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A song from the sixties
(5/29/03 8:26 am)
Surfal's Campaign Log
My group has finally made it to the CRM.

Cull, Clr6 of Alluminas (Sun)
Genace, Mnk4/Cl1 of Kilkian (Healing)
Iflore, Sor5 (NPC)
Redithoor, Brd4 (NPC)
Saetryth, Rog4/Brb1/Rgr1
Xeris, Ftr4/Clr1 (Fate)

“There’s another big set of doors, with a humanoid skill spiked on one of them. Oh, and a big doorknocker on the other.” Saetryth smirked as he recounted that last bit. The awfulness of the place they were about to enter was obvious. The setting, high in the mountains, at an ancient crater, near an orc-camp and a sullen town, had everyone depressed. The only thing keeping them going was the unspoken need to finish the job…what they had learned and experienced in the old Moathouse outside Hommlet had convinced everyone of that. It was those experiences that gave them equal pause, and instilled great caution.

“So its devil-head or humanoid skull. We’re all gonna die,” moaned Cull, only half-joking. Ever since the Moathouse the priest of Alluminas had changed. His death at the maw of the blue dragon, the subsequent deaths of his friends Kenton and Blaine, those events had turned his zeal inward, refocused his energies on survival over evangelism. He was no longer a traveling minister of light, he was an enduring shell of a man looking for leadership.

“Pansy. We’re all gonna die, I just wanna get rich doin’ it,” quipped Saetryth. He loved poking fun at Cull. They were probably the biggest opposites in terms of outlook, and while philosophical differences abounded in the group, Cull annoyed Saetryth more than the others.

“Since we’ve got two choices, I think it best if we accomplish some more detailed scouting. Everyone, I’d like to introduce you to Rocky.” Iflore held out his hand and presented his toad to the group. Cull raised an eyebrow. Genace smiled. Redithoor gawked. Xeris stared implacably. Only Saetryth had known about Iflore’s toad familiar. He was beginning to wonder if he was ever going to see him again. Iflore hadn’t brought him out since before the Moathouse and this adventuring party.

“Rocky’s going to scout out the entrances for us.” Minutes later, Rocky made his way through the south entrance doors, squeezing under their massive frames and hopping through a hallway of demonic murals. He noted a raised platform, more gigantic closed doors, and lots of exits. Rocky rejoined the group, and they went back to the west entrance. Rocky repeated his scouting, this time noting a group of large “dog-men”, and a gargantuan emaciated porcupine. The mere sight of the beast frazzled the toad, and Rocky returned to the group as swiftly as his small hops would allow. Iflore shared Rocky’s sensations freely, and the party discussed what to do.

“So, its death by unknown [south], or death by porcubeast [north],” quipped Saetryth. “Allright, I’m ready.”

No one else was quite that enthusiastic, and it was clear that Saetryth was mostly joking.

A short discussion later, the group agreed to go with the road less traveled and better known: the west entrance. But they wouldn’t do it without a customized set of preparations, which would have to wait until tomorrow. Heading back toward Rastor to find lodging, Saetryth pressed to explore the orc camp. The others supported this idea, more out of an excuse to avoid the crater if possible than a real desire to encounter the orcs.

Redithoor sang a song of invisibility for Saetryth, and he slunk away to see what he could see. Ten minutes later, a slightly shaken Saetryth returned, speaking calmly about orcs and not-so-calmly about a trained dire boar. Since his scouting indicated no obvious linkage to the crater, ochre-robed priests or worship of any dark deities, the group reluctantly agreed to explore the crater in the morning.

A song from the sixties
(5/29/03 8:29 am)
Main Gate
Well rested and prepared, the group approached the crater’s western entrance early in the morning. Spells were cast, buffs to the max they said, and so it was. Emboldened and powerful, they strode into the Crater Ridge western entrance like they owned the place. Genace had donned one of the ochre robes, and wore one of the holy symbols found at the Moathouse.

Walking swiftly past the graven murals and elemental symbols, they entered the large room through the second set of double doors. Scraps of food and mugs adorned a pair of tables, and two large ballistae were against one wall, thankfully unused. They could see by now that the porcupine-beast was chained to the wall, though its length of chain was not pulled tight. Four doors led out, and only one was totally closed.

“Hello?” Genace spoke up for the group. They could see a few gnolls through one doorway, and a few men through another. “Hello?”

Xeris picked up a piece of meat that was on one of the tables. Cull and Redithoor looked around nervously as the northernmost door opened. “Huggguuh?” spoke the grotesque figure that emerged. Fully nine feet tall, a bald, green-skinned, goggle-wearing, fly-bitten, greatclub-wielding ogre emerged from a small room to question the new recruits.

“We’ve come from Hommlet to see Naquent. Could you direct us their way?” Genace boldly bluffed.

“Hey boss!” yelled the ogre. Cull’s spell-fingers twitched.

The easternmost door opened, and out stepped a red-haired, green-cloaked half-elf with a look of arrogant self-importance. “Who are you?”

“We were summoned here by Naquent. Unfortunately, we have no precise directions, nor are we familiar with the local area. We are fortunate to be here at all.” Iflore got on a roll, “we were hoping that you could direct us further. We wish no inconvenience on your part, and will be on our way shortly.”

“Naquent? Never heard of ‘em”, challenged the commander.

Genace pressed on, “We’ve come from Hommlet, from Dunrat.”

The half-elf reacted quickly to this, leaping onto the back of the porcupine beast, atop a saddle that had been hidden by the spikes protruding from the beast’s neck. The monster let out a tremendous bellow, and everyone tensed, for they could sense the game was up. “I don’t believe you,” he said. Several of the men came out of the southeastern room, and the gnolls to the northeast headed out into the room as well.

Cull waited, afraid to be the one to start the chaos. They were far from the exit, with enemies on three sides of them now. Redithoor began to sing an inspiring, heady song of glory. Xeris sensed the moment, and acted. She hurled a precious bead, a small but valuable trinket prized by the worshippers of the elemental eye. It exploded next to two of the men entering the room, killing them, and its resulting force-bubble blocked their entrance to the room, effectively sealing them off.

Everyone else sprang into action. Iflore struck first, showering the porcupine-beast and its rider in a glittering array of brilliant particles. Its rider was unaffected, but the beast was blinded. It howled in rage, and snapped its gaping maw blindly, searching for fresh meat. Genace moved and engaged the monstrosity, while Saetryth attacked the ogre.

Then things got messy.

Iflore blinded most of the gnolls with another glitterdust while Redithoor pulled out his bow and started plinking at the porcubeast from a safe distance. Genace bobbed and weaved, but only the beast’s blindness kept her safe. Still, it managed to land a good blow every other attempt, and she was plainly inflicting minimal damage to the monster. Its rider had drawn a bow, and was using it to challenge the spellcasters. Genace screamed for assistance; what could Saetryth and Xeris be doing?

Saetryth was busy. Very busy, with the ogre. The brute had already pounded Cull once, and since Cull seemed to be determined to be “spellcaster-boi” despite his latent strength and armor enhancements, the task of offing the ogre fell to the rogue. Xeris was busy with her own combat, hacking at the gnolls staggering into the room. Most of them were affected by the glitterdust and therefore not very threatening, but she kept after them anyway.

All the while, Genace was dying. She had pounded the beast over and over, but it was slow going. Her punches, kicks, and flailed flurries simply weren’t going to be enough. She had to retreat to heal her wounds. When she retreated into the erstewhile Commander’s quarters, the beast recovered its sight and lashed out at its nearest target—Iflore. The sorcerer managed to avoid being devastated, but he was badly injured and forced to fall back, leaving Cull and Redithoor as more obvious targets.

With the fighters occupied in the rear, the priest and bard in the front protecting the sorcerer, and the monk out of commission, things were starting to look bad. They got worse. Small groups of humans and gnolls were headed down the corridor from whence the group came, sealing off the group’s only avenue of retreat. What had started as an assault had turned into a siege, with the parties reversed.

Iflore was doing his best to bring down the porcubeast, but his ranged spells kept splattering widely. Cull was forced into the front-line position against the monster, and with the others occupied, that left Redithoor to deal with the newcomers. The group was not enthused. While Red’s contributions had often been beneficial, he was rarely dependable for more than inspiration. Today however, was the first day Red had used his bow in combat. Time for one more first. He slipped a grease spot under a group of charging humans and the all fell down in a heap. Redithoor was coming of age.

Meanwhile, Saetryth had managed to slay the ogre surprisingly quickly, and had moved over to aid Xeris with the gnolls. A couple were not affected by the glitterdust, and he and Xeris pressed these. Saetryth kept glancing back to the porcubeast; if he left Xeris she’d be alone amidst a half-dozen gnolls, if he stayed Cull would have to deal with the beast. He stayed.

Cull faced the porcubeast. Iflore and Cull had managed to slay the bow-firing commander with a lightning bolt and spiritual weapon, but the beast was the real problem. It was HUGE, with dagger-sized teeth dripping with saliva. It struck at the priest of Alluminas, gouging him deeply and leaving javelin-sized spikes in his flesh. He was in great pain. It struck again, and he collapsed.

Seeing the plight of her companions, and despite Cull’s earlier reluctance to enter battle, Genace struck at the monster to distract it. She had been healing herself, but was nowhere near her “comfort-zone.” If the beast could get her in its teeth, she’d be in trouble. But the monster was faced with only the bard and sorcerer…somebody had to stop it.

It struck at her, and she knew this might be the end. She tumbled to Cull to stabilize him, and threw a quick cure spell on him. Amazingly, he returned to consciousness, just in time to see Genace lose half her midsection to the mouth of the monster, who thrashed the monk about and left her a bloody heap in the floor.

Redithoor screamed. He was being chased in circles around the room by two axe-wielding gnolls. Iflore was pummeling the porcubeast with magical missiles. Cull was whining, as he spotted a huge troop of zombies slowly plodding down the corridor towards the group.

Saetryth awoke from his stupor of gnoll-dispatch. Badly wounded already thanks to various blows from the gnolls and the ogre, he saw little hope, but took his chance. Tumbling beneath the tables in the middle of the room, he dodged all blows aimed his direction and in one swift motion pulled a curing potion from his belt and emptied it down Genace’s throat. “She might not be dead,” he thought. Amazingly, her eyes fluttered weakly, and opened. She gave him a thankful, almost longing look in a frozen moment before they were forced to return to the present.

Another troop of humans was converging on the group down the corridor. Stuck with nothing but awful options, Iflore made the choice to save his companions. He moved into position to stun the newcomers with a blinding flash of color. Unfortunately, he left himself open to a subsequent attack from the howling porcubeast, which left him a ragged smear on the floor. Iflore was dead.

Xeris finished off the last of the gnolls, and took up position in front of the spellcasters, facing down the column of zombies. She froze. Literally. An unseen spellcaster enspelled her, and Xeris was out of the fight.

With his best friend a pile of gore, the best fighter frozen in place and the group short of options, Saetryth made one last effort to rid them of the porcubeast. Sneaking up from underneath the table where he had rescued Genace, he eyed up the underbelly of the monster, took his time, and delivered a pair of devastating strikes to the innards of the monster. It howled in pain as the rogue tumbled away from its collapsing corpse. The porcubeast was dead.

All was not over! The zombies were filing into the room past Xeris, and Cull was inexplicably unable to turn them. Without any large area effects, even simple zombies would be trouble, and the priest that must be behind them even more. Cull read a carefully hoarded stone shape scroll to wall off the entrance. A thin wall of stone blocked the lower five feet of the doorway, and the immediate threat was gone. The pair of zombies that had entered the room were quickly dispatched.

The group set about gathering what valuables they could, and negotiating the surrender of the men trapped behind the force bubble. They would have to flee the crater ridge, with Iflore dead, their spells and bodies exhausted from just of many titanic struggles to come

A guitar
(5/29/03 10:08 am)
Re: Main Gate
Awesome recount, Surfal! Tell your players they did a great job!

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