« February 1997 | Main | April 1997 »

March 22, 1997

Summary LIX: What Is Known About the Deathstealers

It is clear from divinations and communes that the supernatural LE force is
in charge in that part of the castle. Specifically, according to the Grim,
that is the Citadel, which Beck had previously told us was separate from the
other sections of the Castle Bah Nareth.

Divination: Creatures there are vastly powerful (compared to Letier). Very
rich treasure in the area...Forces of LE, vastly dominant, chances of
disturbing are moderate to high.

Any earlier reference by the Sphinx places possibilities of Ghouls very
high. Specifically, he never mentioned the DeathStealers.

Auguries: Go through the bronze doors/portcullis into the Citadel? (This
was right after fighting the Great Ones and the next day when we were closer
to healed, but without any knowledge of what lay beyond) (The Grim said the
entrance into the Citadel had specific magical defenses, which is part of
the whole trapping of the DeathStealers. They cannot go through any door on
their own, but can go out an open door.)
"Much grief would result." "Many would be mourned."
At bronze doors in former mite lair: "Unexpected consequences would
result." (Before going in to mite lair: "Limited efforts will meet
acceptable goals." Going further would require going through the bronze
doors and so would have been bad)

Divination (Alegra) "Forces of Dispater (major archdevil of the hells-- not
his true name) have been left beyond the reach of otherworldly forces.
Mandrid once held sway here. There is an overwhelming chance of provoking
the mild ire of many deities of good. There is a tiny chance of enraging the
forces of LE." (probably by killing or banishing the DeathStealers)

Augury: go through bronze door on roof. "[No benefit] by any measure."

LE force: Older records from this area deal with Adv. Reserve parties who
came to fight the Behir. Traded info to sage at that time in exchange for
Behir info. DeathStealers present. Able to yank a soul out of a body, use
the death in it to kill another person, and inhabit the body with a passing
evil spirit. They were intentionally summoned to deal with the lightning
creatures that killed most of the city by the Council. Imprisoned probably
due to contract and there are probably 3 though this is not known exactly.
This was gained by legend lores, but most Adv Reserve parties only paid
attention to the Behir.
SMART didn't mess with the LE.

Fabias told us: There are records of one being fought in which 75% of the
party was killed but it was defeated. Normally, when they are young and
weak, they travel out from their home planes to devour people. They have
armies of ghouls or ghasts. They regenerate quickly. They can "deathsteal"
(As previously described) at a distance. Touch abilities include level
drain, hit point drain, power drain (spell-casting power, which can be used
against you). All four abilities-- only one can be selected per routine,
with a 1 minute recovery period. They paralyze within a large radius. They
are difficult to hit (very) and usually have vassals on the lower planes.
They are major devils. Prot. fr. evil does not work against them.
Paralyzation protection does work against them.

Lorm: No vassals present. No undead wraith or higher in level. They are
powerful psionics.

Astrology fr. Xavier: "You have both under and over estimated your
opponents. The Forces of Law will unexpectedly balance against you."
This was interpreted to mean the Grim, since he resides in a Korian Chapel,
though the divination on him away from the Chapel reveals Neutral Good.
This could also mean the DeathStealers, based on some unforeseen power....

Other info from Grim: His powers are better at night. May not leave chapel
(in castle) during the day. DS must not open a door themselves and the
defenses of the Citadel are probably activating preventing entry. They may
not attack a member of the Council, but that is irrelevant now, he thinks.
He was sent here a thousand years ago to watch the evils in Tan-El.
Removing the DS would not significantly change the requirement for him to
remain here (there are sufficient other evils to keep an eye on). If our
plan were not folly, and accomplished at night he would help us in his own
small way (probably healing, we guess).

We have _blowtorched_ one the portcullises now. We will soon be looking at
forcing the door.

Prot. fr. Devils scroll (10 minutes)
Prot. fr. Paralyzation scroll (20 minutes) X 2
Prot. fr. Magic Scroll (10 minutes?)
Teleport Dampers (10 minutes) X 5

Current plan: Open doors, insect plague. Wander in, use artifact to find
LE forces. Kill undead, find the DS. Use Prot fr. Devils scroll. Abjure
the DS if possible. Fight if not. Use Prot. fr. Paral. for ghouls/ghasts
and for DS. Prot. fr. Magic only as an escape route (no magic can pass in
either direction). Teleport dampers throughout.

Lorm also wants to plane shift and follow them to their home plane if
possible... :)



March 15, 1997

Summary LVIII: Return of the Stone Soules

In the aftermath of "that Dark Servant thing," the Stone Soules begin a
downtime... (triumphant music)

Many trades were made in Cromwell, and by Eli at the School of Wizardry,
including the necessary teleport-damping devices and Protection from Devils
scroll in preparation for the upcoming assault on the deathstealers.
Ceydric autotrained.

Eli waited and the School of Wizardry while the party continued to
Petethal. At Teft, Sahrak left to train, Xavier trained locally, and Lorm
was contacted. Lorm agreed to join the Stone Soules in the attack on the
deathstealers, with all the protection he could amass. He also brought
Serin, his henchman mage (and an arsenal of items). In addition, Xavier
picked up two henchman-- a cavalier of House Maxwell, and a fighter/mage--
as yet unnamed.

Still traveling as rather qualified caravan guards, the party traveled to
Sark, where Raven assumed his true form as an elf again through the use of
Kilroy's item. He is ecstatic about the change!

There was a kicking New Years Party (1000 gp +).

The party traveled to Dunthrane City, where Ceydric picked up a legion of
followers (12 light cavalry). We returned to Middle, and Rangorn traveled
to End to train, as well as pick up a quality bow from the elves. Lorm
rejoined us in Middle.

Our trip was a mere 2 1/2 years long! Admittedly the gem affair took less
than a year-- but the downtime was incredibly long!

The henchmen welcomed us back. Raven's henchman Runt had just returned
from patrols around Middle with Cassana. After months of uneventful
patrols, the entire group was scattered when it encountered two scouting
fire giants. Fortunately no one was killed. Faranyn suited up and rode
out to kill the giants, who covered their tracks and escaped.

The adventuring group to take out the deathstealers was necessarily reduced
to deal with the limited range of the protection scrolls and the mind
effects of the deathstealers and their undead servants. The party is:
Lorm, Serin, Xavier, Eli, Alegra, Star, Raven, Rangorn, Theo, Ceydric, and

The party camped inside the Castle, and met with the Grimm-- we suspected
that he might oppose our attempt. The Grimm was willing to help the party,
though his power is restricted during daylight so it would have to be a
night assault.

Our preparations are ready; tonight we strike!

Out of character: We'll be discussing the plan elements over the week.
Any observers are welcome to input suggestions!


Eli also picked up a cool familiar named Ecco!

Alegra also had made "Devilstriker," a Crossbow of Speed, that does a lot of
damage to Devils


March 08, 1997

Summary LVII: Beyond the Dark Servant

Quick summ:

Memorial service held for Deirdre
Party/Funeral/Party at Dwarves
Ruben's Runner to Shocktrooper informing him of sack of Temple
and that they should not disturb sleeping evils
Lots of purchases and trading at Dwarves
Alegra, Star, Eli, Theo, Warwick, Tristan, Raven leave for Cromwell
They encounter a furred snake
There is a dual wyvern attack.
We track to a lair and find some stuff and capture 3 wyvern
Out of the mountains: Creepy forest.
Fight: 12 zombies, 5 wights, 1 spectre, 10 ghouls
Raven is permanently level drained but gains back the level
through later training (he lost almost all of the adventure
experience as a result)
Letters were sent to Faranyn, etc. from Hook Hill
Hochoch-- High Holy Day, etc. (Warwick becomes a Phaulkonian!)
On to Academy
The Rest: Wait for Spring, get armor and weapons made.
In creepy forest: attacked by 4 wights.
The party rejoins at the Academy. Eli has paid to be teleported ahead to
the School of Wizardry.

Magic items are selected. (Loot at wyvern lair and Groorg's potions add a
couple of choices. Final selections to be posted later.)

Total take: 50% of 2.089 Million.
Almost all of Groorg's treasure was given to the Dwarves.

That's all folks!~


March 01, 1997

Summary LVI: The Stone Soules vs. the Dark Servant-- The Final Chapter

Ok here goes:

We tried the proposed -Find the Path- scroll and it failed-- it turned out
to be nearly impossible for it to work.

Xavier -Aid-ed himself and touched the robe, then put it on. Nothing out of
the ordinary happened and the robes were deemed safe for clerics as well.

With Star helping mentally, Raven looked up at the runes and got the message
about the three rooms. Hoping that maybe picking a fruit with a
non-personal aura object like a sword would prevent the damage, Rangorn
swung at the branch with his knife.

Out of character: the first of a thrilling series of rolls by your truly.
Edwin said: don't roll a one-- and I did.

Luckily he just dropped the knife, and swung again-- this time the knife
came away notched but the branch was unharmed. Next he swung Raven's
magical bastard sword at it-- it was unharmed, but so was the bastard sword
(good thing).

Raven then tried to pry the fruit off with two swords doing a scissor-like
thing-- the normal system shock roll was the result. Oh well-- Raven gained
a point of Constitution out of it!

Next Rangorn searched the floor near the bush for secret panels- nope.

I'm not sure exactly when this spell shift happened-- somewhere in the
middle of the following trips downstairs. I'll just quickly note the events
of the spell shift:

1) Rangorn made two spectacular rolls and discovered the dwarven heirloom in
15 minutes in the hands of the dead ogre in one of the rooms. Rangorn and
Mordrick were not attacked by will o'wisps or anything like that.

2) Most party members were healed.

3) Rangorn went with a -Fly- spell on into the altar room. He searched it
but did not touch anything, and found nothing of interest. It was a very
plain room.

Meanwhile exploration of the icy area continued:

Star explored the ceiling area of the octagonal room (with the panels)-- no

Theo, Rangorn, Raven, and Deirdre each touched two panels (except Theo) and
the center of the room became purple. Deirdre blew the horn. The center
appeared to bubble up and then form the top of a purple column that started
rising toward the ceiling. Slowly the outside purple part faded to
transparency and a smaller inner black column became visible. Deirdre
stopped blowing when it reached the halfway point, but it kept rising
anyway, until it touched the ceiling soundlessly and stopped.

There was a swirling black mist where the outline of purple was. Between
the purple and black pillar was a spiral staircase leading down. Deirdre
put a hand close to the mist and got cold burns THROUGH THE ROBE. Rangorn
swung a bag at it and the bag bounced off it like a physical wall, and the
bottom of the bag was rimmed with frost. However, using a process that I
was unfortunately not present for (details from Zack, Sean, and Jack)
involving the thuribles and incense sticks and various other unholy items, a
passage opened in the mist.

The path would only remain open as long as the incense at the top burned
(despite the cold), so there was some kind of time limit. A lot of the
items burned much longer than we would have expected (magical properties).
Finally, the whole staircase was closed everytime we came down, so
apparently it would go down on its own after a certain amount of time.

As soon as the party of four entered the stairs they noticed a disorienting
effect about the amount of time spent on the stairs as wound down deeper.
Soon afterwards all 3rd and 4th level spells of Alegra were inaccessible (we
were close). Furthermore, the cold was MUCH more intense than before-- the
thuribles and incense was necessary to keep things warm so they didn't
damage the wielder. Still the thuribles were still burning when they
reached the bottom-- a huge room with a stone slab about 12 feet by 4 feet.
Above the stone slab was the Dark Servant, sleeping. We wisely did not try
to join him there.

Next to the slab was a smaller box, with two prism shaped holes on the
sides. It was immovable, as were the incense holders and candelabra in the
room. Ceydric lost most of his vision (temporarily) from looking near the
Dark Servant for two long and thus did not go down on the final trip. Raven
was actually affected mentally and became depressed for awhile, obsessed
with thoughts of freeing the Dark Servant. He wisely abstained.

The final part of the ceremony was still a mystery. We sent down Raven,
Rangorn, Deirdre and Star to try to figure it out (Ceydric couldn't see, Eli
had forgotten a 3rd level spell upon coming up the stairwell again, Star has
other abilities, Rangorn could search for secret doors and panels, Deirdre
was that kind of woman and had -Knock- in memory, Warwick was nervous about
some recurrence of his near curse, Tristan was not going no matter what).
Raven had consumed a lucky day.

Deirdre cast -Knock- on the box near the slab, which reflected it back at
her. (No really harmful affect, just weird) Raven then tried calling out
the name of the Dark Servant once-- it stirred. We stopped abruptly.
Apparently it could be woken up, just not freed. He tried saying the name
of the place. No effect. A big argument ensued, and time was running out,
so Deirdre took charge. She tried to chant the name of the Dark Servant
repeatedly. This was disastrous-- Deirdre was blasted into nothingness, as
was her equipment (including a ring+1, and ioun stone). It was a terrible

Star, Raven, and Rangorn argued. Raven and Star outvoted the (admittedly
terrified) Rangorn and decided to blow the horn. The ground shook-- saving
throws all around. Rangorn with his usual luck failed miserably, but
fortunately Raven and Star were fine. Rangorn's robe tore open and he tried
to hold it shut. He made a break for the stairs, and it shredded
completely, killing him before he had gone 20 feet.

But a secret door had opened in the wall. Raven and Star ventured inside,
and found some containers. He said the Dark Servant's name once, and they
opened. He found more incense, thuribles, everything they would need for a
return trip, and 2 PYRAMID SHAPED things. Raven stuck them into the slots
and the box opened, revealing a bag and a box which matched the description
we had received. Raven and Star took Rangorn's body and the box and bag
upstairs. Fortunately the deadly 40 poison needle trap was accidently set
off during the trip up when the bag bumped once, spilling out the needles.
It could have been MUCH worse.

We opened the box and bag up, and found "about 3 gross" gems (we assume 333)
and a book-- hopefully we can annihilate Tellah now.

We tried for speed and sent the gems (in Eli's belt) along with an AWAY team
of Warwick, Tristan, Eli, Alegra, Ludo, Mordrick, 2 mules, and Rangorn's
body. They got to the dwarven settlement in five days, and managed to keep
their arrival quiet, though all doubts about Mordrick were erased by the
hero's welcome he received. We retired to the vale where we had stayed all
those weeks previously and contacted Menstat on Tristan's sixth scrying attempt.

Meanwhile, the party back at the Temple (Theo, Ceydric, Raven, Xavier,
Star, and Sahrak) was met by two Realmish shocktroopers, one of them
a monk. They were saved serious trouble by the recovery of the two former
Realmish prisoners, who smoothed over communications. Eventually they were
told to move along, as the place was deemed dangerous. Hah!

They moved to the hidden vale were the cache of stuff was, and six days
later the others returned. Our next actions are to return to the dwarven
settlement, probably with the cache of stuff.

The morals:

1) Playing with hideous trapped evils is unwise.
2) Shocktroopers don't have much personality.
3) "We're not in this for money. We're in it for a *&$@load of money!"

Party confidence is "just chill."