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November 22, 1996

Summary XLI: Beyond the Ziggurat: Witchdoctor on the Offensive

Beginning with the party located at the Ziggurat, we setup camp for a
little while and cast some _Speak with Deads_ to try and find an entrance
to the Ziggurat. We found that there was a star shaped pendant
(pentagram) on the witchdoctor that supposedly opened the blocks. So we
spent a good deal of time finding all the real magic items on the loser
(he had some aura altering spell cast on virtually all of his posessions
so they appeared to be type 5 magic) so many dispels later we had his
holy symbol and the "key". Around this time, Alegra felt that we were
being scryed upon and almost immediately after that feeling the blocks to
the Zig opened. We took that as the cue to pack up and leave. We
figured that if the witchdoctor was going to fight us, we would rather do
it in the forest instead of his Zig.

So, later that night some distance away, the witchdoctor attacked by
drinking potions of firebreathing, spell immuning himself, and throwing a
silence over the area. It looked dangerous for a second (after Ceydric
had taken 60 points of fire damage) but our consistent damage won out.
He had lots of cash for a bugbear (probably just looted the Zig).
Anyway, we made it back to Middle and the downtime began.

When everyone got back in September, we headed out to the Zig once again
to see if we could finish the place (after the atonement, Lorm told Eli
and Xavier that he thought the treasure was easily recoverable). Upon
returning after 8 months, the place was still pretty deserted so we went
in and found that it was a really wacky place. First off, it wasn't very
big, most of the space was taken up by the large domed areas one on top
of the other (connected by a hole in the floor) with ramps connecting the
levels and hallways going to adjoining rooms. On the bottom level, there
was lots of soot and also an altar of some sort with a door beyond. Oh,
and I guess I should mention the Hell Hole in the center of that floor
where the "ancient one" sleeps. Something having to do with the Prince
of Fury and the bugbear god, but that is another story. On a mid level,
there were a series of seemingly glass boxes that had a couple of
skeletons in them. One of the neat items we had recovered from the
bugbear witchdoctor was a circlet of golem control, keyed to two golems
in the Zig. We did all our recon through their eyes and since they see
all spectrums, we soon realized that the glass boxes were actually walls
of force (permanent) that the golems could put things in and retreive.
The golems themselves were quite impressive. Initially they were melded
into the stone in one of the walls of a lower floor. They look like huge
gargoyles with beaks, spikes, four legs coming out of the corners of
their midsection, wings (I believe), glowing eyes, and rather deadly
looking hands. We tried to use the golem to open the door behind the
altar but I guess we hadn't perfected the control; the golem missed the
doorknob and instead twisted the door open, inflicting massive structural
damage and just obliterating it. Kinda neat :)

Anyway, so we recovered the gold and left, hoping to return to destroy
the ancient one in the pit at a slightly later date. I personally like
the Zig so hopefully we decide to wipe out the creature, clean up the
place, and set up residence :)

>and I guess I should mention the Hell Hole in the center of that floor
>where the "ancient one" sleeps. Something having to do with the >Prince
>of Fury and the bugbear god, but that is another story.

The Ancient One was "not to be angered" according to our speak with dead on
the first shaman. It appears that Ludo's token of boulder was probably
directly responsible for the "angering" of the Ancient One in the Dark Pit.
Hee hee!

Zack (and Kyle)

November 20, 1996

Summary XL: More Fighting at the Ziggurat and the Slave Pens

When we last left our intrepid adventurers, they had just taken the
Ziggurat. Ceydric was battling one of the bugbear commanders on one of
the upper levels and the party was picking off the other fleeing
commander and nameless retreating bugbears while trying to catch up to

Combat with the bugbear commander ended rather quickly and Ceydric then
moved to get the other commander. He, however, tried to retreat into the
Ziggurat when his comrades collapsed the entranceway, killing him and
almost squishing Ceydric. This unfortunately prevented the party from
gaining immediate access to the Zig so we then seized our advantage and
moved to take the slave pens before the bugbears could react too quickly.
Many more scrub bugbears die...

Aerial scouting from the parties favorite familiar revealed several
bugbears manning a catapult on one of the stone towers surrounding the
pen. Ceydric then flew ahead to distract the bugbears so the rest of the
party could close the distance. This made him the target of the catapult
shot at point blank distance but fortunately it was loaded with flaming
shot and inflicted only minor damage to the protected Ceydric (Pro
Normal Missiles). Bugbear morale was significantly lowered by this, and
two of the bugbears tried to flee from the flying demon that appeared
invulnerable to their actions (throughout the game Ceydric was referred
to as some sort of demon, one time a cambion, as the bugbears were
obviously frightened by him). Ceydric cleaned up the top of the tower
while some of the party scaled the wall and opened the gate. The party
was then split into Ludo and Ceydric entering the tower from above and
everyone else entering the adjoining room from the field inside the walls.

The party immediately faced two hill giants in armor surrounded by
numerous slaves and a handful of bugbears just milling about. A stinking
cloud took down one of the giants and a massive assault from the party
took down the other. They didn't really stand much of a chance although
their hurled boulders almost pounded the spell casters. Meanwhile, up
some stairs and behind a set of heavy doors, Ceydric and Ludo had their
own little challenge. The bugbear that tried to flee down the trap door
was quickly killed, as were several of his comrades, but the Greater Ogre
that then stepped in Ceydric's way proved to be a little more difficult.
The situation looked kind of bad there for a second (since Ceydric had
already sustained lots of damage from the cloud giant and others) but
with Ceydric continually hitting and Ludo backing him up with some sling
shots, the Greater Ogre fell about the time Theo managed to get the door
open. We then left Sahrak to free the prisoners (a tactical mistake on
the party's behalf) and pressed on to the next tower.

A fire had been set in this tower but the party worked to free some of
the slaves. Xavier and Raven were left to continue this action while the
party moved to the next tower. Ceydric got their ahead of the party and
killed the bugbears, killed the funky grey slaves with big fangs that
were trying to eat other slaves, and put out the fire by the time the
party caught up with him. Things then got a little confusing, so my
details might not be accurate here. I am not sure if there was another
tower that we went to and left this one unprotected or what the deal was
but here are the results.

Sahrak, trying to better his thieving hobby, set to work picking all the
locks of the prisoners. Unfortunately, this took alot longer than just
using the keys the party had, but even that probably wouldn't have helped
him. A couple rounds after he began his work, one of the slaves alerted
him that a band of bugbears were approaching. Sahrak then (eventually)
gave a weapon to a slave that could use it and tried to bar the door.
The bugbears broke open the door and open fired on the slaves inside.
Mass carnage resulted and Sahrak was not able to escape with his life.
The party returned to find his broken body laying on the ground and all
the slaves killed.

Immediately distressed by this, the party broke in half, one group to
assist Xavier if he had been similarly attacked and the other to protect
the slaves that had been left without a guard. Xavier and Raven had been
very successful and fought off the bugbears that tried to attack them
with ease. A couple of _Commands_ and well placed arrow shots quickly
routed the small band of bugbears. The unprotected tower was a more
interesting sight. As sure as the other towers, a band of bugbears had
gained entry to the still chained prisoners but when we found them, they
had not made it past the doors. Their bodies were hideously damaged,
rotted, diseased, and wounded. In some cases, the bugbears chose to
kill themselves rather than fight the guardian of these slaves. It
appears that the black owl that had been following the party intervened
and prevented the bugbears from killing any of the prisoners. The nature
of the bugbears' deaths led the party to believe that the owl is actually
a Grim, a supernatural force of good that prevents great evils from
occurring. More than likely, its charge was something in Tan-El (or
perhaps keeping tabs on the supernaturally evil Eli), but regardless, it
assisted the party in keeping the slaves alive. The rest of the slaves
were recovered and brought by the party to the nearby elven lands.
Ceydric's standard bearer and religious guide took Sahrak's body to be

After a brief period of healing, the party headed back to the bugbear
village to crush the rest of the bugbears still inhabiting the fortress.
As we were climbing the hill to the fortress, a large number of bugbears
fired crossbows at the party and a smaller number charged the front
ranks. Simultaneously, the cloud giant attacked the back part of the
party. Ceydric flew and intercepted the cloud giant after Sean scored a
successful hit with his set for charge spear. Eli hammered the cloud giant
with a LIMM which broke his morale (he had a Spell Immunity to Magic
Missiles hoping to foil our quick kill of last time) but Ceydric pursued
the giant and defeated him in the tree tops. There was assistance from
Raven and Rangorn as well. The charge at the front of the party was met
entirely by Xavier and Alegra. Blasting away with lightning bolts
Alegra roasted the bugbears while Xavier was tackled and pinned. Not
surprisingly, the bugbears on Xavier began to go unconscious at a rate
of one per segment, and they were killed without much harm to Xavier.
With this force routed, the party then reduced the bugbear numbers on
top of the fortress with a couple well placed and coordinated
_Call Lightnings_. The party then advanced to the gate, Ludo disrupted a
trap, Ceydric, Aria, and Ludo took out the shaman and his two shield
bearers, and short work was made of the rest of the bugbears. Treasure
was recovered and the bugbears scattered to the four winds.

Essentially it was a fun game for everyone that brought about the end of
an enemy, the attainment of a goal, and renewed confidence in the party's

-Zack Hubert-

henchmen in parentheses:

Alegra and Eli to 8th
Theo and Ludo to 7th
(Aria and Star to 5th)
Rangorn to 2nd to 3rd
Raven to 6th
(Sean to 2nd)
(Henry to 4th)


November 15, 1996

Summary XXXIX: The Bugbear War Party and the Ziggurat of the Witches

It's late. This will be brief, to say the least.

50 Bugbear War party:
a couple escape, rest die painfully.
1 man-at-arms (Mo) dies. Men-at-arms plus Gauss (standard bearer) and Mo's
body go to elven lands (these creatures will just kill them).

Head back towards Ziggurat. Feeling of being watched (scrying). Try not to
give any landmarks and stop the scrying. Every once in awhile it happens
again. We decide to attack rather than have them ambush us.

We ford the river north of the Z and head for it. We detect a sizeable
force (say 75) bugbears behind us. We make straight for the Z. There are
fortifications. Bugbears and ogres die. Ceydric (flying, prot. from
missiles) opens the gate, gets hit by ballista, fights deformed Cloud Giant.
Cloud Giant hammers Ceydric, but no wound. Eli and Deirdre unload scroll
magic missiles at it, doing about 90 some-odd points of damage, a couple of
bow shots, it flees into the air and out of range too soon --darn it!

We press forward, through the gate, the bugbears behind charge. We close
the gate and get through. Lightning bolts (from the earrings) are being
thrown left and right. A thin "moat" of oil is trying to be lit, but the
bugbears trying to light it are killed. Fortifications to either side we
hammer with bolts and they start to burn. We go through another gate.
Various shots at various bugbears, shouts, disorientation. Out of the Z
comes a phalanx of bugbears with large shield, Ceydric is about to attack


Ludo, realizing the situation (it looks quite bad) loads the Token of
Boulder into his sling and takes a shot at the entrance of the Ziggurat
(tunnel leading in). Ludo grossly fumbles his shot (yes, the true Joey roll
of a ... 1!), the token fires, flies through the air, turns into a 7-foot
diameter boulder, hits the Z high, getting a good bit of momentum, rolls
back and ... FALLS INTO THE TUNNEL, right on top of the 3 bugbear guards and
the bugbear witchdoctor. Massive damage is dealt, the boulder rolls back
INTO the Z, causing screams and rumbling.

Moments later, flames shoot out of both sides of the tunnel (they enter from
both sides of the Z -- our side and the opposite side), instantly consuming
one bugbear and panicking the rest, even as chaos reigns in the camp. Yes,
Ludo could not have fumbled better!

[The bugbears yell, "The demon is unhappy -- we are doomed!" Ouch. Though
we joke about it, hope it isn't a REAL demon, or a very strong one.]

Other good things: Ceydric pastes many people. Missile shots are quite
good at pasting pre-lightning-toasted bugbears, and the weak bugbears trying
to light the "moat."

Despite the ambush, stopping at this point (real world) left us in a
position which while an extremely tough battle still lies ahead, much has
been gained. Several of their leaders are dead.


Joey's Response:
>Hehee.. well, I tried to save the 1's for thief skill checks, but I'm
>glad we've finally found another use for this curse of rolling low. >:-)

Well, it didn't help Ludo in the first encounter with the Bugbear War Party,
in which he attempted to backstab the Leader and missed. Of course, it
appears (to the party anyway) that Thurmond then bit the Leader and caused
him to fall thrashing on the ground. Later, when Deirdre webbed the entire
section of the field, with Ludo in it (knowing of the Ring of Free Action),
Ludo six-segment killed the leader and others.

Other appearances at the Ziggurat:

It appears that either the Cloud Giant was a real leader, or the Witchdoctor
thought he was the leader, and the Cloud Giant thought he was powerful
enough to waste us (anybody but Ceydric, probably).

The armored "human?" leaders (2 of them) on the Z called out orders as such
when things looked bad:
#1: Defend the Ziggurat! Protect the Witchdoctor!
#2: Fall back to the Fortress! Leave the Witchdoctor to fight his own battle!
(Sean: Fall on your swords! It is hopeless!)

The Fortress: "A tower, a fortress, an elaborate pile of rocks, who can say?" --Edwin

An armored Giant was seen near the Slave Pens. It is presumed that this is
probably a different giant: either a Mountain Giant or a Fire Giant, I
might guess, though FG seems unlikely and Hill Giant is even a slight
possibility. I think it was too small to be a cloud giant or comparable size.


November 11, 1996

Summary XXXVIII: Miscellaneous Party Equipment of the Stone Soules

Updated 14 Nov 2178 / 11 Nov 1996

(*) denotes an unusual item
All items are held in Tower stores unless otherwise stated.
Necessary other storage space is immediately needed, as can be seen
from the list.


3 canteen w/ leather cover
1 inked waterskin (*)

1 giantish pouch (*)
46 large belt pouches
1 small belt pouch
2 leather backpacks
1 giant frame pack (*)
41 frame packs
12 large sacks
5 small sacks
35 bandoliers

1 heavy cedar chest
4 metal goods crates
3 large metal boxes
1 large wooden box
2 medium wooden boxes
1 small wooden box
1 small wooden box, damaged
1 large box of white tiles (*)
1 potion box (*)

1 pavillion (ex) in a box (*)


5 iron spikes
1 hammer
1 pulley and hook
1 2-person saw
1 sharpening stone
5000 nails

Rope and Wire-----------------------------------------------------

150' wire
barbed wire w/ iron spikes (*)
70' double weight rope (*)
650' of rope

Weapons and Armor-------------------------------------------------

4 large shields, Knaves, Andevar, Realm, Sark
7 large shields
1 small shield
2 bucklers

1 set plate mail
3 sets banded mail
1 set leather armor, Cassana
1 set studded leather, Canstin-as-an-elf

1 crested helmet, Old world (*)
4 small helmets

Melee weapons:
1 heavy lance
2 medium lances
4 pikes
6 barbed spear heads
18 polearm heads
3 two-handed swords
44 bastard swords
1 horseman's flail
1 footman's flail
1 ogre sword (*)
34 battle axes
47 short swords
17 handaxes
4 hammers
88 daggers
1 silver dagger (*)
9 knives

Ranged weapons - crossbows (all assigned to Frank):
35 heavy crossbows
426 heavy bolts
4 20 capacity light bolt cases
21 light bolts
3 light crossbows
2 light crossbow internal assemblies (*)
1 hand crossbow (*)
12 hand-crossbow bolts (*)

Ranged weapons - bows (also assigned to Frank):
1 large composite bow, broken
20 uses resin
1 large arrow string
3 small arrow strings

Ranged weapons - other:
9 darts

Scrap for Weber:
2 complete sets of fire giantish battle armor (*)
1 bugbear plate mail (*)
2 bugbear banded mail (*)
32 bugbear chainmail (*)
35 bugbear helmets (*)
1 set weird pseudo plate mail (*)

Building Materials------------------------------------------------

122 shingles
2 window frames
4 large squares sheet metal (*)
2 doors
30 g.p. worth of Teak wood (*)
4000 g.p. lumber credit in End

Horse Stuff-------------------------------------------------------

2 sets bit & bridle
2 large saddle bags
tack for riding 4 horses
4 picks and brushes
7 harnesses

Fire and Light Equipment------------------------------------------

36 tinderboxes
6 torches
1 hooded lantern
2 bullseye lanterns
27 standard (non-lamp) oil
25 lamp oil

Cooking and Food--------------------------------------------------

1 giant pewter dishware set (*)
20 person pewter eating ware set
4 pewter eating sets
1 fire giant cook kit (*)
1 cook kit


1 large metal
9 small silver
1 large copper
30 small copper

Souvenirs, Jewelry, Oddities--------------------------------------

1 Stone Soules wood carving (*)
1 thin silver necklace w/ giantish characters (*)
3 troll skulls (*)
12 keys from molehill (*)
1 ivory horn from molehill (*)
Molehill's giant bow (*)
Several Demonspawn musical works, including a choral work for
Bugbear voices (**)

Miscellaneous Useful Gear-----------------------------------------

1 heavy padlock
17 moderate weather bedrolls
4 wooden dice
1 set cool Eli clothes (*)
4 10'x10' oilskins
1 wax board (*)
2 hammocks
2 hats
45 vials of ink
1 small tent (ex)
1 lg. container paralyzation poison (*)

I will not list them in the public forum, but not counting spell books and
personally owned scrolls and items, the Party's total number of magic items is:


Of those 83, there are 10-12 items of +2 or equivalent level magic or higher
(using my own special criteria).


November 04, 1996

Summary XXXVII: Returning to Middle and Research Results

Hey all!

Here's what happened (in brief):

1. Raven turned down his potential druid henchman who was a total weirdo
(and probably fanatical).

2. Alegra picked up a henchman bowyer-fletcher named Frank and a
Phaulkonian Ranger henchman named Sean, who happens to have both an 18/33
strength and an 18 intelligence. He's really cool. Frank specializes in
crossbows. Frank will soon be Phaulkonian. :)

3. Info on Deathstealers is BAD. Basically, they ARE major devils. Powers
include: deathstealing, fast regeneration, level, hit point, and power drain
(i.e. ability to drain the ability to cast spells and then use the spells
against you). They also paralyze in a large radius and are very hard to
hit. They are usually served by vassal minor devils and semi devils and
hordling creatures. They have VAST treasure, but it's usually on the outer
planes. Prot. from Evil doesn't work. Prot. for Paralyzation did work
against the paralyze effect. Deathstealing may take as long as 1 minute to
recover from. The one party recorded to have fought ONE managed to kill it
through highly magical weapons striking it repetitively. They lost 75% of
the party in the battle. They also generally have "armies" of ghouls and
ghasts to fight. Lorm offered to "take care of the problem for us" for all
(almost) of the money, but we would have to stand for 10 segments while he
abjured them back to the outer planes (he has an artifact).

4. Way back from teft, two major encounters:
a. Ship is attacked by a Roc, loses main mast. We are becalmed basically.
b. A ghost ship attacks us while we are becalmed. Several beings are
killed by Eli, then they try to attack him (an insubstantial captain figure)
and us (a ghastly figure). Eventually both creatures remaining are
destroyed, but not before they drain Eli of two levels and Alegra of one
level. Later, we discover that though Alegra made her save by a good bit,
Eli only BARELY made his. The levels later returned. The captain figure
was a spectre, the other a wight. Eli recovered treasure from the ship
before it capsized. How much money was recovered: a lot, but I don't
remember the total. The ship was a sight of carnage and destruction,
probably a mutiny or somesuch action.
Without us, our ship would have suffered the same fate.
We finally reached shore just south of Carse. The Captain stayed to salvage
his ship when we reached a nearby village, but we headed north and over to

5. Rangorn was accepted as a full party member.

6. Key info. was gained though Edwin did not yet get it to us.

7. Bugbear numbers were estimated in reconn (using Sean-the-Ranger's
mathematics X3 statistical sampling techniques, as applied by Deirdre the
mathematics X2 mage):
500-600 bugbears
200-300 fighting males
100 slaves: elves, humans, other
12 or so ogres
1 giant in Battle Armor
1 witchdoctor
probably more we are not aware of.

8. First owlbear attack: pretty interesting but not a whole lot of damage.

9. Second owlbear/Call Lightning attack not very successful. We fell back
and the bugbears pursued. We are now at the border of Elven lands with a
war party of about 50 bugbears in pursuit, pondering the best ambush options.

That is where we left our party...