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October 28, 1995

Stone Soules Summary V: Recovering the Martyred Tesla's Body, and Further Adventures

Well, the game was mostly uneventful, but here's the basic idea:

Arriving at base camp on the 20th of August 2173, we healed up to send a
group back for Tesla's body (we had scryed and knew the body was there). I
went in this group with Dari's cloak and along with me, Ceydric & Theo were
invisible, spell immunitied, protected, and aided when the time came to go
in, and Faranyn, Jerem, Letier, Darkeye, and Xavier. When we approached the
doors, a bell went off and quickly Ceydric and Theo went in and Faranyn and
I, with help from Xavier and Jerem, held the doors. Though they took four
lightning bolts, they escaped with Tesla's body and we weakly headed back to

To save the scroll for later, Aria was raised at the Nevronian Church in
Middle, and Tesla was sent to End for raising. Aria was successfully
raised, but Tesla's soul was out of reach. He received a proper Nevronian
Burial. I buried Bluebear in Middle. Also, a ceremony was performed by my
fellow Churchmen to bury and repent for the loss of the tropical birds in
the bailey during the insect plague.

Meanwhile, Dari and Cassana convinced the druids in the Elven Village to
reincarnate Cantstin. Surprisingly, he came back as a human. After resting
and trying to work his new form, he returned to Middle.

In the meantime, several items including the Cloak of the Manta Ray, Token
of Boat, Potions of Healing and Fire Resistance, Scroll of Flame Walk had
all been identified. A banquet was held for the Koralgeshians, and there
they announced a formal extension of a no-interest loan to the party for
their half of the treasure. On behalf of the party, Faranyn accepted the
loan. We took their share of the money as the loan (11,000 g.p.) but they
took the Cloak and the Scroll. We in total had about 40,000 g.p. This was
nearly enough to train all people who could be trained at least one level,
one level. Star, Xavier, the Koralgeshians and I headed off to Teft for my
training. Equipment would also be pruchased so I could train my acolytes.

After Faranyn's armor was fixed by Weber, he headed off with Theo to be
trained in Secton and Dunthrane respectively. Sahrak, Pap, Nym, and the
men-at-arms also headed off Sahrak, Theo arrive Dunthrane 19 October 2173.
At one point, Faranyn's group beyond Dunthrane encountered a small group of
ogres which they routed easily, 26 October 2173. Faranyn arrives Secton 4
November 2173.

The Teft group cut through the Northlands to reach a port from which the
Koralgeshians received free travel by boat. On the way, we were ambushed,
17 September 2173.

The group was mostly entangled by a druidic spell, while a mysterious
crossbowman fired into the group. Star and I were unaffected. A mean
looking guy with a mace waded in from behind and someone tried to backstab
Letier. Several _Hold Person_s and _Command_s later we had subdued every
one. We tied them up (the Druid had escaped) and removed all their stuff.
The Mace-wielding guy was obviously very difficult to hit and our damage
appeared insignificant to him (and the Duke was hitting him, too!), so we
were glad to tie him up.

It became obvious that the backstabber was merely hired help but that the
other two were highly disturbing. They both appeared evil but none appeared
phased by the whole encounter. As were talking the Crossbowman went
translucent and disappeared (the mace-wielder said "Got to take care of your
henchman"). Our attacks on the translucent one were ineffective. We killed
the mace-wielder as well. After _Speak with Dead_ing the Mace-wielder, it
appeared obvious that someone had been possessing the body, as this was the
body of a blacksmith from a small hamlet in the area of the cty of Jonhalom
(which we had just passed through). We brought back the body and the tied
up hired-hand to town (Back to Jonhalom). We were arrested because the
Blacksmith had turned up missing a few days ago. After verifying my
identity and Letier's, they set us free. We told the authorities that the
backstabbing bandit had been cooperative (which he had been).

The leader of the bandits was supposedly named "Kergul," and his name is
linked to several crimes (8 or so) in the past several months but each time
he has been described differently. Clearly this is a very dangerous
fighter-mage person, obviously evil or severely messed up, who is possessing
people and committing crimes through them. His goals or ideas we know not,
but we do know that he's dangerous. I don't think this is our fight,
though. After they set us free, we head out of Jonhalom once again.

--Alegra Falconer

October 21, 1995

Stone Soules Summary IV: Great Ones Attack Take Two

Well, as for the current score:

GO 4
SS 1

A note that the hydra we killed could be construed as a second point.

Fortunates of the SS:
Cassana is raised. (Subtract a GO point?)

Unfortunates of the SS:
Aria, Bluebear, killed instantly by the first lightning bolt.
Tesla, killed instantly by the second lightning bolt that hit him twice.

Even more unfortunate:
We could not recover Tesla's body. (Snakedom abounded).

People who were turned in to snakes at least once in the battle:
Ceydric, Pap, Darkeye, Letier, Claude, Xavier, am I missing anyone?

Number of automata destroyed by Eli: 1
Number destroyed last time: 1

Number of segments it took us to kill the hydra: 10
Number of segments it took us to escape the GO: 35
Number of segments we considered attacking it for: 0
Number of dispel magics cast: 3+
Number of times the dispel magic did not work on Claude: 3+
Number of times we annoyed it: Too vast to count.
Number of times it annoyed us: That +1.

Number of times Dari was very thankful that her Cloak of the Storm was
actually what it was and not a misidentified Rain Cloak: Too numerous to
count (She took _no_ damage from lightning).

Number of people occupied with holding open a portcullis or dragging dead
bodies or bagging or dispelling snakes at any one moment: On average, 5-7
at later points in the combat.

Note that the Koralgeshains are not for going back. We traipsed, licking
our wounds, into Middle.


Summary IVb: A More Complete Impression

We found that the danger in our mission was truly great. Were it not for
Aurora's guidance and inspiration, I would have surely been killed. Things
did not go well for our mission, but it could have been much worse...

(To continue from last time- leaving Tan-el after killing the first GO): After
casting some healing spells, the party continued on through the
transporter room. After minor navigational difficulties concerning the
party's map of the city, we made it to the 'log' - another entrance into
the city where a log spans a chasm immediately outside a broken down
section of the castle walls. Thanks to the divine intervention of Aurora,
the Bugbear guarding the entrance was incapacitated until Ludo slit its
throat. We then left the city and crossed the log into the forest and
back to base camp.

At base camp, we cured everybody, dispeled the snakes, opened the GO sack,
and raised Cassana. The GO sack contained several potions, a cloak, a
scroll of flame walk, and several coins and jems. We sent Cassana back
to Middle, for she was too weak to participate in our next adventure.Dari's
scrying revealed bugbears at the archway, snakes in the first room of the
castle, and rats feeding on the body of the dead GO. After we found no sign
of the Behir, the party entered the city via the log entrance.

We made it to the bronze doors of the castle without any trouble. Here we
found that the doors were propped open by a canister- we pulled the doors
open with rope, anticipating explosion. The canister expanded and
exploded- revealing a huge nine-headed hydra. The party fled initially,
but as it apparent that the hydra would easily catch the slower moving
members of the party, we turned to fight. After 10 segments it was all
over- the Hydra had taken 200 points of damage (60 on the 10th alone!)
only inflicting minimal damage. Three of the four people turned invisible
were now visible, however. Despite this, the party chose to continue.

We propped the castle doors open with a rock which Eli transmuted to look like
the original canister. After finding the first two rooms virtually the
same as we had the last time, we chose to disarm the trap on the NE door.
This worked, and we found that the door led to a courtyard inside the
castle. Since this obviously was not part of the outer bailey, we thought
that through this courtyard was the citadel- the innermost portion of the
castle. We turned back, deciding to check the other rooms first.

After opening a trapped door which Ludo failed to disarm, Ceydric was
moderately damaged. After some healing, we tried to force the doors open,
for it was appearent that they were barred. Claude managed to do this
(rolling 01 %!) and Chaos, Death and Confusion erupted. The entire party
was hit by a lightning bolt as a wall of ice formed over the entrance the
the door. The first few members of the party saw a glimpse of a great one-
a huge snake with a human head with an expression full of hatred.

Bluebear and Aria were killed instantly by the shock. Star, Jerem and
myself were fatally wounded, but rescued by the quick actions of Letier
and Allegra. The party decided to leave, as the GO appeared in a balcony
above. Many people were changed into snakes as the party fled trying to
drag the dead and wounded. Tesla was killed by a second lightning bolts,
and the automations attacked us as we were routed. Because so many people
were changed into snakes combined with the danger of lightning bolts and
the very heavy weight of Tesla, we weren't able to retrieve the body. The
moment of the most danger to us came when the GO attempted to polymorph
Allegra when Letier was already a snake. This would have resulted in the
permanent loss of many party members as well as Letier and Darkeye. We
were very fortunate, though, and we were able to transform back all of the
party members except Claude.

Severly beaten, the party limped back to base camp and then back to Middle
without further difficulty. Claude was latter tramsformed back without further
loss of his mind.

So ends our daring mission. The Koralgeshians believe this GO is beyond
us, and the party concurs. We should not attack again anytime soon.


Summary IVc: Some further thoughts

>Should we divide treasure now and let the Koralgeshians leave, or do they
>want to participate in the raid on the mites' lair?

As I understand it, the Koralgeshians are going to be on their way. I would
suggest that we do have a Farewell Banquet however. And many fond hopes
that they may return later and help us vanquish the Evil Ones forever...


Yeah, they're leaving. I would suggest that the Mites are something we can
handle on our own. We will need a lot of money to train certain members of
the party...


You haven't trained in TWO YEARS, right Alegra? Wow! That's an awful long
time. I think I'll write an Epic Poem about that......


--Pap, Nym, and the gang

Both Alegra and Faranyn disagree that recovering Tesla's body is solely for
the goal of raising him. A proper burial is important to Tesla, I am sure,
and so it should be done if at all possible. Alegra suggests a cautious
approach, tending to back up use of the Spell Immunities to go about it.
Faranyn has a hard time holding back his urge to punish the Evil Ones for
killing three of our number, but he suggests that whatever force we send in
be powerful, but not with the intention of proceeding further until we can
come back and make sure they are certainly destroyed forever.

However, Faranyn would like to see Tesla raised. Alegra thinks that's up to

October 13, 1995

Stone Soules Summary IIIe: Xavier's 3-Second Analysis

Score: Great ones: 1 (out of 21 party members)
Party 1 (out of 3 GO)

In spite of the destruction of one Great One, We will have significant
trouble progressing. If they were not aware of us earlier, they are now.
The defenses of the castle will be ready for us. The GO may work together
in their defense. We cannot attack two at the same time- we are not strong

Its interesting that the defenses were only activated after the Great One
was killed. This might be due to some surprise that party achieved or that
the castle defenses just work that way-- easy to come in- hard to get out.
This last possibility of castle design doesn't help the Great Ones too
much- It enables us to attack them at nearly full strength.

I think the possibility of an ambush is very strong the next time. More
dispels are needed! Just think that if the other two were to attack us at
the same time- six people would be turned into snakes relatively quickly.

Providing we get back to base camp, we must decide if we want to continue
our attacks or not. If we do, I think we should return as soon as possible
in order to minimize the time they have to prepare. If we don't want to go
on, then we should consider either evacuating Middle, or preparing for a
counter-attack. I think preparing for attack gives us the advantage of
fighting them on our own soil, but the GO probably won't attack
themselves, they would send the LO and bugbears to attack.

As much as we think fighting in our own land is to our advantage, I really
don't think its a good idea to give two extremely intelligent creatures
alot of time to plot their revenge. They are certain to exploit a weak
point and many people will die. We must finish them off as soon as we can
and not relent until they are dead.

As a final note, we are more prepared for fights in the castle. If we act
soon, our knowledge will help anticipate threats and the locations of
Great Ones. Now both the party and the GO are basically prepared, and the
sooner we continue our attack, the less the GO will be ready for us.


Stone Soules Summary III: The First Step in the Inevitable Defeat of the Great Ones

The First Step in the Inevitable Defeat of the Great Ones

The Stone Soules returned to base camp on 17 August 2173 bearing a heavy
burden. The mashed body of Cantstin, the elven archer who joined the S.S.
after we defeated the killer of his parents, Molehill, was sadly deposited
at the campsite while the party discussed important strategy for dealing
with the Great Ones in the wake of the panther-beast's attack. At long
last, tactics discarded and discussed, the Men-at-Arms rode away towards
Middle with Xavier, the treasure recovered from the panther-beast, and
Cantstin's body for Reincarnation.

Before daybreak 18 August 2173, the Men-at-Arms arrived, with Ceydric
arrayed in full armor and Henry bearing his banners and Tesla at his side.
As camp was struck, the Behir-scouters set out ahead, and the S.S.-at-large
headed towards Tan-El, while discussing final strategy points and hand
signals. Nym and Henry were left in charge of the Men-at-Arms at base camp.

The scouters decided that the Behir had not recently passed. They returned
to the main force outside of Tan-El, near the archway. The S.S., in force,
entered Tan-El via the cutbacks and, lead by Ceydric and Faranyn, approached
the transporter, or Tan-El Constable Dispatch. With a usual flurry of
attack-and-defense movements, Faranyn and Ceydric cleared the way for the
party and checked the side rooms. Ludo did the trasporter routine, and
before long we were in the room facing the castle bailey. We exchanged our
last loud remarks and headed silently (or at least not loudly) into the
bailey and approached the large bronze doors....


Faranyn approached the double doors and opened them while Ceydric entered
the foyer. The entryway was empty and nothing stirred except for the
strange shadows. Letier entered next and started his _Find Traps_ spell.
The party then, noting no immediate traps other than the arrow slits,
pressed on into the large open area before them. If I remember correctly,
some rooms in the old Ogre area had this weird construction designed to
throw shadows strangely from ambient light. Likewise, here the shadows
shifted and moved in an eerie way. I took courage knowing that not even the
shadow of dusk could harm us with Phaulkon's will with us.

In a fit of brilliance, someone had Letier turn around to check out the door
before we moved on, and lo, it was trapped magically on the inside when it
was not trapped on the outside. An archway stretched forth and we followed
into a huge, vaulted room (ignoring the side passages ending in doors) with
balconies (magically trapped) accessible only from the second floor, two
sets of double doors in each wall (all mechanically trapped) and four
statues in alcoves in the four corners (all hybrid trapped). We advanced to
the archway ahead and noticed a huge ten-foot section of passageway was
glyphed. Not wishing to waste a _Dispel Magic_ just yet, we backed up and
Faranyn picked the first door on the left to explore. Ludo disarmed the
trap, and we entered the room that had arrow slits in abundance. Double
doors on the south wall were trapped (left), but to the north (right), the
double doors had been ripped off their hinges and were lying on the ground
in this room. After briefly examining this room, we headed north.

This room contained more arrow slits and the weird corner that faced the
cliff. Arrow slits faced us from the cliff face. Seeing that the other
passageway with the glyph, must have led into the cliff face, we voted, and
went up the stairs that were here to look for other entrances. We rigged a
rope bridge system with Jerem and Aria, everyone was able to avoid the glyph
on the stairs. Similarly, the next room above had some double doors and
stairs leading up. These were also glyphed. There was no obvious
projection to tie a rope bridge to, and so we sent Ludo over the glyph to
examine the other side. As he reached the top of the stairs he turned and
looked into the room and gestured wildly at us. From our point of view on
the bottom part of the stairs, a pair a huge swords shot out with fluid ease
and cut Ludo up pretty badly. He collapsed in a heap on the stairs.


At that moment, Ludo lying motionless on the stairs, we shot up to where the
next glyph was and stopped to think. Letier decided to dispel the glyph.
Instantly, Ceydric was a snake. At this point, Faranyn charged up the
stairs and told Letier to dispel Ceydric instead. Faranyn was badly hurt by
the glyph but broke into melee with whatever creature therein lived.

>From comments made from above, it became apparent that we were indeed facing
a "Great" One. The creature was huge and snakelike, with a large coiled
tail and a forawrdly thrust body, with two huge human arms wielding massive
swords. Having prepared my attack previously, I stopped and carefully
recited the unfamiliar spell. In the insuing madness, several people were
turned into snakes and darkness spells abounded, but Phaulkon's light, in
the form of the _Continual Lights_ he had granted to me, his humble servant,
offset the power of the Evil One and allowed the non-blinded members a
renewed sight.

The battle was looking grim, as we had a hard time getting anyone into the
room without them being effectively taken out of the battle. Ceydric was
thrust back into human form and advanced, only to be blinded by darkness.
Cassana got into the room and attacked the thing, much to its chagrin.

My spell finished and I thrust forth a Holy cry, trying to incite a Movanic
Deva to come and assist in the battle against Evil. In my obvious
unworthiness, I was not loud enough to capture its attention. Alas, one
more potential weapon was removed from our disposal.

Cassana was down and the other healers and I were having a hard time getting
past the warriors to heal the injured. As I tried one last attempt to
stabilize him with an immediate cure from Phaulkon, he died. I closed his
eyes lightly and watched as Star cured Ludo, who got to his feet and threw
the grenade at the beast. Letier has warned us about his impending dispel
magic, and so, I retrieved Cassana's potion of Heroism and ran to the
stairs. The grenade exploded nearby to Cassana, spattering vitrioli, not
damaging the Evil One, but injuring me instead.

As I reached the stairs and I hastily thrust the potion into Claude's hands.
He drank it as I moved away, not paying attention to what was going on
there. Eli obviously did not look happy at not being able to use his
spells, but he looked patiently waiting for an opportunity, thoughtful.
At this point the beast was badly injured and used some ability of his to
COMPLETELY heal himself as we watched in disbelief.

The Koralgeshians at this point were at least as heavily involved in the
melee as we were, despite bad luck in hitting. Some time later, the
creature was again injured somewhat, but we were taking it hard. Eli turned
invisible and Xavier and rest of us worked to heal people. Jerem and
Darkeye had been shooting it relentlessly. An escape plan was being looked at.


At this point, the situation grim, Letier's wife (who we never know whether
she is with the party or not due to her perpetual invisibility), Marilyn,
appeared. Raised crossbow pointed at the spot where, moments before, her
bolt had found its mark. Through the back of the head into the front, the
"Great One" slumped over, unconscious and bleeding. We hacked at and cut
off its head in a matter of moments, all thanking Marilyn's resourcefulness.
A strange whistling began which I silenced with a spell very quickly, but
not quickly enough to avoid a commotion arising around and above us. Dari
grabbed the strange bag it held hung around its arms. Ceydric grabbed a
sword and Pap looked for rings on its fingers and grabbed any. Aria bagged
snakes (Faranyn, Claude, Bluebear). Someone, I don't remember who, grabbed
Cassana's body.

The party then beat a hasty retreat down the stairs. As darts turned a
corner and shot Duke in the back, Ceydric charged over the glyph below and
headed for the door we came in through, the inner double doors we had
propped open to avoid a trap. The door was closed, and seeing no other
options in the face of the pursuit, Ceydric pushed the handle anyway. A
huge blazing trap tore at his armor and flesh, but he withstood it and tried
the door. It was sealed in some way. Ludo was ordered to the front and
worked on popping it open. Meanwhile, I cast a huge wall of precipitation
behind us, extending 120 feet up, and Dari obscured the area behind.

As doors popped open, we darted out. To the right a portcullis closed. To
the left, Speedy metal men, like the coat holder at Tyner's tower, came
forth to attack us. Ceydric bent back the portcullis and sent as many
people through as possible. Meanwhile, Ceydric parried off the attacks of
the metal guardians, and even a level three arrow could not affect them.
The resulting retreat was confusing, but Eli lightning bolted two of the
metal men, destroying one instantly, and damaging another severely.
Nonetheless, Ceydric staved off the attack with Darkeye, Letier, and Blann,
and I led the group forward to the outside doors. Razor-siding snake
creatures dropped from the ceiling and injured some of us. Ludo was taken
down by some of them and we helped him to get to the door.

Star dispelled the trap on the door with a scroll, and the S.S. moved as
quickly as possible to the door.

At the portcullis, Ceydric and the rest were confronted by a distant
lightning bolting creature of their own. They were able to avoid most of
them as they retreated. The cavaliers that were functioning at levels
usually impossible for humans to function at (all of them), were brought to
a stable level as they slammed through the doors. The party retreated
hastily through the bailey.

For good measure, since I knew the castle had been alerted, I threw an
_Insect Plague_ at it. Even if I never live to see all the Evil Ones dead,
killing other evil creatures in the castle, no matter the type, will help
advance the cause of Phaulkon -- of that I am sure! Of course, I would
rather use a spell any day than risk having my friends taken out by ruthless
evil spawn.

At the double doors into the bailey, transporter side, we stumbled through
to escape in the confusion, and slammed the bar into place.



October 12, 1995

Stone Soules Summary II: Reconn on the Great Ones

OK... So this is the full extended version, for party members, so we all
know what happened.

First let's review... It was midnight, and we had just finished the
commune. We had a ton of questions, namely what to do about the LE force
and how to take them on. So we talked for about another hour and finally
decided on a course of action. We decided that we would launch a recon
mission of invisible characters (or darn close to invisible characters) to
find the best way to get into the castle. Everyone agreed with the idea,
so we decided who this party would consist of. After a short time we
finally decided that it would consist of Ludo, Dari, Canstin, Duke Charles,
Eli, and myself. We figured that these people could hide pretty well (Eli
and Canstin could be invisible in the shrubbery surrounding the castle, and
Dari is a thief... the other three of us would be invisible. Finally we
turned Duke Charles invisible, and we all went to bed.

OK, next day, 8:00 am we set of to base camp. We got there around 2 or 3
and decided that it would actually not be possible to get the mission done
tonight... so the Duke turned himself visible, and we began to wait for
the night. While we were waiting, Dari decided to scry on the room that
was right outside the bailey... um, small room with a door leading into
the garden. She didn't see anything at all interesting during this scry.

Next day, before dawn we get up... By dawn we've left base camp, with the
trackers going out to check the Behir path. I don't really know much first
hand of what happened there, but here's what Dari told me afterwards:

Canstin, Dari and Cassana went, for we didn't want to send the Duke
(we were afraid he would lose his invisibility). They got to the behir path
safely and checked out the path. Dari didn't know anything, and Cassana
and Canstin agreed that the behir had left the city. So they
headed off
to meet us. On the way, they ran into a giant weasel... rather rude
creature, but Dari charmed it then told it to leave. So they finally
caught up to us.

So, we got to the city and went to the building where the teleporter is.
We slowly crept in, and suddenly out of nowhere came this huge wasp! It
was unbelievable (Sahrak now quickly makes an illusion of a giant wasp,
somewhat bigger and scarier than what most of the party remembers). So, as
you could see, it was quite a powerful looking monster. That's the way I
remember it, anyway. But, and this says a lot for the strength of the
combined Stone Soules and Korel-Gesh parties, we actually decimated the
creatures. Canstin and Dark Eye immediately let off arrows, both of which
hit their mark, and Duke Charles, Cassana, and Faranin attacked and
finished the creature off. I was truly amazed. Made me feel a lot safer.

So on we went, carefully through the portal and up the stairs into the room
for which we were headed. Now we stopped for a few minutes and the six of
us that were going on went through our belongings, leaving magical items
that we didn't want stolen with the party. We then started trekking down
the path. Eventually, after passing the remains of the giant carnivorous
plant, we came to a crossroad, and took a right. This led to what Eli
remembered to be the Mite's door. So we turned around (we already knew
that door was there) and followed the road we were on all the way around,
until we eventually came to this huge set of double doors. Now when I say
huge, I mean HUGE. The damn things were bigger than... than... than the
way you described Molehill. They were also made out of pure gold, and Ludo
and I just couldn't resist going up and checking them out upclose. We had
been turned invisible anyway. So, after conferring for a moment, Dari hid
in some brush, Canstin got in shrubbery near the castle, aimed a shot at
the door, and proceeded to turn invisible, Eli hid somewhere invisible, and
the other three of us walked up to the door. There was a set of stairs
before it, at which we stopped and told Duke Charles to wait there. Ludo
and I listened for a moment, and I must say that I noticed that it was
unusually quiet. Not a bird in earshot. Ludo however mentioned softly
that he thought he heard a soft growling, but I for one could not make it
out. Later on, Dari told me she didn't hear it either. So Ludo and I went
up the stairs. Upon getting up there, we decided that we should check out
to see if the handles of the door were trapped. To that end, I boosted
Ludo up so that he could reach the handles, and he checked for traps and
found nothing.

So we had found our door. Ludo decided that he would quickly climb around
and look in one of the arrow slits surrounding the door, which he did, and
saw nothing inside. Upon arriving back, Ludo and I conferred for a moment
and were just deciding to head back down the stairs to go further and see
if there wa another entrance, when the Dari yelled out that there was a
monster... Canstin immediately turned and let off an arrow, hitting the
creature dead on as Eli started casting a spell. Ludo and I turned around
and saw this creature. It was a panther with 6 snakes coming out of it's
back. (Sahrak uses the visual aid of a golden statuette that actually
looks like a miniature panther in an attack stance with 6 thick snakes
coming out of it's back). At this point, it became hard to keep track of
what was going on. Here's what I saw. Eli was perfectly visible trying to
cast a spell, Dari was starting to run, and Canstin and the Duke were now
nowhere to be seen. As far as I know, Ludo was still behind me on the
stairs. The creature jumped about 30 feet towards us, instantly closing
the distance, and then opened it's mouth in a silent breath. With this
Dari fell unconscious to the ground. The creature then looked down at
Dari... it looked hungry... and gave a quick glance to Eli.

Looking at the sight before me, I thought quickly, guessed that Canstin and
the Duke were down in the same way as Dari, since neither was attacking the
creature, and I decided to blow the whistle for help. I blew the whistle
and immediately walked down the stairs and went into the brush next to it,
to wait until the rest of the party arrived and saved us. Their was
absolutely nothing I could do... If I cast an illusion, it probably
wouldn't have tricked the creature, and it definitely would have given me
away. The creature in fact looked right at me, butthen turned away.

Suddenly, Canstin appeared as an arrow flew out of nowhere and struck a
nasty gash into the thing's flank. I was shocked, and happily thought that
maybe we did still have a chance... The creature then jumped the 20 feet
to land on Canstin with a flurry of attacks, most of which Canstin
effectively blocked (I thought this rather amazing). However, the creature
had him pinned. He made a grab for it, but missed. Then it proceeded in
another group of attacked, biting at Canstin with all seven snakes and it's
own maw, and clawing at him. Canstin stopped moving.

I was truly scared at this point. I kept thinking, I'm too old for this.
Didn't know what to do. Suddenly a lightning bolt came out of nowhere
(from Eli) striking the monster and the limp form of Canstin. The monster
then turned and started running at Eli. Eli got rid of some extra weight
and started running away, with the creature right on his heels. He then
drank a potion, and just as the creature jumped at him, he began to float
into the air. Although it mangled his legs with it's claws and bite, Eli
got out of the reach of the snakes and escaped. Now the creature looked
around. Suddenly I noticed I could hear the rest of the party approaching.
Obviously the creature noticed too, as it turned and charged them.

What happened there, I later heard second hand. Here is what I heard:

So, Faranin as normal was marching the party up in formation to
take on a normal group of monsters. Out of knowhere the monster jumped to
stand right in front of Faranin. Faranin, as shocked as he was,
immediately yelled a battle cry and prepared to attack. It again openned
it's mouth in a silent breath, proceeding to take out everyone except Dark
Eye, Bland, Le'Tiae, Star, and Jaram, and Theo. Theo and Bland immediately
charged as Dark Eye started letting off a barage of arrows. Meanwhile, Eli
flew over and started to cast a spell. The fight was on.

Theo and Bland started attacking with a constant barage of arrows
from Dark Eye. Le'Tiae also attacked multiple times, the creature not
seeming to be phased. The creature attacked Bland for a couple of
routines, the turned attention to Theo and poisoned him with a snake. Theo
plopped to the ground. Meanwhile, Jarak had thrown oil on the creature and
Eli lit the oil with a burning hands spell, getting a bit singed himself.

However, Star proved to be the savior that day. He went to
Alegra's unconscious body and took out her scroll with a Flame Strike spell
on it. He then told the members of the party that were still standing to
lead it away from the group of people on the ground. They did so and He
struck it with the Flame, killing the beast.

Next they started dragging bodies back to the room in the outer wall.

Meanwhile, Ludo had checked Dari to see what was wrong, and I had found the
limp form of Duke Charles on the ground. Realizing that the creature
couldn't see invisible people, I left the Duke where he was and proceeded
to help Ludo hide Dari (who actually was alive, although not in too good
condition). I then checked the limp form of Canstin, finding him quite
dead. Eventually, Eli came back along with other strong people, and we all
dragged everyone who was unconscious (or dead) back into that room in the
outer wall.

After about two hours, everyone who was hit by that breath weapon of the
monsters had woken up, experiencing a horrible caughing sensation. During
those two hours, Jaram and I went outside and made sure the creature was
quite dead. Others brought all the unconscious people downstairs to the
transporter room.

After everyone had woken up, Eli mentioned that maybe we could track that
creature back to it's treasure hoard. Ludo and I decided that was a good
idea, and with the help of the refreshed Dari (Eli turned her invisible
this time), we went into the garden, to the place where we first
encountered the creature, and we followed it's tracks all the way back to a
section of the wall, where Dari pointed out a footprint to us that was half
in and half out of the wall. I quickly proved that the wall wasn't an
illusion, and we all searched for secret doors. Having found nothing, we
went back to the party to get help. As a group we all went to that section
of the wall and Jaram almost immediately found the secret door. Inside we
found a ladder that went up one floor easily. Inside that room, we found
these golden statuettes of the creature along with a lot of gems. Further
up the ladder we could see a trap door. Dari cast a detect magic on
everything and detected magic on only that trap door. We grabbed all the
valuables and immediately left to head back. On the way, we stopped by the
huge golden doors and took out the stutues, and Let'Tiae cast a detect
traps, finding nothing on any of those items. However he did see that
there were traps in the arrow slits. We then all went back to the
transporter room, and went through the transporter. On the other side we
found some rats, one of which Dari spoke to. It told her that there are
giant rats inside the castle. Finally, we traveled back to base camp, and
it's been a few hours now since we've been discussing what our next move
would be. Anyway, that's all for now. More to come with the next

The Traveling Story Teller

October 11, 1995

Stone Soules Summary I: An adventure in Tan-El, Before the Great Ones

[note that summaries are hereafter numbered according to their order from the beginning of the great SSOULES listserv, though there are obviously many adventures that occurred before the listserv, given previously and in the old Stone Soules "logs". --Kyle]

August 9th: (cont'd) We went to the Temple of Kor in Tan-El.
Letier observed that the South and West windows were still
intact, a fact he was not expecting after 3500 years.
We discusses plans for their recovery but agreed that since this
was the best place to cast divination from, the Temple could not
yet be decommisioned. Letier cast a ceremony to look at the Scroll
Library, which had been removed safely, showing that the
inhabitants had left relatively slowly, since they had time to
remove it. 2 pock-marked metal boxes were removed.
We travelled until nightfall to reach Middle, so we could sleep in
our beds once again.
10th: Copper coins inside boxes bore this legend: "Tan-El
(symbol of the city)
Hail Khahoatep"
We agreed to purchase the coins for their possible
interest. Scrying revealed bugbears in nice armor
('Spawn servants) in the Theatre. We looked in the next
couple of days to see the door we had entered through to
get to the Theatre in our ambush was boarded up crudely. I
took a sketch of the board placement.
We sent Eli & company (with Star) to Bec the sage in End.
Eli purchased _Feather Fall_.


13th: Bec gives us info. on Castle:
It was built to appear like a living space inside but
actually be a castle; that is, you could go into the castle
without entering the military parts of it. Greatly altered
by Khahoatep but no idea what modifications were made.
Records of a building company revealed work for the
Government for some building materials. Strange "holding
cells" were built involving "distilled water and great panes
of glass." To do with electricity? There was an effort to
interconnect defensive locations in it -- magical or
mechanical? -- except the Tunnel isolated completely. It
was some sort tunnel involved with Government to the north.
The sections of the castle were divided -- the "Citadel" (?)
could be separated from other parts of the castle as a last
defensible location.
Dungeons/prisons under Castle -- main prison for Tan-El.
Lots of supplies were hidden there. Unclear as to whether
water system was connected. The castle worried about people
on foot, but seemed unconcerned about scaling -- "shoot
attackers out of the air with impunity." Constabulatory
system was probably not connected. The Castle was known as
Bah Nareth (BN).
14th: To Middle. Norm and Dari finish up window frame removal
15th: 1,500 fire giant gold for _Divination_ and the potion of
Amphibian Control to Letier as recompense.
To Base Camp.
16th: DW head out. Cassana --> Behir last left the city.
(about the castle)
both sets of creatures are vastly powerful
very rich treasure is present
chances of arousing forces of Chaotic Evil and DEMONS are
moderate; chances of lawful evil forces being aroused are
moderate to high.

Dari executes the window removal plan, but some ropes slip
and Norm did not look happy. Eli's _Feather Fall_ backup,
though, made the removal easy. We loaded the wagons and
headed on. A couple of well armored bugbears ('Spawnbears)
ambushed us at the Archway out of the city. I _Command_ed
one of them out of commision and Xavier emulated my bugbear
words and got the second one. Duke Charles and Cassana,
along with arrows from Cantstin took out the remaining one
easily. Some gold was recovered and the crossbow-shot Mule
#1 was slow-poisoned by me before he (potentially)
collapsed. Dari later neutralized any poison present.

_Commune_ at that night, at the Auroran temple.

1. Are there more than three GO in Tan-EL? NO
2. Are there two GO in Tan-EL? NO
3. Are there three GO in Tan-EL? YES
4. Are all the GO located in the Keep?(slight pause) YES
5. Are the GO harmed by non-magical weapons? YES
6. Do the forces of Chaotic evil in the castle largely
consist of the GO? YES
7. Do the forces of Lawful evil in the castle largely
consist of the Behir? NO
8. Do the GO expect the Behir to come to their aid?
(pause) NO
9. Do the GO support each other in combat? (pause) NO
10. Do the forces of Lawful Evil in the castle largly
consist of the mites? NO

--Alegra Falconer

October 10, 1995

Stone Soules Summary: Alegra's Letter to Gram

[This message contains materials mailed 4 August 2173, Middle. The date of arrival at the New World Repository and subsequent forwarding or pickup will be decided by Edwin. --Kyle]

Dear friend, 4 August 2173

Less than a week after your departure from Middle-of-the-Road, several new adventurers came to the area seeking help in exploring the ruined city of Tan-El and we agreed to take them on as helpers and fellow adventurers for a trial period. Perhaps you remember the exploration of Tyner's tower and the very interesting things that were encountered there. We decided that there were loose ends that needed to be tied up, and for that reason we entered the city.

Foremost on my mind, was the fact that the high-magic stain on the rug had in fact never been analyzed to make a determination of its contents -- or whether it had in fact dripped through the ceiling!! We crept into the city with our new comrades, and convinced the doorknob once again to let us in. After various explorations my concerns panned out. Indeed, the black stain originated from the inaccessible floor above us. The addition of a continual light bead to the floor above through means of Ludo's great dexterity proved the existence of a room above but little else, other than that a space below the stairs above was where it originated from. After no secret doors were revealed, we thought maybe it might be machinery leaking or whatever, and took a sample for the alchemist to examine. He determined that it was the pure essence of a being of "vast evil" contained in some sort of tar or paste. We have not determined further what it may be, since our time has been limited in other ways.

Among the greatest of our time constraints (and our dangers), was a surprising incident involving bugbears. Full body-armored bugbears tried to bluff us in the city (only Nym's astute knowledge of bugbear determined this -- and she passes on her love and greetings). They trailed us, and we continued haughtily thinking that as long as were aware we could not be hurt by bugbears. Near, the library, Star was turned into a snake immediately, and a fireball-throwing invisible creature attacked us even as Theo was felled by _poisoned_ bugbear crossbow bolts. Despite this, several convincing attacks by an auroran cleric and a gnomish illusionist joining our ranks confused them so we could lead an orderly escape. Despite his obvious reservations, Faranyn bravely led us through alleys to the escape. As our normal measures proved ineffective on their turf, with their planning, the presumed demonspawn were blanketed, along with their bugbears, in a huge zone of destructive insects that I called upon to destroy the enemies of Phaulkon and the Stone Soules. Our retreat covered, we headed to Middle to ponder the situation.

Unfortunately, our bugbear allies in the city had been badly damaged by the demonspawn's attacks on them and despite attempts to organize to stop them, the bugbears have considered leaving Tan-El forever based on these recent attacks. And several days ago, after learning that the 'spawn had left the city, indeed, they infiltrated Middle.

One particularly human-like woman walked in through the front gate, and tried to capture and polymorph Ludo as he crept about spying on any suspicious figures himself. Ludo was slippery, though, and the 'spawn was killed by the police force of Middle, with Ludo's help and wits.

I am writing to tell you that the demonspawn are a significant and direct threat to Middle. In consultation with the party, and through the indirect suggestions of the high priest of kor and entourage, we have decided that more and more concentrated attacks (ala SMART) cannot be allowed, and the Great Ones (more than one, less than six, largely magically immune giant, intelligent, very, very, slightly human-like, snakes in the castle of Tan-El) must be vanquished for Middle and nearby civilization to be saved.

I am concerned that this may prove a hard step for the Stone Soules, perhaps resulting in more harm than good, but I cannot help but accept the logic of our goal. We hope and pray to prevent any destruction of all we have worked for, but we cannot know how some situations will turn out. I am hoping that this letter finds you well; Hawk is doing wonderfully under his new mistress. Star sends his greetings, as does Aria.

If the news of any evil premonitions from Middle reaches you, I pray that we have managed to by-then overcome them. If not, my friend, I pray that your own skill may be brought to bear in securing the knowledge of others in the dangers found here, and that indeed, the land may not be abandoned, but that people will thrive and push the evil ones away and into the vast abyss. The thought of my own fate does not scare me, merely, that others may know, and come, and hold back the evil, should our memory pass from the world in the Truth of Phaulkon's Flight.

I will not however leave this letter on a melancholy note. Other than these events, the promise of this new world of Middle has been fantastic. I wish I could say the conversions had been greater, but Phaulkon's Plan works in mysterious ways. Send me a letter whence you read this leaf, and let me know how your goals proceed. I am praying for you as the creed of the Golden Plume begins...

"Let the Plan of Phaulkon work through me,
through the light, through the darkness,
through the bright sunshine and warm breezes;
Let the moist wind that finds me,
lift me higher to the tears and laughter of the one."

Alegra Falconer

[Star has scrawled here: "I am working on some further poetry on theological issues. Perhaps you would be interested in reading them? _Star_"]