- Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
- Flit, the bat familiar
- Clench, the
- Midnight, the Panther
- Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
- Rawf, Wardog familiar
- Aroof, Wardog familiar
- Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
- Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
- Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
- Elenora Garrard, White Mage
- Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
- Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
- Laurita Gomez, Priestess
- Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
- The Metal Man, construct
- Loriel Straight Arrow, Elven Ranger
- Little Bandit, ferret
Picking up from last time, the party approached the blacked temple. The gouts of flame seemed to erupt every 10 minutes or so, blasting from the top and several window-like holes around the outside. After some discussion, several members entered the temple. The temple itself is a large, round structure, set on top of a hill; inside, a second wall formed a shell. The party moved north, and ran into a group of zombies! These creatures looked like normal zombies, but for a tongue of flame, dancing over their head. And the fact that they unsheathed longswords from within their torsos. Not that it mattered; the zombies were quickly dispatched or Turned. Pursuing the fleeing zombies lead the party to a second set, guarding a doorway into the next ring; those zombies were also quickly dealt with. As the ranger held back attacked the zombies from a clockwise direction, the rest of the party continued pushing them counter-clockwise. Eventually, all the zombies were turned, and crushed as they cowered in a corner.
The second layer of corridors were filled with fire elementals - easy enough to deal with, especially when all those in combat had rings (or spells) of Fire Resistance. After destroying two of the creatures, they ran around the circle again, trapping the remaining two elementals and finishing them off. During all of this, Caranthir managed to traps the spirits of three of the creatures in his sword, joining the dragon and the poor lizardman. He felt the blade gain in power - it's now a +1 sword!
Cautiously, the party advanced into the center room. Inside, they saw a huge orc, his skin dry and shriveled - a dire orc lich! The monster saw them, and turned, raising his massive hands... and the cookie sheet he was holding. "You like cookies?"
The party stopped, somewhat unsure of what the strange creature meant. Was he an enemy? The lich grinned, revealing his sharp, rotting teeth, and offered cookies again. Caranthir, pinnacle of bravery, ate one. It was... actually pretty good. Gooey chocolate chip, actually. Confused, he asked what the creature was doing. And what the enormous, burning demon in the corner was doing.
The creature was none other than Gutsack, the orc shaman; now one of the most powerful beings on the continent! Long ago, he had traveled south to the deserts, leading a horde, and wielding his (somewhat) trusty magical torch. He got into combat with a knight in shining armor, however, and the knight's magical blade sliced the torch in two. With a puff of smoke, the fire genie inside - an efreeti - was released! The efreeti granted Gutsack his three wishes: that he was successful in this battle, that he would live a really long time, and that he would be able to cook whatever he wanted. With a rumble of thunder, the shining knight and his army was destroyed; with a strike of lightning, Gutsack was transformed into a lich; and with a roar of wind, Gutsack found himself in a temple, with access to a stove and the efreeti's ability to summon food on a daily basis.
The efreeti (the huge burning demon in the corner, previously mentioned) offered the adventurers a job: it seems that this efreeti was not summoned, but banished. For some unstated crime, the creature was banished to the mortal plane; he could not return by his own magic, nor could he return by being dispelled, as he was not summoned in the first place. However, he had heard of a portal, somewhere on this continent, that lead to his home. He had searched for thousands of years, but had not found it. If the adventurers could locate it, he would grant them three wishes, along with whatever magical treasure he had. He opened a chest, and allowed them to find anything they wanted within.
Their exploration done, they asked the strange men (who were waiting outside, listening to Llarm complain all day) to teleport them back to Mareten. In a flash, they were outside the wall; they stayed he night in Wallace, then traveled along the wall to the Tower, to resume their delving. At the Tower, they met a guard who offered a game of chance - what say for 100 gold? Caranthir suggested 10 gold, to start with, and the man showed him three dice. "Go ahead and pick one - we just roll 10 times, and whoever wins the most, gets the gold!"
Caranthir chose, the man chose, and they started rolling. At 6 to 2, the old man declared victory... and the ranger spotted the trick. The three dice were, in fact, non-transitive dice, so as long as the man picked second, he would (almost) always win! With a laugh, the man waved the party on.
Inside the tower, the traps from earlier had been dispelled, and a few soldiers had cleaned up the two cleared floors, and were busy moving things around. The third floor was devoid of enemies; rather, the group found three statues. One gave fortunes; by tossing one or two dice into a bowl, the statue would display a fortune written on its hand. With one die, the fortune was simple, and personal; with two dice, the fortune seemed to have greater impact:
- Caranthir: At the next opportunity, choose what's left.
- Loriel: Your doom foretold: darkness will not hide you forever.
- Gróin: When temptation is too strong, a duel shall create new aggressions.
- Rig: The day trees shed their leaves, the young one shall mark a destruction of power and a reunion of enemies.
The party moved on, camping at the steps to the fourth floor down. During the night, Rhea began acting strangely; she spoke in a deeper voice, and was going through everyone's bags. Later, Rig had a quiet conversation with Caranthir about it.
The fourth floor was much more dangerous - and there were many more hidden doors. After encountering 3 giant geckos, the party found a room teeming with rats! Rig spoke with the geckos, who made short work of the creatures, leaving only a small swarm behind. The party doused the remaining rats in military oil, then set them alight. After a few minutes of burning, the creatures had all died, and the team opened the next door.
Inside was a swarm of wasps! The team slammed the door and killed the few that escaped, then set up a trap, re-opened the door, and watched the wasps get burned to crisps. They then retreated, hoping to find some hidden doors; the returned to the statue of death, holding his hand out. After looking at it for a few minutes, they tried placing a coin in his palm; as his fingers closed around it, a hidden door opened. Inside was a rather sickly looking creature - a skittering maw! Being locked in the hidden room so long had nearly starved it to death, so the team was able to end it quickly, before it could land a single poisonous bite. Under its corpse, they found a Potion of Human Control, a Potion of Sweet Water, two treasure maps, and 2 Crossbow Bolts +2.
That ended the session; exploration will continue at the next session. Sorry for taking so long to get this write-up out; I was extra busy this week, starting my new job!
Also, I forgot to write down all the treasure chosen from the efreeti... oops. It doesnt' affect XP at all, so as long as you have it written down, it's probably fine.
- XP from encounters:
- 24 fireproof zombies (38 XP each)
- 4 fire elementals (1100 XP each)
- 1 Dire Orc Lich (none)
- 1 Torch Demon (Efreeti) (none)
- 1 rat swarm (65 XP)
- 1 insect swarm (29 XP)
- 1 skittering maw (1600 XP)
- XP from treasure:
- 1 Carnelian (75 gp)
- 1 crystal (50 gp)
- Total XP: 7131
- XP per PC: 839
- XP per henchthing: 419