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Still here? Wow.
(5/8/03 6:23 am)

Re: Session 16 - Part 4/4
For some reason, this log slipped under my radar for a long time. My loss, although I've made it up by spending the last hour reading it all.

Inf, it's a splendid read. I look really forward to continue reading it once you pick up the mantle of DM again. And I, too, wish that I could be a player in your campaign. :)

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

Here for a while
(5/8/03 5:14 pm)
Your campaign rocks Infiniti! If you are ever in need of an extra player, let me know;)

Still here? Wow.
(5/8/03 7:58 pm)
Re: Nice!
Infiniti, please pardon the minor hijack...methinks I can help phillip out.

I've dealt with an Ogre in RttToEE, and I've dealt with a Dragon Disciple who's come up from Sor 8 to his current 8/8. It's not that bad a problem, really. As a Sor 5, he's already +2 BAB behind the regular fighter types, and DD is only moderate progression. He's also going to lack the fighting feats and HD of a dedicated fighting type.

Reach, and larger weapons, will cause you some ill, but not hugely, AND it lets them actually benefit from some of the Ogre/Troll equipment in the CRM (Spud the Ogre had the Mighty Composite (+5) Huge Longbow, paid to get it strung, and used it to nasty effect against Kex the Beholder).

As for roleplay, have a talk with him about letting some of his "draconic" nature come out. Kier (my DD) has been known to purchase goats and similar herd animals for a rather noissome and messy meal (which is starting to creep the other PCs out). On top of that, he shelled out 5000 GP from his share of party funds to purchase diamonds, and has been munching on them from time to time as well (he's planning on taking the Dragon Mystic PrC when he gets high enough).

By the way, how is it that he's casting Polymorph Self? It's a 4th level spell (Min Sorc level 8) . As a Sorc 5, he only has access to 2nds.

If you want to talk with me more 'bout it, feel free to drop me an Email (

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Here for a while
(5/8/03 9:35 pm)
Re: Nice!
...and Corwyn's player is swapping out a previously played character (in my previous campaign, in my same homebrew world, so continuity is easily maintained), the dreaded Dragon Disciple (gold).

I'm sorry to hear that. Corwyn was one of my favorites. He and Shangor made a good team. I enjoyed their back and forth banter.

I look forward to the campaign continuing. It's been a great read so far. Keep it up!

Still here? Wow.
(5/9/03 5:49 am)
Dragon Disciple
No problem, Andorax! Your invaluable advice is always welcome! I could use it, too, because Aramil became a dragon disciple just as we ended that campaign, so I didn't get a lot of experience with it. The biggest problem I had though was deciding which color he should take. There doesn't seem to be a restriction, so I encouraged him to take the strongest (why not?) and there seemed little RP value or adherence to alignment (just because he's gold, doesn't mean he has to be LG).

SSShadowcat7, I liked it, too. That's gonna be the most difficult thing to work is how/why Corwyn is leaving. I plan on making it so that he doesn't go too far away, though, in case he's needed. I sent your comments to my player, so who knows, maybe he'll change his mind. Thanks! :)

Anytime you guys swing by Orlando, give me a buzz. You can either PM me or send e-mail to lance at marrou dot net. What would be really cool is if Monte sponsored a get together for the members of this board. I volunteer Orlando. ;)

Still here? Wow.
(5/9/03 6:46 am)
Re: Dragon Disciple
Well, with Kier, I imposed an extra restriction...I didn't let him start off the campaign as a DD, and I told him that he would have to actually meet a Dragon before he could become one (although I intended to lead him to it with dreams, visions, and plot hints...which I did).

I decided (personally and arbitrarially) that his true-form Dragon type was Bronze, and if he met with a Dragon and talked to it, it could teach him how to unlock the potential within and begin along the path.

I also ruled that if his "meeting" a Dragon wound up being violent and destructive, he could get what he needed by drinking the blood of the Dragon...but that that would override his natural type and result in him adopting the type of the Dragon he drank from.

As it turned out, prior to turning 9th level, the PCs met up with an Adult Black, negotiated (and wound up accumulating 10,000 GP worth of coin and pearls to pay him), and it taught him what he needed to know. Thus, Kier became a Bronze DD.

I like to have some story-basis for coming up with a type, not just a strict "well, that one's got the baddest breath weapon" sorts of things.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Still here? Wow.
(5/9/03 7:48 am)
Re: Dragon Disciple
Good point, Andorax, and you've given me an idea about how to bring Aramil into this campaign. He is currently in a much different area of the world, so perhaps his condition has been regressing. He's losing his connection to his dragon nature. He needs to find a gold dragon and convince it to help him metamorphis into a true dragon disciple. Fortunately, the only gold dragons to be found at the moment are near Khorasan (my Verbobonc). This puts a little more of the RP back into the decision and I'm sure we can come up with additional details. It might also give the character a "sponsor" or mentor, who requires gifts in order to continue the training. They don't need to be extravagant, but it would make it more interesting. It would also give the players motivation to travel back to Khorasan every once in while.

I like the idea of drinking the blood, it seems sufficiently creepy, and..."dragonish". I think maybe a ritual is lacking, causing the regression, and he either needs to convince a dragon to go along with the ritual or coerce it. The ritual can, of course, be accomplished whether the dragon is alive or dead. ;)

The guy from Belgium
Here for a while
(5/11/03 1:47 pm)
Re: Dragon Disciple
thanks andorax

some suggestions while i have a little time:

-my dragon disciple is silver, because it's a nice color, i'm not very restricitve about it

-he doesn't just evolve, he went looking for fellow DD's in verbobonc and got an address from a salesman who provides exotic animals which will become familiars for wizards and sorcerers. He revealed his scaly face, claws and teeth in the shop (in the back behind a curtain not to scare customers away) and the shopkeeper had seen several like him in the past years. He gave Kyoku (my DD) directions and kyoku seeked them out. He had to pass a test to gain entrance to their mansion (test was a devious trap with dragons as a main theme, more of a puzzle actually)
once he had passed the test he met up with the local DD's, one gold, a bronze and a copper. He choose to retire from the campaign to study their ways and learn of his evolution.

In my campaign, he's currently playing a fighter, Kellial from the air entrance who was converted and is now a mercenary travelling with the party. In the mean time, kyoku (his DD char) is spending time with fellow DD's, meeting with good-alligned dragons and performing chores for the DD's (like reconnaisance and mapping of dragon movements in the area). In exchange, they teach him draconic lore and help him facilitate his evolution. He's levelling at half rate out of game and will be back in about a level, when Kellial will retire

In my world, i rewrote the DD: he gains +1 caster level at every even level...

he became DD at 7th level, so he was sorcerer 6/DD 1
that gave him access to lvl 3 spells... he'll be back at sorc 6 // DD4 (+2 caster level) which will give him access to lvl 4 spells... and that'll be polymorph self

we play online sometimes and i give him tasty tidbits about dragons, their weaknesses, breath weapon strength, mentality (from the slayer's guide to dragons) so he really learns stuff...

that's about it

this means the end of the hijack of your thread infiniti... thanks for having it

ps andorax, thanks! i'll be in touch some day soon to talk some more about the DD's !

A guitar
(6/10/03 3:01 pm)
The Campaign Is Resuming!
We are rotating RttToEE back in and will continue on the 21st or 28th of this month. In the meantime I have been playing a PC named Zeke who just made 9th character level and is cleric 7/sacred exorcist 2. I start him from 1st level about 2 1/2 years ago. Lots of fun.

A guitar
(6/10/03 10:50 pm)

Re: The Campaign Is Resuming!
Great! I look forward to the next log :)

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

Cordo Crowfoot
(6/12/03 2:24 am)
Re: The Campaign Is Resuming!
Me too!

Zeke, eh? Any connections to Zeros (reisen) there?

"They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers. They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came... They were scum who died violent deaths, hanging on to a certain cachet among the impressionable through their undeniable bravery and their occasionally impressive exploits" China Mieville, Perdido Street Station

Edited by: Cordo Crowfoot at: 6/14/03 1:40 am
(6/12/03 6:19 am)
Re: The Campaign Is Resuming!
I think you missed an ezCode in there somewhere, but chances are no! :) I picked the name pretty much at random and because it seems sort of exotic to me, though if I had started him after finding this board, he might have been named Cordo, Siobharek, Sierk, or something else similarly exotic. He's a cleric of Heironeous, munchkin stats (we roll 4d6 drop lowest for each stat, 3 tries, pick best, must be witnessed). We play a high-powered game so he has some GREAT stuff. I made a post about him in the Characters forum.

(6/14/03 9:40 am)
Dragon Disciple
Infiniti, in a different campaign I have a Rog/Sor/DD being played, and... well, he's sort of the orphan in the party. His character took a Con penalty at first level, so you can guess how many HPs he has. Unfortunately, he also likes to charge into combat... he has a bad habit of getting killed. He doesn't have his size increase yet, and they may help him, but I somehow doubt it.

So I guess you could say that I haven't had much of a problem with DDs. I modified it so instead of bonus spells he gets spellcasting levels at the same levels, which is the only thing IMO stopping it from being a silly Bbn/Sor nightmare. I'm looking forward to seeing how they plan to do this PrC in 3.5.

On another note, you're from Orlando? ;) I used to live there for a while. We might even know each other. ;) I'm a twin, if that helps. :0

Sorry for the hijack.


(6/14/03 12:33 pm)
Re: Dragon Disciple
I don't recall any twins off-hand. My first name is Lance, and there aren't many of us around, so that should ring a bell for you if you know me. ;)

Offgall Fizziwigg
(6/17/03 8:59 am)
Re: Dragon Disciple
Infinity. I finally finished reading your logs. You have quite an imagination. I do see a lot of free form DMing there. It reminds me of the old days without gridded maps, where you had to imagine where your characters were.

I also wanted to say, we are in the same neck of the woods. I am down in Fort Lauderdale. I am looking forward to your next entry. Now I am hooked on your log and HeresDaryl's. I don't know if I'll find time to finish my own!

Keep them coming! Thanks for taking the time to write them.

(7/10/03 7:10 pm)
Session Seventeen - Part 1/4
The Making of a Dragon Disciple – Prelude
A desert born slave, the young sorcerer looks up from the dusty tome with renewed vigor and resolve in his eyes. I must travel to Khorasan, he thinks to himself. That’s thousands of miles away, in the eastern continent. Aramil shrugs his shoulders. An impossible journey awaits him, perhaps, but no more impossible than escaping slavery from the sultan’s estates back in Sol Fazoul. The garnet in the middle of his forehead sparkles as the young elf prepares for the long voyage.

Onboard the Windy Night, Aramil pats his new magical longbow Cumulonimbus affectionately. Rare indeed, the longbow evokes electricity into every arrow it fires. Before leaving the capital city of Oran Myl for a two-month trip to Karacul, Aramil sold some of his equipment and purchased some additional weapons and scrolls. As Aramil looks out across the water from the port rail, his faintly metallic skin shimmers in the afternoon sunlight. It’s difficult for the elven dragon disciple to hide the gold tinge to his skin, not to the mention the enlarged build and bulges from his shoulders. It cost extra to obtain passage, but, as his slave mother used to say, money is the grease that makes the world turn.

His studies in the library of Inhiam have led Aramil to realize he needs help from a true dragon. His condition as a dragon disciple seems to be regressing, as apparently often happens to those who become dragon disciples. In fact, most of them die from the affliction, their systems not being able to withstand the shock. Aramil will not let that happen. The best chance of finding a gold dragon lies in Khorasan, whose elite town guard is known to occasionally use them as mounts.

When the ship finally docks, Aramil pays the captain the second half of his passage fee and steps into the bustling city of Khorasan. Already, his sharp elven dragon eyes recognize the dragons high in the sky, patrolling or just exercising. Most of the populace either can’t see that far or no longer pay them any attention. Bypassing the temple of Corellon Larethian, Aramil heads right to Betham’s Books, the place he found, through many gold pieces, to be the best chance of finding a suitable candidate.

With the help of the old sage’s cat, the young elf finds one, a retired gold dragon mount by the name of Augmanthus. As of fifteen years ago, the gold dragon lived in a nearby cave, though record of the actual location is not provided. Fortunately, however, Aramil unearths a tidbit of information that Captain Tolmer of the Khorasan elite guard was Augmanthus’s rider for thirty years, and retired at the same time as the dragon. Aramil tracks down the captain to the retired officers apartments near the temple to Pelor.

Stepping out of his apartment and squinting across the courtyard at the visitor, the grizzled veteran beckons the youngster into his kitchen. “Join me, why don’t you? You’re here about Augmanthus, yes?”

Aramil pulls the hood of his cloak off his head, obviously not able to hide his condition. “I am. Will you please tell me how I can find him?”

“Many have come in search of Augmanthus. Really, I must have his name removed from the town records; it is almost getting annoying.” Tolmer’s smile contradicts his statement, though. “Truth is, I really enjoy the occasional visit.”

The veteran spends a few minutes to brew some tea. After a cup of tea and some small talk, Tolmer steps to the mantle, and picks up a long object wrapped in blue velvet. Not looking at Aramil, Tolmer says, “I can tell you are not evil, though you might be protected from divination, but…” and with that he pulls a beautiful longsword from the velvet and, before Aramil can respond, whips it around to lay its keen edge against his golden throat, drawing a thin trickle of blood. “Tell me, do you intend Augmanthus any harm? I caution you to speak the truth, and quickly, as my ailing limbs cannot hold this sword up for long.” Sarcasm at its finest, Tolmer’s arms ripple with muscles belying his advanced years.

Aramil manages a response, “Of course not! I only want to halt the regression in my condition!”

With that, Tolmer nods and puts away the powerful holy sword. “Very well. I will tell you how to get there, but make sure you are ready to…pay his price.”

Aramil takes two days to travel to the dragon’s lair, despite it only being a half-day travel as the crow flies. The lair is well hidden, requiring much searching and waiting. The entrance itself can only be found during the dawning of a new day. The entrance is narrow, but tall, and oddly shaped, almost snakelike. It’s unlikely anything larger than a man can fit through the opening. Surely, a horse cannot. Aramil enters the cave and walk along the corridor leading from it. The corridor stretches back at least two hundred feet and smells so strongly of lilac that Aramil almost becomes dizzy from the overpowering fumes.

The corridor opens up into a huge cavern with no other discernible exits. A central island at least thirty feet across dominates the cavern. A wide moat surrounds the island, with some sort of dark aquatic creatures rippling its surface. Left of the entrance, an ivory bridge extends from the bank to the island. The island itself miraculously contains a few trees that are somehow given direct sunlight from crevices in the ceiling. Most importantly, however, is the huge gold dragon resting comfortably on a bed of coins, gems, art objects, and other items. A couple of suits of armor rest on forms and a large wooden rack bristles with weapons.

“Welcome, Aramil. I’ve been expecting you.”

Aramil squeaks a response, “Er, I suppose Captain Tolmer had informed you of my impending arrival.”

“Quite. I know why you are here. Come forward and stand on the bridge.”

As Aramil moves onto the bridge, he notices that the ivory is beautiful carved. In fact, it looks as if it were made of a single piece of bone, if any one piece of bones could be twenty feet long.

“Aramil, before we continue, you must be tested. How many different types of breath weapons does a gold dragon possess?”

Aramil thinks for a few seconds, making sure he gets the question correct. “Umm…two?”

“Correct. What are they?”

Try as he might, Aramil cannot remember both forms of breathing. “Fire and, um, I forgot.”

“I see. Do not attempt to step off the bridge. Perhaps this will jar your memory.” With that Augmanthus breathes noxious gas over Aramil and much of the chamber in his direction. Aramil makes a valiant effort to shrug off the effect, but in the end he is doomed to fail. He becomes significantly weaker and suddenly struggles under the weight of his meager equipment. He grabs hold of the rail on the bridge to keep from falling over, and the rail itself reacts, materializing an arm of sorts, and then reforms into a rail. “It is a good thing you at least remembered that we breathe fire. I trust you shall not forget again. You may step off the bridge onto the island, and we shall begin our training. Your strength shall return before we have finished.”

“But, that would mean we will be staying here…”

“Time has less meaning to a dragon than to mortals, although as an elf, you should understand it more than most. Do not overly concern yourself with concepts of days and weeks. Months have some importance in that the moon renews itself and years signify the renewal of seasons, but shorter durations are insignificant, much like the lives of many mortals.

“However, first we must discuss the fee. Should you have the capability, a sum of not less than twenty five thousand gold pieces, or equivalent value in magical items, is required. I see by your expression that that is not possible. Very well, the alternative is for you to perform...a quest, for me. Should you reject this, I will need to kill you. I cannot have my presence known to interlopers or those not aligned with me, despite their actual intentions. Let me assure you, however, that this quest is very perilous and may even result in a fate worse than death. Your quest, put in simple terms, is to fight the good fight against the resurging evil of the Temple of Elemental Evil.”

Aramil requires no thought for his response. He bravely states, “Although I am unaware of such a temple and what it signifies, I accept the quest.”

“Very well, let us begin.”

After a week of training and studying, Augmanthus and Aramil then conduct a ceremony that lasts about a day. Augmanthus has Aramil draw a magical weapon from the rack and cut the gold dragon’s forearm such that it bleeds into a crystal goblet. The dragon disciple then drinks a few drops of it as a few words were spoken, to bind the spirit of Aramil permanently to the spirit of dragonkind. The ceremony concludes with Augmanthus giving Aramil a small piece of his fingernail, about half the size of the elf’s hand. “If you ever have the need, brew a tea from shavings from my claw. Drink this tea and it should help you overcome any such additional regression.”

“Finally, my young protégé, we come to the quest. I have a contact in Khorasan named High Priest Granley…”

(7/10/03 7:12 pm)
Session Seventeen - Part 2/4
The Awakening
The heroes make last minute preparations while still in the capital city. The trip to Hommlet will take about a week, with another week or more to Rastor. Although it’s the beginning of spring, it is possible they will be delayed in the remote town until winter, so a lot of supplies are gathered. Kale buys a cart and horse. Sylvan learns a few new spells like dispel magic and haste. The others buy additional potions, scrolls, and mundane items.

Verilia finds two additional animal companions. One is a very small monkey named Chipper and the other is a tiny bat named Squeak. Chipper sits on her shoulder or rides on the back of Swift. The bat hangs upside down in Verilia’s cloak, except for when it hunts insects at night. The halfling druid also buys a scroll of awaken and uses it successfully on her large wolf animal companion, Swift. The ritual is taxing, but Verilia does surprisingly well. The large wolf’s amazing intelligence is revealed and Verilia is able to impart all of her known languages to him. Verilia and Swift spend the remainder of the night talking about things and in the end the wolf decides to remain in her company, even letting her continue to ride him.

Corwyn decides that he must delay his involvement in this quest for the time being. The lure of the big diamond is no longer sufficient to sway him from the path set forth by Correlon Larethian. A path upon which he must ascertain his true calling. As with the way of elves, it might take some time for Corwyn to discern the path, but hopefully it will not lead him too far astray.

The morning of the departure, High Priest Granley of Heironeous introduces the newest member of the party, Aramil. The dragon disciple expresses his eagerness to defeat the Elder Elemental Eye and lets the group know that he has been fully briefed on the details of the group’s exploits. Xaod is strangely absent, though his horse is present. The stench of stale beer permeates his saddlebags. Sylvan remains at the sage’s shop and tells the group he’ll catch up in Rastor, probably with Xaod.

(7/10/03 7:17 pm)
Session Seventeen - Part 3/4
The Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy – Rastor
The heroes approach the town of Rastor with trepidation and angst. Verilia instructs Swift to wait outside the town. Swift responds, “Verily. This particular humanoid settlement appears uncouth, especially to my olfactory senses.” He repeats the comment in the common language for those members of the group unable to understand halfling. “I shall see you all anon, hopefully before the sun sets. Let me know if you plan to lodge within yon dilapidated building.”

Rastor stands in the middle of nowhere, in a small valley in the mountains. A small stream runs through it, and evergreen trees dot the whole town. The buildings are very poorly manufactured and none of them are new. The best looking structure is the plain-looking temple in the center of the town. No symbols are visible, however, so it is unknown what deity or deities are worshipped there. The biggest building stands precariously on the north end. It is seemingly patched together with rotted wood and miraculously stretches three stories high. A smell not unlike a combination of body odor and uncured skins wafts to the heroes’ noses.

As the heavily armed adventurers stand agape at the edge of town, a mean-looking half-orc and two rough humans approach them. The half-orc, obviously the leader of the three, glares menacingly at the group, and places his grimy hand warningly on the haft of his dwarven waraxe. “Argghh, ghrff tik ul gfunkt?” When no one responds to his orcish, though some obviously understand it, he repeats in common, “Whaz yer bizness in Raster?”

Kale gets into Jardeth’s face, but assures him that the group means no harm. After a brief, but rather hostile discussion, Shangor discerns that Jardeth’s immediate superior resides within the unadorned temple. The adventures decide they want to first purchase supplies at the general store.

They head over to the general store, the Iron Spike, with their half-orc shadow watching them. They meet the proprietor, a wiry, greasy haired man with a thin black moustache and receding hairline. He introduces himself as Tal Chammish and seems very well informed and very charming. “Welcome to our fine town or Rastor. Never mind the rude manners of that half-orc. Would you be interested in purchasing any of my wares?”

Kale responds, “We’re just looking. Do you know about any strange occurrences in Rastor?”

Tal looks at him as if he were talking to a ten year old. “There are always strange occurrences in a remote mining town. After all, orcs and half-orcs intermingle regularly with the inhabitants. We have not had many worshippers of Heironeous in these parts, though, may the God of Valor shine his grace upon our souls.”

Muttering a quick prayer to Heironeous himself, Kale says, “Have you seen any…priests…in ochre robes?”

Despite Kale’s attempts to read his body language, Tal does not react at all to the questions. “Yes. Every once in a while one or two will come down from the crater ridge mines looking for supplies.”

Shangor interrupts, “Ye wouldna happen to know where the mines are, lad?”

Tal, with seemingly endless patience, replies, “Of course, everyone knows where the mines are located. They are about six miles southwest of here. Just follow the path. I’m sure Moradin will lead you right to the entrance.” Then, looking at Aramil and speaking in draconic, “That’s a beautiful shade of gold you’re sporting there. How long as it been since the change?”

With a shocked expression on his metallic face that quickly turns to a scowl, the transfiguring elf snarls at the perceptively greasy salesman. Kale then asks, “Do you have any potions or scrolls?”

Tal responds, “No, but perhaps the town wizard Tymerian will part with some.” Tal then offers brief directions, turns back to the dwarf, and speaks in dwarven, “My friend, have you been to the temple yet? I’m sure Rerrid would appreciate a visit from another cleric of Moradin.”

At this, Shangor is very interested to investigate the temple. However, the rest of the group is very thirsty and hungry and heads into the rough looking tavern, called the Grey Lodge. Jardeth keeps an eye on them, hanging out by a tree outside the tavern. The taproom is unkempt and littered with debris, the tables are worn and stained, and the stools are battered. The ale, if it is ale, tastes like cheap paint thinner. The barkeep, Yarew, stands behind the worm-eaten bar and fakes cleaning dishes. Two young women gruffly serve the patrons, though one of them sits down in the lap of a particularly grungy customer, taking a gold piece from him at the same time. They leave together up the stairs.

Only Kale and Shangor are brave enough to try the alcohol, and even Shangor can’t stomach it for more than a few sips. A nearby patrons looks over at the newcomers, “Are ye gonna drink ‘dat?” With a resounding series of shaking heads, the grubby man licks his lips, reaches over for the still-filled mugs, and starts drinking. Kale orders some food and Yarew disappears into the back room, apparently a kitchen, for over thirty minutes before Aramil decides to investigate. The tall and glittering elf finds the barkeep carelessly asleep on the kitchen table, despite a pot full of burning stew. He takes some stale bread and moldy cheese from a table back to the taproom and doesn’t wake him up.

After their lousy meal at the Grey Lodge, the group heads back to the general store, but only Verilia goes inside. The others examine the wagons and horses, or stand around watching Jardeth watching them. Inside, Tal says, “Welcome back. May the shade of a large oak forever offer you rest.” Neither Verilia nor Tal notice Aramil eavesdropping on the conversation, or so the sorcerer thinks.

Verilia, startled at hearing the blessing of Obad-Hai, automatically offers her own. “May the rain fall upon your crops. Look, I am interested…”

“…in a cup of tea perhaps? It’s very good.”

“Er, sure, why not. What herb is it made from?”

“Oh, I’m sure you’ve never heard of it. Follow me to the kitchen, please. What did you say your name was?”

“I didn’t say, but my name is Verilia Bluepipe. Try me; I’m a very knowledgeable herbalist.”

“The tea is called tanbrosh. It’s made from the brigglewerth bush, found only in the area around Rastor.”

“Hmm, you’re right. I’ve never heard of it.” Tal made two cups of tea and handed one to Verilia. The druid attempts to inconspicuously wait to see if Tal drinks first. Either he doesn’t notice, or he doesn’t mind, but he drinks first and seems unaffected. Verilia then decides to take a sip and finds out that it is very good tea. However, she only drinks a few more sips before getting back to business. “What do you know about the Temple of All Consumption?”

“A great deal. Perhaps too much.” Tal’s attitude changes drastically. Suddenly, he does not seem charming, but downright rude. “Look, Verilia, I suggest you stay away from the clerics of the temple. They are very powerful and not to be trifled with.”

Verilia considers this for a moment. “I’m sure they are powerful, but we are interested in more information on them. We have some business there and would prefer to be better informed.”

Tal shrugs his shoulders indifferently. “Well, then, I wish you luck in your dealings. The clerics worship some deity called the Elder Elemental Eye. Although I understand the story is that they ousted the previous occupants from the crater ridge mines, some useless bug-eyed dwarves, they do not seem to be necessarily evil. They do not raid the town, they pay for all supplies, and they are even friendly towards neighboring, ah, settlements.” Tal grins mischievously. “It’s been nice chatting with you, but I really must get back to work. I’ll see you tomorrow, perhaps, about the same time? I’ll have the tea ready for you.”

Verilia tries to see what game Tal is playing, but cannot. “It’s unlikely I will make it tomorrow, perhaps some other time.”

Tal’s grin gets even bigger. “Suit yourself, then. Tell the wolf I said hello.”

Sylvan and Aramil decide to meet with Tymerian, and the others join them. After knocking on the door, they are shocked by the appearance of the apparently young human woman with white hair answering the door. They learn of her foray into the Temple of All Consumption many years ago with her companions. How they had used the fly spell to go over the top of the crater and descend into the basin above the Stalagos. There, she found out that the interior is a lake with an island in the middle. Large towers surround the island and a huge central spike soared from the center. Two or three bridges crossed the water from the crater ridge to the central island. As they approached the central island, lightning bolts assaulted them. Tymerian and the elf paladin Vister were well protected, but Jurrikath Musseloto and Tenaris Glimmerdawn were not. Tenaris fell immediately into the Stalagos, sinking like a stone, while the bard fell to the nearest bridge on the eastern side with a sickening splat. Vister was flying first, and his protection must have given out because he barely made it to the central island before falling to the bridge in front of a wide door. Tymerian, deciding that attempting to go back would be sure death, continued forward over the towers and the island’s ridge and into the very center in front of the black spike. It was warm as lava bubbled between the cracks in the ground, but it was otherwise comfortable and seemingly safe. Unfortunately, misshapen undead emerged from the darkness to attack the powerful wizard. Tymerian barely managed to escape with her life; being drained of her almost all of her vital life’s energies. Over the past fifteen years, she never managed to fully recover and to this day she cannot even cast fly anymore, never mind the cloudkill spell she used to be able to master.

Lastly, the group heads over to the temple. Jardeth immediately blocks them again, who angrily questions them, “Whaz yer bizness in the temple?”

Shangor, irritated at the half-orc, replies, “Me business is me own and none o’ yers, foul half breed. Step aside or get yer skull based in.”

Jardeth steps back, suddenly not so brash. “I, uh, er, I dinnit see yer symbol at firs’, sir. Welcome to da temple. Um sure Rerrid will be happy to see ya.”

Jardeth then leads the group inside the temple and calls out loudly for Rerrid. The inside of the temple is plainer than the outside. No holy symbols are present anywhere in the interior either. The rows of wooden pews are unmarked, though well made. The interior is dusty, but not worm-eaten like many of the other, similarly old buildings in town. The temple has a single, large room, containing a dais at the opposite end with a podium and a nondescript altar, or table next to it. A font sits at the back corner. Two doors at the back stand open, one leading to an apparent office and the other leading to a rather empty storeroom. From the office strides an imposing dwarf, wearing beautiful clerical vestments of Moradin, a suit of full plate armor, and a large steel shield. Clearly, he does not beckon intruders and looks ready for business, any kind of business.

Rerrid Hammersong runs the temple, and upon closer inspection he is clearly downtrodden. He mumbles a lot and does not provide much additional information. He does, however, tell Shangor briefly about who’s important in town and about the Temple of All Consumption. Rerrid is the town elder and default leader, but holds little real power. If he had real power, the nearby orc camp would be destroyed and the evil presence of the clerics of the Elder Elemental Eye would also be eradicated. Thandain Deeperdark, another respected leader of the town and dwarf, does little to help. She actually consorts with the orcs. Jardeth, despite his lineage is a great supporter and trusted ally of the Temple of Moradin.

Rerrid says, “After all, what can one dwarf do? Surely, I’d like the Temple of All Consumption brought low, but they are too strong.”

Shangor looks disconsolately at the older dwarf, “Aye, they might be strong, but we are stronger. Do na underestimate the strength of Moradin, or have ye forgotten already?”

A momentarily flash of anger sparks in Rerrid’s eyes, and then he slumps his shoulders and shrugs. “I wish you all the luck and strength of Moradin, to be sure, but I do not think you will be any more successful than the last group of adventurers to try. Just talk to Tymerian. Nevertheless, should I be able to help, I will, but do not ask for too much.”

At that, he steps back to his office and Jardeth asks for the group to leave. The adventurers exit the temple and decide to exit the town altogether. They walk about two miles southwest of town and step of the path towards Mt. Stalagos in order to camp for the night.

(7/10/03 7:26 pm)
Session Seventeen - Part 4/4
The Bell Tolls For Whom, Or What?
During Aramil’s watch in the wee hours of the night, a few orcs stroll along the path towards the crater ridge mines. Trying to maintain silence and remain hidden turns out to be impossible as one of the orcs spots the camp. A short dialog ensues, and the orcs continue on their way after finding out that the group is also heading towards the mines. Surprised at the nonviolence of the orcs, the heroes go back to sleep.

The day dawns cloudy. The party continues down the path and, seeing the crater ridge loom in front of them, they also come across a fork in the road. One leads straight west to their right, around the northern side of the crater and the other leads south, down the eastern side of the crater. Examining the paths reveals that the road less traveled lies to the right.

The road winds up the mountain; eventually turning into a switchback and entering a cave on the western slope, slightly north. As they turn the final corner to gaze upon the main gates, Aramil notices a few arrow slits looking up the entrance. Kale steps forward to draw any attacks, but none issue forth. The place is silent as the archer walks up to the fifteen-foot wide thick wooden double doors. The left door is unadorned except for a large knocker, but the right has a hairy humanoid skull spiked where the knocker should be.

Kale pushes the left door open as the rest of the party moves up behind him. The long and wide wall looms on the other side of the door, with four large symbols painted, or engraved, on the floor immediately before him. Torch sconces line the hallway, lending it a hellish light. The symbols on the floor are a silver circle, a brown triangle, a blue square, and a red diamond. Kale steps between the symbols and up to the intersection of the hallways. To his left is another long hallway, though half as wide. Ahead, the wide hallway ends in another set of double doors. To his right, however, is a corridor leading up to a room with a large round table covered in haunches of meat, mugs of ale, and dice, and four gnolls. Above the table hangs a chain; which Kale supposes leads to a bell.

Despite his best efforts, Kale does not move silently into his position. One of the gnolls, the one closest to the corridor turns and looks at Kale. The archer does not waste a second, firing an arrow into the gnoll’s chest, but the gnoll does not fall from his chair! Instead, it croaks out a warning to its comrades. Kale reacts before the gnolls and fires three more arrows into their midst, killing only one and missing the original. In retaliation, the injured gnoll reaches up and pulls on the chain. A large bell is heard ringing throughout the complex, followed shortly by a howl from beyond the other double doors.

Shangor appears alarmed at the howling; wondering what could possibly come out the double doors. To forestall whatever reinforcements might arrive, he tosses spike stones down the corridor leading up the doors. Some archers fire arrows and crossbow bolts from the north and the south arrow slits at their only target, Xaod, who is carefully putting down his mug of ale and stepping off the cart. Hearing the twang of bowstrings, Sylvan moves up into the intersection and places a flaming sphere on the first warrior to attempt to leave the doorway on the left. The warrior falls to the ground in a pile of flames and the others step back out of sight. Verilia rides Swift up to the intersection and casts regenerate ring on Swift, Aldoroc, and herself. Aldoroc moves into the guard’s room and kills the staggering gnoll. The remaining gnolls charge the fighter, but fail to injure him. Another group of crossbowmen fire a shot or two down the hallway at Aldoroc.

The howling continues and everyone is still worried about what is on the other side of the door. The fight in the guardroom continues, but it goes badly for the defenders. The powerful combination of Aldoroc and Shangor is not to be trifled with. A few protective spells are cast by the intruders while they finish off the guards. A small group of zombies turn the corner from the north hallway and move into position around Sylvan. Shangor attempts to turn them, but struggles futilely against the bolstered undead. Xaod also tries and the attempt is just as futile. Consequently, the paladin draws his longsword and tries to pry the zombies off the elven wizard.

Finally, the double doors open, revealing a mass of defenders. Numerous longbow-wielding humans and gnolls stand in the large room, waiting to get out. An ogre in goggles and a leather cap seems to be directing the troops. Two ballistae in the rear are loaded and open fire on the unsuspecting large wolf, but only one hits. The howling, however, emanates from a huge beast with porcupine like quills all over its neck and shoulders. Amidst the quills rides a black-cloaked half-elf wielding a longsword and shortsword. After the siege weapons are launched, the rest of the group spring into action. The howler moves forward about ten feet through the spikes, then jumps the rest of the way, landing in front of Swift and Xaod. The half-elf takes a swipe at the paladin with his longsword, but misses horrendously, probably due to the jarring motion of the jump. The beast itself tears into Swift, shakes his head and sticks a few quills into the wolf for good measure. A few of the mooks attempt to come down the corridor, but they are badly injured by the spikes and stay behind to fire arrows.

As Sylvan prepares defensive measures, a horrendous stench wafts down the corridor. A troglodyte wearing full plate armor and large steel shield steps up behind the zombies and casts clutch of Orcus on Sylvan. The fate spinner fails to resist the spell and feels the troglodyte’s hand grip his heart and start squeezing. He can do naught but struggle against the spell as the zombie attack with seemingly renewed vigor against the motionless intruder. Xaod turns from the immense howler, hoping that his comrades can handle the beast, and tries to help Sylvan against the swarming undead.

Aldoroc steps up to the beast while Shangor eliminates the last crossbowman. Verilia and Swift stand tough against the howler, but it is a losing battle. The huge monster tears into the wolf’s hide like tissue paper. Cackling from the mounted position on the beast, the half-elf continues striking at opponents. Somewhat injured, Kale drinks a potion of levitation and floats to the corner near the entrance, launching arrow after arrow into both the howler and its rider, the apparent leader of the defenses. The humans and gnolls down the hall at the double doors start trading arrows with Aramil, who is seemingly well protected. The big ogre throws huge shortspears at the levitating archer.

Despite the presence of the large wolf, the smaller human in armor packs a meaner punch, so the howler targets Aldoroc relentlessly. In a short period of time, the fighter falls from the mighty onslaught of the beast, at least two of its quills lodged in his shoulder.

Eventually, Sylvan shakes off the effects of the spell and casts invisibility and levitation. Seeing no opponent, the zombies move forward to engage the paladin, who can’t swing his sword well today, probably due to the lingering effects of the beer. The troglodyte moves back down the corridor and in a few moments, some more zombies arrive.

Despite the shaking from levitating and shooting his bow, Kale concentrates his efforts on Mereclar and kills him outright, then lowers himself to the floor. In rage, the howler tries to get at the archer, but the wolf blocks its advance. Instead, it uses its strongest attack on Swift and drops the wolf quickly. Verilia manages to land safely from her falling mount and casts flame blade, ready to take on the massive monster herself. Her animal companion, for now, is protected by the regenerate ring spell.

The mooks down the hall close the double doors, apparently deducing that Aramil is a far better shot than they, particularly in combination with the shock effect imparted by his magical longbow. Realizing the peril of his comrades, Xaod turns back to the howler to help, ignoring the undead. Shangor turns the newest zombies easily, and then also turns his attention on the howler. With little melee support, and already bleeding from many wounds, Kale fires a last arrow into the beast and it falls to the floor amidst the spikes. Shangor heals Aldoroc and Verilia heals Swift. Shangor also casts his most powerful healing spell, cure critical wounds, on the bleeding wolf. Sylvan tells the guards in the adjoining room to surrender.

Finally, the troglodyte comes storming out of the northern hallway and into melee combat with the intruders. He cackles maniacally and exudes a powerful stench, weakening many of the party members. He is very difficult to hit and seemingly very resistant to spells, shaking off the effects of spells cast by Sylvan, Shangor, and Verilia. Verilia’s flame blade, however, easily bypasses the troglodyte’s armor and is pretty much the only effective attack. At one point, though, Aramil puts a grease spell on the troglodyte’s weapon, which promptly falls to the floor. Eventually, there are too many intruders and, as his rage wears off, the troglodyte flees weaponless down the darkened northern passage, his no light spell following him.

The group continues decimating the remaining zombies. As Kale fires an arrow into the lead zombie, heretofore uninjured, the undead monster explodes with the power of unliving weapon. The magical evil energy injures most of the heroes, and critically wounds Xaod. A timely cure light wounds from Shangor saves Xaod from death.

The double doors open again, and again two ballistae shoot down the hallway. Both shots miss. Aramil has enough of the games, however, and tosses a fireball into the room, killing all but two humans, a gnoll, and the ogre. The leader of the remaining mooks, the ogre calls surrender and the party accepts, already spending almost their entire allotment of daily spells.

The ogre does not relinquish his weapon, but the heroes are too tired to take it from him at the moment. For now, they are left with the numbing words and laughter of the escaping troglodyte priest from down the hall, “You shall pay for this incursion! The Dark Lord will see one of you dead!

(7/28/03 4:12 pm)
Session Eighteen - Part 1/2
The Looting of the Main Gate
The leader and his huge howler mount lay dead in growing pool of blood. Half the zombies are destroyed; the other half fled north in the same direction as the troglodyte cleric. Most of the humans and gnolls also lay dead, though many are scorched beyond recognition. The shaven-headed ogre with the leather cap and thick goggles, however, remains defiant despite his claim of surrender.

“We surrender,” mutters the ogre in a surprisingly high-pitched voice, then smacks one of the two remaining gnolls upside the head, “Put away your weapon, mangy dog!”

Kale and Aramil move forward to talk to the ogre as Shangor first dismisses the stone spikes and then administers healing spells to his comrades, particularly to Aldoroc, Swift, and the not-so-sober paladin. Xaod has used his entire healing ability during the fight, so he is of no help to the dwarven cleric of Moradin. Kale asks the ogre, “What’s your name?”

“My name is Wormspike.” Then, pointing at the dead half-elf, “That was my boss, Mereclar.” The ogre gazes around at the destruction caused by the intruders. “Look, we don’t want any further trouble. Take what you will, but let us go with our equipment. We’ll tell you whatever we know. Just tell me, which temple do you belong to?”

Swift surprises, and scares, the ogre by speaking first, “We do not belong to your temple, I assure you, my hairless cretin.”

Kale replies, “I belong to the Temple of Heironeous, God of Valor. We don’t follow your stinking temple creed.”

Wormspike harrumphs, “Then why would you attack us here in the main gate? If you got a problem with the priests, go to the temples!”

The group considers the implications of letting them go, but decides that their resources are much depleted from the battle and decide to allow the enemy to leave unmolested, but with a warning. They even let Wormspike go into his room and close the door, though not without misgivings. The ogre returns from his room equipped to travel. The party questions him and discovers some information about the complex. The Crater Ridge Mines, as they are called, contain four temples, one to each element. The interior of the crater contains the leaders of the temple, and are priests of some god called the Elder Elemental Eye. Each temple has its own symbol, as illustrated on the floor in front of the main double doors.

After the remaining guards leave via the main gate, the party ponders the situation while they loot the bodies and the nearby rooms. Thinking back, the ogre first asked them which temple they belong to, and why they were attacking the main gate. This is confusing and, as Shangor puts it, “Bloody daft. Ye’d think they’d plum get along, wouldna ye?”

The guards are surprisingly well equipped, wearing masterwork banded mail and wielding masterwork bastard swords. They also have a lot of money and many of them even have magical potions, although it seems like quite a few drank some from behind the double doors after getting Aramil’s fireball in the face. Two more bodies are found in a room at the end of the northeastern corridor, apparently killed by two zombies, though one of the zombies also lies dead. Aldoroc barely breaks a sweat as he mangles the second zombie beyond recognition with his battleaxe.

In the half-elf’s room, the group finds a chest filled with clothes and some money. More importantly, they find a note from a person named Naquent. Verilia wonders, “Where have we heard that name before? It certainly sounds familiar.”

Shangor says, “Aye! That’s the same lad we noticed in the message to Dunrat back in Hommlet!”

The note tells Mereclar to use the additional money to recruit orcs from a nearby camp south of Rastor, and to maintain his vigilance due to the search for the Champion. Shangor says, “Well, now, me lil’ half-elf, les’ see ye recruit some orcish scum now! Whadya suppose he means about ‘champion’?”

Sylvan merely shrugs, but Aramil says, “I don’t like the sound of it, though. Let’s continue looking.” They search the barracks and found nothing else useful. The ogre’s room is also relatively empty, though it is filled with filthy junk. The group wisely decides to leave most of it alone. The rooms to the south are empty, though Aramil easily spots the secret corridor with his psionic third eye.

Shangor picks up the badly damaged dwarven book and reads through some of the passages. The dwarves were apparently run out of the Mount Stalagos crater ridge mines by monsters summoned by a group called the doomdreamers. Shangor angrily mutters aloud, “Those frickin’ doomdreamers will pay for this! This I vow upon both clans Steele and Saltheart!”

He also determines from the book additional passages that the dwarves would summon powerful beings such as earth elementals to do work in the mines. In particular one would operate the bellows for the ore sifting trough and other one or two would operate the crankshaft for the gigantic ore crusher in the next room. The ore crusher is momentarily inhabited by a big spider before it attempts to bite Aramil, only to be crushed to death in a single blow from Aldoroc’s magical battleaxe.

Finding two cart tracks leading to the south, the party decides to turn back and go north, investigating the remaining rooms and determining where the troglodyte went. The final room contains a large, black-painted, wooden obex on the wall and reeks of body odor, not unlike the stench of an aggravated troglodyte. It is a powerful stench, and one the group is learning to remember. Still remembering being caught by the clutch of Orcus spell, Sylvan is the first one to enter the chamber. A couple of scrolls are found on the desk and some money is found in the drawer, as well as a letter written in draconic. Aramil reads it aloud to the rest of the group and they uncover the name of their enemy, Terrenygit.

Kale asks, “Tren-get? Terranygrit? What is it?”

Aramil spells it out, “T-e-r-r-e-n-y-g-i-t.”

Exasperated, Swift grumbles, “Oh dear, can’t you pronounce a simple name? It’s Terrenygit!”

Sylvan interrupts, “What a stupid name, even for a troglodyte. How about we just call him tourniquet, because that’s what I’m going to tie around his filthy neck!”

Swift sighs. Verilia pipes in, “Nevertheless, it seems like this Tourniquet is interested in joining the Earth Temple, but has been ordered not to by the high priests of the Outer Fane. Do you think those are the Doomdreamers?”

Aldoroc asks, “What’s a Fane?”

Sylvan, recently bestowed by a particularly powerful casting of fox’s cunning, endeavors to reply, “The word fane denotes a form of cult, particularly in reference to religious sects.”

Swift adds, “The elven scholar is quite right. Fane is usually associated with those religious groups who follow iniquity and immorality.” Then, given Aldoroc’s blank look, “That is, they are typically evil. Either that, or they have a weathercock over the temple.”

Sylvan retorts, “Not exactly. Fanes are not necessarily associated with wickedness, but in this case I’d say that it’s obvious. Also, fane has not been used grammatically in place of weathercocks since the proper spelling for vane was adopted in…”

Shangor interrupts, “Alright! Enough o’ yer babblin’! We got us some work ter do. It’s bad enough with two blasted elves, one who’s metallic, but now a wolf is joining in!”

Verilia says, “Just one more thing. If there’s an Outer Fane, there reckons to be an Inner Fane, don’t you think?”

Kale responds, “Probably. The Inner Fane must be that big spike in the middle of the central island that Tymerian told us about.”

Aramil suggest, “Perhaps these ‘Doomdreamers’, if they are really in charge, reside in the Inner Fane. I wonder who or what, besides perhaps Naquent, are in the Outer Fane?”

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