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Briar Beast
(3/8/04 7:21 am)
Campaign Log: The Vampire Slayers
I figure it's about time that I start keeping a proper log, instead of littering the forum with individual threads after almost every session. So to start it off, I went through the archives (including ZansForCans' Page 21 archive), and collected an index of all of my previous log-like postings to the forum. Many of these are really threads where I ask questions about how to pull off various scenes in my game, but there's enough context in them to get a good background on the game to date.

Chat's tactics vs. Utreshimon
Foreshadowing Thrommel
Reinforcing the Moathouse
Doppleganging a player
Lost Jaroo -- what now?
Would Naquent send a second wave to Hommlet?
A different Nierethi Poscurian thread
Potion of Glibness in Verbobonc stores?
Mereclar's letter from Naquent
I talk too much
Which gate's really easier?
Assault on the main gate
Dueling for pinks in the earth temple?
Long lost descendant of Yan-C-Bin in the Earth Temple?
A nasty turn of events in Rastor
Ideas for the Air Temple/South Gate?
Loose threads dangling
"Radiation Incident" for the 3.5 switch
Identifying the Keys?
First contact from Varachan?
Trogdor the Frostinator
Getting back the Keys and the Sword?
Riu is way underrated
Tessimon killed without firing a shot! (archive)
Missed the Sword of Water (archive)
Side plot: selling the Amulet of Inescapable Location (archive)
Attack of the Demonstone (archive)
How to get a Demonic Arm in advertising... (archive)
The Restocked Earth Temple (archive)
Need background for Demonstone (archive)
PBEM interlude in my campaign (archive)
Thrommel's reaction to Fragarach? (archive)
Coded letter from Varachan to D'Gran (archive)
Need plot idea for alternative party (archive)
Ukemil attacking in Rastor? (archive)
Rewarding the party for the Dwarven temple (archive)
What's next for Hedrack? (archive)
Pushing forward the timeline (archive)
Nierethi Poscurian, Champion of Elemental Evil (archive)
Help with side plot for big beefy barbarian? (archive)
A Death in the family (archive)
The Vampire hits the fan (archive)
Map of the Outer Fane from Varachan (archive)
Two more deaths. (archive)
Where should Thrommel's new coffin go? (archive)
Planar Ally for the good guys (archive)
Jolene, Thrommel, and the King of Furyondy (archive)

Edit: changed links for a few expired messages to point to Zans' page 21 archive, and added archive links for the rest in advance.

Edited by: msherman at: 3/17/04 8:20 am
Briar Beast
(3/8/04 8:49 am)
Escape to Verbobonc
The next few log entries come from a PBEM exchange with Chase and Hamish, when they escaped to Verbobonc with Varachan after the events described in, "The Vampire Hits The Fan."

It's about 2pm on August 19th, when you arrive in the private shrine reserved for ranking priests at the Cathedral of Pelor in Verbobonc. Varachan lies unconscious on the floor, and his as-yet-unnamed slave girl clings weeping to Hamish's leg. Chase stands at the ready, Revenge in hand, just in case.

You are greeted by Father Ormalius, a relatively high ranking staff priest at the Cathedral. "Father Hamish! I am so glad that the scroll reached you in time to facilitate your escape. Your message had us very worried. Here, let me assist your friend."

He begins to cast a healing spell on Varachan, but Hamish quickly interrupts him. "Wait. My friend here is under the effects of mind controlling magic. We must dispel it before reviving him."

"Oh, thank you! That would have been awkward, indeed!" Ormalius casts Detect Magic, to identify the nature of the Domination. Then, he casts Dispel Evil, and touches Varachan. You notice Varachan's neck and shoulder muscles visibly loosen at Ormalius' touch. Ormalius then begins again to cast a curative spell on Varachan.

Varachan raises his head off the ground, and looks about with a bit of confusion. He fixes his gaze on the gleaming golden sunburst medallion hanging on the wall over the altar. He turns his stare first to Ormalius, then to Hamish. "Gods below. Fantastic escape plan you worked out for us there, fools. What in Carceri were you doing hiding in the armoire?"

Ormalius seems shocked by this disrespectful outburst. He looks to Hamish, for guidance in dealing with such blasphemy.

Chase: "We were waiting for you to get rid of that damned vampire, like you said you could. *I* wanted to fly out the chimney. Speaking of vampires, do any of you know just how we're supposed to fight them? I must have skipped basic training the day they covered that."

Varachan looks at Chase with disgust. "Get _rid_ of the vampire? I was pretty clear that that would not be possible, and that our only course of action was to get the hell out of there. The Prince is a Blackguard, for the Eye's sake! He can detect the stench of good at will! I'm sure he tracked Hamish's lingering stench through the Fane like a bloodhound on the trail of a butcher. Personally, I thought your chimney plan was brilliant; I can't for the life of me understand why you ended up in the armoire instead of executing it."

He turns his disdainful gaze towards Hamish, and scoffs. "Perhaps you should consider alternative employment, Chase."

Father Ormalius is completely stunned by this exchange, and that a respected ranking priest of Pelor would be treated with such disrepect in his own cathedral. He takes a moment to catch his breath, and you sense that he must be about to call for the guards to come throw this heathen in irons.

Chase: I gently take Ormalius aside, a little away from Varachan and Hamish. I tell him quietly, "He may be disrespectful and a heathen, but at the moment he's an ally, of sorts, and not a likely threat. And thank you for your timely assistance, we were in quite a bind, and I think we're all still a little jumpy about that."

"Oh, it was our pleasure, Sir Chase. Given the scant details Hamish already shared in the note he sent with the Lantern, I can certainly understand why you'd be a bit on edge! Am I to understand that you were enthralled by a Vampire? How terrible!"

Meanwhile, Hamish then turns his steely glaze upon Varachan and says, "May I remind you that we did in fact save your life at great risk to our own with no demand of payment. While our execution of that escape may not have been as perfect as you would have liked, the fact remains that you are here alive and out of the grasp of the cult."

[ Diplomacy, +8 for Hamish, +2 for Chase's calming presence providing an aid-another bonus, Varachan is currently unfriendly; you need a 15 to make him indifferent, 25 to make him friendly: roll is 18+10=28. Remind me next time I roll a skill check for you, you like my dark green d20. :) ]

Hamish's strong words strike Varachan like a slap to the face. It's almost as though you can see him suddenly realize that the hell he has been living for the past 20 years is finally over. He's free. His jaw almost drops for a moment, as the realization dawns on him. "Oh... yes... of course. I suppose it did work out in the end, now, didn't it? You must please forgive my outburst... that confrontation with the Prince brought up some very bad memories. I can't imagine that's the last we'll be seeing of him; nor of Mas..." He catches himself, and starts again, dropping the honorific. "Nor, I dare say, of Hedrack."

Hamish calls upon Father Ormalius and asks him if he could find some accomodation appropriate for a guest of the temple (and no, that is not double-speak for jail). Father Ormalius is happy to oblige. He steps outside, and sends an acolyte to prepare a guest chamber for Varachan.

Hamish then requests an audience with Bishop Loridian. "Yes, of course," replies Father Ormalius, "we'd expected you'd want to speak with His Holiness. He'll receive you at 5pm. Until then, can I offer you a meal? You must be starving after the ordeal you've been through. And perhaps," he leans in, lowering his voice discretely, "perhaps you'd like to bathe?"

At 5, a well-fed and fresh-smelling Hamish is taken to see the venerable Bishop Loridian. They exchange pleasantries, and Loridian expresses his relief that Hamish and company were able to escape with their lives.

Hamish informs the Bishop of what Varachan has told him so far. "It appears that the cult of Tharizdun are more organized than we would believe. They are building up their forces in the old Temple of Elemental Evil. They already have the Fire Binder and the Elemental Champion and have used them to unlock the Fire Node and thus released Imix. They may already have other Binders and are most certainly searching for the ones they do not have. If they are able to unlock all of the Elemental Nodes they will be signficantly closer to releasing Tharizdun from his prison."

The Bishop shows quite a bit of interest in this tale. "So _that's_ what the Nodes were for! After the second fall of the Temple of Elemental Evil, many great wizards and priests studied the records of the nodes, and even made Communion with the Outer Planes, but we could not divine their purpose. It seems that where the Imprisoned One is concerned, even the Guardinals of Pelor cannot pierce the veil of secrecy on some subjects."

"I must admit some confusion, however; 20 years ago, when the temple was last occupied, apparently the nodes were unlocked. The records indicate that by inserting the Elemental Power Gems into the Orb of Golden Death, Y'dey and her party were able to actually enter the nodes themselves. There, or so the story goes, they did battle with all manner of Elemental Fiends, but nothing approaching the actual Princes of Elemental Evil. Perhaps the Nodes were constructed simply as a mechanism to unlock the Binders themselves?"

"Would this be one of the Elemental Power Gems?" And Hamish shows the Bishop one of the Elemental Keys and combines it with another to form a Greater Elemental Key.

"No, not by my recollection of the tales I've heard; they were described as actual gemstones, the size one might find on a garishly large ring. Perhaps they were made as analogs for the stones in the Binders, allowing access to the Nodes but not actually releasing the Princes imprisoned within the real Binders? Regardless, when the Orb of Golden Death was destroyed 20 years ago, the power gems were destroyed along with it."

Hamish continues, "Varachan has suggested that we invade the Inner Fane and eliminate the two members of the Triad that reside there, thus destroying or at least greatly impeding their ability to obtain the rest of the Binders."

The Bishop replies, "I would take any advice given to you by this Varachan with a generous grain of salt. His motivations may be personal; from your description, he certainly doesn't strike me as the sort of fellow to be counted on to act out of benevolence or concern for the greater good. It would seem to me that the clearest course of action would be to ignore these Fanes, and Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (bum-bum-bah!) to deny the cult continued access to the Nodes they are using to release the Princes of Elemental Evil. But perhaps Varachan knows more than he is saying? Further conversation with him would certainly be warranted."

Hamish: "Definitely. I shall be performing a Divination tomorrow morning to seek Pelor's guidance in my dealings with Varachan."

Loridian: "Ah, an excellent plan. I would recommend you not waste your time on any questions pertaining too closely to the Imprisoned One himself, though -- as I mentioned, even I have failed to pierce that veil in the past. It seems that by imprisoning him in the Far Realm, the Gods have created for themselves something of a blind spot where he is concerned."

The Bishop starts to rise from his modest throne, but looks uneasy on his ancient feet; he must be at least 90 years old. An attendant rushes to his side. "Is there anything I can get for you, your Holiness?" "Yes, yes my son, you know..." and he waves his hand suggestively towards a chest of drawers to the side of his desk. The attendant opens the top drawer, and removes a red cowl, embroidered with sunbursts in a glittering golden thread. He hands the cowl to the Bishop, who reaches over to drape it on Hamish's bowed head. "I am certain that I can trust you and your brave company with this most important task, Monsignor Hamish. Do not fail us."

Edited by: msherman at: 3/8/04 1:49 pm
Briar Beast
(3/8/04 8:51 am)
Conversation with Varachan, part 1
Anyway, the next morning, Hamish prepares Divination and casts it. He asks, "How can Varachan be of further assistance to our cause?".

You take your morning prayers in the private chapel, in the company of a small number of senior preists, including Father Ormalius. He greets you warmly, and informs you that the guards are seeing to Varachan's comfort, and he has been given his morning meal. Chase is with you in the chapel; normally, only preists would be welcome there, but as a Knight of the Hart in your company, he is afforded some lattitude. After your prayers, you light insense on the altar, and cast your divination.

You hear cosmic dice rolling, and the usual On Hold music for a few moments. After a short wait, a soothing Guardinal's voice intones, "The traitor has much useful information left to share. In fact, the fates may even have already prepared a multi-page draft email, ready to edit and send should you ask him the right questions, and engage him in an interesting conversation."

When the divination is complete, some of the other preists join you in conversation. Some rumours have circulated about the incident with Varachan on your arrival, and the priests are quite curious. Suddenly, you notice one of them seems to be staring at a point past you, in the middle of a conversation. "Curious, what's that?" He walks over to the pew, and looks aghast. "Monsignor! It appears that you are being scried upon!" He points, and you see a scry sensor, in the shape of a small black whirling cyclone.

Yay! :P Hamish says "Hi!" to the sensor and then casts Dispel Magic on it. If he flubs it, he looks embarrassed and asks for some assistance from the other priests.

Indeed, your attempt to Dispel the sensor fails; it appears to have quite a high caster level. Father Ormalius suggests that you wait patiently while he prays for guidance from Pelor, and prepares a Greater Dispel. That is effective, and the sensor blinks out of existence.

Once the sensor is gone, Hamish immediately proceeds to Varachan's quarters, stopping along the way to arrange some tea and biscuits ;)

The guards bring a tray, and then close the door, waiting outside. Varachan looks visibly relieved to see you again. "I'm glad that we have the opportunity to talk about these matters further. I'm afraid that I was perhaps a bit curt with you yesterday, and possibly missed some important details and information that will be invaluable to you in your quest to stop the Doomdreamers before they bring their horrible plan to completion. I hope you'll forgive me if I was perhaps somewhat rude yesterday; the past year has indeed been incredibly trying for me, and the time since I first made contact with you, waiting desperately for you to act, was nearly as maddening as the Dark God himself."

"So, Varachan, how are you feeling?"

He breathes a heavy sigh. "Better, now, day by day. My freedom is truly only just beginning to dawn on me."

"I was wondering if you could tell me more about the Temple of Elemental Evil and what is going on there? Do you know the layout of the temple?"

He seems a bit troubled by the fact that he can't really answer these questions satisfactorily. "I've never been there, so my knowledge is scant at best. I know that many of the Doomdreamers are there now, led by The Second, heading an excavation program to restore access to the Node Gates on the lowest level. As I mentioned yesterday, the ultimate plan is for the Champion of Elemental Evil to use the Nodes along with the Orb of Oblivion to release the Princes of Elemental Evil from the Binders in which they are imprisoned. The Princes, in turn, will complete the ritual to release the Dark God, Tharizdun, from his prison in the Far Realm. It is sheer insanity, but such is the way of the Doomdreamers..."

"Is there anything else we should know about Fanes? Could you draw us a map?"

Varachan seems relieved that you've changed the subject to one on which he is more authoritative. "Oh, yes, of course; have you a pen and vellum?" [I've uploaded the map he drew to ZansForCans' file archives.]

Varachan starts to tick off a mental list of the most significant residents of the Outer Fane. "Of course, you've met Prince Thrommel, and his thrall Aramil. I have not known the Prince to be at all loyal to Hedrack; rather, he serves primarily out of fear of Hedrack's rebuke. However, your betrayal of our deal to secure his coffin from the Fane may well be what it takes to drive Thrommel squarely into Hedrack's camp, at least until you have been made to pay for your insolence. Recently, Thrommel was commanded by Hedrack to ensure the security of the Air Door; I had cleared it of guardians for you, sending the Ogres who had been stationed there out to "meet" you in your shrine. There were only the Arrowhawks, who I'd judged to be no significant challenge, and the Invisible Stalker, who seemed happy to obey my command to watch for your arrival, but not attack. However, I could not exert enough influence to keep the door unguarded for long, and you took so long to arrive, that Thrommel sent Aramil and his spawn to take the Ogres' place. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the event of my treachery coming to light, Thrommel himself now assists in guarding the door; his fiendish bat Jolana can certainly be of much assistance in this sort of task."

"The earth door is guarded by an Elder Earth Elemental. Not much of a tactical genius, this one, but an incredibly dangerous brute, and unflinchingly loyal to Hedrack. This door is the closest to Hedrack's own quarters, so if you wish to attack him, it's probably your best bet. Of course, to get there, you must pass by the Assassin Bethe's room; she is quite eager to meet you, after you dispatched her lover, the goblin Gez."

"The water door is guarded by a Tojanida, a patrol of Minotaurs, and Insentorix, the last remaining quasit in the Outer Fane. Insentorix is surprisingly tough for his kind, and also rather more loyal to Hedrack than the rest were; I was concerned that he was beginning to suspect my complicity in sending his brethren from the fane with messages for you. While it is possible to avoid the Earth Elemental by crossing east from the water door, I'd not recommend it; you'll likely fall prey to the Grinder, a vicious trap set in that hallway."

"To the west, you'll find the Nagas Mhunaath and Yklah, and the Oracle, Satau. It's an Illithid, and a most dangerous one at that. Satau is definitely not what I would call a loyal servant of Hedrack's; it was initially brought to the Fane to assist in discovery of the Champion, and seems most distraught that the reward and freedom promised have not be forthcoming. Hedrack has told it that if it assists in your capture or destruction, he will make good, but who knows?"

"Finally, there's Chymon, the guardian of the Fire door. She is a vicious and spiteful red dragon. Perhaps with Prince Thrommel fighting at your side, you could have defeated her, but alone? I should think not. She is not quite loyal, per se, but she does seem to have a very profitable arrangement worked out with Hedrack; he allows her to feed at will on invading do-gooders and the occasional slave, and amass quite a sizeable horde, which seems to keep her content. Should you give him the opportunity, I would imagine that Chymon would be the most likely avenue by which Hedrack would bring the fight to you."

"What would you like to do now that you are free of the cult?"

Varachan slowly considers the question. "I have been dreaming of my freedom from the Triad's grasp for over a year, since the moment when I broke the bonds of the Madness of Tharizdun. But I have not allowed myself to think of what comes next; it seemed.... well, I didn't want to tempt the fates too much. Dreams only exist to be shattered, of course. Hmmm... it's been a long time since I've been to Verbobonc, but I seem to recall there used to be a small temple of Nerull not far from your cathedral. Does it still stand? Perhaps the priests of The Reaper will have a place for a defrocked cleric such as myself."

Briar Beast
(3/8/04 8:52 am)
Conversation with Varachan, part 2
"Is this Orb of Oblivion related to the Orb of Golden Death that Y'dey used 20 years ago to gain access to the Elemental Nodes?"

Varachan nods. "Yes, yes it is. The Orb of Oblivion is the original artifact; the Orb of Golden Death was a copy. No one knows where the Orb of Oblivion came from; some say that it's been with the Doomdreamers since Tharizdun's imprisonment, and I've heard stories that it's actually carved from the mucous membranes sloughed off by the Elder Elemental Eye after Tharizdun plucked it from his skull. It's a clear, crystaline skull, with four sockets. The orb itself grants fantastic divinatory powers, the power to command evil beings by mass suggestion, and it's bearer is protected from any spell cast by a priest of Tharizdun. But the real power of the Orb is that it can be used by the Champion of Elemental Evil to unlock the Binders, when inserted into the sockets, and release the Princes of Elemental Evil into the Elemental Nodes."

"Over the years, copies of the Orb of Oblivion have been made, carved from various precious metals, to be used in various experiments and rituals by the Doomdreamers. One such copy was the Orb of Golden Death. It was used with specially crafted Elemental Power Gems to assist in the construction of the Node Gates below the Temple of Elemental Evil, which provide a gateway between the Elemental Nodes and Oerth. The Power Gems were essentially fake blanks used in place of the Binders; they allowed the Doomdreamers to activate the gates, and access the Nodes, but of course, the Princes could not be released with these artificial devices. The Orb of Golden Death, and the Elemental Power Gems it bore, were both destroyed 20 years ago in the second fall of the Temple."

"The Orb of Oblivion, as well as another copy, the Orb of Silvery Death, are kept safe in the Black Cyst. To find them, you must go to the Vestibule of the Greater Temple; this room lies just to the west of Hedrack's quarters in the Outer Fane. To safely pass through the hallway leading to the Vestibule, you must protect yourself from the cold with Purple Robes (you can find them in the vestry between the Fire door and the Water door), and you must annoint yourself in the Unholy Font, just to the west. You'll also need a torch of revealing to activate the devices here; you can find them in the vestry, along with a black thurible, which you'll also need to safely escape from the Cyst."

"Once in the Vestibule, light the torch; by it's light, you should be able to see the three switches. There's a great horn in this room; touch your master key to the horn, and pull each switch in turn,from left to right, blowing the horn after each switch is pulled. It's very taxing to blow the horn, and requires great strength; you should be able to manage it, Chase, or perhaps the barbarian could do the job. Once the third horn is sounded, the Purple Curtain will appear; walk through the curtain, and you enter the Cyst. There's an altar there; kneel before it, and say the Dark God's unholy name. You can then safely take the Orb of Oblivion from atop the altar. To leave the cyst, light the insence of dreaming in the black thurible, and twirl it in the air above your head; you'll be transported into the Greater Temple."

Hamish is repulsed at the thought of performing such unholy rituals, such as annointing himself in an unholy font, or kneeling before an altar of Tharizdun. You recall reading about the evil rituals required to create the Black Cyst many months ago, and the thought of entering one fills you with dread. You feel certain that if you were to participate in such dreadful ritual, you would be in need of hasty Atonement.

"Do you know anything about the Triad or the Princes of Elemental Evil? Do they have any weaknesses?"

Varachan looks lost in thought for a moment, but he can't come up with much in the way of details. "I have met all three of the Triad, but know little of consequence that I can share with you. The First, ultimate ruler of the Cult of Tharizdun on Oerth, is a human who is said to favour death magic. Before Imix was freed, he wore the Binder of Fire, and drew great power from it. The Second is an Aboleth, a huge aquatic creature which sustains itself on dry land with a self-contained force-sheath of water. The third is a half-breed Air Elemental, a woman borne of a human mother raped by a creature from the plane of air. It is said that her half-elemental nature gives her great powers to command weather, and call forth chain lightening."

He pauses for a moment, collecting his thoughts. "As for the Princes, I know very little. Up until recently, I wasn't even sure that they existed. Of course, now that Imix walks the earth, that much has been proven. It is said that the Princes are Elementals, but they are to the oldest of Elder Elementals as that elder is to the tiniest mephit. I'd imagine that the Princes share the same vulnerabilities of a standard elemental of their type, but I have no real way to know for sure."

"Could you tell me more about Bethe? Assassins make me uncomfortable -- there's far too many of them around and the more I know about the ones I may encounter the better."

"Yes, of course," answers Varachan. "She's a half-elf, fond of using poisons and stealth, rather than direct attack. Her weapons of choice are the Rapier and the Crossbow. When forced to fight, she's been known to disarm her enemy so that she can take his life while he bends down to retrieve his weapon. Definitely not someone you want to meet in a dark ally."

"You mean Hedrack would send Chymon after us, outside the Fanes?"

Varachan nods. "Yes, that wouldn't surprise me. Chymon wouldn't be eager to leave her horde unguarded for an extended period, but she does owe a certain fealty to Hedrack, so if he ordered it, she would probably comply. While she is a huge beast, she wears an armband which allows her to reduce her size for a short period of time each day, which allows her considerable mobility in the halls of the Outer Fane. Of course, she'll be much more in her element attacking you out in the open, where she'll have the advantage of command of the skies."

"Could you tell me more about Hedrack and Naquent themselves? Do they have any weaknesses?"

Varachan answers quickly; clearly Hedrack's tactics and strategy are a topic he has been considering for quite some time. "Hedrack is, first and foremost, a skilled manager. He will avoid facing you directly, instead sending lackeys and summoned help, until he is ready to do so at a time and place of his own choosing. You can be sure that he will choose that time and place for his own best advantage, and your worst inconvenience. When you finally do meet Hedrack in person, you will find him a most dangerous opponent. While it is true that his growing insanity has dulled his wits somewhat over the years, he still remains sharper than the average fool off the street, and his command of the magical gifts of Tharizdun has only grown stronger as the madness progresses. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as Destruction, Disintigration, Phantasmal Killer, a Tentacle Rod, an almost fanatical devotion to the Triad, and nice Purple Robes of Tharizdun that protect him from the paralyzing frigid temperatures in the holiest areas devoted to the Dark God."

"You must know by now that Hedrack has been watching you. He delegated most of the scrying to myself, and the Crystral Ball, so I was able to control the flow of information to him, to an extent. However, he does have access to Greater Scrying, and occasionally used it to check my work, so to speak; so I could not completely obscure the truth about your abilities, preferred tactics, and vulnerabilities from him. He has in his possession a sample of your blood, Hamish; this prize was indeed the only reason the Assassin Gez was allowed to live after your first encounter with him in Verbobonc. So be certain that before he meets you face to face, Hedrack will prepare himself with defensive magics tailored to protection against your own best attacks. To have a hope of success, you must mix up your tactics, to throw him off guard. And of course, Hedrack will not just stand around and let you kill him; if losing the fight, be certain that he'll escape if given half a chance."

He pauses, waiting for your next question. Then, almost as an afterthought, he continues. "Oh, yes, you asked about Naquent as well, didn't you? That bitch must certainly be proud of herself now; she's been after my job for quite some time. With my.... absence from the Fanes, I'd imagine that she's quite thrilled to now be second in command. To be honest, Hamish, I doubt you'll find her much match for yourself. As long as you stay clear of her touch, to avoid Slay Living, you should be fine. One thing to be careful of; she bears a rod which allows her to call forth Tharizdun's blessings at an alarming rate; but if you can snatch that rod from her, I think you'll find her quite weakened, indeed."

Briar Beast
(3/8/04 8:53 am)
Conversation with Varachan, part 3
Chase: "The Orb of Oblivion isn't with the champion and the expedition to the old Temple? And what purpose does the Orb of Silvery Death serve?"

Varachan looks a bit sheepish. "Well, yes, I suppose that the Champion would have taken the Orb of Oblivion with him, in order to release Imix from the Fire Binder. I should think that it would have been returned to the Cyst for safe keeping, until such time as another Binder is found and the corresponding Node Gate excavated, but to be honest, I'm not sure. It's been some weeks since I was last in the Cyst myself, to be honest."

"As for the Orb of Silvery Death," he continues, "it serves much the same purpose today as it's golden predecessor did in days of yore. It was used during the excavation, before the Champion was found, to enter the Node and prepare it for the coming of the Prince. Currently, it only bears a Power Gem of Fire, but I believe that the Doomdreamers have contracted with a Demon to provide new Power Gems for the other three gates, when they are required."

"Does Hedrack tend use a small, black cyclone as a scry sensor?"

Varachan nods. "Yes, indeed he does. Has he been scrying you recently?" He looks somewhat deflated. "I must admit some surprise; I'd have guessed that I would be the first target of his attentions."

"It's often difficult to judge ourselves fairly, or to recognize our own limitations. Anything you could point out to us about tactics we tend to fall back on, and Hedrack would be prepared against, would be helpful.

Varachan is eager to assist. "For one, you should warn your brother that Hedrack is well aware of his ring, and will be prepared with Invisibility Purge. Hamish, he has seen you continually use the same few spells to good effect. You can certainly expect him to be protected by Spell Immunity. Thankfully, that cannot protect him against your most potent magic, but Spell Resistance and Dispel Good certainly can."

"Anyway, looking at the map, it seems we have a choice of five entry points, when we to return to the Fanes. Well, seven, if you count flying into the Inner Fane. We've got the four doors, plus the sticks of returning that will takes us to your old room. If the goal is to storm the Inner Fane, it seems the most direct route is to use the sticks, take a quick jaunt to the Hall of Priests, and then through this door here. Is someone likely to take over your room, or can we expect it to remain empty for some time? What's the Hall of Priests used for, and when would it be most empty? Are there guards roaming the halls? Is the temple quiet during the night? During the day?

"I'm not certain about my room; Master Ukemil's room, adjacent to mine, has stood vacant since the time you killed him and his disgusting cats, but that was at least partially my own maneuvering to keep the access to my room relatively clear for you. I wouldn't be surprised if Hedrack were to command some occupants of the Fane to change their living arrangements to better cover the breadth and scope of the complex. Of course, Hedrack himself would never move, he so dearly loves his quarters just outside the Greater Temple."

Varachan considers the implications of your questions for a moment. "I'd be wary of striking directly at either the Inner Fane or the Recovered Temple, while leaving Hedrack alive at your back; up until recently, most of his effort was concentrated on the search for the Champion. Now that that task is complete, you have his full attention; his primary assignment is, in fact, your own death. I'm sure that the humiliation of my treachery and escape with your aid will only strengthen his resolve in that respect. He is a powerful enemy to have, doubly so when you give him the advantage by turning your attentions elsewhere."

He returns to the point. "The Hall of Priests is a gallery of statuary and mosaics, constructed to honour those who have served Tharizdun well. Before you began your rampage, when the fane was more alive with activity of the junior priests, it was a common meeting place. But with Ukemil and Dunrat both dead, and myself... absent, I can't imagine there will be much activity there most of the time now. The guards tend to be active most of the time, day or night. The one time of vulnerability in the Outer Fane is midnight; this is the prescribed time of daily prayer for the priests of Tharizdun. Of course, Hedrack keeps the guards on extra-vigilant watch during these nightly prayers, for just that reason."

"There are three ways to access the Inner Fane from the the Outer Fane. The easiest way is from the Hall of Priests. First you'll need the key, which is a gemstone kept in the Chamber of Hate. Be wary of The Attendant, the demon who watches over Unariq's clones. Take the key to the Hall of Priests, and search the east wall for a secret door. Touch the key to it, and it will open. There are a further series of secret doors you must navigate; these doors can be opened normally, once found, and eventually you will find yourself in a cave opening onto the blasted yard."

"Uh, the *what* who watches over the *who*?"

Varachan seems a bit annoyed at the interruption. "The Attendant, the Succubus who tends to the clones of the late Master Unariq. Unariq was once a great Doomdreamer, a disciple of the Triad. He had discovered a ritual which he thought would release Tharizdun without need of the power the Elemental Princes, but it failed; he is now imprisoned with our... excuse me, the... Dark Lord. His body lies entombed in the Grand Crypt, out in the Mines, but here, in the Chamber of Hate," he says while pointing at the map he drew for you, "the Doomdreamers keep an array of his lifeless clones, which they use as a conduit to his prison with Tharizdun. The Clonestone, the gem I mentioned earlier which serves as the key to the secret door in the Hall of Priests, also acts as a focal point for this energy. Through it, a Priest can draw magical power, much like from a Pearl of Power. It's strange; even though my own magical ability has been denied to me ever since I threw off the yoke of Tharizdun's Madness last year, I could still draw power from the Clonestone."

Varachan continues. "The second way into the yard is from the Vestibule of the Greater Temple. A hallway lies to the west, through the veil of darkness. This hallway is blocked by six walls of force, every 10 feet. Each wall is guarded by a statue, which will ask you a question. The questions are but a single word, but they stand for a real question, which you must answer truthfully to pass. The questions are:
1. Who: Who are you?
2. What: What do you bring before the Dark Lord?
3. Where: Where are you now?
4. Why: Why have you come here?
5. When: When will Tharizdun be free?
6. Who: Who is the Dark Lord?"

"Finally," continues Varachan, "if you have acquired a Tentacle Rod, simply standing in the black circle inscribed on the floor in the Greater Temple will allow you to teleport to the ground floor of the Black Spike. You can't bring anyone with you, though, so unless you can procure four tentacle rods, which I highly doubt (I'm not even sure that four exist!), this method will not be of much use to you."

"Once in the Inner Fane, it looks like we can reach the Vestibule pretty easily, but if we wish to reach the Black Cyst, someone will need to fetch the things we need from the Vestry, which means either what could turn out to be a long, running battle, or a lot of sneaking (and not past the dragon). And what's this Black Sun room just outside the Vestry?

"The Black Sun is a manifestation of Tharizdun's will. Some say it was a tear shed by his Elder Elemental Eye. It is a great sphere of horrible black flame, which can consume even the strongest man or beast in an instant. The strongest and most learned among the priests of the Fane can actually command it to obey their will, destroying their enemies. It is housed in the Shrine of Dark Communion, where the priests contemplate the true nature of their dark lord."

"How would we gain entrance to the Black Spike, once in the Inner Fane?

"I don't know much, as I've only been there a few times. It's a most unholy tower, built into the centre of the inner crater; that's called the Blasted Yard, and you must take care to avoid the Dark Wights that patrol the yard. The door into the tower is a living construct; it only opens for the Doomdreamers, or those invited by them, unless you can convince it otherwise. The main floor is guarded by great lizards, the likes of which I've never seen before; they must be the result of some terrible breeding experiment.

Once inside, there are stairs which lead up to the Doomdreamers' quarters. What lies above, I cannot say, having never been there myself. But I have been below, for the tower extends deep into the volcano itself. To get below, you must find the secret panel opposite the door; behind it, you'll find a black stone. Press the stone, and you'll be transported to the level below; below ground you'll find similar panels, only also with a second stone, which sends you back to the level above.

You'll pass through the torture chamber of Yrthuk Innar, the skilled craftsman who broke Prince Thrommel. Below that lies the Tourbillion. I have heard it said that this is some form of teleportation device used by the Doomdreamers, but I'm not certain; I know that Hedrack has occasionally been granted access to it, though, so be forewarned. Below that, the Dire Library contains the most complete collection of Evil works I've ever seen; you could waste years of your life just reading. The fourth sub-level was my destination, in my few trips to the Black Spike; the Reliquary of Evil. There, you'll find a device which I had a hand in securing for the cult many years ago; a Talisman of Pure Good. The Doomdreamers have been trying many experiments to pervert this item into a Talisman of Ultimate Evil, but to date they have not met with success. Perhaps if you reach it in time, you could use this trinket for it's original intent."

"How are the sentry positions equipped? They seem to be limited in the range of their lightning bolts, but they also seem to be able to see past invisibility illusions. Is that an enchantment on the post itself, or are the guards enchanted as they go on duty? Or were we just unlikely and hit the one paranoid sentry of the bunch?

Varachan nods. "Yes, the Lightning Towers are indeed themselves enchanted to grant all who stand astride the parapets the ability to See Invisible creatures, as well as the keenest of senses, allowing them to see unnaturally far and with the greatest clarity. Each tower is manned by a single Sorcerer, charged with defence of the tower, command of a squad of Spider Eater Riders, and of course the care and feeding of the Shockers imprisoned within, which power the lightning itself. The sorcerers communicate with each other, and with Hedrack, using Contact Medallions."

"Hmm. Another possibility, if we wish to enter the Cyst, is to enter through the Fire or Water Doors, fight our way to the vestry, then use the sticks to get to Varachan's room, which would hopefully put us behind the onrush of guards, with a clear path to the Inner Fane. How old is Chymon, anyway? Does she inspire fear in all who face her?

[You hear a die roll as Varachan concentrates on his Knowledge (Arcana). You feel the characteristic *whoosh* of good fortune as the die comes up a 20.] "I believe that Chymon is about 95 years old; I think, in fact, that she was hatched from an egg procured by the Doomdreamers as part of the celebrations accompanying the securing of the Crater Ridge Mines from the Dwarven Clans. If I'm not mistaken, Draconologists would classify her as a young adult. She does, indeed, have a most frightful presence. She is quite skilled in the Draconic Arts of Sorcery, knowing how to cure moderate wounds as though she were a priest, and with the ability to make herself invisible."

"Also, once they discover what we've taken, they may deduce our plans and fortify the Vestibule. Or, they may think we're too holy for such insanity, and instead think our plan was to steal the stuff to deny *them* access to the Cyst. Hmm. There's an interesting idea. If we did take everything in the Vestibule, do they have spares lying around?

"Yes, Hedrack does have a Purple Robe of his own. I would imagine that, if needed, they could procure more Robes, Torches, and Thuribles from the Doomdreamers, but going hat in hand to the Black Spike would certainly not be a wise career move for Hedrack!" With that, Varachan chuckles.

What if we destroyed the Unholy Font, or mixed some Holy Water into the Font? Would that deny them access to the Cyst for a time? Enough to help us? I imagine Hallowing the Vestibule would piss them off to no end, if we had the time."

Varachan nods as he considers the plan. "It might hinder them, but not deny access altogether. Those not anointed in the unholy font are attacked by the guardians, golems constructed from the choicest cuts of flesh of the fallen. The golems are, indeed, possible to defeat by mundane means; in the past, there used to be three of them, but only two survive today."

Briar Beast
(3/8/04 8:54 am)
Conversation with Varachan, part 4
"Varachan, are you planning on staying here in Verbobonc? It's quite likely that we'll need your council again, before this mess is over. I suspect that, for the time being, you'd be safest here, at least until we manage to deal with Hedrack. I doubt that we would have much difficulty in arranging for you to keep these quarters, at least not for a little while longer. Of course, you'd be free to leave at your discretion."

Varachan thinks for a moment, looking a bit uncomfortable. "Thank you for the offer, Chase, but I don't think I'll be all that... welcome... in the Cathedral of Pelor for very much longer. I certainly don't feel at all comfortable here, myself. No, I think I'll seek my fortunes with a temple more in line with my own philosophies and way of life." He nods at Hamish. "No offense intended, Monsignor."

"On the other hand, if you do decide to leave, would you mind leaving a forwarding address with Father Ormalius (the nice priest you met when you first awoke here), so that we may find you should we need your assistance?

"Oh, yes, of course, as soon as I'm settled in I'll be sure to let Ormalius know how you can reach me." In fact," he says, reaching for the jewelled curved knife at his belt, "take this." He uses the knife to cut a lock of hair, handing it to Hamish. "Should you ever need to locate me by Scrying, this should make it easy. And of course, you can always reach me with a Sending." You notice that the pommel of the knife appears to have been damaged. Chase easily determines that a stone Obex has been smashed out of the pommel, and from the rough edges, it looks like the damage was recent.

"Whatever you choose, you've been a great help to us, and we appreciate that. I just hope that, if you do decide to follow the Reaper, you aren't led down a path that brings us into conflict in the future."

Varachan chuckles. "Oh, no, Sir Chase, I'm certain that regardless of what the future holds, we'll remain fast friends. Gentlemen! I propose a toast." He raises his glass, from which he's been drinking wine most of the morning. "To the end of the Doomdreamers."

The conversation has been going on for quite some time. At some point, the guards had come in, and served lunch to the three of you. Sensing that the conversation is drawing to a close, Varachan finishes his meal. He wipes his greasy fingers on a cloth, dropping it to the floor. He gets up, and holds a hand out to Hamish. "Well, it's been quite a pleasure having this little chat with you, but I must take my leave."

He pauses for a moment, thinking back to your first conversation. "Listen fellows, yesterday, before all that unpleasentness with Prince Thrommel," he rubs his neck, still scarred from the Vampire's bite, "I hadn't quite finished my thought. You were talking about heading directly to the Recovered Temple. Yes, it might be true that a quick attack on the Recovered Temple would catch the Doomdreamers off guard, and slaying the Champion would certainly delay their plans. That might have the opposite effect that you intend, though; for now, it seems that the Doomdreamers are content to wait until they have the means to release all four Princes before beginning the ritual to release Tharizdun. But if you force their hand, they may attempt the ritual prematurely; I'm not sure if it can be done successfully without all of the Princes, but who knows?"

He walks towards the door. "Would you gentlemen care to walk me out?" He opens the door, and the guards outside it jump to the alert. "Now now, boys, Hamish and Chase were just taking me out. You can put those swords away."

You walk him out of the cathedral. As the main doors open, bright midday sun streams down. He shields his eyes from it. "It's been quite a while since I've been outside in a civilized land, you know. The sun, it burns rather bright these days, doesn't it?" There's some distaste in his voice. "Well, it's been fun, gents. Good luck saving the world and all that." He turns, and walks into the crowd. You see him heading in the direction of the Temple of Nerull.

Briar Beast
(3/8/04 1:47 pm)
Pit fighting in Verbobonc
Gah. I hate ezboard. I just accidentally deleted this entry by trying to edit it.

Anyway, the short story is, the party went to the Temple of Kord to have some illusory practice fights against elementals and a young adult red dragon. The fight with the dragon was very close, but they ended up killing it.

After that, they tried scrying on Thrommel, and discovered that he's asleep in his new coffin, still waiting to acclimatize to it after they destroyed his last one. They correctly guessed that Bethe lies in the second coffin beside him. They saw the coffin hidden inside the Infernal Device, though they don't know what the Device is, yet. They plan to hire a wizard to teleport them in to the ID room to attack Thrommel the next morning. Should be fun.

In another thread, I'm asking for advice on how to run the mechanics of waking a sleeping vampire.

Edited by: msherman at: 3/11/04 7:37 am
Night Beast
(3/17/04 12:00 pm)
Re: Pit fighting in Verbobonc
Just so you know, I'm reading this, but slowly. Your last message requires immediate feedback though. DO NOT type up your posts in ezBoard. Type them up in a different editor and post them here (copy & paste). You've learned this the hard way, I guess, like I did.

One question about the scrying. Did they see the coffin or Thrommel? I would place the scrying point inside the coffin so that they could see the target. Too late now, I suppose. :)

Briar Beast
(3/17/04 12:19 pm)
Re: Pit fighting in Verbobonc
About ezBoard editing, yeah, this isn't the first time I've learned that lesson. I usually use a text editor, but this was "just a quick edit". Gah.

About the scrying, the sensor started inside the coffin, which was how they recognized that he was in a "stuporous" state while acclimatizing to the new coffin. Then the caster asked if he could pull the sensor outside the coffin to see where it was, and after reading the spell and noticing the part about seeing the surroundings out to 10', I decided he could pull the sensor out of the coffin 10'.

So now they've seen the Infernal Device, but they have no idea what it is. Varachan never told them about the Device, and it wasn't included on his map; he didn't think it was important to tell them about it, because they have no reason to go there and it's not en route to anything important in the Outer Fane. The party has already met a bunch of Infernally Deviced people, including the raised trog leaders from when the Earth Temple was restocked, so I'm looking forward to running the scene when they teleport into that room.

After I described the room to them, and showed them the picture in the module, they decided it was probably the Grinder room, which Varachan did warn them about. :)

Briar Beast
(3/20/04 6:50 am)
Arming the lightning towers
After the party's assault on the outer fane last week (game time), Hedrack decided that he should arm the sorcerers in the lightning towers better, so that they could be a bit more pro-active against the intruders crossing the bridges. So he commanded 2 of the sorcerers to take a temporary leave of absence from their posts, to spend some time crafting wands of Enlarged Magic Missile to be distributed to a few of the other towers.

I'm using the 8 sorcerers that Infiniti2k statted out, and info on how I've assigned them to the 8 towers and the changes I made to remove BoVD stuff is at the bottom of the thread.

So for the next couple weeks of game time, Lauren and Helga, the sorcerers responsible for towers 2 and 7, are busy making wands. Lauren's providing the Enlarged Magic Missile, Helga's crafting the wand, and Hedrack's paid for the raw materials. They're making 3 wands, which will be given to the sorcerers in towers 3 (which can hit both the water and earth bridges using it), 5 (which can hit the air bridge), and 1 (which can hit the fire bridge). They started working on these wands on August 20 game time, so they'll be finished the last wand on September 11.

I figure that a careful observer might notice birds flying in the areas around towers 2 and 7 during this down time, and deduce that those towers are safe to fly over. The DC to spot a typical bird is 8 (tiny) +3 (dex), and I'm adding 5 to that to account for the fact that the birds aren't always there. With the distance penalties from the Outer Fane doors to the tower tops (less 120' for the range to the lightning towers), the spot DCs to notice that the towers are safe are:
Fire door (tower 2): 46
Fire door (tower 7): 39
Water door (tower 2): 19
Earth door (tower 2): 32
Air door (tower 7): 46

Chase has a +21 spot check (with Eyes of the Eagle), so depending on where the party goes, there's a decent chance they'll notice this.

Briar Beast
(3/22/04 3:39 pm)
Thrommel's demise, and Rerrid raised
Sunday's session was great. Two long-running plot lines got (mostly) tied up, both of them quite successfully, despite another death. Everyone seemed to have fun, I got to hand out some cool toys, and the party learned the true meaning of Christma--uh, the true benefits of adequate preparation for a tough encounter.

The session started in Verbobonc, where Hamish had just scried on Thrommel and discovered that he was slumbering in his new coffin, hidden inside the Infernal Device. The next morning, the party prepares for the assault. They pay a cleric at the Cathedral of Pelor to cast a divination for them: "What must we do to safely disable the device containing Thrommel's new coffin." The response came back, "It is as hard as an iron door, as unbreakable as a masonry wall, and can withstand as much punishment as Chase and Shalathal combined. Do not approach it within five feet."

Cyr had contracted with a 15th level wizard in town, "Smith", to teleport them to the site using Greater Teleport, and then he'd immediately leave with Teleport back to his home, for the standard list price of 1800gp. But when he arrived, and Hamish cast Scrying to show him the site to teleport to, he demanded an extra 500gp of danger pay -- he was expecting a trip to some foreign city or something safe like that. A good Diplomacy roll later, and Hamish was able to talk him down to 250gp of diamond dust to cover the components for a Stoneskin on himself before the trip.

Hamish prepared Death Ward's for everyone, and Hamish and Gareth together cast Protection from Evil on the whole party. All the usual buffs were cast as well -- though I should say that this was one of the first times that this party really fully buffed with all the available spells for a big fight. Finally, Hamish cast Hide From Undead on everyone present, and they teleported. Thrommel made his save against the HFU, but failed his only 2 listen checks: first, to hear Smith casting his Teleport to go back home, and the second to hear Hamish cast Silence on the Infernal Device. Once the device was silenced, Hamish was able to destroy it from afar with a Blade Barrier, and then Chase and Cyr walked up to the coffin, with Cyr readying the action to stake Thrommel as soon as Chase opened it up. They stuffed the coffins in the Portable Hole, Word of Recalled back to the Cathedral in Verbobonc, and opened it up in the noon-day sun streaming in through the skylight in the chapel, dusting Thrommel and Bethe. Two vampires, check.

The next morning, August 26, they Wind Walked to Chendl, to deliver Thrommel's remains to King Belvor and Jolene. They wired ahead with a Sending, and were greeted by a grand reception, where they were presented with cash and valuable prizes: 10,000gp for the party, Chase was promoted to Knight Commander of the Hart, and Hamish was granted a fiefdom, and created The Lord Bishop Rastor. Of course, Rerrid might have something to say about that title...

At this point, there was some tension between the King's largesse, and the party's other demands. Cyr has an appointment he must keep the next night at Mount Malison, about 100 miles west of Rastor in the Lortmil mountains. This is for the final event of Thicker Than Water. He only just broke this info to the party the day before; he knew about it almost a week ago, but wasn't sure if he wanted to let the rest of the party in on the Power Universal he'll be granted at the ritual the next night. So Hamish and Chase are forced to carefully diplome their way out of the King's invitation to stay in Chendl for a great feast and celebration the next night in honor of their defeat of Prince Thrommel, and his planned subsequent Resurrection. But they manage to talk the King into letting them leave, by playing up the parallels between the King's ties to his son, and Cyr's need to keep his appointment with his own kin.

So in preparation for the trip to Malison the next day, they Word of Recall back to their shrine in the Dwarven temple (in the CRM). When they get there, they discover a grisly scene; Rerrid's dead body, torn and charred, lying on the altar, with a pile of diamonds beside him. Cyr makes a quick appraisal check to determine that there are about 5000gp worth of diamonds, and he notices that they look somewhat hastily cut. Chase goes to the door of the shrine, and notices that the door has been replaced; he walks out into the dwarven temple proper, where he is discovered by Thandain, who exclaims relief at the party's return. Thandain fills them in on Chymon's attack, and how she was only driven off when the dwarves eventually took refuge in the Hallowed shrine of Pelor, which repelled Chymon when it Dispelled her reduction, allowing the dwarves to attack her in the now-cramped hallways.

Hamish pulls out a scroll of Raise Dead (his last one), and raises Rerrid. After discussing Chymon's attack with him, and Thandain filling him in on what happened after his death, he insists that the party take the diamonds the dwarves had set aside for Hamish to use to raise Rerrid. After all, now that the mine's operational again, with the help of some of those Orcs we've grown rather neighborly with, we can always dig for more. By the way, if you find yourselves in need of any, we can supply them at cost (half market price), in thanks for your ongoing assistance.

Briar Beast
(3/22/04 4:18 pm)
The Power Universal is Cyr's!
(Spoiler warning: this log entry is the last event of Thicker Than Water, which I've built into my RttToEE campaign.)

The next day, they cast a few divinations. The first is simple: "When do we need to be at Mount Malison for the start of the ritual?" "At nightfall." The second is much more interesting, and took me by surprise: "What do we need to do to be successful at the ritual planned by Cyr's air-elemental kin?" The answer was somewhat cryptic, "Enchant your silver, and prepare the Barbarian to be open to new possibilities. Be sure to catch the prize on the first bounce."

Shalathal is not at all thrilled to hear the divination refer to herself so directly, but she's not at all sure what it means. Hamish prepares Greater Magic Weapon spells for Chase and Shalathal's silver swords, and Gareth buys another 20 silver-tipped arrows from the Dwarves. Everyone buys more healing potions from them, as well.

Hamish casts Wind Walk, and the party flies the 100 miles to Mount Malison. As they approach, they see a huge vulture-like creature circling overhead, which fills them with dread. They land on the path up to the tower, where they are met by Viggor Fehr, the monk whom they'd met previously in Woodstock, and brother of Migos Fehr, the mastermind behind this whole ritual. Viggor instructs the rest of the party to wait outside while he takes Cyr up to the top of the tower, to meet the rest of the 6: Migos, Cyr's cousin Mertha (a ranger), Lara Fehr (Viggor and Migos's sister), and a mysterious cloaked figure who is not introduced, despite Cyr's request for an introduction. Cyr sees a silver greatsword lying on the altar, glowing a faint blue. Cyr and Migos talk at length about the nature of the Power Universal, and how the soul of their ancestor Charad will impart great power to all of them.

Cyr eventually comes down to tell the party that they've been instructed to wait outside, and are not welcome inside during the ritual. In the interim, Gareth has used Detect Evil to determine that there are three evil auras within the tower, two strong and one overwhelming. He insists that the party not obey this obvious evil command, and enter the tower. Hamish casts silence on a coin, and they sneak up to the second level of the tower, ready to rush up to the rooftop where the ritual is taking place if necessary. Cyr returns to the top floor, and the ritual begins.

Suddenly, as Migos chants the (mistranslated) ritual passages, Lara is consumed bodily with a horrible blood-curdling scream, and a Nightwing appears in her place. The party reacts to this, with Hamish rushing up the stairs and tossing his silenced coin over the ledge, while Gareth uses Dimension Door to get himself, Shalathal and Chase up to the top floor. Meanwhile, the mysterious hooded figure throws back her hood with a shout, and the party instantly recognizes her as The Third. She calls her Chain Lightning spell-like ability against the Nightwing, but fails to beat its SR. Then her Planar Ally Vrock (12hd) swoops down from above, charging at the Nightwing.

Both Migos and the party are shocked, when the glowing blue sword on the altar speaks. "The laws of life and death must be put right! The strongest among you must take me up to send this foul undead to its rightful end!" A light bulb goes off over Chase's head: "Shalathal! Be open to new possibilities!" Shalathal understands, and rushes the altar to grab the sword; I fill her in on its powers as it talks to her and explains the threat posed by the Nightwing (and also the negative level she gets from using a LN intelligent sword). Meanwhile, Hamish starts to cast Dismissal, to get rid of the Nightwing. Migos was ready for that, though, and tries to (partial-)charge him to disrupt the spell, but is blocked by Shalathal who just moved in between them. But he shouts out, "No! Whatever you do, do not dismiss it! It will ruin everything!" So Hamish voluntarily aborts the spell, losing the slot.

And then, as should be familiar to regular readers of my log, it went all to hell. :) Chase's Shadow familiar, Slim, flies up to the tower edge from his perch on the mountain side, and attacks The Third, draining her for 5 points of strength. Chase follows up with a charging power attack, scoring a critical for over 50 points of damage. The Third seems annoyed by all this, and replies with Chase's favorite spell, Destruction. Needless to say, he fails his save.

Cyr thinks he understands the final part of the divination; he uses his ring to make himself invisible, and stands directly below the Nightwing, readying an action. After a few rounds of continued battle, the Nightwing is defeated, and a shiny object appears at it's center and drops to the ground. Cyr, invisible, grasps it before it hits the floor a second time. He stuffs it in his pocket, and rushes for the stairs, shouting to Hamish to Word of Recall and meet him back at the shrine. He runs out of the tower, and activates his Wind Walk to fly back to the CRM.

Meanwhile, Gareth strikes the killing blow against The Third with an Empowered Scorching Ray. Hamish uses Greater Command to get the Vrock to flee, successfully. Shalathal retrieves Chase's gear and The Third's body, while Migos, Viggor and Mertha seem dumbfounded at Cyr's treachery and the disappearance of their prize. Hamish casts his Word of Recall, and the party disappears, leaving the Fehr's to plot their revenge.

Now, what you might already know, but the party doesn't quite yet (though I think Cyr may suspect it), is that the shiny object he's got stuffed in his pocket is the Air Binder. I'd love to work in some One Ring-style temptation to get him to put the binder on, and try to use its power. Any suggestions for how I can run that without seeming to railroad him too much?

Briar Beast
(3/26/04 2:38 am)
Re: The Power Universal is Cyr's!
In this thread, I've posted details of the Air Binder I'm using in my game, and asked for some advice on how to handle it.

Night Beast
(4/3/04 10:27 am)
Re: The Power Universal is Cyr's!
Awesome read! Finally finished. Thanks a lot for (finally) posting this! Our groups are very similar in progression through the adventure. I plan to read your updates eagerly. I apologize for not providing timely updates myself. Further comments, about rules or whatever, below. Feel free to disregard any of them.

  • Because a vampire's domination is Su, it cannot be dispelled, even by dispel evil. Break enchantment probably works, though.
  • "have you a pen and vellum?" Pen? ;)
  • "Perhaps the priests of The Reaper will have a place for a defrocked cleric such as myself." How did they react to this statement? Ah, I see it now:"I just hope that, if you do decide to follow the Reaper, you aren't led down a path that brings us into conflict in the future." Heh heh! :evil
  • "You can certainly expect him to be protected by Spell Immunity. Thankfully, that cannot protect him against your most potent magic, but Spell Resistance and Dispel Good certainly can." There's always Greater Spell Immunity.
  • "Clonestone" Absolutely brilliant name!
  • "You'll pass through the torture chamber of Yrthuk Innar, the skilled craftsman who broke Prince Thrommel." That's another good idea right there. I've already put forward that Varachan turned Thrommel. I'll make the additional link that Varachan trained Yrthuk Innar.
  • "Then the caster asked if he could pull the sensor outside the coffin to see where it was, and after reading the spell and noticing the part about seeing the surroundings out to 10', I decided he could pull the sensor out of the coffin 10'." You can see (as normal) in a 10ft radius, but you cannot move the location of the sensor (otherwise you could change the center of the 10ft radius and it would be like a moving sensor). Since they can't see through the coffin itself, they should not be able to see outside it.
  • "I figure that a careful observer might notice birds flying in the areas around towers 2 and 7 during this down time, and deduce that those towers are safe to fly over." Obviously, by this statement I assume you ruled that the sorcerers control the lightning bolts. I disagree with that and say that the shockers do it automatically, even if no one mans the towers. This is supported in that the towers fire the bolts even if the intruders are not detected. They just don't target anyone who's 'blessed'.
  • "Two vampires, check." Very smart tactic! Kudos!
  • What is your current party makeup and levels? That's not entirely clear from all the random threads. :)

Edited by: Infiniti2000 at: 4/3/04 10:28 am
Briar Beast
(4/3/04 11:02 am)
Re: The Power Universal is Cyr's!
Thanks, I2k. I'm just off to run a game this afternoon, but here's a quick reply to some of your points:

- Domination can't be dispelled.... whoops! Thrommel's dead and resurrected, so no more vampires in my game, but I'll pass the info on to the players and pay better attention to (Su) abilities in the future. Thanks.
- Pen... yeah, weren't quills called pens in days of yore? Alas.... :)
- Greater Spell Immunity? Not for Hedrack, not at 8th level...
- Regarding Varachan and Yrthuk, IMC Varachan led the party that captured him in battle at Emridy Meadows, and delivered him to Yrthuk. I'm using the Memoirs of the First from the BOB, with some minor adjustments to include Varachan's role. A copy of the Memoirs are on a pedestal in Hedrack's room, which he uses for occasional bed-time reading, which The First sent him as a gift along with Thrommel himself, many years ago.
- For the Lightning Towers, I've decided that while the towers do work automatically, they need to be tended/maintained by a sorcerer to stay operational. While the two sorcerers are off duty for extended leaves, the shockers have been locked up safe while there's no-one tending them. I think the text backs up that interpretation, but it's not the only one possible.
- The current party makeup:
Cyr, Grey Elf Rog7 Wiz5
Chase, Half-elf Ftr4 Rog5 Shd3 (currently dead, about to be true resurrected at the start of today's game)
Shalathal, Human Bbn 9 Sor3
Hamish, Human Clr12 of Pelor
Gareth, NPC Human Pal2 Sor6 ElK3, leaving the party at the start of today's session now that Cyr can cast Haste and can use the air binder for big blasty magic if he's lucky

Night Beast
(4/3/04 11:13 am)
Re: The Power Universal is Cyr's!
Rats, I must have been thinking of the First when I was looking at greater spell immunity. Hey, maybe Hedrack could buy a scroll? Of course, a scroll of greater planar ally would be even deadlier.

Have fun today!

Briar Beast
(4/3/04 10:39 pm)
Night of the Living Chase: Slumming in the Destrachan pit
Here's some PBEM denouement from the previous session (at Mt. Malison), followed by some short adventuring time in today's game:

Hamish casts Word of Recall, and he, Shalathal and Sir Gareth instantly disappear, returning to the Shrine in the CRM. Shalathal has Chase's gear precariously balanced in one arm, and The Third's dead body slung over the other shoulder. Hamish says a quick prayer to hold Chase's soul close to the Prime while you consider your options for restoring his life.

Shalathal eagerly strips the Third down, laying out all of her clothes and possessions on the floor while concentrating on a Detect Magic. Gareth seems rather taken aback by her callousness, but he's still in shock from witnessing Chase's untimely demise, and doesn't get involved.

Meanwhile, Cyr is flying back to the shrine in Wind Walk form. Cyr's flight back to the shrine is uneventful. You see a battle off in the distance as you fly past -- it looks like a Griffon about to make a meal of a Hippogriff. As you fly, you catch yourself having absentmindedly pulled the ring out of your pocket, and started playing with it in one hand. You take a look at it: it's a light silver ring, formed of interlinked circles set with a slightly blue tinted, smooth round diamond. You put the ring back in your pocket, securely.

As you approach Mount Stalagos, the familiar voices start whispering again. There's no difference in the volume or number of them, but there is a distinct change in tone -- where previously they were mocking and taunting, now they sound congratulatory and jovial. It's almost as though you were an old friend being welcomed home. You listen carefully to the voices, trying to pick out an individual voice to listen to over the din, which is always challenging; "Yes! Cyr, great tidings on your return! Grasp the prize... seize the Power Universal that is rightfully yours!"

While waiting for Cyr's return, Shalathal takes the sword from Malison into the back room of the shrine for a private chat. "What do you know about the ritual that was just performed and what is your purpose in the ritual? Also, what is your overall purpose?"

The sword had no sheath when she pulled it from the altar, so she had wrapped it up in a blanket while you were busy with The Third. As she unwraps it, she notices that it's still glowing a faint blue, but not nearly as brightly as it had been at Malison.

"Hello again, Shalathal. I must commend you on your performance in the tower against the Nightwing. Your hand was sure and steady, and you retained your composure and fought against your baser Barbarian desires with strength and determination, even in the face of your companion's unfortunate demise. May Cuthbert bless his soul."

"I am Nightslice. I was crafted years ago.... what year is it, anyway? 248? Gods, where does the time go? I was crafted one hundred and seventeen years ago in Schwartzenbruin, capital city of the Perrenland, by the high priests of St. Cuthbert. I was tasked with the sacred mission of hunting down and destroying Undead throughout the land, to set right the crimes that they commit by their very un-life against the laws of life and death. I was handed down through generations of holy warrior, until forty-three years ago, when my then-master was struck down in a dungeon by a gang of minotaurs, deep in the forests of Ket. I lay there in that dungeon, passed from horde to horde like some spoil of war as the monsters fought each other for dominance of that dank dungeon, for more than four decades. It was horrible - for a time, I was even held by a clutch of ghasts. Only my faith in Cuthbert, and the true knowledge that all that is wrong will be made right by his hand, kept me from giving it all up and letting my life force pass away from this cruel world."

"Six weeks ago, I was liberated from my dank prison by the air-priest, Migos, and his sister Lara. The sorceress Lara was the epitome of evil, but even still, I found her hand more tolerable upon my hilt than that of her insane brother. I knew they were but cogs within the great machine of Cuthbert's plan, and so I held my tongue, knowing that they were unworthy of my allegiance. As time passed, I came to discover the details of their plan. Migos had discovered a site called Tower Malison, wherein he sought to perform a ritual to claim for himself, and five relatives, what he referred to as "The Power Universal". Of course, he was mad. Any religious scholar worth his quills can tell you that the Presage of Forms was a cruel hoax penned not two hundred years ago, not at all the nine-hundred year old Prophesy Migos took it for. Somehow, Migos got it into his head that two elements would play a key role in performing this ritual; the altar at Tower Malison, and myself. I'm not sure how he had come to this conclusion, but I suspect the subtle manipulations of a mysterious person that Migos and his siblings only referred to as 'Cousin'."

"I had heard of Malison, of course; it was an ancient temple of a long-dead cult of undead worshipers. There, they frequently summoned a Nightwing to which they bore allegiance, to offer it sacrifices of human slaves. While I was aware that Migos' plan was utter lunacy, I also knew that if I held my tongue, I could once again taste the un-flesh of a foul undead upon my blade, and so I did. Mostly, I was borne by Migos' brother, the monk Viggor; I found his stable and calming companionship most pleasant and comforting, but even with him I remained silent, for I knew that he was in thrall to his older brother's megalomania. One cannot fault him too badly for respecting the hierarchy of the bloodline, of course. When they brought me to the tower, I discovered the source of their confusion -- Migos had, unknowingly, mistranslated the ritual inscriptions on the second floor of the tower! Where he thought he was summoning forth the legacy of his royal Air Elemental ancestry, he was in fact calling forth the base power of undeath."

"And so, in the hopes that Cuthbert would guide a strong and balanced hand to the tower to take me up and cut down the foul Nightwing, I bided my time. Praise be the Cudgel, you came. While I must admit, I find your barbaric tendances most unsettling, you bore yourself through that battle with great poise and grace, and showed much restraint that I wouldn't normally associate with your tribe. And so, I now must appeal to this orderly and respectful side of your nature; please, return me to the bosom of my church, that I might bask in St. Cuthbert's glory once again."

Shalathal considers the sword's request. "While I understand that you long to be returned to your rightful owners, I have a proposition for you. My party has repeatedly come to blows with the vile undead that you so greatly wish to purge from this land. This is because there is a cult that is at this moment trying to bring about the return of the evil god Tharizdun to this plane and my party and I are trying to prevent this. These cultists frequently use undead to bring about this event --- why, not two days ago we destroyed a vampire in their employ! I understand that you might not care about whether or not Tharizdun is returned to this plane, but surely you cannot condone the means."

"Moreover, the reason my colleague attacked Migos's cousin was because she was none other than one of the insane cultists who is trying to bring about Tharizdun's return! You yourself suspected that someone had manipulated Migos into believing that the altar and yourself would bring the 'Power Universal' into his hands, but then you saw the writings on the tower and it turned out that the summoning would call forth the Nightwing. After hearing your story, I believe it was no accidental mistranslation, but a plot by the Third.

"So here is my proposition: Join us in our fight and allow me to wield you when we are up against undead and when our quest is complete I will gladly return you to the temple of St. Cuthbert myself. I understand that my grasp does make you uncomfortable, and to be honest I don't feel entirely comfortable wielding you either, which is why I will use my normal sword in battles with non-undead. However, you cannot deny that the two of us are formidable force against undead. So will you help us?"

The sword rejects her proposal. "Your words are persuasive, and your task is, indeed, righteous and just. Alas, while I wish you well in it, your sworn task is not my own. So, with all due respect, I really must insist that you return me to my rightful bearers." Shalathal wins the ensuing contest of wills against the swords weak ego, and chuckles as she wraps the sword back up in the blanket. She considers selling the sword to the Church of St. Cuthbert in Verbobonc anyway, just to be done with the arguments.

Cyr returns to the Crater Ridge Mines, and enters through the once-secret door into the Dwarven Temple. He mingles with the dwarves, and after chatting with a few of them and sharing a few pints, he talks one of them into selling him a ring. Cyr easily appraises its value at 100gp, but he offers 150gp to the dwarf to ensure secrecy; "It's for a special friend," says Cyr, "I wouldn't want the surprise to be spoiled." He then casts Misdirection, so that the heavy silver ring with a zircon setting carries the magic aura of the ring from Mt. Malison.

Cyr then returns to the shrine. He immediately greets Sir Gareth, and asks him if he detects any evil taint. "In hindsight I am fearful of the rituals earlier this evening -- do you think they cast an evil shadow on my aura?" Gareth places a calming hand on Cyr's shoulder, and assures him that, with the exception of those annoying wisps that constantly encircle his head when he walks the CRM outside the protective aura of the Pelor Shrine, he does not have any taint of evil upon him.

Hamish greets Cyr, and asks him what he "caught on the first bounce". Cyr states, "The sparkle that dropped from the midst of the beast's ashes was a ring." He apologizes for his anxious retreat, explaining that he didn't want to engage in combat for fear of capture (or possibly worse) leaving the prize for others. He tried his best to be greedy and it seems to be working out.

He describes his relatively uneventful return flight (when a Griffon meets a Hippogriff, it's usually followed by dinner time for one of them), and shows Hamish (when he asks) a heavy silver ring with large zircon setting: "We should ask the gods what they know of this prize."

"In the mean time, I wish to spend time preparing for retaliation, or at least an investigation, of The Third's whereabouts. Is there any way to conceal the body -- or protect ourselves or our actions from prying eyes and meddlesome gods?"

Cyr fumbles with the ring and offers it with only mild indignation to Hamish for examination -- but wishes to hold onto it after Hamish is done (my prr-r-r-r-eciooussssss-s-s-s)... He mentions that the voices in his head have changed: "They respect me now. It is easier to concentrate in these mines while the ring is in my possession..."

The party discusses how they will fund Chase's resurrection. They manage to scrape together enough cash to cover the costs of buying 25000gp worth of diamonds from Rerrid, but only by taking advantage of his generous offer to sell them diamonds at cost (half market price). They make arrangements to send a Lantern Archon to pick up the diamonds and bring them to Verbobonc in 3 days time, which is how long Rerrid says it will take to produce them.

The next morning, Cyr spends some time meditating, and asks Hamish if he could conjure up a small air elemental for an experiment. Amazingly, the elemental doesn't disappear at the end of the spell's usual duration. In fact, it sticks around, and seems to have formed an almost instant bond with Cyr. Cyr names him Dusty, and they become fast friends. [Cyr has taken the Improved Familiar feat, so the summoning was just flavor to introduce the new familiar to the party.]

He then privately casts an Identify on the real ring, hidden from the rest of the party. It identifies as a ring of Feather Fall. he's disappointed, but suspicious that it might be more than that, what with all the fuss the Fehr's and The Third were going to to get it.

Hamish casts Speak With Dead on the corpse of The Third, to try to figure out more about what exactly happened the day before.

Q: What is the Power Universal?
A: A fantabulous prank.

Q: If it was a fantabulous prank, why were you there at all?
A: To steal the air binder.

Q: Who in the cult knows you were involved in the ritual?
A: Why the hell would anyone know my personal business?

Q: Where are the other members of the triad?
A: The First hides in the spike. The Second commands at the recovered temple.

Q: Where are the other binders?
A: If I knew that, you probably couldn't have killed me. You sons of bitches.

Q: Where is the Orb of Oblivion?
A: Under careful guard in the Throne room of Imix.

The party then returns to Verbobonc, where they have the gear taken from The Third identified. They sell off some of it, and distribute the rest. Cyr makes contact with the Den of Olidammara, and pays the initiation fee and monthly dues for access to a priest there. The priest is able to fill in some of the details of the history of the binders for him, and then Cyr pays to have him cast a divination. The question: "What are the powers held by the air binder, and how might I use them?" The answer: "In your time of dire need, follow your inner lead. Ask, and ye shall recede. Uh, receive." The priest lets out a belly laugh, and sends Cyr on his way with his riddle to solve from the Laughing Rogue.

Finally, Chase is resurrected, and the party heads to Chendl. They meet with Thrommel, who is still feeling ill and unclean after his long ordeal, but thanks them for saving him. A feast is held in the party's honour, and the next morning, Thrommel endeavors to help them fill in the gaps in their knowledge of the Outer Fane from what Varachan had already told them.

Then, they return to Verbobonc, and set to some serious item crafting and sales. They end up spending two weeks in Verbobonc; while they end up with some nice new gear, including a few +3 cloaks of protection, some upgraded armor, Dirge reconsecrated as Requiem, a holy sword, for Chase, and Shalathal's Sword of Earth enhanced with Evil Outsider Bane, they have squandered their opportunity to sneak into the Inner Fane over the two out-of-commission lightning towers while Hedrack's sorcerers crafted wands.

Finally, it's time for some adventure. The night of September 12th, Hamish casts Word of Recall to return the party to the Shrine in the CRM. While they were away, Rerrid informs them, the Air Bridge was destroyed, presumably by Hedrack's forces. So they'll need a new way into the Outer Fane. The party has decided to try to find and clear the Earth Bridge complex; they've been there once before, en route to attacking the Fire Temple, but that was before the Water Temple was destroyed, and they had guides. Now they'll have to find their own way there.

They head east from the shrine, past the arena. The orcs who control the south gate have set up a large barrier of debris in the hall here, and warn the party as they pass that danger lurks beyond. Chase scoffs as he tears down the debris; reluctantly, the orcs help. As soon as the party passes, they can see the orcs building the wall of debris back up again.

As they continue down the hall, Chase notices the Cloakers lurking near the ceiling. He cautiously advances to attack, but is enveloped. Slim, his shadow companion, rushes forward to save him, but both Slim and Chase are shocked when Slim's strength draining attack effects Chase as much as the cloaker that envelops him! However, all ends well as Chase is able to break free from the grapple. Cyr's new familiar Dusty proves to be quite a powerful ally, delivering Cyr's touch spells with ease with his fly-by attacks, and then returning to Cyr's side.

After finding the Cloakers' cache of treasure, they continue east. They discover the dwarven forge, and Hamish easily dispatches the Blade Spirit with a Greater Turning. Then, the Destrachans surprise the party, and prove to be quite a threat. Hamish fares particularly poorly, taking a large amount of damage as well as losing his +1 Cloak of Resistance when his save comes up a 1. Angry at the sonic beasts, he responds very effectively with a Silence spell, and the now blinded creatures are quickly dispatched.

The party moves to search the Destrachan pit. While Dusty is down in the pit searching the bodies of the four corpses found below, Cyr feels a sudden urge to walk on the very air he's breathing to go join his friend. He concentrates, but is unable to focus the energy of the binder; not only that, but the corrupting energy flows through him, and stains his soul black, making him Evil. Of course, the magic of the binder will prevent anyone from detecting this fact, but Cyr doesn't know that yet.

Briar Beast
(4/4/04 6:05 am)
Re: Night of the Living Chase: Slumming in the Destrachan pi
A couple other minor points I forgot to mention in that log entry. At some point while the party was in Verbobonc, they scried on Hedrack (Hamish has a blood sample collected from Cyr's perilous charge into his bedchamber). They caught him in the Greater Temple, performing the weekly ritual for a 1000gp magic item with the Orb of Silvery Death. He got a Wand of Cure Light Wounds out of it this week.

A few other minor changes: Gareth is gone, as he realized that his master Thrommel needs guidance and assistance to reintegrate himself into civilized society. Also, having not stuck with Paladin to 3rd level, Gareth is very afraid. :) Before he left, he spent a few days helping Cyr scribe some scrolls of the spells that Gareth knew. Shalathal sold Nightslice to the Church of St. Cuthbert in Verbobonc; I'd been hoping she'd decide to take the party on a side trip to Perrenland, where Sir Chase would be considered an enemy of the state, but alas, she went the easy way. Cyr sold his Ring of Protection +1, and bluffed the party that he was buying a Ring of Feather Fall, to provide a cover story for the switch he pulled with the Air Binder.

Also, at the end of the last session Chase levelled. His player hasn't confirmed it yet, but I'm pretty sure he'll be taking the 4th level of Shadowdancer -- he's been looking forward to Shadow Jump for a very long time. Hamish and Shalathal are both within 1000xp of levelling, so they'll hit 13 next session. Cyr's still playing catch-up from his trip across the River Styx. So this leaves us with the current party makeup:

Monsignor Hamish, The Lord Bishop Rastor: NG Human Cleric of Pelor 12
Sir Chase, Knight Commander of the Hart (Furyondy): CG Half-elf Fighter 4 / Rogue 5 / Shadowdancer 4
Shalathal: NN Human Barbarian 9 / Sorcerer 3
Cyr: CE* Grey Elf Rogue 7 / Wizard 5

* Does not detect as Evil due to the Binder, but is affected by spells that target evil, such as Holy Word. Hamish is in for a nice surprise. :evil

Briar Beast
(4/8/04 1:18 pm)
Cyr pulls a Wish out of his.... ring!
Just for some out-of-character background, my gaming group is mostly made up of folks in my department at work. After our team status meeting this week, Cyr's player wanders into my office, and asks if I have a few minutes to chat. I'm expecting followup on some technical discussions we got into in the meeting, but he starts asking me about the nature of Cyr's new-found evil, wondering if he's feeling any of the old sadistic compulsions he had back when he carried the Demonstone. I explain that he doesn't; this is a more run-of-the-mill alignment change, and as long as he doesn't perform any acts of gratuitous charity or kindness, I won't be railroading his actions at all.

The conversation then turns to the level of Assassin Cyr took back when he had the Demonstone, and how he was considering taking it again (he lost that level when he died and was Raised). I cautioned against it; last time he was an assassin, the Assassination ability typically served only to take him out of a fight for 3 rounds, which is generally about the longest a fight lasts around level 12. I pointed out that Cyr's current abilities would make him a spectacular assassin with a lower-case A, though... He then says, "I wish my wizard caster level were higher. I would be so much more effective."

I pause. "Excuse me, did you just say, 'I wish my wizard caster level were higher'? I'm afraid I have to stop this conversation for a moment while I find a random number generator. Do you happen to recall Cyr's will save?" Google directs me to the Irony Games dice server, and I punch up two rolls of 1d20. As it turns out, we didn't need to know Cyr's will save after all -- the rolls come up a 20 and a 1. So Cyr is now a Chaotic Evil Grey Elf Rogue 4 / Wizard 5 / Arcane Trickster 3, with an Insanity score of 1, giving him an effective wisdom of 7 and an effective spell-casting intelligence of 22 (while wearing his Headband of Intellect +2).


Edit: After a thread in the D&D magic forum discussing the relative power of this wish, I gave the player the option of deciding how many levels to swap from Rogue to Arcane Trickster, and he chose to switch 3 of them.

Edited by: msherman at: 4/9/04 2:12 pm
Briar Beast
(4/10/04 5:19 am)
Re: Cyr pulls a Wish out of his.... ring!
Here's the in-game description of what just happened (and some reactions to it):

You pause to rest for a moment in the small triangular room with the exit to the ledge overlooking the Stalagos (which, by the way, is about 30' below the ledge). Hamish takes the opportunity to tend to the party's wounds. Cyr is sitting on the ledge, his feet dangling over the lip, having a private conversation with Dusty in the open air. He looks troubled and dismayed. Suddenly, Cyr begins to half-scream/half-whine, as he staggers away from the ledge with a look of shock on his face. He seems overcome for a moment, but then recovers.

Chase goes up to Cyr to see what's wrong, and to take a look out the ledge. Looking out the ledge, he sees a pair of Spider Eater Riders flying far off in the distance, near one of the towers, but they don't appear to be paying any attention to you.

Cyr appears to have recovered from whatever happened to him, though he does look white as a ghost and rather stumbly still. "I-I-I'm not s-sure... but I feel... different ... somehow... whoa. Dusty!? Dusty.... where aarrrrre you? oh! there you are! thank goodness. good ol' pal... Dusty. D-is-for-Dirt-Devilicious Dusty! So eager... How you doin' Dusty? you ok too? Hey -- wanna go kick some ass? <Dusty vents approval> good -- let's go kick some ass, Dusty! I'm fine now -- fo-get-about-it -- I wwant me some coin! c'mon Pretty Pelor Person -- we've got work to do!"

Chase: "Are you drunk?"

Cyr: "I ... don't t-think so. I'm just ... feeling a bit different -- I don't think I'll have to worry about the voices picking on me any more -- ever... I think I'm finally regaining piece of mind. It's good -- really."

Chase: "I'm very glad to hear it, but keep it down. Let's try not to attract every wandering beast in these mines to us all at once. It'll be easier to defeat them and take their coin if we meet them one at a time."

Then, Hamish says to Cyr, "If you don't mind, I'd like to check that there's nothing wrong, okay?"

The colour returns to Cyr's face, as he begins to whine and attempt to talk Hamish out of the spell. "I'm not evil, pretty boy. We've got more important things to take care of at this point." But his protests seem to be all bluster, and no action, so Hamish sets to preparing for his spell.

Cyr's protests continue over the course of the quarter hour as Hamish prays. "Why do you keep insulting me? I'm sick of this -- you'd better be prepared to make a sacrifice on our next haul if your suspicions are unfounded, kobold face!!" Cyr storms around the cave, pacing back and forth loudly. "Stop this harassment! Look at the frickin shadow over there -- HE'S the Evil one! Oh crap -- sorry brother -- I didn't mean to offend..." Slim snickers, and Dusty joins in the laughter. Cyr seems struck by the fact that everyone's turning against him. "Ahhh... piss off ... I'm gonna hang myself if you keep this up..."

Hamish gets up from his prayers, and tries to calm Cyr with some kind words as he begins to cast his Detect Evil. Cyr bobs and weaves around him, taunting him, "Ooh! Fancy cleric with his spells!" Cyr seems to be trying to anticipate Hamish's turns, to avoid letting Hamish get a solid 3 round stare. "Can you see me now? no -- good... can you see me now!?" Cyr doesn't seem to be particularly good at reading Hamish's turns, though, and it doesn't take very long for Hamish to out-maneuver him, and get a solid look at him for 3 rounds in a row.

Hamish is rather annoyed at all this, but is relieved to discover that there's nothing out of the ordinary. With the exception of the usual gaggle of evil mini-auras that hover around Cyr's head whenever he's within the confines of Mt. Stalagos, there is no evil within a 60' radius.

Briar Beast
(4/18/04 7:18 am)
The Fehrs meet an untimely end
[DMs note: this session started with the party being hunted down by Migos Fehr, attempting to take back the "Power Universal" that Cyr stole at Mount Malison. The hunting party consists of Migos, a CN half-air-elemental Cleric 7 (air, luck) / Fighter 6, Viggor Fehr, a LN half-air-elemental Monk11, and Mertha, a CG grey elf Ranger 8. All three of them had leveled after the fight against the Nightwing.]

For the past two weeks, Migos and his party had been hunting for the cheating scoundrel Cyr. Mertha, the elven ranger, was getting to know her quarry well; with the help of Migos's divinations, she had been able to track her cousin Cyr and his group to a town called Rastor, about a week's ride east of Mt. Malison in the Lortmil mountains. Once in Rastor, they were easily able to follow Cyr's trail to a mine complex called the Crater Ridge, where they were in league with an Orc tribe, feeding off the naive hospitality of a clan of dwarves.

Migos, a very smooth talker, found it very easy to gain access for them to the mines. The orcs who held the gate complex were quite eager to divulge the information that Cyr and his gang of bandits had headed east from the gate into the mine complex not an hour before their arrival. The orcs had walled off a hallway just east of the defensive barbican with great piles of debris, but for a small honorarium they were happy to dismantle the barrier to let them pass. The orcs warned them of terrible danger lurking beyond the wall, and actually seemed relieved that Cyr's family was heading in to help him. Hah.

The monk Viggor, Migos's younger brother, seemed very uncomfortable with the idea of the party tracking Cyr in stealth and capturing him for his crimes. He made Migos and Mertha swear an oath that they would take Cyr alive if at all possible, and not do any undue harm to his companions. Mertha agreed, though she didn't really see the point; clearly, they were criminals for what they had done, and deserved what they got. One of Cyr's companions even had the gall to disguise himself as a cleric of Pelor, though their actions at Mt. Malison had made it obvious that that was a ruse, and he was probably a foul Nerullite or something. Migos swore the oath convincingly; he was well used to his brother's demanding ways, and found him quite easy to manipulate.

Mertha didn't have to track very far before she discovered Cyr and his band of mercenaries. It seemed that they were locked in battle in a cave up ahead with what sounded like a poorly tuned orchestra. When the beasts blew their horns, the walls shook, and debris crumbled from the tunnels overhead. Migos suggested that they wait out the battle; whichever side was victorious would then be easier for them to defeat. Viggor raised an objection to the tactic as lacking in honour, but Migos brushed his concern aside.

While they waited, in what appeared to be an abandoned forge (C96), Migos suggested that they prepare for battle. Viggor quaffed his potions of Cat's Grace and Owl's Wisdom, and cast his Ioun Stone into orbit about his head to grant him mystical defensive insight. Mertha quaffed her potion of Cat's Grace, and then concentrated for a moment to activate her Sight, which allowed her to see that scoundrel Cyr despite his ring of Invisibility. Migos gave his brother a potion of Fire Resistance to drink, and then cast a number of spells: Freedom of Movement on Viggor, Shield of Faith on Mertha, and on himself, Aid, Resist Fire, Protection from Acid, Invisibility Purge, and Death Ward.

After the sounds of battle died down, Mertha began to sneak forward through the small passage to the north. She found the trail easily enough; it appears that while they had been preparing for battle, Cyr and his group had advanced through the large cave to the north (C97), up a slope to a smaller cave with an opening overlooking the crater lake below (C100). She motioned for her companions to advance, and they staked out a position in the large cave, while she scouted ahead. She advanced to the mouth of the smaller cave undetected, and spied on Cyr's group. Cyr, sitting on the ledge at the north end of the cave, screamed in agony, as though something had attacked him. Mertha thanked the gods for this fortunate turn of events. However, her luck turned as she retreated to inform Migos and Viggor that now was the time to strike, as Chase heard her walk away. Suddenly, a small air elemental whipped into the hall, not 5 feet away from her. It hovered for a moment in front of her, then zipped past, into the hall. Cyr called out, "Cousin! Hello!" and Chase advanced, sword and shield drawn. Mertha broke into a run back to the large cave to the south, shouting, "Dammit! They've made me!"

Viggor bides his time, waiting out of sight around the corner in the large cave, ready to charge and trip any enemy that might enter the cave. Migos advances into the mouth of the hallway, and shouts a warning: "Cyr! We've come to take back what you stole from us. We have no quarrel with the rest of you." He then casts Dimensional Anchor, the green ray striking Cyr square in the chest, to ensure that Cyr can't escape this fight without returning the Power Universal to its rightful owners.

Cyr and his group advance cautiously; no-one seems to want to strike the first blow. Mertha readies an action to fire a pair of arrows with a single pull at the first person to attack. Hamish casts Prayer, catching everyone except Viggor in its radius. Cyr advances, casting a pair of fireballs, using his Rod of Quickening. Mertha lets loose with her arrows, but they fly wide of the mark. She is badly burned in the explosions, though Migos shrugs them off with only minimal damage due to his prepared magical defenses. Shalathal casts a Shield on herself, and Chase advances defensively. Migos counters with his own prayer; this time, Viggor is within range, and it counteracts the effects of Hamish's prayer on everyone except for Cyr. Once again, he demands that Cyr surrender, unless he wishes to see harm come to his companions.

This threat is more than enough for Shalathal, and she rushes towards Migos. Viggor is ready for her, though, and he leaps in wuxia style, with his leg swinging out under Shalathal's, dropping her to the floor. He throws a knee up to catch her skull on the way down, but misses. Unbowed by Viggor's surprise attack, Shalathal swings her sword at Migos from her prone position, striking him hard in the thigh. Chase quickly follows to distract Shalathal's attacker; he advances to the mouth of the cave, and then shadow jumps to the wall, flanking Viggor across from Shalathal.

Migos takes a five foot step away from this melee, and casts a healing spell on the badly burned Mertha. She shoots a volley of arrows at Shalathal, but misses. Shalathal, Chase and Viggor exchange a few rounds of viscous close-quarters melee; with his boots of speed granting him 5 attacks per round, his monk's belt and amulet of mighty fists increasing the force of his blows, and his improved trip keeping his enemies prone or wasting actions getting up, he's able to keep up with the pair of them, and deals a punishing amount of non-lethal damage. Cyr casts a Suggestion on Mertha, urging her to protect him against Migos and Viggor; she takes a step away from Migos, and trains her bow on him, ready to shoot should Cyr be attacked again. Hamish casts a Blade Barrier, in a straight line cutting off the mouth of the cave; Mertha manages to leap clear of the whirling blades, but Migos is caught, and is wounded quite badly by them. Cyr uses his newfound ability of ranged legerdemain to snatch Viggor's Ioun stone from 20 feet away.

Migos steps clear of the blades, on the opposite side of the fight; he then invokes his spell-like ability to cast Chain Lightning. The primary bolt strikes Shalathal, and even with her successful save and her ring of electrical resistance, she still takes some damage from the blast. Only Hamish is hurt by the secondary arcs, as Cyr and Chase both evade the arcs that strike them. Viggor is badly wounded, and he retreats to quaff a potion of Cure Serious Wounds. Cyr's familiar, Dusty, appears to block Viggor's escape through the passage to the north, in whirlwind form; Chase begins to concentrate on a silent image, increasing Dusty's apparent size to Huge. Viggor gulps, and fires his own Chain Lightning; not as strong as his brothers, it still does a fair bit of damage to Shalathal and Hamish. Alas, it is for nought, as Shalathal charges him and strikes the death blow.

Migos attempts to cast Hold Person on Shalathal, but fails. He then tries to use a turn attempt to command Cyr to surrender, but Cyr laughs him off. Finally, Hamish dismisses the blade barrier, so that Chase can engage the cleric. Cyr shoots an Acid Arrow at Migos, who ignores the damage due to his Protection spell; Mertha laughs, telling Cyr that Migos was prepared for that. Migos Dispels the Suggestion, and Mertha takes a step back and turns her bow against her devious cousin, though her arrows again fly wide of the mark. Hamish heals Shalathal, who had been nearly knocked unconscious in her fight with Viggor.

Out of useful spells, Migos draws his morning star, and prepares to go toe-to-toe. He strikes a critical blow against Chase, proving that he is not merely a bookish priest. Chase returns the favor, and then Hamish casts a Flame Strike, catching both Migos and Mertha in the blast. Mertha is reduced to a mere pile of charred bones; even with his protection from fire, the strike is powerful enough to knock Migos unconscious. Cyr, high on the adrenaline rush, fires an arrow at Migos' defenseless body; Hamish objects loudly, but Cyr ignores him and orders Dusty to attack. The air elemental strikes with a slam, and even that weak blow is enough to kill the air priest.

Edited by: msherman at: 4/18/04 7:26 am
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