The Zen Game Master

Meditations on the games I play and the things I geek.

Abomination Vaults – Session 1: Enter the Gauntlight

Last week, we completed our 7th Sea campaign (7th Sea: Blood Sails – Session 13) and switched to Pathfinder Second Edition for our next one. I’ve been wanting to run a Pathfinder 2E campaign and really put the game through its paces. At the same time, The Abomination Vaults developed a reputation as the best and hardest dungeon crawl by Paizo. The match was perfect for what I wanted to accomplish.

I limited the pool of players to four. This is the exact number of PCs the Abomination Vaults adventure path is tuned for and I find playing online with a group of 4 players works very well. PF2E provides rules to adjust up and down but I wanted to run this AP in its truest form, as close to the written module as I could. Most groups cannot complete AV. They fall victim to the dreaded Total Park Kill, or TPK, before they reach the end. Heck, my group may not either. If they do complete this epic journey, I want them to know they fought the good fight and really earned that final victory.

The Player Characters

ShaiLu is an Empty Sky Kitsune Sorceress and Eldritch Anatomist. She masquerades as a human while in Otari and has not revealed her true nature to her new allies yet. Her magic is divine in nature and she prefers to hang back from the frontlines where she can best move about and aid her allies.

Jorne is an Ancient Elf Rogue and Ruin Delver with an arcane sorcerer dedication. He is young as far as elves are concerned but at 125 years, he has already lived far longer than anyone else in the party. Skilled in both melee combat and with the small repertoire of arcane spells he has mastered, Jorne has already demonstrated he is a multi-talented addition to the party.

Konnor Klapton is a Half-Elf Bard and Fogfen Tale-Teller. He’s already built a reputation for himself with his adventures around the Fogfen. Maggs, owner of the Crow’s Casks, teases him about whether the tales that built his reputation are true or made up, but so far, he has demonstrated the skills to back up his claim. With loot and rapier, Konnor is carving a new chapter of the legend of his life.

Trulk is a Hold-Scarred Orc Barbarian and newly christened Starwatcher. He is under the tutelage of Wrin Sivinxi, a tielfing elf fortune teller and occult shopkeep in Otari. She is teaching the young orc about the Cosmic Caravan and how one finds their place in the universe. It’s all very spiritual which Trulk appreciates because he has some serious anger issues.

The Adventure Begins…

Oathday, 27th of Lamashan, 4722 AR

  • Each of the PCs (JorneKonnor KlaptonShaiLu, and Trulk were invited to the home/business of Wrin Sivinxi. Introductions were made.
  • Wrin explained she had spotted an eerie blue light glowing at the top of the Gauntlight, a lighthouse built 500 years ago by Belcorra. Although the ruins of Gauntlight had been populated occasionally by goblins, kobolds, or other small critters, no one had ever been foolish enough to light the Gauntlight.
  • Wrin thinks the real danger is the scare the Gauntlight beacon will give the people of Otari. So far, the light has been dim and she does not think anyone but herself has noticed it (living on the north side of town and farther up near the cliffs).
  • She offers each of the PCs 50 silver to investigate and remove whoever or whatever is lighting the beacon. She does not believe there will be much real danger to them and they are welcome to keep any extra treasure they find in the old ruins.
  • The PCs accept the quest and retire for the night.

Fireday, 28th of Lamashan, 4722 AR

  • The next morning, Jorne, ShaiLu, and Trulk went to the Library of Dawnflowers to purchase healing items. They met Vandy Banderdash who asked them to bring the Dawnflowers any books or tomes they might find in the ruins. They would pay handsomely for any such items.
  • Konnor Klapton went to Magiloy at Crow’s Casks to acquire alchemical items. Most folks in the town don’t know Maggs is an alchemist but Konnor is her favorite bard and a regular in her tavern. He gets a 10% discount on any purchases he makes from her.
  • Shopping complete, the PCs set out of Gauntlight.
  • In the damp entrance (area A1), the PCs encountered a trio of pixies who tried to convince the party to cover themselves with the gray mud littering the floor. They called it “magic pixie mud” and said it would protect them from insects.
  • Konnor entertained the pixies with his musical prowess until the critters decided the time was right to leave without causing further trouble.
  • Fortunately, ShaiLu saw through the deception and realized the creatures were mitflits, not pixies, and the mud was mitflit dung. None of the PCs covered themselves in the droppings.
  • Trulk sabotaged vines connecting the roof of the building to other structures in the ruins. It looked like the mitflits were using the vines to move through the ruins.
  • Jorne spotted the sabotaged riggings on the drawbridge in area A2 and instructed his allies on how to cross the bridge safely without collapsing it.
  • Entering the main building of the ruins, the party came across three mitflights training a mudlicker maggot in battle tactics. The PCs quickly defeated the creatures, their first of many battles together.
  • There were many doors leading away from this main hall and during their search, Konnor found a small hidden room with gouges in the floor in a symbol he did not recognize. ShaiLu recognized the symbol as a teleportation circle made with inlaid previous metals that had been removed by a thief.
  • Picking the door closest to the hidden chamber, the group found what was once a dining hall (area A7) but the ceiling had collapsed and crushed everything inside. They spotted a kobold corpse partially buried in the rubble and when Trulk moved to investigate, he activated a haunt. The ghosts of 6 kobolds who died when the roof collapsed surrounded the PCs and launched psychic attacks. The PCs tried to exorcise the spirits unsuccessfully but finally, Jorne was able to intimidate the spirits and forced them to leave. The party suspected the specters would return so they exhumed the kobold’s corpses and consecrated them (preventing the haunt from ever activating again).
  • On the corpse, they found a wolf fang, caltrops, various coins, and a vial marked “YUM!” They suspected the contents of the vial were anything but yummy. Konnor took the vial with plans to take it to Maggs to be identified. Trulk took the wolf fang and the caltrops. The group divided the coins evenly.


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