(9/21/03 9:48 am)
Session Twenty-One - Part 3/3|
We decided to go back through Rastor on our way to the temple so that Shangor could drop off Xaod’s equipment at the temple of Moradin. As we passed Tal’s place (that bastard who poisoned me!), we saw that he’d hired some bodyguards. The Wimp! One went quickly inside and came back out with Tal. He called out tauntingly, ‘Verilia, want some more tea?’ and laughed. I wanted to rip his head off! You know I can do a lot of damage when I’m angry. Bet an ice storm would shut that fat yap! But I restrained myself to just making a rude gesture and calling his mother a kobold, promising myself that we would take care of him later. Although I was concentrating on Tal and didn’t see him, Aramil later told me that Wormspike (that stupid Ogre with the goggles) was working for Tal by the stables. Let this be a lesson to you. If you set evil free, you’ll regret it later when they help your enemies.
Finally we arrived at the temple and I took a large breath of fresh air before entering the caves. Unfortunately, the dank and musty air of the caves quickly erased any memory of the sweet pine forest scent out of my nose. We also had to walk through the sites of previous battles, adding the smell of old blood and rotted flesh to the musty smell of the caves.
We quickly and quietly went down to the Earth Temple. We were surprised to find that the main corridor in that section was now blocked off with a thick stone wall. We decided to complete our investigation of the small rooms in the area, before dealing with the wall. We found only a room with niches filled with skulls, each one had the back bashed in, and a ‘nest’ made of lichen and bones.
Aldoroc and Kale moved towards the wall, followed by Shangor then Summer and me. Unfortunately, someone stepped on a pressure plate and darts shot out of the wall. Each of us was hit at least once. Summer and I stayed perfectly still, hoping not to set off any more traps. At this point I was really wishing you were there, you always were good at avoiding or disabling these things! Shangor didn’t wait though, and stepped on another plate, causing us to get hit again! The darts were apparently poisoned and caused my muscles to stiffen up a bit. Luckily those appeared to be the last of the darts, as Shangor moved all the way up to the wall without another volley.
There was another room just before the wall, containing a huge bed surrounded by black drapes, and covered in black pillows. There was also a pentagram on the floor, and skulls tied to two black poles. The skulls said ‘Death’, ‘Destruction’ and ‘Decay’. Since there was nothing useful in the room, I went back out to see what Shangor and Sylvan were doing.
Sylvan closely examined the wall and concluded that it was ‘Stone shaped’ there. I don’t know why we care, but I guess it explains how a wall grew there so quickly. Sylvan asked Shangor to ‘stone shape’ it again to have a door in it. But Shangor said ‘Get out of me way, ya daft elf, not everything needs magic thrown at it!’ Then Shangor pulled out his miner’s pick and proceeded to brute strength his way through the wall.
Once the dwarf opened up a hole, Aramil spotted an earth mephit flying away down the passage. It must have been waiting as a guard because we had no time to stop it. As we were discussing whether we should wait (Sylvan reasoned that the remainder of the Earth Temple would start preparing and we should let their buff spells wear off), we heard screams from up ahead! It sounded like a woman in pain, but we’ve been tricked by that before, and it could easily be a trap. We could not let an innocent die, however, but we paused to cast some preparatory spells. I specifically wanted to protect Summer, since she is still not as strong as she should be, so I cast barkskin and magic fang on her. Shangor blessed the party and we hurried forward. It seemed to take forever to reach the large cavern ahead while listening to the screams echoing down the corridor.
The large cavern was full of rocks and boulders, with only a small path through the middle of it to two openings on the other side. We still couldn’t see where the screams were coming from, although it must have obviously been from down one of the passages. We moved forward among the boulders and found two Trogs and a manticore waiting for us. Trogs are the only living creature I know of that have no place on this earth, stupid evil scum!
But before I could move forward to attack them, a Xorn appeared out of the ground right next to us and BIT Summer hard! I attempted to cast at it, but it bit me too, interrupting my spell. Summer tried to pounce on it, but missed. The Xorn was distracted by multiple magical bolts flying from Aramil’s fingers and hitting it in the head. Shangor stepped up and smacked it hard with his hammer. His resonant voice rumbled, ‘That’ll teach ye to pick on the wee kittie, ye beastie!’
While we battled the Xorn, Aldoroc made short work of the first Trog and started working on the second one. Kale and Sylvan launched volleys of arrows at the Manticore.
Thanks to Shangor and Aramil, the Xorn moved away from Summer, fading under the ground and appearing right next to Aramil. It scored a strike and removed some of Aramil’s lovely gold scales. Then an earth mephit appeared from the rocks nearby and attacked him too! Aramil wisely retreated.
The manticore returned Kale’s volley with a bunch of spikes from its tail. Kale pulled out the great sword of Earth from Xaod’s glove of storing and closed the distance to the manticore hitting it squarely in the face with the large blade. Aldoroc dispatched the second Trog and moved up to help. The manticore got only one more attack on Kale before succumbing to their combined might.
During the commotion, I pulled Summer slightly off the path and healed the large wound in her side from the Xorn bite. I am glad the guys came to rescue her, or I would have lost my new friend in our first battle! She was just happy to see that two of the ‘Smelly Ones’ (Trogs) were dead. Then I left Summer to rest while I went back into the battle, as Aramil and Shangor were still fighting the earth mephit and xorn. The earth mephit hit Aramil with his stony breath, but Aramil threw more magic at the Xorn which was attacking Shangor. Aldoroc left the dead manticore and moved up to land a solid blow on the mephit. The mephit retreated past Sylvan (who stayed well out of its way) and down the stairs. This allowed the party to concentrate on dispatching the Xorn, which didn’t have the time, or opportunity, to retreat like the mephit.
The woman’s screams drew us down the stairs and past several rooms with iron ore and bits of rock in them. No time to search, we needed to save the woman, or spring the trap we still weren’t sure which we’d find. However, the screaming sounded real enough! Soon the screams were in counter point with the pulse of large drumbeats.
This led us quickly to a huge cavern, in the center of which sat a large, stepped, stone temple pyramid. An aura of evil like an ancient tomb filled this room. On top of the temple was an altar with an elven woman strapped to it, and a High Priest Trog with a knife who was about to sacrifice her. This was also the origin of the drumbeats, from another trog beating large kettledrums near the altar. There was also a Xorn in the room that was looking expectantly at the High Priest Trog as if waiting for a tasty treat. Another trog on the floor yelled out, ‘Snearak, the intruders are here!’
We knew we had to hurry to save the woman and stop this evil rite! But there was a crowd of creatures in between us and the temple consisting of nine trogs including a female (and I thought the males were UGLY!). There were also a couple of familiar undead ‘faces’ including Terrenygit and the female cleric trog as zombies, and the huge Howler’s skeleton. The earth mephit from above was recognizable by the gash in its side, but he had two others with him and they quickly hid behind the ziggurat.
Aramil was quick-thinking enough to cast Grease on the knife in Snearak’s hand just as he went to plunge it into the woman’s chest! Snearak screamed in rage as the knife clattered harmlessly on the floor near the altar.
Sylvan stayed at the back of the party, but sent Ace (his little snake) up to deliver a Greater Invisibility spell to Aldoroc. Summer and I squeezed up through the party so I could clearly see the area and deliver a rain of hail down on all the creatures (not the altar of course since I didn’t want to kill the woman). Just as I completed the spell, a zombie moved up and hit Summer. Poor thing, she wasn’t expecting a dead thing to attack, and I wasn’t able to pull her out of the way in time, despite my mounted combat training.
Up on the altar, the drummer stopped playing and moved around to pick up the knife. He managed somehow to pick it up despite the Grease, and held it up in triumph. That was to be the last move he made, as Shangor quickly cast a spell which froze him in place. Snearak considered Dispelling the magic on the drummer, but decided instead to remove some magic from our party. He managed to deflate Shangor slightly by removing his bear’s endurance spell, and removed the barkskin from Summer. Sylvan saw the drummer was held and cackled evilly as he dropped a flaming sphere on him. The party gasped at this and Sylvan responded ‘Let him try to get the knife now!’ It’s sometimes scary how blood-thirsty he can get in the heat of battle. I hope this is not a glimpse into his true nature, which yet lies hidden.
Kale decided to back track and see if he could come at the enemy from another direction. Unfortunately he ran into trouble on his way around, based on the sounds of battle I heard echoing from behind us.
The skeletal howler moved up and attacked me (luckily not Summer). His bite went right through my leather armor and barky skin, taking a large chunk out of my leg. Then his tail swung up and hit me with 2 sharp quills. I thought I’d pass out from the pain, but luckily I remained conscious. (Don’t tell Mom about any of this, she’d be very upset and I don’t need another of those lectures!) A trog attacked Summer, but luckily missed. Faced with a skeletal howler, a zombie and a trog, I decided we’d better move back and let the fighters take over. We squeezed back through the party, as my ice storm faded away.
Aramil roasted the trogs downed by my ice storm and the others that remained standing with a fireball. Aldoroc tried to overrun the zombies, but bounced off Terrenygit and fell down. Luckily he was still invisible or they probably would’ve attacked him. Unfortunately his invisibility didn’t help him avoid the attack from the Xorn who popped up out of the earth next to him seeing the prone human as an easy target. Shangor called upon the might of Moradin to bless us in this epic battle.
Now that the ice and fire had cleared I could see there were now five earth mephits in the cavern. (I assume they summoned friends.) Two of them flew up to the altar to help Snearak and three flew down the other hallway where Kale was battling.
On the altar, the drummer perished from the heat, and Sylvan casted another flaming sphere on Snearak, but he just stood there amidst the flames, laughing! Another trog crawled up onto the altar to help out.
A trog scratched Summer with a claw, as she protected me while I was casting, calling on Obad-Hai to strike down my enemies with lightning. He struck her again before I completed my spell. But, as soon as I was done, I used my first bolt to fry him to a crisp.
In the meantime Aldoroc stood up and got hit again by the Xorn. He and Shangor began hacking at it, assisted by Aramil’s magic missiles. Sylvan was determined to make his flaming spheres useful, so he moved them over to the howler, but it’s hard to tell if a skeleton is hurt by flames. He added his own magic missiles to the Xorn.
Holding the power of lightning inside me, I began casting another spell, while watching the rest of the party battle. I could hear yells of pain and rage from Kale down the hall where he was being attacked by the mephits after taking out the Trogs that originally delayed him. (He told me all about this later) Unfortunately I couldn’t help him, there were still plenty of enemies in the cavern. Sylvan cast a spell I’d never seen before, causing huge black tentacles to rise up out of the earth and grab the undead Howler.
My spell was completed and a large dire wolf appeared behind a zombie, its sharp teeth quickly tearing through the dead flesh destroying it. Then I threw a bolt of lightning at Snearak who was moving over to the roasted drummer to retrieve the knife and continue his evil rite.
The two mephits and the Howler killed my dire wolf, but it did some damage in the process. I thanked Obad-Hai for the assistance, and also thanked Moradin as Shangor healed me from the worst of the Howler’s attacks.
Aldoroc ran forward to the altar, planning to stop Snearak. On the first step of the temple, a Xorn appeared and attacked him but missed. Aramel decided to help Kale, because he suddenly ran away, taking his lights with him and plunging the altar into darkness. Aldoroc stayed and swung at random in the darkness. The Xorn attacked him unhindered by the blackness, obviously gifted with some sort of tremorsense, as Shangor explained to me later.
Sylvan attempted again to hit the Howler with the spheres, but they were ineffective. My lighting bolt, however, did do some damage to it. Shangor finally attempted to turn the undead, but the evil aura in the temple prevented the power of Moradin from affecting them. Not that Shangor is the best when it comes to affecting the undead! Aramil returned with his lights, just in time to see Snearak cast a hold person on Kale who had just entered the room following the mephits.
I threw another lightning bolt at Snearak. Sylvan decided to copy me and cast lightning bolt at the creatures in front of him, killing a mephit, but unfortunately not killing the Howler. Aldoroc withdrew out of the room, down another hallway behind the temple.
Sylvan burned the Howler again as it was held by the black tentacles. It managed to struggle free and charged towards Shangor. The mephit fighting Shangor turned to attack Aramil, who bit it back! I guess he uses those dragon teeth sometimes after all!
On the altar, Snearak stopped to heal himself from the lightning damage, while the other trog pulled the knife from the scorched corpse of the drummer. When I saw he had the knife, I quickly threw a bolt at him, killing him instantly.
A zombie stupidly tried to attack the black tentacles and got stuck in them, allowing Sylvan to roast it with his remaining sphere. Shangor dispatched a mephit, while the other mephit dodged Aramil’s teeth and attempted to grapple him. Luckily Aramil is strong for an elf and broke out of its grasp. The third mephit attempted to kill the helpless Kale but the blow glanced off his invulnerable chain shirt. Aramil yelled ‘I’ve had enough of you!’ and casted fireball, killing the two remaining mephits.
Snearak moved over and picked up the knife from the other corpse. I hit him with a lightning bolt, but he survived it and still held the knife. Aldoroc appeared in the doorway again. The Howler saw him and, apparently because none of us were actually in the temple room, turned and charged him. The Howler took Aldoroc in its bony maw and shook him like a rag doll, then dropped his body to the floor, obviously dead.
The Xorn reappeared and attacked Sylvan, while Shangor took a moment to heal his own wounds. Apparently, the dwarf was also in tremendous pain from the howler’s attacks.
Snearak moved over to the helpless woman and stabbed the knife into her chest. Luckily it glanced off her breastbone, and she survived the blow! I used my last lightning bolt to blast the High Priest, but the bastard just wouldn’t go down! I knew there was no way the woman would survive another blow like that and was frustrated there was nothing more I could do! Snearak disappeared from view down the other side of the ziggurat. Aramil carefully dropped another fireball behind the pyramid, trying to hit the priest, but not the elven woman. Either Snearak was not there or his fire resistance still protected him.
I called upon Obad-Hai for more aid, and reasoning that we were in an Earth Temple, I summoned an earth elemental hoping it would be more powerful here somehow. It attacked and injured the Howler, but the Howler quickly killed it. While this happened I rolled off of Summer and transformed into a boar. The Xorn pulled Shangor into its mouth and began chewing on him. I could hear muffled dwarven curses as Shangor’s feet kicked up in the air. Apparently, the Xorn was attempting to drag the dwarf into the Temple area itself.
Kale was finally free of the hold person and, after a brief pause to thank Heironeous for his life, the archer moved forward and finally struck down the Howler that had killed Aldoroc! Sylvan reappeared from wherever he had been hiding, just as his tentacle spell faded.
I charged the xorn, but my tusks couldn’t penetrate its stony hide! The xorn moved away, taking Shangor with it. I could hear him still cursing and struggling to get out of its grasp. Sylvan and Aramil, more worried about the woman than the sturdy dwarf, and probably hoping to get a date, since it is rare to run into an elven woman in these parts, climbed the ziggurat to release her.
I charged the xorn again, managing to slightly injure it. The Kale moved up and sliced into it with the Earth Sword (kind of ironic, I know). While it was distracted by our blows, Shangor managed to pull free of its clutch.
Meanwhile, Aramil and Sylvan solicitously helped the delirious elven woman from her bonds and tended to her wounds, because Snearak had disappeared.
I gored the xorn again and Kale sliced it with his sword. Then I stepped back and cast produce flame. The guys later said I looked like a piggish nightmare with my hooves on fire. But I didn’t get to charge as Shangor called upon Moradin for divine power and knocked it a mighty blow. It fled under the earth again.
Sylvan took this chance to finally ‘pick up a chick’ and began carrying her down the temple with Aramil hovering anxiously nearby. I moved over to the base of the temple but was frustrated by the high steps in my four-legged state.
The xorn suddenly appeared next to Sylvan, possibly planning on collecting its stolen ‘meal’. Aramil immediately blasted it with multiple magic bolts. I saw it appear but still could not get up the steps, so I shifted form into a hawk and flew up the steps, now with blazing talons. Sylvan swiftly retreated with the woman around the corner of the temple. Shangor began hauling himself up the high steps to join the battle. Just as I reached the xorn, it was slain by multiple arrows from Kale and more magic bolts from Aramil, so I never got to use my red hot talons on it. Maybe next time.
Now that the heat of battle was over, we were finally able to go over to the body of Aldoroc. We stood mournfully around him, knowing we would have to either reincarnate, raise or bury yet another party member. As I heard the elf woman whimper in her unconscious state, and saw the broken body of my friend, I knew this temple has taken too many victims and I am going to stop it! This and all the other temples in this complex will be destroyed!
Oops, I need to end here, since the party has already broken camp and my animal messenger is ready to bring this note to you. Tell Mom and Dad I love them and TRY to keep out of trouble!?!
Your big sister, Verilia
(9/30/03 6:23 am)
Re: Session Twenty-One - Part 3/3|
Next session will be written by Aldoroc's player, the one who died from the howler skeleton. Sorry these are taking awhile, though I hope you are enjoying them. The player's are putting their heart and soul into it, which is what is taking so long. As you can tell from the Fire Temple thread, we're way behind, but I promise we'll catch up. Thanks to all who are staying tuned.
(9/30/03 10:38 am)
Re: Session Twenty-One - Part 3/3|
Enjoying them? Absolutely. They are way better than reading your previous drivel
Says ZfC, who can barely scrape together the time to finish off writing the last 2 sessions from July that are slowly rotting away in his brain... sigh...
No, seriously, it's great to read player perspective as well as your own comments. Keep 'em coming, I'm DM'ing vicariously through you during my hiatus
Group Editing & Authoring Support
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(9/30/03 12:55 pm)
Re: Session Twenty-One - Part 3/3|
Very nice to read after just having the same battle (though with totally different progression) last Sunday.
My group had more trouble than I thought they would, particularly thanks to me finally realizing that troglodyte stench results in spellcaster hell.
With that many trogs, eash spellcaster eventually failed, and after that nausea means no spellcasting...period. Not even spell completion items.
(9/30/03 1:04 pm)
Re: Session Twenty-One - Part 3/3|
Thanks for the responses!
"With that many trogs, each spellcaster eventually failed, and after that nausea means no spellcasting...period. Not even spell completion items."
Why can't they cast? There's nothing in the sickened description that keeps them from casting. Did I miss something? We use 3.5 now, was it different in 3.0?
(10/1/03 7:02 am)
Re: Session Twenty-One - Part 3/3|
Oops. I confused the results of failing the save versus a swarm's distraction ability (nauseated) with stench's effect (sickened).
I'll let my group know, but won't apologize. I think the whole fight was much more fun because of the primary spellcasters being unable to cast, and they'll agree. It made everyone take some interesting strategies in a fight that was really a cakewalk for a lvl 8-9 party no matter how you work it.
(10/15/03 8:15 pm)
Session Twenty-Two - Part 1/3|
5th day of Lunary
It is hard to believe so much time has passed since I left to hone my skills. I hope all is well! I am adventuring with Kale, Shangor, Verilia, Sylvan and Aramil (I introduced them in my first letter, remember?). I am in Rastor and just had to write to tell you about what happened to me today. I died. Or rather I did die…Let me start from the beginning…
We were in the Temple of All Consumption (the Earth Temple, specifically) fighting two troglodyte zombies, two xorns, some earth mephits, a few living troglodytes (including the then-high priest Snearak), and, most importantly, a skeleton howler (they were holding a captured elf woman as well). It was a very tough fight in the unhallowed evil temple and even though I had some great hits on those evil monsters, I had to ultimately withdraw into a nearby tunnel. You know how much I hate to do that! But I was in bad shape. After a short time, I decided to make a run for it to safety. That is when it happened. The howler moved towards me and made a final, killing blow…
However, it was not over. This is the story as it was told to me.
The fight was over. Verilia walked over and, seeing yet another dead comrade as a result of the evil in this place, thought, “this temple has taken too many victims and I am going to stop it! This and all the other temples in this complex will be destroyed!” Luckily, the delirious elf woman on the altar was still alive.
Kale went over and considered playing the kettledrum from the altar. Shangor stopped him, saying “They’re evil, lad. I dinna recommend ye tamperin’ with the thing.” Everybody searched the room and Kale found a secret door on the opposite side of the pyramid. He opened it and yelled “troglodyte!” upon seeing Snearak immediately behind the door. Kale boldly attempted to grapple the troglodyte but failed. The troglodyte priest answered by activating a wand to summon a fiendish wolverine. Kale then took a hit but was able to grapple the troglodyte on his second attempt. He then quickly knocked it unconscious with a second hit. A fine example of combat!
Meanwhile, Aramil started attacking the wolverine. Verilia followed but had problems with her swing and almost hit Aramil instead, “Hey, watch it!” Shangor then stepped up, saying “Pardon me,” and then pulverized the wolverine with his warhammer (I am working on explaining the greatness of Heironeous to him, but it has not taken yet). Aramil then missed, which was followed by Kale moving up and getting the final shot on the wolverine, killing it. The group then finished off the troglodyte, killing it before it could awaken again, or give us useful information.
With the fighting complete, everybody looted the dead and the room. A small ‘key’ was found, in the shape of a brown metal triangle about eight inches across, which when combined with another small key (that we had found previously) would make a Greater Key. In addition, a scroll was found so Shangor attempted to read it but failed. Sylvan then tried and succeeded. Sylvan said, “If you need help with the big words, let me know” and handed the scroll back to Shangor. Ouch! Aramil then casted Detect Magic as Shangor commented “All me spells are gone.” A suit of plate mail armor was found to be very strong and from the transmutation school of magic (whatever that is). The important question is how well does it protect the wearer! Aramil said something about it being magical and non-masterwork and that not making sense from a craftsman’s point of view. Whatever.
The elf woman then started to wake up mumbling to herself in what almost seemed like a nightmare. Sylvan calmed her and she quickly fell asleep again from the shock she was experiencing. The group had a problem: two bodies to carry (one unconscious, one dead). They decided that the cart (which had previously been stolen from where we had left it) was probably nearby. Kale went down a well-traveled path and finds a prison. More importantly, the cart was in there!
Shangor helped get the cart out, but before they could proceed, Kale decided to sneak off on his own down two other tunnels. He found a galley and another area, and was never discovered himself. Lucky! Both for him and the group overall. Everybody then discussed what to do with the cart. They felt that there were too many stairs to take the cart out the way we came. Another path was chosen but was quickly found to be full of insects. While normally our group would be up to such a fight, they were fairly beaten up and I was not there (alive, I mean) to lead them into battle!
All of the sudden, the elf woman woke up mumbling “No, don’t cut off my hand.” Then, she promptly fell asleep again. Shangor whispered a quick prayer for her.
The group then used their muscle and got the cart up the stairs, through the passages and outside. “We should travel to Rastor and camp outside town” suggested Aramil. And they did exactly that.
That is how I died, father. Heironeous allowed me to fight valiantly, but it just was not enough. I will continue to focus on improving my technique. Since we last were together, I have already improved in using the battle axe, dealing with multiple opponents, and in dodging blows. You would be proud.
(10/15/03 8:17 pm)
Session Twenty-Two - Part 2/3|
You are probably wondering how it is that I am alive again and writing this letter to you. Well as it was told to me, the group had just arrived at Rastor and camped outside town…
Before going to sleep and taking watches, the group sat down for some food and drink. Aramil took the two lesser keys that had been found and combined them to make a Greater Key. “A Greater Key should open a Lessor Door” joked Shangor.
“It has not exploded yet!” replied Aramil.
Eventually, everybody went to sleep with watches being kept as usual. In the middle of the night, Shangor and Verilia were surprised by four hungry dire bats ! They took multiple hits and Shangor staggered from all his wounds. Before they knew it, the party was surrounded! Summer, Verilia’s tiger friend, helped out while Shangor healed himself. In the meantime, Sylvan woke up, grabbed his dagger and hit! Very nice for a wizard! Verilia then killed the first bat with her sickle. Then the second bat went down from Verilia casting Produce Flame. Kale shot an arrow that went flying right past Aramil’s ear. Aramil complained “Watch where you are shooting that thing!” but the arrow hit and killed the third bat. At that point, the last bat flew away and the group evaluated its wounds. Shangor, Sylvan and Summer were pretty banged up. Sylvan was the worst so Shangor healed him with what he had left. Then the group went back to sleep, maintaining a more vigilant watch.
The morning came and while the group was getting ready (eating, praying or cleaning up), the elf woman woke up. “Where are you from?” asked Aramil.
“Far away” she replied.
“Who are you?” questioned Kale.
She began to back off in fear.
Verilia said “We rescued you from the troglodytes.”
The elf woman then vomited. Then she said, “Are you here to clear the Temple of All Consumption? If so, give me a sword!”
And then she collapsed unconscious again. The group reflected that it was good to know that at least the elf woman knew what the Temple is and that she is against it. Verilia then went and picked some strawberries nearby, came back and cast Goodberry on them. She then woke up the elf woman again and fed a berry to her. She refuses initially but Verilia is able to convince her. The elf woman then fully woke up and asked, “Who are you guys?”
Verilia introduced each person one-by-one (except for me, of course). “Oh, you are a druid” said the elf.
“Yes” said Verilia.
“Thank you” responded the elf.
Kale asked “What are you doing here?”
“I was flying and was knocked out by a lightning bolt. I awoke to find myself captured and being tortured by a vicious gnome.”
“Do you know when you were captured?”
“I don’t know…3 years ago? The gnome sold me from place-to-place and I ended up with the troglodytes. They were planning on sacrificing me on the altar and feeding my heart to a xorn.”
The elf woman then started looking through the cart. Finding a breastplate, she exclaimed, “This is some nice stuff!”
“Do not get too attached to that, please” said Verilia.
The elf grabbed a masterwork bastard sword and volunteered to join our quest. “What is your name?” asked Sylvan.
“Tenaris Glimmerdawn. Haven’t I seen you before?” Sylvan then paused while he considered whether he could have known this elf woman in his past. Will his amnesia ever subside?
“Can I help you guys? I specialize in mounted combat.”
The group agreed, though the usefulness of mounted combat in the mines didn’t help out the paladin Xaod, may he rest peacefully in the embrace of Heironeous.
Once all of that was settled, Shangor took a moment to focus and casted Speak With Dead. Unfortunately, he messed something up and failed to contact my corpse. Shangor then resorted to casting Gentle Repose on my body.
Before continuing, Verilia asked, “Why did you heal Sylvan instead of Summer when Summer was worse off?”
“Stop your whining, lass” responded Shangor.
However, being the good cleric that he is, Shangor then went on to heal Summer.
The group then heads into Rastor. They proceed to the Temple of Moradin to once again see Rerrid. Upon reaching the temple, Shangor asked for Rerrid and is quickly led to him (a marked improvement compared to our first visit to the temple). “Do ye happen to have a Raise Dead scroll for our good fighter friend, Aldoroc?” asked Shangor.
Recalling meeting me earlier, Rerrid said “I may. Let me cast Speak With Dead first.”
After some discussion between Rerrid and the group, they come up with the desired questions to ask and Rerrid successfully casted the spell (Shangor will have to work on that spell).
“Do you want to be restored to life?” Rerrid asked.
“Never give up, never surrender” my corpse responded.
“Do you want to be reincarnated if it had to be?” Rerrid asked next.
“Never give up, never surrender” again my corpse responded.
Rerrid then ends the spell and offers to sell a Raise Dead scroll. After negotiation, Rerrid exchanges the scroll for 3 full plate armors, a masterwork steel shield, 2 masterwork morningstars, 2 large steel shields, and 2 masterwork crossbows. I guess I know how much my life is worth! There’s delicious irony in that the barter occurred in weapons and armor.
Shangor then read the scroll thereby casting the spell and I was alive once again.
And now you know the full story. How I died and how I became alive again. It was quite an experience and one I hope not to repeat again. Heironeous willing, I will have the strength necessary to vanquish all of my opponents. Please pray for me.
(10/15/03 8:18 pm)
Session Twenty-Two - Part 3/3|
Speaking of which, allow me to relate some additional things that have been going on. Aramil related a story regarding the local shopkeeper (his name is Tal Chammish) poisoning Verilia. We decided to go to the Grey Lodge and meet Yarew. We took a seat and ordered some ale. While waiting, a dwarf that was seated at a nearby table with two orcs came over and said, “We don’t need your kind here.”
“I beg ye pardon, lass?” asked Shangor.
Aramil defiantly added, “We don’t need your acceptance.”
“We’re tired of you causing trouble” the dwarf replied as she turned back and went back to her table. She had the look of someone of importance, possibly a town leader. She clearly commanded the presence of the tavern and the orcs.
We started to whisper with each other about the situation, but then the dwarf got up and went to the door. She opened it and held it for the two orcs to exit. Sylvan boldly (foolishly?) went to the door, pretended to stumble and splashed the dwarf with his drink. “I’m terribly sorry!” Sylvan tried to fake.
Just barely maintaining her composure, the dwarf replied “What’s your problem? You did that on purpose. Now get back to your table and sit down. When your presence is requested, you will know.”
“Don’t you want compensation?” asked Sylvan.
“No” the dwarf answered as she pulled a symbol of Gruumsh out of her armor, so as to display it prominently for the eyes of Shangor, grinned mischievously, and left. I’m not positive, but I’d bet a silver piece she winked at Shangor.
At this point, Kale decided to escalate the situation even more. He got up from the table and tried to go outside to look at the dwarf and two orcs. As he headed towards the door, however, another person moved to block the way. At this Kale tried to “help” him through the door by rushing towards him. The mysterious newcomer drew a dagger, took a swing at Kale and hit. Luckily, Kale’s armor resisted and the dagger never hurt Kale (Kale wears some really nice armor called invulnerability that helps reduce how severe blows are…I’d like to get some one day!).
Kale then pulled the greatsword from the Earth Temple from his glove of storing (it is magical and can store a weapon in it for quick drawing…kind of neat). He attacked, hit and killed the guy in one instant. Others in the tavern (including some half-orcs) got up, ready for attack. Two surrounded Kale, but Kale quickly subdued one. Armail then blinded another. Three others ran past Kale and out the door (scaredy cats!).
Kale and Shangor then went to deal with one final person, the blind guy as it turned out. Sadly, he knocked Kale down. However, Shangor then pinned him and held him down. “Why are you attacking us?” yelled Kale.
“I’m not telling you anything” was the reply.
Shangor added “You’re blind and if ya wanna get that dispelled, tell us.”
“Go screw your mother,” said the blind guy. Shangor had to cover his sensitive cleric ears!
We checked over the fallen bodies in the tavern and we found one that was still alive! However, before we could do anything about it, we started to hear a commotion outside. People were gathering outside the tavern.
Aramil went out the back door of the tavern, paying 5 gp to Yarew not to say anything about him going back there. Verilia followed, but paid 1 pp. I guess in the rush she forgot the conversion rate of gold pieces to platinum pieces. The two of them ran around to the front while we discussed what to do in the tavern. They saw some horses and half-orcs included in the crowd. Kale, who had exited through the front door after the fighting inside was over, yelled to the crowd “why did you attack us?” But there was no answer.
Kale notched his bow and that caused the crowd to quickly disperse. Asking Tenaris to join him, Sylvan went out the front door to help out Kale. Shangor and I then followed as well and we were all outside now. This attack on us was certainly weird and we couldn’t make sense out of it. Someone must be controlling these people. We decided to go back outside of town to our campsite and try to determine the next course of action. Sylvan added “Tal will be expecting us now and if we wait, we will catch them unprepared without any protective spells going.” He seems to have developed a phobia about that. He calls it “waiting out the buffs.”
We arrived at the campsite and started to rest. At 3:00 AM, Verilia turned into an owl and flew off to scout the town. I am writing this letter as we all wait for her return, and she has just returned. She found that the town was all quiet and even the windows of Tal’s shop were covered by shutters so we gained no additional information. We are all heading to sleep now and will discuss what to do in the morning. We’ll either deal with Tal and his people, or head back to the Temple of All Consumption. I’m voting for opening a can of whoop-ass on the Temple.
Take care, father, and please do not worry! I will write to you again as soon as it is possible and let you know how all of this turns out. Say hello to Uncle Dignar for me. If we ever get back to that area, I’ll introduce his fellow dwarf, Shangor, to him. I’m sure they’ll swap stories over ale all night long!
(10/15/03 8:21 pm)
I have my own world calendar. It's pretty simple, really, 12 months of 30 days each (5 weeks, 6 days/week). Lunary is the second month. The seasons go spring, summer, fall, winter. So, it is the first week of spring when he writes this. Yes, I track each and every day. Any other questions, please ask.
Next log is Shangor's and it will be ready this weekend.
(10/15/03 11:01 pm)
Re: DM's Note|
“No, don’t cut off my hand.”
Sent shivers down my spine, that one.
Sounds like a good game. You've really gotten Tal involved, which is good. Haven't they tried spying on him? What's the deal with the Gruumsh symbol?
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
(10/16/03 5:16 am)
Re: DM's Note|
My player's don't seem to be in the mood to spy a whole lot, particularly because there is no rogue. I gave Tal a level in sorcerer (for craft - alchemy) and gave him alarm and expeditious retreat. He has excellent skills and a top-notch network due to the drugs so he is a real craft bastage. The party is (rightly) leaving him alone until they are able to handle the large numbers of withdrawal victims. They saw Verilia go through it for a day, and don't want to inflict the same punishment on others without a reasonable chance of saving them.
I decided that Thandain would be corrupted in soul as well as body and throw her lot in with the orcs. It was really an interesting twist of fate to have Jardeth (the half-orc 'constable' and helper to Rerrird) worship Moradin and Thandain worship Gruumsh. I wanted to stir up some emotions, and boy did I! Even the elves were pissed off (well, technically, elves probably hate Gruumsh more than dwarves). It'll be interesting to see if the party attempts to save Thandain in the end or just kill her. I'm thinking I'm gonna make her the true heir to the Saltheart dynasty, and give the group a chance. If they uncover that fact, have her atone, then they shall reap the rewards of a clan indebted to them forever.
(10/18/03 8:50 am)
Session Twenty-Three 1/4|
It was sparsely populated, it was dimly lit, and it smelled bad, even to a dwarven nose. The tavern in Rastor was not the type of place that attracted typical townsfolk, but then again, the townsfolk here were anything but typical. Nowhere else in Quandaria had Shangor ever seen dwarves and orcs in such proximity, at least not without a battle. Some dwarves even worked with the orcs here. Well, he thought, when we get rid o’ that foul temple in the crater to the southwest, maybe this forsaken town will dry up wi’ it. At least there was a proper, if a bit complacent, temple to Moradin here. After a long march back from the Temple of All Consumption, it was nice to rest in a place dedicated to good, chatting with Rerrid and paying respects to his patron deity. Shangor could almost forget that the temple’s door was guarded by another blasted orc! Well, a half-orc at least. Jardeth was not the typical half-orc either. He was sworn to protect his master, a fellow cleric of Moradin, and he had a keen sense of justice, something this town needed badly. Adventuring certainly had a way of opening one’s mind. Back in Karacul, Shangor never would have admitted that there might be a good orc out there, half-breed or otherwise, but somehow, Jardeth was beginning to earn the gruff dwarf’s trust. What will me clansmen think?
Shangor looked around the tavern. The usual lot was here. Noisy to be sure, but still a bit subdued after the incident just a few nights ago. Not one dared to meet his gaze for long. Bah, he thought, we’re not gonna harm ye, you fools! We’re here ta help ye! Half of them were still under the drugged spell of that thief Tal. If only he and his friends were a wee bit stronger… He shook his head and drained his mug of the small bit of swill he had left. The nerve of that blasted barkeep, calling this foul mud ale! He slammed his mug down on the table loud enough to make a hollow thud. That got the barkeep’s attention.
“Hey, you want some more?” he asked, hoping to get his hands on more of the adventurer’s gold.
“More?!” Shangor shot back, “I’ve half a mind tae introduce yer back side to me hammer for tryin’ ta poison me! Wi’ all the dwarves around here, it confounds me that there is no’ a decent mug o’ ale ta be found!” Noticing all the people staring at him, he stopped and let the redness of his face subside. He held up one hand to calm the onlookers, and flipped a silver piece to the nervous bartender with the other. “Sorry, lad. Mebbe another time,” he said, rising to leave. He sighed as he left the tavern, giving in to the notion that even good clerics can have bad days.
Walking down the dirt paths of Rastor, he shivered a bit as the sun was setting. It was no wonder his party didn’t want to stay at the tavern. If the noise didn’t keep you up, the ambience of the place was sure to give you nightmares. It was almost preferable to sleep in the mines. Perhaps he’d head back to camp and turn in early. He could certainly use the rest after all the fighting and dungeon-crawling they’d been doing recently. Chances are, they’d have to fight off a herd of beasts tonight anyway.
“Shangor Steele? Is that ye, lad?”
Shangor spun around, having not expected to hear that particular voice for a long time. “Seamus! By the light o’ Moradin’s forge, what in blazes are ye doin’ here? Dinna tell me that Gerrin finally let ye out o’ the cave to go wanderin’ about!” Shangor laughed hard, harder than he had in a long time. It felt good, especially today.
“Aye, that she did!” Seamus laughed with his old friend. “She’s worried about ye, lad.”
“Is she now?” Shangor smiled. Seamus and Gerrin were good friends and their clan was a worthy ally to his own. Seamus himself was a stalwart fighter and had fought well to protect Karacul in the last war. His waraxe saved Shangor’s life once, and not long after, Shangor, with the help of Moradin’s curative magic, had been able to return the favor. “Well, tell the lass I’m plenty well off. I’ve go’ a good band o’ friends wi’ me. We’ll be fine.”
“Aye, I’d like to meet them. Perhaps after we ‘ave a bit o’…” he reached into the large sack that had been slung over his shoulder and pulled out a small keg, “this!”
Shangor’s eyes began to tear up. “Oh, lad. You canna’ know what this means ta me. The swill they make in that tavern o’er there…” Only one thing could possibly be in that keg, and Shangor hadn’t tasted any of that since their two clans had shared in the Birth Day celebration last Moradus, almost six months ago.
“Aye, I’ve heard.” Seamus said, “Let’s go find a shady spot and ye can tell me what the devil ye’ve been up to these past months.”
“Lad, for a sip o’ that ale, I’d even kiss an orc!”
(10/18/03 8:52 am)
Session Twenty-Three 2/4|
Several hours later, in a wooded area just outside of town, Shangor was deep into his story, and both dwarves were more than halfway through the keg of Seamus’s best recipe. Their shadows danced among the trees as the campfire’s flames flickered.
“So there we were, standin’ in the woods behind that bastard Tal’s shop, and he’s nowhere tae be seen. Even Verilia couldna’ find him while she was flittin’ around the place as an owl. Verilia an’ I wanted to do somethin’ to make him pay for poisoning her, poor lass, but the damned fool had locked himself up. Verilia had a clever idea. She’s a druid, an’ she’s always lookin’ for the natural way tae do things, so she thought about givin’ him a disease with a contagion spell. Eye for an eye, right? Then she talked about usin’ a summon swarm to eat up all his food and carry off his wares!” Shangor stopped to chuckle at that, but then his face turned dark “It was better than me own idea…”
Seamus correctly interpreted the look, “Ye were nae plannin’ on sneakin’ in and slittin’ his throat were ye’?”
“Well, Moradin forgive me, but the thought had crossed me mind. Heaven knows he deserved it, but ye are right. It’s not me place to judge the wicked. Anyway, Sylvan and Kale are wantin’ just tae leave it and get some sleep, so that’s what we do. We were still a bit banged up from the fight wi’ those confounded bats, so I spread some cure spells around, Verilia builds a fire and we turn in.” Shangor paused, and both dwarves took a swig of their ale, enjoying every drop.
Setting his mug down, Shangor picked up the story with both hands waving, “Not an hour goes by when some other damned creature thought we looked tasty. I must a been nigh dead that night, because I didna hear it until it was already takin’ a bite outa poor Verilia. Well anyway, I wake up and everyone else was already layin’ intae the beast with their swords an’ axes! The first thing I see is the biggest lion I ever set me eyes on. It’s maw is locked onto the flank of a big grizzly bear. Everyone else has their swords pointed at the lion, so I gather that the bear is actually Verilia (ye have tae get used to such things when ye travel wi’ a druid, ye know). The beastie is already bleedin’ from a deep cut on ‘is flank that Kale had made. Aldoroc got up and ran intae the fray. Just then, Verilia takes a big bite outa the beastie with her bear’s teeth! Then Tenaris (that’s the elf lass we found inside o’ the Earth temple) lands her sword at the lion’s throat, and it topples over.
“Then, this big bear waddles o’er tae me, cut and bleedin’ like an orc’s tortured prisoner, so I gi’ ‘er me best healin’ spell, a cure critical wounds. Then, off she goes draggin’ the beastie’s carcass off intae the trees. I tell ye’ it ne’er fails. There’s always somethin’ in these woods that wants tae make a meal out o’ us!” Shangor paused for a gulp.
“So what happened the next day? Did ye get to Tal or no’?” Seamus was clearly into the story now, Shangor noticed. It only made him more flamboyant.
“Well, I was wantin’ tae fix his wagon, aye, but we thought that we should first try tae be orderly about it. Now, that ugly half-orc Jardeth (actually, he’s no’ such a bad lad, for a half-orc that is) he’s the closest thing this town has to a constable, so we ask him who is the highest authority in town. We wanted tae know, so we can turn the crook over ta be judged. Well, it turns out that Rerrid (that’s the cleric in the temple to Moradin ‘ere) is the rightful leader, but he isna as influential as ‘e was. Now, that loud-mouthed, Grummsh-worshippin’ dwarf that we met in the bar the other night is runnin’ things!” Shangor visibly seethed at the mention of a dwarf that he considered to be no less than a traitor to his race. “I promise ye that Thandain Deeperdark will meet up wi’ Moradin’s ‘ammer one day. Anyway, we canna likely give Tal o’er tae that wench (they’re likely in cahoots). Jardeth also says that Tal has half o’ the town hooked on his tanbrosh root, the same poison tha’ ‘e gave tae Verilia! What’s worse, no one has ever been able to make any of the foul stuff except Tal. Some have even died tryin’ tae replicate it. So, we canna kill the bastard yet even if we wanted!”
Seamus looked confused, “Why no’ lad? Why can ye not just cut off the supply o’ the poison? Will that no’ get the people off o’ it?”
“Aye, that it would, lad,” Shangor replied, “but they’d no’ be alive to enjoy their new-found freedom. Remember that Verilia nigh died of the affliction, and she would have if Sylvan hadna figured out she was poisoned wi’ the root. It was me neutralize poison spell that cured her. Ye canna just cut it off like that without fixin’ the problem. The shock to the poor fools’ bodies would kill them. I canna heal but four townspeople a day, an’ there are a lot more than that in town, ye know, so we have to let Tal keep feedin’ them his poison for now. It’s the only way to keep them alive.”
“Is no’ there anything ye can do?” Seamus asked.
“Well, that blasted elf Sylvan said that we might take o’er the operation and raise a lot of gold,” Shangor admitted with disgust.
“No!” Seamus was outraged.
“Aye!” Shangor shared the emotion, “I says to him, ‘Lad,’ I said, ‘I’m gonna pretend that I didna hear that!’ He dropped the idea after that, clearly noticin’ that the party wasna with him on his idea. After that, I been keepin’ me eye on ‘im. I tell ye, I trust Jardeth more than I trust that elf. Always goin’ on an’ on about fate and predestination! Anyway, right now, we canna help the town. Maybe when we get stronger…
“So, instead of killin’ Tal, we decide to go buy a horse from ‘im. When we get there, we see he’s ‘ired a few henchmen, including Wormspike, that ogre from the temple! Verilia buys some more of Tal’s poison (she’s wantin’ tae try analyzin’ it, so she can come up wi’ a cure for the foul root). Tal and Jardeth ‘ave some words, and as we’re leavin’, Jardeth growls a bit, probably thinkin’ about wringin’ the bastard’s scrawny little neck. Well, we’ll get to it someday.” Shangor stopped and took another gulp, fueling up for the next leg of the story.
(10/18/03 8:55 am)
Session Twenty-Three 3/4|
“So ye headed back to the temple then?” Seamus asked, pouring a fresh round for both of them.
“Aye. Tenaris, she’s a good lass, she was all abou’ getting’ back tae the evil Earth Temple and tearin’ it down. Now, I’ve ne’er turned me back on a good demolition project, especially when it’s an evil temple bein’ demolished, ‘ave I?” Shangor chuckled. “So we get back to the foul place, and four o’ us, Tenaris, Verilia, Sylvan, an’ me climb up the dais to where the altar sits. Meanwhile, Kale an’ Aramil start tryin’ ta tear down the huge tapestries ‘angin on the walls. Suddenly, I hear Kale cry out, and I turn ta look a’ ‘im. He’s shakin’ his head like he’s just been spun around a dozen times. ‘Wha’ happened, lad?’ I ask him. He says he thought he’d just been taken to a dark place, an’ he saw a great avalanche o’ boulders fallin’ down on ‘im. His wisdom had been sapped a bi’ as well. Lucky for tha’ elf Aramil, he shook off the spell, or he’d a’ been in the same fix. ‘Bah!’ I say as I spi’ on the altar. ‘Let’s finish this foul place!’ I had asked Moradin for a consecrate spell that day, for just this purpose, but when I checked me component pouches, I find that I didna have enough silver for it! Instead Kale comes up. ‘Stand back,’ ‘e says as he points tha’ greatsword (the one we go’ offa one o’ those foul-smellin’ troglodytes) at the altar. The sword spits a big mess o’ rocks and pebbles at the thing, but it does nae more than scratch i’ up a bit.
“So, we’re standin’ there lookin’ a’ the evil thing, and meanwhile Sylvan’s tryin’ to figure out what to do wi’ the drum the bastards were usin’. He told me that he figured it was part o’ the evil ritual, an’ he was wantin’ tae destroy it wi’ the temple. First, he kicks it off o’ the top o’ the dais, an’ it clatters down on the ground.” At this point, Shangor was beginning to snicker, “Then,” he chuckles, “then ‘e tries tae run it through wi’ ‘is staff. Ye know, tryin’ ta put a hole in the drum’s head.” Shangor could barely contain himself.
Seamus was wondering what could possibly be funny about an elf trying to break a ritual drum. “What happened, lad?”
“Instead, ‘e ends up playin’ the thing!” Shangor chortled, “He put ‘imself under the drum’s spell. The poor bastard falls tae the ground, a big dumb look on ‘is face, an’ he starts slobberin’ all o’er ‘imself!” The picture in his memory was too much. Shangor fell over backwards laughing hysterically. Seamus joined in the hilarity, finally understanding the situation. They laughed for a good minute before either could speak again.
“Tha’ was the same elf that said that thing about takin’ over Tal’s poison thing?” Seamus finally asked.
“Aye!” Shangor said giddily, “It couldna’ve happened to a nicer elf!” which set both of them laughing again. Shangor tried to describe it some more for his friend, “We’re askin’ him things. ‘Sylvan’ I say, ‘Are ye alright, lad?!’” Shangor’s gut was starting to ache. “He just looks up a’ me wi’ the drool runnin’ down ‘is chin!” He was enjoying this thoroughly, much more than when it was actually happening. In hindsight, it was quite refreshing to have that know-it-all elf be stupid for a change. “Of course, at the time,” he explained, “we didna know what was happenin’ to ‘im, so we were a bit concerned. I tried ta figure out what it was, but I couldna do it. So we leave ‘im there, hopin’ it will wear off, an’ we go back up to the altar.” One final memory of the poor elf’s dumb looking face, one more chuckle, then he moved on.
“So we decide to go a’ the altar with me pick.” He was referring to the miner’s pick he always carried with him. It had proven useful more than once. “I give it to Aldoroc, an’ he lays inta the altar. Strong lad, Aldoroc, particularly with his gauntlets. Not long after, the foul thing finally splits inta three pieces an’ falls apart. We all give a shout, havin’ done the Earth Temple in for good, but we couldna celebrate for long, ‘cause right then, the ground starts tae shakin’ an’ we all have to run out o’ the room fast. I grab Sylvan by ‘is tunic on the way out, an’ we just make it in time for the roof tae fall in behind us!” Shangor paused dramatically.
“Once all the dust settles, we all count each other, makin’ sure that everyone made it ou’ OK. The rest o’ the party try to wake Sylvan up, but they canna do i’ either. So, we put ‘im up on the horse an’ we set abou’ explorin’ the rest of the area. Remember, we didna ‘ave time tae explore the place because we ‘eard Tenaris callin’ for help on the way in. So we start wanderin’ the halls. We find lots o’ rooms, barracks, an’ sleepin’ quarters for troglodytes. I tell ye, whoever says tha’ a dwarf stinks has ne’er caught the scent of a troglodyte! If one ever set foot in your cave, ye’d ‘ave to move your whole clan out! So we dig through this, an’ we search through that. In one room we find an old book an’ one o’ those Obex symbols. Aramil does a detect magic in there, but doesn’t find anything. The book is written in Draconic, and Aramil says that it ‘as some history o’ the Earth Temple and the original Temple of Elemental Evil. The most useful part is tha’ it describes what all the symbols mean, so we can tell who is Earth, who is Fire, and such. We back up some more an’ get to that one room wi’ all the rocks strewn about. Aramil climbs o’er the rocks an’ finds a room wi’ a hole in the floor. There’s hot air comin’ from the hole. Aramil spots a little hidden place in the wall (that elf wouldna miss a flea crawlin’ on the back of a troll!). From there, ‘e pulls ou’ a bag and a chest. The chest ‘as a key under it. Aramil is afraid of traps, so ‘e casts a resistance an’ I give ‘im Moradin’s protective ward. But we didna need it then, an’ the chest opens easily. In it he finds some treasure, includin’ an ebony statue of a troglodyte and some incense.
“Then we get to a room that’s crawlin wi’ bugs an’ spiders! They’re so thick on the ground tha they woulda come up to me waist if I’d gone in. We talk about how ta get through. Verilia’s the druid, an’ she’s wantin’ to try some o’ the incense we found. Aramil figures out that one o’ the sticks is magical, with some kind o’ enchantment magic. Verilia tries one o’ the other sticks, hopin’ that the smoke will keep the bugs away from ‘er as she moves in. It doesna work, though. As she gets close, about twenty, mebbe thirty big centipedes crawl out from under the writhin’ mass o’ vermin and come at ‘er!”
“Centipedes?” Seamus liked the fighting parts. He was wide-eyed at this point.
“Aye!” Shangor held his arms as wide apart as he could. “Abou’ this long! Some were even longer! Some o’ the smaller ones run up to Verilia an’ bite at ‘er. Two of them tear into ‘er arm. Centipedes are poisonous, ye know, but they didna get their poison into ‘er. She jumps back, and glares a’ the bugs, like they’ve betrayed ‘er or something! Then she casts a spell. Right then, a huge pillar o’ flame from her flamestrike lands right in the middle o’ the squirmin’ beasties! It kills most o’ them outright, includin’ the big centipedes. Aramil finishes off the rest o’ the foul things wi’ his fireball.”
“Lad, don’t ye ever get to use your ‘ammer? So far ye’ve let your companions do all the work!” Seamus was a bit disappointed by the fight with the centipedes.
“Patience lad. That fight is yet to come.” Shangor promised. “Anyway, we finally get to see what is beyond the room with the bugs.” He paused, remembering this moment with a cold shiver. “The deeds that some evildoers are capable of ne’er stops surprisin’ me. We get intae the room, an’ hangin on the ceilin’ is what’s left o’ some poor soul, eviscerated an’ desecrated. It smells foul, and the sight is sickenin’. Kale tries tae get ‘im down, but the corpse falls apart as soon as ‘e touches it. I gather some rocks from around the room and do my best at buryin’ ‘im. I give ‘im Moradin’s last rites, hopin’ he’ll sleep better now tha’ ‘es no longer some foul creatures sacrifice (or whatever ‘e was). Wi’ that unpleasantness done with, we find a bronze coffer an’ a foot locker in the room. Aramil tries openin’ the coffer, bu’ this time it is trapped. Thanks be to Moradin, the protective ward I put on ‘im earlier helps the poor lad fight off some o’ the cold magic that engulfs ‘im. The coffer is locked up tight as well. Aramil casts yet another detect magic, an’ finds magic still inside the coffer. After goin’ through a few o’ the keys we’ve collected, we finally get the blasted thing open. It was worth it though. We find some treasure inside, and we also find a letter written on a scroll. Aramil reads it, tellin’ us it’s written in Draconic. It is from someone named Hedrack and talks about the Earth Temple recoverin’ from their defeat at the ‘ands o’ the Fire Temple.” Shangor raises his mug with a grin, “Now they got some more recoverin’ tae do.”
“Anyway, we ge’ back to the horse. Sylvan is still starin’ inta the sky, e’en though we’re 50 feet underground.” he chuckles. “We go back through where the Earth Temple was, explorin’ the passages tha’ way. We finally reach a dead end. The party talks a bit about where to go next. We’re a bit concerned tha’ we’re down a party member, an’ we might find trouble up ahead. So we decide to wait a bit, hopin’ that the spell on Sylvan will wear off. After an hour it doesna wear off, and some o’ us are getting impatient, especially Aldoroc. ‘We haven’t had a good fight in a long time!’ ‘e says. So we decide to take our chances an’ move on. We wind around the caves a bit more an’ we come upon a big room, wi’ a bi’ of a foul smell. This is no’ the troglodyte smell, though. There’s a half-eaten ape lyin’ in the middle o’ the room. This ape is huge, an’ it’s been eaten of. Verilia’s up ahead, an’ she says we shouldna go further wi’out Sylvan. We agree, except Aldoroc. ‘e’s wantin’ ta rush in and kill somethin’, an’ ‘e couldna care less what it is. But the rest o’ us are wantin’ some rest before we tackle that problem.”
“Och, I’m wi’ Aldoroc.” The fighter said, disapproving. “Go find the beastie an’ cut it ta pieces,” he said, brandishing his dwarven waraxe.
“Lad, ye know that that’s how ye get yourself killed. By the look o’ the ape, we didna think we could handle its killer in the condition we were in. So we go back to the front gate an’ rest in the secret passage. Abou’ three hours ‘ave gone by when we ‘ear voices comin’ from outside the gate. Kale sneaks ou’ ta the main hall an’ spies on the door from around a corner. The door opens up, an’ a gnoll peeks in. ‘e grumbles about somethin’ or other, an’ they leave. We keep a watch in case they come back, but they didna.
“Sylvan finally wakes up in the night. ‘e says he canna think quite straight (‘is wisdom was sapped by tha’ damned drum). We describe wha’ happed to ‘im, an’ he decides ‘e wilna do tha’ again!” Shangor said, smiling.
“Aye, does i’ take a high-minded elf ta figure tha’ out?” Seamus asked chuckling, mocking the elf he hadn’t even met.
“Well, he is far more learned than ye or I. ‘e made his decision based upon a thorough study o’ the facts, ye know.” Shangor laughed for a while, enjoying the elven mockery. Then he got back to the story, for he knew that Seamus had been waiting for this part.
(10/18/03 9:01 am)
Session Twenty-Three 4/4|
“Well, in the morning, after I pass ou’ a few cure spells, I try a lesser restoration on Sylvan, but his mind doesna recover. The blasted drum had sapped i’ permanently. Fixin’ tha’ will take another day, not tae mention a hundred gold pieces o’ diamond dust! So, we head out to look for the beastie tha’ had eaten the ape. When we get back to the room wi’ the carcass, I cast a few spells (magic circle against evil, greater magic weapon, an’ delay poison) to get ready. It turns ou’ to be a waste, though, because Verilia figures ou’ tha’ the only thing that’s been eatin offa the ape is a blasted troglodyte! We look around a bit more, then start wanderin’ down the tunnels e’en farther. We look in room after room, until we get to a big chamber. This one smells o’ filth and fur.” Shangor’s voice got quieter, whispering the scene to Seamus, as if they were both standing there watching it happen.
“I’m a’ the front o’ the party, since I’ve go’ me magic circle goin’. I look ou’ across the chamber, an’ I see somethin’ move in the darkness. I put up me hand to warn the others, then, RRRAAAAAGHH!” Shangor roared like an animal, “four huge apes rush ou’ of the dark and set upon me an’ me friends! They’re taller than you an’ me put together, an’ they look like they’re all abou’ rippin us in two. Well,” he said with resolve, “we’re no’ gonna le’ tha’ happen, are we?” Shangor defiantly grabbed hold of his hammer and twirled it expertly, as if preparing for the battle all over again. Seamus was wide-eyed, listening intently.
Shangor jinked left, as if ducking into the fray, “Tenaris was the first intae the fight, brave lass. She drew her sword, and sprung up from the middle o’ the group, ta land a’ the feet o’ one of the beasties, ready ta swing. Aldoroc jumped up fast, bu’ his sword wasna quite ready, an’ he missed. Sylvan move up a bi’ and casts a slow spell. Two o’ the beasts slow down. I grab me necklace, and bless everyone, then I pull ou’ me hammer and look for an ape ta bash. However, one o’ them, decides ta be bashin’ me, and hits me wi’ ‘is claw. Aldoroc gets hi’ by another beastie, but ‘tis only a scratch to ‘im. Tenaris go’ the worst o’ it that round. She cries ou’ from the ape’s attack, but she keeps ‘er feet and swings ‘er sword. She cuts the beastie’s leg a bit. Meanwhile, Aldoroc tears intae his ape. He hits wi’ both slashes an’ spills a pint o’ blood from the beastie’s gut. Then, the mages step up. Aramil launches some magic missiles a’ another ape, and Sylvan puts up ‘is guard an’ casts Evard’s black tentacles ta try an’ ensnare the apes. I take a second an’ look a’ the back o’ the room. There’s another ape there, an’ he’s enormous! ‘e ‘as a big streak of silver down ‘is back, an’ he’s no’ happy about us. Once ‘e sees Sylvan’s tentacles, though, ‘e doesna come any closer, and retreats intae the chamber at the rear.
Shangor ducked to the left, brandishing his hammer, “I look over tae Tenaris. She’s bad off, but she’s too brave to back away. So I go to help ‘er ou’, an’ I lay intae the ape she’s go’ after her. Moradin was with me, lad.” Shangor swung his hammer level, attacking an imaginary target in front of him. “Me first hit lands smack in the ape’s gut. He hunches oe’r, reeling from the pain.” He swung vertically, bashing the imaginary ape yet again. “Me next hit lands square on ‘is skull, crackin’ it open like sandstone.” He grinned widely, and looked at Seamus. “After tha’, he didna feel much like attackin’ Tenaris anymore.”
Then, Shangor tensed up and jumped to the right, “Just then, Kale finds a soft spot on ‘is ape, and it topples o’er dead!”
Another swing, “Aldoroc lays intae another ape as it struggles wi’ Sylvan’s tentacle spell!”
A forward thrust, as if the hammer were a sword, “Kale stabs the same beastie with ‘is longsword!”
A leap to the left with an overhead hammer stroke, “I turn an’ smash another one!”
A left-right combination swing, “They canna stand against us, an’ they all fall!” Shangor cried, striking a heroic pose. He stood there for a moment, then dropped his hammer and searched for his pint. Finding it, he sat down, panting after his boisterous reenactment.
Seamus was thoroughly pleased, “Now that’s the Shangor Steele I remember!” he said, banging his fist on Shangor’s shoulder plate. “Well done, lad! What happened then?” He asked, eager to hear more.
Shangor gulped from his tankard, “Well, there’s still that big ape in the cave beyond. Tenaris was bad off, so I gi’ ‘er a cure light wounds, along wi’ a divine favor an’ a shield of faith. We’re expectin’ tae have to fight the beastie, but Verilia steps up and reasons wi’ it.”
“Reasons wi’ it?!” Seamus said in disbelief.
“Aye!” Shangor confirmed, “Like I said, ye have to get used to certain things, travelin’ wi’ a druid. Anyway, she looks around the beastie’s den, and canna find anything worthwhile. So we move on down the corridor.” Emptying his mug, Shangor pours the last of the ale from the keg into his tankard, and proceeds.
“We don’t get far, though. Aldoroc’s in front. We’re walkin’ down the hallway, when all o’ a sudden, he falls right through the floor, and finds a big wooden spike through his shoulder, abou’ forty feet down.”
“Och! Did he die?!” Seamus asked with genuine concern for a kindred spirit. He was beginning to feel like he knew this party, even though he’d never set eyes on them.
Shangor waved off the question with a smile, “Och no! Aldoroc, ‘e’s tough as granite! He died once before, bu’ that didna stop ‘im for long!” Shangor laughed. “No, ‘e just pulls ‘imself offa the blasted spike, stands up, an’ politely asks for a rope. We haul I’m back up, I give ‘im a cure critical, an’ then I stone shape a wee bridge across the pit. Before ye know it, we’re walkin’ down the hallway again.” Shangor took a long pull from the mug. Then, he set it down. His voice became urgent.
“Further down, we find a door set right intae the stone walls. Aramil tries all the keys we ‘ave on us, but none o’ them work. He crouches an’ listens for voices behind the door, but ‘e doesna hear a thing.”
Shangor stood up, then stepped back. “We back up, an’ Kale steps up ta the door.” Shangor’s eyes bore in on an invisible target.
“Wi’ a grunt, ‘e kicks in the door!” Shangor shouted, recreating the kick. Then, he calmly sat down and grabbed his mug.
“And?” Seamus asked with impatience.
“And,” Shangor smugly replied, draining his tankard, “that’s another story, lad.”
(10/18/03 6:21 pm)
Re: Session Twenty-Three 4/4|
Excellent writing--very enjoyable read!
(11/13/03 9:30 am)
The Battle of the Air Bridge
"So perhaps I should pick up the tale from here, eh Shangor?" From the darkness the cloaked form of Sylvan the Elven Wizard appears.
The Dwarves are uncharacteristically quiet as Sylvan sits down at the fire. Sylvan holds a small pouch that jingles as he puts it away. "Fortune smiled on me at the card tables tonight, so I feel like talking a bit, even with Dwarves."
Growling, Seamus starts to stand but Shangor puts a hand on his shoulder. "Easy Seamus, me lad, he dinna mean any offense. He’s just an elf."
Seamus looks at him for a moment, and then sits again, chuckling. "Aye, I understand ye. Heh heh."
Sylvan does not seem to notice this exchange as he begins his story.
"After rather rashly kicking the door open we spied an Elven form down the dark hallway. Kale tried to bluff the Elf into approaching us, but was unsuccessful. Instead, he decided to change the tone of the negotiations with a hail of arrows, killing the guard. While this was happening, Aldoroc and Shangor moved through the door into the dark hallway. We could just make out other Elves and Humans down the corridor starting to return fire with their bows."
"After several volleys and several swipes from Aldoroc's battleaxe, we had dispatched three more opponents. We were attacked by another group of Elves, Humans, and even some dogs. They shouted ‘Death to those from the Earth Temple!’ Aldoroc looked around to see who they were talking about. It was us. While he was momentarily distracted, Aldoroc was completely surrounded by the fierce dogs, the size of mastiffs. As they say, he had them right where he wanted them. Silly fighter."
"Aldoroc and Shangor killed some of the dogs. The remaining elves and humans in the guardroom turned over the tables and fired their bows from cover. One of the Humans kept hitting the table in front of him, however. (Eyes closed from fear.)"
"I am only told this is what happened up to that point because I was examining the rear end of Summer at the time, who was blocking the whole damn passageway. She prevented any of us in the rear of the party from supporting the forward members with arrows."
"Verilia asked the enemy what temple they were from. No response."
"I finally managed to catch a glimpse of the combat going on ahead and cast a Flaming Sphere behind the barricade on one of the Human archers."
"Verilia the Druid leapt into action at that point. Mounted on Summer, she raced to the Eastern passage we had not yet explored. Charging into the unknown, she was suddenly attacked by large Humans, a large Duergar, and two large floating extraplanar creatures of some kind. They appeared out of thin air, apparently the recipients of an Invisibility spell, attacked Summer and damaged her heavily. Things looked bad for our Druid and her companion. The enemy had cunningly laid a trap and had stacked the deck against her."
"Shangor and myself both stepped up and cast Dispel Magic spells. We got rid of the Enlargement spells, some Bull’s Strength spells, and one of the two floating creatures."
"Desperate to escape, Summer tried to overrun one of the now normal sized Humans, but alas, she had taken too much damage and failed. She dropped to the ground from exhaustion."
"I could just barely make out what was happening from the corridor intersection when Fate provided me with an opportunity. It was like a moment of clarity. Like drawing three cards and getting what you need for a Full House. I cast a Lighting Bolt just to the left of Summer and managed to hit five enemies in a line, including the Duergar. I killed all four Humans and thus cleared the left side of the circle around Summer and Verilia."
"Aramil fired Magic Missiles at the Duergar who was locked in combat with Shangor. I needed to get Verilia out of melee range of the rest of the Humans so I cast Levitate on her and moved her up to the ceiling by twenty feet."
"Aldoroc and Kale by this point had dispatched most of the Dogs and Human guards so Aldoroc stepped up to engage the Duergar. The Dark Dwarf did not like the look of this so he backed away into the Eastern Room with Verilia. This gave Aramil the opportunity he was looking for and he blasted most of the rest of the Humans fighting Verilia with an extremely well placed Fireball. We could feel the heat from the blast, but fortunately none of our party was hurt by it. "
Sylvan pauses in his narrative and gazes into the fire. He speaks quietly as if forgetting about his Dwarven audience. "You know, a Fireball is a very beautiful spell. It erupts from a small ball of fire, kind of like a seed. It sprouts, and then grows into full bloom. Its pure flame sweeps over the area and bathes everything in fiery waves. It cares not for good or evil, plant or animal, living or dead. It just exists for a moment, consumes, and then dies. As we all do in life."
There is silence for a moment, only broken by the soft crackling of the campfire. Sylvan seems to be elsewhere, lost in thoughts that the Dwarves could only guess at. Then the moment passes. Sylvan stirs himself back to the present and glances at the Dwarves, who are staring at him open mouthed. "Sorry, where was I again?"
"When the fire had dissipated, the Humans were reduced to smoking corpses."
"That left the Duergar Oamarthis and the floating Planar Creature, which we later identified as a greater barghest named Riu Lotaas. Verilia, floating near the ceiling and enraged at Summer lying still and bleeding on the ground, cast Summon Nature’s Ally and a Dire Wolf appeared right behind the Duergar, ripping the Dark Dwarf apart."
"At this point we heard a terrible sound from the pack horse Kale had brought along, just outside the door to the north. Turns out that the last Dire Ape we left alive returned briefly for a snack. I tell you, if I am ever killed and someone is stupid enough to Reincarnate me, I sure hope I don’t return as a horse." The Dwarves murmur their agreement at this.
"Anyway, while our attention was diverted, Riu Lotaas moved forward and cast Crushing Despair on Tenaris, Kale, Shangor, and me. I, of course, shook it off. I knew the battle was in our favor so there was nothing to despair about. Kale also sensed this and remained unaffected. However, I heard Shangor wail, ‘Moradin has forsaken me!’ You would think that a man of faith would have more will power than that. Tenaris was also affected." Sylvan looks pointedly at Shangor.
"Now, ye wait just a darn minnit!" Shangor leaps to his feet. "It were trickery! That no good creature played a trick on me! You woulda fell fer it, too, if you had but a single belief in yer body, mister I don't believe in good or evil!"
"Oh, I believe in good and evil." Sylvan replies coolly." I believe in right and wrong, good and evil, Aces and Spades, and every other pairing in the world. Everything has a kind of symmetry and thus stays in balance. As it should be. It is when people like the cultists of the Elder Elemental Eye start tipping the scales that I will take action. Now, please sit, I haven't finished my story."
Shangor does not appear to be ready to sit down yet until Seamus reaches for his arm and hauls him back to his seat. Seamus mutters to Shangor "Easy lad, remember, he's naught but an Elf." Shangor looks at him for a moment, and then lets out a big sigh and resumes drinking his ale.
"Well, back to the battle." Sylvan continues.
"Kale took a good bead on the barghest and put two very precisely placed arrows into it for a tremendous amount of damage. He instinctively seemed to know the vulnerable spots that close to the monster."
"Riu Lotaas seemed to stagger in midair on the impact of the arrows then he cast Dimension Door to escape. There was a pause in the battle as there were no more standing enemies to fight. I lowered Verilia to the floor and she hurried over to attend to Summer. She suggested that we interrogate one of the surviving enemies, but Aramil would have none of that and proceeded to kill the unconscious foes. While killing defenseless people may seem cruel, they had played the game with us and lost, therefore they forfeit their wager, which, in our game, is their lives."
"I imagine not much time had passed as we were discussing this when the huge Western door was thrown open and a massive three armed giant came charging in. He looked powerful and dangerous. His opening ante was as impressive has his size as he smashed Kale with three huge wooden morning stars. Kale reeled under this assault and then wisely decided to fold his hand by running away. Amazingly, Tenaris stepped in front of the giant and attacked with her longsword, trying to hold him off for few seconds while we regrouped. Riu Lotaas reappeared near the giant and I saw an opportunity to create some confusion in our opponents. I cast Confusion on them and managed to confuse the barghest."
"Aramil, for some reason, when presented with this powerful threat, decided to forgo his spells and continue attacking with his longbow. I looked at him with a puzzled expression and asked, "Are we saving spells for something else tonight?" His reply was drowned out by the howl of the giant as it pulverized Tenaris. The athach threw aside her body as it advanced."
"I wasn't sure how much damage a Flaming Sphere would do against that behemoth, but I cast one anyway. It seemed to do hurt it a little. Verilia begun casting Call Lighting, probably one of her most favorite spells."
"I had a new spell I wanted to try out so I cast Ray of Enfeeblement on the giant. Amazingly, I manage to drain quite a bit of its strength."
"Kale is just hitting everything he aims at tonight and he nails the giant with three arrows doing a tremendous amount of harm. The athach moved up to Shangor. Desperate to find a way of escape, Shangor opened up a small unimportant looking door set into the hallway. It was a latrine. Upon realizing he had no escape route there, he looked into the small space and said ‘Crap!’” Shangor and Seamus both laugh upon hearing this. Sylvan looks puzzled. Still, the wizard nears the end of his story so he pushes on.
"Verilia, still furious at the injuries inflicted on her tiger, blasts the giant with a called lightning bolt and it crashed to the stone floor with a tremendous thud."
"We looked around for the barghest, but it seemed to have disappeared during the fight. We moved around looking for it and the creature finally appeared, attacking me. ‘It's over here!’ I shouted. That was all the warning Kale needed to put a lethal arrow into its bluish hide. It dropped to the ground, dead."
"We all braced ourselves for more foes, but that was it for the night. The bridge complex was ours. As Shangor healed our wounds we found that Tenaris was miraculously still alive. I guess Fate was not finished with her yet. I also made a mental note not to play cards with her any more. She was either too brave or too lucky. As Shangor healed her, I heard him mutter, ‘That was a very brave thing ya did lass, now don't ye do it again.’"
Sylvan stands up to leave. "Well, that was the battle for the Air Bridge complex. We were dealt a good hand and had quite a bit of luck I would say. Still, there is nothing wrong with luck as long as it's on my side." There is a slight movement at his wrist and he is suddenly holding a playing card. Seamus thought he caught a glimpse of a tiny head appear and put the card into Sylvan's hand. "Of course, it doesn't hurt to help Fate along." Sylvan shows the card, an Ace, to the two astonished Dwarves and with a Neutral grin, silently walks away into the night.
"Hmm, he does like to talk a lot, doesn't he?" Seamus asks.
"Ye have no idea, me lad. No idea." Shangor sighs. "Now, pass the Ale and let me tell ye a proper story."
Edited by: Infiniti2000 at: 1/3/04 7:05 am
(11/13/03 9:36 am)
Re: Session Twenty-Four|
Briefly, in this session, the party opened a can of whoop-ass on the Northern Bridge Complex, killing everyone except for the chimera and Lenny, the cook. Surprisingly, the chimera is quite difficult to release during an actual combat. Riu scared the party somewhat with the image, but his fatal mistake was not fleeing entirely. He did manage to get the athach involved, which scared the spit out of the players. In the end, though, victory was had and the party has a new cook, and now a very rich one at that. Lenny becomes a real asset to the party, though. They keep the chimera alive for defensive purposes.
(11/13/03 10:06 am)
Session Twenty-Five (Part 1/3)|
The Report (One Week Ago)
A swim through the Stalagos is both refreshing and disgusting. For someone who does not engage in constant prayer to the Elder Elemental Eye, or even to Olhydra, Moolowik finds the briny and stagnant water repugnant. However, it is better than breathing the foul air of the mines. Sharing air with dry skinned humans always makes the kuo-toa nauseous.
His attempt at contact with the unknown mercenaries failed miserably. Perhaps it was too soon after the fight with the dragon, or during the fight, but it was worth the effort to keep them from being killed. Amazingly, they drove the dragon off in full flight! Hopefully, Kelashein will be able to utilize the group as pawns in the upcoming attack on the Fire Temple. It would be good not to lose too many kuo-toas. Nilbool, make your move against the human female already, Moolowik thinks to himself. We’re tired of the dry skins.
Clambering over the underwater steel reinforced net blocking entrance into the Water Temple, Moolowik gives out the appropriate approach signal in aquan. He swims toward the altar and climbs on top in order to give a quick prayer to the Elder Elemental Eye. Appearances are everything, after all, even for a lowly rogue.
He then swims to the tunnel entrance and steps out of the water. Being amphibious has its advantages. He holds his breath while walking past the demon’s lair and averts his eyes from the more refreshing water of the pool. Although he’d like another cool swim in there to wash off the filth from the Stalagos, a sight of Gouquog would not be pleasant. At the beautiful seashell throne, he turns left and then, after a moment’s thought, turns right into Nilbool’s chamber. May fire burn out Kelashein’s dry eyes.
Speaking in aquan, Moolwik addresses the kuo-toan wizard, “Nilbool, I have a report from the western mines. A group of dry-skinned and hairy mercenaries, possibly aligned with the Fire Temple, have killed the ochre jelly we arranged to guard the underwater exit and have driven off the green dragon.”
“Hmm. What makes you think they are working for the Fire Temple?” Nilbool calmly puts down the ink and pushes aside the water resistant scroll. He then places his hands in a bowl of water to replenish the moistness after having dried them off so that he could continue his scribing. Very few kuo-toas understand the difficulties of being a wizard, and it’s a hard life that Nilbool has chosen.
“For one thing, they tend to use a lot of fire. I saw numerous bursts of fireballs and even a big spongy-looking sphere of flame that bounced around the cavern. I tried to contact them discreetly, but they seemed awfully suspicious, understandably so, but then tossed coins of light in my direction. I thought it a prelude to an attack, so I retreated in order to report.”
“Very well. If they are as powerful as you claim, defeating the dragon, then you did the right thing. We also have some knowledge that they might be responsible for the destruction of the Main Gate and much of the Earth Temple.” Nilbool stands up and carefully puts on his clerical vestments. “Perhaps they can yet be used in our plans. After all, it seems rather ironic, if not logical, to fight Fire with fire.”