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Lord Yod
Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/29/04 11:59 pm)
Lord Yod's campaign log
Just ended the first session of my Sunday campaign, thought I'd start up a campaign log.

The cast:

Maryjane Underwillow - Female Halfling Rogue 4
Glenithnole - Male Elf Wizard 4
Wendel Hawkfield - Male Human Paladin 4 (Heironeus)
Balim Toknooth - Male Dwarf Cleric 4 (Moradin)
Balmek Fruthban - Male Dwarf Monk 4

The hooks:

Maryjane & Glenithnole: These two were members of a party that split up in Verbobonc after selling their loot and buying new gear. While staying at the inn, Maryjane received a letter from her cousin, who lives in Hommlet. The letter didn't mention anything specific, but it said that 'Evil is growing' in and around Hommlet. Glenithnole came along to help his friend out.

Balim & Balmek: Balim is a cleric of Moradin, and has been sent on a quest by the church hierarchy to recover the artifacts from the dwarven temple in the CRM. (Tulian's Eye, mainly, but also the golem.) Balmek is a warrior monk from an order I created called the Fists of Moradin, sent along as backup to the more-than-capable cleric.

Wendel Hawkfield: The paladin is a servant of Heironeus, and IMC his church is closely tied with the Furyondian government. Additionally, Thrommel is a legendary paladin of Heironeus, to further tie him in. The church and the state have given up on finding Thrommel, but they haven't stopped looking for the sword Fragarach. Being an artifact, they know it won't simply rust away - it's simply lost. So every few years during a slow period, they send a few warriors out to look for it.

-Lord Yod

Lord Yod
Ebon Hand Cultist
(3/1/04 1:11 am)
Re: Session 1
Our story begins at dawn, in Hommlet. The party had all arrived at varying times the night before, and they were just now waking up. While Balim, Balmek, and Wendel each meditated/prayed separately, Glenithnole went to the common room in search of some breakfast. Maryjane, on the other hand, left the Inn of the Welcome Wench to scope out the town. While walking about town, she noticed the large number of temples that it held. After purchasing several loaves of bread from Papa's Bakery, she returned to the inn just as the others were coming to the common room. They each took their meals at separate tables - Balmek and Balim, Glenithnole and Maryjane, and Wendel alone.

Not long after Wendel sat down, a rather short, greasy-looking human walked in and sat in the corner. After ordering his food, he said no more.

A few minutes passed in relative quiet, with only the halfling and the elf speaking to each other in low tones. Then the door opens again, and in walks a large, middle-aged man in chainmail. He orders a cup of chai, and sits down facing all the newcomers.

"Howdy, strangers. My name's Elmo, and I'm the sheriff around here," he starts. After introductions are made, he warns them that he'll brook no troublemakers in his town. The strangers all become quite verbose describing the degree to which they weren't troublemakers. Balim in particular made it clear that he was only there to do good. Elmo of course was more than happy to see a cleric of Moradin, as they're known for they're honorable behaviour.

After nearly 10 minutes of this, the door slammed open and a 10 year old girl ran in, tears streaming. Elmo of course recognizes her as Spugnoir's daughter, Renne. In between sobs, she manages to get out that her father has been missing, but little else.

Wendel managed to comfort the girl, and she explains that her father still thinks he's young, and goes rooting around in the moathouse every so often. When asked how old her father was, she replied 'Oh, he must be at least 80!'

Elmo asked the various strangers if they - seeing as they were fighters for justice and all - would mind going off to look for Spugnoir, as he was probably just down in the moathouse. The party all agreed to go wholeheartedly. After a little more questioning, the party decided on a plan of action. Then the greasy-looking man stood up and walked over. Introducing himself as Chatrilon, he offered to help out, professing some knowledge of the area. The party readily agreed, and they each went to prepare for travel.

While the warriors were donning their armor, Maryjane and Glenithnole went to Spugnoir's Potion Shop to look for any clues. After speaking with Heunar, the dwarven security guard, they determine that he really is just missing on a little adventure.

The party meets up at the inn, and they set off for the moathouse. Along the way, Maryjane scouts ahead for any beasts. Chatrilon regaled the party with poorly-told stories of his quests, including 'the time I killed a dragon' and 'the vampire king'. Meanwhile, Balim was singing the praises of Moradin, which understandably grew a little distracting.

Approximately 3/4 of the journey, the main party saw a man step out onto the road ahead of them. Riding up to him, they figure him for a trapper of some sort, due to the pelts and such on his pack mule. He introduces himself as Ol' Del, and talks to the party about the land around them. They tell him about Renne, Spugnoir, and the moathouse, and he says, 'Oh, you'll be wantin to stay 'way from thar, thar be dang-ole dragons in thar! I seen one myself, just two weeks ago!' The party figure him for a crazy fool, especially as Chat calls him more than a little senile.

They continued on their way to the moathouse, eventually getting there around 2 pm. They tied up their horses(ponies/dogs/whatevers) at a stand of trees about 200 yards from the moathouse, and continue in on foot.

Balmek and Wendel in the lead, the party ventures in to the courtyard of the moathouse after a cursory examination from outside. After scoping out the courtyard and noticing the blood, Maryjane decides to check out the door. She moves quietly, but not quietly enough. Utreshimon hears her easily (rolled a nat 20), and crouches down at the rear of the room, ready to charge. Maryjane cracks open the door, and somehow manages to spot the dragon quickly enough to slam the door and dive to the side. Not one second later, the dragon flew straight through the door and landed on the stairs, using its breath weapon and hitting both Maryjane and Balmek.

2nd round, Maryjane drew her crossbow and shot at the dragon, but to no effect. Glenithnole shot it with a magic missile, and Big U responded by doing a flyby attack at him and then hovering. Chatrilon moved to the side, and figuring this for the best possible time to disable a party, started to study the cleric from behind. The cleric paused to cast protection from evil, as the rest of the party took cover from Big U's breath weapon.

3rd round, MJ shoots at Big U again, and Glenithnole fires off a charge from his wand of magic missile, both of them do decent damage. Big U responds by landing right in front of Glen and attacking, goring him for more than half his health.

As the dragon had finally landed, Balim, Wendel, and Balmek moved in to melee range with it, though only Balmek managed to hit it.

4th round, MJ moves into melee range, Glen backs up and fires off another magic missile from the wand. The dragon doesn't like this at all, and proceeds to hit him with a line of lightning, disabling him. (Somehow, Glen made his save and only got knocked to -6) Balim and Balmek proceed to beat on the dragon, who starts to realize that this may mean trouble. Wendel whiffs again with his mercurial greatsword. Chatrilon sneakily used his wand of invisibility, and sneaks up behind the cleric.

5th round, MJ gets a weak sneak attack in, Glen stabilizes, and Big U does a full attack, leveling Balmek the monk. Balim continues to strike with his warhammer, while Wendel whiffs one more time. Chatrilon moved in to attack the cleric with a sneak attack, but tripped on a rock and fell, alerting all to his presence.

6th round, MJ attacks Chat, Big U attacks Wendel and Balim, they both miss. Chat attacks MJ, misses. Balim decides the dragon is the bigger priority, and continues to attack. Deals max damage. Wendel misses again. (!)

7th round, MJ attacks Chat and gets a big sneak attack in. Big U decides it's time to head for the tower, and flies off to wait for his breath to come back. Balim attacks Chat and deals little damage. Wendel heals Glen, who stands up, coughs, and uses his wand once more on the dragon. Chat tumbles away from the halfling and the cleric, and uses his wand to disappear.

8th round, MJ grabs her crossbow and shoots at Big U, scoring a critical. Glen fires again with his wand, and that was the straw that broke the camel's back. With a horrible scream, Utreshimon falls to the ground near Balmek the monk. Balim casts cure light wounds on Balmek, bringing him back. Wendel begain focusing his detect evil ability to look for Chat.

The party spent a few minutes listening carefully for the assassin, but they couldn't hear him when he snuck up behind Balmek and slew him with a death attack. (Player only needed a 6, too...) He attempted to escape, but he couldn't run fast enough to evade the avenging paladin Wendel, who managed to roll an amazing critical of 68 points (!) with his masterwork mercurial greatsword. Smite Evil helped too.

Balim was incredibly upset that his friend and companion Balmek had been slain, and set off immediately back to town in order to have the monk raised. The rest of the party stayed behind to gather enough treasure to pay for it.

They searched the ground level of the moathouse, finding the two dead bodies in the hall, as well as their equipment. They searched the rest of the level, but missed everything fromt he other rooms.

Finding the stairs down, Glen cast invisibility on MJ, who proceeded to scout downstairs. She saw the two gnoll guards, who were dressed in matching suits of mail and holy symbols, and retreated to tell the others.

At this point it was decided that the party would leave the dungeon as it was without entering it, in order to sell the treasure to pay for the raise dead for Balmek. The wizard gathered some body parts from the dragon, including the head(!), and the party left for Hommlet. At this point, the sun was setting.

At about that time, Balim arrived back in Hommlet with his dead compatriot. Heading to the church of Pelor, he waited as Yether the Keen went through the end of day rituals that his religion requires, and then explained his problem. Yether offered to cast a preservation spell on the body, in return for a small favor. He explained that his close friend, Jaroo the druid, had been acting very strangely lately, not himself at all. Yether suspected Jaroo's apprentice Yundi of mischief, though he had no idea what. Balim said he would gladly look into it, and Yether took Balmek's body to perform the ritual.

He then proceeded to the inn, to wait for the rest of the party to arrive. They got there around midnight, which is where we wrapped up.

DM notes:
-Holy moly, 6d8 line of lighting, reflex half!?!?! That first blast nearly took out two of the big damage dealers of the party, and they made their saves!
-Chatrilon's a lot more impressive if you don't roll a bunch of 1's.
-So is Utreshimon.
-For some reason, the wizard didn't cast any buff spells at all, figuring to save them for later.
-Forgot to add the party's alignments: Glenithnole is NG, Maryjane is CG, the other three are LG.

-Lord Yod, who was simply ecstatic that he got to use his new battlemat this session.

(3/1/04 11:13 am)
Excellent write up. Welcome to the boards. The minions of Tharizdun are always looking for more PC's to eat.

Ebon Hand Cultist
(3/4/04 6:49 am)
Re: Welcome!
Very good, I'm just starting this campaign as well, and its cool to read an adventure log that's just a little bit ahead of where I am. looking forwward to reading more.

"Laugh it up fuzzball...!"

Night Beast
(3/4/04 7:15 am)
Re: Lord Yod's campaign log
Why would Chat not help out the party against the dragon? They are not on the same side normally. Did you change something? Quite honestly, I'm still wondering how the party survived at all. I'm guessing it was entirely luck. Anyway, thanks for the writeup and I look forward to reading more! :)

Lord Yod
Ebon Hand Cultist
(3/4/04 9:39 am)
Re: Lord Yod's campaign log
Chat and Big U weren't on the same side, but neither wanted the party to advance further. Chat figured that the best time to turn on the party would be during the fight with the dragon. (I never actually intended for him to get that far with the party, as I was expecting detect evil's left and right from the paladin.)

And frankly, I thought that the two of them together would be WAY too difficult for my party, so I toned things down a bit. Big U in particular had a serious advantage, as only 2 people had ranged weapons.... I had to work pretty hard not to turn this fight into a TPK. It probably would have, too, if I hadn't rolled a 1 for Chat's death attack on the cleric.

-Lord Yod, who thinks that dealing with a 6d8 breath weapon and a 5d6 sneak attack in the same fight might be a bit excessive...

Lord Yod
Ebon Hand Cultist
(3/8/04 3:48 pm)
Day 2
Wrapped up my second session yesterday. The party covered a good section of the moathouse, and now have only the obelisk section and the ghoul caves, neither of which they've found.

Several of the players were a bit late arriving, so I ran an interlude scene with Balim, the dwarven cleric of Moradin.
(Late evening of day 1)

Balim waited at the Temple of Pelor for a number of hours, as Yether's spell was a slow process. He spent the time meditating on their previous experience in this quest, and reflecting on his own actions.

Not long before midnight, Yether came out into the main hall of the temple, where Balim was waiting. The human looked rather a bit worse for wear, as if he had been exerting himself greatly.

"The task is done, my friend," the priest said. "However, I must tell you that I am unable to grant a resurrection for your friend. For that, you must go to the church of St. Cuthbert, and speak with Canoness Y'dey."

Balim thanked the priest for the direction, and promised to look into the situation with Jaroo soon. He then asked if something was wrong with the spell, as the priest looked weary.

"It was more difficult then normal," he said. He looked puzzled. "It was as if something was blocking my magic. Let us pray that it this mystery is solved soon."

With that, the priest bade Balim good night. Balim left the temple and went to the church of St. Cuthbert. There, only Derim was awake. After Balim explained things, Derim left to fetch Calmer, who arrived shortly.

Balim explained his quest to the priest, and asked if he might arrange a meeting with the Canoness in the morning to obtain a raising for Balmek the monk. Calmer was quite sympathetic, and agreed to tell the Canoness about it. Balim was told to return in the morning with his companion.

With that, Balim returned to the inn for a much-needed night of rest.


The next morning, after performing his devotions to Moradin, Balim returned with his companion's corpse to the church. There he met Canoness Y'dey, who was rather famous for her part during the uprising of the Temple of Elemental Evil.

After introducing himself, Balim proceeded to relate his tale. He told the priestess of the party's search for Spugnoir, of the assassin Chatrilon Unosh, and of the dragon Utreshimon. He then asked if she could resurrect his companion, so that they could continue their search.

She said that raising someone from the dead is not something undertaken lightly, and usually requires a donation of some kind. While they aren't exactly merchants, she relates, they can't go around handing them out for free either.

Balim then pledges himself to her, to perform whatever service she shall require, in lieu of payment. (And the player rolled a 20 on his diplomacy check...)

Seeing him to be of good intentions, not to mention what she has heard about him, Y'dey decides that his is a worthy cause, and tells him that she will raise Balmek in return for a quest.

She tells him: "Many years ago, when I was in a party such as you are now, I had a companion named Firre Oranac. He was a skilled warrior, and was instrumental in our triumph. After I became Canoness here, he moved back to the Kron Hills, where he was from originally."

"Then, a few years ago, he disappeared. I traveled there to look into the matter, and couldn't find anything untoward. At the time, it appeared as if he had been killed in battle. However, his sister Evelyn has sent me this letter, which arrived just last week. It told of terrible nightmares that she was experiencing, and all of them focused on Firre. She couldn't get more specific than that, I'm afraid."

"Find the gnome Firre Oranac. Either find him, or his body, or at least tell us of his fate. Do this for me, and I will raise your friend."

Balim swore an oath, to undertake this quest for the priestess. She told him to return in two hours, and his friend would be alive.

The dwarf left, to return to the inn and gather his comrades.
(I should point out that I really hadn't intended anybody to get killed in the first 2 hours, let alone that it was the most inexperienced player. Most of these scenes were to give them a way to get the monk back, and tie in Firre later on.)

The party, having taken stock of supplies and such, readied their gear and left for the church. They picked up Balmek, expressing their happiness to see him alive once more. Then, they set off for the Moathouse once more.

Maryjane, the halfling rogue, was scouting ahead about 100 yards, and thus saw the ankheg ahead of time. Wendel, on the other hand, couldn't avoid making a clatter like a one-man-band, so the ankheg new there was food on the way.

The ankheg charged and managed to grab Balmek in its jaws, but the monk pried its mouth open and leapt free. He then sidestepped, leaving open shots for Maryjane and Glenithnole. Wendel came in for a charge, and it was finished...

Approaching the moathouse, the party tied up their horses (ok, 2 horses, 2 ponies, and a dog) about 100 yards back, just off the main trail. They then proceeded up to the drawbridge, and held there while Maryjane scouted invisibly.

The first thing she noticed was that the body of Chat the assassin was missing. The second was that the door, which had been flung open by the dragon, was now shut.

As she was scouting, Balim cast bull's strength on Balmek the monk, and Glenithnole did the same on Wendel the paladin.

She proceeded to the door, and heard some gutteral barking noises within. Making hand signals to the wizard Glenithnole, who had cast see invisibility on himself earlier, she communicated that they were not alone. Glenithnole passed the word along, and the party moved into the courtyard in preparation for taking the main hall.

Then, two things happened: Balmek heard a scuffle coming from the tower above them, and Wendel tripped over a brick. Instantly, they all knew they were caught. Those that were looking saw a dog-like head peek around the doorway of the tower, ducking back just as quick. They had only a moment to react before a harsh outcry was heard from within.

Wendel the paladin and Balmek the monk charged into the tower, and met with two gnolls inside. As the rest of the party covered them, Balim noticed the main door open a crack, and shot his crossbow blindly within - somehow scoring a hit! (Rolled another 20, damn him!)

Wendel quickly dispatched the first gnoll, but Balmek had some trouble with his. Glenithnole moved to the center of the courtyard, in order to get a clear shot with his magic missile wand. Then, the doors slammed open and 4 gnolls charged out, quickly forming a line in front of the cleric and the wizard. Maryjane, seeing her opportunity, quickly advanced and skewered one of the gnolls invisibly. Glenithnole struck the remaining gnoll facing him with a mighty blow, killing him with one stroke. (Criticals are fun)

Balim struck one of the gnolls facing him, (the one he had previously shot) and killed him. Wendel and Balmek together killed the remaining gnoll in the tower, and Glenithnole and Maryjane brought down the single remaining foe.

Balim sacrificed several spells for healing while Maryjane scouted out the main hall for remaining guards. Finding none, the party moved into the main hall so the halfling could scout further.

Glenithnole used the wand they had found on Chat to cast invisibility on Maryjane the rogue. Maryjane then proceeded to sneak down the stairs... However, she tripped on the second step, (rolled a 1 on move silently) and rolled in a heap to the south wall in room 18.

In this room, she saw a troglodyte (Ysslansh), a well-equipped gnoll (Garrick), and several regular gnolls. (None of the enemies could see Maryjane, but they all heard her.) Ysslansh immediately cast Protection from Good on Garrick, who ordered the gnolls to find the intruder. The gnolls spread out, waving their axes about in an effort to find the halfling, but all failed.

Wendel, knowing his companion was in trouble, charged down the stairs to enter melee with Garrick. Enjoying higher ground, he struck the evil ranger mightily with his mercurial greatsword.

Balmek, not to be outdone by a human, moved to Wendel's side and peppered the ranger with his fists severely.

Glenithnole moved to the top of the stairs and cast magic missile at the evil cleric Ysslansh. This, unfortunately, was enough to enrage the troglodyte. The stench he produced was nigh-legendary, reducing both Glenithnole the wizard and Balmek the monk, as well as two gnolls, to nauseated wrecks.

Maryjane, still invisible, moved to engage a gnoll at the foot of the stairs, slaying him in one blow. Ysslansh moved forward to engage the halfling, but missed. Garrick attacked Wendel the paladin with both of his swords, wounding him. The remaining gnolls moved in, and one attacked Balmek, doing minimal damage.

Wendel responded to the evil ranger, chopping his head off with one clean stroke. (Mercurial greatswords are just awesome when they crit, eh?) Balmek decimated the gnoll facing him, while Maryjane engaged Ysslansh. Then the party noticed the door to the east open, and 3 skeletons walked out, followed by a female human in clerical robes.

Balim immediately attempted to turn them, but to no avail. Glenithnole drew his sword and moved to engage the undead. (!) Balmek moved forward to the other two skeletons, bashing one of them to pieces.

Wendel moved to Ysslansh, and struck him with his greatsword. Ysslansh, sensing the end was near, moved back and cast a cure light wounds on himself. It didn't help much, as Maryjane shot him with her crossbow, in the head. (Damn criticals...)

One of the skeletons hit Glenithnole for a scratch, and he responded by tapping it with his sword. Balim moved in and crushed it with his warhammer. Balmek destroyed the last remaining skeleton on his own. Seeing her minions dispatched so easily, Gren retreated to area 24, slamming the door behind her. (I added some extra skeletons here, though she didn't bolster them)

The party took a moment to heal up, and then Balim and Wendel immediately charged after her. Wendel's sword was shining like a torch from the light spell cast by Glenithnole.

Balim opened the door from the side, allowing Wendel to charge in directly at the ogre-sized skeleton within. This turned out to be the perfect plan, as the paladin used his smite evil ability and shattered the undead with one blow. (48 pts of damage...)

The rest of the party moved in to the room, and saw that there were 3 more skeletons and the cleric Gren to deal with. Balim turned the skeletons, and they each immediately turned to dust. Wendel and Balmek moved in on the cleric and quickly dispatched her.

The party examined the door to the south, (room 25) but the room was empty. They then proceeded to explore south to the prison area (21). Balim encountered a ghast, and even though the entire party converged on it, it still took nearly a minute to kill. However, it only hit Balim once.

The party took a moment to take stock of things, and Maryjane and Glenithnole checked out the doors on the west side. (rooms 19 and 20) Inside the second room, they found Spugnoir, who by this time had gone nearly mad from being couped up so long. (He never had a chance to escape past the cultists.)

Wendel managed to get the sorcerer calmed down, and he related his tale. He had been stuck in the dungeon for days, as first the dragon showed up and trapped them all, and then the cultists blocked his escape. Balim healed him, and he offered to join them to rid the temple of the cultists. The party readily accepted his offer, though Glenithnole never stopped keeping an eye on him.

The main party stayed to search the bodies, while Maryjane started looking for doors. She found one in the east wall of room 24, which she then explored, discovering the layout of areas 26 and 27 before returning to report to the party. They moved forward to area 27, and the rogue proceeded to scout to area 30, backed up by Balmek the monk. They then scouted area 29, and 28. In all, they found nobody.

However, in area 30, they discovered a number of disheveled beds, along with some other living supplies. They discovered Geynor Ton's iron box, and Maryjane took only minimal damage from the glyph of warding getting it open. Within they found assorted treasure, as well as the evil cleric's journal. The rogue and the monk returned with their find to the party in area 27, where they are holed up.

DM Notes:

-The party had a much harder time fighting the gnolls then they did fighting the dragon and the assassin. What a difference rolling 5 straight 18's makes!

-Obviously I changed the layout of the enemies a bit. I decided that since they gave the cult the night to get ready, they moved some gnolls around, as well as rearranging where the clerics were. Geynor Ton left for Hommlet around midnight, so he will be arriving with reinforcements during the next session.

-Mercurial greatswords are cool. Makes me think of Nightmare from Soulcaliber II.

-The spellcasters graciously cast their buff spells this time, making things much easier for the fighters.

-My party will never trust an NPC again, after Chat. :)

-Lord Yod, who's just itching in anticipation of setting a grell or two on the PC's...

Lord Yod
(3/16/04 11:30 pm)
Day 2, Part II
[We had to end before completing the moathouse in the last session, so we continued from here. The party had just regrouped in area 27 of the moathouse. Also, I had decided that since the dragon was dead, Ysslansh had sent Geynor Ton to town for some reinforcements. He arrived around midnight, and left an hour or two after the party.]

Glenithnole and Balim sat down to examine the journal that they had found in the priests' bunkroom(area 31). Maryjane and Balmek, not wanting to wait around, went to explore area 28, finding a gnoll barracks. They found some assorted small change, but nothing of real value.

Maryjane sat down to examine each of the three doors on the east wall. She searched them for traps, and finding none she opened them each. The first and third rooms had only some musty old sacks strewn about among the rat droppings. The middle door, however, was fake - and also trapped, for as soon as it was opened, the party heard a loud crash from the rear.

Balim the cleric and Wendel the paladin took off running to find out what the clatter was, only to discover that there was now a grate blocking their exit.

They returned to the group and reported this. The party each looked at each other, and mutually decided to move on. And so, with Balmek and Maryjane in the lead, they went to the cleric's bunkroom and examined the doors there - none trapped, none locked. Opening them, they find two closets containing almost 6 weeks of rations, a few coils of rope, a couple of lanterns, and some bedrolls, along with a door leading south. The party then prepares itself, and they move south, first exploring the branch to the southeast. Finding the passage blocked by stone that didn't match the rest of the area, (area 35) the party continued south.

Luckily Maryjane was scouting ahead, as she was able to give warning to her comrades - there were two ghasts waiting on the stairs to the south. These closed in, and immediately attacked the halfling, who fell to their paralyzing touch.

Luckily for her, Balmek, Wendel, and Balim came charging in and made quick work of the undead. They waited for her to recover, and took the time to heal themselves a touch.

Turning west, they traveled down a short corridor and found a crypt chamber, with numerous ghouls inside. Maryjane shot one with a crossbow bolt, and they charged in at her - bringing them into range of Balim and his symbol, a silver Hammer of Moradin. Balim merely invoked his lord's name, and the undead turned to dust.

Exploring this chamber, they found several pits in the ground that looked like ghoul nests. Additionally, they found a tunnel that had been dug out of the wall - the dwarves thought it had been made by the ghouls from the marks. They decided to leave this for later, and instead went back to the stairs down to area 32.

Stepping down into this area, they found a large pit in the ground, over which hung a wooden platform suspended on ropes. Also in the room was a strange statue, and a large stone slab that the party eventually decided was a plug.

Deciding there was nothing for it but to ride down on the platform, the party loaded up. Wendel worked the ropes with his magically-enhanced strength, and down they went, into the darkness.

As they dropped through the shaft, they saw that someone had diverted a stream to pour out through a hole in the side. No doubt the hole opposite was for an outlet, providing a pool if the plug were in place.

Then they dropped another 20 feet, the walls fell away, and they were in utter blackness. That was when they noticed the cold - an unnatural cold, as it was still summer yet, and they weren't far underground.

That was when Glenithnole decided to lean over and look down, which caused him to lose his balance. He then tried to grab one of the ropes to avoid falling, which just made things worse. He was only saved by Balmek, who grabbed him just as he was going over the edge.

Of course, if he hadn't fallen over then he might not have seen the pair of grells coming from below. He only had time to shout a warning, and they were upon the platform, virtually surrounding it.

Spugnoir and Maryjane set upon the grell closest to them with their crossbows, while Balim attempted to strike his without jostling the platform too much. Balmek focused on getting the wizard Glenithnole back on the platform, and Wendel held on to the ropes for dear life.

Then disaster struck: both Spugnoir and Maryjane were struck by numerous tentacles, and both fell to the paralyzation of the grell. The grell, however, only wanted the larger meal, so it let the halfling go as it flew off with the wizard. Not wanting to let this ally get eaten, Glenithnole quickly drew his wand of magic missile and let fly, damaging the grell considerably. On the opposite side of the platform, Balim was struck by several tentacles but managed to stave off the paralyzation, holding the beast steady for Balmek to strike it with a stunning blow.

Glenithnole continued to shoot the first grell with his wand, as the two dwarves continued to attack the second. Wendel tried furiously to lower the platform as fast as he could, wishing he could help defend his comrades and vanquish the aberrations. Finally, he let the platform drop to the floor below, allowing him to ready his sword.

Balim put up an amazing fight, but he finally succumbed to the paralyzing touch of the grell, and Balmek had to work furiously to free his comrade. As Wendel came to his aid, Glenithnole fired a final shot at the mass of tentacles suspending Spugnoir in the air, and they quivered and died, letting the human fall a good 30 feet to the ground.

Only now did the elf realize that the ground was not, in fact, the ground. It was a strange black stone, like marble but without any luster, all shot through with jagged purple vanes. Only when these started to move towards the fallen human did Glenithnole start to worry. He charged across the gap, trying to get his companion back on the platform before he was reached by these... whatevers.

Maryjane, who had finally recovered from her own paralysis, ran out to assist the elf at his heroic task, as Wendel and Balmek made short work of the grell holding Balim.

Finally, the party all made it back to the platform relatively unscathed, and rested for a moment before heading to the other platform that they could see, about 30 feet away to the west.

Wendel took charge of the ropes suspending the platform once more, and the rest of the motley band climbed aboard. As the platform was lowered, they each marvelled at the strange obelisk before them. What could have possibly made such a structure, inside a hole in the ground?

As they neared the bottom, Maryjane and Balmek heard a strange cackling from beneath them, and searched downward to discover a human, dressed in the same clerical robes as those found earlier! He was huddled among the rocks on the southern side of the chamber, and they saw him just in time to drink a potion.

Balmek, never one to waste any time, immediately leapt down and charged to engage the spellcaster. This was a brilliant move, as it gave Wendel time to lower the platform to the ground, thus allowing the others off.

Maryjane moved in to flanking position, and Glenithnole shot the cleric with a magic missile, but Festrath still managed to fly to an overhead position. This, however, only lined him up for a taste of Spugnoir's lightning bolt, which fried him instantly.

The party found themselves at the bottom of a mysteriously cold chamber, filled with things to look at and play with... :)

Continued later....

-One grell just would not be enough; two was barely a challenge, and was only difficult because of the low rolls on the player's part.

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