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(11/10/03 6:54 pm)
Orc Lair and WBC
Well, another session down and time for another episode of The Jolly Red Campaign Log.

The party looted the WBC, dragged the alchemical equipment to the gnolls lair and holed up. Aldar, sporting his Ring of Sustenance, went on a potion and Identifying binge, picking up some of the magic items they’d found, while Torg and Lomar healed everyone up. But while they were resting they got a knock on the door from a quasit. He gave them a scroll reading as follows:


You know not what you do…how great the danger is. You have blasted through that which has stood in your way thus far, but you only hasten the rise of the Dark Lord. For now your efforts are a mere speck, a mild annoyance at best. Persist in this endeavor and you shall surely meet your fate. Your new ally’s presence is more dangerous than you know. Once he has passed beyond the mortal ken, the Doomdreamers shall be one step closer to finding our Champion. You cannot even hope to penetrate the Fane without the Keys. Our servants who hold these Keys have bested you before. They shall surely attempt to do so again. When the time is right, I’m certain we shall meet. I look forward to that day with great anticipation.

Perhaps you would care to test your steel against this messenger? His return is of no greater consequence to me than it is to you.

(A couple notes on this. First, obviously, this is Varachan. He’s trying to give a clue bomb while appearing to anyone who may read this that it’s an elaborate taunt. He doesn’t want the party knocking on the Fire Door, as that may raise Hedrack’s ire before they are ready to deal with him. And as for Torg…he’s a cleric of Istishia, the Realms cleric of Water. IMC, Saatu has prophesized that four Defenders of the Elemental Gods would come, and when all four have died the Champion of Elemental Evil could be unveiled. Unfortunately for the party, Torg HAS died once, thus his end of the prophecy comes pre-fulfilled.)

Torg squashes the quasit anyways on general principle and the party proceeds to discuss this new development. They pick up on a number of the clues rather accurately, but their missed guesses are pretty amusing. At one point, Ygdal was sure that the dwarf temple would be the Air Temple. The big debate is what temple sent them the note…the idea that it came from the Fanes never occurs to them.

So, after much debate about the meaning of the letter, on they go.

The orcs were not even the speed bump I predicted. They were more like one of those cables they stretch out on the road to measure how much traffic goes by. Like they might notice them if they really slowed down and payed attention. I think the best was Ygdal and the war wagon. I treated it as 2-inch thick iron on the front plate, so rather than try to push it back or hit through the arrow slits, they just tried to smash it. After one bash from Torg, Ygdal wound up and gave it a critical hit that, despite the hardness rating, cut right through the iron, revealing 6 very shocked looking orcs, one of whom mutters “Hey, those aren’t gnolls”. Their lairs aren’t close enough together to effectively support each other in combat for an en masse fight and only Murant managed to damage the party.

It would be easy to consider this section of the dungeon a waste, but a point that has been driven home time and time again is that the party needs some gopher balls. They need the occasional fight that reminds them of how truly immortal they really are. For two reasons. One, it makes the players happy…it gives them a sense of relief that riding on the edge of oblivion every session can’t give. Two, it makes it all the sweeter when you rip the carpet right out from under them with the big hitters.

The dwarf temple was interesting. Ygdal seems to be the brunt of every trap, more on that later. But for now, he did fall in the pit trap but didn’t take much damage.

The party managed to create more steam than an episode of the OC, until finally Kromlech poured some water into it. Now Kromlech’s a fighter, not a cleric. But he’s got something going for him. One…he’s a devout worshipper of Moradin. As in not just written on his sheet, but actually makes a point of praising Moradin and mentioning that he worships Moradin to every dwarf he meets. So I had decided to treat him as I would a Moradin cleric.

Anyways, they can’t get into the Hammersphere room yet. They move on to the reliquary where the stone golem pops up. It tears Aldar and Torg apart a bit, studiously ignoring Kromlech and Ygdal. Lomar hadn’t entered the room yet. Now Kromlech’s player, as I’ve mentioned, is the son of Ygdal’s player and is only about 12, so I had him sitting next to me for this session. Eventually he mutters “I don’t want us to fight this thing.” At this point, I set down my 20-sider and say “It sinks back into the ground”.

They cautiously avoided the dwarfstone emerald, deciding not to touch it.

They got as far as the feasthall and decided to camp and load up on some Knock and Unseen Servent spells. Knock, of course, didn’t help against the glyph of warding by the Hammerspheres. Kromlech walks right in, thinking nothing will hurt him in this temple. The ensuing blast of cold disabuses him of that notion. So he goes and tries to pick up one of the Hammerspheres. I call for a Will save, which he makes…no point in trying to polymorph a dwarf into a dwarf. At this point he gets nervous so Torg goes for the Hammerspheres. He blows his Will save and gives Kromlech to the count of three to PUT THAT SPHERE BACK! Lol.

The treasury trap was the last one faced that night. They used a Knock spell to unlock the door and swung it open with an Unseen Servant. The falling block trap only landed on Ygdal. Roll to hit…20. Crap. Um, can traps do critical hits? After some debate we all decide that the answer is yes, so I grab my 10d6 and Ygdal takes 70. Astonishingly, he lives. (I don’t use massive damage rules.)

Aside from the Hammerstones and the emerald, the party moves all of the treasure in with the golem for safekeeping. Then it’s down to Rastor to give Rerrid and his dwarves the good news. They’ll be suitably rewarding the party…the reward of course has yet to be determined.

Although it suddenly occurs to me that Rerrid may finally accede to his daughters wishes and betroth her to Ygdal…:evil

(11/11/03 9:53 am)
Re: Orc Lair and WBC
"Um, can traps do critical hits?"

Yes, indeed. Anything that makes an attack roll can do a critical hit. e.g. a spectre's energy drain. In this case, 20d6 would average around 70, so Ygdal is lucky. Good thing he's a dwarven fighter. ;)

(11/28/03 8:36 am)
Belated log entry
We had our last session Sunday, but I was mired in Thanksgiving preperations and school and didn't really have a chance to do a writeup. I hope I can remember the details alright.

The party began the session in Rastor. Thandain (Tanbrosh addiction Neutralized), four dwarf W1's and a dwarven scout (Rogue 2) accompanied the party back to the CRM, to the entrance to the dwarf temple. The scout returned to Rastor as a guide for the rest of Rerrid's clan when they make the roadie to the temple.

The party heads out the secret door and heads south. They run into a hydra with several torn and mangled bodies about it. (The result of a half-hearted Air Temple strike at the orcs gone awry.) They make short work of the hydra and move on, heading down the right fork.

They come to the tower with the archers. The party moves up slowly and tactically, preparing themselves, but Aldar doesn't waste any time. He launches a fireball over their heads...nice when reflex saves don't matter. However, by this point Torg is flying and the rest of the party taking cover behind the tower from the other entrances.

Sure enough, Graud and his band of merry gnolls comes charging down one path. Torg closes in with them and tries to lay the wood to Graud, dropping him to 3hp (he'd be dead at the end of rage). The party isn't too worried, except that Graud survived a full on Torg volley, but he was clearly hurting. Until the winds changed...

In comes the air elemental, which I described as a large whirlwind which is strangely making no noise. This is beyond Andorax's silence...Fachish took the time to through Curse of the Brute and Rage on him first.

Now there are several rules issues with this. First is that I had the air elemental using his slam attack despite being in whirlwind mode. I looked up and down the book and couldn't find a reason why it couldn't do this. Perhaps someone can refer me to an appropriate text refrence (3.0) please. Second, more of a role playing thing. I have a hard time justifying to myself the air elemental waiting for the Silence spell to charge when Rage puts him into a bloodthirsty rage and Curse of the Brute dropped its INT to 1. My players had no problems on this. It's certainly debatable and YMMV, but my PC's are so powerful it was the only way to make this not a complete mowdown.

Anyways, Blustery the air elemental rolls in, smacks Torg with a flyby attack, tries to catch him in the whirlwind but fails, then continues to fly through Ygdals space who gets sucked up.

Torg disengages from Graud to go after Blustery, as does Kromlech. Lomar tosses a Waterball at it as well. I ruled that Ygdal, stuck within the whirlpool, got full cover from everything outside it.

Now out pops Fachish himself. I had tweaked his equipment...Infiniti's CRM writeups gave him full plate +1, Blinding. But Blinding is only a shield quality, so I dropped it entirely and used the extra cash for a potion of speed and Wings of the Bat. So he was hasted when he came out. He opened with Recitation and Confusion, taking out Kromlech and Lomar. The PC's are really getting sick of the Madness domain.

They also found Recitation to be brutal, as did I. This is going to be a staple spell for me wherever there are clerics and mooks for the rest of the campaign. It's just too good.

Blustery managed to scoop up Kromlech on route to going heads up with Aldar, but didn't last much longer. The dwarves fell to the ground. Fachish got off another round of spells, Wrack and Dispel Magic, on Torg. Torg saved vs. Wrack and only lost his Magical Vestement from the Dispel. Aldar had moved away from the silenced breezy carcass of Blustery and then dropped a Shadow Well on Fachisch that went through. He disappears for 8 rounds and when he's back will be under a fear effect. Shadow Well is a really nice 4th level spell...somewhere in here, the party finishes off Graud and the gnolls.

In comes the last batch of reinforcements, Choranth, the ogres and the rest of the guards from the barbrican. I'd forgotten about the skeles and Kellial...see what happens when you have to DM after spending some of your prep time writing up a lab report for school? Ygdal charges in, just happy to be back on terra firma and a bit dizzy, but otherwise well. Then Aldar throws up a Rainbow Pattern and moves it behind Ygdal. This stunned Choranth before she could attempt to haggle for her life. As the hapless victems move past Ygdal, he slices them up one at a time with his axe.

By the time Fachish reappears, the Confusion is expired and his space surrounded by PC's with readied actions to thump him. Between those and attacks of opportunity as he tries to fly away, Fachish meets a most unsavory end.

The group explores the air temple area while Torg goes balistic on the altar. (His player had to leave, so he spent the rest of the session desecrating it. They now have two lesser keys of air and one smashed altar. Kellial had the sword of air and was visiting the arena. Since the Sword was destroyed into a puff of vapor, he knows something's amiss. What he'll do next is unclear to me. Suggestions are welcomed.

(11/29/03 7:41 pm)
Re: Belated log entry
Blinding is noted as both armor and shield in the DotF, but quite honestly, I like your change better. Curse of the brute, rage, and silence = Evil! :evil

Due to the puff of vapor thing, Kellial certainly knows that Fachish is dead, possibly Choranth as well. Someone pretty strong must have wiped them out, so he would be ultra careful. He would probably stay put, though sending one scout through the north stairwell to check things out would be a good idea. I can't remember if there is a potion of invisibility. Hmm, he might even order (if you give him that much authority) one of the cloakers to scout (remember that the cloakers 'work' for the Air Temple).

If the party attacks the barbican, he would still defend it, but if the barbican is breached, I'm thinking he would make a tactical withdrawal or immediately surrender. He's not a coward IMO, but he's not stupid either and realizes that once the barbican is removed he will not be able to defeat any foe who can take out everyone else. He might even parley through the barbican, securing release out the main gate, or perhaps joining the group.

Keep up the good work! I enjoy reading your updates!

(11/29/03 9:36 pm)
Thanks Infiniti
Unfortunately, when I do my pre-session prep, I typically only have access to PHB, MMI, DMG and BoVD. (And RttToEE, of course :eek ) The splatbooks are community property and typically kept at the house where we run our sessions. I can check them out, but I never know what I'll need in advance and I don't want to lug them all home.

Anyways, big thanks on the cloakers! I have some more questions on these but I'll be putting them in a seperate thread.

Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/11/04 2:04 pm)
Scrying silliness
Another one of my phenomonally late posts. This was before we took a break for the holidays. Hope you all had a merry Christmas and safe, happy New Year.

This was just a shopping trip to Waterdeep. Really.

The party had just hit 9th level casters in Torg and Aldar, and now were Teleport capable. So they decided to port into Waterdeep to do a little shopping spree. Now, IMC, Waterdeep has become a virtual war zone. The Temple, just as a distraction, has created a portal from Undermountain to random points in the city. At first it was just random attacks, then drow found the point and have been using it to launch surgical hit and run raids into Waterdeep proper. (My take on this is that if Tharizdun can mimic Lolth once in ToEE, he could do it again.)

None of that’s very relevant, because I decide not to hit them with any random encounters. However, Lomar leaves town to go cast Awaken on his dire wolf. As he leaves town, he walks past one of the Temple’s agents in town…faux-Jaroo. Jaroo tracks the party down to the in that they are staying in, assumes Lomar’s form and steals some of the party treasure…just a set of Hide Armor +1 that they were going to sell.

When the real Lomar returns, they figure out that Jaroo is responsible. Aldar describes to scry on him. This is where things start to get interesting. I ruled that even though they didn’t know the doppleganger’s actual name, they were familiar enough with him to scry successfully on a DC15.

Jaroo is wandering through Waterdeep disguised as a town guard. He then makes a turn into an alley and into a dark, shadowy building. A familiar voice says (after hitting his Scry check) “You fool – you’re being watched! Go…go now!” Jaroo then starts randomly shifting in an effort to lose the party as he blends into the Waterdeep streets. He doesn’t lose the party, but time runs out.

The next day they try to scry again and are foiled. Jaroo is stashed in one of the dead magic zones in Undermountain. They go about their business.

The day after, one more shot at scrying. They see a dead doppelganger suspended from ropes hanging in a room with nothing but black stone floors and walls. There is a note on Jaroo…stating “Cease these feeble attempts at intrusion or they shall be your doom.” There’s an ogre not far away watching. (And not far behind him, Hedrack. An augury by Hedrack determined that handling this situation personally was “weal”. He does notice the scry-sensor and moves down the corridor.)

The players, of course, couldn’t resist the chance to try to steal Jaroo’s corpse. And so Aldar and Torg buff themselves up and teleport in, invisible, flying just above the ground. The plan has Aldar grabbing Jaroo and teleporting him and Torg and himself out right away.

Unfortunately, that’s where things go south. The corpse has a Greater Glyph of Warding with Harm slapped on. Aldar cries in pain. The ogre yells off a prayer to Tharizdun and charges into the room…which just happens to be “The Grinder”. The trap is sprung, the ogre and Torg are hurt and Aldar dies. Torg, who was hanging on to Aldar anyways, hangs onto his body – at this point Torg has Str 20 so not too hard.

Hedrack lobs a Confusion spell in the room to finish off the interlopers. Torg saves, flies into the corridor with Hedrack and Dimension Door’s straight up. (Did I mention Torg has the Travel domain. Irritating cleric.) This lands him into the mountain itself. Per the spell, he eventually comes out at the nearest unoccupied point. This is, sadly, right in front of a lightning tower. Zot.

Charred, missing ¾ of his hit points and with his tail between his legs, he flew away with great gusto. Aldar’s player is retiring him and will start a Grimlock barbarian next session.

Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/21/04 10:19 am)
Introducing Crafter, more CRM hack-n-slashiness
Another belated session log. Terribly sorry about the delay to anyone who might be actually reading this. If nothing else I know my players will read it someday. Also, I think I'm going to take a page out of I2K's book and put in some cutscenes soon. I've always liked the concept and used it in my short lived Buffy campaign to excellent effect, but here I felt it would give too much away to the players. But he makes a good point in using it as a future RP aid.

So, away we go.

We have a new cast member. Aldar is going to remain undisturbed in his dirt nap...his player brings in Crafter, a grimlock Fighter 1/Barbarian 5/Frenzied Berserker 1. Beat stick in the extreme. To recap the cast, that gives us...

The Chaos Dragonslayers
Crafter, a grimlock fighter 1/barbarian 5/frenzied berserker 1
"Sir" Kromlech dwarven fighter 8
Lomar, human druid 9
Torg, human cleric 9 of Istishia
Ygdal, dwarven fighter 7/holy liberator 1

Torg teleports himself back to Waterdeep and fills in the party of Aldar's sad demise. He also consents to a debriefing from the Guild Wizards of Waterdeep, of whom Aldar was a member. For his cooperation, they agree to Reduce the party free of charge so Torg can teleport them back to Rastor when they are ready to go.

(Off-screen, Khelben Blackstaff follows this interrogation and decides that the Chaos Dragonslayers have found a legitimate threat to Faerun. He tells his aide at the Guild he'll be handling the situation himself. Then he's attacked alone by Halaster, the mad wizard of Undermountain, who has become an ally of the cultists, and taken prisoner. The Guild thinks he left for the ToEE and should be back within a few days of wiping them out. None of this is terribly important to the's all part of answering the question in my own mind of why the Faerunian Powers that Be such as Khelben, Elminster and the Harpers aren't dealing with this threat themselves.)

So, the next evening the party heads to go pick up Kromlech's scimitar, which has been enchanted to a +2. (IMC, I'm allowing them to upgrade their weaponry and armor to a higher bonus by paying the 6,000 gp to go from +1 to +2.) While they are there just after dusk on a typical Waterdeep evening, there's a disturbance outside...and by disturbance I mean screaming in terror.

Meanwhile, Crafter and Crittaker, his hunting companion, are out for a nice stroll on a Waterdeep evening. Waterdeep is cosmopolitan enough that grimlocks in armor only draw funny looks, not out and out action from the city guard. That's when five drow, a hill giant and a purple robed priest suddenly teleport in, dropping out the lights with a darkness spell centered on the priest.

The priest manages to catch Crittaker with a Hold Person and the hill giant promptly coup de graces him with his club. Dead plot device. Two of the drow attack Crafter and the rest set about murdering innocent bystanders.

Crafter spends a round missing horribly as the rest of the party charges heroically out of the shop. The baddies decide that two drow is more than enough to handle the ignoramous and turns to meet the party. Torg procedes to erase the giant's hit points and Lomar tosses in a timely Waterball. Ygdal presses in on the cleric and Kromlech stops to aid a citizen who was trapped under a cart when the horse pulling said cart panicked and toppled the cart.

Crafter rolls a bit better and mows through both drow on him, then moves up to engage the line attacking the party. Torg is less effective against the drow as he can't see in the dark, but the party mows through them without much difficulty.

At this point, the DM steps into the restroom while the players meet and greet. When I've returned, Crafter has volunteered/agreed to accompany the Chaos Dragonslayers to get a piece of the temple that killed his hunting partner. The party stays in town an extra day to see to Crittakers burial and the selling of the raiding party's gear, then the next day the wizard shows up from the guild to Reduce them so that Torg can Teleport the party back in one shot. And they start moving through the CRM once more.

So our intrepid heroes make their way east from the air temple, exploring the empty rooms as they go. I describe the air in the now smashed air temple itself as dead and still, no breeze whatsoever.

So they move past it and into the spectre's room. The spectre gets the drop on Ygdal (well, drop is a bad word as it came up through the floor) and tagged him for an energy drain. The party surrounded the ghost, Torg turned it and, despite a 50% miss chance, the ensuing attacks of opportunity when it fled killed it.

So on they move and head into the complex where Tulian's Eye is located. They don't even blink at looking for the secret door in the empty room...just move right on to the kuo-toas. (I guess my poker face isn't so bad after all.) They move into the middle of the landing platform complex and one of the kuo-toas sees the dwarves. Now he's heard from Mooliwik that there'll be some adventurers coming through this way en route to sacking the fire temple. However, the priest of Istishia entering the room threw off everything, and Crafter charged into the group of kuo-toa drawing his sword. Melee ensued. 6 mook kuo-toa and a 5th level cleric against the CDS left pretty predictable results. All bad guys die and die quickly.

They skip the door to the landing and loop back to the arena pit. Kellial and the cloakers have taken refuge with the gargoyles (the cloakers silent image can provide "instant replay" for arena matches :-) Both the CDS and the bad guys make listen checks and make preperations, Torg enters and combat ensues. Torg flies past two gargoyles in "statue" mode, blows his spot check and triggers attacks of opportunity from the gargoyles. He goes in against the “mage” and utterly demolishes the silent image of the mage.

Now here’s where my bad memory fails me (aka I typed most of this just after the session and am just now finishing it.) The highlights of this battle included rather pitiful attempts by the gargoyles to bull rush PC’s into the pit, a cloaker engulfing Torg and both cloakers playing some neat tricks with their shadow abilities. Oh, everyone at the table forgot that mirror image should not affect a blind grimlock. Sigh…this character is going to take some getting used to.

Kellial himself wasn’t really terribly threatening. Used spring attack to try to deal some blows and not have to suck up full attacks, but his gladiator abilities never came into play because they don’t synergize well with spring attack i.e. they required a move action.

Of course, the combat ended with two rounds of Crafter being unable to come out of his frenzy. I wonder how long this is going to work. The party doesn’t really have a primary caster that can fire off a tie-down spell like hold person or the like (Torg uses his spells for self-buffing and healing) until he makes his saving throw. Maybe Lomar can come up with something or they can always go to the almighty tanglefoot bag.

Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/21/04 10:38 pm)
A group in the Banewarrens section had this problem when their FB killed another party member. This had the result of the group pretty much reforming into a new party since some left.
I recommend suggesting to Crafter's player that he shift the FB level back into either Fighter or Barbarian. He'll still be able to lay down the hurt, but it will be safer for everyone.

Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/22/04 6:43 am)
I really don't think it's that big a problem
Crafter's player generally starts attempting to come out of the frenzy before the fight is over, during the mop up rounds. He only needs to roll a 9 on the will save if I remember correctly, and the rest of the group is smart enough to keep from getting killed for a round or two. I think it's far more likely that his terrible frenzied AC is going to get him killed off by bad guys then anything else.

Brother of Venom
(1/22/04 1:42 pm)
Re: Introducing Crafter, more CRM hack-n-slashiness
No wizard/sorcerer will probably hurt the party when they get to the OF and beyond. I wish them luck, though! :)

You're ruling on upgrading weaponry is allowed per the rules, so no problem there. However, turned undead 'flee' on their next turn, and they can double move (i.e. not provoke AoO in general unless he's moving past people). In this case, the spectre would probably go down in the floor. Also, the spectre can easily attack from halfway into the floor, providing half cover and thereby automatically negating any AoO. This would be a good tactic to use in area 129 (4 spectres with half-cover or better? Ouch!).

Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/22/04 1:48 pm)
My understanding is that if you leave a threatened space, unless you are making a 5' step, you provoke an AoO. The spectre was basically surrounded by PC's.

It occurs to me however that with a 50% miss chance because the spectre is incorporeal, maybe the PC's should never get AoO's. Gotta check my PHB later.

I really like the the idea of attacking from the floor though...that's just nasty.

Brother of Venom
(1/22/04 2:27 pm)
Re: AoO's
In 3.0, if you do nothing but move, the square you started in does not provoke AoO. In 3.5, they just gave this a specific action name (withdraw), but it functions the same way. This is, of course, unless you run (and don't have the run feat). I don't require undead to run when turned, though I suppose that is possible.

"It occurs to me however that with a 50% miss chance because the spectre is incorporeal, maybe the PC's should never get AoO's. Gotta check my PHB later."

You still provoke AoO when incorporeal. You don't provoke AoO when you have full concealment.

PS This is a great on-line SRD.

Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/22/04 4:24 pm)
Learn something new every day
Thanks I2K...I had missed that about the original space not being threatened. Learn something new every day. I'll have to brief our group when we start Sunday...that's a major whoops to the rules we've had.

That is an excellent 3.5 SRD. Here is my source for 3.0 information...was too busy at work to look it up of course.

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/3/04 8:52 am)
Wacky Fun with Destrachans
So, tonight’s session started with our intrepid band of heroes starting in the arena pit where they defeated Kellial, the cloakers and the gargoyles. Due to personal issues, Torg’s player was running late and had his character sheet with him. So the cleric “mysteriously disappeared”.
Our heroes discovered the dwarven prisoner (I decided that the cloakers got out of hand and ate the dog already,) They decided to take him back to the dwarf temple and rest up right away, hoping Torg teleported back for some reason. No such luck, but they did get some information. A group of dwarves heading from Rastor to the dwarf temple intercepted a rogue leaving the CRM. She was the last survivor of an adventuring party who had defeated the trogs in the Earth Temple, but were then attacked by some of the NPC’s from the Fire Temple.
So they find out that the priest of Kossuth, Malgor, has been captured by the Fire Temple. Well, not much they can do right this second. They get some rest and then continue back down to where they were.
They open the door to the boat harbor but don’t get close enough to mess with the chuul. Then they move on to the blade spirit.
Man, this thing is nasty without a cleric around. Especially if ¾ths of the party uses slashing weapons. Lomar, however, with a quarterstaff with spikes on it, was much more effective. I also ruled that Lomar’s wolf’s bite doesn’t count as a slashing “weapon” for the purpose of the blade spirit. I felt the immunity stems from its tie to the weapons it creates and that teeth just aren't affected.
Anyways, the blade spirit is dispatched and the party "discovers" the unconscious and magically enchanted Torg (whose player arrived during the combat) in the room with the blade spirit. They move on past the plot inconsistancies and we continue.
On to the first destrachan room...with the two destrachans. This was as much fun as advertised. The destrachans 100' blindsight (at least in 3.0) is what makes them the most dangerous...they should always get the drop on advancing parties. And these did...the party was getting hit with cones of 6d6 subdual in surprise attacks, then another set before they even found the monsters. They don't hold up well once they've been spotted.
If future DM's want to be truly evil, I recommend having the destrachans use their abilities to destroy the party's light sources first, then play cat and mouse with the PC's until they are unconscious. Once the party was able to locate and assault the destrachans, it was over pretty quick.
The party unwisely moved on without allowing their subdual damage to heal and ran into the second destrachan. It's position on the second ledge gave them fits, because they had use up their flying abilities for the day. Lomar and Ygdal dropped. Kromlech dived into the bowl and readied to climb up the next round. Torg backed up, cast Fly off a scroll and flew across. Again, destrachans cannot hold up in melee against a 9th level, buffed to the gills cleric packing a Spikes club.
With the party half unconscious, Tarren approached with Kilbo in tow. He was cautious, buffed up himself and on the bear, but he saw an opportunity and he took it. See, IMC, he really, really hates the Fire Temple. He wants them dead, dead and more dead. Here's a group that managed to take out the destrachans, they clearly aren't part of the temple and one of them is wearing a symbol of Istishia. He's decided to point them at the Fire Temple, pull up a lounge chair, couple of mushroom beers and a big bowl of...well, whatever snacks that sick cannibal eats and just make a day of it.
So he moves in and begins a parlay. Those still up from the destrachan could probably take him, but not without losses, so they listen. And they like what they hear. He heals Lomar out of "professional courtesy" and then procedes to accept a bribe (something like 1,500 gp) to give all kinds of juicy tidbits about the temple. In addition to everything in the book that he gives out, he tells them about Tessimon, Firre, Skassik, Zert and Arlainth.
That's where we closed things down for the night.

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/9/04 6:30 am)
The Fire Temple, part 1
The party, after fighting the destrachans, headed back again to the dwarf temple to rest. En route they were encountered by a quasit with another message from Varachan.


By now you must have some glimmer of the first prophecy. Four champions of the elements shall come, and when all have tasted death our champion shall be revealed. The revelation of this Champion of Elemental Evil is a major step to completing the ultimate release of the Dark Master and the utter destruction of light from our world.

You have done enough damage already, as the chaos you have sewn has been reaped…the power exists to find the champion. Your manipulation has been subtle but complete. The champions of earth and air have been slain and that of fire has been captured. He is being slowly tortured and shall on the morrow be slain. Then only your companion shall remain. You must flee this place. I understand your bravery and respect you for it, but after the fire priest dies, if Torg tastes death our Champion shall be revealed and soon all will be lost.

This must be my last communication with you. If this note is discovered I will soon be dead…nay, I will soon be lost, but my death will be slow. I pray you to destroy it and flee beyond our reach.

As always, I implore you to slay this messenger.

Unfortunately, unknown to Varachan but known to the party, Torg has already died once, so they have to go after the fire priest. They complete their trek back to the dwarf temple where they gear up for an assault on the fire temple.

Meanwhile, some reinforcements have arrived from Mithral Hall. A halfling rogue, Roscoe (Kellet’s player finished his second job and returned) has come in search of the fabled Tulian’s Eye. And a wizard, Valdir (Ygdal took the Leadership feat) came to help rebuild the temple, but has decided to travel with Ygdal and ensure the temple’s safety.

So the party moves on to the Fire Temple the next morning. Tarren and Kiibo have been kind enough to clear out the giant ants for the party and give them a straight shot to the Fire Temple. He tells them that any ceremony would be held in the Fire Temple proper, and to stay to the left to get there the quickest.

Virith and six mooks were in the elemental pillar room, but Roscoe discovered them ahead of time and the party charged in and finished them during the surprise round. None of the extra elementals were summoned.

They moved quietly through the smoke room, not alerting the fire mephitis above to their presence. However, Roscoe walked right over the pit trap, weighing about 50lbs, didn’t spring it. Ygdal did and plummeted 80 feet, screaming all the way.


Torg flew down and carried Ygdal back up. The rest of the party sidestepped the pit and moved at a hustle into the gong room. The mooks there had fled, got the hellhound and moved into the temple.

The party now moved quickly down to the double doors to the Fire Temple. Ygdal detected evil on the other side and the party knew the time for battle had come. Unbeknownst to them, Skassik detected good arriving as well and signaled that the PC’s had arrived. A few last second buffs on both sides and it was time to get it on.

I announced that this would be the most difficult fight of the Canyon Ridge Mines and called for initiatives.

To be continued….

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/9/04 10:37 am)
Fire Temple, part 2
So, away we go.

Valdir, Ygdal's cohort, gets initiative. He casts Haste on Ygdal and then pulls out a wand. Kromlech goes next, already hasted and with his wings of flying active. He opens the door and flies over the head of the waiting Skassik, who tags him going by with his greatsword. But he makes a beeline for the platform where Tessimon waits with Firre and the almost dead fire priest. He flies right through the Wall of Dispel Magic Tessimon had put up. This knocked out several of his buffs and caused him to sink to the bottem of the fire pit.

A group of rasts moves in and takes the doorway. They feebly swing at Ygdal, failing miserably. Then Lomar's wolf moves in and is stunned by a gaze attack from them. Lomar activates his boots of speed and chucks a Waterball at the platform. Firre takes some damage but Tessimon's Spell Resistance overcomes it. Firre finishes off the priest of Kossuth.

The priest of Kossuth opens his eyes which glow purple. A ring of purple light then expands and shoots out in all directions. The Champion of Elemental Evil shall now be revealed.

Tessimon, hasted by Arlainth, fires off with a scroll-bound Flame Strike blasting the whole party in the hallway and casts Dispel Magic on Torg, countered by his Ring of Counterspells.

Now Crafter steps up and slugs down two of the rasts and hits Skassik for a lot. Ygdal moves in, finishes a third rast and drops Skassik. Zert goes after Crafter and Ygdal is swarmed by burning skeletons...who need a 20 to hit him. Now Arlainth pops out and starts blasting away with fireballs into the hallway, managing to get everyone but Ygdal and Kromlech. Valdir drops and those Endure Elements: Fire that everyone was packing are looking a little thin.

Torg flies through the wall of dispel magic, trying unsuccessfully to get over it. It takes out a number of his buffs as well, including his Spikes and his Divine Power. He moves over and smite's Tessimon, hitting her squarely.

So now the lines have been drawn. Crafter and Ygdal mow through the front lines pretty easily, although the burning skeletons 1/2 damage from slashing weapons have them standing up to the assault pretty well. Zert doesn't fair nearly so well.

Torg dies heroically, meleeing Tessimon despite losing most of his buffs. She used the tentacle rod to grapple him, hit him with her morning star and finished him off with another flame strike.

Lomar once again played the roll of spellcaster doing irritating, tough to deal with things. A Blinding Spittle on Tessimon blinded her, he healed Valdir and Roscoe to his feet.

Roscoe had an inauspicious beginning. His speed, Mobility feat and AC helped him get close to Arlainth and set up a flank that allowed Kromlech to deal the death blow, but the same Flame Strike that killed Torg dropped Roscoe.

Kromlech reactivated his wings, flew up, took two fireballs in the face from Arlainth and then slaughtered him. He then flew up to finish off Tessimon though...hard to deal with a 140 hp dwarf with a threat range of 12-20 when you're blind. The Spittle made the difference between killing her and have her live long enough for the desperate invocation of the altar, which might have killed Kromlech.

It was a long and pretty difficult fight with a lot of highs and lows...pretty much a climax for the CRM. The party is all still 9th level...don't know what will happen with Torg as the player hasn't made a decision. I think they'll probably thunk around in the CRM a bit more before moving on to the Outer Fane, but they now have the fire key and access to the fire bridge, as well as the air key and earth key. Time to start getting ready for the OF and a few retributive strikes by Hedrack.

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/22/04 11:04 am)
Healer, Demonstone and Diamond
As a change of pace, I'm going to try writing in narrative form from the PoV of an NPC. I've replaced Jurrikoth, who never appealed to me, with Kedross Morningstar, a Healer and worshipper of Lathandar. I also dropped the insanity angle, although I may use it on an NPC later.

Finally, Lathander has sent to me my salvation. Since Firre's sudden betrayal and murder of my old company of adventurers, he has played his various sadistic, torturous games on me. I've lost count of the days, weeks, years perhaps that he's had me here, rotting in this playroom of his. For some time now I have been forgotten by him as he played with his new toy...from what I could make out a cleric of Kossuth of some importance to Firre's new and diabolic friends. On the last day of my torture, he stuffed me early in the iron maiden and left me there to rot. My misery was only interupted by a brief flash of blinding, purple light.

Some unknowable time later the iron maiden was opened and I spilled out, barely conscious, onto the floor. Expecting the jawbreaker or the flenser, instead I looked and saw a group of adventurers. A mighty grimlock I would come to know as Crafter hauled me up while their seeming leader, a dwarf named Ygdal Trueforger, stuffed a healing potion down my throat. There was also a hin named Roscoe, a druid Lomar with his wolf companion and a dwarven wizard Valdir. They told me that they had one more companion, Kromlech, who was seeing to the destruction of the fire temple's altar. (And his adolecent player was seeing to a birthday party.)

They explained their quest to liberate the Canyon Ridge Mines, make it safe for the Saltheart clan of dwarves to retake the mines but also to save the world from some dark and unknowable evil god named Tharizdun. I've never heard of such a thing and it seems every company of would-be heroes in the Realms thinks they are saving the world, but retaking the mines that were once here seemed like a noble task that my Lord Lathander would smile on. So I offered to join with them out of gratitude and purpose, warning them I could not fight well but was a talented healer.

They were curious as to how I came to this place and I told them of Firre's sudden insanity and murder. Crafter grew suspicious at this and pulled a strange, almost carved rock, out of his pack and tossed it on the ground. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Roscoe scooped it up.

We explored the Fire Temple. I've seen this place in flashes, here and there, and always there were powerful denizens lurking about. The place seemed strangely empty, although from their tales they dealt the twisted cultists here a hammer blow in the temple itself. We looted the reliquary and Tessimon's chambers (I was not sad to hear of her fate I'll admit), then hunted down some mephits. There were two in there chamber and Roscoe snuck in and caught them napping, oblivious to the carnage that my companions had wrought. Roscoe quickly ended one before he could awaken. The other tried desperately to flee. As Ygdal and Valdir chased it into a connected smoky room, Lomar and Crafter charged around and cut it off as it fleed north. Crafter hurled a net onto it and caught it. It tried to burn through the net with it's breath, but failed and Lomar's mighty wolf, enchanted with Lomars magics, dispatched it. Roscoe had been damaged by the mephit's magic missles and, using a scroll, I took my first opportunity to show my talent for healing.

We traveled back on the way to the Dwarven community. On the way I enquired about what they had seen and battled on the way. As we passed and were told of some statues of dwarves, Roscoe's interest perked up and he insisted we search the area thoroughly. We did and he discovered a secret door, well hidden and locked by magic. We camped in a room that had once been an arena across the hall.

In the morning Lomar dispelled the enchantment on the door and Roscoe carefully searched it for traps. Satisfied that there were no traps on the door, he opened the door and there we saw it. On a carved pedistal was easily the most beautiful diamond I'd ever seen. Roscoe brushed us all back, then moved forward to examine the pedistal itself.

Suddenly a pseudopod fist slammed out of the pedistal and cracked Roscoe hard, grabbing him. Crafter bolted into the room, intent on slaying the mimic. However, his great bulk trigged what Roscoe's light feet did not...Crafter plummeted down a clever pit trap and an iron sheet slammed over him. Ygdal and the wolf quickly leaped the pit and slew the mimic. Then, after Crafter's great thrashings ended and he calmed himself, Ygdal climbed down the pit and, using his enchanted axe, worked long and hard to cut a hole in the iron sheet. The noise was terrible and we thought we'd attract half of Faerun, but the Chaos Dragonslayers had left nothing alive in the area to investigate the disturbance. Roscoe and Crafter were glad of my healing.

We continued to the dwarves and met with Rerrid Hammersong, the leader there. He suggested that we make arrangements to sell Tulian's Eye to dwarven representitives of Mithril Hall in Silverymoon...he could not afford such a treasure and his studies had told him that the Eye was "blessed" in a manner that allowed only dwarves to possess it.

Roscoe, on the other hand, insisted that the Eye was his...he'd risked his life for it and he would keep it. Crafter lost interest in the Eye and asked if he'd taken that strange stone of Firre's. Roscoe said nothing and was tightlipped. Crafter then insisted that Roscoe turn out his backpack. When Roscoe refused, Crafter flew into a frenzy and bodily lifted the hin into the air and tried to shake him into unconsciousness.

Ygdal and Valdir, trying to keep Roscoe alive, charged into the fray as well, Valdir polymorphed into a stone giant. I tried to use a spell to calm their agitated minds, but they were too set on their anarchy. Lomar's wolf leaped into the fray as well, tearing open Roscoe's pack. Out fell the stone.

Rerrid himself had been trying to magically Hold Crafter to no avail. Instead, when the stone fell out, he scooped it up and yelled "It cannot be trusted!" He carried away into the Temple proper, where he ordered the Temple's guardian, a powerful stone golem, to crush it to powder.

Roscoe slipped out of Crafter's grasp and had a new clarity in his eyes...and I knew that the stone had been responsible for everything...Roscoe's overwhelming greed and Firre's decent into sadism. With a tear in my eye for absent friends, I healed Roscoe and calm once again was restored to the Chaos Dragonslayers.

The next day the dwarvish crafting wizard, Dorn Bagmaker, agreed to teleport us to Silverymoon, potions of Reduce allowing us to travel lightly enough. A seemingly endless supply of well made gear and magic, as well as Tulians' Eye itself, was sold here. Valdir claimed he spotted a scrying sensor on us, and Ygdal claims to have received a Sending from someone named Hedrack, congratulating us on our wisdom in leaving the mines and warning us not to return on pain of death. I was paid some of the booty from the gem, and one of my first purchases was this journal and ink, to document my new, reborn life, praise be to Lord Lathander.

(3/8/04 8:11 am)
Waking the Dead...the Assassin Strikes
Continuing in the voice of Kedross, the Healer.

Praise be to Lathander for allowing me to still hold the pen that writes these words. Since last I wrote, I have faced horrible evil and shown some foolishness that heroes call “courage” in the face of evil. But let us not jump too far ahead.

Our trip to Silverymoon was short, returning with Dorn on the very same day. We spent that night in the dwarf temple. Actually, it was a room once occupied by orcs I am told, but Rerrid has used Stone Shape spells to change it into a more square shape, as he waits for enough craftsmen to begin the process of finishing the walls and floors to dwarven standards.

We keep a watch even here, and I stay awake with the impulsive “Sir” Kromlech. Typically, when he attempts conversation, I try to chide him on the importance of duty. He is courageous, but Moradin did not exactly see fit to give him the gifts of a wizard. But on this night, I sought his aid, for out of the corner of my eye I spotted a scrying sensor. Such things I have little familiarity with and it was only luck that allowed me to see it. After pointing it out to Kromlech, which took considerable pointing, he later claimed to have been contacted by a voice in his head, telling him to flee this place or he and us shall surely die.

The Chaos Dragonslayers seemed nonplussed by this turn of events and we rose in the morning (praise be to Lathander for the coming of each new dawn) to continue our explorations of the Canyon Ridge Mines.

Our journey led north from the Fire Temple into a series of crypts. We first came upon some statues with an odd writing between them. Ygdal claimed that the statues were evil and Valdir claimed that they radiated necromantic magic. Crafter worried that they were guardians of some sort and wanted to destroy them. So I, Valdir and Kromlech fell back while Crafter worked himself up into one of his frenzies and smashed them both to rubble.

We continued south discovering several sarcophagi. Crafter foolishly opened a few without Roscoe’s examination, springing traps unto himself. I was less worried for Crafter’s health then the threat that he might go into a fury and begin attacking us again, as he has been known to do. We did discover some treasure in the crypts. Even I had no qualms about pilfering the bodies of such evil and damned souls.

However, our journey south eventually brought us to a cold and unholy room. Ygdal, wanting to just pass through, stepped in and checked for evil down the south corridor. A whispering voice came from seemingly everywhere…”YOU SHOULDN’T BE HERE”. Roscoe then tried to dodge through the room, but suddenly dark, incorporeal arms reached up and grabbed at him. Lomar and his wolf ran through as well, and suddenly the very floor was filled with arms reaching up to drain our strength and our soul.

The battle was difficult. The weapons of the Chaos Dragonslayers had to contend not only with the incorporeal nature of the creatures, but with the fact that they were mostly buried in the ground. Valdir’s Magic Missiles were most effective, a Flame Strike from Lomar was not quite as effective as he’d hoped however. Crafter could not “see” our foes at all, and had to aim merely based on how his allies were reacting to the foes, but when he did manage to connect his great strength was an asset. I myself, praying that the end was not near, charged into the room to use the positive energy of my healing magics to try to kill a specter. Instead, I saved Ygdal with an overcharged (Sudden Maximize and Sudden Empower) Lesser Restoration to return some of the strength he had lost from the shadows. Then Lathander smiled on me as I hit a shadow with one of my most powerful curing spells, killing it instantly.

Eventually the foes were beaten back. We found a magical rapier in these sarcophagi but decided to head back to the dwarf temple. My plan was to use Restoration on our happy company on the morrow to remove the effects of the soul draining attacks of the specters. But Hedrack had other plans.

That night we wisely shifted our watches around. The assassin struck while the alert Roscoe and mighty Crafter were on watch. Roscoe spotted him just as he let fly with a screeching crossbow bolt. Not only did he miss his target, but he awoke the Chaos Dragonslayers. They surrounded him as they attacked. He tumbled free and tried to run for it, but Crafter is inhumanly fast. He ran him down and struck him to the ground. Before there could be much debate as to whether or not to revive him for interrogation, giant blisters formed and exploded on his body. This was the end for the assassin.

We took a few days to identify magic items we found from the assassin and the crypts. He was wearing a truly vile item known as a slave ring. We gave it to the stone golem to destroy. He was fast, but if he represents what Hedrack can throw at us, we have little to fear from him. Praise be to Lathander.

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