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(9/24/03 3:35 am)
Grimbolds campaign log
The current setup:

Caid          halfling male CN sorceror/rogue 1/8
Torgar       dwarven male LG cleric of Clangeddin 8
Katala        human female CG wizard 8
Andrin        human male CN fighter 6
Kubelick      human male CN bard 7 (currently dead)

Casualities so far:

Ulfgar           human male LG paladin of Heironeous – died fighting Big U.
Caid             petrified by the Cockatrices in the Moathouse and de-petrified by Y´dey (break enchantment)
Andrin         death-knelled by Lareth and resurrected by Y´dey
Air Andil        elven CN fighter/rogue/wizard; killed by Rarkus in the Temple of Elemental Evil
Kubelick        ripped to pieces by the Advanced Howler in the main entrance

So far, the party has cleared the Moathouse and killed the reinforcements who arrived with the wagon, uncovered Master Dunrat and most of his troupe in Hommlet („Jaroo“ is still undercover, however), killed Lareth and the ghosts in Nulb and cleared out the Hobgoblins from the old Temple.

I shall begin the report of my group´s activities with their arrival in Rastor.

Shortly after their arrival in Rastor, the party discovered the presence of orcs in town (the „person“ greeting them as the stablehand of the Grey Lodge was one of them). They talked to Rerrid and learned some of the local history and the truce between the orc tribe and the town. They were quite shocked when they learned that most of the town knew of the inhabitants of the CRM („some cult or such wearing black and ochre-coloured robes, they pretty much keep to themselves and occassionally buy things from Tal) and tolerated such unknown activities. Rerrid warned them not to stir up trouble with whomever they were and discarded their stories of a dangerous cult wanting to bring about the end of the world as „typical Cuthbergist stories to frighten people“.

The next morning, they visited Tal Chammish and Tymmerian and listened to her story. During the Tal visit, Katala cast a detect thoughts. Though she couldn´t read any of Tal´s, she got a strange reading from his female assistant – something along the lines of „I just have to do this right, then I will get my reward and the pain will stop“ (meaning her daily dose of Tanbrosh, of course, but the party didn´t know that yet). When Katala walked around town, she encountered a similar thought in one of the inhabitants as well but couldn´t make anything out of it.

To monitor the comings and goings in Tal Chammish´s shop, the party then set up their stalwart eye on a tree overlooking the road from Rastor to the CRM. In the early afternoon, their preparations bore fruit: A trio of black-caped men was entering Tal´s Shop. To overhear any conversation between Tal and the strangers, the bard Kubelick tore a string off his harp and entered the shop to buy a new one. He feigned a near-nervous breakdown at the thought of having to play this evening with a broken harp and Tal gave him a dose of his „reinforced special herbal tea“ to settle Kubelicks nerves.

The 3 cultists hardly acknowledged the hysterical bard, took their keg of rum and other provisions and went back to the CRM.

Kubelick returned to the party to tell them that he didn´t find out anything interesting and that he was feeling strong, enthusiastic and a bit light-headed („Tal must have put a huge quantity of rum in that tea of his“). The party decided to hire a scout (their orcish stableboy) for the night and pay the CRM a visit after dinner.

When they set out, everyone felt a bit strange like Kubelick before (Tal had ordered the barmaid to lace their ale with Tanbrosh ). Torgar supected somthing and cast a detect poison on their mugs. He sensed some strange substance in their ale, but could not clearly identify it (failed his wisdom check to identify the Tanbrosh). The party payed Rerrid another visit who promises to look into the matter and try to detect the posion the next day.

Afterwards, the party (except for Andrin, who stays at the inn) sets out for the CRM. At the intersection, they decide to follow the less beaten track to the main entrance. Their scout refuses to go near the gate, as their tribe leader has declared the CRM territory „off-limits“.

Kubelick casts invisibility on himself and scouts ahead. Unfortunately, it is very dark (it IS night, after all) and he has no darkvision, so he casts a light on his harp, illuminating the entrance area. So far, the guards haven´t noticed anything (they are not very alert and thus not looking out of their arrow slits).

Meanwhile, the rest of the group, standing about 60´ away around a bend in the track leading to the entrance area, gets a bit nervous ... they suddenly see light spilling from the cave and think that something is amiss, so Torgar walks straight up to the doors and is heard (a stocky dwarf in spiked full plate armour makes a lot of noise!) and challenged by the guards.

After a brief exchange of words (Torgars CHA is anything but high, by the way) the dwarf is told to leave immediately OR ELSE and a volley of arrows is launched at him from the arrowslits. That was the signal for the rest of the party to charge in and the battle at the gates started.

After the alarm gong was sounded, wave after wave of human and gnoll guards emerged into the hall – most of those fell victim to the hasted Torgar and Katalas fireballs. Caid managed to catch Wormspike, Mereclar, his advanced howler and some gnoll guards in a web from his cloak of arachnida. Wormspike gets stuck and dies –as well as the gnolls- in a later fireball, but the howler with Mereclar atop breaks free of the web and begins to wreak havoc on the party, temporarily reducing Torgar to 1 hp and killing Kubelick with an AoO (he tried to cast invisibility on his comrade and forgot the 10´reach of the beast). Mereclar is downed and dying, but gets healed by Terrenygit in time to avoid death.

At this time, the party decides to make a hasty retreat. Torgar casts an obscuring mist and the party escapes by air thanks to a change self by Katala (who is carrying the dead Kubelik) and an air walk by Torgar.

Next session the party will surely face some problems: They must return to Verbobonc to get Kubelick raised, which will take them about 9 days one-way. In the meantime, they will discover the downside of their Tanbrosh addiction and Terrenygit will have some time to improve his defences….

This is where I need some advice and input from you, my noble readers. It is the flow of information amongst the cultists that I am unsure of.

So far, someone in the Inner Fane (Hedrack?) knows about the characters: “Jaroo” is still undercover in Hommlet and has helped a captured cleric of the EEE escape. This escapee has probably arrived in the Temple of All-Consumption about 2 weeks prior to the PCs arrival in Rastor and told his superiors everything that “Jaroo” knew about the party (they have killed Master Dunrat and his whole expedition, they know that clerics of the EEE and Tharizdun are interested in the Temple of Elemental Evil and that those clerics probably have another temple near Rastor etc.). That is why Tal has been instructed to watch out for this group of troublemakers and deal with them. Now they have attacked the gates and displayed their considerable power in that fight. Whom will Terenygit report this to? Will the southern gate be warned of this group as well? When will Tal be informed of the attack at the gates and whom does he report to? Terenygit will at least alter his spell repertoire now to deal with fire damage (Katalas 3 fireballs killed almost the whole guard contingent, after all).

Edited by: grimbold at: 9/24/03 5:41 am
(9/30/03 2:47 am)
Tal Chammish unveiled!
After their retreat, the party arrives just north of Rastor. It is still at night (about 4a.m.). By now, they have figured out that they have all been drugged and by whom. Caid decides to confirm their suspicions and bangs at Tal´s door. After some curses and shouts of „This had better be improtant – do you know what time it is!?“ Tal appears and Caid begins to tell an outrageous story of an Owlbear who is at large and that he needs more of Tal´s „strength pills“ to take the beast down (the story was really heavy-handed but Caid rolled a natural 20 on his bluff check so Tal sold him one Tanbrosh pill for 5 cp and went back to sleep.

After having thus verified that Tal was indeed the drug-dealer, the party brought Kubelick´s corpse to their room in the Grey Lodge and set out to investigate Tal´s shop a bit further. After having cast a silence on him, Caid disabled two traps at a window and climbed into Tal´s kitchen with the small laboratory. He took samples of all herbs in there and silently climbed out again.

Rifght after sunrise, the party went to the temple of Moradin to present Rerrid with their evidence. The town elder then cast a detect posion on the partys sample of yesterdays ale. In Rerrids small (potion-making) laboratory, Torgar successfully analyzed the drug and – with the ingredients they had found in Tals shop- was able to produce one more dose. The party then pressed Rerrid to send out a trusted scout to collect more of the needed herbs. While they discussed their findings, a small crowd of angry villagers arrived at the temple gates. They called out for the „troublemakers“ to leave town or be brought to justice. Apparently, they had heard of the PCs attack on their „peaceful neighbours“ in the CRM and feared retribution from them now.

This was, of course, Tal´s doing: The orcish scout the party had hired was one of Tals Tanbrosh addicts. When he turned up in the morning at Tal´s to buy his dayly dose, he told the trader about the party´s nightly attack on the CRM. Tal figured that something was amiss when some other customers, who had attended the morning prayers at the Moradin temple, informed him that the PCs had shown up there to talk to Rerrid.

After a short speech to the angry mob (he informed them that the town council would decide this matter and that the PCs were under custody in the temple until that time), Rerrid ordered the militia to stand guard over the temple and to fetch the other councilmembers for an emergency meeting.

During that meeting, which was held in Rerrids office at the Moradin temple, Tals power over the council became obvious to Rerrid (and some of the players, who succesfully overheard most of the discussion): Tal admitted that he did indeed sell a „quite harmless, but stimulating“ herbal medicine but he discarded the accusation as irrelevant compared to the danger Rastor was facing right now due to the acts of these „murdering strangers“. He then told the council in a barely veiled threat that surely the CRM inhabitants would want revenge on the town that had harbored these villains and that it would be best if they were taken prisoner by the town militia and handed over to the CRM forces. In the following discussion, Rerrid was quite shocked at the amount of support Tal got from the other councilmembers. When the topic of Tanbrosch was brought up again, Tal told the council that he could as well set up shop somewhere else if his contribution to the community of Rastor was not appreciated here, but then, the orc camp would have no one to sell their products to, so they just might revert to their former uncivilized ways and some of the citizens might also miss their herbal medicine ...

In the end, Rerrid saw that it was useless to argue with the council any further and that he would only jeopardize his position in doing so. It was decided that the „troublemakers“ were to leave town within this day and never come back under penalty of death (Tal thought this would be enough to kill them, as they were all addicted now and would die within the next two days).

After the council meeting, Rerrid took the PCs to the side and assured them that he now believed them and would do his utmost to work "undercover" in Rastor and find out more about Tal, his contacts and the effects of Tanbrosh addiction. They agreed to keep in contact via animal messengers when the party returned to the vicinity.

The party was then escorted back to the Grey Lodge to collect their equipment and shown to the town limits by the militia.

On their trip to Verbobonc (to raise their fallen comrade), Torgar cast neutralize poison on each of the living party members. 9 days later, they arrived and succeeded in convincing the priests of Pelor to raise Kubelick for a generous donation. Torgar hired a laboratory and began working on a Tanbrosh antidote, sending raven animal messengers to Rerrid to inform him of his progress.

In the next session, they shall find out whether Rerrid is still alive ...

Edited by: grimbold at: 10/22/03 11:16 pm
(10/8/03 2:05 am)
The "Tanbrosh situation" solved
Rerrid was indeed still alive when the party (minus Katala, who had stayed behind in Verbobonc to scribe some scrolls) came back to their meeting-point in an abandoned stonequarry outside rastor 9 days later.

The party then had a long discussion with Rerrid how to deal with Tal and the Tanbrosh situation in general. It was finally decided that Torgar would successively cast neutralize poison on trustworthy addicts for the next four nights. These Ex-addicts would continue to buy Tals drugs and pretend to be addicted so as not to rouse any suspicions.

This done, Rerrid decided to strike out and arrest Tal in his shop with the town militia 4 days later.

The party hid on the road to the CRM at this time to prevent Tal´s possible escape. The arrest went well, but in the meantime the party had to face 6 warriours who had been sent from the CRM to Tal´s shop for supplies. The fight hardly lasted 3 rounds.

When the party returned to their camp in the quarry that evening (Rerrid had told them not to re-enter Rastor until he had the situation totally under control), they encountered 3 Ogres that had just made a meal out of their horses! These Ogres quickly fell to the well-prepared group.

The next day, Rerrid invited the party back into town. The temple of Moradin had been turned into a hospital: 16 addicts were held under militia guard and treated with the antidote.

Tal was held prisoner in the temple cellar and Thandain had taken over Tals shop for the time being (she was supposed to tell possible visitors from the CRM that „Tal is away on business“ and that she would pass on any messages they might have for him).

Edited by: grimbold at: 10/22/03 11:18 pm
(10/8/03 6:10 am)
Re: The "Tanbrosh situation" solved
I like what your party is doing in Rastor. Very smart.

(10/8/03 6:32 am)
Re: Tal Chammish unveiled!
Thanks Infiniti, I shall pass on your praise to my players!

(10/13/03 2:19 am)
The second battle at the gates
The party decided to watch out for any further scouts from the CRM for the rest of the day (since Katala was due to arrive from Verbobonc that evening).

They therefore hid in the same area where yesterday´s ambush on the six warriours had taken place. After some boring hours, their patience bore fruit: Caid spotted a strange smallish creature which almost looked like a humanoid cloud with wings flying in their direction (an air mephit sent by Fachisch to look where his missing warriours might be). Before the poor creature had any chance to react, Torgar successfully cast a dismissal on it and it disappeared back to the elemental plane of air.

In the evening, they met Katala in the stonequarry and all retired to the Grey Lodge.

The next day, their second (and much better prepared) assault on the CRM began. The party again took the less used road to the main gates. Still out of sight of the arrowslits, Katala cast an arcane eye to scout the entrance complex, touring most of the lighted areas of the northern gate complex. To the party´s dismay, she saw that the guards had apparently been reinforced and were almost up to their former numbers again. In addition, the main gate was barred from the inside and the remains of Wormspike and the fireballed guard contingent had been reanimated as zombies.

After a long discussion, the party came up with this plan of action: After some general buffing up (bull´s strength, magical vestment, mage armor etc.), Kubelick would cast invisibility on Caid, who would first put some spikes under the main gates (effectively barring them from the outside to prevent reinforcements surprising the party from behind). He should then climb up over the arrowslit facing west of the northern gate guard room and fasten his rope somewhere above the arrowslit (although the players knew from Katalas scouting that there were two interconnected guardrooms behind these slits, they preferred to attack from the west instead of attacking the southern guardroom because in the latter case they would be in plain sight of the northern arrowslits).

Caid would then lower himself in front of the western arrowslit and get ready to sneak attack the guards inside with his bow. His owl familiar was supposed to signal Katala that he was in position and Katala would guide a stone on which Torgar had cast a silence before with a mage hand into the arrowslit and to the back of the guardroom.

Immediately after Caids attacks, Torgar would cast stone shape on the wall and the rest of the party would climb through this opening and assault the other guards, hopefully preventing any shouts for assistance with the silenced stone.

This devious plan went quite well – up to a certain point: Caid had successfully and silently killed all the gnoll guards in the first room and the opening was ready for the party to climb through. Due to the silence, the humans in the adjoining room continued to play their game of cards and Caid was in position to sneak them as well...

Then, Torgar miserably failed his climb check (the guardroom was about 8´ higher than the road leading up to the gates) and thus prevented the others, who stood in line to climb up behind him, to get into the room quickly. In the end, it took about 3 rounds with Andrin helping the others from above until everyone was up and ready. During the third round, the unavoidable happened: One of the humans looked up from his cards and saw dead gnolls with arrows in them, a big hole in the wall and an armoured figure helping a stranger climb into the room!

Caid immediately tried to kill these guards with his deadly bow attacks, but 4 guards were to many to kill in one round even for him (he has rapid shot and is 9th level, so he can fire thrice with a full attack). One round and two dead guards later, the alarm bell was sounded and after that, hell broke loose in the northern gate complex!

The party decided not to further invade into unknown territory and waited for the reinforcements to storm into their room. To cause further confusion and commotion, Katala cast a fireball through the arrowslits into the southern guardroom (killing 3 human bowmen there) and a grease on the spot immediately in front of their door.

This tactic of digging in gave Terrenygit and Merenclar the needed time to buff themselves – remembering the last attack, they both cast resist element/fire on themselves and the howler and Terrenygit further boosted himself with rage, magical vestment and the like.

After some skirmishing with gnolls and human guards, Merenclar rode his howler into the silenced guardroom. He was quickly taken down by a hold person cast by Kubelick and both mount and rider suffered heavily under a lightning bolt from Katala. After almost killing Andrin with his terrible bite/quill attack, the howler finally went down – the previously hidden Caid had sneak attacked it with his bow thrice in the round before.

Outside, Terrenygit ordered his zombies (the remains of Wormspike and the unlucky guards of the last battle at the gates) into the fray. Most of them slipped in the greased area, but the following ranks just stepped over their fallen comrades. Caid, having had a greater invisibility cast on him by Katala, climbed through the door and stuck to the ceiling above the zombies (thanks to Lareth´s cloak of arachnida), hoping to take out the stinking troglodyte cleric with another series of sneak attacks. This failed because of the buffed Terrenygits insane AC, who immediately cast an invisibility purge and his zombies attacked the not-so-invisible-anymore rogue.

Another of Katalas infamous fireballs later, the zombies were gone and Terrenygit was facing the party alone. Before he could flee, Caid webbed him with his cloak. The troglodyte cast an obscuring mist to cover his retreat but was slowed greatly by the web. Torgar took the cloak from Caid and charged into the webbed mists and the fight of the clerics ensued while the rest of the party stayed behind. Torgar almost succumbed to Terrenygits hold person once, but was able to take the troglodyte down with his dwarven battleaxe in the end.

The main gates were taken!

Edited by: grimbold at: 10/13/03 3:01 am
(10/13/03 7:02 am)
Re: The second battle at the gates
Great battle, and good tactics. One comment about the cloak is that it technically does not allow someone to stick to a ceiling or wall and make attacks. It functions like the spider climb spell (so the item description states), and spider climb requires the use of the hands. I'd allow one hand to remain free, but not two. Contrast this with the slippers, which specifically state that your hands remain free. Anyway, just a comment. It's nice to see a group that works together.

(10/22/03 3:45 am)
cleaning up
With his final breath, Terrenygit uttered a terrible dying curse on Torgar:“For this, you shall carry my scent!“. The dwarven cleric, however, was not very impressed with these seemingly meaningless words and just carried the troglodyte´s corpse back to his comrades through the dissipating mists and the web, which was by now slowly burning away, having been set on fire by the torches in the walls of the main hall.

The corpses were searched and the party began to cautiously explore the area. They found three more charred corpses in the southern guardroom and discovered the entrance to the abandoned mines and the ore crusher. After a lengthy discussion, the party decided against just throwing the corpses down the shaft in the ore separation chamber („history has shown often enough that it is a bad idea to dump anything down unknown shafts in abandoned dwarven mines ...“).

Kubelick then spotted a strangely rectangular stone amidst the rubble in this room. After a more careful inspection, these stones turned out to be the back and cover of an ancient dwarven diary, describing the rise and fall of the dwarven crater ridge mine undertaking and mentioning some strange cultists referred to as „doomdreamers“.

Finally, the stalwart heroes searched the remaining rooms and discovered some interesting notes in Terrenygits and Merenclar´s chambers. Apparently, there were different factions and temples at work in these mines! Terrenygit, who alone of all the CRM inhabitants encountered so far had been wearing an obex symbol, received orders from „high priests of the outer fane“ and should not ally himself with „his people of the earth temple to the north“. Merenclar was ordered to hire some reinforcements from the nearby orc tribe and would be sent 500 gp to cover these expenses. Since the party did not find anything close to this amount in Merenclars locked chest, they assumed that the money had not been sent yet and speculated about a plan to intercept the moneybearer.

After their search, they started to clear the whole main entrance area from last battle´s corpses and locked them all in the zombie room next to Terrnygits office (thinking that no one familiar with the area would want to investigate the totally „natural“ smell of rot & decay emanating from this room).

Whilst carrying corpses from the guardroom to the zombie repository, Torgar (the only one with darkvision in the group) spotted some movement in the unlit natural cave to the north. Only seconds after his whispered warning, Katala let fly her last fireball into the cave and the party charged in just after the explosion. They discovered a charred troglodyte corpse and saw his badly burned comrade trying to flee down the stairways to the north. His flight was stopped by one of of Caid´s arrows.

With two more corpses stored in the zombie room, the party advanced north, taking the westernmost passage out of the troglodyte cave. This passage led to another natural cave with a mosaic of the earth symbol on the floor and some undecipherable scribblings in terran on the walls. Caid heard some troglodyte voices of uncertain origin (there were two passages leading out of the room) in the distance, so the party retreated back into the first troglodyte guardroom and went down the stairs to the northeast.

After wandering down the stairs and following the passage, the party (who carried a bullseye lantern and was thus visible from afar) was suddenly attacked by three formerly hidden troglodyte warriours. It was at this instance that Terrenygit´s dying curse took effect for the first time: Torgar began to sweat the very same oily nauseating substance like those enraged troglodyte warriours!

After two rounds of combat, the party heard a battlecry from the northern passage and saw another troglodyte charging to enter the fray. This one had black skin under his half-plate armour and wielded a wicked-looking brown greatsword with a strange triangular pommel. Even before Andrin and Torgar, the two first-line combatants, had a chance to cross blades with this new adversary, the swordmaster hissed something and pointed his greatsword at Torgar. One instant later, a fountain of dirt and small stones erupted from the point of the brown blade and struck the dwarven cleric.

As the party turned to face this new threat, even more reinforcements in the form of a strangely humanoid earth creature and another ochre-robed troglodyte in insectoid armour arrived from the northern passage.

Andrin charged the swordmaster while Torgar invoked the power of Clangeddin to strike his foe helpless. The confident smile on the greatsword-wielding troglodyte turned to terror as he was immobilized by the hold person spell. Miikolak tried to save her comrade by odering her earth elemental to attack Andrin and summoning a pseudonatural wolverine right next to him. This did not save the swordmaster, however. Andrin coup de graced him the next round, ignoring both of his attackers. Caid shot three arrows from his hiding place behind a bend in the passage but missed. Katalas magic missiles struck true but hardly damaged Miikolak.

In the next round, Torgar successfully silenced the earth temple cleric and Andrin and Caid finished off both elemental and wolverine. Miikolak grabbed the sword of earth from the swordmasters dead hands and turned to flee with her prize. In the following silent fight, Miikolak was almost killed by Andrins sword and Torgars axe, but managed to disengage from her foes and drink a healing potion. She then fled down the passage to the north.

After a few rounds of hot pursuit, the troglodyte emerged onto a huge cavern with an uneven floor, her pursuers with their bright lantern close behind. It was here that Miikolak turned around to make her stand. Bereft of her spells in the silence, she swung her quarterstaff at Andrin.

Katala chose this moment to try out one of her new spells with a supposedly dramatic and morale-boosting effect: Remembering her comrade´s stories of the encounter with the „terrible blue dragon in the moathouse“, she polymorphed herself into a blue dragon. Somehow, Katala overestimated her own power compared to that of dragons, however – being only 8th level herself, she only transformed into a rather cute small blue wyrmling. Undaunted, she flapped her tiny wings and launched a futile airstrike at Miikolak.

Only seconds after they had entered the cave, the sudden lights alerted the inhabitant of this place, just as Miikolak had hoped. To the party´s dismay, a huge airborne manticore appeared around a bend in the cavern, launching a volley of his deadly tailspikes at Miikolak´s attackers with the small dragon as his main target.

Torgar, never having seen such a beast and judging it to be some demonspawn, vainly tried to dismiss it with a spell. Andrin continued to attack the troglodyte but was unable to get past her unholy defenses. Katala-the-wyrmling hurriedly flew back behind her friends and transformed back into her familiar form.

As Kubelick had witnessed that the troglodyte was almost impossible to hit in her chitin full plate armour, he drank a potion of levitate to fly up and throw some alchemist´s fire at her. This move almost proved to be the bard´s end: The manticore, seeing a potentially dangerous flying opponent, turned his attacks on Kubelick, who was instantly hit by the next barrage of tailspikes. Caid responded with three of his infamous sneaked arrows and wounded the beast badly, forcing it to find a place to land.

Katala, who had totally emptied her daily contingent of spells in the battle at the gates and the following skirmishes, judged that this was no time to hold back and retrieved one of her recently inscribed fireball scrolls from her backpack. Seconds later, both manticore and troglodyte were caught in a fiery explosion. Badly wounded, they fought on. Miikolak knew that there was no help to be expected (she and the fight around her were still silenced) and the manticore was just too enraged by his wounds.

Despite their best efforts, the troglodyte and her ally were slain by the heroes shortly thereafter.

After a quick search of the bodies (Katala took some samples of the manticore corpse), the party collected Miikolaks remains and possessions, including the sword of earth, and retraced their steps back to the first troglodyte attack. All bodies were then stripped and deposited in the zombie room, which was by now getting a bit cramped.

The party then discussed what to do next: Most of their spells were depleted and they had to rest soon. They had the option of „digging in“ somewhere in the gate complex and trying to intercept any messengers or reinforcements or of getting back to Rastor to get some real rest in the Grey Lodge and returning early next morning. In the end, they decided to do the latter, as they wanted to report their findings to Rerrid and were not sure if they would really get any rest this deep in unknown enemy territory.

They locked all the doors in the complex and hung a crudely drawn notice in common, saying „do not disturb!“ on the double portal to the barracks area, hoping to delay or at least confuse any passers-by or scouts from other areas in the CRM. Caid then camouflaged the hole in the wall of the northern gate room with some blankets and dirt, so it would only be noticed on close inspection. The party then quickly made their way back to Rastor.

Edited by: grimbold at: 10/22/03 11:28 pm
(10/22/03 5:25 am)
Re: cleaning up
Very nice. I really like and will be stealing the riot scene with the Tanbrosh sufferers. Also didn't realize until your log that Hold Person left its victems helpless and subject to coup de grace. That could get ugly.

(10/22/03 7:07 am)
hold person
Under 3.5 rules, the victim of a hold person at least gets a new will save every round...

And yes, my players learned about the hold person - coup de grace combination the hard way when they played the original ToEE (converted to 3.0) and two of their front-line fighters were killed after Lareth had successfully held them...

(10/24/03 1:39 am)
Against the trogs ...
After visiting Rerrid and delivering the dwarven diary to him, the party went to rest in the Grey Lodge. In this relative safety, Andin, Kubelick and Torgar each gained a level of experience, bringing the party setup to this:

Andrin            human male CN fighter 7
Caid               halfling male CN sorceror/rogue 1/8
Katala            human female CG wizard 8
Kubelick human male CN bard 7
Torgar            dwarven male LG cleric of Clangeddin 9

Katala identified the sword of earth the next morning and it was decided that Andrin should carry this mighty weapon into battle with him. He also exchanged Lareth´s magical black breastplate he had worn since his resurrecton for the wicked-looking chitinious full plate armour the party had stripped off the female troglodyte cleric (after thoroughly cleaning it, of course!).

Torgar, suspecting a curse as the source of his troglodyte stink, tried to cast remove curse on himself to get rid of his annyoing new habit of sweating in battle. It was at this moment (still in the Grey Lodge), that Caid decided to test whether Torgar still stank when angered, so he snuck up on him and hit him squarely on the head with his sap. Despite a tremendous amount of subdual damage, Torgar did not lose his concentration and finished his spell. Caid did prove his point, however! Torgar, his head still ringing from the blow, was fuming with anger – but he did not sweat like a troglodyte. Before Caid had any chance to hide or otherwise get out of the raging dwarf´s range, Torgar commanded him to „kneel“. As the halfling was not known for his strong will, the amused rest of the party saw Caid drop to his knees while Torgar started a sermon on proper behaviour toward ones´ friends and Clangeddin´s view of backstabbing comrades, all the time rubbing his sore head.

During breakfast the party discussed their plans. Caid was all for staying in Rastor and properly identifying all magic items they had found before venturing any further („a simple ring, properly used, might save one´s life in a pinch“), while the others wanted to press on while the main gate was supposedly still undefended.

In the end, they left some pearls and the less useable items (Wormspikes greatclub etc.) with Tymmerian to have them identified and set out for the northern gate complex in the late morning.

According to Caids scouting, the gate area looked just like they had left it the night before. Katala, remembering yesterday´s success wit this tactic, cast an arcane eye. Just seconds later she remembered that the troglodyte warrens, unlike the gate area, had not been lit with torches. As an arcane eye without darkvision was not much use in total arkness, Torgar cast a light spell on the eye, effectively blinding Katala with it. Cursing under her breath, she vowed to buy some darvision scrolls the next time they were in „civilization“ and dismissed the useless eye.

After checking the zombie room, the party set out north in the eerie purple light from Terrenygit´s lantern.

They got as far as the unstable cave without incident. Just as Caid and Torgar entered it to check the stability of the wooden supports, Torgar spotted the head of a well-camouflaged troglodyte protruding behind one of those beams within his axes reach. With a shout of „watch out – Trogs!“, he swung his dwarven battleaxe and badly wounded the enemy warriour. Instants later, the cave was filled with the now all too common sickly troglodyte stench and two reptilian humanoids poked their longspears at the dwarf. Andrin charged the other opponent and Caid deftly tumbled behind this enemy to gain a favourable flanking position.

Katala and Kubelick, still standing at the cave´s entrance, just watched their friends battle prowess and did nothing. Suddenly a third troglodyte, this one wearing a chitinous breastplate, stepped out of the shadows near the two bystanders and threw a wickedly aimed shortspear at Katalas kidneys! With a quick movement, it disappeared in a tunnel leading out of the cave after the unexpected attack. Katala managed to shout a warning despite her pain and Kubelick now began strumming his harp for some encouraging battle-lyrics.

The fight in main cave went on, but the two humanoids were no match for the combined strength of human, dwarf and halfling. Katala moved into the cave to get a better view into the tunnel and successfully spotted the sneaky troglodyte despite its efforts to hide. Her first, almost instinctive reaction was to burn this creature with a fireball, but her intelligence prevailed: Katla cast a glitterdust spell, blinding the creature and foiling all its further attempts to hide. Seconds later, Torgar´s axe bit deep into chitinous breastplate and troglodyte flesh.

Greshta, now blind and severely wounded, used her last trick: she pulled a rope attached to one of the wooden supports, causing a cave-in of the main cavern outside. Caid, thanks to his well-trained rogue reflexes, managed to instinctively tumble out of harm´s way before he was hit by the ensuing avalanche, but Andrin and Katala were buried and almost killed by the collapse of the ceiling. With an avenging swing of his axe, Torgar killed the troglodyte rogue.

Katala and Andrin were dug out of the debris and healed and the party searched Greshta´s corpse. Andrin sorted shards of some broken potions from his soaked backpack and reminded himself to buy a special padded potionbelt soon. The party then discovered a huge hoard of weapons and food supplies in the adjoining cave. After breaking all spearshafts in there, they dug their way through the cave-in and ventured into the next series of unexplored side-caves.

Before entering this nondescript small natural cave, the party sent Caid ahead. The halfling, climbing the walls with his cloak of arachnida, spotted some suspicious small holes in these walls and warned his friends to stay behind. He then deftly disabled the pressure-plates on the floor and the heroes were able to search the adjoining room, finding some sleeping pillows, iron poles with humanoid skulls on them and a small treasure chest. Afterwards, Caid was hit by a poisoned dart when he tried to reset the trap.

They then retraced their steps to the swordmasters room and climbed the stairs. Exploring the two caves north of the room with the earthsymbol-mosaic, our heroes discovered some kind of common room / kitchen area with stone furniture and a huge sleeping hall with bedsteads for at least 20 humanoids. Both of these were devoid of inhabitants, so the party continued their way north to the big cave where the fight with the manticore had taken place the evening before. The big cadaver was gone...

When they were halfway through this big cavern, they spotted movement at the edge of their flickering purple light!

Torgar was the first to react. His experience with divine powers told him that the shambling winged beast wich slowly approached them, badly burned and covered with the deadly wounds it had received just a day ago, was nothing but a manticore zombie. Calling upon Clangeddins power, he tried to turn the undead creature.

But this was no mere human zombie! Some of the former beast´s power still seemed to be preserved in this walking corpse, and it attacked the dwarven cleric instead of turning to flee.

Kubelick filled the cavern with a heroic ballad describing their last victory against this beast and Andrin, inspired by this song, charged the creature with his new sword of earth. It was soon evident in the following fight that the beast had lost all intelligence and quickness in its transformation. Barely wounding our heroes, it was hacked to pieces without much effort.

Searching the place of their battle, Katala found a mummified severed human hand still wearing two rings. A detect magic spell confirmed that one of them was of magical nature.

The party then explored one of the tunnels leading out of this cavern and discovered another small cave which was obvously used as sleeping quarter (a hammock was strung between the walls). The „doormat“ of this chamber was made of woven strips of human and dwarven skin... disgusted, the party searched the cave and found some gold, magical incense and three gems behind a loose stone.

They then set out to enter the last tunnel leading out of the big cavern....

Edited by: grimbold at: 10/24/03 5:29 am
(11/5/03 7:11 am)
The fall of the earth temple
Caid was made invisible by Katala and scouted a short distance ahead of the party. After a short while, the tunnel widened to become a smallish cave with another tunnel leading out of it. This cave seemed empty at first glance, but Caid took a closer look and spotted a small dwarflike earth-coloured humanoid hiding near the exit.

This being had apparently seen the heroes´ light further down the tunnel and was now watching the entrance closely. The invisible Caid silently retreated and reported his findings to the party, who was still standing in the tunnel some distance from the cave.

Katala, having studied the planes of existence during her wizard´s training, identified the mannikin as an „earth mephit“ and advised Caid to use magical weapons against it. The rogue then set out again, readying his enchanted arrows.

Within seconds, the mephit was brought down by 3 expertly aimed arrows from the invisible Caid and the party was able to slowly continue thier advance.

They arrived at an intersection of 4 corridors next. A strange chanting and hissing noise could be faintly heard from the northeast. Katala now used her bullseye lantern to take a look down the dark tunnels. When the beam lighted up another small cave in the tunnel to the northeast, something in that cave let out a loud scream and Caid just barely spotted another of the earth mephits hurrying north.

After a short discussion, the heroes decided not to follow the creature at once, but to explore the other tunnels first (Unbeknownst to them, this gave the earth temple occupants plenty of time to prepare themselves for an attack).

Caid then cast light on a small pebble and threw it down the first tunnel to the right. Hiding in shadows, he rounded a bend and came upon a chamber filled with crawling bugs and centipedes of all sizes. Even the ceiling and walls were swarmed, so he turned back to his comrades and took the next tunnel. In the small cave after the bend, he encountered another mephit guard and killed it with a quick succession of expertly aimed magical arrows. The chanting sounds could be heard from the passage leading out of this room as well.

Finally, the party decided to act. After some buffing up (Katala cast a stoneskin on Andrin, Kubelick made Caid invisible, Torgar surrounded himself with a circle of protection from evil etc.), the heroes charged along the northernmost passage, killing another mephit on the way.

Soon the passage widened to an impressive cave: The heroes had finally found the earth temple!

After tossing a few stones on whom a light spell had been cast into the cavern, the characters realized that they were too late to stop a grisly ritual that had been taking place in this unholy temple:

Surrounded by six cloaked and chanting humanoid forms, an earthen three-tiered ziggurat rose at the far end of the cavern. Atop this, a lifeless form lay on a triangular altar, its still-beating heart held high by a troglodyte priest in a hooded robe. Next to him, another priest beat a big kettledrum.

Just as the heroes lighted the whole area, a big three-legged and three-armed abomination rose through the dirt floor of the cavern. This thing, which was identified by Katala to be an elder xorn, a creature from the elemental plane of earth, immediately turned towards the advancing group.

Luck was on our heroes´ side and they were able to act first. Torgar cast a silence on the ziggurat and Katala released one of her deadly fireballs into the cavern, killing almost the whole congregation and badly burning one of the priests near the altar. Strangely, both the xorn and the other priest were not harmed at all.

The xorn charged Andrin next but was held at bay in the last moment by Torgars circle of protection against evil. Caid, still invisible, moved into the cave to be in a good position for his sneaked shots at the troglodyte clerics. Those two quickly left the silenced area and began casting. The wounded priest was able to heal himself, whilst the unharmed one tried to magically blind Torgar, who resisted this foul attempt to disable him..

Torgar attacked the xorn next, thus enabling it to return the attacks. Andrin swung his Sword of Earth against the creature with a mighty blow, only to find out that it uselessly passed through the earth creature, not harming it at all! Now the xorn struck back at Torgar and badly wounded the dwarf. Andrin was hit by a lesser confusion from Uskatoth next and Snearak turned the earthen floor around the party into a deep mud with his soften earth spell.

Finally, Caid´s three sneaked arrows struck and Uskatoth fell.

Andrin wandered off, babbling to himself, while Torgar and Katala concentrated their efforts on the xorn. Kubelick began to sing a crescendo to boost the heroes morale.

Snearakt thought the time ripe for revenge on Uskatoth´s killer and managed to immobilize the now visible halfling with a hold person spell. He then moved into position for a wicked coup de grace.

The next round saw Andrin, still confused, charging in from behind to attack Torgar. Katala successfully blinded the xorn with a glitterdust. She did not take into account the creature´s tremorsense ability ... undaunted, the elemental struck out again.

Caid was lucky: Seeing the robed troglodyte ready his ceremonial dagger to slit his throat, the rogue was able to shake of his immobility and run away. Snearakt cast another spell and Caid was held again!

In the meantime, the fight with the xorn neared its end: Having attacked the confused Andrin (as tremorsense did not reveal to the xorn that this being was not attacking it), the xorn was now attacked by both Andrin and Torgar, while Katala resorted to magic missiles to bring the outsider down.

Caid´s luck held: Once again he was able to break the spell before the troglodyte could kill him.

The rest of the party was finally victorious against the xorn and quickly thereafter, Snearakt fell to their combined powers.

The earth temple had been defeated!

(11/11/03 5:06 am)
Our stalwart heroes searched the corpses of their enemies and proceeded to explore a small cave to the north. This turned out to be a prison. Three almost lifeless forms were chained to the wall; two human males and a female elf. All show signs of tanbrosh addiction.

The elf was the only conscious prisoner. After Caid had unlocked her manacles, she introduced herself as Tenaris Glimmerdawn, a warriour maiden from Celene. She and her comrades, who had long since been sacrificed by the vile troglodytes, were captured a few weeks ago on the road to Rastor. They had originally been on a mission for the temple of Corellon Larethian in Verbobonc. Apparently, a new and very dangerous drug had appeared there and the temple had hired their help to find out where it came from. The elves had followed the trails of the drug´s distribution and suspected a pair of fur traders as being the main drug dealers.

Thanks to the ranger in their party, Tenaris´ comrades were able to track the route of these traders from a safe distance. Disaster struck at night while the elves were camped near the road about 10 miles from Rastor: Their watch was killed by arrows from the air and before anyone could react, they had been surrounded by a dozen of black clad humans with their magic using leader. Before she was blindfolded, Tenaris caught a glimpse of the strange winged beasts that served these „bandits“ as steeds: They looked like gigantic bees of a strange shape and dark colour. She was then bound and pummeled into unconsciousness. Tenaris and her surviving two comrades were held in a prison cell for some days before they were blindfolded again and had to march some distance, where they were apparently traded to the troglodytes. Tenaris and her comrades were then tortured and drugged by these humanoids and she had to watch as one comrade after the other was taken away to be sacrificed...

After hearing her story, the party decides to take her along and bring the two commoners to safety in Rastor. Tenaris is given some equipment (a longbow, a sword and Lareth´s magical breastplate) and the comrades set out to explore further. They find another guardroom with four troglodyte warriours in it who were quite surprised by this sudden intrusion from the direction of their temple (as the fight in the temple proper had been silenced, they had not been aware of it) and take them down withing mere seconds.

Two more unexplored corridors lead out of the troglodyte area, but the party decides not to explore any further at this time. They retrace their steps to the cave swarming with centipedes and Katala terminates them with a well – placed fireball spell. In the adjoining room, which looks like some grisly bedchamber (a very decorative half-mummified human corpse graces the ceiling), the party finds a bedstead, a chest and a small coffer. Caid fails to detect the magical sigils on the coffer and is almost caught in a freezing sphere when the glyph of warding sets off, but his honed reflexes save him once again.

Amongst other things, the party finds a letter from a certain „Hedrack“ who informs Uskatoth that a certain „Ukemil“ of the Fane will be sent to investigate what happened to the forces of the main gate.

After a short discussion, the party heads back to Rastor. The freed human prisoners are given over to Rerrid´s care to cure them from their addiction. They then sit down and have a long talk with Rerrid concerning the future of Tal´s trading post. It is finally decided that Thandain and another dwarf would be sent to Verbobonc with a wagon full of trade goods and some of the party´s loot. She, being the most world-wise inhabitant of Rastor beside Rerrid himself, would not fall prey to those „greedy human traders“ in the big city and would try to get some support from the dwarven community there.

The heroes then meet Tymmerian to reclaim their identified items. After this eventful day, they get a good night´s sleep at the Grey Lodge.

Early next morning, the party sets out again. Torgar´s first act is to cast a cure posion on Tenaris to remove her tanbrosh addiction. They then move through the falling snow (it is winter by now) back to the main gate complex, which seems undisturbed. The next hours are spent in the secret passage just south of the southern guardroom, with Katala identifying even more looted magical items (she is a bit tipsy after this procedure, as she had to drink 6 glasses of wine with pearls in them!).

In the afternoon, the party begins destroying the earth altar: Torgar and Andrin do their best to destabilize the big stone by digging away some of the earthen ziggurat under it. Using their shovels for leverage, they then topple the altar. As soon as it hits the bottom of the cave, a strange rumbling is heard and the whole cavern begins to shake. Several stones drop from the ceiling and the party barely manages to get out in time before the whole earth temple cave collapses!

As the dust settles, Katala, Torgar and Tenaris notice that the oppresive feeling which had formerly emanated from the area is gone. Their relief at this is only spoiled by Andrins discovery that the blade of his sword of earth has vanished as well!

Edited by: grimbold at: 11/11/03 5:17 am
(11/19/03 8:01 am)
Into the mines
Thinking that this earthquake and the destruction of the temple might be noticed in the vicinity, the party decides to turn and explore the mines south of the gate complex instead.

After a lengthy discussion whether to use the orecarts as a means of transportation or not, a lantern was affixed to one of them and Caid hid inside. This cart was to be propelled by Andrin and the rest of the party would follow on foot. The party then made their way down the westernmost tunnel.

In the second cave further down the tracks, Torgar was suddenly attacked by two strange lava-like wormcreatures while checking the walls of the cave for traces of ore. These elemental creatures were so hot that Caid´s arrows instantly caught fire after they hit. Torgar, who was afraid that the haft of his masterwork dwarven battleaxe might share the arrow´s fate if he attacked the red-hot creatures, pummeled them to a quickly cooling pulp with his magical mace instead.

The heroes then left the cart on the tracks behind to explore a sidetunnel, which soon led them to another corridor parallel to the first. Here they turned north and followed the tracks almost back to the mine entrance before another sidetunnel leading east was discovered. Caid silently scouted ahead.

Around a bend, he could barely make out the silhouette of a gnoll in the dim light! Before this creature could react to the light behind Caid, he loosened one of his enchanted arrows, aiming for the neck of the gnoll. To the halfling´s dismay, the arrow harmlessly ricocheted off the neck of the creature, but it did not move. Caid stealthily crept nearer to discover that it was a mere gnoll statue.

Remembering his misfortune in the moathouse dungeons (he had been turned to stone by a cockatrice), the halfling immediately ran back to his comrades, reported his findings of the gnoll statue, shouted „Cockatrices, flee!“ and hid himself some distance away from the tunnel entrance.

Torgar and Andrin tried to calm the halfling, but gave up as he was nowhere to be seen and didn´t answer their calls. The two then slowly advanced around the bend in the tunnel. What they saw next almost froze them in their tracks: around the bend, an eight-legged lizard with a cold glint in its eyes advanced! Torgar and Caid were able to avert their eyes just in time to escape the gnoll´s fate and readied their weapons.

Andrin then tried to attack the beast with closed eyes while Torgar cast an obscuring mist and shouted „Caid, it´s ok! There are no cokcatrices here, just a basilisk!“.

The following fight was quite confusing: Andrin kept his eyes closed and tried to attack by hearing only, Torgar charged into the mists and stumbled unceremoniously over another partly-eaten gnoll statue, Kubelick sang some battle-lyrics and Katala waited for some opening in the mists so she would have a target.

After many blind swings and further stumbling, the magical lizard was finally taken down without any casualities on the heroes side. Searching the adjoining cave yielded no treasure. As evening was nearing, the party decided to rest after this eventful day.

They moved into the guardroom from which they had conquered the main gate complex and set watches. Soon after his comrades had fallen asleep, Andrin heard some strange sniffing and growling noises from the door.

Only seconds later, the door swung open and a dark shape on four legs the size of a huge bear entered the guardroom! Andrin yelled a warning, drew his sword and moved to block the entryway between the adjoining rooms to give his comrades some time to prepare against this unexpected intrusion.

Suddenly, the stink of an enraged troglodyte filled the room and Andrin was –seemingly out of nowhere- attacked with a wickedly aimed spear. Thanks to Torgar´s magical vestment spell, which was still in effect, the spear missed Andrin and the fighter could barely make out a humanoid behind the beasts for an instant before he vanished again into the shadows.

Thanks to Andrin´s yell, the sleeping heroes were wide awake within a heartbeat. It was still dark in the guardroom, however. The only illumination was provided by some faint streaks of moonlight which fell through the arrowslits. Katala could barely see anything besides some dark shapes in the adjoining room, so she decided to lighten the area up a bit – with a fireball!

In the following blast of fire and light, the characters saw 4 demonic-looking gigantic lions with black fur and horns and ridges where none should be. Most of these fell beasts seemed unaffected by the wizards fire, though the rest of a wooden bench in the adjoining room caught fire and provided some more lasting illumination from now on. Torgar followed with a flame strike spell, but somehow only the divine part of the flames were able to hurt these creatures!

Caid tumbled near a wall and hid from view, while Kubelick stayed prone and began to sing a hymn. Tenaris moved into position behind Andrin to fire her arrows.

This move proved to be the elf´s downfall. The first dire lion charged, overrunning Andrin in the process and clawed, bit and raked the small archer to pieces. The second lion fell upon the prone Andrin, badly wounding him. Caid shot three sneaked arrows into the elf-killer and Torgar´s waraxe finally killed the beast.

Near the entrace, there was another movement in the shadows and the heroes heard the incantations of an evil spell. Torgar was able to shrug off whatever magicks had been aimed at him and the barely visible troglodyte disappeared again! Andrin got back on his feet, nimbly evading a bite of the lion next to him, and drank a potion to cure his considerable wounds.

Katala had seen enough of the movements to suspect an assassin at work and cast a glitterdust spell on the entrance area. Two lions were blinded by this, but the humanoid caster was nowhere to be seen.

Caid, who had hid again after his last attacks, fired three sneaked arrows into the beast between Torgar an Andrin and the latter two were able to kill it with their sword and axe.

Two blinded dire lions in a confined fighting area were no match for our heroes and died quickly thereafter.

A quick search, aided by a detect thoughts from Katala, did not discover the strange troglodyte assassin.

Edited by: grimbold at: 3/18/04 7:22 am
(12/3/03 8:51 am)
A dragon? HERE?
The dire lion corpses where then dissected and moved out of the guardroom. After this, the characters went back to rest, although they now moved into the secret passage south of the main gate. The rest of the night passed without further incidents.

Next day, the party set out to Rastor to get their fallen comrade Tenaris Glimmerdawn a decent funeral. They visited Rerrid and made arrangements with Thandain to sell some of the mundane loot (mainly black masterwork banded mail from temple guards and their masterwork bastard-swords) on her trip to Verbobonc. The rest of the day was spent in the Grey Lodge. Kubelick and Katala both gained a level of experience, bringing the party composition to this:

Andrin                human male CN fighter 7
Caid                 halfling male CN sorceror/rogue 1/8
Katala                 human female CG wizard 9
Kubelick        human male CN bard 8
Torgar                dwarven male LG cleric of Clangeddin 9

While the party was trotting through the snow en route to the main gate complex next morning, Andrin concentrated and activated their stalwart eye, which Caid had hidden above the cave entrance just for this purpose two days ago. From the eye´s vantage point, he saw 8 black-clad human templeguards who were angryly banging the closed gates with their mailed fists.

„Let´s make sure that they will not report anything!“ Katala said and prepared her new teleport spell. She then activated the stalwart eye as well to get a good view of the intended destination point and teleported everyone but Kubelick just behind the unsuspecting guards.

Appearing out of thin air just behind the surprised guard contingent, Katala let fly a well-aimed fireball and killed them before the guards even knew what had hit them. The corpses were then searched and stacked in the entrance area until Kubelick arrived about half an hour later.

Once inside, Torgar sealed the northern passage leading to the now destroyed earth temple with a stoneshaped wall. The heroes then continued their exploration of the abandoned dwarven mines to the south with Caid scouting ahead.

Branching from the main tunnels were many smaller side-passages which all ended either in empty caves or dwindled to narrow cracks. Torgar told his comrades that these were probably caused by the miners following veins of ore in the past. At one point, Caid was again saved by his intuitive danger sense: A hidden patch of green slime clinging to the ceiling suddenly dropped when the rogue passed under it. With lightning reactions, the halfling tumbled aside before he was hit and the slime colony was simply put to the torch afterwards.

After a long walk along the now slowly descending tracks, the heroes emerged in a big cavern. Through a hole in the ceiling another track of rails, supported by a rickety wooden bridge, could be seen. Two sets of wooden ladders, apparently made by dwarves, were affixed to the cavern wall. Caid climbed the wall easily, thanks to his cloak of arachnida and scouted the upper cavern in the dim light from the heroes´ lantern below. The upper cavern was empty as well. After some debate, all of the party climbed the stairs and continued their exploration on the upper level, following the oretracks to the west.

These tracks led to another big natural cavern and the tracks began to slowly rise from the ground on wooden supports. The rough-hewn tunnel leading out of the southern end of the cavern seemed almost like a canyon, as the walls of it almost rose to a height of 50 feet, with the railtracks climbing up as well. The party stayed on the ground, however and thus walked south under the wooden supports.

After a while, the tunnel widened to almost become a cavern by itself and the opening of a huge cave to the southwest could be seen. Caid, who slid in and out of the shadows about 30 feet in front of the Torgar and Andrin and the rest of the group, noticed a strange chloride smell emanating from this big cave.

The floor looked almost as if swept clean and the rogue could barely make out the glint of precious stones attached to the northern wall of the cavern and some sort of big nest further south. Caid returned and reported his findings to the group. Kubelick detected some kind of magic around a bend of the cave and Torgar was just about to cast a shield of faith on himself when suddenly a large green dragon appeared around the bend and breathed a cloud of acidic gas at the heroes!

In the following battle, Andrin charged the beast and Torgar cast an air walk on himself, as the dragon began to hover. Outside the cavern, loose stones and debris were blown about by the beat of those mighty wings, making spell-casting and aiming difficult. Caid still succeeded in hitting the dragon in a vital spot with one of his arrows, whilst Katala let fly one of her infamous fireballs. The Dragon concentrated his attacks on Andrin now, who was badly wounded by the terrible claws and teeth of the creature.

Kubelick began to encourage his comnrades with a heroic ballad and was greeted with another dragonbreath of the acidic mist, which also engulfed his comrades. Andrin drank a potion to heal himself whilst Torgar attacked the beast with his dwarven waraxe.

After another exchange of blows, arrows, and spells, the dragon was visibly wounded. It now took to the air for real and passed right over the heroes, flying above the raised oretracks of the northerly passage. In passing, the beast again sprayed the group with his acidic breath, badly wounding the heroes and bringing Kubelick down to unconsciousness.

Torgar, who had just imbued himself with Clangeddins power and had thereby grown considerably in size and strength, charged down the passage after the fleeing beast, leaving Kubelick to the care of his friends. Caid knocked an arrow on his bow and also ran north, while Andrin and Katala tried to stabilize the dying bard.

The flying dragon was too fast for both the enlarged dwarf and nimble halfing, who was further hindered by the absence of light in the mine-tunnel. They soon gave up their chase and returned to their comrades. Some healing spells and discussions what to do later, the party entered the dragon lair.

Unlike the dragons from legend that Kubelick knew, who rested on their mounds of gold and jewelry, this specimen apparently kept ist hoard in an iron kettle. The glint of gold and precious stones could just be seen over the rim of the container, but a strange glistening ceramic pyramid the size of a helmet hovered over the kettle. This thing radiated strong magicks and rotated slowly by itself.

Caid warned the others that this thing practically cried „trap!“ to his senses, but that he was unable to identify it any further without getting near. Katala then cast a mage hand and used it to tie a rope around the kettle while everyone anxiously waited at a safe distance of about 20 feet, weapons ready.

When Katala´s mage hand only slightly brushed the rope against the kettle, the delicate magical balance of the pyramid seemed to be disturbed and its rotations became quicker. Before anyone could react, the spinning pyramid tilted on ist axis and fell, striking the rim of the kettle with a loud „boom“ and exploded! Out of the ensuing smoke appeared an over 10 feet tall apelike creature with four stong arms and and a ridged back.

Before this foul denizen of the abyss even had time to adjust to his new and unfamilar surroundings, Caid launched three magical arrows at vulnerable parts of the apes anatomy. With a look of disbelief in its red-rimmed eyes, the fiendish girallon struck the floor, dead.

Fearing the dragon´s return, the party then quickly emptied the coins and gems of the treasure hoard into Caid´s bag of holding and left the lair to count their spoils in a safer place.

They then retraced their steps into the big, two-tiered cavern with no signs of the dragon.

Just as Torgar was about to climb down the ladder to the lower tracks, disaster struck: Out of the tunnel to the northwest a globe of darkness appeared and soon after, the lantern of the party shed no more light as well!

The only one able to see anything was Torgar with his darkvision and what he saw did not please him:

The wounded green dragon, radiating this unnatural absence of light, swept out of the tunnel and rose into the air, closely followed by a two headed giant armed with two morningstars! The dwarf was barely able to shout „The dragon and an ettin! Flee!“, before everyone was once again caught in a cone of the acidic dragon-breath.

Trying to heed Torgars advice, the rest of the group blindly stumbled towards the direction they remembered as where they had come from. Katala guessed right and just stumbled over some oretracks, Kubelick ran into the cave wall, but both Caid and Andrin ran towards the big hole leading down to the lower part of the cavern some 25 feet below ... The halfling was able to cast a feather fall just in time, but Andrin was carried over the rim by his momentum and fell like a stone.

.... to be continued!

Edited by: grimbold at: 12/4/03 10:32 am
(12/3/03 10:39 am)
Re: A dragon? HERE?
Uh oh! I hope Andrin will not be subject to Rusty's attack down there all by himself at the bottom of the pit! :evil

Excellent battle!

(12/4/03 10:37 am)
superior battle?
Thanks Infiniti!

I have to admit that I made a mistake in the setup, though (Vrantis had cast a "no light" on himself and cast another one on the party´s lantern in the surprise round):

I completely forgot that the ettin would be hurt by this spell as well, since ettins only have low-light vision and no darkvision (it IS kind of strange that there is no lantern or torch in his description...). He also forgot to use his thunderstone (which would have been great to add to the confusion!).>:

(12/10/03 9:03 am)
Dragons and unpleasant surprises

Torgar, seeing that his comrades would not be able to flee after all in all this darkness and confusion, remembered that his air walk was still in effect and bravely charged the hovering dragon! The fell beast immediately turned its attention to the flying dwarf and attacked him.

Kubelick, who was still effectively blind in the darkness, guessed the ettin´s location with his finetuned musical hearing and cast a grease on the cavern floor from where the loud dual battlecries came from. The ettin slipped and fell, buying the comrades more time to fight the dragon. Katala got up and tried to figure out what was happening in the adjoining cave, but the different cries and sounds of fighting were not conclusive enough.

In the meantime, Andrin, who was still lying on the lower cavern floor and just recovering his senses from the impact, heard some movement and a strange sniffing sound nearby. Within seconds, something touched his chitinous plate armour and shortly after his magical sword „Ardor“! Caid had heard these sounds as well and began to climb up the cavern wall with his cloak of arachnida.

Up in the air, Torgar successfully wounded the dragon further with his dwarven battleaxe, taking a nasty bite wound in return. Kubelick finally cast a light spell and lighted up the area except for two strange globes of darkness around the flying dragon and Katalas lantern. The ettin started to argue with himself whether to get up or glide out of the grease and fell right down again whilst trying to stand up. Katala moved out of the tunnel and was able to see again, as well as Caid, who now started to aim his bow at the ettin.

In the lower cave, Andrin got up and faced a strange four-legged creature with a long tail ending in a proppeller-like fin and two antennae on its small head. Feeling threatened by this creature´s antennae probing, he struck out with „Ardor“, hitting the thing squarely on its back. The monster and Andrin squealed simultaneously, but for different reasons: As soon as the sword made contact with the reddish hide, there was a crunching noise and Ardor transformed from a fear-inspiring magical longsword to a useless and pathetic blade of rust! The wounded creature decided to eat something less threatening next and turned its attention on the rails.

The airborne battle raged on above. Before the dragon had a chance to use his acidic breath again, Torgars battleaxe bit deep into the green scales. This last blow was enough to kill the already wounded magical beast and its wings stopped beating. With a final dying roar, the dragon fell.

Its ettin ally, still unable to get up and out of the greased area, was now showered with arrows and magic missiles from Kubelick, Caid and Katala.

Andrin, who had been lucky enough not to be hit by the falling dragon, climbed up the rungs to quickly get out of reach of the horrible monster that had destroyed his trusted weapon.

Both the ettin and the rust monster were then killed in short succession with ranged weapons and spells and the heroes finally had some time to catch their breath and bandage their wounds.

It was then decided that their victory over the dragon should best be celebrated in a safe place with good ale and the party set off to Rastor again.

Just as they were brought their food and beverages in the warm and cozy Grey Lodge after a three hour walk through the snowclad landscape, Torgar decided to activate their stalwart eye.

Something was moving at the main gate! By truning the iron owls head with the right command, the dwarven cleric saw a dark-clad figure climb out of the party´s hidden hole in the northern guardroom.

... to be continued.

Edited by: grimbold at: 12/11/03 1:17 am
Tolling Bell Cultist
(12/18/03 7:42 am)
The assassin
This person, who looked like an elf, moved very stealthily and with an air of confidence and self-assurance. Looking at the party´s tracks in the snow, he followed the road eventually leading to the crossroads and Rastor. As soon as he was out of the magical bird´s sight, the heroes decided to postpone their dragonslayer festivities and intercept this supicious person before it could reach the town.

Fifteen minutes later, all were hiding (or at least trying to, according to their respective abilities) in the cold night amidst the trees of a sparse wood just outside of Rastor. Caid sent out his owl familiar „Woohoo“ to scout for the elf.

Time passed. After what seemed an eternity, Woohoo finally notified Caid that she saw some movement amidst the trees near the road to the crater ridge mines. Flying closer, the owl transmitted the following to Caid: The movement was caused by a two-legged creature the size of Caid´s friends. This person had apparently spotted the owl, as he was looking in its direction and reaching for a bow like Caid´s on his back.

The halfling told his familiar to quickly get out of bowshot range. The owl should then fly amidst the trees and return to the spot where the humanoid was last sighted.

A few minutes passed.

Caid had just received Woohoos information that this person was nowhere to be seen when he suddenly felt a sharp pain and sense of panic trough his empathic link, which went dead after these impressions.

Not knowing what had happened to his owl, Caid wanted to charge to Woohoos last known location immediately. His comrades stopped him, however, and began casting some spells first: Kubelick made the whole expedition invisible with an invisibility sphere and Torgar cast a silence on a stone.

The party then followed Caid´s lead, holding hands to keep in contact. After a short while, they found Woohoo´s corpse with two expertly targeted arrows protruding from it. The agressor was nowhere to be seen. Communication amongst the heroes was hindered by the fact that they could not hear each other, so Torgar began to scribble „where is he?“ in the snow.

Andrins sharp eyes caught sight of a strange shape amongst one of the trees nearby. He thought that he could barely make out a hooded face looking in their general direction and loosened an arrow at it, thus becoming visible.

The shape disappeared again, although everyone was looking in its direction now. Seconds later, an arrow struck Andrins chitinous armor and the hooded elf stepped back behind the tree where it had hid before.

The heroes slowly moved towards that tree, but the archer was gone again! Torgar let go of his silenced stone and cast a detect evil. He felt an evil presence near, but could not pinpoint its location before Andrin was attacked again, this time with a rapier!

As soon as the fighter´s attacker had left his hiding, hell broke loose for him: Caid shot three of his arrows, Andrin retaliated with his sword, Torgar swung his waraxe at him and Katala made further hiding attemps impossible with a glitterdust spell.

Severely wounded and outnumbered, the assassin turned to flee. He did not get far before Kubelick stopped him with a hold person spell. Instants later, Katalas magic missiles struck, killing him on the spot.

Searching the corpse yielded no information about his background (aside from the fact that he was actually a disguised half-elf and not an elf). The heroes then looted him and took the corpse back to Rastor, where they instructed Rerrid to bury him in such a way that he could not be re-animated as some undead creature.

Having lost their festive mood along with Caid´s familiar, the party decided to get some sleep now. As they feared that the Grey Lodge would not be too safe, Rerrid allowed them to get some rest in the temple of Moadin´s cellar. Andrin gained a level of experience, bringing the party composition to:

Andrin human male CN fighter 8
Caid halfling male CN sorceror/rogue 1/8
Katala human female CG wizard 9
Kubelick human male CN bard 8
Torgar dwarven male LG cleric of Clangeddin 9

Next day, Katala teleported to Verbobonc to sell some of the magical loot and buy a new magical sword for Andrin as well as a magical dwarven waraxe for Torgar. Caid also bid her to purchase some diamonds so that Torgar could raise Woohoo. In the evening, the dead owl was stuffed with diamonds and Torgar was able to bring her back to life with Clangeddin´s powers.

The morning after, Katala bid her comrades farewell again and teleported back to Verbobonc. She had decided to undertake some spell research and magical item creation there and would rejoin them in Rastor in a few weeks.

The rest of the party set out for the mines again.

Edited by: grimbold at: 12/19/03 1:18 am
Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/26/04 4:14 am)
summary of events
I have become quite lazy in posting the recent events, sorry dear readers (if there are any left after my negligence).

To bring the log up to date, I will post this summary of the last couple of sessions. Maybe this gap will be closed in the future:

The following days, the party (minus Katala) explored the caves further south, encountering the Umber hulks and Trolls in the area.

They finally reached the door to the fire bridge complex and were repelled at their first attempt to storm it.

In the meantime, Katala had met an old friend of hers in Verbobonc, the fighter P´tah. When she teleported back to Grey Lodge in the evening, she took him with her.

When everyone met that evening, it was decided that Katala should stop her spell research, as magical help (of the "artillery" kind) was direly needed to conquer the organized area behind the troll-guarded doors.

The party stormed the fire bridge complex the following day and even continued south to fight some orcs before they returned to Rastor.

The town, however, was burning!

Most of the wooden buildings were already burned to the ground, with the bigger ones (Tal´s shop, the Grey Lodge) still burning. Dead citizens were lying on the streets, most of them burned, but some had apparently been killed by black feathered arrows....

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/5/04 8:00 am)
Rastor in ruins!
The party soon found the place where the last stand of the defenders of Rastor had taken place: Surrounded by a squad of dead militiamen, Rerrid´s corpse lay near a burned house in the vicinity of the temple. The dwarves´ body and armour was badly burned as well, but a quick inspection told the heroes that fire alone was not what had killed him: some black-feathered arrows stuck in his shoulders and upper chest. Their angle suggested that they had been fired at him from somewhere above.

Katala, having studied the arcane arts in the great wizard´s guild of Greyhawk, easily read the tell-tale signs of the fire´s path in town. This had not been the work of some saboteurs with flasks of alchemist´s fire, nor was it the result of a couple of well-placed fireballs or other such magicks. The streaks of blackened earth leading to the bigger houses and the sheer heat of the fire, which had even melted stone in some places, could only mean one thing: Dragonfire!
Judging by the size of the remaining fires and the condition of the corpses, the attack must have taken place around noon.

In the snowfall of the darkening night, the party searched the town for survivors and carried the corpses of the fallen to the temple of Moradin. This structure, which was the only building in Rastor completely made from stone, was the only one which was still standing. Apart from some minor damage to the slate-tiled roof, the temple was unscathed.

In the temple cellars, the heroes found a survivor: Tal Chammish. The drug-dealer was still locked into the small chamber where Rerrid hat put him after his capture. A quick interrogation yielded no news about the attack: Tal had just heard some shouts and noises from above around noon and no one had come down to his prison after all went silent.

It was decided that Katala should teleport with Tal to Verbobonc and hand him over to the authorities. A quick incantation later, they were gone.

As it was well past midnight now, the rest of the party decided to get some sleep in the temple cellars. They shut the trapdoor leading to the temple and Torgar took the first watch...

About an hour after his comrades had fallen asleep, the dwarf was viciously attacked from behind! A powerful stroke, hideously aimed at the artery of his neck, was just barely deflected by Torgars armour. Taken completely by surprise -he had watched the trapdoor, after all- the dwarf was barely able to turn around before his attacker nimbly positioned himself in front of him and gazed into his eyes, smiling evilly.

Albeit it was dark and Torgars vision was therefore bereft of colour, he could make out the familiar features of the half-elf the party had killed a week ago! He seemed strangely pale, however, and his smile was ... different. Despite the shock of this recognition, Torgar was able to wrest his eyes free from his attackers mesmerizing glare with a great effort of will.

Kubelick, who had not been asleep at all as he was haunted by nightmares, cast a light spell to see the cause of the commotion. What he saw did not really look very different from his nightmares, however!

With Kubelick´s light allowing for normal vision, Torgars suspicions that this was no mortal creature were confirmed: The attacker had a corpses pallor and his teeth definitely looked much too canine for a half-elf! With a roar of „Let Clangeddins light sear you, creature from hell!“, the dwarf presented the two crossed axes embedded in the chest of his full plate armour and called upon his warriour-gods power to destroy the undead creature.

Somehow, the creature resisted Clangeddin´s might, but it bared its teeth in an angry hiss!

But Torgar´s roar finally woke up the rest of the comrades.

P´tah, who had slept in his armour, jumped up and moved in on the stranger, threateningly drawing his greatsword. Andrin got up as well and quickly reached for his magical cloak. Caid loosened an arrow from his shortbow with deadly precision, but the mundane arrowhead did not even nick the creatures skin!

Torgar stepped back and cast a spell he had prepared for just this moment: Ever since Rerrid had reported some days ago that the assassin´s grave had been disturbed and the corpse was gone did he suspect some evil undead trickery at work. Invoking clangeddin´s name, the dwarf imbued his dwarven waraxe with disruptive power.

Seeing that the situation was turning against him, the assassin began to cast a spell. Before he could complete whatever deviltry he had intended, P´tahs magical greatsword struck true! With an angry snarl at losing his concentration, the wounded creature then tumbled past his attacker towards the back of the cellar.

Andrin moved to intercept the half elf, still fumbling to draw both his sword and shield. Kubelick began to sing an inspiring song and Caid hid himself.

His waraxe sizzling with holy power, Torgar charged and struck a mighty blow. There was a blinding flash of light as the positive energy of his destructing weapon was released upon the creature from the netherworld! Unable to withstand this terrible power, the vampire turned to ash.

With a clattering noise, his empty clothes and armour fell to the ground.
After congratulating Torgar on his success and searching the cellar for signs of more enemies, the heroes went back to sleep.

The next day was spent burying the dead and looking for survivors of the attack on Rastor.

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