Friday, February 23, 2018

You Got Worms

Dara 24 - A'chiad 23; next holiday, Dragonning, 3/25.

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Sorvald, Thief
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker
  • Craydol Silverskin, the Gold Skinscribe

Elenora and Luce each had a birthday (1/14 and 1/18, respectively)

Meanwhile, Caranthir and Quetgar headed south, hoping to find some lizardmen to join their ranks. They moved from village to village, putting out the call, and managed to get a good few creatures to join up. Their trek back was uneventful as well, as they took a boat up the river. Luckily, the river is deep enough and flows well enough that there is little ice build-up. The final leg of their journey, they ran into a group of six dwarves and humans: a woman named Whispering Mouse, who seemed to have a pet tiger beetle that followed her around; Dolmen Rockharvest and Ori Barrelgut, both dwarves, and the only males in the party; and Ingeborg Månsson, Anna Patterson, and Berit Eriksson, who appear to be priestesses. Whispering Mouse told Caranthir that they were a party of emissaries from the dwarven realm, hoping to make peaceful contact with the new kingdom starting nearby. The group tagged along with Caranthir until they reached the base. Three days later, the second party with Gróin arrived, which gave Caranthir time to plan the first festival for his kingdom.

The journey for Gróin, Laurita, Gimli, and Sorvald was rather more eventful than Caranthir's trip. First, they ran into a caravan of 40 wagons - a group of traveling nomads, heading for the shelter of the arboreal forest to the east. They were interrupted one night by a remorhaz attack; they scared one, but the rest left when they realized their food had wings. Just outside the City of the Northern People, they waylaid a group of 9 thogrin, and nuked the lot of them, as is custom. They looted the corpses, and continued on.

In the city, Sorvald met with the leader of the local Thieves' Guild, who surprised him with his joviality. "So ya want to start a guild of your own, eh? Shoor! I got a few henchmen I could loan out, yah. How many do you want - aboot 10 do ya fine, eh?" Sorvald declined, as he was only information gathering, but left on good terms.

Gimli, meanwhile, looked for various troops to fill the new castle with. After a few weeks of looking, he managed to piece together quite the army; finally, it was time to return. They blasted through a msall group of skeletons without a problem, and waltzed on... and that's when disaster struck, in the form of not one, not two, but three purple worms. Luckily, they saw the worms from a good distance. Gróin immediately took to the air... and suddenly realized that the swordsmen and crossbowmen behind him were, unfortunately, land-bound, and soon to be worm food! He flew forward, and carpet-bombed the worms. Well, earth-bombed from his carpet, anyway. When the worms were in range, the crossbowmen took turns firing through the holes in the wall Gróin built. Just as the fight was concluding, a skinscribe stepped out of the swirling snow, lobbed a fireball at the worms, and introduced himself.

Gróin took an immediate liking to Craydol Silverskin; as Gold Skinscribe, he was lawful, and there were scant few lawful beings for the poor dwarf to talk with. Craydol, meanwhile, carefully wrote down all the information Gróin shared. As it turns out, Craydol is a Seeker! Until recently, he helped lead a small group of hermits in the northern mountains, scribing scrolls and gathering information from the heights of a mountain. He had heard about a group of adventurers who had come across some items of great knowledge and importance, and hoped to get a good look at them. Unfortunately, the Book of Holding was with Llarm.

Speaking of Llarm, he was holed up in Slowhaven, researching spells. His first spell, Dragonform, was an unmitigated disaster, but the second spell, Blue Dragon Breath, succeeds, and likely blows out a window. Luckily, the inn he was staying at has good insurance. You have to, with wizards around!

Meanwhile (well, I say meanwhile; this actually is a bit behind time), Faufe purchased a small troop transport, named the "Total Bullship," a retired military vessel (it used to be the "HMS BS"). He loaded it with merchandise (and got a pretty good deal), sailors, and the troops he hired, and headed south the 3rd week of Ochdamh, around day 23, hoping to reach Cliffport by the end of the week.

As we closed last time, Gróin's team (only 3 days from the new city) ran into a trio of chimeras...

The magical items discovered include: a Potion of Plant Control (on the thoghrin), plus 3 potions, 5 swords, 1 war hammer, 3 crossbow bolts, and two scrolls.

  • 1,000 Copper
  • 1,000 Silver
  • 1,000 Gold
  • 2,000 Platinum
  • 3,577 gp from selling:
    • 1 Glass trinkets (120 gp - sold)
    • 1 hematite (10 gp - sold)
    • 1 obsidian (10 gp - sold)
    • 1 porcelain trinkets (500 gp - sold)
    • 1 turquoise (25 gp - sold)
    • 1 wrought copper trinkets (90 gp - sold)
    • 1 crystal geode (2,000 gp - sold)
    • 1 ruby (1,000 gp - sold)
  • 112,600 gp yet to sell, to be split between Gróin, Laurita, Gimli, Sorvald, and Craydol:
    • 1 topaz (500 gp)
    • 1 crystal geode (2,000 gp)
    • 1 flawless diamond (4,000 gp)
    • 1 roll of silk (400 gp, 4 stone)
    • 20 ingots of precious metals (6,000 gp, 40 stone)
    • 34 typical fur capes (3,400gp, 34 stone)
    • 3 amethyst cylinder seals depicting religious scenes (3,600 gp)
    • 3 opal cameo portraits and intaglio erotic tableaux (2,400 gp)
    • 11 alabaster and jet game pieces with jeweled eyes (7,700 gp)
    • 103 jade carvings of heroes, monsters, and gods (20,600 gp)
    • 3 platinum reliquaries with crystal panes (3,000 gp)
    • 4 platinum reliquaries with crystal panes (28,000 gp)
    • 1 Platinum studded with diamond regalia (3,000 gp)
    • 1 ruby regalia (5,000 gp)
    • 1 Gold studded with topaz regalia (6,000 gp)
    • 1 jacinth regalia (6,000 gp)
    • 1 jacinth regalia (11,000 gp)
  • Experience from Encounters:
    • 40-wagon caravan (peaceful)
    • 8 remorhaz (1 was panicked, 7 escaped: 2250)
    • 9 thogrin (720)
    • 10 skeletons (130)
    • 3 purple worms (12,600)
  • Experience for Gróin, Laurita, Gimli, Sorvald: 6,787
  • Experience for Gróin, Laurita, Gimli, Sorvald, Craydol (not counting unsold treasure): 12,600
  • Total experience for Caranthir and Quetgar: 0
  • Total experience for Gróin and Sorvald: 5412
  • Total experience for Laurita and Gimli: 2706
  • Total experience for Craydol: 3150

Additional experience: once a stronghold is complete, the builder receives 1 XP per 2 gp spent on it. This XP is lost if the stronghold is ever lost. Spell research also gains XP, if the research succeeds: the cost of the spell and extra components, divided by the number of months of research (min. 1), minus your gp threshold, multiplied by the number of months of research (again, min. 1). What, you expected magic to be straightforward?

As a final additional note: as of this adventure, the starting XP (for a new character) is 131,000 XP and 16,000gp. Retired characters and starting a new one will net you 20,000 XP, plus whatever gold you've "wasted", and whatever gold and stuff you're willing to dole out.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Settling Down

Dara 15-24; next holiday, Darkest Day, Dara 35.

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Sorvald, Thief
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker

Sorvald, meanwhile, was back at the tower. While everyone else was leaning of dead gods and fighting various creatures, he was whiling away his time lifting items from low-level mages as they wandered past. He managed to swipe 18 +1 arrows, 1500 silver pieces, and 3 sardonyx worth 225. After two days of boredom, he received a rather garbled message from Quetgar - the party was in Mareten! Sighing, he went upstairs to talk with the mages, and managed to find someone who was willing to teleport him, his friendly lizardman, and the carts to Mareten. Luckily, he made it in one piece - and where he was supposed to be, too! On his way inside, he met a strange fellow who called him by name, and handed him a coin - silver on one side, electrum on the other (as it turned out, that man was Loki, keeping an eye on the party; the coin would grant Sorvald either +5 or -5 to all his actions for the rest of the day).

While Quetgar sent a message, the others worked on finding what items they had gathered. Apart from a ring and a staff, the items were:

  • Potion of Gaseous Form
  • Oil of Slipperiness (Sorvald grabbed it)
  • Potion of Undead Control
  • Potion of Water Breathing
  • 2 Potions of ESP
  • Potion of Extra-Healing (Caranthir took it)
  • Potion of Flying (Caranthir took it)
  • Potion of Healing
  • Potion of Healing (Caranthir took it)
  • Scroll of Ward against Elementals
  • Scroll of Ward against Lycanthropes
  • Scroll of Ward against Undead
  • Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Elven): Protection from Evil* (1st lvl), Create Water (4th lvl)
  • Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Elven): Purify Food and Water (1st lvl), Augury (2nd lvl)
  • Scroll of Arcane Spells (Written in Dwarven): Confusion (4th lvl), Ventriloquism (1st lvl)
  • Scroll of Arcane Spells (Written in Elven): Charm Monster (4th lvl)
  • Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Common): Hold Person (2nd lvl), Protection from Evil* (1st lvl), Bless* (2nd lvl)
  • Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Elven): Resist Cold (1st lvl), Delay Poison (2nd lvl), Cure Light Wounds* (1st lvl)
  • Three treasure maps
  • Ring of Invisibility
  • Ring of Invisibility
  • Ring of Protection +2
  • Ring of Command Human
  • Rod of Cancellation
  • Staff of Healing
  • Wand of Fear
  • Wand of Device Negation
  • Wand of Illusion
  • Boots of Levitation
  • Cube of Frost Resistance
  • Elven Cloak
  • Helm of Teleportation
  • Apparatus of the Crab
  • Necklace of Adaptation
  • Sword +1
  • Sword +1, +3 versus undead
  • Sword +2
  • Sword +3
  • Sling +1
  • Spear +1
  • Axe +2
  • Leather Armor +3
  • Plate Armor +2
  • Plate Armor +3
  • Shield +1
  • Shield +3
  • Arrows +2 (Quantity: 6)
  • Crossbow Bolts +1 (Quantity: 7)
  • Crossbow Bolts +3 (Quantity: 4)

Additionally, they tested the god's shoes, which appear to be boots of speed, yet cause no tiredness from walking; they also seem to prevent missteps. The staff, when Elenora tested it, caused a great glowing angel to appear in the sky; she could control it, but it didn't seem to do any healing. They decided to wait until they were out of town to do any more testing. Caranthir ordered room service, then started working on getting some funds together, by selling swords and so forth.

The group split up, one (with Caranthir) to look for treasure, and one (with Quetgar) to check on his hideout. Quetgar had no trouble getting there, and found his base cleared and clean. He paid his henchman, and named his golem Zud.

Caranthir caused a little consternation by transforming into a dragon, but managed to make it to a pirate treasure: a set of +4 bracers, and a cube of force. Flying on, they came to the Airwalker Tower; deciding to forgo a show of force, Caranthir, Rhea, Elanora, Luce, Gróin, Laurita, and Mor Gibs met with Brother Bartimaeus, leader of the Airwalkers.

He seemed to know why they were there, and did not stop them when they attempted to destroy the stone. They found the stone was light as a feather, but unaffected by gravity. Gróin Communed with Thor; busy as he was, it took a while, but eventually, Gróin was able to ask, "Will the airwalkers lose their powers if the stone is destroyed?"

The answer came back: No. Luce, holding the stone, attempted to leave, and the stone shattered into dust, and vanished. The first scale was destroyed!

Caranthir wondered aloud if perhaps the good Brother was more than he seemed. With a wink, Bartimaeus shapeshifted into that of a bronze dragon, and back again. He bid them farewell, as the team flew to meet the others. They passed a few creatures, but nothing that gave them so much as a fight.

Caranthir chose a plot of ground north of the Winter Fae for his domain, and began at once planning and clearing ground. The party cleared out a small team of bugbears, as well as a barrow full of three wights; however, Caranthir found a small cave, home to four gold dragons who were not terribly pleased to have him nearby. Eventually, a diplomatic solution was reached, and the dragons agreed to leave Caranthir alone.

The team also found a few more magical items and treasure, among them a Scroll of Ward against Lycanthropes, some +1 Ring Mail armor, a potion, a ring, a sword, a Scroll of Ward against Magic, and a Scroll of Ward against Undead.

Finally, the land was surveyed to be worth 7gp per family; the entire 24 mile hex was claimed as Caranthir's land (6 6-mile hexes), and as such requires a fortress worth 480,000 gp to protect the area. 50 mercenaries, a level 1 fighter, and a level 3 fighter volunteered to join them.

  • XP from Encounters:
    • 307 brigands (passed)
    • 6 pegasus (passed)
    • 13 Hippogriphs (fled)
    • 1 Wyvern (fled)
    • 4 purple worms (ran away)
    • 4 Gold Dragons (peaceful... so far)
    • 7 bugbears (455)
    • 3 wights (240)
  • XP from Treasure:
    • 2,000 Electrum (1,000 gp)
    • 2 barrels of fine spirits or liquor (400gp, 32 stone)
    • 8 crates of armor and weapons, (1800gp, 80 stone)
    • 6 crates of glassware (1200gp, 30 stone)
    • 9 crates of monster parts (2700gp, 45 stone)
    • 2 sets of engraved teeth (140gp)
    • 6 glass eyes (360gp)
    • 13 bone fetishes and figurines (247gp)
    • 1 bronze trinket (30 gp)
    • 1 Glass trinket (130 gp)
  • Total XP: 1695
  • Additional XP once items are sold: 7007 (187 stone)
  • XP per PC: 161
  • XP per Henchthing: 81

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Pointless Tower: Death of a God

Dara 13-15; next holiday, Darkest Day, Dara 35.

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Sorvald, Thief
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker

Last we left them, the party was on the third level - a swampland. They explored a bit, and dealt with a Kelpie (a horse-like water creature). Then, they ran into nine lizardmen, camped on one of the larger islands. Quetgar was welcomed with open arms, and the rest of the party by association. Quetgar (and the others that spoke Thrassian) knew one thing for certain: these lizardmen were redneck! Their accent had such a twang in it, banjos were unnecessary. They spat into the swamp, had a boat up on blocks in their front yard, drank gray liquid-analogue they called "Swampshine" from a jug, and called each other the Thrassian equivalent of Jimmy-Bob, Mary-Beth, and Bubba. They even brought out instruments and gave a rousing performance of "Mama done raised me good" and "Muh Boat Sank When I Ran Over Muh Pet Gator," which Quetgar was kind enough not to translate. Quetgar thought it was real down home, while everyone else just tried not to lose their lunch when Mama grinned. Mama... was not a looker.

In friendly territory, the group decided to rest; Gróin built a wooden hut, and they slept in relative peace. The next... well, morning is a strong word; the light never really changed much from "darkish" to "grayish". After some friendly warnings, they left the lizardmen to continue on.

Past the lizardmen camp was the old lizardmen camp, complete with sunken boats, followed by a marshy dam. A few of the group picked up leeches, and had to smash the ugly things. A cloud of Stirge ("Skeeters") on the following island were dealt with handily by Caranthir's freezing breath. However, the black pudding that slithered out of the water was much harder to deal with. Caranthir ferried everyone to the next island as Gróin and his priestess burned the slimy thing to dust.

The next island had a large hut on it, and inside the hut were six Greater Thrassians and a Hag. After some negotiations, they began a pitched battle, which (of course) resulted in the deaths of the lizardmen and hag. The building cleared, they continued across a flat bridge to the final island. As the last of them crossed, the bridge was pulled back, and sank into the swamp...

A man leaned against a boat, smoking a long pipe; an elf, in fact. As he applauded, Caranthir (in Draconic) addressed him. The elf responded with a formal greeting, and greeted each of the party in turn, in their own native language. "You fight well! And hardly a smudge on the lot of you - well, at least the dwarf. The rest of you may need a bit of a shower!"

And with those words, a breeze kicked up, and tepid water rained down from the nearby trees, drenching them. The elf nearly fell over laughing. Finally, wiping a tear from his eye, he sighed. "Ah, but you've come to hear my story, no doubt. I am Manannán, Trickster God of the Elves and Gnomes," he said with a bow. "Loki, a rapscallion if ever I know one, hurled an uncouth creature into my realm. It seemed to keep to itself, but finally, I realized the Fair Folk had all but vanished from the swamps. I cursed the day I let the creature live, but in the time I lay idle, it grew stronger. I doubted I could best it in single combat, so I offered it a deal. It had eaten or driven off most of my followers here, so I suggested it find a greater host, and sent it east, to the towns of men. They like killing things over there, I'm sure it all worked out just fine."

For a moment, the trickster looked almost sad. "I know it spread wrath and ruin, for that is what it spread here, but I was not strong enough, and though I raised an army of the fallen, something tells me it would have turned them against me. Oh, which reminds me, there was supposed to be some sort of battle! Hold on a moment."

Green mists flowed across the bog, as a form stepped out of the swampy water... it was draped in kelp and swamp-weeds, though its form was familiar - a Mummy! A... swamp mummy? Laurita Gomez stepped forward, brandishing her holy item, and yelled, "Begone!" as holy light flowed from her grasp. The mummy raised its arms to shield itself from the light, and slowly sank back into the mire from which it came.

Manannán cheered. "Thank goodness that's over with. Well, I'm off!" He flipped his boat over, climbed into it, and sailed into the mists, leaving behind a small stoppered vial of faintly-glowing red liquid. One of the trees bent into a staircase, and so the party climbed...

The top of the stair was stone; after exiting some sort of entry area, the party came upon the withered husk of a great copper dragon, pressed against a wall, its head covered by its decaying claws. Its hide was covered in crude, cruel, and inflammatory words of a very anti-dragon nature. Even non-dragons found the words offensive, and Caranthir was incensed. Gróin, at Caranthir's insistence, Spoke with Dead. The dragon's voice issued forth immediately, groaning and crying out. Caranthir asked, "What happened to you?" and the creature answered, "Killed, by the great darkness!" Caranthir asked, "Do you want to be resurrected?" and the dragon's corpse actually shuddered. The party could hear the bones shaking and the creature's voicebox tearing as it screamed, "NO NO NO NO NO NO!!" over and over again. Finally, Caranthir asked if the creature that killed it could be defeated, and it answered, "No, flee, FLEE!"

A little unsettled by what could make a venerable dragon terrified, even after death, the party continued on. The passage to the right seemed to be blocked off with towering green crystals that ran ceiling to floor; a small alcove contained a few copper coins, and a single lightning-bolt shaped wand. In the passage to the left, a few heard a dripping sound, but couldn't place the source. They found a blocked door in a chamber, and Caranthir immediately removed the board blocked it. Then, realizing how that could go terribly wrong, he quickly replaced it. Looking through the wood, he saw only stone behind it. Whew.

Next was a stairwell; the Fury, Gimli, was sent to explore, but came back in a moment - it was blocked at the bottom. Then came a room, with a stone golem with green eyes inside... and a forcefield of some kind, blocking the path. The golem was quickly dealt with, and the forcefield dropped as the golem's eyes shattered. Then, a fighter, who was quickly killed; the shield he was holding broke into dust, and the next forcefield dropped. However, a few seconds later, the man's body rose again as a zombie!

Finishing off the creature a second time, the party continued on. In the third room was... darkness. After contemplating how to find what was in the room, Gróin cast Continual Light... which cancelled out the Continual Darkness spell. The room was otherwise empty. The fourth room contained nothing but a single, small cube - a cube of force! Quetgar happily picked it up, but as soon as the cube reached the doorway, it shattered. The fifth room contained a staff, and as soon as the party entered the room, they felt themselves become the target of a Bane curse. Oddly, there was no more forcefield; the party looked at the next room, which contained great gears behind thick glass, and a single steel pole, with wires running to the wall. The last room's door was filled with a dazzling disintegration field. It was impassable, even with a protection spell, as there was a stone wall just behind it.

Gibs fired the wand at the metal pole, and lightning arced to the tip. Lights flickered, and the gears began to move.

Just beyond the seven rooms was another stairway, blocked again; another set of massive doors, and leading into (presumably) the inner room, a pair of doors with seven runes. Yet another blocked stairway, then several rooms that were empty, or filled with... strange things. One held a man, eating the rotting corpses from a pile of bodies; another held four men, who stared at the group with empty eyes, then attacked. The four men, once slain, rose again as zombies. The eating man, Caranthir slew, and he rasped, "Thank you..." as he died.

Finally, they returned to the last two puzzles. Gróin, remarking that perhaps the room was a puzzle like the light/dark room, cast Bless; the staff cracked in two, and the Bane curse was lifted. And, with that, the final puzzle finished itself; the disintegration field vanished, and the stone door behind it slid into the wall, leaving only some musty old books of little value. Likewise, the final two runes on the door went out, and it was easily pushed open.

Looking into the main room, the party finally realized what this building was - a cathedral! The main chapel was filled with broken things - broken pews, broken glass, and broken people. Bones are strew across the floor. At the center of the floor, a sunken depression was filled with dark blood. At the end of the room was a large altar, and a man, slumped over it, his hands hanging down as blood dripped off his fingers. His eyes were wide and unblinking. As the party entered, he suddenly jerked upright like a marionette on a string, burst into an impossibly loud laugh, and began to babble, "He told me... He promised me... power! Wealth! Wine, women, and song! HAHAHA! But he lied Lied LIED! TRICKERY! Foolish mortal, FOOLISH MORTAL! Death, death, and blood on my hands," as he looked down at them. "I lead them, I brought them, I called them and they came, and death, DEATH is what they have now! And I have naught but ETERNAL TORMENT! Power, oh yes, wealth, certainly, but CURSED I am to live here! ETERNAL SUFFERING! And you," he cried, pointing at the party, each member in turn, "You come here, for power, for wealth, but at what COST!"

He looked towards the sky, pointing up, and screamed, "I bring no more sacrifices!" then at the party, "FLEE, OR FACE ETERNAL TORMENT!"

And with that, he fired a lightning bolt from his hand. The others attacked, quickly killing him, as he slapped ineffectually against their armor. He dropped a fireball, then was brought down. He body quickly burst into flame, and was burned to ash... then rose again, stepping out of the blood in the middle of the floor! The others quickly fired all they had at him, as he fired fireballs at them (even after he had been hit!). Gróin cast Bless on the altar as Rig tossed Holy Water onto it. The man suddenly dropped to his knees, sobbing, as the power of the altar lessened its hold on him. "I'm sorry... I'm sorry... please... I'm so sorry," he cried, his tears mixing with the blood pooling around him. Gróin, realizing what that may mean, nodded toward him, and Laurita stepped forward. She prayed, and with her hand on his head, asked if he was truly repentant; the man nodded, miserably. She intoned a spell of forgiveness - Atonement - and immediately, the blood from the pool flowed away from him. He stood, a new light in his eyes... and then immediately flash-burned to ash.

The other explored, finding two rooms filled with gold , gems, and magical treasure. Gróin and the others scooped up the magical stuff, and sent Gimli to see what was in the third room. He returned, nonplussed, and mentioned that it was wet, and there was some scroll hanging on the wall.

Rig, Caranthir, Rhea, Elenora, Gróin, Laurita, and Quetgar crowded into the small room. Quetgar felt a drip of something cold hit his cheek (and, oddly, felt himself heal slightly). He looked up... and froze. Above them was a man, a young man, dressed in simple garb, wearing winged shoes, with an oak staff strapped to his arm. Hooks embedded in his flesh held him to the ceiling, as pinkish blood dripped from the hole in his chest where his heart used to be. It was his blood that was feeding the altar. And not just any blood. The blood of a god. This, then, was the Neutral god of Mareten, Viatoremus, the god of tricks, travelling, and treasure. What's more... that meant that the party was, at that moment, standing where someone had killed a god. This was once the neutral god of what is arguably the most powerful trio of gods in Mor-Thir, and he is dead. Not temporarily vanquished, not banished, not returned to the eternal plane, but DEAD. The party made a collective fear check at -20 and, of course, failed horribly.

Once they collected themselves, Caranthir realized what the vials contained - blood, from each of the gods (yes, Loki claimed it was his tears, but he's a trickster, what do you expect?). He had the party dump the vials into the flowing blood, and a moment later, they heard a CRACK as the altar split in two. Suddenly, the oppressive atmosphere was gone.

Caranthir saw the scroll Gimli had mentioned, and looked over it... and with that, he felt the compulsion to read it:

The Prophecy is Read, and woe to he, whose lips its foul words cross
But harken still, despite evil chill, for these words may stem your loss.
The Spirit of Doom to Mor-Thir comes, full power does it possess
In the scales of lore, it's power restored, no end in sight... unless...

The Protector of Hills defeated must fall, the Shield's bearer must die
The Revoker of Darkness must be bathed in light, and down the Weightless must fly
The Bringer of Undeath need be Blessed,
    and the Gatherer meet equal force
'Til alone at the end, the Cleanser will fail,
    and our warriors return to the Source

He continued reading, but the dark words that followed, no one understood. His lips began to blacked, and suddenly, he found himself, and the party, standing in the Street of the Gods.

Meanwhile... Midnight, Noona, Gimli, and Gibs were left staring at the treasure. Gimli and Gibs grabbed a bunch of gems and jewelry, then headed into the third room. As Gibs realized, and dealt with, the fact that he was standing in a room where a god had been killed... Gimli stole the god's shoes. And, in attempting to grab his staff, pulled the god from his hooks, and onto the floor. Placing his foot in the god's armpit, Gimli gave a good yank on the staff, and released it from its bindings. Gibs stared, open-mouthed. Gimli then pulled the scroll from the wall, and in turning it over, started to read it, with the same effect. Soon, Midnight, Noona, Gibs, and the confused Gimli were standing on the Street of the Gods as well. They turned to see the building behind them - the final building on the Chaotic end of the Street. It fell inward on itself, falling to dust, and leaving naught but a blackened slab.

Realizing this could be a bad place to stay, the party quickly left the Street, and found an expensive (and secure) inn to rest at. Along the way, they kept catching glances of red, black, and blue faces staring at them out of lampposts, or an elf with a long pipe winking at them, or a man dressed in a green-and-gold suit doffing his hat to them. Finally, they were able to rest. Quetgar stacked all the room's contents against the door, and slept fully dressed; Caranthir dumped all his treasure out on the floor, and slept on top of it.

Unfortunately, the treasure (at least half a million in gold, even platinum) was gone; scrying on it only showed foul creatures and horrible landscapes. Luckily, Gimli and Gibs managed to rescue a fair amount of stuff...

  • XP from Encounters: 22,686
    • 1 Kelpie (65)
    • 4 Leech, Giant (2280)
    • 8 Stirge (104)
    • 1 Black pudding (1,550)
    • 6 Lizardman, Greater (840)
    • 1 Hag (3100)
    • 1 Mummy Lord (4200)
    • 1 stone golem (3900)
    • 1 lvl 14 fighter (3800)
    • 5 zombies (133)
    • 4 cursed fighters (104)
    • 1 cursed eater (10)
    • 1 cursed, powered man (2600)
  • XP from Treasure (once sold): 85,550
    • 36 jade carvings gods (7,200 gp)
    • 3 amethyst cylinder seals depicting religious scenes (3,600 gp)
    • 2 alexandrite (1,000 gp)
    • 1 sunset amethyst (750 gp)
    • 1 opal regalia (1,000 gp)
    • 1 diamond (1,000 gp)
    • 1 baroque pearl (2,000 gp)
    • 1 Black pearl (2,000 gp)
    • 1 amber regalia (2,000 gp)
    • 1 opal regalia (4,000 gp)
    • 2 flawless diamond (8,000 gp)
    • 1 amber regalia (7,000 gp)
    • 1 ruby regalia (7,000 gp)
    • 1 emerald (8,000 gp)
    • 5 platinum reliquaries with crystal panes (22,000gp)
    • 1 Gold studded with topaz regalia (9,000 gp)
  • Total XP: 108236
  • XP per PC: 13530
  • XP per Henchbeing: 6765

Oh right, magical treasure! The party collected: 10 Potions, a Scroll of Ward against Elementals, a Scroll of Ward against Lycanthropes, a Scroll of Ward against Undead, 6 other scrolls, 3 Treasure Maps, 5 Rings, 1 Rod, 2 Staffs, 3 Wands, a Cube, a pair of Boots, a Cloak, a Helm, a Barrel, a Necklace, 4 Swords, 1 Sling, 1 Spear, 1 Axe, 1 Leather Armor, 2 Plate Armor, 2 Shields, 6 Arrows, 7 Crossbow Bolts, and a second set of 4 Crossbow Bolts. Oh, and a staff and a set of shoes from a god. You know, the usual.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Pointless Tower: Not Very Towerlike

Dara 13; next holiday, Darkest Day, Dara 35.

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Sorvald, Thief
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker

The party was lead by the Winter Princess to the secret opening of the Pointless Tower...

Legend has it that a man wanted to open what was then the Wild Tower; knowing great riches existed within, he figured it was a safe bet to make a deal with the Fae (or, possibly, the Gnomes). With their assistance, he indeed gained access to the tower. However, something went wrong; the Gnomes (or was it the Fae?) betrayed him, and locked him inside the tower, enchanting it so no one could rescue him. It is his laughter and screams you can hear, carried on the breeze, at the top of the tower.

As the Princess opened the magically hidden door, the party stepped into the hallway. In a moment, they were staring into a strange forest; they could see the forest stretching out in front of them, and could easily make out the trails and meadows within. Behind them, however, the door they walked through was nothing but a stone wall...

Sheltered under a stand of trees was a plaque, moss growing in the letters; or... perhaps making up the letters? The sign seemed to be discernable in any language, and read: "Before you lies tainted ground, tread by the Spirit, the Dark Soul, the Betrayer. Enter at your peril, for there is no return until the prophecy has been read."

The party started down the left path, heading into an area filled with dead ends. Investigating each dead end resulted in finding some mundane armor, cleaned and repaired; a Treant named Brushbeard, who seemed very confused; and Cla and his three friends (family, actually), all kindly brownies. Neither Brushbeard nor Cla were able to shed much light on the forest, though they both mentioned that it was not what it appeared.

Around a corner - warned by the brownies - they found a patch of stinging nettles. Rig attempted to investigate, and caught a slightly painful blast of nettles to the face! One potion of Command Plant later, and the path was cleared. Not long afterward, four dire wolves felt the sting of the party's blades (and claws, and teeth...). The party emerged into a glade, where four pools of water, surrounded by moss and clover, bubbled gently. Gróin, suspicious, walked up to poke the pond, and was rewarded with an explosion of movement - the clover reached up, bundles of tendrils tearing and pulling at him! He jumped back, and the others joined him in beating the strange pond-monsters back to dust. When the last one curled up dead, the brush to the right unfolded, revealing a wide plain. More brush moved, and the third meadow was revealed - and battle was once again joined! Three Arane began by trying to capture the party, as Spellwoods began creating grassy monsters!

By sheer luck, the third, more powerful Arane was interrupted in her spellcasting. As the spiders were dealt with, so were the feral trees, and soon the area was again quiet. The party explored the third branch, and eventually returned to follow the newest opening, to the south. After walking in relative peace, they came upon a great pond. Caranthir, in dragon form, began flying across it, but realized his reflection was laughing at him! The reflection grew and grew, until his eye filled the entire pond, which then bubbled up into an enormous mound... and began to shrink, and shrink, until it was small, and round, and plopped into the face of a strange creature rolling on the ground laughing.

Coyote, property of Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell

The creature, its tongue lolling out of its mouth as it laughed uproariously, crowed, "Oh ho! Hoo hoo! Ahhhahaha! Fooled! Oh dear! Oh my! Such foolish mortals!"

Finally, he finished laughing, and challenged one of the party to a fight. "Oh! Oh yes! A battle! Hooray! It's been so long since anyone fought me! Let me see... I shall be a tree! With rocks for teeth! And the rivers of the world will be my blood!"

Caranthir, sighing, prepared to face the strange animal... until he suddenly found himself staring up, a small, fluffy, dragon-tailed kitten! The being once again collapsed into a writhing puddle of giggles and guffaws, much to Caranthir's irritation. The animal laughed so hard, his mouth opening so wide, he suddenly flipped inside out! Luckily, the inside seemed to be about the same as the outside. He spit out his eyes, replaced them in his face, and winked. "Storytime! About me, of course."

He began his tale: "One lovely century, I was strolling through my woods - they're all mine, you know - and I saw a nasty spirit thing. He was happy to see me - everyone is happy to see me, of course - and asked if I wanted to become overwhelmingly wealthy and powerful. How I laughed! I already own all the gold in the world. I keep it in other people's pockets! And the trees are my bones, and the stones my teeth! What other power is there? Well, he was very upset with me. He hissed and shouted, but I just winked at him, because I was the moon."

Thoughtfully, he added, "I'm always the moon, of course."

"But he wanted to stay in my woods, and he was eating all my children, so I barked at him. He grew angry, so I picked him up and put him on a mountain, but then he was too big, so I had to travel there myself and make sure he was the right size. Oh! But let me tell you about the time I was a dead goose! No? Some other time, then! Oh, but before you go, I have a gift for you!"

He tossed a small flask onto the ground. The liquid within is black, red, blue, and white, much as the Coyote (for, indeed, that is who he was - the trickster god of the forests!) is; shaking the fluid causes the colors to swirl, but never mix. It's vaguely unsettling, and the party had the strangest feeling they were being taken advantage of, but abandoning their gift seemed... imprudent. Coyote bowed, motioning to the twisting staircase.

As the party climbed, the sky turned to walls, then to stone, and finally, to the top of a mountain! They could see a few nearby peaks, and a twisting set of stairs leading peak to peak. They could see a few problems, not the least of which was a crowd of four stone giants, nudging each other and hefting huge stones. Caranthir tested to see if he could fly over the chasms - no such luck. A powerful downdraft threatened to suck him into the void below. The party was forced to cross carefully, avoiding the thrown rocks. Of course, it's always nice to have a sapper along; each broken path and rickety plank was replaced with a sturdy wooden tunnel-bridge, much to the annoyance of the giants. After quickly tearing through a series of gargoyles, the party reached a safe spot. Only one giant managed to hit anyone before Caranthir reached them; his armored hide blocked many of their blows, but a few got through. Finally, the giants were dead.

Past the giants, the party were surprised by two huge, grey-skinned worms, which they defeated handily. The two stone giants they faced met a similar fate, though they were much harder to hit, with their powerful stone skin.

Winding around the mountain, the party finally crested the top, to find a man seated on a golden throne. The man tossed the chalice of wine he was drinking over the edge, and greeted them with open arms. "Friends! I thought you'd never make it! After my dear friend, that old deceiver Coyote, told me you were on your way, I was simply delighted! Why, I've even prepared a welcome gift for you!"

And with that, he suddenly turned into a very large giant. A frost giant, of course. The party attacked quickly, and though Loki cheated once or twice, they eventually brought him down. When defeated, Loki changed back into the form of a man, laughing. "Such fun! Oh, your faces! If only you could see them - you look like this!"

His face changes into a row of faces, perfect duplicates of each of the party's, except each face has crossed eyes, its tongue stuck out, or some other goofy expression of fear. "Ah, but perhaps you'd like to hear my part of the tale! As I'm sure Coyote told you, a dark creature attempted to live in his woods, and he most graciously carried the hideous thing here. The creature offered me a deal - power, wealth, anything I'd like, in return for my assistance, and the ability to live in these lands. I, of course, refused; I needed my followers, and he seemed intent on eating them. We fought, and thankful was I that he had little time to rest since Coyote brought him; the battle was difficult, even for one such as myself. I'll tell you, by the time we were through, I was quite Thor!"

"I booted the foul thing from my mountains, into... into... into the lands of the elves!" Loki guffaws, unable to continue. "Oh! Their faces! Such a terror! Oh, me!" With a wink, he tosses a small vial to you. It contains a glistening liquid. Loki bows, and announces, "My tears! I have only cried thrice, so those tears are certainly worth a fortune! But now, I am afraid you have somewhere else to be. Up, up and away!"

The earth surged beneath their feet, flinging them into the air. Instinctively, they braced themselves for impact with the invisible ceiling, but instead, they found themselves falling onto soft, grassy earth...

  • XP from Encounters:
    • 4 brownies (peaceful)
    • 1 Treant (peaceful)
    • 4 dire wolves (140)
    • 5 Cloverfield (325)
    • 2 normal Arane (2140)
    • 1 magic-wielding Arane (1570)
    • 4 Spellwood (3280)
    • 1 4HD bat swarm (peacefully spoken with)
    • 1 Coyote (survived)
    • 3 gargoyles (405)
    • 4 stone giants (2800)
    • 2 Caecilian (570)
    • 2 stone golem (7800)
    • 1 Loki (as a huge, tricky Frost Giant) (1700)
  • XP from treasure: N/A (oddly, usually the creatures carry or horde things)
  • Total XP: 19030
  • XP per PC: 2537
  • XP per Henchbeing: 1269

Friday, January 26, 2018

Don't Help Women In Trouble?

Dara 1 - 13; next holiday, Darkest Day, Dara 35.

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Sorvald, Thief
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker
  • Gianna, a Gnomish Trickster

The party resumed their journey (skipping town on Wintermas - but happy birthday, Zarc!) to find treasure, portals, and plotlines. In the desert, they came across an upturned wagon; Gimli and Rhea approached to lend aid, but found themselves under the control of another Child of Nasga! Charmed, they began refusing orders, and freed the creature. Caranthir quickly attacked, and the group finished off the lone threat... then chased down the two hench-people, as they had been sent running into the desert. Thankfully, no one got lost!

After meeting up with Gutsack and his Efreeti "friend", the party split, with Sorvald and Gróin and the henchmen heading south to some treasure, and Caranthir and Rig heading north, to find the portal to the Fire Plane. On their way, the two avoided a group of mummies and some horses; they found a recently-active volcano, and climbed inside. After navigating for miles underground, they came across a huge red dragon, sleeping on a pile of treasure. Being just two, they opted to turn back. However, they then ran into a group of morlocks; Caranthir, in dragon form, froze all but two in a single blast. The living morlocks began weeping and pleading for their lives. They weren't sure of where the fire portal was, but knew that dread creatures sometimes came from behind the red dragon's chambers. Rig and Caranthir turned back, and crept past the dragon, who only snored louder.

Following the tunnel, they found a narrow crevice, and inside a pair of obviously magical gloves. Finally, they reached the fire portal, and verified it was, indeed, the plane of fire. Retracing their steps, they once again slipped past the dragon, and exited into the cool night air. During the night, a group of four stone giants passed by their camp, but never noticed them.

The next morning, they began their trek back. On their way, they saw two statues below them... statues that suddenly lifted on great wings and caught up to them - it was a pair of Sphinx! Sphinxes? Sphincter... no. Let's go with Sphinx. After some banter, the first sphinx asked a simple riddle:

What comes in pairs,
And rarely flies
Is eaten by men
And brings life when it dies?
The answer, of course, was seeds - pear seeds. The second Sphinx asked another simple riddle:
Nodding, Waving, Head in the Sun
Daytime done, head is hung
Who am I?
Which Rig immediately guessed, correctly, was a flower - a sunflower, of course. As a reward, the pair were gifted a ruby, and a bit of information about the surroundings. Over the next few days, they encountered a few vultures, but not much else.

The second party of adventurers, on their way to find some treasure, ran into a woman, fighting a scorpion! After a moment of indecision, they landed to help... only to find the creature was, in reality, a Lamia, and had tricked them with illusions! They drove her off, however, and returned to their quest. In the desert, after much searching, they found a buried room, containing the corpse of a somewhat famous mage, some gold and jewels, and a +1 sword. They returned to the fire temple without further incident. While waiting for the others to catch up to them, they spent their time hunting down the tribe of gingerbread orcs that Gutsac had baked.

Finally, the party reunited, and the Efreeti granted two wishes. Caranthir wished to be a full dragon, with the power to polymorph; he is now a full level 9 dragon, with the polymorph ability, his original stats, and advances in saves, proficiencies, attack throws, and damage bonus as a Fighter. When transforming into a human, he is a normal human fighter.

Rig, meanwhile, wished for a way to move his pets with him more easily, and was granted a Ball of Pet Summoning. The well-chewed leather ball seems to have a strap wrapped around it; once per week, a strap can be removed and put on a tame creature. Any creature with a collar can be summoned for 1 hour (6 turns) within 1d4 rounds, and be dismissed at will to return to its original location. Removing a collar from a creature will cause that collar to be re-absorbed by the ball.

The magical gloves were, of course, the Fire Gauntlets of Elrik the Wanderer. Gróin tried them on, and was immediately rewarded with a vision of Elrick, fleeing a tide of rising magma inside the volcano; coming upon a crevice, Elrick leaped over it, pushing himself over a red-hot boulder with his leather gauntlets. For a moment, the gloves glowed blue...

The Flame Gauntlets provide immunity to heat and fire-based magic; additionally, they can be activated once a day to wreath the wearer in flames for 1d6 rounds, doing 1d4 damage to enemies within melee range.

Bidding farewell to Gutsack and the Efreeti, the party decided to head to the Pointless Tower, as the Princess decided to inform them she knew the way inside. On the way, the party was nearly drowned by a pair of thieves... and, the party gained a Ring of Invisibility, Sword +1, two vials of Holy Water, a silver dagger, Leather armor +3, yet another Decanter of Endless Water, a Ring of Fire Resistance, and a Ward against Elementals.

They made their way past a large Orc encampment, and finally found the tower. Sorvald was nearly roped into being a test dummy, but they managed to extricate themselves, and the princess lead the way to the real opening of the Pointless Tower...

As the party split up, I'll make two lists for XP.

  • Caranthir and Rig
    • Encounters
      • Child of Nasga (3100)
      • 9 mummies (avoided)
      • 50 horses (skipped)
      • 30 morlocks (killed and/or captured, 300)
      • 4 stone giants (ignored)
      • 2 rocs (ignored)
      • 2 sphinx (answered their riddles, 6000)
      • 3 vultures (ignored)
      • Pterodactyl (avoided)
      • Martín Robles (lvl 8; 1600)
      • Johan Månsson (lvl 8; 1600)
      • 429 orcs (avoided)
    • Treasure
      • 5,000 gp ruby with setting
    • XP for Rig and Caranthir, each: 5142 (plus 2500 each once the ruby sells)
  • Everyone Else
    • Encounters
      • Lamia (2500)
      • Martín Robles (lvl 8; 1600)
      • Johan Månsson (lvl 8; 1600)
      • 429 orcs (avoided)
    • Treasure
      • 1,000 Gold
      • 1 flawless diamond (4,000 gp)
      • 1 Glass jewelry (130 gp)
      • 1 ivory jewelry (300 gp)
      • 2 wrought gold jewelry (800 gp)
    • XP for Sorvald and Gróin: 1659 (plus 1743 each once the treasure sells)
    • XP for Laurita and Zarc: 830 (plus 871 each once the treasure sells)
  • XP for Rhea, Elenora, and Gimli: 246

GM Note: I paused the session so I could make up the maps for the Pointless Tower in advance. I ended up shortcutting a different adventure by combining the two, and in the process, thoroughly creeped myself out. This should be a fun adventure! :-D

Friday, January 19, 2018

Treasure, Really Big Orcs, and Chaos

Deug 6-28, 6638; next holiday, Wintermas, Dara 1

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Sorvald, Thief
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker
  • Gianna, a Gnomish Trickster

After managing to store all their treasure, the party moved on, flying to the Mejastan city of Cuidado Mercado. They identified some of their magic items (a Cloak of Protection +2, Eyes of the Eagle, Ring of Protection +1, Ring of Water Walking, Scarab of Protection (5), and an interesting Brooch of Number Confusion). Taking off alone, Caranthir and Gróin, with Princess Maedhe in tow, went from treasure to treasure, picking up money and magical items.

Finally, picking up Quetgar and Sorvald on the way, the trio (and their henchmen) ended at a large, ruined castle - the location marked Not Worth It on the Fae treasure map. The outer rings of the castle were, indeed, ruined, but inside was something else altogether. As they passed through a doorway, they felt a magical field pass over them. Oddly, a map of the place seemed to fill their heads. Cautiously, they picked their way forward. Caranthir sent Gimli into a pool of water, where he retrieved a strange box. Gróin, using one of many wands of Detect Magic, noted it didn't seem magical. However, when an invisible servant opened the box, it seemed to be filled with a delicious meat-and-gravy-filled loaf of Dwarven Bread! Gimli, his mouth watering, ate a large slice, and declared it the best bread he'd ever eaten. After waiting to see if anything went wrong, Caranthir also took a bite. The bread was indeed delicious - and filling, too!

Further inside, Sorvald padded ahead. Suddenly, he could no longer hear the party behind him! He turned and retreated, reappearing before them. The doorway seemed to be a teleport of some kind; the party progressed, trying to follow the map in their heads, and teleporting around. They found a room full of magical treasure, blocked by a magic field, though little else of worth. In a far room, they found a gibbering Chaos Beast, though were able to destroy it without injury. And upon doing so, they heard a rasping voice calling out a challenge. They shouted back, and the voice merely laughed at them. Further on, they found a series of locked rooms, holding various nasty creatures: a hellhound, a dire ogre, a dire troll, and a creature none of them recognized - a snake, with a woman's head. The creatures were dealt with, and the party moved on, though the voice continued to call challenges to them.

Finally, the party came face to face with the creature. It was a huge monster, towering over their heads, and wielding a massive sword. Over the throne it sat on was a statue of a creature with long arms and a loose, slavering mouth. The monster on the throne - an orc, though larger than any orc they had ever seen - introduced itself as Skadge the Terrible, the Mage-Killer, the Curse-Bringer, and demanded single combat with a member of the group. Sorvald tried to get out, but it seems the teleporters only go one way. He did find a room full of corpses, however. There was quite a bit of conversation, more than Skadge was used to; Laurita contacted her deity, and asked three questions: Can we get out? (Yes.) Without anyone dying? (No.) Can we kill the orc and not get cursed? (Yes.)

Still, the party wasn't terribly interested in a fair fight. First, they attempted to un-curse the orc with Dispel Magic. Skadge burst into flame and burned to nothing, leaving only a glowing orange ring; then, a moment later, he reappeared on the throne, grinning, the ring on his finger. Caranthir attempted to Cancel the ring... and things went sideways, into the Chaos Plane, where the castle was originally from, it seems.

Skadge, the immortal, fearless orc, began to freak out. He grabbed a bundle of items from near his throne, and headed for the room that had the Chaos Hulk in it, the party not far behind. They barricaded themselves in the room as the air began to turn stale and heavy. A feeling of dread seemed to wash over them... and then the skittering started. Scratching at the door, then pounding, and finally, a piercing scream in their minds, followed by a sicking, oily feeling, radiating into their minds. There was a pull on their very consciousness...

While most of the party resisted, Rhea and Elenora suddenly broke into smiles. "There's nothing to worry about!" Rhea cried, heading for the door. She began trying to pry it open, and Elenora jumped up to help. Caranthir, realizing this was likely Not A Good Thing immediately grabbed Elenora, and the Princess grabbed Rhea. The two struggled, but eventually, were knocked out. After some time, the oily feeling eventually pulled away, followed by the skittering claws. The air cleared, and Skadge roused himself. The party followed him back to his throne room. Finally, Caranthir decided that he would step forward to fight the huge creature. Skadge grinned, picking up a huge helmet and slamming it onto his oversized head. The face-cover creaked open, and he slammed his head onto the side of the throne, bending the face-cover back in place. A green energy field surrounded them. With a roar, Skadge charged forward; Caranthir, in dragon form, breathed his icy breath onto him. The two traded breath and blows; though he was magically enhanced, Caranthir was fading quickly. Skadge was well-armored, well-armed, and wearing quite a few magical items; for once, it was a fair fight. Down to the last blows, the two were evenly matched, but Caranthir finally managed to bring Skadge down. The green energy field sparked and arced to the ground, and Caranthir, as Skadge's body burst into white-hot flame. Moments later, Skadge reappeared, laughing. "It's been 200 years sine anyone defeated me! Well fought, dragon-man!"

Quetgar, meanwhile, was camped outside the castle. He was minding his own business, watching the flying carpets and such, when suddenly... the castle vanished. One moment, it was there, towering against the backdrop of the ocean, and the next, it was gone! He waited all night, and in the morning, it finally reappeared with a wet "thup" sound. Curious, he wandered in, through the teleport maze, nodding appreciatively at the corpses of the fallen monsters, and eventually ending up in the throne room, just as Caranthir was finishing off Skadge.

The party was treated to a magical buffet, full of delicacies from home. After their repast, Quetgar asked if he could face Skadge, who accepted immediately. Again, the fight was close, though ultimately, Quetgar was the winner. Skadge, pleased at having found two able to best him, handed the party a bulging sack of gold - 20,000 gold, in fact, with some loose gems in the bottom. He implored them to find him a worthy foe, something that he could battle forever, and offered them incredible treasures if they could do so.

Bidding the orc farewell, they returned to Cuidado Mercado and sold their last treasures.

  • Magical treasure:
    • Cube of Illusion
    • Amulet versus Crystal Balls and ESP
    • Box of Create Food (10 meals, once a day)
  • Treasure:
    • 79,000 gp
    • 20,000 gp
    • 28 rare books, worth 150gp each (1 stone per 2 books)
    • 10 crates of armor and weapons, worth 225gp each (10 stone each)
    • 1 emerald regalia (6,000 gp)
    • 1 Flawless facet cut diamond (8,000 gp)
  • Encounters
    • chaos hulk (3650)
    • dire ogre (790)
    • dire troll (1300)
    • hellhound, greater (790)
    • Child of nasga (3100)
    • Skadge (2700)
  • Treasure sold: 175,200 gp
  • Because this XP is combining a lot, here is each individually:
    • Rig: 16686
    • Midnight and Noona: 8343
    • Caranthir: 45609
    • Rhea, Elenora, and Laurita: 21454
    • Gimli: 12677
    • Gróin: 42909
    • Quetgar: 42333
    • Zarc: 8343
    • Sorvald: 25353
    • Mor Gibs and Gianna: 16686

And, because it's the new year, and some of these quests may be getting long in the tooth: a list!

  • The dragon-people of the desert: destroy the scales
  • The Seekers: protect knowledge and... well, actually they haven't said a lot. Huh.
  • Gutsack's "friend" the Efreeti: find the fire plane
  • Artemis' other things
  • Elrik's other things
  • A disturbance in the mountains of the north
  • Skadge: find a fearsome opponent he can battle forever, without having to leave his castle

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Kill Them All

Deicheamh 12 - Deug 6, 6638; next holiday, Wintermas, Dara 1

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • [name], the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Sorvald, Thief
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker
  • Gianna, a Gnomish Trickster

The party journeyed to both cities of the Northern Dwarves, aka Mountain Dwarves; in Dundrende Klippe, they sold the Eyes of Petrification and the library staff for a pretty penny. Caranthir picked up a henchman, a Dwarven Fury named Gimli Trollriver. Then, off they went, following the wise words of an elder dwarven librarian - one of the Seekers. He pointed them to the locations of a good few items, and told them a bit about the Instrumentalists. Eventually, the group set off for Norston, then from there to the capital of Mareten, Slohaven.

After murdering some wild goats along the way ("I said herd, not hurt them!"), the group made it to Slowhaven, albeit with a few stops due to bad weather. In Slohaven, the King rewarded them with 50,000 gp (which was scoffed at by Caranthir), and a pair of amulets. The amulets will safely teleport anyone to the location of the other amulet. He thanked them for a job well done, and the group let once again, this time for a quick jaunt across the sea to the (much warmer) island of Malvados.

Once there, the group took a few hours to rest and relax, then headed inland. They found a haughty man directing groups of workers; after a brief verbal battle, Quetgar turned him into a fine pink mist.

A few other workers sounded an alarm; as the battle was joined, most of the group used dust of disappearance to vanish outright, and crept in among the soldiers as they advanced. Mor Gibs, meanwhile, wished for a spell. A "Summon Battle Kraken" spell.

The battle, predictably, did not go well for the unprepared Instrumentalists. They were woefully outmatched, even with their high-level casters nuking hexes with fireballs, and getting off a lucky disintegrate on the Princess. Even so, they managed to wear down the party; when two tall, well-built men in white robes arrived and began firing both arcane and divine spells, Ms. Gibs decided to use the second of the wishes she had collected, and wished for everyone to be at full health and power. Instantly, the party - including the not-so-disintegrated Princess - were at full health, though stripped of any previous magical health or might. Gróin grumbled about losing health from that wish, but the others were pleased to be alive.

The battle continued; one of the dark Nobiran wonderworkers (for that is what they were) fired off a spell and mired the attacking bunker in sludgy mud, blocking exit or retreat; the other created a wall of flesh, which terrified poor Gibs until the Laurita Turned it, forcing the grasping hands to retreat back into the ground.

At this point, the wonderworkers were on the offensive. They were confident in their spellcasting, and had plenty of spell slots to fire off. And then... tragedy. From about 300 yards in the air, Mor Gibs summoned four berserkers. He aimed them at the Nobirans below... and struck his mark. With a scream and a splash, one of the wonderworkers was permanently mixed with the poor barbarians. The other wonderworker was dispatched by a renewed Quetgar, and suddenly, the battle was turned.

The remaining mages tried to run, but were all captured and eaten by Caranthir. A few soldiers managed to escape, and one of the high level clerics used some very expensive jewelry to protect himself, restore one of the wonderworker, and teleport away, bringing another, lower level cleric with him.

Shrewfully, the party realized that the disintegrated-then-restored princess was likely out of her contract a little early. Indeed, she was; death tends to do that. However, due to her not unpleasant handling, she decided she would stay on and assist them, at least for the time being, or until something better came up. Besides, that whole "ocean" thing really freaks her out, and she'd be glad to get a ride back across. Fae and water... don't mix. Except for trolls, but trolls are just weird.

The battle over, the party gleefully set about looting the ruins. The ruins, as it turned out, weren't as ruined as they might have seemed; though the outsides looked as if they would crumble away at a touch, the insides were surprisingly well maintained. Apart from a number of sleeping quarters and storage areas (which were ransacked for their contents: jewelry, gems, and other treasure, including of course cold, hard, cash), they discovered a number of heavily secured treasure rooms. While locks and metal doors might have slowed the team down, with no one left to harass them, they could take their time and really destroy those doors. Inside, they found piles of magical loot. Helpfully, most items were well labeled! That is, apart from a large room with a sign over the door: "Unsorted Magical Items". The items found are below. Every item listed is magical, and did not detect as evil, apart from the very first item on the list, which seemed to be quite chaotic:

  • Special Items:
    • The Motherlode stone (the gray scale)
    • The Pen of Artemis
    • Elrik's Water Boots
  • Weapons:
    • War Hammer +2
    • 2 War Hammer +1
    • 2 Sword +2
    • Sword +1, light 30' radius
    • 3 Sword +1, +3 versus summoned creatures
    • Sword +1, +2 versus spell casters
    • 7 Sword +1
    • Crossbow Bolts +1 (Quantity: 19)
    • 2 Bow +1
    • 3 Axe +1
  • Armor:
    • 4 Shield +1
    • 2 Shield +2
    • Plate Armor +2
    • Plate Armor +1
    • Leather Armor +2
    • 2 Leather Armor +1
    • Chain Mail Armor +1
    • Banded Plate Armor +1
  • Staffs and Wands:
    • Staff of Healing
    • Wand of Detecting Magic with 17 charges
    • Wand of Detecting Magic with 14 charges
    • Wand of Detecting Magic with 9 charges
    • Wand of Detecting Magic with 5 charges
    • Wand of Detecting Magic with 17 charges
    • Wand of Detecting Magic with 5 charges
  • Rings:
    • 3 Rings of Command Plant
    • Ring of Protection +1
    • Ring of Regeneration
    • Ring of Spell Storing, containing:
      • lvl 2: Glitterdust
      • lvl 3: Protection from Normal Missiles
      • lvl 5: Contact Other Plane
      • lvl 6: Disintegrate
    • Ring of Spell Storing, containing:
      • arcane lvl 2: Stinking Cloud
      • divine lvl 3: Cure Blindness
      • divine lvl 5: Create Food
  • Misc. Items:
    • Amulet versus Crystal Balls and ESP
    • Boots of Traveling and Springing
    • Crystal Ball
    • Cube of Frost Resistance
    • Drums of Panic
    • Elven Cloak
    • Flying Carpet
    • Medallion of ESP
    • Rope of Climbing
  • Potions:
    • Potion of Animal Control
    • Potion of Clairaudience
    • 2 Potions of Clairvoyance
    • Potion of Climbing
    • Potion of Diminution
    • Potion of Dragon Control
    • Potion of Fire Resistance
    • Potion of Giant Control
    • 2 Potions of Giant Strength
    • 2 Potions of Growth
    • 2 Potions of Healing
    • Potion of Heroism
    • Potion of Human Control
    • Potion of Levitation
    • Potion of Polymorph
    • 3 Potions of Speed
    • 2 Potions of Sweet Water
    • Potion of Treasure Finding
    • Potion of Water Breathing
    • Oil of Sharpness
    • Poison
  • Scrolls:
    • Scroll of Arcane Spells (Written in Ancient Zaharan): Sleep (1st lvl), Magic Mouth (1st lvl)
    • Scroll of Arcane Spells (Written in Nobiran): Levitate (2nd lvl)
    • Scroll of Arcane Spells (Written in Nobiran): Remove Curse* (4th lvl)
    • Scroll of Arcane Spells (Written in Nobiran): Wall of Iron (6th lvl)
    • Scroll of Arcane Spells (Written in Old Elven): Protection from Normal Missiles (3rd lvl)
    • Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Common): Restore Life and Limb (5th lvl), Find Traps (2nd lvl)
    • Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Dwarven): Snake Charm (2nd lvl), Glyph of Warding (3rd lvl), Detect Evil* (1st lvl), Flame Strike (5th lvl), Detect Evil* (1st lvl), Bless* (2nd lvl)
    • 4 Scrolls of Ward against Elementals
    • 8 Scrolls of Ward against Lycanthropes
    • 2 Scrolls of Ward against Undead
  • And 5 Treasure Maps.
  • Additionally, in the room of unmarked items:
    • 6 Crossbow Bolts
    • a Shield
    • Plate Armor
    • 4 Staffs
    • 3 rings
    • a Crystal Ball
    • 4 Helms
    • a pair of Bracers of Armor
    • 3 Potions
    • 2 Scrolls

Near the Motherlode stone was a sheaf of notes; most of it was quite illegible, but a few sections seemed at least slightly readable. The few readable lines say:

  • Odd interaction with metal/magic
  • [indecipherable] properties of magenetics?
  • Interaction with [smudged] HIGHLY reactive, suggest caution, and keep the blasted thing away from storms!
  • Impossible to attain samples, exterior is impervious to instruments
  • Copper?
  • Reversing the neutron flow doesn't even make sense, you [torn from attempted erasure] simple-minded [page is torn completely]
Additionally, there are a few piles of various alchemical supplies; glass jars, copper wiring and tubing, and shavings of various metals.

Gróin, eager to collect the full set, pulled on Elrik's boots. They fit snugly, warm and dry. As he stood, he suddenly found himself looking down on Elrik again. This time, Elrik was aboard a ship; a storm tossed it about, flinging it headlong into a rocky shore. Battered by the waves, Elrik clung to the ship's mast as the ship foundered. As the ship turned on its side, a huge wave caught it, slamming it through the shoals and tearing the ship into pieces! Elrik didn't wait for another wave; as the water streamed past, he ran through the shoals, jumping from jagged rock to jagged rock... and sometimes, it seemed, onto nothing but the water itself. Finally, he reached the shore, and threw his arms around a boulder. The wave crashed against the rocks behind him, leaving naught but a gentle splash by the time it reached him. For just a moment, as the tip of the wave touched the boots, there was a blue glow...

Elrik's Water Boots: provide Water Walking at will; additionally, provide complete immunity to magical water damage.

  • XP from Treasure: (weighing in at 762.5 stone)
    • Money:
      • 4000 Electrum weighing 4 stone
      • 5000 Gold weighing 5 stone
      • 5000 Platinum weighing 5 stone
    • Gems:
      • 2 Black pearl worth 2000gp, weighing 2/6 stone
      • 1 emerald worth 8000gp, weighing 1/6 stone
      • 1 ruby worth 1000gp, weighing 1/6 stone
    • Jewelry:
      • 18 amethyst cylinder seals depicting religious scenes, worth 1200gp, weighing 3 stone
      • 14 carved ivory netsuke and figurines worth 1000gp, weighing 2 2/6 stone
      • 2 emerald regalia worth 14500gp, weighing 2/6 stone
      • 1 topaz-studded gold regalia worth 5000gp, weighing 1/6 stone
      • 8 opal cameo portraits and intaglio erotic tableaux worth 800gp, weighing 1 2/6 stone
      • 6 platinum reliquaries with crystal panes worth 3000gp, weighing 1 stone
      • 1 diamond-studded platinum regalia worth 13000gp, weighing 1/6 stone
      • 1 ruby regalia worth 8000gp, weighing 1/6 stone
      • 1 Wrought orichalcum regalia worth 1000gp, weighing 1/6 stone
      • 199 jade carvings of heroes, monsters, and gods worth 39,800gp, weighing 33 1/6 stone
    • Other treasure:
      • 6 2HD monster carcasses worth 240gp, weighing 6 stone
      • 6 6HD monster carcasses worth 720gp, weighing 6 stone
      • 6 8HD monster carcasses worth 960gp, weighing 6 stone
      • 10 barrels of fine spirits or liquor worth 200gp, weighing 160 stone
      • 2 bundles of rare fur pelts worth 1000gp, weighing 10 stone
      • 2 crates of armor and weapons worth 450gp, weighing 20 stone
      • 2 crates of glassware worth 400gp, weighing 10 stone
      • 2 crates of monster parts worth 600gp, weighing 10 stone
      • 133 ingots of precious metals worth 39900gp, weighing 266 stone
      • 2 jars of spices worth 1600gp, weighing 2 stone
      • 350 monster feathers worth 1050gp, weighing 14 stone
      • 12 pieces of ivory worth 780gp, weighing 8 stone
      • 102 rare books worth 15300gp, weighing 51 stone
      • 5 rolls of silk worth 2000gp, weighing 20 stone
      • 117 typical fur capes worth 11700gp, weighing 117 stone
  • Total Treasure Worth (once sold): 232,200 gp
  • Total XP from Treasure, currently applicable: 57,000
  • XP from Encounters:
    • 13 goats (65)
    • 1 lvl 5 fighter (500)
    • 100 lvl 1 fighters (1600)
    • 10 lvl 6 mages (13200)
    • 5 lvl 9 dark clerics (12500)
    • 2 lvl 13 mages (10800)
    • 2 lvl 13 neutral clerics (8800)
    • 2 lvl 10 shamans (5900)
    • 2 lvl 12 Nobiran wonderworkers (13200)
  • Total experience: 123,565
  • XP per PC: 14,537
  • XP per Henchperson: 7,268

The rest of the experience will, as always, be rewarded upon the sale of the treasure.