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, September 27, 2011

Meet 144, Adv 12, 9/17/11

I like town adventures although it generally doesn't do much as far as xp is concerned. But with a large group I don't get much opportunity to role play "down time" or just a good party/tavern crawl.

But in this case we had one and as I had expected, the BBG had made a visit at a time when the party could not directly conflict with him.

Of course one of my players decided to do that anyway and critically screwed up the BBG big time! In doing so he also killed himself in the process but it did derail the current path the adventure was going on for the next 2 meetings.

That's what I like - when the party takes my plans and forces me to dump them. No kidding - really - it makes for a better game for everyone.

Write up follows:

As Guyus was mounting his paladinial steed the rest of the party was trying to plead with the knight that he was making a large mistake. Confronting another person here, in town, now? This could only end badly especially since we did not know WHAT Karis was doing here. Guyus began trotting after Karis’ fading form. Gwyn was contemplating a dose of stun poison to the horse, some of the party was following, but it was Detheron and a call to Frey to hold the animal that stopped Guyus’ ride.

While there was arguing in the street over what was happening, Norris ran down the alley behind the 3 Dog Hotel to try and follow the half-ogre when a figure confronted him from the darkness. Another man was there and would not let Norris pass, holding him at bay with his rapier. The two men bandied words, a tossed net, as well as a slash or two and the other figure tried to whistle out a sleep spell which failed. Great, a bard of some sort. He whistled out a message spell to someone named Maulin and Norris backed away. The two men walked back to where they had come, Norris unable to follow Karis through the alleys and the other bard successful in stopping the half-elf in his attempt.

As for the rest of the party, they had gotten Guyus calmed down and eventually the party was given to understand to follow Karis was not an option. Most of them went back to 3 Dog to rest while Detheron and Ludwig went to Grey Raven Hospice to heal those who needed their help. It was a bit after 11 when the party was all together again and we talked about what was to happen next.

Karis and co (Red Clouds) were here and seemed to have no interest in the Lycos Suns – instead looking for information on Kysoth. As in Kysoth’s Helm, the item Havic had gotten in Glittercap. We wanted them to go and to leave soon – but needed to lure them out of town. We decided to forge a copy of Frink’s map as well as the paperwork/page from Kysoth’s tome and get a local member of the thieves guild to sell it to the Red Clouds – thereby outfitting Karis and his people with what they wanted, getting them out of town, and doing it in a way where the Sundered Chains was not directly tied to it.

We needed to find the local guild and Norris went to the Split Beard Tavern, taking Aleron with him as muscle assuming something went wrong. The bard walked around, buying a drink or two, playing a song, and subtly reaching out to the patrons there. Two of them did speak with him, one was a loud youngish man named Anannis who was clumsily trying to signal being a thief but failing at it (Norris eventually left him behind), the other was a average nondescript man named Lamelon who was indeed a member of the local guild. Norris explained what he wanted and they settled on a deal of roughly almost a dozen doses of the antidote the alchemist was working on.

The two friends left and Norris made a drop of the documents when Thurin was done with them, meanwhile Aleron did take 5 crowns from Anannis offering to do the job the young man wanted (seemed to be a marriage certificate dated at least 5 days ago).

We awoke at 8 and took breakfast where we shared what we had learned and went over what our plans were today. Thurin and Mebali were going to go back to Morei where they would continue to help the alchemist. Supposedly an aviary was sent to Dilabria and we were hoping that a lifting on the quarantine would occur that would allow other alchemists up north to help the beleaguered Morei and Flatrock in making more distillates and cures.

The rest of us went to the Grey Raven Hospice where Father Timon Beerdrinker had tapped a number of “holy” casks of very potent ale. We joined him and what acolytes here in numerous toasts and then we started getting patients, passerbys, anyone who wanted to drink and party with us on successfully curing the plague. The hours flew by and the group of revelers had gotten to almost 60 by this point. Detheron had miscast a spell and one of the personages was floating upside down by a single foot. Most everyone was either comatose, blitzed, or incapable of much of anything. Only Havic and Gwyn were mostly vertical, their dwarven constitutions overriding most of the effects of the alcohol.

But it was when Havic noticed that Iohannes was here, and one or two other members of the Lycos Sun sharing a brew with everyone…as well as Vanir. Holy crap!!! The dwarven barbarian tried to have Norris cast a spell on him but the bard miscast his own spell and made 9 members of the party turn invisible! Taking advantage of the situation, Havic snuck behind Vanir, took out his enchanted boar spear “Jotunfang” and stabbed the mage from behind! He hit him a second time and hissed in the mage’s ear.

Vanir reached back, grabbed the dwarf, and a ring on his hand flared to rainbow light. The two of them disappeared! Havic was dropped to the floor in some strange room somewhere, Vanir right in front of him. The mage’s hands came up but the dwarf was a split moment faster. He whipped both of his enchanted Lightning Javelins and hurled them. A crackle filled the room and a blast of twin bolts tore through the mage, hit the wall, bounced back, and did so again and again until both the dwarf and the mage slumped over – Havic’s last sight before dying was Vanir staggering, his clothing on fire.

Being as the party was drunk, no one noticed what happened, either Vanir appearing or Havic disappearing. Iohannes and his people left and Gwyn watched them go. By this time it was about 4 and most everyone was unconscious except for Gwyn, Detheron and Guyus when representatives from Sir Bork had arrived. We were summoned to the nobleman in fact this was the 4th summons today (the others had fallen victim to the ale and party).

Staggering (except for Gwyn) we walked out of the Hospice and across town to Bork Keep. It was Marketday though and Detheron took us for a detour through the stalls – eventually filled with a desire to purchase an entire 200’ long spool of braided leather cord. He dumped most of his commons and carried his purchase with a drunken smile. We arrived at Bork Keep, gave up our weapons, and went in to see the nobleman who was apparently waiting 6 hours for us to arrive. He was not happy.

Plus when we did arrive it was only 3 of us and two of the group was practically blindingly drunk. Gwyn tried to talk to the nobleman, explaining that we did not get any of the summonses and that we were relieved from curing the plague and were caught up in the festivities. Sir Bork was understanding (sort of) and left it to Gwyn that we should all come back to see him tomorrow at 11 AM.

From here we went back to the 3 Dog Hotel, Sir Bork having lent us two guards to help get the party home. Upon arrival though the proprietor was sitting there unmoving and our hackles were rising. The door down the hall opened and suddenly web arrows filled the air. It immobilized most of the group except for Gwyn who was just under their sticky reach. Aleron had awoken long enough to find himself stretched out in the webs.

But the last figure down the hall was the red leather jerkin wearing figure of Maulin, the mage and second command of the Red Clouds. He disappeared in a spray of sparks and one of the member busted into a nearby room. Gwyn gave chase and heard splintering wood – eventually seeing the shuttered window in the back had burst open and the figure was down the alley and gone. However in the bed was a very charred and burned dwarven figure, Gwyn had no idea the significance

The webs were cut free and the guards went back to inform the militia what had happened. Gwyn brought everyone to a single room and was laying out broken glass in the hall as an alarm when he heard a zap behind him.

Blinking into the room with his unconscious companions was Maulin. He had a wand pointed at the dwarf and his hand was hovering over Detheron. They exchanged words, Maulin saying that Karis wanted only a second item now (what was the first) and then would leave. He took Detheron’s magical staff Heimdall’s Bulwark and the two foes exchanged a last set of quips before Maulin blinked away.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Meet 143, Adv 12, 9/10/11

Sometimes characters die, other times campaigns end, other times characters are retired. I don't remember all of them and I'm sorry to those that I do and have forgotten, however when able to I do bring back past PC's for cameo appearances now and again.

This time I've turned a former PC, friend, and party leader into the enemy. The party knows he was a bad ass and what some of his strengths were, but they also know that it's been a year and a half in game time and the bad former friend has gone over to the dark side and joined with the other adventuring group that almost 2 years ago kicked the party's ass - and apparently took over as leader.

They don't seem as anxious to face their former companion as they once did and are even more unsure of the firepower he now has at his beck and call.

Write up follows:

At the border of Rakewood with the autumn sun slowly making its way towards the horizon, Aleron had his falcon fly off to the east to scout the area for any trouble that might be there, finding none. With care we walked across the badlands towards the dotted shape of the northwestern homesteads until the sun had set and just around 10 we arrived exhausted at Frink’s old home.

Where to put the 59 pilgrims we had as well as our own sizeable group? We cleared out the two homes as best as possible and situated all the children and some of the women there. Then we set up smaller camps around in groups of 5 and 10, hoping the sky would remain clear throughout the night. No fires. It was to be a cold meal at best and the group now about 70 in number slumped off to sleep.

Havic took first watch and he realized very swiftly that this was a BIG group of people, over a large area. And we were out in the open. The time passed and when it was through he awoke Mebali. Throughout the night, whoever was on watch had their eyes opened and ears alert. The badlands were quiet for the most part, only a strange noise closer to dawn from the north.

We awoke a bit after 7 and after prayers and breaking our fast we decided not to head back to Flatrock via Kreladale to avoid any entanglements with Vanir, orcs, or the Lycos Suns. So instead we would walk south for two hours and then use the far sight of High Mesa as a landmark and make our way towards the city.

We did have to pass by the Dunbury homestead where we were told to leave and go away by whatever hermitage lived there. Around 10:30 we shifted our path east southeast and after noon came through Northgate with our charges in tow. The Hetman of the pilgrims and his 3 adjuncts were taken into custody by the local militia, escorted to Black Court for failing to adhere to the quarantine the town was under. Meanwhile word of our return and supposed “cure” was being spread. The guards did say that Iohannes and the Lycos Suns had come in this morning with a new passel of dirt, bugs, and other possible points of contagion and were at the Alchemist’s tower with Morei now. And there were new adventurers in town also; their leader was a giant of some sort.

The group did not want to meet Iohannes or this other group at this time so they went to the 3 Dog Hotel where they eventually grouped in one of the rooms to discuss plans and possibilities. We wanted to find out what was going on at Morei’s so Norris opted to go. Meanwhile Thurin was going to copy a set of Thane Kysoth Beldenstone’s notes and Havic was out to get his hammer from Coogan Smithery.

Norris returned with some poor news. Morei was there as well as Iohannes and a handful of his men, but also a large figure, almost 8’ tall, half-ogrish, clad in heavy steel armor and a greenish cast his brown skin and mismatched sized eyes. Who was he? Someone from another adventuring group, Red Clouds, and he was angry at Iohannes and did not want to leave until the Lycos Sun’s representative would speak with him.

We talked about this figure until it was postulated that this might be our long removed and erstwhile leader/companion, Karis. The description matched, the attitude matched, and he did have some dealings with the Red Clouds – specifically the former leader a brutish fighter-type named Feldon. Was this Karis? The Red Clouds already had a problem with us from over a year ago – we needed to verify this.

Aleron volunteered to go to the Far Travel Hotel and seek out any information on the Red Clouds and what was going on. Were they with the Lycos Suns? We needed answers. The king’s man ventured off eventually getting to Sword Gate where he spoke with some of the guards there and counted 11 of the mercenary types hanging outside. He had some conversation with a member of the Red Clouds, a fairly astute figured named Maulin, and Aleron was verbally rebuffed, the ranger leaving with what graces he could and then went to the Far Travel to get information that way.

The innkeep was willing to talk and a few coins passed to pay for the information, learning that there were 7 or so main members and 5 or 6 hirelings/henchmen. The leader was indeed Karis and most of the Clouds did not stay in town, hiding outside the town near the stables. They had been here for a day or so and seemed to be paying day to day – wanting to leave whenever the Karis figure wanted their party to go. Aleron left and once outside – felt a bit odd and lightheaded – but kept going back to the party, telling them what he had learned.

We needed to know when Karis was going to leave the alchemists as we did NOT want to run into him at all, keeping our presence a secret. Thurin sent his familiar, Pop, to hide outside the alchemist’s tower and would let the mage know when the ogre left.

At this point Havic and Aleron went to the Black Court where they presented Corvalis Trueborn with the pages from Thane Kysoth Beldenstone and told of Glittercap. The dwarven magistrate grew wroth, wanting to know WHY the party did not bring the supposed disease origin to the lab yet? We had a wrap around explanation where we spoke of Karis and him being there was going to cause a problem. Corvalis dispatched a 4 count of the court officers to Morei’s lab with orders to tell Karis to leave the alchemist at this time as he was impeding the search and processing of a cure for the people of Flatrock.

We did learn that someone from the Red Clouds had come to the court earlier this morning for any information about a Kysoth, it was memorable because to Corvalis this was the 2nd time in the same day that anyone brought him anything about Kysoth. We thanked the magistrate and rejoined the party, happy to learn through Pop that Karis was indeed escorted away.

At 3:30 we went to the Alchemist’s Lab where we showed Morei our tick head, the egg, and assorted water and dirt. We did talk with Iohannes who was surprised at what we had brought. He told Morei that she should stop going over the items the Lycos Suns had brought and devote her attention to the Sundered Chains and their findings.

Morei was going to work on the distillate tonight, and Mebali and Thurin were going to stay and help her. She figured it would take about 6 hours to work up a successful test and then would know if it could be a cure. Iohannes volunteered to take the party out for dinner, the Lycos Suns and the Sundered Chains. He suggested the Dog and Fox and we agreed.

Dinner was at 6 and our combined group (missing the wheelwright and the wizard of course) numbered around 20. Unsure at first what to expect we were surprised to have a pleasant evening. Iohannes showed no sign of remembering Detheron or Gwyn, made no comment that the Lycos Suns had any negative dealing in the past with the Sundered Chains, and was forthcoming with history of the group.

He was looking to charter a teamstering organization but didn’t want to start from scratch, so purchased the defunct charter of the Lycos Suns and gave what past dues and fees were necessary. They then took small jobs as well as those sponsored by the Slaver’s Guild and used the former contacts the Lycos Suns had established as a spring board for the new organization. He did comment that about 3 months after they had been reestablished there was a box released to them that had been held.

It contained some contracts, a few letters, some credit marks, and 12 bronze headed amulets that looked like wolf heads. He then showed us one from his neck. He also volunteered that they were useful to get past some wards. We shared information with then and when we next noticed, it was after 8:30 and we had had a rather great meal with Iohannes and his people.

We wished them well and when they left, talked about what we had learned. Detheron was convinced that Iohannes and his people were telling the truth BUT they were also convinced that they were the same group and people from over a year ago. Was it a spell? Forgetfulness? Domination? We fretted over the possibilities for a while until the beer had run dry and there was nothing more to do except call it a night.

It was about 9:30 when we picked ourselves up and left the Dog and Fox, intending to head towards the Alchemist’s Tower and see if the items they had brought back did indeed form the basis of a cure for the plague. When they left the tavern though they couldn’t help but notice across the main thoroughfare on Cheapside Ave was a gargantuan figure riding the largest Clydesdale horse they could ever fathom finding. He was clad in a heavy set of black platemail, sported a heavy war lance complete with pennant, and was watching the group.

Guyus looked at the figure intently and was hit with a heavy sensation that it was evil, definitely and decidedly so. However, we did note that the figure was staring right back at Guyus with the same level of intensity that our paladin was showing! Karis? We sure thought so.

He turned his horse about and rode at a cantor down Cheapside Avenue away from the party. Guyus gave a whistle and his paladinial steed appeared at his will, the knight growling that that figure was evil and we should follow him now.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

2nd Campaign, Meet 3, 9/5/11

Labor Day Weekend and my daughter wanted to sit down and play some D&D. So we continued with Lina and Thimbles in the elusive search for the goblin general and to bring him to justice. We were in the crypt still and she wanted to stay and check out all the doors to make sure we didn't miss anything. Plus it would be fun. Her words, not mine.

I think I saw tears when Thimbles went down at -4 hit points. Scared the hell out of her. She was so proud when her next blow was a 15 and she rolled a 7 for damage - doing 9 points (+2 to her str checks due to a 17 str) of damage to the 5 hit point skeleton that had just killed her friend, companion, and father. High fives followed and she was beaming.

It was in the fight with the boss undead fighter guy that she asked, "Why did you roll the 8 sided dice 3 times for hit points instead of once?" I was showing her what went on on my side of the screen and rolled all the hit points before the first blows would fall of the baddies we would be fighting. I explained the undead warrior was more powerful than a regular skeleton (3 hit dice) and would have better hit points and better ability to hit us.

She thought about it briefly, noted that the undead warrior ended up with 15 hit points, and said, "Then lets make sure we hit him more often than he hits us! Let's roll for initiative!" she grinned with the bright yellow 6 sided dice in her hand.

I cannot tell you how proud I am and how great she is.

Write up follows:

Lina and Thimbles looked further down the corridor, noting more doors on both sides of the hall. They approached the next one and it was with a stout should and firm push that the elven warrior was able to shove the heavy stone door open.

The back of the room had four alcoves set at 1 foot above the ground and then 2’ successively above the former, in each cubby was the skeletal remains of some humanoid being with heavy skulls. Otherwise the 10’ square chamber was featureless. Lina wanted to check out the alcoves but the two friends were a bit nervous about doing so. She approached the lowest one and poked the body inside with her sword twice. Nothing happened.

After that she began sweeping out the bones, the clattering noise filling the room and echoing faintly down the corridor. Once it was empty we looked inside – nothing. She wanted Thimbles to check the next alcove but the Halfling archer wanted little to do with that. So Lina once again began sweeping bones out and onto the floor.

It was amidst the clattering of bones that Thimbles held up his hand and asked, “Hey, did you hear something?” He glanced into the hall and gave a squeak of alarm as 4 wandering crab spiders were clack-clack walking their way towards the noisy crypt the two companions were in.

Thimbles got a nasty scrape against his leg but his armor held as Lina pulled him back from the door and blocked it with her body, sword, and shield in order to keep the oversized arachnids out of the room and at bay. Her blade rose and fell while Thimbles shot at the closest spider. It was a few short strokes later that she split the crab spider almost in half and it slumped over with a guttering squeal. The ferocity of the blows and sputtering fire from Thimbles torch must have stolen the fight out of the other 3 spiders as they turned away and scuttled down the corridor, fleeing the fight.

We waited a few minutes but the spiders did not come back. Feeling safer, Lina went back to the alcoves and finished number 2 and 3 – coming up with nothing in either. The last alcove was 7’ off the ground. She braced herself on the bottom of the 1st one, using it like a ladder, and pulled herself up to prod the skeletal remains in the top cubby – when the figure within grabbed her sword blade and stopped her.

She jumped down, pulling her blade free, avoiding the walking skeleton that dropped to the floor and pulled a rusting short blade with him. Thimbles was first and ready and fired a sure shot – the arrow hitting the skeleton in the chest. And doing nothing what-so-ever. “Damn, Lina,” he groaned, pulling out his own shorter sword, “I think we have a problem.” As he was trying to get it ready though the undead pulled back its arm and thrust the Halfling full in the chest. Thimbles groaned and fell over, bleeding terribly as his breath grew weak and still. Then the undead turned to face the red faced and furious elven warrior.

As for Lina she ducked the skeleton’s directed blow, wound up her hips, arced her sword over her shoulder and uncoiled. The heavy sword swung around like a steel pendulum and smashed the skeleton to pieces in a single blow! She then dropped to her knees, used one of her healing potions on her friend to stabilize him and another from his pack to bring him back to life. As he coughed and choked and she helped him up she said, “No problem, Thimbles!” with a cheery voice. We checked over the wreckage, the skeleton had nothing on him of value, the sword was badly rusted and pitted, but in the alcove it had resided in Lina did uncover a large brass key.

We left the crypt and went back to the hall. There was a 4th crypt that we were able to open but outside of an old sarcophagus holding nothing but the remains of some long dead person there was nothing to keep our attention.

We had a problem with the next two doors; the ancient crypts long unopened did not budge from our efforts regardless of anything we tried. Giving up for now we went on to the last door. It was unlike any of the other crypt doors, situated at the end of the corridor. There was a carving on it of an angelic figure with its arms raised and a sword in his hand, fancy designs cut into the edge of the door frame. We tried to open it but the door refused to open.

Lina looked over the door carefully and between the angel’s carved hands was a deeper hole – shaped like a key hole. She took out the brass key and turned it. Long unused tumblers clattered in the lock and the great door opened.

The crypt was larger than any of the others. A heavy stone chair sat on the far side of the chamber, a skeletal figure sat in it, clad on moldering chainmail and its bony claw holding the hilt of a silver tinged sword. Offering crates and boxes were on either side of it. Neither companion wanted to enter. “Shoot at it,” Lina said.

“Why?” Thimbles asked. “If it is alive, my arrows don’t do much against skeletons.”

“If you shoot it and it moves, we’ll know it’s alive. Also it’s not like the other skeletons we fought – it’s wearing armor and has lots more flesh on it.”

Unsure at first, Thimbles drew back his bow and fired. Dead shot. The arrow hit the chainmail with a sharp report, and sure enough the skeletal warrior DID stand up and hiss at us, storming over with little red flames in its eyes and its silver sword shimmering in the air. It made a nasty humming noise and the two companions were momentarily stunned as it stalked closer and struck at Lina.

Thimbles backed up a step and shot, his arrow hitting the undead and making it hiss again. Lina struck, solidly slicing into the horror. But unlike before her blow did NOT drop the walking dead, only made it stagger back and come forward swinging.

The two friends sweated a few close hits with the undead until it connected twice on Lina, cutting her forearm open on one blow and mortally wounding her on her upper chest with a second. Thimbles risked getting brained to pour a healing potion down Lina’s throat, blocking a few of the undead warrior’s blows with his own sword until his friend was able to stand once again.

Then the two of them struck the undead figure again and again until it fell over and the fires in its eyes went dim and guttered out. As for the sword it was wielding, it glowed faintly on the floor, silvery light coming from its blade. Lina bent down to pick it up, reading the words “Silvercut” written across its mirrorlike surface. She smiled as she slipped it into her belt.

The two friends looked around the chamber for a few minutes, sat in the throne once or twice just to see, and decided that enough was enough. They were going after the ‘General’ in the goblin area next after eating some dinner. We still had Lina’s unused sleep spell and she also had a web scroll that we could use to help even the odds should we need. So we squared our shoulders, took out our trail rations, and sat down to a meal before heading off to bring the ‘General’ to justice.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Meet 142, Adv 12, 8/20/11

The boss monster was a giant bloated queen tick about the size of a Hum-V and with a psionic kick to boot. Her movement sucked but since she had a free psionic blast each round to stun or knock out an opponent as well as the ability to summon the other ticks in the area if near. She was big, had only a single hit attack though that did considerable damage - but the kicker for everyone was the 5 point damage reduction which made most of the arrows and smaller weapons ineffective to hitting her.

As for the pilgrims and griffons to be found afterwards - all hail the mighty wandering monster tables. :)

Write up follows:

We finished our lunch at the Temple of Odin and once more prepared ourselves for the trip down into the bowels of Glittercap. It took 15 minutes and some shuffling with the ropes to get everyone at the base and once there we headed off to the northeast, walking through the foot deep water till we arrived at the stairs to 2nd level. Detheron had prepared a log of everburning spell on our few remaining torches and we passed them out amongst the group as we headed down.

The rain had let up by this time and the water was barely 2’ deep here now. We looked into the main chamber and saw it was how we left it. The decision was made to go and check out the shrine room once more, to see if Thurin’s charmed will o the wisp was still there. Cautiously we went to the southern door, opened it, and wandered the hall till we arrived at the shrine room.

Peeked in – and nothing. The wisp was gone. Ok. We filed in and went over what our options were and what to do next. Go down the 3rd level and find the Kysoth’s Shield? Seek out the wisp’s? Hunt down the source of the plague? We debated a few minutes over the pro’s and con’s of the options before us.

It was Guyus and his contact with Odin that lead us onward. He felt an evil two of them…just beyond the northern door. Their taint reminded him of undead. The group decided to take out the undead and do it swiftly and now. We lined up right outside the door, weapons at the ready, and then stormed the hall in an effort to take the undead down.

The hall beyond was circular on the right with about 2’ of water of the floor. A cadaverous dwarf with glowing red eyes was at one corner and in the gloom beyond was the 2nd. A few of us plunged forward but the difficulty of the deep water slowed us down and our first blows fell short, allowing the two wights to close with surprising speed and hit the group. Again, Guyus was protected from the undead’s chilling touch, but the others in the party were not, with Aleron taking the worst of the wights blows, his life force draining from him at a prodigious rate.

It was a few minutes of solid swordplay before the wights died. Healing was dispensed and Aleron was tended to by our healers. From here we had an option, move onward down the corridor or head back. We opted to head on.

The corridor turned eventually to the left and we saw how it rejoined with the main room we had come down, there was a slope of passage up that we could take or head to the left towards the current or moving water. We wanted to get dry so took the rising corridor. We walked two abreast, fighters with spears and shields in the front and back in case any giant ticks came.

And they did. Two of them.

The attacked with shrill screaming and launched themselves at the party but before their assault could amount to anything major, Thurin’s sleep spell but the two ticks down – and then a hack and stab ended them as a threat. Huzzah!

We moved on, taking care as we walked. A feeling was stealing over us, a feeling that maybe something was watching us, was keeping tabs on us. It was unnerving. The corridor turned to the left and we walked that way, and it was here that the smell hit us. It was roiling and fetid and unlike anything we had ever smelled before. And in the great opening before us were three more of the giant ticks and some huge monstrosity that HAD to be the source of the plague.

It was a tick, but large and bloated and covered in cancerous growths. Its back scraped against the ceiling in places and its legs were thick and layered and serrated in places. It had to weigh over half a ton and according to Gwyn – it was talking to him in his brain!!

From what he could tell it was a tick from over 1200 years ago, living on a dog, and then it grew ill and a fire came and the dog fell down the cistern and the tick bounced lower and lower away from the fires and it survived down here in the dark. And it wanted its eggs to grow. But the eggs often died and to date there were only 6 of the younger ticks around. And they needed blood – fresh blood to have a better chance of surviving.

The dwarf was relaying this to us as we were thinking of backing out of the room and making an escape. This was the contagion point –either the mother tick or any of her eggs. Could we fight her? Do we fight her? Can we? We noticed that as we talked about it – the tick queen was realizing our decisions in time with Gwyn’s hearing of it – so damn it – we were out of time.

We attacked.

Sleep spells were fired off, dropping two of the other ticks. Strength spells were cast. Bless spells were cast. Our fighters charged in while Norris was inspiring courage and competence to the party. But the tick queen was more than capable, she let off a psionic blast that awoke the sleeping ticks and stunned some of the party members. Guyus assaulted the queen with Aleron and Havic joining is right afterwards.

The tick’s carapace was thick and most of the bolts and arrows bounced off. And then there was the bite – everyone struck was affected by the plague as if they had suffered for 3 days! Plus the tick queen kept randomly stunning party members. It grew difficult when she summoned a swarm of normal ticks from the surrounding area – thousands of them and sent them at the group. Detheron held them at bay with a quick spell but the group still had to leap away from the burrowing insects.

One by one the party was losing strength and succumbing to the bites of the ticks. But as the last two giant ticks were taken down we were able to concentrate our blows on the tick queen as a group and before too much longer, her body was beaten and battered enough that she slumped over and died at long last.

We looked around and the chamber behind where the tick queen had been standing was the egg chamber – over 60 of the foul ovoids, each about 2’ long, in a stew of yellow and red slurry across the floor. Guyus went in, brought out one of the eggs for the party and then spend the next 15 minutes hacking into each and every over sized tick egg and splitting them open, killing the immature and often still dead tickling inside.

The party was fouled, filthy, and most like brimming with contagion. We had to leave and leave now. We took some of the tick queen’s blood as well as her head, walked back into the water and rubbed most of the filth off of us (as well as a cloudburst spell), and made our way out of Glittercap’s bowels. There was still Kysoth’s shield as well as the undead and the will o the wisps – but we had enough for now and decided that we would come back here at some other time after we took care of the plague in Flatrock. Getting this contagion source back was our first and paramount job now.

It wasn’t until 4:30 when we left Glittercap and started the long walk out of Rakewood. We would not make it to Flatrock tonight, but would easily reach Frink’s homestead by nightfall or shortly afterwards.

Imaging our surprise when we ran into pilgrims walking. 60 of them. They were pilgrims from Flatrock who were taking their chances out in the wilderness. They were heading what they thought was northwest towards the town of Northedge, and doing it this way to avoid the King’s men patrolling the roads turning back people from Flatrock for fear of the plague.

We spent some time explaining who we were (they knew of us and Ludwig as well), what we were doing, and that we had a cure with us in a fashion with the blood, eggs, and tick head. It took some convincing but the pilgrims agreed to head back with us to Flatrock.

But it was near the edge of Rakewood Forest that chance struck again – this time in the form of 6 griffons. The eagle-headed winged lions were terrifying to the throng with us and Detheron used his dwindling spell listing to talk to the chimeric beasts. They were tired and heading north for resting and molting and were tracking some signs of a large herd of man-beasts (the pilgrims) – hoping to pick off a few of the weak ones and then go.

As expected, negotiations broke down and the closest griffons tried to snag some of the pilgrims and fly away. We gave chase and missile weapons flew but it was Detheron suing the Avianstorm whistle that did the trick and THOUSANDS of every damned bird in the nearby area went nuts and filled the air with bleats and cries and songs and wings and whatnot – making visibility difficult and chasing off the griffons that were at the edge of the assault.

We did all snag a large amount of magical scroll writing feathers/quills from the fallen griffons and with lots of cure minor spells we fixed up enough of the pilgrims that we had only lost one.

It was 6 PM when we reached the edge of the Rakewood Forest and started the walk toward Frink’s Homestead to rest for the night.