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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Meet 99, Adv 5, 11/7/15

This was a downtime meeting between adventures where the party not only trained, but also took care of whatever smaller tasks they wanted done. It's a bit low key and book-keepery, but is important to help the party feel connected to the world they live in.

Write up follows:

The group had almost 2 months of separate training and needs which necessitated an almost laundry list of tasks that the group performed in the waning days of autumn and the early weeks of winter.

Avidius who was training locally under the tutelage of Pelis the Rug Merchant and other members of the guild reconnected with his wife Senna and daughters. He and Fermius cemented their friendship and spent some of the days shopping and getting ready for whatever journey or work was to come up next.

Those who had been killed or wounded by the Para-Leech as it fled Cornelius…Marcus’ Tower were visited and efforts were made to offer them succor and aid if possible. He also made it his business to visit old man Hallax, the elder gentleman who had been visited by “Mary” as well as had his clock disenchanted.

To forestall any further loss of funds, Avidius and Fermius picked up any and every back breaking job that was available. The Homesteads were still short of labor so there was always a need for strong backs willing to work – which the two men did with gusto.

Lastly, Avidius made it his business to meet privately with Baron Taugis. After clearing it with Flimflam, our scout offered his services as Seneschal to the Baron, able and willing to report to the nobleman and our liege regularly about the party’s actions and what their next paths might be. He was thanked and given a small stipend for his efforts as payment.

Erdan also trained locally, his time was spent at the fighting school under the tutelage of Zarik Ikarsbane. Upon his completion of time training, he continued to offer his services as a “tossee” – the person who gets beat up in the mock matches.

As for Scarene, she continued to confess her innocence and was eventually tried where she was then to be sent to Elven Keep where her pedigree as an elf (not a half-goblin as she had been denying) would be proven. If she was an elf, she would be indentured for 20 years, if she was a goblin, she would be crucified. Erd offered to go along as a caravan guard, continuing his relationship and wooing of Scarene.

The trip was difficult and the caravan had been beset a few times by an almost nutty amount of predators – eventually having to give up more than half their food stores to deter the family of bears that was pursuing the caravan. Eventually they arrived @ Elven Keep where Scarene was proven to be half-goblin. She was dragged to the wall and crucified while Erd stayed below and tried to “get to her”. Eventually she died and Erdan took a return trip back to Shakun.

A chair in the Pervian Gnome style had been commissioned, except this one was Erd’s size – which he placed at the table in the Hall of Heroes in a manner to let Flimflam know that he couldn’t use HIS chair. From this point on, Erdan amused himself in the remaining weeks while hanging out at the fighter’s school and devoting his attention to guard named Morera.

Tranis had travelled to Gul where he had made what trades we could for Flimflam, in addition to bringing back potions for the party after trading some of our supplies to the Alchemist League. Once back he went out often and hunted, bagging a wolf or two, plenty of deer, and in one bit of surprise – a bear! Which had Erd chuckling to hear.

Steiner had travelled the furthest to Argosility where he met with the Patriarch. At the end of the day he also imbued the Olympian Crystal there with the power of Apollo and talked with the church about establishing more a Apollonian presence in Shakun (something they typically did not do – preferring to keep their efforts more to the east and the populace sections of the country). A business plan was set up where Steiner was going to build a poor house where the poor of Tanner’s Way could come and rest, get food, maybe some light work, and even clothes. Donations would help of course, but the church of Apollo would start the ball rolling (along with Steiner’s purse).

Four acolytes went back along with a half dozen administrative people. The Patriarch was interested in Steiner could enter the Mage’s Tower and if so, could he bring someone along with him. Back in Shakun though, Steiner hired a number of local carpenters and builders as well as some of the people from Tanner’s Way to tear down three of the lots and combine them with whatever building material they could get. He paid the lease price to the Baron who also accepted the plan.

As for other activities, Steiner hired Horace as his own henchman, the very outspoken tough and local thrilled to be “workin wit the party again.” Groan. In order to further spur on donations, Steiner would visit the Hospice often and heal for free – asking people to make donations to the Apollonian Poor House of foodstuffs or old clothes instead.

Lastly we had Flimflam who did not have to train this time around. Instead, our druid worked with local engineers and diggers about expanding the Hall of Heroes. We couldn’t build out, and up was not too smart – so we cleared out the main floor near the living room and had the builders dig DOWN. The entire project was going to take about 3 months to expand two floors downward and brace them – but this would be unfinished and the party would worry about the fallout from that later. As for costs – it was going to pump over 400 crowns back into the local economy and that was a good thing.

Flimflam also approached every follower of Demeter he could and wrote away to the church, asking for their help. What he ended up getting was a number of people willing to let themselves be bled for their god, meaning that Flimflam only had to power 4 of the 7 crystals himself.

He then went to the Roaring Treat Inn where he hired Taulib, the stable boy, as his personal valet, further outfitting the young man and helping him to relocate to Shakun. And then finally he took a long trip to the Endless Forest where he met up with the druid Kaer Kohnig. They spent some time together where Whosea was outfitted with a prosthetic limb which would help the dog walk and carry Flimflam. More importantly, they discussed the ritual, the acorns, and what Flimflam would be doing next. He then travelled back to Shakun and wanted to meet with the Baron about an idea.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Meet 98, Adv 5, 10/24/15

This wrapped up the last meeting of the 5th adventure with these characters. It was a shorter meeting, we all hung out and ate steak before hand, shot the shit, and generally just hung out. The meeting was a lot of larping and the big part of it was Marcus' mage test. In my mind it's a big deal. 4th level is the last level you can be before taking the test and committing yourself to the guild and the further advancement of magic. You can fail or opt not to take the test - but that means you are capped at level 4 unless you can find a Heretic-Mage willing to train you (and they are out there - but VERY few and far between - plus they are typically all douchebags).

At that point you also pick a school and your spells from that point on are usually in that school. I used to use the 8 schools but instead boiled them down to the 4 elements - each element houses two schools. 1st and 2nd level mage spells, you can use without limit - 3rd and above - if they are IN your school - your DC save is 1 higher. You cannot use spells 3rd and above that are opposite your school (ie - Fire mage can't use Water mage spell). It's elegant, simple, and neat.

Write up follows:

The next few days had the group discuss the situations as they stood with Baron Taugis and his council. They briefly brought up Kalt and the First Sons of Shakun and then left the matter in the Council’s hands to resolve. One of the things that did come up in a private meeting between Baron Taugis and Marcus was the fact that historically the Tower Master was a member of the Council and Marcus was invited to sit on it. Which he accepted. And then he was knighted, formally adopting the title of Sir to his name.

We talked with Horace, Viridia, and Fermius after the fact, with Avidius and Tranis offering to contract and accept the vassalship of Fermius and Viridia respectively. With the two of them on board they became henchmen of our Scout and Ranger and there was much rejoicing. Flimflam was going to spend some brief time with Eherego regarding the wounding and disfigurement of Whosea and was then talking about taking a trip to see Kaer Kohnig for his own purposes.

The party was then separating for training purposes. A number of the members were able to stay here in Shakun (Erd, Geld, Avidius), while others decided to take longer tips to other towns for the sure to be longer training (Marcus heading to Woodhelven, Tranis to Gul, and Steiner taking the longest trip to Argosility). Marcus left Geld in charge of his tower while he was gone, along with a large stipend to help pay for the slow reacquisition and restocking of the place.

While Tranis was in Geld, he was able to broker with some locals to see about swapping out some of the magic items we had to get something for Flimflam who had lost a number of enchanted items during the time in the Tower.

If was Marcus’ time in Woodhelven that was most interesting. The Mage’s Guild representatives there were shocked to learn that a Neophyte was a Tower Master and a Wizard by the name of Danklage was most perturbed – since he was the next in line for the tower here in Woodhelven. Marcus finished his training as a fighter and committed himself to the study of the Weave from this point on.

Part of his commitment was to engage in the Mage’s Test – knowing that if he failed, it could actually mean his death. Suffice it to say, Marcus did wonderfully, scoring 17 out of 18 possible and getting the begrudging respect of Master Danklage for his efforts. He opted for the Rune of Preservation for his main spellbook, knowing that it would now be resistant to water, dirt, fire, and even casual tearing.

As the days were winding along, the weather was growing colder and winter was most definitely settling in.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Meet 97, Adv 5, 10/17/15

My game is a hybrid of 1st and 3.5 so I use the d20 resolution often. Typically I run DC10, 15, 20, 25 for difficulty and let the chips fall where they may. So when I put together the crafting piece of the homunculus in the game, I expected there to be some failure along the way and then some recrafting.

I think I fucked it up somehow.

In the Tower there is a room called the Workshop (level 6) where as long there is crafting going on there, the people in the room will get a +3 on their roll. Pretty much they had to describe what they were making and if it was well explained and used what tools were there (simplistic) it was a DC:10, otherwise I would run it at DC:15.

The party did such a good job and had such great rolls as well as working together that there were no failures in my 5 checks. Lowest roll ended up as a 12 (after modifiers).

So there you go, destined to get a Mage's Tower in the game. Not bad after almost 25 years of waiting for it to happen.

Write up follows:

We went back through the ritual of the Tower Master one last time and left Marcus to his studying the Tower Master’s spellbook for the required enchantments. There was no way he could do this in 1 sitting, so we would do most of the Homunculus crafting tonight, followed by a rest and the remainder tomorrow.

While this was going on, the party moved the golem/armor suit back to where we had found it and then spent a little time giving the bedrooms a final look over and cleanup. More required supplies were gotten, then a meal, and finally we all convened in the Workshop to meet with Marcus after he finished studying. The party had cobbled together a rough doll using no threads, limiting themselves to just the raw unprocessed goods that we were finding. It was fragile, but should hold up long enough for Marcus to stitch in place.

Sure enough, it worked. Prior to getting it sewn up, Marcus added his hair, nails, spit, and whatnot into the body of the golem he was making, sewing it in place before moving on to the stuffing and spell work. Four stitch spells adhered the arms and legs to the torso, leaving the head unfinished for now. We talked about the next day and the group went to sleep.

On Earthmonth the 24th the group woke up pretty stoked and Marcus studied more spells, while Flimflam stretched out our food stores with more goodberries. The party was cobbling together some of the dismantled items found in the basement – one was a crow’s cage (torture cage to hang a person in), the other was a rack. A look at the log books showed that Cornelius was also making money as an inquisitor for the Sheriff (and Baron at that time) – supplementing his income. Shudder.

We stitched the head in place and then colored the doll as needed. We know we had to be in the Observatory at 12 when the Searing Crystal would shine down, but there was no clock in the tower and we’ve been guessing on the time. Steiner offered to go up to the roof and let us know, but when the top was open, we saw rain and clouds – no way of knowing when noon was. Our priest of Apollo was going to meditate on the roof and would hope his god would give him a warning when noon was approaching. Meanwhile, Viridia and Geld walked with Marcus a few times making sure he could navigate the area and steps between the Workshop and the Observatory – since he would have to do so as he was concentrating on maintaining the simple illusion spell.

The clock ticked along and then Steiner called out that it was almost time. Marcus cast the simple illusion spell on the homunculus and allowed himself to be guided upstairs where we stood under the crystal, forcing the doll to appear like himself. And then the light blasted down and the illusion was seared into the doll. From there we all went to the Master Bedroom where the 1st words of the ritual were spoken and the doll placed into the proper place. The tower groaned slightly and there was a thrumming.

From there we propelled our way through the rest of the ritual. The charging of the Olympian Crystal took 12 hours and required Geld watching over her friend/employed and then Marcus cutting himself and placing the crystal into his own flesh. When the crystal was glowing he returned to the Master Bedroom, placed it on the shelf and intoned the 2nd words of the ritual – again the tower shook and groaned. Then we all fell asleep.

Awakening on Earthmonth the 25th and some more studying and prep work had Marcus run through the rest of the ritual, eventually anointing his hand with the blood of Cornelius taken days ago from the body in the kitchen. The spirit had been guided/coaxed here by Steiner and the party watched with baited breath as Marcus intoned the final words of the ritual.

“From Master to Student, Adult to Child, Teacher to Pupil, I take control of this Tower from this moment forth. No force in the world or from another can force me to relinquish this charge without my unfettered and uncharmed will. So I do swear from this day until I choose to end my duty. With this seal, let the tower and all who enter know that I am the Tower Master.”

The tower groaned and stuttered, and we felt a crystalizing in the air. Then a voice called for the Tower Master to come to the Observatory. It was here that we learned the tower had some simple sentience and was able to answer some questions that Marcus had. We decided NOT to announce to the other 4 wizard’s towers that this one was occupied (better safe than sorry) and Marcus gave permission for Geld to come in and out when and how often she wants. He also opted to keep the ward on the front door to make people sick and scared if they come too close (opting to remove that feeling for the rest of the party).

There were also some messages that had been sent here that Corenlius never got – all from someone called Wizard-Lord Erazmis of Castle Sterling, from someplace referred to as the Helmian Lands. Seems that Cornelius had ordered some enchanted material/armament from this Erazmis before he died and it has been waiting for him to get for the last 15 years. We were able to deduce that this Helmian Lands are 4 days upriver from Brewers Bridge and would take us almost 2 weeks to get to.

Cleaning ourselves up we all went down to the front door and walked out together to the thronging crowd. The tower no longer looked worn, instead new and clean. The metal trees up top were crackling with energy and the entire place was thrumming. We heard about the escaped goblin/demonic and feigned ignorance, stating that we had killed 3 of them already and this once must have run and escaped.

The party went to the Hall of Heroes, knowing that we had much to catch up on, the case against Kalt, Horace, Viridia, and Fermius and their involvement and maybe recruitment, Marcus taking stock of his tower and what’s responsible on his end of it, and about 2 dozen other smaller issues.

Erdan did have a talk with the owner of the 4 Rings Brothel who was concerned that his “dancing studio” was actually a front for another brothel – and she’s like to talk about putting him out of business. Erd agreed it was not necessary and was not going to open up as either a brothel OR a dancing studio for now.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Meet 96, Adv 5, 10/10/15


I know I might have mentioned this before but even in the earliest days of my playing, finding huge piles of loot and hauling them out in sack after kicking some goblin's asses never made much sense to me. Treasure isn't just neat piles of coins and swords +1 sitting on shelves. There are statues, and rings, and necklaces, and letters of credit, and titles, and favors, and books, and god knows what. Treasure isn't always easily defined but it is a reward and rewarding.

That's what's in Cornelius' Tower. Assuming the party is able to get it done: the list of "take me out as coin or magic" in the wizard's tower is: 8th level wizard's spell book, 2 cloaks of wind and chill resistance. That's it. Other "treasures" are possible to get and they are 11 Olypmian Crystals (useless except as quartz to 99.99% of the populace - invaluable to mages/clerics), a freeflowing dispel magic spellform (can be introduced to any rod/staff/wand or olympian crystal).

What the tower does offer though is almost 2,000 books, scrolls, and papers that cover a variety of subjects that anyone would want. It offers a place to scry gently the lands and environs around Shakun as well as short scrys to other places in the kingdom. It offers a title of Lord Wizard to anyone who becomes ensconced in the tower as well as a seat on the Baron's Council. It offers dozens of other smaller things that are bennies while in town and a sense of prestige to the new Tower Master.

There isn't piles of gems. There aren't gold to take out. And the cost of going in the tower and then emerging will tax the coffers of the party for sure - but the long term rewards are well worth it.

Write up follows:

We wrapped bandages and healing around Avidius, took care of Whosea, and then sat down to discuss what our next step was. We wanted to go up and take out the Para-Leech, but the zombies below needed to be resolved and we still needed to look at the furnace. Our first thoughts were though to make sure the Leech could not knock any more pictures off the wall again. So we braced a few chairs in front of the picture and then slid the table over, eventually deciding that we would also bring up the closet door from the 1st floor and block the pictures as well.

The rest of the part was attacking the wooden wall with axes, crowbars, and picks; making sure it was out of our way and would not impede our actions or movement up and down the stairs in anyway. From here we once more slid the grapple into the handle, drew back to get ready, and then pulled the door away again. Once more the two zombies came into the room where the party made short work of them. Clear now, we went to the basement and looked around.

Nothing new that we could see. Tending to the furnace showed that it was almost finished consuming the wood that was in there (3 days) and once we shook the ash free, we dumped it in the wood bin for now. We loaded the furnace with the rest of the greenwood from the wall of brambles and pumped the bellows until it was hot and running. Steiner loaded a small sack with a variety of raw goods from the crates knowing that according to the scroll we had found earlier that we would need them.

We left the basement and made sure to close the secret door so that the Para-Leech would be unable to enter it again. From here we made sure all was in place in the meeting room before continuing on our way up the steps to the kitchen and dining room. We gave it all a complete once over, making sure nothing was different or out of place before we continued on our way up to the 4th floor.

Here was where the Para-Leech had something prepared for us. The three doors in the hall were tied together with knotted and braided lengths of sheets that had been cut and tied in place – making a triangle of quivering cloth. The doors also had some pressure on them as if something on the inside was holding them and pulling on them. Try to open any one door, and all three would open. In addition, a quick scry revealed that the knotted braided rope was ensorcelled as well.

At this point we wanted to see what we were dealing with – so Marcus used his auger and slowly drilled a hole in the master bedroom door. A second hole was drilled closer to the door handle and then a light spell on a stone was pushed through and we looked in. A fat goblinoid looking zombie. Holding onto the door handle and pulling.

From here, a turn undead from Steiner had the zombie move away from the door and then Marcus used his chisel to make the hole larger. By the time the zombie returned he had widened the hole pretty far. And then he started shoving the spear through the hole in the door, plunging it into the zombie again and again and again. For 16 minutes.

Until like so much hamburger and perforated hundreds of times, the necromantic energy holding the zombie together finally failed and it slumped down and expired. But there were two other doors also with undead pulling on them – and even if we did the same thing with the holes and spears and whatnot, there would still be the ensorcelled rope binding the doors together and who knows what spell was going to happen.

During all of this, the thought returned to going upstairs past the suit of armor/golem. Once more we tested how close we could get until we verified the 6th stair was the limit for now before the golem moved. Flimflam wanted to use the snare spell again, but we could not coax the golem to step down into the loop and many times he would just kick it down the steps. Eventually we lucked out with a successful toss and then the spell was cast. The rope whipped up the steps and surrounded the suit of armor from ankle to shoulders. It started to struggle and bang around when Marcus and Erd (both elves) ran up to it with a soaking wet large sack and placed it over its head and shoulders. It was breathing out that sleeping gas and was slowly coating its chest with the greenish/yellow mixture. The two elves lifted the golem up by the arms and shoulders and carried it down to the 4th floor, down to the 3rd floor and into the kitchen where it was placed in the larder on its side. It feet were still moving back and forth and it was spewing much of that sleeping gas that appeared to be a dripping coating ring from under the sack.

The steps now clear, we went up the 5th floor (Library) and spent a few minutes while Tranis, Geld, and Kilven went into the armoire and looked back into the Master Bedroom. The zombie was indeed dead, and the Para-Leech had set up a 4’ diameter circle of sheets just in front of the armoire’s door. Snare of his own? We didn’t want to risk it so they shut the door and returned to the 5th floor.

The group took the steps up towards the 6th floor and peered in past the landing. Another full sized room larger chamber, it was a workroom of some sort. Lots of tools, stools, and benches – but pretty picked over, very little in raw materials here. There was also a water closet along the base of the steps that was gravity fed from a cistern above. We cleaned hands and moved on to the 7th and final floor.

The room was sizeable as well. A series of smaller pinkish crystals were hanging down from the 12’ high ceiling, ranging between 2 and 6’ in length each, scattered about the place. There was a larger crystal, some 18” in diameter and 2+ feet long in the center of the room, and it was showing sunlight through its surface. An iron bound chest was on the opposite side of the room, hasped and closed.

When we tried to enter the room, along the south wall at about 3’ in height, 2 metal bars 3’ apart began to emerge from the stone so we retreated. When we tried it again it happened again and they once more retreated. Eventually we waited long enough for them to fully emerge (15” or so) and then the ends flowered, spoked, and wheel grew in place – until we had 2 turning wheels sticking out of the wall.

When a 2nd person came in, a 3rd wheel emerged. But when Marcus entered, the crystal above flicked and the sunlight faded – until it relit and revealed – the area outside the meeting room on the 2nd floor below. Ahha – this is the observatory and that is how the Para-Leech was able to watch us and know about us. Turning the wheels changed the east/west, north/south, and vertical focus point of the observation. Turning them slow mean small fine adjustments; turning them fast had the adjustments seriously multiplied, shooting outside the wall of the tower and through the streets. We did note that we could not scry this room, nor could we scry the top of the tower (the vision was fuzzy).

We played with the observation for a while and a couple of us were looking at the other crystals on the ceiling. If touched or reached for, they would arc down from above until at eye level and looking it would show a fixed place in space at some location we did not recognize – each one was different and there were 40+ of them.

At 12 exactly, the central crystal grew very bright and a blast of searing light pulsed down for a minute until it ended. This also seemed to match the information we were given in the scroll of the Tower Master.

However, almost 30 minutes after Marcus began scrying, the effort was drawing and draining from his and he staggered away with a pounding headache and weariness (losing a blast of Int, Wis, and Cha). Ok, scrying is draining and should be limited to less than 30 minutes/day. Good to know!

The chest was looked over and there were no traps or surprises so it was opened carefully and inside were 11 fist sized clear faceted crystals. Olympian crystals – untouched and pure. The fare end of the room also had a set of iron rungs that went straight up to the ceiling, where a 3’ square trap door was in place and latched closed. We summoned a creature to try and open it but it could not move the latch. This had Tranis climb up, unlatch it, and climb back down. From here the summoned creature was able to push the door open and emerge. On top of Cornelius’ Tower. The metallic looking tree was up here taking up the central portion of the tower. There were also two Olympian crystals here – each on a small shrine (One to Poseidon, another to Artemis). But no Leech.

Until we noted smoke that had been on the ceiling ooze towards the opening and sieve through. Fucking scumbag – Para-Leech and escaping. We tried to run up the rungs to catch him but he materialized, and then stepped off the edge and fell 75’ to the ground below. A few of us watched horrified as he stood up, ran through the Town Square killing two people and injuring others, made it to Northgate where his killed again, shrugged of arrows and wounds, and then ran out and was free.

None of us announced ourselves to the people and we went back inside and shut the trap door. Crap. We were not going to tell anyone about what our part was in this and were instead talking about going back downstairs to the workroom and start working on the ritual. But our way was blocked – by the spectral smoky figure that we had dispelled with salt before. It was there and staring at Marcus who was the character in front. No animosity, no attacking, no flaring of magic – just staring at us.

We knew we had to get past it and destroy it before we could do the ritual, but our efforts to date had been without resolution. It was behaving differently, fixated on Marcus for some reason. He tested a few times getting closer and then backing away, reassured that it was looking and fixated only on him. Getting close enough it was almost eerily pointing at his waist. He tested numerous items until he arrived at his chain rod. It followed the end of it and as he drew it closer, a wind seemed to spring up behind the spectral figure blowing it towards the elf.

Finally, daring against all, he touched the tip of the chain rod into the ghostly figure. A moan of energy and roaring breeze swarmed all over the place as it flowed into the chain rod and was consumed entirely. A crystal on the rod’s base shimmered to light and now read “50” – fully charging the rod – but it was no longer a chainrod – the spellform absorbed was that of a dispel. Meaning Marcus had a rod of dispel magic in his possession.

Emboldened with our efforts to date we went to the Library and waited while Marcus studies a couple of summon monster spells, the group going through notes and books and whatnot. Eventually finished, we followed him to the 4th floor where he summoned a skeleton and commanded it to untie the braided sheet rope. We waited around the corner and when there was no explosion or fire, looked back to see it was done! Then he had it go into the Master Bedroom and walk towards the armoire, and when it emerged, it had the other sheet around its ankle – so we considered matter done and laughed noting it was 3:30ish on Earthmonth the 23rd.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Meet 95, Adv 5, 10/3/15

The last Leechling was always going to be the hardest for the party to overcome - mainly because it would be learning from each successive fight the party had with its brethren. So by the time the party was ready for this encounter - the Para-Leech was able to set up two "trap" areas depending on which direction the party went. His goal? To take out the groups magical items and then lure them to the top to get them to open the door. Not interested in killing the group off, no benefit from it - and he KNOWS he needs the party to help him escape.

Write up follows:

As the group was going through the armoire to the 5th floor, the spellwraith appeared and the party proceeded to toss a wet blanket on it and beat on it until it fell through the floor to the bedroom – where Flimflam, Horace, Erd, and Kilven were set to meet it.

Once again its strange ability flared to life igniting most of the magical items in the room. We had divested ourselves of them as fast as possible, with Kilven and Horace closing to the wraith with axe and club swinging wildly. The two fighters actually waded into the smoky creature, scattering it about and keeping it uncoalesced. However, its ability flared out and hit Flimflam’s bracers – neutering them. Fuck.

Upstairs, the party gave the rest of the group a minute or two to come and join them when Avidius took a trip through the armoire and then returned, letting the party know that the spellwraith was down there and the group was fighting it. Viridia took her salt and was willing to go down to dispel it. Meanwhile, the ghostly figure consumed the magic from Flimflam’s cudgel next. And then Viridia arrived, tossed the salt, and the wraith-like figure faded away.

We gathered the salt as needed and then all got together to talk about our options and what was next. Flimflam was rather upset at his losses and seemed pissed off. The party wanted to check out the 4th floor a bit more – specifically the last and dusty bedroom – which we had not done anything in yet, only looked in and then stepped out.

Horace did a wonderful job at staking out the chamber and describing it to us. The footlocker (latched) was a prime target and we had Steiner try his damnedest to open it – with no luck. While discussing option, the cleric swept a little of the dust (which was behaving heavy and thick – not floating about) into the hall, picked it up, and ignited it – where it went up with a whoosh and a column of fire over a foot and a half tall.

Ok – no flame in the room.

But to open the chest? How? We had the idea to cast create water in the chamber, swamping the dusty floor and turning it muddy, making it unlikely to flare up. But then it was the ceiling – unlike other chambers this had a series of regular looking stones mortared together. A couple of arrows were shot into it – where they sort of went in a little bit…and then the ceiling rippled and the ripples met near the arrows – and ate the arrows.

We now suspected a Lurker was here but how to coax it down? Marcus cast a summon monster spell, having a Zombie appear. He had it walk into the room where the Lurker dropped and engulfed it to eat it. Rolled into a ball, the soft underside was visible, so we hacked at it and watery pink and yellow fluid leaked out all over the chamber, mixing with the muddy dust and just making the entire party sick from the stench.

Braving the odor, we opened the footlocker and took out a pair of mage’s robes (off yellow), two books, and a pair of thick almost gauntlet like leather gloves.

One book was identified as an ecology book about Lurkers, the other had runes on it. So Marcus opened the book and it exploded in his face – setting him on fire and burning him and his clothes and equipment. We managed to put it out and the elf then cast Read magic on it, was able to identify where to open the tome safely, and we noted a long list of new spells up to 4th level, many of them fire in nature.

Some healing was given out and then the party went up to the 5th floor to see about cleaning up the steps from all the demonic scat upon them. Fermius and Kilven did most of the dirty work with shovels and whatnot, using the ripped up bedsheets to keep the area clean…ish. As for the crap, it was shoveled one stinking pile and dollop at a time into the base of the broken lectern, piled in afterwards by the fouled torn bedsheets. We then worked it through the armoire and down to the dead Lurker bedroom where it was placed within and the door shut; Fermius using a bit of chalk to write on the door, “Do not enter.”

We went down to the 3rd floor and kitchen where we used the sink and water (from above, gravity fed we assumed) to clean our hands before ending up back on the 2nd floor and the meeting room. We ate and shared water, taking a total of our food stuffs and then splitting it up amongst the party. We then talked about what was next (we had 3 and a half days of real rations remaining, and Flimflam had a way to stretch that out to about double). Eventually the party went to sleep and we rested.

The next day the party woke up, prayed, broke their fast, studies, prepped their weapons, and were on our way. We opted to go downstairs first – check out the basement, see the furnace (it’s been three days so far), and make sure the final Leechling (Para-Leech) did not go down there ahead of us. Once outside the chamber the smell of the rotting hellhounds was growing worse, gagging the group as we made our way to the main floor.

The remains of the original “leech” was gone now, only a very clean spot on the floor where it had once sat. However, as we went around the corner to go down to the basement, we were surprised to see the door had been picked up and leaned in front of the opening.

The party grew quiet and discussed possibilities before settling on what to do next. Steiner was able to detect the sensation of something foul beyond the broken door. What we settled on was a grapple placed through the handle and the length of rope around the corner to waiting hands to pull. Everyone else took up space around the chamber with bows and swords at the ready; Avidius was left on the steps, 1 step shy of the landing, hand on his sword hilt.

And we pulled the door open.

It fell into the room and three grotesque and fat  (250#) goblins sauntered into the chamber – their waxy skin, dead eyes, the reek of death let us know these were zombies of some sort. Steiner had everyone hold their actions as the undead trio drew closer, the cleric of Apollo calling on his god to turn these terrible blights away.

And the blast of blue and white energy billowed off from his holy symbol, driving the three back until they turned to run. Arrows fired and swords and spears laced out. But while all this was happening, Avidius heard a noise from the stairs above so he looked up and saw…the Para-Leech up there. He mumbled that he was glad to have caught at least one of the group and fired off a burst of energy at the scout. But is skittered past him to the left and caused a thick wall of wood and brambles to grow, blocking him off from the main room, his friends, and the light source.

At first the party was focused on the now retreating zombies – plying everything they had on the closest one – but at Avidus’ howl and the appearance of the wall, a few of them left the zombies alone and attacked the wall with axe, sword, and even hands.

As for Avidius, the Para-Leech flat out told him to give up the sword and he won’t get hurt. Of course Avidius ignored that crap and tried to run past the Para-Leech, dodging beyond the fat bastard’s grip and turning the corner in a mad dash to make it to the meeting room and the safety there.

But there were a number of books on the floor and the two pictures had been knocked off. As Avidius was struggling to hang the picture of the “keep” back on the wall, the Para-Leech had come back and had his foot across the barrier – preventing the picture from being hung.

They traded quips a bit, the Leechling threatening to burn Avidius if he didn’t back away. Meanwhile Flimflam had made it to the wall and was calling to Demeter to shape the wood – actually pulling a hole in the center of the wall with his bare hands large enough for the gnome to slither through. Whosea and Ringer were trying to get in next and Fermius and Kilven were ripping huge chunks of wood out of the way.

Avidius made to grab the picture that looked like a pile of cloth but the Leechling sent a ray of flame at it, burning it apart. And then the battle lines were drawn and Avidius was caught in a grapple with the demonic goblin; his arm in the infernal’s mouth and blood dripping to the floor. Drop the sword.

Avidius held on, refusing to do so.

And then Flimflam arrived and the two of them were struggling with the Para-Leech who was struggling to keep Avidius grappled. Whose was next and Flimflam was able to wrap a length of rope around the Leech’s leg – as Whosea was tearing into the Leech. So the Leechling lifted his foot and smashed 600#’s of claw toed fat assed demonic goblin on Whosea’s front side – tearing the war dog’s left front leg off halfway down the animal’s equivalent of the bicep – crippling him instantly.

Furious, Flimflam called out to Demeter and his Snare spell went off – wrapping 20’ of rope around the Leech and binding him in place – Avidius managing to step away. The Leechling was impressed – the binding was strong enough to hold a fucking giant in place, and said that he’d take this under advisement. As the rest of the group was mounting the stairs, he turned to smoke and oozed upward through the ceiling and was gone.

Flimflam lowered his gaze to his longest animal friend and companion and helped bind his wound, stopping the bleeding – but the missing leg was not going to come back. And somewhere above – the Para-Leech was up there and waiting for the party.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Handout 2, Adv 5, Crystals

I have manastones in my world and typically they are used to run and power the big and powerful items. Sometimes they are also used to run the small and intricate things as well. I've also had the knowledge on how to make them sort of percolating around my world for decades without actually writing it all up in one place.

Until now.

So here it is: Manastones, Magegems, and Skycrystals - all in one place and all how to make them. And the group ran across it as they will need one for Marcus's ritual of the Tower Master - and Flimflam should be using it for hit ritual of the dryad planting thing he's hoping to do.


Olympian Crystals

Sometimes referred to as Manastones, Skycrystals, Magegems, Heartstones, and God’s Tears, Olympian Crystals are gathered along the slopes of the Olympian realms or amongst the tops of those clouds that passed recently through the Olympian territory. Prior to the Kinslayer Wars both the officers of the Speaker of the Sun and the runemasters of the High Thane of Westrock have in the past been able to gate to the crystal fields and harvest a great abundance of these inbuable crystals however the skill and accuracy to do so has been lost so we must treasure and care for any un-touched crystals that we manage to acquire.

Olympian Crystals can be imbued in one of three ways: 1) as a manastone to empower a latent construct with arcanic power to give such an item the illusion of life, 2) as a skycrystal or God’s Tear to act as a focus for a particular deity or infernal agent, and 3) as a heartstone as one would find in a beacon or as an anchor point along a leyline or Weave intersection.

Discussing the Heartstone creation first as it is the least taxing of the three iterations. A Heartstone is usually a beacon or marker for a mage when he is suspecting that he will be taking an etheric, astral, or portalling journey. Any jaunt through the planes or demi-planes is fraught with peril and smart mage or sorcerer should establish a Heartstone first on the off chance something goes awry. If at any time it appears the magi is suffering from the effects of a baleful portalling or is floundering in the ether betwixt the multiverses, the Heartstone will act as a beacon and empowered silvered cord that will lead them back to the prime material plane and within a hand’s grab of their Heartstone. Travel to such a location is still at the discretion of the mage and their own power, but most magi who have the luck and beneficence of having a Heartstone agree that it is an invaluable tool.

The magi in question must find a stone that is untouched and has not been imbued. They must then meditate over it, cradling it in their cupped hands without clothing, perfume, soaps, or jewelry to separate them from the world for a period no less than 12 hours. During such time they must remain still and at ease; partaking neither food nor water, relying only on their senses and discipline to keep them grounded.

If they have been successful, the crystal should begin to emit a faint keening as well as an ambient glow similar to that of a candle. At this point the mage should have their apprentice hand them a blade that has been sharpened no less than 101 strokes of a whetstone so that its edge is sharp. The magus then takes the knife with their off hand, holding the crystal in their on hand, and then cuts the skin on the chest over the heart vertically no less than 3” in length.

The crystal is then placed over the cut and the glow should deepen and redden as it absorbs the magi’s blood. The transference of the magi’s blood to the Heartstone is quick and painless, but there is a faint weakening to the magi’s life force. The magi will have a scar over their chest for their efforts but the Heartstone will be uniquely their own and can be used as needed.

The Skycrystal (or God’s Tear) creation will be discussed next as it is the median of the three iterations. Skycrystals have an important and unique import in establishing and maintaining the focus of divine will. No blessed temple, no empowered shrine, no menhir of stones exists and projects the power of the gods without having a Skycrystal of some sort on the premises.

The priest in question must first be of good standing with their deity or be pacted with their infernal agent. They must then find a stone that is untouched and has not been imbued. A Ceremony to invest and imbue the stone must be performed next with the exacting needs and requirements of the priest’s god’s needs and standards.

Incense and candles should be lit and maintained during this next stage. The priest then anoints themselves with holy water and meditates over the Skycrystal, cradling it in their cupped hands without clothing, perfume, soaps, or jewelry to separate them from the world for a period no less than 24 hours. During such time they must remain still and at ease; partaking neither food nor water, relying only on their senses and discipline to keep them grounded. They may fall into torpor and sleep during this time and it is up to their apprentices to gently return them to a seated position. The moistening of lips and tongue is allowed with a damp cloth only, and the apprentices are also allowed to remove any bodily waste that might occur during this time.

If they have been successful, the crystal should begin to emit a faint keening as well as an ambient glow similar to that of a lantern or beacon. At this point the priests should have their apprentice hand them a blade that has been sharpened no less than 101 strokes of a whetstone so that its edge is sharp. The priest then takes the knife with their off hand, holding the crystal in their on hand, and then cuts their skin on their wrist long ways no less than 3” in length.

The crystal is then placed over the cut and the glow should deepen and change color in accordance to the priest’s deity or infernal agent as it absorbs the priest’s blood. The transference of the priest’s blood to the Skycrystal is quick but not painless. Also, there is a weakening to the priest’s life force upon the completion as the priest has acted as a conduit for their deity or infernal agent.

There are occasions where a priest does not have the lifeforce to finish such a transference, at that time it is known that five (5) followers of the priest’s deity or infernal agent can take the cuts (it must be instead done by the priest’s hand – not their apprentice) one after the other in a space of no less than 10 minutes to empower the Skycrystal. The weakening of their respective life forces is to be expected.

And finally there are some known occasions where a priest does not have sufficient followers to furnish such a transference. At that time is it known that one hundred (100) persons can be made to take the cuts (again, it must be done by the priest’s hand – not their apprentice or followers), one after the other in a space of no less than 2 hours to empower the Skycrystal. The weakening of their respective life forces is to be expected.

The Manastone or Magegem will be discussed last as it is the most taxing of the three iterations. A manastone is used to empower an item that has been crafted and ensorcelled in such a way to give the illusion of life. Clockwork items, golems and the likes are often the beneficence of such a stone. It is primarily for the crafting of those items where the illusion of life is needed, but not the complexity of free will, thought, or emotions. For those items, typically a summoned or conjured elemental or extra-planar being is needed.

The magi in question must find a stone that is untouched and has not been imbued. The stone must be washed clean in a combination of unfiltered rain water, vinegar, and carbonic acid – each in 3:2:1 harmonic parts.

They must then meditate over the manastone, cradling it in their cupped hands without clothing, perfume, soaps, or jewelry to separate them from the world for a period no less than 6 hours. During such time they must remain still and at ease; partaking neither food nor water, relying only on their senses and discipline to keep them grounded.

If they have been successful, the crystal should begin to emit a faint moaning as well as an ambient glow similar to that of a candle. As a manastone is supposed to give the illusion of life to a construct, so must it be empowered. With the Laws of Sympathy and the Rites of Three – the magi must have acquired three potential sacrifices to empower the manastone and have then nearby and at the ready.

At this point the mage should have their apprentice hand them a blade that has been sharpened no less than 101 strokes of a whetstone so that its edge is sharp. The magus then takes the knife with their off hand, holding the crystal in their on hand. To fully empower the manastone the magi or their apprentice(s) should then stab deeply into the sacrifice’s heart and the stone trust into the weltering flow of blood for a full minute until it has expired. If the heart of the sacrifice is unable to be reached for whatever reason, a similar fatal cut across the throat will suffice as well.

The magi should then do the same to the second and the third sacrifice within a 10 minute period of time. Upon completion the magi will feel a faint weakening of his life force but the manastone is now fully empowered and ready for whatever needs or installation the magi requires.

If the magus is unable to survive the weakening of their life force, it is possible to have their apprentice perform the transference of the manastone between the sacrifices. However, the Rites of Three still applies and the apprentice will suffer a three-times weakening of the life force at the end of the transference.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Meet 94, Adv 5, 9/19/15

We had a shorter meeting this time, between coming home late and some joking and conversation at the table so we lost about 2 hours. It worked out fine since the group was sort of focused on finding and wiping out the last "leechlings" if at all possible - eventually fighting and finishing off the Quasi-Leech.

There is one left and with each successive one, I ramp up their ability and tactics until the final one has all the skills and capabilities to use at its beck and call. It's smarter, faster, more cunning, and by this time, knows the party and their skills and abilities after watching its brothers get taken down.

So to my count, there is 1 Leechling (I've dubbed the Para-Leech in my head) and 3 spellforms loose in the tower. Once they are done and taken care of, the party can then complete the ritual (should they decide to go that way) and the adventure will be wrapped up.

Write up follows:

We took stock of the library after the fight with the Quasi-Leech, everyone taking the time to heal up, bandage if need be, and check weapons. The floor and shelves were unscarred from the Quasi-Leech’s fire and we suspected that the Library was proof against such conflagrations.

There were thousands of books and scrolls littering the room in different places and ages. However in every place there were books neatly on the shelves – except on one smaller free standing shelf system near the armoire. There were three books on top and one scroll there. After a short check we deduced it was safe to approach and looked them over.

Spell book of the Tower Master, Purchase Log for Redbrick Tower, Income Log for Redbrick Tower, and a scroll that was identified as “Empowering Olympian Crystals”.


The two log books would have to be looked at in depth at another time when we had the ability to do so, but they did list the sort of supplies the tower required, who Cornelius had gotten them from and what he paid for them, as well as some services he had done and what he had gotten paid for it.

The spell book (after a fast Read Magic spell by Marcus), contained all the spells as identified as needed in the Scroll of the Tower Wizard we had found earlier. Most importantly, one of the spells was Continual Light which the party suggested to Marcus to take the time at some point today and scribe to his book.

The scroll explained how to make the Heartstone as needed in the ritual, as well as two other rituals – one to make a clerical beacon, and another to make an all-purpose mana-stone. We read the passages and shared our thoughts – assuming that somewhere above us (2 other floors?) we would find the Olympian Crystals somewhere.

We were keeping a ready eye out for the Quasi-Leech, and had attempted to clean the oil off the stairs with a bedsheet – so when we heard noises on the steps from the 6th floor and around the corner up in that direction, we made as if we were leaving and pretended to cycle through the armoire – instead hiding around the chamber and lying in wait.

The Quasi-Leech had returned and was carefully looking over the room, listening, exploring. He picked up the oil soaked sheet and wore it like a cape. He summoned a fat rat and sent it into the room and then called it back, eating it slowly and with thought. Finally it made a decision and walked into the room making his way towards the armoire when we attacked.

We hit the Quasi-Leech on every side, anyone with a magical weapon was at the forefront and those without stayed back and observed. The struggle went all about the room for a little bit but then there was a thickening in the air and the mana-wraith looking thing appeared – once again fucking up the magical items in the area, causing them to glow and grow painfully hot.

Viridia was sent around with a packet of salt, whipped about the corner, and let it fly – dispelling the wraith around the same time we took the Quasi-Leech down at long last. Some healing was parceled out, a look was made up to the 6th floor but the steps were covered with what we assumed was the Quasi-Leech’s crap – so we stayed clear and went back to the 2nd level and the meeting room to sit with Horace and Fermius, share some lunch, and talk about what our next steps were.

No matter what, we wanted to get the Tower Master Spell book so Avidius, Marcus, and a few others went back to the 4th floor and our scout grabbed the book. There was a flash and Avidius felt a little odd, but he handed the book over. Once back in the room before Marcus started writing, Avidius was acting a bit strange, stripping off his clothes as the group was looking him over. He had some sort of mania, but once he was assured everything was ok, he returned to normal and the spell passed. We were going to watch this.

Marcus studied continual light and then we cast it upon a rock and placed it inside Avidius’ lantern – giving us excellent light and no longer a drain on our oil stores. We travelled our way up to the 4th floor and the Master Bedroom, Fermius and Horace now along with us and with the understanding they had to listen to us and our directions.

We were in the Master Bedroom, talking about going through the armoire and up to the 5th floor to hunt for the last “Leech” and take him down. It was around 4:15 on Earthmonth the 22nd.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Handout 1, Adv 5 - Ceremony

The party came across the Ceremony of the Tower Wizard in their exploration of Cornelius' Tower (aka Redbrick Tower) - and will be trying to make avail of the instructions written within. They know they will have to take care of the Leechlings before completion, and there is still that smokey magic burning thing they had encountered and dispelled with a handful of salt.

Handout as written follows:

The Ceremony of the Tower Master

The Tower of the Secret Fire, commonly known as Redbrick Tower, must remain and be in the purview of the Greater Arcanus Arcanum Guild of Argos and one of its members at all times. In conjunction with the Followers of Artemis whose efforts helped in the clearing of the Barony of Shakun and the Church of Poseidon who supplied much of the funding and livestock during this time, the Tower of the Secret Fire and its Tower Masters will continue to maintain the Olympian Crystals in place above the Observatory.

If at any time the Tower Master should be slain prior to the investiture of a new Tower Master, the former Master’s spirit must remain on the premises until such time the Ceremony can be performed. 

At the heart’s level of the Tower will be found 3 shelves of decreasing length, each shelf containing specific markings on what is to be ensconced at each spot.

Firstly a Homunculus should be crafted. It must be made by hand and composed of a torso, two legs, two arms, and a head piece. They should be constructed of natural unrefined items in the manner of golem making and should stand 12” in height upon completion. Thanks to the Olympian Crystals and the ceremony by Arch Lechtress Grace Desevix, prospective Tower Masters can find the needed bark, wood shavings, leaves, tree seeds, and other crafting supplies in the root’s level of the Tower. Care should be made in the making of the Homunculus as it will also contain the hair, tears, skin, spit, blood, mucus, nail clippings, and urine of the prospective Tower Master inside the crafted figure.

Upon the satisfactory completion of the Homunculus, the Tower Master’s Grimoire should be reviewed and the following spells cast upon it: Stitch Right leg to torso, Stitch Right arm to torso, Stitch Left leg to torso, Stitch Left arm to torso, Stitch Head to torso, Color the Homunculus the same color as the prospective Tower Master, and Simple Illusion to make the Homunculus have the same appearance as the prospective Tower Master.

Then the Homunculus must be carried while maintaining the illusion by the prospective Tower Master to the Observatory and placed beneath the searing crystal. The prospective Tower Master must stay there until exactly noon where the searing crystal will burn the exact effigy into the Homunculus and the Simple Illusion can be dispelled. The Homunculus should then be placed on the proper shelf on the proper spot with the intonation, “Here is the effigy of the Tower Master. So that the Tower and all who enter will know my face and form.”

Secondly, an Olympian Crystal should be imbued with the heart of the prospective Tower Master. In the Library can be found a scroll on the imbibing of an Olympian Crystal. We owe a debt to the Church of Poseidon for allowing use the use of their pegasi and hippogriffs with which we were able to fly to our destination and acquire the crystals. A Heartstone must be crafted as detailed for the prospective Tower Master and then placed on the proper shelf on the proper spot with the intonation, “Here is the heartstone of the Tower Master. So that the Tower and all who enter will know my heart and soul.”

Thirdly, the prospective Tower Master should light a black candle with a Continual Flame spell. The black candle represents the mysteries of the arcanic arts and the fact that the mage recognizes that he doesn’t know everything that is needed. The black candle already lit should be placed on the proper shelf on the proper spot with the intonation “Here is the Light of Mystery, sparked into being by the Tower Master. So the Tower and all who enter will know that I am humble in my learning.”

Fourthly, the prospective Tower Master should light a white candle with a Continual Flame spell. The white candle represents the visible results of the arcanic arts and the fact that the mage harnesses the arcane power of the weave with forethought. The white candle already lit should be placed on the proper shelf on the proper spot with the intonation “Here is the Light of Revelation, sparked into being by the Tower Master. So the Tower and all who enter will know that I wield the powers of Magic.”

Fifthly the prospective Tower Master should place a spellbook of his own on the shelf. The spellbook should be his and his alone, and should be Wizard Marked accordingly with his or her own personal marking. This action and action alone precludes an sorcerer or battlemage from achieving the position of Tower Master as their grasp of the arcane is not tempered with  the discipline of learning hence has a greater penchant for misuse and personal abuse. The spellbook need not be the mage’s primary spellbook – and singular spellbook with at least one spell scribed within and sporting the names and markings as indicated earlier will suffice. The spellbook should be placed on the proper shelf on the proper spot with the intonation “Here is the Tome of the Magi, written by the hand of the Tower Master. So the Tower and all who enter will know that discipline and learning have led me to this position.”

Sixth and lastly, the prospective Tower Master will need to acquire ownership of the tower from the former master. If the Tower Master is alive, the Tower Master must spit upon his palm and then shake hands with the prospective Tower Master. Then the two should intone together, “From Master to Student, Adult to Child, Teacher to Pupil, I give (“I take” – in regards to the prospective Tower Master) control of this Tower from this moment forth.” The prospective Tower Master continues with, “No force in the world or from another can force me to relinquish this charge without my unfettered and uncharmed will. So I do swear from this day until I choose to end my duty. With this seal, let the tower and all who enter know that I am the Tower Master.” The new Tower Master then presses his anointed hand on the proper shelf on the proper spot until an imprint appears beneath his palm and fingers.

If the Tower Master is deceased the rite will take on a different tone. There must be no other spiritual forces in the tower environs that might interfere with this part of the ritual, so care must be given to make sure all conjured, ensorcelled, infernal, hellbent, angelic, or enchanted forms and spirits are removed, excised, or slain within. Then, some sort of fluidic medium must be placed upon the hand of the prospective Tower Master that is personal to the original Tower Master. Blood and spit work best. If they are unable to be acquired, then the spirit of the Tower Master can be coaxed to give forth ectoplasm if they are allowed to possess a willing host and then be driven from it.

At this point the spirit of the Tower Master should be lured to the heart of the Tower to witness the final transference and sixth step of the ritual. If it is friendly, it might already follow the prospective Tower Master at this time, if not it can be guided there if it were to possess an item or body. The Followers of Artemis had donated to the Order many vessels during the building and early years. They were a dog, a wolf, a puma, a bear, a stag, and a peacock. Any one of these would suffice as a possessable vessel for the Tower Master’s spirit should need be.

From here the ritual is similar to above where the prospective Tower Master then intones, “From Master to Student, Adult to Child, Teacher to Pupil, I take control of this Tower from this moment forth. No force in the world or from another can force me to relinquish this charge without my unfettered and uncharmed will. So I do swear from this day until I choose to end my duty. With this seal, let the tower and all who enter know that I am the Tower Master.” The new Tower Master then presses his anointed hand on the proper shelf on the proper spot until an imprint appears beneath his palm and fingers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Meet 93, Adv 5, 9/12/15

The party finally stumbled upon the scroll that defined the goal of this part of the adventure - that was the Ceremony of the Tower Master. Effectively, one mage in the party gets the opportunity to own a Mage's Tower. Admittedly, there is nothing real in it, but it is a point of prestige, potential power, influence, and research. Within the tower there is a wealth of information in the library that would take decades to plumb correctly. There is an observatory that allows a low ability to scry/scan on various locations. There is one remaining iron golem/protector armor whose sole job is to obey very simple commands of the Tower Master as long as it doesn't have him/it leave the Tower itself.

There are a few other things that are bennies and Easter eggs hidden within, but the Tower itself is the lynchpin for the eventual improvement of Shakun and the environs.

Write up follows:

We decided that we were all going to stay in the meeting room with the pictures for the night, but it was going to be tight fitting – which meant that some of us were going to have to get rough sleep at best. Erd and Marcus volunteered to swap off, the elves needing half as much rest as the rest of the group, each one volunteering to keep the space clear so the other can get their rest. As for the last space, Fermius was willing to be uncomfortable in order to show his good faith. We untied Horace but left the manacles on (just in case!) and then one by one, we fell into a deep and troubling sleep.

With the two pictures in place (keep and cotton field), we had a nice quiet night, but during Tranis’ watch, he did comment on seeing one of the Leechlings (Quasi?) stick it’s head around the corner just to make sure that we were here. We broke our fast and gathered up our belongings as need be after praying and studying was finished. We asked Viridia to come with us and Fermius to wait here, watching Horace (who we now removed the manacles off of). There was some back and forth on it, but the two of them agreed to it, as long as we returned around lunch time, shared food, and talked about what we had learned.

We reloaded Avidius’ oil lamp with a fresh flask and Flimflam asked Demeter to bless Whosea’s bite with a magic fang. So it was a bit after 8 that we left the meeting room and noticed for the first time the scent of carrion in the air (apparently the cotton picture also blocked odors). Around the corner, the bodies of the 3 hellhounds had been savaged, their guts torn out and from the bloody fat goblinoid footprints, taken upstairs. We took our time, watching the prints and making sure of ourselves. At the landing for the 3rd floor we peered into the kitchen and saw the line of prints go to the table, some plates were laid out, and the Quasi-Leech had apparently sat here and eaten the guts with…relish.

The footprints then led into the kitchen and we followed them there – seeing the body was still where it had fallen/been killed/skinned – but the dirty dishes were now in the sink and more footprints led out of the kitchen. The quality of the prints leaving the kitchen and the dining room were lesser as time wore on and the amount of blood on the Quasi-Leech’s feet wore away.

We followed them now to the 4th floor where they turned to the small hall and went with very faint tracks to the center (main bedroom) door. Ok, we didn’t want a surprise so we had Avidius check out the other two doors first. The bedroom on the left was no longer burning but it reeked of char and no one was in there. The one on the right was closed and seemed to be a smaller bedroom similar to the original – but no one was in this one either. That left the main bedroom.

Steiner called to Apollo and felt that there was a flickering sensation of evil in the main bedroom, but nothing current. So with weapon ready we opened the door and looked .The main sheet had been stripped from the bed and was covered in bloody footprints and smears – testament that the Quasi-Leech had come in here at least and cleaned his feet – no more prints to follow.

The room looked like it did before. Four poster bed in center, two candelabra on each side, small night stand, three shelves behind the headboard. One of the shelves had what seemed to be a 12” doll lying on it, but it seemed creepy so we avoided it for now. On the right hand side was a small foot locker, chest of drawers, and a large 7’ tall armoire. On the left hand side of the room was a round table with books and scrolls on it, two wing backed chairs there as well, and more books and scrolls on the floor. A detect magic was cast and we panned the room – there was a bit of magic from under the bed, the doll was magic, and the armoire was as well.

Ok – we divided up and each took some section of the room to explore. Viridia stayed with Avidius and they began with the footlocker, Marcus took the books and scrolls, Geld and Flimflam the bed area. Tranis was just inside the room watching everyone, and Steiner and Erd took the hall with the animals – making sure to keep a weather eye on the suit of armor at the landing going up to the 5th floor.

The foot locker had some sheets and bed linens, and a couple pairs of sandals – no hidden sections or parts. The chest of drawers had a variety of clothes from bottom to top. The bed was in good shape (minus the bloodied sheets) but under it was a glyph of chalk and paint, and the best we could tell was it had something to do with the Earth element.

The table had a mix of everything, lots to read but Marcus was just thumbing through them when his eye was drawn to a single scroll with a seal. Something made him pick it up. He turned it about, tried to read the words on the inside and finally, broke the seal. He felt…right. The scroll was fairly long and was entitled, “Ceremony of the Tower Master”. He began to read, eventually letting the party know what he found.

It read that the tower COULD be claimed by another mage, assuming the original one was dead. And we knew Cornelius was dead. In fact, the doll appeared to be that of a skinned man. There was a skinned man in the kitchen. The scroll spoke of a homunculus that appears like the Tower Mage that was to be here. It seems – that there was much to do if we wanted to take over the tower (ie: Marcus only) and it involved us taking out the Leechlings – which was already on our plate to begin with.

From here, we devoted our attention to the armoire. We were half convinced it was something to clean the clothes – and the clothes within were laundered and smelled good. So we tried dozens of different permutations, including Marcus putting on Cornelius’ clothes from the chest of drawers and commanding the armoire to work. Nothing happened.

So instead we went into the hall and decided to try the suit of armor/golem and get past. Erd volunteered – 7 steps up and then the landing. At step 6 it looked down at him. At step 7 it punched him in the face and went to follow but Erd rolled down the steps and got out of the way. Head ringing, but ok.

Ok – we did NOT want to fuck with that thing – so we went back to the armoire and decided to check it out from the inside. Once inside, with the door shut – a light came from the ceiling and there was ANOTHER set of doors from the back of the unit! Cracking the door showed it was a library – and some other room.

And the Quasi-Leech was all the way on the other side, sitting on the stairs, dangling one leg, and tossing what seemed to be rocks down the steps.

It was time for a plan.

We came up with a plan (eventually) where we would cycle three people in every minute – starting with Avidius, Tranis, and Viridia, and then the three main fighters, and finally the last three group members. Each group through MUST have a door closer – because the armoire does not open if the door is open elsewhere. A bless spell and a couple of protection from evil’s were put into place and then we snuck in.

The three sneaky party members made it in without a problem, Avidius taking “point” and making his way most of the way across the room, hiding behind book shelves along the way. Then it was Erd, Kilven, and Geld’s turn, and the two fighters snarled and charged the Quasi-Leech who seemed surprised as hell on seeing us. The two fighters got within striking distance, slipped on the oily greasy ground, hit the back wall, and fell down the stairs in a clattering pile of fighters and armor.

The Leech shimmered and faded away – and then the real Quasi-Leech came down the steps, ankle smoking and laughing at his illusion. Fuck and shit. Tranis shot him with a magical arrow and the rest of the party was getting ready to charge in and through. The Quasi-Leech was not bothered by our attackers and in no time, burst into flames.

As for Erd and Kilven, they had rolled down the steps and ended up…at the feet of the golem. Who proceeded to beat the crap out of Erd, pick him up, and breath some sleeping gas in his face before tossing him down the steps. Luckily, his elven constitution prevented him from passing out, but he did roll to a stop back on the 4th floor cursing and struggling to his feet. Kilven did the same, dodging the iron armor just ahead of its stomping feet.

Meanwhile against the Quasi-Leech, without the two main fighters, we weren’t looking forward to our battle and found ourselves on the defensive. Also, the fire from the Quasi-Leech was being repressed by the emanations from the Library, which was lucky for us or we’d have all gone up in flames. Tranis was asked by Flimflam to go back through the armoire and bring Whosea up to the fight. The ranger dodged back and went through.

About the same time that Erd and Kilven stumbled into the room from the main door. We shared a fast bit of news and then the two fighters were running for the armoire. Meanwhile upstairs, the party was lucky enough to blast the Quasi-Leech with a lucky blow – doing enough damage to have him discorporate and then float up through the ceiling cracks and escape again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Meet 92, Adv 5, 8/29/15

The party chickened out on removing the "keep" picture from the wall - unsure if it would actually unlock the front door or make an area permeable for the demonics. They just opted to leave it as is for now and revisit it at a later date.

As for the denizens/creatures in the tower - none of them are canon and all are original. Going back far enough in time I made up tons of shit and when I was updating this tower for this group, I tried to keep as many of the oddities I had originally conceived in place - only updating them in the needs so they work with the modified rules I use now (no THACO, Ascending AC, SD and DR where need be).

Write up follows:

The end of our long conversation with Viridia and Fermius was that we were going to check out the 3rd floor and they should wait here. Leave the keep picture on the wall, take the cotton one down, and if we call for their help, they should come running.

Horace was still bound and gagged and we didn’t give a crap what he thought.

So after cleaning up our dinner and shuffling some equipment around, we drew weapons moved the light source a bit and ascended to the 3rd level. From the landing we could see a dining room with seating for 10. There was place setting for 4 set out, but the plates were a bit askew, and there were blood smears and signs of battle along the far wall. A deep bloody smear ran from the far setting and was dragged towards the opening in the south wall which we assumed was the kitchen.

We lit a torch from the lantern flame and then tossed it to the far end of the room near the kitchen before daring to enter. The thought was to TOUCH NOTHING for now. And we were careful

The kitchen was fairly large and then was the open end at the far side where a larder could be seen. But on the south wall stuck into the cutting board/counter was a flayed body. Human(ish), maybe 5’8” at one time, it had 4 knives in its body and one stuck haphazardly in its thigh. There was blood trickling from the flayed corpse, soaking into the wood and then pooling on the floor at the base of the counter. Was it new? Fresh? Old? We checked it out and were sure that it had suffered some pretty bad throat trauma before it had been skinned. Most likely, alive when it was started.

We backed out of the room to check it out with infravision and as Flimflam suspected, it was cooler that the room (but warming up) – which let him believe it was killed and flayed before the tower had been brutally cool prior to our starting the furnace. We also decided for now to leave the body alone and not fuck with it.

While some of us were checking out the open larder, others were looking around the dining room where they discovered numerous bits of plate mail armor scattered about the chamber. A vambrace here, a greave there, some battered, others whole. There wasn’t enough to make a full suit anymore and it had seen better days, but it was about 60% here. From some of the damage on it though, we were convinced it wasn’t done with a conventional weapon – but what exactly we didn’t know.

As for the larder, there was nothing left in it. Some boxes and plates, a sack or two, a jar and some such, but everything that could have been devoured was eaten. Except a single clay bowl containing salt – perhaps 6 ounces of it. Seemed odd.

At this point Erd was deciding that the places set at the table needed to be cleaned up. Along the far wall near the nicest chair, there were a set of shelves where the other 6 place settings were currently put away. So he started cleaning them up, one piece at a time, putting them back on the wall. And about half way through a smoky elongated bipedal figure started to appear.

We all gathered quickly, weapons at the ready, waiting to see what it was going to do. And when it started to approach Erd, Avidius charged it with his magical short sword of quickness leading the way. His sword immediately flared to cherry red and he dropped it to avoid taking anything more than a 1st degree burn along his palm.

The smoky figure engaged the group, and anyone who had a magical weapon that tried to strike it found his or her weapon turn instantly hot where they were forced to drop it or get burned. Normal weapons seemed to hit the creature fine, dragging gossamer strands out of its form and sending them scattering everywhere. Flimflam was a target though and even though he did drop his magical cudgel, his enchanted ring and armor were causing him to get continuously burned. We weren’t doing enough damage to it fast enough and some of us were forced to give it a wide berth. We had the thought, the larder had only 1 item left in it – salt. So Geld was told to run to the larder, grab the bowl of salt and throw it at the spectral figure.

And when the salt passed through it, it winked out of existence.

Nicely done. We gathered up what salt we could find (about 2 ounces) and left the rest of the place settings on the table. We doles out our dwindling healing stores and seeing that it was only about 8 pm, we decided to head further upstairs to the 4th floor.

At the landing here we saw our first signs of privacy – a short corridor with 3 doors. The doors were stout oaken timbers but each showed signs of force and battering. They were closed but from the blunt force trauma around the locks, we guessed they were unlocked. Further up the stairs towards the 5th floor was a 6 and ¼ foot armored figure clad entirely in plate mail. The design appeared to be similar to the armor we had found in pieces in the dining room on the next floor down. The figure did not move, respond to calls, or even seem to breathe. But we assumed it was looking at us – and no one wanted to risk climbing the stairs.

That left the three doors. Of the three, the center one on the north wall was the most ornate looking, so we checked that one out first. Once Avidius assured us it wasn’t trapped or locked, we risked opening the chamber. It was a master bedroom of some sort, a 4 poster bed was along the center wall, three shelves above it but bisected as if disturbed. A small chest of drawers and a large armoire were on the right wall, while a small table, lamb, and two comfortable chairs were on the left.

We noted the interior, saw nothing else, and decided to shut the door and check out another chamber.

We picked the west door and Avidius gave it the all clear before we opened it. And there on the bed was one of the fat grotesque Leechlings. Referring to this one as the Demi-Leech, he was crude and foul mouthed, saying that he’s been waiting for us – and then we realized that we had his gut held up in one hand, and was jerking his red goblinoid cock with his other. Licking his lips and saying that the group really did it for him he taunted them to come closer and “get him…off!”

Avidius charged in, his ensorcelled blade leading the way, hitting the Demi-leech in the gut with a sure slashing stroke. Which in turn made the Demi-leech squeal in ecstasy and fire his cum all over the party’s scout. At the same time that he burst his body into flames. And the flames set his goblin-juice on fire. The same juice that flared all over Avidius who was screaming and trying to wipe the sticky flaming junk off. The Demi-Leech then gave a massive fart that the ignited gasses burst him up and into a standing position, setting the sheets on fire and having him ready to face the party who fired magical arrows at the fat bastard.

A Protection from Evil spell was cast from Marcus onto Erd who then charged into the room, Kilven following as the barbarian called out to Coyote to guide his blows. And Steiner called upon Apollo to turn the foul demonling. The Demi-Leech hit Avidius terribly hard, shattering his shield and sending him dangerously close to the burning bed.

And then the Demi-leech snarled at Steiner and snapped his finger – gating in 3 hellhounds who proceeded to tear into the priest and the rest of the party.

Fire blossomed and we struck as hard and as determined as we could. Avidius, leaking hit points through the many charred holes in his body managed to sneak past the fire and the dog, Kilven helping the scout get by. Meanwhile one of the hounds shoved its way into the hall where Marcus, Flimflam, Tranis, and those too far from the main combat had to struggle their way against the slavering hellhound.

We redoubled our attacks against the Demi-leech, hoping that if he fell the summoned hounds would fade. And when the final blow took him out and he fell over, burning against the flaming mattress and rotting away – the hellhounds remained and continued to fight the group.

Erd carried the way thanks to his Protection from Evil, but even he suffered a few burns and scorch marks from the flaming breath. But at long last the final hellhound was slain and the party had the chance to catch their breath.

We dragged the hounds from the bedroom with the burning mattress, closed the door (leaving the smoke and flames within), and dragged the dogs downstairs to the trophy room floor. Geld was overcome with smoke inhalation and needed some rest, and much healing was passed around as we caught Viridia and Fermius up on what we found and our experiences.

Tranis, Steiner, and Flimflam had the three hellhounds hoisted high on some of the trophy mounts and the animal’s throats cut in order to get their blood for hopefully magical ink. They filled two wine bottles with the smoky red liquid and then staggered back to the picture room where we were going to set up for rest for the night being it was almost 10 PM by our reckoning.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Meet 91, Adv 5, 8/22/15

The original Leech was a powerhouse foe for the group that was in Shakun (many years ago) and was a serious danger at that time. The four "leechlings" are much lesser in power but still have their demonic heritage behind them to make them a pretty nasty fight.

The idea is the 1st one is a straight up fight, and each one after that is that much smarter and knows the party's tactics, able to counter them. The four leechlings can sense what the others are going through but they also hate the hell out of each other, so they will never work together under any circumstances.

Write up follows:

As the light spell faded, Avidius used his lantern to offer us enough light to continue working. The decision was made to go to the main floor and gather up every burnable item we could find and bring it down here. So we loaded up cloaks and clothes with bric-a-brac and garbage, Marcus spent some time drilling holes and breaking it down while he and Tranis loaded up the center of the furnace for a “test run”.

Once they had a small section ready, they lit it and waited. IT caught fire (seemed to be easy) and then as the flames were curling across the kindling, there was a metallic bang and a shaft of metal fell out of the side of the furnace with a leather bellows attached and extended. It was near the 6’ stuffed bear. Steiner volunteered to be the guy to pump the bellow, shield up and in front of him, and Kilven behind with his axe upraised and ready to strike. The bellows pumped about 5 time, adding air to the heart of the furnace and making the small fire placed in there race upwards. And then the shaft pulled out of the cleric’s hand and folded back into the furnace.

We were now happy that the furnace worked (and it was radiating very little hit – after all, it was a little fire inside). So we gathered up every other scrap from the main floor and brought it down. And Steiner had Kilven rip apart some of the crate tops where he then cast Log of Everburning on them to extend their life as well as their heat output.

From here we had a system where the next 8 crates were going to be opened, the tops would be torn apart by Kilven and Geld, and the wood was then to be loaded into the furnace and set up by Marcus and Tranis. Avidius spent some time until he was convinced the crates were without issue and free of traps and then we set upon them with crowbars and axes.

Box 5 had blankets and bed sheets, 6 had a dismantled metal cage of some sort, 7 was 80% or so filled with curling wood shavings, and 8 had 8 sets of female religious clothing for women of various sizes and festooned with markings to Artemis on them. By this time we were ready to hit the next crate when we heard a yelp of terror and/or pain followed by a distinctly human voice shout out, “Shit!” And it was coming from upstairs somewhere.

Weapons and bows came out as we clambered up the stairs, getting to the main floor where we looked around. We didn’t see anything but there were some strange heavy breathing sounds coming from upstairs around the corner of the landing. Flimflam was saying that we were here and whoever should come down.

Well, the figure that spoke was strange and otherworldly. It had a goblin tinge to its voice and identified itself as one of four brothers that had come in with their father, the Leech, long ago when he slayed Cornelius. However they’ve been trapped here ever since and have grown bored. But they would gladly eat us. It (we referred to it as the Semi-Leech) commented that it had already chased one of the others down but some had escaped behind a wall and that he could not get to them. We wondered who and he said, here, take a look.

And then a head bounced down the stairs and rolled to a stop by us. It was one of Kalt’s members of his group, The First Sons of Shakun.

It came down the stairs and around the corner and beheld it for the first time. 5’ 8”, 600 lbs., goblin looking but red skin, grotesquely fat, and just gross. It commented that it would eat us and soon. So we shot him.

He made noises that it hurt and bounced around, inching closer, and we suspected that we weren’t hurting him. And then at the top of the stairs his ankles smoked and he was bathed in fire, and all the arrows sticking out of him burned up and faded away. And then it trundled towards us.

We redrew up our lines with a few of us staying back, switching to magic weapons as Steiner was telling us that it must it’s demonic heritage that was keeping it alive. The Semi-Leech hit and hit hard, and we returned the favor, and as suspected, without magic weapons, our blows did nothing.

But during the combat it unhinged it’s lower jaw and in response to Steiner attempting to turn it, lunged at our cleric and engulfed his head, helm and all, in its needle teeth open mouth and tried to bite his head off. The group went nuts, hacking and slamming, Steiner swinging his mace up and down and the Semi-Leech’s head and battering it. Eventually though we did enough damage that it slumped over while the group hit it one last time and it fell to the ground. Dead.

And then it began to rapidly rot. With Steiner’s head still in its mouth. It was rotting fast, turning to goop and slurry, dripping into the cleric’s helm, spreading pool on the ground. We used axes and crowbars, breaking the Semi-Leech’s jaw, pulling our priest of Apollo free. Healing was passed around and then we cleaned up, heading back downstairs to the furnace room to talk (and open the rest of the boxes).

We assumed the demonic was telling the truth, which meant 3 other demon-types in the tower somewhere. And there were people in here, maybe from Kalt, and one of them was killed and its head lopped off.

We set to the crates fast now, wanting to get the rest of the wood in place and get the furnace roaring. The furnace was a half-ton furnace, but we suspected some 200 lbs. of burnable material would do (and then some). So we tore open crate, chopped up the boards, made note of what was in there, and a few of us kept a ready eye on the stairs back to the main floor AND the stuffed bear. Box 9 was 4 bolts of homespun, 10 was nuts, acorns, and the like, 11 was the opposite half of the bench we found in 4 (again, in parts), and 12 had a variety of wire, clamps, twine, sponges, and pails.

We got the furnace roaring (again with the bellows) and the basement began warming up rapidly, shooting through the teens and then upwards eventually to room temperature. From here we wanted to go and explore the 2nd floor and see if we can find the next Leech offspring and/or the others from Kalt’s group that the demonic alluded to was in here somewhere.

It was with quiet care that we ascended the stairs towards the 2nd level, Avidius motioning the rest of us to hold while he went ahead quieter and alone. At the top of this stairs was a landing where there was an open area (in the shadowy light of a candle lit room near the south-east corner) which seemed to have trophies or wall hangings. There was another flight of stairs continuing around the wall of the tower heading up to the 3rd floor. But it was the faint breathing he heard that had him seriously look. And from around a wall in the trophy area, the fat red skinned head of another demonic goblin poked out and crept back.

What was interesting was that it wasn’t looking at the steps, but at the corner room with the candle light. Our scout came back down and let us know what he saw and we discussed our options. We wanted to hit the other Leech-ling…but wanted to get some surprise on it. Plus, what was in the candle room? Avidius felt strongly he could get back up there and look into the candle room without being spotted. We told him to NOT engage anything, just scout and report. He left, moving as quiet as he could, until he arrived just outside the candle lit room. It had a round table in the middle, 4 chairs, a few pictures on the wall, and three people genuflecting and motioning as if arguing, but he could hear nothing from them. He crawled back and told us what he saw. We guessed it was the rest of The First Sons of Shakun’s people and shelved it for now, devoting our attention to taking out the other leechling.

So we drew up every magical item we had, had our fighters get to the forefront, and charged the Leechling hard. It was very surprised at the ferocity of our attack, staggering back and forth as we plunged swords, spears, and all manner of magic against it. It never had a chance to even enact its flames, roaring in agony, hatred spewing as it was dealt one stab after another. And then it seemed to crunch in and then implode, turning into a column of black sulfurous smoke. Steiner called to Apollo to turn the smoke and it was blasted back, running through Avidius as it hit the back wall, and then raced up and through cracks in the ceiling to we assume the floor above.

Avidius though had been hit with the demonic’s essence, raw and unfiltered. And our scout absently pulled out his sack and started eating. A lot. In fact he was filled with a curse of unnatural hunger and was consuming his food stores at a fast rate. We tried to work with him and get him to give up his rations, Flimflam giving the father of two a pair of hunger suppressing goodberries but they only lasted a short time before he was hungry once more. Avidius chewed on a leather belt, barely keeping his need in check but he was once more in control – barely.

We hoped it would run its course and do it fast. So we then decided to go to the candle lit room and see who was there. Sure enough, they did not hear us, and we did not hear them but when we entered the room itself, a tingling ran over our skin and we could hear the people inside. We all looked warily at each other and sized one another up.

They were Viridia, a woman of decent looks, early 20’s, who was the speaker of the group and admitted to being a part-time locksmith and fine metalsmith. Fermius was a former guard of the watch and defender of Shakun who, like Avidius, wanted to join the adventuring group but missed out on our group, joining with Kalt instead. And lastly was Horace, who with his mismatched armor, swaggering attitude, and metal truncheon was most likely the “thug” of the group.

Through much conversation it was learned that Kalt had known that we were supposed to go into the tower and he wanted an opportunity to circumvent the limit Shakun had with a single charter for adventuring parties. He had asked some of his people to sneak in and bring out anything that proved it came from the Tower so he could contact the Arcanus Arcanum in Argosility and get a charter that way.

However, he did not let them know that the party already had the location registered and it was “hands off” for 6 months for other groups. He also didn’t tell them of any dangers they might face (like the Leechlings) and they were woefully unprepared. They also did not have stores and supplies and foodstuffs. Avidius was willing to vouch for Fermius as the two of them had dealings in the past half dozen years or so, and Viridia seemed on the level – both of them were very unhappy with Kalt and what they had been asked unknowingly to do. Horace although was a different matter and was willing to listen to Flimflam, but referred to Tranis as a “Narc” and Steiner as a “fag” too often.

The three of them wanted to come with us and keep exploring the tower but we had a long discussion (sometimes loud) about keeping them safe and staying behind. Avidius’ hunger curse had faded and we all were eating dinner now, sharing our food with the three others, still talking about staying here or not and other options. Eventually Horace had to be silenced and Fermius whacked him on the noggin and we bound him up.

As for the room – there were two pictures on the wall – one was a stout keep behind a moat with the drawbridge up, the other was a picturesque field of cotton. There were three other pictures on the floor – a pile of cloth mounded into a dome, a mining canary lying on its back, and a bowl of finger fruit. A detect magic revealed all 5 pictures were magical – with the keep one being the most magical. At this point we decided to try taking a picture off the wall and seeing what happened.

Leaving the keep one, we took off the cotton – and then the sounds OUTSIDE the room were heard and from outside the room people could hear those within. Neat – silence. We swapped it for the cloth picture – and the wall at the side of the room grew cloudy and then reached across – sealing the room up entirely. Very nice. We took it down and then did the canary – and nothing happened.

However after a minute the candle began guttering out and the party tried to react but the all fell over unconscious. Except Marcus. The only mage. He took the picture off the wall and everyone woke up (no harm). Ok, knocks out anyone not a mage – makes sense for a mage’s tower. Lastly, the fruit bowl one – and then made the candle on the table pop up like new, a bowl of finger fruit appear, two glasses of weak wine, and an ivory handled pipe with a thumb of pipe weed already within.

We ate and drank a little, and then took the picture off the wall. The bowl, pipe, and glasses disappeared. The candle stayed. Any fruit in our hand stayed. Putting the picture back on the wall a 2nd time returned the missing items, but not any contents that were consumed.

We were talking about maybe taking the keep one down – because what it, the keep picture is what is sealing the tower? What if it’s just that simple? We were discussing it and the merits of just moving on and checking out the 3rd floor as we polished off the last of our dinner and we guessed it was already 6:30 in the evening.