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January 29, 1997

Summary XLIX: The Empire of Groorg Falls

That's right! Coming up at eleven...


"I laughed. I cried. I whimpered. I ducked. I realized I was getting too
involved and stopped."


This week we played two games (Friday and Saturday nights) on our quest to
kill Groorg, recover the cash, and find the mithril key. Game time is 21
Sept 2180 - 11 Oct 2180.

We returned from the Dwarven Vale and went to the Aarokokra lair where
Alegra was met by the shaman and our guide, Tchoh-meh, was assigned to us,
to bring us to a hidden valley very close to Groorg's lair (On the way to
the bird-man lair, we ran into Onyx the artisan stone giant and her child,
who knew little of Groorg that we didn't already know)

Tchoh-meh led us onward. We were dressed in dark robes as dark cultist
clerics. A couple of hill giants tried to join us against Groorg, because
they wanted to join the returning evil clerics. Ludo spotted an invisible
large figure behind us. The hill giants were killed and the invisible hill
giant as well. We attempted to track the giants and a couple of noblink
tipped a rock slide on us which miraculously ended in no one getting
permanently damaged, though some equipment was scuffed. Ceydric pursued the
noblink and their witchdoctor, flying, and killed them trivially. We then
pushed on through the night to make it as far as possible through their line
of ambushes as possible. We ran into a couple of hill giants who spoke to
us, as if expecting we were replacement, "Hey guys!" Then we killed them
and moved on as well, covering our trail and laying a false one as we headed
up an old goat trail over a hill and down into the hidden valley.

Aerial scouting revealed the temple, a road leading down to the forest where
many humanoids and giants were camped, a blind canyon behind the temple, and
a grassy meadow adjoining the canyon. More surveillance determined that
there were many caves in the blind canyon which might form a back door to
the temple, since no one believed that evil clerics would have no escape
route. So, we hitched up and climbed over a mountain at night into the
blind canyon and caves. We camped and prepared to enter a particular cave.
We climbed down into that cave and eventually came to a passageway. Then,
we could go no further because a stone golem barred the way. We tried
several methods for tricking the stone golem, including various sneak plans
and dispels, but a wall beyond the golem (who jumped out of the side wall)
invisibly barred our way. Finally, we prepared and Theo used his short
sword with Oil of Sharpness +5, killed the stone golem and we advanced
onward. We found a couple of unholy water fonts, and some side passages.
Exploring revealed noise upstairs. Ludo determined gonging and scraping and
metal sounds upstairs. We thought that the golem killing might have
resulted in an alarm upstairs, but we expected they would expect an attack
from above. We sent Ludo to investigate.

Ludo sneaked past the gnoll formation at the top of the stairs, as well as
the various noblink. There were not that many creatures on that level, but
it was quite large. He wandered around (invisibly) and almost walked into
the largest troll he'd ever seen (about 10X normal size, wearing an armored
jacket and looking kind of mean) who smelled him and he retreated.
Eventually, the troll became uninterested and went back into his garbage
heap. Ludo went around and saw 2 hill giants and 2 dogs, so he avoided that
room. He went to the top level, which was filled with folks at the main
doors ready to deliver death to anyone who got through. The room was filled
(a huge room!) with gnolls and noblink, many noblink carrying explosives and
fuses. Groorg was not here. Ludo continued to explore downstair. At this
point, he found Groorg, who after a few moments knew he was there, and
through a bag of white goo at him, so he was visible. Ludo used the
dimension door token to get back to the stairs down (though he had also had
the giant token ready but he was unable to use it in time). He was shot at
and then fell down the stairs and ran back to the party.

The alarm was raised upstairs. The party decided it was time to attack,
since they were clearly not ready for an attack downstairs yet. Some of the
gnolls thought it was the "glowy things" coming out of the basement but when
some shaman magic missiled Ceydric's sword it became obvious that it was
"invaders." We tried to get to the top. A couple of rocks were dropped on
us, even an explosive on Ceydric. Then, Eli used his immobile ring Wall of
Fire. The Noblink standing with explosives and acid ready were immediately
consumed and delivered damage in a huge radius. Then, two hill giants were
trapped inside the ring and Groorg out but most everything else was dead.
Some ogres were seen dimly through the flames. While trying to get clear of
the stairs, Rangorn ran into more of his bad luck and was hit by a cask of
highly corrosive acid from Groorg and went down. Groorg then used his
domination ability on us, but only Xavier was turned. He used a command on
Ceydric and Theo, until the domination was stopped. We healed him, the hill
giants were felled, and everyone broke upstairs. Groorg came charging
through the wall of fire*. After an amazing targetted shot from Warwick,
several Lightning bolts from Alegra, several Magic missiles (and the all
important Slow) from Eli, and several other bowshots and hits from Raven,
Ceydric, Theo, etc. Groorg was in BAD shape. He even missed Ceydric both
times with his maul. (Groorg was in full (magical?) plate as well and
obviously had something that absorbed the first couple of magic missiles
that hit him). He tried to run out through the flames and then Alegra
Bolted him again and he fell. The Wall was dispelled and we made sure
Groorg was dead. We killed the group of trolls that attacked us, but the
noblink and gnolls all ran away from us. We secured the main doors after
they had run away and mopped up the main rooms. Then, we regrouped at
Groorg's body and considered our options, our secondary objective complete.

*There is some suspicion that since Groorg's actions were not completely
consistent with one known as the Cunning, that the giant we killed could be
an impostor. Certainly not a hill giant, the possibility remains that it is
actually some other kind of giant in the armor. Circumstantially, we have
evidence against this, but it is possible Groorg might have fled rather than
fight us.

**Unfortunately, the inability to use divination spells of any kind on this
area (detect anything, find anything, etc.) makes the searching difficult.
This could be due to the HUGE symbol on the roof of the temple, perhaps
designed for just that purpose. The temple is also still consecrated evil
ground and must be desecrated.


January 28, 1997

Summary XLVIII: Groorg the Cunning Is Taken Down a Notch

The Final Score:

Groorg: 0
Stone Soules: 1

News at 11.


January 22, 1997

Summary XLVII: The Bird Men, or, Rangorn Learns to Fly

My first attempt at this, so please be kind:

Using the directions given by the dwarves, the party traveled along the
roads, choosing the path at each fork that led more toward the indicated
direction. After several days of travel, we came across the path of several
giants but decided to stick to the road rather than move at the astounding
speed of 1 mile per day. We later encountered a "totem," or post of skulls
(identified by Warwick to be hobgoblin primitives). Deciding to follow the
path rather than skirt the territory (ownership unknown at the time), we
traveled until we spotted a high plateau less than a mile off.

Ceydric scouted the top of the plateau via -Fly- and -Invisibility- spells
and discovered a large building. A large bird, (wingspan 25') flew out of
the building. Ceydric peered through the "doorway" and spotted several
other bird-things (they were red and blue- striking colors, not dull). One
of the birds circled in his general direction, and he turned around and
headed back toward the remainder of the party. The bird was carrying a
spearlike object in its claws. Ominously, the bird followed for a distance,
gaining altitude but staying directly over Ceydric. Suspecting the bird
would dive-bomb him, he called out in Human, "Hello!" The bird turned
around and headed back toward the plateau. A few hours later Eli and Alegra
flew up to the top of the plateau in what they hoped was a non-threatening
manner. One of birds spoke hesitant Human, but Alegra cast -Speak with
Birds- which greatly aided communication. (This was done repeatedly after
this point)

We had heard about this particular tribe of birdmen from the Cromwellians,
who have been trying to establish greater relations with them. The birdmen
were willing to help us, but only if we helped them first. About six months
earlier, a family of four large birdlike things moved into a nearby valley
and began destroying the local wildlife. When the birdmen retaliated with a
summoned air elemental, the elemental was banished by the two larger ones
(parents, we assume) and the smaller two defeated the birdmen who had
summoned the elemental. Our job was to take them out. Being generally
bloodthirsty (and perhaps hopelessly lost, or at least unable to find Groorg
without help) Alegra and Eli quickly agreed. Air elementals are a pushover
in Telvar, right? But party confidence was high (and still is).

We decided to travel quickly and not pay all that much attention to stealth,
as we WERE trying to instigate an encounter. When Nathan reported that the
bird-like things (identified by Eli as griffons, in the Telvar Bestiary),
the party began defensive preparations (prayers, aids, held spells, fly,
etc.). The birds popped into view. They had split into pairs, one large
and one small in each, and were coming from opposite sides.

Note: The next actions took place within 15 segments!

Warwick and Raven (Rangorn whiffed as usual) fired and hit them repeatedly--
rather impressive damage actually. But the griffons were much tougher than
that, and quickly closed, moving from short range to point-blank in a
fraction of a segment.

The first large one (40' wingspan) was simultaneously blinded by Alegra and
polymorphed by Eli, (incredibly) failing both its saving throws completely,
turning into a blind pig, and crashing into the ground suffering 70 points
of damage and a 7 times wound. Yuck. Ceydric dove out of the way just in
time to avoid being smacked in the face by the airborne pig moving at 60
mph. An ignominous end.

One of the small ones (merely 25' wingspan) went for Alegra and hit with
only one claw, and was unable to pick her off the ground, though she was
knocked down.

The other pair emerged and discovered 4 possible targets: Ceydric, Theo,
Rangorn, and Xavier (Sahrak had already hit the dirt). They apparently
chose based on size.

The small one went for unlucky Xavier, and smashed him with both claws,
scooping him up into the sky. The large one hit the far less fortunate
Rangorn, despite being instantly blinded by a -Continual Light-. He missed
with the mauling beak hit (which would have killed him instantly), but
scooped him up before he could fire (miss) a second time. Rangorn dropped
his bow safely an instant before being given a ride. He had just enough
time to see Raven fire at the griffon from behind before speeding off with

Ceydric (flying) took off after Rangorn, and Eli after Xavier. Xavier hung
on until the bird tried to rend him, knocking him to a single hit point and
dropping him from a height of 70 feet (or more). At the same instant, the
other griffon unexpectedly dropped Rangorn, who rapidly but unsuccessfully
tried to learn how to fly, and use air currents (20 on the check). Now Eli
had a big problem. Rangorn would go splat in 2 segments, Xavier in one.
Who to cast -Feather Fall- on? Well, the cleric can heal, and maybe Ceydric
can do something... bye Rangorn.

Xavier floated down safely, though it took him awhile to rejoin the party.
But the greatest series of rolls was yet to come.

Rangorn shot through the air "about 150 feet" from Ceydric. Ceydric was
covering about 75 feet a segment. He BARELY made it in time to "catch" the
falling Rangorn. First there impact damage: 35 points, leaving Rangorn
unconscious and battered, Ceydric with smashed armor. Then Ceydric managed
to catch the 240 lb Rangorn and stop his power dive. But Rangorn was at -2
hp with a triple wound (the first a Stone Soules member has ever received)
and that only because of the aid spell beforehand, and hundreds of yards
from the party's healers. Ceydric attempted to skim the ground but for once
failed and dragged Rangorn across some rocks, knocking him to -6 hp. Uh oh.

Meanwhile, Deirdre had successfully webbed the remaining griffon, and he
Theo exchanged blows before Theo finally beat it into the ground huge damage
and a triple wound.

Alegra, Star, and Raven all converged on Rangorn, who was at -9 due to the
wound. With seconds to go, Star dropped a -Death's Door- on him, and Raven
forced a potion of extra-healing down his throat. Finally, Alegra, Ceydric
and Star helped to heal him. Although Ceydric had made his healing check,
Rangorn fell almost to 1D. But due to the potion, healing, aid spell, and
quick reactions by Ceydric, he managed to reach 3 real hp at the end of the
battle. He did suffer permanent damage, but quite mild as that goes: a loss
of 2 hp.

Finally, Eli chased down the griffon that had dropped Xavier and shot it to
death with LIMM. Eli was quite pleased at having thrashed two out of three
(with some timely help from Alegra and theoretically Xavier), and collected
claws, beaks and feathers from the bodies.

Fortunately Rangorn had not dropped to 1D and needed only two days of
bedrest to recover. The party surprised and thrashed a group of four ogres
while he snoozed soundly the second night. We were unable to extract any
information from them, as we had NO languages in common with the surviving
ogre. Raven and Warwick promptly shot him.

The ogre was confused for an instant, then died from the 72 points of damage.

The party then decided to hunt the one escaping griffon (that had taken
Rangorn). After several fruitless conversations with some woodland animals,
we learned that sparrows are arrogant but generally useless, squirrels have
no clue, there was some other uninformed gray ground bird, and finally that
ravens although untrustworthy are the way to go. Following the raven's
directions, we discovered a camouflaged cave and hacked our way in. There
we discovered four bodies of Realmish soldiers. One of the scimitars was
still quite shiny, and Rangorn picked it up to replace his damaged bastard
sword (damaged when he slammed into Ceydric at high velocity). There was
also a belt with several obviously valuable jewels on it. We later found
exact number values from the dwarves. I don't recall what they were right now.

Ceydric decided to scout the hole at the top, where we suspected the
griffons traditionally entered the cave. Ceydric turned around and hidden a
large "niche" in the wall was the final griffon cowering there. Ceydric
yelled "Griffon!" and charged. No one else could get up there except
Sahrak, who climbed, and the flying Eli.

Ceydric fought a close fight, both of them taking tremendous damage.
Sahrak's -Color Spray- proved ineffective, so he charged and actually HIT
the griffon with his short sword, doing ACTUAL DAMAGE. Ludo (my roll of
course) meanwhile FAILED a climb walls check and fell on his behind
suffering 2 points of damage. Finally Eli ended the contest by polymorphing
it into a pig again. Realizing it would expand and kill Ceydric in such a
closed niche, Ceydric (eventually) pushed the pig off the cliff to its
death. After Eli picked the body clean, an enraged Rangorn tore it to
shreds as best he could.

The party returned to the birdmen village, who were at first sort of distant
until Ceydric announced that he represented the Cromwellian government.
Then they broke out into smiles and were warm and appreciative. They also
gave us 12 gems, one of which they badly underestimated the value. We paid
salvage tax to the dwarves and managed to properly store the griffon parts.
We discovered that the scimitar Rangorn picked up was a weapon of quality,
+1 to hit and damage. We repaired Ceydric's armor, Rangorn's armor, and the
scimitar. The dwarves, by the way, took only 16 DAYS to repair Ceydric's
armor from the point of totally demolished (half the minimum time it takes
Weber back home).

Now we have two weeks, and we have more options to discuss.

What did we learn from this? Rangorn learned that he doesn't like big birds
that scoop people up in their claws. But more importantly, we learned from
the birdmen the exact location of Groorg's campsite, and a back entrance to
it (it is six miles north-northwest of the birdmen encampment).

(That was the first entry. Hope it was interesting, not TOO long,
relatively complete and informative! Maybe even funny?)

Joel/Rangorn (the restored)

"Uh, Ceydric, is this bad?"
-The Ludo Line

January 17, 1997

Summary XLVI: The Quest to Recover the Great Mithril Key


Here is a brief summary of the games on the 15th and 17th. Note that much
of this informations is "Class 2 Classified" in Cromwell and that, as
always, publishing on the list should not be construed that we are being
loose with our lips...

Mission: Recover the Great Mithril Key requested by the Behir before he
will leave the city. We believe that the GMK is the key to the box in the
"Electrical Zoo" of the Castle from which the Behir escaped, presumably some
time after Tan-El fell. Probably the Behir is still tied to the box and
cannot be gone for too long from the vacinity. Once we have the key we will
explore what the results of two actions would be : 1. Unlocking the box;
2. Destroying the lock and key together. We have not committed to
releasing the Behir, because we are aware that he is an evil creature, but
we will have to gauge the risks when we come to that. So, for now we must
find the Key.

Information on the Key was in the possession of the Regency of Cromwell. In
order to request the Classified information, we arranged to travel to the

Paduka, a good thief who recovered the GMK long ago, was killed by cultists
who worshipped the dark God of Ignorance. Since Paduka knew the key to be a
"Key to free a great evil," the Cultists assumed it was THE Great Evil. At
a Temple in the Mountains of Cromwell (actually in Shabrund territory), the
evil solar-like creature who was the main servant of the God of Ignorance
and Darkness, is imprisoned. The Cultists travelled there, but were killed
by the Mountain Giant Graruug the Cunning, who had made the Temple the HQ of
his "empire."

Goals: Kill Graruug (allows us to avoid salvage from Dwarves)
Recover the GMK (duh)
Recover the treasure of the evil ones (thought to be 333 5000-50000
GP gems, which would allow Cromwell to make the announcement that they had
been recovered and thereby avoid some powerful Reserve party from
discovering the slight hints of the Treasure's whereabouts and accidentally
freeing the Dark Servant -- the chances of our power being sufficient to
free the DS is very slight -- but significant; as a boon, we would receive
25-50% of this amount based on whether we killed Graruug or otherwise
achieved goals).
Recover a book of Rituals of the Dark One, which Orimaxes is very
interested in for his own reasons (to do with the Cult of the Black Flame
who took one of his children, and who were able to harness the Dark One's
powers); As a boon, it is possible that Zardos/Tellah used a Ritual of the
Dark One to make the evil gods he made deals with ignorant of the deals he
had made with other. If the Ritual can be undone, then probably Zardos
would be entirely destroyed by the wrath of the gods who had been duped by him.

What we did: Travelled to the Academy
Went to Hook Hill, where we met up with our guide, Warwick. We then
travelled to the Dwarven Settlement at the Dwarven Vale, which had
information on Graruug and gave a us a peaceful place to stop.
(We talked to Laird Gwalar). The Vale is 20-30 mi. to the Temple.
As far as everyone except Warwick is concerned, we are there solely to kill

Things we fought:
Some zombies in the Dim Forest
A clan of Noblink
Some gnolls

A disturbing note:
A day before reaching the Dwarven settlement, Ceydric was scryed on. It
could have been from a Cromwellian official, but it could also have been an
enemy. We do not know at the moment.

So: we would like to hear questions from Warwick if applicable; Edwin will
also fill you in as necessary.


Kyle (Alegra)

January 10, 1997

Summary XLV: After Some Tan-El Answers

And don't forget the 40 or so new party magic items! ;)
Yes, there are about that many, but only about 10 would you count as actual
items, the rest are "assets."

I think the semester has come to a successful and fulfilling conclusion. If
you like closure, and you had the full scope of what was going on in Tan-El,
you would see that things are starting to wind together, though there will
always be mysteries...

More foes fall to the Stone Soules! :)