Disputed Territories, and for the most part this sidequest is focused on making the most important information for the GM readily available.

Make sure you have the Mass Combat rules handy before getting things underway, and be mindful of the terrain around Salamangka!

FORsaken, not FOURsaken
Depending on how soon the party managed to escape from Valindar, they may have knocked out one or two of the undead leaders before the Festival of Night begins. With the exception of Syfforack Zoi, any destroyed warlord is replaced by their second in command and in lieu of that, 50% of their armies scatter as the fight begins (which armies are randomly determined).final battle - crusades-5

Forsaken Soldiers
Hopefully the PCs haven’t resigned themselves to a fate as undead under the tyrannical grip of Syfforack Zoi, but if they have been transformed into forsaken liches don’t let that end the game! Encourage the group to play through the final battle of Forsaken Frontier with the goal of seeing their master reach apotheosis, working to crush his enemies (or possibly strike him down and take the power of Salamangka as their own!)

Reaching Apotheosis
To reach Apotheosis a warlord has to occupy the central hex of Salamangka for 10 consecutive battle phases. Any battle phases the warlord is opposed by an adjacent army or warlord also occupying Salamangka count at ½ value.
Syfforack Zoi and Kaloatl begin the battle at the front of their armies. Savithrin and Doc Fell begin at the edge of the combat map.

Salamangka’s Aura
The first time any army or creature enters the hexes touched by Salamangka’s Aura they gain +5 temporary hit points. While within these hexes, undead armies gain +1 to OM, DV, and Speed.

As soon as the sun is about to set on the Disputed Territories, a soft golden glow emanates from the pleasing architecture of distant Salamangka. With each passing second the illumination becomes more intense and glorious light shines forth across the Forsaken Frontier. When it reaches its zenith a dread call for war comes from the withered unnatural throats of thousands of undead and spreads all across the territory around the Shining City, the very ground trembling at their rage.

final battle in salamangka v5

Savithrin the vortex dragon and his armies come from the northwest and northeast.
4 Shadow Armies are opposed by Syfforack Zoi’s forces toward the west.
Toward the east, 5 Crawling Hand Armies attempt to slow down the forces of Doc Fell so the dragon’s trio of Graveknight Armies can swiftly consolidate the hexes around Salamangka (the central army is led by Boris Balescu).

Savithrin can move two hexes each battle phase and ignores difficult terrain.


FROM THE EAST (shaded)
Doc Fell the pale stranger and his armies come from the northeast and southeast. Doc Fell himself remains on the eastern wall of Salamangka with Sulcera Stonesmile and carefully directs his forces (occasionally firing one of the three arcane artillery pylons arrayed along the top of it himself).
Toward the north his 3 Ghast Rogue armies occupy Savithrin’s Forces.
Toward the south, the 2 Ghast Rogue armies hinder the soldiers of the Smiling Sons.
The Ghost Rogue armies are kept in reserve until another warlord reaches Salamangka or a hex adjacent to it, at which point he and these forces move directly for the Shining City’s central hex.
Doc Fell’s armies have turned at least two of the hexes on the Plains of Destryka into prepared battlefield traps, and every turn there is a 10% chance an arcane vortex trap appears in a random square there (removing any spellcaster bonus to an army’s statistics).

Doc Fell can move one hex each battle phase and can ignore up to 3 hexes of difficult terrain throughout the combat


final battle - medieval-crusades-3FROM THE SOUTH (blue)
Kaloatl the Eternal Eye and his Smiling Sons come from the southwest and southeast.
Toward the west Zhalak Mhun, his second in command, leads 2 Smiling Sons armies that focus on reaching and destroying Syfforack Zoi.
Toward the east Kaloatl and 3 Smiling Sons armies push directly for Salamangka. As soon as a warlord occupies the central hex, Kaloatl immediately heads for the Shining City.

Kaloatl can move one hex each battle phase but receives +1 DV and OM while in Salamangka. Once per battle phase he can act as the leader of any Smiling Sons army regardless of their position on the battlefield.


Syfforack Zoi and his armies come from the northwest and southwest. Syfforack heads directly for Salamangka, leaving his forces to cover his flank and keep him from being overwhelmed.
Toward the north Izali Komadri and 5 Wight armies attempt to break apart Savathrin’s forces to leave the vortex dragon vulnerable.
Toward the south are 4 Dretch armies, fodder that Syfforack uses to occupy Kaloatl’s forces while he captures Salamangka.

Syfforack Zoi can move one hex each battle phase and ignores difficult terrain. Once per battle phase he can negate a hex’s negative effects (a trap, haunt, or difficult terrain) regardless of his position on the battlefield.

Eventually the various undead armies will destroy one another, but the focus of the PCs should remain on Salamangka. As before, once a warlord and their second in command is destroyed their armies scatter—as the Festival of Night ends, any leaderless forces disperse (though of a malevolent warlord underwent Apotheosis, the adventurers have an entirely different fight to deal with!)


This brings an end to the first AaWBlog Presents Adventure Path! The first of these to become a module (Tribal Troubles) is in production, but we encourage you to peruse the website and follow the whole story (or download one of our first three collections, Armory of Adventures, Cultus Sanguineus, or Mischievous Meadows).
Next month we aren’t doing a specific theme but don’t worry—as always there will be daily posts of magic items, traps, haunts, cursed items, story locales, sidequests, and statblocks before the second AaWBlog Presents adventure path begins in April [if you are wondering what Friday posts are going to be, you are in for a treat! -MM].

Thank you for reading and following the AaWBlog!


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Foul Machinations Friday – Forsaken Frontier II

Final-Revoker-C (Syfforack Zoi the lich) PNGThe best lead to repair the PCs’ airship is to follow Sulcera Stonesmile, a strange thief found rooting through the vessel when the party returned to it. She assures the adventurers that her ally Doc Fell can help find the lost engine parts or possibly even help get them back. Ever the wildcard, the curious pale stranger secures the party’s aid but ultimately, he betrays them (either in a duel-turned-ambush or later on) and offers the PCs to another warlord instead: the ruler of Valindar, the dreaded lich Syfforack Zoi.

A coterie of prepared zombie mages knock the party unconscious and drag them to the City of Eternal Death. They are imprisoned and enslaved in the undead settlement, acting as the lich’s servants while his armies prepare for war and forced to weather the dangers that constantly assail mortals in Valindar. A chance to escape comes before the final battle on the eve of the Festival of Night begins, though intrepid PCs will take the fight to Syfforack Zoi before he can mobilize his soldiers (and possibly find a powerful aid, a ferryman’s toll, if they pick the right pocket in the marketplace).

His throne room is roamed by the whispers of Qexaathus haunt and though the adventurers may be raring to combat the lich head on, the false phylactery trap in the trunk their equipment is kept in may force them to think twice about it. Defeating him takes one of the four warlords out of the imminent battle between the armies of the Forsaken Frontier, and if they search the dais of his seat of power closely enough, the party finds a truly potent artifact sure to aid them in the Festival of Night. Syfforack Zoi went to great lengths to acquire the gauntlet of deracination specifically to counter the abilities of the last undead to rule the Salamangka, the vortex dragon battle - crusades-5

The battle that heralds the great event begins on schedule [tomorrow’s Sidequest Saturday! -MM] and PCs who escape quickly can make alliances or assassination attempts on the other warlords as they see fit. All four will stop at nothing to call the Shining City their own, regardless of the dangers presented by the River of Contempt or the arcane vortices of the Plains of Destryka. By cutting the right deals and striking at the commanders of the legions of undead that march on Salamangka, the adventurers have the chance to bring light or darkness to the Forsaken Frontier—and perhaps all of the Disputed Territories.

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Story Locale (Forsaken Frontier): Salamangka, the Shining City

The four great warlords of the Forsaken Frontier all fight for the same prize: the Shining City of Salamangka! Once the crown of civilization in the Disputed Territories, it fell from the heights of power to disrepair but is still coveted for the great power the settlement still holds.

Every thousand years the Festival of Night occurs, empowering the citizens and creatures within the Shining City while it splays golden light over all of western Aventyr, filling the hearts of the living with spirit and vigor—and for the undead, a reinforcement of spirit so strong that for a time they seem returned to life once more. Leahcim and the Vidrefacte brought an end to that and there’s no way to tell just what the imminent Festival of Night will bring to the Forsaken Frontier, though each of the warlords has prepared extensively for it regardless [see the Apotheosis section of each Statblock Sunday! -MM].

salamangka - Campaign2_Session20_AurilsRealm - FINAL

Catastrophic Crags
These unstable mountains have caused the end of many foolhardy armies, the landmasses literally quaking as the Festival of Night draws near. When an army without the incorporeal quality moves through a hex in this area they treat it as difficult terrain and there is a 50% chance of a rockfall dealing 1d6+6 damage to the army.

Plains of Destryka
While typically dangerous enough because of spontaneously forming arcane vortices and prepared battlefield traps carefully laid out by Doc Fell’s army, the wily pale stranger has an even more dangerous weapon at his disposal. Several arcane artillery pylons once used by holy warriors have been painstakingly dragged out of the Vidrefacte’s reach by his ghostly forces’ telekinesis, set up along the walls east of the Shining City to range as far as the River of Contempt.

River of Contempt
A strong running current of water from around the western side of Salamangka’s northern bulwark forces any armies without the flight or incorporeal special abilities to succeed a DC 17 Morale check (on a failure, the army stops its movement in that hex). Each round it receives another Morale check to cross the river. Armies stopped in a hex occupied by the River of Contempt may only attack and deal damage in the Melee phase but receive +3 DV during the Ranged phase. During the Festival of Night, part of the northern waters are filled by the holy waters haunt.

Salamangka’s Walls
Enormous walls made from impervious stone over three hundred feet high tower along the cardinal perimeter of the realm that sits around the Shining City, forcing entry into the territory through the northeast, southeast, southwest, or northwest. Armies without the flight or incorporeal special abilities cannot move through Salamangka’s Walls.fantasy-cities-4

The Shining City
The effects of the Festival of Night, the full hex map, and the locations of the Forsaken Frontier’s armies (and their warlords) are all part of the final battle in this week’s Sidequest Saturday!

Do not miss it!

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Weird Wednesday (Forsaken Frontier): River of Contempt

Living combatants have had dire need to cross the River of Contempt for centuries, and some still remain. Almost universally their legacy has been to take the lives of those who’ve come after, preventing intrepid fools from seeking out salvation or victory in the Shining City. These bitter souls reach into the lungs of the living, drowning even the most skilled swimmers with arms of water.

XP 19,200
NE haunt (1 hex of water where a mass drowning occurred)
Caster Level 12th
Notice Perception DC 20 (to hear the sounds of panicked swimmers drowning)
hp 24; trigger proximity; reset 1 minute
Effect When a living creature enters the haunt’s area, the water becomes turbulent. Every creature in the haunts area becomes the subject of a mass suffocation spell (CL 12th, DC 23).
Destruction The flooded lungs haunt is permanently destroyed if the flow of water is stopped in its location until the riverbed is exposed.

flooded lungs haunt
The River of Contempt the last sunrise before the Festival of Night.


Near the sections of the River of Contempt come nearest to Salamangka, some small number of holy warriors who crossed the river in search of justice and mercy gave their spiritual purity to the water as they died. Even paladins and priests might succumb to the temptation to curse their enemies with their last breath, but the last gasp of the most devout was one for hope. The next Festival of Night, the waters over their sunken corpses changed to reflect their prayerful tears and flasks of holy water. While the current remains lethal and the miasma of undeath hangs over the waters like a frigid mist, travel above the bodies of the holy dead brings peril only to the forces of evil. Fortunately for the innocent spirits who forever swim over their mortal coils, most undead troops who dare to walk or swim through this section of the river don’t survive long enough to warn others about the hallowed haunt.

XP 6,400
NG persistent haunt (1 hex of the river flowing over sunken corpses)
Caster Level 9th
Notice Perception DC 20 (to hear the desperate prayers of drowning holy warriors)
hp 40; trigger proximity; reset 1 minute
Effect When this haunt is triggered, white light shines from the riverbed and illuminates the corpses of those who held on to faith until their very end. The water in the affected area temporarily becomes holy water, and affects any evil creature in the area as holy smite (CL 9th, DC 16).
Destruction The haunt is permanently destroyed when every corpse in its area is exhumed and given a burial according to the traditions the corpses each observed in life.


[The way a location gets its name means something. With multiple undead armies endlessly warring over an ancient city, the nearby River of Contempt begs for a bitter, murderous history. So compelling that today we offer you a pair of haunts that give the river a storied past, and a supporting role in the battle for Salamangka. There’s no denying—the river hates both the living and the dead. -SH]


[Submitted by Steve Helt!]

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Trap Tuesday (Forsaken Frontier): Arcane Vortex Trap

arcane vortex trap - Matt Morrow male human wizard-F-cArcane Vortex Trap     CR 10
Type magical; Perception DC 42*; Disable Device DC 42*
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect inhibits or modifies spellcasting depending on type
*An arcane vortex may also be found with a detect magic, revealing an overwhelming aura of the appropriate school. Dispel magic can destroy an arcane vortex trap (the dispel DC is 26).

The interdimensional travel of Savithrin has left behind regions in the Disputed Territories where the fabric of space itself is unstable. Arcane energies collect and flow, sometimes resulting in an arcane vortex trap. There are two major types of arcane vortices: rotational and irrotational. Each vortex is also associated with a random school of magic (1d8 – abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, evocation, illusion, necromancy, or transmutation).

Arcane vortex traps spring up randomly and affect a 100-ft.-diameter area, from ground level up to 500 feet in the air. 10% of arcane vortices are universal magic; in the case of an irrotational vortex, they affect all magic and for rotational vortices, effects are shifted to a random spell from a different school.

Irrotational Arcane Vortex
This type suppresses and dispels magic effects from its associated school of magic. Whenever a spell from that school is cast within it, the caster must overcome SR 28 or the spell fizzles. For each magical effect from that school active on on a creature, make a dispel check at +15 vs. the spell effect. (DC 11 + CL of spell).

Rotational Arcane Vortex
This type shifts spells and standing spell effects to a random spell or effect of the same level within the school. Spells cast while in a rotational arcane vortex must overcome SR 28 or turn into a random spell of the same level from the vortex’s school. Standing magical effects are turned into an equivalent penalty, if applicable, or suppressed if a +15 dispel check vs. the spell succeeds.
For example, a +2 deflection bonus to AC becomes a -2 penalty to AC, or summon monster VI becomes acid fog.

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Magic Item Monday (Forsaken Frontier): Gauntlet of Deracination

Gauntlet of Deracination
Aura strong conjuration; CL 20th
Slot hands; Weight 5 lbs.

This single right-handed gauntlet of segmented golden plates has been polished to a mirror-like gleam, and its bracer has been inset with three large gemstone cabochons—one of ruby, another of sapphire, and the last of emerald.

gauntlet of deracination - justin andrew masonA gauntlet of deracination functions as +1 bracers of armor but has three additional effects that may be individually activated. The active effect depends on which one of the three gemstone cabochons upon the gauntlet’s bracer have been depressed. Only one gem may be pressed at a time, and once a cabochon has been pushed in, it glows faintly and becomes locked into place for 24-hours (activating that cabochon’s associated effect for the gauntlet). After this period the gauntlet of deracination resets and the depressed gem reverts to its original state. The selected active effect may not be changed until the gauntlet of deracination has reset.

Ruby Cabochon – As a full round action, the user may make a ranged touch attack that functions as teleport (CL 20th) upon a target creature or object (Will DC 25 negates). The result of the teleport is chosen by the user and is always “on target,” however the range is limited to a 100-ft.-radius centered on the target. A target cannot be teleported to a space already occupied nor can its relative elevation altered more than 10 ft. up or down. This ability may only be used once every 1d6 rounds. In appearance this effect opens a whirling vortex of carmine light that attempts to suck the target in. When successful the vortex vanishes and immediately reappears in the defined location to force the affected target into the unoccupied space.

Sapphire Cabochon – As a full round action, the user may make a ranged touch attack that functions as telekinesis (CL 15th) to exert a single (Will DC 20 negates) violent thrust upon a target creature or object (up to 375 pounds) hurling it up to 20-feet in any direction. If the target is hurled against a solid surface it takes damage as if it had fallen 10 feet (1d6 points). This ability may only be used once every for 1d4 rounds. This effect appears as a whirling vortex of cerulean light that forms around the target and attempts to fling them in the desired direction before vanishing.

Emerald Cabochon – This effect activates a constant dimensional anchor (CL 15th) in a 100-ft.-radius centered on the user. This affects all creatures (regardless of immunities) within the field of effect, including the user.

The gauntlet of deracination must be immersed in fields of energy on each of the four essential elemental planes (air: electricity, earth: acid, flame: fire, water: cold) before a creature strikes it with a natural attack roll of 20.