This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Youth Meet 1, Adv 1, 11/25/17

So the youths have a new campaign and during the weekend near my daughter’s 15th birthday, she asked me if we could have a longer than usual get together – 6 hours. The youths spent some time rolling up new characters while I explained some of the inherent differences between B/X and my own 1st/3.5 amalgamation.

For the youths I’ve rewound the rule set to be a bit more 1st edition heavy. Ability scores – right out of the 1st edition handbook, including percentile strength. Class skills – right out of the 1st edition handbook – as written, no power creep. As for everything else, 3.5 saves, BAB to hits (no THACO’s), skills and crafts, feats, and similar the like.

Since we are playing “for real”, I have planted them on my map and world in the Barony of Dilabria, the County of Reet, at the shores of the Mastelic Ocean and in a Norse inspired area. One member showed up late but we fast tracked him through character creation and the group ended up with:

Human Male Paladin to Tyr
Human Male Ranger to Loki (bounty hunter background)
Female Half High-Elf/Half Drow Cleric to Hel (product of drow raid, emphasis on necromancy)
Female Tallfellow Halfling Thief praying to Loki

Wove in the background and situated them in place. They are going to go through a skeletal framework of Saltmarsh that will deviate off the adventure’s rails in almost no time.

Write up follows:

Veldryn was born a bit over 3 centuries ago to a High Elven healer who had been the victim of a Drow raid near the city of Glowerspire. Upon her birth there was concern that the child would exhibit drow characteristics and although her hair was white and eyes red, her skin was as alabaster as any High elf’s could be.

The violence of her conception and the frenetic period of her birth had unhinged Veldryn’s mother’s mind and she was sent along with her daughter far to the north and east to live with a small commune of healers near the Elvenwoods, south of the Windy Peak Mountains. She grew up amongst dwarves, elves, and humans who treated the young girl with respect and a bit of pity with the crushing mental abuse her mother would often subject her daughter to. Her raping was mentioned often, and her distrust of people would make her become shrill and unapproachable often.

When the great Reetersbeard dwarven migration occurred, Veldryn’s mother moved her and her daughter to the healing houses of Huntington, “just for a change”. Then it was a move to Windressa 2 decades later, then Dragonhole after a few decades, then Bandit Hills, then Dilabria, and so on. Ever moving and taking her daughter with her regardless of the girls’ interests.

After they arrived in Karon, a small fishing village north of the Eider Down Fens, Veldryn, already approaching her 3rd century informed her mother that she would NOT be moving again and began to distance herself from her odd parent. She took to working with the healing houses on her own, helping to cure the sick and tend to the wounded. It was when a bad case of Redcough had swept the village and the plaguedoctors had finally made it to the fishing village to tend to the townsfolk that Veldryn’s life took a turn.

One of the plaguedoctors was a Speaker for the Dead, a skilled and capable priest of Hel who talked to Veldryn about her duties as a physiker, but also what position Hel has in the great scheme of things and how the passage of death isn’t to be feared, but to be spoken of. Discussed in such a way to remove the negative stigmata of death. Veldryn was hooked. She spent much time afterwards learning from the Speaker and others who would come and visit Karon, taking pilgrimages to Flat Rock to read the ancient texts and pray at the menhirs that depicted Goddess of Nifelheim.

And her piety paid off in time. Hel first started answering her prayers in small ways, globes of light in the dark, a comforting voice at night. Then her powers grew and the Speaker for the Dead ordained her as a follower of Hel and priestess with all the rights due to her. When her mother wanted to leave and head south to Eider or Principia, “just for a change” Veldryn, now a touched priestess, broke ties with her mother who screamed, shouted, and harangued her daughter; hurling her violent conception at the girl’s face before cursing her to “misery and ruin!” and leaving.

Veldryn was heartbroken but threw herself into her work and decided not to feel that weak ever again, taking up the mantle of warrior-priest of Hel and training herself in weaponry as well as her god’s wishes.

Magnus had lived his entire live in Karon and to him it was the center of everything. 516 people fishing and plying the ocean, trade caravans coming from far flung places; it was a place of honorable people doing honorable work. What was the most interesting to the young man were the knights who would pass through during the tournament season. Outfitted with steed and armor, gleaming spears in the sun, pennants and tabards in glorious color. The shining example of nobility and chivalry to all.

For Magnus though, a fast young man with deep chest and wide shoulders, he would spend his time at the militia and training yards, sharing his letters with the soldiers there and acting as a live training target for them during their sparring matches. He learned swiftly how to take a blow and how to dodge them. He grew to understand the basics of shield play, became cognizant in different weaponry, and could be trusted to be a gracious winner as well as loser in whatever bouts he fought in.

He struck up a friendship with the strange white-haired elven priestess, sharing her stories of Hel and her own life with his own interest in the other Norse gods especially Tyr, the one handed god of justice. They had an easy friendship that brought Magnus from the awkward teenaged years into his early 20’s with nary a hiccup.

Many a time Magnus would be joining Veldryn at the Hospice, tending to the wounded and the sick. Most everyone knew that young Magnus was a man to be trusted; a man who exemplified everything that he felt a knight should be regardless of his less than affluent background. But strange things began to happen when Magnus was about. Some young girl who had a terrible cough was much improved after Magnus had tended to her. Some days later while helping a physiker set a fisherman’s broken arm it was discovered the arm didn’t seem as bad off as originally expected. Then there was the aura of fearlessness that he exuded in addition to the sensation that people got of being at peace when in his presence.

It was the arrival about a year ago of a contingent of Tyrian holy men who traveled almost 2 weeks from Cymbarton to meet with Magnus that the truth was revealed. Magnus, for reasons only Tyr knew, was a selected champion of Tyr and a paladin. The news shocked the town of Karon who took the news well and shared it long and wide that one of their own, a fishing village on the back waters of the barony, had one of its very own as a paladin. He was invited to return to the Capital but Magnus demurred, saying that he could do more in Tyr’s name here that he could far from home.

So the friendship between the paladin of Tyr and the white necromancer of Hel might have seemed odd to others, but was natural to Magnus and Veldryn.

Deja was the 8th of 10 halfling children whose parents were jolly and well meaning merchants situated in Dilabria. While most of her brothers and sisters were happy to be a part of the Thistledown Merchant House, finding jobs and places within the organization, Deja was disillusioned. Smart, capable, dexterous, charming, she instead took to petty pilfering, games and dice, drink and weed; smoking often late and making friends in “low” places.

Her father tried, long and often, to redirect his unwilling daughter to better choices and honorable pursuits but it was difficult to rein her in. First it was money, then favors, then payoffs to the watch. It didn’t matter; Deja would do well, straighten out, and then fall off the wagon weeks or months later and need to be helped once again.

Deja had been running with a group of unguilded rogues and thieves on a number of jobs and petty thefts around Dilabria when her group was caught up by the Dragoons (County Guards and Rangers) and had to flee. She had been making her business to align her fortunes with the stronger and more capable fighters and scrappers, knowing her skills to martial matters were a bit lacking. But her companion was felled by a truncheon to the head and Deja barely escaped through an open street drain, the watch hot on her trail.

She had not only been caught red handed, but identified by name. Dilabria was no longer a home and she would have to flee and do it soon. Since her thieving had not landed here in a guild as of yet, she had no protection in that direction. And her father had flat out told her that if this happened again, she would go to stocks, jail, hard labor, or even the gibbet – he was done.

She dug herself out of the sewers, snuck into her family’s home, took what belongings she could as well as coins, and then fled out of Dilabria heading north on the back of a turnip wagon – her friends, family, and life behind her for now.

She ended up in Flat Rock where for a few days she worked at the local tavern sweeping floors and pilfering loose Bits and Commons when able to. She was miserable, unhappy, and alone. Her life was going to need to change and she needed a direction.

It was while she was here that a group of Umbarian Slavers had come in and strode right up to a travel worn ranger who was at a table near the fire, a man bound in manacles at his side. The slavers pointed to the bound man and demanded that he be released to their custody as he was an escaped slave from Principia.

The bounty hunter stood slowly, hand on the hilt of his dirk, and produced his papers to the angry slaver, attesting that he was well within his rights to apprehend this FUGITIVE and suspected murderer, returning his to Twark. At just under twenty, the bounty hunter whose name was Talion, would not back down; citing rule, cipher, and edict that his bounty was more legal than their questionable claim of escaped slave. If was a tense standoff and Deja decided there to lend her aid to Talion, sneaking up to the secondary slaver and placing her own poignard against the man’s spine causing him to stiffen with concern.

The slavers, seeing the mood of the tavern turning and the resolution of Talion, willingly stood down but the slaver gave Talion a piercing threat that he would rue this decision as some point in the future. They left and the mood lightened.

Deja and Talion greeted one another, shared a few pints, and by the night were fast friends. She left with Talion the next day on their way to Twark where he received his bounty and decided that they were going to lay low for a while. The slaver’s guild did not have much sway, but there were many of them and it was best to hide out for the time being than further antagonize them. They hopped on a caravan that headed off to Karon and decided it was a perfect place to set up home for the time being.

Talion wanted to keep his skills honed and often trained with the militia, befriending the town’s shining prodigal son, an honest to Loki paladin named Magnus. Within time, the ranger, paladin, cleric, and thief bonded together, performing small jobs for the Mayor and helping out the townsfolk where needed.

But Karon was a small pond and the four friends after six months decided they wanted to bite off something meatier. That was when some fishers and traders from down coast came with stories that the Council of Saltmarsh was looking for adventurers to help out with an important matter. The foursome discussed it and decided it was a worthy job. So they gathered their belongings, bid farewell to their friends and neighbors, and booked passage on the Jolly Frog as it was making the day and a half run south down the coast to Saltmarsh.

It was an uneventful trip and within time the sturdy sloop arrived at the seaside large town. Surrounded by the Eider Down Fen, the town itself was built on mounded up earth and raised wooden posts and walkways. A sturdy quay stuck out into the Mastelic Ocean taking up most of the shore line. Six different major docks were home to many smaller and larger boats. The shore was a mass of small rounded stones and broken shells.

Upon docking, they left the Jolly Frog and made their way to the town proper where they met the Wharf master Kurly Ludbrook, a stout dwarven male with a clipboard and clay plate. They spoke at length as to who they were (Kurly had heard of Magnus the Tryian paladin and was welcomed) and our interest in meeting with the council for some help.

We were directed to get a room at the Saucy Winter Wench, an Inn west of the docks just past the cooper, and as for the council, perhaps Sir Archibald Regurin would be the person to talk to; he had a Demesne on the south end of town. We thanked Kurly and strode the raised platforms of Saltmarsh. There were many warehouses and businesses about, and we could see that homes and apartments were situated above some of them.

The Saucy Winter Wench was a two story affair with a wraparound porch and the smell of ale was strong even out here. We entered; the Common Room was sizable, able to house a hundred, hundred and fifty with ease. Some women of ill repute were along the edges and a four count of wenches were plying the floor and tables. A set of stairs on the far end of the room went up to the second floor where a minstrel was strumming a lute. There was a hearth and fireplace and a long bar where two barkeeps were working the taps.

We made our way through and were directed to talk to the Inn keep in the back where we made our way through the throng. A heavy set brassy haired woman with questionable hygiene was here and with a guttural voice identified herself as Pettis. We bargained for a room, getting a larger one on the second floor with a bath. We also learned of a few traders we could go visit to get outfitted, taking Uri Rosensteel of Rosensteel’s Imported Goods as a place to go and visit.

We went to our room, had the page fill the tub for us, left some soap, noted where we would sleep and rest, and then locked up and took to the streets. Traveling south at the next block we went to Rosensteel’s and spend some time purchasing armor, arms, and some equipment for our hopefully soon to be adventure.

We left at 4:30 and continued south, climbing up the hill to a stately manor along the shore, overlooking the ocean. We were stopped at the gate and announced who we were, waited to get admitted, and then had an audience with Sir Archibald himself. At almost 60, he was one time a squire and knight, getting thick with years and good food. A landholder of some repute, there were 4 other council members and he would meet with them tomorrow to make sure we were accorded a charter.

There was a manor house some 4 miles south of town where a disgraced alchemist and wizard of some repute had lived 20 years ago. He had been working on an enslaving mind control potion when he had died with no heirs to speak of. His Esquire handled the ending of his affairs but the place had an evil reputation and those who would go there spoke of strange noises, lights, and terrors that would consume them. So the place was left alone; an eyesore some distance from Saltmarsh and forgotten by many.

But recently there have been more odd lights and a few who have dared to brave its grounds have left with strange screams chasing their running feet. The Council wants the matter resolved and the place investigated. We accepted the job, the promise of some payment in the future good enough for us for now.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Meet 33, Adv 4, 11/18/17

There were three main reveals this meeting in regards to the Morat lands currently wild and lawless denizens. No obvious civilization, but the land is filled with powers and competing blocs of power.

The first was Girgym, the Frost Giant. Besides being a follower of Thrym, he was also a benefactor and patron of the K'Morat Warren that the group had been working on - the shaman within also a follower of Thrym. The party had the chance to encounter Girgym under brief and short circumstances where he beat one member into unconsciousness, tossed a second member 52' feet across a field, and then picked up a tree and slammed it repeatedly in the warren entrance stuffing it up before storming away.

The next was a wandering monster resolution which resulted in four...FOUR Vampires! Being it was historically an orcish land, the vampires are Orcish and the leader of them is a charming rogue named Lysil - who didn't want to kill the party, only wanted to feed from them for him and his hungry crrew - would have been 4 people losing a level. Instead, our half-orc took the hit and we now know of a 2nd dangerous enemy out here.

The last was Dunatis, a 12th level orcish druid and his tribe of similar making a circle. We know of only 3 so far, but the suspicion is there are more. Dunatis isn't against the Sorton-ites or the party as they have been respectful of the lands so far - but he and his circle aren't necessarily on the party's side either as evidenced by our conversation with him. We do know though that he is a source for "good" (neutrality?) out here that isn't necessarily out to hurt the group or screw them over.

Write up follows:

Barb found herself disarmed while she was struggling with the K’Morat who were snarling and spitting at the death of the shaman. One was on her ankle, the other on her arm, chewing on her wrist. Avulstein managed to dispatch the one he was fighting in a furious display of wolverine critical assault, ripping shreds of the kobold to pieces. Barb was getting pissed, and raging, slammed on of the kobolds into the other again and again until she was on her knees pounding one slab of reptilian meat into the other, red chunks all over the place.

The fight over we all reconvened, shared some healing, and then checked the place over while more bodies were stacked up to block the hall behind us. There were some boxes and two of them had squat brown cakes with what seemed to be hard brown icing. Odd, we took them though and then cast a new light spell, heading north.

The hall had a pit trap in it and between Barb and Negan; we didn’t think much of our chance to get through. So Connal and Barb dragged the cover off and then jammed it from floor to ceiling, blocking the hall for the time being. We then went BACK one room, moving the bodies we had stacked there out of the way and instead dragged them across the chamber and blocked another hall here.

We had seen some lights some time ago down the northern passage out of the kitchen but as of now, only a single steady candle flame was lit. We went down the hall slow until arrived at the chamber. There was a butchery table on the north wall with a single candle flame, opening on the west wall of the south east corner; floor had a serious gooey layer covering 85% of the chamber. Connal went first, staying out of the goo heading to the corridor to the west, Avulstein and Barb following, Negan and Darius holding back for now.

While crossing the corridor to some other room beyond, Connal fell through a pit here but managed to twist in such a way that instead of falling on the spikes within, he only happened to get scrapped by one – and didn’t contract Kobold-Aids! Once over to the other side, Avulstein waddled along and then Barb followed as well, staying on the edge of the pit. Negan and Darius headed to the pit but did not cross for now. Centius was still in the hall.

The room here was a seraglio, covered in pillows, cushions, and other drapery as well, an opening on the south wall led off towards the room we had fought the shaman in. There was an altar on the north wall with the same blue/black bearded face painted behind it that we had seen elsewhere. Avulstein detected magic, seeing 4 amorphous shapes in the pillow area. He headed to one and up sprung from cover and invisibility was a K’Morat soldier in tight armor and wielding a knife blade that stabbed into the wolverine.

Paralyzing our necromancer for the next 6 hours.

Three other kobolds emerged invisibly, also armed with knives and tried to assault Barb and Connal. At the same time, the corner of the butcher chamber on the north east side of the chamber slid open and flatbow wielding kobolds shot at the Half-Ogre and our slinger – one of them shooting the table with the candle – disturbing it, and dropping the candle to the ground. Where it ignited from whatever oily goo the kobolds had prepared across its surface earlier. Finally a four or five count charged down the hall and tried to get past Centius who finally animated and defended himself with his axe.

Barb and Connal were trying to fight the two kobolds on uneven ground and avoid getting scratched by the poisoned knives while Negan was struck by a bolt, slipped backwards…and fell into the spike lined pit. Unlike Connal though, the half-ogre hit the spikes hard, three of them puncturing his body, one of them actually tearing his left eye out! Darius let fly back at the flatbow wielders, his sling tearing open throats, knocking heads, and crushing chests as he sent back a hailstorm of half pound missiles. The Kobold’s did manage to inflict minimal wounds but Darius didn’t let anyone get to escape as he refused to let anything come out of the hole.

Negan healed himself, couldn’t fix his eye, but did use his shield to flatten every spike in the pit so he could stand. Centius was dispatching kobolds at pretty much one every 30 seconds, the warriors not doing any more than superficial damage to the zombie. After a few of them had been killed, the last few turned and fled and Centius once more grew still.

The flames had died down and Barb and Connal managed to kill off the last K’Morat here. They took the two knives that hadn’t struck anyone and put them aside for now. We shuffled Avulstein back across the pit to Darius who went to the hall and coaxed Centius out and into the butchery room where the undead orc then took Avulstein’s paralyzed form and held him in his arms while standing there.

Good enough for us.

Negan stayed in the pit, happy to actually be able to stand, and Darius went back to Barb and Connal who were looking over the room with a keen eye. Barb went to the north wall near the painted shrine area and began hitting it – and instantly discovered a blocked up concealed entrance. We chipped away at the opening revealing a plank of wood some 5’ tall, 3’ wide, and there was some noise behind it. We suspected kobolds, the clutch guards for the eggs.

The fastest pull, peer, and replace showed two of them, with lit Molotov and spears. Darius prepared his own and on the count of three Barb pulled the wood aside and Darius tossed his in. Dead on against the kobolds. They tried to return the favor but Barb managed to shut the opening in time and the oil splashed against the other side of the portal, again soaking the kobolds there.

We stayed until the screams had faded away and then a bit longer before finally moving it aside and looking. The opening was narrow – 4’ tall, 1 ½’ wide oval shaped, and the chamber beyond had some 80 odd leathery kobold eggs within in clutches and nests. We looted the bodies and then smashed MANY of the eggs, saving perhaps half a dozen that we then took with us and then closed the door and put the mud mixture back in front of it for now.

We made our way back to the opening, deciding to bring the shaman with us as proof that we had killed the next, and Barb was first out of the opening – where she was snatched up by an angry 15’ tall frost giant and shaken as it screamed in her face and she was unable to understand and answer. He grew furious with her and stuffed her into a large sack he tossed over his shoulder. Negan was trying to talk to the giant in Ogre and it was barely able to answer, wanting to talk to the Shaman.

We tried to say that we were also duped by the shaman and then the mistake was made to toss the shaman’s body up there. This had the giant go apoplectic. He snatched Connal who was closest and threw him 52’ where he slammed into the ground and rolled to a stop. Barb managed to escape the bag in time and ran into the weeds while the giant, Girgym, picked up the fallen Douglas fir, and slammed it again and again into the K’Morat warren hole, the group within running backwards for their lives as the tree was forced lower and lower into the ground.

Barb was face to face with a cloak wearing K’Morat and the two of them just made “shushing” motions to one another while Girgym had a tantrum and destroyed the area. He then left South and west in a huff, not realizing Barb was no longer in the bag.

The K’Morat warrior ran off to the north and Connal and Barb spent some time digging down into the earth while Darius was digging up from below. After a few hours we all were together again, tired, battered, filthy. We ran off to the north towards our cave and once there watched as the giant returned with a rocky shrine marker that he drove into the ground where the warren once was. He then looked all about and making up his mind, started walking north east with a purpose – the same direction as base camp.

Fuck.

We were shot, tired, low on everything, Avulstein was still paralyzed, and it was almost nightfall, we weren’t going to beat any giant back to Base Camp now. So we settled in and decided that we’d leave first thing in the morning.

The group slept, every two hours someone taking watch near the entrance of the cave between the space set up between the two tents strung across the opening. It was a quiet night, cold and silent. But while Barb was on her watch, only the unmoving Centius as companionship, a mist was wafting in under the tent’s edge and Barb felt…cold.

“What’s going on here, chere?” was the voice next to her. Barb looked and saw an orc in an older set of ornate breastplate and armor. He was paler of skin, his voice was like honeyed wine, and there were pin pricks of fangs under his lips besides the normal tusks that orcs possess. He identified himself as Lysil and he and his companions were out in the cold when they saw the party’s fires…and they want to warm themselves by the fires.

Barb could feel herself coming under Lysil’s sway, his gaze and voice wearing her resistance down. They chatted a bit longer but when it came time to “let me and my friends in, alright?” She got control of herself and wouldn’t give them permission to enter. This made Lysil sad and asked her, “Are you sure? My companions would then seek to warm themselves by your fire. Is that what you want?”

Barb nodded her head and wouldn’t let Lysil in. But his gaze grew larger to her, consuming her vision and then she felt hot breath on her skin and she passed out.

The group awoke on their own much later than expected and found Barb near the entrance, numerous bite marks on her neck and arms, pale and tired looking, Centius nowhere to be seen. We woke her up and she was dazed but shared what happened. Vampires. Orcish vampires out here. We spent a few hours restudying, commiserating with Barb, and talking about our trip back to Base Camp.

By 11 we were done and started our trek back. It took us three hours to come back to the stone house that was on the side of the mountain lake. However, it was shoved off its base even more, lying half submerged and at a 45 degree angle in the water; many giant sized foot prints were about. It seemed the giant Girgym had vented his aggression on the house and then continued on his way. According to Barb, it appeared the giant went south around the lake – so we went north. What would we find at Base Camp?

As we made our way around the lake and up the lower slopes of the ridge south of Furtham’s Peak, the hour approaching 4, we found the same dark furred wolves that had paced us on our trip of the Enderlyn River were ahead of us. We approached with care and the wolves went off to the south and then stopped to look at us. Through some back and forth we deduced they wanted us to follow them and we did so, travelling along the ridge to the next peak area, the forest tall about us.

Eventually there were a few other wolves nearby and we were led to Girgym the giant; held in place by bent over trees, limbs, vines, and other flora in the area while he struggled and twisted and tried to break free to no avail.

Then the dark furred wolf shifted and twisted, standing upright as a feral looking orc wearing animal skins and covered in whorls and tattoos. He spoke Orcish to Barb (Avulstein translating for the rest of us). Said he was Dunatis, and a warden of these areas. Has been watching the Base Camp and their actions and seemed happy that they are not despoiling the area too much. Doesn’t choose sides but the giant was far from his home and had come here to vent his anger on the Base Camp.

The wolves and wardens had stopped him for now and were going to educate him to leave the Base Camp for now. The thought was why not kill him, and Dunatis once again reminded the party that he doesn’t choose sides. Girgym has as much right to live as anyone and he is a part of the ecosystem out here. As for what happened to Barb and Lysil, that is a big no no. Lysil is an aberration, not part of the natural world, and Dunatis and his ilk have been searching for the vampiric orc for some time.

He was able to cast a restoration on Barb, bringing her lifeforce back to “pre-Lysil” levels in exchange for some of her permanent future health. After that, he did offer Barb a bit of help in the future, giving her a wooden whistle that if blown, once only, would alert Dunatis and his group so they could run as fast as possible to help out.

We left Dunatis and his wolves, Girgym and his seething angry glare, and went on our way back to Base Camp at 4:30 PM on Firemonth the 13th.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Meet 16, Adv B4, 11/15/17 - Youth Group

And it was bound to happen – TPK for the youth group. And it was at an area that I wouldn’t have expected them to wipe at (expected it to be Zargon). Came down to treating the NPC’s as deaf dumb and unmotivated – a recipe for disaster.

So it was with a heavy heart that we drew B4 to a close and in the next week or two, the youths will add one more to their table and roll up an AD&D character for their next campaign.

Write up follows:

Feeling the horror at Safir’s sudden passing and very unsure about the still active pressure plate, Vulkan cast levitation on himself and then one by one, ferried the party over the plate and through the crushing walls. We stopped at the door and spent a few minutes listening – hearing the occasion mournful yelling interspersed with constant muttering.

We debated on blasting in, looking for Kellis and Sharon, is Darius close by, hitting the room with a sleep spell. Eventually it was narrowed down to just carefully opening the chamber and peering in – making a decision AFTER we knew what was going on. Delsin took point and the door opened – revealing a very sizable chamber. There were 10 Cyndicians sitting in a circle amidst cushions, pillows, and blankets. They were wearing fanciful monster masks and were occasionally yelling as if in despairing fear now and again. Outside of glancing at the group – they didn’t move. There was a door on the north wall and one on the south wall.

We discussed it and decided to enter. Once inside we tried to talk to the Cyndicians, but for the most part, they ignored the group. One of them did get up when we were making some threatening comments, walk over to the party, stare intently at Vulkan (who had made the comments) and yelled softly in his face before heading back to the circle. At this point the Cyndician’s then all got up, congregated in the center, yelled together, and then went back to sit down, just in different positions.

Alright. Leaving them alone!

We went to the north door and listened, hearing some music, shuffling movement, and some gentle rhythmic conversation beyond. At best, we could tell more than half a dozen people in there. Before we were to make a decision, we wanted to check out the south door next.

On peering in there, we could see it was some gambling hall – poker tables, roulette wheels, etc. Maybe 12 Cyndicians in here wearing colorful animal masks playing and having a good time. However, Delsin gave a grimace as Demetrius was shouting in Delsin’s mind that across that busy room was a secret door that would lead to Darius’ private chamber. This close…t..h..i..s.. close.

We closed the door and discussed tactics on how to cross the gambling room and avoid any problem with the locals. It was here that Vulkan came up with the idea of a disguise. “We should kill three of these guys in here, like those three, and take their robes and masks.”

The moaning, muttering, and mournful wails stopped as the group of 10 Cyndicians all as one stared at the group. Then one by one, they bent down and moved the cushions aside, lifting up axes, swords, and even a couple of crossbows. Vulkan tried to levitate – but the ceiling was only 12’ tall so he didn’t have far to go. And he was shot – critically in the chest and then shot again in the stomach. He slumped over, still floating in the air while Mark and Delsin drew up lines to repel the other 8 Cyndicians who began to assault the party. There was talk of getting the hell out of here and now.

And then the north and south doors opened, and 20 more plus Cyndicians entered the chamber, also armed with swords, axes, and more crossbows. They descended on the group like a living wall, 30 of them grunting and spitting as they plied axe, sword, and quarrel against us.

Even though Vulkan wasn’t responding, a few of the Cyndicians continued to hack as his dead floating body, actually severing his leg in the wild frenzy. Mark fell next, the cleric struggling to head left and make his way to the door, cut down on three sides until he was gasping on a sword in his throat. And then it was Delsin. The Sword of Delsin swept back and forth, hewing at the Cyndicians as he tried desperately to get away, but first he was hit in the leg, then the back, the chest, the head, the arm, and finally one too many blows and the fighter fell over curled about a sword sticking out of his kidneys.

As he faded he could hear a commanding voice coming in saying something about “there’ll be no more talk of prophecy and those from outside. Hack these up and add them to the food. Send the bones down to Zargon to feed upon.” And then he faded away, Demetrius spirit sobbing the last this he heard as it muttered over and over. So close. So close.

So close.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Meet 32, Adv 4, 11/11/17

I might have mentioned it earlier but I write my adventures in advance and when it comes time to play, I do my best to stay with my initial thoughts and plans in stead of endlessly tweaking my own work. This sometimes means I've either overestimated or underestimated the party's ability.

It also means I can't take into account unforeseen circumstances.

When the boar attacked, as soon as it hit half hit points it was going to release a high pitched pressure-wave scream and blast everyone in the kitchen out of the ceiling and on to the meadow above, caving in some portions of the cave and trapping the shaman and some 20+ K'Morat still down here. The giant might or might not have been here waiting.

Of course, a well placed critical by or raging barbarian, followed by some serious devastating attacks catapulted the mutated boar past half hit point and swiftly into "dead". Making my notes for the remaining 7 or so encounter areas suspect to change.

Write up follows:

We dispensed with some healing and discussed our options. The feeling was to continue this way and press the kobolds we meet along the way. Faintly we could hear some noise at the end of the corridor but nothing definitive. So after healing was done, Connal took the lead and we followed the monastic down the passage. As he arrived at the stairs, the saw from around the corner a cauldron pot tipping over. Dancing back he ran back the way we came as the steps and floor before it were covered in steaming hot oil and water mix. The kobolds then dumped the cauldron down the steps and made to run past, but Darius was waiting and slung a stone unerringly, cracking one of the kobolds in the face, the stone blinding him and slamming him back to the wall where he fell over and moaned; dying.

We waited for the floor to clear while two other kobolds ran off to the south and then Avilstein sent Centius forward to get the dead kobold. He tromped up the stairs, got a handle on the kobold and was hit with two javelins before turning back around, then hit with two honey buckets loaded with crap, and finally heading back to the wolverine with his prize in tow.

We went back to the storage/midden area and the rest of the group wandered around the corner as Avulstein stripped the flesh from the dead kobolds, showering the place with gore (and further skuzzing up Centius). From there it was a ritual of necromantic powers as he knit negative energy into the kobold’s bones and it eventually stood up, ready to follow commands and obey.

We went back down the passage, bypassed the cauldron, climbed the now cooler stairs, checked both directions, and then went right, following the narrow corridor as it turned to the left eventually, the scent of old beer growing stronger. The passage opened to a sizable chamber that the K’Morat had prepared. There were mounded chairs, benches, stools, desks in a 4’ tall wall, 30’ curved and wide, interspersed with slabs of slate of overlain with curtains and rugs – providing fantastic cover for the kobolds who might have stayed here – but there were none now.

Just inside the entrance were two curtains, each soaked with oil, on an ill fitting rod, and tied to a cord that ran across the ceiling and on the other side of the barricade. Trap – fire trap – but no one was here to man or arm it. We took the curtains off and cut the cord and then entered the room, doing the same to the similar set up on the northern entrance/exit from here.

There was a south exit from here and Connal and Darius checked out the other side of the barricade. A footlocker with a half dozen rawhide sandals were found with assorted other bric a brac, most likely for the kobolds to navigate the broken glass strewn floor. The sandals were cut at the toe thong, making them useless, and some of the oil soaked curtains were laid about the floor on the other side of the barrier. From there we travelled south, Avulstein’s kobold skeleton leading the way.

The passage led to the left and then a set of steps down, which we followed slowly. The room grew shallower to 4’ in height. There was a mess about the chamber and three honey buckets here. To the east it led back to the pit and eventually the sloping passage, to the west – someplace else in the compound. We had the undead move the honey buckets to the pit and then we drew up lines and went west. The corridor turned once briefly and the smell of gravy was growing.

Eventually it was some sort of kitchen/dining area. The K’Morat had set up two long trestle tables on their sides and were hiding behind it. A single kobold was standing off to the left a bit, motioning for the group to step forward. We yelled at the kobolds who threatened us back according to Avulstein. We sent the kobold skeleton forward where it was hit by a few skewers, a bowl of hot gravy, and even a cleaver before falling over, and while they were distracted, we cast a sleep spell into the room to put the kobolds to sleep.

But there were 2 barrels just on the inside wall that as soon as the spell passed between them, burst and showered the area with Avulstein’s sleep spell – dropping three of the party members to sleep. At this point the remaining 2 party members kicked into high gear and prodded, kicked, and woke up our party as javelins rained about their sleeping forms.

Scrabbling to our feet we charged into the room, bringing the fight to the K’Morat. More dishes and bowls were hurls at the group, Connal ran into the breach to hit them around the barricades while Barb and Centius held the front. The half-orc barbarian was hit in the throat by a well placed shot, choking and gasping while the group fought back.

From the dark corridor we had heard the snorting and squealing of a pig that burst into the room, tusks flailing and head lowered. Bullets and javelins were tossed, spears presented. The mutated boar slammed into Centius, overrunning him to drive Negan back into the narrow hallway. Magic missiles flew and the boar was squealing deeply. As it grew angrier, pressure waves were driving off of it, pushing the group back half a step.

Barb, already pretty hurt, let her inner barbarian loose and raged, charging the boar where she shoved almost 4’ of her 5’ spear into the boar’s side and down the length of its spine. It thrashed and howled and shuddered as we ripped into it. Avulstein let his inner wolverine loose and actually ripped its hind leg free.

The boar dropped to the ground, fountaining blood everywhere and died. The surrounding K’Morat immediately fled, running into the dark where we took down a few and the rest escaped. We doled out healing, blocked up the two corridors out with the 2 tables and even Negan dragged the boar in front of one of the tables to further block the passages free.

We then went off to the west where we were confronted by the shaman, 5 of his honor guard, 2 other K’Morat warriors, and some angry words in kobold. Avulstein did his best to translate but it seemed they were stalling, so Negan and Darius looked behind and yes – there were another half dozen and then some K’Morat coming down to box us in.

Fight time. Connal charged into the mess, Darius lit a Molotov and hurled it into the narrow hall to block it up from others who were trying to come. Negan was lying about, Barb ran into the fight, Avulstein and Centius joining in. The monk weaved between 3 of the kobolds getting within inches of the shaman and disrupting his spell. He took a blow to the throat and shattered his shield barely in time. The melee was swift and deadly. Darius and Negan easily held their own while hit points whittled away. An evil eye sent Connal running for his life, barely stopped by Negan in time. Darius slung a horseshoe at the shaman who had been protected by Protection from Normal Missiles spell - but the sling that had slung the projectile was magical - and imbued magic on each of its slung itmes - hence the spell did NOT hold and his was surprisingly struck in the face, spitting out teeth. Eventually it was the death of the Shaman that caused the entire complex to drop 20 degrees and the nearby K’Morat to stop, howl out in fury, and then turned their frantic assault on taking us out.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Meet 31, Adv 4, 11/4/17

The K'Morat kobolds that the group is fighting are pretty resilient. Cunning, capable, and with 1 6-th level Shaman at their beck and call, they are big on traps to slow up the group and take them down, with a few well placed spells if need be.

However, they have hurt the group, and neutralized no one. Not entirely true, they did neutralize Barb a number of days ago, but it forced the party to retreat and heal up. However on their end, they've been a bit messed up. Straight up fighting isn't working for them - so it's time to set up lures, traps, snags, lines, and situations where a lone kobold or two can trip up the group and whittle away much needed hp's.

And that's what's happened so far and is happening now.

Write up follows:

The first thing we wanted to do was make sure the K’Morat couldn’t come down this way. So we pitoned into the ceiling and then with a length of rope and two other spikes, pounded the tables into the ground and roped them together and through the ceiling piton to prevent either of them being moved independently without lots of effort and hopefully enough noise to attract us.

While this was going on, we gathered up the fallen K’Morat and dragged them back down the passage, piling them up in a gory tableau at the base of the tables. From there we moved the caltrops and rocks from the main hall into some bags and Negan stretched some piano wire at the base to hopefully trip up anyone who might come from the south corridor. To make it even more frightening for the kobolds, they scratched into the floor a pentagram, lit a few candles around the corners, and then Darius placed a single bit of quarts near one of the points. Hopefully the K’Morat superstitions should be enough to keep them from advancing.

Barb once again took the lead and we went north, turning down to the west and kept going to what was the original room with the barricades. Negan, who was in the rear, was crab walking sideways, spear out and watching both directions, not trusting the situation. Eventually we came to the room and…it had been changed over the last 2 days. All the original junk and detritus was swept across the floor and piled haphazardly along the south wall and southwest corner. There were 3 candles burning on the south east corner, next to 2 wooden buckets with a cloth cover them to obscure their interiors. But it was the majority of the floor that was covered in a slowly jellifying mess of blood, gore, and bits of flesh, coating the room in filth.

Best guess is it was a day old. And the candles had us nervous. The group wanted to investigate but there was no easy way to get over there, and there was the dark corridor across the room to the left. So Barb went first, stepping lightly into the filth, shield out and held aloft as she crouched behind it. Connal snuck up behind her, back to the wall, stepped over the gore, and came to the candles. Three of them, simple 1-3 hour candles. He was given hissing conflicting advice until he leaned forward and blew hard at the candle.

It almost refused to go out, wavering a LONG time before finally guttering. Weird. He did the same with the second, again leaning forward, not touching it, and again…it took a LONG time to go out. We now had 1 left. Really unsure.

So they spent a few minutes scrubbing the area and found remnants of chalk lines and markings on the floor that had been obscured by the blood and gore dumped yesterday. Avulstein couldn’t tell what the ritual was originally, but the candle’s extinguishing or guttering our on their own would set it off. So Connal tried to relight one of them…and nothing happened. Even putting the fire from a torch right on top of the candle – it refused to light.

So he backed away, careful NOT to extinguish the last candle, and we all convened in the hall again. The feeling was the candles are a timer, and when it runs out – the giant is called again. That gives us about 2 ½ hours before the candle goes out on its own. No, we were out of here.

Back at the main entrance we did notice the two rakes on the wall, one on either side near the pentagram we scratched there. So we set up a trip wire crossways like a “V” down the hall around the pentagram, nervous we were being watched. At the last moment, we had Darius whip a stone down the hall where it smashed into a corner and we heard a bark or surprise and something run away. Ok – we’re out.

When we arrived at the slope to get out, the rope was gone! Connal took Barb’s rope, climbed the slope and went to the tree to tie it on where we saw Darius’ rope just sitting there all coiled up. He left it, and threw the other rope down and the group climbed out of the warren. Darius was looking at the rope, wanting to take it, but truthfully, really not trusting the shaman and the kobolds.

We had a plan, assuming as Avulstein told us that there were ways to track an item that someone else is carrying. Darius took his former rope, and the entire group ran through the meadow east, hit the tree line, and then climbed the slope for a good 10, 15 minutes. From here the rest of the party turned north and picked a quieter trail with Barb guiding us to minimize tracks while Darius continued upslope, blazing every 5th tree as he went. As the slope grew steeped and the trees denser, he looked for a hollow, dropped the rope in it, and then turned towards the north and tried his best to obscure his tracks as he slowly made his way eventually to our camp on the north ridge and barb and the rest of the group.

By 6 we had all gathered again and we stayed outside the tent covered cave watching the meadow carefully. Some half hour, forty five minutes later there was a fizzling of lights from the cave and the meadow and high in the sky – three lights appeared again – yellow, red, blue. Within 10 minutes the giant had run up and about 20 kobolds had come out, torches lit. In the gloom of twilight we watched these pinpricks of light run east towards the ridge and then swarm up the ridge, the giant moving with them, knocking smaller trees aside. Eventually they came up, high on the ridge where Darius told us he dropped the rope and the lights all congregated there.

Then they fanned out and went up and down the ridge a bit, eventually going back down the slope and back to the warren where the giant was seen arguing with the kobolds with wildly gesticulating arms. The kobolds went back in the warren and after some time emerged with many things (we couldn’t tell) and gave them to the giant who thrust them in a sack, which he slung over his shoulder and then tromped off to the south west. The lights all went back into the cave and eventually the group feeling pretty smart with themselves, closed their eyes and got some sleep.

We awoke the next day on the 12th, feeling pretty good and pumped to go back to the Warren. From what we saw, the giant was getting cross about these summonses and might not arrive next time, or might take his time. We broke our fast, prayed, gathered our equipment and by quarter to 7, were ready to go.

It took us a slow half hour to get back to the warren area. The ground was a mess of tracks, showing the giant had indeed stomped around. While we were searching though we did come across two distinctive prints that were of a boar – although some 50% larger than we expected it to be. We were comfortable that this was most likely the totem animal and if we had been informed correctly, it was probably not very advanced and should be easier to take down. We hoped.

Once more we strung up rope, went down to the bottom, Negan hit Barb’s shield with another light spell and we went on, expecting the kobolds had trapped the area in some way.

We were right.

What they had done was taken Darius’ rope that he had tossed up the mountain, and split it into strands, then took those strands and made a lattice of trip lines attached to spikes in the corners of the floor running back and forth covering 40’ in each direction. No fricking way we were going to try to navigate over 24 trip lines, all connected to the next one. A detect magic spell followed and Avulstein let us know the spikes where the center point of the magic, Air based, and the rope line was the trigger.

So another trap. We lit a candle and put some oil by it, laying it near one of the ropes, and got out of the cave, going north to the tree line and hiding there. We waited 15 minutes or so and then saw some smoke drift out of the cave along with a staccato beat of metallic noises. Half a dozen kobolds came out, the shaman was one of them, and then were looking feverishly for the party – not seeing them anywhere (hidden around the trees). There was some arguing and then two more kobolds came out with long hooded cloaks colored to look like the bladegrass of the meadow. Two of the kobolds took off their quivers, wrapped the cloaks about themselves, and then took off into the meadow, moving back and forth, drifting wider and further away from the warren until over time we lost sight of them.

The rest of the kobolds went back inside and we waited. Connal climbed a tree, hoping a bird’s eye view would help, but to no avail – couldn’t find what we know to be 2 kobolds outside of the warren and camouflaged. We debated going back in, knowing we’d be seen,  but decided it was worth the risk.

So we crept out of the tree line and made our way across the meadow with care. No one attacked us, nothing happened, but we KNEW we were being watched. We hit the cave, tied rope AGAIN to the tree (4th time going in?) and by 10:15, had slithered back to the bottom.  Not wanting to waste what we assumed would be a needed spell later, we lit a lantern full of oil and gave it to Avulstein’s zombie Centius to hold for us.

Then we went down the passage to the cross corridor and looked. The walls and ceiling had numerous dents in it, the stink of metal was strong along with something burned. But on the floor in defiance to our pentagramming – the kobolds had drawn a half dozen pentagrams of their own of various sizes. Darius thought they were being petty.

We turned north and went that way, ONCE more going to the barracks room that had all the gore in it. Now there was no gore but we heard voices in the distance. Negan summoned a monster – and a giant ant appeared! He had it run down the passage and encountered a pair of kobolds in there. There was a brief fight and the kobolds retreated down the west passage into the dark, the ant following. We ran into the room next and saw they had cleaned most of the gore off the floor, but nothing new in here.

Just before the ant spell faded, Negan summoned again – this time getting a dog sized giant rat! He had that ALSO run down the hall and give chase to the kobolds in that direction. With that we all beat feet and moved double time BACK to the main 4 way split and this time went south to the sloping passage that had the pit at the bottom.

We went down carefully, the stink of waste very strong. The pit edge was discolored from all the slime, grease, and shit the kobolds had laid here before to surprise us. Beyond it in the gloom there was a room and we could very faintly hear angry kobold voices and the chittering of a giant rat. To the right was a dark passage, narrow, that we assumed went to the midden. But there was an odd reflection down it, leading us to think there was a light in that way. Barb and Darius went down, weapons ready and looked around the corner (short passage to a room) and then walking that way, looked again.

It was a small room, 15’x10’, another passage heading west from across the chamber. Storage area, boxes, wire, bales, buckets. On the floor near the opposite side of the chamber by the exit was two small stools, a couple of buckets with a cover on them of cloth, and two fat candles burning on the ground and a well gnawed turkey leg.

Barb was going to check it out while Darius was snagging items from the shelves. She wondered why there would be any candle lit since the kobolds could see in the dark and if the kobold was in here either crapping or eating – it shouldn’t have needed the light source. Feeling pressure though, she ignored her doubting voice and went to lift the cover off the closest bucket when from down the passage she heard two “thwanging” noises – the distinct sound of flat bows being fired.

She looked that way in time to see 2 kobolds running up the passage when the bolts hit…not her. The two well-lit buckets on the ground.

Filled with oil and other incendiary detritus.

It burst in front of her, setting her entire right side on fire and she screamed as she tried to roll back and out of the way, Darius hurled a sling rock around the corner but hit nothing. Barb was rolling about in the muck and filth of the floor, guttering the fire out. The barbarian half-orc stood up in some pain, burned, covered in kobold crap from another K’Morat trap and she was seethingly furious at once again being on the receiving end of the ankle-biter’s tactics and antics.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Meet 15, Adv B4, 10/27/17 - Youth Group

The youths are on the trail now for Darius, Demetrius’ the ghost’s brother riding shotgun on poor Delsin. However on the trail to hunt the rebel scum down, they ran afoul of a few pseudo-zargonite NPC’s who charmed the carp out of them, the group all failed their saves, and got robbed in the process. I broke their charm after a short time and the group ran in force to go and take back their stolen property.

And one of the members died from a trap in the process. When it happened there was a collective gasp from the table, one smack on the surface, a wail of “no!” and a few other muttered noises.

As said in Bad Boyz II – “Shit’s just about the get real.”

Write up follows:

We thanked the Gormites for their efforts and help again, the group each donating a topaz as appreciation for the information, time, food, and gear we had been given and purchased. From here we went back through the wards and to the main hall – discussing how we were going to progress our way east. We could continue north into the unmapped section of the pyramid and hope to find an eastern passage, or we could head all the way back south and then turn east – making our way east of the pit trap that was north of the office room. The group discussed it at length and decided to head south and then east since we already knew that area.

We made good time back south, and then turned east, eventually arriving at the area of the ground that Safir had marked off. From here we jumped diagonally over the pit south and then east and continued down the long corridor. We did note that this section of the level was strangely clean; almost ritualistic spotless as if someone had taken broom and mop to the floors and walls shortly before we traveled in this direction.

It was some 70 or so paces before the passage “T’ed” North and south, and a quick look at the corner showed the north passage heading 12 odd paces and ending at a blank wall, while south it was some 30’ to a stone doorway, hinged on our side. The group thought it was odd that a passage heading north went anywhere and then ended after only a short distance and suspected there might be a hidden passage up that way. However their search proved fruitless and frustrating as no section of any wall moved, twisted, lifted, and shifted.

Vulkan was convinced we were missing something and wanted to retackle the search again for the elusive secret doorway when we heard footsteps running down the long corridor we had come from heading our way, followed by gasps and sobs of whomever was making that noise. We drew ourselves up, unsure of what was coming towards us but not wanting to be taken unawares when arriving at the corner were a group of 4 Cyndicians.

They were carrying a stretcher and each of them had on a mask: Hawk, Fish, Cat, and Fox. They were sobbing and begging Mark for help “for their terribly sick friend, Dog!” We looked around, but the only thing on the stretcher was a rather large gourd. We pointed it out to the 4-some who all nodded and agreed it was a gourd. “And we need you, oh cleric, to fix him! He’s terribly hurt, our friend, Dog! Fix him!”

Delsin wanted to grab his sword for more of this Cyndician foolishness but Vulkan shot him a glance and motioned for him to remove his hand from the weapon’s hilt. Mark wanted to help, but…it’s a damned gourd. So he dropped to his knee and made some halfhearted prayer asking Gorm to help out Dog who was a gourd, get…better. This did not sit well with the 4 Cyndicians who were getting frantic. Mark was getting very tired of these antics as well, so he went into his pouch, removed the potion of death he had gotten from the desk drawer a few hours ago, and rubbed off the loosely held label, replacing it with the “healing” label he had taken as well.

He held it up and made like it was a healing potion and the 4 Cyndician’s went nuts, scrabbling for the potion. During the mess, Hawk had kicked the gourd off the stretcher which made the other three just stare at him with hatred. Hawk yelled out a strangled, “Sorry!” scooped up the gourd, and ran back down the hallway waving his one arm like a wing, crying, “I am so sorry, Dog!”

The other three gave chase and Mark felt terrible, shouting, “Stop! It’s not a healing potion! Stop!” He ran after them as well. However, he had the party’s lantern so as he raced off, taking the light source with him, Delsin, Vulkan, and Safir were forced to run after the cleric as he chased the Cyndicians who chased their 4th.

It was when we heard a cry in the distance followed by a thud the group drew closer to see Hawk had fallen down the pit and broke his leg, dropping the gourd “Dog” which smashed on the floor. This infuriated the rest of the Cyndician who were going to use the potion to fix either or both when Mark tackled Fish and struggled with him as he tried to get the potion back. They fought around and Fish took out a stick and was beating Mark with it as they hit the walls trying to fight over the potion. Then Vulkan power drove himself into Fox he slipped over the edge and cracked his skull on the floor of the pit – dying on impact.

Delsin took his fight to Cat who was dodging the fighter’s blows, struggling with our guy and Vulkan gave him a stab in the leg, hamstringing the Cyndician. He growled in his throat and lunged at Delsin, wrapping his arms around the fighter’s neck and struggling to shove them both into the pit. Mark was getting hit again and again, but managed to get the potion out of Fish’s hand as the two of them continued to fight.

Delsin slipped, twisted, and Cat fell into the pit, trying to drag Delsin in, but Vulkan’s lunged out and grabbed Delsin’s backpack, keeping him barely on the edge of the pit, but the combined weight was too much and the three of them tumbled down, Vulkan letting go of Delsin at the last moment and hugging the corner wall at the last moment. Cat took the impact and died under the fighter who was shaking his head at the fall. Hawk dragged himself towards Delsin, screaming “It’s your fault! It’s your fault!”

No longer fighting Fish alone, Vulkan joined the fray with Mark as two more Cyndicians showed up; these two were carrying bundles of black painted wood and wearing vulture masks. Seeing the fighting and yelling, they looked at one another and immediately sprang into action – building a coffin. Again.

Vulkan and Mark took out Fish while Delsin helped finish off Hawk. We then dropped rope and helped our fighter up. Some healing was dispensed and when were done, the Cyndicians had lifted up Fish and placed him in the coffin, nailing it closed. They then turned to the group and asked them for 10 crowns.

We looked at one another and then paid, Vulkan complaining as he was forced to pay the last few coins on his own. It was pointed out that Vulkan had done the most murdering of the Cyndicians so he should just accept it and move on. The vulture masked Cyndicians thanked us, tossed the coffin into the pit, and then left; talking about getting more wood and following the party some more as they seemed to be good for business.

The group walked…quieter…back down the passage to the east, this time heading south to the door there. After listening and hearing nothing, Vulkan hooked up a rope to the handle and pulled. The room beyond was simple, bed, table, chair – but it shimmered as if seem through a distortion or a pool of water. Weird. We looked at it, saying little, while Mark took out the Book of Gorm and was scouring the pages for something about this phenomenon.

Vulkan took his staff and pushed it at the portal, felt a bit of resistance, and then the staff slid into the room as if it was forced through for some reason. He tried to move the pole around but it was slow to respond. We did note that the pole was becoming indistinct and fuzzy, blurred looking where it was through the portal. “Pull it out!” was the cry and Vulkan responded – but the bottom 4’ of the pole was now about half as thick as it had been, smoking slightly, and shot through with what seemed to be acid scoring.

The portal then looked like it was bulging towards us ad Mark was shouting, “It’s a cube! A gelatinous cube! Don’t touch it!” Delsin tried to shut the door but the cube was already pushing through it so he was able to close it most of the way, but the ooze was coming out the top and bottom of the doorway. Vulkan took out a torch, lit it, and had Delsin back up. The door slammed open and the cube was once more coming through the opening when Vulkan thrust the torch out in order to burn the cube!

It literally oozed around the flame and the end of the torch, plucking it out of Vulkan’s hand, and extinguishing the flame with no obvious effect on the monster.

Screw this, let’s go.

We backed up down the passage, watching the cube pick up the pace as it entered the hall and began picking its way down towards us. With that we turned and ran back down the corridor to the pit, picked our way over it and to the north passage and stopped here. It explained why the passage was so clean looking; the cube must come down here often enough to feed. It also couldn’t get past the pit – which is why the other passages didn’t have the same swept clean look to them.

We decided since we were already in the northern (and final) passage, we would take it and hopefully find another way east from here. It was a short walk to a closed doorway that upon listening to, we were faintly able to hear voices, but nothing we could make out distinctly. We readied weapons and then opened the door.

The chamber was massive, lit by patches of glowing fungus and candles. The ceiling was 20’ tall and the chamber had to stretch out almost 200’ long and maybe 100’ wide. It was a gathering temple for the three gods, Gorm, Madura, and Usimagarus. There were pews and seating for hundreds. Two fountains were on either side of the chamber, burbling happily. Near the head of the room where we entered were three statues of the gods similar to the top of the ziggurat, but had been knocked over and were now leaning on their sides. Across the chamber to the east was a single doorway, and to the north at the far end of the room was a main passage running north and two more doors, one on the east, and one on the west wall.

Two figures were here near a rail used for prayer. A man and a woman, each wore an ornate fox mask and a robe. They greeted the party and identified themselves as Kellis and Sharon, brother and sister. We talked for a bit, feeling the duo out. They were here sorry about the long loss of Cyndicia in the past; looking longingly on the days when the fallen gods would be worshipped again. They informed us that they wore masks but did not pray to Zargon, doing so only to avoid questions by the Zargonites in the city below.

When it was asked of us we admitted we were from outside the pyramid and they said that they had heard of us and the prophecy. We hoped to have them help us at some point and they did comment, “this was going to change a few things.” The two of them then said something and the group all got a bit dizzy.

Kellis and Sharon? Why they were our GOOD friends! The best really! Who doesn’t like them? Hey, they want to see the ancient weapons of Cyndicia we had struggled to get to eventually kill Zargon. Sure, let’s show them! See, this is the Mace of Gorm! It’s great. Yeah, you can hold it. That? That’s the Scepter of Queen Zenobia; blessed by Usimagarus. Of course you can hold it! Sure, sounds great. Can you see the Sword of King Alexander? Yep, but it’s now the Sword of Delsin, runes changed and everything. Here. Oh! It burned you! I am so sorry, let me pick it up. Never mind, I’ll just leave it here on the floor and stare at the two of you. Kellis and Sharon, our best friends.

Why don’t the 4 of us go over to that fountain, drink for a bit, wash our face, and refill our water skins and not worry about Sharon of Kellis for what…5 minutes? Our friends tell us not to worry about them for 5 minutes while they hold two of our enchanted weapons and totally trust them.

La … la … la.

Exactly 5 minutes and 1 second later the charm effect wore off on all 4 members and they looked at one another in horror! The eastern door on the other side of the temple HAD been opened and then closed and the two fox mask wearing bastards had gone! Mace and Scepter missing! We ran, Delsin scooping up his sword, and charged to the door, blasting it opened and running down the hallway as it wove through the pyramid.

As we ran along Demetrius’ voice was crowing in Delsin’s head, “I know this corridor! I know this corridor! Darius is close by!” And we charged along until Demetrius was then shouting, “Stop! Stop! STOP!! TRAP!!!!” and Delsin managed to grab us as we ran along and got the party to come to a stop.

Just around the corner was a short passage ending at a door, but a pressure plate was on the floor – raised, 10’ wide, 3” tall, metal, and 3’ deep. Too deep to step across, possible to jump though. Safir gave it a once over and commented that he could disable it – but would need 6 of Vulkan’s daggers to do so.

Getting them he dropped to his knees on this side of the plate and taking Mark’s small hammer, lightly tapped one of the daggers under the plate’s edge slowly to avoid having it activate. Once it was in far enough, he did a second one. Then he did a third one.

But the plate shifted and in an instant both walls in a 10’ space slammed out and met in the middle and Safir was crushed instantly, spraying blood bone gore and bits of fire from something in his pack back at the party. The group just stood there, shocked and muttering as the walls separated slowly, leaving a red and mangled hunk of meat to slide away between them; all that was left of Safir.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Meet 30, Adv 4, 10/21/17

The group made their way back to the warren to try their hand on the kobolds again. The anklebiters had 2 days to prepare and had some traps in place for the group, as well as some new tactics not in my original planning. The party hit the 1st batch which is the pitched fight as I stripped some K'Morat from further in the lair and repurposed them for this.

As for the rest - the K'Morat will be minimizing their weaknesses and play to their strengths. We tried a swarming attempt on the group with a dozen racing in and a sleep spell - but caltrops on bare feet slowed them down and allowed the group 1 round reprieve; enough time to waken their companions and get their own sleep spell off in turn.

It is far from over for the warren. In fact - it's just beginning.

Write up follows:

With Spunifer gone, we thought perhaps we cut off an access that we might need at a later date, but for now we were going to meet with one of the two alchemist’s, Thebidus the dwarf, who was happy to speak with us. He looked over Barb, noted her cough, and listened to her complaints about it. Wanted to know if she wanted her cough to sound higher? Like a duck’s call? Perhaps one where butterflies spew out instead of spittle? No…just something to remove the sickness if at all possible.

Sure, sure, back at Sorton we have that brewing often I suppose. Out here? I have an older potion, perhaps 2 and a half years old – I’m sure it works. Want to try it? Um…no. Not if I don’t have to. Can you brew me one? A fresh one?

Thebidus nodded and said we have most of the ingredients except for the heart of a sentient being.

A heart.

Without it, the potion won’t truly work.

We thanked Thebidus and informed him we’d come back around to him if our plans didn’t work. After the dwarf left Barb was adamant she wasn’t going to drink some questionable potion of dubious strength some 2 years after it’s supposedly still viable. We circled back to Spunifer and came to the conclusion that she owes her homage to her clan – which currently is the Randari Rangers and Hornes is the leader. If Hornes tells her to do something – such as remove Barb’s sickness, she’ll be bound and forced to do so.

But we needed another item to sway Hornes and we thought on the antlers we grabbed from the K’Morat lair. The decision was to mount the antlers to a helm for Hornes and at first tell him they were from a bear, but antlers don’t look like horns. Then maybe an older bear? After the horns split into antlers? No – just mount them and maneuver the conversation into something that would make him fill in the blanks.

We went off to the smithy where we met with Daversi, the dwarven smith, and after verifying she had other helm’s Hornes had worn, had her mount the antlers to another small helm and we’d come back in about an hour to present them to the difficult half-orc. We did learn a bit that Hornes has become more strange and eccentric the longer he and his Rangers have been working here for House Illytch. Daversi was going to be present when we brought him the helm.

Darius then went off to the wall where he met with Umbannon, the half-elven giant slayer that our fighter had words with earlier. He apologized for his words and Umbannon was surprised at the sincerity of Darius, and offered his own apology for his angry tone as well. There was some handshaking and a better understanding.

By 4:15 or so, Daversi had come back to the party with the antler mounted helm and the group then went off to see Hornes and the rest of the rangers. The conversation started out hostile towards us and going above his back to talk to Spunifer but it was derailed rapidly by the helm. We assured Horned that the antlers had come from a magical animal and were still faintly imbued with an arcanic aura. Spunifer verified this and Hornes asked, “A magical creature? Like…a Giant Eagle?”

The group struggled to hold in their laughter but Connal flat out said, “Magical antlers? Why NOT a giant eagle?!?!”

Hornes then put on the new helm, giving the older one to the half-ogre Wolfskar (who was talking about leaving our group and joining the rangers), pressed it on tight, and then charged the wall of the barracks to test it out. We complimented him on his hit and even though the helm was wedged in place, Darius gave the half-orc thumbs up for the “power line” he had on his forehead.

Hornes sent Spunifer to the third barracks to heal Barb.

Barb was lying there feeling miserable, two of the Aids-de-camp hanging with her for the time being, when the orcish shaman came in and strode up to the reclining barbarian. The two women traded snipes at one another, Spunifer disliking Barb for her lack of loyalty, calling her an honorless bitch for abandoning Hornes and the Rangers. When Barb tossed it back that she should do her job and just heal her already, Spunifer shrugged and said she was weary and out of blessings today; she’ll have to wait till the morning. Barb’s mocking (and coughing) laughter followed her out of the barracks as she strode away.

Hornes was surprised that Spunifer was out of spells, but the druid shot back that she had cast numerous “rain repelling” spells during today’s travel on Hornes. He shrugged and thanked her, letting the group know that Spunifer would heal Barb of her sickness in the morning.

A few of us them went to the Reeve Donna Duncarian and asked her to allow us to look over the stores. We geared up on a few things we had used during our time in the lair, and gave the Reeve a listing of what we’d like on the next caravan (arriving on the 17th): poultices to draw out dirty sicknesses, extra baladranas, extra blankets, 20# of caltrops (10 bags), fizzstone if available (most likely not, but we can hope), fishing line, and a fishing net.

Negan went to the carpenters where he bartered for a ¾ auger and some wood chisels, giving up a couple K’Morat atlatl’s in the process. He was also allowed to gather up a 5# bag of sawdust which he gave to Darius for slinging. Finally, he went off to Daversi and had her sharpen the auger as well as giving her a pile of iron ore, hoping to get some caltrops from her (come back on the 15th, she’ll have 4#’s for us then). After this, the group turned in for the night and we got some sleep.

We awoke early, prayed, gathered supplies, and after verifying that Spunifer did indeed remove disease on Barb (she did, 5 in the AM), we left Base Camp by 7 AM into another damned rainy day and headed our way off to the mountain lake on the opposite and past the ridge of Furtham’s Peak, coming around to the stone house.

Seeing nothing new here, we continued on, a more invigorated Barb leading the way as we travelled off south and west over the next ridge lines and valleys until a bit after 12:30, we could see the meadow grasses at the floor of the valley before us. As we went to travel on, we were stopped by orcish voices who talked to Barb, demanding we stop and pay tribute before moving on. One by one, we all took out something small yet of some worth, looking around and still seeing none of the orcs that surrounded us.

Once accepted, we were told to move on and Barb let us know it was a Randari Warband – most likely 14 or so strong – something we didn’t want to risk facing – especially since they had gotten the drop on us.

We decided we wanted to set up a camp now, not near the K’Morat lair and nowhere near the Frost Giant. So we searched all up and down the northern ridge some 3,000 feet up or so until we came upon a natural cave obscured by the dense trees growing around. It was 7’ tall, 20’ deep, perhaps 13’ wide on the inside. An older animal den, hadn’t been used in weeks or so. The group cleaned it out, gathered wet wood and stacked it crossways inside so it would dry some and then took one of the tents and tacked it over the entrance to further obscure it, keep animals out, and keep the rain from coming in.

From here we went down into the valley and were at the K’Morat warren lair by 3ish. Nothing new. The root ball had been pruned a bunch, leaving no easy tie points for Darius who instead looped the rope up and over the root ball before letting the free end slither down the hole.

The party went in one by one, until the last person down (Negan) was climbing his way in as he noticed the pounding rain was letting up very fast. Unsure if it meant anything, he skidded to the floor and let us know about the rain ending. Shrugging for now, we drew up and made our way down the passage. The light spell was once more placed on Centius’ shield, but then with Barb in front (along with Darius this time), the half-orc and zombie swapped shields and we made our way with care to the 1st 4 way split.

Wooden rakes had been placed on the floor here, tines up, as if someone would run in and step on a rake, getting a face full of pole for his return. Hmm. We tried to pull one back and it had a wire on it. So we hooked it with the grapple and pulled hard, getting into a yanking contest with a K’Morat. Javelins were tossed but we won and managed to get a rake and 30’ of taut wire. Negan used the chisel to snap off a 4’ piece of it and then tied it to two spikes for an impromptu garrote. As for the K’Morat down that way, Darius took out a prepared Molotov, lit it, and let it fly.

It soared perfectly down, hit one K’Morat on the shield and splattered oil all over him and some on the guy next to him. The group ran weapons out. A bag of sawdust followed and fire blossomed all over the place. One K’Morat ran, and Barb gave chase while Connal pinned a K’Morat to the wall with the spear we had taken from the Temple of Loki. Barb was sure the K’Morat ran down the slope and towards the midden but the area was greasier than we remembered and the decision was to back up and go back to the 4 way split.

We crossed to the area where the deadfall had been, now nothing there but a concave hole in the ceiling. But when we looked down the passage to the end, we saw two of the tables now facing the other way – a 7” gap between them, and some junk on the floor in front of the tables. Negan and Connal swapped with Darius and Barb – the two fighters going to the back of the party and watching down the long passages for the sure to be coming K’Morat.

And they were down there, heads poking out and watching us. Barb kept up a litany of what was down there and soon to be coming while Negan and Connal were discussing slamming the tables (probably braced), dragging them back, or something else. It was at that moment that the K’Morat ran down the passage, hurling javelins from 20’ back, picking at Barb and Darius. Darius throated one of the K’Morat with a hunk of steel and then brained another. But there had to be 11 of them in hall and only two guarding the passage.

But from behind the tables and around the corner, a candle dumped over and fire raced along the oil prepared ground, hitting the bundle which exploded with rocks, grit, and the caltrops we had dropped here earlier. Connal used a dead kobold as cover and rolled barely out of the way while Negan took a face full and staggered back. The explosion was the sign for the K’Morat to charge closer. Luckily Darius used what few caltrops we had left to pepper the group, slowing them up.

Avulstein was preparing a spell to shoot around the corner but his ears picked up another spell being cast by a K’Morat voice – and the language of magic let him know it was a sleep spell! Fired at us.

Connal and Negan dropped immediately, followed by Avulstein and we had a choice – face the kobolds or awaken our friends. Awaken our friends came first. Darius left his post and slung a rock at Negan, hurting the half-ogre who coughed awake, and then Barb took stabs at her back as she prodded, kicked, and abused the wolverine until Avulstein drew awake. From the hallway, the caltrops had slowed down the charging K’Morat so only 4 had made the corner – one of which Centius split in twain with his axe.

As they were closing in, Avulstein yelled out his own spell and dropped every damned kobold in the hall to sleep. In return, the voice behind the tables called out a summoning spell, and some undead monster appeared, slashing at the party and trying to drop them. Waking Connal at long last, we tore into the summoned monster and it was dropped swiftly. At this point we made the call to coup de grace the kobolds in the hall and gather what ears we could – fully expecting to continue on into the warren and take on the next knot of K’Morat scum.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Meet 14, Adv B4, 10/15/17 - Youth Group

Before getting to the less interesting lower 5 levels of the ziggurat, the two big showdown fights are with wight in Queen Zenobia’s tomb, and the Darius/Demetrius fight with the Cyndician/Zargonite supporters. I have had people wipe on the wight fight, I have also had no one find the tomb, and I’ve have people do well on it.

For this fight, the dice were so in the youth’s favor that everything they did worked out for them and they managed to flee with the scepter/rod. Trust me, I TRIED to hit them with the wight, but at no point were they in any danger from Queen Zenobia's terrible rolls.

Write up follows:

We decided that we’d go up the northern passage, assuming that it was Queen Zenobia’s tomb we’d be going to since her false tomb was also on the northern end of the chamber. However, before going down, Vulkan was feeling a bit unsure and wanted us to pause while he studied the Web spell in his book. Having recently become more confident in his skills, he felt he could add a 2nd level spell to his repertoire and if things were not going to go well for us, it’d be nice to have more firepower at our fingertips.

So we waited an hour, and during that time, Mark and Delsin heard goblinoid voices getting closer from the other side of the door. Unsure of what was being said; they instead moved themselves in front of the door and quietly braced it with their backs, Safir joining the two men. It was good that they did so because the goblinoids were trying to push on the door and realizing it was lock/stuck/held, bitched and moaned a bit before giving up and heading back the way they came. Delsin didn’t trust the situation and had everyone wait a few moments when they felt the door tested AGAIN.

It seemed the goblinoids left one of their members behind to try and trick anyone on the inside but since the party hadn’t moved or changed anything, the last one got up and left, heading back down the irregular sized passage where we caught it calling out to the others and then all the voices faded.

No other issues occurred and by 1:30 or so, the group of four made their way to the northern secret passage. The floor was thick with dust and spider webs hung low in curtains. We had Safir go first, the scout making small clouds with each step but he went the 20 paces to the corner, looked around and headed back. Passage turned to the left, went another 20 plus paces and ended at a door on the left.

Delsin took point and the party travelled along until arriving at the heavy portal. There was a clay seal on the door covered in old Cyndician script. Mark studied his book of Gorm and the script and let us know it was seals of protection for the dead within – and that it shouldn’t be disturbed.

So we took hammer to clay and beat the seal apart, chunks of thick clay falling to the floor in dried flakey clumps. As they broke the seal, there was a brief flash of a sickly olive green light from the jamb…and then nothing.

Hand on the handle, Delsin put his weight to the door and pushed in and to the right.

It was a fairly decent sized chamber with a 7’x3’x3’ stone box in the center of the room with a flat slab cover upon it. We wanted to check it out, but Vulkan was uncomfortable and Mark wanted the group to be on alert. Safir stood by the door, bow out and arrow loaded, Vulkan right next to him nervously twisting his fingers. Delsin had Heatstroke out and Mark kept the Mace of Gorm in his grip as he braced his hands under the slab cover and pushed.

The lid popped up and slid a good 2 feet across the top of the sarcophagus, sitting upright was the dried out and very dead form of Queen Zenobia. Her crown was twisted in place by her matter hair and baleful greenish glow was coming from her eyes and blackened snarling slack jawed mouth. She lunged to grab Mark but Safir’s arrow shot out – striking her in the shoulder and then bouncing harmlessly away.

Mark and Delsin rocked back as Vulkan shouted out his arcanic words and strands of cloying sticking webs blew from his fingertips and fell around the undead form of Queen Zenobia.

Who literally dodged to the side and tore the webs to shreds as they passed around her.

Delsin slammed his sword forward, hitting her in the stomach, but even Heatstroke’s enchanted edge couldn’t penetrate her skin; instead running along her midsection and raising a black torn gash in her side which did nothing to deter her flailing arms. Mark howled for Gorm to help turn this evil beast but even as his holy symbol began to flare blue and white, Queen Zenobia ducked under the influence and her eyes burst green light – breaking the turning glow before it even hit her.

She swept out wildly, getting to her knees and then standing in the coffin, snarling and ripping at the two front line guys, raising sparks on their shield but not actually hitting anyone. Her off hand held a scepter of some weight which she slammed down like a cudgel, trying to beat Delsin in the head with it.

Safir fired again, and another arrow hit the queen but blunted and broke upon contact. Vulkan meanwhile was ripping out Auriga’s copy of his spellbook, flipping the pages and yelling to “watch out! Watch out!” Finding the page he wanted, he read the spell right from the book, the page turning to fire and then ash – and fired a 2nd Web right at the Queen. This time she was unable to deflect it and it surrounded her, trapping her under the layers of webbing and preventing her from hitting the party.

“Get the scepter! Get it!” Vulkan tossed a pair of knives at Mark and Delsin who stood as close to the furious queen and slashed at the webbing over and around her scepter. The edges of the knives quickly grew duller but the strands slashed apart and eventually her arm with the scepter was free. She tried to smash Mark with it and he danced back. Safir stood right over the queen and fired and arrow into her face under the web – and it broke on her forehead.

Vulkan was holding her arm, feeling cold as he tried to grip the arm in place, while Mark twisted and pulled the scepter about, breaking her grasp and retreating with the prize. Vulkan backed up, just missing getting swiped by the queens flailing clawlike hand. The web was being torn apart from the ground as we made to run from the room. Just outside the door, Vulkan again ripped through the spellbook until he found another spell he wanted, shouting for the party to “go go go”.

Once everyone was outside the chamber, the sound of the webbing snapping apart inside and the Queen howling and screaming, Vulkan finished reading the page from the book and the paper turned to fire and the spell shot off – surrounding the door and frame in tight green and yellow runes and holding it in place – preventing it from being opened for some time.

We jogged back to the main chamber where we shut the secret passage to Queen Zenobia’ s chamber and then dragged the false sarcophagus in front of the door to further confound it from being opened and the undead from getting out to attack us.

The scepter was black, flanged, lightly jeweled and according to Vulkan, radiated magic. He had seen things like this before and suspected it would hold spells, a few of them, for the mage – beyond what he normally was able to memorize in a given day.

We then wanted to go to King Alexander’s chamber – this time more away of what we were going to find and hopefully be done in there before the Queen escaped the held chamber and came out to find us.

The passage was similar to the other side, from the dust to the webs to the door and also the clay seals. We took hammer to seals and during the beating of them, we didn’t see a flash of green – but instead a brief whining high pitched cry. Not wanting to be caught off guard and using the whine as a warning, we took out a few candled, heated up the wax and molded it until it could fit in our ears, deadening our hearing for now.

We drew weapons and as one, opened the door and peered in. Room was similar to Queen Zenobia’s, except this time there was a baleful spirit hovering over the King’s sarcophagus, red tears for eyes and a ragged hole for a mouth. It merely stared at us. No one wanted to walk in. So we talked to it. Explained who we were, what we were doing, talking about Cyndicia and how it had fallen and how Zargon is polluting it all. We needed the ancient king’s sword to help defeat the beast and wanted the spirit to know that King Alexander would feel the same way.

Whether it was the pleading, the connection to King Alexander, or who knows what – but the spirit did come over to the door and we showed it the Scepter of Zenobia with the markings of Usimagarius, and the Mace of Gorm with the Gormian runes. All that was missing was the Sword of King Alexander and we’d have one of each weapon from the ancient Cyndician gods and be able to take the fight to Zargon himself.

The spirit went back to the sarcophagus, disappeared within, and came out with King Alexander’s sword. Delsin was instructed to remove Heatstroke – and the two weapons swapped places. He now held the wide bladed 4’ long rune encrusted sword which read on one side: Sword of Delsin, and the other: Knight of Cyndicia. Taking it reverently, he also had his king’s guard platemail swapped out for the enchanted platemail that King Alexander had been buried in.

We left the room humbled and decided to head our way down to the 5th level and hole up again in the secret room with the chest, rest, eat, study, pray, and heal our wounds. We made our way out of the tombs, through the rocks until we arrived at the section where we had to crawl underneath the standing stone. Once through we kicked the rock repeatedly until it finally settled down in place – hopefully sealing the tombs and possible escape of the undead creature Queen Zenobia turned out to be.

We then went to leave, making our way through the swinging pendulum axe blade traps, until we arrived back at the secret door which we lifted up and…came face to face with 4 rock baboons. Mark stepped forward confidently, talking to the baboons, hooting and pantomiming with them, even peeing when they did – the same as he had done days ago when we first faced them. They were pleased to remember Mark and we swapped food, and they wanted to explore the new now open room. So we let them, and made our way down the ladder in the middle of the hall to the 5th level.

We emerged back into Darius’ chamber and then went to the north west corner where we opened the secret chamber, shuffled in, and shut it behind us. From here we rested and awoke the next day feeling much better. Spells were studied and prayed for and then we emerged, heading our way through the bedroom south to the next door.

It was here that we saw the kitchen and dining room – the two big snakes that had been in here were not seen – but we ran across the chamber to the next room south and opened the door there. Two metal statues, low divans and a door on the east. Oh yeah, they remembered this. We dragged Vulkan across the room who was convinced that this time he had a good idea on how to take care of the statues, ignoring his pleas as we hit the eastern corridor and shut the door behind us.

We passed the remains of the gargoyle, made our way to the large carpeted office with the desk, and decided to look the room over again. We looked in the drawers and found some silver coins, a handful or topaz gems, and a potion in a drawer where the label had fallen off but the drawer had two labels in it: Potion of Healing and Potion of Death.

What? How did we know what this was?

The decision was made to find one of the many mice in the tomb and feed it a few drops of the potion. Which we did, and the mouse died. Ok – potion of death! Got it!

From here we left the office north, back to the hallway where the pit trap had been identified, and decided to head back to the waystation of Gorm on the west side of this floor to ask the priests there if they knew of where Demetrius might be so we could take care of him.

The walk was uneventful and in no time we passed through the wards and had some words on where to go. The east side of the floor past the great room, Demetrius could be found surrounded by the Cyndician followers of Zargon. So that was where we were going to go.