Friday, January 24, 2014

The Liberators of Thornkeep - Session Recap

First off, a little background. I moonlight as a freelance game designer. I’ve had five supplements published by Raging Swan Press. Creighton, the publisher over at RSP wrote an advice column for freelance writers and suggested that those who write should keep a blog. Well, that’s good news for me because I already keep a blog! He offered some suggestions that should be on the blog. In light of that, I’ll be adding session recaps from my Thursday night game.

I am the GM for a group of friends, we’re using the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, specifically, the Thornkeep setting that was released as a part of a Kickstarter that I backed for the upcoming Pathfinder Online MMO that is currently in development.

I got the PDF and thought I’d throw a campaign together using that as the setting. It’s worked pretty well, I think. The characters in the campaign are:

Darius the Sage


Mike is playing a Rogue/Wizard named Darius. Darius is the unofficial leader of the group. He’s been working with the local Thieves Guild while attempting to set up a Salon (think French Revolution) where knowledge can be brokered throughout the hold of Thornkeep.

Avelin the Archer


Holly is playing a Ranger/Rogue named Avelin. Avelin is a former bandit attempting to reform and make her way in the world. She is working on maximizing her sneak attack and damage with a bow. Her brother is still in the bandit world.

Doc Kells the Surgeon

Amy is playing an Alchemist healer. She took an archetype of the alchemist that allows her to heal. She uses her bombs liberally, taking out multiple opponents at a time. She also has ties to the Thieves Guild, serving as a healer.

Gormgen the Warrior


The only non-human in the party, Gormgen the Dwarf Fighter/Cleric is being played by Jason. Gormgen is from the Five Kings Mountains, and has made his way to Thornkeep avoiding Dwarf drama from his homeland. He has a large beard, a large appetite and a larger axe.

Where we’ve been


We spent time clearing out The Accursed Halls that have tempted adventurers in the region for as long as anyone can remember. Goblins had infiltrated the ancient halls in search of a long forgotten Goblin treasure. They found the treasure and let the goblins have it. The goblin chief, Graalsk, then tasked the party with helping another group of his goblins in finding another ancient treasure. They made their way to a dilapidated monastery. The last game session ended after the group entered the monastery’s basement. They had fought a pair of cave spiders and the spiders’ prey, a ghoul completely encased in webbing.

January 23, 2013 – Zombies, Skeletons and Ghouls!


Rule #1 of being a GM is that if your party can go the wrong way, they almost inevitably will.

There was a secret door that led to the second half of the dungeon. They weren’t meant to find the door until after they had exhausted their search of the first half of the dungeon. They went through two rooms of the first half of the dungeon then enacted Rule #1.

Into the second half of the dungeon!

The first thing waiting for them in that half of the dungeon was a party of four Ghouls. Ghouls are particularly nasty to third level characters. If you are bitten by one, you take serious damage to abilities and the saves are two consecutive days worth of saves. They also paralyze their targets.

They almost killed the dwarf, but the valiant warriors prevailed over the ghouls. They continued through the funeral chambers of the ancient monks and fought a group of skeletons then a group of zombies.

They’re slowly working out the secrets of the ancient monastery, figuring out what these monks did and how they operated.

The highlight of the night was Darius attempting to avoid a trap that would almost surely have killed him. He wanted to retrieve an item, but was fairly certain the item was trapped. He barely missed being smashed by an extremely heavy rock (Thank heavens for that Rogue reflex save), but the gem he was attempting to reach was crushed into powder in the process.

The truth is, the trap was supposed to be different, but I read the module wrong and it messed up through my interpretation of the trap. I’m a little frustrated, but if I’m being honest, I didn’t expect the group to make it down that wing, so I hadn’t done enough reading of the module.

I’m eager to finish up this dungeon (afraid the bosses are going to be too hard, make have to scale them down a little) and get into the content that I’m creating from scratch. The two modules I’ve used have given me a great jumping off point for the campaign, though.


Thanks for reading, see you next Friday (weather permitting).

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