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Brother of Venom
(2/6/04 6:35 am)
Re: Rastor in ruins!
Excellent! Great job by Torgar! :)

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/6/04 7:04 am)
Excellent job...
I shall pass your praise on to his player.

Actually, I was somehow disappointed by this outcome.... I had big plans for Victor the Vampire turning out to be a kind of recurring nightmare for my players and the whole fight barely lasted 3 rounds!

Hedrack will surely find out how his assassin died some way or the other (what kind of divination spells accessible to him would yield this knowledge?) and will ward Thrommel against this spell accordingly.

Maybe he will send out Bethe to kill (or capture & interrogate?) the lone Katala in Verbobonc now ....

Edited by: grimbold at: 2/6/04 7:07 am
Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/12/04 7:46 am)
Re: The forgotten temple
Torgar and Kubelick gained a level of experience, bringing the party to the following composition:

Andrin                human male CN fighter 8
Caid                 halfling male CN sorceror/rogue 1/9
Katala                 human female CG wizard 9 (currently in Verbobonc)
Kubelick        human male CN bard 9
P´tah                human male CN fighter 6
Torgar                dwarven male LG cleric of Clangeddin 10

During the course of the next day, which the party spent in Rastor evaluating the damage and burying the villager´s corpses, survivors begin to appear at the Moradin temple. All in all, there are about one dozen humans (4 of them small children), a few dwarves and two orcs who survived yesterdays attack on the town. They had mostly been lucky enough to be abroad and working in the fields or playing (as was the case with the children).

The only eyewitnesses to yesterday´s events were 3 of the children. After a long and careful interrogation by Kubelick (frequently interrupted by sobs and „where is mom and dad“?), the party gained the following information:

A „really big and horrible red dragon“ suddenly appeared around noon yesterday, „making fire everywhere“. The dragon was followed by „some big bee-ish things“ that carried „black riders“ who shot with their bows at people.

The survivors decide to flee this accursed place and try their luck elsewhere. They will try to grab as much of their belongings out of the burned houses as they can and take the orphaned children with them. The two orcs take the orcish corpses back to their tribe and are told by Torgar to report to their chieftain that this was the work of the evildoers in the crater.

Next day, the party sets out through heavy snowfalls to the mines again. They meet no resistance until they run into a new wall of stone just north of the western bridge complex which was not there two days before! After a careful examination, Torgar magically shapes a hole into the new wall and the party continues onward with Caid scouting ahead. The whole complex seems untouched, however, with the slowly decomposing corpses of the hill giants and other guards lying about.

After a long discussion, the heroes decide not to find out where the stone bridge may lead to ... at least not as long as their wizard is not with them. Who knows what evils may lurk in the center of the crater if the bridge itself was this heavily defended?

Instead, they continue past the southern doors into the natural tunnels. In the adjoining caves, they encounter more of the orcs they had already fought during their last foray into this area. As these creatures don´t seem to be allied with the black-clad temple forces and thinking of the uneasy truce that existed between tho orc tribe and the inhabitants of Rastor, Andrin and P´tah make a point of not attacking first and only subduing the male orc warriours who attack the party. The females and young they encounter are told to grab their unconscious men and young and leave the crater area immediately.

Having thus cleared the scattered remaining orcs from the area, the heroes come upon an empty cave with some crude symbols smeared on the floor: An arrow pointing to a tunnel leading out of the cave and a smashed orcish skull.

Torgar identifies this as a warning of nearby traps and bids Caid to be extremely cautious when scouting the marked tunnel. The group´s progress down the tunnel slows to a crawl as the halfling rogue takes his time to examine walls, floor and ceiling thoroughly before making each step. After some bends, he reaches a huge double portal made of granite with dwarven images carved into it.

Caid carefully searches these doors for traps as well without finding any. His first attempt to pick the ancient lock is foiled by its superior make. Grumbling, he tells his comrades „This will take a while!“ and tries again, this time applying his masterwork thieves tools with utmost care and patience.

His efforts finally bear fruit and the complex locking mechanism –obviously not of orcish design- yields to the halflings lockpicking skills. With a slight push, the gates open easily despite their weight, revealing a high ceilinged worked passageway behind.

The halfling calls out to his comrades that the doors are now opened and the rest of the party rounds the last bend before the gates. Just as their front line –Andrin and P´tah- approach the open doorway, a balanced section of floor directly under them gives away under their weight! P´tah manages to jump back in the last instant, but Andrin is too slow to react and falls 30´down into a spiked pit.

Luck is with him, however, and most of the vicious spikes are deflected by his chitinous armour, while his fall is softened by two decomposing orcish bodies who apparently fell victim to this trap some time ago. Caid throws his cloak of arachnida down to the trapped human and he easily climbs out of the pit before the stone trapdoor closes again a few minutes later as the ancient dwarven trap resets itself.

Cursing their rogue for his lack of skills, the party advances down the long worked corridor. Two sets of doors can be seen in the distance on the left hand side with what appears to be some charred corpses lying in front of the second.

After another careful search for traps, Caid opens the first set of doors. A big room lies behind, with a huge bowl made of a single emerald within! The bowl seems to be empty. While Caid is already greeedily thinking of ways to transport this enormous gemstone, Kubelick casts a detect magic and senses some illusion at work. Upon closer look, the bowl is really only made of marble with a glamer cast on it. Torgar looks at the murals on the walls of this room, which repeatedly depict the hammer and anvil symbol, and tells his comrades that this is most likely a holy site of Moradin. Not wanting to despoil such a place, he leads his comrades onwards to the next set of doors.

Lying in front of these are two charred and plundered orcish corpses. Caid searches the doors for further traps and, fining none, deftly picks the dwarven locks. Behind these is another mysterious room: The walls of this chamber are hidden behind blue and silver curtains. In the middle of the room, on some sort of stone block, intricately carved with dwarven designs, lie a number of small, gem-studded silver spheres on a velvety cushion.

Kubelick, still concentrating on magical auras, warns his comrades that there are several of different strength and schools emanating from the room. The silver globes are highly magical in nature, and the area directly behind the door seems somehow warded as well.

Torgar convinces the others that it would be wise not to enter this room until he had memorized a spell that would show him the true nature of things with Clangeddin´s help. The party continues southward.

Edited by: grimbold at: 2/12/04 7:56 am
Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/16/04 7:55 am)
The forgotten temple, part II
Climbing a short set of stairs, the heroes emerge in what apparently once was a holy temple of Moradin. Floor and ceiling are decorated in a mosaic of alternating black and white hammers and the whole almost 40´ high chamber is dominated by a huge altar with some steps leading up to it. Bold dwarven runes are carved into the wall opposite the entrance.

Torgar translates these for his comrades. Their meaning summarizes to „Great are the rewards for the faithful of Moradin, but terrible is the doom of trespassers.“

As soon as Caid cautiously enters the temple to search for traps, a 8´ tall stone dwarf slowly rises from the floor, apparently assembling itself from the mosaic stones. The construct sports two large hammers where its hands should be and starts to move in Caids direction with measured strides.

Caid nimbly jumps back out of the room and the golem stops its approach. Torgar cautions his comrades not to enter this dwarven temple and takes a step towards the now motionless statue himself. Nothing happens.

The cleric then continues to scout the chamber and finds another door, labeled „the chamber of mysteries“ in dwarven runes, leading out of this temple. Just as he is about to open this door, Caid´s curiosity gets the better of him and he decides to explore the chamber despite his friend´s warning.
Using his cloak of arachnida, he spiderclimbs the ceiling, thinking that he can thus stay out of reach of the wicked stone hammers of the guardian golem. Much to his dismay, the construct just walks up the ceiling as if it were ground and slams the trespasser heavily with his hammerhand! Caid, still reeling from the blow which almost killed him, drops to the floor and quickly tumbles out of the room the next instant.

Torgar, muttering „Why does no one ever listen to me?“, gets back to the wounded Caid and heals him after a long sermon on the consequences of despoiling dwarven holy sites.

The cleric then continues to the chamber of mysteries. Therein, he finds a emerald the size of an egg dangling on a silver chain. The whole 30´room is bathed in an eerie light and smells of soft earth and loam. Torgar touches the stone and falls in a 3-minute trance, having visions of his ancestors and being filled with a deep knowledge and understanding of his heritage afterward.

In the rooms beyond this chamber, which he scouts alone, he finds two locked doors and a great dwarven feasting hall lined with a kitchen, storage rooms and some smaller chambers. All of these rooms seem to have been deserted and undisturbed for a very long time. Finding nothing more of interest and being unable to open the locks of the two closed doors, Torgar returns to his waiting comrades.

(3/11/04 3:50 am)
The Hydra
Torgar reports his findings to his comrades.

The party then sets out to explore the last natural tunnel leading out of the orc caves area.

After some bends, the tunnel opens up into a large and long cavern with irregular walls. Caid scouts ahead while his comrades stay in the tunnel entrance. Just as the halfling is about to signal that the area is safe, what seemed to be a pile of boulders near the northeastern wall begins to shake and 8 gigantic snakelike heads rise out of it!

Shouting “A hydra! A hydra is here!”, Caid runs back to the relative safety of his comrades before the huge beast lashes out at him.

The ground trembles as the Hydra charges. Andrin and P´tah move to block its way, while Kubelick inspires the latter to greatness with a song. Battle is joined.

What follows is a very confusing, seemingly futile and deadly fight. Whenever Andrin or P´tah successfully severe one of the beast´s heads, two more grow out of the stump within mere seconds! It almost seems as if the creature is getting stronger with every hit! Caid´s arrows hardly seem to do any damage against the reptilian body of the hydra and its wounds close with amazing speed whilst the fighters are severely torn by the multitude of bites!

In desperation, Torgar calls down a flame strike upon the wriggling mass, and the burnt stumps do not sprout new snakes. The fighters press their attack and Kubelick, Caid and Torgar use up their alchemist fires and spells to seal the wounds their comrades inflict. This new tactic finally brings the beast down.

The heroes, totally exhausted and badly wounded, decide to rest. They return to the dwarven temple area and set up camp in the hallway just behind the main doors with the pit trap.

(3/11/04 4:08 am)
Meanwhile, back in Verbobonc ....
Katala has teleported to Verbobonc with the chained Tal Chammish and handed the drug dealer over to the authorities.

While trying to buy some scrolls and checking on the progress of Caid´s commissioned resizing of a mithral shirt by a local armoursmith, the mage tries her luck at some information gathering.

As Katala was born the daughter of a rich merchant in Greyhawk, she does not have the subtle skills of a rogue or bard in this field. Instead, she relies on her warm personality, some coins spent on drinks in taverns and plain and simple asking around.

She does not notice that a nondescript woman in a dark cloak has been following her progress through the swarming marketplace for the last twenty minutes ...

The last thing she feels is a sudden and intense stab of pain in her side.

(3/12/04 4:46 am)
Internal strife!
After an undisturbed night of sleep in the dwarven halls, P´tah gains a level of experience, bringing the party composition to:

Andrin human male CN fighter 8
Caid halfling male CN sorceror/rogue 1/9
(Katala) human female CG wizard 9 (currently dead)
Kubelick human male CN bard 9
P´tah human male CN fighter 6/barbarian 1
Torgar dwarven male LG cleric of Clangeddin 10

Backtracking to the hydra cave, the heroes follow the tunnel leading south. Shortly after a bend, the tunnel opens to another natural cave. A distant light can be seen shining down some steps at the other end of this cave.

Caid also notices some anomalies in the tunnel wall near the bend. A careful search reveils a secret door to the southwest.

Not wanting to arouse the attention of whichever creatures are the source of the torchlight, the party enters a dark hallway behind the secret door and closes the door again. To the heroes dismay, they canot find a way to operate the secret door from this side. There is no going back.

Torgar recognizes the area: This is part of the dwarven temple complex southeast of the temple proper which he had explored yesterday.

Caid immediately sets out to pick the locks of the interesting-looking reinforced iron doors to the west. His trap-sensing skills were again fooled by the superior dwarven craftsmanship, however! Just as the Halfling hears the reassuring “click” of the successfully picked second lock, a huge block of stone crashes down from the ceiling, burying him under tons of stone.

With the help of a stone shape spell the unconscious rogue is pulled out. “How often must I tell you to be CAREFUL in these halls, Caid?” Torgar mutters as he heals the dying halfling, “These halls were built by my kin and not some human meddlers in stonework!”.

Finally, the rest of the stone rubble is cleared and the party advances into what is obviously the treasury of the Moradin temple: A square dais, bearing the symbol of Moradin on all sides, rests in the middle of this chamber with some sparkling objects on top of it. Three big ironbound trunks line the back of the room.

“Don´t touch anything, this might be a holy reliquary of some kind!” Torgar shouts as he sees the greedy glint in his comrades´ eyes.

But he is too late: While P´tah heeds his words and stays outside the chamber, Kubelick grabs a golden urn and Caid reaches for a small statue of Moradin of the same material. Andrin passes the two on his way to the chests.

“Put that DOWN!” The dwarf shouts, his face getting red.
Caid instead pockets the golden statue and grabs a small box with inlaid dwarven figures, while Kubelick shakes the urn, hoping for the sound of coins inside.

Andrin tries to open the first trunk, but it is locked.

"What are you DOING!?" Shouts the dwarf as Kubelick blows into the urn and some ashes come out, covering his face.

This insolence is too much for Torgar and he starts to cast a hold person spell to stop the transgressors. Caid is quicker to react, however, and tries to interfere with his comrades´ spellcasting with a strike from his sap!

Before more blows are exchanged, P´tah tries to calm the hotheaded combatants. “Stop it! You call yourselves FRIENDS?!! There are enough enemies out there without us turning on ourselves!”

A heated discussion breaks out. Caid and Kubelick want to keep the loot for themselves, but the stubborn dwarf claims that these treasures belong to the church of Moradin and should not be taken from this holy place. Besides, he will not continue to fight alongside “comrades” who desecrate dwarven sites and attack him! Unless they both apologize and hand their treasures over to him, he will walk out through the golem-guarded temple to the north and leave them here to rot!

As neither side gives in, Torgar finally takes the silver-bound holy book with him (“This, at least, shall not fall into the hands of ignorant fools!”) and marches out to meditate by the Moradin altar.

Caid wordlessly helps Andrin to open the locks on the trunks and they discover 9000 gold pieces of ancient dwarven coinage.

Kubelick follows Torgar north and enters the chamber of mysteries with P´tah on his tail. There he sees the strange gemstone which supposedly granted Torgar deep insights. Curious, Kubelick touches the stone. As soon as the human bard´s fingers make contact, his mind is flooded with the strangest visions! These alien thoughts are too much for him, and his thinking becomes clouded.

“What is it? You look strange … is everything okay?” Is all that P´tah can say before Kubelick´s face is suddenly contorted by hate and he casts a hold person on his friend.

The unsuspecting fighter easily succumbs to Kubelicks magic and freezes on the spot. Totally helpless, he awaits his doom at the hands of the hateful bard.

Instead of running him through with his shortsword, Kubelick suddenly shrieks in fear and runs away, his hasty steps taking him into the Moradin temple.

Torgar, who had just started meditating, turns his head at this sound and sees the bard running straight towards the waiting golem and certain doom.

The first stroke of the stone dwarven hammerhand sends Kubelick reeling.

“Moradin destroys transgressors”, indeed! ,thinks the cleric, but he is nevertheless moved by pity for his former friend. Another stroke like this will kill him! Casting an air walk on himself, Torgar rushes in.

The golem´s eyes begin to glow and Kubelicks motions become slower. Before more damage is done, Torgar grabs his comrade from behind and walks him up into the center of the chamber, some 15´ off the ground and hopefully out of reach of the temple guardian´s hammers.

The still confused bard futilely strains to break Torgars hold on him, but he is carried back into the safety of chamber of mysteries.

After Kubelicks confusion and P´tahs paralysis have worn off, both the bard and Caid apologize for their misbehaviour and hand over the looted temple treasures to Torgar. Gruffily, the cleric heals Kubelick´s wounds and sets out to open the secret door from the outside.

P´tahs suggestion to head back to Rastor and await Katala´s return there is accepted by all and the party arrives in the ghost-town during early afternoon. They set up camp in the temple cellars again and the eving passes without Katala showing up.

“Maybe she is doing some of this magical research of hers” suggests P´tah and the comrades decide to wait another day.

Edited by: grimbold at: 3/12/04 8:56 am
Night Beast
(3/12/04 9:20 am)
Re: Internal strife!
Wow, I thought that was the end! I'm glad they came to a resolution. Poor Katala. :)

(3/12/04 9:33 am)
alignment affairs
Well, this is exactly what happens when you put a lawful stubborn dwarf in a group consisting mostly of chaotic selfish individualists.

They should be VERY glad that Torgar is lawful good and not lawful neutral :evil :evil :evil

I like those tensions in the group, though. They make up for some interesting and fun roleplaying!

(3/12/04 9:55 am)
Meanwhile, back in Verbobonc (part II)
The Verbobonc city guard has been investigating yesterday´s mysteriuos marketplace-murder.

An unknown stocky female with short red hair was found dead, her kidney expertly punctured by a stabbing weapon. Although the murder must have taken place in broad daylight with numerous people present at the crime location, no witnesses for the killing could be found.

The murder victim was clad in expensive, if a bit travelworn clothes and carried some rings and strange amulets as well as a holy symbol of Boccob and a brooch with the rune of the Greyhawk mages guild.

As the commanding officer of the city guard did not want to meddle in the affairs of wizards, the corpse and its belongings were taken to the Silver Consortium with its adjoining temple of Boccob for identification.

After detecting a considerable amount of valuable magical items on the body (and thus assuring that the clerical spellcasting services could indeed be payed by the deceased or her heirs), the corpse is subjected to a speak with dead spell:

Who are you?
- A wizard.

Do you have relatives or friends in Verbobonc?
- No.

Who should be notified in the case of your death?
- The local temple of Boccob. They should help me, I would compensate them.

A knowing smile appears on Quintus Petrifonius´ lips as he finishes talking to the unnamed wizards´s corpse. Only a true follower of Boccob would immediately think of some “compensation” to counter the god´s uncaring aspect. And a proper compensation for the temple of the Lord of all Magicks would of course mean magical items …

As a first measure, the Canon preserves this generous corpse with a gentle repose. It is time to call in some favours from the temple of Trithereon, it seems!

Quintus himself is more of a sage than a cleric and thus unable to perform the raising himself. This would be quite costly … better have the magical trinkets identified first…

Edited by: grimbold at: 3/12/04 9:57 am
(3/25/04 3:47 am)
Divinations & discoveries
After an uneventful, if a bit cold night spent in the cellars of the Moradin temple in Rastor, Katalas´ comrades prepare their spells and weapons so they can head back to the mines as soon as the lazy wizard decides to teleport in.

“She probably just wanted to spend another night in a comfortable bed with a hearty breakfast instead of joining us here in the damp cellar with iron rations”, muses Caid as he takes a bite off his cold and tasteless beef jerky.

Hours pass.

“I hope for her sake that she has a GOOD excuse for this delay!” growls Torgar at noon. Finally, he casts a sending. The cleric´s face grows pale when he finds that he is unable to contact their comrade.

His concern is shared by the others as he tells them the news. Something must have happened to their friend or some unknown force is preventing their means of communication!

The heroes decide to wait for Katala in Rastor until next morning. If she does not appear by then, Torgar will memorize divinatory magicks to learn of her fate.

The day and following night drag on, but the wizard does not appear.

Torgar finally casts some divinations in the early morning and finds out the following:

Katala is dead.
She has been killed by the forces they oppose.
Her body is in Verbobonc.
She can be revived.

After a quick discussion, the party decides to set out for Verbobonc immediately. Not wanting their prized stalwart eye to fall into the hands of their enemies, they take a detour via the northern gate complex to collect it.

Here they find a strange set of tracks in the freshly fallen snow: Apparently, a medium sized humanoid has left the CRM just hours ago! Strangely, the size and form of its left and right footprints do not match and it seems to have dragged the smaller foot behind…

Caid quickly climbs up and collects the hidden stalwart eye into his bag of holding. The companions finally begin their long march to Verbobonc, cursing their cruel fate and the marauding band of ogres who have eaten their horses some weeks ago.

After an uneventful day spent on the road trotting through incessant snowfall, the heroes stumble upon a grisly sight: About a dozen human and dwarven corpses, some of them children´s, litter the road with black arrows protruding from them. They are soon identified as the group of refugees from Rastor.

The party then buries these dead, makes camp for the night and sets watches.

Edited by: grimbold at: 3/25/04 3:48 am
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