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(7/28/03 4:19 pm)
Session Eighteen - Part 2/2
The Ambush by the Earth Temple
The heroes gather all the equipment and stash it in the southern lookout room on top the cart, just outside the secret corridor. The corpses are stacked in the mess hall in front of the barracks. As the stench of dead bodies starts growing, Kale closes the double doors. Aramil smiles in satisfaction at seeing the destruction his fireball has wrought on the ballistae, not to mention the guards.

Although sorely depleted of resources, the group decides to continue north. The horses, including Xaod’s warhorse Thunder, are brought inside as well and put with the loot. Using her torc of animal speech, Verilia instructs the animals to remain and that she will return soon. The adventurers then pull out a couple of coins with continual flame and head up the corridor, trying to ignore the increasingly bad smell.

As they approach the room at the end of the corridor, they see two shadowed figures run off down the two northern exits, one to the northeast and one to the northwest. The adventurers do not immediately follow, however, and carefully enter the chamber. The passage to the northeast descends a flight of stairs into the damp darkness and the one to the northwest remains level, so the group wisely decides to go northwest. The passage makes a wide turn around to the right and ends up in another room with two exits: one to the east and one to the north. Both have stairs heading down as well.

Xaod advises, “The righteous shall always take the…hiccup…right path, so head east, Aldoroc!” Aldoroc shrugs his shoulders and leads the group east, Shangor and the paladin just behind him, followed by Verilia, Swift, and Aramil, with Sylvan and Kale bringing up the rear. After twenty feet, the stairs bend sharply to the north, but still descend. Aldoroc’s coin of continual flame illuminates the darkness like torchlight and as he steps out from the stairs at the bottom, the coin reveals an ambush!

A gruff voice hisses commands at the troglodytes from the darkness. The language is unknown by anyone in the party, but Shangor has a vague recollection of it being terran, the language of earth dwellers. A particularly large and strong troglodyte wearing half-plate armor steps out from the darkness gripping a greatsword with a dark brown triangle engraved in the pommel. He lifts the greatsword, pointing it at Aldoroc, chants a few words and a stream of rocks, gravel, and dirt shoot out of the sword and hit Aldoroc in the chest! Before the party can react, four more troglodytes wielding longspears step into range, and a few more in heavy armor stand in the back. All wear unholy symbols of the Elder Elemental Eye, with a small brown triangle dangling from the bottom. One of the troglodyte clerics in the rear, a female apparently, orders an earth elemental to step forward into melee combat. The stench in the hallway from the lizards becomes almost unbearable and nearly everyone in the party is affected by it.

The heroes react. Aldoroc hacks with his battleaxe. Xaod steps up to block off the opponents with the longspears. Swift growls and moves up to Terrenygit and tears into the reptilian’s leg, tripping him up in the process. Swift nearly gags from the stench, “Ugh, and I thought they smell bad…on the outside!” Verilia, Aramil, and Kale stay back and launch missile weapons, ranged spells, or cast protective spells on fellow party members. In particular, Aramil uses false life on himself and Shangor, while Kale attempts to fire an arrow or two when the opportunity arises. Shangor casts magic circle against evil. Verilia casts heat metal on Terrenygit and the Swordmaster, but the Swordmaster manages to shrug off the effects.

Sylvan throws a bead of force at the troglodyte clerics, injuring them but trapping only Terrenygit, the one cleric with an unholy symbol different from the others, an obex. Though the sound is faint from within the force wall created by the bead, the party hears Terrenygit shout, “Miikolak, dispel this damn bead!” One of the troglodytes at the back, apparently named Miikolak and is the female who has been commanding the elemental, steps away from the bead of force and casts dispel magic on it, ending its effect. Shangor attempts to wrest control of the earth elemental away from Miikolak, but fails. He is further surprised when the elemental bypasses his magic circle against evil spell and slams into his shoulder.

The high priest, who is apparently the one hissing orders at the other troglodytes, moves up to Xaod and casts a spell unknown to the party, but causes the paladin to become paralyzed. Xaod valiantly tries to resist but ultimately fails. Then, the four zombies that were previously turned by Shangor emerge from the southeast passage, around the corner from the stairway, and surround the paladin. The leader then mutters, “Kill the human, Swordmaster, no warrior can stand against you!”

The greatsword and battleaxe clash repeatedly, but Aldoroc maintains the upper hand; particularly with help from his comrades in the form of magic missiles from Aramil and Sylvan and arrows from Kale. The troglodyte mumbles in broken common, “You would not stand a chance against me in one-on-one combat, human” as he drops to the ground bleeding from numerous wounds.

The troglodytes with the longspears, however, are slowly but surely ripping apart Swift, who is not giving as good as he gets. Shangor and the earth elemental still struggle as the dwarven cleric attempts futilely to obtain control of the elemental twice more. Some protection must be blocking his control of the elemental, he reasons, as none have ever resisted his control for so long. Either that or the female troglodyte is strong.

Miikolak, now armed with a quarterstaff bristling with brambles not unlike the weapon wielded by the hermit so long ago in Nulb, steps up and pulls the Swordmaster out of combat, provoking an attack of opportunity from Aldoroc, though her heavy armor absorbs the blow. Before she can heal her comrade, however, Sylvan shoots a ray of frost at the injured fighter, hoping to kill him outright before he can rejoin the battle. Unfortunately, the ray misses, but the attempt is not forgotten on Terrenygit, who yells in rage and wildly attacks his nearest opponent, Swift. The zombies continue attacking the helpless paladin, but barely scratch his armor.

At the rear of the group, partway up the stairs, Kale looks for another target. He finds one, but not in the manner he intended. A longspear materializes out of nowhere and knifes into his back. A female troglodyte rogue appears up on the wall above Kale, balancing precariously with two hands on her weapon. Two more troglodytes also become visible just up the stairs and stab at Kale and Aramil with their longspears. Before Kale or Aramil can target the spider climbing rogue, she drinks another potion of invisibility and disappears. Instead, the heroes concentrate their attacks on the visible opponents, with Aramil turning his shield to the new threat.

Miikolak cures the Swordmaster, who stands up and moves to retrieve the magical greatsword he had dropped. Verilia casts summon nature’s ally to call forth a hawk to harass the female cleric, but it seems to be ineffective against the heavy chitin armor. Swift and Terrenygit continue their deadly dance, but the troglodyte has the advantage due to the help from the surrounding warriors. Swift eventually falls to the ground, but remains stable due to a previously cast regenerate ring from his halfling companion. Shangor still battles the elemental, though with Aldoroc’s help elemental is quickly overcome. Sylvan fires his remaining magic missile at the lead cleric, but is otherwise tapped out of spells. Instead, he pulls out his longbow and prepares to shoot it over the dwarf’s head.

Attacks against the troglodyte leader are largely ineffectual, due to the party’s inability to score a telling hit. However, this is quickly alleviated by a dispel magic from Sylvan, eliminating the magic vestment and shield of faith from the enemy. The leader then, after being slightly wounded from attacks by Kale, Aldoroc, and Sylvan, decides to regroup and calls a retreat.

Miikolak casts stone shape and forms a thin shield from the surrounding rock, and starts using healing magic to repair her injuries. The shield also effectively blocks line of sight targeting from the opponent spell casters. The druid’s summoned hawk can easily circumvent the temporary wall, but the well-armored cleric is a hard target. A wolf materializes at her side, courtesy of another summoned nature’s ally, as she completes the summoning of her own creature, a dire wolverine. The wolverine tears into the hawk and wolf, killing both quickly. Purplish spittle flies out of its mouth, as the dire wolverine concentrates on Aldoroc.

Besides the wolverine, a nearly unspoken truce settles across both sides as both attacker and defender become aware of the other’s desire to retreat. The paladin has recovered and has defeated most of the zombies, but is badly wounded. Swift still remains unconscious on the floor between Shangor and Terrenygit, who are battling to a near standstill. The elemental has been destroyed and Shangor is helping Xaod beat on the undead. Kale and Aramil have killed two of the troglodytes while the rogue remains standing. Sylvan and Verilia stand fast, both offering support where possible. The female troglodyte steps out from behind the wall while moving towards the north passage, an apparent escape route. The lead troglodyte also moves in that direction, preparing to depart. The Swordmaster, however, picks up his greatsword and attacks Aldoroc, who retaliates with a potentially fatal blow and the troglodyte drops again.

Suddenly, Terrenygit cackles loudly, grinning at his nearest enemy, Shangor, who has moved protectively near Swift. The stench from the reptilian is almost overwhelming, but the dwarf resolutely stands his ground, holding the line for an orderly retreat. Unfortunately, despite orders to the contrary, Terrenygit swings his mace one last time, at the unconscious and helpless wolf at his feet. Swift doesn’t stand a chance, however, and his death shocks everyone.

Verilia shrieks in rage, “Swift! Nooo!” Like her remaining friends, she cannot believe her eyes.

Terrenygit steps away from the bloody mess at his feet and withdraws down the passage. “Hee hee! Stupid halfling. Follow us to the temple if you want to join your filthy wolf.”

The lead cleric and the female are already disengaged from the party and moving away. Only one troglodyte warrior remains in the fight, but he also withdraws.

The halfling druid is having none of that. “By Obad’Hai, I’ll see you in hell!” Tears sparkling in her green eyes, she wild shapes into a hawk and flies past the enemies to land just in front of the powerful leader, blocking of retreat. She then wild shapes into a bear and starts shredding the troglodytes apart with her claws and teeth, apparently oblivious to the stench. Her fury goes unchecked for a few seconds while the remaining heroes attend to the wolverine and the troglodyte warrior.

The rogue troglodyte, alone at the rear of the party, attempts to tumble past everyone and escape up the northern passage with her comrades. She stumbles while moving past Aldoroc, however, and provokes an attack from the big fighter, who promptly cuts her in two.

The leader steps away from the bear and successfully dispels her wild shape by using a scroll of dispel magic. Unfortunately, this helps her more than hurts as it merely serves to heal her fully as she wild shapes a third and final time back into bear form. His buffer spells of endurance, resist elements, and regenerate light wounds offer no salvage. There is no further escape.

Verilia growls as she tears into the stinking corpse, fighting back the bile riding in her throat and thinking to herself, no one lives.

(7/28/03 7:04 pm)
Re: Session Eighteen - Part 2/2
Wow! Great ending. A joy to read, as always. I love the quotes from the last session :)

Your group are truly masters of splat. I can barely keep all the tactics for core magic in my head much less all of those extras. It certainly must keep things fresher than our game though. Kudos!

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(7/28/03 8:02 pm)
Thanks! Alas, last Saturday (no session, just 3.5 discussion) we decided to drop the 5 splatbooks and hte PsiHB on our way to 3.5, which starts this Saturday. It seemed too complicated for everyone involved to attempt to rebalance all the prestige classes, spells, and feats. Yup, all that work on splatbooks and stats for naught. For the better though, I hope.

Therefore, Sylvan loses his two levels of Fatespinner, becoming a pure 7th level wizard and Kale loses his two levels of OotBI, becoming a pure 7th level fighter or Ftr5/Rgr2. Aramil gets to keep his dragon disciple levels, though!

As a seque, I've asked the players to each write up a session's log, in character. I'm two sessions behind, but the next one (written by Kale's player) will be posted tomorrow. This way, I'll have the time to work on 3.5 conversions to try to keep up with the party. I have to admit, the thing I will miss most by the conversion will be the smack that Eeridik and Tac would've laid down!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy their writeups. I told them that they had to be in character and in first person, but the format of the writing was open. You'll see.

(7/29/03 5:41 am)
Re: Segue
Uhm... A Wall of Force from the bead is immune to Dispel Magic.

(7/29/03 7:09 am)
Re: Segue
"Uhm... A Wall of Force from the bead is immune to Dispel Magic."

A WoF is immune to dispel magic, true, but an effect from a magical item is generally not. Maybe in 3.0 it was a houserule (I'd have to look it up in the book), but the 3.5 SRD confirms the ruling. Thanks for the comment, though; this was something I looked at closely before having that effect.
The sphere is not subject to damage of any sort except from a rod of cancellation, a rod of negation, disintegrate, or a targeted dispel magic spell.

(7/29/03 3:42 pm)
Session Nineteen - Part 1/2
Letter to High Priest Granley in Khorasan

Dear Father Granley,

Since our last meeting, we have journeyed to Hommlet and made a brief visit to the old temple ruins to check up on the goblins, and finally went to Rastor. What a despicable town, there is no temple to Heironeous. After some investigating, if you can call it that, since everyone seems to talk openly about the subject, we have located the Temple of All Consumption.

Normally, I would not have troubled you with the details of a skirmish, but after our last encounter, our third, I feel it necessary to report our findings. During our requisitioning of useful items from the dead cleric troglodytes of the Elder Elemental Eye (heretofore called the EEE), a small stone creature with wings, an earth mephit by Shangor’s reckoning, suggested to us that for a fee we could buy our way pass the Earth Temple. After a short discussion, we told the mephit that we would think about his offer. As we continued the requisitioning, the creature offered to help but we politely, but firmly and all at the same time, refused. With the fighters bleeding from multiple wounds, the casters low on spells, and our druid mourning the death of her animal companion, Swift, we decided it was best to rest a day before continuing our foray further into the temple.

With no way to carry a horse-sized wolf back to town, we stayed in a secret corridor that we found near the main entrance to the temple. We cleaned up the main hallway best as we could; hiding the bodies in the gnoll’s barracks, putting the horses and cart with the armor and weapons behind closed doors, and mopping up as much of the blood as we could. You wouldn’t believe the amount of blood that a huge howler produces! Good Heironeous!

We found a letter to Mereclar, the howler-riding elf ranger we defeated in the first battle, from Naquent that said the combined temple was sending more reinforcements. True to its word, the guards arrived, just before we bedded down for the night. Sylvan was the first to react and meet them at the main entrance. Even now, after the fight, I’m not sure if Sylvan had any plans other than deceiving them that we are part of the temple. The speaker for the group, perhaps their leader, saw the blood and concluded that it was a bluff and before Sylvan could do anything, they were on the ground wrestling. Apparently, the newcomers weren’t too sure of their position because they didn’t really try to hurt the wizard. As I moved up, Sylvan used his wand he got a while ago from that dirty assassin, Chatrilon, and disappeared; and then two of the other humans fired their bows at me, two more with bastard swords in hand moved up to me, not realizing that I could fire my bow without endangering myself from their attacks. A hail of arrows from me and Aramil and two of the guards with bastard swords went down. Even being next to Sylvan, I could not hear what he said to the leader, but the leader, jumped backwards screaming, “Get it off of me!” and the battle stopped, as suddenly, as it started. It turns out that Sylvan, let his familiar, Ace, a tiny viper, both of them invisible at the time, crawl on the guy.

I pulled out one of the captured EEE holy symbols, a triangle with an inverted Y in the center, and an indigo square disk hanging from a short chain, a sign representing affiliation with the water temple I presume, and stated, “What is going on?” The leader looks at the remaining two guards, and said, “I don’t know about you guys, but I didn’t sign up for this crap!” He then ran out the door. The other two looked at each other, glanced between the two downed guards, myself, Aramil, and for the invisible wizard, and they too, ran out the temple doors.

Finding that the remaining two guards were only unconscious, we patched them up best as we could, bound them and stripped them of their belongings. These humans, like the other gnolls, humans, and troglodytes, are well paid and extremely well equipped. Each had about eleven gold pieces; even as a sergeant, I did not receive more than a few gold pieces a month. They are much better equipped than the guards in Tahmista, perhaps even better than Khorasan. All have masterwork armor and weapons. In addition, each carried what we surmised as potions of cure light wounds. This is the main reason that I felt it necessary to write to you, Father, and to let the government know that this vile temple is a force to be reckoned with and not to be taken lightly. They are obviously well funded and have no trouble purchasing equipment. I ask that you pass the information in this letter to Lord Hajid in Tahmista. I have gathered up all the weapons and armor, hoping that there will be enough money to equip and staff the tree house northeast of Tahmista.

Verilia went to bed in extremely bad shape, weak, tired, and making very inane comments about wanting more tea. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, we had none. In the morning, after Sylvan identified the reason for her condition with a detect poison spell, Shangor restored her strength and vitality with neutralize poison and a couple of lesser restoration spells.

Soon after, she cut a bit of her hair, gathered some dirt, sprinkled water, built a fire and blew on the whole concoction. With concern, we all watched from a few feet away. After chanting, singing and praying for what seemed like a quarter hour, a small fog rose from the ground and gathered into the area. As we watched, it seemed to get denser, and soon we could see some sort of form inside the fog. Aramil, keenly aware of his surroundings, pointed out to us that Swift’s body was now shrunken and crumbling to dust. An hour, perhaps two had passed and the fog dissipated leaving a boar in its place. The boar, after turning and looking around, as if in confusion, then in the common tongue with a deep and resonant voice it said, “I say, that was quite a battle. I see that we’ve won.” Then, she sniffed in the air and said, “Er, what’s that smell? Smells like pork.” before realizing what she was.

We all sighed in relief and Verilia ran and hugged the boar. Apparently, our druid cast reincarnate and Swift returned to the living world as a boar. While no longer large, nor male, Swift is still as intelligent and full of puns as ever.

With the tension released, I walked over to Xaod and asked if I could join him in morning devotions. He said that he has been performing a bonding ritual with his warhorse Thunder for the last hour and is currently continuing his morning prayers. Slightly puzzled, I watched as he drank ale from a mug and held out a second one for Thunder! He then pours a third mug and holds it in my direction and says, “Here, Kale, join me in prayer,” and takes a swig from his mug. As I shake my head, he shrugs, and splits the remainder between his mug and Thunder’s. Unbelievable! For the love of Heironeous! I suppose there is nothing in the scriptures about bonded mounts not drinking ale.

Shangor healed the wounded guards and after some light questioning, we let them go without their armor or weapons. Our feelings are that they are not fanatics and are nothing more than hired guards with no loyalties. Rather than deal with the Mephit and Earth Temple, we took the south passages – the unused mines. Our first challenge was a two-headed troll that Shangor identified as an ettin, with a pet named Rusty, apparently a rust monster as we saw an ore cart rail rust as it passed. Perhaps with the lure of evil, and if it is an ettin, perhaps, this is the same ettin that we have had reports of in the forest west of the tree house. This ettin did not seem too smart nor did it seem to care that we were invaders; it simply wanted 10 gold pieces to let us continue through the tunnel.

Our next challenge was some fire worms that are able to burrow quite easily through solid rock. I think Shangor later told us they were called thoqquas. Although they surprised us, our druid quickly dispatched one with a creeping cold and between our cleric and Aramil; they dispatched the other between breaths. It would seem that our little group can be very deadly and work cohesively, when danger is present.

In a clean pool of water, we found three bodies, each with a holy symbol, one with an obex, one with the symbol of the Elder Elemental Eye, and one with the symbol of Moradin. Have we time, we might of pondered what these bodies were doing here and who they were.

Our final encounter was with an ochre jelly coming out of a stream and attacking our group. I threw a flask of alchemy fire and Shangor attacked with his hammer. Unfortunately, the hammer attack caused the creature to split into two ochre jellies. The one I flamed grabbed me and the other grabbed Xaod and dragged us to the underground stream. I was saved by our wizard, Sylvan; he lifted me out of the water using levitate before the Jelly could drag me under where my chain mail of invulnerability would have helped naught! Our wizard, using, his knowledge, was able to recall that electricity and weapons do no good. That month he spent at Betham the Sage’s shop was worth every copper! This is good since he had a lighting bolt prepared for the day and was prepared to cast it. Our druid placed a flame blade in Xaod’s hand. Between Aramil’s magic missiles and Xaod, they dispatched both ochre jellies.

Taking advantage of the levitate spell, I followed the stream along the fifteen-foot high ceiling towards the north and found that it emptied into the Stalagos, the bowl portion of the crater, and it is a huge lake. While I was taking the scene in, I noticed two birds playing high above the sky. However, as they got close to the center island, a lighting bolt shot out from one metallic blue towers surrounding the island and fried the birds. This confirms the story of Tymerian, Rastor’s town wizard. I believe this to be the new Temple of Elemental Evil.

But I must end my letter as we have just finished our lunch break and must continue our foray deeper into the mines with the hopes of finding the bridge to cross the Stalagos into the center island. Right now, we are heading towards the southwest, to what seems like a large wooden platform in a huge cavern with the other set of tracks going up a long ramp to it. I’ll keep you apprised.

Your humble servant,

Kale Fletcher, Former Lieutenant of the Tahmista Town Guard

P.S. Please forward the additional enclosed letter to my parents in Tahmista.

(7/29/03 3:43 pm)
Session Nineteen - Part 2/2
Dear Mom & Dad,

I am on a mission for the church and for our country with my old friends and some great new companions. We are taking a self guided tour of a temple built in the side of the mountain on a site of a crater in an old mine. It is a humongous. It might take us months to see and do everything. There are many guards in this temple and we saying hello to most of them. I think each one of us will be getting a robe and holy symbol, just to show our good will and companionship towards this temple.

We are meeting new people and creatures, most are pointedly kind and friendly, some meld into the rocks and surroundings. We are also redistributing some of the wealth that the church has accumulated to worthy causes. Doing so, we are making friends everywhere we go. Unfortunately, we had to send most of them on their way before we could really get to know them well.

Verilia, you remember her, Milo’s sister. She is just addicted to this new tea that a shop keeper introduced to her. She just keeps talking about it and the shop keeper, Tal Chammish. She won’t even share the tea with us. I think that in return for showing her this wonderful tea, she is going to show him her most spectacular spell. In fact, our whole group looks forward to meeting up with Tal again.

Both Xaod, a paladin of Heironeous, and me took a quick dip in a very special and unique stream, it was salty, like the ocean. It also has this wonderful purplish sheen. You have to be here to see the beauty. After the swim, Verilia help cleaned us up using her wonderfully useful Prestidigitation spell. And oh yes, while on this stream, overhead, I saw a pair of birds doing the most amazing flying acrobatic dance. There was lightning in the background which only made the scene more memorable!

But I must end my letter as we have just finished our lunch break and everyone is waiting on me.

With Love, your loyal son,


P.S. Give my love to my baby sister, Lizard Breath. Although, I suppose we’re both old enough that I should call her Elizabeth… Anyway, tell Lizard Breath, I’ll try and bring back her back something from the temple to help her with her studies.

(7/29/03 7:41 pm)
Re: Session Nineteen - Part 2/2
OK, that last one gets virtual bonus XP from me ;) Very funny!

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(7/30/03 5:50 am)
Re: Session Nineteen - Part 2/2
Thanks, ZansForCans! I forwarded your message to him, I'm sure he appreciates it! Btw, I apologize about all the campaign-specific stuff. There's really little I can do to avoid it. Aramil is writing the next installment which is the battle with Vranthis (and brutal death of a party member) and where we left off last. This weekend is possibly a return battle, the escape from the mines (and recuperation), etc. Snearak is busy prepping defenses. Wormspike I had decided went to the south entrance, was told his help wasn't needed, so now went to Rastor and is the hired bodyguard of Tal (he's the 'ogre' that Tal can call for).

(9/9/03 7:15 pm)
Session Twenty - Part 1/3
        “That’s it, Sylvan. Just a little higher.”

        I watched idly as Kale, human archer and member of our group of adventurers, floated upwards through the air, propelled by the magic of Sylvan’s Levitate spell. In the course of our adventures, we had encountered a raised platform held aloft by four great steel legs, supported by a lattice of crossbeams. The platform went high up; so high that we couldn’t tell the distance to its surface in the dim light we possessed. Determined to do some scouting, Kale had asked Sylvan to cast a spell and lift him up to the top of the platform so he could ascertain its purpose. So I waited, and watched, as Sylvan’s magic did its work.

        I shifted my gaze to the surrounding environment. Most of what I could see was depressingly gray; gray stone floor, gray walls, gray ceiling, gray rock everywhere. Our group was in a huge cavern of some sort. It was difficult to tell exactly how large, as there was a distinct lack of any sort of natural illumination in the area. The main reason I could see anything at all was due to Verilia, the group’s halfling druid, who sat nearby on the back of her animal companion Swift (a rather sizable boar), and who held a stone aloft that had had Continual Flame magic placed upon it. The torch-illusion spell cast flickering light and shadows about the entire area. I peered into the darkness beyond, and wondered what sort of nastiness lay in wait for us just outside of the light’s touch. The illumination from Verilia’s stone didn’t even have the strength to reach up to the platform; the only reason I could still see Kale was because he was holding a silver coin that had the same enchantment cast on it.

        The only sound in the cavern, besides that of Kale calling down to Sylvan, was a periodic crunching noise coming from the feet of every person present. The cavern floor was littered with bits of rock and gravel, making every step or shifting of weight a noisy affair. I crouched down for a moment to examine the rocks, and noticed that many of the larger rocks had tiny streaks of shininess to them. Is this ore? I pondered; I’d never actually seen any before. Looking up at the platform, now illuminated by the archer’s coin, I noticed a bridge of what looked to be ore cart tracks spanning the distance from the raised platform to an opening in one of the cavern walls, some thirty-odd feet up. I also noticed a steep ramp of some sort running from the top of the platform down to a point some distance away; the ramp was covered with a tattered belt of some sort, possibly making the entire contraption an ore conveyor or something, though it didn’t have any apparent way to power the belt’s movement. Well, I thought, this is supposed to be an abandoned dwarven mine.

        “Hey, Shangor,” I asked softly, “what kind of ore is this?” The dwarven cleric of Moradin looked down and kicked over a rock, which clattered loudly in the quiet stillness.
        “Iron, methinks,” he responded in his typical dwarven brogue. “I dinna think there’s much more valuable ore than that in this section of the mines.”

        “Okay, Sylvan, that’s far enough,” Kale’s voice distracted me from my examination. I looked up to see Kale reach out and pull himself out of midair and onto the platform. The light from above went out almost completely as Kale moved out of sight. “Hmmm… yup. Looks like a mining platform from up here. There’s a big crank up here for moving the conveyor belt. Looks like it’d take a giant to turn it!” More like an earth elemental, I mentally corrected him. “And there’s a spot here for parking an ore cart right where the ore would arrive. The tracks slope down a bit as they go away from the platform. They must have let a cart fill up, and then just given it a good push to get it going. Nice.”

        Having finished my inspection of the ground, I pulled myself to my feet. Huh. If only I could somehow get the dwarves to apply that kind of ingenuity to things other than just rocks, then maybe places like this evil temple might never be allowed to exist. I sighed, pulling in a lungful of stale cavern air. Mistake. I coughed loudly, trying to expel the foreign particles that had followed my breath in. The air was heavy with rock powder and dust, with trace amounts of the stench of unwashed adventurers, not to mention sweaty boar, and… something else. There was another smell in the air, foreign, yet familiar somehow. Darn, what is that? I should know this. I wracked my brain for the answer…

        “STOP! YOU HAVE GONE FAR ENOUGH!” A booming low-pitched voice jolted me out of my contemplation. I took an involuntary step back and tilted my head upwards. That voice came from the cavern ceiling! My sharp eyes strained in the darkness, but couldn’t make out anything up there except inky blackness. A quick glance to the puzzled stares of my comrades told me that they were having the same problem. “I DEMAND TREASURE FOR YOUR PASSAGE THROUGH MY CAVE,” intoned the voice.

        “I’m outta here,” I heard Kale’s voice from above. The illumination from above brightened again as Kale stepped back off of the platform from the same way he went on. The extra illumination lit up the gray of the cavern ceiling somewhat, but didn’t help any in determining the source of the loud voice. Kale, however, was now floating helplessly in the air, still buoyed by Sylvan’s Levitate spell. “Sylvan! Down, now!” he yelled down.

        “TRY TO GET AWAY FROM ME, WILL YOU?” the voice bellowed. A loud thunk sounded from the platform, followed by a long creak as the platform struggled to hold the weight of whatever just landed on it. There was a brief whoosh noise that sounded like a massive bellows expanding, and then pfffffff as a cloud of caustic green mist enveloped Kale, clinging to him and burning its way into cloth and flesh alike. An acrid smell wafted down from above, and many of the party pulled their cloaks over their heads to deflect any stray acid.

        After that, everyone else became a blur of action. The paladin Xaod leapt onto his warhorse Thunder and took out his longbow. Sylvan gestured frantically in order to levitate Kale down. Verilia, Swift, and Verilia’s trained monkey Chipper all moved towards the platform to take cover among the legs and the conveyor belt. Kale pulled out his bow and tried to string it, encountering a bit of trouble from not having the ground to brace against. Aldoroc, the party’s human fighter, moved over towards Sylvan to protect the wizard, pulling out and drinking his potion of Heroism on the way. Shangor chanted his Recitation prayer, invoking the power of Moradin to aid the party in the upcoming conflict.

        And me, I… just stood there, dumbfounded. A dragon. A freaking dragon. Acid breather, too. How did I miss that? I should’ve recognized the smell. And I don’t even know what color it is. Darn! I knew I should’ve paid more attention to Augmanthus during that part of the lesson!

        Another creak sounded from the platform above, followed by a loud flapping noise.
        “It’s on the move!” an acid-covered Kale yelled just as his feet reached the ground.

        Well, whatever type it is, it just picked the wrong group of people to mess with. Snapping myself back to reality, I focused my magic power into the air above me and cast a Dancing Lights dweomer, creating a quartet of torchlight spheres around the platform. The extra light, however, failed to illuminate anything except more gray rock.

        “Oh no you don’t,” Aldoroc growled up towards the ceiling, “you’re not getting away. Sylvan, can you levitate me up there?” he pointed up at the platform as he moved over to the wizard.
        “No more spells,” Sylvan called back, “but I have a potion you can use instead.”
        “Me too,” shouted Kale. “I’m going over there.” He must have gestured, though I didn’t see where. “Lift me up when I get there.” Sylvan waved his assent to Kale as he handed a potion to Aldoroc, who quickly uncorked and emptied the bottle down his throat.

        I heard more dwarven chanting and felt the warmth of Shangor’s Bless spell wash over me. Deciding that defense was probably a good idea in these circumstances, I drew upon my power again and cast a Shield spell around me. I also waved my hand in the air, and my Dancing Lights responded by flying the rest of the distance up to the cavern ceiling; their light brightened a fairly large portion of the ceiling but still failed to shed any light on our assailant. I noticed a light to my side and saw Kale floating up near one of the cavern walls, once again propelled by Sylvan’s magic. I looked towards the platform and saw Aldoroc floating up similarly near one of the heavy platform legs. Looking at the last source of light in the room I saw Verilia, with a potion in hand, trying to coax her animal companion into drinking the magical liquid, and telling the boar that it would enable her to climb walls like a spider. Next to her sat Xaod, still on his warhorse, scanning the ceiling with an arrow nocked in his longbow. His eye caught mine, and he turned his head towards me. “Aramil! Move your lights!” he called over.

        At that moment, there was another sound like a giant bellows, followed by another cloud of green mist. Swift, Verilia, Xaod, and Thunder were all caught in the deadly spray, though a quick sidestep by Thunder spared both horse and rider from the worst of the barrage. Pushing aside the feelings of surprise and horror, I forced my tactical sense to the foreground. Hmmm… if the spray hit there, and came from that way, then the dragon must be… about… there. A quick flick of the wrist sent my Dancing Lights spiraling over to the side of the cavern where I had guessed the acid spray came from. This time, I was on the mark.

        I spotted the dragon up high, clinging to the cavern wall like a giant reptilian spider. The dragon’s scales glittered dark green, with an odd rust-colored tint that might have just been a trick of the torchlight. A sharp crest ran from between the creature’s eyes to down its back and most of the length of its tail. It was large, but not as large as I was expecting; head to tail it was probably three times as long as I was tall. From my particular vantage point, I could see the outline of the creature’s ribs through the scales around its belly; this one had probably missed a few meals lately. The dragon was looking down at the victims of its latest breath attack with a pleased-looking grin on its curved maw. This expression, however, quickly turned to surprise as it realized it had been spotted.

        “Gotcha,” I mumbled. I closed my eyes and concentrated, starting to cast my strongest spell. Like a great magical hand reaching across the planes, my spell reached out beyond my own reality and touched the source of all fire, scooping up and pulling back a large bundle of heat and flame. When I opened my eyes, I was holding a ball of pure fire, burning without any apparent source of fuel. I looked up at the dragon, took aim, and threw.

        Unfortunately, luck was not on my side. The dragon wasn’t as surprised as I had hoped, for it stepped to the side and covered itself with its wings. Instead of hitting the dragon head-on, my Fireball impacted on the cavern wall next to the dragon and burst into a great sphere of flame, most of which washed harmlessly over the creature’s scales. With a low growl, it raised its head to find the source of the attack. As it spotted me, its angry expression changed to one of… hunger. Uh oh, I gulped nervously.

        While the dragon was eyeing me, my party-mates took the opportunity to act. Both Xaod and Kale loosed a barrage of arrows at the oversized lizard, with only one of Xaod’s arrows actually managing to pierce the dragon’s thick hide. Verilia, severely burned by the dragon’s acidic breath, produced a scroll of healing magic and began to read. Shangor and Sylvan moved towards the cover of the platform legs, and a levitating Aldoroc floated the rest of the way up to and on to the platform.

        The dragon eyed the entire party. “I TRIED TO MAKE IT EASY ON YOU, BUT YOU JUST HAD TO GO AND ATTACK ME.”
        “But you attacked us first!” Kale retorted.
        The dragon snarled, and then turned his gaze back to me, again with that hungry look. With one mighty push, the dragon leapt off of the wall, spreading its wings in the same motion. It quickly flew out of the range of my Dancing Lights and off into the darkness, leaving me wondering where it was headed next. I didn’t have to wonder long, though; a quick rush of air just over my head, followed by a ground-shaking thump right behind me, told me exactly where the dragon was. I wanted to warn the rest of the party as to what was going on, but the only noise that would come out of my mouth was a petrified squeak.

        “YOUR SHIELD SPELL WON’T PROTECT YOU FROM ME, LITTLE ONE,” the dragon’s voice rumbled behind me. I tried to jump forward, but not in time, as I felt the dragon’s jaws clamp down on my shoulder. I cried out in pain, alerting everyone else in a way words could not. Reflexively, I turned my head and tried to bite down on the dragon’s jaw, hoping to do some damage with my own razor-sharp teeth. While I failed to do more than scratch its scales, I must have startled it, for it released its hold on me for a moment. A moment was all I needed though, as I took the opportunity to dash away. I glanced back and saw the dragon rear up and swipe at me with a claw, but this time my shield spell did protect me, as the dragon’s attack impacted on nothing but a magical disc of force.

        As I fled from the dragon, I saw Verilia step towards the direction I was coming from, holding her light stone out ahead of her. My curiosity overcoming my fear, I slowed and watched as she moved forward until the dragon was just barely inside the reach of her light. She then cast a Faerie Fire spell on the creature, covering it in wispy purple flames that clearly illuminated its position against the backdrop of darkness. These flames, however, didn’t look like the normal fare that such a spell produced; they had an exceedingly odd appearance to them, as they clumped together into what could best be described as ‘veins’ of purple fire crisscrossing the dragon’s exterior.

        Xaod, now with a visible target, took the opportunity to act. He spurred his mount to charging speed, as he held his hand out to the side and snapped his fingers, invoking the power of his magical glove. In an eye blink he held a heavy lance in his hand, which he bore down right towards the dragon’s head. However, the dragon would have none of that, and raised its head up to bring its teeth into striking position above the paladin; in doing so, the dragon left its underbelly momentarily exposed. Xaod capitalized on the dragon’s mistake and aimed his lance down, where it found purchase on the lightly armored underside of the creature’s torso. The dragon howled in pain as its scales were pierced. Recovering, it growled loudly as it peered at Xaod with an almost frenzied rage.

        Nor was the rest of the party idle. Swift, Sylvan, and Shangor all moved over to Verilia, the dwarven cleric casting healing magic upon the still wounded halfling. Some creaking noises from above told me that Aldoroc was moving around on the platform, though I couldn’t see him. Three arrows whizzed by from somewhere above and behind me, followed by a short string of curses from what could only have been Kale as the arrows bounced harmlessly off the dragon’s scales.

        “DAMN FAERIE FIRE!” bellowed the dragon. “TAKE THIS!” He sucked in a great lungful of air and used his corrosive breath again, spraying Xaod, Thunder, Verilia, Swift, Shangor, and Sylvan with acidic green mist. While most of the targets managed to cover up in time to avoid the majority of the acid, Xaod, due mostly to his proximity to the dragon, took an extra helping of the blast. The acid-burned paladin groaned and slumped forward in his saddle, his heavy lance falling out of his hand and clattering on the ground. The dragon, sensing an opportunity to depart, took to the air. It called out an incomprehensible taunt in what I guessed was the language of the goblins, and then flew off down the corridor that led in the direction of the ore cart tracks, the purple fire that covered it blinking out as it turned a corner somewhere down the passage.

Edited by: Infiniti2000 at: 9/9/03 7:31 pm
(9/9/03 7:30 pm)
Session Twenty - Part 2/3
        With the dragon gone, I had a minute to catch my breath. We all gathered together near the legs of the platform to assess the damage. I noticed that a couple of the others had taken out healing potions and were drinking them, and a twinge of pain echoed from my shoulder, reminding me that I was in need of healing as well. I reached into one of my belt pouches and pulled out a vial of violet liquid, uncorking it and drinking the contents. Mmmm… raspberry. Warmth spread through my shoulder as the potion’s magic repaired some of the damage caused by the dragon’s bite.

        I saw Thunder walk over to Shangor, the horse moving slowly as to keep the injured paladin on his back. Thunder nudged the dwarf, who looked up at the horse’s wounded rider.
        “Do ya be wantin’ me ta heal him, horsey?” Shangor asked.
        “I think that’s what he said,” Verilia chimed in.
        Shangor reached up and placed a hand on Xaod’s neck. After a long while, he pulled his hand away, a sad look on his face.
        “There be nothin’ here to heal,” he sighed.
        “Damn dragon!” Aldoroc swore. “That’s one more reason to go after it and kill it. So what are we all standing around here for?”
        “Some of us are hurt, Aldoroc,” Verilia replied. “Just wait a minute until we’re all healed back up and ready to fight that thing again.”
        Aldoroc’s reply was an impatient growl.

        Through a combination of spells, wand charges, and potions, the party proceeded to take a couple of minutes to heal the worst of their wounds. The process, however, did not go uninterrupted.
        “What the?” came Kale’s startled voice. He turned to look in the direction of a nearby dark corridor, a different one than the dragon went down. He didn’t appear to see anything, but seemed to have his head cocked to the side, as if listening for something.
        “What is it, Kale?” Verilia inquired.
        “I just heard something speaking,” Kale replied. “It said if we go south, we will be rewarded. It sounded weird, though… kind of watery. Maybe it was the dragon.”
        “I thought I saw something over there,” Sylvan spoke up. “It didn’t look like a dragon, though, more like a person crossed with a fish.” A splash resounded from the direction the wizard was indicating. “Whatever it was, it can definitely swim,” he concluded.
        “Well? Should we follow it?” I asked.
        “Why are you worried about a stupid fish?” Aldoroc grumbled. “We have a dragon to get rid of. Aren’t you guys ready yet?”
        Kale reached into his pouch and pulled out another coin with Continual Flame magic on it, and tossed it in the direction of the strange creature. “Nothing over that way but a stream of some sort,” he called out. He then took out a third coin, again with the same enchantment, and threw it in the direction the dragon departed. “ Looks like there’s an opening in the corridor off that way, though. Maybe the dragon went there.”
        “Perfect,” Aldoroc sounded happier. “Let’s go.” He started moving towards the corridor.
        “Wait up, lad,” Shangor said. “We’re almost ready.”

        As the others finished the last of their preparations, I took a moment to cast a couple of spells on myself. Directing my magic inward, I cast a False Life spell to bolster my life energy against future harm. I also spun in a circle, casting a Protection from Evil spell to ward off the dragon’s evil influence. I looked down at my waist and patted my belt pouches, making sure everything was where it was supposed to be. Well, I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

        “Enough waiting. I’m going,” Aldoroc said as he resumed his movement down the corridor.
        I looked over at everyone else. Kale, Shangor, and Swift were hurrying after the fighter. Verilia was shrinking, growing feathers and wings as she shifted her shape into that of an owl. She took off and started spiraling up through the air, circling around the platform. I looked over at Sylvan, who looked back and shrugged, and the both of us went after the rest of the party. I guess Thunder’ll be fine on his own for a little while, I thought as I glanced back at the warhorse on my way out.

(9/9/03 7:35 pm)
Session Twenty - Part 3/3
        The corridor we were running into looked like a mining tunnel. The walls were rough-hewn, though the ground was relatively smooth; probably the result of an uncountable number of dwarven boots passing through. I didn’t have long to look at the surroundings, though. In the light of Kale’s coin up on the ground ahead, I saw Aldoroc turn the corner into the opening. Kale sped up his movement at that point, darting right into the opening after Aldoroc, light-coin in hand; Swift ran right in after him. Shangor, however, stopped to pick up Kale’s Continual Flame coin, giving Sylvan and I time to catch up to him.

        Thwip. The sound of Kale’s bow loosing an arrow echoed from the opening. Sylvan, Shangor, and I all quickened our pace.
        “Dragon! Back corner!” Kale called out. “Verilia! Over here!”
        From somewhere behind me, an owl’s hoot sounded. This, however, was quickly drowned out by the sound of the dragon taking in a great breath and using his dreaded acid spray again, this time on the three party members that went through the opening.

        Sylvan was first through the opening, with me right behind him. The stink of airborne acid hit me immediately, and I almost gagged. Inside was another cavern, this one considerably smaller than the first one we fought the dragon in. Again rough-hewn, this room could have been for mining an ore offshoot. The illumination for the room was Kale’s light-coin, which he had tossed up ahead of him. The dragon was towards the back of the room, snarling as he watched us stream in. Off in the back-left corner of the room, something glittered.

        Sylvan looked at me. I looked back.
        “Hit it?” he asked. I nodded.
        “3,” Sylvan started counting.
        “2,” I joined in.
        “Wrath of the sky…”
        “Source of all fire…”
        Sylvan completed his spell first. He pointed one finger forward, and with a loud crackle, a bolt of brilliant blue lightning shot out towards the dragon. The reptilian creature sidestepped mostly out of the way, only receiving a scorch down one of its flanks. However, its attention was diverted for the moment. I completed my spell, and sent a ball of fire straight towards the dragon. My spell impacted right on the dragon’s back and burst into a large ball of flame, completely engulfing it for a brief moment. When the fire cleared, a very scorched and very unhappy-looking dragon was staring at me.

        I heard Shangor trundle up behind me. Swift must have heard him, too, for the boar looked in my direction. Seeing the cleric nearby, Swift dashed over, squealing “Medic!” as she went. Shangor obliged her, laying a hand on her and calling on Moradin to heal her acid burns. As Swift stood nearby, my nose twitched. Roast pork? I quickly shook my head to clear the thought away.

        Off to my right, Aldoroc roared a battle cry, and took off charging at the dragon. The dragon, seeing the fighter coming, snaked its head forward and took a bite out of Aldoroc’s side. However, the enraged warrior was not to be stopped that easily, and responded with an axe swing that bit deeply into the dragon’s neck. At about the same time, a trio of arrows came flying from Kale’s direction, though once again the dragon’s scales deflected the arrows away.

        The dragon, apparently quite injured, fell back to one corner of the room, where the glittering objects I saw earlier were. It glanced back and whipped out with its tail, striking some unknown object. The thing went flying through the air and shattered on the ground with the sound of a clay jar breaking. A large cloud of brown mist issued forth from the remains of the object, swirling up and coalescing into a solid creature. The beast that appeared looked like some sort of gorilla, but it was larger than an ordinary gorilla, had 4 arms, and stared at us with glowing red eyes. Whatever it was, it didn’t waste any time; it immediately went after Aldoroc, grabbing and clawing at him.

        “Summoned monster,” I heard Sylvan mumble, as he began chanting the words to what I recognized as a Dispel Magic spell. He created a focused burst of anti-magic on the creature, which caused the air around it to distort and shimmer. However, the gorilla-thing was unaffected. Barely fazed, he quickly repeated the process, again with the same failed result.

        I didn’t have much time to consider why Sylvan’s spells hadn’t worked; the dragon was still a very urgent threat. Deciding to change tactics a bit, I pulled upon a different source of magic and cast some Magic Missiles at the dragon. Three globes of pure white magical energy whizzed through the air, only to collide with a magical barrier a foot away from the dragon.
        “FOOL!” it called in a mocking tone of voice. “YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH A SHIELD SPELL.”

        Three more arrows flew from what had to be Kale towards the dragon, but this time his aim was off, and only one of the arrows actually hit the dragon, and even that one didn’t do any damage.
        “ENOUGH WITH THE ARROWS!” The dragon turned to face Kale, and launched into the air a short distance, only to land right in front of the archer. It picked up a claw and swung it, roaring mightily as its blow connected with tremendous force across Kale’s body. Kale was knocked to the ground, bleeding from a large gash across his chest; it was a miracle that he was still moving.

        In the interim, Aldoroc was trying to cut the gorilla-thing down to size. He would jump in close and get a couple of good axe swings on the creature, and then leap out again. However, the beast could be quick when it needed to be, and managed to land a couple of crushing hits on Aldoroc as well.

        Stick to what works. Trying to keep the dragon from tearing Kale apart, I looked back to it and cast another Fireball its way. However, my aim was off this time, as I was trying to make sure that Kale was well out of the blast radius; I only succeeded at burning the dragon’s tail. This was enough, though, to distract it from Kale for a moment; he took the opportunity to roll out of range of the dragon’s reach and get to his feet. He drew an arrow and pulled back his bow again, but this time opted for a change of target and shot the gorilla-thing, injuring it somewhat.

        The dragon, however, was not content to let the archer go. “AFTER I KILL HIM,” the dragon indicated Kale, “A TRUCE FOR THE REST OF YOU.” The dragon’s gaze swept over the party briefly before focusing back on Kale. It turned entirely towards him and jumped, aiming its open jaws right at Kale’s head. It would’ve hit him, too, had it not been so straightforward in its tactics; as it was, Kale saw the dragon-bullet coming and managed to dive out of the way.

        I heard Sylvan cast another spell, and a large burning sphere of some sort of spongy substance materialized over the dragon; Sylvan’s Flaming Sphere dropped neatly onto the dragon’s back, singeing it rather effectively. I guess fire is the only thing that really works, I reasoned. Tapping the last drops of my most powerful magic, I summoned up my final Fireball of the day, this one burning so hot that it was almost white. Once again being careful to avoid roasting Kale, I tossed the ball of fire to the side of the dragon; the resulting burst of flame burnt quite a few scales off of the dragon’s flank.

        At this point, Verilia the owl winged into the room, hooting loudly. Circling over the heads of the combatants, she hooted a strange series of notes, a pattern that sounded vaguely reminiscent of… a spell? No, can’t be… she’s an owl. How…? I never finished my question, as at that moment, a large ghostly-looking eagle appeared in the air beside her. Without a single sound, this new bird turned and flew at the gorilla-thing, swooping past and raking its claws over the thing’s head. While the translucent attacker may have been silent, the beast roared in pain at this new wound.

        Shangor, sensing an opening, charged right up to the beast and swung, burying the head of his warhammer in the thing’s hide. The gorilla-thing retaliated on him, pounding on the dwarf’s helmeted head with one large fist. Aldoroc’s attack was second, slicing gaping wounds into hairy flesh and then jumping back out of its reach before it could counterattack on him. Kale acted next, again tumbling out of reach of the dragon and leaping to his feet with bow in hand. With practiced motion, he drew an arrow, nocked it, and fired. The wooden shaft found its target, burying itself in the throat of the gorilla-thing. The creature clutched at its pierced neck for a moment, made a gargling noise, toppled to the ground, and puffed back into a cloud of brown mist that quickly dissipated. Verilia’s summoned ghost-eagle, with its target destroyed, blinked out of existence a moment later.

        All eyes turned to the dragon. It was scorched, sliced, and in general looking badly injured. A brief silence filled the room. The dragon must’ve known it was outmatched, for it quickly took to the air. “KNOW THE NAME VRANTHIS, AND TREMBLE IN FEAR. I SHALL RETURN!” High enough to be out of reach of any of our weapons, it flew out of the cavern opening and turned left, going farther down the original corridor and into unknown territory. It was gone.
        “Good riddance,” I mumbled in the language of the dragons.

(9/9/03 7:41 pm)
Continued Player's Logs
Okay, that was Aramil's, the dragon disciple player. I hope you enjoyed it. Next session is Verilia's, the halfling druid, and the point at which we switch to 3.5 rules. So, like it or not, the awakened boar animal companion Swift is leaving, to pursue his, I mean her, own career. It was a huge session, lasting about 10 solid hours. Lots of fun, even though another PC kicks the bucket, thanks to the 3.5 advanced howler skeleton, courtesy of Snearak.

Please respond with any comments on the log, I'm sure the player would appreciate it (you can PM me if you prefer). He did, after all, write this for you. :) Additionally, if you have any questions on the sessions from a DM's perspective, I'd be happy to answer.

(9/9/03 10:59 pm)

Re: Continued Player's Logs
Another great log, I2K. You are fortunate to have the players you do. No questions really, just a quick note that the beginning of the log was great. It must have taken some work for the player to write, as the "start small, then expand" style of writing takes some organization.

Great writing style! I look forward to seeing more from your group.

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

(9/9/03 11:29 pm)
Re: Continued Player's Logs
This stuff is great :) Hmm if I want my players to do write ups I had better polish my general description skills and be a bit more verbose with atmostpheric info.
You must be very proud of your players. (I am quite proud of my Thursday team, the work well together and generally make it fun, even the new player I introduced a few weeks back)

Prince Imrahil
(9/10/03 10:00 pm)
Simply Put:
This log is my favorite part of the boards! Your group sounds like the absolute gamer's ideal. Thanks for letting us share in it!

(9/11/03 5:34 am)
Re: Simply Put:
Thanks a lot, guys! Yes, I am quite proud of them. I just wish they would write the logs faster. ;) This weekend we're on #27, so we're six sessions behind. They are currently in an attack on the Fire Temple, in company with Nilbool, 3 kuo-toa fighters, and the mephit. One fighter and the Monitor got absolutely wasted by the salamanders. Do not underestimate the power of the 3.5 "average" salamander! Holy crap! I have some REAL excellent RP scheduled during the combat this week. Sylvan's background will be revealed. I worked up six 'cards' revealing his background as visions, which I will give to him during combat at the Fire Temple. The combat will trigger the memories. By the end he will HATE Tessimon. Unfortunately for you, you'll have to wait in good time.  >D

Thanks for reading and for the comments!

(9/11/03 6:49 am)
Hi Infiniti2000,

Thanks for keeping up this log. I just checked in and read the earth temple ambush.

Very inspiring and relevant, as my party is about to regroup, rest, and tackle the earth temple after having defeated the western bridge complex.

I wonder how ready the earth temple should be, considering it has been 3 or 4 days since the party wiped out the main gate next to the earth temple, and during that fight Terrenygit fled into the earth temple when the tide of the battle was clearly turning against the gate.



(9/21/03 9:37 am)
Session Twenty-One - Part 1/3
{DM's Note - At first level, we had another player, who played a halfling rogue named Milo and was brother to Verilia. That player left and we re-merged groups, gaining another four players to the previous three.}

Hi Milo!

I got your note when we passed through Hommlet. It was nice of The Grove to send it via animal messenger. Tell Mom not to worry, and everything’s fine.

I still can’t believe you gave up all this fun and went home! Your climbing skills must’ve come in handy cleaning the chimney last month. Ha! Although I hope you were careful of the chimney swifts’ nests.

Of course the hornets bit you, Dummy! You shouldn’t have used their nest for target practice! And No, I won’t send you any potions to get rid of them, they have as much right to be there as you do.

Well, let me tell you all of the cool stuff that has happened lately…

…After we chased Vranthis off, we looted his treasure hoard. He had more coins and gems then Uncle ‘Magpie’ Fastfingers! It took us awhile to split it all up. Luckily they gave me some gorgeous amethysts and a garnet, because I wouldn’t even be able to carry my portion in coins!

I told you that Xaod had died in the battle with Vranthis. Well, we had to load his body onto his horse Thunder (what an odd horse…drinking ale all the time) to carry him out. We wanted to get out of the temple complex and rest so Shangor could conduct a séance in the morning. (I was hoping Xaod would want me to ask Obad-Hai for a nice new body for him.) Swift heard this and said ‘I can speak with dead!’ Everyone turned and stared at him as he continued with ‘Of course, they don’t say anything back but I can speak to them! Har! Har!’ He’s become such a ham since Obad-Hai made him a boar. *sigh*

We looked around the platform area a bit, but I was getting impatient to get outside and see the sky again! Aldoroc has begun guzzling potions like Xaod drank ale, trying to keep ready to face all the threats in the dungeon. You know how he likes to dive headlong into danger, but then again, he’s a fighter and a human, so what can you expect? Finally they were ready to head out of the temple.

As we neared the Ettin’s lair, I heard a noise up ahead and halted the party. I think Kale’s beginning to follow in your footsteps, down the old rogue’s path. He said, ‘I’d like to sneak up there and see what it is, but I can’t see in the dark.’ Then Aramil spoke up, ‘Didn’t you just drink a potion of darkvision a few minutes ago?’ ‘Oh yeah!’, Kale responded grinning and moving forward into the darkness. He did a good job moving quietly and hiding in the shadows, you would have been better, but he’s learning quickly. Of course, it’s more difficult when you’re not blessed by being a Halfling.

Kale came back a few minutes later and reported he’d seen nothing in the Ettin’s lair or by the lake. We started moving up the corridor again, but stopped soon afterwards when Vranthis’s voice came out of the darkness: ‘Hold and come no farther!’ At this point I was worried, because we weren’t in the best shape and who knew what Vranthis had been doing for the past few minutes. Luckily, Vranthis wasn’t planning to attack us, and instead he wanted to offer us a deal and become partners. Of course, he also wanted us to return his hoard to him.

I knew the rest of the party wouldn’t partner with an evil dragon, (they’re so stuffy some times) so I stepped forward and said ‘We’re not really interested in a partnership, thanks.’ (Remember, it never hurts to be polite, especially when you’re hurt and almost out of spells!) We haggled a bit, but eventually he said ‘Okay, just leave the statue and the shield, tell me who you work for, and you can leave.’

Shangor was muttering something like ‘We’ll leave, but we’ll be back to put an end to ye, ye evil beastie’, so I elbowed him in the stomach to shut him up. That dwarven plate armor is pretty hard! At least the clang it made covered up his muttering. I am not sure, but I expect that dragons have very good hearing.

Vranthis’s offer was pretty good, since the statue was a tacky gold-painted iron statue, which we’d already left behind, and the shield wasn’t even magical. So I said ‘Agreed. I work for Obad-Hai.’ Vranthis pondered a moment then said ‘Why is the Lord of Nature interested in this underground temple?’ Before I could think of a suitable reply, Kale piped up with ‘It’s the mushrooms!’ Luckily Vranthis didn’t decide to roast him for his insolence as I quickly stomped on Kale’s foot to shut him up now. Vranthis said ‘Hmm… so you’re not with the Terrans then. And you’re not from that rat hole Rastor…’ (Actually rat holes are much nicer that Rastor!) ‘If you are doing here what I think, our goals might coincide. So leave the items, and you can go. But if you come back, be prepared to make a deal or meet your doom!’ Shangor sneered and began muttering again, but I managed to drag him with us as we left without incident.

When we reached the entry hallway, we found that the cart had, of course, been stolen. Apparently this caused Kale, Aldoroc and Sylvan to forget we were hurt and tired, and they wanted to go chasing after the cart into more unknown caverns! I expected this sort of macho-madness from the fighters but not the mage! Luckily Swift and I managed to keep them from running into danger. Aramil just shrugged and ignored them, heading towards the door. Perhaps being part dragon has given him better instincts than the others.

Swift seemed to be grating on the other party members’ nerves. He’s always slicing them open with his sharp wit. This cause Kale to growl about having ‘Swift premium brown and serve sausage’ in the morning.

We tracked the horses, but found that one of them had been eaten and the others scattered. I couldn’t make out the tracks surrounding the corpse, to tell what type of beast had killed it. I hoped it was an animal and not a monster.

We continued to Rastor and the temple of Moradin. The priest there, Rerrid Hammersong, wouldn’t let us stay in the temple and also can’t cast raise dead. Although I don’t know why anyone would choose raise dead over reincarnation! It’s like choosing to put back on your dirty, smelly, old, torn-up under things instead of a fresh new pair. I just don’t understand it!

We didn’t want to sleep in the Grey Lodge in Rastor, so we went back out into the woods outside the grubby little town. We set up camp and built a small fire. Kale is always insisting on one. He says it keeps the beasts away, but of course we know it has the opposite effect. Luckily this time the night went smoothly.

During our watch, Swift and I had a long talk. He decided that he wanted to seek out someone to train him. He wants to be a bard! He loves telling jokes and being the center of attention, but I don’t think he can be a bard, since he generally rubs people the wrong way and isn’t charismatic enough. I eventually persuaded him to try to path of the mage instead. He’s too smart for most other careers. He would make a decent druid, but he’s not interested unfortunately.

In the morning I found that Thunder had died peacefully in the night. Apparently his master’s death was too much for him to take, and their god decided to keep them together. I was a bit sad that he’d died, but decided that if Xaod wanted to be reincarnated he might not be able to ride a horse anymore depending on his form.

After a long discussion on how to phrase the questions, Shangor cast Speak with Dead on Xaod’s corpse. His first question was ‘Do you want to be raised or resurrected?’ Xaod’s spirit answered ‘My will should be known to you.’ We all looked at each other blankly -- after all, who knows what a drunk Paladin would want? To be pickled in a holy ale barrel perhaps?

So Shangor tried his second question: ‘Do you want to be returned to your temple?’ To this Xaod’s spirit replied, ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’ ‘OH!’ we said in unison and began searching through his possessions. He had written a will! The will told us to keep the magic items and treasure, and to give everything else to a Good temple. His body he just wanted buried. He was even kind enough to note the command word for his glove of storing so we wouldn’t have to re-identify it.

Shangor conducted a nice funeral for him and we buried his body. Kale wanted to dig a big enough hole to bury Thunder, but that would take half a day. We eventually convinced him just to move camp and let the forest absorb the body.

We moved the campsite since the mage and cleric wanted to spend the day casting spells. I healed Swift up completely with Obad-Hai’s blessings. Swift agreed to drop Chipper and Squeak off at Kella’s on the way to Khorasan. I decided the temple was too dangerous for my little friends. So I hung the bat from his neck (his belly was too low and TICKLISH), and put Chipper on his back. I removed the magical pouch and holy symbol from his belly, but left his collar of resistance on him. I hugged him and wished him luck. Then the odd trio set off into the woods.

I knew I could not be without animal companionship long and didn’t know when we’d be back outside again, so I left the party to go into the woods and begin the Ritual.

You know I can’t tell you all the details since it’s private druid stuff, but in brief -- I stripped down to my natural state, anointed myself in herbs and elements, burned the sacred herbs, and settled down to pray to Obad-Hai to guide me. After many hours, I felt the pull of Obad-Hai’s will. I followed the sensation through the woods knowing it was leading me to my new friend.

After a long walk through the forest (luckily the large predators won’t violate the questings), I came upon a large tiger in a clearing. She was lying next to the body of an elven male. I was surprised because the body was mainly intact. If she’d killed him for a meal, why hadn’t she eaten him?

She, of course, heard me coming, but didn’t even bother to lift her head. This was worrisome, so I moved forward cautiously until I was next to the pair. I glanced at the body and knew it was dead and had been for over a week. Then I looked at her. She’d been cut and beaten, but what was worse was how skinny she was! Her ribs were showing through her fur!

Luckily, Obad-Hai grants the ability to speak with animals during the quest, since I didn’t have my torc on. I asked her what was wrong and why she wasn’t eating. The large tigress slowly raised her head and answered, ‘This is my friend, Light of Foot. He went into the caves but told me to Stay here. He said he would be back out soon. But he didn’t come back! After a few days, I went in looking for him. I was able to sneak past most of the guards, following his scent, but I had to fight a couple of the Smelly Ones. I eventually found his body and dragged it out here to the woods where it belongs.’

I said ‘I’m sorry but he’s too long dead for me to ask for a new body. He will have to wait to reincarnate the normal way.’ She sighed and laid her great head on his chest. ‘I want to go and kill the Smelly Ones who killed my friend, but they are strong and many. And I am weak from grief and hunger.’ I said, ‘Obad-Hai surely means for us to journey together, as I am on a Quest for a friend to help me and my 2-legged friends defeat the Smelly Ones in the cave!’

At that, she raised her head and stared me straight into the eyes. Even for a druid it’s hard to look too long into a tiger’s eyes because they have an almost hypnotic affect. After a few moments she said ‘Agreed. Please help me to return his body to the earth.’ Then she slowly rose to her feet. I motioned her back down. ‘First you need to eat and drink my friend before you fall over! And what are you called by the way?’ I asked.

Like most animals, her name is a description of a scene. (For Swift it was ‘A dark shadow sliding swiftly through the trees.’) The tigress’ name is ‘Hot summer days, hiding in the tall yellow grass, pouncing unexpectedly.’ I’ve decided to call her Summer for short.

I created some water for her to drink and then asked Obad-Hai to bless some nearby berries to nourish her. It took 5 berries to satisfy her hunger! After she ate, I insisted she wait a moment while I healed her wounds and removed the parasites that had attached themselves to her coat. Then we stripped the elf’s body and buried him. He had nothing of value on him except an ironwood holy symbol of Corellon Larethian which I buried with him. The Troglodytes must’ve stripped his body before she got there.

Summer and I spent the night in the clearing getting to know each other. When the morning came we started back to where I left my equipment. After walking for about half an hour, I was very surprised when she said ‘It would be faster if you’d just hop onto my back.’ I had expected it to be weeks before she felt comfortable enough to allow me to ride. However, her previous companion had already trained her for combat riding so she was used to the idea. She was just grateful that I weigh so much less than the elf! (The only command we have still to work on is Stay. She knows what it means, but doesn’t want to, since that is the last command Light of Foot gave her.) With me on her back, we quickly retrieved my equipment and headed back to camp.

(9/21/03 9:40 am)
Session Twenty-One - Part 2/3
As we approached the party’s campsite, Summer suddenly crouched down and began to growl low in her throat. I used my headband to ask ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘I smell DRAGON!’ she replied. I said ‘Oh, that’s probably just Aramil, my friend who is of an elf-dragon mating.’ (Some things are hard to translate.) She continued to growl but grudgingly moved forward into the camp.

I introduced Summer to the rest of the party, who seemed surprised that I hadn’t ‘chosen’ another wolf. She didn’t make a very good first impression, I’m sure, since she was still half-crouched, hackles up and growling. (Shangor seemed happy enough that she wasn’t making bad jokes!) When I introduced her to Aramil, she said ‘DRAGON, not this!’ I immediately drew my scimitar and warned the rest of the party. ‘Och! Put away the wee pig-sticker, lass! The dragon left hours ago!’ Shangor chuckled. I put away my scimitar, but waited for them to explain.

During the pre-dawn hours, they had been awakened by a large ‘Thud’ in the forest nearby. As they scrambled to their feet, a booming voice spoke from the darkness. ‘Thank you for the fresh horseflesh. I appreciate the delivery service.’ Then a large white dragon stepped forward into the light. ‘Don’t worry, I’m not hungry right now, I just want to speak with you.’ He introduced himself as Krystaf. Then he asked what we had been doing in the temple. The party was understandably hesitant to answer, not knowing whether he was for or against the temple. I’m still not sure what the guys replied, but I’m sure it involved a lot of stuttering and/or blustering. They must’ve answered correctly since they weren’t attacked.

Apparently all Krystaf wanted was to get us to kill Vranthis and bring him the head. The guys apparently didn’t haggle very well, since the actual reward wasn’t nailed down! He also implied there are other dragons in the temple complex, but that he has no problem with any but Vranthis.

During the re-telling, Aramil started unconsciously growling. Luckily I had a hand on Summer’s neck and was able to stop her from pouncing on him. I calmed her down and explained about the other dragon and that it was long gone. She was very relieved, and promptly settled down for her afternoon nap. Luckily we usually end up resting/healing a lot of the time or I don’t know how we’d be able to travel with a cat. Adventuring can quickly impinge on her 18 hours of sleep daily!

Sylvan spent the rest of day identifying magic items. There were a lot of them! He found out that the gloves we ‘found’ are gloves of dexterity. (Sorry, they were best used in the party, otherwise I would’ve tried to get them for you.) There was also a black thurible that takes special incense and provides protection only in a Temple of Tharizdun. Bah! It’s probably all Bad stuff! We also found a silver ring of climbing. (Maybe if you’re good I’ll get it for your birthday.) A cloak of resistance. (Does everyone have one of these?!?) A Great Sword of Earth, which Kale has taken a liking to, rains stones once per day and gives resistance to acid. And a flat brown metal plate shaped like a triangle that is some sort of key to the Earth temple. It can be combined with another one to make a greater key.

{DM's Note - Krystaf is the white dragon random encounter IMC. His goal is to insinuate himself into the cult and kill Vranthis who left him for dead during some past fight.}

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