Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Condensation in Action: Legacy of Fire

 After reading through the second chapter of Legacy of Fire, the House of the Beast, I decided to imitate the inimitable Joseph Manola in his ongoing series condensing Pathfinder adventure paths into something more usable. I’ve converted the Brazen Peaks into a hexcrawl and placed events that are designed to happen elsewhere within them. If I was running this at the table, I would add maybe a dozen to twenty additional locations, but what I present here is mostly accurate to the goal of condensation.

Legacy of Fire has a couple really solid chapters, and even the filler has parts to salvage, but the structure of the adventure path is strange. It tends to skip the interesting bits, contrive strange directions for the plot, and stuff a lot of fighting in. By focusing the adventure on the promise of settling a town and making the surrounding area safe, I hope I’m focusing on the parts of the adventure that are most fun and that give the party the most freedom in pursuing their objectives.

Background: Long ago, the evil genie Jhavhul sought to become the resurrected avatar of Rovagug, his god of destruction and apocalypse. He attempted this by collecting 1,000 wishes, painstakingly extracted from mortal middlemen. Before he could achieve this, the noble genie Nefeshti and her Templars of the Five Winds managed to trap him in a demiplane with the mythic Scroll of Kakishon, trapping herself in the process.

Much later, the PCs have been hired to settle the abandoned town of Kelmarane. Their initial expedition is composed of themselves, their humorless major domo Garavel, gnoll-tracker Dashki, cleric Zastoran, four soldiers, six mercenaries, two camel drivers, and a dozen pack animals. Once the town is cleared of threats, the party’s benefactors will send settlers and entice merchants to stop in the town.

This town is currently under the sway of a man who serves the Carrion King, a gnoll warlord who rules from deep in the Brazen Peaks. He will likely serve as an ongoing antagonist, coordinating strikes against whatever the PCs do. However, his death is only likely to be a halfway point for the party, as under his fortress is the scroll of Kakishon, which when deciphered will bring a genie war to the region the players have spent the campaign getting invested in.

Every month for ten months after the town is cleared, fifty settlers of various professions are sent to live in Kelmarane.

  • After the first month, a thief named Radi Hamedi embeds himself in the community, passing on information to his criminal connections in the nearby town of Bronze Hook.
  • After two months, an evil minor genie named Zyandian will approach the PCs in disguise, trying to get them to steal the Scroll of Kakishon from the Carrion King’s lair.
  • After three months, there are enough people to get the battle market going, filling the stalls with traveling merchants and the arena with willing combatants.

The mythic Scroll of Kakishon: If rumors of the scroll’s location reach the general public, all sorts of freaks and weirdos from Bronze Hook will try to claim it, none less threatening than the jackalwere crime boss Father Jackal (11.8), who has promised to acquire it for the Merchants of Leng. It takes two weeks for an expert (11.8 Rayhan or 7.8 Glos for instance) to learn how to activate the scroll. If the scroll is activated, it brings the user and anyone else present into a tropical paradise demiplane, but unfortunately releases an efreet general Jhavhuland his army of genies into the material world. If the party stays in the demiplane for even a day at this stage, Jhavhul will has his servants send it them to his cursed estate in the City of Brass (2.2)

The Jackal’s Price: After the Carrion King is slain, it takes about a week for a gnoll strike to nunite under a prophet named Shiz and her captains, ranger Vlark and cleric Zjuja. They seek revenge against the Carrion King’s killers as well as the recovery of magic items, especially if the Scroll of Kakishon is taken. (8 human mercenaries, 15 gnolls, 12 hyenas, 1 ettin, and the three leaders prone to infighting)

The Final Wish: After the Scroll of Kakishon unleashes a genie army, Jhavhul sends one detachment to seize Kelmarane (9.8) while he himself establishes a lava-filled court underneath the lowest level of the House of the Beast (3.5). The corrupt city of Bronze Hook offers tribute to him to avoid outright invasion, for now. Meanwhile, Jhavhul’s genie foes arrive to do war with him, led by a noble genie called Nefeshti. They gather in the old monastery outside Kelmarane (9.8)  Jhavhul’s dark scheme involves forcing mortals to wish for his accumulated power. This rampant wishing creates magical “wishwarps” that harrow the land, making magic unpredictable. Since he can grant three wishes a day, and he has only a few wishes to go before he finally achieves some terrible apotheosis, there is some kind of ticking clock before Pale Mountain erupts, destroying Kelmarane, and the ascended Jhavhul leaves for the Plane of Fire.

Technically, these would be five-mile hexes but I figure that’s close enough to six-mile hexes. I’d say one day’s travel is two mountainous hexes, three normal hexes, or four hexes on a road or river

1.5 Litha Vale. A medusa, her living stone “children”, and the forest she accidentally turned to slate with forbidden druid magics.

2.2 The City of Brass, a magic genie metropolis that cannot be detected unless you have been there.

2.5 Serpent’s Canyon. Travel along the canyon bottom is swift, but roll twice for encounters.

2.6 Nowruz Vale. Druids in this grove seek to kill the medusa and lift the curse on Litha Vale (1.5)

2.10 Gnoll outpost. Thirty gnolls camp in the shade of a giant tumbled statue, daring each other to go on spying missions to learn of the Carrion King’s movements. They serve Red Sultana, a more successful rival warlord in the south.

3.5 The House of the Beast, the palace where the Carrion King holds court, currently in a state of civil war between his gnolls and a formerly allied tribe of Troglodytes. Beneath the fortress is the Scroll of Kakishon

3.6 Mountain’s Maw, a salamander-infested series of caverns that form a secret entrance to the House of the Beast (3.5)

4.1 Vorn, a large lake leading down a beautiful forking cascade into Lake Fors. Small shrines are left for an aquatic monster that lives in the larger lake.

4.5 Pale Mountain, jagged stone palisade and dig sites house the Circle (human cleric of Rovagug called “The Witch” leads 38 gnolls, 9 flinds, some dogs, and two dozen slaves) They dig haphazardly in the mountainside for a jade disc she thinks will help the Carrion King. A random gnoll of the tribe, Purkor, unknowingly carries it. 

4.9 Onyx Hall. Abandoned manor cursed by a wronged slave, such that all its owners will “dwell in bondage until the stones themselves burn like a pyre.” Full of fabulous heirlooms

5.4 Silver Tarn. Shining lake, with some nearby abandoned silver mines that access the Underdark. Stunted, shadowy figures have been seen at the lake’s edge.

5.5 Three Jaws camp (25 gnolls, 11 flinds, 6 goblin slaves, 15 guard hyenas. All wear trophies and jewelry worth 5 gold coins in their pierced bodies)

6.5 White Canyon. Gnoll byway. Roll two extra times for encounters here, but disregard anything other than gnolls and their allies.

7.2 Marudshar. Remote mountain temple with a crumbling gateway and a 63-foot-tall pilar carved to resemble petrified humans. Inhabited by all-male pride of unnatural, black-eyed lions who speak in strange tongues.

7.5 Chalk Cliffs. River runs through a chalky limestone box canyon with many caves. Limestone gargoyles blend in with the natural stone. 

7.7  Waterfall inhabited by a reclusive nixie sorcerer. Gnolls say it’s haunted.

7.8 Incredibly deep cave home of the Wymhollow tribe (45 gnolls, 4 flinds, 6 gnoll slaves, led by fanatics, spies, and elder cleric of Rovagug Glos.) The cavern entrance is narrow and trapped, guarded constantly by two gnolls and giant solifuges. Their chief knows an obscure tunnel that leads to the Underdark.

8.5 Hammerfalls. Many rough waterfalls and rapids. Hidden behind one of these is said to be the Halls of Hammerfall, an abandoned dwarven city.

8.7 Ruined Fort, currently inhabited by Three Jaws scouts (flind and 9 gnolls.) Like the main contingent in 5.5, all wear jewelry worth 5 gold coins. If the party operates in 9.8 for at least three days, the flind will send five gnolls to offer their help with the rival gnolls of Kelmarane. If the combined forces are successful, he will double-cross them.

8.9 Sultan’s Claw, an amusing-looking rocky outcropping. A family of Pugwampis live in the cacti nearby.

9.5 Jackal’s Maw, a deep, sheer chasm. Gnoll tribes throw sacrifices into it, calling it the mouth and/or womb of Lamashtu. Spooky creatures guard the carrion and lucre thrown into the chasm over centuries.

9.7 Old shrine to the god of magic, now inhabited by a former nobleman turned into a weretiger by a cursed punch-dagger.

9.8 Pesh cactus fields with a dust devil fill the center of the hex. Also, the town of Kelmarane, full of gnolls, a demon, a harpy, genie chieftain disguised as a human warlord Kardswann charmed by a demon who runs a “Battle Market” arena refurbished from the time when the Pactmasters controlled the town.

9.9 Old monastery desecrated by Pugwampis and other desert creatures, including evil mold that contains the mind of an ancient genie templar. The first person exposed to this mold becomes a host to the templar’s mind, showing them where in the monastery’s courtyard to dig to unearth a magical weapon called Tempest. The monastery gives a clear view on happenings in Kelmarane (9.8) If the party stays here for three days or more, gnolls from 8.7 arrive to offer help attacking Kelmarane.

11.3 Iemos, a 40-foot-tall date tree with the soul of a dead dragonslayer. Controls plants and weather to keep the hex safe.

11.8 Hook Ford, guarded by veteran watchkeeper Dasharn. He has a deal going with dragonnes in the hills where he leaves them dead gazelles and they leave him alone.

12.10 Mythic oasis, corrupted by a sign of Urgathoa made at the bottom of it. A noble Iammasu warns travelers away.Three groups of 7 lacedon ghouls frequent the oasis, and drinking the water causes a save vs ghoul fever. A desecrated temple is guarded by a paladin’s spectre and the skeleton of the ettin who killed her. Beneath the floor of the temple is her holy avenger, which only functions when in daylight.


12.4 Giant’s Steps. Two small bootprint-shaped lakes, one on either side of the road. Roll twice for encounters here.

12.7 Bronze Hook, dried up trading town where authorities permit slavery and all illegal trade. The constabulary starts more fights than it stops. Rumor has it that you can make a killing by looting the fetishes of the Three Jaw tribe gnolls, or by finding a lost treasure by the Giant’s Steps to the north. The home of a planar scholar named Rayhan. Home also of Father Jackal, a jackalwere cult leader/crime boss.

13.9 Thricehills. Community of 70 humans and hobbits grow olives and other produce. Small, outdated palisade. In need of defenders.

d20 Encounter Table

1. 2d8 hyenas

2. 1d2 lions

3. 1d4 baboons

4. 4d20 gazelles

5. 1d4 crag tarantulas

6. 1d4 gargoyles

7. 1d3 chupacabras

8. Roc

9. 1d4 dragonnes

10. 1d4 harpies

11. Al’Vohr’s Hunters (6 flinds, track and ambush at night)

12. The Ghulveis (5 leprous flinds and their pack of mangy hyenas)

13. The Sordaiv (20 ash-robed human raiders)

14. Wyrmslaves (Fat, stupid behir and his 18 “slave” gnolls)

15. Al’Chorhaiv gnoll tribe (46 adults, countless scorpions, druid chieftess Ahrikvask, giant scorpion, scheming priestess of Lamashtu Vamaag)

16. Leprous merchant (sells among other things a precious jeweled decanter. Around its stoppered lid is a command word written in Terran, that when spoken if the bottle is open sucks those around it into the palace of a genie prince)

17. Drovoag the Lame (a gnoll exiled from the Wyrmhollow tribe for allegedly worshiping the wrong demons. Bitter, and offers to show the party the secret back entrance into their caverns. Wants a cut of their ancient treasures.)

18. Heretical cleric (d4: 1, Rovagug. 2, Lamashtu. 3, Sarenrae. 4, Abadar)

19. Blue Dragon

20. Roll twice and combine

If a gnoll tribe is slain, quickly invent one with some unique shtick. They have 4d20 members, plus 1d20-10 flinds and any creatures required for their shtick.

Maintain a list of NPCs with unfinished business or who the player like. Consult this list if you roll a unique individual that couldn’t make sense, e.g. if they slew the leprous merchant.

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