« January 1998 | Main | March 1998 »

February 22, 1998

Defenders Log Entry #19: Creepies and Crawlies and Kittens (oh my!)

Felix, 4th level fighter, 42 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 3rd level ranger, 25 hp, played by committee
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 4th level druid, 16 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 4th level thief, 13 hp, played by Sean
Balinor, 1st level fighter, 10 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 1st level cleric, 9 hp, played by Katherine

When we last left the jubilant party, they had just found loads of money and treasure and completed Abbey Isle! We then trained and picked up proficiencies, which took about two months.

Balinor and Cassian both gained 3rd level, and Drew got 4th! Perry is about 500 XP from 5th level, and Quentin is about 1500 XP from 5th level. The others are NOWHERE near.

Balinor and Perry picked up Sprinting, and Morgan learned longbow. Then the hp rolls came-- they were totally absurd.

Cassian had 9 hp at 1st level, and rolled an 8 and a 6 on 2d8, +2 from con, to total 25 hp at 3rd level! Drew rolled an 8 on a d8 as well, (+1 from con), and rose from 25 to 34 hp. Balinor rolled a 10 on a d10 (+4 from con) and rose from 19 to 33 hp!

So the current party state is:
Felix, 4th level fighter, 42 hp
Drew, 4th level ranger, 34 hp
Balinor, 3rd level fighter, 33 hp
Cassian, 3rd level cleric, 25 hp
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp
Quentin, 4th level druid, 16 hp
Perry, 4th level thief, 13 hp

We returned to Restenford and had a long debate about whether to do the gnolls or the burrow worms. The burrow worms would please Almax, and were underground predators. The gnolls would please the Baron, but they had really long ranges and high speeds, enabling them to shoot us continously from a distance. And they also had a couple of Worgs and a bunch of wolves around. We decided that perhaps the gnolls were a bit much, and we should attempt the burrow worms.

Meanwhile, Perry used his spying ability to see if there were any people in town who might be tipping off the bandits. He noticed that Monty, the rather poor owner of the bait shop, seemed to be paying an inordinate amount of attention to the Baron's troop deployment. Alarmed, Relkin told Perry he could investigate further. Perry later noticed that a master of a logging caravan went into the bait shop, which was odd. Furthermore, he noted that Monty palmed something to the master. Unfortunately, Perry wasn't able to determine what it was, and the caravan left. We decided to put it on hold for a bit and destroy some burrow worms.

We traveled east for a day or so and trekked about the farmlands, staying in barns, and searching for "wormsign." We found the older tunnels, and Drew tracked them around back to the newer trails, and continued looking until we actually noticed a small amount of movement in the grass ahead. Quickly we determined that the worm was only about 50 feet distant and burrowing slowly. Perry noted that he could not hear it even when he stuck his ears to the ground.

We were timid and unenthusiastic about acid sprays hitting us. I should mention that a wise precaution we took was to leave all of our expensive items back in Restenford, ie. the magic hammer, armor, shield, bracers, etc. Quentin cast a _Spike Growth_ in the area in front of us to trip up the worm, should it try to emerge and charge at us. Cassian slung a rock at the area were it was, and bonked it soundly. It stopped moving.

Cassian bonked it again, and a head and pincers rose from the surface and looked around. About a hundred feet away, Cassian, Drew, Morgan, and Perry all fired at it. They all missed. One arrow bonked off its plated head, and it disappeared back down. It then dug deeper, and not wanting to get surprised, we left.

Deciding that was totally ineffective, we came up with another plan. When we spotted the next one, Quentin cast a _Plant Growth_ behind it, causing the tunnel to seal up and block its quick escape route. This would force the worm to burrow if it wanted to escape. The plan was to engage it above, and if it fled, have Felix chase it, and attack from behind, with two _Aid_ spells on him courtesy of Cassian.

We stood near where it was, and bonked it. It rose out of the ground, and Drew let off a point-blank shot while Balinor, Felix, and Morgan closed with it. It was very difficult to hit, but Balinor's hammers were up to the task, and with some help from Morgan and Drew they damaged it greatly. It swung at Morgan with its pincers and missed. Then it let loose an acid spray, hitting Felix full on and doing 20 points of damage. His pack held, but one of his short swords and his shield was ruined, and his clothing was in bad shape. Balinor cracked it twice, and it fell over (about 60 points of damage done to it).

It was about the size of a large horse, and though it doesn't digest its prey, the burrow worm spits acid all over it and drags it down to its lair.

We continued tracking and found another trail a few days later. Again, we went with the same plan, and once again the worm burst through the opening-- though this one was much larger than the first. We smashed it for awhile, and it missed Morgan again. Suddenly Morgan inflicted a wound... and it fled down the tunnel, running straight into the plant growth. As planned, Felix charged after it, but it hit with a horrendous barrage of acid, destroying his armor, shield, and helmet. With a yelp he came running back, and Balinor hopped down after it. Cassian through a _Light_ spell and Balinor was able to attack. He damaged it further, but Bessie's handle flew off and it grabbed him with its mandibles and started doing acid damage to him, pinning both of his arms down. He yelled for help, and Morgan came running down. Morgan swung at it, and it dropped Balinor, intending to kill Morgan. Of course, it missed. From below, the prone Balinor smashed its noticeably softer underbelly, and it died.

Balinor realized that he had not considered gravity. The worm dropped on him, and scrambled desperately to get out of the way, but was smooshed by the body, taking additional damage and saying "ow." Morgan pulled him out.

We headed back to town and repaired the armor and replaced Felix's collapsing equipment, as well as renotching Bessie's new handle, then set out again.

Strolling casually through the farmlands, we looked up and saw a nine foot tall blue humanoid munching on something, leaning casually against a tree, human swords tucked around its belt. Just a SINGLE blue ogre. Heh.

With a cry of "For Darellon and Celeste!", whoever they are, we charged. The ogre dropped the kitten's head it was munching on in shock, with a ring of steel drew out two huge bastard swords. Drew shot and missed, while the party sprinted at it.

The ogre could have been quite dangerous... except that it chose to swing at Morgan. Naturally, it missed twice and we reached it. Balinor missed twice, Morgan missed, but Felix smashed it, Perry double backstabbed it, and Drew shot it for maximum damage through the head with point-blank ranger cool shot.

It died.

(Around 50 points of damage, too)

It had 45 gp, a silver belt, two bastard swords, a broadsword, and a chain. A _Detect Magic_ revealed that the chain was magical, and the fighters couldn't help but notice that the bastard sword was pretty nice.

We continued traveling around, and found the third burrow worm. As before it rose up, and this time it caught Felix and dragged him down with it. Balinor charged after and smacked it from behind. Felix tried to free himself when it belched acid at him... destroying everything-- his two swords, armor and helmet, though his clothes and the shield made it. In trouble, he raised his shield defensively, but Balinor managed to destroy it on the next hit.

We also found the lair of the things-- a juncture of several very old tunnels, that went noticeably deeper. We will return there and hopefully determine what is down there-- hopefully some of the gear of the various bandits and travelers they have eaten.

But first we returned to Restenford. Relkin, the legal commander who does our salvage tax, asked us if we'd killed a hill giant. He explained the belt was a sign of a hill giant chieftain or something, and he valued it at, oh, 3-5... thousand gold pieces!

Oh yeah, and the bastard sword was rated by Gaston as a +1/+1 quality weapon.

And the chain, identified by Peltar, gives the wearer additional ability to block with his sword! Morgan with his single weapon combat style seems the logical choice-- if only it worked with hammers...

So we paid the bastard sword as salvage tax plus credit, and hopefully the Baron will like that weapon (since he wields it).

Now to excavate a burrow worm's lair, and then we have to decide what to do next. Perry has suggested the demon worshipper problem in Trun.

It is likely that Perry will train, and possible but unlikely that Quentin will as a result of the adventure. Either way, we're all quite pleased at our progress into the lower mid-levels!


February 15, 1998

Defenders Log Entry #18: Don't They Have Anything Better to do?

Felix, 4th level fighter, 44 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 3rd level ranger, 25 hp, played by committee
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Balinor, 2nd level fighter, 19 hp, played by Joel
Quentin, 4th level druid, 16 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 4th level thief, 13 hp, played by Sean
Cassian, 1st level cleric, 9 hp, played by Katherine

Our party was moving at about a slug's pace due to the total paranoia atmosphere created by the friendly traps. We had to take out the minotaur golem, and the plan was to lure it under the crushing trap and have Perry release it.

Although it took Felix awhile to get the golem to follow him, the plan worked perfectly-- except that we didn't know the golem was immune to the traps, and the crushing stone failed to collapse on it. So it was back to old-fashioned combat; except of course, that only Balinor could harm it.

Thankfully Felix, Drew, and Morgan were able to distract the minotaur enough for Balinor to pummel it for over 50 points of damage, when it finally shattered. In addition, the fighters were bolstered by constant Cure Light Wounds spells from Quentin and Cassian.

We continued through and managed to explore all of the non-secret areas of the dungeon, revealing little but more traps and secret doors. We then decided to check out the secret doors.

We first chose one that by our map we had determined led into another already mapped corridor. Felix inserted the key while everyone else was around the corner. There was a huge THUD and Felix was crushed under the door as it fell on him.

Incredibly, Felix sustained 38 points of damage AND a 6 TIMES WOUND!!! Fortunately, he was saved by four Cure Light Wounds, plus a healing check, though he was forced into unconsciousness, and lost 2 hp and 1 constitution point permanently. This also took Felix out of the adventure.

We continued to explore the other doors, this time using extreme precautions involving our ten foot poles plus string and various apparatus to ensure that no one was anywhere near the door when it opened. Fun stuff happened-- some doors crushed and shattered like the one Felix had encountered, but others were visually more impressive.

Several doors opened to reveal catapults of flaming pitch or something, which just blew up whoever was standing in the door (though the arc was high enough that if Perry opened the door, it would have missed him!). Another couple actually traveled down the corridor at high speed and violently pushed the victim into a pit trap farther down the corridor.

One appeared not to do anything, but in fact as we stood there waiting, a zombielike fanged creature burst around the corner at Drew, missing. Balinor roared, and he and Morgan attacked it. Unfortunately, normal weapons appeared ineffective. Scowling, Balinor attacked, and FUMBLED WITH BOTH WEAPONS...

He damaged himself with Maiden Basher, then his big whiff with Blunt allowed the creature to crack him in the side. Suddenly, Balinor was 1st level. Uggh.

Morgan drew his silver longsword against what was clearly a wight, and Perry and Cassian frantically shot it with silver arrows. The wight beat down Balinor again, dropping him to 0-level and onto the ground bleeding. Fortunately, at that moment, Cassian and Perry finished it off.

A few days later, Balinor had regained level 1, but had lost his second level permanently.

The final door we checked was quite interesting. After having bypassed about 6 traps in the corridor, we made it to the door, which opened into a large room where the mist was FINALLY dispersed. There were two iron pillars-- in fact the whole room was iron. Detect Magic actually worked in this room, revealing that the pillars were magical.

We needed to find out if the key for the secret door was on the other side, and so Drew went onto the other side and waited for the door to open. It opened, to reveal Drew getting clobbered by some sticklike iron golemish being!

Apparently the right column was actually this golem in disguise. It moved incredibly fast and had a large number of appendages, but fortunately could only use two of them against a single opponent.

The party ran about in confusion. Grimly, Balinor moved to block the monster and swung, damaging it with Maiden Basher. He yelled for everyone to get out as quickly as possible, intending to sacrifice his life, and took a vicious hit. The party was fleeing behind him, but Cassian refused to abandon him, instead curing him of damage as fast as it came at him.

Balinor growled and began a slow withdrawal in hopes of reaching the thinner doorway, where it could swing once at him. Fortunately the creature was slow. Balinor continuously crushed it with phenominal attacks, while Cassian continued curing him at an astounding rate. After blasting the creature and never missing on six attacks, it crashed to the ground, just as Cassian used her final cure. Breathing a heavy sigh of relief, the party returned.

Worried about the door shutting during our exploration, we actually broke it by jamming it with a Stoneshape preventing the door from closing. This made it considerably easier to run in and out of the room.

The room still had one pillar remaining. Cautiously we poked at it, but it didn't respond. We then noticed three of the secret panel indentations at different heights.

We used the key and discovered that there were three stone jars, with magic lids, in the three compartments. Assuming the worst, we used an enormous number of precautions, including astrology readings, Slow Poison, Protection from Fire, Protection from Evil, and Bless all cast on Quentin. Quentin Stoneshaped a hole and we scooped out... treasure!!! We did it!

All told:

We got about 8000 gp, scrolls of Slow Poison/Neutralize Poison, Cure Light Wounds x 2, Detect Lie/ Know Alignment, and RAISE DEAD! There were four travelling spellbooks-- two were clearly beginner books (one mage and one illusionist), but the other two had: Levitate/ Shatter/ Web, and Haste/ Monster Summoning I.

There were 7 potions: Healing x 3, Extra-Healing, Flying, Climbing, and Gaseous Form.

There were two permanent magic items:

Some weird lenses that grant strong resistance against, arrghhh, gaze attacks... and a druidic staff! +1 club for druids, and by using charges can manipulate plants and trees!

We kept: Raise Dead scroll, druid staff, lenses, Extra-Healing, Healing x2, Flying, Climbing, Gaseous Form, and scrolls of Cure Light Wounds x2, and Slow/Neutralize Poison. And 5000 gp.

Quite a nice haul! Now at least there's another magic weapon in the party! As for the lenses, we hope to be able to trade them to maybe a government, perhaps for another magic weapon or armor. In the meantime, we now have a ton of one-shot items, and a really nice Raise Dead scroll if we need it! And money.

Finally, it appears that Cassian will undoubtedly get 2nd level, and feasibly but not likely 3rd level. Drew will undoubtedly get 4th level. Balinor will regain 2nd level, and possibly get 3rd level as well.

A resounding success at last!


February 08, 1998

Defenders Log Entry #17: Underground Terror

Felix, 4th level fighter, 44 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 3rd level ranger, 25 hp, played by committee
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Balinor, 2nd level fighter, 19 hp, played by Joel
Quentin, 4th level druid, 16 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 4th level thief, 13 hp, played by Sean
Cassian, 1st level cleric, 9 hp, played by Katherine

Virtually all movement during this session was done at about .2".

The mist did not detect as evil, so, excuses gone, we headed down the corridor. After a brief amount of checking, we were abruptly attacked by five skeletons and five zombies!

After an impressive first swing doing 22 points of damage to a skeleton, who promptly fell apart, Balinor found himself frustrated and held at bay. Felix and Morgan blew apart the rest, with a little help from Perry. We pulled the bodies outside-- they were robed and had odd masks on. Turning by the cleric Cassian did in fact work-- the one remaining one fled, only to be chopped apart by Felix. Visibility here, by the way, is a whopping 3 feet with the Continual Light items. Furthermore, we showed that the aura emitted by the entire mist effectively prevented Detect Magic from working.

Drawing upon folklore, Cassian suggested that the skeletons might be of a special variety, since they were wearing death masks of the islands north of Lendore. The fiery red eye sockets still glowed in death, and detected as magical. That is, until Balinor smashed them into little bits with his magical hammer. His regular hammer Bessie got two kills, and he switched to Rip to give it a fair chance.

After avoiding a trip wire trap that would bring a smashing block down on the party, we turned the corner, Perry and Felix in the lead. Suddenly, the rope attached to Morgan fell out of his hands, and there was a cry of "AAAAHHHHH!!!" fading from Felix as he apparently fell a great height into the "floor." We looked through the illusionary surface and saw a swirling vortex. Since Felix could still hear us, barely, and was still yelling about falling after a full minute, we decided that this was some weird illusion. Balinor reached into the floor and wished for Felix-- who promptly popped up, comatose from having bumped his head repeatedly on something. Bizarre trap there. No permanent affects though-- it appears it basically was a great place to hide stuff.

We found a pit trap covering the center area of a room along a different corridor. A couple of general notes: this place is a small maze of corridors and "secret panels" like the one at the entrance. We chose to avoid secret doors and traps at all costs and proceed along the clear ways, assuming that perhaps if someone actually wanted to retrieve the treasure, he would have to get there without dying.

Next, we entered an open space and proceeded along a wall. Suddenly, the entrance to the room slammed shut and poison gas sprayed into the room. Everyone except Cassian and Quentin immediately collapsed. Furthermore, a crystalline elf maiden started heading toward Cassian. Her arrow shattered on impact, which was quite bad. Meanwhile, Quentin desperately cast Stoneshape and began to open a hole in the door. He finished, and Cassian continued running from the golem-like thing. Quentin realized the danger and cast Slow Poison on Balinor, who rose up slightly damaged.

Suddenly, the poison hit again and both Cassian and Quentin dropped, leaving Balinor alone. He scooped up a Healing Potion from Felix and downed as he approached the golem. The elf closed and suddenly swordlike crystal things sprang from her "hands" and sliced at Balinor, hurting him. The potion healed him back up, and he swung the magic hammer-- cracking the maiden everywhere. Heedless, the golem swung again and missed. Balinor smashed it again and it shattered.

He then tossed the party through the Stoneshaped hole, and lugged everyone back to camp, where they shirked off the poison. Everyone was fine, but we waited a day before reentering.

The golem room had seemed to have treasure spilling everywhere, but we were wary of tricks. An astrology done by Cassian was VERY unambiguous:

Is the treasure worth taking?

No words. The number 163,265 is important. The color copper is important.

Duh. Worthless decoy. Cassian cast a Precipitation spell which pretty well cleared the area of poison, and we investigated. Perry got nailed by a poison needle trap on a chest full of coppers, but since we had already cast Slow Poison on him this didn't particularly concern us (Quentin then cast Neutralize Poison). Generally the room was full of crappy items disguised to look nice. There were in fact two secret panels leaving the room.

We ran out of corridors, BARELY dodging a VERY nasty trap in two different places. This beaut opened the floor up suddenly, dropped you in glistening spikes, shut, and then the spikes rattled around like a blender. A real work of something.

Perry then managed to disarm the trip wire traps, despite failing on one of them and causing it to fall, but not anywhere near Perry. The pit traps were avoidable in general.

Finally we came to another room like the first golem room. We decided to be smart this time, and chucked a piece of wood in. Rushing out were... five zombies and five skeletons. The same thing happened again, except this time Balinor only managed to kill one before they began repeatedly hitting him. They were summarily dispatched.

Next, Felix went in alone, and Quentin immediately began casting Stone Shape on the door when it shut as expected. Felix retreated to the corner and suddenly found himself fending off attacks from a crystalline golem-- this one about 10 feet tall and having the appearance of a minotaur! It beat him up before he managed to escape, and inflicted a wound. We fell back when its arm reached through the Stoneshaped section of the door. Balinor whacked it soundly, sending cracks up the arm, but was grabbed and had his hammer knocked out of his hand. It was scooped up by Morgan, and Balinor fell back. There was a clicking sound, and the door mechanism began to reset. The door was about to open!

We retreated all the way outside, and the golem clearly followed us right up until the final door. Thankfully it didn't emerge.

We healed that night, and went back in the next day, after incinerating the bodies of the skeletons and zombies from the previous battle. We couldn't seem to find the golem though, and we assume it has gone back to its reset position in the room, which is where we are now standing, trying to decide what to do.


February 01, 1998

Defenders Log Entry #16: Aftermath/ Treasure Division

Felix, 2nd level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 2nd level ranger, 19 hp, played by committee
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

When we last left our DECEASED party, they had just been raised, minus Tyveris. He was an honored member of the party, which has affectionately referred to him as "The Voice of Nevron" for his uncanny success with Command spells.

Summary of treasure:

We gained these magic items:

1. Bag of Holding
2. Compass
3. Hand Axe+1
4. Ioun Stone of Sustenance
5. Knowledge Fork
6. Healing Potion
7. Speed Potion

and quite a bit of money. The party's cash flow, in and out, was truly immense, for us anyway.

For example, the reward for the dagger was 25,000 gp-- but the Raise Dead spells cost 24,500 gp, netting us 500 gp. It kept going like that.

We lost the Potion of Speed and Ioun Stone to salvage tax.

We then traded the compass and Bracelet of AC 9 for a hammer+1 and Bracers of AC 6.

The hand axe was lost as a result of the hammer/bracers trade.

Horizon Line and a Box of Holding were given to the rescuing party, known as the Hand of Faith, led by the Nevronian cleric Malthus. Along with massive amounts of cash and gems, etc.

The money was quite tight though, thanks to MASSIVE TRAINING. To make ends meet reasonably, we had to sell the Necklace of Goblins off.

I'll come back to what we gained in a moment.

After our eight month downtime, including many trips, Perry arrived back from Koralgesh (where he trained with his original master) on April 12th, 2174, and we all met in Restenford to discuss options. We decided to go with investigating the area under Abbey Isle, which the elven fighter/mage Bayleaf had given us the key to. The navy has hired us to assess and hopefully clear any dangers and traps out. We get the treasure, which is rumored to be the high priest's stash of wealth.

We arrived on the isle, and completed an astrology on the final day. This was done by our new cleric, Cassian, played by Katherine.

Question: What lies in store for the party? (Nice and vague)

Result: Doors to nowhere and abominations to Phaulkon will plague the party. The color transparent and the number 16 is important.

There were many thoughts on this, and there will be more during the week, I'm sure. We cast Detect Magic on the room with the door, and the door detected as low magic. Felix inserted the key in the indentation, and the door slowly opened. Inside was a mist, which did leave the corridor beyond, and instead just swirled around in there. It detected as magical.

We pulled the key out of the door, and it shut after about a minute, but not before we noted that there was a similar keyhole on the other side of the door.

We couldn't make out any details of the inside.

So we successfully set up our next adventure.

We were, at the end, left with a few thousand left over, but it was ugly for a while.

The Defenders have multiplied their power massively:

Quentin Browne is now a 4th level druid with 16 hp. He gained some woodland languages, including treant, gained 3rd level spells (he can now memorize 14 spells!), and managed to keep most of his animals, despite dying. The only one lost was the owl Darellon. Quentin picked up another owl, and named it Tyveris. Cute. He also learned sling.

Perry gained 3 levels! He is now a 4th level thief. With the knowledge fork, his ability to pick locks has reached 80% in some cases! He has 13 hp, and gained several proficiencies. He spent time with his family while training in Koralgesh.

Felix trained in Barnacus, gaining two levels. He is now a 4th level fighter. Felix continued his absurd hit points streak and gained 22 more to stand at 44 hp! He gained several proficiencies.

Morgan trained under the Baron of Restenford, gaining 4th level as well. He regained much of his lost strength, and advanced to 22 hp. He also picked up longbow and sprinting.

Drew gained one level and trained to 3rd level. He gained 6 hp and now has a maximum of 25. Drew has also gained the proficiency Falchion.

Joining the party:

Balinor is a 2nd level fighter, a veteran guard and grumpy adventurer. He is extremely ugly, insulting, and dislikeable. But no one can deny his effectiveness with two hammers, one now magical. He carries three hammers on his person from his previous experience, named Bessie, Rip, and Blunt. The magical hammer has not yet been named. He is never smiling, and generally looks for problems. He can be more pleasant once you get to know him though.

Balinor is a 6'8" Northerner, double hammer ambidexterous specialist with 19 hp.

Also joining us is Cassian, the 1st level Phaulkonian cleric with 9 hp. She is pretty and friendly, and the party has already accepted her as a solid companion. She has interests in astrology, swimming, and local history and lore. She wields a longbow, and a sling.

That's the current party composition. Here's the short form:
Felix, 4th level fighter, 44 hp, played by Alex
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 4th level druid, 16 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 4th level thief, 13 hp, played by Sean
Drew, 3rd level ranger, 25 hp, played by committee, and Jack
Balinor, 2nd level fighter, 19 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 1st level cleric of Phaulkon, 9 hp, played by Katherine

Next session: The Return of the Idiots (to Abbey Isle)

Plans for the future: Apparently minor bandit activity has been starting up again... and the gnolls are still around....