(9/23/02 4:27 pm)
I hope Muratis is still with us? |
(10/8/02 12:18 am)
Yes he is :)|
Sorry, been away for two weeks hence no sessions We re-start again on Thursday. Currently the group is hidden up a rope trick with one rather angry Chimera and Berghast waiting for them
(10/8/02 12:12 pm)
Re: Yes he is :)|
<Does a happy dance.>
(10/21/02 12:20 pm)
Re: Yes he is :)|
Hmm... IS he back?
(10/22/02 2:03 am)
Re: Yes he is :)|
Check the link on the bottom of the first page of this thread. Lotsa new posts!
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
(10/22/02 9:00 am)
I'm having problem getting to this site now from work I do have updated logs which i WILL (honest) post.
Again sorry for the delay
(10/23/02 1:41 pm)
Freeday 7th Flocktime 501
Another close call and another comrade lost to this place. I loathe sleeping outdoors when it comes to it there are worse things.
Hal scouted ahead again whilst we sat and waited, hoping that this time he missed nothing. The brief rest gave me the chance to write a few notes. Once he was sure there was nothing about he returned and led us to the entrance to the Ďearth templeí. The sharp stone spikes appeared blunted and many were broken as if something had pushed its way through. Whatever it was it must have had a tough hide as there was no trace of blood on the stones.
Sol ventured off again and returned with news that the ziggurat had been crudely rebuilt. He also mentioned something about hearing singing. We advanced to the temple and Halgar paused here long enough to damage the crudely reformed ziggurat. To be honest I think anything we did to it then accomplished little save for making noise. Still it gave us something to do whilst Sol scouted. We had just finished, or at least given up, when there was a small explosion far down the passage Sol had been scouting. Halgar raced off towards the noise, his armour making a horribly loud noise in the tunnel.
After the attack by the ghouls Halgar seemed to be desperate for something to do, as if the experience of standing frozen during a fight has given him a need to prove himself. When Bane and I arrived, Halgar was looking around the passage at an area pockmarked with smoking pits. The harsh stench of acid hung in the air, strong enough to make my eyes water. Spirit burrowed into my clothing to escape the fumes. Sol appeared to have found a magical trap. Pity he did it the hard way. We passed back through the earth temple, once more following Sols markings. Progress was far slower now that Sol is being more thorough in his searching. I donít think anyone was overly bothered by that, I certainly was not.
Our progress led us to a cavern that until then we had only heard of through Solís descriptions. The most notable feature of this was the corpse of an ape lying in the dirt. As we passed it Halgar elected to wander over and give it a kick, then stepped back hurriedly as the flesh crumbled from the bones. We paused for a moment to look at the creature. The state of it seemed vaguely reminiscent of something I remembered reading about the corpses of those drained of their life force by wraiths and wights. Bane seemed deeply unhappy to hear this. I think perhaps he would rather I had not said anything.
Onwards again, though with a great deal more care. Ahead we spotted a huge bloodstain and as we reached it Sol made his presence known. The bloodstain was old but was worrying Sol a great deal and he appeared to feel that he wanted us a little closer as he scouted again.
He went, he came back. He seemed a little more sure of himself having found the area ahead deserted save for dirt, claw marks, crates and dung. We walked to the area he had just visited and Sol got an important lesson about the limitations of darkvision driven home. The cave he had just checked he had described as filthy with dirt over everything. Now that he could see it in proper light he realised that all the dirt was blood and the cave the site of a huge slaughter.
Off to one side is a chamber, full of garbage with a pool of water in the centre. Something made us nervous about the room, though that may have been nothing more than the effect of that last cavern. We checked it thoroughly, down to the use of spells to look for magic and to check to see if the water was tainted. Nothing was revealed. Bane had returned to the room where the slaughter had taken place and was moving about inspecting the scene. He was able to give a fairly good description of what had happened there. Another talent. Bane is having a good day today.
We follow another tunnel and once more Sol finds a trap the hard way and once again is saved by his own amazing reflexes. In a lot of ways this trap was quite comical. We have survived magic, hordes of creatures, undead and evil priests and there we stood scratching our heads, faced with a hole in the ground.
Bane was in the act of backing up for a running jump when I remembered that he was wearing slippers of spider climbing and pointed that out to him. In the end a couple of scrolls were used and we all crawled across the ceiling. Another uncommon problem met us on the other side. A door with a faint trace of light visible through the keyhole bars our path. We open it and of course as we still have Baneís flaming sword and Halgarís mace we get seen. Perhaps the close brush with death with the ghoul caused us to become distracted. That was a huge error on our part.
An elf and two humans stand and approach us with more staying in the room behind. For once someone is interested in talking and no-one has reached for a weapon. Halgar steps forward to talk.
They ask what we are doing there and Halgar promptly spins a yarn about us looking for the temple of fire. On the whole that was impressively quick thinking and the elf in front of us promptly gives us directions on how to find it. I was just turning to head back out when Halgar lifts his hands and burns the three people here to death.
I have no idea what Halgar was thinking when he launched that attack. It was certainly unwise and may well have been unnecessary, as the trio did not appear to be overtly hostile. I remember standing stunned for a minute and noticed Bane looking utterly aghast. I would imagine even Sol was surprised, wherever he had got to.
I must remember to talk to Sol about the way in which he disappears. As another fight was started I once again found myself wondering where or scout was and fearing that the next time I saw him would be in the centre of a fireball or lightning bolt. Since my role in most combats (aside from repeatedly dispelling the charms cast on Bane) is to use my spells to reduce the oppositions numbers to allow us to concentrate on the tougher combatants I could well do without the nagging feeling that I am about to hit Sol.
Halgar and Bane charged, I shot a bolt from my crossbow (and surprisingly hit one of the archers at the far end of the passage) and decided to turn myself invisible and wait for a good moment to aid the rest of then group. There were shouts and screams and Sol reappeared in the fight. The action was taking place in a four-way junction to which I moved and in moments we heard heavy footfalls from one of the passages. The guards were a poor match for us and were falling fast when a door at the end of one of the side passages opened and more guards stepped through. My attention however was drawn to the huge figure that loomed behind them. Whatever it was it could barely squeeze through the door. I cast haste and felt the feeling of power and speed again though at that point I was more concerned with becoming a more difficult target.
Just as I thought it could not get any worse I heard shouts coming from the opposite corridor.
Bane was still fighting and Halgar was casting some form of spell that I had never heard of so I moved to where I could get a view of the new threat. As I did so I found out what the spell Halgar had cast had done. The floor was covered in sharp spikes that tore through the soles of my boots and into me. I fell against the wall and was able to see another horde of guards coming towards us, along with a dwarf and, unbelievably a Barghest!
Foes on three sides suggested that it was time to intervene. I started to cast web. In my haste, and feeling secure that I was at that time invisible I did not expect one of the guards in front of the giant to hear me and manage to hit me. I was surprised, perhaps the only excuse for losing my concentration and failing the spell.
Happily the stones that had hurt me were effectively stopping any movement. Bane and Halgar were fighting and Sol was gone again. A moment later Sol reappeared as I felt a cold chill run over me, combined with a compulsion to run. Sol was not as fortunate as I and was apparently unable to shake the feeling off. He fled from the Barghest and showed everyone just how dangerous the floor had become. The scream he gave I think was only partly in fear. His route past the giant was clearly marked by a trail of blood where his bear feet were torn open as he ran.
Finally remembering how to cast and fight at the same time I bathed the oncoming guards in lightning and noticed that the barghest was unaffected. Strange. I retreated and received another wound, this time from the giant. From then the fight became a competition between the enraged Bane and Halgar and the giant with the aid of every magic missile I could cast. The creature took, and dished out a tremendous amount of damage before it fell.
The Bargest did nothing further, and after studying it I realised that it was an illusion. It left.
We were all badly injured and there was no trace of Sol, though the presence of another large oak tree inside was an unsubtle hint that he had had enough wits to make himself safe. We had to leave.
As if to add weight to that belief, in the distance we heard a roar and the rattle of chains and I could not help but think of the creatures that Az spotted on his scouting trip weeks ago. None of the options pleased.
Sol was having difficulty pulling himself part the tree. He looked terrible and close to passing out with the pain. Halgar was standing looking down the corridor in the direction of the roaring and rattling chains.
Sol made it through and Halgar started healing people apparently unmindful of the state of our group and the oncoming threat. Regardless of my insistence that we needed to leave the remains if the group stood and patched each other up, a task that would have been far better suited to somewhere far from there. Sol once able to move did so and the two of us headed from the way out. For some reason Halgar stayed waiting, apparently intent on seeing what was coming. What is it with the priests that join up with our group? Does prayer strip the mind of good sense? Once again, when the only logical thing to do was to run our priest chooses to stand. What is worse is that Bane will always stay to defend a comrade, no matter what, so now half of us were standing waiting to see what had been released to deal with us.
It arrived as Sol and I reached the door and announced its presence with a roaring blast of icy air. Finally Halgar decided to leave and lumbered towards us with Bane following and a Chimera behind them (I remember seeing a sketch in Algazanís unfinished ĎCreatures of the Northridge mountainsí). They made it through the door and managed to keep the beast from going through despite the power with which it struck the wood. A moment later the door was held by crudely shaped stone, thanks to Halgar and we were faced with the pit trap again. Bane and I took to the walls, Halgar received a levitate from me and Sol took running jump that failed to get even halfway across and fell. Looking down I could see him at the bottom of the pit unmoving. Bane and Halgar started down after him. I could hear the Chimera again, this time apparently and use a wand to create a creature to delay it, then also went down.
Halgar for some reason felt that the pit would be a good place for a rope trick and, unthinking I cast it. A few moments later we were all inside.
A brief respite and a perception of safety.
Sol was by some miracle still alive and Halgar worked his way through his spells to heal people. Between us we used every healing spell, item and potion we had. At the end of it we were still in a poor condition.
Then the pit went black.
Magical darkness right where we were. Had someone found us? We all believed so at the time and there was a quick decision about whether to rush out while the spells that could get us to the top of the pit were still in effect. Bane and Halgar wanted to leave and after reading through the scrolls that I had I agreed. An old one caught my eye, penned months ago in case Rae turned against us. We readied ourselves and left the rope trick. In the dark I could do little more with Halgar than raise him up to the ceiling, where he would be able to pull himself along. Being able to fly meant that I was the first out of the darkness and in some ways was not surprised to come out face to face with the Chimera.
The Chimera on the other hand was definitely surprised, as I had altered my appearance before leaving the rope trick. A demonic creature now faced it, wings spread, wreathed in flame and flying. Either it was unprepared for such an event or it decided that I was not a good thing to attack for it made no attempt to strike at me as I flew past and did not pursue.
A moment later I heard the sound of a fight behind me and, confident that I could out fly the creature in the tunnels I moved back to where I could see it. Halgar was unconscious and still on the ceiling and Bane was hacking at the creature that blocked his path. I had to help, despite the agreed, Ďevery man for himselfí plan to get out. I sent a stream of magic missiles into the creatures side as Bane struck it repeatedly. The creature breathed, clawed, bit and butted at Bane, who was looking decidedly unhealthy. I cast my last good offensive spell and flew into the combat grasping the creature as I arrived. Itís skin shrivelled at my touch and I could feel its life force flowing from it. My arrival was apparently too much for it and the creature fled, chased into the darkness by Bane.
I returned to Halgar just in time to see the last breath leave his body. Another comrade lost.
Bane returned coated in blood and entrails. I think he killed the chimera. We were joined as we stood over Halgarís corpse by Sol, whose plan for escape appeared to be to wait until whatever was out here had died or chased us then to sneak out.
We left the mine. The only trouble we had was encountering the wyvern on our way down the mountain. It was still sleepy after eating our horses and aside from hissing at us was quite prepared to let us skirt past it.
The night was unpleasant, and I woke feeling a little guilty that Bane and Sol had to stand guard over me as I slept. Still we needed my spells and I would have been little use until I got them. After breakfast and an hour in study I was able to sort out some of our problems, notably the state of Baneís health. Landril once said that he had once seen monster summoning spells used to heal and explained how it was done. After explaining what was going to happen to Bane, or at least as much as I knew I got ready to try. Sol then revealed that his new favourite pastime is Bane baiting. He seized on all the omissions and gaps in what I was saying to Bane and started winding him up.
Eventually I got Bane standing in the open and started casting summoning spells. I possibly should have mentioned the size of the insects I was summoning as when then appeared eyeball to eyeball with him Bane looked a bit taken aback. I soon had the eight I needed and the rest of the process seemed to run itself. I was able to convey to them that Bane was and ally and as soon as there were enough of them they instinctively started to heal him.
I was relieved to see that the healing was in the form of a magical ritual, as Landril had never said how the healing was accomplished and some of Solís suggestions had been both unpleasant and plausible. Both bane and I were fully healed before the creatures vanished. Sol didnít re-appear however until the last of them was gone. I think they worried him.
The mount spell was a success. We made good time today and should be back in Brindinford by Moonday
Moonday 10th Flocktime 501
Brindinford at last. Home.
Halgar is with the temple of Pelor. We will be going there tomorrow to ask if he wants to be raised. I doubt he will.
It is pleasant to be home though.
Godsday 11th Flocktime 501
I was not too surprised to learn that Halgar did not wish to be raised. I was a little surprised to hear that something from his Godís home plane was going to collect his body and possessions.
Whilst we were at the church the subject of what we were doing came up, Thorgrim has noticed the number of bodies we are bringing back. He seemed to relax a lot when we told him that the people we were fighting were part of the same cult that tried to take Brindinford over. He asked if we could use some help in the form of one of his acolytes and, after talking to the man, we left the decision of whether to join us to him. We left him in no doubt about the dangers he would be facing but I think he will join us tomorrow.
It would be interesting to know why Thorgrim volunteered him. I got the feeling that this young priest may be being quietly got out of the temple. Perhaps the quiet life doesnít suit him? Perhaps he didnít suit the quiet temple life?
An elf waited to greet us at home, or more specifically to greet Bane. He came in, he introduced himself as Lucian Arrowdawn, he said that he was the cousin of the young female elf whose body we brought back from the crater mine and that he was here to keep an eye on Bane at his cousinís request. We looked at Bane. Bane went red.
I was just thinking that Sol would hate to miss an opportunity like this when it turned out that he hadnít and was already in the process of helping himself to breakfast. There followed another excellent Bane baiting session.
I spent most of the rest of today working on a scroll to replace those I used. This is getting really rather expensive.
During the evening Sol returned, let himself in, and joined us for supper. He was a bit concerned as he had been hearing on the streets that things were a little tense in Brindinford and some people had gone missing. What was more interesting was that he said he visited Lt. Shelia and she had seemed a bit odd, even forgetting who he was. No one who meets Sol much forgets who he is. I would imagine most watch members make a particular point in remembering.
With Spiritís help I arranged to bump into her on the streets. She was a little startled but after a moments hesitation seemed quite normal, though stressed and overworked. There was no evidence of magic effecting her.
I went on to the ĎStoney Gazeí and spent the evening there. With the aid of a couple of rounds and the number of people I know I got some feel for the local situation.
Relations between the Baron and the town council are strained with then temple of Heironious (Sheliaís destination) trying to mediate. Add to that rumour of war to the North and poor crops this year and the town is a bit on edge. I imagine that Shelia is caught in the middle of the frictions in the town. Still I will talk to a few of the council members tomorrow to be sure.
Watersday 12th Flocktime 501
There was a slight frost last night. Remarkably late in the year for it. I am glad we were at home.
Our newest member arrived this morning. He stepped into the room, quarter-staff in hand, wearing leather armour, a large grin and a backpack the size and weight of which made me fear for the foundations. Someone is going to have to take him aside and reduce his equipment to something a little more manageable. Still if he can carry that lot he could probably double as a pack mule, or possibly a wagon should the need arise. He seemed a little disappointed to learn that we were not leaving that morning, and a little nervous when he found out that Bane was going to see how good he was with a weapon.
I spent then bulk of the day gently probing to see if there were any real problems in town and getting the feeling that there were not. Still it gave me the chance to get hold of a slightly better set of armour for Amelorn. I have the feeling he will need it and I am tired of seeing comrades die.
Sol arrived mid-afternoon with the solution to the disappearances. Two eloped Halflings and the wonder of the local rumour mill. We leave tomorrow.
(11/4/02 12:52 am)
Sunday 16th Flocktime 501
We are here again. We have camped some distance from Rastor, again unwilling to use or risk the village accommodations. All except Bane seem to prefer a bedroll in the rope trick to the bed bugs in Rastorís inn. Amelorn appears to be reasonably competent as far as his spells go but very naive about the sorts of risks we are likely to encounter. I am sure he will learn, though keeping him alive while he does it may be a real trick. At least we managed to persuade him that some of the unbelievable volume of gear he was carrying, in, on and hanging from his backpack, was not completely necessary. We have decided to check out the other path that climbs into the mountains tomorrow.
Moonday 17th Flocktime 501
Considering the number of times we have used this site for camping we should build something more permanent here.
We started to climb up the mountain trail a couple of hours after dawn. Amelorn assured us that the sun had risen though there was little evidence as heavy clouds hung over the mountains hiding their peaks. As we climbed cold rain turned to sleet and reduced visibility to a matter of feet as well as numbing fingers and faces. After a couple of hours of slow travel we found the scene of a fight. Blood and the arm of an orc, torn out of the socket lay close to some bushes. Lucienís dog went to see if there was anything hiding there.
I get the feeling that Lucien has the same sort of link to his dog (the name of which escapes me at present) as I have to Spirit.
Once we were sure that there was nothing hiding there Sol and Bane went to investigate. Bane found evidence of a big cat though the trampling of the bushed suggested something larger. I wonder if the orc that died here was one of those mentioned as possible re-enforcement for the gate we first attacked?
We started leading the horses with Sol out in front. Whilst a competent scout he does seem to get distracted a bit. I asked him if he would return to tell us if there was anything ahead before we blundered into it. His response that that would depend on what he found was not what I had hoped for. Any surprise encounter can be dangerous.
As it was when the encounter came we got plenty of warning, though not from Sol. We heard a roaring and orcish voices and advanced to see an orc with a spear retreating from a mountain lion and another orc lying dead with a crossbow bolt in the back. Lucien and Bane were ahead of me and Amelorn was trying to sort out the horses behind. I donít imagine the role of horse holder fits with Amelornís idea of adventuring but it is probably worth breaking him in slowly.
Once it became clear that the lion was caught in a snare I decided not to interfere. A trapped beast was not worth using a spell on and frankly my skill with a crossbow is such that at range I would be a danger to friend and foe alike. I heard Lucien cast some sort of spell and then came a shout from Sol about a boulder moving.
Standing as I was in a pass full of boulders, I found this less than helpful. I imagine that he was pointing though I think at times Sol forgets how well he can hide.
We soon found out what he had meant as a huge figure stood up. Grey as rock with six eyes and a large black toothed maw the creature rose from where it had been lurking. In some ways itís build reminded me of an ape as its arms stretched almost to the ground giving it tremendous reach. The lion broke free at that point and charged Lucien, snarling and snapping. The creature followed and I cast a spell in the hope of slowing both lion and creature. Bane charged. Lucien stepped back out of the way, cast a spell of shielding and one of magic missile. He must have been using haste! His movement was fortuitous and left a clear path past him to both the lion and the creature allowing me to strike both with a lightning bolt without endangering any member of our group (with the exception of Sol of course as I had no idea where he was). The lion was hurled out of the fight and landed unmoving a few feet away. The creature appeared to be little more than irritated.
It lashed out at Bane and managed to bite him and get hold of him with one gigantic hand. Lucien was pouring magic missiles into the creature to which I added a stream of my own. It was amazing how the creature could take so much punishment. Bane managed to get free and then creature grabbed the lion and turned to flee. Another volley of missiles brought it down.
With the benefit of hindsight and a clear head it was probably unnecessary to kill the creature. I think that maybe this constant fighting with the temples is starting to make me bloodthirsty. It is something I need to watch in future.
We continued to climb until Sol reached the point where he could see the crater and an entrance set into the crater wall. We stopped and ate while Sol crept forward.
He returned with news that ahead lay an entrance similar to the one we first assaulted but without apparent guards or defences. Even peering into the arrow slits showed no evidence of people and little hint of what lay within. There followed a lengthy argument about what to do. Lucien was all for approaching the doors by stealth and going through, Sol for approaching the doors and talking our way in and Bane and I for returning to the other entrance. Eventually we elected to return to the first entrance and go in that way after killing the wyvern.
Sol has a point that we could probably get inside by talking but seems to forget that a few of us may be known to the occupants and most of us do not have his ability to hide if things went wrong or then diplomatic skills to talk our way out of trouble. He also seems to be of the opinion that if we were to go inside offering help they would let us in and allow us to wander around, check the place out, and then if we decided that we didnít want to help really, they would happily allow us to leave. I canít help feeling that that might be a little naÔve. Believing that Bane would stand by if he saw or heard of events such as those we witnessed in the Earth temple, like a sacrifice, id certainly naÔve. At that point a fight would become inevitable and we would be deep inside with as many foes behind us as in front.
This evening the argument that started earlier continued. It had changed subtly though more towards Solís general objection to using main force to do things and our objective, which at the moment seems to be laying waste to the temples. Lucien seemed to side with Sol and takes a positive delight in twisting parts of an argument to make views seem more extreme and objectionable.
On the whole there were some useful points in that we could get some much-needed information by talking and it is worth noting that we have never succeeded in taking a prisoner alive. Hopefully now that our scout is against killing the wounded and our cleric is still finding his feet and is from a benevolent religion we may reach the end of a fight with some of the opposition still breathing. Perhaps the chance of freedom, assuming they are willing to leave and never return, might persuade some of the guards to talk freely and depart. I do not however think I could offer the same chance to any of the priests whose religions did so much damage at Brindinford though.
There lies the last of the things that has been nagging at me. What is actually happening here?
We have four elemental temples that by their very nature should be antagonistic and we have seen evidence to enforce that belief. Yet here they are, within one complex, co-existing. I cannot believe this is a natural situation for them and there must be a force keeping them working, if not together, then at least not against one another.
Is this where then Enemy (T) fits in? His clerics, though few in number have seemed to crop up wherever the elemental clerics do. If T is responsible for the temples working together then I can only assume it is towards his goal of gaining his freedom and if so how is their co-operation useful? I think that the only way we will get to understand what is important about this place will be by interrogating a priest from this place and probably one of the Enemyís at that. I must remember to ask Amelorn if he knows of any magic that might get a prisoner to be truthful, or at least tell when he is lying.
Godsday 18th Flocktime 501
Awoke this morning to another dreary day. We hid the horses and started the climb up towards the entrance to the mine in reasonable spirits. Amelorn was little short of enthusiastic. He made me feel old (when in years I think I am younger than him). Sol returned from his position ahead to tell us that there was activity ahead. Orcís were in the process of installing themselves in the gate, ferrying supplies up from a dump at the bottom of the switchback. It would seem that they are moderately capable as they appear to have captured the wyvern and have it chained at the entrance.
Sol went forward to scout whilst the rest of us settled in to whatever shelter we could find. It is always a surprise just quickly drizzle can get on your nerves. Sol was a considerable time, though I at least expected that. He eventually returned with news of the Orcís activities.
It does appear that they are moving into the gate complex, ferrying supplies, cleaning up and generally fortifying the area. Of note were a couple of comments Sol made.
Firstly there is at least one orc with the ability to use magic. He is relatively easy to spot as he wears a large bone necklace. Possibly a tribal shaman? Secondly he spotted a dwarf within the complex, clearly working for the orcs, who was headed for the Earth Temple.
It would also appear that the wyvern has the ability to locate or detect the presence of invisible creatures from Solís description of itís behaviour.
We decided, after some discussion, that Sol would go ahead of us into the complex and that we would follow and try to talk our way in. I decided that I would remain invisible while we entered the gate complex, partly from a view that our success rate when negotiating has been abysmal and partly as I am reasonably recognisable.
In the end it all went without a hitch. The orcs believed that we were messengers after a little name-dropping and let us in. The closest we got to a problem was after being let in we and allowed to go through into the tunnels we were at a bit of a loss over how to locate Sol. He must have heard us as he made his presence known after we had got out of earshot of the orcs.
We encountered more of this new group at the Earth temple. Three orcs standing around, either protecting or guarding a dwarf and two men. Lucian stepped towards the dwarf and promptly one of the orcs stepped between then asking a question in orcish. Since none of us spoke orc and he apparently didnít speak common it looked like a potentially interesting situation. Lucian drew himself up and glowered at the orc. I never thought I would see an orc looking sheepish. Lucian managed to talk to the dwarf a little before we left. He is there to rebuild the temple. I would guess that he is there willingly though I was not so sure about the two men he was with. They seemed a little wild eyed.
We headed back through the now familiar passages to the point where the chimera had died. And explored that area. Lucianís dog (Konig I think) could seem something that he considered a predator around the corner opposite the path that the chimera had used to get around the door we blocked. That door was warded and in the end we decided to return to the blocked one and remove it from its hinges.
I do miss having spider climb available. It took us an age getting across the pit.
The complex behind the door was deserted. Whoever had been there had abandoned it and taken everything they thought was valuable. We found little of note.
The complex itself opened onto one of the bridges via an unblocked archway that radiated magic. It is interesting that this area, which I had assumed to be the Air temple was instead a simple guard post much like the entrance now infested with orcs. If there are four temples in the crater wall and a complex at the end of each bridge and at the two entrances then this place is huge.
The only other thing of interest was that the tapestries and carpeting had been left in a hall (that looked like a dining area). Whilst the others could not avoid making fun of me for looking at the tapestries as a potential source of income I could not help noting that there was a certain amount of disappointment when they asked if I had a particular spell on a scroll and I had not. It may be worth pointing out that it is the sale of things retrieved from here that allows those scrolls to be made.
The invisibility wore off during the exploration of the bridge complex. First time one has run out rather than been dispelled in a fight.
We returned to the room close to the Ďlarge predatorí and Sol scouted. He reported two large hunched creatures with fur and feathers around the corner. Short plan and we decided to attack them. I cast a summon monster spell, then hurled a fireball into the room, scorching both creatures. They lumbered forward a bit and paused. The ape I had summoned charged and took the brunt of their attacks as it got close, neatly allowing Bane to get into the fight unharmed.
The creatures were very strange to see. Far taller than a man they appeared to be a strange mixture of a bird and a bear and demonstrated a tendency to try to grab their opponents. The ape was taking the brunt of the attacks and doing a little in return. Bane however was exhibiting the symptoms of a haste spell and the outcome of the fight looked certain. Lucian started using his bow and the combined attacks killed the creatures in very short order.
We paused briefly to catch our collective breath then continued slowly down a gently sloping passage that ended in a large (extending beyond darkvision) lake. I could just make out a stone column some 60 feet out and directly ahead. There was a boat in the water, moored to the shore we stood upon. No-one even contemplated using it.
Sol went ahead once more, using Baneís boots to climb the walls. He returned to report a group of nine black robed and armoured men in a room on the far bank. He also mentioned that the column did not actually reach the ceiling and that there was a narrow ledge on the far side.
With the nature of the place we were in I could not help wondering if captives had been left there for whatever lurks in the water.
Lucian cast light on a coin and using mage hand slid it into the water and made it search back and forth. It gave us an idea of the depth (some 18 feet) and we caught a glimpse of movement in the depths near the pillar. Definitely no volunteers for a boat trip after that.
We retreated some distance and took refuge in a rope trick. It seems that a number of spider climb spells are needed.
(11/4/02 1:25 am)
Re: Updated Diary|
Great read. That player's worth his weight in beer. Light on a coin then mage hand. That's just brilliant.
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
(11/4/02 2:26 pm)
yeah i thought it was nice. The hag didnt think so though...
The players are petrified of that lake...they've even started talking about going the other way!
(11/5/02 12:05 am)
Re: Updated Diary|
My players are pretty spooked, too. Of course, they actually heard the hag speak (I described it as a voice that sounded like it came from something very, very misshapen. Yet it had a light timbre. My players' imaginations did the rest). And they glimpsed the prisoners' cave and hear a coughing and the clanking of chains. One of my players gripped the edge of the table there.
For some reason that cave really seems to strike the fear of God (that is, us the DMs) into the players.
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
(11/7/02 1:37 am)
Updated Diary (on time this time!)|
We have just finished yet another discussion and unsurprisingly that has led to a change of plan.
Sol has been advocating an attempt to find out more about what is happening here again. In some respects I have to agree that we do not know enough. He suggested that we capture the orc shaman and interrogate him to get a better picture of what is going on here and after a short discussion went of to find out what the shaman and the orcs were doing.
He returned with news that there was a significant effort going into the rebuilding of the ziggurat. The shaman appeared to have responsibility for getting the work done and the orc guards were now helping clear the site. More interesting from the point of view of capturing the shaman was the fact that he seemed to venture down to the Earth temple periodically to check on progress, a habit that put him right on the edge of the orcís domain. Also of interest was his action while he was there. He came with a box containing vials of liquid for the dwarf and the two humans. Once they had drunk this (willingly) Sol said he saw the two humans brighten up and go to work with increased enthusiasm an even good humour whilst the dwarf, whom also returned to work similarly enlivened, also displayed signs that the potion affected his concentration.
We discussed a number of other possibilities including seizing the dwarf or the two humans however that opened up a whole new argument about what to do with captives. Sol takes a positive delight in coming up with awkward scenarios and moral dilemmas. In some ways I find it sort of useful as it helps clear in my mind what I am doing here and how I ought to react to things before they happen. It is always good to be prepared.
This sessionís particular focus was about the fate of the dwarf and humans if we took them prisoner. Sol harped on and on about the fact that they might not think they were doing anything wrong. When Bane and I said that we would tell them what they were building and what happened here before we told them to leave and not return he promptly started arguing that it would be our word against their employers, or maybe they had dependants and needed the work.
After a while it got tiresome but it helped clarify things in my mind. As far as I am concerned it comes down to choice. If they know what is happening here and they chose to continue to support it then they side with the temples and are accepting the consequences of their actions. If we capture and release someone, or run someone off to stop them building the temples and they willingly return then I do not think I will lose any sleep if they are killed when we next have to stop the templeís construction.
On the whole I think that Sol argues for the fun of it. I could barely refrain from laughing when later on he mentioned that the temple was about ten days from completion and was seeming to suggest that we needed to attack it to stop itís completion.
Planning for the capture of the shaman seemed to centre on ensuring that he did not find out who we were, and that we needed to get him somewhere safe to talk to him. The difficulty once again came with the Earth temple as that seemed to be the most vulnerable spot for him, and the edge of the orcís territory. Once more we came to the Ďwhat do we do with the other people thereí question and the only answer that anyone could come up with, including Sol, if we were to remain anonymous was that any bystanders would have to be killed. I added a point in that neither the captive nor any of the other orcs, humans etc could be allowed to know about the rope trick.
In the end I managed to come up with a solution, at least in part and we worked from that as a base plan. We decided to use invisibility, fly and levitate for those of us unable to move quietly or hide and back past the Earth temple to the cavern where we met the manticore. Once there the intention was to cast a rope trick and wait there, hidden, for the shaman to visit the temple again.
That part of the plan went off without a hitch. Now we must wait.
Watersday 19th Flocktime 501
I woke feeling rested and learned the same set of spells as I used to get here. We have been here for quite a while. Amelorn has awoken and is praying which tells me that it is dawn outside the mountain. Sol is outside and Bane is fidgeting at being cooped up in here. I wonder how long this will take? The prospect of spending a day or more in here does not appeal and I think Bane will be about ready to climb out of his skin in a few hours. This suits Solís mentality far more than the rest of us. Sol has signalled and I see light below.
A group of orc guards with the dwarf and the men have passed us, probably to start work for the day. More waiting.
Life is full of surprises.
Around midday the shaman passed beneath us headed for the Earth temple. Bane left the rope trick carrying a bag with silence cast upon it and we waited. From the entrance to the rope trick I got an excellent view of the attack. The shaman strolled back into the room, apparently feeling quite secure in this area. Bane charged up behind him in complete silence and brought the bag down over his head and Sol stepped up and struck him with a sap. It took a second blow to fell him and a few seconds to bundle him, all neatly hooded and unconscious, into the rope trick. We stripped him, tied him up, and waited while the silence spell ran its course then, after checking that he was still insensible, we decided what we wanted to ask him.
Lucian volunteered to interrogate him, a skill he proved to be suspiciously good at. Before we woke him I cast a detect thought spell upon him and made sure I could read his thoughts. He was unfortunately dreaming of orcish women.
Once he was awake and past the initial pain and panic his mind proved to be extremely ordered and analytical. His first thoughts were assessing who might have done this to him (a list that was almost entirely orcs, with one human whom he rapidly dismissed). The first couple of questions reduced this list, each image being eliminated with a carefully considered reason, and he rapidly came to the conclusion that he was not in the hands of any of his quite numerous enemies.
To summarise the information he provided:
His name is Mureka and he was hired to guard the gate. Unfortunately the hiring was done via his brother (whom during the course of the next few minutes he developed a serious intent to kill). There was no particular length of time they were hired for (his thought suggesting that they were there until the money stopped) and the money was being paid to his tribe who reside in the local hills. He is here with 20 orcs (though he tried to make out that there was a larger number, unaware that I was reading his mind) and is in charge. The dwarf, Rakus Deeperdark, was part of the arrangement. He is to be protected and aided in rebuilding the temple. Mureka is also under orders to deliver a box to the dwarf and his human helpers every day. This box appears in his quarters and he has never seen it delivered. He said he did not know what was in the vials other than they did not radiate magic. His thoughts suggested that he suspected that the vials contained a drug. Other specific orders he was given were that he was not to enter the mines and not to venture past the Earth temple. He was also ordered to allow those wearing ochre robes and with symbols to pass unhindered.
The information he had was severely limited and his knowledge of the temples virtually non-existent. We clubbed him senseless and left him in the room from which he was take with just his clothing before using the same combination of spells to travel past the Earth temple and away from the orcs. Sol stayed long enough to see him awaken, cast multiple spells and look around. I imagine that one of those spells was detect magic. Happily I had dismissed the rope trick before we left.
Whilst not the most informative of sources the capture and interrogation of Mureka was useful, both in finding out about the orcs, and in exploring our abilities to gather information this way. I think Amelorn was a little shocked, particularly when Lucian drew blood from the shaman, but he will get over it. Better strip him of his naivety slowly that shock him badly later on.
The possible use of drugs was something I had not considered in keeping workers here loyal. Another moral dilemma for Sol to cause trouble with.
The plan is now to cross the lake and reconnoitre the other side. Considering the way this normally goes that means slaughter a few things then get forced to run away. Our nervousness about travelling on the lake has meant that I must use up a fair number of my weaker spells to give the rest of the group the abilities to climb the walls. Personally I intend to fly.
Earthday 20th Flocktime 501
We ate a meal before heading for the lake. It was strange to see our entire group crawling up walls and across the tunnel ceiling as the got used to the spider climb spell. Sol went ahead as always and we waited a few minutes before I turned invisible and we approached the lake. As I arrived I saw a sunrod enter the water, hurled apparently by Sol. I looked but could see no sign of what had caused him to hurl it. Behind me spells were being cast and when I looked back that last of the group turned invisible. The ability to fly is wondrous, both for the feeling itself and for the freedom it grants. I was across the lake in no time.
Though I looked I could see no sign of Sol. I really should stop bothering to look. I hovered and waited for the sound of Amelorn to reach me. Being quiet is definitely not his forte. The lake was silent and still, the only ripples being the dying echoes of the splash from the sunrodís entry into the water. At least it provided a glow to the water that should outline anything trying to reach the tunnel above which I was floating.
A spell and the roar of flame hinted that Lucian had got past me and encountered whoever was inside the room Sol had described as a guard room. I arrived just in time to see the headless corpse of the last guard fall to the floor having met with what Bane considers to be a good plan. I asked if everyone was present, partly to let them know where I was. Amelorn had the presence of mind to name himself when he answered. On the whole he shows promise. Sol of course said nothing or was not there. I think the only way to deal with Sol as a member of the group is to assume that he is there and safe unless I hear a scream.
Lucian returned to the lake for some reason and a moment later I caught a glimpse of movement and saw him fall to the ground. I reached him first and saw that he still lived though there was no trace of what had caused his collapse. He was dragged back to the guardroom by his dog. Finally I managed to spot Lucianís assailant, floating bold as brass in the water a little less than twenty feet from me. How did I miss that?
It was hideous. A twisted female form thatís face defies description. I had to choke back a mouthful of my earlier meal in order to cast a spell and the choice of positioning for the summoned creature was due more to instinct than to thought. I desperately needed to get something between that creature and myself. The creature moved closer to the pillar and shot an arrow at a target behind me, a welcome indication that I had not been seen. The solid thud and cry of pain and anger suggested that Bane would shortly be joining me at the lakeís edge. Sure enough he arrived a moment later, bloody tipped arrow in hand, with blood running out from under his armour. Lucian joined us a moment later. Whatever had caused his collapse appeared to have been countered by Amelorn. He arrived, tossed a bow to Bane and sent magic missiles streaming into the water after the creature.
In front of us the water raised into a low dome as the creature I had summoned arrived. One of the strangest things I have seen described, a Tojanida, a creature of the elemental deeps, appeared and surged towards our foe. The water frothed as it struck. I used a wand to cast another summoning spell as I saw the tojanida shudder as the thing clawed at it. My creatureís death was surprisingly swift but with another stream of magic missiles and Bane returning the arrow she had shot at him the hideous female fled out of sight pursued by a trio of sharks that appeared in response to my summons moments later.
A spreading cloud of blood might have been an indication that the creature was dead but I have my doubts and have no intention of going swimming to find out.
The room contained little save for items related to practising swordsmanship and archery. Of some interest were the books on the table, now unfortunately badly singed from Lucianís spell. They appeared to be manuals devoted to combat. Perhaps with a little care they can be salvaged.
(11/18/02 9:55 am)
I have now encountered a couple of creatures whose very appearance is harmful. Until yesterday I had believed that the weakening effect of a truly terrifying appearance would be limited to undead but the sight of the hag like creature and its effect on Lucian and the tojanida I summoned has corrected my assumption. This form of attack (or defence from the point of view of the creatures concerned) presents a noteworthy problem. How do you find and fight something you donít dare look at and who can cause grievous harm simply by meeting your gaze? Darkness may be one defence, though it would become very hard to locate such a creature or to fight against it. Perhaps the use of fireshield might dissuade it from striking out in the dark. I think that perhaps, against such foes, summoned creatures might be the best method of attack. I have read of several creatures that are blind and find their prey by touch, acute hearing or even though feeling the vibrations in the ground set up by footfalls. Should we encounter another foe with this ability summoning creatures such as Thoqqua or, if in complete darkness, Xorn or Greater Bats might be a tactic worth attempting. Is such a harmful gaze dangerous to the creature itself if reflected?
We paused for a few minutes to discuss how to move forward and whether using that walls and ceiling would allow us to move faster by not hunting for traps. In the end we carried on as before with Sol carefully checking everything before us. Not far from the guard room we came across a large cavern dominated by a throne made from seashells. The room was deserted though lit well. I was sure I could here the clatter of pans in front of us.
Sol went to check and returned to say that the room beyond the throne room was indeed a kitchen and that he had seen seating for about thirty people and a wrestling ring. Interesting form of mealtime entertainment? He had gone al little further and found a partly finished room with a balcony in it that appeared to be being converted, or made, into a strongpoint. As he was returning to us he checked out the other passage out of the throne room and discovered that the corridor had an illusory floor. This had prompted his return, mainly to get me to take a look.
It turned out that he was quite right and that the floor was indeed an illusion over a rather deep pit. Just to add to the threat there was something I could not quite make out moving in the bottom of the pit. I was able to find a ledge on the right hand side which we all promptly ignored thanks to the spells we had used to cross the lake.
Close to the far side of the pit was a junction that lead to two rooms carved into the rock opposite one another. The bulk of the group was only part of the way across when we heard a womanís voice call out for someone called ĎNilbouleí or something close. A strange creature rushed past, thankfully oblivious to our approach. It seemed to be humanoid in form though reptilian with a head that resembled that of a frog.
I edged my way into the corridor, flying close to the ceiling and got a reasonable look at the room. It appeared well furnished with rugs, a tapestry and marble font. Its other occupant was a woman with shockingly green hair.
At this point I was feeling quite confident, flying and invisible, and edged further out get a better look into the room. The frog-man spotted me. That came as something of a shock and I flew back out of sight before summoning a dire ape to aid us in the fight that was certain to come. The people in the room began to cast spells and we attacked. When I moved back into the open to see our opponents the from-man was surrounded by a spell that bade it hard to focus upon him. He had obviously taken a dislike to me and hurled lightning in my direction. After experiencing a blue dragons breath it really was rather pathetic.
His defensive spell was more of a problem and I was forced to direct my enervate towards the woman instead. It stuck her but with little effect. Bane charged under me and into combat and below me Lucian was running through his spell repertoire under the influence of a haste spell. The summoned ape seemed unable to touch either of itís opponents and was little more than an obstacle with long arms. I attempted to dispel the magical effects on the frog-man but the spell I cast was hopelessly inadequate and I donít think that a single spell of his dropped. The woman cast a spell at Bane without apparent effect and the frog-man hurled magic missiles at Lucian revealing his shield. Lucian responded with sprays of magic missiles that struck the woman. The response from them was most interesting. The frog-man cast invisibility and vanished and a moment later the woman shrouded the entire area in fog effectively stopping the fight.
Having seen the frog-man vanish I flew back to the pit and greased the ledge in case he used it to cross the pit. Behind me I heard the woman say something about parleying and Lucianís most interesting response which was a magic missile spell followed by a call to surrender. I have always been under the impression that things like that were supposed to be the other way around.
In the end it turned out that the last magic missile spell had caused the woman to lose consciousness and prevented her answering. We took a few minutes to ransack the two rooms and then, with the surprisingly still living woman returned across the lake.
The room occupied by the Nilboule contained a number of books on a variety of magic related topics. I shall at least have something new to read when I next get the opportunity.
Interestingly the frog-man seemed to have flown across the pit, headed towards the lake and down the passage we had not ventured down. We pulled right back to the bridge complex and having made very sure that there was nothing around created and used a rope trick to rest.
I have always believed that sorcerers (like Lucian) had a greater endurance in combat than mages like myself. This does not appear to be the case. A major reason for pulling out of the water temple was that Lucian was out of spells. I seem to be able to have roughly equivalent effect with far fewer spells. It may be that this is an function of the power of the spells that he and I can cast. He seems to lack the more powerful spells and must fall back on casting multiple lesser ones instead. Still the effect of magic missiles at the rate he can cast them is quite deadly. Maybe it is just a difference in style.
It was a little unnerving to be seen while invisible but then since he was a sorcerer or mage it is possible that he had the benefit of a detect invisibility spell. Something to watch for though.
Once again we have a prisoner and an argument has started over that prisonerís fate. It is quite a problem. Sol is opposed to killing her as expected, as is Amelorn. The suggestion was made that we could take her back to Brindinford and hand her over to the authorities there though there is a question about whether they would consider that she has done anything wrong. An added problem is that if returning to Brindinford is the solution then each time we get a prisoner we have to leave this place and spend a week travelling. Other suggestions such as leaving her tied up/unconscious somewhere met with objections from Lucian on the grounds that something might find her and kill he and that would be as good as killing her.
This is quite something from someone who was happy to slit the throat of the creature we encountered in the mountain pass.
Perhaps after we talk to her we will find the decision easier.
Her interrogation went spectacularly badly. I was unable to read her mind, Lucian was unable to intimidate her and all in all the only thing we accomplished was getting her name, Calashian. She appeared to be quite controlled and despite being blindfolded and tied up spent the time trying to threaten us then negotiate with us, promising to pay us to release her. In the end we told her we needed to discuss her offer and knocked her out. Amelorn did manage to confirm that she was evil.
That leaves us with the original problem of what to do with her, coupled with the additional suggestion that we could ransom her back by Lucian. I somehow donít think that is going to happen, particularly as both Bane and I are determined to remove these temples and I am certainly unwilling to let the priests of those temples return to them so they can fight us another day. When people are calmed down a little I am going to suggest that we leaver her hidden in a room, tied up and continue on and retrieve her as we leave. Returning to Brindinford is really not an option every time we get a prisoner, at least not until I figure out how this teleportation effect works. At that time I will have more options, particularly that of stripping her of her equipment, finding an island somewhere a long way from here and dumping her there, or possibly just finding an open patch of sea.
(11/18/02 12:05 pm)
Re: Updated Diary|
Before we woke him I cast a detect thought spell upon him and made sure I could read his thoughts. He was unfortunately dreaming of orcish women.
That is just too good. The whole bit on the capture of the shaman is great! Another 100 xp for Muratis right there!
(12/12/02 1:39 am)
Campaign Log Update (Long)|
We argued for some time about what to do with our captive, even going so far as to try a vote. True democracy in action. Five people, four alternatives voted for and one abstention. Interesting that Lucian believes that I would not really have been party to killing the priestess. Whilst not inclined towards it, I was certainly not ruling it out as an option at that point and certainly would not rule it out now.
In the end decided to take a more robust approach to questioning this priestess. We rested again for Amelorn to pray for his spells and for me to change mine then took our captive to a room deep into the gate complex.
The main approach to the interrogation was the magic at the start. Amelorn used a prayer and I followed that by enervating her as this spell seems to erode the will of itís target. These were followed by doom and a curse to further reduce her will to resist. Amelorn and I finished up with a zone of truth and detect thoughts and then woke her up.
The interrogation went very well. Lucian did most of the talking, though not all. I find it quite hard to concentrate on reading someoneís thoughts and questioning so kept largely silent. The facts that are written here are not in the order in which we asked them (partly as the questioning was a little disjointed as we reacted to the information we got from her).
It was quite interesting seeing the confusion in her mind when she started telling the truth instead of lying and that once she figured out that she was unable to lie she became more evasive. With her unaware that I was looking into her mind her evasiveness helped her very little. That said when she found that she was unable to access any of her spells (possibly due to the curse) she was deeply panicked and did not fully recover from this during the course of the interrogation.
The first few questions were just to verify things we thought we new, confirming her name, her position as High priestess of the Water temple and whether or not she had performed any Ďhumaní sacrifices. Finding out that she had killed several people in cold blood made interrogating her much easier.
We learned a little about the Crater. She said that the temples were here because the site was a holy place for the Elder Elemental Eye and that the temples have been here for 80-100 years. Her reign as High priestess had lasted for around four years after she managed to depose the previous incumbent in a very terminal fashion.
Four priests, including herself (main prayers, at moonrise) about ten of the frog people, whom she thought of as Kua Toa, and a fair number of guards populate the Water temple. The Hag was there are a guardian for the temple and had turned up one day offering to serve. She believed that the Kua Toa came from the Stalagnos, her name for the crater lake. The purpose of the pillar in the lake we had crossed was raised and she said that it was used originally for sacrifices (though not any longer). The creature in the pit she dismissed as some form of carrion eater.
When asked about the wealth of her temple it appeared that she had very little. However she did say during one part of the questioning that if we were to help her fight against the Fire temple she would supply us with potions and a scroll that would allow us to disintegrate the Fire temple altar. This scroll appears from her mind to be carried by one of the Kua Toa..
The core of her temple, the altar is apparently located in a pool from whence it is possible to reach the Stalagnos. It is not possible to reach there from the Hagís lake.
Her knowledge of the Fire temple was sketchy but her reactions to questioning about it more interesting. She knew that there were 4 priests over there and was willing to provide us with a rough map, assets, money for bribes, scrolls and so forth if we would attack the temple for her.
This really brings out some important information about the temples attitudes.
From her point of view there was no thought of the Elemental Eye as a whole, only of her temple and the level of power she held as itís leader. If this holds true for the other temples, and we have had indications that it does, then we are facing a very strange set of organisations.
Following this line we enquired about her goals. The responses were very self centred. Her only thoughts were of clawing enough power to be allowed to join a group she referred to as the ĎDoom Dreamersí. Her answers and her mind pointed to the Doom Dreamers residing in the spire in the centre of the inner crater. Whilst her greatest desire was to join this group she knew surprisingly little about them
We focused for a few questions on the people we had read of in various letters to see her reactions.
Naquient was thought of as a Half-Elven woman in black robes with an Obex (inverted stepped pyramid) symbol.
Hedrak was thought of as a man in his mid to late thirties with a beard. Again the black robes and Obex featured. It is intriguing that she appeared to know what he looked like though she was sure she had never met him face to face.
Garrick was known as someone from the Earth temple
Tessimon was thought of as the Ďwenchí in control of the Fire temple. The amount of venom in that thought was quite impressive. Had I had the time it would have been interesting to find out if there was anything more than the fact that she is head of a rival (more powerful) temple inspiring that.
Ogremak Ė Prince of Elemental Eye, Lord of Earth. Not good.
And lastly Ukamil (or some such person mentioned by Sol) whom she had no knowledge of.
Lucian has suggested that once out of here I use spells to alter the way I look to give the rest of the group an idea of what the people we have asked about look like. An excellent idea considering my ability to draw.
Her knowledge of what was going on outside the crater was laughably small. She had no knowledge of events in Brindinford or the existence of the Moathouse (despite water element priests being present at both). While she had no actual knowledge she believed that the Doom Dreamers would probably have agents in both Brindinford and in Verbobonc.
Questioning about her activities was thought provoking. Her presence and that of her temple appeared to have very little purpose. Her days seemed to be spent sitting and plotting against the other temples and ensuring that she would not fall victim to internal plots.
This leads to the point of what are these temples doing here. If all the elemental temples are here for is to plot against one another to gain power (and perhaps aspire to be a Doom Dreamer) the only reason for their existence I can think of is as a training ground. This entire complex becomes one big candidate selection process and perhaps a resource pool for errands outside the crater or for the defence of the crater should a large-scale threat ever attack this place.
All the plots outside this mountain appear to be controlled from the Doom Dreamers within the spire.
Her limited knowledge of the Doom Dreamers gave us only a little to work with. They appear to use holy symbols that we associate with the Enemy and I would hazard a guess that the Elder Elemental Eye and the Enemy are facets of the same thing. The Doom Dreamer priests inspired great fear in our captive who thought of them as hugely powerful with direct access to her god. She had occasionally let priests through her temple (though she believes that she would have been incapable of stopping them even if she had wanted to). Her mental vision of these priests showed the usual black robes, Obex symbol and stone masks identical to that that we recovered from the Moathouse!
Perhaps this might afford us a way in.
Worryingly her assessment of our abilities to challenge the Doom Dreamers caused little more than mental laughter.
We elected to return to Verbobonc with her an hand her over to the church of St. Cuthbert. However Lucian felt a need to go and settle a score with the Hag in the lake. Bane and I agreed to accompany him and Amelorn cast water breathing upon us all.
The three of us returned to the lake, invisible in my case, and after scanning the waters with a light spell, coin and mage hand, Lucian and Bane entered the water. I cast a summon spell for another tojanida and sent it under the ledge with orders to attack the Hag if it found her. It went, a few seconds later it was dead. I think we had found the target. Lucian started to swim towards the cave and I saw Bane start walking along the bottom. I cast another summoning and sent four sharks speeding into the cave with the same orders as before.
Thinking to join my companions, but intend on being sure I could cast spells whilst in the water I knelt and stuck my head under the water to attempt to cast a cantrip as a test. This test was promptly forgotten as I overbalanced and fell in. My ability to swim is not the best and as I found myself in eight feet of water I demonstrated my ability to swim about eight feet. Fortunately water breathing works and the walls of the lake were rough enough to give purchase so I could climb out. Much as I wanted to join Bane and Lucian I think that my inability to make any kind of progress in the water would have been a bit of a liability.
I stood coughing for a while before noticing that we were being watched from the opposite bank by a crouching dark robed figure. I moved to where I had some cover and watched him. Eventually Lucian and Bane surfaced with, amongst other things the Hagís head.
Neither was able to spot the figure where it was crouching but Lucian sent and arrow flying in the direction I indicated. Unbelievably he hit the creature that promptly disappeared from sight.
We returned to the others, bundled the priestess up like a package and with the aid of a summoned mount for a packhorse headed for the orcs and the exit. A few ochre robes and a superior attitude and we were safely outside again.
Freeday 21st Flocktime 501
I have decided to use this time that we are away to gather information about the temples and what is on the other side of the bridges. The method is now the most efficient I could imagine and consists of using a place I am familiar with and scrying there then using what I see to guess where to put the next magical eye. I was able today to locate the far end of the bridge from the gatehouse that we have previously emptied. The the other side of the bridge features huge black double doors. They appear to be inlaid with silver and show no hint of hinge or handle. The only feature of the doorís surface is a circular depression carved into itís surface and once again inlaid with silver. Beyond the doors is a hallway decorated in white and blue with scenes of stormy skies and a generally airy theme. Partway down the hallway are two doors made from black basalt with a round purple stone in the centre. I could see no evidence of door handles an so assume that the purple stone is linked to the use of the doors.
Sunday 23rd Flocktime 501
Further discussions with our captive priestess gave us a little information about the doors on the far side. Firstly the door to the inner crater associated with the water temple is accessible only by boat and has no bridge associated with it. Her memories of trips there were of walking blindfolded then crossing the Stalagos by boat to a landing and a set of doors there.
More important was the revelation that the method of entry is to use the small magical objects similar to the one she possessed. According to her when tow of the same kind are brought together they form a key that would open the appropriate door. We have one of the two halves of the key to the ĎWater doorí and both halves of the key for the ĎEarth doorí.
With this knowledge I was able, eventually, to locate the fire doors using rough estimates and scrying for either the bridge or itís shadow during the late afternoon. Beyond it I caught a glimpse of a room with a pit in the centre, lit with a flickering red light. Plenty of flames and red marble help to confirm that this is indeed associated with the element of fire. Temple design definitely does not go in for subtlety.
We reached Brindinford this evening and plan to spent tomorrow here (at Lucianís request). I think tomorrow will be a day for catching up with what is happening here.
Moonday 24th Flocktime 501
Spent the bulk of the day around Brindinford checking on what has been happening here. On the whole it has been quiet.
An hours work scrying allowed me to locate the earth door, or at least a door inlaid with brownish metal and with a triangular recession in it surface the same size and shape as the keys we retrieved from the earth temple. The positioning of the sensor allowed me to catch a glimpse of the edge of a tower built to the side of the door apparently made of a light blue metal.
A second spell suggested that the tower was high, narrowing towards the top. There were unglazed windows at the bottom and a catwalk running round the top. May be worth a look inside.
Beyond the door I found a room of brown and grey stone with plenty of murals depicting creatures climbing out of the ground to cause death and destruction. Subtlety again. Oddly there was a pile of earth in the corner of the room. Considering the nature of these temples I would view that as a source for potential threats if we enter that temple.
From the information that the priestess gave us, our forays into the crater and the scrying there are a few points of interest about the layout of the temples.
Firstly it seems that some pains have been taken to ensure that in order to reach the bridge associated with any particular element the personnel of that elemental temple (in the outer crater wall) have to travel through another temple. With the level of antagonism between the temples this would mean that to reach the inner crater and enter it a priest would need either an escort from those who work within the inner crater and can get passage through all the temples or would have to completely defeat at least one other temple.
I would guess, if this holds true, that the other side of the Ďminesí is the air temple.
Godsday 25th Flocktime 501
On the road to Verbobonc. Pleasantly warm for a change.
Managed to locate the landing and water door.
Watersday 26th Flocktime 501
Investigating behind the water door. Immediately behind the door is a corridor with a long pool in the middle. The place is illuminated with a green luminescence and once again the walls are subtly decorated with pictures of aquatic creatures coming up out of the pool. Partway along the corridor it rises in a set of steep stair with a trench cut between the two sides of the corridor to accommodate the pool. At the top of the stairs is a door.
On the other side of the door the passage turns immediately to the left and widens. Most worrying was the material that the passage had been carved through. Black rock with thin violet veins makes up the walls and floor and for some reason I thought I could see movement from the corner of my eye. Whilst not quite the same this seemed a little reminiscent of the obelisk beneath the moathouse. Not a pleasant prospect at all.
A little further in treated me to a view of a black iron wall with ochre robed priests depicted upon it between numerous arrow slits. A job for tomorrow I feel.
Earthday 27th Flocktime 501
There are gnolls behind the arrow slits. Reasonably armed and armoured but knowing that they are there really makes them a much reduced threat. Rest of the spells were spent mapping out al little more of this area.
Freeday 28th Flocktime 501
I decided this morning to take a look into on of the towers that tent to flank the gates. Since we will at some point have to cross the bridge knowing what is there as a lookout would be invaluable. Nice to be right occasionally
The bottom of the tower is a large room furnished for 10 men, in this case humans with the expected bows and armour. Where things start to differ from expectations is with the other occupants. Several (I would guess at 10) huge hornet like insects, clearly used for riding, are kept here. This would give the guards that live here quite an advantage. Flying cavalry in an area where your ability to move is restricted by the constraints of the bridge is not something I like the thought of.
Part of the room contains a pit full of some gooey substance and apparently paralysed creatures (a giant owl and a giant spider were visible) so I would guess that the hornets are venomous.
The last and possibly most important point from this lower room is that the walls are completely transparent from the inside. Whomever is on guard in there must get an unparalleled view of the bridge as well as a huge opportunity to have a laugh at the expense of anyone trying to climb the outside of the tower to sneak in through the top.
The first thing that I noticed on checking out the upper part of the tower (close to the walkway) was another human on a flying mount standing watch. It can be quite a shock when you manage to cast one of these spells right next to a guard.
The upper part of the tower is one room, dominated by a pillar of blue-violet energy that runs down the centre of the tower. There were vaguely humanoid shapes writhing within it.
This is perhaps the most concerning thing that I have found as I have no clue as to what it is or what purpose it serves. It clearly stores or requires a large amount of energy so where does this come from? Are the shapes that I glimpsed within it native to it or held in torment? And if this is a store of power what is it to be used for?
Starday 1st Wealsun 501
Arrived in Verbobonc today. Nothing much seems to have changed. After a lengthy explanation the priests of St. Cuthbert were quite eager to take the priestess into custody. I somehow think she is not in for a good time.
We had a lengthy discussion over whether to contact the Med Jai and see if they would be of any use. In the end we decided to, using Bane as an intermediary.
I took time to cast detect magic on the mask (from the statue in the maothouse) and got a strong magical aura that hinted of transmutation magic. Having seen that I am not inclined to try wearing it.
Moonday 3rd Wealsun 501
Have spent the last couple of days in Bethains coffee shop relaxing and acquiring spells. My original intent on returning here was to learn how to alter my form but with the poor situation as far as finances go I have had to change my plans a little and get a few less powerful spells. On the positive side I will be able soon to turn the whole group invisible, if only for a short time, with one spell which should have some serious advantages.
We had out latest encounter with the Med Jai this evening. They sent someone more junior and on the whole the meeting was better particularly in the light of our extremely low expectations. On the plus side they are able to dig out information and after a few questions about doom dreamers and the mask the priest who turned up (from the temple of Pelor) left promising to find answers to our questions in a couple of days.
Watersday 5th Wealsun 501
Our Med Jai friend returned and provided a certain amount of information. He associated the mask with a four sided statue which appeared to dipict facets of a Ďchampion of elemental evilí who is supposed to be able to wield great power from the elemental planes.
He provided limited information about doom dreamers saying that there were only 2 know to have existed.
At least he stayed for a drink.
Earthday 6th Wealsun 501
Fair weather and we are on the road again. Once more I am using the breaks in our travelling to look into one of the temples in the inner crater, concentrating on the earth temple.
Around the corner from the entrance hall there appears to be a guardroom with roughly eight warriors there. From watching them sparring they appeared to be a little more competent than the standard guards we have faced in the outer temples are. A small passage lead from this room with a door at the end. This lead to another short passage from which there were two other exits the closer of which (to the entrance) turned out to be a fairly spartan bed chamber with two beds, a black table and a chest. I assume this to be the room belongin to a robed figure that I saw sitting outside the room reading.
Freeday 7th Wealsun 501
Continued with the investigation of the earth temple. The other exit from the short passage lead to a large room with an pillar in the centre that reached the ceiling. The pillar appeared to have three alcoves containing statues within it though I could not make out what they were of. Leading off from the pillar room was a door to a richly appointed bedchamber, part of which was screened off. There were three figures within.
The first I assume to be Hedrack. He certainly fitted the description and was wearing moulded spiked armour. I would guess that he is indeed a cleric.
The second figure was humaniod and wearing a lilac mask. He was fully robed and other than being the same height as Hedrack it was impossible to see anything more about him. The last was a skeleton.
I shut that spell down immediately and looked down another passage. Aside from seeing a crossroads and a wall with green goo filled alcoves I got little more.
At the suggestions of my companions I took a look into the temple again after dark. By chance I caught the man I assumed to be Hedrack in bed with two rather good looking women. He appeared less than happy at an interruption at such a crucial moment. His return scry was remarkably prompt but fortunately he got to see little but darkness thanks to the stone I carry.
He asked a few questions, made a few threats and the scrying ceased some hour later. I assume he is in possession of a magical device for scrying.
Unfortunately whilst I was keeping him in the dark Lucian decided to enquire whether I was alright and addressed me buy name. Perhaps not the smartest of moves.
There was some considerable discussion about the amount of danger that my scouting exposed the group to. Sol in particular seems to have some deep difficulty with the idea of someone doing something that he is not aware of or knows how to deal with. With Sol leading the criticism of my methods of gaining information I found I had great difficulty in taking any of it seriously. In a lot of ways it is nice to put Sol in the position he regularly puts us in. Perhaps some of the arguments had merit but with Sol as a spokesperson it is very hard to see past the double standards.
Starday 8th Wealsun 501
A nervous day. We managed to successfully annoy Hedrack again. After a discussion about where we should we decided that another look into Hedrackís room would be worthwhile. Our timing was as ever impeccable and I caught him at lunch and even succeeded in placing the sensor over his dinner table. He reacted, I feel, rather poorly.
I think it came as a bit of a shock to the young lady who was at the table with him when he butchered her and used her blood as component in a rather long spell. He was in fact still casting it when ceased scrying some minutes later.
Nothing has turned up through the day in response to our intrusion. I assume whatever method he intends to use to attack me is not capable of instantaneous travel.
Sol at least was vaguely amusing suggesting that after the scrying session we sit and have lunch and wait for something to arrive. The only strange occurrence was the forest around us immediately after the event went utterly silent. I am not sure what to make of that yet.
Sunday 9th Wealsun 501
Another nervous and otherwise quiet day. We encountered nothing and saw no hint that we were being watched or followed.
Moonday 10th Wealsun 501
I hope I can get some rest tonight. Last night was horrific. Nightmares broke up my sleep every time I closed my eyes and I woke this morning without getting any rest at all. I could not even summon sufficient calm to re learn spells. Looks like tonight we will be sleeping in the open. I would guess that this is part of Hedrackís revenge.
It has been a tiring day.
Godsday 11th Wealsun 501
Last night was as bad. Images of being crushed and buried alive so intense that I woke feeling physically ill. Lucian has suggested that Amelorn pray for remove curse spells to see if that will work.
At least he is able to think straight.
Perhaps tonight will be better as we reached Brindinford this evening and I will be getting to sleep in a bed. As it turns out Lucian has purchased the clock tower from the town and is building an inn there.
Watersday 12th Wealsun 501
Slept in this morning as I got the first decent nights sleep in ages. A little rest has cleared my head considerably and allowed me to thinks about what is happening.
Lucian and I have been considering what can attack a person in dreams. Several creatures could be possibilities and I can think of at least one arcane spell that would have that effect though I know little about it. I will check the room for creatures when I go to sleep later, both by looking for their thoughts and looking for invisible intruders.
The rest of the day has been fairly productive, spent moving around the town and contacting those merchants and townsfolk with which I am becoming friends. It is certainly the fastest way of catching up with events here.
Earthday 13th Wealsun 501
Another good nights sleep and awaking in good humour. We are headed back to the crater and should be there the day after tomorrow. With luck I will get the opportunity to discuss my dreams with their originator a conversation I hope will go on for the rest of his life, a minute perhaps if he is lucky.
Lucianís brother has accompanied us. He is somewhat unusual as he was reincarnated in the body of a leopard. I have not yet gathered exactly what he did before his rebirth but I am under the impression that he used magic. I wonder how he copes now?
Freeday 14th Wealsun 501
Nightmares again and another day spent fitfully dozing in the saddle. Last nights were so bad that Amelorn used magic to refresh me this morning. More concerning is that we have one more night (tonight) before we reach the crater and without spells I have little intention for entering. It will be a long watch tonight as Lucian has suggested I try sleeping during the day.
Typically for a night we have to spend in the open it has decided to rain.
Starday 15th Wealsun 501
We are inside the crater again. I was granted a good morningís sleep and was able to learn spells again. Since I can see little sign of this stopping I have had to consider changing my spells to compensate. Two rope tricks at the request of my companions and one of my lesser spells to bolster my defences against evil influences as a little help at bed time. A slight lessening of my overall abilities but not too serious.
We passed through the orc held gate with the aid of some robes that Lucian had had made up and headed for the earth temple. The orcs had settled themselves into the gate complex well and were more confident this time. Still they backed down quickly enough.
The earth temple had also changed. Cobwebs greeted us as we approached, initially in faint wisps but getting thicker to the point where we could barely see ten feet ahead of us. As we reached the entrance to the ziggurat room we were challenged by a voice from within the webs. Lucian responded ordering them to grant us passage.
These creatures were less easily fooled than the orcs and apparently can see a little more into the characters of those they face. I heard a comment about some of us not feeling right and got a glimpse of a figure that was half spider and half elf, much like a centaur but less pleasant to behold.
At that point a fight was inevitable.
These creatures were spell casters and bright enough to put up defences before they challenged us. The one that was visible had cast a shield spell and it blocked Lucianís magic missiles. Bane charged and struck and the area around the creature went black. The effect was not hard to dispel and Bane was able to attack again. The creature hurled webbing down the corridor, sticking Amelorn fast to the wall and seriously hampering the rest of us and once again hiding itself from all but Bane. I could hear Bane doing what he does best and then heard a second hissing voice casting a spell. The only way to get into the fight was to use some of my more powerful spells and with two spell casters against Bane it was important to get to him.
The feeling of a haste spell was glorious and once the fireshield was up I was able to get through the webbing. The creature on the ground was in poor shape and died moments later. The second one reacted to Banes advance by climbing up webs to the ceiling of the cavern and clocking itself in darkness. I chose to explore the possibilities of a fireball at that point.
Hurling a fireball into darkness gives a quite curious effect as you only see the very outer nimbus of the spells effect. The flames did apparently not kill the spider creature within though moments later we heard the sound of it casting a curing spell. A couple of crossbow bolts aimed at the source of the noise dissuaded it from further spell casting and we settled into a near stalemate. Bane strode off up the wall to wait just outside the darkness while Lucians new companion started trying different spells to injure or force the creature back into the light.
Lucianís brother appears to be able to use spells with just a verbal and material component. However he is able to change his shape and I assume can find forms that allow him to do most of the things he could do before he became a leopard. His final solution was to summon a swarm of insects and alter his shape into that of a bat so he could see the spider creature. This spell clearly inspired enough fear in our quarry that he attempted to dispel the swarm without being able to see it. At that point the creatures luck truly ran out. As he had to dispel the magic effects in an area the darkness came under the dispelling effect. Suddenly we could see him and unfortunately the swarm did not disperse. The creature put up a brave fight but the outcome was never really in question from that point.
Having searched the area we headed for the water temple. We had by that point decided to get the rest of the water key to give us a few more options. In addition we needed to get through the water temple to get to the Earth Bridge.
This time we made the crossing by boat and elected to try the other passage.
Once again Sol scouted and we followed. We reached a room that Sol must have entered. The room itself was dominated by a huge statue and in the far corner was a seaweed screen beside which Sol was standing. If we could see him that was a bad sign. A moment later he moved to the side of the screen. Apparently this was because he thought he had been seen by whatever was in the room. When it stepped out this clearly became the case. Sol tried to hit it and found his dagger glanced off the creature. Then he ran.
It possibly was not the time to reflect on the comments of a few days ago about scouts getting the rest of the group into trouble but the thought did cross my mind.
Lucian cast haste on Bane and Bane charged. For a moment I thought the rest of us would not have to interfere, particularly after Banes first massive strike. As if in response to this the bat winged, demonic looking Kua-Toa muttered a few words, pointed at Bane and he froze. Lucian and his brother leapt forward to assist Bane and I cast a spell to aid the aiming of my next. This idea was promptly scuppered as the area around Bane was shrouded in darkness.
Two creatures that used darkness as a defence in one day!
Lucian and his brother charged into the darkness and for a while there was little except the noises of battle. Without warning Bane was dragged out of the blackness and there were a few moments of silence. Then the creature stepped into the light and received an enervate for itís trouble. It tried to cast a spell in return, briefly surrounding Amelorn and myself in some cloying, chilly black mist. Whatever the spell was it seems fairly ineffectual and the creature retreated behind the area of darkness.
At this point Bane regained control of himself, realised what had happened and became quite annoyed. We all followed as Bane chased the creature down and attacked it. The combination of Baneís sword and Lucianís magic missiles finished the finished the creature off quite quickly.
(12/12/02 4:39 pm)
Re: Campaign Log Update (Long)|
"If all the elemental temples are here for is to plot against one another to gain power (and perhaps aspire to be a Doom Dreamer) the only reason for their existence I can think of is as a training ground."
Very smart reasoning. I am very impressed with Muratis' deduction. Hope he got a few extra xp for it.
"I stood coughing for a while before noticing that we were being watched from the opposite bank by a crouching dark robed figure."
Who was this?
(12/15/02 7:59 am)
Who was it|
The Kua-Toa monk (cant remember his name)..ordered to keep watch on the lake..and report back.
Still here? Wow.
(1/23/03 5:17 am)
Re: Who was it|
Errm... Any news here...?
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
The guy from Belgium
A song from the sixties
(5/15/03 8:25 am)
Re: Who was it|
hehe, my turn to bump this little jewel back to page 1... since it's 5 posts away from oblivion (despite ZfC's site) i'd still like to keep this nifty log alive...
muratis all the way, despite the fact that he quit writing... it's still a great read and a great inspiration!