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June 29, 1998

Defenders Log Entry #31: There's Always Room for Jello

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Aaron
Balinor, 4th level fighter, 43 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine
Morgan, 5th level fighter, 27 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 6th level druid, 25 hp, played by Jeremy
Kodo, 1st level woodsman, 24 hp, played by Rob
Donald, 3rd level mage, 16 hp, played by Donald
Narahn, 1st level fighter, 7 hp, played by Dave
Alduin, 1st level thief, 6 hp, played by Vic

The party was last left standing in front of a weird door with symbols on it. Some numerology and other things were attempted, and in the end Morgan, then Quentin, and finally Cassian put the pieces together and discovered that the indented symbols represented negative numbers, and the protruding symbols were positive, and the moon was zero. Summing this to the top symbol (2), this solved the problem of having an 8 digit code instead of 7 since 2 was the starting position, and took the 3-dimensionality into account. In any case, it worked, and instead of being blasted, Felix was shocked to discover that the two symbols on the top, a moon and a sun, were glowing.

Felix touched the sun. That's when the wraith thing came out of the door.

Felix fell over immediately, shivering with cold and convulsing. Balinor swung Maiden Basher at it, and hit, but THE WEAPON WENT THROUGH IT.

Cassian's turning attempt had no effect. Then it hit Cassian, and she crumpled as well.

Balinor then managed to hit it with Thud, the silver hammer. Amazingly, this injured it! "Attack it with silver!"

Quentin had already used a charge on the Rod of Thorns to make it a +2 shilelagh, but was having difficulties hitting the creature, and so we never actually found out if +2 weapons affected it. (Quentin�s note: Dammit!) Morgan stopped his desperate unwrapping of Thunderstruck, the magic longsword, and swung his silver one at it.

It turned and knocked Balinor down with a double chill wound. Fortunately, between the efforts of Alduin, Narahn, Morgan and Kodo, it fell. Quentin threw a Cure Serious on Balinor, and all three shivering people recovered in a few minutes.

Donald realized it wasn't a wraith, but rather some negative material creature.

Feeling gutsy, we tried it again. This time Balinor pressed both the symbols. Then he fell over shivering again. The second negative thing went down under a hail of silver arrows, silver coins from coin slinging Quentin, and silver swords. Everyone recovered, again.

Then we tried just touching the moon (after some debate). The door opened, and an 8 foot diameter tunnel of swirling mist opened up. Twenty feet down the corridor was a room lit by some sort of magical light. There were 6 beeps, and it closed after thirty seconds, violently spitting out the rock we had tossed into the tunnel.

The door vanished completely.

Right on with Quentin's prediction, though, it reappeared 24 hours later.

Felix ran through the corridor the next time it opened, and took a quick look around, then ran back. There was a 10x10 room with completely smoothed walls, and a single corridor leading out.

Over the next week or so, we tried various experiments:

We left two rocks in there, Continual Light and normal, and they ended up in different places, but were generally shifted around. A chalk arrow we drew was smeared all over the place. Sand we dumped in was also scattered. Iron rations vanished, packaging and all. A note with different languages on it vanished, along with a bag.

We decided that since nothing over there was communicating, it would be better to go for the gusto and send a party through. The restrictions were that only five people could safely cross in there in 30 seconds. So we decided to send Cassian, Balinor, Morgan, and Alduin in.

On an inspiration we cast an Augury with our remaining component (from the Garroten affair)-"Would it beneficial for these people to head through?" This of course required a 24 hour stay unless there was a way to open the door from the other side. On an 01 result, we got this: "Phenomenal failure will result unless minor changes are made."

Disturbing, but also encouraging. However we could not guess what minor changes to make. Eventually we decided to send in Donald in addition to the four, with Web, Sleep, and Magic Missile.

Judging from the result, I don't think this was what the Augury guy had in mind.

The portal snapped shut from the other side, leaving a blank non-magical wall. The walls were entirely smooth, but we had the elves do some checking around. Alduin noticed that there was a 3x3 hollow space in one of the walls. About this time, Balinor heard a voice in dwarven say, "One minute remaining."

Oh boy. We took that as a bad sign-apparently we were in a dwarven trash compactor or something! We ran to the tunnel, and discovered a magical door with three locks on it. Uh oh.

Alduin began frantically attempting to pick the lock. Despite being low-level, he actually managed to pick the first lock and began work on the second. Then there was a humming noise, and the 3x3 panel opened and something black slithered out. It was some sort of collective creature with a whole bunch of legs that oozed around.

Managing not to panic, Donald calmly informed us that the thing was almost certainly a black pudding, a creature he had thought restricted to the Adventuring Reserve. They are apparently impervious to just about anything. You're not supposed to attack them, since slashing at them may split the constituents of the creature and have us facing multiple black puddings with all the power of the original.

In short, we were dead unless Alduin opened the door. Miraculously, Alduin picked the second lock, and went on to the third, but the creature was approaching. Morgan tossed a silver piece at it, and noticed that the thing slithered toward the coin and dissolved it! We started using our coinage to lead the creature in a bunch of trips around the room to buy time. If we could do this for twenty-four hours, we would be ok, but we only had a few hours of stuff.

Then the $#!+ hit the fan. Alduin was unable to pick the third lock. In desperation, Cassian threw a Dispel Magic at the door, but failed, and it relocked. Although Alduin could unlock the two he had done before, the third would elude him forever. The door was too hard for Balinor to knock down.

We saw our doom approaching.

Balinor hollered for it to stop in dwarven, yelling obscenities and anything else he knew, but we suspected that the dwarven voice had been automated in some way.

We continued playing with the silver pieces, but it looked like the creature was having less and less interest in the stuff. Then we switched to dried rations, but that eventually became uninteresting as well. Finally we came up with a plan.

We lured the creature back into it's opening with the coins, and Balinor and Morgan slammed the door shut. This worked, but it was apparent that the creature was much stronger than Balinor and Morgan combined. Cassian, Alduin, and Donald ran to help them, and everyone dug their heels, but could only hold it for a few minutes before we had to run from it again.

We were dead unless we could kill it, so we tried everything. Taking out her soap, Cassian threw pieces at it, AND INFLICTED 0-1 DAMAGE. Finally, it became apparent that the whole bar together would work better, and Cassian threw 20 coin weights of soap at the thing, inflicting some damage. We cast a Web at it, which had no apparent effect. Then we lit the web on fire with the two torches we had, and this definitely injured it. Not a whole lot though.

We tried lighting objects and tossing them at the creature, including Cassian's sleeves. This did some minor damage, maybe. Finally, we tried to superheat one of Morgan's greaves, and threw it at the creature. We then discovered that it is not the heat, but simply the flame that injures the things, something that no one else knows.

Well, we would be glad to share that information, but didn't think we would be around long enough to do it.

Seeing no other option, Morgan went up to the creature with a torch and swung, injuring it somewhat. It struck back, but even black puddings are affected the Morgan Magic, and it missed. He ran back.

We were up against a wall, with no options left. The banzai attacks that have always led the Defenders to great things spurred us on, and we began our last stand.

Balinor and Morgan ran at the creature with torches blazing. It was already somewhat injured, and a few of the colonial creatures were a weird gray color. Of course, our armor did nothing to protect, and the thing could attack as soon as we gave it an opening. Balinor and Morgan attacked, and together we were able to shield each other enough that Morgan was harder to hit than usual. Morgan hit and Balinor missed, and then the creature struck back, doing 15 points to Balinor, but (surprise) actually fumbling while attacking Morgan. Morgan took his free attack against the slime monster and hit it. Cassian threw a Cure Light Wounds on him, and we continued the attack. Donald threw a Sleep spell, which had no effect. The Wand of Paralysis may have had some infinitesimal effect, nailing one of the colonial creatures, but nothing significant happened when Donald used it.

This continued for a little while, Morgan nailing the creature and dodging attacks, Balinor missing and getting pasted. Cassian cast all but one of her Cure Lights and an Aid, when it became clear Balinor was about to fall. She used her scroll, throwing two Cure Lights on him in time to bring him up to some hit points. We attacked it again, and both missed. The thing struck back, missing Morgan AGAIN (it needs something like a 6 to hit Morgan, a 2 to hit Balinor), but knocking Balinor to his knees (2 hp). Finally, Balinor and Morgan both hit for the first time. Cassian began her final Cure Light Wounds, and it went off at the same time as the creature counterattacked.

It hit both Morgan and Balinor. Morgan remained up, but the Cure Light was only a drop in the bucket for the brutalized Balinor. He fell backward, dying on impact, though he managed to fling his torch back to Cassian as collapsed. The creature slithered to start disintegrating the fallen fighter.

Cassian picked up the torch and charged with Morgan. Incredibly, they both hit and pasted the creature, ACTUALLY KILLING IT.

Balinor's armor had shielded him long enough that he was still intact, but quite dead (-12 instantly). Cassian tended Morgan's wound, and they sat back to wait.

24 hours later, the door opened again, and everyone rushed through. I suppose in hindsight that the minor change would have been more torches or Quentin with a Flame Blade.

It was clear that there was no Raise Dead for Balinor that be cast in time. Cassian realized that the only option was for her to use the scroll of Raise Dead. Using Speak with Dead, Balinor indicated that if there was no other option and everyone else thought he was worth it, he would like Cassian to use the scroll.

On an incredible series of rolls, Cassian successfully cast the spell, and despite a -80% to the system shock roll, Balinor was raised with no permanent damage. (Would have been comeliness!)

He recovered for a day, and more expeditions were planned. Balinor and Donald would wait outside in case they were trapped and needed to open the door again, and the rest of the party would investigate inside. The bluish lockpicks turned out to be mithril, with a +5% to the chance, but even with the improvement, Alduin couldn't successfully open the door.

With Alduin helping, the strong people tried to bash the mechanism. Felix failed, then Kodo failed, then Balinor failed, then Morgan failed, but ironically, Cassian succeeded.

Looking embarrassed, Balinor claimed he was still a little disoriented from being dead. Kodo muttered something.

Beyond the door was a weird metallic room with a number of small caskets in it. There was a secret panel Alduin discovered, which had a button and a lever in it. The button and lever operated the door and black pudding panel. Incidentally, as long as the door was open, the portal remained open as well. As a precaution, Quentin Stoneshaped a section to keep the door open.

We checked out the stuff in the room, which included 54 gems, three scrolls and three potions.

Having found everything we thought was there, we simply packed up and left.

We headed for a nearby town in Sark called Canterbury. The leader there was very reasonable, but he had learned much of what had happened from the miners who had complained. He told us that Traywick was wanted for some minor things like evasion of salvage tax, but generally was disliked and suspected of much worse. He pointed out to Morgan that the sword was one of the common ways of identifying him in wanted posters, and that he should be careful.

In addition, we had created a slight mess. If we had known about Canterbury, we would have come here and asked what was going on beforehand, but of course we didn't know. The leader understood that, but was hoping we would pay at least the cash salvage tax to him rather than using our powers as deputies to delay payment until Restenford. He would have to pay reparations to the families of the dead people, and we understood his plight. He also pointed out he could have us detained for a month until it was all sorted out.

We saw his point, and not only paid the 25% salvage tax, but gave him an extra 6 gems. He found this quite generous, and provided us with rooms at the inn, some mules, and a nice traveling route to take back. I think it restored some respect in his eyes, and he stated that he would take that into consideration when dealing with Baron Grellus' men in the future.

We got back to Restenford just barely in time as the ports closed. We had spent a full month in the cave!

Balinor trained to level 5 and gained 7 hp to stand at 50.
Narahn trained to level 2 and gained 4 hp to stand at 11.
Kodo trained to level 2 and gained 6 hp to stand at 30.

In addition, Alduin and Donald will train (to 2nd and 4th respectively) when the ports reopen in March.

Balinor donated his personal share to the Phaulkonian Church in thanks for Cassian's effort. He also purchased a bar of soap which he carries at all times ("just in case a black pudding shows up"), and has mixed feelings about the soap bugbear head.


1. Three scrolls: Protection from Elementals (all types-very cool scroll)
2. Protection from Weretigers (wacky)
3. Scroll with 2nd level mage spell Shatter-Donald will learn this.


1. Potion of Diminution
2. Extra-Healing (on Dark Helmet)
3. Invulnerability
4. Elixir of Health (all three are totally awesome)
5. A weird bottle-probably has something like an efreet in it...

Other stuff:

1. 7 permanent +1 arrows
2. +2 small shield
3. Thunderstruck
4. Bracers AC 7/7

Quality Items:

1. Bastard sword +1/+1
2. Composite Longbow +1/+1
3. Scimitar +1/+0

54 gems at 250 gp apiece, and some money...

Salvage tax took about 20 of the gems. The Baron's cut removed another 15 or so, and relieved half of his debt to us. Magic items salvage tax took the "genie bottle", scroll of Protection from Weretigers, half of the Elixir of Health, the Potion of Diminution, and the bastard sword.

What happened to the other stuff?

The Elixir of Health is a kicking item that can cure basically ANYTHING. Permanent insanities, feeblemind, you name it. We used half the potion to cure Donald's deafness, and he can now hear normally! Congratulations, Donald!

At least 5 of the 7 arrows are going to Drew as his parting share. Quentin took the scimitar, and Morgan took the composite longbow. The bracers were given to Alduin. Cassian is using the +2 small shield.

Then there's the sword. This is a Morgan weapon:

Thunderstruck is a +1 longsword that if you yell out the name, once per day it can do tons of damage and possibly stun an opponent, as Balinor can attest to. In addition, just wearing it has two effects:

Negative: You take extra damage from lightning, since it draws it to you like a magnet.
Positive: It acts like a LUCKBLADE. For Morgan, this is just totally disgusting.

After training expenses have been dealt with, I would guess that the party will have around 5-6000 gold remaining (in gems and such), in addition to about 3000 owed by the Baron and large hunks of Barnacus training credit still remaining.

Slightly tragic, but ultimately successful!

RIP Lynore, a brave half-elven thief whose luck didn't hold...

Final status:

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp
Balinor, 5th level fighter, 50 hp
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp
Kodo, 2nd level woodsman, 30 hp
Morgan, 5th level fighter, 27 hp
Quentin, 6th level druid, 25 hp
Donald, 4th level mage, 16 + level hp
Narahn, 2nd level fighter, 11 hp
Alduin, 2nd level thief, 6 + level hp

Aaron's new character will be a 1st level halfling hairfoot thief with 5 hp. He is a master locksmith (x5) and is named Haladir.

We won't be playing next week, so the adventures resume July 11th!


June 25, 1998

Defenders Log Entry #30: Knock on Stone

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Aaron
Balinor, 4th level fighter, 43 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine
Morgan, 5th level fighter, 27 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 6th level druid, 25 hp, played Jeremy (Joel this game)
Kodo, 1st level woodsman, 24 hp, played by Rob
Donald, 3rd level mage, 16 hp, NPC
Narahn, 1st level fighter, 7 hp, played by Dave
Alduin, 1st level thief, 6 hp, played by Vic

When we last left the fairly beleaguered party, they had just trashed 25 men at no loss to the party. Upon scouting ahead, it was discovered that there were at least 7 more people remaining, apparently evacuating the area. Deciding that we couldn't risk a direct confrontation without loss, we held back about 6 hours for healing. We killed all the people in the Web and those asleep. An item search revealed:

1. Thunderstruck, the long sword wielded by Morgan's opponent
2. Bracers
3. Small shield
4. Potion

and a non-magical quality bastard sword and a quality scimitar, and some weird bluish lockpicks. Quentin replaced his scimitar with the good one, Balinor is holding the bastard sword and put the potion in his potion box, Cassian took the shield, Alduin is carrying the bracers, and Morgan has wrapped up and is carrying the long sword, Thunderstruck.

About 4 hours into the process, the last guards gave a thumbs up and abandoned their posts, retreating out another exit. We healed up a bit and explored the compound, discovering that it had clearly been built by dwarves, but had been disassembled by the current occupants.

We explored the rest of it, and it became natural cavern, eventually leading to a stable area where several horses had been kept. There was a rising "stair" that led to the outside, approximately where the prospector had disappeared when Alduin had followed him before the raid. In addition, there was a very smart hobgoblin warbird in a cage that we freed after talking to it and getting it to promise not to kill us. In addition, it scouted out the area and found the retreating group of people heading down the hill with a cart and horses. Eventually it became clear that this was the one that attacked Narahn earlier. There was another empty cage for the other bird, which was lost in the wild somewhere.

We continued healing and investigating, doing Speak with Dead on the single poisoned grubby man we had found in one of the rooms. The room with the warbirds had a decent sized throne which may have been used by the dwarves. The gems in it had clearly been pried out, probably by our buddies with the swords. Behind it was this room surrounded by iron, and accessible only by a once cleverly hidden secret door, though not now. In the room was grubby dead man, with a black hand. We think he was a dissatisfied miner who went to see if the long sword man had the treasure and wasn't paying it. He was surprised to be dead when we talked with him, and was rather cooperative.

One thing we were definitely able to confirm both from the miners and the body of bastard sword woodswoman is that the leader had not actually found any treasure, and was merely excavating fairly randomly. It should be noted that a Locate Object turned up nothing in the main area of the compound (locating chests, gold coins, and gems).

We followed the fleeing people and caught up to them. Rather than slaughtering them, we decided to talk. Balinor, Felix, and Kodo strode up to the camp and bellowed out a greeting. Realizing that even though there were 14 of them they were dead meat in fight, so they agreed. For 100 gp, the leader told us quite a bit.

A group of four people, Traywick, Linda, Mavelle, and one other name I can't remember, hired them to excavate the mines for "dwarven treasure." They had a map quite similar to ours and said they would pay the miners upon finding the treasure. After a while there was still no treasure, and the miners were getting anxious about being paid, but they became frightened of their employers. Apparently they were not particularly lovely folk. Traywick was the leader, referred to as "the Terrible One" by the warbird. He was the long sword guy. Linda was the bastard sword wielding woodswoman-she had her own notations of the map, before Traywick burned it. Mavelle, we think, was the prospector, though the description did not match at all. But assassins can definitely disguise themselves. The last was the cleric of Kord (Dark Helmet), who of course refused to heal the miners' injuries when there was a minor cave-in. He scared them.

About 5 or 6 of them were miners, the rest were soldiers. There was another "leader" who argued a lot with the leader of the miners. He was quite bitter that we had killed 15 of his men (embarrassed blush here from Felix) and just wanted us to go away. We did, and returned uneventfully to the cave.

We decided to explore this grate near where we had initially come in, and Morgan, Narahn, and Alduin went to check it out. Lifting the grate Narahn climbed in and had to stoop to walk down the corridor (he's a halfling). Suddenly a Light glyph went off, but he managed to avoid being blinded. Then the lanterns and continual light pouches began to fade, and darkness overtook everything, destroying infravision as well. In the darkness something was moving, and something tried to shear Morgan's finger off, though it failed. Something jumped on Alduin and then jumped off. They ran out of the darkness to find themselves intact but missing stuff. Morgan's magic ring finger had been sliced neatly right below the ring. His Chain of the Warlord was hanging loose. Alduin's backpack had been severed, and the bracers we had found had been removed.

Donald had absolutely no idea what creatures those could be.

A Detect Evil revealed no evil about Thunderstruck, and since it lasted a while we prepared better for the grate. This time we tried some experiments. Note that during this Detect Evil revealed nothing, and Detect Life revealed life.

Balinor tossed a rock in the grate, but nothing happened. Narahn went inside and the darkness descended again. We yanked him out quickly, but he had taken some damage on his arm. Fortunately he had swung with his dagger at the thing, and hit, drawing some weird magical blood residue. We then tossed a torch in, and it flickered and went out. Then Cassian threw a Dispel Magic at the darkness, and it vanished. There was a creature with weird black rags on it, but we didn't get much of a look before it suddenly exploded with a blinding light. Cassian and Balinor fell back, unable to see, and the darkness descended again. Donald threw a Sleep spell, and two of the creatures were lying there. We got a decent look at them when Narahn crept up to them. The corridor went to an intersection, and there was water to one side, and more tunnel straight ahead.

Then Narahn noted that the torchlight was burning the little creatures, and in mercy he put it out and backed away.

The darkness suddenly returned and began floating toward the grate. We backed away, and the darkness seemed to come slightly out of the grate for a moment... and the bracers popped out. Then the darkness receded.

We decided that since no actual harm was done to us, we would accept the peace offering and leave them alone. They probably have a number of magic items, but they aren't evil and just hate light and crave magic items. The creatures themselves seem to be made of magic. Leaving them alone seems prudent.

With more Speak with Dead from Cassian, we determined quite a bit about the purpose of the people here. Acting on an inspiration, we sent Felix running up and down the rushing water with a Waterwalk spell from Cassian. Upstream was the lake that the water drained from, but about 15 feet downstream was a ledge that he could climb up on. Felix reached the top and wandered around for a minute before finding a latch. The latch opened a secret door back into the chasm we were standing in. Walking through it and exploring this new corridor, we discovered a weird door. The door and the surrounding walls were magical, and the door had five symbols on it in a wheel pattern. The wheel could in fact be turned, and we tried out a combination we thought we had deciphered from the hash marks on our map. However, our combination was 8 symbols long, and after the seventh a foghorn blew and Felix was blasted for substantial lightning damage (24 points). By this time were fully healed, having spent about a week here, so this was little concern, but we used Protection from Lightning to try a few other possibilities with Balinor, but unfortunately we were unable to open it. Currently we are sitting frustrated near the door, having little idea what the combination could be, or even how to enter it (clockwise, counterclockwise, do you return to the first symbol in between each entry, things like that).

Before we tried combinations, Cassian threw a Dispel Magic, and the door and walls vanished entirely for one minute, leaving a blank, non-magical wall. Quentin's Stoneshape had little effect.

Well, we're still thinking of ideas. It has been suggested that we pull out and ask for sage's help on the map at least. Maybe we can have the magic items IDed at the same time. There is a question of whether Traywick will leave us alone if we ditch his sword, or he's the vengeful type. In any case, if it is evil, I recommend destroying it. If not, then I think Morgan needs to decide whether the risk is acceptable to him.


June 22, 1998

Defenders Log Entry #29: A Well is a Well (oh hell, oh hell...)

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Alex (various people this time)
Balinor, 4th level fighter, 43 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine (Joel for this game)
Morgan, 5th level fighter, 27 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 6th level druid, 25 hp, played by Jeremy
Kodo, 1st level woodsman, 24 hp, played by Rob
Donald, 3rd level mage, 16 hp, NPC
Narahn, 1st level fighter, 7 hp, played by Dave
Lynore, 1st level thief, 7 hp, played by Aaron
Alduin, 1st level thief, 6 hp, played by Vic

The party was last left staring at a rutted track leading up the path we suspected was on our "treasure map." We headed up the trail for about 20 minutes before tripping a trip wire and setting off a bell in the distance. After nothing immediate happened, we scouted out the area and discovered pipe with running water leading up the hill under the ground a few feet. The trip wire went through this, and was untraceable.

I may have forgotten to mention this in the last summary, but there was a an eagle and hawk that had nearly killed Cassian's bird during the trip up here. We thought that was weird at the time.

At this point, the "eagle" swooped out of the sky and ripped Quoth, one of Quentin's crows, to pieces (Quentin�s Note: Dammit!). We got a decent look at it, and Donald identified it as a hobgoblin warbird, a trained killer.

Shaken, we retreated back to the bottom, then set up a camp. We sent Lynore and Narahn to remain hidden near the trip wire to see who came, and sent Alduin to scout farther up.

Morris, Quentin's other crow, was convinced to stay with Lynore and return the party only if a large war party was headed our way.

Alduin snuck up trail and discovered a small ruined village in a circular cluster at the top. It was nestled in a bowl shaped valley, and strangely the church in the center looked restored.

Alduin circled around the village, noting two guards at the entrance to it.

Meanwhile, Narahn and Lynore saw a party of seven people head down the trail. Leading them was a woman in banded mail with two bastard swords, tracking. There was an unarmored older man wearing travelling clothes on a horse. There was also a man with banded mail and great helm, with a strange insignia on his shield, the runic letter, W.

Lynore overheard things like "Well, they came to this point and turned around." Or, "Probably some idiots from the Northlands." The dreaded "Hey, one of them scrambled up this tree!" alarmed Lynore (in the tree). Lynore held very still, and they didn't seem to notice him.

Then the tracker spotted Narahn in the bushes. He broke and ran, and was chased by five of the people. Lynore sent Morris back during the confusion. It should be noted that the warbird was definitely around.

Narahn evaded his pursuers and ran back to the party, though not before the party had tromped up there, done some tracking, and gotten generally confused. The tracks of the pursuers were quite clear, but we lost Narahn's tracks easily.

Lynore watched the other party decide to head back up the trail, and he waited for awhile, then returned to the party.

We decided to camp the night, and it was uneventful.

We trekked up the trail again in the morning, though we immediately noticed that the warbird was circling over us. Balinor waved at it, and looked digusted.

We reached the top, dodging another trip wire that Alduin had spotted while scouting out the village, and noted to our surprise that there were no guards, and in fact no tracks where they were standing. Getting extremely concerned, we headed into the village.

In one of the buildings, we found a lone human. He claimed he was a prospector and occasionally carted stuff up the road. Bizarrely, he was the man who was unarmored in the war party that came down the previous day.

We thought there might be a bandit group nearby, and he was acting to keep us from killing him or something. We didn't know.

He warned us to leave, that a sphinx lived near and loved harrassing travelers with illusions and taking their money. We thought back to the bugbear encounter, and realized that the cat shaped prints around the bag, that disappeared a few feet out, could certainly indicate a sphinx.

Donald informed us that sphinxes are immortal and quite powerful, though quite variable.

We set up camp in the partially restored blockhouse with the man's mules and horse feed. There was no sign of the cart that had gone up the trail.

We verified that the tracks chasing Narahn were still there, then night fell and we went to sleep.

In the middle of the night, the bell on the church (which we discovered was attached to the trip wire) rang about 50 times. Balinor and Alduin, who were on watch, raced to the old man, but he wasn't there. Alduin spotted him with infravision, leading his three animals down the trail out the opposite end of the valley (not the one we came in). Alduin followed him, then was spotted about 15 feet from the man. The prospector shot him with a crossbow, nearly killing him. Alduin escaped and returned to the party. Quentin used the healing kit to patch him up.

Meanwhile, Morgan had discovered a message in blood (been there, seen that-- see Nbod's Room, Adventure #14). It said something like "Leave desecrators" (been there, seen that-- see Hafney Hill, Adventure #21).

Unimpressed, we went back to sleep.

The next morning, we were all alive. We decided to explore a bit further. The old man was not in his room, and we followed the tracks to the place where Alduin had been shot. There were at least multiple fake trails, and a total of seven led out from the spot. We were unable to follow any successfully, though we determined two were definitely fake.

We searched for secret doors in the church and blockhouse, but found none. Finally, we noted the well in the center of the village.

We couldn't see much, so we lowered a continual light bead down on a rope. There was clearly a very strongly rushing river down there. About 45 feet down, the well opened into some underground corridor of water.

Though we were being cautious, it seemed impossible to tell what was down there except by lowering someone down. Lynore volunteered bravely and was lowered down slowly by Kodo and Felix (in great Ludo tradition). He immediately spotted the handholds on the side leading down the well.

The roar of the water made it impossible to hear him as he neared the river area. Suddenly, there was a horrible jerk on the rope. The two fighters quickly pulled Lynore up, but he had been shot by four crossbow bolts, and killed instantly.

Angry at the world, the party brought the body back to the blockhouse. What had happened at the end there? Cassian rememorized a Speak with Dead that day and talked to poor Lynore.

Only one question was allowed, but it was a willing subject, so Lynore spoke for the full minute allotted.

"What did you see down the well?"

Lynore talked about how the handholds became a ladder, and there was a long platform against the wall, with at least six men holding crossbows. There were lit torches, and a path leading out of the area.

We buried Lynore and waited until midnight, allowing Cassian to regain Dispel Magic. We decided to storm the well with a clever attack.

At 2 AM, the party crept to the well. Felix, Balinor, and Morgan each drank half a potion of flying (we had 1 and a half left), and the Potion of Climbing was left with Kodo. (In case it isn't clear, anyone-- even a swimmer-- who falls into the river is lost forever)

Felix led, Balinor next, then Morgan. Donald threw a Sleep spell down there, miraculously caught all eight people with the crossbows. Death descended on them in the form of Felix, Balinor, and Morgan (six-segment kill fest). For Lynore!

There was no risk of anyone hearing us due to the rushing water.

Meanwhile, Cassian was climbing down the side (with her ring of featherfall on just in case), followed by Narahn and Alduin. Kodo was the last one to head down. As Kodo prepared to climb down after Alduin, someone emerged from the side and backstabbed him brutally. Kodo was dropped to the ground at stable consciousness. He took a dying action and swung at the assassin, delaying him long enough for Alduin to shout for help. Felix swooped back up, followed by Balinor and Morgan. Felix emerged from the well and dodged a backstab from the assassin who had managed to blow surprise. The assassin bolted so quickly that even sprinting Balinor could not have caught him. Felix immediately knelt down to pour an extra-healing potion down Kodo's throat. With an amazingly quick onset time and astounding curative rolls, Kodo was dazed but nearly at full health. However, he took minor (no game affect at all) strength loss. But he was shaky and could not do anything strenuous for 15 minutes.

Felix was forced to continue tending him for about a minute and a half, but the assassin had not actually left. Unknowing, Morgan and Balinor headed down, to a sudden scene of anarchy.

Someone in the Defenders had put out the final torch to conceal the attack. However, the continual light bead that was pulled out glowed much farther, setting off an immediate alarm through the corridor. The people that had been tracking us were coming at us!

Morgan and Balinor had not yet arrived, and Quentin valiantly stepped forward to block the man with the great helm and scimitar. They both swung, but Quentin staggered back with big damage and a strange rotting wound on his arm. Cassian threw a Hold Person, catching a few of the people coming up, but missing the tracker woman with the bastard swords.

Alduin managed a powerful backstab on the great helm man, but was taken down by a back attack from one of the other fighters. He lay on the floor, slowly bleeding to death. Cassian's Command spell on the great helm man failed.

Donald threw his other Sleep spell, catching about 8 more people down the corridor. He whipped out the Wand of Paralysis and fired, but it had no effect on the great helm man (referred to from now on as "Dark Helmet").

Narahn shot the woman, but was taken down suddenly when a Command spell was uttered by Dark Helmet (had to be some mid-level split class fighter/cleric, since he proved to be a double specialist in his weapon).

Morgan arrived then and dove between Quentin and Dark Helmet. Cassian cast a Cure Light Wounds on Quentin, and patched up the wound, but the rotting continued, slowly eating Quentin away.

Balinor arrived, but was held at bay by the woman.

Donald cast a Web spell, nailing all the Sleeping and Held people, plus two others, though both were able to move through. Balinor flew over the woman to engage a man with a short sword.

Back above, Felix dodged an assassination shot again, and Kodo downed half of the Climbing Potion and scaled down the side while Felix flew down to help the beleaguered party.

Balinor closed with the short sword man, and smashed him brutally three times, caving in his head. Balinor turned to fight another man with a flickering longsword. Unfortunately, the man was clearly quite skilled and slashed Balinor. Worse still, the sword was powerfully magical.

Balinor managed to avoid being stunned, but took big damage and a wound, and flew away back to the woman.

Meanwhile, Dark Helmet had missed Morgan repeatedly (surprise), but incredibly, actually managed to HIT Morgan, once, for some damage. Morgan repeatedly clocked him.

Narahn woke up again, and really nailed Dark Helmet with a nasty bowshot. Felix saw Balinor fleeing back, and engaged the longsword man. Felix injured him, but was eventually nailed by the weapon, though the stun effect appeared to have dissipated.

About this time Morgan had dropped Dark Helmet, and turned to engage the woman. Morgan drew an attack, which of course missed, and then Balinor flew down, smashed her twice, and flew back up. Though they were evenly matched in skill, Morgan was better at parrying and defeated her with Balinor's help. He then went to help Felix. Quentin cast a Cure Serious Wounds on Balinor, and Cassian cast an Aid on Felix, closing his wound from the long sword man.

Morgan inserted himself in front of Felix, and engaged the man, but missed. Morgan decided to fall back and shoot his bow, while Balinor engaged. Balinor swept down on him, but was held at bay by the longsword and plastered again. He fell back, but the longsword man (Luke Skywalker because of the glowing sword) dropped the weapon and pulled out a potion. Quentin cast Cure Light Wounds on Balinor, and Cassian was moving toward the webbed Alduin, who was being cut free by Kodo and his machete.

The man downed the potion, looked at Morgan and the longsword, and spoke. "No matter what, I'll get it back." Then he vanished and his equipment dropped to the floor.

Probably a potion of gaseous form.

A Death's Door hit Alduin, and Quentin healed himself of the magical disease with Cassian's help. Cassian moved to help Alduin...

...to be continued next time...

Log Supplement XI: Permanent Damage Galore

Additional collapses this game: Alduin, Lynore, Kodo.

Permanent damage totals:

* 14 hp
* 5 constitution points
* 1.15 strength points
* 3 comeliness points
* 1 frailty

Let's keep the damage rolling!


June 15, 1998

Defenders Log Entry #28: Traveling Through Forest Without Bandits

Not a particularly exciting game session, but progress was made.

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Joel (for the summer)
Balinor Buckannah, 4th level fighter, 43 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 27 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 6th level druid, 25 hp, played by Jeremy
Kodo Buckannah, 1st level woodsman, 24 hp, played by Rob
Donald, 3rd level mage, 16 hp, NPC
Lynore, 1st level thief, 7 hp, played by Aaron
Narahn, 1st level fighter, 7 hp, played by Dave
Alduin, 1st level thief, 6 hp, played by Vic

First we set out from Port o'Carse, and traveled along the road to Tulan. Setting out south from the town, we traveled along the south side of the mountains, running through a series of encounters.

First, we saw some hobgoblins with weird paint on them, nodded and went separate ways.

Later, Quentin talked down two giant weasels planning to attack Morgan.

Then, we encountered some weird spectral figure, politely claiming to be a caretaker of the land, and asking for some shiny objects to help replenish it. We paid 30 gp.

After that, we ran into what seemed like an amazing 40 plus bugbear ambush. The leader demanded that we put down our weapons and pay 50 gp for passage. He specifically demanded that we put the money in a sack and lay it on the ground in front of us. Despite heated and enraged protests from Balinor, the party realized it was badly outnumbered and gave in.

Balinor agreed, on the condition that we would come back during the night and slaughter them.

The whole thing seemed pretty odd, and when we returned we discovered that there were ABSOLUTELY NO TRACKS near where the 40 bugbears were. Furthermore, there was on heavily depressed "cat" track (large wild cat), and a few smaller ones near where the money was placed, but nothing else.

At a loss, the party moved on. The current theory is that some kind of illusionist is following us and extorting money.

The party reached a river and headed upstream to check it out. A ways up was a mechanical bridge operated by some hobgoblins. We paid 20 gp and crossed. We made a fool out of ourselves asking for information, but did discover that there are four peaks, and that the map seems remarkably accurate. We were headed for the pass between the third and fourth peak.

We headed back down the river, where we ran into a game trail. We discovered this when Balinor fell into a pit, taking minor damage and avoiding the spikes.

50 feet later, Kodo narrowly avoided a net trap.

We wisely got off the trail.

Quentin talked down a snake.

We passed a totem with human and gnoll skulls, but no writing.

That night, the owl hooted, and we all got up, to discover that "bats" had been circling the camp. We went back to sleep, but on the next watch something happened.

A hill giant or large ogre burst into the clearing and tried to kill one of our mules. Kodo, who was on watch, charged it and missed, and was struck powerfully. Of course, Kodo is ridiculously durable for a beginning adventurer, and retreated back to Quentin for healing. A Cure Serious Wounds allowed him to return to the battle.

Meanwhile, Morgan, Felix, and Balinor closed with it. It bellowed in Common, "My mule!" Cassian Commanded it to Die!, but it failed. Felix sliced at it and inflicted a wound. Morgan and Balinor also injured it, and a spectacular bowshot from the new halfing bow specialist, Narahn, sent it running. It dropped the mule and bolted, Balinor smacking it as it ran.

Figuring it would bleed to death if we chased it long enough, Balinor, Felix, Morgan, Alduin the thief, and the recovered Kodo chased it. After nearly losing the trail, we found it almost finished healing. It threw boulders at us, harrassing us but missing repeatedly. Eventually, it simply died from its wounds. It had nothing of value to us, but it was clearly wearing battle armor with weird insignias. It was clearly part of an actual group, though what group is unknown.

Cassian saved the mule with a Death's Door, and we continued on, stopping to heal at the end. Eventually we discovered another totem and headed on.

We came across a strange stone pagoda in a small bowl shaped valley. We investigated, but saw nothing of interest. Detect Magic revealed nothing. As we turned to leave, Kodo heard a scraping noise coming from below us. We left quickly.

Finally, we found a trail leading up between the third and fourth peaks. This was not a full trail, but it might lead to the one we wanted. Heading up, a small rockslide hit the front lines, slightly injuring Cassian, Balinor, Felix, and Kodo. We sent the two thieves to scout on ahead and see if there was someone triggering the slide. Alduin was concealed well, but unfortunately the little lizard things spotted Lynore. He was shot several times, but fortunately for small damage (1-3). There were little halfling sized lizards that Donald suggested were kobolds.

Lynore ducked behind a rock quickly. He rose up, took two more hits, shot his crossbow and took one down. Then he bolted down the slope for his life. He dodged several more shots and came bleeding to the party. We decided to leave the pathetic things alone.

We soon came across the trail we had been looking for. We headed down the trail a ways, and encountered a stone giant. We eyed each other warily and avoided each other.

Finally, on our left was a path with wagon ruts in it-- curious up here. We decided to investigate.

Next game session: Are we there yet?


June 08, 1998

Defenders Log Entry #27: New Directions and Faces

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Alex Hubbard (this time by Kyle
Balinor, 4th level fighter, 43 hp, played by Joel Green (committee this session)
Morgan, 5th level fighter, 27 hp, played by Alan Turnquist
Quentin, 6th level druid, 25 hp, played by Jeremy Schichor
Cassian, 5th level Phaulkonian cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine Plante
Donald Collins, 3rd level mage, 16 hp, played by Edwin (NPC)

Departing Members:
Drew, 4th level ranger, 34 hp, played by Jack McKechnie
Perry, 6th level thief, 17 hp, played by Sean Guarino

New Members:
Kodo, 1st level woodsman, 24 hp, played by Rob
(ugly Northerner, uses two hand axes, knows Balinor)
Narahn, Hairfoot, 1st level fighter, 7 hp, played by Dave
(hairfoot halfling, uses short bow, from Lendore Isle)
Alduin, 1st level elven thief, 6 hp, played by Vic
Lynore, 1st level thief, 7 hp, played by Aaron
(half-elf, very charismatic and handsome)

Another not-so-exciting adventure for the Restinford Defenders. I like to think about it as "Transition." You can think of it as you will.

When we last left our happy party, Drew and Perry were arranging to leave the party and enter the employ of the Baron and Kor-Al-Gesh respectively. Drew has become a Phaulkonian, interested in participating in Holy Quests, and, knowing Perry, he is interested in Korian Holy Quests as well. However, not everything had been completely resolved in terms of party share, treasure division, etc. It has been recommended that Perry's bracers and invis. potion go to Drew and Perry can take the Tuning Fork and Dagger +1/+3 vs. demi-humans. This has not yet been agreed upon, the chief complaint being lack of stuff going to Drew, a charter party member.

The party has decided to investigate some of the Baron's treasure maps. He had five available, and the party would have to pay 25% salvage tax at point of entry, and then the Baron would get 50% of whatever the party brought back. The five options were:

1. Ventris Isle (had a key to something, probably a fortress on Old Frosty)
2. Western Petethal (X marks the spot?)
3. Northern Sark (old bandit hideout?)
4. Western Hadarna Mountains (something ruined to investigate?)
5. Black Forest (Dark Wood) (ruined city)

The party argued successfully for some time. Felix voted for the glory options of the Black Forest (defeat demons! slay ogre armies!) or Ventris Isle (solve the mystery of Old Frosty and maybe get cool treasure from the place the key opens!). Despite her interest in making Old Frosty accessible again, Cassian voted against these as too dangerous for the party as of yet. The Hadarna seemed too far, and Western Petethal too boring (except for Quentin, who didn't want to have to go near the cities that the others would take them near, and perhaps just general whining). Donald and Cassian especially did not want to go to Petethal. That left Northern Sark, which everyone agreed to.

First stop: Carse. Aboard Petethalian Navy vessels. Slow, but efficient.

Carse was a metropolitan and exciting city. Quentin promptly departed for the Druidic Grove outside of the city, and the rest set to exploring. Felix & Co. ended up in the Bazaar and/or the Stew Palace, where Balinor "held down the fort" (and his stew). Main features: Rosarita's potions, Herman's Odds-n-Ends, mysterious black door, etc. Morgan & Co. ended up in the main city.

There the stalwart compatriots saw some really neat stuff. They determined that if they ever had money they could be some of the finest armor and weapons they had ever seen here, for not that much money. One highlight: In an Armor shop inside the walls the party came across some weird black armor that seemed to provide chain mail protection or better, but be really light. The owner of the shop wouldn't reveal what "stuff that works" that it was made out of. But he did say, "I can't tell you what it's made out of, but I can say that a lot of them died to make it." It looked really cool.

Next, the party considered its options, meeting back at the Stew Palace...
Kyle (Felix-for-a-day)

June 01, 1998

Daring Dozen Summary #2: City of the Gods

The Daring Dozen return in Episode Two!

Party Roster:

Tobull, 8th level fighter, 103 hp, played by Kyle MacLea
Jessica, 8th level fighter, 79 hp, played by Alex Hubbard
Laire, 8th level fighter, 73 hp, played by Kyle MacLea
Nara, 8th level cleric, 64 hp, played by Joel Green
Gram, scholar, 56 hp, played by Kyle MacLea
Rangorn, 6th level woodsman, 56 hp, played by Joel Green
Hildebrandt, 8th level mage, 39 hp, played by Sean Guarino/ Alan Turnquist
Nief, 10th level thief, 36 hp, played by Sean Guarino
Feagle, 7th level druid, 33 hp, played by Alex Hubbard

After the first panoramic view of the alien city of the Ancients, the Dozen decided to explore further. We headed down the causeway, and descended into the thick mists, reducing visibility to about 30 feet. The walkways (and for consistency, virtually everything else in the city) was built about of black stone, volcanic rock. It was noted that the water was warm and bubbly, and we could see weird shapes flying somewhere above us.

We reached the tower in the center of the lake. Thanks to Jessica’s engineering knowledge, it was decided that it was impossible to build a structure like this tower, since it was ridiculously thin for its height. About 50 feet across, it rose entirely out of the mist and high into the air.

There was some sort of window, or arrow slit, about 40 feet above us. We also noted a small hole, 1/8” thick, by 1” deep. We moved on.

Around the tower, we could travel toward the city, or toward the hillside. We decided to check out the area away from the city first. We reached an archway similar to the one that said Tan-El where we came out. Near it was a neatly stacked totem of skulls, which we believed to be dwarven (dark or not). As we approached, a huge column of black flame came out of the causeway and passed over Jessica and Tobull. Fortunately they were able to remain unlit, and merely took moderate damage and wounds. They reported that they had felt negative material energy pass over them.

It was noted that below us on the shores of the lake was a perfectly intact dock, with a perfectly intact single square sail ship.

Discouraged by the powerful trap, we turned back and headed toward the city. Suddenly, the walls loomed before us. They were 30 feet high, out of the same volcanic material. The door itself was a pair of huge single slabs of rock. On them were all sorts of scratch marks and weird runes, which were definitely not in any known language, as Nief determined.

The runes had been carved at some point, and then polished over at some later point.

Hildebrandt cast a Comprehend Languages, picking up that the big runes were “City of the Gods” with a slight connotation toward “City of Your Gods.” A small section of the smaller runes read something like “Umble servants, bow down before your masters.” It actually said “umble,” not humble.

The walls as far as we could see were magical.

We stopped being impressed at some point, and Jessica threw a grappling hook up for Nief to climb. He actually blew his first try (despite a nearly 200% chance of success) but made it up on the second try. Rangorn and Tobull climbed up, bows drawn. Nief went down other side, and discovered little drawer handles in the huge doors. They swung open easily, and for a moment everyone felt a flash of being in a weird tunnel, and then the feeling was gone. We clambered inside and shut the doors.

As the doors opened, a bell of some sort rang loudly two times, alerting the entire valley we were there. When it shut, the bell rang three times.

We moved through the bizarre city toward the nearest “building.” The city was twisted and bizarre—it was almost as if it was made out of melting wax. There were no right angles and everything was bent and snakelike.

We checked out one of the buildings, a huge six story structure with numerous rooms, each with a single solitary window. There was no furniture of any kind, or anything at all in the weird rooms. Tracking revealed nothing.

A second building revealed the same sort of thing. At the top of both buildings was another one of those 1/8” by 1” holes, indicating a door that presumably led to the roof. Curious, Nief climbed out onto the roof of the building. He discovered weird blue-green plants growing there, neatly potted in twisted planters.

He walked between the planters toward the door on the roof, leading into some sort of sub-building two stories tall, but couldn’t make anything out through the window.

We headed back down, and made a quick survey of another building, which was slightly shorter. In addition, it should be noted that in these buildings there was a central column glowing red that gave off heat, which we referred to as “central heating.”

The next building had a stairs down, and we discovered a basement, behind another door.

Suddenly, we heard booted footsteps.

The party walked back up the stairs and tensed. A group of skeletal dwarves walked by, wearing tattered armor, leading a HUGE spider, also dead looking, along the road. When they reached the building, they stopped and stared at us. Slowly they all pointed at us.

We decided to exit by a back entrance.

The fog was so heavy that we couldn’t see more than 15’ in either direction. We heard a strange noise coming from above, and we went the other way. Navigating a maze of buildings and thin alleys, we eventually came out on the road again.

Weird yellow spotlights were searching for us. We headed toward the searchlights in an attempt to reach the gate, and spotted another slow moving dwarven squad. The spider’s eyes were glowing yellow, and the beams were perhaps being controlled by the dwarves.

Realizing that we needed to get past them, Hildebrandt thew a fireball at them, and THEY SCATTERED. In a way completely unlike automatons or mindless undead.

We shrugged and charged toward the gate. It didn’t open at our push, so we intended to climb over. The noise was getting louder, and Jessica tossed the grappling hook up the door. Suddenly, the door opened, and we ran out. The noise was close, and we shut the door behind us.

We walked back to the tunnel entrance, and spotted three seagulls there. Feagle spoke with them, and they revealed that there were weird bat things that smelled bad near the dwarf area, and attacking blue plants in the city. They told us not to go to either place.

We headed back through the Tunnel to set up a relay system, and will continue the quest next time!