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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.


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