Here for a while
(1/23/03 8:25 am)
Journal of Redge Dupri (LONG)|
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Here for a while
(1/23/03 8:35 am)
Oops, try again|
I wish i could figure out how to Edit posts.
I had a nice long post about this journal, but i don't feel like typing it again. Here's the short version:
Redge Dupri the party Bard/Arcane Archer.
He started this as a way to keep track of treasure, but when he realized you could get bonus XP (one of m y house rules) he started fleshing it out more.
The journal (and my campaign as a whole) is pretty laid back. He uses player names instead of charactors, things like that.
My reply will have the first half of his journal.
Here to stay
(1/23/03 8:40 am)
Re: Oops, try again|
You should do what I do, type up your post in a text file (notepad, Word, vi, whatever), then post it by copying and pasting. I've lost a long post before, but it was simple to paste it back in.
Here for a while
(1/23/03 8:47 am)
Journal Part 1|
Campaign Journal - Reg Dupri
We finally reach the ruins of the Temple of Elemental Evil, and reconnoiter the outbuildings. We discover that there are a lot of sealed off tunnels underneath the place - none seem to lead very far. One passage leads northward to an old farm. We talk to a halfling farmer there, but something isn't right. Mike detects evil, and the force is so strong it stuns him. Luckily the evil thing doesn't stand and fight.
Tonight we're joined by Pete (who wants to give this a try), and Weiser's friend Jason, who's in town for the wedding. Turns out the extra firepower came in handy.
We return to Hommlet, and my gig at the Welcome Wench, where Rufus of the town guard thanks us. Chatrellan Unash insists that there's nothing going on at the moat house, but his protestations only make us more suspicious. He's basically a creep, and probably a spy. He spends a lot of time getting info out of Maridson, the bartender.
Mike goes to confront Zod the Destroyer, a disreputable paladin of Heironious. Zod's seen a vision of fire & magic at the temple, but all he found there was hobgoblins. Mike belittles Zod for his crisis of faith.
We head out to the moathouse, although a few people in town have assured us there's nothing there. However, on the way we encounter a trapper named Delion Thornbrush, who says there's a blue dragon living near the moat house. A small one, about the size of a big horse. He's also seen holy men of some sort prowling around there. The holy men wear ochre robes, and have been seen hanging out with gnolls.
Sure enough, we get attacked by a blue dragon just inside the courtyard. It kicks up a cloud of dust which makes it very difficult to see or fight. Ben in particular kicks its ass with arrows, and we kill it. Unfortunately Pete & Jason line themselves up for a perfect breath weapon attack, which neither of them survive.
Here for a while
(1/23/03 9:44 am)
Journal Part 2|
Recovering from last time, I make a dragonclaw necklace for myself. We check out the lair inside the main keep. There are various bodies, including some dressed as priests of Elemental Evil. Also the dragon's hoard.
We get attacked by a group of gnolls, the leader wearing black studded leather.
In a bunk room we find an iron box with a glyph of warding, and quite a bit of treasure inside. We also come across a handout - the journal of the gnoll leader.
I ate the fruit of Tharizdun under the moathouse. CON+1
We head for Verbobonc to equip ourselves (mithril chain shirt, magic bow), and then head for Raster and the Temple of All Consumption.
Raster is a small town (pop 118), and the only inn is the Gray Lodge. Looks fairly depressing. We think it's fully controlled by the Temple, but there's no really obvious indication. We do deal with Harquest. We're riding the ToEE supply wagon we swiped from the moathouse, and wearing the ochre robes, and we're sticking out like sore thumbs.
Take the cart into the Temple of All Consumption. Our disguises don't last too long, and there's a huge, nasty fight in the antechamber of the temple. There's lots of human and troglodyte soldiers, Terengar (leader of the trogs), Mereclar (a high-level elven archer), an enormous howler, and a pair of ballista implacements. That was certainly exciting. We manage to take the day, and then hide in the tunnels to the north.
Still wandering through the tunnels. We fight a manticore. Find a severed human hand. We find the main Earth Temple, and there's a large battle with troglodytes, some priests, and a xorn.
Still wandering through the tunnels. We find the Sword of Water, which Mike takes. After this we decide to head back to Verbobonc to regroup, sell stuff, create some additional magic items to strengthen the party, etc.
We arrive in Verbobonc with the intention of outfitting ourselves courtesy of Dan's item creation capabilities. We get rooms at the Golden Stag, an inn which caters to adventurers. They even have a workshop on premises. Only problem is that it's a little overbooked, & we're 3 to a room. This kind of cramps Reg's style, since his main concern while we're holed up in town is trying out his latest songs and wooing all the available pretty females.
Nothing's ever that simple, of course. One morning we find the corpse of an acolyte of Pelor in the alley outside the inn. Written in blood on the walls: "I Smell the Good / Pelor mocks me / The undead taint is everywhere / All will be cleansed". The body is horribly mutilated, with lacerations and blunt trauma (mace & longsword of wounding). Definite signs of struggle in this alley (the body wasn't killed and then moved here). He's also got "shadow painted on his weapon".
Turns out the acolyte's name is Trallis. He's identified by a resident of the Golden Stag, a cleric named Rankit. Rankit was hunting vampires, and Trallis had delivered some holy water from the local temple.
According to the local guards, there was a similar killing a few days ago - a cleric of Heironious by the name of Darkblight who'd also been staying at the Stag. His blood-poem went "I cannot escape the stench of good / The curse of blood is my bane / I will begin the purge / The dead will rest again". Darkblight was working with Mercutius Lightwalker, a paladin and well-known vampire hunter.
We do a speak w/ dead on Trallis, whose body is in poor shape to talk. But he indicates that the attacker was a shadowy, humanoid creature, using two weapons.
Now, Mercutius Lightwalker has been missing for several weeks. We check out his room, and find a journal. Apparently he'd found the temporary lair in the city of a vampire named Gothin. But then the entries stopped.
By asking around, we find out about a number of pigs that have been killed and drained of blood. Apparently the vampire has been living off pig's blood, and this gives us our best chance to set a trap. Sure enough, we stake out one of the local farms and the vampire shows up. Turns out it's Lightwalker who's been infected. And he's wearing shadow armor & carrying a longsword & mace, which explains Trallis' injuries and report. Mike gets drained, but we manage to reduce him to 0 hp and he floats away in gaseous form. Luckily we can follow him at a brisk walk : )
Track the gaseous formed vampire into the sewers. We lose him in there, stumble into some rust monsters and run away. I use Locate Object to find the nearest sarcophagus. Call it a hunch. The trail leads us through several trapped rooms, one particularly nasty with bodies hanging from the ceiling by chains. There's also a chamber with a large pool, and only a thing ledge of dry ground. And it turns out there's a mudmaw floating in the pool. Very difficult to fight things in the water like that.
The upshot, though, is that we got to the vampire's lair before he'd had enough time to recuperate and face us again. A quick stake & decapitation and it was all over.
We fenced the stolen Rings - got ripped off badly, but they're rare and easily identifiable.
We made a feeble attempt to get the Public Works dept. to pay us to off the rust monsters we noticed in the sewers.
Went into the sewers and peppered a couple of rust monsters with arrows. But a little later on we ran into a pair of Slaad who were scouting out the sewers. Apparently they had a clan or tribe who were thinking about moving into town. We made a nuisance of ourselves until a fight broke out. Turns out that Slaad can magically summon reinforcements. It was fairly touch & go for a while, and we got beat up pretty good. That Stunning Croak ability can be quite frustrating when multiple party members fail their save.
xp: +2250 (hit 8th level)
Who: me, Dan, Corey, Mike, Hawker. Apparently Rick has decided to drop out.
Decided that we'd had enough of the sewers of Verbobonc, and that it was time to return to the Temple of All Consumption. I'll miss the city (and the women), but I need some new material anyway. More adventures means more songs, means more self promotion, means more chicks.
Uneventful trip, except for a brief encounter with 4 cultists on the road.
Unfortunately, we still don't know where the secondary entrances are, so we decided to prepare ourselves as best as possible and storm the front gates. We burnt several charges on Corey's wand of invisibility, positioned ourselves in front of the arrow slits, and all fired when Gabriel (the paladin) tried to break down the door. The ambush worked well, but there was an embarrassing several-round delay while we failed to break down the door. I tried to geas someone thru the arrow slits, but all the soldiers had moved off - massing in front of the door.
Once we got the gates out of the way, we were faced with a significant set of foes - but we were far too well equipped for them. About 15 orcs & humans, a Minotaur barbarian, and a female Kuo-Toan, all apparently associated with the Water Temple. We Bead of Forced the major enemies, and then used that as cover against the ballistae at the end of the entrance hall. That made it easy to wipe out the forces, one foe at a time.
I agreed to give hawker my amulet natural armor +1 so that i could get the +2. I also purchased a ring of protection +2 from the proceeds of retconning out Rick's magic item purchases.
Here for a while
(1/23/03 9:51 am)
Journal Part 3|
Who: Me, Dan, Mike. It figures that we'd lose half the party as soon as we were thru the gates. Perhaps they went scouting in the other direction.
Call it a hunch, call it divine inspiration, or call it a series of strong hints from the DM, but we decided to explore southwards, rather than retracing our route north. There are two major mineshafts leading south, and we pick one at random - unfortunately, one that bypassed many possibly enticing encounters.
The rails in these passages were in fairly good shape, and to expedite our explorations - and put more distance between ourselves and a hot spot like the main gates - we decided to play Indiana Jones and the Temple of All Consumption, piling ourselves into a mine car and riding in relative style. As long as the others did all the hard work of keeping the car going, I didn't mind so much, although the amount of noise it made was alarming. Dan: "We can pump it very well".
After traveling quite a ways (about one and a half map segments), we noticed signs of habitation down a side passage and stopped to investigate. This was fortuitous, as the passage opened into a large cave containing a cauldron filled to the top with gold coins and gems. Even more interesting, there was a small pyramid-shaped object floating above the cauldron, and probing indicated that it radiated transmutation and conjuration magics. Mike, perhaps less subtle in the ways of mysterious floating magical objects, chose to touch it. This immediately broke the spell, and the pyramid fell to the ground and shattered.
The breaking pyramid released a green-scaled humanoid form that quickly grew to larger-than-man-sized - a fiendish Gorillon. This proves to be a very nasty foe - it can do a lot of damage at once with those four arms, and it rends Mike pretty thoroughly before we take it down. We quickly heal ourselves up, worried that the shattered pyramid could serve as an alarm to the occupant of this cave.
This turns out to have been a correct notion, for not too long after that a largish green dragon showed up, and it was not very happy. The corrosive-acid breath is particularly nasty, but when it comes down to it the gorillon was did more damage. The dragon never quite manages to take full advantage of its damage potential, and after a few rounds decides to beat a retreat, flying northward down the mineshaft we came from.
Unfortunately (for it) the dragon didn't anticipate the abilities of a sharpshooting hasted bard. I did a full run each round and followed it up with a single bow shot. It almost got away - it was putting about 30' between us each round - but I finally scored the deciding hit while it was still within about 100'. Reg Dupri, Slayer of Dragons. There should be some good songs in that.
No session (insufficient players).
No session (even fewer players)
Who: Me, Dan, Mike, Hawker
After the dragon encounter, we crept outside to recuperate. Come morning, we found that the gate guard still hadn't been replenished, and we were able to continue without interruption.
This time we took the other of the two southward tracks from the place where they crossed. Not far after this we entered a large chamber that turned out to be the lair of an ettin and his pet rust monster. It's amusing how we all identified the real threat; the rust monster didn't stand a chance. Please note that I got the kill on the ettin tho; I'm making quite a habit of that. It's almost as if my archery skills are taking on magical capabilities.
There was a side passage with deep water, and a raised ledge on the other side. We made Hawker's elf strip down, and then we decided that she might as well swim across & check it out. She found the body of a dwarf on the ledge, and another (a cleric or paladin of Moradin) weighed down by its armor at the bottom of the pool. We looted the bodies and continued on (note: remember to leave looting out of the song).
We returned to the cart and rolled out. The track came to an end at a most mysterious find - a swift-running pool of stagnant water. Undoubtedly this bizarre combination of conditions was the work of the ochre jelly which leaped out of the water and attacked us. We eventually wiped it out with concentrated alchemist's fire. My bow and spells were useless (it saved against deafness, unfortunately) but I cleverly realized that the alchemist's fire would stick to the jelly and cause additional damage ; )
There was a narrow ledge along the edge of the river, and continuing southward this eventually brought us to the same room that formed the terminus of the track we'd followed the day before. This large chamber featured a towering building. Apparently, ore was mined from the ceiling(!), and brought down to the carts on an earth-elemental-powered conveyor system. Remarkable technology, clearly of dwarf manufacture.
We followed the stream southward till it emptied into a largish pool. It was obvious even to as unskilled trackers as us that a large number of people (or creatures) had passed this way.
There were two side passages off of this room, and a main way leading southwards (and onto another map segment). Investigating the first of these, we were attacked by a bizarre looking monster that hid on a high ledge and sprayed acid down on us (a digester). The damned thing then hid back on its ledge, and we had to climb up after it - at which point it would hit us with readied actions or AoO's and make us fall. It was quite frustrating, but eventually our greater numbers prevailed.
The other side passage almost turned out to be our undoing - the chamber was trapped, or perhaps just shoddily constructed - and the roof began to cave in as soon as we entered. Luckily we managed to get out before it collapsed completely, and without suffering too much damage.
xp: +1733 (make level 9)
No session (thanksgiving)
Who: Me, Mike, Dan, Hawker (well, Hawker was there, but he decided for his female elf to wander away, and he spent the rest of the session waiting for Kevin to work his new wizard into play).
We returned to the mining platform area to rest and recover spells. While he was on guard duty below, Mike was attacked by a pair of carrion crawlers. They were no match for him (at least with a little missile support from yours truly).
Continuing southwards, we came to a large cavern with a veritable fungal forest - mushrooms, puffballs, the works. Very colorful, exotic but disturbing at the same time. There's a good poem in their somewhere. At one point we were attacked by a violet fungus, which attacked with its strange tentacles. Beneath where it had lurked, we found the skeletons of a pair of dwarves, and I found a pair of jeweled rings on the bodies (50 gp value each - I'm building up quite a collection).
In another passage of the fungal cavern, we were attacked by a massive clacking insectlike horror - our first umber hulk. It was an easy combat, especially since I was able to score some crits on it with my trusty bow. (Reg's firepower has definitely increased, what with the Arcane Archer level and Rapid Shot)
Unfortunately, that wasn't the only umber hulk - and the second one was craftier. Following a narrower passageway, Dan fell in a pit that the rest of us barely avoided. The hulk that dug it had been hiding in the wall a little way farther down, covered in varicolored fungi so that we didn't notice it. To make things worse, I fell victim to its confusing gaze, and for the rest of the combat did more harm than good (shooting at Mike, when I wasn't just idly standing around). Mike had no sooner helped Dan climb out of the pit when the hulk threw him (Mike) into it. Mike shot it a few times from the bottom of the pit (despite the hulk getting a lot of cover), but then the hulk threw Dan back into the pit too! Poor Reg didn't know what was going on, but luckily a Searing Light from the bottom of the pit toppled the monster. Naturally, we found a Ring of Climbing amongst its treasures (which Dan had earned ; )
The worst part was that the entire passage turned out to be a dead end - which explains why the temple guards hadn't wiped out the hulks themselves. But we had to retrace our steps to the main fungal forest cavern and take another route.
This passage took us out of the natural caverns into more worked passages, and we soon encountered a guard room / outpost. A large room with a garbage pit in the center and a pair of trollish guards. My strategy against the trolls was simply to do as much damage as quickly as possible, and let the melee fighters worry about finishing them off with fire. Which would have worked - there was a torch and a circlet of blasting involved, iirc, and the garbage pit was aflame - except that the trolls managed to call for help. A heavily armored troll with a greatsword appeared and nearly attacked Mike from behind (just as he was about to coup de grace one troll with a torch). We made the big guy regret that decision, but then he turned tail and ran.
We pursued him, but suddenly found ourselves approaching one of those big bridge complexes - big and well guarded with a bunch of nasties, including one that looks really demonic (or diabolic, or something - not really my specialty. We usually just say "fiends" in the songs. Not much rhymes with diabolic).
And that's basically where we left off, with the party scattered in a long string pursuing this troll, I think with me in the lead and Dan a little behind, and a bunch of baddies before us. And still no sign of Hawker's wizard.
At least I've got a couple of things going for me int he big combat that's going to start things off next time: I'm hasted for another 8 rounds, and I've got my bardic song going for another 4.
12-12-02 (This is one of my personal favorite entries)
Sometimes Reg has the gift of luck; to come out of a bloodbath with barely a scratch. That doesn't mean he's unscarred, or unaffected. But he never has nightmares, only songs instead.
Sometimes a simple situation gets out of hand. We were pursuing the troll, and we knew we were heading into more inhabited parts of the mines. We knew - should have known - that there was a risk of encountering other forces. There just wasn't anything we could do about it. We could have held back, and buffed ourselves with spells and magic items, but with that warning they could have done the same. They were stronger than us; if they'd had time to prepare we never could have had a chance.
So I raced through the door, and around the corner, and stopped in my tracks. Despite all those reasons and justification, I was still surprised at what I saw. Two humans, two velociraptors, and a horrible winged clawed fanged thing. Anyone else would have just thought it a monster, some nameless horror of the abyss - and they wouldn't have been far off. I knew better, though - hell, anyone who'd ever recited the tale of the Seven Virgins of Furyondy would recognize that particular sort of villain. It was half demon. And it was half ogre mage.
What I've learned following these adventurers around this past year is that in a situation like this, inaction is death. With my thoughts and movements quickened by magic, I sank three arrows into one of the human spellcasters, and saw her crumple to the floor.
Pretty soon seeing our foes became a novelty, as the ogre demon and the other spellcaster both turned invisible, leaving us with only the troll, the raptors, and a few worthless gnolls to deal with. Luckily it wasn't the sort that lasterd; we actually felled the ogre fairly quickly, tho it did blast us with a cone of cold from on high. My only damage in this disaster, and that lessened by one of my rings.
After that things just got out of hand. This dwarven wizard came out of nowhere and tried to outflank our foes, but instead he simply stumbled into another troll - who in the end nearly was our undoing. But then the human warriors and the hill giant showed up - it filled the hall, and its reach was incredible. It was chaos; I found myself dodging velociraptors at my back while I tried to shoot at the giant's bulk. Mike, who I'd hasted earlier, tried to engage the giant and the two trolls, but he couldn't get in without exposing himself to all of them. Kory tried to slip behind the giant with invisibility, but that put him on the far side of the combat and exposed to the most recent reinforcements to show up - a second hill giant and a dire wolverine. To be true, it was strange - the wolverine seemed to grow to vast proportions before my very eyes. The DM may try to suppress this knowledge, but I know what I saw.
Things went from bad to worse. I managed to take down many of the lesser warriors with sleep spells, but my archery was not up to the task of picking out foes in that jumble of humanity and inhumanity; it was difficult to get any kind of shot. Then the dwarf went down, and Kory was slain outright. The second spellcaster reappeared when he charmed the moderately good looking Tanaris. That charm didn't outlive him, though, and I made sure he didn't live long. But she was separated from the rest of the party and set upon by the velociraptors, which she barely defeated.
Meanwhile, Dan had healed Hawker's wizard, who did great damage with his own cone of cold. But we were still in difficult shape; Dan suggested we consider retreat but foolishly we chose not too. One giant was dead, but the second smashed Dan and he did not survive.
Things were looking bleak, even after a lucky scroll from the dwarf brought low the second giant - turned him into a chicken. We were only four, and Mike was badly wounded and Tanaris could not help us. One of the trolls was down, and I tried to keep it down while also attacking the wolverine that had caused so much harm. The last troll was the hardest. Sheltered in a doorway, heavily armored and well-armed. He'd caused grievous harm already, and our haste spells were expiring.
Finally, at the bleakest moment, the dwarf used an improved invisibility scroll on Mike, and this turned the tide. He was able to attack boldly again, caring little for the risk, and the troll could not withstand that attack. We sawed the heads off of the demon-ogre and the trolls, lest they return to life, and looted the corpses. We had prevailed, and even one a bridge complex. But such a cost...
We decided to return to Verbobonc, to see if life could be restored to our companions, if their souls are willing. Time will tell.
xp: 4200 (!)
Here for a while
(1/23/03 9:52 am)
Journal Part 4|
Players: me, Dan, Mike, Andy (!)
We decided to pass thru Hommlett on the way from Nulb to Rastor. There was some discussion of heading back to Verbobonc to winter, but the heroes in the party felt that we needed to press on. Personally I could go for a few weeks sitting beside the fire in a nice upscale inn, but I guess I'll have to take my pleasures where I can find them.
At the Welcome Wench, for example, where I gave a performance that brought the house down. After all this wandering about killing things it was a pleasant change of pace to recount our adventures in verse to a receptive audience. I was rewarded with a glass of Velunan Firewine, which I could certainly develop a taste for. After the performance, I retired to one of the finer rooms with a pair of lovely young things from the village, though discretion will keep me from saying any more on that. Apparently a few people in the common room did complain about the noise, though.
The rest of the evening's events I heard about second hand, of course. Mike tracked down that drunkard Zod, who seemed only slightly improved over our last visit. He has been watching for signs of activity at the moathouse and the TOEE, but to date all is quiet on those fronts.
During my performance, Mike and Dan spent some time conversing with Bern and Rufus. Apparently those old adventurers were stirred to reminiscing by my tales.
Thok the barbarian, meanwhile, was hanging out at that other bar. Who knows why - I wouldn't set foot in the place. He was probably looking for a fight. In what I can only imagine was some kind of drunken fancy, he conned a dwarf into thinking he was a stonewright, and the dwarf told him about a secret tunnel that had been built between the keep & the mansion here in town. I'm not sure what good that information will do me, but then one never does know when perfect trivia will be perfectly valuable.
Sadly we could only spend one night in the town. In the morning I bade my new friends farewell and helped them stagger to their homes to recover. Then we set off for the mines.
The trip was uneventful, but when we got to the mines we were surprised and amused to discover that the entrance had been sealed - with bars, beams, and stone shaping. There was a note from Hedrack to use the south entrance, since this one had been compromised so often. I'm glad to see that we'd been a thorn in his side.
We weren't about to head south into a certain ambush, so Dan used a scroll to stone shape our way in through one of the arrow slits. Then we headed north into the territory of the Earth Temple. There were definite signs that the water temple had lain claim to that part of the mine complex, but as yet they had no real forces there.
We proceeded to the northern bridge complex - the Bridge of Air, where we'd had to turn back previously, but the bridge complex was abandoned except for a few kuo-toan warriors who were no match for us. Other than that, there were signs of scavengers (dead cultists mauled by owl bears), but nothing recent. Lucky that these groups never really seem to work together. We actually saw the bridge this time - a large span over stagnant water, guarded by a chimera that had long since succumbed to starvation. We must have eliminated its keepers on our last pass through here.
North of that bridge was water temple territory. We came to a large and suspicious looking underground lake. There was a rowboat on our side, but we didn't feel safe crossing that way. We noticed a woman of some sort sitting on a column about halfway across. Anticipating a trap, I fascinated this creature with one of my songs, while Dan and Andy levitated to the ceiling and began working their way across. Unfortunately Dan felt a need to explore and floated down to have a closer look. Unfortunately this jarred the woman out of her fascination. What we couldn't tell from as far away as we were was that the woman was in fact a sea hag, and Dan was lucky the sight of her didn't kill him outright. Luckily Andy floated down to assist, and even unbalanced by levitation he was able to fell the monstrosity in a single blow.
After that the rest of us levitated across the pool and proceeded on our way.
players: Me, Dan, Mike. Hawker joins us this time as a human rogue, lost in a party of half-elves.
After crossing the lake, we took the leftmost of two passages - sinister routes for sinister foes, I suppose. A little way down the passage we encountered a guard chamber. We got the drop on them, but the beginnings of a long night of bad luck began to affect us. One of the guards escaped down the passageway. Three of us follow, while Hawker stayed behind to loot the bodies.
Deja vu. Where have I seen this before?
Dan and Mike were in the lead, thanks to their new boots, and followed the guard down a side passage. I noticed seven more guards rushing down the main route, apparently alerted by the noise. I stayed behind to pick them off, which should have been an easy task. Unfortunately too many of my arrows flew wild, and my sleep spell was too ineffectual, and most of them actually got to close with me. Even so, they weren't really a threat until more reinforcements arrived: a hideous creature rounded a corner, and it was with some revulsion that I recognize it as a half-fiend kuo-toa. Yet another of the all-too-common blasphemies of this place. To make things worse, he was followed by 6 skum warriors, thralls of the kuo-toa. There was also a robed human with them, undoubtedly a mage or priest of some sort.
The fiend walked up to me while I was finishing off most of the humans, and touched me while he cast some hideous spell. My mind was filled with the eldritch horror of Tharizdun... the power of our ultimate foe overwhelmed me, and I was stunned for the better part of a minute - with enemies all around me.
Meanwhile, Dan and Mike had narrowly evaded a 50' pit trap full of carrion crawlers and attacked another kuo-toan priest who'd been sneaking around in the kitchens of this part of the temple. They and Hawker were both returning, but in the mean time I was nearly defenseless.
My memories of the battle are fuzzy because of the spell. I remember being encased in darkness, and having that darkness dispelled by Dan's shield of light. I remember Hawker not hitting anything with his chain-sword and eventually resorting to fisticuffs against that last guard. I remember the skum clawing at me, and the sigil imprinted on the skin of their chests: a yellow skull surrounded by tentacles. I remember the fiend being cut down, then healed, and then being cut down yet again. I remember a howler being summoned to defend the priest, and I remember the spell ending just as the battle ended; I recovered my senses just in time to shoot the last of the skum and utterly destroy it.
I'm trying to forget the round where I shot three arrows and rolled a 1, a 2, and a 3.
I was hurt fairly badly in the combat, and needed a few rounds to heal myself. Unfortunately, it looks like we won't be getting any respite next week: there were more torches coming down the main passageway. This fight isn't over.
Treasure: Who's had a chance to pick up any treasure? Well, Hawker did, but he just pocketed it himself. Typical thief.
Here for a while
(1/23/03 11:00 am)
Missed an entry|
Shoot, i just realized i missed the 12-19-02 entry of Redge's Journal.
Here it is, sorry it's out of order.
After last session's victory (more or less), we decided the time had come for a strategic withdrawal from the Crater Ridge Mines. I don't know how I'm going to work this into the ballad; it seems disrespectful somehow to retcon away our personnel changes...
At any rate, we gathered up the bodies of our companions and made the trek back to Verbobonc, luckily unhindered. Perhaps the Elvish gods were smiling on our mission - certainly, the priests of Corellon Larethian greeted us warmly enough and consented to return life to Dan. They wouldn't let me watch, so I'll have to make up something appropriate for that verse. Mind you, they weren't so happy that they didn't insist on a significant contribution...
The wizard who we'd run into at the bridge complex followed us back to town but then went his own way - apparently, he'd seen enough of elemental evil. However, we did hook up with a rogue by the name of Jules (Hawker's latest). He claims to be collecting for some sort of menagerie or something. Most likely just another treasure seeker.
We spent some time in town reequipping ourselves and getting rid of the less practical valuables we've acquired in our expeditions to the mines. Dan and Mike opted for the boots of striding and springing, while I found a wonderfully crafted mithril buckler (+1) at an armorer's shop in town.
We decided to follow up on a clue obtained in the bridge complex and set out for Nulb to see what we could learn of (or from) Lareth the Beautiful, the famed and feared former commander of EE forces in the moathouse outside Hommlett. More to the point, I think Mike and Dan felt overdue for bashing some undead - something Mike in particular has grown exceedingly obsessed with.
We first explored the inn near the edge of that haunted town - and in fact we barely got inside when a ghost materialized and attacked the rogue. It faded away again before we could hardly do anything, but when it showed itself again we were ready. Even though some of my arrows seemed to pass through it, others struck true - no doubt due to my practice of imbuing magical energy into the arrows as I fire them, a trick I learned from some of the epic poems about the elvish arcane archers of old. I am told by those more knowledgeable in the ways of undead than myself that the ghost will return unless we find some way to set its spirit at ease. Unsure how to accomplish that, we continued exploring.
In an upper room of the inn we encountered a terrible sight. Items were flying around the room as if in a whirlwind, and the apparition of a screaming woman hovered over the bed. When Mike entered the room, this horror attacked him - and one more we were forced to cross swords (and arrows) with an incorporeal monstrosity. This one fared no better than the first, though its touch did seem to derange Mike somewhat (wisdom drain), though the cleric was able to cure the affliction with healing magic.
Continuing into the heart of town, we heard movement inside a large herbalist's shop. It turns out Lareth the Beautiful had taken to residing in one of the back rooms. He is no longer so beautiful, and is quite bitter. He knows that the Elder Elemental Eye is a fraud, and that the entire organization is simply a front for the cult of Tharizdun. He knows that they are trying to release Tharizdun from its bonds, though unfortunately he was unable to tell us anything about how. Clearly, the cult is keeping him around for a reason - they've been keeping him alive, and would recapture him every time he tries to leave Nulb. What purpose he could serve in their mysteries is unclear to me - or to him, for that matter.
We did pry a little more information about the cult out of him. The Doomdreamers, a name we've heard before, are apparently the upper tier of Tharizdun's followers - they are able to talk to the god directly via the Black Spike, which apparently resides in the inner fane of the temple of all consumption. The three leaders of the Doomdreamers are known as the Triad. They never leave the inner fane.
The outer fane of the temple is run by Hedrack. He's the one responsible for imprisoning Lareth. As for the remainder of the outer temples: Fachisch runs the Air Temple, Kelashein runs the Water Temple, and Tessemon is the leader of the Fire Temple (Lareth says that in his day, it was the Fire Temple which was making the greatest strides forward in the infighting amongst the elemental groups).
After taking our leave of Lareth (and promising to bring liquor should we return) we attempted to solve the mystery of the ghostly assassin in the inn (Lareth tells us his name was Wat). I used locate objects to find the sword we'd seen in the ghost's hands, and that led us to his body, buried 'neath the floorboards of the inn, that sword embedded in his chest. We buried Wat's body and performed the proper rituals; time will tell if that was enough.
xp: 1437 (i should level up after i get the journal bonus xp)
Here for a while
(1/23/03 11:05 am)
I suppose i should also add who everybody is.
Mike: Half-Elf Pal 5/Sor 1/Hunter of the Dead 3
CJ: Half-Elf Bard 8/Arcane Archer 2 (half-brother of Mike)
Andy: Half-Orc Bbn 7
Dan: Elf Cleric 8
Kory: Most of this campaign he's been playing a Halfling Rogue, but he died at the Fire Bridge and will be returing to play as a Half-Celestial Paladin, if we can ever get the game night moved to a night where he can make it to play.
Hawker: Started playing Tenaris Glimmerdawn (he was just sitting in to watch) then made his own charactor, a dwarven wizard. Didn't end up liking that charactor so now he made a human Rog 7
Here for a while
(1/24/03 9:31 pm)
players: Me, Mike, Dan, Hawker, and Andy (apparently they aren't the same person)
The enemy was bearing down upon us, but then some other commotion drew them down an adjoining hallway. We took a few rounds to regroup and heal ourselves, and then sent Hawker down the passageway to find out what was going on. He quickly appeared again, motioning for us to follow. It turned out that we weren't the only group thinking it must have been an auspicious time to attack the Water Temple.
We soon found ourselves at the edge of a large, partially submerged chamber, open to the lake on one side, and with the altar of water sitting on a platform in its center. There was a furious battle raging. The defending forces consisted of several very large skum and a force of Kuo-Toan warriors, as well as a Kuo-Toan monk. There was also an enormous water elemental pounding its way through the attackers.
The other side consisted of forces from the Fire Temple. This included a priestess and a master warrior, in addition to the usual human and elven rabble. But they also included a large group of summoned or controlled monsters, to wit: four peculiar flaming skeletons, two fire mephits, and two salamanders (though we could not identify these at first, so much steam were they generating).
The Fire Temple forces were in the shallowest part of the water, and the warriors and salamanders were attempting to hold off the Water forces. The Fire cleric read off a scroll, and the altar disintegrated in a flash of light - and at the same time, the Sword of Water went dead in Mike's hands. Their mission evidently accomplished, the Fire Temple forces turned to retreat.
Unfortunately, we were in their way.
At the same time, Dan and Mike launched into the Fire Temple rearguard (the skeletons) while I began to pepper the cleric with arrows (after having already hasted myself and Dan in preparation). The Water forces played to our advantage for awhile, with the elemental in particular crushing the salamanders. In their haste to leave, the cleric Flame Striked our party - we were not amused, but not daunted.
The skeletons proved troublesome, scoring several criticals before we destroyed them, but ultimately that left us with only the high-level fire temple people to deal with. Dan finally managed to strike down the cleric, and the warrior was taken out shortly afterwards (by Hawker, I think, although I'm not sure). We noticed that the warrior was carrying the Sword of Fire, but we also noticed that it had been disenchanted, no doubt due to the earlier Water Temple attack against fire.
Since things were faring so poorly for the Fire forces, the single surviving mephit decided to make a break for it, flying out over the lake toward the Inner Fane. We watched as a massive lightning bolt ripped it apart before it got very far - an important lesson for us to keep in mind.
Meanwhile, I had started to shoot at the water elemental in an attempt to weaken it, but my arrows were having very little effect (damage reduction...). We realized that that was going to be our greatest threat, since the rest of the party was going to suffer the same problem. In a moment of inspiration and incredible dumb luck, I was able to succesfully cast blindness on it (it rolled a 1 on its save). This took the fight out of it, and since its summoner was dead it decided to sink into the water and (effectively) vanish. For all we know, it could still be lurking under there...
With the elemental out of the way, the rest of the forces succumbed to our swords very quickly. As the last kuo-toan warrior died, a tremor shook the cavern. We quickly grabbed as much loot as was available and fled to a safe passage to wait things out.
Once the quake had died down, we sent Hawker to investigate the chambers on the far side of the pond. He used his slippers of spider climbing to walk across the chamber's ceiling, and thus evade the elemental and anything else that could have been lurking in the water. He recovered a few peculiar valuables, but then he decided to investigate the altar platform. There were 3 pools on the platform - one of potent acid, one of green slime, and one of a black liquid. Unfortunately, he touched the last one and became cursed (3 str and 3 con damage). Moreover, disturbing all three of the pools apparently brought some enchantment upon him - he suddenly and for no reason went to the edge of the platform and stuck his head in the water! Luckily, we were watching from the nearest dry land. I quickly quaffed one of our potions of spider climb and ran out to the platform, jump/tumbled down, and pulled him out before he drowned. The enchantment only lasted a few minutes, and then he was back to his normal self.
We decided to rest in a secluded cavern nearby before continuing - that would also give Dan a chance to memorize remove curse. Then we shall continue through the mines.
What’s the Fire Temple doing in the Water Temple, you ask? Well, IMC, the Water Temple’s attack on the fire altar was successful. This was payback. Tessimon, Zert, 4 burning skeletons, 2 fire mephits, and 2 Salamanders left the Fire Temple and went out the south exit. They then looped around and entered the Main Entrance, which IMC has been sealed off by Hedrack. The Fire forces knew that the PC’s had compromised the seals (via scrying, which NONE of the PC’s have any skill ranks in. they are painfully under-equipped when it comes to scrys) and were now back in the CRM and heading for the Water Temple. What a perfect time to attack! And, for the most part, they were right. The PC’s took out most of the heavy hitters and left the Water Altar wide open for attack.
While planning the Fire Temple retribution, I discovered something interesting about the Fire Temple: It’s completely sealed off from the outside world. If it wants to really attack someone, it really can’t. It’s got “wild zones” to the north and south, and the nearest door is 2 “wild zones” away! I was originally going to have the Fire Temple simply move up north and around west, hitting the Water Temple from that direction, but upon looking at what kind of opposition would be in the “wild area” between those two, they wouldn’t have made it. It wasn’t until the PC’s came along and cleared the way through the Main Gate, Earth Temple, and right to the front door of the Water Temple that they could make their move.
I learned a couple good lesions from this session.
1: Unless you do a TON of preparation before hand, NPC vs. NPC fights, especially large ones like this one, really suck. After a while I started fudging things a bit, mostly with the low powered grunts. I started handling it a bit more like a wargame, where I would roll 5 times for the 5 War1s. Anything about a nat 18 was a hit, for 1d10+2 damage. If a PC hit a War1 or Koa-Toa Fgter1, and it was more than 8 damage, I ruled them dead. That sped things up quite a bit.
It isn’t that fun for the players, big fights like this, because they have to sit and wait their turn much longer than regular fights. That, on top of idle chatter around the table (because ppl had to wait for me) which was distracting, made this fight take longer than I would have liked.
2: Letting NPC’s “get away” is very, very difficult, especially in a fight like this. I couldn’t think of a good way to get Tessimon out, she didn’t have the proper spells prepared.
At the end of this session, 3 of the altars have been destroyed, and the PC’s have enough to make a Master key. The CRM is a complete mess, and the only temple still in good shape is Air. This has most definitely caught Hedrack’s attention, and assassins will be deployed soon. I’m not quite sure just how I’m going to go about doing that, though. It would be nice to take the PC’s down a peg, that’s for sure. They think they’ve got this cult whipped. They need to learn to still be on their guard.
Here for a while
(2/1/03 2:54 am)
Players: Me, Andy, Dan, Mike, Hawker
After the conflict at the Water Temple, we holed up in Nilbool's chambers to rest. It was out of the way, and we hoped that there were no more hostile forces in the immediate area. This turned out to be overly optimistic.
A few hours later our watch heard someone moving around in the main areas of the temple complex, making no attempt to hide their movements. A quick reconnaissance showed this wasn't the case - a wizard in water-temple regalia was searching the place with a brace of warriors in tow. We set an ambush for them, hiding in shadows while Andy played decoy - luring them into the chamber and toward a side passage. They didn't expect to be attacked from the flank. Mike and Dan took out the wizard while I peppered the warriors with arrows - they didn't stand a chance.
We returned to our hidey-hole to get a little more shuteye, and were undisturbed for the rest of the night. In the morning Dan was able to remove the curse that had afflicted Hawker after his antics at the water altar, and we proceeded to loot the rest of the complex.
We were unopposed in the water temple area - the only threat we encountered was a group of giant scorpions that Hawker stirred up while exploring a storeroom. Luckily he was able to avoid their sting and lure them out to where we were waiting. We were able to off them one at a time as the stupid vermin chased him through the door. Hawker collected a few flasks of their poison for possible future uses.
With new treasures in tow, we debated what to do next. None of us were very eager for a long trek through another long wild stretch of the mines, and Dan was eager to bring the fight to our enemies - in particular the air temple, who we assume are the last organized force in the outer ring of the mines. Eventually we decided to retrace our steps to the exit and then head overland for the south entrance. Our information suggested that the air temple was close to that entrance.
We weren't sure what kind of forces to expect at the entrance; we assumed that they had concentrated considerable strength there after closing the main gates. Therefore, we burned off almost all of our last charges on the wand of invisibility and approached that way. The setup was much like the other entrance - a stone passage lined with arrow slits ending in a heavy wooden door. Our best plan at this point was that I would wander up to one of the slits and lesser geas someone to open the door for us. We were surprised to discover that there was no one guarding the entrance though.
After further investigation by Hawker, we attempted to push open the door, finding it unbarred and unlocked. Once again, our foes' chaotic disorganization worked in our favor. There was only one guard on duty, on a raised platform about 25' off the ground. He was looking around in confusion, trying to figure out what was going on. Hawker walked up the wall to get him, but not before he got off an alarm. Mind you, that was fine with us. Dan was actually yelling out, looking for a fight and trying to intimidate whoever was waiting for us.
In no time at all, the doors opposite the entrance opened, revealing a human in full plate armor flanked by a pair of ogres. A small group of warriors followed behind.
The battle was short and sweet. Most of us concentrated our fire on the human, and I hasted myself in preparation for any reinforcements might arrive. One of the ogres broke ranks to climb up to the platform to attack Hawker (who'd been harrying them), but I knocked it off the ladder with a few well-placed arrows and the fall finished it. By that point Mike and Dan had knocked down the human warrior. The other ogre attempted to push past Mike and flee down a wide passageway, but this left Hawker with a perfect shot and he was able to kill it before it got too far. As for the other warriors, well...
I don't like this... it was too easy, unless we've really depleted the temples' strengths. The ogre didn't get to call for help, but there may still be reinforcements on the way. He had been running up a big passageway set with wide stairs, and I'll bet it goes somewhere important and/or dangerous.
For the record, I had 5 rounds of haste remaining when we quit, and my Inspire Courage song was ongoing. Also, we didn't have a chance to loot the bodies of the ogres or the warrior (who had an impressive looking and, I suspect, magical sword).
This session is a classic example of what can be frustrating about the CRM. The party was basically at a crossroads where they could go to several very important locations: none of which I was really prepared for.
They could take the any door but Air, or go around to the south entrance. Any of these four options would result in a large and fairly important fight.
So when the players decided on the South entrance, I had to excuse myself for about 25 min. I ran to the computer room, booted up the ETools, and feverishly generated stats, reaction times, things like that. All in all, I found the overall South Entrance fight to be pretty boring, and not as well thought out as the other encounters. There are not very many creatures near the gate, so everyone takes time to get there. Some creatures, like the Gargoyles, aren’t specified if they will come to defend the entrance or not. I ruled that they do, because otherwise the fight is a cakewalk. There really aren’t any serious badguys. I think my players are going to be under whelmed next session when they tear through the Air and South Entrance forces. I would like to send some assassin’s after them, but the defeat of what amounts to THREE temples in one day means Hedrack and co. haven’t caught on yet. That part will take some careful consideration.
From here they’ll probably head to the Fire Temple, which is mostly empty now, though I’ll try to populate it or do something interesting with it. Or maybe not. Damnit, they should be done /w the CRM soon. I’m tired of running it and I know all the cool stuff is in the inner and outer fanes. I know I’ll have to be absolutely ruthless in my running of the Outer fane, and this should be a fun challenge for both player and DM.
Here for a while
(2/7/03 10:50 pm)
There were no immediate signs of reinforcements, so we looted the bodies and began cautiously moving up the stairs. We didn't get very far before a door opened at the top of the stairs and a woman in full plate stepped out. We immediately opened fire, and between arrows and Dan's searing light dropped her - but not before she called out a warning.
I was at the rear of the party at that point, so I was the one who noticed three gargoyles - one of them particularly large and fierce - approaching from the other direction. Several of us took them out quickly (I did 62 pts of damage in a single full attack on the leader) but this divided our attention while a contingent of guards led by a half-orc barbarian type showed up at the top of the stairs.
Luckily, Dan was halfway up the huge staircase and was within range to flame strike this group while the rest of us regrouped. We took up position and readied actions while Hawker sneaked up (walking on the wall of course) to peek around the corner. He found that we were right next to the air temple, and that there was a force of archers (humans with bows and gnolls with crossbows) waiting for us to come around the corner. There was also a very large air elemental and, of course, the air temple's high priest.
My feeling on this was: why make them wait? I refreshed my haste spell, ran into full view, and cast a sleep spell into their midst. This was not a stunning success, but I suspect I still damaged their morale when the entire troop opened fire on me and I calmly stepped through the hail of bolts and arrows.
Meanwhile, Dan had gotten detained on the stairway by a group of gnolls who had poked their heads out of a side door. He eventually managed to break the door down and flame strike the room, only to discover that they had apparently been guarding a latrine.
Since spellcraft failed me, I began shooting the archers. This apparently got the air priest's attention, because he cast a windwall spell across the hallway - I was going to have to pass through that, and the air elemental, in order to continue combat.
The air elemental was fast becoming a problem - it had hurt hawker pretty badly. I tossed him a potion of cure moderate wounds while Dan came up and, luckily enough, dispelled magic to get rid of the elemental.
That pretty much turned the tide of battle. Hawker and I crushed the morale of the warriors and several of them fled. Meanwhile, Mike had maneuvered around to engage the priest himself. The foolish cleric attempted to cast a bunch of spells on him - he certainly picked the wrong party member for that tactic. Mike chopped him up and I finished the job (with another massive full-attack-with-critical).
With the air temple forces destroyed, we set about wrecking their altar. As we had come to expect, this made the chamber shake and ceiling stones collapse; we simply hid in a side passage until the tremor stopped and then ransacked the temple rooms.
We eventually determined that the woman at the top of the stairs had been the high priest's assistant; she had a number of giant bear skeletons in her room and a peculiar orb which apparently allowed her to control an increased number of undead. Dan was able to destroy this foul device with a turning attempt.
We found a number of useful notes in the chamber of the high priest, Vashish. One entry detailed how he'd given the Sword of Air to Kelial, who we in turn killed at the gates. Not that the sword was much use to us anymore. There were also a few documents revealing his double loyalty - to both the Elder Elemental Eye (heh) and the elemental prince Yan C Bin. This evil elemental prince was apparently revered in the old days of the TOEE - there were a series of subplanes called elemental nodes which were inhabited by the evil elementals. Or something.
Perhaps most interestingly, we found some notes regarding a giant diamond that the dwarven miners had hidden somewhere in these chambers. Apparently the air temple had been looking for it for some time. We applied a locate object spell to point us in the right direction.
Now, this process of ransacking is where Hawker really shone - especially due to the lens of detection. He found a number of traps and also the secret door that led to the diamond. Unfortunately, he also set off a pit trap on the other side of that door, and although he jumped to safety the room the rest of us were in filled up with poison gas. While we fled outside he moved on into the chamber, and found the enormous diamond - Tulian's Eye - sitting on a pedestal. Unfortunately, the pedestal turned out to be a mimic, and he had a furious fight by himself against the mimic in very close quarters. Nevertheless, he prevailed. The money we get from selling the gem will go a long way toward upgrading the enchantments on our weaponry and equipment.
We also discovered a filthy arena that the air temple had apparently used for disposing of prisoners. We found a sickly dwarven prisoner who we freed and escorted back to Raster. Hawker also discovered another chest there, and unfortunately set off a poison trap - but he got out of it without much harm.
After some discussion we decided this was a good time to head back to Verbobonc to better equip ourselves. Also this might cause the forces in the outer fane to spread themselves out a little more, since the outer ring of the crater is essentially unguarded.
Lucky I have that ring of warmth, since travel in the middle of winter isn't much fun. It was only after we'd been on the road for a day or so that we discovered another problem. Apparently Tulian's Eye has a curse attached to it. Whoever carries it for a day wakes up with an anvil-shaped welt somewhere on their body and a point of constitution damage. We split that duty, though I certainly didn't want that ugly welt. We figure once we sell the gem to some dwarves in Verbobonc we'll be free of the trouble.
DM’s Notes: Just as I thought, this fight was no problem for the PC’s. I tried to use a pincer move to make things interesting, but the way initiative worked didn’t allow that to happen. Fachish ALMOST got the Paladin with a hold person, which would have made things interesting, but the half-elf’s +2 vs enchancement saved his butt.
Energy was pretty high this session, I could tell the players were enjoying themselves and feeling good about the abuilities of their charactors. It should be very interesting to see just how well they handle the Outer Fane. I should also be able to take them down a notch or two with the two assassination attempts I have planned for them.