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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


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