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December 31, 1997

The Daring Dozen: An Introduction

"Don't take the term 'dozen' too literally."

The Early Years

During late summer 2172, the Stone Soules met another adventuring group new to the area. At the site of ruined Tan-El, the SS Behir Scouts ("The Dynamic Weirdos") encountered a group of a twelve novice adventurers singing as they marched up the Behir path into the city. When halted by the party, they were very friendly and explained how the Fool at the Wild Wood Inn had suggested that they follow the paths in the wilderness and they would find a city of adventure. Of course, the Fool had neglected to mention the huge Behir that could have destroyed them with impunity at any point along the many tracks it has in the Greate Olde Woode... The scouts brought the party, by the name of the Daring Dozen, back to the greater Soules on the other side of the city, where the Dozen were interviewed. It was suggested that they watch out for the Behir and the Sphinx, and that if they were interested they could head to newly-founded Middle for a hot meal in the wake of their long trip through the Woode.

Transcending the Number Twelve

In mid-2173, the Dozen lost three party members to the Sphinx's extortion-gone-awry. As a result, the Dozen abandoned Tan-El as an adventuring area, leaving it to the SS. They decided at that time that even if they lost further members that they would remain the "Daring Dozen." They grew in knowledge and wisdom, acquiring further members, and learning tactics, restraint, and common sense along the way. Eventually, they conquered many enemies and became respected adventurers in End and Middle.

Ultimate Success and Prospects for the Future

In light of their success, the SS offered them a chance to be the first through the Tunnel at Tan-El. Their stalwart adventuring in the Tunnel and City of the Ancients is found here.

Who Is This Crew?

What is behind the name "THE DARING DOZEN"?

The dozen keep a tight rein on the number of members of the party, and are currently adventuring with only the most established members. Henchmen are not included in their current expedition through the tunnel. Their party has a maximum size of twelve, including henchmen.

The Current Party

Laire is an 8th level fighter human. He is from Petethal and trained under Arcus in Teft. He was one of the disorganized founders, and had a bit of an alcohol problem, but after a harrowing encounter with demonspawn, he sobered up and rapidly became the party leader. He is stern but friendly in a paternal sort of way. He doesn't drink, but he loves the food and song of a good party. He wields Tracker, a bastard sword capable of faultlessly tracking the last person it has hit.

Jessica is an 8th level half-orc fighter. She is from the island of Ventris where she grew up in the anarchy of war and chaos. Adventuring came naturally after that youth. She uses a shield and wields a devastating hammer named Crunch for the disturbingly loud sound it makes with each hit. The swing makes a whistling sound, leading to a whiz-boom sound. She is very proficient with the shield and is incredibly hard to hit. Growing up in the street culture of Ventris City has given her a back-street sense of honor and she has no tolerance of being lied to. She was one of the original members of the Dozen and one of the more daring members, but she is certainly not fool-hardy. The foolhardy party members have been dead for years...

Togull is an 8th level female dwarven fighter from Northern Sark. She is beautiful, tough, and fairly strong. Unfortunately, she has the brains of a typical house plant. She has survived because she does so little on her own initiative. She doesn't know what is smart to do, but she rarely does anything that Laire does not specifically tell her to do. He has kept her alive through the years, and she would do almost anything to save him if his life were ever to be in real danger.

Nara is a female Auroran cleric level 8. She is the one original cleric who survived the early years of adventuring. A strong sense of survival and bright ideas have helped her become an important voice in the party. She joined the Dozen and accepted their lack of clear purpose because their plans seemed likely to make money for the Auroran church. After a couple of years, she had become good friends with many party members and now stays because she loves adventuring and hanging out with her friends. She has no current plans to settle down and build a church despite pressure from some in the church hierarchy.

Hildebrandt is an 8th level human magic-user and one of the more conservative members of the party. Hildebrandt joined the party because he liked the folks, but rapidly became dismayed at their lack of focus. He appreciated how Nara and Kline handled adventuring, but was concerned by the overall party attitude. After a disastrous adventure where a party member insulted a sphinx and got three party members killed, Hildebrandt considered quitting. Feagol convinced him to stay, and it payed off as things shaped up quickly thereafter. Hildebrandt is almost hopelessly typical for a wizard - he is very smart, fairly creative, and has a particular affinity for spells that blow things up. He trades spells occasionally, and appreciates being the only one in the party able to use mage magical items...

Feagol is the party druid, a truly onerous position at times. He is seventh level and an important part of the Dozen's spell-casting power. His skills in avoiding fights with wild creatures made him unpopular with the combat-happy early party, but are now welcomed by his friends. He has some frustration with the amount of time the party spends underground and in cities, but takes great pride in his guidance of the group's attitude. Although he was not an original party member, he joined early on and was
instrumental in changing the drunken mob into a more reasonable adventuring party. He helped rescue Laire from alcoholism, kept Hildebrandt from leaving after the disastrous Sphinx adventure, and helped eject Monton and Jence from the party.

Nief is a 10th level thief and a bit of a rascal. In the original party, he took nothing seriously. He considered most of the folks buffoons, ignored most of the adventure, and occasionally stole extra money from drunk party members. His attitude changed when Laire took over the party and he saw real potential to do really cool things if they worked together. Since then, he has never stolen from party members again, and is one of the most reliable members of the party. The usefulness of his skills as a scout outdoors and his ability to handle traps and locks indoors have catapulted him into being the first name-level member of the party.
Fortunately, this has not gone to his head.

Members Not Present

Fink is a 3rd level woodsman and a relatively recent addition to the Dozen. The spear specialist was signed on in End before the party's brief foray into the Dark Woods to the west of the area. Although his tracking skills and ability to spot intruders have come in handy, he is so far overshadowed in combat by his fellow party members that it seems unlikely he will advance quickly.

Mary-Anne is a 4th level elven long bow specialist. She considered going on the current adventure, but the timing was bad for her. She decided to go to a wedding celebration in Petethal for most of the year (it is an elven celebration, they last a while...). She is talented, but unreliable, and has almost been thrown out of the party twice already. She has an active dislike of discomfort and inconvenience, and only her thrill seeking nature and need for money keeps her adventuring.

Holyoke is a 3rd level cleric of Silban. He has tried to find a niche in the party, but with a high level druid and a high level cleric overshadowing him, he is becoming frustrated. He rarely gets to do much, and gets left behind. Despite this, he admires and respects most of the party members. He oscillates between grumbling and fawning, but no one tends to notice his complaints.

Fud is a 3rd level fighter half-orc. He is not too bright, but loyal and jovial. Everyone likes him, but he. Whenever possible, he engages the enemy, even if he is greatly outmatched. He spends a lot of his combats unconscious and bleeding. On occasions where the party fights less deadly opponents, his two handed sword destroys his opponents. He is incredibly proud of killing an ogre shaman on his second adventure. The huge damage and gaping wounds led to the shaman bleeding to death in an instant, but not before Fud was sent to the ground by a surviving shaman bodyguard.

Former Members

Morton is a human short sword specialist who joined the party after its first losses. He was an amoral voice for profit to support the Daring Dozen's wild parties. Tensions built between Morton and Feagol over hunting of giant mink in the Greate Olde Wood, and eventually it became clear that both could not stay in the party. Morton left, and headed to Carse to find other adventuring possibilities, and many hard feelings remain.

Jence was an early cleric in the party. He claimed to be a Dionysan which appreciated the group's festivities, but it eventually became clear that he was not who he claimed. When it was eventually discovered by Nara that he was an actually an Anarchist, he was ejected from the party. Although Jessica voted for his death, the consensus was that he had been quite helpful and saved some party members, so he was simply kicked out. His current whereabouts are unknown, but the Dozen breathed a sigh of relief when it became clear that "Bruce" who annoys Faranyn in Middle, was not their old comrade.

Huck lives in Mileshigh near End. The halfling fighter joined the party early on, but lost the use of his right arm in a demonspawn attack. The devastating blow shattered his shoulder blade and, lacking powerful healing spells, it healed badly. His days as a bow-specialist were ended, and he petitioned for some money to retire on. He now runs a leather goods shop and is happily fat and married. He will probably never use his abilities as a third level fighter again, but Jessica still uses the hammer that ended his career, Crunch.

Some of the Deceased

Kline was the party's original woodsman. His careful watch saved the Dozen many times in its early days, and he was the most powerful member of the party (4th level) when he was slain by the Sphinx of Tan-El after the fighter next to him (Mayon) insulted the sphinx and it used its breath weapon on the party.

Mayon was a second level fighter and the party leader when he died. The spear specialist from Teft was the party's organizer and the one who thought up the party name. His defiant attitude saved the party many indignities and got them involved in fights which they would somehow manage to win. After his death the party became directionless until Laire took the reins.

Jennifer was a first level illusionist from the Republic of Wunca who came to the frontiers of the New World through an exchange program with the Carse Wizard's Guild. She hated her lab job and ran off to a life of adventure. A nasty encounter with ogres ended her career before it really got started.

Finn, Huck's brother, was killed by the Sphinx. A close friend of Mayon, he was not affected by the sphinx's initial attack but died trying to kill the sphinx for revenge. Huck had already left the party at the time of Finn's death, and it only solidified his resolve never to adventure again. [Kyle's note: how many Finn's are there in the World of Telvar? This makes three that the Stone Soules have encountered over the years.]

Pip was the original party wizard. He died in an unfortunate encounter with a giant jumping spider. With no cleric in the party cabable of casting slow poison in the party to save him, he died with only a cosmetic scratch from the beast.

Ugwaya was a half-orc short sword specialist who died on the party's first adventure, when ten bugbears attacked with surprise.

Bert also perished on the party's first adventure. The first level dwarven fighter died from crossbow fire during the retreat from the bugbears.

(The Dozen's roster and character descriptions were designed and written chiefly by Edwin Anderson.)

December 08, 1997

Defenders Log Entry #15: In Over Our Heads

Felix, 2nd level fighter, 24 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 2nd level ranger, 19 hp, played by committee (mainly Alan this time)
Tyveris, 2nd level cleric, 12 hp, played by Joel
Quentin, 2nd level druid, 10 hp, played by Jeremy
Morgan, 2nd level fighter, 9 hp, played by Alan
Perry, 1st level thief, 6 hp, played by Sean

The word for tonight was: absurd.

The party was dead on so many occasions, it's sickening to think about it. Keep in mind while reading this: our party consists of five 2nd level characters (no mage), and one 1st level thief. Just to put things in perspective before your eyes pop out reading this.

When we had last left our stressed party, we had just arrived at the beach and marched into the headhunters' camp, rescued Morgan, and returned to Kailin's hut for a night's rest.

Nothing happened, and we decided it was time to discover the dagger's abilities. We began a series of careful tests, and determined that it would support the person holding the dagger and allow him to breathe and will himself to move underwater at high speeds, and everyone within a 10' radius gained the ability to breathe underwater.

We made our fatal mistake with our final test. Quentin cast a _Speak with Animals_ on a fish-- which just droned about how he was so powerful. Figuring that dolphins were more intelligent and would probably be more helpful, Quentin attempted to call a dolphin using the dagger. He immediately sensed that he had done something terribly wrong, and was thereafter chased by some very angry dolphins back to shore.

He went back out and tried to communicate but got clobbered by a bottlenose hit, but managed to stop them from killing him long enough to explain how sorry he was for attempting to "enslave" a dolphin with the evil dagger. The dolphin explained that they could sense the dagger's presence from far away. If we could kill Brinea, all would be forgiven.

The trouble was, explained the dolphin, that everyone who saw Brinea died instantly. She was a sea witch. Drew recognized the description as that of a sea hag. Sea hags are immune to almost all spells and most weapons of significant magical power. Furthermore, they are so ugly that they have a medusa-like gaze attacks that kills instantly.

Ha ha, he he, ho ho.

We were dead meat.

But could things get worse? Yes, indeed.

We returned to Kailin's hut and hung around for a few hours, when Drew suddenly noticed TENS OF THOUSANDS OF CRABS EVERYWHERE. Kailin patiently explained that this was the sign of a demand for sacrifice from Brinea.

At this point, hysteria broke out. Kailin took Morgan and hid him in a shed, and the rest of the party set off for the beach near the portal, hoping it would open before we all died.

Typically the portal opens around 3 AM, but it was 8 PM when the Lurker in the Shallows attacked. Drew first caught sight of the ugly octopus, and we retreated inland.

Kailin came running up to us, and calmly explained that the headhunters were likely 15 minutes behind him, with about a hundred strong war party coming to kill us and sacrifice us. Kailin wished us good luck and waved goodbye, explaining that Morgan would be safe for one night. He then said that out of respect for us, he wouldn't eat the meal.

Well, our heads nearly fell off at this point. We decided on our last option-- take to the sea in hopes of finding Brinea or at least making it to the portal.

As soon as we entered the water, we spotted the lurker about 200 feet off. Felix waved the dagger and told it to back off.

It doubled it's speed toward us.

We hastily fled out of the water, about 40 feet inland, just barely out of reach of the snapping tentacles.

To take stock, our options were:

1. Fight the lurker in the water.
2. Fight a hundred barbarians.
3. Fight a sea hag who caused instant death.
4. Commit suicide.
5. Keep running.

Beyond hysteria, we decided that with absolutely nothing to lose, we had to find and kill Brinea to get out of this mess. Well, that would certainly be trivial for a 1st and 2nd level party.

Having no idea which way to go, Felix demanded to know where Brinea was, from the evil relic dagger. It responded:

"I have been questioned unjustly." Felix's skin turned pale and started rotting rapidly. He fell over, saying, "I'm dying!" The dagger chuckled and said, "Whenever you're ready."

Quentin and Tyveris both threw _Cure Light Wounds_ spells, in time to save him, but not in time to stop the double rotting wound from removing 2 hp permanently.

But at least the dagger would take us to Brinea now.

We marched into the water and began trekking across for hours. This was one of the more interesting experiences I've had in Telvar. We became only the second party ever to set up camp underwater! We even thought about rememorizing spells, but given that that could only be done holding the dagger, praying with the evil artifact seemed unwise.

So we slept for about five hours and continued travelling. We saw land to the northwest, and headed there, expecting to be at the Singing Cliffs. Sure enough, we could hear the faint humming sound from everywhere. Hastily we put on our bandanna earmuffs we had made and climbed out.

While arguing about where to go next, Felix and Perry failed to notice the two harpies streaking toward the hapless party.

Oh boy.

Felix and Perry both became abruptly zombielike and started climbing up the cliffside, clearly preparing to jump to their deaths, as Kailin said was common among visitors to the Singing Cliffs.

Fortunately, everyone else was covered and did not get entranced. Unfortunately, Felix was walking away with the dagger, which was our only chance of getting to safety. Of course, since the two harpies had cut us off from the water, we were presumed dead anyway.

But Quentin had the dagger attached to his belt by twine for just such an occasion. He ran after Felix and attempted to wrest it from him. Felix attacked back and nearly dropped Quentin ( damage, Quentin had 9 hp) at the time. Cursing, Quentin withdrew. Perry disappeared into the higher cliffs.

At the same time, Drew nocked and fired an arrow, scoring a direct maximum damage point blank hit on the tougher harpy, who took the damage with no noticeable effect. But the harpy managed to claw Drew twice, pulling his bandanna off, and forcing Drew to drop his bow to avoid being entranced.

At that moment, Tyveris' Command spell went off. Incredibly, the tough harpy dropped dead out of the sky, bounced off a rock, and landed upside down in the water, clearly dead.

Whoo hoo!

The other harpy scooped up Drew's bow before he could react and dumped it on the rocks below. Tyveris attempted another spell, but this time it failed. He drew out his good hammer. The harpy came around for another pass, and Drew managed to injure it with his staff, but Tyveris fumbled and slipped and fell down the cliff side, suffering minor damage and losing his hammer.

Quentin completed his _Flame Blade_ and ran down to help the beleagured party members. Tyveris got up quickly and drew his backup hammer, this time inflicting damage. Unfortunately the harpy pulled at his bandanna forcing him to drop his hammer again and leaving Tyveris badly injured, though still clearly worried about him as the major threat.

On the return, Quentin slammed it with his flame blade and lit some of its feathers on fire. It reared around for another pass and struck again. This time both Drew and Quentin hit, and the flame blade inflicted a flame wound, and the harpy ignited. Attempting to plow into Tyveris for the killing blow, it missed and plowed into the ground in a ball of flame, quite dead.

Felix and Perry awoke from their stupor. In the nest of the harpies we destroyed some eggs, and recovered 4 gems, one magical!

How we could have lost NO ONE in that fight is still inexplicable to me.

We spell-shifted through the night and brought the party back to full life the next morning. We set out back toward the grotto we had noticed earlier yesterday, before the harpy incident. This was where the dagger had been pointing us, and we walked inside, Perry leading the way. Expecting a death gaze, but needing one person able to see, Perry valiantly volunteered not to be blindfolded, figuring that he would be least useful in a combat.

We walked through a dark cavern with a visibility of only about 20 feet, and saw weird red and blue light coming from ahead. We entered a room from the bottom of a pool about 25 feet deep. On the far end was something we could scramble up, and we did so.

Perry was the first up, and suddenly we were all face to face with the figure of Captain Nbod!

We were still suspicious and all of us were still blindfolded except Perry. Nbod said that he was able to appear as a physical image on this side, and that the killings in Benct did not have to occur. To end the curse, all we had to do was lay the dagger on the chest, and return it to its rightful owner.

Off to the side lay the cutlass Horizon Line, Nbod's astoundingly powerful weapon, with which he had slain Brinea originally.

We explained patiently that we couldn't get out without swimming and would have to wait until the portal opened. Nbod explained that the portal would probably open tonight, and that when they worked it in fact opened with a command word from the sword. This was no longer the case.

We presented our suggestion: we would wait until the evening, assuming that Brinea was still busy killing all the headhunters for the defying her and failing to capture us. When the portal opened, we would all go in except Quentin, who would place the dagger on the chest and then swim in.

Nbod walked up to Perry, and said, "This would be quite reasonable."

He paused. "IF I WERE NBOD!"

Instantly Brinea's true form was revealed. A long skeletal arm shot out and strangled Perry, snapping his neck instantly. Expecting this unfortunate event, Felix was already reeling in the dagger from Perry. Drew and Tyveris jumped at Brinea and tried to overbear her, but she was incredibly strong.

Tyveris locked a grip around her head, but her arm caught Drew solidly. Drew choked for a few segments, and then he died as well. Desperately, Tyveris held on to her from behind. Felix swung and connected solidly with the dagger, which turned out to be +6 vs. sea creatures! He injured her, but not nearly enough. The arm snaked out and choked him.

Quentin had initially cast _Flame Blade_ and swung viciously at Brinea. Sadly, the weapon passed right through her. On an inspiration, Quentin dove for the sword Horizon Line (it was a scimitar, which he is proficient with).

Felix took one final stab and managed to wound Brinea. Seconds later he was strangled to death. That left Tyveris and Quentin.

Tyveris held on for dear life, but Brinea finally managed to grab him as Quentin approached with Horizon Line. Tyveris stood long enough to watch Quentin miss. Then he collapsed as well, alive but bleeding to death.

Quentin was grabbed but managed to hold on long enough for a final swing.

He missed, and was killed.

Incredibly, Brinea fell dead on top of him two segments later, having bled to death from the wound Felix had inflicted with his dying breath.

Eight minutes later, Tyveris bled to death, sealing the fate of the party.

* * *

Fortunately, all was not lost. Sadly, Nbod's actual ghost had killed five Benct citizens, including the maid who cleaned his room. At point the Church officials arrived to begin the _Exorcism_, which went off successfully. A party of 7th level adventurers entered the portal and killed all the headhunters, saving the once again captured and paraplegic Morgan.

Then they dodged the harpies, though it took two tries, and ventured further into the cave. They found all of our bodies and hauled them through the portal, along with Nbod's treasure.

The Nevronians cast _Speak with Dead_ on Tyveris, asking him if he wished to be _Raised._ He did, but tragically, he failed his resurrection survival roll (96% chance) and died permanently.

However, the rest of the party was successfully _Raised_ incurring huge debts. However, there are a HUGE number of sticky details to be worked out, but in the final analysis we came out ahead.

Items we picked up:

1. Magic gem (still don't know what this does)
2. Horizon Line (a Defender!!!-- +3 to AC AND +3 to hit)
3. Compass
4. Bag of Holding

And we may be able to obtain the Bracers that Zune had.

We may trade Horizon Line for the ability to train the large number of levels that are likely coming to the surviving party members.

Jack, Drew is astoundingly lucky-- he made every key role and continues his permanent damage-free streak. Quentin and Morgan managed to get away with none as well, though Felix had lost the 2 hp. Perry was fine.

Wow! I'm still feeling quite disappointed in the horribly untimely death of Tyveris, but aside from that it was a... bizarre and absurd adventure. I must say, having learned what happened, I'm amazed we managed to do that-- achieve the ritual tie! Of course, since we're alive and Brinea is not, I guess we think of it as a victory.

Of course, the five deaths in Benct are not making us a winners there, but we DID clear the ghost out and figured out the room. And the treasure that was recovered is massive enough to make this actually worth it for many involved.

Well, that was a fantastically climactic ending to a long adventure, and I'm proud of our victory. I think, overall, that was far more than I would have expected a 2nd level party to deal with.

Now, perhaps it's time to slay some gnolls...

I'm currently contemplating rejoining with a new woodsman...

Joel/ Darellon/ Tyveris
Log Supplement VIII: Yet More Terrifying Situations

I forgot to mention some other interesting incidents during our adventure:

The tens of thousands of crabs were in fact following us everywhere, every time we moved. Typically they don't go in for line dancing, but frankly this looked pretty bad. Interestingly, Morgan was paraplegic at the time and didn't even notice them crawling all over him until Felix pointed it out. At which point Morgan yelled, "Ew! Get them off me!"

Morgan has declared that he will never nap again.

Party confidence had definitely set record lows with the headhunters converging on us from one side, the lurker tentacles snapping at us from another, crabs everywhere, and Felix convulsing and rotting on the ground. The fact that we managed to pull it together enough to make a coherent decision still amazes me. This was really only our second banzai action (in my opinion the first was when Darellon, Morgan, and Ethan charged the bandit fortress). Both have had amazing results.


December 01, 1997

Defenders Log Entry #14: Out of the Frying Pan and into the Water

Felix, 2nd level fighter, 24 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 2nd level ranger, 19 hp, played by committee
Morgan, 2nd level fighter, 12 hp, played by Alan
Tyveris, 2nd level cleric of Nevron, 12 hp, played by Joel
Quentin, 2nd level druid, 10 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 1st level thief, 6 hp, played by Sean

When we last left our not-particularly beleaguered party, it had just finished an initial interrogation of Captain Nbod's first mate, Zune.

We cast the _Detect Lie_ spell as planned. Hoo boy-- the spell has probably never gotten better mileage than this.

I'll just start listing his corrected (true statements) lies. Invert these to regain his original lying statements:

1. Cares about the ghost (not in a loving way)
2. Sees why he should tell us about the ghost
3. Thinks it is not obvious how to make the ghost visible, but still failed to volunteer information to us.
4. Doesn't particularly care about giving his friends away.
5. He was the only one ever in the room.
6. He has not cast a spell through the gate.
7. He can't tell how far it is through the gate-- for casting spells, at least.
8. Good idea to hang him.
9. His friends have zero ability to track us down.
10. It would be wise for him to say more about them if he wants to live.
11. The dagger has to do with his religion (duh)
12. He cares greatly what we think about him.
13. His friends are not a problem.
14. The dagger is important to his religious status.
15. Adventurers are quite important in his reliigous hierarachy.
16. Other members of his group would love to have the dagger.
17. He knows very few clerics of any power.
18. That is unfortunate for him.

We also asked him about his items: His wand detects metallic things. he just recently obtained it.

Then the spell failed. Just when we got to the juicy part about how he has SO MANY friends who can casually throw _Communes_ etc.

The hammer and bracers are believed to be the obvious-- some bonus to hit on the hammer and the bracers are mid-level defensive.

Well, that made our decision rather easy. We bound him, poured a gallon of cheap beer all over him, gagged him, blindfolded him, and dragged him to the Petethalian naval base at 4 AM.

It took awhile, as each person realized his superior was needed to deal with us, but eventually we spoke with Commander Mayfair.

They read off the charges against Zune Quog, including, but not restricted to:

1. A death warrant from Nbod himself. This was put out when Zune ritually sacrificed 8 wealthy merchants in the middle of the night whom Nbod was attempting to ransom off. Ironically, Nbod has 175 gp in a Teft account waiting for us.
2. Zune is wanted for the dock incident.

And it went on.

And on.

We then received a hearty congratulations from the commander, who stated that he "would very much enjoy this," and that "Tomorrow will be a busy day." At one point he leaned over to the disoriented and drunken Zune and said, "You're in a bit of trouble, you know." Commander Mayfair then ordered his men to put Zune in "the box" and do something like "bell" duty (I imagine this means banging on the box a lot). Happy birthday, First Mate Zune!

This could have been the end. Having turned over Zune's equipment to the Petethalian navy, we could perhaps have traded the magical compass and our reward for one or two of the magic items. Then we could merrily have reimbursed the innkeeper and been on our way.

However, the ghost of Nbod WAS still in the room, and our sense of completion got the better of us. We wrote a letter to the Archbishop in Barnacus, explaining our two options:

1. He could come to Benct and Exorcise the ghost, allowing us a good way of secretly passing the dagger to him.
2. We could bring the dagger to him.

Since that would take two weeks, we decided to learn as much as we could about the room so as to fully prepare for his arrival.

We continued our nighttime spying on the room while we waited for Zune to be tried (processing and then a dispute with the Benct government over rights on his body has delayed his execution temporarily).

We continued to ask the ghost questions. We have noticed that Nbod has unfailingly answered every question now that Zune is gone. In hindsight, it is a REALLY good thing we didn't mention the dagger in any of our questions before we captured Zune!

I'll list the questions we had answered before the next climactic event.

1. How do you find Brinea?
If you don't know by now, I'm doomed to hell forever.
2. Is Brinea the Lurker in the Shallows?
I didin't think you had any good questions left.
3. Which portal do we use to get to Moon Isle Atoll?
The chest, unless you are more powerful than you appear.

We had already determined that the wardrobe, tub and chest opened on a consistent cycle, with the chest opening a few hours after the wardrobe.

When the chest opened, Tyveris looked through the hole and saw a sandy beach and waves rolling past. We suspected this was Moon Isle Atoll (we then had it confirmed by the ghost the next morning).

The next night, we got more adventurous:

When the wardrobe opened, Morgan went into the room, held to Felix by a rope, and examined the wardrobe. He saw a dark room, cooler than Benct should be (indicating it is really far south, or underground). In the room there were fish or something in a public bath-sized pool in the center. There was a cage hanging over it. There were several doors leading out the far wall. Finally, there were murals of nymphs and wood sprite things, etc. For one final test, Morgan poked a stick through the portal, which gained a slightly greenish aura. Then he put it down halfway through and backed away. When the portal closed, the stick flew out and bounced against the wall of the room.

We had asked several questions, including one about where the chest let out in the atoll (we had left the map to be marked in the center of the room. But since we were impatient, we decided to find out for ourselves.

A few hours later, the chest opened, and Morgan peeked down through.

Then absolute disaster struck.

Without warning Morgan flew through the portal.

Felix raced into the room and tugged on the rope. Morgan was hanging about ten feet in the air over the water, which had risen considerably since Tyveris had viewed it the previous night. Morgan tried desperately to climb back up. Suddenly the letter opener appeared and began rapidly cutting the rope.

With a cry, Felix sprang forward and released the rope ladder, then grabbed at the letter opener.

Too late. The rope frayed and broke, Morgan tumbling into the water with a yell. All of us raced into the room as the rope ladder fell too slowly for Morgan to grab hold. He kicked frantically to reach the shore. Felix braced himself against the chest and hurled rations downward. With a final call of "Get some driftwood! We'll get you through!" the portal began to fade and Morgan and the beach vanished from sight.

There was a round of cursing.

Then we settled down a bit, and realized that we were still in a room with a hostile ghost. We fled.

The party conferred outside. We had to attempt to attempt a rescue, but there was a major problem. Would the ghost oppose us? Had he or the portal forced Morgan down? Nbod clearly wanted this mission done, was he trying to force our hand?

We actually tried something new. We went back in and checked the questions.

They were answered.

1. The place where the portal lets out is a safe haven.
2. Were there any other significant dangers? The headhunters will kill you without the dagger.
3. Without the dagger, all we could hope to do is kill Brinea for a year. Then she will return.

For our rescue attempt the next night, we thought about many options, but our confidence in the plan was not at an all time high. Heck, party confidence had slipped below the Stone Soules threshold.

The plan was to charge in and brace ourselves against the ghost while Tyveris cast a _Light_ spell to distract it at least, while Felix threw down a weighted rope for Morgan to latch onto. This was, of course, providing that Morgan was even there when the gate opened again. Finally, we removed ALL sharp objects and movable furniture from the room.

We asked another round of questions that night, after informing Father Filner and Javious the innkeeper about what had happened. We hoped that the continuing questions would convince the ghost we were interested. Our best hope, though nearly impossible, was that the Archbishop or a high ranking priest would show up and deal with the ghost so we could rescue Morgan unopposed. This would require Morgan surviving for about a week on the island.

The next morning our questions were answered:

1. How does the dagger protect from headhunters?
They fear and worship the wielder.
2. How do you cross between the atolls?
With the dagger, duh.
3. What specific instructions do you have in order to use the dagger to kill Brinea?
You'll have to charge her all at once and behead her with the dagger or she'll be back the next year.
Your friend has very little time. Don't waste time on stupid rescues.


This was all written in blood, by the way. Just to snazz things up a bit more.

The next night, the chest portal opened. Before we could react, a faint voice of an old man came through the portal.

"Hello? Is anyone up there? Your friend, Morgan, says to bring the dagger since the headhunters worship it! They're going to sacrifice him. He sounded like he REALLY wanted to live!"

The party stared at each other. The old man continued yelling, and Felix yelled down, "The ghost won't let us back up!"

"Oh. I didn't know that! Come down though, you only have a few minutes!"

As time ticked, we argued vehemently. Eventually, we decided that the loss of one party member was better than certain death for all of us.

"Should I tell him anything?"

We were silent, and the portal closed.

A day or two earlier and realizing that no immediate rescue was forthcoming, Morgan attempted to get his bearings. His elven senses and scouting abilites were utilized as he strode north across the island, discovering it was about a mile wide. From the scale of the map, that meant the island was around 25 miles across.

Morgan walked east for a long time, and eventually reached a clear area where he could see across the atoll to the "Singing Cliffs" on the other side.

Morgan heard drumbeats in the distance, and decided to check it out. Suddenly, he and a group of headhunters surprised each other. One yelled, "Gazzlkplp!" and Morgan said, "What?" The men were holding sticks, which Morgan failed to realize was a blowgun until it was too late. A dart hit him, and he drew his sword, but dropped it back into this sheath as he felt himself losing sensation. Morgan blacked out.

When he awoke, he was paralyzed in a cage. Apparently the poison made him paraplegic temporarily, and he could do little but talk to the old man with the drums. His name was Kailin, and he had been pirate, but had been captured by SMART. When the Solaris was wrecked, most of the crew was saved, but he elected to remain with the headhunters, since he knew their language. All other who had come to the island had been eaten.

Apparently, Brinea lives on the Singing Cliffs island. Kailin referred to the dagger as "Brinea's dagger." Whatever. Like it could get any worse.

Since Morgan was an elf, the headhunters thought he was a demon, and wanted to eat him, but respected him since he was the first person who had ever surprised them in the wilderness. Morgan played his last card. He got Kailin to help him convince the headhunters that he was servant of Brinea, whom they worshipped, and had a dagger image carved in his arm. Kailin managed to convince the people to throw him to the Lurker in the Shallows, who is Brinea's servant (uh oh) and find out whether he was telling the truth that way. This, of course, could not be done until he had recovered from the poison, which would at least take a few days.

Kailin returned and informed Morgan that the party was not coming to save him, and he told Kailin to throw something at least, to indicate that he was still alive and someone there would communicate.

Morgan waited and hoped.

The party, meanwhile, waited another evening with the following questions and they got answered.

1. Will the dagger grant all of us water-breathing ability? If not what, actions can we take?
It should work on 8 to 10 people.
2. How will Brinea try to protect herself?
With spells, of course.
3. Is there any way Brinea is especially vulnerable?
Any blow that can hit her will work.
4. Need we fear the Lurker?
Not if you are few.
5. How long will the portal remain open?
Until the first full moon of next year. (Ed Note: That's about 5 months.)

We checked on an impulse to see if the cage Morgan was in happened to be the cage through the wardrobe, but no luck there. Of course, having checked that out, Felix could hardly fail to notice the huge letters in blood on the far wall:


Mass hysteria then set in. We ran to the Church to regain our sanity.

Was the ghost lying? It certainly didn't appear to have any way to go outside the room, but who knows?

8 hours indicates at least one of the murders would have to be in daylight, when we believe the ghost has no power, though there is not that much evidence that this is true.

So we had two options, as Father Filner stated them:

1. We could run VERY far. Like all the way to central Dunador, or Cromwell or something. We'd have to give up all our major possessions minus a little cash and hide as pilgrims on the next ship out and start over. Benct authorities would likely not go that far to find us. Despite the fact that the ghost would likely have done this anyway as the year ended, though we may have slightly accelerated the process, we knew we'd be the logical scapegoats. The Church couldn't protect us.
2. We follow its demands. This means bringing the dagger into the open, and attempting to do EXACTLY what we resolved NOT to do.

Rather than starting over, we needed a chance to salvage this. So we wrote the ghost a final message:

We will do as you ask. If you trap us on the other side, we will not complete your task. Do not kill anyone for a week.

(By that time, it is possible that the archbishop's men will arrive in time to Exorcise the ghost and allow us to return without killing Brinea.)

We took the Bag of Holding and its contents, including the compass and earmuffs (Singing Cliffs?) and climbed through, Perry on Felix's shoulders.

The old man was there, Kailin. He led us to the camp with Morgan, where we waved the dagger around and got the headhunters to let us free Morgan. We then traveled to Kailin's hut and are setting up camp on the yard.

We will ask Kailin a lot of questions, since he is talkative anyway (he has been here for 30 years). We will probably ask the dagger for a powers list soon, and assess our chances against Brinea.

Well, this is not what we wanted. But if we pull it off, we'll have Brinea's treasure, Nbod's treasure, Zune's treasure, and a couple of levels each!
Log Supplement VII: Morgan's Account

In his own words, heeeeeeres.... Morgan!

- N'bod's death was brought about as he was on his way to his treasure, which is apparently in the Singing Cliffs somewhere, and he was dragged over by a bony (skeletal? i'm not sure) hand, not a tentacle.

- I don't actually know which piece of the Atoll Brinea lived on, it may not be the singing cliffs section.

- the dagger is 'Brinea's dagger' because that's where N'bod got it - from killing her the first time. He described it as being "luckier than an honest gambler..." and Kailin forgets the rest of the phrase.

- Kailin told me he didn't get an answer the first time the gate opened. I don't know how this corresponds to your experience, i suspect he's just sort of deaf.

So there you go, the Knitpicker's Guide to Tropical Islands on 3 cp a day, compiled by Morgan C.

Alan/ distributed by Joel Inc.