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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.

FLOODED LUNGS     CR 12
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.

HOLY WATERS     CR 9
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]

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[Submitted by Steve Helt!]

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Statblock Sunday (Forsaken Frontier): Savithrin the Vortex Dragon

This draconic creature is a pale blur of incredible speed, the glow from its horns leaves tracers in the air as it streaks past.

savithrin Final-Vampire-C

Savithrin     CR 13
XP 25,600
Young adult vortex dragon
LE Huge dragon (augmented, fire)
Init +1 (+6 with anticipate peril); Senses dragon senses, see in darkness; Perception +21
Aura alien presence (150 ft., DC 21)

DEFENSE
AC 34, touch 12, flat-footed 33 (+3 deflection, +1 Dex, +4 mage armor, +18 natural, -2 size)
hp 157 (15d12+60)
Fort +14, Ref +11, Will +13
DR 5/magic; Immune fire, paralysis, sleep; SR 24
Weaknesses vulnerable to cold

OFFENSE
Speed 60 ft., 200 ft. (good)
Melee* bite +18 (2d8+19/19-20), 2 claws +18 (2d6+16/19-20), 2 wings +15 (1d8+12), tail slap +15 (2d6+19) [* includes Power Attack]
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft. (15 ft. with bite)
Special Attacks breath weapon (50-ft. cone, 10d8 fire, DC 21), crush
Spell-like Abilities (CL 15th; concentration +19)
At will—anticipate peril, entropic shield
2/day—plane shift (DC 19)* [* Salamangka has altered Savithrin considerably, granting him early access to plane shift at the cost of slowing his movement through space. The Vidrefacte’s presence there further changed him, and now when he uses the ability a gyeongsa warp storm appears in his wake.]
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 5th; concentration +9)
2nd (5/day)—mirror image, resist energy
1st (7/day)—mage armor, magic missile, shield, vanish
0—detect magic, ghost sound, ray of frost, read magic, resistance, touch of fatigue (DC 14)

TACTICS
Before Combat Savithrin keeps anticipate peril and mage armor active at all times. When combat is imminent he casts shield, resist energy (cold), mirror image, and entropic shield. Against formidable opponents he uses his wand of stoneskin. If surprised he buys time using vanish to maneuver and raise his defenses.
During Combat In battle Savithrin relishes the crunching of bones between his jaws. He opens with a breath weapon blast on as many opponents as possible, then rushes them beneath his bulk. Once on the ground he delivers full attacks, focused on destroying one foe at a time.
Morale Savithrin flees using his plane shift spell-like ability once reduced to below 30 hp.

STATISTICS
Str 25, Dex 12, Con 19, Int 18, Wis 17, Cha 18
Base Atk +15; CMB +20*; CMD 38 [* CMB includes Power Attack]
Feats Blinding Critical, Critical Focus, Improved Critical (bite, claw), Multiattack, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (bite, claw)
Skills Bluff +22, Diplomacy +22, Fly +19, Knowledge (arcana, geography, planes, religion) +22, Perception +21, Sense Motive +21, Use Magic Device +22
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Infernal
SQ agile, galactic emissary, no breath, starflight
Combat Gear amulet of mighty fists +1, ring of protection +3, wand of stoneskin (CL 7th, 8 charges), 320 gp worth of jewelry and gemstones embedded in Savithrin’s scales
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Dimensional Emissary (Su) Savithrin is immune to any effect that bars extradimensional travel.

Savithrin long ago lost the thrill that soaring amongst the cosmos once created within him. His journeys beyond the stars led him to pierce the veil of the planes, and the outer dragon found much to fascinate him across the layers of the multiverse. Savithrin traversed the planar barriers so often and in so many strange places that the energies of the planes themselves seeped into him and altered his very nature. No longer a creature of void and stars, now he finds slipping between the dimensions as easy to him as beating his wings to soar through the skies—for some time now, his sights have been set on Salamangka.

When he encountered the strange city on the Forsaken Frontier, Savithrin swiftly grew to covet its power. Learning the lay of the land and the forces vying for the artifact of Salamangka, he set to work crafting an enormous army of undead dragons formed from the very remnants of the great Dracoprime, winning over the Shining City in the last Festival of Night. Leahcim’s meddling and the Vidrefacte destroyed all of Savithrin’s thralls a year past and he has been furiously scouring the planes since to gather an undead force of devastating potency. The power of Salamangka will be his, no matter how many must die beneath his fangs.

Apotheosis
Once Savithrin gains control of Salamangka his body is flooded with energy and undergoes several rapid  changes from rituals he painstakingly prepared during his flights across dimensions. First Savithrin grows in power, increasing to the adult age category in seconds, but more importantly his thirst for blood becomes all too literal and he is transformed into a vampire. Savithrin’s stats change as follows:

CR 16; XP 76,800; LE huge undead (augmented dragon, fire); Init +7; Perception +35; Aura alien presence (180 ft., DC 25)
AC 44, touch 15, flat-footed 42; hp 212 (17d8+136); fast healing 5; Fort +12; Ref +10; Will +15; Defensive abilities channel resistance +4; DR 10/magic and silver; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10; SR 27; Weaknesses vampire weaknesses, vulnerable to cold
Melee bite +20 (2d8+24/19-20 plus energy drain), 2 claws +20 (2d6+19/19-20 plus energy drain), 2 wings +17 (1d8+13 plus energy drain), tail slap +17 (2d6+24 plus energy drain) [Power Attack included]; Special Attacks breath weapon (50 ft. cone, 12d8 DC 25), blood drain, children of the night, create spawn, crush, dominate (DC 25), energy drain (2 levels, DC 25), fragmented strike
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 17th, concentration +24); plane shift (DC 22); Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 7th; concentration +14); 3rd (6/day)—displacement, protection from energy; 2nd (8/day)—mirror image, resist energy, scorching ray; 1st (8/day)—mage armor, magic missile, shield, true strike, vanish; 0—detect magic, ghost sound, message, ray of frost, read magic, resistance, touch of fatigue (DC 17)
Str 33; Dex 16; Con —; Int 22; Wis 21; Cha 24; BAB +12; CMB +22 (adjusted for Power Attack); CMD 42; Feats AlertnessB, Blinding Critical, Combat ReflexesB, Critical Focus, DodgeB, Improved Critical (bite, claw), Lightning ReflexesB, Multiattack, Power Attack, ToughnessB, Weapon Focus (bite, claw); Skills Bluff +35, Diplomacy +27, Fly +23, Intimidate +27, Knowledge (arcana, geography, planes, religion) +26, Perception +35, Sense Motive +33, Spellcraft +26, Stealth +3, Use Magic Device +27 Racial Modifiers +8 Bluff, +8 Perception, +8 Sense Motive, +8 Stealth; Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Auran, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Infernal; SQ agile, change shape (dire bat or wolf, beast shape II), galactic emissary, gaseous form, no breath, shadowless, spider climb, starflight

skeletal_champion__malcolm_mcclinton

A nearly skeletal knight encased in blackened armor patched together from numerous others. Unholy flames wreath its lance and gleam in its sunken eyes.

Boris Balescu     CR 10
XP 9,600
Human graveknight fighter 9
LE Medium undead (augmented humanoid)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +19
Aura sacrilegious aura (30 ft., DC 19)

DEFENSE
AC 32, touch 14, flat-footed 28 (+10 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural, +4 shield)
hp 130 (9d10+81)
Fort +12, Ref +10, Will +7
Defensive Abilities bravery +2, channel resistance +4, rejuvenation; DR 10/magic; Immune cold, electricity, fire, undead traits; SR 21

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee* +1 lance +19/+14 (1d8+20 plus 2d6 fire/19-20 x3) or adamantine longsword +17/+12 (1d8+17 plus 2d6 fire/19-20) [* includes Power Attack]
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with lance)
Special Attacks channel destruction, devastating blast 3/day (30-ft. cone, 6d6 fire, Reflex DC 19 halves), undead mastery (DC 19), weapon training (spears +2, heavy blades +1)

TACTICS
Before Combat Boris is rarely without his phantom steed renews the summons every hour.
During Combat Boris’ main tactic is to charge every round to maximize his Power Attack, Ride-By Attack, and Spirited Charge feats. His phantom steed has a speed of 80 ft., and Boris deals 3d8+60 plus 2d6 fire damage on a successful charge attack with his +1 lance. If his steed is slain, Boris utilizes his devastating blast to incinerate as many opponents as possible and shifts to fighting with his adamantine longsword and shield.
Morale If reduced to less than 30 hp, Boris attempts to flee and warn Savithrin of the grave threat. This is born of his strong sense of duty rather than self-preservation, as Boris knows he will rejuvenate unless his armor is completely destroyed.

STATISTICS
Str 24, Dex 16, Con —, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 20
Base Atk +9; CMB +13*; CMD 30 [* includes Power Attack]
Feats Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Greater Weapon Focus (lance), Improved Critical (lance), Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Mounted Combat, Power Attack, Ride-By Attack, Shield Focus, Spirited Charge, Toughness, Weapon Focus (lance), Weapon Specialization (lance)
Skills Intimidate +25, Perception +19, Profession (soldier) +14, Ride +20, Swim +16; Racial Modifiers +8 Intimidate, +8 Perception, +8 Ride
Languages Common, Draconic, Infernal
SQ armor training 2, phantom mount, ruinous revivification
Combat Gear +1 lance, +1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, belt of giant strength +2, headband of alluring charisma +2, adamantine longsword, ancient crown worth 265 gp

Boris Balescu was once a fearsome warlord on another Material Plane; when he was slain in combat, his soul departed to a plane of eternal battle. Centuries of unending war passed and it wasn’t until the vortex dragon Savithrin arrived through a great tear in the sky that Boris woke from his blood-soaked reverie. Even as he perished in the dragon’s flame, it was a new birth for the lord—his spirit’s thirst for battle wouldn’t be quenched, and Savithrin plied a forbidden ritual to bond Boris’ soul to his blackened armor, raising him as a graveknight. The newly undead warrior immediately pledged his service to the dragon’s cause, and he has not regretted his decision.

 

Savithrin’s forces are gathered from across the planes of the multiverse. His most formidable troops are graveknight clerics, the Sinister. These creatures all deracinate their left hands in a show of grizzly devotion to the vortex dragon, binding their shields to the stump. The hands, in turn, are given unlife of their own and become the Left-Hand Legion. Finally, Savithrin scoured the planes for warriors of the correct spiritual temperament and sheared their very shadows. These undead shades wield black daggers with blades all too real—they are truly the Nighted Blades.

LEFT HAND LEGION CR ½
NE Huge army of crawling hands
hp 18; ACR 4
DV 16; OM +4
Tactics relentless brutality
Special bleed, climb, darkvision, grab, undead
Speed 2; Consumption 2
Commander: Savithrin; Charisma Modifier +4 [+7 after apotheosis]; Profession (soldier) 0 ranks


NIGHTED BLADES
CR 3
CE Large army of shadows
hp 22; ACR 5
DV 17; OM +5
Tactics dirty fighters, expert flankers
Special bleed, darkvision, flight, incorporeal, undead
Speed 2; Consumption 2
Commander: Savithrin; Charisma Modifier +4 [+7 after apotheosis]; Profession (soldier) 0 ranks
Note: +1 OM against any unit without mobility advantage

THE SINISTER CR 5
LE Medium army of human graveknights (cleric 4)
hp 22; ACR 5
DV 20 (30); OM +8 (ranged)
Tactics cavalry experts, sniper support
Special breath weapon, channel negative energy, darkvision, mount, significant defense, spellcasting, undead
Speed 2; Consumption 2
Commander: Boris Balescu; Charisma Modifier +5; Profession (soldier) 9 ranks

FourHorsemen-logo-rough-01[Submitted by Dan Dillon!]

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Weird Wednesday (Forsaken Frontier): Whispers of Qexaathus

WHISPERS OF QEXAATHUS             CR 12
XP 25,600
CE persistent haunt (up to 60 ft. radius, throne room)
Caster Level 12th
Notice Perception DC 28 (to hear Qexaathus whispering, “Lies! Their smiles, their friendship, all lies! They’re going to take it all from you, kill them before they strike!”)
hp 54; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 minute
Effect Each round after the whispers of Qexaathus is triggered, treacherous echoes fill the mind of a living creature. The victim must succeed on a DC 23 Will save or be affected similar to dominate person. The victim is given a command to turn him against his comrades. The simplest command is to kill, but the haunt can implant other directives like the sabotage of resources or disruption of plans. This effect is subtle and the Sense Motive DC to detect a change in a creature’s behavior (assuming it doesn’t attack outright) is increased to 25.

whispers of qexaathus - rogue-pictures-1Destruction To permanently silence the whispers of Qexaathus, the shadow demon must be utterly destroyed.

Adventure Hook Syfforack Zoi’s doom began with the shadow demon Qexaathus. The mad lich believes he made first contact with the demon, but in truth it was the other way around—Qexaathus long watched Syfforack to learn the king’s weakness, then began whispering into his mind while wearing the flesh of servants and allies. The echoes of the king’s descent into depravity and undeath have stained the very stones of his home, and now the spirits of slain “enemies” revealed to him by the demon’s treachery chatter these ravings into the minds of the living who enter the undead’s cursed domain.

The minions of Syfforack Zoi are aware of the haunt and lead living intruders to the throne room where they quickly turn on one another.

Apotheosis The whispers of Qexaathus have grown in strength over the centuries, the life of each victim claimed within the haunt adding to its power. If Syfforack Zoi gains control of Salamangka the haunt howls into the minds of its victims. The statistics of the haunt change as follows: CR 16; XP 76,800; 1 hex; CL 16th; hp 72, the effect of the haunt becomes dominate monster (DC 23).

 

FourHorsemen-logo-rough-01[Submitted by Dan Dillon!]

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Statblock Sunday (Forsaken Frontier): Syfforack Zoi

Final-Revoker-C (Syfforack Zoi the lich) PNGA gaunt, skeletal figure with glaring red eyes dressed in sumptuous crimson robes.

Syfforack Zoi     CR 13
XP 25,600
Lich conjurer 12
NE Medium undead (augmented humanoid)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +25
Aura fear (60 ft. radius, DC 20)

DEFENSE
AC 25, touch 16, flat-footed 22 (+3 deflection, +3 Dex, +4 mage armor, +5 natural)
hp 90 (12d6+48)
Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +10
Defensive abilities channel resistance +4, contingent fire shield (see tactics), rejuvenation; DR 15/bludgeoning and magic; Immune cold, electricity, undead traits

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee touch +7 (1d8+6 plus paralyzing touch)
Ranged acid dart +9 ranged touch (1d6+6)
Special Attacks acid dart (10/day)*, paralyzing touch (DC 20)
Arcane School Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th; concentration +19)
At will—dimensional steps (360 ft./day),
Conjurer Spells Prepared (CL 12th; concentration +19)
6th—acid fog, disintegrate (DC 25), flesh to stone (DC 25), summon monster VI,
5th—cloudkill (DC 23), cone of cold (DC 23), waves of fatigue, summon monster V (2)
4th—bestow curse (DC 21), black tentacles, enervation (2), summon monster IV
3rd—fireball (DC 21), displacement, haste, stinking cloud (DC 21), vampiric touch
2nd—false life, ghoul touch (2), glitterdust (DC 20), levitate, spectral hand,
1st—grease (DC 19), mage armor, magic missile (2), ray of enfeeblement, shield
0—acid splash, detect magic, resistance, touch of fatigue (DC 17)
Opposition Schools enchantment, illusion

TACTICS
Before Combat Syfforack Zoi casts displacement, false life, levitation, and spectral hand. He keeps an active contingency set to cast fire shield when attacked in melee.
During Combat Syfforack Zoi is always willing to turn intruders into assets, open to negotiation with everyone. Those unwilling to accept his authority are subjected to waves of fatigue as he levitates out of reach, flooding the battlefield with summoned monsters (fiendish bison, large elementals, erinyes devil). Syfforack Zoi casts haste on his minions, continuing to use spells from range and targeting obvious spellcasters with flesh to stone and disintegrate. He delivers bestow curse upon warriors or rogues to cause them a 50% chance to take no action. Syfforack Zoi makes liberal use of his dimensional steps to keep his distance from combatants who can fly and focuses on flying and ranged attackers first.
Morale Syfforack Zoi flees via dimension door if reduced to 30 HP or less; he is not overly concerned with falling in battle, as he’ll reform near his phylactery (a portrait hidden in a lead-lined compartment in the dining hall of his ruined palace).

STATISTICS
Str 12, Dex 17, Con —, Int 24, Wis 14, Cha 19
Base Atk +6; CMB +7; CMD 23
Feats Augment Summoning, Craft Wondrous Item, Greater Spell Focus (transmutation), Spell Focus (conjuration, evocation, transmutation)
Skills Bluff +16, Craft (alchemy) +22, Knowledge (arcana, planes, history) +22, Linguistics +22, Perception +25, Sense Motive +25, Spellcraft +30, Stealth +26; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception, +8 Sense Motive, +8 Stealth
Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Ignan, Infernal, Terran
SQ arcane bond, summoner’s charm (7 rounds)
Combat Gear dust of disappearance, headband of vast intelligence +2 [bluff], ring of protection +3 [arcane bond], robes and jewelry worth 1,500gp.

This malevolent lich rules the once-prosperous city of Valindar. Syfforack long reigned with an even hand, and his family brought him great joy; his decline came during his twilight years, when rivals sensed the king’s waning strength. He watched in dismay as his hold on the city slipped and he grew paranoid—desperation pushed him over the edge when an assassin nearly claimed the life of his only son. Binding a shadow demon in a bargain for his family’s safety, it seemed as if fate conspired against the king as new dangers emerged at every turn. Syfforack desperately forged fresh pacts and called upon new demons, damning himself by inches at a time while allowing evil entities to seep into his beloved home. The state of Valindar eroded, and Syfforack knew the demons would soon collect their due. To stave off his looming damnation, he turned to even darker measures to save his soul.
Syfforack bound his essence to his portrait of the royal family and became a lich and as the years wore on, Syfforack’s twisted mind saw this change as the salvation of his people. His dark magic spread undeath throughout the kingdom, and now even his wife and children live on as spectres roaming the empty halls of his dilapidated castle. The undead king, now taking on the surname of Zoi, keeps his demons on a desperate tether, marshaling the fiends against his enemies. Though Syfforack Zoi sees this state of affairs as a triumph, he knows in his cold, still heart that his victory is incomplete—only with the power of Salamangka can they be made safe.

Apotheosis
If Syfforack Zoi claims mastery over Salamangka, his body explodes in a violent eruption of arcane energy. His skull survives, encrusted in magnificent jewels that once graced his rings and robes. Syfforack becomes an awakened demilich. Further, the demonic pacts he forged break, leaving the demons bound subservient to his will with no claim to his soul.

skeleton-skeletal-wizard-mage-bruno_balixa

Izali Komandri     CR 10
XP 9,600
Forsaken lich sorcerer 9
CE Medium undead (augmented humanoid)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +9
Aura delusory aura (100 ft., -4 vs. fear)

DEFENSE
AC 21, touch 14, flat-footed 18 (+4 mage armor, +1 deflection, +2 Dex, +1 dodge, +3 natural)
hp 97 (9d6+63)
Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +9
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, soul shield, spell storm; DR 15/bludgeoning and magic; Immune cold, electricity, undead traits; Resist acid 10, cold 10; SR 25

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee disembodied strike +6 touch (1d8+4 negative energy)
Ranged javelin +6 (1d6+2) or ray +7 (by spell)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (disembodied strike 10 ft.)
Special Attacks disembodied strike, soul lash (240 ft. line, 4d6 plus paralysis, Reflex DC 21 halves damage and negates paralysis)
Bloodline Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +16)
7/day—heavenly fire (1d4+4 divine energy)
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 9th; concentration +16)
4th (4/day)—remove curse, wall of fire, fire shield
3rd (6/day)—fireball (DC 20), magic circle against evil, ray of exhaustion (DC 20), slow (DC 20)
2nd (6/day)—false life, mirror image, pyrotechnics (DC 19), resist energy, scorching ray
1st (6/day)—bless, burning hands (DC 18), mage armor, magic missile, ray of enfeeblement (DC 18), shield
0 (at will)—acid splash, bleed, detect magic, light, ghost sound (DC 17), read magic, resistance, touch of fatigue (DC 17)

STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 14, Con —, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 24
Base Atk +4; CMB 6; CMD 20
Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Empower Spell, Eschew Materials, Mobility, Point-Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (ray)
Skills Diplomacy +8, Handle Animal +8, Heal +6, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Knowledge (religion) +1, Linguistics +1, Perception +9, Spellcraft +10, Survival +3
Languages Celestial, Common
SQ bloodline arcana (summoned creatures gain DR 4/evil), wings of heaven (9 minutes/day)
Combat Gear wand of scorching ray (CL 7th), 250 gp worth of scorched jewels and melted coins; Other Gear javelins (4), ring of protection +1

Izali was once a benevolent traveler who stumbled across the Forsaken Frontier, a misguided soul that sought to ease the endless strife before running afoul of Syfforack Zoi. Attempting to turn Izali into a lich, the undead king broke the poor wretch’s mind with hideous demonic torments in a disastrous process. Izali is no longer a creature infused with the righteous fire of the heavens, but a force of incendiary slaughter which Syfforack Zoi delights to let loose upon his enemies.

 

Syfforack Zoi’s forces include skeletons and zombies supported by wights and hordes of dretch. The dretch are often driven by more powerful individual demons such as nabassu and shadow demons.

DRETCH           CR 2
CE Large army of dretch
hp 22; ACR 4
DV 17 (27); OM +7 (ranged)
Tactics sniper support
Special darkvision, significant defense
Speed 1; Consumption 2
Commander: Syfforack Zoi; Charisma Modifier +7; Profession (soldier) 0 ranks

WIGHTS          CR 5
LE Large army of wights
hp 22; ACR 5
DV 17; OM +5
Tactics dirty fighters
Special create spawn, darkvision, energy drain, undead
Speed 2; Consumption 2
Commander: Syfforack Zoi; Charisma Modifier +7; Profession (soldier) 0 ranks

 

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[Submitted by Dan Dillon!]

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Foul Machinations Friday: Forsaken Frontier

Welcome to the beginning of the end of the first AaWBlog Adventure Path, true believers!
Some thought us mad when we began this daily endeavor last year, but as 2014 continued so did our amazing journey across Aventyr; it all comes to a crashing end here, in the Forsaken Frontier!

As our wayward adventurers finally make it home from Uklonjen (home to the psionically-active exiles of Aventyr’s ancient past), it seemed like their misadventures were over and that finally, the journey back had ended. This brief reverie did not last long however, and the PCs’ airship explodes soon after landing, sending them into a place even stranger than the demiplane they’d just left: Ludolog, the 2-Bit Dimension.

flytrap_giant__jacqui_davisTraversing the miniworlds (filled with instadeath chasms, floating platforms, the Skytower, and The Dig) was the only way forward, and at its end the final step of the adventurers’ long voyage was knocked astray by another presence traveling the void: a massive vortex dragon that sends their vessel tumbling into the Disputed Territories, far to the west and south of their intended destination.

After a disastrous landing, mass hordes of militant undead chase the party south into the Rungkung Jungles, home to the benevolent mummy warlord of the Smiling Sons, Kaloatl the Eternal Eye. To revitalize their vessel’s spent xyrx crystal fuel, the PCs might seek out sapahualpa reeds, but their dangerous cousins (banshee reeds) threaten to kill the party as they flee into the domain of the mummified armies.

This is but one of four great territories that surround the ancient settlement of Salamangka, the Shining City. Great power resides within its walls and for millennia it has been the site of destructive conflicts rivalled nowhere else in Aventyr. So long has this continued, the militaries that have vied for its control are all now undead, each considering Salamangka the ultimate prize, one that can restore a semblance of life to them all while its power holds.

fallowfieldMass grave haunts and prepared battlefields play a part in the events to come, though none greather than the burning vengeance haunt in Fallowfield. After speaking with the helpful Zhalak Mhun (lieutenant of the Eternal Eye) the PCs return to their ship, curiously fused with pages of a dragon’s journal, to find the engine has been ransacked! Their only lead as to where exactly the crucial components have been taken is in the badlands to the east—home to Doc Fell and his armies of stealthy ghasts and ghosts.

Rumor has it that these sneaky undead have acquired an arcane artillery pylon or two, and the threat they pose as the Shining City’s dawn approaches is dire indeed…

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Story Locale (Forsaken Frontier): Badlands of Fallowfield

Badlands of Fallowfield
The town of Fallowfield never thrived, but the hardy population eked out a meager existence far from true civilization. Most who found their way this far into the Disputed Territories were on the run, either from the law or their past, and it became a sanctuary for outlaws looking for a last chance to lead a semi-normal life. A speck of meaningless land missing from most maps, the settlement nevertheless found itself caught between the armies of Kaloatl and Syfforack Zoi.

With no hope for peace, the hardened survivors fought tooth and nail for what they’d claimed but faced overwhelming force. The town barber (and surgeon), Doctor Phineas Fell was no more noble than the rest, but tried to trick the invaders into accepting an honorable duel for the fate of the town. Cunning cheats were no match for the forsaken lich’s magic and he only managed to enrage his opponent with his annoying trickery; Doc Fell was forced to watch as each of the remaining citizens were burned alive before him.

fallowfieldThese souls did not rest easy, however, and were led screaming back from the grave by Doc Fell. Now the area is a true ghost town—claimed only by the undead that dwell there. A few dozen of the original citizens inhabit Fallowfield at any one time, while most remain on long-term missions of sabotage or infiltration as directed by their commander. There is not a soul among them that wouldn’t return at a moment’s notice should the town be threatened, and it remains both a symbol that unites Doc Fell’s armies, and a sanctuary for retreat when deceptions are discovered. They died once defending the only home many of them ever knew, and few are afraid to die again.

The majority of Fallowfield’s citizens are ghasts with the rogue creature template (from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Monster Codex) or Freelance Thief (from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: NPC Codex) ghosts. Ghasts have a scorched or burnt appearance, although many employ the Disguise skill to cover the worst of their charring. Creatures (living or otherwise) entering the town unannounced are immediately accosted by 3d6 ghasts and 2d6 ghosts; the undead use hit-and-run guerrilla tactics and set a series of ambushes within the trap-filled ruins. The ghosts of Fallowfield can only be permanently destroyed (per the rejuvenation ability) if Doc Fell is likewise permanently destroyed (when temporarily destroyed they reform within the town.)

Knowledge (local) or (history)
DC 15     There’s a ghost town deep in the badlands where a bunch of thieves and cutthroats met an unpleasant end.
DC 20     Fallowfield’s a no-man’s land lousy with ghouls, ghosts, and booby-traps
DC 25     The place used to be a sanctuary for folks looking to keep out of the law’s reach, but that all ended when an undead army burned the lot of them alive for resisting.
DC 30     A powerful undead creature that looks like a man protects Fallowfield. He carries weapons that shoot lead with blasts of fire and thunder, killing anyone that threatens the town without warning.
DC 35     The leader pretends at being the town barber, but he won’t stop smiling as he cuts your throat.

fallowfield barberBarber’s Shop: The colorfully painted sign has long since faded, but Doc Fell still keeps his old shop tidy when he visits. He holds court here surrounded by ancient jars of snake-oil miracle cures and preserved creatures floating in chemicals. Whether he is entertaining rare guests or passing judgment on captured prisoners, Fell rarely acts more than the humble barber—he is happy to offer living guests a quick cut, shave, or surgical procedure.

Butcher’s Barn: A ghast’s got to eat. One of the old barns within Fallowfield is still standing and holds the grisly remains of animals and humanoids slaughtered for food. The hunks of meat are left hanging or strewn about, collecting flies as they rot. The barn stores living meat as well, with captured humanoids kept in iron cages and animals stored in pens.

Ramshackle Ruins: With a few exceptions, the remaining hardwood structures within Fallowfield have burned or rotted away; these provide cover, but not total cover. The ruins are treated as difficult terrain, except a creature can choose to move at full speed at the risk of encountering bear traps concealed within the rubble (1d4 per 35 feet traveled). Many floors are purposefully set to collapse and the rotting ceilings hide heavy rocks ready to crush the unwary.

Scorched Square: The old town center is still black with the remains of the executed townspeople, and no rain ever washes away the last traces of their death. Any corpse with enough flesh and bones remaining arose as a ghoul or ghast, and the rest are forced to dwell the earth as disembodied souls. The square is the focal point of the town’s burning vengeance haunt.

 

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Weird Wednesday (Forsaken Frontier): Burning Vengeance

BURNING VENGEANCE             CR 12
XP 19,200
CE haunt (20 ft. by 15 ft. town square)
Caster Level 15th
Notice Perception DC 25 (to hear Izali Komandri whispering, “Are you watching barber? I’m going to burn them all. One by one.”)
hp 24; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 minute
Weakness susceptible to cold damage

burning vengeanceEffect When this haunt is triggered, living creatures within its area burst into flames as if doused in buckets of tar and lit ablaze. All creatures within the town square are targeted by a fire storm spell (DC 22). Creatures who die from fire damage caused by the burning vengeance haunt are animated as undead after 1d4 rounds (as per create undead; ghouls if less than 4 HD or ghasts if 4 HD or more).

Destruction Doc Fell’s pursuit of revenge must end, either with his satisfaction or destruction.

Adventure Hook The burning vengeance haunt is the heart of Fallowfield, and the location where Izali Komandri burned each of the townspeople alive—by humiliating and torturing Doc Fell, he unintentionally created a relentless force for revenge. The scorched earth at the center of the ruined settlement is never far from Doc Fell’s thoughts, and every step he takes on the road to vengeance adds a little more flame to the fire.
The ghasts and ghosts of Fallowfield are well aware of the haunt and the useful danger it poses. Foes strong enough to resist them are led ever closer to the town center, lured by guerrilla tactics into activating haunt (the undead just far enough away to avoid its effects).

Mythic Template Should Doc Fell claim Salamangka, the burning vengeance haunt is likewise empowered. Its CR is increased by +1 and it deals 1d8 points of damage per caster level. Half the damage dealt is from fire damage, and the rest is divine energy that bypasses energy resistance. If Doc Fell is within the area of the haunt’s effect, he is immune to its damage and may activate it at will with a full-round action by spending a mythic point. If he does so, he may exclude any number of creatures from its effects.

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Statblock Sunday (Forsaken Frontier): Doc Fell

Doc Fell (by Serg Sorokin - PUBLIC DOMAIN)A near-skeletal man with charred skin and a white leather duster reaches for pistols with lightning speed.  

Doctor Phineas Fell        CR 13
XP 25,600
Pale stranger gunslinger 4
CN Medium undead
Init +11; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +13
Aura fear (10 ft., DC 23)

DEFENSE
AC 28, touch 20, flat-footed 24 (+4 armor, +7 Dex, +3 luck, +4 natural)
hp 165 (15d8+4d10+76)
Fort +13, Ref +16, Will +15
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, nimble +1; DR 10/bludgeoning and magic; Immune undead traits; SR 21

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Ranged +1 pistols +21/+21/+16/+16/+11 (1d8+1/19-20/x4)
Special Attacks grit (6/day), pistols, strangers shot
Spell-like Abilities (CL 13th; concentration +17)
Constant—veil (self-only) (DC 20)

TACTICS
During Combat Doc Fell prefers to use Diplomacy and veil to fool a victim, before relying on the Betrayer feat and gunslinger initiative to fill them full of lead. He makes use of cover, terrain, and henchmen to put distance between himself and foes while picking off healers and spellcasters via stranger’s shot.
Morale Doc Fell flees if reduced to ½ HP or less.

STATISTICS
Str 19, Dex 25, Con —, Int 15, Wis 20, Cha 18
Base Atk +15; CMB +19; CMD 40
Feats Betrayer, Deadly Aim, Gunsmithing, Improved Critical (pistol), Improved Initiative, Improved Precise Shot, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, No Name, Persuasive, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Quick DrawB, Two-Weapon Fighting
Skills Bluff +20, Diplomacy +14, Disguise +17, Heal +18, Intimidate +16, Knowledge (local) +10, Perception +13, Profession (barber) +10, Ride +15, Sense Motive +15, Sleight of Hand +17, Stealth +17
Languages Abyssal, Common, Draconic
SQ deeds (deadeye shot, gunslinger’s dodge, gunslinger initiative, pistol-whip, quick clear, utility shot), stranger’s luck
Combat Gear gunman’s duster

The consummate snake-oil salesman Doc Fell sought refuge in the outlaw town of Fallowfield, finding a respected position as the town barber preferable to twilight years spent looking over his shoulder. Positioned between Syfforack Voi and Kaloatl, the settlement and its few hundred citizens were doomed as soon as they hefted arms in defense of their worthless specks of land. As a last-ditch gamble, Fell challenged Izali Komandri to an “honor-duel” for the safety of Fallowfield. All of Fell’s cheating was only enough to enrage the undead, who defeated the barber with ease. The forsaken lich burned the townsfolk that had survived, but saved Fell for last.

The need for vengeance brought the Doc back, and he dragged the rest of the town with him. What he lacks in numbers he makes up for in trickery, and his people (ghosts and ghasts) have infiltrated each of the other armies. Should Fell claim Salamangka, he’ll use the power only long enough to destroy them all from within before he burns the Shining City to the ground.

 

Apotheosis
Should Doc Fell claim Salamangka he gains a mythic rank of 5. Alter his statistics in the following manner: +3 CR, +5 natural armor, +40 hit points, DR 10/bludgeoning and epic, SR 26, mythic power and surge universal abilities, +4 to Dexterity, and the Mythic Improved Initiative and Mythic Improved Critical feats. He gains the following mythic abilities:

Burning Vengeance (Su): As the pistols ability, except any pistol wielded by Fell functions as a +3 flaming burst pistol, and counts as an epic weapon for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.
Headshot (Su): When Fell confirms a critical hit with a pistol, it deals an additional +6d6 precision damage. If Fell confirms a critical hit with a stranger’s shot attack, he may spend a point of mythic power to subject the target to a heal spell if undead or a harm spell if alive as an immediate action (Will DC 21 negates). The save DC is Charisma-based.
Relentless (Su): Only fire causes lasting injuries to Fell, and he can only be temporarily destroyed while imbued with the power of the Shining City. His body restores itself within Fallowfield after 2d4 days unless Salamangka is destroyed. He gains regeneration 5 (fire), despite lacking a Constitution score.
Veiled (Sp): Fell may use his veil spell-like ability on other creatures (as per the spell) at will as a swift action. He may spend a point of mythic power to cast veil as an immediate action.

 

Sulcera Stonesmile CR 10
Advanced rogue creature soulbound mannequin
N Medium construct
AC 21, touch 15, flat-footed 16 (+5 Dex, +6 natural)
hp 85
Defensive Abilities evasion, uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge

Modified Statistics
Fort +3, Ref +8, Will +8
Special Attacks sneak attack +5d6
Dex 20
Skills Bluff +9, Sense Motive +5, Stealth +10
SQ rogue talent (skill mastery [Bluff, Sense Motive, Stealth], surprise attack)

Sulcera was created to be Kaloatl’s spymaster when his mortal left-hand refused to accept the “gift” of undeath. Upon her demise, servants bound a sliver of her soul to an eternal body of wood and porcelain. The construct continued to assist Kaloatl, but the hypocrisy of his endless pursuit of Salamangka undermined her shaky loyalty—she’d come to respect Doc Fell’s cunning and pragmatism after centuries spent fighting from the shadows. When Phineas approached her with an offer to become a double agent and aid him in ending the conflict forever, she eagerly accepted.

ghoul zombie (doc fell army) ramon luchaDoc Fell’s forces prefer knives in the night, sabotage, and subversion to direct conflict, but the undead spies of Fallowfield use the following mass combat statistics when assembled.

GHAST ROGUES           CR 5
CE Medium army of ghast rogue 4
hp 22; ACR 5
DV 17 (+1 in Fallowfield); OM +5
Tactics dirty fighters, relentless brutality
Special bleed, cannibalize, create spawn, darkvision, disease, evasion, paralysis, sneak attack, trap sense, undead
Speed 2; Consumption 2
Commander: Doc Fell; Charisma Modifier +4; Profession (soldier) 0 ranks

GHOST ROGUES           CR 5
CN Small army of ghost rogue 6
hp 22; ACR 5
DV 17 (+1 in Fallowfield); OM +5
Tactics expert flankers, false retreat
Special bleed, darkvision, evasion, fear, flight, incorporeal, sneak attack, trap sense, undead
Speed 2; Consumption 2
Commander: Doc Fell; Charisma Modifier +4; Profession (soldier) 0 ranks

 

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Weird Wednesday (Forsaken Frontier): Mass Grave Haunts

The sheer numbers lost in pitched warfare justify a dozen approaches to a powerful persistent haunt based on mass graves, and as our heroes explore the lands of the Forsaken Frontier they’ll get to know its long-dead denizens when they brave one of the following locations. Both of these haunts are meant to be used against entire armies in conjunction with the Mass Combat rules.
mass grave hauntJOIN THE DEAD     CR 14
XP 38,400
LE persistent haunt (1 hex of uneven ground)
Caster Level 14th
Notice Perception DC 29 (to notice the landscape shift into a series of corpses)
hp 63; trigger proximity; reset 1 day

Effect When this haunt is triggered, living creatures caught in the area must succeed on a DC 23 Will save or be held (as mass hold monster). Rather than freezing in place, held creatures collapse onto the ground like the dying soldiers that appear as the terrain around them. Held creatures may attempt a new saving throw each turn (as normal for hold person), but the spell effect ends for any affected creatures when the haunt is destroyed.

Destruction The haunt is permanently destroyed if a halt undead spell is cast at its center during a manifestation wherein no creatures failed the save against its spell effect.

The battle for Salamangka has been fought over and over again for generations. Once-mortal armies slaughtered one another for the right to live within the Shining City, or to keep a dangerous faction from claiming the magical location as a prize—this haunt replays one of those battles, inviting any who still live to simply lay down and die as the original warriors. Of course, undead remain immune to the effect, so wise commanders assign sentries to capture or kill any party of mortals that fall prey to the join the dead haunt.

 

MORTAL WOUNDS     CR 11
XP 12,800
NE haunt (1 hex of earth concealing the remains of dead soldiers)
Caster Level 11th
Notice Perception DC 25 (to hear the sounds of clashing infantry)
hp 22; trigger proximity; reset 1 day

Effect When this haunt is triggered translucent soldiers materialize within the area, joining together in pitched combat. The haunt’s soldiers receive lethal open wounds that are conferred to any living creature in the area as if by a mass inflict critical wounds spell (4d8+11, DC 22 Will halves).

Destruction The mortal wounds haunt is permanently destroyed if every corpse in the mass grave is properly interred and the area receives a consecrate or hallow spell.

A unique application of the haunt mechanic is to use the design’s story and spell effect to specifically help an ally fight off intruders. In this example, a group of undead soldiers receives assistance from those who were allies in life, but never fully made the transition beyond. Because the mortal wounds haunt injures the living and heals the undead, it’s ideal for setting behind a feigned retreat. The CR is increased by 1 to reflect this synergy.

 

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Submitted by Steve Helt!