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September 22, 1998

Defenders Summary #37: A Change of Plans

Party Roster:

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 5th level fighter, 50 hp, played by Joel
Kodo, 3rd level woodsman, 36 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, 4th level thief, 15 hp, played by Vic
Kain, 1st level cleric, 6 hp, played by Jeff

After much discussion and reconsideration, it was finally decided that it would be best to wait a year to kill the “green slime bag.” Research by the sage in Teft indicated that the creature is only there during the rainy season, and would likely reform the next year if killed. Furthermore, in order to reach it in time we would not be able to train Kodo or Alduin beforehand. In addition, a lot more information could be gleaned if we spoke with the sage in Koralgesh. All of this convinced us to put the mission off until next year, though it has not been abandoned.

Instead, Alduin drilled for his next level, and trained to 4th level, gaining 2 hp to stand at 15. Our thieves are incapable of rolling good hp, including Perry, who managed to get 17 hp at 6th level. (And Alduin has a con bonus!)

Kodo picked up the boating proficiency, and it was definitely relevant for the next step. We decided to take up the orc island mission, since we had managed to go broke while wandering around, having failed to find a single piece of treasure.

We met with Rollo Bergman, the head of a local shipping company. He and the at least partially elven captain, Malmir, related this story:

A group of five ships had gone north past the Korinn archipelago, including Malmir’s ship, the privately owned Sea Dragon ship (a cloaking ship), called the Belle Venture. Nine days north of the Korinn, they were suddenly attacked. A fog had moved around the ships, and they were staying in contact by lanterns. Suddenly it became clear that one of the smaller ships was under attack. The Belle Venture cloaked and went to see what was going on, and by the time they reached it, everyone on the ship was dead. Hearing cries from another ship, the crew of the Belle Venture noted that orcs of the Kara-kara tribe were taking money off the ship. Four people were rescued from one of the other ships, but everyone else was dead on the second one as well. The people rescued were incoherent and babbling.

Rushing to the aid of the large merchant ship in the convoy, the cloaked ship was suddenly assaulted by orcs, who had apparently gotten close enough to see it. The mist itself gained fangs and everywhere these fog creatures attacked.

Malmir took one orc prisoner and realized that all was lost, so the ship ran out of the fog. 10 men of 40 crew had survived, along with the 4 prisoners, and the ship limped home. It was clear that the other ships were scuttled and scavenged by the orcs.

This coordinated attack by the Kara-kara defied everything they knew about the tribe. A primitive tribe without metal weapons or armor, or very seaworthy boats, the tribe had recently become far more dangerous. While the Kara-kara had always scavenged ships, now they were actively attacking them, along with fog monsters, apparently under their control. Apparently a new leader, the “great pig” had risen to power and was commanding them. The leader claims to be an avatar of the Pig God of the orcs, but a Divination revealed that there was no such thing on the island. In addition, the orcs are removing gold off of the ships, which has no value for them. This is quite suspicious.

The fog itself can apparently travel against the wind.

Rollo suspects that some trainee of Eggy Gax is putting on the show of the decade, but he is afraid of this spreading. Our job is to find out about the new leader and if possible, kill him.

We sailed out toward the island, and, incredibly, managed to get attacked by another sea monster, a giant squid. Fortunately, the ship’s ballistae hit the creature decisively on the initial shots, and it vanished under the waves.

We arrived, and landed on June 8th. The full moon rises on the night of June 9th-10th, so we planned to arrive and do our exploration while most of the village was at the ceremony held outside of a temple.

We have a map, which shows the main features of the island. The island is a T shaped one, about 4 miles across in each direction. It is a thick jungle, with two high mountains, one near the orc village, and one on the other side. The mountains are separated by a sheer ravine, called “the Trail of the Dead.” There are about 1000 orcs on the island, so a big fight is obviously out. Our plan was to land, do some reconnaissance, and see if we could find an easy way to expose or kill the leader. Then we would run back to the boat, which Kodo had piloted in, and make our escape.

The orc captive spoke of the original inhabitants of the island, the Ancient Ones, but was relieved that they were long gone when the orcs arrived.

We landed on the beaches, and stowed the boat. For this mission we decided that it was critical not to be surprised, so everyone except for Balinor and Felix went into non-metal armor. Morgan, who has excellent scouting and stealth abilities, Kodo, who is a 3rd level woodsman, and Alduin, who is a 4th level elven thief in woodlands, took the lead and remained ahead of us. Quentin’s bobcat Chester, his two crows Lenore and Morris, his owl Tyveris, and his ferrets came with us.

We trekked through the jungle, dealing with the lizards, and bugs, and other nasty things. Up ahead, Morgan spotted a ruined tower, and small village. We explored the area and discovered that some sort of giant white gorilla lives there, perhaps more than one. They live in the ruined basement of the tower. Deciding that fighting them would be bad, we hurried on. In fact, if the orcs weren’t on the island, Morgan declared, this would be a good place to adventure and check out!

We moved on and stopped in time to avoid being seen by the outpost.

There was an enclosure of bone, in which sat 6 orcs, and 2 “riding lizards.” They were chameleons of some sort, giant things. They were guarding the only pass around the ravine, the Trail of the Dead. Theoretically there was a pass on the other side, but it would take about a day to circle around, which would be too late.

The animals in the area sensed that something was “wrong” about the chasm.

We backed up a half hour and set up camp, since it was getting late. Hoping that the guards would be gone to the festivities come the next morning, we rested.

On the first watch, Chester avoided being eaten by a lizard.

On the third watch, with Felix on watch, he noted three burly humanoid shapes moving around the camp. They were stocky for orcs, and he suspected they might be the gorillas. Calmly, Felix moved to Balinor and Morgan and woke them up. Balinor couldn’t see in the dark, but Morgan noted the shapes. Soon everyone was up, and we tensed, hoping that we could talk to the things.

Suddenly, one of the them came running into the camp, and Quentin tried to cast Speak with Animals. Felix, Balinor, Morgan, and Kodo moved to clobber it, and it ran away as fast as it had come.

Shrugging, we went back to sleep.

Felix and Quentin were on watch, and Quentin suddenly noted the raspy breathing of Kain. Quentin shook him, and he didn’t wake up, but Kain felt cold, and it pained Quentin’s hand. Felix moved to help and shook Kain. Balinor coughed and woke up, feeling weak (his strength had fallen from 18/33 to 13) and he had taken cold damage. Balinor pulled out Maiden Basher.

Alduin was weakened as well. Quentin got out a Continual Light bead, and shined it on the camp. The light did something very odd around Alduin, and it blocked it completely for a moment, then all was normal.

The shadow around Felix’s feet suddenly disappeared into the ground. The light revealed two other running away. Only Felix could catch them, and he chose not to give chase.

Kain was alive, but very weak (his str was 2). Cure Light Wounds helped the cold damage.

Relieved, but annoyed, we went back to sleep. In the morning our strength had returned.

Suspecting that the shadows had come from the chasm, we were now even more intrigued, but we had a mission to do.

We moved out to the ridge again, but to our discomfort, the orcs were still there.

A plan was hatched, in which Donald would cast Sleep and Quentin would Entangle the orcs. Hopefully this could prevent them from reaching the drum to signal for help.

That’s where we left off. Tune in for the next edition!


September 15, 1998

Defenders Summary #36: The Lord of Scum

Party Roster:

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 5th level fighter, 50 hp, played by Joel
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 (Alex this game)
Kain, 1st level cleric of Silban, 6 hp, played by Jeff

The party was last left having trashed a goblin fortress and scooping up treasure. We claimed the scimitar +1 and a healing potion along with 5000 gp as our cut, and sailed on our old friend, the Eagle 13, to Restenford. After some arguing, it was decided that the X in Petethal had the most votes and we would head there. Since the winter was fast closing, it seemed like a good idea to get to the mainland quickly and have Quentin write his intended Cure Serious Wounds scroll in Depwood. Having realized that, we decided that Drew could come along and visit his family as well, and travel safely with us.

It should be noted that the Mouse of Cats is a really handy item, now that Quentin has a bobcat, named Chester! Anyone can talk to it at any time!

Phoenix decided to return to the church of Silban in Teft, and we accompanied him there. As repayment for his help, we offered to pay for his training, which would come within a few months, since he had narrowly missed 2nd level. In addition, it should be noted that XP for the goblin fortress ranged from 1200 for Kodo and Alduin to 2500 for Donald and Quentin. No one leveled, though Kodo and Alduin were both within 250 XP of the next level.

Balinor’s plate mail was so badly damaged (from being hit by at least a half-dozen ballista bolts) that we took it to the fine armorer in Barnacus (who had sneered at our pathetic Teft suits of chain mail when we were 1st level) and he repaired it, barely in time to make a fast passenger galley out to Teft. We arrived in Teft on November 28, 2176.

Kain joined the party in Petethal, after we had seen off Phoenix. Kain is another half-elven Silban cleric—apparently the church hasn’t given up on us yet! We hoped that Kain, the 6th cleric of the Defenders, would do better than his predecessors.

We decided that information for the Petethal mission would be key, and didn’t want to blunder into another bandit operation without knowing ahead of time. So we talked to the weird old sage there, and learned about the X. There was once a tower there, occupied by a group of ogres led by a hill giant. A party of rangers sacked the place in 2166, and discovered a magical door on the floor of the tower. They determined that Knock and Dispel Magic wouldn’t help, and that only a Chime of Opening or the command word could open the door, and the command word had long since been lost.

This was obviously quite disappointing, so we figured we would ask the rangers in Depwood if they had anything to do. The other alternative would be to head up to Carse and farther north, to get a boat to the orc island during the off-season.

We also spent some time in the traditional Blue Star Inn, and exchanged tales with other adventurers.

Leaving Teft, we immediately encountered the ever-lovely Petethalian road system, during the height of the rainy season. We went with a huge caravan, and arrived uneventfully in Depwood, and stayed there through the New Year in a ranger cabin under Drew’s vouching. Quentin wrote the scroll, and we attended the ranger New Years party.

Unfortunately, the rangers had little for us to do: 1) take out a dangerous bear in Southern Dunador, 3 weeks in the wrong direction, or 2) Kill a hive of giant ants, which was almost certainly too much for us.

We decided to head up to Carse to do the orc mission, but also wanted to make a quick sidetrip to the X, since it was only a week and a half out of our way.

Saying our goodbyes to Drew, we headed up the road, and then turned off at the appropriate point. We began trekking through the muddy rainy forest, thoroughly miserable, but convinced that we were “roughing it.”

Then we actually had an encounter.

Balinor, Felix, Donald, Kodo, and Kain all froze immediately, held by some sort of clerical affect. Morgan was blinded. Quentin and Alduin were unaffected. Alduin vanished into the underbrush, hiding, while Quentin learned from his bobcat Chester that there were a number of really big dogs coming this way. Quentin began frantically casting Dispel Magic to free the party members.

But the spell could not be completed before three wolves, about 5’ tall at the shoulder, bounded into the clearing at Quentin. Alduin threw himself in front of one, which missed, and he slashed back at it, slightly injuring it. However, Quentin was hit by one the wolves, and his spell fizzled.

Morgan roared and slashed at one of the wolves, injuring it and holding it at bay. Quentin stepped back and cast an Entangle, nailing three of the wolves, of which there were now six. In the middle of the spell Quentin went blind from another Light. One wolf jumped at Kodo and began trying to kill him, while the others began circling. Two wolves were near Morgan, one snagged, the other only partially hindered. He slashed again, and by luck struck the same wolf, further injuring it. Quentin threw another Entangle, and this time all were at least partially caught. Quentin also discovered that he could move freely about his own Entangle.

Alduin took cover farther back in the Entangle, but was snagged by the second one. Morgan slashed a third time, totally pasting the same wolf, and dropping it. However, another one of the wolves clearly cast a spell, curing the wolf enough for it to stagger out of the Entangle and into the forest. About this time, everyone realized that they were Worgs.

The situation looked grim, but the Entangles had managed to bring the whole thing to a temporary stalemate. The bobcat, meanwhile, had understandably taken refuge in a tree.

Then a mass Dispel Magic took out both Entangles, the Light spells blinding Morgan and Quentin, freed Felix, and temporarily nailed a whole bunch of our items. The situation looked grim: Felix, an injured Morgan, Alduin, and an injured Quentin versus five uninjured Worgs. Clearly it would be ugly on both sides. Realizing this, the Worgs fled.

We healed up that night, and pressed on, hoping that this time we wouldn’t be so badly pressed.

Apparently the Worgs realized that we were difficult prey, and didn’t attack us again. Then three giant ticks jumped the front of the party. Morgan slew his, and Balinor ran up and blasted Felix’s. Kodo was less fortunate and the third latched onto him. He struggled with it, trying to pull it off his leg. He popped it off, but he couldn’t seem to kill it, fighting with it. Suddenly it latched onto his head, and he began yelling and yanking it. Finally he flung it away, and the laughing Felix, Morgan, and Balinor turned into a pile of ichor.

Quentin was gasping too much to heal him, so Kain did it, vaguely disturbed.

The party marched on for several days. Suddenly, they reached the X, or so it appeared.

There was a “C” shaped little ruin of stone, an elaborate pile of rocks one might say. We discovered some ruins of wooden structures which were on the order of ten years old. We dug up the grass inside the ruin, and discovered the high magic door in the floor that the rangers were talking about. We tried to tug it open, but to no avail. Realizing that we had the same problem, we sighed but enjoyed the touristy stop and moved on.

Three days out from the ruin, something really bizarre happened.

Quentin suddenly began talking to one of the trees, turned to the party with an alarmed look, and said “The Lord of Pondscum is going to kill us all.”

Suddenly the ground snapped up into a bizarre humanoid shape, made out of algae and goo. It appeared next to the unlucky Kain, who was hit solidly and fell over. Oh well, so much for the new cleric.

Meanwhile, one of the trees came up from behind Donald and grabbed him, striking him for major damage and wounding him. Donald gasped for help, but no one could do anything. Alduin swung at the branch with his longsword, but missed.

Felix swung confidently at the algae monster with the magic short sword—and it passed right through the creature. Uh oh.

Quentin stepped back and threw a Cure Light at Kain, saving him and bring Kain back into consciousness. Kain got up and scrambled back.

Balinor came up from behind and smashed the pondscum creature with Maiden Basher, but to no effect. Getting desperate, Morgan yelled, “Thunderstruck!” and slammed the creature with a major hit, lightning coursing through it.

It appeared to heal the creature.


It turned and slammed Balinor, who switched to his new torches and lit two of them. Felix whipped out a torch as well. The creature slammed Balinor again, but he went at the thing with a torch in each hand.

The one that hit was just snuffed out. It wasn’t clear whether the creature was injured or not.


Felix realized the torch wouldn’t help and slashed at the tree grabbing Donald, who fell to the ground unconscious.

Quentin had been yelling at the trees to stop, but to no avail. The willows were just nuts, and the other tree seemed apologetic, but said that it was enthralled and couldn’t stop. Kain scrambled over and saved Donald with a magnificent Cure Light.

Balinor dropped his torches and redrew his hammers, attempting to back up and reach Felix and grab the +2 dagger. It was not to be.

Some sort of very powerful effect hit the entire party. Alduin began shrieking incoherently. Balinor stood stock still, unaware of his surroundings. Morgan went berserk and began attacking something, anything in range. He charged at the tree assaulting Donald, torch in hand. Felix’s expression went blank and his weapons lolled to his side while he began sucking his thumb.

Some sort of confusion effect. In short, only four party members were even coherent.

Quentin, growing completely incensed, threw a Dispel Magic, but it didn’t seem to remove the effect. He tried everything, including Slow Poison, but it had no affect. The creature was advancing toward Balinor, and Quentin desperately threw an Entangle—which worked. The creature attempted to catch itself, curling up into a weird ball and stopping in place.

Morgan ran at the tree and started hacking madly, but fairly ineffectively. The tree smashed him, and would have killed him if Kodo hadn’t jumped in the way. Morgan would have pressed the attack, but the quick thinking Kain Commanded him to “Die,” and he did, falling unconscious. Kain dragged Morgan away from the area. The tree suddenly grabbed Donald again, wrapping a branch around his neck and hoisting him up like a noose. Thinking quickly, Kodo slashed the branch with his axes, cutting Donald free. Kain healed Donald and ran back, dragging a disoriented Donald with him.

Felix had wandered off a bit after being told to stay by Kodo and Kain. Balinor was now shrieking at the spiders that were all over him.

Donald whipped out a rope and tied Morgan’s arms back, and then sat on him.

Alduin had meanwhile fallen unconscious.

Balinor was running from the dragon trying to eat him, and went screaming off into the woods. Since he was sprinting, he kept tripping and falling, which actually made his progress slower. Kodo tried to tackle him, but missed.

Quentin was the only person who could actually do something productive, so he began building a serious fire around the still stuck algae creature, hoping it might be injured. He continued to try to call off the trees, who had momentarily stopped attacking.

Kodo caught up to Balinor and tried to overbear him. Balinor swung at the dragon, pasting Kodo and knocking him back. Kodo roared and smacked Balinor on the head, stunning him momentarily. Balinor declared that he was here to see the king, and that Kodo shouldn’t try to stop him, that the mission was of the utmost urgency. Kodo finished the job with a solid blow, knocking out his older brother.

Quentin threw a Neutralize Poison at the creature, which had no effect, and then lit the fire. It definitely injured the creature. The algae monster was apparently hurt by heat, and not by flame (exactly the opposite of a black pudding). However the thing put out the fire almost immediately but expanding and dropping blobs of algae on the fire.

Balinor woke up groggy, but was in decent shape and returned to the party with Kodo. The rest of the party had been trying to escape, but two trees were blocking their path.

It was clear that the thing was about to break free. Quentin ran to the party and led them away from the swamp. Balinor and Kodo scooped up Alduin and lugged him along, just slightly faster than the algae creature could chase us.

Alduin stirred and began waking up. Balinor and Kodo put him down and they broke out into a full run, and left the creature behind. They noticed the creature snap back out of shape, become nearly invisible, and disappear into the ground. Then the creature popped up out of the ground again, right in front of Alduin. Alduin was pasted and knocked down, but saved by Quentin. We ran on and Quentin summoned a bunch of toads, around 250 of them, who swarmed toward the algae monster and slowed it down enough to let us escape.

We kept running, and suddenly encountered a hedge. It appeared to stretch as far as we could see in either direction, which wasn’t particularly far. Kodo whipped out his machete, but the hedge protested in treant—“Don’t hurt me, I end 200 feet that way!”

We turned and ran that way, and spotted a large rocky dry area. We ran up to it… and big ugly appeared again in front of us. It missed, and we ran onto the rocks, toads blocking it all the way.

We breathed a collective sigh of relief, then ducked when a branch hit Morgan in the head. We headed off the other side and onto drier land.

We returned to Teft uneventfully, and Kodo trained to 3rd level gaining 6 hp to move to 36. Alduin was 60 XP short of 4th level.

We have decided that before we head to the island, this creature has to die. Quentin found it repulsive (it even attacked a druid!). It appears to be good friends with Limgut party or something—annihilate all sentient life, etc. So with the aid of Heat Metal spells and Hold Plants, the party will return to kill it next time!

The dagger +2 and Maiden Basher have had their official names inscribed on the handles. The dagger+2 is now called “Mindwaster” for it’s role in killing the grey philosopher. Centuries hence, some adventurer is going to be VERY confused!


September 08, 1998

Defenders Summary #35: The Impenetrable Fog

Departing Members:

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

Party Roster:

Felix, 5th level fighter, 53 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 5th level fighter, 50 hp, played by Joel
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
Phoenix, 1st level Silban cleric, 7 hp, played by Jeff

We last left the Restenford Defenders recovering in Restenford after a harrowing experience with a grey philosopher in ancient Khargish ruins. The party healed up, and Cassian and Narahn retired.

Narahn leaves with his quality short bow, and Cassian takes with her the Ring of Featherfalling, Chain Mail+2, and Small Shield+2. The scrolls of Cure Serious Wounds, and Neutralize/Slow Poison were handed over to the care of our newest member Phoenix. Phoenix, the 5th cleric to join the Defenders, is a cleric of Silban, Mother Earth, whose followers share many of the druidic beliefs, but without the hostility toward sentient life. The first cleric of the Defenders was a cleric of Silban as well, which means we have now come full circle: Silban, Phaulkon, Nevron, Phaulkon, Silban.

The party finances at the end of the last game were generally low in cash, but very rich in permanent magic items. To make ends meet without selling the party needed a mission to provide treasure.

First, salvage tax was paid on the items recovered from the Khargish ruins. The Shield of the Wyrm, Felix’s old shield, was given up along with the Token of Boulder. We retained the Ring of Toad Control, Token of Armor, Token of Door, and Shield of the Stallion. Felix is now using the Stallion shield, and his strength has risen substantially. In addition he is capable of moving 9” in full plate. The plan is that during the next nighttime ambush against us, Felix will use the armor token to create full plate for him, and from then on will wear it. The armor token was not taken on the following mission, though.

The mission we eventually decided on was suggested by the Petethalian navy:

Our job was to assault a fortress of goblins on an island near the Korinn Archipelago. 5 Eagle warships, including our old friends on the Eagle 13, plus an Ark class ship were the assault force, there to draw out most of the goblins, and divert them from our longship based ground landing on the beach. The plan was for us to charge the fortress and prevent the goblins from escaping with the treasure.

Of course, there was an expectation of a good number of low level witchdoctor types, who would have both low level wizard and cleric offensive spells. Hold Person, Light, Command, Magic Missile, and Lightning Bolt were our greatest fears. We were so worried about Lightning Bolt that Thunderstruck was left behind, since it attracts lightning and does extra damage to the wielder. Under other circumstances, combined with Protection from Lightning, this could be a devastating combination though…

In any case, we didn’t feel like getting shot at by ballistae, crossbows, and having tons of spells hurled at us, so the plan was for Quentin to use two Obscurements to hide our progress up the beach and onto the palisade of the fortress, though we would be unable to see more than a few feet, even with infravision. Of course, this works both ways, so…

Reinforcements would be provided via the Horn of Valhalla, or whatever it is. In addition to providing extra targets, this would reduce the chances of being swarmed by goblins.

Reward: 1000 gp, 3-5% of the recovered gold, and some percent of the magic items.

We accepted.

We were stationed on the Ark warship, which carried several longboats for the assault. On October 12th, we arrived at the goblin fortress. Combat began, and the main fear of the Ark was that it had to go into trebuchet range to launch the longboat. There were two trebuchet in the fortress, in addition to some catapults and numerous ballistae. We were lowered into the water on cue, although a trebuchet shot came frighteningly close to hitting the Ark in the process. The longboat was launched, and we rowed toward shore. One ballista shot came close to hitting Quentin, and one damaged the boat slightly.

A fast ship with about 20 goblins was fast approaching, and the lieutenant on the longboat became worried they would overtake us. Donald threw a Sleep at the boat, and it listed to a stop as about 75% of the rowers fell asleep. We landed successfully, and Felix began blowing the horn while Quentin cast the first Obscurement.

The ballistae took advantage of this to shoot at Felix, but missed. The Obscurement went up, and after a minute Felix stopped blowing the horn. Balinor and Kodo were in the lead, and apparently almost walked into Valhalla or something. They felt cold, and hear chimes in the distance, and saw a large black building up ahead. Hastily backpedaling, they rejoined the party, and Felix told them to attack the goblins on the palisade. They sprinted ahead and we lost sight of the nine warriors we had called. They were creepy, with huge axes and weird black armor. We shrugged and moved on.

Reaching the end of the obscurement, a second was cast, and we moved up to the palisade. It turned out that our climbing preparations, including rope ladders, half a potion of climbing, and a levitation spell were unnecessary and we headed up. As we were climbing, we could hear death cries as the extra-planar warriors started trashing goblins. Of course, we couldn’t even see each other except for the person right next to each other, so virtually this entire battle was fought in confusion. Quentin’s direction sense helped, but the rest of us were very confused.

As Quentin reached the top, suddenly his Protection from Lightning dropped. Suspecting a Dispel Magic, Quentin grew quite annoyed, but relieved that it hadn’t dispelled the fog.

Suddenly Phoenix and Kodo were bowled over by something and fell off the wall. Quentin went back to help them, while the rest of the party continued. Donald cast Levitation and whipped out the Wand of Paralysis. Felix turned left upon cresting the palisade and engaged a few goblins, slaying them easily enough. Lightning bolts were coming into the cloud, and pretty soon we were disturbed to note about 6 of them had passed in a minute or so. The stream continued, and Felix was hit by one.

Balinor suddenly came out of the front of the Obscurement, where he got one good view of what was happening. About nine goblins, presumably witchdoctors, were Webbed (thanks to Donald), and Donald had apparently been dodging Magic Missiles thanks to the Shield spell. He had managed to paralyze the one with a big staff, but it was being taken by another goblin. The Light spell was resisted, but Balinor was frozen in place by a Hold Person.

The rest of the party had partially regrouped near the top of the wall. Quentin had passed a damaged but still strong Kodo and went to look for Phoenix. Phoenix was bleeding to death, but was saved by a strong Cure Light Wounds from Quentin. Phoenix trailed behind and remained in hiding below the top of the palisade, just trying to stay alive.

Felix had stepped out of the Obscurement and been blinded by a Light spell, and was taking massive damage from various attacks. Morgan suddenly found Balinor and dragged him back into the mist, just a ballista bolt missed him.

Unfortunately, Balinor was in range for the next Lightning Bolt, which pasted him. Of course, he didn’t say much.

Morgan had also been singed but was in better shape. He and Alduin were trying to determine what had happened when both of them got hit as well. Morgan was ok, but Alduin fell down bleeding, quite badly. The lightning bolts were locating people when they shouted.

It was later noted that the lightning bolts killed whole bunches of goblins, which was due to very bad aim and apathy on the part of the crazy witchdoctor, who would yell, “Woo-hoo!” every time he fired a bolt.

A number of lightning bolts continued to zing over the party, which seemed odd at the time. Donald was out of spells by this point and regrouped with Quentin, Phoenix, and the blinded Felix. Quentin saved Alduin with a Cure Serious Wounds, and then Dispelled the Hold on Balinor.

Kodo, hoping to light the Web on fire and kill some of the goblins, as well as free three of the trapped extra-planar people, had moved up with a throwing dagger wrapped in a flaming cloth. He emerged from the Obscurement, threw the dagger… and knew no more. No one knew what happened to the Web.

Balinor was determined to look for him, but wanting backup, Morgan downed the potion of healing and they went in search of Kodo. Balinor was more careful this time and managed not to stumble out of the Obscurement, but couldn’t find Kodo. When a Lightning Bolt nailed him again, he was in sad shape, and the two started to retreat back to “base camp.” Suddenly, something smashed Morgan from behind, nearly dropping Morgan, and two RAN back to base camp. There was no sign of what had attacked him.

Suspicious, Quentin threw a huge area Faerie Fire, thereby revealing the invisible four armed creature attempted to swing at Morgan. Morgan whirled, and thing vanished into the fog again.

Donald thought it might be some weird Inner Planar creature, perhaps an aerial servant or something. He also mentioned that on his last trip up, Donald had suddenly just fallen out of the sky and bruised himself.

The entire party took cover slightly below the level of the palisade and decided what to do next. There was no sign of Kodo, who was presumed dead. We were all bedraggled except for the uninjured Quentin. We were mostly out of spells. And there was some weird Inner Plane creature trying to kill us. It DID have a fresh minty smell to it.

It was looking desperate. The new plan: Donald would cast Sleep off of scroll, and Balinor would run up, light the Web, and start killing stuff. He downed the rest of the potion of Extra-healing, but in order to survive that long, he decided to drink the Potion of Invulnerability. The results were spectacular.

Donald cast his Sleep, and Balinor came roaring out of the fog. Meanwhile, the invisible creature popped up behind Phoenix and Donald and tried to kill them. It swung fast and nearly sliced Donald in half, but Donald was conscious long enough to grab the Wand of Paralysis and point it in desperation at the creature. The Wand crumbled.

The creature dropped!

Alduin started sawing it to bits with the +2 dagger.

Donald collapsed. Quentin was only able to bring him up to stable consciousness with a Cure Light, but it was good enough if we lived through this.

Balinor took two direct ballista hits, and numerous crossbow shots. He grinned at the ballista crew, and then lit the Web.

Immediately the extra-planar warriors broke free and started slaying goblins. Balinor ran to join them, when fifteen goblins, clearly an elite group, came around the corner.

Nearly forgotten in the whole mess, the sleeping Kodo finally woke up and sprang into action again, joining Morgan and Alduin in destroying the trebuchet in the pits below.

Balinor and three warriors engaged the goblins. The three warriors fell, but not before killing eight goblins.

In a disgusting series of attacks, Balinor plastered six elite goblins. One of them was the local commander, wielding a magic scimitar, which could actually affect Balinor. Despite being stabbed repeatedly by spears, shot by crossbows, and hit by about a half-dozen ballista shots, Balinor just grinned a bloody grin and ran at the goblin with the magic weapon. They met in a clash of weapons. The creature managed to scratch Balinor, who bashed it six times in rapid succession, finally dropping it.

The rest turned to flee, but Balinor caught two and turned them into paste. Getting struck by ANOTHER ballista bolt, he whirled and headed for the crew. He charged up the stairs, and the goblins all leapt off the side down into the pits below, except for one. He drew a short bow and fitted a magic arrow to it, and fired. He BARELY missed, and Balinor ground him into a small fine powder.

Morgan, Kodo, and Alduin continued to work on the siege weaponry, when Quentin emerged from the fog and scooped up the lightning bolt staff. He accidentally fired one of into the air while figuring out how to activate it, and then ran after Balinor.

Balinor had crested the ridge and noted two boats, one undermanned and the other one close to shoving off. He ran yelling at them. He managed to dodge the Light spell, but then fell over when told to “Die.” Quentin crested ridge and noted a group of goblins coming at the fallen Balinor. Tightly packed.

Grinning, Quentin fired a bolt at the group, incinerating all of them.

Balinor got up, and Quentin continued blasting the merchant boat, while the little boat shoved off without the group that had just been slaughtered. A few of the merchant ship goblins tried to escape into the rowboat, but Balinor took them down. Quentin blasted the merchant ship twice, and it became apparent it was sinking.

Balinor fired his double-shot crossbow once to discourage the goblins from reaching the deck, and then smiled and watched it sink.

A little bit later, a Petethalian navy boat landed to see Balinor pulling bolts out from all over his trashed armor. We had reassembled, and somehow, nobody had died!

However, there was one tragic thing to come.

Phoenix was so weakened by his collapse that he lost his combat abilities entirely. He will retire to become a non-combatant cleric in the church of Silban.

Out of game, he set the record for the worst single permanent damage ever. He lost 13 hp permanently!

Well, we still don’t have a cleric, but we did have an extraordinarily successful mission. The treasure was (including our 3-5% gold) approximately 5000 gp, plus a choice of magic items. The items recovered were a helm that allows the wearer to see through natural weather, a medium shield+1, a cutlass (scimitar)+1, 7 short bow arrows +1, and potions of Water Breathing (and swimming), Healing, and an unidentified one.

We will probably take the potion of healing and either the 7 arrows or the scimitar. It’s tough, since we have a proficient non-fighter using both of those weapons—Quentin for the scimitar, Alduin for the arrows.

As to what we’re doing next:

Orc Island—there is an island which was occupied by primitive orcs, which is believed to be recently taken over by some mysterious leader, who is actually taking out ships. The mission would be to do major reconnaissance, and hopefully take out the leader, preferably without a confrontation with the other thousand orcs on the island.

Petethal—the good old X on the map. No information about this one, really.

Take out the gnolls—Katherine has suggested at least part of a plan for this. We might consider fleshing it out. In all likelihood such an attack would take place during the winter months (which are coming up soon) when rain will prevent good bow fire from the gnolls and allow the use of Call Lightning.

Join us next week!

See Jeff’s next cleric, the 6th in party history!


September 01, 1998

Warwick Summary: Warwick vs. the Evil Mountain Giant Grungar Goldeyes

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugliest Player Character in Telvar.

It all begins with a grand idea which, after reality whittles away the grander
parts, becomes a questionable enterprise.
We re-join our beleaguered party in autumn, 2187:

Warwick had just returned from Borglyn's roost, and his superiors at the
Academy were grumbling about schedule, funding, the usual lot. Due for more
excitement, Warwick soon hatched a plan to rid western Cromwell of one its
more legendary menaces - the giant Grungar Goldeneyes. With proper equipment
from friends, the church, and the government, Warwick believed that he could
probably eliminate Grungar with a solo Holy Quest. So, astrology readings
began, and a Commune spell was cast for Warwick on High Holy Day. The results
of both were discouraging.

Although it was foretold that Grungar was susceptible to Warwick's lethal bow,
it seemed certain that Warwick would get one shot at most. After that first
shot (not likely to kill Grungar), then Grungar's escape or the immediate
death of Warwick would result. It further seemed that Grungar was impossible
to surprise, despite all of Warwick's methods (invisibility, silently
approaching in the air, downwind, etc.). The omens in the astrology reading
were similarly grim: "the void eclipses the hunter", "the scythe is
ascendant", the unlucky color is transparent, etc.

Of course, this galvanized Warwick's Holy Quest, confident that Phaulkon would
provide the key source of inspiration and guidance for destroying the menace.


In early 2188, Warwick set out to research his adversary. Consultation with
Academy resources and the Cromwellian sage Kerfel led Warwick to the
conclusion that Grungar could psionically travel via various planes. For a
while, it seemed that Warwick would become Astral or Ethereal and combat
Grungar in the non-physical world � fortunately, Warwick discarded that idea.
Instead, in the great tradition of Buck (Weapon X), Warwick decided that a
high-speed collision with Grungar would be the only sure way to instantly
incapacitate and possible kill the giant. While Warwick spent the summer of
2188 training the next class of STRangers, Lanoi again consulted the stars in
Hoch Och. "The sign of the scythe is ascendant over the sign of the arch.
The unlucky number is 110. The unlucky color is black-green." A plan was set
and checked with Liahanna, the Nevronian artifact with Commune powers.
Liahanna indicated that Warwick's plan had a decent chance of killing Grungar�

In late autumn, a full STRanger/ Phaulkonian contingent traveled to western
Cromwell by Brinard's cloud. Since Grungar's pattern of extortion had
followed a somewhat methodical pattern, a small number of likely target
villages were determined. For each of the villages, Warwick's party
determined a pre-set location for the extortion drop-off. Locations were
selected that had a nocturnal and daytime bird to serve as messengers. Once a
village was threatened, Warwick quickly built a blind about 200 yards from the
planned food drop-off. He immediately took his gear to the blind and waited.

Since Warwick intended to endanger only himself, his solo set-up was expensive
and risky. He consumed a Potion of Vitality, which allowed him to sit quietly
for a solid week, with no food, water, or sleep. Further, he was wearing a
borrowed Ring of Mind Shielding to protect him from mental probing and attack.
He was Imbued with several clerical spells. The Academy lab had specially
crafted an impact suit (called a "safe") - it was intended to maximize damage
to the target, while keeping Warwick literally intact. Two magic tokens were
crafted into the custom suit. Finally, Warwick had two different helmets with
special visual capabilities, True Sight and Ultravision. Otherwise, Warwick
had no equipment; he was a human bullet.

After some time (days?), Warwick was signaled by the daytime bird that the
food was being disturbed. Warwick grabbed the helmet of True Sight and
immediately activated a line-of-sight Teleport token � and arrived in mid-air
far above the food and a busy Grungar. High in the air above Grungar, Warwick
saw a huge hole in the ground, with a smoking and smoldering land beyond.
Grungar was shoving the food into the hole, oblivious to the danger falling
from above.

At terminal velocity, about 1200 feet above Grungar, Warwick dropped the
helmet of True Sight and activated his built-in Dimension Door token. The
helmet deployed a parachute (thanks, lab), and Warwick zapped through the
Door. The other side of the Door opened 20 feet above Grungar's head. Even
with the incredible speed of psionic power, Grungar was unable to react to a
chunk of metal hurtling at 180 mph. Warwick smashed Grungar's head, and was
simultaneously mangled by the impact himself. Both died; Warwick's (un?) holy
quest ended.


The bird that had warned Warwick flew on to signal the support party that the
plan had activated. When they arrived, the saw the following scene: Grungar
was dead, with a massive head wound. Warwick was mangled on the ground
nearby, with his head almost ripped from his body. (The "safe" had not
included a special helmet, due to Warwick's need to use the magical vision
helmet.) Beside both bodies was a gaping "hole to hell". As they verified
that Grungar was dead and that Warwick was in a single piece, they began to
debate what to do with the hell-hole.

As they debated, a strange creature of fire emerged from the hole, cackled,
and went shrieking through the sky across Cromwell. Not wanting to start a
planar incident, Lanoi read a scroll of dispel magic (thanks Alegra) to close
up the hole. The strange landscape vanished, leaving behind a thin, silky,
black-green cloth. The heroes folded the cloth, bundled Warwick, and prepped
the scene for take-off. Everyone traveled via Brinard's cloud to a nearby
Nevronian temple, where a high-level cleric could read a Raise Dead scroll for

Three days later, the temple was reached, and Warwick was Raised. He hadn't
fared too well... he lost 4 more hit points permanently, was completely deaf,
and had reached sub-zero comeliness. Dazed and depressed, he slept for most
of the trip back to the Academy.

At the Academy, it was realized that Warwick had paid a VERY expensive price
for not much reward. Speak w/ Dead was used to interrogate the crazy giant.
Grungar had NO possessions, other than his Well of the Worlds that linked to
the 110th layer of the Abyss. For the last century or so, Grungar had been
using western Cromwell as a food source for his mysterious master, "the object
of his desire". Everything else was irrelevant to Grungar, including the
accumulation of knowledge, goods, comforts... Grungar's psionic and clerical
powers were cataloged; he had an impressive set of defensive and offensive
mental powers, plus the ability to cast 1st and 2nd level priest spells. The
lab and the sage Meldor examined Grungar's physical remains - he was probably
going to die of old age in a few years anyway.

In all, Grungar was a formidable power whose sole, lowly purpose was to
provide a loathsome demonic master with a steady supply of food. To that end,
the fertile fields and faithful people of western Cromwell had been subjugated
and terrorized for more than a century. Grungar's legendary reign of terror
lasted years too long, but justice was ultimately served and a dangerous
portal to the abyss was closed forever.

Indebted from the adventure's fiscal disaster, 18 months older, and
practically crippled as an adventurer, Warwick now quests for his own