A brief authorial alert before we begin. The session we're about to cover was always planned to be a single standalone event. It had a relatively straight forwards plot with a few basic characters and nothing overly heavy. Unfortunately relatively straight forwards meant no character interaction, very little in the way of actual storytelling and just lots and lots of combat with little else beyond that. In addition, despite starting almost two hours ahead of our allotted time, we still managed to overrun by well over an hour. The end result was a six hour gauntlet run by several characters through a cave network fighting everything in sight. As a result this is going to be a multi-part piece.
If you're in this for the amusing ultra violence and end product of demented madness then stick around, it's certainly a different variety than our usual stuff and contains everything you normally like. That said if you're after NPC interaction, investigations or several homicidal maniacs trying to pull off corporate espionage you might want to skip these. That done, I hope you enjoy the end result.
Sometimes there are times when desperation will drive people to turn to the worst kinds of individuals. Fear of harm, fear of famine, fear of dragons, but most of all fear of their loved ones. This is one such tale, where those desperate enough were forced to turn to bloodthirsty combatants for assistance against potentially the worst kinds of people. Namely our heroes.
The story begins with a mass disappearance. At the local school of magic, a large number of students fled from the institution's walls, breaking out and escaping entirely. However, rather than simply bunking off from lessons, they had disappeared entirely. Hunters and lumberjacks and patrolled through the surrounding woods, looking for any sign of the missing students but were unable to turn up even a textbook. Out of desperation, the parents had amassed the money they could spare into a single bounty of considerable size with a simple mission: Find the students and bring them back unharmed. This naturally drew the attention of a few hard up for cash adventurers.
Chief among these were the duo of Xian Daros and Llvaria, a buff elf and purple haired drow related distantly by blood with the former having been forced to escape to the surface. Unfortunately, being no Drizzt Do'Urden variant, she was still very much evil and very much set in her ways as an anti-paladin bard. Xian's role as an alchemist/magus with a fair number of bombs and healing abilities seemed to exist as methods of quick escape or healing her relative's victims. At least that's probably what would have happened were we ever let anywhere near a town.
The latter two of the band consisted of Ame, a completely normal gunslinger who was in it purely for the money, well, as normal as you can get with that in Pathfinder. The last one was Killbo of Clan Fraggins. Yes he was in this as well, this time as a halfling barbarian/paladin combo. Because there must always be a Fraggins.
Despite being a mass of people of varying origins, classes and alignments, they were all united in their need for cash. So as the cold evening air crept over the hillsides each of their members were seen hunting for any sign of the students. Having been tipped off by a seamstress in one town to a "deep cavernous network" located some distance from the college. What we stumbled upon seemed to be a shallow indentation in the ground which barely extended past the entrance.
Before we could get into the blaming game over whose fault it was that we'd wasted our previous time following poor information, each of us smelled fish. Fish being cooked with a fire nearby. While Killbo's immediate response was to cast Deathwatch on the place to try and find the location of the presumably recently caught fish, Xian instead opted to kick a nearby wall to test for solidity. Seconds later she had stumbled through into a side-cave, occupied by two somewhat shocked (and heavily armed) looking hobgoblins standing over a fire. Rolls for initiative followed.
Getting in there first, Xian declared "Good afternoon gentlemen!" and promptly proceeded to gatecrash the Hobgoblin's meal in the worst way imaginable. Drawing her blade the elf lunged forwards ducking low and stabbing her weapon upwards through the armpit of the nearest foe. Having seen her fall through, then had the brains to see through the illusion, Llvaria strode through to begin inflicting her own pain. Having been looking the other way, neither Killbo nor Ame had any idea what was going on. The latter's skills as a chef simply making her comment that whoever was cooking the fish needed to use more garlic. Opting to use her own spells to delay fighting their other foe, Llvaria cast unnatural lust upon the cooked fish the hobgoblin was holding with a response those who witnessed hoped never to see again.
This was where things started to go a little wrong.
Hearing noises coming through the wall, and presuming that their comrades had fallen through the floor, Ame took aim with one pistol and fired. Missing the hulking goblinoids entirely, her bullet struck Xian in the shoulder, counting as a near attack, almost killing her in seconds. Killbo, having managed to overcome the visual illusion of a wall at this point, saw the gunslinger bring up her weapon and shoot the elf in the back, effectively backstabbing her.
Thankfully Ame's line of "I think I might have hit something!" in response to the loud scream was enough to suggest she didn't know what had happened. Rather than vengefully beating her to a pulp or wasting time explaining things, Killbo just cut the crap, picked Ame up and threw her ten feet through the illusionary wall. She came to a standstill within striking distance of a very angry, very wounded hobgoblin standing over Xian. Immediately seeing the elf with the bullet wound she simply declared "What? You got in the way! What were you doing in front of a hobgoblin!?"
Staggering back up, Xian promptly finished the hobgoblin by cutting him from forehead to crotch with a single strike (22 damage!), causing him to effectively explode with gore. This only left the one currently rubbing himself with a slightly charred fish, murmuring "...so much omega oil!..."
Attempting to demoralize him, Llvaria promptly hefted her crossbow and fired at the fish, only for her arrow to fly right over his head. Following her example, Ame made her own efforts loading up both an alchemical cartridge and spending grit before blasting away. Missing herself, the bullet proceeded to ricochet around the cave several times leaving the goblin and fish completely unharmed.
As the spell came to an end, the furious bandit promptly dropped the fish and advanced upon the drow, enraged enough to try and get to her directly through Ame. Attempting to lay her out flat, the gunslinger dropped prone beneath the punch leaving the goblin facing down a drained looking Xian. Despite the bullet lodged in her shoulder the elf promptly slashed at the man's neck with all her might, his body and head hitting the ground separately.
As the traditional searching/looting went about the cave with the group looking for anything of value, Ame and Xian promptly started yelling at one another. Things took an entirely new turn once the blame game seemed to end, with Ame suddenly requesting the bullet be returned to her under the reasoning "those things are expensive!" This turned the argument into an entirely new phase with Ame immediately trying to claim the goblins had shot her, covertly handing Fraggins a pistol and some gold. Repeatedly insisting she wasn't the only one carrying a firearm within the few square miles, desperately trying to get him to take the gun and bribe. With Fraggins insisting "I'm low, but I ain't that low!" the gunslinger naturally responded "(judging height) ... actually you are."
Giving up, Xian immediately spotted another door adjacent to the illusion wall and kicked it open in anger. What lay beyond was a single elaborate fountain, several doors, one of which was making some very strange sounds, and a red marked lever.
Think the sort of one which usually has the words "SELF DESTRUCT BUTTON" bolted on the wall above it.
After several suggestions of using rope, grappling hooks or having someone pull it were made, Eventually, very carefully, Ame began to approach the lever and start examining it with her abilities. Given how long this was taking, Llvaria simply strode past and headed down the corridor where strange noises were coming from. It seemed she might have been the smart one here. After a badly botched roll Ame insisted she be permitted to take a full 20 as they were not being pressed for time, very carefully checking it piece by piece until we could establish what sort of trap it would set off. It turned out that pulling it down closed the door we had come in from, and pulling it up opened it. It was the door handle.
Less then an hour in and already the group had shot one another violently and the GM was trolling us.