Two weeks ago, we had our 4th session of my Pathfinder campaign set in my home-brew world of Xhuul. As mentioned before,three out of the four characters were killed in the last game. The surviving character, Kord, made his way back to the city of Throxia and began to recruit replacements to continue his search for the missing wizards they were hired to find.
The new party as follows:
Kord Taan, Level 1 Gnome Sorcerer (fire elemental bloodline)
Abazu Sorn, Level 1 Human Cleric of Nethys
Yaotl Necahral, Level 1 Thraan Barbarian
Kaleb, Level 1 Halfling Rogue
Kord arrives back in Throxia after the demise of the party from his last foray into the Emerald Spire. Seeking new allies to help him in the quest to find the missing wizards for the Order of Saiboth, he decides to call upon two acquaintances he knows. One of them is a bar drinking buddy named Kaleb, a local halfling. Since they are both small folk in a human dominated city, they find common bond as social outcasts. Another is Abazu, a human cleric of the god of magic, Nethys. Since Kord is a follower of the god of magic, he knows Abazu from visiting the temple. Abazu mentions that he knows a new arrival in Throxia, a thraan barbarian named Yaotl (pronounced as Yay-Oat) who he had met in the streets of Throxia when they got caught up in the middle of a gang war. They fought back to back to fend off the gang members who attacked them. Abazu healed Yaotl's wounds and he seemed appreciative of the healing and mentioned that if he ever needed his help, he should look for him at the Headless Harlot tavern. Kaleb mentions that he too knew of Yaotl through a friend.
Kord tells the sad tale of the death of his friends that met their end in the ruins of the Emerald Spire from attacks by Kobolds and their magic-casting leader and man-like construct. He recounts their encounters and explorations of the ruin and the strange light-suppressing magic within. There is a large reward for locating and rescuing the missing wizards. So, the group makes their preparations for the next day and head off in the morning.
The group heads out of Throxia towards the Emerald Spire the next morning and enter the region of a small jungle that surrounds it. They come upon the remains of a ruin within the jungle and are attacked by three Lizardfolk. After a long battle, the group is victorious and they look through the ruins and find that the Lizardfolk had made a small camp and apparently were scavenging the area. The party finds a sizable treasure of weapons, normal gear, coins, gems and three potions. The party decides to return to Throxia to sell most of the gear as they did not want to be weighed down with the load of extra equipment and keep the more useful items. Abazu visits a local scriptorium shop and purchases some ink, inkpen and a few sheets of parchment, figuring he may need these in order to copy any runes or writings they may encounter. They decide to rest up in Throxia and head back out to the Emerald Spire the next day.
The next morning the group heads out again and this time reach the Emerald Spire without incident. Entering the ruins with caution, they make their way through the ruins and eventually discover the place appears abandoned. The storage room that Kord told the new group about had been ransacked of the more useful items and the rest were destroyed and/or spoiled. The remains of the slain kobolds were still to be found, but there was no evidence of the bodies of Malik, Brogan or Arkon. The party searched the rest of the ruin and found no other kobolds. The decision was made to go down the spiral stairs. After two revolutions around the glowing column of green crystal there was a short landing where two kobold zombies were standing guard. A short combat took care of them easily. The landing was searched, but no secret doors were found and the party continued down the stairs. After two more revolutions down the spiral stairs, the light-suppression effect ends and every one's light sources shine at their normal brightness. The stairs then straighten out, no longer a spiral, heading away from the green crystal column that made up the central wall of the spiral stairs.
The party descends into the next level. They see two stone doors, one on the east wall, the other on the south wall. There is an alcove north of the door heading east with a burnt-out torch stub on the floor. Searching for traps, Kaleb finds nothing. The door to the east is ajar. The door to the south is locked. On the walls there grow patches of lichen that give off a faint greenish-white luminescence. Kaleb listens at the south door and hears nothing. He tries to pick the lock and fails, he waits a while longer taking his time to try and pick the lock again, but is not successful. Kord picks up the burnt-out torch stub. Yaotl opens the door that is ajar and sees a corridor beyond, taking point he enters the hallway. He sees a stone door at the far end of the hall. Halfway down, there is another door on the north wall inset 5 feet from the main hall. Kaleb listens at the north door and hears nothing. Deciding to investigate the door at the far end of the hall, he triggers a pit trap and falls 10 feet into a spiked pit, taking damage from the fall and one of the spikes. He sees a small alcove at the bottom of the pit where a large spider hides, which quickly scurries up the wall, closes the pit-trap lid and begins to web it closed. Kaleb, stands from being prone on the pit floor and readies his rapier for the spider to attack him.
The rest of the party do not know about the spider, all they see is the pit open up, Kaleb falling in and then the pit door closing. Yaotl pulls out some rope and anchors it to his waist. Kord picks up the other end, ties it to himself and moves onto the pit lid, hoping it will open, but it does not. Abazu picks up the slack length of rope and moves to the pit edge. Meanwhile in the pit, there suddenly is a mist that appears from nowhere that fills it completely. Kaleb cannot see more than 5 feet in front of him and can no longer see the spider. Abazu steps onto the pit lid and applies a forceful foot stomp that opens the lid and both he and Kord drop into the misty pit, taking damage from the fall and spikes. Luckily, Kord does not land on top of Kaleb. A tense battle is fought with the spider which is cloaked in the mists, that manages to bite and poison each of the three adventurers, a poison that weakens their strength. All the while, Yaotl remains above, holding onto the rope, helpless to assist in the battle as he cannot see what is going on below and so watches for an enemies that may attack in the hallway. Kord manages to kill the spider after successfully touching it with his burning magic spells. Abazu kept the party alive in the pit with his divine healing and helpful divine boons from Nethys. The battle now over, Yaotl pulls the three adventurers from the pit using the rope. About three minutes later the mist disappears inside the pit, revealing the spike pit and the now burned remains of the spider.
At this point it was late and we decided to stop the game there.
DM Thoughts: I told the players that the new characters would start off with the same experience points as Kord's player, that way everyone can level up together. The XP from the Lizardman battle and the Kobold zombies was enough to level them up to Level 2 (I am using the Fast XP rules in Pathfinder). When they entered the next level of the dungeon, I announced that they reached Level 2 , but the players did not want to stop playing to do the book-keeping (new Hit-Die, skill points, class features etc.,) for their new level.
When the encounter happened with the pit and the spider, it was a tense situation. The mist made it difficult to see the spider and provided it concealment with a 20% miss chance. The damage they took from the falls into the pit, spikes and then the spider bites was nasty, plus it's poison. Two characters would have dropped to unconsciousness. It was looking to be another TPK in the making. That is when I mentioned that they were Level 2 so they would have more hit points. I suggested they take some time to update their characters at least with their new hit points and attack bonus and saving throws. (We are doing the Average Hit Point gain, so that eliminates the possibility of rolling a "1" on the hit die.). That helped them from falling unconscious and turned the situation around for them. Kord saved the day by casting Burning Grasp twice during the last few rounds of combat (which is Shocking Grasp, but he applies the fire descriptor to his attack spells and gets extra damage from his Pyromaniac Trait and his bloodline) as these were melee touch attacks.
We will have another player join us next game. I will introduce him to the party as a victim of the pit trap that was captured by the spider and webbed up in a cocoon for later eating.