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Defenders Summary #40: Interior Decorator from the Lower Planes

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
Nakumanu, 2nd level fighter, 14 hp, henchman of Felix
Kain, 1st level cleric, 6 hp, played by Jeff

Our party had just trashed a trio of bad guys, an elven fighter/mage or thief/mage, a human cleric of the Queen of Grottos, and a human warrior.

We became un_Slowed_ and did some exploring. We still had an hour and a half of buffer time for the orc forces to swing around the mountain and cut us off. We intended to leave within a half hour or so to be completely safe (since neither the orcs nor the Defenders were crazy enough to wander around the Trail of the Dead at night).

The rooms coming off the weird lit room were quarters for the trio. In one was an insulting and highly intelligent, and bloodthirsty crow. It appeared to be the pet of the mage. Talking to it revealed that all three had been charmed by the fat guy (Piggy). He was apparently a powerful wizard of some sort. The fact that the elf had been charmed was rather disturbing, given elven resistance to charm effects.

The cleric’s room was glyphed, which Felix set off, and was paralyzed. He recovered a few minutes later.

We figured that we had bypassed most of the obstacles, and so we searched around. We picked up the mage’s spellbook! Indeed, it had Invisibility 10’ Radius and Slow, as well as many others, notably ESP!

Apparently the fat guy doesn’t live in this area, but instead comes in through the “inky black room.” We identified this as the same inky black room we had seen earlier, and so recognized another connection to the crystal room.

Through the final door was a room with weird light. The light rotated colors through the rainbow. We thought this might have some effect depending upon the color. There were two white doors in the room. Felix walked in, unharmed, during green. He tried the right door—the paralyzation effect failed, for once!

The party trekked down the corridor, leaving the other door for later. We came out into a weird lab room that had been trashed. Clearly our prey had destroyed the place on his way out, and had run about smashing everything and taking valuables.

There was a huge bronze throne in the center of the room, just like the one outside. Felix sat in it, and instantly was projected in the throne room. He got a terrifying glimpse—the orcs had reconstructed the rope bridge (probably with the aid of a Fly spell from a shaman) and had swarmed the area. They were attempting to destroy the crystal room, apparently with picks. The two orcs we had left behind were dead. Hundreds of orcs were waiting on the platform for us to come out!

Suddenly, Felix was Dispelled and returned back to us, presumably by a shaman.

Well, there were several months of food packed in the crates…

We decided to hope that there was another way out. Presumably Mr. Pig had escaped somehow!

We searched the area, and found a cowering woman in a bedroom. Her name was Maryanne, and she was the daughter of a merchant on Ventris Isle. She had been captured on a ship carrying her to Carse. She said that the Pig Guy had a black beard and was human, though he spoke in accented Common (we heard him say something in human earlier, which was interesting). He had been oddly kind to her, which made her suspect even worse. He had poked in a few hours earlier and told her to stay, and locked the door. There was a heated bathtub in the area, which was an interesting convenience.

We told her that we were “the good guys” and that we had deposed Kaal Na Ka (what the Pig Guy called himself) and were trying to bust out. She looked rather overwhelmed, but came along. We were picking up a real menagerie—two displacer beasts, an orc prisoner and now a human woman…

In any case, we had to get out. We traveled down a path for about 45 minutes, before discovering the back of a secret door. Inside was a weird room with boxes. We began to go inside, when Balinor, at the back of the party, was grabbed violently from behind. Another displacer beast! Defending three cubs.

Quentin yelled for it to put Balinor down, but it was clearly charmed. In some sense it wanted us to go away, and it was allowed three minutes to wait for optimal attack conditions, and it tried to get us to go away, but couldn’t release Balinor. It also mentioned that Mr. Pig had escaped through a portal in the wall, which could only be opened with something he had. In other words, we were in trouble.

Of course, we didn’t know this, and suddenly, it told us it had to attack.

It pounced at Morgan, raking him with its claws and strangling the completely disoriented Balinor.

Kodo, Morgan, and Felix went at it with swords and axes. Morgan’s sword glanced off Balinor at one point, who was still struggling unsuccessfully to get loose of the tentacles. They slashed it, but it completely took down Morgan. Quentin’s Cure saved Morgan, and the creature was destroyed, dropping the gasping Balinor.

The poor cubs wouldn’t leave the room, and would soon starve to death, but there was nothing we could do.

There was more stuff here as well, and several exits. We opened one, saw about a dozen zombies, and quickly shut it again. Hmmm.

Balinor was bloodthirsty, and so we got ready for them. We opened the door… and they sprinted at us. They weren’t zombies!

Felix tried to slam the door, but they were too fast, and attacked. Balinor and Felix went at them, hacking and taking the first two down, though Balinor’s weapons were clearly less effective. In addition, they were too powerful for Kain to Turn easily.

In addition, when they hit, they Slow you, and this can be LAYERED.

Pretty soon, both Balinor and Felix were moving at half-speed. After Felix nearly destroyed his magic sword, and threw it into the room besides, he backed off and Kodo came in (who was still down strength from the shadows). Within moments, Kodo was TRIPLE SLOWED (moving at 1/8 speed). Morgan shot one of the “zombies,” and shot Balinor, who growled a warning. When Alduin shot Felix, they discarded the bows and drew swords.

Finally, the bleeding Balinor and Kodo took down the last zombies.

Well, we are always interested in new and exciting forms of undead. Got another one for you, Gram!

In another room nearby, there was weird painted red circle on the wall, and a swirling mosaic on the floor. We figured that this did something, if you knew what the heck you were doing.

In the zombie room was another one of the circles, which had tracks leading up to it. The room was, incidentally, some sort of smashed up zombie lab.

Beaten up, Slowed, Strength drained, tired, and once level-drained, we decided to rest.

A quick check through the throne revealed that the orcs had given up trying to get through the crystal room (they had used their slaves to do it—about 50 were dead). A few hundred were swarming on the platform where the conductor had been, waiting to kill us.

We decided not to go that way, unless we absolutely had to. The Wall of Thorns from the staff might kill all of those, but it would still be quite ugly—survival would not be likely. Still, we had hopes that the Ancient Ones had a way out of here.

We camped, and healed up somewhat. Kodo’s and Donald’s strength had returned, and everyone was no longer Slowed. Spells were regained. We found a magic walking stick of the God of Travelers, Felcon, in the drawer of the mage’s room. Kain took the crow, and we went at the other white door in the color room. Again, Felix resisted paralysis, and we found a treasure horde. There was gold, gems, and spices. We couldn’t carry most of it, and only took the stuff with the best weight to gold piece ratio, and so left about 15,000 gp worth of stuff behind. In addition, we scooped up a heavy magic bag.

We explored the complex further (going through the zombie room doors), discovering an entirely new set of tunnels. An hour’s travel took us a considerable distance away, and we checked out the new place. We saw about 50 bronzewood doors, most of them smashed in this area.

We checked the alcoves for gelatinous cubes, but found none. A giant snake tried to bite Balinor, but Quentin calmed it down. It pointed out that there were holes to the surface through which it went to get frogs. How long were the holes? Quentin’s weasels determined the shortest to be about 250 feet long, or about 40 Stoneshapes to freedom. If we were completely trapped, that could work. Of course, the boat would leave without us before we finished.

We moved on, and explored more areas, discovering a weird grinning statue, mocking us. It had two glowing red gems for eyes. We didn’t take them.

We opened one door to discover a weird little skeleton statue thing in the center of the room. We shut the door and walked away.

Finally, this one takes the cake:

We opened one door, and a blast of heat hit us. Inside were a bunch of little fire creature things dancing around, and a weird lizard guy, on fire, working at an anvil at the edge of a pool of lava. He looked up at us.

We shut the door.

Deciding that maybe it could help us get out, Quentin re-opened the door and tried to talk to it. It pointed at us and appeared to tell us to go away.

We finally found some stairs up, that circled around the steam of the pit and presumably went up to the top of the volcano (by this time we suspected that we were in the OTHER volcano and had crossed entirely under the Trail of the Dead). A Continual Light revealed DOZENS of stirges on the ceiling. When they dive bombed, Morgan threw the light away up the stairs, and we backed off.

We tried another door, and discovered a bizarre stuffed bug zoo. There was a giant caterpillar, ant, and all sorts of creatures, completely freaking Morgan out.

By this time we were so confused that we weren’t even bothered by it.

What the heck was WRONG with this island?

We went through the bug room, and nearly walked into the entire stirge nest.

We backed up, and camped for an hour, waiting for nightfall for the stirges to leave, as they must if they want food.

They did, in fact, and we went up the stairs.

They went quite a ways up, but not to the top, and ended in another door in the volcano wall. Unbelievably, the next room managed to weird us out even further.

There was a strobe light.

Emanating from another huge gem in the center of the room was a flickering strobe light with all sorts of weird colors. Continual Light had no effect on the room. Apparently, the Ancient Ones liked disco.

Of course, the next room was even more bizarre. It was a weird room with beads everywhere, including hanging from strings. Apparently they were really into 60s stuff too. Balinor and Alduin got the sense that something else was in the room with them, but nothing happened. We moved on.

Next was a scroll library—three of them were magical. Unfortunately, they were so old that all three crumbled when Quentin tried to take them. We didn’t touch the rest.

Finally, we came to a stairway leading up, with three landings. On each was a pair of crystal statues—crabs, birds, and frogs.

They were, of course, crystal golems. They had a grappling attack, and blew up when they were killed, and were immune to non-magic weapons. We made short work of them.

That’s where we stopped, camping and healing. Hopefully next time we’ll get off this island! But perhaps to return—it’s so messed up!

The time deadline to escape is about three days.


Log Supplement QQ: QQ

On an interesting note, I should add that the collapse rate is way down recently.

* 1.48 collapses/ game
* 0.35 fatalities/ game
* 0.28 permanent damage / game

59 collapses, 14 fatalities, 11 instances of permanent damage.
Log Supplement QQ: QQ

Here's an odd stat I thought I'd share:

There have been 24 members of the Defenders. If we establish four outcomes:

1. Active
2. Retired by choice
3. Retired by damage
4. Permanently slain

Here are the results:

Of those 24 reaching level 1, 12/24 have come to a bad end (3 or 4)

Of those 12 reaching level 2, 1/12 have come to a bad end.

The 10 reaching level 3 and above have all come out well...


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