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Daring Dozen Adventure #3: Better Left Undisturbed?

Party Roster:

Tobull, 8th level fighter, 103 hp, played by Kyle MacLea
Jessica, 8th level fighter, 79 hp, played by Alex Hubbard
Laire, 8th level fighter, 73 hp, played by Kyle MacLea
Nara, 8th level cleric, 64 hp, played by Katherine Plante
Gram, scholar, 56 hp, played by Kyle MacLea
Rangorn, 6th level woodsman, 56 hp, played by Joel Green
Hildebrandt, 8th level mage, 39 hp, played by Alan Turnquist
Nief, 10th level thief, 36 hp, played by Jack McKechnie
Feagol, 7th level druid, 33 hp, played by Jeff Andreou

The Daring Dozen. All seven of them stand as one. Proud noble warriors.

Abruptly aware that perhaps this Tunnel thing isn’t their cup of tea…

We pick up with a Divination cast by Nara, the 8th level Auroran cleric in the Daring Dozen. The result was that the forces of Neutral Evil are unwilling to release their hold on this location EVER.

The Dozen set out into the City of the Gods to determine the nature of various sounds and creatures we heard the last time out. First, a Speak with Dead was cast on the bodies of some adventurers we had spotted on our previous trek into the city. It should be noted that although many valuable things had been left behind, all of the magic items had been taken from the bodies. Conversation with a dead dwarf warrior revealed that the party had been hunting troglodytes and had been slaying them, when suddenly they were mysteriously attacked by the “water.” He remembered nothing after that.

Additional exploration of the city revealed that there were several of the creatures, but we couldn’t seem to spot them until Feagol changed into a crow and flew on a search for them.

The party had been heading into a section of the city that looked quite a bit more ruined than the rest, possibly through siege engine attacks. The buildings had been smashed and the road was uneven.

Feagol heard the familiar crushing sounds and moved downward to investigate. He found himself staring at a golemlike creature, coated in metal. It moved like a gorilla, on one fist, which made the grinding sound. The creature had a nine foot long blade for an arm, and probably would have stood 15 feet tall had it not been hunched over. It looked at Feagol, and then rocks shot out of its head, nearly taking the druid out of the sky. Feagol fled back to the party.

The party retreated to its now customary point of retreat, the gate. The creatures didn’t seem to follow, even though it was clear that at one point they had us surrounded. Feagol did a full scouting of the area near the gate, and we discovered that they didn’t seem to come within 500 feet of it. However, there were five spotted immediately outside that radius. They seemed to cluster and sneak up on us whenever we wandered through the city, but they didn’t attack.

During one of our treks through the ruined area we spotted a slime covered group of dead creatures in a pile. It seemed reasonable that they were troglodytes.

We decided to check out the other side of the city in the hopes of it being different. There we spotted another of the undead dwarf and spider parties. The dwarves were repairing the shingles. When we approached, they all pointed at us. This time we weren’t buying it.

Gram asked them who their master was. The dwarves just pointed at us.

Suddenly, a strange-looking creature popped out of thin air near us. It identified itself as Melbourn, the imp. Despite being evil, the creature was very bored and talked with us at great length. We discovered that its master was the lich, Baelzar.

Oh goody.

And no, we don’t fight it during this adventure, so you can already knock it off with the skeptical looks!

The lich rules the City of the Gods, or at least is a major player. His headquarters is in the Citadel at the top of the city. There are four other important players here, though the imp would only reveal that the golem creatures were referred to as Guardians, and that they belonged to “the Necromancer.”

The imp himself had been working for Baelzar for three millennia, which we assume is about the time of the fall of Tan-El. His master had gained control of the city then. There was some sort of “Plan,” but the imp was extremely frustrated for several reasons.

First, this Plan never seems to end. It has been way too long, and the imp regrets having accepted the “choice assignment.” He’s really annoyed with his “intelligence of a large dog” and hopes some day to become a pit fiend or something.

Second, he gets a glimpse of pit fiend intelligence for about ten minutes every week when he communes with Baelzar, which essentially leaves the imp with a splitting headache and makes everything even worse.

Third, undead dwarves just don’t make good company. Neither do husks of spiders.

The imp suggested that his poor mind couldn’t understand the complexities of the situation, and that we should really being asking Baelzar and that he could set up an audience for us. When asked if we would survive the audience, the imp explained that our chances were currently running 1 in 4. What happened to the other parties?

“Zot!” said the imp.
“And the few that survived the zot?”
“Zot again!”

So this “zot” thing seems like a bad idea. Since we didn’t have Chono’s wand or Fred’s amazing open hand attacks or even the help of an Anarchist sphinx, we decided against attacking the lich, and declined the interview.

The imp also mentioned that if we went to the dam at night, “all would be clear.” Of course, he added, we also wouldn’t survive with that clarity for some reason.

The imp scolded Hildebrandt for having blasted some perfectly good workers the other day, and the mage apologized. The imp of course laid down the usual threats. He said that we could kill anything coated in slime, but that it would be dangerous for us to destroy anything else. Baelzar considered us unimportant right now, but if we caused trouble there would be disproportionate retaliation.

When we asked about “the invaders,” the imp explained that they were the “bad guys.” They attacked quite often and the dwarves were always hard at work repairing the city from the invaders’ damage, while the forces of the various players in the city defended it.

Finally, it should be noted that on two separate instances in the middle of the conversation, the imp’s eyes briefly changed color.

We returned to the gate and then decided to talk to the seagulls about the dam. The birds said that there was nothing unusual about the dam or anything behind it, other than the fact that occasionally a gull would simply vanish into the lake. We had heard similar things about the main lake as well.

Feagol flew over the dam in crow form. The dam itself rises 150 feet above the main lake of the City of the Gods (where the docks are). At the base of the dam on the lake side is a small dock with a path leading up. On the other side of the dam, about 70 feet down from the top of it, is a large area composed of soil with a decent sized lake away from the dam. There were several buildings of normal appearance, rather than the melted wax look. The windows and doors were all shut. There appeared to be several control devices for some flooding.

If the dam were to burst suddenly, the water that would flow down would be enough to put the entire city other than the Citadel underwater. It all looked extraordinarily innocent.

Finally, we decided to attempt a barrage of Speak with Dead spells on the dead party.

We were able to reconstruct quite a bit. The party consisted of nine people, including two dwarven fighters, a thief, a half-elf wizard named Yorn, a human Nevronian cleric named Bill, a female elven archer named Topaz, and three others. Topaz’s body was not there.

The party had been hunting troglodytes in Grimjaws cavern, 52 miles from Carse, in the foothills of the Hadarna mountains. Interestingly, although the bodies had been dead for about a week when we found them, they claimed it was November 2184. During this game it was April 2186.

The party had slain many of the troglodytes in a big battle, and killed their shaman. The creatures retreated and were pursued by the party until they reached a large underground cavern. There was a beach of some kind and a large underground lake.

The first party member stepped toward the shore, and suddenly disappeared as he fell through the beach. The sand must have been some sort of illusion, and he dropped through without even any rippling.

The wizard Yorn was next in line, and called out for the party member, but he had vanished. Suddenly, the wizard was grabbed by something and dragged onto the beach. And suddenly he was falling and found himself in water. Weird slimy stuff started choking him and he assumed he had been choked to death.

The cleric, Bill, had turned to help a fallen party member at some point and had realized too late that the floor was an illusion. He fell through it and found himself in the water. To his shock he wasn’t drowning, and that was all he remembered.

One person actually saw the creature. He turned around just long enough to see a tentacled being. There were a lot of illusions that made it difficult to see the thing.

Theories abound. There had been thoughts of time travel of some kind. It has also been suggested that the underground lake in the Hadarna mountains could theoretically link to the City of the Gods.

Alex suggested my favorite explanation. Some kind of creature with mind control or illusion ability, say a mind flayer or REALLY small Kraken, attacks people at various locations, takes them along the waterways, and brainwashes them. They are then used as shocktroops by the invaders, which may be dark dwarves or the like. The dark dwarves may in fact just be a symptom of the problem.

The lake is too small to fit a true Kraken, but perhaps a weird modification on one would be possible. Gram knew that the name the imp gave for the City of the Gods simply meant “slave city” and referred to the cities the Kraken built for their servants.

This is where we stopped. There are some serious questions about whether this mission should be done by the Daring Dozen or by the Stone Soules, a party much more prepared and willing to spend huge amounts of time scrutinizing the information and doing scouting.

It is clear that the powers in the City of the Gods are incredibly dangerous and at least rival Tan-El in difficulty. The hope is that a balance that has existed for 3000 years will remain that way long enough to find the power to dispatch these people.

Joel/ Rangorn


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