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MaxxErnst
Pie
(9/18/02 5:22 pm)
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Re: Axred revisited
On top of the large wooden shield, you could characterize that even more to show the low intelligence of the brute by having the shield be recognizable as something else entirely..maybe a canoe or a table or something. Just something to keep the characterization going while still allowing the shield.

Trithereon
Orc
(10/8/02 6:07 am)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
Tuborg heard the angry, brutish words echo down the rough-hewn corridor, "Gems mine! No take gems! No take gems! Axred crush!" and understood. The other stood bewildered by the sudden intelligible outburst from the three-armed giant huddled over his chest of gems. Arakai was the first to react and he leap into the room and struck the sitting giant with a stunning blow. Alex was next into the room and he delivered a vicious jab into the giant's flank which drew a viscous flow of orange blood. The other explorers filed into the room and surrounded the stunned monster. They mercilessly beat on the giant who rage grew with each telling blow.

Axred finally regains his senses and grabs his clubs. It gets to its feet shouting a litany of "Axred crush!" Suddenly a gem affixed to the forehead of the giant flared with a baleful glow of deep purple and the giant's features became waxy, distorting in contorted rage. All over his body the spiral of decay tattoos opened into sores and began to ooze orange blood and white puss. The giant bellowed his rage as he flailed about him, swinging and biting in a frenzy of anger. Our heroes became covered in blood and puss as the giant suffered one telling blow after another, yet it fought on seemingly oblivious to the gore falling from its body. In desperation, Alex lunged forward and drove his rapier up into the chest of the giant piercing its heart. Axred clutched at the wound for a moment and then fell backwards with a heavy, wet thud. The giant's remains quickly dissolved into a huge puddle of blood and puss leaving behind only its clubs, its hide armor and the mysterious gem.

[DM notes: I used the pseudonatural template on a de-advanced, yet leveled Axred. I explained the transformation with a cursed Tharizdun-related magic item. It also explains why the Earth Temple has had trouble with the Northern Bridge Complex. Axred found this gem among the many others in his chest. He fell under its curse and shoved the jewel into his forehead which transformed him into a psuedonatural creature. The transformation drove the giant insane and made it impossible to reason with. Axred became a threat to not only the Earth Temple but Bridge Complex as well. I added a tidbit into Oamarthis' letter explaining that Axred had recently gone mad)

The adventurers take several steps back from the spreading ooze nearly gagging from its putrid stench. They take a quick assessment of the room and set Tuborg to guard the only other obvious exit to the room. They dump the gems from the giant's chest into their bag of holding. Alex walks into the now evaporating ooze and picks up the purple gem. It is no longer glowing but it sits warm and snuggled in his palm. He stares transfixed at the gem for several moments before Arakai slaps the jewel from Alex's hand. Alex glares at the monk in anger but that feeling is suddenly replaced by horror when he realizes that he was very close to shoving the gem into his own forehead. They carefully scoop the gem with the blade of a dagger into a bag of holding. They quickly search the room but find nothing more of interest so they turn their attention to the unopened door. Certainly all the giant's bellowing rage could not have gone unnoticed, could it?

They carefully check the door for traps and find it unlocked. Alex pulls the door open and beyond is a short corridor with an open door at its terminus. A room can be seen beyond the short corridor and the door beyond that is also open with only darkness beyond it. A goblin of supernatural proportions stands in the short corridor just in front of Alex. It speaks in common, "I am Riu, the second in command of the Air Bridge. For what purpose have you come?"

Alex moves forward while drawing his sword saying only, "Greetings from the Fire Temple!" as he jabs at the larger than life goblin. The rogue was unpleasantly surprised when his blade passed unhindered through the goblin. He hissed a warning to his compatriots that there was a goblin illusionist around. The door at the end of the corridor slams shut and the image of the goblin winks out of existence. The others curse Alex’s bloodlust and prepare for more battle. They cajole Alex into advancing and opening up the next door. He does so and is promptly assaulted with a volley of arrows followed by a sudden magical darkness. All the arrows miss but the group is left blind in utter darkness. Maximilian calls upon the power of Pelor and the darkness is cancelled. The room beyond is empty and the door opposite them closed. They advance into the room and quickly explore it. Nothing useful is found. They next explore Riu’s chamber but find nothing helpful. They then set sites on the door leading eastward out of the chamber. Alex delays for Nnelgonon to ready a fireball and then pulls the door open.

The huge goblin stands several yards beyond the open door standing in the intersection of two corridors. Nnelgonon lets loose with his spell blasting the goblin but it seems to have no effect. The goblin just stands there staring at the group bunched in the doorway yet a wave of hostile magic washes across them (emotion). Arakai and Tuborg hurry forward to attack the goblin but their attacks pass harmlessly through the illusion. Max casts invisibility purge centered upon him but no invisible goblin illusionist is uncovered. The goblin turns to Tuborg and orders him to stop his hostile actions (charm) but Tuborg shakes off the monster’s magic. The image again winks out of existence and the sound of unwinding chains greets their ears from farther to the east followed by multiple roars coming from the same direction. They all advance just in time to see the chimera moving up the hallway from the bridge area. They lay into the three-headed monster making short work of the beast. They quickly scan the bridge corridor but find no additional enemy waiting for them. The monk moves like the wind (Speed 60) scouting with his magical bull’s-eye lantern and he finds the huge goblin gathered with a emaciated graying dwarf, several human guards and several dark elves at the far eastern end of a large common room. He retreats shouting out his discovery to which Nnelgonon launches a fireball down the corridor from which Arakai is running.

The heroes move forward and find the room littered with dead and dying guards. A few of the dark elves have emerged unscathed but both the goblin and dwarf look harmed by the fireball’s intense heat. The battle is short and bloody, but while the monk is busy fighting the dwarf the goblin transforms into some wereform and escapes down the hallway. The rest of the bridge complex is explored. They discover a frightened human slave who begs to be spared. Maximilian explains to the man that despite their garb they are forces hostile to doomdreamers. He claims to be a prisoner of the bridge guards and forced to cook and clean for them. He says that he was a miner captured by temple forces and brought here to be a slave. They are suspicious but since he is unarmed they don’t consider him much of a threat. Arakai tells the man that the way out has been cleared of cultists and other monsters and that if he wishes to leave then he may. The man decides to take his chances and bids them farewell, after thanking them for his freedom.

DM Notes: I changed a few things in the northern bridge complex. I didn’t want to deal with a bunch of dogs that would have no impact on the game, so I got rid of them and altered the complex to eliminate the kennels. I also had a problem with the large number of evil elves. IMC, surface elves are almost exclusively good in alignment and finding that many evil surface elves in one spot is like winning the lotto. So, I changed the elf warriors to be drow elf warriors.

It is decided that they’d best rest before pursuing the escaped goblin, as it was likely to be running right into the arms of the Water Temple. They had found a letter written by the commander of the bridge complex which spoke of trouble with both the Earth and Water Temples, so they hoped that the goblin would find an unwelcome reception there. After many tense hours of watching, waiting and resting they regained their full powers and were ready to combat evil for another day. The searched the far eastern passages and found that they led to another series of rough-hewn caverns. They found a trio of dead temple guards. At first they thought the goblin responsible, but wondered why it would drag off some victims while leaving others where they fell. I soon became clear that the guards had been ambushed by creatures not allied with the temples, as the trail of blood led into a narrow cavern. They approached the opening of the cavern and two owlbears emerged and attacked. They dispatched the beasts quickly and then continued their search for the goblin.

They followed the wide rough-hewn caverns eastward until it ended in a huge water-filled cavern. Nnelgonon said that he could see just barely see the other side of the cavern and that two row boats rested on the far shore. Maximillian called forth the powers of Pelor to light the cavern with Daylight which illuminated the entire area. A plan was quickly hatched to use the wand of Summoning to bring forth a triton and have it swim across and tie a rope to the stern of one of the boats so that it could be pulled across the water. They lashed together several lengths of rope and summoned the triton. Thankfully, the creature could speak Common and they instructed the triton on what to do. It took the rope, dove into the water and swam towards the other side. The rope played out but halfway across the cavern the rope suddenly stopped and went slack. They pulled the rope back and scratched their heads. Alex took out his bow and shot an arrow across the cavern to make sure there wasn’t an invisible barrier blocking the far side. There wasn’t and it was decided that something must have killed (and quickly) the triton. They devised a second plan. Arakai would quaff a potion of Spider Climb and with a rope tied around his waist he would crawl along the ceiling and then down to the boats. Alex used the wand of invisibility on the monk and off he went. The plan worked flawlessly and soon both boats were pulled across the water. Arakai did the same thing but this time took the rope across far side. Alex used his boots of Levitation to rise up to the ceiling and then push himself across using his hands. So now Alex and Arakai were on the far side ready to pull the boat and its passengers across the water. The rest of them removed all their heavy armor and equipment and placed it into the two bags of holding.

Tuborg and Redithidoor were the first two to make the trip across the cavern. Tuborg had only a short-spear and Redithidoor a dagger. Maximilian cast Circle of Protection from Evil on them. They got into the boat while Alex and Arakai pulled them slowly across the cavern. They were halfway across the cavern when a hideous, enormous crone rose up from the black depths of the water and grabbed a hold of the boats side. Nnelgonon let loose with a volley of Magic Missiles but their power fizzled ineffectually as they struck the hag. The monster was intensely ugly and foul, the very sight of which brought weakness to the body and soul. Tuborg jabbed at the horror with his spear drawing the black ichors of its blood. However, his violent motions only served to jostle the boat and it was only by great luck that he and Red didn’t get tumbled into the water. Arakai and Alex pulled with all their might and was able to drag both the hag and the boat closer to their side of the cavern. The hag again tried to upturn the boat with a mighty shove but this time Tuborg held on and tried to keep the boat from capsizing. The hag failed again and the boat was pulled onto the far shore. The hag turned to Alex and said, “You awful little man. You have stolen my dinner and for this you shall suffer.” With those words Alex fell to the ground gibbering in madness.

On the other side, Maximilian had seen enough and he ordered Nnelgonon and Jason into the other boat. They jumped into the boat and began rowing. It was not a surprise when the hag rose up from the water again to seize the side of the boat. Nnelgonon was ready and cast an Electric Orb upon the emerging crone but to his dismay his magic just shorted out upon contact with the evil hag. Redithidoor began to sing in hopes of uplifting the spirits of his companions and shot arrows at the monster from the far side of the cavern. Jason and Max ignored the hag and continued to row with all their might. The crone pulled with all her might but despite Nnelgonon’s violent motions she was still unable to capsize the boat. The boat made slow progress across the cavern and Nnelgonon attempted to Magic Missile the hag a second time but they had no effect. The hag looked up at the frustrated elf and said, “Your magic is weak, elf. Perhaps you should join me below for a little fun, eh?” A wave of hostile magic washed through Nnelgonon’s mind but he shrugged off the effects. The boat finally made it to the otherside and they all jumped off onto the shore. The hag rose up from the waters again near the shore and caught the eye of Redithidoor, “Your foul mouthings will get you killed someday manling.” Red also felt the tug on his santity but was able to shake off the effects, thanks for the most part to the Protection from Evil. The hag then dove beneath the waters and disappeared into its inky blackness.

DM Notes: It wasn’t clear on how fast a rowboat could move per round but I found the distance in miles that a rowboat could be rowed and then compared that to a land speed and came up with a Speed of 20 feet for a single-move or 40 feet on a double move. I ruled that one person rowing the boat could only make a single-move and that a double move required two or more rowers. You might have noticed that both boats were on the far side of the cavern at the start of the hag encounter. That’s because Riu had escaped and warned the Water Temple that forces hostile to the temples were on the move. They have divided themselves up into two camps. All the kuo-toa (except the half-demon kuo-toa), the skum, water mephits and head priestess has moved to the Water Temple while the rest (20 human warriors, 5 drow warriors) are to be led by Kadiss with the help of Riu in the caverns north of the Temple. My players have destroyed the Air Temple, the western bridge complex, the main gate (twice) and the Earth Temple all within the last week (game time). D’gran did escape and has warned the Fire Temple about the attack on his complex but there has not been enough time for Hedrack to find out about the Earth Temple’s demise. D’gran has been ordered to find (using invisibility and gaseous form) these invaders and report back. Anyway, because of the rapid conquests of my players the Water Temple does not know about the fate of the other two Temples. Hedrack will find out soon, from D’gran, that something very, very wrong is happening in the CRM and he will then act appropriately.

We pick up the story tomorrow (Wednesday). I hope to have a write up done this weekend.

Edited by: Trithereon at: 10/8/02 6:12:55 am
Thrommel
The DM
(10/8/02 6:24 am)
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Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
Great write-up! I particularly liked what you did with Axred. That must have totally creeped out the players.

Any chance we could see the stats??

-Thrommel, part vampire, part stats-monkey.

Siobharek 
Orc
(10/8/02 6:31 am)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
Not to answer for Trithereon, but aren't these the one: pub58.ezboard.com/fokayyourturnfrm17.showMessage?topicID=1187.topic&index=16

Actually, I really think the are a great solution to the "How did he fit in there", so I'll post his stats in the BoB. Trithereon, could you please confirm that these are the stats you used?

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Trithereon
Orc
(10/8/02 6:40 am)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
Sure. The stats are on the page 1 but for simplicity sake I can repost it. I tried to keep Axred's attack bonuses the same as the original, as my players AC are hard enough to hit already, so I gave him four levels in Fighter. It actually gave him some extra feats. Despite not having a +3 magic weapon the damage resistance only prolonged the battle a little, as my players can easily do more then 10 hit points of damage per attack.

And yes, they were freaked out ... they put the gem into a bag of holding and are now afraid to draw it out. I play that when using a bag of holding that you must will the item you desire into your hand when you reach into the bag to retrieve a stored item. If you don't know what is in the bag then you just will "anything in the bag" into your hand and see what you get. My point is, that they are now afraid of exerting any force of will to attract the gem, as they fear it might take over their will. In reality, the gem is a fairly benign item in a group of good-aligned people. It is drawn by excessive greedy desires and must be cherished and held by the individual before any true curse can fall upon them. I just pick on the Alex-character because he plays such an greedy CN bastard most of the time.

Axred: Male Athach Ftr4; large abberation (10 ft. tall); HD 10d8+30 plus 4d10 +12; hp 102; Init +2 (Dex); Speed 40 ft.; AC 19 (-1 size, +2 dex, +3 hide, +5 natural); Atk +12/+7 melee (1d10+5, greatclub), +12 meleee (1d10+2, greatclub), +12 melee (1d10+2, greatclub), +14 melee (1d12+2 plus poison, bite); Face/Reach: 5 by 5 ft./10 ft.; SA: poison bite, Fort save (DC 22) 1d6/2d6 str, True Strike (Su): 1/day +20 insight bonus to one attack roll, not subject to miss due to concealment; SV: Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +9; Str 21, Dex 15, Con 17, Int 7, Wis 12, Cha 6; Skills&Feats: Listen +7, Spot +7, Multiattack, Multidexterity, Multiweapon, Weapon focus (greatclub), Power attack, Combat Reflexes, Cleave; SQ Electric Resistance 20, Acid Resistance 20, DR 10/+3, Alternate Form (Su): At will - features distort becoming waxy and rubbery while oozing yellow and white puss as a standard action, other creatures suffer a -1 morale penalty on all attack rolls while in alternate form.

Thrommel
The DM
(10/8/02 6:41 am)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
Man, life used to be so much simpler when I only read ONE forum on these boards.

I had totally forgotten about using the pseudonatural template to fix the size problem.

You might want to include that little battle description in the BoB as well. I loved that mental picture of the spiralling tattoos springing up and the oozing ichor spraying all over.

EDIT: Actually, looks like Siobharek went to bed, so I just wrote it up and added it myself. Great stuff!

-Thrommel, who hereby officially abdicates his title of Ghoul in the Graveyard of Buried Threads to Siobharek.

Edited by: Thrommel at: 10/8/02 7:29:52 am
Siobharek 
Orc
(10/8/02 7:48 am)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
Ey, Im Danish, not Indian ;) It's 5.43 pm here - I was just going home from work, and now I'm typing w. one hand while holding my daughter w. the other.

Good thing, you posted it Thrommel. :D

Siobharek,
Ghoul in the Graveyard of Buried Threads

Sacremas
Orc
(10/8/02 1:09 pm)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
There's an error on the poison. The formula for calculating the save DC of poisons is 10 + 1/2 HD + Con mod, or 18 in this case, not the 22 of the original (due to his 14 HD and 21 Con there). Also, I think you're supposed to change the damage die of poisons if you change the size of the creature. This one I'm not sure of though... ask over at the rules forum. If so the damage should be 1d4 str/1d8 str.

-Sacremas

"I think, therefore I am... I think"

Trithereon
Orc
(10/8/02 5:18 pm)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
Sacremas,

I'll admit that I did ignore the poison issue. I couldn't find the poison DC formula and was unsure about changing the poison's damage die.

So, I just shrugged my shoulders and justified keeping the poison the same because Axred is still an Athach, just smaller then normal. I figured the biological agent that is the poison remained the same and would have the same effect. However, the more I think about it there should be some difference as the smaller mouth could mean less poison injected into the wound which could result in a lower DC and lesser overall effect.

Siobharek 
Orc
(10/8/02 10:47 pm)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
I'm NOT gonna hijack the thread and will look to the Rules forum for details on changed poison damage dice. However, it'd be neat if Thrommel could fix the poison DC.

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Sacremas
Orc
(10/9/02 12:33 am)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
Trithereon: I have no problems with you using the original poison; it's your campaign. Besides, a point can be argued that that was what he were supposed to have. I merely posted in case anyone wants to know, as well as to correct the BoB...

Anyway, I'm backing out now so as to not spam your campaign journal too much...

-Sacremas

"I think, therefore I am... I think"

Trithereon
Orc
(10/10/02 2:52 am)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
Redithidoor dragged the catatonic rogue-priest across the cold stone floor. Red swept the cups and plates off a table and with Tuborg’s help he hefted the whimpering Alex upon it. Jason the barbarian told Maximilian to attend his brother and took watch over the water-filled cavern. Arakai moved across the cavern and took a position to watch the only other exit. Max called the mage over to help assess his brother’s illness. Nnelgonon was unnaturally weak from his close encounter with the hag. Nnelgonon looked over the rogue and declared the insanity magically induced. In desperation, the elf tried to dispel the magic but it did not avail the suffering Alex. Maximilian hoped that he could cure his brother but needed time to rest and refocus his divine favors. Maximilian told the elf that he may be able to cure his ailment as well, if they had the time.

Redithidoor said that he’d stand watch over and protect Alex and told Max to get his armor back on. He helped Tuborg with donning his armor, then he and Tuborg helped Jason and Nnelgonon into their armor. Max was just getting into his armor when the 8-foot tall goblin returned, this time carrying a white flag and calling for a truce to negotiate. Arakai never lowered his crossbow but instead called for Maximilian. Max and the goblin traded a couple insults but soon settled into more intelligent discourse. The goblin reintroduced his self and claimed to have the authority to negotiate on behalf of sub-commander Kadiss their non-hostile passage through the temple area. Max told the emissary to leave so that they could discuss his offer and Riu left.

They decided to quickly check the other passageway while Riu was away. They turned Arakai invisible and using levitation slippers he was able to move around the east side of the water cavern without coming close to the water. He advanced past the Water symbol room dimly lit by a pair of smoky braziers but turned back when he encountered a set of rough-hewn stairs leading downward. Arakai returned to the group and related what he had found. It was decided that Riu could be leading them into a trap, believing that if they accepted Riu’s terms then they’d be attacked from behind. It was determined that they would leave to rest and heal. When Riu arrived they told him of their decision to leave. Riu warned them that he could not promise a similar generous offer should they return. He advised them to leave the CRM and never return. The were-goblin promised them a full report of their actions and descriptions would be sent to the doomdreamers at once. As Riu turned to leave he sneered he taunted them one last time by mentioning that the doomdreamers had a long reach and that they’d better run far. This enraged Maximilian. The cleric succumbed to his rage and reached beneath his black robes to draw forth his holy symbol. He called upon Pelor to dismiss this abomination from Oerth. Riu laughed wickedly at the attempt and tried to charm the human cleric then winked out of existence when his charm failed to take hold.

They were now certain that Riu would return in force so they decided that they needed to get across the water-filled cavern quickly. They quickly removed their armor, stowed it into their bags of holding and lashed the bags to the boat with rope. Rand used a couple lengths of ropes and with Tuborg’s help they lashed the two boats together. Max tied one end of their long rope to the bow of the boat while Arakai used levitation to take his end of the rope to the far side. When all was ready they got Alex’s catatonic body into the boat and then pushed the two boats back into the water. They all climbed back into the boat then Arakai pulled with all his might. The hag never surfaced to cause them any trouble (too injured and out of magic), however when they got to the far side of the cavern Arakai spotted a drow elf. Arakai dropped his rope and tumbled backwards away from the group. The elf shouted across the water, “Here’s a little going away present for you!” and unloosed a fireball upon them. Max grabbed his brother and hauled him out of the boat an onto shore. The others were busy unlashing their belongings from the boat. Except Nnelgonon who enraged by the drow’s treacherous sneak attack volleyed his own fireball back at the dark elf. The high elf’s fireball erupted around the drow but it seemed to have no effect upon it. The drow mage cackled mirthlessly and unleashed a lightning bolt. Max finally put an end to the drow mage’s assault, and annoying cackle, with a well placed silence. The dark elf gave them a friendly wave and disappeared into the darkness.

At first they thought they thought that they’d rest in the northern bridge complex but Arakai pointed out that there was a bridge leading directly from the heart of this evil power to that area and that it probably wasn’t the safest place to rest. Instead, they carried Alex out of the CRM and down the slope of Mount Stalagos to their little hidden cave. They sat around discussing what to do next. There was some thought to leave the CRM and re-supply. They had quite a cache of magical weapons and stuff which could be used to bargain for enhancements to their current magical equipment. Unfortunately, such a journey could take several months before they could get back. It was suggested that by that time it’d be the middle of winter making even journeying back to the CRM a hazard and that the doomdreamers could set all sorts of traps and guardians expecting their return. As they were resting, Tuborg noticed a hazy, nearly invisible, wavering “something” hovering over Maximilian while Max felt a wave of probing magic wash over him. This disturbed them greatly and as they discussed this new event Max and Nnelgonon noticed a similar phenomenon occurring over Arakai’s head. Arakai didn’t feel any ill-effects but was not happy to being watched. Later that night, during his and Redithidoor’s watch, Tuborg noticed that almost-invisible wavering “something” over Redithidoor’s head but Red didn’t feel any hostile magic.

In the morning, Max healed Gnelgonon’s lingering weakness and Alex’s madness. They got Alex up to speed on what happened after he fell into his catatonic state. Alex agreed with the sentiment that they should press their gains against the doomdreamers and not leave the area. His was the swaying vote and they readied themselves for another foray into the mines. Just as they were ready to leave, Max received the reply he was waiting from Greyhawk. Max had sent a message via magic to the high priestess of Greyhawk briefly relating what they’d found in and around Rastor. He had asked the priestess to research for any information on the dwarves of the CRM and specifically the Saltheart clan. The return message was not encouraging as the priestess related that no useful information could be found. She advised that they look locally for answers, specifically in Rastor. A little dejected by not getting an easy answer to their Tulian’s Eye problem the still decided to assault the CRM.

They quickly traversed the empty caverns and soon arrived back at the water-filled caverns. The two boats were again on the far side of the cavern but Max was ready for that. This time he had both a spell to walk on water and to breathe water prepared both of which could be spread around the group. They never got a chance to decide on which spell to use as the drow mage announced his presence. The elf introduced his self as Sub-commander Kadiss. He sarcastically apologized for the rude treatment he gave the previous day, reminding them that the priest of Pelor was first to break the truce. Kadiss explained that his commander was generously offering another truce and a non-hostile pact if they were willing to give their holy oaths or their personal vows to adhere to the agreement. When asked why they were so generous, Kadiss explained that his commander cared little for the other temples and that their destruction would only strengthen the Water Temple.

They asked for a moment to discuss the offer. They walked back down to corridor a little way and hashed out the options. Neither Max nor Arakai were willing to make an oath they did not intend to honor. This attitude completely confounded Alex who was for breaking any promise made to these insane priests. Jason and Tuborg felt that if deception could reduce the risks to their lives then by all means lie. Nnelgonon and Red were uneasy about a deception they could see the necessity to defeat these minions of evil. Most immediately, they were afraid that if they use magic to charge across the water that a simple dispel magic could result in them being sunk in the cavern.

That’s were we stopped for the night.

Many things are coming together now. The doomdreamers is now aware of the PCs and the swath of destruction they have wrought both from reports from D’gran and Kelashein. Varachan has used his crystal ball, at Hedrack’s bequest, to scry the PCs; although Varachan (he successfully detected Arakai’s and Redithidoor’s thoughts) but has lied about most of what he learned. Varachan must be careful to both not give away too much nor lie over much and is currently treading a very thin line. Varachan will try to misdirect the attacks from the Outer Fane at first, but he can’t do that many times without arousing suspicion. Victor has been sent out to shadow the group and take advantage of whatever situation arises. The assassin waited in ambush for the players at the northern bridge complex and is currently behind them waiting for them to decide what to do. The Water Temple is prepared for battle and ready to make life very difficult should they decide to attack.

Trithereon
Pie
(11/3/02 8:57 am)
Reply
Fight with the Water Temple (kind of) and the Ambush
A cast update:
Maximilian, NG, male human, Clr7/Ftr1/Rsp1
Alexander, CN, male human, Clr4/Rog5
Nnelgonon, CG, male elf, Wiz8/Ftr2
Arakai, LN, male human, Mnk9
Tuborg, NG(n), male human, Ftr9
Jason, N, male human, Brb6
Redithidoor (NPC), NG, male human, Brd3/Rog3

Other NPCs:
Rahul, human male, War1
Nigel, human male, War1
Cobb, human male, War1
Kalthor, human male, Com1 (teamster)
Maglion, human male, Com1 (animal handler)


The familiar radiance of “Pelor’s Blessings” brought some comfort to the company of weary adventurers beneath the gloom of Mt. Stalagos. It was decided that there was no way they could negotiate with the Kadiss and put an known enemy behind them with an unknown enemy ahead. Instead, they would attack in force and eliminate the elemental cultists. Their first preparation for the assault was for Max to cast Water Walking on everyone.

Jason and Alex joined themselves with a short length of rope. Nnelgonon then cast fly on Jason while Alex activated his boots of levitation. The two practiced flying about with Jason pulling the levitating Alex around. It was found that if they went slowly (half speed) they could make simple maneuvers (poor). The elven wizard then cast Bull’s Strength while Max cast Cat’s Grace and Shield of Faith on Jason. Max gave Jason his magical large shield which the barbarian kept loosed over his back while Alex cast Invisibility on Jason using his wand. The invisible flying barbarian then picked up the slight elven wizard and practiced a few maneuvers. The extra weight of the elf slowed the barbarian’s flight speed even more but they still maintained some (poor) maneuverability. Jason set the elf down and the wizard cast Invisibility upon himself while Alex used his own Domain spell to become invisible. The whole configuration achieved its overall goal as the three invisible trio could fly awkwardly with only a short length of rope to give them away. They flew (floated almost) slowly ahead of, and keeping sights on, the “ground crew” of Arakai, Max, Tuborg and Red.

Unfortunately for my overly prepared adventurers, the glow of Pelor-enhanced light warned the drow of their approach. Kadiss had time to cast Fly and See Invisible. When the flying invisible trio came into view the dark elf knew that his offered truce had been rejected. Kadiss flew off to prepare his troops for battle.

The invisible trio flew across the waters but the sub-commander was nowhere to be found. As the ground crew walked across the water they were greeted by a familiar, but foul, face. The sea hag rose up from the depths to reveal herself to them. Arakai leapt forward and stunned the abomination. Redithidoor shot the hag with his bow. Max and Tuborg followed the speedy monk. Arakai landed a flurry of blows against the hag but failed to restun her. The hag used her evil eye upon the monk but to no affect. Red’s arrow found its mark again while Tuborg and Max finally reached battle. Both Tuborg and Max hit the hag and sent it slumping lifelessly beneath the waves.

On the far side of the water-filled cavern, Jason set the invisible elf down. Alex untied himself and levitated down to the floor. The three invisible heroes moved into the darkened guard room and took up defensive positions. The rest finished crossing the water and followed their scouts into the room. The visible and non-visible heroes established that everyone had made it across safely and together they advanced through the darkness with Pelor’s light to guide them.

They came across the empty throne room. Max told everyone to stay there while he and the invisible, flying barbarian explored the caverns north of the throne. There was a gasp of surprise from the players as the cleric of Pelor suddenly fell through the floor when he moved off. It was the most painful 50 feet of Max’s young life and worse yet was that he was not alone. The prone cleric was immediately beset by the crawlers. Jason was succeed in his disbelief in the solidness of the floor and flew beneath the illusion. The two of them beat down the crawlers quickly. The bull strengthened Jason easily lifted the weighty cleric off the pit floor and to the far side of the trapped corridor.

The rooms beyond were a disappointment with no treasure found and no enemy to battle. Max carefully checked the traps edge and discovered the narrow ledge that ran along the western side of the corridor. Together again, the group continued their march through the darkness. They found a large feasting hall ominously quiet, dark and cool. The constant anxiety of impending but unrealized battle had become unnerving. Suddenly, a light ahead of them shines dimly from the hall’s far corridor. They move eagerly forward. Only a short distance from the feasting hall they come to a room with a large wooden ledge against the southern wall. Kadiss floated across the room opposite the heroes. Upon the ledge stood Riu and five other drow elves while beneath the ledge twenty men stood in tight formation.

Finally, battle was at hand. Nnelgonon was first, or so he thought at the time. The invisible elf cast a fireball ahead of him into the ledge room but was foiled by the successful counter-casting by Kadiss. The invisible Jason flew into the room but was frustrated by the way that the flying drow’s eyes seemed to be able to follow his movements Arakai surged forward but as he came into view of the drow on the ledge they fired their readied hand x-bows. Amazingly two of the five drow hit the monk (Arakai’s armor class with Cat’s Grace and Owl’s Wisdom boarders upon ridiculous). The monk deflected one of the bolts but the other struck him. The human monk felt the numbing effects of the poisonous bolt immediately and to the horror of his friends the monk fell over unconscious.

Tuborg and Max ran forward to protect their fallen comrade while the still invisible Alex climbed the wall moving slowly towards the ledge. That’s when the dam broke on the guards beneath the ledge and they surged out as a group to attack the fallen Arakai, Max, Tuborg and the now visible Nnelgonon. They could not breach the strong defenses of Tuborg and Max. Unfortunately, the hapless unconscious monk was easy pickings. From above the demonic goblin cast his vile magic, but to no affect while Redithidoor focused his bow fire upon the floating Kadiss. The fight raged on for nearly a minute. Max and Tuborg fought off the warriors by flanking the helpless monk. Kadiss and Nnelgonon traded volleys of spells but the surface elf won an advantage when he cast dispel magic on the drow and Kadiss fell awkwardly to the floor.

Meanwhile, Jason readied his borrowed shield and then viscously attacked Riu. The enraged barbarian’s axe cut painful arcs across the demon’s hide. Alex had made his way invisibly to the ledge and attacked the drow archers, though he quickly retreated when they managed a series of 5-foot steps and x-bow shots that found their mark. Fortunately, he was unaffected by the poison. The drow x-bow attack was a little slow (the fire-poison-load sequence meant they could only shoot twice every three rounds). Still that was too much for the lone rogue, so Alex beat a hasty retreat to take a position by the bow-slinging, song-singing Redithidoor. Riu fled battle via dimension door and Jason turned his rage upon the drow x-bowmen. Tuborg and Nnelgonon traded duties as the human fighter took off after the grounded drow. Together, Nnelgonon and Max fought protectively over the monk.

Alex and Redithidoor stood near their exit to the feasting hall using their arrows on the drow on the ledge. Suddenly, the business end of a rapier burst from the center of Redithidoor’s chest and the bard fell over dead as a door nail. Alex turned to face this new threat. Standing over the slumped form of Red was a man dressed in black wearing a lilac stone mask. The masked man shouted for some assistance and one of the surviving human warriors moved over to flank Alex. The trio fought for a couple rounds before Alex realized that he’d best eliminate the warrior that was giving this masked assassin a series of deadly sneak attacks. Thankfully, for the rogue-priest the assassin missed all his attacks and when the human warrior was killed the assassin fled. The masked assailant would have gotten away except that Nnelgonon had the presence of mind to use his Web spell to block the assassin’s escape. The two rogues fought briefly but Alex had the edge both in offense and defense.

When Kadiss finally fell beneath Tuborg’s relentless blade the last of the human warriors (five) fled the battle. Arakai finally regained consciousness and leapt to his feet. The monk then ran and leapt to the aid of Jason. Jason had fought and killed two of the drow and had managed (so far) to shrug off the effects of poisoned bolts. This strange duo, savaged frenzied barbarian and controlled martial artist, quickly dispatched their common enemy. Meanwhile, Max tended to the fallen bard, but alas he had perished by the assasssin’s blade. As the last breath of life fled the final drow the heroes looked around for the demon-goblin, as they felt he may have turned himself invisible. Only after a thorough search were they satisfied to let their guard down – a little.

They rested only a short time before deciding to explore farther into the mines on the trail of the fleeing warriors. The rough-hewn corridors gave way to the worked stone once again. These rooms were obviously made by the dwarves with some crude additions made by the cultists and all were well lit by mundane torches. The rooms were all deserted and a search revealed little of importance all of which served to convince the adventurers that they had indeed bypassed the Water Temple. The decision was made to rest right there in the abandoned guard rooms and attack the Water Temple that next morning. They chose Kadiss’ chambers in which to rest because of its size, its limited access points and its comfy beds.

On the first watch they were disturbed by a water mephit. The mephit stumbled into the room while scouting for the Water Temple. Nnelgonon was on watch with Arakai and the elf managed to strike the small elemental with his sword before the monster disappeared into the now darkened halls. Arakai woke the rest of the company and warned that their position was compromised and that he guessed that they would be attacked soon. The group gave up on the idea of resting in the CRM and headed for the western gate. They made out without encountering any real threat, but did notice that some of the corpses (the drow, Kadiss and the masked assassin) were missing.

Outside they made their way down the slopes of Mt. Stalagos to the small cave where they make camp. Their men they hired to watch and care for their horses were happy to see them but that joyful reunion was tempered by the presence of the dead bard. Redithidoor had become an welcomed addition to their group. His bardic skills had improved greatly since their first meeting at the Inn of the Welcome Wench. His quiet ballads were simple yet beautiful and a comfort after a long day of fighting evil-doers. There was a solemn sermon given for the bard and normally very greedy Alex, of all people, swore to have Redithidoor returned from the dead if at all possible. They ate a solemn meal and again discussed the possibility of leaving the CRM. They had amassed a large trove of arms and armor, coins and gems. They could seek out a cleric powerful enough to raise Redithidoor and use the treasure gained to upgrade their own equipment.

They made camp for the night. Outside the cave their twelve horses stood quietly, their heads bowed in sleep. A medium-sized campfire offered a modest light that extended little beyond 30 feet. On watch was Jason, Tuborg and Rahul. The night was windy and dark without either bright Luna nor the smaller Celene to shed any helpful light. Late into the watch the night’s quiet darkness was broken by the simultaneous blast of two balls of fire. The fireballs engulfed not only those on watch but the horses as well. Caught in the conjunction of both blasts those on watch suffered great harm and Rahul dropped dead. Tuborg rushed into the cave to wake the rest of the group. Jason drew out his continual lit torch and moved out, alone, into the darkness to find his attackers.

Because of the shouting warrior and the dying screams of the horses it was not difficult to rouse the rest of the party. The weary adventurers gleaned as much information from Tuborg as they could, which wasn’t much, and rushed to prepare for battle. Tuborg ran back out to guard the entrance. He arrived and looked across the dark forest for Jason. In the distance, he could see the barbarian sitting on the forest floor. It was an odd sight. The barbarian was sitting casually, cross-legged talking to something unseen in the darkness just beyond the torch’s light. Tuborg moved out cautiously towards Jason. The warrior was about halfway to the barbarian when two voices came out of the darkness. In eerie tandem the voices both said, “You look weary warrior. Rest. Rest and we shall protect you.” Despite not knowing who or what that voice belonged to the words seemed comforting and Tuborg did sit down confident that he would be protected of by the “voices”.

Inside, Alex was busy with his wand turning Arakai and Nnelgonon invisible. Max gathered his shield and large mace but ignored his plate mail armor knowing that it’d take too long to put on. Instead he began to cast what few protective spells he had left to boost his defenses. The remaining hirelings gathered their weapons and took position near the back of the cave. The invisible elf and monk spread out into the forest, Nnelgonon to the right and Arakai to the left. The sight of Tuborg and Jason reclining during battle confused the monk but the elf’s keen vision made out the floating shadowy forms of the two dark nagas near Tuborg. Perhaps unwisely, Nnelgonon did not shout any warning for fear of giving away his invisible location. Regardless of the flying snake-monsters there was another presence that moved out of the darkness: a troglodyte priest with two fiendish dire lions. The troglodyte moved forward into the campfire light and shouted at the cave opening, “Lay down your weapons and surrender peacefully and you may yet live to seen another day!”

A few moments passed as the cleric brothers readied for battle. The trog priest called again, “Come now! My patience is not endless! Two of your friends have already surrendered! There is no need to die tonight!” Arakai moved quietly around behind the priest giving him and his lions a wide berth. Nnelgonon slowly moved up to study Tuborg. Alex and Max decided to use their last force bead on this guy. Alex got the bead out, took a step into the mouth of the cave and lobbed it at the troglodyte. The bead exploded amid the priest and his lions. The force bubble trapped one of the lions and painfully shoved the trog and his other lion aside.

This act seemed to infuriate the troglodyte priest and he shouted, “Enough! Destroy them all!” His words were followed by two more fireballs. The two beads of fire streaked across the campsite and exploded in the confines of the cave. The hirelings were killed instantly. Alex miraculously managed to escape the dual blasts without injury. Max suffered grievous and very painful burns. The attack broke the charms which held the minds of Tuborg and Jason. They arose in anger against the lies of the Voices. They stood and drew weapons while moving towards the troglodyte priest. Jason’s torchlight illuminated the floating nagas and he roared in impotent frustration because they were well beyond the reach of his sword.

Arakai charged the trog priest while Tuborg concentrated on the lion. Nnelgon used his magics to harm the nagas while Jason got out his mighty bow. Back in the cave, Alex and Max were beset by invisible foes of terrible strength. The troglodyte’s defenses confound the monk’s attacks while resisting the spells cast to disable him. Tuborg and the lion fought toe to toe each taking deep wounds. The nagas magically disappeared from sight leaving the elf and barbarian without targets, so they turned on the priest. The Beck brothers fought valiantly against their invisible attackers but it was a loosing battle because they were taking far more damage then dealing out. A pair of fireballs again lit the dark forest engulfing Nnelgonon, Jason, Tuborg and the lion. The fireball burned them all managed to kill only the lion.

Nnelgonon and Jason again turned their ranged attacks against the now visible nagas. Arakai cursed the thick skin race of troglodytes vowing he’d kill them all, if he could only hit them. Tuborg, gravely wounded pulled a healing potion out and drank it. The nagas blinked out of sight again. The combined might of the monk, warrior, elf and barbarian finally finish off the evil priest. It was then that they hear the sounds of battle from the cave. They rushed to the cave to find the fallen priests. Alex was still breathing but fading fast. Before aid could be given to Max he gave up his last breath. Nnelgonon gave Alex a potion of healing and the priest was able to get to his feet. Desperately, Alex searched for any signs of life from his brother but it was too late. Alex’s anger was terrible to behold and the elf stood back from him in terror. The rogue-priest rushed out into the forested darkness just in time to see the body of the dead priest rise limply from the ground. Something invisible was carrying off the body and Alex shouted his rage at them, daring them to come back and finish him off.

The body drifted off into the darkness and was gone. Alex fell to his knees and wept bitter tears of impotent anger. The others gathered around the rogue-priest keeping a wary eye on the trapped dire lion. That’s where we broke for the night.

My thanks and my players curses go out to the hivemind for the idea to use the nagas, stalkers and Ukemil as a combined elite attack force. It was harsh, but after the long string of victories they had become complacent and almost flippant when dealing with the doomdreamer’s minions. I held back in many ways by giving them at least five rounds of non-combat rounds while Ukemil and the Stalkers closed in on the cave and then Ukemil tried to get them to surrender. I only used two of the four dire lions. The nagas left without using their last 3rd level spell, but that was part of my plan. The nagas were to return to Hedrack. They held back their last 3rd level spell to either recast Fly (if dispelled by the players) or as a fireball to ward off the players from following them. As a bonus, they were able to take Ukemil's corpse with them and they will see him again.

Edited by: Trithereon at: 11/3/02 9:21:25 am
Trithereon
Pie
(12/15/02 8:29 am)
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Trithereon's campaign journal
A cast update:
Maximilian, NG, male human, Clr7/Ftr1/Rsp1
Alexander, CN, male human, Clr4/Rog6
Nnelgonon, CG, male elf, Wiz9/Ftr2
Arakai, LN, male human, Mnk9
Tuborg, NG(n), male human, Ftr9
Jason, N, male human, Brb6
Redithidoor (NPC), NG, male human, Brd4/Rog3

Alex fell to his knees and wept bitter tears of impotent anger. The others gathered around the rogue-priest keeping a wary eye on the trapped fiendish dire lion. When the force bubble finally collapsed around the lion they made short work of the already wounded beast. They quickly healed themselves and their only remaining horse then loaded the bodies of Redithidoor and Maximillion onto the now steadied beast. Ready for additional hostility they beat a hasty retreat from the accursed Crater Ridge Mines. Just outside of Rastor they stopped to discuss what to do next. Alex was adamant about raising his brother from death, but how? It was decided that any quest to revive Maximillian must be completed with urgency. The plans of the doomdreamers were unknown but such a large and powerful organization dedicated to Tharizdun could only be up to one thing: freeing their imprisoned god.

If the doomdreamer’s attack was meant to drive them off then they’d play along. They needed to regroup, refocus and resupply for their assault on the Fanes. It was decided to hurry to Verbobonc and have both Maximillian and Redithidoor resurrected. They made a quick, cold campsite just outside Rastor to await daylight. In the morning, still dressed as cultists, they walked into the small hamlet. They made their way directly to Tal Chammish’s dry goods store where Arakai pretended to be a cult priest in need of horses. The bluff worked quite well and, after some negotiation, a price was set for the purchase of five horses with riding gear. Tal made quite a profit and was happy for the business with the cultists but expressed that he’d have to arrange for a few steeds to be brought from a local farm, as he only had a couple in his own stables.

The group headed to the Grey Lodge and its Lucky Strike saloon. As they were all dressed as cultists they received quite a few furtive glances from the citizens of Rastor. Alex, Nnelgonon and Tuborg entered the saloon ordering breakfast fare. Those few locals in for an early morning drink and mela gave them wide berth. Arwen, the barkeep and cleric of Olidimmara, served them in stern silence. Alex signaled that he needed to speak with Awen, in private. Hesitantly she agreed and Alex quickly explained much of what had happened since his last stay at the Grey Lodge, but not everything. His main interest was directed at learning what Arwen could do for them: Could she raise dead? Would she purchase some of the equipment from the CRM? Etc …The priestess expressed little desire to help them as they were clearly marked men. She had warned him about the curse of the CRM and he now had awoken that curse. She lacked the power to revive Alex’s brother and would be hesitant to do so even if she could, as that would put her life at risk long after they’d rode far away. Admonished and dejected Alex returned to his partners at the bar.

Meanwhile, outside Arakai and Jason kept watch over their horse and its dead bodies. A group of well armed men, including a dwarf and half-orc, emerged from the jailhouse down the street from disguised heroes. As they approached the dwarf stepped forward from the group. The dwarf was armored in a set of platemail and was clearly a cleric of the dwarven god Moradin. The dwarf called himself Rerrid and he had come to warn that any unwholesome behavior would not be tolerated. He seemed quite upset that these cultists were so bold as to show their faces during the light of day and made it clear that they were not welcome in town. Arakai curtly told the dwarf that they had business with Tal Chammish and would leave as soon as it had concluded. Rerrid warned again that their unabashed intrusion was unacceptable and a clear breach of what bare truce he’d reluctantly grown to accept with the cultists. Arakai coolly ignored the dwarf’s admonishment and repeated his intent. Distgustedly, the dwarf left the disguised monk and supposed henchman.

Back inside the saloon another strange encounter was brewing. At the back of the saloon sat another dwarf. He watched the trio at the bar in stunned silence. “These could certainly not be the ones!”, thought the dwarf. There were only three and they were clothed in the garb of the enemy. Still, the elf had a familiarity from his dream. The dwarf’s name was he was a cleric of Moradin and he’d come from his distant dwarfhold to Rastor following a dream vision. He’d seen these strangers in his dream and they would lead him to Tulian’s Eye. The dwarf abruptly rose from his seat and approached the elf and two humans at the bar. He eyed them with such intensity that Alex began to get nervous at this stranger’s silent proximity. The rogue’s hand strayed to his sword ever so slightly. However, before violence could erupt the awkward silence was broken by the elf’s even more awkward greeting, “Hi there, I’m Nnelgonon!” The dwarf and Alex both looked at Nnelgonon in stunned silence as Tuborg gave out a bemused chuckle. Mogar harrumphed, turned on his heel and walked briskly to the door. The dwarf threw open the door and approached Arakai. The dwarf marched right up to the disguised monk and said, “I’m Mogar Hammerforge. I know that you are not who you appear to be. Our destinies are entwined. I will await you outside Rastor. We must speak.”

The monk raised an eyebrow at this new development (two dwarf clerics in one day!) but otherwise gave no outward sign of surprise or acceptance. The dwarf unhitched his warpony and rode west out of town. The barbarian suppressed his desire to laugh at the sight of the dwarf on his pony, thinking it not wise to provoke this obviously crazed stranger. From outside the Grey Lodge the monk could see that Tal Chammish was busy with their arrangements. When he saw five horses were secured outside Tal’s dry goods store Arakai summoned his companions. Under the stern eye of Rerrid they concluded their business with Tal, even rewarding Tal with a 100 gp bonus, and rode out of Rastor.

A mile west of Rastor they caught up with the dwarf named Mogar. The dwarf again introduced himself and explained the vision given to him by Moradin. He seem quite certain in his belief that his fate was bound to that of these strangers and that together they would recover Tulian’s Eye. He assured them that his elders would reward them generously if they’d agree to help him find his clan’s lost heirloom. It didn’t take long private discourse to accept this dwarf’s vision. In the end they welcomed Mogar into the circle of their confidence and admitted that they found the legendary gem but were unable to secure it because of its curse. Mogar encouraged them to return immediately despite the mortal perils a quick return to the CRM might provoke. It was decided that a quick foray into the CRM could be attempted as they knew exactly where they were going.

They skirted Rastor keeping to the wooded hills and away from any settlements. It wasn’t long before they were on the now familiar road leading to the CRM. Mogar could barely contain his excitement explaining he’d trained long, hard years for this moment when he’d return to his ancestral home. The rest warned him that much had changed and that the mines beneath Mount Stalagos were haunted and perverted by evil. They soon came to the South Entrance and its broken wooden doors. Mogar exuberance was muted by the strong stench of festering death and by the disturbing decorations that the cult had added to the mines. As predicted, it didn’t take long for them to find and recover Tulian’s eye and within an hour they were back outside and hurrying away from the mines.

They traveled the rest of that day and the next westward through the Kron hills following Mogar’s directions. On the second night away from the CRM the group was ambushed by cultists. They were quickly defeated and two were taken alive. Under brutal interrogations by Arakai the surviving cultists admitted that they were returning from an unsuccessful search for slaves and had stumbled upon the heroes. These cultists had been out in the field for some time and did not seem to have been sent by the doomdreamers as assassins. A moral debate then erupted among the victors of what to do with their prisoners. Alex was for killing these obviously evil and unrepentant cultists right there but others were opposed to the killing of these men in cold blood. Tuborg suggested giving them a sword and the chance to fight their way to freedom. Mogar’s suggestion to take them with them and hand over the question of justice to his elders when they reach his dwarfhold was finally agreed to by all but Alex did so bitterly and quite reluctantly. The cultist were bound securely and given the warning that they’d be watched intently and that any attempt at escape would mean their certain death.

The next few days passed without event and Mogar led them northward away from the road deeper into the Kron Hills. On the sixth day out of Rastor they came upon a hill fort. Mogar was hailed by the guards from the tall stone walls and the sturdy wooden door opened to welcome the wandering dwarf. The fort was just the tip of the dwarfhold of Klangard. Behind the walls was a small compound of several one story stone buildings and a larger stone great hall. They were led into the great hall where Mogar introduced his companions to his mentor Graven Axefire, requested an audience with the elders and turned their prisoners over to the hallguard.

The strangers to Klangard were welcomed and given every courtesy that might be expected. They were led to comfortable, but guarded, rooms and allowed to rest and wash away the grime from the road. That evening they were the guests of honor of a banquet in the grand hall and formally introduced to the dwarven elders of Kangard. It was during the banquet that Mogar, with much fanfare, brought forth Tulian’s Eye to the astonishment of the gathered dwarves. There was much excitement as some reacted fearfully to this relic from the glorious and infamous past. The elders sat in silence amid the sudden turmoil while Mogar looked around bewildered by his clan’s reaction. Finally, Graven stood forth calling for order. When order was restored Graven related the dual prophesies of Tulian’s Eye where its recovery foretold both potential gain and loss. There were some who saw the Eye as a talisman of evil which brought doom to the Saltheart Clan and would bring ruin to the Hammerforge Clan and perhaps, if prophesies were true, the world. However, it was also a talisman of hope as prophesy also tell that the doomdreamers would only be defeated after Tulian’s Eye was recovered. The fate of the clan, and perhaps the world, rested in their hands.


Trithereon
Here quite a while
(3/4/03 11:04 pm)
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Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
*bump*

Sorry for the interruption.

I wanted to bump this before it fell off page 20. I plan on updating this soon, but not right now.

Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(3/5/03 12:11 am)
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Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
I hope you'll be able to shortly. I really enjoy reading your logs.

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Trithereon
Here quite a while
(4/9/03 6:42 pm)
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Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
Howdy folks!

It’s been a long while since I have even considered putting anything down about my campaign (December ’02). Much has happened and not much at the same time. We try to game once a week but sometimes life gets in the way. I really should encourage my players more, and get them to write a character perspective RTOEE- story and start a web page. Oh, well. I’ll at least try to outline the story a little. I’ll warn you now. I don’t stick to the script all the time. There’ll be things that happen in my campaign that aren’t in the adventure. ‘

------------- story resumes ------------------

The cast of characters (PC)
Alex, human rogue/cleric of Olidimarra
Mogar, dwarf cleric of Moradin
Arakai, human monk
Nnelgonon, elf wizard/fighter
Jason, ½ elf barbarian
Tuborg, human fighter

The next day Arakai and the four other surviving members of their adventuring company gathered for a private meeting with Graven and the other elders. There they spoke about what they’d learned about the CRM and the organization supporting the doomdreamers. The heroes expressed their urgency in returning to the CRM …

However, first they had other important matters to attend. They have been victorious over two of the temples which ringed and protected the doomdreamer’s inner sanctum. The opposition within the mines had grown increasingly organized and powerful. A late night attack on their base camp outside the mines had claimed the life of Maximilian, a cleric of Pelor and brother to Alex. That same sneak attack killed their hirelings, their horses and Redithidoor, a bard from Hommlet. They also felt a need to retool. The power directed at them from the Inner Fane was formidable and they didn’t feel ready to take it on. They had gathered considerable wealth from the mines which represented the possibility to both resurrect Max and gather new equipment.

The heroes had powerful allies in the City of Greyhawk, but it was distant and with winter fast approaching they felt that the long overland journey would take too long. They discussed these issues with the elders of Klanngard. Nnelgonon, schooled in planar lore, asked if the dwarves had access to planar travel – the ability to plane shift. If they could shift everyone into the astral plane then Nnelgonon could lead them through the astral to his ancestral home in Celene. The astral journey, with luck, could take hours. Once in Celene, nearly any of their desires could be met – if they aren’t arrested. They had the favor of Prince Melf but he didn’t exactly have the favor with the Queen. Their first passage into and out of Celene was ensured by the recovery of a royal heirloom found in the old temple of elemental evil near Nulb. Unfortunately, many of the elves of Celene had embraced the Queen’s isolationist world view and tensions are high.

A dwarven elder, Grapthor, offered his help. He had also traveled the astral plane and knew of a place where they could hire guide that could take them anywhere. The World Serpent Inn is a nexus for travelers from all over the astral. Grapthor was familiar with the inn and could get them there quickly. The dwarf cleric knows a guide who can then lead them to practically any locale with which they are familiar. Both Nnelgonon and Grapthor warned that even though astral travel could shorten the time it takes to get to Greyhawk the journey will likely be dangerous, as the denizens of the astral are powerful. It was decided to risk the journey through the astral.

Our heroes set about preparing for their journey and soon all was ready. They gathered in a ring, holding hands as Grapthor intoned the incantations. The perceived world around them lurched and lost focus. When next they opened their eyes they found themselves in a nearly featureless domain of grey space. In the near distance all around them colored discs slowly rotated. These discs appeared to be 2-dimensional, such that as they spun the discs would seem to shrink and disappear then appear and grow to full circle again. Grapthor and Nnelgonon helped the newcomers to the astral orientate themselves and maneuver using thought alone. After an hour of practice most felt ready to at least start the journey … but still a little leary of fighting under these conditions.

Grapthor lead the way moving off in a seemingly random direction. They passed countless spinning discs of all hue and several times came across a huge swirling vortex that twisted across their path. Grapthor advised them to not touch either the discs or the vortex as it would force them to leave the astral and enter some other plane of existence. Thankfully, no serious threat came at them during their journey. After several hours of journey a dark shape emerged out of the grey distance. It appeared to be a enormous boulder, a ¼ mile in diameter, with a single building on its surface. As they neared the building they could see it was an Inn. The sign outside read: Welcome to the World Serpent Inn.

The boulder seem to create a sense of gravity and our heroes landed, some rather clumsily, onto the ground. They walked into the inn and was immediately impressed by the sounds and smells. The common room was crowded with obviously plane-touched men and women. A sort of truce between the moral and ethic forces was a rule in this place as tiefling barmaids could be seen serving aasimar patrons without hostility. Grapthor advised them to be careful as the owners would quickly quell any troublemakers. He motioned for them to find a table and wait for him. The dwarf cleric moved off and soon became lost in the crowd. The heroes ate and drank sparingly. Grapthor returned with a gaunt humanoid who introduced himself as Selik. The humanoid was tall and thin, by human standards, with sharp features, a long face and eyes of yellow. Grapthor explained that he was Githzerai and he was a guide with special powers to travel the astral. Selik explained that he could probe the mind of others and use that information to mystically link himself to the nearest portal leading to their desired destination. Selik quoted a non-negotiable price for his service based on their destination (1,000 gold) and it was paid by the heroes – half up front and half when they reached their destination.

They left the inn and since Alex was most familiar with the City of Greyhawk he was chosen as the mind to be probed. Selik gripped Alex’s skull with his long, slender fingers and then bent down to touch his forehead to the thief’s. The contact was brief and Selik determined he was ready to lead. The heroes said goodbye to Grapthor who wanted to stay behind at the inn. Grapthor explained he had some other business to attend which had to do with the lost Temple of Moradin. Selik led the way and soon the World Serpent Inn was lost in the grey distance.

The journey through the astral was long and mostly uneventful. However, their paths did cross with that of a group of tall blue-skinned humanoids and their evil looking bodyguards. As the heroes turned to ask for Selik’s advice they discovered that he was no where to be seen. Nnelgonon recognized that the bodyguards were likely Githyanki but knew nothing about the tall blue creatures. Fearing that they’d be led into an ambush by Selik the heroes stopped and spread out while drawing weapons. One of the blue humanoids crossed an arm across midsection and bowed deeply. A “voice” inside their heads spoke to them. It said that the blue humanoid was named Mala’tomak and that he was a Mercane. It explained that his was a race of merchants and rarely passed up an opportunity to trade. It wanted to know if they were interested in selling or buying items of quality. The heroes made it clear they had no interest in trade. The mercane mearly shrugged and continued on its way through the astral. Once the mercane and their mercenary were out of sight Selik reappeared. The githzerai apologized for his abrupt departure but explained that his presence may have resulted in a more hostile response from the mercane’s bodyguards.

A few hours of travel later Selik stopped in front of a spinning gray disc. Their githzerai guide explained that all they had to do was touch the disc and they would be transported to their desired destination. The rest of Selik’s fee was paid and soon they were all standing in the street in front of Alex and Max’s parental home in the City of Greyhawk. They had the funds to resurrect Maximilian and they immediately headed to the church of Pelor. There they made a full report on what they’d discovered in the mines of Mount Stalagos. They gave to the church the various tomes discovered that detailed the history of Elemental Evil and its vile practices. Their two magical bags of holding were emptied and the accumulated wealth accounted. Several weeks passed as our heroes rested and their equipment was enchanted. Maximillian and Redithidoor both were resurrected. Jason had his half-brother Rand true resurrected and they immediately left Greyhawk due to important business in the Gnarley Forest.

A council was held in the church of Pelor and the discussion revolved around getting back to Mount Stalagos as quickly as possible. It was decided that they could Windwalk back to the Rastor. However, to make it there in the duration of the spell they would need another guide. They contacted the Wayfarer’s Union and they introduced our heroes to Laurel (a PC) who was a sorcererous cleric of Farlanghen. They negotiated Laurel’s pay and then the head priestess of Pelor cast a couple Windwalk spells. Soon they were speeding along through the clouds at a breathtaking 60 mph. Laurel soon proved her worth as she was able to guide them across the rolling countryside reaching Hommlet in about eight hours. It was another 4 hours of flight across the Kron Hills and just as the sun was setting below the horizon they found themselves back in Rastor.

Rastor was much changed. The blackened husks of burnt houses dotted the hillside. Along the main street they could see that Tal Chammish’s dry goods store was in ruins, as well was the sheriff’s office. As they flew closer to the ground they saw that the Grey Lodge Inn and its Lucky Strike saloon was still standing. In front of the inn sat about a dozen huge winged spider-beasts. The bloody, broken and crucified body of Rerrid was lashed to the front porch. Mogar growled a curse upon the murderers of his cousin and vowed his revenge. They flew in behind the inn and became substantial.

A quick, quiet and invisible check looking through the windows of the inn’s ground floor and saloon discovered that nearly a dozen warriors in black garb sat in the common room. In a corner sat a unarmored cultist who wore a large medallion. A very unhappy looking Arwen stood behind the bar serving the cultists. A plan was hatched to sneak in the back and surprise attack the cultist. They used magical silence to hide their entrance. They quickly checked the back rooms for cultists but found them all empty. They moved towards the saloon at the front of the inn. They burst into the saloon and the cultists were quickly put down with no prisoners taken. Arwen hid beneath the bar until the dust settled and then came out to thank her rescuers.

Arwen explained that shortly after the heroes had left a squadron of Spider-Eater Riders led by a fiendish ogre had taken control of Rastor. They killed the sheriff and took over the manor house overlooking the town. The cultists mercilessly drove the people from the town. The warriors were insane with bloodlust shouting that a “Day of Judgment” was neigh at hand. The slaughter was short and violent. The fiendish ogre has taken the manor house as his lair. Our heroes drove off the Spider-eaters with a couple fireballs and then marched to the manor.

The burst into the manor but found themselves ambushed. In the entrance hall two flanking staircases led up to a balcony overlooking hall. A group of gnoll archers opened fire onto the heroes below. Our heroes split with some running up the stairs to fight the gnolls. That’s when the door below burst open and out rushed four minotaurs led by the fiendish ogre magi. A pitched battle ensued. The barbaric minotaurs raged and hasted proved to be a formidable force, especially when teamed up with D’gran. The tide of battle eventually swung in favor of the heroes and they nearly had the ogre magi with a tanglefoot bag. D’gran managed to escape with his gaseous form and invisibility.

The victorious heroes search the manor house. They discovered the grisly remains of the nobleman and his family, half-eaten, in the dining hall. They also discovered a very much dead Arwen. She had been chained to the wall and subjected to the fiendish ogre magi’s favorite iron ball game. This discovery perplexed the heroes. “Didn’t we just talk to Arwen at the inn?”, they wondered. Little did they know that “Jaroo” had followed them to Rastor.

The mystery aside they began the process of cleaning up the manor. They collect the remains and laid them to rest in the family mausoleum. Arwen and Rerrid’s remains were buried in the town cemetery. They searched the inn for the “false” Arwen but found it now as deserted as the rest of Rastor. The heroes left Rastor to hide in the forested hills. They camped the night and made plans for their next assault on the CRM. They rested, watched and slept. The next day they marched towards the looming cratered mountain following the old dwarf road through a nearby pass.

They took the road south to the southernmost entrance. There they discovered that the entrance and its arrow slits sealed with stone. Nnelgonon sent his familiar around the western side of the mountain to check out the western entrance. The owl returned with news that this other entrance was also sealed. Remembering the spectre and its overlook, Nnelgonon sent his familiar to check out the window. It was not sealed and after a little magic they were soon all up in the small guard room. They took a quick look around the inside of the southern entrance finding their fallen enemy animated as zombies. Max, a cleric of Pelor, made short work of these undead.

Their mission was to find the Lost Temple of Moradin. It was clear that this southern entrance area was originally made by the dwarves and suspected that the temple was nearby. They decided to first search east. They managed to disturb and defeat the destrachans. They also discovered the haunted armory of the dwarves and defeat the deadly blade spirit. The continued to push eastward, past the druid’s lair (didn’t explore that area), and the ant lair. When they reached the entrance to the Fire Temple they turned back. They retreated to the spherical room where they had killed the last destrachan and rested. During the night they noticed a scrying attempt. The rested warily through the rest of the night but nothing attacked them.

That next day they decided to search west of the southern entrance. Just to the west of the Air Temple they encountered a group of orcs who had taken over the “watch towers”. The orcs were fought and defeated but not before the leader could blow a warning with his horn. They searched through the mines occupied by the orcs but didn’t encounter anymore resistance. After a thorough search, they uncovered what they suspected was the entrance to the dwarf temple. Alex determined that the door was both trapped and locked. After some discussion they decided to search for a secret entrance. It took most of the afternoon and a few detect secret doors spells, but they eventually discovered the secret door near the area where the hydra dwelt.

They opened the secret door and realized that this place had not been disturbed in a long time and may have never been found by the doomdreamers or their minions. They carefully searched the temple with the help of Mogar, who was able to mollify the stone dwarf guardian. They recovered the Hammerspheres, were in wonder of the Tear of Moradin, and found a key which appeared to be for the huge vault they found near the secret entrance. Unfortunately, they were unable to detect the trap and when they opened the door the ceiling collapsed upon them. They survived the trap and was rewarded with a room full of treasure. They loaded up their bags of holding with the dwarf treasure (except the Tear which they left untouched) and made plans to head back to Klannguard.

They rested again and the next day they left the mines. The journey was slow on foot and took over a week. The chill of fall was growing sharp and they would awake to frost some mornings. Several days out of the mines they were attacked by a white dragon. The dragon demanded a toll for passing through its territory but only received a flamestrike for its trouble. The battle was long and bloody but our heroes were victorious. The rest of the journey was fairly uneventful … they were attacked by dire wolves, trolls and a lone hill giant … but it was not much of a challenge for them.

At Klannguard they gave the treasure recovered from the temple to the dwarves. The dwarves were overjoyed and celebrated the hero’s success. The were named dwarf-friends of Klannguard and welcomed into their warren as clan members. They were each granted a boon from the clan and they soon found themselves a little more powerful then before. They rested and enjoyed the laurels of their success but the onrushing winter prompted them to return to the CRM before snowstorms made the overland trek too perilous. The dwarves had questioned the cultists our heroes had captured and learned some interesting stuff about the doomdreamers and their search for some “Champion”. This didn’t set well with the heroes as they recalled that the “false Arwen” said something about the Spider-Eater riders claming that some judgement was near. They wondered, “Had the Champion been found already?” They decided to return quickly to the CRM.

------------- story pauses ------------------

Whew! I am almost caught up to our most recent session. As you can read, I often stray from the original material (Klannguard, astral travel, etc …). I have to be a free-wheeling DM as my players tend to throw me curveballs all the time. I just wish my players would be a little more consistant.

The player of Maximilian wanted to play a dwarf cleric after the death of Max … so, he created Mogar and I introduced him into the game. Later Alex (Max’s brother) had Maximilian True Resurrected and it made roleplaying sense that he’d continue his quest against the doomdreamers. The player then had Mogar and Max as charcters but it didn’t make roleplaying sense for Mogar to leave the group therefore I took Mogar up as an NPC. At the same time another player who played Rand then after Rand died we introduced Jason to the story. At Greyhawk the player of Jason decided that he wanted to play a third different character and we introduced Laurel. After the recovery of the Temple of Moradin Laurel had finished her business with the group and the player wanted to play yet another character. So, Laurel left and now he’s introduced a paladin into the game. We’ve also had a new player recently join our group and now I have seven players to challenge! Therefore, if it is a little confusing with all the characters coming and going, I understand.

Peace.

Edited by: Trithereon at: 4/9/03 6:53:53 pm
Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(4/9/03 11:16 pm)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
That was a great write-up. Good to see your campaign again.

I love the departures you make! And I know how you feel. My last session was complete freestyle on my part, as they went in every direction but the one they'd told me they'd go beforehand. The World Serpent Inn was a great touch as was the mercane caravan. The group might have gotten some good deals there...

With regards to changing characters: As long as Tuborg is there, I'm fine (quoth the Dane...).

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Kylearanon
Here for a while
(4/10/03 3:34 am)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
Great log ... very nice read, really.
I so very much like the idea of that "Inn between the Worlds". It reminds me of some novel I once read.
In fact, I may dare and steal the idea to use it with my players some day. :)

Keep on writing ...

Kyle

Trithereon
Here quite a while
(4/10/03 4:40 am)
Reply
Re: Trithereon's campaign journal
The World Serpent Inn is not my creation but an idea stolen from a 1st Edition AD&D module called Tales from the Outer Planes ... or some such title. Feel free to use any or all the material I post here in your own game. I am honored to have my work considered worthy of being "stolen".

Thanks.

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