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July 25, 1998

Defenders ADVENTURE LOG #34: A Mind is a Wonderful Thing to Waste

Stumbling vaguely away….

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Alex (Aaron this game)
Balinor, 5th level fighter, 50 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine
Kodo, 2nd level woodsman, 30 hp, played by Rob
Morgan, 5th level fighter, 27 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 6th level druid, 25 hp, played by Jeremy
Donald, 4th level mage, 21 hp, played by Edwin (NPC)
Alduin, 3rd level thief, 13 hp, played by Vic
Narahn, 2nd level fighter, 11 hp, played by Dave

A quick taking of stock:

1) An abysmal swamp with a thick evil fog, and nice wafting evil breeze.
2) Ravenous stork people who are abominations to Phaulkon.
3) A fleet of ghost ships in the harbor.
4) A ruined city with undead everywhere, and “loosely aligned.”
5) Godzilla assassin lizards. (Not to be confused with teenage mutant ninja turtles)
6) Three words: Consecrated. Evil. Ground.

“I’ll take Hideous Undead Monsters for $400, Alex.”
“The answer: This undead monster sulks in gloomy buildings in evil cities, pondering its final decision in life.”
“What is… a barrow wight?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, that’s not correct.”
“What is… a grey philosopher?”

So said Cassian, roughly. While drinking some water, Cassian instinctively offered some to the philosopher. He gestured, and suddenly there was green muck in the water, which she dropped.

Cassian decided to accept a vision from the philosopher, asking questions about what had happened in the past that had caused him to die, and what decision he was pondering.

The sum total of the visions given to Cassian was:

A group of highly decorated Kharg facing some humans, likely pirates, in a diplomatic summit on the beaches. There are hordes of siege weapons and ships. Off to the side is another group of Kharg, with the living form of the grey philosopher arguing heatedly.

In another scene, crusaders from the painting (another faction in the attack) are killing Kharg and trashing the city. The philosopher is standing in the city somewhere, and has a gnarled staff. Right as a crusader raises his sword to smash open the case to a golden harness, clearly an important item to the Kharg, the philosopher raises his staff… and the city blows apart. Everything dies… buildings topple over…

And Cassian reemerged from her state with exploding pain in her head, bleeding. Quentin managed to heal her quite well, though.

The decision seemed to be one of two things—whether to destroy the city like that, or whether to ally with the pirates or not.

Clearly the Kharg were in trouble. The attack by the crusaders was succeeding, and they could not handle a two-front war. The question is, could we resolve the question somehow, and have the philosopher go away, and perhaps allow us to live?

At one point Cassian angrily yelled at the philosopher, “You can’t test that with a bunch of skeletons!” The philosopher pointed and a thought whipped toward her. Felix threw himself in the way and took the damage instead, getting a vision of all of us withering away at the philosopher’s hands. Then he started looking vacant again.

Clearly this was not a monster to trifle with. Perhaps we were being asked to act out a part in this drama? But who? On the tapestry, it became clear that among the crusaders were adventurers and such. The skeletons were the Kharg, we were the crusaders, and the pirates were out on shore.

It was suggested that maybe, if this was going to be a fair fight, the ghost ships were manned only by skeletons and such.

Balinor asked, do you control the ghost ships?

He had a vision of a spectral half-orc captain on the deck of one of ships, along with a first mate. He sensed about a dozen wights on the ships, and also noted that everyone there hated everyone else. It was clear that the half-orc was the head honcho.

Clearly there was nothing we could do to fight the ghost ships. Allying with the philosopher and his skeleton army was insanely dangerous, and perhaps not even possible.

There was one question remaining to be asked, by Kodo. The philosopher had shrugged earlier when we asked if he would let us go if we killed the skeletons. Wanting a more definite answer, Kodo asked, “Under what conditions of defeating your skeleton army will you let us go?”

Kodo had a vision of the skeletons coming up the stairs and killing us, while the philosopher blasted us with thoughts, and while two HUGE skeletons (a LOT like the one from the Hafney Hill crypt) came at us from the two archways. Kodo took permanent damage in the vision, losing an intelligence point permanently!

Realizing that it had become inevitable and that we had to act quickly, Balinor gave his holy water to Narahn, and Felix gave his to Alduin. Felix passed Balinor the +2 dagger. Morgan took holy water in his off-hand.

A blue glow began to emanate from the philosopher’s direction. The moment had come.

Without a word, Balinor took off toward the philosopher, Morgan and Felix right behind. Donald threw a huge Web behind us, catching the two huge skeletons in it! Cassian, Alduin, and Narahn hurled holy water at the thing, splashing it and hitting it.

Thoughts zinged down at the party, spreading out. They were phenomenally clumsy and took a long time to hit people, despite striking every other segment. Apparently Morgan’s luck had extended to the entire party…

Kodo and Narahn attempted to kill the thoughts, which could be hit by non-magic weapons, as we later discovered. Kodo was having an awful time, and it took Narahn a long time to ready his weapon, so this had little effect early on.

Meanwhile, the fighters had closed with the thinker. His staff whipped out, on its own, but missed Balinor. All the thoughts missed the fighters initially, but soon after both Balinor and Felix were bleeding from multiple wounds. Morgan was, of course, missed.

Of the 12 thoughts circling the philosopher, only 8 had actually attacked—the rest seemed almost traumatized.

Morgan yelled “Thunderstruck” and slammed the philosopher for huge damage (about 30 points). Balinor and Felix also pounded it. It became clear that edged weapons were doing severely reduced damage, and blunt weapons were still not doing full damage. Fortunately, though, the hammer+1 and short sword+1 were able to effect it.

Balinor, Felix, and Morgan continued to attack for awhile, but suddenly more thoughts whipped from the cloak—7 of them. Cassian and Quentin were desperately trying to hold themselves and the rear of the party together with healing spells.

Donald hurled his two Magic Missile spells at it, to some effect. Out of spells, he pulled out the Shocking Grasp scroll.

However, two more thoughts attempted to attack Cassian. Realizing that she would die from such an attack, Alduin lunged in front of her, despite already having a wound, and killed one and took the other, staggering back.

Narahn shot one, but another thought came screaming at him, and wounded him. Another one pounded him, and he was about to collapse.

The staff swung itself again and missed Morgan.

At that moment, Felix stabbed the creature… and there was no effect. +1 weapons no longer hit it. Realizing the holy water was what had weakened it, Morgan hurled his holy water at it and the attacks began again in earnest. Balinor continued to hit it with dagger+2 and hammer+1, inflicting good damage again. Felix hit it with his short sword, and the holy water had indeed weakened it again.

Then the staff swung again, and this time it hit Morgan. He took a good deal of damage, and then suddenly collapsed in a heap. With few options, Balinor and Felix continued to attack. Cassian realized that Morgan was paralyzed and pulled out the Remove Paralysis scroll.

Kodo took a wound fighting the thoughts, but finally took one out. Quentin was still running back and forth healing people, and saving Donald from his wound. Donald advanced toward the philosopher with the Shocking Grasp spell cast.

Five more thoughts emerged and began circling, leaving Balinor with two wounds, and Felix with three. The holy water effect vanished again, and Balinor stabbed it with the dagger. Then the staff swung out again, and Balinor fell over, paralyzed as well. Felix grabbed the dagger +2 from Balinor’s fallen body and attacked, slicing it.

Cassian changed the target of her spell, and brought Balinor back up. Balinor swung with the hammer, but it had no effect. Frustrated, Balinor turned to paste the thoughts.

Quentin cast a Flame Blade, then turned around to find that the big skeletons were breaking through the Web! Out of options, Quentin raised the Rod of Thorns and cast Wall of Thorns out of the staff, a 6th level druid spell!

The little skeletons were stupid and kept moving, destroying all of them, or at least dozens and dozens. The big ones took good damage but weren’t destroyed. However, the Wall of Thorns is a HUGE area of effect, and is immensely thick. It would take the skeletons at least a few hours to break through!

Donald closed with the philosopher, but missed with the Shocking Grasp. The staff swung at Felix, but missed.

Quentin then charged the philosopher with the Flame Blade. He swung with all his might, and hit the thing for major damage, driving it into the ground.

The philosopher collapsed.

Nearly the entire party had wounds, but we managed to save everyone without expending much in the way of resources. Narahn was left in sad shape, but using one dose of the ointment, we were able to bring him back to health. At the end, we were left with no curative spells left, and a party with about the power the Defenders had when they first started, but still alive.

However, we were trapped inside the building, with some skeletons that would break free in a few hours.

Seeing no better way, Balinor began bashing the wall with Blunt to try to widen the window enough for everyone to get through. Alduin searched the room, and found a gold plaque, a magic ring on the finger of the philosopher, and a magic shield on the wall. In addition, the bones of the philosopher were still magical, and the staff was highly magical. We had an idea there:

Cassian cast Dispel Magic, but couldn’t dispel it. However, Quentin was successful, and the staff suddenly broke and a wispy spirit thing came darting at him in a retributive strike—but it had no effect as Quentin saved.

Quentin sent his crows to find the druid of the Argo Forest, and ask for some help.

We took the magic items with us and left by the window. Now, we still to survive the stork people, and we were in truly sad shape. Balinor and Felix were at less than half strength, as were Quentin, Donald, and Morgan. Narahn was actually fine, thanks to the ointment. Alduin, Cassian and Kodo were very weak. Haladir was still a stain on the ground.

We hope.

We trekked back down the causeway, when we got very unlucky. The stork people had found us. One of them suddenly emerged from the side, and pecked Morgan viciously, who stabbed back. Donald’s Sleep spell failed, Narahn missed it with an arrow, and it vanished back into the reeds. Morgan was in such sad shape he was given 1/3 of the extra-healing potion. Hoping to prevent another such strike, Quentin threw an Entangle over the reeds on either side of the pathway, in front of the party.

We continued forward with no other options.

We took refuge on the high ground about mid afternoon. Hoping we would survive long enough, we shifted there.

Incredibly, we were still alive at the end of the shift. We healed up some, and shifted again. This time, on the middle shift, Balinor heard a light clang from behind him. He whipped around, and swung at the air, scoring a direct hit on the breeze. Frustrated, he tensed up for a bit. The shift ended without incident. At the end, Balinor noticed that a huge gash had almost, but not quite, penetrated his armor.

We were healed up to decent shape now. The weaker party members were back to full health, roughly, and Balinor and Felix were around 2/3 strength. We decided to march out.

Suddenly, Cassian’s bird warned us of a beetle descending on us from above. It latched onto Narahn and tried to kill him, but it was killed by the fighters before it had the chance.

Later in the day, a huge ugly hulking thing with rubbery hide ran at the front of the party. It grabbed Felix powerfully and grappled him, causing huge damage. Donald yelled out, “Troll!” and Alduin lit a torch. Balinor, Kodo, and Morgan ran at the creature. The troll continued to try to eat the struggling Felix, who stabbed it twice. Balinor hit it every time for huge damage, but noted that his hammers were not very effective as they bounced off the rubbery hide.

Cassian cast the first Prayer in the Defenders history, and averted a huge disaster as about 6 critical fumbles were then averted. Quentin threw a Faerie Fire on the troll, making it even easier to hit. Realizing it had problems, the creature threw Felix at Kodo and ran away. Taking aim, Narahn took the troll down as it fled!

Realizing it wouldn’t stay dead, Balinor, Kodo, Morgan, and Alduin charged. Balinor was in front, and so the creature suddenly reared back up and grabbed Balinor, doing massive damage to him as well. Morgan cut it, Balinor bashed it, Kodo stabbed, and Alduin flamed it. After quite a while, we were finally satisfied that the creature was dead.

Felix was saved in time, though he had fallen fairly far unconscious in the food fest.

We shifted again, and healed Felix.

Quentin’s birds returned, and told us that it had learned of a better route to take. Half a day later we were on dry ground at the edge of the swamp. Then we were at the Argo Forest.

The trees complained of headaches and were generally whiney, and warned us not to be noisy, but we went through successfully. The trip back to Restenford was remarkably uneventful.

We had gained about 1250 gp in gems, and the plaque was sold for 500 gp to Augman. It was a keystone for the building, commemorating the architect.

XP ranged from 800 for Alduin, Narahn, and Kodo, to 2500 for Cassian and Quentin. For the first time since the Defenders’ first adventure, no levels were gained at the conclusion of the adventure. However, that is not a complaint—those totals were good work for two games! (Actually one of our best adventures on an XP/ per session total).

The magic items were identified in Barnacus:

Three tokens: Token of Door, Token of Boulder (maybe we can trade it to Ludo), and a really cool Token of Armor.

The Door token allows you to create a door in a wall. The famous Boulder token creates a huge rock when hurled from a sling. The Token of Armor, creates a permanent suit of armor (of any type—full plate included) PERMANENTLY. It is useful just for the sheer value of creating the armor, and as an instant protection—you are immediately suited up. It can also be used to create protective clothing, for weather and such. It could probably be sold for more than 4000 gp, but we want to keep it if we can.

The shield is cool—it is a Shield of the Stallion. It is a large shield with no additional AC bonuses, but it adds +1 strength, or + 25% to an 18/xx character!

We weren’t sure what Felix thinks of this item—Alex, send a reply, we haven’t yet paid salvage tax and have to decide based on what you think about that item—Felix is the only candidate, really. It would bring Felix’s strength to 18/00 while he is using it. If Kodo wants to switch to a one-handed fighting style, then it might be worth it for him as well.

The ring is just ridiculous. It is a Ring of Toad Control. Hey baby, hey baby, hey baby… I can just hear it now. It allows anyone to summon 10 HD worth of toads, a ranger to summon 15 HD, and a druid to summon 20 HD. These can be toads of any size, which would mean 160 normal toads for Quentin.

Another thought about the ring is that the Baron wants it, for the same reason Quentin does—to give to Almax as a gift or something—perhaps to defray Quentin’s eventual training cost.

Well, it was a phenomenally successful adventure, but we came out at least even, and only lost Haladir!

This is the final game for summer. In the fall, Katherine, Dave, and Aaron will not be with us, so Cassian and Narahn will retire or move on to other adventuring. They have decisions to make there.

Jeremy has a friend who may be joining us, and we will desperately need a cleric in the fall. Rob has some interest in playing a cleric, so it may be that Kodo retires and Jeremy’s friend plays the woodsman or ranger that he wants to play.

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed the adventures of the Defenders! Stay tuned for more disaster as the school year begins….

A quick accounting of the party members, past and present:

The initial party consisted of:

Annwvyn, elven thief, crossbow user, 4 hp, played by Alan
Grison, dwarven fighter, spear specialist, 11 hp, played by Sean
Soldan, human cleric of Silban, spear user, 9 hp, played by Alex
Darellon, human woodsman, falchion specialist, 20 hp, played by Joel
Drew, human ranger, longbow specialist, 15 hp, played by Jack
Quentin, half-elf druid, scimitar user, 6 hp, played by Jeremy.

In the third game, Annwvyn was killed by a fungus beetle. Morgan joined the party along with Ethan, a human woodman harpoon specialist played by the visiting Kyle MacLea. Ethan was killed by a ballista bolt the next game, Grison was killed by a bandit wielding a flail, and Soldan was shot to death by bandit archers.

The next game, a Phaulkonian cleric named Celeste joined the party, played by Sean, along with Felix, a legionnaire style fighter wielding the short sword, played by Alex. Celeste was killed that game by a boulder throw from an ogre, while Darellon was killed in combat with them.

The next game, Gaston the Northerner fighter, wielding a bastard sword, joined the party (played by Sean). He was joined by his cousin Tyveris, a Nevronian cleric wielding the hammer, played by Joel. Gaston retired several games later due to extreme permanent damage, and was replaced briefly by a mage/thief named Colin. Colin retired due to permanent damage as well.

Next was Perry, a halfling thief, played by Sean. After the Brinea adventure, when everyone was killed, Tyveris was not Raised successfully. He was replaced by Cassian, a half-elven Phaulkonian cleric played by Katherine, and Balinor, a human fighter wielding twin hammers, played by Joel.

A little while later, Donald Collins joined the party, an NPC mage, sent by Colin. The party stabilized briefly. This period could be termed the “Golden Team” of Defenders. Then Drew and Perry retired, and were replaced by Kodo, Balinor’s woodsman brother played by Rob, Narahn, a halfling bow specialist played by Dave, Alduin, an elven thief played by Vic, and Lynore, a half-elven thief played by Aaron. Lynore was unfortunately killed in the following adventure, and was eventually briefly replaced by the hapless Haladir, a halfling thief played by Aaron. Haladir was killed in our most recent adventure.

Currently this is how we stand:

Active party members:

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Alex Hubbard
Balinor, 5th level fighter, 50 hp, played by Joel Green
Kodo, 2nd level woodsman, 30 hp, played by Rob Greene
Morgan, 5th level fighter, 27 hp, played by Alan Turnquist
Quentin, 6th level druid, 25 hp, played by Jeremy Schichor
Donald, 4th level mage, 21 hp, NPC
Alduin, 3rd level thief, 13 hp, played by Vic (?)

Departing members:

Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine Plante
Narahn, 2nd level fighter, 11 hp, played by Dave (?)

Retired members:

Drew, 4th level ranger, 34 hp, played by Jack McKechnie
Perry, 6th level thief, 17 hp, played by Sean Guarino
Gaston, 1st level fighter, 6 hp, played by Sean Guarino
Colin, 1st level thief/mage, 2 hp, played by Sean Guarino


Darellon, 1st level woodsman, 20 hp, played by Joel Green
Ethan, 1st level woodsman, 13 hp, played by Kyle MacLea
Tyveris, 2nd level cleric, 12 hp, played by Joel Green
Grison, 1st level fighter, 11 hp, played by Sean Guarino
Soldan, 1st level cleric, 9 hp, played by Alex Hubbard
Lynore, 1st level thief, 7 hp, played by Aaron Schweinsberg
Celeste, 1st level cleric, 6 hp, played by Sean Guarino
Haladir, 1st level thief, 5 hp, played by Aaron Schweinsberg
Annwyvn, 1st level thief, 4 hp, played by Alan Turnquist

Thanks to Edwin for consistently providing us with frighteningly difficult adventures time and time again, and for not pulling any punches.

And for putting up with all that arguing!

Hope everyone had a good time, and the Defenders will return with a slightly different composition come September!


July 18, 1998

Defenders ADVENTURE LOG #33: Trek into the Swamp

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Alex (Joel, and later Aaron during this game)
Balinor, 5th level fighter, 50 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine
Kodo, 2nd level woodsman, 30 hp, played by Rob
Morgan, 5th level fighter, 27 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 6th level druid, 25 hp, played by Jeremy
Donald, 4th level mage, 21 hp, NPC
Alduin, 3rd level thief, 13 hp, played by Vic
Narahn, 2nd level fighter, 11 hp, played by Dave
Haladir, 1st level thief, 5 hp, played by Aaron

Our intrepid adventurers had last been planning an expedition to the Khargish ruins located in the swamp, from which no one had ever successfully returned. There were rumors that the crown of the Khargish nation lay somewhere in those ruins, presumably along with vast treasure. However, there were reports of lightning fast stabbings and entrails being left on the ground suddenly. Despite this, the bold Defenders set off north along the Restin River to reach our goal.

On the first night, we spotted a glowing thing about 600 feet away, coming somewhat toward us. We woke everyone up and took cover in the bushes, and could hear voices and metallic clanks. At one point a light flashed right above us, like a searchlight, and then suddenly the light turned and ran in the opposite direction. We decided not to deal with it.

On the next day, Quentin helped us avoid some skunks.

On the third night out, two volts jumped Morgan. This was quite bad, considering that the sword Thunderstruck is a lightning rod. Suddenly two tentacle things leeched out and starting zapping Morgan, who was on watch with Quentin and Kodo. A yell alerted some party members, and Cassian was woken up by Alduin. Kodo hacked at one of them, and Quentin whipped up a Flame Blade and helped to kill one of them. Unfortunately, Morgan went down right after, and then Kodo finished off the other one.

Morgan was saved by a timely Death’s Door, and recovered nicely. We continued on, until accidentally bumping into an outpost of Rog, the town in the mountains. Explaining that we had gone too far, we backtracked and forded the river to the west. As soon as we crossed the bank, Kodo thought he saw something scramble away. Cassian’s hawk reported that there were large humanoids roaming around.

Alduin went to scout it out with the bird. There was some howling, and about 15 minutes later the bird returned and said that Alduin had been captured. We headed up there to see what was going on, and suddenly some huge wolves appeared in front of us and dashed away. Then we were confronted by… a bugbear. Balinor ran screaming toward the front of the party, when the bugbear yelled out to halt, or the elf dies.

He demanded a ransom, and when we hesitated, Balinor noticed spoken in bugbear, “then how will we get money from them?” We paid the money in a bag (around 200 gp) and Alduin was on the ground, bleeding in front of us. We brought him to back to health, and plotted an attack the next day, Balinor urging everyone on.

That day we noted with increasing concern that a griffon bearing a rider was headed to bugbear camp. Suddenly the party sentiment swung, and a nearly unanimous decision was made not to mess with a group cooperating with the Blue and the Gray.

Decrying the loss of the bracers, we moved on.

We trekked through the Argo forest. This only went smoothly thanks to Quentin’s expertise in speaking Treant. The forest was willing to let us through, grudgingly, even Kodo with the axes. We emerged from the other side and talked to some very surly willows, one of which dropped a dead branch on Kodo’s head. Essentially, they don’t like us but tolerated us. The path was clean and safe, and we had no complaint. Unprecedented for Lendore, there were zero encounters in three days!

We immediately found ourselves in the swamp. A thick mist obscured vision to 100 feet at best. Quentin spoke with a “beatnik” frog (“hey baby, hey baby, nice legs, hey baby…”), and learned a bit about the wildlife. The bad birds live up near the north end of the swamp, and there are also nasty lizards and stuff. We also spoke with a hyper-happy bird, which told us additional information about the wildlife. Apparently, the “bad birds” are practically impossible to see (“illusions?”). A fantastically good reading of the Telvar Bestiary by Morgan revealed a race of stork people that hunted like we had heard earlier, and used illusions to mask themselves. They were known to be neutral at best. A bunch of them suddenly stabbing someone with their beaks would produce the 30 stab wounds in 15 seconds effect.

The first night we set up camp, a HUGE lizard (30 feet long) bounded into camp with Narahn, Felix and Donald on watch. Narahn shot it, and Felix stabbed it, but it went straight for the hapless halfling and grabbed him, nearly unconscious, in its mouth. The thing turned to speed away, and Donald desperately fired the paralyzation wand at it. It froze, and we were able to get Narahn out in time, and skin it. Alduin used it to improve his boots and protect him from the leeches and bugs. Unfortunately, we forgot about the carcass and bugs swarmed all over us, freaking out Morgan.

We left that site and set up camp again, and finished the night miserable but alive. We traveled north through the swamp, when suddenly something happened.

Balinor felt a very strong hand grab him from behind and gut stab him. Fortunately the assassination blow was not fatal, and he merely took 24 damage and a triple wound. He tried to free himself but the creature was immensely strong. Fortunately he had gotten off a yell, and the party had turned around to see what was happening.

A 12 foot tall Godzilla was holding Balinor with a nasty looking short sword in its hand. It appeared to be some sort of lizardman. It threw Balinor at Felix, who missed, and Morgan stabbed it from behind. Balinor staggered over to Quentin, and Donald hit it with a Magic Missile.

The creature was suddenly pasted again by Felix, and Morgan moved behind it. The creature was obviously in sad shape, and took both of its arms and tried to smash Felix. Thanks to his defense, Felix was only struck once for insignificant damage and attacked back. Morgan yelled “Thunderstruck” but missed. The creature toppled over from damage.

Quentin threw a Cure Serious and a Cure Light and brought Balinor back to good health, while Morgan used the Thunderstruck charge to paste the creature. We found on it three magical tokens and some thieves’ picks.

This was odd. But it was almost certainly not the things that killed the previous party. Yet more lovely dangers in the swamp.

We pressed on, and suddenly noted a breeze picking up. The mist was thickening, and a voice spoke from the mist. “Go away. One of you will die for trespassing. For each hour you wait, another will perish.”

We yelled back, “We mean you no harm.”

The voice replied, “We mean YOU harm.”

The party retreated back to a piece of high ground, noting a pair of ravens sitting on a nearby tree. In addition, above the mist the spires of the ruined capital of the Kharg were visible about a half mile away. We believed that the voice was an illusion done by the bird people, though it would have to be pretty powerful. Cassian spoke with one of the ravens, and it was really nice to her, considering it was under orders to eat our remains. It spoke of people suddenly having their entrails dumped on the ground, and other gory details. We thanked it and looked for a less belligerent bird.

We found a hyper-frightened bird that sped around on thin legs, which in between fits of terror told us more information about the stork people and their ways. Apparently there is something even the stork people are afraid of in the ruined city. The bird claimed that it was going to die, but that the food was good here. We were going to die too, since we didn’t move very fast, or fly.

Cassian cast an Augury: “Would it be beneficial for the party to continue on the journey to the ruined city?”

“You will eventually triumph, but not before some have perished,” is a rough paraphrase. Really it was the same as the astrology at the beginning of the quest. We decided to press on, but not without a plan. Should we take out the bird people, or try to talk with them?

Cassian spoke with the raven. It should be noted that a lot of the information gained from the raven stemmed from its desire to be respectful to Cassian, and it probably told us more than it should. Cassian asked it to ask the bird people for safe passage for us, if we would go to the city and kill the thing they fear.

The bird looked very nervous at the idea, but agreed. Cassian prayed to Phaulkon that the bird would not be killed for taking this message.

Fortunately, the raven returned later and told us that we wouldn’t like what it had to say. The bird people would give us safe passage in, but wouldn’t make any guarantees about coming out. Essentially the thing in the city is their god, and they would be very angry if we killed it. So really they are hoping to send us into a trap and get credit for it.

Nevertheless, we decided that if we took out the evil, we might gain an advantage on the bird people. Somewhere in all this spell-shifting it was noted that a number of ruined masts of ships were appearing in the mist near the harbor of the dead capital.

A quick taking of stock:

Really annoying swamp. Mist you can’t see through very well. Illusory birds that drag your entrails out (abominations to Phaulkon). Ruined city with hideous evil(s). A fleet of ghost ships.


Being incredibly bold and gaining some courage from Cassian’s Augury, we decided to destroy the evil.

We moved through the mist and were not attacked as we entered a narrow causeway leading into the ruined city. We went through a gap in the wall, and almost immediately noted that the mist had thickened to about 30 foot visibility. Ignoring this pathetic attempt to scare us we moved on, passing by a tower with no floor or ceiling. The cold stone motif was really hitting the spot.

The mist was now even thicker, about 15 foot visibility, but for some reason we were able to see the building on our left fairly well. There was a set of bronze doors lying open there. We circled the building and noted that it was 100 feet by 150 feet or so. Haladir was curious and threw a rock up to see how high the ceiling was. Sadly, luck was against the halfling. There was a grating sound, and Haladir stepped back, but was still crushed by the stone gargoyle head that fell down on him.

Without blinking an eye, we decided to use the gargoyle head to prop the doors open in case they swung shut. The bloodstained head was set down, and we marched inside. Once inside, we saw another set of bronze doors that would open inward, and almost immediately noted that the gargoyle head had been slid up behind us, bloodstain draggin across the floor, and that the doors were shut.

However, they opened with a gentle push. Satisfied that we wouldn’t be trapped until later, we turned around and marched through the second set. Inside was a large room with a double stairs (one right, one left, leading a to a grand stairway in the center), and several arches. There was also a smoking torch up above.

We traveled up the right stairs and took the torch. We turned and saw a room with several thin windows, and a throne of some sort in the center, turned away from us.

After a moment, the throne turned, and seated there was a figure in a cloak, with red eyeslits, its hand in a pondering position. Donald said he thought it might be an evil philosopher that could kill with a thought.

This was certainly encouraging.

Nothing happened though. We chatted amongst ourselves about what to do. Eventually the figure pointed to a tapestry above us, revealing a scene of Khargish people getting killed.

Balinor turned to the figure and said, “What can we do to end your torment?” A gray swirling thing detached itself from the swirling things above and headed lazily for Balinor. Balinor moved to the side, and it missed and retreated back. Felix then did the same thing after asking another question.

Eventually we realized it was trying to communicate. About this time Cassian realized we were in the presence of hideous evil, and were on consecrated evil ground.

While all this was happening, two groups of skeletons had appeared at the stairs below, wielding spears and broadswords. For the moment, they were just sitting there.

Kodo asked it again, and this time received the flitting thing. He fell back in shock with a wound, and was cured. He said that the thing wanted us to kill everyone.

Seemed a tad unreasonable to us.

We assumed this might be a challenge of some sort. The question is, do we rush the skeletons, or the evil philosopher?

Ridiculously, it was 3 AM, and this is how the game ended.

See what I mean?


July 11, 1998

Defenders Log Entry #32: Selections from the Proverbial Telvar DM's Guide

Subtitled: Where the *@#! did they find this stuff?

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Alex (Jeremy this time)
Balinor, 5th level fighter, 50 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine
Kodo, 2nd level woodsman, 30 hp, played by Rob
Morgan, 5th level fighter, 27 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 6th level druid, 25 hp, played by Jeremy
Donald, 4th level mage, 21 hp, NPC
Alduin, 3rd level thief, 13 hp, played by Vic
Narahn, 2nd level fighter, 11 hp, played by Dave
Haladir, 1st level thief, 5 hp, played by Aaron

This was another transition adventure, since it turned out early on that things were cooler than we had imagined.

We had arrived on Lendore Isle, and trained Kodo, Narahn, and Balinor. At the beginning of 2176, we picked up the new Gazetteer, with its nice color maps!

Incidentally, I would like to give the old Gaz to the Seapoint Lightning if we come back form this adventure.

In March, Donald and Alduin went to the mainland to train. Donald trained to 4th level and gained 5 hp to stand at 21, while Alduin trained to 2nd and 3rd level and gained 7 hp to stand at 13.

While they were gone, Relkin the steward of Restenford came by the house. He dropped a box on the table and said that we would know what it was. Apparently the Baron had opened the "genie bottle" after determining stuff about it, and it released a creature that was guarding some stuff and was grateful to be out. Since we had recovered it, the Baron gave us 25% of it.

In the box was:
150 coin weights of mithril
60 coin weights of adamantite

Woo hoo!

We decided to trade the mithril for cool stuff, and put the adamantite away for storage, so that eventually we could turn it into a +5 weapon! There's enough there to make up to a scimitar, though not a hammer.

Most of the rest of the game session was taken up trading and making selections in Carse and Tulan. We picked up a +1/0 short bow for Narahn and Alduin from Warner in Barnacus, and a pair of +1 quality handaxes for Kodo and a +1 quality hammer for Balinor. The handaxes and hammer had special handles making them difficult to drop.

The mithril was in 10 bars of 15 cw each. We were essentially looking for a high plus weapon, armor, or a bunch of nice items. The key was that we wanted stuff that could not be easily gotten any other way.

What we got was a survey of the strange and bizarre of Telvar.

At one point, a prospective buyer in Carse referred us to a strange black door in the market, called Xothan Enterprises. Morgan got shlorped in and I think everyone knows the rest. There was a weird cloaked figure that read Morgan's mind as he was unable to move, and asked him what he wanted for the adamantite. Morgan couldn't think of anything, and Xothan said, "In a universe of infinite possibilities, one must be prepared." And Morgan was hurled out of the door onto the street, though about a half hour had passed outside.

Balinor noted with extreme concern that Xothan was not listed in the Gazetteer. The party decided not to do one of the three deals. The fact that Xothan knows about the adamantite is worrisome at best.

Well, we continued to sift through buyers, rejecting stuff and generally trying to haggle.

We rejected items like:

A weird band for 5 bars, that clearly gave the wearer a constitution of huge proportions, if one is buff already, and allowed regeneration of some sort. Awesome. The drawbacks were huge. It was called a band of torment-it made the user truly miserable, less able to concentrate, enjoy life, sleep, etc. Apparently there was a darker side as well, that may have involved a thirst for killing, though that was speculation. We decided against it.

There was splint mail+1 for 3 bars, 3 healing potions for 1 bar, a cloak of flying for 2 bars, magical ring mail for 3 bars, battleaxe+2 for 3 bars, Wrap of Holding for 2 bars, and Ioun Stone of +1 level for all of the bars we still had, cloak of protection +1 for 1 bar, the Rod of Paradise for 4 bars, and maybe a few others.

The trades we made:

1) 500 gp (in gems), 250 gp box, and Continual Light spell on his dagger for Mouse of Cats

The story here is that we ran into a kind of pathetic, browbeaten wizard that even Donald pitied. Donald declared him a loser, but offered to trade him Magic Mouth if the party REALLY wanted to, but we decided against it. The Mouse of Cats is strange little item for Quentin, that allows the person to speak with all cats and catlike things, unlimited, no charges.

2) 3 bars and 250 gp gem for Horn of Valhalla -esque item

Summons a number (half-a-dozen) weird warriors from the Outer Planes who kick butt and take names. Then they leave, though there is a cold chill, and a sense of evil. There is a small chance of breaking it if is used too often (like more than once a month). In addition, the danger to the user is dependent on how warrior-like they are. A wizard would be slain, a thief almost certainly, a cleric and druid could PROBABLY use it safely, and a warrior should blow it if possible. In addition, the more skilled a warrior, the better-the item has been given to Felix. Current second choice is Balinor.

3) 4 bars and 250 gp gem for plate mail+1 (after some nice haggling by Felix down from 5 bars)

The plate mail is on Balinor, while the ring +1 went to Kodo.

NOTE: All the items were identified by a sage afterwards, in fact, before closing the deals.

Back on Lendore, Quentin had picked up a bobcat, and a crow. The crow, named Lenore, is a genius (intelligence 2) and can count to 5 and learn double the number of tricks, etc.

With two bars remaining, we headed back to Lendore and rejoined Quentin. We were virtually out of money though. The Baron has repaid his debt to us, though we still 1000 gp in Barnacus credit. We sold two of the three ivory scroll tubes for 1000 gp each before we started, and so had only one left.

We decided it was time to adventure again!

Astrologies revealed that the result of an expedition to Skull Mountain or the Khargish ruins were uncertain, and so not immediately deadly. We decided on the Khargish ruins in the end since the astrology seemed to indicate wealth and/or death.

We went to Barnacus and spoke with Augman (5 days research out of credit). We learned much about the location and how not get lost going there.

The capital of the Khargish civilization was once located to the east of the Trenhurst forest, at the north end of the island. About 10000 Kharg once lived there. They left suddenly due to "bad omens." About 1500 years ago, the capital sank into the swamp.

The druidic records from that time indicated that the druids felt ok about that section of the island, due to the fact that it was under control of "the old ones."

The Phaulkonians also have a record (Katherine, do you remember what it said)?

Augman told us about one party that had ventured near there. Apparently they were not a green party, but also not heroes, so I'm guessing substantially less powerful than us. In any case, they were looking for ruins, and wandering around near the edge of the swamp. They had heard about the ruins but were looking for other ones. They didn't find any, and wandered deeper into the swamp.

They were having little difficulty with the creatures (lizards, etc.), and could actually see the ruins only about a mile northwest of their location, and suddenly the rear guard reported a snapping sound. Abruptly the party turned around to find that one of their people was dead, about 30 knife wounds in him, in about 15 seconds. He didn't even get a chance to cry out. They were weirded out and disgusted, and turned around and left.

Note that this trip requires traveling through bandit infested forest, though not bandit kingdoms, which is good. The swamp will require some preparation, but there isn't much to worry about other than the bizarre stabbing monster.

Is it a trap? Who knows. Furthermore, Cassian's birds attempted to learn about the swamp through the grapevine of animals. The result was weird-"bad birds." The Phaulkonians don't know what to make of it.

An ominous journey. We set off next game!